What 4 presidential aspirants really own

Posted at 06/19/2009 3:00 PM | Updated as of 06/20/2009 2:24 AM

Newsbreak compares what Senator Loren Legarda, former President Joseph Estrada, Makati City Mayor Jejomar Binay, and Metropolitan Manila Development Authority chair Bayani Fernando said during the ANC Leadership Forum last June 5 with their official assets lists

On June 5, the ABS-CBN News Channel (ANC) gathered a second batch of presidential aspirants at a forum at the University of the Philippines. Four showed up: Senator Loren Legarda, former President Joseph Estrada, Makati Mayor Jejomar Binay, and Metropolitan Manila Development Authority chair Bayani Fernando.

At the close of the forum, anchor Che-che Lazaro asked the guests this question: “How many pieces of real property do you own?” Newsbreak compared their answers with the data that Newsbreak put together for ANC, and found some of what they said inconsistent with their known and declared assets.

Marites Vitug, editor-in-chief of Newsbreak, said that when it comes to accurately answering Lazaro’s question, “nobody got a perfect score.”

In an interview on ANC’s Media in Focus hosted by Lazaro, Vitug said that based on Newsbreak's research, Legarda's answer was “the most glaring” while “Binay was closest to it.”

LOREN LEGARDA

“You can get my SAL, it’s public record, it’s with the Senate President’s Office.”

While Legarda sounded very open about her assets list, it was her Statements of Assets, Liabilities and Net Worth (SALN) that we had the most difficulty getting copies of.

The Senate President’s Office released to us the SALN for 2008 of all senators today (June 18), or 19 working days since we filed a written request on May 25. We made separate requests with the Office of Senator Legarda, but were given the run-around for more than a week but never got any copies before the June 5 forum.

In contrast, we requested for Senator Panfilo Lacson’s SALN for various years at the same time that we requested for Legarda’s. Lacson’s office gave us the documents in a couple of days.

“My net worth is P40 million.”

Her net worth as of Dec. 31, 2008, is P45.59 million, based on her latest SALN. She doesn’t have any liabilities.

“The home where I live.”

In an earlier segment of the ANC forum, when Legarda claimed to have middle class beginnings, anchor Ricky Carandang pointed out: “You live in Forbes Park. That’s not middle class.” She did not deny that she lives in the most expensive subdivision in the country.

In her SALN for 2008, however, Legarda still listed as home address 48 Dunwoody Street, University Hills Subdivision in Malabon City. She acquired the Forbes Park home sometime between 2002 and 2003.

“Another home in Makati, and my home in Malabon is communal with my brothers, a farm in Lipa and Tagaytay.”

In her SALN for 2007, Legarda did not itemize her real estate properties. She only declared “equity in real estate (co-owned with brothers, etc.)” worth P7.18 million.
If the declared worth of her real estate properties is only P7.18 million, it certainly is too small for a Forbes Park home.

In her last detailed SALN that we got hold of—as of Dec. 31, 2001—Legarda declared seven (7) real estate properties with a combined worth of P118.25 million.

These were two (2) condominium units in Legaspi Village, Makati; a house and lot in Bel-Air subdivision in Makati; a condominium unit in Rockwell, Makati; a condominium unit in Greenhills, San Juan; and one (1) residential lot and one (1) agricultural lot in Tagaytay. The property in Malabon was not on the list.
From 2001 to 2007, the worth of Legarda’s real estate properties dropped by P111 million. Based on what Legarda mentioned at the forum, only the Makati house and the Tagaytay lot are left of what she declared in 2001. These two (2) properties were worth P50 million at the time.

“Most if not all were acquired before I became senator.”

The seven (7) properties detailed in her SALN for 2001 were all purchased, from 1974 to 1997, or the year before Legarda ran for senator for the first time.

At the forum, she mentioned owning a farm in Lipa. This was not in her itemized SALN in 2001. This means it was acquired when she was already senator.
(Click here for Loren Legarda’s assets, issues, and ratings.)

JOSEPH ESTRADA

The latest SALN filed by Estrada was for the year 1999 (filed in 2000). In January 2001, he was ousted.

“When in [my] prime [as actor/producer], I invested in real estate.”

Estrada listed three (3) real estate properties in his SALN for 1999, with combined current fair market value of P9.25 million at the time. These were apartments and lot in Cubao, residential property in San Juan, and residential property in Pagsanjan.

These were acquired in 1990, 1993, and 1995, respectively—when he was already senator and then vice president, not when he was actor/producer.

“I have no more property because when I became President, I diverted it all to my family corporation, [in] which I am not included.”

The three (3) properties were declared as his own assets in the SALN.

(Click here for Joseph Estrada’s assets, issues, and ratings.)

JEJOMAR BINAY

For somebody who is criticized by many quarters, including the administration, for allegedly amassing wealth illegally, Binay had the most accessible SALN in the course of this research. Newsbreak had files on him only until 2001. His office provided us with the SALN for succeeding years the next day after we requested them.
As of Dec. 31, 2008, Binay had 11 declared pieces of real estate properties, with a combined acquisition cost of P16.86 million.

“Sa Isabela…meron sa akong minana sa nanay…meron sa Batangas.”

Binay declared two (2) inherited agricultural properties—one (1) in Cabagan, Isabela (now worth P66,000), where his late mother hailed from; and another in San Pascual, Batangas (now worth P979,000), the hometown of his late father.

“Meron ako nabili sa Alabang.”

He declared one (1) residential lot in Alabang Hills, Cupang, Muntinlupa City. It was purchased in 1964 and is now worth P455,000.
“Meron ako property sa Tagaytay na bayad sa akin as attorney's fee.”

The property is actually in Alfonso, the municipality next to Tagaytay, in Cavite. It’s residential.

“Meron ako property na pinag-ipunan ko, bahay namin sa Makati, house and lot."

Mayor Binay lives in his family’s old house on Caong Street in Makati. He has apparently purchased the two lots adjacent to the original piece. The three parcels were acquired in 1977, 2000, and 2004. They have a combined fair market value of P12.72 million.

The real estate properties he listed in his SALN for 2008—and in SALN for the years before that—didn’t include the land holdings in Rosario, Batangas, and condomonium units in Rockwell, Makati, that Newsbreak reported in 2001 as owned by the Binay, based on testimonies of farmhands, former employees, and neighbors. At the time, the combined worth of those properties was P80 million, excluding improvements.

Aside from the inherited property in San Pascual, Binay declared another property in Batangas, a residential lot in Nasugbu. The 66-hectare modern farm that Newsbreak reported in 2001 is in another municipality, in Rosario.

(Click here for Jejomar Binay’s assets, issues, and ratings.)

BAYANI FERNANDO

As of Dec. 31, 2008—as in all the years he’s MMDA chair, since 2002—Fernando declared six (6) pieces of real properties with a combined worth of P178.5 million (their values never changed for six years).

“Marami ako pag-aari na commercial, industrial.”

What is Fernando’s definition of “marami” or “many”? He declared only one (1) industrial lot in Cainta (his most expensive asset at P100 million) and one (1) commercial lot in Marikina (the piece with the lowest value, at P500,000).

He has an agricultural lot in Carmona worth P25 million.

“Pero isa lang residential, kasama asawa ko.”

The residential property shared with his wife that Fernando is referring to is probably the one in Marikina, worth P21 million.

However, he has two other residential lots, both in Pasig and have a combined worth of P32 million.

(Click here for Bayani Fernando’s assets, issues, and ratings.)