PHNO HEADLINE NEWS EARLY THIS PAST WEEK

VP BINAY BACKS OUT OF DEBATE WITH TRILLANES 

NOV 11 --Vice President Jejomar Binay on Tuesday said he is backing out of a debate with Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV scheduled on November 27. Binay disclosed his decision as he marked his 72nd birthday at the Philippine Marines headquarters, according to GMA News' Sandra Aguinaldo on GMA News TV's News to Go. At the time, he was asked to comment on Trillanes' claim that Binay has an advantage over him because the Vice President is a lawyer. “Huwag na natin ituloy. Ayoko na kung ganyan sinasabi niya (Trillanes)... Pangit naman yata na 'di pa nag-uumpisa, meron na agad paliwanag,” Binay, who is at the center of a corruption controversy, said. READ FULL REPORT...

ALSO: VP Binay requests prayers from Pinoys for his birthday; He asked, 'Dagdagan pa ang dasal para sa bayan at kabayan.'

A survey shows, many Filipinos want Vice President Jejomar Binay to directly answer corruption allegations against him at the Senate. But as Ron Gagalac tells us, the vice president is not budging. A day before his 72nd birthday, on Tuesday, November 11, Vice President Jejomar Binay attended a mass at the Makati City Hall II with his supporters. His birthday wish was simple: "Dagdagan pa ang dasal para sa bayan at kabayan." READ FULL REPORT...

ALSO: VP Binay defers to Yolanda victims’ sufferings, scraps debate 

NOV 12---PHOTO: Erap to VP: Arguing with Trillanes a waste of time --Taking into account the pain victims of typhoon “Yolanda” continue to suffer a year after the tragedy, Vice President Jejomar Binay has backed out from his public debate with Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV, saying the debate is a disservice to the millions who still have to recover from the catastrophe. Trillanes found the opportunity to breastbeat further, saying he is now waiting to hear from Binay a decision to drop out from the presidential race in 2016. Trillanes is one of three anti-Binay senators who are at the forefront of a smear campaign against Binay through the Senate blue ribbon subcommittee hearing on the multiple allegations against the VP, the purpose of which is widely held is to force him off from running for the presidency in 2016. READ FULL REPORT

(ALSO) Trillanes: Binay must withdraw from 2016 race, too 

NOV 11 ---Vice President Jejomar Binay should also withdraw from the 2016 presidential race after backing out of their scheduled debate, said Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV on Tuesday. In a televised press conference on Tuesday, Trillanes said Binay's withdrawal from their debate destroyed his credibility and showed his "lack of intention to face the people." READ FULL REPORT

ALSO: Trillanes links Binay to coup plot vs Arroyo; Nancy relieved VP withdrew from debate, an answered prayer  

NOV 12--PHOTO: THE FAILED 'MUTINEER' --Trillanes claimed that the Vice President backed out of the debate because he was afraid the public would learn that when he was Makati mayor he conspired with Magdalo renegade soldiers to launch an attempt to unseat then President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo in 2007. Trillanes, who led the 2003 Oakwood mutiny in Makati against the Arroyo administration for which he was detained for several years, made the assertion on Tuesday after Binay withdrew from their debate. The Vice President’s daughter, Sen. Nancy Binay, said she was relieved by her father’s decision to withdraw from the debate. “This is an answered prayer and a welcome relief for the family, although we expect that our detractors will continue to gloat over the situation,” Nancy said in a statement. READ REPORT IN FULL...

ALSO: Santiago wants ‘Hacienda Binay’ distributed to farmers  

NOV 11 --PHOTO: Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago. RYAN LEAGOGO/INQUIRER.net FILE PHOTO
MANILA, Philippines–Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago on Monday filed a resolution expressing the Senate’s sense that a vast farm allegedly owned by Vice President Jejomar Binay should be distributed to farmers if covered by the agrarian reform program. Quoting the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR), Santiago said Rosario town in Batangas province, where the farm is located, was agricultural and hence covered by the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP). READ FULL REPORT...

ALSO GMA NewsNetwork Opinion: A Senate of unbridled ambitions and unbounded egos

NOV 12 --PHOTO: By ANTONIO CONTRERAS ---Its august halls used to be roamed by great minds like those of Recto, Tañada, Manglapus, Salonga and Tolentino, among others. Now, it has become a pulpit for bullies. It is probably the smallest Senate in the entire world. We have 24 senators elected at-large by the entire voting population of the Republic, whose population has already breached the 100 million mark. At present, and due to the fact that there are more committees to chair than senators, it is also probably the only legislative chamber in the world where even members of the minority become committee chairpersons, and therefore end up controlling the agenda, direction and timetable for some pieces of legislation.


