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

POLL WATCHDOG: NEW COMELEC CHIEF  CAPABLE OF ENSURING ORDERLY 2016 ELECTIONS


Newly-appointed Commission on Elections chairman Andres Bautista (right) and commissioner Rowena Guanzon arrive at the Comelec office in Intramuros, Manila on Monday, May 4, for their oath-taking. Also in photo are Comelec officer-in-charge Christian Robert Lim and Commissioner Louie Tito Guia. Danny Pata
 Newly appointed Commission on Elections Chairman Andres Bautista is getting a vote of confidence from a Church-based poll watchdog group, which said he is capable of ensuring orderly elections in 2016. The Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting also voiced hopes Bautista can work together with new commissioners Rowena Guanzon and Sheriff Abas for the 2016 elections. "He is a very good man, a very capable man," PPCRV chairperson Henrietta de Villa said of Bautista, in an article posted on the Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines news site. READ MORE...

ALSO: Noy bares meeting with Grace Poe to discuss 2016; no details
[No final plans yet for 2016 – Poe (May 11, 2015)]


Sen. Grace Poe
- President Aquino bared yesterday meeting recently with Sen. Grace Poe to discuss the elections in 2016 but refused to divulge details. Reports from government radio dzRB and ABS-CBN News quoted the President as saying he was having consultations with several sectors on the administration’s possible standard bearer in 2016. Aquino did not say whether Poe was being considered as the administration Liberal Party’s presidential or vice presidential candidate. Poe confirmed the meeting took place, but provided no details. “The President and I met and he reiterated the importance of selecting a candidate who will continue the programs of reform and good governance,” Poe said. Budget Secretary Florencio Abad, an LP stalwart, told The STAR yesterday: “As far as the Liberal Party is concerned, (Interior and Local Government) Secretary Mar Roxas is still the party’s presidential standard bearer, and the party will push his candidacy in 2016,” Budget Secretary Florencio Abad, an LP stalwart, told The STAR yesterday. Although Aquino reiterated that his choices would not be limited to LP members, Abad said “the President could be thinking beyond 2016, beyond the term 2016-2022.”  LP members had expressed belief that Roxas for president with Poe as his running mate would be the team to beat in 2016. Poe has been leading surveys for vice president and has recently been climbing up in ratings for presidential bets currently ruled by Vice President Jejomar Binay. Roxas’ wife, broadcast journalist Korina Sanchez, recently told the media the decision on whether her husband would run would be known in June, as the President has said. READ MORE...

ALSO: Philippine presidential election, 2016

Declared candidacy. These are the people who have personally publicized to run for president: Jejomar Binay, Alan Peter Cayetano, Panfilo Lacson The Philippine presidential and vice presidential election of 2016 is the next presidential election in the Philippines, scheduled on Monday, May 9, 2016. Incumbent President Benigno Aquino III is barred from seeking re-election, pursuant to the 1987 Philippine Constitution. Therefore, this election will determine the 16th President of the Philippines. The position of president and vice president are elected separately, and the winning candidates may come from different political parties. This will be the 16th presidential election in the Philippines since 1935, and the sixth sextennial presidential election since 1986. This will be a part of the 2016 general election where elections to the Senate, House of Representatives and local government, including the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao shall be held. READ MORE...

ALSO Palace: Aquino mum on bet; LP’s Drilon free to choose


Senate President Franklin Drilon. INQUIRER FILE PHOTO
Malacañang on Wednesday clarified that President Benigno Aquino III has yet to name his preferred successor amid reports that Liberal Party has already chosen Interior Secretary Manuel “Mar” Roxas II. “While the President has yet to endorse his candidate, it does not preclude [Senate President Franklin Drilon] to identify the person [he] believes will tread the straight path and push the reforms the President started beyond 2016,” presidential spokesperson Edwin Lacierda said. Lacierda said Aquino had so far only “described the virtues of someone he believes should succeed him—one that will continue to tread the straight path and continue the reforms he started in 2010.” The statement came after media reported that Liberal Party vice chair Drilon already identified Roxas as the party‘s standard-bearer. While it is widely believed that Roxas, who is Aquino’s running mate during the 2010 elections, will be chosen by LP to run as president, he has not been doing well in election surveys. Reports say it is the reason why Aquino has been delaying his announcement of LP’s standard bearer. RC  CONTINUE READING...

ALSO: Boxing loss could be Pacquiao’s political win


Manny Pacquiao thanks his supporters after his fight with Floyd Mayweather Jr. Mayweather won by unanimous decision. PHOTO BY REM ZAMORA/INQUIRER/See more at FRAME
— Manny Pacquiao lost his biggest fight in the ring, but that won’t stop him from plotting a bigger comeback — in the political arena that is. In a country where elections are also entertainment and political programs secondary, candidates often win because of star power and money. Pacquaio, who earned more than $100 million despite losing the Fight of the Century against Floyd Mayweather Jr. last weekend, certainly has that working for him. But can he overcome his poor record as an incumbent congressman, his humble origins and lack of political savvy to win a Senate seat, or even higher office? Having established himself as a local politician, the natural path for the 36-year-old Pacquiao would be the 24-seat Senate, a national position, which has been used as a springboard for vice president or president. His most ardent supporters say he can be a future president. The Bible-quoting boxer, who by law cannot run for president before turning 40, has said his “thoughts on the presidency … are merely aspirational.” His first presidential race would be in 2022. That could be harder than defeating Mayweather., but he can take comfort in the thought that Filipinos love the underdog. His rags-to-riches story — rising from extreme poverty to becoming the wealthiest Philippine congressman — has captured the imagination of the millions in his Southeast Asian nation. Pacquiao the underdog played well at home after it was disclosed that even with his shoulder injured he still fought aggressively against Mayweather, said political analyst and public administration professor Prospero de Vera. He said the way Pacquiao lost the fight “actually enhances his political viability” and could help him win as senator in elections next year. But the higher the office Pacquiao seeks, the fiercer the competition and the closer the public scrutiny he will face. READ MORE...

