New, old-new wannabe senators, too

Family wealth, spouses’
assets boost a few newbies

Last of Four Parts

HOW RICH are the Binays? Vice President Jejomar ‘Jojo’ Binay never fails to point to his humble beginnings, but for decades now, there has been non-stop whispering that he and his family have come a long, long way from Culi-Culi.

Some clues could probably be gleaned from the Statements of Assets, Liabilities, and Net Worth (SALN) of the Binay family members who have occupied public office (and there are already quite a number). Anyone curious if married eldest daughter Nancy is sharing that supposed wealth, however, may have to wait and see if she gets voted into the Senate next week.

Maria Lourdes Nancy Binay-Angeles is among the 13 (out of 33) senatorial candidates who have yet to sit in the legislature. She is also among the senatorial bets who have not filed a SALN, because while she is her father’s personal assistant and liaison at the Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council, she is a volunteer, says a media officer at the Office of the Vice President. Therefore, she is not on the government payroll, says the OVP personnel.

Tracking a candidate’s wealth with the use of a SALN is hard enough. Without that piece of paper, however, the task obviously becomes more complicated. Of course, candidates coming in from the private sector — including the likes of Binay, who seems to have already at least a toe in government, and fellow senatorial candidates Eduardo ‘Brother Eddie’ C. Villanueva and Baldomero C. Falcone — are not required to file one.

Old files long gone

But even the SALNs filed once upon a time by those who used to hold a public post may also prove elusive either because either they had a very short stint as public servants or their SALNs are now past the 10-year retention period practiced by SALN repository agencies. Such seems to be the case with senatorial candidates and former public servants Rizalito Y. David, Marwil N. Llasos, Ramon E. Montaño, and Ricardo ‘Dick’ L. Penson.

PCIJ thus resorted to a reverse search of corporate records to see if at least these candidates have some interests in businesses or organizations registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). Nothing came up for David and Llasos. David worked at the Department of Environment and Natural Resources and at the Offices of Senator Francisco S. Tatad, Deputy Speaker Hernando Perez, and Senator Robert S. Jaworski. Llasos was executive assistant and later legal consultant at the Department of Agrarian Reform, researcher at Institute of International Legal Studies at the University of the Philippines, and assistant corporate legal counsel at the Philippine Stock Exchange.

But a certain ‘Ramon E. Montaño’ turned up as a stockholder, board member, or officer in at least three companies. SEC documents also show that the Montaño listed in these companies has the same address indicated in Montaño’s certificate of candidacy for the 2013 elections.

Monstar Security and Intelligence Services, Inc. listed Montaño as incorporator and chairman of the board; he appears as incorporator, chairman of the board, and president in the papers of Alcomon Consolidated Corp., and board member and stockholder at BF General Insurance Company, Inc. Montaño is a retired general of the Philippine Constabulary-Integrated National Police.

Independent candidate Penson, who used to be special assistant for national security and political affairs of former president Corazon C. Aquino, meanwhile now sits as chairman and/or major shareholder of various corporations, according to latest records secured from the SEC. This includes companies in the aviation industry such as Pacific-Avia Group and Philco Aero Inc., tollways contractor and operator La Mesa Parkways Corporation and AusPhil Tollways Corp., and armaments manufacturer Defense Research Inc. He is also the chairman of Penson and Company Inc., a holding firm, and La Mesa Parkways Corporation, a company that supplies and maintains renewable energy equipment.

Nancy and hubby

Binay and husband Jose Benjamin Angeles are connected in at least three corporations as well, according to SEC records. Binay is director of an insurance agency called AB Summit Insurance Agency Inc., according to its 2007 general information sheet (GIS). She is also incorporator and trustee of Purple Ginger Inc., a restaurant operator formed in 2001 (2001 primary license), and St. Andrews A-C Services Inc., a company involved in the “repair of personal and household goods” that was formed in 2001 (2011 GIS).

At the same time, Binay is involved in a number of charitable organizations such as the Bigay Pagmamahal Foundation Inc. (registered in 1986), Brighthalls Children’s Foundation Inc. (2012), and the STF Serbisyong Tunay Foundation Inc. (2011).

Aside from being her father’s assistant, Binay currently serves as deputy secretary general of the United Nationalist Alliance (UNA), a coalition between deposed President Joseph Estrada’s Pwersa ng Masang Pilipino (PMP) and Vice President Binay’s Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban).

As for Falcone, who is president of the Democratic Party of the Philippines (DPP), SEC records show him as having business interests in Falcone Fast Courier Inc., a courier service, and Global Interphase Security Service Provider, Inc. a company that provides security services.

