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Charlie V. Manalo and Gerry Baldo

The existence of “national trauma” over the late President Ferdinand Edralin Marcos’martial law years  is gone, said President Duterte, explaining that the votes Marcos Jr., garnered, who lost some 200 thousand plus votes to now Vice President Leni Robredo proves this.Marcos Sr, whose scheduled burial at the Libingan ng mga Bayano (LNMB) which has a Status Quo Ante Order (SQA) from the Supreme court continues to be the subject of protests.
“Look at the difference in votes (between Robredo and MarcosJr.) and you still say the (wounds) are fresh?  Even Bongbong Marcos was… he said he has been cheated of his victory. I suppose if he wasn’t chaated, he really would win,” Duterte told reporters.
“Well, even then I said the number is a very minimal—if it’s an indication that there is no more such thing as a Marcos trauma just look at the results of the election. Too close.
Duterte said he did not care if those who are protesting his decision to allow Marcos Sr. burial. And don’t  see the former dictator as a hero, he dismisses the views s mere politics.
“They are contesting if Marcos is a hero. I don’t care whether he is a hero or not, He was a soldier. A hero is a hero. That’s all  politics, Duterte said.
“They say he is not a hero.  Who are we to say that? We were not around during the war. Who are we to dispute this? From officials who gave him the medals? So why are you insisting that he is not a true hero, he said.
Solon wants LNMB renamed
Kabayan Rep. Harry Roque has filed a bill which he said would serve as a compromise between those pushing the burial of former President Marcos at the LNMB and those opposing it—simply change its name to Libingan ng mga Bayani at mga Dating Pangulo.
Roque filed the bill in connection with President  Duterte’s plan to bury the remains of Marcos at the LNMB.
“It appears that the Duterte administration, barring a Supreme Court permanent injunction, is intent on interring the remains of  Marcos at the Libingan ng Mga Bayani,” he said in his exploratory note.
“By renaming the ‘Libingan ng mga Bayani’ to ‘Libingan ng mga Bayani at mga Dating Pangulo,’ we can defer from judging whether a former President was or was not a ‘hero.’ Let the people’s memory be the judge—not the whims of a certain administration,” he added.
Roque said the planned burial “is causing massive unrest among Filipinos who question the heroism of former President Marcos, given the human rights record of the martial law years.”
“From both a legal and moral standpoint, many Filipinos, especially victims of the evils of martial law, question the propriety of burying Marcos at the LNMB,” he said.
“The State, in the spirit of democratic deliberation, may address the simmering controversy through the People’s representatives in Congress, through a legislative act that honors the memories of those who suffered under martial law as well as affords a former President of the Republic a final resting place for his remains,” Roque added.
Solons welcome SC SQAO
Lawmakers yesterday welcomed the Supreme Court’s SQAO on the President’s order to bury the late former strongman Marcos at the LNMB.
Deputy Speaker and Capiz Rep. Fredenil Castro said that the status quo ante order is part of the judicial process that gives the Supreme Court time to hear the various positions on an issue like the controversial Marcos burial at the Libinganng mga Bayani.
“The SC in issuing a status quo ante order simply wanted the relationship of the parties stayed; it is not a decision or adjudication of the case on the merits but, simply, preserving the status unchanged,” Castro said.
“The SC normally issues this nature of order to hear and hear the arguments of the parties before deciding the case on the merits. It is part of due process,” Castro added.
Deputy Speaker and Batangas Rep. Raneo Abu said the public should follow President Duterte’s statement that he would respect the decision of the Supreme Court.
“Following the earlier pronouncement of the President, we should respect whatever the ruling of the Supreme Court is,” said Abu.
Ako Bicol party-list Rep. Rodel Batocabe, president of the Party List coalition (PLC), said the SC’s order is “a good respite from all the wrangling and heated debates brought about by a highly divisive issue like the Marcos burial.”
“Above all else, it is a bright hope for the Duterte administration not to be blamed for this controversy,” he said.
On Tuesday, the SC issued a SQAO that prevented the Duterte government from pushing through with burial of Marcos at the LNMB amid protests from various groups particularly the victims of torture during Martial Law.
The SC rescheduled to August 31 its oral argument on the six consolidated petitions against the burial.
House Minority Leader and Quezon Rep. Danny Suarez, however, expressed strong belief that the Supreme Court (SC) will allow President Duterte to bury Marcos at the LNMB.
Suarez said the SC issuance of a 20-day  SQAO stopping the hero’s burial for Marcos that was earlier set on September 18, 2016 as ordered by President Duterte was just a temporary setback.
“At the end of the day, I believe the SC will decide in favor of the request of Marcos family to bury the remains of the former President at the Libingan ng mga Bayani,” Suarez, an ally of President Duterte, said.

