HEADLINE NEWS EARLY THIS PAST WEEK ...

PNoy:  BINAY FREE TO LEAVE THE CABINET 

NOV 4 ---Vice President Jejomar Binay is free to leave the Cabinet if he does not like the way the government is being run, President Aquino said yesterday. “At the end of the day, the freedom that we espouse should make us act in accordance with the law and with what we think is right and should be done,” Aquino told reporters in Canlubang, Laguna where he led the inauguration of a Coca-Cola FEMSA plant, said to be the world’s largest. The Vice President handles the administration’s housing and overseas workers’ concerns. “If he thinks we’re taking the wrong direction, he can always avoid our initiatives. But as Vice President of the land, he should be constructive by offering not just criticisms but solutions as well,” the Chief Executive said.

A Senate Blue Ribbon subcommittee investigation into reports of overpricing in the construction of a parking building in Makati has uncovered Binay’s alleged unexplained assets, including a vast farming estate in Rosario, Batangas. Binay said the accusations were part of a demolition job by administration allies to ruin his chances in the 2016 presidential elections. It was Binay’s former vice mayor and political ally Ernesto Mercado who squealed on the Vice President’s anomalous acquisition of properties. Binay has refused to attend the Senate panel’s investigation. His lawyers are eyeing the Supreme Court’s help in stopping the Senate probe. Aquino said it’s not a choice but an “obligation” on the part of Binay to relay his misgivings with government policies to the Cabinet and not to the media. “I don’t remember him sharing solutions with us during Cabinet meetings,” he said. “Of course the question is why is he not sharing.”  * READ MORE...

ALSO: I will remain a team player – VP   

NOV 4 ---Despite a pronouncement from President Aquino that he would not stop Vice President Jejomar Binay from leaving the Cabinet, the nation’s second highest official said he would remain a “team player” in the official family. “I have the highest respect for President Aquino and I will continue to be a team player,” Binay said in a statement. Aquino said in a media interview yesterday that Binay is free to leave the Cabinet if he is unhappy with the decisions taken by the administration. In a speech last month, Binay had criticized the administration for “falling embarrassingly short on performance” in addressing problems in mass transportation, energy supply and peace and order.

Binay also hit the current government for its “unfair” treatment of former President and now Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, violation of the law by creating the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP), and for being biased against the opposition in its treatment of the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) cases. Cavite Gov. Jonvic Remulla, Binay’s spokesman for political concerns, said the criticisms made by the Vice President were not meant to disparage the President but to press some members of the administration to do their jobs. “The VP serves at the pleasure of the President,” Remulla said. “His recent criticisms were never meant to slight the President but rather as a critique on the shortcomings of several members of his administration,” Remulla said. “Real friends never sugar coat the truth. It is their responsibility to each other to accept what each other has to say.” * READ MORE...

ALSO: PNoy twits Binay over job criticisms  

PRESIDENT Benigno Aquino III said Monday Vice President Jejomar Binay should give constructive criticisms as a Cabinet member, otherwise he was free to leave the administration. But Binay on Monday immediately issued a short statement in response to Aquino’s remarks. “I have the highest respect for President Aquino and I will continue to be a team player,” he said. Aquino, in an interview in Laguna, said he was only able to read two paragraphs of the report on Binay’s latest criticisms that the administration had fallen “embarrassingly short on performance” on the issues of inadequate mass transportation, the power crisis and the deteriorating peace-and-order conditions. “If the vice president really said that, perhaps we should remember two things: One, if he thinks that we have not done enough, then as a member of the Cabinet he should advise us how to improve the system. And that is not a choice but an obligation as a member of the Cabinet,” Aquino said.

“And if thinks that there is something wrong in the direction we are taking, he is free not to join us. At the minimum, as the vice president of the land, if he has criticisms, then there should also be solutions so these criticisms become constructive. “And to be clear, if he has solutions, I don’t recall hearing these in previous Cabinet meetings. So if he really has solutions, I hope he shares those with us. The question really is why he does not share these solutions with the Cabinet.” Aquino on Monday also slammed Akbayan Rep. Walden Bello for criticizing his administration too much and for thinking like a traditional politician. He said Bello should try running for public office in 2016 to implement his programs. “He has a lot of complaints,” Aquino said. “If he thinks his visions are the right ones, he should try running in 2016. If he becomes President, he will be able to implement those visions.”  But when asked if he still trusted Binay, Aquino said the corruption allegations against the vice president happened way before he joined the Cabinet.

“And if we talk about his assignments with regards to housing, I think we can point to a lot of achievements in the housing sector under his watch,” he said. “And the vice president also enjoys the presumption of innocence until proven guilty.”  Aquino, however, acknowledged that the ongoing probe on the vice president was a “credit to the current regime” that the wheels of justice spares no one regardless of political affiliation or status. Binay is currently the head of the Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council and presidential adviser for OFW affairs. He has been accused of getting kickbacks from the allegedly overpriced Makati City Hall car park building II. THIS IS THE FULL REPORT.

