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TOP 4 PRESIDENTIAL BETS SPENT CLOSE TO P1.6 B IN TV ADS; BINAY TOP SPENDER, FOLLOWED BY POE
[JANUARY 10 RELATED NEWS REPORT BELOW: According to Miriam Santiago who was reacting to the reports that four of her rivals in the 2016 polls spent over P2 billion for television advertisements in 2015, ahead of the election campaign period. Based on the report, Liberal Party (LP) standard bearer Manuel “Mar” Roxas was the biggest spender with P774 million, followed by Vice President Jejomar Binay at P695 million; Sen. Grace Poe spent P694 million and Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte was at P129 million.]


DECEMBER 5 -Vice President Jejomar Binay. Philstar.com/AJ Bolando
The top four presidential candidates spent nearly P1.6 billion on television advertisements in 2015, with Vice President Jejomar Binay as the biggest spender. Monitoring done by media research firm Nielsen Philippines showed that between Jan. 1 and Nov. 30 last year, Binay shelled out P595,713,000 for TV ads. Sen. Grace Poe came in second with P448,166,000, followed by Liberal Party standard bearer Manuel Roxas with P424,870,000 and Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte with P115,423,000. Among vice presidential candidates, the biggest spender is Duterte‚” running mate Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano with P398,288,000, followed by Sen. Ferdinand Marcos Jr. with P103,429,000. The other vice presidential hopefuls and their TV ad spending are Roxas‚” running mate Camarines Sur Rep. Leni Robredo, P91,602,000; and Binay‚’s teammate Sen. Gregorio Honasan, P43,580,000. Poe‚‘s vice presidential bet Sen. Francis Escudero is listed as having spent only P30,000. Among senatorial candidates, Leyte Rep. Martin Romualdez has spent the most money on television ad placements with P310,763,000. Valenzuela Rep. Sherwin Gatchalian was the second top spender with P166,952,000, followed by former Metropolitan Manila Development Authority chairman Francis Tolentino with P144,112,000. READ MORE...RELATED, JANUARY 10 -Miriam: Candidates' ad overspending ‘red flag for corruption’...

ALSO: SolGen backs Poe vs Comelec - Govt lawyer asks court to junk case on citizenship


DECEMBER 5 -Florin T. Hilbay Official Photo:  Solicitor General of the Philippines THE government’s top lawyer asked the Supreme Court Monday to uphold the Senate Electoral Tribunal decision that Senator Grace Poe is a natural-born Filipino citizen and was therefore qualified to run for senator in the 2013 elections. In a comment filed Monday, Solicitor General Florin Hilbay, acting as counsel for the SET, also asked the Supreme Court to dismiss the petition filed by Rizalito David seeking to reverse the decision, saying the SET was correct in ruling that Poe, a foundling, is a natural-born citizen based on evidence—including her physical features and circumstances surrounding her abandonment and discovery. “The SET did not commit grave abuse of discretion in ruling that private respondent is a natural-born citizen,” Hilbay said. “The SET reasonably and correctly ruled that proof of private respondent’s status as a foundling did not necessarily equate to the lack of proof of Filipino parentage. Neither did it translate to an inability to prove Filipino parentage.”  Hilbay also said the minority opinion of the three Supreme Court justices in the electoral tribunal that Poe needs to prove that either of her biological parents is Filipino was an undue burden on the senator. “To impose scientific levels of certainty, as by way of a DNA sample of a Filipino parent, as the only acceptable means to prove one’s filiation, would be to impose a burden significantly higher than that which is normally required for these proceedings,” he said. The three justices who voted against Poe in the SET—Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio and Associate Justices Teresita Leonardo-De Castro and Arturo Brion—have inhibited themselves from deliberating on David’s petition before the Supreme Court. Hilbay said the majority in the SET were correct in considering the evidence that Poe presented. “What we therefore have, in lieu of a birth certificate evidencing Filipino parentage, are relevant pieces of evidence, properly admissible under the Rules of Court, that private respondent has, at least, a Filipino mother or Filipino father and, most likely, both. They are facts, admitted by petitioner, that a reasonable mind can accept as sufficient and credible to reach the conclusion that private respondent has a Filipino parent,” the solicitor general said. “In other words, notwithstanding [Poe’s] lack of proof of a specific identifiable Filipino parent, she was nonetheless able to prove her Filipino parentage. To reject these facts on record as evidence in her favor is to reject common sense, practical considerations that furnish reasonable people with sufficient basis for making conclusions . . .” Hilbay said. The chief state lawyer also noted that the “SET decision embodies a legally grounded, reasonable and just interpretation” of the pertinent provision of the 1935 Constitution. “Foundling are natural-born citizens of the Philippines under the 1935 Constitution . . . Thus, from the point of view of justice and reason, it made sense for the framers [of the 1935 Constitution] to remedy the already-disadvantaged position of foundlings by simply assuming that their parents are Filipinos, given the probabilities arising from context and reality. To assume otherwise, would be to further disable such vulnerable class of persons by denying them political status for reasons not of their making,” Hilbay said. “Evidence is in favor of private respondent [Poe] being a natural-born citizen of the Philippines . . . Thus, the SET did not commit grave abuse of discretion when it held that the burden is on petitioner to prove that private respondent is not a natural-born citizen,” he added. READ MORE...

