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PHNO PRESIDENTIAL (DU30) NEWS THIS PAST WEEK
(Mini Reads followed by Full Reports below)

PHILIPPINES NOW RIPE TO PURSUE ECONOMIC REFORMS - DOMINGUEZ[RELATED: Rice self-sufficiency goal pushed back to 2021]


AUGUST 26 -Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez said the Duterte administration would introduce major reforms such as a tax reform package anchored on the reduction of corporate and personal income tax rates. STAR/File
The Department of Finance (DOF) said the Philippines is now ripe for undertaking major reforms including the introduction of a new comprehensive tax reform package. Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez said the Duterte administration would introduce major reforms such as a tax reform package anchored on the reduction of corporate and personal income tax rates. “This is a good time to make our systems right. We need big reforms that can steer the country toward a better future. The economy is rising. Investor confidence is high. Public support for the new President is unprecedented. The national debt has been tamed. There is consensus for the reforms,” he said.
Dominguez pointed out President Duterte has the political will to reform the system and political capital to drive the country’s economy at a pace unthinkable in the previous administration. “We will seize the opportune convergence of factors at this time: a dynamic growth rate, robust growth potential, a stable currency, a stable fiscal profile, and determined national leadership,” he said. The country’s gross domestic product (GDP) growth accelerated to seven percent in the second quarter from the revised 6.8 percent in the first quarter due to election related spending. This brought the GDP expansion to 6.9 percent in the first half from 5.5 percent in the same period last year. Weak global demand and low government spending pulled down the GDP growth to 5.8 percent last year from 6.1 percent in 2014. READ MORE...RELATED, Rice self-sufficiency goal pushed back to 2021...

ALSO Pernia: 4 projects to solve traffic
[RELATED: ‘Emergency powers not needed’ syas Party List solon]


AUGUST 23 -Economic Planning Secretary Ernesto Pernia
The government said Tuesday it will speed up the construction of four infrastructure projects aimed at decongesting traffic in Metro Manila. Economic Planning Secretary Ernesto Pernia told reporters during a press briefing the the National Economic and Development Authority would expedite the approval and implementation of four of the country’s major infrastructure projects. Pernia said the four included the immediate implementation of the Bonifacio Global City-Ortigas link bridge, which is expected to divert 25 percent of the traffic congestion in Edsa. “That is an additional bridge to what we have now on the east side of Metro Manila. There’s a bridge there, the C-5. So we need another one to add road space from those traveling between the two parts of the Pasig, the two parts of Metro Manila that is cut by the Pasig River,” Pernia said. He said the government was looking at the possible early resolution of the common station for MRT 3, LRT 1 and MRT 7. “The Department of Public Works and Highways will hand the final configuration of the station to the Department of Transportation,” Pernia said. Another solution is the use of provincial ports in the country, such as Batangas and Subic ports, to ease congestion in Manila. Earlier, the Neda-Investment Coordination Committee-Cabinet Committee identified over P320 billion worth of infrastructure projects set to be implement under the new administration. READ MORE...RELATED, ‘Emergency powers not needed’ -Party List solon...

ALSO: Gov’t, Reds OK signing of indefinite ceasefire


AUGUST 27 -WINNING MOMENT Members of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (from left) Fidel Agcaoili, Coni Ledesma, Jose Maria Sison, Luis Jalandoni, Juliet de Lima and Asterio Palima raise their fists and hold an NDFP flag to mark the end of the first round of peace talks with the government panel in Oslo, Norway. EDRE OLALIA/CONTRIBUTOR
The Philippine government and communist guerrillas have agreed to an indefinite ceasefire extension to facilitate further peace negotiations aimed at ending one of Asia’s deadliest and longest-running insurgencies, a joint statement said last night. At the end of five-day peace talks in Oslo, Norway, the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) agreed to extend a unilateral ceasefire indefinitely. The truce, a goodwill gesture to President Duterte’s own unilateral ceasefire, was supposed to end today.
READ: PH gov’t, NDF sign joint statement; end of talks eyed in 1 year “The Communist Party of the Philippines and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) shall declare and issue an indefinite unilateral ceasefire order to the New People’s Army (NPA) and the people’s militia, upon the end of their current ceasefire order on Aug. 27, 2016,” the statement said. Both sides agreed to reconcile and develop their separate ceasefire orders into a single unified document within 60 days. A third party monitoring and mediation body will also handle complaints and alleged violations. The government peace panel was expected to “immediately recommend” to the President the issuance of an amnesty proclamation, subject to Congress’ concurrence, for the release of prisoners listed by the NDFP. Both panels agreed to meet again on Oct. 8-12, also in Oslo. READ MORE...

