Malacañang maintained that the VERA Files report on President Rodrigo Duterte and his daughter Sara’s failure to disclose joint deposits and investments exceeding P100 million is purely based on “hearsay.”
“It really is improper to comment on tsismis (gossip). And they will remain tsismis until the banks attest to the truth and veracity of these statements,” said Palace Spokesperson Harry Roque in a Jan. 22 press briefing.
Both Roque and Sara, mayor of Davao City, said the story is based on the same allegations Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV had hurled at the Dutertes in the 2016 elections.
“Until now, he cannot name who provided him the data,” Sara said of Trillanes in a separate briefing in Davao City.
“Otherwise, if that is the only basis of the claim then it’s just rumor-mongering,” added Sara, who said the only time she’s bound to answer is when a case is brought against her in court.
Roque dared VERA Files to produce certified copies of the bank statements, saying it could not have obtained these confidential documents without an official request from the Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC).
“Prove first that the statements are authentic, then I will comment. For now, kwentong-kutsero (they are rumors),” Roque said.
They gave the same answers when VERA Files sought their comment on the non-disclosure of bank investments from 2006 to 2014 in their statements of assets, liabilities and net worth (SALNs). (See Duterte, Sara fail to declare P100M investments, documents say)
VERA Files’ special report, an analysis of the Duterte duo’s bank records and their SALNs, is based on the documents that Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV entered into the Senate records on Oct. 3 after delivering a privilege speech saying the president had more than P2.2 billion in questionable bank transactions.
Trillanes said the documents were AMLC records.
VERA Files filed on Oct. 23 an official request with the Office of the Senate Secretary for a copy of the bank transactions and was referred to Trillanes’ office. The document was released to VERA Files on Dec. 4.
The Office of the Ombudsman said in late September that a copy of the bank records it obtained from the AMLC “more or less” resembles what Trillanes submitted in his complaint.
A source who has knowledge of Trillanes’ and the Ombudsman’s documents told VERA Files that the bank entries found in these records are accurate.