PALACE: AQUINO STILL ENJOYS PEOPLE'S SUPPORT  

A day after thousands of people gathered at Rizal Park to protest the pork barrel system, Malacañang said President Benigno Aquino III still enjoys support from a majority of Filipinos. “Sa nakikikita nating constant monitoring, malaki naman ang kalamangan ng sumusuporta sa Pangulo lalo na pagkapahayag n’ya ng Sona (State of the Nation Address),” Communications Secretary Herminio “Sonny” Coloma Jr. said during a press briefing.
(Our constant monitoring would show that more people still support the President, especially after he gave his Sona.) Asked about the allegedly low turnout at the Abolish Pork Movement’s protest last Tuesday compared to the Million People March last year, Coloma said they believe that it was because many Filipinos recognize the efforts of the administration. Coloma added that the organizers of the rally should probably study the outcome of the rally. Although several thousands of protesters participated in Monday’s rally, reports said it fell short when compared to last year’s Million People March that drew almost 100,000 people. “Meron ding expression kasi, ano e, di ba ’yung ‘voting with their feet,’ na siguro kung may sapat na paniniwala o paninindigan, they will vote with their feet. Dadalhin nila ‘yung sarili nila ‘dun katulad ‘nung ginawa ng mas maraming bilang katulad noong nakaraang taon,” Coloma said of the protest. (There is the expression, ‘voting with their feet,’ which means that if they have enough conviction, they will vote with their feet. They will bring themselves there like what happened last year.) *READ MORE...

ALSO: 3 impeach raps get to first base  

PHOTO: Safe on first base. Bayan Muna Rep. Neri Colmenares (left) answers a question during a hearing of the House justice committee, chaired by Iloilo Rep. Neil Tupas (right), on the impeachment complaint against President Benigno Aquino III that was found sufficient in form despite supposed flaws. MANNY PALMERO The House committee on justice on Tuesday found the three impeachment complaints against President Benigno Aquino III sufficient in form despite what some administration allies called “fatal defects.” With an overwhelming majority vote, the committee led by Iloilo Rep. Niel Tupas, Jr. applied the impeachment rules with “liberality in the interest of justice,” and set the stage for the consolidation of the three complaints, and a debate on their sufficiency in substance on Sept. 2. At the same time, the panel barred the fourth impeachment complaint filed last Aug. 11 by a group of teachers led by Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT) party-list Rep. Antonio Tinio, which alleged that the President was still offering pork barrel to lawmakers, despite a Supreme Court ruling that declared the Priority Development Assistance Fund unconstitutional. Voting 53-1-1, the panel affirmed as amended the first impeachment complaint filed by 28 individuals from the anti-pork barrel groups led by Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan) in connection with the Disbursement Acceleration Program, parts of which were declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court. * READ MORE...

ALSO: PNoy on DAP issue: SC meddling too much   

President Benigno Aquino III said the Supreme Court has been meddling too much, making it difficult for him to run the government. In an exclusive interview with Bombo Radyo aired on Thursday, Aquino said the Supreme Court seems to be overchecking the executive department. He reiterated his openness to amend the Constitution and clip this power of the high court. "Mukhang sumobra naman yata dun sa... lahat pinapakialaman... nagiging mahirap lalo patakbuhin ang gobyerno... 'yung judicial reach mukhang dapat i-review, lagyan ng hangganan," Aquino said. Aquino cited the unanimous decision of the Supreme Court that declared partially unconstitutional the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) of his administration. The same ruling also declared that authors and proponents of the DAP will be held accountable unless proven innocent by the proper tribunal. The President said the Supreme Court may have presumed the executive department guilty when it should be the other way around. "Sa Bill of Rights, presumed innocent until proven guilty. Dito binago: guilty until proven innocent... Parang napalitan yata 'yung Saligang Batas dito," Aquino said. THIS IS THE FULL REPORT

ALSO: Lacierda mistakenly calls DILG secretary ‘President Mar’  

Was it a slip of the tongue or a subliminal message?  After his no-election scenario blunder, Presidential Spokesman Edwin Lacierda made another slip – this time addressing Interior and Local Government Secretary Mar Roxas as “President Mar.” Lacierda referred to Roxas as “President Mar” while responding to media queries if President Aquino endorsed the Liberal Party’s plan to support the bill seeking to ban political dynasties. “I was there when President Mar – ay, sorry, well, Secretary Mar Roxas – when Secretary Mar Roxas said it,” Lacierda said in a Palace press briefing. “Siya ang nagsabi sa forum doon sa KOMPRe (Koalisyon ng Mamamayan Para sa Reporma) na may consultation with the chairman of the Liberal Party [He mentioned in the forum with KOMPRe about the consultation with the chairman of the Liberal Party],” he asserted, referring to the LP’s support for the passage of the anti-political dynasty bill in Congress. Lacierda committed the slip amid speculations Roxas, president-on leave of the Liberal Party, is being groomed as the administration standard bearer in the 2016 presidential elections. The President, who is chairman of the Liberal Party, has yet to endorse the party’s candidate preferring to focus on governance instead of the 2016 elections. Lacierda is said to be allied with the Balay group associated with Roxas and Budget Secretary Florencio Abad. * READ MORE...

ALSO: Noy to do right thing on Cha-cha – Palace  

President Aquino will do the right thing when it comes to Charter change (Cha-cha) and term extension after consultations with the people, a Malacañang official said yesterday. In a press briefing, presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda said constitutional expert Fr. Joaquin Bernas was getting ahead of himself in telling the President that six years is long enough and that he must give way to other good people. “The President has, again, not made any moves. He’s just in the consultation stage so let’s just wait for the decision of the President. And if there’s one thing that I’d like to impart to the Filipino people, you know, the President has kept faith with the Filipino people for the past four years. We ask you to trust that the President will do the right thing,” Lacierda said. He said they could also understand the concerns of groups like the Makati Business Club, which expressed opposition to Aquino’s term extension. The MBC said 71 percent of its members opposed a second term for the President. They also warned Aquino against undermining the gains of his administration by seeking a second term.

“They are primarily concerned with amending the economic provisions and they felt that this statement, this idea of term extension, would somehow hamper their push for the amendments on the economic provisions. But again, like the previous concern, we’d just like to tell the Makati Business Club that the President has not made any action yet with respect to Charter change. He is still consulting and is in the process of consultation,” Lacierda said. He said they were not doing anything to push for Cha-cha at this time and pointed at United Nationalist Alliance secretary-general and Navotas Rep. Toby Tiangco as the one who kept talking about constitutional amendments. “I mean, who likes talking about Cha-cha? It’s Toby. He’s been talking about all possible scenarios when we’re not doing anything, isn’t it? We’ve been focused on the problems of the here and now. We’re trying to find solutions for real people for their problems. So this government is focused on that. And the President was just being honest about his views on the Constitution but he has not gone beyond that,” Lacierda said. *READ MORE...

ALSO: PNoy on anti-dynasty law: Kawawa kami   

President Benigno Aquino III supports an anti-political dynasty law though he is concerned that such measure may deprive politicians some of their rights. Aquino, who comes from a political clan himself, said it will be difficult to have honest and genuine elections if only certain families are dominating various sectors including politics. The President said he supports a pending bill at the House of Representatives that seeks to prevent families from holding too many positions in the government. "Pagkaintindi ko sa kasalukuyang Kongreso meron na hong mga panukalang batas na talagang umaabante na at pati si Speaker nagsalita na pabor siya diyan sa Anti-Dynasty Bill," Aquino said in an exclusive interview with Bombo Radyo aired on Thursday morning. He admitted, however, that such law could curtail the political rights of government officials like him. "Ang hirap nga nito 'yung kawawa na rin kaming mga pulitiko kung tutuusin," Aquino said. "Kapag pulitiko ka dapat bawasan 'yung karapatan mo, dapat mas mataas 'yung scrutiny sa'yo, 'di ba? 'Pag papanatili ng magandang pangalan, 'pag sa pulitiko ka, mali [ang] dynasty," he added. Nevertheless, Aquino said he recognizes the need for an enabling law against political dynasties and he is ready to sign it once passed by Congress. THIS IS THE FULL REPORT.

ALSO: Drilon got biggest DAP slice—solon  

His P1B out of P10B for lawmakers largely funded 3 Iloilo projects  --LAWMAKERS on Sunday tagged Senate President Franklin Drilon as having cornered some P1 billion from the Disbursement Acceleration Program for pet projects in his home province. Drilon’s P1 billion was the biggest allocation out of the total P10.08 billion in DAP funds that went to lawmakers, mostly to President Benigno Aquino III’s party mates in the ruling Liberal Party, said Reps. Jonathan dela Cruz of Abakada and Toby Tiangco of Navotas. Tiangco declined to identify the senator who received the P1 billion allocation but De la Cruz had no such qualms.

“It’s Drilon. Who else?” he said, then gave a breakdown of the P1 billion. Drilon’s chief of staff, Reynaldo Bantug, shrugged off Tiangco and De la Cruz’s revelation, saying there was “nothing to react to.”  He earlier said that except for Senator Panfilo Lacson, all senators availed of the DAP funds, which he said was separate from their Priority Development Assistance Fund of pork barrel. But Tiangco said Budget Secretary Florencio Abad was having a hard time releasing the list of lawmakers who received DAP funding because the list would show that one senator, Liberal party members and allies received the biggest allocations. “Secretary Abad finds it difficult to make public the list because of this huge amount released to this senator, who is a very close Palace ally,” Tiangco said. Of the P1 billion DAP, Dela Cruz said Drilon got P450 million allocation for Jalaur Dam project, P150 million for the Iloilo River Development Program and P100 million for Iloilo Convention Center, all located in Drilon’s home province of Iloilo. *READ MORE...


READ FULL MEDIA NEWS REPORT:

Aquino still enjoys people’s support—Palace


Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. INQUIRER FILE PHOTO

MANILA, SEPTEMBER 1, 2014 (INQUIRER) By Kristine Angeli Sabillo - A day after thousands of people gathered at Rizal Park to protest the pork barrel system, Malacañang said President Benigno Aquino III still enjoys support from a majority of Filipinos.

“Sa nakikikita nating constant monitoring, malaki naman ang kalamangan ng sumusuporta sa Pangulo lalo na pagkapahayag n’ya ng Sona (State of the Nation Address),” Communications Secretary Herminio “Sonny” Coloma Jr. said during a press briefing. (Our constant monitoring would show that more people still support the President, especially after he gave his Sona.)

Asked about the allegedly low turnout at the Abolish Pork Movement’s protest last Tuesday compared to the Million People March last year, Coloma said they believe that it was because many Filipinos recognize the efforts of the administration.

Coloma added that the organizers of the rally should probably study the outcome of the rally.

Although several thousands of protesters participated in Monday’s rally, reports said it fell short when compared to last year’s Million People March that drew almost 100,000 people.

“Meron ding expression kasi, ano e, di ba ’yung ‘voting with their feet,’ na siguro kung may sapat na paniniwala o paninindigan, they will vote with their feet. Dadalhin nila ‘yung sarili nila ‘dun katulad ‘nung ginawa ng mas maraming bilang katulad noong nakaraang taon,” Coloma said of the protest. (There is the expression, ‘voting with their feet,’ which means that if they have enough conviction, they will vote with their feet. They will bring themselves there like what happened last year.)

* However, he said it would be better to continue to observe since there are also various forms of expression, other than attending a protest.

He added that they also do not consider it a victory to have less people attending rallies.

Instead, it is the manifestation of reforms and the support of the people for their programs that triumph is measured, he said.

Coloma said it was important for them to see the bigger picture.

“Sa aming palagay naman sa nakaraang apat na taon—mahigit na apat na taon—ay umugat na ang maraming repormang nasimulan. Marami na ring nakapapansin ng pagbabago sa iba’t ibang larangan ng ating lipunan,” he said. (In our opinion, during the last four years, the reforms we have started have already taken root. Many people have already noticed the transformation of the different aspects of our society.)

He explained that Aquino was not referring to any group in particular during his National Heroes Day speech on Monday where he warned the public against “fake reformers.”

He said it was a reminder instead for the people to be more vigilant and for everyone to work together and contribute to the development of the country.

FROM THE MANILA STANDARD

3 impeach raps get to first base  By Maricel Cruz | Aug. 27, 2014 at 12:01am

House panel finds them sufficient in form despite ‘fatal defects’


Safe on first base. Bayan Muna Rep. Neri Colmenares (left) answers a question during a hearing of the House justice committee, chaired by Iloilo Rep. Neil Tupas (right), on the impeachment complaint against President Benigno Aquino III that was found sufficient in form despite supposed flaws. MANNY PALMERO

The House committee on justice on Tuesday found the three impeachment complaints against President Benigno Aquino III sufficient in form despite what some administration allies called “fatal defects.”

With an overwhelming majority vote, the committee led by Iloilo Rep. Niel Tupas, Jr. applied the impeachment rules with “liberality in the interest of justice,” and set the stage for the consolidation of the three complaints, and a debate on their sufficiency in substance on Sept. 2.

At the same time, the panel barred the fourth impeachment complaint filed last Aug. 11 by a group of teachers led by Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT) party-list Rep. Antonio Tinio, which alleged that the President was still offering pork barrel to lawmakers, despite a Supreme Court ruling that declared the Priority Development Assistance Fund unconstitutional.

Voting 53-1-1, the panel affirmed as amended the first impeachment complaint filed by 28 individuals from the anti-pork barrel groups led by Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan) in connection with the Disbursement Acceleration Program, parts of which were declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court.

* Cavite Rep. Elpidio Barzaga Jr. said the committee members decided to adopt the first two impeachment complaints to give the proponents the opportunity to correct their mistakes.

“We have been very liberal in so far as treatment of the three impeachment complaints are concerned in spite of the defects pointed out here. We did not take advantage of all these defects and instead in the spirit of liberality, allowed the impeachment complaints to be declared sufficient in form,” Barzaga said.

But one of the impeachment endorsers, Kabataan party-list Rep. Terry Ridon, expressed belief that all three complaints are both sufficient in form and in substance.

“The House Rules on Impeachment only require that the complaint, if initiated by a Filipino citizen, must be verified and endorsed by a member of Congress. All three complaints have complied with those requirements,” said Ridon, who endorsed the second impeachment complaint filed by youth and student leaders.

But Ilocos Norte Rep. Rodolfo Farinas, senior vice chairman of the justice committee, questioned the manner by which the first two complaints had been endorsed and verified.

During the hearing, Farinas said the resolution of endorsement of Bayan Muna party-list Reps. Neri Colmenares and Carlos Zarate, Anakpawis party-list Rep. Fernando Hicap and Gabriela party-list Rep. Luzviminda Ilagan on the first complaint named Bayan as the complainant, when the complaint was signed individually, and not as a group.

Farinas pointed out that this defect should be corrected because the first complaint was signed by Bayan Secretary General Renato Reyes Jr., Volunteer Against Crime and Corruption chairman Dante Jimenez and Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas President Rafael Mariano in their personal capacity.

Tupas then ordered the secretariat to “correct the minor deficiency.”

But Eastern Samar Rep. Ben Evardone warned that relaxing the impeachment rules may flood the panel with defective impeachment complaints.

Colmenares countered that the committee should not be “too technical” about the matter, stressing it should directly ask President Aquino to answer the charges.

Another administration ally, Cagayan de Oro City Rep. Rufus Rodriguez, pointed out a “defect” in the second complaint as well, questioning the lack of “identification circumstances” in its verification.

“This is very fatal,” Rodriguez said. “The complainants did not get any lawyer... and filed without any statement of who they are, what are their identification circumstances, as was done by the first complainants,” Rodriguez said.

The committee unanimously declared that the third impeachment complaint sufficient in form upon the request of endorser, Gabriela party-list Rep. Emmi de Jesus.

It was filed by 21 individuals from various leftist groups led by former Bayan Muna party-list Rep. Satur Ocampo, president of the Makabayan coalition, in connection with the signed Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement between Manila and Washington last April 28.

The Palace said Tuesday it is prepared for a full-blown impeachment proceeding after the House Committee on Justice declared all three complaints against President Benigno Aquino III sufficient in form.

“Yes (we are ready),” Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma said.

“We respect the process of Congress because it is an independent and co-equal branch of government. They have the jurisdiction over impeachment cases so we will leave the proceedings up to them,” he added.

The complaints alleged culpable violation of the Constitution and betrayal of public trust.

The Palace has earlier assured the public that it will not make a move to kill the impeachment complaints.

Coloma said the President remains unfazed with efforts to remove him from office.

“The President is not worried with the impeachment proceedings. He is confident that he has not committed any impeachable offense,” he said.

The President, who is also facing record-low trust, approval and satisfaction ratings, earlier called on his supporters to wear his trademark yellow ribbon to show their support for his administration.

The leftist bloc responded by wearing peach as show of support for the impeachment efforts. With Joyce Pangco Pañares

FROM PHILSTAR

PNoy: SC meddling too much By Louis Bacani (philstar.com) | Updated August 28, 2014 - 9:53am 17 300 googleplus2 0

MANILA, Philippines - President Benigno Aquino III said the Supreme Court has been meddling too much, making it difficult for him to run the government.

In an exclusive interview with Bombo Radyo aired on Thursday, Aquino said the Supreme Court seems to be overchecking the executive department.

He reiterated his openness to amend the Constitution and clip this power of the high court.

"Mukhang sumobra naman yata dun sa... lahat pinapakialaman... nagiging mahirap lalo patakbuhin ang gobyerno... 'yung judicial reach mukhang dapat i-review, lagyan ng hangganan," Aquino said.

Aquino cited the unanimous decision of the Supreme Court that declared partially unconstitutional the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) of his administration.

The same ruling also declared that authors and proponents of the DAP will be held accountable unless proven innocent by the proper tribunal.

The President said the Supreme Court may have presumed the executive department guilty when it should be the other way around.

"Sa Bill of Rights, presumed innocent until proven guilty. Dito binago: guilty until proven innocent... Parang napalitan yata 'yung Saligang Batas dito," Aquino said.

FROM THE MANILA BULLETIN

Lacierda mistakenly calls DILG secretary ‘President Mar’
by Genalyn Kabiling August 28, 2014 (updated)


MAR AND LACIERDA

Was it a slip of the tongue or a subliminal message?

After his no-election scenario blunder, Presidential Spokesman Edwin Lacierda made another slip – this time addressing Interior and Local Government Secretary Mar Roxas as “President Mar.”

Lacierda referred to Roxas as “President Mar” while responding to media queries if President Aquino endorsed the Liberal Party’s plan to support the bill seeking to ban political dynasties.

“I was there when President Mar – ay, sorry, well, Secretary Mar Roxas – when Secretary Mar Roxas said it,” Lacierda said in a Palace press briefing.

“Siya ang nagsabi sa forum doon sa KOMPRe (Koalisyon ng Mamamayan Para sa Reporma) na may consultation with the chairman of the Liberal Party [He mentioned in the forum with KOMPRe about the consultation with the chairman of the Liberal Party],” he asserted, referring to the LP’s support for the passage of the anti-political dynasty bill in Congress.

Lacierda committed the slip amid speculations Roxas, president-on leave of the Liberal Party, is being groomed as the administration standard bearer in the 2016 presidential elections.

The President, who is chairman of the Liberal Party, has yet to endorse the party’s candidate preferring to focus on governance instead of the 2016 elections.

Lacierda is said to be allied with the Balay group associated with Roxas and Budget Secretary Florencio Abad.

* Last week, Lacierda stirred up a hornet’s nest when he dropped hints there might be no elections in 2016 only to recant his statement later.

The Palace quickly attributed the slip to Lacierda’s difficulty with Filipino. Deputy Presidential Spokeswoman Abigail Valte explained that Lacierda is not as fluent in Filipino as compared to English. She said Lacierda, though conversant in Filipino, was brought up in a household where Visayan, Chinese, and English were used more often than Filipino.

In yesterday’s briefing, Lacierda reiterated that there is “no such thing” as no-election scenario.

“There’s really no ‘no-el.’ That scenario has never been planned. That’s for the record. We’ve explained that a number of times, so that’s not something that we’re even looking at,” he said.

Noy to do right thing on Cha-cha – Palace By Aurea Calica (The Philippine Star) | Updated August 28, 2014 - 12:00am 10 55 googleplus1 0

MANILA, Philippines - President Aquino will do the right thing when it comes to Charter change (Cha-cha) and term extension after consultations with the people, a Malacañang official said yesterday.

In a press briefing, presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda said constitutional expert Fr. Joaquin Bernas was getting ahead of himself in telling the President that six years is long enough and that he must give way to other good people.

“The President has, again, not made any moves. He’s just in the consultation stage so let’s just wait for the decision of the President. And if there’s one thing that I’d like to impart to the Filipino people, you know, the President has kept faith with the Filipino people for the past four years. We ask you to trust that the President will do the right thing,” Lacierda said.

He said they could also understand the concerns of groups like the Makati Business Club, which expressed opposition to Aquino’s term extension. The MBC said 71 percent of its members opposed a second term for the President. They also warned Aquino against undermining the gains of his administration by seeking a second term.

“They are primarily concerned with amending the economic provisions and they felt that this statement, this idea of term extension, would somehow hamper their push for the amendments on the economic provisions. But again, like the previous concern, we’d just like to tell the Makati Business Club that the President has not made any action yet with respect to Charter change. He is still consulting and is in the process of consultation,” Lacierda said.

He said they were not doing anything to push for Cha-cha at this time and pointed at United Nationalist Alliance secretary-general and Navotas Rep. Toby Tiangco as the one who kept talking about constitutional amendments.

“I mean, who likes talking about Cha-cha? It’s Toby. He’s been talking about all possible scenarios when we’re not doing anything, isn’t it? We’ve been focused on the problems of the here and now. We’re trying to find solutions for real people for their problems. So this government is focused on that. And the President was just being honest about his views on the Constitution but he has not gone beyond that,” Lacierda said.

He said whoever was fanning the issue was only blowing it out of proportion.

“There’s a bad Filipino word for what people do to keep this issue alive. It’s not us who’s doing that. We’re focused on the problems of the country. And so, those people who are doing that thing, you’re just so caught up with 2016. I mean, come on, give it a rest. We’re still two years (away),” Lacierda said.

Still, he reiterated that consultations were going on.

“That’s still in the process and that’s where we are. The President is, as he said, the President is listening to the voice of his ‘bosses.’ So that’s the process and, you know – I know that you’ve heard this time and again – but we’re still there. We have not moved an inch away from or further than consultation. So don’t worry about all these people saying that the sky is falling. It’s not,” he stressed.

Lacierda said the public would just have to wait for what the President would say on the issue.

“There are two matters that the President is primarily focused on. It’s really on the concern on the role of – or, rather, the issue on judicial overreach or judicial restraint (when it comes to Cha-cha). There’s only one question of term extension and the President said, ‘Well, I will listen to my bosses’ and that’s it,” he said.

“I suppose at some point in time – I know that sometimes we’re befuddled by it – but, at some point there will be a decision to be taken and can we just wait for that?” Lacierda said.

Social media forum

Presidential Communications Operations Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. said there’s social media to look at, there are people that you talk to and there are a number of things that are happening.

He repeated that the openness on term extension did not come from them but the topic came up during the recent interview with the President.

The idea was actually first broached by Interior Secretary Manuel Roxas II.

“We’re just looking and the President is very forthright about his views on judicial restraint. So, I am limited to what I have been informed by the President,” Lacierda said.

Quezon City Rep. Winston Castelo, a Liberal Party stalwart, said the party should hold a caucus on calls to lift term limits of elected officials since the LP as well other members of the majority coalition have yet to come up with an official stand on the issue.

He cited efforts of Caloocan City Rep. Edgar Erice to push for amendments to the political provisions of the Constitution, where the current six-year term of the president and vice president with no reelection be changed to a four-year term with one opportunity for reelection.

Castelo warned his LP colleagues that any attempt to railroad Erice’s resolution would have serious repercussions on the coalition.

He said instead of immediately adopting Erice’s resolution, it would be appropriate for the members of the ruling coalition to subject his proposal to consultations and caucuses.

Leaders of other pro-administration parties in the House, including the Nationalist People’s Coalition, National Unity Party, Nacionalista Party, and the Centrist Democratic Party, have not yet taken a position on the lifting of term limits.

Meanwhile, Buhay party-list Rep. Lito Atienza lauded Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr., who has reiterated his promise that the House leadership will not touch the political provisions of the Constitution.

Atienza said he and Belmonte had a brief meeting on Tuesday where they had a chance to talk about the issue.

The lawmaker said he firmly believes that Belmonte will be true to his word.

The House on Tuesday started plenary debates on Resolution of Both Houses No. 1, which seeks to relax the restrictive economic provisions of the Constitution. – With Paolo Romero

PNoy on anti-dynasty law: Kawawa kami By Louis Bacani (philstar.com) | Updated August 28, 2014 - 3:56pm 2 349 googleplus0 0


President Benigno Aquino III delivers his speech during the commemoration of National Heroes Day at the Libingan ng mga Bayani in Fort Bonifacio, Taguig City on Monday (August 25). Robert Viñas / Malacañang Photo Bureau


MANILA, Philippines - President Benigno Aquino III supports an anti-political dynasty law though he is concerned that such measure may deprive politicians some of their rights.

Aquino, who comes from a political clan himself, said it will be difficult to have honest and genuine elections if only certain families are dominating various sectors including politics.

The President said he supports a pending bill at the House of Representatives that seeks to prevent families from holding too many positions in the government.

"Pagkaintindi ko sa kasalukuyang Kongreso meron na hong mga panukalang batas na talagang umaabante na at pati si Speaker nagsalita na pabor siya diyan sa Anti-Dynasty Bill," Aquino said in an exclusive interview with Bombo Radyo aired on Thursday morning.

He admitted, however, that such law could curtail the political rights of government officials like him.

"Ang hirap nga nito 'yung kawawa na rin kaming mga pulitiko kung tutuusin," Aquino said.

"Kapag pulitiko ka dapat bawasan 'yung karapatan mo, dapat mas mataas 'yung scrutiny sa'yo, 'di ba? 'Pag papanatili ng magandang pangalan, 'pag sa pulitiko ka, mali [ang] dynasty," he added.

Nevertheless, Aquino said he recognizes the need for an enabling law against political dynasties and he is ready to sign it once passed by Congress.

FROM THE MANILA STANDARD

Drilon got biggest DAP slice—solon By Christine F. Herrera | Sep. 01, 2014 at 12:01am

His P1B out of P10B for lawmakers largely funded 3 Iloilo projects


Senate President Franklin Drilon

LAWMAKERS on Sunday tagged Senate President Franklin Drilon as having cornered some P1 billion from the Disbursement Acceleration Program for pet projects in his home province.

Drilon’s P1 billion was the biggest allocation out of the total P10.08 billion in DAP funds that went to lawmakers, mostly to President Benigno Aquino III’s party mates in the ruling Liberal Party, said Reps. Jonathan dela Cruz of Abakada and Toby Tiangco of Navotas.

Tiangco declined to identify the senator who received the P1 billion allocation but De la Cruz had no such qualms.

“It’s Drilon. Who else?” he said, then gave a breakdown of the P1 billion.

Drilon’s chief of staff, Reynaldo Bantug, shrugged off Tiangco and De la Cruz’s revelation, saying there was “nothing to react to.”

He earlier said that except for Senator Panfilo Lacson, all senators availed of the DAP funds, which he said was separate from their Priority Development Assistance Fund of pork barrel.

But Tiangco said Budget Secretary Florencio Abad was having a hard time releasing the list of lawmakers who received DAP funding because the list would show that one senator, Liberal party members and allies received the biggest allocations.

“Secretary Abad finds it difficult to make public the list because of this huge amount released to this senator, who is a very close Palace ally,” Tiangco said.

Of the P1 billion DAP, Dela Cruz said Drilon got P450 million allocation for Jalaur Dam project, P150 million for the Iloilo River Development Program and P100 million for Iloilo Convention Center, all located in Drilon’s home province of Iloilo.

* The rest of the funds went to “other infrastructure or various projects,” Dela Cruz said.

“We wanted to verify the information we received that one senator reportedly got over P1 billion from DAP. That’s why it is important that the list Secretary Abad will be presenting anytime this month before the finance committee should reflect every peso requested by lawmakers,” Tiangco said.

