AMID the relentless reticence of the justices of the Supreme Court to publicly disclose their statement of assets, liabilities and net worth (SALN), the PCIJ launched a research into what could be their business interests and financial holdings by mining public records.
Our first stop was the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), where we found various companies listing the names of various justices as either incorporators, stockholders or board members. To verify the list, the PCIJ gathered the latest Articles of Incorporation, General Information Sheets, and Financial Statements of these companies.
The PCIJ then moved mail to the individual justices to inquire about these companies. Finally, the PCIJ verified with the Lex Libris database of judicial records to find out if any of these companies had been or are litigants in cases before the high court.
Our research findings and the corresponding replies of some of the justices follow:
Chief Justice Renato C. Corona:
- “ISLA REALTY CORP and QUEZON MEMORIAL GARDENS “are affiliated or related companies of the family-owned DELGADO GROUP OF COMPANIES of which I used to be the Vide President and Legal Counsel a long time ago. Except for the fact that I was merely requested to sign as an incorporator or officer of the said corporation, I never had any personal interest or investment therein.”
- Regarding OTEC MATERIAL HANDLING INC, “I was requested by a client to sign as an incorporator. In fact, I never had any personal interest or investment in it. In fact, I am not aware of what happened to said entity after its incorporation or if it every really took off.”
- THE FRATERNAL ORDER OF UTOPIA FOUNDATION “is the alumni association of the Order of Utopia Fraternity of the Ateneo College of Law. It is composed of the alumni members of the fraternity since its founding in 1964. It does no business or commercial transaction as its only activity is limited to the handling of the fraternity’s alumni affairs. Its chairmanship is more of an honorific title than a working position.”
- Corona closed his letter with this statement: “I am not engaged at present in any business or commercial activity.”
Associate Justice Lucas P. Bersamin, who replied through his Administrative Staff Head, Atty. Pia Cristina Bersamin-Embudcado:
- T.S.1 FREIGHT FORWARDERS “was formed as a family corporation of a client of Justice Bersamin before he joined the Judiciary in late 1986. He was included as an incorporator and allotted a nominal share. After he was appointed as Quezon City regional trial court judge in November 1986, he ceased to have any connections with the corporation. As far as he knows, the corporation stopped operations 20 years ago. The owners have ventured into a different line of business.”
- RANG AY TI ABRA FOUNDATION “was formed by former classmates and contemporaries of Justice Bersamin from Abra to work for the development and progress of the province. It was a non-stock, non-profit organization. However, after some of its founders moved abroad, the foundation stopped its operations, and has not functioned for the past 20 years.”
- The letter also stated, “Justice Bersamin does not have any record of his withdrawal of participation from the foundation, except the information you provided saying that his interest is already ‘null.’”
Associate Justice Diosdado M. Peralta, who replied through his Judicial Staff Head, Atty. Josephine C. Yap:
- CRISTINA M. PERALTA REALTY AND DEVELOPMENT CORP. “is a small family corporation established by his mother, Cristina M. Peralta, after the death of his father, Judge Elviro L. Peralta, in late 2004, with himself, his mother, brother, sister, and the eldest child of his deceased brother as incorporators. The same was established in order to prevent the dissipation of the modest savings and acquisitions of his parents, for the benefit of their children and grandchildren.”
- The letter ended thus: “I trust that this matter will be treated with your highest standard of good journalism.”
Associate Justice Roberto A. Abad:
- “I have no recollection of AS BUSINESS SOLUTIONS INC, TRIAD BUSINESS ASSISTANCE INC., FILTROPIC AQUA FARMS RESOURCES, INC., O.B. TRADING CORP. AND PHILIPPINE WORLD COLLEGE, INC. I have been in private practice of law for 23 years before my appointment and I may have been included as nominal stockholder by my clients but I have no recollection of actively taking part in their management. It is also possible that the stockholder is my namesake because in my experience, there are at least two Roberto Abads. The other one is also a lawyer.”
- “The LAW FIRM OF ROBERTO A. ABAD & ASSCIATES I, LAW FIRM OF ROBERTO A. ABAD & ASSOCIATES 2, and ABAD & ASSOCIATES are the names of my law firm where I was the senior partner.”
- “OMNI PREX INC and NEO-PREX TRADING CORP. are family corporations where I remain a stockholder.”
- “My cousin asked permission to use my name for the foundation ROSENDO O. SUBIDO SR. CHARITIES FOR POOR CHILDREN giving harelipped children free surgery.”
- A.M. INTEGRALS INC. “is a messengerial company where I already sold my shares sometime in the 1980s.”
- COMMUNIO ET MISSION FORMATION INSTITUTE “is an adult catechesis organization where I am a director still.”
Associate Justice Jose P. Perez:
- ‘I have not known that there are such entities mentioned in your letter which are included in the database of the SEC. I do not know where Mayapay is. I am a senior citizen but not of Almanza Dos, which place I am not familiar with and I do not know that there is such a corporation as EIJ PRIME BUILDERS AND SERVICES, INC. I am not in any manner, now or before, or at any time, connected with the entities mentioned in your letter.”
- “Your search may have been misdirected by the fact that the name JOSE P. PEREZ pertains to so many persons as you ca verify by a mere cursory reference to the telephone directory listings of the PLDT.”
- “Thank you very much for the opportunity to clarify matters regarding the areas of my ‘apparent and potential conflicts of interest.’”
Associate Justice Antonio T. Carpio provided a line-per-line reply in excel format to the PCIJ’s list of 68 corporate entities in which his name is still listed in the SEC records as either incorporator, stockholder or board member, as of the latest General Information Sheets and Financial Statements of the same entities:
- VILLLARAZA & ANGANGCO, “withdrew from partnership on 25 October 2001,” or the day he took his oath of office as justice.
