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

VP BINAY EYEING SANTIAGO AS RUNNING MATE


AUGUST 6 ---Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago and Vice President Jejomar Binay. INQUIRER FILE PHOTOS GERONA, TARLC, AUGUST 10, 2015  (INQUIRER) By: Gabriel Cardinoza @inquirerdotnet– In his visit to this town on Thursday, Vice President Jejomar Binay confirmed that Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago was among those being considered by a search committee as his running mate in the 2016 elections. Binay did not give other details. He was also mum on the composition of his Senate slate but he was accompanied here on Thursday by lawyer Harry Roque Jr. and Princess Jacel Kiram, who are among those reported being considered in the opposition’s senatorial slate. With the support of former Tarlac Rep. Jose Cojuangco Jr., President Benigno Aquino III’s uncle, and the warm welcome he received from the people, Binay said he was optimistic that he would win in the province. THIS IS THE FULL REPORT

ALSO: Binay’s UNA ties up with Cavite’s Partido Magdalo


AUGUST 1 --Unification. Vice President Jejomar Binay and Cavite Gov. Juanito Remulla Jr. take their oaths in Kawit, Cavite, following an agreement to unite the UNA and Magdalo political parties. Danny Pata THE United Nationalist Alliance of Vice President Jejomar Binay has formally tied up with the Partido Magdalo of Cavite after Binay and Cavite governor Jonvic Remulla signed a covenant of unity.
The coalition between UNA and Partido Magdalo is expected to strengthen Binay’s support in vote-rich Cavite. Cavite has over 1.6 million voters. Excluding the National Capital Region, it comes second only to Cebu in the number of registered voters. Binay led the oath taking of the officials under the Partido Magdalo from 23 municipalities and cities and 859 villages as members of UNA. He said he was honored to be part of the partnership between the two political parties. READ MORE...RELATED STORY...

ALSO: ‘Attacks won’t dent Noy popularity, daang matuwid’


AUGUST 10 --COLOMA
As far as Malacañang is concerned, the popularity of President Aquino is rock solid. File photo MANILA, Philippines - As far as Malacañang is concerned, the popularity of President Aquino is rock solid and attacks from Vice President Jejomar Binay will not make any dent in the runup to the May 2016 general elections, Presidential Communications Operations Office Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. said yesterday. Binay, who heads the opposition United Nationalist Alliance (UNA), has repeatedly described the Aquino administration as “inept and insensitive” to the plight of the poor, and that the ruling Liberal Party is apparently laying down the groundwork for a 20-year dictatorial rule. Coloma took exception, however, to claims about authoritarian rule. He said Binay’s claims simply defy logic, pointing out Aquino only wants continuity of the reforms he started and that government is preparing for credible elections and a smooth transition to the next administration. Coloma said the need for the straight path and good governance to continue beyond the term of Aquino was crucial for the country to achieve sustained growth, whoever would be elected into office in 2016. Binay’s continued attacks against the administration apparently divided Malacañang spokespersons in how to counter attack. Coloma, for his part, prefers to be diplomatic while presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda engages in a word war with Binay’s spokesmen. Reporters covering Malacañang observed how “cheap and trivial” the issues have become, to the point where Lacierda, a lawyer, voluntarily described Binay’s true state of the nation address as “charot,” which is Filipino gay slang for joke. One journalist lamented how the political discourse has deteriorated. “It’s shameful that spokespersons – who are supposed to be respectable – engage in such lingo,” one of them said. READ MORE...

ALSO: Daang matuwid is about clinging to power – VP


AUGUST 8 --Vice President Jejomar Binay
Vice President Jejomar Binay has accused the ruling Liberal Party (LP) of laying the groundwork for a dictatorial government in the guise of extending the so-called daang matuwid (straight path), the anti-corruption campaign of the Aquino administration. Binay made the accusation on Thursday in reaction to Malacañang’s recent statement that the administration party needs 18 to 20 years for President Aquino’s straight path to become institutionalized. Joey Salgado, head of the media affairs division of the Office of the Vice President, noted that presidential spokesperson Edwin Lacierda said it would take from 18 to 20 years for the reforms under daang matuwid to take root. The Vice President said Malacañang’s statement only reveals its “desperation to stay in power.” “They’re really clinging tightly to power. We will know (in next year’s elections). The people will be the judge if they really believe this straight path. If they want 20 years, that means that they really aspire for a dictatorial government,” Binay said in an interview in Gerona town in Tarlac, the home province of Aquino. “Under the term of President Aquino, the judiciary will be destroyed, the institution of the Vice President will be destroyed, until they’re done. On the third phase, they would put a dictatorial government,” he said. Binay earlier said the 18-year plan included the election of Interior Secretary Manuel Roxas in 2016, followed by Sen. Grace Poe in 2022. Last week, Aquino endorsed Roxas as the LP’s standard-bearer for the 2016 presidential elections. LP continues to woo Poe, who has been leading the presidential polls, to run as Roxas’ running mate. “The cat is finally out of the bag. For once Secretary Lacierda said something true. The LP’s grand plan is to impose one-party dictatorship,” Salgado said. “Not only 20 years of insensitive and inept governance. And 20 years of large-scale corruption involving allies and partymates and suppression of the opposition,” he added. Binay was also surprised at the warm welcome from local officials and residents of Tarlac. “Their warm welcome to me is motivating,” he said in Filipino. READ MORE...

ALSO: Drilon says Roxas sans Poe iffy


AUGUST 8 --Drilon
SENATE President Franklin Drilon on Friday could not say if Interior Secretary Manuel Roxas II, the Liberal Party’s standard bearer, could win the presidency in the May 2016 elections without Senator Grace Poe. The ruling LP has been wooing Poe, the perceived front runner in next year’s presidential race, to be Roxas’ running mate. Roxas has also invited Poe to be his vice president on national television and told her he wanted her to join him in continuing President Benigno Aquino III’s “Daang Matuwid” program. But Drilon said Roxas would be amassing votes without Poe. “Mar will build up his strength as a presidential candidate,” Drilon said. He made his statement even as Aquino on Friday praised Roxas for providing exemplary leadership to the Interior Department. Aquino continued his praise for Roxas a week after he endorsed him as the LP’s standard bearer. Aquino, in his speech during the 114th Police Service Anniversary rites of the Philippine National Police in Camp Crame, said Roxas provided “exemplary leadership” to the DILG. “We thank Secretary Mar Roxas for his exemplary leadership in the DILG,” Aquino said. Political observers believe Poe will increase Roxas’ chances of winning the presidential elections. READ MORE...

ALSO: Prove sincerity by passing 3 bills, bets dared by Miriam


AUGUST 8 --SENATOR Miriam Defensor-Santiago on Friday challenged those who have declared their intention to run for President in 2016 to push for the passage of what she called “sincerity bills.” She said the sincerity bills were the Anti-Political Dynasty Bill, the Anti-Premature Campaigning Bill, and the Anti-Epal Bill. She said voters should ask the presidential candidates their stand on these three pending measures. She said none of these bills had been identified as priority measures in the 3rd regular session of the present Congress not even the Anti-Political Dynasty Bill, which President Aquino mentioned during his last State-of-the-Nation Address in July. Santiago said self-interest would ensure that the politicians who would be adversely affected by any of these laws will actively campaign against it. “But if these early presidential contenders mean what they say in media, they must lobby for these bills,” said Santiago who might run for President with her cancer in check. Santiago’s name has been floated as among the running mate of Vice President Jejomar Binay, the first to declare that he is running for President in next year’s elections. Arveen Patria, Santiago’s media relations officer, quoted the senator as saying “we will not comment on that.” Santiago has constantly asked her colleagues to act on the three measures, which have been languishing at the committee level since they were filed. READ MORE...

