PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte should be given credit for being honest even if he admitted inventing the numbers of the alleged bank accounts of his political nemesis Senator Antonio Trillanes, Malacañang said Wednesday.
“Malinaw naman siya, hindi naman niya tinago ‘yun, which is to his credit. So malinaw siya kung anong paniniwalaan mo o hindi,” Presidential Spokesman Ernesto Abella said in an interview before the Senate finance committee’s budget hearing on the Presidential Communications Operations Office.
“Credit him on his sources. And he has his own internal logic. He has his own game plan and the way he [does] things. I think we should-sit’s best to see that he does his things within particular context.”
Abella insisted that “inventing” Trillanes’ alleged bank account numbers was “the President’s logic” to catch the opposition senator’s lies.
“May kanya-kanya pong style ‘yan. The President is quite unorthodox,” he said.
Asked why Duterte would be “unorthodox” when he should have been factual, Abella struggled in defending the President, saying the statement should be seen in the entirety of its “context.”
“You have to see the larger picture,” Abella said, insisting the erroneous bank account numbers were an “isolated case” and would not affect the rest of the allegations against Trillanes.
“This is a particular case, isolated case, that’s what he was saying, that he intentionally did that. First and foremost, he comes out in the open. He does not hide that, so in other words he’s quite transparent about his intentions, quite transparent about his actions,” Abella said.
“You have to understand it in context, which is like he was saying well, you have to go back to the transcript and the way he actually worded it. It wasn’t, it was, am not sure about the exact words but it was to entrap or something like that.”
On Tuesday, a DBS Bank branch in Singapore said Trillanes does not have any accounts with them, refuting the President’s claims.
Later that night, Duterte admitted that the Singapore bank account number he claimed was Senator Antonio Trillanes IV’s was a number he invented to “catch” the lie of his political nemesis.
“Gawa gawa ko lang. Imbento ko. Tinanggalan ko lang ng mga numero,” the President said.
Duterte, however, said Trillanes’ actual account number was 11780-00281-60-2 and not 1780-00296-01-2 as what he claimed, and was eventually reported and picked up by the media.
In his last PTV interview Friday night, Duterte claimed Trillanes had an account with DBS Bank in Singapore with the account number “178000296012” that he claimed had a balance of 193,000, though he did not specify the currency.
The President branded the Senator’s visit to Singapore as a “desperate” move, just to posture as a clean person.