HEADLINE NEWS THIS PAST WEEK ...

NOY SAYS U.S. TRANSGENDER MURDER SHOULD NOT SOUR TIES WITH U.S. 

OCT 20 --Noy says US ties above transgender murder; 4 witnesses in Laude slay case now out of RP. According to him, there were no grounds to void the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) that allows the US military to conduct regular training exercises involving thousands of troops on Philippine territory. “Name me any place that doesn’t have any crime. And the sin of one person should be reflective of the entire country. I don’t think so,” he told reporters in Leyte during a ceremony to mark a World War II victory by the allies. Aquino said both governments were making sure the VFA that governs American military behavior in the Philippines is being followed in the criminal proceedings. Prosecutors have summoned Lance Cpl. Joseph Scott Pemberton and four other US witnesses to appear before a preliminary murder hearing in today to present their counter-affidavits.

The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), however, said the four American servicemen have already left the country.
Foreign Affairs spokesman Charles Jose said this was the information that was gathered by the department from the US Embassy in Manila. “DFA was not informed by the US side that four witnesses were leaving the country. They are not required to do so,” Jose said. The unidentified witnesses are believed to be members of the US Marines. Jose explained that the investigation will proceed despite their non-appearance at the Prosecutor’s Office in Olongapo City since “they have already satisfied the legal requirements.” “Moreover, the US has given assurance that they'll make available the witnesses at the trial,” he stressed. Pemberton and the four witnesses were among the hundreds of US troops who participated in military drills in the country that wrapped up last Oct. 10 under the 1998 VFA.* READ MORE...

ALSO: House LP group break-up looms; Impeach-Binay plan divisive 

OCT 21 ---HOUSE leaders warned Sunday of the inevitable breakup of the majority coalition over a Liberal Party-led move to impeach Vice President Jejomar Binay, which would leave his United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) no choice but to bolt the alliance. The second largest party in the House, the 40-strong Nationalist People’s Coalition (NPC), said the LP-led impeachment efforts were counter-productive. “Initiating an impeachment is untimely and a potentially divisive and costly political exercise,” said NPC secretary general and Batangas Rep. Mark Llandro Mendoza. “The NPC, which remains one of the biggest political parties in the country, completely disagrees and will not support the calls of the critics of VP Binay to initiate an impeachment move against him,” Mendoza said. Mendoza issued the statement after cracks started to show within the Liberal Party itself, with allies of Interior and Local Governments Secretary Manuel Roxas II pursuing the impeachment to stop Binay from becoming the next president, and Speaker Feliciano Belmonte opposing such moves.

Another coalition member, the National Unity Party, led by Dasmarinas City Rep. Elpidio Barzaga Jr. has contradicted Belmonte’s position that Binay could not be impeached for acts committed before he became vice president. Roxas’ closest ally and LP party whip Caloocan Rep. Edgar Erice said he saw no relevance of the impeachment to the break up of the majority coalition. He said the breakup was inevitable because Binay’s UNA had no choice but to bolt the coalition. “One thing is sure, though, UNA will eventually bolt the House coalition. After all, they are just there for the freebies. They don’t actually support the President’s vision and reform agenda,” Erice told the Manila Standard. UNA’s interim president, Navotas Rep. Toby Tiangco, shot back. “Erice’s number one talent is his thick face. He gets self satisfaction when he lands in media. He talks to himself and answers his own questions. Doesn’t he wonder why he keeps talking and talking yet until now, nobody has designated him LP spokesman?” Tiangco said. The UNA has accused Roxas, the presumptive LP standard bearer for 2016 and Binay’s archrival, of masterminding Oplan Nognog, an LP-Natconalista Party alliance that allegedly mounted a demolition job against the vice president in the Senate.
* READ MORE...

ALSO: Aquino allies urge Binay to give up presidential bid; UNA says no way

OCT 26 ---PHOTO OF ERECE---Two allies of President Benigno Aquino III advised Vice President Jejomar Binay, on Sunday, to give up his presidential ambition and concentrate on his defense against mounting charges of unexplained wealth against him and his family.
But the United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) said Binay would never quit the 2016 presidential race no matter how much dirt his rivals throw at him in the next 19 months. “Definitely [he should quit]. I think the charges of corruption are very strong. If he thinks he can win using the [poor man] card, he’s mistaken. He thinks people are gullible and stupid, which they are not,” Akbayan Rep. Walden Bello said.
“He should be preparing his legal defense rather than preparing for an election,” Bello added. Caloocan Rep. Edgar Erice said Binay himself knew that it was “game over” for him the moment his most trusted aide, former Makati Vice Mayor Ernesto Mercado, came out with the goods against him.

“I believe that his best option is to end his presidential ambition now and get ready with his answers. But I have been observing political dynasties and most of them don’t even know when to stop,” Erice said. “He knows [he has] skeletons in his closet yet he believes he can hide [them] or he can fool the people all the time. He is finished,” Erice said. “Never” was the quick reply of Navotas Rep. Tobias Tiangco, interim president of Binay’s party UNA, to Bello’s and Erice’s advice to Binay. “The VP will not turn his back on the poor who are expecting to have free private school quality education, assurance of free hospitalization and financial allowance for senior citizens. These basic social services should be prioritized while the government is creating job and livelihood opportunities for them,” Tiangco said in an interview on dzBB radio.

“The VP is the only one with the proven heart for the poor and the track record. He will go through all this black propaganda in order to fulfill his dream of uplifting the lives of the poor, whom he has served since he was a human rights lawyer,” Tiangco said. Isabela Rep. Rodolfo Albano III, a minority bloc member, said he did not believe quitting the presidential race would be the best option for Binay. “He has gone too far already and to quit now is an admission of guilt. I think it will be the people who will judge him anyway. For me he has to go for it,” Albano said.*READ MORE...

ALSO: Palace: Binay’s feud is with lawmakers, not us; Escudero: VP offensive leaves charges unexplained 

OCT 27 ---PHOTO: In defending himself against allegations of corruption, Vice President Jejomar Binay (left inset) is attacking administration lawmakers, not President Aquino, Malacańang spokesman Herminio Coloma (right), who is identified with the Binay faction in the Palace, said on Sunday. INQUIRER PHOTOS/MALACAńANG PHOTO FROM FACEBOOK ACCOUNT MANILA, Philippines–In defending himself against allegations of corruption, Vice President Jejomar Binay is attacking administration lawmakers, not President Aquino, Malacańang said on Sunday. Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma, who is identified with the Binay faction in the Palace, made the distinction clear, but did not comment when asked whether the Vice President should finally show his “true colors.”

Binay, who has long disclosed his plan to run for President in 2016, is under Senate investigation for alleged corruption when he was mayor of Makati City. He has denied the charges, saying they are politically motivated, and called the Senate blue ribbon subcommittee that is looking into the allegations a “kangaroo court.” President Aquino’s allies have criticized him for choosing to stay with the administration but attacking it in defending himself against the corruption charges. Binay’s latest offensive came on Saturday at a Lions Club gathering at the Manila Hotel where, in a speech, he criticized Aquino’s allies in the Senate for wasting time by investigating “recycled” charges against him instead of dealing with the country’s pressing problems. “There is a power crisis, the rising prices of oil and other commodities, the rampant crime plaguing the country, the hellish traffic jams, unsafe MRT and LRT, the recurrent flooding and the wrath of nature that we must all prepare for,” he said. “But instead of giving all their time and thoughts to achieve solutions to these problems, they chose to advance their own interests by destroying my name and those of my loved ones,” he said.

Aquino not target ---Apparently referring to the Inquirer report, Coloma said Binay was not speaking against the President but against “administration allies in the Senate who have mounted an inquiry into alleged corruption in Makati during his term as Makati mayor.” “Since the subject of the newspaper story was the issue between Vice President Binay and the legislators he was referring to, we have nothing more to add,” Coloma said on state-run radio. The Senate blue ribbon subcommittee has invited Binay to the inquiry to air his side on the accusations against him, but he has rejected the invitation and his camp has said he preferred to bring the issue “directly to the people.” Instead of facing the charges against him in the Senate, Binay has also challenged Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV, who had filed the resolution seeking an inquiry into the allegations against the Vice President, to a debate.
Challenge accepted ---Trillanes accepted the challenge and the Kapisanan ng mga Brodkaster ng Pilipinas is now arranging the debate with its member stations. The Palace welcomed the debate, saying it was part of a “healthy democracy.” * READ MORE...

ALSO: Binay hits Aquino admin; Allies mobilize forces for embattled VP 

OCT 26 ---In a barely veiled attack on the administration of President Benigno Aquino III, embattled Vice President Jejomar Binay on Saturday night enumerated the chief complaints of the public that, according to him, his detractors must deal with. “There is a power crisis, the rising prices of oil and other commodities, the rampant crimes plaguing the country, the hellish traffic jams, unsafe MRT and LRT, the recurrent flooding and the wrath of nature that we must all prepare for,” Binay said in a speech at the 32nd anniversary celebration of the Lions’ Club District 301-D2 at the Manila Hotel. “But instead of giving all their time and thoughts to achieve solutions to these problems, they chose to advance their own interests by destroying my name and those of my loved ones,” he said, referring to administration allies in the Senate who have mounted an inquiry into alleged corruption in Makati during his term as the city’s mayor.

He said those members of the Senate had been blinded by their ambition and were now using a blue ribbon subcommittee to “unjustly persecute” him and his family. Gift of sight ---Binay praised the members of Lions’ Club District 301-D2 for their “first sight” project that offers free prescription glasses and cataract treatment to indigent people. “The gift of sight is one of the most priceless gifts that anyone can give to a fellow human being. I only wish that you could have extended that gift to some members of the Senate who have been so blinded by political ambition,” Binay said. “Their recent activities and actuations are no longer in aid of legislation but in aid of political persecution. Indeed, they have made the Senate inquiry a platform to unjustly persecute my person and office, my family, and in fact anyone who has had even the remotest association with me,” Binay said.

Then, without directly referring to President Aquino, Binay pointed to many pressing problems of the country.
“We thought they had been solved in the 1990s. But they are here like ghosts haunting us now,” Binay said.
Asked later if his statement was directed at the administration of President Aquino, Binay said: “It was not against the President. I was just saying a factual information.” Senate inquiry ---* READ MORE...

