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CANDIDATES' ADS BILL HITS A WHOPPING P6.7 BILLION - PCIJ


MARCH 14 --PCIJ CHART-Four candidates for President, five for Vice President and two dozen other candidates for senator and local posts have shelled out P6.7 billion since their political ads started being shown in March 2015, or 14 months ahead of the May 9, 2016 elections, according to the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism (PCIJ.) The group said with such a high tab, the May 9 elections will be the most expensive electoral exercise in Philippine history. “Who paid for the ads? The candidates have variably said that their unnamed donors, and/or portions of their own money, covered the expense. But why ever must donors part with their millions when only the candidates stand to gain from political ads? And how, some citizens have asked, should the candidates pay back these donors who gave them not just money but also a quick ride to instant celebrity and fame on TV?” the PCIJ noted, citing a report of Nielsen Media, which has monitored the political ads of candidates shown on TV. “By Nielsen Media’s monitoring reports, overkill is an understatement. It does not suffice to describe the stupendously rich pre-campaign ad spend of four candidates for President–Jejomar Binay of the United Nationalist Alliance; Rodrigo Duterte of PDP-Laban; Grace Poe of the Galing at Puso slate; and Manuel ‘Mar’ Roxas 2nd of the Liberal Party. READ MORE...RELATED, SECRET DONORS: Top bets zip it, won't talk...


ALSO:
Poe (28) tops Pulse Asia survey, Duterte (24), Binay drops to 3rd (21)


MARCH 15 -POE, DUTERTE -SENATOR Grace Poe would be the winner if elections were held today, according to the latest survey held by Pulse Asia.Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte placed second in the poll held from March 1 to 6 among 2,600 registered voters with biometrics. Poe got 28 percent, which was two percentage points higher than what she got in the pollster’s February 16 to 27 survey. The senator also topped the latest Social Weather Stations (SWS) survey that was released on Monday, getting 27 percent. In both surveys, Vice President Jejomar Binay’s ratings dropped to a certain degree. Binay was overtaken by Poe for the top spot in the SWS survey. In the Pulse Asia survey, Binay was sidelined by Duterte, who got 24 percent.  The Vice President fell to third place with 21 percent, tying “statistically” with Liberal Party (LP) standard bearer Manuel “Mar” Roxas 2nd who got 20 percent. Sen. Miriam Defensor Santiago got three percent. READ MORE...RELATED, SWS survey about SC ruling on DQ ‘a great anomaly’–Poe detractors...

ALSO: Noy - NPC not solidly behind Poe, Escudero


MARCH 16 -AQUINO -
The Nationalist People’s Coalition may not be solidly behind the tandem of Sens. Grace Poe and Francis Escudero, President Aquino said yesterday. URDANETA CITY, Pangasinan, Philippines – The Nationalist People’s Coalition (NPC) may not be solidly behind the tandem of Sens. Grace Poe and Francis Escudero, President Aquino said yesterday as he urged members of the country’s second biggest political party to consider instead his candidates and support them in the May elections.
The President made the exhortation at the Urdaneta City Cultural and Sports Center after noting the presence of NPC officials while he was talking to residents. He is supporting the tandem of Liberal Party presidential candidate Manuel Roxas II and his running mate Rep. Leni Robredo. “My bosses, as you can see, joining us are (some members) of the Nationalist People’s Coalition. I suppose their presence here will show whether they have a party stand or not. Maybe if they will have a party stand in favor of us, we will thank them for that,” Aquino said. The President expressed his gratitude to NPC members who have chosen to take the daang matuwid or the straight path advocacy of his administration. “Really, with your support and our other bosses from different areas in the country, no one can stop us,” the Chief Executive said. Roxas and opposition presidential candidate Vice President Jejomar Binay of the United Nationalist Alliance have also expressed doubts on the firmness of NPC’s support for the tandem of Poe and Escudero. The two independent candidates have been topping recent popularity surveys. Escudero said Roxas and Binay should “be man enough” to “accept and respect whatever decision” is made by the party “whether it is favorable to them or not.” THE FULL REPORT. RELATED, UNA hits Roxas for P7-B unliquidated DILG fund transfers...

ALSO: Poe to retain some of Noy’s Cabinet members


MARCH 17 -POE -At a meeting with business leaders, Poe vowed to retain some members in the Cabinet of Aquino under a “reconciliatory government” she would be establishing should she win the presidency. Poe, a presidential frontrunner, said she has some names of President Aquino’s officials who deserve “continuity” in the government, but refused to identify them. It certainly looks more and more that Sen. Grace Poe, who is running for the presidency in May, is the secret candidate of President Aquino. Not only had she bared sometime ago that she would make Aquino her anti-corruption czar, but made it clear that he will not be prosecuted since she believes he did no wrong. Just yesterday, at a meeting with business leaders, Poe vowed to retain some members in the Cabinet of Aquino under a “reconciliatory government” she would be establishing should she win the presidency.Poe, a presidential frontrunner, said she has some names of President Aquino’s officials who deserve “continuity” in the government, but refused to identify them. “I do have a few people in mind, retaining from the current administration’s Cabinet members. But with all due respect, I think I should not even mention their names yet because I have not asked them formally. I don’t want to be too presumptuous at this point. But I do have few people in mind already,” Poe responded in at open forum during the 2016 Presidential Dialogs at the Makati Business Club at Dusit Thani Hotel in Makati City. “In selecting Cabinet members, they should have the integrity and credibility. That they have the expertise and also the creative capability to be able to solve solutions quickly. It doesn’t matter to me what party you belong for as long as I think you can do the job quickly and properly,” Poe said. Poe, however, stressed that she would not retain the heads of the Department of Communications and Transportation (DoTC), the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) and the Department of Agriculture (DA). Poe failed to mention Budget Secretary Florencio Abad, the author, along with Aquino, of the Disbursement Acceleration Prpgram (DAP). READ MORE...RELATED, Roxas camp reminds Poe: Aquino cabinet members to step down in June ...

ALSO: 'Kill-the-criminals' - Vow drawing support for Duterte


MARCH 17 -DUTERTE in Lingayen: Rodrigo Duterte curses the pope’s mother and jokes about his own infidelities, but many voters in the Philippines want to elect him president so he can honor a campaign pledge to kill thousands of criminals. Duterte is making a spectacular, obscenity-filled charge toward the presidential palace by selling himself as a ruthless leader willing to bypass the judicial system in an unprecedented war against crime. “Kill them all,” Duterte, 70, told a cheering crowd of supporters this month at a campaign rally in the small northern city of Lingayen as he outlined his plans to eradicate drug traffickers. “When I become president, I’ll order the police and the military to find these people and kill them.”  Such comments are typical fare on the campaign trail for Duterte, who in Lingayen also jokingly gave business advice to those in the crowd to start up funeral parlors in preparation of him winning the May elections. “The funeral parlors will be packed… I’ll supply the dead bodies,” he said, to more cheers and laughter. On a previous occasion Duterte, a lawyer, pledged to kill 100,000 criminals and dump so many in Manila Bay that the “fish will grow fat” from feeding on them.
POLITICAL COURAGE Surveys indicate his law-and-order platform, which is a centrepiece of his election strategy, is winning him many fans in a nation bedevilled by crime, corrupt law enforcement agencies, and deep poverty. The long-time mayor of Davao City is one of four candidates with a genuine shot at succeeding President Aquino. READ MORE..RELATED, Volunteers boost Duterte-Cayetano campaign amid limited machinery...

ALSO: Santiago to skip Comelec debate, to try new anti-cancer pill


MARCH 17 -Miriam Santiago Presidential candidate Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago during the Presidential Debates 2016 held in Capitol University in Cagayan de Oro City. INQUIRER FILE PHOTO/LYN RILLON
Presidential candidate Sen. Miriam Santiago will not attend the debate hosted by the Commission on Elections in Cebu on Sunday to undergo a clinical trial for new anti-cancer pill. “I am very sorry to miss out on the debates, but it would be a disservice to the country if I forego the opportunity to get rid of my cancer completely and strengthen myself further to serve the Filipino people,” Santiago said in a statement on Thursday. The senator, who was diagnosed with a stage 4 lung cancer in 2014 but claimed she is in remission, joined an international clinical trial to gain free access to the medication, which would have cost her-half-a-million pesos every three weeks. The trial will require Santiago to undergo outpatient radiation treatment daily at a hospital for a short period. The senator said she will try to participate in the next and last presidential debate on April 24 “if the ongoing treatments do not inhibit her.” Santiago, who is banking on her social media presence and the so-called youth vote, is doing poorly in election surveys. Since the campaign launch last Feb. 9, she only appeared publicly six times. Her official campus visits in Tacloban and Davao City last week were cancelled “due to logistical concerns.” A planned homecoming in Iloilo with running mate Sen. Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. on Monday was also rescheduled to a later date. TVJ THE FULL REPORT. ALSO On the campaign trail, Bongbong Marcos taps into his father's legacy...

ALSO: Marcos says Santiago’s health should come first amid rigorous campaign


MARCH 18 -Senator Bongbong Marcos Jr. INQUIRER FILE PHOTO / GRIG C. MONTEGRANDE
The health of presidential candidate Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago should be her priority amid the rigorous campaign for the upcoming May elections, his running mate said on Friday.
Vice presidential candidate and Sen. Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. on Friday expressed hope that Santiago would join him in the campaign soon, however, he said that her health should come first. “We had planned to be together during the campaign. That was always the original plan. But I suppose her health issues have overtaken her and she has just to attend to that. And I think that she would be able to overcome this new obstacle and she will be joining us in the campaign soon enough,” Marcos told reporters on the sidelines of his Unity Caravan in Cebu City. On Thursday, Santiago said that she would skip the second presidential debate in Cebu City on Sunday to undergo a clinical trial for a new anticancer pill. “I am very sorry to miss out on the debates, but it would be a disservice to the country if I forego the opportunity to get rid of my cancer completely and strengthen myself further to serve the Filipino people,” Santiago said in a statement. While Marcos would prefer to campaign with Santiago, he said “the trend of the current campaign seems to gear towards individual campaigning rather than as a party.”  READ MORE...


READ FULL MEDIA REPORTS HERE:

Candidates’ ads bill hits a whopping P6.7B – PCIJ


PHILIPPINE CENTER FOR INVESTIGATIVE JOURNALISM IMAGE

MANILA, MARCH 21, 2016 (MANILA TIMES) March 14, 2016 10:59 pm - Four candidates for President, five for Vice President and two dozen other candidates for senator and local posts have shelled out P6.7 billion since their political ads started being shown in March 2015, or 14 months ahead of the May 9, 2016 elections, according to the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism (PCIJ.)

The group said with such a high tab, the May 9 elections will be the most expensive electoral exercise in Philippine history.

“Who paid for the ads?

The candidates have variably said that their unnamed donors, and/or portions of their own money, covered the expense. But why ever must donors part with their millions when only the candidates stand to gain from political ads?

And how, some citizens have asked, should the candidates pay back these donors who gave them not just money but also a quick ride to instant celebrity and fame on TV?” the PCIJ noted, citing a report of Nielsen Media, which has monitored the political ads of candidates shown on TV.

“By Nielsen Media’s monitoring reports, overkill is an understatement. It does not suffice to describe the stupendously rich pre-campaign ad spend of four candidates for President–Jejomar Binay of the United Nationalist Alliance; Rodrigo Duterte of PDP-Laban; Grace Poe of the Galing at Puso slate; and Manuel ‘Mar’ Roxas 2nd of the Liberal Party.

READ MORE...

Specific to the last detail, Nielsen Media’s reports enroll the day, date and time, and in which TV programs the ads aired; their rate card cost at the time of broadcast; and which versions of the candidates’ ad materials ran,” the PCIJ said.

In an article, PCIJ executive director Malou Mangahas said if these candidates had been dipping into their own pockets, nearly all of them would now be on the throes of bankruptcy.

She pointed out that Roxas, Binay and Poe “had even made it to the Billion-Peso Club of ad spenders ahead of the official 90-day campaign period that started on February 9, 2016.”



“According to Nielsen Media’s monitoring reports, as of January 31, 2016 and by the rate card of media agencies, the political ads featuring these three as “advertiser” and “product” had reached the billionth mark:

•P1,050,065,096 for Binay,

 •P1,016,414,123 for Poe; and

•P969,173,267 for Roxas.

And while he decided to run only in December 2016, a fourth candidate for President, Rodrigo Duterte of the PDP-Laban Party, had also recorded a bill of P146,351,131 for his pre-campaign ads,” Mangahas said.

She said six candidates for Vice President incurred similarly significant expenses for their solo ads:

•P419,002,456 for Duterte’s official running mate Alan Peter Cayetano;
•P273,856,544 for LP’s Maria Leonor ‘Leni’ Robredo;
•P252,503,856 for Ferdinand ‘Bongbong’ Marcos Jr.;
•P29,673,341 for UNA’s Gregorio ‘Gringo’ Honasan 2nd;
•P8,953,380 for Antonio Trillanes 4th; and
•P2,776,000 for GP’s Francis ‘Chiz’ Escudero.

3 Responses to Candidates’ ads bill hits a whopping P6.7B – PCIJ

Ahas says:
March 15, 2016 at 7:21 am
Pag maglabas ng capital tiyak may profit….extension of corruption na naman.
Reply
Ruffy says:
March 15, 2016 at 3:35 am
Comelec has to implement the overspending rule.
Then all winners could be ousted while in office
as what happened to the Governor of Laguna.
Reply
mark reyes says:
March 15, 2016 at 2:08 am
Hindi ako naniniwala na mas marami pa ang nagastos ni Grace Poe na pera para sa ads niya kumpara kay Roxas, alam naman lahat ng tao kung gaano mas karami ang ads ni Roxas at makikita mo na mas maluluho pa kumpara kay Grace Poe. At kahit naman manguna o pang ilan pa si Grace Poe sa maraming gumastos na yan para sa ads, isa lang ang mappatunayan ko dyan, hindi naman nanggaling sa kaban ng bayan ang mga pera na ito at tanging mag donasyon lamang sa kanya ng mga taong naniniwala at sumusuporta sa kanya.

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RELATED FROM PHILSTAR (By PCIJ

SECRET DONORS: Top bets zip it, won't talk By Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism March 9, 2016


Not one of the three candidates who belong to the billon-peso club of ad spenders - presidentiables Manuel 'Mar' Roxas II, Jejomar ‘Jojo’ Binay and Grace Poe - talked about their secret donors' identities. File photo

MANILA - Only three candidates responded by email and text message to letters that PCIJ sent to 23 of those running for president, vice president, and senator last week to inquire about who funded their composite P6.7 billion pre-campaign political ad expenses. Several others merely acknowledged receipt of the letters while the rest or 16 of those queried did not in any mode or manner.

PCIJ moved mail to 23 of the candidates for the top national positions to ask about the political ads they had aired or published from March 2015 to January 2016, or before the 90-day official campaign period started on Feb. 9, 2016. PCIJ selected them for querying because each of them had racked up considerable pre-campaign political ad expenses – some reaching hundreds of millions of pesos and even billions of pesos - based on Nielsen Media monitoring reports. All 23 were given up to five days to respond.

The most secretive of the lot were the candidates of the Liberal Party who say they are sworn to continue the "Daang Matuwid" legacy of President Benigno S. Aquino III. The LP bets, except for Senate President Franklin Drilon, did not send a reply at all.

Not one of the three candidates who belong to the billon-peso club of ad spenders - presidentiables Jejomar ‘Jojo’ Binay, Grace Poe, and Manuel 'Mar' Roxas II - talked about their secret donors' identities.

Mum's the word, too, for four candidates for vice president - Alan Peter Cayetano, Gregorio ‘Gringo’ Honasan II, Ferdinand ‘Bongbong’ Marcos Jr., and Maria Leonor ‘Leni’ Robredo - who had spent handsomely on the ads.

Twelve candidates for senator who are also big ad spenders, including seven from LP, would not talk either.

READ MORE...

The PCIJ letters raised the same questions but focused these on the specific amounts, by the rate card of media agencies, that the candidates had separately incurred:

• The official 90-day campaign period started only on Feb. 9, 2016 but your political ads had started airing months earlier.

Why? What was your purpose in running a massive volume of pre-campaign ads?

• Did you spend your own money to pay for these ads? If yes, how much of your own funds did you use?

• Did you receive donations from friends, allies, and supporters to pay for these ads? If yes, how much in donations did you receive to pay for these ads? Can you please identify these donors?

• The National Internal Revenue Code imposes a 30-percent tax on donations from “strangers,” in this instance, yourselves and your donors. Do you know if your donors had remitted to the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) the commensurate taxes on their donations to your campaign?

• The Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act (Republic Act 3019) prohibits elective and appointive public officials from "accepting directly or indirectly a gift from a person other than a member of the public officer's immediate family, in behalf of himself or of any member of his family or relative within the fourth civil degree, either by consanguinity or affinity, even on the occasion of a family celebration or national festivity like Christmas, if the value of the gift is under the circumstances manifestly excessive.” Please comment.

Navotas Rep. Tobias ‘Toby’ Tiangco responded on behalf of Vice President Binay, although the PCIJ letter was first coursed through the latter's daughter, Makati 2nd District Rep. Abigail Binay.

The verbatim reply from Tiangco, one of Binay's spokespersons, reads: "Hi, Malou. I cannot confirm or deny the figures because the records are not with me. With over 53 Million voters, TV advertisement is the fastest way for a candidate to get his/her message across. You can be rest assured that this is done in a manner that is in accordance with all existing laws. BR, Toby."

Interestingly, Senate President Franklin Drilon, who is running for re-election, was the first to respond, although he did not actually receive a letter from PCIJ. It is possible that because he is the chair of the Liberal Party, Drilon might have seen the letter that PCIJ sent to the LP national headquarters' email. (The LP headquarters acknowledged receipt of PCIJ’s letter.)

Through both email and text, Drilon wrote: "Dear Malou, For the record, I did not have any political ad before the campaign period started on Feb 9. In fact, I aired my ads on radio and television only on Mar 1, 2016. Warm regards. Sen Frank Drilon"

PCIJ had reported that, according to Nielsen Media's monitoring reports, Drilon had incurred P39,000 worth of ads, by the rate card of media agencies.

In reply to Drilon, PCIJ wrote:

"Thank you for your quick response. However, the detailed entries of Nielsen Media's monitoring reports showed that you may have actually incurred pre-campaign ad expenses, but at an amount so small compared to your fellow Liberal Party candidates for senator, president, and vice president.

"By Nielsen Media's reports, you incurred a total of P39,000 in pre-campaign ads for six 30-second radio spots worth P6,500 each.

"These aired in December 2015 with you as ‘product’ or ‘advertiser,’ under the ‘Social Concerns’ subcategory of ad placements by ‘GOVERNMENT AGENCIES & PUBLIC UTILITIES.’

"The ad spots on DYFM-AM/837 KHZ BOMBO NEWS & VIEWS MORNING EDITION using your ‘ATING MAPAGKAKATIWALAAN/ILONGGO’ ad material.

“Hope this helps. Thanks."

For a second time, Drilon responded. His verbatim reply: "Hi Malou, I am totally surprised by Neilsen's attribution of political ads to me. Six 30-seconders in Dec 2015? For P39,000? Does that make sense as a pre-campaign political ad? No, and I deny having made that placement. There must be a mistake. I have NOT produced, or recorded, or aired, a 30 seconder in December 2015. Since it is on radio, I wonder if Neilsen can send me the alleged recorded pre campaign political ad. I reiterate that I started airing my political ads on March 1, as the cost is prohibitive. Thanks. Frank."

PCIJ stands by its story. Nielsen Media monitored the radio ad that Drilon aired in December 2015 on Bombo Radio-Iloilo.

Meantime, Sen. Antonio Trillanes, who is running for vice president, and Bayan Muna Party-List Rep. Neri Colmenares, who is running for senator, seem to have gotten rather confused about their election and tax laws, based on their separate replies to PCIJ.

PCIJ had focused its queries on the candidates' pre-campaign ads. The two gave replies founded on election laws applicable to spending during the campaign period.

Trillanes wrote that "before the campaign period kicked off on 9 February 2016, we placed radio advertisements in select local radio stations nationwide as part of our efforts to raise consciousness among the Filipinos about my advocacies. It’s definitely not a massive volume compared to the other candidates."

Yet while he said, "I did not pay for these ads," Trillanes did not identify who donated the money to pay for them. Instead, he said that "donations, if any, would be duly reported to COMELEC (Commission on Elections) as required by law."

On the matter of the National Internal Revenue Code's clause that a 30-percent donor's tax must be paid from donations of strangers, Trillanes said: "We have paid the withholding tax required by the same Code for the pre-campaign ads.” He did not, he added, violate any provisions of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act.

Colmenares, a lawyer by profession, responded the longest to the PCIJ's letter.

On the first question, he wrote: "First, I need to clarify that I did not spend P22 million on TV/radio ads as reported by Nielsen. This was probably based on TV/radio rate card for the infomercials aired before the election period. If it is possible I would like to request for a copy of the same as I am also interested when and how many times these supposed ads were aired.

"What was actually spent is way below that because of huge discounts concerned media establishment have given. The amount spent can in no way be considered massive spending if compared to the hundreds of millions of pesos that presidential, vice presidential, and other senatorial candidates have spent for their ads.

"We went on radio and TV to discuss our campaign for P2,000 SSS pension hike, reduction of high power rates and abolition of pork barrel. When the bill was transmitted to Pres. Benigno Aquino for approval we called on pensioners and the people through radio and TV to press the President to sign the P2,000 SSS pension bill passed by the Congress.

"These infomercials were aired to make the people aware of the issues relevant to my advocacies."

On the question whether he used his own money or donations to pay for his ads, Colmenares replied: "Most of the funds for these infomercials came from friends and other advocates. My contribution to the same was very minimal amounting to only a few thousand pesos."

Wrote Colmenares: "The bulk of the money we paid for the infomercials came from those who want to support the advocacy campaigns such as my relatives, colleagues in Congress, colleagues and supporters from the legal profession, friends, former classmates, supporters and friends from other professions, and from three fund-raising events we have held."

He continued: "I will definitely and officially report the donors required by our Election laws to be reported and during the period set by the Comelec. The election laws provide for the proper time within which to disclose to the government and to make available to the public these information, and that is after election date. The wisdom behind the law, and I strongly agree with this, is to protect the supporters and donors of the candidate from any political backlash or harassment pending the determination of the winner. Either they will be harassed for supporting me or other candidates will harass them for donations. Rest assured that I will report all that is required by law to be reported during the period set by the Comelec and that any amount we receive for electoral campaign purposes will be used strictly for election purposes and not for my personal account."

BIR Commissioner Kim Jacinto-Henares in an interview told PCIJ that the 30 percent donor's tax applies to the donations that candidates received before the official campaign period, but Colmenares wrote that "donations for the purposes of elections are tax-exempt. (See Section 13, RA 7166; Section 99 C of NIRC). There is no need to pay tax. In any case, we will eventually report all donations to the Comelec and pay whatever fees and taxes that may be required by law."

The chief of staff of LP candidate for senator Risa Hontiveros also emailed PCIJ in response to its queries. The reply, however, seemed to have been aborted midway, reading: "Dear Ms. Mangahas, This is Elvira Escoto, ES of Ms. Risa Hontiveros. We would like to acknowledge receipt of your email and at the.... Best, Viray."

‘Viray’ is the nickname of Escoto. PCIJ has asked Escoto if she could please complete her response letter, but she has yet to do so as of this writing.

Another LP senatorial bet, Francis ‘Kiko’ Pangilinan, acknowledged receipt of PCIJ’s queries. The House administration did the same on behalf of Leyte 1st District Rep. Ferdinand Martin Romualdez and Valenzuela City Rep. Sherwin ‘Win’ Gatchalian. Not one of the three sent further replies.

In the case of two more candidates for president - Grace Poe and Rodrigo Duterte - and LP candidate for vice president Maria Leonor Robredo, PCIJ received quick assurances via text and email from their respective chiefs of staff that they would reply to the letters.

Duterte’s camp actually acknowledged receipt of the queries thrice. Duterte’s lawyer told PCIJ: "Good evening, Ma'am Malou. I sent you text msg this afternoon saying we acknowledge receipt of your email. Received niyo po? Salamat po. Team Duterte."

A second deputy, Edwin Espejo, who works with Duterte's Media Team, also wrote: "Got it. Forward it to the group that produced and placed them (ads)."

Duterte's chief of staff Bong Go replied as well: "Good am po. Will have it checked."

Poe's senior staff, Judith Sto.Domingo, meanwhile sent this response: "Copy po mam. thanks."

For Robredo, a staff personnel responded to PCIJ: "Good morning mam. this is marisa. i am currently with Cong Leni here in Cebu. She will look into it mam. I will remind her po. thank you."

Up to now, Duterte, Poe, and Robredo have yet to reply to PCIJ’s queries. In an interview conducted weeks earlier, however, Robredo had told PCIJ that LP leaders had assured her that they would take care of campaign funds. She had told the party’s officials, she said, that she had not wanted to run because she had no money. So when it came to funds, “hindi ko alam ‘yan, sila in charge (I know nothing about that, they’re the ones in charge),” Robredo said.

Apparently, though, most other candidates for the highest positions of leadership in the country are not quite ready to reveal the secrets of who bankrolled their mammoth pre-campaign political ads that, Nielsen Media's monitoring reports showed had reached P6.7 billion from March 2015 to Jan. 31, 2016.

Those who received letters but did not respond to the queries are:

From the Liberal Party:
• Manuel 'Mar' Roxas II
• Maria Leonor ‘Leni’ Robredo
• Leila de Lima
• Teofisto ‘TG’ Guingona III
• Panfilo ‘Ping’ Lacson
• Francis ‘Kiko’ Pangilinan
• Jericho Petilla
• Ralph Recto
• Joel Villanueva

From the other political parties:
• Grace Poe
• Rodrigo Duterte
• Ferdinand ‘Bongbong’ Marcos Jr.
• Alan Peter Cayetano
• Gregorio ‘Gringo’ Honasan
• Sherwin ‘Win’ Gatchalian
• Francisco ‘Isko Moreno’ Domogoso
• Sergio ‘Serge’ Osmena III
• Ferdinand Martin Romualdez
• Francis Tolentino

So who paid for the billions they had all together spent on pre-campaign ads?

To these candidates, the answer to that seems to be something they would not grant voters the right to know. - PCIJ, March 2016


MANILA TIMES

Poe also tops Pulse Asia survey March 15, 2016 11:02 pm by JOEL M. SY EGCO, SENIOR REPORTER

SENATOR Grace Poe would be the winner if elections were held today, according to the latest survey held by Pulse Asia.

Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte placed second in the poll held from March 1 to 6 among 2,600 registered voters with biometrics.

Poe got 28 percent, which was two percentage points higher than what she got in the pollster’s February 16 to 27 survey.

The senator also topped the latest Social Weather Stations (SWS) survey that was released on Monday, getting 27 percent.

In both surveys, Vice President Jejomar Binay’s ratings dropped to a certain degree. Binay was overtaken by Poe for the top spot in the SWS survey.

In the Pulse Asia survey, Binay was sidelined by Duterte, who got 24 percent.

The Vice President fell to third place with 21 percent, tying “statistically” with Liberal Party (LP) standard bearer Manuel “Mar” Roxas 2nd who got 20 percent.

Sen. Miriam Defensor Santiago got three percent.

READ MORE...

The survey, commissioned by ABS-CBN, had a ± 1.9% error margin at the 95 percent confidence level. The pollster also reported that non-support for any presidential candidate was expressed by five percent of the respondents.

Binay’s spokesman Rico Quicho said the survey results mean that the vice president has to do more campaigning among the grassroots.

“Different surveys, different results but the core support of the Vice President remains solid. The Vice President will continue to go around the country to cover more ground and directly talk to the people,” he said.

Since the poll was conducted days prior to the Supreme Court (SC) decision allowing Poe to run in the May presidential elections, Pulse Asia said “should Senator Poe not pursue her presidential bid, a sizable plurality of her original voters (29%) would shift their support to Vice President Binay.”

Meanwhile, former senator and Presidential Adviser on Agricultural Modernization Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan landed at the top spot of the senatorial survey by Pulse Asia.

Pangilinan, who is running under the administration party, had a 53.1 percent voter preference in the survey. He was followed by Sen. Vicente “Tito” Sotto of Nationalist People’s Coalition (48.9 percent), Sen. Franklin Drilon of Liberal Party (45.5 percent), former Sen. Panfilo “Ping” Lacson (Independent; 45.1 percent), and Sen. Ralph Recto of LP, 42.5 percent.

The other senators filling up the top 14 are Migz Zubiri (Independent): 36.5 percent; Sergio Osmeña 3rd (Independent): 36.4 percent; Dick Gordon (Independent): 34.8 percent; Risa Hontiveros (Akbayan): 33.3 percent; Manny Pacquiao (United Nationalist Alliance): 32.7 percent; Leila de Lima (LP): 32.1 percent; Joel Villanueva (LP): 28 percent; TG Guingona (LP): 26.3 percent; and Win Gatchalian (NPC): 25.6 percent.

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RELATED FROM THE INQUIRER

66% SWS survey about SC ruling on Poe DQ:  ‘A great anomaly’, 'mockery of survey process' SHARES: 3 VIEW COMMENTS By: Tetch Torres-Tupas @T2TupasINQ INQUIRER.net 04:34 PM March 17th, 2016 MARCH 02, 2016


SENATOR GRACE POE WITH PARTIDONG GALING AT PUSO POLITICAL RALLY IN PLAZA MIRANDA ANGELES PAMPANGA.... PHOTO BY/JAY MORALES Senator Grace Poe with Partidong Galing at Puso political rally in Plaza Miranda Angeles Pampanga. Photo by Jay Morales

The recent Social Weather Station (SWS) survey where three in five Filipinos or about 66 percent agree with the Supreme Court ruling allowing Senator Grace Poe to run for President is “a great anomaly” and “mockery of the survey process,” complainants pushing for the lady senator’s disqualification said Thursday.

The survey, which was commissioned by TV5 and conducted on March 8-11, also showed that 15 percent of respondents opposed the high court’s ruling. About 16 percent said that they were undecided while four percent said that they “don’t know.”

READ: SWS: 3 in 5 Filipinos back SC go-ahead on Poe presidential bid

Political Law professor Antonio Contreras questioned the conduct of the survey.

He pointed out that the survey was conducted from March 8 to 11 when the high court has not even posted its decision.

The high court only released a copy of the decision on Poe’s case on March 11.

Contreras questioned how the public could have come up with an opinion on a court decision that was not even released at the time of the survey.

“They are making a mockery of the survey process itself,” Contreras said at a press conference.

Atty. Manuelito Luna, counsel of former Senator Francisco Tatad, said the survey “is a great anomaly.”

“Hindi ito popularity contest. You cannot legalize infirmity,” Luna said, adding that “this will not have any bearing on the case.”

It:s About The Law

Contreras said Poe’s case is not about popularity.

“We are not talking about popularity. We are talking about the law. Ang ibig bang sabihin nito (na) objectively, hindi ka maganda pero maraming naniniwalang maganda ka eh maganda ka na,” he said.

Contreras, Tatad, Atty. Estrella Elamparo, and former UE Law Dean Amado Valdez will appeal the high court’s ruling. JE


Noy: NPC not solidly behind Poe, Escudero By Aurea Calica (The Philippine Star) | Updated March 16, 2016 - 12:00am 0 0 googleplus0 0


The Nationalist People’s Coalition may not be solidly behind the tandem of Sens. Grace Poe and Francis Escudero, President Aquino said yesterday.

URDANETA CITY, Pangasinan, Philippines – The Nationalist People’s Coalition (NPC) may not be solidly behind the tandem of Sens. Grace Poe and Francis Escudero, President Aquino said yesterday as he urged members of the country’s second biggest political party to consider instead his candidates and support them in the May elections.

The President made the exhortation at the Urdaneta City Cultural and Sports Center after noting the presence of NPC officials while he was talking to residents.

He is supporting the tandem of Liberal Party presidential candidate Manuel Roxas II and his running mate Rep. Leni Robredo.

“My bosses, as you can see, joining us are (some members) of the Nationalist People’s Coalition. I suppose their presence here will show whether they have a party stand or not. Maybe if they will have a party stand in favor of us, we will thank them for that,” Aquino said.

The President expressed his gratitude to NPC members who have chosen to take the daang matuwid or the straight path advocacy of his administration.

“Really, with your support and our other bosses from different areas in the country, no one can stop us,” the Chief Executive said.

Roxas and opposition presidential candidate Vice President Jejomar Binay of the United Nationalist Alliance have also expressed doubts on the firmness of NPC’s support for the tandem of Poe and Escudero.

The two independent candidates have been topping recent popularity surveys.

Escudero said Roxas and Binay should “be man enough” to “accept and respect whatever decision” is made by the party “whether it is favorable to them or not.”

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RELATED FROM THE INQUIRER

UNA hits Roxas for P7-B unliquidated DILG fund transfers SHARES: 93 VIEW COMMENTS By: Aries Joseph Hegina @AHeginaINQ INQUIRER.net 02:59 PM March 17th, 2016 mar roxas


Mar Roxas. INQUIRER FILE PHOTO / NINO JESUS ORBETA

Citing a Commission on Audit (COA) annual audit report, opposition party United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) on Thursday slammed administration standard-bearer Manuel “Mar” Roxas II for fund transfers in the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) amounting to P7.040 billion which supposedly remain unliquidated “due to non-monitoring of liquidations and submission of financial reports.”

Roxas was Interior secretary from 2012 before he stepped down from his post to pursue his presidential bid in August 2015.

The COA audit report said that the unliquidated fund transfers covered some of the department’s projects such as provision of Potable Water program (SALINTUBIG), PAyapa at MAsaganang PamayaNAn (PAMANA), Bottom-Up Budgeting (BUB), Rehabilitation Assistance on Yolanda (RAY), and the Public Transport Assistance Program (PTAP).

READ: Binay camp: Aquino admin’s BUB ‘legalized vote-buying’

“The Receivables accounts accumulated to a huge amount of ₱7.040 billion because management failed to monitor the liquidations of the fund transfers and submission of the corresponding financial reports contrary to COA Circular No. 94-013,” the audit agency said.

Aside from the P7-billion unliquidated fund transfers, COA found that some P17 million in cash advances also remain unliquidated.

UNA spokesperson Mon Ilagan said that the unliquidated funds at the DILG “speaks volumes” about a Roxas presidency.

“Mar Roxas’ track record as Secretary of the Interior and Secretary of Transportation and Communication speaks volumes of his executive abilities. Kahit sa mga projects na wala namang technical knowledge ang DILG, kinukuha nila. Ngayon, hirap sila mag-monitor at mag-liquidate (They assign the DILG to projects where it has no technical knowledge. So now, they have difficulties monitoring and liquidating the fund transfers),” Ilagan said in a statement.

READ: Binay calls Roxas ‘Secretary palpak’

Ilagan vowed that a presidency under UNA standard-bearer Vice President Jejomar Binay will focus on proper implementation of projects and appointment of people who have “proven track record and ability” to Cabinet posts.

“When investors see that projects are properly implemented, this will help attract more capital, generate more jobs, and provide additional revenues to enable the state to take better care of our poor and marginalized countrymen,” the spokesman said.

According to COA Circular No. 94-013, the implementing agency (IA) shall submit the Report of Checks Issued (RCI) and the Report of Disbursement (RD) within 10 days after the end of each month or the end of the agreed period for a project in order to report the utilization of the funds.

The latest Pulse Asia survey showed Binay and Roxas tied in third place—both candidates lagging behind poll front runner Senator Grace Poe and second placer Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte. IDL


TRIBUNE

Poe to retain some of Noy’s Cabinet members Written by Gerry Baldo Thursday, 17 March 2016 00:00


At a meeting with business leaders, Poe vowed to retain some members in the Cabinet of Aquino under a “reconciliatory government” she would be establishing should she win the presidency.
Poe, a presidential frontrunner, said she has some names of President Aquino’s officials who deserve “continuity” in the government, but refused to identify them.

It certainly looks more and more that Sen. Grace Poe, who is running for the presidency in May, is the secret candidate of President Aquino.

Not only had she bared sometime ago that she would make Aquino her anti-corruption czar, but made it clear that he will not be prosecuted since she believes he did no wrong.

Just yesterday, at a meeting with business leaders, Poe vowed to retain some members in the Cabinet of Aquino under a “reconciliatory government” she would be establishing should she win the presidency.

Poe, a presidential frontrunner, said she has some names of President Aquino’s officials who deserve “continuity” in the government, but refused to identify them.

“I do have a few people in mind, retaining from the current administration’s Cabinet members. But with all due respect, I think I should not even mention their names yet because I have not asked them formally. I don’t want to be too presumptuous at this point. But I do have few people in mind already,” Poe responded in at open forum during the 2016 Presidential Dialogs at the Makati Business Club at Dusit Thani Hotel in Makati City.

“In selecting Cabinet members, they should have the integrity and credibility. That they have the expertise and also the creative capability to be able to solve solutions quickly. It doesn’t matter to me what party you belong for as long as I think you can do the job quickly and properly,” Poe said.

Poe, however, stressed that she would not retain the heads of the Department of Communications and Transportation (DoTC), the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) and the Department of Agriculture (DA).


Aquino: "Abad is my Apolinario Mabini" posted August 25, 2015 at 12:01 am by John Paolo Bencito CEBU CITY—Liberal Party standard bearer Manuel Roxas II on Monday said President Benigno Aquino III had likened Budget Secretary Florencio Abad to national hero Apolinario Mabini because Abad was the “brains” of the Aquino administration’s straight path policy.MANILA STANDARD FILE

Poe failed to mention Budget Secretary Florencio Abad, the author, along with Aquino, of the Disbursement Acceleration Prpgram (DAP).

READ MORE...

Abad has a cartload of plunder complaints lodged before Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales, who has not acted on these complaints at all.

Poe said Transportation Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya, BIR Commissioner Kim Henares, and Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala are not within the scope of her radar for retention purposes.

“I think it’s pretty obvious, DoTC is one of them, BIR, Agriculture to name a few,” said Poe.

“I think I just created more enemies now. I’m used to it,” said Poe who was very vocal in calling for the resignation of Abaya.

Poe also vowed to lower taxes for the benefit of the poor and still plans to raise the budget for infrastructure spending by at least a yearly P250 billion.

She explained that tax rates should be set by the country’s economic planners and not the BIR, adding that tax rates should help the country to become competitive.

“If elected, I will suggest that we use the fiscal space we created for ourselves through years of underspending by asking Congress to raise our infrastructure budget by 2 percentage points— the equivalent of P250 billion a year over the course of my administration,” Poe said.

Poe said she would be supporting the signing of free trade agreements with other nations.

“To ensure that (domestic) industries are not disadvantaged in selling to the world, we should ensure that we join free trade blocs set up to grant members preferential access to each others’ markets,” said Poe.

“I am in favor of following the lead of our more progressive Asean neighbors who are way ahead of us not just in joining such blocs, but in signing bilateral free trade agreements with other countries on their own,” Poe added.

Poe may have just lost the support of her leftist supporters, as her programs and plans are directly against hers.

Noy unfazed by charges filed after presidency ends


SPEAKS FOR THE PRESIDENT....

For Presidential Communi-cation operation office (PCOO) chief Herminio ‘Sonny’ Coloma, the President seems ready to face charges that might be lodged against him as soon as the his term lapses come June 2016.

Aquino may remain unfazed over probable charges, since his appointed Ombudsman Morales will still be in office for two more years.

Morales has made sure that Aquino and his allies are protected from prosecution. She has already absolved Aquino of any liability in the DAP, despite the Supreme Court ruling.

Neither has she acted on the many graft and plunder complaints filed against his Cabinet secretaries and allies to this day.

During Wednesday regular Kapihan sa Manila Bay forum at Café Adriatico Malate manila, Coloma said observing the President in some of his speeches, he showed no sign of feeling lonely working despite his less than one hundred days scheduled for his departure from the Palace.

“The President even frequently jested in some of his speeches that he can now breathe freely after his term ends and that it is time for him to settle down and get married,” Coloma said.

Coloma explained that they have already started preparations for transition what with the national elections due in barely two months.

“We are not afraid of who will be next president because we don’t have skeletons in our closet” Coloma added
Coloma explained that they have already started preparations for a transition with national elections just barely two months away.

The president’s spokesman was asked on their stand in the event that the opposition garners the majority vote and a candidate from the opposition is elected next president of the Republic.

“Although it is farthest from our minds that the administration bet will lose, we are fully prepared for the transition.

The truth is we have nothing to hide and we will present our report as we would the same way if our standard bearer Mar Roxas wins,” Coloma stressed.

He added that he is hopeful that the good they will leave behind will be followed through by the next administration for the benefit and welfare of the people.

“However, we must realize that funds allocated for the first year and a half of the new president’s six-year term have already been appropriated by the outgoing administration for the national budget so this is what he will act on initially as chief administrator of the country,” he stressed.

Reacting to the statement made by vice presidential candidate Bongbong Marcos accusing Aquino of being behind the hate campaign against his family which focuses on abuses during martial law, Coloma explained that the President was just reacting to the news report that was featured in New York Times where some of Filipinos described the martial law days as the golden age.

It was during the recent Edsa people power celebration that the president explained the said notion is not true that it seems history had been forgotten on the ills of martial law and event before that like first quarter storm, warrantless arrests, extra judicial killings, desparecidos, the killing of Ninoy Aquino that led to the uprising of the people he explained.

It was unfortunate, Coloma said, that our history book has no clear details of that part of our history and the National Historical Commission was invited to include it in the history books for the young generation to learn.

“ It was as if Edsa people power was just a regular or ordinary rally in the streets” Coloma pointed out.

He said that the objective of putting up a martial law museum is to show to the people the hardship of martial law times that people who opposed had suffered.
With Pat C. Santos

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RELATED FROM THE INQUIRER

Roxas camp reminds Poe: Aquino cabinet members to step down in June SHARES: 506 VIEW COMMENTS By: Julliane Love De Jesus @JLDejesusINQ INQUIRER.net 12:14 PM March 17th, 2016


ROXAS

The camp of Liberal Party standard-bearer Manuel “Mar” Roxas II has a “friendly reminder” to Senator Grace Poe: Cabinet members are co-terminus with the President who appointed them.

Thus, Poe cannot retain nor remove cabinet members appointed by President Aquino as they would step down from their posts when Aquino’s term ends in June, said “Daang Matuwid” coalition spokesperson and Akbayan Rep. Barry Gutierrez on Thursday.

“A friendly reminder to Senator Poe: The law is clear—specifically, Book IV, Chapter 10, Sec. 44 of the Administrative Code of the Philippines states that members of the Cabinet are co-terminus with the President who appointed them,” Gutierrez said in a statement.

“This means that they don’t have to be removed, as they are sure to step down from their posts after the term of the President. FYI (For your Information).”

This was in reaction to Poe’s pronouncement that she would not retain the heads of the Department of Communications and Transportation (DOTC), the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) and the Department of Agriculture (DA) should she get elected as president in May.

READ: If elected, Poe says she will remove Abaya, Henares, Alcala

DOTC is headed by Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya, BIR by Kim Henares, while DA head is Secretary Proceso Alcala.

Roxas’ presidential rival had long been calling for the resignation of Abaya over the supposed mishandling of the Metro Rail Transit (MRT) and the worsening traffic in Metro Manila.

Poe, who was considered by the ruling party to run as its vice presidential candidate, also said earlier Roxas could have done more to alleviate transportation problems when he headed the DOTC in the past.

READ: Poe, Roxas play blame game on MRT, traffic

After making the statement, Poe quipped: “I think I just created more enemies now. I’m used to it.” CDG


MANILA BULLETIN

Kill-the-criminals vow drawing support for Duterte by AFP March 17, 2016 Share0 Tweet0 Share0 Email0 Share1

Lingayen – Rodrigo Duterte curses the pope’s mother and jokes about his own infidelities, but many voters in the Philippines want to elect him president so he can honor a campaign pledge to kill thousands of criminals.

Duterte is making a spectacular, obscenity-filled charge toward the presidential palace by selling himself as a ruthless leader willing to bypass the judicial system in an unprecedented war against crime.

“Kill them all,” Duterte, 70, told a cheering crowd of supporters this month at a campaign rally in the small northern city of Lingayen as he outlined his plans to eradicate drug traffickers.

“When I become president, I’ll order the police and the military to find these people and kill them.”

Such comments are typical fare on the campaign trail for Duterte, who in Lingayen also jokingly gave business advice to those in the crowd to start up funeral parlors in preparation of him winning the May elections.

“The funeral parlors will be packed… I’ll supply the dead bodies,” he said, to more cheers and laughter.

On a previous occasion Duterte, a lawyer, pledged to kill 100,000 criminals and dump so many in Manila Bay that the “fish will grow fat” from feeding on them.

POLITICAL COURAGE

Surveys indicate his law-and-order platform, which is a centrepiece of his election strategy, is winning him many fans in a nation bedevilled by crime, corrupt law enforcement agencies, and deep poverty.

The long-time mayor of Davao City is one of four candidates with a genuine shot at succeeding President Aquino.

READ MORE...

And he is gaining popularity, climbing into second place just four percentage points behind Senator Grace Poe, according to the latest survey by Pulse Asia released this week.

“Duterte is really a phenomenon. I like what he is saying,” Clarita Carlos, a political scientist at the University of the Philippines, told AFP.

“I like the fact that he has fire in his belly and he is politically courageous.”

His unique form of political courage has extended to insulting Pope Francis, who is revered by many in a nation where 80 percent of the population are Catholics.

In a speech to launch his presidential bid late last year, Duterte described the pope as a “son of a bitch” for causing traffic jams when he visited the Philippines.

Duterte, who is in a long-term relationship with a woman after having his first marriage annulled, also admitted then to having two girlfriends.

However, Duterte jokingly assured taxpayers they would not foot his mistresses’ bills, explaining he only spent P1,500 a month on their boarding room rent and saved money by taking them to short-time hotels.

Carlos said voters were willing to ignore his indiscretions as they focused on his track record in Davao, a formerly crime-plagued city that Duterte says he transformed into one of the nation’s most peaceful.

“Never mind he cusses a lot, he is a womanizer. I don’t think that will intrude into his effectiveness as a political leader,” she said.

Duterte also maintains a frugal lifestyle, in contrast with many corrupt Filipino politicians who use the powers of office to enrich themselves.

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RELATED FROM THE INQUIRER

Volunteers boost Duterte-Cayetano campaign amid limited machinery SHARES: 7 VIEW COMMENTS By: Nestor Corrales @NCorralesINQ INQUIRER.net 02:51 PM March 17th, 2016 duterte


Supporters of presidential candidate Mayor Rodrigo Duterte flash a banner of support during Duterte’s visit at the Provincial Capitol of Rizal on Monday, March 7, 2016. INQUIRER PHOTO / GRIG C. MONTEGRANDE

No campaign machinery? Not a big problem.

Having limited machinery has not stopped the tandem of Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte and Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano from running an election campaign, thanks to volunteers who have helped boost the tandem’s drive.

“Parami nang parami ang nagvo-volunteer (More and more people volunteer),” Cayetano said during the Kapihan sa Senado on Thursday.

Cayetano said he and Duterte have maintained that they would not accept contributions from people with vested interests.

“We put upon ourselves many restrictions,” Cayetano said, citing that they do not accept money from groups with transactions with the government.

Duterte has earlier disclosed that some wealthy people and businessmen had offered to finance his campaign but he rejected them for having known transactions with the government.

But how does the Duterte-Cayetano tandem increase their chances of winning in the upcoming May elections?

Cayetano said he and Duterte have been visiting even remote villages to push for their tandem, whose platform is hinged on fighting crime, illegal drugs, and corruption in government.

“Ang gusto ni Mayor pati sa kasuluk-sulokan (na lugar magkampanya),” Cayetano said.

(The Mayor wants to take the campaign to the remotest areas.)

The senator said he and Duterte are not a “traditional tandem,” citing they have no campaign machinery even a Senate slate.

Cayetano said they are grateful for the volunteers who have been supporting their tandem through making their own campaign shirt and posters.

The senator also mentioned various artists and singers who vowed their support for their tandem even without an endorsement or talent fee.

Despite lagging behind in surveys, Cayetano said the campaign has been “good and exciting.”

He said he looked forward to attending debates to let the people know more about his platforms and programs if elected the country’s next vice president. CDG

RELATED STORIES ‘Volunteer’ supporters join motorcade for Duterte, Cayetano

Volunteer groups pop up to push Duterte for president


INQUIRER

Santiago to skip Comelec debate, to try new anti-cancer pill SHARES: 459 VIEW COMMENTS By: Frances Mangosing @FMangosingINQ INQUIRER.net 03:39 PM March 17th, 2016


Miriam Santiago Presidential candidate Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago during the Presidential Debates 2016 held in Capitol University in Cagayan de Oro City. INQUIRER FILE PHOTO/LYN RILLON

Presidential candidate Sen. Miriam Santiago will not attend the debate hosted by the Commission on Elections in Cebu on Sunday to undergo a clinical trial for new anti-cancer pill.

“I am very sorry to miss out on the debates, but it would be a disservice to the country if I forego the opportunity to get rid of my cancer completely and strengthen myself further to serve the Filipino people,” Santiago said in a statement on Thursday.

The senator, who was diagnosed with a stage 4 lung cancer in 2014 but claimed she is in remission, joined an international clinical trial to gain free access to the medication, which would have cost her-half-a-million pesos every three weeks.

The trial will require Santiago to undergo outpatient radiation treatment daily at a hospital for a short period.

