April 30, 2016

#BangkoSerye: Sonny Trillanes and his Hacker-Friend

Whether Duterte is guilty of acquiring ill-gotten wealth or not is not the issue of this article. ThinkingPinoy has already written several articles about that [TP:Duterte].

This article is also not about the prospective libel and/or perjury charges ensuing from the BPI data leak: TP has already written about that [TP: Libel vs Perjury].

Instead, this article will try to uncover who may be behind the blatant violation of the Bank Secrecy Law. After all, the confidentiality of bank deposits is an important issue for many of us [TP: BPI], so the public deserves to know all they can about the who may be behind this crime.

Feature Image (L to R): Ellen Tordesillas, Armand Pontejos, and Sonny Trillanes

The #BangkoSerye Begins

On 27 April 2016, Senator Antonio Trillanes accused presidential candidate and Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte of amassing over P211 million in unexplained wealth. Trillanes backed up his claim by providing a spreadsheet showing multi-million-peso transactions allegedly involving a BPI joint account under Duterte and his daughter Sara [TP: Episode 1].

On 28 April 2016, veteran journalist Ellen Tordesillas released a photo of a consummated deposit slip showing a deposit of 500 pesos to Duterte’s alleged BPI account, thereby confirming the existence of the BPI Julia Vargas joint account [TP: Episode 2].

The account's existence has been proven, but whether P211 million actually entered the account is not. So regarding that, let's just wait for Monday to (hopefully) know the truth.

Trillanes consistently refuses to disclose his sources [TP: Episode 3]. On one hand, I understand that he has to protect them. On the other hand, those sources still broke the law.

Now, despite Trillanes' refusal to name his sources, let's still ask:

Who are Trillanes' sources? That is, aside from Trillanes, who else are the possible suspects?

Ellen Tordesillas dot com

So far, the most involved personalities in this issue are Trillanes and Tordesillas.

Tordesillas is a popular tabloid columnist, but I do not read tabloids so I learn about her views from her website, www.EllenTordesillas.com.

Out of curiosity, I performed a “whois” search on her domain name “ellentordesillas.com” [ICANN].

DEFINITION: WHOIS is a web protocol that is widely used for querying databases that store the registered users or assignees of an Internet resource.

This is what ThinkingPinoy got:

Tordesillas’ website name is registered under:
  • Name: Armand Pontejos
  • Company: ToolKit Inc
  • Address: Manila Luxury Condo, Pearl Drive, Pasig City
  • Phone: +63.6967186
  • Email: AGPontejos@gmail.com

So who is this Armand Pontejos?

Who is Armand Pontejos?

According to his LinkedIn account, Pontejos is the lead solutions architect of Toolkit Inc. since 2012.

A screengrab of Pontejos's LinkedIn Bio

He is also an “ethical hacker” with a certification a certain EC Council.

Dismissed Navy Lt. Arman Pontejos (Source: LinkedIn)
Googling a little further, it appears that Arman Pontejos also maintains a YouTube account containing several videos that are sympathetic to Antonio Trillanes, as show by the screenshot below:

At this point, TP has reason to believe that Pontejos is somewhat linked to the Magdalo group, so he googled a bit more.

TP discovered that Pontejos was actually among the 11 Oakwood Mutineers.

In July 2008, the Court Martial dismissed Pontejos, along with 10 other mutineers, for violating Article of War No. 96, otherwise known as “Conduct Unbecoming an Officer and a Gentleman” [PhilStar].

Pontejos was a navy lieutenant prior to the dismissal.

So, what do we have so far?

  1. Tordesillas is active in this BPI leak issue, as she herself published her “friend’s” deposit slip.
  2. Tordesillas is supported by Magdalo member Armand Pontejos who now works as an "ethical hacker". Pontejos actually has hacking skills, if his own LinkedIn profile is to be believed.
  3. Trillanes is Magdalo’s poster boy, and that Pontejos is sympathetic to Magdalo's cause.

Would this be reason enough to investigate Pontejos? That’s for the courts to decide.

However, the fact that Trillanes actually has access to Pontejos, a well-connected hacker, is something that should raise more than just a few eyebrows.

This article is not intended to show evidence of guilt. Instead, it is to give law enforcers a potential lead in relation to the BPI data leak.

As for Ellen Tordesillas, it appears that she isn't necessarily involved to this scheme.

In the interest of due diligence, that's what TP will investigate next.

UPDATE (2239 hrs, 30 April 2016)

Two hours after publishing this post, one of my readers informed me than an ICANN WHOIS search for EllenTordesillas.com now shows "whoisguard protection", i.e. the website's owner has just subscribed to a domain privacy service, as shown below:

However, another WHOIS lookup was done using the site "Who.is" and it appears that Pontejos' name is still in there.

Pontejos has also increased the privacy of his LinkedIn profile, as shown below:

ANOTHER UPDATE: 0355hrs 1 May 2016

Check the new article: #BangkoSerye: Tordesillas, Pontejos, Trillanes, and the BPI Data Leak

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