© Copyright, 2015 (PHNO)
 http://newsflash.org

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

FINANCE CHIEF OPEN TO ADJUSTMENT OF TAX RATES, BRACKETS - PALACE


SEPTEMBER 22 -President Aquino joins Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima and Bureau of Internal Revenue Commissioner Kim Henares during the 111th anniversary celebration of the BIR at its compound in Quezon City in August. Boy Santos The Department of Finance maintained that it wants a holistic review of the country's existing tax structure. But amid mounting calls for an income tax cut, Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima expressed openness to proposals seeking to alter prevailing tax rates. "We are open to a holistic reform which will include an adjustment of the rates and brackets," Purisima said in a statement relayed by Presidential Spokesperson Edwin Lacierda to reporters. "Doing otherwise is not the fiscally responsible way since it can hurt our people [in the] long run if we go down the slippery slope of populist policies," Purisima added. Last week, President Aquino rejected proposals to lower income tax rates, fearing that doing so would reduce government revenues and affect the country's credit ratings. Earlier this month, Purisima said the administration cannot put the country's fiscal sustainability and credit rating at risk by doing "piecemeal revenue-reducing legislation," referring to the bills filed in Congress on income tax cuts. Purisima urged Congress to approach fiscal reform from a "holistic standpoint with the goal of making the structure more buoyant, equitable, progressive and competitive." He said this would allow the government to continue increasing investments in the people and infrastructure, which is crucial to national competitiveness and ability to attract investments and job opportunities. - Louis Bacani THIS IS THE FULL REPORT

ALSO TIMES COMMENTARY: Somebody’s worried about inflation


SEPTEMBER 21 PURISIMA: -WHEN a major government department makes an announcement intended to be an innocuous little bit of good news but instead elicits a puzzled reaction, that’s probably something worth looking into a little deeper. Such was the case late Sunday afternoon—the time when all the newspapers around town are gathering their headlines for the Monday morning editions—when an advisory was received that “the latest economic bulletin” from the Department of Finance speculated that September headline inflation may be just 0.5 percent, lower than August’s 0.6 percent. There are several things that are odd about this announcement. First of all, the “economic bulletin” is not a regular issuance of the DoF. The last one was on September 4, and it was a minor statement that simply repeated the news about the August inflation rate without adding anything to the official release from the Philippine Statistics Authority; the “economic bulletin” prior to that, at least according to the DoF website and the Official Gazette, was at the beginning of December last year, and was a statement on the overall fiscal performance of the government.The second odd thing is the timing of this latest piece of news. The DoF has never, to my knowledge, issued an inflation forecast. The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas always does, but only in the last few days of the month in question, or in the first few days of the following month, a few days or perhaps a week ahead of the official release from the PSA. For the government to issue an inflation advisory in the third week of the current month is strange, to say the least. As far as the actual figure is concerned, it is probably correct, or close to it; at this point in the month, preliminary data is probably already in hand at the PSA, although they would not ordinarily make it public because it is still subject to late updates and the normal process of compiling and verification. Gaming the markets? It is also a bit odd that the statement was released on a weekend, but that may actually explain what the DoF’s intentions really are. When government agencies want information to come to the attention of the general public, releases are made during the workweek; the BSP and the National Economic Development Authority, for example, issue most of their reports on Tuesday or Thursday.by Ben Kritz, READ MORE...

ALSO: Noy admits he avoided SAF ceremony on purpose
[“I wanted to afford them (families) space to grieve,” he said.]


