fake psychiatric report

Villar his own worst enemy

Villar his own worst enemy
By Amando Doronila
Philippine Daily Inquirer

The fall in the poll ratings of Sen. Manuel Villar accelerated during the last two weeks of April when two issues exploded to derail his presidential campaign.

The first was the news story on April 23 that Villar put pressure on the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the Philippine Stock Exchange (PSE) between May and June 2007 to release for a public offering locked-up shares of stocks of Villar’s real estate company.

The second issue stemmed from news reports on April 8 of an alleged psychiatric report on the mental health of Liberal Party presidential candidate Sen. Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III that turned out to be fake and originated from overenthusiastic “volunteer” supporters of Villar.

This report was dumped into the media stream as Villar’s poll ratings were going down. The publication of the falsified report in both broadcast and print media marked the descent of the 2010 presidential election into its lowest level of dirty tricks and smear campaign.

These news events have something to do with the decline of Villar’s ratings and the widening of the lead of Aquino up to the most recent 20 percentage points over the second-placer Villar in just a week before the May 10 presidential election.

These news developments threw into sharp relief as the underlying key election issue, i.e., who of the presidential candidates can be entrusted to run an honest and ethical government to replace the corrupt and scandal-ridden administration of exiting President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

The issue of integrity, honesty and conflict of interest has been highlighted by the media events of the past two weeks as the defining theme of the 2010 election.

Enrile disclosure

On April 22, Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile disclosed in a press conference minutes of the PSE discussions in 2007 on Villar’s Vista Land & Lifescapes Inc. showing that Villar appeared in a regular meeting of the PSE board and then had a caucus with them in June 2007.

As a result of Villar’s intervention, the PSE board allowed the release from escrow locked-up Vista Land shares for the company’s public offering.

From the record of all these proceedings, Enrile said there was no doubt in his mind that Senator Villar himself lobbied and exerted pressure to railroad the approval of his family-owned company’s request for exemption to enable him and his family to sell at a hefty premium their shares which were otherwise subject to a lockup period.

Enrile raised the issue of conflict of interest. He said that intervention of Villar showed that the latter, who was directly managing his company, violated the law. “He should have divested all his interests when he assumed his position as senator,” Enrile said.

Lirio article

Also delving into Villar’s interventions in the SEC and PSC, an article by Philippine Daily Inquirer reporter Gerry Lirio came out on April 24 revealing that Villar, then the Senate president, made several phone calls to the SEC and PSE officials seeking to release from escrow about 1.2 billion of the 5.3 billion secondary shares of Visa Land so these could be offered as both as primary and secondary shares at the same time, or several days apart.

According to SEC and PSE lawyers interviewed by Lirio, Villar not only made the calls but also appeared in SEC and PSE board meetings.

Villar and his wife Cynthia, the Las Piñas representative in Congress, are majority stockholders of Vista Land, the couple’s flagship company. Lirio’s article said the couple became P6.75 billion richer from the secondary offering of 985.9 million shares that began on July 26, 2007, or within the escrow period of 180 days from the date of initial offering.

According to lawyers, this offering violated Article III, Part D, Section 7 of the PSE’s revised listing rules, which provides for a 180-day lockup on secondary shares. The article said that simply put, Villar wanted the secondary offering held at once despite the 180-day lockup period. “He wanted to seize the day while the market was bullish,” the article said. “And he got it.”

Law on divestment

Villar said there was nothing inappropriate with his interventions in the PSE, pointing out that the PSE was not a government agency but a private company. He said the government earned more than P100 million in taxes from the public offering of Vista Land shares.

Villar is not entirely correct when he said his intervention did not violate any law. He must have overlooked Republic Act No. 6713, known as the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees.

Section 9 of RA 6713 states: “A public official or employee shall avoid conflict of interest at all times. When a conflict of interest arises, he shall resign from his position in any private business enterprise within 30 days from his assumption of office and/or divest himself of his shareholdings of interest within 60 days from such assumption. The same rule shall apply where the public official or employee is a partner in a partnership.”

There is nothing on record that Villar has divested himself of his holdings in his company when he intervened in the PSE and SEC.

Not so long ago, Sen. Joker Arroyo called the attention of Villar that the latter cannot be a senator and a businessman at the same time.

Villar has to make up his mind whether he is senator or a businessman. He is even aspiring to be the country’s president, who has vastly more powers of intervention in official or private business matters than a senator.

Ethical issue

We have to hear from Villar whether he will divest himself of his business interests and put them in a blind trust if he were elected president. This is an ethical issue that puts him on the spot.

His interventions reveals not only the ethical values of Villar on the issue of public office as a public trust but more so throws light into his methods in accumulating vast wealth as a businessman cloaked with the powers and influence of being a member of Congress for 16 years.

