Joel Villanueva

Emmanuel Joel Jose Villanueva[1] (/bɪljɑːnwɛbɑː/, born August 2, 1975) is a Filipino politician, who serves as a Senator of the Philippines. He took his senatorial seat following the 2016 Philippine national elections, where he ranked second highest in the polls with 18,459,222 votes. He was a former Director General of the Philippine TESDA from 2010 until 2015 and a three-term congressman from 2001 through 2010. Villanueva was the youngest member of the House of Representatives when he assumed office in February 2002.

Joel Villanueva
Joel Villanueva portrait.jpg
Villanueva in 2015
Senator of the Philippines
Assumed office
June 30, 2016
Chair of the Philippine Senate
Labor, Employment, and Human Resources Development; Technical Education Committee
Assumed office
July 22, 2019
Director General of the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority
In office
June 30, 2010 – October 13, 2015
Preceded byAugusto Syjuco, Jr.
Succeeded byIrene Isaac
Member of the Philippine House of Representatives for Citizens' Battle Against Corruption
In office
February 6, 2002 – June 30, 2010
Serving with Cinchona Cruz-Gonzales (2007–2010)
Succeeded bySherwin Tugna
Personal details
Emmanuel Joel Jose Villanueva

(1975-08-02) August 2, 1975 (age 46)
Bocaue, Bulacan, Philippines
Political partyCIBAC
Other political
Bangon (2004–2013)
Liberal (2013–2016)
Spouse(s)Gladys Cruz
Parent(s)Eddie Villanueva
Adoracion Villanueva
WebsiteOfficial website
Basketball career
Career information
CollegeUniversity of Santo Tomas
Career history
2013Congress-LGU Legislators
c. 2014Malacañang Patriots
2016-presentSenate Defenders
Career highlights and awards
UNTV Cup Season 6 Champion

He is also a basketball player currently playing for the Senate Defenders in the UNTV Cup. He also played for the Philippine national team, and the University of Santo Tomas.

Early lifeEdit

Joel Villanueva was born on August 2, 1975, in Bocaue, Bulacan. He is the second of four children of the Philippine Christian evangelist Eddie Villanueva and Adoracion "Dory" Jose-Villanueva.[2] He attended the University of Santo Tomas where he graduated in 1996 with a Bachelor of Science in Commerce degree, with a Major in Economics. He attended Harvard University in the United States for graduate studies in Business Administration from 1996 to 1998.[3]



While a student of the University of Santo Tomas, Villanueva played with the UST Growling Tigers varsity basketball team, that won the UAAP Season 56 and 57 of 1994–1995.[4] Villanueva was part of the Philippines national basketball team that competed in international basketball competitions[5] such as the inaugural 1994 SEABA Championship (coached by Virgil Villavicencio).[6]

He returned to competitive basketball in 2013, playing for the Congress-LGU Legislators in the UNTV Cup. In 2014, he played for the Malacañang Patriots.[7] After winning a Senate seat, Villanueva joined the Senate Defenders basketball team, in preparations for the opening of Season 5 of the UNTV Cup.[8] He was part of the Defenders' championship team that won the UNTV Cup Season 6 in 2018.



Villanueva was elected to the Philippine House of Representatives in 2001 as a party-list representative of the Citizens' Battle Against Corruption (CIBAC).[9] However, his oath-taking was stalled for seven months following issues that CIBAC was an extension of the Jesus Is Lord Church Worldwide, a Christian church founded by his father, Eddie Villanueva. At age 26, Villanueva took his oath of office in February 2002, becoming the youngest member of the House of Representatives (a distinction previously held by Felix William Fuentebella).[10]

Villanueva was a member of the 12th, 13th, and 14th Congresses spanning 2001 through 2010. At the 12th Congress, he became the first party-list representative and minority leader of the House's Commission on Appointments. He was also among the principal sponsors of Republic Act 9485 (the Anti Red-Tape Law of 2007).[9]


Villanueva playing for Team Trabaho as part of his "Shoot for your Dream" program.

He was appointed by President Benigno Aquino III as TESDA chief in 2010.[5] Upon assuming his post as head of TESDA, Villanueva initiated an audit of the agency stemming from a ₱2.4 billion sponsorship debt related to undocumented TESDA scholarships. The audit reduced the agency's debt to ₱880 million after eliminating "ghost schools" and "ghost scholars".[11]

As TESDA chief, he initiated the "Shoot for your Dream" series, an aspirational program which involved exhibition games featuring Philippine Basketball Association legends.[4] Villanueva himself played as part of the basketball exhibition team, named "Team Trabaho".[5]

Under his watch, TESDA's central office, as well as 17 regional offices and 81 provincial offices, were granted ISO certifications. Among these certifications included the office at the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, the first TESDA office to receive such a certification in Mindanao.[12]

While in office as Director General of TESDA, he completed an extensive vocational course in Advanced Food and Beverage Services within the agency for training as a barista.[9]

Prior to launching a senatorial bid, he tendered his resignation from the post on October 9, 2015.[13] His resignation became effective on October 13, 2015, and President Benigno Aquino III named TESDA deputy director general Irene Isaac as his successor.[14]