ALSO: Poe not administration’s Plan B, says Liberal Party


DECEMBER 6 -Sen. Grace Poe. Philstar.com/Efigenio Toledo IV
– The Liberal Party (LP) has no “Plan B” or any covert move to support the presidential bid of Sen. Grace Poe at the expense of party standard-bearer Manuel Roxas II, his spokesman said yesterday. Marikina City Rep. Romero Quimbo issued the statement after the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) defended before the Supreme Court the ruling of the Senate Electoral Tribunal (SET) declaring Poe a natural-born citizen and eligible to run in the 2016 elections. The development sparked rumors President Aquino was secretly supporting Poe, who is way ahead of Roxas in popularity surveys. “There is no Plan B, or even a Plan A. We have only one plan, which is to protect and sustain the gains of the administration – the daang matuwid – through a Roxas presidency,” Quimbo said in a telephone interview. “The move of the SolGen (to defend the SET) is not in defense of any candidate but simply to show that the SET’s action was within its jurisdiction and did not commit any grave abuse of discretion,” he said. The OSG is an attached but co-equal agency of the Department of Justice. In his comment filed with the SC, Solicitor General Florin Hilbay said that there were relevant pieces of evidence to support Poe’s position that either one or both of her biological parents are Filipino and as such, she is a natural-born Filipino. Rumors that Poe was a back-up candidate of Aquino emerged after the SET voted to declare her as a natural-born citizen last Dec. 3. Among those who voted for Poe was Aquino’s cousin, Sen. Paolo Benigno “Bam” Aquino IV. Akbayan party-list Rep. Ibarra Gutierrez, Roxas’ other spokesman, said the OSG’s move was not surprising as the agency is considered the lawyer of government agencies in cases filed against them before appellate courts. “The SET (case) was the first to go to the SC, so in a way it’s like a first-come, first-served basis. The SolGen is duty-bound to defend the SET as an institution,” Gutierrez told reporters. “I wouldn’t make too much of it. The SolGen is not a tribunal, it does not make decisions,” he said. He said the SolGen could not defend the Commission on Elections, which has a contrary ruling against Poe, as the SET came first. He also said the inhibition of Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio and Associate Justices Teresita Leonardo-de Castro and Arturo Brion was “not surprising” and was “very expected.” “Again, it is not surprising, it is very expected. It’s again a testament to the fact that our institutions are working,” he added. Malacañang, for its part, said the OSG was simply doing its job of defending the government when it asked the SC to uphold the SET ruling. Presidential Communications Operations Office Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. said: “The Office of the Solicitor General’s making its pronouncement is in fulfillment of its duty to defend the position of the government which, in this case, is the Senate Electoral Tribunal,” Coloma added. Grace hails OSG stand Poe called the OSG statement a major development in her effort to stop her disqualification. READ MORE...

ALSO ON POE DQ CASE: WITH SOLGEN’S REFUSAL TO DEFEND COMELEC - Bautista seeks extension, wants urgent, earlier orals


DECEMBER 6 -Comelec chairman Andres Bautista At the same time, the poll body also asked the High Court to schedule earlier oral arguments on Poe’s cases she filed against the Comelec, The Commission on Elections has also asked the the Supreme Court (SC) to move the scheduled oral arguments on the cases of Sen. Grace Poe at an earlier date. During a press conference held yesterday. Comelec chairman Andres Bautista said they are filing a very urgent motion requesting the High Court to schedule it on Januaru 14 at 2 p.m. The SC earlier ordered for oral arguments on Jan. 19, or a day before the scheduled finalization of the ballot faces on Jan. 20. At the same time, the poll body also asked the High Court to schedule earlier oral arguments on Poe’s cases she had filed against the Comelec. The poll body has also asked the the Supreme Court (SC) to move the scheduled oral arguments on the cases of Sen. Grace Poe at an earlier date. During a press conference held yesterday. Comelec chairman Andres Bautista said they are filing a very urgent motion requesting the High Court to schedule it on January 14 at 2 p.m. The SC earlier ordered for oral arguments on January 19, or a day before the scheduled finalization of the ballot faces on Jan. 20. In its motion, the poll body said 1,953 ballot faces “are required to be created” and posted on its official website to give candidates the chance “to check and verify if” their names are written correctly and placed “in the correct voting jurisdiction.” “If the ballot faces will not be finalized within the time limit, it may compromise the schedule for printing of the official ballots,” it said.The motion is also “intended to expedite the proceedings.” Hilbay, in representing the Senate Electoral Tribunal in a case lodged by Rizalito David, claimed that Senator Poe is a natural-born Filipino citizen, and as the SET government lawyer, naturally took the position of the Poe camp and the SET. The Comelec reacted by saying it will have to defend itself before the SC on the issue of the Comelec having to disqualify Poe from the presidential race. The Office of the Solictor General (OSG) refused to defend the position of the Comelec as it said it finds itself in a conflict of interest situation and as such, officially informed the SC and the Comelec that it cannot represent opposing views. In the case of David’s certiorari, with the Solgen defenidng the SET, as its government lawyer, he has to take the position of Poe. And as the Comelec issue also questioned the natural born status of Poe in her her case against the poll body, the Solgen could not represent the Comelec whose decision on the disqualification of Poe contradicts the position Hilbay has to take in representing the SET, which ruled that Poe is a natural born Filipino citizen, “We are not blaming the SolGen especially when it (DQ case) contradicts the position of the majority at the Comelec…We are not hoping for that because the deadline is on January 7. We thought they (OSG) were doing the pleading. We are used to self-reliance, we will come up with our own answers,” Bautista was quoted as saying in a dzMM radio interview. Bautista pointed out that the OSG position on Poe’s citizenship appears to be the ”complete opposite” to the Comelec’s, which ruled that Poe, a foundling, ”failed to show her lineage to Filipino parents.“ READ MORE...RELATED, Palace backs SolGen’s quip on Poe’s residency woe...

ALSO: VP Binay sees tourism, manufacturing, agri key to addressing poverty in quake-hit Bohol Written by Tribune Wires Sunday, 10 January 2016 00:00


DECEMBER 10 -With the outgoing administration failing to address the woes of Bohol which was hit by a killer quake more than two years ago, Vice President Jejomar “Jojo” Binay yesterday vowed to exploit massive job-generating avenues on the island province rendered impoverished by the 2013 earthquake. Binay made the statement in the light of the recent Social Weather Stations (SWS) survey results on self-rated poverty and the release of poverty statistics in Bohol, as he averred to create more jobs to address what he calls the moral issue that the country faces. The survey, which was conducted from Dec. 5-8 survey among 1,200 adults nationwide showed that 50 percent of respondents, estimated to be equivalent to 11.2 million families, rated themselves poor, similar to the 50 percent (11 million) in the September survey. Visayas posted a five-point increase in self-rated poverty from 66 percent to 71 percent, bringing the area’s average to 66 percent. At the same time, results of the Bohol Poll 2015, launched by the Holy Name University (HNU) Research Center, showed that 67 percent of residents in the province rated themselves as poor. Based on the 2012 Official Poverty Statistics released by the National Statistical Coordination Board (NSCB)/ Philippine Statistics Authority, Bohol had a poverty incidence of 30.6 percent. Binay, who is currently in Bohol, said he will focus on massive job-generating sectors such as tourism, manufacturing, and agriculture. Binay revealed his plans to improve tourism in Bohol, which is among the most popular tourism destinations in the country. “It is imperative that rehabilitation and reconstruction of structures including churches and roads damaged by the 2013 quake be implemented the soonest possible time,” he said. READ MORE...RELATED,
VP Binay to visit Filipino communities in Dubai, leaves on Tuesday....


READ FULL MEDIA REPORTS HERE:

Binay top TV ad spender; 4 bets spend P595.7


Vice President Jejomar Binay. Philstar.com/AJ Bolando

MANILA, JANUARY 11, 2016 (PHILSTAR)  By Jess Diaz - January 5, 2016 -The top four presidential candidates spent nearly P1.6 billion on television advertisements in 2015, with Vice President Jejomar Binay as the biggest spender.

Monitoring done by media research firm Nielsen Philippines showed that between Jan. 1 and Nov. 30 last year, Binay shelled out P595,713,000 for TV ads.

Sen. Grace Poe came in second with P448,166,000, followed by Liberal Party standard bearer Manuel Roxas with P424,870,000 and Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte with P115,423,000.

Among vice presidential candidates, the biggest spender is Duterte‚” running mate Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano with P398,288,000, followed by Sen. Ferdinand Marcos Jr. with P103,429,000.

The other vice presidential hopefuls and their TV ad spending are Roxas‚” running mate Camarines Sur Rep. Leni Robredo, P91,602,000; and Binay‚’s teammate Sen. Gregorio Honasan, P43,580,000.

Poe‚‘s vice presidential bet Sen. Francis Escudero is listed as having spent only P30,000.

Among senatorial candidates, Leyte Rep. Martin Romualdez has spent the most money on television ad placements with P310,763,000.

Valenzuela Rep. Sherwin Gatchalian was the second top spender with P166,952,000, followed by former Metropolitan Manila Development Authority chairman Francis Tolentino with P144,112,000.

READ MORE...

The other senatorial candidates and their TV ad expenses are:

•Manila Vice Mayor Isko Moreno, P89,758,000;
•former senator Panfilo Lacson, P86,341,000;
•former justice secretary Leila de Lima, P54,499,000;
•former energy secretary Jericho Petilla, P52,284,000;
•former Technical Education and Skills Development Authority chief Joel Villanueva, P40,518,000;
•Sen. Serge Osmeña, P21,990,000;
•former Akbayan lawmaker Risa Hontiveros,
•P20,287,000; Bayan Muna Rep. Neri Colmenares,
•P4,363,000, and broadcaster Rey Langit, P405,000. 

There are no television ad spending expenses listed for presidential aspirant Rep. Roy Señeres of party-list group OFW Family, vice presidential hopeful Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV, and senatorial candidates Sen. Teofisto Guingona III and Representatives Roman Romulo of Pasig City and Manny Pacquiao of Sarangani.

Those eyeing the presidency, vice presidency and Senate seats spent a combined P3.538 billion on TV ads last year.

The figures were based on the ‚“2015 rate cards‚” or gross ad prices of major television networks.

TV stations are known to give huge discounts to regular clients and advertising agencies.

According to longtime election lawyer Romulo Macalintal, there is no crime such as premature campaigning and the law does not ban candidates from placing media ads before the start of the official campaign.

The monitoring report noted that the ad placements were timed with the quarterly voter preference surveys of major pollsters.

Binay’s camp, meanwhile, doubted the veracity of the Nielsen report, saying as far as they know the research firm has yet to release data on the matter for 2015.

“We have been told that there is no such report for 2015 but we assure the public that we spent less than some candidates who advertised heavily in national, cable, provincial TV and radio,” Binay’s spokesman for media affairs Joey Salgado said.

‘Roxas underdog in 2016 polls’ The Koalisyon ng Daang Matuwid said the results of the Nielsen report affirmed that Roxas is the underdog in the 2016 elections.

“It is clear that among the first presidential candidates who declared their candidacy, our candidate was the lowest in terms of ad spending,” Akbayan party-list Rep. Ibarra Gutierrez, spokesman for the coalition, said in a phone interview.

He said it is expected that Duterte would have the lowest expenditure since he declared his presidential bid at a later date.

Gutierrez assured the public that Roxas‚ ad expenses came from legitimate sources.

“He served the government for a long time and there was never an insinuation that he pocketed government money,” Gutierrez said.

He justified the release of Roxas‚” ads before the start of the campaign period, noting that there is no law barring such activities.

