C-5 at Tiaga?
Written by Cocoy
The Senate became an arena this week where Gladiators clashed. It wasn’t Yoda with his green blade of life and the entirety of Jedi lineage meeting Palpatine’s crimson blade of darkness and a thousand years of Sith treachery, saber to saber. There was no lightning thrown from The Dark Lord of the Sith’s hand to scorch the little green Grand Master of the Jedi. Was it ironic then that it was Enrile playing Yoda, and Villar, Palpatine?
This week declared that the phony war was over and from here on the campaign really begins. On the sand, lines were drawn, sides were chosen and each senator stood behind theirs. It just so happened that Manny Villar received the first assault. Many are in fact calling upon him to Face the Music.
There are too many “facts.” Each side, of course will draw their own “evidence”. How then do we sort through the mess and the mountain of “evidence”?
Mentats, according to Frank Herbert were humans trained to surpass computers because of their ability to analyze data and to formulate a conclusion. Will we function as a Mentat?
This is what Team Villar said happened (C5 Primer).
There was no double appropriation.
- 1st 200M was for Sucat Flyover;
- 2nd 200M was for Coastal Flyover;
Did Villar cause C5 Road Extension to be diverted to deliberately pass through his properties?
- Alignment was DPWH identified.
- Alleged ‘original alignment’ was really the alignment of Manila-Cavite Toll Express Way Project (different from C5 Road Project)
- MCTE and C5 are separate and implemented independently.
On October 15, 2008, Robert Lala, CESO III, regional director, NCR wrote:
“The project was not re-routed as it followed the original route or alignment prepared by DPWH-NCR except for the location of 1 bridge (bridge 2), whose centerline was slightly shifted in the upstream direction to rotate it in a more north-south direction in order not to create conflict with the proposed alignment of LRT Line 1 South Extension Project.”
Did the government acquire the properties owned by Villar at an over-priced amount?
Manny Villar said that properties were acquired at their zonal values, as certified by the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR). He cited BIR certification dated October 6, 2003 by Carmelita Bacod, Revenue District Officer:
“This is to certify that the zonal value of the commercial property located in Real St. Barangay Pulang Lupa Uno, vicinity of Perpetual Village is PHP13,300, based on Revised Zonal Valuation 1996.”
Is Senator Villar required to “divest” under the law?
According to Team Villar, the Constitution only requires full disclosure of financial and business interest by Senators.
Was there conflict of interest?
The Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials, “Conflict of Interest” occurs when the official or employee is a substantial stockholder of a corporation and the interest of the corporation is opposed to or affected by the faithful performance of official duty.
That said, with regard to C5, Villar’s said that at the very least, there was a “confluence” of interest, but not “conflict”.
On November 1999, the DOJ wrote that “the acquisition by the government of Villar properties for right of way, does not fall within the constitutional prohibition under Sec. 14, Article VI. The acquisition is but a necessary consequence of the exercise by TRB and DPWH of its power to condemn private property for public use subject to the provisions of existing law”.
Manny Villar was in violation of these following laws:
- The 1987 Constitution, specifically Article VI, section 12 and 14;
- Republic Act 6713, Section 7, which prohibits acts and transactions:
Public officials and employees shall not directly or indirectly have financial or material interest in any transaction requiring approval of their office.
- Republic Act 6713, Section 9:
“Divestment: A public official or employee shall avoid conflicts of interest at all times. When a conflict of interest arises he shall resign from his position in any private business enterprise withinin 30 days from assumption of office and/or divest himself of his shareholding or interest within sixty days from such assumption.”
Villar Properties along C5 Road Extension:
Villar Properties where overpriced. 33x or 3,3000% or 4x or 400%
Here is a comparative Summary:
- Villar used his position in government to change alignment of planned C5 Road extension, by proposing, initiating, and funding the contruction of the Las Pinas-paranaque Link Road and the C5 Road extension project;
- As Chair of Senate Committee on Finance and as Senate President caused appropriation of public funds for Las Pinas-Paranaque Link and C5 Road Extension project.
- Inserted 200M into the 2008 National Budget for project, including payment for road-right of way.
