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POE's PRESIDENTIAL RUN A MOCKERY OF PH ELECTIONS - SENIOR JUSTICE CARPIO
[“The election process becomes a complete mockery since the electorate is mercilessly offered choices which include patently ineligible candidates. The electorate is also needlessly misled to cast their votes, and thus waste their votes, for an ineligible candidate,” the senior magistrate said. “Any person, who is not a natural-born Filipino citizen, running for President is obviously a nuisance candidate under Section 69 of the Omnibus Election Code,” Carpio said.]


MARCH 14 Supreme Court Associate Justice Antonio Carpio INQUIRER/LYN RILLON -
ALLOWING Senator Grace Poe to run for President despite questions on her citizenship is a making a mockery of the national elections, Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio said in his dissenting opinion.
Carpio said the question on whether Poe is a natural-born citizen or not was not resolved by the majority. He said voting on the citizenship was 7-5-3. The seven justices were Chief Justice Ma. Lourdes Sereno and Associate Justices Presbitero Velasco Jr., Lucas Bersamin, Jose Perez, Jose Mendoza, Marvic Leonen and Francis Jardeleza. The two other magistrates – Associate Justices Diosdado Peralta and Benjamin Caguioa – joined the separate dissenting opinion of Associate Justice Mariano Del Castillo that the high court should not rule on the citizenship issue on this case. They held that the Comelec committed grave abuse of discretion since Poe did not make deliberate misrepresentation on her 10-year residency status, but there is no need for the SC to determine the eligibility of Poe on the citizenship requirement under the Constitution. The five justices were Carpio, Associate Justices Teresita Leonardo-De Castro, Arturo Brion, Estela Perlas-Bernabe and Bienvenido Reyes. Under Rule 12, Section 1 of the SC Internal Rules requires that all decisions and actions in court cases “shall be made up upon the concurrence of the majority of the Members of the Court who actually took part in the deliberation on the issues or issues involved and voted on them.”  For a case where all 15 justices voted, at least eight votes are needed to achieve a majority ruling. “What is clear and undeniable is that there is no majority of this Court that holds that petitioner Mary Grace Natividad Poe Llamanzares is a natural-born Filipino citizen. This ruling of the majority will lead to absurd results, making a mockery of our national elections by allowing a presidential candidate with uncertain citizenship status to be potentially elected to the Office of the President, an office expressly reserved by the Constitution exclusively for natural-born Filipino citizens,” Carpio said. READ MORE...RELATED, We were all duped: SC majority didn’t vote for Llamanzares... AND Poe: The worst ever presidential candidate in our history, fielded by the worst President...

ALSO: Return to manual elections? Debate rages


MARCH 14 -The Comelec raised the possibility of returning to the old manual system of voting and counting of votes after the Supreme Court (SC) required it to print voter receipts using the vote counting machines or VCMs, formerly precinct count optical scan (PCOS) machines. File photo
The law mandates the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to conduct an automated balloting in May and the poll body cannot legally go back to the manual system.
This is according to Senate committee on electoral reforms and people’s participation chairman Aquilino Pimentel III, whose panel has conducted several hearings on preparations for the coming general elections. “I don’t think the law allows them to go back to the manual system,” Pimentel told a news forum in Quezon City over the weekend. In one of his committee’s hearings, Pimentel said Comelec officials themselves declared the mandate the law gives them is to conduct an automated or computerized election. Pimentel said his panel was told that going back to the manual system was not an option. The Comelec raised the possibility of returning to the old manual system of voting and counting of votes after the Supreme Court (SC) required it to print voter receipts using the vote counting machines or VCMs, formerly precinct count optical scan (PCOS) machines. READ MORE...

ALSO: Comelec wants June 9 election


MARCH 14 -BAUTISTA
THE Commission on Elections warned Sunday that elections may be moved to June 9 if vote counting machines issue printed receipts as required by the Supreme Court, and said chaos might ensue if it is unable to declare any winners by June 30, when the terms of incumbent officials end. “With the new configuration for the voting machine because of the vote receipts, we need at least a month to prepare,” said Comelec Chairman Andres Bautista, who said his agency was in “crisis mode” as a result of the Supreme Court ruling. In an interview over radio dzBB, Bautista said he has yet to seek congressional approval to move the election date from May 9 to June 9. He added that the Comelec’s technology provider, Smartmatic, has informed them that voting could take as long as 20 hours to finish with the activation of printed receipts. More time. Commission on Elections Chairman Andres Bautista, seen here attending a recent Congress hearing, wants the 2016 elections moved one month later.“We are in limbo as to what direction to take. We are in an emergency crisis mode,” he said. Under the old manual system of voting, it was the counting of votes that took a long time to complete, but under an automated system, it would be the voting itself that could take up to 20 hours, Bautista told dzBB. He said the Comelec could meet the May 9 date for elections, but could not guarantee they would be credible and orderly, given the need to activate the printing of receipts. “We are looking for a best case in a worst-case scenario. I am opposed to reverting to manual voting but we have to put it as one of our options… once chaos will erupt due to this printing of vote receipts,” Bautista said, READ MORE...

ALSO: WATCH - Thousands join Stations of the Cross on St. Lazarus Day in Manila


MARCH 13 -Catholic devotees participate in a grand Stations of the Cross in observance of Doming de Lazaro in Manila in honor of St Lazarus, the patron saint of lepers. It was widely believed that Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan arrived in the Philippines on the feast day of St. Lazarus.
MMDA, LRTA announcements for Holy Week Published March 13, 2016 10:23am The Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) on Saturday announced that the number coding scheme o provincial buses will be lifted during the Holy Week. The MMDA said the number coding for provincial buses will be lifted on March 23, Holy Wednesday, due to the expected increase in the number of passengers leaving Metro Manila for the provinces. ADVISORY: Number Coding is LIFTED on March 23, 2015 (Holy Wednesday) for provincial buses ONLY. #mmda pic.twitter.com/gEp6Vp0BEV READ MORE...

ALSO: In the Philippines, Easter is celebrated religiously


Maundy Thursday, Good Friday and Black Saturday are national holidays to create a 4-day long weekend. 

Holy Week in Sorsogon City (Palm Sunday) Holy Week arrives on Palm Sunday, and Filipinos carry palm branches to mass to be blessed by priests and taken back home. As Holy Week progresses, great solemnity spreads across the land. READ MORE...

ALSO: Al Gore made a surprise visit to Yolanda’s ground zero


MARCH 14 -Climate change activist and former US vice president Al Gore, a Nobel Peace Prize winner, lit candles and offered a wreath at a mass grave in Barangay Basper where around 2,000 typhoon victims were buried, a picture tweeted by Climate Reality showed. AP file photo
TACLOBAN, Philippines – Climate change activist and former US vice president Al Gore made a surprise visit yesterday in this city to meet the victims of Super Typhoon Yolanda, one of the strongest storms on record. Gore was accompanied by Sen. Loren Legarda, chair of the Senate committee on climate change. They were welcomed at the airport by Mayor Alfred Romualdez.
Gore, a Nobel Peace Prize winner, lit candles and offered a wreath at a mass grave in Barangay Basper where around 2,000 typhoon victims were buried, a picture tweeted by Climate Reality showed. The US non-government organization is holding a seminar on climate change adaptation in Manila next week, where Gore is scheduled to speak. He is known for his documentary “Inconvenient Truth” that focuses on global warming. Gore also visited Barangay San Jose, one of the areas ravaged by the huge storm surges generated by Yolanda. In this seaside village, he met 51-year-old survivor Demetria Raya, whose story Gore had read in the news days following the typhoon. The mother of three said the village near Tacloban airport was where her home once stood before it was wiped out by the storm. READ MORE...RELATED, ‘IT’S NOT SMART TO BUILD NEW COAL-FIRED PLANTS’ - Al Gore to train PH climate warriors...


READ FULL MEDIA REPORTS HERE:

Poe’s presidential run a mockery of PH elections – Senior Associate Justice Carpio


Supreme Court Associate Justice Antonio Carpio INQUIRER/LYN RILLON

MANILA, MARCH 14, 2016 (INQUIRER) By: Tetch Torres-Tupas @T2TupasINQ  March 13th, 2016 - ALLOWING Senator Grace Poe to run for President despite questions on her citizenship is a making a mockery of the national elections, Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio said in his dissenting opinion.

Carpio said the question on whether Poe is a natural-born citizen or not was not resolved by the majority.

He said voting on the citizenship was 7-5-3.

The seven justices were Chief Justice Ma. Lourdes Sereno and Associate Justices Presbitero Velasco Jr., Lucas Bersamin, Jose Perez, Jose Mendoza, Marvic Leonen and Francis Jardeleza.

The two other magistrates – Associate Justices Diosdado Peralta and Benjamin Caguioa – joined the separate dissenting opinion of Associate Justice Mariano Del Castillo that the high court should not rule on the citizenship issue on this case.

They held that the Comelec committed grave abuse of discretion since Poe did not make deliberate misrepresentation on her 10-year residency status, but there is no need for the SC to determine the eligibility of Poe on the citizenship requirement under the Constitution.

The five justices were Carpio, Associate Justices Teresita Leonardo-De Castro, Arturo Brion, Estela Perlas-Bernabe and Bienvenido Reyes.

Under Rule 12, Section 1 of the SC Internal Rules requires that all decisions and actions in court cases “shall be made up upon the concurrence of the majority of the Members of the Court who actually took part in the deliberation on the issues or issues involved and voted on them.”

For a case where all 15 justices voted, at least eight votes are needed to achieve a majority ruling.

“What is clear and undeniable is that there is no majority of this Court that holds that petitioner Mary Grace Natividad Poe Llamanzares is a natural-born Filipino citizen. This ruling of the majority will lead to absurd results, making a mockery of our national elections by allowing a presidential candidate with uncertain citizenship status to be potentially elected to the Office of the President, an office expressly reserved by the Constitution exclusively for natural-born Filipino citizens,” Carpio said.

READ MORE...

He explained that the 9-6 voting was on the question of whether to grant Poe’s petition to overturn the Commission on Elections (Comelec) disqualification order for material representation on both her citizenship and residency.

Carpio added that the majority ruling provided an “anomalous situation” beyond the intent of the framers of the Constitution.

“The election process becomes a complete mockery since the electorate is mercilessly offered choices which include patently ineligible candidates. The electorate is also needlessly misled to cast their votes, and thus waste their votes, for an ineligible candidate,” the senior magistrate said.

“Any person, who is not a natural-born Filipino citizen, running for President is obviously a nuisance candidate under Section 69 of the Omnibus Election Code,” Carpio said.

Poe was found abandoned at a church in Jaro, Iloilo. Her biological parents were unknown. Those questioning her citizenship said she cannot be considered natural born because there is always that probability that she was born to foreign parents.

Carpio insisted that Poe should be the one to prove her citizenship.

“Any person who claims to be qualified to run for the position of President of the Philippines because he or she is, among others, a natural-born Filipino citizen, has the burden of proving he or she is a natural-born Filipino citizen. Any doubt whether or not he or she is natural-born Filipino citizen is resolved against him or her. The constitutional requirement of a natural-born citizen, being an express qualification for election as President, must be complied with strictly,” he stressed.

Also, the senior justice added that the country is not bound by international laws on foundlings.

“In sum, there is no international treaty to which the Philippines is a contracting party, which provides expressly or impliedly that a foundling is deemed a natural-born citizen of the country in which the foundling is found. There is also obviously no international treaty, to which the Philippines is not a party, obligating the Philippines to confer automatically Philippine citizenship to a foundling at birth,” Carpio said.

Tatad camp eyeing appeal

Manuelito Luna, lawyer of former Sen. Francisco “Kit” Tatad, one of the four disqualification petitioners against Poe, has taken cue from Carpio’s dissent in their plan to appeal the ruling.

“Only seven justices or less than the majority of the SC voted to declare Poe presumptively natural-born. It binds no one; it cannot become part of the law of the land or jurisprudence,” he said in a statement.

Luna questioned the explanation of Sereno in her concurring opinion that the basis in counting the majority should only be 12 and not 15 since the three who voted not to rule on the citizenship issue should not be counted.

“In the TRO, the voting was 12-3. The voting to grant or not to grant petition was 9-6. Hence, the basis for computation for the number of majority should be 15 and the majority should be 8,” the lawyer explained.

“The seven justices practically re-wrote the Constitution through a judicial opinion resulting in the impermissible discrimination of half-bloods, those whose mothers are Filipinos and covered by the 1935 Constitution,” he argued.

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RELATED FROM THE MANILA TIMES By Francisco Tatad

We were all duped: SC majority didn’t vote for Llamanzares March 13, 2016 10:35 pm FRANCISCO S. TATAD


by FRANCISCO S. TATAD

Carpio’s revelation

Contrary to what the public has been led to believe, there is no 9 – 6 majority vote in favor of declaring Mrs. Grace Poe Llamanzares a natural-born citizen, and qualified to run for President. This is what we learn from the dissenting opinion of Senior Associate Justice Carpio, who revealed the real vote of seven in favor, five against, and three without an opinion on the issue of citizenship. On the issue of residency, the vote was seven in favor, six against, and two without an opinion.

It was only on the issue of grave abuse of discretion that nine voted against the Commission on Elections because they did not believe that any material representations by Mrs. Llamanzares, which are false, were prompted by any “intention to deceive.”

Since the majority failed to rule on the two core issues of citizenship and residency, there is no legal basis for the ponencia written by Associate Justice Jose Perez to declare Mary Grace Natividad Sonora Poe Llamanzares “qualified to be a candidate for President in the National and Local Elections of May 9, 2016.”

