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

DUTERTE: I DON'T WANT MARTIAL LAW!
)Reacting to the recommendation of Panelo for the President to declare a constitutional dictatorship, Esperon doubted Duterte would consider this since the Chief Executive had been advocating federalism. “I don’t know why constitutional authoritarianism would be associated with the President. All I know is that he is very strict, and he is bent on enforcing the laws of the land,” Esperon said.)
[RELATED: ON emergency powers - Tugade’s traffic crisis powers on hold]


SEPTEMBER 22 -President Duterte insisted yesterday he does not want to declare martial law. Ace Morandante, file photo Although faced with the difficulty of solving the country’s drug problem, President Duterte insisted yesterday he does not want to declare martial law. “Paano ko makaya ‘to? Hindi ko man ito madampot, patayin ko. Wala ‘yan, eh ayaw ko naman sa martial law (How do I resolve this? I cannot just pick them up, kill them. That’s not possible but I don’t want martial law),” Duterte said. Speaking on the 44th anniversary of the declaration of martial law during his visit at Camp Elias Angeles San Jose in Pili, Camarines Sur, Duterte said the drug problem had corrupted government officials and personnel, including members of the National Bureau of Investigation, the police and judges. “This will destroy your children, your grandchildren and the next generation,” he said, referring to the drug menace. Duterte is being assailed for rampant extrajudicial killings happening in the course of his war against illegal drugs even as he maintains that the government has nothing to do with such incidents. He has tapped the Armed Forces of the Philippines to join the police in the drug war, along with the fight against terrorism as he placed the country under a state of national emergency due to lawless violence after the Sept. 2 Davao City bombing. READ MORE...RELATED, Tugade’s traffic crisis powers on hold...

ALSO:
Arroyo urges Duterte - Pursue healthy ties with China
based mainly on economic exchange, trade and investment
[RELATED: 'Blooming' Arroyo faces reporters: "Freedom is always very healthy."]
(
Arroyo also led congressmen in showing their support for President Duterte's declaration. "On the declaration by President Duterte of the state of lawlessness, we support the declaration by President Duterte of state of lawlessness following the bombing in Davao City.) (Arroyo, the country's 14th president, tapped then Mayor Duterte as her anti-crime adviser during her presidency. She supported Duterte's latest declaration.)


SEPTEMBER 5 -President Rodrigo Duterte with Chinese Ambassador to the Philippines Zhao Jianhua. Malacanang file photo
Former President and now House Deputy Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo has advised President Duterte to maintain healthy economic ties with China, even as the superpower continues to insist on its claims to disputed waters in the West Philippine Sea. In a press conference, Arroyo on Monday said she gave this advice to Duterte during a National Security Council (NSC) meeting last July, after the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) ruled that Beijing had no historic rights in the resource-rich waters. "During the National Security Council meeting, I had only one sentence for my advice: As a strategic direction, the Philippines should pursue a healthy relationship with China based mainly on economic exchange, trade and investment, and to the most practicable extent possible, transcend the specific matters at issue between us," Arroyo said. READ MORE...RELATED,
'Blooming' Arroyo faces reporters "Freedom is always very healthy."...

ALSO: Investors feel safer amid Duterte's war on drugs, trade chief say
[ALSO COMMENTARY: Gloria Arroyo as foreign secretary?]


SEPTEMBER 22 -Facebook Twitter GPlus LinkedIn Pinterest
Investors now feel safer doing business in the Philippines amid the Duterte administration's war on crime and illegal drugs, the trade chief said on Thursday. The falling crime rate is assurance of President Rodrigo Duterte's drive to instill peace and order, which will benefit the business sector, Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez said in a press briefing in Malacañang. “The confidence in the new administration is there. We expect more applications, some investors are indicating to come in and confirm their investments in the second half of the year,” he said. Lopez also cited the recent entry of the first Polish company in the Philippines. Foreign direct investments flowing into the country surged in the first half of the year to $4.2 billion, compared with $2.2 billion in the same period last year, the central bank earlier said. June's FDI, however, plunged to the lowest level this year at $238 million. Duterte's policies and biting statements have not been "unpredictable," Lopez added, saying the President is only determined to help the Filipino people. “He’s just after our welfare,” Lopez said. FULL REPORT. ALSO,
Gloria Arroyo as foreign secretary?...

ALSO: Concrete results of drug war crucial for Duterte—analyst
[RELATED: PH prepares invites for international probe on drug war]
(Andanar said he was not aware of the restrictions allegedly being imposed on the UN investigators. “What I know is the president merely said that after (they) ask questions, (he) will then ask questions,” he said. “I don't think that is asking for the moon and stars.”)


SEPTEMBER 25 -MANILA – President Rodrigo Duterte should be prepared to show concrete results in the ongoing war against drugs if he wants to keep the people's trust, a political analyst said Saturday."Iyong mga verbal declarations, para siya magkaroon ng meat, it will have to be congruent [with what is happening on ground]. Kapag hindi congruent, laway na lang iyan [If it's not, it's all lip service]," University of the Philippines professor and political analyst Clarita Carlos said in an interview on DZMM TeleRadyo. Since the President assumed office, several arrests and alleged drug-related summary killings have been reported all over the country. Carlos said the administration should get to the root of the killings and be more transparent with citizens. READ MORE... RELATED, PH prepares invites for international probe on drug war...

ALSO: DFA CHIEF Yasay tells world leaders - Rights respected amid drug crackdown
[RELATED: Public appreciates Rody’s cuss words — Palace exec]


SEPTEMBER 25 -A police SWAT member stands guard as police operatives examine the scene where two bodies lay on a road after being killed in a police drug "buy-bust" operation before dawn Friday, Sept. 23, 2016 in Pasig city, east of Manila, Philippines. Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte said on Thursday he will invite the UN chief and European Union officials to investigate his bloody anti-drug crackdown, but only if he can question them in public afterward to prove their human rights concerns are baseless. More than 3,000 suspected drug dealers and users have been killed since July and more than 600,000 others have surrendered for fear of being killed in Duterte's crackdown. Despite growing alarm, Duterte said he won't stop the campaign. AP Photo/Bullit Marquez 
UNITED NATIONS — Despite growing international criticism of his government's bloody crackdown on illegal drugs, the Philippines top diplomat told world leaders Saturday that the rule of law governs the campaign to eradicate the illicit substances, which he said have stunted the country's development.  Foreign Affairs Secretary Perfecto Yasay said President Rodrigo Duterte's crackdown is guided by a respect for human rights and the legal system, even though thousands of drug dealers and users have been killed in recent months. "The rule of law and strict adherence to due process fully governs our campaign against corruption and criminality, including the fight against illegal drugs," he said. More than 3,000 suspected drug dealers and users have been killed since July and more than 600,000 others have surrendered out of fear of being killed. READ MORE...RELATED,
Public appreciates Rody’s cuss words — Palace exec...


READ FULL MEDIA REPORTS HERE:

Duterte: I don’t want martial law


President Duterte insisted yesterday he does not want to declare martial law. Ace Morandante, file photo

MANILA, SEPTEMBER 26, 2016 (PHILSTAR)  By Christina Mendez September 22, 2016 - Although faced with the difficulty of solving the country’s drug problem, President Duterte insisted yesterday he does not want to declare martial law.

“Paano ko makaya ‘to? Hindi ko man ito madampot, patayin ko. Wala ‘yan, eh ayaw ko naman sa martial law (How do I resolve this? I cannot just pick them up, kill them. That’s not possible but I don’t want martial law),” Duterte said.

Speaking on the 44th anniversary of the declaration of martial law during his visit at Camp Elias Angeles San Jose in Pili, Camarines Sur, Duterte said the drug problem had corrupted government officials and personnel, including members of the National Bureau of Investigation, the police and judges.

“This will destroy your children, your grandchildren and the next generation,” he said, referring to the drug menace.

Duterte is being assailed for rampant extrajudicial killings happening in the course of his war against illegal drugs even as he maintains that the government has nothing to do with such incidents.

He has tapped the Armed Forces of the Philippines to join the police in the drug war, along with the fight against terrorism as he placed the country under a state of national emergency due to lawless violence after the Sept. 2 Davao City bombing.

READ MORE...

Duterte had earlier said he was ready to bury the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos at the Libingan ng mga Bayani as a former president and war veteran. But he stressed he was no Marcos.

Malacañang stressed no civil liberties were being curtailed and that the government was committed to due process and human rights that were sacrificed during martial law years, where atrocities were committed by uniformed authorities.

In his speech, Duterte noted how the drug problem caused infighting among those involved. He directed Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana to look into his latest list of 1,000 narco-politicians in a bid to prevent them from continuing their illicit trade.

As a former prosecutor, Duterte said he assessed the names in the latest narco-politicians’ list one by one to determine if evidence would warrant the filing of cases against them.

At the Philippine Army’s 10th Infantry Division in Camp Manuel Yan, Mawab, Compostela Valley on Tuesday, Duterte said it was important for him to have a strong military and police force that would not be corrupt so he could effectively lead the country.

“I cannot run a country with a weak Armed Forces, and I cannot run a country with a corrupt police,” the President said.

He said this was the reason he named the police generals allegedly involved in the illegal drug trade.

No intention

Earlier yesterday, National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon Jr. said the President has no intention to declare martial law even if the option was presented to him during past discussions with close allies.

Chief presidential legal counsel Salvador Panelo admitted toying with the idea of “constitutional dictatorship” so Duterte could have powers over both the executive and legislative branches to speed up reforms.

“Believe me, from what I have seen, he will not go for martial law. There are other (ways)… that would support his (campaign)… including the declaration of a simple state of lawless violence in Mindanao right now,” Esperon said at the Kapihan sa Manila Bay at Café Adriatico in Manila.

“In fact, many have recommended the declaration of more stringent setups, including the declaration perhaps (of) martial law… but he did not go for it,” the former AFP chief said.

Duterte, 71, can be cited for using an iron-hand strategy in addressing crimes and illegal drugs, but he is not a dictator, Esperon insisted.

“So should we call him a constitutional dictator or do we call him a forceful law enforcer? Enforcer of the laws of the land, enforcer against criminality, enforcer for good governance,” Esperon added.

On Duterte’s moniker as “The Punisher,” Esperon explained that the President was keen on seeking retribution for the criminals.

“Yes, because he will have to punish. That’s exactly part of it, maybe an iron fist in enforcing the laws. He said, ‘What right do you have to manufacture or cook shabu and feed it to my children, to the next generation?’ I hope by now, we have realized the magnitude of the situation,” Esperon added.

Reacting to the recommendation of Panelo for the President to declare a constitutional dictatorship, Esperon doubted Duterte would consider this since the Chief Executive had been advocating federalism.

“I don’t know why constitutional authoritarianism would be associated with the President. All I know is that he is very strict, and he is bent on enforcing the laws of the land,” Esperon said.

“He is a lawyer, and therefore he knows his rules but this is my take on it. I joined the campaign of (then Davao City) mayor Rodrigo Duterte on the common platform and that is federalism (which)… for me, is the key of the peace process in Mindanao,” Esperon added.

“Let me tell you this, if a candidate for president is going for martial law or for authoritarian rule or for consolidation of powers in unilateral central government… why would he go for federalism which will break up the country into several states?” Esperon asked.

Business as usual

Presidential Communications Office Secretary Martin Andanar said Sept. 21 was a regular working day so it was “governance as usual” but this “does not mean the significance of the day is lost to the collective memory of the nation.”

He said the government was open to anti-Marcos protests but they must be done peacefully.

Meanwhile, the Official Gazette noted the declaration of martial law should be commemorated on Sept. 23 and not Sept. 21.

In its article, the OG said the announcement made by Marcos on live television occurred on Sept. 23, although the official date on Proclamation No. 1081 was Sept. 21.

“Yet accounts differ… Two things emerge: first, whether they conflict or not, all accounts indicate that Marcos’ obsession with numerology (particularly the number seven) necessitated that Proclamation No. 1081 be officially signed on a date that was divisible by seven. Thus, Sept. 21, 1972 became the official date that martial law was established and the day that the Marcos dictatorship began. This also allowed Marcos to control history on his own terms,” it added.

Marcos loyalists based in Australia and those in Pangasinan vowed to continue their call for a hero’s burial for Marcos at the Libingan ng mga Bayani in Taguig City.

Pearly Gardiner, public relations officer of Ilocano Associations of Australia, was quoted by the Ilocos Norte provincial government media office as saying they would organize vigil rallies and spearhead a signature campaign urging the burial of Marcos at the heroes’ cemetery.

Some Pangasinenses, for their part, are insisting that thousands continue to benefit from the programs of the Marcos administration and the Bayanihan Bayan Movers Pangasinan Organization of Genuine Inhabitants is also calling for the late strongman’s hero’s burial. – With Alexis Romero, Edith Regalado, Artemio Dumlao, Janvic Mateo

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RELATED FROM THE MANILA STANDARD

Tugade’s traffic crisis powers on hold posted September 26, 2016 at 12:01 am by Christine F. Herrera

THE House drew closer to approving emergency powers for President Rodrigo Duterte to deal with the traffic crisis, with the formation of a technical working group to consolidate 10 bills into a substitute measure that the committee on transportation can consider by November.

The committee, however, set aside a draft bill from the Transportation Department that proposes to assign Transport Secretary Arthur Tugade as the “traffic crisis manager” for three years until possible conflicts of interest within his department are settled.


Transportation Department Secretary Arthur Tugade

Catanduanes Rep. Cesar Sarmiento, panel chairman, said Tugade and his men had also failed to provide details and define the parameters in their draft bill about which parts of the country should be covered by the extra powers.

“We want to know which part of the country is in traffic crisis. Where is the crisis? In Metro Manila or the whole of the Philippines? We need specifics,” Sarmiento said.

Earlier, House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez, author of one of the bills seeking emergency powers for Duterte, expressed fears that Tugade and other department officials would use these powers to benefit their former principals in the private sector.

House Minority Leader Danilo Suarez expressed the same fears, noting that Tugade and Undersecretary Noel Kintanar were both former executives of the contractors involved in the Metro Rail Transit-Light Railway Transit Common Station project.

“I have to be very straightforward with my concern. This concerns the Ayalas. Two of the executives—Secretary Tugade and Undersecretary Kintanar are from Ayala firms or have done business with the Ayalas. They might favor the Ayalas’ business interests. That’s not right,” Suarez said.

Other department officials with possible conflicts of interest are Undersecretary for Air Operations Bobby Lim, who was formerly country manager of the International Air Transport Association; and Undersecretary Felipe Judan, who has a shipping business, which counts Petron, owned by businessman Ramon Ang, as a customer. Tugade has his own forwarding business.

The Ayalas, businessmen Manuel Pangilinan and Ang also have ongoing multi-billion-peso stakes in big-ticket infrastructure projects such as the Metro Rail Transit System and Light Railway Transit.

“Let us not fool ourselves. In every administration, private corporations put their people in departments covering their business. Whose interests are you serving?” the Speaker asked Tugade and his officials during a House hearing.

Ang’s San Miguel Corp. also has stakes in MRT and Tugade, according to National Economic and Development Authority director general Ernesto Pernia, wanted to allow Ramon Ang-owned Manila North Harbour Port Inc. to engage in international trade, even though it has an existing contract with the Philippine Ports Authority to operate only in domestic trade.

Port stakeholders are opposing Tugade’s preferential treatment of MNHPI.

Once emergency powers are in place, Tugade told lawmakers, his department could forgo time-consuming public biddings to expedite procurement and allow negotiated contracts.

In the department’s 40-page draft bill, Tugade would have “single authority and overall traffic management and control over land, sea and air-based traffic.”

“The traffic crisis manager may modify, amend, or expand the functions of [all agencies involved in traffic in land, sea and air-based] and override their permits and licenses, as well as relevant rules and procedures,” the department’s bill said.

