Joel Tesdaman Villanueva 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.
Joel 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.
“Nais nating ipagpatuloy ang ating mga ginagawa, lalong-lalo na ngayon, sapagkat naniniwala tayo at this point in time, mas kailangan ng Tesda Man sa Senado. Bakit? Dahil sa pandemya. Kailangan tuloy-tuloy ang paggawa at paglikha ng trabaho.”
EMMANUEL JOEL JOSE VILLANUEVA
Full Name: Emmanuel Joel Jose Villanueva
Birthday: August 2, 1975 (Age 47)
Birthplace: Bocaue, Bulacan
Residence: Bocaue, Bulacan
Religion: Christian Evangelist
Languages Spoken: Filipino, English
– 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
Spouse: Gladys Cruz
– Gwyn Villanueva
– Jaden Villanueva
- 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
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.
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.
BILLS AND RESOLUTION
- RA 11332: Mandatory Reporting of Notifiable Diseases and Health Events of Public Health Concern Act
- RA 11203: Act liberalizing the importation, exportation and trading of rice
- RA 11229: Child Safety in Motor Vehicles Act
- RA 11223: Universal Health Care Act
- RA 11215: National Integrated Cancer Control Act
- RA 11199: Social Security Act
- RA 11261: First Time Jobseekers Assistance Act
- RA 11201: Department of Human Settlements and Urban Development Act
- RA 11148: Kalusugan at Nutrisyon ng Mag-Nanay Act
- RA 10969: Free Irrigation Service Act
- RA 10930: Extending the validity period of driver’s license to five years
- RA 11230: Tulong-Trabaho Act
- RA 11228: Amendments to Magna Carta For Persons With Disability
- RA 10928: Philippine Passport Validity Extension
- RA 11165: Work-From-Home Act
- RA 11036: Mental Health Act
- RA 10931: Universal Access to Quality Tertiary Education Act
- RA 11360: Amendments to the Labor Code
- RA 11037: Masustansyang Pagkain Para sa Batang Pilipino Act
- RA 10923: Postponement of 2013 Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan elections
- RA 10970: Declaration of National Tech-Voc Day Every August 25
- RA 11480: Amendments to act lengthening the school calendar from 200 days to not more than 220 class days
- RA 11522: Act Declaring May 18 of Every Year as the National Higher Education Day
- RA 11291: Magna Carta of the Poor
- RA 11310: Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program Act
- RA 11459: Judges-at-Large Act
- RA 11200: Act providing for the rank classification in the Philippine National Police
- RA 11053: Anti-Hazing Act
- RA 11314: Student Fare Discount Act
- RA 11313: Safe Spaces Act
- RA 11035: Balik Scientist Act
- RA 11106: Filipino Sign Language Act
- RA 11038: Expanded National Integrated Protected Areas System Act
- RA 11293: Philippine Innovation Act
- RA 11232: Revised Corporation Code of the Philippines
- RA 10929: Free Internet Access in Public Places Act
- RA 11163: National Bible Day Act
- RA 11569: Amendments to Tax Amnesty Act
- RA 11525: COVID-19 Vaccination Program Act
- RA 11576: Amendments to Judiciary Reorganization Act
- RA 11552: Amendments to Electric Power Industry Reform Act
- RA 11535: Amendments to Local Government Code
- RA 11523: Financial Institutions Strategic Transfer Act
- RA 11517: Authorizing the president to expedite the processing of permits, licenses and certifications
- RA 11470: National Academy of Sports
- RA 11463: Malasakit Centers Act
- RA 9650: Act Establishing a National High School in Barangay Bambang, Municipality of Bocaue, Province of Bulacan to be Known as Bambang National High School and Appropriating Funds Therefor
- RA 9302: Amendments to Charter Of The Philippine Deposit Insurance Corporation
- RA 9160: Anti-Money Laundering Act
- RA 9227: Act granting additional compensation in the form of special allowances for justices, judges and all other positions in the judiciary with the equivalent rank of justices of the Court of Appeals and judges of the Regional Trial Court
- RA 9189: Overseas Absentee Voting Act
- RA 9201: National Human Rights Consciousness Week Act
- RA 9225: Citizenship Retention and Re-acquisition Act
- RA 9184: Government Procurement Reform Act
- RA 9287: Act increasing the penalties for illegal numbers games
- RA 9239: Optical Media Act
- RA 9258: Guidance and Counseling Act
- RA 9246: Philippine Librarianship Act
- RA 9211: Tobacco Regulation Act
- RA 9258: Expanded Senior Citizens Act
- RA 9256: Act declaring August 21 of every year as Ninoy Aquino Day a special non-working holiday
- RA 9279: Act granting special allowances for members of National Prosecution Services and state counsels of the Department of Justice
- RA 9442: Act amending the Magna Carta for Disabled Persons
- RA 9397: Amendments to Urban Development And Housing Act
- RA 9406: Amendments to Administrative Code of 1987
- RA 9485: Anti-Red Tape Act
- RA 9367: Biofuels Act
- RA 9482: Anti-Rabies Act
- RA 9361: Amendments to the National Internal Revenue Code
- RA 9344: Juvenile Justice and Welfare Act
- RA 9474: Lending Company Regulation Act
- RA 10026: Act granting income tax exemption to local water districts
- RA 9505: Personal Equity and Retirement Account Act
- RA 10066: National Cultural Heritage Act
- RA 9856: Real Estate Investment Trust Act
- RA 9710: Magna Carta of Women
- RA 9547: Amendments to Special Program for the Employment of Students
- RA 9729: Climate Change Act
- RA 9775: Anti-Child Pornography Act
- RA 9994: Expanded Senior Citizens Act
- RA 9593: Tourism Act
- RA 9501: Magna Carta for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises
- RA 9500: University of the Philippines Charter
- RA 9745: Anti-Torture Act
- RA 9502: Universally Accessible Cheaper and Quality Medicines Act
- RA 9497: Civil Aviation Authority Act
- RA 9515: Act defining the liability of ship agents in the tramp service
- RA 9513: Renewable Energy Act
- RA 10000: The Agri-Agra Reform Credit Act