ALSO from Ellen Tordesilla's blog: Aquino still in deep slumber despite wake up call  

Mahar Mangahas commented on this column in my FB wall:

“Ellen, the SWS report about the 2013Q2 rating of the ADMINISTRATION was NOT a recycled piece; it was simply the final release from the 2013Q2 SWS survey. It is different from the SWS report on the 2013Q2 rating of the PERSONAL PERFORMANCE OF PNoy, which was released much earlier. Our report last week on the 2013Q3 personal rating of Pnoy was the first of a series from the third quarter survey; more will follow in due course, including the rating of the Administration (not the person) again. http://www.sws.org.ph/pr20130923.htm 

“Ellen, here is the earlier SWS report about the 2nd quarter rating of PNoy, that you claimed was “recycled.” SWS does not do recycling; publicity is not our occupation. http://www.sws.org.ph/pr20130729.htm” 

------** The result of the latest survey came out and it showed that the number of people not happy with how President Aquino is performing. Respondents consisting of 1,200 adults in Metro Manila, the balance of Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao (sampling error margins of ±3% for national percentages, ±6% for area percentages) were asked: “Please tell me how satisfied or dissatisfied you are in the performance of Benigno Aquino III as President of the Philippines. Are you very satisfied, somewhat satisfied, undecided if satisfied or dissatisfied, somewhat dissatisfied, very dissatisfied, or you have not ever heard or read anything about Benigno Aquino III?”. Sixty-eight percent said they are satisfied and 19 percent said they are not satisfied resulting in a net rating of 49 percent. Still good, the SWS said.

Of course, it’s good. It is still plus 49. Not minus compared to the ratings of Gloria Arroyo. But the decline is 15 points. This is the biggest dip in satisfaction ratings. He got his highest satisfaction rating of 67 percent in Aug. 2012, and then declined to 55 percent four months after. A 12- point slide. Even when he got his lowest satisfaction rating of 42 percent in May 2012, it was just a seven-point decrease from 49 percent March 2012 survey. The decline in the President Satisfaction rating may hurt his ego but it should do him and the people around him good. It should clip, even for a bit, their arrogance and their air of “we can’t be doing anything wrong because, look, the President is popular.” It should be another wake up call. The question is, magigising ba? The President’s reaction putting the blame on Gloria Arroyo and ignoring the rot in his administration tells us he is still in deep slumber. PLS READ THE FULL ARTICLE.....

ALSO: Binay joins Cabinet for Yolanda meeting; Presidential snub?  

NOV 6 ---PHOTO: Presidential snub? President Aquino presides over a special Cabinet meeting, which was also attended by Vice President Jejomar Binay, on Typhoon Yolanda rehabilitation updates at Malacañang yesterday. The meeting was the first time the two appeared in public together after the President told Binay he was free to leave the Cabinet. WILLY PEREZ MANILA, Philippines - They sat across each other at a conference table and spent nearly seven hours listening to reports yesterday, but no words were exchanged and no handshake proferred between President Aquino and Vice President Jejomar Binay at Malacañang.

Video footage of the special Cabinet meeting called to assess the rehabilitation effort in typhoon-hit areas in the Visayas showed Aquino burying his face in a computer while Binay chatted with his seatmates, rehabilitation czar Panfilo Lacson and Public Works Secretary Rogelio Singson. Binay attended the meeting a day after Aquino said the Vice President could quit the Cabinet if he disagreed with administration policies. The Vice President, who heads the opposition United Nationalist Alliance (UNA), chairs the Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council (HUDCC) and heads the Cabinet cluster on resettlement along with the National Housing Authority (NHA). He is also presidential adviser on overseas workers. He is known to be close to the Aquino family and often says he owes his life in politics to the President’s late mother Corazon, who appointed him officer-in-charge of Makati in 1986. * READ MORE...

(ALSO) Binay- To be or not to be: VP at tense Cabinet meet; will he go to Senate Thursday? 

NOV 6 ---PHOTO: BINAY MUM AT CABINET MEET President Aquino (at left) presides over a special Cabinet meeting in Malacañang on Super Typhoon “Yolanda” rehabilitation efforts. In attendance is Vice President Binay (at right), who earlier accused other members of the Cabinet of being behind an alleged plot against him. Also in photo are Cesar Purisima, Ramon Jesus Paje, Edwin Lacierda and Julia Andrea Abad. MALACAÑANG PHOTO MANILA, Philippines–He showed up early before the Cabinet meeting in Malacañang on Wednesday. But will he appear Thursday morning at the Senate blue ribbon committee hearing to respond to allegations that he got kickbacks from infrastructure projects in Makati and amassed ill-gotten wealth when he was its mayor?

