All posts by: The ProPinoy Project

Gibo on corruption, Ondoy, Maguindanao — is he ready to lead?

Is Gibo Teodoro Ready To Lead?
Wednesday, 20 January 2010 09:00 PM Cocoy

This is Gilbert “Gibo” Teodoro. Casually dressed. Relaxed. Confident. Intelligent. He was a member of congress and served as defense secretary. He is a licensed commercial pilot, and a reserve colonel of the Philippine Air Force. A quick appraisal of Gibo Teodoro is a man with apparent depth and intelligence. Accompanied by his charming and equally accomplished wife, Tarlac first district representative, Monica “Nikki” Prieto-Teodro, one doesn’t need to imagine how picturesque they are: power couple.

Are the Teodoros too good to be true?

The opening minutes of blogwatch’s recent interview with him was a telltale sign of who Gibo Teodoro is. He decisively put an end to the “Posible” commercial controversy that was hunting his campaign. The speech, the mannerism sought to evoke the idea that he is experienced that he is a leader and he commands.

It seemed like a good start. The question before us of course is simply, “who is Gibo Teodoro?”

Gibo is pedigree. The son of former Marcos-era SSS boss Teodoro Sr., and Batasang Pambansa member Mercedes Cojuangco-Teodoro. He went on to study with the Jesuit run, Xavier school, then off to De La Salle University for a bachelor’s degree in Commerce before entering UP Law and completing a master’s degree with Harvard Law School.

At an early age the young Teodoro had sowed the seeds for a life in politics by becoming president of the Central Luzon Kabataang Barangay president for five years and the Sanguniang Panlalawigan of Tarlac.

Raissa Robles wrote that during Gibo Teodoro’s seven-year tenure working for the law office of Estelito Mendoza, he was lawyer for Lucio Tan and Danding Cojunanco’s ill-gotten wealth cases.

As of 2005, Gibo Teodoro’s galing at talino was worth 102 Million pesos.

Gibo Teodoro’s voting record included a yes for Fair Elections Act, and Electric Power Industry Reform Act as well as Automated Elections and Juvenile Justice Act. He had no vote for Anti-Money Laundering Act, Dual Citizenship Act, Tobacco Regulation Act, Meralco Franchise Act, and Government Procurement Act.

Mr. Teodoro during the 13th congress voted No, when the Anti-Terrorism Act was brought to a vote.

On issues of our time, Mr. Teodoro is for charter change even as he believes innovation is the key to up lift the economy. With regard to government debt, he says that it has shrunk from 70% to 37% of GDP, even while he is against the Reproductive Health bill.

Gibo Teodoro believes in student loans, as well as expanding education to be at par with global standards as well as campaign finance reforms.

Then came Teodoro’s stint as defense secretary, which I think is an important look as how ready he is to be president.

Two important things happened in recent memory that defined Mr. Teodoro’s stint as defense secretary. First there was Ondoy and Pepeng and then there was the Ampatuan Massacre.

An important question on his competence is addressed. Mr. Teodoro said that while he was in charge of the National Disaster Coordinating Council (NDCC), and while he was Defense Chief, neither agency was actually equipped to provide the necessary infrastructure to conduct rescue. He cited an example if the Military was in charge of disaster relief, they would have to exchange buying military equipment for rubber boats. He said that is why it is important to have a separate disaster relief agency. That is why he said that the NDCC had too few resources to deploy.

Al Jazeera interviewed Gibo Teodoro which was posted on YouTube with regard to Ondoy. In that interview, Mr. Teodoro talked about budget constraints in procuring rubber boats in a country perennially visited by typhoons. My Teodoro has been insisting that he and the NDCC had done their best and that as Defense Secretary’s were tied. That buying rubber boats will take them away from their primary mission and that rubber boats is not within their budget.

While he takes full responsibility, is that an acceptable excuse?

I point you to Random Salt who wrote about Uncoordinated Disaster: the first forty-eight hours of Ondoy. He noted for example that before Ondoy made landfall, NDCC monitored developments and sent advisories. Deployments of assents he wrote in the first 48 hours were sporadic rather than strategic, or no deployment at all.

Here is a list of DSWD NROC releases to officials. (Chart version is here).

Let us assume for the sake of argument that indeed NDCC had no authority, as Mr. Teodoro claims. Knowing full well the effects of climate change has in the world. Knowing full well what happened when Typhoon Katrina, which occurred years before, why were changes not even recommended to the Philippines disaster preparation system before Ondoy?

There have been numerous studies on city development pre-Ondoy. In his video interview, Sec. Teodoro cited these studies. Where was this sipag, pre-Ondoy? Not even a whisper in Congress calling on them to fund NDCC better or to setup better disaster prevention.

Doesn’t NDCC conduct an audit of its capabilities? Have there been no preventive measures taken? The Philippines is visited by more than a dozen typhoons a year, isn’t it prudent that measures were at least recommended to forestall Ondoy-like tragedies or at the very least limit its effect?

Former Secretary Teodoro was in office for more than two 18 months. He was the man in charge of disaster relief and coordination. He should already have known where the weakness were in the system and a man who is hardworking (sipag) would have made it his mission to beef up the system, to make necessary changes or at the very least, make noise about it since it is his department to run.

The case of Ondoy clearly showed that Mr. Teodoro is not forward looking enough. Where was his “Galing at Talino” leading up to Ondoy then? Why is it that only now is Mr. Teodoro recommending the creation of a separate Disaster Relief Management Agency?

Why should the Filipino vote back into power, the Lakas Party? Why should the Filipino vote Teodoro when all he says is passing buck? Why should the Filipino vote Gibo to fix Manila to the tune of 280B when it was Teodoro’s NDCC that failed to foresee how tomorrow’s dangers are? When it is Teodoro’s boss and his political party colegues who have been delinquent?

It was also during his tenure as Defense Secretary that the Maguindanao Massacre occurred. At face value it may seem irrelevant to associate that blood with a defense secretary. Yet as head of the country’s Department of National Defense, surely he would have been briefed about the Ampatuan clan.

Ed Lingao quoted Jaileen Jimenco’s work “Amid the fighting, the clan rules in Maguindanao” in his work, “Putting Maguindanao in Context”:

“(Analysts) note that no less than the Palace made it legal for the Ampatuans to have hundreds of armed men and women under their employ. The 1987 Constitution bans private armed groups. In July 2006, however, the Arroyo Administration issued Executive Order 546, allowing local officials and the PNP to deputize barangay tanods as ‘force multipliers’ in the fight against insurgents. In practice, the EO allowed local officials to convert their private armed groups into legal entities with a fancy name: civilian volunteer organizations (CVO).”

As Defense Secretary with an insurgency being waged in Mindanao, surely he was well aware of these private armed groups.

In this Philippine Star article, it was noted that the President used PHP800M pesos worth of emergency fund for foreign trips. In a country where more than half a dozen typhoon visits the Philippines, why is this being practiced?

