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

NOY IN CABANATUAN, LEADS DISTRIBUTION OF RELIEF GOODS


OCTOBER 20 -President Benigno Aquino III meets with Cabinet members on Friday to discuss the government preparations for Typhoon Lando. Malacañang Photo Bureau
President Aquino led officials yesterday in checking the situation in Nueva Ecija, where many areas were flooded by rains brought by Typhoon Lando as he expressed hope that the number of casualties will not increase. The President traveled by land to Nueva Ecija National High School in Cabanatuan City and led the distribution of relief supplies to residents evacuated from calamity areas.
The President and his officials handed out family food packs, kitchen ware as well as blankets, mosquito nets and mats. The Palace disclosed that Aquino initially wanted to go to Santa Rosa but the situation there did not allow it. Residents in the town were trapped on their rooftops as floodwaters rose quickly, submerging their houses. The President arrived at the school at around 4:30 p.m. and was met by Nueva Ecija Gov. Aurelio Umali, Cabanatuan City Mayor Julius Cesar Vergara and Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) Region 3 officials led by director Gemma Gabuya. Evacuees also welcomed Aquino and his officials as they walked to the evacuation center. “The government I think has responded to all. Casualties hopefully will not climb. But again, we will not take any chances and we will try to ensure that we are on the side of being conservative and making sure that everybody is protected during this time,” said Aquino, who had warned the public about the coming typhoon in a televised address on Friday. Asked about the scale of devastation, Aquino said they were collating all the data and there were areas where lines of communication had been cut. He said there was also no electricity in many areas “but there are less and less areas that are somewhat isolated.” The President said Cabanatuan City was in fact listed as one of those isolated, the reason why they chose to see for themselves the situation. “The scale? Basically, the challenge here is that you have a lingering typhoon as opposed to just crossing our landmass in a matter of a few hours. The expectation… (is) about three days long. There is something like 800 barangays in several provinces that are deemed susceptible to the effects of rainwater coming down from further up north,” Aquino said. The President, accompanied by DSWD Secretary Corazon Soliman, Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala, Public Works Secretary Rogelio Singson and Health Secretary Janette Garin, held a meeting with local officials after the distribution of relief goods. “Now, the challenge with a lot of our countrymen ‎is that they don’t seem to see the amount of rain pouring, they think it is safe to go back to their communities, but we are preventing them because the expectations from tonight and after tomorrow, a lot of this rainfall that fell on the northern portion of Luzon will be coming down and will be affecting all of these barangays near the major river systems,” he told reporters after the meeting. The President said various electric cooperatives were checking their lines to ensure that by the time they would re-energize, there would be no threat of electrocution. There were 204 families or 961 persons in the evacuation center from 11 barangays. Still on alert The government remains on alert as Typhoon Lando continued to move slowly in Northern Luzon and affected thousands of residents, Malacañang said yesterday as it appealed for continuous cooperation from the public and assured them help would reach everyone, even those in isolated areas. READ MORE...

ALSO: Noy gov’t politicizing relief distribution – UNA
[Militant group Bayan, for its part, also blasted the LP Soliman for capitalizing on government programs and events as venues for early administration campaign sorties. The entire event was decorated in yellow, with even Soliman herself wearing the campaign colors. Even the presidential table was yellow. It was obviously a campaign sortie disguised as an official government event, it noted. “We condemn in the strongest terms the shameless use of public funds and government resources by the ruling Liberal Party for its electoral campaign,” Bayan secretary general Renato Reyes said.]


