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

PALACE:  P-NOY DID NOT BRIBE SOLONS TO PASS BBL


MAY 20 ---In this February 11, 2013 photo, President Benigno Aquino III delivers his speech during the ceremonial launch of the Sajahatra Bangsamoro Program: Peace Dividends of the Framework Agreement in Sultan Kudarat, Maguindanao. Moro Islamic Liberation Front chairman Murad Ebrahim (right) is seated on stage during the event. A new version of the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law was drafted during a meeting of Aquino with leaders of the chamber and political parties last weekend. Malacañang Photo Bureau/Ryan Lim
 Malacañang on Wednesday denied reports that President Benigno Aquino III promised cash incentives and political favor to congressmen in exchange for their approval of the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL). "Peace and prosperity in Mindanao. That's the end goal of the BBL. I mean, if you are asking for any quid pro quo, there is none," Presidential spokesperson Edwin Lacierda said in a press briefing. Allegations that Aquino bribed lawmakers for the passage of the BBL swirled following their two meetings in Malacañang over the weekend. Lacierda said time constraints prompted Aquino to call for meetings with lawmakers to go over the BBL. "I think we should recognize the fact that... time is getting short," Lacierda said. "The situation in Mamasapano obviously delayed timetable for us."  "We need to catch up," he added. The House of Representatives' ad hoc committee approved the amended BBL on Wednesday afternoon. The BBL seeks to establish a political entity that would improve the existing Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao and is hoped to bring lasting peace in the south. The controversial measure is an offshoot of the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro, the final peace agreement between the Philippine government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front signed in 2014.THIS IS THE FULL REPORT

ALSO: Palace denies railroading BBL


MAY 19 ---The Peace Council on the Bangsamoro Basic Law submitted their report to President Aquino on May 4, 2015 during a meeting in Malacañang Palace. In photo, from left to right: The President with Former Chief Justice Hilario Davide Jr., Former Ambassador Howard Dee, Ms. Bai Rohaniza Sumndad-Usman, and His Eminence Orlando Cardinal Quevedo. Malacañang Photo Bureau
- Malacañang on Tuesday dismissed claims that it railroaded the passage of the controversial Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL).
Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. said there had been public discussions on the BBL even if the congressional hearings were hampered by the January 25 Mamasapano incident. "Hindi naman talaga masasabing nagkulang tayo sa pagtalakay diyan at hindi rin masasabing minamadali ang pag-uusap hinggil dito," Coloma said in a radio interview. Coloma's statement came after President Benigno Aquino III met with leaders of the House of Representatives twice over the weekend, which fueled speculations again that the Palace was trying to railroad the BBL. READ MORE...

ALSO: No railroading of BBL at Senate, Marcos vows


MAY 21 ---Senator Bongbong Marcos and MNLF Chairman Ambassador Datu Abul Khayr Alonto listens as Peace Process Undersecretary Jose Lorena  Photo file from Malaya
THE Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) will not be railroaded through the Senate as it was in the House, where the Palace version of the bill was passed by a vote of 50-17, Senator Ferdinand Marcos Jr. said Wednesday. “Our senators are very independent-minded,” Marcos told a radio interview when asked if the bill would go through the same process in the Senate. After a marathon 13-hour session that began Tuesday, the House ad hoc panel finished line-by-line voting on the 109-page draft bill, which was almost identical to the Palace-submitted draft. Final voting. Lawmakers raise their hands during the final voting for the passage of the Bangsamoro Basic Law at the House of Representatives on Wednesday. Manny Palmero Critics complained that the majority railroaded the bill through after two meetings with President Benigno Aquino III in the Palace ahead of the vote. Amendments that were previously discussed were abandoned in the so-called “chairman’s draft” prepared by the head of the panel, Cagayan de Oro Rep. Rufus Rodriguez. But Marcos said his meticulous and detailed scrutiny of the draft BBL was based on the suggestions of his fellow senators. Still, he said, members of the administration party and their allies would likely support the Palace version of the bill. “But we are in constant communication with each other and I think that if it is evident that some provisions need amendment,” Marcos said. Marcos said he expected Senate amendments on BBL to focus on provisions on constitutional bodies, the “opt-in” provision and the provision on Bangsamoro police. READ MORE...

ALSO: PNoy admin earns tag as ‘menace’; Mar Roxas blamed


MAY 24 ---Disrupted. A southbound train of the LRT Line 1 crashed into another train at the Monumento Station in Caloocan City, disrupting LRT’s morning operations that sent commuters (inset) streaming out of the station. MANNY PALMERO
THE opposition United Nationalist Alliance was seriously concerned at the latest mishap at Metro Manila’s mass transit system on Saturday and scored the Aquino administration as a “public menace” because of its incompetence in running a safe and reliable train line.
UNA interim president and Navotas City Rep. Tobias Tiangco made the statement after two more Light Rail Transit trains figured in another crash in Caloocan City around 7 a.m. Saturday. No passenger was injured in the crash and only one of the two train’s operators suffered minor cuts because of the accident, but officials of the Light Rail Transit Authority still could not determine at press time what really caused the mishap that could have hurt hundreds of people. “The LP administration cannot wash its hands of culpability in this tragic incident,” Tiangco said. “This is the result of their five years of incompetence, inefficiency and corruption at the DOTC. And there is no option but to declare this administration a public menace.”  Tiangco said “incompetence, selective prosecution and massive corruption are the trademarks of the LP regime,” but the Aquino administration cannot blame the opposition to justify its continued failure to address the problems hounding the LRT and the MRT 3.  Tiangco blamed Interior Secretary Mar Roxas, who was once transportation secretary, and incumbent Transportation Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya for the “indecisive and incompetent” leadership which is one of the reasons behind the mass transit system’s deterioration. READ MORE...