Most certainly, Gibo Teodoro cannot be blamed if his boss used whatever funds she has available. And yet, Mr. Teodoro is a close ally of the President. Yet he is a member of the political party that has been in power for the past decade. His boss has been in power for the past decade and he has not been vocal at all about what’s wrong with the Philippines. And if president, it will be his same party who will be in power for another six years.

Surprisingly, Mr. Teodoro in his interview with categorically said that he does not believe that there is a high level of corruption on the national level. Mr. Teodoro argues that corruption is an aspect. It is not the aspect.

In the World Bank book, “Poverty in the Philippines” it was mentioned that economic growth did not translate to poverty reduction in the Philippines even as Governance and Institutional constraints remain. These constraints still exist even after Teodoro’s party was in power for nine years.

The RPPA Study team of Cielito Habito, Ella Antonio, Danilo Songco, Roehlano Briones and Marian Roces submitted to the World Bank in June 2009, “Towards an Integrated Operation Framework for Rural Poverty Reduction in the Philippines.” They wrote that weakness in the Philippines’ dysfunctional governance manifested itself in graft and corruption; in the top down way decisions are made, in political interference and weak capabilities of both the national and local governments.

The Global Competitive Index 2009-2010 ranks the Philippines at 113 out of 133 nations for the state of its institutions. The same report states that the most problematic factor for doing business in the Philippines is corruption followed at close second by the inefficiency of government bureaucracy, inadequate supply of infrastructure, and then policy instability.

As Bocchi noted in Rising Growth, Declining Investment: The Puzzle of the Philippines, the Philippines must lower its debt to GDP ratio, to have greater income it must strengthen its tax collection and restrain non-priority expenditures. How then to improve tax collection but to clean house?

Bill Clinton called it, “incapacity”. Tim Hardford wrote about “why poor countries are poor.” He said that when people’s interest take on actions that directly or indirectly damage everyone else’s, incentives to create wealth then fail. That sounds familiar doesn’t it?

Does Gibo Teodoro understand the complex problem of the Philippines?

Doubt has really cast on my mind if there is Galing at Talino.

For example, Rochelle asked, “Why Gibo Teodoro changed his mind on the RH Bill,” It could be summed up to “what good is fighting for something knowing the effort would fail?” Rochelle added that Teodoro’s stance is simply to do nothing and wait until everything is out of control.

Is that how he will be as president?

Are we asking too much? Have we raised the bar so high that it is impossible to assess if this man is fit for president?

Gilbert Teodoro has time and again said that he will run a positive campaign. That he will not throw mud against his political rivals. That should he be president that is how he will bind our nation’s wounds. Character.

What I take from that statement is that he will form a government of consensus. His leadership will be about putting the many discrete factions of our society together.

When Gibo Teodoro talked with blogwatch about Mindanao, clearly he understands that we need Mindanao to be free of conflict so that we could start producing rice there. Clearly, he knows that given the constraints the national budget as, we need to raise revenue. Clearly, he knows that the way to the future is to improve, and bring our educational system to be at par with the rest of the world, to have a multilingual society. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo too knows the same things.

Gilbert “Gibo” Teodoro is running with the tag, “galing at talino.” Gibo Teodoro like Manny Villar brand themselves as the experts. Gibo was “very galing” at figuring out Ondoy. It was during his watch that we lost several billions of pesos and several priceless lives. Decades of infrastructure failure, of course is not his fault. His mistake was not assessing the dangers as NDCC chief and did not even try to change the system months before and a better man who have resigned his post then and there.

It is easy now to note that Metro Manila would take 280 Billion to rebuild. It is easy to say that generations of shanties along side our rivers be removed. It is easy to say that zoning would have to be made and it is very easy that some people might get hurt along the way. Some people will have to take the burden.

It is far easier to ask the Filipino to make sacrifices. What Mr. Teodoro fail to realize is that our leadership must show good will first then you will find our people far more understanding at the sacrifices that they must carry.

Ten years of Arroyo’s and the Lakas Party’s leadership and they have little to show for it save, our nation is still standing. Gibo Teodoro is not Arroyo but he is her representative, the party standard bearer. His association with Arroyo cannot be conveniently be forgot.

I’m not even going to touch on whether or not Gibo Teodoro can be his own man and stay outside of Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s shadow post election day, should he be president.

Gibo Teodoro, Manny Villar and Gloria Arroyo talk a good game. They’re the experts. The experts will cost taxpayers 280B to rebuild Manila. The experts cost the taxpayers 6.22B that could have been used for something else. That’s just for starters.

As I noted from Rochelle’s post regarding Gibo Teodoro’s stance on Reproductive Health Bill, it is like saying if you cannot pass a bill then he won’t even try? If he just gives up and gives in? Is that how it will be when he’s president?

Gibo Teodoro can talk a good game. It is easy to be swayed by Gibo Teodoro’s words. He comes across as a really smart and good guy. I suppose you can judge for yourself what the details tell you. Perhaps, the best indicator as to whether or not Gibo Teodoro is ready to lead comes from the man himself. He said during his blogwatch interview, “you can have the best laid plans, but the devil is in the details.” The devil is in the details indeed.

C5: A road to elsewhere

A road through elsewhere
Oct 15, 2008

—mala-mr.exposey ang drama ni lito banayo these days. patindi nang patindi ang mga banat niya kina manny villar, the senate president, at cynthia villar, the congresswoman from las pinas, sa kanyang malaya column. check out A case of plunder and The road to nowhere or read on.—

The Carlos P. Garcia Avenue, from SLEX to Sucat Road Extension, and from there, onwards to the Coastal Road, is not a “road to nowhere.” More appropriately, it is the “road through elsewhere”.

What has become a road to nowhere though is another-the original C-5 as planned, and for which money spent by two previous administrations have been laid to waste. Read on and find out how this happened:

The Circumferential Road that was to thread around the metropolis, just as EDSA does, was planned long ago, in fact, as far back as Ferdinand Marcos’ extended stay in Malacañang. EDSA stretches from the city of Caloocan at the Bonifacio monument all the way down to Roxas Boulevard, crossing through Quezon City, San Juan, Mandaluyong, Makati, and Pasay. C-5 strings Navotas-Malabon in the northwestern side of Manila Bay, goes through Caloocan, then Quezon City, to Mandaluyong, Makati, Pasig, Taguig, crossing SLEX around the Bicutan area, and through Parañaque up to the Coastal Road along the southwest part of Manila Bay. There is absolutely no doubt that it is a major road artery with great benefit to motorists and transport operators. Nobody disputes that.

In fact, it certainly qualifies for foreign funding. But somehow, we’ve always been using funds appropriated piece-meal from the General Appropriations Act, except for fly-overs traversing it, which were funded by bilateral financing assistance from Japan.

