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RIZAL MONUMENT ON ROXAS BLVD BEAMING WITH COLORFUL LIGHTS


DECEMBER 19 -Rizal Monument along Roxas Boulevard beaming with lights
Colorful lights illuminate the Rizal Monument in Rizal Park to make celebrations of Christmas and New Year come alive. Elizabeth Espino, executive director of the National Parks Development Committee (NPDC), said yesterday promenaders are now enjoying the agency’s Rizal Monument Light and Sound Project, which began on Thursday and will be featured for 18 days or until Jan. 3.
Espino said they had lights installed on opposite sides of the Rizal Monument along Roxas Boulevard facing Manila Bay. This is the first time that the NPDC has arranged lights and sound for the monument for Christmas, she said. She noted that there are more park goers during Christmas and New Year than any other days of the year. On a regular day, the crowd averages about 4,000 to 5,000, while on weekends there are 20,000 to 30,000 people. But during Christmas, the crowd swells to a million, she said. “It’s better viewed across the street, for instance if you will be positioned at the two carabao statues you could see the colorful lights that illuminate not only the Rizal Monument but also the flagpole and surrounding trees.” A 20-minute light and sound show will be played every hour from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. It will feature “Bayan Ko” and popular Christmas carols, Espino said. READ MORE...

ALSO: Why Bulacan is the culture capital of the Philippines


DECEMBER 20 -BARASOAIN Church, birthplace of the first constitutional democracy in Asia. PHOTOS BY RICHARD A. REYES MENTION Bulacan and one gets the impression the whole province is dotted with candy factories and the Bulaqueños have made a pastime of eating dessert. But there’s so much more to the place than Bulacan sweets. Among those that have also become parts of our national culture and consciousness are Baliwag buntal hat; Meycauayan gold filigree; sukang Paombong; sayaw Obando; Bocaue fluvial parade; Kapitangan Lenten crucifixion; Angat Dam; Baliwag Transit; Barasoain Church; Prince of Tagalog Poets; Malolos Constitution; Pact of Biak-na-Bato; Divine Mercy National Shrine; The Great Propagandist; Philippine Arena; Letter to the Women of Malolos; “Bituing Marikit”; Hero of Tirad Pass; “La Bulaqueña.” Bulacan is, in fact, one of the country’s provinces with the richest culture and history. It must be the only province that has representatives in almost every category of the Order of National Artists: Antonino Buenaventura (Music); Ernani Cuenco (Music); Levi Celerio (Music); Honorata “Atang” de la Rama (Theater); Guillermo Tolentino (Sculpture); Gerardo de Leon (Film); Francisca Reyes Aquino (Dance); José Joya (Visual Arts); Amado V. Hernández (Literature); Virgilio Almario, aka Rio Alma (Literature). READ MORE...MORE PHOTOS OF CULTURAL PROPERTIES...

ALSO: Angry single men stage anti-Christmas rally in Tokyo


DECEMBER 20 -Members of a group of men calling themselves, "Losers with Women"-marched through Tokyo's streets
Anti-Christmas protesters calling themselves “Losers with Women” marched through Tokyo’s streets Saturday, bashing the upcoming holiday as a capitalist ploy that also discriminates against singletons. The group of about 20 — part of the Communist-inspired group that routinely protests Western holidays — marched under angry banners that read “Smash Christmas!” in Tokyo’s Shibuya district, where couples and families strolled for holiday shopping. The scrooges — mostly single men — said they were against capitalism and were opposed to the commercialization of Christmas. “In this world, money is extracted from people in love, and happy people support capitalism,” said the head of the organization, formally called Kakumeiteki Hi-mote Domei, or the Revolutionary Losers’ League. READ MORE...

ALSO: PH Presidents must be world-class - FVR


DECEMBER 16 -Former President Fidel Ramos on Duterte & Roxas fight: “The Philippine president must be world-class.”  Thus said former president Fidel V. Ramos when asked about his thoughts on the ongoing heated exchange between presidential aspirants Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte and Liberal Party standard-bearer Mar Roxas, which had led to challenges to a slapping match, a fistfight and a gun duel. Asked about his advice to presidential hopefuls, Ramos on Wednesday said the country’s next top leader should be competitive not only nationally but also globally. “My advice is very simple. Act like a Philippine president that must be very competitive nationally. Ikukumpara ka sa ibang pangulo ng Pilipinas (You will be compared to other Philippine presidents),” Ramos said during the “Pandesal forum” at the Kamuning Bakery Cafe in Quezon City. “We’re no longer in the period of Antonio Luna and Andres Bonifacio. Ang magkakasama hindi nagpapatayan, kundi nagbubuklod para iangat ang bayan nating Pilipinas (Those who are together do not kill each other but unite to move our country, the Philippines, forward),” he added. Stressing the importance of being united in one goal, Ramos said the serious problems hounding the Philippines like poverty would not be solved by slapping. “We should be one Philippine team. That’s the way to compete. You can’t go up in the world if we are fragmented as we are now,” Ramos said. “We must look beyond this generation. ‘Yan ang hangarin ng mga leader, ‘yan ang ambisyon ng Pilipinas(That;s what leaders aim for, that the ambition of the Philippines)—to have a better future for everyone,” he added. The word war between Duterte and Roxas started when the tough-talking mayor claimed that the administration bet did not actually graduate from the prestigious Wharton School. Roxas retortd by daring Duterte to slap him if he can prove his Wharton degree was indeed a “myth” and that he would engage him in a slapping match. Roxas later on said that slapping was not very manly, challenging Duterte to a fistfight instead. READ: Roxas to Duterte: Slap me if you can prove my Wharton degree is fake Duterte’s challenge came after Roxas tagged the peace and order situation in Davao City as myth, contrary to the mayor and locals’ claims. Ramos, a known friend and supporter of Duterte, noted that he was one of the first to say that the Philippines needed a president from Mindanao, but lamented how the presidential derby has boiled down to a physical contest. READ MORE...

