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CONTINUING THE FIGHT: GRACE POE's LEGAL FOES


MARCH 18 -In this Feb. 16, 2016 photo, lawyers Amado Valdez, Manuelito Valdez and Estrella Elamparo prepare ahead of the oral arguments before the Supreme Court on the petition of Sen. Grace Poe against the Commission on Elections' decision to disqualify her from the presidential race. The poll body's earlier decision was based on the lawyers' petitions. SC PIO/Released Sen. Grace Poe's legal foes came out with fresh motions to file before the Supreme Court following the release majority decision allowing the candidate to run for president. Lawyer Estella Elamparo, one of the earlier petitioners against Poe, said Friday that she and three other respondents in Poe's case before the high court are not ready to give up. "We have decided to band together to make this joint urgent plea," Elamparo said in a Facebook post, referring to a motion for reconsideration, the first page of which accompanied her post. Estrella “Star” Elamparo SC PIO/Released "We take inspiration from the eloquent dissenters whose determination to uphold the Constitution should be emulated." Five individuals last year challenged her candidacy before the Senate Electoral Tribunal and the Commission on Elections (Comelec), citing Poe's apparent lack of qualifications on citizenship and residency to run for the elected post. A day after Poe filed her COC for president, Elamparo, a lawyer by profession, immediately submitted a petition to invalidate it before the Comelec. Elamparo, a graduate of Journalism from the University of the Philippines where she also took Bachelor of Laws, is a former chief legal counsel, senior vice president and spokesperson of the Government Service Insurance System. She is currently senior partner and co-head of the litigation group of Divina Law firm. She also took Master of Arts in Healthcare Ethics and Law as a Chevening Scholar at the University of Manchester, England, she graduated with merit. She is the lone female petitioner against Poe. Francisco “Kit” Tatad SC PIO/Released Tatad, represented by counsel Manuelito Luna in the case against Poe, served as a senator from 1992 to 2001 and was a member of the Batasang Pambansa representing Bicol from 1978 to 1984. He also served as cabinet secretary of late President Ferdinand Marcos. READ MORE...RELATED, Joint motion for reconsideration - SC asked to reverse ruling on Poe’s residency, affirm Comelec decision...

ALSO: Storm over SC decision on Poe refuses to die


MARCH 20 -POE
THE Supreme Court decision allowing Senator Grace Poe to run for President has not resolved questions on whether she is a natural-born Filipino and has satisfied the 10-year residency requirement under the Constitution, the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) said in a statement. In a statement by the IBP board of governors Sunday, reading the main decision and various opinions of justices would show that the high court has not resolved the issues involving Poe’s eligibilities as natural-born and 10-year resident. “It can be concluded that the decision did not settle the matter of whether Poe is a natural-born citizen and whether she has met the residency requirement under the law,” the statement noted. “While the decision appears to have rendered an opinion as to whether (Poe) is a natural-born as well as whether she has satisfied the 10-year residency requirement for the presidency, it should be emphasized that the dispositive portion of the decision merely orders the reversal of the decisions of the Commission on Elections granting the petitions to disqualify her… and states that she is qualified to be a candidate for president in the national and local elections on May 9, 2016,” read the one-page statement. The IBP Board of Governors pointed that the main decision which was approved by nine justices held that only the Presidential Electoral Tribunal (PET) can rule on such issues and not the Comelec. “For this issue to be finally settled, the decision of the Supreme Court posits that, it is apparently necessary, for the eligibility of Poe to be determined with finality, that she must first win in the May 9 presidential election and someone must file a quo warranto petition against her with the Supreme Court sitting as Presidential Electoral Tribunal, for this tribunal to rule on this matter with authority, with jurisdiction and with finality,” the IBP pointed out. Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio, in his dissenting opinion, said only seven justices voted to rule on Poe’s citizenship. Former Government Service Insurance System counsel Estrella Elamparo earlier said “it’s not true that the issues on Sen. Poe’s citizenship and residency eligibilities have already been resolved. In fact, none of these have been settled by court yet if you read the decision and opinions.”  She explained that of the 15 justices who participated in the voting on Poe’s petition, only five have directly stated in their opinions that the senator would meet the residency requirement in the Constitution before the May 9 polls. READ MORE...

ALSO: P70-million ‘unholy alliance’ vs Marcos


MARCH 2 -RELIABLE SOURCE to Manila Times: Escudero forged 'unholy alliance' with 2 warring leftist groups vs Marcos candidacy. -Vice presidential candidate Francis “Chiz” Escudero recently forged an “unholy alliance” with two warring leftist groups in exchange for P70 million in funds purportedly for carrying out any form of propaganda to thwart the bid of his perceived biggest rival–Sen. Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos 2nd–for the second-highest post in the land. A reliable source, whom The Manila Times nicknamed as “Heart,” said Escudero’s decision to approve release of the P70 million to the two leftist groups who are enemies of traditional politicians was described as a “desperate move” by those who knew about the agreement directly or indirectly. The same source said Escudero gave the go-signal to give around P50 million to the Koalisyong Makabayan (KM).
KM is the group that handles the party-list candidates of the “reaffirmist” or RA in the leftist movement.RA is known to favor the views, analysis, strategy and tactics being espoused by the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) in carrying out change in Philippine society. Jose Ma. Sison is reportedly the chairman of the CPP who is using the alias “Armando Liwanag.” The same source, who was interviewed by The Manila Times last Friday afternoon, said Escudero also gave the greenlight for the release of P20 million to Sanlakas. Sanlakas, headed by Lidy Nakpil, is the dominant force in the “rejectionist” or RJ in the leftist movement. RJ refers to the groups vehemently opposed to the views, analysis, strategy and tactics of the CPP under the supposed leadership of Sison. Nathaniel Santiago, KM secretary-general, vehemently denied the story, saying “that’s a pure lie!” RA sources described Santiago as a “key person” in the group. READ MORE...RELATED, Chiz downplays Leni’s rise in surveys: She has machinery, money... AND Sanlakas denies deal to derail Marcos bid....

ALSO: Poe disproves Negros Occidental Roxas turf: Is it his country?


MARCH 18 -FACEBOOK PHOTO SENATOR SAYS BACOLOD RECEPTION PROVES OPENNESS TO OTHER BETS BACOLOD CITY, Negros Occidental—“Is it his country?”  Presidential aspirant Sen. Grace Poe on Friday threw this question back at a reporter here who asked her about her visit in the province known as a bailiwick of administration candidate former Interior Secretary Mar Roxas. “Hindi, kasi ano naman, ’yung Pilipinas isang bansa lang ’yan,” Poe said after some reporters laughed at her reaction. Asked if the reception she got from the residents here showed that the province was not Roxas’ country, Poe answered no. “No, it will just prove that our kababayans are open to hearing the platforms of all of the candidates,” she said. “And ‘nung pagpunta ko naman dito naramdaman ko ang kanilang mainit na pagtanggap—‘kasimanwa,’ yayakap—sapagkat sa tingin ko marami sa kanila nakita nila ‘yung pinagdaanan natin noong mga nakaraang buwan. Naghihintay din sila at ’nung nadeklara na rin ng Korte Suprema ay parang nakahinga na rin sila na ‘hindi na importante sa amin kung sino pa ’yung kadugo mong magulang, alam namin dito ka, taga-rito ka.’”  Poe was referring to the Supreme Court decision allowing her to run in May amid questions on her residency and citizenship. READ MORE...RELATED, LP undaunted by Negros Occiental solon’s move to back Poe–Erice...

ALSO: After bet tagged in funds misuse, Duterte camp calls UNA ‘desperate’


MARCH 18 -Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte and Vice President Jejomar Binay. INQUIRER FILE PHOTOS The camp of presidential candidate Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte described as “desperate” the United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) for implicating the tough-talking local executive in the misuse of education funds. Peter Tiu Laviña, Duterte’ spokesman, said Vice President Jejomar Binay’s camp “is now attempting to paint everyone black out of its desperation to escape the burning allegations of massive corruption hurled against the UNA [standard-bearer].” 
On Friday, UNA said Duterte may be liable for the misuse of P46M Special Education Fund (SEF) in 2014 committed under his administration. READ: UNA questions Duterte’s crusade vs crime, tags mayor in funds misuse  Binay’s party was citing a 2014 Commission on Audit (COA) report, which divulged irregularities in the use of the Davao’s SEF amounting to some ₱45.8 million.  However, Duterte’s camp hit back at UNA, saying “Binay’s camp ‘rehashed’ a COA report that questioned the spending of around P46 million in education funds.”  “We see UNA desperately trying to muddle and confuse the public as it evades the allegations of corruption hounding VP Binay right now,” Laviña said. He added that the issue was already raised and answered last year. READ MORE... RELATED, Binay camp: Funds misuse tag not tirade; Duterte must explain... AND Duterte guilty of malversation — UNA, VP...

ALSO: Cebu an ‘awakened’ locality, will go for UNA – Cebu mayor


MARCH 20 ---IN this October 10, 2015 Photo -Binay's allies in Cebu. Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama (second from left) takes a selfie with Vice President Jejomar Binay and Toledo City Mayor Sonny Osmeña during the UNA launch in the Cebu Coliseum. (Sun.Star Foto/Amper Campaña) An opposition stalwart yesterday promised that it will make Cebu City a solid for the United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) and will make the area an “awakened” locality when it comes to voting for the right candidates. Michael Rama, now back as mayor of the city after a 60-day suspension, said everything is possible for UNA bets to sweep Cebu City as voters know who among the candidates are doing their best for the benefit of the city. “We will make it happen,” the mayor told the Tribune in a text message.  Rama said although he cannot predict the outcome of the elections in the city of over 630,000 registered voters, he is confident that majority of the people in the area are mature enough to vote for the right candidates. The mayor, who is the UNA-Visayas chief coordinator, did not elaborate if he’s campaigning heavily for UNA bets in Cebu City, particularly Vice President Jejomar Binay, but assured the place is an opposition county. Rama rival goes for Mar-Leni. In Cebu City, returning Cebu City Mayor Tomas Osmeña is endorsing administration standard-bearer Manuel “Mar” Roxas II and his running mate, Camarines Sur Rep. Leni Robredo, yet he himself admitted that it does not have any bearing at all as far as his province mates are concerned.READ MORE...ALSO
PHNO INSIGHTS -Electoral Politics in the Philippines/'Getting Big Money Out of Politics and Restore Democracy...


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Continuing the fight: Grace Poe's legal foes


In this Feb. 16, 2016 photo, lawyers Amado Valdez, Manuelito Valdez and Estrella Elamparo prepare ahead of the oral arguments before the Supreme Court on the petition of Sen. Grace Poe against the Commission on Elections' decision to disqualify her from the presidential race. The poll body's earlier decision was based on the lawyers' petitions. SC PIO/Released

MANILA, MARCH 21, 2016 (PHILSTAR) By Rosette Adel March 18, 2016 - Sen. Grace Poe's legal foes came out with fresh motions to file before the Supreme Court following the release majority decision allowing the candidate to run for president.

Lawyer Estella Elamparo, one of the earlier petitioners against Poe, said Friday that she and three other respondents in Poe's case before the high court are not ready to give up.

"We have decided to band together to make this joint urgent plea," Elamparo said in a Facebook post, referring to a motion for reconsideration, the first page of which accompanied her post. "We take inspiration from the eloquent dissenters whose determination to uphold the Constitution should be emulated."

Five individuals last year challenged her candidacy before the Senate Electoral Tribunal and the Commission on Elections (Comelec), citing Poe's apparent lack of qualifications on citizenship and residency to run for the elected post.

Estrella “Star” Elamparo


Estrella “Star” Elamparo SC PIO/Released

A day after Poe filed her COC for president, Elamparo, a lawyer by profession, immediately submitted a petition to invalidate it before the Comelec.

Elamparo, a graduate of Journalism from the University of the Philippines where she also took Bachelor of Laws, is a former chief legal counsel, senior vice president and spokesperson of the Government Service Insurance System.

She is currently senior partner and co-head of the litigation group of Divina Law firm. She also took Master of Arts in Healthcare Ethics and Law as a Chevening Scholar at the University of Manchester, England, she graduated with merit.

She is the lone female petitioner against Poe.

Francisco “Kit” Tatad


Francisco “Kit” Tatad SC PIO/Released

Tatad, represented by counsel Manuelito Luna in the case against Poe, served as a senator from 1992 to 2001 and was a member of the Batasang Pambansa representing Bicol from 1978 to 1984. He also served as cabinet secretary of late President Ferdinand Marcos.

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Aside from being a politician, Tatad is a journalist and served as a Minister of Public Information under Marcos from 1969 to 1980. He studied Philosophy at the University of Santo Tomas and Business Economics at the Center for Research and Communications.

Tatad also became the director of the International Right to Life Federation in the Asia Pacific in 1997 and an was an honorary member of the Sultanate League of Marawi City.

Amado Valdez


Amado Valdez SC PIO/Released

Valdez, also seeking to disqualify Poe from the presidential race, is a known constitutionalist and a former dean of the University of the East College of Law. Like Elamparo, Valdez is also a counsel at Divina Law firm.

According to the website of the Philippine Constitution Association where he is also the vice president for academic affairs, Valdez served as government corporate counsel in 2001 and as senior undersecretary at the Office of the President while he is also an executive director of the Presidential Commission on the Visiting Forces Agreement.

Valdez took Bachelor of Laws at the University of the East and Masters in Business Economics at the University of Asia and Pacific. He is also took Doctor of Humanities at the Laguna State Polytechnic University and Doctor of Philosphy, Honoris Causa in Community and Economic Development at Akamai University.

Antonio Contreras


Antonio Contreras SC PIO/Released

De La Salle University (DLSU) Professor Contreras was a former College of Liberal Arts dean from 2004 to 2008. Contreras has been a teacher by profession and has began as an educator at the University of the Philippines Los Baños in 1982. He also earned his doctoral degree in Political Science from the University of Hawaii.

Rizalito David


At left in white shirt, Rizalito David SC PIO/Released

Rizalito David, 44, was the first to question Poe's citizenship before the Senate Electoral Tribunal is a socio-political analyst.

In 2013, David ran for a senatorial post under Ang Kapatiran party, but did not succeed in his bid.

In October last year, David again filed a certificate of candidacy (COC), but this time for president but was later on declared a nuisance candidate by the Comelec.

David graduated with a degree in Sociology at the University of the Philippines Los Baños in Los Baños, Laguna on a Manila Scholarship and a University Grant On Rotary Club of Raha Sulayman and also finished masters in Environmental Studies Minor in Rural Sociology from the same university.

Apart from serving in various private and government offices as well as former government officials, David also served as the chief of the research and monitoring staff for the Liberal Party—PDP-Laban in 1992 and later on became the executive assistant and committee secretary of former Sen. Franciso "Kiko" Tatad from 1993 to 1995.

David's name, however, is not on the joint plea for reconsideration on the Supreme Court magistrate's earlier ruling.

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RELATED FROM THE MANILA BULLETIN

Joint motion for reconsideration - SC asked to reverse its ruling on Poe’s residency, affirm Comelec decision by Rey G. Panaligan March 18, 2016 (updated) Share0 Tweet0 Share0 Email1 Share10


Sen. Grace Poe (MB File Photo/ Jay Morales) Presidential aspirant Sen. Grace Poe (MB File Photo/ Jay Morales)

The Supreme Court (SC) was formally asked on Friday (March 18, 2016) to reverse its decision that, in effect, declared Sen. Grace Poe a natural-born Filipino with 10 years of residency in the Philippines and thus qualified to run for President in the May 9 elections.

In a joint motion for reconsideration, former Senator Francisco Tatad, lawyer Estrella Elamparo, University of the East Law Dean Amado Valdez, and Political Science Professor Antonio Contreras insisted that Poe failed to pass the tests on citizenship and residency.

The SC is expected to tackle the joint motion for reconsideration on April 5, the first full court session of the High Court in Baguio City where it traditionally convenes during summer.

Tatad, Elamparo, Valdez, and Contreras filed their complaints against Poe before the Commission on Elections (Comelec) which disqualified the lady senator on account of not being a natural-born Filipino and for lack of the 10-year residency required by the Constitution for a presidential candidate.

They said that since Poe failed the two vital requirements for a candidate for president, the SC should reverse its ruling and affirm the decisions of the Comelec.

“The Decision of the Honorable Court, if not reconsidered, will go down the annals of judicial history as a 47-page perversion of the Constitution which, depending on the results of the forthcoming elections and succeeding events, will cause the election of a true nuisance candidate or the disenfranchisement of millions of Filipinos. Such ignominy will forever taint the Honorable Court’s legacy,” they said.

READ MORE...

They pointed out that if Poe is elected and there would be no successful challenge to her election, “the decision will be the proximate cause of catapulting to power a candidate who does not comply with two of the most basic and important qualifications for the presidency”.

“If not reconsidered and election contest succeeds thereafter, the millions of Filipinos who are anticipated to vote for her will be effectively disenfranchised. Their votes will be nullified and wasted,” they added.

In a 9-6 majority vote on the decision written by Justice Jose Portugal Perez, the SC ruled that the Comelec abused its discretion in disqualifying Poe as a candidate.

“It was arbitrary for the Comelec to satisfy its intention to let the case fall under the exclusive ground of false representation, to consider no other date than that mentioned by petitioner (Poe) in her COC (certificate of candidacy) for Senator,” the majority ruling stated.

“All put together, in the matter of the citizenship and residence of petitioner for her candidacy as President of the Republic, the questioned Resolutions of the Comelec in Division and En Banc are, one and all, deadly diseased with grave abuse of discretion from root to fruits,” it said.

In his dissenting opinion Justice Carpio said there was no majority ruling on Poe’s qualification as a natural-born citizen. He said that the SC’s voting on the issue of citizenship was 7-5-3 on the issue of citizenship.

He pointed out that only seven of the nine justices in the majority ruling were of the opinion that foundlings like the senator are considered natural-born citizens.

He identified them as Sereno, Velasco, Bersamin, Perez, Mendoza, Leonen and Jardeleza.

Carpio said that two other magistrates – Peralta and Caguioa – joined the separate dissenting opinion of Justice Del Castillo that the SC should not rule on the citizenship issue on this case.

Carpio’s dissent on the citizenship issues was joined by four other magistrates – De Castro, Brion, Bernabe and Reyes.

But Chief Justice Sereno said while the voting was 7-5-3, there was a majority vote on the issue of citizenship because seven votes are the majority votes among the 12 magistrates who actually participated in the deliberation on the issue.

In their motion for reconsideration, the four complainants pointed out that the SC committed a mistake when it held that there was no intent on Poe’s part to mislead the Comelec when she wrote write in her certificate of the candidacy that she a natural-born Filipino despite being a foundling.

They said there was no basis for the SC to declare Poe qualified to run for president considering that only seven of 15 justices declared her a natural-born Filipino citizen.

“It is respectfully submitted that the implication is that Poe remains disqualified to run for President notwithstanding the 9-6 vote on the issue of whether or not the Comelec had committed a grave abuse of discretion,” they stressed.

“Since 15 Justices of the Supreme Court participated in the deliberations of the issues from start to finish, it is illogical and a violation of the rule of numeracy for the Honorable Chief Justice, to state in her separate concurrence that 7 is a majority sufficient to dispose of the core issues of citizenship and residency,” they said.

The majority vote of the 15 justices should be eight votes, they added.


INQUIRER

Storm over SC decision on Poe refuses to die SHARES: 98 VIEW COMMENTS By: Tetch Torres-Tupas @T2TupasINQ INQUIRER.net 06:37 PM March 20th, 2016


POE

THE Supreme Court decision allowing Senator Grace Poe to run for President has not resolved questions on whether she is a natural-born Filipino and has satisfied the 10-year residency requirement under the Constitution, the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) said in a statement.

In a statement by the IBP board of governors Sunday, reading the main decision and various opinions of justices would show that the high court has not resolved the issues involving Poe’s eligibilities as natural-born and 10-year resident.

“It can be concluded that the decision did not settle the matter of whether Poe is a natural-born citizen and whether she has met the residency requirement under the law,” the statement noted.

“While the decision appears to have rendered an opinion as to whether (Poe) is a natural-born as well as whether she has satisfied the 10-year residency requirement for the presidency, it should be emphasized that the dispositive portion of the decision merely orders the reversal of the decisions of the Commission on Elections granting the petitions to disqualify her… and states that she is qualified to be a candidate for president in the national and local elections on May 9, 2016,” read the one-page statement.

The IBP Board of Governors pointed that the main decision which was approved by nine justices held that only the Presidential Electoral Tribunal (PET) can rule on such issues and not the Comelec.

“For this issue to be finally settled, the decision of the Supreme Court posits that, it is apparently necessary, for the eligibility of Poe to be determined with finality, that she must first win in the May 9 presidential election and someone must file a quo warranto petition against her with the Supreme Court sitting as Presidential Electoral Tribunal, for this tribunal to rule on this matter with authority, with jurisdiction and with finality,” the IBP pointed out.

Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio, in his dissenting opinion, said only seven justices voted to rule on Poe’s citizenship.

Former Government Service Insurance System counsel Estrella Elamparo earlier said “it’s not true that the issues on Sen. Poe’s citizenship and residency eligibilities have already been resolved. In fact, none of these have been settled by court yet if you read the decision and opinions.”

She explained that of the 15 justices who participated in the voting on Poe’s petition, only five have directly stated in their opinions that the senator would meet the residency requirement in the Constitution before the May 9 polls.

She was referring to Chief Justice Ma. Lourdes Sereno and Associate Justices Presbitero Velasco Jr., Marvic Leonen, Francis Jardeleza and Jose Perez, who penned the decision.

She revealed that of the nine justices who approved the ruling, two of them – Associate Justices Lucas Bersamin and Jose Mendoza – did not issue their separate opinion and state for sure their concurrence on the residency issue.

“There are reports that they voted against Poe on the residency issue, we cannot say for sure because they did not write separate opinions. We cannot say that they actually voted on these issue, so there is need for the court to clarify that,” the lawyer stressed.

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She said the two others – Associate Justices Diosdado Peralta and Benjamin Caguioa – concurred in the majority ruling only insofar as the finding of grave abuse of discretion on Comelec’s cancellation of Poe’s COC due to material misrepresentation on her qualifications.

“Their concurrence was limited to the finding of grave abuse of discretion. We cannot say that they voted on the issue of residency because as they said in the citizenship issue, there was no need to settle the eligibility issues in deciding on this case,” she pointed out.

The lawyer added that even on the issue of Comelec’s jurisdiction on the case, only a minority of six justices – Perez, Sereno, Leonen, Velasco, Bersamin and Mendoza – voted in favor of Poe.

She said Jardeleza, Caguioa and Peralta agreed with the dissenting justices that the poll body has the power to determine the eligibility of Poe as a presidential candidate.

Carpio was joined by four other magistrates – Associate Justices Teresita Leonardo-De Castro, Arturo Brion, Estela Perlas-Bernabe and Bienvenido Reyes – in his dissenting opinion that Poe is not a natural-born Filipino and also lacks the residency requirement.

Associate Justice Mariano del Castillo, on the other hand, also dissented in the majority ruling, saying Poe lacks residency requirement but the citizenship issue was not yet ripe for decision.

For these reasons, Elamparo said there is a need for the SC to clarify its ruling on both residency and citizenship issues against Poe – especially since the dispositive portion of the ruling specifically stated that Poe is eligible for the presidency.


P70-million ‘unholy alliance’ vs Marcos February 28, 2016 11:02 pm by NELSON S. BADILLA REPORTER


RELIABLE SOURCE to Manila Times: Escudero forged 'unholy alliance' with 2 warring leftist groups vs Marcos candidacy.

Vice presidential candidate Francis “Chiz” Escudero recently forged an “unholy alliance” with two warring leftist groups in exchange for P70 million in funds purportedly for carrying out any form of propaganda to thwart the bid of his perceived biggest rival–Sen. Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos 2nd–for the second-highest post in the land.

A reliable source, whom The Manila Times nicknamed as “Heart,” said Escudero’s decision to approve release of the P70 million to the two leftist groups who are enemies of traditional politicians was described as a “desperate move” by those who knew about the agreement directly or indirectly.

The same source said Escudero gave the go-signal to give around P50 million to the Koalisyong Makabayan (KM).

KM is the group that handles the party-list candidates of the “reaffirmist” or RA in the leftist movement.

RA is known to favor the views, analysis, strategy and tactics being espoused by the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) in carrying out change in Philippine society.

Jose Ma. Sison is reportedly the chairman of the CPP who is using the alias “Armando Liwanag.”

The same source, who was interviewed by The Manila Times last Friday afternoon, said Escudero also gave the greenlight for the release of P20 million to Sanlakas.

Sanlakas, headed by Lidy Nakpil, is the dominant force in the “rejectionist” or RJ in the leftist movement.

RJ refers to the groups vehemently opposed to the views, analysis, strategy and tactics of the CPP under the supposed leadership of Sison.

Nathaniel Santiago, KM secretary-general, vehemently denied the story, saying “that’s a pure lie!”

RA sources described Santiago as a “key person” in the group.

READ MORE...

But Santiago strongly denied having knowledge of the supposed unholy alliance when asked about it.

He laughed and said he has relayed the story of The Manila Times about the supposed “P50-million funds from Escudero” to Satur Ocampo, a former congressman. who is alleged to be an important figure in the RA.

Leody de Guzman, national chairman of the Bukluran ng Manggagawang Pilipino (BMP) and the first nominee of Sanlakas to the party-list elections, said he has no knowledge about the P20 million from Escudero’s camp.

De Guzman said The Manila Times story never happened at all.

The source, who is “young” and “cute,” asserted that Santiago was the conduit of the RA group in the deal with Escudero.

On the other hand, a certain Charlie Avila was allegedly the one who worked the agreement for Sanlakas.

The Manila Times tried to find Avila, including in the social network, but to no avail.

“Heart” described Avila as having been an activist also since the “First Quarter Storm” or FQS, in the early 1970s.
“Heart” said Escudero has three objectives in connection with the “unholy alliance.”

One, to stop Marcos from completely dislodging him in the vice presidential race.

A recent survey showed Escudero and Marcos were preferred by voters to become the next Vice President of the country.

Two, Escudero needs a big campaign machinery that will back up his vice presidential run and that could be provided by the KM and the Sanlakas, said the source.

Escudero, running as an independent candidate, has no political party to speak of.

The Nationalist People’s Coalition has projected itself to the media as being behind Grace Poe and her running mate Escudero but has not made up its mind until today, according to Quezon Rep. Mark Enverga.

Three, Escudero he wants to make sure that he would be able to corner a wide base of voters through the KM and the Sanlakas.

Santiago said the KM and other organizations connected to it are “cause-oriented, not cost-oriented.”

He pointed to an anti-Marcos organization called Campaign Against the Return of the Marcoes to Malacanang (Carmma) headed by Bonifacio Ilagan, vice chairman of Selda, a human rights group.

Carmma recently placed expensive whole-page ads in select broadsheets and tabloids. newspapers.

A whole page black-and-white ad in a broadsheet goes for P185,000 or higher and in a tabloid, an average of P45,000.

De Guzman said Sanlakas agreed to support Escudero since the senator fully supports their electoral battle such as the campaign for regular jobs, not contractual ones, , pro-people public service, among other reasons.

He admitted that it was the Sanlakas top brass who “manage” the Never Again Movement, an organization that is actively campaigning against Marcos’ vice presidential run.

Wilson Fortaleza, spokesman for Partido Manggagawa (PM), said they have officially declared support for Poe and Escudero’s candidacy.

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RELATED FROM

Chiz downplays Leni’s rise in surveys: She has machinery, money By: Yuji Vincent Gonzales
@YGonzalesINQ INQUIRER.net 05:48 PM March 19th, 2016


ROBREDO

Vice presidential aspirant Sen. Francis Escudero on Saturday downplayed the rise of his rival Liberal Party bet Leni Robredo in recent preference surveys, saying the latter was supported by the money and machinery of the ruling coalition, which he did not have.

“Si Congresswoman Leni suportado ng administrasyon, buong makinarya ng administrasyon at marami silang pera. Si Senator [Ferdinand] Marcos [Jr.] naman, maliwanag din marami siyang resources. Na lamang ako kahit .02 o .01 okay lamang ’yon dahil sa dulo wala naman akong pera tulad nila, wala naman akong makinarya tulad nila,” Escudero told reporters in Cebu City.

The Camarines Sur representative and widow of the late Interior Secretary Jesse Robredo raked in five points in the latest Social Weather Stations survey and closed in on Escudero and Marcos, who were statistically tied for first place. Robredo and the son and namesake of the late dictator were statistically tied for second.

Escudero said he was happy that he was able to maintain his lead, considering his rivals’ campaign resources.

“So na ako’y nakakalamang nang konti pa, malaking bagay na sa akin ‘yon. Buti na lang ang pinanghahawakan namin sa kabila ng madami na silang pera, ang pinanghahawakan naman ni Senator Grace isang kasabihan: Ang pera may tao pero ang tao walang pera. Buti na lang tao ang nakakaboto at hindi ang pera,” he said.

Escudero also met with Cebu mayoral candidate Tomas “Tommy” Osmeña of LP, whose wife was godmother in the senator’s wedding with actress Heart Evangelista, but maintained that it was a friendly visit and not politics-related.

“This is not a political visit, it’s a friendly visit. I have gained a lot of friends in politics for the past 17-18 years and I have yet to lose one friend because of politics. Magkaibigan kami bago mag eleksyon, bago ako tumakbo. And I’m of the firm belief that we will remain friends even after and beyond this particular election,” he said.

Osmeña has endorsed Robredo’s candidacy, but pointed out he would be “100 percent all out for Chiz” if the former was not running.

“You know, it’s not a declaration or anything but what we have right now is very fluid situation. And Leni is shooting up. But to me, by all means, I don’t like Bongbong to win as vice president,” Osmeña said. RC

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ALSO FROM THE MANILA STADARD

Sanlakas denies deal to derail Marcos bid posted March 02, 2016 at 12:01 am by Rio N. Araja and Sandy Araneta


Campaigning in Rizal. Residents of Rizal province greet presidential candidate Ferdinand Marcos Jr. as he goes around the province on Tuesday to campaign and to meet with the chief executives of Antipolo City, Teresa, Morong and Jala-Jala.

THE Sanlakas party-list group on Tuesday denied forging an “unholy alliance” with Senator Francis Escudero, who is running for vice president, in exchange for P70 million to derail the candidacy of his rival, Senator Ferdinand Marcos Jr.

Sanlakas president Manjette Lopez described the alleged alliance as “pure baloney.”

“Sanlakas does not need any prodding, much less need to get paid, for us to take a clear and unequivocal stand against the electoral bid of another Marcos in office,” Lopez said.

She said she herself was arrested twice and detained during Martial Law, when Marcos’ father and namesake was president.

“We join hands with the ongoing Never Again Campaign and the Campaign Against the Return of the Marcoses to Malacañang in calling for the rejection of Bongbong Marcos’ candidacy in the coming elections,” Lopez said.

“We demand justice not only for the human rights violations but also for the economic injustice inflicted by the plunder of billions of dollars by the Marcos family and cronies.”

In a statement, Sanlakas said it forged an alliance with Escudero to advance its demands on regular employment, education, public housing, universal health care and government support to farmers, among other things.

“But then again, there is still a speck of truth in the article, and that is that an Escudero victory in the 2016 polls will stop on its tracks Bongbong’s bid to get back to Malacañang,” Lopez said.

‘‘Sanlakas reacted to an article published in a newspaper that P50 million from Escudero went to the Koalisyong Makabayan and P20 million to Sanlakas.

“The allegations in the article of a certain Nelson Badilla are absolutely fabricated,” Lopez said.

‘‘Sanlakas has no relation with a certain Charlie Avila, the alleged conduit to Senator Escudero. This is pure baloney. We do not need a conduit for we have worked directly with Senator Escudero in the past on such issues as the fight against contractualization, higher wages, tax reform and the like.” Rio N. Araja and Sandy Araneta


INQUIRER

Poe disproves Negros Occidental Roxas turf: Is it his country? SHARES: 6 VIEW COMMENTS By: Maila Ager @MAgerINQ INQUIRER.net 05:52 PM March 18th, 2016


FACEBOOK PHOTO

SENATOR SAYS BACOLOD RECEPTION PROVES OPENNESS TO OTHER BETS

BACOLOD CITY, Negros Occidental—“Is it his country?”  Presidential aspirant Sen. Grace Poe on Friday threw this question back at a reporter here who asked her about her visit in the province known as a bailiwick of administration candidate former Interior Secretary Mar Roxas.

“Hindi, kasi ano naman, ’yung Pilipinas isang bansa lang ’yan,” Poe said after some reporters laughed at her reaction.

Asked if the reception she got from the residents here showed that the province was not Roxas’ country, Poe answered no.

“No, it will just prove that our kababayans are open to hearing the platforms of all of the candidates,” she said.

“And ‘nung pagpunta ko naman dito naramdaman ko ang kanilang mainit na pagtanggap—‘kasimanwa,’ yayakap—sapagkat sa tingin ko marami sa kanila nakita nila ‘yung pinagdaanan natin noong mga nakaraang buwan. Naghihintay din sila at ’nung nadeklara na rin ng Korte Suprema ay parang nakahinga na rin sila na ‘hindi na importante sa amin kung sino pa ’yung kadugo mong magulang, alam namin dito ka, taga-rito ka.’”

Poe was referring to the Supreme Court decision allowing her to run in May amid questions on her residency and citizenship.

READ MORE..

She said her adoptive mother, veteran actress Susan Roces, grew up here, while she was believed to have been born in Iloilo.

READ: Susan Roces returns to hometown for Poe campaign in Bacolod

Found as an infant at Jaro Church, Poe was later adopted by Roces and her husband, the late actor Fernando Poe Jr.

“Pero higit pa doon, kahit naman saang parte ng Pilipinas, kaming mga kandidato ay lumalapit talaga sa ating mga kababayan para ilahad ang aming plataporma, at magtanong paano rin kami makakatulong kung sakaling mayroon pang kulang sa aming mga inilahad,” she said.

Poe also said she would still continue to search for her biological parents.

“Pero ako naman sinasabi ko pa rin na hindi pa rin tapos ang aking paghahanap sa kung sinoman ang aking mga kadugong magulang. Gayunpaman, hindi ko minamaliit ang oras, pagmamahal at pagmamalasakit na ibinigay sa akin ng mga nagpalaki sa aking mga magulang na itinuturing kong tunay na magulang,” she said. RC

RELATED STORIES

Party-list coalition backs Poe team, hopes to draw 10M votes

SC asked to reverse ruling on Poe DQ case

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

RELATED FROM THE INQUIRER

LP undaunted by Negros Occiental solon’s move to back Poe–Erice By: Nestor Corrales
@NCorralesINQINQUIRER.net 03:03 PM March 18th, 2016


ERICE

The Liberal Party (LP) on Friday said Negros Occidental Rep. Alfredo Abelardo Benitez was eyeing to become House Speaker under a Grace Poe administration after he declared his support for Poe and Sen. Francis ‘Chiz” Escudero.

“We really expect Albee Benitez as early as last year (to support Poe). I heard that he was eyeing the speakership under a Poe administration, besides there is a local dispute, since Governor (Alfredo) Marañon is supporting Mar (Roxas) who is not in good terms with Cong Albee,” Caloocan Rep. and Liberal Party chairman for political affairs Rep. Edgar Erice said.

Benitez is the fourth richest member of Congress and former Liberal Party chair in the province.

On Friday, he said announced his backing for the candidacies of Poe and Escudero.

“We need new blood to lead this country,” he said during a sortie of Poe and Escudero in Bacolod City.

READ: Negros Occidental solon backs Poe, Escudero

Erice said the support of Benitez for the Poe-Escudero tandem would not be affecting LP’s chances of winning in the vote-rich province.

“I think Cong. Alby is a marginalized political force in Negros. Actually it’s a good riddance since it will simplify our political situation in Negros,” Erice said.

READ: LP leader Benitez leaves ruling party

Negros Occidental Gov. Alfredo Marañon Jr. earlier declared to support the candidacy of Manuel “Mar Roxas” II and other LP candidates. CDG

READ: Roxas’ ties to Negros pols ‘complicated’


INQUIRER

After bet tagged in funds misuse, Duterte camp calls UNA ‘desperate’ By: Nestor Corrales @NCorralesINQ INQUIRER.net 03:37 PM March 18th, 2016


Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte and Vice President Jejomar Binay. INQUIRER FILE PHOTOS

The camp of presidential candidate Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte described as “desperate” the United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) for implicating the tough-talking local executive in the misuse of education funds.

Peter Tiu Laviña, Duterte’ spokesman, said Vice President Jejomar Binay’s camp “is now attempting to paint everyone black out of its desperation to escape the burning allegations of massive corruption hurled against the UNA [standard-bearer].”

On Friday, UNA said Duterte may be liable for the misuse of P46M Special Education Fund (SEF) in 2014 committed under his administration.

READ: UNA questions Duterte’s crusade vs crime, tags mayor in funds misuse

Binay’s party was citing a 2014 Commission on Audit (COA) report, which divulged irregularities in the use of the Davao’s SEF amounting to some ₱45.8 million.

However, Duterte’s camp hit back at UNA, saying “Binay’s camp ‘rehashed’ a COA report that questioned the spending of around P46 million in education funds.”

“We see UNA desperately trying to muddle and confuse the public as it evades the allegations of corruption hounding VP Binay right now,” Laviña said.

He added that the issue was already raised and answered last year.

READ  MORE...

“There is nothing new here. This is an old information made to appear fresh. I would say, this is a worthless piece of information. But, really, nice try,” he said.

“Based on the information I received from the Department of Education, the questioned funds were used for the promotion of physical education programs, which is allowed under the law,” he added.

Laviña cited Republic Act 5447, which created the SEF, saying “the fund shall be used to improve school facilities, print and buy books, pay salaries of teachers, grant scholarships, and promote physical education programs.”

“The funds were used to send athletes and their coaches to sporting events across the country,” he said. “These programs are basically designed to promote physical education programs. What’s wrong with that?”

If the spending was anomalous, he said cases would have been filed against city officials, including Duterte.

“But unlike Binay who is saddled with corruption cases, nothing was filed against Duterte,” he maintained. RAM

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RELATED FROM THE INQUIRER

Binay camp: Funds misuse tag not tirade; Duterte must explain SHARES: 123 VIEW COMMENTS By: Yuji Vincent Gonzales @YGonzalesINQ INQUIRER.net 06:23 PM March 18th, 2016


QUICHO

The camp of Vice President Jejomar Binay on Friday said the Commission on Audit (COA) report that they cited against presidential aspirant Mayor Rodrigo Duterte over the alleged misuse of education funds in Davao City was not a form of tirade against the tough-talking local executive.

Binay’s spokersperson lawyer Rico Quicho said Duterte should explain his side and clear his name on the issue so the public would be enlightened.

“Hindi naman ito pagtira. Ito’y pagsasaad lamang sa nakita ng COA. So, masasagot naman ito kung mabibigyan ng pagkakataon,” Quicho told reporters in an ambush interview in Cebu.

“Kaya nga ho gusto naming malaman kung ano ba ang totoong nangyari dito. Mabuti na rin na masagot at maipaliwanag ang issue na ito,” he said.

Citing an annual audit report of COA, the United Nationalist Alliance on Friday said Duterte may be liable for the misuse of the P46-million Special Education Fund in Davao City in 2014.

READ: UNA questions Duterte’s crusade vs crime, tags mayor in funds misuse

Quoting the COA, the opposition party said the agency found out that “various expenses charged to the Special Education Fund totaling ₱45,819,774.85 were inconsistent with the provisions of [Republic Act] No. 5447 or the SEF Act.”

But Duterte’s spokesperson Peter Laviña said UNA was “desperate” in its supposed attempt to “paint everyone black out of its desperation to escape the burning allegations of massive corruption hurled against the UNA [standard-bearer],” adding the COA report was “rehashed” and already answered last year.

Asked about the implication of the accusations against Duterte, Quicho said the COA had yet to issue a resolution, but added the agency should be as aggressive in pursuing the case as it was on the corruption allegations against Binay.

“Siguro kung gaano sila ka-agresibo sa ating Bise Presidente, siguro dapat ganoon din po sila sa ibang mga kandidato o sa iba pang mga government officials,” he said.

The COA recently released its special audit report that recommended sanctions against Binay over the allegedly anomalous construction of the Makati City Hall parking building.

The 148-page special audit report against Binay said he was administratively liable for gross misconduct, dishonesty and gross inexcusable negligence, graft and corrupt practices in connection with crimes that he allegedly committed while he was still Makati mayor, as head of procuring entity from 2007 to 2010.

Duterte’s camp earlier urged Binay to face the Filipino people once and for all and explain his side on the corruption allegations against him, adding that the Vice President was seemingly “lying” and “insulting the intelligence” of his countrymen.

But Quicho said the opposition leader would remain focused on extending his platform especially for the poor less than two months before the May national elections.

“Kasama ho ito sa hinaharap natin. Malinaw naman po kung ano talaga ‘yong gusto natin na maabot. Ito pong laban ni VP Binay ay laban po sa kahirapan. Kaya kahit ano po ‘yong pinagdadaanan natin ito po ay haharapin natin. Sapagkat mas malaki po, mas mahirap po ‘yong kinakailangan niyang harapin upang maresolba po ‘yong problema ng ating mga kababayan sa kahirapan,” he said. RC

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

RELATED FROM THE TRIBUNE

Duterte guilty of malversation — UNA, VP Written by Charlie V. Manalo Saturday, 19 March 2016 00:00



The United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) questioned Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte’s supposed tough stance on crime and corruption after the latest annual audit report of the Commission on Audit (CoA) revealed irregularities in the use of the Davao’s Special Education Fund (SEF) amounting to some P45.8 million.

“If he really were tough on crime and corruption as he projects himself to be, why were there anomalies committed under his watch?” UNA spokesman Mon Ilagan stressed.

CoA found that “various expenses charged to the Special Education Fund totaling P45,819,774.85 were inconsistent with the provisions of [Republic Act] No. 5447” or the SEF Act.

The Commission said the misuse of the funds was “to the disadvantage of the public schools students which could have benefited from the intended projects, programs or activities of the funds” and was “thus considered irregular as defined under CoA Circular No. 2012-003.”

In Carcar, Cebu, the camp of Vice President Jejomar “Jojo” Binay yesterday called on PDP-Laban presidential bet, Davao City Mayor Rodrigo “Digong” Duterte to explain his side on the findings of the CoA regarding the alleged irregularities.

In an interview, Binay’s campaign spokesman, lawyer Rico Quicho, said he could do everyone a favor if Duterte would explain the alleged fund misuse.

“The are reports that CoA is questioning the manner by which the SEF was spent. Like everyone, we we would also want to now what really happened,” Quicho said.


QUICHO

“It would be better if the questions arising from the issue could be answered and everything explained,” he added.

Quicho added they expect CoA to extend the same aggressiveness it had shown in the auditing of the Makati City Hall Building 2 and the filing of recommendation against the vice president and his son, former Makati Mayor Junjun Binay and 22 others, even as its audit report is not yet deemed concluded.

“We have to wait what the decision of the CoA would be on this matter but I just hope that CoA would extend the same aggressiveness it had exhibited on VP Binay on the other candidates as well,” said Quicho.

Duterte, for the past few days had been sniping at VP Binay and Quicho’s remarks on the PDP-Laban presidential bet yesterday marked the first time the Binay camp had issued any statement against the Davao city mayor on corruption issues, based on official CoA reports.

Under RA 5447, the SEF may only be used “exclusively” for the following: extension classes for children entering Grade 1, improvement of elementary school facilities, printing or purchase of textbooks and teaching materials, payment of salaries of public school teachers, purchase or repair of vocational and laboratory machinery and equipment, educational research, scholarship grants, and the promotion of physical education.

However, CoA’s audit of disbursement vouchers revealed that Davao City’s public schools had unauthorized expenses charged to SEF, including plane fares of coaches and students, fuel for various vehicles, insurance premiums for vehicles, accident insurance for coaches and students, grocery items, medical supplies, and payment for electricity, water, and telephone bills.

CoA said these expenditures should have been charged against the available funds of the Department of Education as the activities and programs were regular functions of the DepEd and not any of these specified for SEF.

“If the funds were misappropriated even though the money supposedly didn’t go to his pocket, as chief executive of Davao City, isn’t the mayor still liable for technical malversation?” Ilagan asked.

“For someone promising to clean up the entire country within six months, why can’t he ensure the proper use of funds in his city?” the UNA spokesperson added.

Article 220 of the Revised Penal Code, or the illegal use of public funds or property, states that “any public officer who shall apply any public fund or property under his administration to any public use other than that for which such fund or property were appropriated by law or ordinance” may be jailed for six months and fined 50 percent to 100 percent of the amount misused.

The law adds that “the offender shall also suffer the penalty of temporary special disqualification.”

In Parungao v. Sandiganbayan, the Supreme Court stated that the essential elements of technical malversation are: (a) the offender is an accountable public officer; (b) he applies public funds or property under his administration to some public use; and (c) the public use for which the public funds or property were applied is different from the purpose for which they were originally appropriated by law ordinance.

Ilagan raised doubts on Duterte’s supposed tough stance on crime and corruption after the latest CoA audit findings.
CoA found that “various expenses charged to the SEF totaling P45,819,774.85 were inconsistent with the provisions of Republic Act No. 5447” or the SEF Act.

The Commission said the misuse of the funds was “to the disadvantage of the public schools students which could have benefited from the intended projects, programs or activities of the funds” and was “thus considered irregular as defined under CoA Circular No. 2012-003.”

Under RA 5447, the SEF may only be used “exclusively” for the following: extension classes for children entering Grade 1, improvement of elementary school facilities, printing or purchase of textbooks and teaching materials, payment of salaries of public school teachers, purchase or repair of vocational and laboratory machinery and equipment, educational research, scholarship grants, and the promotion of physical education.

However, CoA’s audit of disbursement vouchers revealed that Davao City’s public schools had unauthorized expenses charged to SEF, including plane fares of coaches and students, fuel for various vehicles, insurance premiums for vehicles, accident insurance for coaches and students, grocery items, medical supplies, and payment for electricity, water, and telephone bills.

CoA said these expenditures should have been charged against the available funds of the Department of Education as the activities and programs were regular functions of the DepEd and not any of these specified for SEF.

“If the funds were misappropriated even though the money supposedly didn’t go to his pocket, as chief executive of Davao City, isn’t the mayor still liable for technical malversation?” Ilagan asked.

“For someone promising to clean up the entire country within six months, why can’t he ensure the proper use of funds in his city?” the UNA spokesman added.

Article 220 of the Revised Penal Code, or the illegal use of public funds or property, states that “any public officer who shall apply any public fund or property under his administration to any public use other than that for which such fund or property were appropriated by law or ordinance” may be jailed for six months and fined 50 percent to 100 percent of the amount misused.

The law adds that “the offender shall also suffer the penalty of temporary special disqualification.”

In Parungao v. Sandiganbayan, the Supreme Court stated that the essential elements of technical malversation are: (a) the offender is an accountable public officer; (b) he applies public funds or property under his administration to some public use; and (c) the public use for which the public funds or property were applied is different from the purpose for which they were originally appropriated by law ordinance.

Duterte dismisses CoA report



Duterte on Friday dismissed reports claiming that a 2015 annual report of the CoA revealing irregularities in the use of the Davao’s SEF.

Duterte, in an interview during his “Ronda-Serye” in Novaliches, said he would never allow sanction on the alleged irregularities.

And should the CoA file charges against him, the PDP-LABAN standard bearer is more than ready to face them at the proper forum, which Binay has also stated. Yet Duterte calls Binay corrupt, on the basis of mere allegations. As a lawyer, Duterte should know that allegations against Binay are not evidence nor a sign of g uilt.

Apparently, he and vice presidential bet, Alan Cayetano abide by the double standard.

He also challenged the Binay camp to discuss on the coming Pilipinas Debates in Cebu City corruption issues.

Peter Laviña, Duterte’s spokesman said the allegations are merely “rehashed” and an attempt of UNA to muddle the issue.

“We see UNA desperately trying to muddle and confuse the public as it evades the allegations of corruption hounding VP Binay right now,” he added, noting that the issue was already raised and answered last year.

“There is nothing new here. This is an old information made to appear fresh. I would say, this is a worthless piece of information. But, really, nice try,” Laviña stressed.

“Based on the information I received from the Department of Education, the questioned funds were used for the promotion of physical education programs, which is allowed under the law,” he added.

Republic Act 5447, which created the SEF, said the fund shall be used to improve school facilities, print and buy books, pay salaries of teachers, grant scholarships, and promote physical education programs.


TRIBUNE

Cebu an ‘awakened’ locality, will go for UNA – mayor Written by Tribune Wires Sunday, 20 March 2016 00:00


October 10, 2015 Photo -Binay's allies in Cebu. Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama (second from left) takes a selfie with Vice President Jejomar Binay and Toledo City Mayor Sonny Osmeña during the UNA launch in the Cebu Coliseum. (Sun.Star Foto/Amper Campaña)

An opposition stalwart yesterday promised that it will make Cebu City a solid for the United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) and will make the area an “awakened” locality when it comes to voting for the right candidates.

Michael Rama, now back as mayor of the city after a 60-day suspension, said everything is possible for UNA bets to sweep Cebu City as voters know who among the candidates are doing their best for the benefit of the city.

“We will make it happen,” the mayor told the Tribune in a text message.

Rama said although he cannot predict the outcome of the elections in the city of over 630,000 registered voters, he is confident that majority of the people in the area are mature enough to vote for the right candidates.

The mayor, who is the UNA-Visayas chief coordinator, did not elaborate if he’s campaigning heavily for UNA bets in Cebu City, particularly Vice President Jejomar Binay, but assured the place is an opposition county. Rama rival goes for Mar-Leni.

In Cebu City, returning Cebu City Mayor Tomas Osmeña is endorsing administration standard-bearer Manuel “Mar” Roxas II and his running mate, Camarines Sur Rep. Leni Robredo, yet he himself admitted that it does not have any bearing at all as far as his province mates are concerned.

READ MORE...

“Who cares? You just let the people make their own decisions. Let them go by their own merits,” Osmeña said while in the company of another vice presidential candidate, Sen. Francis “Chiz” Escudero.

“Now is the time for people to weigh everything and it’s a changing situation. It’s not a fight between two people to fight with multiple candidates. The needs of the times will dictate what are decisions would be,” he added.

Escudero who paid Osmeña a “friendly” visit and had lunch yesterday following a campaign sortie last Friday with his presidential running mate, Sen. Grace Poe, in Bacolod City, apparently failed to secure the endorsement of the former mayor despite their close personal relations.

Even Osmeña’s wife, who with her husband happened to be among the principal sponsors in Escudero’s last year’s wedding with actress Heart Evangelista, admitted that she will not dare go against the position of her spouse.

“I will not say (anything) that will go against what my husband says,” Margarita told reporters.

“Let’s not get into this culture of why are you endorsing. Who cares? You just let the people make their own decisions. Let them go by their own merits. Now, Chiz is my friend, why should I avoid him because he’s running in the other side? He’s always been my friend just like (Davao City Mayor and another presidential candidate Rodrigo) ‘Rody’ (Duterte). Rody is not only my friend, I also believe in many of the things he’s doing,” Osmeña, who is being backed up by the Liberal Party (LP), said.

Given that he appears to have a not so solid decision even if he seemed to be already committed to the LP candidates, Osmeña was asked how he intends to reconcile the issue to his fellow Cebuanos.

“I’m asking them to support the ticket that I am endorsing which is Leni (Robredo) and Mar (Roxas) but we’re always talking and keeping our ears open,” he said.

Support for Poe ‘not solid’

Meanwhile, an administration lawmaker yesterday said Roxas and Robredo have been drawing a lot of support from politicians who are not members of LP.

“Contrary to the predictions of PNoy’s (President Aquino’s monicker) rivals that it would be the LP party stalwarts who would be leaving Mar, it is the other way around,” said Cavite Rep. Elpidio Barzaga Jr., one of Roxas’ staunchest allies in the House of Representatives.

Barzaga, himself, is not a member of the ruling party as he belongs to the National Unity Party (NUP).

The senior administration congressman said even the most trusted allies of the previous administration like former Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita of Batangas and Pampanga Gov. Lilia Pineda who is a close friend of the former President and now Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo have vowed to support the Roxas-Robredo tandem and the “DaangMatuwid” coalition.

The two allies of the former president, Barzaga pointed out, joined the administration since they want Roxas and Robredo to continue the reforms undertaken by the Aquino administration.

“They (Ermita and Pineda) are having a change of heart. They don’t want the reforms to go to waste. Their support for Mar and Leni makes a lot of sense,” he said.

Barzaga also refuted claims that the Nationalist People’s Coalition (NPC) is solid behind the presidential bid of Poe and Escudero.

He said some of original NPC members have already jumped ship to support Roxas-Robredo, citing Pangasinan Gov. Amado Espino who left the NPC after former 5th District Rep. Mark Cojuangco, then a party mate, declared he was running for governor.

Other NPC members in Pangasinan, Representatives Leopoldo Bataoil (2nd District) and Marlyn Primicias-Agabas (6th District), have also bolted the party to support Roxas and Robredo.

In a campaign rally of the administration coalition in the province last week, Aquino, himself, downplayed the claim of NPC president Isabela Rep. Aggabao that their party is solidly behind Poe and Escudero.

“This stream of support for Mar and Leni only shows that their campaign has been steadily gaining traction in the run-up to the May 9 elections,” Barzaga said.

He added politicians from different parties are gravitating toward the administration coalition because Roxas’ message of continuity resonates “across political boundaries.”

“You don’t fix what is not broken and they (Roxas supporters) have realized this. Their prudence and common sense will help bring victory to Mar and Leni,” he said.
Ed Velasco, Angie M. Rosales and Charlie V. Manalo

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

INSIGHTS

.pdf FILE ESSAY  BY FILIPINO POLITICAL SCIENTIST JULIO CABRAL TEEHANKEE
(This pdf file did not appear to include accompanying copyright and any intellectual property rights. PHNO, therefore, in our  search for more insights on what is wrong with Philippine electorate, here is an excerpt from Mr. Teehankee's paper on the Philippine electioral politics. Please find the full file HERE) and also, US Republican Presidential candidate Bernie Sander's statement 'Get Big Money Out of Politics and Restore Democracy')

Electoral Politics in the Philippines Julio Teehankee


By Julio Cabral Teehankee

[EXCERPTS FROM Electoral Politics in the Philippines]

Party Finances
(Campaign without money and without backers cannot win)

If in the past patron-client ties limiting effective participation by the electorate was the most serious problem corrupting democratic representation, today rapidly growing election campaign expenses is the key problem.

Running election campaigns have become so expensive that only rich people or those dependent on rich financiers can run.

Qualified, popular candidates without money and without financial backers cannot win. Even when relatively honest people do win, they have to spend so much money to campaign that they invariably become corrupt in order to recover their expenses or to return the favor of financial backers.

Since patronage demands continue, in fact, increase after the candidate is elected, using the powers of one's office to reward supporters is a basic requirement in Philippine politics.

"All the congressional respondents mentioned honesty as an important criterion for public judgment but conversations indicated this to be a particular kind of honesty owed only in relation to one's supporters rather than the electorate at large. A politician must deliver what he has agreed to produce for political support. He is in no way beholden to those who did not support him." This  group loyalty does not apply to political parties, only to individual political leaders.(David, 1994:1)

To win Philippine elections, candidates have to spend thrice: once to get nominated, second to garner votes, third to get his votes counted, added to, and those of his opponents subtracted.

To gain the support of lower level leaders in support of his/her nomination by the party, then to organize the campaign, candidates have to spend prodigious amounts of money. The higher up the ladder, culminating in the presidential candidate, the more you have to spend.

In the 1995 elections, COMELEC municipal and provincial registrars were bribed to add votes to some senatorial candidates and subtract votes from those of their nearest competitors.

CONTINUE READING...

In the 1992 presidential elections, candidates were allowed to spend P10 per voter. With 32,144,330 registered voters, each presidential candidate was allowed to spend a total of P321 million (US$1-28). As high as this amount is, most analysts say
candidates spent more, in the area of P1B per candidate.

Fulfilling COMELEC requirements, after the election, Fidel V. Ramos reported that he spent P118 million and his party, Lakas another P98,981,281.

Kilosbayan, a citizens movement headed by former senator Jovito Salonga later accused the Cory Aquino government of spending P400 million in government funds to support Ramos' candidacy.

Laws on financial contributions refer specifically to elections. They are silent on contributions to political parties not related directly to elections. These laws are so strict that if they were observed, candidates would have to self-finance campaigns.

In any case, they are virtually impossible to implement.

The COMELEC has no capability to validate or to dig into the business affiliations of individual contributors. Even when violations do occur, the COMELEC does not apply sanctions.

The party itself is almost always not a source of electoral funds.

Every candidate must raise his own funds - from his family, friends, business associates, and from political allies.

As campaign expenses have increased exponentially, national party organizations have taken on the task of raising money in Manila and distributing it to local candidates. These national party funds, however, cover only part of the campaign expenses of local candidates.

Campaign Fund Raising
(ADVANTAGE OF THE RULING PARTY)


President Fidel V. Ramos, is co-founder of Lakas NUCD. Lakas party became Lakas-CMD under Gloria Arroyo Wikipedia

The ruling party has a distinct advantage in campaign fund raising.

It can tap government resources - financial, human, institutional. In addition to government funds, the ruling party is also better placed to secure contributions from business sources because of the party's control over government contracts, licenses and other favors.

Lakas reportedly has been accumulating a "war chest" many years before the 1998 elections. There are reports, however, that three months for the elections, Lakas is having difficulty getting new money from business sources because of the currency crisis and the perception that Jose De Venecia,  is a weak candidate for president.

Election funds are either "legitimate" money or "grey" money.

"Legitimate money" comes from businesses, especially from Chinese businessmen who "are more politically vulnerable and more prone to use cash to buy certain favors and business advantages." While corporate contributors, among others from the Makati Business Club are known sources, Chinese businessmen contribute more and make less demands.

"Grey" money comes from the operators of illegal economic activities, gambling, smuggling, prostitution and drugs. While "grey" money is generally more important in local contests, there are reports that the larger operators of illegal gambling and drug syndidates have also contributed to national campaigns.Big contributors calibrate their contributions based on their assessment of a candidates chances. Six months or more before an election when candidates start asking, businessmen will make small contributions to a number of candidates for the same position.

Closer to the election, recipients will be narrowed down to those with the biggest chances for victory and in cases where there's a clear favorite, only to one. Because of this pattern of contributions, leading candidates will incur debts to get to
the homestretch when they expect more contributions to come in.

Politicians' clans invest a good part of the family fortune to back the candidacy of a kinsman. Their continued presence in the political scene is a source of social and economic leverage for the entire clan. On the other hand, businessmen and corporate
groups have no choice but to place bets on the winningest candidates.

Business in a rent-seeking economy flourishes not so much because of a managerial advantages but mainly because of the exploitation of political advantage. Giving contributions to likely winners is part and parcel of running a business in a country like the Philippines.

Introduction
Elections are integral to democratic governance. Through the mechanism of elections, politicians are held accountable for their actions, and are compelled to introduce policies that are reflective of and responsive to public opinion. Ideally, elections serve as a ‘major source of political recruitment, a means of making government, and of transferring government power, a guarantee of representation, and a major determinant of government policy’ (Heywood, 2000: 200).

These do not, however, prevent the distortion of the will of the electorate in a ‘flawed democracy’.In the Philippines, the plurality system has been enshrined in the 1935, 1973, and 1987 constitutions. Under the 1987 constitution, all elective officials –president, vice-president, senators, members of the House of Representatives, local chief executives and local legislators – are chosen by a direct vote of the people through a ‘first-past-the-post system’ (Agra, 1997b: 1).

The Philippine electoral system has generally been consistent throughout history. The Philippine experience with electoral politics is instructive in the process of democratic development in the Asia-Pacific region. Nearly a century since American colonial authorities introduced electoral and party politics, the quality of democratic representation as an outcome of elections has always been held in doubt.

Clientelism, nepotism, fraud and violence, among others, have reinforced the elitist nature of Philippine electoral politics. This was exacerbated during the period of Marcos’ authoritarian rule as democratic elections were briefly replaced by ‘demonstration elections’ held under duress. The ouster of the Marcos dictatorship in February 1986 has ushered in a period of redemocratization.


Convicted plunderer former Joseph Erap Estrada takes second position to Manny Villar in the 2009 poll surveys on the 2010 Philippine Presidential elections. GOOGLE SEARCH PHOTO -UnBlogged titled: Filipino voters are self-flagellants; SEPTEMBER 8, 2009

Nonetheless, the election and subsequent removal of President Joseph Estrada in January 2001 remains a constant reminder of the continuing ‘defects’ of Philippine democracy.

The Electoral System and Democratic Development

Essentially, ‘an election is a procedure by which members of communities and/or organizations choose persons to hold an office’ (Nohlen, 1984). It is a technique of rendering authority and/or creating representative bodies. Elections are often linked to the idea of democratic representation. Therefore, ‘an election is a device for filling an office or posts through choices made by a designated body of people, the electorate’ (Heywood, 2000: 199). This does not, however, discount the holding of semi-competitive or non-competitive elections.

In the Philippines, elections have historically served to legitimize the government and perpetuate elite rule. As de Quiros (1992:12) notes, ‘elections were the “equilibrating” mechanism, although their ability to equilibrate society under the combined weight of mass restiveness and competing claims to power by various power blocs would diminish in time’. Consequently, the quality of democratic representation has suffered from this anomaly.

The standard approach to analysing Filipino electoral and party politics has been to view power relations within the context of the patron-client factional (PCF) framework. Popularized by Carl Lande (1965), the PCF posited that social relations in the Philippines are not structured by organized interest groups or individuals who perceive themselves to be part of a specific social class as in Western democracies.

What exists is a network of mutual aid relationships between pairs of individuals that he called ‘dyadic ties’. The dyadic ties present in Philippine politics are vertical and unequal, binding prosperous patrons who dispense material goods and services to dependent clients who recompense with their support and loyalty. Through the years, the PCF framework has been heavily criticized since it tends to reify if not valorize reciprocity, smooth interpersonal relationships, kinship and fictive kinship bonds (Kerkvliet, 1995). Modifications of the PCF thesis were manifested in the concept of political machines. Machado (1974)
and Kimura (1997) posited that the potency of the kinship system as an instrument of patronage had diminished and has been replaced with the emergence of machine politics.

The Party-list System
The constitution introduced a party-list proportional representation scheme of electing one fifth of the members of the House of Representatives. Section 5 of article VI provides that:

1. The House of Representatives shall be composed of not more than two hundred and fifty members, unless otherwise fixed by law, who shall be elected from legislative districts apportioned among provinces, cities, and the Metropolitan Manila area in accordance with the number of their respective inhabitants, and on the basis of a uniform and progressive ratio, and those who, as provided by law, shall be elected through a party-list system of registered national, regional and sectoral parties or organizations. 2. The party-list representatives shall constitute twenty per centum of the total number of representatives including those under the party list.

However, for the May 1998 elections, the top five major political parties on the basis of party representation in the lower house at the beginning of the Tenth Congress were banned from participating in the party-list elections. These included Lakas-NUCD-UMDP, LP, LDP, NPC and the KBL. The ban was automatically lifted in 2001 (Agra, 1997b: 12).

The first party-list election was held in May 1998. Given the novelty of the system and the deficiency of information dissemination by COMELEC, the overall turn-out was low at 9,155,309 (33.5 per cent) out of 27,330,772. Of the 123 groups that participated, only 13 were able to garner 2 per cent of the total votes. From this number, only one party, the Association of Philippine Electronic

Cooperatives (APEC), won two seats with half a million votes. Hence, out of the total 50 seats available, only 14 were filled (see Table 23). A large number of the total votes cast for the party list (60 per cent) was dispersed among many parties that never had any capacity to campaign nationwide. Thus, only ‘67 parties were able to garner more than 50,000 votes. Only 27 of them broke the 100,000 mark’ (Rodriguez and Velasco, 1998: 9).

The result of the first party-list elections was below expectations given its low turn-out and the high number of ‘lost votes’ due to the technical inadequacy of the system. The need to further educate and inform the public on the party-list system was underscored. Sectoral groups were urged to consolidate their organizations in order to reach the minimum number of votes. The law itself was subject to post-election controversies concerning the formula for the allocation of party-list seats and the filling of additional seats (Rodriguez and Velasco, 1998).

After a period of legal struggle, no additional seats were granted to any parties. The second party-list election was held on May 2001. A total of 162 political parties and sectoral organizations participated in the election. The total number of votes cast for the party-list election was higher than in 1998 at 15,096,261. Ten parties and organizations got over the 2 per cent threshold (see Table 24). Half of these had won seats in 1998, such as Akbayan, APEC, Butil, PROMDI and the Veterans’ Federation Party. APEC retained its two seats, while the others kept one seat each. The new entrants included the two major political parties that were banned from participating in 1998. Lakas-NUCD-UMDP and NPC managed to win one seat each. Another winning party, the Citizens Battle against Corruption (CIBAC) was organized by a religious Christian sect.

Significantly, the legal Left participated in the party-list election marking its first entry into the mainstream parliamentary struggle since the participation of the PnB in the 1987 elections. The Left reconstituted itself into a new political 32. Under the formula ‘introduced by Professor Neimeyer of Germany, the number of seats a party (or organization) is entitled to is calculated on the basis of the proportion by dividing the votes obtained by a party or organization over the total number of all votes cast for all qualified parties and organizations’ (Agra, 1997b: 3).


IMAGE FROM WIKIPEDIA

However, the formula was modified in the Philippines to include a maximum of three seats per party or organization.
Bayan Muna (Nation First)

Learning from the lessons of 1987, Bayan Muna made full use of its allied grass-roots organizations. It topped the partylist
elections with 1,708,252 votes, earning them a maximum three seats in the House of Representatives. Elected were former journalist and social activist Satur Ocampo, veteran trade unionist Crispin Beltran, and feminist Liza Maza.

The Current System

Under the 1987 constitution, the president and the vice-president are separately elected by a direct vote of the people through simple plurality nationwide. Both serve a term of six years. The president is not eligible for any re-election while
the vice-president sits one term out after serving for two successive terms. Since 1935, the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) has administered all electoral exercises in the Philippines.

The Philippine Congress consists of the Senate and the House ofRepresentatives. Half of the 24 senators are nationally elected at large17 every six years through simple plurality. At least one term out is imposed on senators who have served two consecutive terms. On the other hand, members of the House of Representatives are elected from single-member districts every three years. This electoral system, combined with a personalist party system, grossly over-represents the largest parties and excludes minor parties. The inclusion of proportional representation (implemented through a party-list ballot) for a small portion of the lower chamber is an attempt to shift the focus from personalities to political parties (Wurfel, 1997).

Seeing the need to simplify the political equation in the House, and in preparation for the 1992 elections, pro-administration politicians led by Speaker Ramon Mitra Jr. pushed a plan to merge all political parties and groups supporting the Aquino administration into a single party similar to the KBL (Lustre, 1991: 12). To pave the way for this merger, an alliance for the 1988 local elections was 166.

1987 CONSTITUTION

The constitution drafted under the Aquino administration provides for the development of a multi-party system under a presidential form of government. However, in spite of the emergence of several political parties in the post-Marcos era, these parties have been unable to transcend traditional modes of political contestation. Thus, they continue to be ineffectual in addressing the fundamental socio-economic issues plaguing Philippine society.

The 1987 Congress Elections

The 1987 congressional election was the first free election in the Philippines since 1971. Eighty-four candidates vied for the Senate, while 1,899 contested the House seats. The majority consisted of an ‘undecipherable mixture of proAquino candidates endorsed by the coalition, by major parties … or by several other minor parties or a combination thereof’ (Wurfel, 1988: 319). There was a preponderance of ‘fusion candidacy’ or ‘cross-endorsement’ in which candidates received their nomination from more than one party. In other instances, political parties nominated more than one candidate in the same
district (Kasuya, 2001b).

CORY AQUINO COULD HAVE FORMED OWN POLITICAL PARTY

Since President Corazon C. Aquino refused to form her own political party, an assorted array of political parties who supported her candidacy in 1986 formed a coalition to carry the administration banner. The Lakas ng Bayan (People’s
Power) coalition was composed of the PDP-Laban, the LP, Lakas ng Bansa (Nation’s Power, Lakas), UNIDO, National Union of Christian Democrats (NUCD) and the Bansang Nagkaisa sa Diwa at Layunin (Nation United in Spirit and Objective, BANDILA). The various personalities, ambitions and political dispositions that comprised the ruling coalition manifested themselves in internecine conflicts that underscored its fragility.

The power struggle intensified as most politicians from UNIDO and other parties started shifting their allegiance to PDP-Laban, then perceived as the administration party. There were three distinct opposition groups. The Grand Alliance for Democracy (GAD), led by former Defence Minister Juan Ponce Enrile, former Marcos cabinet men, KBL legislators and conservative pre-1986 opposition members who turned against Aquino.

The Union for Peace and Progress-Kilusang Bagong Lipunan (UPP-KBL), mostly composed of die-hard Marcos loyalists occupying the shell of the former monolithic party. Lastly, the Alliance for New Politics (ANP) was composed of the left-leaning Partido ng Bayan (Party of the Nation, PnB),

The 1987 constitution revived the pre-martial law Senate. The electoral system for the Senate consists of plurality votes for one national constituency of 12 members elected every three years.18 For the first election of a new batch of senators in 1987, each voter was given 24 votes.

Both the Lakas ng Bayan coalition and GAD fielded complete slates of senatorial candidates. The proMarcos UPP-KBL had 17, while the left-leaning ANP supported seven candidates.

The Lakas ng Bayan nearly swept the elections with 22 seats and
captured 229,542,457 (61 per cent) of the 375,004,620 valid votes. The opposition GAD only managed to win 2 seats with 15,542,457 (4 per cent) of the votes. (SOURCE COMELEC-UNDATED)

Most of the local politicians identified with the former dictator opted to run as independents (Soriano, 1987). The election saw an overwhelming victory for the ruling coalition, with an almost clean sweep in the upper house and a clear majority in the lower house. It also registered a high rate of turn-out with 22,739,284 (85.59 per cent) voters participating in the polls. Nonetheless, the total votes garnered by the entire membership of the 200-seat House of Representatives constitute a mere 34 per cent of the total votes cast.

Presidential Politics

The other major institutional factor shaping political parties is the presidential form of government. The Philippine presidency is an extremely powerful position, even more powerful than its model, the American presidency. Because of the centrality of patronage for Philippine political parties, the most important powers of the president are his appointing powers and his control over the disbursement of government funds in a highly centralized form of government.

The Philippine president appoints a large number of people in the bureaucracy, over a hundred thousand positions by some estimates. Local politicians, anxious to find positions in the bureaucracy for their followers, have to lobby with the president.
Since officials appointed by the president often have the power to appoint their ownstaff, the patronage opportunities available in this process are extensive and crucialfor local politicians. The main intermediaries in this process are congressmen.

THE PORK BARREL

The president's control over government finances is similarly extensive. Although Congress theoretically has the "power of the purse", the President's line item veto, and control over disbursement gives him much greater power than Congress. Congress persons are adept at allocating themselves large amounts of pork barrel.

In the 1990's, pork barrel is euphemistically called "Countryside Development Funds", amounts allocated equally to members of both the House and the Senate, and congressional insertions in the budgets of government departments (called CIA's,
Congressional Initiative Allocations) which, by agreement, congress persons can allocate. None of these amounts can be availed of unless the President disburses them.

This system of allocation of power gives the President and his political party a hold on local politicians. It is one of the most important reasons why political parties have difficulty maintaining their membership. Soon after a presidential election,
members of opposition parties gravitate to the party of the president. When the Ninth Congress convened in 1992, LDP had 81 out of 204 members in the House, and 16 out of 24 senators.

They soon lost 47 congressmen and three senators.

In 1997, LDP had only 7 senators left. Even more local government officials have moved into the ruling Lakas-NUCD. In July 1995, after the May 1995 national and local elections, then Speaker Jose De Venecia claimed that as much as 93 percent of all elected positions were controlled by the Lakas-NUCD and its allied parties.

The ability of a president to allocate rewards to provincial factions is, at the same time, one of the main factors limiting the strength and long term growth of a party's power. The new administration attracts more and more factions often with
conflicting claims until the time comes when the number of factions who get disappointed because its allocation is less than it expected is greater than those who are satisfied.

At this point, usually in the run-up to the next presidential election,
members of the ruling party start moving to the party of the presidential candidate with the greatest chance of winning.

This pattern of behavior is also the reason for the pre-election maneuvers of the ruling Lakas-NUCD. By raising the possibility that Pres. Ramos would remain president after the May 1998 election by amending the Constitution to enable him to
circumvent the term limit, Lakas-NUCD prevented its members from moving to the opposition.

In September 1997, only eight months before the May 1998 presidential election, the direction of movement of politicians was still towards the Lakas-NUCD.

The powerful presidency combined with weak parties has meant that the initiation of government policy has mainly been in the hands of the president. This does not mean that the legislature is completely powerless in policy-making.

The particularities of the legislative process in the Philippines, a process shaped over almost seventy years of practice, determines the character of executive-legislative dynamic and the role of political parties. While the majority party can control
leadership in both houses, opposition congress persons who have long experience in Congress tend to have powerful committee chairmanships. Negotiation on policy issues of national significance, more often than not, cut across party lines.

Party System     

The structures of all major parties are almost all the same. The basic party unit is at the municipal level. Party units then go up the ladder to the provincial party committee, then the national convention or directorate. These bodies are made up of
prominent leaders of the party, former and incumbent elected officials. Within these bodies there are central/executive committees made up of a smaller number of top party leaders. Except for the ruling party, none have permanent party headquarters or paid staff except during elections. In between elections, party headquarters are usually at the party leader's home or office.

The party candidate for president and the key national players in the party have the most say in candidate selection down to local candidates. The centralization of the process of candidate selection has increased in recent years because of two
developments: one, the synchronized national and local elections mandated by the 1987 Constitution, and second, the increasing importance of money in elections.

Synchronized elections make local candidates dependent on national candidates and their parties in contrast to the past where local officials, already in place in local elections held earlier, are needed by national candidates in subsequent national
elections. Although local candidates still have to have their own campaign resources, the rapidly increasing cost of election campaigns have made national party organizations stronger because they have more access to larger pools of campaign
donations.


CARDINAL Sin’s official photographer hobnobs with his boss’ chums–President Fidel Ramos and President Cory Aquino. INQUIRER FILE

Following Pres. Cory Aquino's example in the 1992 elections, Pres. Ramos 'anointed' Lower House Speaker Jose De Venecia as Lakas-NUCD presidential candidate.

To soften the undemocratic image generated by "anointment", Lakas organized two "consultations" of party members. In the midst of the second consultation, however, the party leadership decided to undercut the process and leave the selection of the  party's national candidates to Pres. Ramos.

Pres. Ramos and Speaker De Venecia have also played key roles in determining Lakas candidates for local positions especially in situations where two or more party members contested the same position.

Selection of candidates

Candidates are selected on the basis of their performance, political machinery, popularity (name recall/public acceptance), geographical base/support, adequate  financial resources.

The importance of these elements vary from national to localcandidates. For national candidates, it is generally accepted that if the presidential candidate comes from Luzon and its Tagalog speaking population, the vice presidential candidate has to come from the Visayas and its Cebuano speaking people.

Popularity, increasingly determined by performance in surveys, is more important for national than local candidates. For local candidates clan/family connections are very important.

While sectoral groups do not play important roles within political parties, they are increasingly perceived to be important for mobilizing votes especially for national positions.

Because presidential candidate Joseph Estrada's PMP is a minuscule party, his campaign handlers started organizing a parallel organization called JEEP which has fancy words in its meaning but is generally known as the "Joseph Ejercito Estrada for President" movement.

Although other presidential candidates have tried to  organize similar groups, JEEP is generally recognized to be way ahead of the pack.

BRIBES, FAVORS

Stronger parties see less need for parallel organizations targeting sectoral organizations, preferring instead to win over leaders of these organizations with bribes and favors. Because of its extensive organization among local politicians, Lakas has not made much of an effort to organize a sectoral base.

The 2001 Congress Elections

The 2001 mid-term election was held in a highly charged political atmosphere after the sudden fall of the Estrada administration.

The Arroyo administration fielded a coalition of all the parties and personalities that had participated in the struggle against President Estrada.

The People Power Coalition (PPC) was composed of the Lakas-NUCD-UMDP, Reporma-LM, Aksyon Demokratiko, PROMDI, LP and the PDP-Laban.

The PPC fielded a senatorial slate of 13 candidates, and supported a number of congressional and local candidates.

The PPC senatorial slate was composed of key players in the impeachment trial and ouster of President Estrada. It comprised four senators who had been reelected, including the former Senate president, four representatives, including the former house speaker, one provincial governor and four representatives from civil society organizations.

On the other hand, LAMP was dissolved when the NPC distanced itself from the fallen president. Thus, the LDP together with remnants of the PMP formed the core of a loose opposition alliance called the Pwersa ng Masa (PnM or Force of the Masses).

The opposition fielded a slate composed of former First Lady Luisa Estrada, three re-elected candidates, three former senators, the former chief of the Philippine National Police, two local politicians, a talk show host and a socialite. The opposition also adopted the independent candidacy of popular newscaster Noli de Castro.

The election campaign was marred by violence as supporters of former President Estrada rioted on 1 May 2001 in their own version of a people power uprising. The upheaval was triggered by the arrest of the former president. Estrada’s strong and continuing support from the poor masses was translated into the victory of five PnM candidates, including the former first lady.

The administration PPC captured eight seats For the lower house elections, the Lakas-NUCD-UMDP reasserted itself as the
country’s dominant political group with 73 seats. The NPC did not field a candidate for the Senate, and concentrated on local contests, thus winning 40- 23.

IMPEACHED

President Estrada was the first Philippine president to be impeached by Congress after allegations were made that he had amassed billions of pesos from an illegal numbers game.

The Senate, with the supreme court chief justice presiding, conducted the trial in December 2000.

On 16 January 2001, the majority of proadministration senators voted to prevent the opening of bank records that would implicate the president.

The impeachment trial was scuttled as scores of people massed in protest at the historic EDSA shrine.

On 19 January, the military and national police withdrew their support from Estrada and Vice-president Gloria Macapagal Arroyo was installed as president.

ARROYO BECAME PRESIDENT


GLORIA ARROYO

The thirteenth senatorial slot was intended to continue the unfinished term (three years) of Senator Teofisto Guingona, who was selected as vice-president.

Although he barely campaigned with the opposition, he topped the senatorial elections with 16,237,386 votes. He accomplished this without the support of an established political party or national machinery, relying instead on his popularity and the powerful radio and television network ABS-CBN.  Upon assuming his Senate seat, he joined the majority coalition.

The LDP won 21 seats, while the LP got 19 seats (see Table 20). Upon the opening of the Twelfth Congress, the NPC entered into an alliance with the Lakasled administration majority to re-elect Jose de Venecia as speaker of the house.

* Government coalition composed of Lakas-NUCD-UMDP, LP, Reporma-LM, Aksyon Demokratiko, PROMDI
and PDP-Laban.{* At the time of writing, the Commission of Elections had not yet released the Official Report of the 2001
Congressional Elections.}

Opposition coalition largely composed of LDP and remnants of LAMMP. Ninety of the 205 elected representatives are serving their first term. However, 26 of these first-term legislators return to the House after having served the one-term constitutional ban on three-term legislators.

In effect ‘105 of the current representatives are holdovers from the last one. Altogether, 135 or two of very three House members have held a seat in past Congresses’ (Datinguinoo and Olarte, 2001: 19).
Table 20: Representativeness (House)

Conclusion

Elections have played an integral role in the development of representative democracy in the Philippines. However, the conduct and performance of elections through the years has fallen short of achieving the two central functions of electoral systems: representation and integration. With regard to representation, the electoral system largely favours the major parties and grossly over-represents them in Congress.

While this has reinforced integration or the formation of majorities, the inherent weakness of the party system has resulted
in the constant emergence of dominant ad hoc coalitions. In the postauthoritarian period, these KBL-type party monoliths are created through party switching, pork-barrel inducements, machine politics and forming local alliances.

In terms of the quality and social inclusiveness of elections, the major institutions in the national and local political arena are still dominated by the economic and political elites. A segment of these elites, the political clans and dynasties, have successfully maintained their dominance in national and local politics by adapting to the changing contours of the social, economic and political terrains. They extend their dominance by bequeathing power to their next of kin. Thus the interests of the marginalized sectors that include labour, small farmers, fisherfolk, the urban poor and women are hardly represented in the national legislature. Congress remains the nexus of local and national elite interests. Be that as it may, some scholars have argued that there is an observable shift in representation from elite landed interests to that of the more professional
urban middle class. However, the shift is gradual and tenuous as these new professional politicians tend to establish their own political dynasties.

Electoral politics in the Philippines suffer from institutional and procedural defects that prevent it from becoming meaningful to effective and efficient governance. While Philippine elections are relatively open, there is the issue of the lack of real political alternatives or competitive candidatures. Candidates must either be rich or popular to win elections. The high cost of getting elected serves as a disincentive for popular participation and an incentive for corruption. Oftentimes competitiveness is prevented by the use of political violence. Efforts to address the issue of access have yet to bear fruit. From a procedural perspective, the electoral process is riddled with opportunities for committing fraud, from voters’ registration to ballot box stuffing and wholesale cheating through vote shaving and tampering with electoral records.

The Commission on Elections has been ineffective in preventing fraud, thus straining its credibility as the institution tasked with managing the country’s election. Modernization and computerization of the electoral process remains stalled due to disagreements from within the COMELEC.

These problems of electoral democracy in the country have resulted in initiatives to review the institutional form and structure of the political system. Some advocates of constitutional reform are taking a second look at alternatives to the current presidential, centralized state. However, institutional re-engineering rests upon a set of historical, socio-cultural factors that do not necessarily translate into immediate solutions to the deficiencies of Philippine democracy.

Hence, a more incremental approach focusing on electoral reforms and legislative development is the most appropriate option


Julio Cabral Teehankee
is a Filipino political scientist. He is a Full Professor of Political Science and International Studies at De La Salle University (DLSU). In 2013, he was appointed Dean of the College of Liberal Arts at DLSU. He previously served as Chair of the International Studies Department (2008-2013); and, Chair of the Political Science Department (1994-1997; 2001-2007).[1]

He continuously aims to bridge theory and practice in academic and other professional endeavors. Aside from teaching and research, he has served as political and policy consultant to government officials, electoral candidates, political parties, national and international organizations.

Teehankee specializes in the comparative analysis of institutional politics and development in East and Southeast Asia, with particular focus on elections, party politics, democratization and governance. He has written and published papers on elections, party politics, and political dynasties in the Philippines and Japan.

His current research include presidentialism in Asia; comparative constitutional dynamics in East and Southeast Asia; and the post-crisis development architecture.[2] He has appeared regularly on media as a political analyst.

He has been cited as one of only four political scientists in the 2015 Webometrics' List of 150 Top Scientists in the Philippines based on Google Scholar

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ALSO FROM THE REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE BERNIE SANDERS' OFFICIAL BLOG

Getting Big Money Out of Politics and Restoring Democracy
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ON YOUR RIGHT, BERNIE SANDERS - In the year 2016, with a political campaign finance system that is corrupt and increasingly controlled by billionaires and special interests, I fear very much that, in fact, government of the people, by the people, and for the people is beginning to perish in the United States of America.

On November 19, 1863, standing on the bloodstained battlefield of Gettysburg, Abraham Lincoln delivered one of the most significant and best remembered speeches in American history. At the conclusion of the Gettysburg Address, Lincoln stated “that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain…that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom…and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.”

In the year 2016, with a political campaign finance system that is corrupt and increasingly controlled by billionaires and special interests, I fear very much that, in fact, government of the people, by the people, and for the people is beginning to perish in the United States of America.

We cannot allow that to happen.

Six years ago, as a result of the disastrous Citizens United Supreme Court decision, by a 5-to-4 vote, the U.S. Supreme Court essentially said to the wealthiest people in this country: you already own much of the American economy. Now, we are going to give you the opportunity to purchase the U.S. Government, the White House, the U.S. Senate, the U.S. House, Governors’ seats, legislatures, and State judicial branches as well.

The Citizens United decision hinges on the absurd notion that money is speech, corporations are people, and giving huge piles of undisclosed cash to politicians in exchange for access and influence does not constitute corruption.

During this campaign cycle, billions of dollars from the wealthiest people in this country are already flooding the political process. Super PACs – a direct outgrowth of the Citizens United decision – are enabling the wealthiest people and the largest corporations in this country to contribute unlimited amounts of money to campaigns.

The situation has become so absurd that super PACs, which theoretically operate independently of the actual candidates, have more money and more influence over campaigns than the candidates themselves.

We know, for example, that the Koch brothers, the second wealthiest family in America, have made public that they and their network intend to spend at least $750 million on politics during this election.

This is more money than either the Democratic Party or the Republican Party will spend.


Koch Brothers Make Their Pick: Koch Crony Joins Rubio Campaign--GOOGLE SEARCH IMAGES

Let’s be honest and acknowledge what we are talking about. We are talking about a rapid movement in this country toward a political system in which a handful of very wealthy people and special interests will determine who gets elected or who does not get elected. That is not what this country is supposed to be about. That was not Abraham Lincoln’s vision of a government of the people, by the people, and for the people.

As former President Jimmy Carter recently said, unlimited money in politics, “violates the essence of what made America a great country in its political system. Now, it’s just an oligarchy, with unlimited political bribery being the essence of getting the nominations for president or to elect the president. And the same thing applies to governors and U.S. Senators and congress members. So now we’ve just seen a complete subversion of our political system as a payoff to major contributors, who want and expect and sometimes get favors for themselves after the election’s over.”

The need for real campaign finance reform is not a progressive issue. It is not a conservative issue. It is an American issue. It is an issue that should concern all Americans, regardless of their political point of view, who wish to preserve the essence of the longest standing democracy in the world, a government that represents all of the people and not a handful of powerful and wealthy special interests.

Real campaign finance reform must happen as soon as possible. That is why we must overturn, through a constitutional amendment, the disastrous Citizens United Supreme Court decision as well as the Buckley v. Valeo decision.

