By Vino Lucero

AMONG THE 802 unopposed candidates for the 2016 elections, a few stood out not just because their surnames sounded familiar, but also because of the frequency in which these kept popping up.

Four surnames – Ampatuan, Ecleo, Midtimbang, and Sinsuat – came up five or more times on the Commission on Elections’ list of unopposed candidates in their respective bailiwicks.

This means these clans already have at least five sure seats in their localities that they will occupy for the next three years.

They could have more, of course, partly because all four of these families have other members standing for various local posts, albeit with competitors.

Three of the surnames showed up on the list of unopposed candidates in Maguindanao: Midtimbang nine times; Sinsuat six; and Ampatuan five. Ecleo came up five times on Dinagat Islands’ unchallenged roster.

The Midtimbangs are running unopposed in the mayor, vice mayor, and councilor races of the towns of Datu Anggal Midtimbang and Talayan in Maguindanao. In all, nine Midtimbangs are running sans rivals under the banner of the United Nationalist Alliance (UNA).

The clan, however, also has other members running in the provincial level, as well as in the localities of Talitay and Guindulungan.

A total of 19 Midtimbangs are running for office in Maguindanao this year, which, if they are all lucky, could result in as much as 19 local seats for the family.

PCIJ. Midtimbang. May 2016

Five members of the Ampatuan clan, meanwhile, are running unopposed in the towns of Datu Hoffer Ampatuan and Datu Odin Sinsuat.

Other members of the Ampatuan clan are also gunning for seats – but with challengers — in the Sangguniang Panlalawigan or provincial council, as well as in the towns of Datu Abdullah Sangki, Datu Unsay, Mamasapano, Parang, Rajah Buayan, Shariff Aguak, and Shariff Saydona.

In fact, four Ampatuans are fighting for the mayoralty seat of Shariff Aguak, and three for the office of vice mayor. In this race, candidates of the opposition UNA are pitted against the official bets of the administration, the Liberal Party (LP) headed by President Benigno S. Aquino III.

Sajid Islam Ampatuan (UNA) is in a face-off against Maroph Ampatuan of the LP, Oping Ampatuan (Independent), and Zahara Ampatuan of the Nationalist People’s Coalition (NPC) in the mayoralty race.

Anhara Ampatuan (UNA) is up against Akmad Ampatuan (LP) and Datu Puti Ampatuan (Independent) over the vice-mayoralty post.

LP’s candidate for vice mayor, Akmad Ampatuan Sr., is a close relative of the late Andal Ampatuan Sr., the principal accused together with his son Zaldy in the “Maguindanao Massacre” of Nov. 23, 2009 where 58 persons, including 32 media workers, were killed.

A brother-in-law of the Ampatuans, Akmad is one of the accused in the massacre. In March 2015, however, he was admitted into the government’s Witness Protection Program.

PCIJ. Ampatuan May 2016

Akmad, Andal Sr., Andal Jr., and Zaldy were all elective officials in Maguindanao when they were arrested for the massacre in 2009. But then Justice Secretary Leila de Lima cited Akmad as “one of the major witnesses” in the second wave of complaints against 50 new suspects in the massacre, “including 14 Ampatuans, four of them incumbent mayors in Maguindanao.”

UNA’s Bai Anhara Ampatuan, meanwhile, is a re-electionist and daughter of Anwar and Zahara Ampatuan.

Unlike Akmad, UNA’s candidate for Shariff Aguak town mayor, Sajid Ampatuan, remains a principal accused in the multiple murder case that government prosecutors filed over six years ago, on account of the massacre. A former vice governor, Sajid is out on bail. His wife Zandria Sinsuat-Ampatuan is running for a third term as mayor of Shariff Saydona town.

Sajid’s rival bets are close relatives: his cousin, incumbent mayor Maroph; his nephew Oping; and sister-in-law Zahara, a former mayor and the wife of his elder brother Anwar.

In total, 40 Ampatuans are running for the 2016 elections in Maguindanao, and the family can get as much as 33 local seats there.

The Ampatuans are also relatives, either by blood or affinity, of the Sinsuat, Midtimbang, Sema, and Datumanong clans.

Generations of the Ampatuans and the Mangudadatus, meanwhile, had been close political allies until Esmael “Toto” Mangudadatu ran and won as Maguindanao governor against the Ampatuans’s wishes, in the May 2010 elections.

PCIJ. Sinsuat. May 2016

The royal clan of Sinsuat itself has six unopposed bets in Datu Blah T. Sinsuat and Datu Odin Sinsuat in Maguindanao. All the unchallenged Sinsuats are running under the LP.

Ten other Sinsuat family members are aiming for seats in the provincial level, as well as for a variety of posts in Cotabato City, Datu Blah T. Sinsuat, Datu Saudi Ampatuan, Kabuntalan, Shariff Saydona, and Upi.

