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PHNO HEADLINE NEWS THIS PAST WEEK
(Mini Reads followed by Full Reports below)

AQUINO ON TREASON RAPS: DO YOU WANT US TO BE HOSTILE TO CHINA?
[“I’d like to hear the specific charge so I can respond appropriately,” he said, referring to the treason and espionage charges filed by supporters of presumptive President-elect Rodrigo Duterte. The complaint filed before the Office of the Ombudsman earlier this month said Mr. Aquino and Senator Antonio Trillanes IV committed treason when they engaged in “back-channel” talks with China, which claims a large part of the disputed South China Sea.]


MAY 26 -PDI exclusive interview with President Benigno Aquino lll held in Malacanang. INQUIRER FILE PHOTO/ JOAN BONDOC "Treason?” President Benigno Aquino III said on Thursday before asking if his detractors wanted him to engage in hostilities with China. “I’d like to hear the specific charge so I can respond appropriately,” he said, referring to the treason and espionage charges filed by supporters of presumptive President-elect Rodrigo Duterte. The complaint filed before the Office of the Ombudsman earlier this month said Mr. Aquino and Senator Antonio Trillanes IV committed treason when they engaged in “back-channel” talks with China, which claims a large part of the disputed South China Sea. READ: President Aquino, Trillanes face treason Aquino, however, explained how difficult it was for the Philippines to take on China by military action. “What should we do about the dispute? Engage in hostilities?” he said in a mix of English and Filipino. “If we engage in hostilities there, can we win? Obviously no,” he told Malacañang reporters in this city. READ MORE...

ALSO: ‘All Noy officials must go’ - Duterte
[Massive revamp vowed at NBI, PNP, BuCor, PDEA]


MAY 26 =Incoming president Rodrigo Duterte's transition team continues its search for people to fill the remaining positions in his Cabinet and other key offices. MIGUEL DE GUZMAN, file
Massive revamp vowed at NBI, PNP, BuCor, PDEA DAVAO CITY, Philippines – There will be no room in the next administration for appointees of President Aquino, incoming president Rodrigo Duterte made clear yesterday. “They have to go,” he said, even as his transition team continues its search for people to fill the remaining positions in his Cabinet and other key offices. “There are those we want to get, but the low pay in government discourages them from being part of my administration,” Duterte said. The president-in-waiting said he hopes to gather his Cabinet officials here next week as he ruled out going to Manila ahead of his inauguration as the country’s 16th president on June 30. The initial batch of Duterte’s unofficial Cabinet appointees met in Manila for the first time last Wednesday. At the meeting, among others, were Salvador Medialdea who will be the executive secretary; Hermogenes Esperon Jr., national security adviser; Perfecto Yasay Jr., foreign affairs; Vitaliano Aguirre II, justice; Arthur Tugade, transportation; Mark Villar for public works and Emmanuel Piñol for agriculture. READ MORE...

ALSO: Duterte hits administration, PNP for deaths in Pasay City rave party


MAY 27 -Tough-talking Rodrigo Duterte scrutinized law enforcers in Pasay City on their operations for the concert in Pasay City where five people died. AP Photo/Bullit Marquez, File photo
Davao City — Incoming president Rodrigo Duterte was irked with what seemed a passive reaction from the Aquino administration on the incident at a rave party in Pasay City on Saturday which killed five.
Thus, he called for a late evening press conference Wednesday at the Royal Mandaya Hotel in Davao City to share his sentiments over the incident and accused law enforcers of negligence. He appeared near midnight and started with an apology to the members of the media for attending the conference on such short notice. "I'm sorry but I really have to do this (press conference) because nobody from the higher office is talking about the incident," he said. The tough-talking mayor scrutinized law enforcers in Pasay City on their operations for the Closeup Forever Summer concert. READ: Autopsy report: 2 concert-goers died of heart failure, brain injury “Alam ninyo (law enforcers) na ang entertainment events (concerts) ang market for illegal drugs. It was distributed in the concert grounds and it escaped your attention. Dapat maaga pa lang, nandoon na kayo at ang sniffing dogs. That’s a failure of intelligence,” he said. He directed his remark to the city’s local police, the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), and the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA). READ MORE....

