After Senator Antonio Trillanes disclosed after midnight last night to the Philippine Daily Inquirer the P2.4 billion that Rodrigo Duterte and daughter Sara amassed between 2006 and 2015 in 17 different bank accounts — courtesy of incriminating documents — what will happen next?
The following scenarios are likely to unfold fast and furious in the coming days and even well into election day on May 9:
SCENARIO 1: Duterte himself and his spokesmen will vehemently deny the latest allegation of Trillanes. Like Jojo Binay, the guy whose presidential bid is sinking as fast as a one peso coin in the murky waters of Pasig river, Duterte and his camp will likely say that Trillanes and his bombshell are part of a grand conspiracy to prevent the feisty Davao city mayor from capturing the presidency.
But like it or not, simply denouncing Trillanes and whoever is helping him gather those explosive documents simply won’t work. Duterte has to confront the allegations squarely and rebut them as convincingly and clearly as he could possibly do.
If he fails to mount a strong and convincing defense of himself and his secret multi-billion peso bank deposits, many Pinoy voters who have not really decided who to vote for president, coupled with those not firmly supporting Duterte, will likely waver and even delete him from their choices on the day of balloting.
SCENARIO 2: Trillanes — together with Mar Roxas, Grace Poe and Binay — will go all out to press him publicly to execute a waiver in bank accounts, specified in Trillanes’ documents, that will authorize concerned banks to disclose to the public all relevant information about the questioned bank accounts.
Duterte will be damned if he doesn’t provide a waiver authorizing public disclosures. Why? Because clamping down and invoking the confidentiality of his bank accounts will go a very long way in reinforcing public suspicions that he really amassed huge amounts through illegal means– probably proceeds of corruption or even bribes from criminal syndicates.
Simple common sense and logic will come into play here. If you’ve got nothing to hide and if you’re got a clear conscience, then you will readily disclose your bank accounts to the public in the interest of transparency — just like what Roxas vowed to do boldly yesterday. But if you’re hiding dark secrets, then you will resist strongly efforts to disclose your bank accounts.
Duterte will be equally damned if he opens all the questioned bank accounts. Why? Because from the Inquirer account of the salient highlights of the Trillanes documents, it appears that the documents came from the relevant banks themselves, not officially, but presumably leaked out by some bank staff who fear a Duterte presidency and the likely disaster that it will bring to all Pinoys. The fact that the Trillanes documents presented in great detail the different deposits and other transactions in those accounts will give the impression that they are either bank records themselves or culled from bank records.
SCENARIO 3: Trillanes — the intrepid and patriotic fighter that he is — may ask the Ombudsman to conduct an immediate investigation into the monetary affairs of Duterte and even his daughter Sara who once served as mayor of Davao. Corruption is corruption, and officials who fail to explain unexplained wealth well beyond their legal earnings can and need to be prosecuted under different anti-corruption laws of the land.
The incriminating documents now in the possession of Trillanes can well serve as an excellent starting point for Ombudsman investigators to probe into Duterte father and son’s financial affairs, specifically how they amassed P2.4 billion and where it came from. The Ombudsman can certainly ask the concerned banks to provide the anti-graft body with documents relating to Duterte’s bank accounts. Eventually, Ombudsman investigators will know the full extent of multi-million deposits into Duterte’s accounts and other transactions involving those accounts.
Just like what the Ombudsman has done in the case of Binay, if it gathers enough evidence against the Dutertes pointing to violations of different corruption laws, then it can eventually file a formal corruption complaint with the Sandiganbayan for prosecution.
SCENARIO 3: The indefatigable Trillanes may ask the Anti Money Laundering Council to look at the money transfers into the 17 bank accounts of Duterte father and daughter. Suspicious money transfers using banks and other financial institutions involving monies of questionable origin and destination may well be regarded as money laundering, specially if there are indications or even possibility of criminal activities or corruption.
A case in point here is what the AMLAC did with Binay and his close associates. The council asked different banks to furnish it with detailed records of bank accounts of Binay and his close associates. As a result, AMLAC froze about 200 bank accounts identified with Binay and his associates. The council also revealed its findings which showed unexplained billions of pesos that passed through their bank accounts, several billion of which were remitted to mysteriouis parties in Canada.
Binay is currently vice president, the second highest official in the land. Yet, he was subjected to parallel AMLAC and Ombudsman investigations. Corruption and other cases had been filed by the Ombudsman with the Sandiganbayan. Binay’s immunity from criminal prosecution when his term as vice president ends. Judgment time is fast approaching for Rambotito, the unano version of macho Rambo.
If the vice president was subjected to AMLAC and Ombudsman probes, a city mayor, like Duterte, will certainly be an ordinary course of business for both agencies.
And what if Duterte wins as president? Well, the Ombudsman’s office is independent from the President’s office. The Ombudsman has amply shown that she fears no one –not the vice president or senior senators still under detention. The Ombudsman can well continue its investigation. The only downside is it can’t recommend prosecution to the Sandiganbayan against a sitting president and vice president.
SCENARIO 4: All media — traditional and social — will be in frenzy over this huge money scandal involving Duterte. This will prove to be the hottest and juiciest news from today until election day! Different angles to this scandalous story will be pursued by journalists, political analysts and other pundits.
SCENARIO 5: Magpahanap ng mangkukulam si Duterte para palakihin ang tiyan ni Trillanes o mga paa niya dahil sa galit niya sa senador! he he . . . . In response, the senator who seldom smiles will certainly look for kontra kulam. . . he he … commercial lang po!
For more information about the Trillanes papers and his disclosure, please check the Inquirer web link below:
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