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

PRESIDENT AQUINO CALLS ON FILIPINOS TO BE SELFLESS


MARCH 24 -President Aquino (MB file photo)
As the Philippines observes the season of Lent, President Benigno S. Aquino III called on Filipinos to be selfless like the Lord and show love for others. In his message this Holy Week, President Aquino said the nation has accomplished a lot along the Lord’s path of love and compassion and could attain more gains by following His good example. President Aquino (MB file photo) “Sa pag-ikot po natin sa bansa, harapan kong nakikita ang layo ng ating narating kumpara sa ating dinatnan. Napakasarap pong gunitain ang dami ng ating napagtagumpayan ng halos walang dagdag na pabigat sa bawat isang nakiambag (In my travels across the country, I have seen how far we have achieved. It’s really sweet to relish our many triumphs that have been achieved without additional burden on those who contributed),” Aquino said. “Ang panalangin ko, lalo pa natin paigtingin ang pagmamahal sa kapwa at laging tayong pumanig sa tama at makatwiran (I pray that we will strengthen our love for others and we will always do what is right and just),” the President said. “Sa ating pagkakaisa at pagsunod sa ehemplo ni Hesu Kristo, makakamit natin ang lahat ng minimithi (By uniting and following the example of Jesus Christ, we can achieve all our goals),” he added. READ MORE...

WATCH: PNoy delivers final Lenten message


MARCH 25 -President Benigno S. Aquino III delivers his speech during the 119th Founding Anniversary of the Philippine Army at the Brigadier General Tirso Fajardo Building, Headquarters Philippine Army Grandstand, Fort Bonifacio in Taguig City on Tuesday (March 22), with the theme: “Serving the People. Securing the Land.” Malacañang Photo Bureau/Robert Viñas In his final Lenten message as president, President Benigno Aquino III recalled the accomplishments of his administration in the past six years. "Sa pag-ikot po natin sa bansa, harapan kong nakikita ang layo ng ating narating kumpara sa ating dinatnan. Napakasarap pong gunitain ang dami ng ating napagtagumpayan ng halos walang dagdag na pabigat sa bawat isang nakiambag," Aquino said. The president also urged the Filipinos to choose the right and just in time for the upcoming May 9 elections. "Ang panalangin ko: Lalo pa nating paigtingin ang pagmamahal sa kapwa at lagi tayong pumanig sa tama at makatwiran," the president said. – Patricia Lourdes Viray FULL REPORT

ALSO: Army thanks Noy for support, concern


MARCH 23 -President Aquino looks on as government troopers ride on armored personnel carriers during the 119th founding anniversary of the Philippine Army at Fort Bonifacio in Taguig City yesterday.
Celebrating their founding anniversary with President Aquino for the last time yesterday, Army troops and officers thanked their commander-in-chief for the “support and concern” of the Chief Executive, who has been like a good father to the military.
Army personnel expressed their gratitude to Aquino during their pass in review at the end of the ceremony for their 119th founding anniversary held in Fort Bonifacio, Taguig City. In one of the floats where the Army showcased its role in relief and rescue operations in times of disasters, their message read: “Mahal na Pangulo, marami pong salamat sa suporta at malasakit (To our dear President, thank you for the support and concern).”  In his speech, the President told the Army he could not help but be personal because “we have come full circle.”  “You know, when I was still very young and most probably those from my generation would remember this: There was a TV series titled ‘Combat.’ Because of this, I would say I wanted to be a soldier... There was no PlayStation yet at the time, so our games were about cowboys and Indians and toy guns,” Aquino said. But when martial law came, the President said his view about soldiers changed because right in Fort Bonifacio and Fort Magsaysay in Nueva Ecija, his late father, the martyred former senator Benigno Jr., was detained for seven years and seven months for opposing the dictatorship. READ MORE...

ALSO: Noy's Easter message - “Seek the light amid the clouds of uncertainty.”


MARCH 27 -AQUINO -“As our nation approaches another crossroads, let us seek the light amid the clouds of uncertainty... Today, let us make a stand: fearless and full of hope, we charge toward a brighter, more empowered tomorrow. May the Almighty’s grace shine upon us, imbuing us with compassion, clarity and the wisdom to discern what is right and just for our fellowmen,” Aquino said in his Easter message released yesterday. Philstar.com/File
President Aquino expressed hope that Filipinos would embrace the chance to establish an enduring mainstream of redemption in the country as the people celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ today. “As our nation approaches another crossroads, let us seek the light amid the clouds of uncertainty... Today, let us make a stand: fearless and full of hope, we charge toward a brighter, more empowered tomorrow. May the Almighty’s grace shine upon us, imbuing us with compassion, clarity and the wisdom to discern what is right and just for our fellowmen,” Aquino said in his Easter message released yesterday.
Joining the Filipino nation in celebrating Easter, the President said the Lenten break offered everyone a respite from the speed of daily lives and enjoined people to pause and ruminate on actions the past year. “At the same time, it offered a fresh start that challenges us to make amends for transgressions and learn from our mistakes,” he said. Aquino said his administration’s daang matuwid (straight path) already showed the path toward positive transformation. “We are weeding out the corrupt and strengthening our institutions and through reform, we are freeing ourselves from poverty toward a more just, more inclusive society,” he said. READ MORE...

ALSO: Noy’s housing units ‘hellish’: PNoy allies in Congress demand Palace account for anomalous P18.6-billion housing projects


MARCH 27 -Magdalo Reps. Gary Alejano and Francisco Ashley Acedillo
PRESIDENT Benigno Aquino III’s close allies in Congress have demanded that the Palace account for the anomalous P18.6-billion housing projects as they condemned the “hellish, inhumane, and uninhabitable” shelters for military soldiers and policemen. Magdalo Reps. Gary Alejano and Francisco Ashley Acedillo, close allies of the President, protested the “squatter treatment” accorded the men in uniform. Alejano said the soldiers and policemen defied the order to occupy the multibillion-worth of hellish units even if the National Housing Authority threatened to revoke the awarded housing units if they continued to refuse to occupy the shelters.“The multibillion, substandard housing units do not have access to social services, transportation, resulting in a burdensome life and a hellish residential environment for the Armed Forces of the Philippines and Philippine National Police personnel and their families,” Alejano said. “But the soldiers and cops are being forced to occupy the multibillion substandard units or the awarded units would be revoked. Is that how you treat the soldiers and cops who risk their lives for all of us?” Alejano said. In an interview with The Standard, Alejano said the Magdalo lawmakers did ocular inspections and found that substandard design and construction of the units were the same in Baras, Rizal; Manolo Fortich, Bukidnon; Zamboanga; Bacolod; and Bulacan, with each province supposed to house 10,000 units. He cited the case in Rizal where there were 2,000 units constructed but only 180 turned up to accept and occupy the units. There were 140 from the military and 40 from the PNP. READ MORE...

