Enrile presents committee of the whole report on C-5 road project

January 25, 2010 10:55 pm 

By Jelly F. Musico

MANILA, Jan. 25 – Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile finally presented on Monday at the Senate plenary the report of the committee of the whole which investigated the alleged unethical conduct of senator Manny Villar for using his power to influence public officials in relocating the C-5 road extension project.

In his four-page committee report no. 780, Enrile said the committee recommends that Villar be censured for engaging in improper and unethical conduct as a senator and damaging the integrity of the upper chamber.

Enrile based the recommendation on Section 14 of Article 4 of the Constitution and Republic Act No. 6713, otherwise known as The Code of Conduct of Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees.

The report also demanded Villar to return to the public coffers the amount of P6.22 billion which Villar or his companies have illegally gained or obtained as a result of unlawful acts and improper and unethical conduct.

”For the benefit of his corporations, Senator Villar made the Filipino People suffer the total amount of P6.226,070,427,” Enrile stated in his report.

The amount is the total cost of the re-aligned C-5 Extension Road Project, including P141.1 million which the report said is representing the overprice on the properties of Villar as roads-right-of-way for the projects.

According to report, Villar also violated Section 12, Article IV of the constitution by failing to notify the Senate of a “potential conflict of interest” when he proposed an amendment to the 2008 national budget by appropriating P400 million, including P200 million approved by finance committee then headed by Villar, for the project.

”Evidently, these acts of respondent Senator Villar were committed while he was a member of the Senate,” Enrile explained in his report.

”Senator Villar failed to avoid this conflict of interests situation by not divesting himself of his shareholdings or interest in Adelfa Properties, Inc., Golden Haven Memorial Park, Inc., and Brittany Corp,” the report added.

Enrile made the report after 12 adjudicatory hearings of the Committee of the Whole he himself chaired with Sen. Jamby Madrigal as complainant.

Villar never attended all the hearings, including eight inquiries which were conducted by the Senate committee on ethics headed by Sen. Panfilo Lacson, that first handled ethics complaints against Villar who is running for president in the May 10 elections.

The committee report has finally reached the plenary through the signatures of majority composed of 12 senators – Kiko Pangilinan, Madrigal, Enrile, Juan Miguel Zubiri, Lacson, Edgardo Angara, Noynoy Aquino, Mar Roxas, Chiz Escudero, Richard Gordon and Rodolfo Biazon.

After Enrile’s presentation of the committee report, Senator Allan Peter Cayetano has been given a chance to present the minority bloc’s own resolution 1472 which was also signed by 12 senators, clearing Villar of the accusations of Madrigal.

The presentation of minority’s resolution turned into a lengthy heated interpellation and debates as senators reacted when Cayetano named the presidentiables from the Senate.

When asked by Enrile if Villar has intention to defend himself, Cayetano said he can’t answer for Villar although Cayetano reiterated the previous stand of Villar not to submit himself in the investigation which he believed he won’t get a fair trial.

Enrile was supported by Senate President Pro Tempore Jinggoy Estrada who urged Villar to defend himself in the Senate and not in the media or any forum.

Reacting to Cayetano’s speech, presidential candidate Madrigal defended that she and her family were never involved in any project marred with anomalies like C-5 road project.

Madrigal went on by calling Villar coward for refusing to face the Senate inquiries.

Senate Minority Leader Aquilino Pimentel immediately defended Villar, questioning Madrigal’s use of language which is ‘unparliamentary.’

Aquino, who is also running for president, also took defense when Cayetano mentioned that some farmers trooped in the Senate and even in Malacanang regarding their cases with the Hacienda Luisita which is owned by Aquino’s family.

Roxas, who is the running mate of Aquino, also took the floor to clarify Cayetano’s question on why only Villar is being investigated when only more than 100 days left before the elections.

Roxas also clarified that his family is never involved in the anomalous project, insisting that Villar should defend himself in the Senate.

Saying Villar won’t get a fair trial in the Senate, Cayetano recommended that Villar be investigated by an independent body.

Like Cayetano, senator Joker Arroyo also believed that Villar will not get fair justice from the Senate. (PNA)

DCT/jfm

Comments

One Response to “Enrile presents committee of the whole report on C-5 road project”

  1. ruzzano K Simonyan on January 26th, 2010 9:01 am

    I believe that indeed, there is substantial evidence to prove the Mr Villar is guilty. His camp always quoute an ex justice comments which is not applicable in the case of Villar. If he proposed for the project, pushed for the project, funded the projects continuously while occupying a government post is clrear conflict of interest. How can Joker Arroyo, Nene Pimentel, Peter Cayetano and all of the NP’s cannot understand that. If someone in the government proposed for a project where Villars property located, then that is not conflict of interest. Like the SCTex controversy. It is the project of BCDA and GMA, the purpose is for business and people and not for the owners of Hacienda Luisita.