Exclusive by Raïssa Robles
Senator Cynthia Villar, chair of the Senate Committee on Environment and Natural Resources, is conducting a probe on Boracay. But she’s omitted disclosing during the probe that the conglomerate of her family owns a hotel there and is now selling high-end condos under the brand name Costa de la Vista.
This week, Villar announced that along with other senators, they would ask President Rodrigo Duterte not to shut down the entire resort island for 60 days.
Villar said they were recommending that only the non-compliant establishments be shut down.
She also told ANC Headstart anchor Karen Davila today: “I came from business. That’s bad. You don’t close down. It’s bad publicity for Boracay at maraming magko-complain kasi parang kahit ka nag-comply, mapa-punish ka. Everybody will be punished. Dapat we punish those who did not comply and we reward those who comply.” [It’s bad publicity for Boracay and many will complain because even if you comply, you will get punished. Everybody will be punished. We should punish those who did not comply…]
She did not disclose that among those who would be “punished” was her family conglomerate Vista Land, which owns the 54-room Boracay Sands, bought for P157 million in 2016.
A partial closure of Boracay would probably benefit Boracay Sands, assuming it was compliant with environmental laws.
I saw some tweets on Twitter today questioning Senator Villar’s possible conflict of interest in the Boracay probe.
And so I called up her office and was put through to her media relations officer Lyn Novencido, who said she would relay my questions to the senator. These are the questions I gave.
1) Does Senator Villar’s family own commercial establishments on Boracay?
2) If the family does, did she disclose this during her probe?
Novencido got back to me and said, “the senator (Villar) would like to let you know that as a senator, she is not involved in her family’s business and it’s best to ask the company instead. Thank you.”
True, Senator Villar is no longer directly involved in Vista Land. Nor is she listed by name as one of the top 100 stockholders of the listed company.
However, conflict of interest is not just measured by involvement. It is also measured by whether immediate members of her family would benefit from the probe. Her spouse, former Senator Manuel Villar, Jr., heads Vista Land.
If Duterte’s shutdown is modified by Senator Cynthia Villar’s recommendation (whether or not it is a consensus among senators), then it presents a clear benefit to the Villar-owned conglomerate.
Senator Cynthia Villar is up for reelection next year.
Two other things bother me about the Boracay probe.
One, the Senate investigation clearly showed that one of the problems of Boracay is overdevelopment and rampant growth.
The Villar-owned conglomerate is a latecomer in the rush to develop Boracay. It has been selling 1000 vacation condos for up to P7.3 million each, and plans to put up stores, restaurants and a convention center on 6.5 hectares at the cost of at least P2.2 billion.
With this new situation in Boracay, will Vista Land be told to stop? Or continue?
Is the Vista Land development the kind of development needed by this island to sustain itself environmentally?
Is the Vista Land development connected to the island’s sewage system?
The second thing that bothers me about the Senate probe on Boracay is this. The development and management of the island had long been “devolved” to the local government units in the area.
It has turned out that the devolution did not work. In fact, it made things much worse.
The local governments did not do a proper job of protecting Boracay from environmental degradation.
Now, just think.
If the Philippines adopts a federal system, it will mean a wholesale devolution of powers to local government units nationwide.
With federalism, the entire country could turn into one big stinking Boracay. Or, in the words of President Rodrigo Duterte, a “cesspool.”
The latest post by Parekoy lacks fervor and intensity. There’s no enthusiasm, not toxic, no fire at all. This is not the classic Parekoy I know.
I fervently hope in my heart that this is the real and original Parekoy that we like or hate in this forum.