Vice President Jejomar Binay on Wednesday found himself face to face with President Aquino and some of the administration officials allegedly plotting to derail his own presidential run in 2016. The occasion was the Cabinet meeting of nearly seven hours called by the President to map out specific strategies for the rehabilitation of communities ravaged by Super Typhoon “Yolanda” nearly a year ago. Seated right across from the President in Malacañang’s Aguinaldo State Dining Room, Binay “never spoke” even if the meeting tackled housing for Yolanda victims, the Inquirer learned. Binay heads the Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council, but at the Cabinet meeting it was Chito Cruz of the National Housing Authority who did most of the talking. ‘Not to be trusted’ Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV, one of Binay’s harshest critics, said the Vice President would show himself to be untrustworthy if he failed to appear at the Senate blue ribbon committee hearing on Thursday scheduled for his appearance alone, and where he would be asked to respond to corruption allegations against him. * READ MORE...

ALSO: Trillanes-Binay debate set on Nov. 27 

NOV 6 ---The public debate between Vice President Jejomar Binay and Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV will push through on Nov. 27. The Kapisanan ng mga Brodkaster ng Pilipinas (KBP) announced yesterday that representatives of both camps have agreed on the date of the debate as well as the guidelines tions for the venue, which it could not disclose yet. The debate would be held from 10 a.m. to noon, with the KBP serving as moderator. The KBP and the parties involved were still working out the mechanics of the debate. Cavite Gov. Jonvic Remulla and his brother, former congressman Crispin Remulla, represented Binay in the meeting, while lawyer Reynaldo Robles represented Trillanes. “We will wait if the Vice President will agree to it (ground rules),” Remulla, also Binay’s official spokesman, said after the meeting.

“Although Senator Trillanes had earlier set Nov. 22 as deadline, we agreed to hold it on Nov. 27 just to make this debate take place,” Robles said in Filipino. KBP executive Teodoro Besbano said they would make sure the conduct of the debate “will be high-level and dignified.” During an event of the KBP last month, Binay challenged Trillanes to a one-on-one debate. Binay said he wanted to debate Trillanes so he could answer allegations of illegal wealth against him point by point. Trillanes earlier said he believed Binay would back out despite his perceived advantage. The Vice President had said he chose to answer all the corruption allegations thrown at him by some senators directly to the people, instead of attending the ongoing Senate investigation. He branded the Senate investigation as a “kangaroo court.” “They are prejudiced. It’s a kangaroo court. They already have the decision. They are not investigating … their intention really is to discredit me,” he said. THIS IS THE FULL STORY
 


READ FULL MEDIA NEWS REPORT:

P-Noy: Binay free to leave Cabinet

MANILA, NOVEMBER 10, 2014 (PHILSTAR) By Delon Porcalla - Vice President Jejomar Binay is free to leave the Cabinet if he does not like the way the government is being run, President Aquino said yesterday.

“At the end of the day, the freedom that we espouse should make us act in accordance with the law and with what we think is right and should be done,” Aquino told reporters in Canlubang, Laguna where he led the inauguration of a Coca-Cola FEMSA plant, said to be the world’s largest.

The Vice President handles the administration’s housing and overseas workers’ concerns.

“If he thinks we’re taking the wrong direction, he can always avoid our initiatives. But as Vice President of the land, he should be constructive by offering not just criticisms but solutions as well,” the Chief Executive said.

A Senate Blue Ribbon subcommittee investigation into reports of overpricing in the construction of a parking building in Makati has uncovered Binay’s alleged unexplained assets, including a vast farming estate in Rosario, Batangas.

Binay said the accusations were part of a demolition job by administration allies to ruin his chances in the 2016 presidential elections.

It was Binay’s former vice mayor and political ally Ernesto Mercado who squealed on the Vice President’s anomalous acquisition of properties.

Binay has refused to attend the Senate panel’s investigation. His lawyers are eyeing the Supreme Court’s help in stopping the Senate probe.

Aquino said it’s not a choice but an “obligation” on the part of Binay to relay his misgivings with government policies to the Cabinet and not to the media.

“I don’t remember him sharing solutions with us during Cabinet meetings,” he said. “Of course the question is why is he not sharing.”

* The President said that while he had come across news articles about Binay’s criticisms of certain government policies, the criticisms were “too general.”

“If he thinks we have had shortcomings, he can – as member of the Cabinet – let us know, or give us advice on how to improve the system. It’s not a choice, it’s an obligation,” he said.

Asked if he still has confidence in his Vice President, Aquino only said there were many achievements in the housing sector under Binay’s watch. He stressed the accusations against Binay happened before the latter became part of the Cabinet or when he was still Makati City mayor.

“I think it’s not right to comment on what he should do. He’s not seeking my advice. And may I remind you, he’s older than me,” Aquino, 54, said, referring to the Vice President, who turns 72 next week.

He reiterated it’s the right of the Vice President to be presumed innocent until proven guilty.

For Caloocan City Rep. Edgar Erice, Aquino’s statement was “just a light way of saying that the Vice President is no longer needed in the Cabinet.”

He said that since Binay and his allies are acting like they belong to the opposition anyway, there is no more reason for the Vice President to remain in his Cabinet post.

“Sense of delicadeza (propriety) dictates that he should resign, if not irrevocable, at least courtesy resignation,” Erice said. “He wants this position (housing czar) to advance his position (for president). But clearly it shows that he is clinging to the position. I think his resignation will be accepted in five minutes,” he said.

Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV, for his part, said the Vice President should take the cue from the President and step down as member of the Cabinet voluntarily.

Trillanes, one of the most vocal accusers of Binay, said the President clearly wants Binay out of his Cabinet and is just waiting for him to step down on his own volition. Paolo Romero, Marvin Sy

I will remain a team player – VP By Helen Flores (The Philippine Star) | Updated November 4, 2014 - 12:00am 0 3 googleplus0 0

MANILA, Philippines - Despite a pronouncement from President Aquino that he would not stop Vice President Jejomar Binay from leaving the Cabinet, the nation’s second highest official said he would remain a “team player” in the official family.

“I have the highest respect for President Aquino and I will continue to be a team player,” Binay said in a statement.

Aquino said in a media interview yesterday that Binay is free to leave the Cabinet if he is unhappy with the decisions taken by the administration.

In a speech last month, Binay had criticized the administration for “falling embarrassingly short on performance” in addressing problems in mass transportation, energy supply and peace and order.

Binay also hit the current government for its “unfair” treatment of former President and now Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, violation of the law by creating the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP), and for being biased against the opposition in its treatment of the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) cases.

Cavite Gov. Jonvic Remulla, Binay’s spokesman for political concerns, said the criticisms made by the Vice President were not meant to disparage the President but to press some members of the administration to do their jobs.

“The VP serves at the pleasure of the President,” Remulla said.

“His recent criticisms were never meant to slight the President but rather as a critique on the shortcomings of several members of his administration,” Remulla said. “Real friends never sugar coat the truth. It is their responsibility to each other to accept what each other has to say.”

* Binay has repeatedly said in the past he considers the President and other members of the Aquino family as good friends.

Friendly criticism

Buhay party-list Rep. Lito Atienza said Aquino should not give malice to criticisms from the Vice President and the public.

“There’s such a thing called critical collaboration and there are many Cabinet officials who, despite being long in the job, need to be coaxed at the very least to perform,” Atienza said.

“If the President cannot accept criticisms, especially from one who considers him a good friend and loyal to him, then that’s a tragedy,” he said.

He said Binay’s loyalty to Aquino and his mother and the rest of his family cannot be questioned, citing the Vice President’s role in defending them at the height of coup attempts in the late 1980s.

“He fought for his mother. I was there. We fought for his mother so he should not take our criticisms personally. They’re not personal to us,” Atienza said.

He said Aquino should be wary of his “new friends,” referring to Interior Secretary Manuel Roxas II and other allies in the Liberal Party.

“They’re fair weather friends, as many of them were in previous governments,” he said.

Sen. Sergio Osmeña III said it was pointless for the Vice President or for anyone to issue “constructive criticism” of the President because the latter doesn’t accept contrary opinions except those coming from the “KKK mafia.”

“Even when alternative solutions are offered, they are rejected without explanation,” Osmeña said. – Edu Punay, Marvin Sy

FROM THE MANILA STANDARD

PNoy twits Binay over job criticisms By Joyce Pangco Panares, Vito Barcelo | Nov. 04, 2014 at 12:01am

But Veep says he’s still a team player


AQUINO

PRESIDENT Benigno Aquino III said Monday Vice President Jejomar Binay should give constructive criticisms as a Cabinet member, otherwise he was free to leave the administration.

But Binay on Monday immediately issued a short statement in response to Aquino’s remarks. “I have the highest respect for President Aquino and I will continue to be a team player,” he said.

Aquino, in an interview in Laguna, said he was only able to read two paragraphs of the report on Binay’s latest criticisms that the administration had fallen “embarrassingly short on performance” on the issues of inadequate mass transportation, the power crisis and the deteriorating peace-and-order conditions.

“If the vice president really said that, perhaps we should remember two things: One, if he thinks that we have not done enough, then as a member of the Cabinet he should advise us how to improve the system.

And that is not a choice but an obligation as a member of the Cabinet,” Aquino said.

“And if thinks that there is something wrong in the direction we are taking, he is free not to join us. At the minimum, as the vice president of the land, if he has criticisms, then there should also be solutions so these criticisms become constructive.

“And to be clear, if he has solutions, I don’t recall hearing these in previous Cabinet meetings. So if he really has solutions, I hope he shares those with us. The question really is why he does not share these solutions with the Cabinet.”

Aquino on Monday also slammed Akbayan Rep. Walden Bello for criticizing his administration too much and for thinking like a traditional politician.

He said Bello should try running for public office in 2016 to implement his programs.

“He has a lot of complaints,” Aquino said.

“If he thinks his visions are the right ones, he should try running in 2016. If he becomes President, he will be able to implement those visions.”

But when asked if he still trusted Binay, Aquino said the corruption allegations against the vice president happened way before he joined the Cabinet.

