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He’d rather die than steal

/ 03:30 AM November 19, 2016
ERC official Francisco Jose Villa Jr.

Francisco Jose Villa Jr. (Photo courtesy of Charie Villa)

Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) Director Francisco Jose Villa Jr. took after his father and namesake, Francisco, an honest police chief of Pasay City.

Francisco Jr., 54, would rather die than steal from the government.


That’s what Villa did when he shot himself with a .38-caliber revolver, the type carried by policemen in the days of yore, which he probably inherited from his honest dad.

Villa abhorred mock biddings in the power sector watchdog where he reviewed procurement contracts, according to his sister Charie, a former ABS-CBN reporter.


“My greatest fear in the bids and awards committee is the AVP (audio visual presentation) of Luis Morelos which the chair and CEO, Jose Vicente B. Salazar, chose through a rigged selection system. That will be a criminal act,” wrote Villa in one of his “suicide notes.”

A dying man’s declaration is given much weight by investigators and the courts.

So, whoever Villa implicated in his suicide notes are condemned.

The National Bureau of Investigation, the government watchdog on graft and corruption, might want to start investigating ERC chair Salazar.

Investigating corruption cases entails poring over voluminous accounting records and books which is an easy job for a certified public accountant (CPA).

The new NBI chief, Dante Gierran, is a CPA and lawyer.

So is NBI Deputy Director for Special Investigation Services, Jose Justo Yap.


There are more than 160 CPAs who are line agents at the NBI.

So, the additional job given by President Digong to the NBI—investigating corruption in government offices—is right down the agency’s alley.

The job of a graft and corruption watchdog has many temptations, but Gierran—if what I’ve heard about him are correct—is unlikely to succumb to them.

As head of the NBI’s internal affairs, Gierran caused the dismissal of at least 11 abusive and corrupt agents and several nonline employees for filching agency funds.

As head of the NBI office in Davao City, he conducted no-nonsense investigations on the excesses committed by policemen, which made then City Mayor Rody Duterte notice him.

Gierran is not fond of “happy hour” or drinking in bars.

Former Makati City Mayor Elenita Binay was acquitted by the Sandiganbayan of a graft case over the purchase of allegedly overpriced city hall furniture amounting to P13.25 million in 1999.

The Sandiganbayan said the prosecution failed to “establish the elements of offense” in the graft charges.

Had the NBI under Gierran handled the investigation of the allegedly overpriced furniture, Elenita would probably have been convicted.

Why does Sandiganbayan acquit big graft respondents like Elenita Binay but convict others who commit less graft like former San Jose, Mindoro Occidental, Mayor Jose Villarosa?

Binay was acquitted because she had no intention of profiting from the overprice?

C’mon, give us a break!

The citizenry is not stupid.

Her husband, former Vice President Jojo, and son, dismissed Mayor Junjun, were charged with a similar offense: overpricing at Makati City Hall.

What gives, Sandiganbayan?

Five policemen in Cagayan de Oro City are in the NBI’s custody for kidnapping in connection with the arrest of a former overseas contract worker, Enrique Fernandez III, who up to now remains missing.

The modus operandi of many cops is to stop a citizen riding a motorcycle at a checkpoint, take him to the station if they found him abrasive, and then make him “disappear.”

My program, “Isumbong Mo Kay Tulfo,” has received many complaints of citizens going missing after being stopped by cops at a checkpoint.

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TAGS: Energy Regulatory Commission, ERC corruption, Francisco Jose Villa Jr., Inquirer columnist, Ramon Tulfo
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