In land, sea and air-based transportation, Tugade will take over control of powers vested in Metro Manila Development Authority, Land Transportation Office, local government units, Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board, Toll Regulatory Board, the Philippine National Police, Philippine National Railways, Philippine Ports Authority, Maritime Industry Authority, Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines, Civil Aeronautics Board and the Manila International Airport Authority.

For three years, under Section 19 of the Tugade-proposed emergency powers bill, the amount needed for the implementation would be taken from the budget of the agencies he would take over, the Motor Vehicle Users Charge Fund and 10 percent of the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp.’s annual aggregate gross earnings that would amount to billions of pesos.

While under national emergency, “no court, except the Supreme Court, may issue any temporary restraining order or preliminary injunction… to restrain, prohibit or compel” the government from carrying out the transportation projects.

Tugade would also have power over seaports, including but not limited to the expansion of capacity of the Port of Manila, and shifting international container traffic to Batangas and Subic ports.

In air-based transportation, Tugade would have the power to develop new airports; optimize existing airports and transfer functions to alternative airports. He would also be able to grant exemption from travel tax and excise tax on aviation fuel for Clark International Airport and other airports to increase their use.

Tugade was president and chief executive officer of the Clark Development Corp. under the previous administration.

During panel hearings, Sarmiento had asked Tugade to identify and define the traffic and transportation crisis to be fixed by the proposed emergency powers.

“Failure to determine the crisis may lead to a grant of power that is misplaced or beyond what is required,” Sarmiento had said.

In the same hearing, Bayan Muna Rep. Carlos Isagani Zarate backed the idea of carefully scrutinizing the plans and programs included in the emergency powers to erase fears over possible abuse of the powers.

Alvarez and Suarez said Tugade had to assure Congress that possible conflicts of interest will not come into play.

Sarmiento said he would chair the the working group and set a hearing after Oct. 7.

“After Oct. 7, that will be the time the working group can meet and invite resource persons. Before the congressional break on Oct. 22, we will meet and then present to the mother committee what we’ve agreed upon,” said Sarmiento.

Sarmiento expressed hope the the working group will be done with the substitute bill by November and be able to present the measure to the committee on transportation.

He said the bill would subsequently be referred to the committee on appropriations because of the funding component.


ABS-CBN

Arroyo urges Duterte: Pursue healthy ties with China RG Cruz, ABS-CBN News Posted at Sep 05 2016 04:46 PM


President Rodrigo Duterte with Chinese Ambassador to the Philippines Zhao Jianhua. Malacanang file photo

MANILA - Former President and now House Deputy Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo has advised President Duterte to maintain healthy economic ties with China, even as the superpower continues to insist on its claims to disputed waters in the West Philippine Sea.

In a press conference, Arroyo on Monday said she gave this advice to Duterte during a National Security Council (NSC) meeting last July, after the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) ruled that Beijing had no historic rights in the resource-rich waters.

"During the National Security Council meeting, I had only one sentence for my advice: As a strategic direction, the Philippines should pursue a healthy relationship with China based mainly on economic exchange, trade and investment, and to the most practicable extent possible, transcend the specific matters at issue between us," Arroyo said.

READ MORE...

Arroyo, the 14th Philippine president, is a member of the NSC like all former chief executives.

LOOK: Past, present presidents meet in Malacanang

During her term, Arroyo had maintained a good relationship with Beijing, in stark contrast to her successor who led the filing of the arbitration case against the Asian giant.

Duterte, on his part, said any negotiations with China should be based on the PCA decision that favored the Philippines.

“Whether you like it or not, I proceed, and my predicate for my willingness to talk to you would be the arbitration judgment in our favor,” he said.

Duterte: New barges seen in South China Sea

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RELATED FROM ABS-CBN

'Blooming' Arroyo faces reporters ABS-CBN News Posted at Sep 06 2016 01:19 AM  "Freedom is always very healthy."


Former President and incumbent House Deputy Speaker Gloria Macapagal Arroyo answers questions from reporters at a press conference on Monday. Photo from the Office of the House Speaker

MANILA - Former President and now House Deputy Speaker Gloria Macapagal Arroyo on Monday appeared to have been floored by a question by a reporter, who said she is "blooming" after she got her freedom back.

After some laughter, Arroyo said, "Freedom is always very healthy."

Arroyo is due in Germany later this month to receive medical treatment. She has been suffering from her cervical spine problems.

"I don't know exactly how I am yet until I have my check up two weeks from now in Germany."

Arroyo added, "Oh, I sent them all my medical records. There were additional tests that they wanted to have done and I sent all to them and then they will send me their diagnosis and prescription. I have not received it, kakatapos ko lang padala lahat ang resulta, end of last week."

Arroyo has court permission for her travel.

EXTRA INFO- EPORT FROM ABS-CBN

Arroyo: Duterte stronger leader than me RG Cruz, ABS-CBN News Posted at Sep 06 2016 02:08 AM


President Rodrigo Duterte and House Deputy Speaker Gloria Macapagal Arroyo

MANILA - For former President and now House Deputy Speaker Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, President Rodrigo Duterte is more than capable to police any abuse in the uniformed services as he declared a state of lawless violence.

"I did not experience [them] being abusive and I don't think they will be abusive now. In any case, President Duterte is a much stronger leader than I am. So if I can handle them, he can handle them even better."

Her fellow Deputy Speaker Fredenil Castro said, "There are no additional powers given to the police and military. They are supposed to implement and suppress lawless violence in accordance with the specification of the President."

Arroyo, the country's 14th president, tapped then Mayor Duterte as her anti-crime adviser during her presidency. She supported Duterte's latest declaration.

"Ginagawa ko 'yan nu'ng panahon ko kaya it’s the right thing to do. (I used to declare it during my time, so it’s the right thing to do.)

It varied. The threat is national so it’s just right that we should trust the President.

You know, when I used to have those problems in Mindanao, I would ask Mayor Duterte to handle them for me. And he handled them very well in his time for me. So I’m sure he’ll handle just as well, if not better, for himself."

Castro added, "I would like to hasten adding that it is national in scope because the purpose of declaring the national state of lawless violence is to prevent acts of terrorism from being spread out to the whole country. That the purpose is really to protect the whole country against similar acts. We cannot expect that this is an isolated incident."

Asked if there are any lessons she can share with Duterte from her own experience, Arroyo said:
"You know, President Duterte knows all the lessons because he was helping me a lot during my time. He was my adviser on peace and order, especially on drugs and kidnapping and every time there was a state of lawlessness, I always called upon him to help me out so he knows he knows my experience, he knows all the lessons."

Asked how long the declaration should stay in effect, Arroyo said, "Iba-iba yun. (It varies.) Just recalling from my own experience, it varied. It varied according to the condition and I used to rely a lot on the judgment of the security officials. The state of lawlessness that I used to declare came from the provision in the Constitution that the president may call on the military to assist the police when there is a state of lawlessness. That means all the Armed Forces, both military and police, are on call and being mobilized and they will be the ones—the intelligence community—to say the threat is over to the extent that the state of lawlessness can be lifted."

Arroyo led congressmen in showing their support for President Duterte's declaration.

"On the declaration by President Duterte of the state of lawlessness, we support the declaration by President Duterte of state of lawlessness following the bombing in Davao City.

This declaration means the police and the military will go on heightened alert and conduct patrols and check points as necessary. The Abu Sayyaf Group has already claimed responsibility for the bombing.

This act by the Abu Sayyaf will not go unpunished and we are sure that the perpetrators will face the full implementation of the law. We are also sure that the military will pursue the Abu Sayyaf until this band of murderers is neutralized. We are also confident that the government will continue to pursue the anti-illegal drug and anti-crime campaign along with the offensive operations against the Abu Sayyaf Group, until the bandits are wiped out."

Arroyo also expressed the House's profound condolences with the bereaved families. "We wish to extend our deepest sympathy to the families of the victims of this tragedy and we support the government in extending financial and other assistance to them. Speaker Alvarez has already filed a resolution condemning the Davao bombing. We expect that this will be unanimously approved by the House to send the message that we are united against all forms of terrorism and are fully behind this administration."

Castro also dismissed as speculations all imputation of malice in the revelation that government planned to declare the state of lawlessness even before the Davao bombing last Friday. "That malice is purely speculative. It has no basis in fact and in law."

Asked if the anti-drugs war really needed a state of lawlessness declaration, Castro said, "As we have observed, the Philippine National Police has contained the campaign against illegal drugs. Therefore, the bombing in Davao is the sole and only reason why state of lawlessness was declared by the President. It has nothing to do with the drug campaign. But in the process, and if along the way police and military will have to force the law in coordination with... against illegal drug campaign, there is no reason why it would not be."

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What Arroyo said on erring barangay officials RG Cruz, ABS-CBN News Posted at Sep 06 2016 03:37 AM

MANILA - Former President and now House Deputy Speaker Gloria Macapagal Arroyo has no problems with the House Minority Leader's proposal for the President to have the powers to remove erring barangay officials as the government seeks to postpone the barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan elections by one year.

"So, you were asking if, as the minority says they should just be selectively removed, I don't know if my colleagues agree.

To me, it's a detail. It can be assumed, it can be adopted, it can also be not adopted. The thing is, then you have to start doing a lot of evaluation and right now, since the government is still putting its bureaucracy together, there's already a lot of evaluation work being done, so you're going to add more evaluation work. But it's an issue of procedure; it's not an issue of difference in principles. If the administration really wants to do it, it can be done. It's just that it's more convenient to put it the way it is now. I mean the way it's been proposed by the majority."

Arroyo also reiterated the House majority's position on the postponement of the village polls.

"President Duterte and Speaker Alvarez are one in calling for the postponement of the barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan elections. Alvarez said the postponement will give Congress time to abolish the SK and Barangay Kagawad posts."

Arroyo added, "The postponement is necessary. First of all, because Malacañang has not filled up all vacancies in government. If there is an election, naturally there is a prohibition on appointments and removal of those already holding office. The second reason is that Congress is also contemplating amendments to the Local Government Code."

"Speaker Alvarez wants to abolish SK because the youth cannot do their work in the SK if they are still in school.

If the youth choose to give priority to SK work, they will not be able to continue their studies. Apart from this, if they are already aged 18-25, they can already run in the local elections. Besides, the youth are already well represented in Congress. One other thing is that those who run for SK positions are funded by their parents," Arroyo explained.


ABS-CBN

Investors feel safer amid Duterte's war on drugs, trade chief says ABS-CBN News Posted at Sep 22 2016 03:07 PM


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MANILA - Investors now feel safer doing business in the Philippines amid the Duterte administration's war on crime and illegal drugs, the trade chief said on Thursday. The falling crime rate is assurance of President Rodrigo Duterte's drive to instill peace and order, which will benefit the business sector, Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez said in a press briefing in Malacañang.

“The confidence in the new administration is there. We expect more applications, some investors are indicating to come in and confirm their investments in the second half of the year,” he said.

Lopez also cited the recent entry of the first Polish company in the Philippines. Foreign direct investments flowing into the country surged in the first half of the year to $4.2 billion, compared with $2.2 billion in the same period last year, the central bank earlier said.

June's FDI, however, plunged to the lowest level this year at $238 million. Duterte's policies and biting statements have not been "unpredictable," Lopez added, saying the President is only determined to help the Filipino people. “He’s just after our welfare,” Lopez said.

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ALSO FROM MALAYA BUSINESS INSIGHT (COMMENTARY)

Gloria Arroyo as foreign secretary? By Ellen Tordesillas September 23, 2016


ELLEN TORDESILLAS

SO traumatized and demoralized the foreign service corps are - with the damage control operation that they have to perform every time President Duterte curses international institutions plus the impending appointments of retired generals to ambassadorial posts – that many like the idea of former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo as the next foreign secretary.

That’s the rumor in diplomatic circles and all are in agreement that Arroyo definitely has a better grasp of foreign relations as former president compared to Foreign Secretary Perfecto Yasay Jr.

One story going around in the DFA was the briefing given to Yasay in his first week at the DFA on human rights and conventions the Philip[pine government has signed on the issue. After the lengthy briefing,

Yasay’s question was: “Are we for or against human rights?”

Wouldn’t you be flabbergasted if you were there?

YASAY TEMPORARY POST

Anyway, the President last July said Yasay won’t really be staying long as DFA secretary because he only prevailed him to accept the job.

Yasay, Duterte said, set the condition “that he will only serve for a few months, not even a year because he has contractual obligations to teach, professorial chair, well most universities in the western side.. California, Hawaii and somewhere else. “

Arroyo, who was recently released from four years of hospital arrest in connection with various non-bailable plunder charges filed by the government of Benigno Aquino III, is now in Germany for stem cell treatment of her spine ailment.

She will also be going to France. She has another scheduled trip in October to Hong Kong.

Is this testing her stamina for the job of foreign secretary which would require a lot of traveling?

If Arroyo becomes DFA head, Duterte’s idea of joint exploration in the South China Sea with China can be fast-tracked because Arroyo had entered into that kind cooperation with China in 2004. It was called Joint Marine Seismic Undertaking with China and Vietnam.

Duterte referred to that in his speech yesterday during the inauguration of the Filinvest Development Corp. Power plant in Misamis Oriental.

In his usual expletive-laced speech, he talked about the Climate Change agreement which favored industrialized countries. He explained why he favors dealing with China.

Duterte said: “Ang sabi ko nga gago talaga, umalis kayo diyan (industrialized countries). Kaya galit sila sa akin. Ngayon they want me to investigate the human rights. Katawan-an iyong mga puti. So, what we do now is we go to China, and rightly so. China is in good faith. “

On the conflict in the South China Sea, Duterte said although the Philippine won in the Arbitral Court, it cannot be implemented unless one wants to go to war with China which he doesn’t want.

“This piece of paper, the arbitral award. We do not go out of the four corners of this paper, we talk.. So hindi naman tayo puwedeng mag giyera, mag-usap na muna tayo. And there will be a time, there is always a time in this world, a time to talk, a time to war; a time for bloody and a time to be purified. It’s not the time, because we cannot depend on anybody, it’s the fact. I do not expect you, United States to die for us. So we will just have to navigate our way around here,” he said.

Duterte brought up the 2004 joint venture under the Arroyo government but he can’t quite remember the name. “We have this scientific… well ‘no, it was supposed to be, actually, it was just a legalese, talkatese lang iyon, in a very diplomatic way, pero really towards a joint venture. Noong umakyat si Aquino, tinabla niya. So kaya galit ang China, galit talaga sa kaniya. Ngayon, sabi ko sa ... usap tayo. But there will be a time. But just like what the Bible says – mga Kristiyano – there is always a time to talk, a time to be nice, a time to be angry, a time to be ugly, a time to be beautiful, a time for peace, a time for war, a time to be born and a time to die. Hindi natin puwede bigla-biglain ito.”

The problem with this project is, it violates the Constitution. But that’s another topic.


ABS-CBN

Concrete results of drug war crucial for Duterte—analyst ABS-CBN News Posted at Sep 24 2016 12:59 PM | Updated as of Sep 24 2016 11:31 PM

MANILA – President Rodrigo Duterte should be prepared to show concrete results in the ongoing war against drugs if he wants to keep the people's trust, a political analyst said Saturday.

"Iyong mga verbal declarations, para siya magkaroon ng meat, it will have to be congruent [with what is happening on ground]. Kapag hindi congruent, laway na lang iyan [If it's not, it's all lip service]," University of the Philippines professor and political analyst Clarita Carlos said in an interview on DZMM TeleRadyo.

Since the President assumed office, several arrests and alleged drug-related summary killings have been reported all over the country.

Carlos said the administration should get to the root of the killings and be more transparent with citizens.

READ MORE...

"Sana ang sinasabi nilang other transparency ay magkaroon ng operationalization. Tayo din bilang ordinary citizens, humihingi tayo ng linaw regarding protocol, numbers, may basehan ba, sinusundan ba ang procedure, or are there other groups perpetuating these killings?" she said.
[As ordinary citizens, we should demand clarity on the protocol, the numbers and whether there was basis for the killings. Did they follow procedure or did other groups perpetuate the killings?]

Duterte is under pressure from the United Nations to get to the root of alleged extrajudicial killings in the Philippines, and the United States and European Union have also urged the country to adhere to the principles of human rights in dealing with suspected criminals.

READ: European Union envoy 'no comment' on Duterte's 'F**** you'

Carlos, however, it is not the Philippines' burden to submit to an investigation from international bodies, citing the principle of external sovereignty.

"Wala dapat mag-interfere [sa pagpapatakbo ng Pilipinas] [No one should interfere with how the country is being run]. Statement of concern is fine, but for [the United Nations] to threaten to investigate, I think that’s crossing the line," she said.
The Philippines has indicated that the UN and the EU are welcome to visit the country to look into the government’s war on drugs, as well as US President Barack Obama. However, the Palace has yet to issue a formal invitation.

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

RELATED FROM ABS-CBN

PH prepares invites for international probe on drug war ABS-CBN News Posted at Sep 23 2016 04:06 PM


Department of Foreign Affairs spokesman Charles Jose

MANILA - The Philippines is preparing invitations for international organizations to investigate President Rodrigo Duterte's war on drugs, a foreign ministry spokesman said Friday.

Duterte on Thursday said he would invite the United Nations and the European Union to the country, but said their representatives should also be ready to answer questions from him.

Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea was tasked to prepare the invitations, said Department of Foreign Affairs spokesman Charles Jose.

Jose said the Philippines would determine where the investigators could go. "Pinagkakasunduan iyon, kailangan may approval ng Philippine government [That has to be agreed upon. There has to be approval from the Philippine government]," he said.

The investigations, if they push through, will form part of the Philippines' obligation as a signatory to treaties protecting human rights, Jose said.


PHILSTAR

Duterte's wish to question UN team 'not asking for moon and stars' - Palace By Alexis Romero (philstar.com) | Updated September 25, 2016 - 5:12pm 6 112 googleplus0 0

An 18-man UN team will arrive in the Philippines on Sept. 28 to 29 to assess the human rights situation in the country. President Rodrigo Duterte is scheduled to be in Vietnam on those dates for a working visit. KARL NORMAN ALONZO/PPD

MANILA, Philippines — Malacañang said Sunday it is ready to cooperate with representatives of the United Nations (UN) who will visit the Philippines to look into the drug-related killings following claims that the administration is imposing restrictions on the probe.

Presidential Communications Secretary Martin Andanar noted that the president himself had invited the UN and the European Union (EU) to come to the country to conduct their investigations.

RELATED: Palace welcomes UN team’s visit

“That’s what the president said. In fact, he himself said that when he invited the EU and UN to conduct their investigation on the issue of human rights and extrajudicial killings,” Andanar told state-run radio station dzRB when asked if the government is ready to cooperate with the UN probe.

“It only demonstrates that the president is open to international organizations who want to look at the record of extrajudicial killings and human rights.”

Andanar said he was not aware of the restrictions allegedly being imposed on the UN investigators.

“What I know is the president merely said that after (they) ask questions, (he) will then ask questions,” he said.

“I don't think that is asking for the moon and stars.”

About 3,000 suspected drug offenders have been killed, about half of them in police operations, since President Rodrigo Duterte assumed office last July.

The UN and the EU have called out Duterte for the alleged extralegal killing of suspected drug offenders and have asked him to uphold human rights in all law enforcement efforts. The United States, a longtime ally and treaty partner of the Philippines, has also expressed concerns over the killings and has reminded Duterte to carry out his drug crackdown the right way.

The statements did not sit well with Duterte, who responded by saying that no foreign group or country should meddle with the Philippines’ affairs. He also lambasted the US, the EU and the UN for supposedly lecturing the Philippines on human rights despite their failure to solve the problems in their backyard.

Last Thursday, an irate Duterte challenged the UN and the EU to send their representatives to the Philippines to probe the spate of killings that were linked to his war on drugs.

“Send the best player of your town. Even the rapporteurs, come to the Philippines,” Duterte said during the inauguration of a power plant in Misamis Oriental.

“I’ll write them a letter to invite them for an investigation but in keeping with the time honored principle of the right to be heard. After they ask me questions, I’ll ask them one by one,” he added.

The president claimed that he would easily win if pitted against representatives of UN and EU in a debate on human rights.

RELATED: De Lima questions ground rules for UN visit

The UN will send an 18-man team to the Philippines on Sept. 28 to 29 to assess the human rights situation in the Philippines. It remains unsure though if there would be a debate between Duterte and the UN representatives because the president will be in Vietnam on those dates for a working visit.

Last Saturday, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said the UN team should comply with protocols set by the Philippines including the need to get government approval on the places they would visit and the people they would interview. DFA spokesman Charles Jose said the UN team may not be permitted to go to slum areas to talk to the families of victims for their own safety.

Sen. Leila de Lima, a critic of Duterte’s anti-drug war, believes the administration is trying to censor and restrict the UN probe.

“While it is within the prerogatives of the Philippine government as the host country, through the DFA, to set reasonable parameters for the visit of the UN special rapporteurs and other UN probers, I find questionable the announced rule that it is the government that will decide the places to be visited and the persons to be interviewed by these probers,” she said.


