More news early this week...

OFWs DEFY PALACE ADVISORY, JOIN PRO-DEMOCRACY PROTESTS IN HONG KONG  

OCT 1 --PHOTO: Demonstrators prepare for bigger gathering in HK Demonstrators prepare for bigger gathering in HK. Pro-democracy protesters stockpiling supplies and washing face towels were photographed by Hong Kong-based Filipino Helen Baguio along Queensbay Road in the Admiralty area on Tuesday, September 30. The demonstrators are preparing for a much bigger rally as barricades had been set up in major streets to block anti-riot policemen. Helen Baguio via YouScoop (Updated 3:28 p.m.)

Defying an advisory from Malacañang, some Filipinos have joined the pro-democracy protest in Hong Kong, a television report said Wednesday. According to GMA News' stringer Azon Cañete, overseas Filipino workers in Hong Kong were among the thousands who participated in the demonstrations. "'Yung mga leaders ng OFWs nandito... Napakalawak ng lugar, pero nagte-text sila sa'kin... Para suporta sa rallyista..," Cañete told GMA News TV's News to Go. "'Yung ibang OFWs, sinama ng kanilang mga alaga," she added. Filipinos who opted not to join the protests are complaining of the long distances they have to walk to get to the Philippine Consulate as public transportation there was paralyzed.

The leader of the OFW group that joined the protest yesterday told Cañete that they were not inviting others to join. However, they added that Filipinos with time to spare were welcome. No penalties have so far been announced for foreigners who joined the protest. The exact number of Filipinos who joined the protest, however, could not be ascertained as of posting time. Only last Tuesday, a Malacañang official discouraged Filipinos in Hong Kong from joining pro-democracy protests there. "Pinagpapayuhan po ang ating mga mamamayan na kung maaaring umiwas sila sa paglahok sa mga aksyon na ‘yan, at mag-focus na lang sa kanilang gawain sa Hong Kong," Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. told a press briefing. * READ MORE...

ALSO: Hong Kong Occupy leader says protests will spread ‘like flowers’  

OCT 1 --PHOTO: With the police trying to repel them with pepper spray and tear gas, Hong Kong's
pro-democracy protesters have been using whatever items they have on hand to protect themselves from the chemicals, including goggles, masks—and umbrellas. The ongoing protests have become known as the Umbrella Revolution, or the Umbrella Movement. And now local artists have been inspired to come up with images in support of the protests. Using the hashtag #UmbrellaRevolution on Twitter, the South China Morning Post featured several of the images, including a yellow-and-black logo reminiscent of People Power graphics.
GMANEWS

One of Hong Kong's most prominent pro-democracy leaders struggled to contain his emotions Wednesday as he warned protests would spread like "blossoming flowers" and pleaded with residents to understand why the city has been brought to a standstill. Occupy Central co-founder Chan Kin-man told reporters it was inevitable the protests, which have already taken over several main roads and intersections, would grow if the government maintained its hardline stance. "We understand why citizens are continuing to expand the occupation, it is because the government is so cold," Chan said, regularly having to stop speaking to compose himself. "Despite such a large occupation, the government is still using such an attitude, so a lot of people think that the action now is not enough and that flowers must continue to blossom everywhere."

Occupy Central is one of the main organizers of the protest which spread to different parts of the semi-autonomous city after riot police tear-gassed demonstrators on Sunday, prompting more supporters to join them on the streets. Tens of thousands of protesters have assembled in three major commercial and retail areas of Hong Kong for the past three days. By midday Wednesday, crowds in the central district of Admiralty had already increased to several thousand, with offices closed for a public holiday to mark China's National Day. Chan, who was close to tears, apologised to citizens for the inconvenience the sit-ins have caused and asked for tolerance. "I hope everyone will understand what we are doing is not to harm Hong Kong. "With this short-term inconvenience, we hope to bring about a system that is more fair." * READ MORE...

ALSO: The price AFP needs to pay to become ‘heavyweight’ military 

OCT 3 --Armed Forces chief General Gregorio Catapang. INQUIRER.net FILE PHOTO. MANILA,
Philippines–What will it take for the “lightweight” Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) to become a “heavyweight” and stand up to nations that are bullying the Philippines? Money. Lots of it. General Gregorio Catapang, AFP Chief of Staff, said Friday following a Senate hearing of the Department of National Defense’s (DND) budget that nearly P300 billion will be needed over at least a decade for the AFP’s modernization program.

He described the modernization program as being divided into three “horizons.” The first, which costs P85 billion, will help the Philippines achieve a “minimum credible defense posture” in protecting the country’s territory. “The second horizon is another P85-P100 billion which will take six years, while the third horizon is P100-P125 billion and another six years for military hardware and also bases development,” Catapang told reporters in an ambush interview.
“We can think of it like boxing where the first horizon is the bantamweight, then the second horizon is the middleweight, and eventually the third horizon is heavyweight,” he said.

They had initially asked for P40 billion for modernization but were given only around P30 billion, Catapang said.
During the hearing, Senator Loren Legarda asked Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin how the military was ensuring the security and integrity of the Philippine territory given the reduction of their budget. “Right now we rely only on what we have,” Gazmin said. The AFP recently was able to acquire two ships, the BRP Gregorio del Pilar and the BRP Ramon Alcaraz, from the United States coast guard. Legarda also asked how the AFP was monitoring and countering China’s reclamation activities and expansionist policy in the South China Sea despite lack of funds.* READ MORE...

ALSO: Calls for Noy resignation mount, Cebu Council Assembly joins Lipa 

OCT 3 --Calls for the resignation of President Aquino have become louder, with the Cebu Assembly
of
National Transformation Council (NTC) adding its voice to an earlier call from the Lipa Declaration.
Last Tuesday, some 5,000 people from Cebu City and various parts of the Visayas and Mindanao came together to promulgate the Cebu Assembly of the National Transformation Council (NTC) at the Mariners’ Compound, ALU-TUCP, Pier 1, Cebu City.

