HEADLINE NEWS EARLY THIS WEEK...

ONLY 3 OUT OF 10 PINOYS THINK AQUINO ADHERED TO 'TUWID NA DAAN'

OCT 13 --PHOTO: President Benigno S. Aquino III delivers a message at the Ninoy Aquino
International Airport Terminal 2 in Pasay City on October 10 following his arrival from Bali, Indonesia where he attended the 7th Bali Democracy Forum. Robert Vinas/Malacañang Photo Bureau MANILA, Philippines - Only 29 percent of Filipinos believe that President Benigno Aquino III fulfilled his promise to follow his policy of "Tuwid na Daan" (straight path), a new Pulse Asia survey revealed on Monday.

According to the latest poll, 36 percent of Filipinos also think that Aquino failed to adhere to his good governance slogan while 34 percent express indecision on the issue. Pulse Asia said essentially the same distribution of public opinion was observed in Metro Manila (30 percent agree, 33 percent undecided, and 36 percent disagree), Class D (28 percent agree, 35 percent undecided, and 36 percent disagree) and Class E (29 percent agree, 37 percent undecided, and 32 percent disagree). Big pluralities in the rest of Luzon and Class ABC (45 percent and 43 percent, respectively) are inclined to think that Aquino has failed to adhere to his "Tuwid na Daan" policy. For residents of the Visayas, the plurality sentiment is mixed (43 percent). In Mindanao, a big plurality of residents (43 percent) say Aquino has fulfilled his promise to follow a straight path as the country's leader. * READ MORE...

ALSO: Palace refused to accept 36% poll on ‘daang matuwid’  

OCT 14 --PHOTO: Thirty-six percent of Filipinos believed that President Aquino (pictured) had failed
to
deliver on his promise to lead the country toward “daang matuwid” (straight path), but his spokesman, Edwin Lacierda, questioned the survey result. INQUIRER FILE PHOTO / GRIG C. MONTEGRANDE
MANILA, Philippines–Malacañang on Monday refused to accept that 36 percent of Filipinos believed that President Aquino had failed to deliver on his promise to lead the country toward “daang matuwid” (straight path). Presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda rejected the idea that Filipinos were not satisfied with Aquino’s program of good governance, questioning why Pulse Asia conducted such a survey “only now.” “That is not correct,” Lacierda said in a press briefing.

“Perhaps you should ask the people from Pulse Asia. The ‘tuwid na daan’ has been an ongoing campaign for the past four years. Why is it that they conducted the survey only now?” Public opinion on Aquino’s adherence to his “tuwid na daan” policy is split three-ways, results of the Pulse Asia survey conducted last month showed. Of the 1,200 respondents, virtually the same percentage expressed disagreement (36 percent) and indecision (34 percent) on the matter. Twenty-nine percent agreed that the President had fulfilled his promise to follow a straight path. The poll, conducted from Sept. 8 to 15, asked respondents to express agreement or disagreement with the statement: “President Aquino has fulfilled his promise to follow a straight path.” * READ MORE...

ALSO: Mar Roxas behind conspiracy vs Binay - UNA   

OCT 13 --PHOTO: Vice President Jejomar Binay, President Benigno Aquino III and Interior and
Local Government Secretary Manuel Roxas II on one stage. Benhur Arcayan / Malacañang Photo Bureau MANILA, Philippines - The secretary-general of the United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) claimed on Monday that the demolition job against Vice President Jejomar Binay is orchestrated by Interior and Local Government Secretary Manuel Roxas II.

Speaking to ABS-CBN News Channel (ANC), lawyer JV Bautista said Roxas is leading the so-called "Oplan SN16" which means "Stop Nognog 2016," alluding to Binay and his 2016 presidential bid. Bautista claimed that "operatives" in the Liberal Party use "Nognog" when they speak of Binay. "These things that we are hearing in the [Senate Blue Ribbon] Sub-comittee [hearing], these are all part of a conspiracy. This is a well-funded, well-financed, well-organized conspiracy, the principal aim of which is to destroy the chances of Vice Pesident Binay to become the next president in 2016," Bautista told program host Karen Davila. "This conspiracy goes all the way up only to Mar Roxas," Bautista also said, adding that President Benigno Aquino III also knows the alleged plot against Binay.
*
READ MORE...

(ALSO) Atienza: Senate not right body to probe Binay, ‘overpriced’ building 

OCT 14 --CAYETANO, ATIENZA. SCREENGRAB FROM SENATE VIDEO.MANILA, Philippines —
The Senate investigation into the allegedly overpriced Makati city hall parking building should be stopped and instead be brought before the Ombudsman or done through the impeachment process. “The issue should be handled by a formal investigation, not the Senate. We have the Ombudsman or Commission on Audit. Allow these agencies to investigate, so as not to be mixed with political color,” Buhay party-list Representative Lito Atienza said in a forum Monday that was also attended by Senator Alan Peter Cayetano.

Atienza said that Vice President Jejomar Binay, who has repeatedly refused to come before the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee to answer the allegations, is only being prosecuted in the Senate because of his plans to run as president in the 2016 national elections. “Why should Binay go to a forum where the investigators are declared candidates?” he asked. Cayetano and Senator Antonio Trillanes, who launched the Blue Ribbon Committee investigation, have both expressed their openness to run for president in the 2016 elections. Binay has also openly declared his intention to run for president. Albay Governor Joey Salceda, who was also a guest at the event, said that it would be fairer for the Binay camp if there would just be an impeachment complaint.

“An impeachment process is certainly preferred than a Senate investigation because it has closure,” Salceda said citing the previous pronouncements of the Binay camp. Cayetano, however, continued to call on Binay to attend the hearing and answer the allegations on the overpriced Makati city hall parking building. He alleged that Binay has been busy campaigning in the provinces along with just one or two official business trips and has been very selective on who he wants to answer questions from. THIS IS THE FULL REPORT. Originally posted in Inquirer at 12:38 pm | Monday, September 8, 2014

ALSO: Let Congress decide on Binay impeachment – Palace 

OCT 14 ---Malacañang on Tuesday distanced itself from a proposal to file an impeachment
complaint against Vice President Jejomar Binay. “Ang prosesong ito ay tungkulin at kapangyarihan ng House of Representatives at ipapaubaya na lang natin sa kanila kung ano ang gagawin dito,” Communications Secretary Herminio “Sonny” Coloma Jr. said during a Palace press briefing. (This process is within the task and powers of the House of Representatives so let us leave it to them to decide on the matter.) Albay Governor Joey Salceda on Monday said Binay should be impeached because of the allegedly overpriced Makati City parking building.

Earlier reports stated, Vice President Jejomar Binay may not be impeached for an allegedly overpriced building because the allegations supposedly happened when he was Makati mayor, which is not an impeachable officer, a Liberal Party stalwart said on Tuesday. In a press briefing, Iloilo City Representative Jerry Treñas said in one of his legal opinion, Vice President Binay was only a mayor when the allegedly overpriced Makati building was built. Under the rules, impeachable officers only include the President, Vice President, members of the Supreme Court, the Ombudsman, and members of constitutional commissions. The last officer to be impeached is ousted Chief Justice Renato Corona over false declarations of wealth. “We are all advocates of the law. There is one legal opinion that he’s still an impeachable officer, there is also another that the alleged offense was committed at the time he was not an impeachable officer,” Treñas said. * READ MORE...

FROM THE INQUIRER

ALSO: All’s well again between Aquino, Binay–for now; Both leaders hold 3-hour ‘secret’ meeting  

OCT 15 ---PHOTO: President Aquino (right) and Vice President Jejomar Binay: All’s well
again. FILE PHOTO. MANILA, Philippines–All appears to be well between President Aquino and Vice President Jejomar Binay a few hours after the latter slammed for the first time on Tuesday certain decisions of the President, as Binay faced an investigation and possible impeachment charges initiated by administration officials and allies. Aquino and Binay talked for almost three hours on the night of Oct. 14 at the President’s official residence in a meeting arranged by mutual friends, according to a source privy to the meeting. On Wednesday night, Binay confirmed reports that he and Aquino met and talked on Tuesday night but tried to downplay the meeting.

“Secret,” Binay initially told reporters, when asked about the meeting. He then confirmed that they did talk. Binay spoke to reporters before he gave a keynote speech at the 2014 NCR Developers’ Forum at the Crowne Plaza Manila Galleria in Mandaluyong City. He declined to say what he and the President talked about.
But he volunteered that he told the President that he never thought Aquino was among those who are part of the alleged demolition job against him. “Ganoon ang tiwala ko sa kaniya (That’s how much I trust him),” he said.
Friendship stronger ---Asked whether he remained an ally of the President, Binay said he was not only an ally “but because of that meeting, our friendship only became stronger.” “No, it was a friendly talk. You should know the President. Yun si Presidente especially kung kaibigan, walang pulitika, walang problema. Kaibigan, kaibigan, How are you ba yun?” he said, when asked whether his meeting with Aquino cleared up things between them.
 * READ MORE...

ALSO: Palace ignores VP tirade De Lima absolves Aquino, Roxas on DOJ plan to probe Binay  

OCT 16 ---Presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda stressed this yesterday as the Palace shrugs off Vice
President Jejomar C. Binay’s tirade against the Aquino administration. Last Tuesday, Binay lambasted the current administration for the manner is by which it is treating former President and now Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal Arroyo. He also assailed the creation of the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP), some key acts of which were declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court, as well as the bias against the opposition in connection with the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) scam. The Vice President also slammed the Aquino administration’s special treatment on Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Director General Alan Purisima despite plunder charges filed against the top police official. PALACE WASHES HAND But Lacierda said the Palace has no hand on the cases against former President Arroyo, noting that her cases are under the court’s jurisdiction.

“It is a matter before the courts. The courts exercise jurisdiction over her and the cases and all attending incidents,” Lacierda said. However, Lacierda was silent on the DAP and PDAF issues. The Palace official said that instead of politicking or planning about the 2016 presidential elections, the Aquino administration is currently “focused on the problems at hand.” “The President and his Cabinet do not have the luxury of engaging in 2016,” Lacierda said. He noted the administration’s concerns on the prevention of the entry and spread of the Ebola virus disease (EVD) in the country, the territorial dispute with China, ensuring the safety and well-being of evacuees in Albay due to the restiveness of the Mayon volcano, and finding solutions to address problems of the ridership using the Metro Rail Transit (MRT). Binay is currently being investigated by the Senate Blue Ribbon sub-committee over the alleged overpricing of the Makati City Hall Building II. * READ MORE...

ALSO MALAYA COLUMN OF THE DAY: FIGHTING CORRUPTION 

OCT 17 ---by Amado Macasaet, PHOTO: MATUWID NA DAAN ---When two international research firms find a company is apparently cheating on taxes, shouldn’t the government at least try to verify the truth of the report? Is the refusal to investigate tolerating possible theft of taxes due the government? Could there be suspicions of connivance between the regulators and the errant taxpayer? Who is liable for the persistent evasion of taxes as seen by A.C. Nielsen and Oxford Economics in the case of Mighty Corp., a small player in the cigarette market when the excise tax was at a lower rate but soared to big wealth after the tax was raised about three or four times? Don’t the Department of Finance and the Bureau of Internal Revenue as well as the Bureau of Customs have the duty to investigate the reports so that the suspected tax evader may be cleared if the reports are false and be required to pay if it turns out the company is cheating on cigarette taxes?

Oxford Economics submitted its report to the Department of Finance for verification. More than half a year has come and gone but we do not hear the finance department acting on the report. What conclusion does one draw from this indifference to investigate what the research firm claims to be massive fraud? Connivance! That’s what! Is the refusal to verify the truth or falsity a report of fraud, a crime? I think it is. There is a serious crime of “omission” that denies the government an estimated P15 billion in taxes that Mighty Corp. allegedly has not paid by refusing to declare its total production to the BIR for tax purposes. How does Mighty continue to dominate the low-end cigarette market by selling at a loss? The BIR does not seem to mind. It seems to be completely satisfied collecting the tax due on the declared volume. How about the tax not collected on the volume not declared for tax purposes? The DOF and the BIR chose to close their eyes on it. They appear to be deaf and blind.

In fact, BIR Commissioner Kim Jacinto Henares even declared she does not care if Mighty gives away cigarettes for as long as it pays a tax. Has Mighty Corp. completely lost its mind incurring huge losses by selling at a loss? The reality is the company is recovering the losses and in fact making oodles upon oodles of “profits” by not paying a tax on the volume not declared to the BIR. The estimate is the undeclared volume is about 60 percent. In other words, authorities refuse to verify whether or not the company covers the losses from the untaxed volume. In effect, they abet tax evasion while the DOF chases small people it suspects do not pay the correct tax. By refusing to order an investigation, the Aquino government places itself in a situation that makes its “matuwid na daan” a complete farce.* CONTINUE READING...
 


READ FULL MEDIA NEWS REPORT:

Only 3 in 10 Pinoys think Aquino adhered to 'Tuwid na Daan' - survey


President Benigno S. Aquino III delivers a message at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 2 in Pasay City on October 10 following his arrival from Bali, Indonesia where he attended the 7th Bali Democracy Forum. Robert Vinas/Malacañang Photo Bureau

MANILA, OCTOBER 20, 2014 (PHILSTAR)  By Louis Bacani - Only 29 percent of Filipinos believe that President Benigno Aquino III fulfilled his promise to follow his policy of "Tuwid na Daan" (straight path), a new Pulse Asia survey revealed on Monday.

According to the latest poll, 36 percent of Filipinos also think that Aquino failed to adhere to his good governance slogan while 34 percent express indecision on the issue.

Pulse Asia said essentially the same distribution of public opinion was observed in Metro Manila (30 percent agree, 33 percent undecided, and 36 percent disagree), Class D (28 percent agree, 35 percent undecided, and 36 percent disagree) and Class E (29 percent agree, 37 percent undecided, and 32 percent disagree).

Big pluralities in the rest of Luzon and Class ABC (45 percent and 43 percent, respectively) are inclined to think that Aquino has failed to adhere to his "Tuwid na Daan" policy.

For residents of the Visayas, the plurality sentiment is mixed (43 percent). In Mindanao, a big plurality of residents (43 percent) say Aquino has fulfilled his promise to follow a straight path as the country's leader.

* The survey was conducted from September 8 to 15 when one of the issues that dominated the news were the resignation calls for Philippine National Police Director General Alan Purisima amid the increasing number of crimes involving policemen.

It was also during this period when Aquino expressed his trust in the beleaguered PNP chief.

The poll was also held when Aquino visited Europe and the United States, where he bannered the country's achievements in transparency and accountability under his watch.

Among these achievements were the arrest of former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo and the impeachment of former Ombudsman Merceditas Gutierrez and former Chief Justice Renato Corona.

Aquino believes that "good governance is making waves across the archipelago."

"In short, we made it clear. Under our administration, one's position, wealth and influence do not enter into the equation. Justice and the rule of law will be upheld," the President said in a speech at the Egmont Institute in Brussels, Belgium last month.

FROM THE INQUIRER

Palace refused to accept 36% poll on ‘daang matuwid’ By Christian V. Esguerra |Philippine Daily Inquirer1:26 am | Tuesday, October 14th, 2014


Thirty-six percent of Filipinos believed that President Aquino (pictured) had failed to deliver on his promise to lead the country toward “daang matuwid” (straight path), but his spokesman, Edwin Lacierda, questioned the survey result. INQUIRER FILE PHOTO / GRIG C. MONTEGRANDE

MANILA, Philippines–Malacañang on Monday refused to accept that 36 percent of Filipinos believed that President Aquino had failed to deliver on his promise to lead the country toward “daang matuwid” (straight path).

Presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda rejected the idea that Filipinos were not satisfied with Aquino’s program of good governance, questioning why Pulse Asia conducted such a survey “only now.”

“That is not correct,” Lacierda said in a press briefing. “Perhaps you should ask the people from Pulse Asia. The ‘tuwid na daan’ has been an ongoing campaign for the past four years. Why is it that they conducted the survey only now?”
Public opinion on Aquino’s adherence to his “tuwid na daan” policy is split three-ways, results of the Pulse Asia survey conducted last month showed.

Of the 1,200 respondents, virtually the same percentage expressed disagreement (36 percent) and indecision (34 percent) on the matter. Twenty-nine percent agreed that the President had fulfilled his promise to follow a straight path.

* The poll, conducted from Sept. 8 to 15, asked respondents to express agreement or disagreement with the statement: “President Aquino has fulfilled his promise to follow a straight path.”

