The life of a politician in the Philippines is as controversial as the life of actors and actresses in the showbiz; their lifestyle is always scrutinized by the people. Most of the time, they are blamed for the poverty experienced by their constituents.
In accordance to Republic Act No. 6713 or the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees, politicians are required to submit their duly accomplished Statement of Assets, Liabilities and Net Worth (SALN) to declare their assets such as real properties and cars, their liabilities such as loans, debts and dependents. And of course, their net worth or what is left of their assets minus the liabilities.
Based on the summary report of filed Statements of Assets, Liabilities and Net Worth (SALNs) for 2014 of members of the House of Representatives and Senate of the 16th Congress, it shows that Senator Cynthia Villar remains to be the richest politician in the Philippines. While, ANAKPAWIS Party List Representative, Fernando “Ka Pando” L. Hicap remains to be the poorest with a net worth of only P95, 572 although this figure has already increased compared to P37, 722 back in 2013.
Bellow is the list of the Top 12 richest politicians in the Philippines:
1. Cynthia Villar
Sen. Villar is the only billionaire senator in the Philippines with a total net worth of P1,983, 480, 135 this year and has no liabilities. She is the wife of former Senate President, Manny Villar. She is the founder and managing director of Villar Foundation.
Her political career started in 2001 when she ran and won a landslide victory as Representative of the Lone District of Las Piñas and served that post until 2010. In 2013, she ran for senator and got the 10th place.
Las Piñas is at the second spot of the richest provinces in the Philippines along with Makati, Muntinlupa, Paranaque, Pasay, Pateros and Taguig.
2. Manny Pacquiao
Rep. Pacquiao is the wealthiest and the only billionaire among the members of the congress with a net worth of P1,688,200,088.
Pacquiao joined the politics in 2010; he was elected as Sarangani Representative in the 15th Congress of the Philippines and was re-elected in 2013 to the 16th Congress. On October 5, 2015, he filed his Certificate of Candidacy for senator in the 2016 Philippine general elections under Vice President Jejomar Binay’s United Nationalist Alliance (UNA).
Although Sarangani is one of the poorest Provinces in the Philippines, he need not explain his wealth to the public because he is a well-known boxer and almost everyone knows how much he gets for every fight.
3. Imelda Marcos
Congresswoman Imelda Marcos, who announced she was nearly broke back in 2009 made it to the top three of the richest politicians in the Philippines with a net worth of P917, 800,000.
She is one of the most celebrated politicians being the widow of former Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos. She was also famous for owning more than a thousand pairs of shoes.
She had been the Representative to Ilocos Norte which is also one of the richest provinces in the Philippines since 2010. She was also elected as Representative of the 1st District of Leyte in 1995.
4. Speaker Feliciano Belmonte, Jr.
Speaker Belmonte represents the 4th District of Quezon City and is in the 4th place of the richest politicians in the Philippines with a net worth of P921,559,097.
He served as the Speaker of the House of Representatives from 2010 to present. Before joining the congress, he had served Quezon City as Mayor from 2001 to 2010.
Quezon City shares the number one spot of being the richest provinces in the Philippines with Mandaluyong, Marikina, and San Juan.
5. Alfredo Benitez
Congressman Benitez became Representative of the 3rd District of Negros Occidental in May 2010 with a landslide victory and he is the 5th richest politician with a net worth of P845, 928,833 based on his SALN for 2014.
He is currently the Regional and Provincial Chairman of the Liberal Party in Negros.
6. Julio Ledesma IV
Jules Ledesma Represents the 1st District of Negros Occidental and has a net worth of P822, 275,480.
In 2013, he and his wife, actress Assunta de Rossi gave 60 percent of their wealth to the workers of their sugar plantation in San Carlos City.
He and Rep. Pacquiao share the number one spot of having the most absences during the 15th Congress.
7. Mark Villar and wife Diwa party-list Rep. Emmeline Aglipay-Villar
Representative Mark Villar of Las Piñas is the second son of Former Senate President Manny Villar and Senator Cynthia Villar. He married DIWA party-list Representative Emmeline Aglipay last year and they have a combined net worth of P689,005,228.
He planned to run for senate this coming election but changed his mind.
8. Ralph Recto
Senator Recto is the second richest Senator of the 16th congress with a net worth of P522, 006, 655.
He is the husband of the ‘Star for all season’ and Batangas Governor Vilma Santos-Recto.
He started his political career as a congressman representing the 4th District of Batangas from 1992 to 2001. After his term in the congress, he ran for Senator and won, serving from 2001 to 2007. He lost his reelection bid in 2007 but won when he ran again in 2010.
Sen. Recto holds the second highest post in the Senate which is Senate President Pro-Tempore.
9. Martin Romualdez
Congressman Romualdez is in his third term as Representative of the 1st District of Leyte and is running for Senate in the coming 2016 Philippine general election.
His father, former Governor and Ambassador Benjamin Romualdez is a younger brother of Congresswoman Imelda Marcos.
Romualdez declared an asset amounting to P474, 766,409 with zero liabilities.
10. Joel Roy Duavit
Congressman Duavit of Rizal has a net worth of P317, 975, 348.
He is in his second term as Representative of the 1st District of Rizal and is currently the President, Chief Executive and Chairman of JRD Holdings, Inc.
11. Alex L. Advincula
Representative Advincula is currently in his first term as Congressman of the 3rd District of Cavite, but he has been in the politics since 1998 serving as Municipal Councilor of Imus, then he became a Provincial Board Member of Cavite from 2001 to 2010.
In 2014, Rep. Advincula declared a net worth of P203, 620,581 in his SALN.
12. Manuel Roxas II
Roxas is the only 2016 presidential candidate who made it to the Top 12 Richest Politicians in the Philippines with a net worth of P202.08 million. He is the fourth richest cabinet secretaries of President Benigno Simeon Cojuangco Aquino III with Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert Del Rosario being the richest having a net worth of P838.8 million.
Roxas is a son of the former senator, Gerardo Roxas and was named after his grandfather Manuel Roxas who was the First President of the Third Philippine Republic. He is married to a broadcast journalist, Korina Sanchez.
Roxas has served as Congressman of the 1st District of Capiz and was elected as Majority Leader of the House of Representatives in 1993 at the age of 33. He also served as a senator in the 13th and 14th congress. He was also the Secretary of Trade and Industry in 2000 under President Joseph Estrada, Secretary of Transportation and Communications in 2011, and Secretary of the Interior and Local Government after former Sec. Jesse Robredo died in a plane crash in 2012.
Manny Villar and Bongbong Marcos
We did not include former Senate President Manuel “Manny” B Villar Jr. in the current list, as he already told us that he has already quit politics. According to Forbes List of the richest people in the Philippines, Villar is the 13th richest with a net worth of $1.48 billion (that would make him the richest Filipino politician if he did not quit politics). But who knows? He might make a comeback soon.
Ferdinand ‘Bongbong’ Marcos Jr., who is running for vice president in the coming 2016 poll, has a total net worth of P200.6 million according to his SALN in 2014 – just a little bit short to make it to our top 12 list.
As we can see, most of the rich politicians come from rich provinces in the Philippines. Rep. Pacquiao is the only congressman from a poor province in the Philippines and is not from a political clan.
The list above might also change and be improved if the SALNs of local politicians such as governors and mayors will be published by the government and become easily accessible by the public.