2 House no-shows top richest list
Poor attendance, great riches.
Two billionaire congressmen who rarely showed up for work at the House of Representatives—boxer Manny Pacquiao and landlord Julio Ledesma IV—have topped the list of the richest lawmakers based on their declared wealth in 2015.
The top moneymakers in the lower chamber also included a former President under hospital arrest as well as a former first lady—Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo of Pampanga province and Imelda Marcos of Ilocos Norte province.
For the sixth straight year, Senator-elect Pacquiao emerged as the wealthiest congressman among the 290 House members, according to a summary of the lawmakers’ statement of assets, liabilities and net worth (SALN) released on Wednesday.
The list was based on SALN filings on or before April 30, 2016.
The gentleman from Sarangani province declared a P3.268 billion net worth in his 2015 SALN, doubling the P1.6 billion he declared in 2014, based on the list prepared by Ricardo Bering, director of the House Records Management Service.
On the other hand, Ledesma, who just finished his last term as Negros Occidental representative, breached the billion-peso mark for the first time, declaring an income of P1 billion in 2015, well above the P822.3 million he declared in 2014.
Reporters were not immediately furnished copies of the lawmakers’ SALNs.
Pacquiao and Ledesma were the top absentees in the chamber in 2014, with the former reporting for work for only four session days and the latter for seven days, according to House records.
The chamber has yet to release the attendance record for 2015.
Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr., whose family controls media companies, was No. 3, with assets falling just short of the billion mark at P941.6 million. In 2014, he declared a net worth of P921.6 million.
Marcos, widow of the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos, followed closely behind with a net worth of P917.8 million—the same amount declared by the former first lady belonging to the influential Romualdez clan in 2014.
Another powerful landlord from Negros Occidental occupied the fifth spot on the House rich list: Alfredo Benitez, who declared a net worth of P880 million, a little higher than the P845.9 million he reported in 2014.
In sixth and seventh spots were the conjugal pair of Las Piñas Rep. Mark Villar and Diwa Rep. Emmeline Aglipay, who jointly filed their SALN, declaring a net worth of P689.5 million, also the same amount as two years ago.
Villar, newly chosen as public works secretary of the incoming Duterte administration, is the son of former Sen. Manuel Villar Jr., a real estate mogul and one of the country’s richest men.
Another member of the Romualdez clan, Leyte Rep. Ferdinand Martin Romualdez, was eighth on the list. His net worth in 2015 amounted to P475.6 million, practically unchanged from the wealth he declared in 2014 and 2013.
Arroyo, who is under hospital arrest at Veterans Memorial Medical Center on a plunder charge, occupied the ninth place with assets amounting to P393.9 million. She was not in the top 10 in 2014.
Reelected to a final term as a congresswoman in May, the former President has not been allowed to set foot in Congress throughout her current term of office, as she faces a complaint for plunder involving misuse of P366 million in intelligence funds of the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office under her administration.
In tenth place, Rizal Rep. Joel Roy Duavit reported a net worth of P302.6 million—a little below the P318 million he declared in 2014.
Of the 290 lawmakers, only two declared an income less than P1 million, both of them belonging to party-list groups.
The poorest House member was Anakpawis Rep. Fernando Hicap, whose net worth was only P43,239.14, lower than the P95,572.65 he declared in 2014. In 2013, his net worth was P37,722.39.
Kalinga Rep. Abigail Faye Ferriol was the next poorest with P715,150 net worth, a small dip from the P735,000 she reported two years ago.
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