ALSO From CBCP: Church may scrap fixed-donations, price tag on sacraments


Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Socrates B. Villegas (Photo: CBCPNews) The Roman Catholic Church may scrap the fixed-donations and sacramental fees among the faithfuls to enhance the credibility of the Filipino prelates and make them more “Christ-like”. In a statement posted on the Website of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines, Archdiocese of Lingayen-Dagupan Socrates Villegas urged his fellow priest not to require the faithfuls to give fixed donations for fees. Villegas stressed that once the fees are abolished, the Church will not become poor. “It is a test to the faithfuls about their “Pananabangan” or stewardship in Christ, he added. The CBCP president also believed that scrapping the sacrament fees would make the Church “more credible, more prophetic and more Christ like”. “The Church will not get poorer with Pananabangan. The Church will become more credible, more prophetic and more Christ like with Pananabangan. The arancel system is both a painful scourge on the long suffering people and a shameful stain in the vestments of the Church’s ministers. The arancel imprints an invisible and foul price tag on our priestly stole. It has been tolerated but in the beginning it was not so,” Villegas pointed out. READ MORE...

ALSO: Noy appoints assistant solgen as Sandigan associate justice


"We’d like to announce that the President has appointed the Honorable Sarah Jane T. Fernandez as Associate Justice of the Sandiganbayan. The President signed the appointment last May 5, 2015," Valte said
- President Aquino has appointed Assistant Solicitor General Sarah Jane Fernandez as associate justice of the Sandiganbayan to replace Gregory Ong, who was dismissed from service. Deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte said over dzRB yesterday the President signed the appointment of Fernandez last May 5. Fernandez graduated with a degree of Bachelor of Science in Legal Management from the Ateneo de Manila University. She was conferred a Juris Doctor or professional doctorate degree by the Ateneo de Manila School of Law in 1994. READ MORE...


READ FULL MEDIA REPORTS HERE:

PPCRV: New Comelec chairman Bautista capable of ensuring orderly 2016 polls


Newly-appointed Commission on Elections chairman Andres Bautista (right) and commissioner Rowena Guanzon arrive at the Comelec office in Intramuros, Manila on Monday, May 4, for their oath-taking. Also in photo are Comelec officer-in-charge Christian Robert Lim and Commissioner Louie Tito Guia. Danny Pata

MANILA, MAY 11, 2015 (INQUIRER) May 5, 2015 7:48am - Newly appointed Commission on Elections Chairman Andres Bautista is getting a vote of confidence from a Church-based poll watchdog group, which said he is capable of ensuring orderly elections in 2016.

The Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting also voiced hopes Bautista can work together with new commissioners Rowena Guanzon and Sheriff Abas for the 2016 elections.

"He is a very good man, a very capable man," PPCRV chairperson Henrietta de Villa said of Bautista, in an article posted on the Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines news site.

READ MORE...
“He is a very principled man. He has his good values working for him and with him so I’m sure he would be able to handle himself very well,” she added.

De Villa thanked President Benigno Aquino III for naming Bautista as Comelec chairman, saying he "is leaving a good legacy in the elections” by doing so.

Guanzon and Abas replace retired commissioners Lucenito Tagle and Elias Yusoph.

“I just hope that with the two new commissioners, (Comelec officials) will be able to work together as a team for the good of elections,” she said.

De Villa also noted Bautista is a PPCRV board member. She added he will have PPCRV's full support.

Bautista will replace Sixto Brillantes Jr., who retired last February. —Joel Locsin/KG, GMA News


PHILSTAR

Noy bares meeting with Grace Poe to discuss 2016; no details (The Philippine Star) | Updated May 10, 2015 - 12:00am


Sen. Grace Poe

MANILA, Philippines - President Aquino bared yesterday meeting recently with Sen. Grace Poe to discuss the elections in 2016 but refused to divulge details.

Reports from government radio dzRB and ABS-CBN News quoted the President as saying he was having consultations with several sectors on the administration’s possible standard bearer in 2016.

Aquino did not say whether Poe was being considered as the administration Liberal Party’s presidential or vice presidential candidate.

Poe confirmed the meeting took place, but provided no details.

“The President and I met and he reiterated the importance of selecting a candidate who will continue the programs of reform and good governance,” Poe said.

Budget Secretary Florencio Abad, an LP stalwart, told The STAR yesterday: “As far as the Liberal Party is concerned, (Interior and Local Government) Secretary Mar Roxas is still the party’s presidential standard bearer, and the party will push his candidacy in 2016,” Budget Secretary Florencio Abad, an LP stalwart, told The STAR yesterday.

Although Aquino reiterated that his choices would not be limited to LP members, Abad said “the President could be thinking beyond 2016, beyond the term 2016-2022.”

LP members had expressed belief that Roxas for president with Poe as his running mate would be the team to beat in 2016.

