Angara was born on July 15, 1972 in Manila. He is the son of former Senator Edgardo J. Angara and Mrs. Gloria Manalang-Angara, a former teacher and chairperson of the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP).
He took up his basic education at Xavier School in San Juan, Metro Manila, and finished his undergraduate degree in International Relations with honors from the London School of Economics. He finished his law degree at the University of the Philippines College of Law, and earned his Master of Laws degree from Harvard Law School in Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States.
He was first elected to public office in 2004 as the representative to Congress for the lone district of Aurora, where he succeeded his aunt, Bellaflor J. Angara-Castillo, a three-term representative and erstwhile governor of Aurora. Elected at age 31, he was one of the youngest members of the 13th Congress. He was a member of the House minority and served as House deputy minority leader, thereby becoming an ex officio member of all standing and special committees of the 13th Congress. He authored a number of laws of national significance and was able to focus on work in his constituency, where he used the funds allotted to his office to build over 100 classrooms and provided funds for indigent constituents in 12 government hospitals and hundreds of scholarships to deserving students at various state universities and colleges (SUCs). He also worked together with socio-civic groups on various projects and funded the creation of the Gawad Kalinga villages for the homeless in three of Aurora's municipalities and the provision of computers and Internet access to Aurora's public high schools, together with the GILAS Foundation, and access to vocational, skills, and livelihood training through the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) and other groups.
He was elected to a second term as congressman in 2007, when he ran unopposed under the Laban ng Demokratikong Pilipino (LDP), the same political party as in 2004. He served as deputy majority leader and vice chairman of the committee on rules, also as an ex officio member of all standing and special committees in the House during the 14th Congress (2007–2010).
He was one of the remaining congressmen who offered aid to some of the wounded persons and personally took some of the survivors to the nearby Far Eastern Hospital along Commonwealth Avenue, Quezon City for treatment when a bomb was planted by still-unknown suspects at the premises of the House of Representatives in 2008 which resulted in the death of Congressman Wahab Akbar and the death and serious wounding of other congressmen and congressional staffers.
He topped the list of "prolific and hardworking members of the House of Representatives" for filing the most number of bills of national importance that were enacted into law in the 14th Congress. A report by the House Indexing and Monitoring Group of the Bills and Index Department showed that in the 14th Congress of 2007-2010, he, then deputy majority floor leader, filed 10 national bills that eventually became laws of the land.
He was elected to a third term as congressman for Aurora in May 2010.
He was one of the signatories of the impeachment complaint against then-Chief Justice Renato Corona, which was signed by the 188 members of the Philippine House of Representatives in December 2011, was eventually adopted as the Articles of Impeachment, and was passed for consideration of the Senate impeachment court. He acted as deputy spokesperson of the House prosecution panel, together with Marikina Representative Romero Federico "Miro" S. Quimbo and Quezon Representative Lorenzo "Erin" R. Tañada III, in the impeachment trial of the Chief Magistrate.
As a three-term congressman, he authored several measures signed into law by the President of the Philippines, such as:Magna Carta of Women (Republic Act 9710)
Pre-Need Code of the Philippines (Republic Act No. 9829)
Aurora Special Economic Zone Act of 2007 (Republict Act No. 9490)
Tax Exemption for Minimum Wage Earners Law (Republic Act No. 9504)
Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT) Act of 2009 (Republic Act No. 9586)
Civil Aviation Authority Act of 2008 (Republic Act No. 9497)
Personal Equity and Retirement Account (PERA) Act of 2008 (Republic Act No. 9505)
Tourism Act of 2009 (Republic Act No. 9593)
University of the Philippines Charter of 2008 (Republic Act No. 9500)
An Act Providing for the Legitimation of Children Born to Parents Below Marrying Age, Amending for the Purpose the Family Code of the Philippines, as Amended (Republic Act No. 9858)
National Cultural Heritage Act of 2009 (Republic Act No. 10066)
Expanded Senior Citizens Act of 2010 (Republic Act No. 9994)
Financial Rehabilitation and Insolvency Act (FRIA) of 2010 (Republic Act No. 10142)
Kindergarten Education Act (Republic Act No. 10157)
Credit Information System Act (Republic Act No. 9510)
Health Workers' Day Act (Republic Act 10069)
Domestic Workers Act (Republic Act No. 10361)
In his three terms as congressman, he funded through his priority development assistance fund the construction of over 300 classrooms, the education of over 3,000 scholars, and the treatment of over 12,000 patients in 11 government hospitals.
In the 17th Congress, Senator Angara currently chairs the following committees:Local Government
Ways and Means
As chairman of the Senate Ways and Means Committee, Angara has already worked for the enactment of:Republic Act 10653 that raises the take-home pay of Filipino workers by increasing the tax exemption cap for 13th month pay and other benefits from P 30,000 to P82,000.
