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Charlie V. Manalo and Gerry Baldo

‘My father is not a dictator,’ says Duterte son

Sunday, 13 March 2016 00:00 Published in Headlines

The youngest son of presidential candidate Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte took the cudgels for his father who is accused of being a potential dictator leader by his critics.
Sebastian “Baste” Duterte declared his father is not a dictator contrary to what detractors are painting him to be.
“They say he is a dictator. They say that if he wins the presidency, he will declare martial law. They say that he is a murderer. If that is true then I must have been raised by a different person because the Rodrigo Duterte that I know told me to go out and share my blessings,” the younger Duterte said.
He stressed his father is not running just because he wanted to be the president of the Philippines.
“He is running because he wants to send us Filipinos a message, that there could be a better tomorrow for all of us,” he added.
Also seizing the opportunity to defend his father, he said the Davao mayor has soft heart for the poor and someone who loves his city so much.
“He is telling us that we should reach out for one another. He is telling us that we have to reach out to expand humanity, especially for the poor, the marginalized and the incapacitated,” he added.
“He told me to treat everyone with equal respect. The Rodrigo Duterte that I know loves his city as if it was his own child,” he added.
He also recalled the time when he, as a child, was encouraged by the mayor to always give to others and to treat everybody equally.
“From the time I was born until I was 10 years old, we live in an area in Davao City that was surrounded by poverty. While we were there my father told me to go out and share my toys with the other kids,” he said.
The PDP-Laban standard-bearer earlier was quoted as saying during a forum organized by the University of the Philippines-Los Baños that “You might say I sound like a dictator, maybe. If you do not like it, fine, but the way you have to do it, you have to be like a dictator. The way you say, that’s enough. Stop.”
Also, he said: “They say I am a dictator. Of course I have to be a dictator, son of a...but I will not stay beyond my terms. You say I am a dictator-mayor. Well, because nobody will believe me otherwise.”
Democratic rights under threat
Meanwhile, the College Editors Guild of the Philippines (CEGP) has warned the Filipino people that it would be a calamity if Sen. Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. wins the vice presidency on May 9.
CEGP said the first victim of the son and namesake of the late strongman Ferdinand Marcos Sr. would be the democratic rights of the so-called Millennials, or those born after 1982 who happen to be either ignorant of the atrocities of Martial Law or simply do not care about their democratic rights.
The group, which is the biggest federation of campus journalists nationwide, said it is puzzling why Marcos topped the recent Pulse Asia vice presidential survey.
CEGP national president Marc Lino Abila said “if Marcos Jr. lands the second-highest post of the republic, he would do anything to distort history and blur the atrocities during Marcos Sr.’s 21-year tyrannical rule.”
“Having another Marcos on one of the top positions in the government is appalling and winning the vice presidency is one way to recapture Malacañang. We cannot let the scion of a dictator win despite the fact that his family abused human rights, violated people’s democratic freedoms, amassed public funds and brought the nation to bankruptcy,” Abila argued.
“Bongbong is not as innocent as he thinks himself to be.”
“Though some Millennials are blinded by the lies of the Marcoses, campus journalists are well aware of the viciousness of the Marcoses to the campus press. A number of young men and women who fought the dictatorship were campus journalists. In the age of Internet and social media, campus journalists won’t let anyone muzzle us from telling the important issues of the youth and people. We won’t let Bongbong Marcos, an author of Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012, to be vice president,” Abila asserted.
