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

CLARIFICATION: AFP WILL FOLLOW NOY's CALL FOR CEASEFIRE


DECEMBER 20 -AFP declares SOMO vs Reds | Headlines, News, The Philippine Star | philstar.com Updated December 19, 2015 - 3:33pm --The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) said it will abide with the suspension of military operation (SOMO) against the New People’s Army (NPA) declared by President Aquino. “This unilateral declaration of SOMO was recommended by the Department of National Defense. It only covers military operations against the NPA,” AFP public affairs office chief Col. Noel Detoyato said. The SOMO will take effect beginning 12:01 a.m. of Dec. 23 and will end on 11:59 p.m. of Jan. 3, 2016. Detoyato said this does not cover law enforcement operations conducted by the Philippine National Police (PNP) that the AFP supports against other threat groups and wanted personalities. “This SOMO will allow our soldiers time to spend Christmas and New Year holidays with their families and love ones,” he added. Detoyato also hopes that NPA members would use this time of peace to reflect. “We call on them to surrender, abandon the armed struggle and ultimately return to the fold of law,” he added. The other day, Aquino approved the recommendation of the Department of National Defense (DND) for the unilateral declaration of SOMO against the NPA for the Christmas and New Year holidays. Last Dec. 15, the defense department recommended that Aquino approve a SOMO against communist insurgents. The Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) has already declared a 12-day holiday ceasefire in support of calls to resume the stalled peace talks with the government. The National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) said the truce would take effect from Dec. 23, 2015 to Jan. 3, 2016. The NDFP negotiates with the government on behalf of the CPP and its political arm, the NPA. The ceasefire order was issued in solidarity with the Filipino people’s traditional celebrations of Christmas and New Year holidays, the NDFP said.READ MORE...

ALSO: INCLUDING P17-M IN ALLOCATIONS TO MAKATI OVP has P95-M in unliquidated PDAF —COA


DECEMBER 19 -VP BINAY
At least P95 million of the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) of the Office of the Vice President remains unliquidated even after two years, the latest Commission on Audit (COA) audit report showed. A total of P77.46 million of PDAF allocated to the national government agencies (NGA) - Department of Public Works and Highway (DPWH) and the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) – remains unliquidated as of the end of 2014, the report said. The DPWH allocation holds the largest unliquidated PDAF fun, amounting to a total of P 59.46 million. The COA report stated that this was for the construction/repair/rehabilitation of the Office of Senior Citizens Affairs Multi-Purpose Building. P18 million of PDAF fund for CHED is also still unliquidated. The allocation was simply described as “for educational/scholarship program” in the report. "Section 4.6 of COA Circular No. 94-013 dated December 13, 1994 provides that within ten (10) days after the end of each month/end of the agreed period for the project, the Implementing Agency (IA) shall submit the Report of Checks Issued (RCI) and the Report of Disbursements (RD) to report the utilization of the funds. Only actual project expenses shall be reported. The reports shall be approved by the Head of the IA," the COA said. Both funds were allocated in 2012. The audit report did not provide any more details on the said projects. The audit report totalledthe OVP’s dues from national government agencies to P84.73 million, including the funds from DPWH and CHED. PDAF was declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court on November 19, 2013. Unused PDAF should be returned to the national treasury pursuant to the decision of the high court.
Love your own Also in 2012, the OVP allocated P32 million to the local government unit of Makati from the PDAF of the Vice President – where his son was mayor and his daughter is congressman. READ MORE...

ALSO: VP office to submit clarification on unliquidated fund releases


DECEMBER 18 -The Office of the Vice President (OVP) is set to submit to the Commission on Audit further clarification on the reported P95-million unliquidated releases from his Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) from back to three years ago in the wake of audit findings pointing to its failure to explain the disbursements. In a statement on Saturday, the office of Vice President Jejomar Binay said it would send information to COA to better explain the fund releases, adding it had clarified the matter with the commission six months ago. “The OVP has clarified as early as June this year the observations made by the COA contained in its audit findings released recently,” Binay’s office said in a statement. Rosalie Licauco, assistant chief of staff at the OVP, also told state auditor Marife Tubana in a letter on June 22 that the OVP “will submit other needed information for post-audit purposes at the soonest possible time.”  The letter, as cited in the statement the OVP released on Saturday, touched on one specific item in the disbursements—the procurement of relief goods in 2013—but did not address the bulk of the releases. This would be further explained in its expected submission to the COA, said the OVP. In a report released on Wednesday, COA said P95.09 million in releases from Binay’s PDAF from 2012 to 2013, before the discretionary fund was scrapped due to anomalies, remained unliquidated. The report was released just as Binay, standard-bearer of the opposition United Nationalist Alliance for the May 2016 elections, grappled with allegations of corruption in government contracts during his time as mayor of Makati City, the country’s business capital. READ MORE...

