Oct. 1 (UPI) — Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte said he won’t cooperate with a prosecutor’s anti-corruption investigation of his wealth, calling the allegations of impropriety “lies.”
Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales said last week her office was investigating allegations Duterte’s bank accounts had millions of dollars he didn’t disclose as required by law.
“There are baseless lies that I have hundreds of millions” of pesos, Duterte said in a speech to new members of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines on Saturday night in Davao City. “Even if I wanted to steal, where will I get that amount?”
Duterte said his savings of $786,000 come from his inheritance, salary from a government stint of more than two decades and legitimate businesses run by his ex-wife and his current partner.
The Philippine leader said he “will not submit jurisdiction to the ombudsman because it’s a lousy thing.”
Last week, he threatened to investigate Morales and her office for supposedly engaging in corrupt practices in exchange for the dismissal of cases. He said he would have the staff cited for contempt and arrest the government employees if they fail to cooperate.
“Morales, you prioritize the case that has been filed for a long time. You are in on a selective justice, son of a b****. How come the complaints against us were prioritized? The complaints against us that are not true?” he said.
The ombudsman office said it would not be intimidated by Duterte’s threat.
On Friday, Integrated Bar of the Philippines President Abdiel Dan Elijah Fajardo said Duterte’s threat to create a body to investigate the ombudsman office is “at best constitutionally suspect.”
“Public officials must not be onion-skinned. Public office is a public trust. Upon assumption of public office, a government official holds his life open to public scrutiny,” Fajardo said.
Duterte responded Sunday: “Onion-skinned, you repeat a lie every day… If I tell that every day, can you bear it?”
“You will call me onion-skinned for a fabricated hundreds of billions” of pesos, he added.
At the end of his speech, Duterte apologized to IBP members for his outbursts and said he doesn’t condone corruption.