ERC director left 3 'suicide notes' before taking his own life

Katrina Domingo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Nov 17 2016 08:46 PM

ERC director left 3 'suicide notes' before taking his own life 1
ERC Director Francisco "Jun" Villa Jr.

Three handwritten letters labelled as "suicide notes" were drafted by Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) Director Francisco "Jun" Villa Jr. as early as August --- almost three months before he took his own life in their home in Parañaque City.

Villa killed himself on November 9 after allegedly being pressured to approve procurement contracts and hiring consultants without proper bidding and procedure, his younger sister Charie Villa said.

The letters that were dated August 23, 24, and 25 were shown by Villa's family during the late official's "pasiyam" on Thursday. All suicide notes seemed like prayers as all letters were addressed to the "Lord Jesus Christ." 

FIRST NOTE

In his first note, Villa sought for the Lord's help as he "cannot physically bring himself to work" at the ERC due to "fears" about his work as chief of the agency's Bids and Awards Committee (BAC). 

He said his biggest fear was being called out by the Commission on Audit (COA) on the contents of an audio-visual presentation "by Luis Morelos which the chairman and CEO Jose Vicente B. Salazar chose through a rigged selection process."

ERC director left 3 'suicide notes' before taking his own life 2
ERC chairman and CEO Jose Vicente B. Salazar. Photo courtesy of Energy Regulatory Commission

Despite being uncomfortable with his tasks as BAC chief, Villa said he could not afford to be unemployed because he still had bills to settle. In the same letter, he said he "might even commit suicide" due to his stressful situation at work.

SECOND NOTE

Villa wrote another "suicide note" the following day. He said he felt bad filing a sick leave as his "psychological frame of fear, aversion to pressure, and worrying makes him unfit for work."

He said he planned to continue to skip work to avoid attending the "August 26 planning session" with Salazar.

THIRD NOTE

In Villa's third and last letter, he said he felt that he was "being set up for failure," but was relieved that a certain "E.D." signed "the Iloilo contracts." 

Villa said he still could bring himself to return to work as his "ailment is more psychological and moral rather than physical."

"I want to shoot myself in the temple by using Dad's .38 caliber Smith and Wesson gun," the late ERC official wrote.

EARLY RETIREMENT

Almost three months after he wrote the letters, Villa filed an "application for early retirement" on November 4 at the ERC, citing insomnia and health concerns as reason.

"With great apologies, I must inform you that my health situation does not permit me to perform effectively my functions. I suffer insomnia nightly due to stress factors experienced at work and such disables me from being mentally and physically capable to hurdle work challenges," Villa's retirement letter addressed to Salazar read.

Five days after he submitted his early retirement letter, Villa took his life the exact way he said in his third suicide note.

Meantime, Salazar said he is "baffled by the insinuations," but will "refrain from ascribing any motive to the allegations" while Villa's siblings are still mourning the death of their kin.

"I believe it would be fair to Director Villa’s memory and to our Office for an impartial inquiry into the allegations to be done by an objective body," Salazar said in a statement.

"We owe it to Director Villa that we go through this process. This would help bring the matter to a closure, as all those who are bereaved by his death hope for," he said.

Villa's family is seeking help to establish a foundation "where employees like Jun who felt pressured because he wanted to stand up for what is right, can go to to seek redress from harassment and legal help."

Editor's note: 

A group in the Philippines is dedicated to addressing those who have suicidal tendencies.

The crisis hotlines of the Natasha Goulbourn Foundation aim to make these individuals feel that someone is ready to listen to them.

These are their hotline numbers:

Information and Crisis Intervention Center
(02) 804-HOPE (4673)
0917-558-HOPE (4673) or (632) 211-4550
0917-852-HOPE (4673) or (632) 964-6876
0917-842-HOPE (4673) or (632) 964-4084

In Touch Crisis Lines:
0917-572-HOPE or (632) 211-1305
(02) 893-7606 (24/7)
(02) 893-7603 (Mon-Fri, 9 am-5 pm)
Globe (63917) 800.1123 or (632) 506.7314
Sun (63922) 893.8944 or (632) 346.8776