PRESIDENTIAL poll front-runner Rodrigo Duterte has failed to open his bank account with the Bank of the Philippines (BPI)-Julia Vargas branch in Pasig City, Senator Antonio Trillanes IV said on Monday.
"I submitted an affidavit but Duterte does not sign a waiver and open his bank account. What they have is the balance (of his account) but not the transaction history," Trillanes said in a statement, after his closed-door meeting with Duterte's lawyer, Salvador Panelo.
Duterte was unable to go to BPI because of his campaign sortie in Davao City, said his lawyer.
Trillanes went to BPI-Julia Vargas Avenue branch and brought with him his affidavit but still, he said, the Davao City mayor's camp did not release the transaction history of his bank account.
"Thus, Mayor Duterte is hiding something and does not likewise belie my accusation," he said.
Earlier, the senator alleged that Duterte P211-million undeclared funds in a joint account with his daughter, Sara, which he did not declare in his statement of assets, liabilities, and net worth in 2014.
He said that Duterte had bank transactions amounting to P2.406 billion in 17 accounts in three banks from 2006 to 2015.
Duterte's camp denied that he owned such account at BPI-Julia Vargas but the local chief executive later on admitted that he had bank account in the said branch.
Uncertain as to how much is in his BPI bank account, Duterte said it contains a little less than what was claimed by Trillanes.
In his affidavit sent to reporters, Trillanes said he got the information on Duterte's bank account from a certain Joseph de Mesa.
"I decided to go public with the information because I believe it is important for our people to know about the gross misrepresentation and pretentions perpetrated by Mayor Duterte that he is poor and he lives a simple life when in truth and in fact, he held bank accounts containing hundreds of millions, if not billions of pesos," the senator said.
(Video by Ruth Abbey Gita/Sunnex)
Panelo, however, downplayed Trillanes' accusation and tagged it as a "double hearsay."
"I am more convinced that the track limit (of Trillanes) is spurious and that the affidavit he presented is null," Panelo said.
Panelo told reporters that he asked BPI to provide a certification, indicating that Duterte does not have P211 million in his bank account. He, however, said that the BPI asked Duterte's camp to give it seven days to respond to their request.
"The bank asked for seven days to study the request because it has yet to study legal issues – it said that the certification (I am asking) is not standard," he said. "What is important is this: Trillanes challenged us and we accepted it and we're in fact here."
Lawyer Paola Alvarez, spokesperson of Duterte's party Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban), said Trillanes "is either fabricating evidence or had actually hack the system (of BPI)" to get the information on Duterte's bank account.
"What did Senator Trillanes commit? What crime did he commit? BPI said they did not disclose anything; there was no failure in the security. Now, the AMLC (Anti-Money Laundering Council), who also has access in the bank record, did not release any bank statement or did not release any documents," Alvarez told reporters.
"Senator Trillanes insists that his documents are valid. So how did you get that? Did you hack the system? Because if you hack the system, that's a serious offense," she added.
The camp of Duterte, Alvarez said, would specifically want to know the ties between Trillanes and a certain Armando Pontejos, whom she said is a known hacker.
"Armando Pontejos? ...He's a known hacker linked to Magdalo. They are saying he is working with Senator Trillanes. Now, if this is true that we have hackers and they are being protected by our senators, then what does that say in our system? We are not safe," she said.
"The banking system is not safe and the very people in our government who are supposed to push for the law are the ones breaking them. So this is a very serious information and serious pattern that is not limited to Mayor Duterte. That includes the ehole banking system and the whole government as well."
Despite issues thrown against Duterte, he maintained his lead in the latest Pulse Asia poll, which was conducted from April 19 to 24.
Duterte got a 33-percent voter preference rating, 11-percentage points ahead of Senator Grace Poe, whose presidential bid is endorsed and supported by Trillanes. (Sunnex)