ALSO: Aquino’s men on shame list -Ex-PDEA agent
[OCHOA AMONG TOP NARCO EXECS]


AUGUST 28 -OCHOA AMONG TOP NARCO EXECS Officials of the previous administration posted as high up as the Palace, aside from Sen. Leila de Lima, are included in the list of coddlers of narcotics syndicates in the country that President Duterte is apparently using in his name shame campaign, a former Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) agent said. Jonathan Morales, who was sacked from PDEA and is now an anti-drugs advocate told the Tribune in phone interview yesterday that former Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa should be among those named in the Duterte list. “Actually, we are not satisfied so far by the exposés made by President Duterte. Although (the list is) competent, it still lacks bigger names including no less than (former President Noynoy Aquino’s) anti-crime czar,” Morales said, referring to Ochoa. Ochoa was fully aware of the “list of narco-politicians” that has reached President Duterte’s hands, Morales said, adding that he directly reported to Ochoa and then President Aquino inside Malacañang back in 2013. “As far as the Duterte administration’s revelations are concerned, they are exactly the intel (intelligence) reports that I myself, along with (then PDEA Director General Arturo) Cacdac, submitted to Secretary Ochoa in our meeting inside Malacañang,” Morales revealed. “Obviously, the revelations of President Duterte only show how the previous administration coddled the drugs trade,” he added. Morales claimed that a week after his meeting with Ochoa and then PDEA chief Cacdac, he was sacked due to “political reasons.” READ MORE...

ALSO: Rody sidelined by migraine, spinal woes
[RELATED: After 3 decades Duterte breaks bread with Nograles]


AUGUST 28 -“I was supposed (to go) yesterday, but I had this spinal thing going crazy again,”President Duterte said, referring to the wake of a policeman killed in a drug sting. PPD/Toto Lozano
 A migraine and a spinal problem made President Duterte cancel his scheduled activities on Thursday. “I was supposed (to go) yesterday, but I had this spinal thing going crazy again,” Duterte said, referring to the wake of a policeman killed in a drug sting. “I had a migraine… I vomited in the morning so I said I could not make it,” Duterte said during the 10th anniversary of the Eastern Mindanao Command in Panacan, Davao City on Friday. “I had this terrible headache and this is because of something misaligned in my spine (which I got) when I met an accident when I was already 67 years old in a motorcycle spill,” he said. Duterte was scheduled to visit the wake of PO1 Gary Cabaguing at the St. Peter Funeral Homes in Catbalogan, Samar. “I usually go to places where there’s a military man or a policeman who dies in the line of duty. That’s all I can give – honor them – my presence, to be there and give them a snappy salute for dying for their country,” he said. Duterte was also supposed to look into the condition of PO1 Nestor Villanueva who was confined at the St. Paul’s Hospital in Tacloban, Leyte. Villanueva was injured in anti-drug operations in Samar. Duterte lamented that he loses two to three cops or soldiers a day in the government campaign against illegal drugs. READ MORE...RELATED, Duterte breaks bread with Nograles ...


READ FULL MEDIA REPORTS HERE:

Philippines now ripe to pursue reforms – Dominguez


Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez said the Duterte administration would introduce major reforms such as a tax reform package anchored on the reduction of corporate and personal income tax rates. STAR/File photo

MANILA, AUGUST 29, 2016 (PHILSTAR) By Lawrence Agcaoili August 26, 2016 - The Department of Finance (DOF) said the Philippines is now ripe for undertaking major reforms including the introduction of a new comprehensive tax reform package.

Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez said the Duterte administration would introduce major reforms such as a tax reform package anchored on the reduction of corporate and personal income tax rates.

“This is a good time to make our systems right. We need big reforms that can steer the country toward a better future. The economy is rising. Investor confidence is high. Public support for the new President is unprecedented. The national debt has been tamed. There is consensus for the reforms,” he said.

Dominguez pointed out President Duterte has the political will to reform the system and political capital to drive the country’s economy at a pace unthinkable in the previous administration.

“We will seize the opportune convergence of factors at this time: a dynamic growth rate, robust growth potential, a stable currency, a stable fiscal profile, and determined national leadership,” he said.

