PHILIPPINE HEADLINE NEWS ONLINE: Since 1997 © Copyright (PHNO) http://newsflash.org



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

DUTERTE (NO-SHOW), ROBREDO PROCLAIMED NEW PRESIDENT, VP IN CONGRESS; 'DIGONG' A NO-SHOW
[RELATED: Who’s afraid of Leni Robredo? by Paulynn Paredes Sicam]


MAY 30 -'DIGONG' NO-SHOW: Senate President Franklin Drilon and House Speaker Sonny Belmonte proclaim Leni Robredo as the Vice-President elect along with her daughters Jilian, President-elect Duterte chose to remain in Davao. Incoming Justice secretary Aguirre attended the proclamation. The House of Representatives and the Senate, in a joint session, yesterday proclaimed Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte and Camarines Sur Rep. Maria Leonor Robredo as the country’s new President and Vice President, respectively. Senators and House members were asked to escort both Duterte and Robredo but as earlier announced, Duterte was not present during the occasion, remaining instead in his southern hometown of Davao. It was only Robredo they had to escort. Lawyer Salvador Panelo, a member of his legal team during the canvassing team, and incoming Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre attended the proclamation on Duterte’s behalf. Both were proclaimed around 4:44 p.m.READ MORE..RELATED COMMENTARY, Who’s afraid of Leni Robredo? byPaulynn P. Sicam...

ALSO: Rody busy as mayor on day of proclamation as President
[RELATED: CBCP head chooses silence vs DU30]


MAY 30 -DAVAO CITY – On the day of his proclamation on Monday as the new President of the Philippines, Rodrigo Duterte buckled down to work as mayor of this city, signing papers and barking orders. He has a few weeks left before he leaves his office and goes to Malacañang to lead the country. “He is doing his chores as mayor of Davao. Madami pang documents for signature,” Duterte’s executive assistant Bong Go told reporters. In a joint session on Monday afternoon, Congress officially proclaimed Duterte as the country’s 16th President and Leni Robredo as the 14th Vice President. Duterte won the race to Malacañang by a landslide with an overwhelming 16,601,997 votes. Far behind Duterte was Liberal Party standard-bearer Mar Roxas II. The tough-talking mayor was firm in his decision to skip the proclamation, calling it “corny.” His lawyers Salvador Panelo and Vitaliano Aguirre represented him in the proclamation rites.
Throughout his 30 years in public office, Duterte never attended any of his proclamations, according to his running mate Senator Alan Peter Cayetano. AC/rga/AC  THE FULL REPORT. RELATED, CBCP head chooses silence vs DU30...

ALSO: The morning after: Duterte draws flak
[RELATED: Cayetano sells self as temporary leader]


JUNE 1 -Photo provided by the Davao City Mayor’s Office shows president-elect Rodrigo Duterte talking to military officials during a security advisory meeting in Davao City early yesterday.
 A day after he announced his marching orders to his incoming team in waging war on drugs, crime and corruption, criticism rained on president-elect Rodrigo Duterte, with opposition coming even from one of his Cabinet nominees. Incoming social welfare secretary Judy Taguiwalo, detained and tortured for communist rebel activities during the martial law regime, yesterday opposed Duterte’s plan to allow the burial of dictator Ferdinand Marcos at the Libingan ng mga Bayani, possibly as early as Sept. 11 on his 99th birth anniversary. Taguiwalo, a professor of women and development studies at the University of the Philippines where she graduated with honors before martial law was imposed in 1972, is one of the nominees to the Duterte Cabinet of the Communist Party of the Philippines-National Democratic Front. Media groups, for their part, expressed outrage over Duterte’s comments on Tuesday that justified the killing of “corrupt” journalists, one of whom he described as a “son of a bitch” who deserved to die. On another issue, Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. yesterday predicted rough sailing in the 17th Congress for Duterte’s pet legislation – the reimposition of capital punishment, this time by hanging. Taguiwalo said that being a victim of the Marcos regime, she could never support the burial of the dictator at the heroes’ cemetery. READ MORE...RELATED, Cayetano sells self as temporary leader...

ALSO:
‘Corrupt journalists legitimate targets’ - Duterte
[The foul-mouthed mayor of Davao City said some journalists were on the take, writing either to favor or defame some people. “Most of those killed were paid to take sides or they got paid but they failed [to deliver]. Or they took money from gamblers but still hit them,” he said. He said corruption was a reality in the Philippine press and journalists should not regard their press badges as bulletproof vests. You really want the truth?


JUNE 1 -MEDIA KILLINGS Thirty-two coffins symbolizing the number of journalists killed in the 2009 Maguindanao massacre were carried by militants during a protest procession to Mendiola near Malacañang that was mounted during the third anniversary of the worst case of electoral violence in recent Philippine history and the single deadliest attack on journalists. INQUIRER FILE PHOTO DAVAO CITY—“Even if you are a journalist, you are not exempted from assassination if you’re a son of a bitch.”
That is a warning from President-elect Rodrigo Duterte, who on Tuesday said corrupt journalists were legitimate targets of assassination, drawing outrage from civil rights and news organizations. In comments to reporters in Davao City on Tuesday night, Duterte justified the media killings in the Philippines, saying freedom of the press was not a protection for corrupt journalists. “You cannot invoke free speech. The Constitution cannot help you if you defame someone,” he said when asked how he would deal with the problem of media killings in the Philippines after a reporter was shot dead in Manila last week. Tabloid reporter Alex Balcoba was shot dead by a lone gunman in Manila’s Quiapo district on Friday night, becoming the 30th journalist to be killed under the Aquino administration. The International Federation of Journalists ranks the Philippines as the second-deadliest country in the world for journalists, with at least 146 killed over the last 25 years. The National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP) has a higher figure: 176 killed since 1986. READ MORE...

ALSO: Duterte charting own course Multilateral talks to settle territorial dispute eyed


JUNE 1 -Philippines' president-elect Rodrigo Duterte AFP PHOTO / MANMAN DEJETO Incoming President Rodrigo Duterte said on Tuesday his country would not rely on long-term security ally the United States, signaling greater independence from Washington in dealing with China and the disputed West Philippine Sea (South China Sea). The Philippines has traditionally been one of Washington’s staunchest supporters in its standoff with Beijing over the South China Sea, a vital trade route where China has built artificial islands, airstrips, and other military facilities. Duterte, the tough-talking mayor of Davao City who swept to victory in the May 9 election, has backed multilateral talks to settle rows over the South China Sea that would include the United States, Japan, and Australia as well as claimant nations. He has also called on China, which claims most of the sea, to respect the 200 nautical mile Exclusive Economic Zone granted to coastal states under international law. Asked by reporters if he would push for bilateral talks with China, Duterte replied: “We have this pact with the West, but I want everybody to know that we will be charting a course of our own. “It will not be dependent on America. And it will be a line that is not intended to please anybody but the Filipino interest.”  Asked about Duterte’s comments at a State Department briefing, Daniel Russel, the assistant secretary of state for East Asia and the Pacific, said the United States had “no problem whatsoever” with bilateral talks among the South China Sea claimants. READ MORE...


READ FULL MEDIA REPORTS HERE:

Duterte, Robredo proclaimed new President, VP; ‘Digong’ a no-show


'DIGONG' NO-SHOW: Senate President Franklin Drilon and House Speaker Sonny Belmonte proclaim Leni Robredo as the Vice-President elect along with her daughters Jilian, President -elect Duterte chose to remain in Davao. Incoming Justice secretary Aguirre attended the proclamation.

MANILA, JUNE 6, 2016 (TRIBUNE) Written by Gerry Baldo Tuesday, 31 May 2016 00:00 - The House of Representatives and the Senate, in a joint session, yesterday proclaimed Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte and Camarines Sur Rep. Maria Leonor Robredo as the country’s new President and Vice President, respectively.

Senators and House members were asked to escort both Duterte and Robredo but as earlier announced, Duterte was not present during the occasion, remaining instead in his southern hometown of Davao.

It was only Robredo they had to escort.

Lawyer Salvador Panelo, a member of his legal team during the canvassing team, and incoming Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre attended the proclamation on Duterte’s behalf.

Both were proclaimed around 4:44 p.m.

READ MORE...

Duterte’s refusal to attend broke tradition and disappointed even some of his supporters,reinforcing the foul-mouthed politician’s reputation as a maverick who is happy to offend the political establishment.

“I am not attending the proclamation. I’ve never attended any proclamation all my life,” Duterte told reporters on the weekend in Davao, a city more than 900 kilometers from Manila that he has ruled as mayor for most of the past two decades.


DUTERTE

Duterte, who won largely due to an incendiary law-and-order platform headlined by a vow to wipe out crime within six months, is due to be sworn in on June 30.

At yesterday’s congressional session, Robredo was declared the winner of the vice presidential race, narrowly edging out Sen. Ferdinand Marcos Jr.

Robredo, a member of outgoing President Aquino’s Liberal Party, attended the event along with her family and supporters.
Senate President Franklin Drilon and Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. raised her hands at the House rostrum.

“Madame Vice President, on behalf of the Senate, we join the Filipino nation in congratulating your honor as vice president of the Republic of the Philippines,” Drilon said.

“On behalf of the Filipino people and the House of Representatives, Madame Vice President, please accept our congratulations on your election as the vice president of the Republic of the Philippines,” Belmonte, for his part, said.

Before the proclamation, Abakada partylist Rep. Jonathan de la Cruz, in a privilege speech, said while he disagrees with the count of the National Board of Canvassers (NBoC), he will accept it.

De la Cruz is one of Marcos’ campaign advisers.

“Let there be no doubt, while I strongly disagree with the NBoC’s count I accept it. I accept the finality of the count which will now be ratified by the joint session,” De la Cruz said in his privilege speech.

He, however, stressed there are a lot of questions that should be answered in connection with the recent elections.

The proclamation was also marred by rants by former Northern Samar Rep. Harlin Abayon who was almost forced out of the House plenary after questioning why he was removed from the roster while the two chambers of Congress were in session prior to the proclamation.

Abayon stood up in the podium after Sen. Aquilino Pimentel III moved for the approval of the NboC report and the proclamation of winners to ask about who was the lawful representative of Northern Samar during the canvassing.

On May 4, the Supreme Court ruled that Abayon was the duly elected representative of Northern Samar’s first district, reversing the House of Representatives Electoral Tribunal (HRET) resolutions dated Feb. 3 and March 7, which nullifed Abayon’s victory in the 2013 elections.

He was already replaced last March by Rep. Raul Daza.

But House Majority Floor Leader Neptali Gonzales III said Abayon’s issue “cannot be resolved in the joint session.”

