PARTY LEADER: MAR ROXAS STILL LP PRESIDENTIAL BET IN 2016

Local Government Secretary Manuel “Mar” Roxas is still the Liberal Party’s choice to be its standard-bearer in 2016, a ranking party official said on Tuesday. “Sa LP e, alam n’yo naman Kung sino ang kasagutan ko d’yan e. Kung sino ang magdadalala ng bandera ng LP e Secretary Roxas po ‘yun at nagme-meeting ho kami para itulak at isulong itong pananaw ng aming partido,” Transportation Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya told reporters after attending a hearing in the Senate. (In the LP, you know what my answer is. As to who will be the standard-bearer of LP, that will be Secretary Roxas and we have been meeting to push this sentiment of the party) Asked if Roxas was the only choice and that no other party member was being considered for the post, Abaya, secretary-general and acting president of LP, said: “Yes ma’am. S’ya lang po.” Though the party has yet to go through its selection process, Abaya said it members have been in “consensus and in unison in who our candidate should be.”

ALSO: Nacionalista to review pact with LP before 2016

Will NP field Bongbong, Cayetano in 2016? Will Nacionalista Party’s (NP) coalition with the Liberal (LP) Party last until the 2016 elections? There is no guarantee. Senator Cynthia Villar, wife of NP President Manny Villar, said the party will have to review whether to keep its coalition with the LP. "Wala naman kaming problema with LP ngayon. Pero 2016 elections is a different matter," Villar told reporters. "Ibig sabihin, it’s time to review if you still want to coalesce ‘di ba? Review time 'yun. Okay naman ngayon pero I think before 2016, magre-review if they want to continue with the coalition or we want to be on our own or we want to coalesce with somebody else. Open yun." Coalescing with the party that Vice President Jejomar Binay would be forming is a possibility but Villar said that the party has not thought about this yet. "Pwede rin. I cannot answer for them, I don’t know. We haven’t thought about it," she said. "Kaya ka naman magco-coalesce, you believe in the candidate and at the same time, they are treating you well. Importante din 'yun e, that your coalition partner is treating you well. Syempre, partido 'yan e. Kung hindi mo tina-trato mabuti, hindi rin maganda ‘yun." Villar said LP is treating her well. "Okay naman, as far as I am concerned, okay. Ewan ko sa iba."

EDITORIAL: A general disconnect, PNoy twits critics

NEVER one to pass off an opportunity to twit his critics, President Benigno Aquino III this week told businessmen there seemed to be “a general disconnect between the front page and the business page.” Quoting his Budget secretary, he noted “how so many business groups are gung-ho about the Philippines, while others just stop short of prophesying doom.” “You have my gratitude for recognizing and acknowledging the great strides the Philippines has made,” he told business leaders gathered at the Palace for their oath taking as the new officers of the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the Employers Confederation of the Philippines, the Philippine Exporters Confederation, Inc. and the Anvil Business Club. But at the same occasion, the President created a disconnect himself by praising his administration’s public private partnership (PPP) projects, despite the snail’s pace at which these are moving. Almost four years into the President’s term, in fact, the administration has issued notices of award to the winning bidders of only six projects involving the construction of highways and classrooms, the privatization of a government hospital and an updated fare collection system for the light railway system in Metro Manila. Of these projects, only 2,879 classrooms and about 32 percent of a four-kilometer toll road have been completed. But facts never got in the way of rhetoric for this President.

ALSO: Osmeña: Palace ‘pork’ scam probe suspicious

SENATOR Sergio Osmeña III on Tuesday described as suspicious the order by President Benigno Aquino III’s to three of his officials to investigate a new pork-barrel scam involving funds allocated to the National Commission on Muslim Filipinos. The NCMF, an agency attached to the Office of the President, is a conduit for projects allegedly funded by the Presidential Development Assistance Fund or pork barrel. Aquino has tasked Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa, Budget Secretary Florencio Abad and Cabinet Secretary Rene Almendras to look into the matter, but Osmeña on Tuesday criticized him for it. “Why would he ask Peter to investigate Paul?” Osmeña said. “Get an outsider to investigate.” The Commission on Audit is said to have discovered irregularities in the disbursement of nearly P515 million in PDAF as well as Disbursement Acceleration Program funds through the NCMF in 2012. Some of the funds intended for livelihood projects for Muslim Filipinos reportedly went to the bogus non-government organizations affiliated with detained businesswoman Janet Lim-Napoles, the alleged mastermind of a P10-billion pork-barrel scam. But Osmeña expressed alarm that Ochoa, Abad and Almendras might just do some cover-up. The general disconnect between what this President says and what he does brings to mind a Mark Twain quote that seems singularly appropriate to Mr. Aquino and his administration: “Action speaks louder than words but not nearly as often.”