Liberal Party (LP) presidential bet Manuel “Mar” Roxas II and his running mate Camarines Sur Rep. Maria Leonor “Leni” Robredo made their presence felt in typhoon-hit areas on Tuesday but denied that it was part of their campaign. Roxas and Robredo led the distribution of relief goods to residents of Aurora and Nueva Ecija, two of the provinces severely hit by Typhoon Lando. Roxas immediately made it clear that the relief effort was not related to the upcoming elections. PHILSTAR OCTOBER 20, 2015 “Yolanda all over again: Liberal Party (LP) politics over public service.”  The United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) yesterday slammed the government’s selective relief operation concerning super typhoon Lando-hit areas, skipping towns whose mayors belong to parties not allied with the administration. “We are saddened by the reports we are receiving. No less than the mayor of San Miguel, Bulacan, had confirmed that they were not given relief goods coming from the DWSD (Department of Social Welfare and Development) for their constituents affected by typhoon Lando,” UNA spokesman Mon Ilagan said. “Even the people of Baler in Aurora and from the towns of Cabiao and Bongabon in Nueva Ecija were denied assistance simply because their mayors are not members of the ruling party,” he noted. “Is this the new rule of the day? Selective relief? If you’re not an ally, you cannot avail of any assistance?” Ilagan asked. San Miguel Mayor Roderick Tiongson, who ran under the Liberal Party (LP) in 2013, is now vying for the governorship of Bulacan under UNA. Baler Mayor Nelianto Bihasa meanwhile belongs to PDP-Laban. “This is Yolanda all over again. Politics has sadly reared its ugly head in times of distress. For sure, it would be a different situation for those towns whose mayors are from the LP,” Ilagan said. “According to (presidential spokesman) Edwin Lacierda, who is now acting as spokesman for (LP standard-bearer Manuel) ‘Mar’ Roxas (II), what is important is that the relief goods reach the people. And we agree with him regarding this. At the end of the day, what is important is that the relief goods reach those who are truly in need. But they should have adopted the same stance in Casiguran in Aurora wherein the distribution of relief goods was postponed as they have to wait for the arrival of President Aquino before proceeding with the distribution,” he added.
Ilagan also scored the Aquino administration for tacitly allowing members of its Cabinet to use government resources to advance the presidential bid of Roxas in 2016. “While they are denying any assistance to those who do not belong to their party, their allies are riding on the DSWD bandwagon for campaigning,” he stressed. As Lando approached Luzon last Saturday, the LP front-runners for president and vice president and Social Welfare Secretary Dinky Soliman were spotted in a gathering of the government’s Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) beneficiaries in Koronadal, South Cotabato. The event was organized by the DSWD. This, despite Soliman’s declaration that the Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT) program won’t be used by politicians in advancing their interests in next year’s polls. “All those who are campaigning have virtually left their offices unattended. One by one, Cabinet members are joining in the campaign for the administration bets and the latest to join the bandwagon is Tourism Secretary Ramon Jimenez,” Ilagan said. Transportation and Communication Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya made a slip of the tongue when he credited Jimenez for providing him a copy of the survey results saying among others the preference of Filipinos to the continuity Aquino’s “tuwid na daan” (straight path) — the centerpiece of his supposed moral crusade in government. READ MORE...

ALSO By Nestor Mata: 130! A SYMBOL OF VIBRANT DEMOCRACY -NOT TRUE
[MATA's Quote of the Day: “Politics is a way of life. It is the life of one who is born with a love for public life, with a desire for honor, with a feeling for the people that will last as long as need be!” – Anon.]


