Palace welcomes probe of Duterte

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Malacañang on Wednesday said it respects the mandate of the Office of the Ombudsman to investigate President Rodrigo Duterte’s wealth that allegedly amounts to billions of pesos.

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“The President has nothing to hide,” Palace spokesman Ernesto Abella said in a statement. “The President respects the internal processes of the OMB (Ombudsman) as an independent body and trusts its impartiality in the conduct of its fact-finding duty,” he added.

The Office of the Ombudsman said on Tuesday that it will look into the allegations of Sen. Antonio Trillanes 4th that Duterte and his family amassed wealth during the presidential campaign last year.

Overall Deputy Ombudsman Arthur Carandang said that his office had approved the request of the Deputy Ombudsman for Mindanao to obtain the Anti-Money Laundering Council’s final report on the Duterte family’s bank transaction records when he was 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 [investigation],” Carandang said.

Duterte had repeatedly denied all of Trillanes’ claims, saying his family did not have such wealth.

In a speech during the 120th anniversary celebration of the Department of Justice in Pasay City on Tuesday, the President reiterated that his wealth came from the sale of the real estate he inherited from his father, former Davao governor Vicente Duterte.

“You know, my father was governor when he died. At least alam niya maghanap-buhay (He knew how to make a living) because we had an ice plant and a lumber yard. Construction was booming at that time in Davao. It was a developing city. But when he died, we could not agree with each other, the brothers and sisters, so we decided to sell all,” he said.

The President said he already had P1 million when he was still a student, as a result of the sale of his father’s property.

“I authorized everybody, everybody as in everybody to look — to dig into the IBAA, Insular Bank of Asia and America. That’s the Union Bank now. You’d find there that ‘yung fourth year pa kami (even when I was still in fourth year), I had a million already. ‘Yan ang totoo (That’s the truth),” he said.

In May 2016, Trillanes filed a plunder case against Duterte before the Office of the Ombudsman, citing the President’s alleged unexplained wealth and undeclared billions in his bank accounts.

The senator also accused Duterte of hiring 11,000 ghost employees when he was the mayor of Davao City.

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