Duterte’s bank ac­counts probed: of­fi­cial

The Myanmar Times - Weekend - - Asean Focus -

PHILIP­PINE Pres­i­dent Ro­drigo Duterte re­spects a re­ported in­ves­ti­ga­tion be­ing con­ducted by an anti-graft agency of al­le­ga­tions that he has un­de­clared wealth hid­den in bank ac­counts, his spokesman said Wed­nes­day, adding “the pres­i­dent has noth­ing to hide.”

Pres­i­den­tial spokesman Ernesto Abella is­sued the state­ment in re­ac­tion to news re­ports that the Ombudsman, a key gov­ern­ment anti-graft agency, has been look­ing into the al­le­ga­tions against Duterte since last year and has ob­tained bank records show­ing large amounts of trans­ac­tions in past years.

Duterte has de­nied any wrong­do­ing and pub­licly vowed to re­sign if any­body can prove he or any of his chil­dren were in­volved in cor­rup­tion. He won the pres­i­dency last year with a large mar­gin on a vow to erad­i­cate crime and cor­rup­tion.

The ABS-CBN TV net­work cited Deputy Ombudsman Arthur Caran­dang as say­ing that his agency has re­ceived Duterte’s bank records from be­fore he be­came pres­i­dent from 2006 to 2016 and that they show mil­lions of pe­sos be­ing trans­acted in joint ac­counts with his chil­dren.

Duterte’s bank records were pro­vided by the gov­ern­ment’s Anti-money Laun­der­ing Coun­cil, ABS-CBN quoted Caran­dang as say­ing.

“We can con­firm that we re­ceived bank trans­ac­tions from AMLC,” Caran­dang was quoted by ABS-CBN as say­ing. “There were 40 mil­lion pe­sos (K1.07 bil­lion) ... 50 mil­lion pe­sos ... there were many.”

Abella said Duterte “re­spects the in­ter­nal pro­cesses of the Of­fice of the Ombudsman as an in­de­pen­dent body and trusts its im­par­tial­ity in the con­duct of its fact-find­ing duty,” adding, “the pres­i­dent has noth­ing to hide.”

The news re­ports reignited calls by op­po­si­tion groups and a law­maker for Duterte to sign a bank se­crecy waiver to al­low in­ves­ti­ga­tors to look into his bank records.

Ear­lier this month, Duterte re­fused a de­mand by his most vo­cal critic, op­po­si­tion Sen. An­to­nio Tril­lanes IV, to pub­licly re­lease de­tails of his bank ac­counts. Duterte said, “You must be stupid . ... Why would I give you the plea­sure?”

Tril­lanes first al­leged that Duterte had un­ex­plained wealth dur­ing the pres­i­den­tial cam­paign last year. In Fe­bru­ary, he raised the is­sue again, say­ing Duterte had not yet re­vealed de­tails of more than 2 bil­lion pe­sos (US$39 mil­lion) he al­legedly kept in bank ac­counts as a for­mer city mayor.

Duterte in­ad­ver­tently brought the is­sue back into pub­lic fo­cus re­cently when he al­leged Tril­lanes has sev­eral un­de­clared joint bank ac­counts with uniden­ti­fied Chi­nese men in Hong Kong, Malaysia, Aus­tralia and the United States. Tril­lanes de­nied it and signed about a dozen waivers for au­thor­i­ties to look into the al­leged ac­counts and de­manded that Duterte do the same.

Duterte launched a per­sonal at­tack against Tril­lanes, a for­mer navy of­fi­cer once de­tained for a failed coup plot. He mocked Tril­lanes for losing the vice pres­i­den­tial race last year.

– As­so­ci­ated Press

Philip­pine Pres­i­dent Ro­drigo Duterte speaks dur­ing an event in Manila on Au­gust 2. Photo: AP

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