Lawmaker richer by P200M in a year
Would you believe that a junior lawmaker became richer by more than P200 million in just 12 months?
Leyte Rep. Vicente Veloso offers no secret formula for accumulating wealth but this: Declare your property accurately when filing your annual statement of assets, liabilities and net worth (SALN).
His wealth surged by 826.8 percent to P228 million in 2017 from P24.6 million in 2016, easily topping the list of House members whose net worth more than doubled in a year’s time.
The retired Court of Appeals justice, however, explained that when he filed his SALN for 2017, he declared the current “assessed value” of his decades-old properties instead of their acquisition costs.
The assessed value is normally much higher than the acquisition cost.
Veloso told the Inquirer that he switched to declaring the assessed value of his properties “since you have to be more or less accurate in your reporting” of the net worth.
‘Too much of a hassle’
He said that “more or less, these are the same” properties that he owned for decades. He said he did not acquire new properties since he joined the government because it “became too much of a hassle.”
“When I tabulated already the assets I have, it already amounted to P228 million,” he said by phone.
Veloso failed to immediately retrieve his tax declarations when he filed his SALN for 2016, that’s why this reflected only the price of the properties when he bought them decades ago with his income as a lawyer for the Angara Abello Concepcion Regala & Cruz Law Offices.
But for 2017, he managed to obtain his tax declarations reflecting the current value of his properties.
The lawmaker cited, for instance, that he acquired the industrial property of Philippine Associated Smelting and Refining Corp. for P13,000 per hectare (P1.30 per square meter) in 1981. Now, the value is P1,000 per sq m.
Spike in wealth
He also cited his purchase of his residential lot in Tacloban City for P10 per sq m in 1981; it’s now worth P5,000 per sq m.
Veloso did not mention the actual area of his two properties.
The Inquirer counted eight other House members, whose net worth in 2017 was more than double the previous year’s, out of 292.
Kalinga Party-list Rep. Abigail Faye Ferriol-Pascual’s wealth grew from P672,050.88 in 2016 to P4.54 million in 2017; Camarines Sur Rep. Gabriel Bordado’s from P179,017.71 to P563,445.19; and Zamboanga del Norte Rep. Seth Frederick Jalosjos’ from P14.91 million to P55.46 million.
Deputy Majority Leader and Pampanga Rep. Juan Pablo Bondoc reported the fifth largest net worth increase at 196.5 percent.
But in numerical terms, Bondoc acquired the largest amount of wealth at P282.73 million—the difference between his 2017 net worth of P426.6 million and 2016 net worth of P143.87 million.
Bondoc said over the phone that his wealth increased because of his share in the proceeds of the sale of the Puyat Furniture factory in Pasig City to the SM Group.
The other big earners were Iligan City Rep. Frederick Siao who gained additional wealth from P20.37 million to P45.37 million; Biñan City Rep. Marlyn Alonte-Naguiat, from P16.86 million to P37.37 million; Iloilo City Rep. Jerry Treñas, from P27.29 million to P59.58 million and Surigao del Norte Rep. Francisco Jose Matugas II, from P3.22 million to P6.76 million.
Fourteen others reported a net worth growth by 50 to 100 percent.
They were Quezon City Rep. Winston Castelo, 89 percent to P7.74 million; Catanduanes Rep. Cesar Sarmiento, 79.7 percent to P7.33 million; Leyte Rep. Henry Ong, 75.2 percent to P213.99 million; Ako Bicol Party-list Rep. Alfredo Garbin Jr., 65.7 percent to P12.43 million; Batangas Rep. Raneo Abu: 65.7 percent to P8 million; Yacap Party-list Rep. Benhur Lopez Jr., 58.2 percent to P1.99 million; Aangat Tayo Party-list Rep. Harlin Neil Abayon III, 56.9 percent to P10.62 million;
Cagayan Rep. Baby Aline Alfonso-Vargas, 55.9 percent to P68.9 million; ACT Teachers Party-list Rep. France Castro, 53.6 percent to P1.39 million; Zamboanga City Rep. Manuel Jose Dalipe, 53.5 percent to P16.3 million; Tarlac Rep. Carlos Cojuangco, 52.6 percent to P63.18 million; Palawan Rep. Frederick Abueg, 52.3 percent to P20.02 million; Kabataan Party-list Rep. Sarah Jane Elago, 51.6 percent to P75,800, and Tarlac Rep. Noel Villanueva, 51.4 percent to P31.21 million.
Three lawmakers reported exactly the same net worth in 2017 and in 2016. They were Camarines Sur Rep. Rolando Andaya Jr. (P45.65 million), Kalinga Rep. Allen Jesse Mangaoang (P8.91 million), and Anak Mindanao Party-list Rep. Makmod Mending Jr. (P3.23 million).
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