ALSO: By F. Tatad (Cebu debate) - What should we do if the Chinese strike at the Spratlys? (37 Manila Times readers' responses)


MARCH 22 -By F. Tatad -WHAT IF?!! AP Photo The tensions between the US and China have intensified to an unseen level. - --
What if midnight calls? Not even Duterte asked this question. But he proved to be the statesman during the debate. At the last portion of the debate, when the candidates were allowed to ask a question of each other, and Binay, instead of asking the mayor a question, said he was not asking him any question because they were both “qualified candidates,” (an oblique reference to Mrs. Llamanzares, whose eligibility is still pending before the Supreme Court), Duterte replied by saying Binay was “more qualified” than he. But Duterte asked the most important question during the debate, and he asked it of Mrs. Llamanzares. What would she do, if as President, she was awakened in the middle of the night, and told that our two Coast Guard cutters had been sunk by the Chinese at the Spratlys? She went into a spin and used so many words to say nothing. So Duterte restated his question: What exactly would you do, as soon as you get the report? Her answer: She would rise from bed; she can’t just say it’s only 4 am, can’t this wait until five?—and call the Armed Forces Chief of Staff. Sounds good. The bad news here though is that it was, in fact, the AFP Chief of Staff who had awakened her from her sleep. This simple detail tells us that the lady does not know enough about the presidency or government, and is simply not ready to be President. fstatad@gmail.com Read column from the beginning.....PLUS, 37 Responses to What should we do if the Chinese strike at the Spratlys?...


READ FULL MEDIA REPORTS HERE:

President Aquino calls on Filipinos to be selfless


President Aquino (MB file photo)

MANILA, MARCH 28, 2016 (MANILA BULLETIN) by Genalyn Kabiling March 24, 2016 - As the Philippines observes the season of Lent, President Benigno S. Aquino III called on Filipinos to be selfless like the Lord and show love for others.

In his message this Holy Week, President Aquino said the nation has accomplished a lot along the Lord’s path of love and compassion and could attain more gains by following His good example.

President Aquino (MB file photo) “Sa pag-ikot po natin sa bansa, harapan kong nakikita ang layo ng ating narating kumpara sa ating dinatnan. Napakasarap pong gunitain ang dami ng ating napagtagumpayan ng halos walang dagdag na pabigat sa bawat isang nakiambag (In my travels across the country, I have seen how far we have achieved. It’s really sweet to relish our many triumphs that have been achieved without additional burden on those who contributed),” Aquino said.

“Ang panalangin ko, lalo pa natin paigtingin ang pagmamahal sa kapwa at laging tayong pumanig sa tama at makatwiran (I pray that we will strengthen our love for others and we will always do what is right and just),” the President said. “Sa ating pagkakaisa at pagsunod sa ehemplo ni Hesu Kristo, makakamit natin ang lahat ng minimithi (By uniting and following the example of Jesus Christ, we can achieve all our goals),” he added.

READ MORE...

Aquino reminded the nation to reflect on the love and sacrifice of Jesus Christ when he offered his life for the salvation of mankind. He said the Lord could have avoided all the pain but still chose such path so people could be saved.

“Walang nga pong hihigit sa ehemplo ng sakripisyo at pagmamahal kundi ang buhay ni Hesu Kristo. Kung ang ating Panginoon mismo ay handang ibigay ang sarili sa karaniwang tao, di ba’t mas handa dapat tayong kumilos para sa kapakanan ng ating kapwa (There is no great example of sacrifice and love other than the life of Jesus Christ. If our Lord was ready to give his life for ordinary people, shouldn’t we be more ready to act for the welfare of others?),” Aquino said. 


PHILSTAR

WATCH: PNoy delivers final Lenten message (philstar.com) | Updated March 25, 2016 - 9:41am 4 58 googleplus0 1


President Benigno S. Aquino III delivers his speech during the 119th Founding Anniversary of the Philippine Army at the Brigadier General Tirso Fajardo Building, Headquarters Philippine Army Grandstand, Fort Bonifacio in Taguig City on Tuesday (March 22), with the theme: “Serving the People. Securing the Land.” Malacañang Photo Bureau/Robert Viñas

MANILA, Philippines — In his final Lenten message as president, President Benigno Aquino III recalled the accomplishments of his administration in the past six years.

"Sa pag-ikot po natin sa bansa, harapan kong nakikita ang layo ng ating narating kumpara sa ating dinatnan. Napakasarap pong gunitain ang dami ng ating napagtagumpayan ng halos walang dagdag na pabigat sa bawat isang nakiambag," Aquino said.

The president also urged the Filipinos to choose the right and just in time for the upcoming May 9 elections.

"Ang panalangin ko: Lalo pa nating paigtingin ang pagmamahal sa kapwa at lagi tayong pumanig sa tama at makatwiran," the president said. – Patricia Lourdes Viray

WATCH: PRESIDENT AQUINO LENTEN MESSAGE 2016

WATCH: Lenten Message 2016 119th Founding Anniversary of the Philippine Army (PA) March 22nd, 2016 Bgen. Tirso Fajardo Blgd., HPA Grandstand, Fort Bonifacio, Taguig 22 March 2016

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RELATED FROM THE http://pcoo.gov.ph/photo.htm 

President Benigno S. Aquino III at the 119th Founding Anniversary of the Philippine Army March 22, 2016

President Benigno S. Aquino III delivers his speech during the 119th Founding Anniversary of the Philippine Army at the Brigadier General Tirso Fajardo Building, Headquarters Philippine Army Grandstand, Fort Bonifacio in Taguig City on Tuesday (March 22), with the theme: “Serving the People. Securing the Land.” Also in photo are Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin, AFP Chief of Staff General Hernando Iriberri and PA Commanding General Lt. Gen. Eduardo Año. (Photo by Joseph Vidal / Robert Viñas/ Malacañang Photo Bureau)

President Benigno S. Aquino III leads the singing of the Philippine National Anthem during the 119th Founding Anniversary of the Philippine Army at the Brigadier General Tirso Fajardo Building, Headquarters Philippine Army Grandstand, Fort Bonifacio in Taguig City on Tuesday (March 22, 2016), with the theme: “Serving the People. Securing the Land.” (Photo by Robert Viñas / Malacañang Photo Bureau)

President Benigno S. Aquino III graces the 119th Founding Anniversary of the Philippine Army (PA) at the Brigadier General Tirso Fajardo Building, Headquarters Philippine Army Grandstand, Fort Bonifacio in Taguig City on Tuesday (March 22), with the theme: “Serving the People. Securing the Land.” Also in photo are Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin, AFP Chief of Staff General Hernando Iriberri and PA Commanding General Lt. Gen. Eduardo Año. (Photo by Joseph Vidal / Robert Viñas/ Malacañang Photo Bureau)


PHILSTAR

Army thanks Noy for support, concern By Aurea Calica (The Philippine Star) | Updated March 23, 2016 - 12:00am 0 12 googleplus0 0


President Aquino looks on as government troopers ride on armored personnel carriers during the 119th founding anniversary of the Philippine Army at Fort Bonifacio in Taguig City yesterday.

MANILA, Philippines – Celebrating their founding anniversary with President Aquino for the last time yesterday, Army troops and officers thanked their commander-in-chief for the “support and concern” of the Chief Executive, who has been like a good father to the military.

Army personnel expressed their gratitude to Aquino during their pass in review at the end of the ceremony for their 119th founding anniversary held in Fort Bonifacio, Taguig City.

In one of the floats where the Army showcased its role in relief and rescue operations in times of disasters, their message read: “Mahal na Pangulo, marami pong salamat sa suporta at malasakit (To our dear President, thank you for the support and concern).”

In his speech, the President told the Army he could not help but be personal because “we have come full circle.”

“You know, when I was still very young and most probably those from my generation would remember this: There was a TV series titled ‘Combat.’ Because of this, I would say I wanted to be a soldier... There was no PlayStation yet at the time, so our games were about cowboys and Indians and toy guns,” Aquino said.

But when martial law came, the President said his view about soldiers changed because right in Fort Bonifacio and Fort Magsaysay in Nueva Ecija, his late father, the martyred former senator Benigno Jr., was detained for seven years and seven months for opposing the dictatorship.

READ MORE...

Aquino said it was during this time that he and his family met Voltaire Gazmin, now defense secretary, who was one of his father’s guards who treated him decently.

“…because of his professionalism, Secretary Gazmin’s reward from the dictatorship: getting thrown to Mindanao from 1975 to 1986,” the President said.

“If I may stress: the detention cell of my father and many others were preserved as a reminder of that chapter in our history when the Armed Forces was used and led astray by the one who promised to serve the nation,” Aquino said.


President Corazon Aquino with her Presidential Security Group commander, then Col. Voltaire Gazmin. PHILSTAR ARCHIVES

The President said many of those from the military indeed went astray, thinking that they were adhering to the Constitution by following the dictator Ferdinand Marcos.

“You were alienated from the people and one of its results was the number of NPA (New People’s Army) members that ballooned from 60 to 25,000 armed people in its ranks by the end of martial law,” the President said.

But with the guidance of his mother Corazon, who assumed the presidency after the dictator was ousted in 1986, the Armed Forces of the Philippines went back to the side of the people.

Aquino said he continued with the legacy and took care of the military and the rest of the uniformed services.

The nation also returned the military’s service with a more solid concern for their success, including in the operations against Communist Party of the Philippines acting chair Benito Tiamzon and his wife Wilma, the CPP secretary-general and Eugenia Magpantay-Topacio, the secretary of CPP-NPA’s Central Luzon Regional Committee, who are now all under detention.

Under his administration, the President said the Army implemented 1.3 million operations against enemies of the state and completely freed 50 out of 76 provinces affected by NPA’s atrocities.

“This is the image that you will leave behind to the ordinary Filipino: a Philippine Army and Armed Forces that are always reliable, a partner in pushing for stability and order in our communities. From here sprang the confidence needed to advance progress,” Aquino said.

Aquino said the Army had been on the frontlines every time typhoons and other disasters would strike the country – from clearing roads to rescuing people and bringing relief and assistance, like during Super Typhoon Yolanda in 2013.

“In all these actions, you knew that our bosses (the people) were behind you, and in the end, a virtuous cycle of trust, cooperation and positive transformation for the good of everyone was developed,” the President.

“This is the Army and AFP that I will pass on as commander-in-chief bidding farewell: A force with a very high morale and very much ready to face any challenge; a force that carries with it the recognition and respect of the people; a force that is professional and with strong principles,” Aquino said.

The President said it was a great honor to serve as their leader and commander-in-chief treading the straight path.

“Someday, I can look back at this point of history with pride: With the Army and the rest of the AFP, we did the right thing and lived up to the truth that ‘The Filipino is definitely worth fighting for,’” Aquino said, thanking all of those composing the Army.

Stay neutral

Having been like a father who could not bear to neglect the needs of his children, Aquino said he was hoping the Army and the military would make use of its “monopoly of armed power” to push for whatever was right and 'justiciable' that would bring the country to a better, fairer and more peaceful tomorrow.


JULY 16, 2015 MANILA BULLETIN FILE PHOTO - CHANGE OF COMMAND – President Aquino is joined by (from left) Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin, Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Hernando Iriberri, and the new Commanding General of the Philippine Army (PA) Maj. Gen. Eduardo Año in singing the national anthem at the PA Change of Command Ceremony at the PA Gym in Fort Bonifacio, Taguig City. (Richard V. Vinas)

“That is why, this coming elections, the people’s order to us is clear: Stay on their side, do not meddle in politics and ensure that a united voice in a country treading the path of democracy will prevail,” the President said.

