DAP SCANDAL HALTS GROWTH 

“The current controversies ... are definitely a blow to President Aquino’s image as the poster boy of good governance,” Eugenia Victorino, economist at ANZ in Singapore, said. -The biggest political crisis that Philippine President Benigno Aquino has faced in four years in power could damage his image as a crusader against corruption and undermine his ability to deliver on reforms to sustain strong economic growth. The Supreme Court this month declared partly illegal a P145-billion ($3.34 billion) economic stimulus fund that Aquino created in 2011 from budget savings, sparking a storm of controversy that has distracted the government from its work. Economists are also concerned the controversy is slowing public spending because officials are more wary about accusations of recklessness and are subjecting decisions to more scrutiny, putting at risk big infrastructure projects. “If this leads to a slowdown in spending, the risk to growth is on the downside,” Shanaka Jayanath Peiris, International Monetary Fund resident representative in the Philippines, said on Friday. The IMF on Friday cut its Philippine growth forecast to 6.2 percent from 6.5 percent set in March, partly because of slower spending after the stimulus scandal broke. The government has set a target of 6.5 to 7.5 percent gross domestic product growth this year, after 7.2 percent last year. * READ MORE...

ALSO: President’s SONA disappoints FOI backers 

Some called it the President’s best State of the Nation Address (SONA), but to others, it was disappointing because it made no mention of the Freedom of Information (FOI) bill. One of those who felt let down was Vice President Jejomar Binay who admitted that he was hopeful that the President would tackle the anticipated measure in his speech on Monday. “I have been waiting for his endorsement on the FOI [bill] but it didn’t come. And there were also a lot of achievements on the housing sector but these were not mentioned,” Binay said. Akbayan party-list Rep. Walden Bello was also dispirited because of the President’s failure to include the FOI measure in his SONA. “Overall I would say it was an effective speech. To a certain extent he disarmed his critics but there were certain holes, and the biggest hole was the lack of the mention of the FOI [bill],” Bello said. “[The President’s legacy] is the anti-corruption struggle and one of the best ways to prevent corruption is to have a Freedom of Information Act,” he added.

“What many of us FOI champions waited for was the Freedom of Information Act. This was quite disappointing to me personally because we have been working on this for so many years now and we had been told [that] at last it has become a priority of Malacañang,” Bello told reporters. Bello expressed hope that Aquino’s silence on the FOI bill will not mean an uphill battle for the passage of the measure in Congress. Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. also on Monday gave assurances that the bill will be one of the chamber’s priorities. But Sen. Grace Poe, author of the FOI bill in the Senate, noted that the measure does not need the President’s backing to get going. “Although the President did not mention the FOI [bill], I am optimistic that this important measure will be passed under his leadership. This was passed on third reading in the Senate without the President’s certification,” Poe said. The senator admitted that she was dismayed over the failure of the President to mention the fate of the FOI. United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) Secretary General Tobias Tiangco said this year’s SONA was Aquino’s best since 2010. “He stuck to the issues. [Tickled the critics, unlike before when he punched them]. He is a human being, he also has a right [to get hurt].
He stuck to the issues by talking about the problems of the country and the daily problems of the people, what he has done and what he plans to do,” Tiangco added. * READ MORE...

(ALSO) Peach, yellow, red: No one’s color blind at SONA 2014 

A battle between yellow and peach on the red carpet of the House of Representatives marked the President’s State of the Nation Address (Sona) on Monday, delivered as he faced an impeachment threat and all-time low public approval ratings.Many of President Aquino’s allies in the House wore their politics close to their hearts, with yellow ribbons—the Aquino color—on their chests. The ribbons were handed out to lawmakers, but some were quick to say that not wearing the yellow ribbon did not indicate lack of support for the President. In contrast, a small but vocal group of seven militant lawmakers came in peach to denounce Aquino’s alleged mishandling of funds through the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP). Joining them in the peach brigade was former yellow activist and erstwhile Aquino supporter Mae Paner—more popularly known as Juana Change—who said she switched colors because the administration’s straight path led to a cliff. Aklan Rep. Teodorico Haresco told reporters that the yellow ribbons were meant to signify support for the President and his reform programs. “The straight path continues,” said Haresco, a member of the House majority. * READ MORE....

