Sanlakas plans to file plunder charges vs Villar
By Nikko Dizon
Philippine Daily Inquirer
MANILA, Philippines—The militant group Sanlakas Thursday said it was considering filing plunder charges against Sen. Manuel Villar, Nacionalista Party standard-bearer, because of a complaint filed by his former lawyer which detailed the alleged corrupt practices of his real estate companies.
“If Villar thinks he can bully attorney Restituto Mendoza, well, he is dead wrong. We have something bigger for him,” Argee Guevarra, Sanlakas legal counsel and spokesperson, said Thursday at a press conference.
Guevarra also acts as co-counsel of Mendoza, who has a labor case against Villar, his companies and corporate officers with the National Labor Relations Commission (NLRC).
In a complaint filed at the NLRC in August last year, Mendoza detailed the supposed irregularities practiced by Villar’s real estate firms in acquiring lands for property development.
Mendoza, 34, was a lawyer of Villar’s various real estate companies handling raw land cases, which he described as “sensitive.”
“This started as a simple labor case and how he (Mendoza) appears to me as a very good resource person to gather facts sufficient to file a plunder case against Manny Villar,” Guevarra said.
He said Sanlakas was in the process of unraveling the modus operandi of the Villar companies—“how (they) expanded, how (they) resorted to graft and corruption, to bribing other public officials in order to accumulate vast tracts of land which were originally intended to serve agricultural workers.”
Guevarra described the “modus operandi of land grabbing” supposedly by Villar’s companies as “so serious that it should be a public issue right now.”
The plunder charge against Villar, who is a strong contender for the presidency, does not have to be filed before the elections lest Sanlakas be accused of politicking, Guevarra said.
“We can file it even if Manny Villar becomes President of the republic. We will hound him with impeachment complaints on the strength of the revelations of Atty. Resty Mendoza,” Guevarra said.
Guevarra described Mendoza as the “missing link” in the C-5 deal that had the Senate censure Villar for unethical conduct.
Mendoza was part of the legal team that drafted the contracts for the swapping of property between Adelfa Properties and Masaito Development Corp. for the C-5 road extension project.