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

NOY GOVT PERFORMANCE RATINGS REBOUND FROM 48 TO 55%


JULY 8 ---The new SWS poll, taken from June 5 to 8, found 55 percent of respondents satisfied (from 48 percent in March) and 24 percent dissatisfied (from 29 percent) with the performance of the administration, resulting in a net satisfaction score of 31 percent. File photo
Despite criticism for failing to meet the people’s basic needs, the Aquino administration’s public satisfaction rating recovered by 12 percentage points in the second quarter of the year from a record low 19 last March, the latest survey by the Social Weather Stations (SWS) showed. The new SWS poll, taken from June 5 to 8, found 55 percent of respondents satisfied (from 48 percent in March) and 24 percent dissatisfied (from 29 percent) with the performance of the administration, resulting in a net satisfaction score of 31 percent. The remaining 20 percent of 1,200 adult respondents were undecided with regard to the government’s work, down from 23 in the first quarter, it said. Results of the latest SWS poll were published in the newspaper BusinessWorld yesterday. READ MORE...

ALSO: Palace on 2016 polls: Coalition with other parties must continue


JULY 12 ---AQUINO's SPOKESMAN, EDWIN LACIERDA
Malacañang said the Aquino administration must continue the coalition it forged with political parties and independent politicians in the 2013 elections amid talks on possible configurations for the 2016 presidential polls. “The coalition in 2013 was good. Why not continue the coalition in 2016?” presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda said yesterday over radio dzRB. “What is paramount is the continuity of the reforms under the straight path,” he added. “The President has already laid the basis for the reforms. The President has changed the status quo. And in the long run, it will benefit the people, it will benefit the country as long as we continue the reforms that the President has started.”  Aquino earlier said that he will announce his preferred successor after his last State of the Nation Address (SONA) on July 27. “If you noticed, in the speeches that the President has been giving, he has always emphasized the importance of continuing the reforms. And so I think that’s paramount in his consideration as to who he will choose as his endorsee for the next presidential elections in 2016,” Lacierda said. President Aquino had separate meetings with Sens. Grace Poe and Francis Escudero on Thursday and with Interior Secretary Manuel Roxas II and Budget Secretary Florencio Abad on Friday. READ MORE...

Bongbong: ‘With divisive Noy, it’s them or us’
[Marcos Jr. gave a 6 out of 10 rating on President Aquino’s performance. Marcos also brought out issues regarding the severe underspending of the Aquino administration, which slowed the Philippine economy to just 5.2 percent growth in the first quarter of this year.]


JULY 9 ---Sen. Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos yesterday scored President Aquino for focusing too much on trying to put his political foes and others in prison and has not done enough in building a nation, since even as Aquino preached unity, he has been dividing the people into “us” amd “them.” Marcos questioned the Aquino administration for prioritizing its anti-corruption drive over the country’s development. “If somebody commits a crime, let him answer for it, but that should not be the main function of the government,” Marcos said in a conference at the Luneta Hotel. “You investigate and imprison people but you achieve nothing. I don’t hear the term nation-building anymore. In my father’s term that’s all I heard. Let’s go back to that,” he added. Aquino took office during an era of wide corruption in government, and pushed a multitude of anti-corruption programs, which according to Marcos has diverted Aquino from solving much more pressing issues such as the country’s economic problems. “What do we do now with fake rice, self-sufficiency, and power problems in Mindanao? None of these questions are being talked about right now, and all we talk about is politics,” said Marcos. “We talk about 7% GDP increase. That’s great, but nobody notices it.”  Marcos also brought out issues regarding the severe underspending of the Aquino administration, which slowed the Philippine economy to just 5.2 percent growth in the first quarter of this year.
“The budget plan was not followed by the administration. We should learn why there has been such a slow pace in the development of different sectors of the economy,” He said.
Marcos Jr. gave a 6 out of 10 rating on President Aquino’s performance, even hitting his late father’s critics and successors for not generating “progress” after ousting him. READ MORE...

ALSO: VP dares troika: Have your PDAF projects audited
[Leila: Impeachable Binay immune from suit]


JULY 8 ---The challenge to senators has been hurled and time will tell whether the infamous Senate troika identified with the never-ending Senate blue ribbon subcommittee will take up the challenge, or slink away from the valid dare issued by Vice President Jejomar “Jojo” Binay yesterday. At the same time, Justice secretary Leila de Lima admitted yesterday that VP Binay is an impeachable officer, and therefore, cannot be impeached. Since Sen. Aquilino Pimentel has been bandying that the ongoing Senate subcommittee hearings on the VP are conducted under the constitutional principle, “Public Office is a Public Trust,” then the three senators leading the hearings should also submit to an audit of their projects funded through the Priority Development Assistance Fund, Development Acceleration Fund, and other congressional insertions, said lawyer Rico Quicho, Vice Presidential spokesman for political affairs yesterday. Their infrastructure projects should also be audited using the Langdon and Seah Construction Cost Handbook, which they have invoked in the hearings and subsequent reports, he added. Quicho also slammed Pimentel’s decision to audit the key shelter agencies after Binay had resigned from the Cabinet. According to Quicho, it would have been reasonable had Pimentel called for an audit of all agencies handled by resigned officials. “If Senator Pimentel is calling for a performance and financial audit for all branches of government every time a head resigns, we would understand that his letter was meant to probe the HUDCC (Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council) was still chaired by Vice President Binay,” he said. RAD MORE...

ALSO: DoJ: Can’t sue Binay; VP immune from suit like Aquino, says De Lima


JULY 8 ---Binay and De Lima 
JUSTICE Secretary Leila de Lima said Tuesday that Vice President Jejomar Binay is immune from criminal prosecution while he is in office, reversing the position she took last October when she said he could be investigated for corrupt acts committed when he was still mayor of Makati. In a statement, De Lima conceded that the Vice President, like the President, the justices of the Supreme Court and the Ombudsman and other constitutional officials, is an impeachable official and therefore cannot be tried in court without first being impeached from office. Last October, she said impeachability did not equate to immunity, and that among impeachable officials, only the President was immune from suit. But this week, she said, “Conventional wisdom among lawyers is that any criminal action against an impeachable official can only go so far as filing an information.” “It is still up to the courts, especially the Supreme Court, to categorically decide on whether or not the filing of a criminal charge amounts to a violation of impeachability,” she said. De Lima added that the courts cannot even order Binay’s arrest should cases be filed against him. “The initiation of a criminal case entails the issuance of a warrant of arrest, and this implies restraint on the person of the impeachable official that highly compromises his status as such,” she said. She said if the issue reached the Supreme Court, it would most likely rule in the Vice President’s favor. Earlier, election lawyer Romulo Macalintal rebutted the opinion of Senate President Franklin Drilon that Binay was not immune from suit. “If the President is immune from suit, then all constitutional officials, like the Vice President, Supreme Court justices, members of Constitutional Commissions, and the Ombudsman who could only be removed by impeachment, are likewise immune from suit,” Macalintal said. READ MORE...

De Lima now says, Binay can be sued


JULY 9 --JUSTICE Secretary Leila de Lima denied Wednesday that she now believes Vice President Jejomar Binay is immune from criminal prosecution, and singled out The Standard for “inaccurately” reporting her statement. The Standard stands by its story, which contrasted her latest text message to her statements in October 2014. In a text message to reporters from Hague in the Netherlands where she was attending the oral arguments on the country’s territorial dispute with China, De Lima said The Standard page one banner story “inaccurately reported” her statement “on the legal effect of the VP’s status as an impeachable official on his criminal prosecution.” “Nowhere in my statement did I retract my original position that impeachability is different from immunity, and that except for the President, all impeachable officials are not immune from suit,” she said. She said she only explained that impeachable officials “are merely protected from such kind of suits that would violate their impeachability, specifically when such suit, such as criminal suit, have the effect of removing them from office without first being impeached.” She said The Standard report “selectively quoted from her statement to suit the headline and news that it wanted.” Her statement last Tuesday, in full, is as follows: “Theoretically, they can be subject to criminal proceedings so long as they are not removed from office, such as what the Supreme Court has done with Commissioners of the Comelec in several cases when it cited said Commissioners in criminal contempt. READ MORE...

ALSO Speaker Belmonte: VP won’t face impeachment


JULY 10 --BELMONTE
 HOUSE Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. said Thursday that any impeachment attempt against Vice President Jejomar Binay would not take place during his watch. In a text message from the Hague in the Netherlands, Belmonte said there were more important priorities for the 16th Congress, when it goes into its third regular session on July 27. “Impeachment, if needed, is not going to happen in my last year if can help it,” Belmonte said. Liberal Party lawmakers also said they would not initiate any impeachment motion against the Vice President, who has been hounded by corruption allegations. Reps. Jorge Banal of Quezon City, Ben Evardone of Eastern Samar and Jerry Trenas of Iloilo City said Binay impeachment is remote. “It seems unlikely that any impeachment will prosper at this time,” Banal said. Any impeachment complaint against Binay, Evardone added, would not come from the ruling party. Evardone, and Isabela Rep. Rodolfo Albano III and 1-BAP party-list Rep. Silvestre Bello III said impeachment would be a futile exercise as the 2016 national elections draw near. “The election is already around the corner. I don’t think impeachment is a good option at this time,” Evardone said. READ MORE...


READ FULL MEDIA REPORTS HERE:

Noy government ratings rebound


The new SWS poll, taken from June 5 to 8, found 55 percent of respondents satisfied (from 48 percent in March) and 24 percent dissatisfied (from 29 percent) with the performance of the administration, resulting in a net satisfaction score of 31 percent. File photo

MANILA, JULY 13, 2015 (PHILSTAR) By Helen Flores - Despite criticism for failing to meet the people’s basic needs, the Aquino administration’s public satisfaction rating recovered by 12 percentage points in the second quarter of the year from a record low 19 last March, the latest survey by the Social Weather Stations (SWS) showed.

The new SWS poll, taken from June 5 to 8, found 55 percent of respondents satisfied (from 48 percent in March) and 24 percent dissatisfied (from 29 percent) with the performance of the administration, resulting in a net satisfaction score of 31 percent.

The remaining 20 percent of 1,200 adult respondents were undecided with regard to the government’s work, down from 23 in the first quarter, it said.

Results of the latest SWS poll were published in the newspaper BusinessWorld yesterday.

READ MORE...

The SWS said the administration recorded improvements across all socioeconomic classes and most geographical areas except Metro Manila, which recorded a negligible fall.

Its rating rose by 14 points to a “good” 33 in June from the “moderate” 19 in March among those in class ABC.

The same gain was recorded among those in class E, which was registered at 38 from the previous 24.

Satisfaction with the Aquino government among class D went up by 11 points, although it remained in “moderate” category to 29 from 18.

Meanwhile, satisfaction with the administration rose significantly in Luzon areas outside Metro Manila, gaining 21 points to a “moderate” 29 in June from a “neutral” 8 last March.

Its satisfaction rating stayed in “good” territory, up by nine points to 43 from 34 in March in the Visayas.

In Mindanao, more people expressed approval of the government’s work, garnering a satisfaction rating of “good” 34 from “moderate” 26.

However, in Metro Manila, satisfaction with the administration dropped by three points to 18 from 21.

20 key issues

Rated on 20 key issues, the administration continued to obtain “good” net ratings on improving the quality of children’s education (47); providing enough supply of electricity (44); helping the poor (39); foreign relations (38); promoting the welfare of the overseas Filipino workers (32); and ensuring that medicine are affordable (31).

It received “moderate” scores for the following issues: defending the country’s territorial rights (27); restoring peace in Mindanao (23); giving justice (19); fighting terrorism (13); and deciding quickly on important problems (11).

Neutral scores were registered in the aspects of rehabilitating areas damaged by conflict in Mindanao (5); fighting crimes (5); reconciliation with communist rebels (4); eradicating graft and corruption (1); and reconciliation with Muslim rebels (1).

The government got “poor” ratings on fighting inflation (-11); ensuring that no family will ever be hungry (-12); and ensuring that oil firms don’t take advantage of oil prices (-17). – With Delon Porcalla


PHILSTAR

Palace on 2016 polls: Coalition with other parties must continue (The Philippine Star) | Updated July 12, 2015 - 12:00am 0 0 googleplus0 0


AQUINO's SPOKESMAN, EDWIN LACIERDA

MANILA, Philippines - Malacañang said the Aquino administration must continue the coalition it forged with political parties and independent politicians in the 2013 elections amid talks on possible configurations for the 2016 presidential polls.

“The coalition in 2013 was good. Why not continue the coalition in 2016?” presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda said yesterday over radio dzRB.

“What is paramount is the continuity of the reforms under the straight path,” he added. “The President has already laid the basis for the reforms. The President has changed the status quo. And in the long run, it will benefit the people, it will benefit the country as long as we continue the reforms that the President has started.”

Aquino earlier said that he will announce his preferred successor after his last State of the Nation Address (SONA) on July 27.

“If you noticed, in the speeches that the President has been giving, he has always emphasized the importance of continuing the reforms. And so I think that’s paramount in his consideration as to who he will choose as his endorsee for the next presidential elections in 2016,” Lacierda said.

President Aquino had separate meetings with Sens. Grace Poe and Francis Escudero on Thursday and with Interior Secretary Manuel Roxas II and Budget Secretary Florencio Abad on Friday.

READ MORE...

Poe has topped the surveys on the preferred next president and vice president. She earlier admitted that she prefers Escudero to be her runningmate if ever she decides to run for higher office.

Poe or Roxas? Abad, stalwart of the ruling Liberal Party, said the Liberal Party (LP) could certainly work with Poe and Escudero to achieve the administration’s goals.

But Roxas remains to be the presumed standard bearer of LP for the 2016 presidential elections, according to LP deputy secretary-general and Iloilo Rep. Niel Tupas Jr.

Tupas told reporters in an event in Bacolod City Friday night that LP’s over-all sentiment of supporting Roxas has not changed.

Although President Aquino has yet to name his preferred successor, many in the LP believe it will be Roxas, who is considered as the closest to the President among the members of his Cabinet.

For instance, House Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. is expecting the President to name Roxas as LP’s presidential candidate during the SONA.

Tupas also bared that LP has not yet decided as to who will be its candidate for vice president, but talks with Poe continue.

“As of now, nothing is final yet but when the senator says yes, LP will surely welcome the Roxas-Poe tandem,” he added.

Roxas-Duterte tandem as alternative Belmonte said he finds Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte as the best alternative running mate of Roxas.

In an interview with ABS-CBN News in The Hague, Netherlands, Belmonte cited Duterte’s massive following in Mindanao.

Belmonted pointed out that majority of Filipinos people are sick and tired of all forms of crimes, and an action man like Duterte is needed.

“I like to believe that Duterte is just talking tough, and that certainly I don’t believe that he is behind a death squad in Davao as talked about. But he is definitely an action man,” the House Speaker added.

But sources close to Duterte said there has been no discussion yet as to his possible tandem with Roxas, although the two have frequently been seeing each other in the past few months.

Roxas and Duterte are friends and both make it a point to see each other whenever Roxas is in Davao City or Duterte is in Manila.

Roxas also reportedly expressed interest in the federal form of government Duterte has been espousing during their meeting the other week in Davao City.

But Duterte still has to make up his mind if he is giving the presidency a try, with barely three months before the filing of the certificates of candidacy for the 2016 elections.

Duterte said there will be no spiritual retreat for him, but he will visit the graves of his parents before he will finally decide whether he will seek the presidency or not.

“Maybe, their spirits will whisper to me and tell me which path to take,” he said.

He also stressed that he will not beg for financial contributions to become president.

“The presidency is destiny. If it is yours, it is yours,” he added. “I don’t covet it but when it becomes a moral obligation, I will have to take the challenge.” – Aurea Calica, Danny Dangcalan, Edith Regalado


TRIBUNE

Bongbong: ‘With divisive Noy, it’s them or us’ Written by Tribune Wires Thursday, 09 July 2015 00:00 f


Sen. Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos yesterday scored President Aquino for focusing too much on trying to put his political foes and others in prison and has not done enough in building a nation, since even as Aquino preached unity, he has been dividing the people into “us” amd “them.”

Marcos ques-tioned the Aquino administration for prioritizing its anti-corruption drive over the country’s development.

“If somebody commits a crime, let him answer for it, but that should not be the main function of the government,” Marcos said in a conference at the Luneta Hotel.

“You investigate and imprison people but you achieve nothing. I don’t hear the term nation-building anymore. In my father’s term that’s all I heard. Let’s go back to that,” he added.

Aquino took office during an era of wide corruption in government, and pushed a multitude of anti-corruption programs, which according to Marcos has diverted Aquino from solving much more pressing issues such as the country’s economic problems.

“What do we do now with fake rice, self-sufficiency, and power problems in Mindanao? None of these questions are being talked about right now, and all we talk about is politics,” said Marcos. “We talk about seven percent GDP increase. That’s great, but nobody notices it.”

Marcos also brought out issues regarding the severe underspending of the Aquino administration, which slowed the Philippine economy to just 5.2 percent growth in the first quarter of this year.

“The budget plan was not followed by the administration. We should learn why there has been such a slow pace in the development of different sectors of the economy,” He said.

Marcos Jr. gave a 6 out of 10 rating on President Aquino’s performance, even hitting his late father’s critics and successors for not generating “progress” after ousting him.

READ MORE...

“The government failed. What do we do now? All they have are political intentions, which is why we are not progressing,” Marcos said in a media forum in Manila.

“(The Aquino administration) started out to be popular because of its anti-corruption drive but it was not implemented well because it became politically toned,” he added.

In terms of economic development, Marcos commented that “nothing really happened” under the present administration.

Though not yet officially declaring prospects for the 2016 Presidential election, the senator says that what the country needs is a “unified leadership that offers the national interest and not party interests”.

The young Marcos also scored the Aquino regime’s vindictiveness toward its political opponents.

“It is unfortunate. That should not be the main function of the government,” Marcos said regarding the administration’s running after and jailing non-Liberal Party (LP) members involved in corrupt scams such as that of the infamous Priority Development Assistance Fund despite Palace allies also being tagged in the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) and the PDAF.

The senator said the current administration has perpetuated a culture of “us and them” in government. To this day, Aquino wears a yellow ribbon pinned on his shirt.


AQUINO's 4th SONA

Quoting his father, Marcos argued that politics is “a game of addition”, saying that “We’ve lost that principle, because the government is in a process of dividing.”

Marcos has revealed that he is preparing to be a candidate in the 2016 elections, but has yet to confirm which position he will run for.

If he does run and win as the chief executive, Marcos promised a “unifying leadership” that would revive national pride that he feels has waned since the past administrations.

The senator, however, says that he is expecting the anti-Marcos propaganda to rise, especially now that election is coming.

“It was propaganda that the powers that be at the time felt was necessary. They have taken us to court and it’s done,” he said.

Marcos also said that he wants to look into why the government underspent about P 400 billion from last year’s national budget before reviewing the recently approved national budget amounting to P 3 trillion.

“What happened to that P 400 billion? Where did it go? Where will it be used?” Marcos said, expressing his concerns that the said amount could be used for political purposes, remarking that the 2016 national budget could be the “election budget” as it could be used for “vote buying”.

UNA strikes back


De Lima

Meanwhile, now that Secretary Leila de Lima has finally conceded that the Vice President, as an impeachable constitutional official, is indeed immune from criminal suit — after eight months of spouting erroneous constitutional principles on the subject— she can perhaps start the process of rebuilding her tattered credibility as head of the justice department by buckling down to real work and attend to the urgent pending matters before the DoJ and the ongoing crises in its agencies.

While at this, it would also serve her office well if Secretary de Lima rids the cobwebs in her mind that sustain similarly wrong interpretations of the Constitution, such as President Aquino not having any liability in the Mamasapano massacre of our SAF 44 because there is, according to her view, no chain of command in the PNP. It was certainly a cheap antic to save President Aquino from liability, but at the expense of the law and the Constitution.

De Lima’s latest faux pas was her jumping into the political fray in Makati City occasioned by the tyrannical second suspension of Mayor Junjun Binay by the Ombudsman and the over-eager implementation by DILG Secretary Mar Roxas.

Having no business in the stand-off being a simple police matter, de Lima chose to parrot the taunts and warnings of Secretary Mar Roxas against Mayor Binay and his family, thereby unduly throwing the weight of her office behind the abusive overkill tactics of Roxas and his police minions.

In the meantime, the so-called third batch of PDAF cases sleeps on her desk simply because LP political allies are going to be implicated; the drug syndicates in the National Penitentiary are having a field day in their trade despite that made-for-media raid some months back; the immigration bureau is reeling under the charges and counter-charges of corruption and kotong involving its highest officers; and the citizens don’t feel safe in their homes, more so in the streets, due to unmitigated crimes against persons and property. People can’t help but ask: where is the justice secretary?

Secretary de Lima ought to get the work done in her office and agencies.

She should not get herself embroiled in politics by acting as attack dog of Mar Roxas and the LP in their demolition job against the Vice President.

But if she is now more predisposed to behave like a LP lackey if only to land a spot in the 2016 senatorial slate, then for the sake of the people, she must give up her Cabinet job and let someone more competent handle it. By John Rivera and Ted Tuvera


TRIBUNE

VP dares troika: Have your PDAF projects audited Written by Tribune Wires Wednesday, 08 July 2015 00:00



Leila: Impeachable Binay immune from suit

The challenge to senators has been hurled and time will tell whether the infamous Senate troika identified with the never-ending Senate blue ribbon subcommittee will take up the challenge, or slink away from the valid dare issued by Vice President Jejomar “Jojo” Binay yesterday. At the same time, Justice secretary Leila de Lima admitted yesterday that VP Binay is an impeachable officer, and therefore, cannot be impeached.

Since Sen. Aquilino Pimentel has been bandying that the ongoing Senate subcommittee hearings on the VP are conducted under the constitutional principle, “Public Office is a Public Trust,” then the three senators leading the hearings should also submit to an audit of their projects funded through the Priority Development Assistance Fund, Development Acceleration Fund, and other congressional insertions, said lawyer Rico Quicho, Vice Presidential spokesman for political affairs yesterday.

Their infrastructure projects should also be audited using the Langdon and Seah Construction Cost Handbook, which they have invoked in the hearings and subsequent reports, he added.

Quicho also slammed Pimentel’s decision to audit the key shelter agencies after Binay had resigned from the Cabinet.

According to Quicho, it would have been reasonable had Pimentel called for an audit of all agencies handled by resigned officials.

“If Senator Pimentel is calling for a performance and financial audit for all branches of government every time a head resigns, we would understand that his letter was meant to probe the HUDCC (Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council) was still chaired by Vice President Binay,” he said.

READ MORE...

“With the countless heads of different agencies who have resigned from their posts, why would he have to single out VP Binay for his proposed audit? When the former head of Customs, John Sevilla resigned over allegations of fund raising of members of the Liberal Party, he didn’t utter even a single word,” Quicho said.

“And all the while he was declaring ‘Public Office is a Public Trust.’ But with the way he is acting, it seems he is only targeting political foes,” Quicho stressed.

Quicho noted that under the Vice President’s leadership, Pag-IBIG Fund pursued the syndicated estafa case against Delfin Lee and other Globe Asiatique officials.