When Abayon insisted on having the joint session address the issue, Gonzales ordered the House sergeant-at-arms to escort him out of the session hall. The joint session was also suspended for several minutes.
With AFP

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

RELATED FROM PHILSTAR (COMMENTARY)

Who’s afraid of Leni Robredo?  Share (The Philippine Star) - June 4, 2016 - 12:00am HEART & MIND Paulynn P. Sicam


THE WRITER: PAULYNN PAREDES-SICAM

Less than a week after my last column predicting the president-elect would find more ways to offend the Filipino people, there he was again, among other offensive remarks, explaining in terse and hostile terms why he has no plan to give a job in his government to the vice-president-elect, Leni Robredo.

Related Stories Still no role for Leni

In his response to the question from the media, he asserted testily that he is under no obligation to give her a job, that there is no law that requires him to do it.

Besides, Leni is a Liberal, she belongs to the opposition, and remember that he lost in Bicol, her bailiwick. Besides, he also said, he has to worry about giving jobs to his many friends, classmates, province mates and what-not to whom he owes a debt of gratitude — utang na loob.

And finally, the coup de grace, he said he doesn’t want to hurt the feelings of Bongbong Marcos, who lost to Leni by over 250,000 votes. This, from a man who just a week before, declared that his loyalty to his friends ends where his loyalty to his country begins.

That is his long answer, in which he showed himself to be small, spiteful, vindictive, insular — and totally subservient to the dictator’s family. Didn’t he say during the campaign he’d give the presidency to Bongbong if he failed to fulfill his campaign promises in six months?

And despite strong public opposition, he insists on burying the cadaver of Marcos Sr. at the Libingan ng mga Bayani in spite of the latter’s record as a fake war hero, dictator and plunderer.

But the short, unspoken answer is, Duterte seems to be afraid of Leni Robredo.

And well he should be, not because she is evil, cunning or ambitious, but because Leni is such a good person and an attractive personality — smart, sober, reliable, very likeable, and quite presidential — she makes him look drab, vulgar and scary, like the big, bad wolf, out to ravage Little Red Riding Hood.

Leni is the second fearless widow to defeat a Marcos in a span of 30 years.

In 1986, another courageous widow, Cory Aquino, defeated the dictator, Marcos Sr. in the snap elections, and, propelled by people power, drove him and his family out of the country.

Leni’s victory over Bongbong was not quite as dramatic and earthshaking, but just as important. She campaigned hard, visited almost 90 percent of all provinces in the country, attended every debate where she performed brilliantly, and succeeded in denying Bongbong access to the second highest post in government.

Such is the power of Leni Robredo. From a virtual unknown, she fought valiantly, doggedly, to be number one. And the public who got to know her simply fell in love with her. In the last weeks before the election, she zoomed past Marcos with a seven percent leap in the surveys, and come election day, she demolished his dream of his family’s comeback.

She put a halt to the plan of Marcos Jr., and it turns out, of Duterte himself, for Bongbong to eventually take over the office that his father so blatantly defiled.

Elegant and dignified, the Bicolana congresswoman is the exact opposite of the coarse and abrasive mayor from Davao.

She is humble and soft-spoken; he is loud and offensive. She is thoughtful, her speech measured, her ideas well-thought-out, rational; he talks trash through his hat and both sides of his mouth, and most of the time, someone has to interpret to an offended public what he “really” meant to say. He excuses his uncouth behavior saying he is a probinsyano, insulting all rural folk in the process. Leni, too, is a probinsyana, born and bred, but she exudes grace and breeding.

Indeed, they are an unlikely pair to lead the country. Given a choice of who would bring gravitas to the presidency, who would respect the democracy, human rights and freedoms we have fought so hard for, who would represent the Philippines with dignity, elegance and pride in the international scene, I believe most people would opt for the stability and reliability of the vice-president-elect.

A Leni Robredo victory wasn’t part of Duterte’s plan, but a Marcos win was.

In fact, he tried to trivialize Leni’s candidacy by commenting on her beauty while licking his lips lasciviously. He didn’t count on having to deal with Leni’s squeaky-clean reputation, her no-nonsense leadership, her obvious virtues, her universal appeal.

Someone on Facebook remarked that Leni has a “glow-in-the-dark” quality about her that makes her a beacon amid the murky universe of the president-elect’s traditional politics. She may be out of his official family, but Leni’s light will lead us out of the gloom as it hounds him and blinds him in these dark Duterte years.

Who’s afraid of Leni Robredo? Rodrigo Duterte should be very afraid.


INQUIRER

Rody busy as mayor on day of proclamation as President By: Julliane Love De Jesus @JLDejesusINQ INQUIRER.net 06:03 PM May 30th, 2016

DAVAO CITY – On the day of his proclamation on Monday as the new President of the Philippines, Rodrigo Duterte buckled down to work as mayor of this city, signing papers and barking orders.

He has a few weeks left before he leaves his office and goes to Malacañang to lead the country.

“He is doing his chores as mayor of Davao. Madami pang documents for signature,” Duterte’s executive assistant Bong Go told reporters.

In a joint session on Monday afternoon, Congress officially proclaimed Duterte as the country’s 16th President and Leni Robredo as the 14th Vice President.

Duterte won the race to Malacañang by a landslide with an overwhelming 16,601,997 votes. Far behind Duterte was Liberal Party standard-bearer Mar Roxas II.

The tough-talking mayor was firm in his decision to skip the proclamation, calling it “corny.”

His lawyers Salvador Panelo and Vitaliano Aguirre represented him in the proclamation rites.

