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(Mini Reads followed by Full Reports below)

ERAP ACTIVELY CAMPAIGNING FOR POE, BONGBONG AND 10 SENATORIAL BETS


APRIL 22 -Grace Poe and Sen. Bongbong Marcos are both leading in the latest presidential and vice presidential surveys, respectively. PHOTO COURTESY OF Philstar.com/AJ Bolando  A loyal ally and supporter, Mayor Joseph “Erap” Estrada has been actively campaigning for his goddaughter, presidential candidate Sen. Grace Poe, and vice presidential candidate Sen. Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos as well as 10 senatorial aspirants he has endorsed for the upcoming May 9elections. At his daily caucus meetings in various barangays, Estrada would seek the residents’ support for his preferred candidates, saying they are the leaders the country need to uplift the lives of every Filipino and bring progress to the nation. Foremost in Estrada’s list of his “anointed” senatorial candidates was his 2013 elections running mate, outgoing Vice Mayor Isko Moreno. “Wag ninyo po siyang kalilimutan...ang ating pong vice mayor, e, bukod sa masipag, bukod sa pogi, at galing din sa hirap, siya number one, sa pagka-senador, kaya ‘wag ninyo po siya kalilimutan,” he told residents and officials of Barangay 576 in District 4, referring to Moreno. “At higit sa lahat, ang ating kandidatong pagka-pangulo, walang iba, ang anak ng aking mahal na kaibigan na si Fernando Poe, Jr., walang iba kundi si Grace Poe,” Estrada said to the delight of the crowd. Just like her father, the late actor Fernando Poe Jr., Estrada believes Poe would take care of the poor and the oppressed should she become the next president. “Whoever we are, we owe it to the poor people,” Estrada said of himself and FPJ, his close friend.
“Alam ni Grace Poe iyan dahil anak siya ni Fernando Poe Jr. kaya ang puso’t damdamin ni Grace Poe, I’m sure, is for the masa rin. If ever she becomes president, she will also give priority to the masses,” Estrada said. Estrada would also seek support to vice presidential candidate Sen. Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr.: “At ang ating vice president ay walang iba kundi si Bongbong Marcos.” He would then proceed to mention the names of the nine other senatorial candidates on his list, namely, former Valenzuela City Mayor Sherwin Gatchalian, former journalist and Akbayan partylist Rep. Risa Hontiveros, former Metropolitan Manila Development Authority Chairman Francis Tolentino, Sarangani Rep. Manny Pacquiao, Sen. Serge Osmena, Leyte 1st District Rep. Ferdinand Romualdez, former Senators Dick Gordon and Ping Lacson and Joel Villanueva, former director general of the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority. READ MORE...RELATED, Marcos tops new survey...

ALSO: ‘Spirit’ of my bosom friend FPJ will catapult me, Grace to victory – Erap


APRIL 21 -The late King of Philippine Movies Fernando Poe Jr. (left) and former President Joseph Estrada are shown campaigning in Sta. Maria, Bulacan, during the 1998 presidential election. The two head the list of movie greats to be honored at the first ANI Awards on February 23. THIS VINTAGE Photo by: Courtesy of YES! Magazine Mayor Joseph “Erap” Estrada believes the “spirit” of his close friend, the late Fernando Poe Jr. (FPJ), will carry him and his goddaughter Sen. Grace Poe to victory in the coming elections. This developed as Poe promised to increase the budget of Manila for various programs and projects should she win the presidency. “Kung ako’y magiging pangulo dodoblehin ko ang tulong sa Maynila. Triplehin natin kung kailangan, sapagkat ito talaga ang melting pot ng…nandito lahat, sa iba’t ibang probinsya pumupunta dito, nandito ang pinakamahirap na mga kababayan natin at nandito rin siguro ang pinakamahal na pirasong lupa sa buong Pilipinas,” she pointed out. During his 79th birthday celebration at the Century Park Hotel in Malate last Tuesday, Estrada said FPJ still lives in the hearts and memories of millions of Filipinos 12 years after his death. Estrada recalled that in all his election campaigns, from the San Juan mayoral position to the presidency, FPJ was with him all the way. “Noong nangangampanya ako bilang mayor ng San Juan, kasama ko si FPJ mag-house-to-house. Noong kumandidato akong senador, kasama ko siya at tinutulungan ako,” he recounted. “Noong kumandidato akong vice president, kasama ko rin. Noong ako ay kumandidato bilang pangulo, hindi na gumawa ng pelikula. Sa buong Pilipinas, araw-gabi, siya ang kasama ko,” he added. READ MORE...RELATED, Important, vital question from Social Watch Philippines...

ALSO: ROXAS SAYS DUTERTE BEHIND NPA HARASSMENT OF ADMINISTRATION ALLIES


APRIL 24 -ROXAS
ADMINISTRATION standard-bearer Manuel Roxas II yesterday accused presidential rival Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte of being behind the New People’s Army moves to harass and threaten administration-allied mayors in the provinces of Aklan, Antique, Capiz, and Iloilo. “Letters were sent to them. Their security is under threat if they will continue to campaign for the Daang Matuwid (coalition) and for Mar Roxas,” he told a press briefing in Jaen, Nueva Ecija. Roxas said the Communist Party of the Philippines-NPA, which he said is clearly being backed by Duterte, has been harassing his allies since he declared that he would not tolerate illegal activities of the communist group. “I also know that their (NPA’s) supporter, who is Mayor Duterte, is behind this,” Roxas said. Among his rivals in the presidential race, Duterte is the only one who has openly declared his support for the communist rebels, Roxas said. “He (Duterte) is the only (presidential) candidate who called on others to pay revolutionary taxes, to pay campaign permits to the NPA, saying we should help the NPA,” Roxas said. Roxas reiterated he will never give in to such demands and “will use the full force of the law – not violence – to protect our democracy.” “Here we go — Mayor Duterte, the communists, NPA — the biggest threat to our system of democracy and our way of life. To them, they should be the one to rule. Communism does not fear God,” he said. READ MORE...RELATED, BPO group again hits Roxas, LP...

