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

MAR ROXAS CAN BEAT BINAY AND POE, SAYS DRILON


LP national leader Drilon INTERIOR Secretary Manuel Roxas II, the Liberal Party’s presumptive standard bearer, could beat Vice President Jejomar Binay and Senator Grace Poe in the May 2016 elections, Senate President Franklin Drilon said Monday. He said despite Roxas’ 19-percent approval rating, Roxas could win over Binay, the only official who has declared he is seeking the presidency in the coming elections, and Poe. Poe has repeatedly insisted she is yet to decide on her plan to run for President, although there are indications she is preparing for it by going around the country. “I think Mar has a good chance of being able to present himself as the most qualified candidate,” Drilon told ABS-CBN News. He made his statement even as Budget Secretary Florencio Abad said President Benigno Aquino III’s Liberal Party was still considering Senator Francis Escudero as among its possible candidates in the May 2016 elections. Abad said the LP was not counting out Escudero from its list of candidates in the next elections. “The doors are not closed to these things. The situation is still very fluid,” Abad said on the sidelines of a meeting of the congressional oversight committee on public expenditures at the House of Representatives. Since the LP was now in “coalition” partners with different political parties, Abad said, “it won’t only be the political parties that would determine the configuration” of next year’s elections. READ MORE...

ALSO Drilon: LP has deep bench, there’s me for VP
[My preference as vice chairman of the party is that the candidate should come from the party because when you sign your certificate of candidacy (CoC), you should have a nomination of the party to which you belong and I would prefer that a member of the party will be our candidate,” Drilon said in a television interview].


Liberal Party (LP) leaders yesterday did some breast beating yesterday but miserably failed to drive home the claim the party has a deep bench primarily in selecting a running mate for presumptive standard bearer Interior Secretary Manuel Roxas II who is neither faring admirably on periodic surveys.
Senate President Franklin Drilon insisted the LP has a deep bench and can field a good vice presidential bet such as himself but could not name anyone from the LP. Apparently smarting from the rejection that LP received from neophyte Sen. Grace Poe, whom the party, led by no less than President Aquino himself, had been trying to lure to be the running mate of Roxas, Drilon expressed his preference for the administration party to field its own vice presidential bet. But when asked to name names as possible vice presidentiable, Drilon refused but only offered himself as a possibility.  “It’s a deep bench. Why am I not qualified? (I am but) I am not (open to it). I am just talking about the bench. Precisely I’m not (a vice presidentiable). I can do the job in the Senate without being VP. I can help people, I can influence policy,” he said. “I have my head attached. I have my feet to the ground. I know how this thing works. I have been in public service for 30 years,” he said. “I have always maintained the position that we have a deep bench in the party. My preference as vice chairman of the party is that the candidate should come from the party because when you sign your certificate of candidacy (CoC), you should have a nomination of the party to which you belong and I would prefer that a member of the party will be our candidate,” Drilon said in a television interview. READ MORE...

ALSO Drilon: PNoy won't endorse an 'outsider' in 2016


Senate President Franklin Drilon believes that President Aquino will not endorse anyone who is not a member of the Liberal Party.
 - President Benigno Aquino III will not support or endorse anyone who is not member of the Liberal Party (LP) for the 2016 national elections, Senate President Franklin Drilon said on Thursday. In a radio interview, Drilon, an LP stalwart, said Vice President Jejomar Binay's statements that he would still get the president's support were just hopeful remarks. "Sa palagay ko ay mukhang pag-asa lang po iyan at hindi po mangyayari na ang Pangulong Aquino ay mag-eendorsa ng iisang kandidato na hindi sa Partido Liberal," Drilon said. READ MORE...

ALSO 2nd meeting Noy to Poe: Get ready


After the second meeting, Poe said it was clear to her that the President was actively looking for candidates to support in the 2106 elections.
PRESIDENT Benigno Aquino III met a second time with Senator Grace Poe in Malacañang Wednesday, but the senator said there was as yet no offer to her to be the running mate of Interior Secretary Manuel Roxas II, the presumptive presidential candidate of the ruling Liberal Party in 2016. “The President did not say that I should be in tandem with this or that I should do that,” said Poe after the meeting. “It’s just that I should be ready, if ever, to continue his good governance.”  Poe said the President described Roxas as a good person who had the potential to continue his reforms. She said the President told her he had confidence in Roxas. After the second meeting, Poe said it was clear to her that the President was actively looking for candidates to support in the 2106 elections. “He has a list of those capable (to run). I can’t say that it is only me. He will also talk to Senator [Francis] Escudero. He mentioned it. It is clear to me that I’m not the only one on the list. There are others. I’m not the only one.”   But Poe said if she were to seek higher office, she would be more comfortable running with Escudero. Both senators have been coy about their plans for next year’s elections. Escudero, who supports the administration, said he has no political party with the resources to launch a national campaign. In 2013, Poe and Escudero ran as independents, but won the first and fourth top spot, respectively, in the senatorial races.  Poe said she told the President she would remain an independent. READ MORE...

ALSO: Presidency not to be desired, says Grace Poe


Open forum. Senator Grace Poe answers questions from members of the Rotary Club of Manila and its guests during yesterday’s Journalism Awards, as RCM president Frank Evaristo and US Ambassador Philip Goldberg listen. EY ACASIO
SENATOR Grace Poe said Thursday that the presidency was a privilege, but it “it’s abnormal for anyone to desire it.” “It’s a big challenge. Six years of their life almost being in a convent. You always have to be detached in a way, but also immersed at the same time. It’s not easy,” said Poe when questioned about her plans for the 2016 elections. “I’m sorry if at this time, this is still my answer. I have no advertisement, I am not fishing for anything. I’m still doing my job,” said Poe, who has been placing strongly in recent opinion polls about the 2016 presidential and vice presidential elections. At a forum following the 2015 Rotary Club of Manila Journalism Awards ceremony at the New World Hotel in Makati, Poe also apologized to the people who were pushing her to run. “I’ sorry to disappoint you at this juncture, but I still have a lot to consider. I know some people are saying I’m playing hard to get, but this is nota n easy decision to make,” Poe said. She conceded she neither had the machinery nor the money to run for president or vice president. Poe said she was interested in applying approaches that worked in Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand in the Philippines, but these did not comprise a full program of government. “Am I ready? Not yet because by the time that I announce [that I’m running], I’d like to have a complete program of government that the people can use as a basis to determine if I’m worthy or not,” she said. READ MORE...

ALSO Noy: No Binay for me, but will talk to Chiz about his 2016 plans


PRESIDENT Benigno Aquino III 
PRESIDENT Benigno Aquino III said Thursday he will not endorse Vice President Jejomar Binay in next year’s presidential elections, but said he would talk to Senator Francis Escudero about his plans for 2016. In Iloilo for the Independence Day celebration, Aquino reacted to Binay’s statement Wednesday that he was still hoping to receive the President’s endorsement for next year’s election. In a press briefing, Aquino said he did not believe Binay was serious, and pointed out that they have been on different sides of the political fence since the 2010 elections. He also confirmed that he had met independent Senator Grace Poe on Wednesday about the need for the next president to continue his administration’s straight path policy. The Palace has kept the President’s meetings with possible presidential contenders under wraps. Although he has said Interior Secretary Manuel Roxas II is on top of his list, Aquino has also been scouting for other candidates that he might endorse for president or vice president. “Hahanapin ko rin ‘yung kumpare kong si Chiz Escudero next week, kailangan ko rin naman siyang makausap (I will find my good friend [Francis] Escudero next week. We need to talk to him),” said Aquino. Aquino said after the process of talking to all possible contenders is done, he will make his position clear to all parties concerned after his last State of the Nation Address. READ MORE..

