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AQUINO: SEEKING SECOND TERM NOT RIGHT SOLUTION

OCT 28 --PHOTO: President Benigno Aquino III and two potential presidential candidates, Vice President Jejomar Binay and Interior and Local Government Secretary Manuel Roxas II. Benhur Arcayan / Malacañang Photo Bureau MANILA, Philippines - It seems that President Benigno Aquino III will not listen to those urging him to seek another term. In a forum with business executives in Makati City on Tuesday, Aquino said seeking another term as president will not solve the country's problems. "There are some quarters that were saying [that] I should try and go for a second term. I don't think that's a right solution," Aquino said during the televised forum. "We all have a time card in this world... There has to be that continuation of people of like-mind who would deliver on the promises that are real and not just self-serving or nice and pleasant to hear," he added.

To ensure that the reforms he initiated will be sustained after 2016, Aquino said he would vote for the "right candidate." Aquino, however, did not name names but he asked business executives to elect the right leader. "If I can ask you also to discern properly as to whom is extolling populist sentiment with no substance as oppose to that which who not only says the right thing but whom you can trust to deliver the same," he said. The President earlier fuelled speculations that he would seek another term after he declared his openness to amending the Constitution. He had sent mixed signals on the issue, repeatedly saying that he would listen to the voice of the people. Aquino has yet to name his anointed one, although his Liberal Party's presumptive standard-bearer in 2016 remains to be Interior and Local Government Secretary Manuel Roxas II. THIS IS THE FULL REPORT.

ALSO: Members of both Senate, House of Congress are least trusted by Filipinos - new survey  

OCT 28 ---They are supposed to represent the nation’s interests, but members of both Houses of Congress remained the least-trusted government officials in the country, a new survey released this week showed. Both the Senate and the House of Representatives were the least-trusted institutions in a survey conducted earlier this year. This skepticism toward the legislative branch of government was nearly universal, transcending social status and educational attainment. The government in general was the least-trusted branch of Philippine society. On the opposite end of the spectrum, the Church had the rosiest image, earning the trust of most citizens, rich or poor, according to the Philippine Trust Index (PTI) report released on Monday.

The latest report is the third since the PTI project’s launch in 2011. About 1,600 people were surveyed, with about 1,000 being “ordinary citizens,” or people with no more than two years of college education. The rest were so-called “informed citizens,” most of whom have at least a four-year college degree, according to public relations firm EON, which publishes the PTI report. The survey was conducted in the second quarter of the year and covered respondents at least 18 years of age. Trust in the government declined since 2012, the last time the survey was conducted, according to the report. Among the general public, the government’s trust rating dropped 4 points to 11 percent while the informed public’s trust declined from 14 percent to 7 percent. * READ MORE...

ALSO: PALACE COMES TO DEFENSE OF DRILON’S ILOILO CENTER 

DETAINED Sen. Jinggoy Estrada yesterday challenged the Senate Blue Ribbon committee to investigate the alleged overpricing of the Iloilo Convention Center. But that job was apparently done for him by Malacañang, which readily came to the defense of Senate President Franklin Drilon, Public Works Secretary Rogelio Singson, and Tourism Secretary Ramon Jimenez, who were named as co-respondents in the plunder complaint filed by Manuel Mejorada Jr., a former Iloilo provincial administrator and Drilon’s former consultant. Presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda said Singson and Jimenez would not be asked to go on leave. He said construction of the ICC is above board and bidding for the project was transparent.

Lacierda also said he sees no reason for the inclusion of Singson and Jimenez in the charge, which he said most likely stemmed from a personal feud between Drilon and Mejorada. “But you know, maybe to carry more media mileage, he (Mejorada) decided to sue Secretary Singson and Secretary Jimenez,” Lacierda said. He expressed confidence that Singson and Jimenez could answer the allegations. Lacierda added Singson has said that he could defend the bidding process while Jimenez had expressed full trust and confidence in the competence and sincerity of all those involved in the ICC project. The ICC is a pet project of Drilon who was charged with plunder last Wednesday for the alleged overpricing, along with several other officials. Estrada said under the Senate rules, panel chair Sen. Teofisto Guingona III could motu proprio investigate the issue. Drilon has branded the allegations as baseless, adding he fired Mejorada, his “former media officer,” for using his social media account “to lash out against his local political enemies.” Estrada said under Senate Rules, the Blue Ribbon panel can investigate “any matter of public interest on its own initiative or brought to its attention by any member of the Senate.”  * READ MORE...

