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

FACE-COVERED WITNESSES TELL OF QUEZON PROVINCE 2016 POLL SCAM
[‘Roxas, Robredo, Drilon beneficiaries of cheating’]


MAY 16 -Whistleblowers. Three men claiming that the Liberal Party orchestrated a massive cheating operation during the May 9 elections talk to reporters at the Senate in Pasay City on Monday. LINO SANTOS ASIDE from administration standard bearer Manuel Roxas II and his running mate Leni Robredo, Senator-elect Franklin Drilon was the biggest beneficiary of vote manipulation orchestrated by the Liberal Party in the May 9 elections, three whistleblowers from Quezon province said Monday. Concealing their faces behind scarves and sunglasses, the three witnesses told a press conference at the Senate that they participated directly in the rigging of election results upon the order of a top LP official, whom they declined to name. At the start of the press conference, a man who described himself as a logistic supervisor, said they faced the media and sought the help of Council on Philippine Affairs (Copa) secretary-general Pastor Saycon to expose the whole truth. He also said they wanted to reveal all the circumstances around the manipulation and cheating that occurred in the counting of votes.
Saycon, who earlier questioned the Comelec’s refusal to conduct a manual audit of votes, joined the witnesses during a press conference at the Senate. He underscored the need to look into the votes from Basilan, Sulu, Tawi-Tawi, Zamboanga, Lanao del Sur, Lanao del Norte, Maguindanao and Sultan Kudarat. He also said they have testimony to back up their assertions that there was vote buying and disenfranchisement of voters in the May 9 election. “We decided to show up because we witnessed and were used in this incident [poll cheating],” said the logistic supervisor. He said the manipulation of votes was done in a privately owned building where computers and counting machines were used. He said Smartmatic personnel were also there to help in the operations. READ MORE...

ALSO: No post for Leni
[‘That never entered my mind,’ Duterte declares]


MAY 31 -No room in Cabinet. Vice President-elect Leni Robredo waves to her provincemates from a motorized banca which joined the fluvial procession in honor of the Holy Family in Calabanga, Camarines Sur on Saturday.
DAVAO CITY—President-elect Rodrigo Duterte said Saturday night that it never crossed his mind to give Vice President-elect Leni Robredo a Cabinet post because he was too busy giving jobs to friends to whom he owes a debt of gratitude. Duterte’s remarks came despite assurances from his inner circle that Robredo would not be a wallflower in the incoming administration. But Duterte rejected suggestions that he put a premium on friendship over qualifications, and said it was his limited ‘‘spheres of influence” that kept his choices to his province mates, former classmates and friends. Speaking to reporters for the first time after being declared the president-elect by Congress, Duterte admitted that he had not considered Robredo, the Liberal Party candidate, for anything. “That never entered my mind actually,” he said.Pressed for further comment, Duterte appeared irked. “Why should I talk to her?” he asked. “I have not considered anything for her because I’m more worried where will I place friends [to whom] I [owe a] debt of gratitude,” Duterte said. “I should not be looking beyond my borders yet.” He added that he had to look out for “the party guys” who were loyal to him all along, and who contributed to his election victory. Robredo won the vice presidency over Senator Ferdinand Marcos Jr. by a narrow margin of 263,473 votes, amid allegations of poll fraud. In an interview Saturday, Robredo dismissed the accusations from the Marcos camp, adding that she would not demand from Duterte any Cabinet position unless she is asked to do so. READ MORE...

ALSO: Outgoing Chief Marquez reshuffles PNP leadership ahead of Duterte presidency


JUNE 2 -PNP / MAY 16, 2016Policemen perform pass in review after their flag ceremony at Philippine National Police, Camp Crame Headquarters, Quezon City, May 16, 2016. Presumptive president-elect Rodrigo Duterte plans to increase the salaries of policemen to P75,000 to P100,000.INQUIRER PHOTO / NINO JESUS ORBETA
Less than a month before the Philippine National Police welcomes its new chief, a reshuffle of senior officers holding sensitive posts has been implemented by its outgoing chief Director General Ricardo Marquez. In a press briefing on Thursday, PNP spokesperson Chief Supt. Wilben Mayor said the retirement of some senior officers prompted Marquez to implement the reorganization. But once Duterte’s appointee, Chief Supt. Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa, takes over the highest PNP post, Mayor said he has the power to designate the reshuffled officers to different PNP offices. Among those who were transferred to different posts were Chief Supt. Ronald Santos and Chief Supt. Elmo Sarona. Santos, formerly the deputy regional director for administration for Calabarzon Regional Police, was one of the four generals who came under fire after journalists spotted them in a confidential meeting with a staff of defeated presidential candidate Mar Roxas last April. READ MORE...

ALSO: PNP incoming chief  - Police involved in illegal drugs to be eliminated


JUNE 2 -THE NEW PNP CHIEF: DAVAO CITY – The incoming head of the Philippine National Police (PNP) Chief Supt. Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa said that scalawags in uniform involved in illegal drugs will not be accorded the “gentle persuasion” that will be given to common drug offenders, but instead face “outright elimination” if caught. “Pag pulis hindi dadaanin sa tokhang (knock and persuade) yan. Bigyan (eliminate) na derecho,” Dela Rosa told reporters here. Dela Rosa noted that out of the 160,000-strong PNP, “more or less one percent” are involved in illegal drugs. “Yung 99 percent, performance nila magagaling. Kung one percent, masama ang performance, ito yung napapansin ng media (The 99 percent, their performance is gret. But the one percent who perform miserably, that’s what gets the attention of the media,” he said. THE FULL REPORT.

ALSO: TRIBUNE EDITORIAL - End China snub


JUNE 5 -The long neglected ties of China and the Philippines may get the needed refurbishment under the new administration in which China is willing to take the lead, reading the statements coming from the Chinese embassy.
If Duterte does not flip flop from his earlier statement about holding talks with China, he would end what the Chinese considers as a cold war with the Aquino administration as Noynoy had refused to hold any bilateral dialog regarding the sea dispute with its neighbor. In just six years of President Aquino, the Americans were able to re-establish its lost foothold in the Philippines and more, as it is now afforded the choice where it can set up bases under the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA). The US government, using the Philippines as base, had launched a “Pivot to East Asia” policy in 2012, which specifically provided for greater American military presence to contain the growing influence in the region of the emerging superpower China.Many experts viewed the rebalancing policy of the United States as compounding Beijing’s insecurities and is feeding China’s aggressiveness.
It later proved that the military pivot to Asia was meant to pave the way for another US government initiative, the Trans Pacific Partnership agreement that seeks to safeguard American business access to the region that China is threatening to dominate. The Philippines under EDCA reassumed its role as the refueling and resupplying base of American forces in the region that of course would rankle China which is the prime target in the US pivot.
The current friction between China and the Philippines was even initiated by Noynoy with of course American backing to reinforce the US alibi for the Asian rebalancing policy. READ MORE...


READ FULL MEDIA REPORTS HERE:

Witnesses tell of Quezon scam
[‘Roxas, Robredo, Drilon beneficiaries of cheating’]

MANILA, JUNE 6, 2016 (MANILA STANDARD) posted May 31, 2016 at 12:01 am by Macon Ramos-Araneta, Christine F. Herrera and Sara Susanne D. Fabunan - ASIDE from administration standard bearer Manuel Roxas II and his running mate Leni Robredo, Senator-elect Franklin Drilon was the biggest beneficiary of vote manipulation orchestrated by the Liberal Party in the May 9 elections, three whistleblowers from Quezon province said Monday.

Concealing their faces behind scarves and sunglasses, the three witnesses told a press conference at the Senate that they participated directly in the rigging of election results upon the order of a top LP official, whom they declined to name.

At the start of the press conference, a man who described himself as a logistic supervisor, said they faced the media and sought the help of Council on Philippine Affairs (Copa) secretary-general Pastor Saycon to expose the whole truth.

Whistleblowers.

Three men claiming that the Liberal Party orchestrated a massive cheating operation during the May 9 elections talk to reporters at the Senate in Pasay City on Monday. LINO SANTOS
He also said they wanted to reveal all the circumstances around the manipulation and cheating that occurred in the counting of votes.

Saycon, who earlier questioned the Comelec’s refusal to conduct a manual audit of votes, joined the witnesses during a press conference at the Senate.

He underscored the need to look into the votes from Basilan, Sulu, Tawi-Tawi, Zamboanga, Lanao del Sur, Lanao del Norte, Maguindanao and Sultan Kudarat.

He also said they have testimony to back up their assertions that there was vote buying and disenfranchisement of voters in the May 9 election.

“We decided to show up because we witnessed and were used in this incident [poll cheating],” said the logistic supervisor.

He said the manipulation of votes was done in a privately owned building where computers and counting machines were used. He said Smartmatic personnel were also there to help in the operations.

READ MORE...

He said the fraud affected the votes in Quezon province, which has over 1 million registered voters.

“The counted votes from the municipalities were transmitted to us so we could manipulate the numbers and put them in their favored candidates. After receiving the votes, we transmitted them to our accomplices on the second and third floors who control the Smartmatic machines which transmit votes to corresponding servers. They manipulated the numbers and put them in favored candidates,” the logistic supervisor said.

Since he is not an information technology (IT) expert, the witness said he and his companions were taught how to manipulate the results. His other accomplices, he said, were the ones who encoded the results transmitted from the municipalities.

He insisted they were not aware they would have a role in the cheating until Election Day. He said they initially thought their training for 10 days to two weeks were just given so that they would be knowledgeable about the computers being used.

When reporters inquired on who had ordered them to manipulate the votes, the logistics officer replied in Filipino: “A high-ranking official of the government.....in particular—from the LP.” He refused again to identify the official, however.

When asked which candidates benefitted most from the manipulation, the witness said the votes were added to Roxas and Robredo.

He said Robredo’s closest rival, outgoing Senator Ferdinand Marcos Jr., had lost about 200,000 votes in (Quezon) province alone while Robredo allegedly received additional 300,000 votes.

He said at least 300,000 votes taken from other vice presidential candidates were added to the tally for Robredo.

The witnesses also said most of the shaved votes came from winning presidential candidate Rodrigo Duterte.

Some 400,000 of these votes, they added, went to Roxas instead.

The witness said there was vote manipulation in the senatorial race as well, but declined to name those that benefitted, except for Dilon.

“It’s difficult to name names because there were many candidates,” the logistics supervisor said.

Saycon said they are still preparing the affidavits of the witnesses who belong to the Iglesia Ni Cristo, but were given clearance by the religious group to speak out.

He said they still will not bring the matter to the Comelec, which would only cover it up.

The two other witnesses did not speak in the press conference. Saycon said the three witnesses were scheduled to meet Senators Teofisto Guingona III, Sergio Osmeña III, Vicente Sotto III and Nancy Binay to expose the cheating.

Robredo on Monday refused to answer allegations that she benefitted from the cheating, and asked her lawyer instead to respond.

Robredo, who won over Marcos by 263,000, held a press conference shortly after her proclamation in Congress but answered questions related only to what she plans to do as vice president.

At the press conference, the question of cheating was the only one she refused to answer.

Robredo’s lawyer Romulo Macalintal described the allegations of fraud as a “figment of the imagination.”

“It is impossible for Smartmatic or the Comelec to allow other people they don’t trust to witness their illegal acts if indeed cheating was done,” he said.

Macalintal, an election lawyer, challenged Marcos to present as evidence­—even a single election return that would not match the result that reflected in the Certificate of Canvass.

He also said it would take a long time for an electoral protest to prosper.

“Senator Marcos would probably spend some P100 million for the electoral protest and it would be deemed moot and academic by the time the next election comes in three years and he runs for senator again just like in the case of Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago when she filed an electoral protest against her rival for President Fidel V. Ramos. The case did not push through and was deemed moot and academic because Senator Miriam ran for the Senate,” Macalintal said.

Macalintal also said it would have been impossible for the whistleblower to claim that some 200,000 votes had been shaved from the votes obtained by Marcos and added to Robredo’s votes.

“How is that possible that hundreds of thousands of votes were shaved from other candidates when the total surpassed the number of votes cast. It is simply impossible,” Macalintal said.

The Marcos camp said Monday it hoped the Comelec and a Manila prosecutor’s office would decide favorably on the case they filed against Comelec employees and Smartmatic officials headed by project director Marlon Garcia, for violation of the Automation Election Law.

Marcos’ campaign adviser, Jonathan dela Cruz of Abakada party-list, said Garcia and his cohorts in the Smartmatic and concerned employees of the poll body have committed “illegal acts” for their “unauthorized change” in the script of the transparency server of the Comelec.

Earlier, the Marcos camp, through lawyer Jose Amor Amorado, filed cases, respectively, with the Comelec for violation of the automation law; and Manila City Prosecutors Office for violation of the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2010 against Smartmatic executives Marlon Garcia and Elie Moreno, project director Neil Banigued, and Mauricio Herrera, a member of the technical support team.

Comelec Commissioner Luie Guia on Monday said the poll body welcomed any complaints and randomly audits such irregularities.

In a forum, Guia, however, said the Random Manual Audit team is ready to physically and manually audit some provinces with vote discrepancies.

“Everyone is welcome and we are ready to study further [such] complaints,” Guia said.

National Movement for Free Elections (Namfrel) alternate chairperson Tammy Lipana said that based on the ongoing RMA process, there were no indications of vote shaving and vote padding.

From the 315 or 49.37 percent of the total 715 clustered precincts that they have so far audited, it appeared that the more than 92,000 machines accurately counted the votes.

“Based on our verification process, so far, generally the count of the machines is fairly accurate,” Lipana said. – With Maricel V. Cruz


MANILA STANDARD

No post for Leni
[‘That never entered my mind,’ Duterte declares]  posted May 30, 2016 at 12:01 am by John Paolo Bencito


No room in Cabinet. Vice President-elect Leni Robredo waves to her provincemates from a motorized banca which joined the fluvial procession in honor of the Holy Family in Calabanga, Camarines Sur on Saturday.

DAVAO CITY—President-elect Rodrigo Duterte said Saturday night that it never crossed his mind to give Vice President-elect Leni Robredo a Cabinet post because he was too busy giving jobs to friends to whom he owes a debt of gratitude.

Duterte’s remarks came despite assurances from his inner circle that Robredo would not be a wallflower in the incoming administration.

But Duterte rejected suggestions that he put a premium on friendship over qualifications, and said it was his limited ‘‘spheres of influence” that kept his choices to his province mates, former classmates and friends.

Speaking to reporters for the first time after being declared the president-elect by Congress, Duterte admitted that he had not considered Robredo, the Liberal Party candidate, for anything.

“That never entered my mind actually,” he said.

Pressed for further comment, Duterte appeared irked. “Why should I talk to her?” he asked. “I have not considered anything for her because I’m more worried where will I place friends [to whom] I [owe a] debt of gratitude,” Duterte said. “I should not be looking beyond my borders yet.”

He added that he had to look out for “the party guys” who were loyal to him all along, and who contributed to his election victory.

Robredo won the vice presidency over Senator Ferdinand Marcos Jr. by a narrow margin of 263,473 votes, amid allegations of poll fraud.

In an interview Saturday, Robredo dismissed the accusations from the Marcos camp, adding that she would not demand from Duterte any Cabinet position unless she is asked to do so.

READ MORE...

“For me, I don’t have the right to demand from him any Cabinet portfolio. But if he will be asking me for a preference, I will be saying so. But the authority to appoint or give additional jobs, it’s the sole authority of the president. Whatever he decides on, I would respect that,” Robredo said in her hometown, Naga City.

A spokesman for Duterte’s transition team, Peter Laviña, had earlier said that Robredo would have a role to play in his Cabinet.


CAYETANO

Duterte’s running mate, losing Senator Alan Peter Cayetano, also said Duterte wanted to talk to Robredo and that he was looking at giving her a job in anti-poverty.

“I think from Day 1, he has been thinking about what [job to] give the vice president-elect,” Cayetano said.

Duterte’s reaction Saturday night was a contradiction to these claims, however.

“I’m still busy. Why would I place myself in jeopardy? Why would I put myself in an awkward position when I am not ready to offer anything to her?” he said.

In the same interview, the president-elect blasted critics for criticizing his choice of Cabinet appointees, who are mostly his province mates from Davao, friends or classmates, calling the allegations of favoritism “very stupid.”

“Look. I’m not from Forbes [Park]. If I lived there, I should have studied in Ateneo, La Salle or in UP from grade school to college—I’m not like that.”

He described himself as a probinsyano with limited “spheres of influence.”


DUTERTE

“You do not appoint somebody you do not trust. But you also have to know the person, enough of his character and his capacity and his honesty,” Duterte said.

