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

GOVT CELEBRATES PHL RANKING FIFTH HAPPIEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD


 The Philippine government welcomed Sunday a survey showing the Philippines ranked fifth as the happiest country in the world.  "This is welcome news, as Filipinos are known throughout the world not only for being resilient, but also for having a happy and positive attitude in life," said Presidential Communications Operations Office Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. in a statement. Performance management consulting firm Gallup said the Philippines placed fifth in its Performance Experience Index (PEI) among 143 countries in the world with a score of 80. The results were released just Friday, which was also the United Nations' International Day of Happiness. The UN's International day of Happiness was established on July 12, 2012, pursuant to the UN General Assembly's Resolution 66/281, and is meant to reinforce the importance of happiness and well- being as universal goals and to make it a part of public policy objectives. THIS IS THE FULL REPORT.

ALSO: Pope Francis’s ‘half-miracle’ in Naples


MIRACLE KISS – Pope Francis kisses a glass vial which contains what is believed to be the dried blood of San Gennaro during a meeting with prelates at the Naples Cathedral Saturday. Archbishop Cardinal Crescenzio Sepe (left) later attested to the miracle that half of the dried blood of the fourth century martyr liquified after the papal kiss. (AP)
Naples, Italy – It was a miracle! Or maybe not. The dried blood of Naples’ patron saint Januarius half-liquified Saturday during a ceremony when Pope Francis held and kissed the relic while on a visit to the southern Italian city. 
Archbishop of Naples Crescenzio Sepe showed the glass vial to the congregation in the city’s cathedral and declared: “The blood has half liquified, which shows that Saint Januarius loves our pope and Naples.”   Francis, known for his plain speaking, quipped that he and his fellow visitors to the city’s cathedral had failed to win the saint’s full affection.  “The bishop just announced that the blood half-liquified. We can see the saint only half loves us.”   “We must all spread the word, so that he loves us more!” he added. CONTINUE READING...

ALSO: Who are today’s young leaders?


PHOTO FROM PHILSTAR: Delegates to the 2015 ARC Young Leaders Camp showing off their commitment pledge during the Meet and Greet event. Angie dela Cruz(inset) Batongbacal of Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila and her pledge of support to this year’s ARC Young Leaders Camp. STAR 
Majority of our country’s population continues to live in extremely vulnerable socio-economic conditions, which means that not many deserving students will have the opportunity to be properly trained as leaders. But the story doesn’t have to end there. ARC Refreshments Corp., exclusive licensed bottler of RC Cola products in the Philippines, continues to invest in youth development through the annual ARC Young Leaders Camp (ARCYLC), with underserved but promising college students as the program’s primary stakeholders. Through the years since the initiative was established in 2012, ARC campers have proved their merit, demonstrating insightfulness beyond their years and remarkable leadership traits despite great odds:

Resourcefulness & Excellence.-- Former delegate Curt Marvin Cruz from UP Diliman will again attend the 2015 ARC training workshop in Tagaytay City, but this time as a guest speaker. Voted president of the camp’s pioneering batch, he experienced in his grade school days having to gather and knit together unused pages of old notebooks so he could have something to use for the upcoming school year. His resourcefulness and positive mindset carried him through the struggles of family life exacerbated by the social difficulties of his deaf brother. At the 2012 ARC Young Leaders Camp, Curt proved to be an outstanding delegate, and years after joining the program, he has traveled to Indonesia and Singapore to further explore learning opportunities. “I’m very thankful to ARC; it really opened doors for me and my fellow ARC campers.” He continues to nurture his dream to pay it forward by helping other deprived children and “to really serve the greater public.” CONTINUE READING...