Led by Cardinal Ricardo Vidal (PHOTO), archbishop emeritus of Cebu, Archbishop Ramon Arguelles of the Archdiocese of Lipa, Archbishop Romulo de la Cruz of the Archdiocese of Zamboanga City, and Bishop Juan de Dios Pueblos of Butuan City, the Assembly was also attended by various leaders of the United Church of Christ of the Philippines, the Ustadz from Mindanao as well as various sectoral and professional leaders, elements of the MILF, led by Ed Kabalu and MNLF, leading educators from the RVM Sisters and Daughters of Charity, and various civic organizations. The Cebu Assembly of the NTC, which featured the signing of the 4-page NTC document, echoed the call of Cardinal Vidal and the other bishops for President Aquino to step down from office, for as Cardinal Vidal had stressed in his talk, “(The President) has damaged the moral fabric of society and therefore has lost the moral right to lead the nation.”

This was the same call and the same message issued to then President Ferdinand Marcos in the mid-eighties demanding his reisgnation by reason of his having lost his moral right for destroying the moral fabric of society by the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines led by its then president, Archbishop Vidal. The Cebu prelate said: “We noted with great pain that while the moral and spiritual crisis and its political and eonomic effects continued to deepen, the national political leadership consistently failed to show the will or the capacity to respond to these ills in any appreciable measure.” * READ MORE...

ALSO: ‘Purisima lying thru his teeth’; But Palace insists he answered issues ‘truthfully’ 

OCT 2 ---PHOTO: Clamor. Members of the left-leaning Kilusang Mayo Uno protest in front of Camp Crame to demand the resignation of National Police Chief Alan Purisima for his alleged unexplained wealth. Manny Palmero SENATOR Sergio Osmeña III on Wednesday said Philippine National Police (PNP) Director General Alan Purisma should be retired early since President Benigno Aquino III won’t sack him for amassing unexplained wealth and accepting gifts that are disallowed by law. “He should be retired,” Osmeña said of the beleaguered police chief who is facing three plunder complaints before the Office of the Ombudsman.

Interviewed on ABS-CBN, Osmeña said Purisma broke the law when he accepted gifts worth millions of pesos, such as huge discounts for his 4.7-hectare property in Nueva Ecija and several luxury vehicles, then lied about it before the Senate. Osmeña said Purisima also broke the law when he accepted P11 million in donations to build his official residence in Camp Crame in the absence of a deed of donation. The Palace continued to defend Purisima Wednesday, saying he had the moral ascendancy to lead the PNP. “We have to hand it to General Purisima that he answered all those questions truthfully...This is an issue where you see the general answering all the questions with candor,” presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda said.

But both Osmeña and the chairman of the committee on public order, Senator Grace Poe, said they believed Purisma lied. While Purisima is loyal to the President, Osmeña said, now is the time for Aquino to put an end to the abuses committed by his police chief. Osmeña warned that Purisima’s continued stay as chief would jeopardize the passage of the PNP Reform Act and would also endanger the public. After grilling the police chief during a Senate hearing Tuesday, Osmeña said Purisima was “lying through his teeth” about his properties and his official residence in Camp Crame, which has been dubbed the White House. The chairman of the Senate committee on public order, Senator Grace Poe, also said Purisima lied during his testimony before her panel. * READ MORE...

ALSO: Purisima invites media to his ‘ordinary house’ 

OCT 3 --YOU BE THE JUDGE What mansion? The controversial Nueva Ecija property of Philippine National Police Chief Director General Alan Purisima is no “luxurious estate,” or so he says of the 4.7-hectare property with an inviting pool measuring 7.5 meters by 15 meters in San Leonardo, Nueva Ecija. PHOTO COURTESY OF PNP-PIO  --YOU BE THE JUDGE What mansion?
MANILA, Philippines–He invited reporters to see the 4.7-hectare property in San Leonardo town, one of the subjects of a plunder complaint filed against him in the Office of the Ombudsman.
It’s not a mansion, it’s not a villa, it’s just an “ordinary house.” But come and enjoy a swim in the pool.

Philippine National Police Chief Director General Alan Purisima tried to explain his controversial property in Nueva Ecija province at a news conference in Camp Crame, Quezon City, on Thursday, belying media reports that he lived a luxurious lifestyle by releasing pictures that showed the house is not a mansion and the swimming pool is not Olympic-size. Purisima said the description of the property in media reports as a “luxurious estate” was wrong.
“It’s not a mansion. It’s an ordinary house that we improved bit by bit over the years,” Purisima said. The property came to light after ABS-CBN showed an aerial view of the compound, which included a pool and at least three separate structures. Purisima said anchor Ted Failon described the property as “luxurious, with several buildings,” and his house “as a mansion, a villa.”

“After that, other known TV journalists like Noli de Castro, Alvin Elchico, Vic Lima, Karen Davila, Anthony Taberna and Gerry Baja started calling the house a mansion. As a result, even the senators in [last Tuesday’s] hearing fully believed that my house in Nueva Ecija is a mansion,” he said. “The problem with an aerial shot is that you can’t see what’s underneath. That was the error in how my property was presented. They said there were many structures just because there were several roofs,” he said. Property in details Purisima, who came prepared with a PowerPoint presentation showing photos of the property at ground level, explained what the various structures were, starting with the main house. “The total floor area of my house is only 204 square meters … Its market value, which has appreciated over the years, is P2,337,900. On that alone, you can see it’s far from being a mansion or a villa,” he said. * READ MORE...

ALSO: Senate panel forces CoA to break own rules  

OCT 3 --UNFINISHED REPORT DIVULGED, WITNESSES BADGERED. Anything goes, including insults and threats, was considered fair by the senators at yesterday’s Senate blue ribbon subcommittee hearing on the alleged overpriced Makati City Hall Building 2 which aside from the badgering of witnesses and resource persons, the Senate probers compelled the Commission on Audit (CoA) to violate its own rules on the premature disclosure of a preliminary report on the controversial edifice.

The lawyer of Makati City Mayor Jejomar Erwin “Junjun” Binay Jr. and two other resource persons yesterday found themselves bullied, insulted and even threatened by Senate probers after pleading for the deferment of the proceedings, at least until the issue of jurisdiction of the panel had been resolved by the mother committee.
A Makati City official said the presentation of the preliminary audit report submitted by the CoA violated CoA rules and is “patently unfair” to the city government. “As a rule, CoA audits are confidential in nature because the office being audited has the right to reply and explain the findings. Mendoza strssed that under CoA rules, the agency being audited is asked to submit its replies and comments on preliminary audit findings to CoA, which then calls the agency to an exit conference where the findings and corresponding comments are discussed.

