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

WATER BILLS: AQUINO SCORED OVER PAYMENT TO FIRMS OF P82.44B TO SETTLE DISPUTE
[The Maynilad had demanded from the government the amount of P3.44 billion while Manila Water asked for P79 billion to recover losses arising from the arbitration controversy following the resolution of their separate arbitration cases stemming from a 2013 rate-setting dispute.]


AUGUST 15 --PNoy and the Big Water monopolies UNblogged Wordpress AN activist group warned President Benigno Aquino III and Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima against paying water firms Maynilad and Manila Water the P82.44 billion they are claiming as compensation on the basis of sovereign guarantees. “The demand for almost P83 billion to cover the water companies projected losses is outrageous and unjust and should be rejected,” said Samuel Gamboa, secretary general of the Freedom from Debt Coalition. “Why should we pay money out of the national coffers to ensure the profits of wealthy corporations when we don’t even have enough for basic social services?” asked Gamboa. The Maynilad had demanded from the government the amount of P3.44 billion while Manila Water asked for P79 billion to recover losses arising from the arbitration controversy following the resolution of their separate arbitration cases stemming from a 2013 rate-setting dispute. “Just to put things in perspective, the money the water companies are asking for is significantly bigger than the Aquino administration’s P53.9-billion 2015 allocation for basic education facilities which includes the construction of 31,728 classrooms and the repair of 9,500 more,” Gamboa said. “It is more than double the P37.1-billion cost of Philhealth premium subsidies which will benefit 15.4-million poor families. Instead of being used to guarantee Maynilad and Manila Water’s profits, we should use the money to fund essential public services so we won’t have to rely on private businesses to provide them,” he added. READ MORE...

ALSO: PNoy urged to see 'sick and frail' Arroyo
[Candaba Mayor Pelayo acknowledged that critics, especially President Aquino, might think Arroyo was just faking her medical condition to gain public sympathy. He insisted this wasn't the case. “That’s why President P-Noy should come over and see for himself (Arroyo’s condition),” he said. “I hope this won’t happen, but let’s not wait till she dies in the hospital.”]


AUGUST 13 --ARROYO QUIETLY SAYING PRAYERS AT BROTHER'S WAKE The figure that emerged from the hospital room that morning was a ghost of her old self. SCREENGRAB FROM ANC NEWS VIDEO
Former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo looked frail, nearly three years of hospital detention taking its toll on her 68-year-old body. Her head movement is limited by muscle spasms triggered by a degenerative neck condition that pinches the nerves and causes intense pain and numbness in her extremities. Turning her head means the body has to follow. Arroyo beamed nonetheless at the sight of loyal supporters who came over, those who had remained by her side all these years, unlike many others who had long gone to the other side of the political fence. “Well, that’s politics,” she said. They might return to the fold, who knows, for there’s clearly no permanent friends nor enemies in politics. But that’s the least of her concerns. Right now, she yearns for relief from intense pain caused by cervical spondylosis, more commonly known as arthritis of the neck. It occurs when a disc in the cervical spine bulges, which could then press on the nerves or the spinal cord. READ MORE...

ALSO: Sen Guingona bats for P-Noy’s programs of “daang matuwid”


AUGUST 12 --GUINGONA
TAGBILARAN CITY – Incumbent Senator TJ Guingona underscored the importance President Benigno S. Aquino’s programs under the “daang matuwid” (straight path) for the next administration to continue. The senator from Bukidnon province arrived here and was welcomed by City Mayor John Geesnell “Baba” Yap II upon his arrival at the city airport and immediately proceeded to the mayors and vice-mayors meeting presided over by Gov. Edgar Chatto held at JJs Seafoods Restaurant in this city yesterday. Today, the senator is expected to be with officials led by Mayor Judith del Rosario-Cajes and Vice-Mayor Frank Gonzales of Trinidad town.His provincial visit, he said, is somehow to feel the pulse of the people and how the projects are being done, he told the media after the meeting.Guingona cited the 4Ps that benefited many poor families in the provinces and urged local leaders to support this. DSWD has said: “The Pantawid Pamilyang Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) is the Aquino administration flagship poverty alleviation program and covers more than 4,400,000 filipino households in 2015. The 4Ps initiated by the DSWD is a program to battle poverty in the countrysides, like in Bohol which has now a total of 60,042 households.” It is also referred to “Conditional Cash Transfer that provides cash grants to the poorest of the poor in the country to relieve them of the problems brought about by their socio-economic status: poor health, malnutrition, and lack of education.” He also cited bottom-up budgeting (BUB) which aims to involve the people in decision-making, saying that the barrio folk know better than the national agencies concerned. It is also referred to Grassroot Participatory Budgeting. READ MORE...

