Makati City government allots P600 million for ‘Libreng Gamot para sa Mamamayan’ program - Friday, 24 March 2017
‘WHEN THE POLICE CAME, HE SURRENDERED’
By Ted Tuvera and Angie M. Rosales
In launching a coup attempt in 2007 against former President Gloria Arroyo, Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV, who as a Navy officer led the Oakwood Mutiny then, collected money from big businessmen, President Duterte told a Filipino community in Bangkok late Wednesday night.
The Chief Executive in accusing the opposition lawmaker of extorting money from big businessmen said “(Trillanes) likes to make himself appear righteous” and also branded him a coward.
“Believe me, he is collecting from big businessmen,” Mr. Duterte said.
“It’s true! No wonder why many businesses are afraid of him,” he added.The President, however, did not elaborate on his allegations against one of his fiercest critic. Mr. Duterte, however, said Trillanes should while citing the latter’s failed mutiny attempts a decade ago.
“You know Trillanes? That son of a bitch was leading a rebellion in Makati. He was dangling guns and marched to occupy a hotel,” he narrated.
“You know how much of a coward he is? When the police came he surrendered. The son of a bitch is now a senator,” the President added.
In previous pronouncements, Trillanes said that he will do his best to have Mr. Duterte ousted as President.
A former co-mutineer of Trillanes, Magdalo Partylist Rep. Gary Alejano, recently filed the first impeachment case against Mr. Duterte before the House of Representatives .
Trillanes earlier accused the President of possessing ill gotten wealth amounting to P2 billion contrary to the latter’s frequent claim that he is living a simple and lowly lifestyle.
He also handled retired Davao City Police Chief SPO3 Arturo Lascañas and Edgar Matobato who both testified before the Senate to link Mr. Duterte during his stint as Davao City Mayor to the notorious vigilante group Davao Death Squad (DDS) and the alleged summary killings the vigilante group carried out.
Sue me, Trillanes dares
Trillanes IV, in response, said Duterte should sue him if he has proof that he extorted money from businessmen.
“That is a lie coming from a pathological liar. If that is true, he should come up with the details and sue me. I will face that allegation,” Trillanes said in a statement.
“And I filed a case to support the allegations I hurled at him,” he said.
He said that Mr. Duterte should do what he did in baring “specific details (and) documents” on his hidden wealth allegations against Duterte involving an alleged P2 billion in secret bank accounts and supposed proof of his involvement in the Davao Death Squad (DDS).
Mr. Duterte denied all the allegations of Trillanes as his spokesman Ernesto Abella attributed the charges to the senator being “overly imaginative and very dramatic.”
But unlike him, Trillanes said Duterte has yet to counter his charges on the issue on supposed P2 billion bank accumulated deposits made in the President’s alleged secret accounts.
“He continues to be evasive until now. He should stop his charades and open his bank accounts,” Trillanes told the President.
Leila’s notes continue
Detained Sen. Leila de Lima issued a handwritten note to address Mr. Duterte’s renewed name-calling on her as the President in the same event reiterated de Lima’s supposed drug links with convicted drug lords at the New Bilibid Prison (NBP).
Unlike Duterte, the detained senator said she does not wish for the President to end up in hell.
“I pity Satan if that happens (Mr. Duterte going to hell),” she said in reply to Duterte’s utterances.
“Of course, due to my age I will go first...I am sure, I have no other ambition, I will go straight to hell but when she (de Lima) arrives, I will say ‘Señor Satan, the queen you are expecting has arrived’,” he said.
It’s lamentable that the President, unsatisfied with the fact that he had already managed to place her in prison, continues to destroy her before various audiences like a market fishwife and leave no dignity to the office he holds.
“I pity the President for believing his own lies. I continue to pray for a miracle that during his visit in Thailand, the President will, during a lucid, Fentanyl-free interval, be enlightened in the peaceful ways of the country he is now visiting, like the way Gautama Buddha achieved enlightenment,” de Lima said.
“That might be too much to ask but miracles do happen. This is my fervent prayer so that he may be saved from hell and so that Satan may be saved from his potty mouth,” de Lima added.
