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EDITORIALS & OPINIONS OF THE WEEK:
(Mini Reads followed by Full news commentary)

FROM THE TRIBUNE

EDITORIAL: 'DAGDAG BAWAS' HAS STARTED


MARCH 21 -The government again has been manipulating its figures, obviously with an eye on the May elections after the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) released its latest report on poverty statistics showing, among others, 26.3 percent of Filipinos living below the poverty threshold. According to the PSA, the figure was an improvement from 27.9 percent in 2012, the last time that a government survey on the poverty figure was made. It was another case of manipulation, similar to the election dagdag bawas scheme, since the numbers quoted as the poverty level was indicated at 25.2 percent in 2012 which means that the number of poor Filipinos increased, not decreased, in the latest survey. After Noynoy blew his top sometime in 2012 over the poverty statistics, the PSA changed the computation of the poverty figures in 2013 when for the first time, income data from the Annual Poverty Indicators Survey were used from reports based on the Family Income and Expenditure Survey (FIES) that is conducted triennially. In 2012, the last year FIES was done, the poverty incidence was 25.2 percent. Instead of improving, poverty incidence has worsened to 26.3 percent in 2015, University of the Philippines School of Economics (UPSE) professor Benjamin Diokno said. The government computed the poverty threshold at P9,140 a month for a family of five to answer their basic needs aside from food. The food threshold or the income per family needed in a month to eat three times a day was calculated at P6,365 which were both unrealistic figures. READ MORE...

ALSO: Capitulation a family tradition
[Up to the time that the country gave up, under EDCA, part of its territory for use of American troops, Noynoy has not granted China the chance for an official bilateral talk over the dispute. It was always third party arbitration along with the strengthened presence of the US military in the country that was the chosen path of Noynoy.]


MARCH 23 -The recent joint announcement of the United States and the Philippines on the use of five local military bases was the culmination of the US government efforts to re-establish a foothold on the country and in effect, the whole Pacific stage by raising the Chinese bogey. The new agreement effectively cleared the way for permanent American military presence across five bases in the guise of rotational deployments. The bases included Antonio Bautista Air Base; located near Puerto Princesa City, which is strategically very close to the disputed Spratly Islands in the South China Sea; Basa Air Base which was originally constructed by the US Army Air Corps before the Second World War; Fort Magsaysay, which is the largest military installation in the Philippines, and is one of the primary training areas of the Philippine Army; Lumbia Air Base in Mindanao which is connected to a civilian airport. Local media reports say construction of a new US facility will begin soon; Mactan-Benito Ebuen Air Base on Mactan Island of the coast of Cebu which was originally built by the US Air Force before the American pullout in the early 1990s. The US government said it will set up “permanent logistics facilities to support rotational deployments” which may likely mean heavy investments on construction projects to enhance capacity at those five bases. The arrangement will mean the presence of US military assets and personnel on the ground for long periods which is not so different from the time prior to the 1991 Senate rejection of the US military bases agreement. Noynoy was the perfect marionette in the Asian pivot program of the US which used largely the alibi that China has grown more aggressive in asserting territorial claims and conducting military-style operations in South China Sea. The ceding of the five bases to the US forces under the provisions of the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA) came two years after President Obama visited the Philippines in 2014 and signed the agreement. The Supreme Court had, last January, upheld EDCA as an executive agreement denying a Senate bid to have it subjected to legislative approval as a treaty. A resolution of Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago insisted that EDCA is a treaty that needed Senate concurrence. Only Aquino’s factotum Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV voted against the Santiago resolution. READ MORE...


ALSO: By Dinah Ventura - Who’s the one?

[THE DEBATE: Had I the stomach for it, I would have sat through the entire charade, but I was honestly put off by the way each candidate tried to topple the other. The potshots were distasteful.]