READ FULL MEDIA REPORTS HERE:

VP Binay backs out of debate with Trillanes


SCREENGRAB FROM GMA NEWS NETWORK VIDEO

MANILA, NOVEMBER 17, 2014 (GMA NEWS) Vice President Jejomar Binay on Tuesday said he is backing out of a debate with Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV scheduled on November 27.

Binay disclosed his decision as he marked his 72nd birthday at the Philippine Marines headquarters, according to GMA News' Sandra Aguinaldo on GMA News TV's News to Go.

At the time, he was asked to comment on Trillanes' claim that Binay has an advantage over him because the Vice President is a lawyer.

“Huwag na natin ituloy. Ayoko na kung ganyan sinasabi niya (Trillanes)... Pangit naman yata na 'di pa nag-uumpisa, meron na agad paliwanag,” Binay, who is at the center of a corruption controversy, said.

Asked when did he decide to back out from the debate, Binay replied: “Ngayon lang... Ayoko ng ganun na lalabas na parang sinasamantala ko ang aking advantage bilang abogado. Ang advantage ko lang dito, pag-uusapan namin ang facts.”

Binay also said his decision is final.

He, however, said that he is still willing to face Trillanes, but not in a televised debate.

“Harapan tayo wala tayong prepared questions. Ayoko namang di pa nag-uumpisa... para bang inaapi ko, sinasamantala ko siya,” Binay said.

It was Binay who challenged Trillanes to a public debate.

Earlier, Binay and Trillanes' camps agreed to a Nov. 27 date for the debate.

The Kapisanan ng mga Brodkaster ng Pilipinas earlier said four issues will be tackled in the debate.

According to KBP president Herman Basbaño, the debate will cover the following topics:

* Is the Senate blue ribbon subcommittee hearing on Binay justifiable?
* Are PDAF and DAP legal?
* Does Binay own the Batangas farm?
* Is the Makati City Hall Building II overpriced?

The debate would have been held 10 a.m. at the Philippine International Convention Center in Pasay City.

Trillanes disappointed

For his part, Senator Antonio Trillanes IV said he was expecting Binay's announcement, but was still disappointed about it.

In an interview with News To Go on Tuesday, Trillanes said, "Disappointed po tayo pero also inaasahan na natin 'yan. Kasi alam niyo, ever since hindi napanghahawakan ang salita ni Vice President Binay. This will totally destroy his credibility. Hindi na talaga natin siya mapagkakatiwalaan."

He added that he did not understand the Vice President's reason, reiterating that Binay already had an advantage coming into the debate.

"This is the best opportunity for him to rest his case, to prove to the people that he is innocent of all those allegations, pero he blew it again. Hindi ko alam kung anong pumapasok sa isip niya ngayon," he said.

Malacañang, meanwhile, said it respects Binay's decision.

“We respect the Vice President’s decision,” deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte said in a text message.

On the other hand, Senator Nancy Binay, the Vice President's daughter, said her father should just continue to uphold the rights and welfare of the Filipino people despite the allegations being hurled against him.

“Walang katotohanan ang mga alegasyon na ibinabato ng aming mga kalaban sa aking ama kaya dapat lang po na mag-focus siya sa kaniyang trabaho. Bilang pangalawa sa pinaka-mataas na opisyal ng bansa, ang dapat pong priority niya ay ang mamamayang Pilipino,” Sen. Binay said in a press statement.

United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) secretary general Atty. JV Bautista, in a text message sent to GMA News Online on Tuesday, said Binay “listened to reason and the wise counsel of his supporters.”

UNA, a coalition, has recently formed a new political party. Bautista said the UNA Party will be instrumental in Binay’s presidential bid in 2016.

Allegations vs. Binays

The Vice President and his son Makati Mayor Junjun Binay are facing plunder raps before the Ombudsman for the alleged overpricing of the construction of the Makati City Hall Building II. The building project was bidded out when the Vice President was city mayor and Junjun was city councilor.

The Senate blue ribbon subcommittee has been conducting hearings about the issue and has twice invited the Vice President to appear and air his side. VP Binay has refused to go to the hearings.

Aside from questioning the alleged overpricing of the said building, the subcommittee has also inquired about Vice President Binay's alleged property in Rosario, Batangas, not included in his Statement of Assets, Liabilities and Net Worth.

The elder Binay has said the allegations were all part of a demolition job against him since he has been vocal about running in the 2016 presidential election. — Joel Locsin, Rose-An Jessica Dioquino, Amita Legaspi and Elizabeth Marcelo/RSJ/KG/KBK, GMA News


FROM YAHOO ASIA/ANC NEWS

VP Binay requests prayers from Pinoys for his birthday; He asked, 'Dagdagan pa ang dasal para sa bayan at kabayan.'  | ANC – Mon, Nov 10, 2014

A survey shows, many Filipinos want Vice President Jejomar Binay to directly answer corruption allegations against him at the Senate. But as Ron Gagalac tells us, the vice president is not budging.

A day before his 72nd birthday, on Tuesday, November 11, Vice President Jejomar Binay attended a mass at the Makati City Hall II with his supporters.

His birthday wish was simple: "Dagdagan pa ang dasal para sa bayan at kabayan."

Amid controversy

Binay is currently at the center of several controversies, starting with the alleged overpricing of Makati City projects back when he was still mayor. There's also his alleged ownership of a 350-hectare property in Rosario, Batangas.
Without naming names, Binay's wife, Dr. Elenita Binay, also had a message for their family's accusers.

"Good health, peace in his heart, and peace for everybody," said the doctor.

Nancy slams Trillanes

But the Vice President's daughter, Senator Nancy Binay, was more candid, saying they don't expect the so-called demolition campaign against their family to end.

The senator stated, "Nabigyan na kami ng warning, may bagyong darating sa pamilya namin so we've prepared... Talagang iisa-isahin kami, hindi ako magtataka baka by 2015, siguro pati mga anak ko, pamangkin ko kasama nadin sa alegasyon."

She went on to take a swipe at Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV for saying the Vice President has the edge in an upcoming debate because of his experience as a lawyer.

She said, "Strategy n'ya para s'ya yung underdog sa debate, pero kita nyo naman sino ang tunay na underdog? Nasabi ko na dati hindi ako sangayon sa debate, why should he stoop down to the level of trillanes? For me the proper venue parin is the court. Tsaka kung may nakikita tayong ground for impeachment, bakit hanggang ngayon wala paring nagfa-file sa kanya ng kaso?"


FROM THE TRIBUNE

VP defers to Yolanda victims’ sufferings, scraps debate Written by Angie M. Rosales Wednesday, 12 November 2014 00:00


Erap to VP: Arguing with Trillanes a waste of time

Taking into account the pain victims of typhoon “Yolanda” continue to suffer a year after the tragedy, Vice President Jejomar Binay has backed out from his public debate with Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV, saying the debate is a disservice to the millions who still have to recover from the catastrophe.

Trillanes found the opportunity to breastbeat further, saying he is now waiting to hear from Binay a decision to drop out from the presidential race in 2016.

Trillanes is one of three anti-Binay senators who are at the forefront of a smear campaign against Binay through the Senate blue ribbon subcommittee hearing on the multiple allegations against the VP, the purpose of which is widely held is to force him off from running for the presidency in 2016.

”Now is not the time for talk but for action. The Vice President is prioritizing the country over self, recovery over bickering, the people over himself,” Binay’s spokesman for political concerns Cavite Gov. Jonvic Remulla said.

The public debate was supposed to be held on Nov. 27 as set by the Kapisanan ng mga Brodkaster ng Pilipinas (KBP).

Remulla said the Vice President would be in the Visayas next week “putting all his efforts into the task of providing shelter given to him by the President.


BOODLE BREAKFAST Vice President Jejomar Binay enjoys his favorite pancit prepared by the Philippine Navy during a boodle fight to celebrate his 72nd birthday on Tuesday . PHOTO BY RENE DILAN MANILA DAILY BULLETIN.

”The truth of the allegations is now in the hands of the Ombudsman,” Remulla said.

Earlier, Binay reportedly said he was backing out from the debate because he does not want to appear “oppressive and opportunistic.”

Binay made known his decision to withdraw from the debate during his 72nd birthday celebration at the Philippine Marines headquarters in Fort Bonifacio, Taguig City.

“It’s final, it’s final. My decision won’t change,” Binay said.

Binay, a lawyer, said he does not want to look like he is taking advantage of Trillanes, who, on the other hand, is not a lawyer.

”My reason is that I have heard comments that I am already a good and experienced debater, I’m a lawyer. Engaging him may only confirm what he (Trillanes) has been saying too much already that I’m oppressive and opportunistic. So I’m backing out,” Binay said

It was Binay who had issued the challenge on Trillanes to debate after the senator dared the Vice President to face the Senate inquiry and answer the allegations that he received kickbacks from the alleged overpriced MakatiCity Hall Building 2.

Meanwhile, Trillanes expressed disappointment, saying he can’t expect too much from the Vice President to honor his word.

”In a way, I was expecting that, but I was really hoping against hope that he would somehow find the courage to live up to his word, but we can’t expect too much from this guy,” Trillanes said.

Trillanes said the excuse used by the Vice President that the senator is an underdog was “the lamest excuse you can ever get from anyone.”

”In fact, for somebody like him who really wanted to bounce back, that was the best opportunity to put me in my place. But you know nobody is going to buy that,” Trillanes said.

“For the sake of the country, Binay should withdraw (from the presidential race) and stop deceiving the nation, hopefully the public will see through his true character,” Trillanes told reporters.

With or without the debate, the senator said there’s no stopping the Senate blue ribbon subcommittee from continuing with the investigation on the alleged wrongdoings of the Vice President.

Trillanes admitted that there are still a number of people who remain unconvinced by the charges against Binay.

“The hearings will continue and we will expose issues whether the debate continues or not. There would be more anomalies to be exposed to allow the public to know the true character of Vice President Binay,” he said.

Trillanes branded as a lame excuse the reason given by Binay in backing out from the debate, saying the Vice President is merely trying to save himself from further embarrassment by having to deal with the truth behind his accusations.

“It’s his loss,” he added.

“No matter how you look at it, he’s at an advantage which is why I’m also trying to study and learn how to debate because I’m not going in there without putting up a good fight. But even if I didn’t speak at all, I will tell you, they will come up with a reason not to show up in that debate. So, this is just one of those alibis that the Binay camp has been dishing out to everyone. It’s one lie after another,” he added.

Members of Binay’s camp heaved a sigh of relief upon hearing of the decision made by the Vice President.

“This is an answered prayer and a welcome relief for the family although we expect that our detractors will continue to gloat on the situation,” Sen. Nancy Binay said, adding that there had been early attempts to set the stage for the upcoming event as unfavorably biased for her father.

“We respect the Vice President’s decision to beg off from the scheduled debate. From here, we shall move forward and the Vice President will continue to serve the Filipino people in the responsibilities entrusted to him, unencumbered by partisan attacks,” she said.

Senator Binay said the Vice President should continue to uphold the rights and welfare of the Filipino people despite the allegations being hurled against him.

A lawmaker lauded Binay for his decision not to pursue his debate with Trillanes.

Buhay Rep. Lito Atienza said that ever since Binay dared Trillanes to a one-on-one televised debate, he was praying it would not push through as the Vice President will have nothing to gain, whatever will be the outcome in the end.

Atienza added that if ever the debate pushes through, he expects the former rebel soldier-turned senator to disrespect Binay during the proceedings.

Atienza said it would be better for the complainants to just file the necessary charges against Binay in the court instead of abusing the Senate probe for their grandstanding and black propaganda against the Vice President.

But on the other side of the fence, rabid critic of Binay, Caloocan City Rep. Edgar Erice chastised the vice president saying he wasn’t surprised Binay withdrew from the debate he personally proposed since he is “really afraid” to face Trillanes.

“I already expected him to do that (back out) since he’s afraid Senator Trillanes will reveal his true color once they proceed with the debate,” Erice said.

Magdalo Reps. Gary Alejano and Ashley Acedilio, Trillanes’ coup plotters, also rallied behind Trillanes, saying that people shouldn’t trust Binay anymore.

House members allied with the Palace, however, said chickening out of the debate that he himself called shows what kind of a leader Binay would be.

Speaker Feliciano Belmonte, Liberal Party Vice Chairman; Caloocan City Rep. Edgar Erice and Magdalo party-list Reps. Acedillo and Alejano said that turning away from the debate was disadvantageous to the vice president. Charlie V. Manalo, Gerry Baldo


FROM PHILSTAR

Trillanes: Binay must withdraw from 2016 race, too By Louis Bacani (philstar.com) | Updated November 11, 2014 - 2:10pm 3 68 googleplus0 0


TRILLANES AND BINAY

MANILA, Philippines - Vice President Jejomar Binay should also withdraw from the 2016 presidential race after backing out of their scheduled debate, said Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV on Tuesday.

