Duterte: Excess campaign funds caused P3-M increase in income
First published: 10:14 p.m., May 13, 2017
President Rodrigo Duterte on Saturday said that the P3-million increase in his statement of assets, liabilities and net worth (SALN) came from excess campaign contributions during last year’s elections.
“That’s surplus money that does not have a purpose anymore. I don’t know who gave it to me. This is just a small amount. I declared that as income. Income because it was already there in my hands,” Mr. Duterte told reporters in a doorstop interview in Hong Kong.
His statement came after the Office of the Ombudsman released his latest SALN, which showed that his net worth has increased to P27,428,862.44 in December 2016, compared to just P24,080,094.04 in June last year.
“That’s an excess income. Look at the returns, it’s all there even the SALN. I paid … income tax,” he added.
Mr. Duterte also joked that the P3-million hike in his SALN came from a certain “Vanessa” whom he said was his lover.
Speaking to Filipinos in Hong Kong, the President also warned courts against issuing rulings that would hinder government contracts and projects.
Mr. Duterte said some government projects could be delayed when the courts issue injunctions or temporary restraining orders (TROs) on a whim.
“You, the courts, stop it, [regarding] government contracts, stop it. You delay the projects, you make us look inutile, the projects left unfinished because you issued a TRO, until it would turn out that we’re unable to do anything, do not do it now because we will have a problem in our country,” Mr. Duterte said.
He noted that losing bidders for government projects sometimes take the matter to court.
This was not because they think they have been aggrieved, but because they want the winning bidder to just pay them off to make the issue go away, he charged.
“They would bid even if they know they would lose,” he stressed.
He also warned that if he would not follow court orders if he was “pissed off” after finding out they were unreasonable.
Mr. Duterte was in Hong Kong for a brief stopover before proceeding to China, where he would attend the Belt and Road Forum in Beijing.
In his speech, Mr. Duterte reiterated his promise to stop corruption, and stressed that his war on drugs would continue.
He told the Filipinos in Hong Kong that he wanted to eliminate the illegal drug scourge because it was unfair that the children of overseas Filipino workers were victimized by drugs while their parents toiled abroad.
Closer ties with China
He also explained his government’s closer relationship with China and once more touted the Philippines’ gains from the renewed ties with the regional giant.
Aside from grants for public infrastructure projects and the resumption of the export of Philippine fruits to China, more Chinese tourists were also expected to visit the Philippines, he said.
“They’re helping us in so many others … There is really a revival of the economy before, I know it’s part of history. We expect that’s part of something, including increase of tourism both from the rest of the Asean countries and China. They’re back, they have lifted the prohibition,” he said.
Since coming into office, Mr. Duterte had departed from the stance of his predecessor and forged a friendship with Beijing.
He narrated his previous meeting with Chinese leaders during his state visit there, where he told them that he was coming to them in the spirit of “friendship and goodwill.”
As for the maritime dispute in the South China Sea, he said he had told them that while the two countries have conflicting claims, he would not bring it up at that point because he was there as a guest. /atm
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