Villar looking forward to full-time businessBy Gil C. Cabacungan Jr.
Philippine Daily Inquirer
MANILA, Philippines—After plunging into politics two decades ago, Senator Manuel Villar is looking forward to coming back as a wealth-builder in business while settling as a “kingmaker” in politics.
Villar said that he would retire from politics at the end of his second consecutive term in 2013 to return to his real estate business empire, Vista Land and Polar Property Holdings, which has enabled him to land in the company of the country’s richest (Forbes ranked him 18th-richest Filipino with an estimated net worth of $720 million).
“I’m going to back to my company, to my roots, in an environment where I have excelled,” said Villar in an interview.
Villar’s wife, former Las Piñas Representative Cynthia Villar, is running for the Senate in 2013, while his son Mark is seeking a second term in Congress.
Villar said he would likely retake control of his company’s boardroom and focus more on doing foundation work after politics. But Villar said he would remain as president of the Nacionalista Party and remain active in making party decisions not only in the mid-term elections but also in the 2016 presidential elections.
Villar said he has recovered not only from his bitter loss in the 2010 presidential elections (he has apparently moved on as he has struck an alliance with President Aquino) but also the money he forked out to bankroll his ambition with savvy moves in the stock market (he scooped up his company’s shares when they hit rock bottom and these shares have climbed back along with the market). “When you have a dream, you have to do something to achieve it,” said Villar.
Villar, a former Speaker and former Senate President, said that he was more in his “element” in business where the risk and rewards were more palpable than the political environment where the players could go far even with modest skills.
“Business is a different animal. Hindi puwede mambola katulad sa politics (You cannot fool or deceive people just like in politics) because the consequences are real. Any action could mean a peso lost or a peso gained unlike in politics where the damage is only temporary. You need more skills in business than politics where you can go by even if you did not go to school. I always believe that there are always two sides to an issue and each side has its own justification. So you can never go wrong which side of an issue you take. Laging may katuwiran (There is always a justification, a rationale),” said Villar.
Villar said that he bore no grudge against President Aquino. “I look at the campaign as a boxing match. We give our all inside the ring, we hit as hard but we also have to take the hard blows. But after the fight, we don’t have to fight anymore. Life goes on and our country needs us to be united especially since the President has only one term. We shared the same goal of developing the country, we differed only on how to reach it,” said Villar.
Villar said the NP’s alliance with President Aquino’s Liberal Party in the 2013 elections would be a “perfect fit,” considering that both could not field a complete slate.