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(Mini Reads followed by Full Reports below)

TODAY THE FUTURE BEGINS.

NO CLEAR-CUT FOREIGN POLICY FOR MAY 9 BETS
[RELATED: Presidentiables have not come out with specific plans on territorial dispute – diplomacy experts]


MAY 6 -UNDER HEAVY GUARD –Members of the Quezon City Police District (QCPD) Public Safety Battalion stand guard as workers unload boxes of official ballots Wednesday for safekeeping at the Quezon City Hall until they are distributed to election precincts in Monday’s polls. (Mark Balmores) All those gunning for the highest office in the land in the May 9, 2016, national and local elections have yet to come out with any substantial foreign policy platform, especially when it comes to dealing with the territorial dispute in the South China Sea. This was pointed out by top international relations and diplomacy experts during a foreign policy conference organized to aid the next Philippine president held last Tuesday at the PLDT Hall of the University of Asia and the Pacific (UA&P) in Pasig City. Philippine Ambassadors Foundation, Inc. president Lauro Baja said it is difficult to answer the question on who among the presidential candidates has the “best foreign policy platform” primarily because he has “not heard anything” from the contenders about their multi-track approach on the West Philippine Sea as well as other pressing issues relating to international relations and diplomacy. Baja is a seasoned Filipino diplomat who helped negotiate the 2002 Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN)-China Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC). “What I like to hear is some specific plans or proposal which could be realized within six years,” the former Philippine ambassador to the United Nations said during the symposium on “A Strategic Foreign Policy Recommendation to the Next President” organized by the Philippine Council for Foreign Relations, Inc. (PCFR) in collaboration with the University of Asia and the Pacific (UA&P) School of Law and Governance (SLG) and PAFI. In fact, Baja said all the presidentiables have not come out with “specific plans on specific issues” regarding the South China Sea territorial dispute between Manila and Beijing. “It’s always an adherence to freedom of navigation, which is already guaranteed by international and customary law,” he said. “It’s all about peaceful settlement… and it’s about rules-based. But whose rules are we are talking about? Rules by the United States? Rules by China? Or rules by whatever member of the international community?” Insofar as Vice President Jejomar Binay is concerned, Baja said the former Makati City mayor has yet to come out with more specific plan of action on this particular issue and how he proposes to operationalize his plans. READ MORE...RELATED, Presidentiables have not come out with specific plans on territorial dispute – diplomacy experts...

ALSO: Automated polls finally certified accurate, secure - Comelec says
[RELATED: 2,000 MMDA personnel to manage traffic, clean-up ops on May 9]


Based on TEC Resolution No. 2016-001 dated April 30, the committee has certified that the AES is compliant with Republic Act 9369 or the poll automation law. STAR/File photo
 The Commission on Elections (Comelec) has finally secured a certification from the multi-sector Technical Evaluation Committee (TEC) approving the automated election system (AES) to be used in the May 9 polls. Based on TEC Resolution No. 2016-001 dated April 30, the committee has certified that the AES is compliant with Republic Act 9369 or the poll automation law. “The TEC, properly convened, resolves to issue this Certification that, in our qualified opinion based on the herein included documented results, the AES is operating properly, securely and accurately, as mandated by Republic Act 9369,” the TEC said. The resolution was signed by TEC chairman Peter Antonio Banzon of the Advanced Science and Technology Institute of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) and committee members Raul Nilo of the DOST- Information and Communication Technology Office and Eden Bolo of Information Technology Department of the Comelec. Under the law, TEC must certify if the AES, including its hardware and software components, is compliant based on several “documented results.” READ MORE...RELATED,
2,000 MMDA personnel to manage traffic, clean-up ops on May 9...

ALSO: Palace laments fizzling of ‘unity’
[ALSO: DITORIAL The millennial vote]


MAY 7 -The President said that while those against a dictatorship like Roxas, Poe and other presidential candidates, Vice President Jejomar Binay and Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago, may be divided, they share the “united message” of the 70 percent against the 30 percent of frontrunner Duterte. Philstar.com file
Joining the unity talks proposed by President Aquino to stop an election victory of Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte carried no conditions for Sen. Grace Poe, Malacañang stressed yesterday as it lamented her outright rejection of the invitation. Speaking over radio dzRB, Presidential Communications Development and Strategic Planning Office Undersecretary Manuel Quezon III said Poe and Liberal Party standard-bearer Manuel Roxas II were two of the candidates who share the President’s stand on issues the most and that the call for them to talk – along with other bets – to thwart a looming dictatorship was in response to the clamor from various sectors for them to do something.
“The first duty of a president and in fact, the first duty of any leader, is to think of the national interest. What we are faced with is the problem of a minority representing basically a fascistic approach to governance, while the overwhelming majority are not for that kind of governance,” Quezon said. “Therefore, the leader’s challenge is to find every way to pursue the national interest and that includes an appeal for unity,” he said. The President said that while those against a dictatorship like Roxas, Poe and other presidential candidates, Vice President Jejomar Binay and Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago, may be divided, they share the “united message” of the 70 percent against the 30 percent of frontrunner Duterte. Quezon said it was not a desperate move on the part of the administration to call for a unity meeting as Aquino and Roxas did not set any conditions for anyone who would want to join. READ MORE...ALSO, EDITORIAL The millennial vote...

ALSO: May 9 polls under China’s watchful eyes
[ALSO: Security forces on alert ahead of Monday polls]


MAY 8 -China is closely watching developments in the Philippine elections with keen interest. And it is optimistic the next administration will be open to bilateral negotiations with Beijing in order to settle once and for all the ongoing territorial disputes over parts of the resource-rich South China Sea.
In an interview with reporters at the sidelines of the European Union National Day held in Makati City Thursday night, Chinese Ambassador to Manila Zhao Jinhua expressed hope that whoever will come out victorious in the May 9 presidential elections will be willing to sit down and talk on a bilateral level with his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping about possible ways to resolve the issue. Ambassador Zhao issued this statement as the United Nations-backed Permanent Court of Arbitration in the Hague is poised to issue its decision in the case lodged by the Philippine government on China’s claims over South China Sea. He said the Chinese government monitors the policy positions being made by the presidential candidates in the series of debates, particularly on the issue of addressing territorial disputes in the South China Sea. “Whoever wins (in the presidential elections), we hope that he or she can improve or work toward better relations,” said the Chinese diplomat as he emphasized that China does not interfere in domestic affairs of the Philippines. “We want to have a new chapter in the bilateral relations between China and the Philippines.” The top Chinese diplomat in Manila declared that Beijing has always been open to bilateral and multilateral settlement of disputes with parties involved in the territorial disputes in South China Sea. In fact, he pointed out that China has been successful in negotiating territorial disputes with Vietnam and Russia on bilateral levels even as it took them 40 years. At the same time, Zhao said China is involved in the implementation of the Declaration of Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC) signed by China and Association of Southeast Asian Nations member states and is also seriously discussing the fundamentals of a binding Code of Conduct. Moreover, he said the Philippines should benefit from the growing outbound Chinese tourist that has reached 120 million the previous year. Of this number, Ambassador Zhao said the Philippines’ share of Chinese tourists only reached 500,000 last year, far below the share of other ASEAN neighbors. He said the new chapter of the bilateral relations between the two countries should likewise focus “on common interests such as in the areas of economic, financial, trade cooperation, to promotion of tourism, and people to people cooperation.” In past interviews, Ambassador Zhao declared that all major border issues, the South China Sea territorial dispute will likely be settled only though bilateral negotiations and not through international arbitration. He said this has been the arrangement between China and the Philippines before the latter decided to file a case before the United Nations-backed Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague. “Before you filed the arbitration case,” Ambassador Zhao said, “the channels for bilateral consultations were open. We were working.” “To our surprise,” he added, “the decision to file the arbitration case, the Philippine side claimed that the bilateral negotiations were useless. After so many years of talks, so many rounds of negotiations, nothing has been produced.” STRONG PRESIDENT NEEDED. READ MORE...RELATED, Security forces on alert ahead of Monday polls...

ALSO: ‘Coup imminent if Duterte wins’-Trillanes warns of unrest if leftists share power
[RELATED: DUTERTE CAMP FILED TREASON AND ESPIONAGE RAPS VS AQUINO, TRILLANES]


MAY 4 -In prayer. Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte prays with longtime friend Pastor Apollo Quiboloy, whom the candidate admitted gave him various properties and vehicles, during a telecast of Quiboloy’s television program Monday night. SONSHINE MEDIA  
AN administration led by presidential candidate and Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte would be vulnerable to a coup, said Senator Antonio Trillanes IV, a former Navy officer who led two failed mutinies in 2003 and 2007. Speaking at a forum organized by the Foreign Correspondents of the Philippines (Focap) Tuesday, Trillanes said most members of the military are averse to any form of power-sharing with the communist movement that the Davao mayor is proposing. “It is going to be very easy to recruit people for such a military intervention,” said Trillanes. Trillanes, who recently accused Duterte of failing to report millions of pesos in a secret bank account, said even if the mayor wins on May 9, he takes office on June 30 and there was still time for people to stop him from taking office. He said the Ombudsman, the Anti-Money Laundering Council and other government agencies were not investigating Duterte’s finances. “Back in 2001, we found a creative way of removing a sitting president who got mandate from the people,” said Trillanes, referring to ousted President Joseph Estrada.Trillanes also dared Duterte to file a libel complaint against him. “My accusations against him was very grave. I am accusing him of having ill-gotten wealth worth P2.4 billion. He can file a libel case against me,” he said. “But you see, he wont file a libel case... You know why? Because if he files a case against me, the bank accounts now will be exempted from the Bank Secrecy Law.” Earlier, Trillanes told broadcaster and former vice president Noli de Castro in a radio interview that Duterte was bent on setting up a revolutionary government with the help of Jose Ma. Sison, founder of the Communist Party of the Philippines. “[Duterte’s] partners are communists, like Joma Sison,” Trillanes said. “They have an agreement. [Duterte] is really a disciple of Joma Sison and he does not even deny it. But I fear something more serious, not only corruption but a real threat to democracy,” Trillanes said. READ MORE...RELATED,DUTERTE CAMP FILED TREASON AND ESPIONAGE RAPS VS AQUINO, TRILLANES...


READ FULL MEDIA REPORTS HERE:

No clear-cut foreign policy for May 9 bets
[Presidentiables have not come out with specific plans on territorial dispute – diplomacy experts]


UNDER HEAVY GUARD –Members of the Quezon City Police District (QCPD) Public Safety Battalion stand guard as workers unload boxes of official ballots Wednesday for safekeeping at the Quezon City Hall until they are distributed to election precincts in Monday’s polls. (Mark Balmores)

MANILA, MAY 9, 2016 (MANILA BULLETIN) by Roy Mabasa May 5, 2016 - All those gunning for the highest office in the land in the May 9, 2016, national and local elections have yet to come out with any substantial foreign policy platform, especially when it comes to dealing with the territorial dispute in the South China Sea.

This was pointed out by top international relations and diplomacy experts during a foreign policy conference organized to aid the next Philippine president held last Tuesday at the PLDT Hall of the University of Asia and the Pacific (UA&P) in Pasig City.

Philippine Ambassadors Foundation, Inc. president Lauro Baja said it is difficult to answer the question on who among the presidential candidates has the “best foreign policy platform” primarily because he has “not heard anything” from the contenders about their multi-track approach on the West Philippine Sea as well as other pressing issues relating to international relations and diplomacy.

Baja is a seasoned Filipino diplomat who helped negotiate the 2002 Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN)-China Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC).

“What I like to hear is some specific plans or proposal which could be realized within six years,” the former Philippine ambassador to the United Nations said during the symposium on “A Strategic Foreign Policy Recommendation to the Next President” organized by the Philippine Council for Foreign Relations, Inc. (PCFR) in collaboration with the University of Asia and the Pacific (UA&P) School of Law and Governance (SLG) and PAFI.

In fact, Baja said all the presidentiables have not come out with “specific plans on specific issues” regarding the South China Sea territorial dispute between Manila and Beijing.

“It’s always an adherence to freedom of navigation, which is already guaranteed by international and customary law,” he said. “It’s all about peaceful settlement… and it’s about rules-based. But whose rules are we are talking about? Rules by the United States? Rules by China? Or rules by whatever member of the international community?”

Insofar as Vice President Jejomar Binay is concerned, Baja said the former Makati City mayor has yet to come out with more specific plan of action on this particular issue and how he proposes to operationalize his plans.

READ MORE...

“As I said, issues on territorial sovereignty and maritime entitlements in the South China Sea, these are generational issues, but in the meantime, we need to have specific projects within the time frame of next the president,” he explained.

Dr. Alan Ortiz, president of San Miguel Global Power, on the other hand, focused on leading presidential contender Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte’s pronouncements on the heated Philippine-China territorial dispute. Ortiz said these declarations should not be brushed aside or taken lightly.

“One of the candidates would ride a jet ski to Scarborough Shoal and challenge China with a Philippine flag, let’s take that seriously,” he said.

ADDRESS RED FLAGS

As this developed, the United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) of Vice President Jejomar Binay urged the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to address vote canvassing-related technical and legal issues raised by poll watchdogs.

According to UNA Spokesman Mon Ilagan, the Comelec should seriously look into concerns over looming legal and technical questions that could affect conduct of the May 9 polls and the canvassing process.

“With only a few days left to mend whatever needs to be fixed, there is a reason for everyone to be worried. The Comelec is either oblivious to the gravity of the risks facing the 2016 elections or refuses to admit their shortcomings,” Ilagan pointed out. Ilagan said UNA is urging the Comelec to amend Comelec Resolution No. 10083 – otherwise known as the General Instructions for the Board of Canvassers on the Consolidation/Canvass and Transmission of Votes – to require the Board of Election Inspectors (BEIs) and the BOCs to check the hash codes for inconsistencies.

He explained that Resolution 10083 only allows two instances of any pre-proclamation controversy: Illegal composition and illegal proceedings.

Ilagan added that the resolution practically sets aside other scenarios like issues on SD cards, faulty electronic transmissions, questionable election returns, and other technical and legal issues that are legitimately raised during the conduct of elections. (With a report from Ellson A. Quismorio)


PHILSTAR

Automated polls finally certified accurate, secure By Sheila Crisostomo (The Philippine Star) | Updated May 6, 2016 - 12:00am 0 1 googleplus0 0


Based on TEC Resolution No. 2016-001 dated April 30, the committee has certified that the AES is compliant with Republic Act 9369 or the poll automation law. STAR/File photo

MANILA, Philippines - The Commission on Elections (Comelec) has finally secured a certification from the multi-sector Technical Evaluation Committee (TEC) approving the automated election system (AES) to be used in the May 9 polls.

Based on TEC Resolution No. 2016-001 dated April 30, the committee has certified that the AES is compliant with Republic Act 9369 or the poll automation law.

“The TEC, properly convened, resolves to issue this Certification that, in our qualified opinion based on the herein included documented results, the AES is operating properly, securely and accurately, as mandated by Republic Act 9369,” the TEC said.

The resolution was signed by TEC chairman Peter Antonio Banzon of the Advanced Science and Technology Institute of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) and committee members Raul Nilo of the DOST- Information and Communication Technology Office and Eden Bolo of Information Technology Department of the Comelec.

Under the law, TEC must certify if the AES, including its hardware and software components, is compliant based on several “documented results.”

READ MORE...

These include the successful conduct of final testing process followed by a mock election event in one or more cities/municipalities; successful completion of audit on the accuracy, functionality and security controls of the AES software; successful completion of source code review; certification that the source code is kept in escrow with the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas; certification that the source code reviewed is one and the same as that used by the equipment and the development, provisioning and operationalism of a continuity plan “to cover risks to the AES at all points in the process such that failure of elections, whether at voting, counting or consolidation, may be avoided.”

TEC also requires that the AES has election management system, vote counting machines, consolidation/canvassing system, and electronic transmission service.

The law states that the certification must be issued 90 days before election day.

But Comelec Chairman Andres Bautista said earlier that the delay in the issuance of certification was due to the reconfiguration of the VCMs to enable the printing of voter receipts.

Bautista added that delays are allowed provided there is a justifiable reason.

