House exec faces SALN dishonesty charge
NAGA CITY—Deputy Speaker Arnulfo Fuentebella is facing charges at the Ombudsman for alleged failure to fully disclose his assets in his statement of assets, liabilities and net worth, and not declaring at least 22 pieces of real estate property.
Francisco Ramirez Tria III, former councilor of Sagnay, Camarines Sur, filed the case against Fuentebella, who sits as fourth district representative of Camarines Sur in the House.
In a statement, Fuentebella dismissed the case as “nothing more than just another harassment suit that is politically motivated.”
The House leader said Tria simply wanted to gain publicity after losing in the 2010 mayoral elections to Fuentebella’s wife, Evelyn.
“I have always complied with the law in so far as my statement of assets, liabilities and net worth is concerned,” Fuentebella said.
The complaint was received by the Ombudsman last Aug. 17.
A copy of Fuentebella’s SALN as of Dec. 31, 2010, showed the deputy speaker having real estate property worth P12,887,353 which consisted of a condominium unit, residential buildings and lands, and agricultural lots.
He also declared personal and other pieces of properties worth a total of P19 million.
Tria said he found that Fuentebella failed to declare at least 22 pieces of real estate property in his SALN, a violation which cost Renato Corona his position as chief justice of the Supreme Court.
“If that was the cause of Chief Justice Renato Corona’s impeachment, then why spare the deputy speaker of the House?” said Tria.
In his complaint, Tria said Fuentebella’s Dec. 31, 2010 SALN listed only four pieces of property in Camarines Sur and two agricultural lands.
Tria said Fuentebella, however, owns several other pieces of property in other areas in the fourth district, which the Fuentebellas have ruled for several decades.
The undeclared pieces of property, Tria’s complaint said, are in the towns of Sagnay, Tigaon and San Jose that add up to a total area of 22 hectares and were acquired from 2003-2009.
According to the complaint, Fuentebella failed to declare 2 pieces of property in Tigaon and one in Sagnay that he inherited from his parents.
Three pieces of property in Goa that are in the name of Evelyn, incumbent mayor of Sagnay, were also not declared in Fuentebella’s SALN.
Tria said Fuentebella cannot claim he committed an honest mistake in failing to declare the pieces of property “due to the vastness and number of properties” that are not in his SALN.
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