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PHNO HEADLINE NEWS THIS PAST WEEK
(Mini Reads followed by Full Reports below)

INC BACKS DUTERTE, MARCOS; PACQUIAO, GORDON, ROMUALDEZ, LACSON AMONG SENATE PICKS
[RELATED: Duterte keeps huge lead]


MAY 5 -DUTERTE, MARCOS The bloc-voting, homegrown Christian sect Iglesia ni Cristo (INC) on Wednesday night endorsed Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte for President and Sen. Ferdinand Marcos Jr. for Vice President in Monday’s national elections. INC announced its endorsement through a circular read during worship service by executive minister Eduardo Manalo, who called on the sect’s members to vote as one on Monday. “This is based on the teachings in the Bible that were taught to us even before we were accepted as members of the Church of Christ. We have faith that it is God’s teaching that there shouldn’t be division among us, but that we should be one in thinking and one in judgment,” Manalo said in Filipino. The INC head cited I Corinthians 1:10 and Romans 15:6 in claiming that the sect’s unity came “in the name of Jesus Christ, for the glory of God and for the sake of the church.” He said a sample ballot containing the names of national and local candidates the INC followers would vote for would be sent to them before the vote. Senatorial candidates INC also endorsed the senatorial candidacies of the Liberal Party’s Joel Villanueva, Franklin Drilon and Ralph Recto, the Nationalist People’s Coalition’s Vicente Sotto III, United Nationalist Alliance’s Manny Pacquiao, independent former Sen. Richard Gordon, former Akbayan Rep. Risa Hontiveros, the NPC’s Sherwin Gatchalian, independent Francis Tolentino, former Bukidnon Rep. Miguel Zubiri, former Sen. Panfilo Lacson and Lakas Rep. Martin Romualdez. READ MORE...RELATED, Duterte keeps huge lead ...

ALSO: Grace vows to thwart ‘executioner Rody,’ won’t quit race
[RELATED: My husband is not a CIA agent – Grace]


MAY 6 -Presidential candidate Sen. Grace Poe gestures during a news conference Thursday, May 5, 2016 at the financial district of Makati city, east of Manila, Philippines. Poe, who is running second to front-running candidate Rodrigo Duterte in recent poll surveys leading to Monday's Presidential elections, denies rumor she is quitting the presidential race. AP Photo/Bullit Marquez
 “I will not sell out. I will not sell the dreams of our countrymen.” Sen. Grace Poe yesterday quelled rumors of her withdrawal from the presidential race and vowed to win the May 9 elections to put a stop to what she called the “disturbing” rise of frontrunner Rodrigo Duterte. Poe saw her campaign eclipsed by a surge in Duterte’s popularity. She called for a news conference yesterday to shoot down speculations that she would pull out and support administration candidate Manuel Roxas II. Duterte was the top choice of 33 percent of Filipinos in the latest Pulse Asia survey published on Tuesday, with Poe at 21 percent. Roxas got 22 percent and moved into the second spot for the first time since June of last year. Roxas declared the contest is now a two-way race between him and Duterte, which has sparked rumors that Poe would bow out. “To those who are saying that I should give way, what gives you the right to say that our choices should only be limited to two candidates?” Poe asked. “I’m not a member of a syndicate who enters into dealings. I will not sell out. I will not sell the dreams of our countrymen.” Poe said she was not bothered by the drop in her standing in the surveys because in the end, it is the vote of the people that would count and not the pre-election polls. READ MORE...RELATED,
My husband is not a CIA agent – Grace...

ALSO: Mar unfazed by Iglesia choice
[
RELATED: Mar Roxas appeals to Grace Poe - Let's talk]


MAY 6 -Roxas
NAGA CITY, Camarines Sur, Philippines – Liberal Party (LP) presidential candidate Manuel Roxas II is unfazed by the endorsement of Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte by the Iglesia ni Cristo (INC), even as he vowed to continue the fight for decent governance. Despite failing to get the support of the religious group, Roxas thanked the INC for giving him the opportunity to present his platform. “We thank the INC for considering us and for studying our platform. While the INC did not choose us, we thank them for allowing us to tell our supporters that we will continue our fight,” Roxas said in an interview in Legazpi City yesterday. “Now more than ever, it shows the fight between Duterte-Marcos and Roxas Robredo,” he added. The INC, which is said to be capable of delivering two million votes, has also endorsed the candidacy of vice presidential bet Sen. Ferdinand Marcos Jr. Roxas and his runningmate Camarines Sur Rep. Leni Robredo met with INC leaders at least twice. The first meeting was held on March 30 while the second one happened last April 19. Roxas likened Duterte to Marcos’ father, the late strongman and former president Ferdinand Marcos. “In 1965, when President Marcos assumed as president, the Philippines was second in Asia in terms of development and wealth. In 1985, the Philippines went bankrupt,” Roxas said. “These are the same traits that Mayor Duterte is showing. He has an iron fist. He resorts to violence and insults. He thinks he alone is right. He thinks he alone can think, that he alone can decide for the country,” he added. Roxas also criticized Duterte for his alleged hidden wealth and his supposed plan to abolish Congress, the Commission on Audit and the Ombudsman. “That means we will return to martial law,” the LP standard bearer said. “To those who have not yet decided, Leni and I invite you all to look at our track record and our character, which is the only thing you can hold on to in making a decision,” Roxas said. “Our characters are our guarantee to you – who we are, what we’ll do when we’re elected – that determines whether or not you can trust us,” he said. “Join us. We’ve gone far but we’ll progress more if we’re together and make sure that the one who’ll win is clean, honest, transparent,” Roxas said in his message. “You can trust us not to lie, not to be arrogant and bullies, not to steal from you,” he said.
Hocus-pocus He also dismissed as “hocus pocus” Duterte’s move to reveal the contents of his bank accounts supposedly to dispel allegations that he has hidden wealth. READ MORE...RELATED, Mar Roxas appeals to Grace Poe: Let's talk...

