MANILA – President Rodrigo Duterte has instructed Chief Presidential Legal Counsel Salvador Panelo to take action in response to the recent plunder allegations of former Senator Antonio Trillanes IV against him.
Duterte, undaunted by the new corruption allegations against him, said Trillanes was “all talk”.
“I leave Trillanes to you. Ikaw na ang bahala sa kaniya kung anuhin mo. Daldal nang daldal iyan, hindi naman lumaban ng debate ‘yan (It’s up to you what you want to do with him. He’s all talk but could not even fight in a debate),” he told Panelo in a pre-recorded public address broadcasted early Wednesday.
After Panelo condemned Trillanes’ “rehashed” accusation that Duterte and his former long-time adviser, Senator Christopher Lawrence Go, used their influence to snare PHP6.6 billion in government infrastructure projects, Duterte issued the order.
“Patuloy pa rin ang paninira ng taong ito at hindi yata ito titigil hangga’t ito’y… Ewan ko kung anong mangyayari dito, hanggang baka malagnat na lang ‘to sa kaniyang kasinungalingan (He continues to spread lies and it appears that he has no plan to stop until he becomes ill for making up lies),” Panelo said.
In a video posted on YouTube, Trillanes accused Duterte and Go of plundering public works contracts in the Davao region obtained by construction businesses owned by Go’s family.
He said that construction companies owned by Go’s family had secured government contracts worth up to PHP6.6 billion, including PHP1.5 billion when Duterte was still mayor of Davao City and PHP5.1 billion in the first two years of his administration.
Trillanes requested a Senate investigation into a possible conflict of interest in government contracts allegedly handed to CLTG Builders and Alfrego Builders and Suppliers in the Davao region, run by Go’s father and half-brothers.
He raised the plunder accusations after Duterte challenged Senator Emmanuel “Manny” Pacquiao to name and investigate government officials implicated in corruption.
Trillanes, Pacquiao ‘want power’
Trillanes and Pacquiao are “alike” for desiring to “hold power”, said Duterte.
“They want to, you know, hold power because they must have… May nakita siguro silang magandang oportunidad para sa kanila (Perhaps, they saw a good opportunity for them),” he said.
Trillanes previously mentioned the prospect of running for president if Vice President Maria Leonor “Leni” Robredo decides not to run in the 2022 presidential election.
Pacquiao, who was also reportedly considering seeking the highest post in the country, earned Duterte’s ire after claiming that corruption remains rampant in government.
Pacquiao accused the departments of social welfare, health, energy, and the environment of being corrupt.