ALSO: Palace twits Osmeña on pork probe

Malacañang on Wednesday belied the claims of Senator Sergio Osmeña III that the three Cabinet officials tasked to investigate a new pork-barrel scam allocated to the National Commission on Muslim Filipinos could also be involved in the misuse of public funds. Presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda said, however, that he would ask the National Bureau of Investigation if it will make a separate probe on the P515 million in Priority Development Assistance Fund channeled through the NCMF that ended up in non-government organizations identified with pork barrel scam mastermind Janet Napoles. The President earlier tasked Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa Jr., Budget chief Florencio Abad, and Cabinet Secretary Rene Almendras to look into the case cited in a recent report of the Commission on Audit. “Are they competent to look into it? Yes, they are, because there is no involvement on their part,” Lacierda said. “The DBM Secretary has no role on that manner, similar to the Executive Secretary, and also to the Cabinet Secretary. I suppose there will be no suspicion on the way that the three will be looking into the NCMF issue,” Lacierda said. Osmeña on Tuesday said President Benigno Aquino III should consider getting an outsider to investigate the NCMF case.

TRIBUNE: All hype, no sustance

Frankly, while one can understand the hype of Malacañang and Noynoy over the signing of the Bangsamoro “peace pact,” since Noynoy and the Palace people are trying hard to portray a false image of peace in Mindanao as their achievement and that war will all be over while peace reigns, what is difficult to understand is why the media are buying the Palace hype, considering the fact that not only will there be no peace in Mindanao, but also that Noynoy has deliberately carved out of the Republic territory, Mindanao. One can understand the Western World—especially the US, UK and Spain, along with the Muslim world, all hailing the so-callled historic peace pact, since all these countries — especially the US, have been ready a long time ago, to swallow up Mindanano for their own interests even to the detriment of Filipino interests. For one, the US wants to have permanent basing agreement, not with the Philippine government, but with this new entity called the Bangsamoro government, that will provide the US what it wants. Why do you think the US built some years back, the modern runway in General Santos, if not with an eye of using that for its troops’ purposes? As for the other foreign countries in the western world, dealing with the Muslim government will be much easier, for their intentions and purposes, especially when it comes down to exploiting the now Bangsamoro’s natural resources. And boy, can they really exploit these — as has been proved in our colonial past. In that annex on wealth sharing, it is fact that Noynoy, on his own, has given away 75 percent of our patrimony located in Mindanao, the Filipino nation’s natural resources, including the seas, land and air space — and all for what? Peace in Mindanao that will not come about? READ MORE...


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Party leader: Roxas still LP presidential bet in 2016


MAR ROXAS

MANILA, MARCH 31, 2014 (INQUIRER) By Maila Ager - Local Government Secretary Manuel “Mar” Roxas is still the Liberal Party’s choice to be its standard-bearer in 2016, a ranking party official said on Tuesday.

“Sa LP e, alam n’yo naman Kung sino ang kasagutan ko d’yan e. Kung sino ang magdadalala ng bandera ng LP e Secretary Roxas po ‘yun at nagme-meeting ho kami para itulak at isulong itong pananaw ng aming partido,” Transportation Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya told reporters after attending a hearing in the Senate. (In the LP, you know what my answer is. As to who will be the standard-bearer of LP, that will be Secretary Roxas and we have been meeting to push this sentiment of the party)

Asked if Roxas was the only choice and that no other party member was being considered for the post, Abaya, secretary-general and acting president of LP, said: “Yes ma’am. S’ya lang po.”

Though the party has yet to go through its selection process, Abaya said it members have been in “consensus and in unison in who our candidate should be.”

“May proseso po kaming i-undertake (We have a process to undertake) that has not yet been done so I’m probably expressing this as my own personal opinion and conviction,” he said.

“I’m sure the other LP members will have their own personal choices as well, but so far, we have been in consensus and in unison in who our candidate should be,” Abaya added.

FROM ABS-CBN

Nacionalista to review pact with LP before 2016 By Willard Cheng, ABS-CBN News Posted at 03/26/2014 4:44 PM | Updated as of 03/26/2014 4:44 PM

Will NP field Bongbong, Cayetano in 2016?

MANILA - Will Nacionalista Party’s (NP) coalition with the Liberal (LP) Party last until the 2016 elections? There is no guarantee.

Senator Cynthia Villar, wife of NP President Manny Villar, said the party will have to review whether to keep its coalition with the LP.

"Wala naman kaming problema with LP ngayon. Pero 2016 elections is a different matter," Villar told reporters.