ALSO: No deadline binds Senate crafting a credible BBL — Marcos


MAY 24 ---CONSULTATIONS SEEN GOING PAST JUNE 10 The head of the Senate panel drafting the chamber’s version of the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) vowed he will not be restricted by any deadline in crafting a credible law despite the stepped pressure from the Palace for Congress to complete the measure before the end of the legislative session on June 10.Sen. Ferdinand Marcos Jr., chairman of the Senate committee on local government, said the issues surrounding BBL are so complex and multi-faceted that he can’t commit the Senate to pass a law by June 10, the last session day before the Upper Chamber goes into its sine die adjournment. “As I said before, the top priority is getting it right,” Marcos stressed. Marcos said he has invited the sultanates and the indigenous people (IPs) of Mindanao to a hearing tomorrow to hear their views and concerns on BBL. Marcos said the proceeding is the penultimate hearing of his panel on the BBL. To wrap up consultations on BBL, Marcos said the last hearing scheduled on June 3 will focus on concerns of local executives in areas to be included as core territories of the Bangsamoro under the BBL, as well as in adjacent local government units.  “We want to know the sentiments of the sultanates about BBL. From what we learned in our recent hearings, they said they were never consulted in the peace negotiations between the Philippine government, nor the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF),” Marcos said. “Unless the BBL addresses the concerns of the majority of the stakeholders, and not just those of the MILF, I’m afraid we will not be able to realize our dream of a lasting peace in Muslim Mindanao,” he added. Among the guests in tomorrow’s hearing included Esmail Kiram II, who was installed as the Sultan of Sulu in 2013 following the death of his predecessor Jamalul Kiram III, as well as representatives of sultanates in other areas of Mindanao. Also invited in the hearing are representatives from indigenous peoples of Mindanao. “For centuries, the IPs have been living in their respective communities in Mindanao, with a culture, tradition and language distinct from Muslim inhabitants. We have to ensure too that the rights of the IPs are recognized and protected under the BBL,” Marcos said.READ MORE...

ALSO: Palace apologizes for LRT mishap


MAY 24 ---A power fluctuation caused a minor collision between two trains of the Light Rail Transit Line 1 at the Monumento station on Saturday, May 23, 2015. STAR/Joven Cagande 
Malacañang on Sunday issued an apology over the Saturday's collision of Light Rail Transit line 1 (LRT-1) trains.
Presidential Communications Secretary Herminio "Sonny" Coloma Jr. said government continues to improve the services of the mass transport system traversing the capital city. "Humihingi kami ng paumanhin sa ating mga mamamayan habang patuloy na isinasakatuparan ng pamahalaan ang pagpapahusay sa serbisyo ng LRT at MRT," Coloma said Sunday. He added that LRT-1 officials are already investigating into the cause of the accident. READ MORE...

ALSO: LP denies rift but execs admit not all for Mar
[Majority of LP members, however, said that the party will support whomever Aquino anoints as successor.]


MAY 24 ---AQUINO 'COURTING' POE? The rift in ruling Liberal Party (LP) over the candidate to carry the party’s banner in the 2016 elections appear to have widened yesterday as LP stalwart Caloocan City Rep. Edgar Erice said presumptive standard bearer Interior Secretary Manuel Roxas II is not giving way in his ambition for the presidency next year.After supposedly yielding to Benigno Aquino III who eventually became president in 2010, Roxas is not expected to give way to Senator Grace Poe to run as president while he slides down to vice president, Erice said.Roxas when he gave up his presidential pursuit in 2010 was however scraping bottom in the pre-poll surveys which was the real reason for the LP to tap then Sen. Aquino, who was still basking in public sympathy over the death of her mother, former President Cory Aquino, for the presidency. “I don’t think so,” Erice said when asked if Roxas would agree to run for vice president. “Sec. Mar sincerely believes that he needed to seek the presidency to bring the country to the next level. I don’t think anybody can do that except for him at this point,” Erice, who is LP’s vice chairman for political affairs, said. Majority of LP members, however, said that the party will support whomever Aquino anoints as successor.The guessing game on who will be Aquino’s anointed became more pronounced after Aquino himself named Poe as those he expects who will continue what he started under his administration. Iloilo Rep. Jerry Trenas said the LP remains open on all possible scenarios to make sure that it remains the party in power after 2016. Trenas, chairman of the LP’s organizing and membership committee, said LP’s main concern is not on who should be the LP standard bearer but who among the candidates had the qualities and the commitment to pursue the programs and reforms started by Aquino. READ MORE...

ALSO STANDARD COMMENTARY: Where is the Liberal Party headed?


MAY 23 ---Charlatanism is practically in the soul of the members of the Liberal Party, for it seems this is the only party that would not think twice on whom to draft as its standard bearer for President just to retain their political power. Maybe it is Machiavellian, for after all, politics is power. But human civilization has brought with it nuances that power is bestowed, and they expect the one vested with power to make their aspirations tangible by concrete accomplishments.
Our concern is not about the party that has been trumpeting its achievements in having most of its candidate elected president or in highlighting that it accomplished least to our people, but in telling the truth that it is heading towards the ravine. Rumors are rife that the LP would eventually split, and most political analysts see it as the prize for having grown too big and loaded with political jackals. The frantic efforts of President Aquino to ordain his would-be successor spells a bad omen, for unlike in the old tradition where the standard bearer is chosen by nomination in a convention, now the “Boss” is in a dilemma of personally choosing who between Department of Interior Local Government Secretary Manuel “Mar” Roxas and Senator Grace Poe would be the “one”. So, the administration that was once touted as the most popular political party has lost much of its energy. It was a lackluster gamble made by our people into tagging corruption as the root cause of poverty. Many continue to say that he was truly elected by the people, and not by the electronic magic of “hocus-PCOS.” It was a costly venture, because the administration now stands as the most expensive government, for we have appropriated an amount that has now exceeded the budget of all the administrations, and have gotten nothing in return, except to hoot that the rich are getting richer and the poor getting poorer. Mar Roxas would have been the best man PNoy could anoint as successor. He has worked hard for it, and expects to be rewarded in exchange for his faithful subservience. Of course, he was rightly rewarded by giving him the most powerful position in the Cabinet.READ MORE...
 


