“It’s another lie.”
This was how Senator Antonio Trillanes IV described President Rodrigo Duterte’s claims that he earned millions from his backchannel talks with China over Scarborough Shoal.
“It’s another lie, ‘di ba? Papaano ako kikita diyan, ano ba ko, senador lang ako eh, ‘di ba? Ano ako, may hawak akong deed of sale?” Trillanes said.
The senator was tapped by former Benigno Aquino III to conduct backchannel talks with China over a standoff in Scarborough Shoal in 2012.
Trillanes insisted that the backchannel negotiations was a success in easing the tension in the disputed area.
“Noong natapos yung aking backchannel negotiations, napaalis lahat yang mga barko na yan. Tatalo na lang ang naiwan na nasa labas ng Scarborough Shoal at nawala yung tension wihout surrendering even a single inch of our territory,” he said.
President Duterte accused Trillanes of accumulating millions in his foreign bank accounts when he had backchannel talks with China over Scarborough Shoal, which then led the Philippines to lose the area.
“Or otherwise, what he earned from China. He was going back and forth about 8 or 9 times to China, and then his money accumulated. That was the time that we lost Scarborough Shoal,” Mr. Duterte in his interview with Erwin Tulfo aired over PTV 4 on September 15.
Duterte added that the foreign country that gave him the details of Trillanes’ offshore bank accounts suggested that he focus on probing Trillanes’ accounts in Singapore and Zurich because he was the sole depositor of such accounts.
The President noted how the Zurich UBS account with $75,000 (P3.8 million) and the Singapore DBS account with 193,000 (no currency specified) were under the name “Antonio F. Trillanes.”
“Maybe this is the reason why he is willing to sign a bank waiver because no ‘IV’ or number IV in the name of Antonio Trillanes. But the date of birth and account owner has been confirmed,” he said.
In a statement released late in the day on September 15, Trillanes belied Duterte’s allegations.
“As I keep on stressing, AMLC (Anti-Money Laundering Council) has the power to access foreign accounts either held singly or jointly. That’s why I signed those waivers unconditionally,” Trillanes said.
“Pero iniiba na naman nya ang usapan, bakit ayaw pumirma ng waiver para malaman ang katotohanan ukol sa BPI accounts nya? At bakit wala syang imik sa pagiging myembro ni Polong sa Triad na syang dahilan kung bakit bilyon bilyong pisong shabu ang pumapasok sa ating bansa?” he said.
Trillanes also addressed the Scarborough claims.
“As for the Scarborough Shoal issue, binasura na ng Ombudsman ang kaso na yan na base lamang sa conspiracy theory ni (former Senator Juan Ponce) Enrile,” he said.