In a phone interview, Mayor Rodrigo Duterte's personal lawyer, Atty. Salvador Panelo, clarifies Sen. Antonio Trillanes' allegations against the Mindanaoan Mayor. The senator has recently publicly accused presidential hopeful Mayor Duterte for deliberately denying ownership of a BPI account, and about having Php 211 million. The senator has issued a public challenge for Mayor Duterte to waive his rights under the Bank Secrecy Law.
In the interview, Atty. Panelo clarifies that Mayor Duterte never denied the existence of the account. He merely denied having the amount of Php 211 million in the account, claiming having only about Php 200,000 in the account and having had withdrawn most of it a few years back, making the account dormant. Panelo further explains that Mayor Duterte has indeed signed a waiver in one of BPI's forms, through the special power of attorney (SPA), he has already allowed access of the information in this account. According to Panelo, there is a waiver, Trillanes just doesn't have the copy. The lawyer also clarifies that it is BPI who refused to give the information, fearing that other clients might be under the impression that the bank will easily hand their information to the public.
When asked about the mayor's statement saying that he has a little less than P211 million and has already spent it for good time, Panelo quickly explains that the mayor is very playful when interviewed by the media. He said that this statement was said in jest, intending to play with his haters. Panelo explains that P1000 is still less than P211 million, and that he said this to bait Trillanes.
Panelo also confirms that as soon as the elections are over, they will then proceed to filing a libel suit against Sen. Trillanes. "He accused Mayor Duterte of hiding wealth implying that he is corrupt", Panelo said when asked about the grounds for the libel suit.
When asked about Mayor Duterte’s dollar accounts, Atty. Panelo said that he still needs to talk to his client because he does not know the details behind these accounts, but he was certain that any person who has travel overseas naturally has a dollar account.