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FILIPINOS SPLIT 3 WAYS ON POLITICAL DYNASTY


FEBRUARY 23 -When it comes to political dynasties, public opinion is split almost evenly. This was one of the findings of the latest Pulse Asia survey in which 1,800 registered voters nationwide were asked face-to-face about election-related issues.
Results of the survey, conducted from Jan. 24 to 28, also showed nearly half of the voters agreeing that the May elections would be clean and the results credible since the counting of votes is automated. Two in every five voters, however, expected cheating during the elections. The survey had a margin of error of plus or minus 2 percentage points. Among those surveyed, 32 percent agreed that “one should not vote for candidates who have children, spouses, siblings or parents who are current or former elected government officials.” Thirty-four percent disagreed, and another 34 percent were undecided. In March 2013, 40 percent said they did not see anything wrong with electing candidates who belonged to political dynasties, while 28 percent said otherwise, and 31 percent were undecided. “Public opinion regarding electoral support or nonsupport for politicians belonging to political dynasties is split three ways and is generally unchanged between March 2013 and January 2016,” Pulse Asia said. READ MORE...RELATED, Cayetano: No good or bad dynasties; only good or bad politicians  AND COMMENTARY Learning to live with political dynasties...

ALSO: 8 of 10 Pinoys satisfied with Philippine democracy


FEBRUARY 26 -Yellow confetti rain on the crowd during the 30th anniversary celebration of the "People Power Revolution" that toppled the 20-year-rule of the late strongman Ferdinand Marcos and helped install Corazon "Cory" Aquino to the presidency, Thursday, Feb. 25, 2016 at suburban Quezon city, northeast of Manila, Philippines. The four-day People Power saw hundreds of thousands of Filipinos trooping to EDSA Avenue fronting two military camps to lend support to mutinous soldiers who broke away from Marcos. AP/Bullit Marquez
  Nearly eight in 10 Filipinos are satisfied with the way democracy works in the country, a Social Weather Stations (SWS) survey showed.
The SWS poll, fielded from Dec. 5 to 8, found 76 percent of Filipino adults satisfied with the way democracy works, barely changed from 77 percent in June 2015. The results of the survey were published in the newspaper BusinessWorld yesterday, coinciding with the 30th anniversary of the EDSA People Power revolution that toppled the Marcos dictatorship. The survey used face-to-face interviews of 1,200 respondents nationwide and has sampling error margins of plus or minus three percentage points. Satisfaction with the way democracy works hit a record-high 80 percent after the May 2013 senatorial elections, the SWS noted. In contrast, only 44 percent were satisfied with the way democracy works after the presidential elections in 2004, it said. READ MORE...RELATED, 30 Years After Toppling Dictatorship, Philippines' Flawed Democracy Hasn't Narrowed Inequality, FROM BUSINESS FORBES.COM...

ALSO: 39% of Pinoys expect cheating in 2016


FEBRUARY 23 -The survey found 48 percent of respondents agreed with the statement “the May 2016 elections will be clean and the results credible because the counting of votes is automated.” File photo 48% see honest polls 
Four in 10 Filipinos, or 39 percent, expect cheating to take place in the elections in May, but 48 percent still expect it to be clean and credible, the latest survey by Pulse Asia found. Twenty-nine percent said they did not expect cheating to occur, while 32 percent were undecided on the matter, according to the survey taken from Jan. 24 to 28. Most of those who expect cheating in the upcoming elections were from Mindanao at 56 percent, followed by the Visayas with 42 percent, balance Luzon with 31 percent and Metro Manila with 29 percent. Among those expecting cheating to occur in May 2016, 65 percent of respondents said vote-buying was most likely to happen. This was the predominant view in all geographic areas and socio-economic classes, with 56 to 71 percent and 56 to 66 percent, respectively. The second most mentioned form of cheating was tampering of the precinct count optical scan (PCOS) machines at 37 percent, followed by attempts to change the actual vote count and the presence of flying voters at 32 percent and 31 percent, respectively. READ MORE...RELATED, ‘Poll machines not hack-proof’... AND GMA TV SALN SERIES How much do the presidentiable candidates owe?

ALSO: SALN SERIES For presidential bets - SALNs don't paint full picture of multi-million peso windfalls


FEBRUARY 23 -The SALN of Roxas (the richest candidate) and those of the other presidential candidates are detailed in a report by GMA ...If their public disclosures are to be of any indication, all five candidates for president in the May presidential elections have prospered in their years of public service, some more than the rest. In a review of all their available Statement of Assets, Liabilities and Net Worth, some going back 20 years, GMA News Research finds that the fortunes of some of the presidential candidates have increased more than a hundredfold during certain years. While the ‘how much’ may be readily answerable from the declarations, the ‘how come’ was not as easy to discern. “That’s the loophole,” says Eric Magcale, a member of the Philippine Institute of Certified Public Accountants (PICPA). “Because in the SALN, you’re just saying the assets, the liabilities, and my networth. But where did this come from?” Ideally, the SALN should show where the monies go and where they come from. This, former senator Rene Saguisag says, is one of his intentions as a co-author of RA 6713, the law that requires the filing of SALN of all civil servants. “Para makita ng tao … how the fortunes of a public servant move during his occupancy,” Saguisag says. “Maaring walang-wala nung una, pagkatapos suddenly naging milyonaryo, bilyonaryo, …O kaya, papano ka ba yumaman, tumama ka ba sa lotto o galing ba sa druglord.”
Movement of fortunes Certain sources of wealth — declared cash or real properties — of all the presidential candidates more than doubled in various instances during their tenure in office. Saguisag says there’s nothing wrong with the increase in wealth. “There is no obligation on the part of anyone to remain what he is,” he says. “Basta ang importante doon, kung ano yung dahilan…Hanggang may malinis na kapaliwanagan, wala naman tayong problema dyan.” Four of the five presidential candidates’ “cash on hand and/or in bank” registered at least a 100 percent increase at one point based on their available SALNs. Vice President Jejomar Binay’s and former interior secretary Mar Roxas’ cash increased significantly — in five instances — in their public careers that have spanned more than two decades. READ MORE...

ALSO: Legal woes threaten Philippine presidential front runners


FEBRUARY 23 -In this Feb. 21, 2016, file image provided by the Philippine Daily Inquirer, from left: Vice President Jejomar Binay; Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago; Mayor Rodrigo Duterte of southern Davao city; Sen. Grace Poe; and former Interior Secretary Mar Roxas; listen to a question at a presidential candidates debate held in southern Cagayan de Oro city, southern Philippines. Poe, a political newcomer, leads opinion polls ahead of the May 9 elections, with Binay, close behind. They are followed by Roxas and Duterte in a tight four-way race - a rarity in the Philippines. (Lyn Rillon/Philippine Daily Inquirer via AP)
MANILA, Philippines — It’s not just difficult to predict who will win Philippine presidential elections this year — thanks to some of the candidates’ legal woes, it’s difficult to predict who will be allowed to run. Four are within striking distance. Sen. Grace Poe, a political newcomer, leads opinion polls ahead of the May 9 elections, with Vice President Jejomar Binay, close behind. They are followed by former Interior Secretary Mar Roxas and Rodrigo Duterte, mayor of the southern city of Davao.
Poe, 47, has seen her popularity soar since she first ran for office three years ago. She is the adopted daughter of one of the country’s most famous movie couples. Her late father mostly played roles as a defender of the downtrodden in a country still plagued by widespread poverty and corruption. But the Commission on Elections ruled in December that Poe was not a natural-born Filipino as required by the Constitution because she was abandoned as a baby by her unknown parents at a Roman Catholic church. The U.S.-educated Poe, who renounced her Filipino citizenship for about five years to live with her own family in America, also lacked the required 10-year Philippine residency ahead of the vote, the commission said. That prompted Poe to bring her case to the Supreme Court, which could deliver its verdict soon — and have a huge impact on the presidential race. READ: Poe remains confident SC will have just resolution on DQ cases “This particular election has the most uncertainty,” said Ana Maria Tabunda, research director of Pulse Asia, an independent pollster whose latest survey last month showed Poe leading with support from 30 percent of respondents, with Binay garnering 23 percent. Roxas and Duterte each got 20 percent each in the survey that polled 1,800 people nationwide and had a margin of error of plus or minus 2 percent. READ MORE...RELATED, SC to deliberate separately on Poe citizenship, residency...