By rejecting the citizenship and residency requirements of presidential candidates under the Constitution in order to allow a person of unknown biological parentage to run, and by declaring that the Comelec committed grave abuse of discretion when it disqualified Mrs. Llamanzares and cancelled her Certificate of Candidacy, the erring Justices may have culpably violated the Constitution, betrayed public trust, and committed grave abuse of discretion themselves.

We waited for five days to see the basis of the Court spokesman’s announcement last Tuesday that nine Justices had voted that Mrs. Llamanzares “could run,” despite the Comelec’s earlier en banc ruling disqualifying her as a candidate and canceling her COC, for making material representations, which are false, that she is a natural-born citizen and a resident of the country for 10 years and 11 months immediately preceding the election.

7, not 9, votes

On Friday evening, when the texts of the Perez ponencia and the other Justices’ concurring and dissenting opinions finally became available online, Carpio’s dissent clarified the issues. There was no Supreme Court ruling on the core issues.

The Court is made up of 15 members. Seven votes do not a majority make. But even if a majority vote were attained, if it trashed the Constitution, instead of upholding it, that majority could not possibly speak for the Court. Some Justices may want to rubbish the Constitution, but never the Court. This is what seems to be happening in the Llamanzares case.

Under the Constitution, no one may be elected President unless he is, among other things, a natural-born citizen and a resident of the country for at least 10 years immediately preceding the day of the election.

And by natural-born, the Constitution refers to one who is a citizen from birth, without having to perform any act to acquire or perfect his citizenship. This is what we, private petitioners before the Comelec (now turned respondents before the Supreme Court), the Comelec en banc, some Justices and so many legal and political writers have been patiently trying to point out.

Admission against interest

By her own admission, Mrs. Llamanzares was born a foundling of no known parentage, having been abandoned inside the parish church in Jaro, Iloilo, on Sept. 3, 1968. She was not born a citizen under the 1935 Constitution, which was in force at the time of her birth. From this Constitution, the jus sanguinis (right of blood) doctrine was written into the 1973 and 1987 Constitutions, so it is this, which until now governs Philippine citizenship.

Disreputable presumption

The Perez ponencia adopted Solicitor General Florin Hilbay’s pronouncement during the Oral Arguments that all foundlings are natural-born citizens, not on the basis of what the Constitution or the law or jurisprudence says, but purely on the basis of what he says.

All our Constitutions are silent on this, but according to Hilbay, foundlings are natural-born precisely because of this very silence. Rejecting the clear provisions of the Constitution, and insisting, instead, on what is not written there, Hilbay said Mrs. Llamanzares is natural-born because of a disputable presumption based on the statistical probability that her parents were or are Filipinos.

The ponencia adopted as its own HIlbay’s thesis that there exists a nearly 100 percent probability that Mrs. Llamanzares’s unknown parents were (are) Filipinos, and that, therefore, she is natural-born.

The ponencia said, quoting the “Tribune” of Mrs. Llamanzares, from 1965 to 1975, the total number of foreigners born in the Philippines was 15,986, while the total number of Filipinos born was 10,558,278.

The statistical possibility that any child born in the country in that decade is natural-born was 99.83 percent.

In 1960, there were 962,532 Filipinos and 4,734 foreigners in the province (of Iloilo?); 99.62 percent of the population were Filipinos. In 1970, there were 1,162,669 Filipinos and 5,304 foreigners; 99.55 percent of the population were Filipinos.

From probability to certainty

On the basis of this statistical analysis, one could theorize that Mrs. Llamanzares may have been born of Filipino parents. But Hilbay and the ponente use the same premise to arrive at the certain conclusion that she was, in fact, born of Filipino parents and is, therefore, natural-born. This is really scraping the bottom of the barrel.

Among the presidential candidates, Mayor Rodrigo Duterte alone had the courage to say something about the vote of the Justices. He said this was not what he learned in law school, but as a lawyer he would respect anything coming from the Court. That is the standard lawyer’s remark: the Supreme Court is always right, even when it is wrong.

Not being a lawyer, I make a distinction between the Court and its erring Justices. I abide by what The Manila Times editorial said last Friday, that it is not the Supreme Court per se that is supreme, but rather the Constitution that is supreme to the Court and the Justices.

A trier of law

The Supreme Court is a trier of law, not of probabilities; it is not even a trier of facts, even though the law always requires a fact rather than a mere probability. The undisputed facts which the parties stipulated upon before the Comelec ruled in favor of the petitions by Estrella Elamparo, Antonio Contreras, Amado Valdez and Francisco Tatad, are simply not in her favor.

By going up to the Supreme Court on a petition for certiorari and asking the Court for a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO), Mrs. Llamanzares was able to freeze the otherwise final and non-reviewable Comelec ruling. She alleged grave abuse of discretion, but there was no attempt on her part to prove this during the Oral Arguments. It was only Associate Justice Francis Jardeleza who theorized during the Orals that the Comelec might have committed grave abuse of discretion when it failed to allow Mrs. Llamanzares to prove that she was natural-born.

To which Commissioner Arthur Lim, speaking for the Comelec, was quick to respond that on the very first line of her first written official submission to the Comelec, Mrs. Llamanzares proclaimed that she was a foundling of no known parentage, making it unnecessary for the petitioners to prove anything anymore. Where then did the Comelec commit grave abuse of discretion amounting to excess or lack of jurisdiction? By simply invoking the Constitution, the law and jurisprudence?

Nuisance candidates

While this case was being heard by the Supreme Court en banc, the Comelec motu proprio disqualified about 130 “presidential candidates” and cancelled their COCs for being “nuisance candidates.” These candidates had all complied with the constitutional requirements: All were natural-born citizens, registered voters, able to read and write, at least 40 years of age on election day, and residents of the country for at least ten years. The only things they did not have were political organisation and money to burn, which are not at all constitutional requirements.

But the Comelec was never faulted for “grave abuse of discretion” for declaring them “nuisance candidates” despite their having complied with all the constitutional requirements. And the Supreme Court was quick to affirm the Comelec decision against any such candidates in a one-paragraph minute resolution. Is not the Court itself guilty of grave abuse of discretion in this instance?

Mrs. Llamanzares’ counsel had argued during the Orals that only the Presidential Electoral Tribunal after the election, and not the Comelec before the election, could pass upon the qualifications or disqualifications of presidential candidates. If this was so, by what authority then does not the Comelec declare “nuisance candidates,” and the High Court confirm Comelec’s action in such cases?

Bastardizing the elections

Carpio has expressed fear—and it is a fear we share—that the non-majority vote could “lead to absurd results and make a mockery of the elections by allowing a presidential candidate with uncertain citizenship status to be potentially elected to the Office of the President, an office expressly reserved by the Constitution exclusively for natural-born Filipino citizens.”

Precisely because of this political vote, we now have a former American citizen, who is married to an American husband and is mother to several American children, who may have been actually programmed to become the next President of the Philippines. We are given to understand that the husband and children would renounce their American citizenship if ever she is elected President. What a way of showing the love for the country she wants to lead!