ALSO PORK INVOLVEMENT: Gringo, TESDA head in 3rd PDAF cases


AUGUST 8 --Sen. Gregorio Honasan 
The National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) yesterday filed criminal charges against the third batch of incumbent and former lawmakers led by Sen. Gregorio Honasan for alleged involvement in the pork barrel fund scam.
Also named respondents were former CIBAC party-list representative and now Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) director general Joel Villanueva, Cagayan de Oro Rep. Rufus Rodriguez, Manila Rep. Amado Bagatsing, La Union Rep. Victor Ortega and Abono party-list Rep. Conrado Estrella III, former La Union representative and now Gov. Manuel Ortega, former Abono party-list representative Robert Raymundo Estrella and former Zamboanga del Sur representative Isidro Real Jr. The NBI filed charges of graft, malversation of public funds and direct bribery against the respondents, including businesswoman Janet Lim-Napoles, before the Office of the Ombudsman. In separate complaints, the NBI sought the indictment of nine incumbent and former lawmakers, Napoles and 30 others for malversation, direct bribery and graft and violations of Republic Act 3019 or the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act for allegedly pocketing varying amounts from the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF). “The above lawmakers used their PDAF in illegal transactions with Janet Lim-Napoles’ NGOs (non-government organizations) to enable themselves to profit from the simulated disbursement and utilization of their PDAF,” the NBI alleged in its complaint. The NBI also filed the same charges against the representatives of the lawmakers, other officials of implementing agencies – Technology Resource Center (TRC), National Livelihood Development Corp. (NLDC) and National Agribusiness Corp. (NABCOR) – and presidents of bogus NGOs of Napoles. Among them were TRC director general Dennis Cunanan and former NABCOR president Alan Javellana, who were both already indicted before the Sandiganbayan in the first two batches of PDAF cases. READ MORE...


READ FULL MEDIA REPORTS HERE:

Binay eyeing Santiago as running mate


Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago and Vice President Jejomar Binay. INQUIRER FILE PHOTOS

GERONA, TARLC, AUGUST 10, 2015  
(INQUIRER) By: Gabriel Cardinoza @inquirerdotnet– In his visit to this town on Thursday, Vice President Jejomar Binay confirmed that Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago was among those being considered by a search committee as his running mate in the 2016 elections.
Binay did not give other details.

He was also mum on the composition of his Senate slate but he was accompanied here on Thursday by lawyer Harry Roque Jr. and Princess Jacel Kiram, who are among those reported being considered in the opposition’s senatorial slate.

With the support of former Tarlac Rep. Jose Cojuangco Jr., President Benigno Aquino III’s uncle, and the warm welcome he received from the people, Binay said he was optimistic that he would win in the province.


MANILA STANDARD

Binay’s UNA ties up with Cavite’s Magdalo By Vito Barcelo | Aug. 01, 2015 at 12:01am


Unification. Vice President Jejomar Binay and Cavite Gov. Juanito Remulla Jr. take their oaths in Kawit, Cavite, following an agreement to unite the UNA and Magdalo political parties. Danny Pata

THE United Nationalist Alliance of Vice President Jejomar Binay has formally tied up with the Partido Magdalo of Cavite after Binay and Cavite governor Jonvic Remulla signed a covenant of unity.

The coalition between UNA and Partido Magdalo is expected to strengthen Binay’s support in vote-rich Cavite.

Cavite has over 1.6 million voters. Excluding the National Capital Region, it comes second only to Cebu in the number of registered voters.

Binay led the oath taking of the officials under the Partido Magdalo from 23 municipalities and cities and 859 villages as members of UNA.

He said he was honored to be part of the partnership between the two political parties.

READ MORE...

He cited Partido Magdalo’s social programs in Cavite and praised its initiatives to help the poor.

“Cavite is like Makati. It radiates because of good leaders who are experienced and devoted to public service,” Binay said.

He also praised Jonvic for his good governance that, he said, is boosting Cavite’s economy.

Binay said that should he win the presidency, he will push to build an international airport in Cavite to help decongest the air traffic in Metro Manila.

“In my administration, you will no longer wait for a program to be implemented. No more delays. No more insensitive and incompetent government,” he said. Vito Barcelo

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

RELATED FROM WIKIPEDIA

Partido Magdalo is one of the political parties in the Philippines founded by Former Governor Juanito Remulla Sr. and Former Congressman Renato P. Dragon.

It is a local political party in Cavite.The new leaders of this party is Incumbent Cavite Governor Juanito Victor "Jonvic" Remulla, Jr. and Cavite Congressman Jesus "Boying" Remulla (7th District).

The party in 2010

Province of Cavite was divided into 7 Congressional Districts. (originally 3 Districts) Partido Magdalo reclaimed its glory by winning the seat of power at the Provincial Capitol upon the victory of Governor Juanito Victor C. Remulla, Jr., son of former governor Juanito Remulla, founder of the party.

In Imus, Partido Magdalo also became victorious after Mayor Homer T. Saquilayan was elected against re-electionist mayor Emmanuel Maliksi by a wide margin. In the following weeks, Maliksi filed an electoral protest and was declared by the Imus Regional Trial Court the winner by 665 votes in 2011.

However, on March 12, 2013 he was declared by the Supreme Court the true winner, he took his oath six days later on March 18. On April 11, it reversed its ruling and remanded the case back to the COMELEC.

The Sangguniang Panlalawigan of Cavite (2010-2013) is composed of Partido Magdalo Members:
Hon. Dino Carlo R. Chua (Senior Board Member) - 1st District/ Hon. Cecille Miranda (Majority Floor Leader) - ABC President/ Hon. Marcos Amutan - 5th District/ Hon. Irene Bencito - 7th District / Hon. Maurito Sison - PCL President/

The party in 2013

In 2012, Liga ng mga Barangay Pres. Jolo Revilla agreed to team up with Gov. Remulla, to aim to defeat the Aquino-backed Rep. Ayong Maliksi and Vice-Governor Recto Cantimbuhan, which he dropped by the Liberals and replace Ronald Jay Lacson, son of Sen. Panfilo Lacson.

Remulla was also join the Lakas-CMD party of Sen. Bong Revilla, and one of the opposition party. Remulla and Revilla won against Maliksi and Lacson.

In the Congress only Lani Mercado-Revilla and Luis Ferrer IV won.

In the provincial board 8 out of 14 seats won, which led by Dino Chua.


PHILSTAR

‘Attacks won’t dent Noy popularity, daang matuwid’ By Delon Porcalla (The Philippine Star) | Updated August 10, 2015 - 12:00am 0 0 googleplus1 0


COLOMA

As far as Malacañang is concerned, the popularity of President Aquino is rock solid. File photo MANILA, Philippines - As far as Malacañang is concerned, the popularity of President Aquino is rock solid and attacks from Vice President Jejomar Binay will not make any dent in the runup to the May 2016 general elections, Presidential Communications Operations Office Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. said yesterday.

Binay, who heads the opposition United Nationalist Alliance (UNA), has repeatedly described the Aquino administration as “inept and insensitive” to the plight of the poor, and that the ruling Liberal Party is apparently laying down the groundwork for a 20-year dictatorial rule.

Coloma took exception, however, to claims about authoritarian rule.

He said Binay’s claims simply defy logic, pointing out Aquino only wants continuity of the reforms he started and that government is preparing for credible elections and a smooth transition to the next administration.

Coloma said the need for the straight path and good governance to continue beyond the term of Aquino was crucial for the country to achieve sustained growth, whoever would be elected into office in 2016.

Binay’s continued attacks against the administration apparently divided Malacañang spokespersons in how to counter attack.

Coloma, for his part, prefers to be diplomatic while presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda engages in a word war with Binay’s spokesmen.

Reporters covering Malacañang observed how “cheap and trivial” the issues have become, to the point where Lacierda, a lawyer, voluntarily described Binay’s true state of the nation address as “charot,” which is Filipino gay slang for joke.

One journalist lamented how the political discourse has deteriorated.

“It’s shameful that spokespersons – who are supposed to be respectable – engage in such lingo,” one of them said.

READ MORE...

While insiders believe the so-called “Samar” faction in Aquino’s Cabinet may have perished after Binay resigned and started attacking the administration, differences in the approach or strategy in media communications remain obvious.

“Ha! Ha! I love it that Vice President Binay is marching to the beat of our drums! The line in the sand has been drawn since VP Binay bitterly attacked the President after having failed to secure the endorsement of President Aquino,” Lacierda said.

“It is ‘daang matuwid’ (straight path) versus ‘daang baluktot’ (crooked path),” the spokesman said, as he continued to attack Binay’s spokesman Joey Salgado.

“Mr. Vice President, also a reminder to you, what have you been doing for the past five years? I drink Coke Zero. With due respect, please get our trivia straight,” Lacierda said of Binay, who advised him to cut back on his coffee as mention of his name makes his “blood rise.”

“I expected that you won’t get a simple trivia correct because up to now, you cannot even tell the truth on the allegations of corruption against you,” Lacierda told Palace reporters in a message he sent.

A sober and softer diplomatic approach is used by Coloma in his turn to speak for Aquino – usually on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays.

They all take turns and it is Lacierda’s turn to speak every Monday and Wednesday while Fridays and Saturdays are assigned to deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte.

“Our focus is the issue at hand. The focus in on the platform of the straight path governance,” Coloma, who supervises the entire state media, told reporters in a briefing.


