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(Mini Reads followed by Full Reports below)

SANTIAGO's ABSENCE IN CEBU DEBATE A BIG LOSS IN THE QUALITY OF DISCOURSE - MARCOS
["She's a great debater among all those vying for President", Marcos said. “Kung andun sana sya, mas tumaas ang level ng discussion ng ating mga presidentiables [If she was there, the level of discussion could have been higher],” he added.]


MARCH 21 -BONGBONG - Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago was a big loss in the presidential debate in Cebu held in Cebu on Sunday, according to her vice presidential bet Sen. Ferdinand Marcos Jr. In an interview at the sidelines of his Unity Caravan in Makati City (Metro Manila) on Monday, Marcos said Santiago’s absence in last night’s presidential debate was a big loss to the discourse in qualitative terms. “Kung andun sana sya, mas tumaas ang level ng discussion ng ating mga presidentiables [If she was there, the level of discussion could have been higher],” he added. In another interview, Marcos said a lot of people surely missed Santiago’s presence in the debate because she is the best debater among those vying for President. “[For us, she is the best debater. She has the record not only as a debater, but as a judge, as a legislator, as a senator, in the executive, and we feel that she would have done very very well as she always does,” he added. Marcos, however, remains hopeful that Santiago will be able to join the last round of debates next month. Santiago skipped the Cebu leg of the presidential debate because she was undergoing tests for a new anti-cancer pill. While he refused to say who did well in the debate, Marcos said he could sense that in the second round, the determination of each candidate to stand out was strong. THE FULL REPORT

ALSO: Journal Online – Bongbong wants Miriam back with him in campaign soon


MARCH 16 -MANILA COCONUT PHOTO - Miriam on the surprise tandem with Bongbong Marcos: 'It's a unique phenomenon' By Coconuts Manila October 16, 2015 / 17:04 PHT Journal Online - Vice presidential candidate Sen. Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. is hoping that Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago, his running mate, will be able to join him soon on the campaign trail but said her health should come first. He made the remark after Santiago announced that she would skip the scheduled second presidential debate tomorrow at the University of the Philippines Cebu because she had been “accepted as fit to undergo a clinical trial for a new, unnamed anti-cancer pill.” “We had planned to be together during the campaign. That was always the original plan. But I suppose her health issues have overtaken her and she has just to attend to that,” said Marcos. ”And I think that she would be able to overcome this new obstacle and she will be joining us in the campaign soon enough,” said Marcos in a chance interview on the sidelines of his Unity Caravan in Cebu City. Santiago said that she is “very sorry to miss out on the debates, but it would be a disservice to the country if I forego the opportunity to get rid of my cancer completely and strengthen myself further to serve the Filipino people.” Marcos said that while he would prefer to campaign with Santiago, the trend of the current campaign seems to gear towards individual campaigning rather than as a party. READ MORE..ALSO,For the first time, Marcos beats Escudero as leading VP bet in latest poll....RELATED, MARCH 24 UPDATE: Escudero, Marcos in statistical tie for top spot in VP survey...

ALSO: PNoy's stinging criticisms vs Marcos family, Martial Law fail to curb Bongbong Marcos' survey rise


MARCH 24 -ABS-CBN FILE PHOTOS
 President Benigno S. Aquino III's criticisms of Senator Bongbong Marcos and his family's Martial Law legacy has failed to stop the senator from rising to become one of the top choices to be the country’s next vice-president. From a low of 6% in the September 8 to 15, 2014 Pulse Asia Survey and 1% in the June 8 to 15, 2015 SWS Survey, Marcos rose to number one in the March 8 to 13, 2016 ABS-CBN Survey by Pulse Asia with a score of 25%. Marcos also placed number one in the February 5 to 7, 2016 survey of SWS. Marcos effectively caught up with consistent vice-presidential survey frontrunner Senator Francis Escudero, with whom he has been statistically tied in recent surveys. All of these happened as President Aquino criticized Senator Marcos and his family every chance he got, especially during the 30th anniversary of the 1986 People Power revolution in February, which commemorates the fall of the Marcoses from power in 1986. The President delivered some of his most stinging criticisms during the anniversary rites. READ MORE...

