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US-PH RELATIONS TO DETERIORATE IF 'GOLDBERG PLOT' UNFOLDS
[RELATED: ‘United States respects PH sovereignty’ - No such blueprint exists,” Asst Sec of State Russel said.]


DECEMBER 27 -LAWMAKERS on Monday said the rift between Manila and Washington could only worsen if a blueprint to oust President Rodrigo Duterte, supposedly written by former US ambassador Philip Goldberg, actually unfolds. “If there is such a plan, that will further alienate and strain our relationship with each other as a country,” Senate Majority Leader Vicente Sotto 3rd. Sotto said it would be better if the US left the Philippines alone and did not interfere with the Duterte government. But Sotto believes Duterte will not ousted because the President has not been implicated in any corruption issue. “The people will accept a politician for most everything except stealing,” he added. READ MORE...RELATED, ‘United States respects PH sovereignty’ - No such blueprint exists,” Asst Sec of State Russel said....

ALSO:
Attempts to oust Duterte will fail – Palace

[RELATED: Duterte gov’t ‘imploding,’ according to this Oppositionist Akbayan rep]


DECEMBER 28 -THIS PHOTO POSTED SEPTEMBER 18 -President Rodrigo Duterte shows a document listing the names of government officials and law enforcers allegedly involved in the illegal drug trade during his speech at Camp Melchor F. Dela Cruz in Isabela on Sept. 17. Toto Lozano/PPD PHILSTAR FILE
MALACAÑANG on Tuesday belittled an alleged plot by the former US ambassador to oust President Rodrigo Duterte, noting he has the overwhelming trust of the people. Commenting on The Manila Times story that ex-US envoy Philip Goldberg had outlined “strategies” to undermine President Duterte and eventually remove him from office, Presidential spokesman Ernesto Abella told reporters “according to the article, whoever attempts this will find it difficult.”
“As we can see, you know, the President continues to enjoy the trust of the people. People on the ground apparently appreciate what he’s doing,” Abella said in a news conference. READ MORE...
Related, Duterte gov’t ‘imploding,’ according to this Akbayan rep...

ALSO: On 'Goldberg Blueprint, Dr. Dante Ang has a follow-up: ‘Banana Republic,’ anyone?
(By all means let us protest against Duterte for all his sins of commission and omission – perceived or otherwise. Let us question his decisions before the court for their constitutionality. His detractors may dislike Duterte and disagree with his brand of governance, but replacing him through extraconstitutional means is a sure way of turning the Philippines into a “Banana Republic.”)
[RELATED: US Embassy denies 'Oplan Goldberg' rumor]


DECEMBER 29 -Dr. Dante A. Ang, Manila Times chairman:
Allow me to put in perspective my article “US ex-envoy plotting Duterte fall” (Tuesday, December 27), before a molehill morphs into a mountain, which could unfairly turn public sentiment against the US government for all the wrong reasons. The alleged Goldberg blueprint to “undermine Duterte” is only in the realm of possibility, not a distinct certainty. My article clearly delineates the State Department from the alleged Goldberg paper. The information contained in the document that was provided to me was compelling and the source was highly placed and highly reliable and so I decided to write about it as a matter of public duty. The alleged blueprint was written against the backdrop of a confluence of political events now obtaining, which led me to conclude that, indeed, some groups of individuals are entertaining the thought of ousting Duterte from the presidency. There are pockets of low-level, loosely organized “plots” by people offended by the President’s foreign policy shift and his campaign against illegal drugs, among other burning issues of the day. In official meetings, and social gatherings, the narratives quickly turn into gripe sessions highlighting the shortcomings and sins of Duterte, and why he should be replaced, according to a friend who gets invited to some of those events. READ MORE...US Embassy denies 'Oplan Goldberg' rumor...

