PHNO HEADLINE NEWS EARLY THIS PAST WEEK
(Mini Reads followed by Full Reports below)

PALACE SUMMONS CHIEF OF PNP BOARD OF INQUIRY; AQUINO WAS 'HURT' BY BOI REPORT


AQUINO  President Aquino was “hurt” by the conclusion of the Philippine National Police board of inquiry (BOI) holding him liable for the tragic outcome of the police operation in Mamasapano, Maguindanao province, on Jan. 25. This was disclosed on Wednesday by Director Benjamin Magalong, the BOI head and chief of the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG), a day after he was summoned by Aquino to Malacañang. Speaking with reporters at Camp Crame, Magalong stressed that the President did not pressure him to amend the board’s 128-page “Mamasapano Report” which the PNP made public on Friday. Also present at the meeting were Interior Secretary Mar Roxas, Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa, Justice Secretary Leila de Lima, PNP Deputy Director General Leonardo Espina and fellow BOI member, Chief Supt. John Sosito.  “We were called to the meeting to clarify some issues which were not included in the (BOI) conclusion. There were several things that needed to be clarified,” Magalong said in a chance interview.  Asked how the President felt about the findings of the board, he said: “Of course he was hurt by the report. You can see that he was hurt.”  CONTINUE READING...

ALSO Poe: He is a friend, so it's hard for me to say PNoy was 'ultimately responsible'


POE: NOY SHOULD SAY SORRY ....In an interview with ABS-CBN News Channel, Poe said that the President had good intentions on the operation to arrest terrorists Zulkifli Bin Hir alias "Marwan" and Basit Usman. "The President is a friend, so it was hard for me to say he was ultimately responsible for the Mamasapano incident," Poe said, adding that she still highly respects Aquino. The senator noted that she had doubts on how to reveal the findings of the Senate inquiry on the Mamasapano operation which led to the deaths of 44 police commandos during an encounter with Moro rebels last January 25.  "It was so difficult and up until the last minute I was questioning myself. Should I tone it down? Should I be more diplomatic?" Poe said. READ FROM THE BEGINNING...

ALSO Palace deputy spokesperson: Apology not discussed


VALTE: Despite owning up to responsibility for Operation Plan Exodus, President Aquino has not taken a position on calls for him to apologize for the loss of lives in a mission that went tragically awry. This was according to deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte, who said yesterday that the President had read in full the Philippine National Police (PNP)’s Board of Inquiry (BOI) report on the Jan. 25 police operation targeting high-value terrorists in Mamasapano, Maguindanao. With Aquino’s unclear position on calls for him to apologize for the fiasco, former President Fidel Ramos said that an apology may actually “do 90 percent of the job” of appeasing an enraged public. The operation left dozens dead, including 44 members of the elite PNP Special Action Force (SAF). At the same time, Valte refuted a Senate committee report that declared the President “ultimately responsible” for the deadly police operation. Recalling her discussions with Aquino in recent days, Valte said, “It has not really come up, whether he will apologize, or what his thoughts are on the issue.”  “We had discussions with him (Tuesday) but none touching on the call for him to issue an apology over it. None so far,” she stressed. “That is something that we have yet to discuss with him.”  READ MORE...

ALSO 8 of 10 Pinoys: Aquino's Mamasapano explanation not enough


Acknowledging the flak he has received for the Mamasapano operation, President Aquino said if he were the one at fault, he would admit all responsibility. AP/Bullit Marquez  MANILA, Philippines - About eight in every 10 Filipinos are not satisfied with President Benigno Aquino III's explanation regarding the deadly Mamasapano operation, according to a new Pulse Asia released on Thursday. Results of the latest poll showed that for 79 percent of Filipinos, the explanation about the Mamasapano operation given by Aquino and the national administration in general is insufficient. Pulse Asia said this view is shared by big majorities in every geographic area and socio-economic grouping (73 percent to 82 percent and 73 percent to 82 percent, respectively). READ MORE...

