MANILA – The Manila Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 53 on Monday issued a gag order to the Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC) and to the camp of Vice President Jejomar Binay in the forfeiture case filed against him.
Lawyer Claro Certeza, legal counsel for the Vice President, said that the court stressed that forfeiture proceedings were confidential.
“This is a confidential proceeding according to the court and if you will give interviews, you will be cited for contempt and we have to respect that,” Certeza told reporters after the hearing at the RTC on Monday.
Covered by the forfeiture case filed by the AMLC are 139 bank accounts and 19 real properties under the names of the Vice President, dismissed Makati City Mayor Jejomar Erwin S. Binay, Jr., Gerardo Limlingan, Jr., Ernesto Mercado, Antonio Tiu and 47 others.
While Certeza refused to give details of Monday’s hearing, Certeza said that they filed an omnibus motion questioning the forfeiture case.
The Binay camp noted that the forfeiture case is a violation of Republic Act No. 1379 or the “Act Declaring Forfeiture in Favor of the State Any Property Found to Have Been Unlawfully Acquired By Any Public Officer or Employee and Providing for the Proceedings Therefore”.
Under RA No. 1379, the filing of forfeiture proceeding is prohibited within one year before any general election or within three months before any special election.
Based on the AMLC petition, the Manila RTC issued a 20-day “Provisional Asset Protection Order” on Nov. 13, 2015 on several accounts, including only one account in the name of the Vice President.