PHILSTAR

Yasay tells world leaders: Rights respected amid drug crackdown By Dave Bryan (Associated Press) | Updated September 25, 2016 - 10:40am 5 95 googleplus0 0


A police SWAT member stands guard as police operatives examine the scene where two bodies lay on a road after being killed in a police drug "buy-bust" operation before dawn Friday, Sept. 23, 2016 in Pasig city, east of Manila, Philippines. Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte said on Thursday he will invite the UN chief and European Union officials to investigate his bloody anti-drug crackdown, but only if he can question them in public afterward to prove their human rights concerns are baseless. More than 3,000 suspected drug dealers and users have been killed since July and more than 600,000 others have surrendered for fear of being killed in Duterte's crackdown. Despite growing alarm, Duterte said he won't stop the campaign. AP Photo/Bullit Marquez

UNITED NATIONS — Despite growing international criticism of his government's bloody crackdown on illegal drugs, the Philippines top diplomat told world leaders Saturday that the rule of law governs the campaign to eradicate the illicit substances, which he said have stunted the country's development.

Foreign Affairs Secretary Perfecto Yasay said President Rodrigo Duterte's crackdown is guided by a respect for human rights and the legal system, even though thousands of drug dealers and users have been killed in recent months.

"The rule of law and strict adherence to due process fully governs our campaign against corruption and criminality, including the fight against illegal drugs," he said.

More than 3,000 suspected drug dealers and users have been killed since July and more than 600,000 others have surrendered out of fear of being killed.

READ MORE...

Despite growing alarm and international criticism, including from President Barack Obama and human rights watchdogs, the controversial Duterte has said he won't stop the campaign. He has said that killing drug suspects is lawful if police act in self-defense and urged citizens with guns to shoot and kill drug dealers who resist arrest. Witnesses have accused some police of gunning down people suspected of being involved in illegal drugs.

Yasay, who was addressing the UN General Assembly during its annual ministerial meeting Saturday, said the government is determined to eradicate the distribution, sale and use of illegal drugs because they threaten the country's peace and order "which, in turn, impedes our sustainable development goals."

Duterte, 71, overwhelmingly won election in May on the ambitious promise of eradicating corruption and crime, particularly illegal drugs, in six months. He recently said he underestimated the magnitude of the drug problem and will extend the crackdown by another half year.

Duterte said this week he will invite the UN chief and European Union officials to investigate his anti-drug effort, but only if he can question them in public afterward to prove their human rights concerns are baseless. He disclosed the offer in a speech Thursday in the Philippines in which he again lashed out at critics of his crackdown, including Obama. He accused them of hypocrisy for raising concerns about his anti-crime fight while launching military strikes that have killed innocent people in the Middle East.

Yasay acknowledged the scrutiny that the drugs crackdown has evoked from the international community.

"We urge everyone to allow us to deal with our domestic challenges in order to achieve our national goals, without undue interference," he said.

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

TRIBUNE

Public appreciates Rody’s cuss words — Palace exec
Written by Ted Tuvera Monday, 26 September 2016 00:00


ANDANAR

The public loves President Duterte’s foul mouth, a Malacañang official said yesterday.

Replying to The Tribune’s query regarding the President’s recent expletive directed to the European Union, Presidential Communications Office (PCO) Secretary Martin Andanar said that when Duterte says “p*****i**” (son of a whore), the Filipinos’ respect for him deepens.

“When the President, during his campaign sorties, went on using ‘P.I.’ it helped him win. It means that the public has a deep understanding of our President,” Andanar said in a weekly radio interview with Palace reporters.

“The President is being honest and is definitely not pretentious,” he added, saying that the President’s habit is far from being reformed.

Andanar insisted that such is the President’s frank way of asserting sovereignty.

“I read the condemnation of the European Union against me. I will tell them fuck you. You’re doing it in atonement for your sins,” Duterte said in a speech in Davao City last week.

Presidential spokesman Ernesto Abella, in one of his interviews weeks back, said that Duterte’s cuss language is rooted the Visaya-speaking crowd’s linguistic sub-culture.

However, the Palace’s communications team cannot excuse Duterte’s direct curse toward the EU by cultural means since an “F bomb” is universally understood as foul language.

International media have repeatedly focused their spotlights on the 71-year-old firebrand’s mouth, side by side with the bloody painting of him due to the series of extra-judicial killings under his three-month-old administration.

Earlier this week, Duterte said that he is in deed not a statesman of sorts, and that there’s nothing that can iron his mouth’s habit anymore.

"MY MOUTH IS MY WEAKNESS, MY STRENGTH"

“Do not complain about my mouth, that’s my asset. My mouth is my weakness, it is also my strength. My mouth is not a problem. It cannot bring down the country,” the President said.

“I am just a small town mayor, my mouth is rural. I never took a course on statesmanship, and I do not intend to be one.

And just plainly, if you could call me mayor, I’d be happy because that’s almost my affiliation. Never mind if I’m unpopular there in Europe. I’m not from Europe. I am just the President of the Philippines, just the Philippines,” he added.

In a statement, Senate Minority Leader Ralph Recto said that the President’s language is not a negative factor as far as foreign investors are concerned.

“A president’s colorful language is not a risk to be managed. Trading does not stop because has again thrown a tantrum,” Recto said.


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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