ALSO Ramos tells Duterte, Roxas: Act like global leaders


DECEMBER 16 -FVR
Former President Fidel V. Ramos said that if Mar Roxas and Rodrigo Duterte want to be President, they should act like one. The 87-year-old Ramos, whose term ended 17 years ago, said that Roxas and Duterte should realize that they would not only be compared to past Philippine Presidents but they would also be compared with other world leaders on the global stage. “My advice, simple: Act like a Philippine President who must be competitive nationally because you will be compared with other Philippine Presidents. But this is now the 21st century, and the Philippine President must be world-class. We are not anymore in the period of Antonio Luna, Emilio Aguinaldo and Andres Bonifacio. Our countrymen should not kill each other, they should unite to develop our nation,” Ramos said. READ: Roxas: Duterte a friend, but friendship should be based on truth The presidential candidates should realize that they would serve as a national model when they appear in international meetings such as with the United Nations, Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation, and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, Ramos said in a breakfast forum at Kamuning Bakery in Quezon City. Ramos also weighed in on the possibility that two front-runners in the tight presidential race would be disqualified by the Commission on Elections (Comelec). “Let us give the benefit of the doubt to the people directly concerned. Let the people decide,” he said. Ramos warned that that the public may be left with only one choice for President if “this process of elimination” would continue, referring to the disqualification cases against Duterte and Sen. Grace Poe. READ MORE...RELATED, Anyone but Roxas? Duterte to back Binay if he, Poe will be DQ’ed...AND, Poe vs Duterte vs Binay vs Roxas...

ALSO Round 1: Comelec clears Duterte COC; Round 2 known on Friday


DECEMBER 17 -Davao City Mayor Rodrigo “Rody” Duterte won the first round of his legal battle for a slot in next year’s presidential elections after the Commission on Elections (Comelec) on Thursday accepted his certificate of candidacy (COC) as a substitute candidate of PDP-Laban. Round 2, however, is set to unfold on Friday morning when the Comelec’s First Division tackles a disqualification case against the tough-talking mayor. The disqualification case has been submitted for resolution last Tuesday after the petitioner, broadcaster Ruben Castor, failed to appear before the Comelec for preliminary conference and marking of evidence in preparation for oral arguments the following day. The First Division, headed by Commissioner Christian Robert Lim with Commissioners Rowena Guanzon and Luie Tito Guia as members, is set to hear the case. In his petition, Castor questioned the validity of Duterte’s COC, claiming it was “defective.” Among those that the First Division will tackle in today’s hearing are Duterte’s notarized COC for mayor and President, the date he withdrew his COC for mayor and the date he filed his COC for President and the notarized contents of the two COC, among others. Under the process of substitution, Duterte has to withdraw his COC for mayor of Davao City, take his oath as member of the PDP-Laban and submit a certificate of nomination and acceptance or CONA from his political party. Just hours after Duterte’s COC for President was filed, Castor, represented by lawyers Oliver Lozano and Evangeline Lozano Endriano, immediately filed a petition seeking to nullify the mayor’s COC. In seeking the disqualification of Duterte, he claimed that the COC of Martin Diño was not for President but for mayor of Pasay City (Metro Manila), thus he can only withdraw his candidacy for mayor, not for President. READ MORE...


READ FULL MEDIA REPORTS HERE:

Rizal Monument along Roxas Boulevard beaming with lights


Rizal Monument along Roxas Boulevard beaming with lights

MANILA, DECEMBER 21, 2015 (PHILSTAR) By Evelyn Macairan December 19, 2015 -- Colorful lights illuminate the Rizal Monument in Rizal Park to make celebrations of Christmas and New Year come alive.

Elizabeth Espino, executive director of the National Parks Development Committee (NPDC), said yesterday promenaders are now enjoying the agency’s Rizal Monument Light and Sound Project, which began on Thursday and will be featured for 18 days or until Jan. 3.

Espino said they had lights installed on opposite sides of the Rizal Monument along Roxas Boulevard facing Manila Bay.

This is the first time that the NPDC has arranged lights and sound for the monument for Christmas, she said.

She noted that there are more park goers during Christmas and New Year than any other days of the year.

On a regular day, the crowd averages about 4,000 to 5,000, while on weekends there are 20,000 to 30,000 people. But during Christmas, the crowd swells to a million, she said.

“It’s better viewed across the street, for instance if you will be positioned at the two carabao statues you could see the colorful lights that illuminate not only the Rizal Monument but also the flagpole and surrounding trees.”

A 20-minute light and sound show will be played every hour from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. It will feature “Bayan Ko” and popular Christmas carols, Espino said.

READ MORE...

During weekends and holidays, the show will be stretched to 30 minutes.

Espino gave assurance that no landmark was damaged in the installation of lights because these were placed in areas seldom visited by park goers.

She said they decided to put up lights in the area of the 140-acre park this holiday season “so that there will be activity at the Rizal Monument at nighttime.”

One of the most visited by people is the Dancing Fountain, the NPDC said.

“We want people to experience the entire park, even at nighttime. We want to remind them to honor Dr. Jose Rizal,” she said.

She said going to the park is one way of paying tribute to the country’s national hero.

Filipinos will commemorate the death anniversary of Rizal on Dec. 30.


INQUIRER

Why Bulacan is the culture capital of the Philippines By: Constantino C. Tejero @inquirerdotnet
Philippine Daily Inquirer 05:40 AM December 20th, 2015


BARASOAIN Church, birthplace of the first constitutional democracy in Asia. PHOTOS BY RICHARD A. REYES

MENTION Bulacan and one gets the impression the whole province is dotted with candy factories and the Bulaqueños have made a pastime of eating dessert. But there’s so much more to the place than Bulacan sweets.

Among those that have also become parts of our national culture and consciousness are Baliwag buntal hat; Meycauayan gold filigree; sukang Paombong; sayaw Obando; Bocaue fluvial parade; Kapitangan Lenten crucifixion; Angat Dam; Baliwag Transit; Barasoain Church; Prince of Tagalog Poets; Malolos Constitution; Pact of Biak-na-Bato; Divine Mercy National Shrine; The Great Propagandist; Philippine Arena; Letter to the Women of Malolos; “Bituing Marikit”; Hero of Tirad Pass; “La Bulaqueña.”

Bulacan is, in fact, one of the country’s provinces with the richest culture and history.

It must be the only province that has representatives in almost every category of the Order of National Artists: Antonino Buenaventura (Music); Ernani Cuenco (Music); Levi Celerio (Music); Honorata “Atang” de la Rama (Theater); Guillermo Tolentino (Sculpture); Gerardo de Leon (Film); Francisca Reyes Aquino (Dance); José Joya (Visual Arts); Amado V. Hernández (Literature); Virgilio Almario, aka Rio Alma (Literature).

