—– Forwarded Message —-
From: dumagat bulacan
Sent: Monday, February 8, 2010 9:09:19
Subject: Kahit sa America alam ng tao magnanakaw si Villar
by Greg Macabenta (firstname.lastname@example.org)
M a n n y Villar is lucky, he is running for president of the Philippines. If this were an election campaign in the US, he would be shamed into withdrawing because of the censure threatened by at least 12 of his colleagues in the Senate.
He is also lucky because a censure might be the worst thing the Senate will do to him. In fact, if the erstwhile champion of good government, Alan Peter Cayetano, were to have his way, there won’t even be a censure and the damning findings of the Senate President himself, Juan Ponce Enrile, would be treated like a worthless piece of paper.
Cayetano, who would have us believe he was a crusader against the corrupt Arroyo government, apparently hasn’t heard about what Manuel Luis Quezon had to say about loyalty to his party ending where loyalty to the country begins. Cayetano sees things in reverse.
If Villar were a US senator and were to be accused and “found guilty” by his Senate colleagues, the way Ponce Enrile’s findings indicate, a mere censure would cause an uproar across America. That would be like a mere slap on the knuckles and Capitol Hill would not hear the end of it from the media and from the citizenry.
In America, the Justice Department would step into the picture or an independent counsel would be appointed. The FBI would quarantine Villar’s financial records, go over his transactions with a fine tooth comb, interview dozens of potential witnesses and make a viable presidential campaign impossible to run. And fat chance the voters will even entertain the idea of Villar becoming president.
Consider what Bill and Hillary Clinton, as president and first lady of the United States, had to go through as a result of allegations of unethical conduct in connection with their real estate investments while Bill Clinton was governor of Arkansas. The Clintons were subsequently cleared in the Whitewater scandal but not their associates Jim and Susan McDougal who were both convicted, along with Clinton’s successor, Governor Jim Tucker. If enough evidence had been built against the Clintons, they would have been ejected from the White House.
And yet, what the Clintons were accused of could pass for a small case of official misbehavior compared to what Villar has been accused of by his colleagues in the Senate.
Consider what Gary Hart and John Edwards, both US presidential hopeless had to suffer when the former was shown with a “bimbo” on his lap in a yatch and the latter was exposed concerning his extramarital affair. Hart had to forget about his presidential ambitions and Edwards had to end his promising presidential campaign.
Would Villar entertain such a thought? Not on anyone’s life. He has invested so much in his campaign, he won’t withdraw even if every member of Congress were to turn blue in the face censuring him.
I n d e e d , the findings of the Senate Committee should be enough to kick off the kind of exhaustive investigation that will get to the bottom of this scandal and either exonerate Villar or get him indicted and jailed. But don’t count on the Senate demanding that Villar should withdraw. The Senate is still an Old Boys’ Club and, at most, will rap Villar on the knuckles and leave him free to run for the highest office in the land.
Villar has been accused of having “made the Filipino suffer the total amount of P6.22 billion” because of the alleged realignment of the C5 highway through subdivisions in which he has substantial holdings. On top of that, he has been accused of directly benefiting from the realignment because of the increased value of his property and allegations of overpricing in the right-of-way payments, on top of which he reportedly was first in line to collect payments from the government.
Twelve senators have already signed the draft report and are endorsing it to a plenary session of the Senate. That very act would mean the end of Villar’s presidency aspirations, if this scandal had exploded in America or Korea or Japan or Europe. In such a case,Villar would have to put up a determined defense to defend his honor and uphold his reputation.
But this is happening in the Philippines. Therefore, Villar may not even feel constrained to speak out in his defense but will simply leave it to his spokesmen, apologists and publicists to cry “political vendetta” and claim martyrdom.
And don’t be surprised if this furor will not even affect his standing in the surveys. In this country of bleeding hearts, blind loyalties, votes for sale and media practitioners moonlighting as apologists, Villar is not likely to lose any support. Dolphy will continue to extol him as an outstanding Son of Tondo. Willie Revillame will continue to sing praises to him in his TV show. Loren Legarda will hear no evil, see no evil and speak no evil and, at most, will find a proper euphemism to justify her continuing support for her presidential teammate.
This is truly sad. This presidential election is supposed to offer a ray of hope to the long suffering people of the Philippines. After almost a decade of Arroyo misrule, this is supposed to be the chance to turn things around, to field candidates who are the opposite of the present Malacanang occupant.
But what do we have? Erap Estrada, after having been ejected from the presidency and convicted of plunder, is running again for president and is ranking third in the surveys. Gilbert Teodoro, who believes that loyalty to his patron, Arroyo, is more important than loyalty to the country (another individual who hasn’t heard of Manuel Quezon) is the official candidate of the administration. And Manny Villar, accused of using his Senate position to benefit his business empire and threatened with a censure by his Senate peers, is still gaining on Noynoy Aquino and leaving Dick Gordon far behind in the polls.
I mention Aquino and Gordon because of the irony that these two candidates present. One is accused of having “done nothing” to deserve the presidency except to be the son of his father and mother, while the other has an impressive public service record that fails to impress the masses.
One will likely lose, despite being qualified to be president. The other one brings real hope for a new era of honesty and integrity in public service but has to confront the harsh prospect of a tight race against someone who could bring a repeat of the very plague of corruption that this election seeks to erase.
Can you imagine a President Manny VILLARROYO????!!!