HEADLINE NEWS EARLY THIS PAST WEEK ...

AT APEC: MOODY's PRESIDENT PRAISED AQUINO FOR GOOD HANDLING OF PH ECONOMY  

NOV 11 --PHOTO: HIGH-LEVEL MEETING — President Aquino greets Vietnam President Truong Tan Sang during a bilateral meeting at the Social Hall of the Philippine Embassy in Beijing, China on Sunday night. The two leaders met at the sidelines of the 22nd Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Leaders’ Meeting. BEIJING, CHINA –-President Aquino got good reviews from business executives and economists here for his “remarkable” handling of the Philippine economy amid a slowing global economy. Moody’s Corporation President and Chief Executive Officer Raymond McDaniel Jr. on Sunday praised Aquino’s economic stewardship that have resulted in several ratings upgrades in a short period of time.  READ FULL REPORT

ALSO in China: Now is best time to invest in PH – PNoy  

NOV 11---Beijing, China – President Benigno S. Aquino III assured Asia-Pacific business executives that the government is working hard for a sustainable economic growth and competitive Philippines. During the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) CEO Summit here, President Aquino highlighted the country’s recent economic gains as well as other achievements of his administration in improving the nation’s business environment. READ FULL REPORT

ALSO: Tacloban victims can’t forgive Aquino  

NOV 11 --PHOTO: President Aquino listens to the updates on the rehabilitation efforts given by Guiuan Municipal Mayor Christopher Sheen Gonzales at the Guiuan Public Market in Barangay 6, Poblacion, Guiuan, during his visit to Eastern Samar Nov. 7, 2014, the eve of the typhoon Yolanda anniversary. He skipped Tacloban, which suffered the brunt of the super typhoon, due to, what many people suspect, political considerations. Photo by Gil Nartea/ Malacañang Photo bureau ---Whatever reasons President Noy may have had in skipping Tacloban City for the commemoration of the first “Yolanda” anniversary, the people, especially the victims, can never forgive him. Long after he’s gone, they will be cursing and vilifying him for seemingly being petty and vindictive. READ FULL REPORT

ALSO: Aquino is keeping Binay in his Cabinet 

PHOTO: President Aquino (right) and Vice President Jejomar Binay. INQUIRER FILE PHOTO
BEIJING—President Benigno Aquino III is keeping Vice President Jejomar Binay in his Cabinet as he expressed his wish that the Senate would be able to wrap up soon its investigation of the corruption allegations against Binay.
The President seemed to be sympathetic with the plight of Binay, who is facing the worst political crisis in his almost 30-year-old government service as corruption allegations against him widened in an ongoing inquiry by a Senate blue ribbon subcommittee. READ FULL REPORT...

(ALSO) PNoy to Senate Blue Ribbon: 'End Binay probe asap; It's a distraction'

NOV 12 --PHOTO: He’s 72. He blows the candles on a cake that was also prepared for him by the Navy. Beijing ---BEIJING: President Benigno Aquino III said Tuesday he wanted the Senate probe on the corruption allegations against Vice President Jejomar Binay to be concluded as soon as possible because it was becoming a distraction from the business of governance. Aquino said the piecemeal probe was taking time away from pending bills in the Senate such as the 2015 budget, the Bangsamoro Basic Law, and the Fiscal Incentive Rationalization bill. READ FULL REPORT...

(ALSO) Palace: PNoy did not ask Drilon to end Binay probe

NOV 12 ---President Benigno Aquino III did not ask Senate President Franklin Drilon to end the Blue Ribbon Sub-Committee inquiry into the allegations against Vice President Jejomar Binay, Malacañang clarified on Wednesday. "We wish to correct the report that states that the President wanted the Senate investigation of Vice President Jejomar Binay stopped. For the record, what the President did was to relay the request of the Vice President to the Senate President," Presidential Spokesman Edwin Lacierda said in statement. Lacierda added that before Aquino conveyed Binay's request to Drilon, he already informed the Vice President that the 24 senators cannot be dictated upon. READ FULL REPORT...

ALSO: Palace faction including Presidential sister Kris rooting for Grace-Chiz team; 'Anybody but Mar' battle cry 

NOV 17 ---PHOTO: Secretary Mar Roxas, Senators Grace Poe and Francis Escudero. A FACTION within the camp of President Benigno Aquino III—including his sisters—is rooting for Senators Grace Poe and Francis Escudero to run for president and vice president in 2016, repudiating Interior Secretary Manuel Roxas II, a Palace source said Sunday. Rallying around the battle cry “anybody but Mar,” the group was the same “Noy-Bi” faction that campaigned for Vice President Jejomar Binay instead of Roxas in the 2010 elections. “The Noy-Bi group that includes the presidential sisters and relatives, the Samar group and some ranking members of the ruling Liberal Party will not support Mar Roxas even if President Aquino endorses Roxas as the LP’s or LP coalition’s standard bearer,” the Palace source told the Manila Standard. The group, which now calls itself ABM for Anybody But Mar, has started consolidating its forces and meets weekly. Its members, the source said, were turned off by Roxas’ arrogance and elitist character.

ALSO by Yen Makabenta:  Doing the right thing in East Visayas 

PHOTO FROM MANILA STANDARD: CURSE ME, CRITICIZE ME, BUT I MUST DIO IT RIGHT ---Upon his return to Manila, Aquino explained that the government will begin to build a road dike in Guiuan one year after Yolanda hit the province. --“Curse me, criticize me, but I believe I must do the right thing.” Benigno Aquino 3rd, Guiuan, Eastern Samar November 7, 2014. As luck or fate would have it, when President Benigno Aquino 3rd uttered those challenging words in Guiuan, Eastern Samar, while avoiding the Yolanda/Haiyan first anniversary observance in Tacloban, I was deep in study of a new book I had recently acquired, entitled Justice, What’s the Right Thing to Do? (Farrar, Strauss and Giroux, 2009) Its author is Michael J. Sandel, a professor of government and political philosophy at Harvard University. READ FULL COLUMN...
 


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Aquino praised for good handling of PH economy


HIGH-LEVEL MEETING — President Aquino greets Vietnam President Truong Tan Sang during a bilateral meeting at the Social Hall of the Philippine Embassy in Beijing, China on Sunday night. The two leaders met at the sidelines of the 22nd Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Leaders’ Meeting. (Malacañang Photo Bureau)

BEIJING, CHINA, NOVEMBER 17, 2014 (MANILA BULLETIN) by Chino Leyco – President Aquino got good reviews from business executives and economists here for his “remarkable” handling of the Philippine economy amid a slowing global economy.

Moody’s Corporation President and Chief Executive Officer Raymond McDaniel Jr. on Sunday praised Aquino’s economic stewardship that have resulted in several ratings upgrades in a short period of time.

McDaniel paid a courtesy call on President Aquino at the Philippine Embassy Sunday afternoon where they talked about the latest economic conditions

Presidential Spokesperson Edwin Lacrierda said during the meeting McDaniel complimented the President’s remarkable performance and for the positive outlook that the country continues to maintain amid a slowing global economy.

Moody’s Corporation is the parent company of Moody’s Investors Service and Moody’s Analytics.

McDaniel, likewise congratulated Aquino for several positive credit ratings from different agencies around the world, including investment grade ratings from Moody’s and two other major debt watchers.

In 2013, the Philippines secured investment grade sovereign credit ratings from all three major international credit rating agencies – Fitch Ratings, Moody’s and Standard & Poor’s – for the first time in its credit history.

All three credit watchdogs gave the Philippines the minimum investment grade last year, while S&P followed the move with another notch of upgrade earlier this year to “BBB.”

MODERATE RISK

According to Lacierda, the President responded by saying that he has a good Cabinet, whose members make personal sacrifices to serve the country.

During the meeting, Aquino also outlined the government’s targets for the ‘Yolanda’ rehabilitation and its policy of building back better to break the cycle of destruction and rehabilitation in vulnerable communities.

He told McDaniel that the Philippine government is doing everything to ensure that the country remains Ebola-free.

“In closing, Moody’s extended its compliments to the President for the positive outlook that the Philippines continues to maintain amidst a slowing global economy,” Lacierda said.

In a Moody’s report released in September, the debt-watcher, known as the most conservative among three major credit rating agencies, kept its Baa3 positive outlook credit rating on the Philippines.

“We see moderate risk exposure in Malaysia (A3 positive), Philippines, and Thailand (Baa1 stable), but these would be insufficient to provoke major sovereign credit distress even if global liquidity conditions were to sour significantly,” the Moody’s report said.

IMPRESSIVE

Aside from McDaniel, Mexican economist and diplomat Jose Angel Gurria praised President Aquino instituting reforms in the Philippines, particularly in the areas of gender equality and investments.

Speaking before the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) CEO Summit, Gurria, who is also the current secretary general of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), said Aquino made a big contribution to the Philippines’ competitiveness.

Gurria noted income gap between male and women during the Aquino administration has improved, investments increased and implemented several innovated policies aimed at improving people’s lives.

“We have a very challenging scenario [in Asia-Pacific region] and the question of investment and innovation become critical. Now, I have to say here President Aquino has a done great job in this score. Actually, it’s very impressive,” Gurria said.

The OECD secretary general added the Philippines’ global ranking in the doing business during President Aquino’s term “went up just like a rocket. That’s doing very well.”

Gurria gave his praises in the presence of President Aquino during the APEC CEO Summit on economic reforms.