For her part, Poe believes that the amount she supposedly spent for television ads was lower than P448.16 million.

She vowed to look into the accounts posted by her camp to determine how she became the second top spender after Binay. – With Alexis Romero, Helen Flores, Christina Mendez

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RELATED FROM PHILSTAR

Miriam: Candidates' ad overspending ‘red flag for corruption’ By Rosette Adel (philstar.com) | Updated January 10, 2016 - 6:06pm 3 187 googleplus0 0


Presidential aspirant Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago questions the advertisement spending of her rivals in the 2016 poll and urged the voters to treat those as red flags for corruption. Philstar.com/Efigenio Toledo IV


MANILA, Philippines – Presidential aspirant Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago urged voters to treat the advertisement splurge of presidential candidates before the campaign period as indicators of corruption.

“The question we must ask is this: How will these politicians recover the scandalous amounts they spend for their campaign? The simple answer is that they will steal from public funds, or will at least be tempted to do so. An alternative would be to give favors to rich contributors, to the detriment of public interest,” Santiago said.

Santiago was reacting to the reports that four of her rivals in the 2016 polls spent over P2 billion for television advertisements in 2015, ahead of the election campaign period.

Based on the report, Liberal Party (LP) standard bearer Manuel “Mar” Roxas was the biggest spender with P774 million, followed by Vice President Jejomar Binay at P695 million; Sen. Grace Poe spent P694 million and Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte was at P129 million.

On the other hand, Nielsen Philippines showed that the four presidential bets spent around P1.6 billion on television advertisements between January 1 and November 30 where Binay emerged as the top spender followed by Poe with P448,166,000, Roxas with P424,870,000 and Duterte with P115,423,000.

Santiago said that almost all candidates have already spent beyond the expected limit for campaign expenses, citing that the Commission on Elections (Comelec) standards states that every presidential candidate may spend only P10 per voter, or a total of P545 million for the projected 54.5 million voters in 2016.

“A president’s salary is only P120,000 a month. He or she may thus expect to earn only P8.64 million for the six years that he or she is in office. These big spenders therefore cannot say that they will earn their money back if elected,” Santiago said.

“Of course they can say they are not spending their own money, and that their campaign is fuelled by contributions. Who are their contributors? What kind of favors will they ask from the president whose candidacy they bankrolled?” she asked.

Santiago also said that the excessive advertisement spending of candidates contradicts the constitutional principle that “a public office is a public trust” even if the Supreme Court ruling on the 2009 case of Peñera v. Comelec enables politicians to campaign outside the identified period.

“The provision of the Constitution is our guide: They are campaigning to occupy an office, which is a public trust. It might not express a strict legality but a matter of moral conduct on the part of the public officials,” Santiago said.

Santiago said she will also call for a Senate inquiry on political advertisement spending, citing the urgency of her proposed Anti-Premature Act which seeks to stop candidates from conducting election-related activities before the campaign period and the related CIRPO (certificates of intention to run for public office) Act, requiring politicians to file CIRPOs and let the Comelec monitor their election-related activities and expenses even ahead of filinh for certificates of candidacy.

“By sitting on my bills against premature campaigning, my colleagues in the Senate have missed an opportunity to address a problem before it manifested itself. Now that the problem is staring them in the face, maybe they can be convinced to act,” Santiago said.


MANILA STANDARD

SolGen backs Poe - Govt lawyer asks court to junk case on citizenship posted January 05, 2016 at 12:01 am by Rey E. Requejo


Florin T. Hilbay Official Photo:  Solicitor General of the Philippines

THE government’s top lawyer asked the Supreme Court Monday to uphold the Senate Electoral Tribunal decision that Senator Grace Poe is a natural-born Filipino citizen and was therefore qualified to run for senator in the 2013 elections.

In a comment filed Monday, Solicitor General Florin Hilbay, acting as counsel for the SET, also asked the Supreme Court to dismiss the petition filed by Rizalito David seeking to reverse the decision, saying the SET was correct in ruling that Poe, a foundling, is a natural-born citizen based on evidence—including her physical features and circumstances surrounding her abandonment and discovery.

“The SET did not commit grave abuse of discretion in ruling that private respondent is a natural-born citizen,” Hilbay said. “The SET reasonably and correctly ruled that proof of private respondent’s status as a foundling did not necessarily equate to the lack of proof of Filipino parentage. Neither did it translate to an inability to prove Filipino parentage.”

Hilbay also said the minority opinion of the three Supreme Court justices in the electoral tribunal that Poe needs to prove that either of her biological parents is Filipino was an undue burden on the senator.

“To impose scientific levels of certainty, as by way of a DNA sample of a Filipino parent, as the only acceptable means to prove one’s filiation, would be to impose a burden significantly higher than that which is normally required for these proceedings,” he said.

The three justices who voted against Poe in the SET—Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio and Associate Justices Teresita Leonardo-De Castro and Arturo Brion—have inhibited themselves from deliberating on David’s petition before the Supreme Court.

Hilbay said the majority in the SET were correct in considering the evidence that Poe presented.

“What we therefore have, in lieu of a birth certificate evidencing Filipino parentage, are relevant pieces of evidence, properly admissible under the Rules of Court, that private respondent has, at least, a Filipino mother or Filipino father and, most likely, both. They are facts, admitted by petitioner, that a reasonable mind can accept as sufficient and credible to reach the conclusion that private respondent has a Filipino parent,” the solicitor general said.

“In other words, notwithstanding [Poe’s] lack of proof of a specific identifiable Filipino parent, she was nonetheless able to prove her Filipino parentage. To reject these facts on record as evidence in her favor is to reject common sense, practical considerations that furnish reasonable people with sufficient basis for making conclusions . . .” Hilbay said.

