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23 DAYS TO CHRISTMAS: FESTIVE TREE BRINGS JOY TO ORMOC CITY
[RELATED: LOOK - Christmas displays adorn Davao City center]


DECEMBER 2 -Photos by Melanie Bingco, ABS-CBN News A giant Christmas tree, made more festive by decorations handcrafted by local prison inmates, was lit up Thursday night in Ormoc City to great celebration by locals. The celebration comes a month after the third anniversary of the devastation wrought on the city by typhoon "Yolanda" (Haiyan) on November 8, 2013. Also showcased in Ormoc City were giant lanterns, locally known as parol, made of recycled materials. Some were made of plastic bottles shaped into Ormoc's famed "queen pineapples." Other decorations were made of corn husks and corn cobs, another of the city's prime crops. The display will be at the Ormoc City public plaza throughout the Christmas season. MORE PHOTOS.....RELATED LOOK: Christmas displays adorn Davao City center....

ALSO: SM Supermalls bring ‘The Magic of Christmas’ this Yule season


DECEMBER 2 -On its 5th year, SM malls in South Luzon brings the families and kids to experience the world of wonders as they present Grand Magical Christmas Parade
The Philippines holds the record of celebrating the longest Christmas season in the world and nobody else does it with such pomp and festivity than us. In keeping with this tradition, lights and wonders filled SM City North EDSA and Megamall last November 4 as SM Supermalls kicked off the magical Holiday season with their unique and all-out spectacles. Each of their 56 malls, from Baguio to Davao, were set to unveil a fabulous Yuletide centerpiece accompanied by unique and dazzling musical performances. An acrobat of Sky of Snow enchants the audience at the unveiling of the Yuletide centerpiece in Megamall. An acrobat of Sky of Snow enchants the audience at the unveiling of the Yuletide centerpiece in Megamall. READ MORE...

ALSO: Speaker urged - Allow conscience vote on death penalty bill
[RELATED: House panel approves revival of death penalty (Capital punishment recommended for illegal drugs, murder, rape, arson, kidnapping)]


NOVEMBER 30 -Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman and Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez. INQUIRER.net and INQUIRER FILE PHOTOS
Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman on Wednesday called on Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez to allow a conscience vote on the proposed bill reimposing death penalty, which hurdled the House of Representatives committee Tuesday. In a statement, the Liberal Party lawmaker said the Speaker must allow lawmakers to present differing views and debate on the death penalty. Lagman said Alvarez “must liberate members of the majority coalition to advocate differing views and assure free debate on the revival of capital punishment.” He made the statement about the lower House dominated by a supermajority of allies of President Rodrigo Duterte as Alvarez made the call to have the death penalty passed before the Christmas break. READ MORE...RELATED,
House panel approves revival of death penalty (Capital punishment recommended for illegal drugs, murder, rape, arson, kidnapping)...

ALSO Unbowed Leila [on Death Penalty revival]: Rody a tired, old narcissist


DECEMBER 3 -The possible revival of capital punishment, Sen. Leila de Lima said, “is nothing more than the veritable desperate last stand” of the President “who likely realizes that his temperament, skills set and parochial approach to governance – which includes his own brand of patronage politics and kumpare system – are ill-suited and, frankly, incapable of finding real and lasting solutions to the problems of the country he swore to serve.” Philstar.com/AJ Bolando
 Battered but unbowed, Sen. Leila de Lima came out swinging yesterday at President Duterte. The President is a “tired, old narcissist” waging psychological warfare against Filipinos to hide his incompetence and failure, De Lima told a forum that discussed moves to restore the death penalty. The possible revival of capital punishment, De Lima said, “is nothing more than the veritable desperate last stand” of the President “who likely realizes that his temperament, skills set and parochial approach to governance – which includes his own brand of patronage politics and kumpare system – are ill-suited and, frankly, incapable of finding real and lasting solutions to the problems of the country he swore to serve.” READ MORE...

