Presumptive President Rodrigo Duterte has ordered Mark Villar to identify in detail all of the residential and commercial real estate projects that his family is involved with.
To avoid suspicions about a potential conflict of interest between the Department of Public Works & Highways (DPWH) Secretary post and family-owned real estate business, Duterte ordered Villar to draw him a map where they have property development projects and to avoid building roads and alleys in near those project areas.
“(Submit) a map showing where your developments are in real estate and avoid making a road or alley there,” Duterte stated during a press conference in Davao City on May 22.
The Villar family’s businesses are the Vista Land and Lifescapes, Inc. and Vitacare Healthgroup, Inc. The Villars are also major shareholders of MB Villar Co. Inc.; Fine Properties Inc.; Macy’s Inc.; Hollinger Holdings Corp; and Mooncrest Property Development Corp.
Mark Villar’s mother, Senator Cynthia Villar, stated during a radio interview that the public should not suspect any conflict of interest since her family is not the contractor for DPWH. She added that the Villars have never done any business with public works all their life.
Aside from a potential conflict of interest, various sectors are also criticizing Mark Villar’s appointment as the new DPWH Secretary because of his recent win in the election as the Las Piñas representative. If Mark Villar accepts the DPWH post, it will mean that he has to abandon his position as a congressman for Las Piñas.
Election lawyer Romulo Macalintal gave a warning to Mark Villar about abandoning his position as the Las Piñas representative in order to get the DPWH position. Macalintal said that Villar could be charged for the violation of Article 234 of the Revised Penal Code or the “refusal to discharge elective office.” The penalty for this violation is arresto mayor, a fine of not more than P1,000, or both.