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‘RENE, RESIGN NOW!’

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front_villa_picVilla urged to spare PNoy, Drilon the embarrassment

ILOILO City – Concerned Ilonggos and other sectors who believe Local Water Utilities Administration (LWUA) chair Rene Villa has brought embarrassment to the good name and reputation of President Benigno Aquino III and Senate President Franklin Drilon said he should tender his irrevocable resignation. Pronto!

In text messages and emails to Panay News, they said Villa’s long connection with suspected pork barrel scam queen Janet Lim-Napoles and the money he got from the latter are clear proof that in one way or another “he is part of entire web of Napoles’ illegal activities.”

Noting that the President’s and Drilon’s names have been “dragged into the evil scheme, it is axiomatic that Villa should get out of government service,” the concerned Ilonggos said.

WITNESS’ STATEMENT

Merlinda Suñas, one of the “pork” scam whistleblowers, said one of Napoles’ “biggest transactions” was P200 million secured from the Malampaya Fund.

She claimed documents, like requests by local mayors for funding, were given by Napoles for Villa to handle.

Many mayors, however, did not receive the money intended for them.

Suñas also said the money donated by Napoles for Liberal Party candidates was coursed through Villa, including a Sports Utility Vehicle (SUV) for his campaign in Iloilo when he ran for congressman in 2010.

DAR DEALS

A source from the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) said Villa helped Napoles facilitate her deals with the department from 2007 to 2009.

As retained and in-house lawyer of Napoles, Villa described his client as “very generous.”

When Villa went to Europe with Cong. Teodorico Haresco in 2006 to patch up with then President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo regarding his association with the “Hyatt 10” – the group of Cabinet officials who quit their posts in protest over allegations that the then President cheated in the 2004 elections in the wake of the “Hello Garci” scandal – Villa was given by Napoles with $15,000 as pocket money, another confidential source said.

As an international lawyer of note, Villa has been receiving P200,000 monthly from his “generous client”, according to another “pork” scam whistleblower, Benhur Luy.

SOLONS JOIN RESIGN CALL

Three congressmen from Iloilo who asked for anonymity told Panay News that Villa being a presidential appointee, he should have the delicadeza to immediately resign from his government position.

“Rene Villa should free President Aquino and Senate President Drilon from the burden of embarrassment,” a neophyte solon from Region 6 said over the phone.

BIR TO INVESTIGATE VILLA

Noting that the LWUA chair has been receiving P200,000 monthly stipend from Napoles, plus his many other sources of income, the Bureau of Internal Revenue will investigate Villa – that is, if has been paying taxes honestly.

Considered a “silent millionaire,” sources disclosed Villa bought many properties in Metro Manila, especially when he was the DAR secretary.

DENIAL

Villa admitted he received cash and a pickup truck from his client Napoles when he was still her lawyer.

Villa, a former DAR secretary under the Arroyo administration, said the cash and vehicle served as payment for his services as lawyer for Napoles’ JLN Corp.

He reiterated that he never made any illegal transaction with the businesswoman who is now facing plunder charges for allegedly masterminding the P10 billion pork barrel scam.

“Tumatanggap ako ng pera dahil bayad sa akin. Kung saan nila kinuha is not something I am in the position to know,” he said.

But when asked whether he has receipts showing that the amounts given to him by Napoles were payments for his services, Villa said, “Ang arrangement, si Napoles kasi is a Chinese, so kapag nag-usap kayo niyan, ibibigay na lang sayo ang bayad mo. Nire-reflect ko naman kahit papano sa aking income tax return.”/PN