BILATERAL WITH VIETNAM

On the sidelines of the APEC Leaders’ Meetings late Sunday, Lacierda said President Aquino met his Vietnamese counterpart, Vietnamese President Truong Tan Sang at the Philippine Embassy in Beijing where Vietnam reaffirmed its economic and political cooperation with the Philippines.

Lacierda said the two Asian leaders noted the numerous productive exchanges between PH and Vietnam and reaffirmed their strong friendship amid the tensions over the West Philippine Sea.

The Philippines and Vietnam had a lukewarm partnership until China raises its claims over the West Philippine sea. Since then, the two Southeast Asian nations forged alliance to bolster their strategic economic and political cooperation.

“The two leaders tasked their respective foreign ministers to begin work on a roadmap towards a strategic partnership,” the Lacierda said.

Global healthcare leader Sanofi S.A also paid a courtesy call on the President at the PH embassy where the a multinational pharmaceutical company informed Aquino that they are developing a dengue vaccine that will hopefully be out by 2015.

Sanofi, according to Lacierda also complimented the President’s investment in health.

“The President emphasized the importance of preventive care over curative care, and that investing in health is investing in human capital, which provides for sustainable economic development,” he added.


Now is best time to invest in PH – PNoy by Chino Leyco November 10, 2014 Share this:


AQUINO AT APEC IN CHINA

Beijing, China – President Benigno S. Aquino III assured Asia-Pacific business executives that the government is working hard for a sustainable economic growth and competitive Philippines.

During the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) CEO Summit here, President Aquino highlighted the country’s recent economic gains as well as other achievements of his administration in improving the nation’s business environment.

President Aquino President Aquino “We encourage all those in attendance today to take a closer look at the Philippines or, if you had previously been intrigued by our country, to transform your interest into something more concrete,” President Aquino said.

The President noted in particular the country’s average gross domestic product (GDP) growth rate of 6.3 percent from 2010 to 2013, higher infrastructure investment and 20 positive credit ratings actions from agencies around the world, including investment grade ratings from the three major credit ratings agencies.

“These are just a few examples of our continued efforts to keep the dynamo of progress engaged in full throttle, and it is clear, there is no better time to invest in the Philippines than now,” Aquino said.

“Rest assured, our government will do everything in its power to ensure that the Philippines will remain competitive for many years to come. We assure all of you: our efforts will not stop here. We are looking to go from strength-to-strength,” he added.

Aside from improving business environment, Aquino said that the government has also raised its budget for education and skills development 75 percent and 77 percent, respectively, to further boost economic activity.

“Moving forward, we are looking to redouble our efforts in these fields. Our country will be hitting a demographic sweet spot by 2015 as majority of our population reaches working age,” the President said.

In the recent World Bank report, the business environment in the Philippines improved by 13 notches from 108th place a year ago to 95th this year.

The World Bank attributed the significant leap in ranking on government’s continued efforts to institute reforms in the areas dealing with construction permits, getting credit and paying taxes.

Last year, the Philippines leapfrogged 30 notches in the global survey.


FROM THE INQUIRER

Tacloban victims can’t forgive Aquino Ramon Tulfo @inquirerdotnet Philippine Daily Inquirer 4:43 AM | Tuesday, November 11th, 2014


President Aquino listens to the updates on the rehabilitation efforts given by Guiuan Municipal Mayor Christopher Sheen Gonzales at the Guiuan Public Market in Barangay 6, Poblacion, Guiuan, during his visit to Eastern Samar Nov. 7, 2014, the eve of the typhoon Yolanda anniversary. He skipped Tacloban, which suffered the brunt of the super typhoon, due to, what many people suspect, political considerations. Photo by Gil Nartea/ Malacañang Photo bureau


Whatever reasons President Noy may have had in skipping Tacloban City for the commemoration of the first “Yolanda” anniversary, the people, especially the victims, can never forgive him.

Long after he’s gone, they will be cursing and vilifying him for seemingly being petty and vindictive.

Tacloban City in Leyte province suffered the brunt of the massive destruction and mayhem wrought by the world’s strongest storm ever to hit land.

Even if he didn’t visit Guiuan in Eastern Samar province, the first to be hit by Yolanda, people would have understood because the town didn’t suffer as many casualties as Tacloban City.

The city has become the symbol for the wrath of Mother Nature with the large-scale destruction and victims’ indescribable suffering reported by international media.

The President’s absence was noticeable and, of course, tongues must have wagged all over the world.

We have a chief executive who puts more value on his emotions—the Romualdezes are his political enemies and the city mayor is a Romualdez—than the significance of an event.

He probably forgot that as the President, he is the father of the nation and is not supposed to quarrel with some of his children no matter how recalcitrant they may be.