Duterte, sometime last year, revealed that he was prescribed Fentanyl, an extremely potent chemical which health experts claimed may cause addiction, to relieve him of the pain brought about by an injury from a motorcycle accident years back.
In a separate handwritten note, de Lima chastised those who refuse to have the administration held accountable for alleged summary executions being committed in carrying out the war against drugs.
“I hope they realize this – liability for atrocities under international human rights law, including the Rome Statute extends not only to the actual perpetrators or direct participants in such heinous acts but also those who tolerate and condone them more so incite and encourage them as well as those who do nothing about the prevalence of massive EJKs despite knowledge thereof,” he said.
“Yes, failure to act, meaning failure or refusal to investigate and prosecute and worse, do a cover-up such as through barefaced denials or half-baked, prematurely terminated probes, also gives rise to liability,” she said.
“Sooner or later the long arm of the law, domestic or international will catch up with the chief architect of the mass murders and his enforcers and cheerers. Stop cheering the madman!” said De Lima.
Also a thief
Last February 17, Mr. Duterte also branded Trillanes as a tulisan (bandit) and corrupting his Senate post by engaging in the “lucrative business” of accepting retainers from lobby groups.
“It is known in the Senate that Trillanes uses his office to ask for retainers and that this has become a lucrative business for him,” the President said.
He issued the statement following accusations from Trillanes that he amassed P2 billion illegally and was deposited in bank accounts of members of his family.
Trillanes then revived the issue on the alleged bank accounts of Mr. Duterte and his family and showed a list of bank accounts that are named under the President’s children — Davo City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio with P121 million; Vice Mayor Paolo Duterte with P104 million, and Sebastian Duterte with P143 million.
Trillanes likewise alleged that the President’s common-law wife, Cielito “Honeylet” Avanceña, has P188 million, and a presidential friend, Samuel Uy, P118 million, in bank deposits.
While Trillanes’ accusation is a rehashed issue, Duterte challenged Trillanes to go to court, file the proper case and prove his allegations and if Trillanes is successful, he will immediately quit the presidency.
Mr. Duterte said he would resign immediately if Trillanes can prove his allegation that he amassed P2 billion or if the bank account under his name has a total deposit at one time of even just half a billion (P500 million).
“I advise him further to stop opening his mouth when he has nothing to say anyway,” he added.
The President defended his daughter Sara, who he said has been earning as a lawyer with clients actually paying for her services and “not from illegal retainers which Trillanes is so used to so doing.”
Mr. Duterte added Avanceña, who is among those Trillanes accused of having hidden wealth, has also her businesses, a doughnut business and meat supplier in five malls in the city, for the past 18 years.
“Trillanes, you know, Honeylet started her doughnut business 18 years ago. She supplies meat in five malls here in Davao, she supplies pork,” the President said.
Mr. Duterte said Avanceña has earned her money through hard work and perseverance. “Not like you. Too ambitious,” he added.
He further lashed back at Trillanes poking into even the day-to-day banking transactions of Avanceña.
“This just shows his ignorance with regard to the banking business, the people who have personal businesses,” he said as he asked Trillanes not to compare his family to him. “Now if your family is hungry then and now, do not include us. We are not as unlucky as your family,” he said.
He said Trillanes is not even afraid to resign because the senator is on his last term and would have nothing to lose if he would resign from office, which explains his penchant for daring him to resign.
President Duterte emphasized the senator has no political career after his term in office expires in less than two years.
The president labeled the issue hurled against him as “old and rehashed” and that he had answered the accusations during the campaign period.
Friday, 24 March 2017 00:00 Published in Headlines
By Charlie V. Manalo
and Joyce Ann Rocamora
President Duterte called on the House of Representatives (HoR) to stop the impeachment complaint filed against Vice President Leni Robredo, but Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez yesterday said the House of Representatives will fulfill its mandate and attend to the impeachment complaint lodged against the Vice President.
This stand of the Speaker came despite the President’s appeal to spare her and put stop the planned impeachment against Robredo.