ALSO: 8 mayors quit NPC, sign up as Liberals


AUGUST 17 --SAN FERNANDO CITY, La Union—Eight mayors of the Nationalist Peoples Coalition (NPC) in the first district of La Union and one independent took their oath as members of the Liberal Party (LP) Friday in Candon City, Ilocos Sur.
The defections marked efforts by the ruling Liberals to bolster their numbers ahead of elections next year at the expense of other parties, including its coalition ally, the NPC. They also signaled the vulnerability of the NPC—the second largest political party in the country—to poaching. Rep. Eric Singson, LP regional chairman, led the oathtaking of the mayors led by San Fernando City Mayor Pablo Ortega, who ran as an independent in 2013 after his nomination was blocked by a party official. Bolting the NPC were Balaoan town Mayor Al-Fred Concepcion, Luna Mayor Vic Marron, former Bangar mayor George Pinzon who represented his daughter Mayor Joy Pinzon-Merin and Mayor Wendy Joy Buquing of Sudipen town. The other three mayors who were sworn in as LP members were San Juan Mayor Ruben Valero, Santol Mayor Daisy Sayangda, and San Gabriel Mayor Divina Daligues-Velasco. READ MORE...

ALSO: LP drops Poe, guns for Leni’s ‘yes’


AUGUST 16 --leni mar--Bagay ba sa 2016? Mar Roxas, Leni Robredo spotted together. Is the search for Interior and Local Government Secretary Mar Roxas’ running mate in the 2016 polls finally over? Roxas, the Liberal Party presidential candidate, was spotted together again with Camarines Sur Rep. Leni Robredo, this time attending a friend’s wedding. FROM POLITICO BLOG....
IBERAL Party (LP) stalwarts led by President Benigno Aquino 3rd and members of the Cabinet will fly to Naga City (Camarines Sur) on Tuesday in “full force” to convince Rep. Leni Robredo to be the running mate of Interior Secretary Manuel “Mar” Roxas 2nd, a well-placed source said on Sunday. The source added that Aquino and Roxas’ group will make the “final push” to get Robredo to run for vice president next year after the supposed breakdown of talks with Sen. Grace Poe and Batangas Gov. Vilma Santos-Recto. “They tried Poe, [they got] busted. Then Santos, but she was not interested. They are now placing their last card on Robredo. We can expect an announcement there or soon after,” the source said. “If the President will fly to Naga City, then that’s it. Ask Palace officials,” he added. Palace spokesman Edwin Lacierda confirmed that Aquino will be flying to Naga to attend the commemoration of the third death anniversary of Jesse Robredo, husband of Rep. Robredo. The former Interior secretary died in a plane crash in 2012. When asked if LP leaders have made up their minds on Rep. Robredo to run with Roxas to form the “Ro-Ro” tandem, Lacierda, however, gave a vague response. “The balls are all up in the air,” he said. “The purpose for going there is for the President and Jesse’s fellow Cabinet secretaries to commemorate his death anniversary. How it is viewed by others is entirely up to their interpretation,” the Palace official added. But according to The Manila Times source, the LP has given up hope on Poe agreeing to their terms and run with Roxas. He said Roxas has to find a running mate before the next results of the polls are made public. “They are growing desperate to find a running mate. The tandem must be announced before the third quarter survey,” the source added. READ MORE...

