Tolentino weary of criminal activity on e-wallets; wants strict regulation

Senator Francis Tolentino wants stricter monitoring of e-wallet services such as G-Cash and PayMaya as they could be used to launder money and to finance terrorist activities, he said during a Senate Committee on Public Order and Dangerous Drugs inquiry into the 34 missing sabongeros (cockfighting enthusiasts) on Friday, March 4.

Senator Francis Tolentino (FILE PHOTO)

Tolentino was shocked to learn that PayMaya relies only on government IDs submitted by users as proof of legal age, especially amid reports that underage users are able to participate in e-sabong (cockfighting) through e-wallet services.

“So kung pwedeng malusutan ng minor, pwede ring malusutan ng mga money launderers saka (If minors can bypass the system, then so can money launderers and) terrorism financial activities ” Tolentino pointed out.

During the hearing, PayMaya legal counsel Eloisa Sy explained that PayMaya’s customer verification procedure cannot accurately determine if user-submitted documents and ID are authentic.

Meanwhile, Globe Telecoms senior legal counsel Gilbert Escoto denied the possibility of minors using GCash to participate in e-sabong, explaining that the service has several embedded security features barring underaged users from doing so.

He then explained that there should be stricter monitoring of e-wallet services, particularly of large financial transactions facilitated by these services as these could be used by criminals to launder money to finance terrorist activity.

Tolentino also added that in the following Senate committee hearings, the panel would bring underaged "sabongeros" to serve as resource persons.