ALSO: Miriam warns of poll fraud 
[RELATED: Santiago, Marcos hold final campaign rally in QC]


may 6 -Santiago
 Presidential candidate Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago aired fears of electoral fraud on May 9. Speaking yesterday before students at the University of Santo Tomas in Manila, Santiago said that she doubts the accuracy of the vote counting machines and that massive vote buying will result in a “winner” who is not the true choice of voters. “The most notorious distortion of the people’s choice is electoral corruption,” she said. “There are still scientific doubts on the accuracy of the voting machines that we will be using this coming election.” In her speech, “How Elections Fail the Philippines,” Santiago said the worst problem is vote buying. “Rich candidates buy, and the uneducated masses are willing to sell, their votes,” she said. “This is said to have recently evolved to mass vote-buying. Candidates now promise to shower barangays with projects as long as the barangay assures them of victory in the voting precincts.” Santiago asked the youth to campaign for their friends, relatives and neighbors not to sell their votes, and instead vote wisely. “I call on the youth to do something about it,” she said. “Open the eyes of your neighbors, urge them to look ahead. Admonish them to vote not only for themselves but also for their children and grandchildren. “It is our duty to think about tomorrow. It is our duty to decide this country’s fate.” Santiago thanked the UST students for having chosen her as the “most competent among presidentiables in handling most of the issues affecting the country.” READ MORE...RELATED, Santiago, Marcos hold final campaign rally in QC...

ALSO: Binay to rivals ahead in surveys: Don’t celebrate yet
[RELATED: Binay urges Aquino: Call for clean polls instead of unity vs Duterte]
[ALSO: Duterte keeps huge lead]


MAY 6 -In this May 1, 2016 file photo, Philippines Vice President Jejomar Binay, addresses the crowd during a prayer vigil for an honest, fair, and orderly May 9 elections by the El Shaddai charismatic renewal group at suburban Paranaque city, south of Manila, Philippines. In a poor Southeast Asian country with a soft spot for the underdog, Binay has tried to turn online jokes about his dark complexion and small stature to his advantage by portraying himself in campaign ads as an everyman who understands the struggles of the underclass. But Binay, who is running fourth in opinion polls ahead of Monday's presidential elections, is battling another image he says is a political smear - that of a corrupt bureaucrat who built a fortune from government coffers. AP Photo/Bullit Marquez, File
 “Do not celebrate yet.” This was the message of Rico Quicho, Vice President Jejomar Binay’s campaign spokesman, to other presidential aspirants leading in the latest surveys.
“It will be a tight race all the way to election day. The surveys do not capture the intense ground campaigning by the Vice President’s core supporters and parallel groups nationwide,” Quicho said. In a survey conducted by Pulse Asia from April 26 to 29 and commissioned by ABS-CBN, one in three Filipinos or 33 percent picked Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte to be the country’s next president. Liberal Party standard-bearer Mar Roxas and Sen. Grace Poe of the Gobyernong May Puso were statistically tied for the second spot with 22 percent and 21 percent, respectively.Binay, standard-bearer of the United Nationalist Alliance (UNA), remained at fourth with 17 percent voter preference, down by one point from his previous rating. Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago still trails with two percent. Quicho is confident the opposition bet will come out the winner in the May 9 polls. Binay vowed to end the “insensitive and inept governance” if he is elected president. “No more incompetent official will remain in office just because he’s a friend, a classmate or a shooting buddy,” the vice president said, taking a swipe at President Aquino, a known gun enthusiast. READ MORE...RELATED, Binay urges Aquino: Call for clean polls instead of unity vs Duterte...Duterte keeps huge lead...


READ FULL MEDIA REPORTS HERE:

INC backs Duterte, Marcos
[PACQUIAO, GORDON, ROMUALDEZ, LACSON AMONG 12 SENATE PICKS]


MANILA, MAY 9, 2016 (INQUIRER) By: Kristine Felisse Mangunay @inquirerdotnet  May 5th, 2016 -The bloc-voting, homegrown Christian sect Iglesia ni Cristo (INC) on Wednesday night endorsed Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte for President and Sen. Ferdinand Marcos Jr. for Vice President in Monday’s national elections.

INC announced its endorsement through a circular read during worship service by executive minister Eduardo Manalo, who called on the sect’s members to vote as one on Monday.

“This is based on the teachings in the Bible that were taught to us even before we were accepted as members of the Church of Christ. We have faith that it is God’s teaching that there shouldn’t be division among us, but that we should be one in thinking and one in judgment,” Manalo said in Filipino.

The INC head cited I Corinthians 1:10 and Romans 15:6 in claiming that the sect’s unity came “in the name of Jesus Christ, for the glory of God and for the sake of the church.”

He said a sample ballot containing the names of national and local candidates the INC followers would vote for would be sent to them before the vote.

Senatorial candidates

INC also endorsed the senatorial candidacies of the Liberal Party’s Joel Villanueva, Franklin Drilon and Ralph Recto, the Nationalist People’s Coalition’s Vicente Sotto III, United Nationalist Alliance’s Manny Pacquiao, independent former Sen. Richard Gordon, former Akbayan Rep. Risa Hontiveros, the NPC’s Sherwin Gatchalian, independent Francis Tolentino, former Bukidnon Rep. Miguel Zubiri, former Sen. Panfilo Lacson and Lakas Rep. Martin Romualdez.

READ MORE...

There was no immediate comment last night from Duterte’s rivals Grace Poe, Mar Roxas, Jejomar Binay and Miriam Defensor Santiago, and Marcos’ opponent Leni Robredo, who is leading the race for the country’s second highest office in the latest voter preference polls.

READ: Robredo asks for continued support amid new survey lead

READ:  Leni up 4, Bongbong down 3, for virtual tie in latest Pulse

All five presidential candidates have sought the endorsement of the influential INC, which does not officially state how many members it has. Unofficial estimates put the sect’s following at 2.25 million.

There were no immediate comments from Duterte and Marcos, although Marcos, whose father, the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos, had also been backed by the sect, appeared to have known about his selection as early as last week.

Marcos was reported on Friday as saying he learned last Tuesday that INC would endorse him. But the sect did not confirm Marcos’ statement and the next day his camp said the senator had been misquoted.

