Duterte: Joseph de Mesa a fiction in Trillanes’ mind; senator a paid ‘askal’
ZAMBOANGA CITY – Davao City Mayor and presidential aspirant Rodrigo Duterte said the Joseph de Mesa, whom Senator Antonio Trillanes identified as the source of the “documents” on his bank account at the Julia Vargas branch of the Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI), was a product of the fiction in the senator’s mind.
“Joseph de Mesa is fictitious — an invention of Trillanes and those who are behind the dirty tactics against me,” Duterte told reporters on Tuesday.
He said he did not know anybody by the name of Joseph de Mesa, whom Trillanes had described to be a disgruntled Duterte supporter.
Trillanes said De Mesa gave him the documents containing information that the BPI Julia Vargas account contained P211 million.
Duterte denied the allegations and said his account only contained about P17,000 before April 28.
He said it became P27,000 because of deposits made by his detractors and other people.
“They deposited money in it to ascertain if it was active,” Duterte said.
He said he would no longer reply to any media questions relating to the accusations hurled by Trillanes, whom he labeled as a “paid askal” (street dog).
“From now on, I will not answer. He (Trillanes) is a plain askal. I will not, from now on, answer. Dakilang askal yan (he is nothing but a street dog),” he said.
Duterte called Trillanes a liar, and added that his claims should not be taken by the people and the media seriously.
During his invectives-riddled speech at his grand rally here on Monday evening, Duterte also described Trillanes as an ingrate for doing the Filipino people, who paid for his education at the Philippine Military Academy, a great disservice.
“He was educated at the PMA but he staged a mutiny. He is rude. He was exonerated and freed and made into a street dog,” he said in Filipino.
Duterte said Trillanes was “unleashed” by people who wanted to put him down.
“If I have billions of money, and I’m a 71-year-old guy running for president, if I had that money, I would have bought a plane and helicopters. Why would I ask ask for your help (in financing campaign)?” Duterte asked the crowd, whose number depended on who was giving the estimate.
Elmer Apolinario, the assistant city administrator, said the Zamboanga City coliseum could pack about 12,000 people but local concert organizer Cookie Catis said it would be more than that.
“This coliseum, if all the bleachers are occupied, its about 15,000. Since the ground is fully occupied, it’s about 20,000,” Catis said.
Bong Amin, a local Duterte supporter, was teary-eyed as he saw the crowd.
“I didn’t expect this so much people, this is overwhelming. I can see now that so many people here in Zamboanga share the same desire, the desire for real change, genuine reform,” Amin, a Tausug physician whose family has been running a string of hotels here, said.
Diocesan priest Michael Ufana said he attended the rally “because I want to hear Duterte speak and see for myself how he carries himself before the eyes of many people.”
Ufana admitted he was very impressed because “Duterte is frank as a person” but added that he was a bit concerned by the mayor’s cursing,
“We need to be polite when talking in front of people and he is well supported by people,” Ufana said.
“I have witnessed so many rallies in the past and it’s my first time to see the coliseum jampacked,” businessman Kenneth Wee, 48, who was already at the coliseum around 2 p.m., said.
Among those who attended Duterte’s rally was Abdurauf Pajiji, a working student from Bongao in Tawi-Tawi.
Pajiji said he sold fish and saved part of it so he could attend the rally.
He brought with him at least four cellular phones, some of them owned by his friends.
“I have to take shots and videos and bring them to my friends so they could use these to campaign for Duterte,” he said.
Asked why he was supporting Duterte, Pajiji, a Sama, said only Duterte made him “very important.”
“He fired up our spirits, he inspires us. No candidate has ever spoken to his supporters like an ordinary toughie neighbor,” he said.
He added that Duterte appeared to be sincere in his vow to unify the people. SFM
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