Pres. Duterte turns table on Trillanes; calls senator ‘tulisan’

DAVAO CITY — President Rodrigo Duterte has turned the table on Senator Antonio Trillanes, calling him ‘tulisan’ (thief) alleging 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 PHP211 million illegally.

While Trillanes’ accusation is a rehashed issue, Pres. Duterte challenged Trillanes 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.

The President defended his daughter Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio, who he said has been earning as a lawyer with clients actually paying for her services and “not from illegal retainers which Trillanes is so used to so doing.”

Pres. Duterte said his partner Cielito “Honeylet” Avancena, who has been included in Trillanes’ allegations of hidden wealth, is also earning since 18 years ago when she ventured into businesses — a donut business and meat supplier in five malls in the city.

“Trillanes, alam mo, ‘yang si Honeylet started her donut business 18 years ago. She supplies meat sa five malls dito sa 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.

Pres. Duterte said Avancena has earned money through hard work and perseverance. “Hindi kagaya mo, ambisyoso (Unlike you, ambitious),” he added.

He further lashed back at Trillanes accounting of the money including even the day-to-day banking transactions of Avancena.

“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 that the senator led years ago.

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 PHP2 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 all this daring President to resign.

Pres. 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 that he had answered the accusations during the campaign period.

It may be recalled that during the presidential campaign last year, Trillanes accused that Duterte has kept PHP211 million of undeclared wealth.

Duterte even challenged Trillanes then to show up at the bank and he will open his bank account that allegedly contained the PHP211 million on one condition that his accuser 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.

He said the Julia Vargas BPI account existed — with a “little less than” PHP211 million content.

If Trillanes would sign an affidavit, Duterte vowed to open his account. Lilian Mellejor/