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NARCO POLITICS?: GRACE POE SAYS, SOME POLL BETS RAISING FUNDS THROUGH THE DRUG TRADE


February 2 -Sen. Grace Poe tries the heavy bag as she joined STAR basketball players at the company gym during a visit to The STAR office in Manila yesterday. GEREMY PINTOLO
Some candidates in the May elections are raising campaign funds through the illegal drug trade as sources of quick money have become limited with the abolition of the pork barrel system, Sen. Grace Poe said yesterday. In a roundtable discussion with The STAR editors and reporters, Poe warned narco-politics has gained a foothold in the country and might influence the elections in May. Poe’s warning came on the eve of the first hearing by the Senate committee on public order and dangerous drugs, which she chairs, on an attempted break-in at a radio station in Iloilo City, allegedly by men with drug links. “If there’s a rise in the incidents of violence and the sale of drugs during this time, you cannot help but associate that with perhaps campaign funds,” Poe said. She said corrupt officials and wannabe politicians have lost steady sources of funds with the abolition of the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF), which was the official term for pork barrel. Also declared illegal were some parts of the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP). “The government has tightened its grip on expenditures: DAP was stopped and then there’s no such thing as PDAF (anymore),” she said. “But of course we still have others that will put a line item in the budget. But in terms of discretionary spending, there’s obviously been a limitation already in these past three years or two years under the Aquino administration, so they obviously have to resort to some other means to fund their campaign,” she pointed out. READ MORE...RELATED, . Narco-politics, foreign drug cartel menace in the Phl...

ALSO: Poe gets Osmeña support vs Abaya


February 5 -Senator Grace Poe and Transportation Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya. FILE PHOTOS BY JOSEPH VIDAL/PRIB “It does not take an expert to analyze the failures of management. Just ask the passengers who line up for hours and experience the stalling trains, the out-of-order elevators and escalators, the broken air-con units, among others.” This was Sen. Grace Poe’s reply Thursday to Transportation Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya, who assailed the report of her subcommittee on public services on Wednesday recommending that the Office of the Ombudsman and the Department of Justice (DOJ) investigate his department in connection with the operation of the Metro Rail Transit (MRT) 3. Sen. Sergio Osmeña III, acting chair of the Senate committee on public services, said he was approving Poe’s draft report. “It’s quite accurate,” he told reporters in an ambush interview Thursday. “It was a good thing she was able to get the gist of the problem and she asked the DOJ to investigate this. The Ombudsman and the DOJ are the ones that will be able to establish if there is a prima facie case … to file a case for graft,” he said. Negligence, inaction Osmeña said he was willing to transmit the report to the Ombudsman even without the majority signatures. The signatures are not needed for the Ombudsman investigation to commence, he said. In the evening rush hour Thursday, the tram stalled again, stranding yet again tens of thousands of hapless commuters that poured on Edsa and igniting yet another monster gridlock.Poe’s 45-page report said there were “badges of negligence and inaction” by officials of the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) led by Abaya “indicating callous indifference and acts disadvantageous to the commuters, the Filipino public and the government.” “We are not worried,” Abaya said in a press conference Thursday. “Our conscience is clear. We have strictly implemented the procurement law in the DOTC.” READ MORE...RELATED, Poe panel report on MRT not Senate’s – Drilon...

ALSO: No drama, says Poe on her campaign as she meets with Bulletin editors, staff


February 4 -M.B. HOT SEAT – Presidential candidate Senator Grace Poe poses with editors of the Manila Bulletin (MB) after a roundtable discussion at the MB Integrated News Room yesterday. Shown with Poe are (from left) MB Managing Editor Fil Sionil, Editor Amor Lopez, News Editor Isabel C. De Leon, Executive Editor Cecilia C. Colmenares, Assistant Editor-in-Chief Ed Bartilad, Editor-in-Chief Jun Icban, Business Editor Loreto Cabañes, Sports Editor Ding Marcelo, Tempo Editor Rey C. Bancod, and Editor Rocky G. Nazareno. (Ali Vicoy)
Though her life is like the movies, presidential aspirant Senator Grace Poe-Llamanzares said she is no drama queen as what her rivals in the coming May elections insinuate she is doing. In a roundtable meeting with editors and staff of the Manila Bulletin, Senator Poe shrugged off insinuations that she is using her current legal battle at the Supreme Court to win the sympathy of voters. Neither is she responding to her situation in a melodramatic way. Poe, who is facing disqualification cases due to questions regarding her citizenship and residency said her actions and statements on the circumstances she is now facing should not be viewed as politically motivated. “When people say ayaw nila ng drama, wala akong magagawa kung ang buhay ko ay nagsimula sa isang dramang ganito (When people they don’t like drama, I can’t do anything about it because my life started this way),” Poe said during the interview. “Hindi ko naman pinili ang magiging kinaumpisahan ko. Pati naman ako ay nahihiwagaan (I didn’t choose to be like this. Even I am mystified),” she said. She did not identify her rival who made comments about drama, but a campaign advertisement of former Secretary Manuel “Mar” Roxas II, the Liberal Party’s standard-bearer, saying he is not corrupt and he is not “ma-drama.”  READ MORE...

ALSO: ‘Noy liability in Mamasapano more political than legal’ - Grace Poe


February 2 -President Aquino Philstar.com/File Photo While the original report on the investigation into the Mamasapano tragedy stands, the Senate committee will review the transcripts of the Jan. 27 hearing and could, if needed, come out with a supplemental report on the outcome of its probe. This was revealed by Sen. Grace Poe in a roundtable discussion with The STAR editors and reporters yesterday. Poe chairs the committee on public order and dangerous drugs. Poe also said President Aquino may not be held legally liable for the failure of his subordinates to issue the proper orders that could have prevented or limited police Special Action Force casualties in Mamasapano in January last year. “I said that the President is ‘ultimately responsible’. The President, being the commander-in-chief… the buck stops with him. “Now, in this particular case, he is commander-in-chief of the Armed Forces. His liability – we need to be very clear… His liability, I think, is more political than legal,” she added. While she respects Senate Minority Leader Juan Ponce Enrile’s assertion that Aquino should eventually be held criminally liable after his term ends on June 30, Poe explained that the failure of Aquino’s “subordinates” to act should not be treated as the President’s fault. “Why am I saying that? Because there are no laws that actually compel subordinates in their failings, either in their sins of omission or commission of their duties, to directly attribute it to their commander-in-chief,” she said. “There is no legal basis that can directly hold the President liable for the failings of those subordinates under him,” she pointed out. READ MORE...RELATED, JPE grills as allies defend Noy over Mamasapano...

ALSO: Poe regains lead; 3 presidential bets share 2nd spot —Pulse Asia


POE, OVERWHELMED AND HUMBLED
Independent presidential candidate Senator Grace Poe regained the top spot in the latest pre-election presidential preference survey, pollster Pulse Asia announced Saturday. In a statement, Pulse Asia said Poe was back on the lead with 30 percent of the respondents choosing her, while three other presidential contenders share second place. Statistically tied at second were: Vice-President Jejomar C. Binay (23%), former interior secretary Manuel A. Roxas II (20%), and Davao City Mayor Rodrigo R. Duterte (20%). Four other presidential candidates have voter preferences of at most 4 percent. Only 3 percent of the respondents are not inclined to vote for any of the presidential candidates. The survey was conducted from January 24 to 28 via face-to-face interviews with 1,200 respondents, who are all registered voters. The survey has a ± 2 percent margin of error with confidence level at 95 percent. Poe had a marked support in Luzon (39%) and Class D (32%), though she tied with Binay in Manila (33% versus 32%), lagged behind Roxas in the Visayas (26% versus 32%), and Duterte in Mindanao (16% versus 48%). Voter preference in Classes ABC remain split between Poe (25%), Duterte (24%), Binay (21%), and Roxas (20%). Binay, however, leads the pack in Class E (30%), followed by Poe (26%) and Roxas (25%). READ MORE...

ALSO: Legal eagles, scholars debunk CJ Sereno’s theory on Poe’s foundling case


Febrauary 5 -Law experts rebut Sereno on foundlings -YAHOO/PHILSTAR FILE Not even constitutional and legal experts buy Supreme Court (SC) Chief Justice Lourdes Sereno’s theory that disqualifying Sen. Grace Poe would set a dangerous precedent. Sereno has been batting for the SC not to disqualify Poe, going to the extent of almost begging the SC justices to come up with a doctrine on foundlings, which would amend the Constitution to include foundlings and other naturalized Filipinos as natural-born and eligible for local and national elective offices. Sereno has taken most of the time during the oral arguments to push her move to have Poe qualified as a natural born Filipino, despite the fact that she has unknown parentage, and would have to prove her bloodline to Filipino relatives at which she has been unsuccessful. Sereno has been in breach of the Justices’ Code of Conduct, as she has blatantly displayed her bias to Poe and is even clearly perceived as being partial to Poe. A consensus of three prominent legal scholars and law practitioners rebutted the concerns of Sereno favoring Poe in her disqualification case before the high court. Election lawyers Romulo Macalintal, Carlo Vistan and former University of the Philippines law dean Pacifico Agabin disagreed with Sereno’s position that the disqualification of Poe, if upheld by the high court, would set a dangerous precedent and have repercussions to rights of foundlings in government service. Macalintal explained such opinion was rather “extreme.” “The statement of Chief Justice Sereno speaks of an extreme situation as it is not the intention of the Comelec (Commission on Elections) to deprive foundlings of their rights,” he said in a text message yesterday. READ MOE...RELATED, 1. Poe committed misrepresentation, Comelec tells SC... and 2. Sereno desperate, justifies Poe as natural-born citizen...and 3. At SC, Comelec defends decision to disqualify Poe and 4. Poe finds 'refuge' in Sereno's arguments...


READ FULL MEDIA REPORTS HERE:

Poll bets raising funds through drugs – Grace


Sen. Grace Poe tries the heavy bag as she joined STAR basketball players at the company gym during a visit to The STAR office in Manila yesterday. GEREMY PINTOLO

MANILA, FEBRUARY 8, 2016 (PHILSTAR) By Marvin Sy February 2, 2016 - 1:00am - Some candidates in the May elections are raising campaign funds through the illegal drug trade as sources of quick money have become limited with the abolition of the pork barrel system, Sen. Grace Poe said yesterday.

In a roundtable discussion with The STAR editors and reporters, Poe warned narco-politics has gained a foothold in the country and might influence the elections in May.

Poe’s warning came on the eve of the first hearing by the Senate committee on public order and dangerous drugs, which she chairs, on an attempted break-in at a radio station in Iloilo City, allegedly by men with drug links.

“If there’s a rise in the incidents of violence and the sale of drugs during this time, you cannot help but associate that with perhaps campaign funds,” Poe said.


DECEMBER 2014 PHOTO: DRILON, P-NOY, BELMONTE - A 2015 budget program bereft of pork barrel' but containing a new definition of savings' was signed into law yesterday by President Aquino. In his speech, Aquino said his signing of the 2015 budget at the Rizal Hall of Malacañang was historic because it was the fifth time that the budget was passed on time and not reenacted. He said the new budget program carries specific allocations to forestall corruption and other irregularities. The President said the administration has kept its promise to remove the pork barrel allocation or Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) from the budget, citing its being a magnet for corruption. PHILSTAR FILE

She said corrupt officials and wannabe politicians have lost steady sources of funds with the abolition of the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF), which was the official term for pork barrel. Also declared illegal were some parts of the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP).

“The government has tightened its grip on expenditures: DAP was stopped and then there’s no such thing as PDAF (anymore),” she said.

“But of course we still have others that will put a line item in the budget. But in terms of discretionary spending, there’s obviously been a limitation already in these past three years or two years under the Aquino administration, so they obviously have to resort to some other means to fund their campaign,” she pointed out.

READ MORE...

PDAF had been a subject of controversy because of its being used by some legislators for vested interests as well as lucrative kickbacks.

The PDAF was commonly used by legislators to finance projects for their local constituents and as such, became a convenient source of campaign funds.

The DAP, on the other hand, was practically used for the same purpose, except that the funding was sourced from savings declared by the executive branch in the General Appropriations Act.

Poe said that there was information that local officials of Iloilo were involved in the illegal drug trade, including a top executive, whom she declined to identify.

“I’m just saying if local government or public officials are involved, this could be the root of why they are involved,” she said.

Narco-politics refers to the use of revenues from the illegal drug trade to influence the results of elections, especially at the local government level.


GOOGLE IMAGE--  NARCO POLITICS CARTOON

Poe said that the campaign against illegal drugs would be one of her main priorities if she becomes president.

In fact, she already has an initial plan on how to carry out the campaign against illegal drugs.

“Maybe one of the reservations of people would be because I’m female, I might not be tough on drugs. One of the first things I would do is to declare drugs a national security threat and a menace to society. Let’s make it public who the pushers are,” Poe said.

She said that it is important that a civilian be appointed as head of the internal affairs division of the Philippine National Police.

She also wants a revival of the Barangay Anti-Drug Council and to provide incentives to barangays that actively crack down on the illegal drug trade.

Poe said that she intends to set up a room in Malacañang that would be used specifically for monitoring criminal activity in the country.

As far as Poe was concerned, law enforcement is the most important aspect in the anti-illegal drug campaign.

“Nothing will deter crime but the certainty of punishment,” Poe said, adding that setting up “drug courts” would help in the campaign.

The senator said that she was also open to the revival of the death penalty in the country for heinous crimes or for recidivists involved in heinous crimes.


ELECTION BALLOTS DELAYED: The Comelec decided to postpone anew the printing of ballots from Feb. 1 to Feb. 8 to wait for the Supreme Court’s final ruling on disqualified candidates, including Sen. Grace Poe. MANILA, Philippines – Despite the poll body’s decision to disqualify her from the presidential race, Sen. Grace Poe said the Commission on Elections (Comelec) should be given a free hand to perform its duties, including the printing of ballots. The Comelec decided to postpone anew the printing of ballots from Feb. 1 to Feb. 8 to wait for the Supreme Court’s final ruling on disqualified candidates, including Poe. The SC is hearing the petition of Poe to reverse the Comelec’s ruling disqualifying her as a presidential candidate for failing to meet the requirements on citizenship and 10-year residency. The tribunal earlier issued a temporary restraining order (TRO) against the Comelec’s decision. PHILSTAR JANUARY 28, 2016. Philstar.com/File

“As a mother and I see the suffering of other parents because their children have been victimized by crime, I realized that there is a clamor for the death penalty to be restored. I myself will probably say, yes, I would like that to scare away criminals,” Poe said.

“I think within the first six months of the presidency, you become serious about involving the barangays, holding accountable the PNP, being hands on, installing CCTVs, adding more drug courts and still if the crime rate does not go down, we seriously have to look into what needs to be done,” she added.

At the very least, Poe said that Congress should now begin debating the issue.

“These are the things that we have to seriously consider, especially after we already waged a very strong campaign against drugs and crime. If it still does not deter it, then we’d have to look at this alternative,” Poe said.

“This is a matter for Congress to decide. I will encourage the debate on it and if they still cannot do it, let us open it to a plebiscite or a vote. Maybe it’s high time that we bring it to the public to be able to weigh in on issues that are so contentious, such as that,” she added.

The Senate, through resolutions 1673 and 1674, agreed to investigate the attacks on the Aksyon Radyo-Iloilo and DYOK Aksyon Radio Iloilo by goons working for drug syndicates.

The police and the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency have identified village council member Jesus Espinosa Jr. and Melvin Odicta Sr. as suspects in the break in. – Jennifer Rendon

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RELATED FROM PHILSTAR (FLASHBACK JULY 2015)

By Marichu Villanueva: Narco-politics, foreign drug cartel menace in the Phl COMMONSENSE By Marichu A. Villanueva (The Philippine Star) | Updated July 3, 2015 - 12:00am 2 24 googleplus0 0


By Marichu A. Villanueva

In the household survey done three years ago, an estimated 1.3 million Filipinos were reported as “users” of illegal drugs. Compared from the last survey period, there were 1.6 million Filipinos hooked on illegal drugs.

Based from this available survey, it would seem that the drug addiction problem in our country is on decline, Arturo Cacdac Jr., director-general of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) surmised. Cacdac disclosed there would be another household survey next year for an updated profile.

Based on this survey, Cacdac believed the reduction in the number of drug dependents could largely be attributed to the impact of the government’s intensified anti-drugs campaign.

Since he took office as PDEA chief, Cacdac pointed to the dramatic increase in the number of arrests and seizures of shabu, marijuana, ecstasy, and other illegal drugs either smuggled or manufactured locally. However, Cacdac admitted this does not mean the problem is now under control by government authorities but remains a socio-economic menace.

The PDEA chief discussed the illegal drugs problem in our country during the regular Kapihan sa Manila Bay breakfast forum at the Luneta Hotel last Wednesday. A retired three-star police general, Cacdac was appointed as PDEA chief by President Aquino in October 2012.

A member of the Philippine Military Academy (PMA) Class 1978, he retired as deputy director-general for administration of the Philippine National Police (PNP) before being appointed to PDEA.


PDEA Director General Arturo Cacdac Jr. INQUIRER FILE PHOTO

Cacdac credited the gains of the government’s anti-drug campaign to a largely inter-agency effort under the country’s criminal justice system.

READ MORE...

The PDEA was created in 2002 through Republic Act 9165 as the principal law enforcement arm of the Dangerous Drugs Board (DDB).

But Cacdac reports directly to President Aquino, through Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa Jr. The PDEA chief sits at the DDB which is the policymaking body.

It is chaired by Secretary Antonio Villar Jr., serving the unexpired six-year term of Sen. Vicente Sotto III, principal author of the PDEA Law or RA 9165. Incidentally, the term of office of Villar who happens to be an appointee of former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, ends this year.

Prepared with the accomplishment report of the PDEA through the years, Cacdac presented during the forum various graphs and tables detailing seizures of shabu and ecstasy; marijuana plantation sites eradicated; and dismantled clandestine laboratories used to manufacture illegal drugs here.

For the first half of this year alone, PDEA reported having seized 421 kilograms of shabu, or more than half of the total seizures of 718 kilos for the entire 2014.

What is bothersome, the PDEA chief disclosed, was the growing menace of international drug syndicates from West Africa, Mexico, North Korea and China taking advantage of the porous borders of the Philippines.

Getting foothold here for their drug traffic, these foreign drug cartels use cellular phones and the internet to conduct their illicit transactions.

One case involved an Indian national enrolled here as a student, who was caught selling “fly-high,” or shabu-laced ecstasy tablets popular as a party-goers’ drug, at the University Belt. The suspect was engaged in his illegal trade using “bit-coins,” or online transactions instead of actual money changing hands.

The country used to be a transshipment point only in the illegal drugs trade, but apparently these foreign drug cartels find a veritable market here. According to the same survey, he said, the drug dependents in the country are usually those in the age bracket of 29 years old and 34% of them are gainfully employed.

Of the 421 kilos of shabu seizures this year, 259 kilos were seized from one raid on the clandestine laboratory that PDEA dismantled in Cagayan during an inter-agency operation with the PNP. What was alarming in some of these operations, Cacdac noted, was that local elected officials in the provinces were found involved.


FEB 15, 2015 PHOTO: Two former municipal mayors in the province of Masbate were arrested yesterday by agents of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) and Anti-illegal Drug Special Operations Task Force (AIDSOTF) for allegedly operating a shabu laboratory. Lester Abapo, incumbent chief of Barangay Magallanes, was arrested in nearby Barangay Tugbo while his cousin, Cherry Boy Abapo Jr., was collared in Barangay Nursery, both in Masbate City, said Chief Inspector Roque Merdegia, AIDSOTF spokesman. Lester was a former mayor of Milagros town and Cherry Boy of San Fernando. FEBRUARY 14, 2015 PHILSTAR FILE

Only last February, two former municipal mayors in Masbate were arrested for allegedly operating a shabu laboratory by combined elements of the PDEA and the PNP Anti-illegal Drug Special Operations Task Force (AIDSOTF).

Lester Abapo, incumbent chief of Barangay Magallanes, was caught in Barangay Tugbo while his cousin, Cherry Boy Abapo Jr., was arrested in Barangay Nursery, both in Masbate City. Lester was a former mayor of Milagros town and Cherry Boy of San Fernando.

By PDEA’s own analysis, the arrests made on illegal drug charges for this year were comprised of those employed in government (45%); law enforcers (26%); and elected officials (29%). This year’s arrest exceeded the record in 2013 and is the highest since 2011 per PDEA record because netting mostly “high-value” targets.

Without going into details, the PDEA chief was obviously careful in his statements about the involvement of elected politicians in the lucrative illegal drugs trade. He suddenly lost memory when asked if these officials belong to any political party.

During the Kapihan sa Manila Bay forum, there was concern that money-making operations of big-time drug lords could help raise campaign funds for the coming May 2016 national and local elections. The PDEA chief conceded there is such possibility. He reassured us though the PDEA is keeping steps ahead of these illegal drug syndicates, especially against their money-laundering activities.

While PDEA is aided by the use of latest technology and human intelligence assets in the field and drugs-sniffing dogs in its K-9 unit, Cacdac appeals to members of the 16th Congress on the proposed amendment of RA 9165 that would allow the PDEA exemption from the Anti-Wiretapping Law.

While he refused to delve into the realm of narco-politics, Cacdac, reassures the public PDEA applies equally the long arm of the law wherever or whoever is engaged in this nefarious trade. Cacdac assuaged us that the PDEA will not play politics and arrest any public official, whether elected or appointed, if he or she is involved in any illegal drugs activities.


Poe gets Osmeña support vs Abaya SHARES: 375 VIEW COMMENTS By: Leila B. Salaverria and Miguel R. Camus @inquirerdotnet Philippine Daily Inquirer 12:31 AM February 5th, 2016


Senator Grace Poe and Transportation Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya. FILE PHOTOS BY JOSEPH VIDAL/PRIB

“It does not take an expert to analyze the failures of management. Just ask the passengers who line up for hours and experience the stalling trains, the out-of-order elevators and escalators, the broken air-con units, among others.”

This was Sen. Grace Poe’s reply Thursday to Transportation Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya, who assailed the report of her subcommittee on public services on Wednesday recommending that the Office of the Ombudsman and the Department of Justice (DOJ) investigate his department in connection with the operation of the Metro Rail Transit (MRT) 3.

Sen. Sergio Osmeña III, acting chair of the Senate committee on public services, said he was approving Poe’s draft report. “It’s quite accurate,” he told reporters in an ambush interview Thursday.

“It was a good thing she was able to get the gist of the problem and she asked the DOJ to investigate this. The Ombudsman and the DOJ are the ones that will be able to establish if there is a prima facie case … to file a case for graft,” he said.

Negligence, inaction

Osmeña said he was willing to transmit the report to the Ombudsman even without the majority signatures. The signatures are not needed for the Ombudsman investigation to commence, he said.

In the evening rush hour Thursday, the tram stalled again, stranding yet again tens of thousands of hapless commuters that poured on Edsa and igniting yet another monster gridlock.

Poe’s 45-page report said there were “badges of negligence and inaction” by officials of the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) led by Abaya “indicating callous indifference and acts disadvantageous to the commuters, the Filipino public and the government.”

“We are not worried,” Abaya said in a press conference Thursday. “Our conscience is clear. We have strictly implemented the procurement law in the DOTC.”

READ MORE...

In a statement Thursday, Poe said the findings of her panel were based on transcripts of records and documents submitted to her panel, as well as testimonies and dossiers from government agencies. Her panel also got input from the private sector, transport advocates, people’s organizations and private citizens.


The Senate subcommittee on public services found "strong indications" of graft among Department of Transportation and Communications officials led by Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya, who are directly involved in the operation of the Metro Rail Transit. In its 45-page report, the subcommittee led by Senator Grace Poe cited several provisions of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act which the DOTC officials could be held liable for. FROM GMA NEWS NETWORK-Published February 3, 2016 8:19pm Updated February 4, 2016 2:04am By AMITA LEGASPI, GMA News

In Abaya’s case, she said the transcripts, documents he submitted, his reply to questions, his actions during the hearing, his excuses for his absence, his demeanor and knowledge of his department, and the totality of his actions on transport issues and the MRT 3 “indicate badges of negligence and failure.”

In her report, Poe also said the DOTC’s contract with Dalian for the purchase of 48 light rail vehicles [LRV], which was awarded without the required consent of MRT Corp. [MRTC], was “highly suspicious on several grounds.”

She said MRTC had been pushing for the purchase of additional LRVs since 2004. It also wrote to the DOTC to call for capacity expansion, but the department never responded.

Bribery attempt

Poe also noted that there had been reports of an alleged bribery attempt on LRV manufacturer Inekon, a top company in the Czech Republic.

Furthermore, the DOTC refused, for reasons known only to it, to hear out the proposal of Sumitomo Corp., the original and former maintenance service provider of the MRT, she said.

Sumitomo had wanted to return as service provider so long as it would also be tasked to rehabilitate the railway system. Its proposal for rehabilitation included the purchase of new trains.

Poe also said the DOTC had chosen Dalian to provide new LRVs even if the company “has no established impeccable reputation as a manufacturer of LRVs.” The award of the contract to Dalian was too late, she added.

She also questioned DOTC’s motive considering that it ignored other proposals.

“It is as if the DOTC has been waiting all along for a ‘friendly’ bidder that could ‘cooperate’ with the DOTC, especially due to reports of a prior bribery attempt in relation to Inekon,” she said.

The injury to the riding public and the government were apparent, she said. “Unwarranted benefits, advantage or preference might have been accorded to Dalian,” she said.

“Accordingly, the DOTC might have acted with manifest partiality, evident bad faith in relation with MRTC or, simply, gross inexcusable negligence in allowing the MRT 3 to deteriorate by not immediately implementing capacity expansion by purchasing new LRVs to cater to the exponential increase of MRT 3 ridership through the years,” she said.

Recycled positions

Thursday’s DOTC press briefing turned personal as Abaya took aim at what he described as information recycled from public positions made by businessman Robert Sobrepeña, who is behind the MRT 3’s private sector owner and has been at odds with the DOTC in recent years.

The row between both camps has spanned the change in the MRT 3 maintenance provider, the acquisition of 48 new train coaches from China’s Dalian Locomotive and Rolling Stock Co., and the buyout of MRT 3, which includes the Sobrepeña-led group.

“If you read it carefully, most of the points raised in the report are the same lines of Mr. Sobrepeña,” Abaya said.

He added that Sobrepeña had no credibility, recalling his other businesses such as the College Assurance Plan, which had defaulted on its obligations to plan holders.

“The same individual who complicates the situation, has no credibility, is coloring the committee report,” Abaya said.

Abaya acknowledged that services needed to improve at the MRT 3, which suffers from breakdowns following years of neglect as many of its trains now remain unserviceable. The train line currently serves close to 600,000 people per day, despite its design capacity of just 350,000 per day.

New trains from China would help alleviate the issue, although the complete delivery of these will not be done until early 2017.

The DOTC also awarded late last year a line’s three-year maintenance contract to the Filipino-Korean venture of Busan Transportation Corp., Edison Development and Construction, Tramat Mercantile, Inc., TMICorp Inc. and Castan Corp

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RELATED FROM PHILSTAR

Poe panel report on MRT not Senate’s – Drilon (The Philippine Star) | Updated February 5, 2016 - 12:00am 2 130 googleplus0 0


Senate President Franklin and LP stalwart Drilon yesterday said he has yet to see the 45-page report prepared by Sen. Grace Poe. STAR/File photo

MANILA, Philippines – As far as the Senate is concerned, the report prepared by a panel chaired by Sen. Grace Poe recommending the filing of graft charges against Transportation and Communications Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya over the Metro Rail Transit (MRT) is not binding.

Senate President Franklin Drilon yesterday said he has yet to see the 45-page report prepared by Poe.

“There is no recommendation yet that I know of. I may be wrong, but I have not been informed that there was a committee report filed. Right or wrong? I can be corrected,” Drilon said.

“Therefore, insofar as the Senate is considered, it’s not yet in existence,” he said.

Drilon though conceded the documents and transcript of Senate hearings can be used as evidence before any judicial proceedings.

“It can be used, subject to the rules of evidence in a judicial proceeding. Documents certainly can be used and in the past, the ombudsman has requested for certified copies of the documents submitted. So, the answer is yes. Of course, I said subject to the rules of evidence in a judicial proceeding,” he said.

Poe defended her report yesterday, saying it was based on transcript of records and documents submitted to the body, as well as testimonies and dossiers from appropriate government agencies.

“In the case of Secretary Abaya, the transcript of stenographic notes, the documents submitted, his reply to questions and actions during the hearings, his excuses to be absent, demeanor and knowledge of the workings of the department and the totality of his actions on transport issues, and MRT-3, indicate badges of negligence and failure,” Poe said.

“It does not take an expert to analyze the failures of management. Just ask the passengers who line up for hours and experience the stalling trains, the out-of-order elevators and escalators, the broken aircon units, among others,” she added.

Poe added the subcommittee weighed all statements, not just of the managers but also of the commuters, who felt the daily inconveniences of the malfunctions in MRT-3 operations.

Although Drilon seemed to downplay the Poe report, Sen. Sergio Osmeña III, chairman of the Senate committee on public services, has given his full support.


Osmeña, PHILSTAR FILE

Osmeña, who signed the report after Poe, added he has recommended the committee report be routed to all senators so that it can get a majority of signatures.

“She was able to get the gist of the problem and she has asked the Department of Justice to investigate. You know, the ombudsman and the DOJ, they are the ones who establish if there was a prima facie case or if there is a probable cause for graft,” Osmeña said.

Even without the majority signatures, Osmeña said the report holds water and maintained the mother committee may transmit a copy to the Department of Justice or the Office of the Ombudsman.

“Yes, it will still hold water. You know, even a 12-year-old can go to the ombudsman and say, I want to file a case against this government official,” he said, citing the “very liberal” powers of the office.

“Right now, it is still a draft. It’s not yet a committee report. I would call it the chairman’s preliminary report,” Osmeña added, referring to the Poe report.

Apart from the filing of graft charges, the Poe committee recommended that all parties concerned “consider the possibility of a termination to arbitration and buy out.”

The Poe report adopted the independent audit of MRT Hong Kong, which found that the MRT’s physical structure and its financial system should be rehabilitated.


DOTC CHIEF AND LP PRESIDENT ABAYA

Unfazed Abaya, for his part, said he is unfazed by Poe’s recommendation to file graft charges against him.

Abaya maintained his department complied with the procurement law for the award of contracts.

“We are not worried about the report of Senator Poe because our conscience is clear. We have strictly implemented the procurement law here in DOTC. We are confident there are no irregularities in procurement,” he said.

Abaya said the DOTC has always maintained a level playing field and complied with the law in procurement.

Abaya said Poe’s report seems to be echoing the sentiments of MRT Holdings Inc. chairman Robert Sobrepeña.

“Most of the points raised in the draft report are lines given by Mr. Sobrepeña,” he said.

Abaya said it is alarming that Poe is putting her trust on an individual who has failed to fulfill his obligations.

“It is alarming to believe a person who did not deliver on his promises to CAP. In fact, he has pending estafa cases,” he added, referring to the pre-need College Assurance Plan.

Meanwhile, Abaya gave assurance license cards and car plates will be made available before President Aquino’s term ends at noon of June 30.

Land Transportation Office (LTO) chief Roberto Cabrera, however, said the Commission on Audit (COA) has yet to decide on the petition for review filed by the DOTC against the auditor’s notice of disallowance. – Christina Mendez, Louella Desiderio, Robertzon Ramirez, Michael Punongbayan


MANILA BULLETIN

No drama, says Poe on her campaign as she meets with Bulletin editors, staff by Hannah Torregoza February 4, 2016 Share1 Tweet0 Share0 Email0 Share40 T


M.B. HOT SEAT – Presidential candidate Senator Grace Poe poses with editors of the Manila Bulletin (MB) after a roundtable discussion at the MB Integrated News Room yesterday. Shown with Poe are (from left) MB Managing Editor Fil Sionil, Editor Amor Lopez, News Editor Isabel C. De Leon, Executive Editor Cecilia C. Colmenares, Assistant Editor-in-Chief Ed Bartilad, Editor-in-Chief Jun Icban, Business Editor Loreto Cabañes, Sports Editor Ding Marcelo, Tempo Editor Rey C. Bancod, and Editor Rocky G. Nazareno. (Ali Vicoy)

Though her life is like the movies, presidential aspirant Senator Grace Poe-Llamanzares said she is no drama queen as what her rivals in the coming May elections insinuate she is doing.

In a roundtable meeting with editors and staff of the Manila Bulletin, Senator Poe shrugged off insinuations that she is using her current legal battle at the Supreme Court to win the sympathy of voters. Neither is she responding to her situation in a melodramatic way.

Poe, who is facing disqualification cases due to questions regarding her citizenship and residency said her actions and statements on the circumstances she is now facing should not be viewed as politically motivated.

“When people say ayaw nila ng drama, wala akong magagawa kung ang buhay ko ay nagsimula sa isang dramang ganito (When people they don’t like drama, I can’t do anything about it because my life started this way),” Poe said during the interview.

“Hindi ko naman pinili ang magiging kinaumpisahan ko. Pati naman ako ay nahihiwagaan (I didn’t choose to be like this. Even I am mystified),” she said.


FROM RAPPLER.COM: Roxas in new ad: "No drama, just work" Mar Roxas’ latest ad is a departure from his previous TV placements – a glitzy music video featuring local celebrities that tanked and dramatic testimonies from those who’ve benefited from the administration. Mar Roxas in a new political advertisement. Screen shot from Facebook video. NEW POL AD. Screen shot from Facebook video. Bea Cupin @beacupin Published 3:18 PM, January 27, 2016 Updated 3:18 PM,NEW POL AD. Mar Roxas in a new political advertisement. Screen shot from Facebook video.

She did not identify her rival who made comments about drama, but a campaign advertisement of former Secretary Manuel “Mar” Roxas II, the Liberal Party’s standard-bearer, saying he is not corrupt and he is not “ma-drama.”

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“Pag sinabi naman ng iba na (When others tell you) you are a foundling but don’t use the foundling (angle) for your situation, how can I say that, when an adverse ruling would not just affect me but other foundlings as well? In fact, sometimes, I’m thinking if I didn’t go through with this, then it would be a status quo for all foundlings,” she said.

Poe, a foundling adopted by the late actor Fernando Poe Jr. and veteran actress Susan Roces, admitted she takes refuge in the statements of Chief Justice Ma. Lourdes Sereno and Associate Justice Marvic Leonen who, she said, are abiding by the spirit of the country’s laws on adoption.

“We take refuge in the statement of Chief Justice Ma. Lourdes Sereno fighting hard for the rights of foundlings like me. The right of foundlings to a nationality will just be an empty rhetoric unless the government accords it due respect and implements this right,” Poe said, referring to the chief justice’s remarks during the oral arguments in the SC.

Poe said she hopes the public and those who will render a final judgment on her case will see things in a similar light.

“There would always be some gray areas. Some day, a child will come out with a similar situation. It’s better for us to be able to resolve it now. And we have this saying, in our law, each citizen should be treated equal,” she said.

Sereno, during the SC deliberations, cited three previous SC cases on natural-born citizenship, including that of Senator Poe’s father Fernando Poe Jr, (FPJ) which was ruled upon in favor of the actor.

FPJ, who ran for president in the May, 2004, elections against then President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo also faced disqualification case allegations his grandfather Lorenzo Poe was not natural-born.

“Maybe my father paved the way for this because when he had (faced) the (same) case, Then Chief Justice Renato Puno said, ‘We cannot leave to the unelected members of society, meaning the courts, to decide.’ He said, ‘Let the people decide…’ The SC also assumed that the grandfather of my dad was a Filipino,” she said.

“Otherwise, anong mangyayari niyan? Blackmail in politics? Sige nga, Pilipino ka, pero yung lolo mo, hanapin mo yung kanyang birth certificate, tapos pag dumating dun, (sasabihin) hindi, let’s exhume the body and check for the DNA. How inhumane is that?” Poe said.

“It goes against the spirit of the law, and in fact to the other extreme, so in my case, I am truthfully and honestly, not just citing, because I want to run for president. In fact, that is just one of the consequences now, when the bigger and most important issue at stake is equality according as to how the Constitution was meant to be framed,” she said.


PHILSTAR

‘Noy liability in Mamasapano more political than legal’ By Christina Mendez (The Philippine Star) | Updated February 2, 2016 - 1:00am 0 0 googleplus0 0


President Aquino Philstar.com/File Photo

MANILA, Philippines – While the original report on the investigation into the Mamasapano tragedy stands, the Senate committee will review the transcripts of the Jan. 27 hearing and could, if needed, come out with a supplemental report on the outcome of its probe.

This was revealed by Sen. Grace Poe in a roundtable discussion with The STAR editors and reporters yesterday. Poe chairs the committee on public order and dangerous drugs.

Poe also said President Aquino may not be held legally liable for the failure of his subordinates to issue the proper orders that could have prevented or limited police Special Action Force casualties in Mamasapano in January last year.

“I said that the President is ‘ultimately responsible’. The President, being the commander-in-chief… the buck stops with him.

“Now, in this particular case, he is commander-in-chief of the Armed Forces. His liability – we need to be very clear… His liability, I think, is more political than legal,” she added.

While she respects Senate Minority Leader Juan Ponce Enrile’s assertion that Aquino should eventually be held criminally liable after his term ends on June 30, Poe explained that the failure of Aquino’s “subordinates” to act should not be treated as the President’s fault.

“Why am I saying that? Because there are no laws that actually compel subordinates in their failings, either in their sins of omission or commission of their duties, to directly attribute it to their commander-in-chief,” she said.

“There is no legal basis that can directly hold the President liable for the failings of those subordinates under him,” she pointed out.

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Poe’s statements came in the wake of the Senate’s reopening of the Mamasapano inquiry last Jan. 27 where the President’s allies disputed Enrile’s claims that Aquino should take the blame for “compartmenting” the covert operations, leaving out his Cabinet secretaries and top police, military generals from the planning to execution of Oplan: Exodus.

Supplemental report

Poe said the committee would stand by its original report, but is also looking at issuing a supplementary report that would emphasize that ex-SAF commander Gen. Getulio Napeñas should be held liable.

“We are still reviewing the transcript. We don’t need to amend the initial report. If we need a supplementary report, we might do that. Right now, we gave due respect to Sen. Enrile to be able to ask the questions that he needed to ask,” she said.

“I don’t think it will change the findings. If ever, he just confirmed the findings we already had,” she said.

Poe said a supplemental report would “strengthen a particular assertion in our committee report.”

She stressed her committee was not protecting the President or his friend, former PNP chief Alan Purisima.

“We won’t put blame on anyone that doesn’t deserve to have the blame but definitely it’s clearer now, that General Napeñas had a lot of failures in the implementation and the planning of Mamasapano and if ever, this hearing strengthened that,” Poe said.

“On General Purisima, it also strengthened our conclusion that he was a suspended officer who should not have been part of the planning,” she added.

Asked about the President’s role, Poe said the Senate report – signed by 21 senators – “still stays the same.”

No debate

Malacañang, meanwhile, said it would not dignify Enrile’s challenge to President Aquino or his spokespersons to a debate over the Jan. 25 Mamasapano incident.

“All that were needed to be asked by the senators have been asked. All that were needed to be answered by the resource persons have been responded to. Perhaps, the results of the Senate reopening of the Mamasapano should speak for itself,” presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda said.

For his part, Presidential Communications Operations Office Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. said Enrile already had the opportunity to present his case and they must now move forward.

“It is best that our people focus their energies on how to sustain the momentum of our reform and transformation efforts that have gained the respect and admiration of the global community,” Coloma said.

Enrile said if the President would not man up to the challenge, his alter egos like Lacierda, Coloma, deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte or Presidential Communications Development and Strategic Planning Office Undersecretary Manuel Quezon III could substitute for him.

Enrile issued the challenge as the Palace belittled his grilling of officials during a hearing on the Mamasapano tragedy last Jan. 27. The officials, one after another, disputed Enrile’s claims.

Disputing criticisms that the hearing was only a retelling of the events that led to the carnage, Enrile maintained it had actually laid down the basis for the possible filing of criminal charges against the President after he steps down in June.

But last Saturday, Senate President Franklin Drilon said the Jan. 27 hearing showed Oplan Exodus was “compartmented” by Napeñas who decided on various aspects of the operation by himself.

Enrile said it was Aquino who kept the plan to himself, and to Purisima and Napeñas. – Aurea Calica

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

RELATED FROM PHILSTAR

JPE grills as allies defend Noy over Mamasapano By Christina Mendez (The Philippine Star) | Updated January 28, 2016 - 12:01am 0 0 googleplus0 0


Cabinet members, military and police officers face senators at the hearing yesterday. GEREMY PINTOLO

Poe: No change in Senate report

MANILA, Philippines – A retelling of events that led to the Mamasapano carnage last year pointed to President Aquino’s direct role in the botched anti-terror operation that left 44 elite police commandos dead, Sen. Juan Ponce Enrile yesterday told a Senate panel investigating the tragedy.

Grilling police and military officers for hours, Enrile said it was apparent President Aquino was hiding behind resigned police chief Alan Purisima to escape blame for the deaths of the 44 members of the Special Action Force (SAF) at the hands of Muslim rebels on Jan. 25 last year.

All the President’s men – from his Army commander, to Cabinet members and senator allies – closed ranks to disprove Enrile’s claims.

At Malacañang, Presidential Communications Operations Office Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. emphasized the Chief Executive “had always acted responsibly and faced squarely all matters pertaining to the Mamasapano incident.”

President Aquino’s lawmaker allies including Isabela Rep. Rodolfo Albano III said nothing new came out of the hearing yesterday.

Enrile said President Aquino should be held liable for the tragedy after he “compartmentalized” the planning and implementation of Operation Plan Exodus and eventually failed to act promptly to help the beleaguered commandos.

“In Oplan Exodus, President Aquino appeared to have actively, directly involved himself. He was briefed, consented and informed by police director general Alan Purisima and by you on all aspects of Oplan Exodus,” Enrile said at the re-opening of the inquiry, addressing Gen. Getulio Napeñas, the SAF chief at the time.

“As a matter of fact, he issued orders and gave instructions to PDG Purisima and to you… planning execution of Oplan Exodus,” Enrile told Napeñas.

The hearing – conducted by the Senate committee on public order and dangerous drugs – lasted more than seven hours, from 10 a.m. to past 5 p.m. Sen. Grace Poe chairs the committee.


SCREENGRAB

Also grilled by Enrile aside from Napeñas and Purisima was then Philippine National Police officer-in-charge Gen. Leonardo Espina.

Purisima was under suspension by the ombudsman for corruption when he reportedly directed Oplan Exodus.

The senator based his observations on the exchanges of text messages among the officers.

While the transcripts of the text exchanges have been in the possession of the Senate since last year, it was only yesterday that officials confirmed the contents of the messages.

Presidential candidate Manuel Roxas II, who was the interior and local government chief at the time of the Mamaspano tragedy, confirmed to senators his text messages to Espina informing the latter about the President’s concerns on the conflicting reports on casualties.

Enrile also raised questions on why top officials seemed not alarmed by the unfolding tragedy in Mamasapno as they went to Zamboanga City on the same day purportedly to check on the progress of investigation into a bombing incident.

The Senate minority leader also delved on the text messages between Aquino and Purisima, where the latter informed the Chief Executive at 5:45 a.m. about the launch of the operation against Malaysian bomb maker Zulkifli bin Hir, alias Marwan, and his Filipino cohort Basit Usman.


Legend: HEBSA III - His Excellency Benigno S. Aquino III
M1 - Marwan, the primary target
Basit - Basit Usman, a local terror suspect, the secondary target

Enrile read from the records that President Aquino replied at 7:36 a.m. to Purisima’s message. In his reply, Aquino asked why Marwan’s body was left behind, and what happened to the other targets.

It was discomfiting to realize, Enrile said, that Aquino was more concerned about the remains of a terrorist than the condition of his troops.

Photo presented by the AFP shows police officials led by SAF chief Gen. Getulio Napeñas Jr. chatting as the SAF commandos were trapped in Mamasapano. The photo was presented at yesterday’s Senate hearing. Questionable concern Purisima explained that having Marwan’s body would show that the terrorist had indeed been killed.

“Just answer my question. Did President Aquino at that moment show concern for the troops that he sent on the dangerous mission?” Enrile asked Purisima.

“The text messages will speak for itself, your honor,” Purisima answered.

“OK. This was all that he was interested in at that moment,” he said.

“Maybe not, your honor, but that was the text message sent to me,” Purisima said.

The former PNP chief also did not escape Sen. Nancy Binay’s questioning on his getting away with breaking protocol when he went straight to Aquino for a meeting. Binay was referring to President Aquino’s and Purisima’s meeting on Jan. 9 where the Chief Executive was briefed on the details of Oplan Exodus.

Also present in the meeting were PNP Intelligence director Chief Supt. Fernando Mendez and Napeñas.

“Our role with the President is only informatory,” Purisima said.

At the start of the hearing, Enrile made clear he was not being vindictive against “powerful people” when he called for the reopening of the Senate inquiry into the Mamasapano carnage.

“I’m doing this for the country so that never again shall a similar gruesome butchery happen in this land. I’m doing this for the people so that they will know the national leaders who failed them because of ineptness and lack of leadership,” he said.

Interviewed after the hearing, Enrile said he was able to prove the “responsibility and accountability of the President,” based on the text messages between the Chief Executive and his officials.

He maintained they should not put the blame entirely on Napeñas as they could have done more to help the beleaguered SAF personnel.

Enrile debunked claims by the President’s alter egos that he had been misinformed about the turn of events in Mamasapano. He said that considering the huge intelligence funds, such oversight was inexcusable.

No urgency

Sen. Paolo Benigno Aquino IV noted the lack of urgency among officials involved as shown by their not properly informing the President about the gravity of the situation.

Senate President Franklin Drilon pointed out that Oplan Exodus “was an exclusive plan, crafted and executed by the SAF, PNP,” a point seconded by Purisima.


GUINGONA

Sen. Teofisto Guingona III also pointed out that President Aquino was not informed well by his subordinates about the situation, judging from the exchange of text messages among the top police and military officials.

“I am reading this to show that of course, the reality that was happening on the ground was different from what he knew. What was the source of the information of the President at this time?”

He said the source of the of information was the text messages of Purisima, “which we know by now was totally different from what was happening on the ground.”

Guingona noted that at the time Aquino was informed, only one SAF trooper was wounded. “Remember, this was what the President knew based on the text,” the Liberal Party senator said.

