Posts Tagged ‘Manny Villar’

World Peace through Inner Peace

mbv in FBAttaining world peace is a lofty dream. As we are surrounded by conflicts in practically all corners of the globe, by violence inflicted by one human being to another, or by suffering brought about by poverty and hunger or by natural calamities, world peace seems a distant reality…but not impossible.

– Manny Villar, Light of Peace in the Philippines 2014 (Oton, Iloilo)

 

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PHL GEARS UP FOR WORLD PEACE EVENT

It’s four days to go before the most-anticipated world peace event at Savannah City, Iloilo, where the largest flaming image using candles will be featured.

I’m so excited because it’s my first time to be part of a Guinness World Record setting event.

The “Light of Peace in the Philippines (LOP) 2014” event aims to raise awareness and celebrate “World Peace through Inner Peace”by gathering at least 100,000 people from different sectors of society who will meditate together for individual inner peace.

The meditation will be followed by lighting of candles to form the world’s largest flaming image using candles, an attempt to set a new Guinness World Record. The image that will be created will show the Philippine map, the Light of Peace logo and motto, “World Peace through Inner Peace”.

image to be formed

“Let us show our genuine will to promote world peace by cultivating in ourselves inner peace. I believe that it’s not impossible to achieve world peace. With each of us being a light of peace, amidst our religious differences, we will be able to unite and attain world peace,” said former Sen. Manny Villar, who will also be attending the big event.

He cited last year’s “Inaugural Light of Peace” in Miag-ao, Iloilo, which gathered various religious leaders – Buddhists, Muslims and Christians, among others – and participants from all walks of life to call for world peace.

Villar, who is representing Villar SIPAG (Social Institute for Poverty Alleviation and Governance), one of the major organizers of the LOP 2014 event added, “Peace is good for the economy. If we have peace, we won’t scare our investors; we will be able to encourage more investors to have business in our country, which will create more jobs and drive progress. ”

Volunteers for the Light of Peace 2014 event will be given this beautiful shirt.

Volunteers for the Light of Peace 2014 event will be given this beautiful shirt.

The other core organizers of the event include Thailand-based The Middle Way Meditation Institute (MMI) headed by its Director Venerable Burin Thitakusalo Bhikkhu, the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Jaro represented by Archbishop Angel Lagdameo, Gov. Arthur Defensor Sr. of the Provincial Government of Iloilo, Mayor Jed Patrick Mabilog of the Municipality of Iloilo, the Commission on Higher Education (CHED), and the Department of Education (DepED).

Villar through the eyes of a college classmate

Someone who read my previous post and knew that I am interested about first hand accounts of people with the presidentiables sent this to me. 

My previous post was from a high school classmate of Sen. Manny Villar. The following is from Sen. Villar’s college classmate. 

This is getting exciting. More stories are pouring in. How about a write-up from Sen. Villar’s employees or former bosses? I hope we can also get to hear what Sen. Villar former bosses or employees say about him.

(To supporters of other candidates, this is not a paid blog.  Hahaha! This is MY PERSONAL blog. It’s just that I got interested with these first hand accounts of ordinary people with the presidentiables (I find them more truthful than the ones written by eloquent columnists from different papers) and I have found lots of it from former classmates and friends of Sen. Villar. I was finding ones like these about Noynoy but can’t find any.) 

Manny Villar through the eyes of a (college) classmate

By Danny Daguio 

Nov. 28, 2008

I wrote this to a friend of mine who works with NEDA sometime in September 2008. He wanted me to give him an idea of the kind of person MBV (Manny Bamba Villar) is so he could share it with some of his kababayans from the north of the Philippines. I am re-posting this for the benefit of the new members of this site. Thank you to those who took their time to comment and sent me emails of encouragement. 

We all need to carry our belief  in THE MAN, the only one left who can really give our beloved country the chance it deserves. If we all feel it, think it, believe it…… WE WILL SUCCEED!!!! 

Manny used to tell us, his close friends from UP BA, that he enjoyed our company a lot more than being with politicians. I guess he was a lot more comfortable with us because we never would ask him for anything, we just enjoyed his company and being just what we are, no pretenses, we would laugh a lot, sharing jokes. At times , we would be talking about the state of our nation, the problems, and he always felt that he gets honest feedback from us. You very well know that politicians can be your friend one day and be on the opposing side the next. 

He also told us about the gaunlet of vested interest people and groups, that for one to get to the pinnacle of government…to the highest office, you need to be able to ride through murky and troubled waters, you have to play politics sometimes and you try to get a consensus as often as you can. Many never get to be President even if they have honest intentions and good aspirations for the country because they get waylaid very early by these interest groups and ambitious politicians who only think about themselves. 

He would also say, if you try to get mileage from other’s mistakes or you attempt to brush others as though you have all the answers and only you can solve the problems, you sometimes fall into the trap of not getting to the bottom of the problem and coming up with a half bake solution. Also, in the end, you will be found out as someone who really jumps the gun in every opportunity to get political score or, as they say, instant publicity. 

We would ask him why go to the trouble of inheriting the big problems that the country face, when in fact he is already a made man, very rich in his own right. Why the need to run for President? To that he says, he has always wanted to be remembered as having brought the country to greater prosperity amidst the quagmire of worldwide upheavals. He does not want to be remembered as a rich businessman but someone who has done something for his country. I heard him say once, the famous Kennedy line, “ask not what your country can do for you but what you can do for your country”. 

He says, the biggest problem that a Presidential candidate faces is the huge expenditure for the campaign. Most often, the President-elect gets indebted to the rich businesses or vested interests groups. The President’s hands then get tied once payback time comes. Because he is willing to fund his own campaign, he believes this will be good for the country as he can then make decisions for the good of many, if not all, without having to worry about succumbing to political pressure. He welcomes financial support from anyone but, in the final analysis, he does not want these to carry any sort of political blackmail. 

I am very close to his brother, Jojo, and was once with him and another brother Cesar, who now has passed away. Jojo told me that he and Cesar cannot get favours for other people with their big brother…it is so difficult and oftentimes have given up. One thing you must know about Manny is that he abhors nepotism but will not shy away from giving a friend a position of responsibility if that friend is qualified for the job and is of good character. 

All his siblings are successful people in their own right. Jojo, for one, was the Managing Director of a multinational German medical supplies company in their Philippine operations just before his retirement early this year. One of the sisters is a successful grocery and fish vendor for whom we bought our weekly food budget when my family was still in Manila. 

