Profile of Manuel "Mar" II Araneta Roxas

Research by Mitch de Leon and Joan Medalla, Halalan volunteer

Posted at May 13 2009 04:40 PM | Updated as of May 05 2010 08:39 AM

Date of Birth: May 13, 1957Profile of Manuel "Mar" II Araneta Roxas 1
Place of Birth: Manila
Provincial Address: Roxas City, Capiz
Manila Address: Cubao, Quezon City

Civil Status: Married to broadcast journalist Korina Sanchez
Child: Paolo Roxas, from his former girlfriend Maricar Zaldarriaga,1971 Miss Young Philippines 



Mar Roxas was born with a silver spoon but claims to be pro-poor. He’s a scion of the old rich Roxas clan who was both landed and deeply involved in politics (his grandfather was first President of the Philippine Republic, while his father was a Senator). The former investment banker found himself in politics when he had to take over the congressional seat left behind by his younger brother, then poised to inherit the family’s place in politics, but died of cancer in 1993.

He has experience in the legislative and executive branches of government, having served in both House of Represntatives and the Senate. He championed the growth of Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) and drummed up his “Mr. Palengke” moniker during his stint as trade secretary under the Estrada and Arroyo administrations.

He married broadcast journalist Korina Sanchez in 2009. 

On giving up the presidency for running mate Benigno Aquino III: Before the death of former president Corazon Aquino, Roxas is prepping up for his bid in the 2010 presidential elections through different ‘infomertials’ When clamor for an Aquino presidency arose, Roxas gave way to Aquino. In a press conference, he said, “I do this for unity and in support of change. And that means that somebody must make a sacrifice. It must be me. Ako na.”

On Estrada’s pardon: "Our people have been divided due to the politics of the last 20 years. But while our people are fragmented, they share one thing: they remain poor, and it is because our politics has failed to pay attention to them."

"I urge the President to initiate the difficult process of uniting our people and finally focusing on the real problems that our people experience. Pardoning Erap at the appropriate time would be a step towards unity."

"The grant of pardon to Erap on humanitarian grounds should not in any way be construed as condoning corruption, or as diminishing the legal weight of the ruling of the Sandiganbayan, but serves solely as an embodiment of the people's will for closure on one of the most divisive chapters of our national life.”

On the Japan-Philippine Economic Partnership Agreement: "In trade negotiations, no deal is always better than a bad deal."

On the NBN-ZTE broadband scandal: "Do not say that this P4.7 billion will actually be all totally saved, because a huge portion of this is really government communicating with the citizens. You're using these numbers not to help clarify, but to further confuse.”

On family and politics: “He (Dinggoy) was the real politician, the real successor of my family’s heritage of serving the people. I was his campaign manager when he ran as a congressman so many years ago. When he won, I went back to my work as an investment banker. Happy. Contented.” 

Educational Attainment:

  • Roxas finished primary education at the Ateneo de Manila Grade School in 1970 and completed his secondary education at the Ateneo de Manila High School in 1974.
  • He graduated with a degree in Economics at Wharton Business School at the University of Pennsylvania in 1979. 

Career Timeline

1979- 1986: He was vice president of the New York-based Allen & Company where he was an investment banker mobilizing venture capital funds for small and medium enterprises.

1986: During the time of former President Aquino, he was the liaison to the American business community where he helped organize its discourses to the Philippines.

He was involved in various family-owned firms. He was a director in Kauswagan Development Corporation,MyapoPrawn Farm Corporation, Northstar Capital Inc. and Atok Big Wedge Mining Co. He was vice president in Progressive Development Corporation (real estate, Pizza Hut franchisee).

1993- 2000: Roxas admitted that he did not have political aspirations early in his life. But after his brother, Dinggoy, a congressman of the 1st District of Capiz, died of cancer, Roxas ran and won in the special elections.

1992 – 2001: He served as Majority Leader of the House of Representatives.

2000- December 2001: He decided to join the cabinet of former President Joseph Ejercito Estrada as Secretary of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI). He resigned in early 2001, during the height of the impeachment trial for the former president.

2001 – 2003: He was re-appointed as trade secretary when then Vice President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo took over the post of President Estrada in 2001. His pet projects included the pre-need and cement industries. He also drummed up his advocacy on retail prices, garnering the moniker, “Mr. Palengke.”