The chief state lawyer also noted that the “SET decision embodies a legally grounded, reasonable and just interpretation” of the pertinent provision of the 1935 Constitution.

“Foundling are natural-born citizens of the Philippines under the 1935 Constitution . . . Thus, from the point of view of justice and reason, it made sense for the framers [of the 1935 Constitution] to remedy the already-disadvantaged position of foundlings by simply assuming that their parents are Filipinos, given the probabilities arising from context and reality. To assume otherwise, would be to further disable such vulnerable class of persons by denying them political status for reasons not of their making,” Hilbay said.

“Evidence is in favor of private respondent [Poe] being a natural-born citizen of the Philippines . . . Thus, the SET did not commit grave abuse of discretion when it held that the burden is on petitioner to prove that private respondent is not a natural-born citizen,” he added.

READ MORE...

The solicitor general also defended the ruling of the SET upholding that Poe “validly reacquired her natural-born citizenship” under Republic Act No. 9225 or the Citizenship Retention and Reacquisition Act of 2003.

“The SET correctly ruled that private respondent, who became a naturalized citizen of the United States on October 18, 2001, validly reacquired her natural-born citizenship under RA No. 9225,” the chief state lawyer said.

He added that the SET also correctly ruled that Poe validly renounced her US citizenship when she executed a sworn affidavit of renunciation of US citizenship.

“The SET did not commit grave abuse of discretion in ruling that private respondent’s use of her US passport cannot be considered a recantation of her renunciation of US citizenship,” the OSG said, noting that “in all instances that she had used her US passport, she had not yet executed an oath of renunciation of her US citizenship.”

The SET, made up of six senators and three Supreme Court justices, voted 5-4 in favor of Poe in November last year, saying that as a natural-born Filipino citizen, she was qualified to run for senator in 2013.

But in December, the Commission on Elections disqualified Poe from running for president on the ground that she was not a natural-born citizen and failed to meet the 10-year residency requirement. The senator has appealed the decision before the Supreme Court, but it is unclear if the three justices who voted against her in the SET will also recuse themselves in the review of the Comelec decisions.

A spokesman for Poe, Valenzuela Mayor Rex Gatchalian, said they hoped the three justices would take the same stance in the Comelec cases, since her citizenship was also one of the core issues in the Comelec disqualification cases.

Acting on Poe’s petition, the Supreme Court issued a temporary restraining order to stop the Comelec from removing the senator’s name from the official list of candidates for president in 2016. One of the petitioners against Poe, former senator Francisco Tatad, on Monday asked the Supreme Court to lift the TRO, saying there was no grave abuse of discretion on the Comelec’s part. With Macon Ramos-Araneta


PHILSTAR

Poe not administration’s Plan B, says Liberal Party By Paolo Romero and Edu Punay (The Philippine Star) | Updated January 6, 2016 - 12:00am 0 7 googleplus0 0


Sen. Grace Poe. Philstar.com/Efigenio Toledo IV

MANILA, Philippines – The Liberal Party (LP) has no “Plan B” or any covert move to support the presidential bid of Sen. Grace Poe at the expense of party standard-bearer Manuel Roxas II, his spokesman said yesterday.

Marikina City Rep. Romero Quimbo issued the statement after the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) defended before the Supreme Court the ruling of the Senate Electoral Tribunal (SET) declaring Poe a natural-born citizen and eligible to run in the 2016 elections.

The development sparked rumors President Aquino was secretly supporting Poe, who is way ahead of Roxas in popularity surveys.

“There is no Plan B, or even a Plan A. We have only one plan, which is to protect and sustain the gains of the administration – the daang matuwid – through a Roxas presidency,” Quimbo said in a telephone interview.

“The move of the SolGen (to defend the SET) is not in defense of any candidate but simply to show that the SET’s action was within its jurisdiction and did not commit any grave abuse of discretion,” he said.

The OSG is an attached but co-equal agency of the Department of Justice.


Florin T. Hilbay Official Photo:  Solicitor General of the Philippines

In his comment filed with the SC, Solicitor General Florin Hilbay said that there were relevant pieces of evidence to support Poe’s position that either one or both of her biological parents are Filipino and as such, she is a natural-born Filipino.

Rumors that Poe was a back-up candidate of Aquino emerged after the SET voted to declare her as a natural-born citizen last Dec. 3. Among those who voted for Poe was Aquino’s cousin, Sen. Paolo Benigno “Bam” Aquino IV.

Akbayan party-list Rep. Ibarra Gutierrez, Roxas’ other spokesman, said the OSG’s move was not surprising as the agency is considered the lawyer of government agencies in cases filed against them before appellate courts.

“The SET (case) was the first to go to the SC, so in a way it’s like a first-come, first-served basis. The SolGen is duty-bound to defend the SET as an institution,” Gutierrez told reporters.

“I wouldn’t make too much of it. The SolGen is not a tribunal, it does not make decisions,” he said.

He said the SolGen could not defend the Commission on Elections, which has a contrary ruling against Poe, as the SET came first.

He also said the inhibition of Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio and Associate Justices Teresita Leonardo-de Castro and Arturo Brion was “not surprising” and was “very expected.”

“Again, it is not surprising, it is very expected. It’s again a testament to the fact that our institutions are working,” he added.

Malacañang, for its part, said the OSG was simply doing its job of defending the government when it asked the SC to uphold the SET ruling.

Presidential Communications Operations Office Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. said: “The Office of the Solicitor General’s making its pronouncement is in fulfillment of its duty to defend the position of the government which, in this case, is the Senate Electoral Tribunal,” Coloma added.