ALSO FLASHBACK FROM RAPPLER.COM: How Team PNoy ran its 2013 campaign


MANILA, Philippines - On Oct 12, 2012, President Benigno Aquino III took the stage at Club Filipino's Kalayaan Hall to present the administration's senatorial slate. It was the same venue where he announced his presidential bid in 2009, and where his mother, the late Corazon Aquino, took her oath as president in February 1986.
Inside the room were some of the country's most powerful government officials, politicians, familiar faces of campaigns past. Some were former political rivals, others were longtime allies -- but that day, all of them were partners. Behind the President, sitting on stage, were 12 individuals decked in various colors -- red, white, yellow, green -- from 5 different parties, each one handpicked by Aquino and his team. Aquino introduced his rainbow coalition as an alliance with a common goal. "Silang labindalawa po ang kumakatawan sa alyansang LP, Akbayan, NPC (Nationalist People's Coalition), NP (Nacionalista Party), LDP (Laban ng Demokratikong Pilipino). Sila ang rumesponde sa panawagan nating magbuo ng samahan ng mga pareho ang paniniwala, at nangangakong itataguyod ang agenda ng mabuting pamamahala," he said. "Labindalawa po silang pinili mula sa unang listahan ng 40," he said. (They are the 12 who make up the coalition of LP, Akbayan, NPC, NP, LDP. They are the ones who responded to our call to form a group with the same beliefs, and promised to continue our agenda of good governance. They are the 12 chosen from a list of 40). CONTINUE READING....


READ FULL MEDIA NEWS REPORT:

‘Mar can beat Binay, Poe’


LP national chairman Drilon

MANILA, JUNE 15, 2015 (MANILA TIMES) By Macon Ramos-Araneta | Jun. 09, 2015 at 12:01am - INTERIOR Secretary Manuel Roxas II, the Liberal Party’s presumptive standard bearer, could beat Vice President Jejomar Binay and Senator Grace Poe in the May 2016 elections, Senate President Franklin Drilon said Monday.

He said despite Roxas’ 19-percent approval rating, Roxas could win over Binay, the only official who has declared he is seeking the presidency in the coming elections, and Poe.

Poe has repeatedly insisted she is yet to decide on her plan to run for President, although there are indications she is preparing for it by going around the country.

“I think Mar has a good chance of being able to present himself as the most qualified candidate,” Drilon told ABS-CBN News.

He made his statement even as Budget Secretary Florencio Abad said President Benigno Aquino III’s Liberal Party was still considering Senator Francis Escudero as among its possible candidates in the May 2016 elections.

Abad said the LP was not counting out Escudero from its list of candidates in the next elections.

“The doors are not closed to these things. The situation is still very fluid,” Abad said on the sidelines of a meeting of the congressional oversight committee on public expenditures at the House of Representatives.

Since the LP was now in “coalition” partners with different political parties, Abad said, “it won’t only be the political parties that would determine the configuration” of next year’s elections.

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“I wouldn’t even say that [Escudero is out] because we have been engaging in coalition politics,” Abad said.

“I don’t think it will only be the political parties that will decide what happens in 2016.”

Drilon, the LP’s national chairman, said winnability was not the only consideration for a candidate to emerge victorious.

“It’s in the track record of the candidate because that is the purpose of the campaign. He could be low in the surveys but your ability to explain and to put access to a message is something that you must take to heart,” Drilon said.

He cited the case of Binay who was literally a ‘dark horse,” obtaining only 4 percent in the surveys in the 2010 vice presidential race.

“Where was Binay at the start of the campaign for Vice President?” Drilon said.

He said the LP will field a complete slate from the President down to councilor in every city and municipality.

“We will have the strongest machinery in 2016, and that says a lot about our ability to elect the next President,” he said. With Maricel V. Cruz


TRIBUNE

Drilon: LP has deep bench, we can field a good VP, there’s me  Written by Gerry Baldo and Angie M. Rosales Tuesday, 09 June 2015 00:00

Liberal Party (LP) leaders yesterday did some breast beating yesterday but miserably failed to drive home the claim the party has a deep bench primarily in selecting a running mate for presumptive standard bearer Interior Secretary Manuel Roxas II who is neither faring admirably on periodic surveys.

Senate President Franklin Drilon insisted the LP has a deep bench and can field a good vice presidential bet such as himself but could not name anyone from the LP.

Apparently smarting from the rejection that LP received from neophyte Sen. Grace Poe, whom the party, led by no less than President Aquino himself, had been trying to lure to be the running mate of Roxas, Drilon expressed his preference for the administration party to field its own vice presidential bet.

But when asked to name names as possible vice presidentiable, Drilon refused but only offered himself as a possibility.

“It’s a deep bench. Why am I not qualified? (I am but) I am not (open to it). I am just talking about the bench. Precisely I’m not (a vice presidentiable). I can do the job in the Senate without being VP. I can help people, I can influence policy,” he said.

“I have my head attached. I have my feet to the ground. I know how this thing works. I have been in public service for 30 years,” he said.

“I have always maintained the position that we have a deep bench in the party.

My preference as vice chairman of the party is that the candidate should come from the party because when you sign your certificate of candidacy (CoC), you should have a nomination of the party to which you belong and I would prefer that a member of the party will be our candidate,” Drilon said in a television interview.

READ MORE...
“Having said that, the President, being our titular head and our chairman, certainly has the right, being the President, and the prerogative to endorse whoever he wants to endorse. That’s where we are at this point,” he said.

The Senate chief who has been rallying behind Roxas’ candidacy for the presidency, expressed belief that Roxas will eventually be able to hurdle the high ratings in mock polls currently being enjoyed by Vice President Jejomar Binay.

“Of course right now, only Binay is the declared candidate. I think Mar (Roxas) has a good chance of being able to present himself as the most qualified candidate,” he said.

Driln himself noted that based on experience in the past that while the so-called “winnability” of the candidate is foremost consideration by the party in drafting him or her for whatever elective position, popularity or the lack of it should not be the only determining factor as proven in Binay’s case when he sought for the vice presidency in 2010.

“Certainly, winnability is a consideration but that is not the only consideration. It’s in the track record of the candidate because that is the purpose of the campaign. He could be low in the surveys but your ability to explain and to put across a message is something that you must take into heart. I give you a recent political example. Where was Binay at the start of the campaign for Vice President? Four percent but because he correctly projected himself in the media particularly then he was able to win,” he said.


ABAD

Budget Secretary Florencio Abad Jr., who is also chief strategist of the LP, said a year’s campaign is long enough for Roxas’ image to improve.

Abad pointed out that the possibility of improving ratings in so short a time was proven by President Aquino himself who decided to ran for president in eight months.

“If you surveyed Noynoy before his mother died I don’t think he would be way up in the list. So what I’m saying is, one year is a long time in politics. He decided to run for office eight months before the elections and many of the candidates were already campaigning for two years or a year,” Abad said yesterday.

Abad also said that Roxas is doing his part in improving his ratings.

“Secretary Roxas has also been doing his share of going around the country performing his function as DILG chair,” Abad said adding that President Aquino has already instructed the party to extend support for Roxas.

“The president has given the party the go signal, to the extent that we all can support his candidacy,” the budget secretary said.

Abad also said that the LP has not closed its doors for Escudero.

“Yeah, the doors aren’t closed to all of these things. The situation is pretty much fluid so you don’t know what’s going to happen,” he said.

Abad, when asked whether the LP has already decided on Mar to be the party’s presidential bet, he said that at this point in time party decisions could not be absolute.

“You cannot make those absolute statements now because as I said many things can happen. But given the choice of course the LP wants Sec. Roxas to be its candidate for 2016,” he said.

NPC may go Poe-Chiz

The Nationalist People’s Coalition (NPC) is inclined to support a Poe-Escudero tandem during the 2016 presidential elections.

This was revealed yesterday by Isabela Rep. Giorgidi Aggabao, NPC president.

In a chance interview yesterday, Agabbao said that both Senators Grace Poe and Francis Escudero are “closet” members of the NPC and that members are inclined to support them in case they would run.

“Members of the NPC are inclined to support a Poe-Chiz tandem,” Aggabao said yesterday. Escudero, during the last senatorial elections has resigned as member of the NPC. Like Poe, he ran as an independent candidate.

Escudero, who was in the House of Representatives yesterday to attend the Joint Congressional Oversight Committee on Public Expenditures, admitted that his and Poe’s camp are in the thick of discussions on the possibility of running in 2016. Poe for president and he for vice president.


PHILSTAR

Drilon: PNoy won't endorse an 'outsider' in 2016 By Dennis Carcamo (philstar.com) | Updated June 11, 2015 - 11:10am


Senate President Franklin Drilon believes that President Aquino will not endorse anyone who is not a member of the Liberal Party.

MANILA, Philippines - President Benigno Aquino III will not support or endorse anyone who is not member of the Liberal Party (LP) for the 2016 national elections, Senate President Franklin Drilon said on Thursday.

In a radio interview, Drilon, an LP stalwart, said Vice President Jejomar Binay's statements that he would still get the president's support were just hopeful remarks.

"Sa palagay ko ay mukhang pag-asa lang po iyan at hindi po mangyayari na ang Pangulong Aquino ay mag-eendorsa ng iisang kandidato na hindi sa Partido Liberal," Drilon said.

READ MORE...
He reiterated that President Aquino, who is LP chairman, takes into consideration and pushes the platforms of the party, endorsing someone who is a from LP.

"Siya po ay sa partido, at inaasahan namin na ang mga plataporma ng Partido Liberal ang kanyang isusulong at kanyang ie-endorse ang isang kandidato mula sa Partido Liberal," Drilon said.

Some LP members is rooting for Interior and Local Government Mar Roxas as party's standard bearer in the 2016 presidential race.

Roxas, who has yet to publicly announce his intention to run in 2016, lost to Binay in the May 2010 polls.


MANILA STANDARD

Noy to Poe: Get ready By Macon Ramos-Araneta, Sandy Araneta | Jun. 11, 2015 at 12:01am


After the second meeting, Poe said it was clear to her that the President was actively looking for candidates to support in the 2106 elections.

PRESIDENT Benigno Aquino III met a second time with Senator Grace Poe in Malacañang Wednesday, but the senator said there was as yet no offer to her to be the running mate of Interior Secretary Manuel Roxas II, the presumptive presidential candidate of the ruling Liberal Party in 2016.

“The President did not say that I should be in tandem with this or that I should do that,” said Poe after the meeting. “It’s just that I should be ready, if ever, to continue his good governance.”

Poe said the President described Roxas as a good person who had the potential to continue his reforms. She said the President told her he had confidence in Roxas.

After the second meeting, Poe said it was clear to her that the President was actively looking for candidates to support in the 2106 elections.

“He has a list of those capable (to run). I can’t say that it is only me. He will also talk to Senator [Francis] Escudero. He mentioned it. It is clear to me that I’m not the only one on the list. There are others. I’m not the only one.”

But Poe said if she were to seek higher office, she would be more comfortable running with Escudero.

Both senators have been coy about their plans for next year’s elections.

Escudero, who supports the administration, said he has no political party with the resources to launch a national campaign.

In 2013, Poe and Escudero ran as independents, but won the first and fourth top spot, respectively, in the senatorial races.

Poe said she told the President she would remain an independent.

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“He didn’t contradict me when I told him I prefer to remain independent. It’s not good that before elections, you would change your party. And he understood it. He also explained the stance of the Liberal Party that it has a process of selection. And I’m thankful for his fairness. He did not force me [and say] this should be your party,” Poe said.

Poe said the President asked how she was doing after critics questioned her qualifications to run for president.

They also discussed the President’s programs and policies, such as poverty alleviation and support for agriculture, Poe said.

She also said the President invited her to attend and observe his meetings.

The President’s spokesman, Edwin Lacierda, was clueless about the meeting with Poe.

“We’ll verify. I have a schedule. It doesn’t state in the schedule of whether there is a meeting or not with Senator Grace Poe,” Lacierda said.

“If it happens, it happens, but the schedule doesn’t say that. I think the MPC (Malacañang Press Corps) was furnished a copy of the schedule. So, as far as I know, there is no scheduled meeting with Grace Poe. But if there is one, I’m sure all of us will know,” he added.

In May, Aquino met with Poe, triggering speculation that she was being invited to run for higher office under the Liberal Party banner.

Aquino at the time said Poe had the characteristics of a successor who can continue his reform agenda and preserve the gains of his administration.

“We have worked hard to bring the country to where we are now – we have invested blood, sweat and tears. These accomplishments have to be made permanent,” the President said in an interview with Bombo Radyo.

The Liberal Party is expected to announce its standard bearer for the 2016 elections right after Aquino’s State of the Nation Address in July.

Aquino had earlier said that Roxas is on the top of his list in the LP, as his candidate for president. However, he said this would still be discussed within the LP before any decision is made.

Roxas, who was set to run for president in 2010, stepped aside and ran as Aquino’s running mate instead, but loss the race for the vice presidency to Vice President Jejomar Binay, who plans to run for president next year.


MANILA STANDARD

Presidency not to be desired, says Grace Poe By Macon Ramos-Araneta, Rey E. Requejo | Jun. 12, 2015 at 12:01am


Open forum. Senator Grace Poe answers questions from members of the Rotary Club of Manila and its guests during yesterday’s Journalism Awards, as RCM president Frank Evaristo and US Ambassador Philip Goldberg listen. EY ACASIO

SENATOR Grace Poe said Thursday that the presidency was a privilege, but it “it’s abnormal for anyone to desire it.”

“It’s a big challenge. Six years of their life almost being in a convent. You always have to be detached in a way, but also immersed at the same time. It’s not easy,” said Poe when questioned about her plans for the 2016 elections.

“I’m sorry if at this time, this is still my answer. I have no advertisement, I am not fishing for anything. I’m still doing my job,” said Poe, who has been placing strongly in recent opinion polls about the 2016 presidential and vice presidential elections.

At a forum following the 2015 Rotary Club of Manila Journalism Awards ceremony at the New World Hotel in Makati, Poe also apologized to the people who were pushing her to run.

“I’ sorry to disappoint you at this juncture, but I still have a lot to consider. I know some people are saying I’m playing hard to get, but this is nota n easy decision to make,” Poe said.

She conceded she neither had the machinery nor the money to run for president or vice president.

Poe said she was interested in applying approaches that worked in Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand in the Philippines, but these did not comprise a full program of government.

“Am I ready? Not yet because by the time that I announce [that I’m running], I’d like to have a complete program of government that the people can use as a basis to determine if I’m worthy or not,” she said.

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She said declaring that she would run at this point would be reverting to “personality politics.”

Poe also took a swipe at her detractors for questioning her eligibility to run for president in 2016, saying this brought the issue to the consciousness of the people, and gave her the opportunity to address them.

Poe asserted that she is a Filipino citizen and is qualified to run for President or Vice President, despite assertions by the acting president of the opposition United Nationalist Alliance that she would fail to make the 10-year residency requirement next year.

But some law experts on Thursday maintained that Poe’s travel records showing she used her American passport until 2009 reinforced her ineligibility to seek higher office in 2016.

Former law deans Pacifico Agabin and Amado Valdez said the claim of Poe that she has been a resident of the country since 2006 appears to be untruthful based on immigration records earlier reported in the media.

Agabin and Valdez argued that the computation on Poe’s residency in the Philippines should commence in 2010, when she renounced her American citizenship, upon accepting her appointment as Movie and Television Review and Classification Board (MTRCB) chairwoman.

“Her residency presumably started in 2010 upon renunciation of her US citizenship,” Agabin said, in a text message when sought for comment on the issue.

Agabin emphasized that Poe’s use of her US passport during her trips to the Philippines could be indicative of her desire at the time to permanently reside in the US.

Valdez shared with Agabin’s opinion, saying the travel records could destroy the credibility of Poe’s claims on her residency.

“These (Immigration) records would prove she is not qualified as per her residency status,” Valdez said.

Valdez said Poe actually renounced her Filipino citizenship when she moved to the US and acquired citizenship there.

