Press Release
April 23, 2010

Villar: 'Everything is aboveboard'

Nacionalista Party (NP) standard-bearer Manny Villar yesterday denied the charge of former president Joseph Estrada and Sen. Juan Ponce Enrile that he pressured the Philippine Stock Exchange (PSE) board to bend its rules in favor of his company, Vista Land & Lifescapes Inc. (VLL).

"Walang nilabag na batas ang Vistaland. Walang binagong rules ang PSE para sa Vistaland. Walang irregularity," Villar said in a press conference held at the NP headquarters in Mandaluyong City.

Estrada and Enrile on Thursday said Villar pressured the PSE in 2007 to immediately sell shares of VLL after its initial public offering (IPO) despite a prerequisite lock-up period.

The senator said despite the false claims, he has nothing but respect for Estrada whom he said was misled or fed with wrong information.

He denied that there were overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) who invested in VLL, as claimed by Estrada. "May nagpaandar sa kanya ng maling information... Alam nating lahat na ito ay pulitika lamang...," Villar said.

He clarified that the PSE is a private entity and as such, what transpired between him and the PSE board is purely a private matter.

"In the end, it was rejected. So nasaan ang pressure doon? Nasaan ang pamimilit?" Villar said.

He also presented an official statement from the PSE saying that VLL had complied with the listing and public offering requirements of the exchange based on its records in 2007.

Villar also denied Estrada and Enrile's allegation that he also called up officials of Securities and Exchange Commission for the same issue, saying the regulatory body has nothing to do with what VLL was asking from the PSE.

The former Senate President also said not a single peso from the government coffers was lost in this undertaking.

"Walang nawawala sa gobyerno maski piso. Ang gobyerno natin ay kumita pa, something like P130 million in taxes. Nakinabang ang bayan, nakinabang ang PSE," he said.

Villar decried the recent "untruths" being used by his detractors to discredit his candidacy, saying too much of his time is wasted answering baseless accusations and unfounded claims.

"Hindi ko alam kung paano ito lumaki. Nauubos ang oras ko kasasagot ng mga isyung hindi naman totoo," he said.

He lamented that VLL and its shareholders are unnecessarily being dragged into the controversy.

Asked if it would be better if Estrada and Enrile file a case against him or VLL, he said, "they should."

"Hinahamon ko silang mag-imbestiga na lang sila. Dalhin nila ito sa tamang forum at doon kayo sasagutin ng Vistaland," he added.

Villar also denied that he, as a senator, should have divested all his interests in his companies as mandated by the Constitution.

He said that the law has a different set of rules governing financial interests of members of the Legislative branch of government as opposed to Executive officers.

For Executive officers of government such as the president, the law requires a complete divestment of all interests in any private corporation or company while in the Legislative branch, only a full disclosure of interests in corporations is required.

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