In the Dinagat Islands, also in Mindanao, the Ecleos are running without rivals for governor, as well as for mayor in three towns, and vice mayor in one municipality.

PCIJ. Ecleo May 2016

A total of 13 Ecleo clan members are running this year under UNA, save for one, Romeo Ecleo, who chose to be an independent candidate for councilor in the town of Libjo (Albor). – PCIJ, May 2016

For more details, check out PCIJ’s Money Politics Online

WE SEEM to have offended strongly partisan political sensitivities with our story on the SALN for 2015 of presidential frontrunner and Davao City Mayor Rodrigo R. Duterte.

Just to be clear: We computed for percentage change in the net worth of the candidates for president, covering their first to their latest available SALNs on PCIJ’s file, to get our starting and end values.

On certain years, some of them did not file or had no available SALNs. In the absence of net worth values for the missing years, it would be difficult to derive the weighted average of the growth in their wealth, year on year.

We thank you all for your kind interest in our stories. We love numbers in a phenomenal way and remain non-partisan in a phenomenal way.

By Malou Mangahas

SEN. GRACE POE released this morning, May 4, a copy of her Statement of Assets, Liabilities, and Net Worth (SALN) for 2015 in which she declared a net worth of P89,118,760.02, a slight decrease from the P89.46 million enrolled in her SALN for 2014.

As of Dec. 31, 2015, the candidate for president of the Galing at Puso slate said she owned a total of 30 real properties, including 14 pieces of mostly residential real properties she purchased from 1992 to 2010 with aggregate acquisition cost of P95,002,568.81.

The 14 included two house and lots in California, USA — the first valued at P27,995,500 that Poe said she purchased in 1992, and the second valued at P15,074,500 that Poe said she purchased in 2008.

Poe gave only the “acquisition cost” of the two properties and left blank the columns for their “assessed value” and “current fair market value.”

In addition, Poe listed 16 other pieces of real assets — three commercial in nature, two agricultural, and 11 residential — for which she assigned zero acquisition cost.

She said all these 16 additional real properties were “inheritance” that passed on to her in 2004, the year her father Fernando Poe Jr. died.

Aside from real assets, Poe declared “personal and other properties” to be worth P30,656,423.16 in all, as of last yearend.

The amount included the following: the checking account she opened in 2011 with P862,099.92 balance; her husband’s checking account opened in 2006 with P474,183.57 balance; shares of stocks in nine various business entities acquired from 2006 to 2012; six vehicles; a “money market account” worth P96,415.17; and a foreign currency savings account opened in 2011 with P202,270.19.

Among her investments, Poe said she acquired in 2012 “shares of stocks (in) San Miguel Corporation A, by subscription — 8,500 shares.” However, her SALN had this notation for her stocks in San Miguel Corp. — “Divestment of stock began 19 APR 2016.”

Download (PDF, 2.21MB)

Again by “inheritance,” Poe said she had shares of stocks in two more entities — P7,375,000 in 226 Wilson Development Corp. (7,375 shares valued at P1,000 per share), and in P2,235,772, at face value, in FPJ Productions, Inc.

Poe’s latest SALN did not enroll values for furniture and appliances, books, paintings, jewelry and other entries that typically appear in the SALNs of many other public officials.

Minus the real properties and shares of stocks that she declared to be “inheritance” for which she assigned zero acquisition cost, the senator’s total assets (real assets plus personal properties) amounted to P125,658,991.97.

Her net worth for 2015 came up to just P89.1 million because she had total liabilities of P36,540,231.95.

These liabilities included, she said, subscription balance payable to JPS Realty & Development Corp, 226 Wilson Development Corp., and Chambrandt L. Holdings Corp.; a lot installment payable; two automobile loan payable; and a personal loan from Jesusa S. Poe of P17,760,000.

Popularly known by her screen name Susan Roces, Jesusa S. Poe is the senator’s mother and the widow of Fernando Poe Jr.

Poe’s SALN for 2015 made two disclosures in an extra page: “P451,661,64, running balance of Cash in Bank as of 31 December 2015” of her minor children; and “P4,780,237.70, running balance of Cash in Bank as of 31 December 2015” of Jesusa S. Poe’s aggregate savings/checking account in which the senator said she is a “secondary/co-signee.”

Poe said she has been an officer/shareholder from 2006 to 2009 in FPJ Productions, JPS Realty and Development Corp., and 226 Wilson Development Corp.; and a shareholder in AB Design Studios and Trading Corp. and The Health Cube Rehabilitation and Training Center.

Poe said her husband Teodoro ‘Neil’ V. Llamanzares is also an officer/shareholder in Chambrant L. Holdings Corp..

The senator’s latest SALN filing listed Llamanzares as an “Independent Management Consultant” in a company whose name was redacted or blackened in the document.

Poe named her two daughters aged 11 and 17 years old as minor dependents in her household.

Two relatives are employed in her office at the Senate — first cousin Lawrence S. Cruz, PAO III, and first cousin-in-law Anna Camille L. Sevilla, Director IV.

Poe’s SALN for 2015 was filed on April 29, 2016 and received on the same day by the Office of the Senate Secretary.

PCIJ had requested since last Monday a copy of Poe’s latest SALN from her chief of staff. The copy was finally emailed Wednesday morning.

Poe filed her first SALN in 2010 as chairperson of the Movie and Television Review and Classification Board or MTRCB, an appointee of President Benigno S. Aquino III. Back then, Poe had declared a net worth of P152.53 million.

It slipped to P132.25 million in 2011 and recovered to P147.8 million in 2013, the year she was elected senator. Poe’s net worth skidded significantly to P89.46 million in her SALN for 2014. — PCIJ, May 2016
For more details, check out PCIJ’s Money Politics Online

By Vino Lucero

THE IDEAL situation in any election is that two or more candidates fight for a seat, and they earn the votes through the merit of their platform, their track record, and their stand on issues.

In many areas in next Monday’s balloting, however, many candidates are running unopposed, or without any challengers to the throne. With no rival to worry about, it is possible that these candidates have been using their spare time to campaign for local party mates and their party’s national standard bearer and senatorial bets.

PCIJ. 2016 Unopposed, By Region

PCIJ curated data from the Commission on Elections (Comelec) on the candidates who are more than likely to be occupants of local positions in the next three years, simply because no one is running against them in the upcoming polls.

A total of 802 candidates for local positions – from provincial governor to municipal or city councilors – are running unopposed for the May 9, 2016 elections.

Of this number, 215 are vying to be city or municipal mayor and 249, to be city or municipal vice mayor. By many accounts, they are the not-so-secret weapons of national candidates and political parties eager to snare as much as 6.8 million votes altogether clustered in their localities.

Interestingly, 364 or 45 percent of the 802 names on the Comelec’s list of unopposed candidates are affiliated with the administration Liberal Party (LP), based on their Certificates of Candidacy (COC).

Another 101 of the unchallenged candidates, meanwhile, are from the Nationalist People’s Coalition (NPC), 92 from the National Unity Party (NUP), 70 from the United Nationalist Alliance (UNA), 68 from the Nacionalista Party, 62 are independent, and 45 from other parties.

PCIJ. 2016 Unopposed Candidates, By Party

Quid pro quo?

Of course, the willingness of local leaders to deliver votes for particular national candidates could turn into a simple quid pro quo equation. It may be dependent on the ability of the parties to grant what the unopposed politicos want in return. As Center for Local and Regional Governance (CLRG) Director Erwin Alampay points out, it is “not automatic” that unopposed local bets will actually deliver votes for their party’s national candidates.

“They might want to ask for machinery support or campaign donations,” he says, “so that they can conduct proper local campaigns for [national candidates] and their local slates.”

The number of registered voters where unopposed local candidates hold sway, however, may convince national candidates and their parties to do whatever they can to please the local bosses. As it is, the 215 cities and towns where the mayoralty race has just one candidate have a total of 5,915,756 registered voters. That’s more than 10 percent of the total number nationwide.

A bulk of the unopposed tally in fact can be found at the municipal/city level. Of the total 802 candidates without rivals, 194 are running for municipal mayor, 21 for city mayor, 226 for municipal vice mayor, and 23 for city vice-mayor. More than 30 cities and municipalities also have the same or fewer councilor candidates than there are seats to be filled, resulting in 250 candidates for councilor running unopposed.

“It is always good to have opposing voices in the local leadership, and that strives if candidates are from different parties,” says Alampay. “But in the case of unopposed slates, alternative voices may be shut off in the discussion of the local council.”

PCIJ. Vote Reach, Unopposed Mayor Bets

Wannabe mayor

In any case, it is LP that has more candidates for mayor running unopposed: 103. The municipalities and cities where these candidates are running have a total population of 2,497,877 registered voters.

NPC is a far second in terms of its number of unopposed mayoralty candidates: 24. And even then, the cities and towns were these candidates are running have a lower number of voters – 656,222.

In contrast, the 21 unchallenged mayoralty candidates of NP represent 1,063,696 voters.

NUP also has 21 unopposed bets for mayor, but the cities and municipalities where they are running have only a total number of 605,505 voters.

UNA has 17 mayoralty candidates without rivals in cities and municipalities that have a total of 305,978 voters.

Of course, aside from their own unopposed bets for mayor, the national political parties can also reach out to the independent candidates. Sixteen of these independents are running unopposed as mayors, with their respective bailiwicks having a total of 313,032 voters altogether. (The smaller parties, meantime, have managed to have 13 unopposed mayoralty bets as well, with their cities and municipalities having a total of 473,446 registered voters.)

