Jaime V Ongpin was a government minister, corporate executive, and outspoken opponent of the regime of Ferdinand Marcos. He was also one of the earliest supporters of Cory Aquino's presidency by serving her as the Secretary of Finance.
Jimmy as he was affectionately called, was born in 1938. He graduated from Ateneo de Manila University in 1958. He pursued graduate studies at Harvard University, where he graduated with a masters in business administration in 1962.
Starting off as an advertising manager of the Philippine subsidiary of Proctor and Gamble, he joined Benguet Corporation, the giant mining conglomerate, after his Harvard stint. He became its president in 1974. In the early 1980s he displayed unusual courage when he began to champion the presidency of Corazon Aquino, even though Benguet Corporation he headed was controlled by Marcos interests. When her husband Ninoy Aquino was assassinated in 1983 he led the business sector to galvanize under the widow's banner. As an active member of the Makati Business Club he exhorted the business community to organize against the dictator in Spetember 1983. He also encouraged alternative press by pushing investigative journalism.
Subsequently he became Mrs. Aquino's finance minister and was dismissed on 16 September 1987 after a cabinet reshuffle and an aborted military rebellion. Ongpin had stirred controversy with his conservative economic policies and refusal to compromise on the international debt obligations of the Philippines.
He was found dead on 8 December 1987, an apparent suicide. The Jaime V. Ongpin Awards for Investigative Journalism was established to honor his legacy. An annual memorial lecture series Jaime V. Ongpin ( Annual Memorial Lecture on Public Service in Business and Government was established in 2002.
He was married to Maribel Ongpin and they had 5 children.
- New York Times obituary dated 8 Dec 1987. Accessed 17 May 2009.
- His widows reminisces in 2009 Accessed on 17 May 2009