Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Manny Villar and his wealth: The story is not if he's poor

There were reports and columns written questioning the real socio-economic status of Nacionalista party standard-bearer Manny Villar. I read some and really, I don't see the point of Villar's political opponents beating a dead horse just to hit him.

For one, who among us really care whether he was born poor or he was a member of the middle class? The fact that he became a billionaire without hurting himself or others is something every one should emulate. The story is not about his roots--the real story is how he amassed that great wealth.

Did Villar stole money from the public coffers just to be the wealthiest legislator of the land? Did Villar sold sub-standard or poorly constructed housing projects that frustrate the dreams of those who bought them?

And did he used his position to help his various companies grow in wealth?

These are the more substantial issues rather than telling people that he lied about his Tondo roots. Give Villar the benefit of the doubt. If he really grew up poor like us, then, so be it. If he grew up in a middle class family, well and good. The point really is how Villar amassed great wealth. That's the story.

I think this thing attacking Villar's proletarian roots will backfire simply because he is exploiting it for his advantage. Villar is now going around town, picturing himself as the underdog.

And you know what? It worked for him before. When he was being attacked personally and he went around town telling people that he was being persecuted by the elite, Villar was able to get a very high survey ratings. The formula is simple--have yourself attacked, become an underdog and the people will sympathize with you.

The Liberals should not do such a thing simply because it will only allow Villar to hug the headlines and recover lost territories.

The greatest loss for Villar came from the middle class, with 16 percentage point drop. The Liberals should concentrate on graft and corruption issues against Villar and his being perceived as an Arroyo stooge. Then, that would definitely affect him.