“And if we talk about his assignments with regards to housing, I think we can point to a lot of achievements in the housing sector under his watch,” he said.

“And the vice president also enjoys the presumption of innocence until proven guilty.”

Aquino, however, acknowledged that the ongoing probe on the vice president was a “credit to the current regime” that the wheels of justice spares no one regardless of political affiliation or status.

Binay is currently the head of the Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council and presidential adviser for OFW affairs.

He has been accused of getting kickbacks from the allegedly overpriced Makati City Hall car park building II.

FROM ELLEN TORDESILLAS BLOG

Aquino still in deep slumber despite wake up call


Thanks to Dennis Garcia .

Mahar Mangahas commented on this column in my FB wall:

“Ellen, the SWS report about the 2013Q2 rating of the ADMINISTRATION was NOT a recycled piece; it was simply the final release from the 2013Q2 SWS survey. It is different from the SWS report on the 2013Q2 rating of the PERSONAL PERFORMANCE OF PNoy, which was released much earlier. Our report last week on the 2013Q3 personal rating of Pnoy was the first of a series from the third quarter survey; more will follow in due course, including the rating of the Administration (not the person) again. http://www.sws.org.ph/pr20130923.htm 

“Ellen, here is the earlier SWS report about the 2nd quarter rating of PNoy, that you claimed was “recycled.” SWS does not do recycling; publicity is not our occupation.
http://www.sws.org.ph/pr20130729.htm” 

Now we know why the three-month old survey of the Social Weather Station showing a high public satisfaction for the Aquino administration was recycled last Sept. 19.

At the height of the pork barrel/Janet Napoles scandal and the bungling of the Zamboanga conflict involving the Nur Misuari’s Moro National Liberation Front, the SWS survey conducted June 28-30 and was reported about in July was released again and was carried by major media outlets.

The lead of the story was the highest satisfaction rating (three out of four Filipinos) for the Aquino administration. Startling lead given the unfavorable headlines daily for more than a month.

Only when the reader read closely would he have known that the survey was conducted three months earlier when Napoles, PDAF and DAP were not in the national consciousness and Misuari’s men had not yet marched into Zamboanga.

Was that done to influence the respondents of the survey that was to be conducted by SWS on Sept 20 through 23?

The major media outlets were had. But as Abraham Lincoln said, “You can fool all the people some of the time, and some of the people all the time, but you cannot fool all the people all the time.”

** The result of the latest survey came out and it showed that the number of people not happy with how President Aquino is performing.

Respondents consisting of 1,200 adults in Metro Manila, the balance of Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao (sampling error margins of ±3% for national percentages, ±6% for area percentages) were asked: “Please tell me how satisfied or dissatisfied you are in the performance of Benigno Aquino III as President of the Philippines. Are you very satisfied, somewhat satisfied, undecided if satisfied or dissatisfied, somewhat dissatisfied, very dissatisfied, or you have not ever heard or read anything about Benigno Aquino III?”.

Sixty-eight percent said they are satisfied and 19 percent said they are not satisfied resulting in a net rating of 49 percent. Still good, the SWS said.

Of course, it’s good. It is still plus 49. Not minus compared to the ratings of Gloria Arroyo.

But the decline is 15 points. This is the biggest dip in satisfaction ratings.

He got his highest satisfaction rating of 67 percent in Aug. 2012, and then declined to 55 percent four months after.

A 12- point slide. Even when he got his lowest satisfaction rating of 42 percent in May 2012, it was just a seven-point decrease from 49 percent March 2012 survey.

The decline in the President Satisfaction rating may hurt his ego but it should do him and the people around him good.

It should clip, even for a bit, their arrogance and their air of “we can’t be doing anything wrong because, look, the President is popular.”

It should be another wake up call. The question is, magigising ba?

The President’s reaction putting the blame on Gloria Arroyo and ignoring the rot in his administration tells us he is still in deep slumber.

[PHNO QUOTE: I think the greatest illusion we have is that denial protects us. It's actually the biggest distortion and lie. In fact, staying asleep is what's killing us. Eve Ensler]

Binay joins Cabinet for Yolanda meeting By Aurea Calica (The Philippine Star) | Updated November 6, 2014 - 12:00am 0 1 googleplus0 0


Presidential snub? President Aquino presides over a special Cabinet meeting, which was also attended by Vice President Jejomar Binay, on Typhoon Yolanda rehabilitation updates at Malacañang yesterday. The meeting was the first time the two appeared in public together after the President told Binay he was free to leave the Cabinet. WILLY PEREZ

MANILA, Philippines - They sat across each other at a conference table and spent nearly seven hours listening to reports yesterday, but no words were exchanged and no handshake proferred between President Aquino and Vice President Jejomar Binay at Malacañang.

Video footage of the special Cabinet meeting called to assess the rehabilitation effort in typhoon-hit areas in the Visayas showed Aquino burying his face in a computer while Binay chatted with his seatmates, rehabilitation czar Panfilo Lacson and Public Works Secretary Rogelio Singson.