ALSO: EX-COMELEC CHIEF’S FEARLESS FORECAST ON POE DQ: ‘En banc to vote 5-1’


DECEMEBR 20 -It would be 5-1 and Grace Poe’s out. This was the fearless forecast over the weekend of former elections commission chairman Sixto Brillantes Jr. on how the six members of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) would vote on an appeal to reverse separate decisions of the poll body’s two divisions canceling the certificate of candidacy (COC) for President of Poe, an independent aspirant. “Based on the voting in the divisions, we already know what will be the vote in the en banc, assuming nobody would change their votes,” Brillantes said.He is the immediate past chairman of the Comelec. The 76-year-old legal eagle led the poll body from January 2011 until his term expired in February this year. An expert in election laws, Brillantes was counsel to many known politicians including the late actor Fernando Poe Jr., who also faced disqualification when he ran for President in 2004. The younger Poe is facing multiple disqualification cases—all assailing her claim in her COC that she is a natural-born citizen and a resident of the country for 10 years. The Constitution requires the nation’s President to meet the two conditions. Petitioners wanting to disqualify Poe from next year’s elections argue that for being a f oundling with no known biological Filipino parents, she could not lay claim to being a natural-born citizen. They also insist that based on her 2013 COC for senator, Poe is short of the 10-year residency requirement. She has filed a motion for reconsideration before the en banc, appealing the 3-0 decision of the Second Division, which granted the petition of lawyer Estrella Elamparo to cancel her COC. The Second Division ruled that Poe made a “material misrepresentation” in her COC when she said she has been a resident of the Philippines for “10 years and 11 months.” The senator, in her appeal, claimed she made an honest mistake in filling up her 2013 COC as she has been a resident of the country since May 2005. The Poe camp also appealed the 2-1 decision of the First Division granting petitions filed by former senator Francisco Tatad, former law school dean Amado Valdes and political science professor Antonio Contreras. Both the First and Second Divisions ruled to cancel Poe’s COC for President.
The Comelec en banc will be handing down separate decisions on the two appeals as it junked a motion by Poe’s lawyers to consolidate the cases. Comelec Chairman Andres Bautista earlier said they would not consolidate the cases as it is not mandatory on their part to make such move. READ MORE...


ALSO: From ‘Nonoy’ to ‘Nona’: Why did Pagasa change storm’s name?


DECEMBER 13 -PAGASA explains why they had to change storm's name from 'Nonoy' to 'Nona' |Photo from  Coconuts Manila The weather bureau changed the local name of tropical storm “Melor” from “Nonoy” to “Nona” for sounding like the nickname of President Benigno Aquino III. In a report by radio dzMM, the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa) said it changed the name of the storm which entered the Philippine area of responsibility on Saturday morning “in deference” to President Aquino, who is commonly called “Noynoy.” It was not the first time that the name of a tropical cyclone had to be changed due to resemblance to a president’s name. In 2006, cyclone “Gloria” was renamed to “Glenda” for being similar with the name of then sitting president and now Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal Arroyo. “Nona” has intensified further on Sunday morning as it is expected to make landfall in the Samar-Bicol area on Monday.READ MORE...


READ FULL MEDIA REPORTS HERE:

AFP to follow Noy’s call for ceasefire


AFP declares SOMO vs Reds | Headlines, News, The Philippine Star | philstar.com Updated December 19, 2015 - 3:33pm

MANILA, DECEMBER 21, 2015 (TRIBUNE) Written by Tribune Wires Sunday, 20 December 2015 00:00 - The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) said it will abide with the suspension of military operation (SOMO) against the New People’s Army (NPA) declared by President Aquino.

“This unilateral declaration of SOMO was recommended by the Department of National Defense. It only covers military operations against the NPA,” AFP public affairs office chief Col. Noel Detoyato said.