READ MORE...

Other culture heroes from the province include poets Francisco Baltazar (Balagtas) and José Corazon de Jesus (Huseng Batute); comedians Rodolfo Vera Quizon (Dolphy) and Bert “Tawa” Marcelo; kundiman composers Nicanor Abelardo and Francisco Santiago; bodabil artist Katy de la Cruz; musician Francisco Buencamino; writers Valeriano Hernandez Peña and Teodoro Gener; pianist Cecile Licad; filmmaker Mike de Leon; production designer Dez Bautista; playwright and critic Nicanor Tiongson; movie producer Narcisa de Leon (Doña Sisang); entertainer and star-builder German Moreno (Kuya Germs); food historian Mila Enriquez; food artisan Luz Ocampo; chef Teresita Reyes (Mama Sita); fashion designer Josie Natori; jewelry designer Arnel Papa; radio host Dely Magpayo (Tiya Dely); komiks writer Carlo J. Caparas.

Among political figures who trace their roots in the province are former Presidents Corazon Aquino and Joseph Estrada; former First Lady Imelda Marcos; Senators Juan Ponce Enrile, Blas Ople and Mar Roxas.

Among heroes, of course, are propagandist Marcelo H. del Pilar and his nephew Gen. Gregorio del Pilar; revolutionary patriots Mariano Ponce, Pio Valenzuela and Maximo Viola; Gen. Anacleto Enriquez and his brother Vicente; Katipunera Trinidad Tecson; the 21 Women of Malolos.


LUIS Santos House, an Art Deco jewel

Former grandeur

Almost every one of Bulacan’s three cities (capital Malolos, Meycauayan, San José del Monte) and 21 municipalities is known for someone or something. Notable personalities, distinctive products, high-value crops, native delicacies, fiestas, arts and crafts, built heritage—they have it all.

Baliwag is known for buntal hats and bone-inlaid furniture.

Its Prusisyon ng mga Santo during the Holy Week, 96 lavishly decorated floats depicting the Passion, is considered the longest religious procession in the country.

Its old municipio, formerly the Joaquin Gonzalez House, was the first municipal hall in the country, established in 1899 at the start of the American regime. It was declared an Important Cultural Property by National Museum last August.

After two decades of being a vacant building, it has been restored and turned into the Baliwag Library and Museum. Exhibited in its many rooms are photographs, busts and memorabilia of the town’s prominent people, among them Mariano Ponce, Antonino Buenaventura, Roman Carreon, Bert “Tawa” Marcelo, Remedios Trinidad (mother of Rep. Imelda Marcos), Alfonso Ponce Enrile (father of Sen. Juan Ponce Enrile).

In one room is a vintage photo of Josefa Pepita Tiongson, known as Mutya ng Baliwag and said to be the inspiration of “Jocelynang Baliwag,” the kundiman of the Revolution. On a corner is a replica of her wedding dress meticulously crafted by National Artist Ramon Valera.

Bulakan, the province’s first capital, prides in the Vicente Enriquez House. This was built by Jacinto Icasiano for his daughter Josefa, who married the revolutionary colonel and adjutant of Gregorio del Pilar.

It is a big house with a stable, with a floor area of over 200 square meters. The lot was originally more than 7,000 square meters, says Icasiano’s great-grandson Jacinto Santiago Enriquez Jr.

His late mother Mila, the colonel’s daughter-in-law, had turned part of the ground floor into a laboratory-factory of her famous nipa-palm syrup and vinegar. The stable is now a storage place, the azotea a laundry area.

The ancestral house is dilapidated but still contains traces of its former grandeur. Some interior scenes of the film “Heneral Luna” was shot in its antechamber and salon.

Calumpit, known for its longganisa (sausage using fresh pork, Batangas peppercorn, Ilocos garlic, without preservatives), is the oldest town of Bulacan. Founded in 1575 by Augustinian missionaries, this used to be a separate province with Hagonoy and Apalit (now part of Pampanga) called provincia de Calonpite.

As early as 1572, the Augustinians built here the Church of St. John the Baptist, the oldest in the province. Lately the beautiful structure was embroiled in controversy when the parish priest painted the ancient stones’ pinkish tone into a vivid pink.


CALUMPIT Church, oldest in the province

Major events

Malolos, known for Eurobake original ensaymada and inipit, gogorya, empanada de kaliskis and jamon Bulakenya, is one of the most historical sites in the country. It was founded by the Augustinians in 1580, eight years after Manila.

Its Casa Real, built in 1580, had housed various government offices during the Spanish period; became the National Printing Press churning out the revolutionary organs La Independencia and Kalayaan; became the seat of the military government and a hospital during the American administration; a high-school annex and the Chamber of Commerce office during the Japanese occupation.

Probably the most recognizable church façade in the country is that of the Church of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, or Barasoain Church, as its image was ubiquitous in the old P10 bill and now in the P200 bill. Built in 1859, it was proclaimed a National Shrine in 1973.

It was the site of three major events in our history: the convening of the First Philippine Congress (Sept. 15, 1898); the drafting of the Malolos Constitution (Sept. 29, 1898-Jan. 21, 1899); and the inauguration of the First Philippine Republic (Jan. 23, 1899).

That earned the church the title Birthplace of the First Constitutional Democracy in Asia. Those events are memorialized in a sight-and-sound museum in its rectory.

Another historical church is Basilica Menor de la Nuestra Señora de la Inmaculada Concepción, or the Malolos Cathedral. In 1896, Gen. Emilio Aguinaldo made it his seat of power. Two years later, he turned its rectory into his presidential palace, where he held office until it was burned down by the Americans.

In front of the church is a century-old siar tree (yellow flame tree or golden flamboyant) known as the Kalayaan Tree, where the revolutionaries used to conduct political discussions. It is said to have been planted by Aguinaldo during a lull in the Malolos Convention. Under it is a cluster monument of five heroic figures of concrete painted to resemble bronze, led by Gregorio del Pilar, a meeting represented by military, legislator, priest and woman revolutionary.


OLD Baliwag “municipio,” the first in the country, declared Important Cultural Property

Heritage district

Malolos’ built heritage is concentrated in the Kamestisuhan District. Dotted with about 15 ancestral houses, it is considered by some to be more significant than Vigan’s Calle Crisologo as most of the structures are historical.

