we this election is for aquino to lose villar to win and estrada to upset his opponents as the dark horse.
we think given the trends from the polls and the actions aquino and his opponents have executed in the past few days, we think aquino is not set to not just win, but a possibility of a landslide win is in the horizon.
these are the key points why we think a landslide win is now possible for aquino:
- aquino has led in the polls from the very beginning
- not once was aquino threatened by any other candidate in the polls
- his closest opponent, manny villar took drastic declines too close to the election. arresting the decline, recovery from it and reversing the trend is impossible to achieve given the the time available
- manny villar, aquino’s strongest opponent is now suffering with a declining trend
- erap estrada gaining in the polls came too late, he no longer has time to build on his momentum. he will fall short of his target.
- none of aquino’s competitors did anything dramatic to propel themselves to the top or bring down aquino
- aquino has sustained his stature, no huge scandal has erupted in the last few days
- aquino’s rating of 42% is formidable given that his closest rival, villar and estrada are at 20% to 19%, one half of aquino’s rating. that margin is insurmountable given just a few days from survey time to election time. this is not a close election anymore, it is a rout. one more way of appreciating the margin – even if you combine the ratings of his closest rivals, 39%, aquino’s 42% will still make him win this election.
the bottom line is that given the above, aquino with just a few days to go in this election has gained a very strong upward momentum while his closest rivals are on a decline trend (villar) and on a slight upward trend (estrada) but with no time to reach aquino.
an increasing trend only becomes viable if the leaps are very significant like the way binay is aggressively gaining on roxas. estrada’s upward trend is not as impressive as that of binay.
with just a few hours to go until the poll opens, the aquino campaign has much more to celebrate.
dramatic losses in internals for top 3 presidentiables but aquino leads, erap 2nd, villar drops to 3rd – May 2010 SWS-Business World presidentiables survey
the sws-business world may 2-3 poll shows some interesting developments in the internal scores with major changes in them although the over-all outcome did not show any changes.
noynoy aquino continue to be the front runner but has gained significantly from previous to now 42% from 38%, a 4% point gain. the survey has a 2.2% margin of error.
erap estrada also gained significantly from previous to now 20% from 17% and overtakes manny villar who suffered a major drop to now 19% from the previous 26%. the significant drop for villar and significant gain for erap has put them now on a statistical tie. although the momentum is on the side of estrada.
it appears to us villar has not found the correct formula to arrest his declining numbers. we have said previously in this blog that villar’s drop has been caused by the unresolved C-5 corruption scandal, concretized by the Villarroyo name and villar’s move from the side of good to evil in his parties efforts at black propaganda most of which backfired and hurt his campaign instead.
the over-all ratings and rankings have not changed from previous. however, it is noteworthy that aquino’s lead over estrada is dramatic, a +22% lead, more than double than what estrada has. aquino has 42% versus estrada’s 20%.
the internals of their scores are quite interesting to look at.
aquino’s NCR ratings grew significantly to 43% from 35% while his socio-eco class rating among the ABC dropped to 44% from 53%. we find that a very unusual movement as most of the ABC class are located in NCR. these ratings seem to be contradicting each other. we wonder if there is a tabulation error in this report.
estrada’s mindanao rating has gone up dramatically to 30% from 22%. this is probably driven mostly by estrada’s mindanao-specific tv ad that he has been airing in the past weeks. estrada may have found a very strategic move in this election. he is the only presidentiable who ran mindanao-specific tv ads.
another notable movement in estrada’s internal scores is his ABC rating which is now 14% from the previous 6%, more than doubling from previous. we wonder if this is related to the question we have posted on the ABC tallies in aquino’s scores.
villar’s significant drop in over-all rating to 19% from 26% may have been brought about by dramatic deterioration of his ratings in the NCR, from 18% to 10%, a cut of more than half; balance luzon from 25% to 20%, a quarter drop and mindanao , another drop by more than half from 31% to 15%. we think these are very alarming deterioration of villar’s ratings.
significant drops in villar’s ratings occurred across all socio-eco classes, -9% pts in ABC, -7% in D and -10% in E. across the board drops in geography and socio-classes is showing villar supporters are showing fluid movements confirming what we said previously that villar’s supporters are most vulnerable to poaching by other presidentiables.
these movements should tell the presidentiable campaigns to look into geographic and demographics segmentation to improve their over-all ratings. unfortunately, because it is just a few days before election, there is not much they can do to recover or push their ratings in the direction they want it to be.
