Duterte must now keep his word: analyst

ABS-CBN News

Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte

Or take back the 'waiver challenge,' says Prof. Popoy de Vera


MANILA - It is now a matter of obligation for Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte to disclose his bank accounts, a political analyst said, since he himself has already signed a waiver to open his records to public scrutiny.

It was in mid-March when Duterte and his running mate, Senator Alan Peter Cayetano, signed a waiver to open all of their bank accounts in the interest of transparency and accountability.

However, the PDP-Laban standard bearer now seems to be singing a different tune, following allegations by Senator Antonio Trillanes IV that he failed declared P211 million in a joint account with his daughter, Sara, at a BPI branch on Julia Vargas Avenue, Pasig City.

Trillanes, citing records from his sources, further alleged that Duterte had bank transactions amounting to P2.407 billion in 17 accounts in three banks from 2006 to 2015.

READ: Duterte accounts had P2.4-B in transactions: Trillanes

Speaking to radio dzMM Friday, University of the Philippines (UP) Professor Prospero de Vera said it is Duterte's responsibility to remain true to his words.

"Dahil naglabas ng waiver si Duterte at Cayetano mula't mula, in a sense itinaas nila yung ante sa pagiging pangulo at vice president eh, kaya ngayong lumabas ito, obligasyon na mag-disclose dahil inunahan mo eh," de Vera said.

"Hindi pwede yung nagsabi kang magdi-disclose ka then pagka-merong demand to disclose, biglang babaliktad ka at sasabihin mo, 'Mag-file na lang kayo ng kaso sa korte,'" he added.

TIMELINE: Duterte camp denies, admits BPI account

FILE CASE FIRST, DUTERTE SAYS

Speaking to reporters on Thursday, Duterte admitted that he has an account at the BPI Julia Vargas branch, but insisted that it does not contain P211 million.

He also denied that it is a joint account with Sara.

A copy of a deposit slip posted by journalist Ellen Tordesillas on her Facebook account, however, showed that the account is owned by "Rodrigo Roa Duterte or Rodrigo Roa Duterte and Sara Z Duterte."

READ: Duterte confirms existence of bank account

Duterte then said that he will only open his bank accounts if Trillanes executes an affidavit that would say how and from whom the senator got the information about his bank records.

PDP-Laban spokesperson Atty. Paola Alvarez, in a separate interview on dzMM, reiterated this condition set by the tough-talking mayor before he would disclose his bank records.

"Kung totoo naman po ito, sana po mag-execute siya [ng affidavit], kasi ano po bang kanyang kinakatakot kung totoo po yun?" Alvarez said.

"Ayaw lang po natin na naga-allege siya ng mga haka-haka tapos sa dulo ay hindi niya paninindigan. Panindigan po niya yung sinabi niya, sumumpa siya sa ilalim ng batas."

READ: Trillanes blasts Duterte for setting conditions for bank waiver

WAIVE OR TAKE IT BACK

But according to de Vera, Duterte must choose only one between these two: either stay true to the waiver he had issued or publicly withdraw it.

"Kung binabawi niya yung waiver, kailangan isulat yan publicly na 'binabawi na namin yung waiver' para maobliga si Senator Trillanes na mag-file sa korte. Hindi pwede yung magwa-waive ka tapos sasabihin mo papahirapan mo siya. You cannot get it both ways. Either say you will waive o say you will not waive," de Vera explained.

"Ang importante, kailangan yung mga proseso at saka yung mga institusyon natin, we should make them work. Yan ang para sakin mas mahalaga," he said.

De Vera noted that these matters will have legal consequences on Duterte, if proven true.

The law requires public officials and employees to disclose and accurately declare all their assets in their Statement of Assets, Liabilities and Net worth (SALN).

"Sino nagbigay sayo niyan, saan galing yan, galing ba sa mga lehitimong sources, nagbayad ba ng buwis yan?" said de Vera.

IMPEACHMENT

De Vera, meanwhile, lamented the possible scenario of a Duterte impeachment if the mayor wins the presidential race. Duterte has been leading in recent pre-election surveys.

READ: Trillanes vows impeach raps versus Duterte

READ: Duterte to shut down Congress if threatened with impeachment

"Masama na nga na masyado tayong divisive at masyadong atake natin sa panahon ng eleksyon. Sana'y pagkatapos nito ay respetuhin ang pasya ng taongbayan.

"Kaya't kung ang parang mangyayari magkakaroon ng impeachment, malaking panahon ang masasayang at mawawala, na panahon sana para mabigyan ng mga programa ang mga tao, mabigyan ng serbisyo. Alam mo, pag nag-impeachment, easily isang taon ang mawawala sa ating pamahalaan. Hindi ho natin kailangan yan," he said.

'BAD FOR COUNTRY'

Ateneo School of Government Dean Tony La Viña, in a Facebook post on Wednesday, said it is "clear" that if the Davao City mayor wins, depending on who the vice president will be, the opposition will immediately file an impeachment complaint against Duterte.

La Viña said it will then be easy to get one-third of the newly-elected members of the House of Representatives to sign the complaint.

In the Senate, the numbers are also not in Duterte's favor since only the Cayetanos and Koko Pimentel are certain to vote for the mayor.

"This will be a lot of fun for political afficionados like me but so bad for the country. For sure, the Duterte voters will not take this standing down. Mindanawons will especially resent it, look at this as a conspiracy to stop one of our own to become president. They would feel as the poor felt when the Manila elite ousted Erap," La Viña said.

"To survive, Duterte would have to pay off politicians like GMA [Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo] did and/or call on his supporters to come out to the streets. The economy will quickly spiral downwards. If the unrest becomes violent, martial law could be declared. All of this could happen within six months of a Duterte presidency," he added.

The dean ended his post by calling on whoever the winning candidate will be to put together a government of national unity and reach out to all the political factions.

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