De Mesa figment of Trillanes’ imagination–Duterte
ZAMBOANGA CITY—Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte said the Joseph de Mesa, whom Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV identified as the source of “documents” on his bank account at the Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI) branch on Julia Vargas Avenue in Pasig City, was a product of the senator’s imagination.
“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 who De Mesa was, whom Trillanes claimed to be a former Duterte supporter.
Trillanes said it was De Mesa who gave him the documents containing information that the joint account of Duterte and daughter Sara at BPI Julia Vargas had P227 million in deposits in 2014 that the mayor did not declare in his statement of assets, liabilities and net worth.
The documents also identified the accounts of Duterte and Sara at BPI Edsa Greenhills and at Banco de Oro Unibank in Mandaluyong City, which together with the BPI Julia Vargas accounts had transactions totaling P2.4 billion from 2006 to 2015, according to Trillanes.
In an affidavit, Trillanes said De Mesa got the documents “from a close relative who was working with an agency involved in investigating ill-gotten wealth of government officials.”
Duterte denied the allegations and said his account at BPI Julia Vargas contained only 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 it was active.”
The mayor said that from now on, he would no longer reply to any media questions in relation to Trillanes, whom he called a paid askal (street dog), and his accusations.
“From now on, I will not answer. He (Trillanes) is a plain askal. I will not, from now on, answer. He is nothing but a street dog,” Duterte said.
He added that the people and media should not take Trillanes’ claims seriously because the senator was a liar.
In his invective-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 (PMA), a great disservice.
“He was educated at PMA but he staged a mutiny. He is rude. He was exonerated and freed and made into a street dog,” Duterte said.
The mayor 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 for your help (in financing my campaign)?” Duterte asked the crowd.
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, it’s 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 when he saw the crowd.
“I didn’t expect this so many 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,” said Amin, a Tausug physician whose family also runs a string of hotels here.
Fr. 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.”
Impressed but concerned
Ufana admitted he was very impressed because “Duterte is frank as a person” but added that he was a little bit concerned about the mayor’s curses.
“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,” said businessman Kenneth Wee, 48, who was already at the coliseum around 2 p.m.
Among those who attended the rally was Abdurauf Pajiji, a working student from Bongao in Tawi-Tawi province.
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 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 also said Duterte appeared to be honest in saying that he would unify the people.
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