LP bets seek disqualification of Villar; NP hits black propaganda
By Sheila Crisostomo
The Philippine Star
MANILA, Philippines – Two Liberal Party (LP) senatorial candidates yesterday sought the disqualification of Nacionalista Party (NP) presidential bet Sen. Manuel Villar Jr. for alleged vote buying and misrepresentation.
LP senatorial bets Nereus Acosta and Martin Bautista filed a petition before the Commission on Elections (Comelec) yesterday seeking the disqualification of Villar whom they alleged to have engaged in vote buying and misrepresenting the true circumstances surrounding the death of his brother in the early 1960s.
Villar said the filing of the disqualification case was part of “vicious black propaganda” cooked up by the LP.
Acosta and Bautista said Villar’s certificate of candidacy should be cancelled by the Comelec for violating the Omnibus Election Code, accusing the NP candidate of giving out scholarship programs before a crowd at the Mall of Asia last Feb. 25.
Acosta and Bautista also pointed to the incident where Villar allegedly gave P20 bills to several children during a campaign sortie in Lipa City, Batangas the following day.
The two LP candidates also accused Villar of misrepresentation in his political ads where the NP presidential bet said that his family was too poor to afford the hospitalization of his younger brother who eventually died.
They said Villar violated the Fair Election Act by “making misrepresentations about the true circumstances surrounding the death of his brother to bolster his campaign.”
“A simple perusal and analysis of these antecedent facts will readily bear out the fact that respondent is undeniably pulling out all the stops to get him elected to the presidency in wanton disregard of sacred election laws that were crafted to specifically ensure fair, ethical and honest elections,” they added.
The petitioners said Villar was “giving undue economic advantage to his real estate empire and thereby causing the government to lose billions of pesos in the equally shameful C-5 controversy” when he was Senate president.
Villar, for his part, downplayed the disqualification case filed against him by the two LP senatorial candidates.
“They only wanted to increase their (survey) ratings,” Villar remarked.
He said Acosta and Bautista might have filed the petition to call for public attention. He said the two LP candidates are not even included in the top 12 senatorial candidates in the surveys.
Villar maintained he had done nothing wrong in giving money to some children during the campaign sortie in Lipa City.
“Because the kids were hungry and wanted (money to buy and) eat camote (sweet potato). They were not even registered voters, so how could that be vote buying?” he asked.
“I did not do anything illegal as far as I am concerned. We have not violated any election regulations of the Comelec. There is no conflict about that (incident),” he said. – With Christina Mendez