Last night’s INC announcement showed Marcos’ advance information had been right after all.

President Aquino met with INC executive minister Eduardo Manalo on Monday in an apparent last-minute plea for support for his chosen candidate, Roxas, although the LP standard-bearer, who is trailing Duterte in the latest Pulse Asia poll, said he could win the presidential election without the sect’s support.

Mr. Aquino had also warned of an impending return of dictatorship as the trash-talking Duterte, who promises to kill tens of thousands of criminals outside the justice system, and Marcos, who has been trying to pull the ultimate political comeback for his family, captured the lead in the polls in recent weeks.

READ: Aquino fears return of another dictatorship

The sect has gotten into a legal brawl with the Aquino administration, with the Department of Justice (DOJ) investigating allegations of kidnappings of dissenting ministers who had exposed corruption involving the group’s leaders in October 2015.

Rejecting state intervention in its affairs, the sect picketed the DOJ building in Manila and blockaded a narrow intersection of the belt highway Edsa for four days before quietly giving way to the probe that eventually ended in the dismissal of the charges against the group’s leaders.

READ: Iglesia Ni Cristo protesters occupy Edsa

Whether the incident affected the INC choices was unclear, and Malacañang had no immediate comment after the sect announced its endorsement of Duterte and Marcos.

Not always successful

INC endorsement, however, does not always translate into electoral victory.

In 1992, INC endorsed the presidential candidacy of Eduardo Cojuangco Jr., but the businessman lost to then President Corazon Aquino’s defense secretary, Fidel V. Ramos.

In 2010, the sect endorsed the presidential candidacy of Sen. Benigno Aquino III and the vice presidential candidacy of Roxas. Mr. Aquino won, but Roxas lost to Binay.

On Wednesday, Gordon told Inquirer reporters and editors in an interview that INC endorsed his run for the Senate in 2013 “but I lost.”

But Gordon, chair of the Philippine Red Cross, said he was “elated” by the reports that the sect had endorsed him again, even though he was unsure whether the reports were true.

Reports of the sect’s decision began to spread on social media in the morning, with INC Facebook users in the Visayas posting on their accounts that Duterte was the sect’s choice for President and Marcos for Vice President.

Sample ballots reportedly distributed to INC members also appeared online, three of them posted on Facebook. With reports from Maricar B. Brizuela; John Cyril Yee and Angelica Cruz, trainees; Carmel Loise Matus, Inquirer Visayas; and Inquirer Research/TVJ

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RELATED FROM THE INQUIRER

Duterte keeps huge lead By: Rafael L. Antonio and Kate Pedroso-Inquirer Research @inquirerdotnet Philippine Daily Inquirer 01:10 AM May 7th, 2016


Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte. INQUIRER PHOTO

Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte has brushed off controversies over an alleged hidden wealth and a rape joke to keep a huge lead going into the final days of the presidential election campaign, according to pollster Social Weather Stations (SWS).

The results of the last SWS preelection poll released Friday showed Duterte leading the race for Malacañang with voter support of 33 percent.

READ: Duterte widens lead in final pre-election SWS survey

Trailing Duterte by 11 points was Sen. Grace Poe, with 22 percent, followed by Liberal Party (LP) standard-bearer Mar Roxas (20 percent), Vice President Jejomar Binay (13 percent) and Sen. Miriam Defensor Santiago (2 percent).

Polled were 4,500 registered voters and the results had a margin of error of plus-or-minus 1 percentage point.

In the vice presidential race, Sen. Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. and Camarines Sur Rep. Leni Robredo remain statistically tied for the lead.

READ: Marcos, Robredo in ‘statistical tie’ in final SWS pre-election poll

The son of the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos had 29 percent voter support against 28 percent for the LP’s Robredo.

Former front-runner Sen. Francis Escudero got 15 percent, tying up with Duterte’s running mate, Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano, who had 13 percent.

Senators Gregorio Honasan II and Antonio Trillanes IV each had 3 percent voter support.

In the previous poll conducted on April 18-20, Robredo and Marcos were also in a statistical tie. Robredo had voter support of 26 percent against 25 percent for Marcos.

READ: Leni up 4, Bongbong down 3, for virtual tie in latest Pulse

Escudero’s latest score was down 3 points from 18 percent, while Cayetano’s declined by 3 points from 16 percent. Honasan’s rating went up by a point from 2 percent and Trillanes’ down 2 points from 5 percent.

‘Unscathed’

“It seems that Mayor Rodrigo Duterte remains unscathed despite issues against him,” said Richard Javad Heydarian, a political science assistant professor at De La Salle University. “It seems that his support is solid and he has not many ‘soft supporters.’”

Heydarian noted that Duterte has done “a splendid job” at winning the “perception game” that is the elections. “He really presented himself as the authentic candidate, the candidate for real change,” he said.

But Heydarian also noted that the results reflected voter preference at the time of the survey. “They don’t say whether they will vote the same way on May 9—or if they will vote at all.”

In the event of a low voter turnout, Duterte may be the likely loser, he said. “The challenge for Duterte is to translate the excitement he generated on the campaign trail into actual votes.”

Heydarian said participation of middle-class voters, among whom Duterte is popular, is crucial. “The question is: Will they really come out and vote?”

Heydarian also noted that the shifting numbers of Poe and Roxas have made it difficult to create an “anti-Duterte coalition.”

“Poe is the wild card. If she wins, it may actually be a more acceptable, less polarizing result,” he said. “Roxas winning is a long shot, but he is benefiting from the anti-Duterte hysteria by positioning himself as protector of democracy.”

“This is a very contentious election—the most polarizing in recent history,” Heydarian added. “It is worrisome regardless of the results.”

Earlier poll

“I don’t think the Duterte camp will accept anything other than a victory,” he said, adding that the Duterte camp will most definitely protest a Roxas win.

The latest ratings of Duterte and Santiago were unchanged from an earlier poll conducted on April 18-20. Roxas’ score climbed by a point from 19 percent, support for Poe was down 2 points from 24 percent and preference for Binay decreased by a point from 14 percent.

