President Duterte never ceases to stun us.
Yesterday, he admitted that his story about the offshore accounts of Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV was a product of his imagination.
"Wala ito. Produkto ng isip ko ito. Tinanggalan ko talaga. Ginamit mo. Nag-issue ka ng waiver... Iba ang account number, iba ang totoo. Sinadya ko iyan," he said after Trillanes went to Singapore and proved that the two bank accounts supposedly based in Singapore on the list Duterte read to the public were non-existent.
His admission made him a manufacturer of fake news.
If that was not jarring enough, he bragged that he has fooled Trillanes."Kita mo siya ngayon. He's desperate. Pumunta ng Singapore, mag-gastos lang para propaganda lang," he further said.
We thought only a fool would do that.
When Duterte put out the fake news about Trillanes’ offshore accounts, it was not to rattle the senator who knew those were lies that could easily be debunked. It was for his Duterte Diehard Supporters (DDS) whose fanaticism he needs to sustain.
With the aide of broadcaster Erwin Tulfo, Duterte fed them this four days ago:
“Trillanes has several currency accounts in Shanghai, Zurich, Geneva, and Singapore. He has an online savings accounts with ANZ—ANZ Bank and ABN. AMRO, Shanghai. All foreign accounts of Trillanes are plugged as having international transactions.
“Aside from the accounts in Asia and Switzerland, he has four savings accounts in Cayman Islands, which were opened online, British Virgin Islands, four accounts. Balances of these accounts are below 700, whereby most of the accounts are within the USD 100,000 to 300,000 range to avoid detection in terms of large amounts of money. Dito sa Pilipinas, mag-deposit ka ng 400, wala nang tanong. Mag-deposit ka o mag-withdraw ka ng 500, tatanungin ka ng bangko, 'Saan galing ang pera mo?' Our providers suggested that before closing his Zurich bank account and Singapore bank account—since all of these accounts are single accounts without co-depositor—additionally the information that we provided has existing slips as evidence of these two accounts and were acknowledged to be in existence.
“The U.S. bank account number 927519921320 in Zurich has a balance of $75,000 or Philippine P3,801,385.05. The DBS account number 178000296012 in Singapore has a balance of 193,000. A closer look on his bank account documents in Zurich and Singapore reveals the name Antonio F. Trillanes. Check on this name because the senator’s complete name is Antonio Fuentes Trillanes. When forced to the wall, the senator says the bank accounts belong... kasi marami iyan silang Antonio Trillanes. The 3rd, the 2nd, and Antonio Trillanes, Jr. Sabihin niya, 'Hindi ito akin, marami kaming Antonio Trillanes.' Kasi iyong pinirmahan nila, 'Antonio Trillanes' lang. Sasabihin, 'Hindi akin iyan. Marami akong… Baka… maski sa ibang lugar, may Antonio Trillanes.' Maybe this is the reason why he is willing to sign a bank waiver. Because no four or number four in the name of Antonio Trillanes. Pero ang date of birth and account owner has been confirmed.”
Yeserday, Trillanes went to Singapore and he reported: “Naipakita ko dito sa pagpunta ko mismo sa DBS bank Alexandra Branch dito sa Singapore na hindi totoo ang paratang ni Duterte na meron daw akong bank account dito. 'No such accounts exist' ang sabi ng bank teller ng ipinakita ko ang aking passport kasama ang dalawang account numbers na galing kina Duterte, Erwin Tulfo at Mocha Uson. Niliwanag ko pa kung meron bang Antonio F. Trillanes IV or Antonio F. Trillanes either existing or closed accounts and whether single or joint accounts sa kanilang bangko, upon checking in her computer, ang sagot muli ng teller ay, 'No such accounts exist.' Ito ay narinig at nasaksihan ng ilang media reporters na kasama ko sa pagtatanong ko sa bank teller.
“Pinuntahan naman namin sunod yung sinasabi nilang Hongkong Shanghai Bank Raffles Branch na kung saan ay meron din daw akong account. Subalit, walang ganitong bangko kahit saan man sa mundo. Kaya pinuntahan na lang namin ang Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation (HSBC) sa Raffles City Tower na ito ang lumalabas sa Google. Subalit wala ring HSBC branch sa Raffles City Tower. Pinuntahan naman namin ang HSBC sa Raffles Blvd. pero ATM lang ang meron doon. A quick check at the HSBC Singapore website showed that there is no HSBC Raffles Branch. Again, ito ay nasaksihan ng mga kasamahan kong media reporters.”
The truth that Trillanes exposed with his Singapore trip is of propaganda value to his critics. But it should be the DDS who should benefit from it.
“Sana naman maliwanagan na ang mga kababayan natin na naloko at patuloy na niloloko sila ni Duterte,” the senator said.
It would not be easy. People believe what they want to believe.
One Duterte fan’s reaction in Facebook was: “But why is Trillanes even in Singapore if he does not have a bank account there?”
But what matters most is, Duterte was compelled to admit he lied. Is he unraveling?
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Disclaimer: The views in this blog are those of the blogger and do not necessarily reflect the views of ABS-CBN Corp.