HEADLINE NEWS THIS WEEK...

BINAY STILL AN ALLY OF NOY, BUT UNA SLAMS DE LIMA 

OCT 16 --Vice President Jejomar Binay remains a friend of President Aquino and his family,
spokesman Cavite Gov. Jonvic Remulla said yesterday. “Vice President Binay remains an ally of the President. More importantly, he continues to be a real friend of the Aquino family,” Remulla said. “The views he articulated during the forum with lawyers were a product of the experience and wisdom he gained as a life-long human rights advocate and as a lawyer well-versed on the constructs of our legal system,” Remulla added, referring to last Tuesday’s forum hosted by Binay.
Remulla issued the statement following reports of an impending breakup between Aquino and Binay.

Binay’s United Nationalist Alliance (UNA), on the other hand, urged Justice Secretary Leila de Lima to focus on pressing cases instead of joining a hatchet job against the Vice President. UNA interim secretary general JV Bautista said De Lima has too many cases on her plate. Bautista said there are more pressing and serious cases like the still unresolved Maguindanao massacre and the recent killing of a Filipino by a US serviceman. Bautista said De Lima should insulate herself from the political ax machine since her department is handling many cases. “Her time is better spent enforcing the laws and protecting society from crime running rampant in our streets,” Bautista said. Bautista said De Lima is “dead wrong” in insisting that she has the power to investigate the Vice President. “What will be the purpose of such an investigation, except as an exercise in futility, at least, and a pure political harassment of the Vice President at best,” Bautista said. * READ MORE...

ALSO: Koko hints probe failed to prove overprice rap  

OCT 20 --The head of the Senate subcommittee investigating Vice President Jejomar Binay and his family for alleged anomalies raised the possibility of halting the probe admitting yesterday of the likelihood that the body failed to prove allegations of overprice on the Makati City Hall 2 building which was the subject of the inquiry. Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV, who filed the resolution that started the probe, will be made to justify the continuation of the subcommittee hearings if the findings on the overprice allegations appeared to be on the contrary, Senate Blue Ribbon subcommittee chairman Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel said. “I cannot disclose yet whatever will be my recommendations. But theoretically speaking, the possibilities on our findings could be that there’s no overpricing.

I will ask the author (Trillanes) of the resolution to put to a stop on our probe because the findings on the initial at hand are already negative,” Pimentel said. “Let the author argue if that will be my recommendation. But if he will argue still, he should justify that the investigation still falls under Resolution 826 (that he filed),” Pimentel said, referring to the supposed rationale behind move placing under investigation the Vice President. Trillanes earlier said the subcommittee will drag on for at least eight sessions more because of new issues uncovered against Binay and his family who are either in former or current government posts. Senator Jinggoy Estrada also came to the defense of Binay as he assailed the move of the Department of Justice (DoJ) to join the fray, so to speak, in looking into the veracity of charges being hurled at the country’s second highest official.

The DoJ is at it again, engaging in politicking by discrediting personalities from the ranks of the political opposition perceived to be “threats” to administration bets, the senator said. * READ MORE...

ALSO: Guingona upholds Pimentel sub-committee's power  

RELATED NEWS: Senate Blue Ribbon committee chairman Teofisto Guingona III on Tuesday upheld the power of the subcommittee probing the Makati City Hall Building 2 to rule on a jurisdictional challenge filed by Makati Mayor Jejomar Erwin “Jun-jun” Binay Jr. UNA interim president Rep. Toby Tiangco assailed Guingona's failure to stop a "runaway" sub-committee, and said his "Pilate" stance allowed a reckless disregard of Senate rules. However, Guingona said in a brief press conference, the committee was treating the Binay manifestation as a "motion for reconsideration" and was therefore throwing this back to the subcommittee chaired by Sen. Aquilino "Koko" Pimentel III, for a final ruling. Until the Pimentel subcommittee resolves the issue "with finality," further hearings should be held in abeyance, Guingona said. Guingona cited Sec. 20 of the Rules of the Senate, governing inquiries in aid of legislation, as the basis for his decision.

It was unclear whether he consulted any of the members of the Blue Ribbon committee before deciding to uphold the unilateral act of Senator Pimentel to throw out on the spot the jurisdictional challenge when it was filed by Mayor Binay's lawyer, Claro Certeza. The mayor’s sister, Sen. Nancy Binay, who is a member of the Blue Ribbon mother committee, had said at the weekend that at the very least, Guingona should call a meeting of the members of the panel and take a vote on whether or not to allow just the subcommittee rule on a jurisdictional challenge, or to let the mother committee rule on the matter. Last week, Certeza re-filed the manifestation of Mayor Binay with a motion to stop further proceedings on the inquiry, which was based on a resolution to look into alleged overpricing in the construction of what is also known as the Makati City “parking building.” Per Section 20, Guingona said, the "subcommittee may perform any and all acts which the committee as a whole is authorized to do and perform, except the power to punish for contempt." The letter-request of the Makati mayor "is being treated as a motion for reconsideration ...We are liberally interpreting the rules in their favor so as to provide them further leeway. Therefore, we are returning it to the subcommittee to rule on the motion for reconsideration." And, Guingona added, "until the jurisdictional challenge is resolved by the subcommittee with finality ... the holding of further hearings should be held in abeyance." Tiangco scores Guingona lack of leadership --* READ MORE...

ALSO: Mar still LP’s ‘sentimental choice’ for 2016  

OCT 16 --Interior and Local Government Secretary Manuel Roxas II remains the Liberal Party’s
“sentimental choice” for the 2016 presidential elections. Budget Secretary Florencio Abad, also an LP stalwart, told ABS-CBN News Channel that the process of choosing the LP or administration candidate for 2016 has not started and that he would not know if Aquino would indeed endorse Roxas. However, Abad said the President was concerned about the continuity of the reforms he started and Roxas seemed to be the favored candidate to do this. Asked what would stop Aquino from endorsing Roxas, Abad said it would probably be Roxas’ own refusal or decision to decline an endorsement.
Roxas was expected to be the LP’s standard-bearer in 2010, but he gave way to Aquino after the President’s mother Corazon died in August 2009. In surveys on the 2016 presidential race, Roxas has been trailing Vice President Jejomar Binay. THIS IS THE FULL REPORT.

ALSO: ‘Stop Nognog 2016’ brains bared; Cayetano links exposed 

OCT 16 --Mar, Abad, Drilon, Villanueva behind demolition job vs VP. Going full steam on the
offensive, Vice President Jejomar “Jojo” Binay’s camp yesterday bared the names of the alleged brains behind the Operations Stop Nognog 2016 (OSN 2016), identifying them as Interior Secretary Manuel “Mar” Roxas, Budget Secretary Florencio “Butch” Abad, Senate President Franklin Drilon and Tesda Chief Joel Villanueva. Senate Majority Leader Alan Cayetano’s hand in the claimed properties of Binay in Batangas and Tagaytay was also clearly seen as not just one but two of Taguig City Hall employees who were on the helicopter ride to the alleged “Hacienda Binay” were identified through photographs proving their links to the Cayetanos of Taguig. The photos were released to the media yesterday.

The United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) yesterday said that the second passenger named on the flight plan of a helicopter which flew over Sunchamp Agri-Tourism Park in Rosario, Batangas is a photographer working in the Taguig City Hall. “The Marl Jogardi named on the manifest is a photographer who works for the Taguig City Hall. His name is Mari Jogardy Roldan,” UNA said. Former Makati Vice Mayor Ernesto Mercado previously claimed that he was onboard the aircraft which took pictures and videos of the Sunchamp Agri-Tourism Park in Rosario, Batangas. “But the passenger list does not list Mercado, and he is lying,” UNA said. “Erice’s impeachment ploy is diversionary and flatly stonewalling since they cannot answer directly why a chopper is taking pictures and videos of a farm in Batangas,” UNA added. The photos (shown are photos of Dexter Estacio with the Cayetanos; and Roldan) which UNA said show the link of the Liberal Party with both Senators Alan Peter Cayetano and Antonio Trillanes. “The LP funded their campaigns in 2013 and they remain allies up to this day”, UNA added. * READ MORE...

ALSO: LP moves to impeach VP; Belmonte, others to block it  

OCT16 --Belmonte, other solons to block it. ALLIES of Interior and Local Governments Secretary Manuel Roxas II,
the presumptive standard bearer for the ruling Liberal Party in 2016, are scrambling to find grounds to unseat Vice President Jejomar Binay through impeachment, a move that Binay’s allies in the House have vowed to block. Leading the charge is Caloocan Rep. Edgar Erice, who had earlier campaigned for a term extension for President Benigno Aquino III. House Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr., also with the LP, cautioned the anti-Binay forces against initiating impeachment proceedings against the Vice President, saying Congress had more important things to do. “I will convince Erice not to file. The House has other priorities. We cannot be distracted,” Belmonte told the Manila Standard.

“I’m against involving the House in that. We have other priorities. In the House, we will not investigate the VP,” said Belmonte, vice chairman of the Liberal Party. The Nationalist People’s Coalition, led by Valenzuela City Rep. Sherwin Gatchalian, said they would not support the move for the same reason. “For one, Congress should immediately act on President Aquino’s request for emergency powers to address the looming power shortage in Luzon next year. The joint congressional resolution should come out before the end of October and failure to do so will affect the power situation,” Gatchalian said. United Nationalist Alliance interim president and Navotas Rep. Toby Tiangco said the impeachment was part of an LP-Nacionalista Party conspiracy called Oplan Nognog to stop Binay from becoming the next President. Erice’s renewed call for an impeachment was buoyed by the recent pronouncements made by Justice Secretary Leila de Lima that the vice president was not immune from suit. * READ MORE...

ALSO: Miriam 90 percent cancer-free  

OCT 18 --MANILA, Philippines - More than 90 percent of cancer cells in Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago’s lung have regressed, but she is not yet ready to report to work at the Senate at the resumption of plenary sessions on Monday. In a letter to her colleagues last Thursday, Santiago said that six weeks after she was diagnosed with cancer and after taking medication, 70 percent of her cancer cells had regressed. After continuously taking the pill prescribed to her as an alternative to chemotherapy for over three months, Santiago said that over 90 percent of her cancer cells have regressed.

“(But) I am not yet physically fit to attend plenary sessions because of the characteristic debilitating fatigue that marks cancer,” Santiago said in her letter addressed to the Philippine Senate, through Senate President Franklin Drilon. “However, I have managed to discharge my duties as chair of certain Senate committees. In addition, I continue to file bills and resolutions on weekly basis. I have also managed to discharge some speaking obligations, on condition that the event will not last more than two hours, which is my physical limit at this time,” she added. Santiago was at an event on reproductive health last Wednesday at the Philippine Christian University in Manila where she delivered the keynote address. Santiago showed signs of fatigue and before facing reporters at a briefing, she was seen hanging on to her aide while walking. She explained that her trouble walking was all part of the effects of her cancer.* READ MORE...

What happened to Bohol rehab? Not a single nail hammered for 20 quake-damaged town halls  

Tagbilaran City – All along Interior and Local Government Secretary Mar Roxas thought he would hear updates of the rehabilitation works of the earthquake-devastated areas here. But when he was handed the documents updating him of the extent of the rehabilitation work and found out that not even a single nail was hammered for at least 20 of the damaged municipal halls exactly a year since the 7.2-magnitude quake hit the province of Bohol, the smile on Roxas’ face vanished instantly as he blew his top. “Paano ngayon yan? Sasabunin tayo ng Pangulo nito, sasabunin tayo ng mga boss natin nito (What happens now? We will be taken to task by the President, by our bosses),” a visibly infuriated Roxas chided local chief executives headed by Bohol Gov. Ed Chato. UNACCEPTABLE  What was unacceptable to Roxas is that the P2.3 billion that was supposed to be used for the reconstruction of 1,066 projects that include the public markets and municipal halls, has long been released to the provincial government of Bohol.

“The money was already approved, given. The President, the national government are ready to respond to the needs here and what we should do now is to do out part to expedite this,” he said. So what was supposed to be a ceremony to showcase the speedy reconstruction plan of Bohol from the unprecedented disaster that struck the province ended up with Roxas castigating the local officials and then presiding over a meeting to craft measures to plug the holes of the reconstruction gaps at the Bohol Tropics Hotel here. ROOT CAUSE In tracing the root cause of the problem, Roxas found out during the meeting that the problem was the failure of the town mayors to submit a Program of Works (POW) which is a major requirement for the release of the funds. The POW discusses in details how a construction project for instance would be built and if it is compliant with the government-imposed policy that all structures that would be built must be quake-resilient.

At the course of the discussion, Sagbayan Mayor Ricardo Suarez stood up to explain that the reason they failed to submit POWs is that they do not have technical experts to write and craft them. In Sagbayan town, it was learned that a total of 66 programs were supposed to be built for the locals but yesterday, Suarez admitted he was only able to submit three POWs, so far. During the brief exchange of ideas, it was established that the root cause of the problem is the lack of engineers to craft the POWs, especially for construction projects. Chato then told Roxas that 15 engineers have already been hired to help local government units craft and fine-tune the erratic POWs that local government units submitted. * READ MORE...


READ FULL REPORT HERE:

Binay still an ally of Noy, but UNA slams De Lima

MANILA, OCTOBER 20, 2014 (PHILSTAR) Vice President Jejomar Binay remains a friend of President Aquino and his family, spokesman Cavite Gov. Jonvic Remulla said yesterday.

“Vice President Binay remains an ally of the President. More importantly, he continues to be a real friend of the Aquino family,” Remulla said.

“The views he articulated during the forum with lawyers were a product of the experience and wisdom he gained as a life-long human rights advocate and as a lawyer well-versed on the constructs of our legal system,” Remulla added, referring to last Tuesday’s forum hosted by Binay.

Remulla issued the statement following reports of an impending breakup between Aquino and Binay.

Binay’s United Nationalist Alliance (UNA), on the other hand, urged Justice Secretary Leila de Lima to focus on pressing cases instead of joining a hatchet job against the Vice President.

UNA interim secretary general JV Bautista said De Lima has too many cases on her plate.

Bautista said there are more pressing and serious cases like the still unresolved Maguindanao massacre and the recent killing of a Filipino by a US serviceman.

Bautista said De Lima should insulate herself from the political ax machine since her department is handling many cases.

“Her time is better spent enforcing the laws and protecting society from crime running rampant in our streets,” Bautista said.

Bautista said De Lima is “dead wrong” in insisting that she has the power to investigate the Vice President.

“What will be the purpose of such an investigation, except as an exercise in futility, at least, and a pure political harassment of the Vice President at best,” Bautista said.

* De Lima earlier stated the DOJ would investigate the allegations of corruption that Binay is facing before the ombudsman.

Bautista added that only the ombudsman is authorized by law to investigate impeachable officials, not for the “purpose of filing a criminal suit but to determine commission of an impeachable offense.”

“The secretary of justice has no such power; De Lima should read her administrative code to find out the extent of her authority,” Bautista said.

“De Lima claims that only the President and the State are immune from suit; that is correct only insofar as civil suits are concerned. After all, you cannot file a criminal suit against the State. But all impeachable officials are immune from criminal suit,” he added.

Bautista said the Vice President enjoys immunity from criminal suit similar to the President. He said they are the only two elective officials who are impeachable and immune from suit.

“The Supreme Court has already settled this in jurisprudence. But then, De Lima is not known to be following orders from the Supreme Court; that is why she has a pending disbarment case. If she insists on her abusive crusade to investigate and harass the VP, another disbarment case may be forthcoming,” Bautista warned.

FROM THE TRIBUNE

Koko hints probe failed to prove overprice rap Written by Angie M. Rosales Monday, 20 October 2014 00:00

HALT OF BINAY INVESTIGATION LOOMS

The head of the Senate subcommittee investigating Vice President Jejomar Binay and his family for alleged anomalies raised the possibility of halting the probe admitting yesterday of the likelihood that the body failed to prove allegations of overprice on the Makati City Hall 2 building which was the subject of the inquiry.

Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV, who filed the resolution that started the probe, will be made to justify the continuation of the subcommittee hearings if the findings on the overprice allegations appeared to be on the contrary, Senate Blue Ribbon subcommittee chairman Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel said.

“I cannot disclose yet whatever will be my recommendations. But theoretically speaking, the possibilities on our findings could be that there’s no overpricing. I will ask the author (Trillanes) of the resolution to put to a stop on our probe because the findings on the initial at hand are already negative,” Pimentel said.

“Let the author argue if that will be my recommendation. But if he will argue still, he should justify that the investigation still falls under Resolution 826 (that he filed),” Pimentel said, referring to the supposed rationale behind move placing under investigation the Vice President.

Trillanes earlier said the subcommittee will drag on for at least eight sessions more because of new issues uncovered against Binay and his family who are either in former or current government posts.

Senator Jinggoy Estrada also came to the defense of Binay as he assailed the move of the Department of Justice (DoJ) to join the fray, so to speak, in looking into the veracity of charges being hurled at the country’s second highest official.

The DoJ is at it again, engaging in politicking by discrediting personalities from the ranks of the political opposition perceived to be “threats” to administration bets, the senator said.

* Estrada was obviously referring to the 2016 presidential elections saying “I can’t help but think this is but a déjà vu.”
The senator currently detained for alleged misuse of his pork barrel funds had repeatedly claimed in the past the investigations made against him and two other colleagues – Senators Ramon “Bong” Revilla Jr. and Juan Ponce Enrile – were but aimed at discrediting members of the opposition.

Both Estrada and Revilla are planning to seek a higher position after their respective term of office expires two years from now while Enrile is considered one of the influential and major force in the political opposition.

Pimentel said that while they have set a schedule for the next two public hearings on Oct. 22 and 30, he had started drafting his partial report on the issue only on the alleged overpriced parking building for submission to the plenary before December.

The probe has branched into other charges against Binay from the initial investigation of the allegedly overpriced building.

But the senator was cautious in discussing the details of his findings and recommendations, even refusing to be badgered whether there will be any endorsement of possible filing of any administrative and criminal charges by the Ombudsman on those who will be found liable of committing any violation of the laws.

