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REPUBLIC V GLASGOW

GR NO 170281
January 18, 2008
AMLA

FACTS:
On July 18, 2003, the Republic, as represented by the Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC)
filed a complaint in the Manila RTC for civil forfeiture of assets (with urgent plea for issuance of
a TRO and a writ of preliminary investigation) against the bank deposits in an account
maintained by Glasgow in Citystate Savings Bank, Inc (CSBI). While the trial court granted the
TRO and the writ of preliminary injunction, the summons to Glasgow was returned unserved
since it can no longer be found at its last known address.

October 8, 2003: omnibus motion for issuance of summons and leave of court to serve
summons by publication by the Republic
October 15: trial court directed issuance of summons but no mention re: leave of court
January 30, 2004: trial court archived the case allegedly for failure of the Republic to
serve the alias summons but the Republic filed another motion to reinstate the case and
resolve the motion for leave of court
May 31: court reinstated case but still did not resolve the motion for leave of court to
serve summons by publication on the reason that any action on such motion would be
untenable if not premature. This motion remain unsolved.
August 11, 2005: Republic filed a manifestation and ex parte motion to resolve the above
motion.
August 12 (yuh the next day): the OSG received a copy of Glasgows Motion to Dismiss
(By Way of Special Appearance). The motion alleged that the trial court had no
jurisdiction over its person as summons had not yet been served on it; that the complaint
was premature and stated no cause of action as there was still no conviction for estafa or
other criminal violations and there was failure to prosecute on the part of the Republic.
The Republic opposed the Motion to Dismiss but on October 27, the trial court dismissed
the case. (Issues involved below!)

ISSUES:
Whether the complaint for civil forfeiture was correctly dismissed on grounds of improper
venue, insufficiency in form and substance and failure to prosecute

HELD:
The complaint for civil forfeiture was not correctly dismissed. Petition by the Republic was
granted.
1. On issue of venue: the complaint was filed in the proper venue.
Under Section 3, Title II of the Rule of Procedure in Cases of Civil Forfeiture, A petition for
civil forfeiture shall be filed in any regional trial court of the judicial region where the monetary
instrument, property or proceeds representing, involving or relating to an unlawful activity or to
a money laundering offense are located xxx
In this case, RTC Manila, as one of the RTCs of the NCR Judicial Region was a proper venue of
the Republics complaint for civil forfeiture of Glasgows account since the account sought to be
forfeited was in Pasig City, which is likewise situated within the NCR Judicial Region.

2. On issue of sufficiency of complaint: the complaint was sufficient in form and in


substance
Under Section 4 of the aforementioned Rules, the petition for civil forfeiture shall be verified
and shall contain the following allegations: (a) the name and address of the respondent; a
description with reasonable particularity of the monetary instrument, property xxx; and (c) the
acts or omissions prohibited by the specific provisions of the AMLA, which are alleged to be the
grounds relied upon for the forfeiture of the monetary instrument, property xxx.

In this case, the verified complaint contained the name and address of Glasgow (principal office
at Unit 703, 7th floor, Citystate Center, No 709, Shaw Boulevard, Pasig City); a description of
the proceeds of Glasgows unlawful activities in the amount of P21,301,430.28 maintained with
CSBI; and the acts prohibited by RA 9160 (AMLA), particularly suspicious transaction reports
showed that Glasgow engaged in unlawful activities of estafa and violation of the Securities
Regulation Code, the proceeds were transacted and deposited with CSBI, thereby making them
appear to have originated from legit sources and the AMLC subjected the account to a freeze
order.

Pertinent provisions of RA 9160 also provide two conditions when applying for civil forfeiture:
a. When there is a suspicious transaction report or a covered transaction report deemed
suspicious after investigation by the AMLC and
b. The court has, in a petition filed for the purpose, ordered the seizure of any monetary
instrument or property, in whole or in part, directly or indirectly, related to said
report.

The account of Glasgow in CSBI complies with the above conditions since it was covered by
several suspicious reports and it was placed under control of the trial court upon issuance of the
writ of preliminary injunctions.

Also, there need not be any prior charge, pendency or conviction necessary for the
commencement of a petition for civil forfeiture.

3. On issue of failure to prosecute: there was no failure to prosecute


The Republic continued to exert efforts to obtain information from government agencies on the
whereabouts of Glasgow (it must be recalled that Glasgow could not be found on its last known
office address during the course of the proceedings) despite its earlier motions for summons and
leave of court to serve summons by publication. There could not have been any failure on the
part of the Republic to prosecute and the delay could not be entirely ascribed to the Republic. It
must likewise be recalled that despite efforts of the Republic to prosecute such case, no prompt
action was taken by the trial court (i.e. re: motion for leave of court to serve summons by
publication).