Duterte's declared net worth was P24-M in June 2016
MANILA - President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday said he is not hiding his wealth from the public, adding he can be shot if his wealth turns out to be beyond P40 million.
Duterte has been accused by Senator Antonio Trillanes IV and other critics of hiding wealth from the public, after an official at the Office of the Ombudsman claimed to have gotten hold of records of bank transactions of the President and his family that ran into hundreds of millions of pesos.
In a speech in the war-torn city of Marawi on Monday, the President said he is willing to “produce” his account to prove that his wealth does not exceed P40 million.
“It could not be more than P40 million. It is a lifetime saving. Seventy-two [na] ako. I started to work when I was 27. Naging prosecutor ako. Pati kasali ang mga minana kong lupa. You can shoot me. You can overthrow me if you want kapag sumbobra ako doon,” he said.
“I promise you now in front of the soldiers and everybody: I will produce that account at sinasabi ko sa inyo, you can shoot me if it exceeds 40 million (pesos). Lifetime na iyan na savings ko. Hindi sosobra iyan, sigurado,” he added.
The President declared total assets less total liabilities of P27,428,862.44 as of end-2016, or an increase of over P3.3 million (14 percent) from the P24,080,094.04 he declared in June 2016.
Duterte has criticized Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales for supposedly approving an investigation into his wealth and that of his family based on a complaint filed by Trillanes.
The President again asked the chief graft buster, an appointee of his predecessor Benigno Aquino III, to resign, citing alleged widespread corruption in the anti-graft office and supposed bias against the incumbent administration.
Morales’ office recently claimed that it has started looking into the wealth of the President and his family, and that it had requested more information from the Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC).
Overall Deputy Ombudsman Arthur Carandang said the Duterte family’s transactions amounted to hundreds of millions of pesos from different banks between 2006 until 2016. He, however, clarified that it was hard to say how much the deposits were in total, since money went in and out of the accounts.
The AMLC, however, said it has not released any report to the Ombudsman as it has yet to evaluate its request for an investigation of the President's and his family's bank accounts.
Carandang’s claim prompted Trillanes and other critics to again challenge the President to sign a bank secrecy waiver to finally settle the matter. The President has repeatedly dismissed this call and claimed he has nothing to hide.
In his speech today, Duterte criticized the Ombudsman for supposedly using “illegally obtained” documents from the AMLC just to pin him down.
He added that it puzzles him how the Office of the Ombudsman obtained the AMLC documents, noting that the AMLC cannot release bank records without a court order.
"I will not obey the Ombudsman because she is corrupt and she is holding illegally obtained evidence. Hindi nila magamit sa korte ‘yan. Ninakaw eh, ng isang babae na kabit ng colonel,” Duterte said, without elaborating.
"Mag-resign muna si [Conchita] Carpio because she is corrupt at humahawak ng ebidensya na kinuha nila na walang permiso sa AMLC.”
Morales has inhibited from the case since her nephew, Manases Carpio, is the husband of the President's daughter, Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte.
The Office of the Ombudsman’s revelation prompted the President to threaten to investigate the anti-graft body for possible corruption.
Duterte, an impeachable official, also said he would not submit himself to the investigation being conducted by the anti-graft body.
In response to Duterte’s tirades, Morales said her office would not be intimidated.
Her office has also received support from Duterte’s political foes and even Integrated Bar of the Philippines President Abdiel Dan Elijah Fajardo, who said the President’s plan to set up a commission to investigate the Office of the Ombudsman was “constitutionally suspect.”
Under the Constitution, the Ombudsman is an independent body that enjoys autonomy. Its head may only be removed through impeachment.