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Only The Truth Will Suffice

March 29, 2010

Tapos na ba ang boksing (is the boxing match over)?”

This is what a late-arriving boxing aficionado asks his co-bettors as he sits down to partake of peanuts and beer to catch up on a bout in progress/
It’s the very same query in my head as I pore through this BusinessWorld recap of the latest Social Weather Stations findings:

LIBERAL Party standard-bearer Sen. Benigno Simeon “Noynoy” C. Aquino III has opened up a nine-point lead over his nearest rival for the presidency, fellow legislator and Nacionalista Party bet Sen. Manuel “Manny” B. Villar, Jr., based on the results of the latest BusinessWorld-Social Weather Stations Pre-Election Survey.
Mr. Aquino picked up a point to score 37% and further benefitted from a six-point loss for Mr. Villar, now at 28%, in the March 19-22 poll conducted just before campaigning for local posts began last Friday. The gap between the two front-runners was just two points, within the error margins used, a month earlier.

Spokesmen for both pointed to retweaked strategies working or needing further adjustment, and analysts have said local-level campaigning – where endorsements by their parties’ bets will ostensibly add a new dimension – could change things anew with still a little over a month and a half left to go before the May 10 elections.

Former President Joseph M. “Erap” Estrada of the Pwersa ng Masang Pilipino, meanwhile, gained four points to 19%, narrowing his gap with Mr. Villar to nine points from 19 previously.

Administration candidate Gilberto “Gibo” C. Teodoro, Jr. of the Lakas-Kampi-CMD remained in single digit territory with his score staying at 6%.

There were minimal changes with respect to the rest of the “presidentiables”: Bagumbayan’s Sen. Richard “Dick” J. Gordon picked up a point to score a fifth-placed 3%, overtaking Bangon Pilipinas’ Eduardo “Bro. Eddie” C. Villanueva who lost a point to 2%. Following were Ang Kapatiran bet John Carlos “JC” G. De Los Reyes with 0.3%, and independent candidates Jesus Nicanor “Nick” P. Perlas (0.1%) and Sen. Ana Consuelo “Jamby” A. S. Madrigal (0.04%).

Votes for disqualified Kilusang Bagong Lipunan candidate Vetellano “Dodong” S. Acosta were classed under the undecided and others.

As with the previous Feb. 24-28 survey, the SWS respondents were asked to privately fill out a ballot containing the names of the official candidates in alphabetical order.

The question asked was “Kung ang eleksyon ay gaganapin ngayon, sino ang pinakamalamang ninyong ibiboto bilang Presidente, Bise-Presidente, at mga Senador ng Pilipinas? Narito ang listahan ng mga kandidato. Paki-shade o itiman po ang naa-angkop na oval katabi ng pangalan ng taong pina-kamalamang ninyong iboboto (If the elections were held today, whom would you most probably vote for as President, Vice-President, and Senators of the Philippines. Here is a list of candidates. Please shade the oval beside the name of the persons you would most likely vote for).

A total of 2,100 registered voters were polled nationwide, divided into random samples of 300 in Metro Manila and 600 each in the Balance of Luzon, the Visayas, and Mindanao. The sampling error margins used were ±2.2% for national percentages, ±6% for Metro Manila, and ±4% for the rest of Luzon, the Visayas, and Mindanao.

The results put Mr. Aquino ahead of the pack in terms of both geographic area and socio-economic class, although he saw his support drop in Metro Manila (39% from 42%) and Mindanao (32% from 35%). He overtook Mr. Villar in the Balance of Luzon (35% versus 30%), and among the class ABC (45% vs. 17%) and class E (33% vs. 31%).

Mr. Villar saw his support eroded in almost all geographic areas and socioeconomic classes, except in Metro Manila where he kept his score of 20%, keeping him third behind Mr. Estrada.

Mr. Aquino’s nationwide gain was limited to one point as his three-point losses in Metro Manila and Mindanao offset increases of four points in the Visayas and two points in the Balance of Luzon.

Mr. Villar’s nationwide loss of six points, meanwhile, was due to seven-point drops in the Balance of Luzon and the Visayas, a six-point fall in Mindanao, and a steady score in Metro Manila.

http://www.bworldonline.com/main/content.php?id=8479

I paused reading the BusinessWorld there.

