Manny Villar's mother says they were really "poor," GMANews.tv sources say they were middle class

Curita "Curing" Villar, mother of presidentiable Manny Villar, opened her Las Piñas home to the media yesterday, April 26, to respond to the reports that debunk her son's claim that he was poor, reports GMANews.tv.

"Kahit ano raw sabihin ni Manny ayaw daw nilang paniniwalaan.   Akala yata nila nagsasalbahe. (They don't want to believe a word that Manny says. They think he's lying.)," said the 86 year-old Nanay Curing, who was in tears when she faced the cameras.

"Kung ayaw n'yong maniwala, pumunta kayo sa Divisoria market, Stall 2245...Akala ba ninyo hindi ako nasasaktan dun sa pinagsasabi sa anak ko? Halos ikamatay ko na. (If you don't want to believe that we were poor, go to the Divisoria market, Stall 2245. Do you think I'm not hurt by what is being said against my son? It's practically killing me.)"

When asked why she was finally speaking out, Nanay Curing said, "Aping-api na ang anak ko. Nasasaktan ang mga kapatid niya. (My son is being harassed and his siblings are getting affected.)"

Audio excerpts and photographs taken during the GMANews.tv interview

Daughters Odette, Gloria, and Vicky were quick to clarify that the interview, which was announced by Villar's staff late last Saturday, was not a publicity stunt.   Sen. Villar's younger sister, Gloria, also added that unlike Sen. Noynoy Aquino, they "weren't using their mother for politics."

GMANews.tv's report: "Villars were not poor."

However, a report by GMANews.tv's Howie Severino and Pia Faustino surmised that the Villars were actually a middle-class, double income family.

Their research showed that Manuel Villar Sr., an official in the Department of Agriculture and Natural Resources in 1961, used to earn P5,376 a year or about P22 a day. Although the said amount seems minute today, the minimum wage in the early '60s was only P4 per day and the reported average yearly income by an individual was P1,105.

In addition to Villar Sr.'s earnings, Nanay Curing, who was a fish vendor at the Divisoria market back then, reportedly took home around P80 to P600 a day.

"The Villars had double income. The father was a regular wage earner. They eventually owned a piece of land. They were in the formal sector. They could have been in the upper 10 percent. There was no way they were poor in Tondo," Dr. Mary Racelis, an urban anthropologist who did poverty studies in Tondo in the 1960s, told GMANews.tv.

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Racelis also added, "Housing is a very strong indicator of poverty. (The Villars) were [tenants] of a home made of strong materials. That does not make them poor. The really poor in Tondo lived in ramshackle homes of nipa and straw."

Nanay Curing has since moved to her home in Las Piñas where she oversees a sari-sari store called Nanay Villar's Store.

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