A president of unknown parentage?

If this is outrageous enough, even more outrageous is the fact that should we ever be so accursed to have her as our president, Filipino children studying history or current events will know the name of their president, but will never be able to find on the internet or anywhere else any information about who her biological father and mother are. What other national indignity, degradation or humiliation do we need?

Only a majority of the Court can declare Mrs. Llamanzares “qualified” to run for President. The vote of seven Justices on the two core issues does not meet this requirement.

The Court needs to declare that the previous round of voting has failed, and must sit down all over again, deliberate anew, without the external pressure of partisan politics or money, and cast a vote that could save the Constitution, the Court, the next election, and the nation itself from insanity, treason and chaos.

fstatad@gmail.com

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RELATED FROM THE MANILA TIMES By Rigoberto Tiglao

Poe: The worst ever presidential candidate in our history, fielded by the worst President March 13, 2016 10:32 pm RIGOBERTO D. TIGLAO


by RIGOBERTO D. TIGLAO

The worst ever presidential candidate in our history, fielded by the worst President.

That is an assertion I make with full conviction and study, and with no exaggeration at all.

I’m sure you, dear reader, would agree with me if you looked at the facts objectively, and shed irrational mindsets, such as the tendency to believe that a good-looking person is most likely a good person, and therefore, in her case, she is not likely to do evil and may even be capable of performing miracles in governance.

She is the worst candidate for four reasons:

1. Barring that perennial crackpot candidate Pascual Racuyal, Llamanzares is the least qualified ever to be in the running for the highest post of the land. Corazon Aquino also had minimal qualifications as Poe. But Cory didn’t run because of her qualifications but as a symbol, the avenging widow of the murdered opposition figure Ninoy Aquino, and as a rallying figure to unite the opposition and to rouse people’s anger against the ruler.

Cory’s story has not been an unfamiliar one, with several widows or daughters of slain government heads succeeding them: Ceylon’s Sirimavo Bandaranaike; India’s Indira Ghandi; Pakistan’s Benazir Bhuto and Bangladesh’s Kalida Zia.

Llamanzares’ candidacy is based on her belief that the masses will still believe that, like Cory and these other Asian women leaders, she will continue the vision and promises of her late father, Fernando Poe, Jr., which, however, were really those pledged by the movie hero he played onscreen.

We have had actors and comedians who became senators, who all have really proven to be disasters, if not totally useless at the Senate. Is there any special reason – an amazing quality Llamanzares possesses – to convince us she will be different from them?

Never in our entire history has there been anybody like Llamanzares who is running for the presidency with such meager qualifications.

Can we rationally believe that somebody can just learn to fly a Boeing 747 overnight? The presidency of this Republic is as complicated as that, and if this “vehicle” crashes, the casualties will be in the tens of millions, much bigger than that jetliner’s 300 people.

What qualifications have her work experience given her to think she could run a nation of 100 million people: an assistant watching over toddlers in a pre-school, clerical jobs in obscure US government agencies, and then upon returning and (as a token of sympathy for her late father FPJ, who ran against President Arroyo), head of the movie and TV censors?


Unholy alliance of the yellow and the orange: Grace’s biggest backers.

Yes, she was senator for three years, but as I will reveal in detail in a succeeding column, she did practically nothing there, except chair the committee that investigated the Mamasapano massacre of 44 elite police troops. This was really her entrance fee to the presidential race, since she allowed the main culprit President Aquino to go scot-free.

Supreme Court dragged down

2. In terms of qualifications, there had actually been a candidate worse than her: her father Fernando Poe Jr. But Llamanzares is a worse candidate than her father in that she didn’t given a damn that her pursuit of the presidency would drag down the Supreme Court, the bastion of the rule of law, to the gutter. Senior Justice Antonio Carpio also pointed that out in the very first sentences of his dissenting opinion:

“This ruling of the majority will lead to absurd results, making a mockery of our national elections by allowing a presidential candidate with uncertain citizenship status to be potentially elected to the Office of the President, an office expressly reserved by the Constitution exclusively for natural-born Filipino citizens.”

FPJ never renounced his country in order to be an American citizen, even if it would have been so easy for him to do so, as millions of Filipinos with an American parent who became US citizens know. FPJ never left the country that would create an issue over the 10-year-residency requirement for the presidency.

Read the entire Supreme Court decision written by the ponencia, and the six others who voted in favor of allowing Llamanzares to run for the Presidency, and you will easily imagine these justices squirming and wriggling in their seats, prattling and babbling nonsense in their desperate attempt to convince themselves that they were not deciding for Poe because someone told them to.

The justices who voted for Llamanzares, I’m sure, would later on woe the day they were appointed to the Supreme Court. The concurring opinions they wrote would be favorite topics in law schools as case studies, either of utter legal incompetence or of ridiculous intellectual acrobatics to conceal a simple truth – they were asked to let Llamanzares run.

Take the opinion of Chief Justice Sereno, as one example. Her main argument, concealed as simply citing the opinion of one justice in the citizenship case involving FPJ, is “let the people decide.” What? If that is the case, then repeal all laws on who can run for public office or not, amend even the qualifications specified by the Constitution! And that argument comes from the Supreme Court Chief Justice?

Celebrity politics exploited

3. The third reason why Llamanzares is the worst candidate ever is this: A UP college student and then political science graduate at Boston College, Llamanzares knows in her heart and mind that she is fooling the electorate, and that she is exploiting the deep flaw in our democracy – that leaders could be elected by mob thinking, and by celebrity politics.

Mature democratic systems have checked this flaw by adopting indirect voting, in which leaders who were voted to office choose the supreme leader, as in the case of parliamentary systems. The two-party system, and particularly the American process of caucuses and primaries – as now seen on TV – also serve to filter candidates, weeding out those with little qualifications. We don’t have such gauntlets to separate the frauds, and so we are so vulnerable to celebrity politics.

Llamanzares knows that her ratings do not have anything to do with her qualifications, but with the masses’ illusion that she is the princess of the cinema hero Panday, in their minds not fiction but reality. Yet, she insists on running for the presidency. This is really cheating of the highest level: people are fooled to vote for a fictional person.

4. The fourth reason why Llamanzares is the worst ever candidate is that she is running for the presidency not only because of her own ambition, but because it is the crucial part of President Aquino’s only way to evade justice in the next Administration.

Think about it. Llamanzares is intelligent, 48 years old, and presumably in the pink of health as she has had three children in the span of a decade. She could have run for vice president AND WON, get a Cabinet position, so at least she could have an idea on how to run government. In six years, she’ll just turn 54, so she’ll still be among the youngest to hold that highest post of the land. (Median age of Philippine presidents is 55.)

Why does she want to be President right now?

There can be only one reason. Aquino needs her very badly, not six years from now, but this year, as soon as he steps down from office.

Aquino needs the next President to be so beholden to him that she would, with the powers of the presidency, protect him from the hundreds of people raring to prosecute him for crimes during his regime – from malversation of funds (the Disbursement Acceleration Plan budget hijack controversy) to petty (his unexplained Porsche) and big-time corruption (jueteng proceeds) to criminal negligence (the Mamasapano massacre) to treason (his pact with the MILF and the billions of pesos he gave to that Islamist group.)

The DAP alone involves more than 3,000 budget allocations for projects unauthorized by Congress, and therefore, involves malversation of funds. This means that Aquino and his budget secretary, Florencio Abad, could face 3,000 separate charges of malversation.

Hacienda Luisita in an Administration seriously implementing agrarian reform would cease to be a hacienda, the Aquino-Cojuangcos’ mansions there bulldozed to the ground.

His candidate since 2013

Sources have, in fact, disclosed that Aquino, with Abad and Senate Franklin Drilon – the troika that runs the Yellow Cult – chose Llamanzares to be his candidate, a secret one though, right after the 2013 elections.

They calculated that the 20 million votes she got (much bigger than their vice presidential candidate Manuel Roxas 2nd’s 14 million) could easily translate into votes for the presidency.

The troika had been stunned by the defeat of their vice presidential candidate Manuel Roxas 2nd in 2010 despite the finances he used up, and now it no longer believes he can succeed Aquino in 2016. The offer to Poe to run as Roxas’ vice president was a scripted move, intended to hide Aquino’s plot. Has Poe ever criticized Aquino?

This is the only explanation why even Solicitor General Florin Hilbay, in a totally unprecedented move, defended Poe in the Supreme Court hearing and why four of the five justices Aquino appointed to the Court allowed the candidate to run, and for three others to acquiesce to that decision. “Isn’t it quite obvious – nobody else could pull that trick except the President?” the source claimed.

To take the spotlight from Aquino, his spin-doctors have managed to portray tycoon Eduardo Cojuangco, Jr. and San Miguel controlling stockholder Ramon Ang as backing up Llamanzares. This is so off the mark, the source claimed. Cojuangco has been very sick, and he doesn’t really care about “the world” now, the source said. Ang, on the other hand, has been known to be such a shrewd businessman that he wouldn’t put all his chips on a single number.

The two figures behind Llamanzares are former President Joseph Estrada, who feels he has a responsibility to back her up stemming from a sense of guilt that what pushed her father to his death was his running for the presidency, which he had asked him to do.

The taste of national power also has never left Estrada, and feeling immortal, he thinks he can recover his losses from his failed presidential bid in 2010 through Grace, her goddaughter.

The other is Chinese-Filipino tycoon William Gatchalian, Estrada’s biggest financial supporter and known to bet only on only one candidate. The two have brought with them most of the shadowy Chinese businessmen who had been Estrada’s cronies when he was President.

It is such an unholy alliance that reveals the hypocrisy of Aquino and the Yellow Cult: The supposed anti-corruption crusaders are in league with the most corrupt President we’ve ever had, the only one convicted of plunder.

That points to one reason why I assert that Aquino is the most corrupt President of this country. Money lost to corruption can be easily raised again in one fiscal year.

But the damage to our system of justice due to Aquino’s yoking of the Supreme Court to his wishes, in order to escape the wheels of justice when he steps down, can be repaired only after decades, after a generation.

The cost of that to us is unimaginable.

tiglao.manilatimes@gmail.com


PHILSTAR

Return to manual elections? Debate rages By Jess Diaz (The Philippine Star) | Updated March 14, 2016 - 12:00am 0 4 googleplus0 0


The Comelec raised the possibility of returning to the old manual system of voting and counting of votes after the Supreme Court (SC) required it to print voter receipts using the vote counting machines or VCMs, formerly precinct count optical scan (PCOS) machines. File photo

MANILA, Philippines – The law mandates the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to conduct an automated balloting in May and the poll body cannot legally go back to the manual system.

This is according to Senate committee on electoral reforms and people’s participation chairman Aquilino Pimentel III, whose panel has conducted several hearings on preparations for the coming general elections.

“I don’t think the law allows them to go back to the manual system,” Pimentel told a news forum in Quezon City over the weekend.

In one of his committee’s hearings, Pimentel said Comelec officials themselves declared the mandate the law gives them is to conduct an automated or computerized election.

Pimentel said his panel was told that going back to the manual system was not an option.

The Comelec raised the possibility of returning to the old manual system of voting and counting of votes after the Supreme Court (SC) required it to print voter receipts using the vote counting machines or VCMs, formerly precinct count optical scan (PCOS) machines.

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Comelec has appealed the SC ruling, which it said would upset its timetable for preparations for the May 9 vote.

Isabela Rep. Rodolfo Albano III said he could not understand why the Comelec is eyeing a return to manual balloting as an option if it is pressed for time in preparing for the coming election.

“I think that starting from scratch to prepare for manual voting and counting would take the Comelec more time than if it continues its preparations for an automated election,” he said.

Albano said the manual system of casting ballots and tabulating the votes would also take longer than if VCMs were used.

“It will be more chaotic and prone to cheating,” he added.

If it were to follow the SC ruling, the Comelec has said it would have to procure new receptacles where the vote receipts would be deposited, retrain members of the board of election inspectors (BEI), procure thermal paper for the receipts, lengthen voting time on May 9 and reconfigure the VCMs’ memory cards.

Pimentel said the poll body does not have to buy new boxes or receptacles to keep the vote receipts.

“They can use the old metal ballot boxes. They can even use paper boxes for as long as the receipts are not taken out of the voting precincts so they could not be used for vote buying or vote selling,” he said.

Pimentel said he does not think that the retraining of BEI members to teach them to print vote receipts would take much time.

“As for extending the voting time, we can have it from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. We can inform voters to vote early so there is no time wasted. As for the reconfiguration of memory cards, they did it before a week or two before the elections. They still have almost two months before May 9. They can do it,” he said.

Pimentel added that for him, the only valid concern the Comelec has raised is complying with the Procurement Law in buying thermal paper.

Pimentel pointed out the bidding process under the law would really take time.

But the law itself provides the solution, as it allows simplified bidding or even a negotiated procurement, he stressed.

Pimentel said he was dismayed by the reaction of Comelec officials to the SC decision.

“They should first try to comply, finds means to obey it, instead of complaining, which was the tendency of the previous Comelec leadership. We have new and younger members of the commission,” he said.

Even as it is appealing the SC ruling, the Comelec has reportedly starting the process of procuring thermal paper for the vote receipts.

Earlier, Pimentel, Senate President Franklin Drilon and other lawmakers said the Comelec is duty-bound to hold the May 9 election and does not have the legal authority to postpone it.

However, they conceded that the poll body is empowered to extend the voting time.

For Sen. Grace Poe, Comelec is just resorting to alibis.

Poe reminded Comelec – whose disqualification orders against her was also recently overturned by the Supreme Court – that they are mandated by law to conduct automated elections, no less. – With Mayen Jaymalin


MANILA STANDARD

Comelec wants June 9 election posted March 14, 2016 at 12:01 am by Christine F. Herrera


BAUTISTA

THE Commission on Elections warned Sunday that elections may be moved to June 9 if vote counting machines issue printed receipts as required by the Supreme Court, and said chaos might ensue if it is unable to declare any winners by June 30, when the terms of incumbent officials end.

“With the new configuration for the voting machine because of the vote receipts, we need at least a month to prepare,” said Comelec Chairman Andres Bautista, who said his agency was in “crisis mode” as a result of the Supreme Court ruling.

In an interview over radio dzBB, Bautista said he has yet to seek congressional approval to move the election date from May 9 to June 9.

He added that the Comelec’s technology provider, Smartmatic, has informed them that voting could take as long as 20 hours to finish with the activation of printed receipts.

More time.

Commission on Elections Chairman Andres Bautista, seen here attending a recent Congress hearing, wants the 2016 elections moved one month later.
“We are in limbo as to what direction to take. We are in an emergency crisis mode,” he said.

Under the old manual system of voting, it was the counting of votes that took a long time to complete, but under an automated system, it would be the voting itself that could take up to 20 hours, Bautista told dzBB.

He said the Comelec could meet the May 9 date for elections, but could not guarantee they would be credible and orderly, given the need to activate the printing of receipts.

“We are looking for a best case in a worst-case scenario. I am opposed to reverting to manual voting but we have to put it as one of our options… once chaos will erupt due to this printing of vote receipts,” Bautista said,

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But lawmakers led by House Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. and Philippine Constitution Association president and senatorial bet Leyte Rep. Martin Romualdez rejected the suggestion that the country return to a manual system.

“The mandate of the Comelec is to implement automated elections and not to return to the manual system. We should not be also talking about a no-election scenario at this stage.... No elections and changing the rules of the game at this stage are unacceptable,” Romualdez said.

The Comelec found an ally, however, in Capiz Rep. Fredenil Castro, chairman of the House committee on suffrage and electoral reforms, who described as “a reckless mistake and crazy” the Supreme Court’s decision to deny a three-day extension being sought by the Comelec to conduct a demonstration of the voting process for the justices.

Bautista said that unless otherwise provided by law, the Constitution says regular elections for president and vice president must be held on the second Monday of May.

Legislation needed

“We need legislation from Congress for any postponement. We were told we would need at least a month of postponement,” he said.

“June 9 is cutting it close to June 30 when all incumbents step down. We have canvassing to do for president, vice president and senators and we need to proclaim a new president and vice president before June 30,” Bautista said.

“Our biggest challenge is the time.

We are running out of time. The Supreme Court decision brought everything to a stop,” he said, noting that machine testing has been put on hold to accommodate the new configuration.

But Castro said a postponement was out of the question, noting that with the election campaign in full swing, he did not expect senators and congressmen to attend special sessions to tackle a postponement.

He also cited the danger of extending voting hours.

“We know elections take up to evening to finish. And when it becomes dark, it becomes dangerous to voters and members of the Board of Election Inspectors,” he said.

Castro urged the Supreme Court to reconsider its decision and accept it has made a wrong decision and correct it by overturning itself.

On Monday, Bautista said, experts from the Department of Science and Technology will explore the options open to the Comelec to prevent chaos.

Members of all political parties would be briefed afterward, he said.

KONTRA DAYA PORTEST

The election watchdog Kontra Daya on Sunday urged the public to assemble in front of the main office of the Comelec in Intramuros, Manila on Tuesday to protest its defiance of the Supreme Court order.

Kontra Daya convenor Rick Bahague denounced the Comelec for floating different scenarios as a result of the Supreme Court order.

“Kontra Daya calls on the people to gather in front of the Comelec on Tuesday to protest the poll body’s refusal to activate the voter receipt feature of the vote counting machines despite a Supreme Court order,” Bahague said, in a statement.

He also condemned a Smartmatic statement last week that warned of a failure of election.

“Kontra Daya vigorously protests the threats of a failure of election by a foreign company, like Smartmatic. It has no right to tell Filipinos how to conduct elections in our country,” Bahague added. With Rey E. Requejo


GMA NEWS ONLINE

WATCH: Thousands join Stations of the Cross on St. Lazarus Day in Manila Published March 13, 2016 3:54pm


Photo by DANNY PATA, GMA News

Catholic devotees participate in a grand Stations of the Cross in observance of Doming de Lazaro in Manila in honor of St Lazarus, the patron saint of lepers. It was widely believed that Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan arrived in the Philippines on the feast day of St. Lazarus.

MMDA, LRTA announcements for Holy Week Published March 13, 2016 10:23am The Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) on Saturday announced that the number coding scheme o provincial buses will be lifted during the Holy Week.

The MMDA said the number coding for provincial buses will be lifted on March 23, Holy Wednesday, due to the expected increase in the number of passengers leaving Metro Manila for the provinces.

ADVISORY:
Number Coding is LIFTED on March 23, 2015 (Holy Wednesday) for provincial buses ONLY.
#mmda pic.twitter.com/gEp6Vp0BEV

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— Official MMDA (@MMDA) 12 de marzo de 2016 Meanwhile, the Light Rail Transit Authority announced that:
Line 1 (Baclaran in Parañaque City to Roosevelt in Quezon City) and
Line 2 (Recto in Manila to Santolan in Pasig City) will have no train operations from Maundy Thursday until Easter Sunday.

It said that it will take advantage of the Holy Week to conduct its annual maintainance activities for both lines.

The Metro Rail Transit has yet to announce it Holy Week schedule. —Kiersnerr Gerwin Tacadena/ALG, GMA News

In the Philippines, Easter is celebrated religiously.

Maundy Thursday, Good Friday and Black Saturday are national holidays to create a 4-day long weekend.

Holy Week arrives on Palm Sunday, and Filipinos carry palm branches to mass to be blessed by priests and taken back home. As Holy Week progresses, great solemnity spreads across the land.


Holy Week in Sorsogon City (Palm Sunday)

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Many fulfill vows that they uttered to God in exchange for a favor like recovery from sickness or help during a difficult financial situation. You will also see statues draped in purple to symbolize the gloomy atmosphere, and the most religious Catholics will attend mass daily and fast strictly.

As meat is forbidden during Lent, and especially during Holy Week, fish, eggs, and vegetables are eaten frequently during this time.

Some even take up a liquid-only diet or fast from food entirely.

Some popular dishes eaten during Lent include: sabaw isda paksiw (sour fish soup), relyenong bangus (stuffed milkfish), fried of sauteed tilapia, sardines on rice, tuyo (dried fish), lumpiang (spring rolls with local vegetable fillings), adobo string beans (instead of pork or chicken), and eggplant omelets.

Maundy Thursday


Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle kissing the foot of a faithful at the traditional washing the feet rites at the Manila Cathedral on Maundy Thursday

Maundy Thursday (Huwebes Santo) is the start of the main Easter celebrations in the Philippines, which is part of the larger Holy Week celebrations. Being a predominantly Roman Catholic country, Easter is central to the religious and national calendar.

According to Biblical tradition, Jesus was crucified on the Cross on a Friday (hence, “Good Friday”), and Maundy Thursday commemorates the events leading up to the Crucifixion.

Maundy (also known as the “Washing of the Feet”) is a religious rite. A re-enactment of the Lord’s Supper and Jesus washing his disciples’ feet are often observed on this day. Filipinos traditionally visit either seven or 14 churches (this tradition is called visita iglesia or “to visit churches”) where this re-enactment is held.

Good Friday


A penitent in the Philippines grimaces in pain while nailed to a cross on Good Friday last year. (Reuters/Erik de Castro)

Good Friday, or in Tagalog, Biyernes Santo, is part of the Christian Easter Week celebrations (also known as ‘Holy Week’). Good Friday is two days before Easter Sunday, which normally coincides with the March Equinox and may also coincide with the Jewish Passover.

Good Friday in the Philippines is a national public holiday commemorating the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. The crucifixion is symbolised by the Cross and, according to the Biblical Gospels, it was by this ancient form of death penalty that Jesus Christ sacrificed himself and died so that he could save humanity from their sins.

Easter is a solemn holiday season and many Filipinos abstain from activities they may deem as ‘worldly’ (e.g. drinking alcohol). On Good Friday, many choose to abstain from eating meat and often pray and fast as part of their religious traditions.

Masses are held in the early afternoon to commemorate and reflect on Jesus’ crucifixion. According to Biblical tradition, Jesus died on the Cross at 3pm, so it is at this time in the mass that people become silent and meditate on Jesus’ sacrificial death.

Catholic Filipinos observe the Stations of the Cross as part of the Good Friday mass. These ‘stations’ are often paintings or sculptures that depict specific moments of Jesus on his way to be crucified. They are also often re-enacted by actors as part of an Easter procession. In the Philippines in particular, some people even go so far as to crucify themselves on a wooden cross to symbolise their devotion, as part of their penance or vow.

Black Saturday


A replica of a centuries-old black statue of Jesus Christ, known as the Black Nazarene, is carried by devotees during the blessing and procession of the replicas in Manila, Philippines. Pic:AP

On “Black Saturday,” preparations are made for the late-night Easter vigil at church. There, the Gloria is sung, and some call it “Glorious Saturday.”

In some places, an effigy of Judas is hung and burned up, though sometimes, he is blown to pieces by firecrackers. At midnight, the fasting and mourning ends because it is finally the day on which Christ arose from the grave in victory.


Salubong Festival, Pampanga

A 4am on Easter Morning, the “salubong” ceremony commemorates the meeting of Mary and Jesus after the Resurrection. The black-veiled image of Mary is unveiled by one or more people dressed up like angels, and sometimes, the veil is tied to balloons or a dove to be carried away in the air.

The image of Christ also is unveiled, and flowers and confetti fall down on the statues of both Mary and Jesus. Bells ring and fireworks explode in the sky. Legend has it, however, that if the veil is removed only with difficulty, bad luck will accompany the year to come.

Easter Events Several Easter events you may wish to attend should you be in the Philippines at this time of year are:

The flagellant ceremonies in Manila, Pampanga, or Nueva Ecija.

The latter two locations involve white hooded flagellants who wear thorny crowns. Blood drips over the white hoods and is clearly visible at a distance.

The stations of the cross processions in Novaliches, Quezon City, and Cagayan. These are depictions of the journey to the cross that are built into various hillsides, and pilgrims will pray as they go from station to station. Various Passion plays, particularly the one held in Senakulo at the Philippine Cultural Center.

Its cast consists of locally popular movie stars. Also consider the Moriones Festivals in the province of Marinduque, which focuses on the conversion of the Roman Centurion as he gazed on the dying Christ.


PHILSTAR

Al Gore visits Yolanda’s ground zero (The Philippine Star) | Updated March 14, 2016 - 12:00am 0 0 googleplus0 0


Climate change activist and former US vice president Al Gore, a Nobel Peace Prize winner, lit candles and offered a wreath at a mass grave in Barangay Basper where around 2,000 typhoon victims were buried, a picture tweeted by Climate Reality showed. AP file photo

TACLOBAN, Philippines – Climate change activist and former US vice president Al Gore made a surprise visit yesterday in this city to meet the victims of Super Typhoon Yolanda, one of the strongest storms on record.

Gore was accompanied by Sen. Loren Legarda, chair of the Senate committee on climate change. They were welcomed at the airport by Mayor Alfred Romualdez.

Gore, a Nobel Peace Prize winner, lit candles and offered a wreath at a mass grave in Barangay Basper where around 2,000 typhoon victims were buried, a picture tweeted by Climate Reality showed.

The US non-government organization is holding a seminar on climate change adaptation in Manila next week, where Gore is scheduled to speak. He is known for his documentary “Inconvenient Truth” that focuses on global warming.

Gore also visited Barangay San Jose, one of the areas ravaged by the huge storm surges generated by Yolanda. In this seaside village, he met 51-year-old survivor Demetria Raya, whose story Gore had read in the news days following the typhoon.

The mother of three said the village near Tacloban airport was where her home once stood before it was wiped out by the storm.

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“He asked if I want to rebuild my house here. I said no. This place reminds me of my ordeal, how the waves washed away everything,” said Raya, who now lives in a temporary shelter several kilometers away.

Gore then went to the M/V Eva Jocelyn marker at Anibong district. The ship became the symbol of the devastation as the vessel was washed ashore by huge waves, destroying hundreds of houses.

More than two years after Yolanda struck, Tacloban and surrounding areas have yet to recover, with many living in shanty towns without running water and electricity. Survivors often still bear emotional scars.

Yolanda swept through central islands of the Philippines in November 2013, with giant waves wiping out entire communities and leaving 7,500 people dead or missing.

Since the disaster, high-profile personalities including Pope Francis and French President Francois Hollande visited Tacloban to call attention to the effects of climate change.

Experts are studying the link between climate change and the increasing strength of storms battering the nation.

Meanwhile, the Climate Change Commission (CCC) has begun its year-long program to promote climate change adaptation and mitigation in major river basin communities across the country.

CCC launched the pilot Communities for Resilience (CORE) Convergence Forum in Davao City on March 10 and 11, which was participated by stakeholders from communities around the Tagum-Libuganon River Basin.

The program, which will be conducted in 17 other major river basin communities in the country, aims to promote understanding of climate change and disaster risk in the grassroots level.

“Combining all the important aspects of the climate change adaptation and mitigation projects and the disaster risk reduction and management programs of the present government will lead to a more coherent, holistic, substantial and meaningful approach and strategies to significantly lessen the risks linked to climate change and to the geophysical hazards many communities are exposed to daily,” CCC secretary Emmanuel de Guzman said in a statement.

He stressed the need for communities to prepare for possible disasters as the country has become a poster boy for climate change vulnerability.

“We need to act decisively and collectively now. Failure to appropriately prepare for and implement the much needed programs and projects on the combined climate change adaptation and mitigation projects and the disaster risk reduction and management programs may lead to more devastating disasters in the country. Simply, we cannot afford to lose more lives and incur bigger socio-economic losses,” he added.

Citing data from the World Bank, CCC said the annual natural calamities and hazards cost the country five percent of its yearly gross domestic product.

For instance, losses and damage from Typhoon Yolanda were placed at $15 billion or roughly P650 billion.

CCC said the CORE program would strengthen the technical knowledge and capacity of local government units in developing their respective Local Climate Change Action Plan through a series of consultations and training.

The agency said they will also help facilitate access of grassroots communities, LGUs, and people’s organizations to the People Survival Fund in order to support their respective climate change adaptation and mitigation programs.

The CORE Convergence Forum will also be conducted in other major river basin communities, including in Pasig-Laguna, Pampanga, Agno, Abra, Cagayan, Agusan, Mindanao, Ilog-Hilabangan, Tagoloan, Cagayan de Oro, Ranao (Agus), Davao, Buayan-Malungon, Bicol, Panay, Jalaur and Apayao-Abulug.

The 18 major river basins are identified as key priority areas by the Cabinet Cluster for Adaptation and Mitigation, according to CCC. – Lalaine Jimenea, Janvic Mateo

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

RELATED FROM THE INQUIRER

‘IT’S NOT SMART TO BUILD NEW COAL-FIRED PLANTS’ - Al Gore to train PH climate warriors SHARES: 98 VIEW COMMENTS By: Michael Lim Ubac @inquirerdotnet Philippine Daily Inquirer 12:02 AM March 14th, 2016


GORE IN TACLOBAN Former US Vice President Al Gore, accompanied by Sen. Loren Legarda and Mayor Alfred Romualdez, visits on Saturday a mass grave in Tacloban City where victims of Supertyphoon “Yolanda” are buried. Gore is in the Philippines for a climate change training workshop starting Monday. He praises the Philippines for having two of the best climate laws in the world—the Climate Change Act of 2009 and the People’s Survival Fund. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

AL GORE has no doomsday message for the Philippines as he starts today (Monday) the training of more than 700 climate warriors from all over Asia who have converged in Manila for the “Climate Reality Leadership Training Corps.”

In fact, the former US vice president told the Inquirer Sunday that because of Supertyphoon “Yolanda” (international name: Haiyan) the country had the “moral authority” to take a leadership role in helping the world shift its heavy reliance on coal to renewable energy.

Gore said it was “not smart” to build new coal plants. The Philippines is nevertheless building more coal-fired power plants.

Unknown to Gore, the Aquino administration has approved 21 new coal-fired power plant projects in the past five years despite its commitment to reduce carbon emissions.

The government’s decision to continue constructing coal plants puts into question the country’s call for sustainable development and deep cuts in greenhouse gas emissions.

The Nobel peace laureate and global climate activist arrived in Manila last Saturday to personally preside over the training of participants to the climate leadership training, which runs from Monday to Wednesday at the Hotel Sofitel.

“Yes, why not? You have some of the best solar resources in any country of the world because of your latitude. You have fantastic wind resources,” Gore told the Inquirer in an exclusive interview, when asked if the Philippines could become a leader in developing solar and wind power as alternative sources of energy.

“I think the Philippines occupies a special role because of the respect it has in the world community,” he said, citing the “economic strength” the country “demonstrated to the world during a period when … the rest of the world was devastated by the 2008-2009 Great Depression.”

The Climate Reality Leadership Training Corps is part of the Climate Reality Project founded and chaired by Gore, a nonprofit organization that aims to solve the climate crisis. Gore will explain to the soon-to-be climate warriors what climate change is all about and what individuals can do about it.

Over the last 10 years, there are thousands of trained “Climate Reality Leaders” in over 57 countries who are already working at every level of society to solve climate change, according to organizers of the Manila training sessions.

During the three-day training, renowned climate scientists, communicators, storytellers and grassroots organizers will speak about reaching and inspiring people to take climate action.

‘Courage, resilience’

Gore acknowledged the particular vulnerability of the Philippines to typhoons. Being in the Pacific typhoon belt, the country “attracts constant attention from the world, which has admired the Philippines’ resilience,” he said.

Gore referenced Yolanda, the strongest recorded storm to ever hit land that lashed nine regions of the country on Nov. 8, 2013, killing 6,300 people, mostly in Eastern Visayas.

“I think that Haiyan, in particular, underscored not just that single event but brought into focus the courage and resilience of the [Filipino] people, and the immediate translation of that in the Warsaw climate conference [in 2013] cannot be overemphasized. It really touched the hearts of the people around the world,” Gore said.

He could still vividly recall the “image of the nation standing up courageously” to one of the greatest demonstrations of a climate change impact.

‘Hub for geopolitics’

“And as a developing country—some would say—emerging economy, it has a unique position in the community of nation,” he said. “Its geographic position gives it a particular relationship to all of East Asia—and of course the historical ties to the US actually make the Philippines a kind of a hub for geopolitics.”

Gore noted that the Philippines’ enduring ties to America were seen as very significant in the United States.

Impressed

He joked that Daly City or parts of Los Angeles in California could be another province of the Philippines because of the large presence of Filipino-Americans in the area.

Gore praised the country for its advanced climate change laws, ostensibly referring to the Climate Change Act of 2009 and the People’s Survival Fund of 2012.

Both laws were authored by Sen. Loren Legarda, the United Nations Global Champion for Resilience.

“She is truly a leader not only in the Philippines but among her counterparts in the international community around the world. Her proposals [for Disaster Risk Reduction and climate change adaptation] are now being looked at as models for the world,” Gore said.

He noted that the country was learning its lessons from Yolanda.

Quoting the forecast of scientists around the world, including those from the Philippines, he said it was being predicted that these typhoons would “likely to come stronger still with the continued warming of the oceans.”

More than 90 percent of the extra heat trapped by the man-made global warming pollution—which has triggered temperatures to rise since the Industrial Revolution—goes into the oceans.

Oceans warming faster

“The ocean waters around the Philippines are warming faster than anywhere else on the planet,” Gore warned.

“If there is another place that is warming faster, I don’t know what it is. As a result, sea level is rising faster in the Philippines than anywhere else on Earth mainly because of thermal expansion, and also of course, the melting of ice in Greenland and Antarctica is accelerating sea level rise everywhere in the world,” said Gore.

He said that the combination of higher sea levels and more powerful storm surges made island-nations particularly vulnerable to the impact of climate change, stressing that “the warming of the seas and rising of the seas are faster here than virtually anywhere on Earth.”


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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