HEADLINE NEWS EARLY THIS PAST WEEK...

MILF ORGANIZES OWN POLITICAL PARTY FOR 2016 AND BEYOND  

NOV 4 ---PHOTO: MAINSTREAM POLITICS. The Moro Islamic Liberation Front, which recently signed a final peace deal with the Philippine government, is ready to join mainstream politics through its newly-formed political party. Malacanang file photo.

The United Bangsamoro Justice Party is being organized as the political party of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF). “It would not be for 2016 only. The MILF and the Bangsamoro would be democratic and participatory, that is why it would be beyond 2016,” MILF vice-chair Ghazali Jaafar told The STAR. Jaafar said the political party would be open not only to MILF members. “We welcome everybody… but they also have to go through a certain screening. As to how the screening would go, right now we are still discussing it,” he said. He said the structure of the Bangsamoro political party is being drawn up by the MILF central committee. Jaafar said the MILF looks forward to the Philippine Development Forum to be held here Thursday, where donor nations and organizations would pledge their funding support to the planned Bangsamoro government.THIS IS THTE FULL REPORT.

 ALSO Earlier report: MILF forms United Bangsamoro Justice Party (UBJP) 

APRIL 2014 --DAVAO CITY, Philippines - The Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) is ready for mainstream politics through its newly formed United Bangsamoro Justice Party (UBJP). MILF vice chair for political affairs Ghadzali Jaafar said Wednesday, April 9, that they finalized plans to form the party last year, following various meetings with local leaders and the MILF's central committee, the policy-making body of the organization. “This party is based on justice and is not exclusive. This is open to anybody who wants to join the party,” Jaafar said. He added that all MILF officials and members will be automatically listed as members of the political party. Aside from Maguindanao, Lanao del Sur, Lanao del Norte, Sulu, Basilan and Tawi-Tawi, there are also UBJP groups in Sarangani, Sultan Kudarat, North Cotabato, Davao City, Compostela Valley, Davao del Norte, Davao Oriental, Butuan and Bukidnon, according to Jaafar. * READ MORE...

ALSO: Arroyo visits grandson's funeral  

NOV 4 --PHOTO: FURLOUGH-- The Sandiganbayan will hear former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo's motion for a 9-day house arrest. File photo by Ted Aljibe/AFP -- The court will still resolve Arroyo's motion for a 9-day house arrest in her residence at La Vista, Quezon City to attend to the wake and the burial of her one-year-old grandson --MANILA, Philippines – Former President Gloria MacapagalArroyo visited on Monday night, November 3, the wake of her one-year-old grandson, who died Sunday due to a heart ailment. According to a DZMM report, Arroyo, now congresswoman of Pampanga, was able to go back to her hospital detention at state-run Veterans Memorial Medical Center at around 10:30 pm. The funeral mass started at 8 pm and was held at the Cambridge Circle, North Forbes Park, the Macapagals' ancestral home, the report said.

Arroyo's Cabinet officials during her presidency were reportedly present in the wake, including former Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita, former presidential spokesperson and chief of staff Elena Bautista Horn, former Agriculture Secretary Arthur Yap, former Foreign Affairs Secretary Alberto Romulo, and former Justice Secretary Agnes Devanadera. Quoting Arroyo's lawyer Lawrence Arroyo, the report said the anti-graft court Sandiganbayan First Division allowed the former president to leave detention only for Monday night. On Tuesday morning, November 4, the court will hear Arroyo's motion for a 9-day house stay in her residence at La Vista, Quezon City, to attend the daily wake and the burial of her grandson.

Arroyo explained that she is not a flight risk and "would like to be with and pray with her family" for the next 9 days, "as is the religious custom." "President Arroyo would like to believe that there is room enough in our justice system to accommodate the request of a grandmother to be allowed to properly grieve the loss of a grandson's life," her motion read. The youngest son of Arroyo's daughte Luli Arroyo-Bernas and husband Luigi died Sunday morning, November 2, at the Philippine Heart Center in Quezon City. Arroyo is on hospital arrest due to a plunder case over the alleged misuse of P366-million worth of Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office funds. – Rappler.com THIS IS THE FULL REPORT

ALSO: Aquino tells Binay: You’re free to leave; VP staying put, says he is a team player 

NOV 4 --CALAMBA CITY, Philippines—The door is open. President Aquino stated that clearly for Vice President Jejomar Binay on Monday. “If he thinks we are going in the wrong direction, he’s free to leave,” Aquino said in a talk with reporters after inaugurating the $95-million plant expansion project of Coca-Cola Femsa Philippines here. The leader of the opposition United Nationalist Alliance (UNA), Binay has been going around criticizing the administration since the Senate began investigating him on charges of corruption on Aug. 20.

He has not resigned from the Cabinet, however, and continues to lead the government’s housing and migrant workers’ programs. Aquino reminded Binay that as the second-highest official of the country and a member of the Cabinet, it was his “obligation” to inform the President on “how to improve the system.” “Just to be clear, if he had solutions, I don’t think I heard them during Cabinet meetings, he should have shared them. Of course, the question is why didn’t he,” Aquino said. ‘Team player’ Binay said he was staying. “I have the highest respect for President Aquino and I'll continue to be a team player,” Binay said in brief statement released by his office on Monday.* READ MORE...

ALSO: VP gets huge boost from political sages   

NOV 4 --PHOTO: OSMEÑA ---Prominent voices in the local political scene expressed support to Vice President Jejomar Binay amid the orchestrated attacks against him saying that he should stay his course in the Cabinet and that the supposed anomalies which is being linked to him at the Senate Blue Ribbon subcommittee have political motivations. Binay found an ally in former partymate, Sen. Sergio Osmena III who yesterday defended him for making “constructive criticisms” against the Aquino administration. Osmena yesterday came to the defense of Binay following President Aquino’s statements saying that the Vice President is free to leave his Cabinet if he’s unhappy with the decisions of his administration.

The senator, who is aligned with Binay’s former political party, Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Laban ng Bayan (PDP-Laban), said the Vice President should not be chastised for making constructive criticisms to the administration. “There’s no reason to axe Jojo (Binay) for offering constructive criticms (because) even when alternative solutions are offered, they are rejected without explanation,” he said in a text message to reporters. “It appears (that) only the KKK (kakampi, kaklase, kabarilan or allies, classmates and shooting range buddies) mafia have all the right answers,” Osmena added. Osmena was identified to be among the “bloc” within the administration that pushed for the Aquino-Binay or “Noy-Bi” tandem during the 2010 presidential campaign. Binay’s staunch critic in the upper chamber, Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV, wasted no time in urging the Vice President to consider resigning from his Cabinet post in the light of the statements made by the President.

Considering the alleged corruption issues now hounding Binay, it’s quite obvious that the Aquino is veering away from the Vice President and has lost trust and confidence on the latter, Trillanes said. It need not be said that the President is now just awaiting Binay to take the initiative, he added. Political analyst and University of the Philippines (UP) professor Prospero De Vera also pushed for Osmeña to intervene and bring back dignity in the Senate which through a subcommittee made up of three members, Senators Koko Pimentel, Allan Peter Cayetano and Antonio Trillanes IV, has been conducting the obviously partisan investigations on Binay. De Vera in a television interview said that the late Sen. Juan Flavier was an example of how senators should conduct themselves. “If only they had half his probity,” De Vera. * READ MORE...

ALSO: PNoy upset by VP tirades vs his admin says, Binay is free to go

NOV 4--President Aquino, apparently upset by Vice President Jejomar C. Binay’s recent tirades against the administration, yesterday declared that the country’s No. 2 official is free to leave the Cabinet if he believes the present government is treading the wrong path. “If he thinks our direction is wrong, he is free to leave our group,” the President said in a media interview after inaugurating the expansion project of a soft drink manufacturing plant in Calamba, Laguna. But leaving the Cabinet is far from the mind of the Vice President. In a press statement, Binay – who holds two Cabinet positions in the Aquino administration – said, “I have the highest respect for President Aquino and I will continue to be a team player.”  However, should Binay decide to stay in the Cabinet, the President challenged the Vice President to offer solutions to the country’s problems instead of just hurling criticisms against the government.

“But at the minimum, he is Vice President of the land, he has criticisms, maybe for these to be constructive, he should also offer solutions,” the President added. The President was responding to media queries on whether he thinks Binay, who has been critical of the administration recently, should stay or leave the Cabinet. In the Aquino Cabinet, Binay is Presidential Adviser on Overseas Filipino Workers’ Concerns, chairman emeritus of the Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking (IACAT), chairman of the Presidential Task Force Against Illegal Recruitment (PTFAIR), and chair of the Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council (HUDCC). CRITICISMS Binay had earlier criticized some of the President’s allies for focusing on destroying his name instead of addressing the country’s problems on power supply, rising prices of goods, worsening conditions of the Metro Manila railway system, floods, rampant criminality, among others. He had also assailed the way former President and now Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal Arroyo is treated as well as blasts the Disbursement Acceleration Program, some key acts of which have been declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court. * READ MORE...

ALSO Manila Standard Editorial: An uneven light   

NOV 4 --IN the media circus surrounding the allegations of corruption against the Vice President, it is easy to lose track of the equally serious charges being leveled at the friends and allies of President Benigno Aquino III. His inaction, or worse, his blind defense of these transgressions, taints his own image, and casts doubts on his commitment to his own straight path policy. A glaring example of this is the President’s stubborn defense of national police chief Alan Purisima, who by his own admission before a nationally televised Senate hearing took millions of pesos of discounts and donations from shadowy friends who did not want to be identified.

We cannot take the President’s word that the police chief is an honest man because his actions suggest otherwise. His admissions before the Senate cannot now be used as an example of his willingness to tell the truth, nor can they exonerate him from the wrongdoing he admitted. Despite Purisima’s protestations that no favors were granted in return, we question the wisdom in allowing a police chief to take millions of pesos in discounts on a luxury vehicle while he was the government’s top law enforcement officer. We also cannot accept the large-scale diversion of funds simply because the President’s men and his allies in Congress are trying to legitimize by law what is a clear violation of the Constitution. This he has done by inserting a provision in the 2015 national budget redefining the term “savings,” which will authorize him to impound funds from congressionally approved projects and to use them for other purposes that never passed congressional scrutiny. * READ MORE...


READ FULL REPORT HERE:

MILF organizes own political party for 2016 and beyond


MAINSTREAM POLITICS. The Moro Islamic Liberation Front, which recently signed a final peace deal with the Philippine government, is ready to join mainstream politics through its newly-formed political party. Malacanang file photo

DAVAO CITY, NOVEMBER 10, 2014 (PHILSTAR) POSTED November 4, 2014 - By Edith Regalado  –The United Bangsamoro Justice Party is being organized as the political party of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).

“It would not be for 2016 only. The MILF and the Bangsamoro would be democratic and participatory, that is why it would be beyond 2016,” MILF vice-chair Ghazali Jaafar told The STAR.

Jaafar said the political party would be open not only to MILF members.

“We welcome everybody… but they also have to go through a certain screening. As to how the screening would go, right now we are still discussing it,” he said.

He said the structure of the Bangsamoro political party is being drawn up by the MILF central committee.

Jaafar said the MILF looks forward to the Philippine Development Forum to be held here Thursday, where donor nations and organizations would pledge their funding support to the planned Bangsamoro government.

EARLIER REPORT FROM RAPPLER.COM

MILF forms United Bangsamoro Justice Party (UBJP) Published 11:20 AM, Apr 09, 2014 Updated 9:45 PM, Apr 09, 2014


MILF leader Ghadzali Jaafar says the UBJP is not exclusive to MILF members and may form alliances with other parties Karlos Manlupig

DAVAO CITY, Philippines - The Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) is ready for mainstream politics through its newly formed United Bangsamoro Justice Party (UBJP).

MILF vice chair for political affairs Ghadzali Jaafar said Wednesday, April 9, that they finalized plans to form the party last year, following various meetings with local leaders and the MILF's central committee, the policy-making body of the organization.

“This party is based on justice and is not exclusive. This is open to anybody who wants to join the party,” Jaafar said. He added that all MILF officials and members will be automatically listed as members of the political party.

Aside from Maguindanao, Lanao del Sur, Lanao del Norte, Sulu, Basilan and Tawi-Tawi, there are also UBJP groups in Sarangani, Sultan Kudarat, North Cotabato, Davao City, Compostela Valley, Davao del Norte, Davao Oriental, Butuan and Bukidnon, according to Jaafar.

* The MILF recently signed a historic peace agreement with the Philippine government which aims to end more than 4 decades of conflict in key areas in Mindanao and address problems facing the Muslim minority in the country.

The peace deal envisions the setting up of a new political entity, the Bangsamoro region, which will be formed after the passage of a law and the holding of a plebiscite in Muslim areas in the region.

The MILF hopes to lead the regional government. But Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago is saying the agreement is illegal as it aims to create a substate within the state, a claim denied by both peace panels.

To formalize the political participation of the UBJP, Jaafar said they will soon be submitting basic documents to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the Commission on Elections (COMELEC).

Jaafar said they are open to possible alliances with other political parties. “We are always open to talk to them."

He explained that the selection of UBJP officials, including the local party units, will be made through an appointment process supervised by the MILF's central committee.

Jaafar, however, stressed that the selection of candidates would be based on a democratic process and not on appointment.

“There will be a process on the selection of candidates and it will be open to anyone who is qualified based on the electoral requirements,” Jaafar said. – Rappler.com

Arroyo visits grandson's funeral Rappler.com Published 12:19 AM, Nov 04, 2014 Updated 12:19 AM, Nov 04, 2014

The court will still resolve Arroyo's motion for a 9-day house arrest in her residence at La Vista, Quezon City to attend to the wake and the burial of her one-year-old grandson


FURLOUGH. The Sandiganbayan will hear former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo's motion for a 9-day house arrest. File photo by Ted Aljibe/AFP FURLOUGH. The Sandiganbayan will hear former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo's motion for a 9-day house arrest. File photo by Ted Aljibe/AFP

MANILA, Philippines – Former President Gloria MacapagalArroyo visited on Monday night, November 3, the wake of her one-year-old grandson, who died Sunday due to a heart ailment.

According to a DZMM report, Arroyo, now congresswoman of Pampanga, was able to go back to her hospital detention at state-run Veterans Memorial Medical Center at around 10:30 pm.

The funeral mass started at 8 pm and was held at the Cambridge Circle, North Forbes Park, the Macapagals' ancestral home, the report said.

Arroyo's Cabinet officials during her presidency were reportedly present in the wake, including former Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita, former presidential spokesperson and chief of staff Elena Bautista Horn, former Agriculture Secretary Arthur Yap, former Foreign Affairs Secretary Alberto Romulo, and former Justice Secretary Agnes Devanadera.

Quoting Arroyo's lawyer Lawrence Arroyo, the report said the anti-graft court Sandiganbayan First Division allowed the former president to leave detention only for Monday night.

On Tuesday morning, November 4, the court will hear Arroyo's motion for a 9-day house stay in her residence at La Vista, Quezon City, to attend the daily wake and the burial of her grandson.

Arroyo explained that she is not a flight risk and "would like to be with and pray with her family" for the next 9 days, "as is the religious custom."

"President Arroyo would like to believe that there is room enough in our justice system to accommodate the request of a grandmother to be allowed to properly grieve the loss of a grandson's life," her motion read.

The youngest son of Arroyo's daughte Luli Arroyo-Bernas and husband Luigi died Sunday morning, November 2, at the Philippine Heart Center in Quezon City.

Arroyo is on hospital arrest due to a plunder case over the alleged misuse of P366-million worth of Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office funds. – Rappler.com

FROM THE INQUIRER

Aquino tells Binay: You’re free to leaveL VP staying put, says he is a team player
Christian V. Esguerra @inquirerdotnet Philippine Daily Inquirer 12:39 AM | Tuesday, November 4th, 2014


President Aquino prepares to answer questions from reporters during an ambush interview at the inauguration of the $95-million plant expansion of Coca Cola Femsa Philippines in Calamba City on Monday. After being asked by reporters about the criticisms hurled by Vice President Binay against his administration, Aquino said Binay was free to leave “if he thinks we are going in the wrong direction.” INQUIRER PHOTO/GRIG C. MONTEGRANDE

CALAMBA CITY, Philippines—The door is open.

President Aquino stated that clearly for Vice President Jejomar Binay on Monday.

“If he thinks we are going in the wrong direction, he’s free to leave,” Aquino said in a talk with reporters after inaugurating the $95-million plant expansion project of Coca-Cola Femsa Philippines here.

The leader of the opposition United Nationalist Alliance (UNA), Binay has been going around criticizing the administration since the Senate began investigating him on charges of corruption on Aug. 20.

He has not resigned from the Cabinet, however, and continues to lead the government’s housing and migrant workers’ programs.

Aquino reminded Binay that as the second-highest official of the country and a member of the Cabinet, it was his “obligation” to inform the President on “how to improve the system.”

“Just to be clear, if he had solutions, I don’t think I heard them during Cabinet meetings, he should have shared them. Of course, the question is why didn’t he,” Aquino said.

‘Team player’

Binay said he was staying.

“I have the highest respect for President Aquino and I will continue to be a team player,” Binay said in brief statement released by his office on Monday.