ALSO: Aquino all but given up on renting gensets without emergency powers

PRESIDENT Benigno Aquino III said time is running out on his government’s ability to contract new
su
pplies of power to address a projected shortage next summer, with Congress still debating his request for the authority to negotiate such deals. “Congress has not given us that power as of yet. And of course, the emergency period or the critical period is from March...[to].. July next year,” the President said in an open forum with members of the Semiconductor and Electronics Industries in the Philippines Tuesday. “One of the things that we asked for from Congress was the ability to contract... two or three generating plants that we could rent—diesel generators providing about 300 megawatts. Unfortunately, [you need] six months to install these facilities to include all of the civil works... fuel tanks [and] the ports that will service [them],” the President said. “So that doesn’t seem to be an option at this point,” he added.

House energy committee head Oriental Mindoro Rep. Reynaldo Umali earlier said the joint resolution for special powers for the President may be approved by Dec. 1, way after the October target of the Energy Department to give the government at least six months to contract the additional supply. But Congress questioned the Energy Department’s projected shortage of 300 to 1,200 megawatts next summer, saying it was only 31 MW, with a thinning of reserves that may last only two weeks. Lawmakers also questioned the wisdom of spending P6 billion on expensive energy options that might result in higher electricity rates for consumers. The National Grid Corporation of the Philippines admitted that next summer’s power shortage may translate to one hour rotating brownouts during the peak hours from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. and only once a week. * READ MORE...

ALSO: Palace spokesmen split on Binay question  

OCT 28 --Presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda. INQUIRER FILE PHOTO MANILA, Philippines–Why is Vice President Jejomar Binay attacking the administration when he is a member of President Aquino’s official family? President Aquino’s spokesman, Edwin Lacierda, threw that question at the Vice President when he was asked the same thing in the face of Binay’s criticism of the Aquino administration. “I think that’s a good question to ask the Vice President,” Lacierda told reporters. Lacierda said Binay’s camp should clarify who the Vice President was attacking in particular when he ranted about rampant criminality, looming power shortages and worsening conditions at Metro Manila’s train systems last week—basically governance issues that raised questions about the Aquino administration’s competence. Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. on Sunday said the Vice President was speaking against administration senators investigating Binay’s alleged corruption, not blasting the President.

“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 then, referring to an Inquirer report. In an interview on ANC television last week, Binay accused Interior Secretary Mar Roxas and Senate President Franklin Drilon of orchestrating an alleged campaign of vilification to derail the Vice President’s bid for the presidency in the 2016 elections. Roxas, a potential standard-bearer of the Liberal Party in the balloting, and Drilon have denied the charge. Binay’s United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) also has suggested that the Liberal Party is using in the smear campaign P3.8 billion from Malacañang’s pork barrel funds, called the Disbursement Acceleration Program, which the Commission on Audit said had been unaccounted for. Binay is being investigated by the Senate blue ribbon subcommittee in connection with the alleged overprice of Makati City Hall Building II and unexplained wealth while he was Makati mayor. Lacierda is identified with Roxas’ Balay group in the Aquino administration; Coloma belongs to the Samar faction that supports Binay. *READ MORE ...

ALSO: Aquino won't pick Binay as 2016 bet - LP solon  

OCT 29 ---Vice President Jejomar Binay converses with President Benigno Aquino III. STAR file photo MANILA, Philippines - President Benigno Aquino III was referring to Vice President Jejomar Binay when he warned the public yesterday against candidates "extolling populist sentiments with no substance," a member of the Liberal Party said. "To me, it's clearly the Vice President. Populist statements without substance. So, it's clear that he will not choose the Vice President," Caloocan Rep. Edgar Erice said in an interview with ANC on Tuesday afternoon. Erice said Aquino will not choose Binay as his potential successor just because of the personal relationship between their families. "We're not talking here of personal relationship but governance. Palagay ko, kayang-kayang maghiwalay ito sa kaisipan ng Pangulo," Erice said.

