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Angie M. Rosales

Nearly four years after her father, former Vice President Jejomar Binay, was subjected to a strenuous and extensive public investigation on his alleged corrupt acts by three of her colleagues, Sen. Nancy Binay yesterday said she and her family have forgiven her father’s accusers.

Except for one, however, who Sen. Binay admitted she had not been even civil with, Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV.
Senator Binay was candid in admitting that she’s still not on speaking terms with Trillanes, the main accuser of her father unlike in the case of Senate President Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III and Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano.
Cayetano, actively participated in the said probe against the former vice president which took place in 2014 and ended in January 2016, just few months before the May 2016 elections where Binay ran as a presidential candidate.
“Hindi kami nag-uusap. Hindi rin kami nag-a-eye contact (We are not talking. We also don’t do eye contact),” she told reporters when asked on her working relationship on Trillanes.
“Look away. Hindi ko pa kaya (I still can’t),” she candidly said, when asked on instances whenever she and Trillanes would cross path at the Senate.
Trillanes, it can be recalled, initiated the probe against the former Vice President on the alleged corrupt deals of the latter when he was still Makati City mayor and the probe was actively participated in by Senate President Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III, then as chair of the blue ribbon subcommittee, and former Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano.
The former vice president was a partymate of Pimentel in PDP-Laban until he decided to bolt out and made official the United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) as a party.
Cayetano, sought to replace her father during the 2016 elections, with Trillanes as a rival. Both were defeated by administration candidate, by Camarines Sur Rep. Leni Robredo.
Senator Binay said she now “happy” with her being a senator as she’s now able to really focus on her work as whatever “tension” she had been dealing with in the past has lessened.
Asked if they had apologized to her and her family, the senator was quick in answering in the negative.
But they had been forgiven, nonetheless, she said especially since her father has turned very religious by attending to a regular Bible study.

Sotto bares 2016 poll fraud, calls for Smartmatic probe

Wednesday, 07 March 2018 00:00 Published in Headlines

Votes prior to poll day transmitted for 6 bets

Elections came early to at least six candidates as fraudulent votes in their favor were allegedly transmitted to the transparency servers and board of canvassers even long before the actual May 9 national elections formally opened.
Senate Majority Leader Vicente Sotto III yesterday made the disclosure on some supposed highly confidential information indicating alleged irregularities which altered the results, supposedly, of the 2016 senatorial, vice presidential and presidential elections in a privilege speech. “All of us had zero votes. Only six , according to my source, that benefited imn the fraud in the early transmissions. Only six names of candidates were shaded, my source said,” Sotto disclosed to the Tribune after he delivered his privilege speech on the floor.

“What my source said is that the only shaded votes were only found in the national candidates. Only six names were placed in the transmission. Not even local candidates’ names were shaded during the early transmission, my source said,” Sotto stressed.
The information furnished him showed a possible case of electoral sabotage during the conduct of the 2016 elections as transmission logs supposedly in joint custody of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) and technology provider Smartmatic indicate that transmission activity purportedly was made in the morning of May 8, 2016, a day before the May 9 elections .
As per Comelec en banc resolution 10083, the Board of Canvassers shall convene starting 3 p.m. of May 9, 2016.
“Now who is this transmitting the data from 9:17 a.m. of May 8 and after three minutes, transmit again three times?” Sotto said in his speech.
In his power point presentation, Sotto said that one of the receiving end pointed to the Consolidated Canvassing System (CCS) of the Municipality of Libon, Albay.
“This is one of the many transmissions made on May 8. Just one of the early transmission activities which continued until May 9, 2016 in the morning, prior to the official conduct of the elections,” the Senate leader said on the floor.
“It is the machines that were voting, and about two before the precints were open for the elections and only six candidates were on the machines. Everyone else got zero,” he said in an interview after his speech.
In summary, there has been an early transmission of votes by certain vote counting machines (VCMs) to the municipal board of canvassers.
These are also examples of the numerous early transmissions to different municipal and provincial board of canvassers in Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao, the senator said.
“The standard answer of Smarmatic would be that these transmissions are only ‘testing transmission.’ These transmissions cannot be in any way claimed as ‘testing transmissions’ because as far as I can remember, the last official testing was made in April 23, 2016,” said Sotto.
In his speech, Sotto also made mention of a possible foreign intervention or access in the conduct of the last national electoral exercise.
“There was a series of access before, during and after the elections. This is only a snippet of May 9 secure logs. The time stamps indicate that accessing is being done precisely every minute and this is only possible to be done by machines,” he said, showing a slide on the logs of transmitted data.
Sotto said the identified server is a cloud computing service located mainly in the United States but the software product pointed to, allegedly, as that of the election provider Smartmatic.
“To conclude, our election servers were allegedly accessed remotely and information gathered were copied and submitted in the amazon cloud services in the US.
“What are the contents of these transmissions? My source, who has great love for this country, I suppose, has seen and knows the contents of these transmissions. (But) I’m not willing to divulge the contents as he has given it to me unless there is direct evidence that is presented. So perhaps in the continuing or proper investigation that will be conducted, we will have the hard evidence,” he said.
Sotto pressed for a conduct of probe to enable them to gather the relevant data regarding the charges of election irregularities.
“These issues cannot be ignored as it weakens the propriety of our automated election system. We must ascertain the accuracy of these allegations as to either make the responsible officials accountable or finally put to rest the questions closing the results of the 2016 elections.
“In any case, I believe that the outcome of any investigations on this matter will surely lead to a more accurate and transparent system and results for the coming 2019 elections,” he said.
Sotto said that once all the transmission logs are scrutinized, “everything will come out,” referring to the issue on who really benefited from the said case of padding of votes.
During the interpellation that proceeded after his speech, Sotto noted at least four of the winning senatorial candidates in the last national elections, one defeated presidential bet and another losing senatorial aspirant received “zero” votes in some of the polling precincts.
Sotto claimed that he along with colleagues, Senators Panfilo Lacson, Grace Poe, Joel Villanueva and Juan Miguel Zubiri were alleged to have been victimized by a scheme that altered the results of the last poll exercise.
Sotto, after his delivery of his privilege speech, also mentioned the name of former Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) chair and now Presidential political adviser Francis Tolentino, a defeated senatorial candidate, as also among those who received “zero” votes in certain areas.
The majority leader, however, refused to provide further details unless the matter is already subject of an investigation by the proper committees in the Senate.
“I’m not willing to divulge the contents as he has given it to me unless there is direct evidence that is presented. So perhaps in the continuing or proper investigation that will be conducted, we will have the hard evidence,” he said.
Sotto practically confirmed Lacson’s suspicions adding that there are a number of others who received “zero” votes.
“I regret tp bare that it wasn’t just Grace Poe and Senator Lacson who got zero vote zero. Me too. I had a lot of zero vtres,” ” Sotto said.
Based on the information at hand, Lacson received zero votes in 819 precincts, Tolentino in 816 precincts, Zubiri and 693 precincts, Sotto said.
The majority leader then begged off from further entertaining Lacson’s prying questions as he may only end up being accused of depending on hearsay information.
“I dare not come up with conjecture. This makes sure that what I presented earlier is not conjecture. These are based on facts, hard evidence that were given and submitted and these came from the logs of the Smartmatic and the servers,” he said.
“This is different and everything was given to me by my source. I guarantee you the osurce is impeccable. I will not say from what company he is with because there will be a witchhunt for the source,” Sotto added.
Poe, for her part, said its heartbreaking it is not just for the candidates themselves but for the people for their absolute right to choose being sidetracked and being ignored.
“But I think I would also like to make a point here, I definitely lost in the last elections. I know that for sure because of the overwhelming gap and support that the President had and I also believe that since the President did not belong to the ruling coalition at that time, he really had no means to be able to manipulate the results of the elections. On the other hand, it doesn’t mean that just because there was a clear winner, the other positions that were in consideration should not be looked into especially when the fight is very close. I think this is a worthy concern that we need to investigate further not just in the ranking in the senatorial slate but also to prevent this from happening again in the future. So thank you Sen.Sotto for the initiative,” Poe said.


