Hagedorn refutes Ombudsman: No misdeclared assets
MANILA, Philippines – Former Puerto Princesa mayor Edward Hagedorn on Friday, May 15, denied failing to declare some of his properties in past Statements of Assets, Liabilities, and Net Worth (SALN), saying the Office of the Ombudsman may have overlooked the evidence he submitted.
The Ombudsman, in a statement on Wednesday, May 13, said it approved a resolution on May 12 indicting Hagedorn for untruthful statements in his SALNs from 2004 to 2012.
Hagedorn will be charged before the anti-graft court Sandiganbayan with 9 counts of perjury, one count each for violating Section 7 of Republic Act 3019 or the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act, and Section 8 of RA 6713 or the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees.
Surprised to first learn about the developments from the media, Hagedorn believed that the Ombudsman may have overlooked the pieces of evidence he presented.
The Ombudsman ruled that Hagedorn "consistently misrepresented the contents of his SALNs," as he failed to declare ownership of the following:
- 59 parcels of real property, consisting of residential lots, commercial buildings and agricultural lands
- 49 vehicles, consisting of motorcycles, luxury vehicles such as Volvo, Toyota Landcruiser, and BMW, and other sports utility vehicles
Hagedorn was also said to have concealed information about his business interests in 6 companies:
- Palawan Jolly Foods Corporation
- Puerto Princesa Broadcasting Corporation
- Puerto Prince Bee Foods Corporation
- Green Forest Blue Waters Corporation
- Radiant Home Land Development Incorporated
- Hagedorn Travel and Tours Incorporated
In an interview on Friday, Hagedorn denied misdeclaring items in his SALNs. "Parang hindi nakita ng Ombudsman 'yung sagot namin eh, 'yung aming reply affidavit," said Hagedorn. (It looks like the Ombudsman may not have seen our responses, our reply affidavit.)
He said he first learned about the Ombudsman's ruling from the media, and has yet to receive a copy of the resolution.
The Office of the Ombudsman explained that in their examination of Hagedorn's SALNs for the said years, he declared only 3 real properties in Puerto Princesa City and one real property in Parañaque City.
But during preliminary investigations, it was revealed through tax declarations that "there are more than 3 real properties registered in the respondent’s name – specifically 5 buildings, 4 commercial lands, 10 agricultural lands, and 40 residential lands.”
“By any standard, the disparity between the number of realties registered in respondent’s name and that declared in his SALNs is too significant to be dismissed," the Ombudsman's resolution noted.
In response, Hagedorn showed his SALN for 2012, with an attachment listing the 59 agricultural, commercial, and residential properties he supposedly did not declare. These properties plus two more carry a total current fair market value of P102.53 million, as reflected in his 2012 SALN.
"Hindi namin 'tinago. Dineclare namin iyan," he said. "Hindi namin malaman kung na-overlook o hindi talaga tinanggap ang aming mga ebidensya.... Hindi man lang kami binigyan ng chance na [mag-file] ng MR [motion for reconsideration], nandoon na agad sa Sandiganbayan."
(We did not hide these. We declared them. We're not sure if the pieces of evidence were overlooked or were not accepted.... We were not even given a chance to file an MR, the case is immediately elevated to the Sandiganbayan.)
Meanwhile, Hagedorn said the motorcycles were prizes in yearly raffles organized by the Puerto Princesa City Government Employees Association (PPCGEA) during his term as city mayor.
"Nasa pangalan ko iyon kasi ako ang bumili eh, pero napunta na iyon sa mga nanalo sa raffle," he said. (It was in my name because I bought it, but it went to the winners of the raffle.)
Asked if the ownership should have been transferred to the winners, he said that it was the job of the city's general services office to do that. He believes the ownership has been transferred.
As for the luxury vehicles, Hagedorn said those were already old models, or more than 10 years old, when he purchased them. He said he also bought a few of them from friends who were having troubles financially.
"Kailangan pa bang i-declare ang mga iyan kung wala nang book value?" he asked. (Does it have to be declared if it does not have book value anymore?)
Hagedorn said the perjury case is part of a plan to pin him down, as he shared that a certain Jerry Saudi faked Hagedorn's signature in an authorization letter to get a list of Hagedorn's vehicles from the Land Transportation Office (LTO).
Finally, with regards to his undeclared business interests, Hagedorn said that he had divested from these companies as early as 2002, adding that it had been transferred to his grandchildren by way of declarations of trust.
Hagedorn on May 8 lost in the Puerto Princesa City recall elections, which incumbent mayor and his former ally Lucilo Bayron won.
Ahead of the polls, a plunder complaint was filed against him by known supporters of Bayron, for Hagedorn's alleged questionable reimbursements from 2008 to 2011 during his incumbency as city mayor.
He said the complaint was “clearly based on false and legally questionable data culled from Commission on Audit (COA) report” and showed that the complainants were “ignorant of government disbursement procedures.”
Hagedorn served as mayor of Puerto Princesa City from 1992 to 2001 and from 2002 to 2013. – Rappler.com