ALSO: Binay hardly clapped during Aquino’s Sona 

Vice President Jejomar Binay had his arms folded across his chest when President Aquino, in his State of the Nation Address (Sona), exhorted his audience to start thinking about 2016.
While his wife, Elenita, was graciously clapping along with the audience, Binay did not hide his disappointment and refused to play along. Binay was also the only one who did not clap among Cabinet members when the President announced during a meeting that he was rejecting Budget Secretary Florencio Abad’s resignation over the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) fiasco. Binay later told the media that the President should have accepted Abad’s resignation.
Binay’s daughter, Makati Rep. Mar-Len Abigail Binay-Campos, hardly clapped during the President’s address. She appeared bored and fiddled with her mobile phone. * READ MORE...

ALSO: PNoy seeks support amid DAP scandal 

President Benigno Aquino called on the nation on Monday to support his reforms as he faced the biggest political crisis in his four years in power, a spending scandal that could damage his anti-graft image and undermine reforms. The Supreme Court this month declared partly illegal a 145 billion pesos ($3.34 billion) economic stimulus fund that Aquino created in 2011 from budget savings, sparking a storm of controversy that put into doubt his commitment to fighting corruption. On Monday, Aquino, in his second-to-last State of the Nation Address, listed his administration's successes in areas such as infrastructure development, military modernization, and reforms to stamp out corruption in revenue agencies. "This is the result of reforms, and this is what we fought for and continue to fight for, not the continuation of the status quo, but change in the system for everyone's benefit," he said in his televised address. Economists are concerned the controversy over the Supreme Court's ruling is slowing public spending because officials are more wary about accusations of recklessness and are subjecting decisions to more scrutiny, putting at risk big infrastructure projects.

The IMF on Friday cut its Philippine growth forecast to 6.2 percent from 6.5 percent set in March, partly because of slower spending after the stimulus scandal broke. The government has set a target of 6.5 to 7.5 percent gross domestic product growth this year, after 7.2 percent last year. Two impeachment complaints related to the stimulus funds have been filed against Aquino in recent weeks, accusing him of betraying public trust and violating the constitution following the court's ruling. Aquino won the presidency in 2010 on a promise of good governance and fighting graft but has struggled to rid the country of its image as one of the most corrupt in Asia. He became emotional in the last few minutes of his speech as he recalled that the reason why he ran for president was to continue the fight of his parents: an assassinated opponent of dictatorship and a democracy hero who became the country's first woman president. "You gave me the opportunity to lead a transformation. If I declined the challenge that you presented, it would be like saying I would support your continued suffering, and my conscience cannot take that," he said. RISK  --* READ MORE...

ALSO: Kris Aquino explains why PNoy, sisters were emotional

Television personality Kris Aquino had a simple explanation why she cried during the President Benigno Aquino III's fifth State of the Nation Address. "To them, to all of you he is our President, but he's our brother," Kris Aquino told reporters in a chance interview. "Siguro, its just that on Friday, it is our Mom's fifth [death] anniversary so nandun kami sa point talaga that when August comes around we can't help but be emotional," she explained.
Former President Corazon "Cory" Aquino died on 1 August 2009 after succumbing to colon cancer. Elder sister Balsy, also turned emotional towards the latter part of Aquino's speech. The President voice also broke when he recalled the memory of his mother and father in his speech. * READ MORE...

 


READ FULL REPORT HERE:

DAP SCANDAL HALTS GROWTH


IMAGE: MALAYA BUSINESS INSIGHTS

MANILA, JULY 29, 2014 (MALAYA) By Reuters - The biggest political crisis that Philippine President Benigno Aquino has faced in four years in power could damage his image as a crusader against corruption and undermine his ability to deliver on reforms to sustain strong economic growth.