The country’s gross domestic product (GDP) growth accelerated to seven percent in the second quarter from the revised 6.8 percent in the first quarter due to election related spending.

This brought the GDP expansion to 6.9 percent in the first half from 5.5 percent in the same period last year. Weak global demand and low government spending pulled down the GDP growth to 5.8 percent last year from 6.1 percent in 2014.

READ MORE...

“We are estimating that our year-end growth will be somewhere close to seven percent. At any rate, the economic team based its budget estimates on a 6.5 percent growth rate. We are projecting the same 6.5 percent to seven percent next year,” Dominguez said.

With the projected strong economic expansion, he explained the government could pursue policy and governance reforms.

“All things considered, we have very good conditions in which to introduce policy and governance reforms. We have enough headroom to raise our budget deficit level from two percent to three percent. That single percentage point will allow us to undertake programs to make our economic expansion a lot more inclusive. That is equivalent to about P150 billion additional spending,” he said.

The Duterte administration is raising infrastructure spending to ease congestion in Manila, decrease the cost of moving people and goods through the archipelago, boost tourism, and pump prime economic activity.


PHILSTAR

Rice self-sufficiency goal pushed back to 2021 By Louise Maureen Simeon (The Philippine Star) | Updated August 27, 2016 - 12:00am 0 0 googleplus0 0


The finance team of the Department of Budget and Management did not approve the P18 billion Rice Productivity Enhancement (RIPE) program, the first tranche of the three-year rice program worth P64 billion that would focus on rice production including seeds, inputs, new areas, irrigation projects and fertilizers. STAR/File photo

MANILA, Philippines - Following budget cuts, the Department of Agriculture (DA) has moved by another two years its target to achieve 100 percent rice self-sufficiency.

“We will have a slight delay, probably by 2020 to 2021. We will just have to make use of what we have. It’s difficult but I have to wage the battle. We just have to really focus on our resources and lessen our expenses,” Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol told The STAR in a phone interview.

The finance team of the Department of Budget and Management did not approve the P18 billion Rice Productivity Enhancement (RIPE) program, the first tranche of the three-year rice program worth P64 billion that would focus on rice production including seeds, inputs, new areas, irrigation projects and fertilizers.

The approved budget of the DA and its attached agencies for 2017 was P50.6 billion, P3.4 billion lower than this year’s level.

The Agri chief proposed a 31 percent increase in the DA’s 2017 budget to P71 billion

Piñol originally planned to attain self-sufficiency in rice in 2018, but moved it to 2019 due to insufficient funds.

The DA was earlier looking to produce 18.5 million metric tons of rice next year, 20.3 million MT in 2018 and 21.6 million MT in 2019.

Pinol said the 2017 budget was also affected by the P7 billion unspent fund from the previous administration.

READ MORE...

“The past performance of the DA in terms of absorption and expenditure also affected our budget ceiling. The Finance team based their budget ceiling on the previous administration performance,” he added.

“I still believe that unless government makes huge investments in agriculture and fisheries, we will never be successful in our effort to combat poverty in the countryside and ensure food sufficiency for the country,” Piñol said.

Despite being unhappy with the 2017 budget, Piñol is not complaining and will make sure its budget will be effectively spent for programs that will ensure greater food production and reduce poverty in the country.

“We cannot sulk in disappointment simply because we did not get what we were asking for. This is a challenge for us to think of other ways to achieve food sufficiency,” he added.

Given the budget reduction, Piñol said he would cut the travel and international meetings of employees and officials which would not have an impact on the department’s programs.


MANILA STANDARD

Pernia: 4 projects to solve traffic posted August 23, 2016 at 11:55 pm by Gabrielle H. Binaday


Economic Planning Secretary Ernesto Pernia

The government said Tuesday it will speed up the construction of four infrastructure projects aimed at decongesting traffic in Metro Manila.

Economic Planning Secretary Ernesto Pernia told reporters during a press briefing the the National Economic and Development Authority would expedite the approval and implementation of four of the country’s major infrastructure projects.

Pernia said the four included the immediate implementation of the Bonifacio Global City-Ortigas link bridge, which is expected to divert 25 percent of the traffic congestion in Edsa.

“That is an additional bridge to what we have now on the east side of Metro Manila. There’s a bridge there, the C-5. So we need another one to add road space from those traveling between the two parts of the Pasig, the two parts of Metro Manila that is cut by the Pasig River,” Pernia said.

He said the government was looking at the possible early resolution of the common station for MRT 3, LRT 1 and MRT 7.

“The Department of Public Works and Highways will hand the final configuration of the station to the Department of Transportation,” Pernia said.

Another solution is the use of provincial ports in the country, such as Batangas and Subic ports, to ease congestion in Manila.

Earlier, the Neda-Investment Coordination Committee-Cabinet Committee identified over P320 billion worth of infrastructure projects set to be implement under the new administration.

READ MORE...

These projects are the North-South Railway Project–South Line; Maritime Safety Capability Improvement Project for the Philippine Coast Guard Phase II; Metro Manila Bus Rapid Transit-EDSA; Plaridel Bypass Toll Road Project; Metro Manila Flood Management Project, Increase in Passenger Terminal Building Area of the Bicol International Airport Project;

Change in Scope of the New Bohol Airport Construction and Sustainable Environment Protection Project; Modernization of the Eastern Visayas Regional Medical Center; Gov. Celestino Gallares Memorial Hospital; and the Inclusive Partnerships for Agricultural Competitiveness..

Pernia clarified that the timeframe set to expedite the implementation of projects ddi not depend on the approval of the emergency powers for President Duterte.

“Even without the emergency powers, we are going to work on, we are going to make sure that work on major infrastructure projects will be round-the-clock, so 24/7. No let up,” Pernia said.

-----------------------

RELATED FROM THE MANILA TIMES

‘Emergency powers not needed’ By ANGELICA BALLESTEROS on August 27, 2016 The Latest News, Today's Breaking News

Granting President Rodrigo Duterte emergency powers to solve the traffic problems in Metro Manila should be the last resort of the government, former 1-UTAK party-list Rep. Vigor Mendoza 2nd said Saturday.

“Emergency powers are not needed to decongest [traffic]. If we are to use emergency powers, we might as well set aside the law,” Mendoza said, adding that government should put in place less drastic solutions.

However, he made it clear that he is not against granting the President special powers to solve the traffic mess, which had caused daily outcries from commuters and motorists.

In a news conference in Quezon City, the former lawmaker laid out recommendations which he said can be implemented in the next 90 to 120 days. He said the government can, within this time-frame, modernize the public transport system by replacing old jeepney units with new and air-conditioned ones.

“Car owners will be more enticed to leave their cars and just ride public transport,” he said.

Other means include dispatch-scheduling of jeepneys, eradicating colorum and out-of-line vehicles through an eTag system and ordering truck deliveries from 10 p.m. to 4 a.m.

“The eTag is like the biometrics of the vehicle which can be read using an eTag reader. No eTag or wrong eTag means the vehicle has no proper papers or is operating out-of-line,” Mendoza said.

He also proposed making the Marcos Highway, C5, and private subdivision roads as alternate routes to congested EDSA.

“Reroute to the peripheral roads, at ‘yung traffic sa EDSA ay lilipat sa kanila (the EDSA traffic will be trasferred there),” he pointed out.

He said the government also has the option to make all northbound traffic flow one-way through EDSA and use C5 for the southbound traffic.

“There are many things that the government can do to alleviate traffic on the ground immediately without resorting to emergency powers,” he said.

Meanwhile, a member of Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s legal team, Larry Gadon, believes that using the ports outside Metro Manila can alleviate the traffic problem.

The Senate had started conducting hearings on a bill seeking to grant President Rodrigo Duterte emergency powers so that he can better address the traffic problems in Metro Manila and other urban areas. His ally, Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano, expressed hopes that the House of Representatives will also expedite action on similar measures so that the traffic crisis can be solved as soon as possible.


INQUIRER

Gov’t, Reds OK signing of indefinite ceasefire
[GOV’T PANEL TO ‘IMMEDIATELY RECOMMEND’ AMNESTY]

By: Leila B. Salaverria
@inquirerdotnet
Philippine Daily Inquirer
12:41 AM August 27th, 2016


WINNING MOMENT Members of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (from left) Fidel Agcaoili, Coni Ledesma, Jose Maria Sison, Luis Jalandoni, Juliet de Lima and Asterio Palima raise their fists and hold an NDFP flag to mark the end of the first round of peace talks with the government panel in Oslo, Norway. EDRE OLALIA/CONTRIBUTOR

The Philippine government and communist guerrillas have agreed to an indefinite ceasefire extension to facilitate further peace negotiations aimed at ending one of Asia’s deadliest and longest-running insurgencies, a joint statement said last night.