Prior to the survey period, Duterte faced a barrage of last-minute attacks over allegations he hid millions of pesos in undisclosed bank accounts, while his critics repeatedly warned he was a dictator in the making.

READ: Duterte: Yes, I’m a dictator, so what?

A confessed serial adulterer, the 71-year-old also generated outrage last month when he joked at a campaign rally that he had wanted to be the first to rape an Australian missionary who was sexually assaulted and murdered in a 1989 prison riot in Davao City.

READ: Despite outcry over rape ‘joke,’ Duterte refuses to say sorry

As with other controversies, which included calling Pope Francis a “son of a bitch,” none appears to have impacted Duterte’s popularity to voters, going by the latest SWS poll.

‘At peace, happy’

Poe, until recently the front-runner, said she continued to hope the numbers would change on Monday, as the survey showed her with improving numbers in Metro Manila and Luzon.

Still, she said she was at peace and ready to accept the people’s decision, and happy that she waged a decent campaign.

“We continue what we are doing. We cannot lose hope just because of the results. But, of course, we wish that would change,” Poe told reporters.

“I am at peace. This fight is not just for myself. I’ve presented issues to the people. I fought for them on my platform,” she said. “But in the end they will be the ones to decide. Whatever that decision is, I am ready to accept it.”

READ: Poe: Pinoys deserve better than iron-fist rule, stagnant gov’t

Speaking at a grand rally in Naga City on Thursday night, Roxas, President Aquino’s chosen candidate, appealed to voters to rally behind him and Robredo.

Robredo said the dream of the people of Bicol of electing a Vice President was within reach, but the region had to unite behind her candidacy.

Heydarian said Robredo’s rise was due to her robust far-reaching machinery.

“Leni is in a better position to win,” he said. “It seems that she is benefiting from voters who may think that a Duterte presidency is inevitable.”

READ: LOOK: Fidel Ramos wants Robredo to be the next Vice President

‘May the best woman win’

 If she wins as VP, Robredo to ask President to hire new talents for DOTC

President Aquino was also in the Naga rally and he again raised the specter of a return of dictatorship should Duterte win the election.

Mr. Aquino reminded the crowd of about 10,000 of Duterte’s statements that if elected, he would shut down Congress if anybody there moved for his impeachment.

In a rally in Ligao City in Albay province on Thursday afternoon, Mr. Aquino said Duterte, being a lawyer, should know the Constitution, which provides for the separation of powers between the executive, legislative and judiciary.

READ: Aquino takes swipe at Duterte

 Ping Lacson on Duterte presidency: God help us

El Shaddai backs Binay

Binay received a boost on Friday, with the Catholic lay movement El Shaddai endorsing his candidacy for President, according to the Vice President’s spokesperson, Joey Salgado.

“The radio station of El Shaddai, dwXI 1413, has announced the endorsement of Vice President Jejomar Binay as its candidate for President,” Salgado said.

Quoting the El Shaddai announcement, Salgado said “the choice of Vice President Binay was almost unanimous,” reached during consultations within the group.

The endorsement came five days after Binay, Poe and Roxas joined an El Shaddai overnight vigil, apparently seeking the endorsement of the group.

In a statement, Binay, who earlier gained the support of prolife groups and Catholic lay organizations, thanked the group led by Mike Velarde and promised to offer his leadership to God.

“I am grateful and humbled by the endorsement of the members of El Shaddai and to Bro. Mike Velarde for giving me the opportunity to speak before his congregation,” Binay said, referring to his appearance at the El Shaddai gathering last Sunday.

There is no Catholic vote in the Philippines. On Thursday, Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle said the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines remained firmly opposed to endorsing candidates as its way of showing respect for Catholics’ own choice of leaders.

But there is an Iglesia ni Cristo (INC) vote and it is going to Duterte.

On Wednesday night, during worship service, INC executive minister Eduardo Manalo exhorted his 2.25 million followers to vote as one.

He said a list of national and local candidates that the sect’s members would vote for would be sent to them before Monday’s vote.

INC members began circulating a sample ballot on social media that morning showing the names of Duterte and Marcos as the sect’s choices for President and Vice President. With reports from Leila B. Salaverria and Tarra Quismundo; Juan Escandor Jr. and Mar S. Arguelles, Inquirer Southern Luzon; and AFP


PHILSTAR

Grace vows to thwart ‘executioner Rody,’ won’t quit race (The Philippine Star) | Updated May 6, 2016 - 12:00am


Presidential candidate Sen. Grace Poe gestures during a news conference Thursday, May 5, 2016 at the financial district of Makati city, east of Manila, Philippines. Poe, who is running second to front-running candidate Rodrigo Duterte in recent poll surveys leading to Monday's Presidential elections, denies rumor she is quitting the presidential race. AP Photo/Bullit Marquez

MANILA, Philippines - “I will not sell out. I will not sell the dreams of our countrymen.”

Sen. Grace Poe yesterday quelled rumors of her withdrawal from the presidential race and vowed to win the May 9 elections to put a stop to what she called the “disturbing” rise of frontrunner Rodrigo Duterte.

Poe saw her campaign eclipsed by a surge in Duterte’s popularity. She called for a news conference yesterday to shoot down speculations that she would pull out and support administration candidate Manuel Roxas II.

Duterte was the top choice of 33 percent of Filipinos in the latest Pulse Asia survey published on Tuesday, with Poe at 21 percent.

Roxas got 22 percent and moved into the second spot for the first time since June of last year.

Roxas declared the contest is now a two-way race between him and Duterte, which has sparked rumors that Poe would bow out.

“To those who are saying that I should give way, what gives you the right to say that our choices should only be limited to two candidates?” Poe asked.

“I’m not a member of a syndicate who enters into dealings. I will not sell out. I will not sell the dreams of our countrymen.”

Poe said she was not bothered by the drop in her standing in the surveys because in the end, it is the vote of the people that would count and not the pre-election polls.

READ MORE...

Poe used a stronger tone and took aim at Roxas for working in a failed government and said Duterte’s “disturbing” talk of extrajudicial killings had to be stopped.

