DAVAO CITY — A journalist based here is unfazed by Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV’s threat to sue him and two others for libel for publishing the senator’s “fake” bank accounts.
Ben Tesiorna said the bank transfer receipts to supposed Trillanes’ accounts in such banks as UBS Zurich, Commerzbank Zurich, Deutsche Bank Geneva and Nova Scotia Bank, which he had posted on his website “Davao Breaking News,” were authentic.
Tesiorna, who regularly contributes to CNN Philippines, said the bases of his post were original bank transfer receipts made to the accounts, but he did not say from whom he got them.
“What Senator Trillanes presented during his press conference (on Monday) were not the ones we posted on our website,” he said in a statement posted on Davao Breaking News.
“We maintain that they are all authentic,” Tesiorna said. But as to the ownership of the accounts, “that remains to be determined,” he said.
On Monday, he said he would sue Tesiorna for libel, along with Assistant Communications Secretary Mocha Uson and broadcaster Erwin Tulfo.
“Within the next few days, pa-file-an ko ng kaso sila Mr. Erwin Tulfo, Ms. Mocha Uson at Mr. Ben Tesiorna. Kakasuhan ko sila ng libel,” Trillanes said in a press conference at the Senate on Monday.
Trillanes also denied owning the accounts and issued a bank waiver opening them for scrutiny.
“The era of fake news is over. Ngayon hindi na pwede ‘yan. Hahabulin at hahabulin ko kayo every time,” he added, as he showed the media a computerized list of the supposed bank accounts.
A Google search showed that there was indeed a Bank of Nova Scotia based in Toronto and now operates as Scotiabank. It was also listed on the New York Stock Exchange with the trading code, BSN.
Tesiorna said the basis of his post were original bank transfer receipts made to the alleged Trillanes accounts although he did not say from whom he got them.
“What Senator Trillanes presented during his press conference were not the ones we posted on our website,” he said in a statement on Davao Breaking News posted on Monday.
Tesiorna said he was standing by the authenticity of the documents posted on his website.
“We maintained that they are all authentic,” he said, adding that as to the ownership of the accounts, “that remains to be determined.”
“But the fact remains that there are bank documents to prove the contention,” he added.
The posting of the bank transfer receipts was made days before President Rodrigo Duterte publicly accused Trillanes of maintaining offshore accounts.
He said in Cagayan de Oro City on Saturday that the accounts were “all over – Hong Kong, Australia, America, like that.”
“And I can’t invent… I’m coming up with Trillanes’, his bank deposits, all over. Ngayon, nakuha ko na, akala kasi niya hindi ko rin kaya eh. So, I am giving you in a few days the number of deposits that he has with his – with Chinese joint accounts,” the President said.