Manny Villar Jr. a Philippine Presidentiable Controversy Collections.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Villar responds

SENATOR Manny Villar has been making the rounds of broadcast media to respond to various issues hounding his campaign, and dish out remarks against his main protagonist, who has been featured by Time Magazine on its cover.

Villar is particularly mad at the Villarroyo tag. He and his spokespersons have been denying this tag to death. He and they keep saying that it was he and his party-mates who "initiated" the investigation of all the graft scandals, from jueteng to Hello Garci, to the fertilizer scandal, and the ZTE-NBN anomalies. Vamos a ver.

He was the chair of the Senate committee that investigated the jueteng scandals involving, as per the witnesses in the hearings, Mike and Iggy, y Mikey tambien. Who exposed these? Senator Panfilo Lacson in a privilege speech. Who convinced the witnesses to come out, and gave them protection? Senator Panfilo Lacson and Archbishop Oscar Cruz, together with his assistants in the crusade against gambling. What did Villar do? He presided over the hearings in the Senate.

What did Villar not do? To this day he has not come out with a report. Now he takes pride in fighting jueteng.

Who brought forth the Hello Garci scandal? Why, no less than Toting Bunye, then press secretary of La Dona Gloria. Everybody and his mother remembers the tale of the two discs. "I have two hands, the left and the right"…remember? Now Bunye sits in the Monetary Board, and represents the Board in the Numismatic Committee chaired by BSP Deputy Governor Diwa Gunigundo, who is rushing the approval and award of a highly suspicious New Generation Currency, to commit billions of pesos in newly-designed banknotes in midnight fashion, and to quote the Malacañang press release after GMA brought home the "bacon" that was the ZTE-NBN contract, "like a thief in the night". Bunye was then the press secretary, right?

When Hello Garci erupted into the national consciousness, Gilbert Remulla was chair of the public information committee in the lower House. Villar makes a big thing about then Congressman Noynoy Aquino’s vote not to hear the Garci tapes in public. Big deal.

But when the gory details of Garci’s caper sank in, the Liberal Party headed by Frank Drilon, Butch Abad, Mar Roxas, Kiko Pangilinan and Noynoy atoned for their coalition with GMA in 2004, publicly calling in a press conference at the Club Filipino for GMA to resign. Where was Villar and his Nacionalistas? Gilbert made noises. Cynthia voted with the impeachment crew, upon the prodding of Ronnie Zamora. But Manny Villar? As quiet as the Sphinx of Egypt, which he and his fellow Nacionalistas saw in 2007, as his blow-out after re-election, and where he intimated, with Sphinx and the mummies at Luxor as sacred witnesses, that he would be president in 2010.

While Drilon and Abad went to Hong Kong to dog Vice-President Noli de Castro into taking over the presidency from the beleaguered Gloria, where was Villar and his Nacionalistas? Tell you what:

Upon arrival at the NAIA from Hong Kong during those tense days following the "I am sorry" speech, VP Noli went straight to the Forbes Park mansion of Senador Joker Arroyo, where Manny Villar and Don Joker convinced VP Noli not to bite the Liberal offer, and stick it out with GMA. So who saved Gloria from Noli in the heyday of Hello Garci?

Cory Aquino and her entire family took a patriotic stand in those days. They did support GMA against Erap, but when they learned about the evil that Gloria committed, they denounced her. Sometime later, Cory publicly humbled herself when she apologized to Erap for her role in Edsa Dos. All of us commit errors of judgment. But good people retract when they see they had been had. Manny Villar, like the Sphinx, was and is – a moral riddle. Como la Doña – amoral?

Who is running for governor of Capiz, under a local party coalesced with the Nacionalista Party, and whose jailbird orange tarpaulins proudly proclaim Manny Villar as their "presidinti"? Why, Joc Joc Bolante, one of the most prominent icons of corruption in this benighted land. Mismo!

And who initiated the ZTE-NBN investigation in the Senate? Not Villar. Not Alan. Not Joker, who even prevented Romy Neri from spilling his heart out in executive session. Again it was Ping Lacson. It has always been Ping Lacson who had the guts to disclose the sordid affairs of the most powerful in this land. Now Villar wants to grab the credit, and appear "opposition". Did Alan the motor-mouth come out with a committee report? Nein. Nunca. Madi. Wala gyud!

But the interviewers in media never brought these out. They "politely" accepted Villar’s tall tales, instead of telling him to his face what a liar he is.

Villar and his Remulla taunt Noynoy for accepting Joey Salceda into the Liberal Party fold. All right, I agree. I have always disliked turncoatism. I tried to stop Erap in May of 1998 from accepting into the LAMMP fold the 49 recruits Rep. Manny Villar presented to him, after Erap had clearly won. Weeks later, Manny Villar became Speaker of the House, over the objections of Joker Arroyo, to whom Erap had promised the speakership months before. Now Joker is Villar’s consiglieri di tutti. Ang buhay nga naman!