ALSO: Arroyo cleared in Malampaya mess; raps vs Napoles, 24 others [RELATED -IN THE KNOW: Malampaya Fund]


DECEMBER 27 -Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal Arroyo waves to the gallery shortly upon arrival at the House of Representatives attend its opening session where President Rodrigo Duterte is to deliver his state of the nation address Monday, July 25, 2016. AP/Bullit Marquez
The Office of the Ombudsman on Tuesday absolved former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo in connection with the P900-million Malampaya fund scam. The Ombudsman said it is dismissing the charges against Arroyo and three officials from the Department of Agrarian Reform — Eduardo Ermit; Dominador Sison Jr. and Nilda Baui — due to insufficient evidence. The office, in a 134-page joint resolution, said that “complainants failed to prove that they conspired with their co-respondents in the illegal diversion of the P900-million Malampaya fund or that they deviated from the regular procedure.” One of the former president's legal counsels, Laurence Arroyo (no relation), in a statement welcomed the ombudsman’s resolution. READ MORE...RELATED IN THE KNOW: Malampaya Fund...

ALSO: Alan Peter Cayetano to replace Yasay in DFA by mid-2017


DECEMBER 30 -It’s definite: Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano will head the Department of Foreign Affairs by mid-2017. Senate PRIB/Released
It’s definite: Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano will head the Department of Foreign Affairs by mid-2017. In an interview with CNN Philippines, President Duterte said he would give the post to his former runningmate after Foreign Secretary Perfecto Yasay Jr. steps down and returns to the United States “to fulfill his obligations.” “Alan Cayetano will be coming in to take (the) post,” Duterte said. Yasay was a visiting law professor at the Richardson School of Law in the University of Hawaii, according to his government profile. “He is on contract as a professor,” said Duterte. “Nakiusap naman ako (I spoke to him) because he was my roommate during law school.” READ MORE...


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US-PH relations could deteriorate if ‘Goldberg plot’ unfolds

MANILA, JANUARY 2, 2016 (MANILA TIMES) BY JEFFERSON ANTIPORDA, TMT, MA. REINA LEANNE TOLENTINO, TMT AND CATHERINE S. VALENTE, TMT ON DECEMBER 27, 2016 - LAWMAKERS on Monday said the rift between Manila and Washington could only worsen if a blueprint to oust President Rodrigo Duterte, supposedly written by former US ambassador Philip Goldberg, actually unfolds.

“If there is such a plan, that will further alienate and strain our relationship with each other as a country,” Senate Majority Leader Vicente Sotto 3rd.

Sotto said it would be better if the US left the Philippines alone and did not interfere with the Duterte government.

But Sotto believes Duterte will not ousted because the President has not been implicated in any corruption issue.

“The people will accept a politician for most everything except stealing,” he added.

READ MORE...

Ako Bicol party-list Rep. Rodel Batocabe agrees with the view expressed in the supposed Goldberg paper that Congress would be divided on the issue of Charter change, but he added that the majority coalition would not break up because of it.

“There is always a possibility that the US has some plan or two to destabilize a country especially if it is taking a direction against [US] interests,” he said.

“As for the fear that Congress will be divided on Charter change, I have no doubt it will be since we are not just discussing an insignificant provision but a fundamental change,” Batocabe said.

“But then I do not foresee that Charter change will cause the breakup of the coalition. The popularity of the President will be the major determinant on whether the coalition will hold or not,” he added.

Presidential Communications Secretary Martin Andanar said “No one will admit ownership of the alleged ouster plot document.”

“Until then, it remains part and parcel of a larger conspiracy theory. Ambassador Philip Goldberg already exited the Philippines, so therefore, we no longer have to deal with him. We have already in our midst a new and much more empathetic US Ambassador in His Excellency Sung Kim,” he added.

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RELATED FROM THE MANILA TIMES

‘United States respects PH sovereignty’ - No such blueprint exists,” Asst Sec of State Russel said. BY MICHAEL JOE T. DELIZO, TMT ON DECEMBER 28, 2016 TODAY'S HEADLINE PHOTOS, TOP STORIES

THE US Embassy in Manila on Tuesday said the United States respects Philippine sovereignty, a day after the State Department denied the existence of a supposed blueprint to oust President Rodrigo Duterte.