The newspaper disclosures of Villar’s interventions have drilled into the public more deeply ethical issues arising from the C-5 extension project which the Senate investigated and sought to reprimand the presidential candidate for his conduct.

The disclosure on Villar’s interventions in the PSE and SEC came at a time when he was struggling to overtake the widening lead of Aquino.

There is little doubt that the last-minute emergence of this ethical issue has not only badly damaged his campaign. It has allowed Aquino to pull away with a wide margin.

Villar laments he is swimming in “a sea of black propaganda.” But the case of his interventions are backed by documentary evidence.

Self-destruction

They are not faked documents unlike the fabricated psychiatric reports on Aquino.

Villar’s response to this crumbling ratings has only sunk him deeper. Reeling from the blows delivered by the surveys, Villar is his worst enemy.

His reckless and desperate responses have revealed that he has an enormous talent for self-destruction.

'Noynoy has come out of his shell'

‘Noynoy has come out of his shell’
By Aurea Calica
The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines – Maria Elena “Ballsy” Aquino-Cruz, eldest sister of Liberal Party standard-bearer Sen. Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III, told The STAR yesterday that her brother is coming out of his shell and he is “his own man.”

Contrary to claims that the senator can be pushed around and easily swayed or manipulated by people around him, his sister said he is proving to be the man of the house.

“Noy took after our Mom (the late President Corazon “Cory” Aquino) in his being simple and humble. But many people see his being sincere, simple and humble as a sign of weakness, that he will just listen to anybody,” Ballsy said.

“But it’s not true, even if he’s quiet, he has always been the strong one among all of us. It’s hard to change his mind, he knows what is right or wrong. He is his own man, he’s tough, he’s got that inner strength just like our mother,” Ballsy disclosed.

Ballsy said it is good that people can see the difference between Noynoy on the sidelines when their mother was still alive, and now that he is the leading presidential candidate.

“He’s really coming out of his shell,” Ballsy said.

She explained Noynoy had chosen to be on the sidelines in deference to their mother, even if they were telling him to be more high profile on his own after he was elected Tarlac congressman and then senator.

“I guess there’s really nothing much they can say about Noy so they just invent things. But some are really absurd, weird,” Ballsy said, referring to the numerous allegations against Noynoy, particularly the fake psychiatric report that was spread through the Internet and later picked up by media.

She admits they never expected some of the attacks to be so below-the-belt, but now realizes “it’s part of the (political) game.” Obviously, she says Noynoy’s rivals will throw all the mud at him to destroy him before the people.

“But I think fortunately, these vicious attacks are working for, not against, us, since people have become even more sympathetic,” Ballsy said, pointing out that she prefers to look at the brighter side of the campaign even if it has become so dirty – that the people have now come to see the tough side of her brother amid a hotly contested presidential election.

Ballsy also said she is happy with the way Noynoy is handling his campaign and how he had always been careful with his dealings with the government even when their mother was still president, since it is all now working to his advantage.

“He never committed any anomalies, even in paying taxes. His instruction is, what we have to pay, we pay,” she said.

Ballsy also pointed out that Noynoy cannot hide what he truly thinks and feels. But, she said, he is also like their mother in his manner of speaking delicately even when he is already criticizing people.

Warm welcome

During a late night rally in Cabanatuan City recently, Noynoy could not help but sing along with the crowd some lines of “Handog ng Pilipino sa Mundo” to show how much he appreciated their warm welcome.

He said the sight of supporters flooding their rallies and motorcades always gives him an adrenaline rush and the strength to stand for hours and hours during the campaign.

Ballsy said the warmth of the people has never subsided ever since the death of their mother in August last year.

She said their youngest sibling, television host and actress Kris Aquino-Yap, cannot campaign for Noynoy every day because she is taping her shows at ABS-CBN. The problem now also is that people want Noynoy himself and not his sisters or celebrities who can pinch-hit for him during the sorties, she said.

Ballsy further said Kris’ son, Baby James, is still joining the campaign despite his recent his slip-up in Bacolod. The two-year-old boy said “Villar” instead of Noynoy during the rally.

“That’s really funny. That is why we don’t let him hear whatever we talk about because he repeats everything. He blurts out and mixes up the names of all candidates – that’s how kids are. Kris was upset but we all took it lightly,” Ballsy says.

If he wins, Ballsy said they will also take turns assisting Noynoy since he does not have a wife to act as first lady.

“That will be easy. Our mother also did not have a first gentleman but we managed,” Ballsy said. Their father, former senator Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino Jr., was assassinated in August of 1983 after years of fighting the Marcos dictatorship.