The SOMO will take effect beginning 12:01 a.m. of Dec. 23 and will end on 11:59 p.m. of Jan. 3, 2016.

Detoyato said this does not cover law enforcement operations conducted by the Philippine National Police (PNP) that the AFP supports against other threat groups and wanted personalities.

“This SOMO will allow our soldiers time to spend Christmas and New Year holidays with their families and love ones,” he added. Detoyato also hopes that NPA members would use this time of peace to reflect.

“We call on them to surrender, abandon the armed struggle and ultimately return to the fold of law,” he added.

The other day, Aquino approved the recommendation of the Department of National Defense (DND) for the unilateral declaration of SOMO against the NPA for the Christmas and New Year holidays.

Last Dec. 15, the defense department recommended that Aquino approve a SOMO against communist insurgents.
The Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) has already declared a 12-day holiday ceasefire in support of calls to resume the stalled peace talks with the government.

The National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) said the truce would take effect from Dec. 23, 2015 to Jan. 3, 2016.
The NDFP negotiates with the government on behalf of the CPP and its political arm, the NPA.

The ceasefire order was issued in solidarity with the Filipino people’s traditional celebrations of Christmas and New Year holidays, the NDFP said.

READ MORE...

The ceasefire will also allow its forces to carry out mass assemblies and public demonstrations to mark the 47th anniversary of the CPP and celebrate revolutionary victories of the past year, it said, adding that the move is also in support of efforts of peace advocates to foster the resumption of the peace negotiations between the government and the NDFP.

Despite this however, another tower of power-grid operator National Grid Corp. of the Philippines (NGCP) in Mindanao was bombed the other night.

In an advisory yesterday, the company said “NGCP’s Tower #168 of Kabacan-Sultan Kudarat 138kV line in Ladia, Sultan Kudarat, Maguindanao was bombed on Dec. 18 at 11:00 p.m.”


NGCP bared one of the legs of the tower was cut.

However, it said the bombing did not affect its power transmission lines and did not cut off power flow to Ladia, Sultan Kudarat and Maguindanao.

The grid operator said tower repairs will start after the area is secured.

NGCP noted the same tower was earlier bombed by lawless elements.

The grid operator warned that more bombing incidents might cause a power interruption for the areas during the holidays.


GMA NEWS NETWORK

INCLUDING P17-M IN ALLOCATIONS TO MAKATI OVP has P95-M in unliquidated PDAF —COA Published December 18, 2015 9:45pm By JAMAICA JANE J. PASCUAL, GMA News Research


VP BINAY

At least P95 million of the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) of the Office of the Vice President remains unliquidated even after two years, the latest Commission on Audit (COA) audit report showed.

A total of P77.46 million of PDAF allocated to the national government agencies (NGA) - Department of Public Works and Highway (DPWH) and the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) – remains unliquidated as of the end of 2014, the report said.

The DPWH allocation holds the largest unliquidated PDAF fun, amounting to a total of P 59.46 million. The COA report stated that this was for the construction/repair/rehabilitation of the Office of Senior Citizens Affairs Multi-Purpose Building.

P18 million of PDAF fund for CHED is also still unliquidated. The allocation was simply described as “for educational/scholarship program” in the report.

"Section 4.6 of COA Circular No. 94-013 dated December 13, 1994 provides that within ten (10) days after the end of each month/end of the agreed period for the project, the Implementing Agency (IA) shall submit the Report of Checks Issued (RCI) and the Report of Disbursements (RD) to report the utilization of the funds. Only actual project expenses shall be reported. The reports shall be approved by the Head of the IA," the COA said.

Both funds were allocated in 2012. The audit report did not provide any more details on the said projects.

The audit report totalledthe OVP’s dues from national government agencies to P84.73 million, including the funds from DPWH and CHED.

PDAF was declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court on November 19, 2013. Unused PDAF should be returned to the national treasury pursuant to the decision of the high court.

Love your own

Also in 2012, the OVP allocated P32 million to the local government unit of Makati from the PDAF of the Vice President – where his son was mayor and his daughter is congressman.

READ MORE...

The allocation was for the implementation of various social services, health and livelihood-training programs of the office.