ALSO: Only 300 seats at press row for deadline writers in May 2 Fight of the Century


Just a little over 300 seats at press row will be approved for deadline writers for the May 2 super fight between Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather.
The MGM Grand Garden Arena, which can accommodate 16,200, is expected to be filled to the brim and Hall of Fame promoter Bob Arum said yesterday that “every newspaper in the country (US) will be sending reporters to cover the fight.”  Aside from the American media, which will be made up not only of print reporters but TV crew and Internet writers, “the whole world will also be sending media representatives.”  The fight is so huge that writers from other beats assigned to cover it have begun sending out their applications. Magna Media is handling the screening of credentials and it has sent notice to those who have sent their applications that slots are extremely limited owing to the magnitude of the event. Arum said those who won’t make the grade to cover it live at press row will get the opportunity to watch the fight live at the media center. “We’ll be putting up a large screen at the media center,” said Arum, whose Top Rank Inc. is working closely with lead promoter Mayweather Promotions in staging the unification welterweight match. “We’ll do the best we can (to accommodate),” added the 83-year-old Arum. READ MORE...

ALSO: NP, LP start drawing up plans for 2016 polls


Leaders of the Nacionalista and Liberal parties have started drawing up plans for the elections in May, 2016, when the nation elects a new president to succeed President Aquino.  Sen. Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr., son of former President Ferdinand Marcos, said he is studying calls for him to run, after he rose from seventh to fifth in the Pulse Asia presidential survey.  Although his original plan was to run for reelection, “there are many people saying I should run, that I can win. I am listening to all inputs, of course. It’s very heartwarming to know of the people’s support for us. I’m studying that,” the senator said in an interview over Radio DZMM.  Senate Majority Leader Alan Peter Cayetano reaffirmed his intention to run for president in 2016, saying he intends to pursue his vision for the country.  “It’s hard to close doors on anything, but as I’ve stated before, magagawa mo lang ang vision mo, ang mga ideas mo, kung presidente ka (you can only carry out your vision if you are the President),” Cayetano said.  He said he won’t run against Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV who had earlier spoken on possible plans to run for president. Trillanes, however, said in a recent press conference, that he now plans to run for vice president, as it seems he said the people are not ready to have him as president.  AFTER JULY SONA  The Liberal Party of President Aquino is likely to pick its 2016 presidential candidate before the President delivers his State of the Nation Address in July, Caloocan City Rep. Edgar Erice, vice chairman for political affairs of the party, said. READ MORE...

ALSO Noy lashed out at critics for spreading rumors about his health
[Aquino in a speech at a Toll Road project, said his critics have gone too far in their efforts to grab power or destroy his credibility and diminish his influence in endorsing candidates in 2016].


President Aquino chats with South Luzon Tollway chairman and San Miguel Corp. president and COO Ramon Ang (left) and Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala during a briefing on the South Luzon Expressway-Toll Road 4 Project in Barangay Lalig, Tiaong, Quezon yesterday. 
TIAONG, Quezon, Philippines – President Aquino yesterday lashed out at his critics for spreading rumors about his health.  In a speech here, where he was briefed on the South Luzon Expressway Toll Road 4 project and other road projects in Southern Tagalog, Aquino said his critics have gone too far in their efforts to grab power or destroy his credibility and diminish his influence in endorsing candidates in 2016. On Friday night, rumors circulated that the President had collapsed or suffered a nervous breakdown. Another version was that he had tripped and hit his head and was confined in an intensive care unit. “When they saw me on Saturday night without any health problem, a new rumor came out: that we were the ones who spread this fiction to get the sympathy of the public,” Aquino said. “To those who believe this, our elders have this reminder: we don’t gain anything from rumors,” he added. READ MORE...

ALSO: Aquino to seek people's understanding on Mamasapano debacle; Says he won’t apologize


He will ask for ‘pangunawa,’ not ‘paumanhin.’  MANILA, Philippines–No apologies. Instead, President Aquino will seek the people’s understanding over the Mamasapano debacle, saying he was kept in the dark while the Jan. 25 police operation to take down the international terrorist Zulkifli bin Hir, alias “Marwan,” was going terribly wrong, the Inquirer learned on Monday. The President’s explanation on the slaughter of 44 Special Action Force (SAF) commandos in Maguindanao province will highlight his speech at the Philippine National Police Academy (PNPA) graduation ceremonies on Thursday, Malacañang sources said. “It’s a carefully worded speech. He will ask for ‘pangunawa,’ not ‘paumanhin.’ Pangunawa means understanding, while paumanhin means apology,” one of the sources said. While Marwan was killed in the SAF raid, the ensuing gun battle with forces of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) also left 17 MILF fighters and three civilians dead, in addition to the commando fatalities. Lawmakers, former President Fidel V. Ramos, Catholic bishops and the families of the slain SAF troopers have demanded that Aquino apologize for the carnage. READ MORE...