‘Extremely balanced’

Noynoy, meantime, described as “extremely balanced” the article of Time magazine, which had him on the cover of its latest issue.

He is now among the few Filipinos who have made it to the magazine’s cover. His mother was on the cover as Time’s Person of the Year in 1986.

“Of course we’re still far from that,” he said when asked how he felt about the cover feature. Mrs. Aquino was again featured on the cover when she died last August.

“He (author) really wanted to write a balanced article, and it was an extremely balanced article,” he told reporters in Calamba, Laguna yesterday.

Aquino said the story “represents a challenge” to do more and transform the country.

Noynoy was featured in the April 25 issue of Time magazine, which will be carried in a limited Asian edition.

The article on him tackles his journey to the presidency months after his mother, who died of colon cancer, his family life, his bachelorhood and his struggle to win the May 10 presidential elections. – With Delon Porcalla

Why Nicky Perlas’ son convinced him to run

Why Nicky Perlas’ son convinced him to run
Philippine Daily Inquirer

MANILA, Philippines—Everyone knows that Surigao Rep. Prospero Pichay, one of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s political advisers, is heavily involved in the Lakas-Kampi-CMD campaign. But what exactly is he responsible for?

While Interior Secretary Ronaldo Puno is the de facto adviser of the ruling party’s standard-bearer Gilbert “Gibo” Teodoro and running mate Edu Manzano, Pichay is “the ‘impakto’ (monster) adviser of the party’s six ‘senatoriables,’” according to Pichay himself.

Pichay was a recent guest at the Senate Kapihan, along with lawyer Adel Tamano, Nacionalista Party spokesperson and senatorial candidate. He arrived first and engaged in light banter with reporters before the forum started.

When Tamano came in, Pichay approached him with a big grin, shook his hand, and said:

“I’m watching the mudslinging between your standard-bearer (Sen. Manuel “Manny” Villar) and (Liberal Party standard-bearer Sen. Benigno) Noynoy (Aquino). I have to tell you, I’m enjoying it.”

* * *

At the forum, Pichay vowed eternal loyalty to the defection-plagued Lakas-Kampi-CMD and claimed that he would not be among those jumping ship.

“They’re talking about more big fish transferring from Lakas to the Liberal Party. Definitely, that would not be me. I’m not a big fish; I’m Pichay, so I’m a vegetable,” he quipped.

With talk making the rounds about the bogus medical report on Aquino’s mental state—purportedly leaked by the Nacionalistas—Tamano announced that he decided to take a neuro-psychiatric test at the Philippine General Hospital last week.

“Sometimes I have to ask myself whether I have become a bit crazy for entering politics,” he explained. “Perhaps we’ll find out in a week if I’m still sane.” Cathy C. Yamsuan

Gordon in tears

Mounting a show of force despite his dismal showing in the surveys (which he said he did not believe in anyway), Sen. Richard “Dick” Gordon recently gathered the groups backing his candidacy in a press conference at a restaurant in Intramuros, Manila.

Gordon broke into tears as he spoke about the country’s urgent need for effective leaders, saying he ran for president even if he could have easily sought reelection as a senator. He said he could no longer bear seeing the suffering of the people.

Sumptuous dishes were later served, including grilled fish and kare-kare prepared by the restaurant’s owner, Gordon’s sister Barbara.

She happens to be the mother of Olongapo Councilor John Carlos “JC” de los Reyes, one of Gordon’s rivals for the presidency.

* * *

Gordon was observed again tearing up while watching a documentary produced by his staff of his activities as chair of the Philippine Red Cross.

The hourlong video showed footage of the PRC operations Gordon had led, including its response to the “Wowowee” game show stampede in 2005, the Glorietta mall explosion in 2007, and the “Ondoy” and “Pepeng” flash floods last year, among other emergencies.

It also featured interviews with patients who had received aid from PRC, including the wife of an old man who became comatose in a plane bound for London.

The plane was forced to make an emergency landing in Russia and Gordon later helped bring the couple home after a monthlong stay in a foreign hospital.

Gordon’s tears kept flowing even after the presentation, especially when one of his aides, lawyer Kim Baltao, said: “I am so proud of you, boss!”

* * *

Gordon and his running mate Bayani Fernando were recently featured in ANC’s “Strictly Politics,” with Gordon being interviewed in the studio and Fernando joining him via a live feed from Davao.

Fernando said that if he became vice president, he would be ready to take over in case the president suffered a heart attack or resigned.

Hearing this, Gordon smiled, then quickly crossed himself. He’s in the pink of health, he later told the anchor Pia Hontiveros.

The following week, at Gordon’s press conference in Intramuros, Fernando thanked his partner’s Bagumbayan party, which, he said, had allowed him to tag along as a passenger.

