Joel Villanueva wants to be ‘shared candidate’ of 3 bets

Bea Cupin
Joel Villanueva wants to be ‘shared candidate’ of 3 bets
The TESDA chief, a close friend of the President’s, confirms he’s been in talks with Senator Grace Poe and Davao Mayor Rodrigo Duterte

LAGUNA, Philippines (UPDATED) – Politics is addition, and Joel Villanueva seems to want it all.

The director-general of the state-run Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) said on Thursday, October 8, that while he will stay loyal to his good friend President Benigno Aquino III, he’s “praying, hoping” to be a “shared candidate” in the 2016 elections. 

Villanueva earlier announced he would be running for Senate in 2016 and on Thursday confirmed that he received an invitation from the ruling party to be in the administration slate. 

But he said he was also in talks with the camps of two other presidential wannabes: Senator Grace Poe and Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte. This was before talks with the LP and its standard-bearer Manuel Roxas II formally began, said Villanueva. 

“Praying, hoping. Politics is addition and we’ll leave it at that,” said the TESDA chief when asked if he’s hoping to be a “shared candidate” in 2016.

Being in several slates would be a “welcome development” for his candidacy, VIllanueva said.  

“I don’t see anything wrong about it… Lahat sila ay believer ng Tuwid na Daang policy ni PNoy (All of them believe in the policy of Aquino),” said Villanueva, adding that Aquino is aware that he met with Poe and Duterte.

The latest Pulse Asia survey puts Villanueva at the 25th-27th percentile with 12.6% of respondents saying they would vote for him. 

He’s banking on the Jesus is Lord movement led by his father, Brother Eddie Villanueva, who ran for president in 2004 and 2010, and for the Senate in 2013. He lost in all 3 attempts.

“If I get the invitation, again, after today, I will be there because I’ve already been invited. I just have to make sure that it pushes through,” Villanueva told reporters on the sidelines of a Nacionalista Party’s oath taking and launch of its slate for Laguna in 2016. 

He was wearing a black and yellow shirt, yellow shoes, and a “My President Mar Roxas” baller around his wrist during the Laguna sortie, but said he would announce his presidential bet “at the right time.” 

Issues with the LP? 

In the past months, it seemed that Villanueva would not ally himself with the ruling party for the coming elections.

The TESDA chief was vocal about two issues: being on the same slate as Justice Secretary Leila de Lima and working alongside those in the LP who supposedly want him out. 

De Lima approved the filing of cases against Villanueva over alleged anomalies in the use of the pork barrel when he was a party list representative. “You know there’s no such thing as a perfect set-up. We know our calling. We know what we want to bring to our people, to our nation,” said Villanueva when asked about De Lima. 

Villanueva had cried foul over the cases filed against him.

LP members who are against him don’t bother him either, said Villanueva. “Hindi po ako magpapaapekto sa kahit kanino, sinong grupo, o isa dalawang tao na magdidistract kung ano ang nais kong gawin at nais kong dalhin sa ating mga mamamayan,” he said. (I will not allow myself to be affected by anyone, any group, any one or two persons… [I will not allow them] to distract me from what I want to give our countrymen.) 

Villanueva also heads the Citizen’s Battle Against Corruption, which he once represented in Congress. – Rappler.com

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Bea Cupin

Bea is a senior multimedia reporter who covers national politics. She's been a journalist since 2011 and has written about Congress, the national police, and the Liberal Party for Rappler.