The presidential race front runner Rodrigo Duterte has finally agreed to disclose his bank account details in Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI) Julia Vargas branch – but his camp says Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV must first provide an affidavit and name his sources before this can happen.
PDP-Laban spokesperson Paola Alvarez explained that it is unfair for Duterte to reveal the details of his bank accounts if Trillanes will not reveal the sources of his information as well, which alleges that the Davao City mayor possesses millions of pesos in undeclared wealth.
''He has to be explain to BPI and even to the people how he got this information, because if he cannot explain it, then it is false.” Alvarez firmly announced to dzMM
''What we want to know is that if you really did legally procure that source. Ibang bagay naman ang meron siyang bank account pero may transactions. Hindi naman porket may transactions ibig sabihin may ginawa ng criminal acts eh."
(It’s something else when he has a bank account, but it has transactions. Just because there are transactions does not mean that criminal acts have been committed.)
In response, Trillanes inquired Alvarez as to why the mayor’s camp is requiring an affidavit and his source’s identities all of a sudden, pointing out that Duterte and his running mate, Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano, released a “general waiver” for all their bank accounts last March without setting any conditions.
''Bakit suddenly may affidavit? Nung March nagsabi si Mayor Duterte, hinahamon niya lahat, pumirma daw sila ng waiver ni Senator Cayetano. Walang conditions iyun. Willing silang mag-open. Pero ngayong may akusasyon na, suddenly gusto nilang may affidavit,”
(Why is there suddenly the need for an affidavit? Last March, Mayor Duterte challenged everybody to sign a similar waiver. That waiver had no conditions, and they were willing to open. But now that I’m taking action, suddenly they want an affidavit.)
Duterte finally agrees to open BPI accounts
Duterte agreed on Friday to open his bank account records this Monday, May 2. Lawyer Salvador Panelo has been authorized to open the accounts in his behalf.
Trillanes believes that if Duterte opens his bank accounts for scrutiny, he should not only release the current balance, but the transaction history and year-end balances as well.
The senator also reiterated his challenge to Duterte to prove him wrong – and if he can, he would resign from the Senate.
"Panlilinlang ito sa mga kababayan kasi maraming sumakay sa Duterte wave na ito dahil akala nila simpleng tao, hindi corrupt. Pero yun pala, nung hinarap mo na ng ganito ang accusation, suddenly hindi na honest,''
(This is a deception to the Filipino people. Many are on the Duterte wave because they think he is a simple man, incorruptible. But as it turns out, when you face him with these accusations, suddenlt he isn’t as honest.)
''Sinasabi nila na tsismis lang ang basis ko kung ano man, kaya nga sabi ko, prove me wrong, pirmahan natin ang waiver, tingnan natin ang transaction history. Kung mali ako, ora mismo magre-resign ako as a senator."
(This has all been dismissed as idle gossip, that’s why I said, prove me wrong, let’s sign that waiver, let’s look through his transaction history. If I am wrong, I will resign as a senator.)
Alvarez has revealed that Duterte will not be present, as he will be busy campaigning on that day.
“Shouldn’t there have been an AMLC alert?”
In addition to his defense for Duterte, Alvarez notes that assuming the alleged amounts in Duterte’s accounts were true and suspicious, the bank should have alerted the Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC)
''Iyung sinasabi niyang transactions, if these were true, and these were illegal transactions, why didn't the BPI report to the AMLC that there were these huge amounts of money that came in in one day?"
''There must be a reason why it was allowed because simply it was valid. What if there was a donation for a calamity fund?"
Trillanes believes that Duterte’s camp is now trying to build a reasonable alibi that would explain away the huge sums in the bank accounts in question.
''Ngayon meron ng justification. What if may papasok raw na pera for calamity fund. Teka muna, nagbibigay na kaagad kayo ng alibi. Relax muna kayo. Ako ipu-prove ko muna na 2.4 billion pesos ang pumasok. Kung ako sa inyo, tanungin niyo ang boss niyo, paaminin niyo kasi magkaka-buhol buhol kayo."
“Now they have a justification. What if this money is for calamity funds. Wait a minute, you’ve all immediately provided an alibi. Let’s relax. I will first prove that 2.4 billion pesos are in there. If I were you, I’d ask your boss, make him confess because you’re all getting tied up in knots here.”
Trillanes not a “person of authority”
The atmosphere was heavy in the interview between Trillanes and Alvarez when the latter falsely claimed that BPI itself doubts the authenticity of the transaction details in the alleged Duterte bank accounts first published by the Inquirer.
''Yung BPI, hindi nila sinasabi na hindi authentic ang mga documents. Ang sinasabi nila, hindi galing sa kanila ang listahan ng report na nilabas sa Inquirer. Those are two different things. Alam mo, abugado ka nagsisinungaling ka. Bawal yan,'' Trillanes retaliated.
(BPI did not say that the documents were false. What they said was the report published by the Inquirer was not from them. Those are two different things. You know, you are a lawyer and you are lying. That isn’t allowed.)
At one point, Alvarez accused Trillanes of “being offensive” and that she was “ashamed” of the senator’s behavior. She said that Trillanes was not a “person of authority” and avoiding his job as a senator only to persecute Duterte.
“Wala po tayong kaso. This is not a prosecution. You are not under a Senate hearing. This is simply persecution. Why are you asking us for these alibis and other things when you are not even an Ombudsman, a judge or a justice? You are a senator and you are not doing your job,”
Trillanes’ response: “''I will put you in your place ha. Huwag mo kong gaganyanin. (Don’t treat me in that manner.) I have earned my right to speak before the nation. I have led several investigations. So ganito yan, itong sinasabi natin dito, simple lang, kung mali nga ang aking alegasyon, eh di prove me wrong magre-resign ako sa Senado. (So this is how it will be: what you said can be solved simply. If my allegations are proven wrong, I will resign from Senate.)"
Undeclared P2.4 billion bank transactions
This issue started when less than 2 weeks before the May 9 presidential election, Trillanes dropped a bombshell by accusing Duterte of owning undeclared BPI accounts containing P227.41 million (not P211 million in earlier reports) last 2014.
While Duterte initially vehemently denied the existence of these accounts, he admitted last Thursday that he had two accounts in the bank branch after all.
He added, however, that the 2 accounts do not contain over P200 million, but currently only has around P50,000 and P17,000.
A Philippine Daily Inquirer released a report last Friday, citing documents given by Trillanes, revealed that Duterte’s accounts at BPI Julia Vargas alone alleged has P1.74 billion in total deposits and transfers. The joint accounts at BPI Edsa Greenhills received P667 million, while the BDO Unibank account contains P534 million.
Trillanes said that the deposits and transfers in the three banks totaled 71, 48 of which were credit memos, and 23 of which were inter-bank transfers.
When asked about the money in his transactions allegedly amounting to P2.4 billion, Duterte evaded the question but have more detail on his accounts at the BPI Julia Vargas branch:
"There is money there in that account, a little lesser than P200 million."
Duterte also gave an enigmatic response when asked about the seven transactions amounting to P193.71 million which apparently entered his accounts last March 28,2014 – his 69 birthday.
"Ibig sabihin eh di mayroon akong maraming kaibigan na mayaman... Wala na, ginastos ko na. Nag-happy-happy ako," he said.
(That just means I have a lot of rich friends. It’s gone, I used it all up. I spent it on celebrations.)