ALSO: 3 out of 5 Filipinos want legalization of divorce – SWS survey


PHOTO COURTESY OF FOX NEWS: In this Jan. 8, 2015 photo, a Filipino bride arranges her gown before her wedding at a Catholic church in Manila, Philippines. The Philippines is the only country in the world - aside from the Vatican - where divorce is forbidden, a testament to the enduring power of Roman Catholicism that has flourished since Spanish colonizers imposed it nearly 500 years ago. Visiting Pope Francis, the church and many of its followers in this Southeast Asian Catholic stronghold of 100 million believe strongly in the indissolubility of marriage. But a growing number of Catholics would support a change. (AP Photo/Aaron Favila) (The Associated Press)  MANILA, Philippines – Three out of five Filipinos, or 60 percent, want divorce to be legalized for “irreconcilably separated” couples, the results of a recent survey by the Social Weather Stations (SWS) revealed on Monday. The survey, which was conducted from Nov. 27 to Dec. 1 last year, revealed that 60 percent of 1,800 respondents agree that “Married couples who have already separated and cannot reconcile anymore should be allowed to divorce so that they can get legally married again” while 29 percent disagreed and 11 percent undecided on the issue. Among the respondents, 16 percent have live-in partners, 63 percent are married and 21 percent are single. READ MORE...


READ FULL MEDIA REPORTS HERE:

Gov't celebrates ranking fifth happiest country

MANILA, MARCH 23, 2015 (PHILSTAR) (Xinhua) - The Philippine government welcomed Sunday a survey showing the Philippines ranked fifth as the happiest country in the world.

"This is welcome news, as Filipinos are known throughout the world not only for being resilient, but also for having a happy and positive attitude in life," said Presidential Communications Operations Office Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. in a statement.

Performance management consulting firm Gallup said the Philippines placed fifth in its Performance Experience Index (PEI) among 143 countries in the world with a score of 80. The results were released just Friday, which was also the United Nations' International Day of Happiness.

The UN's International day of Happiness was established on July 12, 2012, pursuant to the UN General Assembly's Resolution 66/281, and is meant to reinforce the importance of happiness and well- being as universal goals and to make it a part of public policy objectives. (Xinhua)


MANILA BULLETIN

Pope Francis’s ‘half-miracle’ in Naples by AFP March 23, 2015


MIRACLE KISS – Pope Francis kisses a glass vial which contains what is believed to be the dried blood of San Gennaro during a meeting with prelates at the Naples Cathedral Saturday. Archbishop Cardinal Crescenzio Sepe (left) later attested to the miracle that half of the dried blood of the fourth century martyr liquified after the papal kiss. (AP)

Naples, Italy – It was a miracle! Or maybe not. The dried blood of Naples’ patron saint Januarius half-liquified Saturday during a ceremony when Pope Francis held and kissed the relic while on a visit to the southern Italian city.

Archbishop of Naples Crescenzio Sepe showed the glass vial to the congregation in the city’s cathedral and declared: “The blood has half liquified, which shows that Saint Januarius loves our pope and Naples.”

Francis, known for his plain speaking, quipped that he and his fellow visitors to the city’s cathedral had failed to win the saint’s full affection.

“The bishop just announced that the blood half-liquified. We can see the saint only half loves us.”

“We must all spread the word, so that he loves us more!” he added.

CONTINUE READING...
Each year, thousands of Roman Catholic faithful go to the three special services at Naples Cathedral where the dried blood of the fourth-century martyr is said to turn to liquid.