“No. 2 (possible outcome of the panel report) is if the sub-committee chair agrees that there is indeed overpricing...then we will compare the list on those supposedly liable in the overpricing to those already included in a filed case. If there are some names not part of the case, we will ask the Ombudsman to include them, in the event that they file formal charges in court,” he explained.

Although Binay already made a pronouncement that he will not submit himself before Pimentel’s committee, believing that he had been already prejudged by Senate probers, the panel will still attempt to lure him into appearing before the senators and defend himself over the growing number of allegations.

Pimentel said they will invite anew the Vice President to attend the Oct. 30 proceedings and if he refuses still, there will be no negative presumption of guilt on the part of Binay.

“Before when we invited him, there were serious charges about kickbacks and how it was distributed but when the issue turned to his alleged ownership of a hacienda in Batangas we need to inviute him again and hope that he replies,” Pimentel said.

“If the invitation is declined, there would be no negative presumption of guilt but if he accepts it then he will be placed under oath,” Pimentel said.

Pimentel said he has opted to issue an invitation to Binay, not for the scheduled hearing this Wednesday but on the Oct. 30 proceedings to give the Vice President enough time to clear his schedules.

They will not take it against the Vice President, should he refuse their invitation, but Binay will not have any of his defense place on record, including evidence disproving the allegations against him.

“That is the price they have to pay if they do not want to place their evidence on record,” Pimentel said.

There are various areas of legislation which will be included in the draft report as hearings will wrap-up in the next two scheduled dates such as a measure calling on the Commission on Audit (CoA) to modernize and update the placement of auditors in any government agencies and local government units.

“We will advice COA to modernized and update their way of thinking,” Pimentel said.

Pimentel said the sub-committee will also recommend the review and study of the Procurement Law, a reform policy which being circumvented by some unscrupulous persons.

“The procurement law has been in place, we want to know how anomalies continue,” Pimentel said.

“What the DoJ is currently doing against Vice President Binay has already been done to us, the three senators who were the sole targets of the alleged PDAF (Priority Development Assistance Fund) scam investigation.

“It started with an allegation, purposely to besmirch the reputation of the members of the opposition. Then the publication of successive malicious headlines screaming how corrupt the accused are. After this the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee, became a conduit in demonizing us,” Estrada said in a press statement.

“Notice how many people, how much precious time, how much government resources are spent towards the ultimate agenda of bringing one man down. And what for? Obviously, to ensconce themselves in positions of power, and preventing perceived threats from gaining power.

“Can’t all these resources, time and talent be put to better use other than partisan politicking and mudslinging? How many cases now are pending before the DOJ for resolution?” he asked.

Estrada highlighted the apparent interest being given by the DoJ on cases involving political personalities rather than attend to the unresolved cases sitting before the department for disposition.

According to the DOJ annual report, there were 81,659 pending cases before the DOJ on 2012 and the year before that, there were a total of 79,428 cases pending before the department.

“I wonder how many cases are still pending before its offices while it laboriously looks into every detail on the life of the vice president.

For instance, DoJ Undersecretary Jose Justiniano has been devoting all his time in the PDAF (Priority Development Assistance Fund) cases and attending hearings in the Sandiganbayan, Estrada pointed out.

“Doesn’t he have any other important things to do being the undersecretary of the DOJ? Is he not confident in the capability of the members of the prosecution panel to carry out its mandated duty?” he asked.

RELATED NEWS EARLIER FROM THE INTERAKSYON

Guingona upholds Pimentel sub-committee's power By: InterAksyon.com October 7, 2014 9:54 AM InterAksyon.com The online news portal of TV5


Sen. Teofisto Guingona III

MANILA, Philippines - (UPDATED 2:45PM) Senate Blue Ribbon committee chairman Teofisto Guingona III on Tuesday upheld the power of the subcommittee probing the Makati City Hall Building 2 to rule on a jurisdictional challenge filed by Makati Mayor Jejomar Erwin “Jun-jun” Binay Jr.

UNA interim president Rep. Toby Tiangco assailed Guingona's failure to stop a "runaway" sub-committee, and said his "Pilate" stance allowed a reckless disregard of Senate rules.

However, Guingona said in a brief press conference, the committee was treating the Binay manifestation as a "motion for reconsideration" and was therefore throwing this back to the subcommittee chaired by Sen. Aquilino "Koko" Pimentel III, for a final ruling.

Until the Pimentel subcommittee resolves the issue "with finality," further hearings should be held in abeyance, Guingona said.

Guingona cited Sec. 20 of the Rules of the Senate, governing inquiries in aid of legislation, as the basis for his decision.

It was unclear whether he consulted any of the members of the Blue Ribbon committee before deciding to uphold the unilateral act of Senator Pimentel to throw out on the spot the jurisdictional challenge when it was filed by Mayor Binay's lawyer, Claro Certeza.

The mayor’s sister, Sen. Nancy Binay, who is a member of the Blue Ribbon mother committee, had said at the weekend that at the very least, Guingona should call a meeting of the members of the panel and take a vote on whether or not to allow just the subcommittee rule on a jurisdictional challenge, or to let the mother committee rule on the matter.

Last week, Certeza re-filed the manifestation of Mayor Binay with a motion to stop further proceedings on the inquiry, which was based on a resolution to look into alleged overpricing in the construction of what is also known as the Makati City “parking building.”

Per Section 20, Guingona said, the "subcommittee may perform any and all acts which the committee as a whole is authorized to do and perform, except the power to punish for contempt."

The letter-request of the Makati mayor "is being treated as a motion for reconsideration ...We are liberally interpreting the rules in their favor so as to provide them further leeway. Therefore, we are returning it to the subcommittee to rule on the motion for reconsideration."

And, Guingona added, "until the jurisdictional challenge is resolved by the subcommittee with finality ... the holding of further hearings should be held in abeyance."

Tiangco scores Guingona lack of leadership

* Reacting to Guingona's announcement, United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) interim President Toby Tiangco assailed the Blue Ribbon chief's decision to let the Sub-Committee rule on the jurisdictional challenge instead of resolving it in the mother committee.

Tiangco wondered aloud whether Guingona's alleged weakness in stopping a "runaway" sub-committee from harming the Senate is related to the recent revelation that projects worth over P300 million in Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) funds had been endorsed by his office.