ALSO: Robredo can’t help Roxas – analyst


AUGUST 16 --ROBLEDO 
Camarines Sur Rep. Leni Robredo will not boost the candidacy of Interior Secretary Manuel “Mar” Roxas 2nd even if she is popular among voters, a political analyst said on Sunday.
Prof. Ramon Casiple, Executive Director of the Institute for Political and Electoral Reform (IPER), said the Liberal Party (LP) will not have a difficult time projecting Robredo but the latter will not be able to pull votes for Roxas. Casiple noted that Robredo has a good chance of winning the vice presidential contest but her magic will not rub off on Roxas. “Tandem does not work anymore because voters make their choice based on personality, not based on the political party. This is because of our weak party system,” Casiple told The Manila Times in an interview. The political analyst said Robredo can get huge support from vote-rich Bicol Region but she cannot transfer it to Roxas. “If the LP expects Leni will be a big help for Mar to win the contest, they should forget it,” he added. READ MORE...


ALSO OPINION: To vote or not to vote – that is the question!


AUGUST 17 --By Sara Soliven de Guzman
We are 103,477,469 Filipinos and counting. Only half of the populace voted in 2013. Will more people vote in 2016? This is an important decision for Juan De la Cruz. But Juan De la Cruz up to this point in time is waiting for a messiah to appear, hoping against hope that he or she will fall from the heavens to save our motherland from all the demons surrounding us.
First of all, we need better selection of candidates. It seems that we are locked in and just left with a choice of whether to vote or not to vote. Second, we are not sure of Comelec’s credibility. We are not sure that the system the Chairman has chosen will reflect what the people have voted. Third, we have grown numb from ‘dirty’ politics. Government has not protected us from politics. It has become our worst nightmare. I am not discouraging people from voting. I am a strong believer in everyone’s right to vote. We should all vote. Every citizen must actually be required to vote as he/she is required to pay taxes. The right to vote is a fundamental democratic right which should be protected by the Comelec. Our vote matters. Our voices must be heard. The more votes, the more powerful our message is as a people. Every vote counts. But as the people fall in line to register under the new Comelec program called biometrics, we are once again frustrated. To give you a background on this, Comelec came up with a new policy to establish a clean, complete, permanent and updated list of voters through the mandatory registration process called “biometrics” (Comelec Resolution No. 9853). What exactly is biometrics? When a person applies for registration, his/ her biometrics will be captured digitally. This simply means digital images (or pictures) of his/ her photograph, fingerprints and signature will be taken (or captured) using the Comelec’s Voter Registration Machine (VRM). The VRM is simply a desktop computer, with a digital camera, fingerprint scanner and signature pad attached to it. Biometrics capture becomes possible with the use of this high-tech equipment, and the Voter Registration System (VRS). For the 2016 elections, voters have been required to have their biometrics done or they will not be able to vote. Thousands have flocked to the registration places on scheduled dates. Here’s hoping that many will be able to register. By the way, Comelec should check all the registration areas. It took a friend of mine almost five hours just to register because officials were not trained and lacked information on the registration process. Susmariosep!  READ MORE...


READ FULL MEDIA REPORTS HERE:


PNoy and the Big Water monopolies UNblogged Wordpress

MANILA, AUGUST 10, 2015 (MANILA STANDARD) By John Paolo Bencito | Aug. 15, 2015 - AN activist group warned President Benigno Aquino III and Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima against paying water firms Maynilad and Manila Water the P82.44 billion they are claiming as compensation on the basis of sovereign guarantees.

“The demand for almost P83 billion to cover the water companies projected losses is outrageous and unjust and should be rejected,” said Samuel Gamboa, secretary general of the Freedom from Debt Coalition.

“Why should we pay money out of the national coffers to ensure the profits of wealthy corporations when we don’t even have enough for basic social services?” asked Gamboa.

The Maynilad had demanded from the government the amount of P3.44 billion while Manila Water asked for P79 billion to recover losses arising from the arbitration controversy following the resolution of their separate arbitration cases stemming from a 2013 rate-setting dispute.

“Just to put things in perspective, the money the water companies are asking for is significantly bigger than the Aquino administration’s P53.9-billion 2015 allocation for basic education facilities which includes the construction of 31,728 classrooms and the repair of 9,500 more,” Gamboa said.