ALSO: 4 in 10 Filipinos reject Bangsamoro law
[Disagreement more pronounced in Mindanao]


A Filipino Muslim boy holds a placard during a rally near the Presidential Palace in Manila to call for the passage of Bangsamoro Basic Law or BBL on Friday, Feb. 20, 2015 in Manila, Philippines. The complete sign reads: No To All-Out War! AP/Bullit Marquez MANILA, Philippines — A large chunk of the population reject the passage of the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) pending in Congress, polling firm Pulse Asia's nationwide survey indicates.  Pulse Asia said in a report released Thursday that 44 percent or roughly one in four Filipinos in the survey said they disagree with the proposed law.  The percentage includes 16 percent saying they "strongly disagree" and 27 percent saying they simply "disagree."   Pulse Asia said the negative sentiment is "shared by big pluralities to sizeable majorities" in Metro Manila with 52 percent and Mindanao with 62 percent.   "Disagreement with the passage of the BBL is more pronounced in Mindanao than in the rest of Luzon and Visayas, with 32 percent and 43 percent respectively," it said.   Almost half of those belonging to economic classes D and E also expressed disapproval of the law, registering 45 percent and 43 percent respectively.  Only 21 percent expressed support for the BBL, with 4 percent saying they "strongly agree."    More Filipinos or 36 percent, on the other hand, expressed indecision on the passage of the Bangsamoro bill. READ MORE...

ALSO: 79% of Pinoys disagree with Aquino's snub of SAF arrival honors at Villamor's
[President instead attended auto plant inauguration in Laguna]


Members of the Philippine National Police-Special Action Force carry caskets bearing the bodies of slain SAF men at Villamor Air Base in Pasay City. Ernie Peñaredondo  
MANILA, Philippines - A huge majority of Filipinos believe that President Benigno Aquino III should have attended the arrival honors for the Special Action Force (SAF) troopers who were killed in the Mamasapano operation in January. A new Pulse Asia survey showed that 79 percent of Filipinos disagree with the President's decision to skip the event in favor of the inauguration of an automotive plant in Laguna.   Pulse Asia said majority levels of disagreement with Aquino's decision were registered in every geographic area and socio-economic class (74 percent to 83 percent and 76 percent to 81 percent, respectively).  About the same percentages of Filipinos either agree with Aquino's decision (10 percent) or are undecided on the matter (11 percent).  According to the survey, 91 percent of Filipinos were aware of Aquino's absence during the arrival honors for the SAF troopers. READ MORE...

ALSO Trillanes: I will run for vice president in 2016
[He said his low ranking in the presidential survey was “irrelevant” since he was not running for president anyway. “Vice president ang tatakbuhan natin (I am running for vice president)]


Sen. Antonio Trillanes III. INQUIRER FILE PHOTO MANILA, Philippines — Senator Antonio “Sonny” Trillanes IV announced on Thursday his intention to run for vice president in 2016. Trillanes made this declaration during a weekly forum in the Senate when asked about his low ranking in the latest Pulse Asia survey. He said his low ranking in the presidential survey was “irrelevant” since he was not running for president anyway. “Vice president ang tatakbuhan natin (I am running for vice president),”said the senator. Trillanes made it clear though that it was just his “personal preference” and he would submit to the decision of his group, which is the Nacionalista Party. After declaring his intention to run for higher office, Senator Antonio Trillanes IV on Tuesday said he was among four presidential contenders being considered by the Nacionalista Party (NP) headed by former Senator Manny Villar. “Apat po yung tinitingnan ng Nacionalista Party–andyan na po si Senator Manny Villar, si Senator Alan Peter Cayetano, Senator Bongbong Marcos, and myself,” Trillanes said in an interview at the Senate when asked about the NP’s possible standard-bearer in 2016. READ MORE...


READ FULL MEDIA REPORTS HERE:

Palace summons PNP board of inquiry chief; Aquino hurt by report


MAGALONG

MANILA, MARCH 23, 2015 (INQUIRER) Marlon Ramos @inquirerdotnet – President Aquino was “hurt” by the conclusion of the Philippine National Police board of inquiry (BOI) holding him liable for the tragic outcome of the police operation in Mamasapano, Maguindanao province, on Jan. 25.