Aquino pads poll lead
Gap now 22 points; Estrada overtakes Villar
WITH THE MAY 10 elections just around the corner, Sen. Benigno Simeon “Noynoy” C. Aquino III has picked up steam to widen his lead in the presidential race, results of the final BusinessWorld-Social Weather Stations (BW-SWS) Pre-Election survey showed.
The May 2-3 poll, conducted roughly a week before Filipinos troop to the precincts, gave Mr. Aquino the support of 42%, up four points and ahead of former President Joseph “Erap” E. Estrada of the Pwersa ng Masa who was now in second place with three-point gain to 20%.
Erstwhile second-placer Sen. Manuel “Manny” B. Villar, Jr. of the Nationalista Party (NP) was a point behind at 19%, a result within the survey’s error margin of 2.2%. His support was down seven points from the prior BW-SWS poll of April 16-19.
The gap between the top two was 22 points, wider than the 12 Mr. Aquino enjoyed over Mr. Villar in the last survey.
~~~ mindscape landmark ~~~
the 2010 election will be remembered for many things some good and some bad. there will also be losers and a winner. but one word will stand out, it can be the word for the 2010 election – Villarroyo.
it is a very creative term, two names moulded into one, giving it a precise meaning to a complex concept – that villar is arroyo’s secret candidate in the 2010 election.
it did not matter that the declared candidate of arroyo is gilbert teodoro, the idea was putting a seed of doubt in the minds of voters about who the candidate is of the evil one.
arroyo has been seen as the exclusive owner of the kiss of death for those seeking public office. she showed she had that during the last senatorial elections where almost all of the administration candidates lost in that election while almost all of the opposition senatorial candidates won senatorial seats.
the administration during that time was boasting of its good economic record. the malacanang press bureau was releasing a lot of economic data boasting it was under the arroyo administration that had good economic results.
the numbers were good but real life was not for most of the people – jobs were scarce, unemployment high and hunger were also high. since that was just a senatorial election, the people took its anger towards the administration candidates by voting those who were going against them who were mostly opposition senatorial candidates. that election was a protest vote against arroyo, a referndum on her perfromance as president.
arroyo’s kiss of death is as potent then as it is now with gilbert teodoro, the newest recipient of arroyo’s kis of death. his ratings continue to suffer in the polls with just 7% in the latest reading, getting only as high 9% on previous tallies. his ratings hardly moved from the time he entered the competition.
teodoro was largely an unknown candidate to voters having no previous elected national position and just two years of a cabinet post in the arroyo administration, the defense portfolio which by its very nature is a low key cabinet position.
he came into the election as an unknown and unmarked. arroyo’s kiss of death was the only mark that was on him and that did not help at all. the teodoro campaign was obsessed with playing it down, the two of them never photographed together and the traditional raising of hands to proclaim a candidacy not done when teodoro was proclaimed standard bearer of arroyo’s political party, lakas-kampi-cmd.
the villarroyo name may not have have the same kind of power asarroyo’s kiss of death on teodoro had, but we think it certainly played a crucial role in this election. we think it had the power of concretizing the idea of the negative in just ten letters.
developments in the campaign also helped give the term villarroyo some potent life. at the time this was coined and released into the public’s mind, the headlines talked about the disintegration of the administration party, lakas-kampi-cmd, with many of its members and even its key officers abandoning the party to join the LP and the NP.
there were also reports that mike arroyo, gloria’s beloved partner was in talks with manny villar and had dropped support on teodoro. teodoro’s own party helped to put very dry wood into the smouldering fire with it’s members, some key officers and even those working for the teodoro and manzano campaigns complaining about lack of funds to no support coming from lakas-kampi-cmd to their campaign efforts.
they did not have to tell us that as we witnessed that by ourselves. during that time, we hardly saw any tv ads for teodoro and manzano. (in fact todate, manzano has had no tv ad for himself or with him with his presidential candidate).
taking all of it together, it forms into a composite of many different things that actually fit and made sense. we saw that villar was continuing to put on air heavy advertising at that time and that true to critics, he really never went against arroyo as much for example mar roxas or even noynoy aquino.
our simple minds, picking up simple things did form a great, sensible and powerful word – villarroyo.
if you think about it – the whole story seems like a complex plot from a political drama movie. it looked like a script was written for it and got unfolded right in front of our eyes.
or is it destiny speaking here? there is no way any human could have conspired to make the last two letters of villar as the first two letters of arroyo’s last name.
villarroyo – a perfect fit of two names, the most powerful word in the 2010 election. it will be the one word that was able to bring down billions of pesos in advertising and marketing expense and a presidential candidate who almost made it.
the good and the bad have affected manny villar’s run for the presidency.
the good, his advertising and marketing campaigns that he started ahead of everyone else, way before the official campaign period have pushed him from nowhere to catch up and tie noynoy aquino at the polls who entered the campaign as the dominant run away front runner in this election.
villar’s rise to within a shot of winning the presidency was a nurtured one, built around savvy ads, well-planned and well-thought out strategies behind billions of campaign funds.
until the bad hit his campaign and quickly pulled his ratings to a spiralling downward trend to now tied at 2nd or 3rd behind erap estrada, the convicted criminal who is again running for president.
unfortunately, the bad was his own doing. this bad is “backlash”, things that you do intended to hurt your opponent but recoils back and returns to you and hurts you instead. the villar campaign launched a string of these moves which unfortunately were all done towards the last part of the campaign where there might not be enough time to recover from their mistakes.
this is founded on what we think is a very unfortunate strategic choice that the campaign has chosen on how to handle negative developments to the villar campaign.
the first indication of this unfortunate strategic choice was on the C-5 corruption scandal. villar chose the strategy of not confronting the issue at the stage where it began. villar chose not to attend the senate hearings and instead on his own and separate from the senate hearings went on a media campaign answering questions on the controversy that were lodged at him at the senate floor in other venues and press briefings outside of the senate floor.
they must have thought that what is more important is public perception in general over what is happening at the senate floor. villar is running for president, answering the questions raised at the senate are best re-shaped and handled as the messages go out to the public.
there are two problems with that strategy. first, not tackling the issue at the senate itself will mean allowing it to continue to progress at the senate floor and reach it’s conclusion on it’s own unhampered. second, and this is the fatal one – while they are doing their counter attacks and defence at the public opinion stage, it does not necessarily mean they are being erased in the minds of the public. they may be able to answer all the points raised in the senate but all of these are deposited in the consciousness of the public as data points. they can be deposited in their minds as neutral points as they are able to answer them but they are nevertheless there and latent.
what came next was the Villarroyo charge that mar roxas first said in a press conference. the C-5 corruption scandal plus Villarroyo we think was the beginning of the end of the villar presidential bid.
villarroyo is more than a play in names, it is we think one of the most powerful words used in the 2010 election. the word crystallized in the minds of the voters their greatest fear and greatest dislike not only in this election but in the country in general – arroyo. (read here: Villarroyo – the most powerful word of the 2010 election)
at the start, this election has been called an election of “good vs. evil”. we think the villar campaign forgot that as it is really an election of “good vs evil” until now.
the name “arroyo” has become to mean to the people everything that is wrong, bad, immoral and not right about the country and where it is going. romulo neri, one of arroyo’s eco guru was right when he said “arroyo is evil”.
one of the most enduring definition of “evil” is corruption. a large percentage of the people think arroyo is corrupt or has been involved in corruption. surveys also say arroyo as seen by the people is one of the most corrupt president of the country, next to ferdinand marcos.
when mar roxas introduced villarroyo to the public mind, something simply clicked in the minds of voters – villar is just like arroyo, evil itself.
