Trump’s business ties to the Philippines

Pays taxes to Philippines: $151,824

Pay taxes to U.S. – $750

Updated: Sept. 4, 2020, 7:40AM


Teodoro Alcuitas

Editor, Philippine Canadian News.Com

Birds of the same feather flock together’ could be very well said of President Donald Trump of the U.S. and Philippine President Rodrigo R. Duterte.

Much has been written about the two president’s commonalities, but the recent New York Times expose on Trump’s taxes reveals another sordid underside of the much touted successful businessman. 

Contrary to what people are led to believe, Trump is a born loser – squandering and losing money in business ventures but most of all, cheating taxes out of his own government.

According to the report, Trump paid $151,824 in taxes to the Philippines in 2017 at the same time that he paid $750 to the U.S.

Antonio (centre) seen here in the groundbreaking of the Trump Tower 2012 with  Trump’s sons Donald Jr. and Eric. (Century Properties)

He paid taxes on the $9.3M 2017 he earned for licensing his name on the Trump Tower in Makati to business partner, Jose E. B. Antonio.

According to Trump’s financial disclosures, between 2014 and mid-2016 he received between $1 million and $6 million in payments from the project.

The $150 million, 57-story tower which was finished in 2016 is located in the posh Makati business district. The Trump Tower is said to be the tallest skyscraper in the country.


The two Trump Towers in Canada has been in financial problems with the Vancouver location closing recently in August. The Trump Tower in Toronto was facing difficulties in the early years and is now rebranded as The Mariott Hotels.

Special envoy

Antonio was appointed as ‘special envoy’ for trade by President Duterte weeks before presidential election.

As a ‘special envoy’, he has no ambassadorial status but is appointed for a specific purpose.  He is the second high profile special envoy appointed by Duterte. Iglesia ni Cristo (INC) leader Eduardo Manalo was appointed ‘special envoy’ for Overseas Filipino Workers (OFW)in 2018.

Critics see a potential conflict of interest in Antonio’s appointment but the White House and Duterte do not see any conflict.

These concerns resurfaced when Trump spoke with Duterte on the phone, inviting him to visit the White House and reportedly praising the Philippine president’s self-proclaimed “war” on drugs, a campaign that is linked to thousands of extrajudicial killings.

Self-made mogul

Antonio is the chairman of Century Properties and one of the Philippines’ highest-profile businessmen.  He previously has served as the country’s special trade envoy to China.

“He’s a self-made man. He started off in marketing, in sales, became very successful, then became a real estate tycoon,” says Wilson Lee Flores, a business columnist with the Philippine Star newspaper.


One of Antonio’s talents has been recognizing the value of branding, Flores adds.

“He’s one of the first developers, or perhaps the first developer, in the Philippines who went out of his way to go to America and Europe to get all these brand names to tie up with his companies,” he says. “This is what distinguishes him from other big developers.”

Those names include architect I.M. Pei, celebrity Paris Hilton and, of course, Trump.

Antonio rose from modest beginnings but has been listed along with his son Robbie Antonio by Forbes magazine as the Philippines’ 28th-richest family, with a combined net worth of over $400 million in 2017.

Paul Manafort (in handcuffs) after his conviction. (Photo:

Trump’s former campaign manager Paul Manafort,  was convicted in March 2019 for his dealings with Russia and was sentenced to 7-1/2 years in prison.

Manafort had dealings with the dictator Ferdinand Marcos in the 80s. Reports say he (Manafort) was promised $950,00 a year in consulting fees to help Marcos retain power.  


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