US Assistant Secretary of State Daniel Russel

In a statement, the US Embassy recalled that Secretary of State John Kerry told Duterte in a meeting in July that “the United States respects the sovereignty of the Philippines and the democratic choices made by the Philippine people in selecting their leaders.”

“Our relationship with the Philippines is broad and our alliance is one of our most enduring and important relationships in the Asia Pacific region. It has been a cornerstone of stability for over 70 years. It is built on shared sacrifices for democracy and human rights and strong people-to-people and societal ties,” the embassy said.

“We continue to focus on our broad relationship with the Philippines, and will work together in the many areas of mutual interest to improve the livelihoods of the Philippine people and uphold our shared democratic values,” it added.

On Monday, US Assistant Secretary of State Daniel Russel, in a statement to The Manila Times, denied the existence of a blueprint for Duterte’s ouster supposedly drawn up by former US ambassador Philip Goldberg.
“These allegations of a blueprint are false. No such blueprint exists,” Russel said.


MANILA TIMES

Attempts to oust Duterte will fail – Palace BY CATHERINE S. VALENTE, TMT ON DECEMBER 28, 2016 TOP STORIES


DECEMBER 28 -THIS PHOTO POSTED SEPTEMBER 18 -President Rodrigo Duterte shows a document listing the names of government officials and law enforcers allegedly involved in the illegal drug trade during his speech at Camp Melchor F. Dela Cruz in Isabela on Sept. 17. Toto Lozano/PPD PHILSTAR FILE

MALACAÑANG on Tuesday belittled an alleged plot by the former US ambassador to oust President Rodrigo Duterte, noting he has the overwhelming trust of the people.

Commenting on The Manila Times story that ex-US envoy Philip Goldberg had outlined “strategies” to undermine President Duterte and eventually remove him from office, Presidential spokesman Ernesto Abella told reporters “according to the article, whoever attempts this will find it difficult.”

“As we can see, you know, the President continues to enjoy the trust of the people. People on the ground apparently appreciate what he’s doing,” Abella said in a news conference.

READ MORE...

Abella noted that the US State Department had denied any hand in supposed attempts to unseat Duterte.

“We have not received any news from the State Department apparently. As far as I know, as far as I’ve been informed, the State Department has denied…participation in anything of this sort,” the Palace official said.

Duterte and Goldberg had a rift before the latter ended his stint in Manila in October. Duterte badmouthed Goldberg for the envoy’s criticism of his joke during the election campaign about the 1989 rape of an Australian missionary.

Commenting on the Times report on Monday, Presidential Communications Secretary Martin Andanar said: “Ambassador Philip Goldberg already exited the Philippines, so therefore, we no longer have to deal with him.

We have already in our midst a new and much more empathetic US Ambassador in His Excellency Sung Kim.”

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

RELATED FROM THE INQUIRER

Duterte gov’t ‘imploding,’ according to this  Akbayan rep By: Maila Ager - Reporter / @MAgerINQ INQUIRER.net / 02:06 PM December 28, 2016


Akbayan Rep. Tomasito S. Villarin. Photo from http://cdm.aim.edu

The government is imploding, not because of external threats, but because of its policies and pronouncements, a lawmaker said on Wednesday.

“The Duterte administration is getting paranoid about coup plots. With the souls of more than 6,000 killed by its war against the poor/drugs haunting this government, such predicament they have is understandable,” Akbayan Rep. Tom Villarin said in a statement.

“The government is imploding with its policies and pronouncements, not because of external threats,” Villarin added.

The lawmaker was reacting to the reported ouster plot against President Rodrigo Duterte allegedly being hatched by former U.S. Ambassador Philip Goldberg, which was already denied by the United States Embassy in Manila.

But more than coups, Villarin said, Filipinos are more worried about the spike in alleged extrajudicial killings in the country and the downward trend of our economy.

READ MORE...

“With unemployment, rising prices of goods, and lack of livelihoods, it is high time we focus on the war against poverty,” he said.