OCTOBER 20 -
By NESTOR MATA AFTER 130 aspirants for the presidency, 19 for the vice presidency and 172 for the senate filed their certificates of candidacy last Friday, an astounded Comelec spokesman James Jimenez remarked, “this is a symbol or a representative of a vibrant democracy...” And, instantly, a Malacañang propagandist rejoiced, and repeated that it “showed how vibrant the Philippine democracy is ...”, in an obvious attempt to gain credit for the outgoing Aquino administration. This is untrue! We never had a “vibrant democracy” under President Noynoy Aquino’s rule. The truth is that after more than five years in office, which ends in June next year, Aquino crippled democracy! He violated the Constitution with impunity, exerted undue influence on both houses of Congress to have a sitting chief justice of the Supreme Court impeached on a no-culpable violation of the Constitution by releasing billions of public funds as rewards for the senators and congressmen, as many pundits in print media and commentators in social media have noted time and time again. Now, circulating in social media, here are some of Aquino’s “wonderful achievements” with his vaunted “Daang Matuwid”: He “bastardized, perverted and violated the Constitution repeatedly”; he consistently blamed his predecessor, former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo for the last five years of his “monumental blunders and fiascos” while at the same time claiming credit for Arroyo’s accomplishments; Under Aquino, the country achieved the “highest unemployment rate” in Southeast Asia as confirmed as fact by the International Labor Organization (ILO); he defied the Commission on Audit’s directives and the transparency clause of the Constitution as well as to have his PSF (Presidential Pork Barrel) audited; He boasted of achieving the “Next Tiger Economy status” under his “able and inspired leadership”, which in reality did not translate to poverty alleviation, sustainable job generation, and bring down the prices of basic commodities; Caused the national debt to balloon to P6.4 trillion, which meant every Filipino, including the yet unborn, already awe in excess of P6,000 each; He defined the horrendous Metro Manila traffic as “Sign of Progress” despite estimation by analysts that the traffic problems cost the economy billions in lost revenues every day; and he berated and belittled the priests and other clergy in front of Pope Francis during his recent Papal visit. Yes, for all these and many, many more sins of commission and omission, of blunders, incompetence, ignorance and misgovernance, Aquino is indeed the “Best President” who “brought shame and indignity to the country and the Filipino people”! *** Now, of all 130 aspirants for the presidency, only Vice President Jojo Binay, Secretary Mar Roxas, Senators Miriam Defensor Santiago and Grace Poe-Llamansares, will probably be in the final list of the Commission on Elections to be released on December 10. The other presidential wannabes, some of whom, as one pundit put it, “mostly lightweights, some clowns, amateurs and idiots”, will most probably be eliminated as “nuisance candidates.” That leaves the field to those four presidential rivals and their respective running mates from among the 19 candidates for vice president, among them are Senators Bongbong Marcos, Gregorio Honasan, Chiz Escudero, and Representative Leni Robredo, The 2016 presidential derby could be a repeat of what happened in 2010 when Noynoy Aquino was catapulted to the presidency through the magic of the so-called “hocus-PCOS”. By wielding the same magic wand, Aquino expects to use those same controversial voting machines to insure the victory of his political heir, Mar Roxas, who, in turn, he expects to protect him after he steps down from the presidency in June 2016. READ MORE...

ALSO The LLAMAS' budget: Senate grills Ochoa over budget hearings for Aquino’s political adviser


OCTOBER 17 -Aquino and Ochoa Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa Jr. was under siege yesterday following his spoof response to the question posed by Sen. Loren Legarda that assailed the absence of President Aquino’s political adviser, Secretary Ronald Llamas. It was during the budget hearing for the Llamas office for when Ochoa was grilled over the possibility of having public money used for poll-related activities, as responded wittingly to Legarda’s query in citing politics as the reason for the absence of Aquino’s political adviser.“Perhaps, it’s a political season your honor…” Ochoa said in jest, when Legarda asked where Llamas is, noting that it was the first time she encountered a budget for a political adviser, which seeks a whopping P58 million in 2016, which is an election year. The budget for Llamas’ office falls right under the Office of the President’s wing. Ochoa was then ordered by Legarda to provide the Senate finance committee a breakdown of such budget and its political activities, particularly from 2011 to present.Succeeding queries from Legarda casted further doubt on the budget for the political adviser, pointing out that while it is correct for Ochoa to say that it is political season, it may put on the plate the possibility of Llamas’ backing a candidate where his budget may be used. READ MORE...

ALSO 3 TIMES MORE?: After Noy, P400,000 monthly salary for president eyed


OCTOBER 21-
Photo by JOEY MENDOZA
The administration is planning to increase the salary of President Aquino’s successor from P120,000 to about P400,000 a month.
Budget Secretary Florencio Abad told The STAR that under Malacañang’s new salary adjustment plan, government personnel with low salary grades would receive less, while those with high salary levels would get more. “Those with low salary grades are receiving salaries that are already at par with the market. It is the higher grades that are far from the market,” Abad said. By “market,” he said he meant comparing salaries in the government with those in the private sector. There are 33 pay levels in the bureaucracy. Salary Grade 1 is the lowest and pays about P9,500 a month. Salary Grade 33 is the highest and pays P120,000 a month. Abad said the President’s basic monthly salary of P120,000 is only about “30 percent of the market.” When told that making it at par with the market would mean increasing it more than three times or to about P400,000, he said, “But that is the salary of the country’s president.” If the present Congress approves the salary adjustment plan and Aquino signs it into law, lawmakers and the President are prohibited by the Constitution from benefiting from it. It would be Aquino’s successor who would receive the new rate. Abad said the Cabinet would first approve the plan before it is sent to Congress. READ MORE...