You work with NEDA and I know that Romy Neri used to be your boss there. Romy is also a classmate and we would be together in reunions hosted by Manny for whenever I visit Manila. That is why, when this thing about ZTE broadband scandal came out, I would not believe that Romy would have profited at all from that deal. I know he is an honest person like all of us, his classmates. You just have to look at me…I am just like you, like many of us, simple not rich inspite of my close connection to Manny. 

Manny is a very honest person. He does not believe in instant richness, You have to work for it. If one supports Manny because he thinks he can benefit from this support financially, he is in the wrong camp. But, if you think, you want the best for our country and you believe you can contribute something concrete, then you are right in supporting Manny Villar. 

Loyalty is also something that Manny values highly. You can be a simple man but if you are a loyal friend to Manny, he will treasure that friendship. 

I also remember a time when we were having a get together at a classmate’s house. At that time, many of us were preparing to leave the Philippines to try our luck in a foreign land. Some of us went to Canada, the USA, and I, for one, to Australia. Another of the guys was going to Singapore for an employment stint covering a few years. Manny commented (he was not yet in politics at that time), “what is it that you all know (that you are all leaving) that I don’t?” We told him, Manny…you are already made, we are not anywhere like you. He told us he was going to stick it through, for better or worse. A few years later, he became a Congressman. 

I have been looking at all the Presidentiables but nothing or no one among them gets anywhere close to his qualifications. He is the only one who has been Speaker of the House, a three termer in Congress before becoming Senator and eventually Senate President. He also is bred educationally on Philippine soil and hence his perspective is genuine Filipino. 

Personality wise, Manny is laid back, not prone to bouts of excitement and stress, very calm. He does not jump on issues simply to score points against his rivals. He thinks positive all the time and is not into destroying others for his own benefit. He wants success for everyone and he is proud of what others achieve. 

He is approchable. One time, when he visited Sydney, he had no bodyguard when we were in Chinatown. We were waiting for Cynthia to get a few grocery items with Camille, I was with Manny standing at the door to Market City. We were just chatting when two young girls from the Philippines recognised him and said, Sir… pwede bang mag pakuha ng photo. Sure, sabi ni Manny, and he posed with the two..and guess who took the picture ) 

Sa airport, he lines up like any other person does and goes through the checkpoint when this happens during his holidays. When I visit the Philippines, even if he knows I am coming, I too go through Customs like any other citizen does. My bags are checked like everyone else. I then go to the car park where my sundo is but I have to follow the law. He wants everyone to follow the law and also expects those working in government to follow the law. 

At UP, we used to go out on Thursdays, kasi Fridays, we had no classes, this was reserved for exams. We formed the Thursday Club…(in the Senate, ito ang naging prototype ng kanilang Wednesday Club). We would go out to relax after a week’s study. Kakain kami sa Hong Ning, mami at siopao, then over to Fun Center sa Cubao. We would usually come home sa bahay namin sa Project 6, kasi mahirap na siyang makauwi sa Tondo at yung iba sa Malabon..para kaming tropa, nakahiga sa sahig, may banig naman at kutson…when we woke up, my mother would prepare breakfast for us. He remembers these and does have a soft spot for my Mom. (My mom, Estela Fermin Daguio is now 90 years and is the widow of the late Amador Taguinod Daguio; poet, nationalist, short story writer, teacher) 

A bit late now…so I hope I have been able to convey my own understanding of the person that someday will be our President. 
Cheers,  Danny

Manny Villar is the Man

With barely 54 days before the elections, the race to the Presidency tightens. Can you feel it? Oh, I do! Since last week, I’ve been receiving almost everyday emails and text messages about the presidentiables…some good, some bad, some foul, some funny. But it’s fine with me…the more I know about the presidentiables, the more I can decide intelligently on who will get my vote on May.

And have you also noticed the candidates’ increasing frequency of ads? Noynoy has been a regular customer of the airwaves these past weeks, huh? Sinong tycoon kaya ang nagbabayad nun? hehehe! I can still hear him saying “Inapi din kami”. Really??? I say, kung api sila, ano na lang ang tawag sa pamilya ng mga minasaker sa Hacienda Luisita nila? Ano na lang ang tawag sa mga magsasaka nila na sumasahod lang ng P9.50 a day? ahahaha!

On the other hand, I’m getting LSSed by Sen. Villar’s latest ad – ‘Hindi bawal mangarap ang mahirap, basta’t maaabot ito sa malinis na paraan.” Just like his “Nakaligo ka na ba sa dagat ng basura” ad, the ad tells about how Villar rose from poverty. What I like about it is it encourages people to dream and hope for a brighter tomorrow. It is, somehow, empowering for people who were born poor but still wanting to have that abundant life.

We were at the cafeteria when my office mate saw Villar’s ad. He commented, “E hindi naman daw talaga mahirap si Villar e… gawa-gawa lang daw nila ‘yung story na ‘yun. Paano naman daw makakapagtapos ng High School si Villar sa MAPUA kung talagang mahirap lang sila?” I don’t know where he got that, but I heard it somewhere, too. And that prompt me to search for his former classmates or friends to ask if the rags-to-riches story of Villar is true… Yes, I’m curious.  And I wanna know was Villar back then. Were they really poor as he claims to be in his ads? Because if he is, I wanna congratulate him for overcoming all the struggles that he went through to get out of poverty.

Luckily, I met one of Sen. Villar’s high school classmate in one occasion and heard from him stories about his and Sen. Villar’s high school days in Tondo.  I was totally enthusiastic to write about it, but I learned that Sen. Villar’s classmate has written his first hand account with Sen. Villar himself so I will just paste it here:

He is the Man: A high school classmate tells why Manny Villar is the best presidential bet for the May 10 polls
By Manny Castro*
Why do I think Manny Villar is the best candidate we have for the May elections?

I knew him from the heart. We grew up together inTondo. I lived in Tayuman, he’s from Moriones but we often saw each other and played basketball. Back in high school, we were classmates in Mapua Institute of Technology in Sta.Cruz, Manila.

I remember him as a simple but no ordinary student. No, he wasn’t nerdy nor the Ernie Baron-type of a student. He’s no ordinary because as young as thirteen or fourteen years old (during our second and third year in high school) he was already selling fish and shrimps in Divisoria, sometimes by himself, sometimes with his mother.

For those who say that he’s not really poor because his parents can afford to send him to private schools don’t know what they’re saying. Or they simply don’t know the meaning of sacrifice and honest hard work; of waking up as early as 1 am to be able to fetch the freshest fish in Navotas and be able to resell it per kilo in Divisoria – to be able to pay for your education.

Talagang iginapang ni Manny at ng kanyang mga magulang ang pag-aaral niya at ng kanyang mga kapatid. ‘Yan ang hindi naranasan ng mga kalaban ni Manny na lumaking may nagsisilbing mga yaya at driver na naghahatid pa sa kanila sa pagpasok sa eskwela. Si Manny sumasabit pa ‘yan sa jeep para lang makatipid sa pamasahe. Yung matitipid niya sa pamasahe, pambaon niya sa susunod na araw para hindi na siya manghingi sa kanyang nanay. Because his parents believe that a good education is the only hope for their children para makaahon sa kahirapan.

Diyan ako bumilib at naniwala sa determinasyon at kakayahan ni Manny. During our high school reunions, he would remind us “Malalagpasan din natin ito (poverty), basta’t magtiyaga lang tayo.” And true to his word and action, mula pagkabata iyang prinsipyo na iyan ang dala-dala at pinanghawakan niya. When we were in high school, nakakaawa yan sa klase. From Navotas and Divisoria, after selling fish, diretso na ‘yan sa school. 7 am ang klase namin. Syempre pagod na pagod at puyat pa, kaya madalas late at nakakatulog sa klase. Pero hindi siya nahihiya, basta ‘wag lang maabsent.

Determined at focus talaga siya sa pangarap niya. He knew he was poor that’s why he avoided unnecessary expenses (like attending the Juniors-Seniors’ Prom) and didn’t have time for extra-curricular activities in school. During our senior year, his mother borrowed a neighbor’s barong so that Manny could attend our prom which was held at the school quadrangle. Nahiya na lang siguro kaya napilitang umattend kasi ‘nung third year kami hindi siya nakaattend kasi nga walang pambili ng barong.

He was a student but he had spent most of his time working to contribute to his family’s meager earnings. When he’s not selling fish in the market, he helped his mother tend the sari-sari store in their rented house in Moriones. I think Manny felt that it was his role since siya ang panganay na lalake sa kanilang siyam na magkakapatid.

That’s why hindi na ako nagtaka when I saw him slowly rose from poverty. Sabi ko magtatagumpay talaga ang taong ito because he has character and integrity, perseverance and iron will. His vision is clear. His determination is solid. No one and nothing can distract him from attaining his goal once he had set it.

But what I really admire about Manny is that he never forget where he came from, his humble beginnings. Whatever success he had attained in life, whatever stature in society he had achieved, he would always be the Manny that we know back in high school – a loyal friend, matulungin at laging maaasahan sa oras ng pangangailangan. I think ‘yung pagtulong sa kapwa laluna sa kagaya niyang lumaki sa hirap ay natural sa kanya. Because he knew how it feels to be poor. For Manny, he is dead serious about his campaign na tapusin ang kahirapan. Hindi lang pang media soundbites.

Those who were saying that Manny have no qualms spending his billions, donating houses and lots, buying his way to the presidency, etc. because he’ll get it back anyway (double or triple pa daw) once he becomes president – doesn’t really know the guy. Nasa puso talaga niya ang tumulong sa kapwa na walang inaasahang kapalit. Isusubo na lang niya, ibibigay pa niya sa nangangailangan. I remember this vividly.

‘Yang si Manny ang baon niya madalas dalawang pandesal na may palamang peanut butter o margarine na nilagyan ng asukal. Minsan recess namin nakita niya ‘ko na walang kinakain. He asked me kung may baon ako. Sabi ko wala. Sabi niya, “eto o, tig-isa tayo sa pandesal.” It’s true kaya alam ko kung ano ang palaman ng pandesal na baon niya.

One thing I can say about him is that kahit malayo na ang inabot niya sa buhay hindi pa rin siya nagbago. Sa mga high school reunions namin, ayaw niyang pinagsisilbihan siya. Ayaw niyang tawagin namin siyang senador. Matipid pa rin. Gusto niya hati-hati kami sa gastos. Pero ‘pag siya ang nag-imbita, sasabihin niya “sagot ko”.

That’s why I firmly believe that he would be a good president. He should become our next president. Because he knows the value of sacrifice, hard but honest labor. He believes that you must work hard to earn your lot, hindi pwedeng ibang tao ang gumawa at magtrabaho para sa ‘yo. Kailangan magbanat ng buto at magpatulo ng pawis. Magtiyaga at magsumikap para umasenso sa buhay. Ganyan ang vision niya para umunlad ang ating bayan at ang bawat pamilyang Pilipino.

He has great competence, experience, maturity and discipline derived from years of hard work. In business and in politics as well. He is a visionary and has a creative mind as proven by the success of his business ventures, starting from a gravel and sand business to being the leader in construction and real estate industry in the Philippines. But he is no Midas and has no pretension of being the Messiah or the personification of all that is good. He is simply a hard worker and a hands-on leader.

For all the economic woes, injustice and hardships our people suffer from decades of elite rule by the hacienderos and buena familias of old such as the Ayalas, Lopezes, Aranetas, Roxases, Madrigals, Cojuangcos, Aquinos, and the like, it is high time that we put in Malacanang a president that truly represents the poor.

On May 10, I will make sure that Manny Villar gets their vote.

* Mr. Manny Castro manages his own travel consultancy firm. He is an active member of Cardinals and Robins for Villar, a volunteer organization composed of former classmates of Sen. Manny Villar in Mapua Institute of Technology.

Villar and his college classmates in old UP College of BA. Manny is at left, towering over all of his classmates. (Source: Danny Daguio)

Is Villar the right man for the job?

I haven’t decided who to vote for in May, and I have barely two months to look for the right man for the job. Yes, I’m sure it will be “man” this time. I never liked Jamby; even she won’t vote for herself, btw. So funny, huh? I don’t know why COMELEC didn’t disqualify her.

Actually, I’m torn between Villar and Gibo. I dropped crying Senator Gordon from my list a few days ago; he’s a free-rider. Noynoy? If you’ve read my previous entries, you would know that I don’t really believe that he is competent enough for the job. Yes, he is unprepared, indecisive, lazy and incompetent. Period.

