Everything you've wanted to know about RP politics, but were afraid to ask.

Villar, women’s rights advocate? Hahaha!

Posted by akosistella on April 7, 2010


BY Dan Mariano/Manila Times

That Luis “Chavit” Singson has junked Gilberto Teodoro in favor of Manny Villar was not entirely unexpected. It was, to borrow a phrase oft-used in Mafia circles, “the smart move.” Wink, wink.

In Philippine politics, opportunism is the name of the game. Teodoro has not improved on his single-digit survey ratings, while Villar continues to run close behind Noynoy Aquino.

Besides, Singson’s abandonment of the Lakas-Kampi CMD standard-bearer merely confirmed long-held suspicions that the ruling coalition’s real bet in the May presidential race is Villar.

What political observers continue to wonder about is how the women in Villar’s senatorial slate—not too mention his vice presidential running mate—is reacting to Singson’s declaration of support.

A political ad has Loren Legarda, Miriam D. Santiago, Pia Cayetano, Gwen Pimentel and Liza Maza extolling Villar’s advocacy of women’s rights. The women in Villar’s camp credit him with authorship of Republic Act 9262, or the Anti-Violence against Women and Children Act of 2004.

Singson, on the other hand, has not denied that he mauled a woman he has lived with for 17 years and with whom he has five children.

It was just last year when Singson was accused by his long-time partner Rachel “Che” Tiongson of mauling her after he chanced upon her having dinner with another man.

Singson, for his part, claimed that he caught the pair “in flagrante delicto” and even ridiculed the private parts of Tiongson’s companion, whom he described as her boyfriend.

Tiongson and her companion were so badly mauled by Singson and his bodyguards that the victims had to be hospitalized.

Singson and Tiongson had reportedly broken up well before the mauling incident took place.

Singson readily owned up to the mauling, and added that Tiongson and her companion were “lucky” that he did not finish them off.

The cavalier remarks, uttered by no less than the deputy national security adviser of President Arroyo, drew immediate condemnation from various quarters.

Leila de Lima, who chairs the Commission on Human Rights (CHR), was reportedly incensed by Singson’s “arrogance.” She also urged Tiongson to file a human rights complaint against him.

Lawyer Katrina Legarda was quoted saying that Tiongson had a strong case against Singson, under RA 9262. If found guilty, Legarda added, Singson could face up to 20 years in prison for attempted homicide or attempted murder.

Singson had also tried to minimize his legal liability by saying that his assault on Tiongson and her companion resulted from blind passion. However, Legarda said that the exemption from punishment provided for in Article 247 of the Revised Penal Code—a vestige of old-fashioned machismo—pertained only to couples who are legally married.

Liza Maza—installed in Congress as a party-list representative of the radical feminist group Gabriela—was also reported to have commented that Singson’s actions against Tiongson were unjustifiable. “That kind of thinking is barbaric. If it is the man who is unfaithful, the woman cannot get away with it if she assaulted him,” she said.

What this brief recollection of recent events boils down to is this: do the women in Villar’s senatorial slate—notably, the feminist Maza—and his vice presidential running mate find Chavit Singson as an acceptable endorser of their standard bearer?

This controversy is certainly far more serious than Maza et al’s complaints about Villar’s kembot girls, scantily clad dancers who help spice up his personal appearances.

What about Villar himself? He has, after all, claimed credit for the passage of the Violence against Women and Children Act of 2004.

In a press release issued by his office on March 6, 2007 Villar was quoted saying that he was “particularly alarmed over the growing incidence of violence against women and their children.”

The Villar press release even noted a report, purportedly from the UN Population Fund, which cited that at least one in every five women will become a victim of rape and one out of three will be subjected to violence and sexual abuse in her life span.

The report also cited that violence kills many women between the ages of 15 and 44 as much as common terminal diseases such as cancer.

The Villar press release added: In the Philippines, based on police records, an average of 20 cases of violence against women are reported every day. It is estimated that more crimes are not reported.

Given his acceptance of an unrepentant wife-beater’s endorsement, is Villar’s advocacy of women’s rights just for show?

Lim’s failure

Not a few viewers were bemused by TV news video showing thousands of people trying to beat the Easter Sunday heat in perhaps the filthiest section of Manila Bay near the Roxas Boulevard breakwater between the US Embassy and the Manila Yacht Club.

The clip also showed coast-guardsmen aboard a rubber boat warning the blissfully ignorant bathers about how they were putting their health at grave risk. Try as they might, however, the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) team was ignored by the hordes that gleefully dunked themselves in the bay, which has become Metro Manila’s biggest—and foulest—sewer.

Besides the PCG no other officials were present to enforce what is, after all, a City of Manila ordinance that prohibits people from swimming in Manila Bay. No Manila Police District officers. No personnel from the Manila health department. Not a single ordinance enforcer from city hall.

Images of the frolicking mob in the bay constituted yet more evidence of Manila Mayor Fred Lim’s failure of governance and lack of leadership.



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