READ FULL MEDIA REPORTS HERE:

Noy in Cabanatuan, leads distribution of relief goods


President Benigno Aquino III meets with Cabinet members on Friday to discuss the government preparations for Typhoon Lando. Malacañang Photo Bureau

MANILA, OCTOBER 26, 2015 (PHILSTAR) By Aurea Calica  October 20, 2015 - 12:00am - President Aquino led officials yesterday in checking the situation in Nueva Ecija, where many areas were flooded by rains brought by Typhoon Lando as he expressed hope that the number of casualties will not increase.

The President traveled by land to Nueva Ecija National High School in Cabanatuan City and led the distribution of relief supplies to residents evacuated from calamity areas.

The President and his officials handed out family food packs, kitchen ware as well as blankets, mosquito nets and mats.

The Palace disclosed that Aquino initially wanted to go to Santa Rosa but the situation there did not allow it. Residents in the town were trapped on their rooftops as floodwaters rose quickly, submerging their houses.

The President arrived at the school at around 4:30 p.m. and was met by Nueva Ecija Gov. Aurelio Umali, Cabanatuan City Mayor Julius Cesar Vergara and Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) Region 3 officials led by director Gemma Gabuya.

Evacuees also welcomed Aquino and his officials as they walked to the evacuation center.

“The government I think has responded to all. Casualties hopefully will not climb. But again, we will not take any chances and we will try to ensure that we are on the side of being conservative and making sure that everybody is protected during this time,” said Aquino, who had warned the public about the coming typhoon in a televised address on Friday.

Asked about the scale of devastation, Aquino said they were collating all the data and there were areas where lines of communication had been cut.

He said there was also no electricity in many areas “but there are less and less areas that are somewhat isolated.”

The President said Cabanatuan City was in fact listed as one of those isolated, the reason why they chose to see for themselves the situation.

“The scale? Basically, the challenge here is that you have a lingering typhoon as opposed to just crossing our landmass in a matter of a few hours. The expectation… (is) about three days long. There is something like 800 barangays in several provinces that are deemed susceptible to the effects of rainwater coming down from further up north,” Aquino said.

The President, accompanied by DSWD Secretary Corazon Soliman, Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala, Public Works Secretary Rogelio Singson and Health Secretary Janette Garin, held a meeting with local officials after the distribution of relief goods.

“Now, the challenge with a lot of our countrymen ‎is that they don’t seem to see the amount of rain pouring, they think it is safe to go back to their communities, but we are preventing them because the expectations from tonight and after tomorrow, a lot of this rainfall that fell on the northern portion of Luzon will be coming down and will be affecting all of these barangays near the major river systems,” he told reporters after the meeting.

The President said various electric cooperatives were checking their lines to ensure that by the time they would re-energize, there would be no threat of electrocution.

There were 204 families or 961 persons in the evacuation center from 11 barangays.

Still on alert

The government remains on alert as Typhoon Lando continued to move slowly in Northern Luzon and affected thousands of residents, Malacañang said yesterday as it appealed for continuous cooperation from the public and assured them help would reach everyone, even those in isolated areas.

READ MORE...

Asked about the response of the local government units so far as well as the various departments and agencies, presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda said the coordination had been timely and effective, though not all affected areas could be easily reached.

“The response mechanisms are enforced. The NDRRMC (National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council) has been monitoring the situation on the ground on the various areas affected by Typhoon Lando,” Lacierda said.

He said there were many ways to reach even isolated areas and that relief goods had been prepositioned for families that were and would still be evacuated.


LACIERDA

Lacierda also said the administration would be “color blind” when asked if politics could possibly get in the way of rescue operations and providing assistance to victims.

He said they conveyed the same message to the governor of Aurora after the typhoon made landfall in Casiguran and isolated the town last Sunday morning.

“They should not worry because our measures are continuous to make sure that they are reached. We will not cease in making sure that all areas will be reached,” he said.

Lacierda said the government had learned a lot from past disasters that hit the country but “every storm presents new challenges.”

“Because of our disaster response mechanism… and because of the improved weather forecasting, I think the most important thing is if we are able to identify the path of the storm and for that, PAGASA (Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration) has been doing a very good job in predicting and forecasting the path of the storm,” Lacierda said.

He said the government was able to identify more accurately where to preposition the relief supplies with PAGASA’s storm tracking.

Of the 4,892 families or 20,492 persons affected in Regions 1, 2, 3, 4-A, 5 and Cordillera Administrative Region, 1,830 families or 6,776 persons were preemptively evacuated, Lacierda said.

As of midnight Sunday, Lacierda said the DSWD has made available P1,169,032,137.15 in standby funds, 196,737 family food packs and P158,164,761.76 worth of food and non-food items.

He added power supply had been restored in five cities and 48 municipalities in Ilocos Norte, Pangasinan, La Union, Cagayan, Isabela, Nueva Ecija, Zambales, Tarlac, Laguna and Benguet. – With Mike Frialde, Rainier Allan Ronda, Perseus Echeminada, Janvic Mateo, Mayen Jaymalin, Danessa Rivera, Sheila Crisostomo, Michelle Zoleta, Manny Galvez


TRIBUNE

Noy gov’t politicizing relief distribution – UNA  Written by Tribune Wires Saturday, 24 October 2015 00:00


Liberal Party (LP) presidential bet Manuel “Mar” Roxas II and his running mate Camarines Sur Rep. Maria Leonor “Leni” Robredo made their presence felt in typhoon-hit areas on Tuesday but denied that it was part of their campaign. Roxas and Robredo led the distribution of relief goods to residents of Aurora and Nueva Ecija, two of the provinces severely hit by Typhoon Lando. Roxas immediately made it clear that the relief effort was not related to the upcoming elections. PHILSTAR OCTOBER 20, 2015

“Yolanda all over again: Liberal Party (LP) politics over public service.”

The United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) yesterday slammed the government’s selective relief operation concerning super typhoon Lando-hit areas, skipping towns whose mayors belong to parties not allied with the administration.

“We are saddened by the reports we are receiving. No less than the mayor of San Miguel, Bulacan, had confirmed that they were not given relief goods coming from the DWSD (Department of Social Welfare and Development) for their constituents affected by typhoon Lando,” UNA spokesman Mon Ilagan said.

“Even the people of Baler in Aurora and from the towns of Cabiao and Bongabon in Nueva Ecija were denied assistance simply because their mayors are not members of the ruling party,” he noted.

“Is this the new rule of the day? Selective relief? If you’re not an ally, you cannot avail of any assistance?” Ilagan asked.

San Miguel Mayor Roderick Tiongson, who ran under the Liberal Party (LP) in 2013, is now vying for the governorship of Bulacan under UNA. Baler Mayor Nelianto Bihasa meanwhile belongs to PDP-Laban.

“This is Yolanda all over again. Politics has sadly reared its ugly head in times of distress. For sure, it would be a different situation for those towns whose mayors are from the LP,” Ilagan said.

“According to (presidential spokesman) Edwin Lacierda, who is now acting as spokesman for (LP standard-bearer Manuel) ‘Mar’ Roxas (II), what is important is that the relief goods reach the people. And we agree with him regarding this.

At the end of the day, what is important is that the relief goods reach those who are truly in need. But they should have adopted the same stance in Casiguran in Aurora wherein the distribution of relief goods was postponed as they have to wait for the arrival of President Aquino before proceeding with the distribution,” he added.

Ilagan also scored the Aquino administration for tacitly allowing members of its Cabinet to use government resources to advance the presidential bid of Roxas in 2016.


OCTOBER 20 -President Benigno Aquino III distributes relief goods to displaced families in typhoon-hit Cabanatuan City, Nueva Ecija on Monday. Twitter/DSWD Central Luzon

“While they are denying any assistance to those who do not belong to their party, their allies are riding on the DSWD bandwagon for campaigning,” he stressed.

As Lando approached Luzon last Saturday, the LP front-runners for president and vice president and Social Welfare Secretary Dinky Soliman were spotted in a gathering of the government’s Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) beneficiaries in Koronadal, South Cotabato. The event was organized by the DSWD.

