MANILA- Opposition Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV on Friday questioned the authenticity of the Anti-Money Laundering Council's (AMLC) statement denying that it had released a report to the Ombudsman in line with its investigation of bank transactions of President Rodrigo Duterte and his family.
In a statement, Trillanes cast doubt on the AMLC release as it had no signature or date. The statement carried the AMLC letterhead.
"The signature is important so that the statement could be attributed to a particular person, who has been authorized by the Council to issue such a message. This person would also be responsible for the statement's accuracy or otherwise," he said.
Trillanes added that the content of the AMLC statement is "improper in its necessity for release and in its tenor," saying it sounded as if the financial intelligence unit was defending and absolving the President.
"Instead of issuing unnecessary statements, the AMLC should just expedite its final report regarding Duterte's questionable bank transactions as requested by the Ombudsman, so that the public would know the truth about the Duterte bank accounts," he said.
In the statement released Thursday, the AMLC said it has yet to evaluate a Sept. 6 letter from Overall Deputy Ombudsman Arthur Carandang requesting the financial intelligence unit to start a probe on the President's and his family's bank accounts.
It said it has not released any report to the anti-graft agency.
"We have yet to evaluate the request, and the initiation of an investigation as well as the release of any report on the subject will depend on such evaluation," the AMLC said.
The AMLC also denied being the source of documents and information released by Trillanes, who had alleged that Duterte kept hidden wealth.
The AMLC released the statement after Carandang said the Ombudsman had received a list of the first family's bank transactions covering hundreds of millions of pesos from 2006 to 2016.
"We can confirm that we received the bank transactions from AMLC, transactions generated by AMLC for intelligence purposes," Carandang said earlier this week.
In a separate statement Friday, Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales said: "As to the documents in our possession, we stand by our word."
Magdalo Rep. Gary Alejano meanwhile noted that is was "quite odd" for the AMLC to issue a statement on Thursday night.
"I do not wish to question the actions of AMLC. However, it is quite odd to note that AMLC issued a statement in the evening, past working hours, and not even with a date and signatory, as if it was made in a hurry," he said in a statement.
Alejano added that he views the recent AMLC statement as an attempt to discredit the Office of the Ombudsman.
"I see all of these as attempts to discredit [the] Ombudsman. Despite these, I pray that [the] Ombudsman would remain steadfast on its mandate of being a vanguard against corruption in government," he said.