The Supreme Court this month declared partly illegal a P145-billion ($3.34 billion) economic stimulus fund that Aquino created in 2011 from budget savings, sparking a storm of controversy that has distracted the government from its work.

Economists are also concerned the controversy is slowing public spending because officials are more wary about accusations of recklessness and are subjecting decisions to more scrutiny, putting at risk big infrastructure projects.

“If this leads to a slowdown in spending, the risk to growth is on the downside,” Shanaka Jayanath Peiris, International Monetary Fund resident representative in the Philippines, said on Friday.

The IMF on Friday cut its Philippine growth forecast to 6.2 percent from 6.5 percent set in March, partly because of slower spending after the stimulus scandal broke. The government has set a target of 6.5 to 7.5 percent gross domestic product growth this year, after 7.2 percent last year.

* First quarter GDP growth was at its slowest in two years, in part because of weaker state spending which grew an annual 2 percent in the period against 10 percent growth a year earlier.

Henry Schumacher, vice president at the European Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines, said any more delays to much-needed infrastructure would be a “disaster”.

“There is an over-carefulness in a number of government offices not to move before they are absolutely sure that every angle where integrity could be compromised has been looked at,” Schumacher said.

Jose Rene Almendras, secretary to the cabinet, told a local television station last week the Supreme Court ruling on the stimulus fund had “a chilling effect on everyone”.

Under the stimulus facility, Aquino spent funds saved from cancelled projects on housing and relocation of slum residents, radars for the weather bureau and infusing capital to the central bank to help it with its market intervention, among other activities.

A portion of the funds was distributed to senators to use on projects of their choice.

The Supreme Court said aspects of the stimulus were unconstitutional. It did not call any actions criminal, though lawyers say the ruling could open the way for complaints alleging wrongdoing.

Critics said the allocation of funds to senators for their projects cast doubt on Aquino’s commitment to stamp out corruption. And the controversy is having an impact on how officials proceed.

“Everyone who has to sign a document now has to be doubly sure,” Almendras said in the television interview.

Aquino is the only son of highly respected parents: an assassinated opponent of dictatorship and a democracy hero who became the country’s first woman president.

He won the presidency in 2010 on a promise of good governance and fighting graft but has struggled to rid the country of its image as one of the most corrupt in Asia.

Two impeachment complaints related to the stimulus funds have been filed against Aquino in recent weeks, accusing him of betraying public trust and violating the constitution following the court’s ruling.

But there is little danger Aquino will be ousted because his allies dominate both houses of Congress. Aquino also enjoys the support of the army.

Still, his approval ratings plunged to a record low in June and they may fall again after the Supreme Court decision.

While he is likely to survive the scandal, it could have implications on his party’s candidate in the presidential election due in 2016. Aquino cannot be a candidate as the constitution says a president can be elected for only one six-year term.

“The current controversies ... are definitely a blow to President Aquino’s image as the poster boy of good governance,” Eugenia Victorino, economist at ANZ in Singapore, said. -

FROM THE MANILA STANDARD

President’s address disappoints FOI backers July 28, 2014 11:44 pm
by Reina Tolentino And Lulu Principe Reporters


PHOTO COURTESY OF THE PCIJ (PHILIPPINE CENTER FOR INVESTIGATIVE JOURNALISM)

Some called it the President’s best State of the Nation Address (SONA), but to others, it was disappointing because it made no mention of the Freedom of Information (FOI) bill.

One of those who felt let down was Vice President Jejomar Binay who admitted that he was hopeful that the President would tackle the anticipated measure in his speech on Monday.

“I have been waiting for his endorsement on the FOI [bill] but it didn’t come. And there were also a lot of achievements on the housing sector but these were not mentioned,” Binay said.