ALSO Manila Bulletin Editorial: A hundred pages of ‘typographical errors’

OCT 27 --Still suffering from a low public esteem because of its involvement in the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) or pork barrel scam, the House of Representatives again finds itself in the center of unflattering news reports that House leaders are moving to insert changes in the P2.6-trillion National Budget for 2015 after the bill had already been approved on second reading. In first reading, a bill is accepted for committee discussion and approval. It is then submitted to the entire House for debate in plenary session. After all the discussion and amendments, the bill is approved by the body on second reading. In the third reading, individual legislators are called one by one to state and possibly explain their vote. In the case of the 2015 General Appropriations Act, it was approved on second reading last September 26, 2014.

Now, according to the House minority solons, some 100 pages of “errata” – alleged typographical errors – are being inserted in the approved bill. The Department of Budget and Management (DBM) had earlier withdrawn the 100 pages of “errata” and so these were not in the bill approved on second reading. They were, therefore, not discussed at all on the floor. If the minority had any objections or any kind of amendment to some items, they were not given the chance to do so. We can appreciate the concern of the minority congressmen. A hundred pages of budget items cannot simply be called “errata.” There could be items that the DBM did not want examined too closely. Whether they were mere typographical mistakes or substantial programs with substantial appropriations, they should have been discussed openly, before voting on second reading. With the pro-administration majority in firm control of the House, all budget items proposed by Malacańang were bound to be approved anyway.

The leaders and members of the House should understand that the eyes of the nation are focused on them because of the PDAF and the administration’s Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP), both of which were declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court. There is a lingering suspicion, valid or not, that the administration is out to continue pet projects that were struck down by the DAP decision. The House leaders insist that the inclusion of the “errata” or amendments in the approved bill is accepted practice in the House. That may well be true but under the present circumstances, where suspicions remain high, it would be best if the House leaders bent over backwards and yielded to the insistence of the minority that the amendments be discussed in open assembly. Afterwards, the House can approve the appropriation with all the corrected “typographical errors” and it will all be legal and constitutional.*READ MORE...


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Noy says US transgender murder should not sour ties with US; 4 witnesses in slay now out of RP

MANILA, OCTOBER 27, 2014 (TRIBUNE) Written by Tribune Wires Tuesday, 21 October 2014 00:00 - President Aquino yesterday said the murder of Filipino transgender Jeffrey “Jennifer” Laude allegedly by a US Marine should not sour ties with the United States.

According to him, there were no grounds to void the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) that allows the US military to conduct regular training exercises involving thousands of troops on Philippine territory.

“Name me any place that doesn’t have any crime. And the sin of one person should be reflective of the entire country. I don’t think so,” he told reporters in Leyte during a ceremony to mark a World War II victory by the allies.

Aquino said both governments were making sure the VFA that governs American military behavior in the Philippines is being followed in the criminal proceedings.

Prosecutors have summoned Lance Cpl. Joseph Scott Pemberton and four other US witnesses to appear before a preliminary murder hearing in today to present their counter-affidavits.

The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), however, said the four American servicemen have already left the country.

Foreign Affairs spokesman Charles Jose said this was the information that was gathered by the department from the US Embassy in Manila.

“DFA was not informed by the US side that four witnesses were leaving the country. They are not required to do so,” Jose said. The unidentified witnesses are believed to be members of the US Marines.

Jose explained that the investigation will proceed despite their non-appearance at the Prosecutor’s Office in Olongapo City since “they have already satisfied the legal requirements.”

“Moreover, the US has given assurance that they will make available the witnesses at the trial,” he stressed.

Pemberton and the four witnesses were among the hundreds of US troops who participated in military drills in the country that wrapped up last Oct. 10 under the 1998 VFA.

* US authorities said they could not confirm if Pemberton will present himself in Tuesday’s proceedings.

Jose said Pemberton’s appearance is expected at the preliminary investigation on the basis of the VFA, a military accord that allows the entry and exit of US personnel in the country for the purpose of joint training with Filipinos soldiers.

“(VFA) says US military authorities shall, upon formal notification of Filipino authorities and without delay, make such personnel available to those authorities in time for any investigative and judicial proceedings,” the DFA official explained.

Jose warned that Pemberton will be “taking his own risk” by not appearing in the investigation.

“He’s risking a decision that will be unfavorable to him. If the prosecutor recommends the filing of murder charges against him, that’s his problem,” Jose said. “His legal adviser should advise him to appear.”

Justice Secretary Leila de Lima, for her part, said prosecutors will be insisting that Pemberton should appear in today’s preliminary investigation.

Pemberton is being held aboard the US Navy amphibious assault ship Peleliu in Subic, Zambales.

“The usual process in preliminary investigations is that we insist on the personal appearance (of the person) especially if the hearing is for submission of counter-affidavit. In this case there is no reason for him not to appear before the prosecutor’s office. We see no reason it would be an exception to the rule or general rule on personal appearance,” she told reporters in a separate interview.

De Lima admitted there have been cases in the past when a respondent opts not to appear during the preliminary investigation of the case and would submit his or her counter-affidavit to answer the allegations in the complaint but she added there should be a compelling reason for his or her absence from the proceedings.

The Justice chief stressed the city prosecutor will insist on Pemberton’s personal appearance, adding this is to underscore that the government is taking the case seriously.

De Lima said if Pemberton does not appear in today’s proceedings and submit his counter-affidavit, then the prosecutor may consider that he waived his right to file to file his counter-affidavit.

She also said the US government has announced its commitment to make Pemberton available in the proceedings and submit to all legal processes related to his case.

Police have earlier said Pemberton was the last person seen with Laude before the victim was found dead in a hotel bathroom last Oct. 12 with his head in the toilet and marks of strangulation on his neck.