In fulfilling their mandate, Aquino said Gazmin, AFP chief Gen. Hernando Iriberri and Army chief Maj. Gen. Eduardo Año would provide them guidance.

Aquino then enumerated the programs and projects of his government for the modernization of the military and said these were bigger than that of the past three administrations combined.

He said the Army commanding general himself cited the modern assets that were now in the hands of their force.

Out of the 68 big ticket projects worth P58.43 billion for the AFP, 26 or P7.79 billion went to the improvement of the Army’s knowledge, capabilities and awareness, Aquino said.

Año announced the Army had acquired new armored assets as well as other war-fighting equipment.

“We already have received 56,843 new R4 assault rifles to replace the Vietnam-era rifles we are currently using, 124 units of armored vehicles to include six armored vehicles with remote-controlled weapon systems, 60 field ambulance units and more than 300 light utility vehicles,” he said.

He added the Army’s command-and-control effectiveness in any kind of field operations greatly improved with the acquisition of more than 2,000 radios and other communication equipment.

The Army is also expecting deliveries this year of additional infantry fighting vehicles and fire support vehicles, 155 mm howitzers, light utility vehicles, 60 mm mortars, 40 mm grenade launchers, rocket launchers and 50-watt armored vehicle configuration radios.

The Army Transformation Roadmap from 2010 to 2028 was also implemented to strengthen the culture of effectiveness and good governance within their ranks.

Some 61,000 housing units were also completed under the AFP-Philippine National Police Housing Program and the President said Army personnel were among the beneficiaries.

The President also said livelihood programs were launched in various military camps along with assistance for medical and other needs.

Aquino said monthly combat pay for military members in operation was increased along with the subsistence allowance for everyone in the uniformed sector. Aquino signed Executive Order No. 201 covering the raise in their monthly hazard pay as well as provisional and officers’ allowances. – With Jaime Laude


PHILSTAR

Noy: Seek light amid uncertainty By Aurea Calica (The Philippine Star) | Updated March 27, 2016 - 12:00am 0 0 googleplus0 0


“As our nation approaches another crossroads, let us seek the light amid the clouds of uncertainty... Today, let us make a stand: fearless and full of hope, we charge toward a brighter, more empowered tomorrow. May the Almighty’s grace shine upon us, imbuing us with compassion, clarity and the wisdom to discern what is right and just for our fellowmen,” Aquino said in his Easter message released yesterday. Philstar.com/File

MANILA, Philippines – President Aquino expressed hope that Filipinos would embrace the chance to establish an enduring mainstream of redemption in the country as the people celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ today.

“As our nation approaches another crossroads, let us seek the light amid the clouds of uncertainty... Today, let us make a stand: fearless and full of hope, we charge toward a brighter, more empowered tomorrow. May the Almighty’s grace shine upon us, imbuing us with compassion, clarity and the wisdom to discern what is right and just for our fellowmen,” Aquino said in his Easter message released yesterday.

Joining the Filipino nation in celebrating Easter, the President said the Lenten break offered everyone a respite from the speed of daily lives and enjoined people to pause and ruminate on actions the past year.

“At the same time, it offered a fresh start that challenges us to make amends for transgressions and learn from our mistakes,” he said.

Aquino said his administration’s daang matuwid (straight path) already showed the path toward positive transformation.

“We are weeding out the corrupt and strengthening our institutions and through reform, we are freeing ourselves from poverty toward a more just, more inclusive society,” he said.

READ MORE...

“May peace and harmony prevail over our country. With renewed spirits, let us continue to build the equitably progressive Philippines we have long aspired to,” Aquino added.

Binay calls for unity, compassion

Vice President Jejomar Binay called for unity and compassion amid attacks from his critics and political foes.

Binay, in his Easter message released yesterday, urged Filipinos to share the blessings of God with the needy, underprivileged and misunderstood.

“Let us share His blessings and grace even with our enemies, so that we may foster a nation united in bringing comfort to everyone,” he said.

Binay expressed hope that the country’s leaders would possess love for the people and the humility to listen and learn from them.

“Let us pray for clarity of mind in the coming elections and for the strength to forge ahead. Each of us must embrace the duty to raise our nation from injustice, inequality, corruption and self-interest,” Binay added.

Opportunity for rebirth

Meanwhile, Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. said Easter is a reminder to the people that there is an opportunity for rebirth and renewal.

“Easter has been a Christian feast with us for hundreds of years. We may look at it literally as a celebration of our Savior rising from the dead, although more deeply it is a victory over death and the sacrifices, oppression and trials that preceded His crucifixion,” Belmonte said.

“It is a time of hope after we assess what we have accomplished, where we have been wanting or flawed, and plot out a new course that sustains what is working and reconstructing what needs to be changed to achieve our goals,” he added. Belmonte said the process is similar in a democracy.

“Through time, we experience both successes and failures or flaws. But the beauty of the system is that it comes with many opportunities for renewal and rebirth. It is a system that allows us the luxury of hope that gives us possibilities to effect changes that constantly bring forth positive growth and development for this nation,” he said.

“May this Easter allow each of us the chance to look inward, experience gratitude for our democracy and individual achievements as Filipinos, and make us look ahead at the many options open to us as a people, inspired by the Lord’s own passion and resurrection,” he added. – Jess Diaz, Janvic Mateo


MANILA STANDARD

Noy’s housing units ‘hellish’: PNoy close allies in Congress demanded that Palace account for the anomalous P18.6-billion housing projects posted March 27, 2016 at 12:01 am by Christine F. Herrera


Magdalo Reps. Gary Alejano and Francisco Ashley Acedillo

PRESIDENT Benigno Aquino III’s close allies in Congress have demanded that the Palace account for the anomalous P18.6-billion housing projects as they condemned the “hellish, inhumane, and uninhabitable” shelters for military soldiers and policemen.

Magdalo Reps. Gary Alejano and Francisco Ashley Acedillo, close allies of the President, protested the “squatter treatment” accorded the men in uniform.

Alejano said the soldiers and policemen defied the order to occupy the multibillion-worth of hellish units even if the National Housing Authority threatened to revoke the awarded housing units if they continued to refuse to occupy the shelters.