Some people say the blood even increases in mass during these displays, though the church does not officially recognize any of the relic’s alleged transformations as a miracle.

The Roman bishop was decapitated during the persecution of Christians during the reign of the emperor Diocletian in 305 AD.

CATASTROPHE

The showing of the vial is eagerly awaited because, according to tradition, whenever the blood has failed to liquify a catastrophe has occurred.

The ceremony has been going on, sometimes up to 18 times a year, for the past six centuries.

In 1527 and 1528 non-liquefaction was followed by the plague. In 1559 famine came and in 1833 cholera raged through the city. In 1944 during World War II, non-liquefaction was proceeded by bombing raids by Allied aircraft.

‘HALF-MIRACLE’

The “half-miracle” came during Francis’s one-day visit to the city in which he was greeted by hundreds of thousands of people waving Vatican flags.

Further strengthening his down-to-earth reputation, the pope headed deep into mafia territory, visiting jailbirds and the poor in Naples amid heightened security.

The pontiff arrived in the poor, crime-ridden Scampia area of the city in a Pope mobile and immediately plunged into a crowd of children and young people, two of whom managed to pose for a selfie with the pontiff.

‘CORRUPTION STINKS’

“Corruption stinks, corrupt society stinks,” he told residents, adding that “we all have the potential to be corrupt and to slip into criminality.”


TRIBUNE

Who are today’s young leaders? Written by Tribune Wires Sunday, 29 March 2015 00:00


PHOTO FROM PHILSTAR: Delegates to the 2015 ARC Young Leaders Camp showing off their commitment pledge during the Meet and Greet event. Angie dela Cruz(inset) Batongbacal of Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila and her pledge of support to this year’s ARC Young Leaders Camp. STAR

Majority of our country’s population continues to live in extremely vulnerable socio-economic conditions, which means that not many deserving students will have the opportunity to be properly trained as leaders.

But the story doesn’t have to end there. ARC Refreshments Corp., exclusive licensed bottler of RC Cola products in the Philippines, continues to invest in youth development through the annual ARC Young Leaders Camp (ARCYLC), with underserved but promising college students as the program’s primary stakeholders.

Through the years since the initiative was established in 2012, ARC campers have proved their merit, demonstrating insightfulness beyond their years and remarkable leadership traits despite great odds:

Resourcefulness & Excellence.

Former delegate Curt Marvin Cruz from UP Diliman will again attend the 2015 ARC training workshop in Tagaytay City, but this time as a guest speaker. Voted president of the camp’s pioneering batch, he experienced in his grade school days having to gather and knit together unused pages of old notebooks so he could have something to use for the upcoming school year.

His resourcefulness and positive mindset carried him through the struggles of family life exacerbated by the social difficulties of his deaf brother. At the 2012 ARC Young Leaders Camp, Curt proved to be an outstanding delegate, and years after joining the program, he has traveled to Indonesia and Singapore to further explore learning opportunities. “I’m very thankful to ARC; it really opened doors for me and my fellow ARC campers.” He continues to nurture his dream to pay it forward by helping other deprived children and “to really serve the greater public.”

CONTINUE READING...
Teamwork. Cher Mie Dasa of Manila Central University attended last year’s ARC youth camp.

Recalling the team-building exercises that reinforced insights gained from the plenary sessions, she talks about almost throwing in the towel during a tough outdoor team challenge:

“Iniisip ko po hindi ko talaga kayang gawin, gi-give up na ako kaya nga lang andyan ‘yung partner ko, umaasa s’ya sa’kin. Ba’t ba pinanghihinaan ako ng loob?”

At the end of the three-day workshop, she surprised herself by achieving much more than she believed possible: Cher Mie was elected batch president and became the recipient of the Energizer Bunny Award for her consistent performance at the camp.


PHOTO FROM THE INQUIRER" A GREENHOUSE filled with vegetables planted in used plastic bottles is this team’s proposal. A “school” built on clumps of empty plastic bottles will soon hit riverside communities to mentor young schoolchildren. “Project Ahon,” which was developed by 10 college students, topped the project proposal contest at the fourth ARC Refreshment Corp. Young Leaders Camp (ARCYLC) in Tagaytay City.

