An earth-shaking accusation by tailender Vice-Presidential candidate Antonio Trillanes IV seemed too real, and in fact, made Rodrigo Duterte supporters hesitate their support, thinking Duterte was no different to the likes of Jejomar Binay and others.
Unfortunately for them, many of Duterte’s supporters were already forewarned of such accusations, especially because of his unshakable lead in and outside the surveys, hence the desperate smear campaign by his opponents.
It doesn’t help that Trillanes’ history of walking out, intolerance to criticism, and his other antics already besmear his reputation as a self-proclaimed investigator.
He also alleged a “small lady” that sealed the fate of the now-late Former Chief Justice Renato Corona.
And he got some Pork Barrel funds too for his trouble of indicting Corona.
People who cannot read between the lines are more likely to be swayed by Trillanes’ so-called expose. But what he forgot to take into account are the thinking voters who will not be swayed against Duterte. People of these kinds are usually condemned by anti-Duterte people by various names; Zombie, dutertards, dudirty, and more.
But why did Trillanes fail in this attempt to destroy Duterte’s capability? Let’s go back to the first time the news exploded.
Longtime friend of Duterte, Manny Piñol tells us about it.
At first glance, the allegations that leading presidential candidate Rody Duterte had P2.4-B stashed in bank accounts could be shocking.
Senator Antonio Trillanes’ “expose” is complete with transaction dates and amounts indicated up to the last decimal.
When I woke up this morning and saw the newspaper story about the alleged deposits, I immediately asked myself: “Has my friend taken me for a ride for so long?”
I know he is not that poor but why would he, in all of these years, live in that modest house in the GSIS-low-cost-housing project Doña Luisa if he had P2.4-B in the banks?
The guy is 71 years old. A few years from now, he will definitely say goodbye to this world as all of us would.
Who is he keeping the money for? Should he not even enjoy the simple luxuries of life and spend part of that money? It would have shown in his lifestyle.
But here is the catch: What could have been the source of the P2.4-B which Duterte allegedly keeps in his bank accounts?
The people of Davao City know that Duterte has been very strict when it comes to the expenditure of government funds.
I know of a lot of people who have fallen from the graces of the Mayor because of issues of money.
If this amount was earned from commissions in transactions from the Davao City government, say 10% commission, this would mean that there should have been a transaction or transactions worth at least P24-B.
Was there any transaction or transactions done by the City Government which could have allowed him to take a P2.4-B commission?
There should have been a smoke rising from somewhere.
Besides, even if it is proven that there are millions in Duterte’s bank, it has to be established that the money is the fruit of a corrupt act.
There has been no corruption allegations against him and no charges have ever been lodged against him in all of the 23 years that he has been Mayor of Davao City.
Here’s where the problem lies in Trillanes’ accusation.
1. Duterte’s lifestyle was frugal and never reached the high life.
Opting for vehicles that aren’t special, a nondescript house, maybe his big bike, and nothing else, Duterte simply cannot amass roughly 200 million pesos for his own whims. Many other people, including rival Miriam Defensor-Santiago, has testified that Duterte does not like living big, opting for basic simplicities. And that reflects to even the very food he eats.
What will he do with that amount of undeclared money? If you’re a man who have no interest in many materialistic things, that amount is something you won’t like to have in your hands. Imagine the taxes and other obligations you would have to put up with.
The Duterte family of public servants, including his feisty daughter Sara, lived under a strict code of honor that public service is not a moneymaking business, and all personal desires must be honestly earned. This is reflected by Sara’s declarations in her SALN, when she too became a target by Trillanes’ fishing expedition.
2. Why only now?
The very timing already raises alarm bells. It is known in law that putting up complaints in an opportune time is often seen as a dishonest move. Such complaints should’ve been aired at the very moment it was discovered. The complaint alleges that as early as 2014, such so-called anomalous amounts of undeclared money were already moving in it. So why wait 2 years to complain?
It cannot be forgotten Trillanes also wanted Duterte to be his running mate, only to be scorned by the latter for having too many baggage. Assuming the anomalous amount did exist, did Trillanes simply kept quiet about this information to use it later as leverage? After all, at that time, he had nothing to gain and definitely a lot to lose if he aired it at the time he wanted Duterte’s favor.
This would mean Trillanes is an opportunist and a dishonest one at that.
3. Trillanes is utterly intolerant of criticism.
When questioned, asked, or given the tough questions, Trillanes has a penchant of simply walking out, refusing what bitter words, statements or conversations there is.
2 instances cite this behavior. One was during his trial in his failed Oakwood Mutiny. The other was when he was asked about his strange expenditures for consultants and mysterious trips to China back years ago.
How do we know that when faced with statements that debunk him, he will not cower?
4. He has something to gain by destroying Duterte.
The motives by itself are already questionable. This is not your simple ‘just doing my job’ thing. The simple fact he’s not faring well in surveys at 3% already sticks out like a sore thumb, likening him to the proverbial crab pulling down anything above him to his level.