* Asked if he continued to trust Binay despite the allegations of corruption against him, President Aquino said the alleged irregularities “happened before” Binay was elected Vice President.

Binay, he said, enjoys a “presumption of innocence until proven guilty.”

Aquino also commended Binay, chief of the Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council, for the “achievements of the housing sector [on] his watch.” Binay is also Aquino’s adviser on migrant workers’ affairs.

The President said the administration deserved “credit” for investigating top government officials like Binay.

A Senate blue ribbon subcommittee is looking into the alleged overpricing of the P2.28-billion Makati City Hall Building II, which was built during Binay’s term as mayor of the city.

Former Makati Vice Mayor Ernesto Mercado, the principal witness in the inquiry, has testified that Binay pocketed kickbacks from municipal infrastructure projects and uses dummies to conceal his ill-gotten wealth, including an 8,877-square-meter real estate property in Comembo village, Makati, and a 350-hectare agricultural farm in Rosario town, Batangas province.

Binay has denied the allegations, but refuses to appear in the Senate to answer the charges.

Run for President

President Aquino also fired back at his congressional ally, Akbayan Rep. Walden Bello, who said on Sunday that the administration was “losing the moral high ground” in the fight against corruption by not going after its own allies.

“He has so many complaints. I suggest that if he thinks only his views are correct, he should run for President in 2016 so that, if he’s elected, he can run the country according to his vision,” Aquino said.

“For now, I think I am doing what is right and necessary,” the President added.

Bello said on Sunday that the President should sack Budget Secretary Florencio Abad, Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala, Agrarian Reform Secretary Virgilio de los Reyes and Philippine National Police Director General Alan Purisima.

“We cannot have a double standard by condemning Vice President Jejomar Binay while tolerating administration allies involved in the [Janet Lim-] Napoles [pork barrel] scam and the [Disbursement Acceleration Program, or DAP]. A double standard has a tremendously corrosive effect on civic morality,” Bello said.

Abad defended

Aquino defended his officials, particularly Abad, who, according to Bello, are “trapos” (traditional politicians) masquerading as reformers.

Aquino took note of Bello’s complaint that Batanes province, Abad’s political bailiwick, got P177 million from the DAP in the thick of the election campaign in 2013.

Bello said Batanes got the sixth-largest DAP allocation although it was “the smallest district with the smallest population and smallest number of registered voters.”

Aquino said farming out government projects on the strength of a location’s voting population reflected “trapo mentality.”

“What would happen to our most depressed and poorest provinces if that would be the basis?” he asked.

“I respect the President and know he’s doing his best. These decisions are tough, but leaders are there to make hard decisions. My appeal to him: Please don’t shoot the messenger but listen to him,” Bello said in an e-mail to the Inquirer on Monday.

Bello said running for higher office was never in the cards for him, as he was nearing 70, but he would consider running for President in 2016.

“I never was one to walk away from a challenge and a dare, especially from someone I respect,” Bello said. “If what he’s saying is he’ll support me, then I’ll have to think about it seriously, because I can’t let him down, can I?”

Although saying he respected the President’s defense of Abad, creator of the DAP, an economic stimulus fund that the Supreme Court struck down as unconstitutional in July, Bello stood his ground.

“I just beg to differ with him,” Bello said. “For me, it’s clear as day that it was nepotism. This is the problem when absolute power over the budget is wedded to lack of transparency. As Lord Acton said, it (absolute power) corrupts absolutely.”

No hard feelings

Binay’s political spokesman, Cavite Gov. Jonvic Remulla, said the Vice President had “no hard feelings” toward the President.

Remulla said Binay never criticized President Aquino but the Vice President “did point out deficiencies where he thinks needed work.”

He said the Vice President was willing to give advice to the President if asked to do so.

“He just doesn’t want to preempt the President,” Remulla said.

Binay, he said, gives the President his opinion on housing matters, as that is his assignment in the Cabinet.

‘Clear signal’ to go

For Caloocan Rep. Edgar Erice, the President’s statement was a “clear signal” for Binay to leave the Cabinet.

“It’s just a light way of saying that the Vice President is no longer needed in the Cabinet. The President [made] that statement precisely because the Vice President’s action is not the action of a team player,” Erice, an ally of Aquino, said in a text message.

“My guess is that if Binay will file a courtesy resignation, it will be accepted in five minutes,” he said.

Erice said there were many competent government officials who could be considered as a replacement for Binay for the housing program. Among them is National Housing Authority General Manager Chito Cruz, he said.