“It is more than double the P37.1-billion cost of Philhealth premium subsidies which will benefit 15.4-million poor families. Instead of being used to guarantee Maynilad and Manila Water’s profits, we should use the money to fund essential public services so we won’t have to rely on private businesses to provide them,” he added.

READ MORE...

The group also argued that paying compensation to these water companies may legitimize their exploitative practice of passing on their corporate income taxes to unsuspecting water consumers leading to what they call a “tax injustice”.

“This is an issue of tax justice. A big chunk of the compensation claim is tied to corporate income taxes. If we pay Maynilad and Manila Water compensation, we are saying their unjust practice of passing their taxes on to consumers is okay,” he said.

“It contradicts the position taken by the government’s own regulators and the MWSS Board and puts Aquino and Purisima on the side of Ayalas and the Consunjis,” Gamboa added.

The group issued the warning after Aquino III’s economic managers were accused of crafting the 2016 national budget to protect the two water concessionaires.

Bayan Muna Rep. Neri Colmenares had accused Purisima of lobbying for the Manila Water of the Ayalas and the Maynilad of businessman Manuel V. Pangilinan, invoking sovereign guarantees.

Upon Colmenares’ questioning, Purisima admitted he had written President Aquino about his opposition to the ruling by Manila Waterworks and Sewerage System denying the two concessionaire’s petitions for water rate increases.

Manila Water had petitioned for an increase of P5.80 to its current rate of P25.45 a cubic meter, bringing the cost to P31.25 a cubic meter.

Maynilad wanted to impose an increase of P8.58 per cubic meter to its current charge of P30, bringing the total cost to P38 per cubic meter.

But MWSS denied their petitions, prompting Manila Water to demand to be paid P79 billion for the alleged losses it had incurred as a result of MWSS’ ruling.

Maynilad demanded to be paid P3.44 billion but Purisima could not explain why he pegged the payment at P5 billion.

Purisima could also not explain why Maynilad was demanding only P3.44 billion while Manila Water was demanding P79 billion.


ABS-CBN

PNoy urged to see 'sick and frail' Arroyo Christian Esguerra, ANC Posted at 08/13/2015 5:46 PM | Updated as of 08/13/2015 5:47 PM
10.8K42
 


ARROYO QUIETLY SAYING PRAYERS AT BROTHER'S WAKE The figure that emerged from the hospital room that morning was a ghost of her old self. SCREENGRAB FROM ANC NEWS VIDEO

Former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo looked frail, nearly three years of hospital detention taking its toll on her 68-year-old body.

Her head movement is limited by muscle spasms triggered by a degenerative neck condition that pinches the nerves and causes intense pain and numbness in her extremities. Turning her head means the body has to follow.

Arroyo beamed nonetheless at the sight of loyal supporters who came over, those who had remained by her side all these years, unlike many others who had long gone to the other side of the political fence.

“Well, that’s politics,” she said.

They might return to the fold, who knows, for there’s clearly no permanent friends nor enemies in politics. But that’s the least of her concerns.

Right now, she yearns for relief from intense pain caused by cervical spondylosis, more commonly known as arthritis of the neck. It occurs when a disc in the cervical spine bulges, which could then press on the nerves or the spinal cord.

READ: Arroyo's brother passes away

READ MORE...

She's looking for a new doctor who could finally provide answers. She's had three surgeries, but the physical suffering remains.

Arroyo also wants to get out of the Veterans’ Memorial Medical Center (VMMC), her home since October 2012.

She prefers house arrest, but it’s up to the anti-graft court hearing the plunder case against her. She’s accused of misusing more than P300 million in state lottery funds when she was still president.

She's out on bail in a separate electoral sabotage case.

Weak

Despite her physical limitations, Arroyo played host to her visitors, among them former Candaba Mayor Jerry Pelayo. Another political ally said she usually looked much worse in plain t-shirt.

“She’d look like a Grade 5 pupil, she's so thin,” ABS-CBN News was told.

For that morning’s visit, Arroyo slipped into a dark blouse and black slacks. She offered the group biscuits and coffee, but she was struggling with her left arm.

Once the most powerful person in the country for more than a decade, she could not even lift a coffee cup with it.

