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SENATE RESHUFFLE: DRILON NAMED SENATE MINORITY LEADER; RECTO IS NEW MAJORITY LEADER[RELATED: At the House LP lawmakers to stay with House super majority]


FEBRUARY 28 -Former Senate President Pro-Tempore Franklin Drilon is the new Senate minority leader. Senate PRIB/Joseph Vidal
Former Senate President Pro-Tempore Franklin Drilon is the new Senate minority leader. This was after he and other Liberal Party members and ally namely Sens. Paolo Benigno “Bam” Aquino IV, Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan and Risa Hontiveros were ousted from their committee chairmanships. All of them also shifted to the minority bloc thereafter. Drilon’s minority leadership was nominated by Aquino. The nomination was seconded by Sen. Vicente “Tito” Sotto III. Sen. Ralph Recto on Monday replaced Drilon. READ MORE...RELATED,
LP lawmakers to stay with House super majority...

ALSO: Lacson reveals he and 4 others started move to oust LP senators from majority bloc
[RELATED: Ouster planned in Pacman’s house]


MARCH 1 -Four senators initiated talks with colleagues that led to the ouster Liberal Party (LP) senators from the majority bloc. In an interview Tuesday, Senator Panfilo Lacson said he along with three other colleagues started the idea of convening the senators to talk about the Senate majority. “Kaming apat nag-start: Senators (Gringo) Honasan, (Tito) Sotto, (Loren) Legarda. Kami ang nakaka-observe na 'bakit ganito ang situation namin?' Yan ang story,” Lacson said. Lacson, Honasan and Sotto are part of the so-called “macho bloc” in the Senate, which also included former Senators Jinggoy Estrada and Juan Ponce Enrile in the past Congress. Lacson said the decision was not a “one-shot deal.” “So 'di ito one-shot deal o na-decide overnight... based on the observations of the other members, including myself. How could we even hold a caucus? In fact we have not held a caucus as a super majority,” he said. READ MORE...RELATED, Ouster planned in Pacman’s house...

ALSO: Koko on LP sacking in the Senate - Clear lines have to be drawn
[RELATED: Pangilinan hits Pimentel - LP did not 'hamper' Senate agenda]


MARCH 1 -Senate President Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III said Monday that members of the Liberal Party (LP) were ousted from their key posts because “clear lines have to be drawn” in the Senate. “Work in the Senate has been hampered by the blurring of the lines between the majority and the minority to the detriment of public interest. There have been instances where the majority, instead of closing ranks, ended up divided,” Pimentel said in a statement. “The majority of senators decided that to best achieve the Senate’s legislative agenda, clear lines have to be drawn,” he added. During the plenary session, Senator Franklin Drilon was removed from as Senate President Pro Tempore, the second highest post next to Pimentel. Senator Ralph Recto, also a member of the LP but was initially party of the minority bloc, replaced Drilon. Senators Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan and Paolo Benigno “Bam” Aquino IV were removed as chairpersons of the Senate agriculture committee and education committee, respectively. Senator Risa Hontiveros meanwhile was replaced as chair of the Senate health committee. Hontiveros is a member of the Akbayan Party that is closely allied with the LP. Pimentel, president of ruling party PDP-Laban, assured that “the Senate will remain independent and true to its role as the last bastion of democracy in our country. “ READ MORE...RELATED, Pangilinan hits Pimentel: LP did not 'hamper' Senate agenda...

ALSO:
LP holds caucus amid Senate shakeup, death penalty vote
[RELATED: Liberal Party ‘consolidating’ anew, says party leader]


FEBRUARY 28 -
The Liberal Party (LP) on Tuesday held a caucus a day after a Senate shakeup that stripped LP senators of their key committee chairperson posts. The LP lawmakers both from the House of Representatives and the Senate attended the meeting amid moves in the Senate to toe the line between the administration allies and opposition. READ: LP members ousted from Senate majority The LP representatives joined the caucus as the lower House is expected to debate on individual amendments in the death penalty bill. The LP is expected to come up with a decision on whether or not its members would remain in the majority coalition, despite the party position against the administration’s pet bill, the restoration of the death penalty, now under second reading in the lower house.
READ MORE...RELATED, Liberal Party ‘consolidating’ anew, says party leader...

ALSO: Senate rid of caucus woes after shakeup - Lacson
[RELATED: Senate minority poised for serious debate on death penalty]



MARCH 2 -Senator Panfilo Lacson SENATOR Panfilo Lacson said Wednesday the removal of Liberal Party senators from key positions in the Senate solves the problem of having members of the so-called super majority who almost always vote with the minority. “We could not have a caucus as a majority in the Senate because we had colleagues with reservations about the legislative agenda, [and] we had colleagues of the so-called super majority who almost always vote with the minority,” Lacson said. In one instance, he said, then Senate President Pro Tempore Franklin Drilon manifested that the issue of bribery and extortion be referred to the committee on civil service and government reorganization chaired by Senator Antonio Trillanes IV, a member of the minority. “When we voted on it, they all voted that it be referred to the civil service committee instead of going along with the majority to have it referred to the Blue Ribbon committee,” Lacson said. He said in many other instances, the Liberal Party senators would vote with the minority. When issues were taken up on the floor, Trillanes would often consult the Liberal Party senators instead of the other members of the minority. READ MORE...RELATED, Senate minority poised for serious debate on death penalty...

ALSO: Robredo tells peers in opposition - Let’s be braver, louder in our dissent
[RELATED: LP to regroup, may bolt House majority]
[RELATED(2): Robredo declares war on online trolls peddling fake news and lies]
[RELATED(3): VP Robredo breaks silence on “Naga Leaks”]


MARCH 2 -Vice President Leni Robredo visits Bohol on March 2, 2017 and gives paddle boats to fishermen from Panglao and Maribojok. (PHOTO BY LEO UDTOHAN / INQUIRER VISAYAS)
TAGBILARAN CITY — Vice President Leni Robredo told his colleagues in the political opposition to toughen up, be braver and be louder in their opposition to the Duterte Administration’s policies even if they have lost some of the perks of power. Robredo, who was in Bohol to distribute paddle boats to fishermen o Thursday, said the reorganization in the Senate had just sent the message that there would be repercussions to senators who would not kowtow to the policies of the Duterte administration. The blunt message was toe the line or lose your committee chairmanship, she said. Robredo led the distribution of paddle boats to fishermen from Maribojoc and Panglao towns. READ MORE...RELATED,
LP to regroup, may bolt House majority...RELATED(2), Robredo declares war on online trolls peddling fake news and lies...RELATED(3) VP Robredo breaks silence on “Naga Leaks”---


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Drilon ousted from majority and named Senate minority leader


Former Senate President Pro-Tempore Franklin Drilon is the new Senate minority leader. Senate PRIB/Joseph Vidal

MANILA, MARCH 6, 2017 (PHILSTAR)  By Rosette Adel February 28, 2017 - Former Senate President Pro-Tempore Franklin Drilon is the new Senate minority leader.

This was after he and other Liberal Party members and ally namely Sens. Paolo Benigno “Bam” Aquino IV, Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan and Risa Hontiveros were ousted from their committee chairmanships. All of them also shifted to the minority bloc thereafter.

Drilon’s minority leadership was nominated by Aquino. The nomination was seconded by Sen. Vicente “Tito” Sotto III.

Sen. Ralph Recto on Monday replaced Drilon.

READ MORE...

On the other hand, a report from The STAR said that Aquino was elected as Deputy Minority Leader.

Prior to the voting of Drilon for minority leadership, detained Sen. Leila de Lima manifested that she also wants to withdraw from the majority group and join the opposition group. She wrote the letter addressed to Senate President Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel and it was read by Sotto before the body.

De Lima joined her fellow Liberal Party colleagues and Sen. Antonio “Sonny” Trillanes at the minority bloc.

The Senate reshuffling was done after De Lima was arrested last Friday.

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RELATED FROM PHILSTAR

LP lawmakers to stay with House super majority By Delon Porcalla (The Philippine Star) | Updated March 1, 2017 - 12:00am 0 0 googleplus0 0


LP Reps. Teddy Baguilat of Ifugao province and Jose Christopher Belmonte of Quezon City said this was the consensus reached by the party at a meeting called by LP president emeritus and former president Benigno Aquino III in Quezon City. File photo

MANILA, Philippines - The 30 Liberal Party (LP) members allied with the super majority in the 293-member House of Representatives will stay with the coalition cobbled together by the ruling PDP-Laban party of President Duterte.

LP Reps. Teddy Baguilat of Ifugao province and Jose Christopher Belmonte of Quezon City said this was the consensus reached by the party at a meeting called by LP president emeritus and former president Benigno Aquino III in Quezon City.

“We all agreed that let’s give it more time to discuss the issues at hand,” Baguilat, who belongs to the independent opposition bloc who call themselves the “Magnificent 7,” told reporters in an interview. Sen. Francis Pangilinan of the LP was seated beside him.

Baguilat said “dynamics in the Senate are a little different” from those in the House, which means the LP faction identified with the majority bloc cannot be expected to leave the administration coalition easily.

Of the seven opposition legislators, five are from LP – Baguilat himself, Edcel Lagman of Albay, Raul Daza of northern Samar, Edgar Erice of Caloocan and Emmanuel Billones of Capiz.

The two others are Reps. Gary Alejano and Tom Villarin of party-list groups Magdalo and Akbayan, respectively.


THIS PHOTO WAS POSTED ON JULY 24, 2016 WHEN - the former ruling Liberal Party inked a deal with the now-ruling PDP-Laban to join what's being called the "supermajority" in the House of Representatives. The new majority counts PDP-Laban, the LP, the Nacionalista Party, and the Nationalist People's Coalition, among others, as its members. SUPERMAJORITY. (L-R, seated) Outgoing House Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr, incoming House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez, and Senator Aquilino 'Koko' Pimentel III formalize the Liberal Party's inclusion in the PDP-Laban bloc in the House of Representatives, July 24, 2016. It was a decision-making process that stretched on for weeks and even months, until a final decision was reached days before President Rodrigo Duterte's first State of the Nation Address: the Liberal Party (LP), which lorded over Philippine politics for 6 years, would be allying itself with the new majority led by PDP-Laban. Photo by Ben Nabong/Rappler RAPPLER.COM NEWS FILE

Belmonte, who was also present during the press conference, told reporters that the priority is to debate freely on the issues.

“It’s about time the voice of the LP as a party should be heard once again,” he said.

Belmonte, who is pro-life, is allied with the administration coalition of Duterte.

The LP titular head in the House, former speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr., was also present at the meeting.

The elder Belmonte is among the LP officials who have been given committee chairmanships in the House, courtesy of incumbent Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez.

Belmonte now heads the special committee on the West Philippine Sea.

The House leadership under Alvarez has declared that it will adopt a “party vote” on the efforts of government to restore capital punishment, which has been repeatedly endorsed by Duterte.

“They are free to resign from the party. I will not force them,” the Davao del Norte congressman told reporters earlier. “I will just tell the members of PDP-Laban that the party stand will be observed on the restoration of the death penalty.”

This policy covers the more than 100 PDP-Laban members, along with parties allied with it.

“I already asked also their cooperation since they belong to the majority,” Alvarez said, referring to the Nacionalista Party, Nationalist People’s Coalition, National Unity Party, Lakas-NUCD, Laban ng Demokratikong Pilipino and the divided LP.

The super majority coalition accounts for nearly the entire 293-member House, as even lawmakers from the militant bloc are now supportive of the Duterte administration, including party-list congressmen.

Party-list lawmakers or sectoral representatives in the House number about 60; 22 are with the minority bloc of Quezon Rep. Danilo Suarez and about seven are from the militant Makabayan.

The steadfast anti-administration lawmakers belong to the so-called Magnificent 7.

Reorganization

A day after the LP senators were ousted from the Senate majority, the chamber’s reorganization is now complete and a rejuvenated minority bloc has emerged.

Sen. Franklin Drilon, formerly Senate President Pro Tempore, is the new minority leader.

Former minority leader Sen. Ralph Recto was elected the new Senate President Pro Tempore, a position he has held before.

Sen. Paolo Benigno Aquino IV was designated as assistant minority leader.

Sen. Leila de Lima, currently in detention, manifested before yesterday’s plenary session that she is also joining her LP colleagues in the minority bloc.

