Senate probes Villar

PHILIPPINES NEWS SERVICE — SEN. Manuel Villar, Jr. is certain that he will not be given fair treatment when the Senate Ethics committee investigates the complaint filed against him concerning his alleged insertion of P200 million into the budget for the C-5 extension project.

The panel headed by Sen. Panfilo Lacson found the complaint filed by Sen. Jamby Madrigal against Villar “sufficient in form and in substance.”

It ordered Villar to answer Madrigal’s charges that he violated RA 6713 or the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials for allegedly “illegally” inserting another P200 million for the C-5 road project into the 2008 national budget. Villar had denied the allegation.

Senate Minority Leader Aquilino Pimentel, Jr. and Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano, Villar’s ally, deplored the supposed advanced “ruling” circulated Tuesday night indicating that the complaint is sufficient in substance and form.

“I would really find it difficult to accept that you can issue already a committee report for signing on the day before the actual hearing is to take place,” Pimentel said.

Cayetano said: “Fixed na ito. Areglado na ito. Ang tawag ko nga dito political rubout na kung ano ang gawin niya may desisyon na sila.”

Villar said he was not surprised by the findings, especially after learning that his fellow presidentiables were present when the panel made its decision.

Asked whether he will submit his reply to the charges, Villar said: “Bahala na lang. Titingnan ko muna. Hindi ko pa alam kung ano ang nangyari.” Then, he asked who attended yesterday’s ethics hearing. “Sino ba yung nag attend?”

When mediamen told him that aside from Lacson, Senators Loren Legarda and Mar Roxas were also present, Villar said: “Ah, mga presidentiables. Eh, alam na natin ang mangyayari diyan.”