PUBLIC SATISFACTION WITH AQUINO ADMIN REACHES ALL-TIME LOW 

AUGUST 12 --The Aquino administration's net satisfaction rating plunged by 16 points in the previous quarter
and reached a new record low, according to the latest of survey of the Social Weather Stations (SWS). Based on the results of the SWS poll released on Monday, the Aquino administration's satisfaction rating fell to a "moderate" +29 last June from the "good" +45 recorded in March. The nationwide survey of 1,200 adults found that 56 percent of Filipinos were satisfied, 18 percent "neither satisfied nor dissatisfied" and 26 percent dissatisfied with the government's general performance. The Aquino administration's public satisfaction rating reached all-time lows in all geographic areas and declined across socioeconomic classes and in nearly all 17 national issues. In Metro Manila and "Balance Luzon," the scores fell to a "moderate" +16 and +26, respectively. In the Visayas, it remained "good" although it dropped to +41. It declined to a "good" +34 in Mindanao. Among those in class D, the government's rating hit a record-low of "moderate" +27. It fell to a "moderate" +27 among class ABC and and stayed "good" at +38 among those in class E despite a 10-point decline.

The Aquino administration obtained the following scores in 17 issues: "Good" protecting the environment providing enough supply of electricity defending the country's territorial rights promoting welfare of overseas Filipino workers foreign relations helping the poor "Moderate" reconciliation with Muslim rebels fighting terrorism providing jobs reconciliation with Communist rebels fighting crimes tax collection eradicating graft and corruption "Neutral" ensuring that no family will be hungry "Poor" fighting inflation ensuring that oil firms don't take advantage of oil prices "Bad” resolving Maguindanao massacre case with justice. THIS IS THE FULL REPORT.

(ALSO) Palace: PNoy won't lose 2016 endorsement power amid declining ratings  

AUGUST 12 --Malacañang is confident that the decline in President Aquino's ratings in the latest Social Weather Stations (SWS) survey will not affect his endorsement power for the 2016 elections. Presidential Spokesperson Edwin Lacierda said the results of quarterly SWS surveys on public satisfaction with the Aquino administration are not cast in stone since these vary depending on the political landscape when the polls are conducted. "You are looking at it from one particular quarter. You have to look at it from the overall performance of the administration. Some people who have benefited from a program in government will say otherwise," Lacierda said at a televised press briefing. "It's an interview of 1,200 respondents, but does it mean it's the end-all and be-all of the effect on his endorsement? No, it's not. Because we will move forward, we will continue to push the program of this administration," he added. Lacierda even claimed that Aquino's endorsement for the next election is still sought-after despite his falling ratings. He denied that the President is turning into a lame duck with no integrity to pick his successor. "What's the talk about being a lame duck? Everyone is looking for his anointment," he said, though he denied to name those who are seeking the President's endorsement. *READ MORE...

ALSO: JV Ejercito lists Aquino’s failures in ‘kontra-Sona’ 

Senator Joseph Victor “JV” Ejercito delivered what he said was the “true state of the nation” that President Benigno Aquino III failed to mention in his State of the Nation Address (Sona).
“No matter how good [Aquino's] Sona was, it seems many issues were not given clarity. The data and statistics mentioned do not reflect the real situation of our countrymen, especially the masses,” Ejercito said in his Filipino privilege speech at the Senate. “I stand now to relay the voices of the ordinary citizens, those impoverished in the streets, the farmers, our countrymen still mired in poverty, and those suffering daily from the weight of living,” he said.

Despite the credit ratings upgrades and boost in infrastructure spending that sped up economic growth trumpeted by Aquino, Ejercito said the Philippines still lagged behind neighbor countries in Southeast Asia. “In the past three years, our infrastructure spending compared to GDP did not exceed two percent,” Ejercito said. “The low quality and lack of infrastructure in the country results in heavy traffic which is also a reason for the slow economy,” he said.
The Philippine’s unemployment rate at 7.25 percent, the highest in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean), was also cited by Ejercito. In terms of foreign direct investments (FDI) the Philippines also has the lowest in the Asean region, he said. “From 2011 to 2013, an estimated $8.4 billion in FDI’s went into the country, the lowest compared to our neighbor countries,” Ejercito said. “The people believe that the economic gains being trumpeted are not being felt because there is no trickle-down effect,” he said. “For the people, these are just statistics and empty words of the administration meaning the growth has not been inclusive.” THIS IS THE FULL REPORT.

(ALSO) JV Ejercito: UNA ready to accept turncoats from LP 6 months before 2016

The United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) plans to accept transferees from other political parties six months before the 2016 elections, according to Sen. JV Ejercito. Ejercuito said many of those expected to jump ship were members of the ruling Liberal Party (LP) He said about half of LP members in the House of Representatives had signified their intention to join UNA, now that a change of administration appears imminent. LP members dominate the House, with 115 out of 290 seats occupied by its members. The rest of the seats are divided among several other political parties and party-list groups. Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. is the LP vice chair. According to Ejercito, the LP members who have sought to ally themselves with UNA in the next elections are those not originally from the ruling party.
Personality-based --Many of them were members of Lakas, the dominant party during the Arroyo administration, and who just jumped ship to the LP when President Aquino came to power, he said. * CONTINUE READING...


ALSO: JV Ejercito says Enrile backs minority group’s anti-SONA draft speech 

PHOTO: JPE ON WAY TO HOSPITAL FOR EYE SURGERY —In his visit to Senator Juan Ponce Enrile’s hospital ward on Wednesday morning, Senator JV Ejercito said they talked about the “anti-SONA (State of the Nation Address)” speech the Senate minority group is drafting and the tension in the West Philippine Sea. Ejercito said in a press briefing after his 45-minute visit at the Philippine National Police (PNP) General Hospital that he discussed with the 90-year-old senator, who he said looked frail, the minority’s plans of disputing President Benigno Aquino III’s speech on July 28. “I asked him: ‘Is it OK if we draft an anti-SONA (speech)?’” Ejercito said in Filipino. He said Enrile then replied: “Tama ‘yan (That’s right).”
Ejercito also recalled telling Enrile his desire to become “more active” at the Senate in view of the shallow bench of the minority group in the chamber. Of the six minority members, including Senators Ejercito, Nancy Binay, Vicente “Tito” Sotto III, and Gringo Honasan, two of its members, Enrile and Jinggoy Estrada, have been detained after being charged with plunder case. Ejercito told Enrile: “Manong, noong isang taon, anim ho tayo. Ngayon, dahil kayo at si Senator Jinggoy naka-detain na, apat na lang ho kaming naiwan sa minority tapos yung dalawa may kaso pa. Manong, gusto ko sanang maging mas aktibo.” Ejercito said they also tackled national security, specifically the West Philippine Sea dispute. THIS IS THE FULL REPORT.
 
(ALSO) Palace on term extension: Wait for PNoy's final word 

After giving inconsistent statements on a possible term extension for President Aquino, Malacañang on Wednesday said the final word will still come from the Chief Executive himself. At a televised press briefing, Presidential Spokesperson Edwin Lacierda reiterated that they have no definite position on the issue and told media to just wait if Aquino will make a statement. "Let's wait," Lacierda said. "The ultimate decision lies with the President." Last week, the statements of Malacañang spokespersons were perceived as conflicting with Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma first saying Aquino would definitely step down when his term ends in June 2016. Lacierda also said the President is committed to serve only one term, but he later added that Aquino is "sensitive" to the voice of Filipinos. Lacieda's deputy Abigail Valte agreed but she reminded reporters that Aquino did not intend to run for president in 2010 until he eventually gave in to the calls of the people. * CONTINUE READING...

ALSO: Aquino heavily criticized for plans to extend his term

AQUINO CHANGED MIND: SAYS YES TO CHA-CHA --President Benigno Aquino III drew heavy criticism even from key allies in the House of Representatives majority bloc for declaring his openness in seeking a a constitutionally-barred second term in office. Only the chief executive’s Liberal Party colleagues appeared to be supportive of the move to amend the 1987 Constitution to pave the way for the lifting of term limits that sets an incumbent president to just one six-year term in office. Reps. Sherwin Gatchalian (NPC, Valenzuela) and Roy Seneres (OFW Family), both members of the House majority, lamented Aquino’s declaration, saying that this directly opposed his mother’s, the late President Corazon C. Aquino’s, principles in her successful bid to win back democracy in the country. Speaker Feliciano Belmonte and Majority Leader Neptali Gonzales II have yet to air their views of Aquino’s position on the extension of his term.

Earlier, however, both Belmonte and Gonzales warned that talks about giving Aquino an extension as president would only serve to spoil proposals to amend the economic provisions of the Charter. Both LP partymates of Aquino, Belmonte and Gonzales have been pushing for the lifting of investment restrictions in the country by amending the 1987 Constitution. The strongest criticism came from the two opposition forces in the Lower House. Reps. Neri Colmenares and Carlos Zarate, both of Bayan Muna partylist, said Aquino’s move to perpetuate himself in power and clip the power of the Supreme Court is clearly a take from the dictatorial regime of the late President Ferdinand E. Marcos, a staunch foe of Aquino’s mother and father, the late Sen. Benigno Aquino “Saan siya kumukuha ng kapal ng mukha para humingi ng second term?” stated ACT Partylist Rep. Antonio Tinio, who paraphrased Aquino in his 2013 criticism of corrupt officials of the Bureau of Customs.

ALSO: LP divided on political Cha-cha

PHOTO: Undated photo shows members of the Liberal Party at a rally flashing the "L" sign. Liberal Party Facebook --The ruling Liberal Party (LP) is divided over moves to amend the political provisions of the Constitution to allow President Aquino to seek a second term. The cracks emerged after Aquino declared in a television interview on Wednesday that he has changed his mind on Charter change and is now open to seeking reelection. LP stalwarts in the House of Representatives said not only were they stunned by Aquino’s pronouncement but they also felt that Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. – a vice chairman of the party – was “disrespected” as the latter had repeatedly vowed to amend only the economic provisions of the Charter to boost the country’s growth.

“We’re all incredulous and disappointed to say the least. Here we are pushing for a no-nonsense economic Charter change, and it’s gaining public support because there’s no politics involved, and here comes this bombshell that could kill this economic initiative,” a ranking LP lawmaker in the House said. The lawmaker, who asked not to be named, said as recently as the opening of the second regular session of the 16th Congress last July 28, Belmonte had assured the House that the efforts to amend restrictive economic provisions would not be tainted by politics. Other sources from the party said the Speaker would seek an audience with Aquino to find out whether the President was serious about seeking another term. With the exception of Reps. Edgar Erice, Ben Evardone and Jerry Treñas – all of whom belong to the LP – other lawmakers from the party have yet to come forward to express support for extending Aquino’s term. * READ MORE...

