Malacañang confident Duterte has 'substantial' evidence vs Trillanes

MANILA, Philippines – When it comes to who can provide weightier evidence against the other, President Rodrigo Duterte will have more to show than his critic Senator Antonio Trillanes IV, said Malacañang on Monday, September 11.

"I'm sure he has a higher ground," said Presidential Spokesman Ernesto Abella during a Palace news briefing.

He was asked if Duterte would be able to provide "verified" bank documents proving the existence of Trillanes' alleged offshore joint accounts with Chinese nationals in Hong Kong, Malaysia, Australia, and the United States. The President made the claim last Saturday, September 9.

Duterte also claimed Trillanes paid over 200 consultants using the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) under the Aquino administration.

Malacañang is confident that the President will come up with "substantial" evidence against the opposition senator. 

"From how I understand and know the President, he would come up with something very substantial. Exactly what I cannot say but he knows whereof he speaks," said Abella.

The presidential spokesman also toned down Duterte's threat to "destroy" Trillanes, saying the President only meant he would destroy the senator's "accusations."

Will Trillanes meet the same fate as Senator Leila de Lima who is detained over drug charges?

Abella said Duterte's only goal is to stop Trillanes from making "reckless" claims against him and his family.

"Whatever it is, he will want a stop to these apparently wanton accusations that are being recklessly cast around," said the presidential spokesman.

De Lima faced drug charges after Duterte claimed in a speech that she "facilitated" drug trafficking inside the New Bilibid Prison. The President's claims led to Congress hearings and an investigation by the justice department.

De Lima angered Duterte by beginning a probe into extrajudicial killings in Davao City.

Similarly, Trillanes has spelled trouble for Duterte ever since his accusations about the President's unexplained wealth during the 2016 elections. He angered Duterte again by claiming that the President's eldest son, Davao City Vice Mayor Paolo Duterte, is a member of a triad or organized crime syndicate.

Trillanes has denied Duterte's allegations of offshore accounts and use of DAP funds. He also vowed to sign a bank secrecy waiver to prove he has no such accounts.

The senator previously challenged Duterte to do the same to disprove claims about his alleged undeclared wealth. Instead of signing a waiver, Duterte showed only a bank document stating the remaining balance of one of his bank accounts.

Trillanes had said if Duterte had nothing to hide, he should have shown the account's transaction history. – Rappler.com

Pia Ranada

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 pia.ranada@rappler.com.

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