“The President has nothing to hide,” presidential spokesperson Ernesto Abella said in a statement. Presidential Photo/King Rodriguez, File
MANILA, Philippines — Malacañang on Wednesday maintained that President Rodrigo Duterte has been transparent regarding his family’s wealth as the Office of the Ombudsman is set to begin a probe on the matter.
“The president has nothing to hide,” presidential spokesperson Ernesto Abella said in a statement.
“The president respects the internal processes of the OMB as an independent body and trusts its impartiality in the conduct of its fact-finding duty,” Abella added.
According to a report, the ombudsman is poised to launch an investigation on Duterte’s wealth in response to a complaint filed by Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV.
Trillanes has been one of the strongest critics of Duterte since the campaign period last year.
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In May 2016, Trillanes filed a plunder case against Duterte before the ombudsman. He complained about the president’s alleged unexplained wealth and undeclared billions in his bank accounts.
The senator also complained about Duterte’s alleged hiring of 11,000 ghost employees during his term as Davao City mayor, which, according to Trillanes, could be one of the sources of unexplained wealth.
Duterte more than a week ago accused Trillanes of owning offshore accounts allegedly meant to hide his illegal wealth.
To counter Duterte, the senator issued 12 bank waivers to authorize the Anti-Money Laundering Council and the ombudsman to probe the accounts.
The president later admitted that he "invented" the supposed bank account of Trillanes in Singapore allegedly to "catch" him.
He also said that Trillanes used the fictitious bank number in his bank waiver, making it fake and unusable.
The president is immune from suit while in office, but he can be investigated in a criminal case.