Guingona also reiterated another text saying that the SAF troopers outnumbered the rebels.

During the hearing, Lt. Gen. Jeffrey Delgado, commanding general of the Philippine Air Force, recalled that the President directed him to alert all assets in Mindanao to assist in the operations in case they would be needed.

Upon arrival in Zamboanga, Lt. Gen. Rustico Guererro said they discussed the Mamasapano incident after receiving calls for help from Espina. Guerrero said he also informed the President that he was not privy to the covert Oplan Exodus.

No stand down

Despite Enrile’s intense grilling, President Aquino’s officers declared there was no order from their commander-in-chief to hold off sending help to the SAF commandos.

“I did not order a stand down, neither did I receive any order,” said former Armed Forces chief Gen. Gregorio Catapang.

“I was not aware of any,” said current AFP chief Gen. Hernando Irriberri.

Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin said he was also not “aware of any stand down order from the chief of staff.”

“There was no such order. I did not hear personally of such order,” Roxas said.

“I have nothing to report to the President… so there was no stand down. I was in Nueva Ecija. I was not with the President,” Purisima said.

Deputy SAF director Chief Supt. Noli Taliño also maintained that there was “no order to stand down.”

In a report read by Major Gen. Angelito de Leon, former deputy chief for operations of the AFP, the military also turned the tables on Napeñas for being “detached from the reality.”

Napeñas also had a “walk in the park” mindset about the operations, as the former SAF commander lacked “grasp of the gravity of the situation.”

Officials also showed a photo of Napeñas taken on the day of the operation showing him smiling and in civilian attire.

Purisima also joined AFP officials in blaming Napeñas for lack of efficient planning and coordination when he launched Oplan Exodus.

Poe herself said Aquino may have been misinformed about the progress of the operation.

At her closing statement, Poe reminded the public that in the Mamasapano operation, certain officials had been kept out of loop.

“And that nobody was ordered to stand down from sending reinforcement,” she said.

Her committee’s initial report last year stated President Aquino was “ultimately responsible” for the Mamasapano debacle when he dealt with a suspended PNP chief in handling the covert operations.

Meanwhile, militant party-list group Anakpawis scored the involvement of US forces in Oplan Exodus as confirmed by Napeñas at yesterday’s hearing. – With Aurea Calica, Delon Porcalla, Jess Diaz, Ding Cervantes


GMA NEWS ONLINE

Poe regains lead; 3 presidential bets share 2nd spot —Pulse Asia Published February 6, 2016 11:05am Updated February 6, 2016 12:59pm By RIE TAKUMI, GMA News


POE, OVERWHELMED AND HUMBLED

Independent presidential candidate Senator Grace Poe regained the top spot in the latest pre-election presidential preference survey, pollster Pulse Asia announced Saturday.

In a statement, Pulse Asia said Poe was back on the lead with 30 percent of the respondents choosing her, while three other presidential contenders share second place.

Statistically tied at second were: Vice-President Jejomar C. Binay (23%), former interior secretary Manuel A. Roxas II (20%), and Davao City Mayor Rodrigo R. Duterte (20%).

Four other presidential candidates have voter preferences of at most 4 percent.

Only 3 percent of the respondents are not inclined to vote for any of the presidential candidates.

The survey was conducted from January 24 to 28 via face-to-face interviews with 1,200 respondents, who are all registered voters.

The survey has a ± 2 percent margin of error with confidence level at 95 percent.

Poe had a marked support in Luzon (39%) and Class D (32%), though she tied with Binay in Manila (33% versus 32%), lagged behind Roxas in the Visayas (26% versus 32%), and Duterte in Mindanao (16% versus 48%).

Voter preference in Classes ABC remain split between Poe (25%), Duterte (24%), Binay (21%), and Roxas (20%).

Binay, however, leads the pack in Class E (30%), followed by Poe (26%) and Roxas (25%).

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Only Poe and Binay experienced marked movements between December 2015 and January 2016, with Poe receiving +9 percentage points and Binay losing -10 percentage points during the period.

Poe gained preference in Luzon (+10 percentage points), Visayas (+11 percentage points), and Class D (+10 percentage points).

Preference for Binay, on the other hand, declined in Visayas (-14 percentage points), Mindanao (-16 percentage points), and Class E (-12 percentage points.

'OVERWHELMED AND HUMBLED'

Poe, in a statement, said she's both overwhelmed and humbled by the survey results.

"The latest Pulse Asia survey is both overwhelming and humbling. It echoes the voice of the people who trust and believe in my capacity to be a leader no matter what hurdles are thrown my way," she said.

"The Filipinos will always be my inspiration to stay the course and work harder, especially now that the official campaign period is about to commence. I am ready to serve and work to bring the change that the Filipinos deserve."

Poe's spokesman, Valenzuela City Mayor Rex Gatchalian, earlier said the senator was thankful to her supporters for edging the lead in the Pulse Asia survey, which she said was a boost for their campaigning efforts.

"With the data on-hand, we will see to it that we continue to amplify our message that Senator Poe is still a candidate in the running for the Presidency," Gatchalian said.

The surge in ratings supposedly bolstered their support of Poe despite the slew of disqualification cases against the senator and will serve as a road map for their campaign, he said.

"We believe that there are still voters out there who are uncertain about the status of her candidacy, hence it becomes more imperative for us to clarify that matter and as a result gain more ground," Gatchalian stated.

"Taking cue from the results, we will intensify our drive to drum up interest in her platform of goverenance - inclusive growth, Gobyernong May Puso, walang maiiwanan," he added. — LBG/APG, GMA News


TRIBUNE

Legal eagles debunk CJ’s theory on Poe’s case Written by Benjamin B. Pulta Friday, 05 February 2016 00:00


Law experts rebut Sereno on foundlings -YAHOO/PHILSTAR FILE

Not even constitutional and legal experts buy Supreme Court (SC) Chief Justice Lourdes Sereno’s theory that disqualifying Sen. Grace Poe would set a dangerous precedent.

Sereno has been batting for the SC not to disqualify Poe, going to the extent of almost begging the SC justices to come up with a doctrine on foundlings, which would amend the Constitution to include foundlings and other naturalized Filipinos as natural-born and eligible for local and national elective offices.

Sereno has taken most of the time during the oral arguments to push her move to have Poe qualified as a natural born Filipino, despite the fact that she has unknown parentage, and would have to prove her bloodline to Filipino relatives at which she has been unsuccessful.

Sereno has been in breach of the Justices’ Code of Conduct, as she has blatantly displayed her bias to Poe and is even clearly perceived as being partial to Poe.

A consensus of three prominent legal scholars and law practitioners rebutted the concerns of Sereno favoring Poe in her disqualification case before the high court.
 


Election lawyer Romulo Macalintal PHOTO FROM ABS-CBN HEADSTART with @iamkarendavila

Election lawyers Romulo Macalintal, Carlo Vistan and former University of the Philippines law dean Pacifico Agabin disagreed with Sereno’s position that the disqualification of Poe, if upheld by the high court, would set a dangerous precedent and have repercussions to rights of foundlings in government service.

Macalintal explained such opinion was rather “extreme.”

“The statement of Chief Justice Sereno speaks of an extreme situation as it is not the intention of the Comelec (Commission on Elections) to deprive foundlings of their rights,” he said in a text message yesterday.

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Sereno has said the disqualification of Poe would be discriminatory to foundlings as it makes them second-class citizens.

During her interpellation of Comelec Commissioner Arthur Lim, the SC chief read a long list of positions in government, including many government scholars and officials of the military, requiring holders to have natural-born citizen status.

Sereno lamented that foundlings would be deprived of rights of ordinary citizens if the SC upholds the position of the poll body on Poe’s case.

Macalintal, a known practitioner in election cases, stressed that there is no law pertaining to the status of foundlings as being natural-born citizens.

“Since there is no law on foundlings, it is not for the Court to make such a law as the court’s function is not legislative,” he said.


Edgardo Carlo L. Vistan II -VISTAN&TAN WEBSITE

Vistan agreed with this opinion, saying Sereno’s warning was “speculative.”

“The decision in Senator Poe’s case will not result in the mass ouster of supposedly naturalized incumbent officials.
“In the first place, not all offices are reserved for natural-born citizens. I think it is speculative to say that many will lose their posts because of an adverse ruling against Senator Poe,” he explained.

Macalintal also pointed out that the case of Poe’s father, the late action king Fernando Poe Jr., cannot apply as precedent in the senator’s case.

During oral arguments held last Tuesday, Sereno cited the case of the senator’s late adoptive father, action star Fernando Poe Jr. (FPJ), whose citizenship was also questioned in 2003 when he ran for the 2004 presidential poll.

Sereno argued that the SC has presumed that FPJ’s grandfather Lorenzo Poe, was natural-born, despite the fact that the only proof of this was his death certificate in 1984.

Macalintal explained that FPJ’s case is “different” from his daughter’s case simply because he was not a foundling and his blood lineage was established.

Vistan and Dean Agabin shared this opinion.

“There has been no Supreme Court decision on the nationality of foundlings before Senator Grace Poe’s case was brought to the Supreme Court.

“All SC decisions where nationality of a person was in issue applied the provisions of the Constitution to the circumstances, and the decisive factors were always the citizenship of parents just like in FPJ’s case,” Vistan stressed.

He further explained: “FPJ’s case and other prior decisions cannot be used to rule in favor of Sen. Grace Poe since the citizenship of her parents are unknown,” he said.


