Joel Tesdaman Villanueva, 46, is an incumbent senator who previously represented the Citizens’ Battle Against Corruption party-list in the lower house and was director-general of the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority. He also currently heads the Senate's labor panel.
Villanueva has twice been ordered to vacate legislative posts. In 2010, the Supreme Court ruled that he was ineligible to represent CIBAC and, in 2016, Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales ordered him dismissed from government service after finding him liable for the misuse of P10 million of his pork barrel fund during his last term in the lower house.
However, he was able to serve the rest of his term in both instances, owing to the SC releasing its ruling just one day before his House term was set to expire and the Senate unanimously choosing not to implement the ombudsman's order, citing its legal counsel’s opinion that the chief graft buster has no disciplinary and administrative authority over members of Congress.
Between his time in the House and the Senate from 2010 to 2015, he was appointed head of TESDA by President Benigno Aquino III. He most notably implemented the TESDA Online Program which allowed the public to access online courses through the agency's online facility.
He was elected senator in 2016 and has principally authored at least five laws, focusing on education and labor, including the Telecommuting Act. He also principally sponsored the Department of Migrant Workers Act.
For his 2022 Senate bid, he is campaigning on Trabaho, Edukasyon, Serbisyo, Dignidad, and Asenso or TESDA, vowing to institutionalize and strengthen policies like unemployment insurance, the National Employment Recovery Strategy, and the Displaced Workers Emergency Employment Program, among others.
Citing his Christian beliefs, Villanueva is a staunch opponent of the divorce bill and same-sex marriage. He also opposed the SOGIE Equality Bill in the 18th Congress despite asking to be made coauthor of an earlier version of the bill in the 17th Congress.
He is a guest candidate on the senatorial slates of Senators Panfilo Lacson, Manny Pacquiao and Vice President Leni Robredo. He has also been endorsed by Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte but is not part of the official Senate slate running under her tandem with Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr., son and namesake of the late dictator.
Villanueva's father, who has made two failed bids for the presidency and one for the Senate, is also seeking reelection as CIBAC party-list representative.
The candidate's top priorities if elected to office, tracked against previous promises and accomplishments, if any
- Institutionalize and strengthen the following:
- Unemployment insurance
- National Employment Recovery Strategy
- the Tulong Panghanapbuhay sa Ating Disadvantaged/Displaced Workers Emergency Employment Program
- Employment transition support programs
- Pass laws for flexible employment arrangements, including voluntary work arrangements, providing job opportunities for senior citizens and supporting freelancers and the gig economy
- During budget deliberations in November 2021, stressed the need to have a jobs scorecard to clearly monitor the progress of the National Employment Recovery Strategy
- Principally authored the Tulong Trabaho Act, which
- Principally authored the Telecommuting Act in the Senate, which recognized telecommuting arrangements as voluntarily agreed to by an employer and employee and ensured that telecommuting employees are given the same treatment as that of comparable employees working at the employer’s premise
- Empowerment in the workplace by protecting the rights of workers
- Cultivating knowledge and skills development in enterprises, science and technology, and medicine
- Vows to re-file the “End Endo” bill in the 19th Congress
- Filed Senate Bill No. 1826, or the security of tenure bill, which sought to end and ban contractualization and was vetoed by President Duterte in July 2019, days before it could lapse into law
- Principally sponsored the Department of Migrant Workers Act
The candidate's top five accomplishments and contributions for the last 15 years or so
Villanueva served three consecutive terms as CIBAC representative in the lower house from February 2002 to 2010. His time there was marked by controversy, including the seven-month delay prior to his oath-taking in February 2002, owing to what he called "misconceptions" that the party-list was a mere extension of the JIL Church founded by his father.
As a legislator in the lower chamber, he principally authored Republic Act No. 6650, which established the Bambang National High School.
In 2010, a petition was filed in the Supreme Court challenging resolutions and decisions of the House of Representatives Electoral Tribunal the year prior, dismissing the petition that questioned the legality of Villanueva’s assumption of office as CIBAC representative.