By skipping Tacloban City but visiting other places hit by Yolanda—Eastern Samar, Palawan, Cebu and Aklan—he emphasized all the more that he favors some of his children over others.

It’s surprising why no one among his Cabinet members, especially Interior Secretary Mar Roxas, was brave enough to advise him to rein in his vindictiveness.

* * *

I beg the indulgence of my readers if I sound like a broken record about how retired Maj. Gen. Pons Millena became one of the best commandants of the “fightingest” unit of the Armed Forces, the Philippine Marine Corps.

Millena became the object of defamation because of his strict adherence to discipline, the hallmark of a Marine.

He was a victim of “militics,” or military politics, that nearly caused him the much-coveted post.

When he became commandant, Millena forgave his detractors and asked for their cooperation.

He resisted the temptation to get back at them because he was already the “father of the Corps.”

Why doesn’t P-Noy do a Millena?

P-Noy has plenty of time to mend his vindictive ways until 2016.

If he does, he may become one of the best presidents of this country because of his clean image and his anticorruption campaign.

* * *

Former Ambassador Antonio Cabangon-Chua, a business tycoon, was humiliated by Cathay Pacific Airways when it seated him and his companion in economy although he bought business class tickets for his recent trip to Hong Kong.

He was told that the airline had to change to a smaller plane and he could not be accommodated in business class as priority was given to Marco Polo members or the airline’s frequent flyers.

Cabangon-Chua, a humble man, let the slight pass but asked that he be refunded for the difference in the downgrade which amounted to $1,420, or P63,900, at the current exchange rate.

However, he was given only P3,000.

Unwittingly, he signed a “quit claim” absolving the airline of any liability.

Calling the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines.


FROM THE INQUIRER

Aquino is keeping Binay in his Cabinet Christine O. Avendaño @inquirerdotnet Philippine Daily Inquirer 10:41 PM | Tuesday, November 11th, 2014


President Aquino (right) and Vice President Jejomar Binay. INQUIRER FILE PHOTO

BEIJING—President Benigno Aquino III is keeping Vice President Jejomar Binay in his Cabinet as he expressed his wish that the Senate would be able to wrap up soon its investigation of the corruption allegations against Binay.

The President seemed to be sympathetic with the plight of Binay, who is facing the worst political crisis in his almost 30-year-old government service as corruption allegations against him widened in an ongoing inquiry by a Senate blue ribbon subcommittee.

Mr. Aquino said he did not think that he would just let go of a Cabinet member who was performing in his job but was facing an issue that the Chief Executive said he had not tasked Binay to do.

“I think the Vice President, without taking any side, is entitled to the presumption of innocence until proven guilty which is a fundamental right which can be found in Article 3 of the Constitution,” he said in reply to whether the controversies hounding Binay would affect the way he see the Vice President.

He said that some quarters would say it was because he was friends with Binay.

“Sabi ko pag lahat na lang ba ng inakusahan ay guilty kaagad, mayroon kaya akong mare recruit?” (What I said was if all who have been accuse are guilty already, will there be anyone left to be recruited?) the President said.

It was easy to make accusations against a person but it was also difficult when there are no proof to those accusations, Aquino added.

And while the President said he respects a “co-equal branch of government” he asked why the inquiry was in “dribs and drabs” and not providing the “whole list.”

President Aquino said there should be a “balance of politics and responsibility.”

“I’d like to think there are responsible members attending to other functions than this,” he said of the Senate.

Likewise, he said the Senate has to focus its attention to pending bills in the chamber like the proposed Fiscal Rationalization Act.

President Aquino also said he was merely relaying the request of Binay when he called up Senate President Franklin Drilon to say the Vice President was requesting the Senate inquiry on him to be stopped.

Asked whether he hoped the Senate would end its inquiry, he made it clear that part of his job was to be “neutral” on the issue.

“At the end of the day there will be evidence, one way or the other, and then to ensure that all of the processes are carried out,” he said.

“My oath says to defend and uphold the Constitution and other laws. So at some point in time nagkakaroon ng formal complaints and I have to ensure that everybody does what they’re doing or what they are supposed to do,” he added.

He said he continues to talk to the Vice President.


FROM THE MANILA STANDARD

PNoy: End Binay probe asap By Joyce Pangco Panares, Vito Barcelo, and Macon Ramos-Araneta | Nov. 12, 2014 at 12:01am

Tells Senate it’s a distraction; VP drops debate


He’s 72. He blows the candles on a cake that was also prepared for him by the Navy.

BEIJING—President Benigno Aquino III said Tuesday he wanted the Senate probe on the corruption allegations against Vice President Jejomar Binay to be concluded as soon as possible because it was becoming a distraction from the business of governance.

Aquino said the piecemeal probe was taking time away from pending bills in the Senate such as the 2015 budget, the Bangsamoro Basic Law, and the Fiscal Incentive Rationalization bill.

