JV Ejercito’s wealth jumps; Cynthia Villar remains richest senator

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, May 27) — Senator Joseph Victor “JV” Ejercito’s wealth grew the most among his fellow senators, with his net worth ballooning by ₱53.9 million.

According to a list of assets, liabilities and net worths of senators released to the media on Monday, the wealth of Ejercito, who lost his reelection bid, spiked to ₱132.8 million in 2018 from ₱78.9 million in 2017.

Ejercito said that his wealth hike came from a lot donated to him and his wife three years ago, but its documentation was only completed and reflected recently.

"Pag-initan pa ba ang ₱50-million inheritance? Ang laki naman! Mas malaki utang ko sa bangko!" he said in a text message to reporters.

[Translation: Should we even give importance to a ₱50 million inheritance? That's so huge! My debt to the bank is even bigger!]

Behind him is Senator Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III, who posted a 58.27 percent wealth increase amounting to ₱28.7 million. Pimentel, who got reelected, was worth ₱18.1 million in 2017.

Coming in at a far third is Senator Francis "Chiz" Escudero, whose wealth grew by 24 percent to ₱10.5 million from ₱8.5 million. Escudero won his bid for Sorsogon governor.

Aside from Ejercito, Pimentel and Escudero, 16 other senators also posted gains.

On the other hand, Senator Risa Hontiveros posted a loss of 3.52 percent to ₱15.6 million from ₱16.2 million.

She is trailed by De Lima. The senator, detained at the Camp Crame Custodial Center over drug charges, saw her wealth drop by 3 percent from ₱7.9 million to ₱7.7 million.

Senator Nancy Binay, who got reelected, also reported a 0.79 percent loss.

It is unclear how these gains and losses came about as there are no copies of the senators' statements of assets, liabilities and net worth.

Reelected Senator Cynthia Villar, who is married to billionaire and former Senator Manny Villar is still the richest senator in the 17th Congress with a net worth of ₱3.7 billion.

Boxing champ and Senator Manny Pacquiao followed her with ₱3 billion.

At far third is Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph Recto, ₱555.3 million.

Senator Antonio Trillanes IV, who is on his last term, is still the poorest, with a net worth of only ₱7.5 million. De Lima is before him.

Senators Pimentel, Villar, Sherwin “Win” Gatchalian and Gregorio “Gringo” Honasan all reported that they had no debts to pay off.

Here is a list of senators ranked by their net worth:

1. Senator Cynthia Villar – ₱3,719,941,858

2. Senator Manny Pacquiao – ₱3,005,808,000

3. Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph Recto – ₱555,324,479.82

4. Senate Majority Leader Migz Zubiri – ₱182,851,570.34

5. Senator Sonny Angara – ₱135,840,710

6. Senator JV Ejercito – ₱132,820,345.73

7. Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon – ₱97,726,758

8. Senator Win Gatchalian – ₱96,210,607.14

9. Senator Grace Poe – ₱93,039,921.54

10. Senator Dick Gordon – ₱71,285,178.56

11. Senate President Tito Sotto – ₱70,120,700.30

12. Senator Nancy Binay – ₱60,132,461

13. Senator Loren Legarda – ₱56,290,602.11

14. Senator Bam Aquino – ₱45,205,138.25

15. Senator Ping Lacson – ₱42,442,341

16. Senator Koko Pimentel – ₱28,662,212

17. Senator Joel Villanueva – ₱26,921,555

18. Senator Gringo Honasan – ₱25,882,099

19. Senator Kiko Pangilinan – ₱16,695,048.17

20. Senator Risa Hontiveros – ₱15,627,176.04

21. Senator Chiz Escudero – ₱10,575,228

22. Senator Leila de Lima – ₱7,706,392.45

23. Senator Antonio Trillanes IV – ₱7,533,012.10

CNN Philippines Correspondent Joyce Ilas contributed to this report.