But here is the startling discovery the Senate investigation into the 200 million peso “insertion” triggered: The original C-5 stretch from SLEX to Coastal as planned, has been transferred to some other site. It has been moved elsewhere!

Originally, DPWH would have constructed the road from somewhere in Bicutan through Parañaque, and comes out to Sucat after passing through the huge property of Amvel Corporation, owned by Bro. Mike Velarde of the El Shaddai, which ends at Sucat Road. From there, it goes through San Dionisio in Parañaque, almost at the border of La Huerta, widening an existing road called Kabihasnan. In fact, as early as FVR’s term, concluded in Erap’s shortened term, a negotiated price had been set for the road right-of-way traversing Amvel’s land. Government had already paid 1.2 billion pesos for that stretch of road.

Yet in a macabre twist of events, that stretch of C-5 or Carlos P. Garcia Avenue, was moved from the area traversing Amvel’s paid-for right of way, and forays farther south, through other properties, and approaches Sucat elsewhere, near the border of San Dionisio, right smack into the SM Mall complex. Then, a new road, already constructed, traverses the SM property, cuts through portions of Pulang Lupa in Las Piñas, and ends in Aldana, also in Las Piñas. From there, it will cross onto the Coastal Road. The new road will be longer than the original C-5, but what’s more, it passes through 39 lots, 12 of which belong to either Adelfa Corporation, or Brittany Corporation, or Golden Haven Memorial Park, all of which belong to the Villar spouses, Manuel and Cynthia, their children and minority assigns.

By moving the C-5 Road “elsewhere,” not only has the cost of construction expanded, but the purchase of right-of-way has multiplied.

Worse, criminal in fact, is that by so doing, government throws away 1.2 billion precious pesos paid out in road right-of-way rights to private landowners, chief of which is the Amvel of Bro. Mike Velarde.

How was this done? How was the original plan scrapped, and the road effectively moved elsewhere? Ask the spouses Manuel and Cynthia Villar, now Senate President and lone representative of Las Piñas City in the Lower House.

For when Villar the husband was yet the chairman of the Senate Finance Committee back in 2004, he and his Cynthia worked out a project proposal with the Department of Public Works and Highways, providing funds amounting to 710 million pesos, for road construction and “road right-of-way” payments in the newly-moved location of C-5. For that year alone, 355 million was allocated for right-of-way settlements. And clearly, Villar and his family corporations own so much of these properties. From the public monies appropriated in the budget Villar “amended” – to his own pocket, right?

And that is just the 2005 appropriations law. What about the 2006 budget, which was a re-enacted budget? Did the Doña’s DBM release re-aligned funds once more to fund Villar’s favorite project? After all, Villar was a pillar of the administration’s support base in the Senate, having in fact become Senate President by virtue of a term-sharing deal ironed out with Franklin Drilon, who in the middle of 2005, after discovery of the election cheating conspiracy between Garci and Gloria, had the courage to call for his president’s resignation. Not Villar. Never Villar, who now styles himself as “opposition”.

Now, pray ask our dear senators of the realm – did then Senator Manuel Villar, by effectively causing the re-routing of C-5, not cause the waste of public monies already sunk in road right-of-way payments to private persons to the tune of almost 1.2 billion pesos? Is this not violative of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act?

And in proposing the new C-5 project, passing through properties that his family corporations own, pray ask, was not Senator Manuel Villar guilty of conflict of interest, which violates constitutional provisions?

And in appropriating funds for the revised road project, the road right-of-way problems for 2005 alone amounting to 355 million pesos, was not Villar guilty of self-dealing, using funds that belong to the Treasury over which he had greater power to appropriate than any of his peers, being at the time chair of the Finance Committee? Isn’t this again a clear conflict of interest?

Then again, this time as Senate President in 2007, while passing the General Appropriations Act for the current year 2008, did not Villar cause the “insertion” of an additional 200 million pesos over and above a similar amount proposed in the President’s budget through the National Expenditures Program? That fact was established during the single open-and-shut hearing called by Senator Juan Ponce Enrile, who himself confirmed that it was his Senate President who asked for the insertion, earmark or amendment.

That the money had not yet been spent, and that the money was not to go directly to Villar’s pocket or anybody else’s, does not detract from the fact that all along, the Senate President who was once chair of the Senate Finance Committee, was profiting, and profiting immensely, from the relocation of a new C-5 from an old C-5 road plan. And would profit even more, in fact, humongously more, once the new road opens up all his real estate, which will later spot such ultra-expensive brands as Portofino, or La Marea, or Brittany, or whatever else, no more the plebeian Palmera or Camella?

Why am I now detailing the specifics of the bizarre arrangements made by Senator Manuel Villar with the present administration, as if I were a reporter instead of an opinion writer?

Because the public has the right to know what many sectors of media have conveniently hidden from them, whether through deliberately shortened reports of through a plain news blackout, as happened on the night and succeeding nights of the nation’s biggest television network. 1.2 billion pesos down the drain, and additional public funds spent and yet to be spent, simply because one family’s greed knows no bounds, yet this is not considered important enough to be news? One wonders whether the network’s moguls are in the know about what their editors and news managers do “on the side.”

But that is not the only story. There is more than what we see on the surface. This is not just a case of self-aggrandizement, enriching one’s coffers by using power and influence to determine policies, plans and programs of government.

In the next column, we will detail more sinister C-5 related deals of the man who heads the Senate of the Republic. . . .

C5: case of plunder

A case of plunder
Oct 15, 2008

—mala-mr.exposey ang drama ni lito banayo these days. patindi nang patindi ang mga banat niya kina manny villar, the senate president, at cynthia villar, the congresswoman from las pinas, sa kanyang malaya column. check out A case of plunder and The road to nowhere or read on.—

When Rep. Joker Arroyo of the first congressional district of Makati was robbed of the speakership in June 1998, he asked some investigative journalist to dig deeper into information he received about an alleged land-grabbing incident in the hilly town of Norzagaray in Bulacan, right beside the foothills of the Sierra Madre. He had information that behind the supposed land-grabbing was the Villar couple, Manuel, soon to be proclaimed Speaker of the House by the grace of the newly-elected president of the land Joseph Ejercito Estrada, and his wife Cynthia.

On August 17, 1998 Joker Arroyo spoke before his peers and charged the new Speaker with violations of the Constitution and the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act, or R.A. 3019, in all of ten specific instances. The fourth charge of corruption stated by Arroyo was about the Capitol Bank’s receipt of financial accommodations from the Bangko Sentral between 1992 and 1998, when Mrs. Cynthia Villar was its CEO, and her husband Manuel was a congressman from Las Piñas, and now, Speaker of the House.