Senators warn vs quo warranto on CJ

Monday, 05 March 2018 00:00 Published in Headlines

Opposition senators yesterday issued warned against efforts to oust Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno aside from the impeachment proceedings in the Senate.

A petition before the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) sought a quo warranto process to void her appointment as head of Supreme Court allegedly due to her fraudulent appointment.
Such a proceeding could result in the removal of Sereno even ahead of the deliberations in the House of Representatives, whether to adopt the Articles of Impeachment against her.
Senators Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan and Antonio Trillanes IV made the twin call after Sereno announced her decision to take an indefinite leave of absence as some magistrates who allegedly “confronted” the Chief Justice to ask her to resign.
Some raised the issue of loss of confidence on Sereno citing the gravity of the allegations against her, reports said.
Pangilinan and Trillanes were in unison in asserting that any attempts to remove Sereno through a process other than impeachment is unconstitutional.
“It will be a brazen usurpation of the exclusive power of Congress under the Constitution,” Trillanes, in a statement said.
Trillanes threatens SC justices
“May I remind these justices that any unconstitutional act they commit now, can be used as a ground for impeachment against them later on under a different administration,” he added.
Pangilinan, who is a lawyer and current chairman of the Senate committee on constitutional amendments and revision of codes, stressed that a sitting Chief Justice cannot be removed through any other process except through impeachment and a trial and a conviction in an impeachment court.
“Any manner other than impeachment of removing a sitting Chief Justice or any justice or any official who are impeachable is contrary to the Constitution,” he said.
“That is my position. That is my personal opinion as a senator and as a lawyer and my understanding of the constitutional provisions on impeachment and impeachable official and the impeachment trial and the impeachment court,” Pangilinan said.
For those who will be retired by the time the impeachment proceedings take place, Trillanes said such acts can be and will be used as a basis for possible graft cases. Trillanes hastened to point out that efforts to remove Sereno through a process other than impeachment will be a brazen usurpation of the exclusive power of Congress under the Constitution.

The senator was specific in citing reports on some SC justices “headed by AJ (Associate Justice) Marvic Leonen are maneuvering to force the unconstitutional removal of Sereno.”
Trillanes was obviously referring to reports that Leonen alleged to have lead the so-called pack of SC magistrates egging Sereno to take a leave of absence.
Reports said that the group of magistrates that backed Leonen’s position would have pushed for her temporary departure had their suggestion was put to a vote.

SC credibility at stake
Minority Leader Sen. Franklin Drilon expressed hope the issue at the Supreme Court will be resolved immediately “before permanent damage is done to the institution”.
Drilon admitted he has never seen the “kind of spectacle in my 50 years as a lawyer” as the current rift within the SC.
“I am saddened by what is happening in the Supreme Court. And with what is happening today, people would lose respect for the judiciary,” he said.
He said the respect for the judiciary is significant for the “continued adherence and faith to our democratic system and rule of law”.
“If you entertain doubts about the administration of justice in the country then you start to doubt about the ability of our government to enforce the law, the courts to enforce the rule of law as the final arbiter of the Constitution,” he added.
He cited that there can be “differences” in an organization but the Supreme Court “is not an ordinary organization”.
“The faith of our people in our democracy rest on the confidence of our people on the ability of the Supreme Court to administer fairly this dispute,” he added.
Sereno has maintained that she would not resign despite the joint statement of Associate Justices that she should take an indefinite leave from her post.


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