In a forum with businessmen on Tuesday, Aquino said choosing the right candidate, and not a second term for him, is the correct solution for the country's problems. Aquino said there should be a "continuation of people of like mind who will deliver on the promises that are real and not just self-serving or nice, pleasant to hear." "With regard to how do we sustain this after 2016, then perhaps I will vote for the right candidate. And if I can ask you also to discern properly as to who is extolling populist sentiments with no substance as opposed to those who not only say the right things but whom you can trust to deliver the same," he said. Aquino, however, still did not name his preferred successor. Erice said the Liberal Party (LP) will start its process of choosing its standard-bearer next year. He said Aquino should announce his pick during his last State of the Nation Address. Interior and Local Government Secretary Manuel Roxas II remains to be the presumptive presidential bet of the LP. However, he is still behind Binay in the presidential surveys, who stays as a frontrunner despite his ratings decline due to corruption allegations. Binay has accused Roxas as the brains behind the alleged "Oplan Stop Nognog 2016" and has criticized the administration for supposedly targeting members of the opposition. Binay's attacks fuelled speculations that he is severing his ties with Aquino. * READ MORE...

(ALSO) Palace: Philippines needs VFA  

OCT 28 --PHOTO: Protesters, mostly supporters of LGBT (Lesbians Gays Bisexuals and Transgenders) shout slogans during a rally at the Department of Foreign Affairs to demand justice for the killing of Filipino transgender Jeffrey "Jennifer" Laude with a U.S. Marine as a possible suspect Wednesday, Oct. 15, 2014 at suburban Pasay city, south of Manila, Philippines. The activists demanded that Washington hand over to the Philippines a Marine implicated in the killing of Laude which the demonstrators labeled a hate crime. AP/Bullit Marquez MANILA, Philippines - Malacañang on Tuesday stood by President Benigno Aquino III's opposition to the proposed abrogation of the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) in light of the killing of a Filipino transgender allegedly by an American soldier. "Hindi po tayo sang-ayon diyan dahil ang Visiting Forces Agreement ay kasama sa istratehiya ng Tanggulang Pambansa ng Pilipinas," Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. said in an interview with radio dwIZ.

Coloma was reacting to the joint resolution filed by Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago and the Akbayan Party-list that seeks to terminate the VFA after Laude was allegedly murdered by United States Marines Pfc. Joseph Scott Pemberton. The incident has again sparked protests against American military presence in the Philippines and calls for the scrapping of the VFA, which is seen by some sectors as "one-sided, pro-US and anti-Filipino." Malacañang is in favor of having the VFA reviewed, with Coloma admitting that its review following the 2005 Subic rape case involving another US serviceman did not settle ticklish provisions in the agreement. Coloma had said Laude's death "gave stronger basis to re-evaluate the prevailing provision in the agreement to ensure that national interest will be upheld and justice is served to our people." A majority of senators want a review of the VFA, with the objective of amending certain provisions of the treaty, particularly on criminal jurisdiction and custody. Last week, Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert Del Rosario told a Senate panel that the US government will not agree to amend the VFA.THIS IS THE FULL REPORT...


READ FULL MEDIA NEWS REPORT:

Aquino: Seeking second term not right solution


President Benigno Aquino III and two potential presidential candidates, Vice President Jejomar Binay and Interior and Local Government Secretary Manuel Roxas II. Benhur Arcayan / Malacañang Photo Bureau

MANILA, NOVEMBER 3, 2014 (PHILSTAR) By Louis Bacani POSTED October 28, 2014 - It seems that President Benigno Aquino III will not listen to those urging him to seek another term.

In a forum with business executives in Makati City on Tuesday, Aquino said seeking another term as president will not solve the country's problems.

"There are some quarters that were saying [that] I should try and go for a second term. I don't think that's a right solution," Aquino said during the televised forum.

"We all have a time card in this world... There has to be that continuation of people of like-mind who would deliver on the promises that are real and not just self-serving or nice and pleasant to hear," he added.

To ensure that the reforms he initiated will be sustained after 2016, Aquino said he would vote for the "right candidate."

Aquino, however, did not name names but he asked business executives to elect the right leader.

"If I can ask you also to discern properly as to whom is extolling populist sentiment with no substance as oppose to that which who not only says the right thing but whom you can trust to deliver the same," he said.

The President earlier fuelled speculations that he would seek another term after he declared his openness to amending the Constitution. He had sent mixed signals on the issue, repeatedly saying that he would listen to the voice of the people.

