By Manny Piñol

The hosts of the popular radio talk show “Karambola” on DWIZ, Jojo Robles and Conrad Banal, yesterday quizzed me on my thoughts on the raging controversy about Rody Duterte’s alleged hundreds of millions stashed in the banks.

“Do you believe the accusations?,” they asked me and all that I could tell them was that I trusted Duterte.

Honestly, I cannot even talk about the alleged bank accounts because I have no knowledge but if the accusations by Sen. Antonio Trillanes are aimed at suggesting that Duterte is corrupt, then I could confidently say that I have never seen any display of wealth in the 24 years that I have known him.

Does he have hundreds of millions?

I doubt it very much because there is no ostentatious display of wealth.

All these years that I have known him, Duterte has been living in a low-cost housing subdivision near the public golf course where I play.

He wears simple clothes, eats in ordinary places, appreciates simple gifts from friends and leads a frugal life all these years.

There is simply no way that he has been faking everything for so long, at least for the last 24 years that I have known and befriended him.

Why does he not give in to the challenge of Trillanes to issue a bank waiver and open his accounts which he claimed keep hundreds of millions, actually P2.4-billion as of last count?

I told Jojo Robles and Conrad Banal that I trusted Duterte and I had the feeling that the reason why he appeared hedging on the challenge of Trillanes to open his bank accounts was because he wanted the Senator and all of his detractors to get in on a ride.

Duterte is a brilliant strategist.

Do not be deceived by his seemingly innocent, plain and simple language said in the thick Visayan accent.

Behind every word is a deeper meaning.

And just like Steven Seagal, he knows how to use the enemy’s strength to overpower.

I told them I trust Duterte so much that even when he talks about giving in to the Bangsamoro Basic Law, which has been received negatively by Christians in Mindanao, even when he says he will invite the New People’s Army (NPA) to join him in government and even some people doubt his capability to address crime, drugs and corruption in his first 6 months as President, I have no fear in my heart.

I trust Duterte with the future of my grandchild and children and of the millions of other Filipinos who I care so much for.

Trillanes does not know Duterte that much and he might just get a comeuppance on Monday.

In a masterful act, Duterte has placed Trillanes on a defensive when he challenged the Senator to sign an affidavit stating that he accuses the leading presidential contender of a criminal act by keeping huge sums in his bank accounts.

Duterte said he will open his bank accounts on Monday with the help of lawyer Salvador Panelo and Trillanes could take a look if he carries with him the affidavit.

“What’s with the affidavit?,” Jojo and Conrad asked.

Duterte would like Trillanes to pay for the sin of accusing him of corruption and by signing an affidavit detailing how he obtained the details of his bank account, which is a violation of the bank secrecy law, the senator could go to jail.

Without that, the best that Duterte could do is to file a libel case against Trillanes.

Yesterday, in Naga City, Duterte gave Trillanes and the Filipino people a preview of what to expect when his controversial bank accounts are opened on Monday.

He showed a certification from the BPI that his accounts indeed contain only a few thousand pesos.

This followed a statement from the BPI that the documents waved by Trillanes in accusing Duterte of stashing hundreds of millions, even billions, are not authentic bank documents.

Images of the documents were posted by TV5 reporter Jun Loyola in his Twitter account which went viral.

Now, it is Trillanes’ turn to hedge saying that he will not sign the affidavit accusing Duterte of criminal wrong-doing.

A classic case of the enemy’s strength used to overpower him, ala Steven Seagal.

That ‘s the Duterte I know, a seasoned strategist who waits for the right timing to catch his opponents off guard.

This is why I trust Duterte.



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