GMA’s critics are up and about buzzing over the substantial increase in her net worth as reflected in her latest Statement of Assets, Liabilities and Net Worth. Like my friend JC said, “I am not for her but I am also not against her”.
My hubby is a state prosecutor and since we got married, I have always been the one who prepares his annual Statement of Assets, Liabilities and Net Worth because he cannot comprehend the accounting terms there. I miss messing with numbers, so I always welcome the task of accomplishing his and analyzing the figures after.
The reports say that after eight years in the presidency, the net worth of Pres. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo has ballooned to a very substantial amount. I don’t want to sound like I’m defending her, but I just want to raise a few points:
Point 1: Did you know that last year, the Statement of Assets, Liabilities and Net Worth was materially revised? The new form already includes a “gross annual family income” apart from the declarant’s annual gross salary. The gross annual family income already includes the gross income of the other spouse (and all other children under 18 living in the same household). Due to this, the end line of the statement representing total net worth is that of the spouses already, not solely the declarant’s. Ergo, this amount would cause the net worth to sky rocket if you compare it with the figures in 2001. Those wagging tongues better check this again because when GMA first sat down in the presidency, her net worth was only hers alone and did not include her husband’s so she has a very low base if they started computing from 2001. Her net worth would naturally double if you already add the First Gentleman’s annual gross salary too (assuming they earn the same) as this would already be the net worth appearing since 2008. They should reckon the figures from the 2008 Statement of Assets, Liabilities and Net Worth because this contained the base amounts. I bet they’ll be surprised that it will not be that much.
Point 2: The ignorant critics keep stressing that GMA did not identify the stocks she owned. Well, there was no need for her to identify them because the form did not require her to divulge what kind of and which stocks they were. There is only a single line for “Stocks (equity paid)” in the statement and the declarant only needs to state there the total amount of investments in stocks he/she owns.
Point 3: GMA’s detractors further emphasize that the monthly salary of the President is only P 45,000.00 (before the new salary schedule was approved effective July 2009) and yes, I agree. However, it should not be ignored that that is only the basic salary. I assume she also receives other benefits and allowances apart from that figure appearing in the Salary Standardization Schedule. Even in my husband’s case, his basic salary is an amount lower than the total benefits and other allowances he receives monthly and quarterly from other attached government agencies of the Department of Justice which he also oversees. What more the President? Do those annoying “interpreters” even know that the members of the Senate and the members of the House of Representatives also enjoy huge amount of allowances such as the allowances they receive PER committee that they are members of (huge, as in, six digits!)?.
Having said all that and although I have not seen GMA’s SALN, I think the amounts stated in her SALN could be explained (undeclared items not included). I’m sure her accountant made sure it was prepared CLEAN and her lawyer fulfilled his duty to see to it that all is LEGAL there. We accountants can always support whatever numbers we write in any statement; and we lawyers always make sure everything’s within the bounds of law, promise! Besides, who would be a fool to expose illegal wealth under oath in public? It’s just against the normal course of human behavior.
If they want to pull GMA down the presidency like Erap, I don’t think the SALN is the way. After what happened with Erap and his SALN, I’m sure she took extra care in accomplishing hers.
Oh but the $20,000.00 dinner is another story!