Monday, March 29, 2010

Is Manny Villar Really Poor?

AN ORGANIZATION I BELONG TO, THE Movement for Good Governance (MGG), has, as one of its objectives, raising the level of discussion and quality of information during the election campaign, so that the information that voters obtain on candidates are not just those provided by the candidates themselves (which are naturally going to be self-serving) but have been subjected to scrutiny for either feasibility (as in their platforms, which require the assessment of experts) or authenticity (in regard to their claims, which require investigation and drudgework). That way, the voter will be in a much better position to choose their leaders for the next three or six years.

Manny Pangilinan's TV5 has picked up on MGG's work and will jointly sponsor a five-part special series that will in effect showcase the results of this scrutiny. And since Sen. Manny Villar's TV and radio ads far outnumber the ads of his opponents, they provide much more grist for an investigator/evaluator's mill.

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.

Finally, there is the matter of Senator Villar's assertion that if he just wanted to get richer, all he needed to do was get back to being a businessman. Again, the documentary evidence: his Statement of Assets, Liabilities, and Net Worth (SALN) for 1992-the first year he joined government as a congressman-showed that his net worth was P75 million. After nine years of being a congressman, and eight years of being a senator, his most recent SALN (2008) shows a net worth of P1.047 billion. Being in public office surely has paid off for him.

-source

Friday, March 12, 2010

Manny Pacquiao vs Joshua Clottey LIVE!

Manny Pacquiao vs Joshua Clottey LIVE March 14, 2010 at 8AM!

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Thursday, March 11, 2010

Iron Man 2 Trailer 2 (OFFICIAL)

With the world now aware of his dual life as the armored superhero Iron Man, billionaire inventor Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) faces pressure from the government, the press, and the public to share his technology with the military. Unwilling to let go of his invention, Stark, along with Pepper Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow), and James "Rhodey" Rhodes (Don Cheadle) at his side, must forge new alliances -- and confront powerful enemies.



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