Throughout his 30 years in public office, Duterte never attended any of his proclamations, according to his running mate Senator Alan Peter Cayetano. AC/rga/AC

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

RELATED FROM THE TRIBUNE

CBCP head chooses silence vs DU30 Written by Tribune Wires Monday, 06 June 2016 00:00



Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Socrates Villegas (photo), president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines, is giving President-elect Rodrigo Duterte, who has been lashing out lately at Catholic priests and bishops, the silent treatment.

In a statement entitled “Under-standing Silence” released on Sunday, Villegas said “there is virtue in silence. There is virtue in speech. Wisdom is knowing when it is time for silence and when is the timing for speech.”

He added “mine is the silence of Jesus before the arrogance of Pilate.”

“There is nobility in silence like the silence of the lambs brought to slaughter in the temple to atone for sins,” he added.

In one of his profanity-laden attacks, Duterte accused the Catholic church of hypocrisy, saying the bishops who had condemned him during his campaign had been asking favors from the government.

“You sons of whores, aren’t you ashamed? You ask so many favors, even from me,” he said, addressing Catholic bishops.

To Duterte’s venom Villegas said “you can understand my speech if you speak the language of silence. You can understand my silence if you know how to love like Him who was born one silent night.”

“Silence indeed is the language of God and only those who speak silence will be able to grasp Him,” he added.

Duterte also recently branded the Church as the “most hypocritical institution” in the country.

In some occasions, he also threatened to bring down the Church by exposing its sins in the past, including churchmen who had allegedly had secret affairs with women.

An online petition launched was also put up by Duterte’s supporters calling for the resignation of Villegas, both as CBCP president and archbishop of Lingayen-Dagupan.


DUTERTE, BISHOP CRUZ

The same petition also called for the resignation of Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Emeritus Oscar Cruz, clearly not mindful that the prelate is no longer acting as the leader of the archdiocese.

Cruz retired from the post in 2009 after reaching the mandatory retirement age for bishops of 75.

It is obvious that the church hierarchy will not engage in a word war with the incoming president, and the CBCP’s silence was apparently more eloquent than speech.

Just last Thursday, Duterte intensified his attack on the Catholic Church as well as the media for their alleged hypocrisy and vested interests.


Duterte to Catholic Church officials: Don't make me spill your dirty secrets

Speaking at a press conference late Thursday night, Duterte also blasted the United Nations, cursing the world body for failing to solve the conflict in the Middle East and not helping the “black people” in Africa, the online news website Rappler reports.
“Church, journalism, politicians, police – all of you, there’s a veil of hypocrisy,” Duterte said.

Sons of whores all

Criticism of Duterte is piling up even overseas for his alleged human rights abuses and foul language.

Reacting to these criticisms, Duterte slammed “low-life journalists” who take bribes from politicians while praising honest media “crusaders.”

He said journalists “think too much of themselves,” daring those who were calling for a boycott of his press conferences to carry out their threat.

Local and international media groups earlier expressed outrage at Duterte’s endorsement of killing corrupt journalists, warning that his comments could incite more murders in a nation already considered as one of the world’s most dangerous places for reporters.

“Just because you’re a journalist you are not exempted from assassination, if you’re a [expletive],” Duterte said when asked how he would address the problem of media killings in the Philippines after a reporter was shot dead in Manila last week.

Duterte also denounced erring bishops and priests.

He referred to reports in 2011 that some bishops received luxury sports utility vehicles or SUVs from the Philippine government. The bishops said they wanted to use these vehicles for pastoral work in remote communities.}

“A luxury car for charity, my dear bishops?” Duterte asked while spewing curses on them.

The incoming president also blurted out a curse at the U.N., telling the world body, “Do not force on me your code of conduct.

You’re not supposed to do that. I never signed anything which says that I have to behave in this manner or in that manner,” according to Rappler.

His remarks were spurred when a reporter asked for his reaction on reports that his incendiary comments are being picked up by international news groups and that he is being threatened with lawsuits in the U.N.

“You’re (sons of whores), U.N. You can’t even solve the killings there in the Middle East,” Duterte retorted in the local Tagalog language. “They’re killing people. You cannot even lift a finger in Africa. They’re butchering the black people there,” he added.

In November 2015, when he was still running for president, Duterte also cursed Pope Francis for causing traffic when he visited the Philippines in January that same year.


PHILSTAR

The morning after: Duterte draws flak By Edu Punay and Paolo Romero (The Philippine Star) | Updated June 2, 2016 - 12:00am 0 166 googleplus0 0


Photo provided by the Davao City Mayor’s Office shows president-elect Rodrigo Duterte talking to military officials during a security advisory meeting in Davao City early yesterday.

MANILA, Philippines – A day after he announced his marching orders to his incoming team in waging war on drugs, crime and corruption, criticism rained on president-elect Rodrigo Duterte, with opposition coming even from one of his Cabinet nominees.

Incoming social welfare secretary Judy Taguiwalo, detained and tortured for communist rebel activities during the martial law regime, yesterday opposed Duterte’s plan to allow the burial of dictator Ferdinand Marcos at the Libingan ng mga Bayani, possibly as early as Sept. 11 on his 99th birth anniversary.

Taguiwalo, a professor of women and development studies at the University of the Philippines where she graduated with honors before martial law was imposed in 1972, is one of the nominees to the Duterte Cabinet of the Communist Party of the Philippines-National Democratic Front.

Media groups, for their part, expressed outrage over Duterte’s comments on Tuesday that justified the killing of “corrupt” journalists, one of whom he described as a “son of a bitch” who deserved to die.