READ FULL MEDIA REPORTS HERE:

Filipinos split three ways on political dynasty

MANILA, FEBRUARY 29, 2016 (INQUIRER) By Inquirer Research 12:32 AM February 23rd, 2016 - When it comes to political dynasties, public opinion is split almost evenly.

This was one of the findings of the latest Pulse Asia survey in which 1,800 registered voters nationwide were asked face-to-face about election-related issues.

Results of the survey, conducted from Jan. 24 to 28, also showed nearly half of the voters agreeing that the May elections would be clean and the results credible since the counting of votes is automated. Two in every five voters, however, expected cheating during the elections.

The survey had a margin of error of plus or minus 2 percentage points.

Among those surveyed, 32 percent agreed that “one should not vote for candidates who have children, spouses, siblings or parents who are current or former elected government officials.”

Thirty-four percent disagreed, and another 34 percent were undecided.

In March 2013, 40 percent said they did not see anything wrong with electing candidates who belonged to political dynasties, while 28 percent said otherwise, and 31 percent were undecided.

“Public opinion regarding electoral support or nonsupport for politicians belonging to political dynasties is split three ways and is generally unchanged between March 2013 and January 2016,” Pulse Asia said.

READ MORE....

The Constitution’s Article II Section 26 prohibits political dynasties “as may be defined by law,” but no legislation has been passed since 1987 to make it operational.

As a result, well-entrenched political families continue to dominate national and local politics.

President Aquino, in his State of the Nation Address last year, deemed one of the priority measures the antidynasty bill but Congress failed to pass the measure before it adjourned on Feb. 3 for the election campaign.

A similar distribution of public opinion on political dynasties was seen in Luzon outside Metro Manila, the Visayas, Mindanao and among Classes D and E.

Half of those in Metro Manila disagreed with the view that candidates from political dynasties should not be elected into office while 35 percent among Classes ABC agreed, and 42 percent disagreed.

The survey also found 48 percent of the respondents expecting the elections to be clean and the results credible because of the automation of the vote-counting process, down from 52 percent in March 2013. Fifteen percent doubted the elections would be clean and credible, down from 19 percent three years ago.

Indecision on the matter was more pronounced, from 29 percent in March 2013 to 36 percent in January 2016, according to Pulse Asia.

The survey also asked respondents if they believed cheating would take place during the elections.

Thirty-nine percent said there would be cheating, 29 percent said no cheating would happen and 32 percent were ambivalent.

Among those who expected cheating to occur, 65 percent cited vote-buying as the most likely form of cheating, followed by tampering of the counting machines (37 percent), changing the actual vote count (32 percent), flying voters (31 percent), hoarding voters (25 percent), ballots inserted in the counting machines may be replaced (24 percent), threatening voters and election officers (18 percent), and stolen counting machines (16 percent).

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RELATED FROM THE INQUIRER

Cayetano: No good or bad dynasties; only good or bad politicians SHARES: 154 VIEW COMMENTS By: Yuji Vincent Gonzales @YGonzalesINQ INQUIRER.net 05:53 PM January 27th, 2016

Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano is neither supporting nor opposing dynasties in the Philippine political landscape.

Cayetano, the son of former Sen. Rene Cayetano, has two siblings in politics, namely Sen. Pia Cayetano and Taguig City Rep. Lino Cayetano. His brother also served as councilor of Muntinlupa.

His wife, Lani Cayetano, is the incumbent mayor of Taguig.

“I respect those who are antidynasty but I don’t believe that’s the core issue,” Cayetano said over radio dzMM on Wednesday.

“Sa akin kasi, walang good or bad dynasty. It’s good or bad politicians,” he said.

But Cayetano, who is running for vice president, said he would not hinder efforts to push the passage of an antidynasty bill.

“Kung iyan ang gusto ng tao, hindi ko haharangin ‘yun,” he said. “I’m not prodynasty. You empower the people and let the people decide.”

Asked about the race for the mayoral post in Makati City, a known bulwark of the Binay family, Cayetano said he was hoping Acting Mayor Kid Peña of the administration would win in the upcoming elections. RC

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RELATED FROM THE INQUIRER

COMMENTARY Learning to live with political dynasties SHARES: 179 VIEW COMMENTS By: Gualberto B. Lumauig @inquirerdotnet Philippine Daily Inquirer 01:59 AM July 18th, 2015

William Safire, political lexicographer, defines “dynasty” as the “recurrence of political power in generations of a single family; previously, the passing of power among a small group of political elite.”

For his study of “American Political Dynasties,” Stephen Hess chose, according to Safire, the following families: Adams, Lee, Livingston, Washburn, Muhlenberg, Roosevelt, Harrison, Breckenridge, Bayard, Taft, Frelinghuysen, Tucker, Stockton, Long, Lodge and Kennedy.

What gives rise to a political dynasty? It’s a natural phenomenon no different from when a banana plant begins to age and one or two shoots spring up beside it. Do political dynasties rise up from political heavyweights? Not necessarily. Sociologist C. Wright Mills points out that “throughout US history, well over half of the American political elite have come from families not previously connected with political affairs. They come from families highly placed in terms of money and position than political influence.”

Establishing a political dynasty, history attests, is a very human craving that very few can resist or not find ways to implement. A story is told—apocryphal, of course—of Roman Emperor Caligula, one of the most vicious madmen in history. Caligula did not want the family dynasty to end with him. The problem was he had no kinsman to pass power to as earlier he had all of them murdered to avert any plot to replace him prematurely, or when he was not yet good and ready, through his assassination.

Was Caligula fazed by this problem? Not a bit. The guy may have had episodes of madness, but he was no fool; he could weave fantastic solutions to unimaginable political problems. Just like our politicos. So how did Caligula solve the problem of preserving his dynasty with no one to whom he could pass the torch in sight? Simple.

He marched to the royal stable and named his favorite horse senator and heir!

Dynasty: We just have to learn to live with it even if our dynasty-creating, power-kapit-tuko politicians insist on passing on positions and pelf to their dumb horses.

Or worse, to their submoronic children.

Now, before some dumb guys jump at my throat for being on the wrong side of history, condoning what everybody and his uncle see as evil, I say, Hold your horses. Calm down and think for a while: Is a political dynasty absolutely bad news? Is the birth and flourishing of a dynasty a natural evolution and is trying to stop it a futile act, like trying to stop the river’s flow from rushing to the sea?



If you come right down to it, dynasties are not all that bad, are not that simple to dismantle, and do provide a lot of pluses in terms of stability and administrative efficiency to the political subdivision where they hold sway. And, just like any force or power center, they can become obsolete or exhaust their potency and usefulness and, in time, fade from the scene voluntarily—or they can get thrown out by the people through the ballot or through the unique Filipino invention for getting rid of politicians who have become undesirables: People Power.

We have had a number of recorded dynasties in the past 100 years or so. The Josons of Nueva Ecija; the Laurels, Rectos and Levistes of Batangas; the Remullas and Revillas of Cavite; the Dys and Albanos of Isabela; the Osmeñas, Cuencos and Duranos of Cebu; the Singsons of Ilocos Sur; the Ortegas of La Union; the Marcoses of Ilocos Norte; the Espinosas of Masbate; the Villafuertes of Bicol; the Buluts of Apayao; the Cuas of Quirino; the Ejercito-Estradas of San Juan; the Binays of Makati…

These are the dynasties that I can call to mind at the moment. There are many more. If that’s so, why is Vice President Jejomar Binay made the poster boy of political dynasties?

There is a move in Congress to banish dynasties from our political system. I think this effort is a waste of time, and furthermore, such a move, if successful, infringes on the right of the people to choose who they want to serve them. If the people love the brand of service of the Binay clan, in power for the last 30 years, and choose to keep its members in the saddle for another 30-year run, why frustrate the people’s wish?

Opinions about a political dynasty, especially as it relates to well-known Filipino families, are difficult to synthesize as some of them are, if not self-contradictory, a study in confusion not very unlike this quote from former US president George Bush:
“I have opinions of my own—strong opinions—but I don’t always agree with them.”

Gualberto B. Lumauig (lumauigbert@yahoo.com) is past president of the UST Philosophy and Letters Foundation and former governor/congressman of Ifugao.


PHILSTAR

8 of 10 Pinoys satisfied with Philippine democracy By Helen Flores (The Philippine Star) | Updated February 26, 2016 - 12:00am 1 39 googleplus0 0


Yellow confetti rain on the crowd during the 30th anniversary celebration of the "People Power Revolution" that toppled the 20-year-rule of the late strongman Ferdinand Marcos and helped install Corazon "Cory" Aquino to the presidency, Thursday, Feb. 25, 2016 at suburban Quezon city, northeast of Manila, Philippines. The four-day People Power saw hundreds of thousands of Filipinos trooping to EDSA Avenue fronting two military camps to lend support to mutinous soldiers who broke away from Marcos. AP/Bullit Marquez

MANILA, Philippines - Nearly eight in 10 Filipinos are satisfied with the way democracy works in the country, a Social Weather Stations (SWS) survey showed.

The SWS poll, fielded from Dec. 5 to 8, found 76 percent of Filipino adults satisfied with the way democracy works, barely changed from 77 percent in June 2015.

The results of the survey were published in the newspaper BusinessWorld yesterday, coinciding with the 30th anniversary of the EDSA People Power revolution that toppled the Marcos dictatorship.

The survey used face-to-face interviews of 1,200 respondents nationwide and has sampling error margins of plus or minus three percentage points.

Satisfaction with the way democracy works hit a record-high 80 percent after the May 2013 senatorial elections, the SWS noted.

In contrast, only 44 percent were satisfied with the way democracy works after the presidential elections in 2004, it said.

READ MORE...

The SWS survey also showed a majority or 58 percent saying “democracy is always preferable to any other kind of government,” from 59 percent in June 2015.

SWS said preference for democracy has been above 50 percent since February 2009, although it reached a record-high of 65 percent in June 2013.

About two in 10 respondents or 18 percent said “under some circumstances, an authoritarian government can be preferable to a democratic one,” down three points from 21 percent in June last year.

The pollster also noted an increase in the number of respondents who said “for people like me, it does not matter whether we have a democratic or a non-democratic regime” from June’s 20 percent to 23 percent in December.

The question on “satisfaction in the way democracy works” originated in the Eurobarometer surveys and is also in standard use in Latin American and Asian barometer projects, the SWS said.

Presidential Communications Operations Office Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. said the latest SWS survey “comes as a timely and fitting tribute” to the Filipinos on the 30th anniversary of the people power revolution.

“Such overwhelming approval reflects the Filipinos’ deep appreciation for democracy as a way of life. Filipinos cherish and uphold democracy as they disdain the oppression and tyranny of dictatorship,” Coloma said. - With Aurea Calica

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RELATED FROM THE FORBES.COM

30 Years After Toppling Dictatorship, Philippines' Flawed Democracy Hasn't Narrowed Inequality Alejandro Reyes , CONTRIBUTOR I write on the political economy of Asia, globalization and leadership Opinions expressed by Forbes Contributors are their own.


Confetti rains on participants in the 30th anniversary celebration of the “People Power” revolt that toppled the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos in 1986, along a highway in Manila on Feb. 25. President Benigno Aquino called on voters to stop Marcos’s son from becoming vice-president in national elections this May. (Ted Aljibe/AFP/Getty Images)

Thursday marks the 30th anniversary of the toppling from power of Ferdinand Marcos and his wife Imelda by the People Power movement in the Philippines.

The country has been on a long, winding and often bumpy road since those euphoric days when Corazon Aquino, the steely housewife-turned-icon in a canary yellow dress and matching spectacles, took the oath of office as president, even as the Marcoses fled their palace en route to eventual exile in Hawaii.

Benigno Aquino III, Corazon’s son, is now in the last months of his own presidency.

PNoy, as Filipinos often refer to him, has presided over a period of robust economic growth – GDP expanded 6.1% in 2014, slipping slightly to below 6% last year.

Structural reforms put in place by the previous administration of Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, now a member of the House of Representatives under hospital arrest on charges of election fraud and misuse of state funds, and enormous foreign exchange remittances from the millions of overseas Filipino workers have been key to the economy’s strength and resilience.

Still, Aquino is credited with pushing an anti-corruption campaign aimed at putting the country on what he calls the “straight path”. Charmed investors responded positively and ratings agencies rewarded the Philippines with upgrades of its sovereign risk to investment grade. The country has risen in global competitiveness rankings.

Yet after six years of the administration of Aquino the son and indeed 30 years since Aquino the mother took over from the reviled dictator, has the Philippines broken out of the poverty trap that made it a perpetual laggard among East Asian economies?

In 1998, more than a decade after the end of Marcos’s rule, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) reported that poverty incidence in the Philippines was higher than in its ASEAN neighbors. The IMF noted that income distribution, as measured by the Gini ratio, “has been remarkably stable in the Philippines and its neighbors for decades.

Thus it appears that poverty has proven more persistent in the Philippines than in some other Asian countries, not because these other countries have succeeded in altering relative shares in national income, but rather because their average incomes have grown more rapidly than in the Philippines. Much of the blame for this growth performance can be traced to economic policy.”

In 1994, the richest 20% of the population received 52% of the country’s total income, nearly 11 times the share received by the poorest 20%. This was a marginally worse situation than in 1985. Indeed, from 1957 till today, aside from brief periods of improvement, the country’s Gini ratio has changed little, consistently remaining the highest or one of the highest in Southeast Asia. In 2009, the poorest 20% of the population accounted for just 4.45% of national income.

While studies have shown that there has been income mobility in the economy, with people climbing out of poverty, improvements have been offset by the incidence of people falling into poverty.

“To make economic growth truly inclusive, the government should not only be concerned with the poor, but also it must have policy instruments to assist those who are non-poor but plagued by economic risks,” statisticians Jose Ramon Albert, Senior Research Fellow in the Philippine Institute for Development Studies, a government think tank, and Arturo Martinez, Research Fellow at the Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for Children and Families over the Life Course, wrote last year.

The features of the economy that have stymied the Philippines from breaking out of its poverty trap remain – key industries and sectors are controlled by a commercial elite, with political power concentrated in provincial, regional and urban clans who compete among each other, sometimes violently, and divide the spoils.

Marcos merely froze Philippine society in a feudal frame with the dictator and his cronies holding it together. Once the regime collapsed, the old patron-client system of the commercial-political elite dating back to Spanish colonial rule and the beginning of American occupation thawed out and has stayed in place and thrived since.

While the Philippines may enjoy trappings of democracy – a bicameral legislature, competing political parties, a vibrant civil society and active media – the underlying system of elites and vested interests continues.

Despite Aquino’s efforts, it has performed poorly in corruption rankings, falling 10 places to 95th in Transparency International’s Corruption Perceptions Index in 2015. Consider this: PNoy’s great-grandfather was a revolutionary general in the fight against Spain, while the great-grandfather of Manuel Roxas, whom Aquino anointed last year as his preferred successor, served as a soldier on the Spanish side. Roxas, known familiarly as Mar, is the grandson of a president, while Arroyo was the daughter of Marcos’s immediate predecessor. From one generation to the next, the same families prevail.

In the coming May elections, Roxas, who has served as a legislator and a Cabinet secretary under three presidents, is up against three other leading candidates: Jejomar Binay, the former mayor of Makati (Manila’s main financial and business district) and Aquino’s vice-president; Rodrigo Duterte, the shoot-from-the-hip-ask-questions-later mayor of the city of Davao in the southern island of Mindanao; and Grace Poe, a senator and the adopted daughter of Fernando Poe, an actor and action star who ran unsuccessfully against Arroyo (his supporters accuse her of stealing the election) in 2004 and died the same year. Also a candidate is Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago, a Cabinet secretary in the administration of Cory Aquino, who has chosen Marcos’s son Ferdinand Jr (known as Bongbong) as her running mate.


Former Philippine interior minister and ruling party candidate Mar Roxas speaks during a campaign rally in Capiz town, central Philippines, on February 9, 2016, at the start of the political campaign for the May 10 national elections. (STR/AFP/Getty Images)

Roxas possesses the prestigious pedigree and the image of an able Wharton-trained technocrat but lacks the common touch not to mention real grassroots popularity. Perceptions that he performed poorly as interior and local government secretary during the Typhoon Haiyan (known as Yolanda in the Philippines) disaster in 2013 have dogged him.

But he is the preferred candidate of the elite business community that supported Cory Aquino, her successor Fidel Ramos, Arroyo at the start of her rule, and PNoy, and that maneuvered to bring down Ramos’s successor Joseph Estrada, another movie idol who rose to the presidency after years as a mayor and legislator, only to be turfed out in 2001.

The Makati crowd wants Mar to win. But in polls, he has languished behind the pack. No surprise then that in the rough-and-tumble of Philippine politics, Aquino administration supporters have been trying to clip the wings of the other contestants. Poe’s candidacy is under a cloud, with legal proceedings under way questioning her eligibility to run because she had taken US citizenship and may not have fulfilled Philippine residency requirements. She is expected to be allowed to stay in the race, however.

Binay and members of his family, meanwhile, are under investigation for corruption, with attention focused recently on what are alleged to be his family’s extensive property holdings.

In a survey, the Makati Business Club identified the Office of the Vice-President as the worst performing government agency. Duterte, the Donald Trump among the candidates, has been roundly roasted in the media and by the establishment for everything from his crude criticism of the Pope for causing traffic jams to his tough-guy approach to fighting crime.

Reminiscent of the failed efforts by US political grandees to get Jeb Bush and Hillary Clinton easily and speedily crowned as their respective party’s nominees, the Philippine business and reining political establishment is working hard to push Mar’s opponents aside so he can rise to the top.

Roxas would extend PNoy’s straight path and allow investors to breath easily. But make no mistake, whoever wins, the clan and personality politics that have gripped the country since the 19th century will continue. Until that system finally dissolves, a more equitable and inclusive Philippines is unlikely to emerge.

Philippines Overview | FindTheData
Alejandro Reyes (@areyeshk) is an independent consultant living in Hong Kong. He is a visiting professor in the Department of Politics and Public Administration of the University of Hong Kong.


PHILSTAR

39% of Pinoys expect cheating By Helen Flores (The Philippine Star) | Updated February 23, 2016 - 12:00am 0 10 googleplus0 0


The survey found 48 percent of respondents agreed with the statement “the May 2016 elections will be clean and the results credible because the counting of votes is automated.” File photo 48% see honest polls

MANILA, Philippines - Four in 10 Filipinos, or 39 percent, expect cheating to take place in the elections in May, but 48 percent still expect it to be clean and credible, the latest survey by Pulse Asia found.

Twenty-nine percent said they did not expect cheating to occur, while 32 percent were undecided on the matter, according to the survey taken from Jan. 24 to 28.

Most of those who expect cheating in the upcoming elections were from Mindanao at 56 percent, followed by the Visayas with 42 percent, balance Luzon with 31 percent and Metro Manila with 29 percent.

Among those expecting cheating to occur in May 2016, 65 percent of respondents said vote-buying was most likely to happen. This was the predominant view in all geographic areas and socio-economic classes, with 56 to 71 percent and 56 to 66 percent, respectively.

The second most mentioned form of cheating was tampering of the precinct count optical scan (PCOS) machines at 37 percent, followed by attempts to change the actual vote count and the presence of flying voters at 32 percent and 31 percent, respectively.

READ MORE...

Other forms of cheating cited by the respondents were hoarding of votes and the replacement of ballots inserted in the PCOS machines, at 25 percent and 24 percent, respectively.

Eighteen percent cited harassment of voters and election officers while 16 percent cited stealing of PCOS machines. Fewer than one percent cited blackouts as a form of cheating that may occur.

But the survey also found that nearly half of Filipinos expect the elections to be “clean” and the results “credible” with the use of the automated counting system.

The survey found 48 percent of respondents agreed with the statement “the May 2016 elections will be clean and the results credible because the counting of votes is automated.”

Fifteen percent of the respondents did not agree that the elections would be clean, while 36 percent were ambivalent on the matter.

Political dynasty

Public opinion regarding electoral support or non-support for politicians belonging to political dynasties is split three ways, according to the survey.

The poll found that 34 percent of Filipinos said they don’t see anything wrong with electing candidates who belong to political dynasties.

Thirty-two percent of them, however, have a contrary opinion, and 34 percent were undecided on the matter.

Fifty percent of respondents in Metro Manila disagreed with the view that candidates coming from political dynasties should not be elected, followed by the Visayas and Mindanao with 34 percent each, and balance Luzon with 29 percent.

The nationwide survey used face-to-face interviews of 1,800 registered voters 18 years old and above. It has an error margin of plus or minus two percentage points at the 95 percent confidence level.

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RELATED FROM THE MANILA STANDARD

‘Poll machines not hack-proof’ posted February 21, 2016 at 12:01 am by Maricel Cruz and Sara Susanne D. Fabunan

CONTRARY to the claim of the company that supplied them, the vote-counting machines that the Commission on Elections will use in the May 9 polls are prone to hacking and manipulation, a telecommunications engineer said Saturday.

Dr. Pelagio Battung Jr., a telecommunications engineer who served as transportation and communication undersecretary during the Ramos administration, said the poll body should be concerned with the VCM’s algorithms rather than their source code.

