DID HE or didn’t he?
In the course of gathering the Statements of Assets, Liabilities and Net Worth (SALN) filed by Rep. Juan Miguel ‘Mikey’ Arroyo since he became a public servant in 1992, the PCIJ noticed that the one for 2003 and a supplemental SALN he once said he filed for 2002 were missing.
Arroyo was the vice governor of Pampanga during these years. Under the law, the SALNs of regional and local officials and employees must be submitted to the Deputy Ombudsman in their respective regions.
But when PCIJ tried to secure copies of Arroyo’s 2002 supplemental and 2003 SALNs, the Office of the Ombudsman and the Provincial Government of Pampanga provided a different document: a certification that said they did not have these SALNs.
In 2009, the PCIJ requested a copy of Arroyo’s 2003 SALN from the Office of the Ombudsman. In response, the person in charge of SALNs at the Office said that the document was not found in the records “despite diligent search.”
The PCIJ then requested the Ombudsman’s Office to issue another certification on whether or not Arroyo had filed his SALN in 2003. The PCIJ also asked what actions the Office takes when an official fails to submit the SALN.
But the Office of the Ombudsman could not issue a categorical statement on the matter. Instead, Assistant Ombudsman Dina Joy C. Teñada, in a letter dated Oct. 6, 2009, said, “(The) absence of Cong. Arroyo’s 2003 SALN in our file is not a conclusive evidence of non-filing of SALN. Further evidence is required to determine his possible culpability for failure to file his SALN in violation of R.A. 6713….”
On Mar. 29, 2011, the Pampanga Human Resource Management Office (HRMO) also issued a certification to PCIJ saying that it does not have on file the 2003 and 2002 supplemental SALNs of the former vice governor.
In a 2009 interview, Ariel G. Ronquillo, director of the Civil Service Commission’s Office for Legal Affairs (OLA-CSC), commented, “When the time comes that all SALNs should have already been submitted, and it will appear on record that one’s SALN is not on file, then we can assume that that person did not submit his or her SALN.”
He added that the filing of the SALN is a personal obligation of all government officials and employees, and pointed out that the SALN form requires them to sign and attest that all information provided is true and correct.
In 2009, Mikey Arroyo, responding to PCIJ’s queries on the missing documents, referred the Center to his lawyer, who he said prepares his SALNs and should therefore be asked about it.
Last week, Arroyo’s lawyer Ruy Rondain gave the PCIJ copies of the SALNs in question. He said he didn’t know why the government offices that are supposed to have them didn’t have copies, but suggested that these may have simply lost or destroyed the documents. According to Rondain, the statements can be disposed of after a number of years.
The copy of the 2002 supplemental/amended SALN that Rondain presented had no receipt stamp, unlike many of Arroyo’s other SALNs. But the lawyer provided three supporting letters for it:
- On Aug. 27, 2003, Edgar Joseph A. Roca Jr. wrote to Filmer G. Abrajano, provincial legal officer of Pampanga saying that “the supplement is submitted after the original SAL was evaluated to lack the assets of Mrs. Angela M. Arroyo, which ought to have been included in view of their marriage in accordance with law.”
- On Sept. 19, 2003, legal officer Abrajano wrote to Jesusa Goseco of the Pampanga HRMO. He asked Goseco to “forward (the 2002 supplemental SALN) to the Office of the Ombudsman for inclusion in the file of Vice-Governor Arroyo.”
- The third letter dated Sept. 22, 2003 has as sender provincial administrator Benalfre J. Galang and the addressee to the Office of the Ombudsman, in Ermita, Manila and submitting Arroyo’s supplemental SALN. This letter, which was submitting Arroyo’s supplemental SALN, was not written on the official letterhead of the Office of the Provincial Administrator. Nevertheless, it bore the receipt stamp from the Office of the Deputy Ombudsman for Luzon. The letter was supposedly received on Sept. 22, but the year is illegible.
The SALN form requires the declaration of conjugal properties for married declarants. In Arroyo’s case, his Dec. 2002 SALN should already include both his and his wife Angela’s assets and liabilities because they were already married by then.
But the then vice governor’s Dec. 2002 SALN in file of the Ombudsman’s Office lists only his properties and was signed only by him. The supplemental SALN, if accomplished properly, is key to understanding further how Mikey Arroyo’s wealth increased soon after he married Angela Montenegro.
Arroyo’s 2002 supplemental SALN indicates that he had P68.74 million worth of personal assets. No real properties or liabilities were declared. Meantime, it listed Angela M. Arroyo as director in five companies: Pacific Activated Carbon Co., International, Pacific Activated Carbon Inc., H.M. Montenegro Co., Inc., Titan Megabags Industrial Corp., and Titan Megatiles Industrial Corp. Mikey is also listed as director of Franchino Farms, Inc.
Unlike Mikey Arroyo’s Dec. 2002 SALN that PCIJ secured from the Ombudsman’s Office, this supplemental SALN used a slightly different format. As well, its data entries appeared to have been typewritten unlike the first Dec. 2002 SALN, in which entries seemed to be done using a computer.
Interestingly, both documents were signed by the declarant two months after the Apr. 30 deadline. The first was signed by Mikey Arroyo on June 30, 2003, a Monday, six days after he married Angela. Two weeks later, on Jul. 14, 2003, Mikey and Angela Arroyo accomplished the supplemental SALN, which was notarized by Noel C. Flores that same day.
The week of Jul. 14, 2003 happened to be a busy one for Mikey Arroyo. Aside from signing his supplemental SALN, the newlywed had been promoting the movie “Masamang Ugat,” (Bad Origin) in which he starred with Maui Taylor, Gwen Garci, and Ace Vergel. The action film reportedly had a press launch on Jul. 11 at SM Megamall, Ortigas and on Jul. 14 at SM San Fernando, Pampanga. That week, Australian Prime Minister John Howard was also in the Philippines and supposedly had an official visit with the First Family in Malacañang.
Rondain’s copy of Arroyo’s 2003 SALN, meanwhile, bore the receipt stamp from the Pampanga Provincial Personnel Office. The document was supposedly received on Apr. 21 2004, or nine days earlier than the prescribed deadline.
The 2003 SALN, which like the 2002 supplemental one had typewritten entries, indicated that Mikey Arroyo had P72.73 million worth of personal assets. No real properties or liabilities were declared, but the document listed Angela as director in the same five companies declared in the 2002 supplement.
This SALN, however, did not seem to be properly subscribed and sworn to. Mayor Arthur L. Salalila was indicated as having administered the oath, but dates were unfilled and the declarants did not supply their Community Certificate Numbers and other details. – PCIJ, April 2011