Villar’s Alibi

May 15, 2009 § Leave a comment

Senator MannyVillar says there’s nothing wrong with what he did in relation to the C-5 extension anomaly. For those who don’t know, Villar right now is imbroiled in a very controversial scam. A fellow Senator, Jamby Madrigal filed an ethics case against the real estate magnate for allegedly using his influence as a legislator to benefit his real estate company, Adelfa. Here’s the facts:

In 1946, the US colonial government tinkered with the idea of having a road which would link Manila to outlying provinces such as Cavite. Last year, Mrs. Arroyo directed the DPWH to continue expanding the road.

This is nothing sort of admirable since the C-5 road project provides traffic decongestion in Metro Manila. I use this road often and it is a world-class infrastructure project.

What is NOT admirable is the way politicians reportedly used their influence to re-direct the road to benefit their companies.

This is the simplest explanation why Villar is being castigated right now by his colleagues. Look at the map below. It shows how, through the intercession of Villar, the road extension grew longer by 3 kilometers just to accommodate the whims and caprices of Villar, who, at that time, chaired the Senate Committee on Finance.

C-5 road extensionObviously, those properties which the road went through were properties under the Adelfa Group of Companies, an affiliate of VistaLand, which Villar does not deny owning. Another map, this time, an aerial photo of the same project.
C-5 road extension

C-5 road extensionc-5 aerial map

Honestly, there’s nothing wrong with extending a road except that, if government extended it by another 3 kilometers just to accommodate a request from a Senator of the land, surely, it’s wrong.
Villar admitted interceding for the project and he even had the audacity to claim that the project was his.
What he failed to recognize is it is unethical to do so. Why?

Ethics, as defined, is a set of principles of right conduct. When  used as a singular or plural verb, it pertains to the rules or standards governing the conduct of a person or the members of a profession. An act contrary to the established rules of conduct being followed by a profession or a government institution such as the Senate, is adjudged unethical and merits a respective punishment under the law.

One such act which the 1987 Constitution specifically described as unethical pertains to the Conflict of Interest of a member of the Senate or the House. Under Article VI, Sec. 12, it says that “ All Members of the Senate and the House of Representatives shall, upon assumption of office, make a full disclosure of their financial and business interests. They shall notify the House concerned of a potential conflict of interest that may arise from the filing of a proposed legislation of which they are authors.”

The following section, which is section 13, is also a Conflict of Interest provision which disallows any member of the legislature to hold any other office or employment in the government or any subdivision, agency or  instrumentality.

Section 14, meanwhile, also prohibits any Senator or Congressman to be interested directly or indirectly in any contract

In Villar’s case, the Senator reportedly violated the following provisions:

  1. Section 13 which directs Senators to make a full disclosure of their financial and business interests and “ …shall notify the House concerned of a potential conflict of interest that may arise from the filing of a proposed legislation of which they are authors.” And;
  2. Section 14 which bans Senators from having a direct or indirect interest financially, “ in any contract with, or in any franchise or special privilege granted by the Government, or any subdivision, agency or instrumentality thereof, including any government-owned or controlled corporation, or its subsidiary, during his term of office. He shall not intervene in any matter before any office of the Government for his pecuniary benefit or where he may be called upon to act on account of his office.

Senator Manuel Villar is being accused of unethical practice when he allegedly (a) failed to disclose a potential conflict of interest in the DPWH project called C-5 extension.



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