Binay attended the meeting a day after Aquino said the Vice President could quit the Cabinet if he disagreed with administration policies.

The Vice President, who heads the opposition United Nationalist Alliance (UNA), chairs the Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council (HUDCC) and heads the Cabinet cluster on resettlement along with the National Housing Authority (NHA). He is also presidential adviser on overseas workers.

He is known to be close to the Aquino family and often says he owes his life in politics to the President’s late mother Corazon, who appointed him officer-in-charge of Makati in 1986.

* Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. of the Presidential Communications Operations Office stressed there was no tension between Aquino and Binay during the Cabinet meeting. It was NHA general manager Chito Cruz who made a presentation on the resettlement plans.

“The Cabinet meeting was focused on the tasks at hand. All the Cabinet secretaries, including the Vice President, were attentive to the discussion,” presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda added.

Binay, who is facing Senate investigation for the allegedly overpriced Makati City Hall Building II and receiving kickbacks from the project, had criticized the Aquino administration for its supposed failure to address people’s needs.

Gov’t to finish 25,000 rehab projects

Coloma also said that during the meeting the President received from Lacson updates on the Comprehensive Recovery and Rehabilitation Plan implementation as of Oct. 31.

The government expects to finish 25,000 programs and projects under the Comprehensive Recovery and Rehabilitation Plan for areas devastated by Yolanda before Aquino steps down in 2016.

Aquino said 30 percent of the 25,000 programs and projects would be completed within 2014 based on targets, 50 percent by 2015 and the remaining 20 percent by 2016.

Also present at the meeting were the clusters on infrastructure headed by the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH); social services led by the Department of Social Welfare and Development; livelihood to be handled by the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and the Department of Labor and Employment; and support by the Department of Budget and Management and the National Economic and Development Authority.

Lacierda said Aquino was verifying all assumptions, determining if “sufficient urgency is being shown and maximum effort being done to ensure building back better is not only on track but can be expedited as much as possible and with clear deadlines and goals.”

Earlier, Lacson noted that the delineation of safe, unsafe and controlled zones had been finalized through a joint memorandum signed by the respective secretaries of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, Department of Science and Technology, Department of National Defense, Department of the Interior and Local Government and the DPWH.

He also reported the steady delivery of construction materials, which was being facilitated by the DTI and the DPWH.

According the Office of the Presidential Assistant for Recovery and Rehabilitation, government agencies belonging to the resettlement cluster shall also create an interagency technical working group to conduct inspection and resolve land issues of identified resettlement sites and establish special lanes to guide the NHA and developers in complying with requirements for resettlement projects.

Groups to protest gov’t failures

But some groups are already gearing up for simultaneous protest actions at the weekend for the Aquino administration’s supposed failure to provide adequate permanent housing, sustainable livelihood and other basic social services to typhoon survivors one year after Yolanda struck the country.

The umbrella group Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan) said an “international day of solidarity and national day of action” has been set on Nov. 8 and the center of the protests are the areas worst hit by Yolanda.

Bayan secretary-general Renato Reyes said Tacloban City would be the site of two days of protests on Nov. 7 and 8. Mass actions are also being readied in the provinces of Roxas, Aklan and Northern Iloilo, which were also badly hit by the super typhoon.

“In Metro Manila, a protest march to Mendiola will be held on Nov. 7 while another commemorative event will be held on Nov. 8,” he added.

A conference of victims of calamities such as Typhoons Yolanda, Pablo and Sendong will also be held in Tacloban City on Nov. 6.

Moreover, gatherings are reportedly being organized by Filipino communities and solidarity groups in the United States, Canada, Hong Kong and across Europe.

Bayan is working with People Surge, the International League of People’s Struggles, Tindog Network and the Kalikasan People’s Network for the Environment for the international and national actions.

Reyes said activists and progressive lawmakers from Manila are also expected to support the mass actions in Tacloban.

“Thousands are expected to join the protest actions on Nov. 7 and 8, one year after Yolanda and one year after the government’s neglect of the victims of the storm. More than remembering those who perished in the storm, we are called upon to join the survivors’ fight for pro-people rehabilitation and reconstruction,” Reyes said.

“It is right for the victims of Yolanda to express their outrage over the Aquino government’s failure to provide adequate permanent housing, sustainable livelihood and other basic social services. It is right for them to condemn corruption and inefficiency in the conduct of relief, rehabilitation and reconstruction work since the storm hit,” he added.

Bayan noted that there is strong domestic and international pressure on the Philippine government to deliver the basic needs of the typhoon victims considering the amount of foreign aid poured into areas hit by the super typhoon.

“But the rehabilitation framework of the Aquino government is one that depends on public-private partnerships or privatization, further marginalizing the victims. Agriculture, which is the primary source of livelihood of the majority of the population, was not given priority at the onset,” Reyes pointed out.