However, the COA report pointed out that more than half of this, or P17.62 million remains unliquidated as of 2014. The P14.38 million was unutilized and eventually returned to the Bureau of the Treasury.

The agency also noted that some equipment for a project funded by PDAF have not reached the intended beneficiaries.

VP Binay is the father of former Makati City Mayor Jejomar Erwin “Junjun” Binay, who was the city’s mayor from 2010 until he was suspended and eventually disqualified earlier this year. VP’s daughter, Mar-Len Abigail Binay is the city’s second district representative. VP Binay himself was the city’s long-time mayor.

Among the unliquidated fund from the OVP’s PDAF was the P879,550 paid to a certain MPL Trading in 2013 for “food commodities intended for Habagat victims.”

No other details on the payees were provided according to the audit report.

GMA News Research earlier revealed that the owner of a certain MPL Trading, Manuel P. Layug contributed in 2013 P1 million to the campaign kitty of the VP Binay’s daughter, Senator Nancy Binay. He was among the biggest campaign contributor of the neophyte senator.

We also found out that the same MPL Trading won at least five contracts from the city which totalled to at least P P238.83 million.

ALSO SEE: Makati contractors contributed to Nancy, Junjun Binay’s campaigns

In an interview with Senator Binay last year, she told GMA News that she does not know Layug, adding she did not know all her contributors personally.

It is, however, unclear if MPL Trading which was the payee of the unliquidated PDAF fund according to the COA report is the same MPL Trading owned by Layug.

Aside from the food commodity for the Habagat victims, there are two other unliquidated disbursements noted by COA: P9.72 million paid to Dane Degala-Castillo Pharmacy for medical equipment to be used by the Makati Social Welfare Department - Senior Citizen Health Services Program, and P7.03 million paid to Classera Enterprises for the sewing machines allotted for the "livelihood Program of the Office of the Vice-President".

COA said that according to the resident auditor of the city, said purchased sewing machines were not yet distributed to the intended beneficiaries.

Negotiated procurement, non-essential goods

COA in the same audit report also noted that since 2011, the OVP has been employing the services of one particular entity “for the supply and delivery of various essential goods such as noodles, sardines, biscuits, among others,” which were distribution to the victims of calamities. The procurement totaled P94.72 million.

The said supplier did not have a permit to distribute such goods, COA noted. The agency did not name the said supplier, only noting that the City of Makati issued its business permit.

COA also said thatthe OVP entered into a negotiated contract with the supplier.

“Verification of the Business/Mayor’s Permit of one of the top suppliers ofthe OVP revealed that the authority covered by his permit pertains to supply of non-essential goods instead of essential goods such as canned goods, noodles, among others,” COA said in its report.

The agency also examined the barangay clearance of the supplier and found out that the line of business of the supplier is “the trading of office supplies,” which COA remarked as "considered to be non-essential.”

“The supplier’s transactions with the OVP were contrary to the business permit when the delivered goods were essential commodities,” COA said.

COA also said that these transactions were contrary to the Revised Makati Revenue Code, which requires entities who want to engage in more than one kind of business or trade to pay the required permit fees and taxes on each separate or different business or trade.

OVP, in its answer to COA, said that “it overlooked the details on the requisite Business Permit where the authority was for non-essential items only,”.

The office also stressed that the supplier met all the purchase orders.

OVP travels

Aside from the discrepancy with the business permits, COA also remarked the irregularities in the negotiated contracts entered into by the OVP and three travel agencies: Uni-Orient Travel Agency, Inc., TAT Philippines Travel Agency, and Infinite Travel and Tours Corporation.

The OVP paid P8.9 million for the local and foreign airfare tickets of OVP personnel in 2014, including those of the Vice President and his security details.

COA noted that there was “no valid justification to use negotiated mode of procurement” in the availment of the services of the travel agencies. Also, these services were not included in the Annual Procurement Plan ofthe OVP.

COA further stated that these procurements were not posted in the Philippine Government Electronic Procurement System (PhilGeps), which is mandated by law.

Batangas scholars

Aside from PDAF to the Vice President's home city, the OVP also provided scholarship exclusively to Batangueños, COA noted.

VP Binay traces his roots to the province. His father was from Bauan, Batangas.

