Trillanes wants Senate probe on alleged Duterte wealth

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, February 5) - Senator Antonio Trillanes IV on Monday formally asked for a Senate investigation on a possible violation of the Anti-Money Laundering Act (AMLA) by President Rodrigo Duterte and his daughter, Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio.

Trillanes, a strong critic of the President, filed Senate Resolution No. 602 directing the Committee on Banks, Financial Institutions, and Currencies to conduct a probe on bank documents showing "undisclosed transactions" by the Dutertes.

The probe will be in aid of legislation, Trillanes said in his resolution, "with the end view of recommending further legislative measures to promote efficient compliance with the AMLA" and to improve the law.

"Despite numerous attempts to improve the AMLA, violations thereof have been frequently perpetuated and remain undiscovered," Trillanes added.

Senator Francis Escudero chairs the banks committee.

The Palace said Trillanes' accusations are nothing new.

"Lumang tugtugin, lumang balita, para nang sirang plaka (Old music, old news, just like a broken record)," Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said.

Sara Duterte said she "feels sad for Trillanes and his tireless attempt to rehash and recycle an issue that has already been proven as gossip."

"The senator cannot file a case because there is no basis for it. I have said this before and I am saying it again - Trillanes is lying," the Davao City Mayor said.

She also questioned Trillanes' evidence, including a supposed witness and how he obtained his documents from the Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC).

"(Trillanes) also says (the AMLC) is the source of his documents and yet he twits President Duterte for not executing a waiver for AMLC. So how come he has a copy of a purported AMLC document without the waiver?" the younger Duterte said.

Trillanes has accused the President of having unexplained wealth even before his election in May 2016.

The senator called the President a "fraud" for failing to declare in his Statement of Assets, Liabilities, and Net Worth (SALN) at least P211 million in bank deposits. He said the money is in Duterte's joint account with his daughter Sara, in the Julia Vargas branch of the Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI).

READ: BPI Julia Vargas face-off a dud: No records released

In a privilege speech in October 2017, Trillanes also detailed Duterte's alleged bank transactions from 2006 to 2015, with the highest amount transacted in one day reaching up to P193 million.

READ: Trillanes details Duterte's alleged hidden wealth

Trillanes has since been calling on Duterte to sign a waiver to be able to probe his accounts, which Duterte refused.

The President has denied all allegations, throwing back accusations at the senator of having offshore bank accounts.

READ: Duterte: Trillanes' waivers useless

Senate President Koko Pimentel, meanwhile, said the Senate is not the proper venue for Trillanes' complaint, and even called it a "tragic waste of time by the Senate."

"If he really has the evidence then he should bring an actual case in the proper body," Pimentel said. "If this is part of just making this issue land in the news then this should not be allowed."

Pimentel currently heads Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan (PDP Laban), which is also the party under which Duterte ran.

Trillanes said he filed a valid resolution, adding that Pimentel, even as Senate President, does not have the power to disallow its referral.

"It was Duterte himself who challenged the Senate to investigate his bank account. So, ito na ang sagot sa hamon ng amo niya," he added.

(Translation: It was Duterte himself who challenged the Senate to investigate his bank account. This is the answer to his boss' challenge.)