Enrile accuses Villar of bribing him, saying, "Bribery will be your downfall"
"[Manny Villar] was trying to buy me off," declared Senator Juan Ponce Enrile during a press conference on January 26. According to the Inquirer, Sen. Enrile claimed that Sen. Villar had tried to bribe him in exchange for "a very favorable decision" regarding the charges against him in the Senate.
Enrile told GMA News that he agreed to meet with Villar some time last year at Inagiku, a Japanese restaurant at the Makati Shangri-la Hotel. He said that Villar had offered him assistance in exchange for helping him with the Senate allegations.
"Several times during that meeting, Senator Villar interjected: 'Manong, baka naman may maitutulong ako sa inyo. Makakatulong naman ako kung may kailangan kayo. [Manong, there might be something I can do to help you. I can help if there's anything that you need]'," Enrile told the Inquirer. He said that he only promised Villar that he would be "fair" and "not allow the hearings to go beyond the issues referred to the Committee."
"I know you have helped a lot of people because you came from a poor family… Now that you are very rich, you are in a better position to help more of the needy among people. But to use your money to bribe people just because you want to kill the investigation instead of facing the charges against you… is the worst disservice you can do to this nation. The people will see through any attempt to use money to win the Presidency. Not everyone can be bought. Bribery will be your downfall," said Enrile.
Villar responded to Enrile's "false story" by telling GMA News, "Bakit ako hihingi ng tulong e hindi naman ako guilty at wala naman akong ginawang masama? Lahat ng dokumentong sinubmit at lahat ng nag-testify sa Senado 'yan ang sinabi. [Why would I ask him for help when I did nothing wrong and am not guilty of anything? All the documents and all the people who testified in the Senate said the same thing.]"
He continued by saying, "I can't remember offering to help him with anything in exchange for him helping me. At wala pa naman akong Alzheimer's, at wala pa rin si JPE, kaya baka na-misquote lang siya [I don't have Alzheimer's and neither does Sen. Enrile. Maybe he was just misquoted.]"
Villar declined to attend a Senate chamber debate on January 25, stating that he would be "facing a biased audience." The meeting was organized to discuss Villar's censure for allegedly using his power and position in the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) to re-route the C-5 extension project so that the real estate value of his properties along the new route would increase.
In an interview with GMA News, Villar said that the whole investigation was just a ploy designed to hurt his chances in the 2010 elections. "[It was] conceived in malice and was meant to embarrass me so I will not be a factor in these elections… Nagsimula ito ng umakayat ako sa surveys. Nang gumaganda numero ko, pumapangit naman ang mga atake nila sa akin… Tumatakbo ako ng maayos, kaya eto, pinapatid nila ako. [It started when my ranking rose in the surveys. When my numbers went up, they started attacking me viciously… I'm running a clean race so now they're trying to trip me.]"