SENATOR Cynthia Villar came to the defense of his son, Las Pinas City (Metro Manila) Rep. Mark Villar, who was recently named by incoming President Rodrigo Duterte as the next Public Works secretary, and insisted that there is no conflict of interest in the appointment.
Villar, a member of the Nacionalista Party that recently coalesced with Duterte’s Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban), over the weekend pointed out that their family is in the housing business, not road construction.
“We are not the contractor for the Department of Public Works and Highways [DPWH]. So what’s the conflict of interest there? It’s not our business to do business with public works all our life,” the senator said in a radio interview.
She issued the statement in reaction to criticism on her son’s appointment to the DPWH, saying it would place Villar in conflict with his family’s property business.
Election lawyer Romulo Macalintal even warned of a possible violation of law if the younger Villar, a congressman-elect, will accept his appointment as DPWH chief and abandon his position as Las Piñas representative.
The election lawyer said Villar could be held liable for violating Article 234 of the Revised Penal Code or “refusal to discharge elective office,” which is punishable by arresto mayor or a fine not exceeding P1,000, or both.
Senator Villar insisted that she sees nothing wrong with the decision of her son to accept the offer of Duterte at the proper time.
“We have been in public service since 1992 and we haven’t done anything illegal. Do they think we will do something illegal right now? My God, we are being underestimated,” she said.
Villar also assured the public that her son will perform well as the head of the agency because aside from not being corrupt, Mark is also a well-educated individual having a bachelor’s degree from the University of Pennsylvania and a master’s degree from the University of Chicago.
“You know, I educated my children. I told them to work hard. They’re really working hard. So I’m very proud of my children. It would be better if they [critics]would look at their children if they are okay, before criticizing the children of others,” the senator said.