Trillanes: When will Duterte man up and sign bank waivers?
MANILA - President Rodrigo Duterte on Friday claimed that Senator Antonio Trillanes IV closed his alleged bank account in Singapore before issuing a secrecy waiver and going to the city-state to prove he had no such account.
In an interview on state-run television, Duterte said Trillanes closed his account at the Alexandra Road branch of DBS Bank on September 8, a few days before he issued a waiver allowing authorities to scrutinize it.
“He terminated it online on September 8, 2017, past 10 p.m. then left for Singapore after that to show his waiver to the bank teller sa Singapore na wala siyang account,” Duterte said.
The President presented a diagram of the supposed transactions of the senator’s alleged bank account prior to its closure.
He claimed some of the money was transferred to a certain Fabian Go, among others.
Duterte also claimed that Trillanes and his alleged cohorts may have used the money in the offshore accounts to fund efforts to destablize the government.
“Based on analysis the funds being laundered by Trillanes and his group may not be not for their personal use but rather it is being used for their cause and possibly to destabilize the government,” he said.
Duterte said said he got the information on Trillanes’ alleged bank accounts from a country that abhors money laundering. He refused to identify the said country.
Trillanes, in a statement Friday night, said Duterte's new allegations on foreign bank accounts are a "new invention."
"Mga bagong imbento ni Duterte. Anyway, that's an obvious diversion from his billion-peso bank accounts that were confirmed by the Ombudsman. Nonetheless, first thing on Monday, I would sign waivers for these accounts so that the AMLC can look into and examine them," he said.
"Wala nang drama kasi wala akong tinatago. What about you Mr. Duterte kelan ka magpapakalalaki at pipirma ng waivers?" Trillanes added.
Trillanes on Sept. 11 announced he signed a waiver for 12 bank accounts being linked to him, and dared Duterte to do the same.
On Sept. 19, Trillanes went to Singapore and visited banking institutions there to debunk allegations that he maintained secret bank accounts.
At the Alexandra Road branch of the DBS Bank, a teller said Trillanes had no account at their bank. Trillanes tried but failed to get a certification from DBS because he was not a client.
The opposition lawmaker then went to the Raffles City Tower to check business listings for the "Hongkong Shanghai Bank," where he allegedly concealed an account with a balance of some SGD 278,000, per documents being circulated on social media.
He found no listing for the supposed bank.
This prompted the President to say in a live television interview that same day that he modified the number of Trillanes’ supposed bank account at the DBS to “catch” the senator for lying.
It would turn out, however, that Trillanes both used the supposedly correct and modified account numbers in seeking verification from the Singapore bank.
The senator claimed Duterte only accused him of amassing hidden wealth to divert public attention following his allegations against the President's son and son-in-law.
Paolo Duterte and Carpio have repeatedly denied the allegations and even faced a Senate inquiry. The President has defended them from Trillanes' allegations, calling his evidence against them "trash."
During last year's campaign, Trillanes claimed that the President, then mayor of Davao, failed to declare P211 million in 17 accounts.
Ombudsman probes Duterte
In a recent development, the Office of the Ombudsman said it has started looking into the wealth of the President and his family, in cooperation with the Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC).
Overall Deputy Ombudsman Arthur Carandang said the Duterte family’s transactions amount to hundreds of millions of pesos from different banks between 2006 until 2016. But he clarified that it was hard to say how much the deposits were in total, since money went in and out of the accounts.
"We can confirm that we received the bank transactions from AMLC, transactions generated by AMLC for intelligence purposes," Carandang said.
He said the transaction data came from the AMLC in 2016.
"'Yung billions kasi, baka in-add nila yung lahat ng transactions, may P20 million, P20 million, P20 million, P60 million, pag in-add mo, aabot talaga ng billions, may P50 million, ang dami," he said.
The Ombudsman has formally requested AMLC for a formal report on the bank transactions.
The AMLC later said it was not the source of Trillanes' documents in his complaint against Duterte and has yet to release a report to the Ombudsman.
Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales has inhibited from the case since her nephew, Manases Carpio, is the husband of the President's daughter, Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte.
The Office of the Ombudsman’s revelation prompted the President to threaten to investigate the anti-graft body for possible corruption. - with a report from Sherrie Ann Torres, ABS-CBN News