“If we are to focus on what needs to be done, there should be no distraction...We should file a case on those who should be slapped with cases and absolve those who are not guilty,” the President said.

“Can we not have the whole list? Is the proof really there? Is there substantial proof? Every question there is, you want the answer as soon as possible.”

Aquino also reiterated that Binay still enjoys presumption of innocence on allegations that he got kickbacks from the reportedly overpriced Makati City Hall car park building II.

But the President said he was not trying to kill the investigation when he called up Senate President Franklin Drilon to relay the Vice President’s request that the probe be stopped since a case has already been filed before the Ombudsman.

“No (I did not ask Senator Drilon to have the probe stopped). The very first sentence I said was ‘I was asked to relay this message, and at least now I have already told you.’ The conversation was only up to that. I only fulfilled my promise to relay the message,” the President said.

“I think part of my job here is to be neutral. At the end of the day, there will be evidence, one-way or the other, and then to ensure that all of the processes are carried out,” Aquino added.

The President also begged off from making a comment on Binay’s decision earlier in the day to back out of a public debate that he himself had proposed against Senator Antonio Trillanes IV.

“I cannot be his spokesman. He did not authorize me,” he said.

In an interview Tuesday, Binay said he didn’t want to push through with the Nov. 27 debate because Trillanes was portraying himself as the underdog.

“That’s what I don’t like. They’re making it seem that I’m a bully who’s taking advantage of him. My advantage, if ever I do have one, is that I want to talk about the facts,” Binay said.

Binay said there was no way to change his mind, and that his decision was final.

“I don’t want to be known as a bully or someone who takes advantage,” he added.

Binay announced his decision during his 72nd birthday celebration at the Navy headquarters.

Trillanes said he was surprised by the Vice President’s decision and described his reason for backing out as “the lamest excuse.”

“I was hoping against hope that he would somehow find the courage,” the senator said, adding that he was taking up “basic debating” lessons to prepare for the face-off with Binay.

He said the decision proved that the country’s second highest official could not keep his word.

“He’s going to be crucified for this, and he’s practically destroying whatever credibility he has left,” he added.

Trillanes said the debate was the best opportunity Binay had to prove his innocence.

Now that the Vice President had changed his mind about the debate, Trillanes said, he hoped he would also back out of running for president in 2016.

“For the sake of the country, I hope he will back out and stop deceiving the public,” Trillanes said.

The former military man said this was not the first time Binay had issued fighting words only to back down, saying that Binay had promised to back military rebels led by Trillanes who moved against then President Gloria Arroyo, only to back out.

But Joey Salgado, head of the Office of the Vice President Media Affairs, said Trillanes was trying to rewrite history with a revisionist version of the Manila Peninsula siege, which he described as a fiasco.

“History teaches us that revolutionary undertakings succeed with the support of the people, not because of one man with a messianic complex. The senator should stop blaming the Vice President for his failure as a mutineer,” said Salgado.

In the previous weeks, Trillanes had accused Binay of profiting from various projects in Makati City, including an alleged overpriced parking building built when Binay was still mayor.

He also accused the Vice President of using dummies to conceal his ill-gotten wealth, including a vast plantation in Rosario town, Batangas.

Binay had earlier challenged Trillanes to a one-on-one debate to respond to allegations of corruption hurled against him in a Senate probe.

The Vice President’s daughter, Senator Nancy Binay, said her father’s decision was the answer to her prayers and that the rest of the family was relieved.

Binay’s party mates and allies were also against the debate, which the Vice President himself had asked the Kapisanan ng mga Broadkaster ng Pilipinas (KBP) to organize and facilitate.

The debate was supposed to be held at the Philippine International Convention Center in Pasay City on Nov. 27.

The Palace said it respected Binay’s decision, adding that the Vice President has already taken the opportunity to air his side before the media.

In a daily press briefing, deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte added that Binay must have weighted all his options before deciding to opt out of the debate.

KBP president Herman Basbaño said the organization respected Binay’s decision.

“We are realistic. This could happen in any project of this nature,” he said.

But the Trade Union Congress of Philippines said that Binay squandered his rare and genuine chance to prove wrong the strong and nagging allegations against him.

“He also lost the golden opportunity to demonstrate to the Filipino electorate if there are genuine leadership qualities in him that the working people are looking for prospective leaders through an independent environment prepared by KBP,” TUCP spokesperson Alan Tanjusay said.

Binay’s camp tried to put a positive spin on his decision to junk the debate.

“Now is not the time for talk but for action. The Vice President is prioritizing the country over self, recovery over bickering, the people over himself. He will be in the Visayas next week putting all

his efforts into the task of housing given to him by the President. The truth of the allegations is now in the hands of the Ombudsman,” said his spokesman for political concerns, Cavite Gov. Jonvic Remulla.

