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

HOUSE SPEAKER: POE UNSTOPPABLE, MAR MUST PROVE HE CAN WIN IN 2016
[A source who declined to be identified for lack of authority to speak on behalf of the Belmonte bloc said the Speaker and his followers would pull out of the LP if the administration picked a presidential candidate who had no chances of winning the 2016 election.]


JULY 14 ---Grace Poe riding an MRT 3 train: ‘Another P-Noy, unstoppable’ CONTRIBUTED PHOTO
Interior Secretary Mar Roxas has to prove he can win next year’s presidential election or President Aquino has no choice but to endorse the “unstoppable” Sen. Grace Poe as the administration’s standard-bearer, House Speaker Feliciano Belmonte said on Sunday. Roxas is the presumptive presidential candidate of the ruling Liberal Party (LP), but he is unpopular with voters, holding only third or fourth place in the latest voter preference polls. Roxas is expecting President Aquino to endorse his candidacy, but Belmonte, vice chair of the LP, does not see that happening unless Roxas can show proof that he can win the election. “All his (President Aquino’s) candidates, particularly Mar, are qualified and will give effective, honest government that will make a difference. But Mar should prove his winnability, by a dramatic increase in ratings,” Belmonte said in a text message to the Inquirer. Aquino, who has said he will announce his chosen candidate after his last address to a joint session of Congress on July 27, has met twice with Poe, the new front-runner in the 2016 race for Malacañang. But Poe, an independent who topped the 2013 senatorial election, says the President has not asked her to run either for President or Vice President. READ MORE...

ALSO overpricing: Liberals milk LTO?
[Isabela Rep Albano blasts overpricing of vehicle license plates]


JULY 13 ---Albano III
ISABELA Rep. Rodolfo Albano III hinted Sunday that the administration could be raising funds for the ruling Liberal Party’s 2016 election campaign after a House panel found that the imported license plates ordered by the Land Transportation Office under a P3.2 billion contract were substandard and overpriced by P180 each or about P1.51 billion. In an interview over radio dzBB, Albano said the winning bidder priced the imported plate at P380 while the lowest bidder pegged the cost at P200. Albano demanded that the contract be suspended while Congress investigates the deal. “First of all, the plates are too expensive, and second there were only two bidders. Third, why did the plates have to be made outside the country? If it’s possible to make them here, they should have contracted them here so there would be no backlog in plate requests,” Albano said in Filipino. Albano said the plates are being imported from the Netherlands and that the LTO is claiming they had to put security features on the plates. “The timing was off,” Albano said, saying people would suspect the new fees would go to a campaign kitty during the coming election year. Albano said the bid seemed to have been tailor-fit for the winning bidder because the six others who participated but lost the bidding had lower bids. He said it seemed like the LTO has become a milking cow. “That’s not right. They are using their position in government to perpetuate themselves in power,” Albano said. “The government’s straight path policy is being damaged by what they are doing with these plates.”  READ MORE...

ALSO: VP camp says, Lacierda speaks for Mar; Lacierda says, Binay can’t handle the truth


JULY 14 ---The Palace and the camp of Vice President Jejomar Binay traded more brickbats yesterday each accusing the other of resorting to lies with an aide of Binay alleging that Palace spokesman Edwin Lacierda is already speaking in behalf of Liberal Party (LP) presumptive standard bearer Interior Secretary Manuel Roxas II, “Lacierda’s real boss.” Lacierda reiterated his charges on Binay of engaging in lies after the Binay camp described his recent remarks as “arrogant and shrilling”. He also claimed that the Palace is running a campaign based on truth “What truth campaign?” Joey Salgado quipped. “Secretary Lacierda says the Vice President should reply to the graft charges against him. What graft charges? Surely the Secretary being a lawyer knows the difference between a complaint and a charge. Vice President Binay does not have any case pending before the Sandiganbayan. The only case was dismissed by the anti-graft court in 2006 for lack of factual basis. So where’s the truth in the good Secretary’s statement?” Salgado said. “Like I said: nothing personal, just the truth. READ MORE...

ALSO: No Grace in LP? No problem—Noy
[PALACE PREPARED FOR WORST POLL SCENARIO]


JULY 14 ---Sen. Grace Poe is not indispensable to a Liberal Party run with its own standard bearer, President Aquino through his spokesman, Edwin Lacierda, yesterday said, possibly in reaction to reports that Senators Poe and Francis “Chiz” Escudero were reported that there was no condition attached to Poe and Escudero agreeing between her and the President for her to make the rounds in the provinces with presumptive Liberal standard bearer Interior Secretary Manuel “Mar” Roxas. Lacierda said the LP is ready in the event Poe and Escudero decide against joining the administration in a united ticket for the 2016 elections. He added that like all political parties, the LP has planned for “worst-case scenarios.”  “As in any organization, as in any individual, the answer is, you hope for the best and prepare for the worst,” Lacierda, who earlier refused to talk about the LP plans in previous briefings. He stressed that the LP, where Aquino sits as its chairman, “anticipates all the options that may or may not happen.” A Palace source said Aquino and the LP bigwigs may have felt slighted over the Sunday’s Inquirer report, followed by the same paper’s report yesterday that there was no such condition of her going around with Roxas that was agreed upon. The source said that for Lacierda to stress that neither the President nor Roxas nor Budget Secretary Flurencio “Butch” Abad had disclosed what the presidential conversations with them and the two senators talked about indicated Aquino’s displeasure. Poe and Escudero, however, came out openly with what was claimed to have been discussed in the meetings. READ MORE...

ALSO after meeting at Bahay Pangarap: Mar -'I have a track record of giving way'


JULY 16 ---Interior and Local Government Secretary Manuel Roxas II told reporters yesterday that he has a track record of giving way to others for a greater goal. File photo
Noy meets with Mar, Grace, Chiz. Is Interior and Local Government Secretary Manuel Roxas II prepared to again set aside his presidential ambitions and give way to another candidate? Roxas told reporters yesterday that he has a track record of giving way to others for a greater goal. Speculation on whether he would slide down to the vice presidential race intensified as he attended a dinner last night called by President Aquino with Senators Grace Poe and Francis Escudero at Bahay Pangarap in Malacañang Park. Stalwarts of the Liberal Party (LP), however, insisted yesterday that Roxas would be their standard bearer in 2016, and that Aquino was not swayed by surveys in picking his endorsed successor. After presiding over a Disaster Preparedness Conference for the Caloocan-Malabon-Navotas-Valenzuela (Camanava) Waterways in Malabon, Roxas was asked yesterday if he was prepared to give way again, possibly to Poe. “I think I should not be the one to be asked about that because my track record is clear, that we are capable of sacrificing… of giving way for the sake of a greater objective… to pursue the straight path,” Roxas replied. In the 2010 elections, Roxas gave up his presidential bid to be the running mate of then senator Benigno Aquino III. Roxas lost to then Makati mayor Jejomar Binay. READ MORE...