Grace hails OSG stand Poe called the OSG statement a major development in her effort to stop her disqualification.

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Poe thanked Hilbay and the 10 other OSG lawyers who upheld her position that she is a natural-born Filipino.

“This is very significant for us considering that the country’s defender in the field of international law sided with our argument,” Poe said in Filipino.

“We have complete faith in the law being there to ensure equal rights for every Filipino and we trust that this will be upheld by the Supreme Court,” she added.

Her running mate Sen. Francis Escudero said the position taken by Hilbay further proved that the disqualification of Poe by the Comelec was wrong and unfair.

“The Solicitor General, the statutorily appointed lawyer of the Philippine government, and 10 other solicitors are of the firm belief that Sen. Grace Poe is a natural-born Filipino,” Escudero said.

“This is vindication for the majority of the SET, who were criticized by some sectors for deciding supposedly based on political and emotional considerations,” he said.

“No less than the OSG recognizes that the Constitution and its framers never wanted to discriminate against foundlings and that foundlings were always meant to be natural-born Filipinos, which is what Senator Grace has been saying all along,” he added.


CHIZ ESCUDERO

Escudero said he is confident that the magistrates would see the logic and legal arguments of the OSG when they convene to tackle Poe’s petition seeking to reverse the rulings of the Comelec.

“From the beginning, the poll body did not hide its bias against Senator Grace. The Comelec acted unfairly on her filings and dismissed the voluminous documentary evidence she submitted that would prove her accusers wrong,” Escudero said.

“I believe that even our own government lawyers would find it difficult to defend the Comelec,” he added.

Some lawmakers hailed the OSG for its support, saying the move would boost Poe’s case before the SC.

“The SolGen’s candidness on the issue is a confirmation that the SET ruling is legally grounded and defensible,” Quezon Rep. Mark Enverga, spokesman for the Nationalist People’s Coalition (NPC), said.

The NPC, the second biggest political party in the country, has yet to endorse a presidential candidate but most of its leaders and members are supporting Poe.

Valenzuela City Rep. Sherwin Gatchalian, who is a senatorial candidate under Poe’s slate, said the OSG’s move confirmed that the SET’s ruling was “fair and accurate.”

“This will strengthen the case of (Poe) before the SC,” he said.

Valenzuela City Mayor Rex Gatchalian, Poe’s spokesman, said they hope the justices would see the wisdom of OSG’s position.

Ako Bicol party-list Rep. Rodel Batocabe described the OSG led by Hilbay as “the people’s tribune.”

“He (Hilbay) interpreted our Constitution and law in accordance with their humanitarian and compassionate spirit and intent to breathe justice to foundlings like Sen. Poe,” Batocabe said.

Ready to defend self The Comelec, meanwhile, shrugged off the OSG’s statement saying the poll body can defend itself.

“We are now left to defend ourselves, we are used to that. We are the ones now who are preparing our answer,” chairman Andres Bautista said in a press briefing.


BAUTISTA

But election lawyer Romulo Macalintal argued Bautista cannot represent the poll body in the cases before the SC “because he dissented from the majority decision disqualifying Sen. Poe.”

Bautista admitted they were surprised by the OSG’s move to back out as the Comelec’s legal counsel, considering that the poll body has until tomorrow to submit its position. He claimed the poll body had thought the OSG was already doing its pleading.

“We cannot blame them especially since the OSG and the majority of the Comelec have contrasting positions on Poe’s case, especially on her citizenship,” he said.

The Comelec has requested the SC for more time to answer the petitions of Poe questioning her disqualification last month. The poll body sought an extension of five days, from Jan. 7 to Jan. 12, within which to submit the comment.

“The final ballot faces are scheduled to be finalized on Jan. 20. If the ballot faces will not be finalized within the time limit, it may compromise the schedule for printing of the official ballots,” the motion read. – Sheila Crisostomo, Marvin Sy, Delon Porcalla, Alexis Romero, Jess Diaz, Rainier Allan Ronda


TRIBUNE

Poll body seeks extension, wants earlier orals on Poe DQ Written by Tribune Wires Wednesday, 06 January 2016 00:00


Comelec chairman Andres Bautista

At the same time, the poll body also asked the High Court to schedule earlier oral arguments on Poe’s cases she filed against the Comelec,

The Commission on Elections has also asked the the Supreme Court (SC) to move the scheduled oral arguments on the cases of Sen. Grace Poe at an earlier date.

During a press conference held yesterday. Comelec chairman Andres Bautista said they are filing a very urgent motion requesting the High Court to schedule it on Januaru 14 at 2 p.m.

The SC earlier ordered for oral arguments on Jan. 19, or a day before the scheduled finalization of the ballot faces on Jan. 20. At the same time, the poll body also asked the High Court to schedule earlier oral arguments on Poe’s cases she had filed against the Comelec.

The poll body has also asked the the Supreme Court (SC) to move the scheduled oral arguments on the cases of Sen. Grace Poe at an earlier date.

During a press conference held yesterday. Comelec chairman Andres Bautista said they are filing a very urgent motion requesting the High Court to schedule it on January 14 at 2 p.m.

The SC earlier ordered for oral arguments on January 19, or a day before the scheduled finalization of the ballot faces on Jan. 20.

In its motion, the poll body said 1,953 ballot faces “are required to be created” and posted on its official website to give candidates the chance “to check and verify if” their names are written correctly and placed “in the correct voting jurisdiction.”

“If the ballot faces will not be finalized within the time limit, it may compromise the schedule for printing of the official ballots,” it said.

The motion is also “intended to expedite the proceedings.”

Hilbay, in representing the Senate Electoral Tribunal in a case lodged by Rizalito David, claimed that Senator Poe is a natural-born Filipino citizen, and as the SET government lawyer, naturally took the position of the Poe camp and the SET.