Among the issues raised in the earlier petition was Villanueva’s disqualification to be a nominee of the youth sector of CIBAC since, at the time of the filing of his certificates of nomination and acceptance, he was already 31 years old or beyond the age limit of 30. Also raised was the issue that his change of affiliation from CIBAC’s youth sector to its overseas Filipino workers and their families sector did not take place at least six months prior to the May 14, 2007, elections so as to be qualified to represent the new sector under law.
While the Supreme Court noted that the term of office of party-list representatives elected in the May 2007 elections was set to expire on June 30, 2010, and the petition will become moot and academic, the Court rendered its June 29, 2010 decision on the merits due to its practical value. The SC granted the petition, set aside the issuances of the House tribunal and declared Villanueva ineligible to hold office as a member of the lower chamber as CIBAC representative.
Shortly after, Villanueva was appointed as director-general of TESDA in 2010, after President Aquino defeated Villaneuva’s father for the presidency that same year. As head of TESDA, he introduced several programs to enhance the delivery of support for the technical-vocational education and training sector, including the TESDA Online Program.
Villanueva won a Senate seat in 2016 but more controversy from his time at the lower house reared its head shortly after when Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales ordered Villanueva dismissed from government service after finding him liable for misuse of P10 million of his pork barrel fund during his last term as CIBAC party-list representative. However, the Senate unanimously chose not to implement the order, citing its legal counsel’s opinion that the Ombudsman had no disciplinary and administrative authority over members of Congress, allowing Villanueva to serve his initial term as senator uninterrupted.
As senator, he principally authored at least five laws, focusing on education and labor, including the Telecommuting Act. He was also the sponsor of Senate Bill No. 1826 or the security of tenure bill, which was vetoed by President Duterte in 2019. Villanueva blamed the “powerful and the ruling class” for the veto.
Villanueva urged the adoption of the Telecommuting Act in late January 2020, just before the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in the Philippines and the imposition of related quarantine measures, along with other guidelines to ensure the occupational health and safety of workers such as labor advisories reminding private companies to send home their employees who show flu symptoms.
More recently, he urged the labor department to fully implement the Telecommuting Act as part of the response to the rising cost of fuel. As of February 2022, he also supported blended online and face-to-face classes, citing the ongoing pandemic and the relatively low rate of vaccination among children.
TESDA was the second agency (after the Department of Health in 2013) to receive a nationwide ISO certification
Principal author and sponsor in the Senate, 2019-2020
Approved by the president on Feb. 22, 2021
Principal author and sponsor in the Senate, 2017-2018
Approved by the president on Dec. 20, 2018
Principal author and sponsor in the Senate, 2017-2019
Approved by the president on Jun. 30, 2019
(Sole) principal author and sponsor in the House of Representatives, 2008-2009
Approved by the president on July 7, 2009
(Sole) principal author and sponsor in the Senate, 2019-2020
Approved by the president on Feb. 5, 2021
Villanueva remains the president of the Citizens’ Battle Against Corruption, which was founded in 1997 as a multisectoral organization composed of qualified voters bound together by similar interests or concerns in fighting the evils of graft and corruption and cronyism plaguing the government. CIBAC was registered as a political party with the COMELEC in 2001 and has been represented in the House of Representatives since the 2001 election.