“The multibillion, substandard housing units do not have access to social services, transportation, resulting in a burdensome life and a hellish residential environment for the Armed Forces of the Philippines and Philippine National Police personnel and their families,” Alejano said.

“But the soldiers and cops are being forced to occupy the multibillion substandard units or the awarded units would be revoked. Is that how you treat the soldiers and cops who risk their lives for all of us?” Alejano said.

In an interview with The Standard, Alejano said the Magdalo lawmakers did ocular inspections and found that substandard design and construction of the units were the same in Baras, Rizal; Manolo Fortich, Bukidnon; Zamboanga; Bacolod; and Bulacan, with each province supposed to house 10,000 units.

He cited the case in Rizal where there were 2,000 units constructed but only 180 turned up to accept and occupy the units. There were 140 from the military and 40 from the PNP.

READ MORE...

The same low occupancy rate was noted in other provinces, Alejano said.

“The communities where our military soldiers and policemen are being relocated did not have access to transportation, public markets, schools, hospitals and churches,” Alejano lamented. “The areas are so isolated, the families felt they were not secure.”

“The reason for the very low occupancy rate at less than 10 percent is because the units are not livable. It is hellish to live there. The government would only make their lives miserable and our soldiers and policemen would not be able to carry out their jobs if they would worry about the families they leave behind. There is no drainage, no water, no power, not even a playground for children,” Alejano said.

“While the men and women in uniform were deployed to areas risking their lives fighting for all of us, their wives and husbands are left behind queuing to fetch water,” Alejano said.

“The substandard AFP and PNP housing units bastardized the sacrifices rendered by our gallant soldiers and policemen,” Alejano said.

Alejano said the P18.6-billion project was started in 2012 by the NHA that was placed under the Office of the President.

“The NHA is mandated to implement the AFP-PNP Housing program, a flagship program of President Aquino that seeks to provide permanent housing and security of tenure to low-salaried military and police whose need for housing must be addressed immediately,” Alejano said.

He said some 120,000 soldiers from the AFP and 150,000 from the PNP were supposed to be the target recipients of the housing projects.

“Of the 67,000 units constructed and completed in phases one and two of the four phases, less than 6,700 soldiers and police opted to occupy the houses because of the hellish residential environment. All the rest are vacant and fast deteriorating. Some P18.6 billion in public funds all going to waste,” Alejano told The Standard.

“The foundation and walls [of the housing units] were not completely filled in with cement, the septic tank easily unearthed because of the thinness of the concrete cover and other pertinent issues related to poor construction,” according to Alejano.

“The men and women of AFP and PNP deserve better housing conditions given their commitment, dedication and loyalty to protect and defend the Filipino people from harm,” according to Acedillo.

The lawmaker-allies filed House Resolution 2466 urging Congress to investigate the National Housing Authority as to where it brought the P18.6-billion budget for Aquino’s housing flagship program.

They said they were incensed but were not surprised to find that only less than 10 percent of the 67,000 soldiers and policemen who were awarded the housing units chose to occupy the uninhabitable and substandard houses.

Alejano described the housing units as “bahay kalapati,” or pigeon coops, where there is no proper ventilation and elbow room to move around the house.

He said there was a provision for an attic but that the loft was too low the occupant had to bow low to get to move around the attic. The unit has a floor area of only 22 square meters and is made of light materials.

“Worse, the units are not equipped with water and power amenities,” Alejano lamented.

“As guardians of peace and protectors of democracy, the provision of decent housing is a small price to pay for the freedom we currently enjoy,” Acedillo said.

Alejano said the 22-sq. m. substandard units are being paid for by the soldiers and police for P150,000 to P200,000 at P150 to P200 in monthly amortization, payable over 30 years.

Alejano said the NHA has failed to consult the end-users considering that the soldiers and policemen can easily afford even five units with monthly amortization of P1,000.

“The NHA obviously failed to consult our soldiers and policemen being the end-users because they were being treated like informal settlers who needed subsidy and preferably be provided with free housing. But these men and women in uniform are salaried state enforcers who deserve to be treated with respect and provided with decent housing that they can easily afford,” Alejano said.

The AFP top brass informed the Magdalo lawmakers that the transfer to the completed units was hampered by the soldiers still assigned to the field and have yet to find time to relocate their families.

The soldiers, the AFP leadership said, also needed some money to improve on their units particularly in making sure the provisions for power and water were fixed.

Alejano demanded that the NHA identify the developers that constructed the multibillion substandard housing units.

Alejano said they have raised their concerns with the NHA in October but that the agency has yet to give proper answers to their queries.


MANILA TIMES

What should we do if the Chinese strike at the Spratlys? March 22, 2016 11:21 pm FRANCISCO S. TATAD


by FRANCISCO S. TATAD

The second debate

IT was punishing from start to finish. What the Commission on Elections spokesman has called “more engaging”, and an earlier front-page story in the Philippine Star described as “well worth the wait,” referring to the one-and-a-half hours the public had to wait before the second presidential debate in Cebu City on Palm Sunday got started, I found as disappointing, although for different reasons, as the first one held in Cagayan de Oro on February 21.

In my book, only the vulgar and the shallow could have taken delight in the nasty bar-room brawl which the Comelec, TV-5 and Philippine Star tried to present as a presidential debate. Truth, civility and fairness quickly went out the window as the candidates verbally abused each other with no thought of the children and minors who were watching their show.

The only genuinely welcome thing I learned from the execrable two hours was from the reputed roughneck among the candidates, Mayor Rodrigo Duterte, who surprisingly turned out to be more gentlemanly and statesmanly than he had tried to portray himself in his earlier incarnations, and who asked the only worthwhile question of any of his fellow candidates. This deserves a full treatment later.

Unexplained delay

For starters, the public waited patiently for the show to get started at 5 pm as previously announced. There was a delay, but no one was saying the reason for the delay and how long it would take. Prof. Dindo Manhit, who used to work for the Senate and who now carries the title of political analyst, plus three other unnamed and unidentified talking heads on TV 5 tried to keep the viewers glued to their TV sets by talking about the candidates’ standing in the current propaganda “surveys” and the Comelec’s forced compliance with the Supreme Court ruling to furnish the Vote Counting Machine with a voter verification paper audit trail (PPVAT), as required by law, to assure the voter that the machine has read his vote right.