ALSO: 'Inter-chamber courtesy' - House panel re-thinking contempt citation on Leila, might offend fellow senators if she is arrested

ALSO: Cha-cha resolution before Christmas
[RELATED: Constitution not the problem but part of the solution – Monsod (a framer of the 1987 constitution)]


HOVEMBER 28 -GONZALES II
A resolution seeking to amend restrictive economic provisions in the Constitution is likely to get approved before the congressional Christmas break along with other key economic reform measures, House Majority Leader Neptali Gonzales II said yesterday.
Also expected to be passed in the coming days is the joint resolution granting President Aquino special powers to address the looming power shortage in Luzon this summer, Gonzales said. The chamber is also expected to ratify the proposed P2.606-trillion national budget for 2015 and pass the supplemental budget set to be filed on Monday. Gonzales said the Resolution of Both Houses No. 1 (RBH1), which seeks to boost the inflow of foreign investments by easing the restrictive economic provisions of the Constitution, could be put to a vote for second reading in the coming weeks. Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. authored the resolution. READ MORE...RELATED, Constitution not the problem but part of the solution – Monsod...


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23 days to X'mas: Festive Christmas tree brings joy to Ormoc City


Photos by Melanie Bingco, ABS-CBN News

ORMOC CITY, DECEMBER 5, 2016 (ABS-CBN) Melanie Bingco, Dec 02 2016 - A giant Christmas tree, made more festive by decorations handcrafted by local prison inmates, was lit up Thursday night in Ormoc City to great celebration by locals.

The celebration comes a month after the third anniversary of the devastation wrought on the city by typhoon "Yolanda" (Haiyan) on November 8, 2013.

Also showcased in Ormoc City were giant lanterns, locally known as parol, made of recycled materials. Some were made of plastic bottles shaped into Ormoc's famed "queen pineapples."

Other decorations were made of corn husks and corn cobs, another of the city's prime crops.

The display will be at the Ormoc City public plaza throughout the Christmas season.

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PHOTOS AROUND THE COUNTRY


THE LRT CHRISTMAS TRAIN: The Nativity scene adorns the glass partition behind the driver of this Light Rail Transit 1 (LRT1) train. Passengers are now treated to a festive Yuletide atmosphere through the line’s 20 stations from Roosevelt Avenue in Quezon City to Baclaran in Pasay City. (Federico Cruz | Manila Bulletin)


Tree of hope: Published December 1, 2016, 6:10 PM The 50-foot ‘Singkaban’ Christmas Tree of Bulacan is lighted up in front of the Capitol Building in Malolos City, giving hope and cheer to onlookers this Yuletide season. The ceremonial switch-on last Tuesday is led by (from left) Board Members Ma. Lourdes Posadas and Emelita Viceo, Vice Governor Daniel R. Fernando, Gov. Wilhelmino M. Sy-Alvarado, and BM Therese Cheryll Ople. (Freddie C. Velez) MANILA BULLETIN


Philippine National Police Chief Ronald ‘Bato’ de la Rosa plays Santa Claus to children of drug suspects who have turned themselves in to authorities, at SM Megamall on Thursday. PHOTO BY MIKE DE JUAN MANILA TIMES PHOTO OF THE DAY


Students from Saint Louis University showcase colorful handcrafted lanterns during the annual lantern parade at the Baguio central business district on Thursday night. Thousands of students and spectators filled the streets to enjoy the Christmas spectacle. Jun Leprozo, ABS-CBN News × ABS-CBN DECEMBER 3, 2016

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RELATED FROM ABS-CBN

LOOK: Christmas displays adorn Davao City center Bonna Pamplona, ABS-CBN News
Posted at Dec 04 2016 01:43 AM

DAVAO CITY, Philippines — The local government switched on the Christmas lights and displays around the city square on Friday, in a bid to raise the Davaoeños' holiday spirit.

The annual "Pasko Fiesta sa Davao" is in its 16th year, an event that started when then-Davao mayor Rodrigo Duterte imposed a firecracker ban in the city.

This year's Christmas celebration has taken on a more somber meaning as Davaoeños continue to reel from the September bomb blast that took the lives of at least 14 and injured many others.

"Hindi naman perpekto ang buhay natin pero gawin din nating masaya ang ating Pasko kasama ang ating mahal sa buhay, ating pamilya at mga anak," Mayor Sara Duterte said during the ceremonial switching on of the lights display.

(Our lives are not perfect but we can make our Christmas happier if we spend it with our families and loved ones.)
Local officials are set to bring the Pasko Fiesta in remote communities in Davao City where Lumads reside, so that the indigenous people will have an option to either travel to the city proper or be visited by social workers and receive gifts, Duterte said.


ABS-CBN

SM Supermalls bring ‘The Magic of Christmas’ this Yuletide season 01:45 PM December 02, 2016
sm strip


On its 5th year, SM malls in South Luzon brings the families and kids to experience the world of wonders as they present Grand Magical Christmas Parade

The Philippines holds the record of celebrating the longest Christmas season in the world and nobody else does it with such pomp and festivity than us. In keeping with this tradition, lights and wonders filled SM City North EDSA and Megamall last November 4 as SM Supermalls kicked off the magical Holiday season with their unique and all-out spectacles. Each of their 56 malls, from Baguio to Davao, were set to unveil a fabulous Yuletide centerpiece accompanied by unique and dazzling musical performances.


An acrobat of Sky of Snow enchants the audience at the unveiling of the Yuletide centerpiece in Megamall.

READ MORE...

The enchanting celebration started at 4 p.m. in SM City North EDSA with Robi Domingo hosting the event. Senior Vice-President of SM Supermalls Steven Tan gave the opening remarks inviting everyone to enjoy the surprises SM has in store for them this holiday season. He also presented the return of the SM Cares Bears of Joy that shoppers can purchase and share to spread the Christmas cheer with a child in need.

The magical reveal of the Yuletide centerpiece was preceded by a beautiful performance of young and talented ballerinas. Afterwards came the ceremonial gesture to activate the Christmas centerpiece and musical performance from Esang De Torres, Alexa Ilacad, Sam Concepcion, and the Mandaluyong Children’s Choir.

SM Megamall was the next to light up its Yuletide centerpiece at 7 p.m. on that same day at the Mega Fashion Hall activity area starting with a key message from SM Supermalls AVP for Operations, Christian Mathay. VIPs along with the cast of “Sky of Snow” were invited on stage to do the countdown for the lighting of the 30-foot tall Christmas tree that features creations of nine of the top fashion designers in the Philippines namely Rajo Laurel, Francis Libiran, Rhett Eala, Ivar Aseron, Joey Samson, Dennis Lustico, Cary Santiago, Jun Escario, and Yvette and Choc Religioso.

The magical festivities in Megamall were just getting started as the breathtaking performances of international Cirque du Soleil members took the stage for “Sky of Snow.” The ethereal and heart-stopping balancing acts, trapeze, and aerial acrobatics, thrilled and delighted the audience. The enthralling visual spectacle performed until Sunday, November 6 and was open to all mall-goers and shoppers.


The magical tales come to life as holiday icons visit SM Supermalls all over the country.

There are more wonderful surprises in store and people of all ages are invited to bring their families and friends to enjoy fun holidays at SM Supermalls. The much-awaited Grand Magical Parade is touring the country bringing the magic of fairy-tales to life. Hundreds of life-sized toy soldiers, ballerinas, princes and princesses, Santa’s elves, and cuddly teddy bears will amaze all, especially the kids, as they visit SM malls all over the Philippines.

No Christmas will be complete without Santa Claus spreading cheer and making wishes come true. Parents will appreciate a wide selection of gifts on sale until January 8. Kids are encouraged to take their lists at Santa’s Stations in various malls and get a chance to meet and greet him in person.

Majestic colossal jewel Hot Air Balloons will take you up the Christmas Night Sky this Yuletide season! SM City Clark’s The Event Center can’t get any brighter with this grand holiday illumination!

The Filipino Christmas tradition is never complete without a generous serving of good food over a happy reunion of family and friends. SM will be having food bazaars and gourmet fairs offering hundreds of tasty and delectable food selections that everyone will enjoy. There is always that feeling of delight as you catch up and strengthen ties that bind with loved ones while sharing a great meal.


Let the season of giving light your way through the Icy Forest! Watch the spectacular display dance in light set to music weekends of November and December.

Everyone is invited to take part and experience the Christmas celebration only at SM Supermalls! To know more about the other exciting events and wonderful surprises waiting for you, check out their website at https://www.smsupermalls.com/merrysmchristmas2016.


INQUIRER

Speaker urged: Allow conscience vote on death penalty bill By: Marc Jayson Cayabyab - Reporter / @MJcayabyabINQ INQUIRER.net / 10:30 AM November 30, 2016


Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman and Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez. INQUIRER.net and INQUIRER FILE PHOTOS

Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman on Wednesday called on Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez to allow a conscience vote on the proposed bill reimposing death penalty, which hurdled the House of Representatives committee Tuesday.