ALSO: MIRIAM RETURNS FOR FINAL PRESIDENTIAL BETS DEBATE


APRIL 22 -SANTIAGO
SEN. Miriam Defensor-Santiago will join her fellow presidential candidates in the third and final PiliPinas Debates 2016 initiated by the Commission on Elections (Comelec) at the Phinma University of the Philippines in Dagupan City on Sunday. This means all five presidential aspirants will be facing off just two weeks before the May 9 national and local polls. “This is the final opportunity for voters to know and gauge the candidates. On the other hand, this is also a good chance for candidates to explain their platforms and solutions to the country’s problems,” said Comelec Chairman Andres Bautista. Aside from Santiago, set to share the stage are Vice President Jejomar Binay, Sen. Grace Poe, Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte, and administration candidate Manuel Roxas II. The third PiliPinas Debates 2016 will be aired live at 6 p.m. at ABS-CBN Channel 2, ANC, DZMM TeleRadyo, and at news.abs-cbn.com. Santiago was not able to attend the second leg of the debate series in Cebu City last month as she was set to undergo a clinical trial for a new, unnamed anti-cancer pill. READ MORE...RELATED, Miriam: I am perfectly normal now after taking a new anti-cancer medication...

ALSO: Poe camp slams attack on her husband


GAPRIL 24 -race Poe's family (from left): son Bryan Llamanzares, husband Neil Llamanzares, and mom Susan Roces.THE CAMP of Sen. Grace Poe on Saturday assailed the reported plan of the lawyer of former Sen. Francisco Tatad to get the Bureau of Immigration to investigate her husband’s status, and possibly deport him. Lawyer Manuelito Luna reportedly made the threat in a forum, where he alleged that Llamanzares was an American citizen working in the country without a permit. Llamanzares had worked for San Miguel Corp. as a consultant. Poe’s spokesperson Rex Gatchalian said Llamanzares was a dual citizen and a natural-born Filipino, having been born to Filipino parents. Gatchalian said Luna’s allegations were “baseless lies concocted by a troubled mind.”  Luna represented Tatad in his bid to disqualify Poe from the presidential race on issues of citizenship and residency, which the Supreme Court dismissed. “It’s so sad his political obsession has reached a point where non-candidates are being harassed. Since he did not get what he wanted when he attacked Senator Poe, he is now on a rampage and unfairly harassing her family,” Gatchalian said. Leila B. Salaverria THE FULL REPORT. RELATED, POE EXPECTS INTENSIFIED MUDSLINGING...


READ FULL MEDIA REPORTS HERE:

Erap actively campaigning for Grace Poe, Bongbong Marcos and 10 senatorial bets


Grace Poe and Sen. Bongbong Marcos are both leading in the latest presidential and vice presidential surveys, respectively. PHOTO COURTESY OF Philstar.com/AJ Bolando

MANILA, APRIL 25, 2016 (TRIBUNE) Written by Pat C. Santos Friday, 22 April 2016 00:00 - A loyal ally and supporter, Mayor Joseph “Erap” Estrada has been actively campaigning for his goddaughter, presidential candidate Sen. Grace Poe, and vice presidential candidate Sen. Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos as well as 10 senatorial aspirants he has endorsed for the upcoming May 9elections.

At his daily caucus meetings in various barangays, Estrada would seek the residents’ support for his preferred candidates, saying they are the leaders the country need to uplift the lives of every Filipino and bring progress to the nation.

Foremost in Estrada’s list of his “anointed” senatorial candidates was his 2013 elections running mate, outgoing Vice Mayor Isko Moreno.

“Wag ninyo po siyang kalilimutan...ang ating pong vice mayor, e, bukod sa masipag, bukod sa pogi, at galing din sa hirap, siya number one, sa pagka-senador, kaya ‘wag ninyo po siya kalilimutan,” he told residents and officials of Barangay 576 in District 4, referring to Moreno.

“At higit sa lahat, ang ating kandidatong pagka-pangulo, walang iba, ang anak ng aking mahal na kaibigan na si Fernando Poe, Jr., walang iba kundi si Grace Poe,” Estrada said to the delight of the crowd.

Just like her father, the late actor Fernando Poe Jr., Estrada believes Poe would take care of the poor and the oppressed should she become the next president.
“Whoever we are, we owe it to the poor people,” Estrada said of himself and FPJ, his close friend.

“Alam ni Grace Poe iyan dahil anak siya ni Fernando Poe Jr. kaya ang puso’t damdamin ni Grace Poe, I’m sure, is for the masa rin. If ever she becomes president, she will also give priority to the masses,” Estrada said.

SUPPORT FOR BONGBONG

Estrada would also seek support to vice presidential candidate Sen. Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr.: “At ang ating vice president ay walang iba kundi si Bongbong Marcos.”

He would then proceed to mention the names of the nine other senatorial candidates on his list, namely, former Valenzuela City Mayor Sherwin Gatchalian, former journalist and Akbayan partylist Rep. Risa Hontiveros, former Metropolitan Manila Development Authority Chairman Francis Tolentino, Sarangani Rep. Manny Pacquiao, Sen. Serge Osmena, Leyte 1st District Rep. Ferdinand Romualdez, former Senators Dick Gordon and Ping Lacson and Joel Villanueva, former director general of the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority.

READ MORE...

Candidates running for national and local elections often seek the endorsement of Estrada, who is known to have his so-called “Erap magic” that many believe could bring crucial votes in the elections.

A former movie actor who portrayed popular roles such as “Asiong Salonga” and a long-time public servant, Estrada’s “magic,” some called the “Erap factor,” made him one of the most voted elective officials in the country mainly because of his popularity and wide following from the masa.

To this day, he remains very popular, especially to the D and E crowd, who make up the majority of the electorate.

In the 2010 presidential elections, Estrada placed second to now President Aquino with 9.4 million votes or 26.25 percent of the total votes cast. Aquino led by only 5.7 million votes, most of which were “sympathy votes” for his mother, the late former President Cory Aquino, who passed away on Aug. 1, 2009, a few months before the elections.

The third placer, former Sen. Manny Villar, trailed Estrada by almost four million with 5.5 million total votes.

When he was elected president in 1998, Estrada won with a wide margin over his opponents. He got 10.7 million votes, or 39.86 percent of the total votes cast, as against the second placer, former House Speaker Jose de Venecia, who only got 4.2 million votes.

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RELATED FROM THE MANILA TIMES

Marcos tops new survey April 23, 2016 9:42 pm

Senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. continues to gather steam as the election draws near, topping a non-commissioned survey conducted by Pulso ng Pilipino.

The survey which was held by the Issues and Advocacy Center from April 11 to 16 showed Marcos improving his rating to 29 percent from 27 percent from the previous survey conducted on March 16 to 22 by the same survey firm.

Camarines Sur Rep. Leni Robredo placed second with 25 percent, followed by Senator Francis Escudero, 23 percent. In fourth place was Senator Allan Peter Cayetano with 15 percent followed by Senators Gringo Honasan and Antonio Trillanes 4th with four percent and three percent, respectively.

Marcos maintained his strength in Metro Manila, getting 38 percent of the votes of the 1,800 respondents. He was also the most favored candidate among the Class A/B segment with 27 percent, Class D with 23 percent and Class E, 24 percent.

Ed Malay, Director of the Center, said the survey results prove that “the alleged Martial Law atrocities is no longer an issue.”

“Indeed, the young Marcos is right that the country must move on 30 years after the much-ballyhooed People Power Revolution and his campaign platform that is anchored on unity and progress will bear this out,” Malay said.

Marcos also continues to gain more support.

Cagayan De Oro 1st District Rep. Rolando “Klarex” Uy, a member of the Liberal Party, endorsed the vice presidential bid of the Ilocano senator.

Speaking before hundreds of grassroots leaders, Uy said he has been a good friend of Marcos since he was chairman of Barangay Carmen in the said city.
Uy closely worked with Marcos in the House of Representatives when he was first elected as Cagayan de Oro’s 1st district representative.

“We share a strong bond of friendship, we should make him our candidate. Let us support Senator Bongbong Marcos and vote for him,” Uy urged local leaders.

Marcos thanked Uy, stressing that he is not only campaigning for his candidacy but spreading his message for national unity, which, according to him, is essential to achieve the dream of a more progressive future for all Filipinos.

Misamis Oriental Gov. Yevgeny Vicente “Bambi” Emano, scion of the influential Emano clan, also threw his support behind the candidacy of Marcos.

Emano gave his assurance of support to Marcos in a private breakfast meeting held at the Lasang Secret Adventure Park in the town of Initao, Misamis Oriental Friday.

Also present in the meeting to show his support for Marcos was Initao Mayor Enerito “Gogoy” Acain. He came with his entire slate for the 2016 elections.


TRIBUNE

‘Spirit’ of my bosom friend FPJ will catapult me, Grace to victory – Erap Written by Pat C. Santos Thursday, 21 April 2016 00:00


The late King of Philippine Movies Fernando Poe Jr. (left) and former President Joseph Estrada are shown campaigning in Sta. Maria, Bulacan, during the 1998 presidential election. The two head the list of movie greats to be honored at the first ANI Awards on February 23. THIS VINTAGE Photo by: Courtesy of YES! Magazine

Mayor Joseph “Erap” Estrada believes the “spirit” of his close friend, the late Fernando Poe Jr. (FPJ), will carry him and his goddaughter Sen. Grace Poe to victory in the coming elections.

This developed as Poe promised to increase the budget of Manila for various programs and projects should she win the presidency.

“Kung ako’y magiging pangulo dodoblehin ko ang tulong sa Maynila. Triplehin natin kung kailangan, sapagkat ito talaga ang melting pot ng…nandito lahat, sa iba’t ibang probinsya pumupunta dito, nandito ang pinakamahirap na mga kababayan natin at nandito rin siguro ang pinakamahal na pirasong lupa sa buong Pilipinas,” she pointed out.

During his 79th birthday celebration at the Century Park Hotel in Malate last Tuesday, Estrada said FPJ still lives in the hearts and memories of millions of Filipinos 12 years after his death.

Estrada recalled that in all his election campaigns, from the San Juan mayoral position to the presidency, FPJ was with him all the way.

“Noong nangangampanya ako bilang mayor ng San Juan, kasama ko si FPJ mag-house-to-house. Noong kumandidato akong senador, kasama ko siya at tinutulungan ako,” he recounted.

“Noong kumandidato akong vice president, kasama ko rin. Noong ako ay kumandidato bilang pangulo, hindi na gumawa ng pelikula. Sa buong Pilipinas, araw-gabi, siya ang kasama ko,” he added.

READ MORE...

Both former actors who played roles defending the poor and the oppressed, Estrada and FPJ had endeared the hearts of the Filipino masses. FPJ ran for president but lost in the 2004 elections many believed was tainted with massive cheating.

“Parehong-pareho ang sinapit namin. Ako ay inagawan ng puwesto, si FPJ naman ay dinaya kaya hindi naka-puwesto,” Estrada said.

As with all his campaign sorties in Manila’s barangays, Estrada reiterated that if not for the Filipino masa, he and FPJ would not rise to fame.

“Kung wala ang masang Pilipino, kung wala ang mga mahihirap, wala si Erap, wala si FPJ. Ang pangalan namin, ang lahat ay ang utang na loob namin sa kababayan nating kapuspalad at kayo ang tumangkilik sa aming mga pelikula. Kaya kailanman, hindi kami makakabayad ng utang na loob sa inyo,” Estrada pointed out.

Poe also recalled the closeness of her father and her “Ninong Joseph” when she graced Estrada’s birthday party.

“Iba talaga pagsasamahan nila ng aking ama. Sabi nga ng nanay ko para silang dalawa ang laging magkasama. At niloloko nga na mas nagseselos ang nanay ko sa kanya kaysa sa iba pang mga kababaihan,” Poe narrated, eliciting laughter from the crowd.

She said her mother Susan Roces would always tell her how much her father and her Ninong Joseph love the poor.

“Yung sinasabi din ng nanay ko sa ‘kin, alam ko na mahal ng mga tao ang tatay ko dahil hindi niya kinalimutan kung papaano maging mahirap,” the senator said. “Naintindihan ko ginawa ng ating mayor sa Maynila. Napakaraming utang talaga ng siyudad noon.”