- ONE BUSH FINANCIAL ADVISORS & MGT. CORP., “375 shares worth P37,500 in ATC’s name per 1997 GIS belong to former client.”
- CARPIO DEV. CORP. “formed for Carpio family, did not operate, no assets.”
- BERSOL DEV. CORP. “formed for Bernardo and Sol Carpio, parents, did not operate, assets are co-owned by heirs of Bernardo and Sol Carpio.”
- FOREIGN BUSINESS SVCS. CORP., “revoked, owned by CVC Law.”
- CORPORATE REORGANIZATION CONSULTANTS INC. “revoked, owned by CVC Law.”
- ARACATRADE INTL. CORP. “owned by CVC law.”
- TECHTRADE ASIAPHIL INC., “registered, latest GIS 2010, 50 nominal shares worth P5,000 in ATC’s name belong to former client; inadvertently not updated.”
- FOUNDATION FOR THE ENHANCEMENT OF LEGAL EDUCATION INC., “reg, ATC not member per latest GIS 2009”
- INFORMATION AND COMMUNICATIONS TECHNOLOGY ACADEMY INC., ATC not stockholder per latest GIS 2008
- PHIL. ARSENAL CORP., “10 nominal shares worth P1,000 per 1998 articles of incorporation belong to former client.” By the PCIJ’s verification, this companuy includes Severo Tuason, half-brother of former First Gentleman Jose Miguel Arroyo, as a major stockholder.
- The rest of the 68 companies that Carpio said he had withdrawn from or had stopped operations – even as he had initial participation on account of his vigorous private practice of law are:
- FINANCIERA MANILA INC.
- SOLOMON SHIBUYA FOOSTUFF CORP.
- CALI SHIPPING INC.
- MEDIA PRO-FILES INC.
- CALI RESOURCES AND DEV. CORP.
- TMDC TECHNOLOGY MGT. AND DEV. CORP.
- TAM PR CONSULTANCY INC.
- PEOPLES TECHNOLOGY TERMINAL CORP.
- AIRLINK TRAVEL & TOURS INC.
- ANTHONYS WINES AND SPIRITS CORP.
- VINTAGE WINES & SPIRITS INC.
- PRECISION DENTAL LABORATORIES INC.
- SOUTH ASIA PACIFIC CORP.
- GYPSY WOOD PRODUCTS CORP
- TALCO MFG. INC.
- LUZON RESORTS INC.
- MANUEL P. AURELIO JR. DEV. CORP.
- ANTROM INC.
- MEDIDENT INC.
- ASIA-TECH PLACEMENT CENTER INC.
- OPLAND OVERSEAS DEV. CORP.
- BABY VOGUE INC.
- FREY & CANO INC.
- LAWPHIL INC.
- CASE REALTY AND DEV. CO. INC.
- C.A. MRKTG. MGT. SVCS. INC.
- C.A. INC.
- ULTRATECH TRADE & CONSULT INC.
- CONNELL SECURITIES INC., “ATC not stockholder per latest GIS, 1997”
- FIRST MAGITING HOLDINGS CORP.
- H&Q PHIL. VENTURES INC., “ATC not stockholder per latest GIS 2003”
- H&Q PHIL. HOLDINGS INC., “ATC not stockholder per latest GIS 2007”
- AVANT GLOBE TRADE CORP.
- HAMBRECHT & QUIST PHILS. INC.
- UNIWELL COMMODITIES INC.
- ANANDO MANILA ENT. INC.
- PHIL. MICROSHOP INTL. INC.
- LOS ANGELES ANIMATION, INC.
- LOS BANOS BIOTECHNOLOGY CORP.
- FIDELITY CAPITAL HOLDING CORP.
- ORICON CORP.
- MAGELLAN CAPITAL MGT. CORP.
- TWENTY FIRST CENTURY NIC FOUNDATION, INC.
- UNION FOR NATL. AWARENESS FOUNDATION INC.
- GENERIC ENTS. CORP., “ATC not stockholder, per latest GIS 2001”
- MAGELLAN CAPITAL CORP.
- MAGELLAN UTILITIES DEV. CORP.
- MAGELLAN CAPITAL HOLDINGS CORP.
- MAGELLAN CAPITAL REALTY DEV. CORP.
- METS INC.
- GGM ENTS., INC., revoked
- PHIL. CENTER FOR MARINE AFFAIRS INC.
- AQUAFOODS CORP.
- U.P. MAROONS SPORTS FOUNDATION INC.
- WATERFARMS INC., “formed by ATC; did not operate, no assets”
- SAPHIL TECHNOLOGIES INC.
- UNIVERSITY OF THE PHILS. PROVIDENT FUND-HEALTH PLAN INC.
The three other justices who did not reply to the PCIJ letter, and the corporate entities in which the SEC database shows their names are still listed as either incorporators or stockholders or board members are:
Associate Justice Jose C. Mendoza:
- ME & D PRODUCTS CORP.
- VENTUREQUEST INC.
- UNITED BUSINESS AND TRADE SVCS. INC.
- C.M. MENDOZA ENTS. INC.
- RTD (PHILS.) INC.
- MAXIMER INC.
- KAPITBISIG NG MGA MAY KAPANSANAN SA VALENZUELA INC.
Associate Justice Martin S. Villarama Jr.:
- EVERSTEEL MRKTG. CORP.
- PHOENIX REALTY CORP
Associate Justice Arturo D. Brion:
- MARKET PLACERS MRKTG. PROMOTIONS ADVERTISING INC.
- NATIVIDAD MAAMBONG DELOS REYES & BRION LAW OFFICE
– With research by Karol Anne Ilagan and JC Cordon, PCIJ, July 2010