PHILSTAR

Daang matuwid is about clinging to power – VP By Helen Flores (The Philippine Star) | Updated August 8, 2015 - 12:00am 0 0 googleplus0 0


Vice President Jejomar Binay

MANILA, Philippines - Vice President Jejomar Binay has accused the ruling Liberal Party (LP) of laying the groundwork for a dictatorial government in the guise of extending the so-called daang matuwid (straight path), the anti-corruption campaign of the Aquino administration.

Binay made the accusation on Thursday in reaction to Malacañang’s recent statement that the administration party needs 18 to 20 years for President Aquino’s straight path to become institutionalized.

Joey Salgado, head of the media affairs division of the Office of the Vice President, noted that presidential spokesperson Edwin Lacierda said it would take from 18 to 20 years for the reforms under daang matuwid to take root.

The Vice President said Malacañang’s statement only reveals its “desperation to stay in power.”

“They’re really clinging tightly to power. We will know (in next year’s elections). The people will be the judge if they really believe this straight path. If they want 20 years, that means that they really aspire for a dictatorial government,” Binay said in an interview in Gerona town in Tarlac, the home province of Aquino.

“Under the term of President Aquino, the judiciary will be destroyed, the institution of the Vice President will be destroyed, until they’re done. On the third phase, they would put a dictatorial government,” he said.

Binay earlier said the 18-year plan included the election of Interior Secretary Manuel Roxas in 2016, followed by Sen. Grace Poe in 2022.

Last week, Aquino endorsed Roxas as the LP’s standard-bearer for the 2016 presidential elections. LP continues to woo Poe, who has been leading the presidential polls, to run as Roxas’ running mate.

“The cat is finally out of the bag. For once Secretary Lacierda said something true. The LP’s grand plan is to impose one-party dictatorship,” Salgado said.

“Not only 20 years of insensitive and inept governance. And 20 years of large-scale corruption involving allies and partymates and suppression of the opposition,” he added.

Binay was also surprised at the warm welcome from local officials and residents of Tarlac.

“Their warm welcome to me is motivating,” he said in Filipino.

READ MORE...

Binay-Marcos tandem?

As to Binay’s possible running mate, he said the selection committee of his party United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) is still choosing their possible vice presidential candidate.

But some are hinting that it will be Sen. Ferdinand Marcos Jr.

“Your guess is as good as mine,” Binay told reporters during his visit in San Quintin, Pangasinan yesterday.

Binay also said that he sees no conflict with Marcos in case the senator becomes his running mate, although Binay fought against the regime of the late President Ferdinand Marcos.

The newly formed alliance of Kilusang Bagong Lipunan (KBL) and Partido ng Manggagawa at Magsasaka (PMM) expressed support for the possible tandem of Binay and Marcos.

Lawyer Oliver Lozano, KBL/PMM spokesman, told The STAR that the coalition is also pushing for the presidential candidacy of Marcos and they will still support the senator if he decides to be a vice presidential candidate.

“It’s now or never. The 2016 election is ripe for Sen. Marcos to seek higher office,” Lozano added.

Aside from Marcos, other names are coming out as UNA’s vice presidential candidate.

“It is still a secret,” Binay said in Filipino. “It’s still in the selection committee.”

Binay also said that should he be elected president in 2016, he wants to leave a legacy of a unifying administration.

Former Pangasinan representative Mark Cojuangco said he will stand by his earlier endorsement for the presidential bid of Binay.

Cojuangco said that while he and Binay were not allies in the ‘80s and ‘90s, he has high respect for Binay, especially when he became mayor of Makati and introduced reforms mostly benefiting residents.

Binay reciprocated Cojuangco’s endorsement by expressing support to Cojuangco’s gubernatorial bid in 2016, saying successful businessmen like the former congressman usually bring with them stories of progress in their administration. – With Eva Visperas, Perseus Echeminada, Ric Sapnu


MANILA STANDARD

Drilon says Roxas sans Poe iffy By Macon Ramos-Araneta, Sandy Araneta | Aug. 08, 2015 at 12:01am


Drilon

SENATE President Franklin Drilon on Friday could not say if Interior Secretary Manuel Roxas II, the Liberal Party’s standard bearer, could win the presidency in the May 2016 elections without Senator Grace Poe.