MARCH 23 -For the second presidential debates held at the University of the Philippines Cebu campus, the Commission on Elections (Comelec) initially promised a “better debate” than the first one held in February in Cagayan de Oro City. An extension of time and less volume of commercials were seen as main factors that would bring an improvement into the much-awaited verbal jousts. But many viewers of the March 20 live feed were deeply disappointed — first by the delay in telecast and then by the quality of arguments that transpired. The delay was apparently caused by a disagreement on the use of notes, which had transpired between presidential aspirant Vice President Jejomar Binay and debate organizers as well as other candidates. And this is why, by the time it started, disgruntled participants and viewers alike had formed some bile, ready to spew. The VP received a blast of this throughout the show, in my view. First, it was Sen. Grace Poe who hardly let him get a word in, which was a bit of an eye-opener about the widely perceived as calm and gracious Poe. The senator was clearly irked about being questioned once more about her citizenship — translated into patriotism or love for country. She fired off and would not let Binay butt in as she argued her point, comparing her situation with those of overseas Filipino workers. One could see that she had had enough of the issue, yet for some, it was off-putting the way she later rather snidely remarked, “Ah, sinabi ko po ba na kayo yon?” (after Binay reacted to her words that appeared to accuse him of stealing, and when it was obvious to all that this was a reference). One thing was sure, the gloves were off for this debate, claws on the ready. READ MORE...

ALSO: By Nines Olivares - Guilty of black prop


MARCH 23 -It has been proved, time and again, that the allegations leveled against Vice President Jejomar “Jojo” Binay and his family members are nothing but black propaganda emanating from Malacañang, the Liberal Party (LP) and even the rabid supporters of Mar Roxas, who have used their power and influence in the Ombudsman’s office, the Anti-Money Laundering Council, (AMLC) and other government agencies, such as the Commission on Audit. This time around, another piece of documentary evidence has been unearthed by the Manila Times. It was reported that the black ops against VP Binay “was hatched in May 2010 by former associates of the once powerful The Firm,” as the documents showed. It was former Ombudsman Simeon Marcelo who had secured Binay’s case records from the Office of the Ombudsman days after the May 2010 elections, the report stated. This is shown in two sworn and signed affidavits executed by former Special Prosecutor Wendell Barreras-Sulit who stated that “sometime after” the May 10, 2010 elections, she received a call from Fe Campued, Marcelo’s confidential staff. “Ms. Fe told me that Ombudsman Marcelo would like to talk to me after which Ombudsman Marcelo was already on the line… He further requested some documents regarding the case of a high-ranking official which was already dismissed by the Sandiganbayan. For that matter I assured him he can secure these documents,” Sulit said in her July 2, 2010 affidavit. “On August 3 that same year, Sulit again issued another affidavit, this time naming the Vice President as the “high-ranking official” she was referring to in her earlier affidavit. “I can now admit that the high-ranking official I am referring to in my affidavit is former Makati (City) Mayor and now Vice President Jejomar Binay. It was former Ombudsman Marcelo who asked for the documents,” her affidavit stated. Sulit gave the documents to Marcelo which were picked up on March 14, 2013. Even a dismissed case against the Binays was resuscitated by Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales, who continues to claim that she is not a puppet of Noynoy, Malacañang and the LP. READ MORE...

ALSO: EDITORIAL - Plot thickens


MARCH 19 -A name that keeps surfacing in the current $81-million online robbery of the Bangladesh central bank is Wang Bo, a Chinese underworld character who was earlier suspected of providing the bribe money in the Congress lobby for the approval of the Bangsamoro Basic Law. His having figured in what appears to be an administration-sanctioned operation in Noynoy’s desperation to have the BBL approved in the aftermath of the bloody Mamasapano incident, it is not improbable that his services were again employed in another desperate job during the elections in May. Of course, the urgent need of Noynoy now is to have a successor who will not do what he did to his predecessor former President Gloria Arroyo. Arroyo has been under detention for almost the entire term of Noynoy despite the absence of any prosecution from the various charges leveled by the administration of Noynoy against her. Claro Certeza, one of the counsels of Vice President Jejomar Binay hinted at a possible cover-up of “a bigger scandal” in highlighting both the $81-million money laundering case and the rehashed but unrelated Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC) reports on Binay in a pro-administration newspaper. Certeza described the subject of the cover-up as being meant to “hide a scandal so big that it affects those in the current administration and its not so secret candidate.” Among those that the lawyer cited as a hint on the bigger scandal was the implication of Wang Bo in the hacking of the apparently poorly-secured Bangladesh central bank system that led to the heist and the recurring involvement of a pro-administration law firm in most things, involving anti-money laundering efforts under the watch of Noynoy, including the defense of the AMLC head in a P200-million libel case that the camp of Binay filed. READ MORE...


READ FULL MEDIA REPORTS HERE:

EDITORIAL: Dagdag bawas has started

MANILA, MARCH 28, 2016 (TRIBUNE) Written by Tribune Editorial Monday, 21 March 2016 00:00 - The government again has been manipulating its figures, obviously with an eye on the May elections after the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) released its latest report on poverty statistics showing, among others, 26.3 percent of Filipinos living below the poverty threshold.

According to the PSA, the figure was an improvement from 27.9 percent in 2012, the last time that a government survey on the poverty figure was made.

It was another case of manipulation, similar to the election dagdag bawas scheme, since the numbers quoted as the poverty level was indicated at 25.2 percent in 2012 which means that the number of poor Filipinos increased, not decreased, in the latest survey.

After Noynoy blew his top sometime in 2012 over the poverty statistics, the PSA changed the computation of the poverty figures in 2013 when for the first time, income data from the Annual Poverty Indicators Survey were used from reports based on the Family Income and Expenditure Survey (FIES) that is conducted triennially.

In 2012, the last year FIES was done, the poverty incidence was 25.2 percent. Instead of improving, poverty incidence has worsened to 26.3 percent in 2015, University of the Philippines School of Economics (UPSE) professor Benjamin Diokno said.

The government computed the poverty threshold at P9,140 a month for a family of five to answer their basic needs aside from food. The food threshold or the income per family needed in a month to eat three times a day was calculated at P6,365 which were both unrealistic figures.

READ MORE...

Based on the numbers, the family can live with P305 a day to provide schooling, transport fares, utilities, food and clothing while P212 would be enough for a family of five to have decent food, or P70 per meal for five persons to eat three times a day.

With the lowest-priced rice in the market at P35 to P38 per kilo, the typical poor Filipino family would have to be content with a kilo of rice and viand of an equal amount maybe one or two cans of sardines that would be shared for one day that the government now considers as a decent meal for a human being.

The PSA said the food threshold it computed was “the minimum income required to meet basic food needs and satisfy the nutritional requirements set by the Food and Nutrition Research Institute to ensure that one remains economically and socially productive.”

Poverty threshold covered basic non-food needs such as clothing, housing, transportation, health and education expenses, the PSA said.

The PSA figures show the subsistence incidence among Filipinos, or the proportion of Filipinos whose incomes fall below the food threshold, was estimated at 12.1 percent in the first semester of 2015 from 13.4 percent in 2012.

Even with the very conservative government figures, the PSA said in the first semester of 2015, on the average, incomes of poor families were short by 29 percent of the poverty threshold.

This means that on the average, an additional monthly income of P2,649 is needed by a poor family with five members to move out of poverty.

This prompted the question of UPSE professor Benjamin Diokno “What happened to the P229.8 billion spent by the Aquino administration for the Conditional Cash Transfer Program (otherwise known as the 4Ps) from 2011 to 2015?”

The Palace hailed the poverty figures as an achievement for the administration of Noynoy.

Presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda said the poverty level eased and if “seen within the context of a momentum that began in 2010, these developments stand as further testaments to the positive impact of good governance. Under Daang Matuwid, our people have gone from success to success, continuously reaping gains in various indicators of quality of life.”

He credited the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) for helping “millions of the country’s chronic poor cross over the poverty threshold.”

Not so, said Diokno, as he rebutted Lacierda by saying nothing has changed in the last 10 years.

The government under the Millennium Development Goals (MDG) has an international commitment to halve poverty incidence by last year to about 17 percent of the population.

The country pledged to halve poverty incidence by 2015 — from 34.4 percent in 1991 to 17.2 percent in 2015.

The administration of Noynoy failed to achieve this goal despite the claims of a robust economy most countries globally have met the MDG goal to halve poverty in 2010, five years ahead of schedule.

Diokno said the country is stuck at a high rate of poverty, while its Asean-6 neighbors — Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam — have met the lofty goal of halving poverty many years ago.


Capitulation a family tradition Written by Tribune Editorial Wednesday, 23 March 2016 00:00



The recent joint announcement of the United States and the Philippines on the use of five local military bases was the culmination of the US government efforts to re-establish a foothold on the country and in effect, the whole Pacific stage by raising the Chinese bogey.

The new agreement effectively cleared the way for permanent American military presence across five bases in the guise of rotational deployments.

The bases included Antonio Bautista Air Base; located near Puerto Princesa City, which is strategically very close to the disputed Spratly Islands in the South China Sea; Basa Air Base which was originally constructed by the US Army Air Corps before the Second World War; Fort Magsaysay, which is the largest military installation in the Philippines, and is one of the primary training areas of the Philippine Army; Lumbia Air Base in Mindanao which is connected to a civilian airport. Local media reports say construction of a new US facility will begin soon; Mactan-Benito Ebuen Air Base on Mactan Island of the coast of Cebu which was originally built by the US Air Force before the American pullout in the early 1990s.

The US government said it will set up “permanent logistics facilities to support rotational deployments” which may likely mean heavy investments on construction projects to enhance capacity at those five bases.

The arrangement will mean the presence of US military assets and personnel on the ground for long periods which is not so different from the time prior to the 1991 Senate rejection of the US military bases agreement.

Noynoy was the perfect marionette in the Asian pivot program of the US which used largely the alibi that China has grown more aggressive in asserting territorial claims and conducting military-style operations in South China Sea.

The ceding of the five bases to the US forces under the provisions of the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA) came two years after President Obama visited the Philippines in 2014 and signed the agreement.

The Supreme Court had, last January, upheld EDCA as an executive agreement denying a Senate bid to have it subjected to legislative approval as a treaty.

A resolution of Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago insisted that EDCA is a treaty that needed Senate concurrence.
Only Aquino’s factotum Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV voted against the Santiago resolution.

READ MORE...|

The country has filed an arbitration proceeding with a United Nations body on the territory dispute with China which appears to have been largely orchestrated by the US with great help from Noynoy to lay the groundwork for the policy of rebalancing to the Asia Pacific.

The territorial conflict has been dormant for so long and flared up only after Noynoy stoked it by running after some Chinese fishermen in the disputed territories with a newly acquired Hamilton-type cutter from the United States which became part of Philippine Navy.

The Navy battleship was an overkill in rounding up supposed poachers in the disputed seas but the move became a catalyst for China’s efforts to bolster its territorial claims.

China was incensed and agitated by the Philippines use of a Navy ship to round up the supposed poachers in the disputed territory.

It was clear then that Noynoy was already following an American script in agitating China.

Up to the time that the country gave up, under EDCA, part of its territory for use of American troops, Noynoy has not granted China the chance for an official bilateral talk over the dispute.

It was always third party arbitration along with the strengthened presence of the US military in the country that was the chosen path of Noynoy.

In 1991, the Senate succeeded in booting out the US bases despite the vigorous opposition of the late former President Cory Aquino who even led a March to the Senate in support of the extension of the US bases agreement.

It is not a coincidence that the return of the American bases happened under Cory’s son.


Who’s the one? Written by Dinah S. Ventura Wednesday, 23 March 2016 00:00



For the second presidential debates held at the University of the Philippines Cebu campus, the Commission on Elections (Comelec) initially promised a “better debate” than the first one held in February in Cagayan de Oro City. An extension of time and less volume of commercials were seen as main factors that would bring an improvement into the much-awaited verbal jousts.

But many viewers of the March 20 live feed were deeply disappointed — first by the delay in telecast and then by the quality of arguments that transpired.

The delay was apparently caused by a disagreement on the use of notes, which had transpired between presidential aspirant Vice President Jejomar Binay and debate organizers as well as other candidates. And this is why, by the time it started, disgruntled participants and viewers alike had formed some bile, ready to spew.

The VP received a blast of this throughout the show, in my view.

First, it was Sen. Grace Poe who hardly let him get a word in, which was a bit of an eye-opener about the widely perceived as calm and gracious Poe. The senator was clearly irked about being questioned once more about her citizenship — translated into patriotism or love for country. She fired off and would not let Binay butt in as she argued her point, comparing her situation with those of overseas Filipino workers. One could see that she had had enough of the issue, yet for some, it was off-putting the way she later rather snidely remarked, “Ah, sinabi ko po ba na kayo yon?” (after Binay reacted to her words that appeared to accuse him of stealing, and when it was obvious to all that this was a reference).
One thing was sure, the gloves were off for this debate, claws on the ready.

READ MORE...

Then, it was former Cabinet Secretary Mar Roxas, who managed to inject the words to the same effect against Binay, whose major campaign issue is his pending corruption cases. Binay just kept with the argument that it is up to the courts to decide, and that he has not been deemed guilty of the allegations. Then he fired back with accusations of his own, this time dwelling on the Liberal Party standard bearer’s capability. Roxas kept his cool mostly, and answered questions without displaying much emotion. Even when Binay told him off about his “paralysis by analysis,” he did not snipe back.

Davao Mayor Rodrigo Duterte was not one to add to the nitpicking, but entertained viewers with his comments and one-liners. He also managed to deliver a veiled insult to Binay in the Q&A portion when the VP did not ask him anything. His backhanded compliment wasn’t lost on the viewers, who had been flooding social media with their reactions. Millions actively shared their opinions on Twitter and Facebook, which was an interesting way to get a glimpse into public sentiment.