Infra dev’t to address unemployment,
Marcos, for his part, said the next administration should focus in infrastructure development to address the unemployment problem and the impending exodus of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) from the Middle East.
According to him, a good first step for infrastructure development is the implementation of foreign-assisted projects that have not been completed, especially those funded by the Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA), World Bank - International Monetary Fund, Asian Development Fund, and Asian Infrastructure Investment Fund.
“A number of these foreign-assisted infrastructure projects have incurred delays in their completion and implementation due to technical and administrative problems. Steps should be initiated in resolving the projects’ backlog,” he stressed.
Most of these foreign-assisted ventures are the construction of bridges, roads, irrigation systems, flood risk management, and other big ticket projects, which according to Marcos, could have already jumpstarted economic growth had they been completed on time.
“Infrastructure development is a good way to boost the economy, address the unemployment problem and the impending arrival of our OFWs displaced from the Middle East and elsewhere,” he pointed out.
Marcos said the government should, as early as now be thinking about alternative measures for workers who have been displaced or even for those who will not be given a chance to work abroad.
The senator also pointed out that the government should be looking inward to develop opportunities for workers in the country instead of shipping them out in the first opportunity.
“The sad thing about it is that we are always looking for opportunities elsewhere, but very seldom have Pinoy skilled workers simply just looked around and found opportunities to exercise their skills in their homeland,” he lamented.
Marcos said  there should be more efforts to retool and educate Filipino workers so that they will be able to find opportunities in industries that need a strong workforce as well as a review of salaries for these industries to make sure that they have competitive salaries.
“If our government can provide growth opportunities here, in the Philippines, I am sure that our skilled workers will be the missing link to catapult our economy to its full potential. As it stands, other countries benefit from their skills because our government does not see what they can do for the country,” he said.
Poe-Chiz legal team readying for polls
Members of the Partido Galing at Puso legal team are now preparing for the May 2016 elections as they held a National Convention at the club house of the Nationalist People’s Coalition headquarters in New Manila, Quezon City yesterday.
According to lawyer Bobby Lucila, head of the ?National Campaign Legal Center of the Grace Poe Chiz Legal Team,  ?they are in the process of training volunteers on how to deal with glitches in the elections.
“We are equipping these volunteers the necessary tools to preserve the integrity of the polls,” Lucila said in an interview.
The group is headed by a secretary-general - lawyer George Garcia.
Lucila stressed the group is composed of some 450 lawyers and other volunteers which include information technology experts.
Lucila, reacting to reports that the Commission on Elections is planning to postpone the elections, also said the elections should be held as provided for in the Constitution.
“The elections should be held as provided by law. It is problematical, what are the reasons for postponement? Are there valid and constitutional grounds for postponement?” Lucila asked.
Lucila said the group is also preparing for possible cheating at the presidential canvassing.
“We are preparing for the entire process until proclamations...cheating will always be part of it, it is a concern but just part of the overall issues that we need to address,” the lawyer said. 