This, despite Soliman’s declaration that the Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT) program won’t be used by politicians in advancing their interests in next year’s polls.

“All those who are campaigning have virtually left their offices unattended. One by one, Cabinet members are joining in the campaign for the administration bets and the latest to join the bandwagon is Tourism Secretary Ramon Jimenez,” Ilagan said.

Transportation and Communication Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya made a slip of the tongue when he credited Jimenez for providing him a copy of the survey results saying among others the preference of Filipinos to the continuity Aquino’s “tuwid na daan” (straight path) — the centerpiece of his supposed moral crusade in government.

READ MORE...

“What has the Department of Tourism got to do with political issues?

Foremost in our mind is this question: Will the results of this political survey aid in explaining the failure of the DoT to get its 10 million tourist target?” he asked.

According to Ilagan, Jimenez has allowed himself to be used by the Liberal Party and has likely used public money to the wind by commissioning a political survey which is not part of his office mandate.

UNA criticized Malacañang for prioritizing politics over public service.
 


Secretary Corazon “Dinky” Soliman. Social Welfare Secretary Corazon “Dinky” Soliman denied accusations that she was campaigning for the Liberal Party (LP) during the onslaught of typhoon “Lando” in the country. INQUIRER FILE PHOTO/MARIANNE BERMUDEZ OCTOBER 21, 2015

“Unfortunately, the Palace has allowed members of its Cabinet to campaign for Roxas and the LP ticket in wholesale. The entire bureaucracy is now at the Liberal Party’s disposal. Cabinet secretaries, who should set the bar for the kind of public servants our country needs as the President’s alter-egos, have entered the political fray at the expense of genuine public service. They have abandoned their calling as public servants for politics’ sake,” Ilagan pointed out.

The UNA spokesman called on those Cabinet members committed to the candidacy of Roxas to resign and to stop using public funds to pursue the LP’s political agenda.

Militant group Bayan, for its part, also blasted the LP Soliman for capitalizing on government programs and events as venues for early administration campaign sorties.

The entire event was decorated in yellow, with even Soliman herself wearing the campaign colors. Even the presidential table was yellow. It was obviously a campaign sortie disguised as an official government event, it noted.

“We condemn in the strongest terms the shameless use of public funds and government resources by the ruling Liberal Party for its electoral campaign,” Bayan secretary general Renato Reyes said.

Reyes said they are looking into possible electoral offenses committed by the LP and “will take action against these continuing violations of the law.” 
Charlie V. Manalo and Ted Tuvera


MALAYA COLUMN

‘A SYMBOL OF VIBRANT DEMOCRACY’ By NESTOR MATA October 20, 2015 -


By NESTOR MATA

AFTER 130 aspirants for the presidency, 19 for the vice presidency and 172 for the senate filed their certificates of candidacy last Friday, an astounded Comelec spokesman James Jimenez remarked, “this is a symbol or a representative of a vibrant democracy...” And, instantly, a Malacañang propagandist rejoiced, and repeated that it “showed how vibrant the Philippine democracy is ...”, in an obvious attempt to gain credit for the outgoing Aquino administration.

This is untrue! We never had a “vibrant democracy” under President Noynoy Aquino’s rule. The truth is that after more than five years in office, which ends in June next year, Aquino crippled democracy!

He violated the Constitution with impunity, exerted undue influence on both houses of Congress to have a sitting chief justice of the Supreme Court impeached on a no-culpable violation of the Constitution by releasing billions of public funds as rewards for the senators and congressmen, as many pundits in print media and commentators in social media have noted time and time again.

