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AMLC asked to freeze Maute Group assets

DAVAO CITY – Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana has asked the Anti-Money Laundering Council to freeze the assets and bank accounts of around 300 supporters of the Maute Group.

The Department of Finance and the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas have stepped in and are currently investigating the paper trail connected to the funds found in a machine gun nest overtaken by government troops in Marawi City.

According to Lorenzana, the agencies have arrived in Marawi and have started tracing the personalities and banks possibly involved in the bulks of cash found in a home in Marawi.

“Kasi yung pera na ‘yan, tinake-over na ng BSP and Department of Finance. So, tinitingnan nila. Nagpunta na yung taga-Finance doon sa Marawi,” said Lorenzana.

It has not yet been determined if the funds and the bank accounts found in Marawi were directly connected to the siege.

Around P52 million in cash and at least P20 million in checks were found by troops after they took over the machine gun nest.

Lorenzana, concurrent Martial Law administrator, said Finance officials are working on connecting the codes linked with the bank details of some of the checks.

Among the angles being explored is the possible link between the siege of Marawi and the financing by the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria.

“Meron kasing mga code yan eh, kung saan galing, kailan ginawa yung pera, when was it released,” he said. “Makikita natin kung anong bangko yung nagrelease ng ganoon kadaming pera, whether in bulk or pakonte konte through the years,” he said.

A large majority of the Maute supporters are still at large, inside Marawi or in other areas such as Davao City.

More than 200 persons linked to the Marawi siege have yet to be arrested. “Wala pang 20 ang arrested, siguro nasa 250 pa,” Lorenzana said. (Yas D. Ocampo)