By JOSEPH G. LARIOSA
(© 2016 Journal GlobaLinks)
CHICAGO (JGL) – Incoming Vice President Leni Robredo is only 52 years old but she seems to be having some senior moments.
When Congresswoman Robredo was interviewed by ABS-CBN's late night news television program, Bandila (flag), she was asked by one of the three hosts, Ces Orena Drilon, on May 2, a week before the presidential elections, if she has any luho (guilty pleasure), the incoming Philippine vice president said, “ang sa aming pamilya ay biahe. Wala kaming luho sa sasakyan, bahay o damit. Sa amin talaga biahe, meron kaming travel fund.” (for our family, we indulge in traveling but not with cars, house or clothing. For us, traveling is our weakness, because we have a travel fund.)
Please watch attached videoclip below:
EXCEPRTS OF LENI’S INTERVIEW ON “BANDILA”:
ON MAY 2, 2016, a week before the Philippine presidential elections, Rep. Leni G. Robredo was interviewed by a panel of hosts of “Bandila” (flag), a late night news program of ABS-CBN, where she admitted to be keeping a $50,000 account as part of the monetary award of her late husband, Sec. Jesse Robredo, for winning the Ramon Magsaysay Award. But when she filed her Statement of Assets, Liabilities, and Net Worth (SALN) for 2015 on April 28, 2016 as a vice presidential candidate before the elections, the dollar account was conspicuously missing from her SALN. (Screenshot from "Bandila.")
The outgoing congresswoman from Naga City explained that when her husband, the late Sec. Jesse Robredo, won the Ramon Magsaysay Award, he was also awarded a $50,000 (P2,250,000) that her family placed in a Time Deposit. Out of this dollar account, her family will withdraw the interest and will keep the principal in the bank intact. Any amount of interest that the family will withdraw will be used by the family for traveling expenses.
REP. LENI G. ROBREDO
Rep. Leni G. Robredo responds to a question when she was guest in "Bandila" (flag), a nightly news program of ABS-CBN on May 2, 2016. (Screenshot from "Bandila")
Mrs. Robredo added if the interest will earn enough to be spent for traveling, her family would travel. If not, they do not travel.
CES ORENA DRILON, BANDILA HOST
CES ORENA DRILON, host of “Bandila” (flag), a nightly news program of ABS-CBN, was able to elicit a response from Rep. Leni G. Robredo that Atty. Robredo is keeping a US$50,000 dollar account that she failed to declare in her Statement of Assets, Liabilities, and Net Worth (SALN) for 2015 filed on April 28, 2016 as a vice presidential candidate before the elections. (Screenshot from “Bandila.”)
The only problem with her declaration is that on the day of her interview when she said she had just filed her Statement of Assets, Liabilities, and Net Worth (SALN) for 2015 as a vice presidential candidate, Rep. Robredo, a lawyer, did not mention the $50,000 as part of her cash assets. This calls to mind the case of the late Chief Justice Renato Corona, who was impeached and convicted and removed as Chief Justice among others for not disclosing in his SALN the US$2.4-million "because foreign deposits are guaranteed secrecy under the Philippine's Foreign Currency Deposits Act (Republic Act No. 6426) and that the peso accounts are co-mingled funds."
Please her SALN below:
The cash assets that she declared in her SALN was P10,273,803 acquired from “different years.” Nothing was mentioned about the $50,000 at all.
Looking closer at her SALN, this reporter noticed that the P500,000 third-party liability her family collected or was supposed to have received from the aviation insurance policy of Malayan Insurance for the death of Secretary Robredo in the 2012 plane crash was also missing.
In her SALN, Mrs. Robredo listed her Metro Manila address at Lansberg Place at Tomas Morato, Quezon City. She did not declare it as among her real properties. And true enough, she told Bandila that she does not own it either. The question is, is her family renting it? If not, who owns it?
A letter sent to this reporter by Brig. Gen. Rodante S. Joya of the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines of the Department of Transportation and Communications attached a copy of the Insurance Policy of the ill-fated plane that carried Secretary Robredo. The plane, RP-C4431 Piper Seneca PA-37-200, showed that while the “Accidental loss of or damage to the aircraft” is covered by insurance in the amount of P2-M, any “Bodily Injury and Property Damage” on “any one person” is pegged at P500,000 (US$11,111). This meant that the Robredo family was entitled to receive P500,000 for the “accidental loss” of the Local Government secretary.
Please see General Joya's letter below to this reporter:
This reporter tried to get the comment of the incoming Vice President for this story but there was no response for the request for comment.
In her liabilities in her SALN, Mrs. Robredo declared that she obtained a loan of P1,000,000 from the Estate of Marcelina Robredo (her mother-in-law); P2,000,000 from the Estate of Jose Robredo (her father-in-law); P1,650,000 from her brother-in-law Jose Robredo, Jr.; P2,500,000 from her sister-in-law, Dr. Jocelyn Austria; and P1,250,000 from her mother, Salvacion Gerona, for a grand total of P8,400,000 (US$ 186,666).
With her declaration in her SOCE (statement of contributions and expenditures) that she did not spend from her personal fund, the Vice President-in-waiting is in line to return the P8,400,000 she owes her relatives.
