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VP CAMP: PALACE RETRACTED NEW YEAR'S TOAST ('Vin d’honneur')  INVITATION TO LENI
[RELATED: COMMENTARY By Justice Panganiban - Will SC oust Leni and other LPs?]


JANUARY 11 -FILE -Vice President Leni Robredo earlier resigned from President Rodrigo Duterte's Cabinet after being asked to desist from attending all meetings. STAR/Michael Varcas,
The camp of Vice President Leni Robredo on Wednesday revealed that Malacañang retracted its invitation to President Rodrigo Duterte's first New Year’s vin d’honneur.Robredo's spokesperson Georgina Hernandez said that the Office of the Vice President received an invitation to the vin d'honneur through email on Dec. 28, 2016. "On January 4, Malacañang called the Office to retract the invitation, stating that the guest list was limited," Hernandez said in a statement. Past presidents usually always held the traditional vin d'honneur on New Year's Day but Duterte opted to take two days of from work.
READ MORE..RELATED, Will SC oust Leni and other LPs?...

ALSO: Robredo - Violence not the right solution vs. poverty, inequality
[RELATED: Robredo is ‘Vice Ganda’ in surprise visit to Tondo relocation site]


JANUARY 15 -Speaking before students at the 17th EDSA Ortigas Consortium of Schools (EDSOR) Peace Congress on Friday, Robredo said it is necessary to address the country's perennial problems with peaceful approaches.
Violence is not the right solution in the country's fight against poverty and inequality, Vice President Leni Robredo said as she urged young Filipinos to use technology as they act as "stewards" of the environment and human life. Speaking before students at the 17th EDSA Ortigas Consortium of Schools (EDSOR) Peace Congress on Friday, Robredo said it is necessary to address the country's perennial problems with peaceful approaches. She underscored that human life is "a most valuable resource," and noted how "we now take warfare for granted," with people "killed in the name os seemingly noble causes." "Violence is the quick fix that we must prevent and condemn. READ MORE...RELATED,
Robredo is ‘Vice Ganda’ in surprise visit to Tondo relocation site ...

ALSO: PIMENTEL - CAN'T BLAME PALACE FOR PROBING 'LENILEAKS'
[RELATED: Robredo reiterates denial in taking part of Duterte ouster plot]


JANUARY 9 -In this July 4, 2016 photo, Vice President Leni Robredo pays courtesy call on President Rodrigo Duterte at the Malacañan Palace, afternoon of July 4, 2016. Malacañang Photo Bureau/King Rodriguez
Senate President Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III on Monday said he could not blame Malacañang for the decision to probe reports on an alleged plot by supporters of Vice President Leni Robredo to oust President Rodrigo Duterte which have surfaced online and was dubbed as "LeniLeaks." "That’s the attitude of the executive…all reports, rumors about destabilization or threats to administration should be investigated and seriously treated," Pimentel told reporters in an interview at Hotel Sofitel in Pasay City. "I will not blame or criticize them for that," he added, noting that "LeniLeaks" reports have not really bothered him. He said that he has not even read full reports about it but only headlines. READ MORE...RELATED,
Robredo reiterates denial in taking part of Duterte ouster plot...

ALSO: Drilon on alleged plan to unseat Duterte: Just crap
[RELATED: FIL-AM LP BACKER Loida Nicolas Lewis denies plot to oust Duterte]



JANUARY 8 -Senator Franklin Drilon. INQUIRER FILE PHOTO/JOAN BONDOC
“This is all crap,” Senate President Franklin Drilon said of a supposed plot by supporters of Vice President Leni Robredo to discredit and eventually unseat the President. Drilon assured that plotting President Rodrigo Duterte’s ouster was farthest from Robredo’s mind. “No I haven’t talked to her but I can assure you that this alleged plot is farthest from the mind of VP Leni,” he said in an interview with Senate reporters on Monday. READ MORE...RELATED, ..FIL-AM LP BACKER Loida Nicolas Lewis denies plot to oust Duterte...

ALSO: Yasay calls coup plotters 'despicable' traitors
[RELATED: Duterte on plotters: ‘I wish them success']


JANUARY 11 -“A person who is part of a sinister plot to forcibly remove a lawfully elected president of the Republic, albeit for noble reasons, is not a patriot, but a despicable traitor and an enemy of the state,” Foreign Secretary Perfecto Yasay said in a post on Facebook. AP Photo/Aaron Favila 
Anyone plotting to oust an elected president is a “despicable traitor and an enemy of the state” and never a patriot, Foreign Secretary Perfecto Yasay Jr. said yesterday. “A person who is part of a sinister plot to forcibly remove a lawfully elected president of the Republic, albeit for noble reasons, is not a patriot, but a despicable traitor and an enemy of the state,” Yasay said in a post on Facebook. Yasay’s assertion came days after the emergence of email exchanges purportedly between the staff of Vice President Leni Robredo and some of her US-based supporters regarding moves to force the resignation of President Duterte. The controversy is now called “LeniLeaks.” READ MORE...RELATED,
Duterte on plotters: ‘I wish them success’.....