- Villar falsified BIR Certifications on zonal valuation;
- Villar caused the government to incur unnecessary and additional expenditures: PHP3,764,799,130.35 plus loss of PHP1.85B already paid by the government for the acquisition of lands to be used as road-right-of-way of the original C5 Road Extension Project.
- Villar failed to divest his interest in Adelfa Properties, Golden Haven Memorial Park and Brittany Corporation that benefited from the C5 Road Extension as well as Las Pinas-Paranaque Link Road and C5 Road Extension Project.
Location Map of the Original Planned C5 Road Extension:
Here is a letter of Request for the RE-alignment of C5 Road Extension (source Ombudsman Records):
In a memo to the President by then Appointments Secretary Benjamin De Leon recommending re-alignment of C5 Extension proposed by Manny Villar (source is Ombudsman Records):
“Subject: Request of Bro. Mike Velarde Re: DPWH Road Right of Way Payment/Settlement on C5
2.1 For the toll regulatory board under DPWH Secretary Vigllar to approve the plan jointly submitted by AMVEL Corp of Bro. Mike, ShoeMart, Inc., under Henry Sy and Adelfa, Inc. of Re. Manny Villar,”
This is DPWH’s Reply approving Villar et al’s proposed re-alignment of C5 Road Extension (source Ombudsman Records):
- Early this year, though your letters of 22 January 1998, 23 January 1998, 24 April 1988, and 27 April 1998, you and property owners in the same area sought a realignment of the entrance and exit ramps of the C5 Interchange. This request was approved by the Toll Regulatory Board in its Resolution No. 98-22 on 30 April 1998. This realignment necessited the revision of the plans and drawings for the said interchange. It also required a reassessment of the properties affected by said realignment.
- Signed Gregorio Vigilar, Secretary DPWH and chairman, Toll Regulatory Board.
Here are the lands affected by Realigned C5 Road Ext. Project from Multinational Road to Sucat Road:
Adelfa properties Inc., between 1997 until 2008 says that Manuel B. Villar Jr. owned 52% while Cynthia A. Villar owned 48%.
In the loan agreement for RROW payment of the Original Planned C5 Road Extension the project profile of Las Pinas-Paranaque Link Road cites that the proponets of the plan were Manuel B. Villar, Jr. and Cong. Cynthia A. Villar:
Securities and Exchange Commission documents reveal that Golden Haven memorial Park is 92% owned by Adelfa Properties, Inc.
The government paid 137M for 13 lots that were on the Right of Way. 85M is still unpaid by the Government.
On the question of zonal value that Villar answered there wasn’t any overpriced deal the opposition countered as incorrect. Villar used wrong zonal valuation:
[Villar used wrong Zonal Valuation]
and how about the BIR Certification?
Based on testimony, the DBM didn’t know of the PHP200M budget insertion:
Mr. Francisco: “Okay, Now, were you able to discuss this PHP200M redundant appropriation with your department secretary?
Mr. Tayo: I still remember when we received the list for the 2008 budget. Nakita po naming iyon na mayron ngang similarity iyong release na PHP200M. So ang pagka-alam po ng Department, especially the National Capital Region being the implementer of projects within Metro Manila, medyo hindi ho naming alam iyong another PHP200M. Only the first 200M ang alam naming. In most likelihood, even the department, hindi rin po nila alam yung another 200M, your Honor.
Mr. Francisco: What was the reaction of Secretary Ebdane when he learned about this redundant P200M item in the 2008 budget?
Mr. Tayo: “Ang pagkadinig kop o noon, sabi n’ya “Hindi ika natin problema iyan.” Meaning, hindi naming alam. The DPWH doesn’t know about the 200M, Your Honor.
Mr. Francisco: “So, you did not request the office of Senator Manny Villar or Senator Manny Villar to fund an additional 200M for the C5 road Extension project?”
Mr. Tayo: “As far as I know, wala po kasi alam na naming mayroon 200M. The 200M is included as part of the ceiling of the DPWH. Mayroon po kasing corresponding ceiling kada departamento. In the case of NCR, binigyan po kami ng ceiling na ganun lang so we will not exceed – we cannot exceed with that ceiling. The 200M po ang kasama.”