At the end of five-day peace talks in Oslo, Norway, the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) agreed to extend a unilateral ceasefire indefinitely. The truce, a goodwill gesture to President Duterte’s own unilateral ceasefire, was supposed to end today.

READ: PH gov’t, NDF sign joint statement; end of talks eyed in 1 year

“The Communist Party of the Philippines and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) shall declare and issue an indefinite unilateral ceasefire order to the New People’s Army (NPA) and the people’s militia, upon the end of their current ceasefire order on Aug. 27, 2016,” the statement said.

Both sides agreed to reconcile and develop their separate ceasefire orders into a single unified document within 60 days. A third party monitoring and mediation body will also handle complaints and alleged violations.

The government peace panel was expected to “immediately recommend” to the President the issuance of an amnesty proclamation, subject to Congress’ concurrence, for the release of prisoners listed by the NDFP.

Both panels agreed to meet again on Oct. 8-12, also in Oslo.

READ MORE...

Milestone

Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Jesus Dureza described the talks as “a milestone” aimed at ending a protracted rebellion that has lasted more than 40 years, claiming more than 37,000 lives and stunting the growth potentials of the country.

“Not only has President Duterte walked the extra mile. He has also taken a step back to give the NDFP space under his democratic and inclusive government,” Dureza said.

“We will go home with a promise of a just and lasting peace and our soldiers and the combatants of the NDFP finally coming to terms that the war must end,” he added.

The CPP launched its rebellion in 1968. Its armed unit, the NPA, is believed to have fewer than 4,000 fighters, down from a peak of 26,000 in the 1980s when it drew strength from Filipinos fed up with the dictatorship of Ferdinand Marcos.

Peace talks resumed in Oslo this week, after five years, and President Duterte had freed at least 21 rebel leaders to act as “consultants” to the negotiations to show the government’s sincerity.

The peace process, which has dragged on for decades, broke down in 2001 when the Maoist rebels backed out after the US government—followed by the European Union—placed them on a list of terrorist organizations.

Coalition

The peace effort resumed in 2011 under the sponsorship of Norway, but it had often bogged down as both sides accused each other of insincerity. The rebels had also scored the previous governments for refusing demands by the rebels to release captured comrades.

President Duterte, who took office on June 30, has made resumption of the talks a top priority. The onetime university student of CPP founder Jose Maria Sison, 77, who once described himself as a socialist, had vowed to bring peace to a country whose economic potentials have often been weighed down by insurgencies.

He has even raised the possibility of forming a coalition government with the rebels, and his young administration said on Monday it hoped to reach a peace accord within a year.

The two sides hope to breathe new life into the process by discussing simultaneously the outstanding issues of social and economic reforms, political and constitutional changes, and an end to hostilities.

Previous peace talks have dealt with one issue at a time.

The rebels remain particularly active in the countryside, where they are notorious for extortion to fuel their rebellion. They have also regularly attacked police and military forces, sometimes targeting them in urban areas.

The US state department has designated the CPP/NPA a foreign terrorist organization.

Norway welcomes truce

Norwegian Foreign Minister Borge Brende hailed last night’s document as “unprecedented” and offered his government’s commitment to continue assisting in the talks.

“We further welcome the acceleration of the peace negotiation,” he said. “Norway is committed to assist you in your way to peace.”

Government chief negotiator and Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III thanked his counterpart and expressed a wish that a final peace deal would soon be sealed.

He said the government was looking toward a final peace agreement with the NDFP to end almost half a century of armed hostilities in the countryside.

Apart from the ceasefire, both sides also agreed to reconstitute a list of rebel leaders protected from arrest under a previously signed agreement on safety and immunity from arrest.

The encrypted list will contain the photos and identities of rebel consultants who are “still underground who will be immune to arrest while the peace process is undergoing.”

The government on the other hand would issue documents of acknowledgment for the rebel consultants still in hiding and for the 54 “publicly known NDFP personalities.”

“I am sure the Filipino people appreciate the work of the two negotiating panels and that they are elated by the results of the formal talks,” Sison said. “These advance their struggle for national and social revolution and for a just and lasting peace.” With reports from AFP/TVJ

RELATED STORIES

PH-NDF panels fast-track peace talks

3 of 5 issues resolved in PH gov’t, NDF talks in Norway


TRIBUNE

Ex-agent: Aquino’s men on shame list Written by Tribune Wires Monday, 29 August 2016 By Ted Tuvera and Gerry Baldo

OCHOA AMONG TOP NARCO EXECS

Officials of the previous administration posted as high up as the Palace, aside from Sen. Leila de Lima, are included in the list of coddlers of narcotics syndicates in the country that President Duterte is apparently using in his name shame campaign, a former Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) agent said.

