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RODY TO CABINET: QUIT IF VOCAL VS ADMINISTRATION POLICIES
(Leni: Rody is a dictator. At her press conference resigned housing czarina VP Robredo yesterday took a swipe at President Duterte’s dictatorial tendencies. "President Duterte no longer trusts Vice President Robredo, which is the reason he politely wants her out of the Cabinet", Andanar said yesterday.)[RELATED: Duterte, Phl polls among Facebook’s hot topics in 2016]


DECEMBER 6 -President Rody Duterte yesterday cracked the presidential whip on his Cabinet members, following Vice President Leni Robredo’s resignation from his Cabinet due to her being openly vocal against his stated policies, the gist of which was if the current Cabinet members can’t get along with him and his policies, they had better resign. This was Duterte’s warning to Cabinet members who tend to be vocal against his administration’s policies yesterday during the closed-door meeting of the Chief Executive’s official family in Malacañang. At about the same time, in a press conference, VP Robredo went all out in attacking the President, comparing Duterte to the late strongman, Ferdinand Marcos Sr. But Secretary Leoncio Evasco defended the President’s move, saying that, as Cabinet members, “It is our duty to defend the dignity and integrity of the Filipino people. If Cabinet members cannot agree with the President’s policy they are free to resign,” Duterte said, after accepting Vice President Leni Robredo’s resignation as the administration’s housing czarina with a “heavy heart.” READ MORE...RELATED,
Duterte, Phl polls among Facebook’s hot topics in 2016...

ALSO: Ultimate goal: Oust VP – Leni; Robredo sees Marcos factor
[RELATED: By MEL STA.MARIA - After VP Robredo'??s resignation, watch the Supreme Court]


DECEMBER 6 -Vice President Leni Robredo answers question about her resignation during a press conference in her Quezon City office yesterday. BOY SANTOS
 Cabinet officials supporting former senator Ferdinand Marcos Jr. may have plotted her removal as chair of the Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council (HUDCC), Vice President Leni Robredo said yesterday. A day after being told through text message not to attend Cabinet meetings, Robredo yesterday tendered her resignation as HUDCC chair, saying remaining in President Duterte’s Cabinet had become “untenable.” “There are members of the Cabinet who don’t want me there, but Bongbong Marcos instead,” she said, referring to Marcos by his nickname. READ MORE....RELATED,
BY MEL STA.MARIA | After VP Robredo'??s resignation, watch the Supreme Court...

ALSO Palace: No Marcos factor in Cabinet ban vs Robredo
(Rather, Robredo’s “political actions” – not her political affiliation – made Duterte uncomfortable and which prompted him to bar her from Cabinet meetings, presidential spokesman Ernesto Abella clarified yesterday.)


DECEMBER 7 -Philippine Vice President Leni Robredo answers questions from the media during a news conference following her resignation from her cabinet post under President Rodrigo Duterte Monday, Dec. 5, 2016 in suburban Quezon city, south of Manila, Philippines. Robredo resigned her Cabinet post Monday after citing irreconcilable differences with Duterte, who had banned her from attending Cabinet meetings, in a new political dilemma for the leader. AP Photo/Bullit Marquez
Malacañang yesterday insisted that there was no “Marcos factor” in the decision of President Duterte to ban Vice President Leni Robredo from attending Cabinet meeting. Rather, Robredo’s “political actions” – not her political affiliation – made Duterte uncomfortable and which prompted him to bar her from Cabinet meetings, presidential spokesman Ernesto Abella clarified yesterday. “There are members of the Cabinet who don’t want me there, but Bongbong Marcos instead,” Robredo had said, referring to former senator Ferdinand Marcos Jr. by his nickname. Marcos lost to Robredo in the vice presidential race last May, and has filed a protest. READ MORE...

ALSO: ‘Yellows’ want me out, says Duterte
[RELATED: 'Buhat-bangko' - Binay camp blasts Leni over HUDCC service]


DECEMBER 8 -President Duterte yesterday accused the camp identified with the previous administration of seeking his ouster and hinted that such efforts are being staged to benefit Vice President Leni Robredo. AP Photo/Bullit Marquez
Leni: It’s my obligation to back Rody. MANILA, Philippines – President Duterte yesterday accused the camp identified with the previous administration of seeking his ouster and hinted that such efforts are being staged to benefit Vice President Leni Robredo. “The yellows, you stage demonstrations, you want me out because you cannot accept defeat,” Duterte said during an event marking the anniversary of the United Nations Convention Against Corruption. Yellow is the campaign color of the Liberal Party (LP) and the opposition during the Marcos dictatorship, and is associated with the Aquinos. “Politika yan (It’s politics)...they wanted me out siyempre, yung (of course the) vice president. You had your chance,” Duterte said at Malacañang. READ MORE...RELATED,
'Buhat-bangko': Binay camp blasts Leni over HUDCC service...