Poe has been leading surveys for vice president and has recently been climbing up in ratings for presidential bets currently ruled by Vice President Jejomar Binay.

Roxas’ wife, broadcast journalist Korina Sanchez, recently told the media the decision on whether her husband would run would be known in June, as the President has said.

READ MORE...
ABS-CBN News said the President told reporters covering him in Canada that he was getting everybody’s inputs and not just the established political parties. Aquino is in Canada for a state visit.

The groups include non-government organizations, as well as civil society groups and people’s organizations.

“All the voices of every sector, of every branch of this coalition must be heard and preserved,” Aquino said.

Aquino also dismissed criticisms that the Jan. 25 Mamasapano incident had diminished his endorsement power.

“If we judge it by the attacks that are still the same, if not even more vociferous from my critics, then I think even my critics will say that the endorsement value is still present,” he said.

Mixed reactions

Lawmakers from the LP voiced mixed reactions to President Aquino’s disclosure that he had discussioms with Poe on the 2016 elections.

Quezon City Rep. Winston Castelo said Roxas remains the LP’s “sentimental choice” for standard bearer but that party members should also respect Aquino’s prerogative to make his choice, as long as that choice shares his vision and programs for the country.

He said other possible choices for LP standard bearer are Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr., “who has a sterling performance as a local government executive and leader of Congress,” as well as Sens. Francis Escudero and Alan Peter Cayetano.

-------------------------

No final plans yet for 2016 – Poe By Christina Mendez (The Philippine Star) | Updated May 11, 2015 - 12:00am


PHILSTAR FILE PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines - There is nothing final yet in the administration’s plans for the 2016 presidential elections, Sen. Grace Poe said over the weekend.

Poe said President Aquino has not offered her any post in the administration slate. At their meeting, she said Aquino merely reiterated the need for a candidate who would continue the reforms he initiated.

“The President and I met and he reiterated the importance of selecting a candidate who will continue the programs of reform and good governance. No mention of what particular position,” Poe said in a statement.

Poe issued the statement after the President revealed that he met with the senator recently to discuss the 2016 national elections.

Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV, who has been openly aspiring for the vice presidency, welcomed the possibility of having Poe tapped as running-mate of Interior Secretary Manuel Roxas II.

Poe has been mum on her political plans for 2016, but sources told The STAR that she has been wooed by some possible presidential candidates, including former senator Panfilo Lacson, to become their running-mate.

Third party personalities are also said to be convincing Lacson and Poe to forge a partnership for the presidential race but that nothing has been finalized yet.

There were also reports of a tandem between Poe and Sen. Francis Escudero but both senators – who are close friends – have downplayed the reports.

Trillanes said Poe will be good competition and that he will be respecting the mandate of the people once they choose their vice-presidential bet next year.

He also reiterated his call for Nacionalista Party (NP) president and real property magnate Manuel Villar Jr. to run again for president.

Although Villar said during a recent NP cruise in Japan that he is not interested at this time to run for any post, Trillanes said he believes that Villar is cut out for the presidency.

“Villar’s vast experience as a lawmaker and impressive management skills as a businessman give him an edge among the presidential timber,” Trillanes said.

Other NP possible presidential candidates include Senators Ferdinand Marcos Jr. and Alan Peter Cayetano.


WIKIPEDIA

Philippine presidential election, 2016 From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The Philippine presidential and vice presidential election of 2016 is the next presidential election in the Philippines, scheduled on Monday, May 9, 2016.

Incumbent President Benigno Aquino III is barred from seeking re-election, pursuant to the 1987 Philippine Constitution. Therefore, this election will determine the 16th President of the Philippines. The position of president and vice president are elected separately, and the winning candidates may come from different political parties.

This will be the 16th presidential election in the Philippines since 1935, and the sixth sextennial presidential election since 1986.

This will be a part of the 2016 general election where elections to the Senate, House of Representatives and local government, including the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao shall be held.

Background

Vice President Jejomar Binay defeated Senator Mar Roxas in the 2010 vice presidential election. Roxas sued Binay of electoral fraud in the Presidential Electoral Tribunal, citing that some of his votes were recorded as null votes.

Roxas was not successful in overturning Binay's victory. Meanwhile, Roxas' running mate, Senator Benigno Aquino III defeated Binay's running mate Joseph Estrada and several others in the presidential election.

Both Binay and Roxas were subsequently appointed by Aquino to his cabinet.

For the midterm 2013 Senate election, Aquino and Roxas formed Team PNoy; Estrada's Pwersa ng Masang Pilipino and Binay's Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban) forged an electoral alliance, the United Nationalist Alliance (UNA). Team PNoy won nine Senate seats against UNA's three, with Team PNoy winning a big majority of lower house seats as well.

The core of Team PNoy shall form the bulk of Roxas' campaign team, while Binay had transformed UNA into a full-fledged political party in 2014, after the PDP-Laban left UNA due to Binay's insistence of including resigned senator Juan Miguel Zubiri on their 2013 senatorial slate, against the objections of PDP-Laban president Aquilino Pimentel III, who had accused Zubiri of electoral fraud in the 2007 senatorial election.

Pimentel, along with Nacionalista Party members Alan Peter Cayetano and Antonio Trillanes IV, had since been at the forefront of ongoing Senate investigations against Binay on his alleged corruption cases while serving as mayor of Makati. Binay had consistently denied any wrongdoing, but had never appeared at the Senate.