Jonathan Morales, who was sacked from PDEA and is now an anti-drugs advocate told the Tribune in phone interview yesterday that former Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa should be among those named in the Duterte list.

“Actually, we are not satisfied so far by the exposés made by President Duterte. Although (the list is) competent, it still lacks bigger names including no less than (former President Noynoy Aquino’s) anti-crime czar,” Morales said, referring to Ochoa.
Ochoa was fully aware of the “list of narco-politicians” that has reached President Duterte’s hands, Morales said, adding that he directly reported to Ochoa and then President Aquino inside Malacañang back in 2013.

“As far as the Duterte administration’s revelations are concerned, they are exactly the intel (intelligence) reports that I myself, along with (then PDEA Director General Arturo) Cacdac, submitted to Secretary Ochoa in our meeting inside Malacañang,” Morales revealed.

“Obviously, the revelations of President Duterte only show how the previous administration coddled the drugs trade,” he added.

Morales claimed that a week after his meeting with Ochoa and then PDEA chief Cacdac, he was sacked due to “political reasons.”

READ MORE...


GMA VIDEO SCREENGRAB -JONATHAN MORALES

The former PDEA agent also criticized former PDEA Director GeneraDionisio Santiago, who was recently thanked by no less than President Duterte, for being helpful in the incumbent administration’s claimed success in its war on drugs.

“Well, there is a question on the credibility of General Santiago. He is connected to (Marine Lt. Col. Ferdinand) Marcelino who was arrested about a year ago in a drug buy bust in Manila,” Morales said.

The sacked PDEA agent assailed that his former boss, General Santiago, is “recycling drugs”.

“President Duterte, be careful with whom you trust,” the former PDEA officer said.

Santiago, through his Facebook page, responded to the allegation of Morales saying that in deed there was a case filed against him before but said that the charges were dropped some years back.

The former PDEA chief said that smear campaigns against him has long been circulating on social media.

“The complaint was filed before the Department of Justice. I, Gen. Dionisio Santiago as PDEA chief during that time, together with the owner of Green Planet, were the subjects of the complaint. The case did not prosper because the office of the State Prosecutor did not find merit on the complaint,” Santiago, who ran as Senator in President Duterte’s ticket last elections, said.
Green Planet is the facility being used or accredited by PDEA for the destruction of confiscated drugs.

To this date, it continues to be the accredited destruction facility of PDEA.

Santiago, who was also Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) chief, said that the credibility of the one who’s accusing him is questionable.

“One of the complainants in the case has been dismissed from the service and is perpetually disqualified from holding government office as affirmed by no less than the Supreme Court,” the former PDEA chief claimed.

AQUINO AND OCHOA KNEW

Relatedly, a report weeks ago quoted Santiago saying Aquino and then Secretary Ochoa themselves know who’s who in the incumbent President’s narco-list.

However, Santiago, a day after, denied in a radio interview that such a claim came from him.

Late last week, Duterte thanked Santiago for apparently being one of his unoffical consultants in his war against illegal drugs.

“They just don’t realize the number that PDEA said that we had about 3 million addicts and that was about two years ago, an assessment that was made to us by General Santiago,” the President said in his speech in Davao City last Friday evening.

FIRST PHASE OF WAR ON DRUGS: Palace claims victory


ANDANAR

Presidential Communications Secretary Martin Andanar, meanwhile, said yesterday that the Duterte administration has won the “first phase” of its anti-drugs war.

“We have won the first phase which has resulted in the 700,000 who surrendered or who turned themselves in for rehabilitation,” Andanar said in a radio interview.

The second phase, Andanar said, would be the construction of rehabilitation centers which could be housed inside military camps.
As to why a civilian concern would be located inside a military camp, Andanar said the military camps can accomodate the overwhelming number of surrenderees and provide the security needed.

“We are really lacking in drug rehabilitation centers and who can predict that 700,000 individuals will give themselves up,” he said.

Andanar also claimed that the government is taking time to file charges against politicians allegedly involved in the illegal drugs trade due to the lack of substantial evidence to back up the name shame campaign.

Andanar said that the President himself has not indicated any timetable on the filing of cases on the supposed narco officials.

