(UPDATED – 11:56 p.m.) MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte continued his tirades against Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV, insisting the lawmaker was maintaining many hidden bank accounts overseas that he was possibly using to bankroll destabilization efforts against the current administration.
“Based on analysis, the funds being laundered by Trillanes and his group may not be for their personal use but rather is being used for their cause and possibly to destabilize government by paying for witnesses and funding destabilization operations,” the President said in a taped interview with state-run PTV aired Friday, showing diagrams of the senator’s supposed bank records abroad.
Duterte, however, did not identify who prepared the analysis of Trillanes’ alleged accounts and who gave him the information about the lawmakers’ deposits, which the President said were numerous but only contained small amounts.
“Maliit eh, pero marami,” he said, referring to the alleged bank accounts, adding that “only one” country, which he did not name but said is an “anti-money laundering” nation, was the source of his information about Trillanes’ alleged hidden accounts.
Asked during the PTV interview if the said bank deposits were the sources of money allegedly being paid to retired police officer Arturo Lascañas, the self-confessed member of the Davao Death Squad, who implicated Duterte in extra-judicial killings perpetrated by the group, and former DDS hitman Edgar Matobato, the President said it was possible.
“Until now nasa abroad eh [Until now, he’s abroad],” said Duterte, referring to Lascañas.
Asked if Trillanes’ alleged accounts were also the source of funds of those who stage protest-rallies against his administration, Duterte said, “Could be.”
‘Mga bagong imbento’
The senator dismissed the President’s fresh allegations against him as another fabrication, claiming these were just Duterte’s ploy to deflect public attention from the on-going investigation by the Office of the Ombudsman into the top leader and his family’s alleged supposed hidden wealth.
“Mga bagong imbento ni Duterte [These are Duterte’s new inventions]. Anyway, that’s an obvious diversion from his billion-peso bank accounts that were confirmed by the Ombudsman,” Trillanes said onm Friday.
“Nonetheless, first thing on Monday, I would sign waivers for these accounts so that the AMLC (Anti-Money Laundering Council) can look into and examine them,” he said.
“Wala nang drama kasi wala akong tinatago. What about you Mr. Duterte, kailan ka magpapakalalaki at pipirma ng waivers [Stop the drama because I’m not hiding anything. What about you, Mr. Duterte, when will you man up and sign the waivers]?” added Trillanes.
AMLC: Duterte’s verbal order to release records not enough
Days before last year’s national elections, Trillanes, then a vice presidential bet, filed a plunder complaint before the Office of the Ombudsman against then presidential candidate Duterte, alleging that he had P2.4 billion worth of bank transactions.
Trillanes claimed Duterte could have amassed his alleged hidden wealth from hiring thousands of Davao City ghost employees.
He cited in his complaint the Commission on Audit’s 2015 report that there were 11,246 contractual workers in 2014, who were paid a total of P708 million and assigned to the office of the Davao mayor. The COA raised concern over the absence of documents proving that the said workers were actually performing their jobs.
After Duterte ordered the AMLC last February to produce records showing his net worth, Trillanes asked the council to release the same but the council rejected the senator’s request.
In its March 29, 2017 letter to Trillanes, the AMLC said Duterte’s verbal order was not enough for the council to release the President’s financial records.
“Without an authorized bank inquiry, the AMLC is in no position to have in its possession the bank records of, or to disclose, the bank transactions of anyone,” said AMLC officer-in-charge Mel Georgie Racela.
WATCH PTV’S INTERVIEW WITH PRESIDENT DUTERTE: