Duterte: I am not accepting money from people with vested interests
DAVAO CITY—Mayor Rodrigo “Digong” Duterte on Wednesday urged his campaign and finance managers to be discerning about contributors to his campaign for Malacañang and told them not to accept donations from people or groups doing business with the government.
Duterte, who claimed he did not have the financial firepower of his rivals for the presidency, said accepting contributions from such people and companies would compromise his independence in decision-making as President.
“I will not accept money and contributions from people and groups who have transactions with the government because I will have to pay them back with favors when I become President,” Duterte told a gathering of campaign leaders and supporters here.
He said he was publicly “instructing my campaign finance committee members to ensure that campaign contributions would come only from people or groups with no vested interests.”
“If I compromise myself, I’d rather not be President. I don’t want to have a debt of gratitude. The presidency is not mine to give away,” Duterte said.
The mayor disclosed that some wealthy people had offered to finance his campaign but he rejected them because they were known to have dealings with the government.
“I don’t want to reveal their names but I have just refused contributions from five people, just recently,” he said.
Duterte said he never accepted money from people with vested interests in the 23 years that he had been a politician.
He said that when he ran for mayor in 2013, three major companies sent him funds but he returned the money because the donors did business with the government.
Duterte said some people wanted to finance his campaign because they wanted something in return and that was one of the reasons for the delay in his decision to run for President.
He said a presidential campaign was expensive but he did not care if he lacked funds as long as he would not be indebted to people with vested interests.
Duterte was reported to be the smallest spender among the major presidential candidates. His friends reportedly paid for his TV ads, which has cost P120 million since he decided to run late last year.
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