Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte yesterday refused to release details of his bank accounts to rebut allegations by an opposition senator that he has ill-gotten wealth.
Senator Antonio Trillanes had challenged Duterte to issue a waiver allowing his banks to release data from his accounts to show he was not hiding more than 2bn pesos ($40mn) in secret deposits.
But the 72-year-old president said Trillanes was “stupid” to ask him to do that and that if the senator wanted to get evidence against him, he should look on his own and not ask him.
“Why would I give you the pleasure? If you want to look for evidence, then look for it. Why drag me into it?” he said.
Duterte, who had accused Trillanes of having secret bank accounts jointly held with unidentified Chinese partners overseas, said he was collecting evidence against the senator on his own. “I had to go to lengths of pleading with contacts,” he said. Duterte said he was building a case against Trillanes and would eventually reveal the proof of the bank accounts allegedly held in Hong Kong, Malaysia, Australia and the United States.
While Trillanes has signed waivers allowing banks to disclose details of the alleged bank accounts, Duterte said the senator was fooling the public because joint accounts cannot be scrutinised without the consent of both depositors.
“Trillanes thinks that really people are ignorant,” the president said. “We are building a case (against him).”
The two politicians have been critical of each other since Duterte announced his presidential bid in 2015 and Trillanes accused him of hiding wealth allegedly amassed illegally.
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