the handling and approach taken by villar of the C-5 corruption scandal reminded us villar may not only be the candidate that arroyo supports but he can be as corrupt as arroyo is. the charge on villar on the C-5 controversy was that he used his position and power for personal gain, something the people have always suspected of doing all the time.
more than that, villar was not facing the issue at the senate. he did everything and anything to find an excuse not to face his accusers at the senate.
that is also an arroyo tactic. she did that during the NBN-ZTE scandal where she prevented neri from testifying at the senate on the matter by hiding under the skirt of immunity from testifying. more than that event, arroyo had used the numbers she owned in congress to prevent the congressional hearings on the impeachment cases lodged on hr for some years.
with the villarroyo name solid in the minds of voters, villar’s ratings started to decline.
unfortunately, the villar campaign seemed to have taken another blunder in their strategic choices from that point on. the campaign decided to get into a black propaganda binge against its opponents and their prime target was noynoy aquino who is the front runner in this election.
noynoy aquino as the target of their black propaganda is a sensible choice. he is the front runner and it makes sense to do so. we do not completely discredit the value of black propaganda in elections because it has some use and value but it is totally wrong to do black propaganda that is not founded on the truth and one that is traceable back to the originator of the black propaganda.
the double psyche reports which were quickly proven as false and fabricated are prime examples of black propaganda gone bad and giving a backlash to the originator.
both were traced to members of the nationalista party as originators. the two sources of the first bogus psyche report according to abs-cbn were from members of the nationalista party and the second most recent one is guido delgado, former National Power Corporation president and villar supporter.
why in the world delgado called a press conference on a psyche he was not sure was real is something we cannot comprehend. delgado called the press conference to release it to the media and asked them to verify its authenticity. it does not take rocket science to figure out that if his psyche report was proven to be bogus, it will for sure backfire on the villar campaign, not to mention blotch his name as the idiot who released the bogus psyche report.
we assume that being a supporter, he intends to help manny villar get elected. but because of what he did, he actually hurt the villar campaign rather than help it. he did not hurt noynoy aquino in any way, in fact aquino comes out here as victim of an injustice but he did solidify the villar campaign’s image as the doer of evil.
the bogus psyche reports, two of them, both traceable to manny villar’s political party goes back to rest on trust or in this case the withdrawal of trust on a candidate. the C-5 corruption controversy may have not been proven as true in the minds of voters, but it did put a question mark of trust in the minds of voters.
the addition of villarroyo to that for sure put in a bigger question mark of trust if not an outright suspicion of corruption on villar in the minds of voters. trust is something the filipino people have completely removed from arroyo, the country’s president. surveys show us that arroyo’s trust ratings have always been on the negative from quarter to quarter since the poll have been started. next to corruption and performance rating, trust is one of the most major negatives of arroyo.
with the bogus psyche reports traceable to villar (one idiot even came out in the open), trust was also removed by the people. trust was what arroyo lost in the hello garci scandal. at the start of the scandal, she kept denying all of it. but when things got pretty intense and the outcry just ready to explode, she eventually admitted she did have the “hello, garci” talk. that alone got all of us to remove trust on arroyo. it did not matter that arroyo apologized on national tv for her hello garci sin, trust once removed is gone forever.
and that is probably one of the lessons that villar will learn from this whole episode. when the people removed its trust on him, everything and anything that he did afterwards the people will always be suspicious of. it does not help that he not only did things that made us question trusting villar, he did things that told us not to trust him. having bogus psyche reports told us that in a most eloquent manner.
at some point, most specially in the last few weeks of the campaign, the villar campaign we think has lessened to a large degree if not completely stopped generating goodwill among the voters. instead of goodwill, the villar campaign with it’s efforts at black propaganda generated mistrust and suspicion both from their own doing and as a result of the backlash of what they have been doing.
the juan ponce enrile and erap estrada expose on the VLL-PSE scandal is one example of how backlash has hurt the villar campaign.
estrada embarked on the expose at this late stage of the campaign as they probably agreed with our assessment that of all the presidentiables, villar’s supporters are the most susceptible to being pirated.
