Drilon rejects proposal to pass the burden of reporting covered and suspicious transactions to real estate agents and brokers

Published October 29, 2020, 4:59 PM

by Hannah Torregoza 

Senate minority leader Franklin Drilon on Thursday, Oct. 29, said he has blocked a proposal that seeks to transfer to real estate agents and brokers the burden of reporting covered and suspicious transactions to the Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC).

Senator Franklin Drilon
(Senate of the Philippines / FILE PHOTO / MANILA BULLETIN)

Drilon said it is inappropriate to burden some 42,000 real estate agents and brokers with a job that should be done by the Land Registration Authority (LRA) or the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) itself.

“If we approve this, all 42,000 real estate agents and brokers will have to do the following: Establish and record the true identity of their clients based on official documents, and maintain a system of verifying the true identity of their clients; record, maintain, and store all documents; and report to AMLC all covered and suspicious transactions,” Drilon said of Senate Bill No. 1412.

Drilon noted that under AMLC’s proposal, brokers and agents will now be required to ask their clients where they got their money.

“And they need to submit tons of requirements to the AMLC. Why burden agents and brokers with all these paper works?” he pointed out.

Under that proposal, Drilon also noted that real estate brokers and agents who fail to report these transactions or they fail to keep the records, may be imprisoned from six months to four years or be made to pay a fine that’s at least P100,000 but not more than P500,000, or both.

“I think this is too much. Let me warn AMLC that we must always be guided by the requirements of the Constitution. We must always pass a law that is grounded on reason and free from arbitrariness,” the minority leader warned.

Under the current law, Drilon said the AMLC can already require the LRA and all its Registries of Deeds to submit to the AMLC, reports on all real estate transactions involving an amount in excess of P500,000.00) within 15 days from the date of registration of the transaction.

The AMLC may also require the Land Registration Authority and all its Registries of Deeds to submit copies of relevant documents of all real estate transactions.

Drilon said requiring real estate agents and brokers in the country to follow such stipulations “is too much a burden to individuals who are only trying to make a living.”

“I can’t understand why we will impose the burden on the private sector. Itong real estate agents mga individual practitioners, maliliit lang po ito (These real estate agents are individual practitioners, they’re not big business), mostly housewives who would engage in real estate brokering to earn income on the side. Can you imagine the burden?” he pointed out.

“We are not talking here about real estate brokers as institutions, you have thousands of real estate brokers, mom and pop operations, housewives, somebody in the family who, to earn extra income, would go into real estate brokering,” Drilon said.

“Wala na pong gagawin itong real estate agents kung hindi magreport sa AMLC (They would end up doing nothing but report to the AMLC). And we are talking about real properties here, hence the threshold of one million is too low. It will cover almost all real estate transactions,” he stressed.