The public should be more discerning this time with President Duterte’s bluster when confronted with the issue of his BPI bank accounts, which have been recipients of deposits amounting to over P2 billion from 2006 to 2015 from several sources.
News reports Friday quoted President Duterte as ordering the Anti-Money Laundering Council to give information about his “net worth.”
The news item was based on what he said at the dinner with Philippine Military Academy class of 1967, where he is an honorary member, at Baguio City Country Club. This is what he exactly said:
“Kaya ang gusto ko lang sabihin sa inyo, because it’s politics again. It’s a rehash of what they… it is pure garbage. But you know I’m President, I’ve ordered AMLC and everybody to give information sa ano ang… what’s my worth in this… in terms of pesos in this planet. So hindi ko kayo hiyain. Walang anak ko o ako mismo, sa totoo lang. I have not signed any voucher even for myself. I only receive a salary and that’s it. I do not accept my allowances – wala po ako. I avoided it. And it will be so until the end of my term.”
The President’s statement came after Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV revived his allegations made during the last weeks of the election campaign in April 2016, the truth of which never came out. It was in fact muddled by now Presidential Legal Adviser Salvador Panelo with requests for unrelated balances.
In last week’s press conference, Trillanes gave additional information about other bank accounts of Duterte: with his common-law wife Cielito “Honeylet” Salvador Avanceña, P188 million); his son Paolo, P104 million, his daughter Sara, P121 million, and another son, Sebastian, P143 million.
As of today, there is no report if he has issued an official written order to AMLC.
Trillanes said: "Political bluff lang yan panawagan niya sa AMLC kasi alam niya hindi naman ito gagalaw basta basta ng walang formal written request. At kahit meron man, hindi mandato ng AMLC na magbilang ng networth ng sino man.( The call to AMLC is just a political bluff because he knows it will not move unless there’s a formal written request. And even if there’s one, it’s not the mandate of AMLC to count the net worth of anybody.)”
"Kaya ang pinakamadali ay pumirma siya ng waiver ng bank secrecy law na ddressed sa bangko para makita ng publiko ang transaction history ng mga accounts niya. (The easiest way is for him to sign a waiver of the bank secrecy law addressed to the bank so the public will see the transaction history of his accounts.)"
“Tama na yang mga bola mo Mr. President, buksan mo na kung wala kang tinatago. (Enough of the bluster, Mr. President. Just open if you are not hiding anything.)”
Last Thursday, Malacanang released a video message that didn’t address directly the issue of the millions of pesos in the different bank accounts. He in fact justified it by saying that his daughter, Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio is a lawyer and she earns from lawyering while his common-law life, Honeylet, has several stores selling donut and is also a meat supplier.
Besides, he said, his family was not poor: “Ngayon, kung pamilya mo gutom noon o ngayon, huwag mo kaming isali. Hindi kami kasing malas sa pamilya mo. Hindi kami mahirap rin. Tatay ko governor noon, may iniwan sa amin. (Don't look at my family if yours starved or is still starving. We are not as unfortunate as your family. We are also not poor. My father was a governor, and he left us with something. How about you, what did (your father) leave you? Air and arrogance. You’re a bandit, that’s the truth).”
This is contrary to his earlier statements picturing himself as coming from a poor family that’s why he understands the problems of the poor.
VERA Files Factcheck research revealed that on just two months ago, Dec. 16, before the Filipino community in Singapore, Duterte said: “ “Pero kailan man, I’m just a socialist. Anak lang ako ng mahirap eh. Anak lang ako ng migrant sa Mindanao. Ang tatay ko galing Cebu… Paano ako magkaroon ng mindset na isip mayaman? So always ang ano ko is ‘yung namulatan ko sa mata ko ang hirap (I will forever be a socialist because I was born poor. I’m just the son of a migrant to Mindanao. My father came from Cebu…How can I have a mindset of the rich? So I was made aware of poverty from a young age).”
In another speech on Sept. 12, 2016, during the oath-taking of his appointees in Malacañang, he also underscored his humble beginnings: “Hindi naman ako imbitado dito sa Maynila ng mga social gathering. I was nobody. Who would ever invite me doon sa debut ni, debut, debut, debut? Wala kami noon. Mahirap lang kami. “(I wasn’t invited here in Manila during social gatherings. I was nobody. Who would ever invite to someone’s debut, debut, debut, debut? We had nothing then. We were poor.)
Duterte challenged Trillanes to go to court.
Trillanes said he has already filed a plunder case against Duterte before the Ombudsman:
“Para sa kaalaman ng lahat, nag-file na ako ng plunder case against Pres. Duterte noong May 2016 pa at ginamit kong ebidensya ang mga hawak kong mga dokumento ukol sa questionable bank transactions nya. Kaya nananawagan din ako sa Ombudsman na paspasan na ang imbestigasyon nila tungkol dito.”
Trillanes did not fall into the trap of Duterte diverting the issue with his personal insults to him: “Tungkol naman sa mga pag-iinsulto nya sa akin, hindi ko na sya papatulan. Pero hindi ko rin hahayaan na ilihis niya yung issue.”
Disclaimer: The views in this blog are those of the blogger and do not necessarily reflect the views of ABS-CBN Corp.