Gov’t didn’t lose single peso—Villar

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MANILA, Philippines – The government has not lost a single peso and in fact even earned more than P100 million pesos in tax from the sale of the shares of his real estate firm, Senator and presidential candidate Manny Villar said on Friday.
"Nililiwanag ko lang, walang nawawala sa gobyerno maski piso [I would like to make clear that the government did not lose a single peso]. This is a private transaction sa mga funders investors at ng kompanya [of the funders, investors, and of the company]," said Villar at a press conference in his office in Manadaluyong.
"Ang gobyerno natin ay kumita pa dahil nagbayad kami ng tax [In fact, our government even profited because we paid tax]. I think more or less P120 million ang ibinayad ng kompanya [was paid to the company]," he said.
"So nakinabang ang bayan, nakinabang ang bayan dito. Kumita ang PSE sa fee [So the country profited, the country profited here. The PSE profited from fees]," he added.
This was how the senator defended himself from accusations that he had used his position as then Senate President to pressure the Philippine Stock Exchange to bend its rules and allow the release of almost 30 percent of his shares in his Vista Land Landscapes Inc (VLL) from the lock-up period.
Villar vehemently denied the allegation.
"Walang masamang nangyari, walang irregularity, walang na-violate na batas [Nothing wrong happened, no irregularity, no law was violated]," he pointed out.
In fact, he said, his one and only request to allow the release of VLL's shares from the lock-up period was rejected by the PSE.
If indeed there was truth to allegations that he influenced the PSE, Villar said his request would have not been rejected.
The senator did not deny meeting and making phone calls with Securities and Exchange Commission chairperson Fe Barin and PSE president Francis Lim but said all these were just "normal."
Asked if there was conflict of interest since he was then Senate President and was representing his company to the PSE, Villar said, "Hindi naman [Not really]."
"Normal naman na pumunta sa PSE [It’s normal to go to PSE]. Magtatanong anong balita [To ask what the news is]. Na-disapproved [Was the request disapproved]? Okay," he said.
As a senator, Villar clarified that he did not have to divest his companies or shares.
The rule of divestment does not cover legislators as it only covers those in the executive, his lawyer, Nalen Galang, pointed out.
Villar said the reported P26 billion earnings were proceeds from the primary offering of the VLL's shares.
And a big portion of these proceeds, the senator said, went to the company.
Reports said P5 billion of the amount was earmarked for his campaign.
Asked if he has plans of filing a case against his accusers, Villar said, "Alam ko pulitika lang naman ito kaya hindi na [I know this is just politics so I will not]."


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