NOY'S CORNER THIS PAST WEEK...
(MINI-READS followed by FULL REPORTS below)

AQUINO's STATEMENT ON APRIL 28  ASEAN RESPONSE TO CHINA: 'VERY SUBSTANTIAL'


ASEAN GANGNAM STYLE Leaders from the 10-nation Association of Southeast Asian Nations appear to be learning to do the bottom-waggling dance popularized by South Korean musician Psy as they join hands for the traditional group photo at the summit in Bandar Seri Begawan. From left are President Aquino, Singapore’s Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, Thailand’s Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra, Vietnam’s Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung, Brunei Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah and Burma’s President Thein Sein. AFP 
The Philippine president says other ASEAN countries are now more proactive in addressing China's actions in the disputed South China SeaThough it falls short of the Philippines' hard-line stance against China's reclamation in disputed waters, the response of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) on the issue is "very substantial progress," Philippine President Benigno Aquino III said on Tuesday, April 28. Speaking to Philippine media after the 26th ASEAN Summit in Langkawi, Malaysia, Aquino said there was a "marked change" on how the bloc is approaching China's aggression in the South China Sea, based on the ASEAN statement on the issue. Previously, he said, the call to respond to China was sounded largely by the Philippines and Vietnam, ASEAN countries who claim parts of the disputed sea, along with Brunei and Malaysia. "Now, when you have not just this [Malaysian] chairman, but other chairmen and other members talking, shall we say, even more proactively about addressing the issue – that, I think, is a very marked change," said Aquino. The Filipino leader's remarks came a day after summit chair Malaysia issued a statement saying China's land reclamation "has eroded trust and confidence and may undermine peace, security, and stability."  READ MORE...

ALSO: PM marks successful visit to Canada by President of the Philippines Benigno Aquino III


Prime Minister Stephen Harper delivers remarks at a special event celebrating President Aquino's visit to Canada.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper today marked the conclusion of a highly productive visit to Canada by Benigno Aquino III, President of the Philippines. The three-day state visit, from May 7 to May 9, 2015, which included stops in Ottawa, Toronto and Vancouver, was President Aquino's first to Canada and the first by a Filipino president since 1997. The two leaders welcomed a number of key initiatives that will deepen the strong Canada-Philippines bilateral relationship. In the area of commerce, the two countries launched exploratory discussions towards a free trade agreement and agreed to work towards upgrading the existing Foreign Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement.‎ Canada sees increased engagement with the Asia-Pacific region, and with the Philippines, as a priority for Canada’s economic growth. The leaders also welcomed the signing of an important framework on mutual accountability for development cooperation that outlines the commitments of both governments to work together toward reducing poverty in the Philippines. As well, a number of projects were announced that will continue to help the Philippines recover from Typhoon Haiyan (locally known as Yolanda). READ MORE...

ALSO PNoy: Canadian trash will be burned in PH, not sent back


FROM FACEBOOK PHOTO
TRASH from Canada will be incinerated once a court order had authorized the Philippine government to do so, President Benigno Aquino III said on board a Philippine Airlines flight on Saturday. “As soon as the court allows them to, they want to dispose of the same through incineration,” Aquino told reporters on the plane above Canada, where he is on a three-day state visit. “The processing and disposal of the waste will be conducted once the necessary court order has been obtained.”  Aquino also said the Philippines had solidified its relationships with the United States and Canada as a result of his working visit to the two countries. He said he did not have to raise the issue of the trash with the Canadian government since that has been taken care of by the Philippines’ government agencies. “I think before we left Manila, this was already prepared by the relevant agencies tasked to examine the situation of the problem,” he said. “The bottom line is, in February 2014 we already filed a complaint, the BOC [Bureau of Customs] filed a complaint against the importer and the importing company’s licensed brokers.”  READ MORE....

ALSO: PNoy in Vancouver for last leg of Canada state visit


People's Television @PTVph ·12 hours President Aquino arrives in Vancouver; last leg of his 3-day state visit to Canada President Aquino arrives in Vancouver; last leg of his 3-day state visit to Canada
VANCOUVER, Canada — President Benigno Aquino III is now in Vancouver for the last leg of his 3-day state visit to Canada. Aquino and his delegation arrived a little past noon at the Vancouver International Airport. The President was scheduled to meet with British Columbia Premier Honorable Christy Clark. Later, the President will have a meeting with the Filipino community in Vancouver. This is Aquino's first state visit to Canada, upon the invitation of Governor General David Johnston. In Ottawa on Friday (Manila time), officials announced that discussions have been done for increasing commerce between the two nations by lowering trade barriers, a report on Agence France-Presse said. AFP added that the negotiations were part of a push by Canada to develop bilateral economic agreements in Asia as progress has slowed on the twelve-country North American-Asia Pacific trade accord, known as the Trans-Pacific Partnership. THIS IS THE FULL REPORT

ALSO: RP poverty level remains high, must be addressed, says UN report


CHILD POVERTY IN THE PHILIPPINES
The latest United Nations Human Development Report (HDR) has ranked the Philippines as 117th on the list of 187 poor countries in the world. The HDR report measures the improvement of human development in each country in terms of life expectancy, general health measures, education levels and incomes which are combined to form the human development index (HDI).The current HDR report also showed that the top five countries ranked in terms of the HDI are Norway, Australia, Switzerland, Netherlands and the United States, while the bottom five in the ranking were Niger, Democratic Republic of Congo, Central African Republic, Chad and Sierra Leone. It urged the governments’ fast-tracking of education reform policies and accelerating broad-based economic growth to create decent and well-paid jobs that are essential to improving living standards. “In many countries of the region, youth unemployment is relatively high: 23 percent in Iran, 22 percent in Indonesia, 17 percent in Sri Lanka, 16 percent in Philippines and Samoa and 14 percent in Timor-Leste,” it stated. This prompted Cagayan de Oro Rep. Rufus Rodriguez to file House Resolution 2010 urging the House committee on poverty alleviation to determine why the Philippines is still included in the list despite government’s claim that the economy is improving. He said in the 2014 UN report on “Sustaining Human Progress, Reducing Vulnerability and Building Resilience,” the Philippines was 117th in the list of 187 poor nations “and while the country moved up one notch, it is still ranked very low.”
The Philippines’ HDI scored 0.66 (on a scale of 0 to 1.00), placing the country under the “medium human development” category, together with neighboring countries such as Vietnam, Timor Leste, Cambodia and Laos. READ MORE...

ALSO Newly appointed Comelec commish adnitted he is Iqbal’s nephew


Sheriff Abas--NEWLY appointed elections commissioner Sheriff Abas has admitted he is the nephew of Moro Islamic Liberation Front chief negotiator Mohagher Iqbal, also known as Datukan Abas, Comelec Chairman Andres Bautista confirmed Friday. In an interview with radio dzMM, Bautista said Abas himself made the admission when he showed up at the Comelec office in Intramuros, Manila on Wednesday evening to explain that he could not yet fully assume his duties at the poll body because he was attending to documentary requirements. “He told me, yes. They’re related. He is a nephew,” Bautista said, adding that he himself did not know Abas before he was appointed to the position and that he only knew that Abas was a lawyer from Ateneo de Davao University and he was currently with the Civil Service Commission in Cotabato City. Iqbal was evasive when was asked of his relationship with the new Comelec commissioner. “In my view, it’s not an issue whether he is my nephew,’’ Iqbal told reporters at the House of Representatives. ‘’I don’t want to answer that because it would lead to something. Pardon me for not answering questions regarding this.” But a co-convenor of the Citizens for Clean and Credible Elections, Melchor Magdamo, on Friday rejected the appointment of Abas, saying the decision of President Benigno Aquino III was “unethical.”  READ MORE...

ALSO: Noy, Palace show hypocrisy in shielding allies — UNA


TIANGCO 
Efforts to shield Budget Secretary Florencio “Butch” Abad, also the chief strategist of the Liberal Party (LP), from involvement in the P10-billion pork barrel sticks out like a sore thumb in the Aquino administration’s “daang matuwid (straight path)” mantra and expose the hypocrisy of President Aquino’s claimed anti-corruption campaign, the United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) said yesterday. “Scratch the surface of any act of large-scale corruption under the cloak of the Aquino Administration and you will find the color yellow,” UNA interim president Toby Tiangco said. Tiangco scored the Aquino administration for covering up corruption behind its “daang matuwid” agenda as one of its highest ranking officials was linked by a whistleblower to Janet Lim-Napoles, the alleged mastermind of the P10-billion pork barrel scam. “The slogan ‘tuwid na daan’ is one big joke since Abad is being directly implicated in the anomaly involving public funds,” Tiangco said. Whistleblower Merlinda Suñas said during Napoles’ bail hearing at the Sandiganbayan that Abad was a client and a very close friend of the detained Napoles, as well as Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (Tesda) chief Joel Villanueva. High-ranking members of the LP have been involved in a string of multi-billion peso under-the-table deals since Aquino assumed office in 2010 but the administration has not lifted a finger to file and pursue cases against them. Tiangco also enumerated the various allegations against Aquino’s allies which the administration ignored including LP operator Wilson de Vera of Calasiao, Pangasinan was also identified by Czech Ambassador Josef Rychtar as the one who extorted the $30 million in kickbacks in connection with the MRT-3 maintenance contract; the involvement of agriculture chief Proceso Alcala in the more than P14.5 billion fund misuse intended for farmers and fishers; the reported P200 billion losses to smuggling at the Bureau of Customs; and lately the alleged smuggling of P28 billion worth of nickel and other minerals by the “small-scale” mining firm San Roque Metals Inc. (SRMI) owned by LP stalwart Edgar Erice.READ MORE...
 


READ FULL MEDIA NEWS REPORT:

Aquino statement on ASEAN response to China: 'Very substantial progress'


ASEAN GANGNAM STYLE Leaders from the 10-nation Association of Southeast Asian Nations appear to be learning to do the bottom-waggling dance popularized by South Korean musician Psy as they join hands for the traditional group photo at the summit in Bandar Seri Begawan. From left are President Aquino, Singapore’s Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, Thailand’s Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra, Vietnam’s Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung, Brunei Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah and Burma’s President Thein Sein. AFP

MANILA, MAY 11, 2015 (RAPPLER.COM) Published 12:19 PM, Apr 29, 2015  - The Philippine president says other ASEAN countries are now more proactive in addressing China's actions in the disputed South China Sea

Though it falls short of the Philippines' hard-line stance against China's reclamation in disputed waters, the response of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) on the issue is "very substantial progress," Philippine President Benigno Aquino III said on Tuesday, April 28.

Speaking to Philippine media after the 26th ASEAN Summit in Langkawi, Malaysia, Aquino said there was a "marked change" on how the bloc is approaching China's aggression in the South China Sea, based on the ASEAN statement on the issue.

Previously, he said, the call to respond to China was sounded largely by the Philippines and Vietnam, ASEAN countries who claim parts of the disputed sea, along with Brunei and Malaysia.

"Now, when you have not just this [Malaysian] chairman, but other chairmen and other members talking, shall we say, even more proactively about addressing the issue – that, I think, is a very marked change," said Aquino.

The Filipino leader's remarks came a day after summit chair Malaysia issued a statement saying China's land reclamation "has eroded trust and confidence and may undermine peace, security, and stability."

READ MORE...
Malaysia, in its closing statement, also instructed the foreign ministers of ASEAN countries to "urgently address this matter" through dialogue mechanisms set up between the bloc and China.

Aquino said the Philippines tried to build an argument for a more unified approach to dealing with China in line with the Declaration on the Conduct (DOC) of Parties in the South China Sea – an agreement which China signed.

"We emphasize, there is an ASEAN centrality, that China talk to us as a group and this is how we should behave," said Aquino.