READ FULL MEDIA NEWS REPORT:

Palace: PNoy did not bribe solons to pass BBL


In this February 11, 2013 photo, President Benigno Aquino III delivers his speech during the ceremonial launch of the Sajahatra Bangsamoro Program: Peace Dividends of the Framework Agreement in Sultan Kudarat, Maguindanao. Moro Islamic Liberation Front chairman Murad Ebrahim (right) is seated on stage during the event. A new version of the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law was drafted during a meeting of Aquino with leaders of the chamber and political parties last weekend. Malacañang Photo Bureau/Ryan Lim

MANILA, MAY 25, 2015 (PHILSTAR) .By Louis Bacani (philstar.com) | Updated May 20, 2015 - 5:55pm - Malacañang on Wednesday denied reports that President Benigno Aquino III promised cash incentives and political favor to congressmen in exchange for their approval of the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL).

"Peace and prosperity in Mindanao. That's the end goal of the BBL. I mean, if you are asking for any quid pro quo, there is none," Presidential spokesperson Edwin Lacierda said in a press briefing.

Allegations that Aquino bribed lawmakers for the passage of the BBL swirled following their two meetings in Malacañang over the weekend.

Lacierda said time constraints prompted Aquino to call for meetings with lawmakers to go over the BBL.

"I think we should recognize the fact that... time is getting short," Lacierda said. "The situation in Mamasapano obviously delayed timetable for us."

"We need to catch up," he added.

The House of Representatives' ad hoc committee approved the amended BBL on Wednesday afternoon.

The BBL seeks to establish a political entity that would improve the existing Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao and is hoped to bring lasting peace in the south.

The controversial measure is an offshoot of the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro, the final peace agreement between the Philippine government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front signed in 2014.


PHILSTAR

Palace denies railroading BBL By Louis Bacani (philstar.com) | Updated May 19, 2015 - 5:05pm


The Peace Council on the Bangsamoro Basic Law submitted their report to President Aquino on May 4, 2015 during a meeting in Malacañang Palace. In photo, from left to right: The President with Former Chief Justice Hilario Davide Jr., Former Ambassador Howard Dee, Ms. Bai Rohaniza Sumndad-Usman, and His Eminence Orlando Cardinal Quevedo. Malacañang Photo Bureau

MANILA, Philippines - Malacañang on Tuesday dismissed claims that it railroaded the passage of the controversial Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL).

Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. said there had been public discussions on the BBL even if the congressional hearings were hampered by the January 25 Mamasapano incident.

"Hindi naman talaga masasabing nagkulang tayo sa pagtalakay diyan at hindi rin masasabing minamadali ang pag-uusap hinggil dito," Coloma said in a radio interview.

Coloma's statement came after President Benigno Aquino III met with leaders of the House of Representatives twice over the weekend, which fueled speculations again that the Palace was trying to railroad the BBL.

READ: Noy presses House on BBL

READ MORE...
The BBL is an offshoot of the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro, the final peace agreement between the Philippine government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front MILF signed in 2014.

The bills seeks to establish a Bangsamoro political entity that would improve the existing Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, which President Benigno Aquino III once described as a "failed experiment."

The Mamasapano incident, wherein 44 Special Action Force commandos were killed in the hands of MILF combatants and other groups, sparked opposition to the BBL.

Almost three months after the tragedy, the House of Representatives' ad hoc committee began voting on the BBL on Monday.

The Palace is hopeful that Congress will pass the BBL on time.

"We reiterate our hope that the committee members will vote for peace, through which we can bring progress and development to Mindanao and better the lives of our countrymen," Presidential Spokesperson Edwin Lacierda said in a separate statement.


MANILA STANDARD

No Senate railroading of BBL, Marcos vows By Macon Ramos-Araneta, Sandy Araneta and Maricel V. Cruz | May. 21, 2015 at 12:01am


MAY 21 ---Senator Bongbong Marcos and MNLF Chairman Ambassador Datu Abul Khayr Alonto listens as Peace Process Undersecretary Jose Lorena  Photo file from Malaya

THE Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) will not be railroaded through the Senate as it was in the House, where the Palace version of the bill was passed by a vote of 50-17, Senator Ferdinand Marcos Jr. said Wednesday.

“Our senators are very independent-minded,” Marcos told a radio interview when asked if the bill would go through the same process in the Senate.

After a marathon 13-hour session that began Tuesday, the House ad hoc panel finished line-by-line voting on the 109-page draft bill, which was almost identical to the Palace-submitted draft.

Final voting. Lawmakers raise their hands during the final voting for the passage of the Bangsamoro Basic Law at the House of Representatives on Wednesday. Manny Palmero

Critics complained that the majority railroaded the bill through after two meetings with President Benigno Aquino III in the Palace ahead of the vote.

Amendments that were previously discussed were abandoned in the so-called “chairman’s draft” prepared by the head of the panel, Cagayan de Oro Rep. Rufus Rodriguez.

But Marcos said his meticulous and detailed scrutiny of the draft BBL was based on the suggestions of his fellow senators.

Still, he said, members of the administration party and their allies would likely support the Palace version of the bill.

“But we are in constant communication with each other and I think that if it is evident that some provisions need amendment,” Marcos said.

Marcos said he expected Senate amendments on BBL to focus on provisions on constitutional bodies, the “opt-in” provision and the provision on Bangsamoro police.

READ MORE...
So far, Marcos said that except from some billboard and media campaigns directed at him personally he has not felt any direct pressure on him to rush the passage of the BBL in his committee.

“Nobody has told me what to do. There were only reminders not to stop so we could not be seen as delaying the process. That’s why we have hearings (on BBL) practically every week,” Marcos said.

And after two more hearings for sectors who felt left out in the process, one on May 25 for the sultanates and indigenous people, and another on June 3 for local government officials, Marcos said his panel would buckle down to the task of writing its report.

The senator has been saying that for BBL to work it should be all-inclusive and that it should have popular support.

Done deal. Cagayan de Oro Rep. Rufus Rodriguez, head of the ad hoc panel conducting hearings on the Bangsamoro Basic Law, took up his post again as the lawmakers resumed voting on the BBL at the House of Representatives on Wednesday. Manny Palmero

However, the public attitude towards BBL was eroded after the Jan. 25 Mamasapano massacre of 44 police commandos by Muslim rebels, including the those from the government’s peace partner, the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF). The latest Social Weather Station survey showed only 23 percent of the Filipino people support the passage of the BBL.

