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HEADLINES NEWS THIS PAST WEEK...
(Mini Reads followed by Full Reports below)

DRILON: BE PREPARED FOR IMPACT ON ECONOMY OF DUTERTE TIRADES
[RELATED: Words can hurt country, Carpio warns Duterte]


OCTOBER 15 -Senator Franklin Drilon. INQUIRER FILE PHOTO / GRIG C. MONTEGRANDE
Sen. Franklin Drilon on Friday called on the country’s financial managers to be prepared to cushion the negative economic impact of President Rodrigo Duterte’s relentless tirade against the Philippines’ longtime allies and international organizations. While the senator expressed support for the government’s independent foreign policy, Drilon warned of the serious economic consequences of “antagonizing multilateral institutions and having poor relations with other countries,” particularly in terms of a reduction in foreign aid. In a statement, Drilon said that if the President continued with his antagonistic stance against the United States and the European Union, this may result in a reduction or even withdrawal of foreign aid to the Philippines which is currently at $3 billion. He said the country also ran the risk of losing trade preferences, including those under the generalized system of preferences which allows local producers to export products at zero or preferential tariff rates. This would, Drilon said, reduce the competitiveness of Philippine products in foreign markets. READ MORE...RELATED,
Words can hurt country, Carpio warns Duterte ...

ALSO: De Lima warns of revolutionary gov’t
[RELATED: De Lima - ‘as a woman, I made mistakes’]
[RELATED(2): Cases filed vs De Lima 3 days in a row]


OCTOBER 15 -de Lima
SENATOR Leila de Lima on Friday admitted that “as a woman,” she had her moments of weakness and her own share of personal mistakes, but receiving drug money and sleeping with drug convicts were not among them. In a speech before students and faculty members of Miriam College in Quezon City, the embattled senator again denied allegations against her in the House inquiry on the illegal drug trade at the New Bilibid Prison (NBP). “Yes as a human being, as a woman I have frailties, I have weaknesses, I have certain flaws. As a woman I made mistakes in my personal life and I’ve always considered my personal life as a private matter, it’s a sacred thing to me,” said de Lima, a mother of two whose marriage (to Plaridel Bohol) had been annulled. De Lima, a former Justice secretary and Commission on Human Rights chief, did not elaborate on her personal mistakes, but she insisted she was not the “bad and evil woman” that people in social media and in the House justice committee proceedings had claimed. “I am not the bad and evil woman or slut they are trying to portray in the past few weeks. I have not partied with or slept with any drug convict,” she added. READ MORE...RELATED, DoJ consolidates De Lima raps, forms probe panel...RELATED(2), Cases filed vs De Lima 3 days in a row...

ALSO: Duterte unconcerned with accusations of encouraging vigilante killings[RELATED: State-sponsored EJKs baseless — Senate report]


OCTOBER 16 -President Duterte has promised to wage a bloody war against drug traffickers and to suppress the narcotics trade within six months. He also promised to pardon policemen and soldiers who would face cases for carrying out his brutal campaign against illegal drugs. AP/Bullit Marquez, File photo
If I encourage vigilante killings, fine. President Rodrigo Duterte is not bothered about the possibility that he may be investigated by an international court for his brutal crackdown on narcotics and does not mind being accused of encouraging vigilantes to kill drug offenders. Duterte, who vowed to launch a bloody war on drug lords during the campaign, said his threats against criminals are “legitimate statements” of a leader who wants to save his country and its next generation. “Of course you say there could be consequences but I’m not worried about these things. I don’t make any projection,” Duterte told Al Jazeera when asked about the possible ramifications of his actions, including being tried in an international court. READ MORE...RELATED, State-sponsored EJKs baseless — Senate report...

ALSO: Typhoon 'Karen' (Sarika) leaves at least 2 dead, strands thousands
[RELATED: Ships sail again in Bicol, weather improves after ‘Karen’]
[RELATED(2): CamNorte evacuees return home; 6 towns still without power]


OCTOBER 16 -A vendor fixes his beach umbrella under a slight rain which was brought about by Typhoon "Sarika" Sunday, Oct. 16, 2016 in Manila, Philippines. The powerful typhoon, with sustained winds of 130 kilometers (80) miles per hour and gusts of 220 kph (136mph), has slammed into the northeastern Philippines and left at least two people dead, knocked out power and isolated villages in floods and toppled trees. AP Photo/Bullit Marquez
(UPDATE 2 2:35 p.m.) — Typhoon Karen (international name: Sarika) slammed into the northeastern Philippines on Sunday, leaving at least two people dead, knocking out power and isolating villages amid floods and toppled trees. The powerful typhoon blew into Aurora province early Sunday and was barreling fast through heavily-populated agricultural provinces, including landslide-prone areas, with sustained winds of 130 kilometers per hour and gusts of 220 kph. RELATED: 'Karen' weakens; new storm 'Haima' to enter PAR by Monday It was forecast to blow out of the main northern Luzon island by midday into the South China Sea. A separate tropical storm with the international name Haima has been spotted far out in the Pacific and may strengthen as it heads toward the Philippines this week, according to the government's weather agency. READ MORE...RELATED, Ships sail again in Bicol, weather improves after ‘Karen’ ...

ALSO: Closer alliance with Brunei, China eyed
(The Chief Executive will be in Brunei on October 16-18, and China on October 18-21.)
[RELATED: Duterte - Sea dispute will be discussed, but no bargaining in China visit]


OCTOBER 16 -Duterte to assure both countries that PH will continue to be their partners in Asia
President Durterte will embark on a six-day state visits to Brunei and China to strengthen bilateral relations with the two nations, Malacañang said. At a press briefing in Malacañang last Friday, Foreign Affairs spokesman Charles Jose said both visits are expected to enhance the country’s friendly relations with the two countries and to assure them that the Philippines will continue to be their partner in the region. The Chief Executive will be in Brunei on October 16-18, and China on October 18-21. In Brunei, the President is expected to hold bilateral talks with His Majesty Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah, Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam, on issues of bilateral and regional concerns. “It is hoped that during the visit, both leaders could also exchange ideas on how to broaden cooperation,” said Jose. Duterte is also scheduled to meet with the Filipino community at the Indoor Stadium Hassanal Bolkiah National Sports Complex in Berakas. Approximately 6,000 to 7,000 members of the Filipino community are expected to attend the event. About 23,000 Filipinos are working and residing in Brunei. READ MORE...RELATED,
Duterte: Sea dispute will be discussed, but no bargaining in China visit...

ALSO: Solution on Scarborough Shoal row possible – Chinese envoy
(While generous with his praise of China, Duterte has still insisted Filipino fishermen should have unhindered access to the shoal.)


OCTOBER 16 -Solution on Scarborough Shoal row possible – Chinese envoy | mb.com.ph | Philippine News A budding Philippines-China friendship could boost chances of removing one of their biggest bones of contention in the South China Sea, Beijing’s ambassador said on Friday, as the two sides pursue broad business ties while still at odds over sovereignty. Ahead of a high-profile visit to Beijing next week by President Duterte and at least 250 businessmen, China’s ambassador to Manila, Zhao Jianhua, said there was common ground on the South China Sea that both sides could work from, including on the disputed Scarborough Shoal. Duterte’s rapprochement with China marks an astonishing reversal in Philippine foreign policy since July, when the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) in The Hague ruled in favor of the Philippines in the South China Sea dispute. Manila lodged the case in response to what is now a four-year blockade by China’s coastguard at the Scarborough Shoal, a prime fishing patch. China has never recognized the case, but has been outraged by it, leaving much of the region on edge and in fearing retaliation by a country with a rapidly expanding military and coastguard. The PCA ruled on numerous issues but in terms of the Scarborough Shoal, it concluded no country had sovereign rights over the tranquil, rocky outcrop, thus all states with overlapping claims were entitled to fish there. READ MORE...


READ FULL MEDIA REPORTS HERE:

Drilon: Be prepared for impact on economy of Duterte tirades


Senator Franklin Drilon. INQUIRER FILE PHOTO / GRIG C. MONTEGRANDE

MANILA, OCTOBER 17, 2016 (INQUIRER)  By: Jeannette I. Andrade / @inquirerdotnet October 15, 2016 - Sen. Franklin Drilon on Friday called on the country’s financial managers to be prepared to cushion the negative economic impact of President Rodrigo Duterte’s relentless tirade against the Philippines’ longtime allies and international organizations.

While the senator expressed support for the government’s independent foreign policy, Drilon warned of the serious economic consequences of “antagonizing multilateral institutions and having poor relations with other countries,” particularly in terms of a reduction in foreign aid.

In a statement, Drilon said that if the President continued with his antagonistic stance against the United States and the European Union, this may result in a reduction or even withdrawal of foreign aid to the Philippines which is currently at $3 billion.

He said the country also ran the risk of losing trade preferences, including those under the generalized system of preferences which allows local producers to export products at zero or preferential tariff rates. This would, Drilon said, reduce the competitiveness of Philippine products in foreign markets.

READ MORE...

“So the fact is, if we lose these privileges it will adversely affect our economy, and in turn the livelihood of millions of our countrymen. So it is very critical that we maintain our good relations with our longtime partners and allies in the US and EU,” Drilon said.

He said, “The country cannot afford to lose the support of its longtime ally countries, especially in the economic and development sectors.”

“The government should take precautionary measures to cushion the impact once foreign aid contributions to the country are reduced, or should the United States and the European Union take the President’s challenge to withdraw foreign aid seriously,” the senator said.

While supporting the administration’s pursuit of an independent foreign policy, Drilon pointed out that it could be accomplished “without jeopardizing the billions worth of foreign assistance poured into the country annually.”

President Duterte, responding to international criticism over human rights violations in his antidrug campaign, has been peppering the United Nations, United States, European Union and international human rights organizations with insults.

He has said in various ways that he does not care about international human rights commitments, and has threatened to withdraw Philippine membership in the United Nations, cut longtime ties with the United States and develop closer ties with China and Russia.

Mr. Duterte is scheduled to pay a state visit to China next week. Trade officials said they expected to obtain over $3 billion in funding commitments during the visit.

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RELATED FROM THE INQUIRER

Words can hurt country, Carpio warns Duterte By: Jodee A. Agoncillo / @inquirerdotnet Philippine Daily Inquirer / 04:10 AM October 15, 2016


Supreme Court Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio INQUIRER FILE PHOTO/JOAN BONDOC

Be careful what you say in public, it just might boomerang.

Supreme Court Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio yesterday warned President Duterte against making public declarations that could hurt the country, as he expressed fears of the possibility of entering into a “joint development” with China that would push the Philippines to surrender areas in the South China Sea it claims part of its exclusive economic zone.

Caprio issued the warning before students and lawyers at the Asian Institute of Management’s Brewing @ AIM, where he presented his position on exercising sovereignty over Philippine territory in the South China Sea.

The magistrate said he had tried his best to inform the President about his stance on the disputed territory, and had offered to make a presentation to Mr. Duterte before his state visit to China on Oct. 20.

Different kind of person

“The President is a different kind of person. But I sent word to make a presentation before he leaves. I am more than ready to sit down. I am doing everything despite the fact that I’m from the Supreme Court…but I cannot impose myself on him,” Carpio said.

He said he had already briefed the secretaries of defense, justice and foreign affairs, the national security adviser and the office of Presidential Communications Secretary Martin Andanar on the issue.

He was told the President had seen the slides of his presentation.

Carpio expressed concern about how the President was dealing with the territorial dispute with China.

Binding declaration

“When the head of state makes an inaugural or national declaration, that’s binding on the state. When the President says Scarborough is not our territory, that could bind us in a subsequent case. So we have to be very careful. We don’t say those things in public that can boomerang on us,” he told the audience.

“Bajo de Masinloc or Scarborough Shoal—that’s Philippine territory. We have sovereignty and jurisdiction. You can’t say that Scarborough is not our territory. It might be taken against us in the next litigation,” he said.

Replying to a question from the audience, Carpio said that if the President concedes sovereignty claims over Scarborough Shoal, he could be impeached. “But we can never recover Scarborough forever,” he said.

Carpio noted that during the previous tribunal hearing of the South China Sea case, China offered the Philippines what it deems a “win-win” situation.

You want loans, trains?

“We will send many tourists a year to the Philippines, we can do whatever we want, railway, train, whatever; we can lend you soft loans; we will send our company to invest [in huge amounts] in the Philippines,” said Carpio of China’s proposed deal to the country.

But China wanted the Philippines to concede its sovereignty and enter into a joint development with China in return, which means the country has surrendered, Carpio said.

“That was a very generous offer when you count it in dollars but we turned it down,” Carpio said.

Later, China repeated that offer and opted to share a 50-50 revenue with the Philippines, so long as the latter concedes its sovereignty, Carpio said.

Carpio emphasized the need for the Philippines to send patrol groups over our economic zone as it “beefs up military presence.” TVJ


INQUIRER

De Lima warns of revolutionary gov’t By: Maila Ager / @MAgerINQ INQUIRER.net / 02:22 PM October 14, 2016


Senator Leila de Lima speaks at a mass for Option for Life at the CBCP Chapel in Manila on Monday, October 10, 2016 in celebration of the World Day Against Death Penalty. GRIG C. MONTEGRANDE/Philippine Daily Inquirer

The establishment of a revolutionary government, and not a martial law declaration, is the real threat to democracy, Senator Leila de Lima warned on Friday.

“It’s not remote,” De Lima, former Justice Secretary, said during an open forum with students of Miriam College in Quezon City.

READ: Duterte eyes revolutionary government (August 27, 2015, INQUIRER NEWS)

“Magagalit na naman sila, siguradong titirahin na naman ako (They would get mad again and criticize me). I don’t mind. I can say anything. I’m a human being. I’m a free human being. We are creatures of free will. We can think anything we want and we can say anything we think, right? And I’m thinking that I have the right to articulate on that. I have the right to express it…”

“That’s more scary—revolutionary government, not martial law. So ladies and gentlemen, it’s a real threat to our democracy so we can’t remain silent,” she said.

READ: Duterte to declare revolutionary gov’t once elected (June 07, 2015, INQUIRER NEWS)

The senator made the remarks when asked during the open forum about the possibility of a martial law declaration to justify extrajudicial killings in the country.

While martial law could be declared by the present leadership, De Lima said it would be difficult as it has to pass through some legal processes.

“Because you know, martial law has to go through some legal obstacles, getting the concurrence of Congress although pwedeng magawa yan (that’s possible) because of the supermajority. But it’s also subject to the judicial review, review by the Supreme Court. Baka mahirapan (They could find it difficult) although they can also achieve that…” she said.

Forming a revolutionary government, she said, is “far broader” and more totalitarian.

“Because it’s extra-constitutional. Because its extra-constitutional, he can do anything. He would have absolute power. He can abolish key institutions like Congress, like the courts. They can introduce a new political system, legal system, social system, economic system…” the senator said. RAM/rga

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RELATED FROM THE MANILA TIMES

De Lima: ‘as a woman, I made mistakes’  BY JEFFERSON ANTIPORDA, TMT ON ON OCTOBER 15, 2016 TODAY'S HEADLINE PHOTOS, TOP STORIES


de Lima

SENATOR Leila de Lima on Friday admitted that “as a woman,” she had her moments of weakness and her own share of personal mistakes, but receiving drug money and sleeping with drug convicts were not among them.

In a speech before students and faculty members of Miriam College in Quezon City, the embattled senator again denied allegations against her in the House inquiry on the illegal drug trade at the New Bilibid Prison (NBP).

“Yes as a human being, as a woman I have frailties, I have weaknesses, I have certain flaws. As a woman I made mistakes in my personal life and I’ve always considered my personal life as a private matter, it’s a sacred thing to me,” said de Lima, a mother of two whose marriage (to Plaridel Bohol) had been annulled.

De Lima, a former Justice secretary and Commission on Human Rights chief, did not elaborate on her personal mistakes, but she insisted she was not the “bad and evil woman” that people in social media and in the House justice committee proceedings had claimed.

“I am not the bad and evil woman or slut they are trying to portray in the past few weeks. I have not partied with or slept with any drug convict,” she added.

READ MORE...

De Lima has been accused by drug convicts and former officials of the Bureau of Corrections and the National Bureau of Investigation of accepting millions of pesos from illegal drug operations allegedly ran by big-time drug lords at the NBP.

There were even instances, according to the inmates, when de Lima spent some time inside the “kubol” or prison apartment of kidnapping-for-ransom convict Jaybee Sebastian.

De Lima had admitted to entering Sebastian’s kubol but said she was accompanied by officials of the NBP or her security aide.

The senator was also accused of getting a total of P10 million from Sebastian in 2015, and various amounts from drug convicts in preparation for her senatorial bid.

Not the ‘mother of drug lords’

De Lima, in her speech, denied the allegations anew, saying she never benefited from illegal drug trade in the Bilibid.

“I am not the mother of these drug lords and I am not the one who won as a member of the Senate and has turned this country into a narco-state, because in the first place our country is far from being a narco-state,” she said.

De Lima said she wanted to clarify matters, concerned that some people may have started to believe the attacks launched against her by no less than the President.

The senator at the same time called on students to help raise awareness on human and women’s rights and democracy, which, according to her, were in peril.

De Lima has been going around schools and universities to talk to students and faculty members.

“I’m doing this, because no one is listening to me in the Senate, so I might as well get out of the Senate halls and reach out to you in the hope that you would listen and open your minds,” de Lima told her Miriam College audience.

“Let’s use women’s intuition intelligently. Let’s put a stop to the evil of silence. We must speak and we must speak not just as human beings but specifically as women,” she added.

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RELATED(2) FROM THE TRIBUNE

DoJ consolidates De Lima raps, forms probe panel Written by Benjamin B. Pulta Saturday, 15 October 2016 00:00



The Department of Justice (DOJ) will consolidate into a single case the two drug trafficking complaints filed against Senator Leila De Lima and several other individuals accused of involvement in the illegal drugs trade inside the New Bilibid Prison (NBP).

Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II, confirmed his agency may consolidate the complaints filed separately by the Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption (VACC) and former National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) deputy directors Reynaldo Esmeralda and Ruel Lasala as to De Lima’s alleged conspiracy to commit drug trade.

He explained that since both cases involves similar issues, consolidating these would be proper.

A five-man panel of prosecutors will conduct the preliminary investigation and then the justice department will forward its findings to the Office of the Ombudsman.

Anti-crime group VACC earlier lodged the complaint against the senator for violating Republic Act 9165 (Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act) by supposedly conspiring with several other officials in the previous administration and high-profile NBP inmates in the drug trade during her stint as Justice secretary.

Aside from De Lima, other officials who were charged for conspiracy were former DOJ undersecretary Francisco Baraan III, former Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) chief Franklin Bucayu.

De Lima’s alleged boyfriends and bodyguards, Ronnie Dayan and Presidential Security Group member Joenel Sanchez were also charged along with Jose Adrian Dera, also Bucayu’s alleged bagman Wilfredo Ely and high-profile convict at the NBP Jaybee Sebastian.

READ MORE...

De Lima and the other respondents were specifically charged with violation of Section 5 (sale and trading of illegal drugs) in relation to Section 26 (b) (conspiracy) of R.A. 9165.

This was followed by a complaint last Thursday by ex-NBI officials who tagged De Lima as “mother of all drug lords”.

Also in the charge sheet is ex-NBI Deputy Director Rafael Ragos who testified before the House of Representatives that he brought the drug money to De Lima.

Aguirre said the probe panel shall conduct the preliminary investigation on the allegations against de Lima, afterwhich if found with probable cause, the Department of Justice (DoJ) will forward its findings to the Office of the Ombudsman, for prosecution before the Sandiganbayan.

“The DOJ has concurrent jurisdiction with the Ombudsman to hear preliminary investigation cases filed against government officials that are cognizable by the Sandiganbayan,” he said.

Aguirre also assured that prosecutors would be fair in resolving the criminal charges against his predecessor in the department and seven others.

Aguirre also said there will be a consolidation of the complaint filed separately by the Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption (VACC) and former National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) deputy directors Reynaldo Esmeralda and Ruel Lasala as to De Lima’s alleged conspiracy to commit drug trade.

He said that since both cases involve similar issues, these cases shall be consolidated.

‘I have frailties’ — Leila

De Lima yesterday admitted committing some lapses in judgment in the past, but none could come close to the issues being hurled at her, that of receiving tens of millions of drug money from convicted drug lords.

“Yes, as a human being, as a woman, I have frailties, I have weaknesses, I have certain flaws as a woman, I’ve made mistakes in my personal life, and I’ve always considered my personal life as a private matter. It’s a sacred thing to me. But now, they’ve been intruding and encroaching into my privacy. Yes, I made mistakes, and when I do make mistakes in my personal life, I pick up the pieces and move on,” she said in her speech delivered Friday at Miriam College where she attended a forum on women’s life, dignity and democracy.

