Duterte hidden wealth rap may stir investor unease


Allegations that presidential race frontrunner Rodrigo Duterte kept millions of pesos in a secret bank account could spark political unrest and unnerve investors, analysts said.

The tough-talking Davao City mayor was scheduled to make public on Monday his account with Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI), where he allegedly stashed P211 million, according to Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV, a supporter of rival presidential candidate Sen. Grace Poe.

If Duterte wins and the allegations are unresolved, Trillanes could have him impeached, plunging the country into uncertainty, said AB Capital Securities analyst Alex Tiu.

"This will send jitters to foreign investors. This will cause the market to slow down," Tiu told ANC's "Market Edge with Cathy Yang."

Investors' reaction will depend on how much information on Duterte's BPI bank account will be made public, BDO Capital and Investment Corp. President Ed Francisco said.

"If he shows the transactions, if he really shows that during the period that Trillanes is stating that he had this hundreds of millions, if there really is no balance, then that clears him," Francisco said in a separate interview.

"If he only shows the ending balance, that’s a little scary because that would lead some doubts from the voters and investors’ perspective," he added.

The hidden wealth charge came as Duterte maintained an 11-point lead over Poe in the April 19 to 24 survey by Pulse Asia and ABS-CBN.

Share prices were down 173.61 points or 2.43 percent lower to 6,985.68 at noon trading on Monday, headed towards seven straight days of losses.

Duterte faced the country's business elite last week, where he vowed to wage a "bloody" war against crime but failed to elaborate on his economic policies.