MANILA (UPDATED) — Former senator Antonio Trillanes IV this week threatened President Rodrigo Duterte and his former longtime aide Sen. Christopher Go with an exposé next week.
Duterte earlier this week lambasted his erstwhile ally, Sen. Emmanuel Pacquiao, for claiming that the government is 3 times more corrupt than previous administrations.
"Ang tapang ni Duterte kay Pacquiao, sabi nya mag-cooperate daw lahat sa investigation. Pero nung pinapapirma ko ng waiver para sa P2.2 billion BPI bank accounts nya, napakaraming alibi," Trillanes said on Twitter on Thursday.
Trillanes in the lead-up to the 2016 elections claimed that Duterte had P211 million in a bank account. Duterte denied this, but refused to reveal his bank transactions.
"Next week, may ilalabas akong corruption nila Duterte at Bong Go," said Trillanes.
(Next week, I will expose Duterte and Bong Go's corruption.)
GO SAYS 'PURO IMBENTO'
In 2017, Trillanes accused Go of involvement in a allegedly disadvantageous for the Philippine Navy to acquire 2 warships, which the latter denied.
Go said Trillanes was only "seeking attention" because the latter would run in the 2022 elections.
"Dahil sa mga maling bintang mo, naging Senador ako. Ngayon baka ano naman mangyari," Go claimed in a statement.
(Because of your wrong accusations, I became a senator. Perhaps something else will happen.)
"Sanay na tayo diyan. Maglalabas ng akusasyon, hindi naman kayang patunayan kasi puro imbento lang ang nalalaman. Yan na modus niya mula noon — pintahan ng itim ang iba para siya ang mapansin. Hanggang ngayon hindi pa rin niya matanggap na wala na siyang maloloko sa ganyang kalokohan niya."
(We are used to that. Accusations will be made, but cannot be proven because they were fabricated. That has long been his modus. Until now, he cannot accept that he can no longer fool anyone.)
Go, who was Duterte's aide for about 2 decades, said the President regularly suspends or fires government personnel involved in corruption.
"Pero kung puro patutsada at paninira lang, sayang lang po oras natin sa mga imbentong kwento ni Trillanes. At kung may alam talaga siya bakit po next week pa? Naghahanap pa siguro ng panibagong gagawing Bikoy," said Go.
(But if just insults and defamation, we will just waste time with the fabricated story of Trillanes. And if he knows something, why hold off until next week? Perhaps he is looking for a new Bikoy.)
In 2019, a hooded figure called "Bikoy" claimed that Duterte, Go, and other allies of the President had links to the narcotics trade. The administration denied this, and Go alleged that Trillanes was the real Bikoy.
"Hindi na nga nakakatulong sa kapwa, nanloloko pa ng taumbayan. Iyan ang tatak Trillanes," Go said.
(He's not helping and he also fools the public. That's the Trillanes signature.)
Duterte in 2016 won on a campaign against drugs, crime, and corruption.
But his administration has been dogged by scandals and allegations of graft and cover-ups in state agencies ranging from prisons, the state insurer, immigration, airports and customs, to police and the drugs enforcement agency, few of which led to convictions or high-profile resignations.
The Philippines fell 14 notches to 113th spot among 180 countries in Transparency International's Corruption Perceptions Index in 2019. Last year, the country further slipped to 115th.
Duterte is not eligible for re-election, but fulfilling his campaign pledge on corruption could help the chances of his chosen successor in the 2022 elections.
PACQUIAO SHOULD HAVE STARTED CORRUPTION CLAIMS WITH MALACANANG, SAYS TRILLANES
Trillanes said while he welcomes Pacquiao’s efforts to identify corruption in the government, he felt that the boxer-turned-senator's allegations were still weak.
"Ako naman nahihinaan naman doon sa posisyon ni Pacquiao. Uunahin mo doh e ang pinaka-korap na opisina mismo sa gobyerno ay 'yong Malacañang mismo, sila Duterte mismo," he said.
(I find Pacquiao's position week. You started with DOH, when the most corrupt office is Malacañang itself, Duterte.)
He said his offer to sign a bank waiver with Duterte stands.
"'Pag mali ang aking mga allegations, magwo-walk-in ako sa kahit na anong kulungan," Trillanes said.
(If my allegations are wrong, I will walk into any jail.)
Trillanes said Duterte's political party, the PDP-Laban, treated Pacquiao, its president, poorly.
Pacquiao, he claimed, "was not in control in the party" from the very start.
"Binobola pa nga niya (Duterte), sinasabi pa n'ya na 'Okay ka na presidente 'yang si Pacquiao.' Pero ngayong malapit na at obviously hindi si Pacquiao ang kandidato nila, talagang ginigiba nila," said Trillanes.
"At ito ngang PDP-Laban ay magiging behikulo ng mga Duterte anointment kundi man yung Lakas ni GMA," he added, referring to former president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.
(He used to deceived Pacquiao and say he would be okay as president. But now that the election is near and their candidate is not Pacquiao, they are discrediting him. And this PDP-Laban will be the vehicle of the Duterte's anointed candidates, if not GMA's Lakas-CMD.)
– With a report from Reuters