The Vice President Jejomar C. Binay (VPJCB) Scholarship Program started in SY 2011-2012. In CY 2014, the OVP allotted a total of P3.4 million to the program for the following universities: Manila Central University (P1.32 million), University of the Philippines-Diliman (P912,644.80), and University of Batangas (P1.17 million).

COA listed down various irregularities in the VPJCB Scholarship Program. The audit called on the program’s lack of statement of policy and objective, among others.

The agency specially pointed out the allocations of scholarship to the University of Batangas, calling the program “discriminatory being applicable only to Batangueños and not open to prospective beneficiaries from other provinces”.

COA said that this limited the benefit to the Batangueños only, even if the source of fund came from the national budget.

COA also said that the program does not have a monitoring and feedback mechanism, and no readily-available information on the status of the scholars.

OVP, in its answer, committed to have well-defined guidelines in implementing the program.

Commendations from 2011 to 2013

VP Binay refused to comment on the COA report. His camp, however is “puzzled” with the 2014 audit.

“From 2011 until 2013, COA has been commending the OVP for its programs and its compliance with procedures” UNA Secretary General Atty. JV Bautista said in an interview with GMA News’ Ivan Mayrina.

“COA Chairman Michael Aguinaldo should at the minimum immediately go on leave. It cannot be disputed that COA continues to pursue the harassment and persecution of political opponents of the administration which began under his predecessor,” said Bautista. —with reports from Ivan Mayrina, GMA News


INQUIRER

VP office to submit clarification on unliquidated fund releases
COA: P95M FROM BINAY’S PDAF FROM 2012 TO 2013 By: Tarra Quismundo @TarraINQ Philippine Daily Inquirer
03:56 PM December 19th, 2015



The Office of the Vice President (OVP) is set to submit to the Commission on Audit further clarification on the reported P95-million unliquidated releases from his Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) from back to three years ago in the wake of audit findings pointing to its failure to explain the disbursements.

In a statement on Saturday, the office of Vice President Jejomar Binay said it would send information to COA to better explain the fund releases, adding it had clarified the matter with the commission six months ago.

“The OVP has clarified as early as June this year the observations made by the COA contained in its audit findings released recently,” Binay’s office said in a statement.

Rosalie Licauco, assistant chief of staff at the OVP, also told state auditor Marife Tubana in a letter on June 22 that the OVP “will submit other needed information for post-audit purposes at the soonest possible time.”

The letter, as cited in the statement the OVP released on Saturday, touched on one specific item in the disbursements—the procurement of relief goods in 2013—but did not address the bulk of the releases. This would be further explained in its expected submission to the COA, said the OVP.

In a report released on Wednesday, COA said P95.09 million in releases from Binay’s PDAF from 2012 to 2013, before the discretionary fund was scrapped due to anomalies, remained unliquidated.

The report was released just as Binay, standard-bearer of the opposition United Nationalist Alliance for the May 2016 elections, grappled with allegations of corruption in government contracts during his time as mayor of Makati City, the country’s business capital.

READ MORE...

The COA report cited the unliquidated funds as follows: P59.46 million for the Department of Public Works and Highways for the construction, repair and rehabilitation of Office of Senior Citizens Affairs Multi-Purpose Building; P18 million to fund Commission on Higher Education scholarships; and P17.624 million for livelihood, social welfare and health programs in the Binay bailiwick, Makati City.

In her letter to Tubana, Licauco explained the OVP’s decision to choose MPL Trading as supplier for P879.55 million worth of relief goods for families affected by monsoon rains in 2015.

She said the firm was selected in the interest of fast delivery to families in need.

“We were more concerned about the timely delivery and availability of the goods in the calamity areas without prejudice to pricing which is advantageous to the government,” Licauco said in her letter to Tubana.

She said the OVP procured the rice supply for its relief operations from the National Food Authority.

“Since our primary supplier is located within Luzon areas only, requirement for Visayas and Mindanao, if not available from local suppliers within the area of calamity, were mostly procured from the supplier in question,” Licauco said.

“It has the capability of serving large quantity of goods and delivered the same immediately and directly to the calamity areas which were mostly far-flung provinces,” she said in the letter. RC


MANILA TIMES

EX-COMELEC CHIEF’S FEARLESS FORECAST ON POE DQ: ‘En banc to vote 5-1’
December 20, 2015 9:47 pm by JEFFERSON ANTIPORDA, REPORTER

It would be 5-1 and Grace Poe’s out.