ALSO: NBoC wants to look into 3.3M undervotes
[MARCOS OVERTAKES ROBREDO IN OFFICIAL TALLY]


MAY 27 -The allegations of poll fraud as reflected in the anomalous turnout of votes have basis after the joint canvassing committee on the presidential and vice presidential elections took note of the high number of “undervotes” in the vice presidential race. The camp of Sen. Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos took note of the huge difference in the votes cast for the position of president and vice president. The camp of Liberal Party (LP) candidate Camarines Sur Rep. Leni Robredo, Marcos’ closest rival, however, claimed that the high number of undervotes, or blank votes for the position of vice president, is natural, citing a Supreme Court decision to back this up. Marcos’ legal counsel former Magunidanao Rep. Didagen Dilangalen, however, pointed out that the jurisprudence being cited by Robredo’s lawyer, Romulo Macalintal, does not involve automated elections and thus, the argument is out of place. “At the end of the canvassing, I would welcome a memo from any party which will summarize and indicate the total undervoting nationwide for the different positions, province-wide and city-wide. That would be very, very interesting to analyze,” Sen. Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel, chairman of the Senate panel in the National Board of Canvassers (NBoC), said. The senator cited the need to determine how many undervotes there were in the just-concluded polls. The latest official and partial tally at the NBoC showed, as at 7 pm last night, Marcos leading Robredo by 256,254 votes with the senator having a vote of 7,854,244 votes against Robredo’s 7,598,990 votes based on 79 out of 165 certificates of canvass (CoCs). READ MORE...

ALSO: 'Imeldific' - Aquino surprises Palace guests; gives guided tour including rarely unlocked Imelda's bedroom
[The tour the President gave the Inquirer on Tuesday was impromptu. After the two-hour exit interview with him, the editors asked if he could tour them around the Palace, including his office, and to their surprise, Mr. Aquino, who seemed to be in a good mood, said yes. It was one of the rare times that Imelda’s bedroom was unlocked.]


MAY 28 -GHOST OF BEDROOM PAST Outgoing President Aquino seems to turn his back on the frills of public office as he leads a tour of Malacañang for Inquirer editors. This chamber, with its opulent chandelier and fancy ceiling used to be former first lady Imelda Marcos’ bedroom, he said. JOAN BONDOC
There’s no other way to describe the bedroom of former first lady Imelda Marcos at Malacañang but “Imeldific.”
Imelda herself coined the adjective to mean “ostentatiously extravagant.” When President Aquino led Inquirer editors and reporters to Imelda’s bedroom, followed by a couple of Cabinet members, staff and security detail, there was a collective gasp from the group. It was indeed a bedroom fit for a queen, not only for the sheer largeness of it, but also for the elaborate carvings on the wooden ceiling and stunning chandeliers. On the walls were dramatic lighting fixtures. The tour the President gave the Inquirer on Tuesday was impromptu. After the two-hour exit interview with him, the editors asked if he could tour them around the Palace, including his office, and to their surprise, Mr. Aquino, who seemed to be in a good mood, said yes. It was one of the rare times that Imelda’s bedroom was unlocked. That Sen. Ferdinand Marcos Jr., the only son of Imelda and the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos, almost won the vice presidency in the May 9 elections was enough to open the floodgates of (harsh) memory—and jolt those who fought for the country’s democracy back to reality. READ MORE...


READ FULL MEDIA REPORTS HERE:

Aquino on treason raps: Do you want us to be hostile to China?


PDI exclusive interview with President Benigno Aquino lll held in Malacanang. INQUIRER FILE PHOTO/ JOAN BONDOC

TARLAC CITY,
MAY 30, 2016 (INQUIRER) By: Kristine Angeli Sabillo @KSabilloINQ 06:32 PM May 26th, 2016 - "Treason?” President Benigno Aquino III said on Thursday before asking if his detractors wanted him to engage in hostilities with China.

“I’d like to hear the specific charge so I can respond appropriately,” he said, referring to the treason and espionage charges filed by supporters of presumptive President-elect Rodrigo Duterte.

The complaint filed before the Office of the Ombudsman earlier this month said Mr. Aquino and Senator Antonio Trillanes IV committed treason when they engaged in “back-channel” talks with China, which claims a large part of the disputed South China Sea.

READ: President Aquino, Trillanes face treason


The camp of Rodrigo Duterte has filed treason and espionage charges against President Benigno Aquino III and Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV for undertaking “back-channel talks” with China that “only advanced [the] interest of our Asian neighbor.” INQUIRER NEWS

Aquino, however, explained how difficult it was for the Philippines to take on China by military action.

“What should we do about the dispute? Engage in hostilities?” he said in a mix of English and Filipino.

