Tag Archives: Net Worth

[From the web] Are SC decisions linked to CJ transactions? -RAPPLER.com

Are SC decisions linked to CJ transactions?.

BY CARMELA FONBUENA, RAPPLER.com
May 26, 2012

MANILA, Philippines – It’s the next logical question. His money or not, what is the source of Chief Justice Renato Corona’s multi-million peso and dollar deposits?

In his testimony in the Senate, Corona admitted he has US$2.4-M in dollar accounts and P80-M in peso deposits. These were undeclared in his Statement of Assets, Liabilities and Net Worth supposedly because 1) the peso deposits are commingled funds and 2) the dollar deposits are protected by the confidentiality of foreign deposits.

Corona maintained that his multi-million dollar deposits came from legitimate sources. He supposedly starting investing in dollars in the late 1960s, when he was still a college student. The investment earned interest over a span of 35 years. Banking experts however pointed out it was illegal to engage in dollar trading in the 60s.

Corona denied the computation presented by Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales showing that he has at least US$12-M in fresh deposits. She cited records of the Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC), which she said, were certified.

Read full article @ www.rappler.com

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[In the news] Marcos victims feel victimized again: Imelda now House’s 2nd richest -INQUIRER.net

Marcos victims feel victimized again: Imelda now House’s 2nd richest.

By Leila B. Salaverria, Philippine Daily Inquirer
May 9, 2012

Victims of human rights abuses during the Marcos dictatorship are disgusted.

Former first lady and now Ilocos Norte Rep. Imelda Marcos has emerged as the second richest in the House of Representatives, while thousands of the victims are still awaiting government compensation for their sufferings.

“We are very insulted with Imelda’s flaunting of her ‘wealth,’ while martial law victims are denied justice and indemnification,” Angie Ipong, secretary general of Samahan ng mga Ex-Detainees Laban sa Detensyon at Aresto (Selda), said in a statement.

The compensation bill for the victims has been pending since 1998 and has yet to become a law. In the meantime, Marcos, the widow of the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos, has grown richer.

Based on her 2011 statement of assets, liabilities and net worth, Marcos is almost a billionaire, with a net worth of P932 million. She ranked second only to boxing superstar and Sarangani Rep. Manny Pacquiao. In 2010, Marcos was worth P623.6 million.

Read full article @ newsinfo.inquirer.net

Human Rights Online Philippines does not hold copyright over these materials. Author/s and original source/s of information are retained including the URL contained within the tagline and byline of the articles, news information, photos etc.

[People] The case for confiscating Corona’s undeclared wealth By Walden Bello

Afterthoughts
The case for confiscating Corona’s undeclared wealth
By Walden Bello
Philippine Daily Inquirer
February 20th, 2012

A comment I made to the Inquirer (Feb 17, 2012) urging the administration to initiate moves to confiscate Chief Justice Renato Corona’s undeclared wealth prompted a number of comments, one of which was from a reader who asked if that would not be prejudging the result of the impeachment process and thus subverting it.

The Facts

But before I answer, a few facts are in order. And when it comes to the case of the Filipino people versus Corona, contra factum non esse disputandum, as the Romans put it: one cannot argue against the facts. It is clear by now that Corona deliberately concealed the magnitude of his wealth from the citizenry. He did not declare two of seven properties and grossly undervalued the rest. The difference between Corona’s claim of P18,436,980 for his declared properties and their actual acquisition cost of P47,047,731 —as revealed by documents presented at the trial—is a whopping P28,054,951.

Moreover, in his 2010 SALN (Statement of Assets, Liabilities, and Net Worth), Corona declared a cash balance in five bank accounts of P3,500,000, but evidence presented at the trial showed a total of P31,752,623. This meant a yawning discrepancy of P28,252,623.

Adding up the missing P28 million+ in undeclared property and P28 million+ in undeclared income yields P56 million+. And this sum does not include the unknown sum in Corona’s dollar accounts, the subpoena for which the Supreme Court has issued a TRO, which the majority in the Senate have voted to respect.

Corona is not only a peso millionaire but a dollar millionaire, with his net worth coming to at least $1.4 million at the current rate of exchange. He may not be a Henry Sy or Lucio Tan, but this amount places him among the less than one twentieth of one per cent of Filipinos who are dollar millionaires, indeed of the minuscule number of dollar millionaires worldwide. This is not the financial profile of a senior civil servant that derives his income principally from his government salary but that of a Filipino CEO or a man of inherited wealth.

A visit to the Bellagio Tower Building that I made over the weekend revealed a world that is made for people living in the lap of luxury. “Very few people can afford to live here,” said an agent who gave me a tour of the building. When I asked him about who could afford to live in the penthouse suites, he answered, “Probably, only CEO’s, who can pay from P300,000 to P500,000 a month.” The Coronas have a three-bedroom suite at the penthouse of this superexclusive highrise condominium , which the Chief Justice valued at P6.8 million in his SALN but whose acquisition cost, as revealed by records presented at the trial, came to P14.5 million.

