'Wala akong tinatago': Tugade clarifies 'malicious' reports on his offshore investments

Published October 5, 2021, 1:26 PM

by Alexandria Dennise San Juan

Department of Transportation (DOTr) Secretary Arthur P. Tugade said on Tuesday, Oct. 5, that he has always been transparent about his financial standing amid reports on his alleged unlisted offshore company.

Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade (Ali Vicoy / File Photo / MANILA BULLETIN)

In a statement, Tugade said his offshore investments in Solart Holdings was a “personal financial move” that was established long before he joined the government.

“Solart Holdings was organized in 2003 to hold a portion of our family’s cash assets. Having some of our family’s savings invested in Solart Holdings was our legitimate attempt to grow our financial portfolio like what any astute and judicious entrepreneurs would do to diversify their investments,” Tugade said.

“We decided to have a portion of our savings invested outside the Philippines, which is valid and legal,” he added.

Citing documents leaked to the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism reported that Tugade has disclosed offshore investments worth P57 million as assets every year since 2012, “but no details about these investments have been declared, except these were acquired in 2003.”

However, the DOTr chief noted that he has been including these investments in his sworn Statement of Assets, Liabilities and Networth (SALN), as required of public officials.

“[It] has consistently been disclosed in my sworn SALN under ‘Personal Properties – Intangible’, particularly, as ‘Offshore Investments’ from 2012 to 2020. In the said period, the account barely moved,” he explained.

Tugade also clarified that he was not made aware of the interview request letter sent by the PCIJ due to an “administrative oversight” but has vowed to address all queries on the matter.

“As an appointed public servant, I have taken an oath to uphold transparency, honesty, integrity and good governance. These are cherished values that I personally believe in, and I have made it a lifelong commitment to sustain and carry around myself,” Tugade said.

“Wala po akong tinatago, at sasagutin ko ang anumang paratang at katanungan (I am not hiding anything, and I will answer all allegations and questions) in appropriate forums and manner,” he added.

‘False, misleading, downright defamatory’

In a separate open letter, DOTr Assistant Secretary Goddes Hope Libiran tagged the report as “false, misleading, and downright defamatory” and only aims to besmirch Tugade’s character, as well as the Duterte Administration.

Libiran also warned that they will not take lightly the “well-oiled and orchestrated effort to malign and discredit the good image and reputation of Secretary Tugade and his family.”

“Consider this as a stern warning and an assertion that our lawyers will exert all necessary effort, to the fullest extent of the law, to find those behind the malicious and irresponsible publication of this report,” Libiran said.

“We pray that whoever or whatever entity is behind this black propaganda, is not doing this because Secretary Tugade is now perceived as legitimate threat, and a stumbling block to their political aspirations,” she added.