But he said he believed Binay would not leave the administration.

“Binay will not resign. He will cling to his post. He will endure the humiliation because he is using his Cabinet post in his campaign, including the use of government resources,” Erice said.

Buhay Rep. Lito Atienza, an ally of Binay, said the Vice President should consider quitting the administration.

“All the time the Vice President has been very supportive of President Aquino. If [the President] thinks that’s not enough, maybe [the Vice President] should think of dissociating himself [from the administration],” Atienza said.

“If the President cannot accept criticism, especially from one who considers him a good friend and loyal to him, then that’s the tragedy. He should not put malice into the Vice President’s criticisms,” he said.

Iloilo Rep. Jerry Treñas said quitting the Cabinet was Binay’s personal choice.

“If he is comfortable being in the Cabinet while attacking the President and the other members of the Cabinet who are alter egos of the President left and right then he should stay put. Otherwise he should study other options,” Treñas said.–With reports from Gil C. Cabacungan and Christine O. Avendaño

FROM THE TRIBUNE

VP gets huge boost from political sages Written by Gerry Baldo and Angie M. Rosales Tuesday, 04 November 2014 00:00


OSMEÑA AND ATIENZA

Prominent voices in the local political scene expressed support to Vice President Jejomar Binay amid the orchestrated attacks against him saying that he should stay his course in the Cabinet and that the supposed anomalies which is being linked to him at the Senate Blue Ribbon subcommittee have political motivations.

Binay found an ally in former partymate, Sen. Sergio Osmena III who yesterday defended him for making “constructive criticisms” against the Aquino administration.

Osmena yesterday came to the defense of Binay following President Aquino’s statements saying that the Vice President is free to leave his Cabinet if he’s unhappy with the decisions of his administration.

The senator, who is aligned with Binay’s former political party, Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Laban ng Bayan (PDP-Laban), said the Vice President should not be chastised for making constructive criticisms to the administration.

“There’s no reason to axe Jojo (Binay) for offering constructive criticms (because) even when alternative solutions are offered, they are rejected without explanation,” he said in a text message to reporters.

“It appears (that) only the KKK (kakampi, kaklase, kabarilan) or allies, classmates and shooting range buddies) mafia have all the right answers,” Osmena added.

Osmena was identified to be among the “bloc” within the administration that pushed for the Aquino-Binay or “Noy-Bi” tandem during the 2010 presidential campaign.

Binay’s staunch critic in the upper chamber, Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV, wasted no time in urging the Vice President to consider resigning from his Cabinet post in the light of the statements made by the President.

Considering the alleged corruption issues now hounding Binay, it’s quite obvious that the Aquino is veering away from the Vice President and has lost trust and confidence on the latter, Trillanes said.

It need not be said that the President is now just awaiting Binay to take the initiative, he added.

Political analyst and University of the Philippines (UP) professor Prospero De Vera also pushed for Osmeña to intervene and bring back dignity in the Senate which through a subcommittee made up of three members, Senators Koko Pimentel, Allan Peter Cayetano and Antonio Trillanes IV, has been conducting the obviously partisan investigations on Binay.

De Vera in a television interview said that the late Sen. Juan Flavier was an example of how senators should conduct themselves. “If only they had half his probity,” De Vera.

* De Vera added “there are some senior members of the Senate who can intervene. Serge Osmena, for example. He’s not seen as partisan.”

De Vera indicated that Binay is being targeted for having made known his plans to seek the presidency early on in the Aquino administration and at the same time siding with the opposition party.”

“VP Binay is the first VP in recent past who openly declared his intention to run for president in the first half of the administration and who supported an opposition slate in the mid-term elections. No other VP after Martial Law did that,” De Vera said.

“Because of that action, the administration allies started to go after VP Binay immediately after the midterm polls,” he added.

“If Binay survives the controversy and is still competitive next year, the political lines will be re-drawn based on this,” he said.

UNA also issued a piece of advice to Binay to stay put in Aquino’s Cabinet.

According to Navotas Rep. Tobias Tiangco, interim president of UNA, Binay should continue serving the people despite issues raised against him by the Aquino administration.

“The ?Vice President should continue working for the poor people who trust him. They are also relying on him to bring more social services for them. No matter how he is being treated by some allies of the President or no matter how painful the malicious allegations being hurled at his family are,” Tiangco said.

