Senator Antonio Trillanes 4th maintained that Davao Mayor Rodrigo Duterte is hiding his wealth because the presidential bet did not sign a waiver that would have resulted in the opening of his bank account at the Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI) Julia Vargas Branch in Pasig City (Metro Manila).
Trillanes went to the BPI on Monday but he left without seeing any document involving the mayor’s deposit.
“Ako ay nagbigay ng affidavit pero hindi pa rin pumirma ng waiver si Duterte at hindi rin binuksan ang kanyang bank account. Ang hinihingi lang nila ay balanse at hindi transaction history [I gave an affidavit but Duterte did not sign a waiver so his bank account was not opened],” Trillanes said in a statement.
“Samakatuwid, may tinatago sa bayan si Mayor Duterte, at ang akusasyon kong may P2.4 bilyon na transaksyon sa kanyang bank accounts ay hindi niya napasinungalingan [Mayor Duterte is hiding something. He failed to debunk my accusation that transactions in his bank account reached P2.4 billion],” he added.
The senator said in his affidavit that he obtained Duterte’s bank documents from Joseph de Mesa on April 21.
De Mesa, he added, used to be a loyal fan of Duterte but he withdrew his support when he saw documents showing that Duterte maintained numerous bank accounts where hundreds of millions of pesos were deposited or transferred over the years.
“Mr. de Mesa said he got hold of the documents from a close relative who was working with an agency involved in investigating ill-gotten wealth of government officials,” the affidavit said.
The documents provided by de Mesa showed bank accounts in the name of Rodrigo Roa Duterte, Rodrigo Roa Duterte and Sara Zimmerman Duterte at BPI-Julia Vargas Branch in Pasig City and Edsa Greenhills Branch and at Banco De Oro (BDO) Unibank in Mandaluyong City (Metro Manila).
Trillanes said he asked the help of accountants and finance specialists to tally how much money was deposited in or transferred to Duterte’s bank accounts.
The final tally showed that P2,407,272,2013.75 flowed into the mayor’s bank accounts from 2006 to 2015.
Duterte’s lawyer Salvador Panelo showed up at the BPI Julia Vargas Branch and he presented to the bank a Special Power of Attorney (SPA) that authorizes him to look into the bank deposits of Duterte and a request for the bank to issue a certification that there is no P211 million in the mayor’s account.
“The bank officials explained to Trillanes, ‘We cannot just open the [account]because we are following protocols,’” Panelo said.
When asked why they did not ask for Duterte’s history of transactions, the lawyer replied, “They cannot even [give]a certification, how can they release all documents? I am only asking for one document, certification coming from them.”
Panelo said the bank asked for seven days to study Duterte’s request.
But Trillanes said the mayor should show his bank transactions from 2006 to 2016 or from 2010 to 2015.
He noted that a lawyer cannot give a waiver because an SPA, which Duterte executed, does not allow the signing of a waiver.
“Sabi nga ng official ng bank, hindi pwedeng through SPA ang pag-waive ng account.
Personal act yun. Nag-uusap pa daw sa headquarters nila [BPI headquarters]. Pag-aaralan pa daw ng bangko kung tatanggapin yung SPA. Kasi hindi yun waiver. At dahil joint account daw, dapat nakapirma yung may joint account. Kaya wala talagang ilalabas [A bank official said an SPA is not allowed. Signing a waiver is a personal act. And because it is a joint account, the other person should also sign a waiver]” Trillanes said.
“At the end of the day, what they could only give was the account balances. Only [Panelo] can get one. It cannot be released to the public. Tinanong namin si [Panelo]. Sabi niya nagbigay siya ng request, yung SPA tsaka yung request sa bank for certain documents. At sa kanya yun and he will go back to the clients [We asked Panelo. He said he made a request for the bank to issue certain documents. And those documents will be his and he will go back to his client],” he added.
“There is a propaganda game being played. Magaling sa propaganda ang mga taong ito [These people are good at propaganda].”
Panelo said the bank can disclose the amount of the mayor’s account anytime.
During their meeting inside the bank, according to him, bank officers explained to Trillanes that the request could not be immediately granted because of certain protocols.
Also on Monday, monetary officials said they are not the source of the bank documents in the possession of Trillanes.
“We would like to categorically state that the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas [BSP] and the Anti-Money Laundering Council [AMLC] are not the source of the documents and information being cited by a vice presidential candidate regarding the alleged bank accounts of a certain presidential candidate,” BSP Deputy Governor and Officer in Charge Vicente Aquino said in a statement.
“We assure the Filipino people that the BSP and the AMLC are not engaged in partisan politics and will never allow themselves to be used as a tool for political persecution or harassment, or as an instrument to hamper competition in trade and commerce,” Aquino added.
Thousands of supporters of Duterte and Trillanes also showed up at the BPI Julia Vargas Branch.
Spotted in the crowd were whistleblower Sandra Cam and actor Robin Padilla, both staunch supporters of Duterte.
“Sinungaling ka [You’re a liar] Trillanes!” Cam shouted when reporters tried to interview the senator.
She tried to confront Trillanes but she was blocked by anti-riot police.
“Kailangan ko depensahan si Mayor Duterte dahil ako ang president ng whistleblowers at alam ko kung ang isang whistleblower ay isang bayaran [I have to defend Mayor Duterte because I am the president of whistleblowers and I know when a whistleblower has been paid],” Cam said.
WITH MAYVELIN U. CARABALLO