PCIJ. Vote Reach, Unopposed Vice Mayor Bets

Wannabe vice mayor

Other possible helping hands that the national parties and candidates can seek are those of candidates for vice mayor who are running unopposed. Although their political clout may not be as strong as the mayoralty bets, these unchallenged vice-mayoralty candidates most probably have their own circle of loyal supporters among their town or city’s voters.

All in all, the 249 unopposed candidates for vice mayor can bring as much as 6,756,586 registered voters to the election table.

Among the parties, LP again has the most number of unopposed bets for vice mayor at 111, with a potential voter reach of 2,337,788 million. NPC is second with 33, with a potential voter reach of 904,721; NUP 32, with 849,540 voter reach; NP 25, with 1,125,160 voter reach; and UNA 19, with 547,182 voter reach. Independents running unopposed for vice mayor number 11, with a total potential voter reach of 381,288, while smaller parties have 18 unchallenged vice-mayor bets, with a total voter reach of 610,907.

Eleven candidates for vice governor are also running unopposed across the nation, 33 for the Sangguniang Panlalawigan member, and 32 for district representative.

PCIJ. 2016 Unopposed Candidates, By Position

A bounty in ARMM

Among the regions across the country, the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) has the most number of unopposed candidates followed by Ilocos Region with 94, Region VI (Western Visayas) with 79, Caraga region with 53, and Region X (Northern Mindanao) with 50.

Of the unopposed in ARMM, 23 are running as municipal mayors, one as city mayor, 27 as municipal vice mayor, one as city vice mayor, and 96 as municipal councilors.

Metro Manila or the National Capital Region (NCR) is at the bottom of the region roster with only 11 unopposed bets, closely followed by Bicol Region with just 15 unchallenged candidates.

In NCR, each of Quezon City’s four Congressional districts has only one candidate running to represent it. Taguig has only one candidate each for mayor and vice mayor. Parañaque has a sole candidate for mayor, as does Navotas, which also has one vice mayoralty candidate. Manila’s 2nd Legislative District and Marikina’s 2nd Legislative District each has just one candidate for Congress.

Twelve provinces – six from Luzon, two from the Visayas, and four from Mindanao – have only one candidate each signed up for the gubernatorial race in the upcoming elections: Bataan, Pampanga, Camiguin, Agusan del Sur, Dinagat Islands, Davao Occidental, Biliran, Apayao, Mountain Province, Ilocos Norte, Ilocos Sur, and Negros Occidental. – PCIJ, May 2016

For details, please check out PCIJ and PCIJ’s Money Politics Online

By Malou Mangahas

SO HOW MUCH is he really worth?

According to his 2015 Statement of Assets, Liabilities, and Net Worth or SALN,
presidential frontrunner and Davao City Mayor Rodrigo R. Duterte has a net worth for 2015 of only P23,514,569.93, or a slight P1.54-million increase in his declared net worth in 2014.

Duterte’s “cash on hand/in bank”, according to his latest SALN, was just P14,839,69.93, as of Dec. 31, 2015.

Duterte filed his SALN for 2015 early — on April 21, 2016, or nine days ahead of the April 30 deadline.

In contrast, until yesterday noon, Vice President Jejomar ‘Jojo’ C. Binay, another candidate for president, had yet to file his SALN for 2015 with the Office of the Ombudsman. Meanwhile, there is a waiting period of 10 working days to secure the 2015 SALNs of fellow presidentiables Senators Grace Poe and Miriam Defensor-Santiago – that is, if they have already submitted these. Former Interior and Local Governments Secretary Manuel ‘Mar’ Roxas II, though, will not have to file a SALN this time around, since he is no longer a government official.

Interest in Duterte’s SALNs has surged following allegations that he has bank accounts through which hundreds of millions of pesos have supposed passed through. For sure, certified bank records may be needed for anyone to prove or disprove such allegations. But what Duterte’s SALNs do show is a phenomenal growth rate over the last 19 years.

The earliest SALN Duterte had filed that is on PCIJ’s archives is for the year 1997, in which he declared a net worth of only P897,792.

The Davao City mayor’s net worth of P23.5 million for 2015 redounds to a 2,519 percent increase, or a phenomenal growth rate of 132.6 percent on average per year, over the last 19 years.

By comparison, Binay’s net worth grew from P2.9 million in 1989 to P60.20 million in his SALN for 2014, for a cumulative increase of 1,975 percent in 25 years, or an average of 79 per cent per year.

Roxas, the administration Liberal Party’s candidate for president, reported a net worth of P12.76 million in 1993, and grew this to P202.08 million in 2014. This results in a 1,483 percent growth in 21 years, or 70.61 percent on average per a year.

Defensor-Santiago, candidate for president of the People’s Reform Party, showed a modest uptick in her declared net worth — from P48.00 million in 1994 to P73.03 million in 2014, for a 52.14 percent growth in 20 years, or 2.6 percent annual average growth.

