3 billionaires in House of Representatives in 2017

MANILA, Philippines – The number of billionaires in the House of Representatives rose to 3, based on lawmakers' 2017 Statements of Assets, Liabilities, and Net Worth (SALNs).

A summary of the 2017 SALNs of members of the House of Representatives was released on Sunday, July 15. It showed that the top 10 richest lawmakers in the House as of their 2016 SALNs remain the wealthiest ones, in the same order.

The richest is still 1-Pacman Representative Michael Odylon "Mikee" Romero, who declared a net worth of P7.291 billion.

Romero is the son of construction magnate Reghis Romero II. He chairs the board of directors of publicly listed GlobalPort 900 Incorporated and owns basketball team GlobalPort Batang Pier in the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA).

The second richest is outgoing Diwa Representative Emmeline Aglipay Villar, with a net worth of P1.407 billion.

Villar was recently appointed as Department of Justice (DOJ) undersecretary. She is the wife of Public Works Secretary Mark Villar, whose family owns real estate developer Vista Land & Lifescapes Incorporated.

The third richest, and the newest billionaire, is Negros Occidental 3rd District Representative Alfredo Abelardo "Albee" Benitez. He declared a net worth of P1.004 billion.

Benitez was a businessman before joining politics. He is the founder of publicly listed Leisure and Resorts World Corporation.

Here are the top 10 richest members of the House as of December 31, 2017:

Former president and now Pampanga 2nd District Representative Gloria Macapagal Arroyo is in the 11th spot, with a net worth of P464.77 million.

Meanwhile, House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez declared a net worth of P91.69 million, while House Majority Leader Rodolfo Fariñas declared P169.98 million.

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Poorest lawmakers

The member of the House with the lowest net worth is still Kabataan Representative Sarah Jane Elago, with P75,800.

All lawmakers in the bottom 10 in terms of wealth belong to the party-list system, except for Camarines Sur 3rd District Representative Gabriel Bordado Jr.

Back in 2013, the Supreme Court ruled that organizations "do not need to represent 'any marginalized and underrepresented' sector" to join the party-list system. – Rappler.com