“She lost her residency in the Philippines when she established permanent residence in the US,” he added.

To become a US citizen, one must declare under oath that he or she “absolutely and entirely renounces and abjures all allegiance and fidelity” to one’s former country.

In the same oath, one even has to vow to bear arms on behalf of the United States.

Poe’s use of a US passport as late as 2010 was indicative that she did not consider the Philippines her domicile, Valdez said.

This is because when she traveled using a US passport, the assumption was that she intended to return to her do domicle in the United States, not in the Philippines.

Valdez said because of her reported travel records, Poe “may have lost her opportunity to shed light on her residency issue herself.”

University of the Philippines law professor Harry Roque pointed out that the travel records could be proof that she lied in her certificate of candidacy in the 2013 senatorial polls where she claimed to be a resident of the country for over six years at that time.

“From 2010 when she renounced her US citizenship, she was only a resident for three years in “These (travel) records only show that she had chosen the US as her domicile. She cannot just claim longer residency to again qualify for election,” Roque added.

All three law experts reiterated that this 10-year residency rule should be followed because it was explicitly stated in the Constitution.

They added that animus revertendi or intent to return doctrine was “a legal fiction.”

Reports said that based on immigration logs, Poe had travelled to and from the Philippines at least 21 times using her US passport.

Arrival logs reportedly showed Poe arriving in the Philippines using a US passport on Nov. 9, 2003; Dec. 13, 2004; in September 2005; March 11, 2006; July 5, 2006; July 23, 2007; Oct. 5, 2008; May 21,2009; and Aug. 3, 2009.

Poe also used her US passport for her departures on July 2, 2006; July 26, 2006; Sept. 11, 2006; Nov. 1, 2006; Oct. 31, 2007; April 20, 2009; July 31, 2009 and Dec. 27, 2009, aboard Philippine Airlines Flight 112.

The Bureau of Immigration has refused to confirm or deny the authenticity of the reported records, saying that journalists inquiring about the issue were not “concerned parties” and that Poe’s travel records are “not being checked.”

Poe, a foundling legally adopted by movie stars Fernando Poe Jr. and Susan Roces, was born and raised in the Philippines but later moved to the US to finish her undergraduate studies and eventually worked there.

She only decided to return to the Philippines after her father died in 2004. She later renounced her US citizenship so she could be appointed in the Philippines as MTRCB chair in 2010.

Another report, however, said her renunciation of US citizenship only became official in 2012, citing federal documents.


MANILA STANDARD

Noy: No Binay for me, but will talk to Chiz about his 2016 plans By Sandy Araneta | Jun. 12, 2015 at 12:01am


PRESIDENT Benigno Aquino III

PRESIDENT Benigno Aquino III said Thursday he will not endorse Vice President Jejomar Binay in next year’s presidential elections, but said he would talk to Senator Francis Escudero about his plans for 2016.

In Iloilo for the Independence Day celebration, Aquino reacted to Binay’s statement Wednesday that he was still hoping to receive the President’s endorsement for next year’s election.

In a press briefing, Aquino said he did not believe Binay was serious, and pointed out that they have been on different sides of the political fence since the 2010 elections.

He also confirmed that he had met independent Senator Grace Poe on Wednesday about the need for the next president to continue his administration’s straight path policy.

The Palace has kept the President’s meetings with possible presidential contenders under wraps.

Although he has said Interior Secretary Manuel Roxas II is on top of his list, Aquino has also been scouting for other candidates that he might endorse for president or vice president.

“Hahanapin ko rin ‘yung kumpare kong si Chiz Escudero next week, kailangan ko rin naman siyang makausap (I will find my good friend [Francis] Escudero next week. We need to talk to him),” said Aquino.

Aquino said after the process of talking to all possible contenders is done, he will make his position clear to all parties concerned after his last State of the Nation Address.

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“I have a role in a personal capacity, I also have a role as a head of a coalition of so many different parties that one would want to preserve... So I cannot speak out of turn. I would like to give due respect to all the parties concerned whether as individuals or even as formal political parties that we conclude our discussions before making our own announcement,” Aquino said.

Earlier, Aquino said Roxas was on top of his list of possible presidential candidates for 2016. from the Liberal Party.

Roxas, who has fared poorly in most opinion polls, has yet to announce if he will run for president next year.

Budget Secretary Florencio Abad, also an LP member and Aquino’s senior political adviser, said the President has given LP members the go-signal to go all out in supporting Roxas in his expected run for the 2016 elections.

Liberal Party vice chairman, Senate President Franklin Drilon, said Aquino will not endorse a candidate from outside the party, even though he had met twice with independent Senator Grace Poe.

“I think it’s just wishful thinking, and it will not happen that the President will endorse a candidate who is not from Liberal Party,” said Drilon,

Aquino had earlier said he will announce the party’s presidential ticket after he delivers his last State of the Nation Address on July 27.

“The President said he would announce his endorsement, and for now, let it stand that way,” said Drilon, who said he didn’t know what transpired during Aquino’s meeting with Poe at the Palace Wednesday.

Poe confirmed to reporters her second meeting with the President, but said no offer was made for her to run either for president or vice president.

But Poe said it was clear to her that Aquino is pursuing candidates whom he will support in the upcoming elections.

Poe, the No. 1 senator in the last elections, is also doing well in election surveys for the voters’ preference for the next president and vice president.

During Aquino’s first meeting with Poe, the President told the senator the LP is looking for an “alternative candidate” who can continue his straight path program and his campaign against corruption.

Asked to comment on Drilon’s statement Thursday, Poe said: “If they are not open to a non-LP member, that’s their policy.”

When pressed if her being an independent candidate was non-negotiable, Poe said she felt her independence allowed her to take certain positions without being constrained by a particular party.

“I think that our countrymen will appreciate it more if you maintain your independence. At this point, I think it’s too politically expedient just for the upcoming elections to swear in to a particular party,” she added.

Former senator Panfilo Lacson, who also has expressed his presidential ambitions, said the LP should not look at its members exclusively. – With Macon Ramos-Araneta


FLASHBACK: RAPPLER.COM

How Team PNoy ran its 2013 campaign by Natashya Gutierrez Posted on 05/10/2013 4:08 AM | Updated 05/11/2013 2:02 PM

MANILA, Philippines - On Oct 12, 2012, President Benigno Aquino III took the stage at Club Filipino's Kalayaan Hall to present the administration's senatorial slate. It was the same venue where he announced his presidential bid in 2009, and where his mother, the late Corazon Aquino, took her oath as president in February 1986.

Inside the room were some of the country's most powerful government officials, politicians, familiar faces of campaigns past. Some were former political rivals, others were longtime allies -- but that day, all of them were partners.

Behind the President, sitting on stage, were 12 individuals decked in various colors -- red, white, yellow, green -- from 5 different parties, each one handpicked by Aquino and his team. Aquino introduced his rainbow coalition as an alliance with a common goal.

"Silang labindalawa po ang kumakatawan sa alyansang LP, Akbayan, NPC (Nationalist People's Coalition), NP (Nacionalista Party), LDP (Laban ng Demokratikong Pilipino). Sila ang rumesponde sa panawagan nating magbuo ng samahan ng mga pareho ang paniniwala, at nangangakong itataguyod ang agenda ng mabuting pamamahala," he said. "Labindalawa po silang pinili mula sa unang listahan ng 40," he said.

(They are the 12 who make up the coalition of LP, Akbayan, NPC, NP, LDP. They are the ones who responded to our call to form a group with the same beliefs, and promised to continue our agenda of good governance. They are the 12 chosen from a list of 40).


At Club Pilipino Kalayaan Hall ---ONE TEAM. President Benigno Aquino III endorses his senatorial slate, Team PNoy. Photo by Rappler

CONTINUE READING...
The group of 12, with the President smack in the middle, held hands and raised each other's arms -- a coalition, it appeared, tightly united.

The formation of the alliance was not entirely painless.

