Film rights raise Lacson net worth by P7MBy Cathy C. Yamsuan, Gil C. Cabacungan
Philippine Daily Inquirer
A payment of P7 million for the film rights to the movie about his life in exile three years ago has made Sen. Panfilo “Ping” Lacson’s net worth increase significantly.
A copy of his statement of assets, liabilities and net worth (SALN) given to reporters on Wednesday showed that Lacson’s net worth rose by 27 percent from P22.6 million in 2011, based on online reports, to P28.8 million last year.
But before officials of the Bureau of Internal Revenue raise their brows, the senator paid a total of P2.6 million in taxes in 2012.
The law has set April 30 as the annual deadline for the submission of SALNs by all civil servants.
The Civil Service Commission expects state officials and workers, including lawmakers, to report a higher net worth this year as a result of more stringent and specific filing requirements in their SALNs.
In a phone interview, CSC Chairman Francisco Duque III said the SALN reforms triggered by the impeachment of former Chief Justice Renato Corona would lead to more transparency in reporting a civil servant’s wealth.
Duque said requiring government workers to declare the acquisition cost of their assets would immediately lead to higher valuation of their wealth.
Previously, civil servants could opt to peg the value of their assets such as land at fair market and zonal values that were substantially lower than their actual prices, the CSC chief said.
In more detail
He said the new SALN also required government workers to file in more detail their assets instead of lumping them in one vague account.
“We learned a lot from the Corona impeachment and this is the first time we will apply them,” said Duque.
Corona was ousted largely because he failed to report his dollar and peso accounts and real estate properties.
Akbayan Rep. Walden Bello said he expected a more honest reporting of a person’s fortune.
The new SALN form has explicit requirement for more detailed information, according to ACT Teachers Rep. Antonio Tinio.
“For example, the new SALN demands the disclosure of the net worth of spouse and dependent children, which by itself would generally result in higher declarations of net worth,” said Tinio.
Sen. Ralph Recto also believed that the net worth of government workers had increased but for a different reason. “I expect higher net worth because the economy has been growing. No more no less. At least for those who are in trade and business,” said Recto.
Sen. Serge Osmeña said it was hard to generalize. “I can’t tell. If lots of assets in stock market, yes.”
That Lacson had already sold the rights to the story of his life in exile did not come as a surprise to Senate insiders. The senator himself had been hinting about this during small talk with reporters.
Lacson, a former Philippine National Police chief, left the country in late 2009 to evade arrest after he was accused of involvement in the double murder of publicist Salvador “Bubby” Dacer and his driver Emmanuel Corbito in 2001.
(Among those charged with the double murder were personnel of the now defunct Presidential Anti-Organized Crime Task Force that Lacson headed during the short-lived Estrada presidency.)
Lacson returned in March 2011, saying he was a “fugitive of injustice” and blamed the Arroyo administration for his wrongful inclusion in the double murder charge sheet.
The senator, who is bowing out in June, said he had kept mum about his itineraries abroad so as not to jeopardize the safety of those who had helped him. This meant it took some time before Lacson was convinced to narrate his story for a film.
Up by more than P4M
Lacson said in a text message that his 2011 net worth was already “P23 million plus” and that his net worth from 2011 to 2012 increased only “by more than P4 million.”
He acknowledged that his net worth increased “mainly due to the P7-million payment for my film rights in 2012.”
Lacson’s SALN indicated that his total assets amounted to P41,458,617.46 with real property consisting of a “residential lot” in Silang, Cavite, (P160,000 acquisition cost in 1989 and current fair market value of P800,000).
The senator’s personal assets include cash on hand and in bank (P24,723,162.46); jewelry (P3.8 million); “furniture/antiques” (P1.4 million); “stocks/investments” (P9,125,455), a motor vehicle (P1.15 million) and assorted firearms (P1.1 million).
He listed his liabilities as the income tax he paid in 2012 at P2,601,970 and a P10-million loan.
Put together, the figures indicated that Lacson’s net worth for 2012 was P28,856,647.46, a more than P6-million increase from his 2011 net of P22.6 million.
The senator also indicated several “business interests and financial connections”—Golden Beret Security Agency in Sucat, Parañaque and Megastar Real Estate Corp.
Among the early SALN filers in the Senate were Lacson and fellow Senators Francis Escudero and Antonio Trillanes IV.
Senators Franklin Drilon, Francis Pangilinan, Koko Pimentel, Tito Sotto, Jinggoy Estrada and Osmeña confirmed to Inquirer that they had already filed their SALNs. No details were given.