On the point that Villar had been using bulk of his pork barrel for the Las Pinas-Paranaque Link road which would benefit his companies, it was Senator Roxas who asked, “Okay so isn’t that another way of saying, two-thirds or 67% of what the office of Senator Villar recommended to the budget is made up of this one project?”
Mr. Adriano: “Yes your honor.”
When asked if Villar Companies were going to build high end residential buildings in the area traversedby the Las Pinas-Paranaque Link Road, Mr. Adriano replied this,
“Usually, it’s a plan conceptualized by the developer with the help of professional architects and engineers to give basically the developer an idea in paper what he wants to put up in the area.”
People want facts and both sides of the picture. So there are the two sides of the story. Villar says that everything is above board. The opposing team says, clearly the cost of the old C5 plan was 2.678B pesos while the new one cost 6.96B. Documents clearly show that Manny Villar and in some cases his wife, were instrumental in funding the project. Granted, that it is for the constituents of Las Pinas, but then can you blame people from distrusting the Villars where clearly it is the couple who are profiting from this windfall? That’s assuming that the price paid for the properties were at zonal value and not overpriced. It becomes crazier once we look at those properties as being overpriced.
For the sake of argument, on the point that according to Villar the constitution says that only executive officials are required to divest their holdings while he, being in the legislature need only to inform the senate of his possible conflict of interest may be accepted as a fair point.
Yet, given the context that one of the biggest problems we have in the Philippines is the lack of any sense of propriety from our elected officials, can you really say before the people that what Manny Villar did is skirting on the edge of legality? It becomes a point that just because you can, doesn’t mean you should.
When you add Republic Act 6713 sections 7 and 9 into the mix, from my layman’s point of view, Manny Villar and his wife were in violation of the law. Manny Villar’s business interests no matter which way you put it, benefitted in some way with the realignment of C5 from the Original Plan. Divesting themselves from their business interest while elected would have done a long way to prove they are honorable.
As Schumey put it, “The Truth is in the Documents.”
Barrio Siete on the one hand says, “Villar’s Throwing Stones in a Glass House!”
Now on the point that this was an election related incident, testimony has been building for months even before Mr. Villar announced his candidacy. With all the infomercials he had been airing even a year before, I suppose “before” is a bit of a “stretch”. Still, does it matter if Villar’s controversy was tackled last month or a week before official campaign season starts?
The fact of the matter is, where there is smoke, there is fire. And there is a lot of smoke coming out of Manny Villar’s involvement with C5. And right now, this is Villar’s test of fire. He must face these charges and surpass them, or his presidency, if elected will be off to a shaky start. That’s not what we need as a nation.
In Manny Villar’s Platform, I had asked you how big a difference there is between Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and Manny Villar. He claims to be and expert. He’s the businessman; he’s the entrepreneur and claims the same thing Gloria did in 2004 that expertise will win the day. Lito Banayo identified Manny Villar as, “Her” man.
Does it matter if Villar is GMA-like or GMA’s man?
It does when you look at the context that the past nine years saw our democratic institutions wither and fail. It does when you look at it from the perspective that there is no longer any sense of propriety in members of our Government and such values are tickling down to our private lives.
If we are not careful, we will soon find ourselves in a nation where the notion of a sense of propriety, of duty, of honor, of obligation, of decency is merely myth best forgotten.
I had recently asked, “Should Manny Villar Drop Off the Race?”
Setting aside that Manny Villar is Gloria-like or even if he is the president’s candidate, which btw, is quite plausible since Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo is known for her throwing everything including the kitchen sink to see which works, a controversy of this magnitude need to be met and settled.
This is Manny Villar who set in motion Mr. Estrada’s impeachment. The charges brought forth before Mr. Villar is nothing to laugh about or to ignore. We cannot have the next President of the Philippines already bog down by corruption charges.
I brought before you, dear reader, Manny Villar’s opinion. I brought before you the opinion of those who laid the charges before him as best as I could. I gave you my opinion on the matter.
In a perfect world, Manny Villar would now be withdrawing his candidacy, out of a sense of propriety to face the charges before him. If he is truly presidential material then here is the test he must pass. Prove his innocence or withdraw from the race. That should be the price of censure. That should be the price of C5 at Tiaga.