44% OF FILIPINOS WANT ECONOMIC CHA-CHA -- POLL  

Several months before President Aquino acknowledged that he is open to a term extension, a survey showed that nearly half of all Filipinos favor amending economic provisions in the Constitution. Pollster Pulse Asia said the survey on Charter change, taken from March 19 to 26 involving 1,200 respondents nationwide, showed that 44 percent agreed to Charter change with reference to the House of Representatives’ Resolution 1, authored by Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr., which seeks to allow foreigners to become majority owners of properties or businesses in the country. Nineteen percent disagreed with amending the 1987 Constitution while 36 percent were undecided. Out of the 44 percent willing to open up the country to foreign ownership of lands and business establishments, 58 percent were from National Capital Region (NCR), 45 percent from the rest of Luzon, 41 percent from Visayas and 28 percent from Mindanao.

The survey, a copy of which was recently obtained by The STAR, indicated that out of the 19 percent opposed to Charter change, 14 percent of them were from NCR, 16 from Luzon, 20 from Visayas and 35 percent from Mindanao. Sixty-one percent of the respondents said they heard “only now” of the Belmonte resolution, which will pass through the usual legislation or will be a piecemeal amendment to the Charter while 39 percent were already aware of it. Once this Belmonte-led measure is passed, Congress could then make laws that will remove restrictions on foreigners owning land or establishing businesses where they can be the majority stockholders. Meantime, Press Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. claimed yesterday that while a good number of citizens have opposed the idea of President Aquino seeking another six-year term, there are also an equal number of persons who are open to the suggestion. Coloma told state-run radio dzRB that while there are people opposing term extension of Aquino, there are also supporters based on social media monitoring through the official website of the President.THIS IS THE FULL REPORT.

ALSO: P-Noy’s fight for DAP continues  

For President Aquino, the fight for the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) continues, along with his tirades against the judiciary for flip-flopping in its decisions and its lack of judicial reforms. In a TV5 interview aired Sunday night, Aquino said the DAP had been beneficial in many aspects to speed up implementation of government programs and projects through the use of government savings. He insisted that if they did not use the savings, there would have been no additional classrooms, health units and medical workers, among others. The President said this should prove the DAP was not bad but was an efficient mechanism to boost the economy while helping people through programs and projects.

Aquino, who had asked Congress to pass a savings bill, said they could not possibly leave the funds untouched while there were programs and projects to be undertaken. He said it would be better to transfer the funds rather than wait for the next budget to be passed. Asked how the possible abuse of savings could be addressed, Aquino said the utilization of funds could be institutionalized. He said he did not impound the funds, but some departments and agencies reported they could not use the money during the fiscal year. * READ MORE...

ALSO: Noy opens ‘DAP’ bridge in JPE country    

TUAO, Cagayan , Philippines – In this bailiwick of Sen. Juan Ponce Enrile, streamers and banners displayed yesterday called for imprisonment for plunderers – “Ikulong ang mandarambong!” – and praised the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP). The occasion was President Aquino’s inauguration of a 420-meter-long bridge partly funded by DAP and named after his father, the late senator Benigno “‘Ninoy” Aquino Jr. Before proceeding to Tuao, Aquino dropped by Piat town to celebrate the feast of Tuao East’s patron San Roque, after which he visited the Basilica Minore of Our Lady of Piat. Parishioners believe that all prayers made in this church are answered. Aquino is appealing the Supreme Court’s ruling against the DAP, although he has conceded that the odds are against a reversal of a unanimous decision.

Failing in the judicial route, he has indicated that he is open to amending the Constitution to curb the lack of judicial restraint and even to lift term limits. Radio reports said only a handful of local officials welcomed the President and his party that included Enrile’s political nemesis, Secretary Manuel Mamba of the Presidential Legislative Liaison Office. But a large crowd including schoolchildren in uniform, waving Philippine and yellow flags, lined the P599.4-million bridge as the President’s convoy passed through. Mamba served two terms as mayor of Tuao and represented the third district of Cagayan in Congress before being appointed to the Cabinet when Aquino became president in 2010. The Ninoy Aquino bridge in Tuao’s Barangay San Luis spans the Chico River and is expected to enhance inter-regional development in the Cagayan Valley, the Cordillera Administrative Region and Ilocos region.* READ MORE...

ALSO: More ‘pork’ cases coming – Noy   

President Aquino disclosed more cases against those allegedly involved in the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) or pork barrel fund scam were being prepared, contrary to criticisms that the investigation had stopped and justice was selective. Aquino said in a TV5 interview aired Sunday night that he did not know where the perception that they were no longer pursuing the others named in the pork barrel scam came from. “There is a second set forwarded by the DOJ (Department of Justice) to the ombudsman, then I know there is a third set being completed, the gathering of evidence to be given to the ombudsman,” Aquino said, stressing that it was the job of the ombudsman to evaluate the evidence and file charges before the Sandiganbayan. The President said those initially charged were the ones who figured repeatedly and prominently in the course of the investigation and evaluation of evidence.

“There’s what you call multiple incidence,” Aquino said, referring to the alleged involvement of Senators Juan Ponce Enrile, Jinggoy Estrada and Ramon Revilla Jr. in the pork barrel scam. He said it would also be good if the ombudsman could file strong cases and not leave things to chance for conviction. “Because I always explain, filing of cases is not an achievement; the measure is how many were jailed as opposed to those charged. We can file charges that are shallow, then dismissed. And then you can no longer file charges against the person for the same offense,” Aquino said. Aquino was asked about Sen. JV Ejercito’s statement that the Senate Blue Ribbon committee should continue its investigation of everyone – including administration allies – implicated in the congressional pork barrel scam and not stop at the three already detained opposition senators. Ejercito made the call in reaction to a recent Pulse Asia survey showing that a majority of Filipinos believed that the Blue Ribbon committee probe into the PDAF scam was not fair because it seemed to be targeting only those not allied with the administration. * READ MORE...

ALSO: I’ll never fight Noy, the Aquinos – Binay   

He owes what he is today to the Aquino family, so Vice President Jejomar Binay will never fight President Aquino. “Other people are saying that the President and I will be fighting. That is next to impossible,” Binay told reporters yesterday in Maguindanao where he led the inauguration of a senior citizens’ building in Datu Odin Sinsuat and a multi-media center at the Mindanao State University. His pronouncement came amid mixed signals from Malacañang on Aquino’s plans after the end of his term in 2016.

The President also took a dig yesterday at “early campaigning” for 2016, although he did not name names. Binay is widely acknowledged as the standard-bearer of the opposition United Nationalist Alliance in the next presidential race. “I owe what I am today to the Aquino family,” Binay said. “I don’t have any respect for those who do not know how to repay their debt of gratitude, especially those who do not respect their parents.” He recalled that he was the first local government official appointed by then President 0Cory Aquino immediately after the EDSA people power revolution in 1986. He earlier said he helped secure the Aquino family during several coup attempts against her administration. Recently, Aquino’s sisters acknowledged Binay’s loyalty to their family. They were even quoted in news reports as having declared their preference for Binay as successor to their brother. * READ MORE...

ALSO PNoy clarifies: Presidential sisters endorsed nobody for 2016

President Aquino yesterday clarified that his siblings have not endorsed anyone
for the 2016 elections.
He was reacting to earlier reports that the Aquino sisters are rooting for Vice President Jejomar C. Binay to succeed him in 2016. “The gist of their statement was, ‘If he can continue what our brother started, then thank you, that would be good,’ which is not exactly the same as you should continue,” Aquino clarified. “They were asked to react on a statement that there should be someone who should continue the reforms we started,” the President said.

Meanwhile, the President said that if he’s given the chance to take a glimpse at his parents, he envisions them to be smiling at him for what he has done for the country. “The best compliment they could give is to smile at me and that’s it,” Aquino said in an interview over TV5. The President said it is not his parents’ style to give further compliments, adding that his parents expect him to do the right thing. Aquino remembered that when he was in grade school and he was number three in his class, his father asked when he would be number one. “Both of them guided me well and pushed me to do the best,” Aquino said. On August 21, the nation will commemorate the death of his father, former Sen. Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino Jr., while the death anniversary of his mother, former President Corazon C. Aquino, was observed last August 1. THIS IS THE FULL REPORT.

ALSO: Belmonte goes all out to protect his Charter change resolution  

Liberal Party (LP) vice president Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. vowed to block moves to
amend his resolution that seeks to ease a provision in the Charter that restricts foreign investments in the country even if it means going against the party chairman President Benigno Aquino III. In a text message on Tuesday, Belmonte said he would make sure that the sponsors of his resolution would reject any amendments to extend the term limits of public officials, including the President. The Charter change resolution reached the plenary after it hurdled the committee level in March this year. “We will stick to the economic (provisions),” Belmonte said in a text message. The idea of amending the term limits provision in the Charter floated when Caloocan Rep. Edgar Erice said he wants to file a bill seeking to allow President Aquino, who he calls a “sincere” and “honest” leader, a chance for reelection in 2016.

But political amendments may be inserted into Belmonte’s resolution once it is open to the floor for the period of amendments, Majority Floor Leader Neptali Gonzales II said in a press briefing on Tuesday. “Nobody can stop anybody from proposing individual amendments,” said Gonzales, an LP stalwart. But Belmonte, a high-ranking LP official, said “it is hard to limit the lifting of the term limits to the President.” Asked how he will prevent such amendments to his resolution, Belmonte said the sponsors of his bill “will reject [them].”
Belmonte had been consistent in opposing political amendments to the Charter, even signing a waiver prepared by Buhay Rep. Lito Atienza not to allow amendments to the Charter’s term limits.* READ MORE...


READ FULL REPORT HERE:

44 pct of Pinoys want economic Cha-cha – poll

MANILA, AUGUST 25, 2014 (PHILSTAR) By Delon Porcalla - Several months before President Aquino acknowledged that he is open to a term extension, a survey showed that nearly half of all Filipinos favor amending economic provisions in the Constitution.

Pollster Pulse Asia said the survey on Charter change, taken from March 19 to 26 involving 1,200 respondents nationwide, showed that 44 percent agreed to Charter change with reference to the House of Representatives’ Resolution 1, authored by Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr., which seeks to allow foreigners to become majority owners of properties or businesses in the country.

Nineteen percent disagreed with amending the 1987 Constitution while 36 percent were undecided.

Out of the 44 percent willing to open up the country to foreign ownership of lands and business establishments, 58 percent were from National Capital Region (NCR), 45 percent from the rest of Luzon, 41 percent from Visayas and 28 percent from Mindanao.

The survey, a copy of which was recently obtained by The STAR, indicated that out of the 19 percent opposed to Charter change, 14 percent of them were from NCR, 16 from Luzon, 20 from Visayas and 35 percent from Mindanao.

Sixty-one percent of the respondents said they heard “only now” of the Belmonte resolution, which will pass through the usual legislation or will be a piecemeal amendment to the Charter while 39 percent were already aware of it.

Once this Belmonte-led measure is passed, Congress could then make laws that will remove restrictions on foreigners owning land or establishing businesses where they can be the majority stockholders.

Meantime, Press Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. claimed yesterday that while a good number of citizens have opposed the idea of President Aquino seeking another six-year term, there are also an equal number of persons who are open to the suggestion.

Coloma told state-run radio dzRB that while there are people opposing term extension of Aquino, there are also supporters based on social media monitoring through the official website of the President.

P-Noy’s fight for DAP continues By Aurea Calica (The Philippine Star) | Updated August 19, 2014 - 12:00am 0 3 googleplus0 3

MANILA, Philippines - For President Aquino, the fight for the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) continues, along with his tirades against the judiciary for flip-flopping in its decisions and its lack of judicial reforms.

