Energy Sec. Alfonso Cusi is the richest member of President Rodrigo Duterte’s cabinet in 2019, based on his Statement of Assets, Liabilities, and Net Worth (SALN).
Cusi registered a net worth of Php1.43 billion, surpassing Public Works Sec. Mark Villar, last year’s topnotcher, who ended up with Php1.41 billion.
The energy chief’s net worth jumped from Php163 million in 2016 to Php1.36 billion in 2017 due to the sale of family-owned Starlite Ferries, Inc. to Chelsea Logistics Corporation.
Cusi was in the shipping business long before first joining government in 2001 as general manager of the Philippine Ports Authority.
Chelsea Logistics is owned by the Udenna Group of Davao-based tycoon Dennis Uy. Udenna currently owns 45% of the Malampaya gas-to-power project and is aiming to invest in other energy projects in the West Philippine Sea, including the other 45% of Malampaya being sold by Shell Philippines Exploration B.V.
Under the 1987 Constitution, all public officials and employees are required to submit SALNs since they are accountable to the public and must lead modest lives. SALN submissions are also covered by Republic Act (RA) 3019 or the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act and RA 6713 or the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees.
With the SALN, the public can track sudden changes in public officials’ wealth and identify potential conflicts of interest. Officials, meanwhile, can use it to prove that they don’t use their positions to enrich themselves.