Binay’s United Nationalist Alliance also said engaging in a debate with Trillanes was a disservice to the millions who still have to recover from the Yolanda tragedy.

The party’s interim president, Navotas Rep. Tobias Tiangco, said he was “surprisingly happy” over Binay’s decision not to stoop to Trillanes’ level.

Paranaque Rep. Gus Tambunting, also an UNA member, said that only time will tell if the Vice President’s decision to back out of the debate with Trillanes would hurt his credibility.

1-BAP party-list Rep. Silvestre Bello III, a member of the House minority, said Binay had realized that debating with Trillanes “had no legal or political value” and so he backed out.

Isabela Rep. Rodolfo Albano III, also a member of the opposition, said Binay did not have to prove anything to Trillanes. – With Sara Susanne D. Fabunan and Maricel V. Cruz


FROM PHILSTAR

Palace: PNoy did not ask Drilon to end Binay probe By Louis Bacani (philstar.com) | Updated November 12, 2014 - 12:58pm 13 121 googleplus1 0

MANILA, Philippines - President Benigno Aquino III did not ask Senate President Franklin Drilon to end the Blue Ribbon Sub-Committee inquiry into the allegations against Vice President Jejomar Binay, Malacañang clarified on Wednesday.

"We wish to correct the report that states that the President wanted the Senate investigation of Vice President Jejomar Binay stopped. For the record, what the President did was to relay the request of the Vice President to the Senate President," Presidential Spokesman Edwin Lacierda said in statement.

Lacierda added that before Aquino conveyed Binay's request to Drilon, he already informed the Vice President that the 24 senators cannot be dictated upon.

Aquino also did not say that he asked Drilon to end the Senate probe during his interview with Philippine media at the end of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Leaders' Summit in China.

"He also stated that he respects the co-equal branch that is the Legislature... Thus, at no time in the media briefing did the President mention that he wanted the investigation stopped," Lacierda said.

Drilon earlier revealed that Aquino called him to relay Binay's request, but he denied that the President was asking for a favor and exerting pressure.

In the interview in China, Aquino said the Senate probe on Binay "has to be attended to" but the chamber should balance politics and its responsibilities.

He called on the Blue Ribbon Comittee to present all the evidence against Vice President Jejomar Binay instead of in piecemeal so as not to disrupt legislative work.

"Does it have to be in dribs and drabs? Can we not have the whole list? Is the proof really… Is the proof really there? Is it substantial proof or what-have-you?" Aquino said.

He noted that there are still pending bills in the Senate such as the proposed national budget for 2015 and the Bangsamoro Basic Law.

Aquino believes, however, that the Senate has responsible members who are attending to their other functions besides the inquiry into the allegations against Binay.

The Vice President is being investigated for allegedly earning kickbacks from various Makati City projects and for not declaring a purported 350-hectare Batangas property in his statement of assets, liabilities and net worth.

Despite the allegations, Aquino said he cannot kick Binay out of the Cabinet because he has been performing his duties well as housing chief.

"The Vice President also, without taking any side, is also entitled to presumption of innocence until proven guilty, which is a fundamental right," Aquino said.

The President had denied that he offered to help Binay when they met last October in Bahay Pangarap to discuss the corruption allegations against him.


FRPM THE MANILA STANDARD

Palace faction including Presidential sister Kris rooting for Grace-Chiz team
By Christine F. Herrera | Nov. 17, 2014 at 12:01am

Roxas, presumptive LP bet, yanked out by Palace faction


Secretary Mar Roxas, Senators Grace Poe and Francis Escudero

A FACTION within the camp of President Benigno Aquino III—including his sisters—is rooting for Senators Grace Poe and Francis Escudero to run for president and vice president in 2016, repudiating Interior Secretary Manuel Roxas II, a Palace source said Sunday.

Rallying around the battle cry “anybody but Mar,” the group was the same “Noy-Bi” faction that campaigned for Vice President Jejomar Binay instead of Roxas in the 2010 elections.

“The Noy-Bi group that includes the presidential sisters and relatives, the Samar group and some ranking members of the ruling Liberal Party will not support Mar Roxas even if President Aquino endorses Roxas as the LP’s or LP coalition’s standard bearer,” the Palace source told the Manila Standard.

The group, which now calls itself ABM for Anybody But Mar, has started consolidating its forces and meets weekly. Its members, the source said, were turned off by Roxas’ arrogance and elitist character.

Presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda denied knowledge of such a group, however.

“No I have not heard of such groups. The government remains focused on the business of governance,” he said.

Even before the 2013 mid-term elections, the President had sought a Roxas-Escudero ticket for 2016, but Roxas balked, the Palace source said.