“Only after such a conference does CoA render a final report,” the city administrator said. “The CoA official emphasized these during the hearing but was forced to read his report against his objection. This is patently unfair to the city government, which has yet to see and comment on the said findings,” Mendoza said. Mendoza also noted that the preliminary report as stated does not mention overpricing. “It only mentions alleged lapses in the procurement process,” he said. Last Wednesday, lawyers of Makati Mayor Binay filed a motion requesting the Senate blue ribbon committee to evaluate and rule as a whole on the jurisdictional challenge they filed on behalf of their clients last Sept. 25. The lawyers assailed the “arbitrary, capricious and whimsical act” of the sub-committee in proceeding with the hearings without proper resolution of the said challenge. * READ MORE...


READ FULL REPORT HERE:

OFWs defy Palace advisory, join pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong


Demonstrators prepare for bigger gathering in HK Demonstrators prepare for bigger gathering in HK. Pro-democracy protesters stockpiling supplies and washing face towels were photographed by Hong Kong-based Filipino Helen Baguio along Queensbay Road in the Admiralty area on Tuesday, September 30. The demonstrators are preparing for a much bigger rally as barricades had been set up in major streets to block anti-riot policemen. Helen Baguio via YouScoop (Updated 3:28 p.m.)

OCTOBER 6, 2014 (GMA NEWS NETWORK) Defying an advisory from Malacañang, some Filipinos have joined the pro-democracy protest in Hong Kong, a television report said Wednesday.

According to GMA News' stringer Azon Cañete, overseas Filipino workers in Hong Kong were among the thousands who participated in the demonstrations.

"'Yung mga leaders ng OFWs nandito... Napakalawak ng lugar, pero nagte-text sila sa'kin... Para suporta sa rallyista..," Cañete told GMA News TV's News to Go.

"'Yung ibang OFWs, sinama ng kanilang mga alaga," she added.

Filipinos who opted not to join the protests are complaining of the long distances they have to walk to get to the Philippine Consulate as public transportation there was paralyzed.

The leader of the OFW group that joined the protest yesterday told Cañete that they were not inviting others to join. However, they added that Filipinos with time to spare were welcome.

No penalties have so far been announced for foreigners who joined the protest.

The exact number of Filipinos who joined the protest, however, could not be ascertained as of posting time.

Only last Tuesday, a Malacañang official discouraged Filipinos in Hong Kong from joining pro-democracy protests there.

"Pinagpapayuhan po ang ating mga mamamayan na kung maaaring umiwas sila sa paglahok sa mga aksyon na ‘yan, at mag-focus na lang sa kanilang gawain sa Hong Kong," Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. told a press briefing.

* For its part, the Department of Foreign Affairs earlier told Filipino tourists to avoid sites of the demonstrations, such as Central, Admiralty, Tim Mei Avenue, Lung Wei Road Causeway Bay, Mongkok, Wan Chai and the government headquarters in Tamar.

'Peaceful — for now'

Meanwhile, the television report noted the absence of policemen in the area since Tuesday — in contrast to last Sunday, when protesters were repelled by riot police with tear gas and pepper spray.

The report quoted several rally leaders as saying they remain vigilant despite the absence of policemen there.

"Sabi nila, tingin nila, nagpapahinga raw... Pero baka may pinaplano... Kaya naghahanda rin sila... Very strange na walang pulis," Cañete reported.

"Naisip nila na dahil National Day ng China, iniisip siguro ng gobyerno na maraming dadalo at nagpapakita sila ng kaluwagan," Cañete told GMA News TV's "Balitanghali".

She added that most protesters were teenagers to young adults, with participants as young as 15 years old directing traffic, donations, and routes around the protest area.

Because the Hong Kong government has yet to respond to their demands, the Occupy Central campaign will continue despite reaching the deadline of Oct. 1.

Protests have erupted in Hong Kong over the past days after China announced that it will only allow Beijing-approved candidates to participate in the city's elections in 2017.

Some 195,000 Filipinos are working in Hong Kong, based on government records in 2012. The Chinese special administrative region is also a popular destination among Filipino tourists. — Amanda Fernandez and Rie Takumi/RSJ/KBK, GMA News

Hong Kong Occupy leader says protests will spread ‘like flowers’ GMA NEWS October 1, 2014 2:49pm 2 19 0 39


With the police trying to repel them with pepper spray and tear gas, Hong Kong's pro-democracy protesters have been using whatever items they have on hand to protect themselves from the chemicals, including goggles, masks—and umbrellas. The ongoing protests have become known as the Umbrella Revolution, or the Umbrella Movement. And now local artists have been inspired to come up with images in support of the protests. Using the hashtag #UmbrellaRevolution on Twitter, the South China Morning Post featured several of the images, including a yellow-and-black logo reminiscent of People Power graphics. GMANEWS

One of Hong Kong's most prominent pro-democracy leaders struggled to contain his emotions Wednesday as he warned protests would spread like "blossoming flowers" and pleaded with residents to understand why the city has been brought to a standstill.

Occupy Central co-founder Chan Kin-man told reporters it was inevitable the protests, which have already taken over several main roads and intersections, would grow if the government maintained its hardline stance.

"We understand why citizens are continuing to expand the occupation, it is because the government is so cold," Chan said, regularly having to stop speaking to compose himself.

"Despite such a large occupation, the government is still using such an attitude, so a lot of people think that the action now is not enough and that flowers must continue to blossom everywhere."

Occupy Central is one of the main organizers of the protest which spread to different parts of the semi-autonomous city after riot police tear-gassed demonstrators on Sunday, prompting more supporters to join them on the streets.

Tens of thousands of protesters have assembled in three major commercial and retail areas of Hong Kong for the past three days.

By midday Wednesday, crowds in the central district of Admiralty had already increased to several thousand, with offices closed for a public holiday to mark China's National Day.

Chan, who was close to tears, apologised to citizens for the inconvenience the sit-ins have caused and asked for tolerance.

"I hope everyone will understand what we are doing is not to harm Hong Kong.

"With this short-term inconvenience, we hope to bring about a system that is more fair."

* Earlier Wednesday Hong Kong's leader Leung Chun-ying said the community should work together in a "peaceful, lawful, rational and pragmatic manner" while reiterating his commitment to the "Chinese dream."

The city's chief executive has asked protesters to end the sit-in, but his request has had no impact on demonstrators.

The most intense civil unrest Hong Kong has experienced since its 1997 handover from British rule was sparked by Beijing's decision in August to restrict who can stand for the city's top post in elections in 2017.

Protesters have two demands -- that Leung step down and Beijing rescind its insistence that his successor be vetted. — Agence France-Presse

FROM THE INQUIRER

The price AFP needs to pay to become ‘heavyweight’ military
By Matikas Santos |INQUIRER.net1:14 pm | Friday, October 3rd, 2014


Armed Forces chief General Gregorio Catapang. INQUIRER.net FILE PHOTO


MANILA, Philippines–What will it take for the “lightweight” Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) to become a “heavyweight” and stand up to nations that are bullying the Philippines? Money. Lots of it.

General Gregorio Catapang, AFP Chief of Staff, said Friday following a Senate hearing of the Department of National Defense’s (DND) budget that nearly P300 billion will be needed over at least a decade for the AFP’s modernization program.

He described the modernization program as being divided into three “horizons.” The first, which costs P85 billion, will help the Philippines achieve a “minimum credible defense posture” in protecting the country’s territory.

“The second horizon is another P85-P100 billion which will take six years, while the third horizon is P100-P125 billion and another six years for military hardware and also bases development,” Catapang told reporters in an ambush interview.

“We can think of it like boxing where the first horizon is the bantamweight, then the second horizon is the middleweight, and eventually the third horizon is heavyweight,” he said.

They had initially asked for P40 billion for modernization but were given only around P30 billion, Catapang said.

During the hearing, Senator Loren Legarda asked Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin how the military was ensuring the security and integrity of the Philippine territory given the reduction of their budget.

“Right now we rely only on what we have,” Gazmin said. The AFP recently was able to acquire two ships, the BRP Gregorio del Pilar and the BRP Ramon Alcaraz, from the United States coast guard.

Legarda also asked how the AFP was monitoring and countering China’s reclamation activities and expansionist policy in the South China Sea despite lack of funds.

* Gazmin said, “We were given specific instructions by President Benigno Aquino III not to disturb the status quo. We do have funds for the improvement of Pagasa airport but this is now held in abeyance because of the case we have filed in [the international arbitration court].”

“We have limited capability in monitoring but because of our friendly relations with some countries, we are provided information [in the West Philippine Sea],” he said.

The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) previously said that China has an “overwhelming presence” in the South China Sea and has, on many occasions, used force to turn away Filipino fishermen from Scarborough Shoal and Navy personnel from Ayungin Shoal.

The Philippines has challenged China’s nine-dash line claim by filing an arbitration case before the International Tribunal on the Law of the Sea. China refuses to participate in the case insisting on “bilateral talks” on the basis of “historical facts.”

China is conducting massive land reclamation projects in several reefs in the Spratly Islands which are widely regarded as precursors to the construction of military bases.

FROM THE TRIBUNE

Calls for Noy resignation mount, Cebu Council Assembly joins Lipa Written by Tribune Wires Friday, 03 October 2014 00:00

Calls for the resignation of President Aquino have become louder, with the Cebu Assembly of National Transformation Council (NTC) adding its voice to an earlier call from the Lipa Declaration.

Last Tuesday, some 5,000 people from Cebu City and various parts of the Visayas and Mindanao came together to promulgate the Cebu Assembly of the National Transformation Council (NTC) at the Mariners’ Compound, ALU-TUCP, Pier 1, Cebu City.

Led by Cardinal Ricardo Vidal, archbishop emeritus of Cebu, Archbishop Ramon Arguelles of the Archdiocese of Lipa, Archbishop Romulo de la Cruz of the Archdiocese of Zamboanga City, and Bishop Juan de Dios Pueblos of Butuan City, the Assembly was also attended by various leaders of the United Church of Christ of the Philippines, the Ustadz from Mindanao as well as various sectoral and professional leaders, elements of the MILF, led by Ed Kabalu and MNLF, leading educators from the RVM Sisters and Daughters of Charity, and various civic organizations.

The Cebu Assembly of the NTC, which featured the signing of the 4-page NTC document, echoed the call of Cardinal Vidal and the other bishops for President Aquino to step down from office, for as Cardinal Vidal had stressed in his talk, “(The President) has damaged the moral fabric of society and therefore has lost the moral right to lead the nation.”

This was the same call and the same message issued to then President Ferdinand Marcos in the mid-eighties demanding his reisgnation by reason of his having lost his moral right for destroying the moral fabric of society by the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines led by its then president, Archbishop Vidal.

The Cebu prelate said: “We noted with great pain that while the moral and spiritual crisis and its political and eonomic effects continued to deepen, the national political leadership consistently failed to show the will or the capacity to respond to these ills in any appreciable measure.”

* Vidal said Aquino has “subverted and violated the Constitution by corrupting Congress, intimidating the Judiciary, taking over the Treasury, manipulating the automated voting system, and perverting the constitutional impeachment process.”

It will be recalled that, to get then Chief Justice Renato Corona impeached by the House of Representatives, and on an overkill of numbers, Aquino had bribed the legislators with soft and hard projects in the hundreds of millions funded by the unocnstitutional and illegal Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP), wherein the Supreme Court had ruled that the acts committed by the creator, implementor and others involved cannot be washed away by claiming good faith, saying that good faith must be proved in a court of law.

To get the Chief Justice convicted by the Senate, Aquino was said to have bribed the senators with hundreds of millions to convict Corona, also through the DAP.

Aquino has also been threatening the justices of the Supreme Court after it ruled that acts committed from the DAP, as unconstitutional and illegal.

There have also been serious allegations of Aquino and his Commission on Elections (Comelec) having rigged the 2013 senatorial elections, with the proof being the 60-30-10 voting pattern nationwide favoring his nine senatorial candidates, which voting patern is statistically impossible. Also, it has been found that there were invisble vertical lines in the ballots intended to invalidate the votes of the opposition candidates.

It will be recalled that Aquino’s aunt in law, Tingting Cojuangco, earlier bared that there was cheating during the 2013 senatorial polls, saying that her nephew, President Aquino, was aware of the cheating, and even gave an unnamed general P30 million “to clean up” the evidence of electoral fraud.

Of the electoral fraud, Vidal’s statement read: The total absence of any official effort to reform the automated election system, which was thoroughly corrupted and debased by the Commission on Elections in its effort to produce “machine-made” and “de facto” high government officials during the 2010 presidential and the 2013 senatorial elections, but which the administration is once again preparing to use in the projected 2016 presidential elections, without restoring the safety features and accuracy mechanisms, which the Comelec had illegally removed in the previous two elections.”

The Cebu Church leader, who said he received a congratulatory message of support from the current Archbishop of Cebu Jose Palma, who is currently in Rome on official visit, stressed to the Cebu Assembly that the transformation efforts are aimed toward correcting the “political dysfunctions” that the nation is currently witnessing and that these are “mere symptoms of the problems, but more importantly, the roots of the crisis as well.”

Aside from calling on President Aquino to step down from office, the Cebu Assembly also called for the prosecution and punishment of the politicians who were involved in the misuse and abuse of the PDAF and the DAP that run into P150 billion, as well as the establishment of a “People’s Truth Commission” to determine and unravel the accountability and any consequent liability of high officials of the Aquino Administration.

Vidal also slammed Aqino, saying: “The total failure, if not downright refusal, of the Aquino regime to comply with a direct order of the Supreme Court to file criminal charges against all the lawmakers and members of the executive department and the Commission on Audit who were involved in the grave misuse of the priority development assistance fund (PDAF) and the DAP, both of which the court had unanimously declared unconstitutional.”

While three opposition senators and their aides were charged, none of the allies of Aquino nor his secretaries, such as Budget chief, Florencio “Butch” Abad and others were charged. Instead, they were all absolved by Aquino.

The Assembly, a direct successor of the Lipa Declaration launched in Lipa last Aug. 27, 2014, also called on the abolition of the “utterly corrupt”Comelec and the establishment of an honest and credible electoral system needed to restore the integrity and credibility of the electoral process and provide a systems change toward national transformation. It also demanded the revamp of the badly discredited Philippine National Police.

In calling for the removal of all the officials of the government from the President down, who are found guilty of culpability, the Cebu Assembly called upon the NTC to immediately organize an alternative government of men and women of integrity and proven worth, to run the government so as to prevent a political vacuum.

FROM THE MANNILA STANDARD

‘Purisima lying thru his teeth’; But Palace insists he answered issues ‘truthfully’ MANILA STANDARD By Macon Ramos-Araneta, Joyce Pangco Pañares | Oct. 02, 2014 at 12:01am


Clamor. Members of the left-leaning Kilusang Mayo Uno protest in front of Camp Crame to demand the resignation of National Police Chief Alan Purisima for his alleged unexplained wealth. Manny Palmero

SENATOR Sergio Osmeña III on Wednesday said Philippine National Police (PNP) Director General Alan Purisma should be retired early since President Benigno Aquino III won’t sack him for amassing unexplained wealth and accepting gifts that are disallowed by law.

“He should be retired,” Osmeña said of the beleaguered police chief who is facing three plunder complaints before the Office of the Ombudsman.

Interviewed on ABS-CBN, Osmeña said Purisma broke the law when he accepted gifts worth millions of pesos, such as huge discounts for his 4.7-hectare property in Nueva Ecija and several luxury vehicles, then lied about it before the Senate.

Osmeña said Purisima also broke the law when he accepted P11 million in donations to build his official residence in Camp Crame in the absence of a deed of donation.

The Palace continued to defend Purisima Wednesday, saying he had the moral ascendancy to lead the PNP.

“We have to hand it to General Purisima that he answered all those questions truthfully...This is an issue where you see the general answering all the questions with candor,” presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda said.

But both Osmeña and the chairman of the committee on public order, Senator Grace Poe, said they believed Purisma lied.

While Purisima is loyal to the President, Osmeña said, now is the time for Aquino to put an end to the abuses committed by his police chief.

Osmeña warned that Purisima’s continued stay as chief would jeopardize the passage of the PNP Reform Act and would also endanger the public.

After grilling the police chief during a Senate hearing Tuesday, Osmeña said Purisima was “lying through his teeth” about his properties and his official residence in Camp Crame, which has been dubbed the White House.

The chairman of the Senate committee on public order, Senator Grace Poe, also said Purisima lied during his testimony before her panel.

* She said his answers were not those of one would expect from a person with basic intelligence, much less the chief of police.

“He was really lying. Why were his answers like that?” she said, pointing out that Purisima was not credible when he said he had not seen a plan for the White House before it was built.

“Secondly, any member of the government should be very careful if someone is giving you a discount, especially a huge discount. You will think what will [he want] in return?” she said.

Osmeña also questioned the accuracy of Purisima’s statement of assets, liabilities and net worth, noting that his assets were undervalued.

“This can’t be feasible. I told him...you’re lying,” said Osmeña, an ally of President Aquino.

He also blasted Purisima for accepting as donation of P11 million from three private contractors for the White House.

In the hearing, he told Purisima it was hard to believe that any person would donate a building to the PNP without expecting anything in return.

‘Your friends, they are not doing that out of the goodness their heart. As long as you are in office, they know they can get something from you,” he said.

Instead of accepting the building, Osmeña said, Purisma should have used the donation to improve the facilities of the PNP General Hosital.

Reacting to Purisma’s testimony Wednesday, UP Diliman political science professor Amado Mendoza Jr. said it was hard to believe a police official could accept any sizable donation against the law without any expectations.

He said there is a prohibition for government officials, especially the PNP chief, from accepting gifts or donations.

Testifying for the first time in the senate panel, Purisima admitted he acquired the San Leonardo lot in Nueva Ecija for only P150,000 and a Toyota Land Cruiser for only P1.5 million.

The Nueva Ecija property was the subject of the plunder and graft charges filed against Purisma.

In the Palace, Lacierda said it was up to those who watched Purisma’s testimony to assess if he was truthful.