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RELATED FROM THE MANILA TIMES

Important, vital question from Social Watch Philippines April 23, 2016 10:03 pm


BRIONES

AS it normally does, the other day Social Watch Philippines (SWP) issued a statement asking presidential candidates a vital and important question.

Prof. Leonor Magtolis Briones (a former Manila Times columnist), SWP’s convenor, asked: “Candidates have made excessive promises in their platforms. How are they going to deliver these promises [they make] to woo the voters? We know lowering taxes is appealing to voters but the people need to know where the next administration will get the money to compensate for the lost revenues.”

The SWP release said this was a question from several civil society groups led by Social Watch Philippines. SWP also shared the results of its and the other groups’ tracking of the candidates’ pronouncements and positions about public financing, specifically on the issues of pork barrel, lump-sum funds left under the discretion of the President, and the sources of government revenues.

“The Supreme Court has made decisions on the pork barrel and lump sums and one of the obligations of the President is to defend the Constitution. Only Mayor Rodrigo Duterte and Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago said they will reject all pork barrel and lump-sum funds in any form. That means they are opening 25% of the national budget to public scrutiny when it goes through the Congress deliberations, which should be the appropriate process,” explained Prof. Leonor Magtolis Briones.

Social Watch said Duterte and Vice President Jojo Binay declared to reduce the taxes of lower income groups.

But Sen. Grace Poe and Defensor-Santiago said they would reduce corporate tax. They also said they would reduce the tax rate of higher income groups with P500,000 and above annual income, from 32 percent to 25 percent. “It does not help that this will practically lower the income tax of the elite billionaires’ club which is included in the said tax bracket. Worse, Defensor-Santiago proposed to increase the tax rate of Value-Added Tax from 12% to 19% in 2019 which will definitely render the poor even poorer,” Briones added.

Briones raised the problem of constitutionality in the declaration of Sen. Grace Poe that the determination of tax rates should be left to economists. Prof. Briones said: “We all know that revenue measures should emanate from the House of Representatives, upon the recommendation of the Executive. On the other hand, it is expected that Secretary Mar Roxas will maintain the current policies.”



Social Watch’s monitoring found that VP Binay sees loans as necessary to provide government services; that Defensor-Santiago declared she’d rather get domestic borrowings rather than foreign loans while Roxas said he will exercise prudence in foreign borrowings.

“No one is looking at government corporations that are supposed to remit 50% of their income to the national government; streamlining the brackets for high-earning taxpayers; reform or rationalize excise taxes, investment incentives; and reforms in tax administration and efficient tax collection,” Briones said.

In 2016, the Philippines committed to meeting the Sustainable Development Goals composed of 17 sustainable goals and 169 targets, emphasizing the abolition of absolute poverty in 2030. Social Watch said this poses a big challenge to the next administration and the candidates have been quick to vow bringing relief to the poor, in terms of food, jobs, education, and health.

Briones urged the people to also examine the candidates’ human rights perspective and their plan to reform the tax system, to be sensitive to gender issues.

Specifically, Social Watch is proposing to amend Section 79-F of the National Internal Revenue Code that deems the husband as head of the family on matters of tax exemptions. “What if the father does not have work? The mother, who is practically the head of the family, will not be able to declare their children as dependents without the consent of the father. This is sad, considering that more women than men in the family are the ones working,” Briones said.

SWP said that among the senatorial candidates, only Sen. Panfilo Lacson, Greco Belgica, Rep. Ferdinand Martin Romualdez, and Walden Bello signified their opposition to the pork barrel and all lump-sum funds that are left to the discretion of the President.

These are observations the people should bear in mind when voting on May 9.


MALAYA

ROXAS SAYS DUTERTE BEHIND NPA HARASSMENT OF ALLIES By WENDELL VIGILIA April 22, 2016


ROXAS

ADMINISTRATION standard-bearer Manuel Roxas II yesterday accused presidential rival Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte of being behind the New People’s Army moves to harass and threaten administration-allied mayors in the provinces of Aklan, Antique, Capiz, and Iloilo.

“Letters were sent to them. Their security is under threat if they will continue to campaign for the Daang Matuwid (coalition) and for Mar Roxas,” he told a press briefing in Jaen, Nueva Ecija.

Roxas said the Communist Party of the Philippines-NPA, which he said is clearly being backed by Duterte, has been harassing his allies since he declared that he would not tolerate illegal activities of the communist group.

“I also know that their (NPA’s) supporter, who is Mayor Duterte, is behind this,” Roxas said.

Among his rivals in the presidential race, Duterte is the only one who has openly declared his support for the communist rebels, Roxas said.

“He (Duterte) is the only (presidential) candidate who called on others to pay revolutionary taxes, to pay campaign permits to the NPA, saying we should help the NPA,” Roxas said.

Roxas reiterated he will never give in to such demands and “will use the full force of the law – not violence – to protect our democracy.”

“Here we go — Mayor Duterte, the communists, NPA — the biggest threat to our system of democracy and our way of life. To them, they should be the one to rule. Communism does not fear God,” he said.

READ MORE...

Obviously referring to Duterte, Roxas said communism is dictatorship “and we all know who the dictator is.”

“I will not allow this,” he said. “I will fight it because our democracy, our freedom, our economic system are important and is now giving relief to millions of families.”

While he admitted that the democratic system is not perfect like any other system, he said the same can be made to work for the poor as shown by the present administration.

“I will fight the NPA. I will fight the rebels. I’ll make sure that the elections will remain peaceful and orderly. We will not allow those threatening our democracy to triumph,” said Roxas.

Akbayan party-list Rep. Ibarra Gutierrez, spokesman of the administration coalition, said Duterte’s “impertinence” has already “gone international” after he expressed openness to cut the country’s diplomatic ties with long-time ally US and Australia, both of which criticized him for joking about rape.

“For the mayor, he is more important than the Philippines. His ego is more important than jobs for OFWs, the dignity of our country, and the integrity of our territory,” said

Gutierrez said it is “scary to think that he will sever relationships that go back decades because of a single issue.”