Sometime last week, at just about the same time that now Senator Arroyo was defending his by now good friend and fellow Wednesday dining companion, Senate President Manuel Villar, on charges of conflict of interest discovered because of a 200 million peso “singit” in the 2008 national budget, a story appeared in one of the national dailies. It said that a certain Gina Jarvina and Valentin Amador, representing several farmers of Norzagaray, filed charges of probable plunder against Villar, his wife Cynthia, now congresswoman of the lone district of Las Piñas, along with Anacordita Magno, first vice-president of Capitol Development Bank, Arturo de los Santos, executive vice-president of Optimum Development Bank, and Andres Rustia, managing director in charge of the Department of Loans and Credit as well as the Assets Management Department of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas, in connection with an unpaid loan from the BSP amounting to almost P1.5 billion.

Cynthia Villar was charged in her capacity as president of the Capitol Development Bank (now Optimum Development Bank) who was one of the signatories in the P1.5 billion loan, while Senate President Manuel Villar was made respondent for being a shareholder in the family-owned bank.

The plunder case was filed last Friday by a group of farmers whose ownership of some 484 hectares of agricultural lands in Norzagaray, Bulacan is being disputed by the Bangko Sentral before the Regional Trial Court of Malolos. Complainants are assisted by their lawyer Sergio Angeles of the Angeles, Golla & Associates which holds office in Eagle’s Nest, Sumulong Highway, Barangay Sta. Cruz, Antipolo City.

Based on that complaint, pertinent facts of which were confirmed to this writer by the investigative journalist Joker Arroyo commissioned in 1998, this is the story of the case:

Mrs. Cynthia Villar and Ditas Magno (once introduced to this writer by then Speaker Villar), president and vice-president of Capitol Development Bank, managed to secure a loan from the Bangko Sentral amounting to one and a half billion pesos in two tranches: 1.17 billion on 22 April 1998, and 332 million on 24 April,1998.

Based on the promissory notes signed by Villar and Magno on the two mentioned dates, they promised to pay their loan after six months or 180 days at an interest rate of 14.957 percent per annum. Upon maturity however, the bank and/or the signatories to the loan accommodation failed to pay.

Instead, they settled the loan through a dacion en pago of 483.97 hectares in Norzagaray, Bulacan, the same property that the complainants now before the Ombudsman are claiming to be lawfully theirs. At the time of the dacion, the zonal value assigned by the Bureau of Internal Revenue, which is supposed to approximate actual market value, was 60 pesos per square meter or 600,000 pesos per hectare. Those 484 hectares should therefore be worth 290 million pesos, but it was used to settle an account from the Bangko Sentral of 1.5 billion pesos! Can you beat that?

In fine, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas, fiduciary trustee of the people of the Republic of the Philippines, issuer of legal tender used by its benighted residents within the metes and bounds of the same Republic, now holds assets valued at 290 million, which “erased” liability of the Villars worth one and a half billion, or five times the value of the property now in its possession. In effect, the Bangko Sentral lost 1.210 billion of the people’s money to some very, very wise guys, for and in behalf of a hopelessly bankrupt Capitol Development Bank.

The deed of real estate mortgage was dated June 29, 2001 for the 483.973 hectares (484 has.) of agricultural land in Norzagaray, Bulacan which was used as payment for the P1.5 billion loan of CDB in April 1998. By this time, Manuel Villar had ceased to be Speaker of the House, and was already a candidate for senator of the realm under newly-proclaimed President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo’s People Power Movement ticket, in the “unusual” company of Joker Arroyo, his erstwhile tormentor-rival in 1998. Both won, Joker Arroyo for his tagline “Uubusin ang corrupt!” and Manuel Villar as “Mr. Sipag at Tiyaga”.

The perfect corporate crime, with the people of the Republic holding land one-fifth the value of the monies it lent? That’s not the end of the story, though.

It was only in 2007 that the complainant-farmers learned about the so-called nine transfer certificate of titles (TCT) covering the 484 hectares of land now being claimed by the BSP as their property after the foreclosure proceedings it conducted against the CDB.

The complainant-farmers, whose forebears had been cultivating the land since the turn of the last century, learned about the BSP’s claim only when they filed before the Malolos City Regional Trial Court for reconstitution of their land titles after the records of their titles in Norzagaray were burned in a fire that destroyed the building which houses the local Register of Deeds.

The complainants questioned the validity of TCTs in the possession of BSP since the date of issuance of the sales patent on July 17, 1944 and the date of issuance of the original certificate title (OCT) on July 25, 1944 “took place when there was no civil government in the Philippines.”

The complainants added that Commonwealth Act 141, as amended, maintained that “authorizing the issuance of sales patent was illegal and inoperative during the Japanese occupation.”

Sa madaling salita, “peke” pa ang mga titulo ng lupa na ibinayad sa Bangko Sentral!

Niloko na nga sa over-valued na halaga, naloko pa ang Bangko Sentral, na binayaran ng “mickey mouse” torrens title, issued during the Japanese occupation. At ninakawan ng lupain ang mga mahihirap na magsasaka. Will wonders never cease?

When the complaint before the Office of the Ombudsman was printed in a broadsheet, the spokesperson of the Villar companies, or was it the Nacionalista spokesman, former Rep. Gilbert Remulla of Cavite, the young man who would be senator of the realm, called it “old hat”, “recycled issues” that were already dismissed by the Ombudsman. “Pulitika lang ‘yan”, he scoffed. Yet a check with the agency records in the pink building along Agham Road in Quezon City shows that what was brought before the graft prosecutor was a mere letter-complaint, and this is the first time that a formal complaint of plunder regarding the transaction was received by them.

The signatories of the promissory notes for which Bangko Sentral loaned out 1.5 billion of the people’s money were Mrs. Cynthia Villar, not yet a congresswoman at the time of the transaction, and Ditas Magno, with Arturo de los Santos participating at the time of the dacion. The signatory for the Bangko Sentral was Andres Rustia.

Yet, the complainants and their lawyer included Senate President Manuel Villar in the complaint, who at the time of the transaction and its episodes, was either a congressman or already Speaker of the House. The lawyer explained that though Villar was not a signatory, the circumstances in the irregular and unusually generous transaction suggest clearly that the latter must have exerted undue influence or pressure upon the officers of the Bangko Sentral.

While that contention may be legally debatable, would Manny Villar leave his wife the congresswoman to answer this complaint singly? Can he simply shrug these charges off as “recycled” and “old” or leave the explaining to his faithful political acolytes, as he did the mystery of the 200 million double entry which would cross through properties he and his wife own, and for which monies of the Republic were used to compensate for road right of way? ”


Villar's graft recorded in books

from the book  “Credit Derivative Strategies”
by Rohan Douglas

Villar appears on page 30:

One example was C&P Homes (C&P), a Philippine corporate property developer of low-end housing. The company owned a substantial amount of land around Manila and had issued dollar-denominated debt to finance its land purchases and to develop the land. However, when the Asia crisis occurred, land values collapsed and the company ran out of cash. The company suggested a restructuring under which creditors would have taken a large haircut. Creditors explored legal avenues to foreclose on C&P’s holdings. However, despite spending substantial time and legal fees on these efforts, creditors were unable to gain control of company property or force liquidation because of the lack of reliable bankruptcy laws in the Philippines. C&P’s controlling shareholder was Senator Manuel Villar who was able to use his position to further stymie creditor efforts to force a restructuring or foreclose on C&P properties.

