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Tugade refutes ‘Pandora Papers,’ claims offshore funds in SALN

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Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade on Tuesday denied wrongdoing in his offshore investments in Solart Holdings, as he said this investment was disclosed in his Sworn Statement of Assets, Liabilities and Networth (SALN).

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

“Solart Holdings was organized in 2003 to hold a portion of our family’s cash assets,” said Tugade, who was appointed President of the Clark Development Corp. in 2012, and as Secretary of the Department of Transportation in 2016.

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

Tugade was one of the Filipino tycoons and government officials cited in the “Pandora Papers” as reported by the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism (PCIJ) and Rappler.

The Transportation chief added he had consistently disclosed in his SALN under “Personal Properties – Intangible,” particularly, as “Offshore Investments” from 2012 to 2020.

According to Tugade, in the said period, the account barely moved.

“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.

In an open letter, the lawyers of Tugade said the article of PCIJ and Rappler was “false, misleading and downright defamatory.”

“In this regard, we take strong exception and will not take lightly this apparently well-oiled and orchestrated effort to malign and discredit the good image and reputation of Secretary Tugade and his family,” the open letter read.

“We give emphasis to the fact that whatever Secretary Tugade has is a product of his decades of hard work and perseverance, which are exemplified by his no-nonsense leadership, character and untarnished credibility,” it added.

The open letter further said, “The imputations are clearly intended to besmirch the character of Secretary Tugade, and by extension, the Duterte Administration.”

“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,” it added.


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