In a televised press conference on Tuesday, Trillanes said Binay's withdrawal from their debate destroyed his credibility and showed his "lack of intention to face the people."

"For the sake of the country, sana umatras siya. Itigil na niya itong panloloko niya at pagpapanggap niya," Trillanes said when asked about Binay's presidential bid.

Binay on Tuesday backed out of their debate slated for November 27 because of Trillanes's statements portraying himself as the underdog in their now-canceled face-off.

The vice president said he does not want to appear as someone who will take advantage of Trillanes, who is not a lawyer and lacks experience in public debates.

"That's the lamest excuse you can ever get from anyone," Trillanes said in a phone-patch interview on ANC. "Nobody is going to buy that."

Trillanes said he was not surprised with Binay's withdrawal, though he hoped that the debate will push through.

He believes that Binay has lost an opportunity to redeem himself since a debate would be the "best scenario" for the vice president.

The senator said he will be ready to face Binay if the latter changes his mind.

"But again, like all promises that he has made, mahirap panghawakan," he said.

It was Binay who challenged Binay to a debate after refusing to attend the Senate Blue Ribbon Sub-Committee hearings on the allegations hurled against him.

Binay has called the sub-committee a "kangaroo court," with Trillanes and Sen. Alan Cayetano gearing to derail his political ambition for 2016.

Navotas City Rep. Toby Tiangco, interim president of the United Nationalist Alliance, said in a previous television interview that Binay has nothing to gain from facing the Senate and from his debate with Trillanes.

The vice president's daughter, Sen. Nancy Binay, also said on Monday that a Senate inquiry and a debate were not the proper venues for his father to answer the allegations.

"Why should he stoop down to the level of Sen. Trillanes?" the younger Binay said.

"For me, the proper venue pa rin is the court. Kung may mga alegasyon, bakit hindi sila magsampa ng kaso?" she added.


FROM THE INQUIRER

Trillanes links Binay to coup plot vs Arroyo; Nancy Binay thankful VP withdraw from debate, says her prayers were answered Leila B. Salaverria, Nancy C. Carvajal | Philippine Daily Inquirer 1:00 AM | Wednesday, November 12th, 2014


THE FAILED 'MUTINEER' BLAMED BINAY, TOO.

MANILA, Philippines–Vice President Jejomar Binay backed out of his own proposed debate with Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV because he is afraid of the truth, which is hard to destroy even with the most skilled of arguments, according to the bold senator who was supposed to have faced off with Binay on Nov. 27.

But Trillanes, a former Navy officer, also said it wasn’t the first time Binay was untrue to his word.

The Vice President backed out of the debate because he was afraid the public would learn that when he was Makati mayor he conspired with Magdalo renegade soldiers to launch an attempt to unseat then President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo in 2007.

Trillanes, who led the 2003 Oakwood mutiny in Makati against the Arroyo administration for which he was detained for several years, made the assertion on Tuesday after Binay withdrew from their debate.

Trillanes said Binay had failed to deliver on his promise to gather a crowd of supporters for the soldiers who walked out of a court hearing to seek the overthrow of the Arroyo administration, leaving the group in the lurch. The soldiers were later forced to surrender.

A Binay spokesperson denied Trillanes’ claim.

“Senator Trillanes is now attempting to rewrite history with a revisionist version of his Manila Peninsula siege which ended in a fiasco,” Joey Salgado, one of the spokespersons for Binay, said in a statement.

Tension between Binay and Trillanes heated up recently after the latter initiated the Senate inquiry into alleged corruption in Makati where the Vice President, its former mayor, has been implicated.

Binay subsequently challenged Trillanes to a debate but on Tuesday he backed out of the match.

“In this particular case, whatever he might say, he is just afraid of the truth. That’s the only thing I have in this debate and it’s hard to destroy that. No matter how skilled you are in arguing, if your opponent is holding the truth, you won’t win,” Trillanes told reporters.

‘Manila Pen siege’

He said he was not surprised when Binay backed out, recalling Binay’s role in the 2007 revolt, known as the “Manila Peninsula siege,” because the soldiers had holed up at the hotel before surrendering.

At that time, the Magdalo soldiers were detained for the 2003 Oakwood mutiny in Makati against the Arroyo administration and were being tried for staging a coup d’etat at the Makati City Regional Trial Court.

Trillanes recounted that his group had reached out to Binay because the latter was then with the opposition. Their meeting to stage the revolt against the Arroyo administration took place in the office of the judge handling the soldiers’ trial. The court is in the same building as the Makati City Hall.

