Abad, Paje have biggest number of relatives in gov’t
MANILA, Philippines — Which member of President Benigno Aquino’s official family has the most relatives in government?
Budget Secretary Florencio Abad and Environment Secretary Ramon Paje top the list with nine each, based on their statements of assets, liabilities and net worth for 2013.
Abad, one of the President’s most trusted lieutenants, declared four nephews, two first cousins and a niece all working in the government as of last year.
Topping the list of his relatives in the government is his wife, Henedina, who is a deputy speaker of the House of Representatives, followed by daughter Julia, who heads the Presidential Management Staff.
Three of Paje’s relatives in government work at Bicol University, while a niece is assigned to the Department of Environment and Natural Resources’ office in Region 5. A nephew of his is also a policeman in the same region. Other relatives held jobs in the provinces.
Abad and Paje ranked 16th and 17th, respectively, in the President’s Cabinet of mostly millionaires. Only Bro. Armin Luistro of the Department of Education was a non-millionaire with a total net worth of P433,392 in the form of cash kept in banks.
Abad declared a net worth of P32.77 million and Paje P30.35 million.
Among Abad’s declared assets totalling P7.51 million were two residential properties in Barangay (village) Culiat in Quezon City, a lot in Laurel, Batangas, and an agricultural property in Mayed Ahas, Batanes.
Early on in the Aquino administration, the Abad family came under scrutiny for getting key positions in the new government. Abad’s son Luis also used to serve as Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima’s chief of staff.
Responding to criticism in 2010, presidential spokesperson Edwin Lacierda said then that the Abads’ “qualifications will speak for themselves.”
Based on his 2013 SALN, Abad was at least P10 million richer than his daughter Julia, who ranked 20th with a declared net worth of P22.36 million.
Julia Abad declared two vehicles with a combined acquisition cost of P1.6 million, while her father mentioned four.
The daughter’s lone declared real property was a lot in Quezon City with an acquisition cost of P10.2 million. She had a total of P750,000 in credit card liabilities.
Abad and Paje were followed by Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala with a total of eight relatives also working in government. His brother Vicente is a congressman representing the second district of Quezon Province.
Alcala’s nephew Roderick and cousin Anacleto Jr. are the mayor and administrator, respectively, of Lucena City. Another nephew, Anacleto III, is a councilor in the same city.
The agriculture secretary ranked 11th among Cabinet members with a net worth of P90.77 million.
Energy Secretary Jericho Petilla has seven relatives in government. The list is led by his brother Leopoldo, the governor of Leyte. The secretary’s aunt, Carmen Cari, is the mayor of Baybay town in Leyte, while cousin Michael is the vice mayor.
Petilla’s cousin Carlo Loreto is a board member in Tacloban City, while Vincent Emnas is Leyte’s provincial administrator. Still another cousin, Jose Carlos Cari, is a congressman representing the fifth district of Baybay.
Health Undersecretary Janette Garin, a longtime congresswoman, is a cousin of Petilla.
Secretary Petilla’s declared net worth for 2013 was P117.095 million.
Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa Jr. is the brother-in-law of Science and Technology Secretary Mario Montejo. Ochoa had a net worth of P18.150 million while Montejo declared P59.969 million.
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.