“If we engage in hostilities there, can we win? Obviously no,” he told Malacañang reporters in this city.

READ MORE...

Aquino said there was no need to endanger lives “unnecessarily.”

Aquino even quoted St. Thomas Aquinas and his concept of a “just war.”

“If you engage in war, there has to be that possibility of winning,” he said.

The President said the government, as well as the agreements it has entered into, had always adhered to international law.
He emphasized that international law, which he believes is a great equalizer among nations, should be binding on everybody.

Red lines

Asked if he agreed with security experts who said that Scarborough Shoal, which was among the Philippine territories transferred to the US by Spain, was a “red line” (meaning “a limit past which safety can no longer be guaranteed”), Aquino said, “I think there are so many red lines.”

At the same time, he pointed out that Scarborough Shoal was within the exclusive economic zone of the Philippines.

He said the Philippines had already taken two tracks to address the issue: through the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) and through international arbitration.

“Now, in ASEAN, in an effort to ease the tensions in this body of water, in 2002, they tried to come up with a code of conduct,” he said.

While the group has failed to establish a code, there is already a Declaration on Conduct of Parties in South China Sea (DOC), which states that parties should refrain from actions that will escalate tensions in the area.

He enumerated several instances when Philippine vessels had issues with China while in disputed areas of the South China Sea.

READ: Chinese vessels ram PH fishers’ boat at Panatag

“Now, their continued presence is something that we have continuously objected to but at the same time…Parang (It’s like) part of that is we want to stress the difference between the Philippines’ and China’s behavior in that we are religiously adhering to the DOC,” he explained.

Aquino said the government wanted to show the contrast between the actions of the Philippines and China.
He added that it would not help the case of the government if Philippine vessels adopted a “confrontational attitude.”
RAM/rga


PHILSTAR

‘All Noy officials must go’ - Duterte By Edith Regalado (The Philippine Star) | Updated May 27, 2016 - 12:00am 0 0 googleplus0 0


Incoming president Rodrigo Duterte's transition team continues its search for people to fill the remaining positions in his Cabinet and other key offices. MIGUEL DE GUZMAN, file

Massive revamp vowed at NBI, PNP, BuCor, PDEA

DAVAO CITY, Philippines – There will be no room in the next administration for appointees of President Aquino, incoming president Rodrigo Duterte made clear yesterday.

“They have to go,” he said, even as his transition team continues its search for people to fill the remaining positions in his Cabinet and other key offices.

“There are those we want to get, but the low pay in government discourages them from being part of my administration,” Duterte said.

The president-in-waiting said he hopes to gather his Cabinet officials here next week as he ruled out going to Manila ahead of his inauguration as the country’s 16th president on June 30.

The initial batch of Duterte’s unofficial Cabinet appointees met in Manila for the first time last Wednesday.

At the meeting, among others, were Salvador Medialdea who will be the executive secretary; Hermogenes Esperon Jr., national security adviser; Perfecto Yasay Jr., foreign affairs; Vitaliano Aguirre II, justice; Arthur Tugade, transportation; Mark Villar for public works and Emmanuel Piñol for agriculture.

READ MORE...

Duterte also wants a massive revamp in the Philippine National Police, National Bureau of Investigation, Bureau of Corrections and Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency when he assumes office on June 30.

The plan stemmed largely from the death of five people, including an American citizen, in a concert at the Mall of Asia grounds on Sunday.

Authorities said these were due to drug overdose resulting in heart attack, kidney failure and dehydration.

Duterte did not hide his dismay over the incident.

“It was a failure of intelligence on the part of the police and other agencies concerned. How did it pass security?” said Duterte, who stressed that he was angry over how illegal drugs were distributed inside the concert venue and passed from one user to another.

The incoming president is also disappointed that nobody is talking about the incident that would have conveyed to the public the anger of parents.

“Where is the NBI and anti-drug, the police, local government and the national capital region? Where is PDEA? How come there were too many deaths? Had it been just one death, then it could be attributed to bad luck. But there were five, why did it happen?” Duterte asked.

He said the incident shows how prevalent the illegal drug trade is in the country, adding that police officers themselves are the ones controlling it.

Duterte plans to reassign police officers in the NCR and Luzon areas to several Mindanao provinces, including Surigao, Compostela Valley, Maguindanao, Zamboanga and Sulu.

He also wants a massive reorganization in the BuCor after hearing of reports on the manufacture of shabu inside the National Bilibid Prison in Muntinlupa and Iwahig Penal Colony in Palawan.

If these law enforcers still would not reform after the reshuffling, then the Armed Forces of the Philippines will be asked to temporarily perform law enforcement duties in the fight against illegal drugs, he added.

Starting July 1, Duterte said he would also impose a mandatory drug test on all law enforcement agents to ensure that they are not into illegal drugs.

Meanwhile, outgoing Sen. Sergio Osmeña III yesterday said Duterte has all the power to reorganize the executive department, including the bureaus of Customs (BOC) and Internal Revenue (BIR).

“The president has the power to reorganize the executive branch but he would need laws to establish new departments and appropriations,” Osmeña said.

But reelected Sen. Ralph Recto said Duterte may not have meant it literally when he talked of abolishing some government offices.

Duterte also tagged the Land Transportation Office (LTO) as “most corrupt,” adding that it might be better to simply disband all three agencies.

“I’m very sorry but the most corrupt agencies – BIR, Customs, LTO – those three… I might as well abolish them,” Duterte said in a press conference in Davao City recently. – With Christina Mendez


PHILSTAR

Duterte hits administration, PNP for deaths in rave party By Christine C. Cudis (philstar.com) | Updated May 26, 2016 - 7:46pm 8 447 googleplus0 0


Tough-talking Rodrigo Duterte scrutinized law enforcers in Pasay City on their operations for the concert in Pasay City where five people died. AP Photo/Bullit Marquez, File photo

Davao City — Incoming president Rodrigo Duterte was irked with what seemed a passive reaction from the Aquino administration on the incident at a rave party in Pasay City on Saturday which killed five.

Thus, he called for a late evening press conference Wednesday at the Royal Mandaya Hotel in Davao City to share his sentiments over the incident and accused law enforcers of negligence.

He appeared near midnight and started with an apology to the members of the media for attending the conference on such short notice.

"I'm sorry but I really have to do this (press conference) because nobody from the higher office is talking about the incident," he said.

The tough-talking mayor scrutinized law enforcers in Pasay City on their operations for the Closeup Forever Summer concert.

READ: Autopsy report: 2 concert-goers died of heart failure, brain injury

“Alam ninyo (law enforcers) na ang entertainment events (concerts) ang market for illegal drugs. It was distributed in the concert grounds and it escaped your attention. Dapat maaga pa lang, nandoon na kayo at ang sniffing dogs. That’s a failure of intelligence,” he said.

He directed his remark to the city’s local police, the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), and the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA).

READ MORE...

“Bakit wala kayo doon? Baka binayaran kayo or baka kayo talaga ang nagtutulak ng droga? Pag ginawa niyo talaga yan. You make the sign of the cross,” he added.

The incident stirred Duterte to decide a massive government reshuffling once he assumes office.

“I am putting a notice now to everybody. Lahat kayong mga taga-Muntinlupa, you ship out. Magbalot na kayo,” he said.

The mayor insisted that it would not be any ordinary reshuffling as he said he would assign policemen from Manila in rebel-controlled areas in Compostela Valley and Surigao in Mindanao.

“Or you might want to be the station commander sa Jolo,” he dared.

“When I reshuffle, I reshuffle. This time (in my administration), the government must prove to the people that they deserve the salary that the people are paying,” Duterte said in the press conference which ended at around 2:30 a.m. on Thursday.


TRIBUNE

NBoC wants to look into 3.3M undervotes Written by Gerry Baldo and Angie M. Rosales Friday, 27 May 2016 00:00



MARCOS OVERTAKES ROBREDO IN OFFICIAL TALLY

The allegations of poll fraud as reflected in the anomalous turnout of votes have basis after the joint canvassing committee on the presidential and vice presidential elections took note of the high number of “undervotes” in the vice presidential race.

The camp of Sen. Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos took note of the huge difference in the votes cast for the position of president and vice president.

The camp of Liberal Party (LP) candidate Camarines Sur Rep. Leni Robredo, Marcos’ closest rival, however, claimed that the high number of undervotes, or blank votes for the position of vice president, is natural, citing a Supreme Court decision to back this up.

Marcos’ legal counsel former Magunidanao Rep. Didagen Dilangalen, however, pointed out that the jurisprudence being cited by Robredo’s lawyer, Romulo Macalintal, does not involve automated elections and thus, the argument is out of place.

“At the end of the canvassing, I would welcome a memo from any party which will summarize and indicate the total undervoting nationwide for the different positions, province-wide and city-wide. That would be very, very interesting to analyze,” Sen. Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel, chairman of the Senate panel in the National Board of Canvassers (NBoC), said.

