Press Release
January 26, 2010


I would like to caution Senator Villar about his propensity to use his billions to offer favors to people including his colleagues to avoid facing the charges against him.

There has been talk that with all of Senator Villar's billions, he has been giving out money and at times, promises of future favors such as government positions if and when he is elected as President of this country in exchange for support for his candidacy.

I am not prone to spread rumors. I am speaking from personal experience.

Sometime last year, I had lunch with Senator Villar together with a member of my staff, at the Japanese restaurant, Inagiku, of Shangri-la Makati, upon his invitation. I graciously agreed even if at that time, he, along with the minority in the Senate, had filed a case in the Supreme Court to stop the Committee of the Whole's investigation on his involvement in the C-5 controversy. I believe it is my duty to oblige and listen whenever any of my colleagues request to see me or talk to me.

During that meeting, Senator Villar expressed his request for my help because he was concerned about the investigation . He asserted that he had done nothing wrong and that Senator Madrigal's charges had no basis. I explained to him that since the complaint of Senator Madrigal has been referred to the Committee of the Whole and that the Supreme Court had not issued the Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) they sought, the hearings must proceed.

I then very clearly and repeatedly advised him to participate in and/or send his lawyers to the hearing so that he can present his case, raise objections and so that his counter-evidence may be considered by the Committee in coming up with a decision on his innocence or guilt.

Several times during that meeting, Senator Villar interjected: "Manong, baka naman may maitutulong ako sa inyo. Makakatulong naman ako kung may kailangan kayo." I chose to ignore these statements, feeling very uncomfortable. But I told him "Manny, gusto kitang tulungan. What I can promise you is that I will be fair to you. I will not allow the hearings to go beyond the issues referred to the Committee nor for it to be turned into a fishing expedition."

When he repeated his offer, I told him: "Manny, if I help you, don't worry walang kapalit 'yon."

I want to tell Senator Villar, being an aspirant to the highest position in the land: I know you have helped a lot of people because you came from a poor family. Now that you are very rich, you are in a better position to help more of the needy among the people. But to use your money to bribe people just because you want to kill the investigation instead of facing the charges against you, just like President Estrada did, is the worst disservice you can do to this nation. You are up there in the polls, only 2nd to Senator Noynoy Aquino. The people will see through any attempt to use money to win the Presidency. Not everyone can be bought. Bribery will be your downfall.

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