A Palace spokesman on Wednesday denied that there was any quid pro quo when the President discussed the BBL with congressional leaders over the weekend.

“Peace and prosperity in Mindanao. That’s the end goal of the BBL. I mean, if you are asking for any quid pro quo, there is none,” said presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda, addressing suspicion that administration lawmakers were rewarded for voting in favor of the Palace version of the BBL.

No money or slots in the Liberal Party senatorial slate for 2016 were offered in exchange for votes, Lacierda said.


LACIERDA AND THE PRESIDENT

Lacierda said Aquino was prompted to call a meeting with the congressmen because time was getting short and Mamasapano had obviously delayed the administration’s timetable.

“And we need to catch up,” he said.

He said the government needed to make sure that those who would take a leadership role after the BBL was passed had the capacity to govern the area.

Lacierda also welcomed the statement of MILF chief negotiator Mohagher Iqbal who said the rebels were happy with 90 percent of the BBL.

“It’s a positive, it’s a good step for us,” Lacierda said.

Lacierda described the two weekend meetings of the President with lawmakers as “part of the deliberative process in Congress” but declined to give details on what was said during those meetings.

“I have no personal knowledge of what transpired,” he said.

Asked about criticism that the BBL was rammed through the ad hoc panel in the House, Lacierda said any concerns raised by those in disagreement were being heard.

“But the process is continuing. However you characterize it, there’s a democratic process that continues to run and let’s wait... at least in the final version of the BBL in the House,” Lacierda said.

Both Marcos and Senator Francis Escudero have criticized the Palace for setting a deadline for the passage of the BBL.

Lacierda acknowledged that the senators were like “independent republics,” but said he would consult with Senate President Franklin Drilon about the Palace deadline for the BBL.

“I think all of us are in agreement that there is a need to pursue this avenue for the peace and development of—and eventual prosperity of Muslim Mindanao,” he said.

In the House, the ad hoc panel scrutinizing the BBL voted 50-17-1 in favor of the Palace version of the bill.

Critics slammed what they called as tyranny of the majority when t Rodriguez adopted a substituted bill entitled “Basic Law of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region.”


Aquino ally Lobregat: “I am for peace but not at the expense of the republic,”

Zamboanga City Rep. Celso Lobregat, an administration ally but the most vocal critic of the bill, decried the decision of his allies in the majority to vote down several of his proposed amendments to the bill.

“This is a very sad day,” Lobregat, vice chairman of the House committee on peace, reconciliation and unity, said, even as he clarified that he supported the peace initiative being pursued by the Aquino government.

“I am for peace but not at the expense of the republic,” he said.

Lobregat said he made more than 150 “principled and logical amendments on the basis of law and Constitution.”

He also slammed Rodriguez for doing an about-face when he then said several times and even assured the Palace-created Peace Council that all the contentious provisions would be excised from the measure.

Rodriguez himself voted in favor of the Palace version of the measure.

“By approving the [proposed Bangsamoro law with the way Malacanang wants it], they (House majority) made it worse,” Lobregat said.

1-BAP party-list Rep. Silvestre Bello III, one of the lawmakers who voted against the measure, lamented the decision of the Rodriguez panel to retain several contentious provisions in the BBL, such as the ‘opt-in’ provision which allows neighboring territories to propose their inclusion in the Bangsamoro “at any time” through a petition of at least 10 percent of the residents and approval of a majority of qualified voters in the city or province in a separate plebiscite.

“We expect a lot of parties opposing the BBL to bring this issue before the Supreme Court,” Bello said.

Following the ad hoc panel’s approval of the bill, the measure will be deliberated on by the joint committee on appropriations and ways and means to discuss the funding aspect of the proposed law. The joint committees are headed by Reps. Isidro Ungab of Davao City and Miro Quimbo of Marikina, both allies of the President.

House Majority Floor Leader and Mandaluyong Rep. Neptali Gonzales II said the plenary discussion and voting on the measure is set to begin on Wednesday next week.

Rodriguez, for his part, said he expects the measure to be passed on third and final reading in June or before Congress goes on a sine die break on June 14.

The Palace-backed Bangsamoro bill seeks to create a new Bangsamoro political entity.

Under the proposed measure, the autonomous Bangsamoro government will be parliamentary in form, to be headed by a chief minister. It also retained the contentious provisions on the creation of the Bangsamoro’s own special bodies such as Commission on Human Rights, Civil Service Commission, Commission on Elections and Commission on Audit. These were referred to, however as regional offices of the existing constitutional bodies.

The only provisions stricken from the original Palace draft was one that required the national government to coordinate military movement in the Bangsamoro region with the Bangsamoro government, and another on the power of the Bangsamoro government to discipline its own officials.

The approved version of the BBL also keeps operational control and supervision of the Bangsamoro police under the region’s chief minister.

The opposition in the House said lawmakers should not only vote their conscience but also represent their constituents, many of who do not support the BBL.


PHOTO TAKEN 2012, ABS-CBN FILE

Minority Leader and San Juan Rep. Ronaldo Zamora said they would oppose the BBL all the way.

“The minority cannot support the version they (majority) are adopting,” Zamora told reporters at a news conference.

Zamora said he was hopeful that his colleagues, especially the Mindanaons, will vote not only based on their conscience but also on what their constituents feel and want about the BBL.

“That’s the good guide in politics: listen to your conscience and listen to what your constituents are saying,” Zamora said.

House Deputy Minority Leader and Bayan Muna Rep. Neri Colmenares also slammed the railroading of the BBL through the ad hoc committee.

“The BBL will never provide a genuine autonomy for the Bangsamoro and indigenous peoples,” he said.

Colmenares said the 50 hearings conducted by the 75-man ad hoc committee on the BBL since last year had been wasted when the Palace version of the measure prevailed after two meetings with the President.

“There were hearings but the majority wasn’t listening. All they wanted to do was vote yes to the Malacanang version of the BBL,” he said.

