Martinez questions huge jump in Salimbangon’s net worth

By: Victor Anthony V. Silva May 03,2016 - 11:07 PM

BOGO City Mayor Celestino “Junie” Martinez Jr. yesterday questioned the huge increase in the net worth of Cebu fourth district Rep. Benhur Salimbangon.

Based on Salimbangon’s Statement of Assets, Liabilities, and Net Worth (SALN) from 1991, 1994, 2013, and 2014, Martinez said the congressman’s net worth jumped to P49.2 million in 2013 from only P3.4 million in 1991.

Salimbangon was a Provincial Board Member in 1991 and served as congressman in 2013. Martinez showed copies of Salimbangon’s SALN in a press conference he called yesterday.

“This huge increase in his wealth requires an explanation, and as public officer, he is under legal and moral obligation to explain how he was able to amass such huge wealth while most of his constituents in the fourth district of Cebu plunged into a mere hand-to-mouth existence since he entered office as congressman,” Martinez said in a statement.

The mayor is challenging Salimbangon for the fourth district congressional seat in the coming May 9 elections.

Martinez is running under the Liberal Party (LP) while Salimbangon is a member of the local Kusog sa Norte (KSN) party and National Unity Party (NUP), but is also allied with the Garcia-led One Cebu Party.

Salimbangon, in a phone interview with Cebu Daily News, said he didn’t become a beggar when he left the PB more than around 20 years ago.

He said he focused on a family-owned real estate business from then on until 2007 when he became congressman, but refused to elaborate.

“I don’t think I need to explain what my business is. Everything is legitimate. What’s important is that I did not lie in my SALN. I divulged everything. How about (Martinez)?” said Salimbangon.

The congressman added that Martinez’s revelation is obviously a political move, considering it is only less than one week before election day.

Martinez said that while the congressman’s net worth dramatically increased, his source of income and business interests did not increase.

Net worth or actual wealth is an official’s total assets minus his or her total liabilities. The annual disclosure, required by law, is a means of promoting transparency and accountability in public service.

Based on the records shown by Martinez to the media, Salimbangon had the same figures in his SALNs for 1991 and 1994, mainly tied to nine lots in

Medellin and one house and lot in Cebu City worth P2.16 million.

His assets then included P250,000 in cash and close to P400,000 in jewelry, appliances, furniture, and fixtures.

In Salimbangon’s SALN as of December 31, 2013, the value of his real properties rose to P24 million which included four lots in Cebu City, one memorial lot in Lapu-Lapu City, an agricultural fish pond in Tabogon, and house improvements in a house in Barangay Lahug, Cebu City.

His assets during that year included P6 million cash in bank acquired from 2004 until 2013, stocks, insurance, and credit worth P11.2 million, and P2 million in jewelry, furniture, and fixtures.

Cebu Gov. Hilario Davide III, meanwhile, declared a net worth of P18.9 million as of Dec. 31, 2015, a decrease of P500,000 from his 2014 SALN.

Davide attributed the decrease to the payment of his loans which included a housing loan now worth P2.9 million from P4.38 million in the previous year, car loan worth P281,486, and credit cards worth P450,000. His loans, which are considered liabilities, amounted to P18.9 million.

Davide’s SALN showed that he owns a condominium in Taguig City in Metro Manila, one of five real properties listed. He acquired the condominium in 2008 for P3.4 million.

Other real properties bought before he became a Cebu City councilor and then governor amounted to nearly P8 million and include three lots in Cebu City and a house in Mandaue City.

Davide’s assets include P5.2 million cash in bank, another P5.8 million in cash from his wife’s business and P750,000 in books, jewelry, appliances and furniture.

Davide’s wife Jobella Angan owns Recovery Management Services, a collection agency she acquired in 2003.

The governor earlier said his only source of income is from his post as Cebu governor while most of his net worth comes from the income of his wife’s business.

His wife’s family also owns ZL Angan Development Inc. in Tagbilaran City, Bohol.

The governor listed seven relatives working in government.

Meanwhile, Vice Governor Agnes Magpale declared a net worth of P59 million as of Dec. 31, 2015, an increase of P1 million from the previous year’s P58 million with no liabilities.

Magpale attributed the increase to payment she received for the completion of a school building in Danao City which she helped fund in the last five years.

Magpale’s net worth of P59 million was mainly linked to real properties which amounted to P17.8 million –– five lots, two houses, two condominiums and a beach resort.

Assets included P19.7 million in bank accounts (acquired from proceeds of the sale of a house in Quezon City), and P2 million in furniture, antiques, paintings, jewelry, books, appliances, and more than P17 million in investments.

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