The talking heads were all genuinely supportive of the Comelec’s effort to circumvent the law and the Court ruling by offering to provide a voter’s receipt that contains no useful information about the precinct where the vote has been cast. Only Manhit was making any sense. The only female among the talking heads was also the least bearable of the lot: her facial expression and hand gestures editorialized every inanity she said, an absolute no-no in the trade. I had to wonder how she ever got the job.

Misusing children for politics

This babbling of the talking heads was twice interrupted by the political ad of Congressman Martin Romualdez, who is running for Senator under the banner of “malasakit,” and an unsigned political commercial, using very young children as talking heads. The children were asking: Is it true there is a candidate who likes to steal, another candidate who likes to kill?

These were toddlers who were too young to have any political opinion of their own, and yet were being used to mouth the most rabid partisan campaign lines. The whole thing was obviously a political production intended to sway public opinion against Vice President Jejomar Binay, who has been rapped by his enemies for alleged corruption, and Duterte, who has not denied terminating criminals.

This particular commercial was unsigned by any sponsor, in violation of the Omnibus Election Code, and the fundamental rights of children. And yet it was repeatedly aired prior to the Comelec-sponsored debate without any corrective intervention or apology from the commissioners. Can Comelec Chairman Bautista explain why he should not be held accountable for this particular violation? Now,has this commercial been taken off the air?

Why FOI?

Finally, the long-awaited debate began.

TV-5’s Luchi Valdez Cruz introduced herself as the program moderator, without explaining why the public had to wait for one-and-a-half hours. The first question came from a certain Ed Lingao of the Visayan media, addressed to Mrs. Llamanzares; after whom, the other candidates joined in.

What would she do with the proposed Freedom of Information Act, which has failed to pass under Aquino, should become president?

Mrs. Llamanzares tried to explain that the Senate actually passed its version of the FOI bill, but that “the Congress” failed to pass its own. This was an unforgivable slip for someone who wants to become the president. As a sitting senator, she was expected to know that the “Senate” and the “Congress” are not two separate institutions; the Congress is made up of two Houses, the Senate and the House of Representatives, (Kamara ng mga Representante, as Roxas put it, without necessarily correcting Mary Grace).

She made the same slip twice during the debate, which to me revealed her lack of understanding of government.

The others joined the discussion. But it did not occur to anyone to point out that the FOI bill cannot be the most important business on the agenda of the next government, and that in any case, it would be the task of Congress to enact it under a system where the separation of powers and the system of checks and balance shall have been restored. The most that the Executive can do is to include the FOI bill in its legislative agenda, which it submits to Congress for implementation.

Basic citizen right

Whether there is an FOI Act or not, the citizen has a right under our Constitution to access all public documents, except those involving national security and covered by the appropriate security classifications. As a newspaper reporter, when newspapermen still pounded the beat to produce their news stories, I used to expose the most sensitive government secrets without the help of anything remotely related to an FOI Act.

At the Interim Batasang Pambansa, where I sat from 1978 to 1984, I authored the proposed FOI Act, similar to the US FOIA, but this failed to prosper because the Committee on Finance could not accurately ascertain the financial costs of having to reproduce every public document that interested parties would like to access. This was before the digital age; the cost estimates may have drastically changed by now.

But it seems to me a patent error to presume that giving the public full access to mountains of official documents would automatically restore strict adherence to the Constitution, the rule of law and the sound administration of justice. It will not; only a moral revolution will. This requires the restoration of our sense of right and wrong, good and bad, legal and illegal, etc, nothing less.

Where Binay failed

Binay’s statement that he would, if necessary, sign an executive order making the FOI bill enforceable prompted Mrs. Llamanzares to chide him for his failure to answer any of the charges aired against him at the Senate blue ribbon subcommittee—-a point Roxas also repeated when his turn came. Both obviously had no understanding that the subcommittee was acting beyond its jurisdiction in its hearings, and Binay failed to educate them on this issue.

Mrs. Llamanzares and Roxas tried to hit Binay for his alleged corruption at every opportunity they had. He tried to present documentary evidence to ward off these accusations, but the “rules” of the debate, controversy over which (we now learned) had caused the one-and-a-half-hour delay, prevented him from presenting such evidence. The way I understood the rule was that no debater would read from any prepared notes.

However, an official document, evidencing something or other, cannot and should not be considered “notes”, which could not be read into the record of the proceedings. But he was obviously a minority in the group and they simply outvoted him.

Binay had an excellent opportunity to get even with Mrs. Llamanzares and Roxas, but unfortunately failed to exploit it. He tried to make a big point of Mrs. Llamanzares renouncing and abjuring her allegiance and fidelity to the Republic of the Philippines, when she became a naturalized American citizen in 2001, but he failed to add, which would have been useful, that in the United States, no citizen who renounces his US citizenship can ever regain it, or if ever he does, can be permitted to seek any high office.

Binay allowed Mrs. Llamanzares to say that her “love of country” prompted her to “come home” and that Republic Act 9225, popularly known as the Dual Citizenship Law, allowed her to “reacquire” her Philippine citizenship. Binay should have pointed out that only former natural-born Filipino citizens, which she is not, could reacquire their citizenship. She “reacquired” her citizenship by falsely misrepresenting herself as a natural-born citizen, born of her adoptive parents.

On the basis of her two birth certificates, the only conclusion one can reach is that she was born twice, first as a foundling of no known parentage, and second, as the alleged daughter of her adoptive mother, Jesusa Sonora Poe, aka Susan Roces. Is this someone anyone should consider as a possible president?

As for Mar Roxas, who aside from charging Binay with corruption claimed that Aquino’s “daang matuwid” has gone after corrupt officials, without regard of their political affiliations, the VP could have challenged his rival to declare publicly whether he would authorize the prosecution of former president Aquino should he become president. The same question he could have put to Mrs. Llamanzares, who is now seen as Aquino’s “Manchurian candidate.”

What if midnight calls?

Not even Duterte asked this question. But he proved to be the statesman during the debate. At the last portion of the debate, when the candidates were allowed to ask a question of each other, and Binay, instead of asking the mayor a question, said he was not asking him any question because they were both “qualified candidates,” (an oblique reference to Mrs. Llamanzares, whose eligibility is still pending before the Supreme Court), Duterte replied by saying Binay was “more qualified” than he.