“The presidency is not just about one issue. In our dealings with other countries, we have to consider the dignity of our country, fight for our interests, and take care of the welfare of our OFWs. The ego of the President is not a factor to be considered. This is what Mar understood when he fought for lower prices of medicine, our industries, and our OFWs in WTO before. This is what Mayor Duterte does not understand,” he said.

President Aquino, asked about Duterte’s statement that he is prepared cut Philippine ties with the US and Australia if he becomes president, said he does not see any value in the potential severing of ties with the two countries, especially with the US being one of three top trading partners of the Philippines while Australia is helping in the peace process in Mindanao.

Aquino said assuming Duterte was serious, people should consider this when they decide who to vote for.

The US and Australian ambassadors issued statements after Duterte, in a video of an April 12 campaign rally posted in YouTube Saturday, said he should have been the first one to rape an Australian missionary who was gang-raped then killed in a hostage incident at the Davao penal colony in 1989.

Australian Ambassador Amanda Gorely said rape and murder should never be joked about or trivialized while US Ambassador Philip Goldberg said he agreed with Gorely.

Duterte said Wednesday night he does not interfere in the elections of the two counties. Asked if his statement could lead to cutting of ties, he said, “If I become president, go ahead and sever it (ties with the Philippines).”

The United Nationalist Alliance said the leadership of quick-tempered Duterte could put journalists and press freedom at even greater risk.

“Our journalists are being attacked left and right. Will we put them in even more danger by choosing a leadership that will suppress press freedom?” asked UNA spokesman and former broadcaster Mon Ilagan.

“It is frightening to imagine the media under a leader who promises a bloody cleansing under his rule but only prey on the poor, the helpless, and those who dare to speak against him. He has admitted to being the Davao Death Squad — a glaring danger sign that the people must heed,” he said. – With Jocelyn Montemayor and Raymond Africa

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RELATED FROM THE MANILA STANDARD

BPO group again hits Roxas, LP posted April 24, 2016 at 12:01 am by John Paolo Bencito


Mar Roxas

A GROUP of call center workers again lashed at Liberal Party standard bearer Manuel Roxas’ claim that the country’s business process outsourcing industry owes him their employment and said the growth of the industry was due mainly to the talent of Filipino workers.

“To let you know, despite the competitive global environment, the Philippines has established itself as the best destination for BPO operations not because of Mar Roxas but due to the exceptional and first-class service that the Filipino BPO workers provide to its clients,” an open letter of the BPO Industry Employees Network Philippines read.

“Let us remind you that it is the government’s obligation to generate employment to the Filipino people. It is something that the government must do because it is the responsibility of the state to provide employment opportunities to its people… We owe nothing to Roxas, Aquino and the entire Liberal Party,” the group added.

The group issued the statement after Roxas supporter Carlos Celdran severely criticized a BPO worker on Facebook after he disputed the claim of Roxas that BPO workers owe all their benefits to Roxas and the ruling Liberal Party.

“Dear Millennial BPO in the skinny Uniqlo jeans frantically typing on your glittery iPhone6, bitching about Mar, the Liberal Party and desperately needing change in your life as you SIT there with a Starbucks Latte in hand: Yes. Your new car’s plates took a while to get and you hate EDSA’s hideous traffic. But chew on this and eat it: Without Mar and the Liberal Party, you WOULDN’T have that car NOR the job which paid for your freaking oversized Starbucks,” Celdran’s post read.

But the group disputed Celdran’s claims and said BPO workers themselves who should take credit for the Philippines’ strong showing as the world’s BPO capital.

“Let us stress that we give credits if the credit is due. Justifiably on this issue, we give credits to the hardworking BPO workers who made significant contribution to the Philippine economy through tax revenues on wages, and not to Roxas.”

“You must understand that with or without Mar Roxas, the BPO companies are strategically targeting the Asia-Pacific region, specifically the Philippines, as its destination for capital investments,” the group said.

“It’s a given since the Philippines has a vast pool of robust and dedicated English-speaking talents. Aside from the noted indicators, these companies targeted the Philippines because it offers tax incentive programs and the labor market is way cheaper than its competitors,” they added.

MORE THAN A MILLION JOBS

On numerous occasions, Roxas insisted that he created more than a million jobs in the BPO industry and that he would repeat at creating more jobs for the Filipino people.

The group also criticized Celdran and said the government has failed to address the real concerns of the BPO industry, like disparate working conditions for workers, unfair labor practices, exploitative “self-regulation” policy of industry players and absence of a BPO labor standard.

“The data shows that the disparity of the wages is undeniably irrational considering that the price of Starbucks coffee in Manila is the same as those of outside the NCR. Although the payout is relatively high compared to minimum wage earners, the salary is completely far-off from the cost of living allowance pegged at PHP 1066 per day for a family of six.”

“If you are not aware of these realities, then please do not speak as if you know our situation and the industry better. We suggest that you include visiting BPO workplaces on your tours to better understand our plight.”


MALAYA

MIRIAM RETURNS FOR FINAL DEBATE By GERARD NAVAL April 22, 2016


SANTIAGO

SEN. Miriam Defensor-Santiago will join her fellow presidential candidates in the third and final PiliPinas Debates 2016 initiated by the Commission on Elections (Comelec) at the Phinma University of the Philippines in Dagupan City on Sunday.

This means all five presidential aspirants will be facing off just two weeks before the May 9 national and local polls.

“This is the final opportunity for voters to know and gauge the candidates. On the other hand, this is also a good chance for candidates to explain their platforms and solutions to the country’s problems,” said Comelec Chairman Andres Bautista.

Aside from Santiago, set to share the stage are Vice President Jejomar Binay, Sen. Grace Poe, Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte, and administration candidate Manuel Roxas II.

The third PiliPinas Debates 2016 will be aired live at 6 p.m. at ABS-CBN Channel 2, ANC, DZMM TeleRadyo, and at news.abs-cbn.com.

Santiago was not able to attend the second leg of the debate series in Cebu City last month as she was set to undergo a clinical trial for a new, unnamed anti-cancer pill.

