MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte has not authorized any of his family members or relatives to make transactions with government, Malacañang reminded the public on Wednesday, January 3.
During a press briefing, Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque said he was instructed by the President to announce such a statement.
"The President would like to reiterate his prior instruction to the Cabinet to ignore any pleas to be made by any of his relatives in connection with any government transaction," said Roque.
The spokesman could not say what prompted Duterte to issue the reminder since he had not personally seen the President since December 23.
However, Roque said it had nothing to do with the official the President is planning to fire.
The directive applies to all Duterte's "children, his siblings, his cousins, his uncles and aunts."
"The President is renewing his call that any and all of his relatives are not authorized, okay, to approach anyone in government in connection with any government-related transaction, full stop," said Roque.
"No one in his family is authorized by him to have any financial interest in any government office, agency, or department," he added.
At least 3 of the President's family members have been accused of dealing with government agencies for supposedly suspicious purposes.
In Congress hearings over billions worth of smuggled shabu, a customs broker accused Duterte's eldest son Paolo Duterte, formerly Davao City vice mayor, and his son-in-law Manases Carpio of appearing at customs offices or being involved in smuggling drugs.
The two denied the accusations. Carpio confirmed he had visited Bureau of Customs offices but only in his capacity as legal counsel of companies that had concerns with the agency.
President Duterte himself said he was told that a woman calling herself "Lovelie Duterte" had been visiting government offices.
He had then denied there was such a person named "Lovelie Duterte," saying he only knew of a Lovelie Sumera Sangkola, Paolo's ex-wife.
But Paolo had accused Sumera of indeed using the Duterte family name.
Pia Ranada covers the Office of the President and Bangsamoro regional issues for Rappler. While helping out with desk duties, she also watches the environment sector and the local government of Quezon City. For tips or story suggestions, you can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.