MANILA - Chief Presidential Legal Counsel Salvador Panelo on Friday accused Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV of spreading “fake news” after the Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC) denied that it was the source of the senator's documents on President Rodrigo Duterte's alleged bank transactions.
Panelo cited an unsigned and undated AMLC statement that denied the agency was the source of information in the senator's complaint against Duterte at the Ombudsman.
“The only conclusion that could be arrived at from such denial is that the documents attached to the complaint of Sen. Trillanes are fake,” Panelo said in a statement.
“Sen. Trillanes has been accusing the supporters of President Duterte of spreading fake news while he himself is the one who propagates false information,” he added.
The senator earlier filed charges of libel, graft and ethics violations against Communications Assistant Secretary Margaux "Mocha" Uson at the Office of the Ombudsman for accusing him of hiding ill-gotten wealth in several bank accounts.
Panelo also lashed out at Overall Deputy Ombudsman Arthur Carandang.
“Clearly, there has been gross negligence, if not malice, on the part of ODO Carandang in releasing false information about the source of the said purported bank records. Such conduct of ODO Carandang is unbecoming especially from one who holds a high position in the Office of the Ombudsman,” he said.
Panelo said his team is already considering charges which may be filed against Trillanes and Carandang.
“It seems that there are malignant forces behind the spreading of false news and information against President Duterte. Rest assured that these shall be dealt with at the proper time,” Panelo said.
“In the meantime, we are studying the cases that the may be filed against these people, including ODO Carandang, apart from those arising from the violation of their own rules,” he added.
Carandang earlier said the Office of the Ombudsman obtained last year from the AMLC the Duterte family’s transactions from different banks between 2006 until 2016.
The Ombudsman has formally requested AMLC for a formal report on the said bank transactions.
The AMLC has yet to submit a full report to the Ombudsman regarding the transaction data in the hands of the Ombudsman.
The AMLC submitted the initial data to the Ombudsman in 2016.
Carandang is leading the investigation into the Duterte family's wealth as 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.
Amid news of the Ombudsman's investigation into his family's alleged wealth, Duterte said he would create a commission to investigate alleged anomalies at the anti-graft body.
Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales, however, said her office will not be intimidated by the President, adding that he has nothing to fear if he has nothing to hide.