Sara Duterte on reported wealth spike: ‘We have jobs, businesses’

Robie de Guzman   •   April 10, 2019   •   5334

Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio

DAVAO CITY, Philippines — Presidential daughter and Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio on Tuesday responded to the report that cited her family’s increasing wealth while in public office.

Duterte-Carpio told reporters on the sidelines of Hugpong ng Pagbabago’s campaign rally in Surigao City, Mindanao, that she and her lawyer husband, Atty. Manases Carpio, have jobs and businesses.

The lady mayor also said her net worth from five to ten years ago could not be the same as now, insisting that all their businesses were declared in their Statement of Assets, Liabilities and Net worth (SALN).

Duterte-Carpio said she has yet to read the report of the Philippine Center of Investigative Journalism (PCIJ) which also probed the assets of her brother, former Davao City Vice Mayor Paolo Duterte and her father.

Last week, the PCIJ released a three-part series on the wealth and assets of the Dutertes.

The PCIJ in its report claimed that the Duterte family’s law firm is not registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission since its establishment, and that some of their business interests were not disclosed in their SALN.

The report also found that the wealth of the Dutertes have consistently increased during their years in public office “even on the modest salaries they have received for various public posts, and despite the negligible retained earnings reflected in the financial statements of the companies they own or co-own.”

President Rodrigo Duterte earlier slammed the PCIJ report, accusing the PCIJ of receiving money in exchange for releasing the report.

He also said that other people have no business scrutinizing their affairs as long as it did not involve the people’s money.

READ: Duterte hits PCIJ report on family’s wealth

But the PCIJ insists that the report was based on their SALNs and that they made efforts to get the side of the Dutertes before the story ran.

“PCIJ exerted best effort to get their side – by courier, fax and email. We sent them two batches of request letters in October 2018 and in January 2019,” PCIJ Executive Director Malou Mangahas said.

“PCIJ had wished only for the Dutertes to offer clear, direct, straightforward replies to our queries. Instead of blaming PCIJ for the report, Mr. Duterte should turn his attention at his deputies, notably Presidential Legal Counsel Salvador Panelo, for the failure of the Office of the President to attend to PCIJ’s request letters, over the last five month,” she added. 

Several groups have earlier urged the Dutertes to explain their ‘unexplained’ wealth, but Malacañang challenged them to file charges against the President and his children if they think the Dutertes have amassed ill-gotten wealth.

The palace also said that the law only requires public officials to file their SALN and does not require the filer to justify the increases in their income. – Robie de Guzman

Duterte to skip April 24 ASEAN Leaders’ meeting in Jakarta – Palace

Robie de Guzman   •   April 22, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte will not be attending a summit of leaders of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), which will be held in Jakarta, Indonesia on April 24, Malacañang said Thursday.

“Ang president po, hindi personally mag-a-attend. But I’m sure that our Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) will be there,” Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said in a media briefing.

Roque did not say why Duterte would be skipping the meeting but the DFA said in a statement that the president “decided to remain in the country to attend to pressing domestic concerns in light of the surge of COVID-19 cases.”

“President Rodrigo Roa Duterte has designated Secretary of Foreign Affairs Teodoro L. Locsin, Jr. as his Special Envoy to the ASEAN Leaders’ Meeting to be held on 24 April 2021 at the ASEAN Secretariat in Jakarta, Indonesia,” the DFA said.

“The Philippines strongly supported the convening of the Meeting even without the full attendance of all ASEAN Leaders,” it added.

The department said the special leaders’ meeting will “address urgent matters in the region, including recovery efforts, the situation in Myanmar, ASEAN community building efforts, external relations, and regional and international issues.”

“The President, through Secretary Locsin, will convey the Philippines’ commitment to ASEAN’s collective efforts in addressing threats and challenges to peace and stability in the region,” the DFA said.

“Secretary Locsin will also express the Philippines’ strong support to the initiative of Brunei Darussalam and the Secretary-General of ASEAN to use their good offices, in accordance with the ASEAN Charter, to visit Myanmar and spearhead ASEAN’s response to the crisis in Myanmar,” it added.

Duterte won’t compromise on quarantine protocols for returning OFWs

Marje Pelayo   •   April 21, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte said he is not comfortable with relaxing quarantine and testing protocols for arriving overseas Filipino workers (OFWs).

During Wednesday’s (April 21) public address, the President noted that less stringent measures could compromise the entire country as COVID-19 cases continue to surge.

“I’m not quite comfortable with the relaxation that’s being brought now,” he said.

“I am not ready for a compromise lalo na ngayon. ‘Yung ibang sakit siguro, pwede pa – iyong mga rabies. Pero ito, talagang … as I have said, dapo rito, dapo roon,” he added.

The meeting which included health experts was in response to the appeal of Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III for an immediate swab test on OFWs upon arrival and a shortening of the quarantine period or their stay in hotels or isolation facilities.

“Kaya nga po kami nakikiusap sana, na kung maaari, ay we go back to the original protocol noon na pagdating ng ating OFWs, swab kaagad sila,” Bello said.

The medical experts recommended a review of the testing protocol but insisted that the implementation of strict quarantine measures is still best to be strictly enforced at this time.

“The [Technical Advisory Group] had some preliminary discussions po regarding the current issue, and we were thinking that based on the data that we have right now, it’s a better option to review the testing protocol,” said DOH-TAG member Dr. Anna Ong-Lim.

“We recommend that it be done at a later time, but the critical intervention should really be that quarantine should be strictly enforced,” she concluded.

Duterte OKs grant of one-time P20K aid to employees’ compensation pensioners

Robie de Guzman   •   April 20, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte has approved the grant of one-time financial aid of P20,000 to qualified pensioners under the employees’ compensation (EC) program.

Under Administrative Order (AO) No. 39, which was signed on Monday, Duterte authorized the Employees Compensation Commission (ECC) to grant the cash aid to EC pensioners for permanent partial disability, permanent total disability, and survivorship, in the private and public sectors, “subject to the availability of funds and pertinent laws, rules and regulations.”

Duterte directed the ECC, Social Security System (SSS) and the Government Service Insurance System (GSIS) to set aside and release appropriate funding to cover the financial assistance from the Social Insurance Fund under the EC Program.

The ECC, in coordination with the SSS and GSIS, will issue the implementing rules and regulations necessary for the effective implementation of the order.

In signing the AO, Duterte recognized that the “adverse effects of the pandemic on the economy, supplementary health necessities for the battle against the virus, and restrictions imposed on our mobility and social interaction, have increased the financial and health burdens experienced by the EC pensioners.

The one-time cash aid will be granted to around 31,000 pensioners of the SSS and GSIS.

Duterte said AO 39 will take effect following its publication in the Official Gazette or in a newspaper of general circulation.

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