Atienza blames Joma for Plaza Miranda bombing

Tuesday, 23 August 2016 00:00 Published in Metro

Buhay partylist Rep. Lito Atienza yesterday blamed National Democratic Front founding chairman Joma Sison as the person behind the bloody Plaza Miranda bombing on Aug. 21, 1971 that killed nine persons and maimed several others, including ranking Liberal Party members.

In a privilege speech yesterday, Atienza said the late former President Marcos had been wrongly blamed for the bombing 45 years ago.
“Who carried out this dastardly act? The attack was intended to remove and annihilate the Liberal Party and its leadership and pin the blame on then President Ferdinand Marcos,” Atienza said.
Atienza, who himself is a survivor of the Plaza Miranda bombing, said the late strongman could be credited for stifling communism in the country.
He said Marcos, whose proposed burial to the Libangan ng mga Bayani is being opposed by the victims of martial law, was the only one who had the courage to fight communism.
Atienza also recalled the assassination of late Sen. Ninoy Aquino which he said was meant to silence the nation’s struggle for freedom and democracy.
“These two events changed the course of our nation’s history — one where we lost our democracy and the other which ignited the fight to regain it — the Plaza Miranda Bombing in 1971 and the assassination of Sen. Benigno ‘Ninoy’ Aquino Jr. in 1983,” Atienza said.
“Today, as we look back, we must not forget history. Only by learning from history will we know how to go in the right direction. We cannot erase from history these two important events which served as inspirations for every Filipino and strengthen our democracy,” he added.