ALSO: Duterte ties Poe; Binay, Roxas close behind in new Pulse Asia survey


MARCH 23 -PHOTO OP? Presidential candidate Grace Poe prays at Our Mother of Perpetual Help in Parañaque City. Ey Acasio MANILA STANDARD FILE SENATOR Grace Poe and Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte are statistically tied as the preferred candidate for president, the latest survey by Pulse Asia said Tuesday. “The May 2016 presidential elections is shaping up to be a very tight race involving four contenders,” Pulse Asia said. Sharing the top spot were Poe and Duterte at 26 percent and 25 percent, respectively. Close behind them were Vice President Jejomar Binay at 22 percent and administration candidate Manuel Roxas II at 20 percent. In third place was Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago, with 3 percent. Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte and Senator Grace Poe The survey, commissioned by ABS-CBN, was conducted from March 8 to 13, had over 4,000 respondents and a margin of error of 1.5 percent. The most favored presidential candidates in Metro Manila were Poe (30 percent), Duterte (29 percent), and Binay (23 percent) Poe scored the highest voter preference in the rest of Luzon (34 percent). Roxas was the top pick for president in the Visayas (36 percent), while Duterte led not only in Mindanao (46 percent) but also in Class ABC (35 percent). Poe and Duterte are the leading presidential bets in Class D (26 percent and 25 percent, respectively). READ MORE...

ALSO: By By Atty. Josephus B. Jimenez - Can we trust Grace Poe as commander-in-chief?


MARCH 24 -POE, FACEBOOK PHOTO
One of the climactic highlights of the last presidential bets' debate held in UP Cebu was the question interposed by Mayor Rodrigo Duterte to Senator Grace Poe: "What would be the first thing you'd do if, while in your sleep at midnight, you are awakened and informed that China has attacked and bombed our naval destroyer? "You know what, Grace Poe waxed eloquence again in her memorized elocution on the need to strengthen the armed forces, especially our navy and air force. The lady senator was acting as if she was on a campus debate between the UP or Ateneo and the USC debating teams. It exposed her inexperience and unpreparedness. Duterte was only asking for an immediate tactical moves. She was declaiming on a strategic and a long-range perspectives. That was a very effective act of unmasking Grace Poe and exposing the truth she is unprepared to become president of the Philippines. And so, she hastened to interject that she would rise from bed and call the armed forces chief. She was acting clueless that she would be the commander-in-chief and upon her hands lie the national security of the whole country and the defense for more than 100 million Filipinos. And since, the man sleeping beside her, her husband, is an American citizen, how would she hold the top secret national defense information away from the snooping of Uncle Sam. Under Section 18, Article VII of the Philippine Constitution, the President shall be the commander-in-chief of all armed forces of the Philippines, and whenever it becomes necessary, he or she may call out such armed forces to prevent or suppress lawless violence, invasion or rebellion. In case of invasion or rebellion, when the public safety requires it, he or she may, for a period not exceeding sixty days, suspend the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus, or place the Philippines or any part thereof under Martial Law. The question of many is: Is she up to it in terms of boldness, guts, and firm determination. Sex or gender has nothing to do about this. It is about experience. READ MORE...

ALSO: POPE FRANCIS’ EASTER MESSAGE: ‘End wars, help migrants’


Pope Francis
Pope Francis called for an end to all wars as he prayed for victims of violence and conflict, shortly after slamming Europe’s indifference to migrants.In his Easter message, the Holy Father called on warring groups in Syria to negotiate their way to peace and for the international community to support peace initiatives. “Comfort those who have left their own lands to migrate to places offering hope for a better future and the possibility of living their lives in dignity and, not infrequently, of freely professing their faith,” the Pope said. “We ask you, Lord Jesus, to put an end to all war and every conflict, whether great or small, ancient or recent. We pray in a particular way for Syria, beloved Syria, that all those suffering the effects of the conflict can receive needed humanitarian aid and that neither side will again use deadly force, especially against the defenseless civil population, but instead boldly negotiate the peace long awaited and long overdue,” he added. The Pope also included victims of the Ebola epidemic in his prayers, as well as those suffering from hunger “aggravated by conflicts and by the immense wastefulness for which we are often responsible.”  “Enable us to care for our brothers and sisters struck by the Ebola epidemic in Guinea Conakry, Sierra Leone and Liberia, and to care for those suffering from so many other diseases which are also spread through neglect and dire poverty,” he said. “Jesus, Lord of glory, we ask you to comfort the victims of fratricidal acts of violence in Iraq and to sustain the hopes raised by the resumption of negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians. We beg for an end to the conflicts in the Central African Republic and a halt to the brutal terrorist attacks in parts of Nigeria and the acts of violence in South Sudan. We ask that hearts be turned to reconciliation and fraternal concord in Venezuela, we ask you to enlighten and inspire the initiatives that promote peace in Ukraine so that all those involved, with the support of the international community, will make every effort to prevent violence and, in a spirit of unity and dialogue, chart a path for the country’s future,” he said. The pope noted that Christ’s resurrection shows the power of love. “In Jesus, love has triumphed over hatred, mercy over sinfulness, goodness over evil, truth over falsehood, life over death…Love is more powerful, love gives life, love makes hope blossom in the wilderness.” Anesthetized In his Good Friday prayers, the Pope decried what he called Europe’s “indifferent and anaesthetized conscience” over migrants and also slammed pedophile priests, arms dealers and fundamentalists.READ MORE...


