GMA NEWS ONLINE
PNoy: VP Binay’s chances in 2016 depend on how he’ll answer corruption allegations By ANDREO CALONZO,GMA News May 25, 2015 2:01pm
Vice President Jejomar Binay’s responses to corruption allegations being hurled against him will make or break his chances in the 2016 presidential polls, President Benigno Aquino III said Monday.
Asked during an interview if he still perceives Binay as the man to beat in the 2016 presidential race, Aquino acknowledged that the vice president has been leading pre-election popularity surveys.
Aquino, however, said that Binay’s chances of winning the 2016 presidential elections will largely depend on how he will defend himself from accusations that he was involved in corrupt practices when he was Makati mayor.
“Iyong the impression has been that he has been at the forefront of the challenge, if we look at all of the surveys. At the same time, I think that question rest on his ability to be able to answer all of the allegations that he is being confronted with at this present time,” he said.
Last week, 242 bank accounts belonging to Binay, his family members and his supposed allies were reported frozen, after the Court of Appeals granted a petition from the Anti-Money Laundering Council’s to undertake such actions.
Binay is being investigated by the Ombudsman and a Senate blue ribbon subcommittee for several controversies, including the alleged overpricing of the Makati City Hall Building II and Makati Science High School, and an allegedly disadvantageous land deal between the Boy Scouts of the Philippines and Alphaland.
Binay is the opposition’s presumptive standard-bearer in 2016. He is the only politician who has formally declared his intention to seek the presidency next year.
‘We can debunk AMLC conclusions’
Shortly after Aquino’s interview on Monday morning, Binay already released a statement thanking the President for what he said.
Although he said that he has yet to get an official copy of the AMLC report on his frozen bank accounts, Binay said that he can answer the council’s findings.
“I am very confident that we can debunk all the false, erroneous, and misleading conclusions of AMLC, which is just part of a conspiracy of the Liberal Party to unleash government agencies against my family and private individuals in their efforts to malign me,” Binay said.
Binay also once again questioned the investigation being conducted by the Senate blue ribbon subcommittee.
“The senators conducting the protracted hearings have already prejudged me and have declared me guilty. They have deprived government officials and private individuals of their constitutional right to be presumed innocent until proven guilty by a court of law,” he said.
“They harass and bully those who dare speak the truth and state the facts, while tolerating and encouraging our political opponents to make false and baseless statements,” Binay added. —KBK, GMA News
Binay-Arroyo Lakas-CMD party alliance in 2016? Palace unfazed By Louis Bacani (philstar.com) | Updated May 27, 2015 - 6:35pm
Former President and Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo is under hospital arrest for a plunder case in connection with the alleged misuse of about P360 million in Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office funds. File photo
MANILA, Philippines - Malacañang on Wednesday was unfazed by the reported talks between Vice President Jejomar Binay's United Nationalist Alliance and the Lakas-CMD party for a possible coalition in 2016.
In a press briefing, Deputy Spokesperson Abigail Valte said the Liberal Party of President Benigno Aquino III remains the most dominant political party.
"If you talk about the positions per party, the administration coalition is also likewise a force to be reckoned with. You have a majority of lawmakers on your side," Valte said.
"The administration coalition counts for many officials and local government officials as well," she added.
Binay reportedly revealed on Tuesday that they are in talks with Lakas-CMD, the political party of former President and now Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.
Arroyo has been under hospital arrest at the Veterans Memorial Medical Center for allegedly misusing the funds of the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office during her term.
Her party is currently chaired by Sen. Ramon Revilla Jr. who has been detained in connection with the pork barrel scam.
Revilla and Lakas-CMD have yet to declare their plans for the 2016 polls while Binay is expected to run for president.
Like Arroyo and Revilla, Binay is also facing allegations of corruption.
The previous ruling party, the Lakas-CMD fielded Gilbert Teodoro and Edu Manzano as its presidential and vice presidential candidates, respectively, during the 2010 elections.
Come join me, Roxas tells Poe By Macon Ramos-Araneta | May. 28, 2015 at 12:01am
SENATOR Grace Poe on Wednesday said it was now clear that Interior Secretary Manuel Roxas II had been training his eyes on the presidency because he had asked her to team up with him.
She recalled Roxas telling her when they sometimes saw each other that their team would be better.
“His intention is clearer to me now,” Poe said when she was asked if Roxas had asked her to be his running mate.
Question hour. Senator Grace Poe, head of the Senate committee on public order and illegal drugs, questions Gerard Belimac, the Health Department’s HIV program manager, on the security of the country’s borders against illegal drugs. Lino Santos
“When we sometimes met, he told me it would be better if we joined forces. But as I said, it was not only the friendship. You should also share the same views on many things—and confidence in each other—before you make a decision on such [matter].”
Poe made her statement even as the camp of Vice President Jejomar Binay described the Senate as a “wrecking machine” composed of people maligning their political opponents to support their presidential or vice presidential ambitions in the 2016 elections.
Rico Quicho, Binay’s spokesman for political affairs, said the Senate was also “gunning for a Guinness record of having the longest inquiry in the world not in aid of legislation but in aid of political demolition.”
He did not name names but he was obviously referring to Senator Antonio Trillanes IV, a member of the Blue Ribbon subcommittee inquiring into the corruption allegedly committed by Binay and his family.
Meanwhile, Malacañang on Wednesday downplayed concerns about any disruption in the government services later in the year as a result of several government officials resigning to run in the 2016 elections.
“There will be continuity and services will not be interrupted. There will be no disruption in the public services, Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. said.
Poe said that while she and Roxas had the same views on certain issues—such as continuing the fight against corruption—she had different views on other matters.
She said the government had been wanting in dealing with the concerns of the needy.
“As I see it, it’s not only about ridding corruption but also helping the poor. That should be the focus,” Poe said.
Poe, the daughter of the late King of Philippine Movies Fernando Poe Jr., said the last time she and Roxas talked about the 2016 polls was when they accidentally met in a restaurant last week.
She said Roxas talked about his desire for her to be his running mate in the coming elections, but he did not make any formal offer to her to be his vice presidential candidate.
“I thought it was clear. He was ready. He is ready,” Poe said. She said Roxas was ready to run for President.
She said she was still praying if she would run for a higher post, and if she did she would stay independent.
Poe ran as an independent candidate in the 2013 elections, but she topped the senatorial race. With Vito Barcelo and Sandy Araneta
Softer China stance seen after Philippines elects new president May 28, 2015
Time may be on China’s side when it comes to its South China Sea territorial dispute with the Philippines.
The Philippines will elect a new president in less than a year, bringing a potential reset to ties that have deteriorated to the point President Aquino was once uninvited to visit China.
While candidates have yet to formally declare their plans, those regarded as front-runners are now flagging a softer approach on China, including possible joint exploration of resources in the sea. That would mark a return to the policies of Aquino’s predecessor Gloria Arroyo, and could give the Philippine economy further support.
Under Aquino, the Philippines – vastly outnumbered in soldiers, planes and ships, has taken China to an international court for arbitration on the South China Sea dispute. It has sought to rally support from other Southeast Asian nations for a tougher stance against China, and expanded an alliance with its ally, the US.
China has rebuffed Aquino’s actions, escalating the pace of building work on reefs and shoals it claims and using radio to warn Philippine boats and aircraft away from the area.
“Aquino’s semi-confrontational approach has failed to deter China,” Richard Javad Heydarian, a political science professor at De La Salle University in Manila, said by phone. “It may have exacerbated the situation by pushing China to solidify its de facto sovereignty through reclamation.”
TALK, TALK, TALK
Sen. Ferdinand R.Marcos, Jr. fears that aggressive activities from any party could spark confrontation in the disputed waters. Thus he urged the Philippine government to intensify efforts at exploring all diplomatic avenues to find a peaceful means in resolving its territorial conflict with China.
Marcos suggested that President Aquino summon the Chinese ambassador to relay to Beijing the sentiment of the Philippine side.
“The President should tell the Chinese envoy that we don’t want any fight with China but we are standing firm on our territorial claim in the West Philippine Sea,’’ he said.