ALSO: No ‘yellow’ plot to oust Rody – Pangilinan
[RELATED: Here comes Leni Robredo – the Liberal Party’s puppet on a string]


DECEMBER 9 -Membership in the once ruling Liberal Party has dwindled so much that what’s left can fit into a Volkswagen Beetle, so how can the LP even plot to oust President Duterte? Acting LP president Francis Pangilinan asked this question yesterday as party leaders denied Duterte’s claim that they are out to remove him from office. GEREMY PINTOLO, file photo
Membership in the once ruling Liberal Party has dwindled so much that what’s left can fit into a Volkswagen Beetle, so how can the LP even plot to oust President Duterte? Acting LP president Francis Pangilinan asked this question yesterday as party leaders denied Duterte’s claim that they are out to remove him from office. In a Facebook post, Pangilinan also pointed to a lettuce garden as his only “plot” as he maintained there was nothing to support the allegations made by the President. READ MORE...RELATED,
Here comes Leni Robredo – the Liberal Party’s puppet on a string...


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Rody to Cabinet: Quit if vocal vs administration policies

MANILA, DECEMBER 12, 2016 (TRIBUNE) Written by Ted Tuvera Tuesday, 06 December 2016 - President Rody Duterte yesterday cracked the presidential whip on his Cabinet members, following Vice President Leni Robredo’s resignation from his Cabinet due to her being openly vocal against his stated policies, the gist of which was if the current Cabinet members can’t get along with him and his policies, they had better resign.

This was Duterte’s warning to Cabinet members who tend to be vocal against his administration’s policies yesterday during the closed-door meeting of the Chief Executive’s official family in Malacañang.

At about the same time, in a press conference, VP Robredo went all out in attacking the President, comparing Duterte to the late strongman, Ferdinand Marcos Sr.

But Secretary Leoncio Evasco defended the President’s move, saying that, as Cabinet members, “It is our duty to defend the dignity and integrity of the Filipino people.

If Cabinet members cannot agree with the President’s policy they are free to resign,” Duterte said, after accepting Vice President Leni Robredo’s resignation as the administration’s housing czarina with a “heavy heart.”

READ MORE...

Duterte’s Cabinet is a mixture of personalities from different backgrounds and political affiliations. There are leftists, technocrats and retired military men.


EVASCO

One of the most divisive policy that Duterte espoused with his initiative to bury former President Ferdinand Marcos at the Libingan ng mga Bayani (LNMB) which is vocally opposed by communists and left-wingers, Social Welfare and Development Secretary Judy Taguiwalo and Agrarian Reform Secretary Rafael Mariano.

But unlike Robredo, Taguiwalo and Mariano remain part of the Duterte Cabinet saying that their commitment is not limited by the disagreement on honoring the late strongman.

Cabinet Secretary Evasco, who has been appointed as HUDCC post, replacing Robredo, during their meeting yesterday, reminded fellow members of the official family that while they can quit anytime, the President also has the discretion to fire them anytime he wants to do so.

“Cabinet members are personally appointed by the President and it is also his prerogative to withdraw the same for reasons known only to him,” Evasco said.

“Cabinet members accept the appointment with the implicit agreement that they agree with his program, platform and policies,” the Chief Executive’s right-hand man added.

Evasco also said that fellow Cabinet members’ disagreements or debates should always remain internal among themselves.

“While there may be matters with which they take issue, these are to be handled consensually because it is vital for the Cabinet to be united,” he instructed fellow associates in the Duterte administration.

“It is important to remember that while one is a member of the Cabinet to express one’s views discreetly and one cannot be adversarial publicly,” Evasco pointed out.

Leni: Rody is a dictator

Resigned housing czarina VP Robredo yesterday took a swipe at President Duterte’s dictatorial tendencies.

In her press conference, the Vice President compared Duterte to the late strongman Ferdinand Marcos Sr., adding that she is now assuming the role of a fiscalizer.

“We all must have the courage and determinaiton to fight against the return of the dictatorship that was ushered in for many years and destroyed the lives of thousands during the Marcos regime,” she said.

“We have fought this battle before and won. We will never let anyone revise our history and twist it to turn evil into good,” Robredo added.

One of the differences between the President and the Vice President is the issue of honoring Marcos at the LNMB.

“I have expressed my strong opposition on issues like the Marcos burial. We still hope that the President will reconsider his position on these issues,” the Vice President said.

Moreover, Robredo said that she will not allow Duterte’s chums to oust her in her capacity as Vice President.

“We should not allow them to steal the vice presidency because this is against the majority of the people,” she asserted.

“The vice presidency is not just about one person; it’s about you and your rights,” Robredo insisted.

Unfounded


ANDANAR

Communications Secretary Martin Andanar said Robredo’s suspicion of possible operations to depose her is unfounded.

“That is a speculation from the camp of the Vice President. That is for them to sort out that kind of speculation. Its not the job of Cabinet officials to fire public officials,” Andanar said.

Du30 no longer trusts Leni

President Duterte no longer trusts Vice President Robredo, which is the reason he politely wants her out of the Cabinet, a Palace official said yesterday.

Presidential Communications Secretary Martin Andanar, im a television interview, said Robredo’s veiled outspokenness against some of the adminis-tration’s policies such as the burial of former President Ferdinand Marcos at the Heroes cemetery and his so-called war on drugs is a factor that triggered the Chief Executive to want her out as Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council (HUDCC) chair.

“Reading between the lines it is saying that the President no longer has the confidence and the trust to be in one room with the Vice President and that is the official meeting between the President and Cabinet officials, so that’s the cabinet meeting,” Andanar said.

“There are irreconcilable differences and apparently there are policies that the President and the Vice President don’t see eye to eye, for instance, the burial of former president Marcos and there’s also war on illegal drugs,” he added.
Andanar said Robredo’s resignation is expected of her.

