Weeks ago, when Duterte started to distance himself in surveys from the next presidential candidate, the only thing I thought that would stop him from winning is either death or corruption issues. The latter came in unexpectedly. It was also bothering because it was presented in the most simple and classic way. The way Binay was shot down to oblivion – bank accounts.
My full opinion then was for him not to take the allegations lightly and to face it squarely. An undisclosed P211 Million in bank accounts is easily a feast for his detractors. It was likewise a big concern for me. Is my candidate not the person I expect him to be? I wrote letters to his campaign manager and his close friend, Manny Pinol, urging them to answer Trillanes’s accusation. I know that if the same is not addressed, it will blow out of all proportion, and would timely cause a huge dent in his campaign. As expected, all the other candidates jump into the issue calling for disclosure. All of them knew that it was damaging.
Going into the details, Trillanes accuses that Duterte has bank accounts that hold millions of pesos. These were not revealed he said in his SALN. Under administrative laws, this is a case of dishonesty and is a ground for impeachment. Recall the case of former Chief Justice Corona. In his press conference, Trillanes presented and impressed the media and the people that the million pesos are still in deposit. In order to clear his name, Trillanes said, Duterte should issue a waiver on the accounts so that it could be opened to public scrutiny.
Duterte initially disowns Trillanes’s claim to be fabricated but later admitted the account’s existence after someone deposited P500 and confirmed it. When asked about the early denial, Cayetano said that his presidentiable was nitpicking. Late Friday, Duterte however showed reporters covering his sorties bank statements of the two (2) BPI accounts having P27,024.09 and P17,000 balances only. The exposal directly contradicts Trillanes’s expose. A Monday appointment with Duterte’s lawyer, Salvador Panelo, would open the two accounts to the public.
The question now posed is whether Duterte should stop entertaining Trillanes’s bickering. Whether the end balances already suffice the restlessness of still unsure voters. I believe so.
It is undeniable that what Trillanes did was unlawful and merited an indictment in court. Although he may claim that the information was only handed to him, but exposing it to the public makes him accessory to the crime, if not the principal at all. It will be worse for him if the data is untrue, which at this stage was already proven wrong by the end balances.
Would it be worth time to go into the trouble of looking into the past years’ transactions to know if indeed Duterte has millions in said accounts? For the regular Duterte voter, his latest disclosure is sufficient. It is enough for them that he already faced and addressed the issue.
Giving in to Trillanes’s caprices would be stooping down to his antics. It has to stop. But I also doubt if he will stop at attacking Duterte. He is fully funded and has only one mission in mind – to foil Duterte’s ascend to the presidency.
Come May 9, and the surveys say it all. It will be difficult to prevent Duterte’s rise in popularity and his taking Malacanang’s throne. Others will just have to cringe in their seats.