MANILA, Philippines – Opposition Senator Antonio Trillanes IV questioned the recent narrative of President Rodrigo Duterte about his family’s sources of wealth and pointed out its inconsistencies.
“Unang una, final na ba yan na kwento? Kasi noong kampanya ang kwento niya ay simpleng tao lang siya, anak siya ng mahirap tapos natutulog siyang nakakulambo. So ngayon binabago nya ang kwento nya na teenager pa lang sya milyonaryo na sya. So ang tanong ay final version na ba yan ng istorya nya?” Trillanes told reporters on Monday, September 25.
(First of all, is the the final story? Because during the campaign, he said he was just a simple person, he's a child of poor parents and that he slept with mosquito nets. So now, he's changing the story that he was already a millionaire in his teens. The question is: Is it the final version of his story?)
Trillanes then asked Duterte why these properties and sums of money were not declared in his Statements of Assets, Liabilities, and Net worth.
“Pero seriously speaking, kung totoo yan bakit hindi yan nakadeclare sa SALN nya at bakit ba siya nagpapauna? Ano ba yung ineexpect nya na lalabas? So yun ang mga katanungan dito.” Trillanes said.
(But seriously speaking, if it is indeed true, why is it not declared in his SALN? And why is he getting ahead? What is he expecting to come out in the open? These are the questions here.)
Duterte on Friday, September 22, said he grew up with money because of his family's real estate properties. As early as 4th year high school, Duterte said he already had P3 million but did not identify where it came from. He also said he and his 4 siblings decided to sell their inherited land to avoid conflicts.
In a video message in February, Duterte first said that his family was not poor and that his father, former Davao governor Vicente Duterte, left them an inheritance. This was in response to Trillanes’ unrelenting allegations about his billions in secret bank accounts.
Duterte’s statements were in stark contrast from his 2016 campaign speeches, where he said his family started out “poor” in Davao City, endearing him to the masses.
The senator again challenged Duterte to sign a waiver of the bank secrecy law to prove his innocence but Duterte has consistently rejected it.
The President earlier accused Trillanes of having offshore bank accounts in Singapore and other countries. The senator went to Singapore and disproved the allegations, as the supposed accounts turned out to be non-existent.
Duterte, shortly after, admitted lying about a bank account number and claimed it was meant as “bait” for the senator – something that did not make sense for his critics. (READ: Palace says Duterte lie on Trillanes bank account an 'isolated case')
Duterte's son, Davao City Vice Mayor Paolo Duterte, and son-in-law Manases Carpio are implicated in smuggling. Trillanes accused them of having millions in bank accounts but the two denied it, rejecting calls to sign waivers. – Rappler.com
Camille Elemia is Rappler's lead reporter for media, disinformation, and democracy. She won an ILO award in 2017. She received the prestigious Fulbright-Hubert Humphrey fellowship in 2019, allowing her to further study media and politics in the US. Email email@example.com