This concept of teamwork as an empowering force resonates with Ishtel Castañeda, an aspiring camp delegate this year: “Being a leader doesn’t always mean that you are a frontliner; sometimes if you purposely stay at the back to push your people up, then you are a leader.”

Discipline.

According to Anjenette Poblete Giray of ARCYLC batch SMILE, “A leader is an ordinary person with extraordinary responsibilities.” Marathon runners know that it takes enormous discipline to finish a race, much less win in it. ARC campers like Cher Mie recognize that leadership entails learning skills and abilities over time and despite obstacles, and that “it is a journey.”

Integrity.

Another former delegate, EJ Tiu Materum, refers to the experience of Filipinos during elections. According to him, the search for a leader doesn’t end after the votes are counted; instead, leadership starts with the self. Belonging to a generation that loves to take “selfie” photos, EJ and his notion of personal accountability challenge our image-obsessed popular culture and call for greater attunement and engagement with the community.

There are as many definitions and ways to become a leader as there are Filipinos who all have the potential to become trailblazers. For ARC, who is also a young leader in the cola industry, ARCYLC is one of the avenues through which young people can be inspired to inspire other youths and create heroes out of them.

At the end of the 3-day workshop, Cher Mie Dasa (centeer), of third batch of ARC Young Leaders Camp surprised herself by achieving much more than she believed possible: she was elected batch president and became the recipient of the Energizer Bunny Award for her consistent performance at the camp.


MANILA BULLETIN

Only 300 seats at press row for deadline writers by Nick Giongco March 22, 2015

Just a little over 300 seats at press row will be approved for deadline writers for the May 2 super fight between Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather.

The MGM Grand Garden Arena, which can accommodate 16,200, is expected to be filled to the brim and Hall of Fame promoter Bob Arum said yesterday that “every newspaper in the country (US) will be sending reporters to cover the fight.”

Aside from the American media, which will be made up not only of print reporters but TV crew and Internet writers, “the whole world will also be sending media representatives.”

The fight is so huge that writers from other beats assigned to cover it have begun sending out their applications.

Magna Media is handling the screening of credentials and it has sent notice to those who have sent their applications that slots are extremely limited owing to the magnitude of the event.

Arum said those who won’t make the grade to cover it live at press row will get the opportunity to watch the fight live at the media center.

“We’ll be putting up a large screen at the media center,” said Arum, whose Top Rank Inc. is working closely with lead promoter Mayweather Promotions in staging the unification welterweight match.

“We’ll do the best we can (to accommodate),” added the 83-year-old Arum.

READ MORE...
The Philippines alone is dispatching at least three TV crews and newspapers and their online sections have drawn out the gameplan for the coverage.

HEARTBREAK HOTEL

For the last 10 years, diehard followers of Manny Pacquiao, members of his entourage and even the Filipino boxing media, have made the Vagabond Inn on Vine Street, just a stone’s throw away from the Wild Card Boxing Club in Hollywood, their home during the runup to the Filipino’s fights.

That won’t be the case as Pacquiao is getting ready to face Floyd Mayweather on May 2 in Las Vegas as the Vagabond Inn, the favorite hangout of pimps and prostitutes and drug dealers, has been torn down to give way to a nicer and classier hotel.

Last time the Bulletin checked, construction was still in its infancy and the replacement won’t be up probably until next year.

It was also at the Vagabond Inn where Pacquiao stayed while training for a big fight from 2001 until 2004 before renting a place at the trendy Sunset+Vine down the road and The Palazzo.

With the Vagabond Inn a thing of the past, those affiliated with Pacquiao have been brought to the nondescript Park Plaza Lodge on 3rd Street, just several hundred meters from the Pan Pacific Park where the boxer does his morning roadwork thrice a week.

SOLAR ALL-ACCESS

Solar Entertainment Corporation has reached a deal with various media outlets to air the much-anticipated bout of Pacquiao against Mayweather.