Falcone is also incorporator and trustee of Sagip Bansa Filipinas Inc., a non-stock corporation that aims “to create a national blueprint for socio-economic stewardship towards a new Philippines…”

Then there is Villanueva, who ran and lost in the last two presidential races, but is more known as the founder and leader of the Jesus is the Lord Church or JIL. Villanueva is the president of ZOE Broadcasting Network Inc. established in 1991. He also sits as member of the Board of Regents of the Polytechnic University of the Philippines where he graduated with a degree in economics.

Among the would-be neophyte lawmakers, PCIJ has on file some SALNs of incumbent Puerto Princesa City mayor Edward S. Hagedorn and ex-Manila councilor Greco Antonious Beda B. Belgica. It also has on file SALNs of ex-Olongapo City councilor John Carlos G. de los Reyes, former National Youth Commission (NYC) chair Paolo Benigno ‘Bam’ A. Aquino IV, former Tarlac governor and presidential assistant Margarita ‘Tingting’ R. Cojuangco, and former Movie and Television Review and Classification Board (MTRCB) chair Mary Grace Poe-Llamanzares.

Because the SALNs PCIJ has on hand on these candidates are too few or incomplete, though, the Center is able to produce only a rough sketch of the wealth they may have.

Grace most wealthy

Among the six, Llamanzares posted the highest net worth record of P132.25 million in 2011. The amounts of her real and personal assets were in fair market values instead of acquisition cost. A large part of her wealth or a total of P65 million was inherited from her late father, celebrated actor and 2004 presidential candidate Fernando K. Poe Jr., who died in 2004. Nevertheless, Llamanzares alone is well moneyed with real and personal assets of P102.89 million.

Cojuangco came in next with P127.33 million in 2003. Cojuangco is the wife of Jose S. Cojuangco Jr., a business tycoon, sugar magnate, and Tarlac’s first district representative from 1962 to 1969 and from 1987 to 1998.

Hagedorn, Belgica, de los Reyes, and Aquino were all below the P100-million mark. Hagedorn had a net worth of P69.23 in 2011, Belgica P25.95 million in 2007, de los Reyes P10.37 million in 2009, and Aquino P1.33 million in 2006.

There is no other document to compare with the 2003 SALN of Cojuangco to derive a trend in her wealth while she was in public office. As for the others, a comparison of their available SALNs revealed that Aquino’s reported net worth rose, while those of de los Reyes and Hagedorn fluctuated. Llamanzares’s net worth decreased while Belgica’s was steady at P25.95 million or thereabout.

Aquino posted the highest (and year-on-year) net worth growth with 931-percent increase in five consecutive years, or from P129,000 in 2001 to P1.33 million in 2006. This was due largely to rising amount of “cash/savings” and “personal belongings” and the purchase of a P1.38-million office condominium in Ortigas, Pasig City in 2003. Aquino was appointed commissioner of NYC in 2001, and then became its chair in February 2003.

JC and Edward

Although fluctuating, de los Reyes’s net worth increased nonetheless from P4.53 million in 1995 to P10.37 million in 2009, or a rise of 129 percent. The increase was due to new entries in his 2009 SALN: four vehicles, two house and lots, and two single-proprietary businesses. One business was purchased in 1998 and the other assets between 2006 and 2009. De los Reyes served as councilor of Olongapo City from 1995 to 1998 and from 2004 to 2010.

Hagedorn’s net worth dropped eventually from P73.77 million in 2004 to P69.23 million in 2011, or a 6.15-percent decrease in seven years. The decline transpired despite a new entry, a P41.5-million commercial building in Puerto Princesa City, in his 2011 SALN.

For one, two entries — a certain “cash/accounts and notes receivable” and “vehicle” — earlier enrolled in his 2004 SALN were no longer in his 2011 SALN. For another, the amount of his “furniture/fixtures/appliances” decreased to P1.75 million in 2011 from P4.29 million in 2004. Hagedorn also declared a total of P54.52 million in liabilities in 2011 compared with only P15-million liabilities 2004.

Llamanzares’s wealth dropped from P152.53 million in 2010 to P132.25 million in 2011, or by 13 percent in one year. The amounts of her real properties were in fair market values, and in 2011, she declared falling fair market values for almost all of her properties.

Belgica’s net worth, meanwhile, remained nearly the same from 2004 to 2007, except in 2005 when it fell by P250,000 due to two new liabilities: car and housing loans. He declared a new P650,000 Pajero that would have explained the car loan but not a single new entry in real assets for the housing loan.

In his two succeeding SALNs, Belgica declared neither the car loan nor the housing loan. Even the Pajero went missing in these document; thus, his net worth in 2006 and 2007 came back to the 2004 figure.