Mobilization, guns

Binay then promised that he would use his position to mobilize the employees of Makati City Hall, the urban poor, the students of the University of Makati, even the Makati traffic enforcers and police, according to Trillanes.

“On the eve of the Manila Pen incident, we were able to bring in our guns to Makati City Hall so we could use these for our revolt. Up to that point it was clear he was with us,” he said.

But when the day of the siege came, when the Magdalo soldiers had walked out of their trial, Binay and his promised group of supporters were nowhere to be seen.

“He put the whole group in trouble,” he said. “Not even the shadow of Vice President Binay was seen in Makati that day.”

Taken for a ride

The Magdalo group was also in touch then with Binay’s son, then Makati Councilor Jejomar Erwin Binay, who told the Magdalo soldiers that supporters were already being mobilized. But nobody showed up.

“We were taken for a ride,” he said.

The group was supposed to converge at Ayala Triangle where they intended to gather a critical mass, but without the promised supporters, the soldiers went to the Manila Peninsula Hotel and holed up there. They later surrendered.

It was the absence of mass support that forced Binay to abandon the renegade soldiers, according to former Makati Vice Mayor Ernesto Mercado, an erstwhile trusted aide of Binay.

People power missing

“Binay was fuming about the nonappearance of people power promised by the opposition to support the Trillanes group,” Mercado told the Inquirer.

Mercado, the vice mayor of Binay at that time, confirmed the senator’s statement that Binay had talked to Trillanes about the coup and promised support.

“I know he initiated the plan and pitched this to Trillanes who agreed on Binay’s promise of people power support,” said Mercado, now a whistle-blower against the alleged corrupt practices and ill-gotten wealth of the Binay family.

The former vice mayor said that Binay had summoned him and the Makati City barangay (village) league president, Rodolfo Sese, the day before the coup and instructed them to be ready.

“Binay did not give specific details but the instruction was for us to alert our constituents and be ready to mobilize our residents at a moment’s notice for something big the following day,” Mercado said.

The instruction was to ensure that the coup plotters were protected by people power that would block government forces.

Mercado said the areas where people were supposed to be stationed were Ayala-Edsa, Ayala-Buendia, Ayala-Malugay near the fire station and the Makati-Mandaluyong bridge.

The former trusted Binay ally said that the mayor then was not in City Hall when Trillanes walked from the Makati Hall of Justice to the Manila Peninsula.

“He was in Quezon City when the coup happened, but was in constant communication with Junjun [the mayor’s son] who was a councilor at that time,” Mercado said.

Excuse

When the soldiers were captured and taken to the national police headquarters in Camp Crame, Binay showed up bringing lawyers and apologizing to the soldiers, and saying he was given wrong information.

But Trillanes said he could not understand Binay’s excuse because he had already given his word, and he knew the time and place for the execution of the plan.

Messianic complex

Trillanes added that he had castigated Binay during that time.

Salgado described the senator as someone with a messianic complex.

“History teaches us that revolutionary undertakings succeed with the support of the people, not because of one man with a messianic complex. The senator should stop blaming the Vice President for his failure as a mutineer,” Salgado said.

He said the statements of Trillanes showed that the move of Binay to withdraw from the debate was the right decision.

“The Vice President was right as there would be nothing to gain from a debate with someone who does not respect reason, facts or the rule of law and tends to exaggerate his role in history,” Salgado said.

Trillanes said he was “hoping against hope” that Binay would be true to his new role as Vice President and serve the country.

But with the allegations against Binay that emerged recently, it was apparent Binay was just pretending and fooling the people.

“For the sake of the country, I hope he backs out (from the 2016 presidential race) and stop pretending and fooling the people,” he said.

Trillanes also said Binay’s decision to back out of the debate showed “lack of character, untrustworthiness… and the lack of any intention to face the people regarding the allegations brought against him.”

“I hope our countrymen see the true character of Vice President Binay. It’s important for an elected official that when he says something, he fulfills it and stands by it,” he said.

He further noted that he had acceded to all the conditions demanded by the Binay camp for the complaint, including that the Vice President be the first and last to speak at the proposed face-off.

The senator said he agreed to this even if it would give Binay a big advantage and yet the latter made excuses for the debate not to push through.

He also noted that Binay made his announcement to withdraw from the debate when he was with the Philippine Marines, who are known for never retreating. Perhaps Binay, a Marine reservist, should return his uniform, he said.