Villarin did not cite his sources but data from the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) showed the Philippine unemployment rate falling since the assumption of the Duterte Administration.

The PSA in its Dec. 13, 2016, report said that national unemployment for October 2016 was at 4.7 percent, which is lower than the 5.6 percent recorded in the same month for 2015.

The unemployment figure from October, four months after President Rodrigo Duterte assumed office in July, was 1.4 percent lower than the unemployment rate of 6.1 percent in April 2016, which indicates more Filipinos having jobs under the present administration.

Likewise, the Department of Labor has reported that it had been able to have 10,000 contractual employees regularized in the first four months of the Duterte government. CBB


MANILA TIMES

On his article 'Goldberg Blueprint: Dr. Dante Ang further explains - '‘Banana Republic,’ anyone? BY DR. DANTE A. ANG ON DECEMBER 29, 2016 OPINION ON PAGE ONE


Dr. Dante A. Ang, Manila Times chairman:

Allow me to put in perspective my article “US ex-envoy plotting Duterte fall” (Tuesday, December 27), before a molehill morphs into a mountain, which could unfairly turn public sentiment against the US government for all the wrong reasons.

The alleged Goldberg blueprint to “undermine Duterte” is only in the realm of possibility, not a distinct certainty. My article clearly delineates the State Department from the alleged Goldberg paper. The information contained in the document that was provided to me was compelling and the source was highly placed and highly reliable and so I decided to write about it as a matter of public duty.

The alleged blueprint was written against the backdrop of a confluence of political events now obtaining, which led me to conclude that, indeed, some groups of individuals are entertaining the thought of ousting Duterte from the presidency.

There are pockets of low-level, loosely organized “plots” by people offended by the President’s foreign policy shift and his campaign against illegal drugs, among other burning issues of the day. In official meetings, and social gatherings, the narratives quickly turn into gripe sessions highlighting the shortcomings and sins of Duterte, and why he should be replaced, according to a friend who gets invited to some of those events.

READ MORE...

A former high-ranking government official is busy making the rounds of his former supporters from the ranks of the police and the military, touching base with the various NGOs and the Church, and meeting with some disappointed administration officials who disagree with the President’s foreign policy shift, his campaign against illegal drugs and unpresidential ways. He is trying to feel the intensity of the quake beneath the surface.

'POCKETS OF RESISTANCE' LEADER

However, up to this point, this so-called “pockets of resistance” are still searching for a leader who could harmonize them into a single, powerful, coherent group and lead the Duterte ouster move.

Some of the leading members of the so-called “pocket resistance” groups are looking at former President Fidel Valdez Ramos to lead them.

I agree that Ramos can be a big factor in any regime-change campaign. He is capable of helping (not leading) organize various groups and providing strategic and tactical gambits for the overthrow of governments. He can create political disturbances against Duterte.

He still has residual influence in the police and the military. He is also well connected with the US government, having studied at West Point. He has a line of communication with the key people in the State Department.

Ramos is highly respected by the Church, business, the academe and the NGOs. Through these years, he has managed to keep their trust and respect.

FVR TO LEAD 'OUST DUTERTE MOVEMENT?

The question therefore: “Will former President Ramos lead the ‘Oust Duterte movement’?” The answer is a resounding “No.” I do not think he will. He is averse to risk. He is too “segurista.” He will not lead from the front; he will lead from behind and let others jump into the unknown and wait for the outcome. That’s President Ramos; who he was; who he will always be.

Ramos still wields a big stick. He is as dangerous as ever. He can be a big headache for Duterte. The President should not underestimate Ramos.

Remember how Ramos easily helped mobilize his supporters to oust Estrada? And how he outwitted and outmaneuvered Enrile that eventually led to his sacking as Defense Secretary? Ramos eventually became Cory’s choice during her presidency and eventually got elected President in 1992 with the help of Cory Aquino.

US NOT INVOLVED

In fairness to the US embassy and the State Department, I do not think that they are involved in a campaign to remove Duterte from office. Not that they are incapable of destabilizing or even ousting sitting presidents, because they can if they so choose. But not in this age and time, according to my American friend who works with the US Embassy. The US government no longer does those things, he said.

If there would be a coup, it would be hatched and launched not by the CIA but by some members of the disgruntled opposition, those whose interests were prejudiced by the Duterte presidency like the narco-politicians and their cohorts in the police and the military, the drug lords, and some interest groups.

CHURCH LEADERS

Also possibly among that group are Church leaders who can’t accept an uncouth provinciano who dares challenge the established order and spews out cuss words during breakfast as their President. Oh yes, I think drug money will pour into the campaign to finance a coup against Duterte.

I also think that if there is any coup, the Americans will not lift a finger to help Duterte. They will just stay on the sidelines and watch the political event unfold right before their eyes. However, if there is a stalemate – a bloody stalemate – and if public clamor against the President reaches critical mass, and if the outcome will be clearly prejudicial to the US national interests, they may interfere in a not so subtle fashion and tilt the balance in favor of the coup plotters.

ELEPHANTS IN THE ROOM

The only elephant in the room is the CPP/NPA, and the throngs of Duterte diehards. I do not think that the CPP/NPA and the Duterte diehards will take any attempt to unseat Duterte sitting down. They will fight for their President tooth and nail. And unlike EDSA 1 and 2, there will be blood on the streets this time around. There could even be civil war pitting Filipinos against Filipinos.

Whew! What a country. More than 30 years after the EDSA revolution, nothing has changed. Corruption is still endemic. Elective and appointive government officials treat our national coffers as their own piggy bank.

Justice is for sale.

Many fiscals, judges and some justices sell their decisions for a fee. Cases sleep the sleep of the dead in exchange for “parking fees.” The accused pay the fiscals and judges to sit on their losing cases hoping that the plaintiff would lose interest in pursuing them or drop them altogether.

Big business controls our economy. Our government officials and regulatory offices are held captive by big business. The consumers are choked and made poorer by the two giant telcos. Daily, they are robbed blind by these predators who charge astronomical fees for poor services and services not rendered.

UNDER DRUG LORDS' PAYROLL

Politicians, police and military are under the payroll of the drug lords. Some of them are themselves drug lords. Some of the policemen who kill suspected drug pushers/users are themselves protectors of the drug lords.

Truth to tell, I am beginning to doubt the wisdom of our brand of democracy. What is wrong with us? Our country has not moved forward. On the contrary, it retrogressed.

Even Vietnam, ravaged by a debilitating war for some 20 years, is about to overtake us economically. Visit Vietnam and weep. Marvel at the level of the discipline of its people and its modern public utilities. Contrast that to our disheveled conditions – in the streets, the pedestrians, the MRT, the LRT, LTO, etc.

By all means let us protest against Duterte for all his sins of commission and omission – perceived or otherwise. Let us question his decisions before the court for their constitutionality.

Let us press him to deliver on his campaign promises.

Let us force him to fire the incompetents and file cases of corruption against the shenanigans in his Cabinet and his administration.

His detractors may dislike Duterte and disagree with his brand of governance, but replacing him through extraconstitutional means is a sure way of turning the Philippines into a “Banana Republic.”


PHILSTAR

US Embassy denies 'Oplan Goldberg' rumor By Patricia Lourdes Viray (philstar.com) | Updated December 28, 2016 - 5:17pm googleplus


A newspaper article reported that former American Ambassador to the Philippines Philip Goldberg left behind a "blueprint" to eventually call for President Rodrigo Duterte's ouster. Presidential Photographers Division/King Rodriguez, File

MANILA, Philippines — The United States Embassy in Manila on Wednesday denied rumors that former US Ambassador to the Philippines Philip Goldberg had a plan to oust President Rodrigo Duterte.

Earlier this week, a newspaper published an article titled "US ex-envoy plotting Duterte fall – source."

According to the article, Goldberg allegedly left behind a "blueprint to undermine Duterte" which outlines a list of strategies to undermine the new president and called for his eventual ouster. The alleged blueprint has a timetable of one and a half years.