The most well-preserved is the José Bautista House, a showroom of antiquity: chandeliers, fine furniture, paintings, ceiling murals, religious icons, heirlooms and memorabilia, including the original KKK flag.

Built in the Neoclassic style in 1855 and remodeled as French Art Nouveau in 1877, it must be the only house in the country with caryatids on its façade. Heir Dez Bautista, founder of the guild of production designers, says José Rizal had visited this house. It was at one time turned into a school by nuns.

Another well-preserved structure is the Adriano-Vasquez Mansion. It is styled in Art Nouveau and notable for its interior of gleaming dark hardwood, staircase of filigreed cast iron, stained-glass of green and white. Now the Meralco Building, it is a triumph of adaptive reuse.

An Art Deco jewel is the Luis Santos House, of powder-blue and white. On the lawn is a fountain with two nymphs, sculpted by National Artist Guillermo Tolentino. On the ceiling is a mural by National Artist Fernando Amorsolo.

The most historical is the site of the school established by the brave women of Malolos to whom Rizal wrote a letter of encouragement from London in 1889. Instituto de Mujeres opened in February 1889 and closed down three months later.

The structure is gone but a marker in tribute to the fighting spirit of those women has been installed by the gate of the new residence.


MALOLOS Cathedral, Aguinaldo’s seat of power

High-end industries

In Bustos is a modern-day “revolutionary” school, Bahay at Yaman ni San Martin de Porres, a 10-hectare complex built for street children in 2003 by Fr. Florentino Concepcion. The self-sufficient community has some 20 structures, most of them vividly painted and elaborately decorated, but the most distinctive are the five guesthouses constructed in the style of the Ivatan house.

Bustos is known to Metro Manilans for its dam, the longest rubber dam in Asia and second in the world.

A delicacy originating in this town is minasa, a rich cookie of cassava flour, egg yolk, butter and coconut cream that used to be prepared only for the rich but is now available to the masa as merienda fare and pasalubong. An eponymous festival is held in its honor.

Meycauayan (Tagalog for “where bamboos thrive”) is known not only for its bamboo products but especially its high-end cottage industries: jewelry, especially gold filigree; leather, from the oldest tannery in the country.

The Meycauayan Tree, a 160-year-old acacia at the patio of the Church of St. Francis of Assisi, has become a tourist attraction for its historical import. The young Manuel Quezon, serving as sexton in the church in 1890, used to play under this tree.

Marilao is known for its delicacies: suman pinipig (with shredded buko); pancit Marilao (with toppings of kamias and okoy); puto Popular (putong puti, putong pula and cochinta with “superior taste and texture,” traditionally prepared since 1947).

The town also attracts visitors with the National Shrine of the Divine Mercy.

Guiguinto is known for ornamental plants and garden landscaping. Halamanan festival highlights its people’s “ingenuity in the art of gardening, landscaping, seedling propagation, growing of plants.”

Bocaue, of course, is famous for its pyrotechnic and fireworks; the pagoda fluvial parade in veneration of Mahal na Krus sa Wawa; the St. Andrew Kim Taegon Shrine and, recently, the Philippine Arena.


KALAYAAN Tree in front of Malolos Cathedral rectory

Extravagant fiestas

Sta. Maria has the best chicharon (pork crackling), as testified by many. It is also known for its balut.

San Ildefonso and San Rafael have marbleized limestone and high-grade marble products (colored beige and tea rose).

Hagonoy’s extravagant fiestas attract visitors from far and wide. It is known as the seafood capital of Bulacan.

Obando’s fertility rite, in which childless couples dance for the intercessions of the Virgen de Salambao, San Pascual de Baylon and Sta. Clara, has long entered the national consciousness.

Pulilan has gaily decorated carabaos genuflecting in front of the church to honor San Isidro Labrador.

Plaridel has horses with colorful tilburies parading the streets to honor St. James the Apostle.

Angat has the Gawad Kalinga Enchanted Farm.

San José del Monte has Kaytitinga Falls.

San Miguel is known for Nanay Luz Ocampo’s pastillas with lacy wrappers and her artful food carving. Tourists flock here for the Biak-na-Bato National Park (campsite of Katipuneros); Sibul springs, Mt. Manalmon, Madlum caves and rivers.

Doña Remedios Trinidad, cooler in climate as it is nearest the Sierra Madre, has springs, waterfalls, rivers, forests, caves and limestone formations for ecotourism activities.

Norzagaray’s Angat and Ipo Dams at the foot of the mountain range are a major water and power supply for the National Capital Region (about 90 percent of the raw water requirements of Metro Manila).

The town’s high-tech dumpsite is being planned to be transformed into a tourist destination.


CEILING murals in José Bautista House

Intermingling cultures

Everything converges in Bulacan.

Surrounded by the northern cities of Metro Manila, the provinces of Pampanga, Nueva Ecija, Aurora, Quezon and Rizal, with Manila Bay on the southwest, it has mountains, plains and sea—making it rich in both natural resources and intermingling cultures.

With nearly four million people, it is the country’s second most-populous province (after Cavite). Its proximity to Metro Manila (11 km) makes it highly urbanized.

All buses that go to Northern Luzon pass through the province, thus it is called the Gateway to the North.

The province was originally called Meycauayan. As early as 1578, it was identified as “provincia de Bulacan,” named after the pueblo the Augustinians conquered that year.

With the reorganization of Philippine provinces by the American administration, the province was officially created on March 10, 1917. Its capital was Bulakan (from bulak, Tagalog for “cotton,” as the cotton tree kapok was said to be thriving in the area when the Spaniards came).

The Laguna copperplate inscription, dated 900 AD and discovered at Lumbang River in 1991, tells a much longer story. Written in Kavi (related to the ancient Sanskrit script baybayin), the inscription mentions place names now identified as an Obando barangay, a Norzagaray sitio, and Pulilan.

That means there were settlements in Bulacan nearly seven centuries before the coming of the Spaniards. Historians consider the copperplate date the beginning of recorded Philippine history, at the early part of that centuries-long period of stagnation in Europe called the Dark Ages.


INQUIRER

Angry single men stage anti-Christmas rally in Tokyo @inquirerdotnet Agence France-Presse
04:23 PM December 20th, 2015


Members of a group of men calling themselves, "Losers with Women"-marched through Tokyo's streets

Anti-Christmas protesters calling themselves “Losers with Women” marched through Tokyo’s streets Saturday, bashing the upcoming holiday as a capitalist ploy that also discriminates against singletons.