The Palace thanked the ad hoc committee for approving the BBL, saying it would make peace and prosperity in Mindanao a reality.

“We would like to thank the House committee for approving the draft BBL. It brings us closer to transforming Muslim Mindanao from a permanent potential into a reality where peace and prosperity abide,” Lacierda said.


MANILA STANDARD

PNoy admin earns tag as ‘menace’ By Maricel Cruz, Joel Zurbano | May. 24, 2015 at 12:01am


Disrupted. A southbound train of the LRT Line 1 crashed into another train at the Monumento Station in Caloocan City, disrupting LRT’s morning operations that sent commuters (inset) streaming out of the station. MANNY PALMERO

THE opposition United Nationalist Alliance was seriously concerned at the latest mishap at Metro Manila’s mass transit system on Saturday and scored the Aquino administration as a “public menace” because of its incompetence in running a safe and reliable train line.

UNA interim president and Navotas City Rep. Tobias Tiangco made the statement after two more Light Rail Transit trains figured in another crash in Caloocan City around 7 a.m. Saturday.

No passenger was injured in the crash and only one of the two train’s operators suffered minor cuts because of the accident, but officials of the Light Rail Transit Authority still could not determine at press time what really caused the mishap that could have hurt hundreds of people.

“The LP administration cannot wash its hands of culpability in this tragic incident,” Tiangco said. “This is the result of their five years of incompetence, inefficiency and corruption at the DOTC. And there is no option but to declare this administration a public menace.”

Tiangco said “incompetence, selective prosecution and massive corruption are the trademarks of the LP regime,” but the Aquino administration cannot blame the opposition to justify its continued failure to address the problems hounding the LRT and the MRT 3.

Tiangco blamed Interior Secretary Mar Roxas, who was once transportation secretary, and incumbent Transportation Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya for the “indecisive and incompetent” leadership which is one of the reasons behind the mass transit system’s deterioration.

READ MORE...
He said neither of the two Cabinet secretaries provided a long-term solution to the problem plaguing the mass transit system, including the Metro Rail Transit 3 whose operations have also have been marred by so many glitches and accidents that endanger the lives of the riding public.

“Worst, the MRT rail system has been mired in charges of massive corruption involving the LP. But instead of addressing these allegations, the LP-led DOTC brushed it aside even if the charges were raised by the former ambassador of Czechoslovakia Josef Rychtar,” Tiangco said.

The first report of irregularity in the MRT’s purchase of passenger coaches was brought to the public by Rychtar decided to speak about the matter.

But instead of probing the ambassador’s claim, the Palace earlier questioned Rychtar’s motives in reviving talks about the 2012 alleged extortion attempt.

“What will be judged by the people in 2016 is the appalling record of this administration. It fails the test of competence and it fails the test of integrity simply because of the unabated yet tolerated acts of large-scale corruption of party members and allies,” said Tiangco.

“And yet it has the gall to say the people need 6 more years of this type of governance. Ano sila hilo (What are they)?” he asked.

LRTA spokesperson Hernando Cabrera, for his part, did not comment on the corruption claim and explained that the mishap was apparently caused by a power supply fluctuation at around 7 a.m. on Saturday at the LRT’s EDSA-Monumento Station.

“So far, no damages to the trains has been reported. The trains involved in the incident now mobilized, will clear out the area soon to allow safety inspections and full line operations,” he added. The LRT resumed normal operations at 1:29 p.m. after six hours.


TRIBUNE

No deadline binds Senate BBL — Marcos Written by Tribune Wires Sunday, 24 May 2015 00:00


CONSULTATIONS SEEN GOING PAST JUNE 10

The head of the Senate panel drafting the chamber’s version of the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) vowed he will not be restricted by any deadline in crafting a credible law despite the stepped pressure from the Palace for Congress to complete the measure before the end of the legislative session on June 10.

Sen. Ferdinand Marcos Jr., chairman of the Senate committee on local government, said the issues surrounding BBL are so complex and multi-faceted that he can’t commit the Senate to pass a law by June 10, the last session day before the Upper Chamber goes into its sine die adjournment.

“As I said before, the top priority is getting it right,” Marcos stressed.

Marcos said he has invited the sultanates and the indigenous people (IPs) of Mindanao to a hearing tomorrow to hear their views and concerns on BBL.

Marcos said the proceeding is the penultimate hearing of his panel on the BBL.

To wrap up consultations on BBL, Marcos said the last hearing scheduled on June 3 will focus on concerns of local executives in areas to be included as core territories of the Bangsamoro under the BBL, as well as in adjacent local government units.

“We want to know the sentiments of the sultanates about BBL.

From what we learned in our recent hearings, they said they were never consulted in the peace negotiations between the Philippine government, nor the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF),” Marcos said.

“Unless the BBL addresses the concerns of the majority of the stakeholders, and not just those of the MILF, I’m afraid we will not be able to realize our dream of a lasting peace in Muslim Mindanao,” he added.


Datu Esmail Dalus Strattan Kiram II, 73, is the new sultan of the Sultanate of Sulu and North Borneo, succeeding his elder brother Jamalul who passed away on Oct. 19, 2013 MANILA BULLETIN FILE PHOTO, OCTOBER 2013

Among the guests in tomorrow’s hearing included Esmail Kiram II, who was installed as the Sultan of Sulu in 2013 following the death of his predecessor Jamalul Kiram III, as well as representatives of sultanates in other areas of Mindanao.

Also invited in the hearing are representatives from indigenous peoples of Mindanao.


LUMANDS belonging to the Mindanao-wide indigenous people group Davao Today file

“For centuries, the IPs have been living in their respective communities in Mindanao, with a culture, tradition and language distinct from Muslim inhabitants. We have to ensure too that the rights of the IPs are recognized and protected under the BBL,” Marcos said.

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Marcos earlier conducted a hearing for the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF), the first Moro rebel group that later renounced armed struggle and signed peace pacts with the Philippine government, including the 1976 Tripoli Agreement and the 1996 Jakarta Agreement.