Every Monday, starting in 2012 and leading up to the 2013 campaign period, a core group of some of the President's trusted men would gather to discuss the pending midterm elections.

Together, they dissected, debated and determined the intricacies of messaging and strategy, selected the candidates, and negotiated with the parties that ultimately created the administration's coalition.

Core group


WHO'S BALIMBING? A day after he was criticized for being a turncoat, Team PNoy campaign manager Franklin Drilon defended himself and his past alliance with former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. Drilon said he left former president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo when she was at the height of her power. File photo by Natashya Gutierrez. RAPPLER.COM Posted on 03/04/2013 4:34 PM | Updated 03/04/2013 4:49 PM

The core group was assigned specific tasks by Aquino.

Interior Secretary and LP president-on-leave Mar Roxas was tasked to oversee both the senatorial and local races.

For the senatorial slate, LP vice chair turned campaign manager Franklin Drilon called the shots, while LP secretary-general and 1st district Western Samar Rep Mel Sarmiento primarily handled the local campaigns.

Budget Secretary Florencio Abad, in his own words, also helped with "firefighting… and shuttle diplomacy work," while acting party president and Transportation Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya said he helped with the local bets and in "filling in the gaps."

This was the main group that did the decision making, a process which, they said, was relatively easy, or in Abaya's words, "collegial."

But the planning did slow down when it came to picking the bets, according to Abad.

When it was time to form the senatorial slate, a coalition with the NP and the NPC was a natural choice.

Abad said there was already "a foundation to it," with most of the bets having allied with Aquino in legislative battles. That way, the ruling party "did not have to dangle pork barrel," he said, with the parties openly "adhering to his leadership."

The first order of business was to sit down with the NPC, the ruling party's biggest ally.

Negotiations, headed by Roxas, were surprisingly efficient, and revolved mostly around local races and expectations in contentious places.

"There were only few things to negotiate because our meetings with NPC were time invested. We identified each district [and] the official candidates… and the free zones," Abaya said. "In fact they readily accepted when we asked for free zones."

Free zones are localities where parties that are coalesced at the national level don't observe the "equity of the incumbent" rule at the local level, and instead field candidates against each other.

The agreement was clear: the NPC would use its strong, local machinery to support the full senatorial slate of the President, while the LP would not field candidates in areas where there were incumbent NPC officials, except in free zones. In these places, NPC also agreed to the LP's stance that Aquino be allowed to endorse his LP candidates.

"They accepted that. So it wasn't that difficult for Mar," Abaya concluded.

The agreement later paved the way for topnotcher Sen Loren Legarda of NPC joining the President's slate.

After the NPC, the LP set its sights on NP.

Abad led negotiations with NP, with whom they agreed on the same arrangements of adopting and respecting free zones. Abad agreed there were "certain discomforts" in negotiations, with "awkwardness arising from the 2010 elections."

Talks with NP

The NP, headed by Sen Manny Villar, was a bitter rival of Aquino in the 2010 presidential race.

"You cannot avoid, in elections, raising issues. So you have to smoothen out those kinks for a while," Abad said. "But Senator Villar was very cooperative because that was the past."

From the NP, senators Alan Cayetano and Antonio Trillanes, as well as Sen Villar's wife and former Las Piñas Rep Cynthia joined the list of Aquino's bets.

The 3 parties also agreed that LP would have nothing to do with differences between NPC and NP. The two did not have an alliance with each other.

With the two parties in the bag, the LP then moved on to woo other candidates, some of whom Aquino had obviously favored as early as the first quarter of 2012 and brought with him around the country -- namely Akbayan Rep Risa Hontiveros and Aurora Rep Sonny Angara.

Also joining the slate were popular independent candidate Sen Chiz Escudero, former censors chief and Aquino appointee Grace Poe, and Sen Koko Pimentel of PDP-Laban who bolted the opposition United Nationalist Alliance after it welcomed his bitter political rival, former senator Miguel Zubiri.

And in a move surprising to some, the LP only fielded 3 of its own -- newly sworn members Jamby Madrigal, a former senator, and presidential cousin and social entrepreneur Bam Aquino.

The party also tapped 5-year-retired former senator Jun Magsaysay.

While there was some disagreement about the low number of LP members the slate was ultimately fielding -- especially given the President's popularity -- most were of the same thought: regardless of the party, they needed people who would support Aquino's reforms in the next 3 years.

The winnability of the candidates was also a consideration, "paramount as values," said Abad, ultimately leading to only 3 LP bets who fit the bill.

The product was the coalition Aquino presented in Club Filipino, his hodgepodge of a slate: Team PNoy.

President's team

The idea to ingrain the President so deeply into the campaign was a consensus among the decision-makers, and one approved heartily by Aquino.

By the end of 2012, the branding was crystal clear.

"There was no doubt. Everybody agreed that the main asset of the campaign is the president that’s why 'Team PNoy,'" Abad explained. "The overarching message is tuwid na daan (straight and narrow path). And that is captured by the face of the President."

Drilon said Aquino appearing in ads and endorsing his slate in numerous sorties throughout the campaign period was a given, a "package," he said, that the LP group came up with in meetings.

"We reviewed it with the President and he cleared it. He knew that he was going to put his political capital on the line and he was willing to do it. And he knew that there was so much at stake and on his administration," Drilon said.

With the branding all set, the group went right to work.

Consultations with advertising agencies and marketing personalities followed suit, including talks with Tourism Sec Mon Jimenez who was a prominent executive in the advertising industry before he was asked to join the Cabinet. Jimenez shared his input on messaging and what resonated with the public.

By the end of January, Team PNoy aired its first ad.


TUWID NA DAAN. The first television ad of Team PNoy used President Benigno Aquino's voice. SCREENSHOT of the Team PNoy TV commercial

In it, the President doesn't appear but his voice plays throughout the ad endorsing his 12 chosen ones, and hammer home a message: this is the team that will follow his straight and narrow path. He also warns of others who claim to be on his side but are only pretending.

The message of the first ad encapsulated the main message of the campaign. It banked on the popularity of the President -- who enjoys a high 72% trust rating. It also slammed UNA for supporting Aquino but deciding to run against his slate.

It was the same message echoed in sorties throughout the country.

"On the first day of the campaign, I said they are the opposition, we are the administration. If you’d look back, that strategy is deliberate," Drilon said.

Use of surveys

Once the campaign was in full swing, group meetings became less regular and were instead scheduled when necessary. Sometimes, the President himself would call for a meeting especially to discuss the senatorial race.

Text blasts and emails were common to alert the group of important events of the day, and to discuss important issues. Phone lines were constantly open, and encouraged free flowing correspondence.

Initially planning to capitalize on media knowing its huge impact among Filipino voters, Drilon was forced to adjust the campaign's strategy after the Supreme Court instituted airtime limits on national candidates in January, and prohibited them from going beyond 120 minutes on all TV stations, and 180 minutes in radio stations.

Aside from media, making sure bets appeared on stage with the President became Drilon's focus.

Drilon arranged rallies and sorties every week that allowed the exposure of the slate alongside Aquino. Aside from vote-rich provinces, the coalition also made stops in areas where the President's bets -- both national and local -- needed an extra push.

Abad said the LP also lent "key personalities" to endorse candidates in specific places where they were extra influential, such as Roxas in Western Visayas and the Osmeñas in Cebu.

Provincial visits were coupled with radio guestings to let the voters know the candidates were there in their area -- knowing that only a small percent of the population attends sorties.

But one thing Abad said was distinct about the 2013 elections was the "increasing use of surveys" to "manage the campaign better and ensure victory with the use of empirical data."

The coalition tapped the expertise of Sen Serge Osmeña, who helped analyze and structure survey questions. They studied national surveys, as well as used in-house polls, to study not just how their candidates were faring but to look at the opposition's trends as well. They studied areas of strength and weakness, candidates' awareness levels, voters' demographics and details to strengthen the campaign.

A steady stream of finances from donors and supporters was also helpful -- with cash not being much of a problem.

