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Who Is Roberto Ongpin?

The tycoon's son is currently in the middle of an investigation.

The death of Bree Jonson, a 30-year-old artist, has cast the spotlight on Julian Ongpin—and by extension his father Roberto "Bobby" Ongpin. We've explored who the younger Ongpin is. But, who exactly is his father Roberto Ongpin?

Here's what you need to know about Roberto Ongpin—from his early life to his professional career—and his businesses.

He comes from the prominent Ongpin family.

Alfonso Ongpin, son of Roman Ongpin, photographing two artist friends
Photo by COURTESY OF THE ONGPIN FAMILY.

Through his father, Luis Roa Ongpin, Roberto Ongpin descends from the Ongpin family. The influential family owes its prominence to patriarch Roman Ongpin, who was a supporter of the Philippine revolution. According to Town & Country Philippines, the family is "virtually synonymous with Binondo, Manila's Chinatown."

Today, the family's modern descendants continue to exert influence in business, art, and society.

He owns Alphaland and Balesin Island Club, among other things.

Since 2009, Ongpin has been director and chairman of the board at Alphaland. He's also the chairman of Atok-Big Wedge Company, Inc. In the past, he was the director of San Miguel Corporation, PAL Holdings, Inc., and Petron Corporation.

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Alphaland and the Ongpin name have been tied to the development of Balesin Island Club which is an "opulent, all-exclusive and members-only" resort located 21 kilometers southwest of Polillo, Quezon Province.

Balesin Island

He has a net worth of $1.1 billion.

As of this writing, Forbes reports Ongpin's real-time net worth at $1.1 billion (approximately P55.1 billion) which puts him at the 22nd spot of the Philippines' 50 Richest 2021. In the magazine's list of all the world's billionaires, the 84-year-old tycoon lands at No. 2,378.

During the Marcos regime, he served as Minister of Trade and Industry.

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In 1979, Ongpin became the Trade and Industry Minister after he was appointed by President Marcos. After the 1986 People Power Revolution, he stayed abroad and returned to the Philippines during the administration of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo to focus on business.

He has four children.

While pursuing his master's of business administration from Harvard University, he met and married Italian-Chilean Monica Arellano Ongpin. Together, they have two children Stephen and Anna. He also has a daughter and son out of wedlock, Michelle from a German mother, and Julian from an Australian mother.

In a 2017 Forbes interview, Ongpin says his wife accepted his infidelity years ago. "She knew she could not fence me," he explains, "but she told me, 'Don't flaunt it.' What I am is what I am."

His son Julian is currently in the middle of an investigation.

On Saturday, Bree Jonson was found unconscious in Flotsam & Jetsam Artist Beach Hostel in San Juan, La Union. She was later declared dead after being brought to a hospital. Julian Ongpin, who shared a hotel room with Jonson, was being investigated for his possible involvement in the artist's death and charged with possession of 12.6 grams of cocaine.

As of Tuesday (September 21) Philippine National Police chief Gen. Guillermo Eleazar has confirmed that Julian Ongpin was ordered released by the provincial prosecutor while the investigation is ongoing. His current whereabouts are unknown.

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