"As Secretary Kerry said in his meeting with President Duterte in July, the United States respects the sovereignty of the Philippines and the democratic choices made by the Philippine people in selecting their leaders," US Embassy press attache Molly Koscina said in a statement.

READ MORE...

Koscina stressed that the 70-year US-Philippines alliance is one of the most enduring relationships in the Asia-Pacific region.

"We continue to focus on our broad relationship with the Philippines, and will work together in the many areas of mutual interest to improve the livelihoods of the Philippine people and uphold our shared democratic values," Koscina said.

The supposed strategy to undermine Duterte includes stroking public dissatisfaction over unfulfilled election promises.

Malacañang, however, had downplayed such rumor and focused on the president's high trust rating which was a +72 in the latest Social Weather Stations survey.

“The president continues to enjoy the trust of the people, and the people on the ground apparently appreciate what he’s doing,” Presidential spokesperson Abella said in a press briefing on Tuesday.

RELATED: Palace plays down rumored 'Oust Duterte' blueprint


PHILSTAR

Arroyo cleared in Malampaya mess; Napoles, 24 others face raps By Rosette Adel (philstar.com) | Updated December 27, 2016 - 5:52pm 1 4 googleplus0 0


Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal Arroyo waves to the gallery shortly upon arrival at the House of Representatives attend its opening session where President Rodrigo Duterte is to deliver his state of the nation address Monday, July 25, 2016. AP/Bullit Marquez

MANILA, Philippines —The Office of the Ombudsman on Tuesday absolved former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo in connection with the P900-million Malampaya fund scam.

The Ombudsman said it is dismissing the charges against Arroyo and three officials from the Department of Agrarian Reform — Eduardo Ermit; Dominador Sison Jr. and Nilda Baui — due to insufficient evidence.

The office, in a 134-page joint resolution, said that “complainants failed to prove that they conspired with their co-respondents in the illegal diversion of the P900-million Malampaya fund or that they deviated from the regular procedure.”

One of the former president's legal counsels, Laurence Arroyo (no relation), in a statement welcomed the ombudsman’s resolution.

READ MORE...

"It's the perfect way to end the year and to start the new one. We hope that we have seen the last of these frivolous complaints against the former president," the lawyer said. Former President Arroyo is now representative of the 2nd District of Pampanga.

Meanwhile, the Ombudsman indicted alleged “pork barrel mastermind” Janel Lim-Napoles, and 24 others for their supposed participation in the scam.

View image on Twitter View image on Twitter Follow

25 individuals ordered charged w/ plunder, graft & malversation over the 2009 Malampaya fund scam 2:32 AM - 27 Dec 2016 Retweets likes Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales said the respondents were found to have acted in concert to divert the fund releases drawn from the P900-million Malampaya fund allocated by the Department of Budget Management to the DAR in 2009, which was diverted and coursed through NGOs controlled by Napoles and for which huge kickbacks and commissions were paid.

The Ombudsman ordered the of filing two counts of plunder, 97 counts of violation of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act as well as 97 counts of Malversation Through Falsification of Public Documents against 25 respondents from the DBM, DAR and NGO representatives.

Among the officials to be charged are Former Budget Secretary Rolando Aureo Andaya, Jr., and former DBM Undersecretary Mario Relampagos; former Agrarian Reform Secretary Nasser Pangandaman, former Undersecretary Narciso Nieto and Director Teresita Panlilio; former Candaba Mayor Rene Maglanque.

Other NGO representatives indicted were Ruby Tuason, Janet Lim Napoles, Jo Christine Napoles, James Christopher Napoles, Reynald Lim, Evelyn De Leon, Ronald Francisco Lim, Ronald John Lim, Eulogio Rodriguez, Simplicio Gumafelix, John Raymund De Asis, Rodrigo Galay, Alejandro Garro, Paquito Dinso, Jr., Gerald Apuang, Napoleon Sibayan, Winnie Villanueva, Angelita Cacananta, and Ronald Venancio.

