• Poorest lawmaker got richer but still ‘homeless’


    Can you be richer in a year and yet be living in what passes for a house?

    Such is the case of Anakpawis party-list Rep. Fernando Hicap, who almost tripled his wealth in 2014 to P95,000 for from a lowly P37,000 in 2013 based on his Statement of Assets, Liabilities and Net Worth (SALN) released on Thursday.

    Hicap’s SALN showed that all of his P95,000 assets–the same amount of his net worth since he has no liabilities–are just broken down into P90,000 cash in bank and P5,000 worth of home appliances.

    But technically, he did not declare anything under real property since he and his family live near the shore in a hut over at A.C. Mercado, Barangay Wawa I, Rosario, Cavite.

    “I am proud to declare my true net worth. This is to prove that being a congressman is not about riches or power but about true service to the public,” Hicap, a high-school dropout, said in an interview.

    Hicap, 54, is married to Amelia. They have 10 children but only three of them are below 18 years old.

    As a lawmaker who represents farmers and fisherfolk, his monthly salary is P60,000.

    While he remains the poorest in the House of Representatives, with his colleagues’ riches reaching to hundreds of millions, life is still better now for Hicap since he used to work for a fishing company in Palawan for only P7 a day.

    “I spend most of my salary for the tuition of my children. One of my children just graduated from a two-year course,” he said.

    “I don’t envy my colleagues who enjoy a luxurious life. I am happy,” Hicap added.

    On the other hand, his fellow Makabayan bloc lawmaker and Bayan Muna party-list Rep. Carlos Zarate also slightly got richer by P250,000.

    From a net worth for P1.52 million last year that ranked him the 10th poorest, Zarate’s net worth slightly increased to P1.77 million.

    Zarate’s assets include a residential lot in Davao (P50,000), a 2008 Mitsubishi Strada (P1.05 million), a 2011 Mitsubishi L200 (P910,000), cash in bank (P213,000), jewelry (P20,000), law books (P15,000), various paintings (P65,000) and various gadgets (P50,000).

    His liabilities, on the other hand, are a P200,000 personal loan from Nilo Floresca of Davao City, a P150,000 personal loan from Nene Abijar in Davao City and a P255,00 car loan from PS Bank.

    Zarate has declared two relatives working in government: his sister Irmina Zarate-Jabillo who is a bank officer for the Development Bank of the Philippines in General Santos and his wife Charina who works as Graft Investigation and Prosecution Officer for the Office of the Ombudsman.


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