“It is not right that our choices be limited to a failing, callous and slow government... or a government run by an executioner,” Poe said.

“And I feel, especially now, that they are doing everything to condition the minds of the people and we should not allow this to happen,” she added.

Poe said that the candidate with the strongest political machinery would not necessarily end up on top.

“And whoever is chosen by the people should be respected by all candidates,” she said.

Poe continues to get support from various groups, including 23 local officials in Batangas, Laguna and Quezon.

Two groups separately placed advertisements in major newspapers yesterday committing support for Poe and her platform of government with compassion.

But the groups ditched Poe’s runningmate, Sen. Francis Escudero, as they vowed support for Liberal Party vice presidential candidate Camarines Sur Rep. Leni Robredo. The other group expressed support for Sen. Ferdinand Marcos Jr.

Elizabeth Angsioco, national chairman of the Democratic Socialist Women of the Philippines, former senators Leticia Ramos-Shalani and Santanina Rasul led the 40 representatives from education, business and youth sectors supporting the Poe-Robredo tandem.

In a paid ad, the group said they support Poe and Marcos in the belief that they share their calls to rid the country of graft and corruption, illegal drugs and illegal gambling and promote of peace and order, among other advocacies.

Robbie Pierre Roco, president of Aksyon Demokratiko, said 23 mayors, mostly incumbents, together with their vice mayors, also signed a manifesto in support of Poe for president. – With Marvin Sy, Christina Mendez, Arnell Ozaeta

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RELATED FROM PHILSTAR

My husband is not a CIA agent – Grace By Christina Mendez (The Philippine Star) | Updated May 7, 2016 - 12:00am 4 108 googleplus0 0


FROM LEFT: Neil Llamanzares, Hannah, Nica, Brian and Senator Grace Poe-Llamanzares BULLETIN FILE

 MANILA, Philippines - He could not have been a secret agent of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) as he had never stayed far from her for long periods, Sen. Grace Poe said yesterday of her husband Neil Llamanzares as she defended him from insinuations by Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago that he was involved in clandestine activities for the US spy agency.

“My husband is not with CIA, I beg your pardon,” she said in Filipino on ANC TV. “We’re always together. This is not ‘True Lies’ where the husband would suddenly disappear or hide somewhere else,” she said, referring to the 1990s film on the married life of a secret agent played by Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Poe said her husband is not the type who meddles in her career. “I know my husband and we can see from his personality that he doesn’t meddle. There are many names in politics that he doesn’t know,” she said. “And maybe if he really is with the CIA, he would have been booted out a long time ago for being useless and for not contributing anything,” she said.

Poe added her husband was set to get his Certificate of Loss of Nationality from the US embassy yesterday.

“My husband has renounced before a public officer in the Philippines and in the US embassy and he is getting his certificate today,” Poe said. Llamanzares has completed all the requisites for the renunciation, Poe added.

“There’s a fee for that. You should be able to file your tax for the last five years. You have to put all those documents together and to submit that so by the time you go there, you have to have it,” she said.

Llamanzares took the oath of renunciation on April 17 before a barangay chairman in Greenhills, San Juan.

Poe, who faced questions on her citizenship and natural-born status when she decided to run for president, maintained that her husband is a natural-born Filipino.

“I’d like to point out my husband is a natural-born Filipino because his parents are Filipinos. It so happened that they studied in the US where my husband was born,” she said.

“They said my husband and my children never voted. Now there was record, they voted,” she said.

The senator also shrugged off Santiago’s claim that all other contenders were “intellectually bankrupt.” She said she may not be as learned as Santiago but she and the other candidates were certainly not intellectually bankrupt.

Despite failing to get endorsement from the Iglesia ni Cristo, Poe said she remains confident of getting sizeable votes come May 9.

She said she respects the decision of the INC, which supposedly votes as a bloc.

No Binay offer The senator also denied yesterday reports on social media that she has asked Vice President Jejomar Binay to quit the race and encourage his supporters to switch to her side.

“Absolutely not true,” she told ABS-CBN News Channel when asked about the reports. She has reportedly offered to reimburse all of Binay’s election-related expenses.

“I do not have the money to reimburse his expenses, which could amount to billions,” she said.

Poe also said Sen. Francis Escudero remains her vice presidential running mate.

“I believe in his capability as a leader,” she said.

She was commenting on two newspaper advertisements – one partnering her with Roxas’ vice presidential teammate Leni Robredo and the other with Sen. Ferdinand Marcos Jr.

Asked what the nation would be like under a Duterte presidency, she said she would “still hope for the best, especially when it comes to the (financial) markets.”

“One thing you don’t want is to spook the markets,” she said.

Wrapping up what she proudly calls a clean campaign, Poe is set to hold her miting de avance at the Plaza Miranda across the Quiapo Church where she has often sought spiritual refuge and where her bid for the presidency officially began.

Poe said the venue may not be big enough to accommodate all her supporters but she insisted on it because the place had a special meaning for her.

Poe said she is proud that she stood her ground and ran a clean and honest campaign in the last three months.

While she often had to defend herself from criticisms and malicious propaganda, Poe said she feels good about herself because she never attacked her rivals personally, but only challenged them on issues.

Poe campaigned in Bulacan yesterday with actor Coco Martin, who reprises the role of Poe’s adoptive father Fernando Poe Jr. in the primetime TV series “Ang Probinsyano.” Martin has expressed support for the senator’s anti-poverty programs.

With two days to go, Poe remains hopeful that people would be enlightened and choose her “Gobyernong may Puso” over a government that is run by a “berdugo” or a corrupt politician or an unimpressive non-performer.

Poe, who believes in surveys as guide, recalled that she barely made it to the Magic 12 in 2013 surveys but she emerged as a topnotcher in the senatorial race.

She stressed she is ready to accept whatever is decided by the people. – Marvin Sy, Jess Diaz


PHILSTAR

Mar unfazed by Iglesia choice By Alexis Romero (The Philippine Star) | Updated May 6, 2016 - 12:00am


Roxas

NAGA CITY, Camarines Sur, Philippines – Liberal Party (LP) presidential candidate Manuel Roxas II is unfazed by the endorsement of Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte by the Iglesia ni Cristo (INC), even as he vowed to continue the fight for decent governance.

