IT is so astonishing that I couldn’t believe that they would try to use this trick again.
The Yellow horde has mobilized the same deception maneuver involving allegations of huge bank accounts which it used to incite outrage against Chief Justice Renato Corona in 2012, this time against President Duterte.
In 2012 during Corona’s impeachment trial, President Aquino’s close ally Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales got the Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC) executive director Vicente Aquino to give her the confidential bank records of the Chief Justice.
While hers was an investigation supposedly entirely different and unrelated to Corona’s impeachment, she reported her “findings” in the televised impeachment trial, to claim—in dramatic fashion as she waved in the air the AMLC report—that, as the screaming banner headline of the Philippine Daily Inquirer, put it, “CJ keeeping $12 M in 5 banks — Ombudsman.”
That created so much public outrage against Corona, more than sufficient for the 20 senator-judges—who had been bribed by President Aquino through the Disbursement Acceleration Plan funds—to use it as an excuse to vote Corona guilty.
After five months of nearly continuous trial, the dollar accounts had been the only remaining issue against Corona since all the seven other charges against him, even the accusation that he had 45 real estate properties or the preposterous one that he didn’t pay his taxes, were totally debunked.
However, Carpio-Morales’ claim that Corona had $12 million in 82 dollar accounts in five banks was bogus.
The Ombudsman—with the help of one Heidi Mendoza, Aquino’s operator that he placed in the Commission on Audit—added all the transactions in Corona and his family members’ accounts for nine years to come up with her $12 million figure.
To illustrate, they added a time deposit of P100,000 and its withdrawal when it was terminated to claim that Corona had P200,000. Imagine how Corona’s alleged accounts would have been multiplied many times over since he would—as any depositor would—terminate so many time deposits and open so many others in a span of nine years.
My computation based on the records Carpio-Morales released publicly showed that at most, Corona had at its peak a balance of $600,000—an amount which he could very well explain as he was a corporate lawyer before he joined government, and since the bank transactions that Carpio-Morales ‘revealed’ included those of his landed wife and children.
I was the only writer, in my Philippine Daily Inquirer column (“Colossal Deception on Corona’s assets”, May 17, 2012, PDI), to have pointed out this colossal deception, that I got worried about my sanity. In the very same opinion page, my colleagues there Randy David and Conrado de Quiros praised to high heavens Carpio-Morales for her “expose” with the former’s column titled “Ombudsman’s lantern”, and the latter, “Thank God for Conchita Carpio Morales”. My analysis would be later confirmed, after Aquino’s bribery of the impeachment was exposed, by other writers and even certified public accountants.
Alas, the Yellow Cult had such a tight grip on media in that dark era, that Carpio-Morales got away with this deception, and everyone just forgot about it. She should have been impeached and disbarred as a lawyer for making such grossly wrong accusations against Corona, who had been her friend and colleague for many years.
The Yellow-Magdalo gang is now using the same Carpio-Morales’ devious deceptive trick, with the help of the usual anti-Duterte media, in its effort to unseat Duterte.
The other day, the Internet outfit Rappler’s “banner story” in the biggest font that can be used for an Internet website read: ”AMLC’s bank records on Duterte show P1-B flow of money – Ombudsman.” The Inquirer’s headline on Corona in 2012 was “Corona has 82 dollar accounts with $10M– Ombudsman”. (Rappler was the only publication which bannered the report Duterte’s alleged bank records.)
The trick is that while in both cases what is reported are transactions, the public is led to believe that these are the amount of money (“balances” in bank lingo) they are keeping in their banks, which are much, much less than transactions. There is also that old propaganda (and advertising) device of using huge numbers that can easily be remembered: $10 million, P1 billion.
The similarity doesn’t end with the headline words or the huge figures. The P1-billion claim refers to alleged bank transactions for years, as in the scheme against Corona, since Duterte was Davao City mayor, which was for 22 years, and includes those of his wife, his three children, and son-in-law.
Of course this time, it isn’t Ombudsman Carpio-Morales accusing Duterte, or else the vile operation would be so obvious.
This time it is her Overall Deputy Ombudsman Melchor Arthur Carandang, who disclosed to media that P1-billion figure. He claimed it was based on the report of the Deputy Ombudsman for Mindanao Rodolfo Elman.
Who is Carandang? He appears to be a devotee of the Yellow Cult, together with his cousin, Aquino’s former communication officer Ricky Carandang, who I was told lobbied for his appointment. He was assistant ombudsman when Simeon Marcelo headed the agency. Marcelo has been the second top Yellow counselor, after Mar Roxas’ campaign manager Avelino (“Nonong”) Cruz.
Carandang left the Ombudsman’s office when President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo appointed Merceditas Gutierrez to the post, whom President Aquino also pushed out. He rejoined it as consultant to Carpio-Morales when she took over in 2011. Aquino in 2013 appointed him Overall Deputy Ombudsman, the highest ranking official in the agency after Carpio-Morales, leap-frogging the much-longer-serving over 24 other deputy and assistant ombudsmen.
Aquino had to vigorously defend Carandang’s appointment since he had been charged several years back with robbery and extortion, in a case that stemmed from a corruption investigation involving a finance officer of the Armed Forces of the Philippine. The case, however, was dismissed by then Quezon City Chief Prosecutor Donald Lee.
Former vice president Jejomar Binay also had claimed during the past elections that it was Carandang who headed the Ombudsman’s efforts to pin him down with hidden bank accounts and graft charges against him and his family.
To be sure, the P1 billion in money flow in Duterte and his family’s accounts that Carandang claims is so huge for somebody who was a mayor for 22 years, which if proven, would demonstrate the fact that the president was as corrupt as many — or most — mayors routinely are.
But then, if Carpio-Morales could exaggerate Corona’s money from $600,000 to $12 million, it would be a cinch for the younger Carandang to come up with P1 billion as Duterte’s wealth.
But the Yellow plot is really to force him out of office through public outrage, as the Constitution says he can’t be charged for anything while in office, and the Congress he controls won’t ever impeach him.
But do we really want at this time another political upheaval to remove a president for his alleged sins before he assumed power? Can’t they just wait a few more years, and then charge him for corruption when he leaves office?
Of course, the Yellows’ huge problem at this time is that they don’t have a venue like an impeachment trial covered by nationwide TV, as in Corona’s case.