And then there is the case of Poe, presidential bet of the Galing at Puso slate, which is one of progressively declining wealth. Poe declared a net worth of P152.5 million in 2010, but this slipped steadily to P89.46 million in her SALN for 2014, for a net regression of 41.34 percent in four years, or negative 10.32 percent on average per year.

Although far from being “perfect” financial reporting instruments, SALNs often contain interesting information about a public official or candidate’s wealth, regardless of whether or not the official or candidate had been forthright about all the details.

For instance, in his latest SALN for 2015 that PCIJ obtained from the Office of the Ombudsman, Duterte said he also owned:

• P3 million flat in “investments”;
• P350,000 in household appliances and furniture;
• P300,000 in jewelry; and
• four pieces of residential real property worth only P480,000 by acquisition cost.

He said he acquired these lots, all located in Bago Aplaya, Davao City, between 1995 and 1996.

Also declared among his “personal properties” are two vehicles — a Toyota RAV 4 acquired in 1996 for supposedly P800,000, and a “Volks Sedan” acquired in 1978 supposedly for P40,000.

In a separate page, however, Duterte listed a second set of “assets, liabilities, and net worth” and additional properties “including those of the spouse and unmarried children below 18 years of age being in the declarant’s household.”

Duterte named his 11-year-old daughter by his second partner in this separate assets list.

On this list are five real properties. Duterte said three lots are located in Maa, Davao City, one house and lot in Matina, Davao City, all reportedly acquired from 1997 to 1998, and a second house and lot located in Buhangin, Davao City that he said he purchased in 2008.

Yet still on another page of his 2015 SALN, Duterte listed a third set of real properties that he noted were “purchased through the exclusive funds of (the mother of his 11-year-old daughter), Cielito S. Avancena.”

This third set of properties includes three lots — two agricultural and one residential — located in Matina, Malagos, and Catigan, all in Davao City; and two house and lots in Matina; Davao City.

Duterte valued this final set of real properties at P3.08 million, by acquisition cost.

On this separate page, too, Duterte listed a “personal loan” of P1.2 million from a certain “Samuel Uy”.

In his SALN for 2014, Duterte had declared a net worth of P21 ,971,732.62, including combined real and personal properties of P22,971,732.62, and liabilities of only P1 million to a certain “Samuel Uy”.

In his 2015 SALN, Duterte declared his business interest in two entities — as incorporator since 1997 of Honda Cars, with business address at Catolico Street, General Santos City; and as incorporator since 2012 of Poeng Yue Foundation, Inc., with business address on San Pedro Street in Davao City.

As in his 2014 SALN, in his 2015 SALN Duterte listed having six relatives in the government service. They are:

• Son Paolo Z. Duterte, vice mayor of Davao City;
• Daughter-in-law January N. Duterte, councilor of Davao City;
• Brother Benjamin R. Duterte, his private secretary at the Davao City Mayor’s Office;
• Nephew Wilfrido D. Villarica, Administrative Officer 1, at the Davao City Council;
• Jean Villarica, wife of Wilfrido, Auxiliary Worker of Davao City’s Environment and Natural Resources Office; and
“Balae” Agnes Reyes-Carpio, mother of the spouse of his daughter Sara, Associate Justice of the Court of Appeals

Nineteen years ago, when he was a congressman from Davao City, Duterte had
declared owning seven real properties that he said he acquired for a combined cost of P603,700; and personal properties worth P3,250,092. The latter included, he said, “cash on hand/in bank” of only P189,245; cars and motorcycles worth P1,206,482; and “investments” of P1,556,250.

That same year, 1997, Duterte said he had “miscellaneous payables” amounting to P2,956,000.

Two years earlier in 1995, he said he invested a total of P1,556,250 in “Mister Donuts” outlets located in Ulas, Agado, P. Reyes, and Ecoland, all in Davao City.

Notably, like his net worth, Duterte’s “cash on hand/in bank” has charted an upward trek in the last two decades, save for one year.

In 1998, Duterte said he had P339,245 “cash on hand/in bank” and net worth of
P1,047,792 as of December that year.

In 1999, he declared exactly the same amount of “cash on hand/in bank”, but also a bigger net worth of P1,447,542.

In 2000, his “cash on hand/in bank” grew to P512,135, and his net worth, P1,766,722.

In 2002, it climbed to P889,441, and his net worth, P2,834,028.

In 2004, it jumped to P3,220,312, and his net worth, P7,024,899.

In 2005, it rose to P4,621,193, and his net worth, P8,425,780.

In 2006, it became P6,071,460, and his net worth, P8,650,627.

In 2007, he declared it at P7,079,199, and his net worth, P9,685,366.

In 2008, he put it at P7,514,124. This excludes what he declared to be P1,138,890 in premiums paid for educational plans; P1,305,953 in “private inheritance”; P454,500 in premiums paid for pre-need plans; P686,833 in time deposits; and P65,625 in stocks.