This was the fearless forecast over the weekend of former elections commission chairman Sixto Brillantes Jr. on how the six members of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) would vote on an appeal to reverse separate decisions of the poll body’s two divisions canceling the certificate of candidacy (COC) for President of Poe, an independent aspirant.

“Based on the voting in the divisions, we already know what will be the vote in the en banc, assuming nobody would change their votes,” Brillantes said.

He is the immediate past chairman of the Comelec.

The 76-year-old legal eagle led the poll body from January 2011 until his term expired in February this year.

An expert in election laws, Brillantes was counsel to many known politicians including the late actor Fernando Poe Jr., who also faced disqualification when he ran for President in 2004.

The younger Poe is facing multiple disqualification cases—all assailing her claim in her COC that she is a natural-born citizen and a resident of the country for 10 years.

The Constitution requires the nation’s President to meet the two conditions.

Petitioners wanting to disqualify Poe from next year’s elections argue that for being a f oundling with no known biological Filipino parents, she could not lay claim to being a natural-born citizen.

They also insist that based on her 2013 COC for senator, Poe is short of the 10-year residency requirement.

She has filed a motion for reconsideration before the en banc, appealing the 3-0 decision of the Second Division, which granted the petition of lawyer Estrella Elamparo to cancel her COC.

The Second Division ruled that Poe made a “material misrepresentation” in her COC when she said she has been a resident of the Philippines for “10 years and 11 months.”

The senator, in her appeal, claimed she made an honest mistake in filling up her 2013 COC as she has been a resident of the country since May 2005.

The Poe camp also appealed the 2-1 decision of the First Division granting petitions filed by former senator Francisco Tatad, former law school dean Amado Valdes and political science professor Antonio Contreras.

Both the First and Second Divisions ruled to cancel Poe’s COC for President.

The Comelec en banc will be handing down separate decisions on the two appeals as it junked a motion by Poe’s lawyers to consolidate the cases.

Comelec Chairman Andres Bautista earlier said they would not consolidate the cases as it is not mandatory on their part to make such move.

READ MORE...

Commissioner Christian Robert Lim had announced that he will inhibit in the Second Division deliberations as Elamparo was an associate in a law firm where he was a partner when he was still in private practice.

Lim, however, will participate in deliberations of the First Division, which he heads.

Brillantes said the seemingly overwhelming odds against Poe will not be the end of her quest to reach Malacañang in 2016.
He added that the senator could still bring her case to the Supreme Court (SC) as a last resort.

Brillantes’ statement echoed what Poe’s supporters earlier said they are not expecting to get a favorable ruling from the Comelec and are readying to take the legal fight to the SC.

Sen. Francis Escudero, Poe’s running mate, said he expects the High Court would rule in her favor, considering that it already ruled on a similar case in 2004.

Escudero was referring to a disqualification case filed against Poe’s father, actor Fernando Poe Jr. or FPJ.

The senator acted as FPJ’s spokesman during the actor’s presidential campaign.

Escudero noted that if the SC in 2004 ruled to allow Poe to run for President, there is no reason why the high tribunal would have a different decision in the case of the actor’s adopted daughter.

The SC in its 2004 ruling said the decision on who will be the next President of the country should be left to the sovereign Filipino people.

“We should not leave to the unelected members of this court the power and right to decide who the next President will be. That decision is best left to the sovereign Filipino people,” Escudero quoting the SC decision said.

Meanwhile, Brillantes said while Poe failed to get a favorable ruling on her residency requirement, she won the citizenship issue particularly her being a natural-born Filipino based on the rulings of the divisions.

The Second Division ruling noted that Poe, who is a foundling, cannot be faulted for believing that she is a natural-born citizen and that the division cannot rule on allegations that she misled the Comelec for claiming that she is a natural-born Filipino.

Brillantes said with three members of the Second Division and one member of the First Division agreeing that Poe did not mislead the commission when she stated that she is a natural-born citizen, the senator already has four votes in the en banc.



P300,000 reward
The citizenship issue against Poe has been a major stumbling block for her presidential bid but she is not alone in her search for her biological parents.

Just recently a former judge from Bacolod City, offered a P300,000 reward to anyone who could offer solid and credible information which could help identify the biological parents of the senator.

