Since everyone has been making impressive, well-argued and written pieces about their candidate of choice, well here is one for the current #2 seed according to the latest surverys.
Many say that an intelligent man shouldn’t vote for Manny Villar for a good number of reasons. First, that he is a businessman and that his incentive for the presidency is monetary in nature. Second, that he is using the media to beguile the masses into blindly voting for him. Third, that he has spent copiously more than the other candidates in terms of campaign funds (billions of pesos no doubt). Last, is due to the C-5 controversy in which he allegedly used the project to increase the value of his properties.
And an intelligent man indeed finds good reason at the surface, for not voting for Villar given the above mentioned reasons. However, as one becomes open, looks deeper, with a wider perspective one might be able to understand the world, and perhaps politics better. I’ll do my rebuttal point per point.
First off, yes he is a businessman. However, we must not forget his rags-to-riches story in which he joins the ranks of Henry Sy, John Gokongwei and Lucio Tan. And you know what? I have never met a rags-to-riches mogul who didn’t live a simple life. My mother had the same story - grew up in a family of five siblings with a public school teacher as a mother and a soldier as a father. When fate smiled upon her, people around me and myself can attest to the fact that she used her wealth to help others. Sometimes we wrongly accuse someone of wealth for being greedy when in fact, in many cases and especially in the cases of those from humble beginnings - this is rarely the case. Money is only important to those who have a problem with it. I have seen Henry Sy’s relatively humble abode at Forbes. And yes, I have had dinner with Manny Villar at Camp Aguinaldo - no parade of bodyguards or fancy stuff. Just a man who joined us for a simple dinner. Truth is, while I may not objectively be able to say that his bid for presidency is NOT monetary in nature, one can’t say either than it is. I place my trust in him based on my experience with humble yet wealthy people such as Villar and my mother. Actually, one other thing I see common between self-made individuals such as him and my mother is this: that they will never hurt someone else for their own benefit. This is the “crab mentality” that we Filipinos are so good at. If there is one candidate who can help change this mindset in which we all pull each other down to get up, its Villar.
Second, people say that he is abusing the media to beguile the masses into voting for him. One thing people should understand is that effective marketing isn’t a sin - its a reality. Truth is, we sip expensive coffee and kill ourselves with cigarettes and fast food because of marketing. No one can say that they aren’t a victims of this nor are they immune. Villar, as a candidate knows how to utilize this in order to win. This in itself, should be a good sign for any leader - because any good leader knows the path and how to trek it. I believe in fact, that greed primarily belongs to those who are expending so much of their money for an office they possibly can’t win. Politicians who abandon their parties and run on their own resources are the ones who are greedy. Not only that, they are blind and they constantly burn their bridges. Do we want leaders like that? Take note that every good party has good funding and while the Nacionalista party benefits greatly from Villar’s wealth, we shouldn’t assume that he is the only one spending here. A healthy amount of funding for any party is a sign of a strong presence. Spending for ads isn’t bad - again it is a reality. If every candidate had the funding Villar had, they’d be spending billions of pesos too.
Point three is related to point two: that he’s spending HUGE amounts of money in order to win. I think that the biggest problem of Filipinos is that they have a “poverty” mindset - and I don’t mean the masses I include the middle class and myself in this area. So many of us are afraid of what might turn out here in our country that we migrate to other countries. Lawyers, engineers, teachers, doctors, nurses, the list goes on. Do you really think such people will end up in poverty here? I don’t think so. Most people in the country are worse off. And because of this most of us already accept the notion that the Philippines has lost hope. A lot of people might blame corruption, but I’d put that at number 2 and make the number 1 reason our poverty mindset. Villar is one man who sees the the mindset of the Filipinos in terms of dealing with reasons 1 and 2. No one who pities themselves can get rid of their own desires and greed. And if a doctor in our country can do that by going abroad because in his head he is “impoverished” and “not compensated for enough” here, what more for the less fortunate and educated? Down the line, a man like Villar knows that wealth is a result of hard work, taking control of one’s future and not blaming other factors and most importantly, to have a dream of a better, more prolific future. Perhaps he can lead us to this path? I hope so.
Lastly, is on the C-5 controversy. Most of us know that Villar was a billionaire. Not a peso billionaire, but a dollar billionaire. If one was worth at least $1B, he’s worth at least roughly P50B. Simple dollar-peso conversion. How much is he spending for his ads? Oh roughly around P5B by the time May 10 comes along. That is only roughly 1/10 of his wealth - and note that he isn’t spending for everything. Now I have P80k that I can withdraw from the bank right now - if I could spend P8K of that for my dreams would I do so? Yes I will! Now question: where did the billions of pesos come from? Villar’s business is the biggest housing developer in the country. That means he’s built more houses than any other housing company. Now imagine a life without company is a life in the Philippines with a lot less houses. If you can’t imagine the price spikes in our houses and definitely more poverty without his presence, then imagine if Cebu Pacific and Zest Air hadn’t come along instead. That would mean PAL would still have the monopoly and probably charging us more. But alas, there are many domestic and international flights in the Philippines and thus the prices are amiable enough. The C-5 controversy rises from the fact that Villar developed land that would have the C-5 extension build next to it. When that didn’t happen, he merely pushed for it because he knew that this would do much more good than harm - and it did. Imagine as well that this controversy is already the worst anyone can pull against someone who was as active in the government and in society as he is.
For my conclusion, I wish to say that we actually have good candidates this year. Noynoy Aquino for his integrity and determination to help the country, Gibo Teodoro for his brilliance and resilience to principle, Gordon for his passion and vision for a developing country especially in terms of tourism - the list goes on and on. I wish to not speak ill of anyone because it is against my beliefs. But I think Villar for what I have said is the most qualified, vision oriented and exciting next potential president our country can have. I know not of any other country in which a tycoon will be leading it - and I believe that it will be potentially amazing.