In a TV5 interview aired Sunday night, Aquino said the DAP had been beneficial in many aspects to speed up implementation of government programs and projects through the use of government savings.

He insisted that if they did not use the savings, there would have been no additional classrooms, health units and medical workers, among others.

The President said this should prove the DAP was not bad but was an efficient mechanism to boost the economy while helping people through programs and projects.

Aquino, who had asked Congress to pass a savings bill, said they could not possibly leave the funds untouched while there were programs and projects to be undertaken.

He said it would be better to transfer the funds rather than wait for the next budget to be passed.

Asked how the possible abuse of savings could be addressed, Aquino said the utilization of funds could be institutionalized.

He said he did not impound the funds, but some departments and agencies reported they could not use the money during the fiscal year.

* He said the ability of government for “maximum utility of resources” must not be taken away, like in private companies.

Aquino noted this was his training as an economist and that every program or project they funded was approved by Congress.

“If there are funds, we must be able to use it for the delivery of something good at the best possible time,” he said.

Aquino said the filing of the motion for reconsideration was important, especially to contest the dispositive portion where “good faith” had to be proven to avoid administrative and criminal liabilities in the future.

While this is pending, Aquino said they had asked Congress to pass a supplemental budget so DAP-funded programs and projects would not be delayed.

He added the “allowable” budget deficit must be maintained so the country’s credit ratings would not be affected.

Judicial flaws

Aquino also cited other instances where the Supreme Court and the judiciary as a whole had shortcomings.

“For instance, the Constitution talks of the Supreme Court having two years to decide on a particular case. We know that that is not met,” Aquino said.

He also said decisions would flip-flop and one of his major frustrations was the slow pace of the Maguindanao massacre trial.

Noy opens ‘DAP’ bridge in JPE country By Delon Porcalla (The Philippine Star) | Updated August 19, 2014 - 12:00am 6 17 googleplus0 0


Students wait for the arrival of President Aquino in Tuao, Cagayan yesterday.

TUAO, Cagayan , Philippines – In this bailiwick of Sen. Juan Ponce Enrile, streamers and banners displayed yesterday called for imprisonment for plunderers – “Ikulong ang mandarambong!” – and praised the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP).

The occasion was President Aquino’s inauguration of a 420-meter-long bridge partly funded by DAP and named after his father, the late senator Benigno “‘Ninoy” Aquino Jr.

Before proceeding to Tuao, Aquino dropped by Piat town to celebrate the feast of Tuao East’s patron San Roque, after which he visited the Basilica Minore of Our Lady of Piat. Parishioners believe that all prayers made in this church are answered.

Aquino is appealing the Supreme Court’s ruling against the DAP, although he has conceded that the odds are against a reversal of a unanimous decision.

Failing in the judicial route, he has indicated that he is open to amending the Constitution to curb the lack of judicial restraint and even to lift term limits.

Radio reports said only a handful of local officials welcomed the President and his party that included Enrile’s political nemesis, Secretary Manuel Mamba of the Presidential Legislative Liaison Office.

But a large crowd including schoolchildren in uniform, waving Philippine and yellow flags, lined the P599.4-million bridge as the President’s convoy passed through.

Mamba served two terms as mayor of Tuao and represented the third district of Cagayan in Congress before being appointed to the Cabinet when Aquino became president in 2010.

The Ninoy Aquino bridge in Tuao’s Barangay San Luis spans the Chico River and is expected to enhance inter-regional development in the Cagayan Valley, the Cordillera Administrative Region and Ilocos region.

* The bridge connects the eastern and western barangays of Tuao. With two smaller bridges and a concrete road network, the project spans about 22 kilometers and cuts travel time by four hours from the regional center in Tuguegarao to Kalinga, Apayao and the Ilocos.

“The project also provides additional access to tourist destinations and ensures the safer movement of goods and people, thus contributing to socio-economic growth,” presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda said.

In a statement sent to Malacañang reporters, Lacierda said the Department of Public Works and Highways generated P33.7 million in savings for the bridge project “through a more efficient and transparent bidding process.”

