AFTER denying the allegations for several days, presidential candidate Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte admitted Friday he had bank accounts at the BPI Julia Vargas branch in Pasig with “a little less than P211 million”—and said he would reveal the contents of the accounts Monday.
Duterte was responding to allegations from vice presidential candidate Senator Antonio Trillanes IV that he had P211 million in a BPI account that was not declared in his statement of assets, liabilities and net worth.
“[I told them to] open it on Monday in front of Trillanes and [Duterte’s lawyer Salvador] Panelo,” said Duterte, the frontrunner in the presidential race. “Allow Panelo to explain first the legal ramifications.”
“I just want it proper. That’s the procedure. You execute an affidavit, you accuse a person then the person, if he so desires, [will show you the account]. Definitely it’s less than [P211 million],” he added.
PDP-Laban spokeswoman Paolo Alvarez denied that Duterte had anything close to P211 million.
“We will show Senator Trillanes that his accounts are wrong,” Alvarez told radio dzMM.
Calling Trillanes “the inventor of the week,” Alvarez added: “This is getting ridiculous by the day. Two days ago, Senator Trillanes accused Mayor Duterte of having an undeclared P211-million bank account. Today, he said the mayor’s accounts had P2.4 billion worth of transactions. What’s next? Mayor Duterte is behind the $81-million Bangladeshi bank heist? This is already the height of absurdity.”
Duterte added that he still wants Trillanes to execute an affidavit, but it was not clear if this would be a condition to letting BPI open his bank account for examination Monday.
The mayor defended himself against accusations that the accounts held ill-gotten wealth.
“I have an explanation for that. Not all politicians’ money is stolen money. Where did I steal? I’ve been mayor for 22 years. Have you seen any case? Ask anybody in Davao if I was I in any transaction,” Duterte said.
In the same interview, Duterte confirmed that a staunch ally of Vice President Jejomar Binay—Cavite Gov. Jonvic Remulla—has thrown his support behind him instead.
“We have forged an alliance to support each other,” Duterte said.
Administration standard bearer Manuel Roxas II said Duterte should stop peddling lies about fighting corruption and likened him to Binay, who kept deflecting questions about his alleged ill-gotten wealth.
“Mayor Duterte, time’s up. Tell the truth,” Roxas said in a press briefing at the ruling Liberal Party’s Balay headquarters in Quezon City.
In the same press briefing, Roxas waved to members of the media another validation slip whom his staff deposited with $10, which turned out to be another joint dollar account by Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte and daughter Sara Zimmerman Duterte.
In various interviews, Duterte claimed that he doesn’t have any dollar account and that he has faithfully declared everything in his SALN.
“Are you toeing the line of Vice President Binay who kept on hiding from the truth? Who kept on deflecting issues on these bank accounts? Please tell the truth, Mayor Duterte. Our countrymen expects nothing but the whole truth and nothing else,” Roxas said.
The BPI dollar account, 002434-200159-2071 was one of the seven bank accounts revealed by Trillanes recently.
Roxas said that upon checking the existence of Duterte’s alleged accounts, his staff was advised that he could not deposit pesos because the account was for dollars.
“His claim that he doesn’t have dollar accounts [is] a lie because it’s a dollar account and it’s under the name of Mayor Duterte,” Roxas said.
Roxas slammed Duterte, saying that the “waivers” whom his running mate Senator Alan Peter Cayetano peddled during the presidential debates were a farce.
“That’s only for press release. It’s useless,” Roxas said.
The Palace on Friday denied it was behind Trillanes’ expose.
“There is no truth to the allegations,” said Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr., in a text message.
Trillanes kept up the attack on Friday, saying he was validating reports that the mayor had undeclared properties as well.
He reiterated his challenge to Duterte to prove him wrong and show he did not have billions of pesos in bank transactions.
He also said the P211 million in the BPI account was just the tip of the iceberg. With Sandy Araneta
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