Mike Velarde, Manny Villar and their business ties that bind
AS I WRECK THIS CHAIR By William M. Esposo
The Philippine Star 2010-03-07
Mariano “Mike” Velarde, also known as Bro. Mike, tends to be perceived by your Chair Wrecker as being more of a businessman and a politician — who has in fact mulled running for president — rather than as a religious minister.
For perspective, your Chair Wrecker deeply admires the Christianity of Gawad Kalinga’s Tony Meloto and the late Focolare Movement founder, Chiara Lubich. They both epitomize the great commandment of Jesus Christ that “Whatsoever you do to the least of your brethren, you do unto me.”
Contrasting with the Christianity of Tony Meloto and Chiara Lubich, Velarde strikes your Chair Wrecker as being focused more on the brethren with the most rather than those with the least. There have been many who have expressed their views that Velarde appears to be using the least to gain leverage with the most.
Two of the 900 documents in the Senator Manny Villar Senate Ethics Case would show how Mike Velarde has capitalized on his El Shaddai flock. True reproductions of the Villar Ethics Case file, these two documents also show the business ties that bind Mike Velarde and Manny Villar.
The first document that follows is the April 27, 1998 letter of Mike Velarde to the government of former President Fidel V. Ramos (FVR) regarding the C-5 Road Alignment which Velarde wrote not only for his business interest but also for and on behalf of the business interests of Henry Sy of Shoemart fame and then Representative Manny Villar.
Exhibit X April 27, 1998
MR. RAMON DUMAUAL
Officer in Charge
Toll Regulatory Board
19th Floor Strata 100 Bldg.,
Emerald Ave., Pasig
Dear Mr. Dumaual;
We are submitting herewith the final C-5 Road alignment, together with the area computation in accordance with our previous understanding for your immediate approval and implementation.
The group of 3 owners will hire Proconsult the engineering design firm of the original TRB proposed plan, to design the minor revisions. This will ensure the fast approval of our requested change.
Thank you very much.
Very truly yours,
AMVEL LAND DEV. CORP
Signed By: MARIANO Z. VELARDE, President
SM HOLDINGS PROPERTIES
Signed By: ENGR. FILEMON AVELINO
ADELFA PROPERTY INC.
Signed By: ANASTACIO C. ADRIANO, JR., Senior Vice President/General Manager
The second document that follows is the April 27, 1998 (note the same date) memo of Benjamin de Leon, Presidential Assistant for Social Development and Foreign Affairs, to FVR about the Velarde-Sy-Villar transaction with the government. Note how de Leon specifically mentions the name of Rep. Manny Villar in the memo to FVR.
ANNEX 11 Exhibit X
MEMORANDUM FOR H.E. THE PRESIDENT
FROM: The Appointments Secretary/Presidential Assistant for Social Development and Foreign Affairs
SUBJECT: REQUEST OF BRO. MIKE VELARDE RE: DPWH ROAD RIGHT OF WAY PAYMENT/SETTLEMENT ON C-5 (PEA-RENONE BERHAD)
DATE: 27 April 1998
1. May I respectfully convey to His Excellency the request of Bro. Mike Velarde concerning the settlement of issues on the acquisition of Road Right Of Way by DPWH relative to the construction of C-5 Road (Renone-Berhad Package).
2. Based on the recommendations submitted by Bro. Mike Velarde, the following courses of action may be adopted:
2.1 For the Toll Regulatory Board (TRB) under DPWH Secretary Vigilar to approve the plan jointly submitted by AMVEL Corp. of Bro. Mike, ShoeMart, Inc. under Henry Sy and Adelfa, Inc. of Rep. Manny Villar.
2.2 For TRB to appraise the property affected the C-5 Access Roads, toll plaza and the main highway based on the prevailing market price in the vicinity of Sucat Road, Paranaque.
2.3 For TRB to issue an order of payment in order of PEA and DPWH to effect the payment to the affected landowners.
2.4 For PEA to purchase the area between Eastern Access and Spoke of the Toll Plaza covering 22,280 square meters for use by the DPWH in exchange for the DPWH lot along the Coastal Road which was taken-over by PEA.
3. For His Excellency’s consideration.
Signed BENJAMIN D. DE LEON
The following was the personal handwritten note of FVR at the bottom of the Benjamin de Leon memo:
28 April 1998
To Sec. DPWH & Ch. PEA info ES
Fast-track the remaining issues NLT 30 April 98 re the C5-Coastal Road project in order to alleviate heavy traffic congestion in the area.
Don’t you think that this Velarde letter with a big business tycoon and a congressman tied up with it constitutes pressure on the former president to favor their request? Don’t you think that was an inappropriate act for one who claims to be a religious leader? Don’t you think that Villar’s involvement here is a case of conflict of interest regardless if he personally signed the letter to the government or not?
Thus, it came as no surprise to your Chair Wrecker when the Villar camp announced recently that they have already received the endorsement of Mike Velarde. Mike Velarde was evasive about the Villar endorsement but then he too was evasive about his support for Joseph Estrada and Madame Gloria Macapagal Arroyo. If Pope Pius XII had been asked to endorse Adolf Hitler and agreed to do so, it is but natural if he too would be evasive about confirming it.
A very rich man in the US once said that better a friendship founded on business than a business founded on friendship. That of course follows the precept of some businessmen that you’re wise to leave your heart at home when you run your company.
Mike Velarde continues to be viewed by some as a religious leader instead of being a businessman and a politician. He should come clean and clarify if he is really endorsing Manny Villar and if that endorsement is spiritually motivated or an endorsement founded on business and politics.