"The traditional sources of support, they are very happy," Abad explained, saying those who invested at the start of Aquino's presidency has since doubled their money.

"[It] is not just politics, it’s also economics. If I am a businessman, and this government is not a corrupt government and in fact it is expanding my opportunities for growth… it’s a matter of obligation. I want to grow further," he said.

By March, surveys showed a 9-3 win in favor of Team PNoy, a rise from 7-5 the month before.

The prediction has remained constant throughout, up to the very last Social Weather Stations survey released less than a week before the elections.

Shaping senators

Aside from scheduling sorties, rallies and interviews, candidates were also offered resources in the form of survey analyses and advice. Assistance in conceptualizing ads, especially with the president, were also available.

For sorties, Team PNoy provided the plane ticket and accommodation of the candidate plus one aide.

Ultimately, Drilon said it was the bets' decision whether they would take their help or leave it.

"At the end of the day, you have to respect the decision of the candidate because their lives are on the line and not you. You can only offer to assist, to arrange things… The reality out there is 'I make my own judgment where I will benefit best in a situation like this,'" he said.


WATCHING THE SENATORS. Sen Franklin Drilon has offered advice to the senatorial slate throughout the campaign as Team PNoy's campaign manager. Photo by Rappler.

A veteran campaigner and a meticulous observer, Drilon spent the first two weeks listening and scrutinizing his bets on stage. From his observations, he suggested improvements in strategies, tweaking of messages, and better presentation techniques. He met with campaign managers of his bets and suggested ways to improve, even recommendations on how to deal with controversies, but was "careful not to impose."

His main advice? Consistency.

"[I tell the bets], before you go out there, you must figure out studies and surveys and what you identify with," he said, citing Legarda and Cayetano as prime examples of campaigns that stick to one message.

He pointed to Angara as someone who needed to adjust.

"In the case of Sonny Angara, he has too many areas being covered and he starts with Sarah Geronimo and Coco Martin. Then he talks about senior citizens. I told him, 'Your survey shows that you’re identified with education, stick with it.' I tell them that. Whether he accept it, it’s his decision," he said.

While each candidate had their own team working on their image, he said all were guided by the basic guideline of presenting the candidate as a supporter of Aquino and his straight and narrow path.

Drilon admitted "there is competition especially on top," but said the campaign has been largely smooth sailing. The difficult part, he said, has been mostly at the local level.

Local help

Aside from LP Sec-Gen Sarmiento, Deputy majority leader Neptali Gonzales and House speaker Sonny Belmonte played a huge part in sorting out coalitions on the local level.

Much work was done in making sure the coalition stayed as smooth as possible on the local level but despite the agreement between the parties on the national level, complications have been evident locally, with NPC provincial leaders flatly announcing they would not support the full slate of the President.

The LP, they said, did not fulfill its end of the deal and fielded candidates against their incumbent officials.

It's unfortunate, but expected, the LP stalwarts agree -- knowing the factors that influence the local races are much different from the Senate race.

Abaya said there has not seen special efforts to try to convince local NPC officials to change their mind, but instead they leave them alone.

"At the end of the day I don’t expect everybody to be true to their words so that’s just the name of the game," he said. "They have their own goals in life and missions in life and it’s just maybe a futile exercise at the end of the day."

He also pointed out that the LP will assess those who were true to their word, and with another 3 years for Aquino, "it's their relationship [with him that] they have to take care of."

Abaya said it has been "quite difficult" for LP's bets as well, "because there are some of our candidates who are of the old mindset… that if you are an incumbent, the police force, the Comelec (Commission on Elections), the teachers, the prosecutors should be with you."

Such an expectation is far from reality under the President, Abaya said, and a challenge for those used to that treatment.

Instead, the LP provides what it can to their bets. They help raise funds for operational expenses of local bets, and poll watching. In big provinces like Cebu and Iloilo, they help find funding for ads, as well as funding for house-to-house visits in smaller places.

But it is largely Aquino's influence and endorsement that forms the main part of their strategy on the local front -- with the President visiting important local areas one, two, even 3 times to campaign for LP's bets.


LOCAL PUSH. Liberal Party (LP) chairman President Benigno S. Aquino III proclaim LP gubernatorial candidate Cavite 3rd District Representative Erineo “Ayong” Maliksi and running mate Ronald Jay Lacson, during the Proclamation of Cavite LP Candidates at the Apostle Arsenio Ferriol Complex, Maranatha Christian Academy, Barangay Malagasang II-D in Imus City, Cavite on Monday (September 24, 2012). Liberal Party was founded on January 19, 1946 by Manuel Roxas, the first President of the Third Philippine Republic. (Photo by: Gil Nartea/ Malacañang Photo Bureau)

This is most important in 8 provinces tagged by the LP as battlegrounds, or places where the party is pushing hard for their bets to unseat an incumbent from a different party: Cebu, Cavite, Laguna, Quezon, Negros Oriental, Pangasinan, Zamboanga del Norte and Pampanga.

Aside from these provinces, Abaya also pointed to the importance of an LP victory in Manila's mayoral race -- between LP bet and incumbent Alfredo Lim and former President Joseph Estrada -- as well as Maguindanao between LP's incumbent governor Toto Mangundadatu and Mayor Tucao Mastura of Sultan Kudarat.

Eyes on the prize

On the campaign trail, Aquino faithfully fulfilled his duty of endorsing his slate, rain or shine. He campaigned even when he was sick, appeared in rallies even while violence in Sabah continued, and visited areas in the country never before visited by a president -- making a historic stop in Buluan City, Maguindanao.

His significant efforts reflect what the party believes is at stake. Aquino's involvement has been extraordinary, because his presidency, his team believes, has also been unusual.

"I’ve never seen a president so engaged in an election. That’s why it’s really Team P-Noy because you really have the president taking care of his candidates," Abad said.

But it isn't unexpected.

The LP has repeatedly said the elections will serve as referendum on Aquino's leadership, hence the hard sell for a 12-0 victory.

"[Aquino] realizes the statement will be made by the results of the election, and the thing is you want to be able to sustain the reforms and hopefully make them institutionalized and therefore irreversible," Abad said, emphasizing the need to create policies in Aquino's last 3 years.

He cited the administration's "critical battles" like the passage of the sin tax bill, the reproductive health law and the impeachment of chief justice Renato Corona, and said "there are many more fights of that nature as you address problems that have deep historical and structural roots."

Among the reforms Aquino is still eyeing include the challenge of job generation along with the economic growth, expanding the revenue base, eradicating smuggling and the peace process in Mindanao.

"This is no easy task, so he has to have the support both from the House and Senate to be able to give flesh to whatever final framework or peace agreement. This is an example as to why we needed to have majority from both Houses sympathetic to the President because these are agenda items that need support," Drilon explained.

Satisfied

The stalwarts are happy with the way they have run the campaign.

Aside from its more organized nature compared to 2010, Drilon said it has been easier in the sense that Aquino is "very popular." Surveys, he said, indicate people don't mind the President's decision to go out of his way to campaign.

"I think I understand why UNA is surprised at the involvement of the President in the campaign," he said.

Abad too is satisfied. Aside from what he believes has been a strong campaign, he said UNA's weak messaging has helped them.


ALL OUT. President Benigno Aquino III frequently campaigned across the country to endorse his senatorial slate. File photo by Malacañang Photo Bureau

"We are a presidential system and it’s always going to be a bipolar fight. The incumbent versus the opposition.

So if you are an incumbent as we are, we are able to define ourselves very sharply. The problem of UNA is it has not. It cannot be a clear alternative to the administration and that is their undoing fundamentally," Abad said. (Read: UNA: The opposition that's not quite)

He said UNA's "fundamental weakness," is that Vice President Jejomar Binay, the symbol of their coalition, is a member of Aquino's Cabinet.

LP also showed little concern about the possibility of their current allies turning against the ruling party once in power, especially in the lead up to the 2016 presidential elections. Confident of the popularity of the President and the reforms yet to come in the next 3 years, Abad expressed trust the support would keep flowing.