The senator cited the need to determine how many undervotes there were in the just-concluded polls.


MACALINTAL

The latest official and partial tally at the NBoC showed, as at 7 pm last night, Marcos leading Robredo by 256,254 votes with the senator having a vote of 7,854,244 votes against Robredo’s 7,598,990 votes based on 79 out of 165 certificates of canvass (CoCs).

READ MORE...

UNDERVOTES

While it is not yet clear how the question on the undervotes would impact on the conduct of the official canvass, the ruling highlighted the concern Marcos raised earlier on the unusually high number of voters who did not pick a vice president in the May 2016 election.

Unofficial results reflect that the nationwide CoCsfrom all provinces and highly urbanized cities showed that Robredo garnered 14,322,666 votes while Marcos was credited with 13,963,767 votes or a difference of 358,899.

The total number of those who voted for the presidency totaled 41,348,902 while those who voted for the vice presidency totaled 39,162,693.

Before the official canvass began, Marcos said their own internal quick count has found over 3.3 million undervotes.

George Garcia, Head of the legal panel of Marcos, manifested on the first day of canvass that based on the 45 certificates of canvass consisting of over 10 million votes, they have found some 623, 174 undervotes.

Marcos said that in such a hotly-contested election the high number of undervotes is unusual and a cause for concern.
As the canvassing resumed today the lawyers of Marcos began citing the number of undervotes, or unaccounted votes, for every CoCs canvassed such as those in Agusan Del Norte 40,410, Catanduanes 15,583 and Quirino 5,502 as of 3:40 p.m.

Consideration of three CoCs, specifically from the provinces of Laguna, Ilocos Sur, and Davao del Norte were suspended after discrepancies were found, including missing hash codes and differences in the electronically-transmitted CoCs.

The joint canvassing committee has ordered the Provincial Board of Canvassers in the three provinces to appear before them to explain why there were such discrepancies.

The canvassing of votes continued at the NBoC amid a string of motions questioning the votes for vice president raised by Dilangalen.

The NBoC, composed of legislators from both the Senate and the House of Representatives, started with the 49th ballot box yesterday and is expected to finish the canvassing by tomorrow night.

For the presidency, the count as at 7 pm yesterday showed presumptive President Rodrigo Duterte with a dominant 10,206,397 votes; Sen. Grace Poe, 5,187,614; former Interior Secretary Mar Roxas, 4,856,156; Vice President Jejomar Binay, 2,648,593; Sen. Miriam Defensor Santiago, 927,306; and Roy Señeres, 11,610.

For the vice presidency, aside from Marcos and Robredo, Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano got 3,831,904; Sen. Francis Escudero with 3,060,707; Sen. Antonio Trillanes, 432,395; and Sen. Gregorio Honasan, 401,705.

Among the ballots questioned were those with discrepancies as in Pampanga where some 56,000 votes have not been accounted for as manifested by Dilangalen.

George Garcia said there are a total of over 88,000 votes that are under question between Robredo and Marcos.

Miriam’s concession sought



Meanwhile, lawyers for Duterte aired fears of a constitutional crisis resulting from the delayed canvassing of votes for the vice presidential race.

Duterte’s spokesman Salvador Panelo, together with lawyers Inocencio Ferrer and Demaree Raval, said they believe Sen. Miriam Defensor Santiago, fifth in the presidential race, can prevent such scenario if she would consider issuing a waiver that would pave the way for a sure Duterte proclamation as president.

The Duterte lawyers noted that the canvass of the vice presidential race, tightly contested by Marcos and Robredo, has been slowing down the count for the presidential contest which is considered to have been won by Duterte due to concessions of defeat aired by his closest rivals, former Secretary Mar Roxas, Sen. Grace Poe and Vice President Jejomar Binay.

“If Senator Miriam would consider conceding today, the work of the joint congressional canvassing panel would be considerably eased, paving the way for presumptive president-elect Duterte’s swift proclamation,” Panelo said in a statement.

According to Panelo, the objections raised by lawyers of either Robredo and Marcos have been preventing the NBoC to canvass the returns not only of the vice presidential race, but likewise the presidential contest.

He said Marcos, being the runningmate of Santiago, can issue the appeal for the presidential bet to concede.

“Senator Marcos’ desire for a separate canvass for the vice-presidency could best be addressed when Sen. Miriam concedes,” Panelo added.