Yesterday, I wrote that we should be using right criteria when electing someone into office, and just now, I saw this endorsement from mabuhayradio.com for the bid of Manny Villar to become President of the Philippines.

I will repost it here ‘coz I think, the criteria in which the paper based their endorsement for Sen. Villar are valid and logical. Here it goes:

The MabuhayRadio.com Endorses Manny Villar for President of the Philippines

A ccording to Chicago-based Journalist Joseph G. Lariosa, no Filipino newspaper or magazine – or for that matter no Overseas-Filipino hardcopy or online publication – has ever endorsed a presidential candidate in the history of Philippine politics. The MabuhayRadio.com now officially endorses the candidacy of Manny Villar for President of the Philippines. This may, therefore, be a historic endorsement.

Editor’s Note: Joseph G. Lariosa is the dean of Filipino correspondents in the United States. To read Mr. Lariosa’s piece on political endorsements, please click this hyperlink,

Should RP Newspapers Endorse Candidates?

H ere are at least ten reasons why we are urging our readers and the Filipino electors, especially the Absentee-Overseas Filipino voters and their kin, to vote for our endorsed candidate, Manny Villar, and elect him the next President of the Philippines:

1.—Experience in Government. When elected President of the Philippines on May 10, 2010, Mr. Villar will be the only Head of State who has been Speaker of the House of Representatives and Senate President. He will join William Howard Taft as the only persons to have headed two branches of a presidential form of government. Mr. Taft was a U.S. President and then Chief Justice of the Supreme Court.

2.—A Talent to Form a Ticket of National Reconciliation. Mr. Villar has forged a national slate under the Nacionalista Party (NP) that looks like a “rainbow coalition,” to borrow the term of Black-American political activists. It is a slate that presents in one “unity” umbrella diverse factions of Philippine society. Mr. Villar has done the unthinkable – the first step in shaping national reconciliation that can result in the healing of ideological wounds and scars.

3.—A Business-like Approach. Mr. Villar possesses a track record like no other in the Filipino business world and in government service. To borrow Mr. Villar’s own words, he “understands very well the challenges – the ups and downs – of setting up and running a business in this country.”

4.—A Man of Action. The current crop of presidential candidates – with the exception of Manny Villar – failed miserably to demonstrate competent leadership during the recent Ondoy-Peping calamities.

5.—Track Record as a Builder. Remember the Lions Club’s Code of Ethics? The last line says, “To build up and not destroy.” He can be a real “Lion of a President” – just like the “Lion of Judah was the symbol of the Israelite tribe of Judah in the Book of Genesis of the Hebrew Bible.” The Filipino nation needs a “Lion of a Builder.” Manny Villar is the only 2010 presidential candidate – or for that matter the only national leader today – with a proven track record of building more-than 250,000 private homes, condominium units and offices. Perhaps it is time to put a man who has not only the vision but also the experience of a real builder of edifices cum real-estate developer and housing entrepreneur. The country will have to build millions of homes and infrastructures to prepare for the coming Climate Change (Global Warming).

6.—Right Moves for Mindanao. We rate as excellent Manny Villar’s decision to invite to his Table of National Unity pro-people, decent and dedicated clans in Mindanao like the Pimentels, the Tamanos and other well-meaning families. Mr. Villar will be able to usher in more cooperation in Mindanao by building classrooms and public infrastructures, aside from helping construct more permanent homes for the war refugees and displaced settlers. We think that Manny Villar will not emulate former President Joseph Estrada and President Arroyo, as represented by her then Defense Secretary Gibo Teodoro, who adopted a hard-line policy of an “eye for an eye” in fighting the Muslim rebels and destroying Muslim military enclaves like Camp Abubakar. If a President Villar can do the suggested “Build and Not Destroy” program, there will be more peace and progress in Mindanao.

7.—Manny Villar Is Beholden to Nobody. Because the Villar Couple is independently wealthy, Manny Villar does not need to beg the taipans, landed families and vested interests for campaign funds. This writer has explained this point in this article,

How Manny Villar Is Proving Wrong the Adage that “Money Is the Root of All Evil”.

8.—Only Manny Villar Is Receptive to a Bigger Role for Overseas Filipinos in Nation Building. Our Southern California-based coalition actually sent through channel to almost all of the presidential slates our ideas of how the Overseas Philippine Nationals (OPEN), can help a new President. We sent our proposals of how the OPEN can help a new President “reinvent” government and accelerate progress in the homeland through more investments and the fielding of a service corps of retired Overseas-Filipino executives. We even proposed to run the Presidential Calamity Fund – without any government funding. Only the Villar Camp responded to us by letting three U.S.-based Villar kin talk to us way back in October 2009 and up to now. It helped of course that Senator Pimentel is our coalition’s political mentor. We are still negotiating with the Villar emissaries the contents of a “Covenant with the Overseas Filipinos” that we suggested a President-elect Manny Villar formally sign with established OPEN and OFW groups.

9.—A Realist and a Simple Honest Man. In his own words, Manny Villar said to the Makati Business Council: “I cannot promise no new taxes as the next administration will inherit empty coffers.” He could have told a while lie by emulating then presidential candidate George H. Bush, who proclaimed, “Read my lips: No new taxes.” It took a lot of guts on the part of Mr. Villar to tell the Business World that increased taxes may be needed to pull off an economic recovery, promote better law and order and have an effective government. A Villar presidency will bring bottom-line realism and honesty to the government, aside from observing the business tenets of accountability and transparency.

10.—Cynthia Aguilar Villar. She is the personification of the adage that says: “Behind every successful man stands an equally-successful woman.” We predict that the wife of Manny Villar will turn out to be the best First Lady of the country. For a start, Mrs. Cynthia Villar is not a prima-donna type of a public figure. While she is a billionaire in her own right and an incumbent member of the House of Representatives, she stayed in the background during the 2005 Kalayaan Grand Ball in Los Angeles, California. In fact, she had to be persuaded to join her husband in several photo opportunities.

H ere are amplifications of the above-stated reasons:

1.—Experience in Government. When elected President of the Philippines on May 10, 2010, Mr. Villar will be the only Head of State who has been Speaker of the House of Representatives and Senate President.

