So sue us—Sara Duterte
TAGBILARAN CITY, Bohol—Sara Duterte, daughter of presidential race front-runner Rodrigo Duterte, on Friday dared Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV to take her and her father to court to prove his allegations that they have undeclared wealth.
Campaigning for her father, the trash-talking mayor of Davao City, Sara Duterte dismissed as black propaganda Trillanes’ claim that they have P227 million in a joint account at the Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI) branch on Julia Vargas Avenue in Pasig City.
The BPI Julia Vargas account is only one of 17 accounts, including accounts in BPI Greenhills in Mandaluyong and in Banco de Oro (BDO) Unibank in Davao City, that, according to documents provided by Trillanes, have seen transactions amounting to P2.4 billion over a period of nine years.
Trillanes, a vice presidential candidate in next month’s national elections, disclosed the accounts last week, charging that Mayor Duterte did not declare them in his statement of assets, liabilities and net worth (SALN).
But Sara Duterte, in an interview with the Inquirer, dared Trillanes to bring a case against her and her father if he had a “legitimate complaint” against them.
“If he has a legitimate complaint, he should file it in court so we can answer properly,” she said.
But she neither confirmed nor denied that she and her father had joint bank accounts.
Mayor Duterte admitted to reporters during a news conference in Pasay City on Friday that he had an account at BPI Julia Vargas and that it contained “less than P200 million” in deposits.
He gave flippant answers to reporters’ questions about the P2.4 billion in transactions claimed by Trillanes, saying at one point that he could not remember exactly how much was in the bank accounts “because of the zeroes.”
Asked why he did not declare the bank accounts in his SALN, he replied: “I already spent it.”
In a text message to the Inquirer on Saturday, Trillanes said he felt “vindicated” by Duterte’s admission.
“But most important, it’s time to shatter Duterte’s fraudulent image as simple, honest and incorruptible,” Trillanes said.
With the discovery of Duterte’s hidden bank accounts, he said, the Davao mayor has turned out to be no different from Vice President Jejomar Binay, who has been investigated by the Senate over allegations that he pocketed millions of pesos in overpriced infrastructure contracts when he was mayor of Makati City.
“He is actually as corrupt as the Binays. Worse, he is a pyschopath and a confessed murderer,” Trillanes said, referring to Duterte’s claim of killing criminals in Davao City outside the judicial system.
‘Only two accounts’
Partido Demokratikong Pilipino-Laban ng Bayan (PDP-Laban), Duterte’s party, on Saturday insisted that the Davao mayor have only two accounts at BPI Julia Vargas with P17,000 and P27,000 in deposits, not “less than P200 million” as Duterte told reporters on Friday.
“The BPI official statement belies the claim of Senator Trillanes that Mayor Duterte has a big deposit at BPI,” PDP-Laban spokesperson Paola Alvarez said, referring to a statement issued by BPI on Friday denying the bank’s confidentiality system had been breached.
“I don’t know where Senator Trillanes got his information, but the graphic posted by the (Philippine Daily Inquirer) showing alleged credits, that is not a BPI document,” Jose Teodoro Limcaoco, managing director and chief financial officer of Ayala Corp., which owns BPI, said in the statement.
“The deposit slip shown by Mar (Liberal Party presidential standard-bearer Mar Roxas) or the Inquirer is not a unique thing,” Limcaoco said, referring to the deposit slip for $10 that Roxas showed to reporters on Friday after his staff made the deposit in Duterte’s account at BPI Julia Vargas to prove the existence of the account, discovering in the process that it was a dollar account.
“All banks will show the name of the depositor on a deposit slip. We are committed to protecting client trust and preserving the trust bestowed on us by our clients all these years,” Limcaoco said.
Alvarez said that in using false information in claiming that Duterte had undeclared wealth, Trillanes “peddled a big, fat lie for which he should apologize to the Filipino people because he has absolutely no credibility.”
But Trillanes, who has dared Duterte to sign a waiver for the disclosure of his bank accounts, said on Thursday that he would resign from the Senate and withdraw from the vice presidential race if he could not prove his accusations against the Davao mayor.
He said that if Duterte refused to sign a waiver and got elected President, he would use the documents supporting his allegations for Duterte’s impeachment.
Duterte said he would stop a move for his impeachment by closing down Congress.
“If they try to impeach me, I’ll shut down Congress. No more impeachment,” he said at a campaign rally in Bataan province.
‘Soldier of fortune’
Campaigning in Naga City on Saturday, Duterte said Trillanes’ charges were “black propaganda.”
He described Trillanes as “a soldier of fortune.”
“I already requested my lawyer Salvador Panelo to face him and open my bank account on Monday,” he said, referring to a meeting set by Trillanes at BPI Julia Vargas for the signing of a waiver that would allow the disclosure of the mayor’s accounts there.
“My account has only P17,000 and they can dig it up. My lawyer said I had no unexplained wealth, only unexplained poverty,” Duterte said.
The mayor has dared Trillanes to put his allegations and name his source of information in an affidavit, but the senator has refused, saying an affidavit is not necessary.
“He’s just looking for a way out. Why does he want to know who my source is? Will he have the [Davao Death Squad] go after the source?” Trillanes said on Friday.
What is important, he said, is the undeclared amounts in Duterte’s bank accounts.
No undeclared properties
In Tagbilaran on Friday, Sara Duterte denied that she and her siblings had undeclared real estate properties.
Based on Land Registration Authority records, the Duterte children have 35 properties, 11 of which are registered as Sara Duterte’s and four as her husband’s.
Sara Duterte said she declared all of her properties in her SALN. She served as Davao City mayor from 2010 to 2013.
She said most of her properties came from her parents after they separated. With reports from Leila B. Salaverria, Niña Calleja in Manila and Inquirer Research/TVJ
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