President Rodrigo Duterte proudly proclaimed that he is not rich and prefers the simple life but he does have an eye for expensive watches and bags.
On May 5, people expressed their surprise on social media when a video surfaced online of him inside the Swiss luxury watchmaker Jaeger-LeCoultre’s boutique in Greenbelt 5.
Just saw President Duterte shopping in Greenbelt 5. People cheered! Girls on the escalator w me asked if there was a celebrity. I said, “it’s the president”. Turn up the audio @RRD_Davao #Duterte #PresidentDuterte pic.twitter.com/8Me0qxeacy
— Daphne Oseña Paez (@DaphneOP) May 5, 2018
The lowest-priced watch of Jaeger-LeCoultre sells for about $4,150.00 while the most expensive can cost around $1,380,000.00, according to Interwatches.
Using latest foreign currency exchange rates, the lowest could cost around P215,000 while the higher-end watches could cost P71,600,000.
It was not confirmed if he actually bought any watches from Jaeger-LeCoultre.
Duterte bought a backpack from Tumi, a US brand that makes stylish suitcases and travel bags, in the same mall in December 2017 for his gun magazines. The bags Duterte bought cost around P25,000 and P45,000, respectively.
SPOTTED: President Rody Duterte at Greenbelt Makati yesterday shopping at Marks and Spencer and Tumi. pic.twitter.com/MuD9X10SoC
— ?? Dubredo Army · Duterte – Robredo (@DubredoArmy) December 5, 2017
Duterte’s latest shopping excursion that apparently showed his taste was criticized on social media.
The SIMPLE PRESIDENT is shopping at Jaeger-LeCoultre where the price of watches ranges from Php150,000 to 1,000,000 plus.
— Harper (@Harperblammo) May 6, 2018
‘Hindi ako milyonaryo’
When he was newly elected as the 16th president of the Philippines, Duterte specifically said that he was not rich.
In a speech in Ateneo de Davao University on August 2016, he said, “Do not destroy the young kasi iyon iyong aming capital bukas.”
“Alam mo bakit? Ako, hindi ako milyonaryo, and along the way, maybe after retirement, a fewer years of comfort,” he continued.
He also said that his savings are only “P40 million.”
In another speech in Marawi City on October 2017, the president said, “You can shoot me if it exceeds P40 million. Lifetime na ‘yan sa savings ko. Hindi sosobra diyan. Sigurado ako.”
Reports indicate that his official Statements of Assets, Liabilities and Net Worth as of December 2016 is P27.42 million.
Duterte had a “pro-poor” image, a key in his increased trust ratings conducted by Social Weather Stations in 2017.
In fact, he refuses to wear formal attire as much as possible, save for some occasions where it is merited.
In 2017, presidential spokesperson Harry Roque noted that Duterte’s focus on the anti-narcotics campaign does not mean he is not prioritizing the marginalized sector of the country.
Roque said that the president is upholding the interest of the poor by ensuring that everything would “translate to every Filipino getting a fighting chance to overcome poverty, to uplift one’s status in society and to live a life with higher dignity.”
The spokesperson added that Duterte was criticized for only targeting the poor in his anti-narcotics campaign.
Fr. Ranhilio Aquino, a political analyst in San Beda Graduate School of Law, explained that the president comes across as “maka-masa.”
“He comes across very strongly as ‘maka-masa’ and it’s not only giving an impression, he packs that with good action,” he said. — Art by Uela Badayos