Miriam puzzled over Duterte's bank accounts

Ron Gagalac, ABS-CBN News

Miriam puzzled over Duterte's bank accounts 1

Says Trillanes is being backed by Malacanang

NUEVA ECIJA - Presidential aspirant Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago on Wednesday questioned her rival Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte in connection with the allegations of hidden bank accounts and ill-gotten wealth against him.

"It seems extraordinary that a person or two persons has 17 accounts in three Metro Manila banks. That, in itself, already calls for attention," Santiago said.

"If the purposes were legitimate, I don't believe they could have run to 17 accounts. There is therefore a need to explain why so many of these bank accounts are mentioned or reported, and why so many properties are listed. The sooner Mayor Duterte explains them, the better for him," she added.

Senator Antonio Trillanes IV earlier 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

According to Santiago, it is now the credibility of Duterte that is on the line. But she also said the accuser's credibility is also at risk.

She believes Trillanes has been getting support from MalacaƱang.

"They are both playing their reputations on the line, Apparently, Trillanes has the support of MalacaƱang because he was able to access the Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC) records against Duterte.

"I believe Trillanes is acting as an ally of the administration. The LP (Liberal Party) does not want Duterte to be the next president for many reasons," she said.

"It's very difficult for Mayor Duterte to remain in his present reputation unless he comes up with a reasonable explanation of these anomalies in his life," Santiago added.

Santiago said the LP is afraid of a Duterte presidency because the winning president might put to jail President Benigno Aquino III on charges of corruption.

Santiago, however, said she is more wary about Duterte being linked to the Davao Death Squad. She believes pronouncements of curbing criminality in only three to six months is worrisome.

"Although he was able to restore peace and order in Davao, it was at the price of the so-called death squad. So we'll have to clarify that through the human rights commission. It is a question of whether you can resort to extrajudicial or extralegal means to achieve a good purpose," she said.

"You cannot place a deadline on what you are going to do because there is a danger that you might not meet your own deadline. We do not know whether he (Duterte) can transfer his administrative advantages from Davao City to the entire country."

READ: Duterte on extrajudicial killing charges: 'Bring it on'


Meanwhile, Santiago also warned of a bloody end to the election if results would not be in favor of Duterte, noting that the mayor's supporters have seemingly declared violent actions if Duterte loses.

She said this is also evident in how bullying and harassment have intensified on social media.

"Pastor Quiboloy of Davao has already announced he will personally lead a revolution so there is already that danger," the senator said. "His (Duterte's) followers might go out on the streets and there will inevitably be a bloodshed between police and Duterte followers so in both cases, Duterte's endgame for the election is very problematic.

"In effect, it is a threat under the penal code, it might even qualify as grave threat and be punishable by law. So it becomes a question of playing a game, are they playing with our minds?" she said.

Santiago's campaign in Nueva Ecija today was quite different from her previous sorties. She campaigned in the gymnasium in Gapan, and not in the usual colleges or universities. Residents, and not the youth, also served as her audience.

The venue was nonetheless jampacked with supporters, making Santiago question more the credibility of pre-election surveys where her low ratings have not been changing.