Cris G. ordonia
The Manila Times
January 26, 2010
Instead of attacking Sen. Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan, the camp of Sen. Manuel “Manny” Villar Jr. should instead focus on explaining their side on C-5 road project controversy, said Harvey Keh, lead convenor of Kaya Natin!, an advocate of good governance. “What Villar is doing is he’s trying to skirt the issue. The issue here is not about Pangilinan and Villar, but the C-5 road project controversy. Villar should respect the sanctity of the institution of the Senate,” Keh told The Manila Times.
He said that it was saddening that Villar, a presidential candidate running under the Nacionalista Party, could not even respect the rules of the Senate where he was formerly Senate president.
Pangilinan, who belongs to the rival Liberal Party, earlier signed a resolution seeking the dismissal of the ethics case against Villar.
But the senator changed his position and joined the 11 senators who signed the report by the Senate Committee of the Whole that investigated the controversial C-5 road extension project.
In signing the report, Pangilinan said that he was merely following the decision of the Liberal Party, whose presidential candidate is Sen. Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino 3rd.
Nacionalista Pary’s spokesman Gilbert Remulla said that he did not believe Pangilinan’s reasoning, saying “it’s clearly about politics and the presidency” and not about the truth.
Values over friendship
Keh, however, defended Pangilinan, saying that the issue is not about politics but about “transparency and graft corruption.” He added that if the P6.2 billion, which allegedly “illegally gained or obtained” by Villar’s real estate companies, was used properly it would have easily gone to “better basic services to every Filipino.”
Keh said that Pangilinan should be admired for putting the “values of truth and accountability, and public interest over friendship.”
Villar and Pangilinan were members of the so-called Wednesday Group at the Senate along with Sen. Joker Arroyo, former Sen. Ralph Recto and Vice President Noli de Castro.
Keh also expressed alarm that he was seeing another President Gloria Arroyo in Villar in wanting not to answer the allegations against him.
Keh explained that President Arroyo also tried to hide the truth from the public in the past several controversies, such as the national broadband deal, “Hello, Garci” scandal and the P728-million fertilizer fund scam.
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