Who were the presidential candidates' top donors?
Jhoanna Ballaran and Bonz Magsambol, ABS-CBN Investigative and Research Group
MANILA, Philippines—Who helped fund the last electoral campaign of Vice President Jojo Binay, Senators Grace Poe and Miriam Defensor Santiago, Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte, and former Interior Secretary Mar Roxas II?
According to records obtained from the Commission on Elections (Comelec), Binay, Poe, and Roxas spent millions of pesos in their last electoral campaign: Binay and Roxas in 2010, when they fought over the vice presidency; Santiago and Poe in the 2010 and 2013 senatorial elections, respectively; and Duterte in the 2013 mayoral race in Davao City.
Some of the donors of Binay, Poe, and Roxas, according to their own Statement of Election Contributions and Expenditures (SOCE), were executives from the country’s top companies, including San Miguel Corporation, Araneta Group, and Aboitiz Group.
SOCE is a detailed account of a candidate’s campaign sources of contributions as well as expenses, as required by Omnibus Election Code of 1985.
In contrast, Santiago and Duterte declared to have spent their own money.
Santiago listed a P500,000 donation from herself. She spent P117.52 million for her 2010 campaign and ranked third in the senatorial race.
Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte, who ran unopposed in 2013 mayoral race, declared he got no donation. He spent P85,845 only and won the mayoralty for the seventh time.
Binay listed a total of P231.48 million in donations from 554 donors, including those linked to corruption scandals involving his family. He spent about P218 million for his vice presidential campaign while his rival, Roxas, spent P279.35 million. Binay won with 14.6 million votes, beating Roxas by 727,084 votes.
Darlene Webb Zshornack, president of Planet Drug Store, gave Binay P10 million, making her Binay’s biggest campaign donor. Planet Drug Store operates the pharmacy in Ospital ng Makati from 2009 up to present under Makati City’s public-private partnership program. In a 2012 report, the Asian Development Bank called the collaboration as “among the ‘best practices’ in the healthcare sector in the Philippines.”
Spouses James and Anne Tiu were second in the list, each contributing P7.5 million or a total of P15 million. James is a brother of Antonio Tiu, whom a Senate Blue Ribbon sub-committee hearing alleged as Binay’s dummy in the ownership of the 350-hectare Sunchamp Agri-Industry Park in Rosario, Batangas.
According to the records of the Securities and Exchange Commission in 2015, James served as one of Sunchamp Real Estate Development Corporation’s board members, owning P3.35 million worth of the company’s shares. He also served as the principal financial officer and director of Greenergy Holdings Incorporated, a company his brother owned, from 2010 to 2013.
Anne was Sunchamp’s corporate secretary in 2010.
In December 2014, James and Anne were slapped with a P39-million tax evasion suit by the Bureau of Internal Revenue. They were cited in contempt last year for not attending the Senate Blue Ribbon Sub Committee’s probe on Binay’s alleged ill-gotten wealth for several times.
Binay also received P5-million each from Victor Valdepeñas, president and chief operating officer of Aboitiz-owned Unionbank (he resigned in December 2015); Enrique Lagdameo, national treasurer of Boy Scouts of the Philippines; and a certain Victor Binay.
Almost 74 percent or P180 million of Roxas’ P244-million campaign contributions came from the Aranetas, his maternal family. He received P50 million each from the following:
• Judy Roxas, his mother and Araneta Group’s vice chairman and senior executive vice president;
• Jorge Araneta, his uncle and Araneta Group’s chairman of the board, president and CEO; and
• Maria Araneta-Fores, his aunt and one of the Araneta Group’s directors.
Augusto Ojeda, Roxas’ late brother-in-law, donated P20 million. Another aunt, Ruby Roxas, and cousin Jorge A. Fores, Araneta Group’s vice president for collections, each gave P10 million.
The Araneta Group owns investment company Progressive Development Corporation, which manages Araneta Center; Philippines Pizza Inc., the franchise holder of international food chain Pizza Hut; and Uniprom Inc., the leisure and entertainment ventures of the Araneta Center such as the Smart Araneta Coliseum, TicketNet Online, Gateway and Ali Mall Cineplex. The group also owns several land properties in San Mateo and Rodriguez, Rizal, as well as in Bacolod and Talisay cities in Negros Oriental.
Roxas spent P279.35 million in his lost bid for the vice presidency, P61.4 million bigger than that of his rival, Binay.
Poe ran in 2013, declared having received P129.15 million in donations and spent a total of P123.45 million, leaving her with P5.7 million in excess funds. And, to the surprise of many, she topped the senatorial race with a total of 20.34 million votes.
The largest portion of Poe’s contribution came from her mother, Jesusa Poe, popularly known as actress Susan Roces, P17.4 million; and her late father’s Fernando Poe Jr. Productions, Inc., P18.25 million which, according to SEC records, ceased operations since May 26, 2003.
Poe’s 2014 Statement of Assets, Liabilities and Net Worth showed that she inherited shares of the production company in 2008 worth P2.23 million.
Executives from large corporations also vouched for Poe. Each of the following individuals contributed P10 million for her campaign:
• John Paul L. Ang, General Manager and Chief Operating Officer of Eagle Cement Corporation, which operates a 252-hectare limestone mining sites in Doña Remedios and San Ildefonso, Bulacan;
• Thomas A. Tan, director of San Miguel Corporation, president and general manager of San Miguel Corporation Shipping and Litherage Corp., president of Saturn Cement Corp. and Sakamoto International Packaging Corp.;
• Michael D. Escaler, president of Aboitiz-owned San Fernando Electric & Light Power Corp. , which sources its energy from hydroelectric and geothermal power plants in Albay and Benguet; and
• Edwin L. Luy, president of Triton Securities, an investment company in which he owned 67 percent of the company’s shares.
Now, can someone just give away his millions without expecting anything in return?