Vacationing Fil-Am slain in Valenzuela
A 63-year-old Filipino-American was shot dead by a still- unidentified man in a taxi cab Wednesday in Valenzuela City. Antonio Fermo, who was on vacation in the country, died of gunshot wounds in the face and abdomen, said case investigator SPO2 Felix Biernes. According to Biernes, the gunman went to the victim s house in Manotoc Subdivision, Barangay Marulas, at 2 p.m. Wednesday to inquire about a property he could rent from Fermo. Both men left the house two hours later in a cab that had been waiting
Read the above news on October 22, 2017. Got curios of the source (Indonesia), I searced with “Bing” the exact news heading and found the below news from the inquirer.net
Vacationing Fil-Am slain in Valenzuela
By: Krixia Subingsubing Philippine Daily Inquirer 06:15 AM October 20, 2017
A 63-year-old Filipino-American was shot dead by a still- unidentified man in a taxi cab Wednesday in Valenzuela City.
Antonio Fermo, who was on vacation in the country, died of gunshot wounds in the face and abdomen, said case investigator SPO2 Felix Biernes.
According to Biernes, the gunman went to the victim’s house in Manotoc Subdivision, Barangay Marulas, at 2 p.m. Wednesday to inquire about a property he could rent from Fermo.
Both men left the house two hours later in a cab that had been waiting for them out front.
The cab driver, Ferdinand Marcon Cawelan, told the police that the gunman, along with a male companion, earlier hailed him at Manila Central University in Monumento. They asked him to bring them to Fermo’s house, where he was told to wait.
Only the gunman entered Fermo’s house while his companion went elsewhere, according to PO3 Laude Pillejera.
As the taxi carrying Fermo and the gunman reached MacArthur Highway, the gunman shot the victim twice. He then got off and transferred to a white van tailing the cab.
The motive for the killing remained under investigation.
@ rolly, nakakatakot naman ng iyong post. maybe you can send an email to Ma’am Raissa about this topic. hwag naman sana…
Sorry @kalakala for making you unsettled a bit. I know that the news could cause some kind of a panic among the CPMers. My first instinct really is to have Raissa known it first, but my reasoning stands on very flimsy ground…just an intuition. My only basis is the age of the victim, which would be around Parekoy’s, and him not posting for quite a while.
Below is first Parekoy’s post in 2018. I know I read somewhere here this comment of Parekoy before. I searched Raissa’s previous blogs (month by month for 2016 to 2017), but I could not find it. Maybe because I didn’t search exhaustively enough, knowing there are multiple blogs every month. I could only access one SUBJECT each month though.
JANUARY 12, 2018 AT 6:00 AM
Politicians always promise to make our country in state of UTOPIA if we elect them. Duterte expectedly did the same during the campaign period.
Sadly he failed to deliver and now we are living in a surreal and so real dystopia or kakotopia.
a state in which the worst possible conditions exist in government, society, law, etc.
Since Duterte is an extremist on whatever he does, he now offered us a the best and unique brand of kakotopia to describe what he is doing to our beloved Philippines:
G A G O T O P I A
Dumami ang mga nagago, nagagago, at gago ng manalo si Duterte…
Thank you for your concern but I’m still alive and kicking!
I’m quite busy that is why I seldom post here in Raissa’s blog. Also Raissa seems not putting any effort to make this site as interesting as it was before.
I usually go to Pinoy Ako Blog for Jover is really putting her heart out to combat the propaganda and fake news that Duterte Admin are propagating and Jover keeps the torch alight, while Raissa’s seems neglecting hers, per my humble observation.
Joeam, though I usually butt heads with him, seems keeping his regulars participating though he seems struggling on how to reach a wider readership outside the erudite class. Though my name pops up occasionally when mentioned by Sup, Karl, or Ireneo, Joeam tried his best to avoid even acknowledging my name and just took the usually lame swipe to hurl insult on someone who really beat his ass, called out his arrogance and put him on his place. Joeam’s reverence of Aquino and LP largely affected his authenticity as an impartial blogger and that will be an albatross that he needs to wear for the rest of his blogosphere existence.
Raissa needs to step up her game and borrow from Jover’s authenticity and wit, lest this site will be in a long hibernation.