To our limited knowledge, Mr. Villar may become the only leader to have headed two branches of government in democratic nations that practice the presidential format with a bicameral legislature. This is a rare achievement for the Philippines, which will bolster positively the image of the Filipino national leadership. Becoming Speaker and Senate President requires tremendous executive talents and more importantly the attributes of a successful coalition builder.

Two other presidential candidates (Gibo Teodoro and Noynoy Aquino) have been congressmen like Mr. Villar but they never became the Speaker. Four other presidential bets (Noynoy Aquino, Joseph Estrada, Richard Gordon and Jamby Madrigal) have experience in the Philippine Senate but none of them became their peers’ President.

It is true that Mr. Villar and all of his fellow presidential candidates should bear some form of responsibility for the government’s failure to solve many of the social cancers that ail the country because they have been elected as public officials. But “the buck never stopped at Mr. Villar’s table,” to use President Harry Truman’s dictum. Mr. Villar – for all his good intentions, warts and all – did not have the final say. A Speaker or a Senate President can only do so much with so little in actual power. This is why Manny Villar needs to become the President of the Philippines, so that the man can be given a chance to do and implement with accountability and transparency his vision for the nation.

2.—A Talent to Form a Ticket of National Reconciliation. Mr. Villar has forged a national slate under the Nacionalista Party (NP) that looks like a “rainbow coalition,” to borrow the term of Black-American political activists. It is a slate that presents in one “unity” umbrella diverse factions of Philippine society. Mr. Villar has done the unthinkable – the first step in shaping national reconciliation that can result in the healing of ideological wounds and scars.

Mr. Villar has brought to one table not only Ferdinand Marcos, Jr., but also other senatorial candidates representing the right and left wings,  the liberals and the conservatives. He has obtained the support of the Philippine Guardians Brotherhood, Inc (PGBI) under the leadership of Sen. Gregorio B. Honasan, III, and the Social Democrats of Sen. Aquilino Q. Pimentel, Jr. Mr. Villar has chosen as his vice-presidential candidate Sen. Loren Legarda, who used to be his bitter foe in Senate politics. Senators Pimentel, Legarda and Honasan have no love lost for Mr. Villar but they have been persuaded by the presidential nominee’s platform of government and socioeconomic plans to join a 2010-2016 movement for national reconciliation and unity. Mr. Villar’s presidential and senatorial line ups bode well for “unity in diversity.”

The selection of Senator Legarda proves also that Mr. Villar does not entertain any rancor for former adversaries for as long as they can share one table of cooperation for the public good. Mr. Villar may as well be the Filipino equivalent of a great American President Ronald Reagan, who never turned his adversaries into enemies. Time will tell if a President Villar can come close to Mr. Reagan in reaching out across the political aisle, building national consensus and in communicating effectively with his constituents.

3.—A Business-like Approach. Mr. Villar possesses a track record like no other in the Filipino business world and in government service. To borrow Mr. Villar’s own words, he “understands very well the challenges – the ups and downs – of setting up and running a business in this country.”

Mr. Villar has demonstrated a proven record of “‘knowing’ what has to be done, and actually being ‘able to do it’ and satisfy the needs of his stockholders. If Mr. Villar can run the country even half as successfully as he has managed his real-estate firms, then he can turn the economy around, minimize corruption and start the making of a Filipino Dream for a better quality of life. Mr. Villar possesses the talents to make not only the government but also the national economy of the people (read, stakeholders), by the people and for the people (common good).

4.—A Man of Action. The current crop of presidential candidates – with the exception of Manny Villar – failed miserably to demonstrate competent leadership during the recent Ondoy-Peping calamities.

Then Defense Secretary Gilberto C. Teodoro, Jr. (as head of the Philippine National Disaster Coordinating Council) and Philippine National Red Cross (PNRC) head honcho Richard Gordon failed to deliver organized-and-effective relief when it was needed most. There was a catastrophic failure on the part of the Gloria Arroyo Administration and the PNRC to alleviate the suffering of the disaster victims. The other presidential candidates were mostly singing the sounds of silence, as best exemplified by Sen. Benigno C. Aquino, III, whose political handlers justified his impotency in leadership by saying that when the typhoon struck, he was in a religious retreat. On the other hand, Manny Villar’s companies delivered truck loads after truck loads of disaster-relief supplies without much publicity and without even being asked.

5.—Track Record as a Builder. Remember the Lions Club’s Code of Ethics? The last line says, “To build up and not destroy.” We are not sure if Manny Villar has ever joined any Lions Club but he can be a real “Lion of a President” – just like the “Lion of Judah was the symbol of the Israelite tribe of Judah in the Book of Genesis of the Hebrew Bible.”

Because of the threat of Global Warming (Climate Change), the Philippines needs to relocate hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of families in low-lying areas to more-secured locations. Then the country needs to build so-many classrooms and other badly-needed public infrastructures – which many of the Filipino Presidents, especially the incumbent one, “constructed” only in press releases. The country has to secure its sources of clean water for drinking and irrigation by building reservoirs, mini-dams, sewage-treatment plants and what not.

The Filipino nation needs a “Lion of a Builder.” Manny Villar is the only 2010 presidential candidate – or for that matter the only national leader today – with a proven track record of building more-than 250,000 private homes, condominium units and offices. Perhaps it is time to put a man who has not only the vision but also the experience of a real builder of edifices cum real-estate developer and housing entrepreneur. Send Manny Villar to Malacañang and all the builders, construction companies, realtors and private developers will rally to their comrade and leader. Can the country afford not to put Manny Villar in the driver’s seat insofar as meeting the challenges of building needed infrastructures to mitigate the effects of Global Warming?

The selection of Sen. Loren Legarda as the NP’s guest candidate for Vice President again shows the vision and direction of a Villar presidency. Mr. Villar and his real-estate companies have planted more-than one-million trees (and counting). Senator Legarda is the number-one advocate in the country of protecting the environment. Putting a Vice President Legarda in charge of the Filipino contribution to the international fight against Global Warming shows the wisdom of Manny Villar. He did not choose Ms. Legarda for her good looks or because she is the only woman vice-presidential candidate. We think that Ms. Loren was chosen for her advocacy for the ecology, among her other accomplishments in public service.