The Comelec reacted by saying it will have to defend itself before the SC on the issue of the Comelec having to disqualify Poe from the presidential race.

The Office of the Solictor General (OSG) refused to defend the position of the Comelec as it said it finds itself in a conflict of interest situation and as such, officially informed the SC and the Comelec that it cannot represent opposing views.

In the case of David’s certiorari, with the Solgen defenidng the SET, as its government lawyer, he has to take the position of Poe.

And as the Comelec issue also questioned the natural born status of Poe in her her case against the poll body, the Solgen could not represent the Comelec whose decision on the disqualification of Poe contradicts the position Hilbay has to take in representing the SET, which ruled that Poe is a natural born Filipino citizen,

“We are not blaming the SolGen especially when it (DQ case) contradicts the position of the majority at the Comelec…We are not hoping for that because the deadline is on January 7. We thought they (OSG) were doing the pleading. We are used to self-reliance, we will come up with our own answers,” Bautista was quoted as saying in a dzMM radio interview.

Bautista pointed out that the OSG position on Poe’s citizenship appears to be the ”complete opposite” to the Comelec’s, which ruled that Poe, a foundling, ”failed to show her lineage to Filipino parents.“

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The Comelec then sought for more time and rushed a very urgent motion for extension of time to file a comment, with the Comelec asking the SC for additional five days, within which to submit its reply.

The poll body said it received the OSG manifestation only on January 4, and stressed that the urgent motion it filed was not intended to delay the proceedings.

“The (OSG) respectfully manifests that, in view of its comment in David v. Senate Electoral Tribunal, et al., the OSG cannot file the required comment on behalf of the Commission on Elections,” the OSG told the high court in a 3-page manifestation, dated January 4, 2016.

The SET case came before the Comelec case, and it was the SET formally requested the OSG to represent it in the David case before the SC on December 22, 2015, a day before the Comelec ruled to disqualify Poe.

“May we request your good office to represent the (SET) before the Supreme Court in the petition for certiorari with prayer for issuance of a temporary restraining order or writ of preliminary injunction filed by Mr. Rizalito Y. David, docketed as G.R. No. 221538 (Rizalito Y. David vs. Senate Electoral Tribunal and Mary Grace Poe Llamanzares), seeking to set aside the decision in SET Case No. 001-15 (Rizalito Y. David vs. Mary Grace Poe Llamanzares),” the SET, through its secretary, Atty. Irene Guevarra,” wrote Solicitor General Florin Hilbay, a report said.

Bautista assured that he and the commisisoners will be the ones writing the agency’s answer to both cases instead and stressed that it will be the commissioners who will represent themselves at the oral arguments, although the plan on who will be at the forefront has not been finalized as of yesterday.

Palace backs SolGen’s quip on Poe’s residency woe


Solicitor General Florin Hilbay

The OSG’s defense of the disqualification case against Poe on the citizenship debacle she faces against her presidential aspirations was backed up by Malacañang yesterday, as it noted that the comments of the OSG reflects that of the government as a whole.

Presidential Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr said the remarks of the OSG, as asked by the SC, following the Poe camp’s tack to lift the issue to the High Tribunal, were part of its duties in defending the government’s position.

“The statements of the Office of the Solicitor General are part of fulfilling its duties to defend the position of the government in this case, in the Senate Electoral Tribunal,” the Palace official said at a Palace briefing.

Earlier, the SET decided on dismissing David’s DQ case against Poe, with a split vote, as the SET majority ruled that Poe is indeed a Filipino as under the 1935 Constitution, which covers the time of the senator’s foundling status, as opposed to the claim of petitioner David to have her barred from the Senate.

The decision of the tribunal, however, was rejected by the Comelec as it ruled out that Poe is not a Filipino and has not met the 10-year residency requirement to run for president. This was a resounding rejection of Poe’s claim that she is a natural born Filipino; has resided in the country for 10 years and 11 months, which contradicts the number of years she had written down in her senatorial certificate of candidacy, where she stated that she has been residing in the country for six years and six months.

She then claimed that there was no material misrepresentation on her part, as it was an honest mistake, although the Comelec majority did not buy her “honest mistake” claim.



Prior to the filing of cases, Poe was rumored to be a “secret candidate” of President Aquino, as the Liberal Party (LP) standard bearer Manuel Roxas II continues to drop in survey ratings with his numbers continually failing to be considered as a likely winner of the presidential race.

The SC’s handling of the Poe’s case has raised doubts on the part of election experts, with one recently being surfaced by former Comlec Chairman Sixto Brillantes. He said that if the High Tribunal fails to decide on the matter before elections, it may trigger a no election scenario.

As if to echo its past statements, the Palace rejected the possibility.

“We are one with the people in hoping that the next elections will be held in May 2016 and would be done well and peacefully, including the pre-election period starting now up to May 2016,” Coloma said in the same briefing.

“The government will do all that it must to maintain order. We are hoping that supporters of each candidate will be calm and will use reason in all instances,” he added.

Poe, a foundling adopted by celebrity couple Fernando Poe Jr. and Susan Roces, grew up in the Philippines but migrated to the US to finish college and eventually married there. In 2001, she applied to become an American citizen, and was granted the status of a naturalized US citizen.

She later returned to the Philippines and was appointed chair of the Movie and Television Review and Classification Board in 2010. Three years later, she ran for and won a seat in the Senate. Benjamin B. Pulta and Joshia L. Labonera
Published in Headlines
Maria Kapra Tuesday, 05 January 2016 21:08


TRIBUNE

VP Binay sees tourism, manufacturing, agri key to addressing poverty in quake-hit Bohol Written by Tribune Wires Sunday, 10 January 2016 00:00

With the outgoing administration failing to address the woes of Bohol which was hit by a killer quake more than two years ago, Vice President Jejomar “Jojo” Binay yesterday vowed to exploit massive job-generating avenues on the island province rendered impoverished by the 2013 earthquake.