Yet many MNLF leaders expressed concern they were left out in the cold with respect to BBL negotiations.

Apart from addressing the issue of inclusivity, Marcos vowed to amend certain provisions of the draft BBL to remedy conflicts with the constitution and flaws of the proposed law with respect to administration.

Marcos earlier said his committee will accord due importance to the findings of the Senate Committee on Constitutional Amendment and Revision of Code on the proposed BBL.


Sen. Bongbong Marcos, Chair of the Senate Committee on Local Government, informs colleagues Senators Gregorio Honasan and Tito Sotto that, "BBL hearings have resumed. We’ll have hearings in Jolo and Zamboanga on May 13 and 14. After that, we’ll have additional hearings in Manila to get the side of the Moro National Liberation Front. There will be another hearing for the IP’s (Indigenous People) and the Sultanates. After this, we will be able to write the committee report that we will present to the entire Senate." 11 May 2015. www.bongbongmarcos.com/photo/#10

News reports said a draft committee report of the constitutional amendment panel, chaired by Sen. Miriam Defensor Santiago being circulated for signature of the panel members concluded Congress cannot pass BBL without corresponding charter changes.

“We will certainly take serious consideration of the warning flags the report has raised,” Marcos said, who acknowledged signing Santiago’s committee report.

Marcos noted that the committee report was based on views expressed by the country’s foremost legal experts who took part in the Senate panel hearings.

“That report practically vindicates the meticulous scrutiny to which I am subjecting the draft BBL. We don’t want to pass the BBL only to have it declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court later, then we’d be back to square one and all our efforts would be for nothing,” he added.

This is also the reason rushing the passage of the proposed BBL just to meet the June 10 deadline Malacanang has set is irresponsible, according to Marcos.

“As far as I’m concerned, the priority is to get it right,” he said.

At the House of Representatives, the ad hoc committee on the BBL approved on Wednesday the proposed law after three days of at times impassioned arguments, paving the way for plenary deliberation of the measure amid allegations of railroading, a charge the administration denied.

But Marcos noted that this early Buhay party list has warned that as soon as Congress passes BBL, they will challenge it before the Supreme Court.

“Unless we sufficiently address the question of constitutionality, the concerns of all the stakeholders, as well as practical issues of administration and other problematic provisions of BBL, it will surely be challenged before the Supreme Court,” he said.

This is the reason, Marcos said, while he is trying to reaching out to as many of the stake holders as much as possible.

After his recent BBL hearings in Jolt and Zamboanga, Marcos has conducted a hearing in Manila to hear the side of the Moro National Liberation Front, the first Moro group to have signed a peace agreement with the Philippine government. MNLF leaders claim they were left out in the BBL negotiations.

Marcos has scheduled two more hearings, one on May 5 for the sultanates and the indigenous people (IP) of Mindanao, and another on June 3 for local executives in the core area and adjacent localities of the proposed Bangsamoro territory.

MILF cites Bangsamoro investments

The MILF, meanwhile, drummed up support for the BBL saying businesses are waiting in the wings to invest in Muslim Mindanao which are currently affected by the armed conflict.

MILF chief negiotiator Mohaqher Iqbal said members of the business sector told him of their desire to help Muslim Mindanao recover and be at par with other regions in the country.

Iqbal said he received the information at the sidelines of Bangsamoro Business Forum in Makati City, organized by the Philippines Business for Social Progress and the World Bank.

He said the private sectors vowed to invest P16.3 billion to develop areas in Mindanao badly affected by conflict.

The amount will be backed by the World Bank and the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA).



Iqbal was invited and spoke relative to the peace process and the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBTC).
“The invitation is a proof that even business groups are supportive of the peace deal and the proposed Bangsamoro Law. Once realized, the amount will also bring fresh development to the area even if the BBL is not passed by congress,” Iqbal said.

The forum focused on investment opportunities, drew more than 80 participants from the government and the private sector, including Philippine Long Distance Telephone Co. chair Manuel V. Pangilinan and Ayala Corp. chair and CEO Jaime Augusto Zobel de Ayala, who was a member of the Citizens Council formed by President Aquino that endorsed the BBL.

“What we have are hard commitments from a number of companies that will total up to about 6 million US dollars in investments. That will be in bananas, pineapples, coffee and cacao,” said John Perrine, chairman of Unifrutti Group Philippines.

“There are some fears that no one will go, no one will invest. These are people who are ready to invest today, without waiting any longer as soon as the funds are available,” Perrine said.

Motoo Konishi, World Bank country director, told reporters they were committing with JICA millions of dollars in financing to support the private sector.

“There were 40 development partners also present—that show support for the BBL, as well as the peace process and the whole discussion on how to get investments in Bangsamoro,” Konishi said.
Perrine noted that the investments, which he described as an initial figure, would create around 22,000 jobs across 18,000 hectares of land.

Filipino companies like San Miguel Corp. earlier expressed interest to invest in conflict areas in Mindanao.

“We have 12,000 combatants with the MILF and other armed groups. The biggest problem is lack of jobs and livelihood. This is something that will provide for them directly,” Perrine said.

Also being evaluated are infrastructure projects to facilitate the flow of investments to the Bangsamoro, Richard Bolt, Asian Development Bank country director, said.

He cited the Western Mindanao Road Project, which will cover about 500 kilometers of road rehabilitation and upgrades. Bolt said other projects were being evaluated, adding the need was “massive.”


PHILSTAR

Palace apologizes for LRT mishap (philstar.com) | Updated May 24, 2015 - 3:20pm


A power fluctuation caused a minor collision between two trains of the Light Rail Transit Line 1 at the Monumento station on Saturday, May 23, 2015. STAR/Joven Cagande

MANILA, Philippines — Malacañang on Sunday issued an apology over the Saturday's collision of Light Rail Transit line 1 (LRT-1) trains.

Presidential Communications Secretary Herminio "Sonny" Coloma Jr. said government continues to improve the services of the mass transport system traversing the capital city.

"Humihingi kami ng paumanhin sa ating mga mamamayan habang patuloy na isinasakatuparan ng pamahalaan ang pagpapahusay sa serbisyo ng LRT at MRT," Coloma said Sunday.