6.—Right Moves for Mindanao. We rate as excellent Manny Villar’s decision to invite to his Table of National Unity pro-people, decent and dedicated clans in Mindanao like the Pimentels, the Tamanos and other well-meaning families. And we think further that Mr. Villar will be able to usher in more cooperation in Mindanao by building classrooms and public infrastructures, aside from helping construct more permanent homes for the war refugees and displaced settlers. We think that Manny Villar will not emulate former President Joseph Estrada and President Arroyo, as represented by her then Defense Secretary Gibo Teodoro, who adopted a hard-line policy of an “eye for an eye” in fighting the Muslim rebels and destroying Muslim military enclaves like Camp Abubakar. If a President Villar can do the suggested “Build and Not Destroy” program, there will be more peace and progress in Mindanao.

We reiterate that Manny Villar has the foresight of inviting Nene Pimentel as one of his advisers for his “national ticket of reconciliation.” Senator Pimentel commands so much respect among the Muslims, the Lumads and the Christians in Mindanao. Mr. Pimentel, whom this writer has dubbed the “Moses of Mindanao,” can help a President Villar finally bring peace and progress in Southern Philippines.

7.—Manny Villar Is Beholden to Nobody. Because the Villar Couple is independently wealthy, Manny Villar does not need to beg the taipans, landed families and vested interests for campaign funds. This writer has explained this point in this article,

How Manny Villar Is Proving Wrong the Adage that “Money Is the Root of All Evil”.

In fact, the Villar campaign organization in the United States declined our Southern California-based coalition’s offer to help raise funds for the Villar candidacy. We said that our supporters who would have financed this writer’s (aborted) candidacy for governor of Sorsogon Province could be persuaded to give their financial help to Manny Villar. But the Villar people said, ‘Thanks but no thanks.’ We were told that Manny Villar has saved for his presidential campaign and has enough resources to mount an extensive national campaign.

Editor’s Notes: Caution: The views and opinions expressed in this Editorial do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of the other columnists and writers of this website. This editor-in-chief encourages our writers, especially our columnists, to write their endorsement of Manny Villar or for that matter, any other presidential candidate and we will publish them without any censorship or correction. – Bobby M. Reyes

“ We pledged to a nephew of Manny Villar to support his candidacy on Dec. 30, 2009, during the Rizal-Day event in Los Angeles, California. At that time, Manny Villar was trailing badly Senator Aquino in the voters’ surveys (polls) and some people even said that his candidacy was finished because of the ‘C-5’ brouhaha. We took a giant leap of faith that day for Manny Villar. And our faith in Mr. Villar’s goodness and decency was not in vain, as he is now the frontrunner in the presidential contest.”

8.—Only Manny Villar Is Receptive to a Bigger Role for Overseas Filipinos in Nation Building. Our Southern California-based coalition actually sent through channel to almost all of the presidential slates our ideas of how Overseas Filipinos, especially Overseas-Filipino workers (OFWs), can help a new President. We sent our proposals of how we, Overseas Filipinos and OFWs, can help a new President “reinvent” government and accelerate progress in the homeland through more investments and the fielding of retired Overseas-Filipino executives. We even proposed to run the Presidential Calamity Fund – without any government funding.

Only the Villar Camp responded to us by letting two Villar cousins and a nephew (who are all based in the United States) talk to us way back in October 2009 and up to now. It helped of course that Senator Pimentel is our coalition’s political mentor. We are still negotiating with the Villar emissaries the contents of a “Covenant with the Overseas Filipinos” that we suggested a President-elect Manny Villar formally sign with established Overseas-Filipino and OFW groups. A separate report will be written about the said “Covenant” when its details can be leaked out to the public. Mr. Villar understands that the Overseas Filipinos and the OFWs are badly-needed major components of the solutions for the socioeconomic problems that ail the homeland. We trust that a President Villar will not follow in the footsteps of his predecessors, who actually paid mere lip service to their overseas constituents.

9.—A Realist and a Simple Honest Man. In his own words, Manny Villar said to the Makati Business Council: “I cannot promise no new taxes as the next administration will inherit empty coffers.” He could have told a while lie by emulating then presidential candidate George H. Bush, who proclaimed, “Read my lips: No new taxes.” It took a lot of guts on the part of Mr. Villar to tell the Business World that increased taxes may be needed to pull off an economic recovery, promote better law and order and have an effective government. A Villar presidency will bring bottom-line realism and honesty to the government, aside from observing the business tenets of accountability and transparency.

Then there is a little-known incident in June 2005 that demonstrated the simple life style of the Villar Couple. Then Senate President Villar was the guest speaker of the 2005 Kalayaan (Philippine Independence) Grand Ball in a four-star hotel at the Universal Studios in Los Angeles, California. Our Kalayaan Executive Committee offered the Villar Couple the traditional presidential suite in the hotel venue. Mr. Villar declined, as he said that he and his wife always stay with friends whenever they were in Los Angeles. The only other Kalayaan keynote speaker who also declined the use of a complimentary hotel room was then Senate President Nene Pimentel. He refused our offer for the use of a free hotel suite in June 2001, as he said that he always stayed at the modest town house of his daughter, who is a public-school teacher in Southern California.

Webmaster’s Notes: Bobby Reyes was the 2005 Kalayaan vice chairman and incoming 2006 Kalayaan overall chairman when Mr. Villar spoke at the Philippine Independence Grand Ball. He was also a co-chairman of the 2001 Philippine Independence Ball., when then Nene Pimentel was the guest of honor.

“It is safe to say that if Manny and Cynthia Villar and their kin will do to the Philippines what they have done successfully for the people of Las Piñas, then a Villar presidency can never go wrong.”

10.—Cynthia Aguilar Villar. She is the personification of the adage that says: “Behind every successful man stands an equally-successful woman.” We predict that the wife of Manny Villar will turn out to be the best First Lady of the country – just as we have said that the husband can become the best President, as foretold in the article, How Manny Villar Is Proving Wrong the Adage that “Money Is the Root of All Evil”.

For a start, Mrs. Cynthia Villar is not a prima-donna type of a public figure. While she is a billionaire in her own right and an incumbent member of the House of Representatives, she stayed in the background during the 2005 Kalayaan Grand Ball in Los Angeles, California. In fact, the Kalayaan officers had to persuade Mrs. Villar to join her husband in several photo opportunities.