Incoming Social Welfare Secretary Judy Taguiwalo

On another issue, Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. yesterday predicted rough sailing in the 17th Congress for Duterte’s pet legislation – the reimposition of capital punishment, this time by hanging.

Taguiwalo said that being a victim of the Marcos regime, she could never support the burial of the dictator at the heroes’ cemetery.

READ MORE...

But she clarified that her stand did not mean she could not work with Duterte, whose father was close to the late strongman and who has said he is a friend of Marcos’ only son and namesake, Sen. Ferdinand Marcos Jr.

“I was arrested, tortured. I spent years in prison. That’s my personal experience,” Taguiwalo told reporters in Davao City. “President Duterte expressed his own experience… his father was appointed (by Marcos) so it was a different experience. I don’t think he would tolerate the human rights violations that the Marcoses did just because they were friends and I think he already clarified that.”


Duterte Plans to Give Sen. Marcos a Cabinet Post

Duterte’s father Vicente was Cabinet secretary for general services during Marcos’ first term as president.

“I’m against the burial of Marcos and I think Duterte would understand it because I’m a victim of the Marcoses. So I said I’m against it. But is his position of giving Marcos a burial in whatever cemetery enough for me to say ‘I don’t want to be part of your Cabinet?’ I don’t think so, because there are other bigger issues right now that we can work on together,” Taguiwalo explained.

She said Duterte could bring about changes in government and eradicate corruption, citing the incoming president’s proposals to do away with wasteful practices and activities.

“He called for using simple vehicles, flying economy class, no more junkets. It is a good start,” she said.

Crass generalization

Meanwhile, relatives of slain environmental activist and Palawan broadcaster Gerry Ortega and Manila tabloid reporter Alex Balcoba also slammed Duterte for his remarks on journalist killings.

Ortega’s daughter Mika said their family was “incensed by the hasty and crass generalizations made (by Duterte) about murdered journalists in the country.”

“This kind of speech is alarming because without due process, it casts absolute judgment on all murdered journalists, including those who were killed for telling the truth,” she lamented.

Duterte in a news conference on Tuesday night cited the case of Jun Pala, a journalist and outspoken critic who was shot dead in Davao City in 2003. The murder is unsolved.

“The example here is Pala. I do not want to diminish his memory, but he was a rotten son of a bitch. He deserved it,” Duterte said. “If you are an upright journalist, nothing will happen to you.”

Duterte, already criticized for appointing as his spokesman a lawyer of the clan behind the 2009 Maguindanao massacre, told a press conference in Davao City that he was just telling the truth.

In a statement, the Ortegas said this does not apply to all journalist killings.

“Doc Gerry Ortega was killed for his courage and integrity. He was murdered precisely because he was honorable. He fought for social justice,” Mika stressed. “He stood up against mining in Palawan. He exposed corruption in the provincial government, which included the misuse of billions of pesos from the Malampaya Fund.”

Ortega was shot dead in January 2011. The alleged masterminds, former Palawan governor Joel Reyes and his brother former Coron town mayor Mario Reyes, are now standing trial before the Palawan Regional Trial Court for the murder.

Ma. Reynafe Castillo, daughter of Maguindanao massacre victim Reynaldo “Bebot” Momay, also said that her father was not a corrupt journalist.

“He was killed along with 31 other journalists by just merely covering an election-related incident. It is unfair to be branded as such. They were brutally killed. I saw the 57 bodies one by one with my own eyes as I searched for my Dad’s body. They were shot at close range. You can’t even identify them. Branding slain journalists as such is not acceptable,” she said.

Address impunity

Romel Bagares, executive director of the Center for International Law which represents some of the media victims in the Maguindanao massacre case, challenged Duterte to address the culture of impunity in the country.

“As an incoming president and as a lawyer, you must surely know that the state has an obligation under international law and constitutional law to provide effective remedy to victims of human rights violations. Your remark is not only insensitive; by it you only show a cynical attitude toward what is a serious concern to the international community and a scourge to any society founded on democratic ideals,” he said.

“You also implied … that journalists are often killed because they had been corrupt. That is an insult to the memory of many journalists whose only mistake was being faithful to their professional calling to a fault,” Bagares added.

Chilling effect A lawmaker also expressed serious concern over Duterte’s statements that corrupt and biased journalists deserved to die.

“Not only does it encourage people to take the law into their own hands, it also encourages them to break the law for the wrong reason, circumstances that cannot be justified under any condition, especially in a society ruled by law,” said Ifugao Rep. Teodoro Baguilat, a former journalist.

“The freedom of the press is one of the foundations of Philippine democracy. President-elect Duterte’s statement creates a chilling effect among journalists and threatens them to toe the line, or else. This is anathema to a democracy as it is this attitude precisely that has led to many journalists being killed,” he said.

Being a “son of a bitch, or corrupt or biased journalist” is not an offense punishable by death, Baguilat said.

International media, including The Washington Post, CNN and The Guardian, have picked up the latest remarks of Duterte.

The National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP) earlier slammed Duterte for his statement, saying it “tends to suggest that it is OK to get a journalist killed if he or she is involved in a corrupt practice.”

“The NUJP does not gloss over the fact that corruption is among the most pressing problems faced by the media. Nor do we deny that this could be the reason for a number of media killings,” NUJP chairman Ryan Rosauro said.

“However, it is one thing to recognize a possible reason for murder; it is a totally different thing to present this as a justification for taking a life,” he added.

