Duterte says unknown donor paid for his pre-campaign ads

Mike Frialde - Philstar.com

MANILA, Philippines — Davao City Mayor and presidential hopeful Rodrigo Duterte admitted Thursday that an anonymous Chinese donor had helped pay for his initial political ads that were aired before the start of the official campaign period.

Duterte said the ads were directly placed with the network stations and that he did not know who the donor was. This was confirmed by Duterte's spokesman Peter Laviña.

"May nagbayad niyan na Chinese sa initial ads ko. Ayaw naman sabihin [kung sino siya]," he said.

"Somebody offered. Hindi ako nakiusap sa mga donors. Bahala kayo.  Kasi 'pag nagkewentahan na. hindi ko alam. You better look for the guy who made the contract," he added.

The mayor refused to file his certificate for candidacy on the October deadline last year set by the Commission on Elections and insisted he would not run for president even as advertisements introducing him to the public were being aired and posted. He eventually replaced former Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan presidential bet Martin Diño.

On Thursday, Duterte also vowed to withdraw from the presidential race if it would be proven that he had accepted campaign donations from illegal and immoral sources and from business groups that have contracts with government.

Speaking to reporters just before addressing a general assembly of ship manning groups at the Diamond Hotel in Manila, Duterte said many have been offering to help fund his campaign but he had refused the offers simply because the donors would not identify themselves.

"I will not accept donations from people or corporations that are doing business with government," he said.

As for a report made by the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism saying that Duterte had spent over P146 million for his ads, which is beyond his total net worth of over P22 million, the Davao Mayor questioned the manner the amount was computed.

READ: Pre-campaign ads at P6.7B: Bribery, tax evasion, impunity?

"How was the computation done?" he asked.

Meanwhile, Duterte said he would be coming out with a series of political advertisements as election day draws near. This time, the mayor said he would be the one paying for the advertisements.

"Meron aking ilalabas. Ito gagastusan ko. Few spots 'pag malapit na ang election," he said.

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