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Rody downplays Trillanes’ bank waiver

Duterte told reporters Tuesday night his camp is building a case against Trillanes, whom he accused of lying about bank accounts abroad. The President did not say what case they were preparing against the former Navy officer. Senate PRIB/Cesar Tomambo, File

MANILA, Philippines — President Duterte has dismissed as “useless” the waiver on bank deposits signed by Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV, saying the document does not cover the senator’s co-depositors in accounts abroad.

Duterte told reporters Tuesday night his camp is building a case against Trillanes, whom he accused of lying about bank accounts abroad. The President did not say what case they were preparing against the former Navy officer.

“He’s the one lying. Marunong eh (He’s smart). He has perfected the art of crime,” the Chief Executive said.

Trillanes earlier brought up again the issue on the alleged multimillion-peso bank accounts of Duterte and his son Davao City Vice Mayor Paolo Duterte at recent public hearings at the Senate.

He has also challenged the President to match his gesture of signing a waiver to prove once and for all he has no millions of pesos in hidden bank accounts.

Duterte, a lawyer, admitted it would be difficult to build a case against the senator due to the stringent provisions of the Bank Secrecy Law.  

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But a money-laundering case could be leveled against Trillanes based on the latter’s alleged secret bank accounts in the US, he said.

“You know Trillanes, he thinks that really people are ignorant. In all of his joint accounts, he has partners who are Chinese,” Duterte pointed out.

“So, even if he signs a waiver, if the co-signer does not, nothing will happen. And the bank would never name who is the partner. We just got them – well, a foreign government supplied that,” he added.

In the US, authorities strictly implement the law on money laundering to prevent the flow of funds to terror groups, Duterte noted.

“He got two accounts, joint accounts with Chinese. But if you file the case, if you get it really, the bank will not give you the account,” he added.

“But if you ask if he has a deposit there, they will say yes. He is a depository here – depositor, rather. And they will give you…,” Duterte said.

He said Trillanes has also been careful about depositing beyond the P500,000 per transaction limit possibly in order not to alert the Anti-Money Laundering Council.

If Trillanes wants a paper trail to pin him down, Duterte said he should “go somewhere else and fly a kite.”

“In the same manner that if he wants to get evidence, do not get it from my mouth. You must be stupid, even if it is true or false,” the President said. He added he would fall into a trap if he gives in to Trillanes’ challenge to also sign a bank waiver.

“Why would I give you the pleasure? Kung gusto siyang maghanap, ‘di maghanap siya. Bakit niya ako damayin (If he wants to look for it, look around. Why would he want me to get involved?)” he said.

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