AMLC: Jinggoy has hidden multi-million dollar account
AT A GLANCE:
- Estrada withdrew P76 million as the DOJ readied plunder charges against him
- AMLC noted an abnormal rise in Estrada’s investments which was not supported by his SALN
- Dollar time deposits and life insurance policies totalling more than $3 million were absent in his SALN
- 31 bank accounts of Estrada were examined by the AMLC; in 9 bank accounts alone, total credits amounted to P629 million
MANILA, Philippines – First, the mansion being constructed in the gated Wack-Wack subdivision. Now, there are indications he also did not declare multi-million peso and dollar bank deposits in his asset statements.
What else is Senator Jinggoy Estrada not saying in his Statement of Assets, Liabilities and Net Worth (SALN)?
A report submitted by the Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC) to the anti-graft court Sandiganbayan showed that Estrada underdeclared his cash assets from 2006 to 2012 and did not include in his SALN dollar time deposits and life insurance policies amounting to millions.
He also withdrew a total of P76.446 million in 4 bank accounts in September 2013, at the height of the exposé on the pork barrel scandal.
The scion of the Estrada political family, under trial for plunder and graft over the alleged misuse of his Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) or pork barrel, might as well add violation of Republic Act 6713 or the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees for failing to be truthful in his SALN.
SALN declarations are made under oath, and giving false information has led to several government officials in jail or meted with penalty.
Cash in SALN and actual cash in banks
With the green light of the Court of Appeals, the AMLC began looking into Estrada’s bank accounts in May 2014, a month before the senator was ordered arrested by the Sandiganbayan over the pork barrel scam. Thirty-one accounts under his name in different banks were examined for coverage.
Using multiple account analysis, the AMLC probers analyzed Estrada’s bank records vis-a-vis his SALNs from 2004 to 2012. They also looked into significant transactions in 9 of his active bank accounts and related accounts.
On the SALN analysis, the probers stated the following observations:
- There is “absence of indications” that the “significant investments” which Estrada declared in his SALN “were sourced from his assets/liabilities declared in previous years.”
- Estrada underdeclared his cash in his SALNs for the years 2006 to 2012. “Cumulative under declaration amounted to P238.6 million.”
- Estrada did not declare in his SALN a foreign currency deposit unit (FCDU) time deposit in Chinabank amounting to $280,000.
- “Dollar denominated life policies totalling $75,000 for the years 2005 to 2010 and $134,000 for the years 2011 to 2014 were not declared in his SALN."
The AMLC, in its report, observed that Estrada’s net worth (assets minus liabilities) jumped by 138% from 2004 to 2012 while his total cash on hand and in banks pole-vaulted by 330%, from P3.7 million to P15.87 million.
Notably, from zero investment since 2007, his SALN-declared investments surged to P92.305 million in 2011. This climbed to P119.305 million in 2012.
The increase in Estrada’s investments perplexed the AMLC.
“Despite the huge leap of investment, it would not show that it came from his other assets since the cash balances are increasing; the unloading of real estate in 2011 and 2012 are not substantial and there is no significant change in the balances of liabilities,” the report said.
One possible explanation for the growth of Estrada’s investments could be due to the fact that Estrada expanded his business interests, from only one company in 2008 to 7 companies by 2011, the AMLC said.
“Ironically, his 2012 investments based on his SALN increased, yet the listed businesses decreased from 7 to 4,” the report said.
While raising questions on the disconnect in his SALN, what was not declared there piqued the curiosity of the AMLC probers more.
Per Estrada’s SALN, his cash on hand and in banks rose slowly and steadily, from P5 million in 2005, to P15.875 million by 2012.
Bank records however tell an entirely different story.
Except for 2005 where bank records showed his cash deposit was actually lesser than what was declared in his 2005 SALN, Estrada apparently was less than truthful for the years 2006 to 2012.
|Year||Cash on hand/in banks/SALN||Actual cash in bank per records|
Included in the AMLC’s computation was a Chinabank account under Estrada’s wife, Presentacion "Precy" Ejercito, with a cash balance of P2.4 million as of 2012. “Under the law, the assets of the spouse should also be considered in the SALN,” the AMLC stressed.
The above figures do not include two more bank accounts under Estrada’s name which the AMLC did not include in its examination since “the volume of transaction was insignificant.” The total credits in these two accounts, parked in Asia United Bank and UCPB, totalled P36.7 million.
Dollar time deposits
It’s not only hidden peso deposits that were unearthed by the AMLC.
Also undeclared was a Chinabank FCDU time deposit that was placed in September 2008, rolled over several times until it was closed in May 2010 with a total amount of $289,089.48 or P13.428 million.
"Said dollar time deposit has not been declared as investment by Senator Estrada in the investment item in the SALN in 2008 and 2009,” the AMLC said.
Then there are the life insurance policies also in dollar form, with his children and wife as beneficiaries, that the senator did not include in his SALN.
Totalling $2.209 million, the life insurance policies had a value of $2.369 million by the time these were surrendered.
Other significant findings by the AMLC:
- Total credits to 9 specified accounts maintained by Estrada amounted to P629.2 million.
- There was a total check issuance payable to cash which were negotiated/cashed by Rosemarie San Gregorio that amounted to P42.8 million. The AMLC described Gregorio as a close aide/associate of Estrada.
- There were transfers of funds in bank accounts through an open-close transfer scheme. For instance, the proceeds of a Chinabank account was used to open a Unionbank account. This Unionbank account was later closed to open an Allied Bank account.
- Estrada closed 4 bank accounts with an aggregate balance of P76.446 million in September 2013. By this time, the Department of Justice initiated plunder and malversation cases against alleged pork barrel queen Janet Lim Napoles, Estrada, and Senators Juan Ponce Enrile and Ramon "Bong" Revilla Jr.
The AMLC also observed that Estrada transferred significant amounts to certain persons amounting to millions of pesos. They include Gregorio (P42.849 million); a certain Rolando Francisco (P20.7 million); Juan Ng (P29.904 million) and Reynaldo Pazcoguin (P11.9 million).
Ng’s case is particularly interesting. The AMLC noted that Ng’s signature in his alleged Metrobank account in Greenhills was totally different from his other Metrobank accounts.
The AMLC said an analysis of specimens of Ng’s signatures in his other Metrobank accounts “are much different” than in his Greenhills account. The specimens show that the signatures “are very much similar” to Estrada’s signature, leading them to conclude that the questioned account is actually controlled by the senator. – Rappler.com
*If the dollar time deposit was included, cash in bank would have amounted to P49 million per bank records.
**If the dollar time deposit was included, cash in bank would have totalled P52.285 million.