The Philippines, said Aquino, had issued the strongest call for the affirmation of the DOC and the speedy formulation of a binding Code of Conduct – guidelines on how the ASEAN and China would peacefully co-exist despite conflicting claims over the South China Sea.

But the Philippines was also aggressive in blatantly calling China's actions wrong.

Philippine Foreign Secretary Albert del Rosario challenged the ASEAN to put a stop to the reclamations.

But Malaysia balked at the idea of antagonizing China.

"We must avoid any action that would be counter-productive and bring us further apart, either amongst ourselves, or with China," said Malaysian Foreign Minister Anifah Aman on the first day of the summit.

ASEAN has been criticized for its weak responses to China, which some quarters say is due to China's immense economic power and diplomatic leverage.

Despite their declared goal of achieving ASEAN integration, ASEAN member-states have diverging agendas. For instance, not all of them have a stake in the South China Sea dispute.

New photos of China's large-scale reclamation activities that have buried hundreds of hectares of coral reefs have sparked anew public outrage in the Philippines.

The Philippines has filed a historic case against China's claims over the South China Sea with the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea.

A hearing addressing China's objections to the case has been set for July. – Rappler.com


CBC NEWS CANADA

PM marks successful visit to Canada by President of the Philippines Benigno Aquino III Toronto, Ontario ‑ 8 May 2015


Prime Minister Stephen Harper delivers remarks at a special event celebrating President Aquino's visit to Canada.

Introduction

Prime Minister Stephen Harper today marked the conclusion of a highly productive visit to Canada by Benigno Aquino III, President of the Philippines.

The three-day state visit, from May 7 to May 9, 2015, which included stops in Ottawa, Toronto and Vancouver, was President Aquino's first to Canada and the first by a Filipino president since 1997.

The two leaders welcomed a number of key initiatives that will deepen the strong Canada-Philippines bilateral relationship.

In the area of commerce, the two countries launched exploratory discussions towards a free trade agreement and agreed to work towards upgrading the existing Foreign Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement.‎ Canada sees increased engagement with the Asia-Pacific region, and with the Philippines, as a priority for Canada’s economic growth.

The leaders also welcomed the signing of an important framework on mutual accountability for development cooperation that outlines the commitments of both governments to work together toward reducing poverty in the Philippines.

As well, a number of projects were announced that will continue to help the Philippines recover from Typhoon Haiyan (locally known as Yolanda).

READ MORE...
In addition, the leaders held in-depth discussions on regional and global security challenges. The Prime Minister announced Canadian support to a number of initiatives aimed at improving maritime security, countering terrorism in the Asia-Pacific region, and supporting the President's Bangsamoro Peace Process.

The two leaders also participated in a cultural event where they met with members of Canada’s vibrant Filipino community. At this event, Prime Minister Harper paid tribute to the tremendous contributions this community continues to make to Canada, and the importance of the strong people-to-people ties to the Canada-Philippines bilateral partnership.

Quick Facts 

◾ Canada and the Philippines enjoy long-standing and positive bilateral relations based on shared democratic values and a mutual interest in expanding trade and commercial relations.

◾ The relationship is strengthened by the roughly 700,000 people of Filipino origin now residing in Canada.

◾ Prime Minister Harper made an official visit to the Philippines in November 2012, the first by a Canadian Prime Minister in 15 years. Prime Minister Harper and President Aquino met again on the margins of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Summit in Beijing in November 2014.

◾ The Philippines is Canada’s sixth-largest trading partner in Southeast Asia and is a priority market under Canada’s Global Markets Action Plan. The Philippines is also a country of focus for the Government of Canada’s international development efforts.

◾ With bilateral merchandise trade totalling $1.8 billion in 2014 and a population of approximately 100 million people, the Philippines is an important market for Canadian businesses.

◾ Canada is proud to have supported the development of the Bangsamoro peace agreement through our contribution to the work of the Government of the Philippines’ Independent Commission on Policing.