Aquino has yet to name his anointed one, although his Liberal Party's presumptive standard-bearer in 2016 remains to be Interior and Local Government Secretary Manuel Roxas II.

FROM THE INQUIRER

Members of both Senate, House of Congress are least trusted by Filipinos - new survey Paolo G. Montecillo  @inquirerdotnet  Philippine Daily Inquirer  2:58 AM | Tuesday, October 28th, 2014


Members of both Houses of Congress remained the least-trusted government officials in the country, a new survey released this week showed. FILE PHOTOS

MANILA, Philippines–They are supposed to represent the nation’s interests, but members of both Houses of Congress remained the least-trusted government officials in the country, a new survey released this week showed.

Both the Senate and the House of Representatives were the least-trusted institutions in a survey conducted earlier this year. This skepticism toward the legislative branch of government was nearly universal, transcending social status and educational attainment.

The government in general was the least-trusted branch of Philippine society.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, the Church had the rosiest image, earning the trust of most citizens, rich or poor, according to the Philippine Trust Index (PTI) report released on Monday.

The latest report is the third since the PTI project’s launch in 2011.

About 1,600 people were surveyed, with about 1,000 being “ordinary citizens,” or people with no more than two years of college education.

The rest were so-called “informed citizens,” most of whom have at least a four-year college degree, according to public relations firm EON, which publishes the PTI report.

The survey was conducted in the second quarter of the year and covered respondents at least 18 years of age.

Trust in the government declined since 2012, the last time the survey was conducted, according to the report.

Among the general public, the government’s trust rating dropped 4 points to 11 percent while the informed public’s trust declined from 14 percent to 7 percent.

* Businesses were trusted by 13 percent of the general public and 10 percent by the informed public, while nongovernment organizations had a score of 12 and 9 percent for the general and informed publics, respectively.

Office of the President

Among individual government institutions, the Office of the President fared well, earning the trust of 16 percent of the general population and 15 percent of the informed public.

Both scores were down 12 and 9 percentage points, respectively, but were still comparable to the trust ratings of the Cabinet, local governments and the Supreme Court.

Just 4 percent of the informed public trusted the Senate, while 6 percent of the same group had trust in the House of Representatives.

Among the general public, the Senate was trusted by 7 percent while members of the Lower House had the trust of 9 percent.

Malacañang’s relatively high score compared with other government agencies was reflective of the public’s romanticism with President Aquino’s family and its storied past, said Malou Tiquia of Publicis Asia, a consulting firm.

“People would always say he would do things in accordance with how the parents would have done things,” Tiquia said. “The Philippines is so enamored with the Aquino family.”

Tiquia traced the public’s distrust of Congress to recent issues over the misuse of pork barrel funds, which have led to the arrest of three members of the Senate on plunder charges.

Filipinos still trusted the Church over all other sectors of civil society. Coming in at a far second was the academe, and at third, the media.

In the fourth and fifth places were the business sector and nongovernment institutions, respectively.

Church most trusted

“The Church remains the most trusted institution, showing a significant and steady increase in trust ratings since PTI was launched,” EON said in the report.

Data show the Church is the most trusted among the six institutions surveyed, with 75 percent of the general public and 66 percent of the informed public saying they trust it “very much.”

The survey did not make a distinction among various religious organizations.

The academe follows with 53 percent of the general public and 45 percent of the informed public trusting it very much. Media is the third-most trusted, with 33-percent and 22-percent trust ratings from the general and informed publics, respectively.

TV networks are the most trusted, followed by radio and newspapers, while online sources, despite being widely read, were still less trusted.

“The results show that trust is dynamic and that it can be built and eroded,” Malyn Molina, EON assistant vice president for business development, said in a statement.

“It also highlighted that for Filipinos, trust can break communication barriers and is a tool that grounds relationships, which is why it will always be worthwhile to invest in building trust,” she said.

FROM THE MALAYA

PALACE COMES TO DEFENSE OF DRILON’S ILOILO CENTER By JP LOPEZ and JO... | October 31, 2014

JINGGOY CHALLENGES BLUE RIBBON COMMITTEE TO PROBE OVERPRICING


LACIERDA

DETAINED Sen. Jinggoy Estrada yesterday challenged the Senate Blue Ribbon committee to investigate the alleged overpricing of the Iloilo Convention Center.

But that job was apparently done for him by Malacañang, which readily came to the defense of Senate President Franklin Drilon, Public Works Secretary Rogelio Singson, and Tourism Secretary Ramon Jimenez, who were named as co-respondents in the plunder complaint filed by Manuel Mejorada Jr., a former Iloilo provincial administrator and Drilon’s former consultant.

Presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda said Singson and Jimenez would not be asked to go on leave. He said construction of the ICC is above board and bidding for the project was transparent.

Lacierda also said he sees no reason for the inclusion of Singson and Jimenez in the charge, which he said most likely stemmed from a personal feud between Drilon and Mejorada.

“But you know, maybe to carry more media mileage, he (Mejorada) decided to sue Secretary Singson and Secretary Jimenez,” Lacierda said.

He expressed confidence that Singson and Jimenez could answer the allegations.

Lacierda added Singson has said that he could defend the bidding process while Jimenez had expressed full trust and confidence in the competence and sincerity of all those involved in the ICC project.

The ICC is a pet project of Drilon who was charged with plunder last Wednesday for the alleged overpricing, along with several other officials.

Estrada said under the Senate rules, panel chair Sen. Teofisto Guingona III could motu proprio investigate the issue.

Drilon has branded the allegations as baseless, adding he fired Mejorada, his “former media officer,” for using his social media account “to lash out against his local political enemies.”

Estrada said under Senate Rules, the Blue Ribbon panel can investigate “any matter of public interest on its own initiative or brought to its attention by any member of the Senate.”

* Estrada is detained at the PNP Custodial Center for charges of plunder and graft for allegedly pocketing kickbacks from his Priority Development Assistance Fund.

He said circumstances surrounding the allegations against Drilon and Vice President Jejomar Binay are “quite similar–both are accused of being behind an overpriced building, and both high-ranking officials are already facing plunder cases before the Ombudsman.”

Binay is already being investigated by a sub-committee of the Blue Ribbon panel.

“I remember that the Blue Ribbon Committee readily formed a sub-committee to begin the investigation against VP Binay, merely seven days after the resolution was filed on August 11. Two days later the sub-committee began its first hearing,” the minority senator said.

He also said that immediately after Binay said he would attend the hearing only if the mother committee will conduct the investigation, Guingona, “the very next day,” expressed readiness to convene the mother panel.

“Never mind that this is in stark contrast to the neglect and complete abandon of the chairman on the issue of the Malampaya Fund scam, which is already pending for more than a year,” he said.

Estrada said if the Blue Ribbon is committed to its mandate of ensuring accountability of public officers, and “is not just a subservient tool for partisan politicking and mudslinging,” it will start investigating the ICC issue “without delay.” - See more at: http://www.malaya.com.ph/business-news/news/palace-comes-defense-drilon%E2%80%99s-iloilo-center-jinggoy-challenges-blue-ribbon#sthash.IvIg0pFs.dpuf

FROM THE MANILA STANDARD

Aquino all but given up on renting gensets sans emergency powers By Joyce Pangco Panares | Oct. 29, 2014 at 12:01am

PRESIDENT Benigno Aquino III said time is running out on his government’s ability to contract new supplies of power to address a projected shortage next summer, with Congress still debating his request for the authority to negotiate such deals.

“Congress has not given us that power as of yet. And of course, the emergency period or the critical period is from March...[to].. July next year,” the President said in an open forum with members of the Semiconductor and Electronics Industries in the Philippines Tuesday.

“One of the things that we asked for from Congress was the ability to contract... two or three generating plants that we could rent—diesel generators providing about 300 megawatts. Unfortunately, [you need] six months to install these facilities to include all of the civil works... fuel tanks [and] the ports that will service [them],” the President said.

“So that doesn’t seem to be an option at this point,” he added.

House energy committee head Oriental Mindoro Rep. Reynaldo Umali earlier said the joint resolution for special powers for the President may be approved by Dec. 1, way after the October target of the Energy Department to give the government at least six months to contract the additional supply.

But Congress questioned the Energy Department’s projected shortage of 300 to 1,200 megawatts next summer, saying it was only 31 MW, with a thinning of reserves that may last only two weeks.

Lawmakers also questioned the wisdom of spending P6 billion on expensive energy options that might result in higher electricity rates for consumers.

The National Grid Corporation of the Philippines admitted that next summer’s power shortage may translate to one hour rotating brownouts during the peak hours from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. and only once a week.

