MANILA – Senatorial candidate Bro. Eddie Villanueva urged those involved in the deadly standoff in Sabah to forget "self-interest" and focus on the safety of Filipinos.
“Ang ating pamahalaan ay dapat mag initiate na ‘yung Malaysian government at ‘yung sultanate of Sulu at lahat ng stakeholders kung pu-pwede ay kalimutan muna natin ang self-interest. Ang mahalaga dito ay ang kaligtasan ng maraming Pilipino,” he said on ANC’s “Harapan 2013” on Tuesday.
Villanueva called on both the Philippine and Malaysian governments to exhaust all diplomatic means to prevent more bloodshed.
“Let’s exhaust diplomatic peaceful means para ma-resolve itong issue na ito without violence,” he said.
He also suggested that a panel of experts should be formed to help resolve the dispute.
He added that the Aquino administration shouldn't be blamed for the assault on the followers of Sulu Sultan Jamalul Kiram III.
“I believe ginawa ni PNoy ang lahat na dapat gawin na himukin ang lahat ng parties na huwag daanin sa init ng ulo, umupo at resolbahan ang ganitong klaseng critical issue peacefully dahil nakataya dito ang buhay ng napakaraming tao,” he said.
“Pakita natin sa mundo na tayo ay civilized people and we believe in the rule of law,” he added.
The Malaysian launched an air strike against Kiram's followers Tuesday morning, but Malaysian authorities said they have yet to recover any bodies.
The Bangon Pilipinas senatorial candidate, meanwhile, denied that he was pressured to run for senator after his son, Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (Tesda) Director General Joel Villanueva, was dropped from the Liberal Party’s senatorial slate.
“Walang kinalaman ang hindi pagkakapili kay Joel, nag-usap kami ni Presidente at sabi niyang kailangan talga niya sa cabinet,” said Villanueva.
He also said he was “inspired to continue his advocacy in the Senate” by former Chief Justice Reynato Puno, former chief economic planner Cielito Habito and the Christian consortium.
“Dadalin natin ‘yung landmark legislations para magkaroon naman ‘yung ating pangarap na economic, social and political systems ng bansa ay magkaroon ng reformation,” Villanueva said.
Villanueva, who describes himself as an “economist, educator and evangelist,” ran for president in the 2004 and 2010 elections, but lost twice in his bid.