NACIONALISTA Party (NP) standard bearer Senator Manuel Villar said Thursday that he never talked to President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo or even to First Gentleman Jose Miguel “Mike” Arroyo.

According to Villar, all the news circulating that he had talks with the President at the house of Mike Defensor are untrue.

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“The last time na nag-usap kami ay noong ako pa ay Senate president, napakatagal nang panahon at iyon ay mga formal functions lamang (The last time I talk with the President was during my time as Senate President. It's been a long time and we are in a formal function),” he said.

Defensor in an earlier interview also denied the rumors and said he was actually in a pilgrimage in Jerusalem with his family.

Villar added that he was never been to Defensor's house much to talk to the President.

The senator further said that he never met President Arroyo after the kick-off rally of NP in Calamba, Laguna.

The President was also in Laguna during the first day of the national campaign period and visited Real Elementary School in Barangay Real, Calamba Laguna.

“Malaking kasinungalingan na naman iyan. Hindi ko nakikita talaga ang pangulo, hindi kami nag-uusap ng Pangulo (That's a big lie. I never met and talk to the President),” he said.

Villar meanwhile said that if he will be elected as the next president, he will let the justice system handle any case involving President Arroyo.

He said he will not get in the way and sinners should be punished.

To put the rumors to a close, Villar reiterates that he is not the silent candidate of the President and he is using his money to fund his campaign.

“Nasabi ko na ang lahat ng dapat sabihin. Ang palagay ko nga baka sila ang secret candidate kaya ibinabaling lang nila sa akin (I said all the things I want to say. I think they are the secret candidate of the President that's why they're turning it to me),” the NP standard bearer said.

Villar went back to Laguna to campaign Thursday morning. This, as he was not able to tour Binan, Sta. Rosa and Cabuyao during NP's kick off rally.

On Lacson

The NP bet said no special privilege is up for Senator Panfilo “Ping” Lacson once he will be elected as President, saying the accused lawmaker will undergo fair trial.

Lacson is facing charges for the killing of publicist Salvador "Bubby" Dacer and his driver Emmanuel Corbito in 2001. The National Bureau of Investigation is still tracking his whereabouts after an arrest warrant was issued against him last January 7.

But Villar believed that the “wanted” posters, which were organized by Dante Jimenez of the Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption, is not necessary.

“Bakit naman kailangan pa iyon, nasa diyaryo na, headline na (Why is that still needed when it was already headlines of the newspapers),” he said.

Lacson was among those who accused Villar on the C-5 road extension project scandal.

Stars during campaigns

In other issues, Villar is puzzled why the Comelec became keen on showbiz personalities endorsing any candidate this coming 2010 election.

“Ako naman ay nagtataka noong may mag-endorso sa akin ay parating nagiging issue. Noong maraming nag-eendorso sa ibang kandidato, hindi naman napapag-usapan iyan (I am at a complete loss because when someone endorses me it becomes a big news while on others it wasn't the talk of the town),” he said.

He added: "Iyon lang naman ay tampo lang kasi alam mo namang noong September-October, halos lahat ng artista ay may ineendorsong iba. Hindi naman napapag-usapan iyon. Noong may mag-endorso sa akin na mga tatlo o apat, biglang dumami na ang nagtatanong sa akin, bakit daw ganyan, pinakikialaman mga artista (I'm a bit hurt because last September-October, almost all artists were endorsing a certain candidate, but talks weren't there. Then when I was endorsed by three or four names, suddenly a lot were questioning me)."

Villar said if the Fair Election Act will be implemented soon, his campaign will not be totally affected because he is being endorsed by just a few names from the entertainment world.

He is currently getting support from the main man of "Wowowee" Willie Revillame, the King of Comedy Dolphy, singer Sarah Geronimo and actor/comedian Michael V.

"Sa akin, Filipino iyan. Tao din iyan, botante din iyan, may karapatan silang mamili ng kandidato nila. Bakit naman natin isu-suppress ang kanilang karapatan na pumili ng kanilang magugustuhan?" Villar asked.

The NP standard bearer also dismissed rumors that he paid a hefty amount just to get the endorsement from the big names of showbizness. It was reported that he paid Sarah Geronimo P20 million just for this campaign.

“Wala kaming binabayarang ganyan. Yung sinasabi nga sa akin na paano ko babawiin, parang nakakainsulto na rin. Kasi parang hindi ka tutulungan kung hindi mo babayaran,” Villar said. "In fairness to these people na tumutulong sa akin, hindi naman. May pinagsamahan naman kami at may kadahilanan kung bakit sila ay kasama ko. Ano man ang mangyari, manalo o matalo ako, mga kasama ko po iyan."

According to Villar, all his endorsers are good examples of “Sipag at Tiyaga.”

“Yung mga nage-endorse sa akin ay pawang mga laki sa hirap. Iyan siguro ang kadahilanan kung bakit nagkakaintindihan kaming lahat," he said.

Villar is set to visit the province of Cavite on Friday for the 4th day of his campaign. (Glaiza Jarloc/Sunnex)