Candidates

For president

Declared candidacy - These are the people who have personally publicized to run for president:

Vice President Jejomar Binay (United Nationalist Alliance) In an interview in September 2011, he confirmed his plans of running as president.

Senate Majority Leader Alan Peter Cayetano (Nacionalista Party) In a March 2013 interview on Mornings @ ANC, he said “I want to be president of this country. I think I can do something great for God and his people.”

Former Senator and Presidential Assistant for Rehabilitation and Recovery Panfilo Lacson (Independent) Interior and Local Government Secretary Mar Roxas acknowledged him qualified to run in for president, but there have been no talks on the latter joining the Liberal Party. Despite of this, he said on February 2014 that he is “color blind” to politics and would rather focus on rehabilitating areas hit by Typhoon Yolanda.

After resigning as presidential assistant for recovery in February 2015, Lacson, in a press conference at the Diamond Hotel in Manila, told reporters that he is "not planning, but contemplating" about running for the presidency.

Aside from another presidential campaign, Lacson is considering a return to the Senate, while ruling out local politics.

On April 2015, Lacson confirmed that he has the intention in running for president, although his final decision would depend on many factors, which he didn't elaborate. On a press conference at Baguio a couple of weeks later, Lacson announced his intention to be an independent candidate for president.

Potential candidates

Miriam Defensor Santiago

Rodrigo Duterte

Bong Revilla

Mar Roxas

Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago (People's Reform Party) In a press conference on July 2, 2014, she revealed she is suffering from Stage 4 lung cancer and she might run as president for the third time if it goes into remission.

Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte (PDP-Laban) He enjoys the support of several netizens who laud his performance, especially on maintaining peace and order but he was quick to shrug off calls for him to run as President on February 2014, saying he is not qualified for higher public office. A year later, Duterte said on a Baguio federalism forum that he'll only run for president "if only to save the republic." Duterte cited the need of about 10 to 15 billion pesos as a campaign war chest that's keeping him from running.

PDP-Laban president Aquilino Pimentel III later said that Duterte is among his party's options in nominating for the presidency, noting that the party's position on federalism coincides with Duterte's advocacy.

Senator Bong Revilla (Lakas-CMD) In January 2013, then House Minority Leader Danilo Suarez, Lakas-CMD vice-chairman, said that their party is likely considering him to be their candidate.Revilla later revealed that he is open to running for president and his involvement in the Priority Development Assistance Fund scam (PDAF scam) would not affect his political ambition.

Interior and Local Government Secretary Mar Roxas (Liberal Party) Senator Franklin Drilon said on January 2013 "In so far as the LP is concerned, [and] in so far as I am concerned, we believe that he is best qualified for 2016." More than two years later, Drilon divulged on a radio DZIQ interview that "As of now, Mar Roxas has expressed interest internally that he wants to offer his candidacy to the public, and the party will probably endorse that. So as of now, it’s Mar Roxas." Drilon added that the Liberal Party has yet to express its preference.

President Aquino is expected to announce his preferred successor in June.

Declined or withdrew candidacy

Joseph Ejercito Estrada

Manuel V. Pangilinan

Grace Poe

Former President and Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada (United Nationalist Alliance) On February 2014, he said that he has already served as president and that his post as Mayor of Manila will be his "last hurrah." Almost a year later, Estrada said that he would run if both Jejomar Binay and Grace Poe won't run against the administration candidate. If either or both persons run, he said "I will just be a spectator should VP Binay and Grace run against each other in the 2016 presidential elections."

Manny Pangilinan, chairman of the Metro Pacific group of companies By late 2010, Pangilinan, chairman of utility companies PLDT and Meralco and of TV5, is claimed as a "dark horse" by political analysts. The businessman later commented on the rumors that he would seek an elective position, saying "there is no political blood that runs through my veins. I believe I can serve our people better some other way.” He also said his decision was “final” amid encouragement from various sectors that he would make a great president, given his “technocratic skills.”

Senator Grace Poe (Independent) Her surprising first place finish in the 2013 Senate election made her a likely contender for the presidency but she dismissed any plans of running in April 2014, saying she was not considering "anything higher at this point."

For vice president

Declared candidacy

Antonio Trillanes IV

Senator Antonio Trillanes IV (Nacionalista Party) In the news program Bandila’s May 30, 2014 segment where a guest is asked to answer only “yes” or “no,” he was asked if he would run for vice president in 2016 and responded by saying "Let’s just say yes, I will run. As for what position, I will abide by the Nacionalista Party."

Almost a year later, Trillanes announced his preference to run as vice president in a weekly forum at the Senate. As with his May 2014 statement, he says that he will submit to the decision of the Nacionalistas, which would meet sometime before the end of April 2015.

Amongst the Nacionalista's options are fielding its own standard bearer, form a coalition with the Liberals, or adopt an independent candidate.

Potential candidates

Jinggoy Estrada

Gilberto Teodoro, Jr.

Senator Jinggoy Estrada (United Nationalist Alliance) In an oath-taking ceremony of Pwersa ng Masang Pilipino members in November 2012, he compared himself to his father, former President and Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada. He said his father describes him as a copycat, saying he also became San Juan mayor, senator and even best actor. But after noting that his father’s election to the vice presidency, he said "It’s up to you what will happen next."

Despite being implicated in the PDAF scam, he believes critics cannot rule him out as a possible vice presidential candidate and still has the machinery and support to run a campaign.

