Last update: September 24 2008, 11:56 PM

Ex-Bulacan solon says Among Ed a liar

September 24, 2008

MANILA, Philippines – A former Bulacan congressman called Catholic priest Eddie Panlilio a liar as he, President Macapagal-Arroyo’s eldest son and other allies of the President prepared for the kill – Panlilio’s ouster as governor of Ms Arroyo’s home province of Pampanga.

Willie Villarama, former Bulacan congressman and one of Ms Arroyo’s intimate friends, said Panlilio has mismanaged the provincial government of Pampanga.

“The issue here is [Panlilio’s] lying in his management of the capitol,” Villarama said when asked to explain his role in the campaign to unseat Panlilio.

Villarama and Ms Arroyo’s eldest son, Rep. Juan Miguel “Mikey” Arroyo, insisted the President had nothing to do with the ouster of Panlilio, who incurred the ire of Malacañang when he confirmed reports that hundreds of thousands of pesos changed hands inside the Presidential Palace during meetings between Palace officials and local government officials.

“She [Ms Arroyo] does not meddle in local politics,” said Mikey Arroyo in a telephone interview.

“Why should our beloved President be identified as supporting our efforts to recall Panlilio or make him resign? Isn’t it very obvious there’s malice?” said Villarama, who explained his involvement in the oust-Panlilio campaign as that of a concerned Kapampangan.

Villarama, former chief of staff of Ms Arroyo, said he has roots in Bacolor town. His great-great-great grandfather Don Julian Buyson, who served as a gobernadorcillo, donated the land on which the San Fernando City Hall annex stands.

Villarama, also associate of former Rep. Mark Jimenez, said it was Panlilio himself who linked Ms Arroyo to the ouster campaign.

“[Panlilio] was asked by my friend: ‘Governor, Willie Villarama was among your original campaigners [in the May 14, 2007 elections]. Why is it now that you have become his enemy?’ You know what was the governor’s answer? He said, ‘Siguro, utos sa taas (Perhaps, it was an order from the top)’,” he said.

“That’s how malicious this suspended priest is,” Villarama said.

On stage at a rally, Villarama shot down queries on who or what group was financing the campaign to unseat Panlilio.

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