Villar calls for ceasefire on mudslinging
By Roel Pareno and Christina Mendez
The Philippine Star
ZAMBOANGA CITY , Philippines — Barely twelve days before elections, Nacionalista Party (NP) standard-bearer Sen. Manuel Villar has called for a ceasefire on mudslinging and appealed to media to focus on issues and track record to determine the candidate most suitable to run the country.
Villar issued the statement during his campaign sortie late Tuesday here, described as the “mother of all rallies,” where the streets overflowed with Villar supporters and fans of television host Willie Revillame.
He said real issues that the candidates and the country need to confront have been shelved.
Villar said his time has been consumed answering issues that seemed to have no end or direction.
“I wish we could discuss about our capabilities to run the country, focus on our track record and accomplishments,” Villar said.
Villar’s running mate Sen. Loren Legarda also appealed to the media to elevate the level of debate on issues that really matters to 40 million hungry Filipinos.
Villar and Legarda also emphasized that the next president should be physically and mentally sound to be able to confront the challenges of leading the country.
“We all know that it is everyone’s assumption that we (the candidates) are ready because you will be the one leading the country. You will be the commander in chief and it is necessary that we are physically and mentally prepared for the presidency,” the former Senate president said.
Villar said the next president should always be ready to face pressing problems that will confront him “every day, every week, every month of the year.”
His comments came following reports questioning the mental capability of his closest political opponent, Liberal Party standard-bearer Sen. Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino.
In another interview during the hair and makeup trends initiated by hairstyle icon Ricky Reyes at the Philtrade Center in Pasay City yesterday, Villar again claimed that he had nothing to do with the move of NP supporter Guido Delgado who released a second psychiatric report against Aquino.
“I have nothing to do with it, I have not read it,” Villar said although he admitted that Delgado was a supporter.
New questions on Aquino’s mental health cropped up Tuesday after Delgado released an alleged psychiatric evaluation of Aquino, which showed that the “patient” is “suffering from depression and melancholia.” the report, however, has been debunked by its alleged psychiatrist-author as well as the university department that supposedly conducted the evaluation.
At the same event, Reyes endorsed Villar’s bid because of his entrepreneurial spirit. Reyes said he admires Villar’s rags-to-riches story.
Meanwhile, NP senatorial candidate Adel Tamano described yesterday as a “stupid tactic” the fake psychiatric report on Aquino.
In a radio interview, Tamano said NP leaders were caught unaware by the decision of Delgado to come out with the report. — With Jess Diaz