ALSO: DON’T BLAME US, LACIERDA TELLS UNA


JULY 14 ---LACIERDA: PALACE officials yesterday denied the claim of the opposition that Malacañang is harassing supporters and potential financiers of Vice President Jejomar Binay, saying the administration does not even know who these supporters are.
Presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda said what the administration has been doing is merely answering the “lies” that the Binay camp has been spreading. Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. said the opposition should present proof of its allegations. “Walang patakarang panggigipit (ang administrasyong Aquino). Sana’y maghain ng kongkretong katibayan (ang oposisyon),” he also said. Last Sunday, Rep. Toby Tiangco, president of Binay’s United Nationalist Alliance, said UNA is having difficulty getting campaign donations for Binay’s presidential run next year because the administration is clamping down on businessmen who are supporting Binay’s bid. READ MORE...

ALSO: Another CA justice inhibits from Junjun Binay suspension case


JULY 15 --Ramon Paul Hernando is the third magistrate to inhibit from suspended Makati Mayor Jejomar "Junjun" Binay's second suspension order issued by the Ombudsman.
 Another Court of Appeals (CA) justice has decided to inhibit from the Ombudsman's suspension order against suspended Makati City Mayor Jejomar “Junjun” Binay Jr.
Associate Ramon Paul Hernando of the CA Special Ninth Division is the third magistrate to inhibit from deciding on the latest petition of Binay against the Ombudsman's new suspension order, stemming the alleged overpriced construction of the Makati Science High School Building. Reports said that Hernando filed the inhibition before the CA on Tuesday since his wife is the Graft Investigation and Prosecution Officer of the Office of the Overall Deputy Ombudsman. READ MORE...

ALSO EDITORIAL: The other side of the yellow fence


JULY 14  Vice President Jojo Binay will not be impeached, if the strategy of Palace allies against him pans out, not for any reason but because of their fear that it will lead surely to his acquittal. His political nemesis, Sen. Antonio Trillanes, said the other day what most Liberal Party (LP) members at the House were crowing about that they would not give Binay the benefit of being impeached. The Palace alliance and the LP seem to be on a bind over Binay with Justice Secretary Leila de Lima acknowledging constitutional immunity from suit and the Ombudsman appearing to have made an unprecedented proposal to impeach an official, which Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales knows goes against the constitutional grain, and clearly, it goes against her own argument before the Court of Appeals with her saying that, as she is a constitutional officer and that she can only be impeached and not cited for contempt, it being criminal in nature. That this is clearly a highly partisan political act by Morales speaks for itself — and against her claimed independence and impartiality. The LP alliance, however, realizes the weak case against Binay which is all based on allegations made during his term as Makati City mayor that does not constitute impeachable offenses. Trillanes’ excuse was that if the case reaches the point of being heard by a Senate impeachment court, the head count would show that the vote would be enough to convict Binay. If the case is strong, however, as the troika in the Senate particularly Trillanes always asserts, the doubts that the Palace alliance would not be that strong in numbers for them to even discourage an impeachment case. The noise about the need to impeach Binay will continue, however, along with the Senate inquisition that would constitute an unending source of black propaganda against Binay. The camp of Binay surmises that the worst of the demolition campaign is still to come since the LP and the Palace alliance are all bothered by the recovery of public trust on Binay not only in the regular Pulse Asia and Social Weather Stations surveys but likely also in the heavily-funded internal polls that the Palace regularly conducts. READ MORE...


READ FULL MEDIA REPORTS HERE:

Speaker: Poe unstoppable


Grace Poe riding an MRT 3 train: ‘Another P-Noy, unstoppable’ CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

MANILA, JULY 30, 2015 (INQUIRER) By: Gil C. Cabacungan @inquirerdotnet  July 14th, 2015 - Interior Secretary Mar Roxas has to prove he can win next year’s presidential election or President Aquino has no choice but to endorse the “unstoppable” Sen. Grace Poe as the administration’s standard-bearer, House Speaker Feliciano Belmonte said on Sunday.

Roxas is the presumptive presidential candidate of the ruling Liberal Party (LP), but he is unpopular with voters, holding only third or fourth place in the latest voter preference polls.

Roxas is expecting President Aquino to endorse his candidacy, but Belmonte, vice chair of the LP, does not see that happening unless Roxas can show proof that he can win the election.

“All his (President Aquino’s) candidates, particularly Mar, are qualified and will give effective, honest government that will make a difference. But Mar should prove his winnability, by a dramatic increase in ratings,” Belmonte said in a text message to the Inquirer.

Aquino, who has said he will announce his chosen candidate after his last address to a joint session of Congress on July 27, has met twice with Poe, the new front-runner in the 2016 race for Malacañang.

But Poe, an independent who topped the 2013 senatorial election, says the President has not asked her to run either for President or Vice President.

READ MORE...

And she says she has not decided whether to run for higher office next year.

New front-runner

Poe surged to the front in the presidential race in the voter preference poll taken by Pulse Asia from May 30 to June 5 and in a survey conducted by Social Weather Stations (SWS) from June 5 to 8, overtaking Vice President Jejomar Binay, who held the lead for the past nine months.

Roxas is in third place, behind Binay, in the SWS poll and in fourth place, behind a local official—the tough-talking mayor of Davao City, Rodrigo Duterte—in the Pulse Asia survey.

Belmonte said Roxas needs to do better to win the presidential endorsement.

Another P-Noy

“Otherwise, Grace will be another P-Noy, unstoppable,” Belmonte said, referring to Aquino’s winning the 2010 presidential election by a landslide despite having less than a year to prepare for his campaign.

Belmonte spoke after meetings between the President and Roxas, Poe and her preferred running mate, Sen. Francis “Chiz” Escudero, last week.

Escudero said the President offered him nothing, explaining to reporters that their discussions centered on the formation of a slate of candidates that would be supported by the administration coalition.

Belmonte is a pillar of the coalition, being the leader of dozens of former members of the Lakas-CMD party whom he brought into the LP just months before the 2010 elections.

Belmonte bloc to pull out

A source who declined to be identified for lack of authority to speak on behalf of the Belmonte bloc said the Speaker and his followers would pull out of the LP if the administration picked a presidential candidate who had no chances of winning the 2016 election.

A member of the administration coalition, Isabela Rep. Giorgidi Aggabao, a deputy Speaker, said the President should make known his chosen candidate soon and “leave out who would be a hard sell, whether friend or foe.”

Wait for next polls

Aggabao is a leader of the Nationalist People’s Coalition (NPC), a political party founded by the President’s uncle, Eduardo “Danding” Cojuangco Jr.

“I think the President faces a solemn charge in choosing who should succeed him.

After his term, the long and difficult work still lies ahead and the next President has a rigorous task to carry out. P-Noy has a duty to fulfill that solemn charge,” Aggabao said in a text message.

Caloocan Rep. Edgar Erice of the LP said Belmonte should wait and he would see a surge in Roxas’ ratings in the next two voter preference polls.

“We expect to post a good survey by January next year, but the upward trend will be reflected by September,” Erice predicted.

‘Not dictated by surveys’

“But we should not be dictated to by surveys in the matter of choosing our candidates. Instead we should use the surveys as a tool to run the campaign. I am confident that with the accomplishments of the Aquino administration coupled with the qualities of [Secretary Roxas] that will be highlighted in the campaign and there is no other output but victory in 2016,” he said.

‘Nothing definite yet’

In Malacañang, presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda said there was “nothing definite yet” about administration-backed candidates for 2016.

Lacierda told Palace reporters that a ticket like Roxas-Poe or Poe-Escudero had not yet been decided.

“It’s all being discussed right now. [But it’s] not the proper time [to talk about] these matters,” he said.

“It’s exciting to speculate and to think, but there’s nothing definite yet,” he said.–With a report from Jerry E. Esplanada


MANILA STANDARD

Liberals milk LTO? By Christine F. Herrera, Macon Ramos-Araneta | Jul. 13, 2015 at 12:01am


Albano III

Albano blasts overpricing of vehicle license plates

ISABELA Rep. Rodolfo Albano III hinted Sunday that the administration could be raising funds for the ruling Liberal Party’s 2016 election campaign after a House panel found that the imported license plates ordered by the Land Transportation Office under a P3.2 billion contract were substandard and overpriced by P180 each or about P1.51 billion.

In an interview over radio dzBB, Albano said the winning bidder priced the imported plate at P380 while the lowest bidder pegged the cost at P200.

Albano demanded that the contract be suspended while Congress investigates the deal.

“First of all, the plates are too expensive, and second there were only two bidders. Third, why did the plates have to be made outside the country? If it’s possible to make them here, they should have contracted them here so there would be no backlog in plate requests,” Albano said in Filipino.

Albano said the plates are being imported from the Netherlands and that the LTO is claiming they had to put security features on the plates.

“The timing was off,” Albano said, saying people would suspect the new fees would go to a campaign kitty during the coming election year.

Albano said the bid seemed to have been tailor-fit for the winning bidder because the six others who participated but lost the bidding had lower bids.

He said it seemed like the LTO has become a milking cow.

“That’s not right. They are using their position in government to perpetuate themselves in power,” Albano said. “The government’s straight path policy is being damaged by what they are doing with these plates.”

READ MORE...

Albano said he could not understand why the plates were substandard and the bid was awarded to a small company, noting that they folded when they passed through flood waters.

“You can see that these plates are really thin. Let’s see how they defend this, including the security features. They say there are watermarks. They should show us those and also tell us how they came up with that price. I don’t know why they changed the old plates when they were fine,” Albano said.

Albano was also irked that some car owners had to wait six months to have their plates issued.

He maintained that the winning bidder had committed a breach of contract and that there was every reason for the LTO to suspend or cancel the contract.

“You bid one thing then deliver another. That’s a breach of contract,” Albano said. “You bid for apples but you deliver guavas. Won’t you be jailed for that?”

Albano demanded to know why the six other losing companies that were bigger than the winning bidder were disqualified.

Albano said he was waiting for a Commission on Audit report on the LTO plate deal, which could discontinue the contract.

The congressman also asked why the House committee on Metro Manila development had taken jurisdiction over the probe, instead of the committee on transportation.

Albano said Quezon City Rep. Winnie Castelo and Kabataan Rep. Terry Ridon would push for the transportation panel to takeover the probe.

Albano also railed against the LTO policy of “no plate, no travel.”

“They cannot do that. It’s their fault. You pay but you don’t get your plate. This is shameful. This is the President’s last year. They are ruining his reputation and his legacy. What a shame,” the congressman added.

The Palace said Sunday Albano’s allegations about fund-raising needed to be substantiated, and criticized the lawmaker.

“Responsible public officials should refrain from hurling baseless criticisms,” said Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr.

In June, President Benigno Aquino III lashed out at former Cebu governor Lito Osmeña for suggesting that the Liberal Party might misappropriate the P14.4 billion payment made by an international contractor to upgrade, operate and maintain the Mactan airport and divert these to the 2016 campaign.

Aquino said the allegation was an insult to people’s intelligence. – With Sandy Araneta


TRIBUNE

VP camp: Lacierda speaks for Mar; Lacierda: Binay can’t handle truth Written by Tribune Wires Tuesday, 14 July 2015 00:00 font size

The Palace and the camp of Vice President Jejomar Binay traded more brickbats yesterday each accusing the other of resorting to lies with an aide of Binay alleging that Palace spokesman Edwin Lacierda is already speaking in behalf of Liberal Party (LP) presumptive standard bearer Interior Secretary Manuel Roxas II, “Lacierda’s real boss.”

Lacierda reiterated his charges on Binay of engaging in lies after the Binay camp described his recent remarks as “arrogant and shrilling”. He also claimed that the Palace is running a campaign based on truth.

“What truth campaign?” Joey Salgado quipped.

“Secretary Lacierda says the Vice President should reply to the graft charges against him. What graft charges?

Surely the Secretary being a lawyer knows the difference between a complaint and a charge. Vice President Binay does not have any case pending before the Sandiganbayan. The only case was dismissed by the anti-graft court in 2006 for lack of factual basis. So where’s the truth in the good Secretary’s statement?” Salgado said.

“Like I said: nothing personal, just the truth.

READ MORE...

He (Binay) can’t seem to handle the truth,” Lacierda said.

“Thank you to the camp of Vice President Jejomar Binay, we are very privileged to be identified directly and personally, but this is a situation where we have not made offensive remarks on our own. These are just responses to the statements the Vice President has made,” Lacierda said.

The Palace official noted again Vice President Jejomar Binay’s criticism of the Aquino administration and its handling of the economy, noting the contradiction between his statements before and after he resigned from his Cabinet posts.

Salgado, Binay’s media affairs head, said the Palace is engaging in a campaign of lies against the Vice President rather than presenting the truth.

Salgado, likewise, said Lacierda has been speaking in behalf of Roxas in answering the accusations made by Binay.

“What we have is a campaign of lies against the Vice President and the Secretary is in the thick of it, owing to his active involvement in the communications team of his real boss, Secretary Roxas.

“Perhaps it’s time for the good secretary to tell the truth and stop using the Office of the President to obscure his involvement in the Roxas campaign,” Salgado said in a statement.

Salgado told Lacierda “The truth hurts, Mr. Secretary. But you need to face these issues and answer to the people.”

Salgado said the Palace, instead of answering the Vice President’s allegation that the administration has been insensitive to the plight of the people, particularly the poor, and has been incompetent to lead the country, has embarked on a campaign of lies to cover-up for its shortcomings.

Unfortunately for Lacierda, Salgado said, his mastery of the art of quibbling fails to cover up the sad reality that the Aquino administration is a gross failure.

“There has been progress, yes, but only a few have benefited from it,” said Salgado.

“After five years, they still cannot hide the fact that majority of the people are still going hungry, stuck in the quagmire of poverty,” said Salgado.

“And speaking of his quest for the truth, why hasn’t Secretary Lacierda, up to now, refused to explain why his candidate, Secretary Mar Roxas decided to dump the original contractor for the maintenance of the MRT when he was still at the helm of the DOTC, replacing it with someone said to be closed to the LP,” Salgado said.

The lack of th technical expertise of the new maintenance contractor for MRT, Salgado said, has resulted in daily sufferings for the train commuters.

“Can you please explain this, Mr. Secretary,” Salgado said.

“The truth hurts, Mr. Secretary, but still, you have to face the people and explain everything to them,” he stressed.

Trillanes assailed

Binay’s camp also lashed back at Senator Antonio Trillanes IV over his pronouncement that they, the Palace alliance, have no plan of impeaching Binay as their ultimate goal is to put him behind bars.

Lawyer Rico Paolo Quicho, Vice Presidential spokesman for political affairs said Trillanes’ statement only further betrayed the willingness and readiness of the administration and its allies to violate all existing laws just to eliminate the biggest stumbling block for the perpetuation of power of an insensitive, arrogant and incompetent government ruled by the Liberal Party (LP) alliance.

“Ours is a country of laws and not of men. The inexplicable fixation and undue haste exhibited by the LP, the Senate inquisitors, the Department of Justice (DoJ) and the Office of the Ombudsman to oust a sitting Vice President violates the constitutional precept that impeachable officers can only be removed from office through impeachment,” Quicho said.

Quicho cited in particular the Office of the Ombudsman which has “circumvented existing rules and jurisprudence” just to vilify and discredit the Vice President.

“How can the Vice President explain and defend himself properly if the Ombudsman in particular does not give him ample opportunity to explain?

How can there be a fair and impartial proceeding if the conspirators, which include the Ombudsman, refuse to heed the Constitution?” Quicho asked.

“The Ombudsman, in particular, has aided and abetted the grand scheme of vilifying and discrediting the Vice President by distorting rules, precedents and exerting pressure,” he added.

The Ombudsman, Quicho said, is hell bent in consolidating the pending complaints against the Vice President and file a plunder case against him to showcase the administration’s discredited “tuwid na daan” (straight path) promise even if it directly transgresses the Constitution.

Impeachment won’t prosper

Binay cannot be impeached over the Makati overpricing controversy because it involves acts when he was still Makati CIty mayor.

Law professor Tranquil Salvador, who is also a defense lawyer in the impeachment case against former Chief Justice Renato Corona in 2012; and former Integrated Bar of the Philippines national president Vicente Joyas made the observation.

“I don’t think the overpricing charges can be used to impeach Binay as vice president. It should be grounds arising out of or in connection with his present office,” Salvador said.

Joyas said the charges connected to the supposed overpricing of several government buildings in Makati does not even fall under the grounds for impeachment.

“The grounds for impeachment are betrayal of public trust, culpable violation of the Constitution, among others,” the former IBP head said.

“That [charge over Makati overpricing deals] is not betrayal of public trust because he was re-elected several times and his re-election and election of his son, daughters and wife negated whatever betrayal may be alluded to,” said Joyas.

Salvador, meanwhile, admitted there is currently “no definitive definition” of betrayal of public trust or culpable violation of the 1987 Philippine Constitution.

“We will have to refer to past impeachment cases which are scanty or very few in our jurisdiction,” said Salvador, a former law dean of the Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Pasay and former president of the IBP Quezon City chapter.

Salvador said a review of US cases and experience on impeachment “may be informative.”

Joyas argued that Binay cannot be slapped with criminal charges, anyway, while he still sits as the second highest official of the land.

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

Fr. Ranhilio Aquino, dean of the San Beda School of Law, agreed with Joyas, saying that while Binay and even President Aquino can be charged criminally or administratively, it must be done so only after impeachment.

“All officials who commit crimes while in office may be prosecuted, tried and sentenced, provided that they are first removed from office by impeachment, unless one is wiling to wait for their terms to be expire,” said Aquino in a commentary on GMA News Online.

On the other hand aside from Binay, officials likewise considered impeachable - under Section 2, Article XI of the Philippine Constitution - are the President, members of the Supreme Court, members of constitutional commission and the Ombudsman.

Aquino and Joyas cited the 1988 Supreme Court en banc resolution on “In re: First Indorsement from Hon. Raul Gonzalez Dated 16 March 1988 Requesting Honorable Justice Marcelo B. Fernan to Comment on an Anonymous Letter-Complaint.”

In the resolution, the SC said that while it was not saying that impeachable officials enjoy immunity from suits, “there is a fundamental procedural requirement that must be observed before such liability may be determined and enforced,” which the SC said is through impeachment.

Only after an impeachable official’s termination by impeachment can he or she be held to answer criminal or administrative liability for any wrongdoing or misbehavior, the SC added.

Referring to the 1988 SC ruling, Joyas said: “In the case of Re Gonzales, the SC said that if acquitted in the impeachment, the criminal case may not prosper.”

Aquino meanwhile said sending an impeachable official in prison or penalizing him by suspension or dismissal during their incumbency would be “by-passing the impeachment process, which certainly is not what the constitution intends!”

Aquino said there are only two options for critics of impeachable officials like Binay: either lobby Congress to start impeachment proceedings against them, or just wait for their terms to end then file charges against them.

Justice Secretary Leila de Lima last week that the Constitution is not clear and “categorical to what extent they [impeachable officials] may be subject to prosecutorial action without their impeachability being affected.”

“The conventional wisdom among lawyers is that any criminal action against an impeachable official can only go so far as filing an information,” said De Lima.


TRIBUNE

No Grace in LP? No problem—Noy Written by Joshua L. Labonera Tuesday, 14 July 2015 00:00



PALACE PREPARED FOR WORST POLL SCENARIO

Sen. Grace Poe is not indispensable to a Liberal Party run with its own standard bearer, President Aquino through his spokesman, Edwin Lacierda, yesterday said, possibly in reaction to reports that Senators Poe and Francis “Chiz” Escudero were reported that there was no condition attached to Poe and Escudero agreeing between her and the President for her to make the rounds in the provinces with presumptive Liberal standard bearer Interior Secretary Manuel “Mar” Roxas.

Lacierda said the LP is ready in the event Poe and Escudero decide against joining the administration in a united ticket for the 2016 elections.

He added that like all political parties, the LP has planned for “worst-case scenarios.”

“As in any organization, as in any individual, the answer is, you hope for the best and prepare for the worst,” Lacierda, who earlier refused to talk about the LP plans in previous briefings.

He stressed that the LP, where Aquino sits as its chairman, “anticipates all the options that may or may not happen.”

A Palace source said Aquino and the LP bigwigs may have felt slighted over the Sunday’s Inquirer report, followed by the same paper’s report yesterday that there was no such condition of her going around with Roxas that was agreed upon.

The source said that for Lacierda to stress that neither the President nor Roxas nor Budget Secretary Flurencio “Butch” Abad had disclosed what the presidential conversations with them and the two senators talked about indicated Aquino’s displeasure. Poe and Escudero, however, came out openly with what was claimed to have een discussed in the meetings.

READ MORE...

It is usual for individuals not to disclose anything that had been discussed with the President and merely wait for his statements on such meetings.

It has been noted that both Roxas and Abad have refused to disclose what went on with the meetings with Aquino, with Roxas saying that it is the prerogative of the President to disclose what went on, as Roxas added that talks with the President are considered privileged information.

Over the weekend, Poe confirmed that Aquino asked her to tour the country with Roxas, but the senator said that she would only do so of Escudero will be allowed to come as well, which the President, who also stands as LP’s chairman, allowing this , she said, as the story went.

The next day, Poe, who was apparently the source of the Sunday Inquirer story, as the broadsheet on its Monday’s issue said that the paper revealved that Poe talked to them on the phone on a Saturday, saying that there was that agreed condition of making the rounds with Roxas. She clarified,however, that this was broached in May and not recently, so that the agreed condition no longer exists.

Poe was being wooed to be Roxas’ running mate, but Poe has made it clear that she is more comfortable with Escudero and both have been talking about running independently, although they are both undecided as of this time.

Lacierda was also silent on the issue of the reasons behind asking Poe to go with Roxas. Aquino is believed to be still trying to come up with a Roxas-Poe tandem for the upcoming elections.

The LPs want her to be Roxas running mate, and Poe appears to be reluctant to do so.

Speaker Sonny Belmonte earlier stated that Poe had “politely refused” the offer of Aquino to run as Roxas’ vice presidential candidate for 2016 and that they are considering Davao Mayor Rodrigo Duterte as Roxas’ running mate.

The Palace official said that Aquino is best person to speak on the matter, as LP stalwart Budget Secretary Abad has also refrained from answering questions pertaining to the President’s meeting with Poe and Escudero, and that with Roxas afterwards.

“I am not privy to the discussion. Since I haven’t spoken to the President regarding this matter, I cannot give any comment. The best time to answer that is when the President grants an ambush interview. I think he is the best person to speak on it,” he said in a Palace briefing.

“Secretary Mar Roxas has declined to speak on the meeting with the President and also Secretary Butch Abad. So let us wait for relevant parties to speak on the matter,” he added.

Poe is yet to declare her intentions for 2016, but has already been confronted with a barrage of issues, namely her naturalization as an American citizen and her residency issues that could possibly bar her from running for a higher post in 2016.

Escudero and Poe both won under the banner of the LP in the 2013 senatorial polls, but the two are not tied to any political party, as they were only guest candidates for the President’s party then.

Commitment from the two to support the President’s party or his standard bearer is yet to come out. The same goes on plans to run for certain posts under the LP’s banner.

“I am not in the position to answer that. These are all political configurations which are yet to be finalized. For that reason… I am held off from those issuing statements, once that is firmed up maybe we can say something about it,” Lacierda said, when asked on the possibilities of the coalition.

“It’s an issue on the coalition working in 2013. I’ve said it before that the coalition was good in 2013 but was not continued. It’s that simple and it is something we are looking forward to work with,” he added.


LACIERDA

Lacierda added that the LP, among other political parties, is ready for possibilities, hoping for the best and preparing for the worst, if Poe and Escudero decide to tread their own paths against other political organizations.

