‘Roxas and Corruption: Campaign Planes, Election Spending, Mining Interests’

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I was doing research to follow up an excellent expose by Philippione Star columnist Jarius Bondoc on mining magnates’ planes and helicopters, which   presidential candidate Manuel Roxas 2nd has been using in his campaign sorties. I chanced upon the following well-researched piece carried by the blog Thinking Pinoy, the title of which I also use for this column.  It deserves to be read by as many Filipinos as possible, to realize what “Daang Matuwid” really is.
First of Two Parts

Start of Thinking Pinoy piece:

Robredo and Roxas in a chopper owned reportedly by a mining magnate. In the middle is Eliza Antonino, a former staffer of Roxas, who since 2011 has been a trustee of the SSS and is said to be working full-time in her former boss’s campaign. COA reports show she is getting P6 million a year from the SSS. Unreported, though, is her take from Philex Mining, where she is a board member representing SSS shares. (Photo comes from an Instagram post of Roxas spokesman Miro Quimbo, who claims  it was taken inside a truck.)

Robredo and Roxas in a chopper owned reportedly by a mining magnate. In the middle is Eliza Antonino, a former staffer of Roxas, who since 2011 has been a trustee of the SSS and is said to be working full-time in her former boss’s campaign. COA reports show she has been getting P6 million a year from the SSS. Unreported, though, is her take from Philex Mining, where she is a board member representing SSS shares. (Photo comes from an Instagram post of Roxas spokesman Miro Quimbo, who initially reported wrongly that they were inside a truck.)

“Quid pro quo. Whether we want to admit it or not, this phrase defines the game of life.
This same rule applies to every electoral campaign: something for something, this for that.
When I first heard that Liberal Party (LP) bet Manuel “Mar” Araneta Roxas II spent 257 million just for August 2015 TV ads, my initial reaction was “meh, mayaman naman talaga
si Mar.’ I know that he belongs to the wealthy oligarchy, so I guess that was expected. If my clan owns the Araneta Center, I guess I can afford to do that. After all, how many Filipinos can afford to go to Wharton? That’s why I was inclined to believe Roxas’ allies when they said he “uses his own funds.”

Even if I felt something just doesn’t add up, I just can’t seem to put my finger on it, so the Roxas August TV ads news came and went without me giving a damn. Why? Because I don’t really subscribe to half-baked truths.


Then follow-up reports came in. Oh, boy.

This is the part where I tell myself to calm down and examine the situation objectively, so let’s do just that.

I would like to warn the reader that this is much longer than the usual Thinking Pinoy article, but I assure you that your ten-or-so minutes will be time well spent.

The Manila Times reported that Roxas spent ₱774 million from January to December 2015 on TV, radio, and newspaper ads. The Philippine Star even reported that Roxas has the money to pay for anti-Binay ads.

P774 million does not even include the expenses he incurs during out-of-town events, where he gives out motorcycles and bags of food to all attendees. This does not include the gargantuan costs of running his fleet of private jets that he uses to transport his entire team from province to province. It also does not include the online ad spending: I check my Facebook wall everyday and sponsored Roxas-Robredo ads – run through Roxas’ official page – pop up left and right.

The amount of money Roxas has hemorrhaged so far is mind-boggling, especially since the ₱10-per-voter cap limits presidential campaign spending at about ₱545 million, based on 54.5 million registered Filipino voters.

At this rate, Roxas should’ve already been disqualified, as any elementary school student would agree that 774 is a lot more than 570. We don’t need a Wharton degree to figure that out.

 Lipad Party?  roxas seems to have so many planes that even junior staffers get to use. a facebook post with the note: “Unforgettable Selfie with team Matuwid, plus it was my first time to ride on a private plane. “

Lipad Party?  Roxas seems to have so many planes that even junior staffers get to use them. A Facebook post with the note: “Unforgettable Selfie with team Daang Matuwid, plus it was my first time to ride on a private plane. “

Amid the over-spending allegations, administration stalwarts, including Bayan Muna Rep. Carlos Zarate and YACAP Party-list Rep. Carol Jane Lopez, and presidential spokesperson Edwin Lacierda, were quick to defend Roxas. They said Roxas ‘used his own money.’

Roxas’ 2014 Statement of Assets, Liabilities, and Net Worth (SALN) indicates a net worth of ₱202 million, according to the Inquirer. No other details were made public about his 2014 SALN declaration.

TV5 was somehow able to secure a copy of Roxas’ 2012 SALN that showed a net worth of ₱183.1 million, approximately 10% less than the 2014 figure.

In this 2012 SALN, Roxas stated that his cash and time deposits in 2012 were ₱ 9.5 million. Even if the ₱ 19 million increase from 2012 to 2014 was in pure cash, it still won’t allow him to afford this degree of election spending.

Even in the extreme scenario where he liquidated all his assets, there’s no way ₱202 million can pay for ₱257 million in TV ads, let alone that ₱774 million figure that he purportedly spent from January to December 2015.

Roxas cannot ‘use his own money’ because according to Roxas SALN, even if he’s one of the richest cabinet members, the kind of election spending he’s doing is on an entirely different level.

With this said, it’s safe to say that he relied heavily on campaign donors, and this leads to the next question: who are his donors?

That is, Thinking Pinoy asks: What kinds of people are funding Roxas’ ascent into the presidency?

A closer look at Roxas’ 2012 SALN shows that Roxas has a personal interest in the mining sector. His stockholdings, officially amounting to ₱120 million, include shares in seven mining companies, namely: Lepanto Consolidated Mining Company, Manila Mining Corporation, Philex Mining Corporation, Marinduque Mining and Industrial Corporation, Mindanao Mother Lake Mines, Samar Mining Company, Western Minolco Corporation.

Mar, the miner

Being a stockholder in these seven wealthy firms indicate that he should have a lot of wealthy friends and wealthy acquaintances in the mining industry. And when in a pinch, such as when he needs campaign contributions, wouldn’t it be reasonable to say that his group of wealthy friends would be the first ones he’d run to?

Thinking Pinoy had no way of verifying who among these miner friends are helping Roxas fulfill his presidential ambitions.

I needed leads. Luckily, the Philippine Star’s Jarius Bondoc gave me just that.

Bondoc of the Philippine Star reported Friday that private Cessna planes Roxas uses for his campaign sorties are registered under Air Juan Aviation Inc., owned by a certain Francis Eric Gutierrez. These planes are also used to fly VP candidate Leni Robredo and the Liberal Party (LP) senatorial lineup.

A 2013 PCIJ report showed the billionaire Gutierrez is 2013’s 87th highest taxpayer in the country.

To give the reader an idea of Gutierrez’s net worth, GMA Network’s Jimmy Duavit is 83rd and SM Prime Holding’s Henry Sy Sr. is 85th. Their corresponding tax returns differ by less than a million pesos.

Bondoc’s sources said that the planes comprising the Air Juan fleet were acquired with VAT and import duty exemptions, privileges that were never given any other aviation company.

Signed for Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima by Usec. Carlo Carag, the tax exemptions were granted on the basis ‘that said importation is necessary in the operation of its business.’

If we go by that logic, jeepney drivers should also be exempted from VAT on diesel, right? After all, diesel is necessary in the operation of a jeepney business.

But no, lowly jeepney drivers won’t be exempted. As to why, it’s best to ask Purisima.
Then came the lead I was looking for: Bondoc cited Gutierrez’s alleged illegal mining activities in Mindanao. Bondoc explained how Gutierrez skirted tough laws to exploit the rich nickel ore reserves of Tubay, Agusan del Norte.

When asked about it, Roxas’ camp said Mar leased the aircraft from SR Mining Inc. (SRMI) owner Francis Eric Gutierrez and that the said transactions were ‘above-board.’
My subsequent research on Roxas’ mining links and its implications terrified me so much, I actually fervently prayed that I am wrong….”
To be continued on Monday.

tiglao.manilatimes@gmail.com

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45 Comments

  1. ERRATUM:

    Due to human error on Thinking Pinoys’s part, the article cited Bayan Muna Rep. Carlos Zarate as one of those who defended Roxas when asked about where his campaign funds come from.

    Instead, it was Zarate who raised that issue. It was Zarate who questioned Roxas’ campaign spending which, in turn, elicited the reply from Roxas’ allies.

    TP extends its sincerest apologies to Rep. Zarate for this error.

    — by Thinking Pinoy

  2. this is still allegations. i would rely in this facts if these info are put in a proper investigation. this is election period. a voter like mo would have no venue to confirm these allegations are true or not.