His declared net worth for 2008 was P15,315,925.08.

In 2009, the amount of Duterte’s “cash on hand/in bank” climbed to P9,164,204.32, and his net worth, P16,616,005.40.

In 2011, he put it at P11,155,123.12, and his net worth, P18,930,123.12.

In 2014, he declared it to be P13,846,732.62, and his net worth, P21,971,732.62.

In his latest SALN for 2015, Duterte said his “cash on hand/in bank” was all of P14,839,69.93. — With research by Vino Lucero and Davinci S. Maru, PCIJ, May 2016

For details on the wealth of the candidates, check out PCIJ’s Money Politics Online

By Davinci S. Maru

CITIES ARE where all kinds of opportunities can be found – and, unsurprisingly, where a lot of voters in this country happen to be.

As of records from the 2013 elections, the top 50 vote-rich cities across the Philippines have as much as 13.9 million of the nation’s voters. That is about one fourth of the latest total number of registered voters (54.4 million), and a sizeable chunk that could give a crucial boost to the chances of any national candidate winning in the upcoming elections.

Yet another no-surprise is that 38 out of the 50 vote-rich cities are in Luzon, the biggest island group, while seven are in Mindanao and the remaining five in the Visayas.

Too, majority of the top 10 cities with the most number of registered voters are in migrant-magnet Metro Manila: Quezon City (first place at 1,083,915); City of Manila (third at 952,962), Caloocan City (fourth at 636,625); City of Makati (seventh at 399,726); City of Pasig (ninth at 354,542), and Taguig City (tenth at 325,498). Davao City (second at 967,944), Cebu City (fifth at 547,463), Zamboanga City (sixth at 405,601), and City of Antipolo (seventh at 391,688) make up the rest of the top 10.
2013 TOP 50

Some of the candidates for the country’s two highest posts have considerable ties to a few of these cities. For instance, Quezon City, under the leadership of Mayor Herbert Bautista, is a bailiwick of the Liberal Party (LP) administration coalition, which could give an edge to the tandem of Manuel ‘Mar’ Roxas II and Maria Leonor ‘Leni’ Robredo, LP candidates for president and vice president.

Presidential aspirant Rodrigo Duterte of the Partido ng Demokratikong Pilipino-Laban (PDP-Laban), meanwhile, remains to be a force to be reckoned with in Davao City where he has served as an elected official for more than two decades. (He is currently its mayor.)

Duterte’s running mate Alan Peter Cayetano, for his part, can probably count on significant support from Taguig City, where his wife Lani is the incumbent mayor. Cayetano, currently a senator, was once vice mayor of Taguig and also representative of the then lone district of Taguig and Pateros in Congress.

Of course, there is Vice President Jejomar Binay of the United Nationalist Alliance (UNA), whose family until recently controlled Makati City since 1986. Binay started his political career in Makati City when the late President Corazon Aquino appointed him as its officer-in-charge.

Binay’s wife Elenita and his son Jejomar Erwin or ‘Junjun’ had taken turns with him in occupying Makati’s mayoral post. Last year, the Office of the Ombudsman dismissed Junjun Binay as Makati Mayor for grave misconduct and dishonesty. Mar-Len Abigail Binay, the Vice President’s younger daughter who is now on her last term as Makati’s representative in Congress, is set to run for mayor. That will pit her against her brother’s successor, Romulo ‘Kid’ Pena Jr., of the LP.

Aside from Makati, though, Binay had been counting on votes from Cebu, where the party dominated by the Garcia political clan had struck an alliance with UNA. Recently, however, the One Cebu Party declared its ties with UNA as no longer in effect. Instead, the party said it would be supporting Duterte’s quest for the presidency.
2010 TOP 50 (1)

Interestingly, the Top 50 vote-rich cities are considered rich in terms of assets and equity.

Based on the 2014 Annual Financial Report of the Commission Audit (COA), Makati City the highest equity among them, at P34 billion.

Equity is the difference between the local government unit’s total assets and liabilities.

Makati is followed by Quezon City with P31 billion, the City of Pasig with P20 billion, the City of Manila with P13 billion, and Zamboanga City with P10 billion. At sixth place is Cebu City with P7 billion, then Caloocan City with P6 billion, Marikina City with P4 billion, Calamba City with P4 billion and Cagayan De Oro City with P4 billion.

Essentially, the cities included in the vote-rich roster have stayed the same since 2007, although there have been some changes in the ranking. This is while the number of registered voters has continued to increase through the years.

