Tugade hits ‘malicious, defamatory’ reports on his offshore investments: ‘Wala akong tinatago’
MANILA, Philippines — Department of Transportation (DOTr) Secretary Arthur Tugade has maintained transparency in his financial standing after his name was linked to an investigative report on alleged hidden offshore investments based on leaked documents.
In a statement posted on his official Facebook page on Tuesday, Tugade said his offshore investments in Solart Holdings were a “personal financial move” that was established long before he joined the government.
“Solart Holdings was organized in 2003 to hold a portion of our family’s cash assets. Having some of our family’s savings invested in Solart Holdings was our legitimate attempt to grow our financial portfolio like what any astute and judicious entrepreneurs would do to diversify their investments,” he said.
“We decided to have a portion of our savings invested outside the Philippines, which is valid and legal,” he added.
Citing leaked documents, the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism (PCIJ) reported that Tugade disclosed offshore investments worth P57 million as assets every year since 2012, “but no details about these investments have been declared, except these were acquired in 2003.”
The DOTr chief noted, however, that he has consistently been declaring these investments in his sworn Statement of Assets, Liabilities and Networth (SALN), as required of public officials.
“[It] has consistently been disclosed in my sworn SALN under ‘Personal Properties – Intangible’, particularly, as ‘Offshore Investments’ from 2012 to 2020. In the said period, the account barely moved,” he explained.
Tugade stressed that he is not hiding anything and has vowed to answer the allegations in the proper forum.
“Wala po akong tinatago (I am not hiding anything). As an appointed public servant, I have taken an oath to uphold transparency, honesty, integrity, and good governance. These are cherished values that I personally believe in, and I have made it a lifelong commitment to sustain and carry around myself,” he added.
Further, according to Tugade, he was not made aware of an interview request letter sent by PCIJ to get his side of the issue.
‘False, misleading, downright defamatory’
Meanwhile, DOTr Assistant Secretary Goddes Hope Libiran posted an open letter tagging the report as “false, misleading, and downright defamatory” and only aims to besmirch Tugade’s character, and by extension, the administration of President Rodrigo Duterte.
“We abhor the recent article published by the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism (PCIJ) and Rappler on the ‘offshore investments’ of Transportation Secretary Art Tugade,” Libiran said.
Libiran also disclosed that their group of lawyers will not take lightly the “well-oiled and orchestrated effort to malign and discredit the good image and reputation of Secretary Tugade and his family.”
“We pray that whoever or whatever entity is behind this black propaganda, is not doing this because Secretary Tugade is now perceived as a legitimate threat and a stumbling block to their political aspirations. The article is false, misleading, and downright defamatory,” the transportation communications chief said.
“Consider this as a stern warning and an assertion that our lawyers will exert all necessary effort, to the fullest extent of the law, to find those behind the malicious and irresponsible publication of this report,” Libiran added.
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