Dean Pacifico Agabin YOU TUBE VIDEO SCREENSHOT

“Grace Poe and FPJ cases should not be compared because FPJ’s father was known,” Agabin added.

Macalintal said the opinion of Sereno is not yet the official ruling of the High Court as the 14 justices have yet to deliberate and vote on the case.

“Comments made by justices in the course of oral arguments do not necessarily mean their position on an issue. It may or may not change during deliberations by the 14 SC members on Poe’s case since a justice could be influenced or enlightened by arguments or comments by other justices,” Macalintal said.

“SC, being the interpreter of laws, will have the final say. While the Chief Justice’s comment appears to favor Poe, it is not a guarantee that such would be the vote of the majority,” he added.


TATAD, POE -CNN PHILIPPINES FILE

The camp of former Sen. Francisco “Kit” Tatad, one of the petitioners in the disqualification cases against Poe in the Comelec, shared this opinion.

Tatad’s lawyer Manuel Luna said the position espoused by the Chief Justice during the oral arguments was puzzling.
“It’s perplexing that the Honorable Chief Justice is sympathizing with foundlings, but not with naturalized citizens who cannot be appointed to thousands of government positions,” he argued.

Luna insisted that Poe remains disqualified unless the SC reverses the Comelec rulings. He stressed that the camp of the senator has not effectively proven her eligibility on both citizenship and residency issues.

During the third round of oral arguments on the certoriari petition of Poe against the Comelec, Sereno claimed that the SC has already presumed in the past, that people, who include foundlings, are natural-born Filipinos.

Sereno even went to the extent in her interpellation of Comelec Commissioner Arthur Lim, who represented the poll body in the arguments, giving Lim a lecture on the High Court’s having decreed such presumptions on a number of instances, beyond simply applying the jus sanguinis (right of blood) principle.

Apparently, Sereno believes that the Philippines has dumped the jus sanguinis principle and has embraced the jus soli (born from the soil) which the United States and other countries have adopted.

The Chief Justice said: “The law is not, and should not be made, an instrument to impede the achievement of a salutary humane policy. As often as is legally and lawfully possible, their texts and intendments should be construed so as to give all the chances for human life to exist — with a modicum promise of a useful and constructive existence.”

SC senior Justice Antonio Carpio asked poll commissioner Lim, whether it was discriminatory to foundlings, to which Lim replied in the negative.

“So it is not only foundlings. All naturalized citizens cannot hold any public office which requires natural born citizenship correct?” Carpio said and Lim replied in the affirmative.

Carpio then said that there are offices that are only by law required to have officers that should be natural-born citizens.

Carpio said that the remedy is Congress.... We have many naturalized citizens not just foundlings,” Carpio stressed.

Sereno again spoke of the adoption of children born in the country, citing adoption laws for foundlings and Filipino children, bringing up an international measure on adoption, but Commissioner Lim replied by stating that the decision only covered adoption, and not citizenship.


COMELEC COMMISH  LIM GOOGLE IMAGES

“If you are saying that foundlings are not natural-born citizens, have you thought about the impact on the rights of all foundlings?” Sereno pointedly asked Lim during interpellation.

“The court now has to categorically answer the question about her (Poe’s) status, because the pronouncements we will make will affect so many others,” the Chief Justice said, which is a repetition of what she had argued passionately during the first and second oral arguments.

“If I am going to say that a foundling is not a natural born Filipino citizen, that they cannot hold thousands of offices that require natural-born citizens, any of those persons holding any of those positions who is alleged to be a foundling, must be removed,” Sereno continued.

On Poe’s reacquisition of Filipino citizenship, which also bears on Poe having acquired American citizenship then reacquired Filipino citizenship on a dual citizenship status, Sereno slammed the Comelec stance as being “illogical.”

In arguing his case, Lim refused to back down, saying that when a Filipino acquires naturalized citizenship abroad, his or her natural-born status is “forever abandoned.”

Responding to Lim’s contention, Sereno made him read Section 2 of the law: “It is hereby declared the policy of the State that all Philippine citizens of another country shall be deemed not to have lost their Philippine citizenship under the conditions of this Act.”

“If Section 2 says it is not lost, then how can it be forever abandoned? That’s illogical,” said Sereno.

Sereno then questioned Lim: “If they have not lost their citizenship, why are you now downgrading them from natural-born status to naturalized status? Does the law say that that is the result? In fact, in the deliberations, if you need enlightenment — and it is the time you need enlightenment because you are disputing a possible interpretation — very clear, all the senators who participated in all the deliberations of the debate said: Once a natural-born citizen if you make use of that law, then you automatically reacquire, not naturalized status, but natural-born status.”

Lim stood him ground, pointing to Section 3 of the law which reads: “Any provision of law to the contrary notwithstanding, natural-born citizenship by reason of their naturalization as citizens of a foreign country are hereby deemed to have re-acquired Philippine citizenship upon taking the following oath of allegiance,” saying that the meaning of that law is that the reacquisition of citizenship under this law conferred naturalized status.

Not once, during the interpellations, did Sereno argue on the basis of the strict constitutional requirements for a presidential and vice presidential aspirants’ eligibility to run for the top two posts.

The next hearing is scheduled on Tuesday next week.

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

RELATED FROM THE INQUIRER

Poe committed misrepresentation, Comelec tells SC SHARES: 661 VIEW COMMENTS By: Tetch Torres-Tupas @T2TupasINQ INQUIRER.net 09:06 PM February 2nd, 2016


THE Commission on Elections (Comelec) defended before the Supreme Court its decision ordering the cancellation of the certificate of candidacy (COC) for president of Senator Grace Poe.

In the third Supreme Court oral argument, Comelec Commissioner Rowena Amelia Guanzon said the Comelec has the mandate of the Constitution to cancel Poe’s COC.

“There was no grave abuse of discretion,” she said.

Comelec Commissioner Arthur Lim, on the other hand, added that Comelec is not precluded from determining Poe’s citizenship.

“We did not usurp PET’s (Presidential Electoral Tribunal) power. Comelec has express power to determine material misrepresentation in the COC and deny it in due course before the elections,” he said.

Lim insisted that Poe is not qualified to run for President whose citizenship is still in question.

Poe, being a foundling, does not know the identity of her biological parents. She was found abandoned at a church in Iloilo and later adopted by celebrity couple Fernando Poe Jr. and Susan Roces.

“She has no bloodline to a Filipino parent being a foundling,” he said adding that Poe also renounced her Filipino citizenship when she became a naturalized citizen of the United States.

He said Poe may have reacquired her Filipino citizenship but she cannot be considered natural born.

But Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno cautioned Lim on the possible repercussions if the high court would issue a ruling against foundlings.

Sereno said a ruling against foundlings could mean barring them from holding public office while those who are already holding public offices would be removed.

“The moment we say foundlings are not naturalized or that they are stateless, repercussions will be across the entire sector,” Sereno said.

READ MORE...


THE HIGH COURT

Lim said the high court should confine its rulings on the case of Poe.

“Her claim she is born of Filipino parent is therefore a lie, [applies] only to her?” Sereno asked.

“I will not call it a lie, that is uncharitable,” Lim said to which Sereno countered “but that is a misrepresentation, she lied about her belief.”

“We did not say that [she lied], the law said that,” Lim said.

The Chief Justice said it would be unsettling should the Supreme Court degrade an entire class of people— and this will be known in the whole world.

“Why not let things be the way they are, not deprive them of their rights…It will be upsetting that a court, a court of justice is going to degrade an entire class of people,” Sereno said.

Sereno said only eight of 189 countries use blood relationship or “jus sanguinis” as the sole basis for determining citizenship. And out of these 189 countries, 166 consider foundlings as their citizens.

“Why should we go to an extreme interpretation that may be perceived to be cruel and unjust,” Sereno asked.

Associate Justice Jose Perez asked Lim what is their basis in saying that Poe made a false representation when she is a foundling and her biological parents were unknown.

Lim said it is their duty to determine the qualifications of each and every candidate as mandated by the Constitution.
“We have to do our duty. [But] We will not claim we are correct that is why we are here. [Although] we believe in our decision and we honestly believe that the honorable court will sustain our position,” he said.

The high court’s oral argument will resume next week.

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

RELATED FROM THE TRIBUNE

Sereno desperate, justifies Poe as natural-born citizen Written by Tribune Wires Wednesday, 03 February 2016 00:00


Chief Justice Sereno

Says SC has presumed all Pinoys are natural-born citizens

Chief Justice Lourdes Sereno has again displayed her blatant partiality and even appears so desperate in getting the Supreme Court (SC) to find Sen. Grace Poe, a foundling, as a natural born Filipino.

During the third round of oral arguments on the certoriari petition of Poe against the Commission on Elections (Comelec), Sereno claimed that the SC has already presumed in the past, that people, who include foundlings, are natural-born Filipinos.

Sereno, who even went to the extent in her interpellation of Comelec Commissioner Arthur Lim, who represented the poll body in the arguments, virtually gave Lim a lecture on the high court’s having decreed such presumptions on a number of instances, beyond simply applying the jus sanguinis (right of blood) principle.

Apparently, Sereno believes that the Philippines has dumped the jus sanguinis principle and has embraced the jus soli (born from the soil) which the United States and other countries have adopted.

The Chief Justice said: “The law is not, and should not be made, an instrument to impede the achievement of a salutary humane policy. As often as is legally and lawfully possible, their texts and intendments should be construed so as to give all the chances for human life to exist — with a modicum promise of a useful and constructive existence,” a statement which really has nothing to do with the case of Poe.

