Duterte grew up in a simple, frugal lifestyle — Palace
MANILA — “The Punisher” was not flip-flopping. He just shared how his family “progressed.”
This was how a Malacañang official explained President Duterte’s contradicting statements regarding his family’s wealth in the wake of the latest corruption allegations by Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV.
Mr. Duterte, known as The Punisher for promoting vigilantism to combat criminality, has consistently said in his speeches since the campaign period that he identifies himself with the communist rebels because he grew up poor in Davao City.
The Chief Executive, who had attended private educational institutions, has also described himself a “poor man’s child.”
Reacting to Trillanes’ claim that he unlawfully amassed P2 billion in transactions from 2006 to 2015 in three bank branches as mayor of Davao City, the President changed his tone, saying his family was not actually poor.
In a video message, he told the senator in Filipino: “If your family is starving then or now, don’t involve us. We are not as unfortunate as your family. We are not poor. My father was a governor. He left us inheritance.”
Ernesto Abella, Mr. Duterte’s spokesperson, said the President’s statement was not inconsistent with his previous remarks.
He noted that the President’s parents had moved to Mindanao only before his father, the late Vicente Duterte, served as governor of the whole province of Davao.
“First of all, it’s not flip-flopping. It’s just an explanation of how the family progressed as a family,” Abella told government-run dzRB radio station.
“As a young man, they did not have any luxury. They did not have lavish lifestyle. They were not rich because the parents were immigrants. They have yet to save up,” he said.
Abella said the Duterte family “really had nothing” as the President’s parents were both government employees.
“So there was nothing there except that when his parents were able to save up. When (Mr. Duterte’s) father died… he left them some form of inheritance,” he said, adding that the President was already old then.
Interestingly, Mr. Duterte actually said he had to work in a police academy as teacher to augment his meager salary as public prosecutor. SFM/rga
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