“I think each party, organization, or individual hopes for the best and prepares for the worst. This is a situation when all of us should act; we act out of prudence, by anticipation events that may or may not happen. That applies to all. These are the best case scenarios where you plan out everything,” he said.

Escudero, meanwhile, revealed over the weekend that the President is still having a hard time picking which bet to support for 2016, despite vehement backing of LP leaders for Roxas, whom they prematurely named as the party’s standard bearer although he is yet to announce his candidacy.

The two senators were asked by Aquino to also meet them with Roxas’ presence, but the Palace said there is no scheduled convening of a meeting with them as yet.

UNA: Admin coalition to further Pinoys’ misery

What can people expect from a “manhid at palpak” Administration which continues to neglect the welfare of the common people?

The United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) president Toby Tiangco today chided the Administration’s plan to form a new political coalition that will keep the status quo until 2016.

Tiangco said the Filipino people deserve a better alternative rather than an insensitive, unkind and mismanaged government.

Tiangco stressed that said that the new coalition the Administration is forming will continue the “manhid at palpak” governance the same way the present administration is currently doing, and will keep protecting the interest of their allies, instead of serving the interest of the people.

“UNA is offering the people an alternative to the present administration. We will ensure that the next administration will care and poor and the underprivileged,” he said.

“It will also guarantee inclusive and lasting benefits for all citizens,” Tiangco said.
Vice President Binay detailed UNA’s plan of action during the political party’s launch last July 1.

He said that the party will focus on effective and caring governance; economic dynamism; and social inclusion/improvement of basic services.

“UNA will establish a government founded on honesty, justice, compassion and expertise. While we will recognize the efforts of the private sector, we would also ensure that long-term progress would benefit the people and that the less fortunate will be taken care of,” Tiangco quoted Binay saying during the launching of UNA early this month.

In the UNA launching, Binay stressed that his program of governance will be anchored on three basic principles – Expanded social services or social inclusion/improvement of basic services; Vibrant economy or economic dynamism; and Effective and compassionate government or effective and caring governance.

The Vice President also said that UNA will not continue to be unresponsive to the people’s needs and welfare.

“UNA is not an organization of incompetent and insensitive. This is not an organization of indolent, turtle-paced and dilly-dallying when it comes to finding solutions for the problems facing the country. We have the experience and expertise and will not be an OJT when it comes to governance and public service,” Binay said.


PHILSTAR

Mar: I have a track record of giving way By Rey Galupo (The Philippine Star) | Updated July 16, 2015 - 12:00am 7 521 googleplus1 0


Interior and Local Government Secretary Manuel Roxas II told reporters yesterday that he has a track record of giving way to others for a greater goal. File photo

Noy meets with Mar, Grace, Chiz

MANILA, Philippines - Is Interior and Local Government Secretary Manuel Roxas II prepared to again set aside his presidential ambitions and give way to another candidate?

Roxas told reporters yesterday that he has a track record of giving way to others for a greater goal.

Speculation on whether he would slide down to the vice presidential race intensified as he attended a dinner last night called by President Aquino with Senators Grace Poe and Francis Escudero at Bahay Pangarap in Malacañang Park.

Stalwarts of the Liberal Party (LP), however, insisted yesterday that Roxas would be their standard bearer in 2016, and that Aquino was not swayed by surveys in picking his endorsed successor.

After presiding over a Disaster Preparedness Conference for the Caloocan-Malabon-Navotas-Valenzuela (Camanava) Waterways in Malabon, Roxas was asked yesterday if he was prepared to give way again, possibly to Poe.

“I think I should not be the one to be asked about that because my track record is clear, that we are capable of sacrificing… of giving way for the sake of a greater objective… to pursue the straight path,” Roxas replied.

In the 2010 elections, Roxas gave up his presidential bid to be the running mate of then senator Benigno Aquino III. Roxas lost to then Makati mayor Jejomar Binay.

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This time, it’s survey favorite Poe who is reportedly being considered by the administration as its standard bearer for next year’s elections. Poe has no political party. Also reportedly being eyed as possible administration coalition presidential candidate is Poe’s reputed political mentor, Escudero, formerly of the Nationalist People’s Coalition.

Senate President Franklin Drilon said President Aquino is not looking at the surveys as his basis for selecting the LP’s presidential candidate for 2016.

The President had met with Poe three times, the last with Escudero present, to discuss the 2016 elections.

Poe has managed to overtake Binay in the latest surveys while Roxas has remained in either third or fourth place.

Drilon, vice chairman of the LP, said that the President has never shied away from challenges, including getting Roxas up in the surveys and making him win the 2016 elections as his anointed successor.

“With regard to the poor performance of Secretary Mar in the survey, my reading of the President is that he sees Secretary Mar as the best person to continue the reforms he initiated,” Drilon said.

“He (President) will take up the challenge and work to make his anointed candidate win,” he added.

Drilon said he was not involved in any of the discussions that took place between the President and the two senators, as it was the President as the leader of the LP who initiated the meetings.

He said there was nothing unusual about the move of the President to talk to non-LP politicians, considering the multi-party system prevailing in the country.


DRILON

Drilon said the President apparently wants to preserve the coalition that he was able to forge in the 2010 and 2013 elections, which is why he has made an effort to talk with some outsiders, who became part of the alliance.

Both Poe and Escudero ran as independents in the 2013 senatorial election but were part of the lineup of the LP-led Team PNoy.

“Of course, we defer to the President, being our leader and we get signals from him. The President, he wants to preserve the political alliances that were forged in 2010 and 2013 so he is taking the lead in maintaining these alliances. After that, we will meet with him,” Drilon said.

The President is expected to announce his anointed successor after his State of the Nation Address on July 27.

VP first for Poe For Sen. Sergio Osmeña III, it would be best for Poe to settle first for the vice presidency if she decides to run for higher office next year.

Osmeña said Poe is almost sure of winning the vice presidency, and that should give her the much needed experience for a future bid for the presidency.

Osmeña had advised various politicians in the past either as a campaign manager or analyst.

He said Poe should consider honing her skills further as a public servant or as vice president.

“She would be better off and she would make a better president if she has six years as vice president, because she’s fairly new in this game,” Osmeña said.