The survey used face-to-face interviews and had a margin of error of plus-or-minus 3 percentage points at the 95-percent confidence level. Estimates for Metro Manila, the rest of Luzon, the Visayas and Mindanao had a margin of error of plus-or-minus 6 percentage points.

Controversies

Essentially, the same distribution of public opinion was observed in Metro Manila and among socioeconomic Classes D and E, Pulse Asia said.

Lacierda acknowledged that the survey took place “on the heels of the recent controversies, the recent difficulties that the administration [was] experiencing.”

“Of course, that’s a snapshot of the landscape when the survey was taken and it had an impact on the response of the people,” he said.

But Lacierda insisted that public sentiment on the President’s “tuwid na daan” program “cannot be contextualized” unless compared with another survey containing the same set of questions.

“It will be difficult for us to contextualize because there’s an absence of comparison,” he said. “It’s a snapshot so whatever were the circumstances during the taking of the survey would influence the reaction of the respondents.”
tuwid-na-daaan-1014

“I do hope that Pulse Asia will continue doing a survey on ‘tuwid na daan’ for us to have a basis to say which is which,” he added.

Purisima issue

Lacierda declined to relate the Pulse Asia findings to the President’s refusal to let go of Philippine National Police Director General Alan Purisima, who is facing plunder charges before the Ombudsman.

Lacierda instead pointed to the 29 percent of the respondents who said Aquino had fulfilled his “daang matuwid” promise. He also noted that 34 percent remained undecided.

“So how can we say that the people do not believe [in ‘daang matuwid’]? This survey says that 29 percent agree, 34 percent have an open mind. If you add the two, it’s 63 percent,” he argued.

“So, perhaps, we should look at this survey based on the parameters upon which the survey was taken.”

Regions, classes

“Nonetheless … our government is committed to providing good governance to the country. We have a number of programs, which we have initiated to address the poorest of the poor. We have poverty intervention programs, concerns addressing all the issues that our country faces,” he said.

Among the regions, the rest of Luzon accounted for the biggest percentage of respondents (45 percent) who said that the President had failed to adhere to his tuwid na daan policy.

The same opinion was shared by 43 percent of respondents among the Class ABC, 36 percent in Metro Manila and among Class D, 32 percent among Class E and 26 percent in the Visayas and Mindanao.

Ambivalence on the matter was most pronounced in the Visayas (43 percent).

When broken down, those who could not say whether the President had fulfilled his promise of following the straight path were as follows: 37 percent among Class E, 35 percent among Class D; 33 percent in Metro Manila and the rest of Luzon; 30 percent in Mindanao; and 24 percent among Class ABC.

A big plurality of respondents from Mindanao (43 percent) were of the view that the President had been able to keep his promise of adhering to his policy of “tuwid na daan.”

The same sentiment was shared by 33 percent of respondents among Class ABC, 30 percent in Metro Manila, 29 percent in the Visayas and among Class E, 28 percent among Class D, and 22 percent in the rest of Luzon.

Among the issues in the news during the survey were the junking of three impeachment complaints against the President, President Aquino’s request for emergency powers to address the expected energy crisis next year, the transmittal of the draft Bangsamoro Basic Law to Congress, and the President’s expression of trust in PNP Director General Purisima amid calls for the latter’s resignation.

Also prominent during the survey period were high prices, monstrous traffic jams and heavy flooding in Metro Manila and the constant breakdown of MRT 3.–With a report from Almi Ilagan-Atienza, Inquirer Research

FROM PHILSTAR

Mar Roxas behind conspiracy vs Binay - UNA By Louis Bacani (philstar.com) | Updated October 13, 2014 - 10:04am 44 1582 googleplus0 0


Vice President Jejomar Binay, President Benigno Aquino III and Interior and Local Government Secretary Manuel Roxas II on one stage. Benhur Arcayan / Malacañang Photo Bureau

MANILA, Philippines - The secretary-general of the United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) claimed on Monday that the demolition job against Vice President Jejomar Binay is orchestrated by Interior and Local Government Secretary Manuel Roxas II.

Speaking to ABS-CBN News Channel (ANC), lawyer JV Bautista said Roxas is leading the so-called "Oplan SN16" which means "Stop Nognog 2016," alluding to Binay and his 2016 presidential bid. Bautista claimed that "operatives" in the Liberal Party use "Nognog" when they speak of Binay.

"These things that we are hearing in the [Senate Blue Ribbon] Sub-comittee [hearing], these are all part of a conspiracy. This is a well-funded, well-financed, well-organized conspiracy, the principal aim of which is to destroy the chances of Vice Pesident Binay to become the next president in 2016," Bautista told program host Karen Davila.

"This conspiracy goes all the way up only to Mar Roxas," Bautista also said, adding that President Benigno Aquino III also knows the alleged plot against Binay.

Bautista said the conspiracy is funded by one of Roxas' principal financiers, businessman Buddy Zamora together with his partner Eric Gutierrez.

Bautista presented the supposed flight plan of the helicopter that captured photos and videos of the alleged Hacienda Binay in Rosario town, Batangas. He said the helicopter is owned by Zamora and Gutierrez, who is also a business partner of Rep. Edgar Erice, a Liberal Party member.

"Buddy Zamora is the one spending for all of these (conspiracy)," Bautista said.

"We have long suspected that Mar Roxas is behind this demolition job. But now, we have something more solid to hold on to, this flight plan," he added.

Bautista further alleged that Roxas is conspiring with Sen. Alan Cayetano, one of the senators conducting the Senate Blue Ribbon Sub-committee investigation of the Makati City Hall II parking building which dug up corruption allegations against Binay.

* According to the flight plan that Bautista presented, a certain Dexter Estacio was among the passengers of the helicopter that went to the alleged Hacienda Binay.

"He works in the Taguig City Hall. He is a graphic artist of Alan Peter Cayetano... He was probably the one who was making all of these graphic illustrations (of the Batangas property)," Bautista said of Estacio.

"The enemy of my enemy is my friend. The target of these people is to try to destroy the chances of the Vice President to become the next President in 2016. So what they are doing is they are cooperating. This is something tactical," Bautista said of Roxas and Cayetano.

Philstar.com tried to get a comment from Roxas' media relations officer, Babes Suva, but has not received any response as of posting time.

Meanwhile, Cayetano's ally, Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV, criticized Bautista for coming up with an "absurd conspiracy theory" instead of showing documents proving that Binay does not own the Batangas property.

"If only he would listen to the absurdity he just said in the past 30 minutes, he would certainly be surprised himself," Trillanes said in a phone-patch interview on ANC.

The senator also claimed that he never heard of the codename "Oplan SN2016."

Both Binay and Cayetano have declared their intentions to seek the presidency in 2016. Roxas, meanwhile, remains the presumptive standard-bearer of the LP.

Despite the recent decline in his ratings, Binay is still the front-runner in the presidential surveys while Roxas comes in far second.

Binay, who ran under the UNA in 2010 elections, defeated Roxas in the vice presidential race.

FROM THE INQUIRER

Atienza: Senate not the right body to probe Binay, ‘overpriced’ building By Matikas Santos |INQUIRER.net POSTED ON PHNO OCTOBER 14, 2014


CAYETANO, ATIENZA. SCREENGRAB FROM SENATE HEARING VIDEO

MANILA, Philippines — The Senate investigation into the allegedly overpriced Makati city hall parking building should be stopped and instead be brought before the Ombudsman or done through the impeachment process.

“The issue should be handled by a formal investigation, not the Senate. We have the Ombudsman or Commission on Audit. Allow these agencies to investigate, so as not to be mixed with political color,” Buhay party-list Representative Lito Atienza said in a forum Monday that was also attended by Senator Alan Peter Cayetano.
lito-atienza

Atienza said that Vice President Jejomar Binay, who has repeatedly refused to come before the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee to answer the allegations, is only being prosecuted in the Senate because of his plans to run as president in the 2016 national elections.

“Why should Binay go to a forum where the investigators are declared candidates?” he asked.

Cayetano and Senator Antonio Trillanes, who launched the Blue Ribbon Committee investigation, have both expressed their openness to run for president in the 2016 elections. Binay has also openly declared his intention to run for president.

Albay Governor Joey Salceda, who was also a guest at the event, said that it would be fairer for the Binay camp if there would just be an impeachment complaint.

“An impeachment process is certainly preferred than a Senate investigation because it has closure,” Salceda said citing the previous pronouncements of the Binay camp.

Cayetano, however, continued to call on Binay to attend the hearing and answer the allegations on the overpriced Makati city hall parking building.

He alleged that Binay has been busy campaigning in the provinces along with just one or two official business trips and has been very selective on who he wants to answer questions from. Originally posted at 12:38 pm | Monday, September 8, 2014

Let Congress decide on Binay impeachment – Palace By Kristine Angeli Sabillo |INQUIRER.net1:52 pm | Tuesday, September 9th, 2014



MANILA, Philippines – Malacañang on Tuesday distanced itself from a proposal to file an impeachment complaint against Vice President Jejomar Binay.

“Ang prosesong ito ay tungkulin at kapangyarihan ng House of Representatives at ipapaubaya na lang natin sa kanila kung ano ang gagawin dito,” Communications Secretary Herminio “Sonny” Coloma Jr. said during a Palace press briefing.

(This process is within the task and powers of the House of Representatives so let us leave it to them to decide on the matter.)

Albay Governor Joey Salceda on Monday said Binay should be impeached because of the allegedly overpriced Makati City parking building.


Earlier reports stated, Vice President Jejomar Binay may not be impeached for an allegedly overpriced building because the allegations supposedly happened when he was Makati mayor, which is not an impeachable officer, a Liberal Party stalwart said on Tuesday.

In a press briefing, Iloilo City Representative Jerry Treñas said in one of his legal opinion, Vice President Binay was only a mayor when the allegedly overpriced Makati building was built. Under the rules, impeachable officers only include the President, Vice President, members of the Supreme Court, the Ombudsman, and members of constitutional commissions.

The last officer to be impeached is ousted Chief Justice Renato Corona over false declarations of wealth. “We are all advocates of the law. There is one legal opinion that he’s still an impeachable officer, there is also another that the alleged offense was committed at the time he was not an impeachable officer,” Treñas said.

* Binay and his son, incumbent Makati Mayor Jejomar Erwin “Junjun” Binay Jr., face a plunder complaint before the Office of the Ombudsman for the allegedly overpriced building.

But Santiago said Binay can be impeached. Vice President Jejomar Binay cannot avoid impeachment for an offense that he may have committed in the past, Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago said on Wednesday.

“In my humble, personal opinion, the question of impeachment should have nothing to do with when the crime was committed,” Santiago said on the prospect of impeaching Binay over the allegedly overpriced Makati City parking building.

“Why will he enjoy immunity? That’s the question that can’t be answered by those expressing the opposite position,” she added.

FROM THE INQUIRER

All’s well again between Aquino, Binay–for now; Both leaders hold 3-hour ‘secret’ meeting Philippine Daily Inquirer12:44 am | Thursday, October 16th, 2014


President Aquino (right) and Vice President Jejomar Binay: All’s well again. FILE PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines–All appears to be well between President Aquino and Vice President Jejomar Binay a few hours after the latter slammed for the first time on Tuesday certain decisions of the President, as Binay faced an investigation and possible impeachment charges initiated by administration officials and allies.