When asked who among Duterte’s closest rivals have already signed a waiver to allow his proclamation, Panelo admitted there is none.

However, the Duterte spokesman and legal counsel said he has been assured that Roxas, Poe and Binay, who have all conceded defeat, are willing to issue the required waiver.

The canvass of the presidential race shows Duterte leading his closest rival, Roxas by over six million votes.

“We will be avoiding a constitutional crisis if Miriam and the other rivals will issue waivers. If Bongbong will be objecting to many CoCs. There is a probability that there will be no proclamation of the winning president,” claimed Panelo.

”We’re treading on uncharted waters. All presidential elections since 1992 involved simultaneous canvassing and simultaneous proclamation of the president and vice president. But a separate canvass, and a separate proclamation is constitutionally-defensible,” Ferrer said.

Long wait shunned

Panelo, meanwhile, said in a briefing, the camp of Marcos is concerned about prolonging the waiting period before the president is proclaimed.

“In a way, (we feel) that we are held hostage (by the Robredo-Marcos rivalry),” Panelo told reporters covering Congress which now serve as National Board of Canvassers (NBOC) for the presidential and vice presidential polls.

“We’re making the job of the congressional committee easier. Easier for them if they finalize the canvassing for the presidential race, while they focus canvassing for vice presidential candidates instead,” he added.

Pimentel said the NBoC intends to proclaim the new President and Vice President together once the canvassing of votes by Tuesday.

The Marcos camp also slammed Commission on Elections (Comelec) chairman Andres Bautista over his decision to defer the systems audit it has requested as doubts have been raised over the credibility of the election results after the script was tampered by a Smartmatic personnel without the knowledge and permission of the concerned parties.

In a statement, Marcos’ campaign adviser, Abakada Rep. Jonathan dela Cruz said Bautista’s reason for deferring the systems audit defies logic.

“It is very unfortunate that the Comelec has decided to defer action on the request of Senator Marcos for a systems audit of the transparency and central servers until after the canvassing is concluded, said dela Cruz.

“We cannot understand how the system audit can affect the official canvass because all election returns have been transmitted and all CoCs have been printed out for canvass, he stressed.

Dela Cruz said the integrity of the whole 2016 elections is on the line here, thus, it is imperative that questions and issues be resolved before any proclamation.

“In fact the vulnerability of the system is shown in the electronically generated CoCs in the vice presidential race in the ARMM provinces, Laguna, Ilocos Sur and Cebu City,” dela Cruz said.

“It is our position that whoever will be proclaimed Vice President by the NBoC deserves a clear and unequivocal mandate once he assumes the position. We cannot allow all doubts to linger on our new Vice President which would diminish the stature of the office, he said.

“We will take the next legal step to ventilate our request for the sake of truth and for the millions of Filipinos who cast their votes despite the odds and limitations on May 9, dela Cruz stressed.

When the official canvass was suspended as of 9:26 Thursday night, a total of 48 CoCs have been opened but only 45 were officially included into the canvass.

In the very first CoC opened, that of Davao Del Norte,consisted of 5 electronically-transmitted CoCs and one physicallytransmitted CoC. However, the first electronically-transmitted CoC did not conform to the remaining four.

But poll watchdogs and Information Technology experts had earlier said undervotes don’t usually exceed one percent of the total votes cast or for the 2016 elections, not more than 400,000 undervotes at 81 percent voter turnout.

In addition to these irregularities, Marcos said they have evidence of other forms of poll cheating such as vote-buying and the use of intimidation to prevent voters from casting their votes.
Ted Tuvera, Charlie V. Manalo


INQUIRER

Imeldific: Aquino surprises Palace guests; gives guided tour including Imelda's bedroom By: Nikko Dizon @inquirerdotnet Philippine Daily Inquirer 03:11 AM May 29th, 2016


GHOST OF BEDROOM PAST Outgoing President Aquino seems to turn his back on the frills of public office as he leads a tour of Malacañang for Inquirer editors. This chamber, with its opulent chandelier and fancy ceiling used to be former first lady Imelda Marcos’ bedroom, he said. JOAN BONDOC

There’s no other way to describe the bedroom of former first lady Imelda Marcos at Malacañang but “Imeldific.”

Imelda herself coined the adjective to mean “ostentatiously extravagant.”

When President Aquino led Inquirer editors and reporters to Imelda’s bedroom, followed by a couple of Cabinet members, staff and security detail, there was a collective gasp from the group.

