President Rodrigo Duterte revealed that he was given a Rolex watch as an advance birthday gift from an unnamed personality.
At the 31st Biennial Convention of Federation of Filipino Chinese Chambers of Commerce and Industry Inc. (FFCCCII) yesterday, March 25, President Duterte explained why he dislikes receiving luxury gifts for his birthday.
The president, who's turning 72 years old on March 28, said in his speech:
"My birthday is coming up. Do not give me the gifts.
"Somebody gave me a Rolex watch, gold, in advance. I returned it. He does not want to accept it.
"Well, I will sell it again to the...at a discount. Why should I be, Rolex...
"Now, who would believe me if I talk about corruption, then I wear a Rolex?"
President Duterte also pointed out that his salary could barely support his “two wives.”
According to the Salary Standardization Law IV signed by former President Benigno Simeon Aquino on February 19, 2016, a president's monthly salary is PHP 160,924.
Back to his expensive gift, President Duterte elaborated, "You think I can afford a Rolex?
“That’s why I’ve been complaining also of my salary.
“That is really what happens if you have two wives,” he said, eliciting laughter from the audience.
“E, you have to support the children. Never mind the wives. But children are very important.”
The former Davao City mayor further underlined that he has long since discouraged gift-givers from giving him expensive gifts.
Back when he was still a mayor, he recalled that he would rather ask for rice donations for certain beneficiaries.
In another engagement last March 12, President Duterte revealed that he got a Mercedes Benz from an unnamed gift-giver.
He said, "Hindi ko tinatanggap, lagay ko lang diyan. Interesado ang sinong taxpayer, bilin mo sa gobyerno, ipagbili ko."
Why does President Duterte refuse to receive luxury gifts?
He explained, "Simple lang. Common sense na iyan. Oras na tinanggap mo iyan, graft, because of the amount. Kung ballpen, tanggapin ko talaga."