This was disclosed on Wednesday by Director Benjamin Magalong, the BOI head and chief of the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG), a day after he was summoned by Aquino to Malacañang.

Speaking with reporters at Camp Crame, Magalong stressed that the President did not pressure him to amend the board’s 128-page “Mamasapano Report” which the PNP made public on Friday.

Also present at the meeting were Interior Secretary Mar Roxas, Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa, Justice Secretary Leila de Lima, PNP Deputy Director General Leonardo Espina and fellow BOI member, Chief Supt. John Sosito.

“We were called to the meeting to clarify some issues which were not included in the (BOI) conclusion. There were several things that needed to be clarified,” Magalong said in a chance interview.

Asked how the President felt about the findings of the board, he said: “Of course he was hurt by the report. You can see that he was hurt.”

“If I were the President, I would have felt the same if I read the report,” he added. “But his demeanor that time was very calm and very cordial. The atmosphere during our discussion was very good and it went on smoothly.”

Describing the meeting as “very free flowing and no holds barred,” Magalong said he was able to ask some questions to Aquino which the board had wanted to address during their monthlong investigation into the bungled police mission, which cost the lives of 44 Special Action Force (SAF) commandos.

The daring police operation to take down Malaysian terrorist Zulkifli bin Hir, alias “Marwan,” and two other “high-value targets” also put the government’s peace negotiations with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front in peril.

Magalong seemed to backpedal from the board’s finding that the President broke the PNP chain of command by directly talking to resigned PNP Director General Alan Purisima in carrying out the counterterrorism mission.

He maintained that the BOI did not fault Aquino for breaking the chain of command in the 150,000-strong police organization. He said the board’s conclusion was purely “factual” as it mentioned that the President “exercised his prerogative” in dealing with Purisima, who was then serving his six-month suspension from the Office of the Ombudsman.

“We did not say that [the President] violated the chain of command and to be honest… this was one of the contentious issues during our discussion,” Magalong said.

“It was very factual when we said that the President exercised his prerogative and that we have an established chain of command which was bypassed,” he said.

Magalong said he also told the President that “we never mentioned there that you violated the chain of command, but you exercised your prerogative to deal with Napeñas.

“Our conclusions were just a statement of facts,” he said. “The established chain of command in the PNP was bypassed, but we did not mention any liability of the President because he just exercised his prerogative.”

Magalong also disclosed that the President had instructed Purisima to inform Espina about “Oplan Exodus.” In fact, he said the President even asked Air Force chief Lt. Gen. Jeffrey Delgado if the military’s air assets were ready when he flew to Zamboanga City on Jan. 25.

“The President mentioned it (coordination) spontaneously to Delgado. But he was surprised (to realize what the President meant) when they arrived in Zamboanga City. It only shows that the President assumed that there was coordination,” he said.

During their meeting, Magalong said the President also asked him why he was not given a chance to speak with the members of the BOI.

Deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte confirmed the meeting took place to thank the board members for their efforts.–With a report from Nikko Dizon


PHILSTAR

Poe: Hard for me to say PNoy was 'ultimately responsible' By Patricia Lourdes Viray (philstar.com) | Updated March 19, 2015 - 11:20am


Sen. Grace Poe earlier released the draft Senate committee report on the Mamasapano operation, citing President Benigno Aquino III as 'ultimately responsible' for the mission. Facebook/Grace Poe

MANILA, Philippines - Sen. Grace Poe on Monday admitted that it was hard for her to say that President Benigno Aquino III was "ultimately responsible" for the January 25 clash in Mamasapano, Maguindanao that left 44 members of the police's Special Action Force dead.

One of the highlights of the Senate committee report on the Mamasapano incident cited the President as being responsible for the mission.

READ: Poe: PNoy 'ultimately responsible' for Mamasapano mission

In an interview with ABS-CBN News Channel, Poe said that the President had good intentions on the operation to arrest terrorists Zulkifli Bin Hir alias "Marwan" and Basit Usman.

"The President is a friend, so it was hard for me to say he was ultimately responsible for the Mamasapano incident," Poe said, adding that she still highly respects Aquino.

