Trillanes files plunder rap vs Duterte

Dharel Placido, ABS-CBN News

Trillanes: Ghost employees exposé the 'smoking gun'

MANILA (2nd UPDATE) – Senator Antonio Trillanes IV on Thursday filed a plunder complaint against Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte before the Office of the Ombudsman.

The complaint is in connection with the alleged ghost employees under the Davao City government.

Citing a Commission on Audit report, Trillanes said there is no proof that 11,000 contractual employees hired by the city government in 2014 actually rendered services.

Trillanes said the city government spent over P700 million for the services of the contractual employees.

''We have been digging up his different government transactions and we stumbled upon this anomalous 11,000 contractual employees reported by COA last 2015,'' Trillanes told ANC.

The senator said his team conducted random validations and "confirmed that most of these 11,000 contractual employees are actually ghost employees…

"That's enough to generalize that they have ghost employees. 'Most are just names. They are not even real persons, no job descriptions, no known addresses even," he said.

Independent vice presidential candidate Antonio Trillanes IV shows a plunder complaint against presidential candidate and Davao Mayor Rodrigo Duterte, during a press conference at the Magdalo headquarters in Manila on May 5, 2016. Noel Celis, AFP.

Trillanes said by filing the complaint, investigators will be in a position "to formalize and get the individual statements of these 11,000."

"This is it. This the smoking gun," he said.

Trillanes said the alleged hiring of ghost employees is one of the main sources of Duterte's alleged hidden wealth.

Asked if he was able to establish that the supposed proceeds from the hiring of ghost employees ended up in Duterte's bank accounts, Trillanes said: ''Most definitely all of these things will be revealed and properly documented with evidence once the proper investigation starts."

''I'm not the formal investigator here. If this is a committee hearing, I'd be able to show that,'' he added.

In a Philstar.com report in June 2015, Duterte was quoted as saying that his predecessor was responsible for the hiring of the alleged ghost employees.

"The mayor before me did it. De Guzman did it. Why only now? Wala akong ginawa, basta ang pera dumaan sa ganito. If I can produce one worker of the 11,000, magsabi na may piso dumating sa akin, magre-resign ako bukas, at magpapakulong ako," the report quoted Duterte as saying.

In a statement, PDP-Laban spokesperson Paola Alvarez said Trillanes raised an old issue which the mayor has already explained.

"This is an old issue that Mayor Duterte has already explained as without any basis. The city government hired various employees and assigned them to different agencies for a certain period of time. They were contractual employees that the city government accommodated to give them temporary employment," Alvarez explained.

Duterte's lawyer Salvador Panelo, meanwhile, said if the COA found anything irregular about the hiring of contractual employees, a case would have been filed already against the mayor.

"If the Commission on Audit found the hiring of contractual employees irregular, then it would have already filed a case against Duterte. But there's none, so what is Trillanes talking about? He is a congenital liar and a publicity hound," Panelo said.

TRILLANES VS DUTERTE

Trillanes last week dropped a bombshell by accusing Duterte of keeping over P200 million in undeclared wealth at a Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI) branch along Julia Vargas Avenue, Pasig City.

Trillanes also furnished the Philippine Daily Inquirer with bank transaction details showing that Duterte had P2.4 billion in transactions in different bank accounts from 2006 to 2015.

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

Trillanes dared the mayor to open his account for scrutiny, saying he is willing to resign from the Senate if his claims are proven wrong.

Trillanes and Panelo faced off at the said BPI branch last Monday, but the senator left empty-handed as the bank asked for 7 days to come up with the information requested by Duterte's camp.

Trillanes criticized the Duterte camp for issuing a Special Power of Attorney instead of a waiver, even as Panelo insisted that a SPA and a waiver are the same thing.

In his SPA, Duterte requested BPI to issue certificates for his current balance, as well as to certify that "at no time since the opening of the aforesaid Bank Account was there a deposit either singly or collectively of Two Hundred Eleven Million Pesos (211,000,000.00)."

Asked why he did not ask for Duterte's history of banking transactions, Panelo said in an earlier ANC interview: "They cannot even issue a certification, how can they release all documents. I am only asking for one document, certification coming from them."

In a recent development, Duterte also bared his dollar account and the balance of his BPI account.

DUTERTE KEEPS LEAD

The filing of the plunder complaint comes in the wake of the release of the result of the latest Pulse Asia/ABS-CBN survey showing Duterte maintaining his lead over his rivals.

Duterte keeps lead in ABS-CBN survey

Duterte kept his 33% rating for a 2nd week in a row, in the April 26-29, 2016 survey.

Administration standard-bearer Mar Roxas is in a statistical tie for second place with Senator Grace Poe.

Roxas got 22%, 11 percentage points behind Duterte and 2 points up from his previous rating, while Poe got 21%, a point below her previous 22% rating.

Vice President Jejomar Binay polled 17%, a point down from his previous 18% rating.

Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago got a 2% rating for a second week in a row.

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