As election day draws near, the word war, public stunts and allegations between and among presidential candidates and their supporters are escalating. The most recent is Senator Trillanes’ exposé of Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte’s undeclared wealth that is alleged to be more than P227 million. Here are 10 things you should know about the scandal:
1. Duterte signs “waiver”. Presidential candidate Rodrigo Duterte and his running mate, Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano, signed a waiver allowing the opening of their bank accounts for public scrutiny on March 11, 2015.
2. Trillanes’ expose. On April 21, the Inquirer reported that Duterte, according to Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV, had at least P227 million in an account at a bank branch in Metro Manila. The said amount was not declared in Duterte’s SALN.
3. Duterte’s denial. Duterte denied the existence of the account in the Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI) branch on Julio Vargas Avenue in Pasig City. Duterte said on April 27: “I will not play into their hands by issuing a waiver. The account is nonexistent”.
4. Duterte dares Trillanes. “I’ll make it difficult for Trillanes. It’s just a piece of paper. You prove it. Why will I give it to him? I’ll take the waiver and I will tell him, ‘Prove it. I will not make it easy for you. I will not play into your hands”, Duterte said on April 27 at a luncheon meeting hosted by the Makati Business Club.
5. Trillanes hits back. “I would resign from the Senate and withdraw from the vice presidential race. If my claims were proven false, I would no longer be in politics”, Trillanes said in a press conference at the Magdalo headquarters in Quezon City on April 27. The senator dared Duterte once more to sign a waiver that will allow the opening and scrutiny of his bank accounts.
6. Private individual confirms existence of account. A certain Ellen Tordesillas, in a Facebook post, confirmed the existence of said account by depositing P500 in the BPI account allegedly owned by Duterte. The transaction was completed as shown by a computer-validated deposit slip.
7. Duterte’s partial admission. On April 28, Duterte confirms he has bank accounts at BPI branch on Julio Vargas Avenue but he says that it did not contain millions contrary to Trillanes’ claims.
“I have accounts at BPI. But it does not contain that much money. Just thousands. It could not go beyond that. One contains P17,000, the other has P50,000,” Duterte said.
8. Waiver a public stunt. The Inquirer reports that according to Raul Palabrica, a corporate lawyer who writes for the broadsheet, the bank “waiver” signed by Duterte and Cayetano on March 11, is “empty” and invalid.
9 Trillanes, paid? A picture of a P500 million Banco De Oro (BDO) check allegedly issued by San Miguel Corporation to Antonio Trillanes IV made rounds in social media. BDO issued a certification saying that the P500-million check was fake, while Trillanes accused Duterte supporters of being behind it.
10. Roxas joins in the fray. On April 28, Liberal Party (LP) standard bearer rebuked Duterte, saying: “You’re seeking the presidency, but you’re openly lying. There’s a saying that a liar is brother to a thief. Maybe they’re also brothers to a murderer.” Roxas then signed a document in front of reporters authorizing the Ombudsman to look into his own bank accounts.