READ: Arroyo allowed to attend brother's burial

“She’s really changed a lot since she got sick,” said Pelayo, who recounted the visit in an interview with ABS-CBN News.

She’s been losing weight, in large part because she's had difficulty swallowing solid food. She probably weighs around 90 pounds now.

A dislodged titanium implant partially blocks her throat. She had the implant in 2011 as part of a procedure to stabilize four levels of her cervical spine, which had degenerated over the years.

On at least three occasions, Pelayo said Arroyo choked on either food or medicine.

Arroyo acting?

He acknowledged that critics, especially President Aquino, might think Arroyo was just faking her medical condition to gain public sympathy. He insisted this wasn't the case.

“That’s why President P-Noy should come over and see for himself (Arroyo’s condition),” he said. “I hope this won’t happen, but let’s not wait till she dies in the hospital.”

Arroyo is looking for a new physician, a neuro-cervical spine doctor specializing in “repeat” surgeries to fix problems from her three previous operations.

Pelayo is not sure if there’s one in the country. The next best option so far is Japanese doctor coming over for a conference here, he said.

Waiting

In the meantime, Arroyo has created a semblance of home in her VMMC detention room. It’s decorated with framed photos of mostly her grandchildren. There's also a photo of a young Arroyo with her father, the late President Diosdado Macapagal.

The room doubles as her office.


SCREENGRAB

Huge maps of her congressional district in Pampanga are attached to the wall. They allow her to monitor her projects in the province’s second district, Pelayo said.

In one corner sits a huge cross before which Arroyo says her daily prayers. Pelayo said she was no longer allowed to visit the chapel outside.

Life in this so-called “presidential suite” is far from the one Arroyo had been used to. And so she awaits the day when she’s finally freed, even if her critics prefer her permanent incarceration.


BOHOL DAILY NEWS

Sen Guingona bats for P-Noy’s programs of “daang matuwid”Aug 12, 2015 | News | 0 comments


GUINGONA

TAGBILARAN CITY – Incumbent Senator TJ Guingona underscored the importance President Benigno S. Aquino’s programs under the “daang matuwid” (straight path) for the next administration to continue.

The senator from Bukidnon province arrived here and was welcomed by City Mayor John Geesnell “Baba” Yap II upon his arrival at the city airport and immediately proceeded to the mayors and vice-mayors meeting presided over by Gov. Edgar Chatto held at JJs Seafoods Restaurant in this city yesterday.

Today, the senator is expected to be with officials led by Mayor Judith del Rosario-Cajes and Vice-Mayor Frank Gonzales of Trinidad town.

His provincial visit, he said, is somehow to feel the pulse of the people and how the projects are being done, he told the media after the meeting.

Guingona cited the 4Ps that benefited many poor families in the provinces and urged local leaders to support this.

DSWD has said: “The Pantawid Pamilyang Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) is the Aquino administration flagship poverty alleviation program and covers more than 4,400,000 filipino households in 2015. The 4Ps initiated by the DSWD is a program to battle poverty in the countrysides, like in Bohol which has now a total of 60,042 households.”

It is also referred to “Conditional Cash Transfer that provides cash grants to the poorest of the poor in the country to relieve them of the problems brought about by their socio-economic status: poor health, malnutrition, and lack of education.”

He also cited bottom-up budgeting (BUB) which aims to involve the people in decision-making, saying that the barrio folk know better than the national agencies concerned. It is also referred to Grassroot Participatory Budgeting.

READ MORE...

Speaking vernacular since he grew up in Visayan speaking Mindanao province, Guingona said that the people in the countrysides know the solution to their problems.

BUB, DSWD said, is an approach in formulating budget proposal of national government agencies taking into consideration the development needs of poor muicipalities as identified in ther respective Local Poverty Reduction Action Plan formulated with strong participation of local government units, civil society organizations and people’s organizations.

Incumbent Mayor Jacinto Naraga of San Isidro town once said that he’s happy with BUB since their burden as top officials of the town is lessened. Besides the approach could trigger a practice to participate in the decision-making particularly on their own felt needs. (Ric V. Obedencio)


INQUIRER

8 mayors quit NPC, sign up as Liberals By Dexter A. See | Aug. 17, 2015 at 12:01am

SAN FERNANDO CITY, La Union—Eight mayors of the Nationalist Peoples Coalition (NPC) in the first district of La Union and one independent took their oath as members of the Liberal Party (LP) Friday in Candon City, Ilocos Sur.