But Duterte asked the most important question during the debate, and he asked it of Mrs. Llamanzares. What would she do, if as President, she was awakened in the middle of the night, and told that our two Coast Guard cutters had been sunk by the Chinese at the Spratlys? She went into a spin and used so many words to say nothing. So Duterte restated his question: What exactly would you do, as soon as you get the report?

Her answer: She would rise from bed; she can’t just say it’s only 4 am, can’t this wait until five?—and call the Armed Forces Chief of Staff.

Sounds good. The bad news here though is that it was, in fact, the AFP Chief of Staff who had awakened her from her sleep. This simple detail tells us that the lady does not know enough about the presidency or government, and is simply not ready to be President.
fstatad@gmail.com

37 Responses to What should we do if the Chinese strike at the Spratlys?
Fred Pescador says:
March 24, 2016 at 10:46 am
Politics in this country is so unprofessional that anybody can run whatever political ambition they are aspiring for. You might be a citizen of other country,an ex-convict,actor & actresses that don’t have the slightest idea how a government works,etc. If this keeps going on…the Philippines will be a third-world forever and this will proved that there is “forever”.
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roy ponio says:
March 24, 2016 at 10:12 am
I will pressed the RED Button.Activating our Emergency Response Team, our allied country specifically USA which we had a treaty to help us, our reserve force, our people.They must know what to do assuming that we already train them in case war broke out.
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opinonated bum says:
March 24, 2016 at 7:28 am
Google Military Times, Philippines, about U.S. Military is moving into these 5 bases in the Philippines. The article was written on March 21st and it says the agreement was finalized Friday, which would be the 18th of march.
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Gem says:
March 24, 2016 at 5:56 am
Maging tulad Lang yan Kay Pnoy sa Mamasapano na tulog pa at nakapatay Ang CP Nya. Tapos sabihin din Hindi sya Ang Chief ng PNP! Don’t vote her!
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Vaquero Sitchin says:
March 24, 2016 at 3:13 am
Related to the question on what we are going to do If China strike at Spratly, what are we gonna do now that China has already seized Panatag Shore and depriving our fishermen of their lively hood?
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Lito Paras says:
March 24, 2016 at 3:09 am
Grace Poe is the winner in the recent SWS survey Presidential debate.for all the previous and latest survey she always on top meaning the filipino people like her.and those bad and evil element to disqualify and discredit her will not succeed.even they dont respect the SC decision.Go Grace we love and support you.you will win this coming presidential election.
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diosdado h. baul says:
March 23, 2016 at 8:16 pm
1> Binay, a lawyer, seems to be poor in debating ? ! ? !
2> Grace Poe says those who did not choose to work overseas and need to renounce their Philippine citizenship are more prone to steal ?
3>Mar Roxas, no need to comment……….
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boying labro says:
March 23, 2016 at 7:26 pm
Poe is premature for the position of President of the Philippines.. MDS is more credible to be the President than any other candidates. dinaya lang iyan ni tabako , na wala rin nagawang magaling sa Pilipinas kundi ang PPA niya na pahirap sa mga ordinaryong mamayan na ang nakinabang ay mayari ng meralco na lopezes..Feed your beautiful mind people. Isipin ninyo ang kapakanan ng ating mamayan at inang bayan, hindi ang pansarili interest ninyo. Sino sa palagay ninyo sa mga candidates ang magrereact agad, once China invade our Spratly islands?? What is the first thing they would do.. Ito ang ang dapat pagdebatehan, dahil maaring mangyari ito in future, hindi iyong kung ano ano na walang kabagay bagay… Ang dapat pagdebatehan ay para sa interest ng ating bayan at sa mamayang Filipino na salat sa buhay…
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rios del prado says:
March 23, 2016 at 6:12 pm
The best she could do as President is to call out her cabinet members for an emergency meeting. Then first thing in the morning is to ask the Chinese Ambassador and his staff to go home as her strong protest against the Chinese government. Ask other Chinese citizens or Chinese expats and businessmen to leave the country immediately. Call out all other countries in south east asia and seek their help. File a protest to UN and demand the Chinese government to leave the philippines’ exclusive economic zone at scarborough shoal.
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Bart T. Quero says:
March 23, 2016 at 4:11 pm
…why don’t we start gathering all the aswang, manananggal, mangkukulam, vodoo practitioners and other expert of this trade from Capiz and their known bulwarks all over the country of ours and deploy them as the first line of defense against China?…instead of asking help from U.S. and offered them military bases?
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gina Baclao says:
March 23, 2016 at 2:59 pm
Poe is not ready to be a President. Di sapat ung pagiging natural born citizen. A Big liar! Period!
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legolas says:
March 23, 2016 at 2:50 pm
dapat ang sagot ni Grace..
“babangon ako at kukunin ko ang espada ng tatay ko.
dahil ako ang Anak ng PANDAY..”
HAHAHHAAHA!!!
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Glen Davida says:
March 23, 2016 at 2:09 pm
pag nanalo si Grace Poe ay malaki na chances ni Pacquiao for President
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mario sulit says:
March 23, 2016 at 12:27 pm
Nangutana pa si Digong.Gusto siguro makakopya ug maayong tubag kay sa pag-adto niya sa amo sa Butuan ang iyang ingon useless daw makig-away sa China kay wa tay baslanan (walang laban). Ihatag na lang daw spratlys sa China basta bayloan ug railway.
Tapang at malasakit daw.Talawan man diay.
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tob alik says:
March 23, 2016 at 10:49 am
at least grace did not give an answer like
i will have to call danding immediately.
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siegfred sumicad says:
March 23, 2016 at 4:30 pm
maybe is she had more time she would answer correctly to call on danding and chiz escudero !

Kat says:
March 23, 2016 at 10:41 am
Grace reaction upon waking up will depend if she has a hang-over from the late night drinking sessions with chiz and ochoa.
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siegfred sumicad says:
March 23, 2016 at 4:31 pm
I absolutely agree I heard she is a drunkard!

tob alik says:
March 23, 2016 at 10:31 am
the right answer should have been
to immediately initiate search, rescue and retrieval operations;
for the victims dead or alive.
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bjorn says:
March 23, 2016 at 1:12 pm
Nope…..that is not the practical answer of Grace Poe! The correct one is……we’ll see tomorrow I still have hangover from midnight drinking with my friends!