The ruling LP has been wooing Poe, the perceived front runner in next year’s presidential race, to be Roxas’ running mate.

Roxas has also invited Poe to be his vice president on national television and told her he wanted her to join him in continuing President Benigno Aquino III’s “Daang Matuwid” program.

But Drilon said Roxas would be amassing votes without Poe.

“Mar will build up his strength as a presidential candidate,” Drilon said.

He made his statement even as Aquino on Friday praised Roxas for providing exemplary leadership to the Interior Department.

Aquino continued his praise for Roxas a week after he endorsed him as the LP’s standard bearer.

Aquino, in his speech during the 114th Police Service Anniversary rites of the Philippine National Police in Camp Crame, said Roxas provided “exemplary leadership” to the DILG.

“We thank Secretary Mar Roxas for his exemplary leadership in the DILG,” Aquino said.

Political observers believe Poe will increase Roxas’ chances of winning the presidential elections.

READ MORE...

Drilon said he supported the “Mar-Grace” tandem, and that Poe had been an ally of the administration.

“She has been supportive of the administration in the Senate, and yes, we would like Grace Poe to be nominated as the running mate of Mar,” Drilon said

Poe, an independent candidate, was an adopted candidate of the President’s Team Pnoy in the last elections.

Drilon likewise said they fould in Grace Poe somebody who could support the reforms that the Aquino administration had been pushing and which they wished to continue in the next administration.

But Poe has maintained she has not yet made a decision if she would run for a higher position next year or stay on in her job as senator until 2019.


MANILA STANDARD

Prove sincerity by passing 3 bills, bets dared
By Macon Ramos-Araneta | Aug. 08, 2015 at 12:01am

SENATOR Miriam Defensor-Santiago on Friday challenged those who have declared their intention to run for President in 2016 to push for the passage of what she called “sincerity bills.”

She said the sincerity bills were the Anti-Political Dynasty Bill, the Anti-Premature Campaigning Bill, and the Anti-Epal Bill.

She said voters should ask the presidential candidates their stand on these three pending measures.

She said none of these bills had been identified as priority measures in the 3rd regular session of the present Congress not even the Anti-Political Dynasty Bill, which President Aquino mentioned during his last State-of-the-Nation Address in July.

Santiago said self-interest would ensure that the politicians who would be adversely affected by any of these laws will actively campaign against it.

“But if these early presidential contenders mean what they say in media, they must lobby for these bills,” said Santiago who might run for President with her cancer in check.

Santiago’s name has been floated as among the running mate of Vice President Jejomar Binay, the first to declare that he is running for President in next year’s elections.

Arveen Patria, Santiago’s media relations officer, quoted the senator as saying “we will not comment on that.”

Santiago has constantly asked her colleagues to act on the three measures, which have been languishing at the committee level since they were filed.

READ MORE...

She has two versions of the Anti-Political Dynasty Bill in the 16th Congress: Senate Bill 55, filed in July 2013, and SB 1580, which expands the prohibition up to the national level, filed in September 2013.

If approved, the bills will prohibit relatives within the 2nd civil degree of consanguinity or affinity from running for public office at the same time within the same province, city or municipality, or from occupying at the same time national positions such as those in the House of Representatives and the Senate.

“The Constitution regards political dynasties as evil, but the battle against such evil must now be led by the Congress, many of whose members suffer from a conflict of interest on the subject of political dynasties,” Santiago said.

She also filed SB 2445, or the Anti-Premature Campaigning Bill, in November 2014. This would prohibit candidates and even prospective candidates from campaigning or doing partisan activities a year before the elections.

“The prohibition against premature campaigning will level the playing field for candidates to equalize the situation between the popular or rich candidate, on one hand, and the lesser-known or poorer candidates on the other,” Santiago said.

SB 54, or the Anti-Signage of Public Works Act, which Santiago filed in July 2013, is more popularly known as the Anti-Epal Bill and was originally filed during the 13th Congress.

If enacted, it will prohibit public officials from affixing their names or photos on signs announcing a planned, ongoing, or finished public works project. It will also prohibit signs crediting a public official for any government project.


PHILSTAR

Gringo, TESDA head in 3rd PDAF cases By Michael Punongbayan (The Philippine Star) | Updated August 8, 2015 - 12:00am 0 85 googleplus0 0


Sen. Gregorio Honasan

MANILA, Philippines - The National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) yesterday filed criminal charges against the third batch of incumbent and former lawmakers led by Sen. Gregorio Honasan for alleged involvement in the pork barrel fund scam.