The defections marked efforts by the ruling Liberals to bolster their numbers ahead of elections next year at the expense of other parties, including its coalition ally, the NPC. They also signaled the vulnerability of the NPC—the second largest political party in the country—to poaching.

Rep. Eric Singson, LP regional chairman, led the oathtaking of the mayors led by San Fernando City Mayor Pablo Ortega, who ran as an ndependent in 2013 after his nomination was blocked by a party official.

Bolting the NPC were Balaoan town Mayor Al-Fred Concepcion, Luna Mayor Vic Marron, former Bangar mayor George Pinzon who represented his daughter Mayor Joy Pinzon-Merin and Mayor Wendy Joy Buquing of Sudipen town.

The other three mayors who were sworn in as LP members were San Juan Mayor Ruben Valero, Santol Mayor Daisy Sayangda, and San Gabriel Mayor Divina Daligues-Velasco.

READ MORE...

Bacnotan town Mayor Francis Fontanilla, who also filed his LP membership, failed to attend the oathtaking due to official business.

“We are in the process of strengthening our party in preparation for the upcoming elections,” Singson said after the oathtaking.

Ortega, who already declared his candidacy for the congressional race in the First District, said they will intensify the recruitment of LP members in the local level to strengthen their group in support for their candidates in the national level.

“If we have bigger numbers and members then we will have bigger voice to our party leaders,” Ortega said.


MANILA TIMES

LP drops Poe, guns for Leni’s ‘yes’ August 16, 2015 10:01 pm
by JOEL M. SY EGCO SENIOR REPORTER


leni mar--Bagay ba sa 2016? Mar Roxas, Leni Robredo spotted together. Is the search for Interior and Local Government Secretary Mar Roxas’ running mate in the 2016 polls finally over? Roxas, the Liberal Party presidential candidate, was spotted together again with Camarines Sur Rep. Leni Robredo, this time attending a friend’s wedding. FROM POLITICO BLOG....

LIBERAL Party (LP) stalwarts led by President Benigno Aquino 3rd and members of the Cabinet will fly to Naga City (Camarines Sur) on Tuesday in “full force” to convince Rep. Leni Robredo to be the running mate of Interior Secretary Manuel “Mar” Roxas 2nd, a well-placed source said on Sunday.

The source added that Aquino and Roxas’ group will make the “final push” to get Robredo to run for vice president next year after the supposed breakdown of talks with Sen. Grace Poe and Batangas Gov. Vilma Santos-Recto.

“They tried Poe, [they got] busted. Then Santos, but she was not interested. They are now placing their last card on Robredo. We can expect an announcement there or soon after,” the source said.

“If the President will fly to Naga City, then that’s it. Ask Palace officials,” he added.

Palace spokesman Edwin Lacierda confirmed that Aquino will be flying to Naga to attend the commemoration of the third death anniversary of Jesse Robredo, husband of Rep. Robredo.

The former Interior secretary died in a plane crash in 2012.

When asked if LP leaders have made up their minds on Rep. Robredo to run with Roxas to form the “Ro-Ro” tandem, Lacierda, however, gave a vague response.

“The balls are all up in the air,” he said.

“The purpose for going there is for the President and Jesse’s fellow Cabinet secretaries to commemorate his death anniversary. How it is viewed by others is entirely up to their interpretation,” the Palace official added.

But according to The Manila Times source, the LP has given up hope on Poe agreeing to their terms and run with Roxas.

He said Roxas has to find a running mate before the next results of the polls are made public.

“They are growing desperate to find a running mate. The tandem must be announced before the third quarter survey,” the source added.

READ MORE...

By all indications, Poe is determined to run for President, alongside her fellow senator, Francis Escudero, as her vice presidential running mate.

Big political parties and political groups such as the Nationalist People’s Coalition (NPC) prefer Poe over Roxas and vowed majority support for the senator’s candidacy once she decided to run.