“This is not only national politics and winning an election, after that, the headache comes – running the country. If you start stumbling around then the country stumbles with you,” he added.

The President was to meet Poe, Escudero and Roxas last night.

Osmeña said he expects the President to try and convince Poe to run for vice president alongside Roxas.

He explained that this would make most sense for the LP, considering that Poe would only end up splitting the votes with Roxas if she runs for president.

Based on his own analysis, Osmeña said that Roxas would get around 60 percent of the votes for Poe if she withdraws from the presidential race.

“If the President is not able to convince a member of his coalition, he’s not that strong a leader. If the President cannot convince Senator Grace, how can he convince the voters to make his own candidate win? So he has to convince Grace to stay married to the LP,” Osmeña said.

He said the vice presidency is the safest place to go for Poe right now and that he would strongly advise this to the first-term senator.

“However, she’s got the gifts, she’s got the talents to make a good president, so if she serves as vice president for six years, in 2022 she’ll be a sure winner. Even as VP she’s a sure winner already,” Osmeña said.

President or bust Caloocan Rep. Egay Erice, for his part, said Roxas “will not settle for anything else other than the presidency.”

Erice said Roxas will not be a second choice and that “the Liberal Party is solid on the belief that the basis for the selection of the standard bearer should not be the personality but the track record and who is the most prepared to be president.”

He stressed it should be either Poe or Escudero who should make political sacrifices.

“Let’s not preempt what will come out of the meeting of President Aquino and the three hopefuls. Let’s respect his moves. But I believe that his decision will have a big influence on their political plans,” he said.

Asked whether Aquino had promised Roxas that he would be “next in line in 2016” when the latter abandoned his presidential plans to give way for the former’s candidacy in 2010, Erice said there was no such deal.

However, he said Roxas has the backing of the Liberal Party and the President knows that only he is the most qualified and can continue the visions of Daang Matuwid.

Erice also emphasized that Aquino supported Poe and Escudero in their respective bids in the last senatorial elections, which could mean that the President can still convince both of them to slide down in favor of Roxas.

But he also reiterated Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr.’s “challenge” for Roxas to show that he is also winnable.

He said he doesn’t want to “spoil the President’s announcement,” but maintained that the most logical tandem in the 2016 election should be that of Roxas and Poe.

“As early as last year I have been saying that the most perfect team would be Roxas and Poe. Man, woman. Youth and experience,” Erice said.

Asked whether Escudero would allow that to happen without a fight, he smiled and walked away.

Meanwhile, other LP stalwarts at the House of Representa- tives are firmly for Roxas as party standard bearer.

Reps. Jose Christopher Belmonte of Quezon City and Niel Tupas of Iloilo in separate statements said the tandem remains the choice of a majority of LP members.

“We’re still hoping it’s going to be Mar Roxas,” Tupas said, adding that while Poe is leading in the presidential surveys, “it’s still months from 2016.”

Belmonte said the LP “never even for a minute had second thoughts that Roxas is the most qualified candidate for president in 2016.” – With Paolo Romero, Marvin Sy, Cecille Suerte Felipe


MALAYA

DON’T BLAME US, PALACE TELLS UNA Submitted by JOCELYN MONTEMAYOR on July 14, 2015

PALACE officials yesterday denied the claim of the opposition that Malacañang is harassing supporters and potential financiers of Vice President Jejomar Binay, saying the administration does not even know who these supporters are.

Presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda said what the administration has been doing is merely answering the “lies” that the Binay camp has been spreading.

Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. said the opposition should present proof of its allegations.

“Walang patakarang panggigipit (ang administrasyong Aquino). Sana’y maghain ng kongkretong katibayan (ang oposisyon),” he also said.

Last Sunday, Rep. Toby Tiangco, president of Binay’s United Nationalist Alliance, said UNA is having difficulty getting campaign donations for Binay’s presidential run next year because the administration is clamping down on businessmen who are supporting Binay’s bid.

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Lacierda said Binay has been trying to portray himself as an underdog but he is the one who has been criticizing the administration which he praised before he quit the Cabinet last month.

“Here’s the situation: We don’t even know who their funders are…In the first place, he is the only candidate who has declared. So he is campaigning, we are governing. The President is in the thick of governance, he is (not) in the thick of campaigning,” Lacierda said.

He said if Binay’s supporters suddenly decide to withdraw their support, it is part of the political reality.

“Certain things happen based on certain people’s assessment. And if people decide not to fund you, don’t ask us why. Don’t blame us for people not funding you. It’s not for us to fathom the reasons for them not supporting you. So it’s not my fault, it’s not our fault,” he said.

Lacierda said the problem with Binay is he had started his campaign with “lies” and is now unable to handle the truth.

“We only respond to accusations or lies that they have foisted…He started off his campaign with lies. And so we are obligated to speak truth to him. We have not started this fight, he started it off. Our obligation and our responsibility is to speak out, speak the truth to him and to his phalanx of spokespersons. We have not initiated the break with him. It was Vice President Binay who initiated the break with him,” he said.

Lacierda said Malacañang is not engaged in a personal campaign but a “truth campaign.”

“We’re addressing all the lies of the Vice President against the President ever since he started his presidential run with lies, lies and more lies. Tell them it’s not personal, it’s a truth campaign and the VP cannot, with all due respect, cannot handle the truth,” he said.

“What truth campaign?” asked Joey Salgado, head of Media Affairs of the Office of the Vice President.

“Secretary Lacierda says the Vice President should reply to the graft charges against him. What graft charges? Surely, the secretary being a lawyer knows the difference between a complaint and a charge. Vice President Binay does not have any case pending before the Sandiganbayan. The only case was dismissed by the anti-graft court in 2006 for lack of factual basis. So where’s the truth in the good secretary’s statement?”

He added: “What we have is a campaign of lies against the Vice President and the secretary is in the thick of it, owing to his active involvement in the communications team of his real boss, Secretary Roxas. Perhaps it’s time for the good secretary to tell the truth and stop using the Office of the President to obscure his involvement in the Roxas campaign.”

He said what the truth is is that there has been improvement in the economy but only a few are benefiting from it, and many are still poor.

