US authorities arrested Marissa when she arrived in Las Vegas, Nevada, on Jan. 15, 2012.
According to the account supplied by the Lapid camp, she entered the United States in November 2011 carrying $50,000, in violation of US travel regulations. She was held but was released on bail, and managed to leave the country before a US court could detain her to stand trial for the offense.
US laws allow foreigners to carry up to $10,000 in cash. Foreigners must declare the money they are carrying beyond that amount, which Marissa failed to do.
Based on Friday’s currency exchange rates, Marissa had P2.1 million with her when she was arrested.
Lapid said his wife was not aware that the case against her had prospered until she flew back to Las Vegas on Jan. 15.
“I’m sad. She had no intention to lie to authorities. She was just nervous,” he said.
Lapid said reports that he and his wife often traveled to Las Vegas to socialize or gamble were “untrue.”
“We stay with a friend, Edgar Balagtas, or with my mother (whenever we go to the United States),” he said.
Lapid said he had not been able to speak with Marissa by phone for days now because her American lawyer, Eliot Krieger, had told her not to take calls.
He said that they did talk on Jan. 15 and that she had mumbled, “Sorry Jo.” (Jo is their term of endearment.)
The senator also said he had asked the Department of Foreign Affairs to extend assistance to his wife the way it did to Filipinos in distress overseas.
He said their youngest son, Maynard, 27 and an American citizen, had been assisting his mother. (They have four children, including Mark Lapid, who served as governor of Pampanga and now heads the Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Zone Authority of the Department of Tourism.)
According to employees, Marissa Lapid owns and runs MTL Enterprises, which includes Walmart Construction Supply, Maynards’ Agri Farm Supply, Barstow Minimart, Generics Pharmacy and Porac Ice Plant.
Except for the grocery, these businesses occupy a row of stalls in a one-story building beside the district hospital in Barangay Babo Sacan in Porac.
When the Inquirer asked an employee who owned a Sea Oil fuel station in Barangay Sta. Cruz, he said: “It’s by Sen,” apparently referring to the senator.
Some 20 meters from the municipal hall is Marissa Hall, which the senator’s wife rents out for private or public functions.
The Porac Foundation Inc. (PFI) has sued Marissa for buying the 5,435-square-meter property from a couple who allegedly produced two fake titles for it. Fr. Resty Lumanlan, PFI chair and founder, said the property was part of donations to the foundation.
Another source said Marissa recently bought two lots in Porac from the David and Cuyugan families worth P20 million.
The Porac treasurer declined the request for information on business permits issued in the name of Marissa Lapid or her relatives.
Research conducted by the Inquirer in 2005 showed that of the family’s 17 vehicles that year, 14 were in Marissa’s name.
Lapid declared a net worth of P10.1 million in 2004, his first year in the Senate. Seven properties titled to him were estimated at P256 million, excluding a house in San Diego, California.
Many of the family’s properties in the Philippines were allegedly not declared in Lapid’s statements of assets and liabilities and net worth (SALN) in 1995-2004, when he was Pampanga governor.
What were allegedly not declared in the 2003 SALN when his net worth was P10.1 million were a hilltop mansion in Porac and the three-story Mar-Man Building on Scout Borromeo Street in Quezon City.
Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) documents show that Lapid is a co-owner of Classic Films International and Mar-Man Farms Corp. None of these reported big profits.
The film company reported losing P5.49 million in 1996. Mar-Man, registered in 1993, has not filed financial statements in the SEC. The Lito Lapid College Foundation, set up in 1992, reported a net loss of P1.2 million in 1998.
Marissa Lapid’s Thousand Islands International, registered in 1997, had a paid-up capital of only P137,000, and GM Concrete Products Manufacturing and Trading Co., co-owned by Lapid, P1.8 million.
Not born wealthy
In his campaign for a seat in the Senate in 2004, Lapid reported spending P64.9 million from contributions.
Neither husband nor wife was born wealthy, according to Inquirer sources. Neither went to college after graduating from high school.
They married when he was still a movie stuntman. She is known in Porac as having stuck with him despite his affairs with some of his leading ladies in action movies.
Former Gov. Eddie Panlilio has sued Lapid, his son Mark and three other Pampanga officials for plunder, accusing them of enriching themselves using the province’s quarry funds.
The Lapids were cleared of the complaint. Source: Inquirer