In a statement, the Liberal Party lawmaker said the Speaker must allow lawmakers to present differing views and debate on the death penalty.

Lagman said Alvarez “must liberate members of the majority coalition to advocate differing views and assure free debate on the revival of capital punishment.”

He made the statement about the lower House dominated by a supermajority of allies of President Rodrigo Duterte as Alvarez made the call to have the death penalty passed before the Christmas break.

READ MORE...

READ: House to approve death penalty bill before Christmas break

Lagman said the approval before the House justice subcommittee on judicial reforms was railroaded due to the presence of ex-officio members who outnumbered the regular members in the sub-committee.

READ: Death penalty inches forward in House

He added that the “the precipitate approval… was vitiated by non-compliance with the prior 3-calendar day notice rule to the members informing them of the scheduled meeting, abrupt termination of the testimonies of resource persons and absence of a requisite committee report.”

He added that the authors of the proposition failed to show compelling reasons to restore death penalty as required for under the 1987 Constitution.

Lagman was among the lawmakers who led the move in Congress to abolish the death penalty in 2006. He was also the principal author of the Reproductive Health law.

On Tuesday, six congressmen voted for a substitute bill reimposing capital punishment for heinous crimes, such as illegal drugs, murder, rape, arson, and kidnapping. Another five voted for a version that would limit the death penalty to illegal drug-related crimes.

READ: House panel approves revival of death penalty

Now that it was approved on the sub-committee, it would be forwarded to the mother committee for subsequent approval, before being forwarded to the plenary for debates and amendments.

It was Alvarez who first filed the bill seeking to reimpose the death penalty after former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo abolished capital punishment in 2006 for its failure to deter crime.

Alvarez filed the bill pursuant to President Duterte’s campaign promise of returning capital punishment against heinous criminals.

READ: First bill in Congress seeks reinstatement of death penalty

Alvarez’s bill sought to reimpose the death penalty for heinous crimes listed under Republic Act 7659, including murder, plunder, rape, kidnapping and serious illegal detention, sale, use and possession of illegal drugs, carnapping with homicide, among others.

In the bill he co-authored with deputy speaker Capiz Rep. Fredenil Castro, Alvarez said there is a need to reimpose the death penalty because “the national crime rate has grown to such alarming proportions requiring an all-out offensive against all forms of felonious acts.”

“Philippine society is left with no option but to deal with certain grievous offenders in a manner commensurate to the gravity, perversity, atrociousness and repugnance of their crimes,” according to the bill.

READ: ‘Death penalty back in one year’

Duterte won the elections on a campaign promise to restore the death penalty by hanging.

Alvarez said Congress would look into the cheapest way for the death penalty, either by firing squad, lethal injection or by hanging. IDL

RELATED STORIES

Death penalty: ‘The cheaper, the better’

Aguirre to solons: Death penalty will instill fear among criminals

Solons warn of death penalty railroad by limiting it to drug cases

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

RELATED FROM THE INQUIRER

House panel approves revival of death penalty By: Vince F. Nonato - Reporter / @VinceNonatoINQ Philippine Daily Inquirer / 06:17 PM November 29, 2016


Execution room for death convicts. AP FILE PHOTO

Capital punishment recommended for illegal drugs, murder, rape, arson, kidnapping

MANILA — The House of Representatives’ justice committee will soon start deliberating on a bill to reinstate the death penalty, after a sub-panel approved the proposal on Tuesday.

During a hearing by the judicial reforms subcommittee, six congressmen voted to submit a substitute bill re-imposing capital punishment for heinous crimes, such as illegal drugs, murder, rape, arson, and kidnapping.

Another five voted for a version of the proposal that would have limited the death penalty to illegal drug-related crimes.

After the hearing, the measure will be forwarded to the mother committee. Once approved, it will be brought to the plenary for debates.

The reimposition of capital punishment is one of the House’s priority measures (the other being the proposal to revert the minimum age of criminal responsibility to nine) which Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez said would be passed before the Christmas break of Congress.

The imposition of death penalty was prohibited in 2006 after then President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo signed Republic Act No. 9346 into law. The penalty for offenses previously punishable by death was downgraded to reclusion perpetua or life imprisonment.