The senator noted that she had doubts on how to reveal the findings of the Senate inquiry on the Mamasapano operation which led to the deaths of 44 police commandos during an encounter with Moro rebels last January 25.

"It was so difficult and up until the last minute I was questioning myself. Should I tone it down? Should I be more diplomatic?" Poe said.

Aware that the Senate report was "harsher" than the Board of Inquiry Report, Poe explained that it was done so in aid of legislation.

"I feel very awkward about it but of course it happened already. I released the report already," the senator said.

'Noy should say sorry'

Poe added that considering political aspects, it may be too late for the President to ask for an apology for the incident.

The senator cited former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo who once apologized for an electoral scandal. Charges were filed against Arroyo after her term.

On the other hand, Poe said that it would still be better if Aquino would ask for forgiveness.

"When you say what is right, what do you need to do, it's always best to ask for forgiveness if you feel that you made a mistake, it was an error," Poe said.

She said asking for forgiveness is not just saying the words "I'm sorry" but also offering solutions to prove a person's sincerity.

Meanwhile, deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte on Wednesday maintained that there is no need for Aquino to issue an apology. ..


PHILSTAR

Palace deputy spokesperson: Apology not discussed By Delon Porcalla and Aurea Calica (The Philippine Star) | Updated March 19, 2015 - 12:00am


Deputy Presidential Spokesperson Abigail Valte File photo

MANILA, Philippines - Despite owning up to responsibility for Operation Plan Exodus, President Aquino has not taken a position on calls for him to apologize for the loss of lives in a mission that went tragically awry.

This was according to deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte, who said yesterday that the President had read in full the Philippine National Police (PNP)’s Board of Inquiry (BOI) report on the Jan. 25 police operation targeting high-value terrorists in Mamasapano, Maguindanao.

With Aquino’s unclear position on calls for him to apologize for the fiasco, former President Fidel Ramos said that an apology may actually “do 90 percent of the job” of appeasing an enraged public.

The operation left dozens dead, including 44 members of the elite PNP Special Action Force (SAF).

At the same time, Valte refuted a Senate committee report that declared the President “ultimately responsible” for the deadly police operation.

Recalling her discussions with Aquino in recent days, Valte said, “It has not really come up, whether he will apologize, or what his thoughts are on the issue.”

“We had discussions with him (Tuesday) but none touching on the call for him to issue an apology over it. None so far,” she stressed. “That is something that we have yet to discuss with him.”

She echoed Presidential Communications Operations Office Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr.’s earlier pronouncement that Aquino had already assumed responsibility for the Mamasapano incident in his Feb. 6 televised speech.

Reliable sources said Aquino took offense at the BOI conclusion that he broke the chain of command in the PNP when he dealt with then suspended PNP chief Director General Alan Purisima whose poor coordination with the military was largely blamed for the carnage.

Palace insiders said Aquino was complaining about the failure of BOI head Director Benjamin Magalong to get his side on the issue.

“Remember that while the emotions have been very high, the President is not shielded from all of this. He knows very well what these emotions are. He is not alien to them and in fact, we tend to forget that he is also grieving for these people,” Valte pointed out.

But most of those involved in the Mamasapano operation had voiced their side on the issue through affidavits or statements submitted to the BOI.

Valte also confirmed the President’s meeting yesterday with Magalong, PNP officer-in-charge Deputy Director Leonardo Espina and BOI member Director John Sosito, but stressed the President met with the officials “to thank them for their efforts and to give them the opportunity to clarify any matters.”

Valte also debunked criticism of Aquino’s handling of the Mamasapano tragedy.

“You have to look at how the President dealt with the incident and how he has comported himself not just in the days after the incident itself but in succeeding days and weeks that he has continually looked after the plight of the families that have been left behind,” she said.

‘Reckless and hasty’

Justice Secretary Leila de Lima also contested the Senate findings, calling them “hasty and reckless.” She admitted she has not yet read the report, presented to the media last Tuesday by Sen. Grace Poe.