He said the government is in the process of gathering bodies of evidence to substantiate particularly Duterte’s latest “drugs matrix” that linked De Lima, among others, to the narcotics trade.

As soon as possible that we compile a complete prima facie evidence, then cases will be filed,” Andanar said.

He also demanded those who were identified as ‘persons of interests’ by the Philippine National Police (PNP), Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) and the Department of Justice (DoJ) to submit their counter-affidavits. As to whom or where, Andanar didn’t say.

Duterte also earlier named 160 public officials, including members of the judiciary, local chief executives and policemen about a month ago, but no case on the names in the list has yet been filed.

Meanwhile, Andanar also hinted that anytime this week, cases against De Lima and the others who were tagged in the President’s so-called ‘Muntinlupa Drug Matrix’ might be filed.

Apart from De Lima, other prominent names in the matrix were former Justice Undersecretary Francisco Baraan and former Pangasinan Governor and incumbent Rep. Amado Espino Jr.

Speaker wants De Lima in probe

Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez yesterday said that the magnitude of the drug problem at the National Bilibid Prisons should prompt De Lima to appear before a House inquiry into the issue.

Alvarez insisted that the illegal drugs proliferated during the time of De Lima as secretary of justice.

“If you are not guilty, then you should face the problem,” Alvarez said in an interview in Leyte.

De Lima is being implicated in the drug trade by President Duterte.

De Lima laughed off the allegations particularly the “matrix” that was presented by President Duterte showing how De Lima was connected to the drug trade at the NBP while accusing Alvarez of holding a kangaroo court against her.

“The House conducting this inquiry to try me before false witnesses and the inquiry is Duterte’s kangaroo court to hold a witch hunt with the aim of burning me at the stake,” De Lima said

Deputy Speaker and Batangas Rep. Raneo Abu agreed with Alvarez even as he reiterated his appeal for de Lima to voluntary appear before a congressional probe as a resource person in a probe on the proliferation of illegal drugs at the NBP.

“If I were Sen. De Lima, I will come here at the House of Representatives voluntarily to air my side,” said Abu.

Abu, however, said that the House cannot compel de Lima to attend the probe due to inter-parliamentary courtesy.

Abu said the inquiry will focus on why the illegal drugs trade inside NBP happened during the term of de Lima.

“We will zero in on the discovery of makeshift shabu laboratory at the NBP and why this had happened?” Abu asked.

Alvarez said that the Department of Justice (DoJ) is set to present witnesses that will link De Lima to the drug trade at the NBP.

Andanar added that De Lima should first get the blessings of the Senate before deciding on her own to skip or attend it.
“I think it’s up to the Senate to decide the next steps for Senator Leila de Lima. They have their own rules to contend with,” the Palace mouthpiece said.

Drug users not humans — Du30

Duterte, who is waging a bloody war on crime, has justified the large-scale killing of drug users by suggesting earlier the victims were not human.

Duterte, who has seen about two thousand people killed since he was elected in May, made the remarks late Friday as he shrugged off the United Nations’ concerns over human rights in his country.

“Crime against humanity? In the first place, I’d like to be frank with you: are they humans? What is your definition of a human being?” he told soldiers while visiting an army camp, according to transcripts of his speech released afterward.

“Human rights? Use it properly in the right context if you have the brains,” he added.

“You cannot wage a war without killing,” Duterte said, adding that many drug users were beyond rehabilitation.

His remarks came after various UN officials, including Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in June condemned his apparent support for extra-judicial killings.

The UN special rapporteur on summary executions, Agnes Callamard, said earlier this month that his directives “amount to incitement to violence and killing, a crime under international law”.

Duterte’s comments come after his national police chief Ronald Dela Rosa on Friday urged drug users to kill their traffickers and burn their homes.

“Why don’t you give them a visit, pour gasoline on their homes and set these on fire to register your anger,” De la Rosa said.
He later apologized for his remarks.

But Duterte defended De la Rosa, saying “that’s my style. He is following it.”

Duterte also taunted the United Nations, saying “they want me to go prison? Do those idiots think I will be captured alive. My God, we will be together in hell.”

Earlier this week, De la Rosa told senators that over 750 people had been killed by police in anti-drug operations while more than a thousand had been slain by shadowy figures. Since then, even more people have been killed.

Duterte, 71, won May elections in a landslide on a promise to kill tens of thousands of suspected criminals to prevent the Philippines from becoming a narco-state.