The Chinese navy has not only driven fishermen from islands and territories claimed by the Philippines and military planes on patrol over PH territory but has unceremoniously driven away the surveillance plane of the United States from what the US described as international airspace last week that heightened tensions in the area.
Prior to last week’s incident, the Pentagaon claimed China tried to electronically jam US drone flights over man-made islands China is doing reclamation works.
The US, however, insisted it would continue to defy China as their flight operations are done in international waters.
“It’s important for the Philippines and China to talk, that’s the first step,” Marcos said.
Apart from the possibility of engaging China in bilateral talks, Marcos said the Philippines should also explore back- channel diplomacy.
“Diplomacy is not exclusively a government to government endeavor. There are a lot of Filipino businessmen with businesses in China and they have friends and connections there. Let’s utilize that, ask them to talk to their friends on how we can resolve this matter peacefully,” Marcos said.
The thrust of such back-channeling, according to Marcos, is to persuade China to stop its massive reclamation and aggressive stance in the disputed territories to give way for a dialogue to resolve the conflict.
“Even if we don’t manage to arrive at an agreement immediately, if we are talking there’s a chance might be able to reason with China to stop doing what it’s doing and continue talking. If we manage to do that, there is hope for a peaceful resolution,” Marcos said.
Vice President Jejomar C. Binay, who has declared his intention run for president in the May, 2016 ballot, said he would seek to improve ties with China by pushing resource joint ventures in the South China Sea, the Straits Times reported in April, citing a radio interview.
“Always, diplomacy and a non-confrontational stance are ideal,” Senator Grace Poe, Binay’s closest rival based on a Social Weather Stations poll, said in a mobile-phone message. It’s also the state’s obligation to protect its territory and people, she said.
Poe said she expects a Senate committee probing China’s reclamation to “recommend new approaches to solve the conflict that may include regional cooperation, joint exploration based on parity and law and continuing dialogue.”
Aquino – limited by law to a single six year term – has indicated he’ll announce his preferred candidate in the next few months, with contenders making their bids official in October.
Once he leaves office the Philippines could return to the policy espoused by Arroyo under a so-called Joint Marine Seismic Undertaking in the mid-2000s. Arroyo didn’t renew the deal that expired in 2008 amid opposition from some lawmakers and legal experts.
“Binay will almost certainly prioritize strengthening trade and investment ties with China while downplaying the disputes in the South China Sea – in other words, more Arroyo than Aquino,” said Ian Storey, a senior fellow at the Institute of Southeast Asian Studies in Singapore. “He may also be much less enthusiastic about bolstering Philippine-US ties,” including an increased US presence, he said.
“The US, of course, will adopt a very dim view of Philippine flip-flopping,” Storey said. More China-friendly policies could also stir opposition from the Philippine military.
China has quadrupled its reclamation in the South China Sea to 2,000 acres (809 hectares) and started building at least one airstrip and two lighthouses on the new islands. It claims more than 80 percent of the sea, overlapping with Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei and Taiwan.
China has advocated joint exploration and said it will only negotiate on territorial matters in a bilateral setting.
The strategy harks back to the concept of “setting aside disputes and pursuing joint development” first advanced by China’s then-leader Deng Xiaoping as a way of defusing tensions with Japan over islands in the East China Sea. In 1988 Deng told then-President Corazon Aquino “we can set aside this issue for the time being and take the approach of pursuing joint development.”
“The Philippines doesn’t want to be against China alone as a relatively small country, and China doesn’t want to intensify the tensions in the South China Sea, so a better relationship matches the needs of both,” said Zhu Feng, director of the Collaborative Innovation Center for South China Sea Studies at Nanjing University.southwest. The sea carries some of the world’s busiest shipping lanes and is an artery for China’s energy supplies from the Middle East.
There has only been limited exploration work in the sea and estimates of the potential for discoveries vary wildly. The Energy Information Administration (EIA) says the area has proved and probable reserves of about 11 billion barrels of oil and 190 trillion cubic feet of natural gas.
Most of the undiscovered oil lies in coastal regions that aren’t disputed, according to the EIA. The contested areas face geological and technological challenges, not least the depth of the waters and frequency of typhoons, it said.
China’s reclamation work may cost $109 million in annual economic losses to countries near the disputed sea, the Philippine fisheries bureau said last month. More than 300 hectares of reef ecosystems in the Spratlys have been destroyed as of March, it said.
GMA NEWS ONLINE
Think before you speak, Poe tells UNA spokesman By KATHRINA CHARMAINE ALVAREZ,GMA News May 28, 2015 12:50pm
Think before you speak.
This was the response of Sen. Grace Poe to the statement of lawyer JV Bautista, a spokesperson for the United Nationalist Alliance (UNA), that the ruling Liberal Party (LP) is composed of politicians who "tormented" her father, the late actor-turned-presidential candidate Fernando Poe Jr.
Bautista said many LP members were former allies of former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, who allegedly cheated in the 2004 presidential elections to win against the actor.
Poe, however, adverted to UNA's likely alliance with Arroyo's Lakas-CMD in the 2016 elections, something that opposition leader and UNA's presumptive standard-bearer Vice President Jejomar Binay confirmed on Wednesday.
"Ayoko nang sumama ang sitwasyon pero siguro dapat mag-isip-isip sila bago magsalita dahil meron silang mga kaalyansa na pinakasangkot sa pandaraya na kasama na nila ngayon," Poe said in an interview.
UNA is led by Fernando Poe Jr.'s close friends, Binay and former President and incumbent Manila Mayor Joseph "Erap" Estrada. Binay was the actor's campaign manager in 2004.
Poe said that while she is grateful for their friendship, she would not use this as the basis for her next political move.
"Hindi ko makakalimutan na kaibigan sila ng aking tatay at itinuturing ko ring kaibigan pero pagdating sa ating trabaho at responsibilidad sa bayan, kailangan nating isipin kung hanggang saan ang pagkakaibigan," she said.
Poe recently confirmed that she is being wooed by Interior Secretary Mar Roxas to be his running mate in the 2016 national elections under the LP.
She, however, said that in case she decides to run in 2016, she will do so as an independent candidate.
"Kung tutulungan ako ng mga partido, salamat pero kailangang ma-maintain ang pagka-independent. Mahirap mabakod ng isang partido dahil ang layunin mo talaga ay sa mga taong naghalal sayo," she said.
'LP cheated, tormented FPJ'
Bautista, an UNA stalwart, on Thursday said that the ruling LP was composed of politicians who cheated her father.
Arroyo was declared the winner but her term was hounded by serious allegations of electoral fraud, especially after the Hello Garci scandal erupted more than a year later in 2005.
"I don't know if Senator Poe was here in the Philippines when her father was being cheated. I was designated by the opposition as a regular canvasser.... Nakita ko lahat 'yan," Bautista said in a news conference at the Senate.
"Perhaps that is the reason why the Vice President thought it is very natural when Senator Poe will run, she must be with those people who helped her father," he added.
While defending UNA's likely coalition with Arroyo's party Lakas-CMD, Binay on Wednesday said that the group who cheated Fernado Poe Jr. in 2004 remained intact.
His chief media officer Joey Salgado said Binay was referring to the LP, particularly then Sen. Francis Pangilinan, who blocked the opening of the certificates of canvass during the national canvass by Congress.
"Everybody is being considered naman, not only Sen. Grace Poe. Sabi naman ni Vice President, she might as well run with him. Sina Secretary (Florencio) Abad, 'yang sina Kiko Pangilinan, 'yang kasama ni President Noynoy (Aquino) sa LP, 'yan ang nandaya, that is former Lakas," Bautista said. - JJ/NB, GMA News
GMA NEWS ONLINE
Binay camp: Why does Senate subcommittee recommend plunder? By AMITA LEGASPI, GMA News May 28, 2015 9:46am
Vice President Jejomar Binay's camp on Thursday questioned the recommendation of the Senate blue ribbon subcommittee for the filing of plunder charges against the Vice President and 19 others over the alleged overpriced Makati City Hall Building II.
