A palace spokesperson over the weekend belied claims that President Rodrigo Duterte has been flip-flopping on his earlier claims that he came from a poor family in the wake of a recent declaration that his family is well off.
“First of all, it is not a flip-flop. It’s just an explanation of how [Duterte’s] family [progressed],” Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella told state-run dzRB radio.
A video circulated in social media last week showed Duterte responding to Senator Antonio Trillanes 4th’s accusations that the President and his family had millions in their bank accounts.
In the video, Duterte slammed Trillanes, saying that he had properties inherited from his late father who was a former governor.
Trillanes, during a press briefing last week, accused Duterte anew of having millions of pesos in his account, a matter that the senator had earlier brought up during the presidential campaign last year.
Duterte dared Trillanes to prove his accusations, saying that he would resign as president if the senator is able to prove that he has P2.2 billion in his bank account and that the amount was amassed illegally.
Abella said Duterte “did not have any luxuries when he was a young man” and “did not have a lavish lifestyle”.
During the president’s youth, Abella said that his family was not rich.
“Because [Duterte’s] parents, first of all, are immigrants, [so]they really don’t have savings,” he explained.
When Duterte’s parents passed away, he inherited properties acquired by his father during the latter’s stint as a governor, according to Abella.
“[I]t’s not a question of flip-flopping. When the President [was]growing up, there [were]no [luxuries in his family],” he noted.
When asked whether the President will allow his bank accounts to be scrutinized, Abella replied that the decision is up to Duterte.
“That’s his [Duterte] call… but I suppose he will,” said Abella.