MANILA -- Online news outfit Vera Files should prove its claim that President Rodrigo Duterte received gifts amounting to nearly P200 million in 2014, his spokesman said Monday.
Citing bank records, Vera Files reported that when Duterte was still Davao City mayor, he received P193 million in deposits on his 69th birthday on March 28, 2014.
The bank records, it said, were obtained from documents submitted by Duterte's critic former Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV to the Senate Record.
"Is that true? Does she have any evidence to that effect? Ang dami nang nagsabi na si Presidente ang daming … hindi ba, ilang daang milyon mayroon siya pero hindi naman totoo," Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo said, referring to Vera Files reporter Ellen Tordesillas.
(Many people have said that the President has hundreds of millions but those were not true.)
Asked if the Palace was denying the report, Panelo responded: "Sabi nga, one who alleges must prove. If you cannot prove, eh huwag ka nalang magsalita kasi naninira ka lang."
(If you cannot prove it then don't speak because you're just destroying another person's reputation.)
As far as he knows, the President doesn't receive gifts personally and leaves it to his office instead, Panelo said.
"Ang alam ko, kapag mayroong nagreregalo sa kaniya, pinapadiretso niya sa Office of the President. In other words, it will be the government of the Philippines that will receive the gift; hindi siya, hindi personal. Hindi siya tumatanggap ng personal," Panelo said.
(What I know is that whenever someone gives him gifts, he asks that it be given to the Office of the President... He doesn't receive gifts personally.)
Tordesillas on Monday meanwhile said Panelo "should take time to read my column carefully. Everything is there."
A journalist critical of the President, Tordesillas has been tagged by Malacañang as among those allegedly plotting to oust Duterte in the past.