A month ago, President Duterte in Tacloban, Leyte threatened to sack officials who fail to deliver housing projects by December. Housing czarina Robredo was there in that event.

Left-wing urban poor group Kadamay, in a statement yesterday said that instead of helping their sector to find affordable housing, Robredo’s inclination toward private investors made it harder for them to secure houses.


National Alliance of Filipino Urban Poor

“Robredo’s brief tenure as HUDCC chief focused on the continuation of the pro-business trends made more prominent during the Aquino administration. She called for greater participation of the private sector in socialized housing which is as contradictory as it sounds. This policy has given rise to soaring amortization rates and inaccessible housing units for the poor,” Kadamay said in a statement.

The group also said that Robredo was more of a lame duck during her brief stint in the HUDCC.

“Demolitions have also remained rampant throughout the country, a fact that her late husband stood against at certain points. However she made no fundamental or even incremental steps to address this,” they said.

“The Housing budget for her office was slashed yet looking toward corporations for help was never the solution but merely widening the cracks of an existing problem. Socialized housing is not socialized but commercialized. This is something Robredo did not seek to remedy,” it added.

A militant youth group yesterday warned President Duterte to be wary of a supposed plot of the Liberal Party (LP) to usurp political power.

Anakbayan Youth group: LP out to usurp power


The Liberal Party proclaims Camarines Sur Representative Maria Leonor 'Leni' Robredo as its candidate for vice president in the 2016 elections. Leni Robredo: I can't refuse call to serve RAPPLER.COM FILE

A militant youth group also yesterday warned President Duterte to be wary of a supposed plot of the Liberal Party (LP) to usurp political power.

In a statement, left-winger Anakbayan urged Duterte to start pursuing charges against the previous Aquino administration noting that the resignation of Vice President Robredo as chief of the HUDCC signals subliminal message from the LP.

“While Duterte has assured the former president that he will not be prosecuted, Robredo’s resignation is a clear sign of growing contradictions within the ruling classes and may even be part of an LP restoration plan,” Anakabayan chair Vencer Crisostomo said.

“The resignation of Vice President Robredo from the Duterte Cabinet should prompt the serious prosecution of former president Noynoy Aquino and officials of the past administration for corruption, violation of the Constitution and other crimes against the people,” he added.

NOY AND LP ADMIN VIOLATIONS OF THE CONSTITUTION

Crisostomo pointed out that Aquino is yet to pay for the allegations slapped against him and cohorts during their stint in Malacañang.

“Duterte should now immediately prosecute Aquino and officials of his administration over violations of the constitution in its implementation of the unconstitutional Disbursement Acceleration Program, corruption in the MRT/LRT deals, using funds for agriculture and disaster for corruption and others,” the militant leader said.

“Aquino should likewise be jailed over the US-backed Mamasapano operation where scores of police commandos and civilians died,” he stressed, challenging Duterte to deny his immediate predecessor with “political accommodation”.

Duterte, months back, said in a speech at the Palace that the “yellows” – obviously referring to the LP – are conspiring destabilization or perhaps impeachment plots to oust him.

ChED chair also barred from attending Cabinet meets


LICUANAN

Robredo is not the only one affiliated to the previous yellow administration who has been restricted to join President Duterte’s Cabinet meetings.

Commission on Higher Education (ChED ) chair Patricia Licuanan yesterday revealed that she was also asked by Cabinet Secretary Leoncio Evasco Jr. not to attend their scheduled official caucus at the Palace on December 5.

She said in a statement that she too got a text message Evasco with the same message given to Robredo.

But unlike Robredo, Licuanan assured her superiors that she will continue her job in overseeing the operations of tertiary schools nationwide.

“I assured Secretary Evasco that I would comply. In the meantime, I will continue my work as Chair of the Commission on Higher Education,” she said.

As ChED chair, Licuanan is entitled to a four-year term and cannot be sacked by the President based on Republic Act 7722 or the Higher Education Act of 1994. The Commission is directly under the Office of the President Licuanan was first appointed to CHED in July 2010 by former President Benigno Aquino and was re-appointed in 2014. Her term will expire in 2018.

Earlier this year, ChED was under fire for failing to disburse P1.2 billion-worth of college scholarship funds in 2014 based on Commission on Audit (CoA) report that also noted irregularities including unliquidated cash advances, ineffective monitoring and other operational lapses that resulted in “internal control weaknesses in the processing and releasing of claims.”

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

RELATED FROM PHILSTAR

Duterte, Phl polls among Facebook’s hot topics in 2016 By Mary Pauline Del Rosario (The Philippine Star) | Updated December 10, 2016 - 12:00am 2 61 googleplus0 0


President Rodrigo Duterte and the Philippine presidential elections” was ranked fifth on Facebook’s 2016 Year in Review list released on Thursday. File photo

MANILA, Philippines - Social media giant Facebook has listed President Duterte and the Philippine presidential elections as among the most talked about topics in the world in 2016.

“Duterte and the Philippine presidential elections” was ranked fifth on Facebook’s 2016 Year in Review list released on Thursday.

The tough-talking Duterte won the presidential elections last May by a landslide after garnering 16,601,997 votes and a 6.6 million lead over his closest rival.

Duterte, tagged as “The Punisher” for allegedly using extrajudicial killings to suppress crime, is the first person from Mindanao to win the presidency.