The company which owns the rights of all Pacquiao’s fights said that it was the ring icon himself who wanted to unify the country’s leading broadcast networks – ABS-CBN, GMA and TV5 – owing to his showdown with Mayweather as one of the sport’s biggest in years.

Solar will also air the fight live and commercial free through its pay-per-view service Solar All-Access.


MANILA BULLETIN

NP, LP start drawing up plans for 2016 polls by Ben R. Rosario and Hannah L. Torregoza March 23, 2015

Leaders of the Nacionalista and Liberal parties have started drawing up plans for the elections in May, 2016, when the nation elects a new president to succeed President Aquino.

Sen. Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr., son of former President Ferdinand Marcos, said he is studying calls for him to run, after he rose from seventh to fifth in the Pulse Asia presidential survey.

Although his original plan was to run for reelection, “there are many people saying I should run, that I can win. I am listening to all inputs, of course. It’s very heartwarming to know of the people’s support for us. I’m studying that,” the senator said in an interview over Radio DZMM.

Senate Majority Leader Alan Peter Cayetano reaffirmed his intention to run for president in 2016, saying he intends to pursue his vision for the country.

“It’s hard to close doors on anything, but as I’ve stated before, magagawa mo lang ang vision mo, ang mga ideas mo, kung presidente ka (you can only carry out your vision if you are the President),” Cayetano said.

He said he won’t run against Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV who had earlier spoken on possible plans to run for president. Trillanes, however, said in a recent press conference, that he now plans to run for vice president, as it seems he said the people are not ready to have him as president.

AFTER JULY SONA

The Liberal Party of President Aquino is likely to pick its 2016 presidential candidate before the President delivers his State of the Nation Address in July, Caloocan City Rep. Edgar Erice, vice chairman for political affairs of the party, said.

READ MORE...
The party’s national executive council is likely to decide on its presidential candidate before the end of the second quarter of this year, he said. Poll survey ratings will not be the main criteria in the selection, he added.

In an ambush interview with House reporters, Congressan Erice brushed aside the results of a recent public approval and trust survey conducted by Pulse Asia that saw President Aquino’s ratings plummeting, in the wake of the Mamasapano incident.

The Liberal Party’s prospective presidential candidate, Secretary Mar Roxas of the Department of the Interior and Local Government, found himself the cellar dweller among political personalities who are being considered for the 2016 presidential election, in another survey.

Erice said the Liberal Party’s main concern is to come up with a standard bearer who will be the “epitome of integrity, competent leadership, and experience.”

“I think the period of reckoning is still far. But before the end of the quarter we can already arrive at a decision,” said Erice. “Secretary Roxas has not yet declared he is interested in the presidency, he is too preoccupied at doing his job.”

Erice also rejected suggestions that President Aquino’s endorsement will be a “kiss of death” for the LP candidates for 2016. “President Aquino is still capable of giving our bet at least 10 to 20 percent more votes,” Erice said.

Front-runner in the latest presidential survey is Vice President Jejomar Binay of the United Nationalist Alliance. He is followed in the survey by Sen. Grace Poe Llamanzares, Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte, Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada, and Sen. Miriam Defensor Santiago.

The Nacionalista Party, headed by former Senator Manuel Villar, now has an alliance with the Aquino administration’s Liberal Party.


PHILSTAR

Noy: Critics out to erode my endorsement power By Aurea Calica (The Philippine Star) | Updated March 24, 2015 - 12:00am


President Aquino chats with South Luzon Tollway chairman and San Miguel Corp. president and COO Ramon Ang (left) and Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala during a briefing on the South Luzon Expressway-Toll Road 4 Project in Barangay Lalig, Tiaong, Quezon yesterday.

TIAONG, Quezon, Philippines – President Aquino yesterday lashed out at his critics for spreading rumors about his health.

In a speech here, where he was briefed on the South Luzon Expressway Toll Road 4 project and other road projects in Southern Tagalog, Aquino said his critics have gone too far in their efforts to grab power or destroy his credibility and diminish his influence in endorsing candidates in 2016.

