Senator Grace Poe has challenged Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte to reveal all his assets if he really has nothing to hide.
Poe said Duterte should squarely face allegations that he has hidden wealth, the same way that she confronted her opponents’ claims she was not qualified to run for President.
“My life is an open book. I have made public all my records and transactions to remove all doubts,” the senator said in an interview after having breakfast with workers in Marikina City (Metro Manila).
She noted that if the Davao mayor has nothing to hide regarding his bank accounts, he should disclose all of his bank transactions and not limit the disclosure to his chosen dates of transactions.
“So ‘yon lang naman, kung wala namang itinatago, e ‘di ilabas, ‘di ba, para at least matapos na ‘yan kasi ilang araw na lang ang natitira [So that’s it, if he is not hiding anything, then disclose all so that we can put the issue to rest because we only have a few days left before the elections],” Poe said.
The senator was reacting to Duterte’s decision to open his bank account at the Bank of the Philippine Island (BPI) Julia Vargas Branch in Pasig City (Metro Manila) but on certain conditions.
One of these conditions is that Sen. Antonio Trillanes 4th, who earlier claimed that Duterte has P211 million in undeclared bank deposits, reveal where the senator got his bank documents.
Duterte last week directed his lawyer Salvador Panelo to open his bank account covering transactions from December 31, 2015 to March 31, 2016, the day he formally decided to run for President.
Duterte initially denied Trillanes’ allegations and insisted that the BPI account is non-existent and even branded the claims of the senator as “garbage.”
Senator Alan Peter Cayetano, Duterte’s running mate, criticized Trillanes, saying that the latter’s allegation “is obviously a desperate ploy to bring down the mayor and promote Poe.”
Duterte, however, was forced to admit the existence of the bank account after a deposit slip showing a successful deposit transaction circulated in the Internet.
Malacañang also urged Duterte to face allegations of ill-gotten wealth as it denied the mayor’s claim that President Beningo Aquino 3rd was the “brains” behind Trillanes expose.
“It’s better for the mayor to just heed the people’s clamor for him to bravely face [the allegations]and clarify the issue,” Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. said.
49 property assets
Trillanes on Sunday released to the media a list of pieces of real estate property supposedly owned by Duterte’s children.
At least 49 of such property in Davao City, Davao del Norte, Dipolog Cit, and in San Juan City, Parañaque City and Quezon City in Metro Manila were listed under the names of Duterte’s children Sara, Paolo, Sebastian and Veronica.
Ten of them in Davao City were under Sara’s name, as well as one each in Quezon City and Davao del Norte. Three others were under the name of Sara and her husband Manases Carpio, including one in Parañaque City.
Sebastian has seven pieces of real estate property in Davao and one in San Juan City.
There were two others in Dipolog City under a certain Sebastian Descalllar and wife Jesusima Duterte.
Meanwhile, 10 of such property were in Paolo’s name while he and his wife Lovelie were listed as the owners of two others.
Veronica has two such property in Davao City.
Church weighs in
The Catholic Church also on Sunday called on Filipino voters to reject candidates who are morally and politically unstable.
“A choice for a candidate who takes positions that are not only politically precarious but worse, morally reprehensible, cannot and should not be made by the Catholic faithful and those who take their allegiance to Christ and his Kingship seriously. One cannot proclaim Christ as King and at the same time accept the governance of one whose thoughts, speech and demeanor are diametrically opposed to the demands of submission to the Lordship of Jesus Christ,” said the president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines and Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Socrates Villegas in a pastoral letter.
“The desire for change is understandable. Our people have suffered from incompetence and indifference. But this cannot take the form of supporting a candidate whose speech and actions, whose plans and projects show scant regard for the rights of all, who has openly declared indifference if not dislike and disregard for the Church specially her moral teachings,” he added.
Villegas did not name names, but he was obviously referring to Duterte, who earlier made fun of Pope Francis and admitted to killing criminals.
“The Catholic Church has never asked any political candidate to seek its endorsement but the Catholic Church has always demanded of Catholic voters that they cast their votes as an act not only of citizenship but also as a public declaration of faith. We ask this most earnestly of all of you, Catholic brothers and sisters, in the forthcoming elections” the prelate said.
Villegas noted that the Catholic Church is apolitical but it is part of its mission to “pass moral judgments even in matters related to politics, whenever the fundamental rights of man or the salvations of souls requires it.”
With JOEL M. SY EGCO