The US presidential race between winner Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton also topped the list, followed by Brazilian politics.

Third on the list is the mobile gaming phenomenon, Pokemon Go, which lets its users experience catching Pokemons through a location-based augmented reality.

Fourth is the Black Lives Matter movement, which aims to campaign against racism toward black people.

The Olympics came in sixth spot, followed by Brexit, Superbowl, David Bowie and Muhammad Ali.

Facebook said that the top 10 moments were measured by how frequently each topic was mentioned in Facebook posts between Jan. 1 and Nov. 27, 2016.

“To put this list together, mentions were analyzed in an aggregated, anonymized way and then ranked to create a snapshot of the year on Facebook,” it added.

For the first time, Facebook also shared the top 10 global live videos, with “Chewbacca Mom” Candice Payne in top spot.

It was followed by Ted Yoder (Soundscapes), Buzzfeed, (Countdown to the next presidential election), Atlanta Buzz (People are lining up to hug police officers in Dallas), NBC News (Election results), Under the Hood (Video of a truck completely carved out of wood), Viral Thread (Population count from US to CA), CNN (Election results on Empire State building), Dena Blizzard (Pokemon Go for moms “Chardonnay Go”) and Super Deluxe (Election map).

Facebook said the top live videos were measured by total cumulative views.


PHILSTAR

Robredo sees Marcos factor By Helen Flores and Romina Cabrera (The Philippine Star) | Updated December 6, 2016 - 12:00am 0 2 googleplus0 0


Vice President Leni Robredo answers question about her resignation during a press conference in her Quezon City office yesterday. BOY SANTOS

Ultimate goal: Oust VP – Leni

MANILA, Philippines - Cabinet officials supporting former senator Ferdinand Marcos Jr. may have plotted her removal as chair of the Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council (HUDCC), Vice President Leni Robredo said yesterday.

A day after being told through text message not to attend Cabinet meetings, Robredo yesterday tendered her resignation as HUDCC chair, saying remaining in President Duterte’s Cabinet had become “untenable.”

“There are members of the Cabinet who don’t want me there, but Bongbong Marcos instead,” she said, referring to Marcos by his nickname.

READ MORE...

“Bongbong joined the President in China, and he was introduced as vice president. But I endured all of these,” she said in a press conference. “They are trying to ease me out. There’s no longer sense (for me to stay in the Cabinet).”

She hedged when asked if she would lead the opposition, saying she would continue to support government projects that “still deserve support.”

“It depends on how you will define the opposition,” she told reporters, even as she vowed to strongly oppose policies “that I think are detrimental” to the people.

On Sunday, Robredo said she had been warned about a plot to “steal” the vice presidency from her.

She said she decided to quit after receiving a text message from Cabinet Secretary Leoncio Evasco Jr. on Saturday, telling her to stop attending Cabinet meetings on Duterte’s instructions.

TWEETS FROM BONGBONG GROUP

“It’s part of the plot. No one knew about it except for my children and some of my staff. Even my mother was not aware about it. But there were tweets from Bongbong Marcos’ group saying goodbye to me. It only confirms what we’ve been warned about,” she said.

Robredo urged the public to remain vigilant and “not to allow the return of dictatorship.”

“My appeal to the Filipino people – let’s not allow the vice presidency to be stolen,” she said, stressing that the mandate was given to her by the people and not by President Duterte.

Robredo recalled that as early as Friday, her chief-of-staff Boyet Dy had already received a call from Evasco telling him that the Vice President is barred from attending Cabinet meetings “until further notice.”

She said she had thought she could still attend Cabinet meetings until Malacañang made the statement official.

The Vice President said she was told by Evasco in a text message not to attend the Cabinet meetings “so as not to aggravate the situation.” It was not clear what “situation” he was talking about.

Robredo said she sent four text messages to Presidential Management Staff chief Bong Go to confirm the President’s order but he did not reply.

She said she had no direct line to the President and had relayed all her messages to Go.

“I waited for a confirmation from the President through Bong Go until we discussed what to do. If I’m not allowed to attend (Cabinet meetings), I think I’m being fired,” she said.

Robredo said she does not believe Malacañang’s statement that “irreconcilable differences” between her and Duterte was the reason behind his decision to ban her from Cabinet meetings.

'NOT POLICY DIFFERENCES'

“I think it’s not policy differences. We saw the statements of Communications Sec. Martin Andanar and presidential spokesman Ernesto Abella, that they recognized the good things I did with housing. I don’t think even the President or anyone in the Cabinet could say that I failed as HUDCC chair,” the Vice President said, noting that she even spent her Sundays working at HUDCC.

Marcos burial issue She said her strong statement against the burial of Marcos’ father, the late strongman Ferdinand Marcos, at the Libingan ng mga Bayani could also be one of the reasons for her ouster.

Robredo said it was hard for her to leave HUDCC, especially after discovering the extent of the housing problem in the country.

She said she would continue to work to provide low-cost but decent houses to poor Filipinos.

“It’s not because I’m no longer with HUDCC I will no longer work to address housing problems,” she said.

Robredo said socialized housing would be one of the advocacies of the Office of the Vice President.

In her resignation letter yesterday, Robredo stressed that she has exerted all effort to put aside their differences and maintain a professional working relationship with Duterte.