It was indeed a bedroom fit for a queen, not only for the sheer largeness of it, but also for the elaborate carvings on the wooden ceiling and stunning chandeliers. On the walls were dramatic lighting fixtures.

The tour the President gave the Inquirer on Tuesday was impromptu. After the two-hour exit interview with him, the editors asked if he could tour them around the Palace, including his office, and to their surprise, Mr. Aquino, who seemed to be in a good mood, said yes.

It was one of the rare times that Imelda’s bedroom was unlocked.

That Sen. Ferdinand Marcos Jr., the only son of Imelda and the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos, almost won the vice presidency in the May 9 elections was enough to open the floodgates of (harsh) memory—and jolt those who fought for the country’s democracy back to reality.

READ MORE...

It was a near victory that would have brought the Marcoses a heartbeat away from the Palace, which they called their own for two decades.

President Aquino himself recognized the popularity of Marcos Jr. After all, he received 14.1 million votes. Mr. Aquino’s anointed one, Camarines Sur Rep. Leni Robredo, won the vice presidency by a nose, with 14.4 million votes.

Historical deception

The 56-year-old President admitted that perhaps his administration realized too late that many of those born after the 1986 Edsa People Power Revolution had been indoctrinated with the revised narrative of martial law peddled by the Marcoses and their supporters.

“There was so much that cannot be understood anymore … Like how do you actually explain how they managed to control information at that point in time?” President Aquino said at a press conference, noting that such truth could be unimaginable for the young who are used to having Internet access every minute of the day.

He said the Ministry of Information under Marcos was “actually like George Orwell’s book ‘1984’” as disinformation was widespread.

“So how did we pass (truthful) information that time? We photocopied, we went to the mimeograph machine, and now (the young ones) don’t understand what a mimeograph machine is. They don’t understand what is an illegal assembly,” Mr. Aquino said.

For someone who worked at Malacañang for six years (he lived in Bahay Pangarap), President Aquino remained in awe of the excesses of a family that ruled during martial law, for which his own father died and after which, his mother took up the torch in the fight for democracy and freedom.

Life-sized Imelda

A life-sized painting of the “Iron Butterfly” herself hung on a wall on the way to the President’s office.

It showed a beautiful young Imelda in a soft-flowing gown.

Communications Undersecretary Manolo Quezon, Malacañang’s official historian, described it as “one of the generic Imelda paintings” that was left in the Palace.

“No one bothered to move it. It has become a wall filler,” Quezon said.

Mr. Aquino walked briskly past the painting as he led his guests to his private office, Marcos’ old bedroom.

Isn’t it eerie to work inside a room once occupied by Marcos himself?

“At that time, I had no choice,” President Aquino said, referring to the time he had to move out of the Premier Guest House across the Palace itself.

In 2011, an inventory of government buildings was conducted, prompted by the powerful earthquake in Japan. It showed that the Guest House was structurally unsafe.

The only options Mr. Aquino had for a new office were the bedrooms of Ferdie and Meldy.

It’s quite ironic, given that the President is the only son of democracy icons Ninoy and Cory Aquino.

Mr. Aquino found Imelda’s bedroom too “ornate,” which was why he settled for the adjacent bedroom of the dictator.

Room with a view

Inside his office, an excited Mr. Aquino told the Inquirer that the room had a beautiful view—then he struggled to open the high wood and capiz window, which got stuck and made a cracking sound.

“Did I break it?” the President asked in Filipino, chuckling. And then he said he might have to pay for the window’s repair, to be deducted from his salary.

When finally Mr. Aquino managed to open the window, indeed there could have been a breathtaking view—had the Pasig River not been murky that day. “The river should really be cleaned,” someone quipped.

“It’s nice when the river is clear,” the President said, trying to convince his guests.

He pointed the Marcoses’ miniature golf course to Inquirer business editor Raul Marcelo, and tried to explain where the tee off was. But Marcelo ended up showing him where it was, the President being a nongolfer.

Mr. Aquino also sat on the windowsill, amazed that it was huge enough to fit a grown man. Then he called everyone to come nearer, as if to share a secret: he bent down to open a small door beneath where he sat. It showed an air filter that had not been used for a long time.

“Remember, this was Marcos’ bedroom,” the President said.

Quezon said that in fact, the entire bedroom, and all other “major rooms” such as the Ceremonial Hall were fitted with air purification filters.