READ FULL MEDIA REPORTS HERE:

MIRIAM A BIG LOSS IN CEBU LEG – MARCOS

MANILA, MARCH 28, 2016 (MANILA TIMES) March 21, 2016 11:06 pm by JAIME R. PILAPIL - Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago was a big loss in the presidential debate in Cebu held in Cebu on Sunday, according to her vice presidential bet Sen. Ferdinand Marcos Jr.

In an interview at the sidelines of his Unity Caravan in Makati City (Metro Manila) on Monday, Marcos said Santiago’s absence in last night’s presidential debate was a big loss to the discourse in qualitative terms.

“Kung andun sana sya, mas tumaas ang level ng discussion ng ating mga presidentiables [If she was there, the level of discussion could have been higher],” he added.

In another interview, Marcos said a lot of people surely missed Santiago’s presence in the debate because she is the best debater among those vying for President.

“[For us, she is the best debater. She has the record not only as a debater, but as a judge, as a legislator, as a senator, in the executive, and we feel that she would have done very very well as she always does,” he added.

Marcos, however, remains hopeful that Santiago will be able to join the last round of debates next month.

Santiago skipped the Cebu leg of the presidential debate because she was undergoing tests for a new anti-cancer pill.

While he refused to say who did well in the debate, Marcos said he could sense that in the second round, the determination of each candidate to stand out was strong.


JOURNAL ONLINE

Journal Online – Bongbong wants Miriam back soon 18 March 2016
By Bernadette Tamayo | Journal Online

Journal Online - Vice presidential candidate Sen. Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. is hoping that Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago, his running mate, will be able to join him soon on the campaign trail but said her health should come first.

He made the remark after Santiago announced that she would skip the scheduled second presidential debate tomorrow at the University of the Philippines Cebu because she had been “accepted as fit to undergo a clinical trial for a new, unnamed anti-cancer pill.”

“We had planned to be together during the campaign. That was always the original plan. But I suppose her health issues have overtaken her and she has just to attend to that,” said Marcos.

”And I think that she would be able to overcome this new obstacle and she will be joining us in the campaign soon enough,” said Marcos in a chance interview on the sidelines of his Unity Caravan in Cebu City.

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

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

READ MORE...

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

Marcos also said that since the trend is individual campaigning, the candidate’s character, not so much party affiliation, will play a big role.

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

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

RELATED FROM THE INQUIRER

For the first time, Marcos beats Escudero as leading VP bet in latest poll By: Aries Joseph Hegina @AHeginaINQ INQUIRER.net 11:54 AM March 22nd, 2016


COMPOSITE PHOTOS - Senator Francis “Chiz” Escudero and Senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. INQUIRER FILE PHOTOS

Senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. has edged out longtime survey front runner Senator Francis “Chiz” Escudero to take the top spot in the latest Pulse Asia vice presidential survey.

This marks the first time that Marcos has led a voter preference survey among vice presidential bets.

The survey, commissioned by ABS-CBN and conducted from March 8 to 13, showed Marcos getting 25 percent while Escudero got 24 percent.

Pulse Asia said that with ± 1.5 percent error margin at 95 percent confidence level, the two senators are statistically tied for first place.

Marcos’ rating improved by three points compared to his rating during the last Pulse Asia poll. Meanwhile, Escudero’s rating fell by one percentage point.

READ: Escudero, Marcos ‘statistically tied’; Robredo close behind—Pulse Asia

Liberal Party’s vice presidential candidate Ma. Leonor “Leni” Robredo was chosen by 20 percent of the respondents, allowing her to enjoy solo second place.

Trailing behind them are Senator Alan Peter Cayetano (13 percent), Senator Antonio Trillanes IV (6 percent) and Senator Gringo Honasan (5 percent.)

Six percent of the survey respondents said that they do not support any of the six candidates for the vice presidency.

READ MORE...

In terms of geographic area, Marcos leads in the National Capital Region (35 percent) and the rest of Luzon (29 percent).

Robredo is the top choice of Visayan respondents (34 percent) while Cayetano is the winner in Mindanao (24 percent).

Marcos is also the top pick of those belonging in Class ABC (31 percent) and D (27 percent). Escudero and Robredo, meanwhile, are tied in Class E (23 percent).

Escudero still top alternative choice

Should their first choice candidate quit the presidential race, 26 percent of the respondents said that they would choose Escudero.

This rating is unchanged from the previous poll. The ratings of other candidates remain the same: Marcos (16 percent), Cayetano (15 percent), and Robredo (13 percent).

READ: Marcos, Escudero share top spot for VP in SWS poll

Subnational estimates for the geographic areas covered in the survey have the following error margins at 95 percent confidence level: ± 4.6 percent for Metro Manila, ± 2.3 percent for the rest of Luzon and ± 3.4 percent for Visayas and ± 3.3 for Mindanao. CDG

READ: Duterte, Poe ‘statistically tied’ in first place in new Pulse Asia poll

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RELATED FROM PHILSTAR

Escudero, Marcos in statistical tie for top spot in VP survey By Jonathan de Santos (philstar.com) | Updated March 24, 2016 - 5:04pm 4 47 googleplus0 0


COMPOSITE PHOTOS - Senator Francis “Chiz” Escudero and Senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. INQUIRER FILE PHOTOS

MANILA, Philippines - Sen. Francis "Chiz" Escudero was in a statistical tie with Sen. Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. although Escudero led by 2 points in a Bilang Pilipino-SWS Mobile Survey on vice presidential candidates conducted on Tuesday.

Escudero was chosen by 30 percent of respondents while Marcos got 28 percent. Camarines Rep. Leni Robredo, Liberal Party candidate, got 23 percent of respondents and 11 percent picked Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano.

Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV got 4 percent and Sen. Gregorio Honasan II of the United Nationalist Alliance got two percent. According to the survey, as much as 3 percent of the respondents were previously undecided or had picked someone else in an earlier survey on March 18.

In that survey, Escudero and Marcos got 26 percent each while Robredo was picked by 19 percent of respondents. Cayetano had 16 percent, Honasan had six percent and Trillanes had 5 percent.

Escudero's running mate, Sen. Grace Poe also topped a Bilang Pilipino-SWS survey on presidential candidates done the same day. Poe had 35 percent of potential voters while Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte had 26 percent.

Vice President Jejomar Binay was in a statistical tie with former Local Government Secretary Manuel Roxas II at 18 percent to 17 percent. Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago had a score of 2 percent.

The survey originally had 1,200 respondents on March 18, but only 866 responded to the March 22 survey.


ABS-CBN (HALALAN 2016)

PNoy fails to curb Bongbong Marcos' survey rise RG Cruz, ABS-CBN News Posted at 24 Mar 2016 02:32 AM | Updated as of 24 Mar 2016 10:18 AM Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Google+ Pin it Share on LinkedIn


ABS-CBN FILE PHOTOS

MANILA - President Benigno S. Aquino III's criticisms of Senator Bongbong Marcos and his family's Martial Law legacy has failed to stop the senator from rising to become one of the top choices to be the country’s next vice-president.

From a low of 6% in the September 8 to 15, 2014 Pulse Asia Survey and 1% in the June 8 to 15, 2015 SWS Survey, Marcos rose to number one in the March 8 to 13, 2016 ABS-CBN Survey by Pulse Asia with a score of 25%. Marcos also placed number one in the February 5 to 7, 2016 survey of SWS.

Marcos effectively caught up with consistent vice-presidential survey frontrunner Senator Francis Escudero, with whom he has been statistically tied in recent surveys.

All of these happened as President Aquino criticized Senator Marcos and his family every chance he got, especially during the 30th anniversary of the 1986 People Power revolution in February, which commemorates the fall of the Marcoses from power in 1986.

The President delivered some of his most stinging criticisms during the anniversary rites.

READ MORE...