About the Author

Rohan Douglas, editor of this volume, is the founder and CEO of Quantifi Inc., a leading provider of pricing models and risk analysis tools for structured credit. He has more than twenty-five years of experience in the global financial industry. Prior to founding Quantifi, he was the director of global credit research at Citigroup and Salomon Smith Barney where he worked for ten years. Douglas has worked in interest-rate derivatives, emerging markets, and global fixed income. He is also an adjunct professor in the graduate financial engineering program at Polytechnic University in New York and at the Macquarie University Applied Finance Centre in Australia and Singapore.

Villar appears on page 30, quote:

One example was C&P Homes (C&P), a Philippine corporate property developer of low-end housing.  The company owned a substantial amount of land around Manila and had issued dollar-denominated debt to finance its land purchases and to develop the land.  However, when the Asia crisis occurred, land values collapsed and the company ran out of cash.  The company suggested a restructuring under which creditors would have taken a large haircut.  Creditors explored legal avenues to foreclose on C&P’s holdings.  However, despite spending substantial time and legal fees on these efforts, creditors were unable to gain control of company property or force liquidation because of the lack of reliable bankruptcy laws in the Philippines.  C&P’s controlling shareholder was Senator Manuel Villar who was able to use his position to further stymie creditor efforts to force a restructuring or foreclose on C&P properties.

Arroyo's father opposed midnight appointments

Arroyo’s father opposed midnight appointments of Garcia
by Carmela Fonbuena, | 01/15/2010 9:18 PM

MANILA, Philippines – President Arroyo’s father, the late former President Diosdado Macapagal, strongly opposed midnight appointments of his predecessor, the camp of presidential candidate Senator Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino reminded the Palace on Friday.

“Si Presidente Gloria Macapagal Arroyo [ay] nagbabalak na hindi sumunod sa ginawa ng kanyang sariling ama na si Dating Pangulong Diosdado Macapagal nang baliwalain nito ang pagtalaga ni Dating Pangulong Carlos P. Garcia ng gobernador Bangko Sentral dahil nilabag nito ang batas ukol sa midnight appointments, na nakapaloob sa ating Saligang Batas,” Aquino said on Friday.

President Arroyo allegedly pushed administration ally Quezon City Rep. Matias Defensor into calling on the Judicial and Bar Council (JBC) to begin the process of nominating the successor of Chief Justice Reynato Puno.

Aquino joined critics in saying that President Arroyo cannot appoint Puno’s successor. He retires on May 17, 2010, a week after Election Day, which is well within the 2-month ban on midnight appointments.

350 appointments cancelled

When he became president in 1961, the late Diosdado Macapagal issued Administrative Order No. 2 cancelling up to 350 appointments issued by his predecessor Carlos P. Garcia a day before he [Macapagal] assumed office on Dec. 30, 1961.

One of Garcia’s appointments, Dominador Aytona, challenged the administrative order before the Supreme Court. He wanted the court to uphold his appointment as Central Bank governor and cancel Macapagal’s appointee Andres Castillo.

But Aytona failed to argue his case. The Supreme Court (SC) upheld Macapagal’s administrative order.

“It is common sense to believe that after the proclamation of the election of President Macapagal, his (Garcia) was no more than a ‘care-taker’ administration. He was duty bound to prepare for the orderly transfer of authority the incoming President, and he should not do acts which he ought to know, would embarrass or obstruct the policies of his successor,” said the Supreme Court decision upholding Macapagal’s administrative order.

“It was not for him to use powers as incumbent President to continue the political warfare that had ended or to avail himself of presidential prerogatives to serve partisan purposes,” the SC added.

Her father’s arguments

President Arroyo’s father made strong arguments against the midnight appointments of Garcia.

The reasons behind President Diosdado Macapagal’s administrative order, according to the SC decision, were:

(1) the outgoing President should have refrained from filling vacancies to give the new President an opportunity to consider names in the light of his new policies, which were approved by the electorate in the last elections;

(2) these scandalously hurried appointments in mass do not fall within the intent and spirit of the constitutional provision authorizing the issuance of ad interim appointments;

(3) the appointments were irregular, immoral and unjust, because they were issued only upon the condition that the appointee would immediately qualify obviously to prevent a recall or revocation by the incoming President, with the result that those deserving of promotion or appointment who preferred to be named by the new President declined and were by-passed; and,

(4) the abnormal conditions surrounding the appointment and qualifications evinced a desire on the part of the outgoing President merely to subvert the policies of the incoming administration.

The 1987 Constitution categorically provides for the ban on midnight appointments.

Article VII, Section 15 reads: “Two months immediately before the next presidential elections and up to the end of his term, a President or Acting President shall not make appointments, except temporary appointments to executive positions when continued vacancies therein will prejudice public service or endanger public safety.”


Link to SC decision on Aytona vs Castillo:

Why Gibo Teodoro changed his mind on the RH Bill

Why Gibo Teodoro changed his mind on RH Bill
Wednesday, 20 January 2010 08:41 AM Rochelle Sy Chua

Presidential candidate Gibo Teodoro & his pretty wife, the congresswoman from the 1st district of Tarlac were once supporters of the Reproductive Health (RH) bill. A few weeks ago, they changed their minds regarding the RH bill. So when the opportunity came to ask Mr. Teodoro some questions, I had to take it.

Why did Gibo change his mind regarding the RH bill?

Gibo Teodoro answered my question with authority & strong conviction. I was actually speechless throughout his reply. Now after reviewing the video that I just realized that I have several followup questions to his answer.

Gibo Teodoro said the main problem of the RH bill debate was this: Everybody got so involved with the bill & how to pass it that everybody forgot about what the actual problem was and how to fix it.

Mr. Teodoro then said that this debate is about government substituting itself as the people’s moral guardians. He said it was a mistake because family planning is a personal issue. He then recounted that the Reproductive Health bill will not pass. He reasoned, what good can the RH Bill do if we fight for something knowing the effort would simply fail?

GIbo said that there are things we need to know about our population problem:

* We have this problem because we have limited resources;
* We have a finite quantity of land for 92M and growing population. This population we will need to feed and provide for;
* There’s the classic conflict between church and state. He said that we get into trouble without our moral guardians.

Then there’s the classic conflict between church and state. Gibo believes that the right thing to do is to accept that the government is not the right moral guardian for personal questions.

What personal questions? Like whether to have children or not. How many children they should have and what method of contraception and family planning to use.

Gibo believes that our moral guardians must be responsible for reproductive health because it is a question of morality and a personal choice. However he thinks that moral guardians must be responsible and accountable for our population management.