The group of about 20 — part of the Communist-inspired group that routinely protests Western holidays — marched under angry banners that read “Smash Christmas!” in Tokyo’s Shibuya district, where couples and families strolled for holiday shopping.

The scrooges — mostly single men — said they were against capitalism and were opposed to the commercialization of Christmas.

“In this world, money is extracted from people in love, and happy people support capitalism,” said the head of the organization, formally called Kakumeiteki Hi-mote Domei, or the Revolutionary Losers’ League.

READ MORE...

“Christmas is the most symbolic event for this,” he added.

The man, who identified himself only by the pseudonym Mark Water, said the rally was also in support of unloved men.


Members of "losers with women", march as they shout anti-Christmas slogans at Shibuya shopping district in Tokyo.PHOTO: AFP

“Unpopular men, who don’t have a girlfriend or are not married, are overly discriminated. We want to break this barrier,” he told AFP amid the shouting protesters.

In Japan, Christmas is not an official holiday and is mostly celebrated informally as a romantic event for couples, while the New Year’s day is an occasion for family reunion.

The Christian population remains small in the Asian country, stores offer special holiday sales and people decorate Christmas trees at home.

The group has held past marches to denounce imported Western holidays, including rallies against Valentine’s Day.


INQUIRER

FVR: PH president must be ‘world-class’ By: Yuji Vincent Gonzales @YGonzalesINQ
INQUIRER.net 11:42 AM December 16th, 2015 -



“The Philippine president must be world-class.”

MANILA -Thus said former president Fidel V. Ramos when asked about his thoughts on the ongoing heated exchange between presidential aspirants Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte and Liberal Party standard-bearer Mar Roxas, which had led to challenges to a slapping match, a fistfight and a gun duel.

Asked about his advice to presidential hopefuls, Ramos on Wednesday said the country’s next top leader should be competitive not only nationally but also globally.

“My advice is very simple. Act like a Philippine president that must be very competitive nationally. Ikukumpara ka sa ibang pangulo ng Pilipinas (You will be compared to other Philippine presidents),” Ramos said during the “Pandesal forum” at the Kamuning Bakery Cafe in Quezon City.

“We’re no longer in the period of Antonio Luna and Andres Bonifacio. Ang magkakasama hindi nagpapatayan, kundi nagbubuklod para iangat ang bayan nating Pilipinas (Those who are together do not kill each other but unite to move our country, the Philippines, forward),” he added.

Stressing the importance of being united in one goal, Ramos said the serious problems hounding the Philippines like poverty would not be solved by slapping.

“We should be one Philippine team. That’s the way to compete. You can’t go up in the world if we are fragmented as we are now,” Ramos said.

“We must look beyond this generation. ‘Yan ang hangarin ng mga leader, ‘yan ang ambisyon ng Pilipinas(That;s what leaders aim for, that the ambition of the Philippines)—to have a better future for everyone,” he added.

The word war between Duterte and Roxas started when the tough-talking mayor claimed that the administration bet did not actually graduate from the prestigious Wharton School. Roxas retortd by daring Duterte to slap him if he can prove his Wharton degree was indeed a “myth” and that he would engage him in a slapping match. Roxas later on said that slapping was not very manly, challenging Duterte to a fistfight instead.

READ: Roxas to Duterte: Slap me if you can prove my Wharton degree is fake

Duterte’s challenge came after Roxas tagged the peace and order situation in Davao City as myth, contrary to the mayor and locals’ claims.

Ramos, a known friend and supporter of Duterte, noted that he was one of the first to say that the Philippines needed a president from Mindanao, but lamented how the presidential derby has boiled down to a physical contest.

READ MORE...

“A Philippine president must act like a national model at the same time must act globally competitive. You must appear before the United Nations, the human rights commission, Apec (Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation), Asean (Association of Southeast Asian Nations). You have a huge international role to play,” Ramos said. “Let us just caution everybody that we are no longer what we are because we are going to be something else.”

Asked about the importance of educational attainment in choosing the next president amid the digging up of degrees, Ramos said the more important criterion was a leader’s ability to engage and mobilize the public.

“Academic degrees really should not count because the conventional wisdom is like this: You should make sure your education goes to your mind and not to your head,” Ramos said.

“The most important component of leadership is ‘pakikisama sa mamayan’ or common tao so you could mobilize them to move as one team,” he added.

Asked about who he would endorse for president, Ramos joked that people should vote for someone younger than him as a lot of things can still from today until next year’s polls.

“They are all my friends,” he said.


INQUIRER

Ramos tells Duterte, Roxas: Act like global leaders
FVR: LET VOTERS DECIDE POE, DUTERTE CASES By: Gil Cabacungan @gilcabacungan
Philippine Daily Inquirer 02:15 AM December 17th, 2015


FVR

Former President Fidel V. Ramos said that if Mar Roxas and Rodrigo Duterte want to be President, they should act like one.

The 87-year-old Ramos, whose term ended 17 years ago, said that Roxas and Duterte should realize that they would not only be compared to past Philippine Presidents but they would also be compared with other world leaders on the global stage.

“My advice, simple: Act like a Philippine President who must be competitive nationally because you will be compared with other Philippine Presidents. But this is now the 21st century, and the Philippine President must be world-class. We are not anymore in the period of Antonio Luna, Emilio Aguinaldo and Andres Bonifacio. Our countrymen should not kill each other, they should unite to develop our nation,” Ramos said.

READ: Roxas: Duterte a friend, but friendship should be based on truth

The presidential candidates should realize that they would serve as a national model when they appear in international meetings such as with the United Nations, Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation, and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, Ramos said in a breakfast forum at Kamuning Bakery in Quezon City.

Ramos also weighed in on the possibility that two front-runners in the tight presidential race would be disqualified by the Commission on Elections (Comelec). “Let us give the benefit of the doubt to the people directly concerned. Let the people decide,” he said.

Ramos warned that that the public may be left with only one choice for President if “this process of elimination” would continue, referring to the disqualification cases against Duterte and Sen. Grace Poe.

READ MORE...

READ: Poe, Duterte bids in limbo

“We may end up with only one candidate for President if we follow this process of elimination, which is not [how] the people want it,” he said.

