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The wealth of P-Noy

WITHIN a year after the May 2010 elections, President Benigno Simeon C. Aquino III reported that his wealth had grown nearly three times, or from only P15,440,268 as of December 2009 to P54,999,370 as of December 2010.The net increase in his wealth: P39,559,102, or 256 percent more in just 12 months. The spike in his […]


Triggers & barriers to access

A CLEAR, working system – with specific procedures and dedicated staff personnel – triggers quick, correct, and complete action by some government agencies on access to information requests.

But the absence of such a system in most other agencies, as well as the lack of fully defined rules and procedures that all agencies must observe in responding to requests, remain barriers to access.

Why the taxman cometh after Mikey Arroyo

Rising fortunes, falling taxes

Anyone who has earned more, acquired more, sold more, and inherited more should have paid the lawful and correct amounts of taxes that the government, by its sovereign right and duty, levies on any number of so-called “tax incidents” or taxable transactions on all citizens.

And anyone – not least of them lawmakers who had sworn to uphold and enforce the laws – who fails to file tax returns, with the correct amounts and within deadline, is certain to send the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) on an investigation into exactly what that individual has reported, or not reported.


The finances of Mikey & Angela Arroyo

UNLIKE the security guards he is supposed to represent, Rep. Juan Miguel ‘Mikey’ Arroyo of Ang Galing Pinoy is one of the wealthiest members of the 15th Congress. His fortune flourished during the same years of his mother’s presidency – from P5.72 million in 2001 to P101.35 million in 2009.


More barriers to access

THE PUBLIC expectations are clear and well-founded. Malacañang under President Benigno Simeon Aquino III will uphold transparency in the conduct of its affairs. And perhaps, too, in the disclosure of documents imbued with public interest, not least of them the Statement of Assets, Liabilities, and Net Worth (SALN) of public officials.

Merci’s SALNs a big secret?

Ombudsman mocks law
on disclosure of wealth

THEY are supposed to be the exemplars when it comes to compliance with the law requiring all civil servants to declare and disclose the full details of their assets, liabilities and net worth.

After all, the Office of the Ombudsman is vastly empowered by the Constitution to serve as the premier integrity and anti-graft agency of the land.

But only token compliance to absolute indifference to the law on the filing and disclosure of their Statement of Assets, Liabilities, and Net Worth (SALN) seems to be the attitude and conduct common to Ombudsman Ma. Merceditas N. Gutierrez and her 11 deputy and assistant Ombudsmen.

Wheels of justice grind slow,
results, audit of funds slower

NUMBERS – people, cases, funds – are a messy, maddening mix in the courts. The numbers defy all myth and romance about the majesty and dread that literature ascribes to the men and women in robes, and indications are they pose a perpetual challenge for the administrators of the country’s judicial system.

Indeed, attempts of the judiciary to keep a firm grip on its budget and fiscal processes alone have already triggered periodic delays in completing audit reports, as well as caused recurring disputes on compliance with budget circulars that should apply across the bureaucracy.


Companies & jurists

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.

Justices keep SALNs secret

High court black hole
in transparency drive

GOOD GOVERNANCE is the solemn promise of President Benigno Simeon Aquino III. Transparency and respect for access to information could enable it; the rule of law, or the prosecution of cases built on evidence before the courts, could assure it endures.

In President Aquino’s epic effort to rid the government of corruption, the judiciary will perform the critical role of arbiter, judge, and guardian. Yet the judiciary itself is nurturing a black hole of information, which could swallow into nothingness initiatives to limit, if not stop, corruption.


A different Legacy

NOBODY knows for sure how much money Speaker Prospero Nograles lost when he invested in at least one of the 12 banks under the collapsed Legacy Group of Companies.

One thing is certain: Nograles had admitted he lost money in Legacy.

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