  3. josefina payca pagba on

    how can these information be disseminated to the barangays in order for them to know … please help!

  4. Gutierrez and Erice, spokesman of President Benigno Aquino’s Liberal Party, are also known to be part owners of SR Metals Inc. (SRMI), and its subsidiaries San R Mining Co. and Galeo Equipment and Mining Co.
    Engaged in nickel mining in Tubay, Agusan del Norte, the three firms masqueraded as owned by small-scale miners.
    Small-scale mining uses only shovels, picks, and wheelbarrows.
    Upon investigation by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), the companies turned out to be operated by big capitalists from Manila and employed heavy equipment and barges.
    Under the law, small-scale nickel mining is limited to extracting only 50,000 tons of ore per year.
    The DENR investigation showed that in 2006 to 2007 the mining companies owned by Gutierrez and Erice reportedly over-extracted more than 1.8 million tons of ore valued at P28 billion.
    The DENR slapped a fine of P7 million for the environmental plunder and ordered the closure of the mining operations in 2007.
    Erice, as then chairman of the SMRI, contested the closure before the Court of Appeals and the Supreme Court, but lost in June 2014.
    The closure order has not been implemented and the mining companies continue to operate.
    Duterte said Roxas has been protecting the business interests of SRMI. “It is because of this protection that the mining operations of Gutierrez continue.”
    Aside from environmental plunder, there may be a case of treason committed by Gutierrez and Erice.
    The mined ore was shipped to China, but shiploads of it were rejected due to poor quality.
    Intelligence reports have it that the bad ore were used in China’s hasty reclamation of reefs for airstrips in the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea), which is claimed by the Philippines.

    • sir rogerlanza, where did you source your info? I could not find a verified review. They are very good hiding this. The media must have been paid a lot of money to keep this issue at bay… Thanks very much

  5. Without batting an eye lash, Liberal Party standard bearer Mar Roxas has admitted his friendship with a billionaire miner, who had been investigated for illegal mining operation involving P28 billion worth of nickel ore.
    Roxas’ friend Eric Guttierez is also reported to have squeezed at least P18 million in questionable tax exemptions on jet planes.
    He is my friend, what’s wrong with that, said Roxas as Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte revealed that the billionaire miner, Gutierrez, and his business partner, Caloocan City Representative Edgar Erice, are bankrolling the campaign of Roxas.

  6. MAR ROXAS – benenta muna ang kaluluwa mo, pagnanalo ka ibebenta mo ang bayan namin sa mga mayaman at makapangyarihan at dayuhan. @%***@#$%

  7. My son just attended a media congress sponsored by ABS-CBN, where Gina Lopez told attendees not to vote for Binay because he is pro-mining; but failed to mention Roxas, hubby of her newswoman Korina.
    Incidentally, LP stalwart Edgar Erice is a partner of Francis Eric Gutierrez in San Roque Mining. as exposed by Ted Failon on a special report months way back.
    Been to that beach brgy in Tubay, and the water there is not drinkable, smelling awful. You wouldn’t even want to shower w/ it. Btw, gutierrez owns a beach resort here; and the barangay is given money by the mining firm to turn a blind eye on environmental violations.

  8. Cyrus Fernandez on

    Ngayon alam ko na kung bakit galit na galit sila kay binay. Dahil ang magnanakaw ay galit sa kapwa magnanakaw.

  9. so this is why mar snapped at the cameraman who was taking video during his visit to the lumads of mindanao! ayaw nya pakunan bka nga nman mabanggit ang kanyang cronies at maincriminate pa sya. wise move mar! altho walang lihim na maitago ng matagal. kaplastikan at kaepalan lang pala yung pag visit at concern kuno sa mga lumad. god, i hate this man.

  10. C mayor duterte ang ng bunyag ng pgmimina nila roxas alam ni mayor dyan kasi ang mga lumad didto sa mindanao pinapapatay para maalis sa lugar nila at ang ginawa ni mayor cya ngsponsor ng lugar na malipatan ang mga lumad na ito..wala rin nagawa c mayor dahil nung ng ibestiga cya aprubado pala ng suprem court justice natalo ang mga local goverment na ngsampa ng kaso laban sa mga kaibigan ni roxas at c roxas isa na don..ang natatandaan ko nong huling tanong ni mayor ano gaano bha daw ka kapangyarihan c roxas dahil daw kumampe ang mga justices sa kanila… Yan ang katotohanan na sinungaling c roxas….