The murder placed defense ties between the two countries under scrutiny. It recalled a 2005 rape case involving a Filipina and a US Marine, who like Pemberton was in the country for joint military exercises.

But in a ceremony marking the 70th anniversary of US Gen. Douglas MacArthur’s return that paved the way for the Philippines’ liberation from Japan, Aquino reaffirmed the alliance with the United States.

The US landing in Leyte Gulf set the stage for one of the largest naval battles of World War II and made a hero out of MacArthur for fulfilling his “I shall return” promise.

“Let us renew our commitment to the strong and enduring friendships between the Philippines and its wartime allies,” Aquino said.

Without directly mentioning the murder case, US Ambassador Philip Goldberg said the two countries could surpass “challenges and uncertainties.”

“Just as in the case 70 years ago we will prevail,” he said.

Under the bilateral agreement, the United States has primary custody over its personnel accused before Philippine courts. But the Philippines has criminal jurisdiction.

Pemberton had not informed prosecutors if he would attend today’s hearing, Olongapo city assistant prosecutor Ria Nina Sususco told Agence France Presse.

Relatedly, two of the alleged key witnesses in the killing Laude are being called to appear before the Senate to testify on the crime allegedly committed by Pemberton.

Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago, chairman of the foreign relations committee, yesterday sent a formal letter to De Lima to make available the “witnesses” in the proceedings that she has initiated in the upper chamber.

“This is to urgently request for your permission to allow the following witnesses to testify at the hearing of the Senate foreign relations committee which I chair, scheduled this Wednesday (Oct. 22),” the senator said, referring to Mark Clarence Gelviro alias “Barbie” and a certain Elias Galamos.

“Their testimonies will be absolutely essential for the Senate to carry out the mandate to conduct an inquiry in aid of legislation,” Santiago said in a letter dated yesterday.

Gelviro is said to be the victim’s friend who identified the suspect while Galamos is an employee of Celzone Lodge in Olongapo City where Laude and Pemberton reportedly checked in on the night of the commission of the crime.

Sen. Francis “Chiz” Escudero, for his part, said the DFA and the DoJ should immediately and without delay get in touch with their counterparts and demand the attendance of the four witnesses.
By Joshua L. Labonera, Benjamin B. Pulta, Angie M. Rosales and afp

FROM THE MANILA STANDARD

LP group break-up looms By Christine F. Herrera | Oct. 20, 2014 at 12:01am

Party’s over? Impeach-VP plan divisive, NPC warns


NOY/MAR LIBERAL PARTY OF THE PHILIPPINES

HOUSE leaders warned Sunday of the inevitable breakup of the majority coalition over a Liberal Party-led move to impeach Vice President Jejomar Binay, which would leave his United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) no choice but to bolt the alliance.

The second largest party in the House, the 40-strong Nationalist People’s Coalition (NPC), said the LP-led impeachment efforts were counter-productive.

“Initiating an impeachment is untimely and a potentially divisive and costly political exercise,” said NPC secretary general and Batangas Rep. Mark Llandro Mendoza.

“The NPC, which remains one of the biggest political parties in the country, completely disagrees and will not support the calls of the critics of VP Binay to initiate an impeachment move against him,” Mendoza said.

Mendoza issued the statement after cracks started to show within the Liberal Party itself, with allies of Interior and Local Governments Secretary Manuel Roxas II pursuing the impeachment to stop Binay from becoming the next president, and Speaker Feliciano Belmonte opposing such moves.

Another coalition member, the National Unity Party, led by Dasmarinas City Rep. Elpidio Barzaga Jr. has contradicted Belmonte’s position that Binay could not be impeached for acts committed before he became vice president.

Roxas’ closest ally and LP party whip Caloocan Rep. Edgar Erice said he saw no relevance of the impeachment to the break up of the majority coalition.

He said the breakup was inevitable because Binay’s UNA had no choice but to bolt the coalition.

“One thing is sure, though, UNA will eventually bolt the House coalition. After all, they are just there for the freebies. They don’t actually support the President’s vision and reform agenda,” Erice told the Manila Standard.

UNA’s interim president, Navotas Rep. Toby Tiangco, shot back.

“Erice’s number one talent is his thick face. He gets self satisfaction when he lands in media. He talks to himself and answers his own questions. Doesn’t he wonder why he keeps talking and talking yet until now, nobody has designated him LP spokesman?” Tiangco said.

The UNA has accused Roxas, the presumptive LP standard bearer for 2016 and Binay’s archrival, of masterminding Oplan Nognog, an LP-Natconalista Party alliance that allegedly mounted a demolition job against the vice president in the Senate.

* The NPC said it supported Belmonte’s view on impeachment.

Belmonte, LP vice chairman, has cautioned Erice against filing the impeachment complaint especially if the grounds to be raised were about Binay’s alleged offenses when he was still mayor of Makati City.

Belmonte said he would convince Erice not to file the impeachment complaint.

But Erice said instead of a split in the coalition, he expected the impeachment complaint to gain multi-party support.

“It really depends on the substance of the impeachment complaint. If it is credible, it will gain multi-party support,” Erice said.

The NPC’s Mendoza urged administration lawmakers to engage in more productive pursuits such as continuing with the reforms and programs aimed at improving the lives and livelihood of the people.

