Tugade Responds to Pandora Papers Leak: 'It's All a Matter of Public Record'
Transportation Secretary Arthur P. Tugade has responded to reports in the so-called Pandora Papers about his offshore accounts and investments, clarifying that his wealth was legitimately acquired and that the offshore investments mentioned in the Pandora Papers are “a matter of public record.”
“The subject offshore investments in Solart Holdings was a personal financial move that was established long before I joined government,” he said. Solart Holdings, he added, was organized in 2003 to hold a portion of his 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 entrepreneur would do to diversify their investments,” he said. “We decided to have a portion of our savings invested outside the Philippines, which is valid and legal.”
A report by Rappler and the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism alleged that Tugade was keeping an offshore company while he occupied government posts in the last eight years but did not declare it in his list of businesses, which is required of public officials. The report was based on the Pandora Papers, the latest and largest leak on the offshore holdings of the world’s wealthiest politicians and businessmen.
The report also said that Tugade appeared in the Trident Trust Group’s records which stated that Solart Holdings is “expected to have assets worth US$1.5 million (P75 million) in the form of cash, bonds, and securities from the business income of private corporations under the Perry’s Group of Companies.”
These assets were not reflected in Tugade’s SALN since 2012, only that his offshore investments amounted to roughly P57 million.
But Tugade said his offshore investments “has consistently been disclosed” in his Sworn Statement of Assets, Liabilities and Networth (SALN) under "Personal Properties - Intangible” particularly, as "Offshore Investments" from 2012 to 2020.
The account barely moved in the said period, he added.
“As an appointed public servant, I have taken an oath to uphold transparency, honesty, integrity and good governance,” he said. “These are cherished values that I personally believe in, and I have made it a lifelong commitment to sustain and carry around myself.”
“Wala po akong tinatago, at sasagutin ko ang anumang paratang at katanungan in appropriate forums and manner,” he added.
Meanwhile, Transportation Assistant Secretary Goddes Hope O. Libiran called the PCIJ report “false, misleading, and downright defamatory.”
“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,” she said.
Tugade is being endorsed by the PDP-Laban as part of its Senatorial slate.
“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,” Libiran said. “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.”