Malacañang is pushing its congressional allies to pass a law redefining “savings” and allowing such funds to be impounded by the Palace every six months or even quarterly – a practice struck down by the SC ruling on the DAP.

Lacierda said the bridge was originally conceived in 1968, and its inauguration comes in time for the anniversary of the assassination of Ninoy Aquino on Thursday.

In a speech in this town, Aquino said he did not want to hand over to the next administration projects planned a long time ago but not implemented.

He had earlier said the DAP was conceived to move such projects beyond the drawing board and accelerate the implementation of slow-moving projects. – With Raymund Catindig

More ‘pork’ cases coming – Noy By Aurea Calica (The Philippine Star) | Updated August 19, 2014 - 12:00am 4 8 googleplus0 0

MANILA, Philippines - President Aquino disclosed more cases against those allegedly involved in the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) or pork barrel fund scam were being prepared, contrary to criticisms that the investigation had stopped and justice was selective.

Aquino said in a TV5 interview aired Sunday night that he did not know where the perception that they were no longer pursuing the others named in the pork barrel scam came from.

“There is a second set forwarded by the DOJ (Department of Justice) to the ombudsman, then I know there is a third set being completed, the gathering of evidence to be given to the ombudsman,” Aquino said, stressing that it was the job of the ombudsman to evaluate the evidence and file charges before the Sandiganbayan.

The President said those initially charged were the ones who figured repeatedly and prominently in the course of the investigation and evaluation of evidence.

“There’s what you call multiple incidence,” Aquino said, referring to the alleged involvement of Senators Juan Ponce Enrile, Jinggoy Estrada and Ramon Revilla Jr. in the pork barrel scam.

He said it would also be good if the ombudsman could file strong cases and not leave things to chance for conviction.

“Because I always explain, filing of cases is not an achievement; the measure is how many were jailed as opposed to those charged. We can file charges that are shallow, then dismissed. And then you can no longer file charges against the person for the same offense,” Aquino said.

Aquino was asked about Sen. JV Ejercito’s statement that the Senate Blue Ribbon committee should continue its investigation of everyone – including administration allies – implicated in the congressional pork barrel scam and not stop at the three already detained opposition senators.

Ejercito made the call in reaction to a recent Pulse Asia survey showing that a majority of Filipinos believed that the Blue Ribbon committee probe into the PDAF scam was not fair because it seemed to be targeting only those not allied with the administration.

* Senator Estrada, Ejercito’s half-brother and one of the senators detained on plunder charges in connection with the pork barrel scam, said he felt vindicated by the survey findings, since it proved his contention that the executive branch and the Blue Ribbon committee had not been fair and objective, and that what was happening was a case of selective justice.

Estrada said the committee, chaired by Sen. Teofisto Guingona III, was used to demonize Enrile, Revilla and himself and had “publicly convicted them before the bar of public opinion.”

Napoles seeks SC relief

Detained businesswoman Janet Lim- Napoles, the alleged pork barrel scam mastermind, has sought relief from the Supreme Court (SC) in her bid to stop the plunder and graft cases in the Sandiganbayan.

In three petitions filed by mail last Aug. 13, Napoles asked the high court to void the resolutions of the Office of the Ombudsman approving her indictment as principal accused in the separate plunder cases against Senators Enrile, Revilla and Estrada.

Through her lawyers led by Stephen David, she also urged the SC to order the recall of the arrest warrant issued against her by the anti-graft court divisions handling the three cases. – With Edu Punay, Michael Punongbayan

I’ll never fight Noy, Aquinos – Binay By Jose Rodel Clapano (The Philippine Star) | Updated August 19, 2014 - 12:00am 14 90 googleplus0 1

MANILA, Philippines - He owes what he is today to the Aquino family, so Vice President Jejomar Binay will never fight President Aquino.

“Other people are saying that the President and I will be fighting. That is next to impossible,” Binay told reporters yesterday in Maguindanao where he led the inauguration of a senior citizens’ building in Datu Odin Sinsuat and a multi-media center at the Mindanao State University.