“However, your directive for me to ‘desist from attending all Cabinet meetings’ has effectively made it impossible for me to do my job. Remaining in your Cabinet has become untenable,” Robredo told the President in her letter.

ACCOMPLISHMENTS FROM OVP

Hours after filing her resignation letter, the Office of the Vice President reported the major accomplishments made by the HUDCC under Robredo’s five-month leadership, including streamlining the application process for socialized housing.

Under Robredo, the Social Housing Finance Corp. (SHFC), one of the agencies under HUDCC, issued new guidelines, allowing communities and homeowners’ associations to avail themselves of its high-density housing and the community mortgage program with only nine documents from the previous 27, the OVP statement said.

The OVP said the reduced documentary requirements also cut the cost on the part of community associations by as much as ₱117,000.

It said the National Housing Authority (NHA) has also shortened the period of processing the certificates of tax exemption for transfers of raw land intended for urgent socialized housing projects from one year to six months.

HUDCC was also able to provide low-cost housing for at least 46,000 families as of Sept. 31, it said.

The OVP said Robredo also worked to fast-track the construction of permanent houses for the victims of Super Typhoon Yolanda.

It said at least 17,000 more homes are expected to be built once the implementing rules and regulations for the Urban Development and Housing Act (RA 7279) are signed this month.

IN JULY DUTERTE GAVE LENI THE JOB SHE WANTED

In July, Duterte called the Vice President while on a live broadcast over government station PTV-4, to ask her if she would like to head the HUDCC.

Duterte used the phone of Presidential Management Staff head Christopher “Bong” Go to call the Vice President.

“Pwede ba housing, Ma’am (Is housing OK with you)? Can you be the housing secretary? Tanggapin mo, ma’am (Will you accept)?” the President asked Robredo.

“The executive secretary will hand you the appointment.”

Robredo accepted the post during their phone conversation.

In a statement, she also noted that addressing the housing shortage had been an advocacy of her late husband, former interior secretary Jesse Robredo.

FIRST EXECUTIVE ORDER

HUDCC was among the agencies covered by Duterte’s first executive order, which reorganized several offices to streamline poverty reduction programs of the government.

Quezon City Vice Mayor Joy Belmonte, meanwhile, expressed her support for Robredo’s decision to quit the Cabinet.

“If she feels in her heart that she can no longer carry out the duties as the HUDCC chair, given the environment she is working in, and that this is the best way that she can serve the people, by resigning from her post and acting independently of the administration, I support her,” Belmonte said in an ambush interview.

Belmonte said she also respects the prerogative of President Duterte to pick or remove members of his Cabinet.

She added she hopes Robredo’s vice presidency would not be challenged anymore and that reports of an ouster ploy were just hearsay.

“I trust the electoral process and I believe she is the duly elected vice president.”

Belmonte also denied insinuations by some groups that the Liberal Party was plotting Duterte’s ouster.

The LP, she stressed, is committed to supporting the Duterte administration. “All moves of political parties should be towards reconciliation, not divisiveness. That’s my appeal to the nation,” the vice mayor said.

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

RELATED COMMENTARY FROM INTERAKSYON.COM

MEL STA.MARIA | After VP Robredo'??s resignation, watch the Supreme Court
By: Mel Sta. Maria December 6, 2016 10:47 AM InterAksyon.com The online news portal of TV5


Vice President Leni Robredo holds a press conference after resigning from the Cabinet. (photo by Bernard Testa, InterAksyon.com)

In resigning from President Duterte’s cabinet, Vice President Leni Robredo said that she “had been warned of a plot to steal the Vice Presidency.” She stated that she had “chosen to ignore this and focus on the job at hand. But the events of recent days indicate that this plot is now being set into motion.”

This is a powerful statement. It warns of the gravest danger that may face the nation -- the thwarting of the people’s will. And since the position involved is the second highest public office in the land, it sends a message that the “plot” could not have been hatched by ordinary people, but by scheming, powerful and conspiring individuals with the means and influence to execute it.

Indeed, it may involve more than persons but institutions as well -- for only an institution can bring down another institution.

To understand Vice President Robredo’s apprehension, it is inevitable that we have to start from the place where the ending may happen. And that place is the Supreme Court.

THE SUPREME COURT

Under the Constitution, only the Supreme Court, as the Presidential Electoral Tribunal, can oust Leni Robredo from the vice presidency on the basis of the votes obtained in the election. Section 4 Article 7 of the 1987 Constitution provides that “the Supreme Court, sitting en banc, shall be the sole judge of all contests relating to the election, returns, and qualifications of the President or Vice-President, and may promulgate its rules for the purpose.”

And it is quite reasonable to believe that one of the “events of the recent days” referred to by the Vice President may have been the promulgation of the Supreme Court -- through Associate Justices Peralta, Bersamin, Velasco, Brion, De Castro, Bernabe, Del Castillo, Mendoza and Perez – of that horrible decision allowing the dictator Ferdinand E. Marcos to be buried in the Libingan ng mga Bayani -- a decision which gave imprimatur to one of President Duterte’s campaign promises.

Now, the dictator’s son Ferdinand (Bongbong) R. Marcos Jr. is banking on this same Supreme Court -- or at least a majority of its members -- to oust Vice President Leni Robredo and proclaim him as the winner for the position.

This is not to say that he has no right to file an election protest. But the incoherence of his position – the rejection of the result generated by the machine based on the people’s votes as to the vice presidency but acceptance of the same machine’s result insofar as the presidency is concerned, on the same ballot -- betrays its weakness.

And, without the case still being heard on its merits, Bongbong smugly declared, “I will eventually take my seat that is being kept warm for me.”

He should not have said that because it generated so many speculations. For instance, one wonders: does this arrogance come from Bongbong’s sense of entitlement because he is a Marcos, or could this possibly be coming from something deeper, a more sinister, albeit for him reassuring, plan that will soon unravel before us?

It is difficult to ignore President Duterte’s unapologetic support for the Marcoses. During his China state visit, President Duterte proudly introduced Bongbong as “the next vice-president if he wins his protest.” And this was made in the same sub-judice way the President publicly expressed his position favoring the Marcos burial even while the case was pending with the Supreme Court.

How much influence these sub-judice statements had on the majority of the Supreme Court justices in the burial-case was a serious and legitimate concern to many. Will it happen again in this Marcos-election-protest-case in the Supreme Court if indeed such sub judice statements are a factor?

BONGBONG AND DUTERTE

And surely, the justices of the Supreme Court are not unaware of the friendship between President Duterte and Bongbong.

In fact, just after the election, President Duterte admitted that he offered Bongbong a cabinet position. “I promised him” President Duterte said in one encounter with media. Not only that. At that time, he did not want to appoint Leni Robredo to a cabinet position because he did not wish to “hurt the feelings” of Bongbong.

It seems that the President values his ties with the Marcoses over and above the prospects of fostering reconciliation, cooperation and inclusivity during his term.

One other thing. The Supreme Court’s track record in cases involving high-profile political personalities appears to be ominous for Vice President Leni Robredo.

This is the Supreme Court whose majority members are perceived -- rightly or wrongly -- to be always siding with the “elite,” the rich, the privileged, and/or people highly placed in the political ladder. And this perception has basis.

It acquitted former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo and former First Lady Imelda Marcos, granted bail to Senator Juan Ponce Enrile, adjudged absolute pardon for former President Joseph Estrada, excused Mayor Junjun Binay from sanction despite abandonment of the “Condonation doctrine,” and decided that Congressman Ronald Singson cannot be ousted as a representative because his drug-related-conviction did not concern a crime involving moral turpitude.

This is also the Supreme Court whose majority ruled against the coconut farmers and in favor of Danding Cojuangco in the coco-levy case because, among others, there was no showing that the latter was one of the “close associates of President Marcos” -- prompting former Associate Justice Conchita Carpio-Morales, now the Ombudsman, to say that “the argument that Cojuangco was not the subordinate or close associate of the Marcoses is the biggest joke to hit the country.”

And more recently, it is the Supreme Court which decided that the dictator Ferdinand E. Marcos, whose regime looted our national treasury and ushered in a period of summary execution, forced disappearance, torture and gross violation of human rights against the Filipino people, be buried in the Libingan ng mga Bayani.

Vice President Leni Robredo does not belong to the “elite,” the rich, or the powerful. She only has the people who voted for her as the source of her power. Given this Supreme Court perception, is it totally unjustified for people to be apprehensive as regards how the Supreme Court, sitting as an electoral tribunal, will decide the Vice Presidency and Leni’s fate?

I truly hope that the Supreme Court will come out with a decision truly uplifting our national spirit and affirming the sovereignty that resides on the people.

In the meantime, we seem to be paralyzed again by these latest developments, and the need to process everything never appears to be fast enough for our brains to comprehend.

We find ourselves asking once more, “what now” and “what next”?

Well, we should not hold our breaths till we turn blue. We must think and act fast because eventually, it will affect us and the country. Yes, it is exhausting, and heaven knows it can be very frustrating. But at the end of the day, there are things which we simply cannot allow to happen again.

So it is up to us to make sure that they do not.


Melencio Santos Sta. Maria, Jr. known as Atty. Mel Sta, Maria is a Filipino lawyer, broadcaster, professor in Ateneo Law School and dean of Far Eastern University Institute of Law since November 2013 replacing Andres D. Bautista. He is also a legal expert for Relasyon along with News5 head Luchi Cruz-Valdes on DWFM and AksyonTV, as well in Solved na Solved with Gelli de Belen and Arnell Ignacio on TV5. FROM WIKIPEDIA


PHILSTAR

Palace: No Marcos factor in Cabinet ban vs Robredo By Alexis Romero (The Philippine Star) | Updated December 7, 2016 - 12:00am 3 0 googleplus0 0


Philippine Vice President Leni Robredo answers questions from the media during a news conference following her resignation from her cabinet post under President Rodrigo Duterte Monday, Dec. 5, 2016 in suburban Quezon city, south of Manila, Philippines. Robredo resigned her Cabinet post Monday after citing irreconcilable differences with Duterte, who had banned her from attending Cabinet meetings, in a new political dilemma for the leader. AP Photo/Bullit Marquez

MANILA, Philippines – Malacañang yesterday insisted that there was no “Marcos factor” in the decision of President Duterte to ban Vice President Leni Robredo from attending Cabinet meeting.

Rather, Robredo’s “political actions” – not her political affiliation – made Duterte uncomfortable and which prompted him to bar her from Cabinet meetings, presidential spokesman Ernesto Abella clarified yesterday.