Also named respondents were former CIBAC party-list representative and now Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) director general Joel Villanueva, Cagayan de Oro Rep. Rufus Rodriguez, Manila Rep. Amado Bagatsing, La Union Rep. Victor Ortega and Abono party-list Rep. Conrado Estrella III, former La Union representative and now Gov. Manuel Ortega, former Abono party-list representative Robert Raymundo Estrella and former Zamboanga del Sur representative Isidro Real Jr.

The NBI filed charges of graft, malversation of public funds and direct bribery against the respondents, including businesswoman Janet Lim-Napoles, before the Office of the Ombudsman.

In separate complaints, the NBI sought the indictment of nine incumbent and former lawmakers, Napoles and 30 others for malversation, direct bribery and graft and violations of Republic Act 3019 or the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act for allegedly pocketing varying amounts from the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF).

“The above lawmakers used their PDAF in illegal transactions with Janet Lim-Napoles’ NGOs (non-government organizations) to enable themselves to profit from the simulated disbursement and utilization of their PDAF,” the NBI alleged in its complaint.

The NBI also filed the same charges against the representatives of the lawmakers, other officials of implementing agencies –

Technology Resource Center (TRC), National Livelihood Development Corp. (NLDC) and National Agribusiness Corp. (NABCOR) – and presidents of bogus NGOs of Napoles.

Among them were TRC director general Dennis Cunanan and former NABCOR president Alan Javellana, who were both already indicted before the Sandiganbayan in the first two batches of PDAF cases.

READ MORE...

The NBI said the probe showed Villanueva allegedly received P2.330 million in kickbacks from the scam; Honasan P1.750 million; Bagatsing P600,000; Governor Ortega P14.350 million and Rep. Ortega P9.587 million; Real P3.250 million; Rodriguez P2.099 million.

Estrella brothers Conrado and Robert bagged the highest kickbacks in the list for allegedly amassing P45.030 million and P22.675 million, respectively.

The NBI was already set to file the charges early last year, but the filing with the ombudsman’s office was delayed several times.

Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales, through her investigators, is expected to evaluate the charges and determine if further fact-finding will be conducted or if a preliminary investigation will now begin to determine whether there is probable cause to indict the respondents before the Sandiganbayan.

A separate case Hours after the NBI filed the charges, the ombudsman announced that its own probers have found sufficient evidence to proceed with its investigation against Villanueva for his alleged involvement in the pork barrel fund scam.

The anti-graft agency said the fact-finding probe against Villanueva, former agriculture secretary Arthur Yap and nine others in connection with the anomalous utilization of the PDAF amounting to P10 million in 2008 has ripened into a full-blown preliminary investigation.

Villanueva and Yap are facing investigation for charges involving graft, malversation, falsification of public documents and administrative charges for grave misconduct and conduct prejudicial to the best interest of the service.

The Office of the Ombudsman revealed how its Field Investigation Office (FIO) investigators obtained documents showing that on June 10, 2008, the Department of Budget and Management issued two Special Allotment Release Orders totaling P10 million as part of Villanueva’s PDAF to finance an agriculture-based livelihood project for the distribution of pechay, radish, sitaw, okra and yellow corn seedlings, liquid fertilizers and post-harvest facility equipment like a thresher in Compostela Valley.

Two days later, Villanueva allegedly wrote Yap requesting the transfer of funds to NABCOR as the implementing agency.

On June 19, 2008, a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) was entered into by the DA and NABCOR for the project implementation, followed by another agreement between NABCOR and Aaron Foundation Philippines Inc. (AFPI) with the latter as project implementer.


3rd last batch: Sen. Gregorio Honasan II, Tesda Director General Joel Villanueva, Manila Rep. Amado Bagatsing, former La Union Rep. Manuel Ortega INQUIRER FILE PHOTOS

The FIO also found that NABCOR was not identified as an implementing agency authorized to implement PDAF projects and that AFPI, having a capital stock contribution of only P68,000, had no capacity to implement the project.

The FIO also found the MOA did not include technical information such as project name, intended beneficiaries, benefits, project description, site location and time schedules for project monitoring.