Amid the detractors’ case build-up on her impending impeachment raps, Robredo yesterday calmly urged to stop these efforts, not only threats against her but also against President Duterte.
Robredo said conducting an impeachment hearing would not only be a waste of time, but also a “distraction” to the government.
She added that this inexpedient move, either against her or Duterte, will only hamper the significant programs and projects the administration should be prioritizing. “I think ousting the President, whether by impeachment or whatever means it may be, would simply be a distraction to public service, we won’t be able to concentrate on what’s important,” she said. “It won’t be good in the long run.”
However, it took her a long time to make this latest stateent of hers when Magdalo partylist Gary Alejano filed the impeachment complaint against Duterte a day after Congress officially went on recess.
However, the impeachment complaint against the VP does not seem to be over,
Impeach Leni still on—Speaker
In an interview on a GMA news noontime television program, Balitanghali, Alvarez said that while he respects the view of the President, the House is mandated by the Constitution to process any impeachment complaint filed before it.
“We respect the opinion of the President, but we have a constitutional mandate to process any impeachment complaint which will be filed before the House of Representatives and we have the exclusive jurisdiction over it, aside from the fact we have a separation of powers,” said Alvarez.
“The legislative branch of government is a separate branch of government and we are not a part of the executive branch of government. So, for me, we will fulfill our mandate as provided for in the Constitution,” the Speaker stressed.
Upon arriving from a foreign trip yesterday, Duterte called on his allies to stop the impending impeachment proceedings against Robredo.
“Look, you know, we just had an election. Guys, lay off. Let’s stop it,” said Duterte during a press briefing.
“She was elected. So why do you have to? Just because she keeps on harping on me? Let her, this is a democracy, freedom of speech. There are no overt acts committed,” Duterte added.
Alvarez however added that while they will be pushing through with the impeachment proceedings against Robredo, it does not necessarily mean the House will uphold the complaint against the vice president and elevate it to the Senate for the trial proper.
“Impeachment does not only involve numbers. A complaint has to subscribe to form and substance. Meaning it should have all the elements including evidence to stand trial in an impeachment court,” said Alvarez.
“So, we have to carefully study the complaint against the Vice President,” he added.
The Speaker also refuted the President on the matter of the VP merely exercising her freedom of expression in attacking the administration and putting the country in a bad light.
“Yes, we have a freedom of speech. But it does not exempt any official from an irresponsible act,” said Alvarez.
“And we have seen it on TV. For the first time in Philippine history, there is this thick-faced government official who sent a video clip to United Nations to destroy the reputation of our country,” Alvarez said.
“And that for me, that is a betrayal of public trust,” he said.
The Speaker also denied allegations he is pushing Robredo’s ouster as they are pushing for the ascension to the vice presidency of someone close to him.
“It’s not true. Let us just look at the facts objectively. Did Robredo violate the Constitution or not? That’s the only issue here,” said Alvarez.
“There is no politicking here. We have no plan to install someone as vice president,” said Alvarez.
Another group to file
complaint vs Leni
On Thursday, a group of lawyers and a government official announced plans to file an impeachment case against Robredo once Congress resumes session in May.
This complaint is based on her alleged offenses committed within her nine months in office.
“We have enough time to file the impeachment because Congress right now is in recess. Congress will resume their session in May, which gives us enough time for what we call the case build-up,” said Assistant Secretary of the Department of Interior and Local Government Epimaco Densing III said.
He added that there is now solid foundation in the complaint, “most probably if there will be other people who can bring in additional impeachable offenses made by the Vice President, they’re more than welcome.”
Overall, Densing said the “issue of betrayal” will be the highlight of the charge.
Along with the DILG official are professor Antonio Contreras, lawyers Trixie Angeles, Bruce Rivera, and Tom Berenguer.
Providing comment on this subject, Robredo said they are free to file any charges they want to file.
But added that should the case be filed against her, she’s ready to face it.
VP: Video not move to oust Rody
On her controversial video message sent to a side event, Robredo repeated that her criticism against extrajudicial killings resulted in the bloody drug war of the administration is not a move to oust President Duterte from his office.