“Source code? There’s nothing there,” Battung said, adding that the Comelec should have asked the political parties involved in the election to inspect and test the VCM’s algorithm to verify the claim of Comelec supplier Smartmatic-TIM that the machines are not hackable.

“If they will show the algorithm, IT experts of the different political parties can inspect and test the algorithm and verify if that claim is true,” said Battung. I’m very sure the algorithm of the [VCMs] are different from that of the [precinct-count optical scanners].”


Road show. In this file photo, workers of the Commission on Elections show how sample vote-counting machines work during a demonstration at the Pope Pius XII Center conference hall in Paco, Manila. LINO SANTOS

He raised his doubts about the VCMs because the Comelec will also be using refurbished PCOS machines that were used in the May 19, 2013 elections when some PCOS machines refused to read the names of some candidates.

“You recognize some of the names and one of the name was not recognized. That only shows that PCOS machine has a memory,” Battung said.

“How many candidates in the national elections on vice president has the letter M? If the PCOS really carries a memory, I can transverse the candidates with M or the candidates with B from the president up to senator and transfer it to the votes of the higher up,” Battung added.

Battung, however, conceded there may not be enough time for political parties to send in their IT experts to verify the claim of Smartmatic.

“We lack time now. If we insist on doing that, we might not have elections. It’s better to have an election. We’ll talk about that later,” Battung said.

Battung’s doubts reflected those of source code reviewer Dr. Pablo Manalastas, a retired professor of the Ateneo de Manila University Department of Information Systems and Computer Science, who claimed that while the source code is secure, it can still be hacked.

Manalastas told a congressional oversight committee that he cannot discount the possibility of vote rigging and electoral cheating in this year’s general elections.

“They put enough security to make it hard for outsiders to use the system to cheat. But, if they want to cheat, they can do that,” Manalastas told lawmakers.

“The system is secure, but hacking the system can be done through the cooperation of people who are in charge of the data system and who have physical control of machines. It is possible to cheat with a lot of help from Comelec and Smartmatic,” Manalastas said.

But Smartmatic technology manager Marlon Garcia disputed Manalastas’ claim and claimed no one has access to all the different components of the system.

“There is no way to go inside. There is no way for somebody to manipulate the machines or go into the system and favor a particular candidate,” said Garcia, adding that not even Comelec Chairman Andres Bautista has full access to the system.

Meanwhile, Smartmatic president Cesar Flores disputed Bautista’s claim that Smartmatic can be held liable for the delay caused by the omission of the People’s Reform Party of presidential aspirant Senator Miriam Santiago in the test ballots printed recently.


SMARTMATIC President for Asia and Pacific Cesar Flores (UNTV News)

Flores stressed that the Commission on Election is responsible in checking “each and every” ballots before the supplier proceed with the printing.

“Ultimately, Comelec has the responsibility to checking each and every one of those ballot faces before proceeding with printing,” Flores said.

On Feb. 15, the Comelec officially started printing at least 57 million official ballots for Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao, including at least 1.6 million overseas absentee voters.

However, the printing was temporarily stopped on Feb. 16 due to errors in the ballot where the Comelec has forgot to indicate Santiago’s political party.

Flores said it is normal in every election to have several revisions and correction before it finally implemented.

“It’s normal in every election to have several iterations of the different files until a final approved version is issued,” Flores said.

“As you know, there is not just one ballot face but many different ones. What happens is that Comelec sends data about candidates and precincts over to Smartmatic, which then generates the different ballot faces,” Flores said.

Flores stressed that the data about the candidates and precincts, as assumed, is already checked and finalized by the Comelec and the detection of the error only proves that the mechanism is working perfectly.

“This is how the mistake was detected and corrected in time. Far from being a cause for concern, this proves that the safety mechanisms are working perfectly,” said Flores, who assured Smartmatic and the National Printing Office can meet the April 25 deadline.


GMA NEWS TV

SALN SERIES For presidential bets - SALNs don't paint full picture of multi-million peso windfalls Published February 23, 2016 11:04pm By JAMAICA JANE PASCUAL, GMA News Research


The SALN of Roxas (the richest candidate) and those of the other presidential candidates are detailed in a report by GMA ...

If their public disclosures are to be of any indication, all five candidates for president in the May presidential elections have prospered in their years of public service, some more than the rest.

In a review of all their available Statement of Assets, Liabilities and Net Worth, some going back 20 years, GMA News Research finds that the fortunes of some of the presidential candidates have increased more than a hundredfold during certain years.

While the ‘how much’ may be readily answerable from the declarations, the ‘how come’ was not as easy to discern.

“That’s the loophole,” says Eric Magcale, a member of the Philippine Institute of Certified Public Accountants (PICPA). “Because in the SALN, you’re just saying the assets, the liabilities, and my networth. But where did this come from?”

Ideally, the SALN should show where the monies go and where they come from. This, former senator Rene Saguisag says, is one of his intentions as a co-author of RA 6713, the law that requires the filing of SALN of all civil servants.

“Para makita ng tao … how the fortunes of a public servant move during his occupancy,” Saguisag says. “Maaring walang-wala nung una, pagkatapos suddenly naging milyonaryo, bilyonaryo, …O kaya, papano ka ba yumaman, tumama ka ba sa lotto o galing ba sa druglord.”

Movement of fortunes

Certain sources of wealth — declared cash or real properties — of all the presidential candidates more than doubled in various instances during their tenure in office.

Saguisag says there’s nothing wrong with the increase in wealth. “There is no obligation on the part of anyone to remain what he is,” he says. “Basta ang importante doon, kung ano yung dahilan…Hanggang may malinis na kapaliwanagan, wala naman tayong problema dyan.”

Four of the five presidential candidates’ “cash on hand and/or in bank” registered at least a 100 percent increase at one point based on their available SALNs.

Vice President Jejomar Binay’s and former interior secretary Mar Roxas’ cash increased significantly — in five instances — in their public careers that have spanned more than two decades.

READ MORE...

Poe also had a 100 percent increase in declared cash from 2013 to 2014.


That year, however, there was also another big movement in her assets – a decrease of P45.45 million in her declared real properties.

Santiago’s cash had significant increases from 2007 to 2009, with the biggest increase at more than 1,000 percent.

The declared figures, however, do not paint an entire picture; they are but snapshots of certain specific times in the finances of these high-profile public officials.

“Mas helpful kung ia-attach natin yung income tax natin, yung financial statements, yung mga businesses, mga corporations mo. I-attach natin dito yung mga financials,” says Magcale.

None of the candidates had any of these documents to support their SALNs.

Magcale points out that documentary requirements for private businesses seem to be more stringent compared to what is required of public officials.

“May mga items [in the SALN] that could be improved for transparency. I mean if you will compare it with financial statements being filed even by an ordinary individual, sole proprietor of a business, mas detailed pa sya lumalabas…,” he says.

Cash increases

Of those significant increases in cash, the increase in Binay’s cash from less than a million pesos in 2009 to P17.34 million in June 2010 was the biggest in terms of percentage — more than 2,000 percent.

This increase registered in his SALN after the 2010 elections when Binay won as the vice president. He had served as Makati City’s mayor before being elected in the national post.

In a reply to GMA News, UNA communications director Joey Salgado says that this increase was “mainly due to the excess of contributions received by the Vice President over the expenses he incurred in the May 2010 Elections as well as the proceeds from the sale of certain assets.”

“All these were fully and duly reported by the Vice President in his Annual Income Tax Returns filed with the Bureau of Internal Revenue over a span of more than two decades as well as in the Statement of Campaign Contributions and Expenses filed with the Commission on Elections,” Salgado said.

The Binay camp had made the same explanation in 2014 at the height of the Senate investigation into the alleged anomalies in Makati City. The Vice President made public in a press conference his SALNs and taxes paid.

According to his Statement of Election Contributions and Expenditures, VP Binay spent only P217.97 million of his P231.48 million election contributions. This gave him an excess of P13.54 million.

In his early years in public office, Binay’s declared cash also had a notable increase of 175 percent — from P 856,937.72 in 1991 to P 2.36 million — in an election year, 1992. Binay was elected Makati mayor in 1992.

Salgado explains this increase: “The reported increase of PhP1.5 Million in 1992 from the previous year’s reported amount of cash is mainly due to the P1.73 million additional income earned by the Vice President for legal services he rendered prior to his joining the government but which he was only able to collect in 1992.”

In 2004, also an election year, Binay’s declared cash increased by P4.68 million or 254.48 percent. In May of the same year, Binay ran and won for the 5th time the mayoralty of Makati. It was his 6th term as Makati mayor.

“The increase in cash reported in the 2004 SALN is on account of the PhP9.0 million loan obtained by the Vice President during the said year as duly reported in the same SALN,” Salgado said.

Binay’s 2004 SALN showed a ‘loans payable’ worth P9.06 million. No other information was provided.

Binay’s cash also increased more than 100 percent in two other separate years. Salgado explains that these particular increases were due to the income of the flower shop business of the VP’s wife Dr. Elenita Binay, and the VP’s piggery business.

Binay, too, once declared a vaguely-phrased asset – an “other personal assets” which from P698,676 in 2001 became P2.7 million in 2002.

Salgado explains that ‘others’ “refer to all other assets which do not fall within the definition of ‘Real Properties’, ‘Shares of Stock’, ‘Cars & Accessories’ and ‘Investment in Business’, ‘Jewelries’ and ‘Cash’, such as furniture and fixtures and other movable assets,”

Up by P50 million

If Binay had the highest jump in cash in terms of percentage, Santiago had the highest increase in terms of actual amount.

Her cash increased by P 52.94-million— from P3.29 million in 2009 to P56.22 million in 2010 or an increase of 1,611.43 percent.

That year, however, there was also another big movement in her assets – a decrease of P45.45 million in her declared real properties.

“The total amount of Real Properties decreased by 45,550,000 from 2008 due to transfer to different corporation and sales of property”, a note attached to Santiago’s 2009 SALN stated.

The properties omitted from the 2009 SALN are all located at Quezon City: an office at West Triangle, and residential properties in La Vista, UP Village, and West Triangle.

It was not clear, however, if the increase in her cash was due to the sales of properties.

Santiago’s declared cash had jumped 310.64 percent from P800,000 in 2007 to P3.29 million in 2008.

GMA News Research sent an inquiry to the office of the senator three weeks prior, but has yet to receive a reply.

'Others' worth millions

In 2011, Roxas declared an “Others” worth P5 million as part of his wealth. This unspecified “Others” became P16.5 million – or a 230 percent increase – in his 2013 SALN.

Another notable surge in Roxas’ asset was a 744.59 percent jump in declared cash in 2001. That year, his cash climbed to P19.17 million from P2.27 million in 1999.

This then dramatically dropped to less than a million in 2002.

Roxas was seating as then-president Gloria Macapagal Arroyo’s cabinet secretary of trade and industry – a post he held until 2003 just before his senatorial bid.

In 2004, his declared cash increased 116.46 percent, from P646,811 to P1.4 million.

That amount more than doubled the following year to P2.92 million in 2005.

His declared cash increased 158 percent in 2013 from his 2011 declaration – from P9.49 million to P24.49 million.

GMA News Research sent a detailed questionnaire to the Roxas camp almost three prior to posting, but has received no reply.

Bonuses

The only notable increase in the assets of Poe is a more than double increase of her cash in her most recent SALN.

In her 2013 SALN, Poe declared a little less than half a million in cash. This jumped to P1.07 million in 2014.

Answering GMA News’ Mariz Umali, Poe says that this is not unlikely.

“Para sa atin na may mga nagtatrabaho sa pribadong sektor, dumadating ang ating suweldo at ang ating mga bonuses towards the end of the year. E nagkataon yung asawa ko, mayroon naman siyang bonus,” Poe says. “Actually, reflected din 'yon in the past years. Consistent naman siyang nagfa-file ng taxes niya.”

Child’s properties

Mayor Rodrigo Duterte’s declared real properties increased by more than 1,000 percent in value in 2008.

Duterte declared P241,570.00 as acquisition cost of his properties in 2007; this value increased to P2.76 million the next year.

In a letter to GMA News Research, Duterte says the additional properties are under the name of his daughter who is a minor.

He explains that he simply followed the new civil service rule on declarations.

“It has basically expanded the definition and coverage of the declarant’s assets by including properties and investments, not only those under his name, but also those owned by his children below 18 years of age living in the household of the declarant,” Duterte said.

He says three properties under the name of his daughter were purchased from the funds of the child’s mother who is a businesswoman.

Only the explanations of the candidates had provided the narrative to the otherwise disjointed and discrete declarations in their SALNs.

Says Saguisag, “Yun nga. Hanggang may malinis na kapaliwanagan, wala naman tayong problema dyan eh. Pero kung yan eh ninakaw, eh kasi isang singkong duling magkakaproblema.” —FTB/GMA News Research/JST, GMA News, with reports from Mariz Umali and Ivan Mayrina, GMA News

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RELATED FROM GMA NEWS TV

SALN SERIES How much do the presidentiable candidates owe? Published February 17, 2016 10:46pm By JAMAICA JANE PASCUAL, GMA News Research

Six presidential candidates have presented themselves to be scrutinized, weighed, praised or criticized based on all kinds of information that mostly have become public interest.

These include, of course, the Statement of Assets, Liabilities and Net Worth or the SALN. Having all served in government, all the candidates have filed these disclosures.

Former senator Rene Saguisag, the co-author of the law that mandated the filing of SALNs, cannot emphasize enough the value of SALN disclosures.

Transparency, transparency, transparency. That is the goal, he said.

“Ang intention namin dyan ni Uncle Jovy (Jovito Salonga,) and other co-authors… pag nilagay mo roon ang mga property mo, stock sa X company, makikita ng publiko kung may possible conflict of interest,” said the former senator.

The issue of conflict of interest usually attaches to the disclosures of properties, assets and business interests.

However, as the disclosures would show, equally important to what they own is what they owe — and to whom they owe.

As Saguisag noted, “Kaya yun eh statement of assets, liabilities, networth, business interest…Ang utang, dahil that will show kung bakit papaboran mo yung taipan na ganito. Eh yun pala eh me atraso ka dun.”

GMA News Research reviewed the declared liabilities of all the presidential candidates in their SALNs.

READ MORE...

The liabilities include personal loans, stock subscriptions and income tax payables among others.

These payables vary in kind and ranges from a few thousand to multi-millions - one candidate had a relatively small automobile loan worth P78,560, and another, a massive P70 million-worth of personal loans

All the candidates declared at least one personal loan from an institution, a family member or a friend.

Owing a Makati bidder

For four years, Vice President Binay declared among his liabilities unpaid millions to a company that was a consistent bidder for security services for the Makati government.