  11. Wow… this is a bullseye… it’s worth sharing to the people who doesn’t yet know what Daang Matuwid is…

  12. I am from Agusan del Norte.. Why Gutierrez and Egay Erice mining firm SRMI here in Tubay, Aggusan del Norte is untouchable because government agencies like EMB, DENR are inutile too or they are part of the equation of corruption

  13. Wow!!! Matuwid na daan according to Mr. Palengke, the Traffic Man. Punong puno ng pagkukunwari at kaplastikan. Matuwid na daan pa more.

  14. you forgot to say that Antonino is a former SSS board member, former philex director and former union bank director..

  15. kanya-kanyang STRONG POINT at WEAK POINTS ang mga kandidato..

    kung si DUTERTE at POE, ay nagpopokus sa IMAGE, ISSUES at PROPAGANDA..sa telenovela, drama at sa mga SOUNDBITES…
    WEAK sa MACHINERIES / local amchineries, funds and logistics..

    si ROXAS, dahil administration bet and incumbent,
    ang kanyang STRONG POINTS: MACHINERY, LOCAL MACHINERY, LOGISTIC at FUNDS, sa kabilang banda, weak sa propaganda at image….

    si BINAY: WEAK sa IMAGE, issues and propaganda…STRONG POINTS sa LOCAL MACHINERIES…

    ganun lang ang election sa Pilipinas….kung wala kang HELICOPTER at AIRPLANE, LOGISTIC at machineries for CAMPAIGN ELECTION….ang tanong ng marami, “BAKIT ka pa SUMALI sa ELECTION? “

    • If that’s what you think bout election here in the philippines, then a public servant who truly want to serve could not be spared of this country. Filipinos owned this land not only the elitist, we should be a wise voter, never to vote for the corrupt politician no amount of money and machineries would win if all filipinos will vote according to their conscience and be wise enough to vote who they think has more the capacity to served the country and not for personal interest.

  16. ms antonino is part owner of Ding Tai Fung being the head of the Moments Group. i wonder why she is a commissioner in SSS. one busy lady indeed.

  17. I hope this article and future ones like these be translated to Filipino and shared in various platforms and channels to reach a wider audience like the masses and the Filipinos who don’t have access to the internet and broadsheets.

  18. I hope this article and future ones like these be translated to Filipino and shared in various platforms and channels to reach a wider audience like the masses and the Filipinos who don’t have access to try internet and broadsheets.

  19. I don’t know why, where, how and when ombudswoman conchita Morales carpio is going to do her job of indicting the grafters….,,,,,,eto ay maliwanag pa Sa sikat Ng araw Na hayagang pagnanakaw at pakikipagsabwatan Sa mga tiwaling negosyante Para maluklok Sa kapangyarihan…..we’ll Kasali siya Sa partihan kasi pag nanalo…kaya forget it…..

  20. You want to get where the wealth started? Better get several researchers where government keep the court file very secret & not burned or alteted.

  21. Kung naiintindihan natin itong sinulat ni Mr. Tiglao, wala talaga tayong pagmamahal sa ating bayan at pakialam sa kinabukasan ng ating mga anak at mga susunod na henerasyon kung iboboto natin ang ganitong klaseng kandidato sa pagka presidente sa 2016 eleksiyon. Huwag nating ipagpalit ng kapirasong pilak ang ating boto ngayong darating na elksiyon dahil tayo rin ang malulubog sa kahirapan bandang huli. Manindigan, magmasid at makialam tayo ngayong eleksiyon upang masiguro na ang kandidatong ihahalal natin na pagka presidente ay yung tunay na maglilingkod ng tapat sa ating taong bayan. Ito na ang huli nating pagkakataon na makaboto ng tama kung gusto nating umunlad ang ating bansa. Maawa tayo sa kinabukasan ng ating mga anak at mga susunod pang henerasyon.

  22. Gago talaga si NOYTARD kaya gago din ang kanyang mga kakampi (Roxas, Erice, Drilon,etc.).Wla silang malasakit sa masa(pagmamasaker sa SF44.kapabayaan sa MRT,etc.).Palibhasay lahi ng mga traydor si ABNOY(lolo niya ay makapili sa panahon ng mga hapon) kaya wa;la talagamapala sa gagong NOYTARD at mga kakampi.

