April 27, 2016

[Php 211 M Issue] Mayor Duterte, please don’t make us vote for Miriam… or Señeres

Psst! Mayor, ’wag ka namang #Paasa. We need something better than "Pulitika lang 'yan!".

Last night, Senator Antonio Trillanes said you didn’t declare P211 million in your 2015 SALN [Inquirer], an amount that is manifestly out of proportion to your salary as a Davao Mayor and immensely exceeds your usual annual SALN declarations. This is alarming because after all, former Chief Justice Renato Corona was impeached under similar grounds [Inquirer].

Lolo Digong, I know that you know that RA 1379 or the Civil Forfeiture Act [DOLE] mandates that all wealth that is manifestly out of proportion to a public official’s lawful income is presumed to be ill-gotten.

So yes, for a man who topped the surveys for not having a single political corruption issue, this is a big deal with respect not only to your presidential ambitions, but also to my hopes for our countrymen.

Yes, Trillanes’ claim is backed solely by a flimsily-prepared spreadsheet containing bank transaction information, as his credibility word has pretty much gone down the drain simply because he talks too much. However, the fact remains that we still have to, at the least, hear something from your camp to refute Trillanes’ accusation.

alleged transactions

Duterte Camp cries Black Prop

Your camp swiftly issued a reply at the break of dawn.

“The allegation is clearly a desperate ploy to bring down Mayor Duterte,” said Senator Alan Peter Cayetano this morning, in response to the accusation [GMANews].

Meanwhile, you (Duterte) said, “The account is not true and is just a fabrication…” [Inquirer]

“I will not play into their hands by issuing a waiver. The account is nonexistent,” you added.

Everyone knows that you are not exactly a bastion of eloquence, so I had to refer to your spokesman, Mr. Peter Tiu Laviña, for a more substantial reply.

Laviña said, “Sorry, we cannot comment until we see it, but now I can tell you it’s a lie, a fabrication and black propaganda. Documents can be fabricated.” [Inquirer]

Cayetano (L) and Laviña (R)
The Duterte-Cayetano camp’s reply can be summarized into two points:

  1. “Those are lies.” Full stop.
  2. “That’s just politicking.” Full Stop.

Now, this is where it gets messy.

Under normal circumstances, those two reasons are good enough for me. However, events of the past couple of months has raised my standards, and it’s because of you.

Visayas Presidential Debates

Let me quickly summarize the situation:
First: I cannot just take Trillanes’ word for it. That coup plotter has to provide more credible evidence to assert his claim. An actual passbook perhaps? Or a bank certificate? Something of that sort.

Second: Bank documents are covered by the bank secrecy law (RA 1405) [PDIC]. There is no legal way to further inquire into that account. Trillanes may have already broken that law for releasing that document, but that’s beside the point.

Third: I understand that RA 1405 accords you with the privilege to withhold bank information, but I can still vividly remember my admiration for you when you courageously dared your fellow presidentiables to sign a bank secrecy waiver before and during the Visayas Presidential Debates [Philstar]. And when you signed that document yourself [Rappler].

Despite the signed waiver, why can’t Trillanes pry further? Maybe it exists, maybe it does not, but the fact remains that you declared in March that you will open your accounts for everyone to see.

Pledge vs Waiver

I gave you tons of pogi points when you signed that March waiver, as it was to my understanding that signing that March waiver allows anyone to pry into any of your accounts, reinforcing our hopes that you got nothing to hide.

However, after some inspection of the document, I noticed something in the part that states, “[The undersigned] pledge to open all our bank accounts…”

The operative word in the document is “pledge” which means “a serious promise to do something” [MW]. I am no legal heavyweight, but that based on its plain wording, that document is not a waiver in itself. Instead, it’s just a promise to sign a waiver. And now that here’s someone who actually wants a waiver and you refuse to provide it.

Again, that's not a waiver. That's just a promise to sign a waiver.