The Forfeiture Law

The aforementioned P55 million in undeclared income constitutes ill-gotten wealth, and according to Republic Act 1379, “an amount of property which is manifestly out of proportion to his salary as such public officer or employee and to his other lawful income and the income from legitimately acquired property” is subject to forfeiture.

But back to the question of whether the initiation of proceedings to confiscate this ill-gotten wealth does not contradict or subvert the impeachment process. The answer is no, since impeachment is merely concerned with the removal from office of a civil servant specified in the Constitution. In fact, the charge of “ill gotten wealth”—the celebrated paragraph 2.4 of the impeachment complaint—was eliminated by the Senator-Judges owing to legal technicalities posed by the Defense. Thus forfeiture proceedings can proceed on an independent track without compromising the impeachment proceedings.

But would the forfeiture process not violate Corona’s right to due process? While the revelations at the impeachment trial already sufficiently establish a substantial discrepancy in Corona’s actual assets as opposed to his declared wealth that can be the basis for forfeiture proceedings, confiscation will not be automatic. Just as in any judicial process, RA 1379 allows him to legally answer to a petition to forfeit his properties. Hearings will be conducted before the state can seize his assets. In the event that Corona can demonstrate that his real property purchases and bank deposits are in manifest proportion to his salary as Chief Justice, then the forfeiture process will stop—though in the opinion of this writer, this would be a Herculean task for the Chief Justice, given the devastating evidence.

Finally, one last question, isn’t this a “socialistic” initiative that would threaten private property. Hardly. RA 1376 is not a law passed under this administration but one that came to existence during the term of President Ramon Magsaysay in 1955, to assist that popular president’s battle against corruption. It was, in fact, RA 1376 that Sandiganbayan prosecutors resorted to to reclaim P135 million for the state in the notorious plea bargain with former AFP Comptroller Gen. Carlos Garcia. Now whether or not the plea bargain in that case was in the interest of the people is a separate issue; the point we are making here is that RA 1376 gives the state the right and power to confiscate ill-gotten wealth.

With the evidence mounting against him on just one charge, Article 2, which focuses on the non-declaration or undervaluation of assets, Renato Corona comes closer and closer to conviction and removal from office. But the state will not be through with him should he be removed. He will still have to return his ill-gotten wealth to the Filipino people–if not voluntarily, then by the force of law.

*Walden Bello represents Akbayan (Citizens’ Action Party) in the House of Representatives.

[From the web] The prosecution’s mistake – RAPPLER.com

The prosecution’s mistake – RAPPLER – Philippine News | Multimedia | Citizen Journalism | Social Media.

by DEAN TONY LA VIÑA, RAPPLER.com
February 3, 2012

This week, from a legal point of view, the impeachment trial has come to a crucial moment. In Thursday’s session (February 2) of the impeachment court, some senator-judges raised the question of whether a mis- or non-declaration of assets by Chief Justice Renato Corona in his Statement of Assets and Liabilities and Net Worth (SALN) — by mistake or negligence, or even if willful — rises up to the level of an impeachable offense.

With the assistance of UP Law student Danielle Mae Navarro, a member of the all-student research team that supports me in my legal work on impeachment issues, I wrote and now share these reflections.

The 1987 Constitution declares in Article XI, Section 17 that “a public officer or employee shall, upon assumption of office and as often thereafter as may be required by law, submit a declaration under oath of his assets, liabilities, and net worth (Emphasis supplied)” and this mandate can be considered as being implemented by RA 6713 “Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees” and RA 3019 “Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act. ”

Under RA 6713, all public officials shall file under oath their SALNs and those of their spouses and unmarried children under 18 years of age. Moreover, RA 3019 explicitly requires that “every public officer… shall prepare and file… a true detailed and sworn statement of assets and liabilities, including a statement of the amounts and sources of his income, the amounts of his personal and expenses and the amount of income taxes paid for the next preceding calendar year.”

Thus, these laws contemplate both the public officer’s physical act of filing his and his family’s statement of assets, liabilities and net worth and his filing of a true, genuine and accurate SALN.

The prosecution does not necessarily need prove ill-gotten or hidden wealth to convict the Chief Justice under Article 2 of the impeachment articles. In fact, as I have argued elsewhere, it is a mistake for the prosecution to proceed with such a theory of law which tends to criminalize the impeachment proceedings, raising the bar of the applicable rules of evidence and the standard of proof required for conviction.

In my view, this is a flawed strategy that must be quickly abandoned. Indeed, this criminalization of impeachment approach, a product of the prosecution, has now led many senator-judges to assert that impeachable offenses must rise up to the level of high crimes.

Read full article @ www.rappler.com

[From the web] What’s in the Palace version of the FOI bill? – RAPPLER.com

What’s in the Palace version of the FOI bill? – RAPPLER – Philippine News | Multimedia | Citizen Journalism | Social Media.

by RAPPLER.COM

February 3, 2012

MANILA, Philippines – Here are some things you need to know about the proposed version of the Freedom of Information bill, sent by Malacañang to the House of Representatives on Thursday.