In a handwritten letter to Senate President Aquilino Pimentel III, De Lima said that she is “formally withdrawing from the majority in order to join the minority bloc in the Senate.”

The Senate minority now has six members – Drilon, Aquino, De Lima, Risa Hontiveros, Francis Pangilinan and Antonio Trillanes IV.

Sen. Francis Escudero, previously with the minority, is now with the majority.

Sen. Panfilo Lacson said that what took place was a political decision.

Lacson said that the members of the majority bloc were frequently placed in an awkward situation, where the LP senators were voting the same way as the minority on certain issues.

He said that the decision to oust the LP members was easily decided among the members of the majority bloc because they all felt the situation had become untenable.

Lacson noted that the majority saw fit to reduce the chairmanships of LP senators to only three.

“If we were merciless we would not have left any committee to them. Remember, a senator who doesn’t chair any committee will not have MOOE (maintenance and other operating expenditures). This is not a small amount,” Lacson said.

“We deliberated on it, we wanted to be fair. We just wanted to make a statement and we wanted to make ourselves comfortable when we hold caucuses on issues pertaining to the Senate,” he added.

He said the reorganization was not because of any pressure coming from Malacañang.

In a statement made after the reorganization that took place last Monday, Drilon pointed out that the LP senators supported Pimentel as Senate president.

“That’s on the record. We offered him six votes and part of the first 13 votes that he got included seven from LP and its allies,” Drilon said.

Lacson said that this was a matter between the LP senators and Pimentel and had no bearing on the decision made to oust them last Monday.

Recto, a member of the LP, said that his decision to join the majority bloc was “to help craft the legislative agenda of the Senate.”

As minority leader, Recto said that his role was more of a fiscalizer.

“I have no problem with colleagues in the minority or with LP members. Remember I was minority and they were majority. So no hard feelings,” Recto said. – With Marvin Sy, Paolo Romero


GMA NEWS NETWORK

Lacson reveals: Who really started move to oust LP senators from majority bloc? Published February 28, 2017 6:56pm By KATHRINA CHARMAINE ALVAREZ, GMA News

Four senators initiated talks with colleagues that led to the ouster Liberal Party (LP) senators from the majority bloc.

In an interview Tuesday, Senator Panfilo Lacson said he along with three other colleagues started the idea of convening the senators to talk about the Senate majority.

“Kaming apat nag-start: Senators (Gringo) Honasan, (Tito) Sotto, (Loren) Legarda. Kami ang nakaka-observe na 'bakit ganito ang situation namin?' Yan ang story,” Lacson said.

Lacson, Honasan and Sotto are part of the so-called “macho bloc” in the Senate, which also included former Senators Jinggoy Estrada and Juan Ponce Enrile in the past Congress.

Lacson said the decision was not a “one-shot deal.”

“So 'di ito one-shot deal o na-decide overnight... based on the observations of the other members, including myself. How could we even hold a caucus? In fact we have not held a caucus as a super majority,” he said.

READ MORE...

Lacson confirmed that the decision to oust LP senators was finalized during a meeting of majority bloc senators in the residence of Senator Manny Pacquiao Sunday night.

“I myself was the one who pushed. We already decided on this, we voted on this, it was unanimous. What’s the reason for postponing the action?” he said.

Pacquiao made the motion to have Senator Franklin Drilon replaced as Senate President Pro Tempore by former Minority Leader Ralph Recto on Monday.

Senate committee on agriculture chair Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan was replaced by Senator Cythia Villar, Senate committee on education chair Paolo Benigno “Bam” Aquino IV by Senator Francis “Chiz” Escudero, and Senate committee on health chair Risa Hontiveros by Senator Joseph Victor Ejercito.

Drilon, Pangilinan, and Aquino are all members of the former ruling party, LP, while Hontiveros is a member of Akbayan Party, a close ally of LP.

Drilon was elected Minority Leader Tuesday, while Pangilinan will take over the chairmanship of the Senate committee on constitutional amendments.

Aquino still has the committee on science and Hontiveros has the committee on women. —JST, GMA News

 
https://youtu.be/Yb6Mxz_h3Xo?t=97
Sen.Lacson Reveals People Behind The Ouster of LP Sentors from Majority Bloc PhNews Review Published on Feb 28, 2017 Four senators initiated talks with colleagues that led to the ouster Liberal Party (LP) senators from the majority bloc.
In an interview Tuesday, Senator Panfilo Lacson said he along with three other colleagues started the idea of convening the senators to talk about the Senate majority. “Kaming apat nag-start: Senators (Gringo) Honasan, (Tito) Sotto, (Loren) Legarda. Kami ang nakaka-observe na 'bakit ganito ang situation namin?' Yan ang story,” Lacson said.
Lacson, Honasan and Sotto are part of the so-called “macho bloc” in the Senate, which also included former Senators Jinggoy Estrada and Juan Ponce Enrile in the past Congress.
Lacson said the decision was not a “one-shot deal.”
“So 'di ito one-shot deal o na-decide overnight... based on the observations of the other members, including myself. How could we even hold a caucus? In fact we have not held a caucus as a super majority,” he said.
Lacson confirmed that the decision to oust LP senators was finalized during a meeting of majority bloc senators in the residence of Senator Manny Pacquiao Sunday night. “I myself was the one who pushed. We already decided on this, we voted on this, it was unanimous. What’s the reason for postponing the action?” he said.
Pacquiao made the motion to have Senator Franklin Drilon replaced as Senate President Pro Tempore by former Minority Leader Ralph Recto on Monday.
Senate committee on agriculture chair Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan was replaced by Senator Cythia Villar, Senate committee on education chair Paolo Benigno “Bam” Aquino IV by Senator Francis “Chiz” Escudero, and Senate committee on health chair Risa Hontiveros by Senator Joseph Victor Ejercito.
Drilon, Pangilinan, and Aquino are all members of the former ruling party, LP, while Hontiveros is a member of Akbayan Party, a close ally of LP.
Drilon was elected Minority Leader Tuesday, while Pangilinan will take over the chairmanship of the Senate committee on constitutional amendments. Aquino still has the committee on science and Hontiveros has the committee on women.