Aquino and Binay talked for almost three hours on the night of Oct. 14 at the President’s official residence in a meeting arranged by mutual friends, according to a source privy to the meeting.

On Wednesday night, Binay confirmed reports that he and Aquino met and talked on Tuesday night but tried to downplay the meeting.

“Secret,” Binay initially told reporters, when asked about the meeting. He then confirmed that they did talk.

Binay spoke to reporters before he gave a keynote speech at the 2014 NCR Developers’ Forum at the Crowne Plaza Manila Galleria in Mandaluyong City.

He declined to say what he and the President talked about.

But he volunteered that he told the President that he never thought Aquino was among those who are part of the alleged demolition job against him.

“Ganoon ang tiwala ko sa kaniya (That’s how much I trust him),” he said.

Friendship stronger

Asked whether he remained an ally of the President, Binay said he was not only an ally “but because of that meeting, our friendship only became stronger.”

“No, it was a friendly talk. You should know the President. Yun si Presidente especially kung kaibigan, walang pulitika, walang problema. Kaibigan, kaibigan, How are you ba yun?” he said, when asked whether his meeting with Aquino cleared up things between them.

* Asked whether he discussed with the President his complaint on why the Department of Justice was investigating him on corruption allegations, Binay said it was not a subject of their talk.

“Wala, hindi namin pinagusapan (We did not talk about it),” he said.

Cordial, jovial

He described the meeting as “cordial and jovial,” noting that there was much laughter as they talked about old age.

Asked whether he initiated the meeting, he shot back whether that was important as long as that the meeting happened.

Binay seemed to backtrack on his statements questioning the mistreatment of former President Gloria-Macapagal Arroyo.

“Salitang abogado ’yun (That’s lawyer talk),” the Vice President said, adding he did not talk about the merits of the case but only questioned the bail that Arroyo was seeking.

“There never was a mention of the merits of the case but it was only on the question of the pending motion that I believed should be acted upon,” he said.

‘In high spirits’

The Inquirer source said the two officials met from 9 p.m. to 12:30 a.m. which ended with both men “in high spirits” and laughing as Binay left Bahay Pangarap.

“The meeting cleared up a lot of things,” the source told the Inquirer.

The “gist” of the meeting had to do with Binay’s outburst on Tuesday at the PAO forum, according to the source.

“They had a heart-to-heart talk of what’s going on. There was no resolution to it. But there’s an understanding of where they’re coming from,” the source said.

The source said Binay spoke of the context of what he said at the forum, which he made in reply to a question by a lawyer.

“He had no intention of hitting the President,” the source said of Binay.

The Vice President “remains an ally of the President … and more importantly, he continues to be a real friend of the Aquino family,” said Cavite Gov. Jonvic Remulla, Binay’s spokesman.

Remulla issued the statement in the wake of what he said was “media speculation of a break between Vice President Binay and President Aquino.”

Quit, Erice urges

But an ally of the President said Binay should quit the Cabinet so he could get more elbow room to take a swing at the administration.

“Definitely, he (Binay) must get out of the Cabinet first so he can say whatever he wants to his heart’s content,” Caloocan Rep. Edgar Erice said, echoing his privilege speech four months ago egging the Vice President to show his “true colors” and make up his mind whether he was for the administration or the opposition.

“But knowing his (Binay) lack of delicadeza, I am sure he will not. He will surely regret losing out on the freebies given to a member of the Cabinet,” said Erice, a member of the ruling Liberal Party (LP).

With administration lawmakers zeroing in on his alleged corruption and ill-gotten wealth, Binay on Tuesday hit back, criticizing Aquino’s pet project, the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP), which the Supreme Court has declared unconstitutional.

At a forum of the Public Attorney’s Office (PAO) in Manila Hotel, the Vice President also vented his anger on moves by the Department of Justice to investigate him on allegations raised at the ongoing Senate blue ribbon subcommittee hearing inquiring into the allegedly overpriced Makati City Hall Building II. He slammed efforts of administration allies to impeach him.

Binay also assailed the Aquino administration for allegedly going soft on Philippine National Police Director General Alan Purisima amid accusations that the PNP chief had amassed ill-gotten wealth and had committed plunder.

The Vice President said the administration also mistreated former President Arroyo, who has been detained in a hospital while facing a plunder charge.

“Is the way they are treating Arroyo fair?” Binay asked during the forum. “She is no ordinary person because she became President. And she is sick. Is that fair?”

Malacañang distanced itself from Arroyo’s case, saying “the courts exercise jurisdiction over her and the cases and all attending incidents.”

Not firing back

The Vice President may have taken a swing at President Aquino, but Malacañang is not firing back yet.

Presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda said both and his Cabinet “do not have the luxury of engaging” in issues related to the 2016 elections.

“We are focused on the problems at hand,” Lacierda said in a text message, citing government efforts to keep the country free from the Ebola virus, the expected eruption of Mayon volcano and the frequent breakdown of the Metro Rail Transit Line 3, among the issues preoccupying Malacañang.

Close family friend
Binay is a close family friend of the President and his family. He owed to the late President Corazon Aquino his appointment in 1986 as officer in charge of Makati, a position he parlayed into becoming mayor. The Binays have been in control of Makati since then.

Under the present administration, the Vice President was given a Cabinet post as housing czar and his office’s budget was increased to level of the P200-million pork barrel that senators used to get every year.

Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr., who is identified with the Binay faction in Malacañang, sought to downplay the Vice President’s attacks against the administration.