Reyes refuses to vacate House seat, HRET vote inconclusive

Thursday, 21 January 2016 00:00 Published in Nation

Marinduque Rep. Regina Reyes yesterday said that she is not going to vacate her seat as representative of her district because the four-three vote in the House of Representatives Electoral Tribunal (HRET) unseating her on the ground that she is an American citizen is inconclusive.

According to lawyer Harry Roque, counsel for Reyes, the actual vote of the HRET was three-three as the fourth vote made by Gabriela Rep. Luz Ilagan should not be counted.
Roque cited Section 15 of the partylist law which provides that Lawyer Harry Roque, the counsel of Reyes, underscored on Wednesday that Reyes cannot be unseated by the Supreme Court (SC) to install former Marinduque Rep. Lord Allan Velasco because the HRET’s decision on the quo warranto petition questioning Reyes’ qualification (being an American citizenship) is inconclusive.
Roque cited that while the HRET voted 4-3 in its December 14, 2015 decision that removed Reyes’ case from HRET’s jurisdiction, the vote is actually just tied at 3-3 because Gabriela Rep. Luz Ilagan’s fourth vote should not count under Section 15 of the partylist law which states that: any elected partylist representative who changes his/her political party or sectoral affiliation during his term of office will forfeit his/her seat: provided, that if he changes his political party or sectoral affiliation within six months before an election, he/she will not be eligible for nomination as partylist representative under his new party or organization.
Roque noted that Ilagan has already filed her certificate of candidacy for Davao City councilor under political party Hugpong sa Tawong Lungsod.
“The vote is only 3-3 because under the law, she is deemed resigned. She cannot represent the partylist in HRET anymore. That is the same in my case. When I filed my candidacy for a partylist seat, I am deemed resigned from my teaching post in UP,” Roque told House reporters.
Reyes has filed a motion to annul and void the HRET decision that has been the basis of the Supreme Court ruling granting Velasco’s petition of mandamus ordering Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. of Quezon City to administer the oath of former lawmaker as the duly elected representative of Marinduque.
“The law is very clear. She is now running under a regular party so she has forfeited her seat in the House of Representatives. That is the language of the law,” Roque added.
Roque also maintained that Reyes should not yet vacate her post as the SC ruling granting Velasco’s mandamus petition is not yet final, and that their camp has filed a motion of reconsideration on Thursday.
Roque stressed that the SC cannot interfere in the Reyes vs Velasco case because under the Constitution, the HRET composed of three Supreme Court justices and six House members is the sole judge of all contests relating to the election, returns and qualifications of the Members of the House of Representatives.
He said that a person is considered a Member of the House of Representatives if there is a valid proclamation, a proper oath, and assumption of office.
Reyes’ 2013 victory vs. then incumbent Velasco by 4,000 votes and her eventual proclamation was nullified by the Commission on Elections in June 2013 on the ground that Reyes is an American citizen.
Reyes has appealed Comelec’s decision before the Supreme Court, but the high court denied her appeal in July 2013.
Reyes has again appealed her case but the SC, had ruled against her again December 2013.
“Even if the Comelec flipped its earlier decision, the Constitutional provision still stands that HRET has jurisdiction on these cases after the proclamation,” Roque added.
House minority leader Ronaldo Zamora moved to replace the minority bloc’s representative to the HRET.
Zamora has nominated another Gabriela Rep. Emmirenciana de Jesus vice Ilagan.
The move has effectively rendered Ilagan’s vote against Reyes null and void.

