Joel Villanueva to Get Pass in Pork Barrel Scam Just for being P-Noy’s Friend
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Technical Education and Skills Authority (TESDA) Director General Joel Villanueva celebrated his 39th birthday at the tony Spanish restaurant, El Cirkulo, in Makati City with close friends and relatives.
The former Citizens Battle Against Corruption (CIBAC) solon was still riding high on the President’s glowing praise from the State of the Nation Address (SONA) last Monday.
The son of Bro. Eddie Villanueva of Jesus Is Lord Church appears to be unfazed by a recent revelation from gossip columnist Vic Agustin that one of the graduates (Jonnalyn Navarossa) used as props in the SONA was a Tesda graduate from 2008 under a project undertaken by Isuzu Corp. http://youtu.be/nDwL_2egBu0
In an interview with ANC, Villanueva claimed that the fact that no pork barrel charges have been filed against him showed that these (malversation of public funds) charges had no basis.
Villanueva, however, did not tell TV anchor Karen Davila during his Headstart program interview the whole picture (truth is too strong a word) as he was supposed to be among the lawmakers charged in the third batch of pork fund scam cases by Justice Secretary Leila De Lima (see Inquirer story http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/611493).
A source from the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) claimed that Villanueva has an even bigger pork fund than former BOC commissioner Rufino Biazon who has been charged in the second batch. http://www.rappler.com/nation/44874
The NBI source said that objectively, there were more compelling evidence against Villanueva than Biazon and Villanueva’s fake signature defense should be left to the Sandiganbayan to decide just like in the plunder cases of Senators Juan Ponce Enrile, Jinggoy Estrada and Bong Revilla who also claimed their signatures were forged.
Villanueva, now a member of the Liberal Party, was linked to the ‘pork’ scam by whistle-blower Benhur Luy who claimed that while he was representative of party-list group CIBAC, funneled P4,850,000 of his pork barrel to Kaagapay Magpakailanman Foundation in 2009-2010, as appeared on the Commission on Audit (COA) Reports. http://www.rappler.com/newsbreak/34459
In contrast, Biazon was accused of getting only P1.95 million in kickbacks and his case has been filed with the Ombudsman.
Earlier, Akbayan party-list Rep. Walden Bello who belongs to the majority bloc in Congress cautioned De Lima against exonerating Villanueva and other government officials implicated in the pork barrel because they claimed their signatures were forged. http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/614099