Pandora Papers reveal 35 officials, politicians, biz men

 

“It’s deja vu!”
“During the Marcos dictatorship, business people and government officials had offshore accounts hidden from Filipinos,” says House Deputy Minority Leader and Bayan Muna Representative Carlos Isagani Zarate as the Pandora Papers exposed thousands of accounts in tax havens Tuesday, including financial records of 35 Filipino officials, politicians, and businessmen.
He refers to them as a throwback to the practice of ex-President Ferdinand Marcos and his cronies in concealing their ill-gotten wealth.

 

MANILA — Congressman Zarate is now linking the Pandora Papers exposé to the refusal of President Rodrigo Duterte and his top officials to release their SALNs (statements of assets, liabilities and net worth).

“Even now, the powerful, the rich, and the corrupt are using every scheme to cloak, if not totally hide from the public, the fruits of their greed for money and power; even depriving the Government of the taxes.

“Could this be the reason why many officials of the Duterte administration, and even the President himself, are not disclosing their SALN?

Even those who supposedly disclosed their SALN, like Transportation secretary Arthur Tugade failed to report his offshore account. Why?” he asked.

 

Pandora Papers exposé

Dubbed the “Pandora Papers,” the findings shed light on the previously hidden dealings of the elite and the corrupt, and how they have used offshore accounts to shield assets collectively worth trillions of dollars.

The Pandora Papers unmask the hidden owners of offshore companies, secret bank accounts, private jets, yachts, mansions and artworks, and many more.

The records show one of Trident Trust that has the names of Tugade and his children as beneficial owners of Solart Holdings Ltd, a company in the British Virgin Islands with over $1.5 million of ₱75 million in assets. This is not declared in Tugade’s SALN.

The Pandora Papers also exposed finance records of other businessmen as Dennis Uy, Enrique Razon, and Peter Rodriguez, former Commission on Elections chair Andres Bautista, the Aboitiz family, the Gaisano family, the Gatchalian family, and the Sy family.

“That this Pandora’s expose came to light this time is one of the failings of the administrations that followed after Marcos. It had been 35 years after Edsa I, yet the rich and the powerful, the big-time crooks and cronies are still using the same Marcosian modus operandi in hiding their wealth.

“That is the reason why until now, the Marcos ill-gotten wealth has yet to be fully recovered,” Zarate said.

Meanwhile, Tugade, who is also Transport secretary in the Duterte administration, denies any wrongdoing and said is offshore assets have been “consistently” disclosed since he became a public official nearly a decade ago.

He did not deny the existence of Solart, organized in 2003 to hold a portion of their family’s cash assets. “A personal move,” he said about Solart, long before he joined the Government.

The Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism collaborated with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalism, a non-profit organization, that obtained and examined 11.9 million confidential records from companies that helped establish shell corporations and trusts in global tax havens.

According to the report, Solart was not listed as a business interest in Tugade’s SALN filings since he became a public official in 2012. (RA/Headline PH)

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