JV in PDI Editorial: Patterns

Former President Joseph Estrada, who is also running for president, had a similar story. He said another presidential candidate had offered to reimburse all his campaign expenses if he withdrew from the race. But while Estrada refused to say who had made the offer, one of the senatorial candidates in his ticket, JV Bautista, said Villar was “the most likely person to do that … because the other political contenders do not have that kind of money to offer.” Villar denied ever talking to anyone regarding the matter.

Inquirer Opinion / Editorial

http://opinion.inquirer.net/inquireropinion/editorial/view/20100305-256904/Patterns

EDITORIAL

Patterns

Philippine Daily Inquirer
Posted date: March 05, 2010

SEN. MANUEL VILLAR sees a pattern in the recent attacks mounted by some of his political foes and believes they have hatched a conspiracy to portray him as a “transactional leader.” In an interview Thursday with GMA-7’s Mike Enriquez, the standard-bearer of the Nacionalista Party said his Senate foes wanted to paint him as somebody who was buying off his political rivals as well as the media. Their strategy is “to create an impression that I am in the habit of bribing people,” Villar said. “But all of my money came from hard work and patience, from my sweat and blood. I don’t just give it away to anyone.”

Villar was reacting to accusations made by Sen. Richard Gordon, one of his rivals for the presidency, that he had offered to reimburse Gordon’s campaign expenses as well as a Cabinet post of his choice, if the latter would withdraw his signature from the Senate committee report recommending censure for Villar in connection with the C-5 road extension controversy and support the move to oust Sen. Juan Ponce Enrile from the Senate presidency. Gordon said the offer was made by a businessman they both knew, but he turned it down immediately. “The objective was not my withdrawal from the campaign,” he said. “The objective was to protect himself [from the committee report].”

Sen. Dick Gordon

Gordon was the second senator to speak of a bribe attempt made by Villar in connection with the C-5 controversy. In January, Enrile said Villar invited him to a luncheon meeting in August last year because he was “concerned about the Senate investigation.” It was during the meeting that Villar offered to “help” Enrile in case he needed anything. Enrile said he had the impression that Villar was “trying to buy me off.”

Villar dismissed Enrile’s allegation as a “false story … conceived in malice.”

Former President Joseph Estrada, who is also running for president, had a similar story. He said another presidential candidate had offered to reimburse all his campaign expenses if he withdrew from the race. But while Estrada refused to say who had made the offer, one of the senatorial candidates in his ticket, JV Bautista, said Villar was “the most likely person to do that … because the other political contenders do not have that kind of money to offer.” Villar denied ever talking to anyone regarding the matter.

“If you look at the characters, the personalities involved—the players don’t change,” Villar said of his detractors. “The issues are repeated, recycled.” In other words, it is Goebbels’ “big lie” which Villar’s detractors plan to keep repeating until people ultimately accept it as truth.

But is it? If Villar sees a pattern in the line of attack of his political foes, there are others who see their charges fitting neatly into a pattern of throwing money at any problem that stands in the way of his ambition to become the next president. People who have noticed how Villar has been splurging hundreds of millions of pesos on political ads and throwing several millions more in the form of prizes, scholarships and other giveaways do not need a lot of convincing to believe he tried to buy exoneration in the C-5 case or buy off some of his presidential rivals. Even those who cannot take the word of politicians, particularly his rivals, will find it hard to ignore what they can see with their own eyes: Villar is trying to buy his way to the presidency.

Naging Mahirap

On political ads alone, Villar was reported to have spent about P1 billion as of the middle of February, outspending by a ratio of 2.5:1 the next biggest ad spender, Gilbert Teodoro. And the trend continues, with Villar spending P120.4 million between Feb. 9 and March 2, with Estrada coming in second with P88 million in ad spending.

Villar has tried to justify his extravagant campaign by saying he is only trying to level the playing field because he is not a celebrity and has no famous parents. Besides he is spending his own money, he adds. But his unprecedented campaign spending only makes Villar more equal than most of the other candidates. And no matter his repeated assurance that he would not try to recover the billions he will spend to get himself elected, there will always be the irrepressible suspicion that as president he will act like the businessman that he has been all of his life. Didn’t he say he doesn’t just give money away to anyone?

A Campaign Violation

©Copyright 2001-2010 INQUIRER.net, An Inquirer Company

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: