PALACE: AQUINO FULFILLED PROMISE TO CAPTURE PALPARAN  

Malacañang on Tuesday said President Benigno Aquino III has now fulfilled his promise to capture retired Army Major General Jovito Palparan, one of the five top fugitives in the country. “President Aquino promised that those who evade the law will be found. That promise to capture General Palparan has been fulfilled today,” Presidential Spokesperson Edwin Lacierda said in a statement. Reports said Palparan was arrested by members of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) in his hideout in Sta. Mesa, Manila. Palparan, dubbed “The Butcher” by activists, had been on the run since December 2011 amid accusations that he is the mastermind of the abduction of University of the Philippines students Sherlyn Cadapan and Karen Empeño. Aquino raised the reward, from P1 million to P2 million, for information leading to the arrest of Palparan in 2012.

Communications Secretary Herminio “Sonny” Coloma Jr. explained that the arrest meant that Palparan “may now be brought before the bar of justice and go through the processes of accountability,” said in a text message to INQUIRER.net. “We commend the NBI (National Bureau of Investigation) for its steadfast doggedness in pursuing all leads to find and capture Jovito Palparan. Today, this resolute determination has paid off, the long arm of the law has finally reached Mr. Palparan,” Lacierda said.* READ MORE...

ALSO: Aquino boasts of ‘butcher-free’ AFP, hails ‘new face’ 

PHOTO: Gun lover. President Benigno Aquino III examines an M-4 assault rifle during a distribution ceremony for soldiers at the Defense Department on Aug. 14. Aquino said he
might try to change the Constitution and serve a second term in office, a stunning announcement
in a nation haunted by dictatorship. AFP-- President Benigno Aquino III said there are no more “butchers” in the Armed Forces of the Philippines. Two days after retired Maj. Gen. Jovito Palparan was arrested in Sta. Mesa, Manila, Aquino praised the “new face” of the AFP - professional soldiers who are not only well-equipped but well-respected. “On Tuesday, one of the most wanted fugitives in the Philippines was arrested and will be brought to justice to answer accusations of abuse,” Aquino said during the turnover of new assault rifles for the Philippine Army and the Philippine Navy in Camp Aguinaldo on Thursday. “We can now say that while your rank were seen as butchers in the past, you are now respected and trusted as true allies of the Filipino people,” he said. READ MORE....

ALSO: Debate rages over Aquino's plan to run for another term 

The recent disclosure of President Benigno Aquino III that he is open to the idea of amending
the Philippine constitution to pave the way for his running for another six-year term has stirred a hornet's nest and opened the floodgates of a heated debate in a country whose favorite pastime is politics. In a television interview on Wednesday, Aquino said that the debacle that his government has suffered at the country's Supreme Court has prompted him to rethink about his previous position against any move to amend the constitution. Aquino said that the judiciary, as exemplified by the Supreme Court, is using its powers to check congress and the executive department too much. "The problem now is, there are those who ask: 'Has it gone too far?'"

The president has criticized the country's highest court for its ruling that the 144.4 billion-peso (3.32 billion U.S. dollars) disbursement acceleration program was unconstitutional. He said that the stimulus package has spurred economic growth. "I have to listen to the people," Aquino said in the television interview when asked if he would consider seeking re-election in 2016. "How do we ensure the reforms we began will become permanent? " Aquino, who has two years left in his term, is barred from running again by the constitution. It was Interior Secretary Manuel Roxas who first broached the idea of Aquino running again for another term, saying that it is only Aquino who can keep the country's economic gains under his daang matuwid or "straight path" mantra of governance. "A number of people are saying that to be able to continue the straight path, there's no better way to do it but to have a second term for the president for him to continue his leadership," Roxas said. * READ MORE...

ALSO: Filipinos don't approve of Cha-cha; basis of term extension questioned 

Latest IBON Survey shows that majority of respondents who are aware of Cha-cha are not in favor of it Research group IBON questioned the basis of Charter change (Cha-cha) proponents who are calling for a second term for Pres. Aquino so that he can continue the supposed good reforms in the economy. The group noted that public dissatisfaction against the administration is, on the contrary, steadily rising because of persistent and unresolved economic problems. Administration allies, and even Pres. Aquino himself, had said that they wanted to consult the people regarding prospects for a second term “to ensure the reforms will become permanent”. However, IBON noted that in its past three quarterly nationwide surveys, the percentage of respondents who said that their livelihood did not change and became worse increased from 80% to 84.2 percent.

IBON added that survey results and socioeconomic indicators show that after four years, there have not been any significant gains against joblessness, rising prices, low incomes and poverty. It also noted that there are even signs that economic growth, which benefited only a few corporations, has started to slow. The group also said that Malacanang should take note of the people’s sentiment on amending the Charter. The latest IBON Survey shows that majority of respondents who are aware of Cha-cha are not in favor of it. Sixty-three percent (63%) of the respondents who are aware of the resolution filed in the last Congress seeking to amend the 1987 Constitution said that they do not approve of Cha-cha, while 28.9% said they are in favor. In IBON surveys covering past administrations, the trend has been of the majority of Filipinos rejecting Cha-cha especially when the proposed amendments included a term extension for the administration. (end) THIS IS THE FULL REPORT.

ALSO: Palace, Roxas-led Balay hatch ‘public clamor’ ploy; Cha-cha push revives intense clique bickerings  

THE Palace and the Liberal Party led by Interior Secretary Manuel Roxas II were behind the “manufactured clamor” for a second term for President Benigno Aquino III, Palace sources said Thursday. The “second-term push” has revived the intense infighting between the so-called Balay group, led by Roxas and the Samar group, led by Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa Jr. The term extension plan was hatched as early as April, when a community page was launched in Facebook. A second similarly themed community page was created in June. The page’s administrator appears to be certain Mark Anthony Camorahan Duco of Iloilo City. Duco’s personal page showed that he comes from Jaro. Some of his posts in other community pages were in defense of Senate President Franklin Drilon in threads on the pork barrel scam.

Drilon was identified as among the key players and authors of the Disbursement Acceleration Program, parts of which were ruled unconstitutional by the Supreme Court. “There is no public clamor for the President to seek another term. The manufactured voice was a script designed by the Palace that was pursued vigorously shortly after the Supreme Court handed down on July 1 its 13-0 ruling on DAP,” said the Palace source, who requested anonymity. “The President emboldened his men, the ruling Liberal Party, Hyatt 10 and Black and White Movement to push for a second term by revising the Constitution when he asked the public on July 15 to wear yellow ribbons to show support for him,” the Palace source told the Manila Standard. One week before Roxas stated in public that he wanted a second term for the President, Aquino had already given him the green light, the source said. “The President himself wanted a second term but he wanted to make it appear that he was heeding the public clamor for it. Thus, the manufactured voice, the manufactured clamor as orchestrated by the Liberals, and upon the instructions of the President,” the source said. * READ MORE...

ALSO: NFA Chief received extortion phone message; App can fake phone messages, says Secretary Pangilinan  

The cell phone of rice trader Jomerito “Jojo” Soliman on which he claims to have received extortionate messages from National Food Authority (NFA) officials should undergo a forensic examination to determine the authenticity of the messages, presidential assistant on food security Kiko Pangilinan said on Saturday. “A phone application when operated can make SMS messages appear to have been sent from a given number even if another number was in fact used to send it,” Pangilinan said. Soliman accused NFA head Arthur Juan and his assistant, lawyer Patricia Galang, of extorting P15 million from him, allegedly in exchange for the dropping of the profiteering charges that the government had filed against the rice trader. According to the user’s guide of the phone app, a “fake message” could be sent to a particular phone with any name of the perpetrator’s choice made to appear as the sender. President Benigno Aquino III has ordered the NBI to investigate the allegations of Soliman against the NFA officials. Juan and Galang have denied the accusation and claimed the text messages purportedly coming from them were fabricated and did not come from their cell phones. * READ MORE...

ALSO: New NFA chief quits post  But Pangilinan rejects resignation 

Amid allegations of extorting P15 million from a rice trader, National Food Authortiy (NFA) administrator Arthur Juan tendered his resignation on Friday. But this was swiftly rejected by Presidential Adviser on Food Security Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan. Pangilinan said he convinced Juan and his assistant Lawyer Patricia Galang not to step down from their posts. Juan also denied in a press briefing rice trader Jomerito “Jojo” Soliman’s claims. On Thursday, Soliman who owned a warehouse in Bulacan province raided by the authorities, accused Juan and Galang of extorting a total of P15 million from him. * READ MORE...

ALSO: Roxas laughs off P5-M extort story, backs NBI investigation

Interior Secretary Mar Roxas, a scion of one of the wealthiest clans in the country, on Friday
laughed off allegations that he had asked for P5 million from a rice trader whose warehouse in Bulacan province was raided by police last month. “There is no truth to the allegations linking me to the supposed extortion. First of all, I don’t know Mr. Soliman,” Roxas told reporters, referring to businessman Jomerito “Jojo” Soliman. “It’s annoying that my name has been dragged into this allegation of extortion against some individuals,” he said in a separate statement. Far from dismissing the accusation as mere political propaganda, Roxas expressed support for the investigation being conducted by the National Bureau of Investigation on Arthur Juan, the National Food Administration (NFA) administrator.

In a complaint he filed with the NBI, Soliman accused Juan and the latter’s assistant, Patricia Galang, of demanding P15 million from him in exchange for his business being allowed to resume operations. He claimed Juan had told him that the money would be shared equally among Roxas, Kiko Pangilinan, the presidential assistant on food security, and the NFA chief himself. “I’m giving my full support to the investigation of the NBI. We should know what really happened,” Roxas said. “Since there’s a money trail, we should follow that trail and find out who owned the bank accounts. Were the deposits made? Is the money still there in the accounts? If not, then who withdrew the money?” he said. “I will not let anybody use my name in their illegal activities,” he added.


ALSO: PNoy warned on Cha-cha; Remember the legacy left by Cory, President told   

Lawmakers yesterday warned President Aquino against pursuing Charter change (Cha-cha) to extend his term and clip the Supreme Court’s powers, reminding him about the legacy left by his late mother, former President Corazon C. Aquino. Vice President Jejomar C. Binay supports Aquino’s move to listen to the voice of the people but opposes his plan to clip the powers of the High Court. He, however, urged President Aquino to listen to “authentic and genuine voice, not one manufactured by quarters with vested interests who are driven mainly by self-preservation.”

DOUBTING TITO Sen. Vicente “Tito” Sotto III, however, said he doubts the President would even consider term extension proposals just to satisfy the whims of his peers. Sotto recalled that even Aquino’s mother advised then President Fidel V. Ramos against pushing for Charter change. “President Cory said then: ‘Eddie, don’t believe the people around you who say you are indispensable,’” Sotto recalled. Sen. Francis “Chiz” Escudero said he was surprised at the President’s sudden change of heart but said he doubts that the President is considering tinkering with the provisions of the Constitution. “As far as I know, he has no plans to do that. He’s counting his days in office,” Escudero said. REMEMBER CORY’S LEGACY Sen. Nancy Binay, daughter of Vice President Binay, cautioned President Aquino against entertaining a term extension, saying he should remember the legacy left by his mother.

“PNoy’s moral anchor is his parents. Seeking a second term and tinkering with the Constitution would be a disrespect to his mother – a move that would bring us back to the shadows of 1971 Con-Con,” said Sen. Binay, who echoed her father’s opinion that President Aquino must listen to genuine voice of the people. “PNoy witnessed history from the point of view of his parents. Senator Ninoy and President Cory fought a regime that believed it had the sole franchise to make the country great. PNoy would honor what his parents stood and died for by continuing their crusade,” Sen. Binay pointed out. “I hope that the President would look back at history when Senator Ninoy fought a dictatorship which perpetrated itself in power and when President Cory turned down calls to run under the 1987 Constitution, even though she was legally allowed to seek a fresh term,” she said. * READ MORE...

ALSO Malaya Opinion: ON THE WAR PATH AGAINST HIMSELF

President Aquino mindlessly declared in Malacañang he is open to a second term. He also has a strong desire to ask Congress to clip the powers of the Supreme Court. We see the President as on the warpath against himself. The anomaly of a second term is amending the Constitution for his own benefit. That makes a ruse of the long-sought change to push growth faster in areas where foreign investments have limitations. The Chief Executive has not realized up to this late stage in his term the fact that he did not win the 2010 polls on his own steam. (He does not have much of it.) It was the demise of his mother that gave him the sweeping victory. This time, the voters will not elect him in memory of his mother. They will take him on the basis of his own capabilities, competence, and nobility of purpose. He hardly has any of these qualities although he is variously held responsible for the improvement of the economy that is now beginning to show signs of contraction after four years of expansion.

He wants Congress to maim the Supreme Court. This is in vindication of his embarrassment and shame over the High Court’s declaration the Disbursement Acceleration Program is unconstitutional. The other possible hidden motive behind a desire for a second presidency is fear of prosecution by a new president. There is no rhyme or reason for thinking so. The fear would have lost its basis if he had not waged a war against the Court, against his Chief Justice he now wants to investigate on the question of the use of the Judicial Development Fund. This is naked vindictiveness the people will long remember. The voters will not take him again not only because the “magic” of his victory from his mother’s death cannot be one more magic hat. * READ MORE...


READ FULL MEDIA NEWS REPORT:

Palace: Aquino fulfilled promise to capture Palparan

MANILA, AUGUST 18, 2014 (INQUIRER) By Kristine Angeli Sabillo |INQUIRER.net10:53 am | Tuesday, August 12th, 2014

Malacañang on Tuesday said President Benigno Aquino III has now fulfilled his promise to capture retired Army Major General Jovito Palparan, one of the five top fugitives in the country.

“President Aquino promised that those who evade the law will be found. That promise to capture General Palparan has been fulfilled today,” Presidential Spokesperson Edwin Lacierda said in a statement.

Reports said Palparan was arrested by members of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) in his hideout in Sta. Mesa, Manila.

Palparan, dubbed “The Butcher” by activists, had been on the run since December 2011 amid accusations that he is the mastermind of the abduction of University of the Philippines students Sherlyn Cadapan and Karen Empeño.

Aquino raised the reward, from P1 million to P2 million, for information leading to the arrest of Palparan in 2012.

Communications Secretary Herminio “Sonny” Coloma Jr. explained that the arrest meant that Palparan “may now be brought before the bar of justice and go through the processes of accountability,” said in a text message to INQUIRER.net.

“We commend the NBI (National Bureau of Investigation) for its steadfast doggedness in pursuing all leads to find and capture Jovito Palparan. Today, this resolute determination has paid off, the long arm of the law has finally reached Mr. Palparan,” Lacierda said.

* Human rights group Karapataan said that in addition to the abduction of the two UP students, Palparan should also  be held accountable for extrajudicial killings and other human rights violations allegedly committed by the military under former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s Oplan Bantay Laya.

“From 2005 to 2006 alone, when The Butcher Palparan was Commanding Officer of the 7th ID, specifically with the 24th IB known as the torture battalion under him, there were 71 victims of extrajudicial killings, 14 victims of frustrated killing, and five incidents of massacre,” Karapatan said.

The group said no special treatment should be accorded to “butchers like him,” especially since among those killed under his watch were human rights defenders Eden Marcellana and peasant leader Eddie Gumanoy in Southern Tagalog; United Church of Christ in the Philippines (UCCP) pastor Edison Lapuz, Leyte; Atty. Fedelito Dacut, Leyte; and Supreme Bishop Alberto Ramento of the Iglesia Filipina Independiente.

Aquino boasts of ‘butcher-free’ AFP, hails ‘new face’ By Joyce Pangco Panares | Aug. 15, 2014 at 12:01am MANILA STANDARD


Gun lover. President Benigno Aquino III examines an M-4 assault rifle during a distribution ceremony for soldiers at the Defense Department on Aug. 14. Aquino said he might try to change the Constitution and serve a second term in office, a stunning announcement in a nation haunted by dictatorship. AFP

President Benigno Aquino III said there are no more “butchers” in the Armed Forces of the Philippines.

Two days after retired Maj. Gen. Jovito Palparan was arrested in Sta. Mesa, Manila, Aquino praised the “new face” of the AFP - professional soldiers who are not only well-equipped but well-respected.

“On Tuesday, one of the most wanted fugitives in the Philippines was arrested and will be brought to justice to answer accusations of abuse,” Aquino said during the turnover of new assault rifles for the Philippine Army and the Philippine Navy in Camp Aguinaldo on Thursday.

“We can now say that while your rank were seen as butchers in the past, you are now respected and trusted as true allies of the Filipino people,” he said.

Palparan earned the moniker “butcher” for his successful anti-insurgency campaigns.

He went into hiding in December 2011 after a warrant of arrest was issued against him over the abduction and disappearance of UP students Sherlyn Cadapan and Karen Empeno in 2006.

The government has procured 50,629 assault rifles worth P38,402.13 each as part of the AFP Modernization Program.

Some 27,300 assault rifles were delivered in July, while the remaining P23,329 will be delivered in December.

Although P3.19 billion was allotted for the purchase of the rifles, only P1.9 billion was spent.

Aquino said because of a more transparent and effective public bidding, the savings will be used to buy an additional 12,657 assault rifles for the Philippine Army due to arrive in December as well.

“Now that we are able to fund these initiatives for you, we expect you to perform your mandate to the fullest,” the President said.

During his speech, Aquino recalled a story shared to him by Marines guarding the Kalayaan Island Group.

He said there was an instance when the soldiers were forced to paint a coconut trunk black to deceive their enemies, who were pointing real cannons at them.

The president was joined by Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin and AFP Chief Gregorio Pio Catapang during the event.

In his opening remarks, Catapang thanked the President for the acquisition of the rifles, saying that soldiers are still using early models of M16 and M16A1 rifles, which were used during the Vietnam War. With PNA

FROM PHILSTAR

Debate rages over Aquino's plan to run for another term (philstar.com) | Updated August 16, 2014 - 7:00pm 0 2 googleplus0 0

MANILA, Philippines (Xinhua) - The recent disclosure of President Benigno Aquino III that he is open to the idea of amending the Philippine constitution to pave the way for his running for another six-year term has stirred a hornet's nest and opened the floodgates of a heated debate in a country whose favorite pastime is politics.

In a television interview on Wednesday, Aquino said that the debacle that his government has suffered at the country's Supreme Court has prompted him to rethink about his previous position against any move to amend the constitution.

Aquino said that the judiciary, as exemplified by the Supreme Court, is using its powers to check congress and the executive department too much. "The problem now is, there are those who ask: 'Has it gone too far?'"

The president has criticized the country's highest court for its ruling that the 144.4 billion-peso (3.32 billion U.S. dollars) disbursement acceleration program was unconstitutional. He said that the stimulus package has spurred economic growth.

"I have to listen to the people," Aquino said in the television interview when asked if he would consider seeking re-election in 2016. "How do we ensure the reforms we began will become permanent? "

Aquino, who has two years left in his term, is barred from running again by the constitution.

It was Interior Secretary Manuel Roxas who first broached the idea of Aquino running again for another term, saying that it is only Aquino who can keep the country's economic gains under his daang matuwid or "straight path" mantra of governance.

"A number of people are saying that to be able to continue the straight path, there's no better way to do it but to have a second term for the president for him to continue his leadership," Roxas said.

* Roxas has insinuated that if the country will be again led by the opposition, rampant corruption, which has characterized previous administrations, will return.

Roxas, however, added that the idea of a second term for Aquino was only his personal opinion and has not been discussed within the hierarchy of the ruling Liberal Party (LP) of which he and Aquino are the top officials.

But critics are saying that Roxas has his own agenda for proposing a constitutional change so that Aquino can seek another term.

Ramon Casiple, executive director of the Institute for Political and Electoral Reform, said that the call for another term for Aquino could be a strategy to unite the ruling party.

"It's the voice of desperation," Casiple said. "The president's Liberal Party doesn't have a winnable candidate for 2016, and this might be an attempt to unify members with him at the center."

Roxas, the presumptive LP candidate in 2016, has been lagging in the polls, far behind Vice President Jejomar Binay of the opposition United Nationalist Alliance, who has openly announced that he would run for president in 2016. Roxas lost to Binay in the vice presidential race in 2010.

Opposition lawmakers have also denounced the move to allow Aquino to run for another term, saying that it will perpetuate Aquino in power and is a betrayal of the legacy of his mother, late President Corazon Aquino, under whose term the l987 constitution was adopted.

The Integrated Bar of the Philippines, the biggest association of lawyers in the country, has described Aquino's attack on the Supreme Court as dangerous and could prod the country into a dictatorship.

Under the check-and-balance principle in a republican form of government patterned after that of the U.S., the judiciary's function is to check both the legislature and the executive branch of any abuse of power.

The powerful Roman Catholic Church in the country also rejected calls for changes in the constitution.

Archbishop Socrates Villegas, president of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines, said that they could not lend support to a constitutional amendment that would "merely serve the purposes of one office holder or one class of persons."

Villegas also said that the Church does not favor the curbing of the powers of the Supreme Court which, he said, is the only recourse of the Filipino people against abuses by those in power.

Even the business community is wary of the move to amend the constitution.

"Aquino needs to communicate how he wants the constitution changed," said Jonathan Ravelas, chief market strategist at BDO Unibank Inc. in Manila, adding that any change will create "near- term uncertainty" for investors. "The more transparent this process is, the better," he said.

FROM IBON FOUNDATION

Filipinos don't approve of Cha-cha; basis of term extension questioned IBON NEWS | 15 August 2014 |

Latest IBON Survey shows that majority of respondents who are aware of Cha-cha are not in favor of it

Research group IBON questioned the basis of Charter change (Cha-cha) proponents who are calling for a second term for Pres. Aquino so that he can continue the supposed good reforms in the economy. The group noted that public dissatisfaction against the administration is, on the contrary, steadily rising because of persistent and unresolved economic problems.

Administration allies, and even Pres. Aquino himself, had said that they wanted to consult the people regarding prospects for a second term “to ensure the reforms will become permanent”. However, IBON noted that in its past three quarterly nationwide surveys, the percentage of respondents who said that their livelihood did not change and became worse increased from 80% to 84.2 percent.

IBON added that survey results and socioeconomic indicators show that after four years, there have not been any significant gains against joblessness, rising prices, low incomes and poverty. It also noted that there are even signs that economic growth, which benefited only a few corporations, has started to slow.

The group also said that Malacanang should take note of the people’s sentiment on amending the Charter. The latest IBON Survey shows that majority of respondents who are aware of Cha-cha are not in favor of it. Sixty-three percent (63%) of the respondents who are aware of the resolution filed in the last Congress seeking to amend the 1987 Constitution said that they do not approve of Cha-cha, while 28.9% said they are in favor. In IBON surveys covering past administrations, the trend has been of the majority of Filipinos rejecting Cha-cha especially when the proposed amendments included a term extension for the administration. (end)

FROM THE MANILA STANDARD

Palace, Balay hatch ‘public clamor’ ploy; Cha-cha push revives intense clique bickerings  By Christine F. Herrera, Joyce P. Pañares | Aug. 15, 2014 at 12:01am

THE Palace and the Liberal Party led by Interior Secretary Manuel Roxas II were behind the “manufactured clamor” for a second term for President Benigno Aquino III, Palace sources said Thursday.

The “second-term push” has revived the intense infighting between the so-called Balay group, led by Roxas and the Samar group, led by Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa Jr.

The term extension plan was hatched as early as April, when a community page was launched in Facebook. A second similarly themed community page was created in June.

The page’s administrator appears to be certain Mark Anthony Camorahan Duco of Iloilo City.

