By Henni Espinosa, North America News Bureau
FOSTER CITY, CAâ€”Philippine Congressman Mikey Arroyo’s house had some very angry visitors this morning.
Filipino-American activists, chanting â€œShame on you, you got caught!â€ staged a protest outside the home that is situated in the upscale planned community.Â They say they are disgusted that Arroyo, son of Philippine President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, bought the $1.3 million home and failed to declare it as part of his real estate assets.
â€œOf course there should be a clear investigation of how he got his wealth, where he is investing it,â€ said Terry Valen, chair of the National Alliance for Filipino Concerns.Â â€œItâ€™s clear that this is not coming from his salary as a Philippine congressman.â€
The protesters say they are not surprised that another Arroyo property in the Bay Area has been exposed.
â€œIn the past, weâ€™ve heard of allegations of the Arroyos trying to hide other million-dollar homes in San Francisco.Â We know that this is a pattern of the Arroyos, hiding their ill-gotten wealth,â€ said Racquel Redondiez, chair of Gabriela USA.
What is more disturbing for the protesters is that Arroyo insists the Foster City house is owned by a company, when county records show that his wife is listed as the houseâ€™s only owner.
â€œIt just further exposes the pattern of cover-up.Â If youâ€™re not hiding anything, why would you have to cover it up and deny?â€ Redondiez said.
The protesters say Arroyo should come clean about the source of his ballooned wealth.Â Arroyoâ€™s net worth jumped from 5 million pesos in 2002, to 99 million pesos in 2008.
â€œWeâ€™re just here to express our outrage that Congressman Arroyo has all the money to spend on a million-dollar home in Foster City while our people in the Philippines only live on less than a dollar a day,â€ said Jack de Jesus, Deputy Secretary of Bayan USA.
The protesters call on the Philippine and U.S. government to investigate the source of Arroyo’s wealth before this Foster City house is sold.
â€œIf they (the Arroyos) get paid for the house, then the money goes back into their accounts and they can do whatever they want with it.Â Who knows what theyâ€™re going to do next?Â But this could be the money of taxpayers not just in the Philippines, but also for us here in the U.S.,â€ said Valen.
The protesters made efforts to deter potential buyers by putting up warning signs on the sidewalks.
Neighbors have mixed reactions.Â A Filipino neighbor who refused to be identified said the Arroyos donâ€™t bother him, because they are never around.Â Allen Leader, another neighbor of the house, wants the Arroyo family to come clean about the home to the Filipino people so the protests will end in Foster City.