ALSO: No Rody ouster plot – Loida Lewis
[RELATED: Duterte says he doesn't care about ouster plots after 'Lenileaks]'


JANUARY 11 -Loida Nicolas-Lewis was earlier implicated in a purported plot to force Duterte’s resignation and pave the way for Vice President Leni Robredo to take over the government. Office of the Vice President/Released
Filipino-American philanthropist Loida Nicolas-Lewis denied yesterday any involvement in an alleged plot to oust President Duterte. Lewis was earlier implicated in a purported plot to force Duterte’s resignation and pave the way for Vice President Leni Robredo to take over the government. “I strongly deny being involved in any plot against President Duterte. It is not true as Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre said yesterday that Vice President Robredo and Sen. Leila de Lima stayed in my home when they visited the US. I have no contact with them at all,” said Lewis, who is a native of Bicol like Robredo. “I have called on the President to resign after he himself said he would if he didn’t solve the drug problem in six months. That is what I believe,” Lewis said in a message to The STAR. READ MORE...RELATED, Duterte says he doesn't care about ouster plots after 'Lenileaks...


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VP camp: Palace retracted New Year's toast invite to Leni


FILE -Vice President Leni Robredo earlier resigned from President Rodrigo Duterte's Cabinet after being asked to desist from attending all meetings. STAR/Michael Varcas,

MANILA, JANUARY 16, 2016 (PHILSTAR) January 11, 2017 By Patricia Lourdes Viray - The camp of Vice President Leni Robredo on Wednesday revealed that Malacañang retracted its invitation to President Rodrigo Duterte's first New Year’s vin d’honneur.

Robredo's spokesperson Georgina Hernandez said that the Office of the Vice President received an invitation to the vin d'honneur through email on Dec. 28, 2016.

"On January 4, Malacañang called the Office to retract the invitation, stating that the guest list was limited," Hernandez said in a statement.

Past presidents usually always held the traditional vin d'honneur on New Year's Day but Duterte opted to take two days of from work.

READ MORE...

The vin d’honneur is the practice of an official reception to mark the New Year with the president and key government officials and members of the diplomatic corps at Malacañan.

Next to Duterte, Robredo is second in the order of precedence among ceremonially ranking government officials.

In his speech before the diplomatic corps at the vin d'honneur reception, Duterte welcomed positive change for the country and for the Filipino people.

The president vowed to continue his anti-narcotics campaign this year.

READ: Robredo tenders resignation from Duterte's Cabinet

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RELATED FROM THE INQUIRER (COMMENTARY)

Will SC oust Leni and other LPs? By: Artemio V. Panganiban - @inquirerdotnet Philippine Daily Inquirer / 01:03 AM January 15, 2017



Of the three Marcos cases worth watching (discussed in this space 11/6/16), the first was decided by the Supreme Court, voting 9-5-1, by allowing the burial of former president Ferdinand Marcos’ remains in the Libingan ng mga Bayani.

Soce requirement. My column “Will Bongbong replace Leni?” (12/18/16) concluded that, in the normal course and without judging its merits, the second case—the election protest filed by Bongbong Marcos against Leni Robredo—will take a few more years before we see any light.

Today, let me take up the third case—the petition of Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez to reverse the resolution of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) that, by a 4-3 vote, extended the period for the filing of the statement of contributions and expenses (Soce) of political parties and candidates from June 8 to June 30, 2016.

Under Republic Act No. 7166, a candidate who fails to file his or her Soce within the prescribed period of 30 days after Election Day (which was on May 9, 2016) will be fined and/or barred from “enter[ing] upon the duties of his office until he has filed” the required document. The additional penalty of “perpetual disqualification to hold public office” will be imposed on a repeat offender.

On the other hand, a political party which failed to file its Soce within the prescribed period is also liable to pay a similar fine. Further—and here is the kicker—Sec. 14 of RA 7166 prescribes an additional penalty, worded as follows: “The same prohibition shall apply if the political party which nominated the winning candidate fails to file” the Soce “within the period prescribed by this Act.”

Unquestionably, the Liberal Party filed its Soce only during the extension granted by the Comelec, not within the period prescribed by RA 7166. Ergo, the Marcos partisans claim, Robredo (and all LP senators, congressmen and other winners) should be disqualified perpetually (though she and the other LP winners timely filed their Soce as candidates), and that Marcos should replace her pronto as vice president.

