Villar quits Las Piñas seat; wife eyed as sub


Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez is mulling the appointment of Diwa partylist Rep. Emmeline Aglipay as “caretaker” of the lone congressional seat of Las Piñas City vacated by her husband, Mark Villar.

Villar resigned from Congress on Monday. Along with 22 new appointees, he took his oath of office as public works secretary before President Rodrigo Duterte in Malacañang.

Joining him at the oathtaking were his wife and their baby daughter.

“I am still waiting for the special document about the vacancy. But I am considering her (Aglipay),” said Alvarez in an interview on Tuesday with reporters.

Aglipay would serve as caretaker of Las Piñas until a special election is held to replace Villar, said Alvarez.

The Nacionalista Party, chaired by former Sen. Manuel Villar, has yet to decide whether to seek a special election.

Alvarez, however, said he was not too keen on holding a special election because of the additional cost that it would entail.

“I’m still waiting for the recommendation of the party. It’s hard to talk about that (special election). We have to look at the budget,” said Alvarez.

Previously, a partylist lawmaker, then Akbayan Rep. Arlene “Kaka” Bag-ao, was assigned by then Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. as caretaker of Dinagat Island in 2012. She replaced duly elected Rep. Reuben Ecleo, who was expelled by the House for a murder conviction.

The appointment of Villar has raised some eyebrows because of the family’s real estate business led by Villar’s father.

The Villars belong to the Nacionalista Party, which has aligned itself with Duterte’s “Coalition for Change” led by his party, the Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan.

In a statement, Villar said he was honored to be part of Duterte’s Cabinet.

“I have the highest respect and admiration for the President. Change is indeed coming,” Villar said.

He vowed to implement a three-strike policy in the procurement of contracts and impose administrative sanctions on employees involved in the defective implementation of Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) projects.

“This administration would not tolerate substandard, delayed and corruption-ridden projects,” Villar said.

“Our President wants to create communities that are both liveable and safe. (At) DPWH, we promise quality infrastructure delivered on-time, and accessible to the public,” he added. With a report from Leila Salaverria

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