Former Defense Secretary Gilberto Teodoro, Jr. Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte said, instead being the running mate to Sen. Miriam Santiago, he wants Teodoro to be Santiago's running mate.

Declined or withdrew candidacy

Joseph Estrada

Manny Pacquiao

Vilma Santos-Recto

Kris Aquino, actress and sister of President Benigno Aquino III
On April 2, 2013, Lingayen-Dagupan archbishop emeritus Oscar Cruz has asked her camp to clarify reports of her plans on running for the vice presidency because he heard of her political plans from "credible sources within the administration."Presidential spokesperson Edwin Lacierda denied rumors of her vice presidential candidacy and alluded to Cruz as a "rumormonger".

On a March 2014 edition of her talk show, Aquino & Abunda Tonight, she said the possibility of her candidacy has "never been discussed" and added that "it’s (the election) is not yet my time."

Senator JV Ejercito (United Nationalist Alliance)
On May 2014, he ruled out becoming the running mate of Vice President Binay and said that running for a higher post in the next elections is "farthest" from his mind.

Former President and Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada (United Nationalist Alliance)
Speculations arose that he might replace his son, Senator Jinggoy Estrada, as Binay’s running mate due to the former’s involvement in the PDAF scam but he quickly dismissed the rumor, saying he will retire from politics in 2016.

Representative from Sarangani Manny Pacquiao (United Nationalist Alliance)
He revealed his intention to run for vice president in 2016 in a September 2011 interview at GMA, but later backtracked when he said "No, it’s not possible yet. I’m not old enough." because he will only be 37 years old during the elections – 3 years short of the constitutional age requirement of 40.

Batangas Governor Vilma Santos (Liberal Party) Vice President Binay’s visit to Batangas in February 2014 fueled speculation that she might be his running mate. In a later interview, he finally admitted to considering her as his vice-presidential candidate.However, her husband, Senator Ralph Recto, said on March 2014 that she is not planning to run for a higher position and might retire from politics instead.

Unspecified position

These are the people who are either considering a presidential or vice presidential campaign, but haven't clarified what position they're aiming for.

Declared candidacy

Francis Escudero

Ferdinand Marcos, Jr.

Senator Francis Escudero (Independent) In a Rappler interview published in April 2012, he said that "Let me be honest, candid, yet factual about it. I would be very interested in seeking a higher office in 2016 for the simple reason that I’m halfway through my last term."

Senator Ferdinand Marcos, Jr. (Nacionalista Party) Asked in a November 2012 interview on radio DZBB if he is going to run for president, he said he is not closing his doors and “There’s a saying, ‘Never say never,’ so maybe.” His mother, Ilocos Norte Representative and former First Lady Imelda Marcos revealed he wants him to run so he can follow the footsteps and continue the legacy of his father, former President Ferdinand Marcos. She also added that he is fit for the position because "… He has an impressive track record and a good vision for the country."

In another radio interview, this time at DZMM on March 2015, Marcos said that "we will thoroughly study everything," when asked about people clamoring for him to run. He added that the "default setting" for him in 2016 is to defend his Senate seat. This means that he will surely participate in the 2016 elections, but unclear on what position.[

Issues

Aquino reelection

A Facebook page calling support for one more term for Aquino was launched, despite the constitutional prohibition for presidential re-election.[38] On August 13, 2014, Aquino confirms that he is open to the possibility of running again as President in 2016 if a constitutional amendment is successful. Mar Roxas supported the idea of Aquino running for re-election; Jejomar Binay said that he is willing to run against Aquino if it comes to that.

Aquino has later ruled out a 2016 reelection campaign.

Binay as nominee of the Liberal Party

Binay suggested that in light of the Liberal Party's bets under-performing in the surveys, he has presented himself as a possible nominee. The Liberals rebuffed at the idea, saying that they will only nominate somebody who will continue Aquino's programs.

Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada has suggested of running against Binay if he becomes the Liberal's standard bearer and abandons the United Nationalist Alliance.


INQUIRER

Palace: Aquino mum on bet; LP’s Drilon free to choose Kristine Angeli Sabillo @KSabilloINQ INQUIRER.net 4:21 PM | Wednesday, April 15th, 2015


Senate President Franklin Drilon. INQUIRER FILE PHOTO

Malacañang on Wednesday clarified that President Benigno Aquino III has yet to name his preferred successor amid reports that Liberal Party has already chosen Interior Secretary Manuel “Mar” Roxas II.

“While the President has yet to endorse his candidate, it does not preclude [Senate President Franklin Drilon] to identify the person [he] believes will tread the straight path and push the reforms the President started beyond 2016,” presidential spokesperson Edwin Lacierda said.

Lacierda said Aquino had so far only “described the virtues of someone he believes should succeed him—one that will continue to tread the straight path and continue the reforms he started in 2010.”

The statement came after media reported that Liberal Party vice chair Drilon already identified Roxas as the party‘s standard-bearer.

While it is widely believed that Roxas, who is Aquino’s running mate during the 2010 elections, will be chosen by LP to run as president, he has not been doing well in election surveys.

Reports say it is the reason why Aquino has been delaying his announcement of LP’s standard bearer. RC  CONTINUE READING...

-----------EARLIER NEWS REPORT

Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. INQUIRER FILE PHOTO / LEO M. SABANGAN II Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. INQUIRER FILE PHOTO / LEO M. SABANGAN II

MANILA, Philippines – The Liberal Party might have started the vetting process to find its standard bearer for the 2016 national elections but Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. said that party members have only a 0.1 percent say on the presidential bet.