“They were used to blow away the air from Marcos and to keep the air hospitable level clean,” Quezon explained. It’s been reported many times that Marcos had lupus and underwent regular dialysis toward the end of his regime.

Secret shelves

President Aquino also showed his visitors another curiosity inside Marcos’ bedroom: an enormous built-in cabinet that opened to secret shelves.

Again, the President tried to pull open the cabinet himself but it was too large and heavy that his brawny aides had to help him. “Why would you have shelves behind a cabinet?” Mr. Aquino wondered aloud.

President Aquino kept his private room sparsely decorated, and quite a number of items had already been packed as he prepared to end his term on June 30.

His working table was the one used by his mother when she was President from 1986 to 1992.

Quezon said Mr. Aquino had specifically asked for it after he won in 2010 and he was about to hold office at Malacañang. The desk was found in “some obscure office” in the Palace, Quezon said.

On the President’s desk were two green highlighters, pens, two copies of the Constitution, a few documents, a fountain pen, a desk lamp and a CD, among other things.

On the wall behind the desk hung the official seal of the President. On the right stood the Philippine flag with the presidential flag on the left. On the table behind the President are the portraits of his parents, a framed copy of his oath of office, the Bible from his inauguration, a rosary and a crucifix, aside from two landline phones.

Quezon said Marcos’ bedroom was hardly touched when Mr. Aquino moved in. Only the toilet was renovated because it was no longer working.

Paoay mural

“There was actually a mural of Paoay inside the toilet,” Quezon said. It was painted over.

Back in Imelda’s bedroom, the President appeared in awe of what looked like an expensive vault. What it used to hold was anybody’s guess.

He also showed Imelda’s old bathroom, which had a gold-plated sink. The bathroom wasn’t too fancy by today’s standards but would have been during her time. It did have an elevated bathtub.

Unused for several years now, Imelda’s room is now a lovely but quite creepy storage for a number of living room sets, furniture items, paintings and various ornaments.

Her famous huge bed, the one with the canopy, was no longer there. Quezon said it might now be in the National Museum, the Imelda museum in Marikina, or some government storage.

Quezon said Imelda’s room did not have windows “because that was the way she liked it.”

“Imelda slept only for a few hours and without windows, the room was in the perpetual time that she wanted it to be,” he said.

Another curiosity for President Aquino was the ceiling of the Malacañang Museum.

“Did you know it had swastikas engraved on it?” he asked, again like letting his friends in on a secret.

Artistic swastikas

From Imelda’s bedroom to the museum, Mr. Aquino led the Inquirer, Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima, Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Emmanuel Esguerra, Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma and his aides to the museum’s second floor.

“Look,” he said, pointing to the ceiling. Indeed, there were swastikas up there.

Quezon said the museum used to be a ceremonial hall, and in 1967 was renovated by the Marcoses with the renowned architect Luis Araneta overseeing the work. It was when the ceiling with the engraved swastikas was installed.

“Why? We can only guess. The swastika is a symbol of power and prosperity,” Quezon said.

The museum’s second floor showcased the memorabilia of the Philippine Presidents, and a small group of visitors was in for a surprise when the 15th President himself walked up behind them and said he’d want to listen in to the tour as well.

READ: President Aquino surprises Malacañang Museum guests, poses for selfies

After some squeals and giggles, and a lot of “Ohmygods,” the students and teachers asked for photos, to which a happy Mr. Aquino gamely obliged.

“Yes, we like him a lot and we’d like to thank him for the six years,” a star-struck student from Notre Dame of Dadiangas University in General Santos City told the Inquirer after he had his picture taken with the President.

According to a Palace quick guide, Malacañang derived its name from the Tagalog “Mamalaka-yahan,” which means the place of fishermen. Later, it was Hispanicized to “Malacañan.”

Quezon said the Palace the people know now “is almost entirely” different from its original structure, built more than 175 years ago and first owned by a Spaniard named Luis Rocha. It was also used as a country home by the Spanish governor-generals, and eventually became the seat of power.

Through the years, Malacañang had survived an earthquake and several renovations.

But the most extensive refurbishment was from 1978 to 1979, in which aside from the additional rooms, the Marcoses made it bulletproof, fully air-conditioned and had installed an independent power supply.

The reconstructed Malacañang was inaugurated on May 1, 1979, the silver wedding anniversary of Ferdinand and Imelda Marcos.

Asked why Imelda Marcos had the original Palace structure almost entirely demolished, Quezon said, “It was too small for them.” TVJ

RELATED STORIES

Malacañang Museum tour

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Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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