Gibo Teodoro has this belief that a government’s role in reproductive health is to support a couple’s moral choice (not influence it). Gibo Teodoro chose to withdraw his support for the bill because he thinks that we are not dealing with the problem but we get involved only in a debate that nobody wins.

However, I think Gibo Teodoro forgets that the Church– our moral guardians have already been in charge of our reproductive health for centuries since we have been a Catholic and very religious Country for that long. That’s why we have a population problem because our moral guardians have failed. Isn’t that why we are debating reproductive health today because our population problem is already an issue? So, why should we give them a chance when they have already failed?

When Gibo Teodoro mentioned that at some point, it is shown that the “experiment” is not working, then the government should step in. As I mentioned in my previous article on Reproductive Health Bill, if we don’t act now, then we will double our population in 10 years. Is this the time that Gibo will start to step in? When everything is too late?

Mr. Teodoro must realize that time is not on our side. We don’t have time to “experiment”. We cannot pass responsibility to our moral guardians. We cannot pass responsibility of reproductive health to some future generation. If Mr. Teodoro will become the next president of the Philippines, then he needs to make a stand or else our country will be facing greater problems years from now.

Gibo’s stand on Reproductive Health Bill & Population Management is actually to do nothing & wait till everything is out of control. He does not realize though that for many families, when it comes to reproductive health & family planning, they don’t really have a real choice. Either because of lack of education regarding contraception & family planning or lack of essential tools. If our moral guardians had these education & tools then his “experiment” would suffice.

The perils of mock elections

The perils of mock elections

By Manuel L. Quezon III
Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 22:15:00 12/02/2009

BOTH Belinda Oliveras-Cunanan and Bobit S. Avila are entranced by what Cunanan considers Gilbert Teodoro’s “surging” in a Facebook (FB) “survey” of presidential candidates, with Avila asserting that the FB results are superior to those of surveys done by Pulse Asia or Social Weather Stations. The only problem is that their excitement stems from a lack of comprehension of what is going on.

There is no FB survey. Avila in particular seems to believe it is FB itself that has taken it upon itself to start tracking opinion with regard to the candidates for the Philippine presidency. As an active FB user, I think this is a disservice to FB, to those who have created applications related to the 2010 campaign, to the candidates, and to the broader public.

What Cunanan and Avila referred to in their columns, and what was reported in various news stories, is an application, and if you go to the Election2010 page on FB, it very clearly says, “this application was not developed by Facebook.”

The Election2010 application isn’t a survey application. It is an ongoing effort, over multiple rounds, to periodically undertake mock elections. The Round 1 results were published on Sunday, Nov. 15: Aquino 48.48 percent; Escudero 24.24 percent; Teodoro 12.12 percent; Villar 12.12 percent; Estrada 3.03 percent. Round 2 started on Monday, Nov. 16 and lasted until Sunday, Nov. 22, 11:59 p.m. and its results were: Aquino 47.59 percent; Teodoro 25.13 percent; Villar 13.37 percent; Escudero 11.76 percent; Estrada 2.14 percent. Round 3 started on Monday, Nov. 23, 2009 and lasted until Sunday, Nov. 29, at 11:59 p.m. with the following results: Teodoro 58.69 percent; Aquino 31.90 percent; Villar 6.79 percent; Estrada 1.07 percent; Escudero 0.83 percent; Ebdane 0.71 percent. As of this writing, Round 4 was ongoing and Teodoro has 63.40 percent, Aquino 28.41 percent, Villar 6.82 percent, Estrada 1.36 percent.

The experiment has, at its core, only those who are aware of, and use, the application. You have to know about it, and install it, and authorize it, in order to use it. Also, the experiment does not report the actual votes, only percentages. Therefore those who want to make sense of the results have no means of finding out how many people participated in each round of voting.

The Election2010 page reports the following statistics: It has 1,605 active users, which means this is more or less the active voting population that participates in each round of the mock polls. It has 43 friends, and 395 fans. The active users represents the largest potential voting population for the application; but it could also mean 1,600 people are the total voters for what is now four rounds, not the total voters for each round. We have to extrapolate what the voting population might be, without being able to answer how many actually vote in any given round, and what’s more, since the application is open for sharing, whether the boosters of any particular candidate can inflate the results for their candidate by swarming the application during each round.

For a comparison of how online surveys can and ought to be reported, the Definitely Filipino Facebook page has 400,000 fans, making for a much larger potential voting population. On Dec. 2, a mock poll was put up using the application. The results as of 1:26 p.m. on Dec. 2 were: Aquino 54 percent (268 votes); Teodoro 19 percent (94 votes); Villar 14 percent (68 votes), Gordon 5 percent (23 votes), Villanueva 3 percent (17 votes), Estrada 3 percent (13 votes), Fernando 2 percent (12 votes), Madrigal one percent (1 vote)—a total of 496 votes out of a potential vote pool of 400,000. If you’re not on Facebook you can access the mock poll and its results at: 2009/12/02/mock-poll/. This points to something Election2010 can do in terms of the ongoing development of the application: it can break down actual votes, so that people who participate and view the results, or who report on the results, can determine the actual number of voters per round, and the breakdown per candidate.

One thing is sure: Neither the 2010 FB application nor the ongoing voting in the Truly Filipino page has ever claimed to be surveys. Both are mock polls. They are not based on random sampling of the population, they are based on whoever runs across, or hears about, the mock polls and decides to join them. And both, by the very nature of Facebook, rely on limited populations—not even the total potential voting population, spread across multiple pages, of the various candidates.

A comparison to the active fan base of the candidates is useful at this point. In Facebook, most of the candidates have fan pages where their supporters congregate and share information and opinions among themselves. For the major candidates who have official fan pages (pages they have endorsed or accredited), here are the numbers: Aquino—109,349; Villar—38,261; Escudero (now dropped out of the race)—13,098; Teodoro—7,743; Estrada—3,403. In addition, Aquino has accredited other FB pages, so you have the Noynoy for President Movement with 56,327 fans, Noynoy for President with 24,010, Yellow Ribbon for President Cory Aquino with 66,939 and Cebu Volunteers for Noynoy with 991 and Tsinoy for Noy with 394—a total of 148,661 in the accredited FB pages.

Another way to measure commitment to the candidates is by means of Twitter, where people can follow people and candidates they like. A total of 20,461 follow Noynoy Aquino’s and 22,116 follow Mar Roxas’ Twitter accounts, respectively; 15,541 follow Escudero’s; 4,190 follow Teodoro’s; and 585 follow Villar’s. On the other hand, Villar is the master of Friendster, with 14,727 friends followed by Escudero with 1,155, Aquino with 218, and Teodoro with 140. Villar also dominates Multiply with 2,541 connections, while Aquino has 89 and Teodoro, 29.

