SALNs out: Villar still richest senator, De Lima poorest
The Senate posted the list of the SALN of senators on its official website even after Ombudsman Samuel Martires issued guidelines in September restricting public access to the SALNs of government officials.
The STAR/Geremy Pintolo, file
SALNs out: Villar still richest senator, De Lima poorest
Cecille Suerte Felipe (The Philippine Star) - October 30, 2020 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Although allowed to keep their statements of assets and liabilities and net worth from the public eye – courtesy of the Office of the Ombudsman – senators have released their latest SALNs, which showed Cynthia Villar still the richest member of the Senate and Leila de Lima the poorest.

The Senate posted the list of the SALN of senators on its official website even after Ombudsman Samuel Martires issued guidelines in September restricting public access to the SALNs of government officials.

Republic Act No. 6713 or the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees requires the filing of SALN by government officials and personnel, including the President. The Constitution requires the public disclosure of the SALNs of top officials and military generals.

Bowing to the ombudsman, the President has not released his latest SALN.

Martires had said he decided to release new guidelines to prevent the SALN from being “weaponized” and used unfairly against public servants.

As of December 2019, Villar posted a net worth of over P3.814 billion without any liabilities. Her net worth increased by over P279.6 million as compared to her declared wealth of more than P3.53 billion in June 2019.

World boxing legend-turned-politician Sen. Manny Pacquiao is second richest with over P3.528 billion worth of assets and P356.059 million liabilities or a net worth of P3.172 billion.

De Lima, in detention since 2017, is at the bottom of the SALN list with P9.253 million assets, P930,000 liabilities, or a net worth of P8.323 million. De Lima’s fellow opposition lawmaker, Sen. Risa Hontiveros posted a net worth of P16.05 million without liabilities.

Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph Recto is the third richest senator with a declared P659.518 million assets, P92.079 million liabilities, or P567.438 million net worth. Fourth on the list is Senate Majority Leader Juan Miguel Zubiri with P344.597 million assets, P140.930 million liabilities, or over P203.6 million net worth.

Sen. Ramon Revilla Jr. ranks fifth with P218.779 million assets, P42.414 million liabilities, or P176.363 million net worth. Sen. Sonny Angara declared P155.202 million assets, P12.9 million liabilities, or P142.212 net worth.

Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon declared P127.924 million assets, P25.665 million liabilities, or P102.259 million net worth. Sen. Grace Poe listed P127.379 million assets, P31.747 million liabilities, or P97.631 million net worth.

Sen. Sherwin Gatchalian posted P125.404 million assets, P30 million liabilities, or P95.404 million net worth. Sen. Pia Cayetano declared P89.896 million assets, P7.121 million liabilities, or P82.774 million net worth.

Senate President Vicente Sotto III posted P383.769 million in assets and P305.996 million liabilities. This translated to a net worth of P77.772 million. Sen. Richard Gordon declared P73.207 million assets, P2 million liabilities, or a net worth of P71.207 million. Sen. Lito Lapid posted P171.810 million assets and P100.861 million liabilities. His net worth was P70.948 million.

Sen. Francis Tolentino’s declared assets amounted to P90.172 million while his liabilities stood at P29 million. His net worth was P61.172 million. Sen. Nancy Binay listed P126.955 million assets, P66.636 million liabilities, or P60.318 million net worth. Sen. Panfilo Lacson declared P50.125 million assets, P1.166 million liabilities, or P48.959 million net worth. Sen. Aquilino Pimentel III’s declared assets were at P41.503 million, his liabilities at P5.195 million, or a net worth of P36.308 million.

Sen. Imee Marcos declared P45.020 million assets and P11 million liabilities or a total net worth of P34.020 million. Sen. Ronald dela Rosa reported P36.263 million assets, P3.240 million liabilities, or P33.025 million net worth. Sen. Joel Villanueva reported P56.249 million worth of assets and P26 million liabilities, which translated to net worth of P30.249 million.

Sen. Francis Pangilinan’s declared assets stood at P20.635 million and liabilities at P659,000 or a net worth of P19.975 million. Sen. Bong Go has P38.961 million assets, P20.570 million liabilities, or P18.391 million net worth.

On President Duterte’s refusal to release his SALN, his spokesman Harry Roque Jr. said the Chief Executive would just follow the rules set by the ombudsman.

“We follow the rules set by the Office of the Ombudsman but the President and I will talk to settle this matter once and for all, I will ask permission from the President to make public his SALN,” Roque said.

Critics said the President’s intransigence has cast doubts on his commitment to transparency and on his renewed fight against corruption in the entire bureaucracy. The President has even ordered the creation of a “mega task force” to investigate corruption in government.

“But the President is not hiding anything. Before the Ombudsman issued guidelines, the President had been releasing his SALN yearly,” Roque said in Filipino.

In Memorandum Circular No. 1 Series of 2020 uploaded on the Ombudsman’s website on Sept. 15, access to SALNs shall only be given to an official or his or her duly authorized representative, a requester acting on a court order in relation to a pending case, and the Office of the Ombudsman’s field investigation office for use in fact-finding probe. – Christina Mendez

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