Based on a report of the Commission on Audit (COA), the Office of the Ombudsman said the supplier of the farm inputs and farm implement is not a licensed fertilizer distributor and has no existing business name registration. Neither could investigators locate the supplier in its given address in Malabon City.

On-site field validation also discovered that not a single individual in the list of beneficiaries was identified as a bona fide resident of the province.

Local officials said no agri-based livelihood project was implemented and neither was there any distribution of seedlings, liquid fertilizers or threshers.

Also included in the probe are representatives of NABCOR and AFPI identified as Allan Javellana, Rhodora Mendoza Charie Sarah Saquing, Romulo Relevo, Maria Ninez Guañizo, Ma. Julie Villaralvo-Johnson, Delia Ladera, Ronald Samonte and Alfredo Ronquillo.

‘Bad timing’ Villanueva, who happened to be at the Office of the Ombudsman to attend to a case filed against former TESDA officials, said he was surprised and disappointed.

“I feel bad because of the timing,” he said.

He denied the accusations that he was involved in the pork barrel fund scam of Napoles, claiming his supposed signatures in documents linking him to the scam were forged.

“I can defend my case even in Plaza Miranda because I did not steal any money from government coffers,” he said.

Honasan was not available for comment because he was out of town, according to his staff.

However, back in July 2013 when he was first implicated in the scam, Honasan issued his only statement regarding the issue through his Twitter account.

“All records regarding use of development funds being managed by my office are subject to accounting and auditing procedures according to law,” Honasan said.

“Any allegations, insinuations of irregularity must be backed up by evidence in the proper courts of law subject to due process and not politically motivated, suspicious or malicious trial by publicity,” he added.

Estrella, for his part, issued a statement denying that he had anything to do with the misuse of his PDAF.


DOJ

“The DOJ’s decision to recommend the filing of charges against us before the Office of the Ombudsman is apparently a knee-jerk reaction to opposition’s generated criticism that the DOJ is delaying the PDAF scam cases when, in fact, there is no solid evidence against us,” Estrella said.

“Clearly, there is lack of due process here because when the whistle-blowers were called to get their statements, we were never given a chance to air our side and to dispute their allegation against us. Definitely, there is injustice here,” he added.

“I can’t understand why there is still a need for the DOJ to investigate when the ombudsman has already conducted its investigation,” Estrella complained.

Bagatsing, for his part, questioned his inclusion in the charge sheet and vowed to take legal action.

Bagatsing said he filed perjury charges against his accusers in August last year, and Napoles made a public apology and retracted her statement.

“How could there be a case when there is no accuser? I’m really perplexed,” Bagatsing said.

“I think I was the only one who filed a perjury complaint against her (Napoles) because my conscience is clean. My name must have been included because of politics, but still I don’t know what for. Maybe it’s convenient,” the Manila lawmaker said.

Rodriguez claimed the DOJ violated his rights when it decided to file charges against them in connection with the use of their pork barrel funds.

“There was no due process. I was not called to any investigation or hearing. I was not informed of the charges and the evidence. I was not given the opportunity to confront witnesses, if there is any. I was not given the chance to present my side and my evidence,” Rodriguez said.

Rodriguez said he would question before the Supreme Court the lack of due process in DOJ’s handling of his case.

“The Office of the Ombudsman should return the cases to the DOJ for proper investigation,” he said.

Rodriguez added that he allocated funds in good faith to the TLRC but did not know that the agency gave away his allocation to bogus NGOs controlled by Napoles.

Rodriguez also claimed his signatures were forged.

“I do not know Napoles or any of her people or NGOs. I have a report from the National Bureau of Investigation that they forged my signatures,” he said.

He said he could not understand why Justice Secretary Leila de Lima allowed her investigations to violate their right to due process.

Rodriguez refused to ascribe any political motive to what De Lima did or did not do. De Lima plans to run for senator in the 2016 elections.

No politics involved De Lima, who approved the “third and final batch of PDAF cases” related to Napoles’ transactions covering the period of 2007 to 2009, admitted that there was indeed a delay in this third batch of PDAF cases.

But she explained the delay was due to the time taken by NBI probers to address the issue of authenticity of signatures raised by five of the lawmakers implicated in this batch. – Edu Punay, Jess Diaz, Delon Porcalla, Helen Flores, Paolo Romero, Marvin Sy, Aie Balagtas-See, Christina Mendez


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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