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

RELATED FROM PHILSTAR

2,000 MMDA personnel to manage traffic, clean-up ops on May 9 (philstar.com) | Updated May 8, 2016 - 3:01pm 4 1 googleplus0 0


The Metro Manila Development Authority said it deployeda total of 2,664 personnel to take over the traffic management and clean-up operations in Metro Manila during the May 9 polls. File photo

MANILA, Philippines - The Metro Manila Development Authority said it has deployed more than 2,000 personnel to ensure smooth traffic and to conduct clean-up operations near polling precincts in Metro Manila on May 9, election day.

Carlos said the MMDA personnel will not only be designated in polling centers and schools in Metro Manila, but also at the Commission on Elections in Intramuros, Manila and the Philippine International Convention Center in Pasay City, where the National Board of Canvassers will be holding canvassing of votes.

MMDA personnel will also be positioned in bus terminals, sea ports and exit points to and from Metro Manila, including the North Luzon Expressway, South Luzon Expressway, Coastal Road, MacArthur Highway, Marcos Highway, Mindanao Avenue and A. Bonifacio Drive during the election holiday.

Aside from traffic management, Carlos said these MMDA personnel are also tasked with organizing clean-up operations in areas near the polling precincts after the elections. —Rosette Adel


PHILSTAR

Palace laments fizzling of ‘unity’ (The Philippine Star) | Updated May 8, 2016 - 12:00am 1 6 googleplus0 0


The President said that while those against a dictatorship like Roxas, Poe and other presidential candidates, Vice President Jejomar Binay and Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago, may be divided, they share the “united message” of the 70 percent against the 30 percent of frontrunner Duterte. Philstar.com file

MANILA, Philippines – Joining the unity talks proposed by President Aquino to stop an election victory of Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte carried no conditions for Sen. Grace Poe, Malacañang stressed yesterday as it lamented her outright rejection of the invitation.

Speaking over radio dzRB, Presidential Communications Development and Strategic Planning Office Undersecretary Manuel Quezon III said Poe and Liberal Party standard-bearer Manuel Roxas II were two of the candidates who share the President’s stand on issues the most and that the call for them to talk – along with other bets – to thwart a looming dictatorship was in response to the clamor from various sectors for them to do something.

“The first duty of a president and in fact, the first duty of any leader, is to think of the national interest. What we are faced with is the problem of a minority representing basically a fascistic approach to governance, while the overwhelming majority are not for that kind of governance,” Quezon said.

“Therefore, the leader’s challenge is to find every way to pursue the national interest and that includes an appeal for unity,” he said.

The President said that while those against a dictatorship like Roxas, Poe and other presidential candidates, Vice President Jejomar Binay and Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago, may be divided, they share the “united message” of the 70 percent against the 30 percent of frontrunner Duterte.

Quezon said it was not a desperate move on the part of the administration to call for a unity meeting as Aquino and Roxas did not set any conditions for anyone who would want to join.

READ MORE...


QUEZON

“The President only gave a voice to the call of many. The President heeded not just the call of the public, but he also bared the two candidates who are close to (his) aspirations,” he said. “But we also saw what happened and it was saddening,” he added, referring to Poe’s decision. Quezon lamented Poe’s quick rejection of the invitation.

“So we are where we are. Like what...Roxas said, the fight goes on and they will win. And no one can say the President...or Roxas did not do their best to address the fears of the majority of the people,” Quezon said.

“The clock is ticking and what is saddening here is that Senator Poe does not seem to have put much thought into a very serious question and a very momentous appeal,” he said.

“We can all hope for enlightenment and discernment on her part. But again, the clock is ticking, the damage has been done; the harsh words have been uttered. This is one of the tests of leadership that you must make decisions and that your words will have repercussions,” he said.

Offer ‘ridiculed’ Saying the country’s future is much more important than their political ambitions, Roxas also expressed regrets at Poe’s decision.

He said it was unfortunate that Poe has “rejected and ridiculed my offer to meet and talk about unity and our country’s way forward.”

“I made this conversation public because the matter is not between the two of us. It involves our supporters, our constituencies,” Roxas said in a statement directed at Poe, which he read at the LP headquarters in Quezon City hours before the miting de avance or the last campaign rally of the administration coalition at the Quezon Memorial Circle.

“With just a few days before elections, it is important that the public is informed because at the end of all this, it is their interest at stake,” he said.

He reiterated that at stake in tomorrow’s presidential elections are the country’s democratic system, its economy and security.

“Senator Poe said ‘there’s nothing to talk about’ and I’m surprised. Isn’t the biggest threat to our democracy, the weakening of the peso, the risk of losing investments, an urgent matter?” Roxas said.

He said it is already clear to many that what Duterte intends to do if elected are to appoint communists to the government, kill anyone who disobeys him and close government institutions like Congress.

“It’s clear to me the election is not about any politician or the political career of anyone because what we’re fighting for here are the dreams of 100 million Filipinos who work and make sacrifices everyday so that their children will have a better life, and that’s what we’re fighting for,” he said. He also doused speculations that he was withdrawing from the race.

“We’ll not waver. As before: this is a fight worth fighting, this is the good fight,” Roxas said.

He said his invitation to Poe was a general call so any talk about one of them giving way to the other was premature.

“We won’t know anymore what could’ve happened because Senator Grace blocked this topic (of unity talks),” he said.

Roxas’ spokesman Akbayan party-list Rep. Ibarra Gutierrez said, “All possible options” would have been discussed had Poe agreed to meet.

What for? In Manaoag, Pangasinan, Poe said she is open to unity talks with Roxas and other candidates but will not quit the race in favor of the administration standard bearer.

Poe stopped for prayers at the Minor Basilica of Our Lady of the Rosary of Manaoag, a famous pilgrimage site, which she said is the symbol of devotion of the people of Pangasinan.

Her father, the late movie idol Fernando Poe Jr., had his roots in San Carlos City. Her mother, actress Susan Roces, was with her yesterday.

“Why not?” she said when asked if she would agree to meet with other candidates to discuss unity and peace. But she said she has not received any call from Roxas regarding the matter. But the senator said she texted the President to inform him about her receiving his message through an emissary.

“If you have a friend or even just an acquaintance for example, if you have something to say then you can easily call. I won’t reject his call, I have no reason to,” Poe said in Filipino.

She added Roxas’ call for a meeting may not be necessary. “We just need to fulfill out advocacies, our positions, our convictions and our commitment to the people,” she said in Filipino. “At this point, what is there to talk about?”

She added any initiative for unity should have been done earlier. “I have no machinery or goons to stop them from doing what they want,” she pointed out.

“You cannot change the minds of the people this way. You have to present your respective platforms that you think would be contrary to or better than what your opponent is offering,” Poe said.

“This is not a process of elimination. The people will choose whom they think is truthful or would do good things. That will be their basis. So they should clarify what they are trying to say,” she added.

“As what my mother has always told me, I should not forget the reason why I’m running. I’m running because I believe I can help improve the lives of our countrymen. Many have become dismayed with a sistemang di makatotohanan (system that’s unrealistic). That’s all,” she added.

On being urged to give way to Roxas to open a united front against Duterte, the senator said the LP bet’s real intention is still speculation even as she made clear her running for president is a commitment to the people that cannot simply be abandoned.

Binay rejects talks

A campaign adviser of Vice President Jejomar Binay said there is no need for the latter to join any unity talks to win.

“We’re going to win. We don’t need to join anybody. If they want to join us they’re welcome,” former interior secretary Ronnie Puno told reporters at UNA’s miting de avance in Makati City yesterday.

“It’s a five-man race. Almost for sure the winner, whoever he will be, probably VP Binay, will be a minority president,” he added.

Binay spokesman earlier called President Aquino’s call hollow.

In a statement late Friday, Binay spokesman and United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) communications director Joey Salgado said what Aquino should do is just ensure that the election is free from cheating, violence and intimidation.

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

The President’s call came after Roxas publicly asked Poe for a meeting to discuss possible unity to prevent a Duterte election victory.

In his statement, Salgado said the will of the public should be respected.

“As long as he or she is elected in clean and honest election, the decision of the public should be respected because that is the spirit of democracy,” he added.

Meanwhile, Duterte’s campaign manager Leoncio Evasco Jr. said Roxas’ appeal for a dialogue with Poe is an admission that a Duterte victory has virtually become inevitable.

“Only a man on the verge of defeat can issue such frantic calls,” Evasco said in a statement.

“A man who cannot accept defeat in a clean and honest election, is now trying to subvert the sovereign will of the people by calling on the very rival he tried to eliminate to rally behind him and prevent Duterte from winning the presidency,” he said.

“It also further unmasks the true character of the Aquino regime – one in the face of debacle will abandon ship and run like headless chicken,” he added.

He also called Roxas’ invitation to Poe the “ultimate insult” to Filipinos and a “final act of betrayal.”

He called on Duterte’s supporters to unite in the face of what he called black propaganda against the mayor.

“A united nation will make it difficult for the oligarch to again rule and reign over the Filipinos,” he said.

“We will defeat this machination of the ruling elite to deny us the chance to secure and determine our fate and our future,” he said. – Aurea Calica , Paolo Romero, Marvin Sy, Janvic Mateo, Robertzon Ramirez, Cesar Ranirez, Helen Flores

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

ALSO FROM THE INQUIRER

DITORIAL The millennial vote SHARES: 75 VIEW COMMENTS @inquirerdotnet Philippine Daily Inquirer 12:10 AM May 8th, 2016


INQUIRER PHOTO

This is a moment of truth for Filipino millennials. Their numbers are of critical importance in the presidential election, and it behooves them to be aware not only of the burning issues but also of the significance of their vote in their country’s progress. It is not being overly dramatic to say that they hold the future in their young and vigorous hands.

A cursory look at Commission on Elections figures will show that to be true: 54,363,844 registered voters nationwide, of whom 24,730,013 are aged 18-34 (the age range of millennials, or those born between 1980 and 2000), and of whom the single largest group (7,983,167) is composed of those aged 20-24. So do the math. This nation of more than 100 million will either benefit or suffer from the choice that the millennials will make tomorrow. It is hopefully a choice that they are taking very seriously.

Inquirer Super recently spoke with first-time millennial voters who said, among others, that they want a trustworthy and honest leader who represents alternative politics. A 22-year-old teacher’s view is heartening: “This kind of politics births new measures to forward the concerns and issues of women, youth, farmers and the like. Leaders who are advocates of alternative politics see to it that the power they have will be used for the advantage of these marginalized people.”

Elsewhere, in social media, for example, the discussions have been so clangorous as to border on violence. On one hand it is noteworthy that voters are quite engaged, but on the other it is reprehensible that threats of rape and mayhem issued by a candidate’s supporters have become commonplace. Inquirer millennial columnist Kay Rivera wrote recently: “Maybe we do deserve a president who is willing to recognize that rape culture and systematic oppression do exist, and who won’t contribute to that. But, regardless of who wins, maybe change is coming—and maybe it starts with us and with our keyboards, and our capacity to educate ourselves and others.”