Partylist solons tiptoe Duterte’s abolition call

Wednesday, 03 August 2016 00:00 Published in Headlines

In a hastily-called caucus, at least 30 party-list representatives yesterday agreed to heed the advice of Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez that discretion is the better part of valor in challenging President Duterte’s call for the scrapping of the partylist system, saying that they will instead present to the public the legislative accomplishments of sectoral representatives since the partylist system was first introduced in 1987.
Partylist solons led by Reps. Sharon Garin (AMBIS OWWA), Sherwin Tugna (CIBAC Partylist) and Rodel Batocabe (Ako Bicol), agreed that presenting the accomplishments and pushing the passage of the partylist system reform proposal are the best strategies that should be resorted to, in convincing  Duterte to reconsider his bid to abolish it. Several partylist congressmen, among them Reps. Bernadette Herrera Dy (Bagong Henerasyon) and Jericho Nograles (PBA), sought out Alvarez to clarify his statement in supporting Duterte’s call for the scrapping of the partylist system.
While Alvarez confirmed that he is supportive of the president’s decision, he advised solons to present a strong reason to justify the continued existence of the partylist system.
The partylist lawmakers agreed that the system’s existence could be among the Charter change issues that might be taken up when a constituent assembly or a Constitutional convention is soon formed to amend the 1987 Constitution.
“The best strategy is to show our worth. We cannot take this head on against the President, more so with the speaker who we know is very supportive of the President,” said Ako Bicol Rep. Alfredo Garin.
Garin sterssed that the documentation of all legislative accomplishments of the party-list system, including the load of work that congressmen have contributed, has become an urgent task.
ABS Rep. Eugene De Vera explained that judiciary is rich with jurisprudence that upholds the legal basis to support the party-list system.
De Vera noted that the electorate has accepted the importance of voting for a partylist group as indicated by the turnout of voters during the 2016 elections.
Commission on Elections (Comelec) figures indicate that 32 million out of 44 million voters who participated in the May polls voted for a partylist group.
Batocabe said he expects partylist representatives to unite in addressing the threat of abolition of the system.
“We also have to reform the Partylist Law. Last Congress we were able to approve it in the committee level but this time, we hope it will be passed into law,” Batocabe said.
Deputy Majority Leader Rep. Sherwin Tugna of CIBAC (Citizens Battle Against Corruption) party-list, said they are going to compile everything that the partylist groups did.
Tugna said that they are going to make public the performance of the partylist groups and prepare for the Charter Change where the move to abolish the partylist system would be introduced by President Duterte’s allies.
Duterte said that the partylist groups do not represent the marginalized sectors.
“It has also been agreed that we should also prepare our legal and social relevance in anticipation that the 17th Congress allows Charter Change,” said Tugna.
Akbayan party-list Rep. Tom Villarin and 1-SAGIP party-list Rep. Rodante Marcoleta said that before abolishing the partylist system, the government should first abolish political dynasties.
“The President should push the enactment of anti-political dynasty law,” Villarin said.
Villarin noted that the prohibition on political dynasty is provided for in the Constitution as against the partylist system which is mandated by the Constitution.
Earlier, Duterte declared that he will pursue the scrapping of the partylist system, claiming that it has been “bastardized” by sectoral representatives who are not members of the supposedly marginalized sectors.
On radio, Alvarez disclosed his support to Duterte’s position, saying that the party-list system will be among the amendments that should be introduced to the 1987 Charter.
Rather than abolish, Sen. Risa Hontiveros urged Duterte to instead consider the idea of instituting reforms in the country’s party list system in order to realize the its original intent in the Constitution.
“Of course I’m not in favor of it,” the neophyte senator, who was once representative of party-list group Akbayan in the House of Representatives, said in reaction to the President’s pronouncements on the abolition of the party list system.
Hontiveros admitted that there have been some flaws and even weaknesses in the present party-list system that should be addressed that her party-list group had noted in the past.
The senator said she will be filing a bill that will seek to reinstate the threshold of percentage of votes where each party-list should earn in order to secure seats in the House of Representatives and the removal of the three-seat cap which Hontiveros said distorts the spirit of proportional representation in the lower house.
She cited the need to correct the formula now being used by the Commission on Elections (Comelec) in the allocation of seats to the winning party-list organizations as this is seen to
“The 20 percent (seats) alloted to the House for party-list were never filled up. I think the better solution to the problem, instead of abolishing, is to reform the party-list system,” the senator said.
Hontiveros said she shares the observation of the President on some of the apparent abuses committed in the past which appears in contradiction to the intent of the law and that is to provide proportional representation for the ideology or philosophy-based politics and the marginalized or under-represented sector.
“We earned our space in the House of Representatives that’s why we’re saying that they should also look into the solutions we’re offering in addressing the problems,” she said.
Sen. Joel Villanueva who also served as partylist representative to the group Citizens’ Battle Against Corruption (CIBAC) from 2002 to 2010, also stood against the position of the President to have the party-list system abolished.
Partylist groups, he said, has its share in the enactment of some pieces of legislation in the past.
Yet, Villanueva admitted that there is a glaring need to reform the partylist system and he himself noted that there had been some groups that are under the control of some politicians, thus the need to review the accreditation by the Comelec to ensure that the groups are actually representing the marginalized sectors.

Angie M. Rosales, Ted Tuvera


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