THEY HAVE always been known to be wealthy, but few are aware that the charity cup of the Arroyo clan also runneth over – at least on paper.
Even as they enjoy access to pork and public funds to dispense with charity work, members of the First Family, as well as an assortment of relatives and friends who hold positions in government, have built up quite a collection of foundations and nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) with aims ranging from promoting “punctuality” to securing loans from government institutions.
THE LAWYERS and spokesperson of President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo have spoken, in many words saying that the 114-percent surge in her declared net worth from 2000 to 2008 could be explained.
In a press conference Monday, her lawyer Romulo Macalintal said the ongoing PCIJ report – whose part 1 was released earlier that day — was “speculative and judgmental.” He added that PCIJ must come up with proof to support its “most unfair and uncalled for” findings on Arroyo’s wealth.
SAN RAFAEL, BULACAN – This bucolic and remote municipality just about 60 kilometers north of Manila may not inspire dreams of wealth among many people, but municipal assessor Teresa Perez remembers a time when land developers flocked here and began driving up land prices. That was during the 1990s, she says, when the urban sprawl looked as if it would reach this area. But the investor interest was apparently short-lived, and now Perez says San Rafael’s real estate market is in another slump.
“Land prices are going down here in San Rafael,” she says. “No one’s buying, that’s why land owners are forced to lower their price just so they could sell.”
By all indications, President Arroyo has worked very hard. In fact, she has worked so hard that during her first years as president, official records show her declared wealth as growing faster, and by amounts much bigger, than the combined growth in the declared wealth of three presidents before her.
The late President Corazon C. Aquino’s declared net worth grew by only 4.8 percent from 1989 to 1992. By comparison, Fidel V. Ramos’s rose by 34.2 percent from 1992 to 1998, and Joseph ‘Erap’ Ejercito Estrada’s, by 7.2 percent from 1998 to1999.