April 28, 2016

The Duterte-Trillanes #BangkoSerye – Waiver Game – Ep. 2, Apr. 28

Last night, Duterte spokesman Peter Tiu Laviña said, “We will consult the lawyer if we will ask (Bank of the Philippine Islands) to issue a statement because no less than the name of the bank has been dragged into this. They have to issue a statement whether this is correct or not. [PhilStar]"

At this point, Duterte still refuses to sign a specific waiver for the BPI and BDO bank accounts.

Previously on the Duterte-Trillanes #BangkoSerye [TP: Episode 1 – April 27]:
  1. Trillanes said Duterte has undeclared transactions with BPI and BDO, info is incomplete.
  2. Trillanes asks Duterte to issue waiver specific to BPI and BDO accounts.
  3. Duterte spokesman denied allegations, said Trillanes’ documents are fabricated.
  4. Duterte camp declined to sign a specific waiver for those two bank accounts.
  5. One lawyer said March blanket waiver is valid, another lawyer said specificity is required.

    Now, before we go any further, let’s just be clear about a few things.

    First, Duterte has no legal obligation to answer Trillanes. However, as veteran journalist Inday Espina-Varona points out [ABSCBN], “Duterte’s strength has always been beyond legalities – why else would he keep on insisting on those kills? Bravado can be used on issues like rape jokes. One cannot fallback on that when the charge is corruption.”

    Second, assuming that the allegations are false, then it’s over. Simple as that. Now, assuming that the allegations are true, then it’s a different story. Every sway voter currently aligned with Duterte would then have to ask the question, “If we factor in this BangkoSerye issue into the greater scheme of things, what should be my optimal vote?”

    Third, I would like to categorically tell Mar Roxas that Duterte-aligned sway voters will not move to your camp. Stop deluding yourself. Mas malamang pa na kay Grace Poe or kay Miriam sila pumunta. Umatras man si Poe or Santiago, sinisigurado ko sa iyong si Señeres (RIP) ang iboboto nila.

    Feelingero much?
    SIDE NOTE: ThinkingPinoy observed that Mar-related topics trend without showing the number of tweets about it. It's always either "started trending" or "trending for X hours", suggesting that it's initiated by a large number of tweets in a short amount of time, i.e. initiated by a concerted effort, i.e. by an twitter army [TP: Internet Army].

    Anyway, let’s continue.

    Evening, April 27: Duterte Camp issues statement

    Last night, Duterte spokesman Peter Tiu Laviña said, “We will consult the lawyer if we will ask (Bank of the Philippine Islands) to issue a statement because no less than the name of the bank has been dragged into this. They have to issue a statement whether this is correct or not. [PhilStar]"

    At this point, Duterte still refuses to sign a specific waiver for the BPI and BDO bank accounts.

    Early Morning, April 28:

    Duterte said he signed a waiver for his bank accounts but it does not cover the Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI) account referred to by Trillanes [SunStar]. This is presumably because it is a joint account, which may also require a waiver from Sara Duterte.

    Duterte, however, admitted the existence of the bank account, but that it contains little money.

    "Meron ako sa BPI. Hindi ganun kalaki. Thousands lang. It could not go beyond even... Meron isa 17 (thousand), yung isa below 50 (thousand)," Duterte said [ABS-CBN].

    Veteran journalist Ellen Tordesillas released a photo of a consummated deposit slip showing a deposit of 500 pesos to Duterte’s alleged BPI account [Tordesillas].

    So yes, the BPI account Trillanes was referring to actually exists.

    Now that the BPI bank account’s existence has been established, it’s time for the Trillanes camp to prove that there’s P211 million in it at some point. But that remains to be done.

    Late Morning, April 28: Teflon Status... but...

    ThinkingPinoy, regardless of his political inclination, believes that this will not have a significant impact on voter preference for Duterte. As pointed out by De La Salle professor Julio Teehankee, Duterte has already achieved “Teflon” status.[ABSCBN].

    Teehankee says Duterte has reached a point where criticisms about him have little to no effect in voter preference

    Teflon is a non-stick coating commonly found in frying pans.

    Like this.

    Yes, among all the five candidates, Duterte still has the best chances of winning in May, but...

    This is issue may become a gigantic problem for a President Duterte after June 30th.

    If the allegations can be substantiated, Duterte may have violated RA 1379 or the Civil Forfeiture Act [DOLE], which mandates that all wealth that is manifestly out of proportion to a public official’s lawful income is presumed to be ill-gotten. That can translate into betrayal of public trust, a ground for impeachment.

    Talking about the prospect of an impeachment trial, Grace Poe adviser and Ateneo Dean Tony la Viña said:
    “This will be a lot of fun for political afficionados like me but so bad for the country. For sure, the Duterte voters will not take this standing down. Mindanawons will especially resent it, look at this as a conspiracy to stop one of our own to become president. They would feel as the poor felt when the Manila elite ousted Erap. [ABSCBN]”

    This is also alarming because SALN under-declaration got former Chief Justice Renato Corona impeached [Inquirer].

    ex-CJ Corona during the impeachment trial

    La Viña said that it’s easy to get 1/5 of the Liberal Party-dominated congress to sign an impeachment complaint and Duterte doesn’t have strong senate backing either.

    Moreover, it’s worthy to note that LP VP candidate Leni Robredo has a chance of winning the race, adding more incentive for LP to push for Duterte’s impeachment, as that would imply yet another LP President.

    Afternoon, April 28: Blanket waiver doesn't work

    Trillanes was asked why he did not use Duterte’s March blanket waiver.

    Trillanes said, “General yun eh. Ang kailangan daw ng bangko, ang tatanggapin lang nila is yung naka-address sa kanilang bangko, head office man or specific branch, tapos nakalagay pati yung mga accounts. [GMANews]”

    Asked to why Trillanes released the data just now, the senator said, “ngayon ko lang ho ito nakuha, last week lang, through my network of informants.”

    Duterte said, "I have a message for Trillanes. I have many deposits with various banks, but I will ask him to make a statement, under oath, an affidavit, as to where and how he obtained the information, and for what purpose. I will duly open it when he does [Interaksyon]".

    Asked to why he said this, Duterte said, “He's making fun of me. But I'm no pushover. Let's make this legal. Execute your affidavit and I will open it."

    Final Note

    Of course, Duterte could have just signed the waiver and get the issue over with, and that’s what ThinkingPinoy wants. But he did'nt. He added conditions for Trillanes. However, after learning a bit about Duterte’s character, he is not the kind of guy who seemingly dilly dallies for no reason.

    The question: Why did Duterte add conditions?

    So far, ThinkingPinoy sees two possibilities:

    First, the P211 million could actually have been there, so Duterte needs time to hide stuff. It’s ironic that I thought of this possibility because Mar Roxas released a melodramatic bank secrecy waiver today, when he could have, in fact, signed the waiver when Duterte dared him in March.

    SIDE NOTE: Roxas’ waiver is legally useless, as it includes the clause “for the duration of my candidacy”. The campaign period ends on May 7, or about six working days from now. It also uses his nickname and not his legal name. EPAL talaga.

    Second, the P211 million has never been there, but Duterte needs to avoid politicized scandals like this in the future. If I were a president, I don’t want to be encumbered by allegations backed solely by shoddily-prepared spreadsheets.

    It’s possible that Duterte needs additional legal ammunition against Trillanes so he can politically (not literally) eliminate Trillanes after this incident, and also to set a predecent to those who want to follow Trillanes’ footstep.

    But that, again, is speculation. (ThinkingPinoy)

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    For yesterday's episode: