Now that the shoe is on the other foot, Rodrigo Duterte is shying away from challenges of Sen. Grace Poe and Vice President Jejomar Binay to sign a waiver that would authorize the Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC) to open his bank accounts.
Duterte, the mayor of Davao City and a presidential candidate in the May 9 elections like Poe and Binay, could have taken up his two rivals on their demand and be done with it but he just could not let the AMLC pry into his accounts because one of which with a branch of the Bank of the Philippine Islands in Metro Manila contains an apparently undeclared
That amount had been unearthed by Sen. Antonio Trillanes 4th, who on Thursday said the mayor “has more,” the “billionaire” that Duterte, according to the senator, actually is, not the supposed poor man na natutulog sa kulambo [who sleeps inside a mosquito net].”
In this dengue-infested country, only the poverty-stricken use kulambo, that is if they can even afford to buy one.
Suddenly groping for words, the Davao City mayor said he will not sign a waiver because he wants to “make it difficult for Trillanes” to prove the “garbage” that the senator began peddling after Poe supposedly paid him “P1 million.”
But earlier, on March 14, Duterte and his vice presidential bet, Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano, signed a manifesto where they “pledge to open all our bank accounts in local and foreign currencies both here and abroad in the interest of transparency and accountability.”
It is now clear that the mayor lied and Miriam presumably could not have been prouder of her protégé, the fast learner that he is.
Deflecting the expose, the usually unflappable Duterte—especially when he is cussing and swearing and pissing off Pope Francis and not letting his penis just hanging out—has deployed his running mate Cayetano to defend him.
To think that a few moons ago, the mayor had only contempt for the senator, who seemed to be begging for anyone, not only Duterte, to adopt him as a candidate for the vice presidency.
Cayetano, who seemed to have entertained the illusion that he will be the Vice President after the May 9 elections by hanging on to the coat-tails of now frontrunning presidential aspirant Duterte (according to the surveys), has zeroed in on Poe, accusing her of being Trillanes’ alleged master.
There indeed are no permanent friends in politics and Cayetano is the poster boy of the other half of that saying that there are only permanent interests in the art and science of government.
A few months ago, he was the best of buddies with Trillanes at the Senate blue ribbon sub-committee in their inquiries into the Priority Development Assistance Fund or pork barrel of lawmakers and into the alleged hidden wealth of the Binays.
Now, they must be sworn enemies, judging from Trillanes warning Cayetano not to mess with him or he would be next to be exposed, but for what, abangan ang susunod na kabanata,‘day!
Showing grace despite Cayetano saying she has Trillanes for an “attack dog,” Poe told the misty-eyed vice presidential candidate to just “talk directly to him [Trillanes]” if he has any problem with her.
Of course, Cayetano won’t, having been unmasked as an apparent opportunist, and so he will just await orders from Duterte on their next move, the two of them now forced to pass through a gauntlet that had been totally unexpected as Election Day nears.
Back at the ranch, Leni Robredo seemed to be wrestling with also coming clean or throwing transparency and accountability out the window.
Malacañang, however, is not helping her any in the choice that she has to make, more so that she is the vice presidential candidate of the ruling Liberal Party.
Robredo was supposed to have topped a Palace-commissioned poll, a feat that survey topnotcher Sen. Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos, Jr. outrightly disputed, citing information from a highly-placed source inside Malacañang still showing him as a shoo-in for the vice presidency.
She, however, immediately went to town, proclaiming that victory will be hers in next month’s local and national elections, throwing in for good measure that Marcos’ “past” is catching up with him.
Robredo, a congresswoman representing Camarines Sur, stopped prematurely tooting her own horn, apparently reeling from reports that she unlawfully sought and took in donations from 10 foreign contributors to bankroll her run for the House of Representatives in the 2013 mid-term polls.
Asking for money and accepting it from non-Filipinos should have disqualified Robredo from seeking the vice presidency in this year’s balloting, according to a contender whom she defeated in the congressional elections three years ago.
She was weighed but also found wanting over her claim that she has no money to fund her campaign, the reason why she had initially demurred on an offer to run for Vice President from President Benigno Aquino 3rd himself.
The Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism found that Robredo has been the biggest spender among the six vice presidential contenders, with the Camarines Sur lawmaker spending P237.2 million since the start of the campaign period in February until the end of March.
Marcos, in contrast, spent only P42.84 million during the same period, the lowest among the candidates for Vice President.
Hindi naman pala kawawa Leni, wawa pala Bongbong.