“The big real estate developers, mining and construction firms have divided the disaster areas and the devastated communities. They have identified the areas of investment that are profitable, a criteria that does not necessarily go hand in hand with the actual needs of the people,” he stressed.

Yolanda stamps

The Philippine Postal Corp. (PHLPost), meanwhile, will launch on Nov. 8 the Tindog Pinoy! stamps to mark the resiliency of Filipinos in the aftermath of Yolanda.

“The stamps feature an illustration of a growing plant symbolizing new life from the hands of different countries that helped the Philippines, and a rising sun symbolizing hope. ‘Tindog’ is Visayan for ‘rise’ – describing the tenacity of Filipinos during those challenging times,” PHLPost business lines manager Eric Tagle said.

The stamps will be presented to Tacloban City Mayor Alfred Romualdez in a program to be hosted by the city government on Nov. 8.

“About 20 sets of the stamps, which are packaged in souvenir frames, will also be presented by the Tacloban City government to local and international donors who have extended aid to the city, as the means of expressing their appreciation for the support to rehabilitate and restore normalcy in the lives of the locals,” Tagle said. With Rhodina Villanueva, Evelyn Macairan

FROM THE INQUIRER

(ALSO) Binay-- To be or not to be: VP at tense Cabinet meet; will he go to Senate Thursday? Christian V. Esguerra, Leila B. Salaverria | Philippine Daily Inquirer 1:25 AM | Thursday, November 6th, 2014


BINAY MUM AT CABINET MEET President Aquino (at left) presides over a special Cabinet meeting in Malacañang on Super Typhoon “Yolanda” rehabilitation efforts. In attendance is Vice President Binay (at right), who earlier accused other members of the Cabinet of being behind an alleged plot against him. Also in photo are Cesar Purisima, Ramon Jesus Paje, Edwin Lacierda and Julia Andrea Abad. MALACAÑANG PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines–He showed up early before the Cabinet meeting in Malacañang on Wednesday. But will he appear Thursday morning at the Senate blue ribbon committee hearing to respond to allegations that he got kickbacks from infrastructure projects in Makati and amassed ill-gotten wealth when he was its mayor?

Vice President Jejomar Binay on Wednesday found himself face to face with President Aquino and some of the administration officials allegedly plotting to derail his own presidential run in 2016.

The occasion was the Cabinet meeting of nearly seven hours called by the President to map out specific strategies for the rehabilitation of communities ravaged by Super Typhoon “Yolanda” nearly a year ago.

Seated right across from the President in Malacañang’s Aguinaldo State Dining Room, Binay “never spoke” even if the meeting tackled housing for Yolanda victims, the Inquirer learned.

Binay heads the Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council, but at the Cabinet meeting it was Chito Cruz of the National Housing Authority who did most of the talking.

‘Not to be trusted’

Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV, one of Binay’s harshest critics, said the Vice President would show himself to be untrustworthy if he failed to appear at the Senate blue ribbon committee hearing on Thursday scheduled for his appearance alone, and where he would be asked to respond to corruption allegations against him.

* Trillanes noted that the committee chair, Sen. Teofisto Guingona III, called the hearing after Binay’s spokesperson had said he might appear at the Senate if the invitation came from the mother blue ribbon committee and not from the subcommittee, which is leading the inquiry into alleged anomalies in Makati City where Binay served as mayor for a long time.

“If he fails to show up, that means he’s not to be trusted,” he said in a press briefing.

As of Wednesday afternoon, there was no official word from Binay if he would attend the Senate hearing.

Trillanes also said the hearing was an opportunity for Binay to explain his side. He said it was not just him that the Vice President needed to convince, but the people.

Trillanes said that if Binay decided to appear in the Senate, he should prepare for a lengthy grilling. Binay could be answering questions for six hours, he said.

“He should clear his schedule. He should cancel his appointments because he has a lot to explain,” the senator said.

Asked about concerns from Binay’s camp that Guingona may be unable to control the senators joining the hearing, Trillanes said there was no need to control him.

“I’m not a wild animal. I won’t bite him and I can promise him that. But my questions would probably bite him,” he said.

Tension palpable

“The tension” was palpable, the Inquirer was told by Cabinet officials who were in attendance, considering that earlier this week, Aquino lashed out at Binay for attacking his administration in the course of defending himself from corruption allegations.

“You openly attack some of the Cabinet secretaries, how can you expect that there won’t be any tension? But it’s all unsaid,” said one official who spoke on condition of anonymity.

Also in the meeting were Interior Secretary Mar Roxas, who was linked by Binay to the so-called “Oplan Stop Nognog 2016” allegedly aimed at derailing the Vice President’s candidacy in the 2016 presidential election, and Cabinet officials identified with Roxas’ “Balay” faction in the Palace.

VP’s criticisms

Among them was Budget Secretary Florencio Abad, whose resignation over the Disbursement Acceleration Program should have been accepted by the President, Binay once said.

Binay earlier criticized the administration over “a [looming] 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.”