Aquino, Cojuangco, and Hagedorn disclosed their or their spouses’ business interests and financial connections in their latest available SALNs. Belgica, de los Reyes, and Llamanzares disclosed nothing.

At the end of his term as NYC chair in February 2006, Aquino declared having a financial connection with “ABS-CBN/Studio 23” for being its talent since 2001. Cojuangco declared in her 2003 SALN that she and her husband were “officers/stockholders” in Central Azucarera De Tarlac and her husband was either a stockholder or “officer/stockholder” in 20 other companies. Hagedorn declared in his 2011 SALN that he inherited ESH Real Estate Lessor and Developer.

A lot more businesses

A reverse search of corporate records meantime revealed that Aquino, Belgica, Cojuangco, Hagedorn, and Llamanzares have active business interests and financial connections as of 2011 and 2012. It showed, too, that Cojuangco and Hagedorn may have failed to disclose their associations with some businesses. The research yielded no result for de los Reyes.

Aquino was listed as stockholder and incorporator in the 2012 General Information Sheet (GIS) of Microventures Inc. and Rags2riches Inc., which were registered with SEC on January 18, 2007 and January 31, 2008, respectively. He was also listed as an incorporator in the 2012 Articles of Incorporation of Jakenpoy Corporation, which registered with the SEC on January 24, 2012.

The name ‘Greco Antonious Beda B. Belgica’ was listed as incorporator and trustee in the 2011 Articles of Incorporation of Yeshua Talmidin Association Inc. and Yeshua Change Agents Association Inc. Both companies were registered in SEC only in 2011. The Belgica who has shares in these companies has the same tax identification number of senatorial candidate Belgica in his SALNs.

A ‘Marygrace P. Llamanzares’ was listed as board member, stockholder, and vice president/treasurer in the 2012 GIS of JSP Realty & Development Corp. The same name was also listed as incorporator of The Fernando Poe Jr. Foundation, Inc. in its 2010 Articles of Incorporation. Llamanzares disclosed her shares of stocks in these two companies in her 2010 and 2011 SALNs.

A ‘Margarita R. Cojuangco.’ who has the same TIN as Cojuangco based on her SALN, was listed as incorporator in the 2003 and 2012 GIS of Acacia Foundation Inc. and in the 2003 GIS of Ala-ala Scholarship and Livelihood Foundation Inc. The latter filed an Affidavit of Non-Operation in 2005. Cojuangco did not list either foundation in her 2003 SALN.

‘Edward S. Hagedorn’ and ‘Ma. Elena M. Hagedorn,’ who have the same TINs as Mayor Hagedorn and his wife, were listed as incorporator and stockholder in three companies: Radiant Homes Land Development RHLD Inc. and Radiant Forest Homes Development RFHD Inc. in their 2011 GIS and Puerto Prince Bee Foods Corporation in its 2012 Articles of Incorporation. The latter was registered in SEC on January 26, 2012. Hagedorn did not enroll the first two companies in his 2011 SALN.

Of these 13 would-be freshmen lawmakers, five are novice candidates: Aquino, Binay, Falcone, Llamanzares, and Llasos. The rest have run in past local or national elections.

Election spending records

Hagedorn is the most experienced of the lot, having run and won in the mayoral race in Puerto Princesa City since 1992. Cojuangco has run in three gubernatorial races in Tarlac. She won in 1992 and 1995, but lost in 1998. Belgica has run for councilor of the 6th District of Manila in 2004 and 2007. He won the first and lost the second.

De los Reyes won as councilor of Olongapo City, Zambales in 1995, 2004, and 2007, but lost in his presidential bid in 2010. David lost both his congressional bid in Makati in 2001 and his senatorial bid in 2010. Montaño has run for senator in 2004 and lost.

Villanueva lost his bid for the presidency in the last two national elections. In 2010, Villanueva failed to file a proper Statement of Election Contributions and Expenditures (SECE), specifically one that is separate from the report submitted by his party Bangon Pilipinas.

In a July 2010 letter to Commission on Elections (Comelec), Virginia S. Jose, the party’s legal counsel, said that Bangon Pilipinas’s 2010 SECE “covers all the contributions and expenditures that the candidates (for president, vice president, and senator) have received and incurred for the election period, thereby dispensing the filing of individual reports.”

According to Jose, Comelec advised Bangon Pilipinas to have each of its candidates to submit at least the verified summary page form of the SECE adopting the statement filed by the party along with other documents. Comelec has received such submission from Villanueva.

In 2010, Villanueva’s Bangon Pilipinas Party received P83.4 million and spent P96.01 million in campaign expenditures. — PCIJ, May 2013