He added that LRT-1 officials are already investigating into the cause of the accident.

RELATED: 2 LRT trains collide due to power fluctuation

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A train of the LRT-1 rear ended another train at the Monumento station yesterday morning following a power fluctuation.

Light Rail Transit Authority (LRTA) spokesman Hernando Cabrera said the accident occurred around 7 a.m. where one of the train operators hit his head on the dashboard and injured his right arm.

“No injuries except for the train operator who sustained minor cut on his right arm,” he said.

Cabrera said power fluctuation at the station likely caused the collision of the two trains.


TRIBUNE

LP denies rift but execs admit not all for Mar Written by Charlie V. Manalo
Sunday, 24 May 2015 00:00


AQUINO 'COURTING' POE? Mar says okay with Poe as LP presidential bet.

The rift in ruling Liberal Party (LP) over the candidate to carry the party’s banner in the 2016 elections appear to have widened yesterday as LP stalwart Caloocan City Rep. Edgar Erice said presumptive standard bearer Interior Secretary Manuel Roxas II is not giving way in his ambition for the presidency next year.

After supposedly yielding to Benigno Aquino III who eventually became president in 2010, Roxas is not expected to give way to Senator Grace Poe to run as president while he slides down to vice president, Erice said.

Roxas when he gave up his presidential pursuit in 2010 was however scraping bottom in the pre-poll surveys which was the real reason for the LP to tap then Sen. Aquino, who was still basking in public sympathy over the death of her mother, former President Cory Aquino, for the presidency.
“I don’t think so,” Erice said when asked if Roxas would agree to run for vice president.

“Sec. Mar sincerely believes that he needed to seek the presidency to bring the country to the next level. I don’t think anybody can do that except for him at this point,” Erice, who is LP’s vice chairman for political affairs, said.

Majority of LP members, however, said that the party will support whomever Aquino anoints as successor.

The guessing game on who will be Aquino’s anointed became more pronounced after Aquino himself named Poe as those he expects who will continue what he started under his administration.
Iloilo Rep. Jerry Trenas said the LP remains open on all possible scenarios to make sure that it remains the party in power after 2016.

Trenas, chairman of the LP’s organizing and membership committee, said LP’s main concern is not on who should be the LP standard bearer but who among the candidates had the qualities and the commitment to pursue the programs and reforms started by Aquino.

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“LP is a platform-centered party. LP will not endorse any candidate just because he or she is popular. Our objective is not just to win an election but to ensure that our ideals and our vision for the country is vigorously pursued just like what President Aquino has been doing for the past 5 years,” Trenas said.

LP secretary general Western Samar Rep. Mel Senen Sarmiento denied the existence of a rift among party members.

On the contrary, Sarmiento said LP remains strong and will continue to play a crucial role in charting the country’s future beyond 2016 despite speculations that the administration party is breaking apart due to differences on their presidential choices in next year’s presidential elections.

Sarmiento said that it is premature to be making speculations at this point as to who would carry the LP banner in the 2016 elections.

He said an overwhelming majority prefers Roxas to be the standard bearer.

Sarmiento admitted that a handful have a different view which he said is part of LP’s party dynamics.

But once the National Executive Council (NEC) picks its choice, the whole party will absolutely support it, he said.

“The Liberal Party was built not on the basis of personalities but on the basis of its platform, principles and ideals. This is the reason why the party has lasted this long since its creation in 1946. It will remain a party to reckon with and will continue to play a key role in the country’s political landscape even after 2016. That’s for sure,” Sarmiento said.

Sarmiento said that through the able leadership of Aquino as the party Chairman, LP will definitely field candidates who are not only sure winners but are also committed to nurture and further enrich the seeds of reform that were initiated by the Aquino administration.

“We will definitely support a candidate who would ensure continuity on the reforms and programs that were put into place by President Aquino. We need at least two more terms so that the nation can fully benefit from the fruits of reforms that were carried out by this administration,” Trenas said.


LP prefers party member as 2016 presidential bet, according to LP stalwart Drilon.

‘Some in LP for Poe’

He said that although some LP members were supporting Poe as LP’s possible standard-bearer, a majority of the party members were rooting for Roxas because apart from being a true-blue LP member, his commitment to pursue President Aquino’s reform agenda was also beyond question.

He noted however that this disagreement among party members as to who should be supported by LP in the 2016 presidential polls was not enough to cause a party split-up because the party had a well-placed process in selecting its candidates.

“We can disagree but at the end of the day, we will decide as one party and embrace the decision of the majority,” the veteran lawmaker stressed.

He said Aquino will definitely have an influence as to who will be supported by LP but even his decision will have to be approved by the LP members.

“We will definitely support a candidate who would ensure continuity on the reforms and programs that were put into place by President Aquino. We need at least two more terms so that the nation can fully benefit from the fruits of reforms that were carried out by this administration,” Trenas said.

He said that although some LP members were supporting Poe as LP’s possible standard-bearer, a majority of the party members were rooting for Roxas because apart from being a true-blue LP member, his commitment to pursue President Aquino’s reform agenda was also beyond question.

He noted however that this disagreement among party members as to who should be supported by LP in the 2016 presidential polls was not enough to cause a party split-up because the party had a well-placed process in selecting its candidates.

“We can disagree but at the end of the day, we will decide as one party and embrace the decision of the majority,” the veteran lawmaker stressed.

He said that President Aquino will definitely have an influence as to who will be supported by LP but even his decision will have to be approved by the LP members.

“Definitely, President Aquino’s personal decision on who to support in 2016 will carry a lot of weight on LP’s decision-making process but it is premature to be drawing conclusions at this time.

The president has to make his decision first before the party can make appropriate decision. Anything is possible at this time but definitely, LP will remain intact and it will remain very solid even after 2016,” Trenas pointed out.

He said that despite attempts to discredit the gains of the Aquino administration, there’s no question that the Philippines is now in a much better place than it was when Aquino assumed power in 2010.