Akbayan party-list Rep. Walden Bello was also dispirited because of the President’s failure to include the FOI measure in his SONA.

“Overall I would say it was an effective speech. To a certain extent he disarmed his critics but there were certain holes, and the biggest hole was the lack of the mention of the FOI [bill],” Bello said.

“[The President’s legacy] is the anti-corruption struggle and one of the best ways to prevent corruption is to have a Freedom of Information Act,” he added.

“What many of us FOI champions waited for was the Freedom of Information Act. This was quite disappointing to me personally because we have been working on this for so many years now and we had been told [that] at last it has become a priority of Malacañang,” Bello told reporters.

Bello expressed hope that Aquino’s silence on the FOI bill will not mean an uphill battle for the passage of the measure in Congress.

Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. also on Monday gave assurances that the bill will be one of the chamber’s priorities.
But Sen. Grace Poe, author of the FOI bill in the Senate, noted that the measure does not need the President’s backing to get going.

“Although the President did not mention the FOI [bill], I am optimistic that this important measure will be passed under his leadership. This was passed on third reading in the Senate without the President’s certification,” Poe said.

The senator admitted that she was dismayed over the failure of the President to mention the fate of the FOI.

United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) Secretary General Tobias Tiangco said this year’s SONA was Aquino’s best since 2010.

“He stuck to the issues. [Tickled the critics, unlike before when he punched them]. He is a human being, he also has a right [to get hurt].

He stuck to the issues by talking about the problems of the country and the daily problems of the people, what he has done and what he plans to do,” Tiangco added.

* Sen. Sonny Angara however said the President’s speech lacked substance.

“I would have wanted to hear more about the concrete solutions of the administration in addressing the energy crisis,” Angara said.

Supplemental budget

Although disappointed, Binay said he is in favor of Aquino’s plan to submit a supplemental budget to Congress for projects previously funded by the outlawed Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP).

“The supplemental budget is a reaction to the decision of the [Supreme] Court, which stated that the budget appropriation should come from Congress. That would be the right thing to do,” the Vice President told reporters.

Senate President Franklin Drilon said the Senate will support the supplemental budget that Malacanang will ask Congress.

“This is badly needed to fund government projects that were temporarily stopped. We need to wait for the SC to decide on the motion for reconsideration filed by Malacanang and from there, we will take the cue,” Drilon added.

He said he has no idea how much Malacanang will ask.

Angara also welcomed the President’s move to seek a supplemental budget, noting that with such a gesture, Aquino has finally recognized the decision of the Supreme Court declaring DAP unconstitutional. With Llanesca Panti and PNA

FROM THE INQUIRER

Peach, yellow, red: No one’s color blind t SONA 2014 By Leila B. Salaverria and DJ Yap |Philippine Daily Inquirer3:08 am | Tuesday, July 29th, 2014


Senators Grace Poe, Loren Legarda, Pia Cayetano, Nancy Binay and Cynthia Villar pose for a photograph during the opening the 2nd Regular Session of the 6th Congress at the Senate Building, Pasay City on Monday. INQUIRER PHOTO / NINO JESUS ORBETA

MANILA, Philippines—A battle between yellow and peach on the red carpet of the House of Representatives marked the President’s State of the Nation Address (Sona) on Monday, delivered as he faced an impeachment threat and all-time low public approval ratings.

Many of President Aquino’s allies in the House wore their politics close to their hearts, with yellow ribbons—the Aquino color—on their chests.

The ribbons were handed out to lawmakers, but some were quick to say that not wearing the yellow ribbon did not indicate lack of support for the President.

In contrast, a small but vocal group of seven militant lawmakers came in peach to denounce Aquino’s alleged mishandling of funds through the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP).

Joining them in the peach brigade was former yellow activist and erstwhile Aquino supporter Mae Paner—more popularly known as Juana Change—who said she switched colors because the administration’s straight path led to a cliff.

Aklan Rep. Teodorico Haresco told reporters that the yellow ribbons were meant to signify support for the President and his reform programs.

