MANILA, Philippines – Apart from being the richest senator in 2015, Senator Cynthia Villar also gained the most in terms of wealth that same year.
Based on the latest Statement of Assets, Liabilities and Net Worth (SALN) submitted by senators, Villar's net worth jumped by 76.49%, from P1.98 billion in 2014 to P3.5 billion in 2015.
It was the increase in the value of Villar's personal properties that pulled her net worth up. The major contributor was her investment in shares of stocks, which increased from P713.43 million in 2014 to P2.25 billion in 2015.
The value of her real properties remains at P4.59 million, and she is still liability-free.
Villar is the only billionaire among the senators in the 16th Congress – a status she has maintained since she first declared her SALN as senator in 2013.
Besides her, 15 other senators declared a higher net worth for 2015 – including last year's biggest wealth gainer, reelected Senator Franklin Drilon, whose latest reported wealth increased by 8.06%.
Only 8 senators declared a lower net worth for 2015.
Net worth since 2013
Villar's 2015 net worth has been the highest among senators since 2013 – the year when the current batch of senators was created. She was part of the batch of senators elected that year.
Apart from her, 11 other senators have maintained an increasing net worth since 2013.
Despite the usual rising trend of annual wealth among officials, at least 4 senators exhibited the opposite pattern. They are Senators Binay, Escudero, Guingona, and Osmeña.
Guingona's net worth dropped after gaining the most in terms of wealth in 2013 – earning more than double what he had in 2012.
Escudero has been consistent in being one of the "poorest" senators, yet was questioned for having wed actress Heart Evangelista in a lavish ceremony in the exclusive Balesin Resort in Quezon province.
The net worth of Senators Estrada, Legarda, Poe, and Santiago dropped in 2014, but increased in 2015.
The chart below shows the senators' net worth from 2013 to 2015. They are grouped based on their net worth.
Most of the senators declared the same value of real properties from 2013 to 2015.
Only a few indicated increases in their real properties in their latest SALNs:
Rappler reported in May 2014 – just days after the release of the 2013 SALNs – that Estrada and Revilla failed to declare new properties they reportedly own. Estrada admitted owning a Wack-Wack property in Mandaluyong, while Revilla opted to keep silent on his reported house in Ayala Alabang.
Both senators – who are now in detention due to their alleged involvement in the pork barrel scam case – didn't declare these discovered properties in their 2014 and 2015 SALNs.
In 2012, the Senate impeached former Supreme Court chief justice Renato Corona for misdeclarations in his SALN. Only Senators Aquino, Binay, Poe, and Villar were not yet part of the Senate then.
Both Revilla and Estrada voted to convict Corona.
Senators Enrile and Pia Cayetano were consistent in being the Senate members with the lowest value of real properties. From 2013 to 2015, Enrile declared just one real property – a land in Nasugbu, Batangas purchased in 1972 for only P1,000 – while Cayetano didn't declare any property. Enrile's Batangas property had an assessed value of P1 million back then and now has a P35 million current fair market value. – with reports from Arleth Myka Cledera/Rappler.com
Arleth Myka Cledera is a Rappler intern.