“The Vice President and the Pag-IBIG slapped a questionable developer for having duped thousands of home buyers. But now, instead of siding with the aggrieved party, you and your colleagues in the Senate subcommittee are now defending him. It seems that your letter is only intended to further the demolition job being waged against the Binays so you could gain your desired public attention in furtherance of your political agenda for the next elections,” Quicho said addressing Pimentel.

Quicho said that while Pimentel keeps insisting that the Vice President should attend the subcommittee hearings, the senators have already prejudged that case and pronounced Binay guilty.

“Voluminous evidence has already been submitted to your committee refuting the allegations and the lies being peddled by your resource persons including the Affidavit submitted by Vice President Binay to the Senate but which you ignored,” he said.

Senate has no proof

He added that Pimentel himself has admitted multiple times that he has found no concrete proof provided by former Makati vice mayor Ernesto Mercado and his cohorts.

“What puzzles us a lot is that while you yourself have stated that all those who are accusing him should produce evidence to substantiate their allegations, you have allowed your probe to continue even without any piece of evidence being presented,” Quicho said.

“How many times have you been asked to terminate the longest running probe in the history of the Philippine politics but you haven’t heeded this and instead allowed your colleagues to use you,” he added.

Quicho said Pimentel should instead apply the same brand of investigation and disrespect they are using in the Senate hearings on the officials who implemented the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP), those responsible for the problem-ridden MRT, and the Iloilo Convention Center.

“Of course you won’t because those involved are allies,” he said,
“While I will acknowledge you are correct when you said you have been with the Vice President for such a long time, I still am surprised at the way you have changed a lot. You easily give in and allow yourself to be used in furtherance of your own interest,” he added.“How easy is it for you to judge and ignore other people when they explain their side. I hope you can be man enough and just be true to yourself as people have already seen what’s beyond you and your colleagues’ agenda,” Quicho said.

Trillanes flight ‘expose’ a dud

Sen. Antonio “Sonny” Trillanes’ supposed exposé on the flight of two of the VP’s alleged closest aides and bagmen, Gerardo “Gerry” Limlingan and Eduviges “Ebeng” Baloloy, appeared to be baseless.

An official from the Bureau of Immigration (BI) yesterday stood her ground on earlier claims that there is no showing in their records of the alleged Binay aides’ departure, even discounting the feasibility of the two being ushered out of the country via a private plane.

“(Those traveling by private planes), they are coordinated with the BI and the bureau’s presence is required to clear the passengers (from leaving the country),” Elaine Tan, representing BI chief Siegfred Mison, told the Senate subcommittee.
Based on records of the BI, the two have “no subsequent record of departure” after their last trip abroad which was in Oct. 17, 2003 for Limlingan and Sept. 6, 2014 for Baloloy, Tan told the subcommittee.

This contradics the allegations made some two weeks ago by Trillanes that the two left the country late last week, supposedly to evade the ongoing investigation against the VP.

Trillanes, in an apparent attempt to save face on his faux pas, confronted the BI official for coming out a statement refuting his claims, saying that the bureau gave the impression that it has solid evidence to back up its pronouncements.
“Our statement is based on the travel records,” Tan said.

Further crushing Trillanes’ revelation was the testimony of the head of the human resource development office of the Makati City government, Vissia Marie Aldon, that Baloloy is still receiving her salaries and benefits.

But when asked by Trillanes if it’s true that Baloloy, who is said to be the VP’s long-time executive assistant and secretary, is no longer reporting for work in Makati City hall, Aldon offered an explanation for this, that the alleged “missing” aide of Binay has been using her leave credits accumulated through the years.
“She has already filed for her retirement and also filed for leave of absence and it was approved since last year. She’s entitled because of her leave credits” she told senators.

Whether Baloloy is personally receiving her monthly salary, Aldon said she does not have any direct knowledge on this as the matter is already under the jurisdiction of the finance or cash division.

Trillanes had earlier revealed the supposed flight of Limlingan and Baloloy, using supposedly the country’s backdoor channels, providing no trail of their departure from the country.

“ As per BI records, we have four entries under the name Limlingan, Gerardo. But based on our sources, the travel record pertaining to the person of interest here is born on April 11, 1942 and based on the BI records he’s in the country. His latest arrival was on Oct. 17, 2003 and there is no subsequent departure,” Tan said.

“As per Baloloy, Eduviges Duenas, (she) was born on Oct. 17, 1950. Her latest arrival in the country was Sept. 6, 2014 and has no subsequent record of departure,” she added.

Tan acceded to Trillanes’ assertion on the two leaving through backdoor channels and using fictitious names or assumed other identities.

“We’re not discounting that situation because BI only has jurisdiction over our formal ports of entry and exit. It’s a possibility. But based on our records, whatever name was given would be in our system,” she said.

In the same proceedings senators are now after Dr. Jack Arroyo and Laureano Gregorio Jr., alleged dummies of Binay on the issue of his co-ownership of University of Makati’s (Umak) college of nursing and Batangas property, respectively.

Pimentel said the two who have been issued subpoenas in the past, have failed to appear before then and did not even respond to the show cause order as to why they should not be cited for contempt.

“Hence, the subcommittee will recommend to the mother committee that he be cited in contempt,” Pimentel said, referring to Arroyo, adding that there is already a contempt citation against Gregorio.

Attempts to depict the character of the Binay family before the subcommittee as revolting and foul-mouthed, failed after Pimentel ordered the accuser, Renato Bondal to submit a memorandum explaining its relevance to the issues at hand, specifically the allegations raised against the Vice President in the filed resolutions that are subject of hearings by Senate probers.

Bondal presented in the hearing, video clips of television news reports dating several years back such as the incident in Dasmarinas Village involving Makati City Mayor Junjun Binay and the forced relocation of some constituents in Laperal compound following a huge fire.

In the same hearing, Trillanes tried but failed to establish his allegations on Arroyo being Binay’s dummy in the joint venture of Systems Technology Institute (STI) Holdings Inc. and Philippine Healthcare Educators Inc. (PHEI) to run and operate Umak’s institute of nursing.

