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Cynthia Villar
Cynthia Villar.jpg
Senator of the Philippines
Assumed office
June 30, 2013
Chair of the Senate Agriculture, Food and Agrarian Reform Committee
Assumed office
July 23, 2019
Preceded by Alan Peter Cayetano (Agrarian Reform Committee)
Chair of the Senate Environment, Natural Resources and Climate Change Committee
Assumed office
September 3, 2019
Preceded by Committee established
Chair of the Senate Climate Change Committee
In office
July 22, 2019 – September 3, 2019
Preceded by Loren Legarda
Succeeded by Committee dissolved
Chair of the Senate Environment and Natural Resources
In office
July 25, 2016 – September 3, 2019
Preceded by Loren Legarda
Succeeded by Committee dissolved
Chair of the Senate Agriculture and Food Committee
In office
February 27, 2017 – September 3, 2019
Preceded by Francis Pangilinan
Succeeded by Committee dissolved
In office
July 22, 2013 – June 30, 2016
Preceded by Francis Pangilinan
Succeeded by Francis Pangilinan
Chair of the Senate Government Corporations and Public Enterprises Committee
In office
July 22, 2013 – June 30, 2016
Preceded by Franklin Drilon
Succeeded by Dick Gordon
Member of the Philippine House of Representatives from Las Piñas's at-large congressional district
In office
June 30, 2001 – June 30, 2010
Preceded by Manny Villar
Succeeded by Mark Villar
Personal details
Cynthia Ampaya Aguilar

(1950-07-29) July 29, 1950 (age 73)
Muntinlupa, Rizal, Philippines
Political party Nacionalista (2004–present)
Independent (2001–2004)
Manny Villar
(m. 1975)
  • Manuel Paolo
  • Mark
  • Camille
Residences Las Piñas, Metro Manila
Alma mater University of the Philippines (BSBA)
New York University (MBA)
Occupation Politician
Profession Businesswoman

Cynthia Aguilar Villar (Tagalog pronunciation: [viʎar], born Cynthia Ampaya Aguilar on July 29, 1950) is a Filipina politician currently serving as a Senator of the Philippines. She was a member of the House of Representatives for the Lone District of Muntinlupa from 2001 to 2010 before winning a seat in the Senate in 2013, placing tenth. Villar topped the Senate race with 25 million votes, the most votes in election history until it was surpassed by Robin Padilla in 2022, and was re-elected for a second term in the Senate and got first in the results of the 2019 elections.

Personal life

Villar was born on July 29, 1950, in Muntinlupa, then a municipality in Rizal, to Filemon Aguilar, a long-time mayor of Las Piñas and congressman, and Lydia Ampaya.

She spent her elementary years at the Muntinlupa Elementary School, where she graduated in 1962. In 1966, she graduated high school from the Philippine Christian University. She then obtained a degree in Bachelor of Science in Business Administration at the University of the Philippines Diliman (UP Diliman) in 1970. It is where in UP she met her husband, Senator Manny Villar. Two years later, in 1972, she obtained a master's degree in Business Administration at the New York University.

In 2017, she received the Most Distinguished Alumni award from the University of the Philippines Alumni Association.

She practiced as a financial analyst at the Philippine Shares Corporation and a professor at the Far Eastern University before marrying Villar in 1975. After her marriage, she helped her husband in managing his business ventures and became the director and vice president of the Household Finance Corporation. She later managed the Capitol Development Bank, where she served as its treasurer from 1989 to 1990 and its president from 1990 to 1998.

In 1992, she founded the Villar Foundation, where she is currently its managing director.

When Manny Villar became Speaker of the House of Representatives in 1998, she became the chairwoman of the Congressional Spouses Foundation, serving until 2000.

She has a brother named Vergel Aguilar, who is the former mayor of Las Piñas.

Political career

In 2001, Villar ran as Representative of the Lone District of Las Piñas and won in a landslide victory. She served in that post until 2010.

When her husband became the Senate President in 2006, she became the president of the Senate Spouses Foundation, Inc., serving until December 2008.

Plunder charges were filed in 2008 against Villar, then a representative, and her husband, then-senator Manny Villar. The plunder complaint relates to an alleged fraudulent deal in 1998 with the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas. She and her husband were cleared of the charges by the Office of the Ombudsman in 2010.

In 2013, Villar ran as senator under the ticket of his husband's rival in the 2010 presidential elections, President Benigno Aquino III and won, finishing in 10th place.

On July 10, 2014, Villar criticized the arrest of senators Bong Revilla, Juan Ponce Enrile, and Jinggoy Estrada after the three were linked as the masterminds to the Priority Development Assistance Fund scam or Pork Barrel scandal.

On May 19, 2015, Villar was the richest senator in the Philippines with a 2014 net worth of ₱1,983,480,135. On May 17, 2016, Villar's wealth increased by 76% according to government data.

In August 2016, Villar's son, Mark Villar, was appointed by newly elected president Rodrigo Duterte as the public works and highways secretary. In October 2016, Villar backed President Duterte's Philippine Drug War, which has killed at least 20,000 Filipinos. In November 2016, Villar voted against a resolution which sought to reject the Duterte-initiated burial of the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos in the Libingan ng mga Bayani.

In February 2017, Villar voted in favor of the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion Act, which increased the inflation rate and cost of goods in the country. Villar afterwards blamed "traders" for the negative effects of the law that she supported. On the same month, after President Rodrigo Duterte announced his intention to withdraw a treaty with the United States, Villar followed suit by not supporting the resolution requiring Senate concurrence on treaty withdrawals. On June 14, 2017, Villar urged the government to impose a ban in 'unli-rice'. On December 13, 2017, Villar was unable to vote for the martial law extension in Mindanao, but senator Vicente Sotto III noted that she “would have voted yes.”

On March 6, 2018, Villar stated that she has 'no conflict of interest' in Boracay, where her company operates. In June 2018, Villar rejected the possibility of same sex marriage in the Philippines. On May 16, 2018, a local executive revealed that Villar's property firm was behind the levelling and destruction of mountains in Boracay. On May 17, 2018, Villar did not support the resolution against the ouster of Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno via a quo warranto petition. In October, she filed her certificate of candidacy for re-election in the 2019 senate elections. On July 23, 2018, Villar announced that she "admired" President Rodrigo Duterte. On November 26, 2018, Villar supported a "60–40 profit sharing with China."

In January 2019, President Rodrigo Duterte backed Villar's re-election candidacy. Villar then placed first in the Senate race with 25,283,727 votes, the most votes in the Philippine election history, and was re-elected for a second term in the Senate.

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