SEPTEMBER 23 -President Aquino dwelled extensively on the details of the Mama-sapano incident during a television interview yesterday, including an admission that he purposely avoided the ceremonies held for the arrival of the bodies of the slain police commandos.
As 42 bodies of the 44 members of the elite Special Action Force slaughtered in the Mamasapano encounter arrived four days after the incident, Aquino was in Sta. Rosa. Laguna to attend the inauguration of a Mitsubishi Motors Corp. manufacturing plant.In an interview on cable channel ANC, Aquino said he purposely avoided the event. “I wanted to afford them (families) space to grieve,” he said. Aquino received widespread condemnation for snubbing the affair as his critics pointed to his insensitivity.The Palace, however, said that the Mitsubishi event was firmed up long before the ceremony for the slain SAF members.Aquino added that the Mamasapano incident, for him, had reached closure after yesterday’s release of charges against 90 individuals including members of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) and supposed elements of private armies. I can say closure after the pictures indicate that the SAF was telling the right story, Aquino said. “Part of the reason for all the gossip and rumors was that of the peddlers of information trying to get a share of the reward,” he claimed. Aquino floated the existence of an alternative version of the incident primarily on the death of Marwan which was mostly based on the MILF version of the Mamasapano incident.Aquino said the MILF will not block the charges set to be filed against 26 troopers from their ranks who were involved in the Mamasapano incident.Aquino said he’d like to believe that the MILF will continue to show its commitment to the peace process by not interfering with government operations, namely law enforcement.“At the very least, they (MILF) will do as they already did before… they may even do more than that, they would not be a hindrance to our enforcement operations,” Aquino said. “Most of them are not under their control, and also the BIFF, but again, for their forces, they won’t be a hindrance to enforcement.” Justice Secretary Leila de Lima did not identify the respondents who will be charged for the incident. However, the 90 respondents that will be slapped with charges, as revealed by the Department of Justice (DoJ), are composed of 26 from the MILF (including 13 commanders), 12 from the BIFF and 52 from private armed groups, with others classified as unaffiliated. READ MORE...

ALSO asked re 'alternative truth':  PNoy, says 'Nobody asked about Marwan's other photos'
[Despite concluding that the SAF indeed killed Marwan, the President still blamed Napeñas for the bloody outcome of the police operation. ''There are still other questions and it all centers on Napeñas' activities on that particular day. First and foremost to my mind is the issue of insubordination,'' he said.]


SEPTEMBER 23 -Why did President Benigno Aquino III float the idea of an "alternative version" surrounding the death of Malaysian bomb maker Zulkifli bin Hir alias Marwan - putting the narrative that the police neutralized the terrorist into question - only to debunk it himself later? Old wounds were opened when Aquino, during a forum last September 8, said he was looking into an ''alternative version'' surrounding Marwan's death. This supposed alternative version was the Moro Islamic Liberation Front's (MILF) claim that it was not members of the Special Action Force (SAF) 84th Seaborne troopers, but the Marwan's aides, who killed the Malaysian terrorist. This angered the families of the fallen policemen as well as former SAF director Getulio Napeñas, who appealed to the president to believe his own men instead of the MILF, whose sincerity in the peace process was questioned after its fighters attacked the elite policemen during the anti-terrorist operation last January 25. However, on Thursday last week, Aquino presented new photos of Marwan which he said prove that the SAF indeed was responsible for neutralizing the terrorist under the police operation plan ''Exodus." The President presented three photos: the first, showing a SAF trooper beside the body of Marwan when the fingers in his left hand were still complete; the second, showing the same trooper in the act of cutting Marwan's finger for DNA testing; and the third, showing Marwan's left hand already lacking a finger. The president said the only picture made known to him prior to this was the one showing a lifeless Marwan lying on the floor of his hut, with his right hand covered. Where were the other photos all along? The president said ''nobody asked'' about them. ''The simple answer was nobody asked. The transcript of all investigations will show it,'' the President said in an exclusive interview with ANC on Tuesday. ''I did ask at some point in time: It doesn’t seem normal that you will just take one picture. Are there any other pictures?" The President said he asked SAF director Moro Virgilio Lazo, who replaced Napenas in the wake of the clash, if there were other pictures of Marwan. He said the SAF chief did not give him an answer. ''I presumed that was a 'no'. But he told chief PNP [Ricardo] Marquez that he thinks there are and he went back to the people with their cameras and lo and behold, there were really other pictures,'' he said. The President said those who had the pictures may have failed to mention the them during the various hearings because of the tense situation. ''I presume a lot of these people were very tense about being able to respond to questions. Perhaps at the time they were being grilled, nobody I guess wanted to venture,'' he said. READ MORE...