NPC still undecided on presidential bet

Wednesday, 20 January 2016 00:00 Published in Headlines

With the fate of at least two presidential candidates for the May 2016 elections still hanging, major political parties, including the Nationalist People’s Coalition (NPC), have yet to decide on who to support to replace President Aquino.
At the weekly Ugnayan sa Batasan, NPC spokesman Quezon Rep. Mark Enverga admitted that while members  have listened to the platforms of various presidential aspirants, the party executive committee has yet to decide on who among the candidates will have the party support.
The other night, it was Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte’s turn to present his platform of government to the NPC. According to Enverga, Duterte’s platform, as expected, focused on his concern for public order and safety.
“Among his concerns under his public order and safety agenda are his crusade against illegal drugs, and his fight against criminality,” said Enverga.
“Mayor Duterte also vowed to fight corruption and he also reiterated his platform for federalism,” the solon added.
During his presentation before NPC stalwarts, Duterte was quoted as saying that he would lick criminality and corruption six months after assuming the presidency.
Asked if the party was impressed with the Davao City mayor’s presentation, Enverga said that while almost all members were so engrossed in their discussion with Duterte, they almost forgot to take their dinner, adding that it was still difficult to gauge the impressions Duterte made on them.
“As far as what happened last night, we did have a very extensive discussion,” said Enverga.
“(But) it was very difficult to get a sense of the impressions of our members, as far as Mayor Duterte is concerned.  Probably, in the coming days, that would be the only time for us to really get a true feel from our members on what they think of Mayor Rodrigo Duterte,” he said.
Pressed to reveal for whom the party is leaning to, Enverga declared the party has yet to decide and it might take them before February 9, the day the campaign kick off, before they can  announce whom they would be backing.
Party stalwarts led by Isabela Rep. Giorgiddi Agabao and Valenzuela Mayor Rex Gatchalian are openly rooting for Sen. Grace Poe who is besieged by disqualification cases while the son of NPC founding chairman Eduardo “Danding” Cojuangco, former Pangasinan Rep. Mark Cojuangco is supporting the candidacy of Vice President Jejomar “Jojo” Binay.
Davao City Rep. Karlo Alexei Nograles has been very vocal in his support for the candidacy of Duterte.
“We are very much focused  on  the platform of a presidential candidate.  And of course, it is not just the platform, we would like to really hear out and engage these presidentiables as far as their plans in achieving their proposed plans,” said Enverga.
“But the number one qualification that we are really looking for is integrity, second, and more importantly, also, would be their economic platforms, because we would want someone to have a clear path presentation and a clear plan and path on how to get to the development of our country, and third would be, our interest also in a presidential candidate that would probably show the concern and someone who would be very much reactive to the people’s needs in what we are facing at this point,” the solon explained.
“But our target is that prior to the kick-off of the presidential campaign, we will have our presidential candidate to support,” he stressed.
Nograles, for his part, expressed his gratitude to his partymates for granting Duterte the opportunity to present himself and his platform to the NPC.
“I would like to thank NPC for meeting with Mayor Rody Duterte and allowing him the chance to elaborate on his platform of government,” said Nograles.
In the meeting that lasted for more than two hours, Nograles said Duterte clearly spelled out his plans to eradicate the drug problem and crush crime within three to six months upon assumption to  the Office of the President; after which he shall focus his attention on getting rid of corruption in government and eliminating red tape in the bureaucracy.
“Mayor Rody also discussed extensively the concerns of Mindanao, the Moro people and reiterated his call for Federalism. We also talked about the worldwide anxiety over terrorism, the Spratly Islands, as well as his solutions for the agricultural sector, irrigation, manufacturing, the energy sector and a whole lot more,” he added.
With Duterte engaging the NPC members in a free-for-all discussion wherein many questions were thrown and answered, Nograles jokingly said they almost forgot to eat.
“If someone hadn’t reminded us that our dinner was getting cold, I felt we could’ve lasted for two more hours,” he said
“Whatever the outcome of the NPC’s vetting process I am glad that they all got to meet Mayor Duterte in person to deepen their insight on the man who could become the next President,” said the Davao City solon.
Enverga still claimed that Poe will be supported by the NPC.
He said that after talking with all the viable presidential candidates, the NPC is still bent on throwing its support for the candidacy of Senator Poe, which was contrary to his earlier statements.
Enverga said Poe is still the top choice of the majority of the NPC members even as its 15-member NPC Executive Committee has yet to decide on who to support during the May elections.
Enverga said party members are still  supportive of the Poe and (Chiz) Escudero tandem despite the disqualifications cases filed against her.
“The disqualification case is not an issue for us. A lot of our members would want to support Senator Grace. She remains the top choice of the party,” Enverga told reporters during the weekly media forum.
The NPC has around 250 members nationwide , some 45 of whom are incumbent members of Congress.
“We are of the belief that she is qualified to run, and the TRO that was issued by the Supreme Court (on two Commission on Elections decisions disqualifying Poe) validates that there was a grave abuse of authority on the part of the Comelec,” Enverga added.
Enverga stressed that unlike in the previous election of 2010 when the party did not anoint a presidential candidate, the party is definitely gearing up to rally behind one presidential candidate during the coming elections.
“This will be different from the previous one. We are bent on choosing one presidential candidate. I would say there is a 95 percent chance [that we will be endorsing one Presidential bet,” Enverga added.
The NPC’s Executive Committee that will deliberate on the Presidential bets will be composed of the party members who are both former and incumbent government officials coming from the Senate, House of Representatives and local government units (governors and mayors).
This developed as Valenzuela Rep. Sherwin Gatchalian, also a member of the NPC and one of PGP’s senatorial candidate, said he expects the Supreme Court to be fair in rendering a ruling on the disqualification case against  Poe as it concerns the future of thousands of foundlings in the country.
Gatchalian said the Comelec, in canceling Poe’s certificate of candidacy (CoC) for president, disregarded the rights of foundlings to run for higher office on grounds that they’re not natural-born Filipinos.
“I am confident that our justices will consider all aspects in deciding on Senator Poe’s case,” Gatchalian said.


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