The senator said she will try to participate in the next and last presidential debate on April 24 “if the ongoing treatments do not inhibit her.”

Santiago, who is banking on her social media presence and the so-called youth vote, is doing poorly in election surveys. Since the campaign launch last Feb. 9, she only appeared publicly six times.

Her official campus visits in Tacloban and Davao City last week were cancelled “due to logistical concerns.” A planned homecoming in Iloilo with running mate Sen. Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. on Monday was also rescheduled to a later date. TVJ

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ALSO FROM RAPPLER.COM

On the campaign trail, Bongbong Marcos taps into his father's legacy Patty Pasion Published 3:25 PM, March 13, 2016 Updated 1:54 AM, March 14, 2016

Vice presidential candidate Ferdinand 'Bongbong' Marcos Jr has been visiting places where his father, the late strongman Ferdinand Marcos, had projects and programs, tapping into the 'debt of gratitude' of supporters


FROM NORTH TO SOUTH. Vice presidential candidate Ferdinand 'Bongbong' Marcos Jr campaigns in Mindanao after his several Luzon legs. Photo from the Office of Sen. Bongbong Marcos

MANILA, Philippines – If there's one thing that separates Senator Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr from the other vice presidential candidates, it would be being the son and namesake of former President Ferdinand Marcos.

In a tight race with Senators Francis Escudero and Alan Peter Cayetano – both scions of political families as well – and newbie politician Leni Robredo, being the junior of one of the country's most prominent presidents is a strong edge.

Despite the atrocities and human rights violations committed during Martial law, the Philippines' longest serving president has established a strong support base across the country through programs and infrastructure projects he was able to initiate for 21 years.

In fact, Marcos Jr's supporters – even those outside their bailiwick of Ilocos Norte – cite his relation to the late strongman as to why they will vote for him. It is notable how the vice presidential aspirant incorporate his parents' accomplishments into his campaign.

Here's a look at how the Marcos legacy played in the senator's campaign trail so far:

CLICK LINK:  Batac, Ilocos Norte, February 9


ODD PAIRING? The two candidates seem to go have their own campaign plans unlike the other tandems. Santiago's Photo by Czeasar Dancel/Rappler. Marcos' Photo by Mark Cristino/EPA

Marcos kicked off his campaign in the city of Batac where the family's political prominence was born.

This was the birthplace of clan patriarch Mariano Marcos, father of President Marcos who also grew up here. Three generation of Marcoses, including Imee Marcos, served as the district's representative in Congress.

Ilocanos have a strong loyalty to the family because, as they recall, it was during President Marcos' time when their province was at its most progressive and when it was brought to the national spotlight.

CLICK LINK:  Caloocan and Malabon, February 17

Barangay Bagong Silang in Caloocan and Barangay Longos in Malabon are resettlement sites opened by President Ferdinand Marcos, which provided housing for thousands of landless Filipinos living in slum areas such as in Tondo, Manila. It was a project initiated by his wife and former First Lady Imelda when she served as the Minister of Human Settlements.

CLICK LINK: Muntinlupa, February 22

Muntinlupa was first part of Rizal and then of Laguna. President Marcos issued Presidential Decree No. 824 on November 7, 1975, which included Muntinlupa as part of Metropolitan Manila.

It also served as one of the sites for the Urban Bagong Lipunan Improvements of Sites and Services (BLISS). Launched in 1979, BLISS was a housing program that built 3 to 4-storey apartment buildings, with units given to low and middle income families in a rent-to-own payment basis.

University of the Philippines Los Baños - National Institute of Molecular Biology and Biotechnology, March 2

The National Institute of Molecular Biology and Biotechnology, also known as BIOTECH, is a research institution mandated to develop more efficient technologies for agriculture, forestry, environment, and energy. It was created on December 10, 1979, and initially funded by the Ferdinand E. Marcos Foundation.




WARM WELCOME. Supporters welcome Vice Presidentiable Bongbong Marcos Tuesday at Barangay Maybunga in Pasig City during his campaign sortie. Photo by Joel Liporada/Rappler

CLICK LINK: T'boli, South Cotabato, March 9

In 1974, the late president honored the T'boli by granting them their own municipality named after their tribe. The municipality of T'boli was established through Presidential Decree Number 407 issued on March 5, 1974.

When Marcos Jr visited the town on March 9 – 47 years since the town was established – he was declared as the tribe's "supreme leader" and became an adopted son of the T'boli and Blaan tribes.

Debt of gratitude

It won't be a stretch to say that the reception he received from the people in these campaign stops could foreshadow the support he would get in terms of votes. As sociologist Clifford Sorita explained, it is like paying a "debt of gratitude" to the Marcoses.

Sorita said that people in these places not only appreciate the physical projects, but also appreciate the mere fact that a prominent public figure visited them. For them, projects and programs reflect the importance an official places on them as a community.

Candidate Marcos reaps the benefits of their supporters' gratitude because he is the living representation of his father.

"Filipinos are very external, very tactile. They have to be concrete about [their expression]. Since the father has passed, [gratitude] has to be given to the next of kin," Sorita told Rappler in a phone interview.

Although Marcos does not deliberately ask for these people's support, Sorita noted that him re-visiting these project sites sends a message to the beneficiaries that he is as close to them as his father was. – Rappler.com


INQUIRER

Marcos says Santiago’s health should come first amid rigorous campaign By: Nestor Corrales @NCorralesINQ INQUIRER.net 02:15 PM March 18th, 2016


Senator Bongbong Marcos Jr. INQUIRER FILE PHOTO / GRIG C. MONTEGRANDE

The health of presidential candidate Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago should be her priority amid the rigorous campaign for the upcoming May elections, his running mate said on Friday.

Vice presidential candidate and Sen. Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. on Friday expressed hope that Santiago would join him in the campaign soon, however, he said that her health should come first.

“We had planned to be together during the campaign. That was always the original plan. But I suppose her health issues have overtaken her and she has just to attend to that. And I think that she would be able to overcome this new obstacle and she will be joining us in the campaign soon enough,” Marcos told reporters on the sidelines of his Unity Caravan in Cebu City.

On Thursday, Santiago said that she would skip the second presidential debate in Cebu City on Sunday to undergo a clinical trial for a new anticancer pill.

“I am very sorry to miss out on the debates, but it would be a disservice to the country if I forego the opportunity to get rid of my cancer completely and strengthen myself further to serve the Filipino people,” Santiago said in a statement.

While Marcos would prefer to campaign with Santiago, he said “the trend of the current campaign seems to gear towards individual campaigning rather than as a party.”

READ MORE...

“The ideal is for us to campaign together. But I think the other factor is that this election is different and that most of the candidates are campaigning individually be they presidential, vice presidential or even senatorial candidates—most if not all are campaigning individually. So that seems to be the trend for this campaign, for this election,” he added.

READ: Santiago to miss debate, much of campaign due to treatment

Marcos pointed out that “being in a trend of individual-type of campaigning, the candidate’s character, not so much on party affiliations, will play a big role.”

“I think because the dynamic here is that the voters are looking at individual candidates rather than party members and that the party machinery is no longer seen as a guide but merely as an over-arching organization for people to join in in the campaign pero ang pagtatanaw ng taong bayan ay bilang tao (but the voting public look at the candidates as individuals), so character is the issue here,” he said. RAM


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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