He also said Lacierda still has not told the truth about why the maintenance contractor of the MRT was changed when Roxas was still transportation secretary

“Ipinalit dito ang isang contractor na sinasabing dikit sa LP (Liberal Party). At dahil wala ring kasanayan, palpak ang maintenance sa MRT at pinaparusahan araw-araw ang commuters. Pakisagot naman yan, Mr. Secretary,” Salgado said. – With JP Lopez


PHILSTAR

Another CA justice inhibits from Junjun Binay suspension case By Rosette Adel (philstar.com) | Updated July 15, 2015 - 4:50pm 5 425 googleplus0 0


Ramon Paul Hernando is the third magistrate to inhibit from suspended Makati Mayor Jejomar "Junjun" Binay's second suspension order issued by the Ombudsman.

MANILA, Philippines – Another Court of Appeals (CA) justice has decided to inhibit from the Ombudsman's suspension order against suspended Makati City Mayor Jejomar “Junjun” Binay Jr.

Associate Ramon Paul Hernando of the CA Special Ninth Division is the third magistrate to inhibit from deciding on the latest petition of Binay against the Ombudsman's new suspension order, stemming the alleged overpriced construction of the Makati Science High School Building.

Reports said that Hernando filed the inhibition before the CA on Tuesday since his wife is the Graft Investigation and Prosecution Officer of the Office of the Overall Deputy Ombudsman.

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Fernando was supposed to replace Associate Justice Priscilla Baltazar-Padilla as the acting chair of the Ninth Division of CA. However, Baltazar-Padilla also inhibited herself from the case on Monday.

The court has yet to announce who will replace Hernando and will join other Justices Melchor Sadang and Nina Valenzuela in the Special Ninth Division.

The first magistrate to inhibit was Associate Justice Celia Librea-Leagogo, who reportedly inhibited herself from the case due to her husband’s ties with Interior Secretary Mar Roxas, a respondent in the case and known political rival of the petitioner’s father, Vice President Jejomar Binay. Justice Amy Lazaro-Javier was on leave.

In June, four Supreme Court associate justices, namely Presbitero Velasco Jr., Arturo Brion, Francis Jardeleza and Diosdado Peralta also inhibited themselves from the case filed by Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales that ordered the first six-month preventive suspension of Binay.

Makati Vice Mayor Romula "Kid" Peña assumed the mayor post after Binay temporarily stepped down last July 1.


TRIBUNE EDITORIAL

The other side of the 'yellow' fence Written by Tribune Editorial Tuesday, 14 July 2015 00:00



Vice President Jojo Binay will not be impeached, if the strategy of Palace allies against him pans out, not for any reason but because of their fear that it will lead surely to his acquittal.

His political nemesis, Sen. Antonio Trillanes, said the other day what most Liberal Party (LP) members at the House were crowing about that they would not give Binay the benefit of being impeached.

The Palace alliance and the LP seem to be on a bind over Binay with Justice Secretary Leila de Lima acknowledging constitutional immunity from suit and the Ombudsman appearing to have made an unprecedented proposal to impeach an official, which Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales knows goes against the constitutional grain, and clearly, it goes against her own argument before the Court of Appeals with her saying that, as she is a constitutional officer and that she can only be impeached and not cited for contempt, it being criminal in nature.

That this is clearly a highly partisan political act by Morales speaks for itself — and against her claimed independence and impartiality.

The LP alliance, however, realizes the weak case against Binay which is all based on allegations made during his term as Makati City mayor that does not constitute impeachable offenses.

Trillanes’ excuse was that if the case reaches the point of being heard by a Senate impeachment court, the head count would show that the vote would be enough to convict Binay.

If the case is strong, however, as the troika in the Senate particularly Trillanes always asserts, the doubts that the Palace alliance would not be that strong in numbers for them to even discourage an impeachment case.

The noise about the need to impeach Binay will continue, however, along with the Senate inquisition that would constitute an unending source of black propaganda against Binay.

The camp of Binay surmises that the worst of the demolition campaign is still to come since the LP and the Palace alliance are all bothered by the recovery of public trust on Binay not only in the regular Pulse Asia and Social Weather Stations surveys but likely also in the heavily-funded internal polls that the Palace regularly conducts.

 

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The recovery in Binay’s trust ratings means that the public is getting tired of the political smears or has gotten wind of the end goal of the demolition job against Binay which is to pressure him to quit the presidential race.

Binay has said that the Ombudsman cases are all based on the unsubstantiated cases hurled against him by his political opponents and used as basis for the never ending Senate inquisition.

Former Makati City Vice Mayor Ernest Mercado or Renato Bondal, who have their own political agenda in Makati City, are almost always the sources of the Binay allegations which the troika of Senators Koko Pimentel, Alan Peter Cayetano and Trillanes recycles into supposed evidence of Binay’s misdeeds.

The Office of the Ombudsman, instead of conducting its own impartial investigation on the allegations raised, merely relied on the politically-motivated Senate inquisition.

Binay uses the cases filed with the Ombudsman related to the anomalous deals in the Metro Rail Transit 3 (MRT-3) that had turned the train system into a disaster waiting to happen as reference point on the selective justice under the Aquino administration.


Let’s buy Made-in-China trains instead? MRT-3 train derailed last August. Inset below, MRT-3 general manager Vitangcol whom the Czech ambassador accused as attempting a $30 million extortion when Roxas, above, was DOTC secretary. MANILA TIMES FILE PHOTO

The highest official indicted in the botched deal for the supply of train coaches with Czech firm Inekon was MRT-3 former general manager Al Vitangcol III who himself believes he was made a scapegoat for high officials of the LP, the current Transport Secretary Jun Abaya and presumptive LP standard bearer Interior Secretary Mar Roxas who preceded Abaya as head of the Department of Transportation and Communications.

Abaya is wondering why the charges stopped at him while the signing officials are the LP bigwigs.

That question is almost similar to those raised by the three Palace targets in the P10-billion pork barrel scam, Senators Juan Ponce Enrile, Jinggoy Estrada and Bong Revilla.

The question was why Budget Secretary Butch Abad, the LP strategist, is off the hook, when it he who signs the releases of funds from the budget.

Abad was also identified by Napoles herself as her mentor in the Priority Development Assistance Fund scam.

The smear job on Binay is on high gear after making clear he is on the other side of the yellow fence.


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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