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RELATED FROM PHILSTAR

Ouster planned in Pacman’s house By Marvin Sy (The Philippine Star) | Updated March 1, 2017 - 12:00am 1 5 googleplus0 0


Sen. Manny Pacquiao said that 15 to 16 senators met last Monday night at his Forbes Park home where they discussed the move against the LP senators, among other things. Manny Pacquiao/Release

MANILA, Philippines - The move to expel Liberal Party members from the super majority in the Senate was inevitable and done out of sheer common sense, according to the lawmaker who hosted the meeting during which the move against the LP was planned.

Sen. Manny Pacquiao said that 15 to 16 senators met last Monday night at his Forbes Park home where they discussed the move against the LP senators, among other things.

Led by Senate President Aquilino Pimentel III, members of the majority bloc, except for the LP stalwarts and Sen. Risa Hontiveros, were present during the meeting.

Pacquiao said there was an agreement among all of them to oust the LP senators from the majority bloc.

“We cannot do our work here. The President has nothing to do with this. We cannot do our jobs here at the Senate if we don’t do this,” Pacquiao said.

Even before the meeting, a number of senators belonging to the majority bloc had been airing their displeasure over how the LP senators were voting as a bloc against some issues important to the administration.

Pacquiao, who initiated the move to remove the committee chairmanships of the LP senators, said that there was general agreement among members of the Senate majority that there was a need to draw the line.

They also were unhappy over how the LP senators were holding some major committee chairmanships as members of the majority but at the same time were critical of the administration.

Sen. Cynthia Villar said that the majority bloc reached a consensus on the matter some time ago and felt they’d had enough of the same petty issues.

Villar said that there was always some confusion among the majority bloc before when some of its members could not seem to agree on a number of issues.

In a statement issued Monday night, Pimentel said “the work in the Senate has been hampered by the blurring of lines between the majority and the minority to the detriment of public interest.”

LP president Sen. Francis Pangilinan, in a statement issued yesterday, refuted the claim of Pimentel, noting that almost 70 percent of the bills on its way to being approved were shepherded by LP senators.

“It is simply untrue that LP senators hampered the legislative agenda. How is this possible when two out of the administration’s three priorities – death penalty and the lowering of criminal age of responsibility – are with the justice committee and not our committees?” Pangilinan said.

The justice committee is headed by Sen. Richard Gordon.

Pangilinan pointed out that the senators who voted against the 2017 national budget, namely Sens. Panfilo Lacson and Sherwin Gatchalian, are not members of the LP.

The 17th Congress has so far passed only one law, which was the postponement of the October 2016 Sangguniang Kabataan elections, and this was secondarily referred to the committee on electoral reforms and people’s participation chaired by Sen. Leila de Lima.

“The only instances we were divided in the majority were on the issues of the Marcos burial in the Libingan ng mga Bayani, the extrajudicial killings, the investigation of corruption in the Bureau of Immigration and the Lascañas testimony,” Pangilinan said.

“In these instances, the LP asserted the independence of the Senate and it was in these instances that senators allied with Malacañang opposed our efforts,” he added.

Pangilinan said that it was “inaccurate and factually erroneous” for any senator to say that the reorganization was due to hampered work.


GMA NEWS NETWORK

Koko on LP sacking in the Senate: Clear lines have to be drawn Published February 27, 2017 8:33pm By KATHRINA CHARMAINE ALVAREZ, GMA News

Senate President Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III said Monday that members of the Liberal Party (LP) were ousted from their key posts because “clear lines have to be drawn” in the Senate.

“Work in the Senate has been hampered by the blurring of the lines between the majority and the minority to the detriment of public interest. There have been instances where the majority, instead of closing ranks, ended up divided,” Pimentel said in a statement.

“The majority of senators decided that to best achieve the Senate’s legislative agenda, clear lines have to be drawn,” he added.

During the plenary session, Senator Franklin Drilon was removed from as Senate President Pro Tempore, the second highest post next to Pimentel. Senator Ralph Recto, also a member of the LP but was initially party of the minority bloc, replaced Drilon.

Senators Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan and Paolo Benigno “Bam” Aquino IV were removed as chairpersons of the Senate agriculture committee and education committee, respectively.

Senator Risa Hontiveros meanwhile was replaced as chair of the Senate health committee. Hontiveros is a member of the Akbayan Party that is closely allied with the LP.

Pimentel, president of ruling party PDP-Laban, assured that “the Senate will remain independent and true to its role as the last bastion of democracy in our country. “

READ MORE...

Senator Pangilinan said the recent development proves that the Duterte administration cannot handle criticisms.

PRESIDENT'S ALLIES

He said the administration, including the President’s allies in the Senate, were responsible for their ouster.

“Siyempre may epekto rin yan sa Senado lalo na doon sa mga sabihin na nating ayaw na banggain o ayaw bumatikos dahil baka sila ay malagay sa alanganin,” Pangilinan said.

Meanwhile, Drilon pointed out that the LP were supportive of Pimentel’s run for the top leadership post in the Senate.

“Just for the record, the LP supported SP Pimentel when we reorganized the 17th Congress. That’s on the record. We offered him six votes and part of the first 13 votes that he got included seven from LP and its allies,” Drilon said.

Asked what does their ouster speak of Pimentel, Drilon said: “I would rather leave that to those who reorganized us out of the majority.”

He said however that the move did not come as a surprise to him.

“After 19 years in the Senate nothing surprises me anymore…The majority decided, then be it; when you become part of the majority, ganoon din iyon. It’s a numbers game,” said Drilon. —NB, GMA News

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RELATED FROM RAPPLER.COM

Pangilinan hits Pimentel: LP did not 'hamper' Senate agenda Camille Elemia @CamilleElemia Published 12:23 PM, February 28, 2017 Updated 2:20 PM, February 28, 2017


NEW MINORITY. Liberal Party president Senator Francis Pangilinan (left) hits back at Senate President Aquilino Pimentel III (right), after LP-allied senators were ousted from their committee posts.

The Liberal Party president reminds Senate President Aquilino Pimentel III that 20 of 29 bills nearing approval into law are 'being defended' by LP senators

MANILA, Philippines – Liberal Party president Senator Francis Pangilinan hit back at Senate President Aquilino Pimentel III for saying LP senators "hampered" the Senate's legislative agenda.

On Monday, February 27, a day after Senator Leila de Lima's arrest on drug charges, the Senate ousted LP-allied senators – Pangilinan, Paolo Benigno Aquino IV, Franklin Drilon, and Risa Hontiveros – from their committee chairmanships. (READ: 15 senators planned LP ouster in Pacquiao's house)

Pimentel said the revamp was necessary as work in the chamber has been affected "to the detriment of public interest."

"There have been instances where the majority, instead of closing ranks, ended up divided," Pimentel said in a statement.

Pangilinan slammed Pimentel’s claim, saying 20 of 29 bills nearing approval into law are sponsored by LP senators.

"How can work in the Senate be hampered by the now minority members, including 4 from the Liberal Party, when almost 70% (20 of 29) of the bills now a couple of steps into becoming a law are being defended by us?" Pangilinan said in a statement on Tuesday, February 28.

Pangilinan also said one of the two laws passed so far in the 17th Congress – the postponement of the barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan elections – was even supported by De Lima, as it was referred to her committee on electoral reforms as secondary committee.

The LP, he added, supported the passage of the 2017 national budget, as only Senators Panfilo Lacson and Sherwin Gatchalian opposed it.

"It is simply untrue that LP senators hampered the legislative agenda. How is this possible when two out of the administration's 3 priorities – death penalty and the lowering of criminal age of responsibility – are with the justice committee and not our committees?"

Rubberstamp Senate?

Pangilinan, Aquino, and Hontiveros earlier raised questions on the independence of the Senate.

Pangilinan said the reorganization was done to prevent the chamber from investigating potentially harmful issues against the Duterte administration.

"It is therefore inaccurate and factually erroneous to say that the reorganization was due to hampered work. On the contrary, it was undertaken to ensure that the Senate toes the line on issues that may have a negative impact on the administration," he said.

Pangilinan further said the majority was divided only on certain issues, not on the legislative agenda – the hero's burial for strongman Ferdinand Marcos, the extrajudicial killings in the war on drugs, the investigation into the bribery scam in the Bureau of Immigration, and the testimony of retired Davao City cop Arturo "Arthur" Lascañas on the Davao Death Squad.

"Nevertheless, despite having a different stance on several life-and-death issues that impact our people's lives, we remained with the majority in the Senate because this precisely allowed us to work as our oath of office requires," he added. – Rappler.com


INQUIRER

LP holds caucus amid Senate shakeup, death penalty vote By: Marc Jayson Cayabyab - Reporter / @MJcayabyabINQINQUIRER.net / 01:38 PM February 28, 2017



The Liberal Party (LP) on Tuesday held a caucus a day after a Senate shakeup that stripped LP senators of their key committee chairperson posts.

The LP lawmakers both from the House of Representatives and the Senate attended the meeting amid moves in the Senate to toe the line between the administration allies and opposition.

READ: LP members ousted from Senate majority

The LP representatives joined the caucus as the lower House is expected to debate on individual amendments in the death penalty bill.

The LP is expected to come up with a decision on whether or not its members would remain in the majority coalition, despite the party position against the administration’s pet bill, the restoration of the death penalty, now under second reading in the lower house.

READ MORE...

The LP has been decimated, from as many as 115 representatives in the 16th Congress to only 32 in the current 17th Congress.

Of the LP representatives today, 27 are members of the majority, which means they voted for the winning Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez of the now ruling Partido Demokratikong Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan.

There are only five LP representatives who are part of the independent minority, which means they did not vote for the winning speaker.

READ: ‘Clear lines have to be drawn,’ says Pimentel on Senate shakeup

Former President Benigno Aquino III and Vice President Ma. Leonor “Leni” Robredo graced the caucus. Robredo is the party’s interim chairperson as the highest elected LP official.

Robredo has said that the LP is against the death penalty but will not impose sanctions on members voting for it.

READ: Robredo: LP won’t sanction members supporting death penalty

Among those present in Tuesday’s caucus were independent minority solons Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman, Ifugao Rep. Teddy Baguilat and Northern Samar Rep. Raul Daza.

Among the majority lawmakers present were Deputy Speaker Marikina Rep. Miro Quimbo, Bataan Rep. Geraldine Roman, Quezon city Representatives Bolet Banal and Kit Belmonte, Cebu city Rep. Raul Del Mar, among others.

Senators Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan, LP president, and Franklin Drilon were also present in the caucus.

The LP senators broke away from the majority coalition just days after its prominent member and administration critic Senator Leila De Lima was arrested on drug-related charges.

De Lima is accused of raising campaign funds from the Bilibid drug trade when she was justice secretary. The case against her was investigated by Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II.

De Lima is a critic of President Rodrigo Duterte’s drug war, going all the way back to when she was human rights chief, who investigated the vigilante killings in Davao City when Duterte was mayor. RAM/rga

READ: De Lima lawyers ask high court to free her

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RELATED FROM THE INQUIRER

Liberal Party ‘consolidating’ anew, says party leader By: Nikko Dizon - Reporter / @NikkoDizonINQPhilippine Daily Inquirer / 07:19 PM February 28, 2017


FILE- The Liberal Party is regrouping. JUNJIE MENDOZA/CEBU DAILY NEWS FILE PHOTO

Badly fragmented after the May national elections last year, the Liberal Party (LP) is “consolidating” anew in response to recent political developments, some of which its members think are reason enough to abandon Congress’ so-called supermajority.

“Definitely we are consolidating from the last elections. With the political situation, with the events happening… definitely lead us to strengthening our ranks,” LP secretary general, Quezon City Rep. Christopher “Kit” Belmonte, said at a press conference following a party caucus on Tuesday.

But the Liberals at the House of Representatives have deferred leaving the supermajority with the plenary voting on the death penalty bill expected to take place on Wednesday.

The three-hour caucus was attended by former President Benigno Aquino III, party chairman Vice President Leni Robredo, president Sen. Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan, and several senators and congressmen.

From being the powerful ruling party during Aquino’s term, the Liberals were decimated soon after President Duterte took over.

READ MORE...

The LP joined the supermajority in Congress led by Mr. Duterte’s Partido Demokratikong Pilipino (PDP)-Laban.

At the House of Representatives, only four LP members remained with the independent majority bloc.

LEILA's DETENTION

But with the detention of Sen. Leila de Lima, a harsh critic of President Duterte, the revelation of Davao Death Squad whistleblower Arturo Lascañas, and the sudden ouster of the LP senators from their committee chairmanships, among others, the LP finds itself having to make some firm decisions.

Party leaders, including Aquino and Robredo, have been repeatedly asked whether or not the Liberal Party is poised to become the opposition party given the current political climate.

Pangilinan said there was nothing wrong with being the opposition.

“If you are against some of the policies [of the administration] does that mean you already want to bring down the government? No,” Pangilinan said.

Pangilinan emphasized that rumors that the LP was behind a plot to destabilize the Duterte presidency were foolish.

“There is no perfect government… It is our role as elected officials to point out if there are shortcomings [in the administration]. We are in a democracy,” Pangilinan said.

He added that the Liberal Party would disagree with some programs as much as support those that its members deem as beneficial to the people.

“It does not mean that because we criticize, we no longer have the right to speak, and they file charges and detain [us],” Pangilinan said, referring to de Lima.


MANILA STANDARD

Senate rid of caucus woes after shakeup - Lacson posted March 02, 2017 at 12:01 am by Macon Ramos-Araneta
 


Senator Panfilo Lacson

SENATOR Panfilo Lacson said Wednesday the removal of Liberal Party senators from key positions in the Senate solves the problem of having members of the so-called super majority who almost always vote with the minority.

“We could not have a caucus as a majority in the Senate because we had colleagues with reservations about the legislative agenda, [and] we had colleagues of the so-called super majority who almost always vote with the minority,” Lacson said.

In one instance, he said, then Senate President Pro Tempore Franklin Drilon manifested that the issue of bribery and extortion be referred to the committee on civil service and government reorganization chaired by Senator Antonio Trillanes IV, a member of the minority.

“When we voted on it, they all voted that it be referred to the civil service committee instead of going along with the majority to have it referred to the Blue Ribbon committee,” Lacson said.

He said in many other instances, the Liberal Party senators would vote with the minority.

When issues were taken up on the floor, Trillanes would often consult the Liberal Party senators instead of the other members of the minority.

READ MORE...

“Why would he [Trillanes] consult certain members of the majority?” Lacson asked.

Lacson said he was part of a bloc in the Senate that hatched the plot to remove LP senators from the super majority during a meeting at the Makati residence of Senator Manny Pacquiao.

MACHO BLOC

The other members of the so-called macho bloc were Senate Majority Leader Vicente Sotto III and Senator Gregorio Honasan II. Senator Loren Legarda also joined them.

Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph Recto, who replaced Drilon, said if he were the Senate President at the time when detained Senator Leila de Lima was removed as chairman of the Senate committee on justice and human rights, he would have just asked Drilon to give up his post.

“If I had my way, if I were the Senate President at that time, and there were problems with the members of the majority, I would just tell Senator Drilon that I think we cannot work together’ you should just resign,” said Recto, who is still a member of the LP.

Recto, who used to be minority leader, said he had nothing to do with Drilon’s ouster and the removal of Senators Francis Pangilinan, Paolo Benigno Aquino IV and Risa Hontiveros as chairmen of their respective committees.

“I had nothing to do with that. Remember, I was with the minority, I was the minority leader. We cannot interfere with the majority,” Recto said.


NOW MAJORITY LEADER RECTO

Recto also dismissed rumors of a destabiliation plot against President Rodrigo Duterte.

“I think we should dial back the talk on conspiracy theories because there are none,” Recto said.

“Whoever is whispering on the ear of the President to beware of the Ides of March, or April, or November, of December, is only whispering lies,” he said.

Recto said policy disagreements should be seen as a sign that democracy is working, and therefore be welcomed.

“When we start interpreting differences in opinion as destabilization moves, the exchange of ideas needed to better public policy or service suffers,” he said.

“This is the kind of labeling that destroys civil discourse and poisons dialogue,” Recto added.

Pangilinan, national president of the LP, said they no longer questioned their ouster from their posts because recent events made it untenable for them to stay with the super majority in the Senate.

In a statement, Pangilinan noted that the writing was on the wall.

“It was just a matter of time and the time did come,” he said.

Because of this, Pangilinan said they did not resist the shakeup and left willingly and without debate.

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RELATED FROM PHILSTAR

Senate minority poised for serious debate on death penalty By Patricia Lourdes Viray (philstar.com) | Updated March 1, 2017 - 5:32pm 0 1 g


Sens. Risa Hontiveros, Bam Aquino and Francis Pangilinan are now part of the Senate minority after being ousted from their respective committee chairmanships. Senate PRIB/Released

MANILA, Philippines — The new members of the Senate minority are set to put up a serious debate over the proposal to revive the death penalty, Sen. Bam Aquino said on Wednesday.

Aquino, Sen. Franklin Drilon, Sen. Risa Hontiveros and Sen. Francis Pangilinan, who are all allied with the Liberal Party, have been ousted from their committee chairmanships and the majority.

The four senators are now part of the minority along with Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV.

"The minority will play an active role in the debates and we will make sure that counter perspectives are given a space in the Senate," Aquino said.

READ MORE...

Aquino was recently elected as deputy minority leader.

"Filipino lives are at stake here at karamihan pa sa mga ito'y puro mahihirap na Pilipino na kadalasa'y dehado pagdating sa hukuman at sa mata na batas," the senator said.

The Senate Committee on Justice has started hearings on the proposal to restore the death penalty but was suspended due to worries that the country might violate the Treaty of International Convention on Civil and Political Rights.

At the House of Representatives, the coverage of the proposed revival of the death penalty was limited to only cover drug-related crimes.

Unlike in the Senate, LP members at the House of Representatives supermajority will postpone their decision on whether to stay or leave until the voting on the death penalty bill.

Members of the House are expected to vote on the proposed reimposition of the death penalty on second reading on Wednesday.


INQUIRER

Robredo tells peers in opposition: Let’s be braver, louder in our dissent By: Leo Udtohan - Correspondent / @leoudtohanINQInquirer Visayas / 07:13 PM March 02, 2017


Vice President Leni Robredo visits Bohol on March 2, 2017 and gives paddle boats to fishermen from Panglao and Maribojok. (PHOTO BY LEO UDTOHAN / INQUIRER VISAYAS)

TAGBILARAN CITY — Vice President Leni Robredo told his colleagues in the political opposition to toughen up, be braver and be louder in their opposition to the Duterte Administration’s policies even if they have lost some of the perks of power.

Robredo, who was in Bohol to distribute paddle boats to fishermen o Thursday, said the reorganization in the Senate had just sent the message that there would be repercussions to senators who would not kowtow to the policies of the Duterte administration. The blunt message was toe the line or lose your committee chairmanship, she said.

Robredo led the distribution of paddle boats to fishermen from Maribojoc and Panglao towns.

READ MORE...

“Nakakabahala sa reorganization ang mensaheng binigay — hindi puwedeng kumontra. Kapag kumontra ka parating may reparations yun (The message of the reorganization is troubling — you cannot go against [the administration.] If you do, there will be repercussions),” she added.

Sen. Leila de Lima, a vocal critic of President Duterte, was the first to suffer the repercussion, said Robredo.

De Lima has been detained in Camp Crame since Feb. 24 after the Muntinlupa Regional Trial Court ordered her arrest on drug charges.

The government accused her of receiving money from drug lords who were allegedly running an illegal drug trade inside the New Bilibid Prison in Muntinlupa. She dismissed the charges as politically motivated.

'CHILLING EFFECT'

Sending De Lima to detention sent a “chilling effect” that those who would go against the administration would be penalized, said Robredo.

Senators belonging to the Liberal Party lost their committee chairmanships a few days after De Lima’s arrest.

Sen. Franklin Drilon was removed as Senate President Pro-Tempore while Senators Francis Pangilinan, Bam Aquino and Risa Hontiveros lost their chairmanships in the committees of agriculture, education and health respectively.

Despite the reorganization, Robredo said the four senators would continue to speak and stand for what is right.

“Kailangan lakasan pa rin namin ang aming mga loob. Kung sa palagay namin hindi kami sang-ayon sa polisya ng gobyierno, lalakasan ang pagpahayag ng pagkontra , dahil tingin namin isang mahalagang elemento ito ng isang demokrasya (We should be braver. If we think we don’t agree with the government policy, we make our opposition louder because this is an important element of democracy),” she said.

Robredo also met civil society organizations, cooperative leaders and private sector partners in Bohol.

She also distributed paddle boats – 25 to fishermen in Maribojoc and 10 to fishermen in Panglao.

Maribojoc town is the bailiwick of President Duterte’s ally, Secretary Leoncio Evasco Jr. who was the town’s mayor.

Maribojoc Mayor Gomersindo Arocha said there was no politics in Robredo’s visit.

“We are just so happy with what she has done to our town,” said Arocha. SFM

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RELATED FROM THE INQUIRER

LP to regroup, may bolt House majority By: DJ Yap, Nikko Dizon - @inquirerdotnetPhilippine Daily Inquirer / 05:15 AM March 02, 2017


Minority Leader Danilo Suarez said Wednesday Liberals in the House of Representatives could not simply constitute the new minority in the chamber, assuming they leave the supermajority. INQUIRER FILE

Badly fragmented after the May national elections last year, the Liberal Party (LP) is regrouping in response to recent political developments, some of which party members think are reason enough to abandon Congress’ so-called supermajority.

“Definitely we are consolidating from the last elections. With the political situation, with the events happening … definitely lead us to strengthening our ranks,” LP secretary general and Quezon City Rep. Christopher “Kit” Belmonte told a press conference following a party caucus on Tuesday.

But the Liberals at the House of Representatives have deferred leaving the supermajority with the plenary voting on the death penalty bill expected to take place Wednesday.

READ MORE...

The Liberal’s chair emeritus, former President Benigno Aquino led the three-hour caucus which was attended by party chair Vice President Leni Robredo, party president Sen. Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan and several senators and congressmen.

The Liberals were decimated soon after President Rodrigo Duterte took over, with the LP joining the supermajority in Congress led by Mr. Duterte’s Partido Demokratikong Pilipino (PDP)-Laban. Only five LP members remained with the independent majority bloc in the House.

But with the detention of the President’s harshest critic, Sen. Leila de Lima, the revelation of Davao Death Squad whistleblower Arturo Lascañas, and the sudden ouster of the LP senators from their committee chairmanships, the LP finds itself having to make some firm decisions.

New minority bloc?

Minority Leader Danilo Suarez said Wednesday Liberals in the House of Representatives could not simply constitute the new minority in the chamber, assuming they leave the supermajority.

“If they have enough numbers, can they be the minority? No, they have to change the Speaker first,” Suarez said, responding to queries on the status of Liberal members in the House following the Senate shakeup.

“The House has rules. Before you can move from one posture to another, you need the approval of the minority and the majority. Right now, they are in the supermajority,” said Suarez, a representative of Quezon.

Suarez said none of the Liberals in the House had so far made an application to join the minority.

The LP, the erstwhile ruling party, has 27 members in the House supermajority, while five other Liberals led by Representatives Edcel Lagman of Albay and Teddy Baguilat of Ifugao have formed an independent opposition group.

Lagman and Baguilat have been pressing their Liberal colleagues to bolt the majority, possibly leading to a sizable minority bloc. There are 18 in the official minority bloc led by Suarez, excluding the “Magnificent 7” group of Lagman and Baguilat.

But Majority Leader Rodolfo Fariñas, a key ally of President Duterte, earlier hinted that the LP House members would stay in the majority coalition, noting that the two Houses of Congress had different leaderships and political divisions.

Kabayan Rep. Harry Roque, a minority congressman, predicted that the LP lawmakers would opt to stay in the supermajority unless forcibly kicked out by the House leadership, in the same way the LP senators had intended to remain in the supermajority until they were booted out.

Party leaders, including Aquino and Robredo, have been repeatedly asked whether the Liberal Party was poised to become the opposition party.

“If you are against some of the policies [of the administration] does that mean you already want to bring down the government? No,” Pangilinan said, even as he shot down rumors that the party was behind a plot to destabilize the Duterte presidency.

“There is no perfect government… It is our role as elected officials to point out if there are shortcomings [in the administration]. We are in a democracy,” he said.

He added that the Liberal Party would disagree with some programs as much as support those its members deem as beneficial to the people.

“It does not meant that because we criticize, we no longer have the right to speak, and they file charges and detain [us],” Pangilinan said, referring to de Lima.

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

RELATED FROM THE INQUIRER
Robredo declares war on online trolls peddling fake news and lies By: DJ Yap, Izobelle T. Pulgo - @inquirerdotnetPhilippine Daily Inquirer / 02:13 AM March 04, 2017


leni robredo Photo by OVP

In an online world populated by social media trolls peddling fake news, Vice President Leni Robredo wants to fight back by mobilizing an “army of truth seekers.”

“This is the perfect time to start a campaign against lies and alternative facts,” she told a forum on social media organized by the Coalition for Better Education at the Cebu Eastern College.

“Let’s gather together an army of truth seekers, because though there are many trolls, I think there are more people who want the truth,” Robredo said in a mix of English and Filipino.

In her speech, a transcript of which was sent to Manila reporters, the former Camarines Sur representative lamented the proliferation of people spreading lies and misinformation on Facebook, Twitter and alternative news blogs.

She cited her own experiences battling hoaxes and unfounded rumors.

Some of these have included speculations of a romantic liaison with a congressman or her being pregnant, as well as her alleged links to groups plotting President Duterte’s downfall, all of which her office has sought to debunk.

“At first, we tried to take the high road. We said that ‘since it’s not true, no one will pay attention to it.’ So we tried to ignore the lies going around about myself or my office,” Robredo said.

“But in the six months since then, while we were taking the high road, while we were not responding to the lies, it began to seem like the lies were becoming truth. Because people were only reading the lies and couldn’t see the truth,” she said.

“So we realized that every time lies, fake news, or alternative facts are shared, they assume the appearance of truth,” she said.

“Shall we accept this world? That is what we must answer today… Shall we surrender the truth to those who want to corrupt it? Of course, my answer is we must not,” she said.

“The success of our democracy—and the state of our rights and freedoms—will depend on how we protect the truth,” Robredo said.

She said the people might feel powerless in the face of an onslaught of falsities and lies on social media. “But we must challenge ourselves to uphold the truth and its essential place in public discourse. We must be unafraid to debunk falsehoods, to counter fallacies, and to expose frauds who deceive our people so brazenly,” she said.

She told reporters on Friday she would continue to voice out her stand on issues even if these ran counter to the Duterte administration.

Robredo said she believed that the “Naga Leaks” that are supposed to be an explosive expose against her by the website called “We are Collective” was only meant to silence her.

“On our part, we are ready. We have nothing to hide. We have not sinned against the country. We will continue to express our beliefs, with all our hearts and with courage no matter what they will do to stop us,” she said in Filipino.

On Saturday, Robredo is scheduled to hold a dialogue with fisherfolk in San Remegio town, Cebu, and grace the relaunching of her late husband’s book, “Jesse Robredo: The Quest for Good Governance,” at Ayala Center Cebu.

Robredo said her hopes are high that the death penalty bill would still be overturned by the Senate.

She said the reimposition of the death penalty is not an assurance that crime incidence would go down as there is no emperical data that it is a deterrence to crime.

Robredo also pointed out that the country had an “imperfect” criminal justice system which raises the possibility that the innocent may be wrongly judged as guilty.

It is also antipoor because those on death row are indigents who could not afford a good lawyer, she said.

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RELATED FROM THE SUMMIT EXPRESS BLOG

VP Robredo breaks silence on “Naga Leaks” Saturday, March 04, 2017 Posted by Admin 1581 29 Google +0 1610


VP Robredo breaks silence on “Naga Leaks” PHOTO CREDIT: We Are Collective

MANILA, Philippines - A supposed expose against Vice President Leni Robredo and her late husband and former DILG chief Jesse Robredo has gone viral on social media after the website “We Are Collective” shared a link of the article titled “Deception: The Shocking Truth Behind Leni and Jesse Robredo Part 1.”

In the controversial article, the Robredo’s are accused of protecting jueteng lords and coddling drug lords allowing the proliferation of illegal activities in their own turf, Naga City.

According to We Are Collective, the stories presented in the article were sourced from several trusted local sources. The group claimed that they did necessary research, undertook fact-checking and mined online sources to verify facts presented in the article.

After the article went viral, Robredo told reporters on Friday, March 3 that “Naga Leaks” was only meant to silence her.

“Yung paglabas ng kung anong leaks yan, ito ay attempt para i-silence tayo,” Robredo said.

“Ilang beses na itong ginawa dati. Hindi nagtagumpay. At kahit anong gawin, hindi ito magpapatahimik sa atin,” she added.

The former Camarines Sur solon stressed that she will continue to voice out her stand on issues even if it will counter the policies of the Duterte administration.

Earlier, Robredo criticized some policies and decisions made by President Rodrigo Duterte such as the spate of drug-related killings, the Marcos burial as well as the President’s preference for the reimposition of death penalty.



READ SUMMARY OF THE CONTROVERSIAL 'NAGA LEAKS' HERE


ALSO READ: 'WE ARE COLLECTIVE" CHALLENGES LENI ROBREDO THE EXPOSE OF NAGA LEAKS

Davao Leaks trends online

Shortly after the anti-Robredo expose was published online, the topic #DavaoLeaks trended on Twitter with many netizens posting allegations against the President.

Several netizens accused Duterte of extrajudicial killings, corruption, extortion and several illegal acts in his hometown Davao City.


View image on TwitterView image on TwitterView image on TwitterView image on Twitter
Follow #DavaoLeaks @DavaoLeaks You want the truth? Here is the truth! #DavaoLeaks 3:23 AM - 3 Mar 2017
226 226 Retweets 283 283 likes


View image on Twitter Follow Oliver Ramirez @Lawyer_Punk Extortion a normal practice in Davao abetted by Duterte himself. #DavaoLeaks
10:13 PM - 2 Mar 2017 115 115 Retweets 126 126 likes


View image on Twitter Follow thincrust88 @thincrust88 #DavaoLeaks Paolo Duterte a.k.a. Polong investigated for the smuggling of SUVs and ukay-ukay.
11:36 PM - 2 Mar 2017 69 69 Retweets 69 69 likes

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