Monday, May 2, 2016

The Verdict: By inference, there were substantial deposits made to Duterte's accounts.

Anything less than an absolute waiver to Duterte’s secrecy of bank deposit authorizing BPI to disclose the complete history of all of Duterte’s accounts for the year 2014, to establish the P193M deposits made on March 28, 2014, Duterte’s birthday, and the rest of P211M, and for the 9-year period before 2014, to establish the P2.4B accumulated deposits, is tantamount to admitting the accusation.

According to Trillanes, Duterte's lawyer, Sal Panelo, had only a SPA authorizing Panelo to look into, and a waiver authorizing BPI to disclose, the OUTSTANDING BALANCE of ONE of Duterte’s accounts, despite the fact that Trillanes has always claimed that Duterte has seven (7) accounts with BPI Julia Vargas branch. The authority goes further to state that BPI is authorized to disclose the balance ONLY to Panelo, not even to Trillanes, much less the public. The balance allegedly showed P17k plus.

Let us break it down. A Duterte bank account information disclosed to a Duterte surrogate? It is like Duterte showing the account to himself, and calling it transparency and disclosure. Regardless, Duterte’s legions erupt in ecstasy and call it victory. How pathetic!

It is clear that the Duterte camp is playing on the general collective credulity of Duterte’s supporters.

Again, an outstanding balance does not tell the whole story. In fact, it tells no valuable story at all that could help shed light on the controversy. If Duterte’s accounts indeed received deposits on March 28, 2014, or any date, Duterte could withdraw them just as soon as they came in. He could request a transfer of any amount, or he could do it himself if his account is enrolled online, to another person’s or persons’ account or accounts. They could also do a transfer to layers of accounts to throw any investigation off their tracks.

As if the gambit did not look stupid enough, and to top it all, Panelo claims Duterte has made a  deciding move to prove that he did not have these deposits in his account: Panelo challenges BPI to release a certification saying that Duterte NEVER HAD P211M in that ONE account.

The problem with this is it leaves BPI no choice but to certify to what the Duterte camp has always wanted the public to hear—and hopefully believe. That Duterte did not have at any one time P211M in this ONE account, period.

To demonstrate here’s what BPI is being limited do: if Duterte had P210,999,000.00 in that ONE account, BPI would issue a certification saying Duterte never had P211M in that account—it is less. If Duterte had P500M in that account BPI would also issue a certification saying Duterte never had P211M in that account—it is more. If Duterte had a consolidated balance of P1.7B in all his accounts with BPI Julia Vargas, but only P200M in that ONE account, BPI would still be forced to certify that Duterte never had P211M in that account.

In other words, the Duterte camp is hemming BPI in a situation where its answer could only be what the Duterte camp has always wanted the public to hear and believe, that is, Duterte never had P211M in that one account, as if it makes Duterte less dishonourable if he only had P200M in questionable deposits in his ONE account, or innocent, and Trillanes untruthful, if he had P500M.

Neither does it help that Duterte keeps on harping on the legality of Trillanes baring his bank records to the public, crying over his right to secrecy of bank deposit. The laws are designed to protect the innocent, not to allow one to perpetrate, or hide a crime; to promote justice, not to frustrate or defeat it. For crying out loud Duterte is running for the country’s highest office, and he complains when one controverts his claims, or when one calls his bluffs. Remember, it was he and Cayetano who paraded and flaunted to media their manifesto for transparency calling on all candidates to execute waiver to allow scrutiny of their bank accounts, and all other assets.

Duterte knows very well that the rule in public office is disclosure; secrecy the exception. As a mayor, he was already entitled to less privacy. As a presidential candidate he completely sheds off his privacy protection, although he keeps his rights, that is why he can sue. His claim to his right to privacy cannot override the right of the public, which he proposes to lead, to know everything that touches on his overall fitness to assume the highest office, especially on issues of hidden wealth, since he has always portrayed himself to be of modest means, and live a simple lifestyle.

Another thing that hurts Duterte is his legal contingents. Alvarez and Panelo blabber to the media about how Trillanes violated the law, hearsay, double hearsay, inadmissible evidence, so forth and so on. Haven’t they noticed? Neither Duterte, Alvarez, nor Panelo is in court.

Trillanes came in possession of a material information that the public has an inherent interest to know, considering that Duterte is running for president. Trillanes asserts it is his duty as a senator to take the information to the public, and he willingly took the risk and courted lawsuit. He even vowed to quit the race for the vice-presidency, and resign from senate if he is proven wrong. That shows the substance of his claims.

Why do they need to ask Trillanes to incriminate himself by signing an affidavit on who gave him the information, and how it was obtained? Trillanes may not be a lawyer, but he is not stupid, but then Trillanes did it anyway: he signed an affidavit stating who his source was and the circumstances on how the information was obtained. That puts him another base past Duterte.

Duterte should stop nitpicking and quibbling over his right to secrecy. He may sue Trillanes if he wants, but he must give the public a straight answer to dispel their doubts. Duterte might argue that the public does not believe the allegations. He must be reminded that the public is not only all of his followers who worship him regardless. There are other members of the public who clamour to get to the bottom of the controversy.

Instead of whining over privacy issues, he should bare all and finally put these issues to rest with only days to elections.

Unfortunately for the Duterte camp, the more they make the story circuitous to hide the truth, the more the people see it.

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