Belmonte, vice chair of the LP, said that President Aquino, who declared the start of a consensus-building process in the LP two weeks ago, would have a 99.9 percent sway on the party’s selection process.

In a press conference, Belmonte said that whoever the President would pick, whether from the LP or from its allies outside the party, “I am confident that we will win.”

Belmonte parried questions on whether LP would pick Sen. Grace Poe, who ran under the LP-coalition slate in the 2013 elections, and defended the presumed LP presidential bet, Interior Secretary Manuel Roxas II, claiming that many things have been going for the LP president.

“He (Roxas) is skillful, he is hardworking, and he has a fine record of public service. They criticize him for being rich as if that disqualifies him from running,” said Belmonte.

When asked if Roxas had a strong chance of winning it all, Belmonte said a lot of things could happen in the next one and half years before the May 2016 election.

“At a certain point, you have to assess the situation, I just don’t know what that point is,” said Belmonte.

Belmonte also downplayed reports that LP members were fawning over Poe during the LP’s Christmas party last week. Belmonte said LP’s predominantly male members found Poe pretty but would not make any further comment. “She sat beside the President at the dinner table and if you look at it from that point of view, then she might be special,” said Belmonte. “But she was seated there probably because of her rank as senator.”


PHILSTAR

Boxing loss could be Pacquiao’s political win Associated Press 03:08 PM| May 10th, 2015


Manny Pacquiao thanks his supporters after his fight with Floyd Mayweather Jr. Mayweather won by unanimous decision. PHOTO BY REM ZAMORA/INQUIRER/See more at FRAME

MANILA, Philippines— Manny Pacquiao lost his biggest fight in the ring, but that won’t stop him from plotting a bigger comeback — in the political arena that is. In a country where elections are also entertainment and political programs secondary, candidates often win because of star power and money.

Pacquaio, who earned more than $100 million despite losing the Fight of the Century against Floyd Mayweather Jr. last weekend, certainly has that working for him.

But can he overcome his poor record as an incumbent congressman, his humble origins and lack of political savvy to win a Senate seat, or even higher office?

Having established himself as a local politician, the natural path for the 36-year-old Pacquiao would be the 24-seat Senate, a national position, which has been used as a springboard for vice president or president.

His most ardent supporters say he can be a future president. The Bible-quoting boxer, who by law cannot run for president before turning 40, has said his “thoughts on the presidency … are merely aspirational.”

His first presidential race would be in 2022. That could be harder than defeating Mayweather., but he can take comfort in the thought that Filipinos love the underdog. His rags-to-riches story — rising from extreme poverty to becoming the wealthiest Philippine congressman — has captured the imagination of the millions in his Southeast Asian nation.

Pacquiao the underdog played well at home after it was disclosed that even with his shoulder injured he still fought aggressively against Mayweather, said political analyst and public administration professor Prospero de Vera. He said the way Pacquiao lost the fight “actually enhances his political viability” and could help him win as senator in elections next year.

But the higher the office Pacquiao seeks, the fiercer the competition and the closer the public scrutiny he will face.

Two popular athletes have been elected to the Senate in the last 30 years.

One had first served as a city councilor, the other was a businessman and sportsman before running for the upper house. Both worked full time as legislators, unlike Pacquiao.

But, winning an election “most of the time is not connected with being prepared for the job,” de Vera said.

So far, Pacquiao doesn’t have much to show as one of 292 representatives in the lower house — he hasn’t successfully sponsored a single bill and is a top absentee in the chamber over the past five years.

Many Filipinos see Pacquiao’s loss as his cue to retire from boxing. For them, Pacquiao has already sealed his legacy not just as one of the world’s greatest boxers but also as a source of national pride.

Others want him to also withdraw from politics and enjoy the fruits of his 20-year boxing career. Yet others don’t believe he will retire anytime soon from boxing or politics.

For one thing, his fight winnings are too big to ignore. Pacquiao, who according to Forbes was worth $82 million before the latest fight, is often approached for financial support by individual constituents or even entire villages for anything from a community basketball court to funding for fiestas and scholarships.

He also shoulders the expenses of his large entourage of relatives, friends and an assortment of hangers-on. “I think he is not yet ready to retire,” said Raul Martinez, mayor of Pacquiao’s hometown of Kiamba and his wedding godfather.

“Not everything is in place yet. He has so many commitments that if you sum up (his money), it won’t be enough.”

Doling out benefits and building a patronage network is a Filipino politician’s staple. Pacquiao gives at least 50,000 pesos ($1,125) to each of the 144 villages in his impoverished southern Sarangani province and over 500,000 pesos ($11,285) to each of its seven municipalities every year just for fiestas — like celebrations of local patron saints.

He also pays professional fees for show-biz personalities he invites to appear at the parties, Martinez said. Martinez said he will try to persuade Pacquiao to run in next year’s election for governor instead of senator for practical reasons — he will most likely be unopposed and he can save a lot more money on a local election compared to a national campaign for a Senate seat, where he is also expected to contribute to the campaigns of provincial governors and thousands of municipal officials whose support he will seek to win votes.

Some fans still want a rematch because they felt cheated by the lackluster Pacquiao-Mayweather bout, which boxing analyst Ed Tolentino calls the “Fiasco of the Century.”

Tolentino said that pending investigations by Nevada authorities into whether there was fraud or “other shenanigans” in the bout, “the rematch is as good as dead.”