Despite failing to get the support of the religious group, Roxas thanked the INC for giving him the opportunity to present his platform.

“We thank the INC for considering us and for studying our platform. While the INC did not choose us, we thank them for allowing us to tell our supporters that we will continue our fight,” Roxas said in an interview in Legazpi City yesterday.

“Now more than ever, it shows the fight between Duterte-Marcos and Roxas Robredo,” he added.

The INC, which is said to be capable of delivering two million votes, has also endorsed the candidacy of vice presidential bet Sen. Ferdinand Marcos Jr.

Roxas and his runningmate Camarines Sur Rep. Leni Robredo met with INC leaders at least twice. The first meeting was held on March 30 while the second one happened last April 19. Roxas likened Duterte to Marcos’ father, the late strongman and former president Ferdinand Marcos.

“In 1965, when President Marcos assumed as president, the Philippines was second in Asia in terms of development and wealth. In 1985, the Philippines went bankrupt,” Roxas said.

“These are the same traits that Mayor Duterte is showing. He has an iron fist. He resorts to violence and insults. He thinks he alone is right. He thinks he alone can think, that he alone can decide for the country,” he added.

Roxas also criticized Duterte for his alleged hidden wealth and his supposed plan to abolish Congress, the Commission on Audit and the Ombudsman. “That means we will return to martial law,” the LP standard bearer said.

“To those who have not yet decided, Leni and I invite you all to look at our track record and our character, which is the only thing you can hold on to in making a decision,” Roxas said.

“Our characters are our guarantee to you – who we are, what we’ll do when we’re elected – that determines whether or not you can trust us,” he said.

“Join us. We’ve gone far but we’ll progress more if we’re together and make sure that the one who’ll win is clean, honest, transparent,” Roxas said in his message.

“You can trust us not to lie, not to be arrogant and bullies, not to steal from you,” he said.

Hocus-pocus

He also dismissed as “hocus pocus” Duterte’s move to reveal the contents of his bank accounts supposedly to dispel allegations that he has hidden wealth.

READ MORE...

Roxas questioned why Duterte did not show the peso accounts as well as the accounts’ history.

“It was just a hocus pocus. He showed the bank books in dollars. If it was that easy to show the bankbooks, why did he not show the peso accounts? What is the history of these peso accounts? How much was deposited to or withdrawn from them?” he said.

Roxas noted that Duterte had admitted that he has “less than P200 million” in his bank accounts.

“Will he shirk from this again? That is the record of Mayor Duterte. He will say something and then evade it once faced with data,” the presidential candidate said.

“He flip flops. He cannot be trusted. His mouth tells lies,” he added.

Earlier, vice presidential candidate Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV accused Duterte of failing to declare billions of assets in his statement of assets, liabilities and net worth. Trillanes said Duterte’s undeclared wealth included more than P211 million deposited in a bank account in the Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI) Julia Vargas branch.

In an attempt to belie the senator’s allegations, Duterte showed on Wednesday 11 passbooks of his peso and dollar accounts at the BPI branch.

Duterte’s bank certification of deposit, a joint account with his daughter Sara, showed a balance of P17,816.93 in his savings account as of March 31, 2014, but did not detail the transaction history of the account. – With Paolo Romero, Cet Dematera

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RELATED FROM PHILSTAR

Mar Roxas appeals to Grace Poe: Let's talk (philstar.com) | Updated May 6, 2016 - 6:10pm 20 953 googleplus0 1


Philippine Presidential candidate Mar Roxas goes back to his seat shortly after signing the covenant for "truthful, responsible, upright, transparent, and honest" elections scheduled on May 9 at the Manila Cathedral in Manila, Philippines, Monday, May 2, 2016. Roxas and another candidate Vice-president Jejomar Binay are almost "statistical tie" in recent poll surveys behind front-runner Rodrigo Duterte and Grace Poe. AP / Bullit Marquez

MANILA, Philippines (UPDATE 2 | 7:21 p.m.) — Presidential candidate and administration bet Manuel "Mar" Roxas on Friday called on fellow candidate, Sen. Grace Poe, to have a talk "for unity" as rival Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte continues to top pre-election surveys.

"Grace, mag-usap tayo. I will adjust schedules to your convenience. Sabihin mo lang kung saan at darating ako," Roxas said in an announcement Friday afternoon at the Liberal Party headquarters in Cubao, Quezon City, according to reports by the STAR.

"Let's talk. This is for unity, our country and this is for our future," Roxas added.

Roxas said that while undecided voters are drifting toward supporting him, "uncertainty and the specter of a dictatorship are looming over our country again."

"The peso has dropped, affecting everything from the price of oil, medicines, steel, other imported goods; investors are putting plans on hold," he added.

He also criticized Duterte's leadership as caring "nothing about honesty, integrity, transparency, responsibility or even just basic decency."

Roxas originally wanted to run for president in 2010 but decided to seek the vice presidency instead to give way to then Sen. Benigno Aquino III.

There was a clamor that time for Aquino to seek the presidency following the death of his mother, democracy icon and former President Corazon Aquino on Aug. 1, 2010.

Duterte, known for his tough talk and his shocking pronouncements, managed to retain his lead in presidential surveys despite allegations that he has hidden wealth. He got 33 percent in the Pulse Asia survey on presidential candidates conducted from April 26 to 29.

Roxas landed on second place with 22 percent followed by Poe with 21 percent. Vice President Jejomar Binay got 17 percent while Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago was chosen by 2 percent of the 4,000 respondents.

The mayor also emerged as the front-runner in the latest Social Weather Stations survey with 33 percent. Poe was chosen by 22 percent of the respondents while Roxas got 20 percent.

Binay, who defeated Roxas in the 2010 vice presidential race, was chosen by 14 percent of the 4,500 respondents while Santiago got 2 percent.

Reacting to a report that Poe declined to set a meeting with Roxas, Presidential Communications Undersecretary Manuel Quezon III said Poe refused to heed the call for "unity versus dictatorship."

Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano, Duterte's running mate, earlier said at a press conference in Taguig City that his camp received reports of an allegiance between Poe and the Liberal Party to work against Duterte.

"I believe that our people know who the real enemies are. Those who are afraid of the radical change that Mayor Duterte can bring, those who resort to desperate ploys such as this, they are the ones whom we should watch out for," Cayetano said at a press conference Friday.

Last year, Roxas's camp, led by President Benigno Aquino III, wooed Poe, a freshman senator and daughter of late frustrated presidential candidate Fernando Poe Jr., to run for vice president under the Liberal Party's banner. Poe declined and instead launched a presidential campaign, enlisting Sen. Francis "Chiz" Escudero as her running mate.

Camarines Sur Maria Leonor "Leni" Robredo, widow of late Interior Secretary Jesse Robredo, is now running as Liberal Party vice presidential candidate. — Camille Diola and Alexis Romero with a report from Mike Frialde


PHILSTAR

Miriam warns of poll fraud  By Rainier Allan Ronda (The Philippine Star) | Updated May 6, 2016 - 12:00am


Santiago

MANILA, Philippines - Presidential candidate Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago aired fears of electoral fraud on May 9.

Speaking yesterday before students at the University of Santo Tomas in Manila, Santiago said that she doubts the accuracy of the vote counting machines and that massive vote buying will result in a “winner” who is not the true choice of voters.

“The most notorious distortion of the people’s choice is electoral corruption,” she said.

“There are still scientific doubts on the accuracy of the voting machines that we will be using this coming election.”

In her speech, “How Elections Fail the Philippines,” Santiago said the worst problem is vote buying. “Rich candidates buy, and the uneducated masses are willing to sell, their votes,” she said.

“This is said to have recently evolved to mass vote-buying. Candidates now promise to shower barangays with projects as long as the barangay assures them of victory in the voting precincts.”

Santiago asked the youth to campaign for their friends, relatives and neighbors not to sell their votes, and instead vote wisely.

“I call on the youth to do something about it,” she said.

“Open the eyes of your neighbors, urge them to look ahead. Admonish them to vote not only for themselves but also for their children and grandchildren.

“It is our duty to think about tomorrow. It is our duty to decide this country’s fate.”

Santiago thanked the UST students for having chosen her as the “most competent among presidentiables in handling most of the issues affecting the country.”

READ MORE...

UST’s Thomasian Initiatives for Good Election Results had conducted a poll where Santiago, who has been a consistent topnotcher in mock polls in campuses all over the country, had ranked first in terms of her platform on taxes, high prices, wages for workers and professionals, population growth, mass transport and LGBT rights.

Marcos to join Duterte in Panatag

Sen. Ferdinand Marcos Jr. will join Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte in planting the Philippine flag on Panatag Shoal in the West Philippine Sea if they are elected president and vice president.

“If he says that he wants me to go with him, I would,” Marcos said when asked if he would join Duterte if they both win.

“Whoever will be elected as president, I will support in every way I can. Because that is what the people are asking for – that the government work together for the betterment of the country, to move the country forward.”

However, Marcos was quick to explain that the next administration should first draft its defense and foreign policies, especially on the issue of the West Philippine Sea.

“We have to first form a foreign policy,” he said.


Administration standard-bearer Manuel Roxas II and his top rival Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Dutert

“Right now, we have no foreign policy. We have no policies for anything in this administration. There is no direction, there are no plans. There are no visions.”

The next administration must choose the right people to do the job and discuss the agenda to solve the conflict in the West Philippine Sea, Marcos said.

During the last presidential debate in Pangasinan, Duterte said he would ride a jet ski alone and go to Panatag Shoal to plant the Philippine flag.

He would not want to risk the lives of the military so he will go alone, and face his fate, he added.

It will be up to the Filipino people to “mourn” if his move costs him his life, Duterte said.

China has been claiming Panatag Shoal, which many experts say is strategic for defense.

If China builds facilities on Panatag similar to those built in other reefs in the Spratlys, then China’s defense capabilities will be strengthened, making the Philippines and other bases vulnerable, experts claim.

LDP backs Marcos

The Laban ng Demokratikong Pilipino endorsed yesterday the vice presidential quest of Marcos.

In a statement emailed to reporters, former senator and LDP chairman Edgardo Angara said his group is supporting Marcos “in an effort to put an end to the politics of vengeance and start a genuine process to heal and unify the country.”

He said the son of the late President Marcos “can inspire, unite and lead our nation to a sustainable and progressive development.”

“Advocating a positive and inclusive policy, the LDP supports new leaders who will and can unify and heal a divided nation,” he said.

Angara served as president of the state-owned University of the Philippines during the Marcos regime. He was a post-Marcos-era senator for many years. –With , Christina Mendez, Jess Diaz, Perseus Echeminada

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RELATED FROM THE INQUIRER

Santiago, Marcos hold final campaign rally in QC By: Frances Mangosing @FMangosingINQ INQUIRER.net 07:18 PM May 7th, 2016
Miriam Defensor Santiago supporters in Quezon City. PHOTO BY RICHARD REYES


Supporters of Sen. Miriam Defensor Santiago rally for their presidential candidate at her campaign headquarters in Quezon City on Saturday. RICHARD REYES/INQUIRER

Presidential aspirant Sen. Miriam Defensor Santiago and running mate Sen. Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. have not organized a miting de avance but they will make their final campaign together on Saturday night.

The street party in front of Santiago’s headquarters on West Avenue in Quezon City on the last day of the campaign period was organized by her youth volunteers. The senator confirmed her attendance to the event only at the last minute.

Santiago and Marcos toured mostly apart during the three-month campaign period, saying this was to cover more ground. The female senator also took a month-long break from the campaign for her cancer treatment.

At a press briefing on Thursday, she said that holding a miting de avance was “useless” because those who show up were paid by candidates.

Hours before her scheduled appearance, Santiago released a statement saying she would not quit the presidential race amid calls of President Benigno Aquino III for the candidates trailing Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte to unite against the front-runner.

