Trillanes denies offshore accounts, vows to sign bank secrecy waiver

MANILA, Philippines – Opposition Senator Antonio Trillanes IV strongly denied having undeclared foreign accounts, saying he would immediately submit a bank secrecy waiver to prove it.

No less than President Rodrigo Duterte made the allegation against the senator, days after Trillanes accused presidential son and Davao City Vice Mayor Paolo Duterte of being a member of a "triad" or an international organized crime group.

"Sinasabi ko ni isa wala akong offshore bank account kaya nga ang waiver ang magbibigay sa kanila [ng authority] to look into [the] accounts. Ang total na inilabas nila 16 fake accounts kaya gagawa ako ng waiver sa lahat ng account na 'yun," Trillanes said in a radio interview on dzBB on Sunday, September 10.

(I'm saying that I don't have even a single offshore bank account that's why the waiver will allow them to look into the alleged accounts. They have released a total of 16 fake accounts that's why I am issuing a waiver covering all of those.)

During the 2016 campaign, Trillanes accused Duterte and his family of having billions of pesos in secret bank accounts. Duterte has refused to issue a waiver to settle the issue.

In a Senate hearing last Thursday, September 7, Trillanes also accused Paolo Duterte and presidential son-in-law Manases Carpio of having millions of pesos in bank accounts. The two also refused to sign waivers.

Unlike the President, Trillanes said he would submit a notarized waiver to the Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC) and the Office of the Ombudsman to allow scrutiny of his bank accounts.

"Ipapakita ko 'yung waiver, duly received, duly notarized para maipakita na wala akong itinatago at palalabasin ko kung gaano kasinungaling ang administrasyong ito kagaya ng ginawa nila sa kaso ni De Lima na inimbento nila. Ganito ang gagawin nila, hindi ko papayagan 'yan. Itong AMLC naman may access sila sa international accounts," he said, referring to the drug charges against detained Senator Leila de Lima.

(I will present the waiver, duly received, duly notarized to prove that I am not hiding anything and to show how big of a liar this administration is. Just like what they did with the case of De Lima, which they fabricated. This is also what they're doing to me and I won't allow that. AMLC also has access to international accounts.)

Trillanes said he would even accompany the Ombudsman's fact-finding team and the media to the respective banks to prove Duterte's supposed lies.

"Sabi ko nga, aside from sa waiver, mag-i-identify tayo ng bangko diyan. Isasama natin si Ombudsman saka mga media, papasok tayo sa bangko na 'yun. Hihingin natin 'yung bank statements kung meron. Kung wala, hihingi tayo ng certification na wala at ibabalandra ko, isasampal ko 'yan sa mukha ni Duterte," the senator said.

(As I said, aside from the waiver, we will identify banks. I will accompany the Ombudsman and the media to those banks. We will ask for bank statements, if there are any. If there are none, we will ask for certification that I don't have a bank account there, and I'll slap Duterte's face with that certification.)

Trillanes also challenged the President's camp to try to deposit at least $1 to the alleged foreign accounts to prove their existence – the same thing done during the 2016 campaign to the bank account of Duterte, who initially denied having the account but later on admitted it was his.

"Gawin nila. Puwede nilang gawin 'yun kung totoo 'yan. O tapos 'di ba may receipt 'yan, 'yung talagang alam mong pumasok doon sa account. Eh di gawin nila. Sa akin diretso na nga ito eh, 'yung AMLC talagang makakalkal 'yan, [kung] kailan binuksan 'yan, ano 'yung transaksyon diyan. Lalabas lahat 'yan," Trillanes said.

(Do it. They can do it if the accounts are authentic. There's a receipt to show if the money was really deposited into the account. Then they should do it. For me, this is already direct. I will let AMLC scrutinize that, when it was opened, what were the transactions. It will all come out.)

In a speech in a business forum in Mindanao on Saturday, September 9, Duterte claimed Trillanes has joint accounts with Chinese individuals in Hong Kong, Malaysia, Australia, and the United States.

Duterte also said he will pursue cases against Trillanes in connection with the controversial Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP). Trillanes allegedly used DAP funds to pay 200 consultants, which Duterte said is questionable. The senator has denied the allegations. –

Camille Elemia

Camille Elemia is a multimedia reporter focusing on media, technology, and disinformation.