MANILA— Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade said Saturday he was no longer seeking elective office in 2022, citing the need to continue projects in his department.
Tugade, who earlier spoke of discerning whether or not to seek a Senate seat and was named in ruling party PDP-Laban's slate, said he decided not to file his certificate of candidacy for multiple reasons.
“One of which is by not filing my COC, I can emphasize that the efforts of the Department of Transportation (DOTr) in finishing projects are not, in any way, in aid of election. It is just in doing and completing what we sincerely and honestly think is good for the country, the people, and the sambayanan,” he said in a Facebook post.
Five of Tugade’s colleagues in the Cabinet— Greco Belgica of the Presidential Anti-Corruption Commission (PACC), DICT Secretary Gregorio “Gringo” Honasan II, Public Works Secretary Mark Villar, Agrarian Reform Secretary John Castriciones, and Presidential legal counsel Salvador Panelo— filed their certificates of candidacy for senator in the 2022 elections on Friday.
Malacañang said the filing of their COCs would be considered as their resignation from their Cabinet posts.
Tugade said he would stay put to complete work at his department, which handles major infrastructure projects.
“Tuloy ang trabaho sa pagtatapos ng proyekto. Tuloy ang pagtawag pansin sa mga tamang gawa. Maraming maraming salamat po sa tiwala, suporta at dasal. Sana po ay tuloy-tuloy ito hanggang matapos ang mga proyekto,” he said, addressing his supporters.
(Work continues to finish projects. We will continue to call attention to doing things right. Thank you for your support and prayers. I hope this continues until the projects are finished.)
Tugade was named in the leaked "pandora papers," which exposes secret wealth of the world's top political and business leaders, as among government officials with an offshore company.
Based on a study by the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism and Rappler, Tugade has allegedly been keeping an offshore company while in government in the last 8 years but did not declare it on his list of businesses in his statement of assets and liabilities and net worth, as required of public officials.
The documents revealed that Tugade has been listed as a director of Solart Holdings Limited, a British Virgin Islands-based firm, at least since 2007.
Tugade said his family's offshore investments were "valid and legal" and that he has been disclosing them as required since 2012.