read previous posts:
enrile on the other hand did it as a backlash from their previous fights in the senate on the C-5 corruption scandal. together with jamby madrigal, enrile was one of the key figures in the C-5 probe in the senate. we suppose enrile just could not let it go that villar got away with it at the senate. he just felt he needed to get to villar one last time and this time it will also help estrada, his party mate.
the fact is all the negative campaign thrown at noynoy aquino has not worked at all and there is a long list of these things from almost all sorts of topics and angles. it is a laundry list from the personal to public, from the intimate, the mundane up to the serious. but with all of that, none has actually stuck nor has it hurt aquino.
this should have been realized by the villar campaign a long time ago. aside from not learning this lesson, the villar campaign, and perhaps this is the biggest blunder of them all, has forgotten that what got manny villar to rise to tieing aquino at front runner status in the polls was positive campaigning, not negative campaigning.
manny villar rose to tie aquino in the polls behind a large dose of good advertising, good strategies and good events and all of them were positive. all these efforts put villar in a good light and all of them ignored and did not even mention his opponents. changing that strategy to what it is now, close to the ending of the campaign, to negative campaigning and black propaganda is hurting the chances of manny villar to win the presidency.
in a “good vs evil” election, villar unfortunately moved to the side of evil from his previous side of good.
we were ready to have a heart attack of our own as we we were watching this news clip of the “press conference” of manny villar’s mom on national tv. while the announcer did not say so, we were waiting in horror a scene where mom manny villar will have a cardiac arrest right on tv. we saw the tears, heard her voice breaking in between sobs and we saw the pain as she talked about the problems of her son in his political run to be president. it was very close to watching a horror movie where death was certain.
why on earth did manny villar do this to her mom?
we had sympathy for mom manny villar but we did not feel any sympathy at all for manny villar the presidentiable. we only felt loathing for bringing his mom to this kind of pain and humiliation,
lolas are beautiful people. mom manny villar is a very beautiful lola. in her face is the beauty of old age and wisdom. from her, we were expecting joy and countless words of wisdom. but that was not what we saw on national tv.
what we saw on tv was her children, the sisters of manny villar and most probably manny villar himself making their mom do these awful things for political gain. we do not think it was something mom manny villar wanted to do. she looked a lot smarter than that. we think it was her children who made her do it.
one of manny villar’s sister even defended the action by saying noynoy aquino had also used his mom in his political campaign as if it could be compared. noynoy’s mom and dad were the first politicians before noynoy, not only that both are national heroes, one martyred, the other bringing back glory and pride to the country. noynoy had no choice about that. they would be brought into the picture whether he liked it or not. that is not at all the case with mom manny villar. there is no comparison between the two.
we think at the very least, what they had mom manny villar do was in very bad taste. it did not build any goodwill for manny villar at all. the villar sisters and manny seem to relish torturing and humiliating their mom just to win this election.
C5 scandal + VLL PSE scandal = Villarroyo
did we just witness manny villar’s losing formula? villar’s poll ratings started to take a dive at the height of the C-5 controversy at the senate when he avoided confronting his colleagues at the senate to avoid talking about it ang being questioned on it. it was a simple formula – talk to the press but do not attend senate hearings.
the slide continued when mar roxas in a press conference coined the word Villarroyo. although the point of the name villarroyo was not exactly the same as the C-5, it’s point being villar is the secret candidate of gloria macapagal arroyo, it reminded people just the same about corruption which was C-5 was all about at its core.
arroyo is seen by many as the mother of all corruption in this country, she scored highest after marcos on corruption in surveys. having villarroyo as a name reminded people about the same kind of corruption that people associated with arroyo and did not like.
it is the same fear that people have in not voting for teodoro. teodoro is seen by voters as too close to arroyo so much that just the association gives teodoro the same kind of corruption image. the VLL PSE scandal is about the same thing.
villar does not deny he talked to the PSE (philippine stock exchange) officials about the locked-up shares of VLL after the IPO. he said he talked to them only to get news from them on the status of the listing of VLL at the stock market. so it was just a business call or a follow-up call.
