President Aquino has tapped another member of Akbayan party-list group to serve as his undersecretary for political affairs.
Tomasito S. Villarin will replace Ibarra Gutierrez III as undersecretary at the Office of the Political Adviser headed by Secretary Ronaldo Llamas. All three are members of Akbayan.
Gutierrez is a nominee of Akbayan in the party-list elections in May this year. Akbayan was the object of a disqualification case in the Commission on Elections (Comelec). It was alleged that Akbayan was not a marginalized group as evidenced by the fact that its leaders have been appointed to high positions in the government. The Comelec dismissed the complaint.
Prior to his appointment to the government, Villarin was convenor of the Reform the ARMM Now, and executive director on leave of the SIAD (Sustainable Integrated Area Development) Initiatives for Mindanao-Convergence for Asset Reform and Regional Development.
He holds master’s degrees in Development Management at the Asian Institute of Management, and in Governance and Development at the University of Sussex, United Kingdom. He took up law at San Beda College after graduating from the University of the Philippines with an Economics degree.
Villarin was Akbayan’s third nominee in the 2010 party-list elections.