VP cannot be sued--Leila

De Lima now believes the persecution of VP Binay can be thwarted by the latter’s constitutional immunity from suit.

De Lima reversed her earlier claim that the VP does not enjoy the same immunity from criminal suits accorded to the President while in power. She now admits that Binay cannot be prosecuted in court.

She conceded to the opinion of experts, including veteran poll lawyer Romulo Macalintal, that the VP is an impeachable official - just like the President, justices of the Supreme Court, the Ombudsman and other constitutional officials - and therefore cannot be subject of trial in court without first having him impeached from office.

Last October, De Lima said Binay is not immune from criminal suit and could be investigated over charges of corruption allegedly committed when he was still mayor of Makati City.

“The principle of immunity from suit applies only to two entities, the State and the President. Among government officials, only the President is immune from suit. On the other hand, impeachability refers only to the mode of removal, not to immunity. Impeachability does not mean immunity. Thus, among the impeachable officials, only the President is immune from suit,” she had explained.
De Lima stressed that while the Constitution is silent on the issue of immunity of impeachable officials, “conventional wisdom” in law pratice that criminal cases against them do not prosper in court until after they are impeached or have served their term in office.

“The Constitution states that impeachable officials shall not be removed from office except by impeachment. It does not say categorically to what extent they may be subject to prosecutorial action without their impeachability being affected.

Theoretically, they can be subject to criminal proceedings so long as they are not removed from office, such as what the Supreme Court has done with Commissioners of the Comelec in several cases when it cited said Commissioners in criminal contempt,” she explained

“However, the conventional wisdom among lawyers is that any criminal action against an impeachable official can only go so far as filing an information. It is still up to the courts, especially the Supreme Court, to categorically decide on whether or not the filing of a criminal charge amounts to a violation of impeachability,” she pointed out.

De Lima further stressed that the courts cannot even order the arrest of Binay should cases be filed against him.

“The initiation of a criminal case entails the issuance of a warrant of arrest, and this implies restraint on the person of the impeachable official that highly compromises his status as such,” she stressed.

De Lima believes that if this issue reaches the Supreme Court, the ruling would most likely favor Binay.

“Most probably, the Supreme Court will treat the arrest of an impeachable official as a violation of his status of impeachability,” she explained.

Earlier, Macalintal rebutted the opinion of Senate President Franklin Drilon that Vice President Binay is not immune from suits.

Macalintal believes that such position being pushed by Drilon and administration allies “smacks of unjust or invidious discrimination, thus, violative of the equal protection clause of the Constitution.”

The veteran lawyer cited relevant decisions of the Supreme Court.

The poll law expert cited the 2001 SC ruling in the case of former President Joseph Estrada vs. Ombudman Desierto where then Chief Justice Reynato Puno wrote of ‘a judicial disinclination to expand the privilege especially when it impedes the search for truth or impairs the vindication of a right.”

Macalintal said the high court, in its 2010 ruling voiding President Aquino’s first executive order creating the truth commission against former President and now Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, held that any ruling saying that the President is immune from suit while the others, like the Vice-President is not, “partakes of an unwarranted partiality or prejudice, where the sharper weapon to cut it down is the equal protection clause” of the Constitution.

He further cited a third case, Central Bank Employees Association vs Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas, where the SC ruled in 2004 that any disparity in treatment of persons belonging to the same class will “definitely bear the unmistakable badge of invidious discrimination.. Favoritism and undue preference cannot be allowed.

For the principle is that equal protection and security shall be given to every person under circumstances which, if not identical, are analogous.”

Macalintal explained that immunity is actually a “tradition” that applies to actual cases filed in courts against these officials.
By Charlie V. Manalo, Benjamin B. Pulta and Angie M. Rosales


MANILA STANDARD

DoJ: Can’t sue Binay; VP immune from suit like Aquino, says De Lima By Rey E. Requejo | Jul. 08, 2015 at 12:01am


Binay and De Lima

JUSTICE Secretary Leila de Lima said Tuesday that Vice President Jejomar Binay is immune from criminal prosecution while he is in office, reversing the position she took last October when she said he could be investigated for corrupt acts committed when he was still mayor of Makati.

In a statement, De Lima conceded that the Vice President, like the President, the justices of the Supreme Court and the Ombudsman and other constitutional officials, is an impeachable official and therefore cannot be tried in court without first being impeached from office.

Last October, she said impeachability did not equate to immunity, and that among impeachable officials, only the President was immune from suit.

But this week, she said, “Conventional wisdom among lawyers is that any criminal action against an impeachable official can only go so far as filing an information.”

“It is still up to the courts, especially the Supreme Court, to categorically decide on whether or not the filing of a criminal charge amounts to a violation of impeachability,” she said.

De Lima added that the courts cannot even order Binay’s arrest should cases be filed against him.

“The initiation of a criminal case entails the issuance of a warrant of arrest, and this implies restraint on the person of the impeachable official that highly compromises his status as such,” she said.

She said if the issue reached the Supreme Court, it would most likely rule in the Vice President’s favor.

Earlier, election lawyer Romulo Macalintal rebutted the opinion of Senate President Franklin Drilon that Binay was not immune from suit.

“If the President is immune from suit, then all constitutional officials, like the Vice President, Supreme Court justices, members of Constitutional Commissions, and the Ombudsman who could only be removed by impeachment, are likewise immune from suit,” Macalintal said.

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Macalintal said the position being pushed by Drilon and other administration allies “smacks of unjust or invidious discrimination” and violated the equal protection clause of the Constitution.

The Palace on Tuesday dismissed allegations from the Binay camp that it was behind efforts to have him impeached.

“Ha ha! He must be kidding,” said presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda in a text message to the Malacañang press corps. “The President is governing, he [Binay] is campaigning. The President seeks to improve the lives of his bosses, he [Binay] is seeking to improve his image.”

Deputy presidential spokeswoman Abigail Valte also denied any Palace role.

