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