But he later claimed that he was referring to administration senators investigating his alleged corruption, not Aquino in particular. Aquino didn’t seem to buy the distinction and said on Monday: “If he thinks we are going in the wrong direction, he’s free to leave.”

Binay arrived a few minutes early for the 10 a.m. Cabinet meeting and went around the State Dining Room for small talk with select Cabinet officials, “perhaps, his way of showing that he’s a ‘team player,’” one source said. He left around 3:30 p.m., about an hour before the meeting was adjourned.

After he was told by Aquino that he was “free to leave” the Cabinet, Binay said he had “the highest respect for President Aquino and I will continue to be a team player.”

In a huddle

Media footage showed Binay in a huddle with Rehabilitation Secretary Panfilo Lacson, Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa and Director General Joel Villanueva of the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (Tesda) before Aquino arrived.

At one point, the Vice President told Villanueva he didn’t believe the Tesda chief was part of the alleged anti-Binay campaign. Someone overheard the conversation and joked that Villanueva was actually the “mastermind.”

Shaking hands

Binay was also seen shaking hands with Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin and chatting with Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima, and Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma. Binay stayed on for at least five hours, his longest in a Cabinet meeting, an official recalled.

Presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda downplayed the supposed tension during the meeting, saying it was focused on the tasks at hand. “All the Cabinet secretaries, including the Vice President, were attentive to the discussion,” he told reporters.

Aquino was updated on the implementation of the Comprehensive Rehabilitation and Recovery Plan for areas devastated by Yolanda. Lacierda said the meeting also “laid out priority programs and projects for 2015.”

Senate hearing

The President is set to fly to Guiuan, Samar province, on Friday, the eve of the first anniversary of Yolanda.

At 9 a.m. Thursday, the Senate blue ribbon committee is expecting Binay at its hearing to respond to mounting charges of corruption and ill-gotten wealth.

Sen. Teofisto Guingona III, chair of the committee, said on Tuesday that the Vice President could not just read a statement but must take questions, too, if he appeared before the committee.

Guingona assured Binay of fair treatment, respect and ample time to air his side to the charges.

The subcommittee has scheduled the resumption of its hearing on the allegedly overpriced P2.28-billion Makati City Hall Building II at 10 a.m., also Thursday.

If the Vice President does not show up at the blue ribbon committee, the subcommittee will push through with its hearing, according to its chair, Sen. Koko Pimentel.

No decision yet

Trillanes said more evidence on Binay’s alleged corruption, as well as on alleged irregularities surrounding the construction of the Makati Science High School building, were expected to be tackled.

There was no word on Wednesday night from the Binay camp if the Vice President had decided to attend the Senate hearing on Thursday.

Binay’s spokesman Joey Salgado said Binay conferred with his advisers on whether he would accept the Senate hearing.

But Salgado did not respond to calls and text messages of the Inquirer following up on the outcome of Binay’s meeting with his advisers.

The Inquirer also tried but failed to reach by phone Cavite Gov. Jonvic Remulla, Binay’s spokesman for political concerns.–With a report from Christine O. Avendaño

FROM PHILSTAR

Trillanes-Binay debate set on Nov. 27 By Helen Flores (The Philippine Star) | Updated November 6, 2014 - 12:00am
0 0 googleplus0 0

MANILA, Philippines - The public debate between Vice President Jejomar Binay and Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV will push through on Nov. 27.

The Kapisanan ng mga Brodkaster ng Pilipinas (KBP) announced yesterday that representatives of both camps have agreed on the date of the debate as well as the guidelines tions for the venue, which it could not disclose yet.

The debate would be held from 10 a.m. to noon, with the KBP serving as moderator.

The KBP and the parties involved were still working out the mechanics of the debate.

Cavite Gov. Jonvic Remulla and his brother, former congressman Crispin Remulla, represented Binay in the meeting, while lawyer Reynaldo Robles represented Trillanes.

“We will wait if the Vice President will agree to it (ground rules),” Remulla, also Binay’s official spokesman, said after the meeting.

“Although Senator Trillanes had earlier set Nov. 22 as deadline, we agreed to hold it on Nov. 27 just to make this debate take place,” Robles said in Filipino.

KBP executive Teodoro Besbano said they would make sure the conduct of the debate “will be high-level and dignified.”

During an event of the KBP last month, Binay challenged Trillanes to a one-on-one debate.

Binay said he wanted to debate Trillanes so he could answer allegations of illegal wealth against him point by point.

Trillanes earlier said he believed Binay would back out despite his perceived advantage.

The Vice President had said he chose to answer all the corruption allegations thrown at him by some senators directly to the people, instead of attending the ongoing Senate investigation.

He branded the Senate investigation as a “kangaroo court.”

“They are prejudiced. It’s a kangaroo court. They already have the decision. They are not investigating … their intention really is to discredit me,” he said.


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

© Copyright, 2014 by PHILIPPINE HEADLINE NEWS ONLINE
All rights reserved


PHILIPPINE HEADLINE NEWS ONLINE [PHNO] WEBSITE