Albay 1st District Rep. Edcel Lagman, who was one of the lawmakers who passed the bill that abolished death penalty, reiterated on Tuesday that the House has been “railroading” its revival.

“In other words, the message of the House leadership is: ‘have a deadly Christmas,’” Lagman said in a briefing. SFM/rga


PHILSTAR

Unbowed Leila: Rody a tired, old narcissist By Janvic Mateo (The Philippine Star) | Updated December 3, 2016 - 12:00am 0 4 googleplus0 0


The possible revival of capital punishment, Sen. Leila de Lima said, “is nothing more than the veritable desperate last stand” of the President “who likely realizes that his temperament, skills set and parochial approach to governance – which includes his own brand of patronage politics and kumpare system – are ill-suited and, frankly, incapable of finding real and lasting solutions to the problems of the country he swore to serve.” Philstar.com/AJ Bolando

MANILA, Philippines - Battered but unbowed, Sen. Leila de Lima came out swinging yesterday at President Duterte.

The President is a “tired, old narcissist” waging psychological warfare against Filipinos to hide his incompetence and failure, De Lima told a forum that discussed moves to restore the death penalty.

The possible revival of capital punishment, De Lima said, “is nothing more than the veritable desperate last stand” of the President “who likely realizes that his temperament, skills set and parochial approach to governance – which includes his own brand of patronage politics and kumpare system – are ill-suited and, frankly, incapable of finding real and lasting solutions to the problems of the country he swore to serve.”

READ MORE...

“To hide his incompetence and failure, his go-to recourse has been to impose ‘final solutions’ upon the very people he was entrusted to serve and protect, hoping that we are stupid and naive enough to mistake the body count for real accomplishments,” she told the forum held at the UP College of Law.

De Lima said the administration is trying to spiritually and morally weaken Filipinos to force a culture of death on the people.

More than 5,800 people have been killed in the administration’s war on drugs since July 1 based on data from the Philippine National Police.

The casualties include 2,004 suspected drug offenders supposedly killed in police operations and 3,841 victims of extrajudicial or vigilante killings.

With Filipinos getting bombarded each day with news of drug-related killings, a revival of the death penalty is likely to further “desensitize” citizens to violent deaths. Killings reportedly average 38 victims a day.

She also said talk of martial law or the suspension of the writ of habeas corpus under the Duterte administration fits a pattern of “systematic and egregiously manipulative psychological warfare” against the Filipino people.

The pattern, she said, started with the sowing of discord and divisiveness by fostering the “if you are not with us, you are against us” mentality, aided by the rise of cyber-trolling and spreading of fake news.

“Step two, spread fear among the populace through the publication of unverified drug hit lists that are so notoriously unreliable, they included individuals who are already dead,” said De Lima.

She said the next steps would be to use the war on drugs to sow greater fear and chip away the people’s expectation of respect and protection for their rights through threats of declaration of national state of emergency or the suspension of writ of habeas corpus.

“Step five, revise the history of Philippine democracy by giving a hero’s burial to the dictator – whose martial law regime saw not just rampant corruption, but also heinous and gross violations of human rights,” said De Lima, warning against the next stage which may pave way for the declaration of martial law.

“All of these things, which by themselves are already far from innocuous, when taken together attain an even greater level of insidiousness that only hints at the true horror that lies in wait for us: they are intended to slowly, but surely break us down,” she added.

No fence sitter

Challenging law students and human rights defenders, the senator said there could be no passive observers where there are people dying.

“Are you among those who are already broken down that you are now prepared to surrender your humanity to those who would not just destroy it, but also use it to destroy others? Are you, now, just another cog in this murderous machine?” De Lima asked.

“Can you still stand up and say that you are not your government? Or are you ready to accept defeat?”

Underscoring her opposition to death penalty, the senator said that capital punishment is not a deterrent to crime but is actually a tool for political oppression and suppression.

She said Filipinos patriots like Andres and Procopio Bonifacio, Jose Rizal, Chief Justice Jose Abad Santos, and Wenceslao Vinzons were among the victims of death penalty.

“The death penalty was never as much an effective instrument of justice, as it has been a horrifyingly potent weapon for the politically and militarily powerful to wield against those they seek to oppress and subjugate,” she said.

“It isn’t enough for them to rewrite our past, they want us to write our future in our own blood,” the senator said.

DE LIMA AND DUTERTE FEUD

De Lima is facing various criminal and administrative complaints before the Senate, the Department of Justice, and the Supreme Court (SC) for her alleged links to drug trade at the New Bilibid Prison.

Duterte had accused her of protecting drug lords, who allegedly bankrolled her senatorial campaign.

The senator countered by accusing the President of encouraging extrajudicial killings in his campaign against drugs, and for using government resources to persecute her. She has asked the Supreme to stop the President from using taxpayers’ money in his personal vendetta against her.

Duterte resented De Lima’s linking him to summary executions of lawbreakers in Davao City when he was mayor. De Lima was then chief of the Commission on Human Rights.

Inhibition sought

Meanwhile, De Lima asked Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II to inhibit himself and his team of prosecutors from hearing the four cases lodged against her to ensure an objective and independent investigation on the cases.

In her Omnibus Motion, De Lima asked the DOJ to refer the four cases to the Office of the Ombudsman, which she maintained has jurisdiction over the cases and can be trusted to handle them with fairness.

“Considering the partiality, bias and lack of objectivity of the Secretary of Justice and the panel of investigating prosecutors in these cases, these officials should inhibit themselves and instead refer the cases to the Office of the Ombudsman,” she said.

De Lima is the subject of complaints filed by the Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption, former National Bureau of Investigation directors Reynaldo Esmeralda and Ruel Lasala, and convicted kidnapper Jaybee Sebastian.

Citing the 1989 Ombudsman Act, the former justice chief pointed out that the charges leveled against her as a public official clearly fall within the exclusive jurisdiction of the Ombudsman.

“This duty to forward the case to the Office of the Ombudsman even acquires pragmatic value, considering that the DOJ Secretary himself committed to still submit to the Office of the Ombudsman the result of the investigation in these cases,” she said.

“All these cases, including the one lodged with the Office of the Ombudsman, anchor their charges on a common allegation that respondent Senator de Lima is involved in the illegal drug trade in the country,” she added in her petition. She also sought to suspend the preliminary investigation into the cases.

“The integrity of the investigation in these cases appears to be seriously tainted and deeply compromised as no less than the President and the DOJ Secretary had prejudged the guilt of respondent Senator de Lima,” she said in her petition.

“In this environment, where the President and the DOJ Secretary have complete control and supervision over the work of their subordinates at the DOJ, it is a foregone conclusion that the conduct and the results of the investigation will not be impartial and objective,” it added.

She said the various public pronouncements of the President and Aguirre prejudging her are “indubitably implicit instructions to the investigating prosecutors to file cases in court regardless of actual evidence.”

“The importance of an independent and impartial investigation, forming part as it is of the fundamental right to due process, cannot be overemphasized,” she said. De Lima argued that Aguirre, who has spent so much time gathering trumped-up evidence against her and pronouncing her alleged guilt in several media interviews, has basically acted as her “special prosecutor and personal persecutor.”–With Paolo Romero


MALAYA

'INTER-CHAMBER COURTESY' - House panel re-thinking contempt citation on Leila, might offend fellow senators is she is arrested By WENDELL VIGILIA December 05, 2016

THE House committee on justice is thinking twice about citing Sen. Leila de Lima in contempt because it might offend her fellow senators if she is ordered arrested.

Oriental Mindoro Rep. Reynaldo Umali, chair of the justice panel, said the committee is giving importance to “inter-chamber courtesy.”

“Ang pinagpa-pahalagahan din natin fundamentally ay inter-chamber courtesy kaya hindi pa masyadong matigas ika nga ang posisyon ng House of Representatives on that,” he said.

De Lima, who was served a show-cause order through the Senate last Tuesday, has not officially replied as to why she should not be cited in contempt and be ordered arrested for stopping her former driver-bodyguard and alleged bagman Ronnie Dayan from attending the justice panel’s inquiry into De Lima’s alleged involvement in the illegal drugs trade at the national penitentiary when she was justice secretary.

The 72-hour period given by the House for De Lima to reply lapsed last Friday. On that day, De Lima reiterated she would not honor the order as it was not served on her.

Dayan told the panel during a hearing on November 24 that De Lima told his daughter Hannah Mae in a text message last October 1 that he should just hide. Dayan, a married man who admitted having had a seven-year love affair with De Lima, has also admitted accepting money from suspected drug lord Kerwin Espinosa for the former justice secretary in 2014.

Umali said he would have to seek guidance from Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez before the committee decides to recommend De Lima’s arrest after citing her in contempt.

“I will just get the cue from the house leadership,” he said.

Alvarez has said he would sign an arrest order once Umali’s panel decides to cite her in contempt.

“’Yun na nga, we’re mulling that (citing De Lima in contempt). Tingnan natin, kasi what we’re trying to avoid is pitting ourselves against another institution. We are trying to figure out also how we can do it having to involve the entire institution,” he said.

Umali, however, said administrative and criminal charges can still be filed against De Lima.

His committee, Umali said, will lodge a complaint against De Lima before the Senate committee on ethics, file a disbarment case before the Supreme Court, and pursue a criminal complaint for indirect contempt before a regional trial court for “violation of article 150 of Revised Penal Code (disobedience to summons) and probably for indirect contempt.”

“Within the week siguro (ang filing). This coming week maaaring gawin na ‘yan (filing) kasi ‘yung mga lawyer namin sa committee on justice and lawyer ng House of Representatives are already working on it,” Umali said.

“Probably by Monday (today), we will get our first submission of the draft complaints. Upon approval of that, I think the leadership of the House will not waste any minute to file it. Puwedeng lahat ‘yun i-file. So we’ll see,” he added.

Umali said De Lima’s admission that she had a love affair with Dayan will pin her down in the disbarment complaint because it was “a crime against the (law) profession.”

“Iyung disbarment maraming issues doon. Siguro ‘yung mga relationship will come into play. A lawyer, a secretary of justice at that and sitting senator into a relationship with a married man is definitely an issue in an ethics case for the violation of her oath as a lawyer and of her professional ethics. That is one. Of course, ‘yung advising a person not to attend and even hide is something that a lawyer does not do and more so because she was secretary of justice and again for violation an article of the Revised Penal Code, Article 150. That is also a great offense, I think that she has to be responsible for,” Umali said.


PHILSTAR

Cha-cha resolution before Christmas By Paolo Romero Updated Friday November 28, 2014 - 12:00am SHARE THIS:


GONZALES II

MANILA, Philippines - A resolution seeking to amend restrictive economic provisions in the Constitution is likely to get approved before the congressional Christmas break along with other key economic reform measures, House Majority Leader Neptali Gonzales II said yesterday.

Also expected to be passed in the coming days is the joint resolution granting President Aquino special powers to address the looming power shortage in Luzon this summer, Gonzales said.

The chamber is also expected to ratify the proposed P2.606-trillion national budget for 2015 and pass the supplemental budget set to be filed on Monday.

Gonzales said the Resolution of Both Houses No. 1 (RBH1), which seeks to boost the inflow of foreign investments by easing the restrictive economic provisions of the Constitution, could be put to a vote for second reading in the coming weeks. Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. authored the resolution.

READ MORE...

"We hope we can get a three-fourths vote approval on this, but we're optimistic because this is a crucial, non-political constitutional reform that has direct benefits to ordinary Filipinos," Gonzales said.

He said the Senate leadership has already committed to act on RBH 1 as soon as the House approves it. Sen. Ralph Recto has filed a counterpart bill.

"Our agreement with Speaker Belmonte is that they act on the economic provisions, and if they are successful in proposing amendments, we will take it up in the Senate," Senate President Franklin Drilon said.

Drilon said he has not discussed with Belmonte the details of the economic provisions being readied for amendment.

He said he was not setting a timeline for the deliberation on the measure.

"The fact is at this point, it has not been passed, so it is difficult to assess if there is still time. Remember, that this is not only for next year, since it is an amendment to the Constitution, the effects of which are beyond this Congress," Drilon said.

Floor discussions

The chamber resumed plenary deliberations on the measure with Ako Bicol party-list Rep. Rodel Batocabe saying interpellators on RBH 1 would likely be fewer in the coming days. He maintained the resolution would be supported by Filipinos in a plebiscite.

Gonzales also said the chamber aims to pass the proposed Anti-Trust and Competition Law that seeks to consolidate and update laws on competition and establish a strong regulatory agency to deal with anti-competitive practices.

Gonzales said the anti-trust measure is among the economic priority measures listed by both the House and the Senate. The Senate is also expected to pass its own version before the Christmas break.

Also slated for passage is the proposed Customs Modernization and Tariff Act which seeks to align the country's Tariff and Customs Code with the simplified and harmonized customs procedures and practices adopted in the Revised Kyoto Convention and other international and legal standards.

Belmonte on Wednesday met with leaders of the Joint Foreign Chambers and Philippine business groups to update them on the efforts of the House to pass reform measures.

He said the meeting reinforced "our collaboration in pursuing reforms that would help attain our goal of an inclusive economic growth and development for our country and our people."

The House is also working on other measures, including the proposed amendments to the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas Charter aimed at strengthening its regulatory and supervisory powers, rationalization of fiscal incentives to consolidate all existing incentive-giving laws to avoid confusion, redundancy, tax avoidance and other inefficiencies, while facilitating investments; and Tax Incentives Management and Transparency Act mandating a full disclosure policy for tax incentives by requiring taxpayers to report incentives in the income tax returns.

The proposed law also seeks the establishment of a Tax Expenditure Account in the national budget to reflect the amount of tax incentives granted to private individuals and corporations.

Also being rushed is the Rationalization of Mining Revenues that seeks to increase the share of the state in mining revenues, and ensure the timely release of local government units' share in mining profits.

"We are also pursuing measures to promote the development of our infrastructure to encourage more investments, both local and foreign. In this regard, we are studying amendments of the Build Operate Transfer Law, the Cabotage Law and the Electric Power Industry Reform Act or EPIRA. Firmly embedded in these reform measures is the ethos of competitiveness," Belmonte said.

Thankful

Budget Secretary Florencio Abad thanked lawmakers for the approval of the P2.606- trillion national budget for 2015.

"On behalf of the Aquino administration, we extend our gratitude to our colleagues in Congress for taking swift and appropriate action on the administration's budget proposal, thus facilitating the enactment of next year's expenditure blueprint before 2014 comes to a close," Abad said.

Abad said the DBM has always emphasized the importance of passing the budget law on time so that agencies can "spring to action as soon as the next fiscal year begins."

"In fact, the government has already begun pre-procurement activities as early as Aug. 1 of this year. This measure, along with the new regime of the General Appropriations Act-as-Release-Document, means that the early passage of the budget will kick-start the fast, high-quality and cost-effective implementation of the 2015 budget," he said.

"This will then translate to the more efficient delivery of public goods and social services to the people, without compromising quality or raising costs," Abad said.

"We mustn't forget what an essential role the 2015 budget plays in our campaign for rapid, sustained and inclusive growth in the country. With 37 percent of the proposed budget now allocated towards social services and 27 percent of the total program already channeled to economic services, we are taking sure and certain steps to improving the lives of every Filipino," he said.

"This has been the Aquino administration's goal from the start: to serve the public better through a transparent and citizen-centric national budget, all in the spirit of reform, better governance and daang matuwid," he added. - Zinnia dela Peña, Christina Mendez

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RELATED FROM THE MANILA BULLETIN

Constitution not the problem but part of the solution – Monsod 0 SHARES Share it! Published December 1, 2016, 12:05 AM by Anna Liza Villas-Alavaren


Lawyer Christian Monsod, a framer of the 1987 Constitution,

The plan to amend the Constitution and shift to a federal form of government is not the answer to the challenges facing the country today, according to Christian Monsod, one of the framers of the 1987 Constitution.

“The Constitution is not the problem, it is part of the solution,” he emphasized.

According to Monsod, the shift to federalism being pushed by President Duterte is not necessary to address the three major challenges facing the nation today – criminality and red tape in government, negotiating peace with all rebel groups, and development.

“On the everyday concerns of ordinary people, it can be addressed with strong executive powers under the present Constitution. On the challenge to peace, Bangsamoro is provided in the Constitution while the NDF is not asking for Charter Change. As to the third challenge, we have failed in human development not because of the Constitution but because we have not fully implemented it,” he said.

Monsod expressed concern that federalism may turn out to be a Trojan horse “for a bigger agenda” to allow authoritarianism to suit President Duterte’s preferences.

“This has serious implications in the country, especially since the rush to change the Constitution appears to exploit the high approval ratings of the President,” said Monsod.


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