* At the forum, Aquino thanked SEIPI members for supporting the government’s Interruptible Load Program, which encourages private companies to use their own generators when supply is low.

“We are working to expand private sector participation in our Interruptible Load Program, through which we will compensate major power users if they disconnect from the grid and use their own generators,” the President said.

Among the companies that have expressed willingness to participate in the ILP are the Sy-owned SM group which can unburden the power grid of some 56 MW in demand and Robinsons Land with its 22 MW, Ayala Land with 8 MW, Shangri-La with 7 MW, Waltermart with 6 MW, and Ortigas and Megaworld with 4 MW each.

Aquino earlier warned that economic losses may be between P9.3 billion and P23.3 billion if the projected power shortage during the summer months next year is not addressed.

“The lower figure assumes power outage of two hours a day on average for three months. The higher figure assumes a worse scenario of five hours a day also for three months,” the President said.

“The economic cost as estimated here pertains to output foregone, such as GDP loss from stoppage of economic activities. The estimate does not include foregone investment and tourist arrivals arising from the negative impact of the power outage on the country’s image as investment and tourist destinations,” Aquino added.

Isabela Rep. Rep. Rodolfo Albano III, a member for the minority in the House committee on energy, said the Energy Department should push the ILP as the way to address next year’s shortage.

Albano’s statement came after the House committee on energy headed by Mindoro Oriental Rep. Reynaldo Umali declared that Congress would no longer allow the government to rent or buy generators from foreign suppliers to address the projected power shortfall next year.

“The rent or buy option to establish additional generating capacity is out. We are now focusing on ILP,” Umali said, noting that it was Energy Department officials themselves who withdrew the option.

Albano said the ILP should be in place before the end of the year, with close coordination by the Energy and Interior and Local Governments departments and local government units. – With Maricel V. Cruz

Palace spokesmen split on Binay question Christian V. Esguerra
@inquirerdotnet Philippine Daily Inquirer 2:40 AM | Tuesday, October 28th, 2014


Presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda. INQUIRER FILE PHOTO


Presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda. INQUIRER FILE PHOTO
MANILA, Philippines–Why is Vice President Jejomar Binay attacking the administration when he is a member of President Aquino’s official family?

President Aquino’s spokesman, Edwin Lacierda, threw that question at the Vice President when he was asked the same thing in the face of Binay’s criticism of the Aquino administration.

“I think that’s a good question to ask the Vice President,” Lacierda told reporters.

Lacierda said Binay’s camp should clarify who the Vice President was attacking in particular when he ranted about rampant criminality, looming power shortages and worsening conditions at Metro Manila’s train systems last week—basically governance issues that raised questions about the Aquino administration’s competence.

Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. on Sunday said the Vice President was speaking against administration senators investigating Binay’s alleged corruption, not blasting the President.

“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 then, referring to an Inquirer report.

In an interview on ANC television last week, Binay accused Interior Secretary Mar Roxas and Senate President Franklin Drilon of orchestrating an alleged campaign of vilification to derail the Vice President’s bid for the presidency in the 2016 elections.

Roxas, a potential standard-bearer of the Liberal Party in the balloting, and Drilon have denied the charge.

Binay’s United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) also has suggested that the Liberal Party is using in the smear campaign P3.8 billion from Malacañang’s pork barrel funds, called the Disbursement Acceleration Program, which the Commission on Audit said had been unaccounted for.

Binay is being investigated by the Senate blue ribbon subcommittee in connection with the alleged overprice of Makati City Hall Building II and unexplained wealth while he was Makati mayor.

Lacierda is identified with Roxas’ Balay group in the Aquino administration; Coloma belongs to the Samar faction that supports Binay.

* Malacañang on Monday distanced itself from the back-and-forth between Binay’s camp, mainly Navotas Rep. Toby Tiangco, and Caloocan Rep. Edgar Erice of the Liberal Party.

Quoting the President, Lacierda described as “24 independent republics” the members of the Senate where Binay and his family are now the subject of a corruption investigation.

“We are focused on governance. We would appreciate their help in governance but insofar as the Senate investigation is concerned, for the Senate allies, administration allies, that’s part of their job in aid of legislation,” Lacierda said. “So do we say, ‘Stop … doing the investigation’? The President said, ‘These are independent republics.’”