“The straight path continues,” said Haresco, a member of the House majority.

* He initially said he made the ribbon himself but when told the ribbons worn by lawmakers all looked the same, he said somebody had handed these out at Monday’s session.

“In fact, we all hurried to grab one,” he said.

Senate President Franklin Drilon’s wife, Mila, wore a pale yellow gown, which Drilon said indicated she continued to back the President.

“I have supported the President. I will continue to suport him. Yes, the yellow is the statement of Mrs. Drilon,” he said.
Mila Drilon herself gave a thumbs-up when reporters asked if the yellow signified her support for Aquino.

Show of neutrality

Iloilo Rep. Niel Tupas Jr. said he chose not to wear the yellow ribbon because as chair of the House justice committee, he would handle the hearings on the impeachment complaints against the President.

“I should show neutrality when I preside,” Tupas said.

But he also said he continued to support the administration.

Commission on Human Rights Chair Loretta Rosales came in white, a deliberate choice, she said.

“The straight path should accept all colors because it is a democracy,” Rosales said.

But she also said the straight path had potholes, having to go through problems like typhoons and earthquakes, not to mention the DAP controversy.

Still an ally

Ifugao Rep. Teddy Baguilat said somebody just gave him the yellow ribbon to wear and he donned it to indicate he was a member of the Liberal Party and an ally of the President.

“But even without the ribbon, I am still an ally,” Baguilat added.

Many senators did not sport the yellow ribbon but those belonging to the majority still professed their support for the President.

Despite the controversies besetting the administration, the usual trappings that show the gathering to be the glitzy event it was were present.

Red carpets lined the three main entrances to Batasang Pambansa and photo booths were again available for those who wanted souvenirs of their attendance.

Yellow in his heart

Among the head-turners was actress Assunta de Rossi, who walked the red carpet without her husband, Negros Occidental Rep. Julio Ledesma, a frequent absentee in House sessions.

The arrival of boxing superstar and Sarangani Rep. Manny Pacquiao and his flamboyant mother, Dionisia, caused a stir among the Congress staff, who rushed forward to take their pictures.

Most of Aquino’s allies came wearing yellow ribbon pins but not his cousin and namesake, Sen. Paolo Benigno “Bam” Aquino IV.

“Is that really necessary?” said the younger Aquino who came with his wife, Timi Gomez-Aquino. Cupping his face, he quipped: “Isn’t this enough?”

“Maybe my yellow ribbon is in my heart and I don’t need to wear it,“ he said.

Makabayan in peach

Others were not so shy to wear their colors.

Nearly all the President’s men and women appeared together on the red carpet with yellow ribbons pinned to their terno or barong.

Rehabilitation czar Panfilo Lacson doused speculation that this was another case of the President’s Cabinet members sending a message to his critics.

“It was only convenient to go as a group because of the traffic,” he told reporters.

Members of the opposition Makabayan bloc wore peach (actually closer to a light pink) and also walked the red carpet as a group.

Representatives from Bayan Muna, Gabriela, ACT Teachers and other left-wing groups have endorsed the impeachment complaints against Aquino in connection with the DAP controversy.

The peach attire was intended to draw support for the impeachment moves against the President.

Aquino supporters

Budget Secretary Florencio Abad said the DAP controversy only made the Cabinet “sharper, more prepared … more rigorous with our work.”

“All of these things will make for a better government,” said Abad, who wore a yellow ribbon with the Philippine flag incorporated in the design.

Interior Secretary Mar Roxas said he would give the President a score of “alas” (ace) for his performance since 2010.

“Why not? If you will look at where we were four years ago and where we are now, there was a dramatic change,” he said.

Heart in white

Sen. Francis “Chiz” Escudero said the country needed to “move on” and not dwell on the DAP controversy.

He came with his girlfriend, actress Heart Evangelista, who was questioned by reporters about her dress.