Opinion on issues

Coloma said Binay’s statements were “expressions of his opinion on various issues and similar statements made by him in the past have not affected the cordial relations between him and the President.”

“The President has expressed satisfaction with the Vice President’s performance as a Cabinet member and that the latter should be given credit for his role in helping the administration achieve its targets,” Coloma told the Inquirer.

In his statement, Remulla said the views articulated by Binay at the forum with lawyers “were a product of the experience and wisdom he gained as a life-long human rights advocate and as a lawyer well-versed in the constructs of our legal system.”

Contacted on the phone, Remulla insisted Binay was not angry with the President.

“He serves at the pleasure of the President and will continue to be in the Cabinet if the President wants him there,” he said.

Remulla also said the Vice President was frustrated with “a lot of things going on in the country.”

And lest someone misconstrue it, Remulla said Binay was supposed to attend a meeting by a Cabinet cluster on housing in Malacañang with President Aquino but couldn’t make it as he had to attend the anniversary of the National Housing Authority.

Harboring Binay

Erice wondered why the President would harbor the Vice President even if Binay continued to be one of this administration’s biggest critics.

“I am not sure (why Aquino wanted Binay in the Cabinet). Maybe he just doesn’t want ‘na nagpapaawa na tinanggal sa Gabinete’ (seeking public sympathy while being removed from the Cabinet),” Erice said.

Iloilo Rep. Jerry Treñas, an LP member, said that it was not for Aquino to decide if Binay should leave the Cabinet.

“That decision is for the Vice President to make and not for me to say. If he thinks he can still be effective in spite of the criticisms he has made against the President and his administration, then he should make his decision accordingly,” said Treñas. “The President will not ask him to resign. It is up to him.”

Erice said the criticisms made by Binay against the President “were not new” as he had been declaring these in private conversations. “What is new is that the Vice President is now in panic mode.”

FROM THE MANILA BULLETIN

Palace ignores VP tirade De Lima absolves Aquino, Roxas on DOJ plan to probe Binay by Rey G. Panaligan and Madel Sabater – Namit October 16, 2014 Share this: Malacañang has no time for politicking.

Presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda stressed this yesterday as the Palace shrugs off Vice President Jejomar C. Binay’s tirade against the Aquino administration.

Last Tuesday, Binay lambasted the current administration for the manner is by which it is treating former President and now Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal Arroyo. He also assailed the creation of the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP), some key acts of which were declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court, as well as the bias against the opposition in connection with the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) scam.

The Vice President also slammed the Aquino administration’s special treatment on Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Director General Alan Purisima despite plunder charges filed against the top police official.

PALACE WASHES HAND

But Lacierda said the Palace has no hand on the cases against former President Arroyo, noting that her cases are under the court’s jurisdiction.

“It is a matter before the courts. The courts exercise jurisdiction over her and the cases and all attending incidents,” Lacierda said.

However, Lacierda was silent on the DAP and PDAF issues.

The Palace official said that instead of politicking or planning about the 2016 presidential elections, the Aquino administration is currently “focused on the problems at hand.”

“The President and his Cabinet do not have the luxury of engaging in 2016,” Lacierda said.

He noted the administration’s concerns on the prevention of the entry and spread of the Ebola virus disease (EVD) in the country, the territorial dispute with China, ensuring the safety and well-being of evacuees in Albay due to the restiveness of the Mayon volcano, and finding solutions to address problems of the ridership using the Metro Rail Transit (MRT).

Binay is currently being investigated by the Senate Blue Ribbon sub-committee over the alleged overpricing of the Makati City Hall Building II.

* After learning of the allegations against Binay, Justice Secretary Leila de Lima announced the plan of the Department of Justice (DOJ) to tap the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) to investigate the Vice President. She clarified this was her personal decision.

AQUINO, ROXAS ABSOLVED

“President Noy (Aquino) has not talked to me about it, and even Secretary Mar Roxas. I am not member of the Liberal Party. I am never part of the political circle,” De Lima said.

She laughed off allegations that tapping the NBI to probe the reported corruption, the investigation in the Senate, and calls for impeachment of Vice President Binay were part of the plot to destroy his name.

“That’s a funny insinuation. It’s my first time to hear about that and I have nothing to do with that. I’m not the type who joins such kind of so-called plot or conspiracy,” she stressed.

De Lima said the conduct of an investigation is her decision. “I am not the type who joins plots or conspiracies. I am not part of the Liberal Party and I am never a part of a political circle,” she reiterated.

ALARMING

As this developed, Sen. Miriam Defensor Santiago said that the refusal of the Vice President to present counter-evidence to the testimony of his former vice mayor, Ernesto Mercado, about multi-billion-peso corruption during Binay’s term as Makati mayor is “alarming.”

“So far, no court has yet passed upon the credibility of Mercado as the tormentor of Binay. But so far because of his repeated appearance in the Senate hearings, it is Mercado who should be credited for positive testimony. His statements are based on facts supported by documents and replete with details- factors which, in jurisprudence, are considered as indicators of truth,” Santiago said.

Santiago cited the latest attack by Mercado against Binay where at least P4 billion from 10 infrastructure projects between 1999 and 2014 allegedly went to city officials as kickbacks.

Thus, Binay’s continued refusal to publicly deny the Mercado allegation by offering counter evidence before the Senate Blue Ribbon sub-committee is alarming, she pointed out.

The Vice President only wanted to make his defense only at the Office of the Ombudsman where he and several others are facing plunder and other criminal cases.

He had alleged that the Senate probe is no longer “in aid of legislation” but in aid of vested political interests.

