Malacañang on Monday said that President Rodrigo Duterte would not use state money to fund PDP-Laban bets in the 2022 elections after the chief executive promised them “sacks of money.”

Duterte over the weekend vowed to campaign for his partymates in 2022 and give them money.

“Those running for reelection, ikakampanya ko kayo city por city…Kayong mga nagtatakbo…I commit to you. Talagang pupunta ako city por city, province por province, kakampanya ko kayo. At saka magdala ako ng maraming pera, por sako kung mayroon,” Duterte said during a PDP-Laban meeting in Pampanga on July 17.

Palace spokesman Harry Roque on Monday assured that Duterte, who has restricted public access to his Statements of Assets, Liabilities and Net Worth (SALNs) since 2018, would not use government funds.

“Of course, he knows it’s illegal to use public funds for partisan purposes,” Roque said.

“But there is no prohibition in the Omnibus Election Code to raise funds from private individuals for the candidacies of individuals, so that is what the president meant.”

In October 2020, the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism (PCIJ) released public wealth documents of Philippine presidents since 1989. It said Duterte was the only president who did not make his SALNs available to the public in 31 years.

Duterte’s net worth after assuming the presidency in 2016 was at P27.42 million. It rose to P28.54 million in 2017.

“It’s an assurance to his party mates that not only will he physically campaign for them, he will also raise funds for them; and that’s not prohibited by the Constitution or the Omnibus election code. Unfortunately, democracy can be very expensive,” Roque said.

Duterte had a budget of P375,009,474.90 for his presidential campaign in 2016. According to his campaign expense report, the Davao politician only spent P200,000 from his own pockets.

Duterte was mainly backed by Davao-based businessmen, including former Davao del Norte 2nd District Rep. Antonio Floirendo Jr. who was convicted of graft, Dennis Uy, Samuel Uy, Lorenzo Te, Tomas Alcantara, Nicasio Alcantara and Felix Ang. John Ezekiel J. Hirro