Duco’s personal page showed that he comes from Jaro. Some of his posts in other community pages were in defense of Senate President Franklin Drilon in threads on the pork barrel scam.

Drilon was identified as among the key players and authors of the Disbursement Acceleration Program, parts of which were ruled unconstitutional by the Supreme Court.

“There is no public clamor for the President to seek another term. The manufactured voice was a script designed by the Palace that was pursued vigorously shortly after the Supreme Court handed down on July 1 its 13-0 ruling on DAP,” said the Palace source, who requested anonymity.

“The President emboldened his men, the ruling Liberal Party, Hyatt 10 and Black and White Movement to push for a second term by revising the Constitution when he asked the public on July 15 to wear yellow ribbons to show support for him,” the Palace source told the Manila Standard.

One week before Roxas stated in public that he wanted a second term for the President, Aquino had already given him the green light, the source said.

“The President himself wanted a second term but he wanted to make it appear that he was heeding the public clamor for it. Thus, the manufactured voice, the manufactured clamor as orchestrated by the Liberals, and upon the instructions of the President,” the source said.

* On July 29 , the source said, Roxas was scheduled to appear before the ANC program hosted by Lynda Jumilla.

“Mar, who was supposed to be interviewed live, came late. He was late because he had to inform the President of his plan to make the announcement that he preferred a second term for Aquino. ANC was forced to air a rerun of the President’s State of The Nation Address since the speech lasted more than an hour,” the source said.

With the SONA rerun on mid-air, Roxas arrived and the ANC decided to tape the interview to be aired the following week, Aug. 5, the source said.

Since the President gave Roxas the go signal to make the announcement, he did so again when he was interviewed in Glorrieta in Makati City at the exhibit of the late President Corazon Aquino’s paintings on Aug. 1, the fifth death anniversary.

“So, from Aug. 1 to 12, the President and a small clique in the Palace, led by Mar and the Liberal’s Balay group, started to test the waters by drumming up support for the President’s seeking reelection,” the source said.

The President’s allies in the House also started backing the second-term call that worried House Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr., who has been pushing for the Charter change on economic provisions only.

The Speaker said some lawmakers backed the lifting of term limits because 70 of the 290-member House were on their last term.

Belmonte, also an official of the Liberal Party, is now under pressure from the Palace to include political provisions in revising the Charter, including the lifting of term limits.

But Belmonte, as of last night, insisted that he would only push for changes in the economic provisions of the Constitution.

“The plan to tinker with the Constitution has revived the intense bickering in the Palace between the Balay and Samar group,” the source said.

“But the Samar group has been left out of the loop because it was against the President’s tinkering of the Constitution,” the source added.

This was why Presidential Communications Operations Office Secretary Herminio Coloma, who was identified with Ochoa’s Samar group, gave out a different version of the President’s stand on Charter change vis-à-vis those of presidential ppokesman Edwin Lacierda and deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte, who are identified with the Roxas group.

Coloma, who was left out of the loop, had earlier disputed claims that the President wanted a second term and insisted that Aquino’s position was always against the revision of the Constitution and that the President respects the Constitution that mandates a fixed one six-year term for the President.

Lacierda and Valte, who were privy to the second-push plan, hinted that the President always listened and welcomed the clamor of his bosses and would decide according to what his bosses wanted.

On Wednesday, Aug. 13, the pretense was dropped with the President himself announcing on TV5 interview that he was open to Charter change and wanted to seek a second term.

The President said he wanted to clip the Supreme Court’s powers.

“The President wanted a second term because with Roxas’ poor showing in the surveys, he knew the Liberals would lose the presidency and President Aquino... that the public would make him accountable for the DAP and the Priority Development Assistance Funds,” the Palace source said.

The source also said the President, during his July 28 SONA was teary-eyed because he already knew the result of the Pulse Asia Survey showing his net approval rating had plunged to 29 percent.

“The President was teary-eyed because he was devastated by that plunge and could not accept that his popularity among his bosses had declined, and Roxas’ rating has remained at its lowest among the potential presidential candidates,” the source said.

“The President believes he has no choice but to seek another term to prevent possible legal problems once he and his men are no longer in power,” the source added.

Also on Thursday, the militant Bagong Alyansang Makabayan said the people behind the online campaign to give Aquino a second term were administration allies.

Bayan secretary general Renato Reyes said contrary to what the Palace is making it appear, the call for another term for Aquino was not a genuine move from ordinary Filipinos supporting the government.

“We believe that the factions of the Black and White movement, the Hyatt 10, and the Liberal Party are behind the campaign,” Reyes said.

“The manufactured clamor will peak in a Yellow Rally toward the end of the month. This is the information that we got,” he added.

In an earlier interview, Lacierda said such calls for another term has already reached the President.

But when he was asked who was behind the clamor, Lacierda said: “These were all anecdotal. I can’t anwer you. There are no specifics here.”

FROM THE INQUIRER

NFA Chief Juan received extortion phone message; App can fake phone messages–Secretary Pangilinan  By Nancy C. Carvajal |Philippine Daily Inquirer6:16 am | Sunday, August 17th, 2014


Presidential Assistant on Food Security Francis ‘Kiko’ Pangilinan. INQUIRER FILE PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines—The cell phone of rice trader Jomerito “Jojo” Soliman on which he claims to have received extortionate messages from National Food Authority (NFA) officials should undergo a forensic examination to determine the authenticity of the messages, presidential assistant on food security Kiko Pangilinan said on Saturday.

“A phone application when operated can make SMS messages appear to have been sent from a given number even if another number was in fact used to send it,” Pangilinan said.

Soliman accused NFA head Arthur Juan and his assistant, lawyer Patricia Galang, of extorting P15 million from him, allegedly in exchange for the dropping of the profiteering charges that the government had filed against the rice trader.

According to the user’s guide of the phone app, a “fake message” could be sent to a particular phone with any name of the perpetrator’s choice made to appear as the sender.

President Benigno Aquino III has ordered the NBI to investigate the allegations of Soliman against the NFA officials.
Juan and Galang have denied the accusation and claimed the text messages purportedly coming from them were fabricated and did not come from their cell phones.

* The two said it was Soliman’s way of getting back at them for the reforms they had instituted at the NFA.

“I categorically state that the allegations are not true, are baseless and mere fabrications,” said Juan.

Juan denied owning the cell phone that Soliman said he (Juan) had used to text Soliman and give instructions on where to deposit the money. He also denied knowing the persons into whose accounts Soliman allegedly deposited the P10-million extortion money.

“The alleged cell phone is not my phone and I do not know the persons who were identified as owners of the bank account,” Juan said.

He also explained that he only met Galang on June 30, or 10 days before the alleged exchange of money took place.

Galang also denied the allegations against her and confirmed Juan’s statement that they met for the first time when she became his special assistant on June 30.

New NFA chief quits post  But Pangilinan rejects resignation
By Julliane Love De Jesus, Nancy Carvajal |INQUIRER.net, Philippine Daily Inquirer1:58 pm | Friday, August 15th, 2014


Arthur Juan, NFA administrator. PHOTO BY RAFFY LERMA

MANILA, Philippines—Amid allegations of extorting P15 million from a rice trader, National Food Authortiy (NFA) administrator Arthur Juan tendered his resignation on Friday.

But this was swiftly rejected by Presidential Adviser on Food Security Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan.

Pangilinan said he convinced Juan and his assistant Lawyer Patricia Galang not to step down from their posts.

Juan also denied in a press briefing rice trader Jomerito “Jojo” Soliman’s claims.

On Thursday, Soliman who owned a warehouse in Bulacan province raided by the authorities, accused Juan and Galang of extorting a total of P15 million from him.

* In a sworn statement submitted to the National Bureau of Investigation, Soliman said Juan told him that P5 million each was meant for Interior Secretary Mar Roxas and Pangilinan and another P5 million for the NFA chief himself.

Soliman said the money was in exchange for the dropping of charges against him and the reopening of his padlocked warehouse.

Juan was only appointed last June 24 by President Benigno Aquino III as NFA council member and administrator.

The 68-year-old Juan served as the president of San Miguel Foods, Inc. (SMFI) from 2005 to 2009 before he was tapped to head the government agency.

Roxas laughs off P5-M extort story, backs NBI investigation
By Marlon Ramos |Philippine Daily Inquirer7:36 am | Saturday, August 16th, 2014


Interior Secretary Mar Roxas. INQUIRER PHOTO / GRIG C. MONTEGRANDE

MANILA, Philippines—Interior Secretary Mar Roxas, a scion of one of the wealthiest clans in the country, on Friday laughed off allegations that he had asked for P5 million from a rice trader whose warehouse in Bulacan province was raided by police last month.

“There is no truth to the allegations linking me to the supposed extortion. First of all, I don’t know Mr. Soliman,” Roxas told reporters, referring to businessman Jomerito “Jojo” Soliman.

“It’s annoying that my name has been dragged into this allegation of extortion against some individuals,” he said in a separate statement.

Far from dismissing the accusation as mere political propaganda, Roxas expressed support for the investigation being conducted by the National Bureau of Investigation on Arthur Juan, the National Food Administration (NFA) administrator.

In a complaint he filed with the NBI, Soliman accused Juan and the latter’s assistant, Patricia Galang, of demanding P15 million from him in exchange for his business being allowed to resume operations.

He claimed Juan had told him that the money would be shared equally among Roxas, Kiko Pangilinan, the presidential assistant on food security, and the NFA chief himself.

“I’m giving my full support to the investigation of the NBI. We should know what really happened,” Roxas said.

“Since there’s a money trail, we should follow that trail and find out who owned the bank accounts. Were the deposits made? Is the money still there in the accounts? If not, then who withdrew the money?” he said.

“I will not let anybody use my name in their illegal activities,” he added.

* Roxas stressed that he did not personally know Juan and that he had only met him twice when they held a meeting before the raid jointly carried out by the NFA and the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) on Soliman’s rice warehouse in Malolos, Bulacan.

Pangilinan and Roxas led the operation, which the CIDG conducted after reportedly receiving information that Soliman was selling commercial rice mixed with animal feeds.

Roxas said he spoke with Pangilinan yesterday and the latter also denied the allegations.

“He said Juan was recommended by a search committee composed of (private individuals and groups), including the Management Association of the Philippines,” Roxas said.

Despite the serious accusations against the NFA officials, Roxas vowed to continue the government’s campaign against unscrupulous businessmen taking advantage of the current shortage in the supply of rice and other agricultural products.

FROM THE MANILA BULLETIN

PNoy warned on Cha-cha; Remember the legacy left by Cory, President told by Hannah L. Torregoza and Charissa M. Luci August 15, 2014


MOTHER & SON: PRESIDENT CORY AQUINO AND SENATOR BENIGNO AQUINO III

Lawmakers yesterday warned President Aquino against pursuing Charter change (Cha-cha) to extend his term and clip the Supreme Court’s powers, reminding him about the legacy left by his late mother, former President Corazon C. Aquino.

Vice President Jejomar C. Binay supports Aquino’s move to listen to the voice of the people but opposes his plan to clip the powers of the High Court.

He, however, urged President Aquino to listen to “authentic and genuine voice, not one manufactured by quarters with vested interests who are driven mainly by self-preservation.”

DOUBTING TITO

Sen. Vicente “Tito” Sotto III, however, said he doubts the President would even consider term extension proposals just to satisfy the whims of his peers.

Sotto recalled that even Aquino’s mother advised then President Fidel V. Ramos against pushing for Charter change.

“President Cory said then: ‘Eddie, don’t believe the people around you who say you are indispensable,’” Sotto recalled.

Sen. Francis “Chiz” Escudero said he was surprised at the President’s sudden change of heart but said he doubts that the President is considering tinkering with the provisions of the Constitution.

“As far as I know, he has no plans to do that. He’s counting his days in office,” Escudero said.

