MALACAÑANG on Monday, August 19, challenged media organization Vera Files to show proof that President Rodrigo Duterte accepted nearly P200 million as birthday gift in 2014.
Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo made the dare as he denied the allegation of Ellen Tordesillas of Vera Files.
"It's not true. Does [Vera Files] have any evidence to that effect? Ang dami nang nag-sabi na si Presidente, hindi ba ilang daang milyong meron siya pero hindi naman totoo (Many have claimed that the President owns million of pesos, but it's not true)," the Palace official said, reacting to the report published by Vera Files.
"Sabi nga (As they said), one who alleges must prove. If you cannot prove eh huwag ka na lang mag-salita kasi naninira ka na lang (stop talking if you just intend to taint someone's reputation)," he added.
Torsedillas, in a report uploaded on the Vera Files website on August 19, claimed that seven deposits totaling P193,705,615.88 were credited to the joint account of Duterte and his daughter, Sara Duterte-Carpio, on his 69th birthday on March 28, 2014.
The report was published a few days after Duterte said he would not sanction police officers who accept gifts from grateful Filipinos as a reward for their hard work.
The report supported the previous claim of former senator Antonio Trillanes IV that Duterte had failed to declare in his 2014 Statement of Assets, Liabilities, and Networth at least P211 million allegedly deposited in the Bank of the Philippine Island (BPI)-Julia Vargas branch in Ortigas.
Panelo refuted the report and noted that Duterte was not used to accepting "personal" gifts.
"Ang alam ko kapag merong nagre-regalo sa kanya, pinapa-derecho niya sa Office of the President. In other words, it will be the government of the Philippines that will receive the gift. Hindi siya. Hindi personal. Hindi siya tumatanggap ng personal," he said.
(What I know is if someone gives him a gift, he has it sent to the Office of the President. In other words, it will be the government of the Philippines that will receive the gift, not him. It's not a personal gift. He does not accept personal gifts.)
"I know that because one time, merong nagre-regalo sa kanya ng painting niya tapos humihingi ng courtesy call na ipi-present (someone wanted to pay a courtesy call to give the President his portrait). And during that presentation, sabi niya, I cannot acccept that. You have to donate that to the government of the Philippines," he added. (SunStar Philippines)