"We would have expected Sen. Guingona to show leadership in times when there is a pending question or legal challenge posed before the Blue Ribbon Committee.

"As Chairman, it is incumbent upon him to allow the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee, as a whole, to discuss and address the issue of jurisdiction of the Sub-Committee that has gone beyond its power to investigate," was how Tiangco began his statement.

Disputing Guingona's invoking Section 20 of the Senate rules, Tiangco instead pointed to Section 3 of the Senate’s Resolution No. 5 on the “Rules of Procedure Governing Inquiries in Aid of Legislation” which he said is clear: “If the jurisdiction of the Committee is challenged on any ground, the said issue must first be resolved by the Committee before proceeding with the inquiry.”

This clearly meant the mother Blue Ribbon committee, not the Pimentel-led sub-committee, Tiangco said.

"As someone who leads the Blue Ribbon Committee, we would have expected Sen. Guingona to put some order to a runaway sub-committee and to follow the Senate rules to the letter," Tiangco lamented.

Here's the rest of Tiangco's statement: "It is such a pity to see the senator act like Pontius Pilate washing hands, and reversed his earler statement that the Mother Committee can review the ruling of the Sub-Committee.

"Sen. Guingona failed to fulfill a commitment to formally deliberate on the issue and by handing over the decision to the Sub-Committee, he patently evaded to face the jurisdictional challenge squarely and fairly.

"Is his silence, inaction and tolerance already pre-paid by P360.5 million in DAP?

"Sen. Guingona's Yellow Ribbon Committee is now in aid of demolition and a surprising 360-degree turnaround from his actions and demeanor in the PDAF hearings. Malaki talaga ang nagagawa ng malaking DAP [Does a big DAP funding really work wonders]?

Noting what he called the "many signs of a collusion" among politicians who would have no qualms about disregarding the rules for a political agenda, Tiangco concluded, "we cannot help but suspect that letting Senators Koko Pimentel, Alan Peter Cayetano and Sonny Trillanes rule with finality the jurisdictional challenge is part of the grand plot to besmirch the Binays."

Mar still LP’s ‘sentimental choice’ for 2016 By Aurea Calica (The Philippine Star) | Updated October 16, 2014 - 12:00am 2 8 googleplus0 0


ROXAS

MANILA, Philippines - Interior and Local Government Secretary Manuel Roxas II remains the Liberal Party’s “sentimental choice” for the 2016 presidential elections.

Budget Secretary Florencio Abad, also an LP stalwart, told ABS-CBN News Channel that the process of choosing the LP or administration candidate for 2016 has not started and that he would not know if Aquino would indeed endorse Roxas.

However, Abad said the President was concerned about the continuity of the reforms he started and Roxas seemed to be the favored candidate to do this.

Asked what would stop Aquino from endorsing Roxas, Abad said it would probably be Roxas’ own refusal or decision to decline an endorsement.

Roxas was expected to be the LP’s standard-bearer in 2010, but he gave way to Aquino after the President’s mother Corazon died in August 2009. In surveys on the 2016 presidential race, Roxas has been trailing Vice President Jejomar Binay.

FROM THE TRIBUNE

‘Stop Nognog 2016’ brains bared; Cayetano links exposed
Written by Tribune Wires Thursday, 16 October 2014 00:00


Mar, Abad, Drilon, Villanueva behind demolition job vs VP

Going full steam on the offensive, Vice President Jejomar “Jojo” Binay’s camp yesterday bared the names of the alleged brains behind the Operations Stop Nognog 2016 (OSN 2016), identifying them as Interior Secretary Manuel “Mar” Roxas, Budget Secretary Florencio “Butch” Abad, Senate President Franklin Drilon and Tesda Chief Joel Villanueva.

Senate Majority Leader Alan Cayetano’s hand in the claimed properties of Binay in Batangas and Tagaytay was also clearly seen as not just one but two of Taguig City Hall employees who were on the helicopter ride to the alleged “Hacienda Binay” were identified through photographs proving their links to the Cayetanos of Taguig. The photos were released to the media yesterday.

The United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) yesterday said that the second passenger named on the flight plan of a helicopter which flew over Sunchamp Agri-Tourism Park in Rosario, Batangas is a photographer working in the Taguig City Hall.

“The Marl Jogardi named on the manifest is a photographer who works for the Taguig City Hall. His name is Mari Jogardy Roldan,” UNA said. Former Makati Vice Mayor Ernesto Mercado previously claimed that he was onboard the aircraft which took pictures and videos of the Sunchamp Agri-Tourism Park in Rosario, Batangas. “But the passenger list does not list Mercado, and he is lying,” UNA said.

“Erice’s impeachment ploy is diversionary and flatly stonewalling since they cannot answer directly why a chopper is taking pictures and videos of a farm in Batangas,” UNA added.

The photos (shown are photos of Dexter Estacio with the Cayetanos; and Roldan) which UNA said show the link of the Liberal Party with both Senators Alan Peter Cayetano and Antonio Trillanes.

“The LP funded their campaigns in 2013 and they remain allies up to this day”, UNA added.

* A source from the Binay camp told the Tribune that the OSN2016 was plotted to destroy the electoral victory of the Vice President and is being financed long term by the group led by Roxas and Abad, along with Drilon and Villanueva.

The source added that Drilon was tapped to ensure that the two Nacionalista Party allies of President Aquino and Roxas, would have a long-running Senate investigation against Binay, which was the reason a blue ribbon subcommitte led by another foe of Binay, Sen. Koko Pimentel would chair the panel, instead of having the vice chairman of the blue ribbon committee, Sen. Serge Osmeña ll, take control of the investigation, since Sen. TG Guingona was reluctant to conduct the hearing.

An earlier report said that Cayetano was persuaded nto to run for the presidency and that he would be the running mate of Roxas, under an LP-NP coalition.

A GMA news report yesterday also confirmed the UNA camp expose, as the report said that the camp of the VP also indentified the alleged brains behind the supposed conspiracy to destroy Binay and dminish his chances in the 2016 presidential elections.

GMA News TV’s News TV Live quoted lawyer JV Bautista, UNA secretary general, as saying that those allegedly involved in Oplan Stop Nognog 2016 are Abad, Drilon, Villanueva and Roxas, with Bautista adding that they form the group that funds the the demolition job on the VP.