On Friday night, rumors circulated that the President had collapsed or suffered a nervous breakdown. Another version was that he had tripped and hit his head and was confined in an intensive care unit.

“When they saw me on Saturday night without any health problem, a new rumor came out: that we were the ones who spread this fiction to get the sympathy of the public,” Aquino said.

“To those who believe this, our elders have this reminder: we don’t gain anything from rumors,” he added.

READ MORE...
The President said his critics were determined to sow intrigue and confusion.

“Are we going to trust those opposed to the straight path when their desire to instill doubts and trouble in the minds of the public has gone to the extreme?” Aquino said.

“They are the ones making rumors without sense or basis to push for their own agenda. They… want to grab power and benefit again from a crooked system. If we… believe the rumors… we will… come out doing nothing, and everything that we have done from the time we assumed office will be wasted,” he added.

Aquino said a lot has changed since he took over, and he could not help but ask why he remains a target of criticisms when he is not a candidate in 2016.

Endorsing power

“The answer to that is simple: If I am able to do good and maybe our critics acknowledge this, naturally, if we endorse (a candidate), it will have importance,” the President said.

Aquino is expected to endorse Interior and Local Government Secretary Manuel Roxas II in next year’s presidential elections. Roxas gave way to Aquino in 2010 and ran instead as his vice presidential candidate.

Aquino said his critics are resolved to discredit the gains of his administration.

“That way, when they promise that they will do better, it will be easier. But here in Quezon, Batangas, Laguna, Bicol and other areas, Filipinos don’t get fooled by people who do not speak the truth,” he said.

The President said he would use his remaining days in office to effect more long-term reforms and ensure that whoever would succeed him would continue to strengthen institutions so they could not be taken advantage of by corrupt officials. –With Delon Porcalla


INQUIRER

Aquino seeks people's understanding on Mamasapano debacle; He won’t apologize Nikko Dizon @inquirerdotnet Philippine Daily Inquirer 1:43 AM | Tuesday, March 24th, 2015


President Benigno Aquino III INQUIRER FILE PHOTO / GRIG C. MONTEGRANDE

MANILA, Philippines–No apologies.

Instead, President Aquino will seek the people’s understanding over the Mamasapano debacle, saying he was kept in the dark while the Jan. 25 police operation to take down the international terrorist Zulkifli bin Hir, alias “Marwan,” was going terribly wrong, the Inquirer learned on Monday.

The President’s explanation on the slaughter of 44 Special Action Force (SAF) commandos in Maguindanao province will highlight his speech at the Philippine National Police Academy (PNPA) graduation ceremonies on Thursday, Malacañang sources said.

“It’s a carefully worded speech. He will ask for ‘pangunawa,’ not ‘paumanhin.’ Pangunawa means understanding, while paumanhin means apology,” one of the sources said.

While Marwan was killed in the SAF raid, the ensuing gun battle with forces of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) also left 17 MILF fighters and three civilians dead, in addition to the commando fatalities.

Lawmakers, former President Fidel V. Ramos, Catholic bishops and the families of the slain SAF troopers have demanded that Aquino apologize for the carnage.

READ MORE...
The word “pangunawa” will figure prominently in the President’s speech, which he will deliver in Filipino, the Palace sources said.

Purisima on his own

“The President will ask for understanding that he failed to discover right away that he was being taken for a ride and he would ask for understanding that he thought of giving the families of the SAF 44 privacy when [the bodies] arrived at Villamor [Air Base], that he should have been there,” one source said.

CONTINUE READING...
The source added that Aquino would also assure the public that he would not protect former PNP Director General Alan Purisima because his close friend and former bodyguard would have to face the consequences of his actions.

Another source said that the President would also ask for the people’s understanding if he might have offended their feelings with his statements following the Mamasapano debacle.

Wait for speech

On Saturday, President Aquino was asked by reporters if he would apologize for the Mamasapano incident.

“Maybe, we could just wait for my speech because I think I might be able to phrase it clearly, exactly what my sentiments are, [what] my feelings were,” Aquino said.