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The third presidential debate will use the town hall format, wherein the members of the audience have the opportunity to question the candidates.

Selected members of the audience, which shall represent different sectors, have been tasked to put up questions concerning traffic, public transportation, job security, health, foreign policy, public education, concerns of overseas Filipino workers, and peace in conflict areas.

The debate will also feature a “face-off,” wherein each candidate gets the chance to challenge another candidate and grill him or her on his or her capability to govern and lead the country.

MEDICAL RECORDS

Comelec Commissioner Rowena Guanzon dared the candidates to submit their medical records, particularly those concerning their mental health.

She said once submitted, the health records shall become public records and will be attached to their certificates of candidacy (COCs).

“That is of public interest. You cannot say it falls under your privacy. You are candidates. Therefore, your health, your lifestyle, and even your language are matters of public interest because people are trying to decide who should be the next president,” she said.

Guanzon said the challenge is only fitting considering the controversy surrounding Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte and his remarks over the rape of an Australian missionary.

“Foul language, including past and present actions, shows a person’s character,” she said.

Vice President Jejomar Binay has assailed Duterte for failing to disclose his psychological status after reports came out that he is suffering from “Antisocial Narcissistic Personality Disorder.”

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RELATED FROM PHILSTAR DIGITAL EDITION

Miriam: I am perfectly normal now Vberni Regalado | 3197 views April 22, 2016 News Update


SANTIAGO

Ending the speculation about her health condition, presidential aspirant Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago on Friday night (April 22) confirmed that she is "perfectly normal" now after taking a new anti-cancer medication.

Santiago released a video on Facebook Tuesday night, thanking her supporters for the sacrifices they do to campaign for her.

"Sa lahat ng taga-suporta ko sa Facebook, nagpapasalamat ako ngayon pa lang sa lahat ng sakripisyo at malasakit na ipinakita ninyo sa akin."

In the video, Santiago confirmed that her health is back to normal after taking a new anti-cancer pill.

"Ang gusto ko lang malaman ninyo ay bumalik na ang kalusugan ko dahil sa meron akong bagong gamot na nagpapalit ang personalidad ng may cancer at binabalik sa dating personalidad ng normal na tao," she said.

"I am perfectly normal now as you can tell just from my voice and the way I speak," she added.

Santiago expressed her joy over the reports that many supporters from different camps are now switching sides to her.

"I am very happy to notice your reports that many people are switching sides. We all know na [sa] panahong ito magdedesisyon any undecided voters," Santiago said.

"Crucial, napakaimportante itong mga naiiwang mga araw na pwede nating bilangin kaya sana, magpatuloy lang kayo sa inyong malaskit para sabay-sabay tayong pupunta ng Malacañang," she explained.


INQUIRER

Poe camp slams attack on her husband @inquirerdotnet Philippine Daily Inquirer 03:50 AM April 24th, 2016


Grace Poe's family (from left): son Bryan Llamanzares, husband Neil Llamanzares, and mom Susan Roces.THE CAMP of Sen. Grace Poe on Saturday assailed the reported plan of the lawyer of former Sen. Francisco Tatad to get the Bureau of Immigration to investigate her husband’s status, and possibly deport him.

Lawyer Manuelito Luna reportedly made the threat in a forum, where he alleged that Llamanzares was an American citizen working in the country without a permit.

Llamanzares had worked for San Miguel Corp. as a consultant.

Poe’s spokesperson Rex Gatchalian said Llamanzares was a dual citizen and a natural-born Filipino, having been born to Filipino parents.

Gatchalian said Luna’s allegations were “baseless lies concocted by a troubled mind.”

Luna represented Tatad in his bid to disqualify Poe from the presidential race on issues of citizenship and residency, which the Supreme Court dismissed.

“It’s so sad his political obsession has reached a point where non-candidates are being harassed. Since he did not get what he wanted when he attacked Senator Poe, he is now on a rampage and unfairly harassing her family,” Gatchalian said. Leila B. Salaverria

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RELATED FROM MALAYA

POE EXPECTS INTENSIFIED MUDSLINGING By JP LOPEZ April 22, 2016


POE

SEN. Grace Poe and her running mate, Sen. Francis Escudero, expect mudslinging and other left-handed tactics being employed by their rivals to intensity with just two weeks left before the May 9 general elections.

The tandem, especially Poe, has become very busy lately parrying allegations of “paid crowds” in rallies, vote buying, and the like.

“Yes (such dirty tactics will intensify). In fact we find ourselves under attack almost daily. It started with the supposed fake SSN, then the supposed mansion in the US, and now claims from supposed campaign team members offering money for people to join events,” Poe’s spokesman, Valenzuela City Mayor Rex Gatchalian, said yesterday.

“It’s sad that our elections have turned into this. Sen. Poe remains steadfast that we will not engage in them. We will keep our campaign positive till the end. The people deserve better. Our electorate deserves discourse based on platforms rather than black prop. We will see to it that our focus remains on our platform of governance - Gobyernong may Puso and its quest to end poverty and unemployment,” Gatchalian said.

Poe, campaigning in Puerto Princesa, Palawan yesterday, received a big boost when the Aksyon Demokratiko, the political party of the late senator Raul Roco, and P1.3 million-strong Partido ng Manggagawa at Magsasaka (PMM) of the late OFW Family Club party-list Rep. Roy Señeres endorsed her candidacy and that of Escudero.

Poe has also been endorsed by 23 Liberal Party mayoral bets, five mayoral incumbent candidates of the United Nationalist Alliance (UNA), six members of the Pwersa ng Masang Pilipino, and two bets from the Nationalist People’s Coalition.

Candidates running under the People’s Reform Party, Laban ng Demokartikong Pilipino and National Unity Party have also declared support for Poe.

“The platform of governance by Grace Poe in her pursuit of a Gobyernong may Puso clearly shows a bias for the vulnerable and marginalized. Her cohesive platform clearly advances our vision,” former National Youth Commission Chair Leon Flores III said. Flores is Aksyon’s vice president for education.

