Trillanes challenges Duterte: Disclose origin of ₱2 billion in bank deposits

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines) — President Rodrigo Duterte and his family have billions of pesos in undeclared bank deposits, said one of Duterte's fiercest critics in government, Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV.

Trillanes, who ran for Vice President in 2016 and lost, said Thursday that a "concerned citizen" named Joseph De Mesa gave him documents allegedly proving that Duterte had over ₱2 billion in undeclared wealth in his bank accounts from 2006 to 2015.

 

"Binigay niya ito, April 21, 2016," Trillanes said, referring to De Mesa. "Sinabi niya na siya ay may kamag-anak na nagtatrabaho sa isang ahensya na merong ganitong dokumento. So itong transaction na ito, hindi niya ito inipon na donations."

[Translation: He gave this to me on April 21, 2016. He said he has a relative who works in an agency that has these documents. The money in these transactions was not earned from campaign donations.]

However, the senator said the information on the deposits contained in the document were not from official bank statements.

"Those are not bank statements so hindi (it is not a) violation ng (of the) Bank Secrecy Law," Trillanes said in a text reply to CNN Philippines.

Trillanes said in his press briefing that the documents allegedly show that a businessman in the import-export trade gave hundreds of millions of pesos to the Duterte family.

"Meron isang negosyante sa Davao City na contributor ni President Duterte noong nakaraang kampanya," he said. "Pangalan niya ay si Sammy Uy na nagbigay ng aabot ng ₱120 million sa iba't ibang miyembro ng kanyang pamilya."

[Translation: There is a businessman in Davao City who was a campaign contributor for President Duterte in the recent campaign. His name is Sammy Uy, who gave up to ₱120 million to various members of the Duterte family.]

Based on the documents, Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte has ₱121.1 million in her accounts, while Vice Mayor Paolo Duterte has ₱104.2 million.

The documents also showed that Duterte's common-law wife, Cielito "Honeylet" Avanceña, had ₱187.5 million in her accounts from July 2014 until March 2016.

Trillanes also said Duterte allegedly has other undeclared assets outside of his bank accounts.

"Etong nakalagay sa account na ito ay, apparently, pang-safety niya ito, kung ano man mangyari sa kanya," he said. "'Yan pa lang yung nakalagay sa bangko. Marami pa siyang pera na naka-bukod kung saan-saan, whether in real property, whether cash."

[Translation: The money in these accounts is apparently his safety fund in case something happens to him. And that's only the money in the bank. He has more money placed everywhere, whether in real property, whether cash.]

Abella: 'Trillanes creating noise'

Speaking first to CNN Philippines, Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella said the issue regarding Duterte's bank accounts has already been settled.

 

"Well, this is a rehash of something that he brought up about three days before elections and it's been properly addressed," he said. "He seems to be creating unnecessary noise. For whatever reason, we do not know. And I think we should leave it at that, unless he can come up with something truly serious."

Abella also said Trillanes should approach the relevant authorities instead of challenging the President directly.

"If he has any particular reason for raising these issues, then I think he should refer first to the authorities and leave the President to be doing more constructive things."

Abella said he will watch out for the other details that Trillanes said he would release Thursday at the Senate investigation on the alleged bribery scandal involving the Bureau of Immigration.

Related: Ex-police official tagged in ₱50-M immigration bribery scandal back in PH

"It's part of the political landscape," he said. "People raise these things. Of course, we'll be monitoring these things. We usually do."

Abella said in a Malacañang press briefing on Thursday afternoon that the President will release his bank documents as part of due process, not in response to "grandstanding."

'Prove me wrong and I'll resign'

Trillanes said he was ready to resign if his accusations are proven wrong. He also challenged the President's supporters to call for Duterte to reveal his accounts.

"It's time to unmask this guy," he said. "Sabihin nila yung kanilang iniidolo na patunayan na mali ako, para mag-resign ako, para mapahiya ako. Wala na akong mukhang ihaharap kung mali ako."

