As the Ombudsman continues to investigate the wealth of the presidential family, Malacañang on Wednesday reiterated that President Rodrigo Duterte has been transparent and has nothing to hide about 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 in a statement.
“The President has nothing to hide,” he added.
On Wednesday, the Philippine Daily Inquirer reported that the Ombudsman is poised to initiate a probe on the president’s wealth as a response to a complaint filed by Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV.
Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales has inhibited herself and authorized Overall Deputy Ombudsman Arthur Carandang to “handle the cases” involving Duterte’s family.
Carpio-Morales is an aunt of Duterte’s son-in-law, Atty. Manases Carpio, husband of Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio.
Carandang said that his office had approved the request of the Deputy Ombudsman for Mindanao to acquire the Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC) final report on the Duterte family’s bank transaction records when he was still mayor of Davao City.
“It was Senator Trillanes who filed the complaint with us and attached the documents. The office, when it evaluated the complaint, recommended the conduct of a fact-finding,” Carandang said.
Trillanes is known to be a staunch critic of Duterte since the campaign period last year.
The senator has consistently questioned the president’s and his family’s wealth, claiming that Duterte had up to P2.4 billion ($47 million) of undeclared wealth in his Statement of Assets, Liabilities and Net worth (SALN).
Recently, Trillanes also highlighted Duterte’s inconsistent statements about his family’s wealth.
The Ombudsman recognized Duterte’s immunity as President, saying he could only be investigated for purposes of launching an impeachment complaint.
During the 2016 election campaign, Duterte insisted that his family was “poor,” but backtracked in September, saying he grew up rich because of the Dutertes’ real estate properties.