The SALN of the Vice President showed that from 2011 up to his most recent filing for 2014, his liabilities include an “unpaid portion on the lease-to-own vehicle.”

Vican Security Services Corporation is listed as creditor.

Also from 2011, Binay added in his declared assets a Toyota Land Cruiser worth P9.6 million. He noted that this is “subject to a lease-to-own contract”.

From an unpaid balance of P6.88 million in 2011, the liability was down to P5.68 million in 2014. The amounts indicate a payment of around P600,000 every year except for the last year, 2014, when the balance did not change.

Vican Security Services Corporation was one of the four constant bidders in Makati City in 2013 and 2014 when Jejomar Erwin Binay, the VP’s son, was mayor.

Vican’s incorporator and president, Jonas Vinarao, contributed to the 2010 vice presidential campaign of Binay. The VP’s Statement of Election Contributions and Expenditures states that Vinarao donated P20,000.

In a reply sent to GMA News, UNA communications director Joey Salgado said, “The contract with Vican Securities is an arm’s length transaction duly reported in the SALN of the Vice President.”

An arm’s length transaction means a transaction between an independent seller and buyer.

Based on the bid documents, Vican bid for 13 security contracts worth P157.04 million in those two years. It did not win the bidding in any of these contracts.

The Vice President also declared in 2014 a personal loan worth P10 million from a certain Grace Mercado.

“Grace Mercado is a relative of the Vice President, and the loan granted by the former to the latter was used in, among others, the expenses the Vice President incurred and will continue to incur in holding the people behind the black propaganda against him liable in the court of law (example: litigation fees),” said Salgado.

Binay had total liabilities of P16 million in 2014. He declared an income tax payable worth P370,453 to the Bureau of Internal Revenue.

Binay and his wife Elenita, who had served one term as mayor of Makat City, had consistently declared income tax payables since their 1989 SALNs.

Big loans, little info

All presidential candidates had declared liabilities from private individuals or companies, and much is to be desired in terms of the quality of disclosure.

Sen. Santiago has been disclosing personal loans since her 2008 SALN, but only started naming her creditor in her 2012 declaration.

The senator has declared only one liability since her 2008 SALN – a personal loan which has ranged from P22 million to P70 million.

In her latest SALN for 2014, the senator declared a personal loan of P50 million. Her total asset was P 123.03 million and her declared net worth was P73.03 million.

From 2012 to 2014, she has named the creditor as Amado Santiago Jr.

Amado is the first cousin of Miriam’s husband, Narciso, according to a 1999 news article posted in the website of the senator.

GMA News Research had sought comment from the senator but has received no reply as of posting time.

Former DILG secretary Mar Roxas, while detailed in the declaration of his assets, is less specific in his disclosures on the money he owes.

In most of his SALNs, Roxas categorized his liabilities as "accounts and loans payable," "subscriptions payable," or "installment payable."

In his 2014 SALN, he declared a total liability of P81.88 million - a subscriptions payable of P15.85 million and an accounts and loans payable of P66.04 million. Roxas did not name his creditor.

When asked about the details of his liabilities in a brief interview, Roxas said, “… mga utang ko yan, inutang ko sa pamilya ko yan, at yan naman ay malinis na pera.”

Owing a friend

Similarly, Duterte also failed to name the creditor of “miscellaneous payables” and “personal loans” with amounts ranging from P1 million to P1.3 million in his 2004 to 2011 SALNs.

It was only in the 2012 SALN when Duterte named a creditor — a certain Samuel Uy. As of his last filed SALN in 2014, Duterte owed Samuel Uy a million pesos.

In a reply to a query sent by GMA News Research, Duterte explained,“The miscellaneous payables were actually various personal loans I obtained from Mr. Samuel Uy. Due to the passage of time, I could no longer recall with certainty the specific details of said accounts.”

The mayor wrote, “Whenever I am in need of immediate cash for my personal use and for some other purposes, Mr. Uy had never refused my pleas. From the time I started my political career, Mr. Uy has been a consistent contributor to my cause.”

“Mr. Samuel Uy is an old family friend who has been with me through thick and thin. Our friendship started when we were still young,” Duterte added. “ He comes from a wealthy Filipino-Chinese family in Davao City, who had established a long line of businesses including distribution of household appliances, furnitures, office equipment, motorcycles and construction materials; leasing of real estates; and poultry farm, among others.”

The mayor’s reply identified as well other businesses of Uy including a motel, hotel a gasoline station and realty businesses, and a majority ownership of a private hospital in Davao City.

Family creditors

Senator Grace Poe’s declared creditors are closer to home.

In November 2010, filing her first SALN as chair of the Movies and Television Review and Classification Board (MTRCB), Poe declared a loan worth P29.5 million payable to FPJ Production Inc.

The SEC did not have available records of the financial statements of FPJ Production Inc. for 2010 when Sen. Poe declared the loan. FPJ Productions have financial statements only for the years 1995 to 2003, 2005, 2012, and 2013.

Based on the records filed at the SEC, Poe was the vice president of the company in 2008, 2012 and 2013. She held 119 of 500 shares of the company, or 23.8%, in the same years.

In her first SALN in 2013 as an elected Senator, Poe disclosed an P18 million personal loan from her mother.

“Ang mom ko, tumulong dahil nung kami'y lumipat dito, yung iba para sa construction cost ng bahay galing na rin sa kanya yun. Unti-unting binabayaran,” Poe said in an interview with GMA News.

As of Poe’s 2014 SALN, her loan to her mother had decreased to P 17.76 million.

The senator has been forthcoming about other monies she owed: stock subscription balance payable to JSP Realty and Development Corporation, and 226 Wilson Development Corp worth P 7.5 million each.

Based on the latest 2014 general information sheets of the companies, Poe and Roces are stockholders and officers of both businesses.

Poe owns 9.48 percent of JSP Realty, and 15.94 percent of 226 Wilson. Her mother holds the largest chunk of ownership for both companies, owning 81.04 percent and 74.89 percent, respectively.

The senator also declared a liability of stock subscription balance payable to Chambrant L. Holdings Corp, where her husband Teodoro Misael Daniel Llamanzares is the corporate secretary and holds 20 percent of its stocks.

Poe has an automobile loan payable worth P2.64 million and lot installment payable worth P 1.9 million in her latest 2014 SALN. Her total declared liability is P37.49 million that year.

Personal loans vs. institutional loans

Between personal loans and institutional loans, the latter customarily has more paper trail.

Eric Magpale, a member of the Philippine Institute of Certified Public Accountants (PICPA), said, “Pag institutional loan kasi, that’s very easy to verify... For example, that’s the business of a bank. Hindi mo naman pwedeng i-haggle sa bank na like this and like that because they follow certain standards.”

In contrast, there is more room for negotiations in personal loans or “related party loan agreements,” Magcale said, noting that this does not make it irregular nor illegal.

What’s important, he said, is the terms of reference or the terms of the loan agreement. This document details the obligations of both parties, the borrower and the creditor.

In the interest of transparency, Magcale noted that the SALN submissions should include these documents whenever a loan or a liability is declared.

While all the presidential candidates had declared various liabilities and loans in their SALNs, no one had attached any document pertaining to loan agreements.

Magcale notes that identifying the creditor actually draws attention to that person or entity that provided the loan. Does the person or entity have the capacity to give that kind of loan? Not to mention catching the interest of the taxman.

“The impact [on the creditor] is, there is interest income earned. Taxable sa part ni creditor,” Magcale said.