Binay made the statement in the light of the recent Social Weather Stations (SWS) survey results on self-rated poverty and the release of poverty statistics in Bohol, as he averred to create more jobs to address what he calls the moral issue that the country faces.

The survey, which was conducted from Dec. 5-8 survey among 1,200 adults nationwide showed that 50 percent of respondents, estimated to be equivalent to 11.2 million families, rated themselves poor, similar to the 50 percent (11 million) in the September survey.

Visayas posted a five-point increase in self-rated poverty from 66 percent to 71 percent, bringing the area’s average to 66 percent.

At the same time, results of the Bohol Poll 2015, launched by the Holy Name University (HNU) Research Center, showed that 67 percent of residents in the province rated themselves as poor.

Based on the 2012 Official Poverty Statistics released by the National Statistical Coordination Board (NSCB)/ Philippine Statistics Authority, Bohol had a poverty incidence of 30.6 percent.

Binay, who is currently in Bohol, said he will focus on massive job-generating sectors such as tourism, manufacturing, and agriculture.
Binay revealed his plans to improve tourism in Bohol, which is among the most popular tourism destinations in the country.
“It is imperative that rehabilitation and reconstruction of structures including churches and roads damaged by the 2013 quake be implemented the soonest possible time,” he said.

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He also said he will review and immediately implement infrastructure programs such as roads, bridges and seaports in the province.

“Aside from that, we have to fix road interconnectivity to connect Bohol to other provinces in the country to further boost not only tourism but the flow of productions as well,” he added.

The Vice President further said he will fast-track the completion of the international airport in Bohol, which he said could further spur the influx of tourists to the province.

“I’ll give you an idea of analysis-paralysis. As far as I remember, when I visited here during the 2010 elections, they were already talking of a new airport here in Panglao. Six years later, they are still talking of the new airport. The problem still remains,” he said.

Binay also laid out plans on improving the agricultural sector in the province.

“One of the biggest problem in the agriculture sector is the post-harvest. The spoilage in the post-harvest is higher than that of what is earned in the actual harvest. Second, we’ll have to introduce other crops, ‘the high-yielding crops, as we only have a few basic crops, like rice, coconut, sugar among others. Now, there is an abundance of high-yielding crops,” he said.

Binay has also been advocating for the removal of irrigation service fees imposed on farmers.

Farmers in Bohol recently raised a howl over the fees they have to pay to the National Irrigation Administration.
The province has four major dams which serve as national facilities: Malinao in Pilar; Bayongan in San Miguel; Capayas in Ubay; and Talibon.

Bohol has 47,375 hectares of rice area wherein 23,041 hectares are irrigated and 24,336 are rainfed.

In 2014, Bohol’s rice production reached 255,053 metric tons, contributing 75.48 percent of rice produce in Central Visayas, 41 percent of which came from its third district.

“Irrigation is free in China, India, Indonesia, Thailand, and Vietnam. As an agricultural country, we should be providing support to our farmers, not burdening them,” Binay lamented.

Besides removing irrigation fees, Binay said his administration will also push for community seed banking, seed buffer stocking, and linking of seed producers with credit conduits – all of which could lessen the cost of seeds and the overall cost of production.

He added that he will ensure subsidies for fertilizers and encourage local government units to teach their farmers how to produce their own fertilizers.

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RELATED FROM THE TRIBUNE

VP Binay to visit Filipino communities in Dubai Written by Charlie V. Manalo Monday, 11 January 2016 00:00



The office of Vice President Jejomar “Jojo” Binay yesterday bared the Vice President will leave Tuesday for United Arab Emirates and speak with Filipino communities in Abu Dhabi and Dubai.

“Every time I go abroad, I always ensure that I could get in touch with our kababayans, listen to their concerns and see how our office could help them,” he said.

Binay served as Presidential Adviser on Overseas Filipino Workers’ (OFW) Concerns for almost five years.

“I deem it important to talk personally with our migrant workers and check how they are doing. Just like our kababayans in the countryside, our OFWs need the attention and constant care from our government,” he said.

“Distance shouldn’t hamper our government leaders from reaching out to Filipinos working and living abroad or outside the metro. In fact, it should encourage them to leave their offices once in a while to see and hear first-hand the plight of our people,” he added.

While in UAE, the Vice President will visit OFW centers at the Philippine embassy in Abu Dhabi and the Philippine consulate in Dubai. He will also serve as witness at the mass wedding of 25 couples at the Philippine consulate in Dubai.

Binay will also meet with students and faculty of Far Eastern School, and attend the Alpha Phi Omega (APO) 96 and APO EMARAT 121 General Membership Meeting and Fellowship Night.

UAE is home to 574,336 Filipinos, according to 2014 figures from the UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Majority are skilled and low/semi-skilled employees followed by household workers and professionals.

In previous statements, Binay said his administration will endeavor to create more domestic jobs to reduce the number of Filipinos leaving to work abroad.

“My administration will focus on strengthening the five biggest creators of employment—agriculture, manufacturing, mining, business process outsourcing, and export—to provide more jobs,” he said.

“Working abroad should be a choice, not a necessity,” he added.

The Vice President said that in the short term, he will continue as well as improve the financial literacy programs taught to OFWs.

“We will strengthen our financial literacy programs to educate our OFW families on how to invest wisely and not just spend the heard-earned money remitted being to them,” Binay said.


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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