He would not say, however, if it was ethical of Purisima to accept a huge discount of more than P1 million for a brand new luxury vehicle.

“You know, I’m also new in government, so I would have to refer to policies in civil service or some other government agency that would have a mandate to determine those matters that you asked,” said Lacierda, who has been Aquino’s spokesman for four years.

Lacierda also declined to comment on whether he believed Purisma may have violated the Code of Conduct For Public Officials.

“You have to ask Civil Service Commission. I am in the dark on the rules on the Civil Service Commission,” he said.

Lacierda expressed confidence that Purisima will be able to continue to lead the PNP’s anti-crime campaign, including running after rogue policemen.

“We can rely on Gen. Purisima’s commitment to rid the PNP of scalawags,” Lacierda said.

On Wednesday, pro-Purisima supporters showed up at Camp Crame a day after is testimony before the Senate.

More than 10 of the demonstrators carrying cartolina placards that read “Bravo, Police. Fight Crime” gathered in front of Gate 1 of Camp Crame to show their support for Purisima.

PNP spokesman Senior Supt. Wilben Mayor thanked the group for their support.

But another group from the militant labor group Kilusang Mayo Uno gathered on the other side of the EDSA gate to demand Purisima’s imprisonment.

Roger Soluta, KMU secretary general, said they were dismayed with what Purisima said during last Tuesday’s senate hearing.

“It was deeply disturbing and disgusting that he (Purisima) gave himself a grade of 9 out of 10 on national television. The crime rate and corruption within the PNP are growing and one reason is that he does not provide a good example to ordinary policemen, being the leader of corruption in the PNP,” Soluta said in a statement. – With Francisco Tuyay

FROM THE INQUIRER

Purisima invites media to his ‘ordinary house’ By Jaymee T. Gamil |Philippine Daily Inquirer2:01 am | Friday, October 3rd, 2014


YOU BE THE JUDGE What mansion? The controversial Nueva Ecija property of Philippine National Police Chief Director General Alan Purisima is no “luxurious estate,” or so he says of the 4.7-hectare property with an inviting pool measuring 7.5 meters by 15 meters in San Leonardo, Nueva Ecija. PHOTO COURTESY OF PNP-PIO

MANILA, Philippines–He invited reporters to see the 4.7-hectare property in San Leonardo town, one of the subjects of a plunder complaint filed against him in the Office of the Ombudsman.

It’s not a mansion, it’s not a villa, it’s just an “ordinary house.” But come and enjoy a swim in the pool.

Philippine National Police Chief Director General Alan Purisima tried to explain his controversial property in Nueva Ecija province at a news conference in Camp Crame, Quezon City, on Thursday, belying media reports that he lived a luxurious lifestyle by releasing pictures that showed the house is not a mansion and the swimming pool is not Olympic-size.

Purisima said the description of the property in media reports as a “luxurious estate” was wrong.

“It’s not a mansion. It’s an ordinary house that we improved bit by bit over the years,” Purisima said.

The property came to light after ABS-CBN showed an aerial view of the compound, which included a pool and at least three separate structures.

Purisima said anchor Ted Failon described the property as “luxurious, with several buildings,” and his house “as a mansion, a villa.”

“After that, other known TV journalists like Noli de Castro, Alvin Elchico, Vic Lima, Karen Davila, Anthony Taberna and Gerry Baja started calling the house a mansion. As a result, even the senators in [last Tuesday’s] hearing fully believed that my house in Nueva Ecija is a mansion,” he said.

“The problem with an aerial shot is that you can’t see what’s underneath. That was the error in how my property was presented. They said there were many structures just because there were several roofs,” he said.

Property in details

Purisima, who came prepared with a PowerPoint presentation showing photos of the property at ground level, explained what the various structures were, starting with the main house.

“The total floor area of my house is only 204 square meters … Its market value, which has appreciated over the years, is P2,337,900. On that alone, you can see it’s far from being a mansion or a villa,” he said.

* The other structures and their value as determined by the Nueva Ecija assessor’s office, he said, were a thatched gazebo worth P17,890; a garage worth P52,630, and guardhouse-cum-guesthouse worth P510,420.

Purisima belied the media description of the swimming pool as “Olympic-size.”

“It’s only 7.5 meters by 15 meters. This is not even 10 percent of the size of an Olympic swimming pool,” he said.
But he invited reporters to come and see the place and try the pool.

Purisima also showed photos to belie news reports that the fence is taller than an average person’s height.

In a hearing called by the Senate committee on public order on Tuesday, Purisima testified that the property’s market value was P3.7 million.

He said he acquired the property in 1998 for only P150,000, and started improving it in 2002 using his savings.
His detractors have accused him of understating the property’s value.

Enemies seeking revenge

Purisima blamed the “tenacious, rabid” attacks on him involving his alleged “hidden wealth” on unnamed enemies seeking revenge on him.

“As I told the Senate, we have filed many complaints against criminals, and even former officials of the PNP. That is why a lot of people are angry [with] me and want to take revenge by destroying my name,” Purisima said.

Purisima also admitted to having another property in Nueva Ecija’s capital city Palayan, which he said he acquired cheap from local farmers.

When asked if he declared the property in his financial disclosure, Purisima could only say he was “not sure.”
The news conference ended after only 15 minutes, as Purisima had to leave for a meeting with President Aquino in Malacañang.

Aquino still trusts him

In the Palace, Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma told reporters that President Aquino still had confidence in Purisima.

Coloma said that on the eve of Purisima’s appearance in the Senate, the police chief met with Aquino and was told to “reveal the whole truth” about the charges against him, particularly his finances.

“And we saw that when he appeared in the Senate hearing, he responded to all questions,” Coloma said, following up the statement of presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda on Wednesday that Purisima answered the senators’ questions “truthfully.”

Among the issues raised against Purisima in the hearing was the impropriety of accepting a donation of P11 million for the renovation of his official residence in Camp Crame last year.

Purisima said the donation was not made to him but to the PNP, which is the owner of the house. He said his successors would also use the house and that the donor, Ulticon Builder Inc. (UBI), was not a supplier of the PNP.

Donation confirmed

On Thursday, Ulticon issued a statement signed by company vice president Susan R. Quintans confirming the donation.