“We don’t know what his basis is for saying that. We don’t know if there are quarters who are preparing to file an impeachment case against him, so we don’t want to deal with a hypothetical and speculative situation,” she said.

In a radio interview Thursday, Binay claimed that his camp has been hearing about impeachment complaints to be filed against him, but he did not name who he believes is behind the move against him in the House of Representatives.

A Senate panel report earlier recommended the filing of plunder against the Vice President, his son Makati Mayor Jejomar Erwin Binay Jr. and other individuals in relation to the alleged overpricing of the Makati City Hall Building 2.

The Office of the Ombudsman has also filed plunder charges against the Vice President and his son in connection to the allegedly overpriced construction of Makati Science High School building.

The Commission on Audit also allowed the Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC) to freeze the bank accounts associated with Binay, which could be used as evidence to prove that he committed plunder.

On Tuesday, Binay slammed some senators allied to the administration for focusing so much of their attention to attacking him politically, instead of looking for solutions to prevent further deaths and damage caused by storms, epidemics and sea tragedies.

In a radio interview, Binay also said he did not receive an invitation to the Senate hearing as claimed by Senator Aquilino Pimentel III, saying that the proceedings of the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee on the alleged overpricing of the Makati City Hall Building have become a “politicized forum whose sole purpose is to make wild accusations and false statements” against the Binay family.

Binay was in Dasol, Pangasinan where he distributed a number of wheelchairs to the local elders and persons with disabilities.

“We fully know that this is all politically motivated,” he said.

“Typhoon, an epidemic and a sea tragedy, all of these that happened recently were disregarded and [the senators] gave more importance to politicking,” Binay said.

Binay’s spokesman, Rico Quicho, said the senators have resorted to the cheap gimmick of putting an empty chair in the Session Hall “when the only thing empty in this sorry excuse for a Senate inquiry is credible proof.”

The Senate used testimony of a person who has admitted to corruption and testimony of a person who admitted he lied and merely speculated, he said.

“This badly written telenovela has outlived its entertainment value. The hearings have consumed the time and resources of the Senate which could have been used for the benefit of our people,” Quicho said.

Pimentel on Tuesday said he will ask the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee to cite in contempt Jack Arroyo, an alleged dummy for Binay, for continuously snubbing hearings before his subcommittee.

“We will recommend to the mother committee that Arroyo be cited in contempt for refusing to appear despite being issued a subpoena,” said Pimentel.

In the hearing, it was alleged that Arroyo, a nephew of former senator Joker Arroyo, was used by Binay as his dummy in the Makati city government’s joint venture with Systems Technology Institute (STI), a computer school.

The Makati city government and the University of Makati entered in 2003 a joint venture with STI to put up Philippine Health Educators Inc., that manages the School of Nursing inside the University of Makati.

The Senate panel had earlier subpoenaed Arroyo to attend the hearing and told him to produce records of his tax payment.

Senator Antonio Trillanes IV said “the mysterious Mr. Jack Arroyo is nowhere to be found, just like the other dummies (Eduviges) Ebeng Baloloy and Gerry Limlingan, and also Laureano Gregorio. So this is the pattern we are establishing here. The dummies don’t want to appear here because they know they can’t get away with this.” – With Sandy Araneta, Vito Barcelo and Macon Ramos-Araneta


MANILA STANDARD

De Lima now says, Binay can be sued By Rey E. Requejo | Jul. 09, 2015 at 12:01am

JUSTICE Secretary Leila de Lima denied Wednesday that she now believes Vice President Jejomar Binay is immune from criminal prosecution, and singled out The Standard for “inaccurately” reporting her statement.

The Standard stands by its story, which contrasted her latest text message to her statements in October 2014.

In a text message to reporters from Hague in the Netherlands where she was attending the oral arguments on the country’s territorial dispute with China, De Lima said The Standard page one banner story “inaccurately reported” her statement “on the legal effect of the VP’s status as an impeachable official on his criminal prosecution.”

“Nowhere in my statement did I retract my original position that impeachability is different from immunity, and that except for the President, all impeachable officials are not immune from suit,” she said.

She said she only explained that impeachable officials “are merely protected from such kind of suits that would violate their impeachability, specifically when such suit, such as criminal suit, have the effect of removing them from office without first being impeached.”

She said The Standard report “selectively quoted from her statement to suit the headline and news that it wanted.”

Her statement last Tuesday, in full, is as follows:

“Theoretically, they can be subject to criminal proceedings so long as they are not removed from office, such as what the Supreme Court has done with Commissioners of the Comelec in several cases when it cited said Commissioners in criminal contempt.

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“However, the conventional wisdom among lawyers is that any criminal action against an impeachable official can only go so far as filing an information. It is still up to the courts, especially the Supreme Court, to categorically decide on whether or not the filing of a criminal charge amounts to a violation of impeachability.”

The Palace on Wednesday distanced itself from the decision by a Court of Appeals justice to recuse herself in the case involving the preventive suspension order against Makati Mayor Jejomar Erwin Binay Jr., the Vice President’s son.

“We defer to her judgement,” presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda said, when asked about Associate Justice Celia Librea-Leagogo’s decision to inhibit herself from the case because of her links to Interior and Local Government Secretary Manuel Roxas II, a respondent in Binay’s petition for a temporary restraining order.

In a letter, Leagogo said she has decided to recuse from the Binay case because her husband works at a law firm where one of the partners is Roxas’ cousin.

“It was recently brought to my attention that the secretary of respondent Department of Interior and Local Government, who was directed to implement the Ombudsman’s joint order in the above-captioned case, is the first cousin of one of the co-partners of my husband in their law firm,” Leagogo said.

She said she was voluntarily inhibiting herself from participating in the Binay case in the interest of impartiality in the proper discharge of her judicial office.

Leagogo was also a former law partner of former Defense secretary Avelino Cruz Jr., who was the canvassing lawyer of Roxas during the May 2010 elections.