But the more-important reason why we think that Cynthia Villar will become the most-dynamic and most-successful First Lady is that she belongs to the Aguilar Clan of Las Piñas, now a city in Metro Manila. People who know the history of Las Piñas identify the town’s growth with, and its success to, the Aguilars’ and their in-laws’ (like Manny Villar’s) performance in local government, congressional representation and business development. The Villars’ and the Aguilars’ exemplary public service and their honesty in government and business dealings are legendary. And they have three generations of law-abiding Aguilars that have continued and continue to perform exemplary work in government and in the private industry – without commingling public interest with their private interests. No one can pin any financial scandal on the Aguilars in Las Piñas.

It is safe to say that if Manny and Cynthia Villar and their kin will do to the Philippines what they have done successfully for the people of Las Piñas, then a Villar presidency can never go wrong. And people in Las Piñas can bet their houses on that – even if they did not buy their homes from the Villar-Aguilar real-estate companies. # # #

How do you choose your President?

We are in a democratic country and we are free to elect whoever we wish in whatever position. Now, I wonder how most of our kababayans choose their leaders. I keep asking this because I noticed that it’s as if Filipinos do not know what they want. They elect someone today, and tomorrow, they’ll impeach that person and put a replacement.

What is it that you want, folks? Why is it that  our country has been lagging behind compared to our neighbor countries despite the fact that we are free to elect our own leaders?

I know some people have no choice since their church chooses for them, and as what I heard, they can’t do anything but to follow their church leader’s choice. “‘Yan ang pili ng simbahan namin e,” they say. On the other hand, others base it on popularity and winnability. They say, “Dito na lang ako kay ganito kasi sure win na siya e. Sayang lang ang boto ko ‘pag si ganito ang iboboto ko.” On another side, here are people who say, “Proven na ang nanay at tatay niyan. Hindi ‘yan mangungurakot dahil hindi kurakot ang mga magulang niyan” – emotional people who will argue to you that “Kung ano’ng puno, siya’ng bunga.” Still, others say, “Pare-pareho lang ‘yang mga ‘yan. Mga puro pangako ngayon, pero bukas wala nang pakialam ‘yang mga ‘yan sa amin,” – people who have grown callous and tired of politicians’ promises that they don’t care whoever wins the elections anymore.

I believe that one of the reasons why our country hasn’t progressed well over the past years is because of lack of leadership in our politicians. How come that they lacked leadership when majority of the people selected them? That is because leadership has not been a criteria for most of our kababayans when they chose their candidates.  A lot of our elected officials today won only because of popularity. They were just elected because people know their name, so they were the ones who were recalled when most of our kababayans cast their votes. And why is that? Because Filipinos were not educated about the functions of officials they were electing.

I did a random survey on my way home yesterday about what people think as functions of  our senators and congressmen. I asked some street vendors, janitors, drivers, students and other passersby. These are their answers:

1. Ninong at Ninang sa kasal o binyag
2. Guest speaker tuwing graduation o kaya fiesta
3. Taga-cut ng ribbon kapag opening ceremonies
4. Pinaghihingian ng tulong-medikal
5. Pinagso-solicitan ng mga mayor at barangay captain para sa project
6. Gagawa ng batas
7. Magbibigay ng tulong kapag may kalamidad

The result that I got was funny, right? But we shouldn’t be laughing for that because it shows that most of our underprivileged kababayans no not really know the roles of the officials they are electing. So how could they be expected to know the right criteria in choosing the right people who will govern them?

If you look at our senators, congressmen, mayors and coucilors, you’ll notice that a lot are artistas. Don’t get me wrong. This is not to say that they should be barred from entering into politics. My point here is that they were elected so easily because they are known by our kababayans; they have movies and soap operas so people see them often and that gave them the recall. So come election time, voila, they are now officials of the Republic of the Philippines. So you see, a lot of our kababayans didn’t think if those artistas would be able to do the function of, let’s say, a legislator. Can he/she legislate? Can he/she pass bills?

It’s ironic that when someone applies for a mere janitorial position, the employer checks his past jobs, skills and competencies but when people elect someone for a political position, only a few check the candidate’s background, skills, and competencies.

Is ignorance our problem here? How could we avoid a wishy-washy administration?

I admire Sen. Manny Villar, Dick Gordon and Gibo Teodoro for emphasizing to the people the need for a competent LEADER so our country will progress. They advocate examining the candidates based on what they have done in the past that demonstrates their leadership or lack thereof.

So, I encourage everyone to examine the backgrounds of our presidential aspirants before choosing our president.

It’s time that we elect our leaders based on criteria that really matter: competence, leadership and platform.

Yellow tainted integrity…and corrupted disposition

I received this from a friend and I think it’s worth a repost here:

Yellow tainted integrity … and corrupted disposition

Ricardo G Barcelona[1] [2]

February is the carnival season in Venice, Italy and Sitges in Barcelona, Spain. In the Philippines, a friend said we have our carnival called the presidential elections. The jest of course resonates. European carnival dated back to medieval period for people to live out for a few days their fantasies of re-inventing themselves. They achieve this by wearing masks and costumes to depict their aspired characters. In the Philippines, the carnival called presidential elections have taken a more serious turn in slander – where half truths, outright lies and falsehoods are disguised and peddled as truth by “upright and intelligent characters”.

The latest hoax on the alleged opulent mansion of Manny Villar in Salt Lake City is an example of a pattern of black propaganda hurled at one candidate – Senator Manny B Villar. A number of my friends saw through this hoax right away. Unfortunately, the same pictures continue to be sent by people who take pride in their integrity, defense of the truth, and their feeling of intellectual “superiority” to the masses. Without checking the facts, they made themselves unwitting carriers by spreading falsehoods and lies from AteneoGrupo58. First, by forwarding the hoax through the internet, they spread lies to other people; and second, by concluding solely on the basis of the hoax, they can only see Philippine politics as rotten.

This is by now a familiar pattern repeated from C – 5 road project black propaganda. Assumptions, non-validated data that turned out to be incorrect, and opinions are considered to be “incontrovertible facts” by intellectuals who should know better.

Now, I wonder if the political system – imperfect as it is – is at the heart of what is wrong with the Philippines. I suspect the very individuals that profess love for country willingly allowed to be betrayed by their own gullible nature. Thus, blinded by their bias, they fail to see what is obvious in plain sight.

“Villar´s mansion” – It is a location shoot for films

My nephew, Atty and Dr Enrique Santiago Ballesteros Barcelona, did his own research and came back with a well supported commentary. He is a board top-notcher in veterinary medicine (UP Los Baños) and an accomplished lawyer in Bacolod City.

