DOJ probes 'dilawan' bank accounts, LP decries 'threat of persecution'

Ina Reformina, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Oct 03 2017 09:05 PM | Updated as of Oct 03 2017 09:16 PM

MANILA - The Department of Justice (DOJ) is looking into local and foreign bank accounts of "yellow" personalities including those identified with the opposition, Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II said Tuesday.

Aguirre declined to disclose the names of those under investigation but said that "many [are] in the opposition".

"We have dug these bank accounts of opposition personalities, mostly 'dilaw'," Aguirre told reporters.

"Yellow" and the term "dilawan" refer to members, allies and supporters of the Liberal Party, which has used the color in its election campaigns since the administration of former President Corazon Aquino.

Aguirre said the probe covers banks in Switzerland, Malaysia, and

"In due time, mag-rerelease po tayo [ng information],” Aguirre said.

The LP blasted the investigation, calling the probe a "threat of persecution" and an attempt to divert public attention from issues hounding the administration of President Rodrigo Duterte.

"We consider the threat of persecution-- especially from a Secretary whose resignation we have openly called for-- a sorry, hardly unbiased attempt to divert the public's attention away from these issues," the party said in a statement.

"The Liberal Party, along with our allies, has always adhered to its core values of integrity and people-centeredness. These values compel us to speak up on issues such as the drug smuggling and corruption allegations against those close to the President and the murder of minors and innocents by instruments of the state, among others," it added.

The LP, whose members are vocal critics of the administration's policies, added that they are proud of their beliefs regardless of the "dilawan" label.

"Nevertheless, we are proud to stand for our values, regardless of what the administration chooses to label us. The Liberal Party has been through worse. We will not be cowed," the party said.