Republic Act 10708 or the Tax Incentives Management and Transparency Act (TIMTA) that aims to promote transparency and accountability in the grant and administration of tax incentives to registered business entities so as to encourage investors to bring more businesses to the country, generate more employment opportunities, and boost Philippine economic growth.
Republic Act 10754 or the VAT Exemption for Persons with Disability. This law exempts persons with disabilities (PWDs) from the 12-percent value added tax (VAT) on land transportation, domestic air and sea travels; on fees and charges for medical and dental services; on cost of medicines; on funeral and burial services; on fees and charges in hotels and restaurants, among others.
Angara is pushing for the passage of the income tax reform bill that seeks to update and adjust the levels of taxable income to inflation to ease taxpayers’ burden and to make the tax system more equitable and progressive. Furthermore, Angara has urged the government to make it easy for micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) to form a business and pay taxes by simplifying the process, reducing the steps and requirements, easing the formalities, and eliminating red tape.
In the 16th Congress, Angara formerly chaired Committee on Games, Amusement and Sports where he is actively pushing for greater support for Filipino athletes and competitiveness of national sports teams competing in international competitions. Through this committee, he has authored and sponsored the following laws:RA 10699 or the National Athletes and Coaches Benefits and Incentives Act that increased the amount of financial incentives and benefits given to national athletes, coaches and recognition of athletes with disabilities as national athletes.
RA 10636 granting Filipino citizenship to Andray Blatche, the 6-foot-11 basketball player from the NBA, for eligibility to join the Gilas Pilipinas national basketball team.
Republic Acts 10674, 10680, 10681, 10682 and 10683 which established sports academies and training centers respectively in Davao de Norte, Misamis Occidental, Talisay Cebu, Alfonso Cavite and Siargao Island to hone the skills and raw talent of young athletes from the provinces and jumpstart grassroots sports development.
Angara was also formerly the acting chairman of the Committee on Labor, Employment and Human Resources. He is the sponsor of RA 10691 or the amended Public Employment Service Office (PESO) Act, which aims to improve and strengthen PESOs’ employment facilitation services to help more Filipinos land a job especially in rural areas and poorer municipalities, and RA 10706 or the Seafarers Protection Act, which protects Filipino seafarers from ambulance chasers, particularly lawyers, who charge excessive legal fees arising from accident, illness, or death of seafarers in the course of their service.
Like his father, former Senate President Edgardo Angara, he is a known advocate for education, having authored laws such as the Universal Kindergarten Law, Early Years Act, Anti-Bullying Law, the University of the Philippines Charter, Ladderized Education Act, Open Learning and Distance Education Act, Open High School System Act, Youth Entrepreneurship Act, and the recently enacted RA 10687 or the Unified Student Financial Assistance System for Higher and Technical Education (UNIFAST) Act to ensure that scholarship programs really benefit the poor and most deserving students in the country. He also sponsored laws that would create state universities and colleges in less developed provinces such as Catanduanes, Quirino, Negros, Cotabato, Kalinga, Compostela Valley, among others, in the firm belief that the best way out of poverty and towards a good life is quality education.
Since his days in the Lower House, he has been pushing for the Freedom of Information (FOI) Act to combat corruption and foster good governance in the country.
He worked as a trainee at the Metropolitan Bank and Trust Company (Metrobank) in Makati in 1991. He worked as a news reporter for The Philippine Star in 1992. He served as an apprentice and member of the delegation in the Philippine Mission to the United Nations in New York in 1994. He worked as an associate attorney at the Angara Abello Concepcion Regala and Cruz (ACCRA) law firm from 2001 to 2003. He taught as a professor at the New Era University (NEU) College of Law and at the Centro Escolar University (CEU) School of Law and Jurisprudence.
He married Tootsy Echauz in 2003; they have three children.
He was one of the Ten Outstanding Young Men (TOYM) of the Philippines awardees for 2010, along with Senator Alan Peter S. Cayetano, 2009 CNN Hero Efren Peñaflorida, and a cousin of President Benigno S. Aquino III. He received his trophy from President Aquino in a ceremony held at the Rizal Hall of the Malacañan. He was also a recipient of the Tanglaw ng Bayan 2011 award, the highest award given by the Polytechnic University of the Philippines (PUP) in Manila to individuals with exemplary achievements in their respective fields. He was conferred honorary doctorate in law (honoris causa) by the Ramon Magsaysay Technological University (RMTU) in Iba, Zambales in November 2011. He was one of nine recipients of the Outstanding Manilan Award in 2017.