Duterte used bank accounts to launder funds from ‘ghost workers’–Trillanes
Vice presidential candidate Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV on Thursday filed a plunder and malversation complaint against presidential frontrunner Mayor Rodrigo Duterte before the Office of the Ombudsman over alleged ghost employees in Davao City.
Citing a Commission on Audit report last year, Trillanes said the Davao City government had 11,000 non-existent contractual employees under Duterte’s incumbency, receiving some P708 million in 2014 alone.
“Dito natin makikita ‘yung hypocrisy ni Mayor Duterte, na ‘yung sinasabi niya contractualization must stop… Pero kita niyo dito, ilang years na, 13 years na ‘yung mga contractuals niya, pero hindi nag-e-exist,” Trillanes told the media in a press conference at the Magdalo headquarters in Quezon City.
(This is where we will see the hypocrisy of Mayor Duterte. He says that contractualization must stop…But you can see here that, how many years has it been, his contractuals have been around for 13 years, but they don’t exist.)
In his complaint, Trillanes said the P708-million fund derived from alleged ghost employees in the city’s payroll “have apparently been transacted and/or laundered through the subject bank accounts of Mayor Duterte and his children.”
Trillanes earlier accused Duterte of having undeclared assets worth at least P200 million in a Bank of the Philippines Islands (BPI) account on Julia Vargas Avenue in Pasig City, and transactions amounting to at least P2 billion in multiple bank accounts.
‘Ghosts’ in Davao City
In 2015, Duterte denied hiring contractual employees and blamed former Davao City Mayor Benjamin De Guzman, who served for only three years from 1998 to 2001.
But Trillanes pointed out that Duterte’s immediate predecessor was his own daughter Sara Zimmerman, who served from 2010 to 2013, and was preceded by himself from 2001 to 2010.
“Mayor Duterte’s act of passing the blame for the hiring of 11,000 contractual employees by Davao City under his watch in 2014, per the COA report of 2015, to his alleged predecessor, former Mayor De Guzman, is clearly preposterous since the former actually served as City Mayor more than thirteen years before. In the interregnum, Mayor Duterte himself and his daughter actually served as City Mayor, clearly showing that they cannot escape responsibility for the said anomaly,” Trillanes said.
Duterte has been mayor of Davao for about two decades now, spanning to seven terms—from 1988 to 1992, 1992 to 1995, 1995 to 1998, 2001 to 2010, and 2013 to present. When he was not mayor, he served as representative of the city in the Congress or as vice mayor to his daughter.
Trillanes asked the Ombudsman to charge Duterte for malversation of public funds under Article 217 of the Revised Penal Code; violation of Section 3 (G) of Republic Act No. 3019 or the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act; and plunder as defined and penalized under Republic Act No. 7080.
The senator also prayed that the Ombudsman immediately order the Anti-Money Laundering Council to “open and/or conduct an inquiry or investigation” into the bank accounts of Duterte and his children and to “immediately freeze the subject accounts to preserve the contents thereof.
Trillanes sought that Duterte’s “unexplained wealth” be considered as “prima facie evidence of” as well as basis for “dismissal due to unexplained wealth” in accordance with RA 1379, adding that the mayor should be placed on “administrative suspension” for an “indefinite period” until a probe is completed.
“Ito ‘yung nasa payroll binabayaran ng Davao City na napupunta sa bulsa ni Mayor Duterte na nakita natin sa kanyang mga bank accounts,” he said.
(They are the ones who are in the Davao City payroll, they are being paid but this goes to the purse of Mayor Duterte, which we can see in his bank accounts.)
Trillanes said the alleged ghost employees did not have job descriptions.
“Dito sa COA report ang sinasabi ng COA walang job description, mga pangalan lang. Sa sobrang nagkaroon ng culture of impunity sa Davao City dahil kaya nilang busalan lahat, brazen na yung kanilang paggawa ng anomalya,” he said.
(In this COA report, COA says that there are no job descriptions, just names. Because of the culture of impunity in Davao City, because they can silence everyone, they are brazen in carrying out their anomalies.)
The said COA report read: “The city has no written policy or manual on the hiring of employees particularly under contract of services and job orders. Identification of persons to be hired for such nature rests directly upon the recommendation of the department heads and other officials of this city.”
“These conditions cast doubt that entries in the daily time record of these employees…are manipulated, thus regularity and validity of the related expenditures could not be ascertained,” it added.
Duterte a ‘fraud’
Calling Duterte as a “fraud” and a corrupt leader, the senator said he was hoping that voters rooting for the trash-talking mayor will have a change of heart, four days before the elections.
“Mayor Duterte is a fraud. Isa siyang kurakot. Sana nga may oras pa para magbukas ang kanilang isipan (He is corrupt. If only there is still time for them to open their minds),” he said.
“Nahuli na ang pangungurakot ni Mayor Duterte kaya sana maliwanagan na ‘yung nga kababayan natin… Ang talo dito yung mga taga Davao. Pondo n’yo ito na napupunta sa bulsa ni Mayor Duterte,” Trillanes added.
(Mayor Duterte’s corruption is out, so hopefully our people will be enlightened…The people of Davao are the ones on the losing end here. These are your funds that go to Mayor Duterte’s purse.)
The senator said they confirmed the non-existence of ghost employees through a random check, adding that they have yet to verify Duterte’s alleged links to illegal drug protection racket in the city.
“Ito yung na-verify namin. Yung sinasabi naming illegal drug protection racket hindi pa namin na-confirm pero doon papunta ‘yun,” he said.
(This is what we have verified. What we call the illegal drug protection racket we haven’t confirmed yet, but we’re getting there.)
Duterte on Wednesday presented passbooks and bank statements for the questionable dollar and peso accounts, but he only gave the media a sneak peek. He also refused to sign a waiver of bank secrecy and release his bank transactions.
Trillanes also accused that the 17 joint accounts of Duterte and daughter Sara at the Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI) branch on Julia Vargas Avenue in Pasig City, BPI Edsa Greenhills, and Banco de Oro Unibank in Mandaluyong City had P2.4 billion in transactions from 2006 to 2015. CDG/rga
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