During the 2010 presidential campaign, Roxas and Escudero bickered bitterly after the latter openly endorsed Binay for vice president while he was running President Aquino’s media campaign.

“In the 2013 senatorial elections, Poe became a surprise topnotcher. Already some Samarenos took notice of her potential. But Poe refused to bite,” the source said.

However, when the second quarter surveys showed Poe was a second placer to Binay’s 41 percent, the wooing of Poe resumed, the source added.

Roxas received only 6 percent in the same opinion poll.

“That was when Mar’s group unleashed their atomic bomb against Binay. At the same time, they put some money on radio and cable ads in Visayas-Mindanao. This seems to have paid-off because his rating improved to 13 percent, second to Binay, which diminished by 10 percent to 31 percent,” the Palace source said.

“The Samar group, which includes some relatives and classmates, cannot forgive LP oldies because they immediately cordoned off [Aquino] right after the elections,” said the source, referring to major Cabinet portfolios that were cornered by the officials of the ruling Liberal Party.

Worse, the sources said, the anti-Roxas group believed almost all the political problems of President Aquino were caused by the LP.

“The Samar, presidential sisters, relatives, friends and classmates believe that the political and economic blunders were caused by the LP, such as the Disbursement Acceleration Program, portions of which were declared by the Supreme Court as unconstitutional,” the source said.

The architect of the DAP was Budget Secretary Florencio Abad, President Aquino’s campaign manager in 2010.

“As if the DAP was not enough, the MRT 3 mishap was such a huge blunder that commuters curse the government daily because of Transportation and Communications Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya’s incompetence. Abaya is another LP stalwart,” the source said.

“Mar Roxas is not exempted. The rising criminality is a big headache to President Aquino as the people’s safety and security are at stake,” the source said. “Mar is LP president-on leave.”

The Liberals are also being blamed for the rising prices of basic commodities, massive rice importation, and the rampant smuggling of pork, chicken, garlic and onions.

Even the much-touted rice self sufficiency target was missed, thanks to Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala, who is LP national treasurer, the source said.

Another LP official, former senator Francis Pangilinan, quickly became embroiled in an extortion scandal involving one of his trusted lieutenants shortly after being named food czar.

“The LP brought nothing but embarrassment to the Aquino administration,” the source said.

“The AMB group believes that Mar and Butch cabal are too exclusive... Binay was okay, but he was mortally wounded by the demolition job, and his counter-moves have failed.”

The source said all eyes are now on the November last quarter surveys, which should be released in late December.

Despite Poe’s declaration that she is not keen on running for a higher position, the source said the AMB continues to talk to her. – With Joyce Pangco Pañares


MANILA TIMES COLUMN

Doing the right thing in East Visayas by YEN MAKABENTA November 10, 2014 11:07 pm


YEN MAKABENTA


“Curse me, criticize me, but I believe I must do the right thing.” ---Benigno Aquino 3rd, Guiuan, Eastern Samar November 7, 2014

As luck or fate would have it, when President Benigno Aquino 3rd uttered those challenging words in Guiuan, Eastern Samar, while avoiding the Yolanda/Haiyan first anniversary observance in Tacloban, I was deep in study of a new book I had recently acquired, entitled Justice, What’s the Right Thing to Do? (Farrar, Strauss and Giroux, 2009)

Its author is Michael J. Sandel, a professor of government and political philosophy at Harvard University. He is celebrated for teaching a course in Harvard that relates the big questions of political philosophy to the most vexing issues in contemporary times. He helps students and readers, in the words of George Will, “to experience the pleasures of thinking clearly about large questions of social policy.”

After reading this book cover to cover, and with my experience and learning in leadership education and practice, I can confidently critique the soundness of Aquino’s policies and actions in the Yolanda/Haiyan disaster, particularly his more recent pronouncements.

The book is a fine complement to the other book that I’ve been studying in connection with the Haiyan anniversary, The Politics of Disaster, by Marvin Olasky, which I cited at length in my previous column.

Doing the right thing: 3 views

The issue that Aquino has raised is important. To his credit, he seems mindful of the dictum in business management that says, “a manager does things right; a leader does the right thing.”

Doing the right thing calls for a careful study of hard choices and moral reflection. We need to strive for moral clarity on the choice or choices we opt for.

Neither Aquino nor East Visayans can decide on the right thing to do on just the basis of personal convenience or advantage. There is a responsibility to discharge.

In Sandel’s incisive study of justice or what’s the right thing to do, he discusses three major approaches to determining what is the right thing to do towards achieving a just society.

He relates each approach to a major school of philosoiphy.

1.The first says “doing the right thing” means maximizing utility or welfare – or achieving the happiness for the greatest number. This is the approach espoused by the philosophy of Jeremy Bentham and John Stuart Mill.