(ALSO Manila Times Opinion) Aquino’s failings: Not just his fault, but ours, too

If a company hires a CEO who has never run even a small business all his life, and did not even distinguish himself in policy deliberations with other business people, whose fault is it if the chief executive screws up? Or worse: What if shareholders applaud the boss even when he plays fast and loose with company by-laws, abets incompetent and anomalous golfing buddies in the firm, and gives generous bonuses to board directors after they voted out the vice-chairman who pointed out the chair’s violations? Is it then just the head honcho to blame if he proceeds to repeatedly break corporate rules, play favorites with the executives, and raid the treasury with no regard for the board-approved investment and expenditure plan? If you are thinking that this scenario is an allegory for the current administration, you’re absolutely right. President Benigno Aquino 3rd would not have betrayed the public trust as much as he has if the public, especially mainstream media, weren’t so trusting and even fawning, swallowing the hype against common sense and contradictory actions. From grieving son to president --

Perhaps it was understandable that a nation mourning democracy icon Corazon Aquino would believe that his son, grieving with dignity on national TV, would uphold her avowed ideals of democracy and good governance. Still, the more seasoned watchers of government should have known that funeral goodwill and illustrious forebears are no guarantee of presidential ability, especially when the grieving scion had shown no great achievement in school, business or Congress, and no interest in the presidency before his mother’s death. During the campaign, Aquino declined forums in which his fellow candidates expounded on issues. In those debates, it was his cousin, former Defense Secretary and Tarlac Representative Gilbert Teodoro, who usually won straw polls conducted among those who heard the speakers. Ominously, while other presidentiables accepted the Supreme Court decision allowing then-President Gloria Arroyo to appoint the next Chief Justice, Aquino openly opposed it and snubbed her chosen CJ Renato Corona. Even before he had won, Aquino was already willing to take on the High Court and its head. Cronies and contraband --

Understandably too, the public welcomed the Aquino administration with high hopes and the benefit of the doubt. So when he failed to take command during the Luneta hostage crisis in his second month as president, the public accepted his tack of not letting top officials handle the incident, even though Arroyo-era Cabinet members had successfully defused far bigger threats with hardly any loss of life, including the Oakwood mutiny involving 300 heavily armed rebel troops. Both nation and media also quickly forgot Aquino’s refusal to investigate his shooting buddy Interior Undersecretary Rico Puno over Pangasinan Archbishop Emeritus Oscar Cruz’s direct accusation of receiving jueteng payoffs. The short memory continued with Malacañang trashing the DOJ’s Luneta crisis incident report and its recommended sanctions against Puno, then-Manila Mayor Alfredo Lim, and senior police officials, roiling relations with Beijing and Hong Kong.* READ MORE... ALSO 5 RESPONSES FROM READERS.


READ FULL MEDIA NEWS REPORT:

Public satisfaction with Aquino admin reaches new all-time low

MANILA, AUGUST 18, 2014 (PHILSTAR) POSTED ON AUGUST 12, 2014 - By Louis Bacani - The Aquino administration's net satisfaction rating plunged by 16 points in the previous quarter and reached a new record low, according to the latest of survey of the Social Weather Stations (SWS).

Based on the results of the SWS poll released on Monday, the Aquino administration's satisfaction rating fell to a "moderate" +29 last June from the "good" +45 recorded in March.

The nationwide survey of 1,200 adults found that 56 percent of Filipinos were satisfied, 18 percent "neither satisfied nor dissatisfied" and 26 percent dissatisfied with the government's general performance.

The Aquino administration's public satisfaction rating reached all-time lows in all geographic areas and declined across socioeconomic classes and in nearly all 17 national issues.

In Metro Manila and "Balance Luzon," the scores fell to a "moderate" +16 and +26, respectively. In the Visayas, it remained "good" although it dropped to +41. It declined to a "good" +34 in Mindanao.

Among those in class D, the government's rating hit a record-low of "moderate" +27. It fell to a "moderate" +27 among class ABC and and stayed "good" at +38 among those in class E despite a 10-point decline.

The Aquino administration obtained the following scores in 17 issues:

"Good" protecting the environment providing enough supply of electricity defending the country's territorial rights promoting welfare of overseas Filipino workers foreign relations helping the poor

"Moderate" reconciliation with Muslim rebels fighting terrorism providing jobs reconciliation with Communist rebels fighting crimes tax collection eradicating graft and corruption

"Neutral" ensuring that no family will be hungry

"Poor" fighting inflation ensuring that oil firms don't take advantage of oil prices

"Bad” resolving Maguindanao massacre case with justice

Palace: PNoy won't lose 2016 endorsement power amid declining ratings By Louis Bacani (philstar.com) | Updated August 11, 2014 - 4:28pm 5 49 googleplus0 0


President Benigno Aquino III and Interior Secretary Mar Roxas, the administration's presumptive presidential candidate. Benhur Arcayan/Malacanang Photo Bureau

MANILA, Philippines - Malacañang is confident that the decline in President Aquino's ratings in the latest Social Weather Stations (SWS) survey will not affect his endorsement power for the 2016 elections.

Presidential Spokesperson Edwin Lacierda said the results of quarterly SWS surveys on public satisfaction with the Aquino administration are not cast in stone since these vary depending on the political landscape when the polls are conducted.

"You are looking at it from one particular quarter. You have to look at it from the overall performance of the administration. Some people who have benefited from a program in government will say otherwise," Lacierda said at a televised press briefing.

"It's an interview of 1,200 respondents, but does it mean it's the end-all and be-all of the effect on his endorsement? No, it's not. Because we will move forward, we will continue to push the program of this administration," he added.

Lacierda even claimed that Aquino's endorsement for the next election is still sought-after despite his falling ratings. He denied that the President is turning into a lame duck with no integrity to pick his successor.

"What's the talk about being a lame duck? Everyone is looking for his anointment," he said, though he denied to name those who are seeking the President's endorsement.