Quote

“It was a pleasure to welcome President Aquino to Canada. During his highly productive visit we were pleased to announce several important bilateral initiatives in the areas of commerce, development and security that will benefit citizens in both countries. His visit also provided an opportunity to introduce the President to Canada’s hard working Filipino communities and highlight some of their major contributions to the fabric of our society.” – Prime Minister Stephen Harper -


MANILA STANDARD

PNoy: Canadian trash will be burned in PH, not sent back By Sandy Araneta | May. 11, 2015 at 12:01am


FROM FACEBOOK PHOTO

TRASH from Canada will be incinerated once a court order had authorized the Philippine government to do so, President Benigno Aquino III said on board a Philippine Airlines flight on Saturday.

“As soon as the court allows them to, they want to dispose of the same through incineration,” Aquino told reporters on the plane above Canada, where he is on a three-day state visit.

“The processing and disposal of the waste will be conducted once the necessary court order has been obtained.”

Aquino also said the Philippines had solidified its relationships with the United States and Canada as a result of his working visit to the two countries.

He said he did not have to raise the issue of the trash with the Canadian government since that has been taken care of by the Philippines’ government agencies.

“I think before we left Manila, this was already prepared by the relevant agencies tasked to examine the situation of the problem,” he said.

“The bottom line is, in February 2014 we already filed a complaint, the BOC [Bureau of Customs] filed a complaint against the importer and the importing company’s licensed brokers.”

READ MORE...
Aquino said that in December 2014, after a preliminary investigation, the prosecution filed a 15 criminal cases in Manila against the importer and the importing company’s licensed customs brokers.

“The wastes are considered hazardous,” Aquino said.

They’ve been in the Port of Manila for two years, and they pose a risk to public health. There’s a technical working group composed of DENR [Department of Environment and Natural Resources], the BOC, and the DOJ [Department of Justice].”

Aquino said that, on April 1 this year, a court ordered Customs to facilitate the disposal of the trash from Canada and to release the container vans to a company called Le Soliel Shipping Agencies Inc. after the contents had been disposed of.

An environmentalist group last week staged a protest before the Canadian Embassy in Makati City and demanded that the Canadian government take back the hazardous waste that were shipped to the Philippines.

The Eco Waste Coalition said Canada shipped 50 container vans loaded with hazardous trash, and that the vans were still at the ports of Manila and Subic after arriving in batches in 2013.


GMA NEWS ONLINE

PNoy in Vancouver for last leg of Canada state visit By TERESA ANDRADA, GMA News May 10, 2015 8:31am


People's Television @PTVph ·12 hours
President Aquino arrives in Vancouver; last leg of his 3-day state visit to Canada President Aquino arrives in Vancouver; last leg of his 3-day state visit to Canada

VANCOUVER, Canada — President Benigno Aquino III is now in Vancouver for the last leg of his 3-day state visit to Canada.

Aquino and his delegation arrived a little past noon at the Vancouver International Airport.

The President was scheduled to meet with British Columbia Premier Honorable Christy Clark.

Later, the President will have a meeting with the Filipino community in Vancouver.

This is Aquino's first state visit to Canada, upon the invitation of Governor General David Johnston.

In Ottawa on Friday (Manila time), officials announced that discussions have been done for increasing commerce between the two nations by lowering trade barriers, a report on Agence France-Presse said.

AFP added that the negotiations were part of a push by Canada to develop bilateral economic agreements in Asia as progress has slowed on the twelve-country North American-Asia Pacific trade accord, known as the Trans-Pacific Partnership. — LBG, GMA News


TRIBUNE

RP poverty level remains high, must be addressed, says UN report Written by Charlie V. Manalo Saturday, 09 May 2015 00:00


CHILD POVERTY IN THE PHILIPPINES

The latest United Nations Human Development Report (HDR) has ranked the Philippines as 117th on the list of 187 poor countries in the world.

The HDR report measures the improvement of human development in each country in terms of life expectancy, general health measures, education levels and incomes which are combined to form the human development index (HDI).

The current HDR report also showed that the top five countries ranked in terms of the HDI are Norway, Australia, Switzerland, Netherlands and the United States, while the bottom five in the ranking were Niger, Democratic Republic of Congo, Central African Republic, Chad and Sierra Leone.

It urged the governments’ fast-tracking of education reform policies and accelerating broad-based economic growth to create decent and well-paid jobs that are essential to improving living standards.

“In many countries of the region, youth unemployment is relatively high: 23 percent in Iran, 22 percent in Indonesia, 17 percent in Sri Lanka, 16 percent in Philippines and Samoa and 14 percent in Timor-Leste,” it stated.

This prompted Cagayan de Oro Rep. Rufus Rodriguez to file House Resolution 2010 urging the House committee on poverty alleviation to determine why the Philippines is still included in the list despite government’s claim that the economy is improving.

He said in the 2014 UN report on “Sustaining Human Progress, Reducing Vulnerability and Building Resilience,” the Philippines was 117th in the list of 187 poor nations “and while the country moved up one notch, it is still ranked very low.”

The Philippines’ HDI scored 0.66 (on a scale of 0 to 1.00), placing the country under the “medium human development” category, together with neighboring countries such as Vietnam, Timor Leste, Cambodia and Laos.

READ MORE...
The lawmaker noted that the Philippines is ranked among Egypt, Paraguay, Gabon, Bolivia, El Salvador, Uzbekistan, South Africa, Syria and Iraq which are in 100 to 120 levels, respectively.
The Philippines belongs to the medium human development bracket unlike the neighboring Malaysia and Thailand, which at 62nd place and 89th place, respectively, are in high human development bracket, Rodriguez said.

He added the report also cited the Philippines as one of the countries where the connection between social exclusion and conflict can be illustrated.

“It means that these are places where a significant part of the population becomes vulnerable due to conflict situations such as insurgencies, rebellions or separatist movements,” Rodriguez stressed.

“The report states that consumption is one of the drivers of Philippine economic expansion in terms of gross national product which slowed to 5.7 percent in 2014 compared to 6.3 and 7.7 percent in 2013,” he said.

According to him, the report pushes wider access to basic social service like education, health care, water supply and sanitation and public safety, insurance, labor regulations, pension and welfare programs, employment, disaster risk reduction and responsive government institutions.

Rodriguez added the report, which highlights the needs in promoting the people’s choices and protecting human development achievement, takes the view that vulnerability threatens human development.

“Unless it is systematically addressed by changing policies and social norms, progress will be neither equitable nor sustainable,” Rodriguez said, citing the report.


MANILA STANDARD

ALSO Newly appointed Comelec commish: "I’m Iqbal’s nephew, Sheriff Abas admits By Sara Susanne D. Fabunan | May. 09, 2015 at 12:01am


NEWLY appointed elections commissioner Sheriff Abas has admitted he is the nephew of Moro Islamic Liberation Front chief negotiator Mohagher Iqbal, also known as Datukan Abas, Comelec Chairman Andres Bautista confirmed Friday.

In an interview with radio dzMM, Bautista said Abas himself made the admission when he showed up at the Comelec office in Intramuros, Manila on Wednesday evening to explain that he could not yet fully assume his duties at the poll body because he was attending to documentary requirements.

“He told me, yes. They’re related. He is a nephew,” Bautista said, adding that he himself did not know Abas before he was appointed to the position and that he only knew that Abas was a lawyer from Ateneo de Davao University and he was currently with the Civil Service Commission in Cotabato City.

Iqbal was evasive when was asked of his relationship with the new Comelec commissioner.


Aquino Names PCGG Chair Andres Bautista as New Comelec Chief --May 4, 2015 | by PNA

“In my view, it’s not an issue whether he is my nephew,’’ Iqbal told reporters at the House of Representatives. ‘’I don’t want to answer that because it would lead to something. Pardon me for not answering questions regarding this.”

But a co-convenor of the Citizens for Clean and Credible Elections, Melchor Magdamo, on Friday rejected the appointment of Abas, saying the decision of President Benigno Aquino III was “unethical.”

READ MORE...
In an interview, Magdamo said he believed that the appointment of Iqbal’s nephew to the Comeelc was in preparation of the plebiscite to be held soon on the Bangsamoro.