He has vowed to protect policemen who may be charged as part of the campaign.
AFP

 
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PHILSTAR

Rody sidelined by migraine, spinal woes By Christina Mendez (The Philippine Star) | Updated August 28, 2016 - 12:00am 2 1 googleplus0 0


“I was supposed (to go) yesterday, but I had this spinal thing going crazy again,”President Duterte said, referring to the wake of a policeman killed in a drug sting. PPD/Toto Lozano

MANILA, Philippines - A migraine and a spinal problem made President Duterte cancel his scheduled activities on Thursday.

“I was supposed (to go) yesterday, but I had this spinal thing going crazy again,” Duterte said, referring to the wake of a policeman killed in a drug sting.

“I had a migraine… I vomited in the morning so I said I could not make it,” Duterte said during the 10th anniversary of the Eastern Mindanao Command in Panacan, Davao City on Friday.

“I had this terrible headache and this is because of something misaligned in my spine (which I got) when I met an accident when I was already 67 years old in a motorcycle spill,” he said.

Duterte was scheduled to visit the wake of PO1 Gary Cabaguing at the St. Peter Funeral Homes in Catbalogan, Samar.

“I usually go to places where there’s a military man or a policeman who dies in the line of duty. That’s all I can give – honor them – my presence, to be there and give them a snappy salute for dying for their country,” he said.

Duterte was also supposed to look into the condition of PO1 Nestor Villanueva who was confined at the St. Paul’s Hospital in Tacloban, Leyte.

Villanueva was injured in anti-drug operations in Samar.

Duterte lamented that he loses two to three cops or soldiers a day in the government campaign against illegal drugs.

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He learned the news about Cabaguing and Villanueva while he paid tribute to Inspector Mark Gil Garcia, who was also killed in a shootout with two drug suspects last week.

Earlier Friday, presidential spokesman Ernesto Abella said Duterte may have wanted to have some personal time when asked why the President cancelled his activities the day before.

Dying for country Duterte talked about dying for his country out of patriotism as he rallied the military in defending Philippine sovereignty.

Even though his administration is working to settle territorial issues with China in a peaceful manner, Duterte said the Armed Forces should be prepared to go to war if talks failed.

“When the time comes, I will be there to join you. Lead. Mas marunong kayo sa akin (You know better than me). But I’ll be with you in defending this republic,” he said.

He mulled the possibility of his demise, but indicated that he prefers dying with honor and courage.

The President said he has discussed the need to prepare the military for any war with Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana and former president and special envoy to China Fidel Ramos.

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RELATED FROM THE TRIBUNE

Duterte breaks bread with Nograles Written by Charlie V. Manalo Sunday, 28 August 2016 00:00


NOGRALES

After three decades of an intense political rift, President Rodrigo Duterte and former Speaker Prospero Nograles had finally buried the hatchet for good.

According to an aide of the former House leader, Nograles and Duterte dined at After Dark, a favorite hangout of the President even before he got elected, together with Representatives Karlo Alexei Nograles (Davao City) and Jericho Nograles (1-PBA partylist) and the head of the Presidential Management Staff, Christopher “Bong” Go.

“The meeting between the two giants of Davao politics should have taken a long time ago,” said Nograles’ aide on condition of anonymity as he had not yet secured authority to speak on his behalf. “After all, the Speaker threw in his all-out support for the presidential bid of President Duterte,” the aide added.

It was actually Nograles who pushed the Alyansang Duterte-Bongbong (Marcos) at the height of the campaign period.

It was also Nograles who invited Manila-based media in November last year in time for Duterte’s announcement he was joining the presidential race.

Asked if Duterte would be appointing Nograles to any government position, his aide said he was not at liberty to disclose what the two talked about during the Friday dinner.

“It’s up for everyone to speculate, but it was more of a reconciliatory atmosphere. They haven’t talked to each other for the past 30 years,” said Nograles’ aide.

According to his aide, the President and the former speaker were actually allies before politics sent them drifting apart.
“The President is even a cousin of the Speaker’s wife,” his aide averred.

“They were really that close before,” he added.

Meanwhile, with the political rift between Duterte and Nograles finally resolved, a group from Davao City bared it would be pushing the former Speaker to head the Constitutional Commission should it be given the green light next year.

According to the group, Nograles is very much qualified to head the con-com if ever it would be chosen as the mode to amend the 1987 Constitution, given his experience as a legislator and a former Speaker.

“Speaker Nograles was also a Bar topnotcher. He would be very much qualified to head the con-com,” the group stressed.


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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