Relief for Binay family

The Vice President’s daughter, Sen. Nancy Binay, said she was relieved by her father’s decision to withdraw from the debate.

“This is an answered prayer and a welcome relief for the family, although we expect that our detractors will continue to gloat over the situation,” Nancy said in a statement.

“From here, we shall move forward and the Vice President will continue to serve the Filipino people in the responsibilities entrusted to him, unencumbered by partisan attacks,” she added.–With a report from Niña P. Calleja


FROM THE INQUIRER

Santiago wants ‘Hacienda Binay’ distributed to farmers TJ Burgonio @inquirerdotnet Philippine Daily Inquirer 5:23 AM | Tuesday, November 11th, 2014


Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago. RYAN LEAGOGO/INQUIRER.net FILE PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines–Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago on Monday filed a resolution expressing the Senate’s sense that a vast farm allegedly owned by Vice President Jejomar Binay should be distributed to farmers if covered by the agrarian reform program.

Quoting the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR), Santiago said Rosario town in Batangas province, where the farm is located, was agricultural and hence covered by the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP).

In Rosario, some 632 hectares of land are subject to CARP, she said.

“The Rosario, Batangas, property—whether consisting of 145 or 350 ha—should be properly assessed by the Department of Agrarian Reform, and if it falls under the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Law, should be immediately acquired and distributed to farmer-beneficiaries,” she said in her resolution.

Businessman Antonio Tiu has come forward to claim ownership of a 150-ha property in Rosario that a whistle-blower claimed was part of the P1.2-billion, 350-ha farm of Binay.

Tiu is the owner of Sunchamp Real Estate Development Corp. that manages the 150-ha property, called Sunchamp Agri-Tourism Park.

Santiago, a former agrarian reform secretary, said the size of the farm, whether 150 ha or 350 ha, indicated a possible violation of the agrarian reform law, which limits land ownership to 5 ha.

The intent of the law was to break up haciendas or agricultural estates and give them to farmers, she said.

Under this law, the DAR has to issue a certificate of land ownership award (Cloa) or emancipation patent (EP) before a person can claim ownership of an agricultural land, the senator said.

The only exception to the sale of an agricultural land under agrarian reform is when it is converted into commercial or residential land, but this needs DAR approval, she said.

“Even assuming [Laureano] Gregorio is a landowner or a farmer-beneficiary, he could not have sold the property within

10 years from registration without DAR approval,” Santiago said.

Gregorio could not also lease the property because it requires prior clearance from the Presidential Agrarian Reform Council (PARC), she added.

Tiu claimed that he bought a 150-ha property from Gregorio and advanced P11 million for the P446-million property.

Santiago also urged the blue ribbon subcommittee to investigate officials over the apparent conversion of the farm from agricultural into commercial land.

The DAR has approved only 87 ha in Rosario for conversion and Gregorio has not filed for conversion, the senator said.

“The subcommittee should also investigate the DAR officials and other persons responsible for what appears to be the conversion of the classification of the land from agricultural into commercial,” she said.

The subcommittee has been hearing charges of corruption and ill-gotten wealth against the Vice President.

Agrarian Reform Secretary Virgilio de los Reyes earlier said the lease of agricultural land not covered by CARP would not need clearance from the DAR or the PARC.

A clearance from the PARC is required only for agricultural lands awarded to qualified agrarian reform beneficiaries and covered by EPs or Cloas, De los Reyes said.

Santiago said the existence of the vast farm was “deeply suspicious” and may have involved the crimes of “falsification of public documents and illegal conversion of agricultural land.”

“The Senate blue ribbon subcommittee should therefore investigate the DAR officials and other persons responsible for failure to place Rosario town under the mandate to acquire and distribute agricultural land,” she said.


GMA NEWS COMMENTARY

A Senate of unbridled ambitions and unbounded egos By ANTONIO P. CONTRERASNovember 6, 2014 3:47pm 132 10 3 148


By ANTONIO P. CONTRERAS

Its august halls used to be roamed by great minds like those of Recto, Tañada, Manglapus, Salonga and Tolentino, among others.

Now, it has become a pulpit for bullies.

It is probably the smallest Senate in the entire world. We have 24 senators elected at-large by the entire voting population of the Republic, whose population has already breached the 100 million mark.

At present, and due to the fact that there are more committees to chair than senators, it is also probably the only legislative chamber in the world where even members of the minority become committee chairpersons, and therefore end up controlling the agenda, direction and timetable for some pieces of legislation.

