Mong Palatino

blogging about the philippine left and southeast asian politics since 2004

About

@mongster is a manila-based activist, former philippine legislator, and blogger/analyst of asia-pacific affairs.

There was a time when La Vista Subdivision in Katipunan, Quezon City had three residents sitting as senators of the Republic compared to none for the whole island of Mindanao. Today La Vista is still home of the powerful and the very rich. In fact, its three most famous residents are all members of the 15th Congress, and they all live on the same street.

Aside from La Vista, where are the other exclusive domains of rich people in Metro Manila. Perhaps a reliable reference is the home addresses of members the House of Representatives, an institution which remains a house of multimillionaires. The House does not publish the residential addresses of its members but interestingly, the Congressional Spouses Foundation Inc. (CSFI) has released its official directory which features the contact details, birthdays, wedding anniversaries, and even home addresses of its members.

It’s good that spouses are more open in revealing the privileged hideouts of our legislators.

So where do the spouses live?

Curiously, only 34 members of the CSFI listed their homes in their respective districts in the provinces as their official residential addresses. It means majority of spouses are based in Metro Manila.

About 26 members are living in a condominium or townhouse. 12 members are living in Filinvest, 11 in Capitol Homes, 8 in Ayala Alabang, 7 in Valle Verde, and 7 in Forbes Park. Other prominent villages are Greenhills (6), BF Homes (6), Teachers’ Village (5), New Manila (5), Corinthian Gardens (4), Fairview (5), Dasmarinas (4), San Lorenzo (3), Loyola Heights (3), Loyola Grand Villas (3), and Pasong Tamo (3).

Many members are probably unaware that their colleagues are living in adjacent villages. For example in Tierra Pura, Tierra Bella, and Tierra Verde in Quezon City. There are members residing in the villages of Magallanes, Salcedo, Legaspi, and Bel-air in Makati.

Quite unusual that there are spouses or CSFI-nominated members of some Metro Manila legislators who are not residing in the city district of the House member.

Quezon City is clearly the home of most legislators, whether officially at work (Batasan) or in their private lives. Other top choices are Pasig, Makati, and Taguig.

The directory allows us to map out the residential homes of our legislators but it has its limitations too. There are 33 CSFI members who didn’t share any information about their home address. Furthermore, some CSFI members are not spouses but siblings, parents, children, and even staff members. The directory needs to be updated too because some members might be separated already with their spouses.

Still, the directory is useful for advocates of open government and good governance. Researchers can compare the listed address in the CSFI directory with the Statement of Assets, Liabilities and Net Worth or SALN of legislators. If the conjugal property in Ayala Alabang is not declared in the SALN, then the legislator has to provide the public with a convincing explanation.

A mapping project that focuses on the home addresses of legislators can provide a glimpse of the hidden world of politicians. Who are their neighbors? What do they see everyday that influence their views and decisions? How connected or detached are they from the rest of society? Are they living in luxury while surrounded by a sea of poverty outside their gates?

It can help us verify too if policymakers are living in the same residential hubs of contractors, corporate executives, lobbyists, and even retired generals. We can affirm the ‘truthiness’ of the statement that ‘political and economic power is concentrated in a few gated subdivisions in Metro Manila.’

The social networks may be expanding in the virtual world but it seems the social circles of the rich and powerful continue to be off-limits to most people.

Secrecy, privacy, confidentiality – these are the supreme, inalienable rights that rich people often invoke to ward off the probing eyes of dirty mortals. The same rights that the poor often surrender when they enroll for government welfare programs or when they stand in the way of commercial development.

In the name of privacy, the humble abode of legislators is not revealed to the public. But thanks to the innocent sharing of pleasantries and trivial information between spouses, this classified data is partially disclosed. Now we know that legislators who claim to be representatives of the poor spend their idle days and nights in lowly villages like Forbes Park, Corinthians, and Dasmarinas.

One Response to “Where do spouses live?”

  1. […] spouses are organized, they have funds, they are active, and they can be reliable allies and effective […]

    Mong Palatino » Blog Archive » Congress Lobbying

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