Rivera also issued the reminder that turning out to vote greatly matters: “The more insidious danger lies not in irresponsible tale-telling on social media. The danger lies in this disappointed apathy. The danger lies in not believing that you can make a difference.”

Indeed. And millennials should vote for the candidate they want, not the candidate they think will most likely win, or the candidate other people are pushing. If they want their vote to matter, they should own it.

Political science professor Antonio Contreras told Inquirer Super that the youth “should not just focus on who they are going to vote, but on what kind of politics they want, and start to do that right now.” The youth make up “46 percent of the electorate,” he pointed out. “Surely [they] can demand.”

Yes, they can demand many things of the leader they choose. This leader should represent the best in them and the things that matter most to them. In choosing their candidate, they are choosing the one who hews most closely to who they are, or what they want to be. They should remember that many people have died and sacrificed so that they can one day exercise their right to vote. Without those heroes, millennials would be “voting” in Marcos-era referendums.

Millennial voters are burdened by great expectations, including the difficult task of shunning dictatorship despite their never having experienced the terrors of martial law. But then they are made of encouraging stuff: They embrace diversity, call for LGBT equality, and seek to make the passage of the freedom of information bill a priority. They consider education important, are environmentally aware, and are disgusted with the corruption around them.

Hopefully they have come to realize that history matters, and that the next six years are crucial for a country teetering between development and collapse.

To be old enough to vote is to take on a meaningful responsibility. It is not being unrealistic to expect millennials to grasp the necessity of participation in the nation’s collective destiny. But first, critical awareness is required of them, a correct perspective on where we all stand. Sooner or later they will learn how dreadful it is to bear the crushing outcome of a mistake, and how demanding it is to undo damage where it counts.

Tomorrow, the future begins.


MANILA BULLETIN

May 9 polls under China’s watchful eyes
Beijing expresses optimism new President will be open to bilateral negotiations
by Roy Mabasa May 7, 2016 Share181 Tweet0 Share0 Email0 Share241

China is closely watching developments in the Philippine elections with keen interest.

And it is optimistic the next administration will be open to bilateral negotiations with Beijing in order to settle once and for all the ongoing territorial disputes over parts of the resource-rich South China Sea.

In an interview with reporters at the sidelines of the European Union National Day held in Makati City Thursday night, Chinese Ambassador to Manila Zhao Jinhua expressed hope that whoever will come out

victorious in the May 9 presidential elections will be willing to sit down and talk on a bilateral level with his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping about possible ways to resolve the issue.

Ambassador Zhao issued this statement as the United Nations-backed Permanent Court of Arbitration in the Hague is poised to issue its decision in the case lodged by the Philippine government on China’s claims over South China Sea.

He said the Chinese government monitors the policy positions being made by the presidential candidates in the series of debates, particularly on the issue of addressing territorial disputes in the South China Sea.

“Whoever wins (in the presidential elections), we hope that he or she can improve or work toward better relations,” said the Chinese diplomat as he emphasized that China does not interfere in domestic affairs of the Philippines. “We want to have a new chapter in the bilateral relations between China and the Philippines.”

The top Chinese diplomat in Manila declared that Beijing has always been open to bilateral and multilateral settlement of disputes with parties involved in the territorial disputes in South China Sea. In fact, he pointed out that China has been successful in negotiating territorial disputes with Vietnam and Russia on bilateral levels even as it took them 40 years.

At the same time, Zhao said China is involved in the implementation of the Declaration of Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC) signed by China and Association of Southeast Asian Nations member states and is also seriously discussing the fundamentals of a binding Code of Conduct.

Moreover, he said the Philippines should benefit from the growing outbound Chinese tourist that has reached 120 million the previous year.

Of this number, Ambassador Zhao said the Philippines’ share of Chinese tourists only reached 500,000 last year, far below the share of other ASEAN neighbors.

He said the new chapter of the bilateral relations between the two countries should likewise focus “on common interests such as in the areas of economic, financial, trade cooperation, to promotion of tourism, and people to people cooperation.”

In past interviews, Ambassador Zhao declared that all major border issues, the South China Sea territorial dispute will likely be settled only though bilateral negotiations and not through international arbitration.

He said this has been the arrangement between China and the Philippines before the latter decided to file a case before the United Nations-backed Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague.

“Before you filed the arbitration case,” Ambassador Zhao said, “the channels for bilateral consultations were open. We were working.”

“To our surprise,” he added, “the decision to file the arbitration case, the Philippine side claimed that the bilateral negotiations were useless. After so many years of talks, so many rounds of negotiations, nothing has been produced.”

STRONG PRESIDENT NEEDED

READ MORE...

Meanwhile, Filipino fishermen displaced by China’s takeover of the Scarborough Shoal, also known as Bajo de Masinloc and Panatag Shoal, said they preferred a strong president to end the Chinese blockade in the disputed area.

Since Beijing’s patrol boats moved in, the fishermen of the west coast town of Masinloc, Zambales, said they had been forced to do odd jobs ashore, or become motorcycle drivers.

The crews yearn to get back into their boats and hope that the Philippine election on May 9 will bring a new president bold enough to stand up to China’s assertiveness in the disputed waters of the South China Sea.

It is something they say incumbent President Aquino was hesitant to do, while the frontrunner to succeed him, the hard-talking mayor of Davao city, Rodrigo Duterte, has indicated he may take a tougher line with Beijing.