“I have said it before, and I will say it again: I will never quit, I will never stop, I will never withdraw. I owe it to the Filipino people who believe in my leadership and who yearn for long-overdue reforms,” she said.

The senator previously said she had received offers of up to P350 million for her to quit the presidential race.

 


PHILSTAR

Binay to rivals ahead in surveys: Don’t celebrate yet By Helen Flores (The Philippine Star) | Updated May 6, 2016 - 12:00am 0 40 googleplus0 0


In this May 1, 2016 file photo, Philippines Vice President Jejomar Binay, addresses the crowd during a prayer vigil for an honest, fair, and orderly May 9 elections by the El Shaddai charismatic renewal group at suburban Paranaque city, south of Manila, Philippines. In a poor Southeast Asian country with a soft spot for the underdog, Binay has tried to turn online jokes about his dark complexion and small stature to his advantage by portraying himself in campaign ads as an everyman who understands the struggles of the underclass. But Binay, who is running fourth in opinion polls ahead of Monday's presidential elections, is battling another image he says is a political smear - that of a corrupt bureaucrat who built a fortune from government coffers. AP Photo/Bullit Marquez, File

MANILA, Philippines - “Do not celebrate yet.”

This was the message of Rico Quicho, Vice President Jejomar Binay’s campaign spokesman, to other presidential aspirants leading in the latest surveys.

“It will be a tight race all the way to election day. The surveys do not capture the intense ground campaigning by the Vice President’s core supporters and parallel groups nationwide,” Quicho said.

In a survey conducted by Pulse Asia from April 26 to 29 and commissioned by ABS-CBN, one in three Filipinos or 33 percent picked Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte to be the country’s next president.

Liberal Party standard-bearer Mar Roxas and Sen. Grace Poe of the Gobyernong May Puso were statistically tied for the second spot with 22 percent and 21 percent, respectively.

Binay, standard-bearer of the United Nationalist Alliance (UNA), remained at fourth with 17 percent voter preference, down by one point from his previous rating.

Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago still trails with two percent.

Quicho is confident the opposition bet will come out the winner in the May 9 polls.

Binay vowed to end the “insensitive and inept governance” if he is elected president.

“No more incompetent official will remain in office just because he’s a friend, a classmate or a shooting buddy,” the vice president said, taking a swipe at President Aquino, a known gun enthusiast.

READ MORE...

UNA:Duterte is Phl Kim Jong-un

UNA likened Duterte to North Korea’s supreme leader and dictator Kim Jong-un.

UNA secretary general JV Bautista and Quicho expressed fear on a “Kim-(Di)gong” on the way to Malacañang.

“Anyone publicly displaying his contempt for the law and his despotic tendencies, just like Rodrigo Duterte, is not the man to be made president of the Philippines,” Bautista said.

“It’s time to lift the veil that surrounds Duterte. He is a serious threat to our democracy. He does not value life and he is supporting extra-judicial killings,” Bautista added.

He said Duterte’s warning of a “bloody” presidency and promise to have 10,000 criminals killed and their bodies thrown in the sea are reminiscent of history’s ruthless dictators like Idi Amin of Uganda or North Korea’s Kim.

He said a possible war could erupt between the Philippines and its allies over Duterte’s threat to sever diplomatic ties after the US and Australia slammed him over his rape comment about Australian missionary Jacqueline Hamill in 1989.

Bautista said Duterte has no respect for international relations and the Philippines could “become a pariah nation and that is very dangerous.”

Duterte had said that he is the Davao Death Squad (DDS), a vigilante group that carried out many of the killings. In some of his television interviews, he claimed to have killed 1,700 criminals.

“He is out to make a sham of the democracy we hold dear,” Bautista said.

Surveys questioned Meanwhile, a political analyst and professor of the University of the Philippines has questioned the two surveys of Pulse Asia, which were conducted only two days apart and showed different results.

UP professor Prospero de Vera said surveys could be manipulated to project the rise of a candidate.

The April 26 to 29 showed Roxas gaining two points and overtaking Poe for second place.

In the vice presidential race, Roxas’ runningmate Leni Robredo gained four points and overtook frontrunner Sen. Bongbong Marcos.

Leni obtained 30 points, while Marcos dropped three points to 28 percent.

The other survey was conducted just two days earlier or from April 19 to 24.

De Vera said he could not help but suspect the results.

“There is something abnormal. It’s suspicious so the camp of Senator Marcos is warning about possible manipulation of the survey result,” he said in Filipino.

He said when a candidate is hounded by issues, it takes about a month for the surveys to reflect the results in public opinion. – With Perseus Echeminada

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ALSO  FROM THE INQUIRER

Binay urges Aquino: Call for clean polls instead of unity vs Duterte By: Marc Jayson Cayabyab @MJcayabyabINQ
INQUIRER.net  09:21 PM May 6th, 2016


Vice President Jejomar Binay. INQUIRER PHOTO

The camp of Vice President Jejomar Binay on Friday urged President Benigno Aquino III to focus on maintaining clean and honest elections rather than urging the candidates to unite against survey front-runner Rodrigo Duterte.

In a statement, Binay’s information officer Joey Salgado said Aquino’s call for the candidates to join forces against a possible dictatorship under Duterte sounded “hollow” because the President himself had been hitting the rivals of administration bet Mar Roxas.

“With two days to go before the people choose their next president, Vice President Binay believes the President should just ensure that the election is free from cheating, violence and intimidation,” Salgado said.

“Besides, such a call for unity sounds hollow considering that the President has been hitting the rivals of Roxas throughout the campaign,” he added.

Salgado said the public should respect the results of the elections as long as it was done in a clean and credible manner.

“As long as (the candidate) wins in a clean election, we should respect the people’s judgment because that’s the essence of democracy,” he said. “Vice President Binay continues the fight for a government that is not insensitive and inefficient, and truly serves the poor.”

Binay’s camp issued the statement after administration bet Roxas in a press conference asked for a dialogue with Sen. Grace Poe to thwart a possible dictatorship under Duterte, who has been leading the voters’ opinion polls days before the May 9 elections. RC


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