But then again, it is also a Senate where majorities and minorities are not based on party affiliation, but on who voted for or against the election of the Senate President.

Theoretically, the Senate is supposed to be the place where the parochial interests of the larger House of Representatives, whose members are elected by smaller districts, would be tempered. It is where ideas become liberated from the confines of specific constituency interests.

It is a place where the weight of representation shifts away from the narrow interests of the electorate to the broader and higher interest of the general will to provide wider latitude and higher altitude upon which the political community should be imagined.

The Senate is a place where philosophizing and theorizing are supposed to be allowed to seep into speeches, plenary debates and committee hearings, and where higher-order discourses, principles and concepts are allowed to find a place.

The fact that senators are elected at-large and have longer terms, and that the Senate is a continuing body where only half of its seats are available to be filled up by new or returning members every election cycle, are symbolic of the higher plane upon which this “upper” chamber of the legislature is supposed to exist compared to the House of Representatives.

Unfortunately, the practice of electing senators at-large may have been also one of the reasons why instead of electing people with great minds, we end up electing some people with big egos.

Instead of having as our senators people who are more adept with the rudiments of statecraft, we end up having in the Senate personalities and celebrities who are more adept with the rudiments of stagecraft.

From becoming an arena for doing politics as an art and a science, the Senate is now turned into a stage for turning politics into a theatrical performance.

There is no doubt that politics has been turned into a spectacle in the era of modern mass media technologies. Live coverage of congressional sessions and hearings enabled political simulacra to set in, where there is now a blurred distinction between the real legislative proceeding and the soap-operatic representation it would create to the TV audience.

This sets up the stage for legislators to conduct investigations focusing no longer on the substance and the truth, but more on the mileage and the image such will earn for them in the media. They would conduct hearings less to aid legislation, but more to enable their re-elections.

But even if both Houses of Congress are prone to this malady, the blatant displacement of substance in favor of image is more intense in the smaller upper house. It is also in the Senate where egos are far more bloated and over-imagined.

And the root cause of this is structural, and lies in the manner we elect our Senators.

Senators are elected with a national constituency. They are also elected not on the basis of majorities or even pluralities, but simply by ordinal ranking of being in the magic 12.

Hence, there is more pressure for senators, or those who aim to become senators, to rely on image-making strategies to heighten name recall, and to widen their exposure to the electorate.

And to a public fixated on spectacle, appearances and images, and not on the larger national issues which senators are supposed to address, this would include mimicking celebrities, to becoming celebrities, and if these are not possible, to marrying celebrities.

In fact, in the annals of the Senate, we have seen its august halls accommodating at least seven movie actors. We also saw it seating at least two members married to, and at least one about to marry, a movie actress. Two of its past members were elected using their being alleged look-alikes of popular actresses.

Furthermore, this roaming ground of great minds has not been hostile to the entry of news readers and talking heads on TV, even as one former member ended up marrying a TV news celebrity. We also have at least three members who are well known sports personalities.

And some of those who are not celebrities went as far as mimicking them, from becoming like stand-up comedians mouthing pick-up lines to simply playing cute to the media-fixated, image-animated, soap opera-addicted public.

It is this Senate that now becomes the breeding ground for constantly made-up members ready for the camera and would rather focus on sound bites, and not on meaningful legislation. It is a Senate that has heightened the tendency of its members to play to the gallery.

It is now a place where Senate investigations have taken a new turn, virtually throwing out all conventions of decency and impartiality, and turning an important legislative responsibility in aid of legislation into a venue to cut down the prospect of a political rival from becoming President.

It has become a place where law and decorum, and even judicial boundaries, take a bow to or are breached by the majesty of individual ambitions.

Lest we forget, it is the only Senate that has the infamous record of pushing one badgered, bullied and shamed invited “guest” to take his own life in front of his mother’s grave.

And all of this because what we have is a Senate whose lifeblood rests on spectacle and performance, and which has some members who think they are gods and not public servants.

If you will have to ask me for a practical solution to this malady, I would offer as a partial solution, which may not be enough but could have a positive effect, the election of senators by districts, and an increase in their number.

This will deflate senatorial egos, and make the process of electing them more responsive to the needs of their specific districts.

This will in turn clip the irresponsibility of their ambitions, and bound their politics to a more specific set of interests which their narrower constituencies will bestow on them and for which they will be expected to concretely represent.

The author is a former dean of De La Salle University. He is currently a full professor of political science at DLSU.

DISCLAIMER: The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the position of this website.


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