VP Binay's spokesperson Joey Salgado said the Ombudsman has already reviewed the case and thinks the Vice President can only be held liable for graft and malversation, and not plunder.
"We would like to remind the senators that a plunder complaint was filed last year by Mr. (Renato) Bondal over the same issue. The Ombudsman, after review of the documents which the senators said they furnished the agency, asked the Mayor and city officials to comment on a finding of graft and malversation, not plunder," he said, adding that the Ombudsman's findings are baseless, too.
"We are confident that given a fair and impartial venue, these allegations will be dismissed. [But], we do not see any impartiality in the Senate and in the Ombudsman," said Salgado.
Moreover, he said they have been consistent in saying that there is no legal and factual basis for the charges against the Vice President and Mayor Junjun Binay.
"The purported report of the subcommittee is based on perjured statements, outright lies and unfounded conclusions," he said, and that the senators should instead answer how much they spent in the hearings.
"Ang dapat sagutin ng mga senador, magkano ang ginastos nila na pera ng taumbayan sa sampung buwan ng paninira sa pangalan ni Vice President Binay?"
Salgado said, "We are not surprised by the supposed recommendation. After 10 months and 21 one-sided hearings, the recommendation is actually anti-climactic."
"D’yan naman patungo talaga ‘yan pero pinatagal lang ng husto ng mga senador para sa media exposure. Bago pa man magsimula ang hearings ay may konklusyon na ang mga senador at ang ginawa nila sa loob ng 10 buwan at 21 hearings ay isang telenovela na napakasama ng pagkakasulat. Ang layunin lang nito ay siraan si Vice President Binay at ang kanyang pamilya.
"Katawa-tawa ito lalo na't ang mga nang-uusig ay sangkot sa mga iregularidad sa PDAF at DAP, at overpricing sa kanilang mga proyekto. Ang mga nag-aakusa naman ay mga talunan sa eleksyon sa Makati na aminadong nangurakot. Ito ay dahil kakandidatong presidente si Vice President Binay sa 2016," he added. — LBG, GMA News
GMA NEWS ONLINE
4 senators signed plunder raps report vs. VP Binay, needs 5 more to make 9 official By AMITA O. LEGASPI,GMA News May 28, 2015 6:15pm
The draft report of the Blue Ribbon subcommittee recommending plunder charges against Vice President Jejomar Binay and 19 others is now only five signatures short of the nine needed to make it official.
In an interview with reporters, Senator Aquilino Pimentel III, subcommittee chairman and author of the report on the alleged irregularities in the construction of Makati City Hall Building II, said four senators have already affixed their signatures to the report.
“Sa ngayon ang good news na natanggap ko, apat na ang nakapirma, isa na ko dun,” he said.
He, however, refused to name the other three and to provide an official copy of the report until a majority of the 14 members of the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee, headed by Senator Teofisto Guingona III, have signed it.
Aside from Pimentel, those actively participating in the hearing are Majority Leader Alan Peter Cayetano and Senator Antonio Trillanes IV. The subcommittee held its 21st hearing on Thursday.
Pimentel, meanwhile, said he does not care how many members of the committee sign the draft report.
“I made a partial report kahit i-uphold ako ng majority o hindi, I dont care. It is my duty to come up with a report. I just submitted my partial subcommittee report because it is ripe to submit one but I’m not at liberty to discuss the contents,” he said.
He said the report is “not based on what support I expect to get basta it was time to make a report on the Makati City Hall Building II because we have heard it sufficiently.
"Others (reports) will follow," he added.
Told that his recommendation was already late as plunder complaints have already been filed against the Binays, Pimentel said he is not running after anything.
“Wala naman akong hinahabol na byahe, basta when it is
ripe for reporting I will report, so kung may susunod pa na iba we are
ready,” he said. — JDS, GMA News
Poe and Ping Submitted by Amado P. Macasaet on May 29, 2015
by Amado P. Macasaet
DILG Secretary Manuel Araneta Roxas, better known as Mar, need not declare his intention to run for president next year. His actions point to that direction. He is emboldened by President Aquino who said his secretary of interior and local government is on top of the list of Liberal Party contenders.
