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Duterte wants to probe agency investigating his wealth

President Rodrigo Duterte, during his guesting in Erwin Tulfo's program 'Sa Totoo Lang' which was taped in Malacañan on Sept. 19, 2017, declares that he may allow the United Nations to establish a human rights office in the country. His statement came after the House of Representatives approved the P1,000 budget for 2018 for the Commission on Human Rights which the president claimed to be as good as abolishing the agency. Richard Madelo/Presidential Photo, File

MANILA, Philippines (Updated at 7:58 p.m.) — President Rodrigo Duterte on Thursday warned the Office of the Ombudsman that he would form a commission that would look into allegations of anomalies in the anti-graft agency if it would not be fair in handling the chief executive's case and those of members of the erstwhile ruling Liberal Party.

The president's warning came after the anti-graft body announced that it was launching a fact-finding probe into the alleged billions that the family of the chief executive supposedly owned.

"You'll be investigated  also. One of these days, kayo ang sigurado kong hahabulin dahil nga yung partiality ninyo," he said. "'Pag hindi ninyo imbestigahan sarili ninyo, ako mag-set up ng commission  to investigate you  as a president with investigating powers."

Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte Carpio said that her family welcomed the investigation because this would allow them to answer the charges against them in a proper venue.

Duterte said that corruption had always been endemic in the anti-graft agency, adding that military and government figures with cases before it bribed officials to dismiss the complaints against them.

He added that he himself had been offered to dismiss his case in exchange for a payment.

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"Tanungin mo yung mga military, kayong mga Filipino,  tanunging ninyo mga military nagkakaso diyan, magkano yung binayad nila, pulis, lahat mayor, governors, tanungin ninyo, bayad yan, bayad yan," he said.

"Ako nung  mayor ako , hiningian  ako, hindi ako pumayag," said the president who claimed that he spent a lot of money for the case that was eventually dismissed by the Supreme Court.

When asked if corruption still persisted in the agency, he said, "Ay oo. Sigurado yan."

Duterte also blasted the anti-graft agency for being selective and accused Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales of not acting on corruption cases filed against members of the Liberal Party involved in the Disbursement Acceleration Program anomaly.

 

If this was the case, Duterte said, then the ombudsman was simply engaged in "politicking."

"Wala namang Liberal na nakita ko, puro naman sila may DAP cases. Bakit 'yung mga Liberal, are you beholden to the Liberals," the president said in an interview with state-run PTV-4.

The president said that he was hurting because of the case that he and his family were facing despite facing similar charges when he was still mayor of Davao City.

He also promised that he would give the supposed P211 million that he owned to the ombudsman's probers if they would be able to prove it.

"Bigay ko sa inyo. Tapos mag-demanda kayo ng kaso. Walang problema yan," he said.

Deputy Ombudsman Arthur Carandang was quoted as saying on Wednesday that his office had already received the bank transaction record of the president's family from 2006 to 2016 from the Anti-Money Laundering Council

The fact-finding investigation stemmed from a case filed by Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV alleging that the first family had clandestine wealth.

According to Carandang, the said documents showed millions of pesos being transacted in joint accounts with his children.

"There were P40 millions ... P50 million ... there were many," he said.

The president's office said that Duterte respected the processes of the ombudsman and trusted its impartiality.

"The president has nothing to hide," Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella said in a statement reacting to the launch of the evidence-gathering probe.

Trillanes has been a thorn on the side of the president since last year's presidential election campaign.

Last year, he accused then Mayor Duterte of owning P211 million in an account with the Bank of the Philippine Islands in Julia Vargas, Pasig City.

The senator also accused the children of the president of owning several bank accounts containing hundreds of millions of pesos.

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