Carpio’s position

SC justice Antonio Carpio questioned Lim wheter foundlings should be considered naturalized Filipino citizens, which stance of Carpio is the direct opposite of Sereno’s position.

READ MORE...

Lim agreed with Carpio who had earlier said at the SET that foundlings should be considered naturalized citizens.
Sereno agreed with te SET majority decision saying that Poe is a natural born citizen.

Carpio asked Lim what kind of citizenship would be given to foundlings if Congress passed a law that gave Filipino citizenship to them.

“Under the 1935, 1973 and most especially 1987 Constitution, that child would fall under Section Five. Those who are naturalized in accordance with law,” Lim said.

Carpio pointed out that naturalized citizens under the Constitution cannot run for president, vice president, senator, and congressman; neither can they be members of the Supreme Court, the Commission on Elections or any other constitutional body.

“Is that discriminatory?” Carpio asked, to which Lim replied in the negative.

“So it is not only foundlings. All naturalized citizens cannot hold any public office which requires natural born citizenship correct?” Carpio said andf Lim replied in the affirmative.

Carpio then said that there are offices that are only by law required to have officers that should be natural-born citizens.
Carpio said that the remedy is Congress.... We have many naturalized citizens not just foundlings,” Carpio stressed.


JUSTICE CARPIO

Sereno again spoke of the adoption of children born in the country, citing adoption laws for foundlings and Filipino children, bringing up an international measure on adoption, but Commissioner Lim replied by stating that the decision only covered adoption, and not citizenship.

“If you are saying that foundlings are not natural-born citizens, have you thought about the impact on the rights of all foundlings?” Sereno pointedly asked Lim during interpellation.

“The court now has to categorically answer the question about her (Poe’s) status, because the pronouncements we will make will affect so many others,” the Chief Justice said, which is a repetition of what she had argued passionately during the first and second oral arguments.

Sereno went on to read a long list of positions in the government that require holders to be natural-born citizens, including many government scholars and officials of the military.

“If I am going to say that a foundling is not a natural born Filipino citizen, that they cannot hold thousands of offices that require natural-born citizens, any of those persons holding any of those positions who is alleged to be a foundling, must be removed,” Sereno continued.


Comelec Commissioner Arthur Lim

“If your relative is a foundling, a petition for quo warranto may be brought against them to remove them from office, so the Solicitor General’s office must set up a special division,” she stressed.

Sereno added that the Comelec’s decision can be interpreted that Poe lied in her certificate of candidacy because she indicated that she is a natural-born Filipino citizen even though she cannot prove that her mother is a Filipino.

On Poe’s reacquisition of Filipino citizenship, which also bears on Poe having acquired American citizenship then reacquired Filipino citizenship on a dual citizenship status, Sereno slammed the Comelec stance as being “illogical.”

In arguing his case, Lim refused to back down, saying that when a Filipino acquires naturalized citizenship abroad, his or her natural-born status is “forever abandoned.”

Responding to Lim’s contention, Sereno made him read Section 2 of the law: “It is hereby declared the policy of the State that all Philippine citizens of another country shall be deemed not to have lost their Philippine citizenship under the conditions of this Act.”

“If Section 2 says it is not lost, then how can it be forever abandoned? That’s illogical,” said Sereno.

She even favored the Senate Electoral Tribunal’s decision, saying the SET supported her position.

Sereno then questioned Lim: “If they have not lost their citizenship, why are you now downgrading them from natural-born status to naturalized status? Does the law say that that is the result? In fact, in the deliberations, if you need enlightenment — and it is the time you need enlightenment because you are disputing a possible interpretation — very clear, all the senators who participated in all the deliberations of the debate said: Once a natural-born citizen if you make use of that law, then you automatically reacquire, not naturalized status, but natural-born status.”

Lim stood his ground, pointing to Section 3 of the law which reads: “Any provision of law to the contrary notwithstanding, natural-born citizenship by reason of their naturalization as citizens of a foreign country are hereby deemed to have re-acquired Philippine citizenship upon taking the following oath of allegiance,” saying that the meaning of that law is that the reacquisition of citizenship under this law conferred naturalized status.

Sereno insisted that this is the legislature’s position. But Lim replied: “We bow to the interpretation of the court. If that should be the interpretation, Your Honor. But that is the position of the Commission,” Lim said.

SC Justice Mariano Del Castillo on Tuesday was first to grill the poll body, with Lim stating that the purchase of real property and enrollment of her children in Philippine schools and other official acts in the country after May 2005 were not enough to prove her re-established residence in the country.

Castillo pointed out that Poe had obtained a tax identification number and even registered as a voter, while Lim replied that the Comelec had fully considered the facts but ruled that these facts were insufficient to re-establish residency.”


JUSTICE DEL CASTILLO

“She was sort of, with all due respect, testing the waters if you will. On top of that your honor please, she did not give up her US citizenship,” Lim told the high tribunal.

Does a foreigner have to renounce her citizenship before he or she can become a resident of the Philippines, Del Castillo asked.

“Definitely no, because citizenship is different from residence. But I wanted to cite that because I have in mind your honor Maquiling versus Comelec and Arnado,” Lim said.

Lim said that the SC in that ruling affirmed “that citizenship is not a matter of convenience, it is a badge of identity that comes with attendant civil and political rights accorded by the state to its citizens.”

“It likewise implies a concomintant duty to maintain allegiance to one’s flag and country,” Lim said, as quoted by reports from GMA online from its live streaming.

Citing the SC decision on the Coquilla case, Lim said Poe only clearly established her residence in the country when she reacquired Filipino citizenship in July 2006.

An ally of Poe, Pasig City Rep. Roman Romulo yesterday took the same Sereno line, saying that disqualifying Poe would be a grave injustice to the Filipino people.

Romulo said an adverse ruling on the disqualification cases now pending before the SC, would deny her and all other foundlings the right to serve the people and country.

“This is a precedent-setting issue which would decide the fate of foundlings who are, despite the difficult odds, given the opportunity to vie for the highest positions of the land,” he said.

“It would be a great disservice to the people if Senator Poe is disqualified because she has shown her commitment and competence as a government official and a senator of the Republic,” Romulo, a lawyer, said.

“I take heart in what Justice Marvic Leonen pointed out in the oral arguments, that the High Court is sitting as justices, not only as legalists, and that the honorable justices can interpret the law to render justice, particularly in a case like this,” Romulo said.

“The right thing to do is to let the electorate decide the issues raised against Senator Poe. Let the elections be a referendum on the issues raised against Senator Poe,” he said.

The 1987 Constitution only allows natural-born citizens to run for Congress, the Vice President and President, Romulo said.
With Benjamin B. Pulta and Gerry Baldo

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

related from PHILSTAR

Comelec defends decision to disqualify Poe By Patricia Lourdes Viray (philstar.com) | Updated February 2, 2016 - 5:37pm 2 235 googleplus0 0


The Commission on Elections earlier decided to cancel Sen. Grace Poe's certificate of candidacy for president.

MANILA, Philippines - The Commission on Elections on Tuesday presented its arguments before the Supreme Court in connection to the disqualification of presidential aspirant Sen. Grace Poe.

The poll body earlier disqualified Poe from the presidential race, citing residency and citizenship issues.

Commissioners Rowena Guanzon and Arthur Lim presented the Comelec's arguments before the high court. Lim was put under interpellation.

Associate Justice Mariano del Castillo asked whether the Comelec has the jurisdiction to decide on the issue of citizenship. He questioned why the poll body did not let the Presidential Electoral Tribunal to handle the proceedings.

Lim cited Section 78 of the Omnibus Election Code (OEC) which was the basis in cancelling Poe's certificate of candidacy.

The Comelec commissioner stressed that the OEC has similarities with "quo warranto" proceedings due to the issue of eligibility.

Lim added that the poll body merely decided on "material misrepresentation."

LIVE: Oral arguments on Poe vs Comelec - Day 3

Meanwhile, SC Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio asked the en banc to extend the duration of the oral arguments Poe's cases as there are only three months left before the elections.

Poe was still included in the initial list of candidates that the Comelec released last month. The poll body is scheduled to begin the printing of ballots by February 8.

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

RELATED FROM PHILSTAR

Poe finds 'refuge' in Sereno's arguments By Patricia Lourdes Viray (philstar.com) | Updated February 3, 2016 - 4:58pm 1 22 googleplus0 0


The Commission on Elections earlier disqualified Sen. Grace Poe from the presidential race due to citizenship and residency issues. Facebook/Grace Poe

MANILA, Philippines — Sen. Grace Poe on Wednesday acknowledged the statement of Supreme Court Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno on foundlings.

During the resumption of the high court's oral arguments on Poe's disqualification case on Tuesday, Sereno said that declaring foundlings as not natural-born and ineligible for national elective posts would have repercussions on their rights.

READ: Sereno warns of repercussions of Poe DQ

"We take refuge in the statement of Chief Justice Ma. Lourdes Sereno fighting hard for the rights of foundlings like me," Poe said in a statement.

Sereno said that the decision of the Commission on Elections to disqualify from the presidential race is discriminatory to foundlings.

"It rings loud and clear that the right of foundlings to a nationality will just be an empty rhetoric unless the government accords it due respect and implements this right," Poe said.

The SC chief justice pointed out that foundlings will be deprived of rights of ordinary citizens if the high court will uplhold the Comelec's decision on Poe's case.

The poll body earlier canceled Poe's certificate of candidacy for president, citing that she is not a natural-born Filipino citizen and that she failed to meet the ten-year residency requirement.


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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