The President admitted that he was still “coming to terms with a lot of things” since the Mamasapano bloodbath.

He said that Purisima, a longtime friend, had let him down after the police official failed to follow his orders to coordinate “Oplan: Exodus”—the mission to get Marwan—with Deputy Director General Leonardo Espina, the PNP officer in charge.

Aquino said National Security Adviser Cesar Garcia told him that Espina was “out of the loop” in the operation to hunt down Marwan and the other wanted terrorists who were hiding in Mindanao.

‘I’m not God’

Asked how he felt that he was being blamed for the Mamasapano debacle, Aquino told the Inquirer that again, his answer would be “better said in the speech that I would be delivering in the PNPA.”

But he did say, “At the end of the day, I am the chief executive. Everything that this government does, it appears that it’s my own making.”

“But let me just say: I never claimed to be God. I am not saying that I can read the minds of all those I talk to. I cannot watch what the 1.6 million members of the bureaucracy are doing 24/7. Those who we discover to be corrupt, we run after them and we get evidence against them and we make them accountable,” he said.

Aquino said he believed that he issued lawful orders to Purisima and sacked SAF commander Director Getulio Napeñas, “following the concept of presumption of regularity.”

Common sense

The President also said that he did not have reason to doubt Purisima and Napeñas when they presented to him the plan to take down Marwan, Filipino terrorist Basit Usman and Malaysian terrorist Amin Baco alias “Jihad.”

“I expected them to carry out my orders not because I just wanted to give them orders but because those were the right orders and they needed to be ordered,” President Aquino said.

“For the life of me, I never thought somebody like Napeñas would blatantly disregard an order. And for that matter, for Alan Purisima, at least he should have had the moral suasion,” he added.

“So let us go back from the start: why did it happen? I try to put myself in their shoes. Why would I do everything that I did (in Mamasapano) that were really against exercising common sense?”


INQUIRER

3 out of 5 Filipinos want legalization of divorce – SWS survey Aries Joseph Hegina @inquirerdotnet INQUIRER.net 3:36 PM | Monday, March 23rd, 2015


PHOTO COURTESY OF FOX NEWS: In this Jan. 8, 2015 photo, a Filipino bride arranges her gown before her wedding at a Catholic church in Manila, Philippines. The Philippines is the only country in the world - aside from the Vatican - where divorce is forbidden, a testament to the enduring power of Roman Catholicism that has flourished since Spanish colonizers imposed it nearly 500 years ago. Visiting Pope Francis, the church and many of its followers in this Southeast Asian Catholic stronghold of 100 million believe strongly in the indissolubility of marriage. But a growing number of Catholics would support a change. (AP Photo/Aaron Favila) (The Associated Press)

MANILA, Philippines – Three out of five Filipinos, or 60 percent, want divorce to be legalized for “irreconcilably separated” couples, the results of a recent survey by the Social Weather Stations (SWS) revealed on Monday.

The survey, which was conducted from Nov. 27 to Dec. 1 last year, revealed that 60 percent of 1,800 respondents agree that “Married couples who have already separated and cannot reconcile anymore should be allowed to divorce so that they can get legally married again” while 29 percent disagreed and 11 percent undecided on the issue.

Among the respondents, 16 percent have live-in partners, 63 percent are married and 21 percent are single.

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SWS also revealed that more men and women are in favor of the proposition, with 62 percent of male respondents (from 52 percent in March 2011) and 57 percent of female respondents (from 49 percent in March 2011) agreeing to the measure.

Support for the approval of the legalization of divorce also rose in all areas, with 67 percent of adult respondents from Metro Manila, 62 percent from Balance Luzon, 55 percent from Visayas and 55 percent from Mindanao all throwing their support for the initiative.

During the last SWS survey on divorce in March 2011, fifty percent of Filipinos favored the legalization of divorce.

SWS cleared that the survey is noncommissioned and was released as a “public service.”

The Philippines and Vatican City are the only two states in the world, which ban the practice of divorce.


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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