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Aksyon Pateros mayoral candidate Ramon Roxas, a relative of Liberal Party presidential bet Manuel Roxas II, has also declared support for Poe, along with Tarlac City Mayor and PMP gubernatorial candidate Ace Manalang; Talisay, Batangas Mayor Jerry Natanuan of the Liberal Party; and Aksyon congressional candidate Donna Lun Gerdan.

“Grace Poe is our choice for the presidency. The country deserves an inspiring leader with competence, compassion and character. We should not choose a divisive loose cannon, a thief, a human rights violator or an incompetent for a leader,” the PMM said.


Former senator Francisco Tatad will ask the Bureau of Immigration (BI) on Monday to investigate claims that the husband of presidential bet Sen. Grace Poe is an American national who is working in the Philippines without a valid permit, a lawyer said Saturday. Tatad's counsel, Manuelito Luna, said "unnamed sources" at the BI tipped off the former lawmaker about the residency status of Neil Llamanzares, who was a former serviceman of the United States Air Force. - GMA NEWS

Villegas said the PMM adopted Poe as its guest candidate for president after the Supreme Court decided with finality that she could seek the presidency.

Aksyon Demokratiko president Robbi Pierre Roco, the son of the late Roco, said Poe represents “a healthy and meaningful balance between continuing the gains of this administration and changing what are sorely lacking especially in the areas of infrastructure and poverty alleviation.”

Former President and Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada, who is seeking re-election, said he will join Poe in her campaign sorties in Mindanao.

Also yesterday, actor Coco Martin, who is reprising the character the late Fernando Poe Jr. played in “Ang Probinsyano,” joined Poe in her Palawan campaign.

Escudero said the tactics being employed by their rivals is par for the course.

“Bahagi na ito ng mga kaguluhan sa pulitika, paninira, lalong lalo na, malapit-lapit na ang panahon ng election. Asahan nyo sa mga susunod na araw, mas titindi pa ito,” he said in a separate interview with Manila-based reporters before doing the rounds in Palawan.

Poe and Escudero also denied the alleged vote-buying and “paid” crowd of 5,000 that showed up in Cagayan de Oro City on Wednesday night.

“It’s not true. I did not pay anybody for that. You were even the one saying that sometimes, only few attended our rallies while in other instances, there were many people,” said Poe in response to reports that her camp gave P1,000 to each person who went to the rally.

Gatchalian debunked reports that monetary incentives or money are being offered to voters to entice them to go to their events.

“There is absolutely no truth that the campaign is offering money in support of any of our events. Individuals peddling such are not sanctioned by the campaign,” he said.

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RELATED FROM RAPPLER.COM (EARLIER NEWS)

Who are running Grace Poe's campaign? Camille Elemia @CamilleElemia Published 10:00 AM, February 26, 2016 Updated 2:38 PM, April 22, 2016 29 2K Twitter Reddit Email 2K

They come from different backgrounds – business, politics, media, law, and her own family, among others – a mix of campaign first-timers and veterans


CAMPAIGN TEAM. Find out the key members of the campaign team of presidential candidate Senator Grace Poe. Photo by Arnold Almacen

MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – The old adage "Tell me who your friends are and I will tell you who you are" is something that could very well apply to how a candidate chooses a team. The people behind a presidential bet, says political analyst Aries Arugay of the University of the Philippines, reflect "the political and economic interests they attract."

The campaign team of presidential candidate Senator Grace Poe comes from different backgrounds: business, politics, media, and law, among others.

For most people in the group, it is their first time to be on a campaign team, more so a presidential one. But some experienced politicians are there to help steer Poe’s campaign.

(READ: Grace Poe's campaign: Mixed messaging, disqualification woes)

Poe's team does not have a "too rigid" top-down organizational structure. It has a campaign manager, but he does not have the sole authority to decide on matters. Two sources inside the camp said it is still Poe who has the final say.

Tasks are done by committees, and these small groups then give recommendations to the candidate herself.

"She always evaluates and decides. Everyone is heard before she decides," said one of the sources.

These are the people who play important roles in Grace Poe's campaign, based on Rappler's interviews with insiders and key team members:

Ace Durano, campaign manager


Ace Durano, a member of the politically influential clan in Cebu, was tapped as the campaign manager of the Partido Galing at Puso – Poe, his running mate Senator Francis Escudero, and their senatorial slate.

Durano only met Poe in the latter part of 2015, but he and Escudero have been friends since 1998, when they were both neophyte congressmen. The two belonged to the Nationalist People's Coalition until Escudero bolted the party in 2009.

(READ: Grace Poe's campaign manager is Duterte nephew)

Asked what his specific roles for the 2016 campaign are, Durano said he does "everything and anything that will help the campaign."

"Confuses me as well. I'm campaign manager of Partido Galing at Puso (PGP) which handles the campaign activities of the whole group – Senators Grace, Chiz and the Senate slate," he said.

Durano presides over the weekly Thursday meetings of the team and coordinates the activities of all the units.

The outgoing Cebu 5th District representative explained: "We are not vertically structured. All needs of the campaign are handled by the operating units and each unit has a head – political group, volunteer group, campaign services, campaign logistics, policy group, media group, and legal group."

"My role is to orchestrate the activities of the operating units. This is done during the weekly coordination meeting. I just preside over [them]," Durano added.

Senator Francis Escudero, vice presidential candidate


Photo by Arnold Almacen

Some quarters have criticized Poe for supposedly being dependent on her running mate Escudero, but she stood by her friend and ally. After all, Escudero did the same to her father, the late action star Fernando Poe Jr, before and after FPJ’s failed presidential bid in 2004.

These critics point out that Escudero, being more experienced in politics than Poe, is calling the shots in the campaign. Both have repeatedly denied this.

Escudero said Poe has her own mind. He cited the instance where Poe was not swayed by President Benigno Aquino III to become the running mate of administration standard-bearer Manuel Roxas II.

Asked what his role in the campaign is, Escudero said he helps when necessary. "I help out whenever I can and each time I am asked. We have a good team helping us out," he said in a text message to Rappler.

But Durano said Escudero, just like Poe, has the "final say or approval on all campaign activities."

Husband Neil Llamanzares, finance


According to insiders, Neil Llamanzares, Poe’s husband, handles the campaign funds – a common practice in most campaigns.