* The Palace official claims that they are not bothered by Aquino's declining ratings, which he said are not insurmountable.

"The administration remains undeterred in its commitment to serve the public," Lacierda said.

"We're not gonna be paralyzed by any survey. Our commitment is there to protect the welfare of the Filipino people," he also said.

Senate President Franklin Drilon, meanwhile, noted that the Aquino administration still enjoys the satisfaction of more than a majority of Filipinos.

He blamed the controversies on the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) and the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) for the government's decline in its satisfaction scores.

"I would have to give this to the involvement of a number of our Senators in and numbers of Congress in this so-called PDAF Scandal in the issue on the DAP which is has not been received well by our people," said Drilon, a member of Aquino's Liberal Party.

Like Lacierda, Drilon believes that the ratings of the administration will rise again.

FROM THE INQUIRER

JV Ejercito lists Aquino’s failures in ‘kontra-Sona’  By Matikas Santos |INQUIRER.net7:34 pm | Monday, August 11th, 2014


Senator Joseph Victor “JV” Ejercito INQUIRER FILE PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines – Senator Joseph Victor “JV” Ejercito delivered what he said was the “true state of the nation” that President Benigno Aquino III failed to mention in his State of the Nation Address (Sona).

“No matter how good [Aquino's] Sona was, it seems many issues were not given clarity. The data and statistics mentioned do not reflect the real situation of our countrymen, especially the masses,” Ejercito said in his Filipino privilege speech at the Senate.

“I stand now to relay the voices of the ordinary citizens, those impoverished in the streets, the farmers, our countrymen still mired in poverty, and those suffering daily from the weight of living,” he said.

Despite the credit ratings upgrades and boost in infrastructure spending that sped up economic growth trumpeted by Aquino, Ejercito said the Philippines still lagged behind neighbor countries in Southeast Asia.

“In the past three years, our infrastructure spending compared to GDP did not exceed two percent,” Ejercito said.
“The low quality and lack of infrastructure in the country results in heavy traffic which is also a reason for the slow economy,” he said.

The Philippine’s unemployment rate at 7.25 percent, the highest in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean), was also cited by Ejercito.

In terms of foreign direct investments (FDI) the Philippines also has the lowest in the Asean region, he said.

“From 2011 to 2013, an estimated $8.4 billion in FDI’s went into the country, the lowest compared to our neighbor countries,” Ejercito said.

“The people believe that the economic gains being trumpeted are not being felt because there is no trickle-down effect,” he said. “For the people, these are just statistics and empty words of the administration meaning the growth has not been inclusive.”

JV Ejercito: UNA ready to accept turncoats from LP 6 months before 2016 By Leila B. Salaverria |Philippine Daily Inquirer3:38 am | Thursday, August 7th, 2014


Sen. JV Ejercito. INQUIRER.net FILE PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines–The United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) plans to accept transferees from other political parties six months before the 2016 elections, according to Sen. JV Ejercito.

Ejercuito said many of those expected to jump ship were members of the ruling Liberal Party (LP)

He said about half of LP members in the House of Representatives had signified their intention to join UNA, now that a change of administration appears imminent.

LP members dominate the House, with 115 out of 290 seats occupied by its members. The rest of the seats are divided among several other political parties and party-list groups. Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. is the LP vice chair.

According to Ejercito, the LP members who have sought to ally themselves with UNA in the next elections are those not originally from the ruling party.

Personality-based

Many of them were members of Lakas, the dominant party during the Arroyo administration, and who just jumped ship to the LP when President Aquino came to power, he said.

* He noted that politics in the country was “personality based.”

Ejercito said that UNA was deferring its move to formally accept the LP members as allies because if they transferred early, the lawmakers might face retaliation from the administration.

There could still be many projects and programs they could help accomplish if they remain identified with LP, he said.

“The administration might make things hard for them,” Ejercito added.

UNA is expected to field Vice President Jejomar Binay as its standard-bearer in 2016. Binay, who early on announced plans to run for president, has so far been topping surveys on voters’ preference.

But some officials say a lot could still happen in the two years before the elections.

UNA secretary general and Navotes Rep. Toby Tiangco earlier said he expected lawmakers to switch to the alliance in late 2015, when there would be a clearer picture of the political battle.

UNA positions itself as the opposition, but regularly claims to be supportive of President Aquino and his programs.

JV Ejercito says Enrile backs minority group’s anti-SONA draft speech By Julliane Love De Jesus |INQUIRER.net7:04 pm | Wednesday, July 9th, 2014


JPE ON WAY TO HOSPITAL FOR EYE SURGERY

MANILA, Philippines—In his visit to Senator Juan Ponce Enrile’s hospital ward on Wednesday morning, Senator JV Ejercito said they talked about the “anti-SONA (State of the Nation Address)” speech the Senate minority group is drafting and the tension in the West Philippine Sea.

Ejercito said in a press briefing after his 45-minute visit at the Philippine National Police (PNP) General Hospital that he discussed with the 90-year-old senator, who he said looked frail, the minority’s plans of disputing President Benigno Aquino III’s speech on July 28.

“I asked him: ‘Is it OK if we draft an anti-SONA (speech)?’” Ejercito said in Filipino.

He said Enrile then replied: “Tama ‘yan (That’s right).”

Ejercito also recalled telling Enrile his desire to become “more active” at the Senate in view of the shallow bench of the minority group in the chamber.

Of the six minority members, including Senators Ejercito, Nancy Binay, Vicente “Tito” Sotto III, and Gringo Honasan, two of its members, Enrile and Jinggoy Estrada, have been detained after being charged with plunder case.