Duterte said that he is set to name more members to complete his Cabinet, but announced on Saturday night he already offered positions to former national treasurer Leonor Briones to head the Department of Education and Benjamin Diokno to retake his old post at the Department of Budget and Management.

Briones, professor emeritus of Public Administration at the National College of Public Administration & Governance at the University of the Philippines-Diliman, has yet to accept the offer.

Diokno, former Budget secretary in the Estrada administration, is a professor of economics at the University of the Philippines.

Briones and Diokno are expected to meet with Duterte in Davao.

Duterte said he cannot travel to Manila before the oath-taking because of prior commitments so he offered to get them tickets.

Duterte promised to name more appointees on Tuesday for the Bureau of Customs, Bureau of Internal Revenue, Land Transportation Office, Department of National Defense, Department of Interior and Local Government and Department of Science and Technology.

Duterte added that he wanted a military man to head the LTO, the DND and the BoC to “instill discipline within its ranks.”

For DoST and DoH, Duterte is eyeing someone from the career ranks while for the Tourism, he is keen on retaining Aquino Cabinet appointee Ramon Jimenez in view of his good record.

Senator Aquilino Pimentel III, president of the PDP-Laban under which Duterte ran for president, said the Cabinet announcements were not cast in stone.

“If they are very controversial, they may be changed before June 30,” Pimentel said in an interview with radio dzBB.

Known for working late because of his “nocturnal” habits, Duterte said he would start his working day at 1 p.m. every day.

He also confirmed he would skip his proclamation at the House of Representatives on Monday.

Duterte also denied he would be setting up a “Malacañang of the South” in Davao, saying he would be going back to his home province only to rest.

“I’m not supposed to work here. I might go home everyday, if my last flight is 9 p.m., I’m already here by 12 a.m. At least, I’m asleep by then and by 8 a.m., take off to Manila then by 9 a.m., I’ll be there [at Malacañang],” Duterte said.

His day would then start at 1 p.m. because he would be reviewing papers.

Duterte also ruled out living in Malacañang Palace, saying it was haunted by five ghosts.

Duterte earlier said he would rather sleep on a plywood cot than spend the night in the centuries-old presidential palace, which has long been the country’s seat of power.

Asked if this was one of his “outrageous” statements that media and the public should not believe, he said he was being serious.

Duterte also said he had some problems with the Presidential Security Group, which began monitoring his actions since last week.

“An official talked to me, and said, Mayor we don’t have any problem with you, being the President. But our work is mandated by law. We have to protect you, that’s our mandate under the law,” Duterte recounted.

In an interview with The Standard, incoming PSG chief Col. Rolly Bautista said “they will adjust to the preferences of the president-elect.”

“While there are already arrangements, we’re trying to make him understand our role,” he said.

In the same interview, Duterte said he would not attend his proclamation Monday.

“I have not attended any proclamation in my life,” he said.

Senate President Franklin Drilon said Sunday they had extended their invitation to Duterte, saying his presence would be “a symbol that we are a working democracy.”

He said, however, that Duterte’s absence would have no legal effect on his winning the presidency. With Macon Ramos-Araneta


INQUIRER

Shake up in PNP leadership ahead of Duterte presidency SHARES: 771 VIEW COMMENTS By: Julliane Love De Jesus @JLDejesusINQ INQUIRER.net 06:06 PM June 2nd, 2016


PNP / MAY 16, 2016Policemen perform pass in review after their flag ceremony at Philippine National Police, Camp Crame Headquarters, Quezon City, May 16, 2016. Presumptive president-elect Rodrigo Duterte plans to increase the salaries of policemen to P75,000 to P100,000.INQUIRER PHOTO / NINO JESUS ORBETA

Less than a month before the Philippine National Police welcomes its new chief, a reshuffle of senior officers holding sensitive posts has been implemented by its outgoing chief Director General Ricardo Marquez.

In a press briefing on Thursday, PNP spokesperson Chief Supt. Wilben Mayor said the retirement of some senior officers prompted Marquez to implement the reorganization.

But once Duterte’s appointee, Chief Supt. Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa, takes over the highest PNP post, Mayor said he has the power to designate the reshuffled officers to different PNP offices.

Among those who were transferred to different posts were Chief Supt. Ronald Santos and Chief Supt. Elmo Sarona. Santos, formerly the deputy regional director for administration for Calabarzon Regional Police, was one of the four generals who came under fire after journalists spotted them in a confidential meeting with a staff of defeated presidential candidate Mar Roxas last April.

