Easter greetings in an open letter to Kumpareng Manny Villar
AS I WRECK THIS CHAIR By William M. Esposo
The Philippine Star
My dear Kumpareng Manny:
First of all, I sincerely wish you the blessings and the emancipating effects of the TRUTH OF EASTER. Easter is the ultimate confirmation of the TRUTH of Jesus Christ — the fulfillment of the prophecy that the Messiah shall rise three days after death.
We miss the essence of Easter if we fail to live in the light of truth. Our nation is in this sorry state because many Filipinos do not know the truth, especially the historical truth. Thus it becomes the hallmark of a great Filipino leader to enlighten his benighted nation, not exploit it.
Because ours is a benighted nation, it all the more makes it a sacred duty for a serious, sincere writer to use his talent to share the truth with the people who are exploited because they do not know the truth.
When Senator Panfilo Lacson prosecuted you in the Senate for alleged DOUBLE INSERTION in the C-5 Road Project, I defended you. I defended you not because we were Kumpadres (Godfathers) for standing as sponsors in the wedding of Paolo and Carmina Saycon — but because I saw that the charges against you were false and baseless. True enough, the Finance Committee headed then by Senator Juan Ponce-Enrile absolved you.
Then when Senators Lacson and Jamby Madrigal charged you before the Senate Ethics Committee, a move which I saw as forum shopping and particularly unjust because your political rivals were going to sit in judgment over you — I again raised a howl and denounced it.
But when crusading lawyer Ernesto “Jun” Francisco started presenting the evidences against you in the Ethics Case Hearing, I was compelled to stop defending you. Just like what CSI lead characters Gil Grissom and Mac Taylor would always advice, follow the evidence more than the statements. I did and the evidences that were presented — all 900 documents of them — formed an ugly picture of my Kumpadre.
As a crusader for bridging the information and education gaps in our country and also as a former advertising professional, I could not help but challenge your assertion in that TV commercial of yours where you made a panata (advocacy). Having challenged your claim of being dirt-poor once upon a time in my February 7, 2010 column (“Was Manny Villar really ever poor?”) — I decided to check out your latest claim that your younger brother Danny died because your family did not have the money to provide him proper medical care (“mamatayan ng kapatid dahil wala kang pera pangpagamot”).
Two authenticated public documents — Danny’s death certificate and the land title transfer certificate (TCT) of your place of residence when Danny died — indicated that your family could afford proper medical care. Those points were well discussed in my March 28, 2010 column (“How Manny Villar lied and used the death of his brother Danny”). As it turned out, Danny died from leukemia, an incurable disease in 1962 which killed both the super rich and super poor.
Did you confront the issue squarely? No, you did not. Just like what you did in the Senate, you employed all the methods of obfuscation and diversion in order to avoid and cover up the inconvenient truth. Among the cheap stunts you resorted to were the following:
1. You attempted to link the issue with your political opponent in order to justify branding it as politically motivated and as black propaganda. The issue emanated from writers who doubted your truthfulness (not from the Liberal Party) and the challenge was based on authentic public documents and therefore cannot be considered as black propaganda.
2. You diverted the issue to a house in Tondo from that damning 560 square meter (sqm) lot in upper class San Rafael Village in Navotas where your family resided when Danny died. The point is focused on the financial capability of a family living in a 560 sqm lot in a Navotas upper class subdivision.
3. You tried to make San Rafael Village look like a stinking place beside Smokey Mountain when in fact there was no Smokey Mountain when Danny died. I have a good friend (from a rich Filipino-Chinese family) who lived in San Rafael Village in the 1960s and one of our Kumpadres who resided near San Rafael Village in the early 1960s and they both attested to its being an upper class subdivision, gated and secured.
4. The issue was very factually and logically presented, based on what the two documents and the ocular inspection of your old place revealed. You avoided the facts and instead opted to resort to cheap emotional diversionary tactics like “haciendero” versus “poor me” — when the alluded haciendero had nothing to do with raising the issue.
5. The issue was solely focused on your claim about not being able to provide Danny proper medical care but what you did was to divert the issue to include so many other aspects and circumstances that were irrelevant.
6. You even had the gall and temerity to demand that we who wrote about the issue should apologize to you! For what — for doing our job and duty as writers to present the truth and expose what convinces us, based on evidence presented, as untruthful representation and advertising?
My dear Kumpadre, I can understand the stress that you’re now undergoing. Your sharp drop in the latest SWS (Social Weather Stations) and Manila Standard Today polls plus the “Money Villarroyo” issue which found impetus with the April 1st Inquirer assertion that First Gentleman Mike Arroyo ordered administration party kingpins to support you — could easily cause your ratings to go lower than 20% in the April polls, putting you in third place.
I certainly do not wish to add to what stresses my Kumpadre Manny Villar. But when values that are very dear to me — the truth, our country and the economic emancipation of our people — are threatened then I am compelled to subordinate a cherished friendship to a higher ideal.
May the truth of Easter serve to guide you to your greatness, my dear Kumpadre. In any capacity, you can still do a lot of good for our country and our people.
* * *