Ramos, a former military chief and a health buff, did not find it funny that Roxas and Duterte’s political exchanges would revolve around slapping, fistfights, gunfights and mudslinging.

“Slapping, fighting, killing each other will not solve the problem. The real problem of the world today and the Philippines is fighting poverty, fighting natural calamities, or preparing for them if we cannot fight them; to mitigate climate change,” Ramos said.

Ramos, who was perceived as supporting Duterte, advised the Davao City mayor to watch his mouth. “He should brush his teeth not with Colgate but with toilet paper,” he said.

He said, however, that voters should not look for a perfect President because no candidate would fit the position perfectly.

What was important, Ramos said, was for the elected President to “transform” himself in office to be a better person.

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RELATED FROM THE INQUIRER

Anyone but Roxas? Duterte to back Binay if he, Poe will be DQ’ed By: Aries Joseph Hegina @AHeginaINQ INQUIRER.net
03:44 PM December 16th, 2015


Anyone but Roxas.

That seems to be the principle of presidential aspirant and Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte when he said that he will not support administration bet Manuel “Mar” Roxas II should he and Senator Grace Poe will be disqualified from joining the presidential race next year.

In an interview with ABS-CBN News, Duterte said that instead of Roxas, he will support opposition leader Vice President Jejomar Binay for president.

“I don’t care kung ma-disqualify ako but this much I can say: I do not have any respect for you (Roxas)… Kapag na-disqualify si Grace, na-disqualify ako, I will campaign for Binay. Binay na ako then I will tell the Filipino people why you should not [be president],” Duterte said.

The tough-talking mayor continued his verbal offensive against Roxas, saying that the camp of the administration bet is the source of all the black propaganda being hurled against him.

Believing that it was Roxas’ camp who leaked the rumor that he is suffering from cancer, Duterte urged the electorate not to vote for the former Interior secretary.

“Ikaw (Roxas) yung nagba-black propaganda eh. Buti pa si Binay, tumahimik na lang. If it all goes well, baka manalo pa siya. I am now telling the Filipino people: yung gumagamit ng black propaganda, iwasan niyo yan. What is the style of Roxas? You paint your opponent black so you will appear white,” he added.

READ MORE...

Duterte and Roxas are engaged in a bitter word war which has since downgraded into threats of physical violence. The verbal tussle between the two presidential contenders started when Roxas downplayed the tag of Davao City as a safe city. Duterte then retorted and claimed that Roxas was not a graduate of the prestigious Wharton business school.

The fiesty mayor is facing a disqualification case before the Commission on Elections (Comelec) as his substitution to former Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban) standard bearer Martin Diño is being questioned over an erroneous entry in the latter’s certificate of candidacy.

Meanwhile, Poe is facing four disqualification cases against her before the poll body. Two divisions have already granted motions canceling her COC on the grounds of her allegedly questionable citizenship and her supposed failure to satisfy the 10-year residency requirement for the presidency.

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RELATED FROM THE INQUIRER

Poe vs Duterte vs Binay vs Roxas By: DJ Yap and Niña P. Calleja
@inquirerdotnet Philippine Daily Inquirer 03:48 AM December 12th, 2015


THE GLOVES ARE OFF They may be smiling for the cameras, but read their lips. The top four presidential contenders—Grace Poe, Rodrigo Duterte, Jejomar Binay and Mar Roxas— have come out swinging at each other, with their protracted word war bound to get fiercer as the campaign season reaches feverish pitch.

The gloves are off and the candidates are starting to fight in a more determined, not always pleasant way.

The four major presidential aspirants on Friday figured in a media free-for-all, hitting out at each other, though taking care not to look one another in the eye.

Vice President Jejomar Binay and former Interior Secretary Mar Roxas pointedly avoided each other during a public forum on Friday at Ateneo de Manila University, but traded potshots in separate interviews.

The two have engaged in a protracted word war this week, with the Liberal Party (LP) candidate calling Binay an “expert” in corruption, and the Vice President accusing Roxas of a smear job.

READ: Mar Roxas behind graft raps, Binay says / Binay says Roxas behind ‘demolition by perception’ plot against him

For good measure, Roxas came out swinging at Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte at the same forum, describing Duterte’s image as a crime buster and his city’s reputation as the country’s safest as a “myth.”

READ: Duterte’s Davao City PH’s safest? It’s just a myth, says Roxas

Duterte, now perceived to be the front-runner in the latest survey, is facing off with Sen. Grace Poe, who has slid down to second place and is fighting multiple disqualification suits besides.

Though she did not mention Duterte by name, it was clear that Poe was referring to the mayor when she said on Thursday that a human-rights violator had no right to lead the country.

READ: Poe hits Duterte rights record

This drew a stinging retort on Friday from Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano, Duterte’s vice presidential running mate who acts as his spokesperson.

“Why did you ask for Duterte’s endorsement if you believe he’s not fit to lead? And why did Senator Poe ask if she could be Mayor Duterte’s Vice President earlier this year?” Cayetano said.

READ MORE...

“If Senators Poe and Escudero [Poe’s running mate] think that Mayor Duterte is not fit to lead the country then why did they ask for his endorsement in the 2013 senatorial election?” added the senator.

Duterte has claimed that Poe had asked him to be his Vice President just before she made the decision to run for President. Alberto Romulo, the former foreign affairs secretary, reportedly arranged the meeting between Duterte and Poe.

READ: He said, she said: Poe denies asking Duterte to be his VP

Poe, who earlier vehemently denied that she had asked Duterte to be her vice presidential running mate, on Friday admitted that a meeting did take place between herself and the Davao City mayor at her Corinthian Gardens home in Quezon City.

Cayetano said Poe risked being accused of dishonesty and hypocrisy just to pander to Duterte’s critics in a desperate move to boost her electoral campaign.

Asked by reporters to respond to Roxas’ comments, Binay said Roxas should look at his own shortcomings “instead of diverting the people’s attention to these accusations.”

“This really shows that Mar Roxas is part of the conspiracy of demolition by perception, that I am embroiled in graft and corruption,” he said.

But Roxas said Binay should simply answer the allegations against him.

“He had the opportunity in the Senate and in other forums. So instead of pointing fingers or blaming anyone, why won’t he just answer: Is it true that this building is overpriced? Is it true that these kits are overpriced? It’s all up to him,” he said.

