Congress’ richest members PDF Print E-mail
Friday, 10 June 2016 14:28

Sound Snipes

BY Jimmy Cabato

Noticeable silence in local politics is still felt. After the heated exchange of barbs between and among the major opposing camps in the last elections, both have silenced their guns.

Good or bad, you please mull over, for this may just be the calm before the storm

Writing mode today will be the same as in the past two days, with this one expected to be with briefer lines per topic.

* * * *

As the country’s dry spell winds to a close, we now brace for the entry of La Niña. So, warns the Philippine weather bureau by the middle of 2016.

Hey, folks that’s now June is the 6th month of the year… thus, it’s mid-year then.

* * * *

The Department of Public Works and Highways has given assurance that the grandstand rehabilitation will be completed as scheduled by December 2016.

The project is implemented by a private contractor,. an RCDG joint venture with RU Aquino, under the supervision of the DPWH Regional Office The project costs P187 million and is funded by the  national government.

The grandstand, because of the 2013 Zamboanga siege became the biggest evacuation center that housed an estimated 20,000 families.

* * * *

Philippine-Chinese relationship was earlier seen to be shaping into good form. But a recent China pronouncement seems to be souring it up now, when it accused the Philippines of ignoring requests for dialogue about their maritime dispute as tensions rise before an international tribunal’s ruling on the territorial row.

Anyway, under the Duterte watch, it is seen that dialogues will be in play.

It will be recalled, the Philippines has filed a case against Beijing in the Permanent Court of Arbitration at The Hague which China refuses to recognize. And the court is expected to issue a ruling within the year.

Whatever comes next is anybody’s guess. As China refuses cognizance of the Hague Court, who then will enforce its ruling?

* * * *

The exodus of the Liberal Party (LP) into Duterte’s PD-Laban has the blessings of President BS Aquino, 3rd and other top officials of the (LP), all whom have been consulted and had given their go-signal for members’ flight.

They now form part of what was coined as the super majority. This was separately confirmed by Palace spokesman Herminio Coloma, jr. and the Duterte financial think tank, Butch Abad.

* * * *

While not anymore the lone billionaire in Congress, Sarangani Rep. and Senator-elect Manny Pacquiao is still far and away its richest member at the close of the 16th Congress.

Based on his 2015 statement of Assets, Liabilities and Net worth (SALN), Pacquiao more than doubled his net worth to P3.26 billion from P1.6 billion the previous year.

He claimed to have liabilities of around P97 million.

Coming in a far second to Pacquiao’s riches, based on 2015 SALNs is Negros Occidental 1st District Rep. Julio Ledesma IV, who has a net worth of P1 billion.

Last year’s second richest congressman, outgoing House Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr., is now third with P941 million, which is actually a P20 million increase from his 2014 net worth.

Tailing Belmonte are Ilocos Norte 2nd District Rep. Imelda Marcos and Negros Occidental 3rd District Rep. Alfredo Benitez, who have net worths of P917 million and P880 million, respectively.

Coming in sixth and seventh are DIWA party-list Rep. Emmeline Aglipay and her husband Las Piñas Rep. Mark Villar, who both listed net worths of P689 million. Villar is the son of former Senate president, business magnate Manny Villar.

Rounding up the top 10 richest House members are Leyte 1st District Rep. Ferdinand Martin Romualdez (P475 million), former president and incumbent Pampanga 2nd district Rep. Gloria Macapagal Arroyo (P393 million) and Rizal 1st District Rep. Joel Duavit (P302 million).

Gone from last year’s top 10 following his death on May 12, 2015 is Tarlac Rep. Enrique Cojuangco Sr. (TMT-fed)

* * * *

MB reports there are at least 35 local officials involved in illegal drugs, President-elect Rodrigo Duterte told lawmakers on Tuesday. However, on how he would deal with the “erring” executives is unclear. And based on his pronouncements, if he does mean them, the 35 will either be arrested or eliminated as part of his crackdown on drugs.

As in the case, of the three errant generals he called on to resign, Duterte did not name the local officials.

* * * *

Representatives of the incoming Duterte administration and the National Democratic Front (NDF) are reported to be meeting in the Norwegian capital next week to discuss the agenda for the resumption of peace talks in July.

Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) founder Jose Ma. Sison said the NDF is ready to resume peace negotiations with the government in accordance with existing agreements.

But will these talks end up in agreements? Read on.

Sison’s principal demand is for the establishment of a coalition government.

Coalition? OMG! Where forth thou art, Philippines?

* * * *

WS did try to shorten today’s lines, yet several worthy bits were left untouched, given space constraints, this is how far as we can go.

But before going, SS shares a line or two that Cabinet Chairman Moggueh “Genghis” Gan, the conqueror, “tutored” his members, “A moment of patience in a moment of anger, saves one from a hundred regrets.” - Aristotle was it. Dunno.