"2016 is 3 years away and as they say 3 years in politics is a long time. But one thing you can be sure of and this has been proven historically… is if the President becomes hugely successful, by the time he ends his term, we believe that our people will turn to him and say, Mr. President, who do you think should be next? And I think he would have a huge influence in deciding who should be next," he said.

But the first decision that looms isn't 3 years away, nor several months away. It's two days away, when the country's 52 million registered voters go to the polls on May 13.

They will need to decide whether the President has proven himself in the past 3 years, and whether the arms he has lifted in the campaign, are indeed worth their trust. - Rappler.com

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THE WINNING SENATORS IN 2013 ELECTIONS

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FLASHBACK CONTINUES: GMA NEWS NETWORK

Money politics and the May 2013 elections ‘High rollers’ rule Senate donors, give P795-M in campaign funds By CONG B. CORRALES, ED LINGAO, and EDZ D. DELA CRUZ, Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism October 3, 2013 7:40am

Last of Three Parts

While most of the tycoons who bankrolled candidates and political parties in the 2010 Presidential elections were curiously absent, the 2013 midterm elections still had high-roller donors who accounted for the bulk of the campaign donations made to the 12 winning senatorial candidates and their political parties.

Only 2,368 donors – 2,174 persons and 194 corporations – contributed the P1.69 billion that went to the campaign purses of the 12 winning senatorial candidates and their political parties, according to the Statements of Election Contributions and Expenditures (SOCEs) submitted to the Commission on Elections (Comelec).

Of the total contributors, only 421 comprise what could be called the “Millionaires Club” who gave P1 million to P4.9 million each.

At the top rung of the money pyramid, however, is the “High Rollers Club” of only 90 donors. They contributed at least P5 million to at most P63.2 million to their favored candidates and political parties.

In contrast, what might be called the “Taumbayan” category, or those who donated from P500 to less than a million constituted 78.4 percent of total donors. This large group, however, accounted for less than 13 percent of total donations, or only P223.9 million.

This situation indicates that while elections are supposed to be an exercise in representative democracy, only a select few really bother to gamble – and gamble big – in those who offer themselves in elections. More importantly, this also means that those who run and win in the elections now tend to owe more and more to fewer and fewer people.

Granting that the SOCEs filed by the winning senatorial candidates are accurate, it appears that only a handful of the 52,745,861 registered voters believed in their candidates enough to make a donation to the campaign.

In fact, only 10 individual donors account for P315.8 M or 18.6 percent of the total contributions the winning senatorial candidates and their political parties received in May 2013.

“A donation to a political campaign is really a bet on a candidate that you think is deserving of that position,” says Comelec Commissioner Luie Tito Guia. Unfortunately, he says, many Filipinos are averse to the idea of donating to a candidate’s political campaign. This leaves the door wide open for other political or economic interests to take over in the competition to be heard and represented.

“People here see elections differently, they have such a cynical view of the elections and the political process,” Guia says. “That view is that politics is only for the politician. They do not see the relationship of the elections to their daily lives.”

Millionaires and others

For purposes of this research, and to better illustrate the profile of those who gave money and services to the campaign, PCIJ classified the individuals who donated P1 million up to P4.9 million under The Millionaires’ Club, while the High Rollers gave P5 million and higher. The Taumbayan category is composed of those who gave less than a million.

Interestingly, the Millionaires’ Club, or those who gave from P1 million to P4.9 million, makes up 17 percent or 421 of the total donors.

This small percentage -- only around one out of every six donors -- gave 39.7 percent or P671.4 million of all the donations to the political parties and the winning candidates.

The even more elite group of High Rollers, or those who could afford to give P5 million or more, shows the disparity in even starker relief. The High Rollers are composed of 90 individuals or entities, or just 3.8 percent of the total donors. But this tiny group donated almost half or P795.2 million of the total amount given to the winners and their parties.

In contrast, those in the Taumbayan category, or donors who could afford to give less than a million, account for eight out of every 10 campaign fund contributors, or 78.4 percent of the total. Yet this large group raised only P223.9 million, or roughly P13 out of every P100 donated in 2013.

“Of course,” says Guia, “the ideal is that small donations are made by more people. The best concept of donations is the piso-piso or pass-the-hat donation, where you see a broader support for one candidate. An election is basically one person, one vote. Theoretically, the boss of the winner is the voter, and all their votes are equal. But the money upsets the balance.”

“It is not farfetched to think that many of those who donate large amounts, the high rollers, want to protect their investments,” he continues. “And conversely, as a candidate, you will have second thoughts about questioning a contributor who gave you a large donation in the elections.”

“That,” says Guia, “is the prevailing perspective of those who donate in elections -- that there is a large expectation of a return of investment.”

Few big, many small donors

Broken down by individual donations to candidates, the numbers show the disparity between the millionaires who gave so much, and the ordinary folk who gave so little.

• Of the 79 individuals who contributed P80 million to the campaign of Joseph Victor Ejercito, seven belonged to the Millionaires’ Club or the High Rollers, while 72 belonged to the Taumbayan. Yet, these seven donors, while constituting just eight percent of the number of individual donors to Ejercito, gave eight out of every 10 pesos (82 percent) of the contributions.

• Of the 58 individual donors who gave P81.6 million to the campaign of Francis Escudero, 32 gave a million pesos or more, making up 55 percent or more than half of his donors. This 55 percent gave up to nine out of every 10 pesos (91 percent) or P74.2 million of his total individual donations.

• Of the 58 individuals who gave P125.4 million to the campaign of Paolo Benigno A. Aquino IV's campaign, 39 donors or 67 percent gave P1 million or higher. These members of the Millionaires’ Club and the High Rollers donated 88.6 percent of the funds reported to have been received by Aquino.

• Of the 35 individual donors who gave P104.5 million to the campaign of Grace Poe- Llamanzares, 32 (or 91 percent) belonged to the Millionaires’ Club and the High Rollers, with their donations totaling P99.2 million or 95 percent of her kitty.

• Alan Peter Cayetano's SOCE recorded 79 donors, with 51 or 64 percent belonging to the Millionaires’ Club or the High Rollers. These 51 donors gave his campaign a total of P110.5 million, or roughly 92 percent of the total donations he received.

• For the campaign of Aquilino Pimentel III, 130 individual donors gave a total of P54.8 million, 74 percent of which was donated by the Millionaires’ Club and the High Rollers, which constituted 17 percent of the donors.

• Loren Legarda’s campaign benefitted from P42.1 million from 17 individual donors, with 13 of the donors, or 76 percent of them, giving P40.6 million or 96 percent of the donations.

• Gregorio Honasan II received P23 million in donations from 29 contributors, 44 percent of them belonging to the Millionaires’ Club, which gave 91 percent, or P21 million of the total.

• Antonio Trillanes IV received P29.5 million in contributions from 73 donors, only 8 of whom belong to the Millionaires’ Club. The Club, making up 11 percent of the Trillanes’s donors, gave 40 percent of the total donations.

• For Juan Edgardo Angara, there were 66 individual donors who gave P92 million. Some 28 percent of the donors belonged to the Millionaires’ Club and the High Rollers, giving 90 percent or P84 million of the total.

• Interestingly, there was only one individual donor who gave to the campaign of Cynthia Villar, in the person of Alex Syfu, who gave P2 million.

• In contrast, 1,225 individuals donated a total of P136.87 million to the campaign of Nancy Binay. Of this number, only 30 individuals gave a million pesos or more, or just two percent of the donors. These 30 individuals gave a total of P58.5 million to the campaign, meaning Binay's millionaires donated 42 percent of her campaign kitty.

Nancy’s small donors

Binay's profile of donors is also of note because of the number of small donations that were recorded in her SOCE, especially when compared to those of other senatorial candidates. While she received one donation of P7 million and two donations of P5 million, she also claimed in her SOCE to have received 25 donations of P500 each, as well as 63 donations of P1,000 each.