Don’t worry about me, I am too ahead in this game. If you review y postings, i called out Duterte’s game plan even before it was implemented and known to the media. Back in Mamasapano debacle, I outed the participation of the Americans way before there was confirmation by witnesses.
On election cheating during the last presidential elections, I called it out that there was cheating but what I did not tell you was that it was more to help Bongbong since the massive vote buying from the Marcos Camp was really unprecedented, but luckily Leni’s popularity, Filipino’s sense of propriety an some help from Aquino to counter the cheating of Bongbong helped ensure the victory of Leni. Roxas was going to lose courtesy of Poe, but LP knew that Leni’s advantage needed to be protected from the stolen billions of the Marcoses who wanted to take the short cut of winning the VP and ousting Duterte eventually through persuasion or by force.
This move to oust Sereno is to make sure that SC is under Duterte’s pocket but actually to make SC declare Bongbong the winner in his protest. Since the table is turning against Bongbong, there is now another thrust to persuade the Duterte puppets in the Senate to have teh narrative that there was massive cheating for Leni only and did not include the other posts from the President to the Senators.
The Subpoena powers given to Bato and made into law thorugh Ping’s sponsorship, is designed to put in place another venue of money making and intimidation of Duterte’s perceive political enemies, media entities critical of Duterte, and the wealthy people and oligarchs who are financing both Duterte and his detractors.
Peter Lim’s and Kerwin’s acquittal through the Abracadabra ways of Wiguirre is to assure Polong’s cohorts not to spill the beans since one of the biggest fishes in the Drug trade is already released. Peter Lim has a lot of evidence against Polong and Duterte can’t afford to antagonize Peter otherwise his entire Drug War will be in jeopardy when Peter shows the evidence.
Trillanes and LP know about Duterte’s bank accounts, the problem is that they obtained the evidence illegally during PNoy’s term that is why they needed Duterte’s signing of waiver. But Duterte is not as stupid as they want him to be and will fight and kill if his bank accounts are again illegally exposed!
I have more to share but it is futile since Duterte has consolidated his power now that the balimbings from LP and other parties are willing accomplices to fleece the coffers of our country. There will be some movements when Duterte’s health suffers and we could see these same traitors jumping ship.
ICC is a long way to go and if Duterte is prosecuted in absentia and found guilty will only force Duterte to declare Martial Law earlier to avoid being dragged to the ICC.
There are think thanks on how to weaken Duterte’s hold to power and one of the ideas is to separate Bong Go from his master. Without Bong Go, Duterte will be a lost senile madman. The Frigate scandal was an opening but they plugged the leak and now Bong is back to business.
I need to go…happy blogging guys!
Another breath of relief and fresh air, I am so glad you are alive and kicking … ass.
TAKE CARE though and keep on posting juicy timbits :) My offer to meet you still stands, when are you visiting again?
It’s too bad wala na akong matris to have my baby para totoo na yung parekoy natin , hahhahah. Uuuuh , don’t get other ideas, winky!
Well noted, Parekoy.
Yes, I feel off-balanced right now.
Still trying to find my center.
The book derailed my blog. But it had to be written.
I will try to post more :)
hi, rolly. it only shows the camaraderie among CPMers. cheers! parekoy is back
Yeah @kalakala. That’s the real Parekoy. I am glad he is okay.
I may sound paranoid, but fanatics are out in the open, now that the current admin is condoning wildness.
I learned a lot here, and I want to learn more. Please keep posting people, even once in a while.
Cayetano: UN rights chief’s remark vs. ‘Duterte uncalled for’
When the old crazy old man made remarks on other world leaders, they did not react like this. Even when his remarks were too offensive and personal.
I fully agree with zeid, duterte needs psychiatric evaluation, duterte is awfully not normal.
a restraining straight jacket with straps and buckles would look good on duterte, chain him to bed and restrict his movement. keep him in isolation too, that way he cannot give away pinas to china. or give more orders to kill, kill, kill! or sign executive orders that give powers to kapolisan to kill, kill, kill! who they want, when and how.