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Monday, February 26, 2024

Solons consider ‘non grata’ tag on Villanueva

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Senate Majority Leader Joel Villanueva’s statements belittling members of the House of Representatives amid the Charter change and people’s initiative issues have seriously and genuinely disappointed many lawmakers, Ako Bicol Party-list Rep. Elizaldy Co said Sunday.

Some are even contemplating the withdrawal of support for the senator and declaring him “persona non grata,” Co said in a statement.

Villanueva earlier compared senators and members of the House in terms of the number of votes garnered during the elections, insinuating that members of the Senate far outweigh their House counterparts, using the analogy of “comparing apples to oranges.”

Co, chair of the House Appropriations Committee, noted that Villanueva said senators garnered 15 million votes in comparison to congressmen, who have smaller electorates.

However, Co said Villanueva should keep in mind that the help of representatives is still sought after.

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“I don’t know if congressmen will still help, because of what he said. We are now looking at who to support, and who to declare persona non grata,” he warned.

Villanueva made his statements in reaction to the people’s initiative to amend the Constitution, in light of reports that some lawmakers were supporting the people’s campaign for Charter change to remove its restrictive provisions.

Co earlier said he was disappointed at Villanueva for making such abrasive statements against members of the House when he himself was once a member of the chamber as a partylist representative.

The senator’s father, Rep. Eduardo “Bro. Eddie” Villanueva, is also a sitting congressman representing CIBAC Party-list.

Co blasted Villanueva’s “pompous and sanctimonious statements,” knowing well that his record as a public official is not always beyond reproach.

The Ako Bicol lawmaker said the public knows who the Senator is, noting that the Ombudsman in 2016 ordered Villanueva dismissed from public service for alleged misuse of his pork-barrel funds, which the latter claimed were based on forged documents.

“But it looks like he has appealed (his cases),” Co added, referring to Janet Napoles, jailed for the multibillion-peso pork barrel scam with senators and members of the House.

In 2016, then-Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales ordered the dismissal of Villanueva from the Senate for allegedly channeling P10 million of his Priority Development Assistance Fund allocation as CIBAC partylist congressman to a bogus non-governmental organization.

The Ombudsman found the senator guilty of “grave misconduct, serious dishonesty and conduct prejudicial to the interest of the service,” but held on to his Senate post on the appeal and argument his identity was stolen to sign off on the alleged anomalous use of funds.

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