“The Aquino administration only has a little over two years left in office and we hope that its allies in Congress should instead focus on the tasks at hand and not dabble too much in politics,” Mendoza said.

Mendoza was also reacting to recent reports quoting Justice Secretary Leila de Lima that the results of their probe on allegations of corruption against Binay could be used as basis for filing an impeachment complaint against him.

“We note with great concern the calls by critics of VP Binay to impeach him because we believe that instead of wasting their resources on such unproductive undertakings like an impeachment trial, the government allies should work harder to sustain our political and economic gains with special focus on good governance” Mendoza said.

Earlier, Binay vowed to keep fighting what he tagged a scripted plot to derail his 2016 plans through a Senate inquiry, a Justice Department probe, and the threat of impeachment by administration congressmen.

Binay made his remarks at the 5th MCLE Accredited National Convention of Public Attorneys at the Manila Hotel even as he vowed to always uphold the rule of law and the Constitution, especially against those who would use power for selfish political agenda.

He also chided De Lima for her unusual interest in investigating the charges against him despite the number of other cases her department has yet to resolve including those that concern the pork barrel scam and the outlawed Disbursement Acceleration Program involving administration allies.

Belmonte said he does not think Binay could be impeached over the alleged overpriced Makati parking building that began construction when the latter was Makati mayor.

“I think that up to this point we have been discussing things [that happened] before he became Vice President, and on that basis, I don’t think impeachment is something that’s called for,” Belmonte said.

FROM THE INQUIRER

Aquino allies urge Binay to give up presidential bid; UNA says no way By Gil C. Cabacungan |Philippine Daily Inquirer9:32 pm | Sunday, October 26th, 2014



Caloocan Rep. Edgar Erice, desididong maghain ng impeachment complaint laban kay VP Binay. (GRACE CASIN / UNTV News)

MANILA, Philippines — Two allies of President Benigno Aquino III advised Vice President Jejomar Binay, on Sunday, to give up his presidential ambition and concentrate on his defense against mounting charges of unexplained wealth against him and his family.

But the United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) said Binay would never quit the 2016 presidential race no matter how much dirt his rivals throw at him in the next 19 months.

“Definitely [he should quit]. I think the charges of corruption are very strong. If he thinks he can win using the [poor man] card, he’s mistaken. He thinks people are gullible and stupid, which they are not,” Akbayan Rep. Walden Bello said.

“He should be preparing his legal defense rather than preparing for an election,” Bello added.

Caloocan Rep. Edgar Erice said Binay himself knew that it was “game over” for him the moment his most trusted aide, former Makati Vice Mayor Ernesto Mercado, came out with the goods against him.

“I believe that his best option is to end his presidential ambition now and get ready with his answers. But I have been observing political dynasties and most of them don’t even know when to stop,” Erice said.

“He knows [he has] skeletons in his closet yet he believes he can hide [them] or he can fool the people all the time. He is finished,” Erice said.

“Never” was the quick reply of Navotas Rep. Tobias Tiangco, interim president of Binay’s party UNA, to Bello’s and Erice’s advice to Binay.

“The VP will not turn his back on the poor who are expecting to have free private school quality education, assurance of free hospitalization and financial allowance for senior citizens. These basic social services should be prioritized while the government is creating job and livelihood opportunities for them,” Tiangco said in an interview on dzBB radio.

“The VP is the only one with the proven heart for the poor and the track record. He will go through all this black propaganda in order to fulfill his dream of uplifting the lives of the poor, whom he has served since he was a human rights lawyer,” Tiangco said.

Isabela Rep. Rodolfo Albano III, a minority bloc member, said he did not believe quitting the presidential race would be the best option for Binay.

“He has gone too far already and to quit now is an admission of guilt. I think it will be the people who will judge him anyway. For me he has to go for it,” Albano said.

* “People will gravitate sooner or later to him, especially the poor. He has a very high performance rating. In the end people will choose a candidate who will make a big difference in their lives,” Albano added.

Binay holds the lead over the prospective candidates for president in 2016 despite allegations of corruption and ill-gotten wealth hurled against him by his own allies in Makati when he was mayor of the city.

His share in the Pulse Asia voter preference polls dropped from 41 percent in June to 31 percent in September, which some pundits claimed represented his hard core supporters.

But while Tiangco believed Binay would not back out of the 2016 elections, he said the Vice President should drop his challenge to Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV to a debate.

Tiangco said he would try and convince Binay that debating with Trillanes was “not a good idea.”

Tiangco said Trillanes used to be a friend of Antonio Tiu and he even praised the businessman during the inauguration of an agri-tourism venture on a 350-hectare property in Rosario town, Batangas province, two months ago.

Mercado alleges that Binay is the real owner of the property.

Tiangco said Trillanes has been calling Tiu a dummy for Binay. “He is not worth talking to, he is not worth debating with. What do you call a person who [is not a man of his] word? What else but a liar,” Tiangco said.

“What I cannot understand is why allegations of corruption should be explained in public,” Tiangco said, adding that the proper forum for such charges would be the Office of the Ombudsman.

He said Binay should debate with Trillanes only if the senator would declare his presidential candidacy. In that case, the face-off would focus on the political issues.

“Election issues are for the court of public opinion, not for the legal courts,” Tiangco said.