That’s because I had also just been studying this piece of former economic planning secretary Solita Monsod

I pick up on the article as Professor Monsod discusses Nacionalista Psrty candidate Manny Villar’s political campaign ad which has both TV and radio versions:

Take the ad, for example, which roughly translated goes something like this: “Have you experienced sleeping on a short bench in the market? Or the death of a brother because you had no money for medicine/proper health care, so you were helpless? Well, I, too, have experienced all that. Which is why, when God blessed me with a good life, it became my vow to help those who have nothing. If I really wanted to get richer, I would just go back to being a businessman. If I could get out of poverty, I can also do it for you. This is my vow: to end poverty.” The TV ads are highlighted by a 1962 picture of the young Manny and his younger brother Danny-the year that Danny died-as well as a Villar family picture.
The message being conveyed is simple and powerful: he was dirt poor, but God got him out of poverty; and he has vowed to do the same for others. And he is sincere: he is not running for president to make money-because if he only wanted to get richer, all he needed to do was go back to being a businessman. It is indeed a great ad. One viewer’s reaction was: Awesome.
Awesome, indeed. Because documents sent to me turn those assertions on their head, so that the only thing accurate about the ad may be the family pictures.
First there is the matter of the copy of a death certificate of Daniel Bamba Villar indicated as issued by the NSO.

According to that document, Daniel Bamba Villar, son of Manuel Villar and Curita Bamba, address xx (number illegible) Bernardo Street, North Balut, Navotas, died at the Far Eastern University Hospital on Oct. 13, 1962, at the age of three years and eight months, of cardio-respiratory failure due to leukemia (there is something about red cells, but the writing again is illegible), after a 13-day hospital stay. In the space for informant, the signatory is Manuel Villar, father.
Now, that Daniel Villar was brought to a private hospital-FEUH had the same reputation then as Makati Medical or Manila Doctors or St Luke’s would have now-rather than, say, a government hospital like the Philippine General Hospital, or San Lazaro, does not necessarily disprove the Villar ad contention that his family was poor. It is not unusual for families, however poor, to do what is necessary in order to secure the best care for their children, and damn the consequences. That it was Funeraria Paz (one of the two top funeral parlors at that time), as indicated on the same death certificate, that took care of the funeral arrangements, again does not necessarily contradict the “I was poor” contention, for the same reason.
But then, Villar does not just say in the ad that his family was poor. He said his brother died because there was no money for medicine or medical care. That appears to be clearly contradicted by the certificate.

Moreover, there is the matter of the address provided by Villar senior: apparently, from pictures and on-site investigation, Bernardo Street in North Balut is part of San Rafael Village, a gated community, equivalent at that time to FilAm Homes in Quezon City. A copy of the Transfer Certificate of Title for the property-which is a 560-square-meter lot-has also been provided.

Now anyone who can afford to buy a 560-square-meter lot (the TCT shows that Villar senior borrowed P16,000 from the GSIS for the release of the title-which at current prices is roughly equivalent to P1.266 million) is not exactly consistent with being dirt poor.

I am asking myself how the revelations of ‘Tita Winnie” and the recent blog of  Lila Shahani (daughter of former Senator Letty Ramos-Shahani) are quite-damning smoking guns against the Villar candidacy.

http://lilashahani.blogspot.com/2010/03/concentric-circles-private-musings-on.html

They certainly appear to be.
The Villar camp, swimming in cash as it is, surely cannot just wave the reports away as political smear jobs.
Senator Villar owes his supporters and the rest of Philippine society a most convincing explanation.
Only the truth will suffice.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. March 30, 2010 12:29 am

    Ding,

    First off, good post.

    Second, while I love the result of the recent survey, and if we hear from Manila Standard and Pulse Asia and all the other surveys conducted in the same period, we may get a more definitive picture.

    I love the result of the survey, but we’re in that crucial last four weeks of the contest. A LOT of things can happen. A misstep, a wrong move, some destiny shaping event could make or break what happens. Pardon me, if I am overtly cautious.

    It is most interesting how these events are shaping up. We live in interesting times.

    Third, of the contenders there is a huge question mark on Manny Villar. Obviously, he wasn’t dirt poor as he like to portray himself. His isn’t a rags to riches story. At worst, he started off life as a middle class guy. Then worked hard— but as his SALN says, his rise to billions is iffy, and requires an answer from him. There could be real legal issues there.

    Some people might think that looking into his SALN is negative campaigning. Truth be told, Manny Villar could be the next president of the Philippines we owe it to ourselves to look and see him with our eyes open. If Villar’s supporters see it that way— perhaps they would be more keen on laying down the truth.

    • March 30, 2010 5:43 am

      Bro, Given the galling revelations about how Villar lied about being dirt poor I actually feel insulted.
      Insulted that this wily gentleman seeking the land’s highest office even thought of hiding his true economic status from Filipinos.
      He who postures at being the poor man’s champion must equate being poor to being stupid.

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