Judge Jesus Nograles Rodriguez Jr. on Saturday announced that he and his friends will give P300,000 to anyone who will come forward and provide information that could help put an end to the citizenship issue of the senator.

Rodriguez clarified that his move is not politically motivated and that he is not even a supporter of Poe.

He said he just wants to help put an end to the issue.

Poe thanked the retired judge and all those who helped put up the reward to help find her biological parents.

“It is no secret that I have spent many years trying to find my biological parents. All foundlings want to know who their real parents are. All foundlings go through a difficult process, growing up—as a child, as a teenager and even as an adult—they wonder, they ask. I am no different. I went through the same ordeal. I have been yearning to know,” she said in a statement.

Poe added she had been to Iloilo several times and have met with relatives and family friends in an earnest effort to know the truth, even before the citizenship issue was brought out and is now being used by her opponents to question her qualifications for President.

“I have also maintained that there is a higher purpose to this, which is to fight for the equal rights of children. This is not just my fight to remain in contention for the presidency. The state should not discriminate based on circumstances of one’s birth,” she said.


INQUIRER

From ‘Nonoy’ to ‘Nona’: Why did Pagasa change storm’s name? By: Yuji Vincent Gonzales
@YGonzalesINQ INQUIRER.net 12:04 PM December 13th, 2015
 


PAGASA explains why they had to change storm's name from 'Nonoy' to 'Nona' |Photo from  Coconuts Manila


The weather bureau changed the local name of tropical storm “Melor” from “Nonoy” to “Nona” for sounding like the nickname of President Benigno Aquino III.

In a report by radio dzMM, the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa) said it changed the name of the storm which entered the Philippine area of responsibility on Saturday morning “in deference” to President Aquino, who is commonly called “Noynoy.”

It was not the first time that the name of a tropical cyclone had to be changed due to resemblance to a president’s name.

In 2006, cyclone “Gloria” was renamed to “Glenda” for being similar with the name of then sitting president and now Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal Arroyo.

“Nona” has intensified further on Sunday morning as it is expected to make landfall in the Samar-Bicol area on Monday.

RELATED FROM PHILSTAR

Storm Nonoy renamed Nona By Helen Flores (The Philippine Star) | Updated December 13, 2015 - 12:00am 3 367 googleplus0 2


Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) weather satellite image

MANILA, Philippines - To spare President Aquino from possible public ridicule, the state weather bureau changed the local name of Tropical Storm Melor, which entered the country yesterday, from Nonoy to Nona.

Rene Paciente, senior weather forecaster of the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA), said Science Secretary Mario Montejo ordered the change of the name Nonoy, which sounds like Aquino’s nickname Noynoy.

The President, at a Christmas dinner with the Palace press corps, said, “Ewan ko naman yung (I don’t understand this) PAGASA. They know I have a phobia for typhoons that enter the country during the Christmas season,” referring to year-end typhoon Ruby in 2014, Yolanda in 2013, Pablo in 2012 and Sendong in 2011.

“I hope it doesn’t become a tradition that after the Malacañang Press Corps party a storm hits,” he said,

“Secretary Montejo called up (PAGASA) administrator (Vicente) Malano early today to change the local name of Melor,” Paciente told The STAR in a phone interview.

“We also don’t want the people to associate the President with the storm, especially if this turns out to be damaging,” he said.

PAGASA is an attached agency of the Department of Science and Technology.

The name Nonoy is in the list of local tropical storm names of PAGASA. The weather bureau assigns a local name for cyclones that enter the Philippine area of responsibility.

The replacement of the local name, however, was done after the cyclone entered the Philippine area of responsibility at 4 a.m. yesterday.

Paciente said this was not the first time it changed the name of a cyclone.

During the term of President Arroyo, he said they were also asked to replace the name Gloria, the first name of the former leader, to Glenda.

“We change it if it involves VIPs like the presidents,” Paciente said.

In September last year, PAGASA changed the local codename for an approaching tropical cyclone to Karding from Kanor.

PAGASA has decided to drop Kanor after getting negative feedback from the public.

“Mang Kanor” is believed to be the man in a sex video that went viral a few years ago.

Normally, only the names of deadly and destructive typhoons are stricken off the list.

Kanor replaced the name Katring, a destructive cyclone that hit the country in 2010.


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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