“But never did I betray my country. I want that made clear because that’s what I fear that some of you may have started to believe the relentless, vicious attacks being launched and led by the most powerful man in this country,” De Lima said.

“I have not partied or slept with any drug convict. I have not received anything from a drug convict or a drug lord, or anyone else. I have not received P2 million in one meeting with one of those convicts at the office of a former director. I have not received P3 million a week, a month—I think that’s what they said—since 2012. I did not receive P10 million from anyone, let alone from a drug convict. I did not receive P5 million in two or three occasions in my house from a former official of BuCor.

“I have not benefited from the drug trade. I am not the Queen of the Drug Trade of the (National) Bilibid (Prison). I am not the mother of these drug lords. And I am not one who won as a member of the Senate and has turned this country into a narco-state, because in the first place, our country is far from being a narco-state,” she added.

De Lima took the opportunity to disabuse the minds of the audience, some of whom she said may have started to believe or were already convinced on the allegations made against her in the hearings in the House of Representatives.

“I am not the bad woman or slut that they are trying to portray in the past few weeks,” she said.

“While I never asked to be the poster child for any sort of victimization—I have not imagine in my life that I would also be a victim of human rights violation. I thought that my destined role is as a defender of victims of human rights violations. Because you know, my role is that of an advocate being so much more safe and comfortable a role than as a victim—I am not one to let a good opportunity to be an agent of positive change go to waste,” the senator said.
 

ALLEGED POSTER GIRL OF SLUT-SHAMING

De Lima said that she’s being subjected to be the alleged poster girl of slut-shaming.

“I’m Exhibit A simply because I’m a vocal critic of the anti-human rights policies of this presidency, of this administration, particularly extrajudicial killings. I’m being subjected to these unprecedented attacks on my person, on my character, and on my credibility. Their whole agenda is to crush and break my spirit so that no one would listen to me anymore. Our democracy is in peril,” she further said.

De Lima said the reason why she has been engaged in a series of speaking engagements lately was no one seems to be on her side, even those within the halls of the chamber where she’s currently a member of.

“So I might as well get out of the Senate halls and reach out to you, in the hope that you would listen and open your minds,” she said.

“We need to raise awareness on our fight for the truth, fight for justice, fight for human rights, women’s rights, and democracy. Human rights because of the spate of extrajudicial killings we are seeing on a daily basis,” De Lima said.

“Even my time in the office is not much of a respite from the stress of unmitigated attacks, which is why times like this—when I get to go out and meet with people, especially the young, face-to-face, see the faces of the people I am fighting for—are even more precious to me than they have ever been before,” she said.

House sets release of report

The House committee on justice is set to convene again on Monday to approve its committee report that is expected to link then Justice Secretary and now de Lima to the illegal drugs trade at the national penitentiary.

Oriental Mindoro Rep. Reynaldo Umali, the panel chairman, said his committee will meet to immediately legislate a measure aimed at averting a similar situation in the future and reform the penal system in the country.

“Our committee report is still being finalized and we have a scheduled hearing on Monday to approve the report,” Umali said in an interview.

Quezon City Rep. Winston “Winnie” Castelo, Deputy Speaker and Batangas Rep. Raneo Abu and Camarines Sur Rep. LRay Villafuerte called on the public to back Congress and Executive’s efforts to address the drug menace in the country.

“This is to show that Congress is steadfast on our very serious efforts to craft a new legislation that would address this grave problem (drug trade),” said Castelo, a panel member and chairman of the House committee on Metro Manila development.

The lawmakers, apparently batting for reforming convicts instead of killing them, said that detention facilities in the country should be modernized.

“We should not allow underworld criminals to continue their nefarious activities inside prisons and let us help them to be reformed by working on modernized and humane jail facilities in the country. It ishigh time to amend our Anti-Wiretapping Law and Bank Secrecy Law to deal with these drug and corruption problems,” said Abu, one of the authors of House Resolution (HR) No. 105 calling an investigation in aid of legislation to the proliferation of drug syndicates inside the New Bilibid Prisons (NBP).

Villafuerte said Congress should put an end to the level of corruption that has attended the drug menace which can best be gleaned from the special privileges that drug lords have been enjoying at the NBP’s maximum security cells, resulting from payoffs to corrupt government and prison officials. Last modified on Friday, 14 October 2016 14:21

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RELATED(3) FROM MALAYA

Cases filed vs De Lima 3 days in a row By GERARD NAVAL AN... October 14, 2016

TWO more charges have been filed against Sen. Leila de Lima in connection with her alleged involvement in illegal drugs operations.

De Lima, who was implicated in the drugs trade by President Duterte himself, said she expects more to come.

The first complaint yesterday accused De Lima of receiving drug money from suspected drug lord Kerwin Espinosa, son of Mayor Rolando Espinosa Sr. of Albuera town in Leyte, who is in Duterte’s drug list. The case of grave misconduct and grave abuse of authority was filed Wednesday by the Albuera police before the regional office of the Ombudsman.

In Manila, a complaint for drug trafficking was filed yesterday before the Department of Justice (DOJ) by Reynaldo Esmeralda and Ruel Lasala, former deputy directors of the National Bureau of Investigation, who called De Lima the “mother of all drug lords.”

Esmeralda and Lasala accused De Lima of using her authority as justice secretary during the Aquino administration to ensure the proliferation of the illegal drugs trade inside the National Bilibid Prison (NBP).

De Lima, who allegedly used drug money from the NBP to finance her senatorial run in the May 2106 elections, denied knowing the Espinosas and receiving drug money from Kerwin.

On Esmeralda and Lasala, she said the two have an axe to grind. She said she sacked Esmeralda and Lasala from the NBI in 2014 as part of the NBI reorganization program. But sources said they were sacked for their alleged involvement in P10-billion “pork barrel” scam.

“They are just getting back at me,” De Lima said.

De Lima now faces three drug-related charges. The first was filed last Tuesday before the DOJ by the group Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption which accused her of violating the Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002 that prohibits the “sale, trading, administration, dispensation, delivery, distribution and transportation of any dangerous drug and/or controlled precursor and essential chemical.”

The VACC said its complaint was based on testimonies of NBP inmate and alleged drug lord Herbert Colanggo and Rafael Ragos, former officer in charge of the Bureau of Corrections, during a hearing of the House justice committee.

The complaint filed by the Albuera police was based on the claims of Roland Kevin Espinosa, brother of Kerwin; Marcelo Adorco, driver-bodyguard of Kerwin; and an unnamed witness, who said De Lima received at least P8 million sometime March 2016, said Chief Supt. Elmer Beltejar, chief of the Eastern Visayas Police Regional Office.

Mayor Espinosa surrendered to PNP chief Ronald dela Rosa last August after Duterte gave him and Kerwin a 24-hour deadline to give themselves up as they were known drug traffickers.

Kerwin is still at large.

Beltejar said De Lima’s name was also found in a “blue book” recovered from the house of the Espinosa family in Barangay Binolho, Albuera town during a raid by the police last August.

He said the money was given by Roland Kevin to De Lima during a lunch meeting with Kerwin, Mayor Espinosa, and Adorco at the Dampa restaurant at the SM Mall of Asia in Pasay City in March 2016.

“Siya (Roland Kevin) mismo ang nagsabi na nag-abot siya ng pera during one of their meetings kay Sen. Leila de Lima, pero ang pinag-abutan ay si Ronnie Dayan (De Lima’s driver-bodyguard and alleged bagman). Habang nag-lunch ay nagkaroon ng arrangement na bibigyan ng election campaign funds si Senator De Lima,” Beltejar said.

He said the whole amount of P8 million was handed to Dayan, on De Lima’s behalf.

“Ang sabi ay P8 million, buo yun. Yun ung basehan ng pag-file ng mga kaso. Tapos si mayor (Espinosa) sinasabi niya rin he was there during that time. Meron pang isang other witness, yung personal driver bodyguard ni Kerwin nandoon din, si Adorco,” he added.

Chief Insp. Jovie Espinido, Albuera police chief, earlier filed cases before the DOJ against Kerwin Espinosa and several others for violation of the anti-illegal drugs law.

‘NO AXE TO GRIND’

In their 20-page complaint, Esmeralda and Lasala said De Lima, “acting as the mother of all drug lords and through the use of her authority, was able to appoint and designate men inside the Bilibid in order to ensure the perpetuation of illegal drug trade.”

The complaint included Ragos, NBI deputy director.

The complaint primarily used testimonies of NPB inmates before the House justice committee which investigated the proliferation of illegal drugs at the NBP during De Lima’s stint as DOJ chief.

Esmeralda and Lasala were dismissed from their posts by De Lima for “lingering integrity issues.”

“Definitely, (there is) no (axe to grind). There are pieces of evidences we gathered and it’s about time we filed the charges also to give her due process,” Esmeralda said. – With JP Lopez


PHILSTAR

Duterte unconcerned with accusations of encouraging vigilante killings By Alexis Romero (philstar.com) | Updated October 16, 2016 - 5:25pm 6 128 googleplus1 0


President Duterte has promised to wage a bloody war against drug traffickers and to suppress the narcotics trade within six months. He also promised to pardon policemen and soldiers who would face cases for carrying out his brutal campaign against illegal drugs. AP/Bullit Marquez, File photo

MANILA, Philippines — If I encourage vigilante killings, fine.

President Rodrigo Duterte is not bothered about the possibility that he may be investigated by an international court for his brutal crackdown on narcotics and does not mind being accused of encouraging vigilantes to kill drug offenders.

Duterte, who vowed to launch a bloody war on drug lords during the campaign, said his threats against criminals are “legitimate statements” of a leader who wants to save his country and its next generation.

“Of course you say there could be consequences but I’m not worried about these things. I don’t make any projection,” Duterte told Al Jazeera when asked about the possible ramifications of his actions, including being tried in an international court.

READ MORE...

“Before you can begin, you must determine that I have committed a crime in my country, that I have committed mass murders in my country and then charge me that. There can be no ramifications when I say I will kill you if you destroy my land. It’s a legitimate statement of any general, of any wartime president of any tribal leader,” he added.

Duterte also shrugged off notions that he is encouraging vigilante groups to kill drug offenders.

RELATED: UN body 'deeply concerned' over top officials encouraging drug killings

“I said I’ll kill you (if you destroy my country). If I encouraged (vigilantes), fine,” the president said.

“I will kill you because I’m the mayor, I’m the president. If the vigilante would take over, I cannot control it, I cannot be God and control everything okay you just kill these guys or you wait for the courts to do that,” he added.

When reminded that human rights is part of the Constitution, a document that he is supposed to uphold, Duterte replied: “I would rather intimidate and strike fear in the hearts of criminals just like what happened in Davao, where finally, you can walk about in the streets at night and you can eat anywhere anytime and nobody but nobody would bother you.”

Duterte claimed that Davao City, where he served as mayor for more than two decades, is booming because businesses can thrive and people can live their lives normally.

“I don’t care about what the human rights guys say. I have the duty to preserve the (next) generation. If it involves human rights, I don’t give a s**. I have to strike fear because the enemies of the state are out there to destroy the children,” he said.

“I don’t play with conjectures, I do not make assumptions. I just say what I should be saying as a president and as a mayor. Now if the criminals there are killed by the thousands, that’s not my problem. My problem is how to take care the of the law-abiding, God-fearing young persons of this republic because they are our resources.”

More than 3,000 suspected drug offenders have been killed, about half of them in law enforcement operations, since Duterte assumed office last July. The United Nations (UN), The United States (US), and the European Union (EU) have expressed concerns over the killings and have urged the Philippine government to uphold the rule of law at all times.

The statements drew the ire of Duterte, who went on to challenge his critics to a debate on human rights. He has also accused the US, the UN and the EU of interfering with his campaign against drugs and of embarrassing him before the international community.

Last week, a prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) said the spate of killing in the Philippines is “worrying” and vowed to monitor the developments in the country in the succeeding weeks.

ICC prosecutor Fatou Bensouda said extrajudicial killings may fall under the jurisdiction of the international court “if they are committed as part of a widespread or systematic attack against a civilian population pursuant to a state policy to commit such an attack."

FULL TEXT: ICC prosecutor on situation in Philippines

Duterte has repeatedly denied endorsing extrajudicial killings and has vowed to investigate the alleged summary executions of drug suspects.

Asked if he believes in the Philippines’ judicial system, Duterte replied: “Right now I still believe in the system because I will guarantee this time that the law this time is obeyed.”

The president lamented though that there are judges who are handling about 1,000 drug-related cases but have not rendered even a single conviction.

“That’s how it is played here that’s the miserable thing about the drug problem now,” he said.

Duterte said the government is looking into reports that innocent people, including children, have been killed because of his anti-drug war. He admitted though that “collateral damage” may be incurred in the fight against illegal drugs.

“Here is the police. Here is a gangster. (The police) is armed with M16. The gangster only (has) a pistol. When they meet, they exchange fire, and when the police with M16 hits 1,000 people there and they die, there is no criminal liability,” he said.

“It could not be negligence because you have to save your life. It could not be recklessness because you have to defend yourself.”

Duterte also decried what he believes is the double standard against his narcotics crackdown.

“Until now I have yet to hear an apology for those who have died in Vietnam in Afghanistan. Never mind about the militants. Kill them. But in the process, two families or a hospital (may be harmed). It’s collateral damage. Then why is it collateral damage in the west and to us, it is murder?” he said.

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RELATED FROM THE TRIBUNE

State-sponsored EJKs baseless — Senate report Written by Angie M. Rosales Monday, 17 October 2016 00:00

GORDON: KILLED WAS USE OF ILLEGAL DRUGS

The Senate committee on justice and human rights that probed alleged extrajudicial killings (EJKs) will report the allegation of state-sponsored summary slays was groundless, the lead prober in the upper chamber said yesterday.

