MANILA, Philippines - Presidential candidate Maria Consuelo "Jamby" Madrigal on Tuesday accused El Shaddai leader Mike Velarde of colluding with Nacionalista Party standard-bearer Manuel Villar Jr. on the C5 road project controversy.
"Politically there is this conspiracy of Villar and Brother Mike because they have been partners in C for a long time. C for corruption, C for C5," Madrigal said in an interview on ANC's Headstart.
Madrigal said Villar is actually involved two C5 road realignment projects. The first realignment was in 1998 during the time of President Fidel Ramos, which involved the Amvel Development of Velarde, the SM properties of Henry Sy and Adelfa company of Villar.
Velarde earlier admitted that he himself had asked for the diversion of the C5 road extension project during the Ramos administration.
"Dalawa kasing C5 'yan eh. The one that crosses my property was initially the toll road C5, now it practically occupies my entire 14 hectares," Velarde said in an ABS-CBN News interview.
He said he personally designed the C5 road construction, diverting the original design that cuts right in the middle of his property.
"So I really designed the layout myself. Inilihis ko iyong isang daan ng exit para iyong maiiwanan magagamit ko," he said.
Madrigal said Velarde and Villar were able to get billions of government money from the first realignment project.
The Department of Public Works and Highways failed to finish the negotiations for the project during the time of President Ramos.
When Joseph Estrada was elected president, negotiations to divert the C5 resumed. The government ended up paying Velarde P1.2 billion.
Part of 'Villaroyo' plot?
Madrigal said that it was during the time of former President Estrada when Villar pushed for a second realignment of the road extension.
"Diverted the original alignment a second time to go through his (Villar) property. Brother Mike did not care anymore," she said, adding that Villar was able to increase his property at a very conservative estimate of P6.2 billion.
Madrigal, meanwhile, said that from the start, Villar and Velarde have been colluding to benefit from the road project.
She added that the "partnership" between the two became clearer when the influential religious leader openly endorsed Villar's presidential bid.
"He has shown his true colors," the senator said, adding that the partnership between Villar and Velarde could have been "part of the whole ‘Villaroyo’ plot."
"Brother Mike wants to get into politics. Imagine if Villar is president, GMA (President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo) speaker of the House... Mike with his Amvel Development and Villar with Adelfa, with GMA as speaker of the house, will own the Philippines," Madrigal said.
The party-list group Buhay has listed Velarde as one of its nominees for the May 10 elections. The religious leader said he would welcome the opportunity to serve in Congress. With a report from ANC