MANILA, Philippines - A 2-storey glass and concrete house in a corner lot at White Plains, a gated subdivision in Quezon City, has been the subject of whispers in political circles since 2010.
Dubbed as the "glass mansion" worth at least P40 million, it allegedly belongs to a member of the Aquino Cabinet.
In his February 23 column in The Philippine Star, Boo Chanco identified the alleged owner as Executive Secretary Pacquito Ochoa Jr.
Chanco described the property as "a new gleaming glass mansion said to belong to the current Executive Secretary."
If true, the so-called Little President failed to declare it in his 2009 Statement of Assets, Liabilities and Networth (SALN), which he submitted to the Commission on Appointments for his confirmation last year.
In his SALN, he declared a net worth of P19 million.
His list of properties included a house and lot and a condo unit, both located in Quezon City. The property in White Plains was not on the list.
ABS-CBN News followed the paper trail and found that Ochoa is not the registered owner of the "glass mansion."
The property is owned by a certain Hedgerow Retain Holdings Inc, according to two sources: Rodsy Construction, the company that built the house, and the directory of homeowners in the gated subdivision.
The website and Facebook page of Rodsy Construction showed the house as one of its "on-going projects."
A check with the Securities and Exchange Commission revealed that the people behind Hedgerow are close to Ochoa.
Hedgerow's corporate papers also show that its 10,000 common shares were subscribed by the following:
||Joseph Tan (corporate treasurer)
||Benedict Amponin Reyes
||Ma. Theresa O. Acuzar
||Paolo Teston (president)
||Karl Steven Co (corporate secretary)
Sources familiar with the real estate industry say Acuzar is a sister of Ochoa and a wife of a property and construction magnate.
Teston, Co and Tan, meanwhile, are lawyers of the Marcos Ochoa Serapio Tan (MOST) Law Firm, which was put up by Ochoa, Tan and 2 other partners in 2006.
Among the law firm's roster of lawyers, Teston and Co are two of the youngest. They are 31 and 29 years old, respectively, and hold key positions in Hedgerow.
They both joined the law firm in February 2008.
Hedgerow was incorporated a few months after: December 5, 2008. It has been an inactive company.
MOST Law Firm and Hedgrow have the same address: 30th Floor, Tycoon Centre, Pearl Drive, Ortigas Center, Pasig City.
They also share the same contact phone number.
In the subdivision directory shown to ABS-CBN News, Hedgerow also appears as the registered owner of the glass mansion.
Pinky Ochoa, the wife of the Executive Secretary, is listed as the contact person.
ABS-CBN News visited the glass mansion recently and noted that construction is nearly finished.
Ochoa's office promised to give a statement to ABS-CBN News about the mansion, but it has yet to follow through on that pledge.