Philippines’ Duterte asked to release bank account details to disprove allegations of ‘undeclared money’
An opposition senator pressed Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte on Thursday to publicly release details of his bank accounts to disprove allegations that he had large sums of undeclared money.
Senator Antonio Trillanes IV first alleged Duterte had unexplained wealth during the presidential campaign last year. He told a news conference he was raising the issue again because Duterte has not yet bared details of the more than 2 billion pesos (US$40 million) he allegedly kept in bank accounts as a former city mayor.
Trillanes, one of Duterte’s harshest critics and a navy officer once detained for a failed coup plot against a former president, said he would resign if Duterte can disprove the allegations.
Presidential spokesman Ernesto Abella said Duterte would not release those bank details “in response to grandstanding”, but suggested the president may do so as part of a legal process. Duterte, who took office in June, has denied amassing ill-gotten wealth.
“I know he will not release and he will not accept my challenge because it will be proven that he is really a corrupt official,” Trillanes said.
During the campaign in May, Trillanes released documents he said were handed to him by a concerned citizen purportedly showing 2.4 billion pesos flowed into Duterte’s various bank accounts from 2006 to 2015, representing alleged unexplained wealth the mayor failed to declare as required by law.
Trillanes and Duterte’s lawyer then went to a branch of the Bank of the Philippines Islands, where Duterte and his daughter allegedly had an undeclared deposit of more than 200 million pesos in a joint account.
Lawyer Salvador Panelo said that Duterte had authorised him to request the bank to open the account but that bank officials told him it would take seven days to study the request. Trillanes said the account has not been opened to scrutiny.
Duterte has projected himself as a politician who rose from poverty and still lives a modest life in a rundown house in southern Davao city, where he was a long-time mayor. He has faced criticism for his brutal crackdown on illegal drugs that has left thousands of mostly poor suspected drug users dead.