2004- Present: He joined the senatorial race. He gained 20 million votes, the highest ever garnered by a national candidate in any Philippine election. He chaired the Senate committees on Trade and Industry, and Education. He co-chaired the Congressional Oversight Committee on the Electronic Commerce Law.

2007–Present: He became president and standard-bearer of the Liberal Party, the party founded by his grandfather, former President Manuel Roxas. He was poised to be the party’s standard bearer for the 2010 polls, but he decided to slide to vice president to give way to Sen. Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino who emerged as a presidential candidate after the August 2009 death of democracy icon and former president Corazon Aquino. 

Legislative Records

House of Representatives

  • As lawmaker in the lower house, he filed 161 bills and 14 were passed into law. A number of the bills he filed were on business, transportation and communications, employment, civil service and health. Some of the laws he authored are:
  • RA08557 or An act establishing the Judicial Academy of the Philippines
  • RA08424 or an act granting net operating loss carry-over and amending the National Internal Revenue Code and RA08424, which amends the NIR code.
  • RA08179 or an act that liberalizes foreign investments
  • RA08366 or an act liberalizing the Philippine Investment House Industry
  • RA08484 or an act which rules fraudulent use of credit cards as unlawful
  • RA08479 or the Oil Deregulation Act
  • RA09006 or an the Fair Elections Act
  • RA08748 or the Special Economic Zone Act
  • RA08799 or the Securities Regulation and Enforcement Act
  • RA08981 or an act that created the Professional Regulation Commission


  • From 2004 to 2007 alone, he authored 43 bills and 46 resolutions. He filed bills supporting labor, education, economy, alternative energy, among others.
  • Public Employment Service Offices. RA 8759 (Public Employment Service Act of 1999)
  • Compensation to displaced residents and local governments. RA 8748 (Act Amending the Special Economic Zone Act of 1995)
  • Encouraging MNCs to establish Philippine Regional Offices. RA 8756 (Act Amending the Omnibus Investments Code of 1987)
  • EVAT Funds for Education and Healthcare. Senate Bill No. 102 (People’s Fund Act)
  • Tax Exemption for Minimum Wage Earners.
  • Amendments to the Roxas Law. Senate Bill No. 104 (Amending the Fair and Equitable Access to Education Act)
  • Regulating the Pre-Need Industry. Senate Bill No. 105 (Pre-Need Industry Act of 2007)
  • Anti-Smuggling Bill. Senate Bill No. 106 (Anti-Smuggling Act of 2007)
  • Lemon Law. Bill No. 107 (Lemon Law of 2007)
  • MSME Magna Carta. Senate Bill No. 108 (Magna Carta for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises)
  • Free Information Act. Senate Bill No. 109 (Free Information Act)
  • Decriminalizing Libel. Senate Bill No. 110 (Penalty of Imprisonment in Libel Cases Abolition Bill)
  • Affordable Medicines. Senate Bill No. 101 (Law on Patents, Tradenames and Trademarks) 


  •  Co-founder, Books for the Barangay Foundation, Inc.
  •  Co-founder, Capiz Alliance for Ecological Development Inc. 

Awards, Medals, Citations:

  • Recognized by the World Economic Forum as "one of the Global Leaders of Tomorrow who are expected to shape the future" in 1996.
  • "Political Leader of the New Millennium" by AsiaWeek Magazine on 1999
  • Awardee, 16th Lee Kuan Yew Fellow by the Singapore government.
  • E-Champion Award, E-Services Philippines on 2007
  • Awardee, Palanca Awards Gawad Dangal ng Lahi by CP Group Chairman Carlos Palanca III, Palanca Foundation Director General Sylvia Palanca-Quirino and Deputy Director General Christine Quirino-Pacheco on September 18, 2007 

Business Affiliations

  • Former vice president of New York based Allen and Company and Progressive Development Corporation
  • Former director of Kauswagan Development Corporation, MyapoPrawn Farm Corporation, Northstar Capital Inc., and Atok Big Wedge Mining Co.


–With additional research from Maria Althea Teves, Newsbreak 

Sources: Official COC of Mar Roxas,,,,,,,,

Profile of Manuel "Mar" II Araneta Roxas