Manny Villar’s Wife to Run Senator in the Philippines

By Lilybeth G. Ison

Truly, there are no permanent foes in politics as former Las Pinas City Rep. Cynthia Villar and her husband’s former rival, former Sen. Jamby Madrigal will be running under one political party — the unified Liberal Party (LP)-Nacionalista Party (NP)- Nationalist People’s Coalition (NPC)-Laban ng Demokratikong Pilipino (LDP) and the newly-formed National Unity Party (NUP).

Villar, in a chance interview with the media at the sidelines before Monday’s announcement by President Benigno S. Aquino III of the administration’s senatorial slate for the 2013 midterm elections, said she and her husband, Sen. Manny Villar, have “moved on” already which, according to her, is the secret to their success.

Madrigal and Villar were bitter rivals in the 2010 presidential election. Madrigal accused Villar of a “double insertion” in the budget for the C-5 Road project, as well as a supposed secret alliance with former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

She also questioned Villar on the source of his campaign funds.

Madrigal, for her part, also said she had moved on, and that she never clashed with the Villars personally, adding their differences involved principles.

In his speech during the proclamation of the administration’s senatorial slate held at the historic Club Filipino in San Juan City, President Aquino said that Madrigal, who has spent six years in the Senate, has been fighting for the well-being of the Filipino people, and especially of children.

On Villar, who has been a congresswoman for Las Pinas for the past nine years, the President said that the lady lawmaker “will certainly continue her livelihood programs on the national level.”

“You know, I call her, affectionately, ‘Ma’am Cynthia.’ I do not mean to imply that we have this kind of relationship based on our ages; rather, it is a sign of respect. To tell you the truth, when Manny Villar was our Speaker in the House, she was the one who acted as a mother to all of us, especially for those of us who were new members of Congress. We can certainly rely on her continued care; and, in all of our interactions, there was never a time when she was not sincere or clear to talk to,” he said.

The other senatoriables under the unified coalition are: former Senator Ramon Magsaysay Jr. and Benigno “Bam” Aquino IV of the LP; Senators Antonio Trillanes IV and Alan Peter Cayetano of the NP; Senator Loren Legarda of the NPC; former Akbayan party-list Rep. Risa Hontiveros; Rep. Juan Edgardo “Sonny” Angara of LDP; and independent candidates Sen. Francis “Chiz” Escudero, Movie and Television Review and Classification Board (MTRCB) Chair Grace Poe-Llamanzares, and Senator Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III.

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