“Unfortunately, the law does not allow Binay to just choose the forum where he shall make his defense. What is happening at present is that while the Senate is conducting an inquiry in aid of legislation, the case is being tried before the bar of public opinion,” Santiago explained.

It is public opinion and not the Senate sub-committee that would make a finding on whether Binay is guilty, Santiago, a noted constitutionalist, said.

“A Senate committee does not promulgate findings of guilt or innocence. If a criminal charge is involved, all that the committee can do is to endorse the case for further preliminary investigation of the criminal aspect of the case to the Ombudsman or to the Secretary of Justice,” she said. (With a report from Mario B. Casayuran)

MALAYA COLUMN OF THE DAY

FIGHTING CORRUPTION By Amado P. Macasaet | October 17, 2014


Amado P. Macasaet

When two international research firms find a company is apparently cheating on taxes, shouldn’t the government at least try to verify the truth of the report?

Is the refusal to investigate tolerating possible theft of taxes due the government?

Could there be suspicions of connivance between the regulators and the errant taxpayer?

Who is liable for the persistent evasion of taxes as seen by A.C. Nielsen and Oxford Economics in the case of Mighty Corp., a small player in the cigarette market when the excise tax was at a lower rate but soared to big wealth after the tax was raised about three or four times?

Don’t the Department of Finance and the Bureau of Internal Revenue as well as the Bureau of Customs have the duty to investigate the reports so that the suspected tax evader may be cleared if the reports are false and be required to pay if it turns out the company is cheating on cigarette taxes?

Oxford Economics submitted its report to the Department of Finance for verification. More than half a year has come and gone but we do not hear the finance department acting on the report.

What conclusion does one draw from this indifference to investigate what the research firm claims to be massive fraud? Connivance! That’s what!

Is the refusal to verify the truth or falsity a report of fraud, a crime? I think it is. There is a serious crime of “omission” that denies the government an estimated P15 billion in taxes that Mighty Corp. allegedly has not paid by refusing to declare its total production to the BIR for tax purposes.

How does Mighty continue to dominate the low-end cigarette market by selling at a loss? The BIR does not seem to mind. It seems to be completely satisfied collecting the tax due on the declared volume.

How about the tax not collected on the volume not declared for tax purposes? The DOF and the BIR chose to close their eyes on it. They appear to be deaf and blind.

In fact, BIR Commissioner Kim Jacinto Henares even declared she does not care if Mighty gives away cigarettes for as long as it pays a tax. Has Mighty Corp. completely lost its mind incurring huge losses by selling at a loss?

The reality is the company is recovering the losses and in fact making oodles upon oodles of “profits” by not paying a tax on the volume not declared to the BIR. The estimate is the undeclared volume is about 60 percent.

In other words, authorities refuse to verify whether or not the company covers the losses from the untaxed volume.

In effect, they abet tax evasion while the DOF chases small people it suspects do not pay the correct tax.

By refusing to order an investigation, the Aquino government places itself in a situation that makes its “matuwid na daan” a complete farce.

 
BLOGGED IMAGE: PNoy's MATUWID NA DAAN, DARK CLOUDS ON THE HORIZON

* Doesn’t anyone in government consider the “anomaly” of alleged tax evasion by Mighty makes the campaign to attract foreign investments a bigger farce? Obviously they have all become deaf and blind.

Demand for cigarettes made by legitimate makers who are foreign investors is said to have gone down by close to 10 percent from the time the new excise tax took effect on Jan. 1,  2013.

High end cigarettes are taxed at the rate of P25 per pack. Low-end cigarettes such as those made by Mighty pay a lower rate of P17 to the pack. The tax on all brands, local or foreign, will be unitary at P30 starting 2017.

Lucky Strike, the popular brand imported into this country by British American Tobacco is retailed at an average of P42 per hard pack while the high-end brands of PMFTC retail at higher than P60 to the pack.

I have a receipt showing the unfiltered shorts of Lucky Strike, sell at about P110 in Kuala Lumpur. BAT also incurs a loss selling its brands, particularly Lucky Strike at prices lower than in the home market of Malaysia.

In fairness, there are no reports BAT is cheating on taxes.

The reality is it does not flood the market with lower priced high-end brands presumably because it wants to minimize losses. On the other hand, Mighty floods the market with cigarettes sold at a “loss.”

Thus, the legitimate cigarette makers are sandwiched between two evils. One evil is Mighty that eats up the market for cigarettes selling at a loss. The other evil is BAT that also sells its brands at prices far lower than in the home market but limits supply precisely to cut losses.

Where in the world does one find a situation where one cigarette maker sells at a loss recovered from untaxed volume and another selling at low prices but limits supply precisely to minimize possible huge losses?

It must be pointed out that BAT does not use local leaf although it earlier promised to set up a $200-million factory near the sources of the leaf.

The records of customs show Mighty is using less local tobacco considering the big volume of tobacco it imports at only $0.68 a kilo when the average in the world is between $4 and $6 to the kilo depending on the quality.

At $0.68 per kilo, Mighty is importing scraps. But it does not sell its brands at a loss because the raw material is scrap.

We have a cigarette scandal nobody in government wants to look at. If the Senate investigated its peers for the alleged misuse of pork barrel funds amounting to P10 billion why can’t the lawmakers also look into the reports of A.C. Nielsen and Oxford Economics saying Mighty may be cheating the government in the amount of P15 billion in untaxed cigarettes?

The Aquino government is harsh on lawmakers who “stole” pork barrel funds. It is unusually kind to Mighty Corp. which is claimed to have cheated and continues to cheat on excise tax by not declaring the correct volume.

The amount due the government from Mighty may be increasing by the day.

This is the hidden meaning of President Aquino’s “matuwid na daan” that he allows to be crooked.

 


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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