PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte on Thursday night hit back at Sen. Antonio Trillanes 4th, calling the opposition lawmaker a “tulisan” (bandit) after the latter’s bid to resurrect allegations he hid more than P2 billion in secret bank accounts.
Duterte delivered the stinging rebuke in a three-minute video uploaded by the Presidential Communications Office on Facebook shortly before midnight.
He accused Trillanes of being in the business of asking for “retainers,” and defended members of his family whose names were dragged by the former navy officer: partner Honeylet Avanceña and daughter Sara Duterte-Carpio, the mayor of Davao City.
Trillanes on Thursday claimed anew that Duterte had P2.4 billion in bank accounts from 2006 to 2015, allegedly from illegal activities. The senator first made the accusation on the eve of the May 2016 elections.
Trillanes released documents showing bank transactions supposedly under the names of Duterte and Avanceña (P188 million); his children Paolo (P104 million), Sara (121 million) and Sebastian (P143 million); and his campaign donor Samuel Cang Uy (P118 million).
Duterte said Trillanes, who rose to national prominence following the failed military uprising at Oakwood hotel in Makati in July 2003, was ignorant of the banking business when he added up Avanceña’s daily banking transactions.
“You know, Trillanes, Honeylet started her doughnut business 18 years ago. She supplies meat to five malls here in Davao. That woman has a lot of money. She’s industrious, unlike you who’s ambitious,” the President said.
“He must have also have forgotten that my daughter Sara is a lawyer by profession and that she earns from this and that and she has clients who actually pay for her services and not from illegal retainers which Trillanes is so used so doing,” he added.
Duterte pointed out that Trillanes was on his last term and would lose nothing if he quit, “which explains his penchant for always daring the President to resign.”
“He actually has no political career after his term in office expires in less than two years,” the President said.
‘We’re not poor’
Duterte however made a dare of his own: “If Trillanes can prove his allegation that I have amassed P2 billion illegally or if that bank account under my name has a total deposit at one time of even just half a billion, I will resign as President immediately.”
“This is actually an old and rehashed issue. I have answered this allegation before I became President. The people have already spoken, they have placed me in the office with 16 million votes,” he added.
Duterte advised the senator to go to court and file a case, or “stop opening his mouth when he has nothing to say anyway.”
“You stage a mutiny yet you don’t have balls. You surrendered when the police arrived. It’s really a shame,” Duterte said of Trillanes’ role in the so-called “Oakwood mutiny.”
“If your family is hungry, now or in the past, don’t drag us into this. We’re not poor. My father was a governor and he left us something. What was left with you? Hot air and arrogance. You’re a bandit, really,” he said in Filipino.
Trillanes on Friday insisted he had evidence to support his allegations—the same documents he used when he filed a plunder case against Duterte in May 2016 before the Office of the Ombudsman.
“And I’m appealing to the Ombudsman to speed up the investigation on the issue,” Trillanes said in a text message.
He said that if the President really had nothing to hide, he should open his bank transaction history to the public.
Senator Joseph Victor Ejercito defended the President, saying: “I’ve known Duterte for 15 years and there has been no occasion when he treated me in expensive restaurants during my visit,” he said.
Ejercito said Duterte was the most modest government official he had met in his entire political career, and lived a simple life.