READ MORE...

Sarona, meanwhile, was recently relieved as the Firearms and Explosives Office (FEO) chief after a criminal case was filed against him and 14 other cops over the alleged anomalous issuances of the firearms licenses.

READ: PNP exec, staff sacked for gun permit anomalies


MARQUEZ

Effective June 1, Santos will be reassigned as officer-in-charge and deputy director of the Civil Security Group (CSG) while Sarona will be the Metro Manila police’s third in command as deputy regional director for Operations of the National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO).

Other officers affected by the reorganization are the following:

Chief Supt. Lurimer Detran as officer-in-charge Deputy Director of Directorate for Comptrollership;

Chief Supt. Billy Beltran as officer-in-charge of Zamboanga Peninsula Regional Police;

Chief Supt. Pedro Obaldo Jr. as Deputy Director of Directorate for Integrated Police Operations (DIPO) – Sourthern Luzon;

Senior Supt. Abad Osit as officer-in-charge Executive Officer of DIPO-VIsayas;

Senior Supt. Valfrie Tabian was reassigned as officer-in-charge of Calabarzon Police;

Senior Supt. Timoteo Pacleb as officer-in-charge Deputy Regional Director for Administration of Calabarzon Police;

Senior Supt. Charlo Collado was reassigned as officer-in-charge, Deputy Regional Director for Administration of Northern Mindanao Police;

Senior Supt. Ramon Purruganan as officer-in-charge, Executive Officer of Directorate for Comptrollership;

Senior Supt. Amando Clifton Empiso as Acting Regional Chief Directorial Staff of NCRPO; and

Senior Supt. Dennis Basngi was reassigned to Special Action Force (SAF);

The new designations were also recommended by the Senior Officers Procurement and Promotion Board (SOPPB). TVJ/rga


MANILA BULLETIN

Police involved in illegal drugs to be eliminated – PNP incoming chief by Rocky Nazareno June 2, 2016 (updated) Share0 Tweet0 Share1 Email0 Share7 image: http://www.mb.com.ph/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/ronald-dela-rosa-300x199.jpg


JUNE 2 -THE NEW PNP CHIEF: Incoming PNP chief Ronald dela Rosa (Photo courtesy of Davao Today)

DAVAO CITY – The incoming head of the Philippine National Police (PNP) Chief Supt. Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa said that scalawags in uniform involved in illegal drugs will not be accorded the “gentle persuasion” that will be given to common drug offenders, but instead face “outright elimination” if caught.

“Pag pulis hindi dadaanin sa tokhang (knock and persuade) yan. Bigyan (eliminate) na derecho,” Dela Rosa told reporters here.

Dela Rosa noted that out of the 160,000-strong PNP, “more or less one percent” are involved in illegal drugs.

“Yung 99 percent, performance nila magagaling. Kung one percent, masama ang performance, ito yung napapansin ng media (The 99 percent, their performance is gret. But the one percent who perform miserably, that’s what gets the attention of the media,” he said.


TRIBUNE EDITORIAL

End China snub Written by Tribune Editorial Wednesday, 01 June 2016 00:00



The long neglected ties of China and the Philippines may get the needed refurbishment under the new administration in which China is willing to take the lead, reading the statements coming from the Chinese embassy.

If Duterte does not flip flop from his earlier statement about holding talks with China, he would end what the Chinese considers as a cold war with the Aquino administration as Noynoy had refused to hold any bilateral dialog regarding the sea dispute with its neighbor.

In just six years of President Aquino, the Americans were able to re-establish its lost foothold in the Philippines and more, as it is now afforded the choice where it can set up bases under the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA).

The US government, using the Philippines as base, had launched a “Pivot to East Asia” policy in 2012, which specifically provided for greater American military presence to contain the growing influence in the region of the emerging superpower China.

Many experts viewed the rebalancing policy of the United States as compounding Beijing’s insecurities and is feeding China’s aggressiveness.

It later proved that the military pivot to Asia was meant to pave the way for another US government initiative, the Trans Pacific Partnership agreement that seeks to safeguard American business access to the region that China is threatening to dominate.

