Sue Duterte, critics dared

Salvador Panelo
Salvador Panelo

OUSTED chief justice Maria Lourdes Sereno and the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism (PCIJ) should sue President Rodrigo Duterte if they think he has amassed illicit wealth, Malacanang said yesterday.

“If Atty. Sereno and the PCIJ believe that the increases relating to the President’s assets are all ill-gotten wealth, they should file the appropriate charges,” Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said in a statement.

The PCIJ had noted in a report the growing wealth of Duterte and those of his daughter Sara and sons Paolo and Sebastian.

It said it only wanted “clear, direct, straightforward replies to our queries” after its report was met with an agitated response from Duterte who made clear he had nothing to explain concerning his wealth.

Panelo meanwhile twitted Sereno for calling on the President to explain his family’s wealth when she herself was ousted as chief magistrate over a similar issue.

Sara on SALN

“Naghahanapbuhay naman  ang asawa ko, at ako.”

This is the response of Hugpong ng Pagbabago chairman and founder Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte to the critics attacking her and her family over their wealth.

Mayor Duterte told the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism (PCIJ) that their businesses are all registered, legal and declared in her Statement of Assets, Liabilities and Networth (SALN).

“Alam mo naghahanap buhay naman kasi yung asawa ko, ako and of course merong mga businesses. Nandyan naman yan lahat sa SALN namin so hindi naman pwede na kung ano yung pera namin 10 years, 5 years ago ay yun pa rin yung pera namin ngayon. may hanapbuhay po kami,” she said in an interview before proceeding to the campaign sortie here.

In a previous interview, Mayor Duterte refused to comment on the SALN because she wanted to read first all the reports of the PCIJ.

However, yesterday she decided to respond because she said she and her family is not hiding anything about their wealth.

“Hindi ko pa nakita, hindi pa nabasa  yung full part, first part ng report lang so it’s consisting of three parts so inaantay ko na mabasa ko yung buo yung tatlong parts before I will decide to comment. Pero pwede nang mag-comment diyan,” she said.

“ Yung mga businesses namin, yes at lahat yun nasa SALN that’s why hindi ako sumasagot sa PCIJ kasi sa first report pa lang nakita ko na nandun naman lahat sa SALN yung tinatanong nila,” she added.

In the first part of its report, the PCIJ noted that across the 10-year period from 2007, the wealth of prominent members of the Duterte family who are currently in public office “have all consistently grown richer over the years, even on the modest salaries they have received for various public posts, and despite the negligible retained earnings reflected in the financial statements of the companies they own or co-own.”

The Presidential daughter’s assets, according to the PCIJ report, grew more than six times. In 2017, Mayor Duterte’s net worth registered a 28.45 percent increase and climbed to P44.83 million from the previous P34.89 million in 2016.

The President’s son also experienced a second upsurge in his net worth in 2017, the PCIJ noted, rising to P27.74 million from P19.84 million in 2016.

Mayor Duterte, who is married to Atty. Manases Carpio, is seeking reelection as Davao City Mayor while her brother Paolo is running for the city’s first district representative.