Following a statement by President Aquino that Binay is free to leave the cabinet, Tiangco said that the vice president is determined to continue his service for the poor and should continue to pursue a better future for them.

“He is the only one who has proven genuine care for the poor and based on track record has the most projects that benefitted the poor,” Tiangco added.

On Sunday, Malacañang said President Aquino will scrutinize the performance of Binay as member of his Cabinet following allegations of corruption against him and his family.

President Aquino also asked Binay to present solutions instead of just criticizing the government.

The comment of President Aquino came amid calls for Binay to resign from the Cabinet as head of the Housing on Urban Development and Coordinating Council (HUDCC) and as Presidential Adviser on Overseas Filipino Workers Affairs.

Parañaque City Rep. Gus Tambunting, however, noted that the president did not say anything about “scrutinizing” the vice president.

“(Aquino) never said he is scrutinizing VP Binay in particular. Sec. (Herminio) Coloma just said all Cabinet officials undergo audit and they stay in their positions as long as the President trusts them.”

“The fact that VP Binay remains in the Cabinet shows that the President remains happy with his performance,” said Tambunting.

Caloocan City Rep. Edgar Erice interpreted the president’s statement as a subtle way of pushing him away from his official family.

“It’s just a light way of saying that the Vice President is no longer needed in the Cabinet simply because he and his group in the opposition are the ones criticizing the government programs instead of providing solutions,” Erice said.

“The President issued that statement precisely because his (Binay’s) action is not an action of a team player. Sense of delicadeza dictates that he should resign, if not irrevocable at least courtesy resignation,” Erice said.

Buhay Hayaang Yumabong (Buhay) party-list Rep. Lito Atienza, a member of the minority bloc, said Binay should now rethink his association with Aquino following the Chief Executive’s latest remark.

“All this time the Vice President has been very supportive of President Aquino. If he (President Aquino) thinks that’s not enough, maybe he (Binay) should think of dissociating himself,” said Atienza.

“There’s such a thing called critical collaboration and there are many Cabinet officials who, despite being long in the jobs, need to be coaxed at the very least to perform. If the President cannot accept criticisms, especially from one who considers him a good friend and loyal to him, then that’s a tragedy,” Atienza added.

FROM THE MANILA BULLETIN

PNoy upset by VP tirades vs his admin says, Binay free to go by Anna Liza V. Alvaren and Genalyn D. Kabiling November 4, 2014 Share this:

President Aquino, apparently upset by Vice President Jejomar C. Binay’s recent tirades against the administration, yesterday declared that the country’s No. 2 official is free to leave the Cabinet if he believes the present government is treading the wrong path.

“If he thinks our direction is wrong, he is free to leave our group,” the President said in a media interview after inaugurating the expansion project of a soft drink manufacturing plant in Calamba, Laguna.

But leaving the Cabinet is far from the mind of the Vice President. In a press statement, Binay – who holds two Cabinet positions in the Aquino administration – said, “I have the highest respect for President Aquino and I will continue to be a team player.”

However, should Binay decide to stay in the Cabinet, the President challenged the Vice President to offer solutions to the country’s problems instead of just hurling criticisms against the government.

“But at the minimum, he is Vice President of the land, he has criticisms, maybe for these to be constructive, he should also offer solutions,” the President added.

The President was responding to media queries on whether he thinks Binay, who has been critical of the administration recently, should stay or leave the Cabinet.

In the Aquino Cabinet, Binay is Presidential Adviser on Overseas Filipino Workers’ Concerns, chairman emeritus of the Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking (IACAT), chairman of the Presidential Task Force Against Illegal Recruitment (PTFAIR), and chair of the Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council (HUDCC).

CRITICISMS

Binay had earlier criticized some of the President’s allies for focusing on destroying his name instead of addressing the country’s problems on power supply, rising prices of goods, worsening conditions of the Metro Manila railway system, floods, rampant criminality, among others. He had also assailed the way former President and now Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal Arroyo is treated as well as blasts the Disbursement Acceleration Program, some key acts of which have been declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court.

* In the media interview, the President admitted that he has read newspaper reports about Binay being “critical” of his administration. Aquino, however, reminded Binay of his “obligation” as a Cabinet member to also provide advice on how the government could effectively resolve national concerns.

“If the Vice President really said those things, then there are just two things we must remember. Number one, if he thinks we are not doing enough, he is a member of the Cabinet so he should advise us on how we can improve the system. That’s not a choice, it is an obligation as a Cabinet member,” Aquino said.