he however forgot that he is the senate president and no ordinary person and even a no ordinary CEO of a philippine corporation. in fact, why would he do such a business call when he is supposed to be no longer connected with the private company VLL? elected officials are prohibited by law to hold corporate positions in private companies when they get elected. this by itself shows impropriety.
villar in his statement also says there was no violation of PSE rules as the locked-up shares he held as they were not released, it was disapproved by the PSE. that means he did ask the permission PSE to release the locked-up shares. it means villar has asked the PSE to violate it’s own rules. that is another impropriety.
saying the government did not lose money in the whole thing and it actually gained in taxes is not the point nor does it change the fact that he committed improprieties in the whole affair.
neither is anything diminished nor made right in throwing the trash at erap estrada who also had his own misdealings with the stock market before when he was president. the charge on estrada then was price fixing on BW Resources shares, a scandal that almost led to the implosion of the philippine sotck market. we do not condone what Estrada did but the proper conclusion here is that villar is just like estrada who both used their power to gain at the philippine stock market.
the C5 scandal and the VLL PSE scandal shows a clear similarity – villar seem to be in the habit of using his power and stature as public official to influence government and other related agencies for his personal gain, specifically for the businesses he and/or his family owns.
the name villarroyo rings a bell.
we have written before in this blog , telling all the laggards in this election that the path to winning this election specifically for them is though Vulnerable Villar’s voter base whose loyalty to Vulnerable Villar has been weakened by the C-5 and Villarroyo controversies.erap estrada with the help of juan ponce enrile, the self-appointed nemesis of manny villar launched a brilliant attack against Vulnerable Villar for the election win.
of all the presidentiables, only villar’s ratings have shown movement one way or the other. and of late, villar’s voter base showed fluidity on the downward trend. movements like these show vulnerability to poaching by other presidentiables.
read to click here:
- manny villar shows vulnerability – villar’s voter base an open path to victory for laggards
- manny villar pulled down by C-5 corruption, next to be pulled down by mother of all corruption – the arroyos
the estrada/enrile attack is a brilliant move:
- it recognizes and exploits the weakness of Vulnerable Villar
- it is consistent withe the topic where Vulnerable Villar is most vulnerable to – the charge of using his influence and corruption, the same kind of topic on the C-5 corruption controversy
- this plays up and continues to make use of the Villarroyo weakness of Vulnerable Villar
- we had written before in this blog that the C-5 controversy and Villarroyo is hurting Vulnerable Villar and the trend of his ratings are showing huge red flags
- the timing of the attack is brilliant – just a few weeks to go till election time. there might not be enough time for villar to parry the attack and recover from it.
the move may be brilliant but the there is gigantic hole in this move and that is erap estrada himself.
erap estrada is the only one among all the presidentiables who is a convicted criminal, all the other presidentiables have not committed a crime. the crime estrada was convicted on is about the same topic, too – corruption, plunder specifically according to the laws of the country.
more than that, erap estrada was also involved in making hay in the stock market during his presidency. one of the primary topics during the plunder case for erap was this stock called BW Resources which many billed as the country’s biggest stock market scam or scandal. that one involved price fixing.
enrile may have done the expose on his own as a big disfavor to manny villar but if he did that on his own, the voters may swing away from villar to noynoy aquino. estrada needed to be in the picture as that is the point of the whole exercise.
the question they needed to answer and i am sure it is one that was unanswered as they concluded the meeting was it was worth a try. estrada is a far 3rd in the polls. he needed an immediate and humongous boost to get him close to the fight.
his way towards reaching aquino is by stepping on manny villar, the 2nd placer who is showing an erosion of voter base in the polls. they must have figured that they do not need to bother with aquino, all they need is to get the supporters of Vulnerable Villar which in truth will be more than enough for erap to overtake aquino and win this election.
will voters abandon Vulnerable Villar and vote erap estrada instead? or will Vulnerable Villar’s supporters move over to aquino instead?
corruption is the number 1 issue in this election. it has become a lightning rod and a shepherd’s call. aquino used it to good effect and sustained a leading voter base; it was a pied piper call that led supporters to abandon Vulnerable Villar, will it be one for the benefit of erap estrada, the convicted criminal on the crime of corruption?
