BPI on Duterte-Trillanes row: We had nothing to do with it

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines) — The Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI) is caught in the middle of a word war between Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV and Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte.

But the bank is adamant, it has nothing to do with the allegations of hidden wealth.

"Our investigation has shown that BPI is not the source of Sen. Trillanes' allegations," BPI President and CEO Cezar Consing told CNN Philippines in an e-mail on May 2 (Monday).

The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) and the Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC) have also adamantly denied they have any involvement in the issue.

"We assure the Filipino people that the BSP and the AMLC are not engaged in partisan politics and will never allow themselves to be used as a tool for political persecution or harassment, or as an instrument to hamper competition in trade and commerce," BSP Officer-in-Charge Vincente Aquino said in a statement also on Monday.

Trillanes came out with fighting words last week, claiming he had documents showing billions of pesos in various bank accounts linked to Duterte and his daughter, Sara.

He said Duterte's account in BPI Julia Vargas alone had P211 million — undeclared in the presidential frontrunner's 2014 statement of assets, liabilities and net worth (SALN).

Duterte first categorically denied all the accusations, before backtracking and acknowledging he did have various bank accounts, they just didn't contain that much money.

The mayor challenged the vice-presidential bet to detail his allegations in an affidavit, promising he would open his bank accounts for scrutiny after.

Related: Duterte to file charges against Trillanes for making his bank account public

However, despite an affidavit and a much-publicized face-off between Trillanes and Duterte's lawyer Salvador Panelo at the BPI Julia Vargas branch earlier in the day, the bank accounts had yet to be opened.

What exactly happened in the branch that morning, Trillanes and Panelo have conflicting accounts. BPI said in a statement it would not make any comments on the discussion of the politicians with branch officials.

"To do so would be against the basic banking principle of client confidentiality," the Ayala-run bank said.

Washing their hands clean

It's not the first time a bank has been implicated in this kind of controversy. When Trillanes first came out with the allegations of hidden wealth, a photograph made the rounds on social media. It was a BDO Unibank, Inc. check for P500 million, supposedly for payout to Trillanes from San Miguel Corp.

BDO and San Miguel had to issue statements that the check was fake.

BPI, for its part, is still suffering from the fallout of the Trillanes-Duterte debacle.

Duterte supporters have threatened to withdraw their money and close their accounts with BPI.

They claim, BPI failed to protect Duterte's data privacy. Some even accuse the bank of leaking the information themselves.

Astro del Castillo, First Grade Finance, Inc. president and managing director, said this was just a knee-jerk reaction in what had become a bitterly contentious presidential race.

"So far, these withdrawals have had no real impact on BPI. The effect will be minimal, if not none at all," Del Castillo told CNN Philippines.

With strong fundamentals and well-run operations, BPI is in "perfect health," perhaps better health than some of the presidential candidates, he said in jest.

The bank will easily outlast the Trillanes-Duterte issue, he added.