Wednesday, March 17, 2010

COMMENTARY: Blogger's analysis sheds light on Sen. Manny Villar's personal financial track record and opens up questions about U.P. Diliman's "Wednesday Club."

(Manny Villar, BSBA, U.P. Diliman 
(1970) and U.P. MBA (1973)

By Chanda Shahani

She's done it again. Lila Shahani, whose incisive blogs about national issues in "Notes from an Insomniac" ( now commands a large following, leads us down the money trail in pusuit of presidential candidate, Senator Manny Villar's personal finances. She asks questions about Senator Villar's personal financial statements which he submitted as a public official - She asks if it is a case of perjury or money laundering? And why not? As an individual who has fairly good chances of making it to the top slot, even Villar himself, a former analyst at SGV and a BSBA graduate (1970, U.P. Diliman) and an MBA graduate (1973, U.P. Diliman) could hardly disagree about the necessity of undertaking due diligence before making an important decision. And what decision is more important for us Filipinos than choosing our next top leader and closely scrutinizing his and even all the other candidates' records?

You can read all about Lila Shahani's analysis of Senator Villar's personal financial track record at:

Notice of Full Discloure: Lila is my lovely and very intelligent sister and a Senator Noynoy Aquino partisan. I also admit to being partial to voting for Noynoy Aquino in the next elections. However, her analysis is very well written and well-researched and raises the kinds of questions regarding the ethics of our leaders that we like to ask at the Diliman Diary. We assure our readers that if we came across an equally substantive analysis of Senator Noynoy Aquino's finances or any other candidates' finances, we would post it here due to our policy of going out of our way to provide balanced coverage on any issue. If and when Senator Villar refutes or challenges the assertions raised in her blog, we will dutifully post them as well.

But what "Notes from an Insomniac" also does for a community weblog like the Diliman Diary is to provoke the thought that if some have characterized the Philippine economy and our very own social and political fabric as being dominated by an interlocking and a very exclusive series of relationship-based webs excluding the vast majority of our countrymen from anything other than the barest of crumbs at the dinner table; while others have more than their fill of the national repast (at the expense of others); then down home here in the Diliman area, what are the interlocking series of webs in our own backyard and are they helping or hurting the national interest or even both?

(College of Business Administration, U.P. Diliman

We are interested in ferreting out more relationship-based webs, and their possible impact on public life, beginning with the Diliman area. For example, Senator Manny Villar graduated BSBA from U.P. Diliman (1970) where he also met the current U.P. Regent representing the House of Representatives, Rep. Cynthia Villar (earlier, Cynthia Aguilar (BSBA, 1970)), whom he later married. Their fellow batchmate was SSS Chairman Romulo Neri (BSBA, 1970) (Sources:  and, who was once the Chairman of the U.P. Board of Regents when he was the Chairman of the Commission for Higher Education and Development (CHED), and whom Senator Villar investigated in the recent ZTE telecommunications controversy, when Neri was Director-General of the National Economic Development Authority (NEDA) (

Siginifcantly for U.P. Diliman and the U.P. System, Senator Villar also took his MBA at U.P. Diliman, and ultimately became the President of the U.P. MBA Alumni Society, which automatically guaranteed him immediate entry into the fabled "Wednesday Club," of U.P. Diliman, where drinking sessions were held every Wednesday evening at the U.P. Diliman College of Business Administration (CBA). We bring up the issue of the "Wednesday Club" since many of our readers want to understand the inner dynamics of the current power structure running U.P. Diliman and its role in influencing the next President of the Philippines in choosing the next U.P. President after current U.P. President Emerlinda Roman (DBA, U.P. Diliman) steps down this November. It is this "Wednesday Club," that is in danger of thwarting democratic and legitimate dissent within U.P. about the future and directions of the University being set by the current U.P. Administration; based as it is on "very exclusive series of relationship-based webs excluding the vast majority."

We need to ask the question, "What is the 'Wednesday Club'"?  Is it really true that in U.P. Diliman, power radiates not only from Quezon Hall, but also from the faculty lounge in the CBA, which is the site of the "Wednesday Club?" Is it, in fact, true that the "Wednesday Club" literally runs U.P. Diliman like a corporate entity, which could account for the current rash of corporate-style board room antics at the BOR resulting in the unceremonious removal of Student Regent Charisse Bañez and PGH Executive Director, Dr. Jose Gonzales? But for all we know, the "Wednesday Club" never existed and is nothing but the product of this writer's feverish imagination. Nevertheless, the "Wednesday Club" serves as an appropriate metaphor for the "very exclusive series of relationship-based webs excluding the vast majority" in U.P. Diliman. After all, why are so many people demonstrating in favour of the Student Regent? Or for Dr. Gonzales? Why do people keep on bombarding the Diliman Diary with outraged comments about what is happening now to the entire U.P. System under the current U.P. Administration? If Senator Villar wins the May elections and becomes the next President, will this ensure that the current "Wednesday Club" will be able to perpetuate itself by determining, as early as now, that its chosen nominee shall wear the crown, the robe and the ruby slippers of the next U.P. Presidency, who shall be appointed by one of its very own?

Assuming, on the other hand, that the other Presidential elections front-runner, Senator Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino wins the Presidency, will he not, in fact be presented with a fait accompli of a simple majority of "Wednesday Club"-friendly warm bodies from the U.P. Board of Regents whose terms of office have all been recently updated; but whose legitimacies are being questioned in various administrative and legal fora (See Diliman Diary, March 11, 2010)? We do not yet know the complete answers to these questions, but we invite our readers to send in any infomation they have about the "Wednesday Club," and its activities, so that we can conduct a more thorough analysis. The analysis of Senator Villar's finances have opened up more questions about the "Wednesday Club," and the tax-paying public deserves more answers.


  1. Excellent piece, Chand -- you've done it again! :-)

  2. Thanks so much. This makes me blush. Still need to do more digging, though, on the money trail. But your analysis of Villar's finances at shows that a man who can't even be truthful about his own financial statements can't be entrusted to act as the chief navigator and pilot of this country's destiny.

  3. My question is - WHO are the members of the Wednesday Club? There are Illuminati wanna be's in UP and this should be exposed. The student body won't be screaming bloody murder if there wasn't anything "wrong" with the way things are being run and done in UP.

    Great article! Waiting for the next one.

  4. The SALN-Wednesday Club connection may sound tangential to some, but as Lila's SALN analysis reveals, we never know what webs SALNs reveal in the end. Should be an interesting angle to follow, if only to know how the Wednesday Club makes UP the premier institution of higher learning and how much public money actually translates to policies that serves the academic and student community. Iluminati does make it sound promisingly sinister. Ah, but I'm such a sucker for thrillers. Great piece here; I look forward to seeing the rest of the story.

  5. congratulations chand! great article! first time to read your work and i'm looking forward to the next!


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