Sharp contrast

Only Binay and Roxas attended the Ateneo event called “Conversations with the Presidentiables on Countryside Development,” which was organized by Galing Pook Foundation.

Binay was scheduled to speak at 10 a.m. and Roxas at 11 a.m. Although Binay was still around when Roxas arrived, the LP candidate opted to stay in a holding room instead of greeting his rival, who left as soon as he finished speaking. They never came face-to-face with each other.

The event showcased the sharp contrast between the two leaders, one of them focusing on the empowerment of the poorest local government units, and the other emphasizing equitable distribution of government resources.

Binay spoke about the need to strengthen the capacities of local government units, especially in rural areas. In particular, he proposed increasing the Internal Revenue Allotment (IRA) of poorer municipalities and provinces so the local government could do more.

“I have long championed and joined the clamor of mayors and governors on [the] IRA,” he said.

Binay said it was a shame that bigger local government units would get a bigger IRA share, including Quezon City and his own Makati, even though neither city actually needed that much IRA.

On the other hand, Roxas espoused what he called the “Walang Iwanan Fund (no one left behind)” or “Karapatan Fund (rights fund),” which would distribute P100 billion to all towns and cities over his six-year administration, if he should win.

Under this setup, an amount of money is to be set aside, dedicated and implemented at the local level, similar to the “bottom-up budgeting” participatory budgeting scheme initiated by the Department of Budget and Management and implemented by the Department of the Interior and Local Government.

Roxas said local executives would not need to knock on the doors of national officials to get some attention and much-needed funds.

He said the LGUs benefiting from the fund would have the chance to show their creativity and dynamism in figuring out how best to spend the money that would be allocated to them.

“We have BUB, and now we’re giving it steroids it, enlarging it, to make sure all towns can put their destiny under their own control,” he said.

During the open forum, Binay criticized the Aquino administration, citing such problems as underspending by government agencies and the failure to truly devolve government transactions to local offices.

Roxas, on the other hand, said the country’s economy never had it so good, adding that he intended to be as “reformist, activist, change-oriented” as the incumbent government.

Social media activist Juana Change, who watched the forum, said neither Binay nor Roxas had “wowed” her. She said the words of the two leaders did not honestly reflect their records in their decades of public service.

First principles

Roxas drew the loudest applause at the forum when he prefaced his comments on Duterte’s crime-buster image with a statement on his “basic principles”.

“I don’t believe that might is right,” he said.

“I do not believe that the gun trumps all others. I do not believe in summary justice. That’s the basic principles I believe in,” Roxas said.

He took Duterte to task for his tough talk that seemed to betray a lack of respect for human rights.

Roxas said Davao City was not as free of crime as the mayor’s supporters would have people believe.

“Just for the record, Davao has the [fourth] highest crime rate. So it’s just a myth, a figment of the imagination that Davao City is safe. I’m not putting him down, I am just giving the statistics,” Roxas said.

This was the same statistics provided by LP spokesperson, Caloocan Rep. Edgar Erice, earlier this week. Erice said Davao City ranked just behind Quezon City, Zamboanga and Manila in crime incidence in 2014, but he did not provide other details.

Speaking to reporters after the forum, Roxas wondered why Duterte’s crime-fighting image “has not been questioned, or just accepted as fact.”

In fact, he said he had raised the matter of Duterte’s alleged links to the vigilante Davao Death Squad in a conversation with the mayor.

“We talked about that. I asked him about accusations and statements that he killed people for discipline. His answer to me was ‘nothing,’ he killed no one. I don’t know where these reports are coming from. So it’s better that he just tell the truth—has he killed people or not?” said Roxas.

“I am for the law. I do not believe in shortcuts. I believe in human rights. I believe everyone is equal in the eyes of the law. Whoever you are, whether you are President or not, you have no right to kill anyone,” he said.

Peace and order platform

During the forum, Roxas was sked to lay out his platform to improve peace and order.

“Like in all things in life, there’s no magic wand, no abracadabra, no ‘let’s change Constitution,’ solution. All the things that are important, we need to work on, we need to make sacrifices for, we need to focus on,” he said.

Roxas cited his experience and accomplishments at the Department of the Interior and Local Government.

“In Metro Manila, when (I) became DILG [secretary], the statistics (were) 918 incidents of crime every week,” he said. “For the skeptical among you, this is blotter-based, not just a creation of the chief of police.”

“We implemented Lambat Sibat, which was a protocol of what policemen are supposed to do every day… To make a long story short, after a year of steady decline, we are now at 300 incidents [of crime every week]. That is real. That is fact,” Roxas said.

“That was actually accomplished, not by some magic wand, not by some miracle, in fact it was accomplished by changing the mindset of the Philippine National Police,” he said.

Before, he said the police force’s mindset was “the DILG secretary is coming, let’s capture some criminals.”

“I had to change that. That was the attitude. Frankly, I applied modern management, ‘if you cannot count it, you cannot manage it.’ So I ordered an audit of the blotters,” he said.

Now, “each policeman has to know what he has to do every day, which street he has to cover, which patrol he has to take,” Roxas said.

Crimes are being geo-tagged so people will know “where, what time and what hour the crimes occur.”

“These are very, very basic things. They are not glamorous. They do not make headlines, but roughly every week, there are 600 people we save from crime,” Roxas said.

“Unfortunately, people don’t go and say ‘I came home safe, thanks to Mar Roxas.’ But those are the facts and crime has been reduced,” he said.

‘Moralizing politician’

Cayetano urged Duterte’s critics to visit Davao City and see for themselves the achievements of the mayor there.

“While Sen. Poe’s insincerity is exposed, Mayor Duterte continues to represent authentic, honest and no-nonesense politics,” he said.

“If moralizing politicians like Senator Poe can stop murderers, robbers, rapists and corrupt public officials, then we don’t need Mayor Duterte. But we know that is not the case,” he said.

Cayetano said Poe should focus on finding solutions, especially since she is the chair of the Senate committee on public order and dangerous drugs.

Turning to the Liberal Party, Cayetano said the LP should focus on platforms instead of simply channeling its energy into attacking the mayor. With a report from Leila Salaverria


MANILA TIMES

Comelec clears Duterte COC December 17, 2015 11:40 pm by WILLIAM B. DEPASUPIL, REPORTER

Davao City Mayor Rodrigo “Rody” Duterte won the first round of his legal battle for a slot in next year’s presidential elections after the Commission on Elections (Comelec) on Thursday accepted his certificate of candidacy (COC) as a substitute candidate of
PDP-Laban.