“I just wanted to wear white, same as last year. It’s always white,” she said.

Laguna Rep. Sol Aragones, who wore a red gown, brought fashion designer Renee Salud as her escort.

“Red is my favorite color and Renee Salud is my escort because we share the same advocacy of promoting LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transsexual) rights,” Aragones said.

Oriental Mindoro Rep. Reynaldo Umali, an administration ally, said he got his yellow ribbon pin from local executive officials.

“They were all wearing yellow ribbons to show support for the President, so I asked if I could have one,” he said.

Meeting ground

Not everybody who attended the Sona relished the red carpet walk.

Sen. JV Ejercito, who arrived with his wife, shunned the red carpet altogether and went straight to the lounge.

The red carpet also proved a meeting ground for personalities from opposite sides of the political divide, though they chose to ignore each other.

Former Akbayan Rep. Risa Hontiveros, an Aquino ally, walked by as members of Makabayan were being interviewed by the media.

But Hontiveros stopped to say hello to Mae Paner, who was with the Makabayan lawmakers.

Paner said she bought a new peach dress for the Sona at a public market for P1,850.

She said she would return to yellow if the President would bring about real change, especially in the lives of the downtrodden.

Three senators in detention over the pork barrel scam chose not to watch the President’s address on television, police said.

Senators Jinggoy Estrada and Bong Revilla are held at the Philippine National Police Custodial Center while Sen. Juan Ponce Enrile is detained at a special ward at PNP General Hospital.–With a report from Julie M. Aurelio

Binay hardly clapped during Aquino’s Sona By Gil Cabacungan |Philippine Daily Inquirer5:41 am | Tuesday, July 29th, 2014


Vice President Jejomar Binay. FILE PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines—Vice President Jejomar Binay had his arms folded across his chest when President Aquino, in his State of the Nation Address (Sona), exhorted his audience to start thinking about 2016.

While his wife, Elenita, was graciously clapping along with the audience, Binay did not hide his disappointment and refused to play along.

Binay was also the only one who did not clap among Cabinet members when the President announced during a meeting that he was rejecting Budget Secretary Florencio Abad’s resignation over the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) fiasco.

Binay later told the media that the President should have accepted Abad’s resignation.

Binay’s daughter, Makati Rep. Mar-Len Abigail Binay-Campos, hardly clapped during the President’s address. She appeared bored and fiddled with her mobile phone.

* The President’s fifth Sona was highly anticipated but this only underscored the dozens of empty seats in the second- and third-floor galleries.

That was unusual for a Sona, which had always been a standing room only affair, even during the dark days of the Arroyo administration.

The doors were usually closed an hour before the 4 p.m. address, with nobody allowed to enter or exit until after the speech.

At Monday’s Sona, the doors were closed just 30 minutes before the President’s call time.

The Makabayan bloc members, who wore peach for their impeachment complaint, walked out just before the President began his speech.

Their action prompted the partisan crowd to applaud louder and jeer their peers’ show of contempt.

FROM ABS-CBN

PNoy seeks support amid DAP scandal By Manuel Mogato and Karen Lema, Reuters
Posted at 07/28/2014 9:29 PM | Updated as of 07/28/2014 10:58 PM


MANILA - President Benigno Aquino called on the nation on Monday to support his reforms as he faced the biggest political crisis in his four years in power, a spending scandal that could damage his anti-graft image and undermine reforms.

The Supreme Court this month declared partly illegal a 145 billion pesos ($3.34 billion) economic stimulus fund that Aquino created in 2011 from budget savings, sparking a storm of controversy that put into doubt his commitment to fighting corruption.

On Monday, Aquino, in his second-to-last State of the Nation Address, listed his administration's successes in areas such as infrastructure development, military modernization, and reforms to stamp out corruption in revenue agencies.

"This is the result of reforms, and this is what we fought for and continue to fight for, not the continuation of the status quo, but change in the system for everyone's benefit," he said in his televised address.