“There are members of the Cabinet who don’t want me there, but Bongbong Marcos instead,” Robredo had said, referring to former senator Ferdinand Marcos Jr. by his nickname.

Marcos lost to Robredo in the vice presidential race last May, and has filed a protest.

READ MORE...

“Bongbong joined the President in China, and he was introduced as vice president. But I endured all of these,” Robredo said in a press conference. “They are trying to ease me out. There’s no longer sense (for me to stay in the Cabinet).”

In a press conference yesterday, Abella said “the President, I suppose, felt uncomfortable with her engagement with certain political actions.”


ABELLA

Asked to specify the political actions that compelled Duterte to ask Robredo to desist from attending Cabinet meetings, Abella replied: “I cannot speculate on that. He did not mention it.”

The Vice President has been vocal against the burial of the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos at the Libingan ng mga Bayani.

Earlier yesterday, she explained she was at the Bantayog ng mga Bayani on EDSA on Nov. 30 not as a protester but as guest in the awarding of individuals who fought the Marcos dictatorship.

She has also denounced rising cases of summary executions in the conduct of the administration’s war on illegal drugs.

NOTHING TO DO WITH POLITICAL TIES

Abella also made it clear Duterte’s decision had nothing to do with Robredo’s political ties. Robredo is the highest elected official of the Liberal Party.

“No, it’s hardly that. It is a question of the political actions that she takes, which will be relative to, not directly the reason for (her being banned in Cabinet meetings),” Abella pointed out.

“Remember that it is his personal choice and the relationship between Cabinet members and the President is based on trust. And should the President come to the point where he feels that he cannot fully work with or is uncomfortable with a particular Cabinet secretary, then it is his prerogative to release such a member,” he added.

Robredo resigned from the top post of the Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council (HUDCC) a day after receiving a text message from Cabinet Secretary Leoncio Evasco Jr. asking her to “desist” from attending Cabinet meetings.

When reminded that Cabinet officials identified with the Left also joined anti-Marcos rallies but were not excluded from official meetings, Abella stressed there was no double standard involved.

Among the officials who participated in protests against Marcos’ burial at the Libingan were Agrarian Reform Secretary Rafael Mariano, National Anti-Poverty Commission chairperson Liza Maza and Social Welfare Secretary Judy Taguiwalo.

“The President recognizes that certain members, Cabinet members, because of their personal conviction and ideological beliefs were actually voicing – he allowed them that,” Abella said.

“He (Duterte) said, ‘This is the song of the Left,’ in other words, it’s expected of them,” he added.

“It’s not a double standard but basically it was not a political action against, it was simply an expression of their ideological conviction,” he pointed out.

Abella also clarified that Robredo’s exclusion from Cabinet meetings was only due to differences with the President and not because of her performance as housing chief.

“It’s a question of opinion or political stance or political actions. So, it’s not about inefficiency. So, disengage yourself from that,” he said.


PHILSTAR

‘Yellows’ want me out, says Duterte By Alexis Romero (The Philippine Star) | Updated December 8, 2016 - 12:00am 0 0 googleplus0 0


President Duterte yesterday accused the camp identified with the previous administration of seeking his ouster and hinted that such efforts are being staged to benefit Vice President Leni Robredo. AP Photo/Bullit Marquez

Leni: It’s my obligation to back Rody

MANILA, Philippines – President Duterte yesterday accused the camp identified with the previous administration of seeking his ouster and hinted that such efforts are being staged to benefit Vice President Leni Robredo.

“The yellows, you stage demonstrations, you want me out because you cannot accept defeat,” Duterte said during an event marking the anniversary of the United Nations Convention Against Corruption.

Yellow is the campaign color of the Liberal Party (LP) and the opposition during the Marcos dictatorship, and is associated with the Aquinos.

“Politika yan (It’s politics)...they wanted me out siyempre, yung (of course the) vice president. You had your chance,” Duterte said at Malacañang.

READ MORE...

Robredo, however, said yesterday it was her “obligation” to continue supporting the President, although she said she would continue to criticize policies that she thought were not good for the people.

Duterte made the statement two days after Robredo resigned as housing chief amid what Malacañang described as “irreconcilable differences” with the President.

The remarks also came a week after LP personalities joined protests against Duterte’s decision to allow the burial of dictator Ferdinand Marcos at the Libingan ng mga Bayani.

In the same speech yesterday, Duterte asked when the drug menace became rampant in the country, but did not explicitly say whether the LP is to blame for the problem.

Robredo has claimed that she was eased out of the Cabinet and that efforts are underway to “steal” the vice presidency from her.

Duterte’s ally, Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez, said that Robredo could be the one plotting to oust the President.

In an interview in Surigao yesterday, Robredo said, “I will continue to reach out to the President because I think it is my obligation to be supportive of him.”

But Robredo said she would remain critical of the administration, particularly on the burial of Marcos at the heroes’ cemetery, extrajudicial killings of suspected drug users and the reimposition of the death penalty.

“When he hired me, it was clear between us what my stand was on these issues. I can’t change my position on certain issues… this is something I can’t promise him I will do,” she added.

Robredo resigned as chair of the Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council (HUDCC) last Monday after Duterte barred her and Commission on Higher Education chair Patricia Licuanan from attending Cabinet meetings.

Malacañang officials said Robredo, who belongs to the once powerful LP, has lost the trust of the President because of irreconcilable differences on many issues.