“We should be careful in coming up with hasty and reckless conclusions – that just because the President was aware of the operations, he is now deemed to be really liable or accountable to each and every aspect of that operation,” she told reporters in an interview yesterday.

“Even if the Senate agrees that there is chain of command in the PNP, I’m sticking to my position because that is based on my reading of the Constitution and the jurisprudence,” she stressed.

She said the President is not the commander-in-chief of the PNP because under the 1987 Constitution, PNP is a civilian agency.

“Therefore, being civilian in character, to them, the President is the Chief Executive,” De Lima said.

“He can bypass us, his Cabinet secretaries. Since we are alter egos, he can go directly to any of our subordinates. And he does that sometimes if he wants to consult something,” she said.

De Lima stressed that while the President enjoys immunity from criminal suit while in office, she sees no criminal liability for Aquino in the Mamasapano incident.

“As of now, I do not see any criminal culpability on the part of the President,” she stressed.

De Lima pointed out that Aquino has anyway “already owned up responsibility (and accountability).”

She said the DOJ’s own investigation would seek to validate the Senate’s findings that the Jan. 25 incident could be considered a “massacre.”

Also killed in the Mamasapano operation were five civilians and 18 guerrillas of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front.

Impeachment unlikely

Malacañang also said it sees no grounds for any impeachment complaint against President Aquino over the Mamasapano tragedy.

Coloma told the Kapihan sa Manila Bay moderated by The STAR associate editor Marichu Villanueva that the findings of three Senate committees on Mamasapano were “indicative” of liabilities and that it would be up to the prosecutorial arm of the government to pursue possible charges against those directly involved in the operation.

“In all of the President’s actions pertaining to the mission in Mamasapano on Jan. 25, he was always mindful that the Constitution and the laws of the land must be followed. Any proposal to impeach the President must have sufficient factual and legal basis,” Coloma said.

Ramos, meanwhile, advised Aquino to apologize “humbly and sincerely” if he wants public outrage to somehow ease.

“A previous president said ‘I am sorry’ well and that removed a lot of pressure on that person although eventually, other things came up to cause her temporary detention in a hospital for alleged crimes,” he said, referring to former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

Ramos, who celebrated his 87th birthday yesterday, said Aquino should definitely take responsibility for the disastrous operation in Mamasapano. “What’s so difficult about that?” Ramos said.

“A commander, whether the commander-in-chief or platoon commander, is responsible for what his unit does or what it fails to do,” he added. – Edu Punay, Alexis Romero ..


PHILSTAR

8 of 10 Pinoys: Aquino's Mamasapano explanation not enough By Louis Bacani (philstar.com) | Updated March 19, 2015 - 11:43am


Acknowledging the flak he has received for the Mamasapano operation, President Aquino said if he were the one at fault, he would admit all responsibility. AP/Bullit Marquez

MANILA, Philippines - About eight in every 10 Filipinos are not satisfied with President Benigno Aquino III's explanation regarding the deadly Mamasapano operation, according to a new Pulse Asia released on Thursday.

Results of the latest poll showed that for 79 percent of Filipinos, the explanation about the Mamasapano operation given by Aquino and the national administration in general is insufficient.

Pulse Asia said this view is shared by big majorities in every geographic area and socio-economic grouping (73 percent to 82 percent and 73 percent to 82 percent, respectively).

On the other hand, basically the same percentages of Filipinos either said the administration's explanation is sufficient (10 percent) or expressed indecision on the matter (11 percent).

According to the survey, 99 percent of Filipinos are aware of the January 25 counter-terrorism mission in Mamasapano, Maguindanao that cost the lives of over 60 people.

The bungled operation, which was aimed at neutralizing terrorists Zulkifli Bin Hir alias Marwan and Abdul Basit Usman, led to an encounter between Special Action Force (SAF) troopers and combatants from the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters.

A total of 44 SAF troopers, 17 MILF members, six civilians and Marwan died in the operation.

It was only last week or more than a month after the Mamasapano tragedy that Aquino gave his most detailed account of the events that led to the deaths of the SAF commandos.