The NUJP said Duterte, in effect, has declared an open season to silence the media, both individual journalists and the institution, on the mere perception of corruption.

“Even if this (were made in) jest, and we see no reason to believe this was the case, your words may well be interpreted as marching order by those with an axe to grind against a critical press,” the group said.

The NUJP also noted there are instances when the suspects in media killings are those who are accused of corruption.

“While there may be instances where private individuals may have sought revenge against journalists for soiling their reputations, the data show that of the handful of media killings that have actually made it to the courts, the accused are invariably from government – elected officials, government executives or members of the security services – and invariably accused of corruption,” the group said.

Other media groups and relatives of murdered journalists also criticized Duterte over his statements.

“The ‎Philippines is the second deadliest country in the world for journalists. Following the brutal execution of Alex Balcoba in Manila, the newly elected Filipino president, Rodrigo Duterte, said that many slain journalists had ‘done something’ to warrant being assassinated,” the International Federation of Journalists said.

“Duterte needs to take immediate action to end the culture of violence and impunity against the media in the Philippines and support press freedom and freedom of expression,” the group added.

The Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility (CMFR) took exception to Duterte’s statements, saying some, if not most, of the journalists killed in the country were killed for exposing corruption in the government.

“While corruption is undoubtedly a continuing problem in the press and media, journalists have been killed for other reasons, among them for exposing corruption in government,” the CMFR said.

The CMFR cited the case of Ortega and Marlene Esperat of Tacurong City for their advocacy in environmental protection.

The CMFR said some have also been killed for exposing anomalies in local governments as well as for fighting criminality.

“Because a significant number of those accused of killing journalists are local officials, as well as police and military personnel, the killings also suggest that the slain had been successful in exposing official wrongdoing and collusion with criminal groups,” CMFR said.

Florabel, the wife of slain journalist Balcoba, also hit Duterte for being insensitive to the plight of media practitioners.

“If my husband is corrupt then why are we living in a rented room? On the day Alex was killed we only have P200,” Florabel said.

“I am a teacher. During the campaign period we campaigned for him. We used our Facebook account to help him win. Now this is what we get,” she lamented.

No crime deterrent At the House of Representatives, Belmonte said the passage of Republic Act 7659 or the Death Penalty Law in 1993 was not easy. The law was then repealed in June 2006.

“It was very difficult to pass the first (death penalty) law considering virtually all developed countries in the world have no death penalty, except for the US and not all its states,” Belmonte told the Kapihan sa Manila Bay news forum yesterday.

“That is going to be a contentious issue in my opinion,” he said.

Belmonte, without disclosing his stand on the proposal, said that based on previous discussions in the House of Representatives on the issue, there were studies showing that capital punishment did not deter crime, but the certainty of prosecution and punishment.

However, some senior lawmakers have also argued otherwise, saying the death penalty will stop heinous crimes.

“I’m sure there’ll be raucous debate,” Belmonte said.

The House leader also said even the “super majority” that Duterte’s choice for speaker in the 17th Congress – incoming Davao del Norte Rep. Pantaleon Alvarez – wants to form may not necessarily deliver overwhelming numbers.

“This will be considered a conscience vote, so even if you have the ‘super majority,’ it’s not a sure thing,” Belmonte said.

He said the Reproductive Health Law, which was not as controversial and had the support of many Filipinos, took decades before it was enacted in 2012. – With Jess Diaz, Janvic Mateo, Artemio Dumlao, Rey Galupo, Cesar Suerte Felipe

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

RELATED FROM THE TRIBUNE

Cayetano sells self as temporary leader Written by Angie M. Rosales Monday, 06 June 2016 00:00



Senate Majority Leader Alan Peter Cayetano (photo) is aggressively lobbying for support in his bid for the Senate presidency even to the extent of selling himself as a temporary head of the chamber until such time he could assume a Cabinet position being reserved for him by incoming President Rodrigo Duterte.

“That is a good reason but when you look at it in another perspective, somebody told me that it does not look good to have the Senate presidency as a parking slot for a person waiting for a Cabinet position,” Senate Deputy Minority Leader Vicente “Tito” Sotto said.

Duterte had said Cayetano, who ran for vice president and lost, can choose from the Justice Secretary or Foreign Affairs Secretary post after the one year ban under the Election Law on losing candidates to assume a government post.

“It would be up to the decisions of the senators that’s why I leave it to majority of the members of the Senate. The decision is theirs,” Sotto said.

In a radio interview, Sotto was asked on the matter as Cayetano was quoted as saying in an interview in Davao that he’s confident in getting elected by his peers as the next Senate president, when 17th Congress opens on July 25, adding however he cannot be “overconfident.”

Cayetano is eyeing the Senate presidency while Sotto is being fielded by a group currently composed of nine members of the chamber which is just four votes short in wresting the top post from incumbent Senate President Franklin Drilon.

Allegedly, Cayetano has sought out Drilon who has a group of seven, composed mainly of members of his Liberal Party (LP) and the incoming members who ran and won under the Daang Matuwid coalition of President Aquino in the recently-concluded elections.

Cayetano also supposedly tried to convince Drilon to support his bid for the Senate presidency and allow him to sit even for a term of one year.

The majority leader who has been routing among his colleagues a resolution supporting his candidacy also boasted of receiving already the commitment of 15 senators while Sotto claimed his group has been in “talks” with 18 of Senate colleagues.