Round 2, however, is set to unfold on Friday morning when the Comelec’s First Division tackles a disqualification case against the tough-talking mayor.

The disqualification case has been submitted for resolution last Tuesday after the petitioner, broadcaster Ruben Castor, failed to appear before the Comelec for preliminary conference and marking of evidence in preparation for oral arguments the following day.

The First Division, headed by Commissioner Christian Robert Lim with Commissioners Rowena Guanzon and Luie Tito Guia as members, is set to hear the case.

In his petition, Castor questioned the validity of Duterte’s COC, claiming it was “defective.”

Among those that the First Division will tackle in today’s hearing are Duterte’s notarized COC for mayor and President, the date he withdrew his COC for mayor and the date he filed his COC for President and the notarized contents of the two COC, among others.

Under the process of substitution, Duterte has to withdraw his COC for mayor of Davao City, take his oath as member of the PDP-Laban and submit a certificate of nomination and acceptance or CONA from his political party.

Just hours after Duterte’s COC for President was filed, Castor, represented by lawyers Oliver Lozano and Evangeline Lozano Endriano, immediately filed a petition seeking to nullify the mayor’s COC.

In seeking the disqualification of Duterte, he claimed that the COC of Martin Diño was not for President but for mayor of Pasay City (Metro Manila), thus he can only withdraw his candidacy for mayor, not for President.

READ MORE...

Castor pointed out that Diño’s COC was void because it contains several material misrepresentation in violation of the mandatory provision of law or Article 5 of the Civil Code, and also Section 74 of the Omnibus Election Code.

“There is clearly no candidate for President who is withdrawing his candidacy for the same position of President; and there is none that respondent Duterte may substitute,” the petitioner said.

He noted that Duterte, although a member of the PDP-Laban, was not nominated by the party for mayor of Davao but by Hugpong sa Tawong Lungsod, a local political party.

Substitution is allowed under Article IX, Section 77 of the Omnibus Election Code (OEC).
The article states, “If after the last day for the filing of certificates of candidacy, an official candidate of a registered or accredited political party dies, withdraws or is disqualified for any cause, only a person belonging to, and certified by, the same political party may file a certificate of candidacy to replace the candidate who died, withdrew or was disqualified.”

According to Lim, the Comelec has checked if the substitution of Duterte was valid in relation to the requirements of the Omnibus Election Code, but intrinsic issues, such as truthfulness of contents of the COC is still subject of a complaint that the First Division would still look into.

“So on matters of form, basically there was a compliance but in terms of the intrinsic validity of the COC, that’s subject of the case,” the Comelec official said.

BAUTISTA

BAUTISTA

Comelec Chairman Andres Bautista said the commissioners during an en banc session voted 6-1 clearing Duterte as a substitute for Diño, the PDP-Laban’s originally registered candidate for President.

“This means he is now on our list of candidates,” Bautista said. “It is an administrative move on the part of the Comelec en banc.”

The en banc resolution said “the Comelec resolves to acknowledge and accept the certificate of candidacy” of Duterte, as part of the poll body’s ministerial function.

“Accepting his substitution is administrative in nature. We looked at the form. But even the form has an issue but we decided, 6-1, to accept the COC administratively, but is subject to a pending disqualification case,” Bautista explained in Filipino.

Commissioner Lim explained that the ball is now with the First Division, which was designated to look into the disqualification case against Duterte.

“’The intrinsic issues have to be resolved by the division and then [they go] to the en banc,” he said.

Bautista said there is still “a potential” that Duterte may be disqualified.

“This [decision] is entirely without prejudice to the pending disqualification case in SPA
No. 15-94BC entitled Ruben H. Castor vs. Martin Diño, Mayor Rodrigo Duterte, and Partido ng Demokratikong Pilipino-Laban, or any other case that may be filed against him,” the en banc resolution read.

Commissioner Guanzon, the lone dissenter, said the issue regarding the mayor’s notarized documents should have been resolved first before the decision.

“I dissent. There is a pending case, Castor v. Duterte(15-194 DC) wherein the petitioner alleges that Duterte’s COC is void because it contains untruthful acts or misrepresentation.
There is also the issue regarding his notarized documents, the truth or falsity of which must be determined before his COC is accepted.”

Speculations that Duterte was eyeing a higher position in next year’s elections started to percolate as early as last year after the tough-talking mayor started going around the country on a “speaking tour” purportedly to drum up support to a call for a shift to a federal form of government.

Since then and until early November, he vehemently denied he is running for President and even threatened to shoot those behind the campaign to draft him as a presidential candidate.

The 70-year-old, however, had a change of heart late November after the Senate Electoral Tribunal (SET) ruled to allow Sen. Grace Poe to retain her Senate seat and dismiss a petition that questioned her citizenship.

The electoral tribunal’s case against Poe is pending with the Supreme Court, which will hear oral arguments on January 19.

Duterte, in announcing his presidential run, said he believes that Poe, being a foundling, is not a natural-born citizen and is thus not qualified to seek the presidency.

He added that the tribunal’s decision “cheapens the Constitution, the only thing that holds the country together.”

The two divisions of the Comelec recently ruled to cancel Poe’s COC for President.

Diño, a former Quezon City barangay (village) captain and secretary-general of PDP-Laban, filed his COC for President a few minutes before the 5 p.m. closing of the final day of the week-long COC filing period last October 16.

He was among those in the crowd outside the Comelec main office in Intramuros, Manila, waiting for Duterte’s arrival from Davao and supposed filing of his COC.

With the mayor nowhere in sight as the clock nears 5 p.m., Diño went inside the Comelec building and filed his COC as the official candidate of PDP-Laban.

Duterte by then had filed his COC for reelection as Davao City mayor.

The PDP-Laban, in its convention in mid-October, passed two resolutions. One resolution designated Duterte as the party’s choice as substitute candidate in case Diño withdraws his COC and the other said Duterte could not refuse the party’s decision.

Diño withdrew his COC.

Duterte through his lawyer withdrew his COC for Davao mayor and filed his COC as a substitute last November 27.

He went to the Comelec main office in last December 8 to reaffirm his COC.


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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