Actions and/or proceedings pending against or resolved in courts or tribunals involving the candidate, based on publicly available information
Pending Actions and/or Proceedings
|Subject Matter||Relevant Dates||Potential Liability||Status|
Grave misconduct, serious dishonesty and conduct prejudicial to the interest of the service
Filed against Villanueva in relation to the allegedly anomalous release of P10 million from his 2008 PDAF to the National Agri-Business Corporation, intended for the purchase of seedlings, fertilizers and threshers for municipalities in Compostela Valley, through Aaron Foundation Philippines Incorporated as an implementing NGO
The Ombudsman found that target municipalities were not suitable for farming, that there were ghost beneficiaries, and that AFPI had no agri-based livelihood projects in the area
Ombudsman also intended to charge Villanueva at the Sandiganbayan for two counts of graft and one count each for malversation of public funds and malversation through falsification of public documents
The Ombudsman ordered Villanueva dismissed from service on Nov. 14, 2016 and directed Senate President Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel to implement the dismissal order
Villanueva filed a motion for reconsideration of the Ombudsman's ruling
Senate President Pimentel referred the order to the Senate legal counsel
The Senate legal counsel issued an opinion stating, among other matters, that the Ombudsman has no disciplinary and administrative authority over members of Congress under either R.A. No. 6670 (or the Ombudsman Act of 1989) or the Ombudsman’s Rules of Procedure. Further, under the principle of separation of powers and the Constitutional provisions on the Rules of the Senate, only the Senate can expel or suspend its members, upon a vote of at least ⅔ of the Senate membership approving a recommendation for suspension or expulsion by the Senate committee on ethics and privileges
|Dismissal from service||
The Office of the Ombudsman refrained from insisting on the implementation of the dismissal order and Villanueva continued to serve his initial term as senator uninterrupted
There is no publicly available update on the status of the motion for reconsideration filed by Villanueva with the Office of the Ombudsman, or any further action taken by the latter
Resolved Actions and/or Proceedings
|Subject Matter||Relevant Dates||Accrued Liability||Status|
2016 Petition for quo warranto
Filed by CIBAC Foundation arguing that the CIBAC National Council lost its legal existence following the registration of CIBAC with the Securities and Exchange Commission as CIBAC Foundation, hence it is now governed by a Board of Trustees. By recognizing the nominees of CIBAC National Council, CIBAC Foundation insists that the COMELEC unlawfully deprived it of its right and authority to represent CIBAC in Congress
|Petition for quo warranto filed before the Supreme Court, posted on June 30, 2014||The SC dismissed the petitions on Apr. 19, 2016. On the quo warranto petition, the SC reminded the petitioners that under Section 17 of Article IV of the 1987 Constitution, the sole judge of all contests relating to the election, returns and qualifications of the Members of the House of Representatives is the House of Representatives Electoral Tribunal. Since the nominees of CIBAC National Council have already assumed their seats in Congress, the quo warranto petition should be dismissed for lack of jurisdiction|
|2010 consolidated special civil actions for certiorari and mandamus
Luis Lokin, Jr. sought, among other things, to compel COMELEC to proclaim him as the official second nominee of CIBAC
On Sept. 14, 2007, the COMELEC en banc resolved E.M. No. 07-054 approving the withdrawal of the nomination of Atty. Luis K. Lokin, Sherwin N. Tugna and Emil Galang as second, third and fourth nominees respectively and the substitution thereby with Atty. Cinchona C. Cruz-Gonzales as second nominee and Atty. Armi Jane R. Borje as third nominee for the party list CIBAC. The new order of CIBAC's nominees therefore shall be:
1. Emmanuel Joel J. Villanueva
2. Cinchona C. Cruz-Gonzales
3. Armi Jane R. Borje
|On June 22, 2010, the SC:
1. Declared Section 13 of Resolution No. 7804 invalid and of no effect to the extent that it authorizes a party-list organization to withdraw its nomination of a nominee once it has submitted the nomination to the COMELEC
2. Annulled Resolution dated Sept. 14, 2007 issued in E. M. No. 07-054 approving CIBAC’s withdrawal of the nominations of Luis K. Lokin, Jr., Sherwin N. Tugna, and Emil Galang as its second, third, and fourth nominees, respectively, and ordering their substitution by Cinchona C. Cruz-Gonzales as second nominee and Armi Jane R. Borje as third nominee
3. Annulled the proclamation by the COMELEC of Cinchona C. Cruz-Gonzales as a Party-List Representative representing CIBAC in the House of Representatives
4. Ordered the COMELEC to proclaim petitioner Luis K. Lokin, Jr. as a Party-List Representative representing CIBAC in the House of Representatives
|Petition for certiorari
Filed by Milagros Amores questioning the 2009 decision and resolution of the House of Representatives Electoral Tribunal dismissing the quo warranto petition alleging, among other reasons, Villanueva’s disqualification to be a nominee of the youth sector of CIBAC since, at the time of the filing of his certificates of nomination and acceptance, he was already 31 years old or beyond the age limit of 30 under R. A. No. 7941 (or the Party-List System Act), and his change of affiliation from CIBAC’s youth sector to its overseas Filipino workers and their families sector was not effected at least six months prior to the May 14, 2007 elections so as to be qualified to represent the new sector under R.A. No. 7941
