Trillanes presses Senate probe of Duterte accounts

File photos of Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV (from Philstar) and President Rodrigo Duterte (from Reuters)

MANILA, Philippines — Senator Antonio Trillanes IV continued to press the Senate on Friday to open an investigation into bank transactions that may purportedly prove ill-gotten wealth amassed by President Rodrigo Duterte.

Trillanes’ call came after Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales explained that her office had terminated its field investigation into complaints against Duterte over the bank transactions because the Anti-Money Laundering Council “declined to provide a report or confirmation on the requested vital data.”

She also stressed that such a “closed and terminated field investigation is without prejudice to the refiling of a complaint with new or additional evidence.”

Morales’ statement, issued Thursday, was in response to Solicitor General Jose Calida blasted her for not disclosing the termination of the investigation.

“Based on the statement of the Ombudsman, the only reason why the investigation against Duterte was closed, without prejudice to reopening in the future, is the refusal of AMLC to submit vital data, specifically, the detailed bank transactions of Duterte,” Trillanes said in a brief statement.

The senator also accused AMLC executive director Mel Georgie Racela, who was appointed by Duterte, of “proactively protecting his political master.”

“Now, in the interest of transparency and accountability, I am calling on the Senate Committee on Banks to conduct an inquiry so we could summon the AMLC and question the legality of its refusal to comply with the Ombudsman’s request,” he said. “Ultimately, the truth about this very important issue is stored in the data storage of AMLC and BPI (Bank of the Philippine Islands),” where Duterte’s alleged stash was purportedly deposited.