Three issues. I think this case will turn on three main issues. The first is whether the Comelec has the prerogative to extend the period for filing the Soce. The law (RA 7166) is silent on this point, but the Comelec claims that its power to extend is implied from its residual constitutional power to “[e]nforce and administer all laws and regulations relative to the conduct of elections…”

The second issue refers to the penalty: Assuming that the Comelec has no such power and that the LP will thus be deemed NOT to have filed its Soce within the prescribed period, will all the LP winners, including Robredo, be ousted and penalized with “perpetual disqualification to hold public office”?

The third issue is: Assuming that these officials are ousted by the Court, who will replace them? Specifically, will Marcos, the second placer, replace Robredo as vice president?

Who will be VP? To be sure, these are questions of first impression with no settled answers. In general, however, when the cause for the ouster or vacancy arose prior the election, the second placer is deemed elected on the theory that the winner’s votes are invalid for having been cast for a noncandidate.

But when the cause arose after the election, proclamation and assumption to office of the winner, then the vacancy shall be filled in accordance with the law on succession.

The Constitution states: “Whenever there is a vacancy in the Office of the Vice-President during the term for which he was elected, the President shall nominate a Vice-President from among the Members of the Senate and the House of Representatives who shall assume office upon confirmation of a majority vote of all the Members of both Houses of the Congress, voting separately.”

Did the cause arise after Robredo had been elected, proclaimed and assumed office? If so, an incumbent senator or representative, not Marcos, will take over as VP.

But in the first place, should Robredo (and the other LP winners) be adversely affected by a case in which she was not impleaded as a party, and thus had no opportunity to defend herself?

There’s more to say but I have run out of space. Let me continue on another day.


Former Chief Justice Panganiban
Comments to chiefjusticepanganiban@hotmail.com


GMA NEWS NETWORK

Leni Robredo: Violence not the right solution vs. poverty, inequality Published January 14, 2017 11:22am By ROSE-AN JESSICA DIOQUINO, GMA News


Speaking before students at the 17th EDSA Ortigas Consortium of Schools (EDSOR) Peace Congress on Friday, Robredo said it is necessary to address the country's perennial problems with peaceful approaches.

Violence is not the right solution in the country's fight against poverty and inequality, Vice President Leni Robredo said as she urged young Filipinos to use technology as they act as "stewards" of the environment and human life.

Speaking before students at the 17th EDSA Ortigas Consortium of Schools (EDSOR) Peace Congress on Friday, Robredo said it is necessary to address the country's perennial problems with peaceful approaches.

She underscored that human life is "a most valuable resource," and noted how "we now take warfare for granted," with people "killed in the name os seemingly noble causes."

"Violence is the quick fix that we must prevent and condemn.

READ MORE...

Violence is a way of cutting corners, where complex problems are met with simplistic but ineffective solutions," said Robredo, a vocal critic of the spate of killings in the recent months, as well as the revival of death penalty and lowering of age of criminal liability.

"Here in the Philippines, we are faced with issues of terrific scale and complexity. But violence is not the right response to poverty and inequality. Bloodshed will not solve crime and injustice," she added.

"Peace may not give us quick answers, but it requires us to think carefully before we act. Peace urges us to consider the welfare of the world, to respect the fundamental rights of every human being, and to find solutions that will work in the long-term. Peace challenges us to use modern technology for the larger good," she went on.

The Vice President also countered perceptions that this generation is apathetic to the issues of the country.

"I don't agree. I believe that millennials like you care. I believe that modern technology puts you in the perfect position to protect the greater good. Most importantly, I believe that you are ready to fight this fight, to answer the urgent call for nation-building, no matter how young you are," she said.

"But when I say 'fighting the fight,' I don't mean that literally. In protecting the Filipino people and the interests of our nation, we must not resort to the brutality of warfare. Our democracy has no room for political intimidation or violence. Progress can always be achieved peacefully," she added.

Conviction, integrity

This call on the youth to join nation-building is a recurring message the Vice President has delivered before young audiences.

Speaking at the Ateneo Students Leaders Assembly homecoming last week, she urged them to "figure out why you do what you do," and focus on the said purpose amid setbacks.

"[P]arang iyong mga maraming mga kabataan ngayon na parating naghahanap ng meaning, parating naghahanap ng happiness. So parati naming mag-asawa sinasabi [sa mga anak namin] na hindi hinahanap ang meaning. Iyong meaning kayo ang nagbibigay," she said.

"There is so much noise around us. Pero if we set our hearts and our minds on a goal, ang gusto ko maabot ko ang goal. Hindi iyong haharapin mo ang lahat ng ingay," she added.

She also spoke of the importance of maintaining integrity while upholding conviction, because strong convictions may push a person to become "destructive."

"Remember that some of the most brutal authoritarians in history were men of unflagging conviction. They believed that they were doing the right thing, that the grave damage they inflicted was necessary. Hitler thought this way, Pol Pot did the same. Marcos was no different," she said.

"In authentic leadership, conviction by itself will not do. It must come arm-in-arm with integrity ... the moral imperative that prevents the corruption of human thought and action. And for us in government, integrity is a non-negotiable," she added. — VVP, GMA News

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RELATED FROM THE INQUIRER

Robredo is ‘Vice Ganda’ in surprise visit to Tondo relocation site By: Nikko Dizon - Reporter / @NikkoDizonINQ Philippine Daily Inquirer / 01:19 AM January 15, 2017


Vice President Leni Robredo checks out a resettlement area in Tondo, Manila on Thursday, Jan. 12, 2017. (Photo by NIKKO DIZON/Philippine Daily Inquirer)

In a Tondo community, Leni Robredo is “Vice Ganda.”

Vice President Robredo visited a rundown tenement in Barangay 105, along Road 10, in Tondo on Thursday, and was greeted by an enthusiastic crowd as she took a look into their tough living conditions.

“Ang ganda pala ni Vice! (Wow, Vice is beautiful!),” the Inquirer heard some women exclaim while they took photos of Robredo on their camera phones as she went from room to room at the tenement and spoke with residents.

Others called Robredo “Vice Ganda,” the screen name of a popular gay comedian.

BUILDING 29

Robredo went around Building 29 where more than 2,000 families live in squalid conditions, save for the occasional television, a small washing machine. Babies, children and the elderly crowded the rooms, but nearly everyone had mobile phones.

It is just one of the 32 buildings in a relocation site called Happy Land, originally envisioned as a temporary housing for informal settlers in Balut, Tondo, in 1994 but many have remained. Over time, their extended families have stayed with them as well.

Children walked in the dirty and muddy ground barefoot, and the overpowering stench of garbage has become a part of their lives.

Robredo has had a grueling week marked by the so-called #LeniLeaks and being disinvited by Malacañang from President Duterte’s first vin d’honneur.

But she repeatedly said she wanted to focus on what her office could do for the people who needed the government’s help the most, which was why she found herself in Tondo on Thursday.

She met with the village officials and the volunteers of Project Pearls, which offers frontline, day-to-day assistance to the residents like a daily feeding program for nearly 300 school children.

The Office of the Vice President (OVP), through its Angat Buhay poverty alleviation program, will partner with Project Pearls by looking for more private nongovernment organizations that could extend help to the residents of Happy Land.

Robredo learned from the women at Building 29 that they pay P70 for a drum of water they use for taking a bath and doing the laundry. This does not include drinking water.

She also noticed the large hole on the roof of Building 29. “What happens when it rains?” Robredo asked the residents, who replied simply that they get wet.

“Every day, they buy their water. I will ask Maynilad if they could find a permanent solution. And since the NHA (National Housing Authority) owns the lot here, I will propose that the land be awarded to them so that they could have permanent dwellings,” Robredo said.


PHILSTAR

Pimentel: Can't blame Palace for probing 'LeniLeaks'


In this July 4, 2016 photo, Vice President Leni Robredo pays courtesy call on President Rodrigo Duterte at the Malacañan Palace, afternoon of July 4, 2016. Malacañang Photo Bureau/King Rodriguez

MANILA - Senate President Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III on Monday said he could not blame Malacañang for the decision to probe reports on an alleged plot by supporters of Vice President Leni Robredo to oust President Rodrigo Duterte which have surfaced online and was dubbed as "LeniLeaks."

"That’s the attitude of the executive…all reports, rumors about destabilization or threats to administration should be investigated and seriously treated," Pimentel told reporters in an interview at Hotel Sofitel in Pasay City.

"I will not blame or criticize them for that," he added, noting that "LeniLeaks" reports have not really bothered him.

He said that he has not even read full reports about it but only headlines.

READ MORE...

Senate President Pro-Tempore Franklin Drilon, however, thought that probing the so-called "LeniLeaks" would be "a waste of time."

Drilon, instead, urged the Palace to be cautious in taking reports from social media, especially from possible trolls, seriously.

"My advice to the executive branch is exercise extreme caution in giving credits to such reports in social media since today anyone can post it," Drilon said in a separate interview.

"In the first place if there is really credible plot, you will never find it in social media," he added.

Presidential Communications Secretary Martin Andanar in a previous radio interview expressed the need to investigate the alleged leaked emails to verify their authenticity.

READ: Palace to probe alleged emails of Leni backers plotting vs Duterte

Over the weekend, an email group purportedly containing conversations about plots to oust Duterte was exposed by known social media supporters of Duterte: Sass Rogando Sassot, Thinking Pinoy and Mocha Uson. The three also called for an investigation into the alleged plot.

The email, allegedly involving people from the Office of the Vice President, contained an exchange of messages about rallies calling for Duterte’s resignation and protests against his decision to allow the burial of the late President Ferdinand Marcos at the Libingan ng Mga Bayani.

The social media group was supposedly created to protect the vice presidency of Robredo. — PNA With a report from Philstar.com/Rosette Adel

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

RELATED FROM THE MANILA BULLETIN

Robredo reiterates denial in taking part of Duterte ouster plot 262 SHARES Share it! Published January 9, 2017, 6:50 PM By Raymund Antonio

Vice President Ma. Leonor “Leni” Robredo vehemently denied being part of the alleged leaked emails online nor the group that has a well-orchestrated plan to oust President Rodrigo Duterte.

Speaking to reporters on Monday, January 9 in an interview in Marinduque, Robredo said she has found herself at the receiving end of fake news circulating over the internet.

“I don’t know if what was my participation. My name was being mentioned but I’m not part of that group. There were alleged emails circulating. No, I was not also part of it,” she said.

The so-called “#LeniLeaks” spilled the supposed correspondence in a restricted Yahoo! group called Global Filipino Diaspora Council (GFDC), whose members are allegedly behind efforts to undermine Duterte.

Thinking Pinoy, a Filipino blogger, posted online the leaked emails that showed exchanges among GFDC members, some of whom are Robredo supporters.

TP said some of major players in #LeniLeaks are Fil-Am billionaire lobbyist and Liberal Party supporter Loida Nicolas-Lewis and her sister Imelda Nicolas, head of the Commission on Filipinos Overseas.

Robredo’s camp remained tightlipped about #LeniLeaks over the weekend even as she became a subject of online backlash.

Read more: Robredo: No need for me to explain #LeniLeaks

The Vice President said the issue is not “clear” to her at this time because she has been busy making rounds in typhoon-ravaged areas in Bicol until she only received information about it by “bits and pieces.”

She said it was not surprising that her name was floated in the said exchanges because she is the vice president.

Robredo is baffled that if the “conversation is secret, why is that it is a public group?”

Robredo said the last time she personally met Nicolas-Lewis was before the election campaign when she ran as Camarines Sur representative.

“It was said that we met in America, that’s not true,” said Robredo, the former housing chief.

She said she and Nicolas-Lewis know each other because the latter is a fellow Bicolana and was one of her supporters during the congressional campaign.

The vice president made the clarification after she was asked by reporters in Marinduque about their supposed meeting while she was vacationing in the United States with her family last December.

“Even a personal meeting nor a phone call, we haven’t called each other nor met in America,” she stressed.

Amid the vicious attacks against her on social media, she prefers to focus on her job as vice president.

“Mayroon kaming mandatong kailangan gampanan—na kung magpapadala kami sa kasamaan na nangyayari online, paano namin magagampanan ang aming mandato?” Robredo asked.

“As much as I can, iyong focus ko nasa trabaho. Kaya kahit ganoon ang tira sa akin, kaliwa’t kanan, pinagbubuhusan ko talaga ng panahon ang trabaho ko.”

Lewis, for her part, belied there is a plot to oust the president, contending that her opposition to the president does not equate to a conspiracy.


INQUIRER

Drilon on alleged plan to unseat Duterte: Just crap By: Maila Ager - Reporter / @MAgerINQ INQUIRER.net / 03:58 PM January 09, 2017


Senator Franklin Drilon. INQUIRER FILE PHOTO/JOAN BONDOC

“This is all crap,” Senate President Franklin Drilon said of a supposed plot by supporters of Vice President Leni Robredo to discredit and eventually unseat the President.

Drilon assured that plotting President Rodrigo Duterte’s ouster was farthest from Robredo’s mind.

“No I haven’t talked to her but I can assure you that this alleged plot is farthest from the mind of VP Leni,” he said in an interview with Senate reporters on Monday.

READ MORE...

RELATED: ‘I am not a part of any plot to oust Duterte’—Robredo

“There is no such thing, I can assure our people,” the senator added. Drilon and Robredo both belong to the Liberal Party.

Drilon advised the executive branch to exercise “extreme caution” in giving credence to such reports as he himself had been charged based on fraudulent document that also appeared on social media.

He was referring to the plunder case filed at the Office of the Ombudsman against him, former President Benigno Aquino III and other former Cabinet members in connection with the alleged illegal shipment of gold bars from the Union Bank of Switzerland to the Bank of Thailand using Centennial Energy (Thailand) Company Limited last December 2014.