“We want a tougher president who would make China leave the Philippine Sea,” said the Marvin’s shirtless captain, Biany Mula, referring to the waters by their Philippine name.

“That area is not their property.”

The sentiment is shared by fishermen from Vietnam and Malaysia, as China’s fishing fleet and accompanying coastguard armada have expanded within a nine-dash line that denotes Beijing’s claims to nine-tenths of the world’s most contested waterway.

With a relatively small and under-equipped military, the Philippines wants no confrontation with China, but it has been vocal in asserting its claims to the Spratly islands and its rights to exploit its coastal waters.

It has also angered China by indirectly challenging its claims at the Permanent Court of Arbitration in the Hague. China has refused to recognize the court’s authority or abide by the ruling, which is expected soon.

Some Filipino fishermen are optimistic a new leader can find a solution.

“I’ll vote because somebody will resolve the issue in the Scarborough Shoal,” said Alexander Manzano, fixing a boat moored on a makeshift dock.

“I believe someone will be able to do it. That’s why I’ll vote.”

TOUGH TALK, MIXED MESSAGES

That someone could be Duterte, who is roaring ahead in opinion polls with talk of employing deadly methods to eradicate crime and corruption.

His position on the South China Sea is vague, however, in what has largely been a single-issue campaign.

When the topic came up in debates, Duterte promised not to put the Philippine navy in harm’s way, but said he would personally challenge China by riding a jet-ski to the Spratlys to plant a Philippine flag.

For key ally the United States, a Duterte presidency brings much uncertainty. A Washington-based official closely following the election said Duterte’s stance on the South China Sea appeared “contradictory,” mixing both bellicose and conciliatory messages about dealing with Beijing.

Murray Hiebert, a Southeast Asia specialist at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, said Duterte’s comments did not seem well thought out, including pledging to negotiate with China but only after it agrees the Spratlys belong to the Philippines.

“That’s not an opening position that will entice China to the negotiating table,” Hiebert said. (With a report from Reuters)

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ALSO FROM THE INQUIRER

Security forces on alert ahead of Monday polls SHARES: New VIEW COMMENTS @inquirerdotnet Agence France-Presse 05:26 PM May 8th, 2016


An armed Filipino trooper walks through a polling center in suburban Quezon city, north of Manila, Philippines on the eve of election day Sunday, May 8, 2016. AP

Tens of thousands of security forces fanned out across the Philippines Sunday on the eve of national polls, following a bitter and deadly election campaign plagued by rampant vote-buying and intimidation.

Elections are a traditionally volatile time in a nation infamous for lax gun laws and a violent political culture, and they have been inflamed again this year by allegations of massive corruption from the local village to presidential level.

“Vote-buying is everywhere,” Commission on Elections (Comelec) commissioner Luie Guia told reporters.

READ: Vote buying makes its presence felt

“We are receiving reports that everything is being used to buy votes, not only money. It could be (plastic) basins, groceries.”

Such small gifts are an effective, if illegal, way for politicians to win support in a nation where roughly one quarter of its 100 million people live below the poverty line.

To try to check vote buying, the election commission has banned mobile phones in polling places. This is so people cannot photograph their ballots to prove to vote-buyers that they cast their ballots for the right candidates.

At the national level, presidential and vice presidential rivals are also accusing each other of trying to rig the elections.

President Benigno Aquino, who is limited by the constitution to a single term of six years, has warned the favorite to succeed him, Rodrigo Duterte, is a dictator in the making and will bring terror to the nation.

READ: Aquino fears return of another dictatorship

Duterte, mayor of the southern city of Davao, has in turn accused Aquino’s administration of planning “massive cheating” to ensure that his preferred successor, former interior secretary Mar Roxas, wins.

Followers of Duterte, who has admitted links to vigilante death squads in Davao that rights groups say have killed more than 1,000 people, have warned of a “revolution” if he loses.

READ: Presidential favorite Duterte to ‘butcher’ criminals

Meanwhile, at least 15 people have died in election-related violence, according to national police statistics.

In the latest suspected case, a grenade blast killed a nine-year-old girl behind the house of a powerful political warlord in the strife-torn province of Maguindanao late on Saturday, said Chief Inspector Jonathan del Rosario.

The girl’s death has not yet been included in the tally, although it likely will be, according to del Rosario, spokesman for a police election-monitoring taskforce in Manila.

“This looks like it is election-related but we have a process we have to follow,” he told AFP.

Del Rosario said 90 percent of the nation’s police force, or about 135,000 officers, were already on election-related duty and had been authorised to carry their assault rifles. He said they were guarding polling and canvassing places and manning road checkpoints.

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MANILA STANDARD

‘Coup imminent if Duterte wins’-Trillanes warns of unrest if leftists share power posted May 04, 2016 at 12:01 am by Macon Ramos-Araneta and Othel V. Campos


In prayer. Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte prays with longtime friend Pastor Apollo Quiboloy, whom the candidate admitted gave him various properties and vehicles, during a telecast of Quiboloy’s television program Monday night. SONSHINE MEDIA

AN administration led by presidential candidate and Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte would be vulnerable to a coup, said Senator Antonio Trillanes IV, a former Navy officer who led two failed mutinies in 2003 and 2007.

Speaking at a forum organized by the Foreign Correspondents of the Philippines (Focap) Tuesday, Trillanes said most members of the military are averse to any form of power-sharing with the communist movement that the Davao mayor is proposing.

“It is going to be very easy to recruit people for such a military intervention,” said Trillanes.

