Published: 6:25 p.m., Sept. 9, 2017 | Updated: 12:09 a.m., Set. 10, 2017
CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY — President Rodrigo Duterte unleashed on Saturday what could be his bid to turn the tables on his toughest critic, Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV, saying he has proof the senator hid money in bank accounts overseas.
Just as Mr. Duterte made the accusation, photos of supposed bank documents circulated showing remittances of $50 to accounts supposedly owned by Trillanes in banks in Switzerland and Canada.
One photo showed a $50 remittance from Taishin International Bank to an account with number 90275/9921320 supposedly under Trillanes’ name in UBS Bank in Zurich.
Another photo showed another $50 remittance from Taishin International Bank to an account under Trillanes’ name in Nova Scotia Bank in Toronto.
The same details — a $50 remittance from Taishin — were in another photo that supposedly showed an account under Trillanes’ name in Deutsche Bank in Geneva.
The same photos appeared in the blog of Mocha Uson, entertainer and ardent supporter of Mr. Duterte, but sources said they had been taken down because Uson had preempted the President’s revelation.
Sought for comment about the alleged foreign deposits, the senator said in a text message: “That’s not true. That’s fake news. Duterte is a liar.”
Trillanes dared the President to provide specific details about the
“I challenge him to come out with details and I will promptly sign a (bank) waiver so that the truth will come out,” Trillanes said.
He had previously said in reference to Uson’s blog that the Duterte administration had resorted to falsification to bring him down.
The accusation was the latest episode in the President’s rage against Trillanes, who had accused Mr. Duterte, his son, Paolo, and son-in-law Mans Carpio of keeping unexplained wealth in several bank accounts in the Philippines.
Trillanes’ money, Mr. Duterte said, were “all over.” “Hong Kong, Australia, America,” the President said at a speech during the closing ceremony for the 26th Mindanao Business Conference (MBC) in Cagayan de Oro.
Mr. Duterte said Trillanes owned the accounts jointly with a Chinese businessman who was not identified by the President. A source said the businessman was engaged in trucking and had a business address in Metro Manila.
The President said he would be “coming up” with evidence to show Trillanes’ “bank deposits all over.”
Shortly after saying that, Mr. Duterte said he was already in possession of some of the pieces of evidence.
“Now I got them,” the President said. Trillanes, he said, “thought I cannot do it.”
“So I am giving you in a few days the number of deposits that he has with a Chinese, joint accounts,” Mr. Duterte said.
In his speech at the MBC, the President repeated his pledge to fight corruption because he detested it.
“There will be no corruption in my government,” said Mr. Duterte at the business forum.
He said during the campaign period, he already challenged those accusing him and his children of corruption to present evidence.
Recalling a presentation made by his rivals in the presidential election, Mr. Duterte said “they were hoisting the slide” that he and his son, Paolo, had P200 million hidden in banks.
“We were the favorite target,” he said. He said his challenge to accusers remained the same—search for the ill-gotten wealth “up to the rural banks of Tawi-Tawi if there is one.”
“Find that money and if it’s there, I will withdraw my candidacy,” the President said, repeating his campaign promise.
Nothing, however, had been found because he was not corrupt, Mr. Duterte said.
“Now I gave you my commitment when I won, there will be no corruption,” he said.
The President said if anyone could present a case of corruption against his children that was not hearsay, “I’m willing to resign immediately.”
“There will be no corruption and everybody has to follow, even in Mindanao,” he said.
He also threatened to abolish government agencies that had been abusive in use of funds.
Without mentioning names, he said one government official had hired consultants for P200,000 a month which he said was a form of corruption.
“Nothing will happen to this country if we let corruption flourish,” the President added. /JPV /atm
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.