CREDIT GRABBING? – Mark Villar touts his work as DPWH secretary to boost his expected Senate bid
Secretary Mark Villar of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) has been running television commercials for months already ahead of his widely expected candidacy for senator in the 2022 national elections.
Last June, the 43-year-old Villar repurposed a commercial that was first aired during the 2016 election cycle as a Father’s Day ad. Back in 2015, he considered running for Senate although he ultimately decided against it. He was instead reelected to a third term as a Congressman for Las Piñas City, although he was eventually appointed by President Rodrigo Duterte as a member of his cabinet.
With Duterte’s time in office ending, Villar is obviously reviving his ambition to become a Senator – following in the footsteps of his parents, former Senate President Manny Villar and current Senator Cynthia Villar. And in his latest commercial, Villar is claiming credit for all the infrastructure projects that were accomplished under the Duterte administration’s “Build, Build, Build” program including the construction of evacuation centers, COVID-19 facilities, roads and bridges, and the like.
Villar’s ad also mentioned that all these initiatives has generated 6.5 million jobs. It then ends with the slogan “Mark Villar: Sumisigaw ang gawa” (“Action Speaks Loud”) – a line that he will most likely use during next year’s campaign.
Villar’s claims deserves scrutiny, especially given the Duterte administration’s propensity to take all the credit for infrastructure projects that were in fact started during the administration of former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and the late former President Benigno Aquino III.
A Villar has been in the Senate since 2001. The family’s patriarch, Manny Villar, served in the Senate from 2001 to 2013, highlighted by his tenure as Senate President from 2006 to 2008 and a failed run for the presidency in 2010. The matriarch Cynthia Villar first won in 2013 and was reelected in 2019 with 25 million votes. – the highest among all candidates. If elected, the younger Villar will serve as Senator alongside his mother until 2025.