Palace: Binay’s feud is with lawmakers, not us; Escudero: VP offensive leaves charges unexplained By Christian V. Esguerra, Leila B. Salaverria |Philippine Daily Inquirer12:20 am | Monday, October 27th, 2014


In defending himself against allegations of corruption, Vice President Jejomar Binay (left inset) is attacking administration lawmakers, not President Aquino, Malacańang spokesman Herminio Coloma (right), who is identified with the Binay faction in the Palace, said on Sunday. INQUIRER PHOTOS/MALACAńANG PHOTO FROM FACEBOOK ACCOUNT

MANILA, Philippines–In defending himself against allegations of corruption, Vice President Jejomar Binay is attacking administration lawmakers, not President Aquino, Malacańang said on Sunday.

Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma, who is identified with the Binay faction in the Palace, made the distinction clear, but did not comment when asked whether the Vice President should finally show his “true colors.”

Binay, who has long disclosed his plan to run for President in 2016, is under Senate investigation for alleged corruption when he was mayor of Makati City.

He has denied the charges, saying they are politically motivated, and called the Senate blue ribbon subcommittee that is looking into the allegations a “kangaroo court.”

President Aquino’s allies have criticized him for choosing to stay with the administration but attacking it in defending himself against the corruption charges.

Binay’s latest offensive came on Saturday at a Lions Club gathering at the Manila Hotel where, in a speech, he criticized Aquino’s allies in the Senate for wasting time by investigating “recycled” charges against him instead of dealing with the country’s pressing problems.

“There is a power crisis, the rising prices of oil and other commodities, the rampant crime plaguing the country, the hellish traffic jams, unsafe MRT and LRT, the recurrent flooding and the wrath of nature that we must all prepare for,” he said.

“But instead of giving all their time and thoughts to achieve solutions to these problems, they chose to advance their own interests by destroying my name and those of my loved ones,” he said.

Aquino not target

Apparently referring to the Inquirer report, Coloma said Binay was not speaking against the President but against “administration allies in the Senate who have mounted an inquiry into alleged corruption in Makati during his term as Makati mayor.”

“Since the subject of the newspaper story was the issue between Vice President Binay and the legislators he was referring to, we have nothing more to add,” Coloma said on state-run radio.

The Senate blue ribbon subcommittee has invited Binay to the inquiry to air his side on the accusations against him, but he has rejected the invitation and his camp has said he preferred to bring the issue “directly to the people.”

Instead of facing the charges against him in the Senate, Binay has also challenged Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV, who had filed the resolution seeking an inquiry into the allegations against the Vice President, to a debate.

Challenge accepted

Trillanes accepted the challenge and the Kapisanan ng mga Brodkaster ng Pilipinas is now arranging the debate with its member stations.

The Palace welcomed the debate, saying it was part of a “healthy democracy.”

* “Let the discussions that will give our people additional knowledge take place,” Coloma said.

Reacting to Binay’s speech to the members of the Lions Club District 301-D2 on Saturday night, Trillanes on Sunday said the Vice President was trying to divert public attention from the inquiry into the mounting charges against him.

“The attacks are just attempts of VP Binay to misdirect or divert public attention from corruption allegations against him. While the issues may be valid, the timing is suspect,” Trillanes said in a text message.

Issues remain unexplained

For Sen. Francis Escudero, going on such an offensive still does not explain the issues hounding Binay.

Speaking on dzBB radio, Escudero said Binay was only human and likely hurting from the allegations coming from former Makati officials. He may have been advised that the best defense is a good offense, Escudero said.

“The problem with such a defense is the issue is still not explained, the controversy is not cleared up and the many questions remain unanswered,” Escudero said.

Among the charges against Binay is overpricing in the construction of the P2.28-billion Makati City Hall Building II, taking kickbacks from municipal infrastructure projects, and using dummies to conceal his ownership of an 8,877-square-meter real estate property in Comembo village in Makati and a 350-hectare farm in Rosario town, Batangas province.

Binay and his press officers insist the charges are aimed at derailing his plan to run for the presidency in the 2016 elections.

Styling himself as a servant of the poor, Binay has also called the Senate inquiry a plot by the rich to prevent a man from low beginnings like him from attaining the highest office in the land.

Committee invitation

Escudero reiterated his support for the Senate move to invite Binay to respond to the allegations against him, saying it was the legislature’s obligation to give him the chance to defend himself.

The blue ribbon committee has accepted the Binay camp’s condition that the invitation should come from the mother committee and not from the subcommittee conducting the inquiry.

The chair of the committee, Sen. Teofisto Guingona III, has said he would send an invitation to Binay.

If Binay thinks the allegations will not affect him, he can ignore them, Escudero said. But if he believes the charges affect his numbers, he should study what he should do next, he added.

As to whether Binay should leave the Aquino Cabinet, Escudero said the decision should be left to the Vice President or to the President. At this point, he said, both seem to want to continue working together.

Trillanes, who earlier said Binay should resign from the Cabinet if he disagreed with the administration’s policies, said he would not rule out the possibility that the Vice President, after his speech on Saturday, would try to appease Aquino by saying the President wasn’t his target.

“VP Binay is truly a politician of the worst kind,” Trillanes said.

He also said he believed Binay had plans to go on a “massive propaganda campaign” employing media and public relations operations to respond to the allegations against him.

Pretending to be poor

In an interview on dzBB, Trillanes criticized Binay for trying to paint his crisis as an issue between the rich and the poor.

He said Binay was wealthier than he, and the Vice President’s son had an elevator in his house. But Binay likes to pretend he’s one of the poor, Trillanes said.