ALSO ABS-CBS Special Interview: PNoy's greatest legacy? No more apathy among Pinoys


SEPTEMBER 23 -President Aquino talks about the legacy he will leave behind during the ANC special interview. Photo by Jonathan Cellona for ABS-CBNnews.com
There's one thing President Benigno Aquino III is most proud of in his nearly six years in office: the Filipino people are no longer apathetic.
In an exclusive interview with ABS-CBN News Channel's Tina Monzon-Palma on Tuesday, the President took pride in what he believes is a change in attitude of the people -- from being apathetic to being vocal about various issues and problems hounding the country. "Whenever I get complaints, criticism, I subscribe to the idea that if you complain it seems that you believe that the person you're complaining to will do something about it. Now why is that an achievement? Because before people were so apathetic they just gave up. People were voting with their feet. People were really leaving. The ultimate ambition was how to get out of the country," Aquino explained in "His Excellency: An ANC Special." "Now we have everybody's inputs. Everything's a work in progress. The development never really stops. The demands of our people -- food, shelter, clothing, education, electricity - what have you - infrastructure -- hopefully will keep on growing. As the population grows, the needs also grow. "I won't say I like all of these criticisms but the point is the legitimate gripes are indicative that they do believe the government can effect positive changes, as opposed to what we inherited which was apathy. That, I think, is the greatest achievement," he added. READ MORE...


READ FULL MEDIA REPORTS HERE:

Finance chief open to adjustment of tax rates, brackets


President Aquino joins Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima and Bureau of Internal Revenue Commissioner Kim Henares during the 111th anniversary celebration of the BIR at its compound in Quezon City in August. Boy Santos

MANILA, SEPTEMBER 28, 2015 (PHILSTAR) The Department of Finance maintained that it wants a holistic review of the country's existing tax structure.

But amid mounting calls for an income tax cut, Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima expressed openness to proposals seeking to alter prevailing tax rates.

"We are open to a holistic reform which will include an adjustment of the rates and brackets," Purisima said in a statement relayed by Presidential Spokesperson Edwin Lacierda to reporters.

"Doing otherwise is not the fiscally responsible way since it can hurt our people [in the] long run if we go down the slippery slope of populist policies," Purisima added.

Last week, President Aquino rejected proposals to lower income tax rates, fearing that doing so would reduce government revenues and affect the country's credit ratings.

Earlier this month, Purisima said the administration cannot put the country's fiscal sustainability and credit rating at risk by doing "piecemeal revenue-reducing legislation," referring to the bills filed in Congress on income tax cuts.

Purisima urged Congress to approach fiscal reform from a "holistic standpoint with the goal of making the structure more buoyant, equitable, progressive and competitive."

He said this would allow the government to continue increasing investments in the people and infrastructure, which is crucial to national competitiveness and ability to attract investments and job opportunities. - Louis Bacani


MANILA TIMES

Somebody’s worried about inflation September 21, 2015 9:53 pm Ben D. Kritz


Ben D. Kritz

WHEN a major government department makes an announcement intended to be an innocuous little bit of good news but instead elicits a puzzled reaction, that’s probably something worth looking into a little deeper.

Such was the case late Sunday afternoon—the time when all the newspapers around town are gathering their headlines for the Monday morning editions—when an advisory was received that “the latest economic bulletin” from the Department of Finance speculated that September headline inflation may be just 0.5 percent, lower than August’s 0.6 percent.

There are several things that are odd about this announcement. First of all, the “economic bulletin” is not a regular issuance of the DoF.

The last one was on September 4, and it was a minor statement that simply repeated the news about the August inflation rate without adding anything to the official release from the Philippine Statistics Authority; the “economic bulletin” prior to that, at least according to the DoF website and the Official Gazette, was at the beginning of December last year, and was a statement on the overall fiscal performance of the government.

The second odd thing is the timing of this latest piece of news. The DoF has never, to my knowledge, issued an inflation forecast.

The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas always does, but only in the last few days of the month in question, or in the first few days of the following month, a few days or perhaps a week ahead of the official release from the PSA.

For the government to issue an inflation advisory in the third week of the current month is strange, to say the least. As far as the actual figure is concerned, it is probably correct, or close to it; at this point in the month, preliminary data is probably already in hand at the PSA, although they would not ordinarily make it public because it is still subject to late updates and the normal process of compiling and verification.

Gaming the markets?

It is also a bit odd that the statement was released on a weekend, but that may actually explain what the DoF’s intentions really are. When government agencies want information to come to the attention of the general public, releases are made during the workweek; the BSP and the National Economic Development Authority, for example, issue most of their reports on Tuesday or Thursday.

READ MORE...

One reason why an agency might release an important indicator like inflation on a weekend, timed to hit the news on Sunday night or Monday morning, is to catch the attention of the financial markets.

Monday’s news has no reports about local market activity because the markets are, of course, closed on weekends; instead the space is devoted to an outlook for the week ahead, which market players use to guide their activity once the markets open on Monday.

In the local stock market, although the outlook for this week was cautiously optimistic, there is still a sense of uncertainty creating volatility (which has caused the market to trend downward for an extended period of time), largely because of the over-emphasis of the impact of US Federal Reserve interest rate decisions.

Last week, the Fed bucked the general consensus and left its rates at their present low, hinting that they could be raised later—in other words, leaving world markets, including this one, in the same state of uncertainty they were in before the Fed meeting.

A more significant, and for the DoF more worrisome, piece of news was the statement from the Philippine Dealing & Exchange Corp. (PDEx) Friday afternoon that the local bond market is likely to only see about half of the P200 billion in debt issuances it expected for this year, and implying that even that reduced amount was not very certain.

“It’s possible to hit P100 billion,” said PDEx president Cesar Crisol, explaining that there are just four more listings planned this year.

Taking all that into consideration, the message the DoF seems to be trying to convey with its unusual inflation forecast is that the rapidly dropping inflation rate is actually a sign of a healthy economy, and that markets—and especially investing corporations—ought to be accelerating their economic activity.

Another way to read that message, however, is “Please help arrest this economic slide we seem to have gotten ourselves into.”

Bad time for a decline

If the 0.5 percent forecast holds—and there is no reason to believe it will not—September will be the seventh straight decline in the inflation rate, which has not been at these depths in more than 20 years.

Financial markets and the general economy has had more than enough time to “price in” the effects of lower oil prices, the main cause to which falling inflation is attributed, and taken together with the relatively sharp correction of GDP growth from the 7 percent range to the mid-5 percent range, the enthusiasm about the economy definitely seems to be waning.

It certainly is waning among banks and other top-level analysts, with BMI Research and Deutsche Bank just yesterday joining a host of others in revising their forecasts for this year downward.

That, of course, is precisely what the Aquino Administration does not want to see in an election year, particular given the regime’s sensitivity to credit ratings and outside perceptions of the Philippine economy.

Voters anywhere, especially in this country, tend to assess the results of policy on a “what have you done for me lately” basis, and a cooling economy—despite the fact that in reality, it is only headed in the direction of stagnation, and is not yet at that point—gives the opponents of President BS Aquino 3rd’s preferred successor plenty of ammunition.


TRIBUNE

Noy admits he avoided SAF ceremony on purpose
Written by Joshua L. Labonera Wednesday, 23 September 2015 00:00



President Aquino dwelled extensively on the details of the Mama-sapano incident during a television interview yesterday, including an admission that he purposely avoided the ceremonies held for the arrival of the bodies of the slain police commandos.

As 42 bodies of the 44 members of the elite Special Action Force slaughtered in the Mamasapano encounter arrived four days after the incident, Aquino was in Sta. Rosa. Laguna to attend the inauguration of a Mitsubishi Motors Corp. manufacturing plant.

In an interview on cable channel ANC, Aquino said he purposely avoided the event.

“I wanted to afford them (families) space to grieve,” he said.