The allegation was reportedly based on a fake article that has gone viral on social media.

READ: Viral story gives Aquino his first spurious plunder rap

“My advice to the executive branch is exercise extreme care in basing your decisions on social media, particularly on alleged plots appearing in social media. In the first place, if this is really a credible plot, you will never find it in social media,” Drilon said.

READ: Duterte oust plot shows how admin is ‘paranoid’—solon

He said it would be a waste of time for the government to investigate such reports.

ALL RUMORS ABOUT DESTAB SHOULD BE INVESTIGATED

Senate President Aqulino “Koko” Pimentel III said he would not blame the administration if it would look into the matter.

“All reports, all rumors about destabilization or threats to the administration should be investigated and seriously treated pero (but) that’s their attitude so I will not blame them for that, I will not criticize them for that,” Pimentel said in a separate interview. IDL/rga

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RELATED FROM THE MANILA BULLETIN

Loida Nicolas Lewis denies plot to oust Duterte 2734 SHARES Share it! Updated January 9, 2017, 6:39 PM ‘By MB Online


Loida Nicolas Lewis. Fil-Am billionaire lobbyist at the center of #LeniLeaks breaks silence, contends her dissent is not tantamount to conspiracy  From Loida Lewis’ Facebook page | mb.com.ph

Loida Nicolas Lewis, the Filipino-American billionaire lobbyist at the center of the “#LeniLeaks” controversy, denied there is such a plot to unseat President Rodrigo Duterte.

“First: No plot to oust Duterte,” Lewis said in her statement reported by GMA News. “Resign Duterte Movement is based on President Duterte’s own words that he would resign if drugs are still rampant six month(s) after his inauguration.”

Global Filipino Diaspora Council (GFDC)

Lewis is tagged in revelations about the leaked correspondence in the Yahoo! group of a so-called Global Filipino Diaspora Council (GFDC) that purportedly shows the Office of the Vice President’s involvement in moves to disparage President Rodrigo Duterte in the world stage.

Lewis said, “Global Filipino Diaspora Council is a Public Site. If there is a conspiracy, would it be discussed in a public page?”

Thinking Pinoy, the blogger who revealed the leaked emails, contested in one of his posts that the group has been set to private.

She then said, “Dissent is NOT equivalent to a plot or conspiracy.”

“In a democracy, opinions of varying shades, either praise or criticism, are a staple ingredient of a vibrant democracy,” GMA News quoted her as saying. “Since when has criticism become an element of sedition?”

Lewis earlier broke her silence in a statement issued via her Facebook page on Monday, January 9.

Though the post did not directly address the issue, Lewis defended her “right, even a duty, to be involved in our homeland and participate as much as we can in its politics” despite being overseas.

“Just because we are Overseas Filipinos (OFs) do not mean that we have lost our right to be involved in or speak out on developments in our home country.”

“It is in that spirit of caring and brotherhood that we speak out on developments in the Philippines. We will continue to do so because if we did not, we would be untrue to who we are (sic): Filipinos, like you,” Lewis said.

She took the cudgels for fellow overseas Filipinos with dual citizenship like her. “It is therefore wrong to disparage or demean comments from overseas Filipinos.”

Lewis also pointed out the contribution of overseas Filipinos to the country’s economic growth. “At least one out of every eight Filipinos lives overseas. Our remittances are a major boost for the Philippine economy.”

“Love of country is not limited to those who reside in the Philippines. A waiter on a cruise ship in the Caribbean, an accountant working with a New York City firm, a nurse caring for patients in the suburbs of London—we are all a part of the greater Philippine nation.”

Even if they reside overseas, Lewis said they “always try to give back to the motherland.”

“As for me, I founded The Lewis College in my hometown of Sorsogon, which is offers low and affordable tuition for college in the Bicol Region, and about 25% of those in College are on scholarship,” she said.

The #LeniLeaks controversy, which unfolded over the weekend by blogger Thinking Pinoy via a tip received by fellow netizen Sass Rogando Sasot, detailed the conversations over the GFDC group showing what seemed to be a well-orchestrated plan to denigrate the president and former senator Bongbong Marcos—who contests the electoral victory of incumbent vice president Robredo.

VOCAL CRITIC OF DUTERTE

Lewis is a Fil-Am businesswoman and widow of TLC Beatrice founder Reginald Lewis. A known supporter of the Liberal Party, she had been a vocal critic of President Duterte.

The president had previously alluded to her as a rich woman who is a financier of a massive demonstration against him.

Aside from Lewis, the other major players in the GFDC include:

1. Imelda Nicolas, Lewis’ sister and head of the Commission on Filipinos Overseas

2. Jose Molano Jr., CFO commissioner

3. Ted Liguatan, Philippine Daily Inquirer U.S. Bureau correspondent

4. Gene Alcantara, ABS-CBN Europe News Bureau correspondent

5. Filomenita Hogsholm, influential North E.U. civil society leader

Read more: OVP caught at the center of an int’l propaganda machine

The vice president has already dismissed the controversy as “purely ridiculous.”

Prior to the #LeniLeaks controversy, Robredo has been accused of supporting efforts to oust Duterte, which the vice president had repeatedly denied.


PHILSTAR

Yasay calls coup plotters traitors By Pia Lee-Brago (The Philippine Star) | Updated January 11, 2017 - 12:00am 0 0 googleplus0 0


“A person who is part of a sinister plot to forcibly remove a lawfully elected president of the Republic, albeit for noble reasons, is not a patriot, but a despicable traitor and an enemy of the state,” Foreign Secretary Perfecto Yasay said in a post on Facebook. AP Photo/Aaron Favila

MANILA, Philippines – Anyone plotting to oust an elected president is a “despicable traitor and an enemy of the state” and never a patriot, Foreign Secretary Perfecto Yasay Jr. said yesterday.

“A person who is part of a sinister plot to forcibly remove a lawfully elected president of the Republic, albeit for noble reasons, is not a patriot, but a despicable traitor and an enemy of the state,” Yasay said in a post on Facebook.

Yasay’s assertion came days after the emergence of email exchanges purportedly between the staff of Vice President Leni Robredo and some of her US-based supporters regarding moves to force the resignation of President Duterte. The controversy is now called “LeniLeaks.”

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Roberedo’s camp has denied the insinuation she is involved in a plot to unseat Duterte and called “LeniLeaks” malicious.

Malacañang is looking into the matter.

“In my view, herein lies the distinction between one who is and is not Filipino,” Yasay said.

Also named in the controversy were billionaire philanthropist Loida Nicolas-Lewis, her sister former Commission on Filipinos Overseas head Imelda Nicolas and lawyer Ted Laguatan.

Presidential Communications Secretary Martin Andanar said the Palace is taking the matter seriously but would not make judgment until the information contained in the emails are validated.

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RELATED FROM THE MANILA TIMES

Duterte on plotters: ‘I wish them success’ BY CATHERINE S. VALENTE, TMT ON JANUARY 10, 2017 NATION

President Rodrigo Duterte has shrugged off a supposed ouster plot against him that is allegedly organized by and linked to Vice President Maria Leonor “Leni” Robredo’s allies.

In an interview on Tuesday, Presidential Communications Secretary Martin Andanar said that Duterte, at the sidelines of Tuesday’s Cabinet meeting, had been able to discuss with him, National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon Jr. and Information and Communications Technology Rodolfo Salalima a supposed leaked conversation, now dubbed as “LeniLeaks.”

During their talk, Andanar added, the President had wished his opponents “success” in destabilizing him.

“I wish them all the success,” Duterte told Robredo’s supporters planning to kick him out of office as quoted by Andanar.

The alleged ouster plot came to fore after a blogger posted over the weekend emails that allegedly showed exchanges between some supporters of the Liberal Party such as immigration lawyer Ted Laguatan and certain individuals in the Philippines.

Global Filipino Diaspora Council

The emails were supposedly posted on the Yahoo! group Global Filipino Diaspora Council, whose members reportedly include Loida Nicolas-Lewis.

Lewis has denied concocting a plan to remove Duterte from Malacañang even as she clarified that her call for Duterte to quit was based on the President’s promise that he would resign if drugs are still rampant six months after his inauguration in June last year.

Esperon has said “Lenileaks” was not on the agenda of the Cabinet meeting on Monday because Duterte and the secretaries had more important matters to discuss.

“We have other more important matters… This should not be the flavor of the day or the month since this is just something that we already know,” Esperon said.

NO LENILEAKS MENTION IN CABINET MEETINGS

In a news conference, Presidential spokesman Ernesto Abella said the “LeniLeaks” issue was not taken up during Monday’s Cabinet meeting.

“No. There was no discussion there and if there was any pull-aside, I was not privy to it,” Abella told reporters. “It was not mentioned at all. Not during the Cabinet meeting.”

But Andanar, in another interview, said he discussed the “LeniLeaks” with the President together with Esperon and Salalima.

“It was discussed in the Cabinet pull-aside. This was when we pulledthe President to one side and we talked to the President privately,” Andanar told ABS-CBN News Channel (ANC).


