Buencamino is a fellow of Action for Economic Reforms. This was published in themay 20 edition of the Business Mirror, page A6.

You can’t bake your cake and bake mine too. – Melanie Marquez

A friend and I were listening to the Senate hearing on Sen. Jamby Madrigal’s ethics complaint against Sen. Manny Villar.

Sen. Nene Pimentel was conjuring legal obstacles against the presentation of charges against Villar.

“Great dilatory tactics,” my friend said.

I don’t revere tomfoolery like my friend does so I changed the topic and asked him, “Nene is making dilat, how?”

“Idiot! Dilatory means delaying tactics, it does not mean opening your eyes wide,” he said.

I went for Nene’s eyes anyway.

“Have you seen his eye bags? They’re so big, airlines charge him for excess baggage.”

“Dilatory means delaying tactics!” he repeated.

“They’re so big they don’t fit in the overhead rack.”

“That’s enough!” he bellowed.

“He has to lie on the conveyor belts of baggage x-ray machines whenever he goes to the airport.”

“Get serious, please!” he pleaded.

“How can I when Villar and his crew are behaving like those clowns in Malacañang?” I replied.

“They’re not clowning around! They’re standing up for due process and fair play!” he said.

“You mean like when Sen. Alan Cayetano called the ethics investigation against Villar “a political rub-out and a political ambush?” I asked.

“Yes!” he said.

“Yes? Cayetano just rehashed an old Palace line – ‘inquiries in aid of election’ – to discredit a complainant instead of addressing the complaint. It’s a cheap trick. Besides, Villar provided the ammunition for the ambush/rub-out,” I said.

“That’s not fair, you’re prejudging Villar,” he said.

“Villar pushed a taxpayer-funded road project that benefited his real estate business. That’s a violation of Art. VI, Sections 12 and 14 of the Constitution, and the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards of Public Officials and Employees.  What’s his excuse?” I asked.

My friend said Villar claimed, “I just don’t know what these properties are.” He said Villar insisted he didn’t have to disclose anything because disclosure was only required “if you have conflict of interest” and “in this case, there is no conflict of interest because it’s the people who will benefit here.”
“What is good for Villar is good for the people?” I asked.  “I bet one of these days we will see Cayetano doing an impression of Mike Defensor’s explanation of Gloria Arroyo’s voice in the Garci tapes – “It (the road realignment) was his choice (Villar’s) but he was not the one doing the taking.”
“If Madrigal has evidence she should take Villar to court,” my friend said.

I replied, “That’s another Palace dodge – ‘File it in the proper forum’. Buddy, the Senate blue ribbon panel is the proper forum for an ethics complaint by a senator against another senator. Why does Villar want the complaint to become sub judice when he can debunk it and clear his name in a Senate hearing where the full story will be aired in full view of the public?”

“He defended himself in a press conference,” my friend replied.

“Yes, he presented his half of the story in full view of the public. That’s another one from the Malacañang playbook: ‘Choose a forum where the complainant is not around so you can cherry-pick his allegations and debunk them before friendly reporters’. Anyway, what did he say to the friendlies?”  I asked.

He replied, “Villar denied any wrongdoing and said, ‘Pustahan tayo guilty ako dito  (I bet the committee will find me guilty).  They can suspend, expel me, or whatever. I am prepared for that’.”
“Sounds more like he’s preparing the public for that,” I said.
“Do you think he will preempt the investigation by resigning from the Senate?”
“Sen. Kiko Pangilinan announced he would run for vice president,” I said.
“Manny and Kiko?” he asked.
I replied, “There’s no doubt Sharon Cuneta, Kiko’s wife, will be a great deodorant for Villar. The only question is whether she will come as a roll-on or a spray.”