By comparison, the smallest donation received by Angara and Pimentel were P5,000 each while the smallest received by Aquino and Cayetano were P10,000 each. The smallest donation received by Ejercito was P50,000. Senator Grace Poe-Llamanzares's smallest donation, meanwhile, was P1,000.

What the numbers show is the preponderance of large donations from the Millionaires’ Club and the High Rollers to the candidates – in some cases constituting up to 100 percent of the total donations received by some of the candidates. While the amounts of money and services donated are not in any way illegal as the country does not have a donation cap, it illustrates how much of the campaign kitties spent by the candidates in the last elections have been cornered by the big donors.

Political party spread

In the United States, the contribution limit set by the U.S. Federal Election Commission in 2013 for individual donations was only $2,600, or roughly P106,600. Furthermore, the U.S. Federal Elections Campaign Act prohibits donations by corporations, labor organizations, federal government contractors, and foreign nationals.

In the Philippines, individuals may donate to either the candidates or the political parties, according to the same election rules. The major political parties that manage to get bigger numbers of their candidates elected tend to attract bigger donations.

A total of 398 individual donors contributed P634,615,606 to the national political parties in May 2013. At least 148 of them, or 69 percent of the donors, donated P1 million and above, earning them a berth in either the Millionaires’ Club or the High Rollers Club. These elite groups gave 96.5 percent of the total contributions to the political parties.

But the bigger political parties got bigger amounts of donations, and mostly from donors who gave P1 million or more.

The donations to the Pwersa ng Masang Pilipino (PMP) of deposed President and now Manila Mayor Joseph ‘Erap’ Estrada – who has projected a pro-poor image of himself since his days as a movie action star – came entirely from donors belonging to the Millionaires’ Club and the High Rollers. The P40.5 million in individual donations to the PMP came from just 15 donors who each gave P1 million or more to Estrada’s party.

Not to be outdone, 99 percent of the individual donations to the Nationalist People’s Coalition (NPC) of businessman Eduardo ‘Danding’ Cojuangco Jr. came from the Millionaires’ Club and the High Rollers, too. In fact, NPC had only four individual donors who contributed a total of P31.6 million of the P31.8 million that the party received in May 2013.

UNA, LP: Same, same

The opposition United Nationalist Alliance (UNA), meanwhile, received P72.75 million in donations from 57 contributors. Twenty-two donors who gave P1 million or more account for 97.5 percent of the total contributions.

The administration Liberal Party was not far behind, with 71 individual donors giving a total of P177.2 million to it. Of these 71 donors, 51 gave P1 million or more each, or a total P169.7 million – 95 percent of the total donations received by the party.

The Laban ng Demokratikong Pilipino (LDP), allied with the administration in the last elections, received P34.79 million from 31 donors, with 12 donors giving at least P1 million each or 91 percent of the total donation.

In stark contrast, former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo’s Lakas-Christian Muslim Democrats (Lakas-CMD) party, which used to lord it over Congress when she was still in power, said it received only P395,000 in donations, a startling claim for a party that held the reins of power for nine years. Interestingly, too, the party’s SOCE identified the donors only as “Lakas- CMD members” instead of identifying them by name as required by law.

Other political parties also reported little or no donations: the Kilusang Bagong Lipunan, the old party of deposed President Ferdinand Marcos, said it got no donations at all, as did the PDP- Laban and the Social Justice Society. The Partido Lakas ng Masa said it received P820,000 from senatorial candidate Ricardo Penson (who ran as an independent candidate), while the Centrist Democratic Party and Ang Kapatiran claimed they received only P305,000 and P290,000 respectively.

Manny’s millions

When it comes to individual donors, by far the biggest donation made by a private person to any of the senatorial candidates or parties was by Manuel Villar Jr. to his Nacionalista Party: P63.2 million. Villar also contributed an additional P10 million to the campaign of Alan Peter Cayetano.

Other high rollers include:

• Former Senator Edgardo J. Angara, who donated P40 million to the campaign of his son Juan Edgardo ‘Sonny’ M. Angara.

• Alice G. Eduardo, who donated P25 million to the NPC. Eduardo is also head and chief executive officer of the construction firm Sta. Elena Development Corporation.

• Jorge I. Araneta, chairperson of the Araneta Group of Companies, who gave P25 million to the Liberal Party.

• Plastics tycoon William T. Gatchalian, who contributed P20.9 million to the campaign of UNA. Gatchalian also contributed another P10 million to Estrada’s PMP party.

• Jose Go Ranola, of Legazpi Premium Development Corp. based in Albay, who donated P20 million to the campaign of Joseph Victor Gomez Ejercito. His mother Guia Gomez also contributed another P20 million to Ejercito’s campaign.

• Judy Araneta Roxas, mother of Liberal Party stalwart Manuel ‘Mar’ Roxas II, who gave P20 million to the Liberal Party.

• Business tycoon Iñigo Urquijo Zobel, who donated P15 million to the campaign of JV Ejercito. Zobel is also the president of AirPhil Express, a budget airline company.

Grace Poe-Llamanzares also received P18.2 million from the movie production outfit of her late father Fernando Poe Jr., FPJ Productions. Another P17.3 million came from her mother Jesusa Poe, also known as Susan Roces. In addition, Poe-Llamanzares received P10 million each from businessmen John Paul Ang, Edwin Lee Luy, Michael de Leon Escaler, and Thomas Ang Tan.

Paolo Benigno ‘Bam’ Aguirre Aquino received donations of P10 million each from his father Paul Aquino, uncle Agapito Aquino, and mother-in-law Consuelo Gomez.

Francis Escudero received P10 million each from Reynaldo Manalansan, president of Tokwing Construction, and Jose Rizalino Acuzar, head of New San Jose Builders.

UNA received P10 million each from businessmen Eric Ramos Tagle and Juan Tan Ng.

Curiously, none of the top 10 high rollers figure in the top 500 individual taxpayers of the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) from 2008 up to 2011, the latest list available.

“People need to see that they also need to support their candidate, and not leave that candidate to rely on those who have businesses and other interests,” comments Guia. “This way, there is not as much temptation for the politician to favor a businessman.”

Commissioner Christian Robert Lim, head of Comelec’s Campaign Finance Unit Steering Committee, says the fact that big donors have cornered the list of campaign contributions is just a reflection of the kind of patronage politics the country has – that voters do not see politicians as needing their support. Rather, they see politicians as a source of benefits.

“This goes hand in hand with the reason for vote-buying,” Lim says. “Why do many sell their votes? Because vote-buying is getting institutionalized in our culture. The masses feel that it is only during election season that we can get something back from the politician.”

Lawyer Rona Ann Caritos, acting executive director of the Legal Network for Truthful Elections, or LENTE, sees the same problems. She notes, “In patronage politics, you expect the politician to give to you. It is not you the voter who will be giving to the candidate. So the candidate should give you everything, for burial expenses, for school, for roads, for covered courts.”

The ideal, she says, is to democratize the contributions by broadening the support base. For example, she says, one of the techniques used by U.S. President Barack Obama when he ran for reelection was to raise money from ordinary Americans through mobile phone credits. U.S. citizens could simply transfer or donate money to his campaign using their cellphones.

Given the consistent trend of campaign financing in Philippine elections, that idea would almost seem preposterous – even laughable – to Filipinos who, ironically, are already quite familiar with the concept of the pasa-load.

Indeed, it’s hard to imagine having a local candidate ask his supporters for cellphone load – not if the candidate is seen more as a patron and a source of largesse, than a candidate who needs popular and financial support.

Lim, however, offers another scenario: “To me, if you are able to raise contributions in a way that you do not really identify who your contributor is, there would no debt of gratitude on the part of the candidate when he is discharging his functions.” – PCIJ, October 2013

Read Part 1 here: Money politics & the May 2013 elections:Top execs of barred firms funded Senate bets, parties

Read Part 2 here: Poll laws in limbo: Firms can’t donate but owners bankroll bets


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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