we do not think so.
voters will not move from one form of corruption to another form of corruption. voters will move to white space and that is noynoy aquino.
we think this development, if estrada and enrile succeeds in making the VLL corruption stick on Vulnerable Villar will benefit noynoy aquino the most. the whole thing will reinforce even further, stronger and deeper, the aquino image of a clean and honest presidentiable. aquino will come out as unblemished while all others are either blackened, garbage plagued and invisible. the invisibles are gordon, perlas, madrigal and de los reyes. teodoro joins villar and estrada with teodoro dumped with gloria macapagal arroyo’s kiss of death, the mother of all corruption in the country.
one more episode in the telenovela twists and turns of this election.
Villar: Trouble with hellos
NP bet used influence to twist stock market rules
By Gerry Lirio
Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 00:40:00 04/23/2010
(First of two parts)
MANILA, Philippines—Hello Fe! Hello Francis!
Sen. Manny Villar called Fe Barin, chair of the Securities and Exchange Commission, and Francis Lim, then president of the Philippine Stock Exchange, many times sometime between May and June 2007, the Philippine Daily Inquirer has learned.
But the calls, according to SEC and PSE lawyers and brokers interviewed by the Inquirer on separate occasions, were “too many to be easily dismissed and forgotten.”
They couldn’t forget about the calls either, they said, most especially because Villar, then Senate President, wanted the SEC and PSE officials “to throw the exchange rules out the window.”
Villar was seeking the release from escrow of about 1.2 billion of the 5.3 billion secondary shares of Vista Land & Lifescapes Inc. in June 2007 so these could be offered both as primary and secondary shares at the same time, or several days apart.
The Senate President not only made the calls, he also appeared before SEC and PSE board meetings, the lawyers said.
Villar and his wife Cynthia, the Las Piñas representative, are majority stockholders of Vista Land, the couple’s flagship company.
The couple became P6.75 billion richer from the secondary offering of 985.9 million shares that began on July 26, 2007, or within the escrow period of 180 days from the date of initial offering.
Lawyers said this violated article III, part D, section 7, of the exchange’s revised listing rules, which provides for a 180-day lockup on the secondary shares.
Vista Land, formed only in February 2007 to oversee operations of decades-old real estate brands Camella, a listed firm, Crown Asia and Brittany, made P14.5 billion from the sale of 2.12 billion primary shares.
Despite a weak showing in early trade, share prices soared to more than the offer price of P6.90, or up to as much as P7.50 per share. Share prices subsequently took a dive and hardly recovered since the secondary offering.
Simply put, Villar wanted the secondary offering held at once, despite the 180-day lock-up rule. He wanted to seize the day while the market was bullish. And he got it.
180-day lock-up rule
The rule, according to a PSE document obtained by the Inquirer, requires a company to cause its shareholders owning at least 10 percent of its issued and outstanding capital to enter into an agreement not to sell, assign, or in any manner dispose of their shares within the 180-day period from the listing of the shares.
The 180-day rule effectively puts the secondary shares in escrow mainly to allow the public buying into the primary shares to have their due course, stabilize the market share of prices, and to prevent the majority stockholders from abandoning the company which could take place during a secondary offering.
“It is an assurance that the majority stockholders are not selling just because they want to abandon ship and that they want to first jump from it,” an SEC lawyer said.
It also allows the SEC to check a company’s tangible assets of any legal encumbrances and, if so, if it is worth stopping the public offering.
How Villar managed to get his wish shocked some SEC and PSE lawyers and stockbrokers. Five of them talked to the Inquirer separately at the height of the controversy surrounding an ethical complaint lodged by Sen. Jamby Madrigal against the billionaire-senator last year in connection with the multibillion C-5 road diversion controversy.
Lobbying for private business
The trouble with Villar’s phone calls, the lawyers said, was that these were “unethical and inappropriate” because he was a high-ranking government official personally lobbying for his private business interest. “These exerted so much pressure on the PSE board,” a lawyer added.