SOTTO

“Our is very clear, the people we are talking with. Let’s just wait. In a matter of weeks, that would clear up, who committed to support whom in black and white. The possibility (of getting 13 votes) is great. But not until July 25 during the voting can you be assured of that,” Sotto said.

Senate aspirants confident

“It’s good to be confident. It depends on the press release of each (gunning for the post). We are just saying what we know, I am really not after the Senate leadership but my group wanted it and those who we are talking with wanted that the next Senate leadership comes from our group,” Sotto added.

“It is their view that we can provide a unifying leadership,” he said.

Sotto refused to entertain questions on whether Drilon’s group, if they decide to merge with his group of nine would be more than enough in numbers to install the candidate of their choice and if Drilon’s bloc is already on their side.

“I don’t want to preempt the talks. All I can say for now is that we are talking and we are 18 who are in discussion. At the moment we have an idea on how the Senate should evolve into,” he said.

Whoever will be decided as their chosen candidate to possibly stand against the candidacy of Cayetano, Sotto said the public can expect their group as a “consensus bloc.”

“They can expect cooperation from our end in what we call as consensus leadership. Based on my experience as (Senate) majority and minority leader, what my colleagues abhor the most is making unilateral decisions. That’s why that is what I would promote which is a consensus leadership. We should always arrive at a majority decision,” he said.

Sotto said the matter of his colleagues finally deciding who among them they would opt to align with, could arrive at earlier than expected.

“The others may have already committed on who to support. But the way I look at it, maybe the announcement on who will be the groups will be made not longer than a week from now. That is how I look at it and that is my opinion,” he said.

There’s a likelihood that Sen. Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel who is the president of the political party of Duterte, the Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Laban ng Bayan (PDP-Laban) would join the ranks of Sotto’s group.

“Yes there is a good chance (for that to happen),” he said, adding the fact that the first political party he enlisted himself in was PDP-Laban, when he ran as vice mayor of Quezon City.

As such, Sotto said he does not see any problem in having Pimentel in their group. “Our feathers are not really that different, I can quote Koko (Pimentel) on that,” he said.


INQUIRER

‘Corrupt journalists legitimate targets’ By: Tarra Quismundo @TarraINQ Philippine Daily Inquirer
12:22 AM June 2nd, 2016


JUNE 1 -MEDIA KILLINGS Thirty-two coffins symbolizing the number of journalists killed in the 2009 Maguindanao massacre were carried by militants during a protest procession to Mendiola near Malacañang that was mounted during the third anniversary of the worst case of electoral violence in recent Philippine history and the single deadliest attack on journalists. INQUIRER FILE PHOTO

DAVAO CITY—“Even if you are a journalist, you are not exempted from assassination if you’re a son of a bitch.”

That is a warning from President-elect Rodrigo Duterte, who on Tuesday said corrupt journalists were legitimate targets of assassination, drawing outrage from civil rights and news organizations.

In comments to reporters in Davao City on Tuesday night, Duterte justified the media killings in the Philippines, saying freedom of the press was not a protection for corrupt journalists.

“You cannot invoke free speech. The Constitution cannot help you if you defame someone,” he said when asked how he would deal with the problem of media killings in the Philippines after a reporter was shot dead in Manila last week.

Tabloid reporter Alex Balcoba was shot dead by a lone gunman in Manila’s Quiapo district on Friday night, becoming the 30th journalist to be killed under the Aquino administration.

The International Federation of Journalists ranks the Philippines as the second-deadliest country in the world for journalists, with at least 146 killed over the last 25 years. The National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP) has a higher figure: 176 killed since 1986.

READ MORE...

One of the deadliest attacks against journalists took place in Maguindanao province in November 2009, when 32 media workers were among 58 people killed by the Ampatuan warlord clan intent on stopping a rival’s electoral challenge.

Close to 200 people are on trial for the so-called Maguindanao massacre, including members of the Ampatuan family accused of orchestrating the carnage.

Duterte has named Salvador Panelo, the former defense lawyer for the Ampatuans, as his presidential spokesperson, a nomination criticized by the victims’ families and journalists’ organizations.

“Most of those killed, to be frank, have done something. You won’t be killed if you don’t do anything wrong,” Duterte said, adding that many journalists in the Philippines were corrupt.

“If you are a journalist who is doing what is right, nobody will touch you, especially if [what you publish] is true. You cannot hide the truth,” he said.

On the take

The foul-mouthed mayor of Davao City said some journalists were on the take, writing either to favor or defame some people.

“Most of those killed were paid to take sides or they got paid but they failed [to deliver]. Or they took money from gamblers but still hit them,” he said.

He said corruption was a reality in the Philippine press and journalists should not regard their press badges as bulletproof vests.

“You really want the truth? That’s the truth. There is corruption on your side. There are many of them. They collect not just from the police. They collect blatantly, and then pounce on the other side,” Duterte said.

“Do not make it appear that those who were killed were clean. Most of you are clean. But do not ever expect that those who were killed were all clean. The reason why they were killed was that they got paid, they took sides, or they attacked too much, getting personal,” he said.

Pala’s murder

Duterte raised the case of Jun Pala, a journalist and politician who was murdered in Davao in 2003. Gunmen on a motorcycle shot dead Pala, who was a vocal critic of Duterte.

“I do not want to diminish his memory, but he was a rotten son of a bitch. He deserved it,” Duterte said.

He said he knew who ordered Pala’s murder—someone who was hurt by the journalist’s personal attacks. The murder has never been solved.

