Former businessmen are wealthiest in Aquino Cabinet

Natashya Gutierrez

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Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario, Tourism Secretary Ramon Jimenez, and Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima are the richest, while Education Secretary Armin Luistro, a Lasallian brother, is the poorest

MULTI-MILLIONAIRES. All but one of President Benigno Aquino III's Cabinet members are multi-millionaires. File photo by Malacañang Photo Bureau

MANILA, Philippines – The 3 wealthiest in the Aquino Cabinet based on their 2013 Statements of Assets Liabilities and Net Worth (SALNs) were former businessmen: Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario, Tourism Secretary Ramon Jimenez, and Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima.

Del Rosario remains the wealthiest Cabinet secretary with a net worth of P765, 379, 281.02. He is followed by Jimenez with P282,466,800, and Purisima with P278, 947,249.

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Former Philippine ambassador to the US, Del Rosario was a director of PLDT and was part of its Board of Directors. He was also a director of several companies engaged in infrastructure, property development, media, public utility and mining businesses, according to

Jimenez, who sat at third in 2012, overtook Purisima whose net worth increased by about P8.2 million in 2013. Jimenez enjoyed an increase of about P32.5 million in 2013 compared to 2012. Del Rosario was also richer by close to P60 million from P705.5 million in 2012.

Purisima is a long-time businessman while Jimenez is a former advertising executive.

Rounding up the top 10 are the following:

  • Interior Secretary Manuel Roxas II (P211,027,479.88)
  • Trade and Industry Secretary Gregory Domingo (P150,641,395)
  • Chief Presidential Legal Counsel Alfredo Benjamin Caguioa (P120,378,000)
  • Cabinet Secretary Rene Almendras (P119,841,097.67)
  • Energy Secretary Jericho Petilla (P117,095,110)
  • Transportation Secretary Jose Emilio Abaya (P112,080,897.55) 
  • Health Secretary Enrique Ona (P93,692,345.56)

Ranked 20th, Presidential Management Staff head Julia Abad* is the youngest woman in the Cabinet, with a net worth of P22,360,000. The richest woman Cabinet member is CHED chair Patricia Licuanan whose net worth is P45,477,803.

Education Secretary Armin Luistro is still at the bottom of the list at No. 34, the only Cabinet secretary who is not a multi-millionaire.

Abad, Alcala

The Cabinet Secretaries who have been linked to the country’s biggest corruption scandal in recent history by alleged pork barrel scam mastermind Janet Lim Napoles, are also among the top half of Aquino’s wealthiest Cabinet members, although they have been consistent in their declared wealth. 

They have also reported a decrease in their net worth.

Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala, ranked 11th of 34 Cabinet secretaries, saw a decrease in net worth from P93.97 million in 2012, to P90,772,754.10 in 2013. Budget Secretary Butch Abad, 16th on the list, also saw his P38.32 million in 2012 drop to P32.8 million.

Technical Education and Skills Development Authority Secretary Joel Villanueva, ranked 19th, is the only one tagged in the scam who saw a small rise in his net worth. From P22.47 million in 2012, his net worth went up to P23.27 million.

All 3 were tagged by Napoles as having been allegedly involved in transactions from 2000 to 2009 relating to the multi-billion-peso pork barrel scam. She supposedly connived with lawmakers to channel their Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) to her bogus non-governmental organizations in exchange for hefty kickbacks. 

Abad, Alcala and Villanueva have denied the accusations and have been backed by President Benigno Aquino III.

Only one non-millionaire 

Meanwhile, Education Secretary Armin Luistro, a Lasallian brother, continues to be the least wealthy, reporting a net worth of P433,392.17. Luistro’s net worth has also been declining.

His net worth dipped from P739,000 in 2011 to P550,651 in 2012.

Aside from Luistro, those at the bottom 10 were the following:

  • Agrarian Reform Secretary Virgilio Delos Reyes (P14,589,967)
  • Presidential Spokesman Edwin Lacierda (P12,409,443.57)
  • Presidential Legislative Liaison Office head Manuel Mamba (P10,857,217.20)
  • National Commission on Muslim Filipinos head Mehol Sadain (P10,422,270.12)
  • Political adviser Ronald Llamas (P5,693,378),
  • Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Teresita Deles (P4,712,506.86)
  • Justice Secretary Leila De Lima (P4,586,742.20)
  • Labor Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz (P4,345,406)
  • Social Welfare Secretary Dinky Soliman (P3,680,000)

The Aquino Cabinet members and their reported 2013 net worth from highest to lowest are as follows:

  1. DFA Secretary Albert del Rosario P765,379,281.02 
  2. DOT Secretary Ramon Jimenez P282,466,800
  3. DOF Secretary Cesar Purisima P278, 947,249 
  4. DILG Secretary Manuel Roxas II P211,027,479.88 
  5. DTI Gregory Domingo P150,641,395 
  6. CPLC Alfredo Benjamin Caguioa P120,378,000 
  7. Secretary to the Cabinet Rene Almendras P119,841,097.67 
  8. DOE Secretary Jericho Petilla P117,095,110 
  9. DOTC Secretary Jose Emilio Abaya P112,080,897.55
  10. DOH Secretary Enrique Ona P93,692,345.56
  11. DA Secretary Proceso Alcala P90,772,754.10
  12. DPWH Secertary Rogelio Singson, P83,844,373.25
  13. Science & Technology Secretary Mario Montejo P59,968,806.39
  14. CHED chair Patricia Licuanan  P45,477,803
  15. MMDA Chair Francis Tolentino P40,722,000
  16. DBM Secretary Butch Abad P32,772,279.13
  17. Environment Secretary Ramon Paje P30,350,000
  18. Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin P24,639,939
  19. TESDA Secretary Joel Villanueva P23,272,955
  20. PMS head Julia Abad P22,360,000
  21. NEDA head Arsenio Balisacan P21,615,100
  22. Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa P18,149,756.34
  23. NSC Cesar Garcia Jr. P16,400,000
  24. PCOO head Herminio Coloma P16,390,000
  25. Agrarian Reform Secretary Virgilio Delos Reyes P13,404,631.76
  26. Presidential Spokersperson Edwin Lacierda P12,409,443.57
  27. Presidential Legislative Liaison Office head Manuel Mamba P10,857,217.20
  28. NCMF head Mehol Sadain P10,422,270.12
  29. Presidential adviser Ronald Llamas P5,693,378
  30. PAPP Teresita Deles P4,712,506.86
  31. Justice Secretary Leila De Lima P4,586,742.20
  32. Labor Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz P4,345,406
  33. Social Welfare Secretary Dinky Soliman P3,680,000
  34. Education Secretary Armin Luistro P433,392.17


Editor’s Note: In a previous version of this story Julia Abad was identified as the richest woman in the Aquino Cabinet; it’s CHED Chair Patricia Licuanan. Julia Abad is the youngest. We regret the oversight.

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Natashya Gutierrez

Natashya is President of Rappler. Among the pioneers of Rappler, she is an award-winning multimedia journalist and was also former editor-in-chief of Vice News Asia-Pacific. Gutierrez was named one of the World Economic Forum’s Young Global Leaders for 2023.