MANILA, Philippines – Who now owns the 3,000 square-meter property in North Greenhills, San Juan that has been the home of former president Joseph Estrada for years?
On record, it no longer belongs to the Estrada patriarch since it was not reflected in his latest Statement of Assets, Liabilities and Net Worth.
But if you ask him, the property with address No. 1 Polk St, still “belongs to the family.”
In the two SALNs he submitted since he reentered public office, the Polk property was nowhere to be found. It was in this house that Estrada was picked up for booking and taking of a mug shot when he was charged for plunder 13 years ago.
As early as 2010, after losing the presidential race that year, Estrada had plans of selling the Greenhills property to pay off debts incurred during the campaign. But the plan apparently did not push through. (READ: Elections and the Estrada wealth)
While still supposedly in the red, Estrada purchased a property in Sampaloc in preparation for his 2013 mayoral bid in Manila. The Sampaloc house cost him P91 million.
Apart from his Sampaloc residence, Estrada also listed two residential properties – his retirement home in Pagsanjan, Laguna and another one in Iba, Zambales. His other real estate property is an orchard plantation in Laguna.
But what happened to the Estrada ancestral house in Greenhills?
Contacted by phone over the present status of Greenhills residence, the former president asked if Rappler was investigating his properties. When told that it was just an inquiry on why the Greenhills property is no longer in his SALN and who could be the present owner, Estrada simply said, “It belongs to the (Estrada) family.”
The declaration by public officials of their SALNs is governed by Republic Act No. 6713, or the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees. A SALN should contain “a true and complete declaration of assets, liabilities and net worth, including a disclosure of business interests and financial connections of the declarant,” including that of the spouse and unmarried children below 18 years of age.”
Violation of the law, like failure to submit a SALN, or failure to disclose or misdeclare any items in the SALN is punishable by suspension of 1 day to six months for the first offense, and dismissal from service in the second offense.
Going by Estrada’s reply, it is unclear whether ownership of the Polk property was transferred to another family member or whether it was an oversight on the part of the Manila mayor. If that other family member is not in government, there is no need to declare it.
To be sure, the Polk property is not under Jinggoy’s name since it was not reflected in his own SALN.
While the revised SALN guidelines state that properties that are inherited by the declarant but not yet titled under the declarant’s name should also be included in the SALN, it is silent however for properties already disposed of by the declarant.
The question about the Greenhills property draws some parallelism to a property in Wack-Wack Subdivision in Mandaluyong City that his son Jinggoy also failed to disclose in his SALN.
The younger Estrada admitted owning the new house being built in the posh subdivision, with an estimated value of P120 million ($2.7 million at current exchange rates). (READ: Senators’ new houses ‘missing’ in SALNs)
For the second time, Jinggoy has been indicted for plunder, this time over alleged ill-gotten wealth through the misuse of his pork barrel allocations. Two other senators, Juan Ponce Enrile and Ramon “Bong’ Revilla Jr, have also been indicted.
After enjoying surges in their financial net worth through the years, the wealth of the Estrada father-and-son tandem appears to have plateaued.
Another Estrada son in government, Senator JV Ejercito, registered a modest increase in his net worth although the increases were never as phenomenal as those of his father and stepbrother.
From a 7-fold increase in his wealth during a 7-year period, the former president’s net worth stopped in its upward trajectory.
When he assumed the post of Manila in June 2013, the Estrada patriarch’s total net worth stood at P244 million (about $5.5 million),* from a base of P34.4 million ($774,774.8) in 2006.
However, 6 months into office, his net worth actually declined to P242.843 million or by about P1.1 million, based on his latest SALN declaration.
In his June 2013 SALN declaration, Estrada’s assets totaled P316 million, with liabilities of P71 million. In his latest SALN submitted on April 30, 2014, his total assets amounted to P299 million, with liabilities amounting to P56.5 million. The April SALN report represented Estrada’s net worth status as of December 30, 2013.
With a monthly salary of P67,044, it appears that Estrada was able to reduce his liabilities (a bank loan from the Asian United Bank) by P14.5 million through cash payments. However, this put a dent on his cash position, which dropped from a high of P170 million in 2012 to P151.4 million in 2013.
P1 million increase
While his father became “poorer” by about P1 million, Jinggoy got richer by P1 million in a span of one year, breaking a tradition he has set for himself in the previous years.
The younger Estrada’s net worth had been rising since 2004, when he first became a senator. From P81 million in his first year as senator, he almost breached the P200 million mark in 2012. (READ: Jinggoy’s net worth up 133% in 6 years) Estrada’s net worth stood at P195 million.
His half-brother, Senator JV Ejercito, this time, outperformed him for the first time, although he still lagged in terms of absolute wealth. Ejercito’s net worth increased by P2 million, from P72 million in 2012 to P74 million in 2013.
‘Poorer’ by P22 million
In terms of net worth, it is JV’s mother, San Juan City Mayor Guia Gomez, who suffered the biggest decline, dipping by P22 million in 6 months.
In 2012, Gomez’s net worth stood at P61 million. By the end of 2013, her net worth plunged to P39 million.
The biggest decline was attributed to her personal properties, whose value dived from P48.5 million in 2012 to P33 million in her 2014 SALN.
A comparative check on her SALNs showed her combined jewelry and furniture and paintings acquisition cost plummeted from P20 million to just P6 million. She also incurred higher personal loans from P1 million in 2013 to P5 million in her latest declaration. – Rappler.com
*$1 = P44.4
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