But who knows, he said, if he would get lucky some day, he could eventually become the driver. Edson C. Tandoc Jr.

Nice guy, but …

Environmentalist Nicanor “Nicky” Perlas senses “a struggle within” Gibo Teodoro, the other “green” candidate (in terms of campaign color) in the presidential race.

“I think he’s a nice guy but he ended up in the wrong company,” Perlas, 60, said of the 45-year-old Teodoro at a recent meeting with Inquirer editors and reporters.

An independent candidate, Perlas said Teodoro had confided to him some thoughts about the latter’s connections to “certain powerful politicians.”

“I know there is a struggle within him about his association [with these people],” Perlas said. “He is struggling to be loyal and at the same time he wants to be independent.”

Perlas said he had developed a friendship with Teodoro, thanks to the forums where they sat next to each other when the candidates were arranged in alphabetical order.

“If he were in a different company, he would be an interesting person,” Perlas said.

He said he had also become particularly close to two other contenders, JC de los Reyes and Sen. Maria Ana Consuelo Madrigal.

“But that doesn’t mean we’re the same,” he quickly added.

* * *

Perlas’ 20-year-old son—Christopher Michael Perlas, a business management student at De La Salle University in Manila—draws curious stares whenever he tags along with his dad to interviews and forums.

He looks American (hazel eyes, light brown hair) and speaks with an American accent, but he is proving to be Filipino through and through as he helps his dad wage an uphill battle.

The young man helps Perlas run his website, promotes him on Facebook, and gets other Lasallians on the bandwagon.

He even lets his dad “sleep over” in his flat at the Ortigas Center.

“I try to help in whatever way I can. I haven’t been able to join his out-of-town sorties because I still have school, but I’ll join him when school’s out in two weeks,” Christopher said.

* * *

A Filipino citizen, Christopher was born and raised in the Philippines but spent about a year in the United States with his American mother, Kathryn Carpenter, when he was very young.

He attended, among other schools, the Manila Waldorf School, where his mother is a teacher.

His parents have been separated since 2008.

Christopher said he was free to stay with either parent. “Last night I was with mom … It was never like I was in a position where I had to choose where to live,” he said of his living arrangements.

Perlas’ campaign manager Tammy Dinopol said Christopher’s parents had put the Ortigas condominium unit in his name so he would be independent.

“Nick’s house is in Iloilo, and when he’s in Manila he lives with Christopher. We always kid him that he has to pay rent to his son,” Dinopol said.

Christopher said his mother “is very supportive of the campaign, but she’d rather not go public.”

* * *

Perlas said one of their father-and-son talks helped push him to make the life-changing decision to run for president.

“He told me that since I have so many complaints about the government, why don’t I try to run for president myself,” Perlas recalled. “It was one of the things that convinced me to run.”

Christopher said he was, therefore, not “too surprised” when his dad finally announced his candidacy.

“What my father wants is real change. He is very different from the other candidates because he’s truly new to this, and he has so much to offer the country,” the proud son said. DJ Yap

‘Lechon’ lover

Here’s an idea of how Pwersa ng Masang Pilipino’s Joseph Estrada loves lechon.

At a dinner hosted by the mayor of Compostela town in Cebu, he all but ignored the other sumptuous dishes and made straight for the roast pig at the end of the buffet.

On his way back to his table, someone called his attention, causing him to tilt his plate.

A huge piece of lechon landed on the tiled floor, just a few inches from the grass.

Estrada quickly picked it up and pronounced it serviceable: “Pwede pa ’to.” Christian V. Esguerra

No-shows be warned

Presidential candidates should choose wisely which speaking engagements to skip.

At their recent national convention at the SM Mall of Asia, officers of the Philippine Association of Local Treasurers and Assessors were disappointed to hear that Noynoy Aquino, Manny Villar, Joseph Estrada and Gibo Teodoro could not make it to the affair.

Of those invited, only Dick Gordon showed up—and received a warm welcome from an audience of around 3,000.

Aquino was represented by LP senatorial candidate Risa Hontiveros, Villar by his son Mark, and Estrada by his son, San Juan Mayor JV Ejercito.

No one came to represent Teodoro.

Aquino et al. may have upset the wrong crowd: During elections, a town’s treasurer sits in the municipal board of canvassers, together with representatives of the Commission on Elections and the Department of Education.

“Do not underestimate the local treasurers and assessors and remember their multiplier effect,” a female officer said onstage after announcing that the four VIPs had reneged on their commitment to attend.

“And in the absence of the local treasurer, an assessor can be appointed to take his place. This makes our participation in the elections very important,” the officer later told the Inquirer. Cathy C. Yamsuan