Anybody with a bank account would conclude without a shadow of a doubt that Mayor Rodrigo Duterte is hiding his unexplained wealth – at least P211 million in a BPI branch, as Senator Antonio Trillanes alleged.
Look, what would you do if somebody falsely claimed that you had P100 million in your bank account, when you had much, much less?
You would log on to your online account – which most banks and depositors now use, and which I suppose Duterte does, too, to monitor his wealth from far-way Davao – download your account information, its history, and then print it out.
Or the easier way would be to go to the bank, give the teller your passbook and ask her to update it. I did this myself recently and it just took 15 minutes for the teller to post on it my transactions since I opened the account in 2011.
It’s really as easy as that to debunk a false claim that you have such amounts as this and that in your bank account.
This is no longer the era of banks keeping information about your account in brown Manila envelopes and logged manually in those thick ledger books, folks. Banks’ digital information systems are designed to produce all of the details of your bank account in nanoseconds on a computer screen or a printed page.
Duterte could just have photocopied his bank statements the day after Trillanes made the allegation, released them and in his usual vulgar way, bullied him in front of national media saying: “O, ito ang report ng bangko, ko. Kainin mo Senator Trillanes, at baka isampal ko sa iyo. [Here is my bank account report. Eat it, or I’ll slap your face with it].” He could have done this and served the Republic well by invoking Trillanes’ promise to resign as Senator if his allegations were proven wrong.
But what does Duterte do?
First, as he and his followers can manage at their best level of discourse, he calls Trillanes names: idiot, putang-ina. I don’t have an account at BPI Julia Vargas, he claims.
But when a journalist and a staff of candidate Mar Roxas proved the existence of those accounts by depositing pesos and dollars into them using the account numbers Trillanes disclosed, Duterte changes his story, and admits he has those accounts at BPI.
He actually even plays the role, really hilariously, of the ignorant “promdi,” mumbling he doesn’t know how much money he has in his account because he is confused with the zeros. But a slip of the tongue betrays his ploy, saying that Trillanes is wrong to claim he has P211 million. “I only have a little less [than that],” he says, while the recorders are rolling. A day later, realizing that he has practically admitted to having a huge loot of unexplained money, he says he is just “playing Trillanes along.”
And if he only has thousands and not tens of millions in his account, why does he have to contract one of the most expensive criminal lawyers in the country, Salvador Panelo, to make sure the bank doesn’t disclose his accounts, or if it has to, only after the elections?
Panelo has built up a reputation in the country’s legal circles as the most expensive criminal lawyer “of the last resort.” His most well known client at the moment is the Ampatuan clan, charged with the most heinous Maguindanao massacre of 58 innocent people in 2009. (Panelo claims that the massacre was committed by Ampatuan’s political rivals, so they should get the blame!)
He has also served as lawyer for Denice Cornejo, who has been accused by TV entertainer Vhong Navarro – with the full support of ABS-CBN – of kidnapping and serious physical injuries. And when no one wanted to take on the case, Panelo was the lawyer who successfully got the court to annul Jewel Lobaton’s marriage to senator Koko Pimentel.
Quite inexplicably also, it was Duterte who contracted Panelo to defend Universal Guiding Star Bus driver Daniel Espinosa, accused of criminal negligence for driving the bus that rammed the taxi carrying Malaya editor and journalism professor Chit Estela-Simbulan and killed her in 2011.
While Duterte has contracted the services of Panelo, the criminal lawyer who has been a Duterte supporter – though he is not from Davao but from Naga City – is not known to handle cases pro bono.
His acceptance fee is said to be P10 million, a veteran lawyer said, and the talk is that he asked Duterte for P20 million to handle this P211 million allegation, reportedly telling the candidate’s staff that his fee is a drop in the bucket of his overflowing campaign kitty.
It was Panelo who designed Duterte’s purported “waiver,” which turned out to be so legally convoluted that BPI lawyers said they had never seen such a “waiver” before that they now have to study it closely with their external law counsels to be sure the bank won’t be sued.
It is such legal study that would take time, as the bank could produce all the details of Duterte’s bank transactions with a few clicks on their computers, and five minutes tops to print the report out.
And how much time would BPI lawyers need to do their legal study? Seven working days, which means it would be available only after May 9. Watch Duterte declare, “Eh putangina, binigay ko na nga waiver ko, ano pa gusto nila?”
Panelo’s alleged P20 million fee for handling this controversy obviously is well-earned.
I cannot fathom why Duterte’s followers still believe this scoundrel is poor.
Appointed by the Appointed
What gives me goose pimples over candidate Duterte is his closeness to this self-proclaimed “God’s anointed” pastor Apollo Quiboloy. So close that he even recently admitted – oblivious to the law that government officials receiving gifts from private persons commit graft – that Quiboloy gifted him with three prime properties in Davao, a Nissan Safari and a Ford Expedition.
Maybe it’s just another indication of our overarching tribal ethos, as I just recently wrote about, since Quiboloy is from the foothills of Mt. Apo in Davao, and his “Kingdom of Jesus Christ, the Name Above Every Name” the biggest cult to emerge from this frontier city.
But it seems Duterte is not only being heavily funded by Quiboloy, with this cult leader’s state-of-the-art helicopters at his disposal. Quiboloy is Duterte’s spiritual adviser, which could explain how easy it was for him to joke a few months back, “Putangina, Pope, nakaka-traffic ka. Umuwi ka na.”
Religious tolerance, my foot. Quiboloy is a crackpot. Unlike most religious preachers here, Quiboloy has declared himself as the “Appointed Son of God.” His support for Duterte means he thinks the mayor is the “Appointed by the Appointed Son of God.”
Read the following quotes which are lifted verbatim from his cult’s website (kingdomofjesuschrist.com) and from his personal site (apolloquiboloy.com) and tell me if you don’t think he is nuts:
“Pastor Quiboloy is just an ordinary man like us, but he was called, he was chosen, he was anointed and appointed to become the Son of God in these last days to lead us back to the perfect will of the Father. He now reigns as the King of the New Creation, of the New Heavens and the New Earth. And in this generation, he was chosen to be the Father’s dwelling place, His Temple, and His residence here on Earth, for he overcame and was completely freed and delivered from the serpent seed.”
“When the Father called me, He isolated me in two mountains. He let me go through some spiritual experiences that I never had before. He said, ‘I’ll give to you the spirits of these ministries: the Mosaic, Solomonic and the Prophetic ministries.’
“People of the world listen to me! The Day of the Lord began on April 13. He has appointed this day to judge the world and He cannot judge the world if there is no standard.
“When I say He has appointed me to be His Son, that means that He is here living inside of me. The words I speak unto you I speak not of myself but the Father that liveth in me. Therefore, as the Appointed Son, I can say, ‘I am the way, I am the truth, I am the life, no one goes to the Father but by me.” In this ministry it is very clear where the Son is! I will point to myself as the Son! The Son is here!”
No wonder these two are very close friends. Both are megalomaniacs, one seeing himself as the “Son of God,” the other as the nation’s “Savior.”