MANILA, Philippines – Presidential candidate Rodrigo Duterte wants to know why the Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC) and the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) allows military men like Senator Antonio Trillanes IV to look into people's bank accounts.
"Nasisilip ng militar, nasisilip ng malalaking tao dito sa gobyerno. Kaming maliliit wala pa rin kaming access. Magtanong kami ng ganoon, may deposito ba si Duterte? Tangina naman, mumurahin ka. Bakit itong mga militar parang sa kanila ang batas?" he said during a campaign rally in Liwasang Bonifacio, Manila on Sunday, May 1.
(The military, big people in government, can peek into accounts. Us small people don't have access until now. When we ask, does Duterte have deposits? Son of a bitch, they will curse at you. Why does the military think they own the law?)
Trillanes, a soldier turned senator now running for vice president, has accused Duterte of not declaring in his Statement of Assets, Liabilities, and Net Worth the P227 million the mayor allegedly kept in a Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI) branch.
The senator further claims that Duterte has other bank accounts through which P2.4 billion worth of transactions have been made.
Trillanes has not revealed where he got the documents he is presenting as proof of Duterte's hidden wealth. But BPI has issued a statement saying the documents did not come from them.
Following the exposé, some Duterte supporters have closed their BPI accounts fearing a similar breach. Under the Bank Secrecy Law, no authority may look into bank accounts unless they possess a court order.
But Duterte, in March, signed a manifesto where he and running mate Alan Peter Cayetano pledged "to open all our bank accounts in local and foreign currencies both here and abroad in the interest of transparency and accountability."
The manifesto further reads that Duterte "waives all [his] rights and privileges to bank secrecy under the Bank Secrecy Law."
Admits to dollar account
Duterte also admitted to having a dollar account after administration bet Manuel Roxas II was able to deposit $10 in a BPI dollar account under Duterte's and his daughter Sara's names.
"May account ako, totoo. Ang nakalagay $5,000, savings ko 'yan (It's true I have that account. What's inside is $5,000. Those are my savings)," he told the cheering crowd.
$5,000 amounts to around P235,000.
"Noong unang mga panahon, magpunta ako sa labas ng ating bayan, hindi ko ginagastos kasi hindi ako pareho sa inyo mga milyonaryo. Over the years, I accumulated. Buksan mo linte!" Duterte added.
(I used to go abroad. I would not spend that money because I am not like you millionaires. Over the years, I accumulated. Open it!)
Duterte bared the contents of his bank account at BPI Julia Vargas last April 29 by presenting to media a BPI bank statement showing the account held only P17,666.98.
However, this does not disprove Trillanes' accusation that Duterte had P227 million in 2014.
Duterte's lawyer Salvador Panelo is set to reveal more details about the bank account to Trillanes on Monday, May 2, as instructed by the Davao City mayor.
Trillanes' staff have told media that the senator will be at the BPI Julia Vargas branch at 11 am on Monday. – Rappler.com
Pia Ranada covers the Office of the President and Bangsamoro regional issues for Rappler. While helping out with desk duties, she also watches the environment sector and the local government of Quezon City. For tips or story suggestions, you can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.