Press Release
March 31, 2010

Villar: GMA will be Speaker under a Noynoy presidency

Nacionalista Party standard-bearer has raised fears that President Arroyo will likely clinch the House speakership if Liberal Party presidential candidate Benigno Aquino III is elected president.

Villar said Aquino faces difficulties in controlling lawmakers to avert an Arroyo speakership because of the latter's lack of leadership, competence and experience.

The Speaker is elected by a majority vote of all members of the House at the start of each Congress.

However, if he is elected President, Villar assured that the NP will field its own candidate for Speaker to bar Arroyo's bid.

In a press conference Tuesday, Villar also denied charges that he is the "secret" presidential candidate of Malacañang and enjoying financial support from President Arroyo.

"Hindi ako nanghihingi [sa Palasyo] at wala akong balak tumanggap," he said.

Villar maintained he is not an administration accomplice, stressing he himself, as then chairman of the Senate Committee on Public Order, headed the investigation into the numbers racket "jueteng" that allegedly involved Arroyo and some of her family as well as her political allies.

He pointed out that NP stalwarts Gilbert Remulla and Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano led the congressional inquiries into the "Hello Garci" and ZTE-NBN scandals.

During his stint as Senate President, Villar said he protected the chamber from illegal moves by Malacañang to interfere in the affairs of the chamber at the height of its corruption investigation.

"I'm proud of this. When I was the Senate President, the Senate enjoyed independence," he said.

Since his ouster from the Senate presidency, Villar said he has never talked to either President Arroyo or First Gentleman Miguel Arroyo.

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