WHERE’S THE SOLUTION?

Aquino lamented that he has not yet heard the Vice President offer solutions in recent Cabinet meetings. “If he has solutions, he should have shared them. The question is why he has not shared them?” he said.

Aquino further said: “Let me reiterate. If you think the government has any shortcoming, you are a member of the government, the second highest official of the country, then you have an obligation to share your knowledge on better solutions if you have any.”

BINAY DOING GOOD IN HOUSING

Asked if Binay still enjoys his trust and confidence despite allegations of corruption, the President made clear that the controversy involving the Vice President occurred prior to his role in the Cabinet.

When it comes to Binay’s work in the Cabinet as head of the HUDCC, the President has no complaints.

“If we are referring to his assignment with regards to housing, I think our housing sector has a lot of achievements under our watch,” Aquino said.

“It’s a credit also to the current regime ‘di ba ‘yung pag-iimbestiga no matter what your status is happening,” Aquino added, referring to the government probe on Binay’s alleged corrupt practices during his term as mayor of Makati City.

ULTIMATUM

Meanwhile, Sen. Antonio “Sonny” F. Trillanes IV yesterday set November 22 as his deadline for the Vice President to decide whether or not they go into a public debate on issues related to alleged widespread corruption during the latter’s time as Makati mayor.

Trillanes said he would no longer entertain proposals for him and the Vice President to a debate if there is no definite answer from Binay on or before the Nov. 22 deadline.

There are reports that the camp of the Vice President want that the issue should be focused on “unacceptable” conduct of the Senate Blue Ribbon sub-committee in questioning the integrity of the Vice President and that the debate should not touch on the corruption issue.

Trillanes had earlier told Senate reporters that officers of the Kilusang ng mga Brodkaster ng Pilipinas (KBP) had gone to his office to draw up details of the proposed debate.

There are reports that both camps want the venue of the debate to be in a place not far from the Senate or the Coconut Palace, the official residence of the Vice President.

The Philippine International Convention Center (PICC) in Pasay City is sandwiched by the two buildings.

Trillanes, a former Navy officer, had said he would be at the losing end of the debate because he is not a lawyer, while the Vice President is a member of the Philippine Bar. (With a report from Mario B. Casayuran)

MANILA STANDARD EDITORIAL

An uneven light By Manila Standard Today | Nov. 03, 2014 at 12:01am
 

IN the media circus surrounding the allegations of corruption against the Vice President, it is easy to lose track of the equally serious charges being leveled at the friends and allies of President Benigno Aquino III. His inaction, or worse, his blind defense of these transgressions, taints his own image, and casts doubts on his commitment to his own straight path policy.

A glaring example of this is the President’s stubborn defense of national police chief Alan Purisima, who by his own admission before a nationally televised Senate hearing took millions of pesos of discounts and donations from shadowy friends who did not want to be identified.

We cannot take the President’s word that the police chief is an honest man because his actions suggest otherwise. His admissions before the Senate cannot now be used as an example of his willingness to tell the truth, nor can they exonerate him from the wrongdoing he admitted.

Despite Purisima’s protestations that no favors were granted in return, we question the wisdom in allowing a police chief to take millions of pesos in discounts on a luxury vehicle while he was the government’s top law enforcement officer.

We also cannot accept the large-scale diversion of funds simply because the President’s men and his allies in Congress are trying to legitimize by law what is a clear violation of the Constitution. This he has done by inserting a provision in the 2015 national budget redefining the term “savings,” which will authorize him to impound funds from congressionally approved projects and to use them for other purposes that never passed congressional scrutiny.

* Nor is it right to sweep under the rug all the accusations of corruption by more than 100 of the President’s allies who were implicated by Janet Lim Napoles in the pork barrel scam, or the plunder charges filed against a growing list of the President’s Cabinet secretaries, that now includes those heading the departments of Agriculture, Budget and Management, Public Works and Highways, Transportation and Communication, and Tourism.

In all of these instances, Palace spokesmen routinely issue a statement saying that the Cabinet secretary in question continues to enjoy the confidence of the President. In none of the cases has the President taken any concrete action to discipline his own officials and to hold them accountable.

We agree that sunlight is the best disinfectant in public office, and that the allegations against the Vice President must be thoroughly investigated. What we cannot countenance is that this light shines unevenly, and that the President’s men are allowed to hide in the shadows, while his opponents are left to bake out in the sun.


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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