Duterte to Trillanes: I will subpoena your mother

Pia Ranada
(UPDATED) 'Mahirap dito kay Duterte, hindi lang ako kaya, kaya ang Nanay kong may sakit ang pinagdidiskitahan. Sige lang, do your worst while I count the days,' Senator Antonio Trillanes IV says in response to the threat

CRITIC. Senator Antonio Trillanes IV is again mentioned by President Rodrigo Duterte in his speech. File photo by Angie de Silva/Rappler

MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – President Rodrigo Duterte said government authorities would one day “subpoena” Senator Antonio Trillanes IV’s 84-year-old mother for her supposed suspicious dealings with the Philippine Navy as a supplier.

Sumobra ka. We will initiate an investigation kagaya mo and I will subpoena your mother sa ayaw mo at sa hindi,” Duterte said on Tuesday, February 26. 

(You went overboard. We will initiate an investigation like you and I will subpoena your mother whether you like it or not.)

Baka sabihin mo walang power (Maybe you will say we have no power). There is. We also have the contempt power but we have to go to court,” the President added.

Duterte was speaking at the general assembly of the League of Municipalities of the Philippines.

The President had first floated his accusations against Trillanes’ mother, Estelita, back in September 2018, at the height of public outrage over his attempt to revoke Trillanes’ amnesty and put the senator behind bars through a proclamation.

Trillanes had told Duterte to keep his mother out of their fight, saying she suffered from advanced Parkinson’s disease. Trillanes’ father died in 1998.

Duterte had said before that he was investigating Trillanes’ parents. 

“We are investigating ‘yung mga deals sa panahon ng tatay pati nanay niya. You can be very sure na lalabas lahat ‘yan,” the President said back in November 2018.

(We are investigating the deals during the time of his father and mother. You can be very sure it will all come out.) 

Duterte has so far failed to jail Trillanes after issuing his Proclamation No. 572.

Trillanes: ‘Just do it’

Responding to the threat, Trillanes said on Wednesday,  February 27, that Duterte had yet to present any evidence to back up his claim against the senator’s mother since the President first made the allegation last year.

“Since September last year, Duterte has been saying that he asked different agencies to investigate the supposed anomalous transactions of my Mother. But up to now, he has yet to show even a shred of evidence to prove his baseless allegations,” the senator said in a statement.

“Now, Duterte is threatening to subpoena my Mother. Just do it and let it be another humiliating episode for you like the fake offshore bank accounts you alleged against me,” he added.

In an interview aired on state-run PTV in 2017, Duterte alleged that Trillanes owned secret offshore accounts and even revealed the supposed account numbers in the foreign banks.

Trillanes disproved the allegation by going to the Singapore bank himself. He obtained a certification that had no account in the bank. Duterte later claimed he just “invented” the bank account number to play a trick on the senator.

“Mahirap dito kay Duterte, hindi lang ako kaya, kaya ang Nanay kong may sakit ang pinagdidiskitahan. Sige lang, do your worst while I count the days, (Duterte can’t handle me so he switched to my mother who’s sick. Go ahead, do your worst while I count the days),” Trillanes said on Wednesday. With a report from Camille Elemia/Rappler.com

Pia Ranada

Pia Ranada is a senior reporter for Rappler covering Philippine politics and environmental issues. For tips and story suggestions, email her at pia.ranada@rappler.com.