But what about Cagas of Davao del Sur, Aumentado of Bohol, Barbers of Surigao Norte, Plaza of Agusan (not Ompong), Uy of Compostela, Zubirri of Bukidnon, Garcia of Cebu, El Chavit de Ilocos Sur, not to forget Bolante, and now the prize catch – the Ampatuans of Maguindanao? Of course, the Marcoses and Romualdezes as well, and even Arturo Pacificador of Antique, the man who escaped criminal prosecution under a warped justice system for the murder of Evelio Javier. Ben Abalos, that other icon of corruption along with Joc-Joc is also part of Villar’s caboodle. Joey Salceda, though Gloria’s student turned adviser, has at least dared to call her publicly "one lucky bitch", and other misdemeanors for which she could not even rebuke him.

Villar now declares that he would even "encourage the prosecution" of Mrs. Arroyo after June 30, because of her numerous anomalies. Ha, ha, ha! Tell that to Marine Col. Ariel Querubin, your candidate for senator. With Joc Joc and Joe, Chavit and Andal Jr. proudly wearing your jailbird orange colors, you would prosecute their Doña? Again, tell that to the Marines.

Villar protests further: "I’m not seen as a critic of anybody. That’s my style. I would rather do things than say them," he said. Yes indeed, you just "do things", like apportioning your pork barrel and DPWH regular budgetary appropriations to fund phase after phase of that snake-like road called Daang Hari, the better to connect one to the other of your 22 subdivisions in the area. You’ve made sure 1.97 billion pesos of the people’s money to construct Daang Hari would jack up the prices of the erstwhile irrigated farm lands you stitched together. And later, having acquired by hook or by crook more lands in Muntinglupa and San Pedro, you connected Daang Hari to a Daang Reyna. Breath-taking!

And because the Liberals were joined by Salceda of Albay, economic adviser of Doña Gloria, Villar and his Remulla now say Aquino will increase taxes, especially the VAT. And the broadcast reporter interviewing him did not even bother to ask whether or not Villar voted for E-VAT. Because as senator, Villar voted for Gloria’s consumer tax. But as congressman, Noynoy Aquino along with Chiz Escudero voted against E-VAT. Sure Ralph Recto also joined the LP, but Noynoy in a speech before the Makati Business Club categorically said that he would not impose new taxes, and when Gary Teves pined for a 15 percent E-VAT, Aquino immediately said "No way!". Villar before the same Makati businessmen said, in clear terms, that he is not averse to increasing taxes. The point is, Villar lies when it is convenient for him to do so.

Just as he lied about the circumstances of his brother’s death, and conveniently denies whatever, but never explains his side on issues like Norzagaray, San Pedro, Daang Hari, Daang Reyna, Bacoor, Molino, Savannah, and of course C-5 where his peers caught him abusing power for personal aggrandizement. Whenever he is accused, he cries "black propaganda" and tells his critics to go to court. Just like his Doña Gloria. Parehong-pareho talaga sila.

Tell you what, Mr. Villar. If you ever get to Malacañang, retain Gary Olivar and Charito Planas as your spokesmen. After all, Adel and Gilbert would not be ready to assume their posts till after one year, because of the constitutional ban on senatorial wannabes who do not make it.


In the heat of the campaign, when no one is looking because all eyes are focused on Noynoy and Villarroyo and Erap, the Numismatic Committee chair of the Bangko Sentral wants to fast-track the procurement from abroad of 702 million pieces of newly-designed banknotes. In a three-year timetable, they will demonetize present banknotes and replace the same, with imported currency printed by likely the same printer who passed off "Arrovo" as Arroyo in 2006. Under normal circumstances, such egregious error would have meant automatic black-listing as a supplier. But apparently, some guys in the Bank have an infinite capacity for looking the other way.

They are rushing the outsourcing of these banknotes even if the people are about to elect a new president on May 10, who under normal circumstances will be proclaimed 41 days thereafter. Will the nearest kin of the leaders featured in these New Generation Currency, namely Presidents Quezon, Osmena, Roxas, and Aquino please inquire about the circumstances of this rush, and parenthetically, look further into why the Bank keeps importing paper currency, and specifying even obsolete security patches which have already been object of counterfeiting, or adding specifications that all jack up the price because they allegedly are protected by exclusive patents?

Apart from replacing the photos of past presidents with younger-looking ones, which may raise eyebrows with historians (was this how the president looked when he was proclaimed president, or when he was a lesser mortal?), the proposed new legal tender will feature a new slogan, which reads: "Pinagpala ang Bansa na ang Diyos ay ang Panginoon". Loosely translated, that should be: "Blessed is the Country where God is the Lord". More aptly, it probably conveys the message that The Lord God has blessed this country. I wonder what constitutionalists will say about this slogan, considering the strict prescription about separation of Church and State.

It is after all, just 51 days before a new government takes over. And even Doña Gloria has not yet approved the new legal tender. Again, why the rush?

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