2.The second approach says right action means respecting freedom of choice – either the actual choices people make in a free market (the libertarian view) or the hypothetical choices people would make in an original position of equality (the liberal egalitarian view). Egalitarians seek to redress inequality through right action.

3.The third approach says justice means cultivating civic virtue and promoting the common good. It exalts a strong sense of community as a key part of the good society. It also values patriotism and national pride. The principal philosopher cited is John Rawls, author of A Theory of Justice.

Advocates of the common good contend that the hollowing out of the public realm in modern life has made it difficult to cultivate the solidarity and sense of community on which democratic citizenship depends.

The Politics of the common good sets as one of its primary goals the reconstruction of the infrastructure of civic life.

Decisions on Haiyan Disaster

Given this overview of the three approaches to right action, we can now evaluate some of the decisions made by President Aquino with respect to the Yolanda/Haiyan disaster.

Decision 1: Rejecting the petition of Haiyan survivors for financial assistance of some P40,000 per family. –In issuing his challenge to critics, Aquino explicitly declared that he could not grant the request because he has to do the right thing. For him, it would be a mistake.

Professor Olasky in the politics of Disaster says that assisting disaster victims in their efforts at recovery is a critical need, because meetring material needs could be the difference between life and death.

In the light of the P160-billion appropriated for reconstruction and rehabilitation, providing financial assistance per family would be relatively small. It is reasonable and affordable.

In the case of the Katrina disaster in the US, the F ederal government throught the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) provided the sum of $2,358 per household as assistance. President George W. Bush actually wanted to give more.

In the Haiyan disaster, I can’t help thinking trhat the problem was really President Aquino’s total lack of empathy with all the stricken and distressed. His instinctive lack of caring closed his mind to anything more humane.

Decision2: Decision not to remove the marooned ships in Tacloban. As I reported in my previous column, no less than seven ships or boats are still to be found in downtown Tacloban, stuck like a fishbone in the city’s throat. After one year, not a single ship has been removed.

Underneath, according to Taclobasnons, there are many victims who were caught or trapped in their homes by the typhoon and storm surge.

The excuse for inaction is again money. It will cost several millions to remove the ships.

There’s been talk lately that the ships will be turned into museums that could possibly attract tourists in the future.

This is bizarre. And this srtrikes at the heart of the inequality post Haiyan and the misplaced priorities of the Aquino administration.

I pose to President Aquino this hypothetical question.

If the victims under the ships’s hulls were surnamed “Aquino”, would you hesitate to order the removal of the ships from Tacloban?

If it were a Romualdez, he probably would drag his feet, following the logic of Mar Roxas.

But this is precisely my point. No action is being taken because the victims are poor and working class; they are ordinary people.

If the decision to turn the ships into museums pushes through, they will become monuments to Aquino’s ineptitude and cold, cold heart.

Transfer of Tacloban Airport

Decision 3: Decision to transfer the Tacloban Airport from Tacloban to Palo. Lying all the way, Aquino has claimed that the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) has recommended the transfer and prepared a study for the new airport. A lie.

He did not mention the fact that the Tacloban Airport has long had a plan for its renovation and expansion.

He conveniently omits to mention that he as president impounded a P900-million budget for the airport’s modernization in 2011, in order to beef up the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP). The fund was diverted elsewhere.

More important, the Tacloban Airport is the common airport of all the provinces and cities of East Visayas.

It is a very busy airport with as many as 18 flights daily during more normal times. Historically, it has a fine record of safe navigation. There is no accident on record that should lead one to question the suitability of its location.

There are existing roads to every province that connects them to the airport. The number of people who will be affected by this foolish project will easily run into five or six million.

The question troubling the people of East Visayas today is whether they will have an airport when Pope Francis visits Tacloban and the region in January 2014.

Will president change the plans by parachuting the pope to Tacloban?

Relevant to this issue also is the overweening influence of the Petilla dynasty in this case. The family seeks to transfer the airport to Palo, Leyte, where Mrs. Remedios Petilla is the mayor.

New cuss word in Waray

Decision 4: Decision to forego an official commemoration of the first anniversary of the Haiyan Disaster on
November 8.

With foreign Secretary Albert del Rosario as herald, our government announced to the world that it would not officially commemorate the disaster on November 8. It would instead take the opportunity on that date to thank the United Nations and the world for their generous assistance in enabling our country and our people to recover and rebuild from the ruins.

This is beyond laziness and Noynoying; this is bullshit.

Only a presidency that does not understand its responsibility as the representative of a proud people would dare attempt this.

In this final gesture of disrespect towards the people of East Visayas – both the dead and the living – Aquino has demonstrated that he is unworthy of being our leader.

“Curse me, criticize me” he says? I say to my kababayans in Leyte and East Visayas, let’s turn “Aquino” into a cuss word in our Waray language.


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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