Bautista was quoted in the report as saying that the same personalities are conspiring with former Makati Vice Mayor Ernesto Mercado, lawyer Renato Bondal and Senators Cayetano and Antonio Trillanes.

Justice Secretary Leila de Lima yesterday said her move against Vice President Jejomar Binay is not part of the administration’s “Oplan Stop Nognog 2016.”

De Lima insisted the move to tap the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) to probe corruption charges against Binay was a personal decision on her part.

“President Noy has not talked to me about it, and even Secretary Mar Roxas. I am not member of Liberal Party. I am never part of the political circle,” she stressed.

De Lima laughed off the allegation of the Vice President that the NBI probe she has initiated, the investigation of the Senate blue ribbon subcommittee and calls for impeachment were all part of the grand plot to destroy his name as the 2016 presidential poll approaches.

“That’s a funny insinuation. It’s my first time to hear about that and I have nothing to do with that. I’m not the type who joins such kind of so-called plot or conspiracy,” she claimed.

“When I fulfill my mandate, the President doesn’t not meddle because I don’t think I’m doing something wrong. If he thinks what I’m doing is not right or not in accordance with the law, then I think that’s the time he would stop me,” she explained.

Asked if the NBI would also look into the alleged plot, de Lima said it is possible.

“It depends on what they really want to know and if there is legitimate request. If this oplan has a criminal end goal, then the NBI can investigate. But one thing is clear, the NBI never gets itself involved in politicking,” she added.

De Lima also denied allegation of the camp of Binay that her office has been selective in investigating charges of corruption and anomalies against officials, targeting only those from the political opposition.

“What selective justice are they saying when we have been investigating so many cases? Our attitude is that we want to prioritize everything, but only few are highlighted because the personalities involved are high profile. That’s no longer our fault,” she said.

De Lima earlier vowed that the NBI probe on the charges against Binay would be free of political considerations.
She believes the Vice President could be investigated and prosecuted in court since he is not covered by immunity from criminal suits, which she said is exclusive to the President.

Election lawyer Romulo Macalintal, however, rebutted this legal opinion of the Justice secretary, saying the Vice President is also covered by the same immunity accorded to the President and officials of constitutional commissions.

Citing jurisprudence, he said prosecuting authorities should motu proprio dismiss any criminal charge filed against the Vice President since he can only be removed and held liable via impeachment proceedings in Congress during his term as provided in the Constitution.

Earlier, UNA said that instead of joining the political hatchet job on Vice President Binay, the Justice Secretary has better things to do like pressing on other serious cases like the still unresolved 5-year old Maguindanao Massacre and the recent killing of a Filipino national by a US serviceman.

JV Bautista advised De Lima to focus on her job at the Department of Justice (DoJ), and insulate herself from the political ax machine, especially since her department is handling many cases.

“De Lima has too much on her plate at DoJ. Get the killers in the Maguindanao massacre convicted; resolve the bribery issue of her prosecutors in that case; stop the kotong activities of her NBI agents; come out in defense of the Filipino people in the Laude killing by an American military personnel. Her time is better spent enforcing the laws and protecting society from crime running rampant in our streets, which involve policemen,” Bautista said.

According to the UNA official, De Lima should concentrate more on the many pending cases before the DoJ which are still open-ended.

“Stay away from the political hatchet job against VP Binay, which is executed by conspirators; stop coddling liars and self-confessed plunderer Mercado. Do your job right,” he added.

Moreover, Bautista noted that De Lima is “dead wrong” in insisting that she has the power to investigate the Vice President.

“The Secretary of Justice is dead wrong in insisting that she has the power to investigate the VP. What will be the purpose of such an investigation, except as an exercise in futility, at least, and a pure political harassment of the VP, at best,” Bautista said.
He added that the only the Ombudsman is authorized by law to investigate impeachable officials, but not for the “purpose of filing a criminal suit but to determine commission of an impeachable offense.”

“The Secretary of Justice has no such power; De Lima should read her Administrative Code to find out the extent of her authority,” Bautista noted.

“De Lima claims that only the President and the State are immune from suit; that is correct only insofar as civil suits are concerned. After all, you cannot file a criminal suit against the State. But all impeachable officials are immune from criminal suits,” he added.

Bautista said that the VP’s immunity from criminal suit is similar to that of the President’s as they are the only two elective officials who are impeachable and immune from criminal suit. All other impeachable officials who are appointive are immune from criminal suit because filing one will violate their security of tenure.

“The Supreme Court has already settled this in jurisprudence. But then, De Lima is not known to be following orders from the Supreme Court; that is why she has a pending disbarment case. If she insists on her abusive crusade to investigate and harass the VP, another disbarment case may be forthcoming,” he added.

Bautista also hit De Lima for apparently forgetting about the rest of the PDAF case.

“Whatever happened to the sworn statement of Napoles implicating Cayetano, Abad, Villanueva and many other allies of the administration? Has De Lima conveniently forgotten about them?” he asked.

The ruling coalition in the House of Representatives is not solid in moves to impeach the Vice President even as a ranking coalition member yesterday deplored the alleged selective justice against the vice president.

According to Rep. Sherwin Gatchalian, a stalwart of the Nationalist Peoples Coalition (NPC), he supports Speaker Feliciano Belmonte’s view not to involve the Lower House in the investigation of the VP.

“I’m against involving the House in that. We have other priorities. In the House, we will not investigate the VP,” Gatchalian quoted Belmonte as saying. Belmonte is the concurrent vice chairmain of the Liberal Party.

Gatchalian said the NPC, which is allied with the administration, is also not likely to support VP Binay’s impeachment because of so many pending priority measures which need immediate action from congressmen.

“For one, Congress should immediately act on President Aquino’s request for emergency powers to address the looming power shortage in Luzon next year. The joint congressional resolution should come out before the end of October and failure to do so will affect the power situation,” Gatchalian said.

Gatchalian believes Binay is a victim of the administration’s “selective justice,” which is swift in investigating and prosecuting members of the opposition while slow in doing the same to government officials who are close to Malacañang.

