2022 PH presidential race

Of top presidential bets, Marcos the only one who won’t release SALN

Lian Buan
Of top presidential bets, Marcos the only one who won’t release SALN

TRIP TO CENTRAL PHILIPPINES. Presidential aspirant Bongbong Marcos visits Cebu Governor Gwen Garcia at the Cebu Provincial Capitol on October 22, 2021.

Jacqueline Hernandez/Rappler

(2nd UPDATE) Marcos Jr flip-flops hours later in another television interview
Of top presidential bets, Marcos the only one who won’t release SALN

MANILA, Philippines – Presidential aspirant Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr said on Monday, January 24, that he will not be publicizing his Statements of Assets, Liabilities and Net Worth (SALNs), making him the only one out of the top presidential bets to refuse to release this document.

“Lahat ng pulitiko may kalaban eh, makakahanap ‘yan, gagawan ng issue ‘yan kahit na walang issue and my prime example is Corona, walang issue eh, tinanggal siya eh,” said Marcos, according to a tweet by CNN Philippines, which was among select news organizations invited to interview him Monday.

(Every politician has a rival, they will always find something, they will create an issue out of nothing. My prime example is Corona, there was no issue but he was ousted.)

Marcos was referring to the late former chief justice Renato Corona who was ousted by the Senate in 2012 over misdeclarations in his SALN. Marcos was among the only three senators who voted not to oust him, the other two being former senators Joker Arroyo and Miriam Defensor Santiago.

Other aspirants for the presidency, Senator Panfilo “Ping” Lacson, Manila Mayor Isko Moreno, Senator Manny Pacquiao, and Vice President Leni Robredo are in favor of publicizing SALNs. The four all said “yes” to publicizing SALNs when asked during a segment of GMA News special The Jessica Soho Presidential Interviews that aired Saturday.

Marcos’ answer was a turnaround from a previous statement in October last year. Asked what he thinks about publicizing SALNs on One News’ Sa Totoo Lang program on October 8, Marcos said: “Okay ‘yan, transparency, accountability, tama ‘yan.” (That’s okay, transparency, accountability, that’s right.)

President Rodrigo Duterte has refused to publicize his SALNs, and the ombudsman he appointed, Samuel Martires, issued a new rule that SALNs will no longer be made public unless the official consents to it. Since that rule, Robredo has been releasing her SALNs on her own.

“Kung talagang may kaso, kung talagang may problema, kung may reklamo, eh padaan natin sa authorities, sila ang tumingin,” said Marcos on Monday.

(If there really is a case, if there is a problem, if there is a complaint, let the authorities look at it.)

“Publicizing it will not help,” said Marcos.

Marcos was interviewed on Monday by CNN Philippines, DWIZ, Philippines Graphic, Business Mirror, and Pilipino Mirror, which make up the ALC media group. The interview was promoted by pro-Marcos and pro-Duterte social media personality Trixie Cruz-Angeles, following the backlash Marcos received for snubbing Soho and calling the muti-awarded journalist “biased.”

ALC chairman Dominic Edgard Angeles Cabangon and CNN Philippines president Benjamin Ramos bought the security firm Vigilant, previously owned by Marcos loyalist Solicitor General Jose Calida. Calida was scrutinized for Vigilant’s government contracts over conflict of interest issues.

The full interview was uploaded past 3 pm Monday. It was supposed to be live, but Angeles later said they were forced to do a delayed telecast because of connectivity problems.

Changing tune

In an interview with One News Monday evening, Marcos flip-flopped and said “I’m perfectly willing to release [my SALN].”

The question asked of him in the earlier ALC panel interview was straightforward: Will he publicly release his SALN? Marcos Jr answered at length about how SALNs can be weaponized and should be only shown to investigators. Marcos was pressed if he thinks it’s justifiable for the Ombudsman to restrict media access to SALNs, to which he said “yes.”

By the end of the back and forth, he was asked again if he will release his SALN just like Robredo did. “You give me somebody’s SALN, mahahanapan ko ng issue ‘yan kung talagang gusto ko (I will be able to find an issue if I really want to).”

Hours later on One News, as anchor Maricel Halili tried to press further if he will copy Duterte’s style of withholding his SALNs, Marcos said: “I already answered that, I’m perfectly willing to show my SALN.”

What his previous SALNs said

Marcos’ previous SALNs, from 2008 to 2013 at least, showed a steady increase in his wealth even if his declared businesses went in the red.

Rappler investigated his wealth in a report published in February 2015 – at this time the latest available SALN was 2013 because the 2014 SALN was scheduled for filIng April that year.

Rappler found that from a P179.98-million net worth in 2008, Marcos’ net worth grew steadily to P441.997 million in 2013, according to his SALNs. But a check on the companies he declared, through disclosures, showed the Augustus Management Inc, Beldevere Manpower Inc, and NIV Property Holding Inc were operating in the red at the time.

Marcos had been out of government since 2016 when he lost the vice presidency to Robredo.

He began his public service in 1980 when he was elected vice governor of Ilocos Norte. He was in exile in Hawaii from 1986 to 1991. By 1992 he had been elected representative of Ilocos Norte Second District. The only dent in his service was from 1995 to 1998 because he lost his Senate bid in 1995.

He returned as governor of Ilocos Norte in 1998 and served for three terms until 2007, during which he was supposedly an absentee governor, according to residents.

He served as Ilocos Norte 2nd District representative from 2007 to 2010, and as senator from 2010 to 2016, for a total of 27 years in government.

Marcos is the frontrunner for the 2022 presidential elections, according to the latest survey of Pulse Asia conducted from December 6 to 11, 2021. – Rappler.com

Lian Buan

Lian Buan covers justice and corruption for Rappler. She is interested in decisions, pleadings, audits, contracts, and other documents that establish a trail. If you have leads, email lian.buan@rappler.com or tweet @lianbuan.