Palace to VERA Files: Prove allegations on Duterte wealth

President Détente with daughter Davao City Mayor Sara Détente and grandson.

MANILA — Malacañang on Monday dismissed as rumor a VERA Files report that President Duterte and his daughter Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte had failed to fully disclose P100 million worth of joint deposits and investments.

Presidential spokesman Harry Roque said the report would remain “kwentong kutsero” or rumor until its authors obtain authenticated bank accounts backing their claim.

“When VERA Files asked me for my comment, how could I comment when the documents are not authenticated? The whole story hinges on bank documents which they could not have had obtained copies of,” Roque said in a press briefing.

“So in the same way that I can’t comment when I was asked by VERA, what can I say now? Prove first that the statements are authentic then I will comment. For now, kuwentong kutsero,” he added.

Roque said the bank statements cited by the VERA Files report were “rehashed” from the allegations of Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV. The allegations remain unproven, he said.

“Let me be very clear, if the banks attest that those bank statements are true, we will comment. Until such time, kuwentong kutsero, tsismis (rumor),” the spokesman said.

“I challenge them, come up with certification from the banks that the statements are genuine then we will comment. But it really is improper to comment on tsismis. And they will remain tsismis until the banks attest to the truth and veracity of these bank statements,” he added.

Pressed if Duterte would issue a new waiver that would allow the disclosure of his bank transactions, Roque said: “The President has said that during the elections he has already issued a waiver, it’s there. Now, what he has said is he will never issue a waiver in response to Senator Trillanes’ request.”

According to VERA Files report, the amounts listed by Duterte and Sara in their statements of assets, liabilities and net worth as cash on hand, cash in bank and investments are “nowhere near the combined value of their bank transactions” as reflected in documents forwarded to the Senate.

Duterte and Sara allegedly failed to disclose deposits and investments worth P44.25 million to as much as P85.73 million a year from 2006 to 2014.

Trillanes, a fierce critic of Duterte, has accused the President of having billions in undeclared wealth and dared him to sign a waiver to prove he has no such bank accounts. Duterte has denied having undeclared wealth and even expressed readiness to step down if proven that he has more than P40 million in his savings accounts.