MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte claimed he has "nothing to hide" as the Office of the Ombudsman, led by Conchita Carpio Morales, is reportedly investigating his family's wealth.
"The President respects the internal processes of the Ombudsman as an independent body, and trusts its impartiality in the conduct of its fact-finding duty," Presidential Spokesman Ernesto Abella said on Wednesday, September 27.
"The President has nothing to hide," Abella added.
This is in contrast to Duterte's comment on September 13 against signing a bank secrecy waiver to match those signed by Senator Antonio Trillanes IV and disprove claims of hidden wealth.
Malacañang issued this statement after the Philippine Daily Inquirer reported on Wednesday that Morales authorized Overall Deputy Ombudsman Arthur Carandang to "handle the cases" involving the President's family.
The Ombudsman has inhibited herself from cases involving the Dutertes. She is an aunt of Duterte's son-in-law, Manases Carpio, husband of Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio.
Carandang said it was Trillanes who filed a complaint with the Ombudsman involving the Duterte family, according to Wednesday's Inquirer report.
Since the 2016 campaign period, Trillanes has consistently questioned Duterte's wealth, as the senator claimed Duterte had up to P2.4 billion ($47 million) in undeclared wealth.
When he was campaigning for president, Duterte claimed his family was "poor," but in September he said he grew up rich because of the Dutertes' real estate properties. – Rappler.com
Paterno R. Esmaquel II, news editor of Rappler, specializes in covering religion and foreign affairs. He obtained his MA Journalism degree from Ateneo and later finished MSc Asian Studies (Religions in Plural Societies) at RSIS, Singapore. For story ideas or feedback, email him at email@example.com.