Now, circulating in social media, here are some of Aquino’s “wonderful achievements” with his vaunted “Daang Matuwid”: He “bastardized, perverted and violated the Constitution repeatedly”; he consistently blamed his predecessor, former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo for the last five years of his “monumental blunders and fiascos” while at the same time claiming credit for Arroyo’s accomplishments;

Under Aquino, the country achieved the “highest unemployment rate” in Southeast Asia as confirmed as fact by the International Labor Organization (ILO); he defied the Commission on Audit’s directives and the transparency clause of the Constitution as well as to have his PSF (Presidential Pork Barrel) audited;


PHILSTAR PHOTO

He boasted of achieving the “Next Tiger Economy status” under his “able and inspired leadership”, which in reality did not translate to poverty alleviation, sustainable job generation, and bring down the prices of basic commodities; Caused the national debt to balloon to P6.4 trillion, which meant every Filipino, including the yet unborn, already awe in excess of P6,000 each;

He defined the horrendous Metro Manila traffic as “Sign of Progress” despite estimation by analysts that the traffic problems cost the economy billions in lost revenues every day; and he berated and belittled the priests and other clergy in front of Pope Francis during his recent Papal visit.

Yes, for all these and many, many more sins of commission and omission, of blunders, incompetence, ignorance and misgovernance, Aquino is indeed the “Best President” who “brought shame and indignity to the country and the Filipino people”!

***

Now, of all 130 aspirants for the presidency, only Vice President Jojo Binay, Secretary Mar Roxas, Senators Miriam Defensor Santiago and Grace Poe-Llamansares, will probably be in the final list of the Commission on Elections to be released on December 10.

The other presidential wannabes, some of whom, as one pundit put it, “mostly lightweights, some clowns, amateurs and idiots”, will most probably be eliminated as “nuisance candidates.”

That leaves the field to those four presidential rivals and their respective running mates from among the 19 candidates for vice president, among them are Senators Bongbong Marcos, Gregorio Honasan, Chiz Escudero, and Representative Leni Robredo,

The 2016 presidential derby could be a repeat of what happened in 2010 when Noynoy Aquino was catapulted to the presidency through the magic of the so-called “hocus-PCOS”. By wielding the same magic wand, Aquino expects to use those same controversial voting machines to insure the victory of his political heir, Mar Roxas, who, in turn, he expects to protect him after he steps down from the presidency in June 2016.

READ MORE...

But a new factor has changed the nature of campaigns and elections, and that is the power and influence of the social media and the internet.


MIRIAM SANTIAGO ON FACEBOOK

No less than Senator Santiago is banking on social media and her popularity among the youth to carry her campaign for president. She says that young voters nowadays decide on their choice of candidates and even influence their parents and elders who to vote for.

Santiago reportedly has more than three million “likes” on Facebook and over two million followers on Twitter. “The Internet will be more powerful than we think,” she said.

If she is right, then there will indeed be “a sea change” in the conduct of elections next year, and that could also mean the end of the magic of “hocus-PCOS” machines and her victory in 2016.

But, before that can happen, Senator Santiago still has to hurdle two other problems. Firstly, can her Internet followers break Vice President Binay’s hold on the bedrock of votes of 32 percent that his loyal followers say no amount of demolition can erode?

Secondly, how can Santiago and her Internet followers overcome political neophyte Senator Poe’s rising popularity, despite her still unresolved citizenship and residency status?

And so, these questions, if unanswered, could possibly get in the way of Senator Miriam Defensor’s dream of becoming the third woman president of the Republic of the Philippines.

***

Quote of the Day: “Politics is a way of life. It is the life of one who is born with a love for public life, with a desire for honor, with a feeling for the people that will last as long as need be!” – Anon.


TRIBUNE

Senate grills Ochoa over budget hearings for Aquino’s political adviser
Written by Joshua L. Labonera Saturday, 17 October 2015 00:00


AQUINO AND OCHOA

Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa Jr. was under siege yesterday following his spoof response to the question posed by Sen. Loren Legarda that assailed the absence of President Aquino’s political adviser, Secretary Ronald Llamas.

It was during the budget hearing for the Llamas office for when Ochoa was grilled over the possibility of having public money used for poll-related activities, as responded wittingly to Legarda’s query in citing politics as the reason for the absence of Aquino’s political adviser.

“Perhaps, it’s a political season your honor…” Ochoa said in jest, when Legarda asked where Llamas is, noting that it was the first time she encountered a budget for a political adviser, which seeks a whopping P58 million in 2016, which is an election year.

The budget for Llamas’ office falls right under the Office of the President’s wing. Ochoa was then ordered by Legarda to provide the Senate finance committee a breakdown of such budget and its political activities, particularly from 2011 to present.


