Villar denies, admits, denies Bolante NP link
The Daily Tribune
Nacionalista Party (NP) standard bearer Sen. Manuel Villar Jr. steered clear of the reported political alliance with former Agriculture Undersecretary Jocelyn “Joc-joc” Bolante, the alleged brains behind the fertilizer fund scam, who is running for a gubernatorial seat in Capiz under the NP.
While announcing the support gained from more than majority of the mayors in the province under the local political party, Ugyon Kita Capiz (Let’s Unite for Capiz) where Bolante is identified with, Villar distanced himself from Bolante’s candidacy, claiming he will not be endorsing the latter’s candidacy.
While initially Villar would not give a categorical statement as to whether there are talks, negotiations for Bolante’s “entry” in NP or even feelers sent by him who was once ordered arrested by Villar over his repeated defiance of the Senate’s summons to appear in the then ongoing fertilizer fund scam inquiry, the senator denied there was any truth in this.
Bolante, he said, is with the administration party and is expected to be endorsed by his rival, former Defense Secretary Gilbert Teodoro who is running under Lakas-Kampi party.
“The decision is theirs, as to who they will vote for as governor. It’s their decision who they will vote for senators and president,” he told Manila-based reporters at a press conference.
Bolante is said to be aligned with the NP, but Villar claimed he has not engaged in talks with the former undersecretary.
But Villar also admitted that he and his party have yet to arrive at any discussion with the local supporters on the matter of Bolante being supported by NP.
“We still don’t know whose groups are with us, but it is normal when you have a political foe in that area, we become more confident in getting them,” the senator said, in apparent reference to the Liberal Party (LP) headed by its vice presidential candidate Manuel “Mar” Roxas, who had pursued the Senate probe into the fertilizer fund scam few years back.
Roxas hails from Capiz where Bolante will be taking a bid as governor in the coming elections.
“To be fair, everybody in the Philippines is presumed innocent until proven otherwise. But to be fair with him he (Bolante) has not come up with a formal announcement, and I don’t want to preempt anything,” Villar said they will have to deal with the matter if the need arises.
“We will see when the time comes where we will be discussing this (Bolante’s candidacy under the NP). As of now we are happy to have so many mayors here supporting us,” he said.
Sensing the implication of Villar’s statements made to reporters, his runningmate, Sen. Loren Legarda was quick clarify the matter as far their association with Bolante at the moment is concerned.
“Let us clarify this, we have not talked with Bolante. I think it is very clear how we have been received her in Capiz,” she said.
Villar then said that Bolante is not with NP.
When asked if there are those, especially those from Bolante’s party, mediating for the former DA official and the NP for needed support, Villar gave this reply: “We will cross the bridge when we get there. We don’t want to speak for Ugyon. I’m welcoming the mayors’ support.”