Quintans said the donation was made in 2013 but the formal deed of donation was executed only on Sept. 3, 2014, by UBI president Carlos Gonzales “in favor of the Philippine National Police duly represented by its head Chief PNP Alan Purisima.”

UBI confirmed that it had no previous or pending financial or business transaction with the PNP.

“In making the donation, UBI merely intended to contribute to a worthy project of the PNP and in keeping with the demands of corporate social responsibility,” Quintans said.

“The donation was not in any way intended to influence or secure any pending or future business or financial transaction with the PNP,” she said. “This is clearly reflected in the warranty clause of the deed of donation itself, which expressly states that ‘the donor has no business interest in the PNP and [does] not intend to or expect to have a business relationship with the PNP.’”

“In line with the adherence to corporate social responsibility, UBI is committed to live up to the cited written undertaking to renounce any future business or financial relationship or transaction with the PNP or its intrumentality,” Quintans said.

He’s accountable

Still, Coloma said Purisima was “accountable for all of his actions under our existing laws.”

“It’s up to individual public servants to decide whether his action is acceptable or not before the bar of public opinion. In all cases, all those serving in our government are accountable under the law,” Coloma said.–With a report from Christian V. Esguerra

FROM THE TRIBUNE

Senate panel forces CoA to break own rules
Written by Pat C. Santos and Angie M. Rosales Friday, 03 October 2014 00:00

UNFINISHED REPORT DIVULGED, WITNESSES BADGERED

Anything goes, including insults and threats, was considered fair by the senators at yesterday’s Senate blue ribbon subcommittee hearing on the alleged overpriced Makati City Hall Building 2 which aside from the badgering of witnesses and resource persons, the Senate probers compelled the Commission on Audit (CoA) to violate its own rules on the premature disclosure of a preliminary report on the controversial edifice.

The lawyer of Makati City Mayor Jejomar Erwin “Junjun” Binay Jr. and two other resource persons yesterday found themselves bullied, insulted and even threatened by Senate probers after pleading for the deferment of the proceedings, at least until the issue of jurisdiction of the panel had been resolved by the mother committee.

A Makati City official said the presentation of the preliminary audit report submitted by the CoA violated CoA rules and is “patently unfair” to the city government.

“As a rule, CoA audits are confidential in nature because the office being audited has the right to reply and explain the findings. Mendoza strssed that under CoA rules, the agency being audited is asked to submit its replies and comments on preliminary audit findings to CoA, which then calls the agency to an exit conference where the findings and corresponding comments are discussed.

“Only after such a conference does CoA render a final report,” the city administrator said.

“The CoA official emphasized these during the hearing but was forced to read his report against his objection. This is patently unfair to the city government, which has yet to see and comment on the said findings,” Mendoza said.
Mendoza also noted that the preliminary report as stated does not mention overpricing. “It only mentions alleged lapses in the procurement process,” he said.

Last Wednesday, lawyers of Makati Mayor Binay filed a motion requesting the Senate blue ribbon committee to evaluate and rule as a whole on the jurisdictional challenge they filed on behalf of their clients last Sept. 25.

The lawyers assailed the “arbitrary, capricious and whimsical act” of the sub-committee in proceeding with the hearings without proper resolution of the said challenge.

Under Section 3 of Resolution No. 5 of the Senate Rules of Procedure on Inquiries in Aid of Legislation, in the event that a jurisdictional challenge is filed, the same must be resolved first before proceeding with any inquiry.

Pending a ruling from the whole committee, the lawyers asked for a suspension of the inquiry being conducted by the sub-committee into Makati City Hall Building II.

The matter of jurisdictional challenge posed by the camp of Binay on the eve of the hearing, through lawyer Claro Certeza, will be decided on Tuesday by blue ribbon committee chairman Sen. Teofisto “TG” Guingona, allowing the sub-committee chaired by Sen. Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel to resume the public investigation on the issue.

The sub-committee took up, among other things, a confidential report by the CoA, a preliminary evaluation of the questioned project by its special audit team, despite the request of CoA Commissioner Jose Fabia to keep it restricted for the meantime until the agency has completed the report on the matter.

The prohibition on its premature disclosure was also reiterated by CoA acting director of fraud audit office lawyer Alexander Juliano, who presented the preliminary report, even reminding the panel that it could pose a violation of the provisions of Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act, particularly section 3 for premature disclosure.

Fabia, in a letter addressed to Senate President Franklin Drilon, copy furnished to Pimentel, said that the sealed envelope he submitted before the panel contained the initial evaluation of the “red flags” of the said building and was in compliance with the subpoena duces tecum by the panel.

“Considering that the contents of this document are preliminary, may I request that the same be made confidential until the Special Audit Team shall have completed its audit?” Fabia said in his letter dated yesterday.

Juliano, in appearing before the sub-committee, also expressed his reservation in light of the provision he mentioned under the said law, R.A. 3019 “because this report is just a preliminary report and we don’t have yet the comment of the management of the city of Makati.”

The preliminary CoA Report which was titled Initial Evaluation - Red Flags, cited six questions raised on the five phases of the project undertaken by Hilmarc’s Construction Inc. which are that the project was implemented with undue haste without construction plans when it was bid out and awarded to Hilmarc’s; variances between the approved budget for the contract (ABC) and the offer of Hilmarc’s for the five phases of the project were less than a fourth of one percent of the ABC; No valid ABC for Phase III existed when Makati City started the procurement process; based on a CoA inspection report dated July 7, 2011 for Phase III, the Parking building was already habitable and ready for use; the ABC and contract cost show very significant variances above the CoA estimated cost for Phases III and IV; and unnecessary expenditures made for mobilization and demobilization.

The report showed the Makati City goveenment disbursed P2.37 billion as of Dec. 31, 2013 for the construction of Makati City Hall Parking Building 2.

“This report is for internal consumption of CoA to serve as a basis for the issuance of an office order and the recommendation was approved and Chairman Grace Pulido-Tan issued an order and yet we have not had the exit conference with the city of Makati,” Juliano tried to explain to the Senate panel to no avail.

The Senate probers primarily Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano insisted that the envelope be opened and for Juliano to read the contents of the report.

