Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte’s apparent refusal to open his bank account at the Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI) Julia Vargas Branch in Pasig City (Metro Manila) indicates that the mayor may not be telling the truth when he denied having hundreds of millions in the bank as claimed by Sen. Antonio Trillanes 4th.
Although Sen. Grace Poe did not directly accuse Duterte of lying, she said it appears that it is Trillanes who is telling the truth about the mayor’s alleged hidden wealth.
She issued the statement after Duterte’s camp failed to secure a certification from BPI that the mayor does not have P211 million in his account.
“Ibig sabihin siguro totoo talaga ‘yung sinasabi ni Senator Trillanes [It would mean that maybe Sen. Trillanes is really telling the truth],” Poe told reporters.
She said real change cannot be achieved if the person who wants to lead the country would rather come up with excuses rather than honor his word.
Poe found it “very troubling” that Duterte earlier said he is for disclosure but cannot back it up.
“If you have proof that could help prove your innocence, the easiest way is to disclose it all,” she said.
Poe announced that she has signed a waiver on her bank secrecy rights in line with her commitment to freedom of information (FOI).
“As a public servant, I firmly believe that it is every government official’s responsibility to give the people open and fair governance,” she pointed out.
“To our countrymen, if we really want to experience true change, we should think carefully and choose a leader who really wants to bring change,” Poe said.
Duterte had issued conflicting statements about his account at BPI.
At first, he denied having an account at the bank, and later retracted it, saying he has an account but it contains only a small amount.
Later, the mayor said the account contains less than P200 million.
Poe said the mayor’s changing statements is the practice of those who have been in politics for a long time and who already know how to circumvent the system.
She earlier urged Duterte to bare all of his assets after Trillanes released a list of 49 pieces of real-estate property belonging to his children.
Liberal Party presidential bet Manuel ‘Mar” Roxas 2nd also believes that with the issue of unexplained wealth hanging over Duterte’s head, the mayor will not win next month’s elections.
“This would weigh a lot [on his Palace bid]because he already insulted women, cursed the Pope, disrespected people with disabilities, and then this corruption. Corruption is a big issue. People will choose, and this person has hidden wealth even before he is elected,” Roxas said.
“We are not talking about thousands here. These are hundreds of millions, on top of the 40 properties which were undeclared [in his Statement of Assets, Liabilities and Net Worth]. Billions of money went in and out of this account,” he added.
Roxas said the last time the country had a President with hidden wealth and an iron fist, there were enforced disappearances and extra-judicial killings, referring to former president Ferdinand Marcos who imposed martial law.
He slammed Duterte’s running mate, Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano, who dared candidates to open their bank accounts without preconditions to prove their transparency.
“If the candidates have nothing to hide, they’ll have no problem signing the waiver document. But if they refuse to sign, they will not only betray their sincerity in fighting corruption, but also put to serious question how much they have accumulated and the source of their wealth. [Those are] the words of his running mate,” Roxas said.
“But look at them now. It’s all propaganda.”