She said verbalization of dissent should not be construed as an attempt to destabilize the government.
“When we verbalize dissent, it doesn’t mean we want to replace the President.”
She noted that when they decided to tell the international audience about the current situation surrounding the prominent campaign against illegal drugs, they felt the need of expressing strong concerns about the killings.
“This is one of the things we feel strongly against. So, on our part, if we’re eventually heard, then that’s the initial purpose.”
In the video message hit by several government agencies, Robredo disclosed the “palit-ulo” scheme.
The modus allegedly involves law enforcers searching for drug suspects that allows substitutions with family members to be nabbed instead of the former.
Impeachment not only a numbers
game but also political—SC’s Te
Impeachment is not only about the numbers game but political as well, Supreme Court (SC) spokesman Theodore Te said Thursday.
The SC official made the strange statement amid moves in the House of Representatives to impeach both President Rodrigo Duterte and Vice President Leni Robredo. As spokeman of the SC he cannot air his personal sentiments.
Te, a law professor, explained that impeachment is a “political process to remove a public official unfit for a position.”
“It is not a criminal trial, it is not a trial per se as we understand it in the courts. It is not a judicial process. It is basically a political disciplinary process,” Te said in a television interview on Thursday.
“The only issue in impeachment is always fitness to continue holding the office - regardless of the grounds like bribery, graft and corruption and other high crimes like betrayal of public trust,” the SC spokesperson noted.
Te explained that there are justiciable issues in impeachment proceedings that may be subject to judicial review, citing previous cases that the High Court had ruled upon.
“There have been instances where the Supreme Court has been asked to come in, but on very, very limited issues,” he noted.
He cited the impeachment cases against retired Chief Justice Hilario Davide Jr., the late former Chief Justice Renato Corona and former Ombudsman Merceditas Gutierrez, which all reached the SC.
With Ted Tuvera and PNA
Friday, 24 March 2017 00:00 Published in Nation
Congress may look into two recent decisions by the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) involving interim Maximum Annual Revenue (iMAR) for the National Grid Corp. of the Philippines (NGCP) and the extension of the deadline for compliance with the Competitive Selection Process (CSP) in the procurement of power supply by distribution utilities (DUs).
At a hearing last week, Kabayan partylist Rep. Harry Roque called attention to reports that ERC, while Chairman Jose Vicente Salazar was on official leave, had favored a higher iMAR for the NGCP which could have added burden to power consumers.
The NGCP is the concessionaire of the country’s nationwide power transmission system. It is partly owned by the government of the People’s Republic of China through the State Grid Corp. of China.
The NGCP iMAR is the cap imposed by the ERC on the revenues that it can earn in a given year. The cap aims to protect consumers from unbridled spikes in transmission charges.
ERC Commissioners Patricia Asirit, Gloria Taruc, Alfredo Non and Geronimo Sta. Ana reversed an earlier decision to peg the iMAR at P41 billion and raise it to P43.8billion.
The reversal made by the three commissioners will translate into some P2.8 billion in increased transmission charges that will be shouldered by the public.
Based on the ERC Web site, Non, has gone on record as proposing an even higher iMAR for NGCP at P45.3 billion.
Roque also questioned why the reversal of the earlier decision in favor of the higher iMAR was made by Asirit, Taruc, Non and Sta. Ana at the time that ERC Chairman Jose Vicente Salazar was on leave following investigations related to the suicide of ERC Director Jose Francisco Villa Jr. Sta. Ana was the ERC OIC when they moved to raise the NGCP iMAR and that Salazar had no part in the reversal of the earlier decision.
Solons also called for further probe on the move by the ERC to extend the deadline for the implementation of the CSP which allegedly paved the way for some “midnight deals” to be sealed between power distributors and generators.
The ERC chairman, upon questioning by the solons, admitted he opposed the extension (on record) but had to respect the decision of the majority.
The extension earlier came under fire as cause-oriented groups raised concerns that the move favored some of the country’s biggest power distributors.
The CSP required DUs to call for at least two bids for their power requirements. CSP rules allow them to buy from affiliate power generators only as a last resort.
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