“This is very evident in the way the Department of Justice slowed down with its probe of the pork barrel scam after three opposition senators have been jailed. We have yet to see administration allies being charged in court for the misuse of their Priority Development Assistance Fund,” said Gatchalian.

The lawmaker also pointed out the kid gloves treatment by Malacañang on PNP Director-General Alan Purisima after he was accused of unexplained wealth and not being truthful in his Statement of Assets, Liabilities and Net Worth (SALn).

Gatchalian said Purisima’s house in Nueva Ecija province and his luxury vehicles were exposed in the media much earlier than the supposed Binay farm in Rosario, Batangas and yet, no action was made by the DoJ and NBI on the allegations of unexplained wealth against the chief of the Philippine National Police.

“Compared to VP Binay, the DoJ was very fast in directing the NBI to investigate the allegations against the vice president, even ahead of the Senate blue ribbon sub-committee which has yet to wrap up its inquiry and come out with a report,” Gatchalian said. With Benjamin B. Pulta, Charlie V. Manalo and Gerry Baldo

FROM THE MANILA STANDARD

LP moves to impeach VP By Christine F. Herrera, Maricel V. Cruz | Oct. 16, 2014 at 12:01am

Belmonte, other solons to block it


Belmonte

ALLIES of Interior and Local Governments Secretary Manuel Roxas II, the presumptive standard bearer for the ruling Liberal Party in 2016, are scrambling to find grounds to unseat Vice President Jejomar Binay through impeachment, a move that Binay’s allies in the House have vowed to block.

Leading the charge is Caloocan Rep. Edgar Erice, who had earlier campaigned for a term extension for President Benigno Aquino III.

House Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr., also with the LP, cautioned the anti-Binay forces against initiating impeachment proceedings against the Vice President, saying Congress had more important things to do.

“I will convince Erice not to file. The House has other priorities. We cannot be distracted,” Belmonte told the Manila Standard.

“I’m against involving the House in that. We have other priorities. In the House, we will not investigate the VP,” said Belmonte, vice chairman of the Liberal Party.

The Nationalist People’s Coalition, led by Valenzuela City Rep. Sherwin Gatchalian, said they would not support the move for the same reason.

“For one, Congress should immediately act on President Aquino’s request for emergency powers to address the looming power shortage in Luzon next year. The joint congressional resolution should come out before the end of October and failure to do so will affect the power situation,” Gatchalian said.

United Nationalist Alliance interim president and Navotas Rep. Toby Tiangco said the impeachment was part of an LP-Nacionalista Party conspiracy called Oplan Nognog to stop Binay from becoming the next President.

Erice’s renewed call for an impeachment was buoyed by the recent pronouncements made by Justice Secretary Leila de Lima that the vice president was not immune from suit.

* Erice, an LP party whip, brushed aside Belmonte’s observation that Binay could only be impeached for acts committed while he was vice president.

“I see two grounds. Based on former Makati vice mayor Ernesto Mercado’s testimony before the Senate, Binay used the proceeds from corruption in Makati parking building to finance his campaign in the 2010 elections. That’s betrayal of public trust,” Erice said.

Another possible ground, he said, was the absence of the Tagaytay property from Binay’s statement of assets liabilities and net worth in 2008 and 2009 when it was sold in 2012.

“It was not in his SALN, the SALN was wrong and the misdeclared SALN was the same ground that was used in ousting then Chief Justice Renato Corona,” Erice said.

Told that these alleged acts were committed before Binay became vice president, Erice said: “That’s your opinion.”

He added that he would wait for the committee report of the Senate Blue Ribbon sub-committee, where NP Senators Alan Peter Cayetano and Antonio Trillanes IV were leading the attack against Binay.

Erice said the Liberals, with 109 House seats, have the numbers to immediately transmit the impeachment complaint to the Senate without having to go through the deliberations in the House committee on justice headed by another Liberal, Iloilo City Rep. Niel Tupas Jr.

Erice said they would only need 97 signatures to transmit the impeachment complaint to the Senate and compel the Senate to convene itself into an impeachment court.

“As it stands, we already have the numbers. We will get more once Binay’s popularity rating continues to decline. We will get more than 100 signatures,” he said.

But Gatchalian said the impeachment was similar to the “selective kind of justice” being practiced by the administration against the vice president.

“This is very evident in the way the Department of Justice slowed down its probe of the pork barrel scam after three opposition senators have been jailed. We have yet to see administration allies being charged in court for the misuse of their Priority Development Assistance Fund,” Gatchalian said.

Gatchalian also pointed out the kid gloves treatment by Malacanang on National Police Director-General Alan Purisima after he was accused of unexplained wealth and not being truthful in his SALN.

He said Purisima’s house in Nueva Ecija province and his luxury vehicles were exposed in the media much earlier than the supposed Binay farm in Rosario, Batangas, and yet, no action was taken by the DOJ and National Bureau of Investigation on the allegations of unexplained wealth against the police chief.

“The DOJ was very fast in directing the NBI to investigate the allegations against the vice president, even ahead of the Senate Blue Ribbon sub-committee, which has yet to wrap up its inquiry and come out with a report,” Gatchalian said.

Cavite Rep. Elpidio Barzaga, Jr., a National Unity Party member, said any impeachment case should be backed by solid evidence.

Kabataan party-list Rep. Terry Ridon of the Makabayan Bloc also urged Erice to present solid evidence to pin down Binay.

“He (Erice) should pull the trigger if he really has the goods against Binay instead of walking around town with threats [of impeachment],” Ridon said.

Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago, who has also declared her intention to run for president in 2016, said Binay’s continued refusal to defend himself before the Senate might be seen by the public as “an implied admission of guilt.”

She added that Binay’s tormentors in the Senate cannot use the hearing to humiliate or otherwise prosecute him, because the Constitution requires senators to respect the rights of persons appearing in, or affected, by such inquiries.

“I do not approve of this curious tendency to be so taciturn in the face of such damaging charges against his moral character,” said Santiago in a speech that she dubbed “The Curious Case of the Taciturn Vice-President,” during the Women’s Celebration of Life and Faith Convention at the Philippine Christian University in Manila.

She said it appears Binay is contented in defending himself by delivering speeches accusing his enemies of lying.