Let us continue with more of Manny Piñol’s take of the situation.
This brings us now to this shocking allegation by Trillanes.
It must be remembered that the thought of a Duterte presidency scares the Oligarchs, the super rich and the establishment.
This is a guy who wants to come to terms with the New People’s Army (NPA) which has been waging a 50-year-old insurgency in the country, a group which the administration said is enemy of the state and must be destroyed.
This is the man who says he would like to use the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) as the template for a devolution of power from the Central Government to the more autonomous Federal States to be established in the different regions of the country.
This is the maverick politician who threatens he will close Congress and declare a revolutionary government if his efforts to reform government is blocked by those who would like to hang on to status quo.
This is the hard-nosed leader who wants to reimpose the death penalty and promises to end crime, drugs and corruption during his term.
This is the pro-people leader who has promised to end contractualization and end the monopoly of the telecommunications industry by just a few corporations.
The super rich, the Oligarchs, to some extent even some of the Church leaders, the drug lords, the crime lords and the dirty politicians who have benefitted from corruption in government do not want this man to become President.
They have tried to scare the ordinary Filipino by saying that the peso sank, stock market is in jitters and that Filipinos abroad could lose jobs if Duterte becomes President.
They have accused him of involvement in drugs and of leading a crime group. Now, they want to hit him with an issue which would destroy his image of incorruptibility.
It is easy to come up with shocking revelations which could change people’s minds at the last minute.
They would like to sustain this attack until election day, never mind if the figures submitted were just fabricated. These could just be corrected later on.
What is important (for them) is that Duterte is stopped.
As things stand now, however, the masses appear to have decided to go for this man who talks the language of the poor and who carries the dreams of the neglected.
If at all, the vicious attacks against Duterte is just the last kick of a dying horse.
Alarming rise of Duterte to untouchable levels really will ruffle the feathers of those who don’t want him.
It came to a ridiculous point that it is alleged even President Benigno Aquino III will not abide by a Duterte victory. ESPECIALLY with a Bongbong Marcos vice presidency.
Unfortunately for them, vox populi, vox dei. The voice of God is the voice of the people.
It can be seen in unbelievable levels wherever Duterte goes in his rallies. All jampacked and filled to the brim. It hit critical mass in Taguig that apologies were given to residents for inadvertently causing a blockade.
And they were all organic, going to it on their own free will, without bribes nor coercion, nor trickery.
And this is why Antonio Trillanes set on a fool’s mission to destroy Rodrigo Dutere’s bid for the presidency by an attack on his already unrepentant moral ascendancy.
During the uncertainties of the veracity of Trillanes’ claims, people are shocked at how Trillanes could get bank information details with impunity, without court order or clearance from the AMLC.
This triggered massive withdrawals and account closures in BPI, citing how Trillanes could acquire information easily. The Bank Secrecy Law was put in place to prevent casing studies by unscrupulous people, a tactic often employed by kidnappers to pick wealthy targets.
This revelation alone, whether Duterte had millions of undeclared pesos or not, was enough to put Trillanes behind bars.
Duterte stuck to the protection of the Bank Secrecy Law despite signing waivers that no other presidential and vice-presidential candidates signed. But it was not a legal document to begin with, more like it was a covenant that upon signing of all bodies, a binding waiver would be then signed by all.
Trillanes then demanded Duterte to waive his bank secrecy to prove him wrong, daring he will quit the senate and his candidacy if proven wrong.
Duterte has been a prosecutor before being a mayor, and naturally, sees through the ruse of Trillanes. He knows Trillanes will exploit the situation once his waiver takes effect, and mayhem would go from there.
In response to Trillanes’ accusation, Duterte made a counter-offer to Trillanes, to put his claims, his own reputation, and his own honor on the line.
“That’s garbage. Prove it. I’ll make it difficult for Trillanes. It’s just a piece of paper. You prove it. Why will I give it to him? I’ll take the waiver and I will tell him, ‘Prove it. I will not make it easy for you. I will not play into your hands. You prove it,'”
At first, rejecting the offer, calling him a coward for hiding behind the bank secrecy law, he couldn’t do anything but comply, lest be called a liar and a black propagandist.
Trillanes also blasted Atty. Salvador Panelo in a radio interview, clearly stating he does not give regard to proper lawful procedures.
He then made more revelations, padded the 200m now to 2 billion pesos, citing more bank accounts and properties. But here’s where he made a glaring mistake.
He made the fatal mistake of dragging Sara Duterte into the revelation, who promptly told him off.
“Just file a case so we will know whether you are telling the truth or not.”
“If he has a legitimate complaint, he should file it in court so we can answer properly.”
And mistakenly cited Paolo Duterte for questionable properties… which turned out to be a distant relative and not Duterte’s son.
