Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV said on Tuesday he had proven that he had no bank accounts in Singapore after visiting the city-state, debunking claims of President Rodrigo Duterte.
Trillanes went to Singapore to visit two banks and to inquire whether there were accounts under his name in the DBS Bank Alexandra branch and the Hongkong Shanghai Bank Raffles branch.
On Tuesday night, Mr. Duterte said Trillanes used the "wrong" bank account number when he checked with DBS Bank in Singapore.
He said the senator used the incorrect account No. 1780-00296-01-2 when the actual account No. was 1178-000281-60-2.
The President said he deliberately gave the wrong account number that Trillanes used to "trick" him.
"He used the wrong one, (which lacked) some numbers I had really removed. That was what came out. (So, the bank said) there was no such account," Mr. Duterte said in a live interview with broadcaster Erwin Tulfo on government-run PTV 4.
"He used the fake one. I just thought that I should remove some of the numbers so that I could catch him. I invented it," the President said.
He said the correct bank account number came from a foreign government that was "angry" with Trillanes.
Responding to Mr. Duterte's remarks, Trillanes said: "It's a good thing he admitted he was a liar. To begin with, he won based on propaganda and lies. I hope people would now realise that they were fooled and continue to be fooled by Duterte."
Based on documents provided in the blogs of Tulfo, Assistant Press Secretary Mocha Uson and the Davao Breaking News website, Trillanes was supposed to have 12 offshore bank accounts, two of which were in Singapore.
At DBS, Trillanes was supposed to have S$193,850 as of Aug. 17, and at the Hongkong Shanghai Bank, S$278,300 as of Aug. 30.
But the senator, in a statement, said bank officials in DBS told him that he had no bank account with them.
"No such bank accounts exist," Trillanes quoted the bank teller as telling him when he showed his passport and two bank accounts that Uson and the others had claimed he owned.
This was the same answer given to him by the teller when Trillanes inquired whether there were bank accounts under the names of Antonio F. Trillanes IV or Antonio F. Trillanes "either existing or closed accounts, and whether single or joint accounts in the bank."
The senator said he and a media group that covered his Singapore trip found no Hongkong Shanghai Bank Raffles branch in Singapore.
So they went to HSBC (formerly Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corp.) in Raffles City Tower but did not find it.
He also checked whether there was an HSBC branch on Raffles Boulevard but just found an automated teller machine there.
"A quick check at the HSBC Singapore website showed there is no HSBC Raffles branch," Trillanes said.
Trillanes said it was clear the President was lying and that the latter just made up the story that he had secret offshore bank accounts.
On Friday, the President, in discussing Trillanes' supposed account at the DBS bank in Singapore, mentioned that it had been closed, along with another supposed account in Zurich.
"Our providers suggested that before closing his Zurich bank account and Singapore bank account-since all of these accounts are single accounts without codepositor-additionally the information that we provided has existing slips as evidence of these two accounts and were acknowledged to be in existence," Mr. Duterte said on PTV 4.
Mr. Duterte came out with the allegation after the senator, his vocal critic since the 2016 election campaign, alleged that his son, Davao City Vice Mayor Paolo Duterte, belonged to a Chinese drug triad and supposedly had millions of pesos in his bank account.
During the campaign, Trillanes also claimed that Mr. Duterte had P2 billion in bank transactions.
Trillanes said the President made up the story that he had secret offshore bank accounts to destroy him for being his critic.
The senator said the President also wanted to divert attention from his son's alleged involvement in the illegal drug shipment at the Bureau of Customs smuggling and to his "accusation that he has billions of pesos in deposits in his Bank of Philippines accounts."
"Mr. President, you're checkmate. Don't try to make excuses. Just sign a (bank) waiver so that your loyalists would realise how corrupt you are," Trillanes said.
The senator has signed waivers allowing the Office of the Ombudsman and the Anti-Money Laundering Council to look into the offshore bank accounts that he allegedly owns.