This FAQ is based on the “Q & A” from http://www.gov.ph/foi.

Who can request for information, and what can be requested? Anyone who is a Filipino citizen can ask information about official acts, transactions, decisions, and government research data from all government agencies in all branches of government.

What information shall be kept confidential by the government? However, certain information, such as “Secret” documents, minutes of executive sessions, and sensitive information (such as defense and intelligence information) shall be excluded and will remain classified. Details are under Section 6 of the bill.

What’s different in the Palace version of the bill? The Palace version of the FOI bill has the following:

  • Expanded access to financial information, such as Statements of Assets, Liabilities, and Net Worth (SALNs), and other kinds of information regarding government transactions
  • Collation of legislative acts, executive and administrative orders, proclamations, and similar information in one website, the Official Gazette
  • Government agencies will be asked to translate information in major Filipino languages
  • All agencies and entities will have a “Freedom of Information Manual” to guide officials, employees, and the public

Read full article @ www.rappler.com

[In the news] Malacañang’s FOI bill makes public officials’ asset statements more accessible | Sun.Star

Malacañang’s FOI bill makes public officials’ asset statements more accessible | Sun.Star.

February 3, 2012

MANILAMalacañang’s version of the Freedom of Information (FOI) bill will make asset statements of government officials, including members of the Judiciary, more accessible to the public, said a Cabinet official Friday.

Under the measure, the President, Vice President, members of the Cabinet, members of Congress, members of the Supreme Court, members of constitutional commissions and other constitutional offices, and officers of the Armed Forces with general or flag rank are required to publicly disclose their statement of assets, liabilities and net worth (SALN) yearly. Officials are also required to post these documents on their agency’s websites.

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Communications Undersecretary Manuel Quezon III said, however, that the Palace will still hold consultations regarding the bill’s implementing rules and regulations to reconcile with the Supreme Court’s policy of withholding SALNs to avoid being subjected for harassment.

Information not relevant in the SALN of an official, including their addresses, children’s names, and other personal data can be “redacted,” he added.

“The media, civil society, the public want to know ano ang mga ari-arian mo? Magkano ang halaga nito? Kailan mo binili, minana or whatever. Sa nakaraang taon, ngayong taon, paano ba nag-iba ang networth mo? I think we can all agree that this is the important information,” he said.

Read full article @ www.sunstar.com.ph

[In the news] Prosecution: Corona may have committed perjury for ‘undervalued’ assets – GMAnews.com

Prosecution: Corona may have committed perjury for ‘undervalued’ assets
by Andreo C. Calonzo, GMA News
January 19, 2012

  The House prosecution team on Thursday said that Chief Justice Renato Corona may have lied under oath when he allegedly undervalued his properties in his Statements of Assets, Liabilities and Net Worth (SALNs).

Marikina Rep. Romero Quimbo, one of the prosecution panel’s spokesmen, said the testimonies of Taguig and Quezon City registers of deeds revealed that the value of Corona’s condominium units are higher than what he declared in his SALNs.

“Sinusumpaan ito. The SALN is under oath. Kung hindi ka nagsasabi ng totoo, you are guilty of perjury,” Quimbo said at a press briefing.

Read full article @ www.gmanetwork.com

[From the web] A long, sad search for SALNs « Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism

A long, sad search for SALNs « Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism.
by Karol Ilgagan, PCIJ
January 12, 2012

 WHAT follows is an account of PCIJ’s correspondences with the Office of the Secretary General and the Records Management Service of the House of Representatives, which as discussed in PCIJ’s story yesterday denied the release of the Statements of Assets, Liabilities, and Net Worth (SALN) and personal data sheet (PDS/CV) of the members of the 15th Congress.

The Office of the Secretary General is the repository agency of the SALNs of the members of the House of Representatives as provided in Republic Act No. 6713 (Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees) and the Civil Service Commission’s Resolution No. 060231.

Read full article @ pcij.org

[In the news] Senate leader hopes for FOI bill passage before Congress adjourns – SunStar.com.ph

Senate leader hopes for FOI bill passage before Congress adjourns
SunStar.com.ph
January 5, 2012

 MANILASenate Minority Leader Alan Peter Cayetano on Wednesday urged his colleagues to pass the Freedom of Information bill, which will make most government records and data available to citizens, before the 15th Congress adjourns.

Malacanang on Wednesday announced support for passage of the bill “to make the constitutional injunction making information a right of the public a living reality.”

Access to information that will affect national security, the country’s diplomatic relations, and police and military operations will remain restricted. The Palace version of the FOI bill will meanwhile make it mandatory for agencies to publish the Statements of Assets, Liabilities, and Net Worth of their officials online.

“This is a positive step for the Aquino government,” Cayetano, who challenged the President in 2010 to declare the FOI bill a priority measure, said.

Cayetano is one of the principal authors of the FOI bill at the Senate.

Read full article @ www.sunstar.com.ph