“Since a nephew occupies a key position in Comelec which will count the votes, then that is unethical,” Magdamo said.

He said Abas’ appointment could also give the MILF’s United Bangsamoro Justice Party an edge as a regional party running for Congress in 2016.

Because of this, he said, Abas should inhibit himself from deliberations on who are qualified to be political parties or party-list groups.

“He must inhibit himself on all questions involving MILF,” he added.

Philippine Association of Free Labor Unions and C3E co-convenor Eleuterio Tuazon said Aquino was now under pressure from his allies to appoint friendly faces to the Comelec.


PARTYMATES. President Benigno Aquino III and Interior Secretary Manuel Roxas II. File photo by Malacañang Photo Bureau

He said Bautista was a close ally of Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima, while newly appointed commissioner Rowena Guanzon was allied with Interior Secretary Manuel Roxas II.

He said Roxas, who intends to run for president in 2016, clearly wanted control of the Comelec.

National Labor Union President Dave Diwa disagreed with Magdamo and Tuazon, however, saying the appointments were “a whiff of fresh air copared to the foul smelling [retired Comelec comissioner Sixto] Brillantes-led Comelec.”

Magdalo party-list Rep. Gary Alejano, a former mutineer, said Malacañang should explain why it appointed Abas.

1-BAP party-list Rep. Silvestre Bello III said Abas’ lack of experience, not his relation to Iqbal, was the problem.

“His being a nephew of MILF chair [Iqbal] is no cause for concern, but his lack of knowledge and experience of elections laws and procedures are,” Bello said.

On Friday, the MILF filed its petition to participate in the 2016 national and local elections, and expressed its intent to run as a regional political party.

IIn its petition for the registration and accreditation as a regional political party, the MILF’s United Bangsamoro Justice Party (UBJP) said it would like to legitimize the cause of Bangsamoro people and recognize the democratic process by registering with the Comelec.

“The creation of a political party would allow the Bangsamoro to participate in a democratic and peaceful process to advance their legitimate causes,” UBJP president Yesser Ebrahim, who signed the petition filed before the Comelec, said.

“Political exclusion has been one of the causes of the Mindanao conflict that stymied the progress and development, not only of the Bangsamoro but also of the Philippines,” Ebrahim said in the petition.

Comelec spokesman James Jimenez said the petition showed that there was a “very obvious... effort [on the part of the MILF] to go mainstream” and to choose ballots rather than bullets.

He said any organizations opposed to the UBJP should file a petition contesting its application.

“If there are those that are against it, they should come forward,” Jimenez said.

The Omnibus Election Code says “any organized group of persons seeking registration as a national or regional political party may file with the commission a verified petition attaching its constitution and by-laws, platform or program of government and such other relevant information as may be required by the Commission”.

However, “no religious sect or a political party that seeks to achieve its goal through violence shall be entitled to accreditation as a political party.”

The MILF filing comes amid the appointment of Iqbal’s nephew, Abas, as an elections commissioner.

Also on Friday, Senate President Franklin Drilon denied claims that newly appointed commissioner Rowena Guanzon, he former colleague at the ACCRA Law Office, was appointed to ensure a victory for Roxas in 2016.

The opposition United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) earlier accused the Palace of appointing Guanzon to benefit Roxas. – With Maricel V. Cruz and Macon Ramos Araneta


TRIBUNE

Noy, Palace show hypocrisy in shielding allies — UNA
Written by Tribune Wires
Monday, 11 May 2015 00:00


TIANGCO

Efforts to shield Budget Secretary Florencio “Butch” Abad, also the chief strategist of the Liberal Party (LP), from involvement in the P10-billion pork barrel sticks out like a sore thumb in the Aquino administration's“daang matuwid (straight path)” mantra and expose the hypocrisy of President Aquino’s claimed anti-corruption campaign, the United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) said yesterday.