“That is not sufficient,” said Santiago who said the Vice President must present his own evidence.

She cited the Supreme Court pronouncement that “the natural instinct of man compels him to resist an unfounded claim or imputation and defend himself, and that it is totally against our human nature to just remain reticent and say nothing in the face of false accusations.”

The Vice President has consistently refused to attend the Senate hearings, but promised to make a detailed defense before the Office of the Ombudsman, where he is facing plunder and other criminal charges. – With Macon Ramos-Araneta

FROM PHILSTAR

Miriam 90 percent cancer-free By Marvin Sy (The Philippine Star) | Updated October 18, 2014 - 12:00am 0 0 googleplus0 0

MANILA, Philippines - More than 90 percent of cancer cells in Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago’s lung have regressed, but she is not yet ready to report to work at the Senate at the resumption of plenary sessions on Monday.

In a letter to her colleagues last Thursday, Santiago said that six weeks after she was diagnosed with cancer and after taking medication, 70 percent of her cancer cells had regressed.

After continuously taking the pill prescribed to her as an alternative to chemotherapy for over three months, Santiago said that over 90 percent of her cancer cells have regressed.

“(But) I am not yet physically fit to attend plenary sessions because of the characteristic debilitating fatigue that marks cancer,” Santiago said in her letter addressed to the Philippine Senate, through Senate President Franklin Drilon.

“However, I have managed to discharge my duties as chair of certain Senate committees. In addition, I continue to file bills and resolutions on weekly basis. I have also managed to discharge some speaking obligations, on condition that the event will not last more than two hours, which is my physical limit at this time,” she added.

Santiago was at an event on reproductive health last Wednesday at the Philippine Christian University in Manila where she delivered the keynote address.

Santiago showed signs of fatigue and before facing reporters at a briefing, she was seen hanging on to her aide while walking. She explained that her trouble walking was all part of the effects of her cancer.

FROM THE MANILA BULLETIN

What happened to Bohol rehab? Not a single nail hammered for 20 quake-damaged town halls by Aaron B. Recuenco October 17, 2014


ROXAS

Tagbilaran City – All along Interior and Local Government Secretary Mar Roxas thought he would hear updates of the rehabilitation works of the earthquake-devastated areas here.

But when he was handed the documents updating him of the extent of the rehabilitation work and found out that not even a single nail was hammered for at least 20 of the damaged municipal halls exactly a year since the 7.2-magnitude quake hit the province of Bohol, the smile on Roxas’ face vanished instantly as he blew his top.

“Paano ngayon yan? Sasabunin tayo ng Pangulo nito, sasabunin tayo ng mga boss natin nito (What happens now? We will be taken to task by the President, by our bosses),” a visibly infuriated Roxas chided local chief executives headed by Bohol Gov. Ed Chato.

UNACCEPTABLE

What was unacceptable to Roxas is that the P2.3 billion that was supposed to be used for the reconstruction of 1,066 projects that include the public markets and municipal halls, has long been released to the provincial government of Bohol.

“The money was already approved, given. The President, the national government are ready to respond to the needs here and what we should do now is to do out part to expedite this,” he said.

So what was supposed to be a ceremony to showcase the speedy reconstruction plan of Bohol from the unprecedented disaster that struck the province ended up with Roxas castigating the local officials and then presiding over a meeting to craft measures to plug the holes of the reconstruction gaps at the Bohol Tropics Hotel here.

ROOT CAUSE

In tracing the root cause of the problem, Roxas found out during the meeting that the problem was the failure of the town mayors to submit a Program of Works (POW) which is a major requirement for the release of the funds.

The POW discusses in details how a construction project for instance would be built and if it is compliant with the government-imposed policy that all structures that would be built must be quake-resilient.

At the course of the discussion, Sagbayan Mayor Ricardo Suarez stood up to explain that the reason they failed to submit POWs is that they do not have technical experts to write and craft them.

In Sagbayan town, it was learned that a total of 66 programs were supposed to be built for the locals but yesterday, Suarez admitted he was only able to submit three POWs, so far.

During the brief exchange of ideas, it was established that the root cause of the problem is the lack of engineers to craft the POWs, especially for construction projects.

Chato then told Roxas that 15 engineers have already been hired to help local government units craft and fine-tune the erratic POWs that local government units submitted.

* The problem, however, is that they were just hired recently and that they are expected to start on Monday.

To fast-track the completion of the reconstruction of the 1,066 projects, Roxas proposed to get additional 20 engineers from the Department of Public Works and Highways to reinforce the 15 engineers that the local DILG office has tapped.

“All the projects that just need repairs will be given to the 15 DILG engineers while the projects that require more technical works should be given to the 20 DPWH engineers,” said Roxas.

ONE MONTH DEADLINE

In closing, Roxas gave the local chief executives until one month to finish all the documentary requirements for the release of funds, including POWs and bidding of the projects.

His instruction to the provincial government is simple – to come up with a template design that would be used for the construction of at least 20 municipal hall, another single template for public market and for other public construction projects.

“This will expedite the process since we can have one bidding for all of these. All that should be done next is to identify the areas of construction,” he added.

DISAPPOINTED

In an interview after the meeting, Roxas admitted that he did not expect that he would face the problem of delay in the reconstruction projects in Bohol.

“Medyo nabigla tayo ditto at hindi ko rin naman naririnig na kulang na kulang pala ang engineers,” Roxas told the Manila Bulletin.

As such, he said his role now is to discuss the matter to the President and propose for the hiring of the 20 engineers – their salaries to be shouldered by the national government.

“They will be hired for six months and all that they will do for that period is to craft the POWs for all the projects here,” said Roxas.

“The POWs is important because as soon as they are done, that is the time that the bidding will be started and the construction will begin,” he added.

Roxas said he will check on the progress of the problem after one month.

BUILD-BACK BOHOL

In an interview before Roxas arrived, Chato said that they have been doing well in the reconstruction plan for Bohol – including agriculuture, livelihood, tourism, and infrastructure.

He said that the Bohol reconstruction plan is now 70 percent complete

But Chato was quick to clarify that the infrastructure does not include the damaged churches which he said requires technology and expertise of engineers.


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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