Administration allies like Erice earlier criticized Binay for remaining with the President’s Cabinet even though the Vice President headed UNA, his main political vehicle in the 2016 elections.

UNA’s senators belong to the minority in the upper chamber, but its members in the House of Representatives, except for Tiangco, have aligned themselves with the majority.

Aquino won't pick Binay as 2016 bet - LP solon (philstar.com) | Updated October 29, 2014 - 9:15am 1 112 googleplus0 0


Vice President Jejomar Binay converses with President Benigno Aquino III. STAR file photo

MANILA, Philippines - President Benigno Aquino III was referring to Vice President Jejomar Binay when he warned the public yesterday against candidates "extolling populist sentiments with no substance," a member of the Liberal Party said.

"To me, it's clearly the Vice President. Populist statements without substance. So, it's clear that he will not choose the Vice President," Caloocan Rep. Edgar Erice said in an interview with ANC on Tuesday afternoon.

Erice said Aquino will not choose Binay as his potential successor just because of the personal relationship between their families.

"We're not talking here of personal relationship but governance. Palagay ko, kayang-kayang maghiwalay ito sa kaisipan ng Pangulo," Erice said.

In a forum with businessmen on Tuesday, Aquino said choosing the right candidate, and not a second term for him, is the correct solution for the country's problems.

Aquino said there should be a "continuation of people of like mind who will deliver on the promises that are real and not just self-serving or nice, pleasant to hear."

"With regard to how do we sustain this after 2016, then perhaps I will vote for the right candidate. And if I can ask you also to discern properly as to who is extolling populist sentiments with no substance as opposed to those who not only say the right things but whom you can trust to deliver the same," he said.

Aquino, however, still did not name his preferred successor.

Erice said the Liberal Party (LP) will start its process of choosing its standard-bearer next year. He said Aquino should announce his pick during his last State of the Nation Address.

Interior and Local Government Secretary Manuel Roxas II remains to be the presumptive presidential bet of the LP. However, he is still behind Binay in the presidential surveys, who stays as a frontrunner despite his ratings decline due to corruption allegations.

Binay has accused Roxas as the brains behind the alleged "Oplan Stop Nognog 2016" and has criticized the administration for supposedly targeting members of the opposition.

Binay's attacks fuelled speculations that he is severing his ties with Aquino.

FROM PHILSTAR

Palace: Philippines needs VFA By Louis Bacani (philstar.com) | Updated October 28, 2014 - 4:08pm 0 0 googleplus0 0


Protesters, mostly supporters of LGBT (Lesbians Gays Bisexuals and Transgenders) shout slogans during a rally at the Department of Foreign Affairs to demand justice for the killing of Filipino transgender Jeffrey "Jennifer" Laude with a U.S. Marine as a possible suspect Wednesday, Oct. 15, 2014 at suburban Pasay city, south of Manila, Philippines. The activists demanded that Washington hand over to the Philippines a Marine implicated in the killing of Laude which the demonstrators labeled a hate crime. AP/Bullit Marquez

MANILA, Philippines - Malacañang on Tuesday stood by President Benigno Aquino III's opposition to the proposed abrogation of the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) in light of the killing of a Filipino transgender allegedly by an American soldier.

"Hindi po tayo sang-ayon diyan dahil ang Visiting Forces Agreement ay kasama sa istratehiya ng Tanggulang Pambansa ng Pilipinas," Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. said in an interview with radio dwIZ.

Coloma was reacting to the joint resolution filed by Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago and the Akbayan Party-list that seeks to terminate the VFA after Laude was allegedly murdered by United States Marines Pfc. Joseph Scott Pemberton.

The incident has again sparked protests against American military presence in the Philippines and calls for the scrapping of the VFA, which is seen by some sectors as "one-sided, pro-US and anti-Filipino."

Malacañang is in favor of having the VFA reviewed, with Coloma admitting that its review following the 2005 Subic rape case involving another US serviceman did not settle ticklish provisions in the agreement.

Coloma had said Laude's death "gave stronger basis to re-evaluate the prevailing provision in the agreement to ensure that national interest will be upheld and justice is served to our people."

A majority of senators want a review of the VFA, with the objective of amending certain provisions of the treaty, particularly on criminal jurisdiction and custody.

Last week, Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert Del Rosario told a Senate panel that the US government will not agree to amend the VFA.


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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