Impressed with Sariaya by-pass road feat, Duterte forgets Villar had already resigned

Published October 26, 2021, 11:14 AM

by Ellson Quismorio

President Duterte appeared to be so impressed with the person who led the construction of the Sariaya by-pass road in Quezon Province that he forgot the latter had already resigned from his Cabinet.


The Chief Executive once again gave praise late Monday night, Oct. 25 to former Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) Secretary Mark Villar, his “chief builder” in the past five years of his administration.

Citing the newly-inaugurated by-pass road, Duterte said during his latest “Talk to the People” public briefing: “The completion of this project is a testament to the — well, let us give also honor to itong mga nagtatrabaho, ‘yung nagpapala doon ng ilang buwan (those who worked and toiled on it for several months) and the — well, of course, the expertise of government ‘yung nasa DPWH pati kay — lalo na kay Secretary Villar (of the ones in the DPWH —- especially Secretary Villar).”

“One of the most outstanding government official(s) at present,” Duterte proudly added of Villar. He then had his production people play a clip of the inauguration, which he personally attended last Oct. 21.

It was only after the clip was played that the President realized his mistake and corrected himself.

“Mga kababayan ko, ‘yung nakita ninyo na picture doon sa katabi ko nakalimutan ko (My countrymen, the picture there that you saw, someone was beside me and I forgot), I’m sorry, but nag-resign na nga pala si senator — ah si Secretary Villar to run for senator, so resign siya (the senator — ah I mean Secretary Villar has already resigned to run for senator, so he has resigned),” he said.

“Ang pinalit ko si Congressman Oging Mercado ng Leyte. Siya ‘yung bagong DPWH (I replaced him with Congressman Oging Mercado of Leyte. He is the new DPWH chief),” noted Duterte.

Villar was deemed resigned from his post when he filed his certificate for candidacy (COC) for senator earlier this month. He is part of the ruling Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan’s (PDP-Laban) Senate slate. Duterte chairs the party.

One of Duterte’s “favorites” in the Cabinet, Villar is the son of incumbent Senator Cynthia Villar and former Senate President Manny Villar.

The construction of the seven-kilometer Sariaya by-pass road is part of “Build, Build, Build”–the Duterte administration’s flagship infrastructure modernization program.

“This achievement affirms the administration’s strong commitment to improve the quality of life of Filipinos by pursuing strategic infrastructure projects across the country, thereby improving connectivity, increasing the people’s mobility, and creating jobs, and dispersing economic activity throughout the regions,” Duterte said during the inauguration.

He said the by-pass road will “likewise spur the growth of industries and business opportunities in the area, thereby boosting the socio-economic development of Quezon Province and improve the lives of the people”.