GETTING PERSONAL ON MARTIAL LAW: "Hindi golden age ang panahon ni Ginoong Marcos. Isa itong napakasakit na yugto ng ating kasaysayan kaya nga po naglakas-loob ang napakarami sa ating kababayan na magtipon sa EDSA at sa ibang lugar sa labas ng Metro Manila, tangan ang pananampalataya at paninindigan." READ FULL TEXT NEXT TO THIS PHOTO):

“Totoo nga naman po ang kasabihan: Ang kasalanan ng ama ay hindi dapat ipataw sa anak. Pero ang masakit: ‘Yun pong kadugo ng diktador, sa mahabang panahon ay puwede namang sinabing, 'Nagkamali ang aking ama' o 'Nagkamali kami; bigyan n’yo kami ng pagkakataong iwasto ito.' Pero isipin na lang po ninyo, ito ang tahasang naging pagsagot niya, 'I am ready to say sorry if I knew what I have to be sorry for.' Kung hindi man lang niya makita ang mali sa ginawa ng kanilang pamilya, paano tayo aasang hindi niya ito uulitin? Ang akin nga, thank you na lang, dahil kahit papaano nagpakatotoo ka sa pagpapakitang handa kang tularan ang iyong ama. Linawin ko na rin lang po: Hindi ito usapin ng Aquino laban sa Marcos; malinaw na malinaw sa akin na laban ito ng tama at mali. Hayagan kong sinasabi ngayon, bilang bahagi ng henerasyong pinagdusa ng diktadurya: Hindi golden age ang panahon ni Ginoong Marcos. Isa itong napakasakit na yugto ng ating kasaysayan kaya nga po naglakas-loob ang napakarami sa ating kababayan na magtipon sa EDSA at sa ibang lugar sa labas ng Metro Manila, tangan ang pananampalataya at paninindigan. Nagawa nating magkaisa, at sa biyaya ng Poong Maykapal, ay pinatalsik natin ang diktadurya nang hindi humahantong sa madugong himagsikan.”

President Aquino and Senator Marcos are both scions of families who have been longtime rivals in Philippine politics. The President’s father Senator Ninoy Aquino was a rival of Senator Marcos’ father President Ferdinand Marcos.

Senator Ninoy Aquino was imprisoned and assassinated during the Marcos dictatorship. President Aquino’s mother, Cory Aquino, faced Marcos in the 1986 snap presidential elections. Both sons are considered heirs to the legacies of their parents.

MARCOS RISE IN SURVEYS


Jean S. Encinas-Franco, PhD, Assistant Professor, FILE PHOTO FROM UP POLITICAL SCIENCE DEPT

University of the Philippines (UP) political science professor Jean Franco said the current administration’s failure to deliver good basic services to the public may be partly credited for Senator Marcos’ rise.

“[Marcos] is in fact strong among the ABC class and NCR. These are people with more access to information and would have likely been informed of these attacks. I think his candidacy as well as Duterte's brought the need to address perceived criminality and lack of discipline in the country. These are people who are concerned with traffic and security, which they think were not sufficiently addressed by the present administration,” Franco stated.

Another UP political science professor, Ranjit Rye, said “A last issue has to do with performance legitimacy. Many argue President Noynoy's poor performance as an executive on many governance issues has made him a less credible critic.”

Rye added, “While the issues against the Marcoses are legitimate, still, other more pressing issues, such as poverty and unemployment are prevailed by more voters. For them, the Marcos is not the issue. Third, BBM's (Bongbong Marcos) popularity is ethnic and regional. This base of support is consolidated and continues to make him a popular choice for VP. They're support for BBM is based not only on so called Marcos nostalgia, but also a belief in his competence to lead. Many Ilocano point out to me his executive competence as a former governor of Ilocos Norte.”

Rye also noted “the campaign against him just started and as more people are informed, it is likely to have (an) impact on his numbers in the final weeks of the campaign."

MARCOS NOW AHEAD MARGINALLY OF ESCUDERO

Pulse Asia Research Director Ana Tabunda explained Marcos’ standing in the latest survey where Marcos is now marginally ahead of Escudero.

"Marginally ahead ang nangyayari dito. Talaga namang sila ang malakas sa NCR at balance of Luzon. Dati na 'yun na nga medyo bumagsak ng konti ang voter preference for Sen. Marcos dahil sa EDSA commemoration, pero ngayon siguro hindi na ganun kaano yung issue na yun. Humahabol na naman siya kay Sen. Escudero,” Tabunda explained.

For Tabunda, it also appears to be another manifestation of the weakening of the EDSA spirit. "Mukhang ganu’n, mukhang marami tayong kababayan na di talaga naalala yung martial law years or kung naalala man eh sinasabi iba naman ito, hindi ito yung ama. May ganu’ng factor: iba naman siya, iba na panahon."

De La Salle university political science Professor Julio Teehankee meanwhile noted that the administration candidate Leni Robredo appears to be the only strong anti-Marcos candidate.

