Nothing wrong with receiving gifts, says Duterte lawyer

ABS-CBN News

The lawyer of presidential candidate Rodrigo Duterte believes there is "nothing wrong" in receiving gifts from influential personalities, especially if there is an occasion.

"There’s nothing wrong with receiving gifts during occasions especially," said lawyer Salvador Panelo on Headstart on Wednesday.

This comes after Duterte admitted accepting several properties from Pastor Apollo Quiboloy, the head of the Davao-based Kingdom of Jesus Christ the Name Above Every Name religious group.

Panelo emphasized that Quiboloy has the prerogative to give gifts to the mayor, and that the religious leader has no relations with the government.

"Quiboloy is not even transacting anything with the government. O [ano naman] kung birthday at nagbigay?"

"Syempre depende sa capacity ng giver, kung pulubi ka lang, e 'di isang pera, malaking bagay na yun. Eh kung kasing-yaman ka naman ng isang milyonaryo e di kung bigyan ka ng regalong malaki, hindi rin kataka-taka yun," he added.

Duterte's spokesperson, Peter LaviƱa also earlier confirmed that the mayor has been using Quiboloy's private jet and helicopter.

READ: Did Duterte violate law in accepting 'birthday gift'?

Administration standard bearer Mar Roxas earlier said government officials should not receive gifts from anyone and must declare everything in their Statement of Assets, Liabilities, and Networth (SALN).

Asked why Duterte allegedly failed to declare his bank accounts with the Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI) supposedly amounting to P211-million in his SALN, Panelo said "that's another false accusation."

"Wala namang nagsasabing hindi niya dineclare. Whatever amount he has there at a particular taxable income year, dineclare nya yun," he added.

Panelo showed a document from BPI stating that Duterte has P17,000 in his account; and while he doesn't know the exact figures, he said the mayor has previously said his dollar account only had $5,000.

He said Duterte and his family have other sources of income.

"Si Duterte naman, ordinaryong mayor lamang. So kailangan mo rin ng extra income. And yung nanay ng kanyang anak, may mga negosyo."

Although Senator Antonio Trillanes claims that Duterte and his daughter Sara had bank transactions amounting to P2.407 billion in three banks from 2006 to 2015, Panelo said they are focused on belying Trillanes' allegation of P211-bank account first.

"If Trillanes is lying in this transaction, [in] these documents, then he will be lying in all," he said.