MANILA STANDARD COMMENTARY

Where is the Liberal Party headed? By Rod Kapunan | May. 23, 2015 at 12:01am

Charlatanism is practically in the soul of the members of the Liberal Party, for it seems this is the only party that would not think twice on whom to draft as its standard bearer for President just to retain their political power. Maybe it is Machiavellian, for after all, politics is power.

But human civilization has brought with it nuances that power is bestowed, and they expect the one vested with power to make their aspirations tangible by concrete accomplishments.

Our concern is not about the party that has been trumpeting its achievements in having most of its candidate elected president or in highlighting that it accomplished least to our people, but in telling the truth that it is heading towards the ravine.

Rumors are rife that the LP would eventually split, and most political analysts see it as the prize for having grown too big and loaded with political jackals.

The frantic efforts of President Aquino to ordain his would-be successor spells a bad omen, for unlike in the old tradition where the standard bearer is chosen by nomination in a convention, now the “Boss” is in a dilemma of personally choosing who between Department of Interior Local Government Secretary Manuel “Mar” Roxas and Senator Grace Poe would be the “one”.

So, the administration that was once touted as the most popular political party has lost much of its energy. It was a lackluster gamble made by our people into tagging corruption as the root cause of poverty.

Many continue to say that he was truly elected by the people, and not by the electronic magic of “hocus-PCOS.” It was a costly venture, because the administration now stands as the most expensive government, for we have appropriated an amount that has now exceeded the budget of all the administrations, and have gotten nothing in return, except to hoot that the rich are getting richer and the poor getting poorer.

Mar Roxas would have been the best man PNoy could anoint as successor. He has worked hard for it, and expects to be rewarded in exchange for his faithful subservience.

Of course, he was rightly rewarded by giving him the most powerful position in the Cabinet.


Interior Secretary Manuel “Mar” Roxas II. —New Interior Secretary Manuel “Mar” Roxas II has resisted any temptations to read communications pertaining to the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) until he finally assumes his post on Monday. Roxas, however, vowed to resume investigations and follow up on recommendations left behind by his predecessor, the late Interior Secretary Jesse Robredo. INQUIRER FILE  NEWS PHOTO SEPT 30, 2012

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But of the many opportunities that could have boosted his political ambition, it was his acerbic character that eroded his chances. He was overwhelmed by his temper that instead of sympathizing with the mayor of Tacloban, Alfred Romualdez, and his constituents after the unprecedented devastation, he antagonized them. He gave the impression that the PNoy’s administration was so insensitive.

His announcer-wife Korina Sanchez also antagonized CNN anchorman, Anderson Cooper, for which many of the rabidly pro-American intelligentsia middle class in the country were turned off.

Many suspect, and rightly so, that Secretary Roxas was intentionally excluded in the plan to get Malaysian terrorist Marwan and Basit Usman for fear he would bungle the operation without the administration acknowledging that the more serious problem is with PNoy. His exclusion, however, did not help lift his sagging image.

Because PNoy could see now the precarious dipping of the LP, he is now in a quandary on whom to anoint just to save the party form total collapse. In this country where people can be fooled by images and pretensions, the mainstream media are playing up the role of Senator Poe in the Senate Committee investigating the SAF massacre.

Now that it has become an open secret that PNoy met with Senator Poe to talk about the future of the LP, with the possibility that she might just be endorsed, a split now looms because Mar and his followers would claim they worked hard for the endorsement, and would not take being abruptly abandoned by Pnoy sitting down.

According to the poll surveys, which is part of the elaborate syndicate to prop up the candidates eyed by the US, the oligarchy and by the clerics, Poe, it seems, is making a good score. It is a kind of mental conditioning that she is likely to win in the 2016 election, such that people are urged not to waste their votes.


GRACE POE

People are made to believe that Poe is an achiever despite her being a neophyte senator, and has not accomplished anything to steer a clamor for her to run for President. In fact, she is perceived as more of a stooge out to pursue the traitorous line of her would-be predecessor.

This explains why political opportunists like Congressman Ben Evardone of Eastern Samar and Neptali Gonzales of Mandaluyong are again croaking like bloated toads about PNoy nominating Poe. In fact, not a whimper was heard to question her US citizenship when she ran for the Senate in 2014.

As said, bootlicking politicians like Evardone branded the accusation against Poe as a “demolition job.” But one need not be a lawyer to know who is qualified and not qualified for the office.

That she admitted that she had applied for US citizenship to secure employment is beside the point. What is important is that she was granted US citizenship, and the implication is that she renounced her Filipino citizenship.

Thus, when she reapplied for Filipino citizenship to qualify for the position as head of the Movie and Television Review and Classification Board (MTRCB) after her appointment by President Aquino, her act of re-applying for Filipino citizenship to qualify for the job is an admission she was no longer a Filipino citizen.

That means she is no longer a natural-born Filipino citizen. As the Supreme Court has consistently defined, a natural born citizen is a “citizen of the Philippines from birth without having to perform any act to acquire or perfect his Philippine citizenship.”

One must bear in mind that it is not her intention that counts but the act because that interrupted her status of as a natural-born citizen. Her reacquisition of Filipino citizenship only made her a naturalized Filipino citizen. In other words, she cannot have the best of both worlds as what author Senator Angara envisioned in his dual citizenship novel.

No respectable state will subscribe to the idea of allowing its citizens to have dual citizenship and reap the benefits and protection of the two countries. Maybe Filipinos as allowed by the Angara law could do that, but as far as the other party is concerned, they only recognize one citizenship especially on matters of taxation, property disposition, estates and inheritance.

The opinion made by Senate President Franklin Drilon is self-serving much that he gave his legal advice as a politician which by necessity is expected to favor a fellow Liberal Party member.

It was a dishonest opinion because the senator maliciously and purposely assured Senator Poe that she was qualified for the office which if done by an ordinary lawyer would have caused him his license or possible disbarment because he urged one not to just violate an ordinary law, but the Constitution.

If the justices of the Supreme Court would agree with that crooked advice of Senate President, then we say they have no business staying there even for a minute. That would be tantamount to challenging the people’s notion of who really are the citizens of this country.


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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