"Ibig sabihin, it’s time to review if you still want to coalesce ‘di ba? Review time 'yun. Okay naman ngayon pero I think before 2016, magre-review if they want to continue with the coalition or we want to be on our own or we want to coalesce with somebody else. Open yun."

Coalescing with the party that Vice President Jejomar Binay would be forming is a possibility but Villar said that the party has not thought about this yet.

"Pwede rin. I cannot answer for them, I don’t know. We haven’t thought about it," she said.

"Kaya ka naman magco-coalesce, you believe in the candidate and at the same time, they are treating you well. Importante din 'yun e, that your coalition partner is treating you well. Syempre, partido 'yan e. Kung hindi mo tina-trato mabuti, hindi rin maganda ‘yun."

Villar said LP is treating her well. "Okay naman, as far as I am concerned, okay. Ewan ko sa iba."

NP's PRESIDENTIAL BET

Villar said it is still to early to say who the NP will field as its presidential candidate in the 2016 elections.

Asked about the possibility of NP’s Bongbong Marcos, Alan Peter Cayetano, and Antonio Trillanes running for a higher position, Villar said they are being allowed to test the waters.

"Wala naman kaming pinag-uusapan. I believe, on my part, anybody can try to run. It’s another story na itutuloy nila as candidates in the future. Kasi if you want to run, you can try. You campaign [for] one year, see what will happen and I don’t fault anybody for that. ‘Yan ang right of every person to do that," she said.

"At the end of the day, mag-uusap ‘yan kasi hindi naman logical na tatakbo sila lahat against each other. They have to be practical. Kasi in the end, it’s the chances of winning pa rin ang pinakamalaking motivation for you to run or not."

As president of the NP, former Senator Manny Villar would have a say on which candidate the NP will endorse.

"Malaki say niya, presidente siya ng partido e… May influence siya, may weight ‘yun. Any president of the party, may weight ‘yun," Mrs. Villar said.

But whether her husband would consider running again for president is another story.

"Kay Manny, ang presidency is destiny, for him ha, after 2010. Sabi niya: 'Kung sa'yo 'yan, dadating sa iyo 'yan. Kung hindi sa'yo 'yan, hindi dadating sa iyo 'yan,'" she said.

"Hindi naman niya sinasabi na… E kung sa kanya pino-point e, bakit naman he will not take the challenge? Pero kung hindi naman ipino-point sa kanya, why will you do it?"

LP BET

Interior and Local Government Secretary Mar Roxas appears to be the frontrunner to become the standard bearer of the Liberal Party in the 2016 presidential elections, according to the party's acting president, Department of Transportation and Communication Secretary Jun Abaya.

"Sa LP, alam niyo naman ang kasagutan ko diyan, kung sino ang magdadala ng bandera ng LP, si Secretary Roxas po ‘yun. Nagmi-meeting ho kami para itulak at isulong itong pananaw ng partido," Abaya told reporters Tuesday.

"Siya lang po," Abaya said.

But Abaya said that this decision would still have to undergo the party’s “process” and that members of the party have yet to formally meet and discuss who to endorse as their presidential candidate.

MANILA STANDARD EDITORIAL

A general disconnect By Manila Standard Today | Mar. 26, 2014 at 12:01am



NEVER one to pass off an opportunity to twit his critics, President Benigno Aquino III this week told businessmen there seemed to be “a general disconnect between the front page and the business page.”

Quoting his Budget secretary, he noted “how so many business groups are gung-ho about the Philippines, while others just stop short of prophesying doom.”

“You have my gratitude for recognizing and acknowledging the great strides the Philippines has made,” he told business leaders gathered at the Palace for their oath taking as the new officers of the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the Employers Confederation of the Philippines, the Philippine Exporters Confederation, Inc. and the Anvil Business Club.

But at the same occasion, the President created a disconnect himself by praising his administration’s public private partnership (PPP) projects, despite the snail’s pace at which these are moving.

Almost four years into the President’s term, in fact, the administration has issued notices of award to the winning bidders of only six projects involving the construction of highways and classrooms, the privatization of a government hospital and an updated fare collection system for the light railway system in Metro Manila. Of these projects, only 2,879 classrooms and about 32 percent of a four-kilometer toll road have been completed.

But facts never got in the way of rhetoric for this President.

“A lot of you have put your money where your mouth is. Notice, for example, the spirited competition that our private-public partnerships have attracted-redounding to a system where government and enterprise can work together to fulfill the promise of our country,” he told the businessmen, showing off his skills at hyperbole.

Certainly, there is also a serious disconnect between what the President says his government is doing for the victims of super typhoon Yolanda, and what the survivors themselves are saying.

How, after all, can we reconcile the claims of his Social Welfare secretary about the efficiency of relief operations under her watch, and reports that food aid that has been allowed to rot in warehouses is being buried in dumps, or worse, being distributed to the survivors?

The President’s claim that the reports are being investigated by the Social Welfare secretary border on the ludicrous, and creates yet another disconnect. Is it right that the accused in a crime be asked to investigate his own case? This President seems to think so.

Finally, there is also a disconnect between the advocacies that this President claims to support and what he has done—or not done—in office.

While he advocates free speech, he constantly complains about his critics, has shown only tepid support for a freedom of information bill, and has signed into law a draconian measure to punish online libel.

The general disconnect between what this President says and what he does brings to mind a Mark Twain quote that seems singularly appropriate to Mr. Aquino and his administration: “Action speaks louder than words but not nearly as often.”

Osmeña: Palace ‘pork’ scam probe suspicious By Macon Ramos-Araneta | Mar. 26, 2014 at 12:01am

SENATOR Sergio Osmeña III on Tuesday described as suspicious the order by President Benigno Aquino III’s to three of his officials to investigate a new pork-barrel scam involving funds allocated to the National Commission on Muslim Filipinos.

The NCMF, an agency attached to the Office of the President, is a conduit for projects allegedly funded by the Presidential Development Assistance Fund or pork barrel.

Aquino has tasked Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa, Budget Secretary Florencio Abad and Cabinet Secretary Rene Almendras to look into the matter, but Osmeña on Tuesday criticized him for it.

“Why would he ask Peter to investigate Paul?” Osmeña said.

“Get an outsider to investigate.”

The Commission on Audit is said to have discovered irregularities in the disbursement of nearly P515 million in PDAF as well as Disbursement Acceleration Program funds through the NCMF in 2012.

Some of the funds intended for livelihood projects for Muslim Filipinos reportedly went to the bogus non-government organizations affiliated with detained businesswoman Janet Lim-Napoles, the alleged mastermind of a P10-billion pork-barrel scam.

But Osmeña expressed alarm that Ochoa, Abad and Almendras might just do some cover-up.

“Abad...supposed Abad was the one who released the money?” Osmeña said while repeating his pronouncement that Aquino was an awful manager who was nearing the end of his term but had done nothing.

He said the members of Aquino’s Cabinet had also done nothing.

“They will investigate? Why will they be the ones to investigate that? Why don’t they call the NBI?” Osmeña said.

“You know, that bothers me because they’re not investigators, they’re not trained investigators. There’s a way to investigate these things.”

Osmeña said corruption would always happen no matter how honest the President was if management controls were not in place.

“These things will always happen,” he said.

“Even in an ordinary corporation, if you don’t have the right auditing procedures, control procedures, you will get scammed. Whether you own BPI or PLDT this will also happen.”

Osmeña said he wanted to find out “what went to whom and why it was coursed through the NCMF.”

Aquino said he wanted to get to the bottom of the issue involving the NCMF, and that was why he asked the three officials to investigate the matter and to give him a comprehensive report on it.

He said he would also ask the COA to clarify whether its report on the NCMF was just an “observation audit memorandum,” meaning it was still awaiting response from the government agency.

Osmeña raised the possibility of passing a law so there would be a holding account for the DAP.

“It makes it easier to keep control and watch over one account rather than 650 accounts,” he said.

FROM MANILA STANDARD

Palace twits Osmeña on pork probe By Joyce Pangco Panares | Mar. 27, 2014 at 12:01am


Senator Sergio Osmeña III

Malacañang on Wednesday belied the claims of Senator Sergio Osmeña III that the three Cabinet officials tasked to investigate a new pork-barrel scam allocated to the National Commission on Muslim Filipinos could also be involved in the misuse of public funds.

Presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda said, however, that he would ask the National Bureau of Investigation if it will make a separate probe on the P515 million in Priority Development Assistance Fund channeled through the NCMF that ended up in non-government organizations identified with pork barrel scam mastermind Janet Napoles.

The President earlier tasked Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa Jr., Budget chief Florencio Abad, and Cabinet Secretary Rene Almendras to look into the case cited in a recent report of the Commission on Audit.

“Are they competent to look into it? Yes, they are, because there is no involvement on their part,” Lacierda said.

“The DBM Secretary has no role on that manner, similar to the Executive Secretary, and also to the Cabinet Secretary. I suppose there will be no suspicion on the way that the three will be looking into the NCMF issue,” Lacierda said.

Osmeña on Tuesday said President Benigno Aquino III should consider getting an outsider to investigate the NCMF case.

“Why would he ask Peter to investigate Paul?” Osmeña said. “Why will they be the ones to investigate that? Why don’t they call the NBI? That bothers me because they’re not investigators, they’re not trained investigators. There’s a way to investigate these things,” he said.

Osmeña said corruption would always happen no matter how honest the President was if management controls were not in place.

According to the CoA report, Senators Juan Ponce Enrile and Gregorio Honasan and 38 former and incumbent members of the House of Representatives allocated more than P514 million of the PDAF to NCMF in 2012.

The CoA said P25 million of the releases came from the controversial Disbursement Acceleration Program.

The CoA report also noted that lawmakers, instead of the NCMF, were the ones who identified the NGOs, in violation of an existing CoA circular.

“The practice of allowing lawmakers to select NGOs/POs to implement the PDAF and DAP was not in accordance with COA Circular No. 2007-001. The selection should not be done by lawmakers but by NCMF officials having full responsibility over the funds released to them,” CoA said in its report.

FROM THE TRIBUNE

All hype, no sustance
Written by Ninez Cacho-Olivares Saturday, 29 March 2014 00:00

Frankly, while one can understand the hype of Malacañang and Noynoy over the signing of the Bangsamoro “peace pact,” since Noynoy and the Palace people are trying hard to portray a false image of peace in Mindanao as their achievement and that war will all be over while peace reigns, what is difficult to understand is why the media are buying the Palace hype, considering the fact that not only will there be no peace in Mindanao, but also that Noynoy has deliberately carved out of the Republic territory, Mindanao.

One can understand the Western World—especially the US, UK and Spain, along with the Muslim world, all hailing the so-callled historic peace pact, since all these countries — especially the US, have been ready a long time ago, to swallow up Mindanano for their own interests even to the detriment of Filipino interests.

For one, the US wants to have permanent basing agreement, not with the Philippine government, but with this new entity called the Bangsamoro government, that will provide the US what it wants.

Why do you think the US built some years back, the modern runway in General Santos, if not with an eye of using that for its troops’ purposes?

As for the other foreign countries in the western world, dealing with the Muslim government will be much easier, for their intentions and purposes, especially when it comes down to exploiting the now Bangsamoro’s natural resources. And boy, can they really exploit these — as has been proved in our colonial past.

In that annex on wealth sharing, it is fact that Noynoy, on his own, has given away 75 percent of our patrimony located in Mindanao, the Filipino nation’s natural resources, including the seas, land and air space — and all for what? Peace in Mindanao that will not come about?

And despite the Palace and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front’s (MILF) hype of the end of war in Mindanao, the fact remains that peace won’t come about since the Muslim armed groups are divided and truth to tell, the Christians in Mindanao aren’t going to just peacefully give in to Muslim rule and Islamic laws. It will be foreign troops again killing Filipinos.

This no peace scenario was already evident when, after the Memorandum of Ancestral Domain (MoA-Ad) was junked by the high court for being unconstitutional, the same MILF armed group went on a rampage while the Christian settlers were also armed and ready to defend their territory.

There is more than a big chance that the Supreme Court will junk this Bangsamoro Framework and and Law, once the puppet House of Representatives and Senate of Noynoy come up with the so-called Bangsamoro fundamental law, which serves as the Bangsamoro constitution that will establish the Islamic government and nation, with all its Noynoy-granted territories, all of which makes it a substate in word and deed.

There are many constitutional questions that will be challenged before the high court, mainly because the Bangsamoro pact and later, the law that will be crafted by a majority of Muslims, and then sent to Congress, is no different from the MoA-Ad and is in fact even worse and highly infirm constitutionally.

Still, if Noynoy has already succeeded in conscripting the Supreme Court justices, then that Bangsamoro entity, with its all-encompassing powers and wealth will become a reality, but there is the other reality: If the high court does declare the Framework and the Bangsamoro Law constitutional, then all respect for it will die, as the high court did during the Marcos Martial Law years, when the then Justices of the high court had no balls to declare Martial law unconstitutional, considering the fact that Marcos padlocked Congress and abolished it, which went against the then Constitution.

Few will believe that the high court is independent if it does rule in favor of the Bangsamoro law, given the fact that it then stated that creating a substate, among others, is not constitutional and even described what a substate consists of, such as this being a nation, with its territory and its own armed force, which is exactly what Noynoy had given the MILF.

The irony of it all is that there won’t be peace in Mindanao — not now and not in the near future, and all because Noynoy, as commander in chief, had no balls to fight the then enemy, the 12 thousand strong MILF, when he has a 120 thousand military force to bring the rebels to heel.



Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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