This would ultimately culminate the Monday showdown on May 2, at the Julia Vargas branch of the Bank of the Philippine Islands.
When the day came, supporter Robin Padilla came with many other fans to show support for Duterte, threatening to close his account at BPI, and later, making good of the threat.
Willy Ramasola couldn’t have explained it better.
Due to insistent public demand, I’m making an objective and factual story of what happened during the face-off between Trillanes and Atty. Sal Panelo, who represented Duterte, at the BPI Julia Vargas branch.
Atty. Panelo arrived at the bank first and he brought with him a Special Power of Attorney authorizing him to open Duterte’s BPI accounts and to be shown to Trillanes.
Trillanes arrived shortly thereafter and brought with him his own sworn affidavit. In that document it says Trillanes got the info from a certain Joseph de Mesa who himself claimed to also have received the bank transaction details from a close relative who works in a detective agency.
If you read Trillanes’ affidavit it doesn’t indicate there his promise to withdraw from the vice presidential race and resign as senator if he is proven wrong.
Anyway, during the face-off, Attorney Panelo asked the BPI manager if the accounts of Duterte contains Php211 Million, she said no. In fact the statement was that these accounts were never credited with deposits amounting to Php211 million since account opening date until (even) today.
When Atty. Panelo asked BPI to issue a certification to document the branch officer’s statement, he was told that BPI will study the legal aspect of such issuance because the standard certification only pertains to current account balance.
Going back to Trillanes, he wanted to check the transaction history of the account. However, since the Affidavit that he prepared was one-sided, Attorney Panelo asked him to sign another affidavit that will state that in the event the accounts indeed never contained deposits amounting to Php211Million or more at any given time since account opening, then Trillanes should subject himself to various sanctions provided by law.
Trillanes didn’t sign the document and walked out.
This comedic act of Trillanes’ folly, masked by his scorned bravado of calling Duterte a coward, seals his fate as one void of credibility.
Atty. Panelo to BPI: Meron bang amount na 200 million si Mayor Duterte? (Had Mayor Duterte ever reached 200 million in his account?)
BPI: Wala po. (He did not.)
Atty. Panelo: Eh noon meron ba? (How about before?)
BPI: Wala rin po. (Not either.)
Atty. Panelo: Nakita nyo ba ang bank history? (Did you see his banking records and history?)
BPI: Opo (Yes.)
Atty. Panelo: Oh Sen. Trillanes wala daw 200 million mula noon hanggang ngayon. Panu ba yan? (Well Sen. Trillanes he didn’t have 200 million from the past and now. What now?)
(Trillanes walks out)
(After half an hour Trillanes had an interview with Connie Sison in Balitanghali)
Trillanes: Hindi naman galing sa BPI yung documents na hawak ko. (My documents didn’t come from BPI.)
Trillanes apparently forgot the fundamentals of evidence. The story must corroborate with the objects in question. How can it be, if the bank account never reached 200 million to begin with?
The very bank Trillanes hoped to confirm his allegations threw him out to the gutter. And because of this, he walked out, for the third time.
He also refused to sign another affidavit that makes him responsible for his statements, regardless of the outcome of the investigation. All he signed is a one-sided affidavit that does not make him answerable upon discovered falsehoods, and cites questionable sources of information. What made people wonder is the fact he refused to sign another that makes him answerable should his allegations be proven false.
He already showed signs of cracking when asked about a certain Michael de Mesa, who Trillanes claimed was his source of information. More pressing then revealed that de Mesa, allegedly a disgruntled Duterte ex-supporter, heard it from another person who then passed it on to him. This information, along with its veracity, were more than questionable, as no other proofs nor testimony on de Mesa’s part were made available.
Atty. Panelo suspected something was up. Based on Trillanes’ information, the source of the so-called incriminating information is a double hearsay, which, in legalities, is anything but valid. Pressing for more information, Trillanes dodged the question.
Trillanes clearly cowed when asked to put himself on the line for his allegations. What kind of a soldier would back down from such a challenge?
Trillanes cannot accuse Duterte of doing the same as he already made actions to have his BPI account open for the interest of transparency. He has the Special Power of Attorney that would have his bank account at BPI opened. It’s BPI that stalled, and so, it’s in the bank’s hands.
He also cannot claim he gave the affidavit Duterte requested. One look and several questions later, Trillanes walked out upon scrutiny. This is a fact Trillanes continues to deny himself and kept calling Duterte a liar, when ironically, BPI made his statements utter falsehoods. How he still maintains his bleeding ego despite this humiliation is a wonder.
We can only wonder why he is not willing to commit in a legally binding document that will have him face charges should his accusations be proven false. Is that truly a man of conviction? Shouldn’t he be emboldened to sign the document if what he really held was the truth? Or was he playing safe because he knows just how cunning Duterte can be with mind games?
We can only watch the soldier-turned-senator fall from further grace to the point past redemption. Wait, we mean past damnation.