On the other hand, Robredo, who represents Camarines Sur at the House of Representatives, is yet to make up her mind in seeking higher elective office, saying she is more focused on seeking reelection.

But the legislator said she keeps an “open mind” about the LP offer.

Several civil society groups and various personalities led by the Kaya Natin Movement last week launched the ‘’Leni Robredo for Vice President Movement’’ at the Bantayog ng mga Bayani in Quezon City.

In a previous interview, Robredo said she talked to Roxas about a month ago regarding the 2016 polls but the discussion revolved around her possible Senate run.

Besides Poe, Santos-Recto and Robredo, the LP was also eyeing Sen. Alan Cayetano of the Nacionalista Party as Roxas’ possible running mate.


MANILA TIMES

Robredo can’t help Roxas – analyst August 16, 2015 10:01 pm
by JEFFERSON ANTIPORDA REPORTER


ROBLEDO

Camarines Sur Rep. Leni Robredo will not boost the candidacy of Interior Secretary Manuel “Mar” Roxas 2nd even if she is popular among voters, a political analyst said on Sunday.

Prof. Ramon Casiple, Executive Director of the Institute for Political and Electoral Reform (IPER), said the Liberal Party (LP) will not have a difficult time projecting Robredo but the latter will not be able to pull votes for Roxas.

Casiple noted that Robredo has a good chance of winning the vice presidential contest but her magic will not rub off on Roxas.

“Tandem does not work anymore because voters make their choice based on personality, not based on the political party. This is because of our weak party system,” Casiple told The Manila Times in an interview.

The political analyst said Robredo can get huge support from vote-rich Bicol Region but she cannot transfer it to Roxas.

“If the LP expects Leni will be a big help for Mar to win the contest, they should forget it,” he added.

READ MORE...

Casiple said Robredo only needs an effective campaign so that voters in other regions will get to know her and the LP has the machinery to do that.

He added that Robredo will be a strong candidate for vice president because of her strong background.

She will have a tough time, however, if she will have a strong rival, Casiple said.
At present, only Sen. Antonio Trillanes 4th has declared his intention to run for vice president with or without the support of the Nacionalista Party.

Senator Francis Escudero is also eyeing the post but has not yet made a declaration.

He is reportedly planning to be the running mate of Sen. Grace Poe.

Vice President Jejomar Binay of the United Nationalist Alliance is also still searching for a running mate.


PHILSTAR COLUMN

To vote or not to vote – that is the question! AS A MATTER OF FACT By Sara Soliven de Guzman (The Philippine Star) | Updated August 17, 2015 - 12:00am 0 1 googleplus0 0


By Sara Soliven de Guzman

We are 103,477,469 Filipinos and counting. Only half of the populace voted in 2013. Will more people vote in 2016? This is an important decision for Juan De la Cruz. But Juan De la Cruz up to this point in time is waiting for a messiah to appear, hoping against hope that he or she will fall from the heavens to save our motherland from all the demons surrounding us.

First of all, we need better selection of candidates. It seems that we are locked in and just left with a choice of whether to vote or not to vote. Second, we are not sure of Comelec’s credibility. We are not sure that the system the Chairman has chosen will reflect what the people have voted. Third, we have grown numb from ‘dirty’ politics. Government has not protected us from politics. It has become our worst nightmare.

I am not discouraging people from voting. I am a strong believer in everyone’s right to vote. We should all vote. Every citizen must actually be required to vote as he/she is required to pay taxes.

The right to vote is a fundamental democratic right which should be protected by the Comelec. Our vote matters. Our voices must be heard. The more votes, the more powerful our message is as a people. Every vote counts.

But as the people fall in line to register under the new Comelec program called biometrics, we are once again frustrated. To give you a background on this, Comelec came up with a new policy to establish a clean, complete, permanent and updated list of voters through the mandatory registration process called “biometrics” (Comelec Resolution No. 9853).

What exactly is biometrics? When a person applies for registration, his/ her biometrics will be captured digitally. This simply means digital images (or pictures) of his/ her photograph, fingerprints and signature will be taken (or captured) using the Comelec’s Voter Registration Machine (VRM).