“There is no proof to show that there is a sustained systematic policy of state-sponsored killings. The President was motivated to kill the use of illegal drugs because he really means to eradicate illegal drugs. But I don’t think he is really going to push anybody and say kill,” said Sen. Richard Gordon, chairman of the panel that probed the issue on alleged summary killings of drug personalities in joint with the committee on public order and dangerous drugs.

“We have established that there is rule of law in our country. It is not perfect but you can see that the branches of government are working. There is a rule of law. The rule book has not been thrown out of the window,” he said.
 



Gordon’s statements came on the heels of his pronouncements, following the termination of the probe, on the submission this week of his panel’s report. After conducting six public hearings, including the proceedings which were still under the helm of Sen. Leila de Lima who was the former committee chairman and sponsor of the resolution that paved the way for the conduct of the inquiry, Gordon said they have already gathered sufficient information to submit a report with recommendations as to remedies through legislation.

The senator said he intends to file a report, if not today, within the week of before Congress goes on recess.

“We are terminating the investigation as far as recent and rampant killings is concerned. We already learned enough to enable us to craft proposed measures that would improve law enforcement procedures in the country. If it’s possible, we will submit it by Monday or if you allow us some leeway, within the week,” the senator said.

Among the recommendations he indicated the report would contain will include proposed measures that should be crafted to ensure that law enforcement authorities will really perform their duties with dispatch to assure public safety.

These includes setting a rigid deadline for policemen in investigating crimes within their jurisdictions.

Fast action needed

“It should be immediate action. The police should complete the investigations within three days, then suspend or dismiss the offenders. The filing of cases from the Department of Justice (DoJ) then follows automatically. The investigation of the Internal Affairs Service of the Philippine National Police (PNP) should also be fast although it can only file administrative cases,” the senator said.

With regards to the chiefs of police or higher-ranking officers in-charge of police stations, provinces or regions, Gordon said the committee will also recommend amendments to existing laws so they could be sanctioned should they be remiss in their duties of ensuring that crimes within their jurisdictions are solved with dispatch.

“You commit crime by omission or commission. The police chiefs should do their job. When you omit to do your duty, that’s a crime, if you fail to solve any crime within your precinct, the police chief should be suspended or dismissed,” he explained.

Gordon said he will also push for the enactment of a law requiring bigger plate numbers for motorcycles to take a bite out of crime.
The senator will also recommend requiring the Philippine National Police (PNP) to regularly submit to both Houses of Congress a list of index crimes across the country which would serve as reference for creating proposed legislation. He will also propose allocating budget for the PNP to procure body cameras that could be used by policemen responding to crime alerts or conducting police operations to provide visual documentation.

Collateral damage

Duterte, meanwhile, isn’t denying that there were innocent victims killed in his administration’s war on illegal drugs.

In a sit-down interview with Al-Jazeera, the Chief Executive said that he’s taking responsibility of the so-called collateral damage caused by his government’s intensified crackdown of the narcotics trade that has claimed nearly 3,000 lives.

“That is mine. Yes of course... I don’t play with conjectures, I do not make assumptions. I just say what I should be saying as a President and as a Mayor,” Duterte said of the extra judicial killings attributed to him and his government.

“Now if the criminals are killed by the thousands, that’s not my problem. My problem is how to take care the of the law-abiding, God-fearing and young persons of this republic because they are our resources,” he stressed.

Duterte said that he is not bothered by the literal impression made by his harsh pronouncements, adding that if it sounds like a call for vigilante reinforcement, then be it.

“I said, I am warning criminals: ‘I will kill you’. If I encouraged (vigilantism), fine... Okay you just kill these guys or you wait for the courts to do that,” the President said.

“I will kill you because I’m the Mayor, I’m the President. If the vigilante would take over, I cannot control it, I cannot be God and control everything,” he added.

Duterte has been constantly the subject of criticisms and warnings from international bodies, particularly the United Nations (UN) and human rights groups for allegedly encouraging vigilantes to join his campaign against drug traffickers and other criminals.

But the President, renewing his anti-West sympathies, said that innocents killed are inevitable in wars, comparable to the bombings done by US Forces in the Middle East.

“When you bomb a village you intend to kill the militants but kill in the process the children there. People judge best when they condemn. They would always place you in a bad light but the situation does not go for that,” Duterte said.

“Until now I have yet to hear an apology for those who have died in Vietnam, in Afghanistan. Never mind about the militants killed by them... but in the process, two families or hospital, it’s collateral damage. Then why is it collateral damage in the west and to us, it is murder?” the Chief Executive emphasized.

Meanwhile, Duterte said that he is not cowed by prosecutions or criticisms from international bodies such as recently the International Criminal Court (ICC).

“Before you can begin, you must determine that I have committed a crime in my country, that I have committed mass murders in my country and then charge me that,” he said.

“There can be no ramifications. When I say I will kill you if you destroy my land it’s a legitimate statement of any general, of any wartime president or of any tribal leader to say those things,” Duterte reiterated.

The President reaffirmed that concerns over human rights violations shouldn’t hinder him from pursuing his task against the narcotics industry.

“When I said I don’t care about what the human rights guys say, I have the duty to preserve the generation. If it involves human rights violations, I don’t give a shit,” Duterte said.

“I would rather intimidate and strike fear in the hearts of criminals,” he added. Ted Tuvera


PHILSTAR

'Karen' leaves at least 2 dead, strands thousands (philstar.com) | Updated October 16, 2016 - 11:17am 4 16 googleplus0 0


A vendor fixes his beach umbrella under a slight rain which was brought about by Typhoon "Sarika" Sunday, Oct. 16, 2016 in Manila, Philippines. The powerful typhoon, with sustained winds of 130 kilometers (80) miles per hour and gusts of 220 kph (136mph), has slammed into the northeastern Philippines and left at least two people dead, knocked out power and isolated villages in floods and toppled trees. AP Photo/Bullit Marquez

MANILA, Philippines (UPDATE 2 2:35 p.m.) — Typhoon Karen (international name: Sarika) slammed into the northeastern Philippines on Sunday, leaving at least two people dead, knocking out power and isolating villages amid floods and toppled trees.

The powerful typhoon blew into Aurora province early Sunday and was barreling fast through heavily-populated agricultural provinces, including landslide-prone areas, with sustained winds of 130 kilometers per hour and gusts of 220 kph.

RELATED: 'Karen' weakens; new storm 'Haima' to enter PAR by Monday


Flood continues in Cabiao, Nueva Ecija after typhoon Karen barelled through Luzon. After making landfall over Aurora province on Sunday, Karen has now weakened, prompting weather bureau PAGASA to downgrade storm warning signals in some areas. Despite this, Karen caused considerable damage in many parts of Luzon, particularly in the Bicol region and in Aurora, where the typhoon made landfall.Photo by Bayan Patroller Ruth Estrella ABS-CBN

It was forecast to blow out of the main northern Luzon island by midday into the South China Sea. A separate tropical storm with the international name Haima has been spotted far out in the Pacific and may strengthen as it heads toward the Philippines this week, according to the government's weather agency.

READ MORE...

Nearly 10,000 villagers fled their homes in Sarika's path and were taken in more than 100 emergency shelters, Welfare Secretary Judy Taguiwalo said.

At least 2 reported deaths

Mayor Nelianto Bihasa of Baler, a popular surfing town in Aurora, said howling wind ripped tin roofs off many houses and knocked down trees and electric posts, causing power outages and blocking access roads to some villages. Coastal villagers were warned early to move to safer areas and there have been no immediate reports of casualties other than two injured residents.

In eastern Catanduanes province, a man identified as Rene Magtangob, 39, who was a resident of Barangay Sogon, Tigbao, drowned after being swept by strong river currents. He was missing since Friday after crossing the Inagasan Creek.

Meanwhile, a 77-year-old farmer identified as Felicito Tesorero died after his head hit the ground in fierce wind, provincial safety officer Jerry Beo said, adding that three fishermen have not returned home from a fishing expedition and were reported missing.

Another death related to the typhoon was being checked in nearby Camarines Sur province, officials said.


OCTOBER 16 -KAREN MOST DESTRUCTIVE: As Typhoon 'Karen' barreled toward Luzon Island, motorists were confronted with this watery skyline of Makati City as seen through a car’s windshield. (by Sonny Espiritu) “We can see from the radar that the storm is very destructive. It can destroy wooden houses, it can topple trees. It can possibly rip off roofs... This could so far, be the most damaging typhoon this year,” said forecaster Benison Estareja of the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration.While the storm is not the most powerful to hit the country this year, it could cause the most damage as it will cross heavily-populated areas just north of Manila, Estareja said. “This one will have an impact because most of the people are in [that part of] Luzon. Even Metropolitan Manila will be affected,” he warned.FROM MANILA STANDARD

A month's worth of rain poured Friday as the typhoon approached from the Pacific, swelling rivers and creeks and flooding low-lying farming villages, Beo said, adding that most towns in the island province of about 260,000 people have no electricity and spotty communications.

In Bataan province, 50 mountaineers were forced to descend from Mount Tarak in stormy weather, but 36 others remained stranded in the uplands, according to police and firefighters who were trying to rescue them.

In the northern mountain province of Benguet, 16 mountaineers were stranded in Mount Pulag and forest rangers were enroute to rescue them, officials said.

About 200 domestic and international flights have been canceled and thousands of passengers stranded in seaports after inter-island ferries were ordered not to venture out in rough seas.


A tree was uprooted in San Luis, Aurora as typhoon Karen made landfall over the province. Karen is expected to leave the Philippine area of responsibility (PAR) on Monday morning.Photo by Bayan Patroller Aries Ranillo ABS-CBN

About 20 typhoons and storms lash the Philippines each year, adding to the many burdens in a country that's also threatened by earthquakes and volcanic eruptions. The latest typhoon, Sarika, was named after a singing bird in Cambodia. — Associated Press and Bicol Standard

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RELATED FROM THE INQUIRER

Ships sail again in Bicol, weather improves after ‘Karen’ By: Mar S. Arguelles / @inquirerdotnet
Inquirer Southern Luzon / 11:34 AM October 16, 2016


This file photo shows passengers waiting to be allowed to take their trips to their destinations. INQUIRER FILE

LEGAZPI CITY, Philippines — As the weather normalized in Bicol with the passing of tropical storm “Karen”, disaster authorities on Sunday allowed 3,732 stranded passengers from the ports of Albay, Masbate, Catanduanes and Camarines Sur to sail, the Office of Civil Defense (OCD) in Bicol said.

The Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) gave the green light after the local weather bureau announced on its 8 a.m. advisory that the weather in the Bicol region was back to normal, according to Bernardo Rafael Alejandro, OCD Region 5 director.

“It is normal practice that we allow passengers to leave and ships to sail following the lifting of all public storm warning signals over the region,” Alejandro said in a phone interview.

He said majority of the passengers that were allowed to sail were bound for Samar and Leyte provinces in the Visayas.

As the weather improved, various provincial disaster risk reduction and management councils and their MDRRMCs began sending home 1,566 families (7,380 persons) that sought refuge in evacuation centers in Albay, Camarines Sur, Camarines Norte, Catanduanes and Sorsogon.


AFTERMATH OF KAREN: Plastic, styrofoam and other garbage were washed over the shore of Manila Bay in Roxas Boulevard. Photo by Zhander Cayabyab, ABS-CBN News

An OCD initial report on Sunday indicated that 12 towns in Bicol were affected by flooding brought by the downpour on Saturday. Landslides hit San Andres and Gigmoto towns in Catanduanes and Irosin town in Sorsogon.

A blackout has reportedly prevailed on the island province of Catanduanes since Saturday, while power outages affected 10 towns in Camarines Sur, three towns in Camarines Norte, two towns in Sorsogon and some areas in Albay.

The Catanduanes PDRRMC is still validating reports of two more typhoon-related deaths and three missing fishermen.

Last Saturday, Jerry Beo, Catanduanes PDRRM officer, said an unidentified man was found drowned along the shoreline of Barangay (village) Pananaogan.

Felicito Tesorero, 77, was also found dead in Barangay Buenavista, in Bato, after going out to retrieve his carabao. A certain Rene Magtangob, 39, a resident of Barangay Sogod, Tigbao town, went missing after crossing Inagasan Creek Friday night or early Saturday. CBB/rga

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RELATED FROM THE INQUIRER

CamNorte evacuees return home; 6 towns still without power By: Rey Anthony Ostria / @inquirerdotnet Inquirer Southern Luzon / 05:42 PM October 16, 2016


Residents of Barangay San Francisco of Ocampo town in Camarines Sur were forced to evacuate their livestock as rains from Typhoon Karen brought floods

GUINOBATAN, Albay—The Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (PDRRMO) of Camarines Norte has allowed all 7,521 evacuees from 93 villages in the province to return home Sunday while some Municipal Disaster Risk Reduction Management Offices (MDRRMOs) are experiencing difficulties in communications due to power interruption in six towns after typhoon “Karen” left Bicol region.

According to Antonio España, Camarines Norte PDRRM officer, Sta. Elena, Capalonga, Jose Panganiban, Paracale and parts of Labo and Daet remained without power as of 2 p.m. on Sunday

PDRRMO also said that all major roads and bridges in the province are passable.

An electric post in Gabon village in Talisay town fell while Basud MDRRMO had to clear an uprooted tree in Alawihao village in Daet. Two fire incidents were reported in two villages in Basud town around 10 a.m. Saturday.

On the other hand, Jomar Buenaflor, 29, of Pag-asa village in Jose Panganiban, was electrocuted last Friday while Kristina Onrobia, 50, of Sta. Rosa Norte village of the same town, was hit by a signage at the barangay hall in their village 8 a.m. Saturday.

The PDRRMO is conducting damage assessment and needs analysis as of press time. RAM/rga


MANILA BULLETIN

Closer alliance with Brunei, China eyed by Elena L. Aben October 16, 2016 Share3 Tweet1 Share1 Email0 Share46


Duterte to assure both countries that PH will continue to be their partners in Asia

President Durterte will embark on a six-day state visits to Brunei and China to strengthen bilateral relations with the two nations, Malacañang said.

At a press briefing in Malacañang last Friday, Foreign Affairs spokesman Charles Jose said both visits are expected to enhance the country’s friendly relations with the two countries and to assure them that the Philippines will continue to be their partner in the region.

The Chief Executive will be in Brunei on October 16-18, and China on October 18-21.

In Brunei, the President is expected to hold bilateral talks with His Majesty Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah, Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam, on issues of bilateral and regional concerns.

“It is hoped that during the visit, both leaders could also exchange ideas on how to broaden cooperation,” said Jose.

Duterte is also scheduled to meet with the Filipino community at the Indoor Stadium Hassanal Bolkiah National Sports Complex in Berakas. Approximately 6,000 to 7,000 members of the Filipino community are expected to attend the event.

About 23,000 Filipinos are working and residing in Brunei.

READ MORE...

Brunei was scheduled to be the first Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) country to be visited by the President this year but was rescheduled following the bombing incident in Davao City on September 2, 2016.

Duterte was initially scheduled to visit Brunei last September 4 but the trip had to be cancelled because of the blast.

The Philippines and Brunei celebrated the 30th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations in 2014.

In China, the President is scheduled to meet with President Xi Jinping.

The two leaders are scheduled to witness the signing of a number of memoranda of understanding and agreements on various fields of cooperation between the two countries.

Jose said a joint statement will likewise be issued that will stress areas of cooperation.

The President is also expected to meet with National People’s Congress Chairman Zhang Dejiang and Chinese Premier Li Keqiang.

The foreign affairs official said the President may visit some law enforcement and drug rehabilitation centers.

Private business deals

Apart from the bilateral government accords, Jose said many private business deals will also be forged at the sidelines of the President’s visit to China.

“There will be a lot and I mean a lot of business contracts that will be signed. These will be private contracts that will be signed covering many areas including, I think energy, infrastructure and even I think tourism infrastructure,” he said.

“I think those are the areas that the Chinese side is very much interested in to invest in the Philippines and do business with our Filipino counterparts,” he added.

The President is also expected to deliver a keynote address at the Trade and Investment Forum, which will be attended by Filipino and Chinese investors.

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RELATED FROM GMA NEWS NETWORK

Duterte: Sea dispute will be discussed, but no bargaining in China visit Published October 16, 2016 4:42pm By MARK MERUEÑAS, GMA News

President Rodrigo Duterte on Sunday confirmed that he will bring up the South China Sea row during his state visit to China, but insisted there would neither be "bargaining" nor "hard imposition" over disputed territories.

In a media briefing right in Davao City before he flies to Brunei, Duterte said instead of "bargaining," he would actually continue insisting on the Philippines' territorial claims by invoking the recent UN Arbitral Tribunal's decision favoring the Philippines.

"We will stick to our claim. We do not bargain anything there. We continue to insist that that's ours and that the international tribunal decision will be taken up. But there will be no hard impositions," said Duterte, whose state visit to China will be the first for the Philippines since 2011.

"We will talk but maybe paraphrase everything in the [arbitral] judgment and set the limits of our territories," added the President, who is scheduled for a state visit to Brunei before going to China on October 18.

Duterte stressed there are only two ways on settling the territorial dispute over the South China Sea, "[either] we go to trouble or we talk. We cannot choose the path there in between."

Duterte, who is pushing for an independent foreign policy while strengthening ties with China, vowed not to bargain any of the Philippine territorial claims, saying he would insist on the country's 12 nautical mile territorial sea and 200 nautical mile exclusive economic zone.

"I will be very careful not to bargain anything for after all, I cannot give what is not mine and which I am not empowered to do by any such stretch of imagination," he said.

Impeachable

Duterte, meanwhile, said he agrees with Supreme Court Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio's pronouncement that giving up the country's sovereignty could be a ground for his impeachment.

"He is correct... it's an impeachable offense. I do not fight with that statement. It's all correct. It's all legal. I agree with him," said Duterte.

"I said we cannot barter which is not ours, which belongs to the Filipino people. I cannot be the sole authorized agent for that is not allowed under the Constitution," the President added.

Duterte said he looks forward to renewing ties of friendship and reaffirming shared goals between the Philippines and China.

"We shall seek ways to strengthen cooperation and partnership to intensify two-way trade and investment," he said.

"I look forward to exchanging views with the leader of China on how we can further improve our relationship so we can identify emerging areas of partnership and various fields of cooperation," he added.

Duterte said he would "espouse cooperation and collaboration with friendly nations on the basis of sovereignty, equality, non-interference and mutual respect in all our dealings."

The President vowed to remain true to the constitutional mandate imposed on me to uphold national interest of the Philippines. —ALG, GMA News


MANILA BULLETIN

Solution on Scarborough Shoal row possible – Chinese envoy by Reuters October 16, 2016 Share4 Tweet1 Share3 Email0 Share50


Solution on Scarborough Shoal row possible – Chinese envoy | mb.com.ph | Philippine News

A budding Philippines-China friendship could boost chances of removing one of their biggest bones of contention in the South China Sea, Beijing’s ambassador said on Friday, as the two sides pursue broad business ties while still at odds over sovereignty.

Ahead of a high-profile visit to Beijing next week by President Duterte and at least 250 businessmen, China’s ambassador to Manila, Zhao Jianhua, said there was common ground on the South China Sea that both sides could work from, including on the disputed Scarborough Shoal.

Duterte’s rapprochement with China marks an astonishing reversal in Philippine foreign policy since July, when the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) in The Hague ruled in favor of the Philippines in the South China Sea dispute.

Manila lodged the case in response to what is now a four-year blockade by China’s coastguard at the Scarborough Shoal, a prime fishing patch.

China has never recognized the case, but has been outraged by it, leaving much of the region on edge and in fearing retaliation by a country with a rapidly expanding military and coastguard.

The PCA ruled on numerous issues but in terms of the Scarborough Shoal, it concluded no country had sovereign rights over the tranquil, rocky outcrop, thus all states with overlapping claims were entitled to fish there.

READ MORE...


A fisherman repairs his boat overlooking fishing vessels that fish in the disputed Scarborough Shoal in the South China Sea, at Masinloc, Zambales

While generous with his praise of China, Duterte has still insisted Filipino fishermen should have unhindered access to the shoal.

Zhao, who speaks often and enjoys a public profile unusually high for a Chinese diplomat, said he was confident a solution could be found and eventually the two countries could create “a sea of peace and cooperation”.

“The Chinese side is very much interested in fishery cooperation. That is a kind of response to your president’s concern about fishermen,” he said when asked by a reporter about granting Duterte his wish.

“We would like to explore the possibility of how we can handle it properly.

“I think both sides are going to be able to work on a possible solution to this problem.”

It is unclear, however, where the common ground might be when China refuses to discuss the PCA ruling and Duterte continues to promise Filipinos he will not deviate from the content of the July 12 arbitral award.

The most notable point in the PCA’s award was that China’s claims to most of the South China Sea were groundless.


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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