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Ethics panel clears Villar of plunder, estafa charges

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MANILA, Philippines - Sen. Manuel Villar Jr. was cleared yesterday of charges of plunder and large-scale estafa by the Senate committee on ethics headed by Sen. Panfilo Lacson.

Six senators – Lacson, Manuel Roxas II, Loren Legarda, Richard Gordon, Gregorio Honasan and Jinggoy Estrada – signed the resolution.

Lacson said the ethics committee’s decision was based on a ruling by the Office of the Ombudsman, which dismissed a similar complaint on Sept. 22, 2008.

In their complaint before the Office of the Ombudsman, Gina Jarvinia and Valentin Amador accused Villar and his wife, Las Piñas Rep. Cynthia Villar, of land-grabbing in Norzagaray, Bulacan. 

The ethics committee also dismissed a complaint filed by former Quezon City lawmaker Dante Liban against Gordon.

Senate Majority Leader Juan Miguel Zubiri said the committee did not see any conflict between Gordon’s post as senator and as chairman of the Philippine National Red Cross.

– Christina Mendez

CHRISTINA MENDEZ CYNTHIA VILLAR DANTE LIBAN GINA JARVINIA AND VALENTIN AMADOR GORDON GREGORIO HONASAN AND JINGGOY ESTRADA LACSON LAS PI LOREN LEGARDA MANUEL ROXAS OFFICE OF THE OMBUDSMAN
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