Villanueva ran for senator under the Koalisyon ng Daang Matuwid in the 2016 senatorial elections. He was also a shared candidate in the 10-member senatorial slate of the late presidential candidate Miriam Defensor Santiago.[15] He filed his certificate of candidacy at the Commission on Elections on October 16, 2015.[16] He unexpectedly won the Senate race, landing in second place.[citation needed]

Campaigning under the moniker "TESDA Man"[17] (alternatively spelled as TESDAMAN) alluding to his previous experience as head of TESDA, Villanueva's platform is focused on employment. His platform is likewise abbreviated into TESDA – which stands for Trabaho, Edukasyon, Serbisyo, Dignidad and Asenso (Employment, Education, Service, Dignity and Progress).[18]

On November 14, 2016, Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales ordered Villanueva's dismissal from public service for "grave misconduct, serious dishonesty, and conduct prejudicial to the interest of the service" over alleged misuse of his Priority Development Assistance Fund during his tenure as a congressman. Villanueva alleged that the incriminating documents were forged.[19] Senate President Aquilino Pimentel III was directed by the Ombudsman to implement the order imposed against Villanueva.[20]

Personal lifeEdit

He was given the Gawad Dangal ng Lipi for Public Service Award by the Bulacan provincial government on September 15, 2012. The Development Executive Group (DevEx) an organization based in the United States gave him the DEVEX Manila 40 Under 40 International Development Leaders Award on February 19, 2013. A former student of the University of Santo Tomas, he was named as Most Outstanding Alumni Award by the university.[3] He was granted an Honoris Causa degree of Doctor of Humanities by the Polytechnic University of the Philippines on May 10, 2013.[9]

Villanueva has two children, Jaden and Gwyn.[5] As a basketball enthusiast, Villanueva is reportedly a fan of the Boston Celtics of the NBA.[11]

Villanueva formerly hosted the television program, Adyenda, and leads the Kristiyanong Kabataan para sa Bayan Movement, a youth organization.[9]


  1. ^ Adel, Rosette (February 16, 2016). "LIST: Official candidates for national posts in May 9 polls". Philippine Star.
  2. ^ "Who is Bro. Eddie Villanueva?". Bro. Eddie Villanueva. Archived from the original on April 16, 2016. Retrieved April 16, 2016.
  3. ^ a b "Profile". Joel Villanueva Official Website. Retrieved March 5, 2016.
  4. ^ a b Caluag, Randy (August 13, 2015). "Team Trabaho a hit among Filipino youth". The Standard. Retrieved March 5, 2016.
  5. ^ a b c d "Shooting for Joel 'Tesdaman' Villanueva's dreams". The Standard. February 12, 2016. Retrieved March 5, 2016.
  6. ^ Henson, Joaquin (May 18, 2017). "Coach recalls beating Pinoys". The Philippine Star. Retrieved May 21, 2017.
  7. ^ "Malacañang, PNP eye lead". Philippine Daily Inquirer. December 12, 2014. Retrieved March 5, 2016.
  8. ^ "VILLANUEVA JOINS SENATE DEFENDERS". Senate of the Philippines. Archived from the original on July 10, 2016. Retrieved July 12, 2016.
  9. ^ a b c d e "Director General's Profile". TESDA. Archived from the original on March 6, 2015. Retrieved March 5, 2015.
  10. ^ Labog-Javellena, Juliet (February 7, 2002). "New Solon takes office with much fanfare". Philippine Daily Inquirer. Retrieved March 5, 2016.
  11. ^ a b "Love for basketball unites Dato Arroyo, Joel Villanueva". ABS-CBN News. July 26, 2012. Archived from the original on March 8, 2016. Retrieved March 5, 2016.
  12. ^ Chu, Patricia Denise (April 13, 2015). "Aquino lionizes Joel Villanueva in speech marking TESDA's ISO certification". GMA News.
  13. ^ Alvarez, Kathrina Charmaine (October 9, 2015). "TESDA chief Joel Villanueva resigns ahead of 2016 senatorial run". GMA News. Retrieved March 5, 2016.
  14. ^ Bacani, Louis (October 15, 2015). "PNoy accepts Villanueva's resignation, names new TESDA head". The Philippine Star. Retrieved March 5, 2016.
  15. ^ Gonzales, Yuji Vincent (February 13, 2016). "Shared candidates comprise Santiago-Marcos Senate slate". Philippine Daily Inquirer. Retrieved March 5, 2016.
  16. ^ Gonzales, Yuji Vincent (October 16, 2015). "Ex-Tesda chief Villanueva 'applies' for Senate job, willing to campaign with De Lima". Philippine Daily Inquirer. Retrieved March 5, 2016.
  17. ^ "Joel Villanueva adopts 'TESDA Man' nickname, says, 'TESDA owes me for promotions'". Coconuts Manila. March 8, 2016. Retrieved March 14, 2016.
  18. ^ "'TESDAMAN' Villanueva: Boost workforce training through budget reforms". Manila Bulletin. February 29, 2016. Retrieved March 14, 2016.
  19. ^ "Sen. Villanueva ordered dismissed from public service over 'pork'". Philippine Daily Inquirer. November 14, 2016. Retrieved November 14, 2016.
  20. ^ "Ombudsman: Senator Joel Villanueva liable for P10M PDAF scam". Ombudsman of the Philippines. November 14, 2016. Retrieved November 15, 2016.

External linksEdit