The VRM is simply a desktop computer, with a digital camera, fingerprint scanner and signature pad attached to it. Biometrics capture becomes possible with the use of this high-tech equipment, and the Voter Registration System (VRS).

For the 2016 elections, voters have been required to have their biometrics done or they will not be able to vote. Thousands have flocked to the registration places on scheduled dates. Here’s hoping that many will be able to register. By the way, Comelec should check all the registration areas. It took a friend of mine almost five hours just to register because officials were not trained and lacked information on the registration process. Susmariosep!

READ MORE...

Will the biometrics in all precincts be fully utilized or is this another waste of time for the voters? Is it another half-baked project? I remember we bought the voters verification system machines for 2013 elections at an even higher price of P800 million but never used it.

Nations are turning to biometric voting systems to help support fair, credible elections and ensure the absence of fraud and illegal practices to protect the voters and the electoral process. It is indeed a noble objective. But what happens when the agency tasked to do the job fails to complete the process for inexplicable reasons?

* * *

Another disappointment is the failure of Comelec to get a good and credible electronic voting system. Now that the cat is out of the bag, I personally feel deceived with Comelec’s move to continue with Smartmatic. I was hoping that the Chairman would first clear this company from the flaws it has done in the past before using it again.

I want the people to know the truth. I want Filipinos to engage themselves and pay some attention to what is happening to our electoral system. Many people easily submit to what they have been made to believe is true and fair. We need to be aware of what can happen to our votes using this system. Our lack of interest and lackadaisical attitude will hurt us in the end so people better be wiser. We should wake up and smell the rot possibly happening behind closed doors.

Ours is a country that has been wrecked with continued deception. When will this stop? I really have no idea. But for now, allow me to give you information that can hopefully change your thinking and help you understand better what an automated election is all about.

In an automated election, there is what you call program scripts. These program scripts, or the program scripts in Smartmatic for that matter, can be directed to do whatever you want the information in the database (voting storage) you want the result to be.

Just recently, an election sabotage case was filed by the group of former Comelec Commissioner Augusto Lagman before the Comelec against Smartmatic Asia-Pacific president Cesar Flores and two other Smartmatic officials Albert Castro Rico and Marlon Garcia for violating Republic Act 9369 or the Poll Automation Law in the 2013 elections.

The complaint stated that, “Smartmatic officials/personnel inexplicably changed the scripts of the un-reviewed source code at or about the time of the consolidation/canvassing during the said election purportedly to adjust the questionable figures received and announced by the Transparency Server, without notifying the concerned political parties or their representatives as well as other election stakeholders.” This shows that indeed the program scripts can manipulate anything in the database, in this case the election results. Sanamagan!

At this point in time, it is still a big wonder to me how Comelec can continue with such deception. When will this agency entrusted by the government to ensure fair and honest elections show loyalty to the Filipino people? Comelec officials like Commissioner Christian Robert Lim must be told that not all Filipinos are that stupid to believe the press releases about proper review of source code as the legislation states.

Did Smartmatic conspire with Comelec to use Systest Lab US company? Wasn’t this company previously connected to Smartmatic in some way? If so, isn’t this a deception to the Filipino people? Why does Comelec want to play with fire? Why is it putting itself in the center of controversy by continuing its alliance with Smartmatic?

Chairman Andres Bautista said, “After exhaustive consultation with stakeholders and with due consideration of the current circumstances, particularly issues relating to cost, timeliness and technical risk, the commission decided to choose the more prudent approach of leasing all new 93,977 (OMR) machines for the 2016 elections.”

He added that, “The commission believes that this is the most viable, practical and safest option to pursue in our efforts to ensure the credibility of the 2016 elections.” He also said that leasing new OMR machines would give the poll body sufficient time to run tests on the units or have the units configured to address the problems encountered in the 2010 and 2013 elections.

There are too many flaws in our electoral process which may definitely take away our democratic right to honest and fair elections. There are many possible solutions and/ or alternatives to resolve them. Why is Chairman Bautista so bent on this system when many have questioned it? I hope that with his decision the 2016 elections will not be a farce?


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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