  23. Should a SSS Director be engaging in politics?
    Delicadeza ( she should give up the position and perks first) ? More like corruption ?

    Similarly , Americans, even if they are children of or married to candidates
    are not allowed to be in the campaign, right ?

  24. Nasa mining pala kaya pala wala silang pakialam sa mga pinapatay at tinatakot na mga lumad. Akalain mo pitong kompanya ng pagmimina investor siya pag naging presidente yan lulubog ang bansang Pilipinas at sila dahil sa laki ng kinita pasarap na lang sa ibang bansa.

  25. Obviously, all presidential candidates have their own financial backers. What you and the likes of Jarius Bondok can do is to expose the business interests of those betting hundreds of millions on their chosen “protector.”

    Mining? Raping the environment is terrible as it is, disregarding with impunity the necessary social and environmental impact while they profit immensely at the expense of poorly paid miners.

    Kaya pala, dalawang taon na Sec. ng DOTC si Mar, hindi gagap ng pagkatao niya kung gaano kahirap mag commute araw-araw para kumita ng pambili ng bigas. MRT deteriorated under his watch. Imagine what happens to the infrastructures serving the “masa” if he wins? Yes. The big ticket industry will boom – for its owners and shareholders like him, his family and his friends. Trickle down? Pagputi ng uwak.

    Apparently, the lesser evil in this coming election is Duterte.

    He may be rough and impolite, but as to whose heart and mind is closer to the common tao, yung para sa bansa at hindi lang para sa mga taga Business District na doon lang naiipon ang ganansiya ng “economic gains.” I don’t like his demeanor. But what he has been saying, kahit magaspang at walang diplomasya, makes sense.

    As for the other presidential candidates?

    Grace Poe? Danding Cojuangco, Marcos, Erap and his wealthy Chinese gang of thieves and smugglers. Don’t forget, Pnoy using his audit-exempt Presidential “social fund” on his first bet, Grace and his second bet, Mar.

    Binay? Mga nanakaw ni Binay. Which makes him a little safer compared to Grace and Mar. Babawiin niya siyempre ang kaniyang nagastos, pero walang gaanong babayadan pabalik na financial backers.

    Duterte? We’ll wait and see. Hopefully you and Jarius can help on this too.

  26. Mar is a product of oligarchy and will always favors the oligarchs in this country. Thus daang matuwid is a fake propaganda. If Mar would win social equity and inclusive growth would just a dream!

  27. Mariano Patalinjug on

    Yonkers, New York
    18 Feb. 2016

    These sordid but well-documented revelations about presidential candidate MAR ROXAS, by Manila Times columnist Robeto D. Tiglao, are simply stunning!

    And this is supposed to be Part 1 only. There are bound to be more in Part 2.

    And one does not have to be either a CPA or a rocket scientist to conclude that MAR ROXAS cannot be a true disciple of President Aquino’s celebrated “Daang Matuwid. After Roberto D. Tiglao’s Part 2 comes out soon, Mar Roxas will probably make presidential candidate JEJOMAR BINAY look like a two-bit “piker” in terms of wealth which, obviously, is the fruit of CORRUPTION.

    Hypocritical is the adjective that could describe Mar Roxas accurately.

    What he is capable of doing if elected President to recover what he is spending on his campaign now is anybody’s guess. But it is possible that the return he has in mind now cannot be less than 100%!

    MARIANO PATALINJUG
    patalinjugmar@gmail.co

  28. The Manila Times should spearhead an investigation into this Eliza Antonio character. For an HRM graduate and for someone so young and probably inexperienced, she seems to have gone far so fast. As for Mar’s overspending, surely the funds don’t come from his pocket. If his clan is investing in him, surely they would want an ROI.

    • I was just reading about this person, and wondered how an HRA graduate became an SSS (former chair and now) commissioner, a Philex director, and also a Union Bank director. Turns out she was Roxas’s Chief of Staff in the beginning.

  29. Lumads are massacred by miners with impunity because Roxas is miners friend and stock holder. Marami pang mamatay na Lumads pag na presidente si Miner Roxas.

    • Ngayon alam na natin kung bakit pinaalis ang mga Lumad sa kanilang lupain. Dahil eleksyon, kailangan ng mas maraming pera.