Ejercito told Enrile: “Manong, noong isang taon, anim ho tayo. Ngayon, dahil kayo at si Senator Jinggoy naka-detain na, apat na lang ho kaming naiwan sa minority tapos yung dalawa may kaso pa. Manong, gusto ko sanang maging mas aktibo.”

Ejercito said they also tackled national security, specifically the West Philippine Sea dispute.

FROM PHILSTAR

Palace on term extension: Wait for PNoy's final word By Louis Bacani (philstar.com) | Updated August 13, 2014 - 3:22pm 2 27 googleplus0 0


President Benigno Aquino III addressing the nation last month. Ryan Lim/Malacañang Photo Bureau

MANILA, Philippines - After giving inconsistent statements on a possible term extension for President Aquino, Malacañang on Wednesday said the final word will still come from the Chief Executive himself.

At a televised press briefing, Presidential Spokesperson Edwin Lacierda reiterated that they have no definite position on the issue and told media to just wait if Aquino will make a statement.

"Let's wait," Lacierda said. "The ultimate decision lies with the President."

Last week, the statements of Malacañang spokespersons were perceived as conflicting with Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma first saying Aquino would definitely step down when his term ends in June 2016.

Lacierda also said the President is committed to serve only one term, but he later added that Aquino is "sensitive" to the voice of Filipinos.

Lacieda's deputy Abigail Valte agreed but she reminded reporters that Aquino did not intend to run for president in 2010 until he eventually gave in to the calls of the people.

* The prospect of Aquino seeking reelection first hit the headlines after a Facebook page supporting the idea gained media attention.

Then, Interior and Local Government Secretary Manuel Roxas II, the presumptive Liberal Party (LP) presidential candidate, broached the idea of term extension for Aquino.

Roxas' statement came after Vice President Jejomar Binay revealed that the LP was planning to adopt him as a standard bearer.

While the issue on Aquino's possible term extension persists, Malacañang says its focus is on serving the public.

"We are not distracted from governance," Lacierda said.

FROM THE MANILA BULLETIN

Aquino heavily criticized for plans to extend his term by Ben Rosario August 14, 2014


AQUINO CHANGED MIND: SAYS YES TO CHA-CHA

President Benigno Aquino III drew heavy criticism even from key allies in the House of Representatives majority bloc for declaring his openness in seeking a a constitutionally-barred second term in office.

Only the chief executive’s Liberal Party colleagues appeared to be supportive of the move to amend the 1987 Constitution to pave the way for the lifting of term limits that sets an incumbent president to just one six-year term in office.

Reps. Sherwin Gatchalian (NPC, Valenzuela) and Roy Seneres (OFW Family), both members of the House majority, lamented Aquino’s declaration, saying that this directly opposed his mother’s, the late President Corazon C. Aquino’s, principles in her successful bid to win back democracy in the country.

Speaker Feliciano Belmonte and Majority Leader Neptali Gonzales II have yet to air their views of Aquino’s position on the extension of his term.

Earlier, however, both Belmonte and Gonzales warned that talks about giving Aquino an extension as president would only serve to spoil proposals to amend the economic provisions of the Charter.

Both LP partymates of Aquino, Belmonte and Gonzales have been pushing for the lifting of investment restrictions in the country by amending the 1987 Constitution.

The strongest criticism came from the two opposition forces in the Lower House.

Reps. Neri Colmenares and Carlos Zarate, both of Bayan Muna partylist, said Aquino’s move to perpetuate himself in power and clip the power of the Supreme Court is clearly a take from the dictatorial regime of the late President Ferdinand E. Marcos, a staunch foe of Aquino’s mother and father, the late Sen. Benigno Aquino

“Saan siya kumukuha ng kapal ng mukha para humingi ng second term?” stated ACT Partylist Rep. Antonio Tinio, who paraphrased Aquino in his 2013 criticism of corrupt officials of the Bureau of Customs.

* The three members of the House minority bloc were joined by Reps. Leah Paquiz (Ang Nars); Roy Seneres (OFW Family) Silvestre Bello III (1-BAP Partylist) and Emmi de Jesus (Gabriela Partylist) in airing their strong opposition to a new term for Aquino.

“Now nothing makes him any different from Marcos, after all his SONA drama crying about holding up the ideals of his parents against dictatorship. And he is not hearing his Bosses, he is only hearing ‘boses’ (voices) in his head,” De Jesus said.

Paquiz and Bello said they see nothing wrong in the current exercise of separate powers by the Supreme Court.

Colmenares stated that: “the six-year term limit for the President and the power of the Supreme Court to rule on grave abuse of discretion is precisely enshrined in the 1987 Constitution to strengthen checks and balance and as safeguards against one-man dictatorship.

Bello aired fears that Aquino’s sudden change of mind about Charter change may have been dictated to him by his “bosses in the Cabinet.”

“These advisers will benefit the most if Aquino is given another six years in office. Since going down in 2016 could be their political death knell, they want the president to perpetuate himself in power,” said Bello.

Seneres said Aquino’s inability to present a road map for progress for the country’s labor population makes him ineligible to seek a new term in office.

Independent minority bloc stalwart and Abakada Rep. Jonathan de la Cruz said Aquino’s turnabout from his previous rejection of Charter change clearly indicates that he is aware of what his fate will be when his term ends.

“He know what can happen as a result of the many blunders he has committed,” said De la Cruz.

Gatchalian cautioned Aquino about his plans, saying that he should learn from history.

“What happened to FVR (former president Fidel V. Ramos), then was political suicide because all the economic of his administration, including the attainment of a tiger economy was put to waste because the Ramos administration focused on Chacha during the homestretch,” said Gatchalian.

Members of the Makabayan bloc said they expect Aquino and his allies to manufacture talks that the public is “clamoring” for a new term of office for the president.

“We can now expect his minions in government as well as civil society to stage a manufactured “clamor” to extend his stay in office beyond 2016,” stated Tinio.

FROM PHILSTAR

LP divided on political Cha-cha By Paolo Romero (The Philippine Star) | Updated August 16, 2014 - 12:00am 5 570 googleplus1 0


Undated photo shows members of the Liberal Party at a rally flashing the "L" sign. Liberal Party Facebook

MANILA, Philippines - The ruling Liberal Party (LP) is divided over moves to amend the political provisions of the Constitution to allow President Aquino to seek a second term.

The cracks emerged after Aquino declared in a television interview on Wednesday that he has changed his mind on Charter change and is now open to seeking reelection.

LP stalwarts in the House of Representatives said not only were they stunned by Aquino’s pronouncement but they also felt that Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. – a vice chairman of the party – was “disrespected” as the latter had repeatedly vowed to amend only the economic provisions of the Charter to boost the country’s growth.

“We’re all incredulous and disappointed to say the least.Here we are pushing for a no-nonsense economic Charter change, and it’s gaining public support because there’s no politics involved, and here comes this bombshell that could kill this economic initiative,” a ranking LP lawmaker in the House said.

The lawmaker, who asked not to be named, said as recently as the opening of the second regular session of the 16th Congress last July 28, Belmonte had assured the House that the efforts to amend restrictive economic provisions would not be tainted by politics.

Other sources from the party said the Speaker would seek an audience with Aquino to find out whether the President was serious about seeking another term.

With the exception of Reps. Edgar Erice, Ben Evardone and Jerry Treñas – all of whom belong to the LP – other lawmakers from the party have yet to come forward to express support for extending Aquino’s term.

* Erice was the first to campaign in the chamber for amending the political provisions, saying Aquino was indispensable in continuing the reforms his administration has started.

Before Aquino made his pronouncements, Majority Leader and Mandaluyong City Rep. Neptali Gonzales II had repeatedly warned that moves to tamper with the political provisions of the Constitution would endanger the ongoing legislative process for economic Charter change.

Resolution of Both Houses No. 1, which seeks to remove restrictions on foreign ownership in certain industries, is set to be discussed in plenary in the coming days. Aquino earlier was cool to the proposal.

Many LP lawmakers have pointed to a “small group” within the party, led by Budget Secretary Florencio Abad, as behind Aquino’s change of mind.

“I fear that the leadership and the entire party will be divided – on one side, the voice of reason, the other, troublemakers,” a senior LP member earlier said.

The LP is the biggest political party in the 290-member House with over 100 members.

Other political parties belonging to the pro-administration coalition have yet to come up with their stand on the issue.

Officials from the Nationalist People’s Coalition (NPC), Nacionalista Party (NP), National Unity Party (NUP) and Centrist Democratic Party of the Philippines (CDP) in separate interviews said they expect to hold their respective meetings in the coming days as they try gauge the response of the people to Aquino’s controversial pronouncement.

The NPC has 62 lawmakers in its roster. The NUP has about 30 members while the NP and CDP have less than 10 members each.

Deputy Speaker and Isabela Rep. Giorgidi Aggabao, who is president of NPC, said the party is set to meet with officials from the executive branch after next week to discuss their concerns on the proposed national budget for 2015. This would be followed by a caucus to discuss political Charter change.

Ilocos Norte Rep. Rodolfo Fariñas, head of the NP contingent in the House, said there was no word yet from party leaders when the matter would be discussed.

Sources said NUP members met with Belmonte yesterday to seek his guidance on the matter. An NUP lawmaker said the party is set to hold an internal dialogue.

“This is a sensitive issue for the public, and we consider the Speaker our boss,” the source said.

Quezon City Rep. Winston Castelo, an LP stalwart, however said there should be long and continuous consensus building on the issue.

“But any term extension must fall within the provisions allowed by the Constitution. Although I strongly favor non-extension of the Presidents’ term to preserve his family’s legacy, the President has to react to some clamor who thirst for clean government and uninterrupted campaign against corruption,” Castelo said.

“This is all part of a strong democratic foundation in our country. Public servants should be sensitive to the people but should never be motivated by personal ambition,” he said.

‘Be not afraid’

Evardone and Treñas slammed those opposing moves to extend Aquino’s term, saying the matter should be best left to the people to decide, either through a nationwide referendum or people’s initiative, which is the legal shortcut to amend the Constitution.

“To those opposing the Cha-cha (Charter change): Be not afraid. After all, it is the Filipino people who will ultimately decide in a plebiscite whether President Aquino should be allowed another term,” Evardone said.

“So, let the people decide. After all, it’s the people who are the final arbiter in a democracy,” he said.

He said he was studying the feasibility of the Senate and the House passing a joint resolution calling for a referendum or a people’s initiative.

“Through a people’s initiative, or referendum, our legislative agenda will not be derailed. We’ll have just one question answerable by yes or no: ‘do you want a term extension for the President?’” Evardone said.

He said if it will be decided that the amendments to the constitutional provisions on term limits of public officials will have to be written by Congress, then incumbent lawmakers should exclude themselves from being covered by the changes.

Treñas said the raging debate on whether or not Aquino should be given a second term can only be determined in a referendum and “not through protests and media rantings by the noisy few.”

“The President’s critics are even claiming that he should step down because he has lost the support of our people but at the same time, they are afraid to hear the voice of our people,” Treñas said.

He argued it would be a “tragedy” if Aquino would not be allowed to remain in power to continue his “reforms.”

He said Congress might not have enough time to pursue the controversial proposal while working on correcting the Constitution’s restrictive economic provisions.

“It would be a miracle if Congress would pull this off, especially with the perceived public opposition,” he said.

Fariñas, however, opposed the proposals to hold a referendum and stressed that it would be better if Congress write the amendments to save time and public funds.

“Why don’t we hold it as a single exercise, meaning we hold a plebiscite after Congress writes the proposed amendments. Instead of holding a referendum and we go back again to conduct a plebiscite,” Fariñas told The STAR.

“If they don’t want our proposed amendments, then they can replace us in the next elections,” he said.

Fariñas said it was providential that it is Aquino who is now pushing for lifting of term limits, as it was his late mother who handpicked 48 people to write the present Constitution.

“It’s been nearly 30 years since the Constitution, and it has not been touched or changed, not even a comma. It has served us well but this was an offshoot of the long Marcos era,” he said.

“So what better person than the President to continue the legacy of his mother. It would be hard to question his motives,” he added.

He said while the 1987 Constitution was drafted by a small number of appointed people, this time, the few changes would be proposed by elected members of Congress who are directly accountable to the electorate.

Negros Occidental Gov. Alfredo Marañon Jr. also voiced his support for a second term for Aquino. “Only fools don’t change their mind,” he said in defending Aquino’s warming up to Cha-cha and term extension. With Rey Galupo, Danny Dangcalan

MANILA TIMES OPINION

Aquino’s failings: Not just his fault, but ours, too by RICARDO SALUDO
August 12, 2014 11:18 pm


Ricardo Saludo

If a company hires a CEO who has never run even a small business all his life, and did not even distinguish himself in policy deliberations with other business people, whose fault is it if the chief executive screws up?

Or worse: What if shareholders applaud the boss even when he plays fast and loose with company by-laws, abets incompetent and anomalous golfing buddies in the firm, and gives generous bonuses to board directors after they voted out the vice-chairman who pointed out the chair’s violations?

Is it then just the head honcho to blame if he proceeds to repeatedly break corporate rules, play favorites with the executives, and raid the treasury with no regard for the board-approved investment and expenditure plan?

If you are thinking that this scenario is an allegory for the current administration, you’re absolutely right. President Benigno Aquino 3rd would not have betrayed the public trust as much as he has if the public, especially mainstream media, weren’t so trusting and even fawning, swallowing the hype against common sense and contradictory actions.

From grieving son to president

Perhaps it was understandable that a nation mourning democracy icon Corazon Aquino would believe that his son, grieving with dignity on national TV, would uphold her avowed ideals of democracy and good governance.

Still, the more seasoned watchers of government should have known that funeral goodwill and illustrious forebears are no guarantee of presidential ability, especially when the grieving scion had shown no great achievement in school, business or Congress, and no interest in the presidency before his mother’s death.

During the campaign, Aquino declined forums in which his fellow candidates expounded on issues. In those debates, it was his cousin, former Defense Secretary and Tarlac Representative Gilbert Teodoro, who usually won straw polls conducted among those who heard the speakers.

Ominously, while other presidentiables accepted the Supreme Court decision allowing then-President Gloria Arroyo to appoint the next Chief Justice, Aquino openly opposed it and snubbed her chosen CJ Renato Corona. Even before he had won, Aquino was already willing to take on the High Court and its head.

Cronies and contraband

Understandably too, the public welcomed the Aquino administration with high hopes and the benefit of the doubt. So when he failed to take command during the Luneta hostage crisis in his second month as president, the public accepted his tack of not letting top officials handle the incident, even though Arroyo-era Cabinet members had successfully defused far bigger threats with hardly any loss of life, including the Oakwood mutiny involving 300 heavily armed rebel troops.

Both nation and media also quickly forgot Aquino’s refusal to investigate his shooting buddy Interior Undersecretary Rico Puno over Pangasinan Archbishop Emeritus Oscar Cruz’s direct accusation of receiving jueteng payoffs.

The short memory continued with Malacañang trashing the DOJ’s Luneta crisis incident report and its recommended sanctions against Puno, then-Manila Mayor Alfredo Lim, and senior police officials, roiling relations with Beijing and Hong Kong.

* After Puno, there were more instances of Aquino failing to discipline and even defending the so-called Kakampi, Kaklase at Kabarilan (KKK) clique of close associates. Among other controversies dismissed with little or no investigation were Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa’s reported P40-million White Plains mansion, Political Adviser Ronaldo Llamas’s firearms and pirate video incidents, and gaming czar Cristino Naguiat’s Macau junket and the P400-million casino loss in state casinos in May 2011.

None of that affected Aquino’s ratings, as mainstream media never pursued KKK issues, partly reflecting the public’s own disinterest. Filipinos also shrugged when more than 2,000 uninspected and untaxed containers disappeared in transit between Manila and other ports in 2011.

That was the biggest surge of contraband in the country ever, boosting estimated smuggling under Aquino to $19 billion a year in 2011 and 2012, over six times the average in the Estrada and Arroyo administrations, according to International Monetary Fund trade data.

Congress and the courts

At least KKK cronyism and containerized contraband left democratic institutions intact. But the assault on the independence of Congress, constitutional bodies, and the courts undermined our Republican system’s checks and balances and the separation of powers.

As early as late 2010, the Palace already threatened to impound legislators’ pork barrel funds if there were problems in passing the national budget. That same tactic was used to push the bill postponing the 2011 elections in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao and empowering the President to appoint ARMM officials.

Aquino also harangued then-Ombudsman Merceditas Gutierrez for allegedly failing to prosecute former president Arroyo. With promised releases of their Priority Development Assistance Funds, the House impeached her, leading to the resignation of the constitutionally independent official.

The courts, too, felt pressure from the Palace. Just months into his rule, Aquino meddled in the mutiny case against Senator Antonio Trillanes and other rebel soldiers in the Oakwood mutiny. And after spats with the Supreme Court over decisions he didn’t like, Aquino campaigned for then-Chief Justice Corona’s removal, allegedly using PDAF as well as the Disbursement Acceleration Program to induce the House to impeach and the Senate to convict.

The trusting public finally awakes

With his trust, approval and satisfaction ratings staying high despite such actuations, it’s no surprise if Aquino and his allies felt they could get away with something as blatantly unconstitutional as taking funds from budgeted programs and projects and channeling them to unbudgeted PAPs, as the Supreme Court has ruled. The same Palace confidence in public approval despite failings in law, may also be behind the speedy forging of the Bangsamoro pact and the US security agreement.

And having intimidated or ousted opponents in cohort with Congress, the President may yet believe that they could repeat the feat with the current Supreme Court led by his chosen Chief Justice. They may also think that the citizenry, having believed in Aquino through all those controversies and excesses, would trust in his word again.

The latest Pulse Asia and Social Weather Stations surveys, which do not even reflect much of the DAP decision fallout, suggest that nearly half of Filipinos are no longer so trusting. That proportion has likely swung into a majority who doubt or disbelieve the President, now that the Supreme Court’s July 1 ruling has been more widely deliberated since the SWS survey ended on June 30 and Pulse Asia’s poll on July 2.

Of course, Filipinos could again regain trust in Aquino and forget about DAP, as they did to past controversies. Then it would only show that Aquino’s governance failings are ours as well.

5 Responses to Aquino’s failings: Not just his fault, but ours, too
Jun Padre says:
August 13, 2014 at 10:37 am
OH MY PHILIPPINES… i’m now a senior citizens and politic still the same… weather weather lang yan, barka barkada.. now they are forming again to sing.. HAIL HAIL THE GANGS ALL HERE… it is NO LONGER FUNNY IN THE PHILIPPINES!
blame the church too…
Reply

vg says:
August 13, 2014 at 8:47 am
Yes. I admit I voted for Aquino and now I admit it was a big mistake. I thought he was honest and he was experienced. But it did bother me that he never had any organization management experience. I did buy into the straight path line and thought he could help get rid of the corruption.
Slowly at first I began to see the incompetence but I always balanced this with his honesty and his reliance on his help. But the half-truths and lies came more and more. Excuses for bending and breaking the systems and the laws were explaned as necessary because it was good for Filpinos. I now realize that his only management skill is that of bribing to get his way.
It also dawned on me that his promise of FOI, is meant as not FOI for him, but passed so that the next President will have to open up to the public. He cannot stand FOI for him because he would have to tell the truth and explain things honestly.
So yes my assessment of him has changed. He is honest in not stealing money from government for himself. But he is dishonest in enabling others to feast upon the peoples money. He has tried to make stealing money legal. There is no plan to make the Philippines a better place. I cannot wait to get to 2016 and see him leave.
Reply

dustin says:
August 13, 2014 at 8:07 am
But the filipino will continue to vote for the wrong people. You watch manny pacquiao get elected if he runs for a senator. His popularity with the people of this country will ensure he gets elected. So i do blame the people for their countries woes. You wouldnt hire a blind man as your chaufer, well some of your voters might & until they understand the importance of voting for the right person not the person they like the most then nothing will change in this country.
Reply

Alejo Rosete says:
August 13, 2014 at 2:17 am
I totally agree with you Ricardo – Saludo ako sa iyo.
We tolerated a Brat.
The Survey/Media painted a rosy pictures to this “Spoiled Brat” – Lumaki ang olo.
Hindi bumababa ang rating niya sa Survey – why?
Mabuti na lang – The Manila Times Columnist are exposing it, otherwise we know nothing about what is going on in our own yard.
Mabuhay ang “Manila Times” at ang mga “Columnist”.
Please, continue the good work for the sake of the Filipino People.
Reply

SALVACION CAHAYAG says:
August 13, 2014 at 1:19 am
Exactly, if there are people to blame for the present corrupt state that the country
has now, it is us Filipino people ourselves to blame in the first place. For as electorate
we never learn our lesson from the past. We put cory aquino to the presidency
knowing fully well that she has no qualification at all. We plucked her into office
thinking that she can do better than Marcos. What happened? Icon of democracy
as what the yellow fanatics are saying? What icon? Had it not been for Enrile and
Ramos who treacherously turned their back against Marcos can anyone think that
cory aquino was able to ascend herself to the presidency. I don’t think so. But, anyway
was she able to accomplish something good and visible for the country then. During
her campaign she said that she cannot then promise anything. That’s why to my
recollection, she did NOTHING. Again her grieving son abnoy, us filipinos voted
this imcompetent abnoy mainly because of the throng of yellow fanatics who
troop to cory’s burial. In short he was voted into office mainly because of the so
sympathetic yellow’s. What happended? As we witness now, this abnoy turned
himself to be the most corrupt president, the Philippines has ever had. If you want
proof, what he and abad did about the DAP was declared UNCONSTITUTIONAL.
In short, HE VIOLATED THE CONSTITUTION. This is the kind of president that
filipinos revere, AN INCOPETENT, VINDICTIVE, CORRUPT PRESDIDENT.


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