The message about the “Villar” mansion referred to by AteneoGrupo58 is actually a plagiarized version that has been around for years.  In reality, Toni Maier manages this mansion and leases it for location shoots for films and other events.  For online readers, press CTRL+click on the hyperlink to see the supporting evidence. To quote:

“Accordingly, the “Villar” mansion was variously featured in a series of photographs in the past as belonging to President of Zimbabwe, Robert Mugabe. The email claims that while Mugabe lives in such opulent luxury, the ordinary people of Zimbabwe face poverty under his leadership.
However, the mansion depicted in these photographs is not Mugabe’s residence at all. In fact, the very same set of photographs has also circulated in protest messages decrying the opulent lifestyles of other political leaders and celebrities. One version claims that the home belongs to President Pervaiz Musharraf of Pakistan. Another claimed that the mansion is the home of former Nigerian ruler Ibrahim Babangida. Yet another version suggests that the photographs show the home of former Secretary of Health Care of Azerbaijan, Russia. And, finally, many references, including a YouTube video, claim that the home belongs to Bollywood superstar, Shahrukh Khan.

In fact, all these claims are false. The mansion in the photographs is actually a home located in the wealthy community of Bell Air, Los Angeles in California, United States. The mansion is available as a location for film, television and commercial shoots and is featured as such on the website of location manager, Toni Maier. Thus, there is no truth in the story that the mansion in the photographs belongs to Mugabe or Villar. And, in any case, an aerial shot of Mugabe’s partially completed mansion in Harare shows a building quite different to the one depicted in the photographs.

Some commentators have claimed that the mansion belongs to Mugabe’s cousin Philippe Chiyangwa. However, this claim is also untrue. News photographs of Chiyangwa’s mansion show a residence with a different style and aspect than that of the mansion shown in the photographs”. End of quote.

Jesuit education and Jesuits redeem by two brave men

The responses to the email, judging from those that were forwarded to me over the past three days, can be categorized into the following:

  1. Outright acceptance as “facts” with many jumping straight into condemnation of Villar, while branding all politicians as tainted and corrupt. The exception of course, according to these emails, is the one running under a mantra of integrity and honesty turning the election into a fight between good and evil – Senator Benigno Cojuangco Aquino III.
  2. Indifference given that they see the obvious hoax, although some express consternation at the blatant black propaganda being played out by “upright persons”.
  3. A minority wrote to seek clarification and the truth such as Ms Josefina Badana of New York, president of the Filipino teachers´ association in the United States.

How we respond to calumny speaks loudly of the kind of person that we are. The first group suffers from schizophrenia – while upholding integrity and honesty, and good versus evil as their mantra, spreading lies and falsehoods come as easily as a click on a SEND icon. Worse, from their comments in many FACEBOOK accounts, gullible acceptance of a blatant lie was made worse by adding to the calumny in making blanket condemnation. This is done purely on the basis of assumptions, non-validated data and long held bias.

The second and third categories are people I have time for. For those that seek the truth by first establishing the facts, we can have a fruitful political discourse. We share the same aim that enlightens and contributes to making our country a better place.

Veritas vos liberat – The truth sets you free! This is the foundation of a truly Jesuit and Christian education.

Rene Azurin of Business World (February 25, 2010) identified a number of Ateneans behind this calumny: Florante Castillo (Ateneo 1964) and Lito Demonteverde (Ateneo for a Better Philippines – Aquino´s supporters). The email is traced to Prof Cesar Torres, an overseas Filipino. Other groups comprising alumni from La Salle, UP, and supporters of NoyNoy-Mar USA (Dr Greg Mariano et al), among others, forwarded the plagiarized emails. Even after ABS CBN admitted the claims as false and a hoax, only two Ateneans and Mariano had come forward to publicly apologize – with the same calumny circulating in increasing number.

Thus, some seeks to condemn the Jesuits and those that they educate – for being the source of the present calumny (i.e. alumni of Ateneo de Manila). In contrast, I continue to hold the Jesuits and their approach to education in very high esteem for a simple reason.

Domingo Guevara Jr, CEO of Guevara Group of Companies courageously came forward and publicly apologized to Villar´s camp. This act of courage is what convinced me that Jesuit education had at the very least created one brave man who will stand up for integrity and honesty – at his expense by recognizing the mistakes of his ways. This singular act of courage redeems the Jesuits´ efforts in educating upright persons whose courage is a beacon for present and future generations.

As we go to press, Lito Demonteverde apologized directly by email (February 25, 2010) to Senator Manny B Villar for the lies that he unwittingly spread about him.

What do we do next?

The affairs of state and Philippine development is far too important to be delegated to others and politicians. It is our individual prerogatives to root out lies and falsehoods. As individuals who still love our country in spite of its many ills and imperfections, you can make a difference by doing the following:

  1. Challenge and expose every lies and falsehoods that are peddled as “incontrovertible” truth;
  2. Refuse to be unwitting tools for spreading calumnies – verify the facts before forwarding any emails. By spreading lies in any form, you are complicit to calumny.
  3. Engage in the political process – this is your right and your civic duty to elect the best person to the presidency.

There is only one obvious beneficiary of this calumny. For a candidate presenting this election as a struggle between good versus evil and a choice between integrity and corruption, there is no place for spreading this calumny. Yet, Aquino has been very quiet in the face of this great injustice inflicted on a fellow candidate for the presidency.

Will any of the presidential candidates take the cue from Domingo Guevara´s and belatedly, Lito Demonteverde and Mariano´s courage? Or, has good and evil become too intertwined so as to redefine “honesty” as yellow tainted integrity … and corrupted disposition?

Silence in the face of calumny – without public condemnation by those in a position to do so – is equivalent to complicity given their hideous act of omission. After all, vigilant people are democracy´s greatest asset and strongest guarantee for our freedom. Stand up and be counted … speak up and be heard!


[1] Corresponding author by email: rgb.bcn@gmail.com

[2] Senior adviser on energy and infrastructure investments, competition and regulation. In investment banking, voted top rated analyst (European utilities) and adviser (privatization). In industry, served in senior roles in mergers & acquisitions and large scale investments. Doctoral candidate, Cranfield School of Management, United Kingdom; MBA, IESE Business School, Spain; and BA Economics, School of Economics, University of the Philippines.