“Scratch the surface of any act of large-scale corruption under the cloak of the Aquino Administration and you will find the color yellow,” UNA interim president Toby Tiangco said. Tiangco scored the Aquino administration for covering up corruption behind its “daang matuwid” agenda as one of its highest ranking officials was linked by a whistleblower to Janet Lim-Napoles, the alleged mastermind of the P10-billion pork barrel scam.

“The slogan ‘tuwid na daan’ is one big joke since Abad is being directly implicated in the anomaly involving public funds,” Tiangco said.

Whistleblower Merlinda Suñas said during Napoles’ bail hearing at the Sandiganbayan that Abad was a client and a very close friend of the detained Napoles, as well as Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (Tesda) chief Joel Villanueva.

High-ranking members of the LP have been involved in a string of multi-billion peso under-the-table deals since Aquino assumed office in 2010 but the administration has not lifted a finger to file and pursue cases against them.

Tiangco also enumerated the various allegations against Aquino’s allies which the administration ignored including LP operator Wilson de Vera of Calasiao, Pangasinan was also identified by Czech Ambassador Josef Rychtar as the one who extorted the $30 million in kickbacks in connection with the MRT-3 maintenance contract; the involvement of agriculture chief Proceso Alcala in the more than P14.5 billion fund misuse intended for farmers and fishers; the reported P200 billion losses to smuggling at the Bureau of Customs; and lately the alleged smuggling of P28 billion worth of nickel and other minerals by the “small-scale” mining firm San Roque Metals Inc. (SRMI) owned by LP stalwart Edgar Erice.

READ MORE...
No goverment agency has taken any legal action against LP members including businessman Francis Enrico “Eric” Gutierrez who also owns SRMI and an active supporter and funder of Aquino and Roxas during the 2010 polls.

“It is the height of hypocrisy to call yourselves morally upright when you yourselves are linked to wrongdoings and scandals,” he added.

Napoles, in her affidavit, tagged Abad as the mastermind of the scam involving the funnelling of the Priority Development Assistance Fund into bogus non-government organizations (NGOs).

Tiangco said that Suñas’ testimony explains a lot of things in the administration’s actions.
“Kaya pala ayaw na ni Justice Secretary Leila de Lima na mag-imbestiga at i-file ang third batch ng PDAF cases ay dahil matutumbok nito sila Sec. Abad at TESDA chief Villanueva,” he said.

De Lima had previously said that the filing of the third batch of cases against those involved in the pork barrel scam was not a priority anymore of the DOJ and the Aquino Administration.

Tiangco said he believes that the scandal does not stop with Abad but even goes to the top of the LP hierarchy.

“It appears that Sec. Abad is not the only one involved in the scandal. It has remained an unanswered mystery why Interior Secretary and presumptive LP standard bearer Mar Roxas refers to Napoles as ‘Ma’am’ and the apparent closeness of Sen. Franklin Drilon and Napoles,” he added.


MANILA BULLETIN FILE JANUARY 2014--PNoy, Abad, Napoles charged with plunder

Tiangco explained that Abad had greatly benefitted from the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) or legislative pork barrel when he was Batanes representative but got greedy so he invented the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP), which was supposedly meant to pump prime the economy through government spending.

“Abad apparently was not content with the PDAF when he was Congressman, so he invented the DAP to be able to siphon off more funds through Napoles. It is a fact that the DAP went to Napoles non-government organizations (NGOs), it is also a fact that no budget item are released without Abad’s approval,” he said.

“That’s why the Mar-Abad-Drilon (MAD) faction of the Liberal Party (LP) will do everything to try to stay in power beyond 2016, several anomalies have to be kep secret,” Tiangco added.
Tiangco added that he finds it appalling that Abad and Justice Secretary Leila De Lima still enjoy the President’s trust and confidence.

“Why does the President keeps huge confidence on Abad at De Lima? Why the silence on the filing of cases against administration allies? Why is De Lima turning a blind eye on these cases?”
“The thing is that, try to scratch the surface of corruption under this administration and it is not surprising to see their friends and political allies dipping arms and legs into people’s money but the government remains silent through all these,” Tiangco said.


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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