Economists are concerned the controversy over the Supreme Court's ruling is slowing public spending because officials are more wary about accusations of recklessness and are subjecting decisions to more scrutiny, putting at risk big infrastructure projects.

The IMF on Friday cut its Philippine growth forecast to 6.2 percent from 6.5 percent set in March, partly because of slower spending after the stimulus scandal broke. The government has set a target of 6.5 to 7.5 percent gross domestic product growth this year, after 7.2 percent last year.

Two impeachment complaints related to the stimulus funds have been filed against Aquino in recent weeks, accusing him of betraying public trust and violating the constitution following the court's ruling.

Aquino won the presidency in 2010 on a promise of good governance and fighting graft but has struggled to rid the country of its image as one of the most corrupt in Asia.

He became emotional in the last few minutes of his speech as he recalled that the reason why he ran for president was to continue the fight of his parents: an assassinated opponent of dictatorship and a democracy hero who became the country's first woman president.

"You gave me the opportunity to lead a transformation. If I declined the challenge that you presented, it would be like saying I would support your continued suffering, and my conscience cannot take that," he said.

RISK

* Prospero de Vera, public administration professor at the University of the Philippines, said Aquino was trying to reassert his embattled administration.

"The only way of reasserting yourself is to go back to your natural constituencies and get back the support that you had before," he said.

Under the stimulus facility, Aquino spent funds saved from cancelled projects on housing and relocation of slum residents, radars for the weather bureau and infusing capital to the central bank to help it with its market intervention, among other activities.

A portion of the funds was distributed to senators to use on projects of their choice.

The Supreme Court agreed the stimulus helped lift the economy, but said aspects of it were unconstitutional. It did not call any actions criminal, though lawyers say the ruling could open the way for complaints alleging wrongdoing.

Critics said the allocation of funds to senators for their projects cast doubt on Aquino's commitment to stamp out corruption. And the controversy is having an impact on how officials proceed, raising some risks for the economy.

"If this leads to a slowdown in spending, the risk to growth is on the downside," Shanaka Jayanath Peiris, International Monetary Fund resident representative in the Philippines, said on Friday, referring to the scandal.

The government will propose a supplemental budget for 2014 to ensure there is no delay in projects after the scrapping of the stimulus fund, Aquino said. The government has not determined its size.

Outside Congress, about 5,000 protesters, most of them left-wing activists, burned an effigy of Aquino as he delivered his speech. Police used water cannons to prevent protesters from breaching barricades. (Writing by Rosemarie Francisco)

FROM GMA NEWS NETWORK

Kris Aquino explains why PNoy, sisters were emotional July 28, 2014 6:38pm



Television personality Kris Aquino had a simple explanation why she cried during the President Benigno Aquino III's fifth State of the Nation Address.

"To them, to all of you he is our President, but he's our brother," Kris Aquino told reporters in a chance interview.

"Siguro, its just that on Friday, it is our Mom's fifth [death] anniversary so nandun kami sa point talaga that when August comes around we can't help but be emotional," she explained.

Former President Corazon "Cory" Aquino died on 1 August 2009 after succumbing to colon cancer.

Elder sister Balsy, also turned emotional towards the latter part of Aquino's speech.

The President voice also broke when he recalled the memory of his mother and father in his speech.

* "We're very proud of him. We are with him; and, we want him to live a long life," Kris Aquino said.

"[Kapatid] namin siya, pinagdarasal namin ang kalusugan niya na ma-guide siya ng Holy Spirit," she added.

Kris Aquino said she and her other sisters didn't want to hear the President say his goodbyes.

"Ayaw namin 'yung sinasabi niya na 'hanggang dito na lang' parang gusto ko na parang umabot pa siya sa point na mga anak ni Bimb maabutan pa niya," she said.

Bimb or Bimby is Kris Aquino's child with basketball superstar James Yap. —Rouchelle Dinglasan/NB, GMA News


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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