WATCH | Duterte hits back at Trillanes, calls senator 'tulisan'
The online news portal of TV5
(UPDATED: 8:00 p.m.) DAVAO CITY, Philippines - President Rodrigo Duterte has turned the tables on Senator Antonio Trillanes, calling him a 'tulisan' (thief) thriving on the "lucrative business" of using his office for retainers.
"It is known in the Senate that Trillanes uses his office to ask for retainers and that this has become a lucrative business for him," the President said in a recorded statement sent to the media on Thursday night.
He issued this statement following accusations from Trillanes that he amassed over P2 billion illegally.
While calling Trillanes' accusation a rehashed issue, Duterte challenged the senator to go to court and file the proper case. "I advise him further to stop opening his mouth when he has nothing to say anyway," he added.
On Thursday, Trillanes called a press conference to reveal supposed bank transactions across several years, when Duterte was still mayor. Unlike when he first raised this issue against Duterte when the latter was a candidate in the 2016 elections, this time Trillanes dragged in members of the President's family such as his three children and partner Cielito "Honeylet" Avancena.
Defends Sara, Honeylet
The President defended his daughter Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio, who he said had been earning as a lawyer in past years, with clients actually paying for her services, and "not from illegal retainers which Trillanes is so used to so doing."
Avanceña also has her own legitimate source of earnings since 18 years ago when she ventured into businesses -- a donut business and as meat supplier in five malls in the city.
"Trillanes, alam mo, ‘yang si Honeylet started her donut business 18 years ago. She supplies meat to five malls here in Davao, siya ‘yung nagsusupply ng karne ng baboy (Trillanes, you know, Honeylet started her donut business 18 years ago. She supplies meat to five malls here in Davao, she is the one supplying pork meat)," the President said.
Avanceña earned money through hard work and perseverance. "Hindi kagaya mo, ambisyoso (Unlike you, ambitious)," he added.
He mocked Trillanes's way of accounting for the money including even the day-to-day banking transactions of Avanceña.
"This just shows his ignorance with regard to the banking business, the people who have personal businesses," he said as he asked Trillanes not to compare his family to him. "Ngayon, kung pamilya mo gutom noon o ngayon, huwag mo kaming isali. Hindi kami kasing malas sa pamilya mo (Now if your family is hungry then and now, do not include us. We are not as unlucky as your family)," he said.
He added that they were not also poor because his father, the late Vicente Duterte, was governor (of the undivided Davao) and left them inheritance. Unlike them, Duterte said what was left with Trillanes were just "hangin at yabang".
He also labeled Trillanes as a shame, citing the failed Oakwood mutiny which the senator, then a Navy officer, led in 2003.
Dare to resign
The President is also unperturbed by Trillanes’ dare to resign, saying that he would resign immediately if Trillanes can prove his allegation that he amassed P2 billion illegally, or if the bank account under his name has a total deposit at one time of even just half a billion.
He said Trillanes is not even afraid to resign because the senator is on his last term and would have nothing to lose if he would resign from office, which explains his penchant for repeatedly daring the President to resign.
Duterte emphasized the senator has no political career after his term in office expires in less than two years.
The President labeled the issue hurled against him as "old and rehashed" and insisted he had answered the accusations during the campaign period.
During the presidential campaign of 2016, Trillanes alleged that Duterte had kept P211 million in undeclared wealth.
Duterte even challenged Trillanes then to show up at the bank and he will open his bank account that allegedly contained the P211 million on one condition: that his accuser-senator sign an affidavit and file a case against him.
Duterte dared Trillanes to present himself before officials of the BPI Julia Vargas branch where Trillanes said Duterte has bank accounts. Duterte was then represented by his legal counsel, lawyer Salvador Panelo.
Click and watch a video clip of President Duterte's reaction, below: