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Senate panel issues subpoena vs 7 Rodriguez family members for bringing in millions of cash

The Senate Blue Ribbon committee issued Thursday a subpoena against seven members of Rodriguez family whom Senator Richard Gordon accused of bringing in millions of cash in a foreign currency in the country.

The subpoena, dated March 5, include Mary Rose, Janet, John Joshua, Michael Julian, Simon John, Natasha, and Elizabeth.

Gordon, Blue Ribbon committee chairman,  said the Rodriguezes were among the 60 individuals, including Chinese and Filipino citizens, who brought in $633 million cash in foreign currency from Singapore, Hong Kong, and Bangkok for the last seven months.

He also claimed that Elizabeth alone was able to bring in $42.5 million worth of cash from September 2019 to February 2020.

“They said hindi pa nila nakuha [ang invitation ng commitee today]. Of course, nakuha na nila iyan pero siyempre, nanood muna ‘yan to see if we have anything. For all you know, malakas ang loob nila kasi sabi ng Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC) wala pang unlawful activity [na kaakibat ‘iyong pagpasok nila ng pera],” Gordon told reporters.

The senator was referring to the comment made by AMLC Secretariat executive director Mel Georgie Racela that there is presumption of good faith on the part of the Rodriguezes in bringing in such a big amount of money.

Still, Gordon said that such declaration does not make their action aboveboard.

“Them admitting it na sa kanila [ang pera] does not prove provenance,” he added.

He then said the brazenness of the Rodriguez family in bringing in cold cash worth millions in foreign currency only shows they know that people in high places have their back.

“Maglalabas ba ng pera ‘yan kung walang bantay sa labas? Ganyan kalaking halaga? People would kill for a lot less amount of money,” Gordon said.

Under the law, money laundering is committed by any person who, knowing that any monetary instrument or property represents, involves, or relates to the proceeds of any unlawful activity:

  • transacts said monetary instrument or property;
  • converts, transfers, disposes of, moves, acquires, possesses or uses said monetary instrument or property;
  • conceals or disguises the true nature, source, location, disposition, movement or ownership of or rights with respect to said monetary instrument or property;
  • attempts or conspires to commit money laundering offenses referred above;
  • aids, abets, assists in, or counsels the commission of money laundering offenses and
  • performs or fails to perform any act as a result of which he facilitates the offense of money laundering referred to.