PHILSTAR

No Rody ouster plot – Lewis By Helen Flores (The Philippine Star) | Updated January 11, 2017 - 12:00am 0 0 googleplus0 0


Loida Nicolas-Lewis was earlier implicated in a purported plot to force Duterte’s resignation and pave the way for Vice President Leni Robredo to take over the government. Office of the Vice President/Released

MANILA, Philippines – Filipino-American philanthropist Loida Nicolas-Lewis denied yesterday any involvement in an alleged plot to oust President Duterte.

Lewis was earlier implicated in a purported plot to force Duterte’s resignation and pave the way for Vice President Leni Robredo to take over the government.

“I strongly deny being involved in any plot against President Duterte. It is not true as Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre said yesterday that Vice President Robredo and Sen. Leila de Lima stayed in my home when they visited the US. I have no contact with them at all,” said Lewis, who is a native of Bicol like Robredo.

“I have called on the President to resign after he himself said he would if he didn’t solve the drug problem in six months. That is what I believe,” Lewis said in a message to The STAR.

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Robredo had also denied involvement in any plot against Duterte.

ROBREDO STAFF

In the controversy, Robredo’s staff had allegedly engaged some of her supporters in email conversation regarding a plot to topple Duterte.

Meanwhile, Robredo is not bothered by the decline in her recent approval and trust ratings in the recent poll of Pulse Asia, according to her spokesperson, who said the survey results even “inspire” her to work better to serve the poor.

“To us, the results (of the survey) give energy and inspiration to Vice President Leni to serve better because we listen to the people’s feedbacks though this survey,” said Georgina Hernandez, spokesperson for Robredo.

Robredo’s latest approval and trust ratings fell to 62 percent (from 66 percent) and 58 percent (from 65 percent), respectively, in the Dec. 6-11 survey of Pulse Asia.

“We will study how the ordinary people will feel the service of the Vice President, especially those in the fringes of society,” Hernandez said.

She said the Vice President remains thankful to the majority of people who continue to trust her.

Hernandez said Robredo is focused on helping in the rehabilitation programs for the victims of Typhoons Nina and Lawin, which struck the country last year.

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RELATED FROM PHILSTAR

Duterte says he doesn't care about ouster plots after 'Lenileaks' By Alexis Romero (philstar.com) | Updated January 9, 2017 - 8:00pm 24 174 googleplus0 0


President Rodrigo Duterte said that if it is his luck to be ousted, then so be it. STAR/File

MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte reiterated Monday that he does not care if his critics are plotting to oust him following reports that supporters of Vice President Leni Robredo are planning to create dissent against him.

Duterte made the statement while he was talking about the Philippines’ drug problem, which he said, could contaminate four million Filipinos.

“It has become a national security issue that is why I had to call in the Armed Forces to help. I lack personnel. I lack everything. So that’s the purpose, my purpose in life,” the president said during the oath taking of new appointees in Malacañang.

“Eh kung yan ang suwerte ko, pasensiya (If that’s my luck, then sorry). You tell me ousted, coup ‘d etat… So be it. Assassinate? So be it,” he added.

“Eh, ihulog mo nang eroplano kasi — tutal commercial flight iyan, maraming insurance iyan. I take the — kasi magastos iyong jet eh, eh nahihiya ako sa tao (Cause the plane to crash. After all it’s a commercial flight. It’s insured. I can’t take the jet. It’s too costly. I am ashamed to do it because of the people).”

The president did not make any reference to the so-called “Lenileaks” — the leaked emails containing conversations about anti-government rallies — during his 36-minute speech, his first for this year.

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Last Sunday, Presidential Communications Secretary Martin Andanar said he wants the “Lenileaks” issue to be discussed during Monday’s Cabinet meeting. He said he has asked National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon, Jr. to look into the matter.

Esperon, however, said “Lenileaks” was not included in the agenda of their meeting Monday.

“It happens that it is not one of the matters to be taken up. That just tells you that we have other more important matters (to discuss),” Esperon told reporters before the Cabinet meeting in Malacañang.

“It doesn't mean also that if we don't talk about it in the media, we don’t’ give importance to it. It is important in the sense that we have to know the veracity of some things, as they affect our stability,” he added.

Esperon also critics should not take to task the president for seeking an extension of his war on drugs.

“I think the voters voted for the president not because they wanted the three months but because they wanted somebody to address the problem forcefully,” the national security adviser said.

“They should not be the flavor of the month. This is something we already know. The best way to address this is to show that we are effective in anti-drugs, that we can address the problems they are concerned with,” he added.

Documents provided to the media showed that the agenda of Monday’s Cabinet meeting include the impact of Typhoon Nina, the proposed development of Bacoor Bay, the possible investors for the Railway System Project, the proposed increase in the Social Security System pension, the National Space Development Program and the establishment of the Philippine Space Agency and preparations for the visit of Japan Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.


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