Two team members, who refused to be identified, said Llamanzares is low profile even with the campaign team, and hardly joins meetings.

One insider said: "Sa finances lang talaga s'ya. Napakabait at mahiyain noon and hindi s'ya nagme-meddle." (He's only focused on finances. He's very kind and shy, and he does not meddle [with campaign affairs.])

Bud Britanico, Ella Martelino, Lynette Baldovino, communications

Britanico is associated with Poe's camp, while Baldovino is reportedly with the Escudero team. The two are the unit heads that attend weekly Thursday meetings.

Britanico and Judith Sto Domingo are mostly in charge of the communications and public relations unit of Poe's campaign.

Sto Domingo has been Poe’s media relations officer in the Senate.

Britanico, on the other hand, said his role is more on the administrative side. "I help out on the administrative side of communications – ad placements, materials procurements," he told Rappler.

Durano said Britanico's group is in charge of Poe's imaging and advertisements. Ella Evangelista-Martelino, who worked as a journalist in a TV network, now heads the creatives team, and told Rappler she is in charge of advertisements, events, and videos.

Director and actress Bibeth Orteza is also reportedly helping Poe in her imaging. Insiders said Poe still has the final say on her political commercials.

Son Brian Llamanzares, head of coalition of volunteer groups Jyleazar dela Rosa, secretary-general of coalition

Poe's son Brian leads the Gawa at Prinsipyo Coalition (GPC), which is the umbrella for all volunteer groups for Poe. He also reportedly helps in the social media team of the campaign.

"Yes, I'm still the head of the coalition of [volunteer] groups or GPC," he said.

Dela Rosa, meanwhile, is one of the regular faces in Poe's sorties. A founding chairman of the Filipino Liberal Youth, the Liberal Party's youth wing, he resigned in 2015 to join Poe's campaign team, where he is in charge of connecting at the grassroots level.

"I do the sectors and KPoe (Kabataan Poe) Luzon. I came from sectoral organizing [work]. We make sure that the platforms reflect what the people need. Senator Grace is focused inclusive growth," Dela Rosa told Rappler in a mix of English and Filipino.

Marty Escalona, 'sortie master' and volunteers group

Escalona, a banker, is one of the key figures in Poe’s campaign, insiders say. He is one of the members of Poe's core team. He, however, denied this. "I am just one of the many volunteers trying to help out," he told Rappler.

Asked why he was in the same holding room as Poe and husband Neil during the proclamation rally at Plaza Miranda, he said he was only "able to squeeze [his] way in because [he is] a friend."

But a high-ranking source in the camp said Escalona is a "sortie master" or someone who makes arrangements for sorties.

The same source added that Escalona also works with Poe’s son Brian in coordinating with the volunteer groups, and joins weekly meetings with all unit heads.

Gary Jimenez, chief political officer


STAPLE. One of the staple faces in Poe's campaign is Gary Jimenez, political officer. Here he is seen beside Senator Grace Poe (L). Photo by Ben Nabong/Rappler

Jimenez is Poe's chief political officer in the Senate. The lawyer, who is also a long-time family friend, joins Poe in all her sorties and handles "candidate services and ground command." Look at most photos of Poe in a crowd and chances are you would immediately spot Jimenez beside or behind the candidate.

Bem Noel and Oscar Orbos, liaision for politicians/political groups


Photo from Bem Noel's Facebook

Former An Waray Representative Florencio "Bem" Noel said he is helping the campaign in terms of political affairs and operations. He, however, said his role is "fluid," in consonance to the earlier statements of key members that there is no "vertical structure" in the campaign team.

Noel, an ally of President Aquino, quit as director of the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) in September to help in the campaign of Poe and Escudero.

Noel said Oscar Orbos, former Pangasinan governor and Cabinet secretary, also helps in the political affairs and operations of the team.

Camille Llamanzares Sevilla, policy

Sevilla is the head of the policy group of Poe's campaign team. A graduate of the University of the Philippines College of Law, she was the chief of staff of another presidential bet, Senator Miriam Santiago, for nearly 10 years.

Sevilla, a relative of Poe's husband Neil, left Santiago to join Poe in 2014.

Poe's friends, advisers

Poe earlier revealed some of her campaign advisers: lawyer and professor Antonio La Viña and economist and former Cabinet secretary Cielito Habito.

(READ: Why I am advising Grace Poe - Habito)

Some of the political supporters and advisers of Poe are San Juan Representative Ronaldo Zamora and former Camarines Sur Governor Luis Raymund "LRay" Villafuerte, both members of the Nacionalista Party.


POE SUPPORTERS. Nacionalista Party members Ronaldo Zamora and LRay Villafuerte present at Poe's declaration of her presidential bid in September 2015.

"I am supporting her in Camarines Sur and Bicol region, where she has strong following," Villafuerte told Rappler in a phone interview.

The former governor said he does this by "gathering people" and ensuring that Bicolanos "know her programs."

Asked if he gives political advice or tips to the neophye senator, Villafuerte said: "Limited, once in a while. I am focusing in Bicol to maintain and possibly increase her lead here."

Aside from these people, Poe also relies on her high school friends for support. Her friends from Assumption College would also go to campaign sorties to show moral support.

(READ: Ladies of Grace Poe)

LADIES OF GRACE POE.


Poe's high school friends join her in a sortie in Pampanga. Photo by Malu Gamboa LADIES OF GRACE POE. Poe's high school friends join her in a sortie in Pampanga. Photo by Malu Gamboa

In January, they hosted a meet and greet for supporters – An Evening with Grace. It was led by Poe's best friend, Malu Gamboa.

Mia Padilla, one of Poe's friends, said they help by attending sorties, supplying campaign materials, handling social media accounts, and organizing fund raising activities, among others. (READ: How the Ladies of Grace Poe campaign for their bet)

Gamboa also earlier told Rappler, the group serves as Poe's "sounding board."

"She also sounds off her ideas with us. So we tell her what people tell us about her, what they want to know about her, what they want to happen to our country, so we're also a sounding board. It's just that we're just happy to be with her and give support." – Rappler.com


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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