'No obligation' to explain 6-fold increase in wealth, says Sara Duterte
COTABATO CITY, Philippines – Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte refused to explain her 6-fold increase in wealth reported by the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism (PCIJ).
"Wala kasi akong obligation na mag-explain sa PCIJ about sa income naming mag-asawa," she said on Monday, April 22, after the Hugpong ng Pagbabago rally in Cotabato City.
(I have no obligation to explain to PCIJ our income as husband and wife.)
The eldest daughter of President Rodrigo Duterte said she would only answer the accusation if a case is filed based on the PCIJ report. The report found that Sara's wealth grew 6-fold over a 10-year period, from 2007 to 2017. It cited her Statements of Assets, Liabilities, and Net Worth (SALNs) as basis.
"I suggest if PCIJ finds anything in their investigative report that is worthy of a case to file in the correct venue then that's when I will respond. But as of now, it won't end. If I answer PCIJ, I will have to answer others with questions about my SALN or questions about my income," she said.
PCIJ also found that the law firm Sara founded with her husband, lawyer Manases Carpio, is not registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).
Sara did not deny this, saying Carpio & Duterte Lawyers, is not in SEC records because "it's not a corporation."
She added that she is no longer involved with the firm.
"I last practiced law before I took my oath as mayor," she said.
Her husband, however, continues to practice as a lawyer and counts as clients big corporations with cases before government regulatory bodies. Among these is cigarette manufacturer Mighty Corporation that, in August 2017, earned the President's ire and paid P30 billion to settle a P37.88-billion tax evasion case.
While Sara wants to avoid questions about her SALN and income, the 1987 Constitution and other laws demand transparency from public officials to prevent corruption.
The SALN, in particular, is a document critical to upholding this standard for people in power. Two Supreme Court chief justices, Maria Lourdes Sereno and Renato Corona, have been ousted because of supposedly faulty or inaccurate SALNs.
PCIJ found that Sara's wealth grew over 6 times from 2007 to 2017, or the period during which she was a public official. "Sharp upticks" in the wealth of her father, President Duterte, and her brother Paolo Duterte, were also seen in the comparison of their SALNs.
The President has also refused to explain his increasing wealth, vaguely giving assurances that he would do so in "due time." Rather than respond directly to allegations, Duterte blasted PCIJ and accused reporters of accepting money to publish stories critical of him and his administration. – Rappler.com