Press Release
March 3, 2010


I commend Senator Gordon for unmasking the real character of Senator and presidential candidate Manuel B. Villar as a man who thinks he can buy his way to the highest position in the land with his billions of money.

I understand Senator Gordon has come out to tell the public about the bribe attempt made by Senator Villar through an "emissary" and a "mutual friend." I confirm that such attempt actually happened and I have no doubt about its veracity because Sen. Gordon told me about it immediately.

My recollection is that when I filed the report of the Committee of the Whole on the Ethics complaint involving the C5 controversy, having been signed by 11 Senators with myself as the author acting as Chairman, my Chief of Staff relayed to me by phone that another Senator, who Villar was supporting to replace me as Senate President, had approached Sen. Gordon to join the plot to oust me and install a new leadership in the Senate.

The approach, which came with an offer for a position of Sen. Gordon's choice under a "Villar Administration" was turned down outright by Sen. Gordon saying "I cannot, in conscience, do such a thing, especially not to Senator Enrile who I regard as a father."

On that same day, upon seeing Sen. Gordon arrive at the Senate session, I embraced him and whispered "Thank you, Dick. I know what happened." At that time, he seemed surprised at my gesture and just hugged me back.

Several days after, when we were about to take up the report on the Floor, I got another report that Sen. Gordon was offered, on top of the first offer for a position if Sen. Villar makes it to the presidency, was likewise offered a huge amount of money to withdraw his signature from my report. I was appalled by this report and felt it was my duty to tell Sen. Gordon that such news was circulating. I called Sen. Gordon and informed him that I will never believe that he will succumb to such a brazen act of bribery.

Sen. Gordon privately confirmed to me that such offer was indeed made and that he felt furious and insulted by the temerity and gall of Villar to think that he can be intimidated by money, much less lured by an offer for a position of power. He immediately said NO to this offer.

Later, I learned that it went even beyond that; that Sen. Villar offered "reimbursement for what Sen. Gordon had so far spent for his presidential bid with an added premium just to convince him to withdraw from the presidential race.

I have known Sen. Gordon from his younger days, and one thing I can say is that this man cannot be bought. Sen. Villar is dead wrong about Sen. Gordon. You do not put a price tag on everyone, especially not Dick Gordon. GORDON.

Actually, I knew about the plan to oust me since last December. On the last day of our sessions before the Christmas break, Sen. Allan Peter Cayetano, on orders of his master, Sen. Villar, in no uncertain terms, delivered the threat to my Chief of Staff that if I make a move to gather enough votes in support of my Committee Report, Sen. Villar wants me to know that he will have no other choice but to take the Senate Presidency either for himself or for another Senator of his choice.

As things developed and the co-perpetrators of the coup plot against me began to show their real colors, I surmised that the "emissary" to Sen. Gordon and Sen. Villar's nominee could be no other than Senator Edgardo J. Angara.

Sen. Angara later feigned ignorance about the plot and professed his loyalty to me. Of course! After all, it did not succeed. But I know first hand that from the Senators themselves who signed the resolution to remove me that he was Villar's nominee as my replacement.

Sen. Angara is a man whose career I helped to start, and nurture: first, as a young lawyer, placing him no less than as the lead and founding partner of the law firm I established (the ACCRA or Angara, Concepcion, Cruz, Regala & Abello Law Offices), and later as President of the University of the Philippines by recommending him to former President Marcos.

Sen. Angara now says that it was the late former President Corazon C. Aquino who launched his career in government. So be it. I don't anymore care to claim credit for his career nor his success in weaving his way into the corridors of power over the years. I would rather associate myself with more honorable men.

This attempt of Villar is similar to the offer made by another "emissary" to former President Estrada, our standard bearer in the Pwersa ng Masang Pilipino- "reimbursement in exchange for withdrawal." President Estrada rightly turned down this indecent proposal. President Estrada's candidacy is NOT FOR SALE.

I had earlier revealed that Sen. Villar himself tried to bribe me into not proceeding with the investigation by the Committee of the Whole, offering me "help" for whatever it was I needed. As I said, I replied to him that I can only advice him to participate in the hearings and introduce evidence to counter the charges and evidence against him, and that I am giving him that advice for free, without any consideration. I wish to reiterate to Sen. Villar: I AM NOT FOR SALE.

If you tie all these things up with Sen. Villar's unprecedented campaign spending for advertisements, cash give-aways to local officials and supporters, his media budget and sum it all up, then you have a complete picture of the man who is now presenting himself as the "best" alternative for the presidency.

Sen. Villar is a pretender posturing as a pleasant and decent person and using his poverty during his childhood days to project himself as pro-poor. It is as if having been once poor was equivalent to really having the heart for the poor.

Villar has to answer what he has done for the poor since he became a multi-billionaire and in his long career as a politician apart from his expensive "give-aways", helping OFW's, giving livelihood, building homes for the poor by shelling out money ALL FOR PROPAGANDA.

Sen. Villar must be asked what he did for the poor that he did not make sure was covered by media so he can use it for his campaign propaganda. He should be asked what social cause he has really championed as a legislator, not an ordinary one, by the way, for he served as no less than Speaker of the House and Senate President.

He should he asked how he victimized the poor and the taxpayers of this country with his financial schemes in the housing business, and about the collapse of his own bank, Capitol Bank, mysteriously leaving him richer, not poorer.

Amongst all who are now running for President, Villar stands out, indeed, as the RICHEST and one who thinks that everyone can be bought: the people through his misleading advertisements, some media people who are obviously in his "payola", political leaders who are vulnerable to his offer to partake of his financial largesse, and all his attempts to bribe even his colleagues and fellow aspirants to the Presidency.

Sen. Villar may have succeeded to a large extent in deploying the huge fortune he acquired, perhaps some by honest means, but definitely, a large part, by the immoral use of his political position, power and clout to advance his own business interests as borne out by the evidence in Senate Ethics case and, much earlier, by the shenanigans exposed on the Floor of the Lower House by Sen. Joker Arroyo.

But on May 10, he must be taught a hard and painful lesson by no less than the electorate. He must be unmasked and rejected as a fake leader in order for the nation to redeem itself. We must clearly send the strongest message to Senator Manuel "Manny" B. Villar, as Senator Richard J. Gordon has said, that THE PRESIDENCY OF THIS NATION, THE FILIPINO PEOPLE, AND THE PHILIPPINES ARE NOT FOR SALE.

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