“You’re fooling the people again. You’re pretending to be poor, but you’re living like a king in Hacienda Binay,” he said.

Trillanes said that at the next hearing of the Senate blue ribbon subcommittee, evidence would be presented to show that Binay owned the farm in Batangas.

He said Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano would present the evidence. Originally posted: 11:17 pm | Sunday, October 26th, 2014

Binay hits Aquino admin; Allies mobilize forces for embattled VP By Nińa P. Calleja |Philippine Daily Inquirer1:06 am | Sunday, October 26th, 2014


BINAY

In a barely veiled attack on the administration of President Benigno Aquino III, embattled Vice President Jejomar Binay on Saturday night enumerated the chief complaints of the public that, according to him, his detractors must deal with.

“There is a power crisis, the rising prices of oil and other commodities, the rampant crimes plaguing the country, the hellish traffic jams, unsafe MRT and LRT, the recurrent flooding and the wrath of nature that we must all prepare for,” Binay said in a speech at the 32nd anniversary celebration of the Lions’ Club District 301-D2 at the Manila Hotel.

“But instead of giving all their time and thoughts to achieve solutions to these problems, they chose to advance their own interests by destroying my name and those of my loved ones,” he said, referring to administration allies in the Senate who have mounted an inquiry into alleged corruption in Makati during his term as the city’s mayor.

He said those members of the Senate had been blinded by their ambition and were now using a blue ribbon subcommittee to “unjustly persecute” him and his family.

Gift of sight

Binay praised the members of Lions’ Club District 301-D2 for their “first sight” project that offers free prescription glasses and cataract treatment to indigent people.

“The gift of sight is one of the most priceless gifts that anyone can give to a fellow human being. I only wish that you could have extended that gift to some members of the Senate who have been so blinded by political ambition,” Binay said.

“Their recent activities and actuations are no longer in aid of legislation but in aid of political persecution. Indeed, they have made the Senate inquiry a platform to unjustly persecute my person and office, my family, and in fact anyone who has had even the remotest association with me,” Binay said.

Then, without directly referring to President Aquino, Binay pointed to many pressing problems of the country.
“We thought they had been solved in the 1990s. But they are here like ghosts haunting us now,” Binay said.

Asked later if his statement was directed at the administration of President Aquino, Binay said: “It was not against the President. I was just saying a factual information.”

Senate inquiry

* The Senate blue ribbon subcommittee is investigating allegations of corruption against Binay, including the alleged overpricing of the P2.28-billion Makati City Hall Building II, which was constructed when he was the city’s mayor.

Former Makati Vice Mayor Ernesto Mercado, the principal witness in the inquiry, has accused Binay of taking 13 percent of the cost of municipal infrastructure projects in kickbacks and concealing assets, including an 8,877-square-meter property in Comembo village in Makati and a 350-hectare farm in Rosario town, Batangas province.

In his speech, Binay said President Aquino had been praising him for his performance as head of the key shelter agencies. “I never thought of tarnishing someone else’s name to get what I wanted to achieve,” he said.

‘Recycled’ charges

Binay described the testimonies of the witnesses in the Senate inquiry as “recycled” charges that his detractors revive every time elections are near.

“An example is the hectares of land they say I own. During elections in Makati, they would say I own 5 hectares. It became 10 until it reached 350 hectares,” he said.

He said the cases against him had been filed in the Office of the Ombudsman but were later junked. He said the law, whether he is a poor or a wealthy man, should protect him from “double jeopardy.”

“It seems my rivals would not respect the decisions of the concerned courts, unless the ruling is favorable to them,” he said.

Binay advised his political rivals to direct their attention toward measures for economic progress and inclusive growth.

“Many plausible strategies for the attainment of these goals can be drawn from what many call the Makati miracle.

The progress achieved in my home city in over two and half decades is demonstrable proof of competent and compassionate governance,” he said.

APO mobilizes

Meanwhile, the Alpha Phi Omega (APO) fraternity has mobilized its more than 100,000 members here and abroad to support Binay in the critical chapter of his political career.

Mel Adriano, a Manila-based businessman and former APO national president, yesterday said he was in the United States to accept declarations of support for Binay from more than 30 APO-Philippines alumni associations in North America.

“We support VP Jojo Binay not only because he is an APO brother but because he is the most qualified and has the track record of getting things done,”¯ Adriano said in an interview on Facebook.

Binay has been a member of APO since 1960 during his college days at the University of the Philippines Diliman.
APO claims to have more than 360 collegiate chapters in the Philippines.

Binay never fails to credit the fraternity’s support in his victory in the 2010 vice-presidential election.

Adriano said all APO members across the country, college residents and alumni, most of them professionals, had reaffirmed their commitment to support Binay.

“They [are] active on social media, spreading the truth about the false allegations and lies at the Senate blue ribbon subcommittee,” Adriano said.

The blue ribbon subcommittee has repeatedly invited Binay to the inquiry to answer the allegations against him but the Vice President has adamantly refused to come, saying the senators have already prejudged him.

Kangaroo court

Speaking to reporters in Pagadian City last Friday, Binay reiterated that he would not go to the hearings, charging that the inquiry was a “kangaroo court.”

“The Senate is prejudiced. It’s a kangaroo court,” Binay said.

The Vice President said it was pointless to air his side because what the subcommittee was doing was not an investigation but a demolition job.

