Posted on Apr 23, 2010

Villar man to beat as LP, foes intensify mudslinging

Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano sees a cycle of vicious attacks on Nacionalista Party (NP) standard-bearer Manny Villar coming from the Liberals and other rivals in the next two crucial weeks as they clearly see him as the man to beat in the May elections.

The NP secretary-general zeroed in on the LP’s Team TOPAK (Trapong Oportunista, at Kamag-anak Inc.) as the lead propaganda outlet that will disgorge "ruthless" and "fabricated" charges from its bottomless bag of tricks.

"Pinag-usapan na talaga nila ito at kung paano ilalabas (They talked about it and how they will come out with them)," Cayetano said in a press conference recently at the NP Headquarters in Mandaluyong.

Hinting that Aquino’s camp and other political adversaries are in panic mode due to Villar’s phenomenal crowd-drawing power at campaign rallies, Cayetano said he expects the LP’s war with the NP standard-bearer to go to the hilt.

The campaign of Villar’s political foes has already been dominated by months of mudslinging with the Aquino camp leading the pack by fabricating accusations that the NP standard-bearer has committed various misdeeds and abuses in public office.

Aquino himself had ditched his vow of a clean, high-level campaigning by training his fire on the C-5 issue as a way of salvaging his floundering campaign. But El Shaddai leader Bro. Mike Velarde has clarified the controversy by making a statement that he was the one who requested the realignment of the road project and not Villar.

The LP even tried to capitalize on the unpopularity of President Arroyo by coining the "Villarroyo" collusion. New developments, however, cropped up to shed light on the controversy that showed it was Aquino and his relatives and allies who are in cahoots with Arroyo. The defection of key Arroyo economic gurus, led by Albay Gov. Joey Salceda, to Aquino’s camp provided the strongest proof of a Gloriaquino alliance.

When the Ampatuan case hogged the headlines in recent weeks, the Aquino camp floated rumors that Villar and his NP ticket had secured the endorsement of the members of the powerful Maguindanao clan who were tagged as massacre suspects. But on Tuesday, the principal massacre suspect, Mayor Andal Ampatuan Jr., held a press conference at Camp Bagong Diwa in Taguig City, where he is detained, to announce that his family is endorsing the Aquino-Roxas tandem. He even flashed the Laban sign of Aquino to reporters.

Former president Joseph Estrada, also a presidential contender, was the latest to join the Villar-bashing spree.

On Thursday, Estrada called a press conference to accuse Villar of pressuring the Philippine Stock Exchange (PSE) into allowing the former Senate president to sell stocks of his listed holding company in violation of stock market rules in 2007 so he could fund his presidential campaign.

But the PSE on the same day issued a statement to deny Estrada's charge. It said Villar’s Vista Land and Lifescapes Inc. (VLL) complied with the listing and public offering requirements of the exchange based on its records in 2007.