Trillanes dares Duterte to face-off on Monday
Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV on Thursday dared presidential race front-runner Rodrigo Duterte to meet him on Monday at the Julia Vargas branch of Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI) to sign a waiver allowing the opening of a bank account containing P227 million—not P211 million as earlier reported—that he said belonged to the trash-talking mayor of Davao City.
Trillanes offered to resign as a senator and withdraw from the vice presidential race if his accusations against Duterte could be proven false.
If Duterte refuses to sign the waiver and is elected President, Trillanes said he would use the documents he had supporting his allegations for Duterte’s impeachment.
“I have raised the ante just to prove that my information is right. Let’s see. Let him (Duterte) show his courage,” Trillanes told reporters in offering to resign from the Senate and quit the vice presidential race.
“Mayor Duterte, please end the drama. Sign the waiver,” he said.
Trillanes said the P227 million was just the “tip of the iceberg.”
He said he and his team were gathering more information on several bank accounts in Metro Manila and Davao City allegedly owned by Duterte and his children—daughter Sara and sons Sebastian and Paolo.
Accountants are helping to double-check the information, which, according to Trillanes, came from a “network of informants.”
He denied the information came from the Anti-Money Laundering Council.
Trillanes said the information on Duterte’s bank accounts was given to him by people “who see the danger of having a pretender or fraud and psychopath Commander in Chief.”
He said Duterte had hundreds of millions of pesos, but did not elaborate because he “did not want to preempt” things.
Trillanes said he was asking Duterte to sign the waiver, because the “manifesto” that the Davao mayor and his running mate, Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano, signed allowing the opening of their bank accounts was not honored by BPI.
He said the manifesto was just a “gimmick” because the bank would not accept it.
A waiver, he said, should be notarized, addressed to the bank and shows the specific bank accounts and the account name to be opened.
Trillanes set his proposed meeting with Duterte at the BPI branch on Julia Vargas Avenue in Pasig City for 11 a.m. on Monday, May 2.
He said he would wait for Duterte at the bank for 30 minutes.
“In the interest of transparency, let’s be done with this issue,” Trillanes said.
He said he was giving Duterte the chance to get rid of him in the Senate, although he was so “sure” about his information against the mayor.
Trillanes also challenged Duterte to sue him for libel.
But Duterte and his camp could not sue him, he said, because the Anti-Money Laundering Act mandates disclosure of bank accounts involved in lawsuits.
Trillanes denied Sen. Grace Poe, whose presidential candidacy he is openly supporting, was behind his attack on Duterte.
He said this was not the first time he had exposed corruption, citing his and other military junior officers’ going after former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and her administration.
He also cited the exposés he made against Vice President Jejomar Binay, which led to a Senate investigation of the opposition leader for allegedly pocketing millions of pesos in kickbacks from overpriced infrastructure projects when he was mayor of Makati City.
“We have principles. Give us a little credit. We’re staking our lives here,” he said.
Trillanes belied Duterte’s claim that he was making these accusations because the mayor turned him down as vice presidential running mate.
He said he and Duterte did meet in April 2014 at a place on Ortigas Avenue with a common friend because the mayor at that time was reportedly considering a run for the presidency.
But he said Duterte told him he was not running for President and that was why they just talked about other things.
“If he was not running for President, why was he rejecting me?” Trillanes said.
Actually, he said, he was “so happy” he did not end up as Duterte’s running mate, otherwise he would now be doing what Cayetano was doing—defending the mayor.
Likewise, a “dealbreaker” for him, he said, was the fact that Duterte was allied with the communist New People’s Army, especially since the rebels had killed many soldiers and policemen.
“The Duterte campaign is based on a lie, on propaganda. It’s not true that Davao is a paradise. Duterte has no agenda for corruption and drugs. This is all gimmickry. He is a billionaire,” Trillanes said.
Asked about the source of the money in the alleged Duterte bank account, he said he had some information, but it was “speculation” that needed investigation.
Asked if Duterte’s alleged hidden wealth was comparable to Binay’s alleged ill-gotten wealth, Trillanes said Binay’s was of a “different level.” He did not elaborate.
Liberal Party (LP) vice presidential candidate Leni Robredo said she agreed that all candidates should disclose their finances in the spirit of transparency.
Speaking during a visit to the Barter Trade Center in Zamboanga City on Thursday, Robredo said she saw no problem with disclosure, as her financial records had always been open for public scrutiny.
But she said that she did not need to sign a waiver because the LP had already issued a statement about transparency involving its candidates. With a report from Julie S. Alipala, Inquirer Mindanao
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