“I presented my side three times but they [said] I would not explain,” he said, referring to his public speeches in which he tackled the accusations of Mercado and other witnesses called to the inquiry.

Binay said he did not want to go to the inquiry because it was apparent that for the senators on the subcommittee, particularly Antonio Trillanes IV and Alan Peter Cayetano, he was guilty.

“Would you go to a place where you [know] you would be degraded, shouted at? If you are the Vice President, will you go there?” he said.

Binay cited the experience of businessman Antonio Tiu, who appeared at the inquiry last week claiming he was the owner of the Batangas property and got a grilling from the senators.

“They threaten witnesses. Mr. Tiu, who owns the land being questioned, knew what really happened. The Senate has become a kangaroo court,” Binay said.

‘All-knowing Cayetano’

The Vice President criticized Cayetano for his demeanor at the hearings.

“He appears to be all-knowing,” Binay said.

Referring to the alleged overpricing of Makati City Hall Building II, Binay said his accusers had been unable to present credible evidence of overpricing. In contrast, the contractor has said there was no overpricing and there was no bribery, he said.

But the disclosures at the inquiry have hurt Binay’s standing in early presidential opinion polls, with his rating falling to 31 percent in the September Pulse Asia poll from 41 percent in June. He remains on top of the heap, though.

Politically motivated

Adriano said APO members’ support for Binay was “voluntary” and “from the heart.”

“They are not paid like other groups,” he said.

Most APO members interviewed by the Inquirer said the Senate inquiry was politically motivated, intended to tarnish Binay and take him out of the 2016 presidential race.

They said several polls had shown that Binay had a comfortable lead over his prospective rivals, particularly the Liberal Party’s presumptive standard-bearer, Interior Secretary Mar Roxas.

Binay has transformed his political coalition United Nationalist Alliance, the vehicle he used to launch his vice-presidential campaign in 2010, into a political party in preparation for a presidential run in 2016.

In the Southern Tagalog and Bicol regions, APO members have also been mobilized to counter the “black propaganda” against Binay, Joselito Joy Merjudio, chair of APO-Southern Luzon, told the Inquirer.

Forums to counter ‘lies’

Merjudio, who is based in Pagbilao, Quezon province, said some APO lawyers had volunteered to do radio and television hopping to explain to the public that the Senate inquiry is a political demolition job.

He said the fraternity members also had plans to hold public forums to enlighten the public on the “lies and concocted allegations” against Binay.

“Most chapters in southern Luzon have also been busy accepting declarations of support for Brod Jojo from different community organizations and APO local chapters and alumni groups,” Merjudio said.

Face the inquiry

The latest Social Weather Station poll showed that 79 percent of Filipinos want Binay to go the Senate inquiry and face the allegations of corruption against him.

Mejudio said he, too, believed Binay should go to the inquiry.

“But the subject of the hearing in his presence should only be confined to the issues,” he said.

There should be no “ad libs” from committee members,”¯ Merjudio said.

But Cavite Gov. Jonvic Remulla, Binay’s political spokesperson, said the Vice President would rather go directly to the people to air his side.

Binay is scheduled to be in Lucena on Oct. 28 for the Quezon Federation of Senior Citizens Conference at Quezon Convention Center. With reports from Delfin T. Mallari, Inquirer Southern Tagalog, and Julie Alipala, Inquirer Mindanao

FROM THE MANILA BULLETIN

Editorial: A hundred pages of ‘typographical errors’ October 27, 2014 Share this:


ABAD

Still suffering from a low public esteem because of its involvement in the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) or pork barrel scam, the House of Representatives again finds itself in the center of unflattering news reports that House leaders are moving to insert changes in the P2.6-trillion National Budget for 2015 after the bill had already been approved on second reading.

In first reading, a bill is accepted for committee discussion and approval. It is then submitted to the entire House for debate in plenary session. After all the discussion and amendments, the bill is approved by the body on second reading. In the third reading, individual legislators are called one by one to state and possibly explain their vote. In the case of the 2015 General Appropriations Act, it was approved on second reading last September 26, 2014.

Now, according to the House minority solons, some 100 pages of “errata” – alleged typographical errors – are being inserted in the approved bill. The Department of Budget and Management (DBM) had earlier withdrawn the 100 pages of “errata” and so these were not in the bill approved on second reading. They were, therefore, not discussed at all on the floor. If the minority had any objections or any kind of amendment to some items, they were not given the chance to do so.

We can appreciate the concern of the minority congressmen. A hundred pages of budget items cannot simply be called “errata.” There could be items that the DBM did not want examined too closely. Whether they were mere typographical mistakes or substantial programs with substantial appropriations, they should have been discussed openly, before voting on second reading. With the pro-administration majority in firm control of the House, all budget items proposed by Malacańang were bound to be approved anyway.

The leaders and members of the House should understand that the eyes of the nation are focused on them because of the PDAF and the administration’s Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP), both of which were declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court. There is a lingering suspicion, valid or not, that the administration is out to continue pet projects that were struck down by the DAP decision.

The House leaders insist that the inclusion of the “errata” or amendments in the approved bill is accepted practice in the House. That may well be true but under the present circumstances, where suspicions remain high, it would be best if the House leaders bent over backwards and yielded to the insistence of the minority that the amendments be discussed in open assembly.

Afterwards, the House can approve the appropriation with all the corrected “typographical errors” and it will all be legal and constitutional.


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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