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REPUBLIC V. JUDGE EUGENIO G.R. NO. 174629, 14 FEBRUARY 2008 FACTS: After the Agan v.

PIATCO ruling, a series of investigations concerning the award of the NAIA 3contracts to PIATCO were undertake n by the Ombudsman and the Compliance and Investigation Staff (CIS) of the Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC). The OSG wrote AMLC requesting AMLCs assistance In obtaining more evidence to completely reveal thefinancial trail of corruption surrounding the NAIA 3Proj ect , and also noting that the Republic was resently defending itself in two international arbitration cases. The CIS conducted an intelligence database search on the financial transactions of certain individualsinvolved in the award, including Alvarez (Chairman of the PreQualification Bids and Awards TechnicalCommittee). By this time, Alvarez had already beencharged by the Ombudsman with violation of Section 3(J)of the Anti Graft and Corrupt Practices Act. 1 The search revealed that Alvarez maintained 8 bank accounts with 6 different banks The AMLC issued a resolution authorizing its Executive Director to sign and verify an application to inquire into the deposits or investments of Alvarez et al. and to authorize the AMLC Secretariat to conduct an inquiry once the RTC grants the application. The rationale for the resolution was founded on the findings of the CIS that amounts were transferred from a Hong Kong bank account to bank accounts in the Philippines maintained by respondents The Resolution also noted that byawarding the contract to PIATCO (despite its lack of financial capacity) Alvarez violated Section 3(E) of the Anti Graft and Corrupt Practices Act. 2 The MAKATI RTC rendered an Order granting the AMLC the authority to inquire and examine the subject bank accounts of Alvarez et al. In response to a letter of Special Prosecutor VillaIgnacio,AMLC issued a Resolution authorizing its ExecutiveDirector to inquire into and examine the acco unts of Alvarez, PIATCO, and several other entities involved in the nullified contract. AMLC filed an application before the MANILA RTC to inquire into the accounts alleged as 1 Sec. 3. Corrupt practices of public officers. - In addition to acts or omissions of public officers already penalized by existing law, the following shall constitute corrupt practices of any public officer and are hereby declared to be unlawful:(j) Knowingly approving or granting any license, permit, privilege or benefit in favor of any person not qualified for or not legally entitled to such license, permit, privilege or advantage, or of a mere representative or dummy of one who is not so qualified or entitled. 2 (e) Causing any undue injury to any party, including theGovernment, or giving any private party any unwarranted benefits, advantage or preference in the discharge of his officialadministrative or judicial functions through manif est partiality,evident bad faith or gross inexcusable negligence. This provision shall apply to officers and employees of offices or government corporations charged with the grant of licenses or permits or other concessions. having been used to facilitate corruption in the NAIA 3Project. The ex parte application was granted and the MANILA RTC issued a bank inquiry order. Alvarez alleged that he fortuitously learned of the bank inquiry order, which was issued following an ex parte application, and he argued that nothing in the Anti-Money Laundering Act (AMLA) authorized the AMLC to seek the authority to inquire into bank accounts ex parte.

After several motions, manifestations, orders and resolutions the case went up to the SC. Alvarez et al.s position: The AMLA, being a substantive penal statute, has no retroactive effect and the bank inquiry order could not apply to deposits or investments opened prior to the effectivity of the AMLA (17 October 2001). The subject bank accounts, opened in1989 to 1990, could not be the subject of the bank inquiry order without violating the constitutional prohibition against ex post facto laws. 3 ISSUE: Whether or not the proscription against ex post facto laws applies to Section 11 of the AMLA (a provision which does not provide a penal sanction BUT which merely authorizes the inspection of suspect accounts and deposits). 4 HELD: YES. It is clear that no person may be prosecuted under the PENAL provisions of the AMLA for acts committed prior to the enactment of the law (17 October2001).With respect to the AUTHORITY TO INSPECT, it should be noted that an ex post facto law is one that (among others) deprives a person accused of a crime of some lawful protection to which he has become entitled, such as the protection of a former conviction or acquittal, or a proclamation of amnesty. PRIOR to the AMLA: (1) The fact that bank accounts were involved in activities later on enumerated in the law did not, by itself, remove such accounts from the shelter of absolute confidentiality.(2) In order that bank accounts could be examined, there was need to secure either the written permission of the depositor OR a court order authorizing such examination, assuming that they were involved in cases of bribery or dereliction of duty of public officials, or in a case where the money deposited or invested was itself the subject matter of the litigation. 3 Please read the original for the other issues aside from Art. 3,22. 4 Section 11. Authority to inquire into Bank Deposits. Notwithstanding the provisions of Republic Act No. 1405, asamended; Republic Act No. 6426, as amended; Republic Act No.8791, and other laws, the AMLC may inquire into or examine any particular deposit or investment with any banking institution or non-bank financial institution upon order of any competent court in cases of violation of this Act when it has been established that there is probable cause that the deposits or investments involve dare in any way related to a money laundering offense: Provided, That this provision shall not apply to deposits and investments made prior to the effectivity of this Act