[Translation: They should tell the person they idolize to prove me wrong so that I would disgraced and resign. I will not be able to show my face if I'm wrong.]

Trillanes' accusations resurrect claims he first made during the presidential campaign in 2016, that Duterte and his daughter Sara had unexplained wealth.

Read: Banking on the truth: How Duterte, Trillanes made it to this week's headlines

Trillanes also accused Duterte of allegedly having ₱211 million deposited in BPI Julia Vargas, which was undeclared in Duterte's 2014 Statement of Assets, Liabilities and Net Worth or SALN.

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

During the campaign, Duterte revealed his bank records, which showed two BPI accounts with ₱17,000 and around ₱24,000.

Read: Duterte presents peso, dollar accounts

The Anti-Money Laundering Council and Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas decided not to investigate the matter further.

Read: Duterte lashes out at Bangko Sentral, AMLC over bank account controversy

Panelo: Waiver still valid

Meanwhile, Presidential Legal Counsel Salvador Panelo, who was also Duterte's lawyer during the campaign, said the waiver to access Duterte's BPI accounts is still valid.

"The documents signed by the President is authorizing the bank to reveal his account, so the ball is on the bank to do it," he said. "It has been valid ever since. It has not been recalled."

Despite this, Panelo said they are not taking Trillanes' latest accusations seriously.

"We're ignoring him kasi pag pinatulan mo, enjoy na enjoy 'yun dahil nasa limelight siya," he said. "Eh nawawala na eh. Dami nang bagong isyu. Hayaan mo lang siya."

[Translation: We just ignoring him because if you call him on his taunt, he would really enjoy himself because he's in the limelight. However, the issue is fading away. There are so many new issues. Just leave him be.]

Crooks going free

Trillanes said he decided to release the documents to the public after seeing how the Duterte administration has been ignoring the fight against corruption, which has been one of the President's battle cries since being elected.

"This is very relevant para maliwanagan yung ating kababayan na nilinlang tayo noong mga nakaraang buwan doon sa anti-drug war na wala rin namang nangyari kung hindi pinatay ang ating mga kababayan," he said.

"Pero noong mga panahon na iyon, walang ginawa laban sa korapsyon at, worse, pinakawalan pa yung symbol ng corruption, si President (Gloria Macapagal) Arroyo. Tapos ngayon, pati si (Janet Lim) Napoles, gusto palabasin," he added.

[Translation: This is very relevant so that the public can clearly see that we were fooled over the past months with the anti-drug war, where nothing has happened but the slaughtering of our countrymen. But during that time, nothing was done against corruption and, worse, the symbol of corruption, President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, was freed. And now, they want to let Janet Lim-Napoles free.]

Trillanes' statement comes a day after Solicitor General Jose Calida said the Regional Trial Court made an error in finding Napoles, a central figure in the alleged "pork barrel" scam, guilty of illegally detaining her aide Benhur Luy.

Read: Calida: Regional trial court made a mistake in convicting Napoles

This is not the first time Trillanes has sought to challenge presidents in office. Trillanes, a former navy officer, was among the military men who staged a mutiny in a Makati hotel in 2003 to protest the alleged corruption in the Arroyo administration.

Arroyo, who won a seat as a Pampanga representative in the May 2016 elections, was freed by the Supreme Court last year after serving four years under hospital arrest for plunder charges.

Read: Supreme Court rules to free former President Arroyo

The high court found insufficient evidence for her conviction in connection to the alleged misuse of Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office funds.

Trillanes also said Duterte allegedly has a hit out on him.

"Noon pa niya akong pinag-iinitan," he said. "Pinapapatay niya ako, base sa impormasyon. Sinabi ko noong kampanya, hindi matatapos ito. Hahabulin at hahabulin natin siya."

[Translation: He has been after me for a long time. He wants me dead, based on information. I said during the campaign that this won't end. We will keep going after him.]

CNN Philippines Senior Correspondent Ina Andolong and Correspondent Ivy Saunar contributed to this report.