Duterte camp won't reveal BPI account transactions for now
Trishia Billones, ABS-CBN News
Even as Trillanes bares alleged 'source,' gives affidavit as demanded by Davao mayor
MANILA - A showdown between the warring camps of Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte and Senator Antonio Trillanes IV took a twist on Monday after the senator named his informant on Duterte's alleged hidden wealth.
The Duterte camp later described the informant as "non-existent" and the information double hearsay.
Trillanes and Atty. Salvador Panelo, a lawyer of Duterte, both showed up at the Bank of the Philippine Islands ((BPI) Julia Vargas Branch in Pasig City, in a bid to settle the lawmaker's allegations of hidden wealth against the mayor.
The senator earlier accused the mayor of having over P200 million in deposits in his BPI account in 2014.
In an interview with ANC's Dateline Philippines, the senator said he gave Panelo an affidavit identifying his source as a certain "Joseph de Mesa," an alleged concerned citizen who is a former supporter of Duterte.
This is after Duterte challenged him to sign an affidavit revealing his source on allegations that the mayor had over P200 million in deposits in his BPI account in 2014, a claim that Duterte has denied.
In the affidavit, Trillanes said he met De Mesa at the Magdalo office in Quezon City last April 21 at around 8 p.m. It was during the meeting that De Mesa allegedly gave Trillanes copies of the bank documents showing the bank accounts of Mayor Duterte and his daughter, Sara.
"Mr. De Mesa said he got hold of the documents from a close relative who was working with an agency involved in investigating ill-gotten wealth of government officials," the affidavit read.
It added: "I asked the help of accountants and finance specialists to tally and figure out just how much money was actually deposited and/or transferred into the subject bank accounts. Their final tally shows that a total of P2,407,272,103.75 flowed into the subject bank accounts from 2006 to 2015."
READ: Duterte accounts had P2.4-B in transactions: Trillanes
In the ANC interview, the senator denied that he got the information from the Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC) or BPI or that his informant is a computer hacker.
"Not from the bank, not from AMLC, not from any other institution...I did not obtain the information through illegal means," he said. He added that he had to vet the information before going public.
He also accused the Duterte camp of failing to keep its word to open the mayor's BPI account after he submitted his affidavit.
READ: Duterte camp: No Trillanes affidavit, no disclosure
"They said they would get a waiver provided that I will make an affidavit of the information, pertinent information regarding the document. So I gave Atty. Panelo the affidavit," he said.
"I was expecting that they will be true to their word but true enough, they did not fulfill their commitment and [are] coming up with alibis again," he added.
Trillanes said Panelo was only authorized to give the request to the bank and "whatever he gets out of it, he reports it to client."
He said presenting the account balances would not suffice as money could be withdrawn from the account before presenting it to the public. He added the mayor should open the account's transaction history.
Trillanes earlier said Duterte could be charged with violating Republic Act No. 6713, or the Code of Conduct and Ethical Practices for Public Officials and Employees, which prohibits government officials from accepting gifts of any sort. This, after Duterte allegedly admitted getting "gifts" from rich friends after being asked about the BPI account.
'NO P211 MILLION IN DUTERTE ACCOUNT'
For his part, Panelo said the BPI branch has confirmed to him that Duterte did not have P211 million in his bank account.
However, he said the bank has asked for four to seven days to decide whether or not to issue an official certification. The elections are 7 days a way or on May 9.
Panelo said he brought with him two documents: one is a Special Power of Attorney that authorizes him to look into the bank deposits of Duterte and authorizing the bank to issue a certification based on that; and another that requests that the bank issue a certification "that at no time was there a P211-million deposit—whether singly, collectively, or cumulatively to his name."
Trillanes earlier claimed that Duterte failed to declare P211 million in wealth in 2014. An Inquirer report, however, revealed that the amount was P227.41 million and not P211 million.
Panelo said he is revealing more than just the banking history of his client.
"You don't have to reveal the transaction involving the banking transactions of my client. What is important is that the allegation to the effect that he has that much amount—whether it was made at any stage of the account or not. They’re admitting that there is none. So the banking transaction or the history would be irrelevant," he said.
He said Duterte has issued a request to the bank to confirm or deny such amount being in his account at any given time. "He issued a request and that should wipe out all the doubts that Mayor Duterte has that kind of amount in his account," he said.
Panelo said the bank asked for time because the request was "not typical" and could have legal implications.
Asked why he did not ask for his client's history of banking transactions, Panelo said: "They cannot even issue a certification, how can they release all documents. I am only asking for one document, certification coming from them."
The lawyer said the Duterte camp need not address Trillanes' claim of billions of pesos in transactions since disproving the P211-million deposit would invalidate all other claims made by Trillanes.
"The expose, you can call that, was in regard to P211-million. That’s why I precisely focused on that certification with regard to that account. Now, we would have first to concentrate on that account that allegedly contain P211-million. If we can prove that this is wrong, then all the other things that he would tell us about the accounts of Mayor Duterte could be spurious. If you lie in one, then you lie in all."
Panelo also described as "double hearsay" Trillanes' affidavit that a certain Joseph de Mesa gave him information on Duterte's alleged bank accounts.
Based on Trillanes' affidavit, he pointed out De Mesa also got the information from another source, allegedly a relative.
"My goodness, that is not only hearsay but double hearsay. Imagine [information] coming from a person who got it from another person," he said.
Panelo said bank officials denied that the attached documents to Trillanes' affidavit are theirs.
"The documents that have been shown in the Inquirer coming from Trillanes are spurious because those are not the documents that they have released. And they (BPI) have said categorically that they have not breached any law," he said.
The lawyer said Trillanes' affidavit could already be considered spurious since it contained "double hearsay information" and had fake bank documents.