Based on the Ombudsman’s probe, records found revealed that Andaya submitted a request for authority to the Office of the President, to use the Malampaya fund for relief operations, rehabilitation, and reconstruction of areas affected by typhoons “Ondoy” and “Pepeng” on Oct. 8, 2009.

An Executive Order 848 authorizing the budget department to release the funds to DAR as implementing agency was released by five days later. Subsequently, Nieto requested Andaya to release the P900 million to provide assistance to farmer-beneficiaries affected by the typhoons.

The request for fund release was based on 97 purporetd letter-requests made by the mayors of various local government units.

However, it was learned that Napoles instructed Galay to scan the letterheads of the 97 local government units and the NGO representatives accused falsified the letters and made it appear the mayors were requesting financial assistance, the Office of the Ombudsman said.

The DAR officials issued 97 checks payable to 12 organizations while these NGO representatives allegedly issued official receipts and fake liquidation documents for the allegedly spurious transactions

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

RELATED FROM THE INQUIRER

IN THE KNOW: Malampaya Fund Philippine Daily Inquirer / 12:54 AM December 28, 2016


The Malampaya gas platform located 80 kilometers northwest of the coast of Palawan. INQUIRER FILE PHOTO

Plunder cases were filed against then President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita and 23 others in October 2013 in connection with the diversion of P900 million from the Malampaya Fund, government royalties from the Malampaya gas project.

The money, meant for victims of back-to-back typhoons in 2009, was allegedly funneled to fake nongovernment organizations of businesswoman Janet Lim-Napoles, who is believed to have masterminded the P10-billion Priority Development Assistance Fund scam.

Begun in 2002, the Malampaya project involves the extraction of natural gas from the waters off Palawan. The government share from the operation of the gas wells was supposed to be used for energy projects, but this was expanded to finance programs authorized by Malacañang.

During the Arroyo administration, the diversion of the fund to victims of Tropical Storms “Ondoy” and “Pepeng” in 2009 marked the first time that the Malampaya Fund was used for a project other than those related to energy development.

Before this, then Agrarian Reform Secretary Nasser Pangandaman authorized the release of P300 million from Land Bank of the Philippines to 12 foundations controlled by Napoles, government documents showed. —COMPILED BY ANA ROA, INQUIRER RESEARCH


PHILSTAR

Alan Peter to replace Yasay in DFA (The Philippine Star) | Updated December 30, 2016 - 12:00am 10 1074 googleplus0 0


It’s definite: Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano will head the Department of Foreign Affairs by mid-2017. Senate PRIB/Released

MANILA, Philippines - It’s definite: Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano will head the Department of Foreign Affairs by mid-2017.

In an interview with CNN Philippines, President Duterte said he would give the post to his former runningmate after Foreign Secretary Perfecto Yasay Jr. steps down and returns to the United States “to fulfill his obligations.”

“Alan Cayetano will be coming in to take (the) post,” Duterte said.

Yasay was a visiting law professor at the Richardson School of Law in the University of Hawaii, according to his government profile.

“He is on contract as a professor,” said Duterte. “Nakiusap naman ako (I spoke to him) because he was my roommate during law school.”

READ MORE...

The President added that he does not have plans yet for former senator Ferdinand Marcos Jr., who also ran in the last vice presidential race.

He admitted he is indebted to Ilocos Norte Gov. Imee Marcos, who supported his presidential campaign.

“Not yet. I do not want to make promises,” Duterte said about speculations over a possible government post for Marcos Jr.

He revealed that Marcos had originally wanted to be in the Department of Tourism, but he could not be appointed to the post at the time.

Rules forbid losing candidates from taking government posts until a year after elections; this prevents both Cayetano and Marcos from assuming posts in the Cabinet until the middle of 2017.

“Ang gusto niya kasi sa (He wanted) DOT, but I cannot wait for him,” said Duterte. “I have to move. I have to start. We have to hit the ground running.”

Duterte said that he is happy with his Cabinet, which includes Tourism Secretary Wanda Teo.


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