Press Release
March 1, 2021

Villanueva: Vico Sotto showed fight vs corruption has 'no gray area'

Senator Joel Villanueva, whose early and continuing work in Congress involved fighting corruption, asked the Senate to commend Pasig City Mayor Vico Sotto for being among 12 "Anti-Corruption Champions" in the world picked by the US State Department, saying the young mayor showed there was no "gray area" in good governance.

In a speech at the Senate, Villanueva said Mayor Vico stood out because he did not spare anyone in his fight against corruption.

"What is right is right, what is wrong is wrong," Villanueva said. "He showed us that good governance has no gray area, just black and white, right or wrong," he said.

"Mayor Vico is the first Filipino officially honored by the Biden administration. But what makes that award more impressive is that it is product of a global search. Many were considered, but only a few were chosen. He got the equivalent of a Golden Globe for best performance in anticorruption," he added.

Villanueva recalled his own battle against corruption as a 25-year-old representative of the party-list group Citizens Battle Against Corruption in the House of Representatives at the start of his political career.

"I can say that fighting corruption is a lonely and often risky battle," Villanueva said.

He said when he heard news about Sotto being recognized by the US State Department for his work against corruption, "my heart was again filled with joy, courage and inspiration."

"Vico proved that age is not a hindrance for change," Villanueva said. "What we need is a sincere desire to bring good to our people," he said.

What Sotto did was provide an example that should be emulated everywhere.

Mayor Sotto, Villanueva said, involved his constituents in making sure the city budget was spent well. Sotto set up a 24-hour hotline for information and complaints, said Villanueva. The mayor also made all bidding processes transparent by posting these in real time on social media, the senator said.

"He did not spare anyone," Villanueva said.

"Mayor Vico made the nation realize what Edmund Burke said a long time ago: Evil triumphs when good men do nothing," the senator said.

Villanueva recalled that when his late sister, Joni Villanueva, took her oath of office in 2019 as mayor of Bocaue, Bulacan her only guest of honor was Vico.

"In her Mayor Joni's short stint, I witnessed how Mayor Vico's words and statements served as her guide," Villanueva said.

"Mayor Vico is truly an inspiration to many," he said.

"If everyone working in the government would be like Mayor Vico, we can be sure that our nation's future would be in good hands and we can finally achieve our dream of change," Villanueva added.

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