2007 TOP 50

In the 2007 elections, there were 12,234,144 registered voters from the top 50 vote-rich cities. This figure increased by 10.8 percent in 2010 during the first nationwide automated election, with 13,555,685 people in these 50 cities registered as voters. But while the number of registered voters in the 50 top vote-rich cities went up again in 2013, the rise was a modest 2.8 percent, translating into 13,937,902. — PCIJ, May 2016
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By the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism

VOTERS KEEN in assessing the fitness for office of the five candidates for President in the upcoming elections may want to look at the presidentiables’ political pedigree and blood relations.

The five, after all, have occupied elective and appointive posts from a minimum of five to a maximum of 24 years. They spring, too, from political families with short to long histories, or slight to strong pedigree.

In many parts of the country, elective power and position typically beget appointive power and positions. In the case of the current crop of presidential candidates, are we electing only the persons whose names are on the ballot or members of their family as well?

By their own admission in their respective Statement of Assets, Liabilities, and Net Worth (SALN) across the years, in small and large measure, power is family to the top candidates in next month’s balloting.

The picture varies, though. Some have as few as two while others have as many as eight relatives in the government service.

Here’s a rundown of the political history and family ties in the government of the five presidentiables:

had served as mayor of Makati City for nearly 20 years — from 1986 to 1996, and again, from 2001-2010.

During this period and in the intervening years, he had also worked as chairman of the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority; and director of the Light Railway Transit Authority (1987, 1996-1998); director of the Laguna Lake Development Authority (1987), Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (1987, 1990, 1991).

In his younger years as a lawyer, Binay had been a law professor and lecturer at the Philippine College of Commerce; St. Catherine’s School of Nursing and Midwifery; Philippine Women’s University; and St. Scholastica’s College.

He was a senior partner of the Binay, Cueva and Associates Law Office and had earlier worked as assistant attorney at the Deogracias T. Reyes Law Office; legal counsel of Manila Councilor Carlos Loyzaga; and claims examiner, Insular Life Assurance Company.

He is married to Dr. Elenita Sombillo Binay, who was elected Mayor of Makati City from 1998 to 2001, or during the three years that Binay could not run for the post.

The Binays have five children:

* Sen. Maria Lourdes Nancy Binay, who is married to Jose Benjamin Raymundo Angeles;
* Makati City 2nd District Rep. Mar-Len Abigail Binay, who is married to Luis Jose Angel Nakpil Campos;
* Suspended Makati City Mayor Jejomar Erwin ‘Junjun’ Binay Jr., who was married to the late Kennedy Ann L. Binay;
* Marita Angeline Binay, and
* Joanna Marie Bianca Binay.

In his latest SALN, for 2014, Jejomar Binay declared having four children in the government service, including three holding elective posts: son Junjun and daughters Abigail and Nancy. Marita Angeline, meanwhile, holds the appointive post of head executive assistant, with rank of Director IV, in the Office of the Vice President.

SENATOR MIRIAM DEFENSOR-SANTIAGO has served as a trial court presiding judge, then Immigration commissioner, and Agrarian Reform secretary. She has been senator since 1997. Her third term in the Upper House will end this June.

In December 2011, she was the first Filipina and Asian to be elected to a nine-year tenure as judge of the International Criminal Court. But she later declined the post, citing as reason chronic fatigue, which eventually led to a diagnosis of lung cancer.

Santiago’s relatives provide her access to a network of politicians and bureaucrats. Her cousins, nephews, and a niece have served alternately as representatives of the third district of both Quezon City and Iloilo from the 12th to the 15th Congress (2001-2013). Her husband, lawyer Narciso Yap Santiago Jr., has also been appointed to various government offices.

Two of Santiago’s cousins and a sister have held key positions in the Bureau of Customs, the Commission on Audit, and the Commission on Higher Education.

In her SALN for 2014, Santiago said she has eight relatives in the government service.

The senator’s sister Nanalyn Defensor serves as her chief of staff, cousin Mary Grace Katigbak is Political Affairs Officer, and sister-in-law Chona Defensor is Director 1, at the Senate.

Her paternal first cousin Arthur Defensor Sr. is incumbent governor, and his son Arthur Jr. is the congressman of the third district of her home province of Iloilo.

Maternal cousin-in-law Estrellita Bito-onon Suansing is the congressman of the 1st District of Nueva Ecija.

Cousin-in-law Vivian Suansing is assistant director at the Department of the Interior and Local Government.

During the Arroyo administration, Santiago’s brother Benjamin P. Defensor Jr. was Air Force chief. Santiago’s husband Narciso Jr., meanwhile, was an undersecretary of the Interior and Local Government under both Joseph Estrada and Gloria Macapagal Arroyo.

The Santiagos had two sons Narciso III or “Archie” and Alexander Robert or “AR,” who died in a reported suicide in 2003.

On July 18, 2007, Senator Santiago herself swore into office son Archie as representative of the Alliance of Rural Concerns (ARC) party-list group, which won a seat in that year’s elections. This was even after ARC had withdrawn Archie’s nomination as its top nominee, for supposed “loss of confidence, dishonesty, unauthorized exercise of authority and gross violations of the group’s Constitution and by-laws.” ARC has focused its advocacy on the extension of the comprehensive agrarian reform program.