Pacquiao lost by unanimous decision after 12 rounds. He said he thought he won despite his injured right shoulder. He is facing several damage suits in the United States for alleged fraud in connection with the injury from people who spent money to watch or bet on the fight.

“When the injury had not yet been disclosed, people were blaming Floyd Mayweather for the lackluster fight because he resorted to hit-and-run tactics, but now people are blaming Manny Pacquiao for robbing them of the ‘fight of the century,'” Tolentino said.

He said, however, that Pacquiao can still retire without soiling his record as a champion. “I do not believe that his legacy will be defined by the performance in the Mayweather fight,” he said.


MANILA STANDARD

From CBCP: Church may scrap fixed-donations, price tag on sacraments’ By Sara Susanne D. Fabunan | May. 10, 2015 at 12:01am


Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Socrates B. Villegas (Photo: CBCPNews)

The Roman Catholic Church may scrap the fixed-donations and sacramental fees among the faithfuls to enhance the credibility of the Filipino prelates and make them more “Christ-like”.

In a statement posted on the Website of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines, Archdiocese of Lingayen-Dagupan Socrates Villegas urged his fellow priest not to require the faithfuls to give fixed donations for fees.

Villegas stressed that once the fees are abolished, the Church will not become poor. “It is a test to the faithfuls about their “Pananabangan” or stewardship in Christ, he added.

The CBCP president also believed that scrapping the sacrament fees would make the Church “more credible, more prophetic and more Christ like”.

“The Church will not get poorer with Pananabangan. The Church will become more credible, more prophetic and more Christ like with Pananabangan. The arancel system is both a painful scourge on the long suffering people and a shameful stain in the vestments of the Church’s ministers. The arancel imprints an invisible and foul price tag on our priestly stole. It has been tolerated but in the beginning it was not so,” Villegas pointed out.

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Villegas also lamented how the practice of having fixed rates for the sacraments and sacramentals “smacks of bad taste and intellectual dishonesty” on the part of the Church, pointing out that blessings and sacraments “must not appear as religious services rendered in exchange for fees”.

“Giving to the Church must become a regular habit with or without the sacraments. It is certainly true that the sacraments and blessings of the Church are not a reward for a virtue nor a prize for being good,” he said. “ In the same way, the blessings and sacraments of the Church must not appear as religious services rendered in exchange for fees. It is the duty of the priest to offer them. It is the duty of every child of the Church to sustain their Mother diligently and generously,” he explained.

Stressing Pananabangan is “not about money,” Villegas also stated it is the perennial issue about finances that becomes the test if stewardship has indeed been taken to heart among the faithfuls.

He also reminded the faithfuls that a clear sign of this spirit is their fidelity to the abolition of the arancel.

Villegas, being true to his words, has recently made a new policy in his archdiocese which was indicated in the computerized parish accounting system that the parish offices should not require parishioners to make “fixed donations” for Church services.


PHILSTAR

Noy appoints assistant solgen as Sandigan associate justice By Aurea Calica (The Philippine Star) | Updated May 10, 2015 - 12:00am


"We’d like to announce that the President has appointed the Honorable Sarah Jane T. Fernandez as Associate Justice of the Sandiganbayan. The President signed the appointment last May 5, 2015," Valte said

MANILA, Philippines - President Aquino has appointed Assistant Solicitor General Sarah Jane Fernandez as associate justice of the Sandiganbayan to replace Gregory Ong, who was dismissed from service.

Deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte said over dzRB yesterday the President signed the appointment of Fernandez last May 5.

Fernandez graduated with a degree of Bachelor of Science in Legal Management from the Ateneo de Manila University. She was conferred a Juris Doctor or professional doctorate degree by the Ateneo de Manila School of Law in 1994.

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Fernandez also holds a Master in Management from the Asian Institute of Management.

She joined the Office of the Solicitor General in 1995 as an associate solicitor after passing the Bar and steadily rose from the ranks. She was part of the team that successfully defended the reformed value added tax before the Supreme Court.

Ong was dismissed from the service last year for his supposed links to alleged pork barrel fund scam mastermind Janet Lim-Napoles.

Under the Constitution, the members of the High Tribunal and the judges of the lower courts shall be appointed by the President from a list of at least three nominees prepared by the Judicial and Bar Council for every vacancy.

From an initial list of 38 aspirants, the JBC shortlisted five nominees and submitted the names to the Office of the President for consideration.

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FLASHBACKS:

MANILA STANDARD --FEBRUARY 2015

5 in Sandigan shortlist By Rey E. Requejo | Feb. 24, 2015 at 12:01am


SERENO

The Judicial and Bar Council has shortlisted five nominees aspiring for the position vacated by ousted Associate Justice Gregory Ong who was dismissed from service by the Supreme Court due to his links to alleged pork barrel scam mastermind Janet Lim-Napoles.

The seven-man council concurrently chaired by Chief Justice Ma. Lourdes Sereno on Monday voted for inclusion in its shortlist of five candidates whom President Aquino would choose from the successor of Ong.

Topping the list are

 1, .Presiding Judge Philip Aguinaldo of Muntinlupa City Regional Trial Court, Branch 207, and
 2.  Presiding Judge Mary Ann Corpuz-Manalac of Makati City Regional Trial Court, Branch 141.

Aguinaldo and Manalac both got the votes of all the members of the seven man-JBC.