Aquino received widespread condemnation for snubbing the affair as his critics pointed to his insensitivity.

The Palace, however, said that the Mitsubishi event was firmed up long before the ceremony for the slain SAF members.

Aquino added that the Mamasapano incident, for him, had reached closure after yesterday’s release of charges against 90 individuals including members of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) and supposed elements of private armies.


Leila in a dilemma over suspects. The Department of Justice is facing the difficult challenge of bringing commanders and members of Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters and private armed groups tagged in the death of Special Action Force commandos in the Mamasapano bloodbath to the criminal justice system. Secretary Leila de Lima made the admission on Sunday as the DoJ was poised to start its preliminary investigation on the murder charges against 90 individuals found liable for the killing of 35 of the 44 SAF troopers during the clash. De Lima said while she expected cooperation of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front on the PI against its 13 commanders and 13 members also tagged in the SAF killings, it was uncertain as to the participation of other respondents from BIFF and PAGs. “It will be difficult to get these BIFF respondents because their leaders are not in peace talks with the government. The same with private armed groups—it will be hard because these are unaffiliated,” De Lima said. MANILA STANDARD Sep. 28, 2015.

I can say closure after the pictures indicate that the SAF was telling the right story, Aquino said.

“Part of the reason for all the gossip and rumors was that of the peddlers of information trying to get a share of the reward,” he claimed.

Aquino floated the existence of an alternative version of the incident primarily on the death of Marwan which was mostly based on the MILF version of the Mamasapano incident.

Aquino said the MILF will not block the charges set to be filed against 26 troopers from their ranks who were involved in the Mamasapano incident.

Aquino said he’d like to believe that the MILF will continue to show its commitment to the peace process by not interfering with government operations, namely law enforcement.

“At the very least, they (MILF) will do as they already did before… they may even do more than that, they would not be a hindrance to our enforcement operations,” Aquino said. “Most of them are not under their control, and also the BIFF, but again, for their forces, they won’t be a hindrance to enforcement.”

Justice Secretary Leila de Lima did not identify the respondents who will be charged for the incident.

However, the 90 respondents that will be slapped with charges, as revealed by the Department of Justice (DoJ), are composed of 26 from the MILF (including 13 commanders), 12 from the BIFF and 52 from private armed groups, with others classified as unaffiliated.

READ MORE...

The MILF previously expressed opposition to surrendering its troops who were involved in the incident, but its chief negotiator Mohager Iqbal, in a recent statement, said they would not interfere in the government’s processes although he said the MILF will also not interfere if its members defend themselves.

“The 90 will be given subpoenas for preliminary investigation. Most of them probably won’t appear so the court will issue warrants,” Aquino said.

Aquino also talked about the “alternative truth” he fielded a week back on the Mamasapano incident, which prompted critics to heavily criticize the administration after it was seen as an “insult” to some Special Action Force (SAF) troopers who had already given their initial testimonies of the incident.

The case believed to be the alternative version of the incident supposedly came from the MILF which said that it wasn’t the SAF that killed Marwan. Its investigations were conducted alongside that made by the government through the Philippine National Police (PNP) and the Senate.

On the other hand, Aquino denied such in the interview, saying that it was not from the MILF but from other “witnesses” that he did not name. He said the story of the SAF troopers only became clearer when he got the chance to talk to them, reiterating that it was the SAF who killed Marwan.

“That was the alternative theory coming from witnesses,” the President said, adding that the SAF troopers who were able to eliminate Marwan was able to capture the photo of the dead terrorist and managed to extract themselves from the field in about two minutes.

“Part of the reason that you have all of these rumors is there are so many information peddlers (hoping) to share in the reward,” he said, in response to why some stories come out in another light of the issue.

The President, however, did not divulge whether anyone from the government investigation team was able to spot Marwan in the same place after the firefight. He also turned his attention to the former SAF Director Getulio Napeñas, who was blamed over the incident.

“There are still other questions centering on (ex-SAF Director) Napeñas’ activities that day. First, issue of insubordination,” he added.