Petition for quo warranto filed before the HRET
HRET Decision dated May 14, 2009 - dismissing the quo warranto petition and ruling that: (1) CIBAC was among the party-list organizations which the COMELEC had partially proclaimed as entitled to at least one seat in the House of Representatives through National Board of Canvassers Resolution No. 07-60 dated July 9, 2007; (2) the quo warranto petition was filed out of time; (3) the age qualification for youth sectoral nominees under Section 9 of R.A. No. 7941 applied only to those nominated as such during the first three congressional terms after the ratification of the Constitution or until 1998, unless a sectoral party is thereafter registered exclusively as representing the youth sector, which CIBAC, a multi-sectoral organization, is not; and (4) on the shift of affiliation from CIBAC’s youth sector to its OFW and their families sector, Section 15 of R.A. No. 7941 did not apply as there was no resultant change in party-list affiliation
HRET Resolution dated Aug, 6, 2009 - denying the motion for reconsideration
|Villanueva was declared ineligible to hold office as a member of the House of Representatives representing the party-list organization CIBAC; but since he was was eventually proclaimed as a party-list representative of CIBAC and rendered services as such, he is entitled to keep the compensation and emoluments provided by law for the position until properly declared ineligible to hold the same||The SC ruled on June 29, 2010 that Villanueva was not qualified to be a nominee of either the youth sector or the OFW and their families sector in the May, 2007 elections, since he was already more than 30 years of age in May, 2007, and he did not change his sectoral affiliation at least six months before May, 2007, as he shifted to CIBAC’s OFW and their families sector only on Mar. 17, 2007 That Villanueva was the first nominee of CIBAC, whose victory was later upheld, is of no moment. A party-list organization’s ranking of its nominees is a mere indication of preference, their qualifications according to law are a different matter|
|2002 and 2003 rulings
CIBAC's registration, participation in the May 2001 elections, and eventual proclamation as a winner, was hounded by controversy after the COMELEC ruled that it did not belong to any marginalized sectoral group.
In Ang Bagong Bayani-OFW Labor Party v. COMELEC (May 9, 2001), the Supreme Court issued a Temporary Restraining Order directing the COMELEC to refrain from proclaiming the winners in the May 2001 party-list elections, which included CIBAC.
In the subsequent Decision dated June 26, 2001, the SC reiterated the TRO but ordered the COMELEC to immediately conduct summary evidentiary hearings on the qualifications of the party-list participants in light of the guidelines laid down therein.
In its first compliance report, the COMELEC excluded CIBAC from the qualified party-list groups.
|The SC issued a Resolution dated Jan. 29, 2002, qualifying CIBAC and lifted the TRO to enable the COMELEC to proclaim CIBAC, whose nominee was Villanueva, as one of the party-list winners. This was reiterated in the Resolution dated June 25, 2003 (Ang Bagong Bayani-OFW Labor Party v. COMELEC, 2003), which stated, among others, that: “There is no substantial proof that CIBAC is merely an arm of JIL, or that APEC is an extension of PHILRECA. The OSG explained that these are separate entities with separate memberships. Although APEC's nominees are all professionals, its membership is composed not only of professionals but also of peasants, elderly, youth and women. Equally important, APEC addresses the issues of job creation, poverty alleviation and lack of electricity. Likewise, CIBAC is composed of the underrepresented and marginalized and is concerned with their welfare. CIBAC is particularly interested in the youth and professional sectors.”|
Petition for prohibition, mandamus, and quo warranto with prayer for the issuance of writ of preliminary injunction and temporary restraining order
Filed by former Senator Franklin Drilon (in representation of the Liberal Party) against then Speaker Jose De Venecia, other officers of the House of Representatives as well as the individual members of the House of Representatives contingent to the Commission on Appointments, including then-Rep. Villanueva
The petition alleged that the Liberal Party was entitled to one seat in the Commission on Appointment, and prayed for the Supreme Court to nullify the current composition of the commission and require the respondents to reconstitute and.or reelect members of said commission
|Filed by the petitioners before the SC on Oct. 31, 2007||The SC granted the motion to withdraw the petition on July 31, 2009, since the petition had been rendered moot with the designation of a Liberal Party member, Rep. Alfonso V. Umali, Jr., to the House contingent to the Commission on Appointments. The petition was then dismissed.|
Also known as SALN, this document is a declaration of one's personal finances. Philippine Law requires the SALN to be submitted by all public officials and employees to the Ombudsman. Public officials and employees may opt to voluntarily disclose their SALN to the public.
