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Romero is richest solon


Named one of Forbes Magazine’s richest Filipinos, Rep. Michael Odylon L. Romero of One Patriotic Coalition of Marginalized Nationalists (1PACMAN Partylist) emerged the richest lawmaker in the country as he declared a net worth of P7,009,588,018 in the 2016 Statements of Assets, Liabilities and Net Worth he submitted to the House of Representatives.

Released on Thursday night, the SALN records indicate that Romero, who has a legislative accomplishment of three enacted measures in his first year as congressman, is richer than Senate’s richest Senator Cynthia Villar who claimed a net worth of P3.6 billion.

Boxing icon and Senator Manny Pacquiao, who made a fortune in the boxing arena, ranked third and is worth P3.1 billion, less than half of what Romero made in successful business ventures, particularly in port operations.

In the Lower House, DIWA Partylist Rep. Emmeline Aglipay-Villar, daughter-in-law of Sen. Villar, placed far second in wealth to Romero with P1,409,149,897 net in 2016.

Another partylist solon, Rep. Virgilio Lacson of Manila Teachers, placed high among the country’s richest congressman by claiming a net worth of P768,824,757.93, the sixth highest in the Lower House.

Partylist solons also dominated the list of ten poorest congressmen with only one, Camarines Sur Rep. Gabriel Bordado Jr, the only exception as a district congressman. He ranked second with just P179,017.71, to the poorest.

Kabataan partylist Rep. Sarah Jane Elago declared a net worth of P50,000, making her the poorest.

Included in the list of top 10 wealthiest House members are: No. 3. Reps. Alfredo Abelardo B. Benitez (PDP-Laban, Negros Occidental); No. 4. Imelda Romualdez-Marcos (KBL, Ilocos Norte); R917,800,000; No. 5. Feliciano Belmonte Jr. (LP, Quezon City), P852,132,586; No. 7. Bayani Fernando (Lakas-CMD, Marikina City); P738,000; 8. Vilma Santos Recto (LP, Batangas), P522,610,452.59; 9. Antonio Floirendo Jr. (PDP-Laban, Davao del Norte), P491,710,128.16 and 10. Yedda Marie Romualdez (Lakas-CMD, Leyte), P477,940,905.59.

Former president and Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo did not make it to the top 10, placing a rung below with P434,636,322.52 in net worth.

Among the House leaders, Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez has declared a net worth of R86,498,186.68 while Majority Leader and Ilocos Norte Rep. Rodolfo Farinas claimed P169,130,000 left of his remaining assets.

Based on the SALN list the following are among the congressmen with the least declared wealth: No. 3. Arlene Brosas (Gabriela), P501,000; No. 4. Abigael Faye C. Ferriol-Pascual (Kalinga), P672,050; No. 5. Sabiniano S. Canama (Coop Natcco), P780,000; No. 6. France Castro (ACT Teachers Partylist), P904,053.13; 7. Emerenciana A. De Jesus (Gabriela), P1,245,000; 8. Benhur Lopez Jr. (Yacap); 9. Carlos Isagani Zarate (Bayan Muna) P1,351,407.67; and No. 10. Teodoro G. Montoro (AASENSO), P1,785,493.84.

Despite being named richest solon, Romero vowed to continue to pursue a social reform advocacy that is contained in majority of the 154 bills and resolutions he filed.

Three of his 154 legislative proposals were signed into law by President Rodrigo Duterte− the validity of Philippine passport from five to ten years; HB 5633 granting free tuition fee for tertiary education and HB 152 extending validity of driver’s licenses to five years.

He is also principal author of House Bill 4814 proposing to reduce rate and grant amnesty of estate tax and HB 2158 expanding the powers and duties of the Social Security Commission and increasing retirees’ pension
His pro-poor bills include HB 5347 proposing for the implementation of on-side, in-city or near city strategy for informal settler families; HB 2546 granting mandatory and automatic Philhealth coverage to all persons with disability and HB 5811 or the Magna Carta of the Poor.

Romero has also invested heavily in sports through his involvement in basketball, volleyball, baseball, shooting, cycling, and polo.

But it is in basketball where Romero made a niche by way of his Harbour Centre-Globalport franchise.

Romero owns the Globalport Batang Pier team in the PBA and once served as the country’s basketball godfather by backing the various international campaigns of the national team, specifically the 2007 Southeast Asian Games in Nakhonratchasima, Thailand where the Filipinos dominated to win the gold.