DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 22 January) – City Mayor Sara Duterte has dismissed as “rumor” the report that she and her father, President Rodrigo Duterte, had failed to declare more than P100 million in joint deposits and investments according to the transactions made in two branches of Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI) from 2006 until 2014.
The reported bank transactions are based on the documents produced by opposition Senator Antonio Trillanes III.
“The only time that I am bound to answer is when there is a case filed,” the presidential daughter said Monday, maintaining that her camp is ready when the allegation reaches the court.
She said her lawyer will review the January 21 report of VERA Files, citing the alleged documents of Trillanes but added it was the same issue being floated by the opposition senator during the 2016 elections, except that “it’s much more – because there are speculations made in that story.”
The mayor added that they continue to question the claims and the truthfulness of the alleged documents provided by Trillanes, who had been previously asked to bare the sources of his bank documents.
“Because otherwise, if everything is just based on claims, it’s just rumormongering. And he is hiding under the cloak of parliamentary immunity to prevent us from demanding accountability from him,” Mayor Sara added.
In a briefing at the Malacañan Palace, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque challenged Trillanes to come up with certifications from the banks that the statements are authentic before the Palace would issue a comment on this accusation because “it’s really improper to comment on ‘tsismis’ (gossip) and they will remain ‘tsismis’ until the banks attest to the truth and veracity of the bank statements.”
He said bank statements are “confidential” unless requested from the Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC).
“When VERA Files asked me for my comment, how can I comment when the documents are not authenticated? The whole story hinges on bank documents which they could not have had obtained copies of,” Roque added.
Roque maintained that the President is not inclined to issue another waiver, as he already did during the 2016 elections.
“The President has said that during elections he issued a waiver. It’s there,” he said.
“I would like to underscore the fact that all these banks statements are rehashed from stories that Senator Trillanes alleged initially during elections which until today have not been proven because it is impossible to authenticate these so-called bank documents,” he added. (Antonio L. Colina IV / MindaNews)