During a special prayer gathering for him in Malacañang, Aquino claimed that he was deceived by relieved SAF commander Director Getulio Napeñas and then suspended Philippine National Police chief Director General Alan Purisima about the Mamasapano operation.

Aquino said he was made to believe that the operation would be carried out efficiently based on the details presented to him earlier.

Hitting Napeñas for his "lack of professionalism" and "wishful thinking about the operation, Aquino said the sacked commander turned the ordeal into a "mission impossible" which he should have aborted.

Recognizing the flak he has received for the operation, Aquino said if he were the one at fault, he would take all blame. ..


PHILSTAR

4 in 10 Filipinos reject Bangsamoro law;
Disagreement more pronounced in Mindanao 
By Camille Diola (philstar.com) | Updated March 19, 2015 - 10:59am


A Filipino Muslim boy holds a placard during a rally near the Presidential Palace in Manila to call for the passage of Bangsamoro Basic Law or BBL on Friday, Feb. 20, 2015 in Manila, Philippines. The complete sign reads: No To All-Out War! AP/Bullit Marquez

MANILA, Philippines — A large chunk of the population reject the passage of the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) pending in Congress, polling firm Pulse Asia's nationwide survey indicates.

Pulse Asia said in a report released Thursday that 44 percent or roughly one in four Filipinos in the survey said they disagree with the proposed law.

The percentage includes 16 percent saying they "strongly disagree" and 27 percent saying they simply "disagree."

Pulse Asia said the negative sentiment is "shared by big pluralities to sizeable majorities" in Metro Manila with 52 percent and Mindanao with 62 percent.

"Disagreement with the passage of the BBL is more pronounced in Mindanao than in the rest of Luzon and Visayas, with 32 percent and 43 percent respectively," it said.

Almost half of those belonging to economic classes D and E also expressed disapproval of the law, registering 45 percent and 43 percent respectively.

Only 21 percent expressed support for the BBL, with 4 percent saying they "strongly agree."

More Filipinos or 36 percent, on the other hand, expressed indecision on the passage of the Bangsamoro bill.

Classes A, B and C, meanwhile, opinion is "split three-ways," the report said. Rejecting the passage of the BBL are 37 percent, while 37 percent are undecided and 25 percent agree with it.

The survey was conducted from March 1 to 7 using face-to-face interviews with 1,200 representative adults 18 years old and above. It has a 3-percent error margin and 95-percent confidence level.

Stories on the encounter between the police Special Action Force and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front—the government's partner in the peace process leading to the passage of the BBL—dominated the headlines during the survey period.

The report also established that 99 percent of Filipinos have heard, read or watched about the BBL, with 88 percent saying they had learned about it before the clash led to the deaths of 44 commandos.

The remaining 12 percent, meanwhile, only learned of the BBL after news on the incident were reported.

Public awareness of the January 25 operation between the MILF with the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters and government forces, meanwhile, was essentially universal at 99 percent.

The figure does not significantly vary across geographic locations. Ninety-nine percent of Metro Manila residents, 99 percent in Luzon, 97 percent in the Visayas and 98 percent in Mindanao have heard of the tragedy.

The BBL deliberation was postponed indefinitely following the botched police operation January 25 to capture Malaysian terror suspect Zulkipli bin Hir or Marwan which resulted in the killing of the elite policemen, the worst combat loss by the Government in a single day in recent memory. ..


PHILSTAR

79% of Pinoys disagree with Aquino's snub of fallen SAF arrival honors at Villamor's; President instead attended auto plant inauguration in Laguna  By Louis Bacani (philstar.com) | Updated March 19, 2015 - 12:58pm


Members of the Philippine National Police-Special Action Force carry caskets bearing the bodies of slain SAF men at Villamor Air Base in Pasay City. Ernie Peñaredondo

MANILA, Philippines - A huge majority of Filipinos believe that President Benigno Aquino III should have attended the arrival honors for the Special Action Force (SAF) troopers who were killed in the Mamasapano operation in January.

A new Pulse Asia survey showed that 79 percent of Filipinos disagree with the President's decision to skip the event in favor of the inauguration of an automotive plant in Laguna.