The Santiagos have adopted daughters, twins Megan and Molly.

RODRIGO “DIGONG’ ROA DUTERTE has dominated Davao City politics for nearly three decades now. He has served as its as mayor for two three-term cycles (1988-1998 and 2001-2010). He was its vice mayor from 2010—2013 and then mayor again from 2013 to the present.

In 1998-2001, Duterte sat in Congress as representative of Davao City’s first district.

Duterte is separated from first wife Elizabeth Abellana Zimmerman, with whom he has three children: Paolo, Sebastian, and Sara Duterte-Carpio, who was Davao City mayor from 2010 to 2013. A fourth child, Veronica, was born to second wife, Honeylet Avancena, a nurse by profession.

Duterte has two siblings: brother Benjamin and sister Jocelyn.

In his SALN for 2014, Duterte listed six relatives in the government service. They include son Paolo who is Davao City vice mayor; brother Benjamin who is his “private secretary”; nephew Wilfrido Villarica, Administration Officer I of Davao City; daughter-in-law January Duterte, councilor/barangay captain of Catalunan Grande in Davao City; niece-in-law Jean Villarica, “auxiliary worker” of the CENRO (City Environment and Natural Resources Office); and co-parent-in-law Agnes Reyes-Carpio, a Court of Appeals Justice.

SENATOR MARY GRACE POE-LLAMANZARES has the shortest stint in public service among the presidentiables — as chairperson of the Movie and Television Review and Classification Board (MTRCB) from 2010 to 2012, and as senator since June 2013.

Poe has spent longer years working in the private sector. In 1995, she worked as a preschool teacher at a Philippine “Montessori education-style school,” and in 1998, as procurement officer at the United States Geological Survey. In 2005, she was named vice president and treasurer of FPJ Productions, the company of her father, popular action movie star Fernando Poe Jr., who died in December 2004.

In her SALN for 2014, Poe declared having two relatives in the government: cousin Lawrence Cruz, a PAO (Public Affairs Officer) III at the Senate, and cousin-in-law Anna Camille Sevilla, a Director IV at the Senate.

has served three presidents — as Trade and Industry Secretary of Joseph Estrada (1998-2000) and Gloria Macapagal Arroyo (2001-2003), and as Secretary of Transportation and Communication (2011-2012) and Interior and Local Government Secretary of Benigno S. Aquino III (2012-October 2015).

In the 2004 elections, Mar Roxas emerged No. 1 among the senatorial candidates, garnering 19 million votes. He ran as Aquino’s running mate in 2010, but lost to Jejomar Binay.

The eldest son of the late Senate president Gerardo Manuel de Leon Roxas and Judith Araneta Roxas, Roxas entered politics only in 1993, after the death of his younger brother Gerardo Jr. or ‘Dinggoy,’ then Representative of the 1st District of Capiz. Roxas also has a sister, Maria Lourdes Roxas Ojeda.

He is now married to television anchor Korina Sanchez. He has a son, Paolo Gerardo Z. Roxas, by a former girlfriend, 1971 Miss Young International Philippines Maricar Zaldarriaga.

Mar Roxas is the grandson of Manuel Roxas, who had served as the third and last president of the Philippine Commonwealth Republic from May 28, 1946 to July 4, 1946 as a Nacionalista Party member, and as the first president of the Third Republic from July 4, 1946 to April 15, 1948 as a Liberal Party member.

On his mother’s side, Mar Roxas is the grandson of J. Amado Araneta and nephew of Jorge Araneta, and Maria Lourdes Araneta.

J. Amado Araneta and Jorge Araneta have donated significant sums to Mar Roxas’s campaigns in elections past and present.

In his SALN for 2014, Roxas declared having an uncle, a cousin, and a niece in the government service.

President Aquino appointed Roxas’s uncle Valentin Araneta as member of the Monetary Board of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas in 2014, a post that has a fixed six-year term. Earlier, Araneta had been president of the Philippine Deposit Insurance Corporation.

A first cousin of Mar Roxas, Maria Margarita Fores, meanwhile, was elected in January 2014 as one of the nine new Governors of the Philippine Red Cross, which receives some donations from the government but is not a state agency. Nevertheless, Roxas listed her among his relatives in the government service. Fores, who owns and runs the CIBO chain of restaurants and a culinary school, has become the caterer of choice of several Philippine presidents for big receptions at Malacanang Palace.

Roxas also has a niece, Pia Jane Trillanes, working as a Field Operator at the Department of Social Welfare and Development. DSWD is headed by Secretary Corazon ‘Dinky’ Soliman, a stalwart of the administration Liberal Party, which remains largely a veritable Roxas family heirloom. — PCIJ, April 2016
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