Leagogo was a former senior partner of “The Firm” or the Carpio Villaraza Marcelo Cruz Angangco law office.

The original members of “The Firm” were Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio, Arthur Villaraza, former Ombudsman Simeon Marcelo and Cruz.

Mayor Binay earlier petitioned the appellate court to issue a TRO or writ for preliminary injunction against the suspension order issued by the Ombudsman, in connection with his alleged role in the overpriced construction of a Makati Science High School building.

Binay had initially refused to vacate his office, saying the issuance of the suspension order had no justification.

In a June 30 resolution written by Associate Justice Melchor Sadang, the appellate court deferred taking action on Binay’s petition to stop his six-month preventive suspension from office.

Instead, it ordered the Office of the Ombudsman and the DILG to file their respective comments on Binay’s petition within 10 days.

After failing to secure an immediate restraining order from the CA, Binay decided to temporarily step down from office.

In March, the Ombudsman also ordered the suspension of Binay and other officials in connection with the allegedly overpriced construction of the Makati City Hall Building II. The mayor, however, received a TRO against the suspension order from the appellate court.

The Supreme Court then indefinitely suspended the implementation of the suspension order pending a resolution on a case that the Ombudsman filed to question the authority of the CA justices to stop the implementation of the suspension. – With Sandy Araneta


MANILA STANDARD

Speaker: VP won’t face impeachment By Maricel Cruz, Rey E. Requejo | Jul. 10, 2015 at 12:01am


BELMONTE

HOUSE Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. said Thursday that any impeachment attempt against Vice President Jejomar Binay would not take place during his watch.

In a text message from the Hague in the Netherlands, Belmonte said there were more important priorities for the 16th Congress, when it goes into its third regular session on July 27.

“Impeachment, if needed, is not going to happen in my last year if can help it,” Belmonte said.

Liberal Party lawmakers also said they would not initiate any impeachment motion against the Vice President, who has been hounded by corruption allegations.

Reps. Jorge Banal of Quezon City, Ben Evardone of Eastern Samar and Jerry Trenas of Iloilo City said Binay impeachment is remote.

“It seems unlikely that any impeachment will prosper at this time,” Banal said.

Any impeachment complaint against Binay, Evardone added, would not come from the ruling party.

Evardone, and Isabela Rep. Rodolfo Albano III and 1-BAP party-list Rep. Silvestre Bello III said impeachment would be a futile exercise as the 2016 national elections draw near.

“The election is already around the corner. I don’t think impeachment is a good option at this time,” Evardone said.

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Albano said the House had so much on its plate—including the 2016 national budget—that any impeachment bid would not prosper.

Bello welcomed Belmonte’s statement.

“The Speaker must know that there is no impeachable offense committed by the Vice President. Besides, there might not enough time,” Bello said.

Parañaque Rep. Gus Tambunting, a staunch Binay supporter, also welcomed Belmonte’s statement.

“The Speaker is sensible and focused,” Tambunting said.

The Palace on Thursday denied Binay’s allegation that the charges against him and his family were part of a demolition job launched by the administration.

“The Office of the President and the executive branch have nothing to do with the filing of the cases against them,” said Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr.

“The cases filed against Vice President (Jejomar) Binay, Makati Mayor Jejomar Erwin Binay Jr., and other Makati officials before the Office of the Ombudsman were based on investigations conducted by the Senate Blue Ribbon sub-committee,” Coloma said.

“The Senate Blue Ribbon sub-committee is part of a separate and co-equal branch, and the Office of the Ombudsman is an independent constitutional body,” said Coloma.

In a statement, Binay said the same people behind the demolition job against him were also trying to sow intrigue between him and the Palace.

The Vice President also said he did not believe President Benigno Aquino III was involved in the circulation of a white paper that implicates the Binay family in the pork barrel scam.

The Vice President’s daughter, Makati Rep. Mar-Len Abigail Binay, earlier challenged those behind the white paper to come out in the open and prove that she used her pork barrel funds to finance political rallies.

She also accused a group holding office at Bonifacio Global City of attacking her family to demolish her father’s chances in the presidential elections in 2016.

Coloma, on the other hand, said the disbursement of the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) has already been stopped.

“The Commission on Audit has done their duty. If there are other matters involving this issue (of funds), let the members of Congress discipline their own ranks, because they are a separate branch of government from the executive,” said Coloma.

Also on Thursday, a law professor at the University of the Philippines took a swipe at Justice Secretary Leila de Lima for flip-flopping on the issue of the Vice President’s immunity from suit, saying she should make up her mind.

In a radio interview, lawyer Harry Roque noted that De Lima retracted her previous statement that the Vice President is immune from suit but suddenly changed her mind again.

“Secretary De Lima and I have already debated on the issue of the immunity of Vice President Binay. First, she said no, then yes, and now no immunity,” he said.

De Lima earlier said Binay did not enjoy the same immunity from criminal suits accorded to the President while in power.

“All the constitutional officers, like the President and the Vice President, before they are criminally prosecuted should be first removed through impeachment,” Roque said. “The immunity privilege given to the President must also be extended to the Vice President. Like the President, a vice president is also directly elected by the people and, constitutionally, he or she can only be removed by impeachment.”

Roque also lashed out the Aquino administration for employing selective justice in persecuting Binay and his family.

He said the senators who always want to conduct an audit of all the projects of Binay were silent when it came to an audit on their own projects.

“Public officers, like the senators, must at all times be accountable to the people. Accountability is not only for the Vice President,” Roque said.

The former national president of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines, Vicente Joyas, agreed Thursday that Binay, as the second highest official of the land, cannot be criminally charged while he is in office.

“He cannot be sued criminally during his incumbency as vice president even for acts committed while he was mayor,” Joyas said.

“He must be impeached first. And the grounds for impeachment are betrayal of public trust andculpable violation of the Constitution, among others,” he said.

Joyas contradicted the position taken by De Lima that Vice President Binay is not immune from criminal suit. – With Sandy Araneta


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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