"Sa VP, it’s going to be interesting because the two frontrunners, Escudero and Bongbong, are going toe-to-toe and Bongbong seems to be surging. Escudero's numbers are falling and yet you also have Cayetano who is not really competitive. Ang point natin, si Leni ay nag-iisang humihiwalay sa tatlong lalakeng kandidato sa pagk-VP na, more or less, identified with the Marcoses... Si Leni ang nag-iisang tumatayo at nagsasabi, 'Leni Robredo ang nag-iisang anti-Marcos sa ating mga kandidato.'"


COLOMA

Communication Secretary Sonny Coloma responded for the administration.

"Against lies and deception, truth and reason are a freedom loving people's most effective weapons for resolutely resisting the enticements of those who deny the reality of oppression during the martial rule regime. As we create heightened awareness about the evils wrought by the dictatorship, we empower our people to take concrete action by making an informed choice on election day,'' he said.


MANILA STANDARD

Duterte ties Poe; Binay, Roxas close behind in new Pulse Asia survey posted March 23, 2016 at 12:01 am by Sandy Araneta, Macon Ramos- Araneta, Rio N. Araja and John Paolo Bencito


PHOTO OP? Presidential candidate Grace Poe prays at Our Mother of Perpetual Help in Parañaque City. Ey Acasio MANILA STANDARD FILE

SENATOR Grace Poe and Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte are statistically tied as the preferred candidate for president, the latest survey by Pulse Asia said Tuesday.

“The May 2016 presidential elections is shaping up to be a very tight race involving four contenders,” Pulse Asia said.

Sharing the top spot were Poe and Duterte at 26 percent and 25 percent, respectively.

Close behind them were Vice President Jejomar Binay at 22 percent and administration candidate Manuel Roxas II at 20 percent.

In third place was Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago, with 3 percent.

Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte and Senator Grace Poe
The survey, commissioned by ABS-CBN, was conducted from March 8 to 13, had over 4,000 respondents and a margin of error of 1.5 percent.

The most favored presidential candidates in Metro Manila were Poe (30 percent), Duterte (29 percent), and Binay (23 percent)

Poe scored the highest voter preference in the rest of Luzon (34 percent).

Roxas was the top pick for president in the Visayas (36 percent), while Duterte led not only in Mindanao (46 percent) but also in Class ABC (35 percent).

Poe and Duterte are the leading presidential bets in Class D (26 percent and 25 percent, respectively).

READ MORE...

In Class E, four presidential candidates enjoy basically the same voter preferences—Poe (27 percent), Binay (25 percent), Duterte (23 percent), and Roxas (21 percent).

The leading alternative presidential candidate is Poe as 30 percent of those with a first choice for

president say they will vote for her in the event that their original candidate for the post backs out of the May 2016 elections for whatever reason.

In solo second place was Binay (19 percent), while Roxas and Duterte shared the third spot (14 percent and 13 percent, respectively).

Santiago registered a single-digit second-choice voter preference (7 percent).

Almost two in 10 registered voters with a first choice for president were not inclined to name an alternative candidate for the position (16 percent).

Poe scored the highest second-choice voter preference in Metro Manila (28 percent), the rest of Luzon (32 percent), the Visayas (29 percent), Mindanao (30 percent), Class D (30 percent), and Class E (32 percent).

In Class ABC, the lead was shared by Poe (25 percent), Duterte (22 percent), and Binay (19 percent).

Across geographic areas, levels of non-support for an alternative presidential candidate range from 11 percent in Mindanao to 22 percent in the Visayas.

In terms of socio-economic classes, essentially the same levels of non-support were posted (15 percent to 17 percent).

Should Poe end up not pursuing her presidential bid in May 2016, about the same percentage of her voters would back either Binay (27 percent) or Roxas (25 percent).

Poe thanked the public for choosing her as their top choice.

“We owe it to them for making their voices heard on their choice for the next president,” she said.

With about a month and a half remaining in the campaign period, she said there will be no letup in their efforts to explain to the people what her administration could do for them.

“We will be steadfast in connecting with the people and earning the highest mandate come May 9,” she added.

As the local campaign starts, the senator’s spokesman, Valenzuela Mayor Rex Gatchalian, said Poe is confident that her supporters running for various local positions will help relay her message to the voting public.

After learning of the latest survey results, Duterte’s camp vowed to work doubly hard to cover more ground and gain more voters.

“We are where we are comfortable right now. We expect to gain more points as we move toward the second half of the campaign,” said Duterte’s campaign manager, Mayor Leoncio Evasco.

“With a margin of error of 1.5 percent, Duterte is finally catching up with the poll leaders for the first time since the presidential campaign period started on Feb. 9,” he added.

Evasco attributed Duterte’s rise to the clamor among the people for genuine change in the national leadership.

“There is this growing groundswell of discontent among the people and they see in Duterte the strong leadership that the country has been wanting over the last decade,” he said.

Roxas said he remained hopeful that his rating would soon surge as the campaign for local candidates begins next week.

“This is good. The results just mean that this is a tight race and after the Holy Week, the local campaign will start and we think that we have an advantage because many allies are supporting the straight path,” Roxas told reporters at a leather goods factory in Pampanga.

His spokesman, Rep. Barry Gutierrez, said Roxas’ performance during the second presidential debate in Cebu on Sunday would benefit the administration candidate.


THE FREEMAN (PHILSTAR

Can we trust Grace Poe as commander-in-chief? WHAT MATTERS MOST By Atty. Josephus B. Jimenez (The Freeman) | Updated March 24, 2016 - 12:00am 11 496 googleplus1 0


POE, FACEBOOK PHOTO

One of the climactic highlights of the last presidential bets' debate held in UP Cebu was the question interposed by Mayor Rodrigo Duterte to Senator Grace Poe: "What would be the first thing you'd do if, while in your sleep at midnight, you are awakened and informed that China has attacked and bombed our naval destroyer? "You know what, Grace Poe waxed eloquence again in her memorized elocution on the need to strengthen the armed forces, especially our navy and air force.

The lady senator was acting as if she was on a campus debate between the UP or Ateneo and the USC debating teams. It exposed her inexperience and unpreparedness.

Duterte was only asking for an immediate tactical moves. She was declaiming on a strategic and a long-range perspectives. That was a very effective act of unmasking Grace Poe and exposing the truth she is unprepared to become president of the Philippines.

And so, she hastened to interject that she would rise from bed and call the armed forces chief. She was acting clueless that she would be the commander-in-chief and upon her hands lie the national security of the whole country and the defense for more than 100 million Filipinos. And since, the man sleeping beside her, her husband, is an American citizen, how would she hold the top secret national defense information away from the snooping of Uncle Sam.

Under Section 18, Article VII of the Philippine Constitution, the President shall be the commander-in-chief of all armed forces of the Philippines, and whenever it becomes necessary, he or she may call out such armed forces to prevent or suppress lawless violence, invasion or rebellion.

In case of invasion or rebellion, when the public safety requires it, he or she may, for a period not exceeding sixty days, suspend the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus, or place the Philippines or any part thereof under Martial Law. The question of many is: Is she up to it in terms of boldness, guts, and firm determination. Sex or gender has nothing to do about this. It is about experience.

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Predators like China and North Korea are just observing us and hoping perhaps that we elect a "teka teka" president like Mar Roxas, or an inexperienced executive like Grace Poe, or a badly tarnished president like Jejomar Binay, and they would make their draconian and strategic move to subjugate us.

It is only Rodrigo Duterte who can tell the Chinese to go fly a kite or the North Koreans to go ahead, make his day, and try to kill a mocking bird. Yes, Binay may be decisive but he has lost his moral authority to govern. Duterte's both credible and bold.

The problem with Grace is that she will always be carrying a heavy baggage, the lingering questions on her citizenship, which was declared in her favor by a minority of the Supreme Court en banc. She used to carry an American passport and her husband and children are all American citizens.

Besides, she will be dominated by her trusted friend, Chiz Escudero, whose skills in communications can make white appear like black. She will be dependent on Chiz because, like her alleged brother Bongbong, she, like Mar Roxas, is the only other candidate running for president who is not a lawyer.

Grace Poe may be a good movie censor board chairman. She might have excelled in the Senate investigations, although she has not - for a span of six years - principally authored or co-authored much less passed a major legislative act to be credited in her name.

But, as commander-in-chief, with all due respect, many people, including us have our very, very serious doubts. At this point in our history, when we are caught between the posturing of China and the saber-rattling of the US, we need a strong leader who can gain the grudging respect of many predators in Asia-Pacific and in the world. I do not think that Grace Poe is it.

josephusbjimenez@gmail.com .


MANILA TIMES

POPE’S EASTER MESSAGE: ‘End wars, help migrants’ March 26, 2016 10:05 pm


Pope Francis

Pope Francis called for an end to all wars as he prayed for victims of violence and conflict, shortly after slamming Europe’s indifference to migrants.