ABS-CBN

PNoy: Nobody asked about Marwan's other photos Dharel Placido, ABS-CBNnews.com Posted at 09/22/2015 10:31 PM | Updated as of 09/23/2015 12:36 AM 391

MANILA – Why did President Benigno Aquino III float the idea of an "alternative version" surrounding the death of Malaysian bomb maker Zulkifli bin Hir alias Marwan - putting the narrative that the police neutralized the terrorist into question - only to debunk it himself later?

Old wounds were opened when President Aquino, during a forum last September 8, said he was looking into an ''alternative version'' surrounding Marwan's death.

This supposed alternative version was the Moro Islamic Liberation Front's (MILF) claim that it was not members of the Special Action Force (SAF) 84th Seaborne troopers, but the Marwan's aides, who killed the Malaysian terrorist.

This angered the families of the fallen policemen as well as former SAF director Getulio Napeñas, who appealed to the president to believe his own men instead of the MILF, whose sincerity in the peace process was questioned after its fighters attacked the elite policemen during the anti-terrorist operation last January 25.

However, on Thursday last week, Aquino presented new photos of Marwan which he said prove that the SAF indeed was responsible for neutralizing the terrorist under the police operation plan ''Exodus."

The President presented three photos: the first, showing a SAF trooper beside the body of Marwan when the fingers in his left hand were still complete; the second, showing the same trooper in the act of cutting Marwan's finger for DNA testing; and the third, showing Marwan's left hand already lacking a finger.

The president said the only picture made known to him prior to this was the one showing a lifeless Marwan lying on the floor of his hut, with his right hand covered.

Where were the other photos all along? The president said ''nobody asked'' about them.

''The simple answer was nobody asked. The transcript of all investigations will show it,'' the President said in an exclusive interview with ANC on Tuesday.

''I did ask at some point in time: It doesn’t seem normal that you will just take one picture. Are there any other pictures?"

The President said he asked SAF director Moro Virgilio Lazo, who replaced Napenas in the wake of the clash, if there were other pictures of Marwan. He said the SAF chief did not give him an answer.

''I presumed that was a 'no'. But he told chief PNP [Ricardo] Marquez that he thinks there are and he went back to the people with their cameras and lo and behold, there were really other pictures,'' he said.

The President said those who had the pictures may have failed to mention the them during the various hearings because of the tense situation.

''I presume a lot of these people were very tense about being able to respond to questions. Perhaps at the time they were being grilled, nobody I guess wanted to venture,'' he said.

READ MORE...

'SAF VINDICATED'

According to the President, he only the saw the new photos on Monday last week, September 14, almost a week after he raised the idea of the ''alternative version" in public.

''These pictures seem to vindicate to me that the SAF was telling the right story, that the alternative version have really no basis,'' he said.

The President also confirmed that he also met with 12 of the 13 members of the 84th Seaborne which led the assault against Marwan. He said he had already raised the alternative version in public by the time they met.

''When I got to talk to 12 of the 13 who assaulted, it became clearer. For instance, I believe they engaged at least one person, probably two, inside the house with Marwan and they couldn't see exactly who it was,'' he said.

''The testimony is this guy first shone a light while they were approaching. They stopped, crouched. And subsequently this guy started firing at them. There were other groups that were firing on the periphery towards their direction as they were assaulting.

''I guess the testimony is erroneous in a sense that they misidentified the person in the secondary room as Marwan."

According to the President, he was given a ''very detailed account of what everyone was doing."

''We had a very nice discussion. I wanted them to see my perspective. I wanted to see their perspective."

PNOY STILL BLAMES NAPENAS

Despite concluding that the SAF indeed killed Marwan, the President still blamed Napeñas for the bloody outcome of the police operation.

''There are still other questions and it all centers on Napeñas' activities on that particular day. First and foremost to my mind is the issue of insubordination,'' he said.

''My warnings to them were proven. I don’t know if warning is a correct word - it might be a reminder - because they did operate as the regional public safety battalion in that area, and presumably he would know all the terrain."

The President pointed out the tactical mistake of not plotting out a different exit route for the 84th Seaborne.

''Why is the entry and exit are both and the same route? Shouldn't you exit at a different path? In fact, the presentation to me in the plan of Exodus, they had two exits,'' he said.


PNoy: Trusting Napenas was my biggest mistake’ PHOTO COURTESY OF POLITIKO.COM

He also scored Napeñas for not taking into account the possibility that other hostile elements would be rattled once Marwan and his men fire at the sight of them.

''They were going to assault Marwan. This guy will not come meek as a lamb. When they start engaging the armed forces, their guns will not be suppressed and this will alert everybody in the neighborhood that something is happening,'' he said.

The Mamasapano clash, which claimed the lives of more than 60 Filipinos including 44 SAF troopers, weakened public and legislative support for the Bangsamoro Basic Law.

The proposed law is a product of the peace talks between the MILF and the government which is supposed to create a new autonomous region in Mindanao that will replace the ARMM.

At the House of Representatives, chances of the BBL being passed is getting slim, with the lower chamber set to deliberate on the 2016 budget next week.

MILF, ET AL CHARGED

The Department of Justice (DOJ) on Tuesday, September 22, said it has filed charges against 90 individuals and several John Does for the deaths of police SAF troopers.

Justice Secretary Leila de Lima said of the 90 individuals, 26 are MILF members, 12 are members of the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF), and 52 are from private armed groups (PAGs) and unaffiliated individuals.

De Lima said based on the testimonies of five eyewitnesses, close to 1,000 MILF, BIFF and other armed elements were involved in the encounter with SAF commandos. However, they could only identify 90 of them.

Aquino said he expects the MILF to not intervene the legal processes.

''At the very least, I’m very positive that they will, as they have already demonstrated in the past, that if there is a law enforcement operation, they will stand aside and not hamper the procedure,'' Aquino said.

''But I would venture to guess that perhaps they will do even more than that. They will not be a hindrance to our enforcement."


ABS-CBN

PNoy's greatest legacy? No more apathy among Pinoys

Kathlyn dela Cruz, ABS-CBNnews.com Posted at 09/22/2015 10:03 PM | Updated as of 09/23/2015 12:53 AM 1.5K


President Aquino talks about the legacy he will leave behind during the ANC special interview. Photo by Jonathan Cellona for ABS-CBNnews.com

MANILA - There's one thing President Benigno Aquino III is most proud of in his nearly six years in office: the Filipino people are no longer apathetic.

In an exclusive interview with ABS-CBN News Channel's Tina Monzon-Palma on Tuesday, the President took pride in what he believes is a change in attitude of the people -- from being apathetic to being vocal about various issues and problems hounding the country.

"Whenever I get complaints, criticism, I subscribe to the idea that if you complain it seems that you believe that the person you're complaining to will do something about it. Now why is that an achievement? Because before people were so apathetic they just gave up. People were voting with their feet. People were really leaving. The ultimate ambition was how to get out of the country," Aquino explained in "His Excellency: An ANC Special."

"Now we have everybody's inputs. Everything's a work in progress. The development never really stops. The demands of our people -- food, shelter, clothing, education, electricity - what have you - infrastructure -- hopefully will keep on growing. As the population grows, the needs also grow.

"I won't say I like all of these criticisms but the point is the legitimate gripes are indicative that they do believe the government can effect positive changes, as opposed to what we inherited which was apathy. That, I think, is the greatest achievement," he added.

READ MORE...

Aquino now only has a little over 9 months before he steps down from office on June 30, 2016, a moment in his life he has repeatedly said he has been looking forward to.

"I will be lying if I say no," he said, when asked if he is happy that his term is already about to end in 281 days.

(READ: What will PNoy do after term ends in 2016?)

Aquino ran for the country's top post in 2010, with the presumptive Liberal Party (LP) standard-bearer Mar Roxas giving up his plans after the death of former President Corazon Aquino generated a clamor for her only son to seek the presidency.