President Benigno Aquino III with his political adviser, Ronald Llamas. Malacañang. EDWIN BACASMAS INQUIRER FILE

Succeeding queries from Legarda casted further doubt on the budget for the political adviser, pointing out that while it is correct for Ochoa to say that it is political season, it may put on the plate the possibility of Llamas’ backing a candidate where his budget may be used.

READ MORE...

“What kind of political advising or organization will be used with this P58 million,” Legarda said.

Another Palace official, Cabinet Secretary Jose Rene Almendras, was quick to disperse the cloud over Llamas budget, saying at the sidelines of the budget hearing that funds for the political adviser would not be used to favor the President’s bet in 2016.

“My understanding is that his role is to make sure that the President is aware of the political development around the country…and not necessarily national, even the local. That’s the role of the political adviser,” Almendras said.

The Palace official denied that Llamas, who is with yellow-leaning Akbayan, would not automatically support the Liberal Party (LP) bets. It was consistently affirmed, however, that Akbayan is linked to the LP.

Almendras did not comment on whether or not Llamas is actually going to use the funds to support a candidate for the polls.

“I don’t know if he’s joined LP already, he’s with Akbayan. I think the role of the political adviser is to go around the country and make sure he listens to what’s the political temperament of the people and makes sure the President is aware of that…” he added.


PHILSTAR

After Noy, P400,000 monthly salary for president eyed By Jess Diaz (The Philippine Star) | Updated October 21, 2015 - 12:00am 0 107 googleplus0 0


President Aquino Photo by JOEY MENDOZA

MANILA, Philippines - The administration is planning to increase the salary of President Aquino’s successor from P120,000 to about P400,000 a month.

Budget Secretary Florencio Abad told The STAR that under Malacañang’s new salary adjustment plan, government personnel with low salary grades would receive less, while those with high salary levels would get more.

“Those with low salary grades are receiving salaries that are already at par with the market. It is the higher grades that are far from the market,” Abad said.

By “market,” he said he meant comparing salaries in the government with those in the private sector.

There are 33 pay levels in the bureaucracy. Salary Grade 1 is the lowest and pays about P9,500 a month. Salary Grade 33 is the highest and pays P120,000 a month.

Abad said the President’s basic monthly salary of P120,000 is only about “30 percent of the market.”

When told that making it at par with the market would mean increasing it more than three times or to about P400,000, he said, “But that is the salary of the country’s president.”

If the present Congress approves the salary adjustment plan and Aquino signs it into law, lawmakers and the President are prohibited by the Constitution from benefiting from it.

It would be Aquino’s successor who would receive the new rate.

Abad said the Cabinet would first approve the plan before it is sent to Congress.

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He said the proposed P3.002-trillion 2016 national budget includes about P60 billion for the new round of salary increase for the more than one million government officials and employees.

Sen. Ralph Recto has proposed that the pay hike be focused on Salary Grades 11 to 13, or those receiving between P18,549 to P19,887 and P21,436 to P22,982 a month.

Recto said the bulk of state personnel are clustered around these three salary grades.

Salary Grade 11 is the entry-level pay rate in public schools. Government nurses also receive Salary Grade 11, although the Philippine Nursing Act of 2002 provides that they should be getting Salary Grade 15.

Party-list group Ang Nars has filed a case with the Supreme Court (SC) to compel the government to follow the law.

Three years ago, the government completed a four-year pay adjustment program that saw bureaucrats’ salaries double. For instance, the President’s salary went up from P60,000 to P120,000 a month.

Members of Congress used to receive only P35,000 a month. They now get about P95,000, the same salary that Cabinet members are earning.

According to the Commission on Audit report on compensation for 2014, high-ranking government officials, including justices of the SC, Court of Appeals, Court of Tax Appeals and Sandiganbayan, are receiving more than P1 million a year in basic pay.

There is no cap on how much allowances they get. In the case of the SC, the highest paid justice earned P6.5 million last year. Of that amount, only P1 million was in the form of basic salary. The rest represented allowances.

Without the planned new round of increase, taxpayers are shelling out more than P2 billion a day for government salaries.


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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