Monday, April 26, 2010

Villar ‘one big liar’ – Erap

Tuesday, 27 April 2010 00:00

Original Story:

FORMER President Joseph “Erap” Estrada on Monday called his rival for the presidency, Sen. Manuel “Manny” Villar Jr. of the Nacionalista Party (NP), “one big liar” for “covering up” his alleged shady deals with the Philippine Stock Exchange (PSE) involving the Villar-controlled Vista Land and Lifescape (VLL).

Estrada considered Villar’s “biggest lie” his denial of charges that he pressured PSE board members to lift the lock-up rule on stocks of VLL in 2007 when the NP standard-bearer was still Senate president.

“The incontrovertible fact is that Mr. Villar did [pressure the board members] and the stock exchange gave in to his request,” Estrada said during a press conference at the headquarters of the Pwersa ng Masang Pilipino (PMP).

He maintained that Villar showed up “unannounced” at a meeting of the PSE board when it was discussing the VLL stocks issue. Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile echoed at the same press conference Estrada’s charge that Villar was a “liar.”

“He is a big liar but a poor one at that,” said Enrile, who is running for reelection under Estrada’s ticket.

Enrile claimed that Villar “pressured” the PSE members through a veiled threat. He said that during the meeting, Villar accused the directors, who are mostly stockbrokers, that they themselves were violating the legal limitation on their shareholders in the exchange. In June 2007, the PSE exempted 29.28 percent of VLL shares from the lock-up provision and allowed the firm to sell shares in a second public offering.

Estrada said that Villar lied when he did not disclose in his 2007 and 2008 Statement of Assets and Liabilities and Net Worth (SALN) the P5-billion to P8-billion profit he and his wife allegedly made from the sale of their Vista Land stake. This apparent windfall, the former president said, was not shown in the SALN that Villar and his wife, Rep. Cynthia Villar, jointly filed.

Villar’s lawyer, Nalen Rosero-Galang, said that Villar’s accusers were “recycling lies to save face” after both PSE and Securities and Exchange Commission said they did not change or bend any rules to allow the public listing of shares of VLL.

Galang added that proceeds of the sale of the VLL shares are reflected in the books of the selling companies, “which explains why it is not reflected in the SALN of Sen. Villar.”

She said that the PSE board did not grant the requested release from escrow despite Villar’s appearance before the board.

“This shows that the PSE board was not influenced, much less pressured by Sen. Villar’s appearance before them. The PSE board allowed the release from escrow of the shares of one corporation because the board concluded that those shares were not subject to the lock-up requirement. Contrary to the allegations of Mr. Estrada, no waiver was granted by the PSE board,” Galang added.

She cited a formal statement from the PSE that the VLL transaction was above board.

“The PSE board earlier approved the public offering of Vista Land and in a subsequent meeting in 2007 clarified that the lock-up rule would not apply to the sale by existing shareholders owning less than 10 percent of the outstanding capital stock of the company at the time of the offering,” PSE Chairman Hans Sicat said in a statement.

Galang hinted that Estrada has an ax to grind against Villar who, as then Speaker of the House of Representatives, was mainly responsible for his impeachment and Senate trial that eventually resulted in his overthrow in a military and police-backed civilian uprising in 2001.

Enrile, however, was unimpressed by the PSE clearance of Villar. He said that the PSE board had executed “a very craftily and cleverly done cover-up” when it said that the Villar-owned Vista Land complied with existing rules and requirements for listing and public offering.

“Shame on you and your ilk who sit at the board of the PSE,” Enrile added.

He charged that some members of the board might have benefited from the allegedly irregular share sale so they are protecting Villar.

PSE intimidated

Enrile said those PSE board members were intimidated because they also had the problem of violating the bourse’s rule of having only a few stockbrokers on the board.

He challenged the board to declare as fake the minutes of a June 2007 PSE board meeting that he used as basis for his accusations.

“I dare the PSE board to say that the copies of the minutes of their meetings I am holding are fake and if so produce before the public [its] own version of the minutes so that they [public] can judge who is telling the truth and who [is] covering up,” Enrile said.

Villar earlier dismissed the accusations as black propaganda that he used his influence to manipulate the stock market and secure special treatment for his companies. He and his lawyer challenged Estrada and Enrile to sue him and let the courts decide if he committed any crime or not.

Sen. Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino 3rd, the candidate for president of the Liberal Party (LP), also did not escape the ire of Pwersa ng Masang Pilipino (PMP).

The LP supposedly had also received reports of Villar’s alleged undue influence on PSE board members but did not reveal them because they wanted to verify the reports first.

Lawyer JV Bautista, PMP senatorial candidate, said at the same press conference that Aquino did not seem to have moral courage.

“He knew about this all along, but he reportedly lacked proof. He wants someone else to do the work for him. He needs to find moral courage to stand up and fight,” Bautista added.

With report from Marie Kristine De Guzman

Original Story:

1 comment:

  1. Through the radio, television, the internet and the print media we hear of politicians hurling accusations against each other. Who's telling the truth and spreading lies? Who are we going to believe? One who is immoral and not ashame to flaunt his adulterous relationships or someone who is true to wife and his children. One found guilty and convicted of wrongdoing or someone who has no record of wrongdoing ( the C-5 controversy and the stock market issue has not been proven so he is presume innocent ). Speculations are not proofs but mere imaginations of a person full of evil thoughts. Who are you to take the mote of thine brother's eyes when you yourselves are full of it.