Trillanes, who recently accused Duterte of failing to report millions of pesos in a secret bank account, said even if the mayor wins on May 9, he takes office on June 30 and there was still time for people to stop him from taking office.

He said the Ombudsman, the Anti-Money Laundering Council and other government agencies were not investigating Duterte’s finances.

“Back in 2001, we found a creative way of removing a sitting president who got mandate from the people,” said Trillanes, referring to ousted President Joseph Estrada.

Trillanes also dared Duterte to file a libel complaint against him.

“My accusations against him was very grave. I am accusing him of having ill-gotten wealth worth P2.4 billion. He can file a libel case against me,” he said.

“But you see, he wont file a libel case... You know why? Because if he files a case against me, the bank accounts now will be exempted from the Bank Secrecy Law.”

Earlier, Trillanes told broadcaster and former vice president Noli de Castro in a radio interview that Duterte was bent on setting up a revolutionary government with the help of Jose Ma. Sison, founder of the Communist Party of the Philippines.

“[Duterte’s] partners are communists, like Joma Sison,” Trillanes said.

“They have an agreement. [Duterte] is really a disciple of Joma Sison and he does not even deny it. But I fear something more serious, not only corruption but a real threat to democracy,” Trillanes said.

READ MORE...

“He keeps on saying, ‘This is what we will do, if you really like me, this is what I will do. I will form a revolutionary government, maybe I will have to kill people,’” Trillanes said paraphrasing what Duterte has been saying in his campaign rallies.


DUTERTE EYEING REVOLUTIONARY GOVT? Presidential candidate Rodrigo Duterte and Communist founder Jose Maria Sison. (Composite File Photo) ABS-CBN FILE

Sison himself agreed that a ceasefire between communist rebels and government is possible if Duterte wins the presidency.

In an earlier interview, Sison said the communists would readily speed up negotiations with a Duterte administration.

“He has gone so far as to express interest in a coalition government and in addressing the roots of the armed conflict and working out the necessary agreements on social, economic and political reforms in order to achieve a just and lasting peace,” Sison told journalists last year.

More recently, Sison said he was looking forward to a ceasefire if Duterte becomes president and returning home after living in exile in The Netherlands since 1987.

Duterte had said at Lyceum of the Philippines that Sison was one of his college professors and he played a big role in molding his views, which led him to join the communist-linked Kabataang Makabayan group in the late 1960s.

Sison said he spoke with Duterte last April 26 and the Davao City mayor said he would offer a cessation of hostilities with the communist guerrillas and Muslim secessionist forces once he is president.

Duterte’s publicly declared closeness to Sison and the NPA rebels has caused concern in the military.

His pronouncements have also spooked the business community.

Speaking before the annual economic forum sponsored by the Economic Journalist Association of the Philippines in collaboration with the ING Bank, Makati Business Club chairman Ramon del Rosario hit Duterte for his “lack of respect for the rule of law.”

“The image he created in my mind is a disturbing one. What he probably indicated is a lack of respect for the rule of law. To my mind the rule of law is extremely important if we want to have confidence in our economy,” he said.

He noted that in the Philippine setting, the rule of law is the foundation of knowledge where confidence is built, and where there is confidence there will be investments that will create jobs.

“So if we don’t have investments, we will not have jobs. Then, we will have a problem moving forward,” he added.

He cautioned not only fellow businessmen but the voting public in general to make the right choices and look carefully at what the candidates have been laying out as promises.

Del Rosario singled out Duterte for his penchant for quick fixes and the anarchic mode of resolving issues and problems that can be settled in ways more diplomatic.

“Some people say that’s just tough talk, that he will not do what he says. But the biggest question is, what if he does? Sometimes more than not, we hope that the candidate will do as they promise. This is one time that I hope this one particular candidate will not do [as he] promises,” he said.

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RELATED FROM THE INQUIRER

DUTERTE CAMP FILED TREASON AND ESPIONAGE RAPS VS AQUINO, TRILLANES By: Kristine Felisse Mangunay
@inquirerdotnet Philippine Daily Inquirer 06:12 AM May 8th, 2016


AQUINO, TRILLANES

The camp of Rodrigo Duterte has filed treason and espionage charges against President Benigno Aquino III and Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV for undertaking “back-channel talks” with China that “only advanced [the] interest of our Asian neighbor.”

Martin Diño, Duterte’s national campaign manager, announced Friday’s filing of the treason and espionage charges by supporters of the Davao mayor in the Office of the Ombudsman, at a press conference at Club Filipino in San Juan City.

The filing came as Trillanes publicly accused Duterte, the front-runner in the presidential race, of having millions of pesos in undeclared bank accounts.

The complaint said “Senator Trillanes met with the Chinese 16 times, and he requested that the meeting [be] secret. In those meetings, Trillanes made mention that the Philippines cannot enforce coastal protection. And that made the Chinese take an aggressive [stance] and take over our areas like Scarborough Shoal and Spratly Islands. That alone constitutes treason,” former Rep. Ronald Adamat, one of the complainants, said, quoting from supposed notes made by former Philippine Ambassador to China Sonia Brady.

Although the complaint recognized that under the law, treason requires that the Philippines be involved in a war, it said “external aggression” was committed by China when it “immediately occupied the subject areas.”

As for the charge of espionage, the complaint said China had been “emboldened” by the information “gathered from” Trillanes.

“We include the President because Trillanes could not have done this without the order of the President. They breached international policy. They did it without coursing their efforts through the foreign affairs department,” Adamat said.


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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