Experiments like the Election2010 application are being seriously misrepresented. Hopefully due to ignorance and nothing else.

Is Villar GMA's secret candidate?

‘Her’ man
Lito Banayo
January 7, 2010

‘Her real man for the May elections is Manny Villar. God save this country.’

THE last reputable surveys done after the filing of certificates of candidacy show three presidential candidates at the top: Noynoy Aquino in the mid to high forties, Manny Villar and Erap Estrada in a virtual tie at 20 or 19 percentage points. And Gilbert Teodoro, the man anointed by the once humongous Partido Lakas-Kampi founded by Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, incumbent and long-staying president of the benighted republic, at low single-digit numbers. The rest are also-rans, at 1 percentage point or even lower.

Why the regime’s anointed is languishing at bottom lows, despite the vaunted party machinery, the well-placed ads projecting competence and intelligence (“galing at talino”), and despite inarguably better speaking and debating skills than the competition, is attributable to the public belief that he is “Gloria’s man”, the chosen “one”, the person she deems most fit to succeed and most acceptable to her. Unfortunately for him, the person who chose him above all else happens to be most distrusted by the population. That distrust for his patroness drags Gibo down, never mind his personal qualities. It carries over to his persona, reinforced in no small measure by his having expressed not only the usual paeans of gratitude, but a public admiration for her “many achievements,” something clearly the people do not share. To do a volte face at this time will no longer be credible. Gilbert Teodoro’s chances are virtually nil. Even Ronaldo Puno’s vaunted skills cannot resurrect flagging hopes. Nor Virgilio Garcillano’s magic do the trick. Perhaps if Norberto Gonzales succeeds in discombobulating everything and upsetting the applecart of elections… perhaps, but that’s a big if, and assuming the guy and his patroness can pull it through, will the people ever be so supine as to take such adventurism lying down?

It does not help Teodoro one whit that his patroness has filed her certificate of candidacy for the second congressional district of Pampanga. The undisguised attempt to pull strings even beyond her wished-for political demise, ruling beyond the grave as it were, makes Teodoro look all the more the puppet that he is unfairly made to be.

Yesterday, the papers carried Speaker Prospero Nograles’ inclusion of the call for a constitutional convention, as if to further stress the GMA plan so obvious. But because Gibo’s presidential ambition is singularly anchored on the support of her party and its minions across the archipelago, he cannot publicly balk. In fact, he is on record as supporting a change in the Constitution. While amending the fundamental law is right, espousing it at the moment when people so clearly distrust the sincerity of the incumbent is off-key. Gilbert cannot even publicly state that if elected president, he will wield his influence to ensure that GMA does not become his Speaker of the House. So whether for better, or predictably for worse, Gloria’s distrust rating will be the albatross around Gilbert’s neck. His goose is cooked, never mind how often Prospero Pichay and Mitos Magsaysay whistle in the dark.

Which brings me to this story: A few days before Manny Pacquiao knocked down Ricky Hatton in early May, the spouses Cynthia and Manuel Villar flew to Spain. Likewise, Gloria flew to Egypt and Syria for official visits. Why she had to go to these North African countries the public was never clear at, but in any case, they took it as just one of her usual flights of fancy. The Villars were waiting in Spain for cues from a well-placed Gloria crony, who was supposed to arrange a rendezvous with her in some warm Mediterranean coast.

Fortunately, this writer found out about the Villar travel plans. And so, just as Doña Gloria landed in Egypt, the cat was out of the bag. Expectedly, Malacañang made denials. Senadora Jamby Madrigal got into the act, and denounced Villar for desperately seeking La Gloria’s support in his attempt to derail the Senate ethics probe. This, after all, was Villar’s immediate problem. The attempted rendezvous panned out.

But then, and here our travel facts jibe with the veracity of highly reliable sources, a top-level meeting was supposed to have yet pushed through here in the country. And GMA, wanting for a strong contender her PaLaKa simply could not pull off from its hat, warmed up to the idea of Villar as her “secret” candidate. Classified as opposition, though not an “obstructionist” or a GMA basher as the rest of the presidential pack, Villar qualified as an acceptable alternative bet. Moreover, he was already ahead of her vice-president, Noli de Castro in the May surveys. Better yet, he had wherewithal to the max, the result of “smart” transactions capped by an even “smarter” IPO of his real estate empire the year before. Noli she had to spend fr, but with Manny, she gets a free ride.

The result of the “transaction” as my source confided is that GMA would endorse a “weak” but credible enough candidate, and not “encourage” Noli to run for president, a prospect that the not-so-ambitious vice-president was not inordinately “lusting” for. And on his part, Villar would keep dangling a “repeat vice-president” string, loaded with generous freebies, to his bosom friend Noli, a “red herring” of an offer. If GMA would have a weak official candidate, Manny with his huge war chest would prevail in the 2010 derby, the ideal surrogate. Neat.

After all, Lacson had withdrawn; Escudero had no money and would have to rely on Danding and Ramon Ang’s promises; Mar Roxas and Loren Legarda were languishing in single-digit survey static; and Erap would be disqualified. And true enough, when the SWS polled in mid-June 2009, it was a statistical tie among Villar, Chiz and Erap, with Noli behind, Loren and Mar even more so. Teodoro had launched his clumsy disaster preparedness infomercial a month before, its debut timed with Hatton’s early knock-out from the Pacman’s fists, and while everybody shook his head at his “late” entry and doubted his chances, most agreed he had intellectual credentials, credibility as candidate but not enough to win. Gravitas, but not votes.

And then the Lord writ his providence with sad tidings. On August 1, Corazon Aquino died after a long bout with cancer, and the political stage shook underneath. Forty days later, a game changer came in with Noynoy on the presidential trail. All previous assumptions changed, including the fortunes of Gloria’s pre-arranged surrogate. Likely unstoppable winner became a distant second, despite tons and tons of creative advertising and a bevy of turncoats. From September till December of the year past, Noynoy kept his commanding lead. Escudero withdrew, Erap persists, but Gibo continues to languish in the political netherworld.

And that is where the woman of the decade finds immediate political dilemma at this point in time. Her anointed has not risen, and her alternate, though far from victory, presents the single most “possible” threat to the front-runner she could not accept because he is the least likely to “transact.”

If creative advertising and a well-run because well-funded campaign pulls Villar up in the next three months, and a demolition job somehow pushes down Noynoy’s lead considerably (or so the evil are planning), then it’s game for Manny and goodbye for Gibo. Garci and the “operators” should be able to do the trick, with Smartmatic laying the predicate.

But would Manny the new president be faithful to his “no me impune” assurances? Why not?

