Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte was challenged by his rivals to make true his promise and sign a waver to open his bank accounts, amidst claims that he has undeclared wealth.
“Prove that your hands are as clean as your mouth,” Liberal Party standard bearer Manuel “Mar” Roxas dared the tough-talking mayor.
In a press briefing after a campaign rally in Cebu, Roxas challenged Duterte to show his seriousness about getting rid of corruption in the government by signing a waver.
“Mayor Duterte, I call on you: Reveal the truth about these bank accounts,” he said. “Where did the funds in these bank accounts come from? And why did you not put this in your SALN (statement of assets, liabilities and net worth)?”
Roxas was pertaining to an exposé by Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV that the Davao City mayor did not declare more than P200 million allegedly contained in a Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI) bank account in 2014.
The United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) of Vice President Jejomar Binay maintained that all the candidates should allow the Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC) to look into their bank accounts as well as those of their family members.
Binay, who himself is suspected of hiding ill-gotten wealth from his time as Makati City mayor, signed on March 20 a waiver allowing the AMLC to open his bank accounts and those of his wife and children, but not after the AMLC had already looked into his accounts.
On her part, Independent candidate Sen. Grace Poe challenged Duterte to be true to his words and prove that his are not just empty promises.
“Wasn’t he the one who started this talk about candidates signing a bank waiver? He claimed he would die for the country. This is one way he can do it but if he can’t even do this, how much more his other promises?” said Poe.
Back in March, Duterte and his running mate, Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano, signed a manifesto allowing their bank accounts to be scrutinized by the public and even dared other candidates to do the same.
The manifesto states that the candidates who sign it "pledge to open all our bank accounts in local and foreign currencies both here and abroad in the interest of transparency and accountability."
Duterte told reporters covering his campaign in Tacloban then that he signed the said the manifesto “so that the people will know how much is [their] worth, if [they] have bank secrets, deposits.”
When asked what if the other candidates don’t sign the manifesto, Duterte said: “Ewan ko. That is for the people to decide. I cannot be judgmental, bahala kayo. Basta ako, ready ako anytime.”
In a report by the Inquirer, Senator Trillanes undermined the said manifesto, saying that it will not be accepted by any bank since a waiver has to be addressed specifically to the bank where the concerned account is located as per his consultations with a lawyer.
“That [manifesto] was just a press release. Don’t believe that,” he said.