Pimentel prevailed upon Juliano saying that the request to keep the said initial report confidential cannot be granted due to “overwhelming public interest.”

“According to our rules, an executive session will be allowed if it involves national security. I don’t think the alleged anomaly in Makati City hall involves national security,” Pimentel said.

Prior to the Juliano’s presentation saying that the project was implemented with undue haste as there were no construction plans yet when it was bid out and awarded to Hilmarc’s Construction Corp., Pimentel merely took note of the manifestation of Certeza alongside a similar request made by the minority bloc members, specifically acting Minority Leader Vicente Sotto III, and Senators Nancy Binay and JV Ejercito.

Since it’s a mere manifestation and not a motion, no ruling is needed to be made, Pimentel said.

It is a manifestation not a motion so no ruling is needed and that the matter of the manifestation with motion filed by Mayor Binay through his counsel will be decided by Guingona, Pimentel said.

Guingona, in a text message sent to reporters by his office, said “along with blue ribbon committee lawyers, we are currently studying very carefully the legal pleading submitted by Mayor Binay” and will will decide on the matter by Tuesday next week. Guingona is currently in Mindanao.

While Pimentel was cordial in dealing with Certeza, even allowing him to speak despite the prohibition in their rules governing inquiries on counsel of witnesses or resource persons, Cayetano and Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV did not let pass the petition of the Binays which they claimed was a mere legal tactic to put to a stop the inquiry.

Certeza invoked Section 3 of the rules of the Senate stating that whenever there is an existing jurisdictional challenge, such challenge must be resolved by the committee.

“So with due respect to the sub-committee we are asking that the matter be brought before the committee as a whole and that in the meantime, defer, just defer the inquiry pursuant to the rules of the Senate,” he said.

Trillanes and Cayetano then took turns in berating the lawyer, even engaging him in a debate on the basis of such motion, claims of alleged violation of constitutional rights of Mayor Binay and other persons appearing in the inquiry and that the proceeding appears to be not in aid of legislation anymore.

“We know that you know what you are doing, if you’re worth that expensive suit you’re wearing but you should admit the flimsy basis of your proposal. For that matter, there is no basis at all and in fact what you are after is to stop this hearing because you can’t offer an answer,” Trillanes said.

“Initially the line was bring it on, then it became that is only part of partisan politics. If you are dismissing the allegations and you are not affected, then you should not raise that. So what is now the line? Politics or is it starting to hurt that is why the need to stop the probe?,” Trillanes said in berating the lawyer.

When Certeza asked if he could reply, Trillanes shut him up saying that they should hear instead from the panel chairman.

Cayetano then took over lecturing the lawyer that their inquiries in aid of legislation are given wide latitude since they don’t hear criminal or civil cases.

“Yes we agree that this august body has very wide powers and latitude but in the same manner that the constitutional grants this body with wide powers and latitude, are also limitations. One, that it will respect the constitutional rights of others, two in aid of legislation and three, that all the things that will be done in the committee level will be in accordance with the rules of the committee,” Certeza said.

“You said we have to respect constitutional rights, that is correct. Can you tell me one constitutional right that this committee has violated to any of the resource persons including your client?” Cayetano asked to which he was given the reply, “the right to be presumed innocent until proven otherwise.”

When Cayetano denied that they have already prejudged anyone involved in the issue, Certeza said stenographic notes that he had reviewed would bear him out on his claim.

“With due respect, there were questions there leading to the conclusion that the august body already made a determination that my client is guilty,” Certeza said.

Cayetano then proceeded to attack Certeza on the information that reached him that the said lawyer has sent media advisory that he will be available for any interview in one of the hearing rooms at the Senate, a matter that obviously piqued the senator.

“Let’s not split hairs here. What I wanted to point out here is simple. The Vice President (Jejomar Binay) and his family want this hearing stopped. That’s the bottomline here. And our part our only goal is to bring out the truth,” he said.

“We invited them (Binays) to attend and answer our questions....Isn’t it true that part of the process of coming with the truth, cross examination, is the showing of a pattern? If you want to show a pattern, that wuld be part of the hearing and the court will allow it,” Cayetano said.

“The normal situation, as far as I know is that evidence that the party is guilty in one instance should not be considered as evidence in that instance and that is by way of exception you will prove that there is a pattern,” Certeza said.

Cayetano then went on to argue that, in court proceedings, some questions may be irrelevant but it can still be pursued to prove the credibility of the witness which Certeza negated saying that the “the very essence of the rules of evidence prohibits considering (pieces of) evidence that are otherwise immaterial or irrelevant.”

But before allowing the lawyer to be excused from the proceedings, Trillanes issued him a warning.

“Atty. Certeza we will be monitoring your press conference. If you as much as disrespect this blue ribbon committee, we will ask you back. Okay?” Trillanes was quoted as saying.

“We have no intention,” the lawyer said.

“That’s good,” Trillanes retorted.

The testimony of commissioner Heidi Mendoza was filled with drama but devoid of relevance.

She testified on a 2011 case which is now with the courts, United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) interim secretary general JV Bautista said.

This violates the sub-judice rule and the rights of former Makati Mayor Elenita Binay who has appealed the Ombudsman’s re-filing of the case before the Supreme Court, he added.

“Mrs. Binay were cleared in 2011 by the Ombudsman but on the motion for reconsideration of the other accused, the Ombudsman suddenly re-filed the case in 2014 and included Mrs. Binay despite the final and executory nature of the dismissal,” he said.

Bautista said the Sandiganbayan had dismissed a similar case against Mrs. Binay after the court found that Mendoza had violated the rules of the CoA when she did not use similar items to prove her allegation of overpricing.

Ms. Mendoza also cannot deny that she has made statements against the Vice President and his family and thus cannot be a fair and impartial auditor of projects in Makati.

The statements of Mendoza actually validated our claim that the group of Mr. Ernesto Mercado is behind these supposed irregularities in Makati.

The senators again showed their bias when they forced the CoA representative to reveal the preliminary findings of their special audit on Makati City Hall Building 2. Such reports are confidential since Makati has not been given the opportunity to answer them, he said.

As to the stunt of Mr. Renato Bondal, his document does not prove anything relevant to the on-going probe and can be categorized as another “hula-hula” stunt similar to his birthday cakes debacle.


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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