His pronouncement came amid mixed signals from Malacañang on Aquino’s plans after the end of his term in 2016.

The President also took a dig yesterday at “early campaigning” for 2016, although he did not name names.

Binay is widely acknowledged as the standard-bearer of the opposition United Nationalist Alliance in the next presidential race.

“I owe what I am today to the Aquino family,” Binay said. “I don’t have any respect for those who do not know how to repay their debt of gratitude, especially those who do not respect their parents.”

He recalled that he was the first local government official appointed by then President 0Cory Aquino immediately after the EDSA people power revolution in 1986.

He earlier said he helped secure the Aquino family during several coup attempts against her administration.

Recently, Aquino’s sisters acknowledged Binay’s loyalty to their family.

They were even quoted in news reports as having declared their preference for Binay as successor to their brother.

* President Aquino, however, clarified that his sisters had never categorically voiced support for Binay’s presidential bid in 2016.

Aquino was reacting to news reports quoting his sisters Ballsy and Kris as saying that Binay has the capability and integrity to carry on their brother’s achievement.

In an interview with TV5 which aired Sunday night, Aquino said that on learning of the report, he immediately sought his sisters’ explanation through text and was told they had been forced by the media to “say something.”

“Number two, the gist of what they said seemed to be, ‘If he will continue what our brother started, thank you, or beautiful,’ which is not exactly the same as ‘you will be the one to continue.’ They were asked to react,” Aquino said.

Early this month, Binay said he received feelers from the ruling Liberal Party that he was being considered as its guest candidate in the 2016 elections.

He also thanked the Aquino sisters for their support.

Aquino said his sisters were not known for making reckless statements and that they would always give him a reality check on various issues and developments.

He said his sisters have their own lives and he would not want them to get involved in the tough aspect of his job as the nation’s leader.

But he said inputs and observations from his sisters are always reliable because of the “interesting lives that we have lived.”

“I am always assured that they will tell me the truth and nothing but the truth,” Aquino said.

Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada, for his part, said he has no doubts about Binay’s commitment to UNA.

Estrada, Binay and Sen. Juan Ponce Enrile make up the so-called “three kings” or the executive committee of UNA.

“We have an understanding that he will stay with UNA. I am confident that he will not transfer to the administration Liberal Party or other political parties for the 2016 presidential elections,” Estrada said.

“The 2016 presidential election is still very far. Anything can still happen. It’s too early. We will just play it by ear,” Estrada said.

Binay was accompanied to Maguuindanao by former Tarlac governor Margarita Cojuangco and Valenzuela City Rep. Sherwin Gatchalian.

Binay also met with Maguindanao Vice Gov. Lester Sinsuat and Mayor Ombra Sinsuat.

Binay met briefly with other local leaders, including Bimbo Sinsuat and Tucao Mastura.

The vice president also met with Cotabato City-based peace activist Fr. Eliseo Mercado Jr., executive director of the Institute for Autonomy and Governance.

Charges amended

Meanwhile, the complainants in the plunder case lodged with the Office of the Ombudsman last month against Binay and his son Makati City Mayor Jejomar Erwin Binay have amended their charge sheet.

In a supplemental affidavit filed yesterday, lawyer Renato Bondal and Nicolas Enciso said the decision to amend the complaint was based on a Commission on Audit (COA) report showing the alleged overpriced Makati Parking Building was actually put up for P2.711 billion and not just P1.56 billion as they had thought.

Bondal and Enciso said they now have more proof that the Binays and some 20 other councilors of Makati City should be charged with plunder.

According to them, the February 2014 report issued by resident COA auditor Cecilia Caga-anan, who was also named a respondent in their complaint, “indubitably provides the ammunition to our charge.”

In their original complaint, the complainants said the New Makati City parking building, an 11-storey structure located on F. Zobel Street, Poblacion, Makati City, was overpriced by P1.3 billion.

Joey Salgado, spokesman for the Binays, said the investigation being conducted by the Office of the Ombudsman would help clear the issue.

