Tugade’s offshore investments are legal and declared in SALN – Larry Gadon
MANILA, Philippines — The offshore investments of Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade are legal and were declared in his statement of assets, liabilities, and net worth (SALN) when he entered government service in 2020 — contrary to an investigative report alleging that the investment was hidden.
Lawyer Larry Gadon, who says Tugade is a friend of his, made that statement in a video message posted online.
According to him, Tugade made the investment in 2003, when he was still not a government official.
“First of all, this offshore investment is just normal for businessmen who have money that they want to invest,” Gadon said in Filipino. “And second, Secretary Art Tugade made this investment way back in 2003. So this has nothing to do with the government.
Gadon added that Tugade, whom he said is a friend, has been declaring his offshore investment in his SALNs since 2012.
“So that is not being hidden,” he said.
Meanwhile, Gadon said Tugade became a target of attacks after he signified his intention to run for the Senate in the 2022 polls.
“That’s why I’m wondering why these attacks to besmirch him are coming out,” Gadon said. “Secretary Art Tugade has long been rich. And he is also a businessman whose business operations are big. This is the one on logistics and a variety of others.”
“I know Secretary Art Tugade personally. My belief is solid that he is an honorable person. He’s one of those whom I will vote,” Gadon, who is himself a senatorial candidate, said.
“I believe Secretary Art Tugade is a trustworthy person. He will not deceive anyone and he will not steal. It’s very clear that Secretary Art Tugade is a clean person,” he added.
Tugade earlier maintained transparency in his financial standing after his name was linked to the 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 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 had been consistently declaring these investments in his sworn SALNs 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 was not hiding anything and vowed to answer the allegations in the proper forum.
“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.
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