Leodegardo Pruna says:
March 23, 2016 at 9:14 am
Definitely, disgraced GRACE is not ready nor prepared to even become president of a small entity. She is insisting because of the prodding of big business which will only use her to gobble up other businesses and monopolize. God save the Philippines.
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el vicar says:
March 23, 2016 at 9:11 am
Strike the chinese back with bombs and if they attack the Philippine Islands, the Philippine-American Mutual Defense Treaty will kick in.
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Arnold S. Esteban says:
March 23, 2016 at 8:46 am
Grace Poe is a constant liar
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Germi Cruz Sison says:
March 23, 2016 at 8:40 am
Mayor Duterte showed civility that I was almost sold to him but when he favored the burial of the Dictator at the Libingan ng mga Bayani I was turned off and decided to return to Roxas. I just wish the next debate would be cordial but with fireworks of substance.
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Jay R says:
March 23, 2016 at 12:15 pm
Korny mo, dahil lang sa ililibing si Marcos sa libangan ng bayani mas gugustuhin mo pa na mag Roxas ka. Pag si Roxas na presidente, kung ano ngayon ang problema ng bansa, yun pa din ang problema naten for the next 6 years. Same style of governance and incompetencies like his boss BS Aquino.

Christine says:
March 23, 2016 at 12:28 pm
Mayor Duterte said he would explain why he’ll allow Marcos’s remains to be buried at the Libingan ng mga Bayani. He would’ve explained it at the debate itself but wasn’t allowed to do so. Let’s wait for his explanation; who knows, he may be right? Let’s keep an open mind about everything, telling ourselves constantly that we may be wrong because we don’t have a monopoly of the knowledge of what’s right and wrong. As for me, it solidified my intent to vote for Duterte as he showed through that vote that he keeps an open mind about everything and isn’t as petty as Aquino, Roxas, Abad, Abaya, Drilon, and the rest of the Liberal Party, who, as Walden Bello once put it, operate like members of a fraternity, treating everyone who’s not part of their circle as their enemies. I think a Duterte presidency will bring back loftiness in our government, as in the days of old.

Ren says:
March 23, 2016 at 2:25 pm
he also said he needs to explain. he did later saying, it is needed to unite the people from division of marcos loyalists.

siegfred sumicad says:
March 23, 2016 at 4:33 pm
I am not a duterte fan but Ok marcos was a dictator but to fall for Roxas just because he favored Marcos to be buried sa Libingan ng mga bayani I feel really would put our country messier than the burial issue.

teodoro m reynoso says:
March 23, 2016 at 8:14 am
Taken totally by surprise by such question ( which can only be expected in a presidential confrontasi debate of this magnitude ), this Grace clearly showed her lack of knowledge of the role of the president as commander in chief and head of the national security council. Most likely it would have been the AFP chief or the Secretary of Defense who would breaking the bad news to her and there’s no reason for her to still call for them in the first place. Situations such as the one brought up by Digong would have been anticipated by a more learned, experienced and profoundly and acutely aware president and defense condition/ exigency plans would have already been prepared and put in place. the president would just call for the implementation of these plans by the concerned agencies/units.
But knowing her once abjuring her identification with the Philippines in embracing the citizenship of a foreign power, she call always call on her former adopted country, the USA to help aggravate the situation even further!.
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rogelio feir says:
March 23, 2016 at 8:00 am
I like this commentary. I think Poe’s 1st question should be “who is this”?
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teodoro m reynoso says:
March 23, 2016 at 7:57 am
That seemingly simple-sounding question from Digong addressed to this Grace Poe serves to remind us all that we are still living in very dangerous times of potential military conflicts and worsening natural calamities and that it is not to the best interest of the Filipino people to take seriously as possible Chief Executive one who is not only the most inexperienced and ill-prepared among the candidates but who seems to be living in a self-created movie wonderland where her deceased “tatay ” was the king and her “nanay” is the quintessential queen and fairy godmother.
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P.Lorenzo says:
March 23, 2016 at 6:35 am
Who said Poe-Llamanzares is ready to be President? She is not even a full-fledged Filipino citizen, in the first place. Assuming that she is a natural -born citizen which she is NOT, she did undergo thru the formal process of re-acquiring Filipino citdizenship. I say this, among others because, personally, she hasn’t undergone the complete process of renouncing her acquired American citizenship when she assumed her post with the Aquino administration. If the renouncing was not complete, how could she have assumed her former citizenship as that of a Filipino?
This is in ADDITION to the other reasons advanced why she is DISQUALIFIED to run for President.
“Nakahiya tayong mga Filipino kung si Poe ang ating magiging Pangulo.” Dahil dito, magkakaroon tayo ng isang pangulo na tinaguriang ‘Poejuangco’ dahil siya ay magiging “tutang” totoo, at kasali diyan si Escudero, na kung magsaluta ay akala mo kung sino.”
May God save the Philippines!.
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pedro felicen, jr says:
March 23, 2016 at 6:19 am
Thank you, Mr. Tatad, for your incisive & informative analysis. You should be back in the Senate.
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fred villaragosa says:
March 23, 2016 at 6:16 am
Kiko, wants to know what should we do if China strike, cover, cry and kick your dog asshole.
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Alma Lin says:
March 23, 2016 at 5:25 am
Past is a past. Today’s edition is to look forward concerning the future of the country especially the fundamentals right of the children making and using a propaganda for political production. Its abusing the mentality of not yet mature to understand what is crime.
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tim says:
March 23, 2016 at 1:43 am
Poe did the best in the debate. She’s a natural-born filipino. She’s more patriotic that people in the govt. She is more capable than the other candidates to be President
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Christine says:
March 23, 2016 at 12:19 pm
How can you be patriotic and how can you claim that you love your country if you renounced it in the first place, swearing to defend and work for the good of another country even if its interests run against those of your country of origin (Philippines), and then moving to reacquire your Philippine citizenship only because you had to because you were given a position in the government? Anyone can say she loves her country, but let’s think deeply about it and consider all the facts before believing


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