(UPDATE 2 – 7:32 p.m.) MANILA, Philippines — Once again, President Rodrigo Duterte on Tuesday defended himself from allegations that he was hiding multi-million-peso wealth.
In his speech during the celebration of the 120th founding anniversary of the Department of Justice held at the Philippine International Convention Center in Pasay City, Duterte said he had received “substantial” share from the sale of the properties of his father, Cebu lawyer Vicente Duterte, who was a governor of the undivided Davao from 1959 to 1965.
“Let me just be clear, there’s a lot of publications about my millions. Kayong nakakilala sa akin [Those who know me] from Davao, alam ninyo ‘yan [you know that]. But you know, my father was governor when he died. At least, alam n’yang maghanap-buhay [he knew how make a living]. He had an ice plant and a lumber…Construction was booming at that time in Davao, it was a developing city. But when he died we could not agree with each other — the brothers and sisters — so we decided to sell all. ‘Yong nakuha ko [What I got was], substantial,” he said.
The President said he was giving permission to everybody to look into bank records and they would find there that he was already a millionaire even when he was still young.
“At sinabi ko [And I said]…I authorize everybody, everybody, as in everybody, to look, to dig into the…Insular Bank of Asia and America, which is the Union Bank now, you’d find there that no’ng fourth year pa kami, I had a million already. ‘Yan ang totoo [That’s the truth],” said Duterte.
Duterte said he was sorry if his less fortunate critics were jealous of what he has.
“So ‘yong naiinggit, I’m sorry if you are a son of a very poor (parent). I don’t know where you come. Kami, dumating sa Davao hirap [We were poor when we arrived in Davao]. We had to climb our way” he said.
“Kaya itong mga [That’s why these] unbelieving, pati the [including those with] dirty minds, wala akong magagawa sa inyo. Ayaw kong magyabang, pero [I can’t do anything with you. I don’t want to boast but…],” the President added.
In April 2016, before the national elections, then vice presidential candidate Antonio Trillanes IV alleged that Duterte had bank transactions amounting to P2.407 billion.
From 2006 to 2015, Duterte allegedly held seven joint accounts with his daughter, Sara Duterte-Carpio at the Bank of the Philippine Islands branch in Julia Vargas Avenue, Pasig City; nine joint accounts at the BPI Edsa Greenhills branch; and one joint account at Banco de Oro Unibank-1 in Davao City.
Trillanes claimed deposits and transfers in the three banks totaled 71, of which 48 were credit memos and 23 were inter-bank transfers, including seven deposits amounting to P193 million, which were purportedly credited to Duterte’s BPI Julia Vargas account on March 28, 2014, the 69th birthday of the then Davao mayor.
Also in April 2016, Duterte denied Trillanes’ allegation and said that “I have an account, with a little less than 200 million.”
Asked why he did not declare the P200 in his Statement of Assets, Liabilities and Net Worth, Duterte said, “I already spent it.”
But on Monday, the President denied he had over P200 million in his bank accounts.
“And even during the campaign, ‘yong P211 million, that’s a bullshit. Alam mo sa totoo lang [Honestly], I’ve given the waiver, pag tiningnan lang nila noon [had they checked it then], I said I was ready to step down,” he said.
Duterte grew richer by over P3 million since he became the highest leader of the land and by close to P27 million since 19 years ago when he was Davao City mayor.
A copy of the President’s Statement of Assets, Liabilities and Net Worth (SALN) showed that as of December 31, 2016, his declared total net worth was P27.43 million.
The figure is almost 14 percent or P3.3 million higher than the P24.08 million net worth that Duterte declared in his SALN as of June 30, 2016.
His P27.43-million net worth as of December 2016 is 2,955 percent or P26.53 million bigger than his declared total net worth of P897,792 in 1997.
His net worth last year was higher by almost 17 percent to P3.91 million than his 2015 net worth of P23.51 million.
Also, the highest growth in Duterte’s net worth since eight years ago was recorded in 2016. His net worth growth last year worth P3.91 million was much higher than his yearly average net worth growth of P1.17 million from 2009 to 2015.
The highest growth in the President’s declared net worth was recorded in 2003 at P6.51 million that was 130 percent or P3.7 million higher than his 2002 net worth of P2.83 million.
Also, his net worth significantly increased in 2008 when it jumped by almost 60 percent or 5.63 million to P15.32 million from P9.69 million in 2007.