Last Wednesday, Sen. Grace Poe said Mar is the presidential aspirant of his party. That leaves her in limbo. Loyal first to her responsibilities as lawmaker and to President Aquino, she cannot figure out whether the President wants her to be the party’s standard bearer.
She said the President was not categorical. She did not look like she had any emotions about being the candidate. Now she says Mar is the bet. Mar is said to have told Senator Grace to be his VP.
From what I gathered in our brief conversation in her Senate office, Grace Poe will take orders from the President, not from Roxas. She never dreamed of occupying the highest office in the land.
She may have been emboldened by the outpouring of support from nearly all sectors of society. In fairness, she has not become heady. Which means she relies solely on the fate, whatever it is, that awaits her. If it comes, it comes.
Everybody talks about this or that politician more particularly Vice President Jejomar Binay and Rudy Duterte among a few who aspire to succeed President Aquino. Former Senator and former PNP chief Panfilo M. Lacson does not deny he is available for the post. But he wants to see manifestations of support for his plans.
Having learned from his defeat as presidential candidate to Gloria Arroyo, Ping Lacson does not have word about his possibility of winning. He has not declared he is aspiring for the post.
The critical problem about the coming election is picking a candidate who is not tainted with corruption and has the capability to push the programs of growth President Aquino started.
If this is what the country needs, there is absolute necessity to push either Grace Poe or Ping Lacson for the job. Or they can team up for a reasonable assurance of winning,
Not too many people, least of all the politicians, see the character and background of Ping and Poe, They are remarkably similar to that of President Aquino who never dreamed of becoming president. Fate, largely brought by the death of his mother Cory, made him President.
Ramon Magsaysay never thought he would become president but the voters elected him against his own boss, President Elpidio Quirino.
The message of this piece, coming from a journalist with about 50 years of experience in business and economic reporting and absolutely nothing in politics is the wisdom -- based on the experience with Noynoy Aquino and Ramon Magsaysay before him -- of electing a leader who does not salivate for the job and therefore would not pay all costs to get it.
An effective leader should not owe anything to anybody. In a manner of speaking, the president of an ideal republic, as explained by Plato, should be one who does not know his parents.
To a large extent Grace Poe fits the requirement. Her foster father, the late Fernando Poe Jr. who ran and lost was not a politician. Her foster mother, actress Susan Roces afflicted with a bad case of scoliosis like most of my brothers and sisters, keeps to herself and her friends. FPJ and Susan are not hermits but they raised Grace in ways many blood parents failed to do with their children. That makes FPJ and Susan “hermits.”
Ping Lacson was a soldier turned politician. But he is not the traditional one. In the 12 years he was senator he refused to take the pork assigned to him by law. He did not like to explain why he eschewed pork.
I guess he thought taxpayers’ money should not be spent at the sole discretion of lawmakers elected by the people to pass laws, not to fund basketball courts and dirt roads in the rural areas,.
A scandal broke out from the pork when Janet Lim Napoles was identified as the brains behind the “theft” of the pork. Politicians prone to proclaim their own virtues would have declared they knew the scandal was bound to happen like it did.
Ping Lacson did not have one word good or bad about the pork scandal.
Not too many people appreciate the fact that Ping could have proven the signature of Jose Pidal in a bank account was, in truth, that of Mike Arroyo, husband of President Arroyo. Before the signature could be examined by handwriting experts, Ignacio Arroyo, Mike’s younger brother, admitted the signature was his.
The Senate arbitrarily closed the investigation of the charges of Lacson. Instead of being hailed as patriot, Gloria Arroyo found a way of implicating him in the murder of Bubby Dacer, through the lies of Col. Cesar Mancao, one of Lacson’s key people in the old Presidential Anti-Organized Crime Task Force.
Lacson went into hiding to evade arrest. He was subsequently cleared by the courts for the crime he did not commit.
Who among lawmakers have the character and integrity of Lacson/? I see none. Who among the lawmakers are widely being pushed to run for President but Grace Poe, but, refuses to become heady?