REMEMBER CORY’S LEGACY

Sen. Nancy Binay, daughter of Vice President Binay, cautioned President Aquino against entertaining a term extension, saying he should remember the legacy left by his mother.

“PNoy’s moral anchor is his parents. Seeking a second term and tinkering with the Constitution would be a disrespect to his mother – a move that would bring us back to the shadows of 1971 Con-Con,” said Sen. Binay, who echoed her father’s opinion that President Aquino must listen to genuine voice of the people.

“PNoy witnessed history from the point of view of his parents. Senator Ninoy and President Cory fought a regime that believed it had the sole franchise to make the country great. PNoy would honor what his parents stood and died for by continuing their crusade,” Sen. Binay pointed out.

“I hope that the President would look back at history when Senator Ninoy fought a dictatorship which perpetrated itself in power and when President Cory turned down calls to run under the 1987 Constitution, even though she was legally allowed to seek a fresh term,” she said.

* Sen. Joseph Victor “JV” Ejercito said those advising him about term extension is putting the President on dangerous grounds.

“They are putting him in an awkward position. I am surprised and at the same time also disappointed that thought entered his mind,” Ejercito said.

“He’s turning away from his mother’s legacy. I was expecting him to be consistent with his stand and his conviction before. He and I opposed the term extension of former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo,” he said.

LIKENED TO GMA

At the House of Representatives, Gabriela party-list Rep. Luz Ilagan, along with other Makabayan lawmakers, raised concern over Aquino’s openness to amend the Constitution to lift his six-year term as well as to “subvert” the judiciary’s independence.

“He is causing a constitutional crisis using the SC as platform to challenge the independence of a branch of government co-equal to the others. Aquino is pathetic, no different from GMA. But he is worse!” she said.

Deputy Minority Leader and YACAP party-list Rep. Carol Jayne Lopez said with his Cha-cha declaration, the President “is treading on dangerous ground.”

“From the start I am open to the economic overhauling of the Constitution’s provisions. But touching the political side, the term limits in particular right at this point in the time when elections are a year and half away is most certainly not appropriate. Walang pinagbago sa desperate moves dati nung panahon ni GMA. Bakit may kinakatakutan ba sila? If it is only to clip the powers of the SC then why touch the political aspect?” she said.

STRONG OPPOSITION

Bayan Muna party-list Rep. Carlos Zarate said the President finally admitted he is even more eager than his yellow allies to dance the political Cha-cha. He warned that his term extension initiative would be strongly opposed by various sectors.

“BS Aquino’s duplicity is now totally unmasked. Hele-hele bago kiyere… If they tinker with the Constitution now, the Aquino administration will be met by a strong opposition and rejection by the people, as they repeatedly did in the past. The administration should by now realize that more and more people are already getting tired of the false promises of BS Aquino’s huwad na daan,” he said.

Deputy Majority Leader and Citizens Battle against Corruption party-list Rep. Sherwin Tugna joined his colleagues in rejecting the political Cha-cha, but he agreed with the President that there is a need to revisit the “judicial power.”

“Charter Change for term extension will obliterate PNoy’s good name and legacy. As to the broadness of the definition of what “judicial power” is in the 1987 Constitution, it is high time for it to be revisited,” Tugna said.

Parañaque Rep. Gus Tambunting, Abakada party-list Rep. Jonathan dela Cruz, and Buhay party-list Rep. Lito Atienza also opposed the President’s declaration.

“I think a Charter change should only be for the purpose of amending provisions that would encourage foreign investments and promote our economic development better but not to extend a President’s term,” Tambunting said.

GIVE PEOPLE A CHANCE

He said the President should step down and give the people the chance to choose a new leader.

Dela Cruz said the President just confirmed his dubious plans to stay in power.

“It just confirms what the public has been fearing that all along starting with the Bangsamoro Basic Law framework, proposed amendment of the economic provisions, and the strip tease over the 2016 elections were part of a grand plan to lull and deceive our people and divert attention from the grave problems facing the country and our people,” Dela Cruz said.

“Charter change to improve economic provisions, yes, but to tinker with term limits, no,” Atienza said.

AKO Bicol party-list Rep. Rodel Batocabe expressed doubt that the President’s statement, includes his assent to term extension.

“I think the President is just referring to the expanded power of judicial review to curb any abuse by the SC in the event that it does not exercise judicial restraint. Indeed, a court which fails to exercise judicial restraint has overreaching powers which can only be checked by the tedious and usually divisive impeachment proceeding,” he said.

But, Eastern Samar Rep. Ben Evardone, who filed Cha-cha resolution in the 15th Congress, welcomed the President’s openness to proposed constitutional amendments.

He cited that there is a need to amend several economic, political, and constitutional provisions “to enable our country to pursue meaningful and lasting fundamental reforms.”

“I cannot lend support to constitutional amendments that merely serve the purposes of one office-holder or one class of persons,” Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Socrates Villegas, president of the Catholic Bishop Conference of the Philippines (CBCP), said.

“Constitutional amendments are justified only in the measure that they redound to the benefit of the nation and address long-festering problems arising out of ambiguities in the Constitution,” he explained.

Like Villegas, Archbishop Emeritus Oscar Cruz echoed the same position against Charter change, but he dwelled more on President’s sentiments to stay longer in office.

Cruz said that he believes that it’s people around President Aquino who want to extend his term so “they can continue their stay in their beneficial offices.”

“I do not think that the President is totally responsible for his option of a second term by changing the Constitution,” he said.

CHECK AND BALANCE

In opposing the move to clip the powers of SC, Vice President Binay said that a democracy involves a system of checks and balances among the executive, legislative, and judicial branches of government.

“The three branches of government have separate functions. Such is the essence of democracy,” the Vice President, a lawyer by profession, said in an interview in Sorsogon.

The Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) likewise warned of the “dangerous” move to amend the 1987 Constitution to curb the power of SC to check the abuses of the executive and legislative departments.

“This (amending the Constitution) is really dangerous, especially if its main purpose is to curtail the judiciary, especially the Supreme Court. It seems that they want a government that is similar during the martial law years,” said IBP president Vicente Joyas Joyas.

But Presidential Communications Operations Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. said President Aquino has no intention to pick a fight with the SC, brushing aside speculations he is trying to exact revenge after the High Tribunal declared some acts under the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) unconstitutional.

Tugna, who supports the move to clip the SC power, noted: “The framers of our 1987 Constitution gave this broad definition of judicial power as a reaction to what President Marcos did to the judiciary then, clipped its powers. As a result, the framers gave the judiciary a reactionary and broad power by stating that judicial power is defined as reviewing any branch of government if it has committed grave abuse of discretion. This includes policy questions like the RH Law and the DAP. The definition of what judicial power is should be revisited.” Marikina Rep. Miro Quimbo agreed with Tugna, recognizing that the Constitution unduly gave the SC too much power when it allowed it to review any controversy using the “grave abuse of discretion” rule.

But Archbishop Villegas said: “Judicial review is the only recourse of the hapless citizen.”

Ilocos Norte Rep. Rodolfo Farinas rallied behind the President’s move to clip the Supreme Court’s “immense” power.

“The ‘immense power of the SC’ and the contemporaneous interpretation and exercise of its expanded power of judicial review and its fiscal autonomy, in fact, are the subjects of my letter to the SC that I have been doing (and supposed to have been delivered last Friday),” he said. (With reports from JC Bello Ruiz, Rey G. Panaligan, and Raymund F. Antonio)

MALAYA OPINION

ON THE WAR PATH AGAINST HIMSELF By Amado P. Macasaet | August 15, 2014


Amado P. Macasaet

President Aquino mindlessly declared in Malacañang he is open to a second term. He also has a strong desire to ask Congress to clip the powers of the Supreme Court.

We see the President as on the warpath against himself.

The anomaly of a second term is amending the Constitution for his own benefit.

That makes a ruse of the long-sought change to push growth faster in areas where foreign investments have limitations.

The Chief Executive has not realized up to this late stage in his term the fact that he did not win the 2010 polls on his own steam. (He does not have much of it.) It was the demise of his mother that gave him the sweeping victory.

This time, the voters will not elect him in memory of his mother. They will take him on the basis of his own capabilities, competence, and nobility of purpose. He hardly has any of these qualities although he is variously held responsible for the improvement of the economy that is now beginning to show signs of contraction after four years of expansion.

He wants Congress to maim the Supreme Court. This is in vindication of his embarrassment and shame over the High Court’s declaration the Disbursement Acceleration Program is unconstitutional.

The other possible hidden motive behind a desire for a second presidency is fear of prosecution by a new president. There is no rhyme or reason for thinking so.

The fear would have lost its basis if he had not waged a war against the Court, against his Chief Justice he now wants to investigate on the question of the use of the Judicial Development Fund.

This is naked vindictiveness the people will long remember. The voters will not take him again not only because the “magic” of his victory from his mother’s death cannot be one more magic hat.

* He has shown himself for what he really is: a Chief Executive who is single -minded on what he wants the people may not exactly share.

It is his mother’s 1987 Constitution that imposed term limit on the President and other elected officials. The son desecrates the memory of the mother by lifting the limit. Morality and fondness for the memory of a dead mother appears to have succumbed to greed for power. This is the most malignant manifestation of ingratitude, not to friends and supporters but to the President’s own mother whose death, we must repeat, brought him to the Presidency.

The child is not the father of the man in this case. The son forgets what his mother’s death bestowed upon him — the presidency of the Republic of the Philippines.

President Aquino has not been able to correctly assess the chances of Mar Roxas to win the presidency in the next election. He continues to declare his support for him.

He also betrays Mar by going back on his word. He does not want Roxas to be President. PNoy wants to support himself for a second term.

This is another unadulterated treachery against Mar Roxas who would have opposed him in the 2010 elections but correctly assessed the reality that Mrs. Aquino’s demise would ensure the victory of her son.

Casting a moist eye on a second term will break up the Liberal Party.

Dissension is inevitable. He effectively hands the victory of the presidential candidate of the Opposition on a silver platter. Worse, he obliterates whatever little respect the people have for him.

The most recent survey shows the President’s rating dropping to its lowest level. Mr. Aquino cannot even correctly read that reality. The surveys were right when his ratings were high. They are wrong because the ratings have plummeted.

This is another sign of lack of firmness.

Nor can he appreciate the fact that politics is such that a President cannot do anything right towards the end of his term. He becomes a lame duck. At that point, the President cannot do anything right.

In the early stages of his presidency, he can only make mistakes, he could not be wrong. As if being perceived to be in the wrong does not come to a President late in his term, Mr. Aquino committed one blunder after another.

Most serious among them is the failure to recognize the reality that the only duty of the Supreme Court is to interpret the Constitution and the laws. Because the interpretation of the Constitution on the DAP question was not to his liking, he started fighting the Court. Realizing that he waged a war he can never win, he decided to even up the score by prosing to clip the powers of the High Court.. The image or perception of being a lame duck will change to suspicions the President, unlike his mother who categorically rejected soundings by his advisers of a second term, is power hungry. He will use the name of the people to run again without a clamor from the people.

The Chief Justice and the three other magistrates he appointed all went against him in ruling that the DAP is unconstitutional, making the vote unanimous. In what way does he want the powers of the Supreme Court reduced? Isn’t it bad enough that his supporter, a congressman from the North, is said to have prepared impeachment complaints against the Chief Justice? Isn’t it bad enough he caused the investigation of the Chief Justice by the House of Representatives?

In effect, he regrets appointing Maria Lourdes P.A. Sereno and now wants her punished by investigation and worst of all clipping the powers of her court clearly in the knowledge that Mrs. Sereno will stay in the Court for almost 30 years.

So, he thought he would run again and see the Court without the Chief Justice he appointed over the heads of senior magistrates.

The next President will appoint 11 members of the Court. That does not assure the President of cooperation in cases where his jurists must rule on the basis of what is good for the Office of the President and the intents of the Constitution. They do not always sit together as shown by the declaration of unconstitutionality of the DAP and the PDAF before that.


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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