According to Aquino, he has done his best as a leader, describing himself as a "consensus builder" who has "an allergy to being dictatorial."

"For the bulk, I think they will say that we went beyond expectations," he said. "And when we say bulk, talagang overwhelming majority."

The President acknowledged, however, that there remains the "cottage industry of [his] critics."

"Di bale sana yung half-full, half-empty. Almost empty eh when they describe," lamented Aquino.

But Aquino said he has nonetheless always managed to face all the challenges that have come his way squarely, thanks to the support of the people whom he calls his "bosses."

"I've said several times, it's really an honor to serve the people," he said. "I had supreme confidence that the people were behind me. That enabled me to make the right decisions in the midst of, you know, temptation to play it safe."

HIS ADMINISTRATION'S GAINS


President Aquino enumerates his administration's accomplishments during the ANC special interview. Photo by Jonathan Cellona for ABS-CBNnews.com

In the interview, Aquino also touted anew his administration's gains and high economic growth rate, while taking a swipe at his predecessor, now Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal Arroyo.

Under Arroyo's leadership, Aquino said the average amount of taxes collected by the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) every year was P568 billion. But under his leadership, the average tax collection doubled to P1.3 trillion a year, he said, citing the improvement in government's collection of taxes.

The President also included among his accomplishments the improvement in the delivery of basic social services to the Filipino people.

He pointed out the increase in the enrollment in PhilHealth, the construction of over 100,000 new classrooms, and the expansion of conditional cash transfer (CCT) program beneficiaries from 780,000 to 4.4 million households. All of these happened without any increase on taxes, he stressed.

MULTILATERAL APPROACH

Aquino, meanwhile, reiterated the Philippines' stand to continue its arbitration case against China over the West Philippine Sea dispute, despite Beijing's insistence on holding bilateral talks instead to settle the sea row.

"Perhaps I should ask this question: Is there any other option for me to do at this point in time?"

The Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague, Netherlands is expected to issue a decision on whether it has jurisdiction over Manila's case against Beijing after the conclusion of the two-round hearings in July.

The President stressed the need for a multilateral approach to resolve the disputes. Parts of the South China Sea are also being claimed by Vietnam, Malaysia, Taiwan and Brunei.

"The joke then was it seemed like China was saying 'What is ours is ours and what is yours we share,'" Aquino said, as he went on to also explain why the Philippines and China has never entered into a joint venture in oil exploration in the disputed seas.

"I think the discussions bogged down in terms of conflict resolution. Assuming there is a disagreement between the joint venture partners, whose laws apply?... Laws apply from sovereignty," he noted.

Aquino also maintained that its deepening alliance with Japan is not meant to provoke China, saying that "self-defense is a legitimate exercise."

EVIDENCE VS BINAY

Meanwhile, the President was also asked by Monzon-Palma about what he thinks of Vice President Jejomar Binay amid various allegations of corruption being hurled against the former Cabinet member.

According to Aquino, he has never gone to the supposed hacienda of Binay in Rosario, Batangas, which is among those being investigated by the Senate blue ribbon subcommittee as properties allegedly acquired by the former Makati mayor using ill-gotten wealth.

"Through the years, there have always been rumors, but this is the first time that you've seen parang evidence to support those allegations," Aquino said.

Aquino and Binay share a friendship that goes a long way back. Binay was appointed the officer-in-charge mayor of Makati City when the late former President Corazon Aquino assumed the country's top post in 1986. Binay himself credits the appointment for launching his political career.

The erstwhile friends, however, have turned political foes, following Binay's resignation from the Aquino Cabinet and his subsequent attacks against the administration, and especially with the upcoming 2016 elections.

Binay will face off with former Interior Secretary Mar Roxas and Senator Grace Poe in next year's presidential race.

Aquino has endorsed Roxas as his preferred successor. The President believes his former interior secretary is the one who can surely continue his "Daang Matuwid."


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

© Copyright, 2014 by PHILIPPINE HEADLINE NEWS ONLINE
All rights reserved


PHILIPPINE HEADLINE NEWS ONLINE [PHNO] WEBSITE