In his Easter message, the Holy Father called on warring groups in Syria to negotiate their way to peace and for the international community to support peace initiatives.

“Comfort those who have left their own lands to migrate to places offering hope for a better future and the possibility of living their lives in dignity and, not infrequently, of freely professing their faith,” the Pope said.

“We ask you, Lord Jesus, to put an end to all war and every conflict, whether great or small, ancient or recent. We pray in a particular way for Syria, beloved Syria, that all those suffering the effects of the conflict can receive needed humanitarian aid and that neither side will again use deadly force, especially against the defenseless civil population, but instead boldly negotiate the peace long awaited and long overdue,” he added.

The Pope also included victims of the Ebola epidemic in his prayers, as well as those suffering from hunger “aggravated by conflicts and by the immense wastefulness for which we are often responsible.”

“Enable us to care for our brothers and sisters struck by the Ebola epidemic in Guinea Conakry, Sierra Leone and Liberia, and to care for those suffering from so many other diseases which are also spread through neglect and dire poverty,” he said.



“Jesus, Lord of glory, we ask you to comfort the victims of fratricidal acts of violence in Iraq and to sustain the hopes raised by the resumption of negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians. We beg for an end to the conflicts in the Central African Republic and a halt to the brutal terrorist attacks in parts of Nigeria and the acts of violence in South Sudan. We ask that hearts be turned to reconciliation and fraternal concord in Venezuela, we ask you to enlighten and inspire the initiatives that promote peace in Ukraine so that all those involved, with the support of the international community, will make every effort to prevent violence and, in a spirit of unity and dialogue, chart a path for the country’s future,” he said.

The pope noted that Christ’s resurrection shows the power of love.
“In Jesus, love has triumphed over hatred, mercy over sinfulness, goodness over evil, truth over falsehood, life over death…Love is more powerful, love gives life, love makes hope blossom in the wilderness.”

Anesthetized

In his Good Friday prayers, the Pope decried what he called Europe’s “indifferent and anaesthetized conscience” over migrants and also slammed pedophile priests, arms dealers and fundamentalists.

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Tens of thousands of Catholic faithful gathered for the service, many clutching candles in the imposing surrounds of the city’s famous Colosseum, where thousands of Christians are believed to have been killed in Roman times.

“O Cross of Christ, today we see you in the Mediterranean and Aegean Seas which have become insatiable cemeteries, reflections of our indifferent and anaesthetized conscience,” the 79-year old pontiff said, referring to the thousands who set off in unseaworthy boats to reach Greece and the rest of Europe.

Francis has long called for the global community to open its doors to refugees and fight xenophobia — appeals which have intensified since a controversial deal between Europe and Turkey to expel migrants arriving in Greece.

The Argentine pope did not spare his own Church, fiercely denouncing pedophile priests whom he described as those “unfaithful ministers who, instead of stripping themselves of their own vain ambitions, divest even the innocent of their dignity.”

The Roman Catholic Church continues to be dogged by cases of predatory priests and past cover-ups. Just this month a French cardinal faced calls to resign over allegations he promoted a cleric who had a previous conviction for sexual abuse.

In the wake of this week’s deadly attacks in Brussels, Francis slammed “terrorist acts committed by followers of some religions which profane the name of God and which use the holy name to justify their unprecedented violence.”

The pope added it was “arms dealers who feed the cauldron of war with the innocent blood of our brothers and sisters” and raged against “traitors who, for thirty pieces of silver, would consign anyone to death”.

‘Egotistical and hypocritical society’

Francis also evoked the expressions on the faces of children fleeing war “who often only find death and many Pilates who wash their hands” — a reference to Pontius Pilate, who, according to Christian tradition, said he was bowing to public demand in ordering Jesus’s crucifixion, in a bid to shrug off personal responsibility.

In his wide-ranging diatribe, the head of the Roman Catholic Church lashed out at persecutors of Christians in particular, lamenting “our sisters and brothers killed, burned alive, throats slit and decapitated by barbarous blades amid cowardly silence”.

He also turned a steely gaze on Western cultures, talking of “our egotistical and hypocritical society,” which casts off the elderly and disabled and lets its children starve.

“Where is God in the extermination camps?

Where is God in the mines and factories where children work as slaves?

Where is God in makeshift boats that sink in the sea?” he said in reference to the migrant vessels and the many who have drowned.

On Saturday, the pontiff took part in an evening Easter vigil in St Peter’s Basilica, before celebrating Easter mass on Sunday and pronouncing the traditional “Urbi et Orbi” blessing to the world.
AFP


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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