A Bureau of Immigration employee who worked as a security guard for the agency on Monday acknowledged that he reported a net worth of P7.8 million.
During the Senate hearing on the alleged "pastillas" scheme hounding the agency, resource person Fidel Mendoza told the panel chaired by Senator Risa Hontiveros that as a security guard he had been entitled to Salary Grade 5, equivalent to P11,000 a month.
"P11,000 po pero mayroon nga po kami noong augmentation pay, so pare-pareho lang po kasi 'yung augmentation pay... mga P20,000 po," Mendoza said, adding that he therefore received P31,000 a month.
Scrutinized further as to how he was able to attain a P7.8-million net worth in 2018, Mendoza said it was due to another source of income: a business he established from his savings as a former overseas worker.
"From Japan mayroon naman akong kaunting naipon so 'yun po 'yung pinang-umpisa ko sa construction business ko'," he said.
The issue of Mendoza's net worth came up because he had worked as a "staff assistant" for former Port Operations Division chief Red Mariñas.
Whistleblower Allison Chiong had claimed that it was "impossible" for Mariñas not to have been aware of the pastillas scheme, which involves easing the immigration process for Chinese POGO (Philippine Offshore Gaming Operator) workers for certain sums of money.
Mariñas, who denied any knowledge of the pastillas scheme, was questioned by Hontiveros over his failure to submit his Statement of Assets, Liabilities and Net Worth (SALN) for the years 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2018.
Mariñas said that his 201 files for the said years had gone missing.
He also acknowledged that while Mendoza's personnel order indicates that the latter's position was security guard, he worked as Mariñas' staff assistant, "who assists me in all my documents and all my meetings and all my outside of office meetings at lahat ng kailangan namin sa opisina."
Mendoza, who is now assigned to the BI's Administrative Division, also denied any knowledge of the pastillas scheme.
Hontiveros told Mariñas that she wonders how Mendoza could have declared more assets than him in 2017 when the latter held a lower position.
"Just looking at your 2017, kung kailan nakapag-file kayo ng SALN, 'yung stated amount ay P5,545,000 samantalang 'yung kay Mr. Fidel Mendoza na to his credit taun-taon nag-submit ng kaniyang SALN... si Mr. Mendoza na Security Guard II ay nakapag-file ng P9,906,000," Hontiveros said.
"Isa na namang misteryo bakit ganoon, mas mataas pa ang nai-file ng isang security guard," she added.
Hontiveros also asked Mariñas how he managed to spend for the local elections in 2018 when he ran for Muntinlupa mayor when he was claiming that he only received a P24,000 monthly salary before he left the BI.
The former POD chief said he submitted his Statement of Contributions and Expenses (SOCE) at the Commission on Elections but cannot remember how much he spent for the campaign activities.
During her closing remarks, Hontiveros indicated that she was not buying the explanations.
"Salary Grade 13, around P24,000 monthly, pero nakakatakbong mayor at may net worth na limang milyong piso? Staff assistant o security guard, may net worth na pitong milyong piso? Nawawalang SALN, mga net worth na hindi katumbas ng Salary Grade. Hindi na ito bago. Classic korap moves ito. Bistong-bisto na pero deny pa, nag-mamaang-maangan pa," Hontiveros said. — BM, GMA News