Pirma o Porma
Hundreds of protesters joined an opposition group on Saturday at the University of the Philippines Diliman challenging President Rodrigo Duterte to disprove allegations of hidden wealth.
Tindig Pilipinas is primarily composed of current and former government officials connected with the Liberal Party and the previous Aquino administration.
Group member and former Social Welfare and Development Secretary Dinky Soliman said Duterte should sign a waiver and make his bank accounts public to prove he is not hiding wealth.
Soliman added the movement is not part of a supposed destabilization plot against the administration.
“Hindi ba siya naniniwala sa Department of National Defense at sa Armed Forces of the Philippines sa ilalim ng puder niya, sinabi po na walang destabilization at wala pong kulay ito. Ito ay ordinaryong mamayang naninindigan. Oo dati akong kasama sa administrasyong Aquino pero hindi naman nawala sa pagka–Pilipino ko,” Soliman said.
[Translation: Doesn’t the President believe the Department of National Defense and the Armed Forces of the Philippines that under his administration, there is no destabilization, and this is not clouded with political color. We are ordinary citizens standing our ground. Yes, I was a part of the Aquino administration, but my sense of being a Filipino is still intact.]
Soliman’s statement came after Duterte threatened to establish a revolutionary government if alleged destabilization plots against his administration would escalate.
“I will clear the streets and I will declare all government positions vacant,” he said in a PTV4 interview that aired on Friday.
“Mas matuloy, wala na akong problema kasi habulin ko na ngayon ‘yung mga corrupt para matanggal ko. Sige, mag-demonstrate kayo, bring it to a point na talagang tatagilid ‘yung gobyerno,” he added.
[Translation: If it happens, I won’t have any problems because I’ll go after those who are corrupt and remove them. Go, demonstrate, bring it to a point that the government will tip over.]
Soliman also slammed the government for waging a witch hunt against institutions and personalities criticizing the government.
She cited as an example the impeachment case Supreme Court Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno and the President’s threats against Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales.
Issue since elections
Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV, one of Duterte’s staunchest critics, reiterated his call for the President to sign a waiver for his bank accounts.
The protesters supported the call by signing a petition board, a campaign Tindig Pilipinas said would be launched in other areas nationwide in the weeks to come.
“Pirma ka na ng waiver, tama na ang dakdak at paninindak. Pirma na, ‘wag porma,” Trillanes said.
[Translation: Sign the waiver, enough with the talk and threats. Sign now, don’t deflect.]
Trillanes and Duterte have been butting heads over the latter’s accounts since the 2016 presidential campaign, when then vice presidential candidate Trillanes said Duterte allegedly had ₱211 million in several bank accounts, which were not declared in his Statements of Assets and Liabilities.
During the campaign, Duterte revealed his bank records, which showed two BPI accounts with only ₱17,000 and around ₱24,000.
The Anti-Money Laundering Council and Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas decided not to investigate the matter further.
In February 2017, Trillanes said Duterte and his family had ₱2 billion in undeclared wealth in their bank accounts from 2006 to 2015.
By September, the Ombudsman announced it opened the probe on Duterte’s bank records, in response the plunder case filed by Trillanes.
Duterte has repeatedly denied the allegations, saying on October 1 that he will not cooperate in the Ombudsman’s investigation.
CNN Philippines Digital Producers Ver Marcelo and VJ Bacungan contributed to this report.
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