The Philippines under EDCA reassumed its role as the refueling and resupplying base of American forces in the region that of course would rankle China which is the prime target in the US pivot.

The current friction between China and the Philippines was even initiated by Noynoy with of course American backing to reinforce the US alibi for the Asian rebalancing policy.

READ MORE...

The maritime rift with China only worsened after Noynoy escalated the situation by sending a Philippine Navy ship BRP Gregorio del Pilar to accost Chinese poachers in Scarborough Shoal.

Prior to the incident, the fishing grounds in the disputed areas were unofficially shared between Chinese and Filipino fishermen. Of course, there were several incidences when mammoth Chinese commercial fishing vessels overfish and leave none for their Filipino counterparts but these were periodically settled with the Chinese representatives in the country.


2915 PHOTO PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 14 April, 2015, 7:44pm AFP AFP - Aquinonpointing to Image of what are said to be small artificial land formations, structures and construction equipment along Mischief Reef. "China’s efforts to stake its claim to most of the South China Sea should spark fear around the world, with military conflict possible", Philippine President Benigno Aquino said. In an interview with AFP, Aquino also warned that China’s increasingly assertive actions raised the spectre of other nations having access cut to international shipping lanes and fishing grounds in the sea. FROM SOUTH CHINA MORNING NEWS, PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 14 April, 2015, 7:44pm UPDATED : Monday, 27 April, 2015, 5:21pm

Thus a status quo existed wherein complaints over the conflicting claims are resolved through diplomatic channels.

Noynoy thereafter deputized Sen. Antonio Trillanes as back-channel negotiator with China that, according to revelations later of then Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile, worsened the already tensed situation.

The notes of former Philippine Ambassador to China Sonia Brady read by Enrile during a brawl with Trillanes on the Senate floor indicated observations from the senator that included the item that the Chinese wanted the Philippines to “tone down the rhetoric” on its incursion in Panatag or Scarborough Shoal; that Trillanes stated “no one cares about Panatag Shoal in the Philippines and that the country cannot enforce coastal protection” since fishermen subsist only on fishing and cannot venture far out; and that Trillanes asked Noynoy to replace then Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario with the then anointed successor of Noynoy, Liberal Party (LP) standard-bearer Mar Roxas.


PHOTO COURTESY OF RAPPLER.COM -Trillanes storms out of Senate after being outed for engaging in ‘backroom negotiations’ with China September 19, 2012. A baffling lack of confidence on the part of President Benigno Simeon “BS” Aquino III in his own cabinet officials was belied by a revelation today that Senator Antonio Trillanes IV was authorised by the President to act as a “backroom negotiator” to China on behalf of the Philippines. In a heated argument between Trillanes and Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile in today’s Senate plenary session, Enrile pressed Trillanes to reveal the details of the discussions he had with former Philippine Ambassador to China Sonia Brady. Trillanes refused to answer Enrile’s queries, accusing the Senate President of being “out of order” supposedly for reading out loud a transcript of the discussion he had with Brady which he insisted was “confidential”. HEADLINE NEWS by benign, GETREALPHILIPPINES.COM September 19, 2012

Del Rosario later decried the Noynoy maneuver in creating a back channel with China through Trillanes saying that it did more harm than good since primarily it showed division within the administration in addressing the China threat.

Enrile also suspected Trillanes of acting as a double agent for China and called him a “fifth columnist” or a traitor.


A happy President Aquino and Foreign Secretary Albert del Rosario COURTESY OF ELLEN TORDESILLAS

Later on, the tension between both countries further rose after the Philippines filed an arbitration case in 2013 with an international tribunal in the Hague that China said it does not recognize.

The United Nations body is expected to deliver a ruling in the next few months in a case lodged by Manila in 2013.

China President Xi Jinping sent a message to Duterte congratulating him on his formal election victory, and said the two countries had a long history of friendly exchanges and a deep traditional friendship, China’s Foreign Ministry said.

“The friendly, stable and healthy development of Sino-Philippine relations accords with the basic interests of both countries and both peoples,” Xi was quoted as saying in the ministry statement.

The stormy relations with China stunted further economic growth potentials of the country while the perception that the Philippines is a US surrogate in the region only resulted in the alienation of the country with most of its neighbors.

It was clear that Noynoy’s act of siding with the American Asian pivot policy did not promote the nation’s gain.


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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