Many remarked on Poe’s feistiness, and some called her pikon. Binay was not as good a speaker as others (which is probably why he needed his notes), but held his own. Roxas and Duterte were, as well true to form, and I would say that though there were moments that had me cringing — not just at what they were saying, but how they were saying it — the debate was a way to get to know the candidates even more.

Had I the stomach for it, I would have sat through the entire charade, but I was honestly put off by the way each candidate tried to topple the other. The potshots were distasteful. It felt like watching bullies bullying each other — nothing edifying about it except about their character, their emotional quotients, their argument style, their management of stress and how they react when put on the spot.

They may know exactly how to answer questions, they may have prepared to the last comma and period, but in the end, audiences will base their choices on how they were made to feel.

Combined with more research into each of the candidates’ private and public lives, maybe we can all make a better choice this time around for this period in our history.


Guilty of black prop Written by Ninez Cacho-Olivares Wednesday, 23 March 2016 00:00


It has been proved, time and again, that the allegations leveled against Vice President Jejomar “Jojo” Binay and his family members are nothing but black propaganda emanating from Malacañang, the Liberal Party (LP) and even the rabid supporters of Mar Roxas, who have used their power and influence in the Ombudsman’s office, the Anti-Money Laundering Council, (AMLC) and other government agencies, such as the Commission on Audit.

This time around, another piece of documentary evidence has been unearthed by the Manila Times. It was reported that the black ops against VP Binay “was hatched in May 2010 by former associates of the once powerful The Firm,” as the documents showed.

It was former Ombudsman Simeon Marcelo who had secured Binay’s case records from the Office of the Ombudsman days after the May 2010 elections, the report stated.

This is shown in two sworn and signed affidavits executed by former Special Prosecutor Wendell Barreras-Sulit who stated that “sometime after” the May 10, 2010 elections, she received a call from Fe Campued, Marcelo’s confidential staff.

“Ms. Fe told me that Ombudsman Marcelo would like to talk to me after which Ombudsman Marcelo was already on the line…

He further requested some documents regarding the case of a high-ranking official which was already dismissed by the Sandiganbayan. For that matter I assured him he can secure these documents,” Sulit said in her July 2, 2010 affidavit.

“On August 3 that same year, Sulit again issued another affidavit, this time naming the Vice President as the “high-ranking official” she was referring to in her earlier affidavit.

“I can now admit that the high-ranking official I am referring to in my affidavit is former Makati (City) Mayor and now Vice President Jejomar Binay. It was former Ombudsman Marcelo who asked for the documents,” her affidavit stated.

Sulit gave the documents to Marcelo which were picked up on March 14, 2013.

Even a dismissed case against the Binays was resuscitated by Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales, who continues to claim that she is not a puppet of Noynoy, Malacañang and the LP.

READ MORE,,,

This black prop has been proved by the court in the leakage of the AMLC and the Ombudsman to the media naming Binay and his alleged dummies having some 242 bank accounts with some P11 billion in them.

But it has been proved through court records as far back as Jan. 6, 2016, that AMLC asked the court to drop its charges against Binay and his alleged dummies, finding only one account belonging to Binay amounting to P1.7 million.

This only proves that the AMLC report leakage rehashed published in the Inquirer obviously in time for the second edition of the presidential debate was pure black propaganda, as the Palace and the LP must have known that the AMLC, through the Office of the Solicitor General, sought the dropping of the case against Binay and his alleged dummies.

Yet the same old AMLC report was still rehashed by Inquirer, despite the AMLC’s dropping of the case before the Manila Regional Trial Court.

Both Grace Poe and Mar Roxas certainly knew that the case has been dropped, yet they continued to bash VP Binay during the debate and Poe and Roxas certainly engaged in pure black prop against Binay, which already shows their dark and ugly side that they have been keeping hidden from the public for so long.

It was Poe and Roxas who had refused to allow Binay to show his documents, to prove the lies they have been mouthing.

Why, if they wanted truth and transparency, did they refuse to allow Binay to defend himself against the black propaganda they have been propagating?

Poe and Roxas, and even Rody Duterte, all claimed they are for transparency, yet they rejected Binay’s proposal for them to sign a waiver of all their bank accounts, the relatives’ bank accounts, their Income Tax Returns, their SOCEs and more, which Binay was more than willing to do, and which he did, during a press conference a day after the debate.

Yet the three claim they espouse full transparency?

Poe and Mar kept pounding on Binay on the corruption issue, yet refused to have him show his documents to prove his innocence. He hasn’t lied from the start, the Roxas and Poe camp have resorted to black propaganda and lied blatantly.

Poe who claims she does not lie, was caught lying blatantly during the debate as she claimed that she never signed the coco levy bill, yet documents prove that she did. She claims she does not have two US Social Security Numbers, even when records show that she did. What’s her reason? Yet another “honest mistake?” She is such a fake.

Mar also resorted to lies and misled the TV audience on the percentage of projects finished by the Department of the Interior and Local Government after the “Yolanda” calamity.

They resort to lies, even as they come up with the vilest black propaganda against Binay on corruption who has the records to prove his innocence, which they don’t want shown.


EDITORIAL: Plot thickens Written by Tribune Editorial Saturday, 19 March 2016 00:00



A name that keeps surfacing in the current $81-million online robbery of the Bangladesh central bank is Wang Bo, a Chinese underworld character who was earlier suspected of providing the bribe money in the Congress lobby for the approval of the Bangsamoro Basic Law.

His having figured in what appears to be an administration-sanctioned operation in Noynoy’s desperation to have the BBL approved in the aftermath of the bloody Mamasapano incident, it is not improbable that his services were again employed in another desperate job during the elections in May.

Of course, the urgent need of Noynoy now is to have a successor who will not do what he did to his predecessor former President Gloria Arroyo.

Arroyo has been under detention for almost the entire term of Noynoy despite the absence of any prosecution from the various charges leveled by the administration of Noynoy against her.

Claro Certeza, one of the counsels of Vice President Jejomar Binay hinted at a possible cover-up of “a bigger scandal” in highlighting both the $81-million money laundering case and the rehashed but unrelated Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC) reports on Binay in a pro-administration newspaper.

Certeza described the subject of the cover-up as being meant to “hide a scandal so big that it affects those in the current administration and its not so secret candidate.”

Among those that the lawyer cited as a hint on the bigger scandal was the implication of Wang Bo in the hacking of the apparently poorly-secured Bangladesh central bank system that led to the heist and the recurring involvement of a pro-administration law firm in most things, involving anti-money laundering efforts under the watch of Noynoy, including the defense of the AMLC head in a P200-million libel case that the camp of Binay filed.

READ MORE...

Getting back to Wang, he is a Chinese immigrant who was being pointed at, to have coughed up the huge bribe money used as Palace leverage for the approval of the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) and the supposed campaign money for Justice Secretary Leila de Lima in her Senate bid.

Two deputy commissioners with links to the Liberal Party (LP) were alleged to be the go between for Wang Bo who were reported earlier as associate commissioners Gilberto Repizo and Abdullah Mangotara.

Mangotara was a former Lanao del Norte congressman under the Liberal Party from 1995 to 2001 while Repizo was the personal lawyer of Oriental Mindoro Gov. Alfonso Umali, brother of LP stalwart Oriental Mindoro Rep. Reynaldo Umali.

A Manila Standard report that alleged P440 million was allocated to pay off the 292 lawmakers in the lower chamber — or P1.5 million promised to each lawmaker — for their vote for the BBL, all coming from Wang Bo prompted congressional probes.

The 31-year-old Wang, according to Chinese law enforcement documents sent to the Department of Justice, was deemed a fugitive in May 2014 and declared wanted for arrest by the People’s Procuratorate of Juisan Nongken in July 2014 for operating an illegal business in the Philippines.

Juisan Nongken Public Security Bureau director Shi Gui Qiu described Wang as “the key player of the ‘skybet’ networking gambling company.”

Wang supposedly used China-issued bank cards to fund an illegal casino operation in Manila. His relatives also assisted him in getting bank cards for skybet.

From the Philippines, Wang would instruct his partners and relatives to “transfer and launder” money he needed from China.

Certeza said the issues being raised against Binay by associating these with the $81 million heist which is becoming an international embarrassment for the administration of Noynoy, is obviously a smokescreen.

He said the article of the Inquirer resurrecting issues based allegedly on a purported AMLC report, which may have been issued more than five months ago and the subject of (a court) gag order, is a desperate attempt to mislead the public.

It appears that Binay’s camp has a full appreciation of the “bigger scandal” and it is just building up its case as lawyers would put it.


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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