*As of December 31, 2020
Key details about the candidate's campaign
Included in the senatorial slates of:
1. Panfilo Lacson-Vicente Sotto III tandem
2. Leni Robredo-Francis Pangilinan tandem
3. Manny Pacquiao-Lito Atienza tandem
Candidate's major donors and campaign funding sources
The candidate's top advocacies in the last 15 years or so
- Filed Senate Bill No. 1826, or the security of tenure bill, which sought to end and ban contractualization and was vetoed by President Duterte in July 2019, days before it could lapse into law
- As a senatorial candidate in 2022, vows to refile the “End Endo” bill
- As a senator in the 17th Congress, filed and sponsored Senate Bill No. 1317 or the Occupational Safety and Health Standards Act, which was consolidated in the approved bill, R.A. No. 11058
- In November 2021 and as a senator, criticized the emergency hiring program of the Department of Health that offer healthcare workers terms that he called “worse than endo”--low pay, three-to-six month contracts and no security of tenure, insufficient benefits and protection especially during a pandemic; he also urged the health department to use all available funds, including from Bayanihan 2, to support the emergency hiring program and fill 14,553 authoirzed but unfilled positions in the DOH
- As a senator in 2021, claimed that the Senate was expediting the passage of Senate Bill No. 1810 or the Freelancers Protection Act, to give a “mantle of protection” to freelancers and “gig workers”
- As a senator in the 17th Congress, filed and co-sponsored Senate Bill No. 1456, or the Philippine Qualification Framework Act of 2017, which was consolidated in the approved bill, R.A. No. 10968
- As a senator in the 17th Congress, filed education-focused bills, such as Senate Bill No. 208 or the Enterprise-Based Education and Training Act of 2016 (pending with the Senate committee on labor, employment and human resources development),
- As a senator, pushed for closer collaboration among education agencies (education department, Commission on Higher Education and TESDA) for a stronger and unified approach in addressing the education crisis worsened by the pandemic
- As TESDA director general, launched the TESDA Online Program on May 14, 2012, to provide online courses to all Filipinos through the TESDA online facility
- As a senator in 2021, pushed for the passage of Senate Bill No. 1834, or the Philippine Digital Workforce Competitiveness Act that seeks to equip Filipinos with digital skills
- As a senator and in July 2021, urged the Professional Regulation Commission to hold certification tests, to boost the credibility of Filipino professionals here and abroad, and pointed out that the PRC Modernization Law of 2000 mandated a shift to full computerization of all licensure exams by 2003
Basic information on the candidate's family, background and work experience
Eddie Villanueva, 75, father, evangelist, founder and spiritual director of Jesus Is Lord Church Worldwide
Adoracion Jose Villanueva (deceased), mother
Eduardo "Jon-Jon" Villanueva, Jr., mayor of Bocaue, Bulacan
Eleanor Joni Villanueva-Tugna (deceased), former mayor - Bocaue, Bulacan
Edelisha "Jovi" Villanueva-Binalla, vice president of Jesus Is Lord Church Worldwide
• Special Studies in Business Administration, Harvard University, 1998
• BS Commerce Major in Economics, University of Santo Tomas, 1996
• Doctor of Humanities, Honoris Causa, Polytechnic University of the Philippines, 2013
• Senator, Philippine Senate, 2016-present
• Director General, Technical Education and Skills Development Authority, 2010-2015
• Representative of Citizens’ Battle Against Corruption, House of Representatives, elected in 2001 but sworn into office in February 2002-2010