Aguinaldo obtained his Bachelor of Laws degree at the University of Santo Tomas Faculty of Civil Law in 1979, where he graduated cum laude.

On the other hand, Manalac was one of the 2013 Judicial Excellence Awardees.

Also included in the shortlist were

3. Judge Bernelito Fernandez of Quezon City RTC,

4. Assistant Solicitor General Sarah Jane Fernandez, who both got six votes, and

5, Justice Undersecretary Jose Justiniano who received 5 votes from JBC members.

Justiniano was reported to be one of the strong contenders for the post owing to his role as prosecutor in the impeachment trial of then Chief Justice Renato Corona and for being part of the prosecution handling the plunder cases against Senators Juan Ponce Enrile, Jinggoy Estrada and Ramon “Bong” Revilla Jr., in connection with the pork barrel scam.

The shortlist will be submitted to President Aquino, who is mandated under the Constitution to fill-up the vacancy in the judiciary within 90 days upon occurrence.

Ong was dismissed from the service after the SC found him guilty for gross misconduct, dishonesty and impropriety for violating the New Code of Judicial Conduct.

The case against Ong arose from the testimonies of pork barrel scam witnesses Ong met Napoles twice after acquitting her in a malversation through falsification of public documents case involving the sale in 1998 of 500 Kevlar helmets to the Philippine Marines.

The SC also ordered forfeiture of his retirement benefits, except accrued leave credits and perpetual disqualification from reemployment in government service.

Ong was the first justice of the anti-graft court to be dismissed.

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INQUIRER --SEPTEMBER 23,  2014

‘FOR GROSS MISCONDUCT, DISHONESTY’; Sandigan Justice Ong dismissed Tetch Torres-Tupas @T2TupasINQ INQUIRER.net 2:03 PM | Tuesday, September 23rd, 2014


Sandiganbayan Associate Justice Gregory Ong INQUIRER FILE PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines – The Supreme Court dismissed Sandiganbayan Associate Justice Gregory Ong after he was found guilty of “gross misconduct, dishonesty and impropriety”.

Voting 8-5-2 or eight in favor of Ong’s dismissal, five against and two abstentions, the high court in a per curiam (by the court) decision said: The “totality of the circumstances of such association strongly indicates (Ong’s) corrupt inclinations that only heightened the public’s perception of anomaly in the decision making process.”

Those who voted for Ong’s dismissal were: * Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno, * Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio, * Associate Justices Arturo Brion, * Mariano Del Castillo, * Martin Villarama Jr., * Estella Perlas-Bernabe, * Marvic Leonen, * and Francis Jardeleza.

Those who dissented were: * Associate Justices Lucas Bersamin, * Presbitero Velasco, * Jose Perez, * Jose Mendoza, and * Bienvenido Reyes.

Associate Justices Teresita Leonardo De Castro and Diosdado Peralta inhibited from the case because they were former colleagues of Ong at the Sandiganbayan.

In its ruling, the high court said Ong was found guilty of “gross misconduct, dishonesty and impropriety” under the New Code of Judicial Conduct for the Philippine Judiciary.

Aside from dismissal, the high court also ordered the forfeiture of all retirement benefits except accrued leave benefits. He can also no longer be appointed or be reemployed in any branch, agency or instrumentality of the government including government-owned or controlled corporations.

“The decision is immediately executory,” the high court said.

Retired Supreme Court Justice Angelina Sandoval-Gutierrez led the investigation against Ong after a photo came out showing Ong with alleged pork barrel scam mastermind Janet Lim Napoles and Senator Jose “Jinggoy” Estrada.

Ong immediately wrote a letter to the Supreme Court and voluntarily submitted himself for investigation to Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno.

In his letter dated Sept. 26, 2013, Ong denied that he ever attended the party or any social event hosted by Napoles or her family at any time relevant to the disposition of the Kevlar Helmet case where Napoles was acquitted.

In her report with findings and conclusions, Justice Gutierrez said Ong visited Napoles at her office on two occasions after participating in the Kevlar helmet case.

The report added that Ong did not disclose in his letter that he visited Napoles’ office.

The report further stated that the testimonies of Benhur Luy and Marina Sula before a Senate blue ribbon committee inquiry implicating Ong were “instantaneous, clear, unequivocal and carried with it the ring of truth.”

Gutierrez said the two were consistent when she questioned them about Ong.

“The court adopted the findings of Justice Gutierrez…the testimonies of Luy and Sula showed that Ong was in contact with Napoles during the pendency of the Kevlar case and while the evidence was insufficient to sustain the bribery and corruption charges as both Luy and Sla did not witness Ong actually receiving money from Napoles, the court nonetheless found credible evidence of Ong’s association with Napoles,” the high court said.

“The court noted that the totality of the circumstances of such association strongly indicates (Ong’s) corrupt inclinations that only heightened the public’s perception of anomaly in the decision-making process,” the high court said.

The high court added that it also did not matter if the “improper acts” were committed after the decision of the case “because magistrates are under constant public scrutiny, the termination of a case will not deter public criticisms for acts which may cause suspicion on its disposition or resolution.”

This is the second offense committed by Ong. In 2011, he was fined by the high court for unbecoming conduct after holding a hearing on his own while the two other justices in his division were trying a different case.

Ong is the first Sandiganbayan justice dismissed by the high court. Prior to Ong, the anti-graft court indefinitely suspended Sandiganbayan Presiding Justice Francis Garchitorena in 2001.


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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