• Ex-Napoles lawyer quits as LWUA head

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    Rene Villa, who was a lawyer for alleged pork barrel scam mastermind Janet Lim-Napoles, has resigned as acting chairman of the Local Water Utilities Administration (LWUA).

    Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. of the Presidential Communications Operations Office announced Villa’s resignation on Saturday, along with that of Grace Singson, the Chief Privatization Officer of the Department of Finance’s Privatization and Management Office.

    Coloma said the President has accepted Villa’s resignation “and thanked him for his service.”

    The resignation was effective November 30, Coloma said.

    Napoles hired Villa after he quit as agrarian reform secretary in 2005.

    The pork barrel scam involves an estimated P10 billion in Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) believed to have been funneled to bogus nongovernment organizations owned by Napoles.

    Villa is a member of the Liberal Party and an ally of Senate President Franklin Drilon.

    Secretary Rogelio Singson of the Department of Public Works and Highways will oversee LWUA, which is under the department, until a replacement for Villa is appointed.

    “We would have to wait for the recommendation of Secretary Singson as to who will replace Villa,” Coloma said.

    Villa’s decision to step down came at the heels of the resignation of Customs Commissioner Rufino Biazon last December 2.

    Biazon quit two days after the Department of Justice (DOJ) charged him with graft in connection with the PDAF mess.

    The DOJ alleged that Biazon received kickbacks in return for PDAF releases when he was congressman of Muntinlupa City.

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