BAFFLING FORTUNE: Governor’s aide charged for spike in wealth

RUEL Von D. Superio (left) is a trusted aide of Iloilo Gov. Arthur Defensor Sr. (Photo from

AN EXECUTIVE assistant to Governor Arthur Defensor, Sr. was charged before the Ombudsman yesterday for allegedly accumulating wealth that could not be explained by his income as a government employee.

In a seven-page administrative complaint, former Iloilo Provincial Administrator Manuel “Boy” Mejorada said that Ruel Von D. Superio “lived an extravagant and ostentatious lifestyle” that was far beyond his means , acquiring two brand-new cars in just three years and a house and lot.

To support his complaint, Mejorada submitted the statements of assets, liabilities and net worth (SALN) filed by Superio for the years 2011-2017.

He charged Superio for serious dishonesty, grave misconduct and conduct prejudicial to the best interest of the service.

Mejorada alleged that this unexplained wealth case against Superio demonstrates that a “culture of corruption” exists in the administration of Governor Defensor.

“Corruption is right inside the governor’s office,” he said.

Mejorada alleged that in a span of six years, Superio posted an increase in net worth amounting to P729,510 even though he was burdened by loans for his cars, house and lot, and various government financial institutions and the provincial employees cooperative.

Mejorada said that based on Superio’s SALNs for the period, the governor’s aide would have been saddled with mortgage payments and was left with a monthly income of less than P2,000.

“How could he possibly subsist on that income?” Mejorada said.

Mejorada said that in 2011, just a year after he started serving as executive assistant to Governor Defensor, Superio purchased a brand-new Toyota Altis 1.6 E sedan with a price tag of P824,000.

“Everybody knows that a Toyota Altis is mid-range in terms of price in the Toyota line-up of cars, and are usually owned by corporate executives,” he said.

At the time, Superio was earning only about P26,000 a month, gross.

If Superio obtained car financing in the amount of P659,000, then he would have been paying no less than P21,000 a month in the four-year loan term that he reported in his SALNs, he said.

This pattern continued over the next few years, with Superio reporting loans with GSIS, PAG-IBIG, and the Iloilo Provincial Employees Multi-purpose Cooperative, he said.

Despite this apparent heavy debt burden, Superio went on to buy a brand-new Toyota Vios 1.3 E A/T sedan in 2014.

“While other government officials and employees struggle just to buy second-hand vehicles and stick to just one, Superio showed he had plenty of money to burn by having two brand-new cars in less than three years,” he said.

Mejorada said such ostentatious display of wealth only leads to one conclusion, and that is Superio derived income from sources outside of his employment as a government employee.

Superio, who was promoted to Supervision Tourism Operations Officer while continuing to discharge his role as executive assistant, is known to be the right-hand man of Defensor, Mejorada said.

“He is the most-trusted man insofar as the governor is concerned,” he said. “All documents needing the signature of the governor pass through him,” he added.

The SALNs of Superio showed that in 2011, he reported total assets of P1,434,000 and liabilities of P1,028,790. His net worth was P405,210.

By the end of 2017, Superio reported total assets of P2,493,000 and liabilities amounting to P1,358,280. His net worth grew to P1,134,720.

Mejorada said he had information that Superio had also purchased a Toyota RAV4 sports utility vehicle in 2018 as well as a house and lot in the Deca Homes Subdivision in Pavia, Iloilo in 2015.

“I have information that he also travels abroad frequently along with a male companion,” he added.