For the sake of argument, let’s assume that that BPI account ending in 69539 is fictitious. If you sign a bank secrecy waiver on that account, then wouldn’t it be reasonable to conclude that the best we can find will be nothing?

I do not understand what is going on.

What sway voters want and why you should give it

As a voter, this is what a sway voter like me wants from your camp:
  1. a drastically more meaningful explanation
  2. or just sign that damn waiver.

More likely than not, you’re still pissed at Trillanes and you need time to cool down. We are most familiar with your short-term incorrigibility, especially since that incident last month [TP: Rape Joke]. But this one, if proven, may be the deal-breaker.

Of course, you can just let this bank issue run its course until it hopefully fizzles out, however, please do take the following factors in mind:

First, you may lose a large chunk of your supporters, and it may include me.

Your survey scores weren’t exactly stellar during the first months of the campaign. That is, you relied on sway voters to get your numbers up. These sway voters include me, who chose you because you’re not part of the oligarchy [TP: Oligarchy] and you have no political corruption issues [TP: Political Corruption].

Remember that the electoral battle May 9 will be an uphill climb for you: your only chance at dethroning the administration is through a landslide victory. Your lead should more than compensate for LP’s much-touted political machinery (i.e. cheating prowess).

Second, this might be an impeachment case in the making.
It’s bad enough that rumors circulate that a Robredo vice-presidency gives the LP incentive to assassinate you post-inauguration. I don’t want to vote for you just for you to get impeached on the first month. There already are too many variables to consider and we don’t really want add this on that list.

Third, of all the candidates, you are the most accountable to the common Filipino.
Many of your supporters, including me, take pride in the fact that this is the first grassroots-led presidential campaign [Philstar] since Magsaysay [Jenkins 1954]. We have spent our own hard-earned money with the sole expectation that we will be led by a leader that shows political integrity.

Yes, you don’t owe Trillanes an explanation.

However, you owe an explanation to every SM saleslady worrying about endo, every starving farmer, every crime victim, every dying Lumad, and every thinking Pinoy, who chose to give what few Emilio Aguinaldos they can spare, out of a desperate yearning for a government that will finally and truly care for them.

Ako nga, baka mawalan na ng trabaho at jowa dahil lang sa pagsuporta sa 'yo.

Huwag #Paasa Please

Mayor, we need a real explanation, because de facto silence on the matter just won’t do. No, we will not switch to Mar, Poe, or Binay: they’re a lot worse [TP: Jalosjos]. However, there are two other presidentiables left to choose from.

But please do not make us vote for Miriam Defensor-Santiago or worse, the late Roy Señeres. MDS is sickly. Señeres is dead.

You, Mayor Duterte, sold us hope, hope that we now fear may be subject to a manufacturer recall.

Nakalabas na kami sa Matrix, tapos pababalikin mo uli  kami?

Yes, that Matrix.

We have been disillusioned by this system and you woke us up. Please don’t make us go back to where we once were.

Because that will be the most cruel thing you can ever do to me and my people.

And I believe you're not the kind of man who will just let that happen.

UPDATE (1700 hrs, 27 April 2016)

Duterte's March 2016 waiver (yes, that Yao Ming-sized waiver) is admissible per the fine print, as shown below:

Veteran journalist Inday Espina Varona pointed out the potential inadmissibility of the waiver, as it was not executed under oath and was not notarized. TP consulted with a government lawyer and the lawyer cited RA 1405 Sec. 2 which reads:
SECTION 2. All deposits of whatever nature with banks or banking institutions in the Philippines including investments in bonds issued by the Government of the Philippines, its political subdivisions and its instrumentalities, are hereby considered as of an absolutely confidential nature and may not be examined, inquired or looked into by any person, government official, bureau or office, except upon written permission of the depositor, or in cases of impeachment, or upon order of a competent court in cases of bribery or dereliction of duty of public officials, or in cases where the money deposited or invested is the subject matter of the litigation.
That is, a written consent is sufficient to waive bank secrecy, i.e. notarization and oath are not necessary.

So yes, may waiver na pala. Lintik.


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