“We politicians, we are used to that. But private citizens are different—defame them and you defame their children. They will really kill you. That’s how it is,” he said.

Asked if criticism was an excuse for killing a journalist, Duterte told the reporter off: “You are asking why? That is the reason. If you’re saying that should not be, you have to debate it with the killer, not me.”

Duterte’s tenor on Tuesday night was similar to his tone whenever he was asked about the killing of crime suspects.

Last week, when asked during a press conference about the killing of three men in Davao City, Duterte asked: “What did they do?”

Told that the victims were crime suspects, he shrugged and said: “Then sorry.”

‘Taken out of context’

Duterte’s comments drew outrage from civil rights and journalists’ organizations, but Peter Laviña, spokesperson for Duterte’s transition team, said the President-elect’s remarks were “taken out of context, misinterpreted and misunderstood.”

Laviña said national and international media organizations “lapped up” news of journalists’ killings when the headlines should have been the “declaration of war against red tape and unnecessary fees imposed on hapless citizens,” apart from the appointment of new Cabinet officials.

“[Duterte’s] example of most slain journalists being corrupt or involved in shady deals was based on his own assessment of those killed in Davao City and not on the national scale. Certainly, Duterte has no personal knowledge of each and every single case of media killings in many parts of the country,” Laviña said.

He also said he went to Balcoba’s wake on Monday.

Laviñia said Duterte had promised to form a task force to handle the media killings, and that the President-elect would “ask for a special prosecutor to focus on these cases.”

“When Duterte said that [journalists] became vulnerable to killings, it was because they were no longer seen as fair and neutral members of the media, but they had become partisan propagandists, deliberately using their media outlets in attacking or defending one party or another and collecting payoff [from] both,” Laviña said.

He said Duterte’s remarks should be taken as “a reminder or a message that there is also corruption in the media.”

“And he has seen this during the recent election when headlines, for instance, were bumped off to give way to paid black propaganda masquerading as news. Hence, he said, ‘You really want the truth? Well, that’s the truth,’” Laviña said. With a report from AFP


MANILA BULLETIN

Duterte charting own course: Multilateral talks to settle territorial dispute eyed by Reuters June 2, 2016 (updated) Share0 Tweet1 Share0 Email1 Share7


Philippines' president-elect Rodrigo Duterte AFP PHOTO / MANMAN DEJETO

Incoming President Rodrigo Duterte said on Tuesday his country would not rely on long-term security ally the United States, signaling greater independence from Washington in dealing with China and the disputed West Philippine Sea (South China Sea).

The Philippines has traditionally been one of Washington’s staunchest supporters in its standoff with Beijing over the South China Sea, a vital trade route where China has built artificial islands, airstrips, and other military facilities.

Duterte, the tough-talking mayor of Davao City who swept to victory in the May 9 election, has backed multilateral talks to settle rows over the South China Sea that would include the United States, Japan, and Australia as well as claimant nations.

He has also called on China, which claims most of the sea, to respect the 200 nautical mile Exclusive Economic Zone granted to coastal states under international law.

Asked by reporters if he would push for bilateral talks with China, Duterte replied: “We have this pact with the West, but I want everybody to know that we will be charting a course of our own.

“It will not be dependent on America. And it will be a line that is not intended to please anybody but the Filipino interest.”

Asked about Duterte’s comments at a State Department briefing, Daniel Russel, the assistant secretary of state for East Asia and the Pacific, said the United States had “no problem whatsoever” with bilateral talks among the South China Sea claimants.

READ MORE...

Russel noted that some disputes in the South China Sea were by their nature multilateral and could not be resolved on a bilateral basis, but added “those that can, we’re all for it.” Duterte made his comments as he was unveiling his Cabinet line-up a day after a joint session of Congress declared him the election winner. He formally takes over as president on June 30.

Key ministerial appointments went mainly to conventional choices, a decision likely to allay nerves among foreign and domestic investors about a lurch away from reforms that have generated robust economic growth.

They also may point to a bid to resolve differences over the South China Sea.

The Philippines, Brunei, Vietnam, Malaysia, and Taiwan have overlapping claims to waters rich in oil and gas and through which trillions of dollars’ worth of trade pass each year.

Duterte’s pick for foreign secretary, Perfecto Yasay, has sounded a conciliatory note.

“I don’t think that there is another way of resolving this dispute except talking to each other,” Yasay told reporters this week. “We certainly would like to make sure that we are able to resume bilateral talks because these are necessary.”

NOT SO CLEAR CUT

Muddying the picture somewhat was the choice of former Marine Captain Nicanor Faeldon, who led a coup bid against then President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo about a decade ago, as head of the Bureau of Customs, the country’s second-largest agency in terms of revenue.

In December, Faeldon took a group of Filipino protesters to the disputed Pag-asa Island in the Spratly Islands in the South China Sea that is held by the Philippines, triggering an angry response from Beijing.

Before Duterte’s election, the Philippines also took the dispute to the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague, although China does not recognize the case. A ruling is expected in the coming weeks.

“I am waiting for the arbitration,” Duterte said of the process, when asked about investment prospects with China.

“It will impact on us in so many fronts … I would like to wait for this, then, with the advice of the Cabinet, I might be able to proceed. But you know, I am not ready to go to war. It will just result in a massacre.”


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

© Copyright, 2016 by PHILIPPINE HEADLINE NEWS ONLINE
All rights reserved


PHILIPPINE HEADLINE NEWS ONLINE [PHNO] WEBSITE