That is why we need to pass legislation to require wealthy individuals and corporations who make large campaign contributions to disclose where their money is going. More importantly, it is why we need to move toward the public funding of elections.

Our vision for American democracy should be a nation in which all people, regardless of their income, can participate in the political process, can run for office without begging for contributions from the wealthy and the powerful.

Our vision for the future of this country should be one in which candidates are not telling billionaires at special forums what they can do for them.

Our vision for democracy should be one in which candidates are speaking to the vast majority of our people – working people, the middle class, low-income people, the elderly, the children, the sick, and the poor – and discussing with them their ideas as to how we can improve lives for all of the people in this country.

AS PRESIDENT, I WILL:
Only appoint Supreme Court justices who will make it a priority to overturn Citizens United and who understand that corruption in politics means more than just quid pro quo.

Fight to pass a constitutional amendment making it clear that Congress and the states have the power to regulate money in elections. I have been a proud sponsor and leading champion of such an amendment in the Senate.

Fight for a publicly financed, transparent system of campaign financing that amplifies small donations, along the lines of the Fair Elections Now Act that I have been pleased to co-sponsor, and an effective public financing system for president.

Insist on complete transparency regarding the funding of campaigns, including through disclosure of contributions to outside spending groups, via legislation, action by the Securities and Exchange Commission, Federal Election Commission, and Federal Communication Commission, and an executive order requiring government contractors to disclose their political spending.

Fight to eliminate super PACs and other outside spending abuses.

Work to aggressively enforce campaign finance rules.

Getting big money out of politics is vital, but much more needs to be done to restore our democracy. Notably, we must ensure that all Americans are guaranteed an effective right to vote. Campaign finance reform must be accompanied by efforts to strengthen voting rights – restoring the full protections of the Voting Rights Act, expanding early voting and vote-by-mail, implementing automatic voter registration, ending gerrymandering and making Election Day a national holiday, among others.

When nearly two-thirds of the electorate did not vote in 2014 midterm elections, it is clear we need radical change to bring more people into the political system.

Our democracy cannot be truly representative unless elected officials hear from all of their constituents, not just the wealthy and the powerful.

Returning to a government of, by, and for the people – not the billionaires and giant corporations – will not be easy. We need not some, but all of the measures highlighted here.

As president, I will be able to accomplish some of these on my own. But others will require agreement of Congress or, in the case of a constitutional amendment, two-thirds of the Congress and three-quarters of the states. We aren’t going to get there just by electing a president who believes in and is committed to restoring our democracy.

We’re going to get there by building a movement – a movement with enough power not only to elect a president but to insist that all of our elected representatives return power to the people, a movement that not only identifies the deep corruption of our politics but rejects cynicism and instead insists on solutions, action and accountability.

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AS OF MARCH 16, 2016

Bernie Sanders Had a Phenomenal Night — Here’s WhyTom Cahill | March 16, 2016

Despite Bernie Sanders losing all five states in last night’s primary contests, he’s within striking distance of Hillary Clinton. And if Sanders wins the upcoming Western primaries, he could erase Clinton’s lead and become the new front-runner for the nomination.

At the end of the night, Hillary Clinton increased her delegate lead by about 100, still leaving Sanders plenty of room to eliminate her advantage in the 24 remaining states. A candidate needs 2,383 delegates to clinch the Democratic nomination, and as of March 16, Clinton only has 1,139 delegates to Sanders’ 825. Less than half of the pledged delegates have been selected thus far.

All of the states most favorable to Clinton have already voted, including the entire deep south, and the states most favorable to Sanders are still on the calendar. If anyone should be worried about their chances at the nomination waning over time, it’s Hillary Clinton.

Furthermore, it’s most important to note that going into these favorable states, Bernie Sanders only needs 58% of the remaining pledged delegates. And considering he picked up 67.7% of the vote in Kansas, 64.3% in Maine, and a thundering 86.1% in his home state of Vermont — shutting out Clinton entirely from the 15% delegate threshold — this is not as impossible as the doomsayers predict.

He also squeaked above the 58% figure with 59% of the vote in Colorado and 61.6% in Minnesota, and he scored a respectable 57.1% in Nebraska. He received 60% back in New Hampshire and has come in virtual ties in many other states outside of the South thus far, meaning he’s beaten the target a total of six times.

Sanders also continued to bolster his argument for electability in the general in tonight’s contests. Among groups that hold special significance in general elections, like young voters and independents, Sanders performed particularly well. For example, 70 percent of independents in Illinois voted for Sanders over Clinton. And despite Clinton pulling out a narrow win in Illinois, Sanders still won the under-45 bloc by a vast margin:

What all this means is that Bernie Sanders is still well within striking distance of the nomination as more Sanders-friendly states take to the polls throughout the Spring. The primary season is only halfway over, and the remaining states are overwhelmingly favorable to Sanders in that they’re blue states with large populations of Democratic-leaning independents and voters under 45.

In fact, out of the 17 states Sanders has lost, it’s important to remember that Barack Obama still beat Hillary Clinton in 2008 despite losing 21 states. Florida and Ohio, which Clinton won last night, also went for Clinton in 2008. According to New York Times election results, Clinton beat Obama in Florida by 17 points. She also beat Obama in Ohio by a 10-point margin in 2008. Sanders’ loss in those states isn’t that devastating in context.

Nationally-renowned pollster Nate Silver carved out a path for Sanders to win the nomination, showing which states the Vermont senator had to win, and by what margins, to remain competitive. Silver doesn’t list Delaware and Maryland as must-win states for Sanders, meaning he could theoretically lose those states and two others while still remaining competitive throughout the remainder of the primary season.

If Sanders and Clinton are neck-and-neck in national polls, Sanders can still win the nomination if he wins the upcoming Western contests by comfortable margins. Many of the Western states are caucuses, where Sanders traditionally does well. Three of Sanders’ last four landslide victories — Kansas, Maine, and Nebraska — are caucus states. While Western states are traditionally polling deserts at this stage, donations from certain geographical regions help shine a light on how favorable the West is for Sanders. it should be noted that six of the top 10 cities that donate the most money per capita to the Sanders campaign are in Western states that have yet to vote:

U.S. Rep. Alan Grayson, a Florida superdelegate who has endorsed Sanders, explained in a recent Huffington Post blog that the second half of this primary season — after March 15 — could be referred to as “Presidential Primary Version 2.0.” Grayson agrees that Sanders’ best states are in the months to come:

Democratic presidential primary 2.0 elects a total of 2033 pledged delegates. If Bernie Sanders wins those races (and delegates) by the same 60-40 margin that he has amassed in primaries and caucuses outside the “Old South” to date, then that will give him an advantage of 407 pledged delegates. That is more — far more — than the current Clinton margin of 223. [Ed. Note — Margin is now 314, but the math still works out. Again, Sanders’ target is about 58%.]

Almost 700 pledged delegates are chosen on June 7 alone. It seems unlikely that either candidate will accumulate a margin of 700 pledged delegates before then. So this one may come down to the wire.

Fasten your seat belts. It’s going to be a wild ride.

Tom Cahill is a writer for US Uncut based in the Pacific Northwest. He specializes in coverage of political, economic, and environmental news. You can contact Tom via email at tom.v.cahill@gmail.com .

WHERE IS 'THE' TRUMP? WATCH HIM HERE FROM THE NEW YORK TIMES

 

Donald Trump Takes 3 States; John Kasich Wins Ohio By JONATHAN MARTIN and ALEXANDER BURNSMARCH 15, 2016 Continue reading the main storyShare This Page Share Tweet Email More Save

199 00:48 02:10 Video Trump Wins Big in Tuesday Primaries Donald J. Trump spoke after triumphing in the primaries in Florida, Illinois and North Carolina. By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS on Publish Date March 15, 2016. Photo by Eric Thayer for The New York Times. Watch in Times Video » Embed ShareTweet Donald J. Trump rolled to victory in the Republican presidential primaries in Florida, Illinois and North Carolina on Tuesday, driving Senator Marco Rubio from the race and amassing a formidable delegate advantage that will be exceedingly difficult for any rival to overcome.

But with a victory in Ohio, his home state, Gov. John Kasich denied Mr. Trump one of the night’s biggest prizes and made it harder for him to clinch the nomination outright before primary voting ends in June.

Senator Ted Cruz of Texas finished second in Illinois and North Carolina and was locked in a tight race with Mr. Trump in Missouri, ensuring that he, too, would earn a share of delegates.

Mr. Trump has faced mounting criticism from Republicans for the vitriolic tone of his candidacy, but he struck a defiant note Tuesday night, describing himself proudly as a candidate of the angry and disaffected. “There is great anger,” he said. “Believe me, there is great anger.”

Republicans opposed to Mr. Trump believe that Tuesday’s results may have increased their chances of denying him the nomination at the party’s convention in Cleveland. But they are left with a pair of deeply flawed alternatives: Mr. Cruz, who has the second-most delegates but is reviled by many party leaders, and Mr. Kasich, who has so far run the equivalent of a favorite-son campaign, winning only Ohio.

Mr. Kasich must now strain for a larger role in a Republican contest in which he has largely competed in obscurity. In his Tuesday night speech, he did not take on Mr. Trump by name, but said he would carry his own message of uplift “all the way to Cleveland.”

Mr. Kasich, after all, remains far behind Mr. Trump and Mr. Cruz in the delegate battle, and he has not come close to winning outside a small handful of states.

Mr. Trump’s performance in North Carolina was a reminder of his enduring strength in the South, but he was likely to take only a handful more delegates from the state than Mr. Cruz, who finished second, because North Carolina allocates its 72 delegates on a proportional basis.

Mr. Trump fared better in Illinois, where most delegates are allocated by congressional district. After making headlines for canceling a rally that nearly became a riot on Friday in Chicago, Mr. Trump easily won Cook County and appeared poised to take most of the delegates in the city. And while Mr. Cruz seemed likely to capture at least one congressional district downstate, Mr. Trump also showed strength across much of southern Illinois.

In a scenario that once would have been unthinkable for mainstream Republicans, they are now largely relying on Mr. Cruz, who made his name in the Senate vilifying party leaders, to slow Mr. Trump’s march to the 1,237 delegates he needs.

National Republican leaders had held out hope that Mr. Rubio could mount a comeback in Florida and challenge Mr. Trump for the nomination. But Mr. Rubio’s loss extinguished that possibility and left a multi-ballot convention fight this summer as mainstream Republicans’ last avenue to block Mr. Trump with a more palatable alternative.

Here’s how we analyzed it live. With 358 delegates on the line, Tuesday’s voting opened a new phase in the Republican race, with states now permitted to award all their delegates to the victor. Even more significant, more than half of the states and territories have now voted, and the prospects of halting Mr. Trump’s campaign are waning.

Mr. Trump has proved an unexpectedly durable front-runner, with an unchallenged base of support among disaffected white voters who lack college degrees. But he has been unsuccessful in ending the nomination fight early, and each time he has seemed to gain a clear upper hand, he has given mainstream Republicans a spectacular reminder of why they have long resisted him.

Two days before his Super Tuesday victories on March 1, he startled the party by initially declining to disavow the endorsement of David Duke, the white supremacist and former Ku Klux Klan leader. And after Friday’s near-riot in Chicago, Mr. Trump made supportive-sounding comments about a backer who had punched a protester at a campaign rally in North Carolina. (On Tuesday night, supporters of Mr. Trump turned the tables in a way, interrupting the speeches of Mr. Rubio and Mr. Kasich.)

At the same time, an organized campaign to stop Mr. Trump has steadily gained force. Buoyed by an influx of money from major Republican donors, three advocacy groups have attacked him with television ads highlighting his business failures, his role in a defunct education company that is being sued for fraud, his extensive use of profanity and his history of misogynistic remarks.

Mr. Trump said Tuesday that he was baffled by his imperviousness to attack. Confronted with what he called “mostly false” criticisms, he said, “my numbers went up.”

“I don’t understand it,” he said Tuesday night, in a rare expression of disbelief at his own success. “Nobody understands it.”

Still, there were mounting signs that the primary battle has taken a toll on his candidacy. In all five of the states that held primaries, slightly less than half of Republican voters said they considered Mr. Trump honest and trustworthy, according to exit polls. And he has trailed Hillary Clinton in general election polls, often by wide margins.

Mr. Trump’s opponents have also been increasingly bold in confronting him, albeit belatedly. They have criticized his character and raised the prospect that they might be unwilling to cast a vote for him under any circumstances — even in a general election against Hillary Clinton.

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