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Duterte given gold Rolex watch for birthday

Pia Ranada
Duterte given gold Rolex watch for birthday
The President says the sender refuses to take the luxury watch back. So he plans to sell the watch at a discount.

One well-wisher’s early birthday gift for President Rodrigo Duterte was so lavish that the Chief Executive himself could not help but mention it during one of his recent official events.

“My birthday is coming up. Do not give me the gifts. Somebody gave me a Rolex watch, gold, in advance,” shared Duterte last Friday, March 24, during an event with Filipino-Chinese business groups.

Duterte turns 72 on Tuesday, March 28. He has said all he wishes for is for more strength to continue with the presidency, and for time with family.

On eBay, prices for new models of Rolex watches with gold features range from US$25,000 to $79,000 (P1.2 million to P3.9 million).

This is the second time Duterte has admitted being given luxury goods. Last March 12, he said someone gave him a Mercedes-Benz.

Like with the high-end car, the President says he tried to return the watch to the giver but the giver refused to take it back.

“I returned it. He does not want to accept it,” said Duterte.

As with the car, Duterte plans to sell the Rolex watch.

“Well, I will sell it again to the – at a discount,” he said.

Wearing a Rolex watch, among the most expensive watch brands in the world, would look incongruous on a Philippine President who promised to fight corruption, said Duterte, explaining why he could not accept the gift.

“Now who would believe me if I talk about corruption then I wear a Rolex? You think I can afford a Rolex?” he said.

Duterte typically wears a black Apple watch or a brown leather watch. During the presidential campaign, he gave away one of his watches to an avid female supporter during a campaign sortie in Tacloban City.

The President previously reminded government officials not to accept extravagant gifts since they can be held liable for graft.

According to Republic Act No 6713, public officials are prohibited from accepting lavish gifts.

“Public officials and employees shall not solicit or accept, directly or indirectly, any gift, gratuity, favor, entertainment, loan or anything of monetary value from any person in the course of their official duties or in connection with any operation being regulated by, or any transaction which may be affected by the functions of their office,” reads Section 7 of the law.

The illegal acceptance of gifts includes even gifts given “on the occasion of a family celebration” or national festivities. –


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Pia Ranada

Pia Ranada is a senior reporter for Rappler covering Philippine politics and environmental issues. For tips and story suggestions, email her at