Please see attached SOCE:
In her SOCE, it showed that she received a total of P423,163,737.34 (US$ 9,403,638), of which over P406 million (US$ 9,022,222) was cash received from various sources; more than P192,000 (US$ 4,267) in kind from various sources, and P16 million US$ 355,555) in kind from the Liberal Party.
ONE OF LENI’S LENDERS:
DR. JOCELYN ROBREDO AUSTRIA (third from left), sister-in-law of incoming Vice President Leni Robredo, who extended Leni a personal loan of P2.5-M (US$55,555), the biggest lender among her relatives, is shown here with some of the supporters of Mar-Leni last Dec. 5, 2015 at Crowne Plaza Chicago O’Hare Hotel & Convention Center at 5440 North River Road in suburban Rosemont, Illinois. Others in photo from left are Marlon L. Pecson, Joseph G. Lariosa, Carlos A. Cortez, Jr. and Jun Delfin. (JGL Photo by Manny Zambrano)
Her SOCE did not mention if a chunk of cash donations raised by her supporters overseas led by her big supporter Filipino American and fellow Bikolana Atty. Loida Nicolas Lewis was part of the P408,106,250 (US$9,069,027) “cash contributions received from other sources.” Ms. Lewis, her fellow Bikolana from Sorsogon City, collected $2,550 (P114,750) when she debuted in her campaign donation drive in Chicago, Illinois last Dec. 5, 2015. The rich New York businesswoman on Dec. 19, 2015 proceeded to Los Angeles, California and collected $2,130; from December, 2015 to January, 2016 in Paris, France and Vienna, Austria, she raised $248; on Jan 10, in San Francisco, California, she raised $1,440; on Jan. 15 in New York, collected $1,320; on Jan. 16, in Detroit, Michigan, she got $1,500; and on Jan. 17 in Dayton, Ohio, collected $940 for grand total of $10,128 (P455,760). As pledged, Mrs. Lewis matched the donation with $10,000 that she sent to the campaign.
FILIPINO AMERICAN ATTY. LOIDA Nicolas Lewis (7th from left) and Dr. Jocelyn Robredo Austria (fourth from left) lead the supporters in campaigning and fund-raising for Mar-Leni last Dec. 5, 2015 at Crowne Plaza Chicago O’Hare Hotel & Convention Center at 5440 North River Road in suburban Rosemont, Illinois. Among those in photo from left are Dr. Cleofe Guangko Casambre, Jovie Calma, Atty. Maricar Madrid-Crost, Jun de Guia, Ryan Tejero, and Anong Santos. Among those seated below is Cindy Flores. The event raised $2,550 that would be split to the campaigns of Sec. Mar Roxas and Rep. Leni Robredo. (JGL Photo by Manny Zambrano)
Mrs. Lewis was also the chief fund-raiser from among Filipinos overseas in 2010 for the Noynoy-Mar ticket and in 2013 for the candidacy of Congresswoman Leni Robredo in the 2013, in which Mrs. Robredo beat Atty. Nelly Villafuerte in the third congressional district of Camarines Sur.
Between 2011 and 2013, Mrs. Lewis also raised money to spare Dondon Lanuza from being beheaded in Saudi Arabia when the Royal Family donated the rest of the "blood money" after she raised $220,000, including the $100,000 from Department of Foreign Affairs.
Attorney Villafuerte, however, filed criminal cases against Mrs. Robredo for disqualification for accepting campaign donations in the 2013 elections from Filipino dual citizens, one of the “four prohibited foreign sources” under Sec. 96 in relations to Sec. 264 of the Omnibus Election Code (OEC). Robredo was accused of accepting campaign donations from American citizens, Filipinos, who became naturalized American citizens and remain as foreign nationals; foreign entities, and Filipinos, who became naturalized American citizens but opted to elect to be dual citizens under Republic Act 9225, because dual citizens under RA 9225 remain both American citizens and Filipino citizens.
ATTY. LOIDA NICOLAS LEWIS speaks during a campaign for Mar-Leni in Michigan, which raised $1,500. Among those in photo are Ed Navarra (second from left seated), former NaFFAA chair, and Michigan community leader, Willi Dichavez (extreme right). (JGL Photo courtesy of Atty. Loida Nicolas Lewis)
Commission on Elections (Comelec) Provincial Elections Supervisor (PES) Atty. Noriel P. Badiola had declared Mrs. Robredo in default for failure to file her counter affidavit after the deadline but her counter-affidavit was still accepted by Mr. Badiola on Sept. 16, 2013 or 41 days after the deadline.
Because of the extended deadline, Mrs. Villafuerte has vowed to file “administrative charges against the PES for his arbitrary, capricious and whimsical reversal of his own order of Aug. 27, 2013, declaring Ms. Robredo in default.”
The husband of Mrs. Villafuerte, former Governor and former Congressman Luis R. Villafuerte told this reporter with the undue delay in the resolution of the criminal cases by the Comelec against Representative Robredo, he will ask the provincial fiscal under the Department of Justice to determine the existence of probable cause so corresponding information will be filed in the Regional Trial Court. If either the PES or the Comelec Regional Director Atty. Romeo B. Fortes are found to have unduly delayed the resolution of the cases, they could be held liable for dereliction of duty or non-performance of duty, a criminal offense, which is penalized by the Revised Penal Code.
(Editor's note: In the previous version of this story, the Chicago campaign raised only $1,750. Additional information was added on June 17, 2016 with Chicago raising $2,550 and in other cities for a grand total of $10,128.)