It is important to note, the accountant says, that while a loan is clearly a liability, a minus in the balance sheet, it as a plus on the other side as well.

“If there is a corresponding increase in your liability, technically, it’s reasonable to assume that there should also be a corresponding increase in your asset,” said Magcale.

Simply, you borrow to pay for, or acquire, something. –with reports from Ivan Mayrina, Steve Dailisan, Mariz Umali/FTB, GMA News Research/JST, GMA News


INQUIRER

Legal woes threaten Philippine presidential front runners SHARES: 4974 VIEW COMMENTS By: Jim Gomez @inquirerdotnet Associated Press 05:26 PM February 23rd, 2016


In this Feb. 21, 2016, file image provided by the Philippine Daily Inquirer, from left: Vice President Jejomar Binay; Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago; Mayor Rodrigo Duterte of southern Davao city; Sen. Grace Poe; and former Interior Secretary Mar Roxas; listen to a question at a presidential candidates debate held in southern Cagayan de Oro city, southern Philippines. Poe, a political newcomer, leads opinion polls ahead of the May 9 elections, with Binay, close behind. They are followed by Roxas and Duterte in a tight four-way race - a rarity in the Philippines. (Lyn Rillon/Philippine Daily Inquirer via AP)

MANILA, Philippines — It’s not just difficult to predict who will win Philippine presidential elections this year — thanks to some of the candidates’ legal woes, it’s difficult to predict who will be allowed to run.

Four are within striking distance. Sen. Grace Poe, a political newcomer, leads opinion polls ahead of the May 9 elections, with Vice President Jejomar Binay, close behind. They are followed by former Interior Secretary Mar Roxas and Rodrigo Duterte, mayor of the southern city of Davao.

Poe, 47, has seen her popularity soar since she first ran for office three years ago. She is the adopted daughter of one of the country’s most famous movie couples. Her late father mostly played roles as a defender of the downtrodden in a country still plagued by widespread poverty and corruption.

But the Commission on Elections ruled in December that Poe was not a natural-born Filipino as required by the Constitution because she was abandoned as a baby by her unknown parents at a Roman Catholic church.

The U.S.-educated Poe, who renounced her Filipino citizenship for about five years to live with her own family in America, also lacked the required 10-year Philippine residency ahead of the vote, the commission said. That prompted Poe to bring her case to the Supreme Court, which could deliver its verdict soon — and have a huge impact on the presidential race.

READ: Poe remains confident SC will have just resolution on DQ cases

“This particular election has the most uncertainty,” said Ana Maria Tabunda, research director of Pulse Asia, an independent pollster whose latest survey last month showed Poe leading with support from 30 percent of respondents, with Binay garnering 23 percent.

Roxas and Duterte each got 20 percent each in the survey that polled 1,800 people nationwide and had a margin of error of plus or minus 2 percent.

READ MORE...

“It’s a very tight race,” Tabunda said. “We don’t really know what the next survey will say.”

Should the court rule against Poe’s candidacy, it is unclear who would benefit. Poe has carried on, holding rallies across the country.

“The story of my life started in a church,” Poe told followers when she kicked off her campaign outside a downtown Manila church popular among the underclass. “So I decided to go in front of a church to launch the next chapter of my life.”

President Benigno Aquino III’s successor will need to grapple with poverty, corruption and Marxist and Muslim insurgencies in the south — persistent problems facing the country that three decades ago toppled the dictatorship of Ferdinand Marcos through a “people power” movement.

READ: Forgetting the Marcos dictatorship (1972-1986)

Aquino’s anti-graft campaign led to the detention of his predecessor on an elections fraud charge and three senators, and the economy has grown steadily. However, a tenth of the country’s 100 million people still seek better-paying jobs abroad. He ends his six-year term in June.

Aquino, who has had a falling out with Binay, has endorsed Roxas, a former investment banker who served as Aquino’s transport chief and later as interior secretary in charge of local governments and the national police.

Legal woes have also hounded Binay and Duterte, a tough-talking mayor who has caught national attention for threatening to take down criminals, drug lords and corrupt bureaucrats within half a year if elected president.

Elections officials have dismissed petitions to disqualify Duterte, 70, but those could still be challenged in court. His party put forward another candidate while they convinced him to run, and some questioned whether he could replace the party’s initial nominee.

Binay, 73, faced several months of investigation by a Senate committee over alleged corruption when he was still mayor of Makati city, Manila’s version of Wall Street. He has denied the allegations, which have weighed down his popularity.

Anti-graft officials have found “probable cause” against Binay over alleged corruption in the construction of a parking building when he was mayor. But a government prosecutor said Binay would not be charged before a special anti-graft court until his vice presidency ends because he has immunity while in office.

READ: Binay: A fish caught by its mouth

Unlike in the past, the closely-fought battle now has left many undecided, including Macario Puno, a 48-year-old father of seven who ekes out a living by peddling boiled duck eggs and chips in Manila’s streets.

Puno backed the winning candidates in the last three presidential polls, including Aquino in 2010, because he said the choices always narrowed down to just two main contenders.

“Now there are four major candidates,” Puno said. “And they’re all sweet-talkers.” TVJ

RELATED STORIES

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Duterte twits Roxas: He’s a ‘failed politician’

Binay-Roxas exchange, Duterte make most noise on Twitter during debate

Duterte’s ‘sovereign function’ and other sidelights

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RELATED FROM PHILSTAR

SC to deliberate separately on Poe citizenship, residency By Edu Punay (The Philippine Star) | Updated February 29, 2016 - 12:00am 1 1 googleplus0 0

MANILA, Philippines – The Supreme Court (SC) will soon deliberate on citizenship and residency issues against Sen. Grace Poe when it rules on her petition questioning the Commission on Elections (Comelec) ruling disqualifying her from the presidential election.

“The Court will separately deliberate on the issues of whether or not petitioner is natural-born citizen and whether or not petitioner will meet the 10-year residency requirement,” an insider told The STAR.

This is also the reason the magistrates decided to split the two issues at the outset of the case when they set guidelines and issues tackled in the five-part oral arguments, the insider explained.

But the source could not say when e the high tribunal will exactly vote on the case.

“The Court is aware of the timetable for the elections, so you may expect the decision soon,” the insider said.

The insider belied rumors that the justices have voted 9-6 on the case, saying it was impossible because the justice-in-charge has not yet submitted a draft decision for deliberation.

There was also talk that at least eight justices were seen to favor Poe per assessment of court observers based on the lines of questioning of justices during the oral arguments.

But the separate deliberations on the citizenship and residency issues could mean that the SC justices may come up with different voting on the two issues in the case.

Observers said among the probabilities is a “middle-ground ruling” that would declare Poe as a natural-born citizen despite being a foundling, but affirm her disqualification in the presidential race for lack of 10-year residency as required by the Constitution.

In that case, Poe would be able to again run for president in the next general elections in 2022.

If a majority of the justices, however, decide to grant her petition on both citizenship and residency issues, there will be no more legal impediment to her presidential bid in May.

The Comelec disqualified Poe on the grounds that she is not natural-born citizen being a foundling and she has not met the 10-year residency requirement.

The poll body argued that Poe’s intention to stay in the country for good was absent since she decided to keep her US citizenship, continued to use her US passport until 2010 after returning here in 2005. The poll body also told the SC that Poe was ambivalent in residing in the country.

Comelec insisted that Poe reacquired her domicile in the country only on Aug. 31, 2006, which means her residency eligibility would still fall short by about three months.


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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