Pulse Asia said majority levels of disagreement with Aquino's decision were registered in every geographic area and socio-economic class (74 percent to 83 percent and 76 percent to 81 percent, respectively).

About the same percentages of Filipinos either agree with Aquino's decision (10 percent) or are undecided on the matter (11 percent).

According to the survey, 91 percent of Filipinos were aware of Aquino's absence during the arrival honors for the SAF troopers.

On January 29, Aquino was a no-show at the arrival honors held for 42 of the 44 fallen SAF members at the Villamor Air Base.

Instead, Aquino went ahead to the prior scheduled inauguration of the Mitsubishi Motors' plant in Santa Rosa City which was also attended by the Japanese ambassador to the Philippines.

Various sectors criticized Aquino, believing his absence at the arrival honors showed his lack of compassion for the families of the fallen SAF commandos.

After receiving flak, Aquino led the national day of mourning on January 30 when he met and condoled with the families of the slain policemen. ..


INQUIRER

Trillanes: I will run for vice president in 2016 Maila Ager @MAgerINQ INQUIRER.net 12:27 PM | Thursday, March 19th, 2015


Sen. Antonio Trillanes III. INQUIRER FILE PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines — Senator Antonio “Sonny” Trillanes IV announced on Thursday his intention to run for vice president in 2016.

Trillanes made this declaration during a weekly forum in the Senate when asked about his low ranking in the latest Pulse Asia survey.

He said his low ranking in the presidential survey was “irrelevant” since he was not running for president anyway.

“Vice president ang tatakbuhan natin (I am running for vice president),”said the senator.

Trillanes made it clear though that it was just his “personal preference” and he would submit to the decision of his group, which is the Nacionalista Party.

After declaring his intention to run for higher office, Senator Antonio Trillanes IV on Tuesday said he was among four presidential contenders being considered by the Nacionalista Party (NP) headed by former Senator Manny Villar.

“Apat po yung tinitingnan ng Nacionalista Party–andyan na po si Senator Manny Villar, si Senator Alan Peter Cayetano, Senator Bongbong Marcos, and myself,” Trillanes said in an interview at the Senate when asked about the NP’s possible standard-bearer in 2016.

Unlike Villar and Marcos, Trillanes said he and Cayetano had publicly announced their desire to seek a higher post. Cayetano indicated his intention to run for president while Trillanes , in a television interview last May, simply announced that he was eyeing a higher post.

But during Tuesday’s interview, Trillanes said he was preparing for both presidential and vice presidential positions.

“I should be prepared for both,” he said, saying he started preparing for his run since the second quarter of the year.

Trillanes said his preparations included providing solutions to problems confronting the country, such as the economy, insurgency, terrorism, syndicated crime, and transnational crimes.

“We’re in the middle of formulating the economic plan and hopefully by the middle of next year ready na ‘yan,” said Trillanes.

Asked why he would like to run for president, Trillanes said: “Well, I want to serve my country. Nakikita natin yung problema ng bansa and I’d like to believe that we have the prescriptions to solve this problem and in the end , we just offer ourselves to the people. Bahala na silang maghusga kung sino ang gusto nilang mamuno sa kanilang bansa.”

Trillanes believes he has an edge over Vice President Jejomar Binay, who openly declared his presidential bid in 2016.

“Well, hindi naman tayo kurakot so I believe that should be the primary consideration,” said Trillanes.

But he said he would leave his faith to the NP, which he said would decide in the middle of 2015 whether or not to field its own standard-bearer in 2016.

Trillanes did not discount the possibility of sliding down to a party mate and running with a standard-bearer of the administration’s Liberal Party should the NP fail to field its own bet.

“The initial plan is to field our own candidate but we’re not ruling out anything. Siguro the only thing we will rule out is joining forces with Vice President Binay,” he said.

It was Trillanes who initiated the Senate probe against Binay over the alleged overpricing of the Makati City Hall 2 parking building and other alleged irregularities when the latter was still the mayor of Makati City.

Binay has repeatedly denied the allegations.


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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