Dela Cruz demanded that the authors of the DAP explain why the DAP funds were coursed through lawmakers when the supposed objective of the DAP was as an “economic stimulus package.”

“Why were these Jalaur Dam, convention center and development projects in Iloilo not subjected to close scrutiny of Congress? Why did the DBM release P1 billion to Drilon in a post-enacted budget?” Dela Cruz told the Manila Standard.

“During the hearing in the House, Abad admitted that some P10.08 billion of the P143-billion in DAP funds went to lawmakers. This P10.08 billion was bigger than the P10-billion pork barrel scandal involving (Janet Lim) Napoles. The P143 billion is way, way bigger than the pork barrel scam and the DAP authors get away with the crime? The Palace better explain and unmask the masterminds behind the DAP scandal,” Dela Cruz said.

Dela Cruz said he believes the DAP funds were not only used for political patronage but to make other quasi-judicial body such as the Commission on Elections and Commission on Audit beholden to the Palace.

“Up to now, the Palace could not explain why COA was given P143 million in DAP funds for its equipment and cars of its officials. How would those service cars accelerate the economy?” Dela Cruz said.

“Why did the government shell out P2 billion to the Philippine Deposit Insurance Corp. to pay the SGS? Why did the government grant Home Guaranty Corp. some P1.2 billion for the payment of air rights of the Philippine National Railways? All using funds that did not pass congressional scrutiny,” said Dela Cruz, a member of the House independent minority bloc.

Tiangco said he believes that LP lawmakers received bigger slices of the DAP compared to their counterparts in other political parties.

Tiangco added that Abad himself had admitted that senators were given from P50 million to P100 million and congressmen received funding of between P5 million and p10 million.

Drilon admitted having received the highest allocation among the senators at P100 million.

“The DAP funds were released to lawmakers before, during and after the impeachment trial of then Chief Justice Renato Corona and those who got them were those who signed the impeachment complaint and those who voted to convict Corona,” Tiangco told the Manila Standard.

There were 188 congressmen who signed the impeachment complaint while 20 senators voted to convict.

The three senators – Joker Arroyo, Ferdinand Marcos and Miriam Defensor Santiago – who voted to acquit, said they did not receive the DAP funds.

Dela Cruz and Tiangco again pressed Abad to produce the list of lawmakers who received funds from the DAP, parts of which were declared by the Supreme Court as unconstitutional.

In a letter to Abad, Tiangco demanded that the DBM submit to Congress copies of all letters the agency received in relation to the P10.08 billion DAP funds released to legislators.

“It is important that Secretary Abad release the original or true copy of the letter-request so that we can all see, and it should not be a sanitized list,” Tiangco said.

During the August 6 budget briefing in Congress, Abad promised to “go back to the letters sent by legislators to determine the particular projects nominated by each legislator.”

Tiangco said “since the letters are the basis for determining the nature and amounts of the projects that went to each legislator, Abad should include all of the letter requests sent by each legislator.

Tiangco also requested Abad to submit an itemized list of the releases of funds under the DAP that were coursed through senators and congressmen, the number and date of the Special Allotment Release Order (SARO), and the amount per legislator and implementing agencies.

Based on the transcript of the budget briefing, he said, Abad promised to do so and promised to make the submission before the start of the budget deliberations in the plenary.

In his Aug. 26 letter to Abad, Tiangco requested a more detailed report on the DAP funds that benefited projects of select members of Congress.

“Secretary Abad should be able to submit all the letter-requests of legislators with all the necessary details,” he said.

In the last budget briefing, Abad said “it would take time to match” the letter recommendations of lawmakers, and said it was possible that not all the requests were accommodated.

“Abad should already come clean and produce the DAP list involving lawmakers,” Dela Cruz demanded.

Also on Sunday, former senator Joker Arroyo told radio dzBB that President Benigno Aquino III should expel all those who were responsible for the DAP.

“That would be a good legacy,” said Arroyo who noted that up to now, nobody had been punished for the DAP, parts of which were declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court.

“He tolerated it. That’s the worse that can be said—he tolerated it. And until now, he has not punished anyone,” Arroyo said. – With Macon Ramos-Araneta


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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