Benjamin Romualdez

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Benjamin “Kokoy” Romualdez is the younger brother of Imelda Marcos and was a former US Ambassador. He was also the former governor of Leyte. Forbes listed him as the 31st richest Filipino with a networth of USD70 million.

Contents

Family tree

Benjamin Romualdez was born to Remedios Trinidad Romualdez. He was the second in a brood of five. The eldest being the former first lady, Imelda Romualdez Marcos. The other siblings were Alita Romualdez, Armando Romualdez and Conception Romualdez. He is the father of Rep. Martin Romualdez who treated former President Gloria Macapaga-Arroyo and her entourage to a USD20,000 dinner at Le Cirque in New York last year.

Marcos era

Benjamin Romuladez was known as a crony of the late Ferdinand Marcos. When Marcos came into power and imposed Marial Law, thereby restricting foreign ownership in mining companies, Benguet Corporation came under the control of the Romualdez family, which was led by Benjamin Romualdez. He would then be succeeded by his son, Ferdinand Romualdez as chairman in 2002.

In 1973, Eugenio Lopez, Sr. ceded the ownership of the Meralco Securities Corp. (MSC) to Romualdez after Marcos imprisoned his Lopez’s son, Geny as a way of forcing him to transfer the ownership.

He also was appointed Ambassador to Republic of China, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the United States while he served as the governor of Leyte. He would later on be charged by the Sandiganbayan in 2001 with graft for allegedly receiving two compensations and remunerations from both positions.

As a result of the graft charges, the Presidential Commission on Good Governance (PCGG) sequestered Palm Avenue Holdings and Palm Avenue Realty. The PCGG also tried to sequester other companies that Romualdez was claimed to have owned illegally during the Marcos Administration. Among them are: Benguet Corporation, First Philippine Holdings, Mantrade Development Corporation, Meralco Foundation Inc., Philippine Commercial and International Bank, Philtranco Service Enterprise, and Pilipinas Shell Petroleum.

The Supreme Court junked the case filed against him citing the graft charges against him have already prescribed.

Other business interest

Family-owned Trans Middle East Philippine Equities is the sixth largest shareholder of the Banco de Oro. Romualdez also owns the Journal Group of publication, which bought the Manila Standard Today from the Kamahalan Publishing Corporation for P100 million.

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References

Citation

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