They would need each other most after a certifiably controversial “election”. She with her residual powers as “commander-in-chief” between May 10 and June 30 just might be able to quell the tumult of the rabble. That’s why Del Bangit and the Class of ’78 are in the “proper” places. And he would at least be able to recover his billions, while stopping prosecution for “smart” deals made as congressman, Speaker, senator and Senate President, charges with enough documentary evidence to prosecute, but parried successfully by “smart” propaganda so far. Never mind if he has to deal with “her” congressmen with her (misma!) as Speaker. If he is off to wobbly start, he would not get his bearings composed, and she, as “Speaker” and alternate “power center”, just might be able to pull off her parliamentary dreams of becoming the prime minister.

There you are – “her” real man for the May elections. God save this country.

Iba pang "budget insertion" ibinuko na rin ni Lacson kontra kay Villar

Iba pang budget insertion ibinuko na rin ni Lacson
(Pilipino Star Ngayon) Updated September 16, 2008 12:00 AM

Hindi lamang ang P200 milyong budget insertion ang tinumbok kahapon ni Lacson, kundi maging ang iba pang “budget insertion” na ginawa sa Senado.

Natuklasan umano ni Lacson sa page 564 ng 2008 General Appropriations Act sa ilalim ng budget ng Department of Public Works and Highway (DPWH) ang paglalaan ng budget para sa widening ng Governor’s Drive (Carmona-Dasmariñas-Trece Martires City Road including bridges) na nilaanan ng P50 milyon, pero sa page 646 ng nasabi ring budget book naglaan na naman ng panibagong P50 milyon sa kapareho pa ring proyekto.

Sinabi pa ni Lacson na sa pitong taon niya bilang mambabatas, ito ang unang pagkakataon na nakakita siya ng dalawang bersiyon ng iisang House bill, ang House Bill 2454 na isang kaso rin ng double entry.

Sa nasabing HB 2454 na tinawag ni Lacson na Red Version, nakapaloob ang locally funded projects ng DPWH na nagkakahalaga ng P52,648,923.000. Pero sa black version umano ng nasabi ring HB 2454 ang pondo ay naging P65,461,538,000, kung saan lumobo ito ng P13 bilyon.

Tahasang ikinumpara naman ni Sen. Joker Arroyo si Lacson sa isang security guard na natutulog sa kanyang trabaho kaya nalusutan nang nadiskubre nitong P200 milyong budget insertion.

Sinabi ni Arroyo na katulad ng isang security guard na natutulog sa trabaho, nagrereklamo si Lacson matapos magising at matuklasan na nanakawan na siya.

Kung isang pulis umano si Lacson, posibleng na­tanggal na ito sa trabaho dahil hindi agad nakita ang sinasabing lumusot na ‘budget’.

Ginawa ni Arroyo ang reaksiyon matapos mag privilege speech si Lacson tungkol sa mga budget insertion na natuklasan niya sa 2008 national budget.

Pinaninindigan ng ilang senador na walang masama sa ‘budget insertion’ dahil dito napopondohan ang ilan sa kanilang mga proyekto.

Pagkatapos ng tatlong beses na suspensiyon, nauwi rin sa adjournment ang sesyon ng Senado na mag­kakabalik ngayong araw sa ganap na alas-3 ng hapon. Inaasahan na muling mauungkat ang hindi natapos na isyu sa budget insertion kung saan nakakaladkad ang pangalan ni Senate President Manuel Villar. (Malou Escudero)

Villar admits involvement in "double insertion" in budget

Villar admits involvement in ‘double insertion’ in budget
09/16/2008 | 08:58 PM

MANILA, Philippines — In a turnaround from his earlier denials, Senate President Manuel Villar Jr on Tuesday admitted that he personally requested the additional budget for the C-5 road extension project in Parañaque City.

But he stressed that there was nothing anomalous with this action.

In an interview with Ruth Cabal of GMANews’ ‘24Oras,’ Villar admitted that he asked for the additional funding, but said he did not demand for any specific amount.

He added that request as such for certain projects is normal.

“Sa Senado lalung-lalo na kung Senate president napakaraming pakiusap na tinatanggap at ‘yung mga gusto naming mga proyekto ay gusto naming mapondohan (Here in the Senate, especially if you are the Senate president, we receive plenty of requests for funding for pet projects,” Villar said.

“Basta additional funding without specific amount pero kung ‘yun lang ang maibibigay, ok lamang ‘yan (As long as it’s additional funding without specific amount, it’s okay with us,” Villar added.

He also explained that the two C-5 extension proposals, indeed, are two different projects, opposite to the earlier claims of opposition Sen. Panfilo Lacson.

“Dalawang proyekto ‘yan. “Yung isang proyekto ay flyover na magkokonekta sa Coastal Road. ‘Yung second project ay flyover naman na magco-cross ng Sucat. So, eto ‘yung sinasabing isang proyekto lang, dalawang proyekto ‘yan (There are two projects here. One is the flyover connecting Coastal Road and the second project is a flyover that will cross Sucat. So this what they say is only one project but it’s actually two,” Villar explained.

But Lacson reiterated his stand that two separated P200 million insertions was for the one and the same stretch of road, adding that the investigation on his exposé should pursue.

“Pinakita ko na nga na ‘yung ibang proyekto naka-indicate point by point kung para saan ‘yung appropriations. Pero itong sa kanya, ‘yung sinasabi niyang hindi double entry, iisa naman and description. So palusot nalang ‘yan (I’ve already shown that in the other projects, the appropriations are indicated point-by-point. But this entry, which he (Villar) says is not ‘double entry,’ has only one description. So, he’s just trying to wriggle his way out),” Lacson said.

Senator Francis Escudero echoed Lacson.

“Que political of personal man ang rason nananatiling may issue at may tanong na dapat sagutin (Whether it’s political or personal reason, there is an issue raised that has to be answered,” Escudero said.

The report said the three resolutions seeking for the investigation of the scandal were already referred to the Senate Committees on Finance and Public Accountability (Blue Ribbon Committee).

Villar said he will not inhibit himself from the case, saying he will face any charges that will be filed against him.

Meanwhile, Sen. Joker Arroyo, a close friend of Villar, vowed to block any move that will lead to the investigation of the scandal.

“… Tell me Sen. Lacson where is the corruption committed?” Arroyo asked.

To which Lacson retorted: “Patulog-tulog siya kapag may privilege speech, patulog-tulog siya kapag meron business dito sa Senate, sa floor, tapos salita lang siya ng salita na hindi niya naiintindihan (He is not paying attention when we have business here in the Senate and he talks without understanding).”

Amid the brouhaha, oppositions Sens. Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III and Manuel Roxas stressed that the opposition remains solidly united behind Lacson’s move to expose any anomaly in the national budget.

Administration Sen. Juan Miguel Zubiri, on the other hand, described the bickering as just an appetizer for the nearing 2010 national elections.

“Yung nakikita po natin na putik na tinatapon on both sides ano na po ‘yan appetizer sa 2010 elections (What you have witnessed, in which both sides are throwing mud at each other, is just a prelude to the 2010 elections),” Zubiri said. – Aie Balagtas See, GMANews.TV