Ombudsman Martires' wealth grows by P15 million in 2018

MANILA, Philippines – Ombudsman Samuel Martires' wealth grew by P15 million in 2018, according to a summary of his 2018 Statement of Assets and Liabilities and Net Worth (SALN) released to media.

The SALN summary showed Martires' net worth rising to P57.064 million in 2018 from P41.878 million in 2017, a difference of P15.186 million.

Martires released only a summary of his 2018 SALN, and not the full copy, contrary to the usual practice of the Office of the Ombudsman.

The source of the jump in Martires' wealth was unclear, except that his personal properties nearly doubled from P28.538 million in 2017 to P55.506 million 2018 – P26.976 million increase. The specific cause of the increase cannot be determined without the full SALN.

Martires' real properties, meanwhile, shrunk to P1.558 million in 2018 from P13.340 million in 2017. Whether he sold these properties or transferred them could not be scrutinized without a full copy of the SALN.

As in 2017, Martires incurred zero debt in 2018.

Martires' summary provided his entry SALN when he was appointed as Ombudsman in August 2018. Examined, it would reveal that much of the change, or the jump, happened after he was appointed Ombudsman.

It would show that the P15-million jump happened in 5 months or from August to December 2018.

When then-ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales retired in 2017, she had a net worth of P58.615 million – P17 million higher than her net worth when she started her  7-year term in 2011.

The cause of Morales' wealth growth was her cash-on-hand augmented by her pension and retirement benefits.

Morales was a trial court judge, Court of Appeals justice, and Supreme Court justice before she was Ombudsman. Martires was also a trial court judge, Sandiganbayan justice, and Supreme Court justice before he became the Ombudsman.

Deputy Ombudsmen

Before he was kicked out of office for his probe into President Rodrigo Duterte's wealth, former overall deputy ombudsman Melchor Arthur Carandang was worth P8.464 million.

Newly-retired Deputy Ombudsman for Luzon Gerard Mosquera has a net worth P16.9 million. The Judicial and Bar Council (JBC) has yet to shortlist candidates for  Mosquera's replacement.

The joint net worth of Deputy Ombudsman for Visayas Paul Elment Clemente, with his  wife, is P5.150 million.

Deputy Ombudsman for Mindanao Rodolfo Elman has a net worth P8.253 million, while Deputy Ombudsman for the Military and Other Law Enforcement Offices (MOLEO) Cyril Ramos is worth P6.988 million.

Summaries only

Providing SALN summaries is the style of the Supreme Court when it comes to disclosing the wealth of justices. Martires was Supreme Court justice before he was appointed Ombudsman in 2018. (READ: Supreme Court denies requests for justices’ full SALNs)

Martires had also deferred releasing the SALNs of President Rodrigo Duterte and Vice President Leni Robredo as well as the SALNs of the heads of constitutional bodies, again a departure from the office's usual policy.

"Please note that the processing of said requests have been held in abeyance pending the review and revision of the policies and rules of the Office of the Ombudsman regarding the release of SALNs. In the meantime, may we advise that you course these requests directly to the offices of the officials concerned," said the Office of the Ombudsman in response to Rappler's requests for SALNs.

Reverting to summaries of their wealth, as well as the non-release of SALNs of other officials, is among Martires' new policies that reduces transparency in the Office of the Ombudsman.

Martires has also stopped publicizing resolutions of the office's preliminary investigations. – Rappler.com

Lian Buan

Lian Buan covers justice and corruption for Rappler. She is interested in decisions, pleadings, audits, contracts, and other documents that establish a trail. If you have leads, email lian.buan@rappler.com or tweet @lianbuan.

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