The six-page COA report said the construction of the structure was reasonably priced based on the findings of technical audit specialists.

Salgado and The STAR sources confirmed that the anti-graft agency is already conducting a preliminary investigation into the allegations. With Aurea Calica, Michael Punongbayan, John Unson

FROM THE MANILA BULLETIN

Presidential sisters endorsed nobody for 2016  by Madel Sabater - Namit
August 19, 2014 MANILA BULLETIN



President Aquino yesterday clarified that his siblings have not endorsed anyone for the 2016 elections.

He was reacting to earlier reports that the Aquino sisters are rooting for Vice President Jejomar C. Binay to succeed him in 2016.

“The gist of their statement was, ‘If he can continue what our brother started, then thank you, that would be good,’ which is not exactly the same as you should continue,” Aquino clarified.

“They were asked to react on a statement that there should be someone who should continue the reforms we started,” the President said.

Meanwhile, the President said that if he’s given the chance to take a glimpse at his parents, he envisions them to be smiling at him for what he has done for the country.

“The best compliment they could give is to smile at me and that’s it,” Aquino said in an interview over TV5.

The President said it is not his parents’ style to give further compliments, adding that his parents expect him to do the right thing.

Aquino remembered that when he was in grade school and he was number three in his class, his father asked when he would be number one.

“Both of them guided me well and pushed me to do the best,” Aquino said.

On August 21, the nation will commemorate the death of his father, former Sen. Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino Jr., while the death anniversary of his mother, former President Corazon C. Aquino, was observed last August 1.

FROM THE INQUIRER

Belmonte goes all out to protect his Charter change resolution
By Marc Jayson Cayabyab |INQUIRER.net3:46 pm | Tuesday, August 19th, 2014


House speaker Feliciano “Sonny” Belmonte, Jr. INQUIRER.net FILE PHOTO/HOTARU NIITSU

MANILA, Philippines – Liberal Party (LP) vice president Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. vowed to block moves to amend his resolution that seeks to ease a provision in the Charter that restricts foreign investments in the country even if it means going against the party chairman President Benigno Aquino III.

In a text message on Tuesday, Belmonte said he would make sure that the sponsors of his resolution would reject any amendments to extend the term limits of public officials, including the President.

The Charter change resolution reached the plenary after it hurdled the committee level in March this year.

“We will stick to the economic (provisions),” Belmonte said in a text message.

The idea of amending the term limits provision in the Charter floated when Caloocan Rep. Edgar Erice said he wants to file a bill seeking to allow President Aquino, who he calls a “sincere” and “honest” leader, a chance for reelection in 2016.

But political amendments may be inserted into Belmonte’s resolution once it is open to the floor for the period of amendments, Majority Floor Leader Neptali Gonzales II said in a press briefing on Tuesday.

“Nobody can stop anybody from proposing individual amendments,” said Gonzales, an LP stalwart.

But Belmonte, a high-ranking LP official, said “it is hard to limit the lifting of the term limits to the President.”

Asked how he will prevent such amendments to his resolution, Belmonte said the sponsors of his bill “will reject [them].”

Belmonte had been consistent in opposing political amendments to the Charter, even signing a waiver prepared by Buhay Rep. Lito Atienza not to allow amendments to the Charter’s term limits.

* But the House leadership was caught by surprise when Aquino, in a televised speech, said he is now open to amending the Constitution even when the latter has been opposing Belmonte’s proposed amendment to economic provisions in the Charter.

Aquino said he is open to Charter change only to clip the powers of the Supreme Court, which has collided with the executive over its decision to scrap some practices of Aquino’s Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP).

But when asked about his being open to second term, Aquino only said he has to listen to the clamor of his “bosses” (the people).

Aquino made the surprise move of being open to Charter change even as the Constitution was drafted under the presidency of his late mother Corazon Aquino after she had toppled the Marcos regime.

Moves to amend the Charter had failed in the House as it was seen as a political tool to extend the term limits of officials.


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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