TECHNICAL Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) Director General Joel Villanueva, who is having a “falling out” with some members of the administration Liberal Party (LP), may eventually run under the banner of the Nationalist People’s Coalition (NPC), whose officials are egging Sen. Grace Poe to run for president next year.
Villanueva, the son of evangelist and Jesus Is Lord chief pastor Eddie Villanueva, confirmed to The Manila Times that NPC members have pledged their support for his senatorial bid.
“Majority support daw sila if I decided to run. (I am) not a member of the NPC but mas marami kaibigan ko dito (I have more friends here),” the TESDA chief said after a meeting with senior leaders of the second biggest political party in the country.
Poe was also in the same gathering.
Villanueva’s presence in the NPC event bolstered speculations that he may bolt the administration camp anytime soon. The TESDA chief earlier claimed that some members of the ruling party want him out as a member of the Cabinet and as a senatorial bet of the ruling party.
NPC officials also met with Roxas on Tuesday in Quezon City but the meeting with Poe was attended by some 30 party stalwarts, twice the number of NPC members who met Roxas.
Villanueva however said he has no definite plans yet of either running or leaving the camp of President Benigno Aquino 3rd.
At the same time, he said he “pities” Aquino for succumbing to the inner workings of “those who are around him.”
“I will still have to talk to the president. Sa kaniya ako naaawa sa mga ginagawa ng mga nakapaligid (It is him that I pity because of what people around him are doing),” Villanueva said. He did not elaborate.
Although LP spokesmen claimed that the TESDA official was still being considered to be included in the administration’s senatorial slate, the TESDA chief said those who “disagree” with him will work out a scheme to force him out.
“There were reports that there will be moves to ask me to resign. I am not surprised,” he pointed out.
Villanueva earlier disclosed to The Manila Times that some LP people could be behind the filing of the graft case against him for alleged misuse of pork barrel funds when he was still a representative of the party list CIBAC.
Meanwhile, a highly-reliable Times source said Villanueva will be used as a “poster boy” or “sacrificial lamb” of the administration to douse allegations of “selective justice” pertaining to the filing of pork barrel charges.
“In all of (Justice Secretary Leila) de Lima’s speeches, for instance, note that there will be references to the filing of charges against administration allies, especially Villanueva,” said the source.