Robredo said she is requesting a meeting with Cabinet Secretary Leoncio Evasco Jr., the newly appointed HUDCC head, for the turnover of the terminal report on housing.

Evasco was Duterte’s campaign manager in the last presidential elections. It was also Evasco who relayed the President’s order to the Vice President to “desist” from attending Cabinet meetings.

Robredo said she hopes Evasco would continue the programs that she started at HUDCC in the past five months.

“Yesterday we received a lot of complaints, and requests for assistance. I’m here to help, but of course it’s different if you are no longer in the position to help,” she said.

“What I’ll do is to advocate and I will be the one to relay to Secretary Evasco what we receive from our end,” she added.

Based on Constitution

Opposition lawmaker Edcel Lagman of Albay said Duterte’s instruction last weekend for Robredo to desist from attending Cabinet meetings “is consummate imprudence.”

“The unceremonious manner by which Robredo was eased out from the Cabinet smacks of inordinate partisanship, gross impropriety and absence of requisite politesse,” he added.

Lagman also noted that Robredo’s membership in the Cabinet “has constitutional basis or anchorage, unlike other Cabinet members who are political appointees.”

He cited Article VII, Section 3 of the Charter, which provides “The vice president may be appointed as a member of the Cabinet.”

“This makes the vice president distinct from the other Cabinet members. As a Cabinet member, the vice president could not be considered merely as an alter ego of the president because he or she has a distinct and separate popular and constitutional mandate,” he explained.

He also said post-martial law vice presidents starting with the late Salvador Laurel to Joseph Estrada, Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, Noli de Castro, Jejomar Binay and Robredo were all given Cabinet posts largely because of the constitutional mandate.

Apology to Binay

Robredo also apologized to former vice president Jejomar Binay, saying she didn’t mean to undermine his work as housing chief under the previous administration.

Robredo made the apology after Binay’s spokesman Joey Salgado cried foul over her statement portraying herself as the most hardworking chair of the HUDCC in only five months in office. – With Jess Diaz

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

RELATED FROM ABS-CBN

'Buhat-bangko': Binay camp blasts Leni over HUDCC service ABS-CBN News
Posted at Dec 06 2016 02:39 PM


EX-VP VERSUS VP.  Jejomar Binay - Leni Robredo composite photos

The camp of former vice president Jejomar Binay on Tuesday criticized his successor, Vice President Leni Robredo, for supposedly claiming that she is the hardest working Housing secretary, a post they both held.

Binay's spokesperson, Joey Salgado, said it is "unfair and self-serving" for Robredo to portray herself as the most diligent chairperson of the Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council (HUDCC) after only five months in office.

"Hindi natin tinatawaran ang work ethic ni VP Robredo ngunit hindi yata patas at maituturing na pagbubuhat ng sariling bangko ang sinabi nya na siya lang ang pinakamasipag sa lahat ng naging HUDCC chair makalipas lamang ang limang buwan sa tungkulin," Salgado said in a statement.
(Not to question VP Robredo's work ethic, but it is quite unfair and self-serving of her to portray herself - after only five months in office - as the most hardworking HUDCC chair.)

"Sinabi ni VP Robredo na sya lang marahil ang HUDCC chair na dumadalo sa lahat ng board meeting, at nagtatrabaho ng Sabado at Linggo at maging sa kanyang bahay. Marahil, hindi nya alam ang work ethic ni dating VP Binay," he added.
"Hindi naman siguro tama na tapakan ang iba para maiangat ang sarili."

(According to VP Robredo, she is perhaps the only HUDCC chair who personally attends board meetings and works on weekends and at home. Perhaps she hasn't heard of former VP Binay's work ethic.
We don't need to trample on others to raise ourselves.)

Binay served as HUDCC chair and the Presidential Adviser on OFW Affairs before resigning from the Aquino Cabinet in June 2015. He said he was tired of being treated as “a punching bag.”

Robredo, meanwhile, resigned as housing secretary on Sunday, citing differences with President Duterte's stance on narcotics policy and the burial of the late strongman Ferdinand Marcos at the Libingan ng Mga Bayani.

READ With heavy heart, Duterte accepts VP Leni's resignation - Palace

Salgado noted that other HUDCC heads served much longer and accomplished more compared to Robredo .

"Nagsilbi ng mas matagal kay VP Robredo ang ibang mga chair ng HUDCC. Ibang mga pagsubok ang hinarap nila sa ilalim ng ibang sitwasyon," he said.
"Mas mahaba at kongkreto ang kanilang listahan ng nagawa kahit na maliit ang budget, may pamumulitika sa Gabinete, at ang tinawag ni VP Robredo ng 'institutional weakness' o kahinaan sa sistema ng ahensya."

(The other HUDCC chairs served much longer than VP Robredo. They faced different challenges under different situations. They have longer,more tangible lists of accomplishments despite smaller budgets, politicking within the Cabinet, and what she described as the "institutional weakness" of the agency.)


PHILSTAR

No ‘yellow’ plot to oust Rody – LP By Marvin Sy, Alexis Romero (The Philippine Star) | Updated December 9, 2016 - 12:00am 0 0 googleplus0 0


Membership in the once ruling Liberal Party has dwindled so much that what’s left can fit into a Volkswagen Beetle, so how can the LP even plot to oust President Duterte? Acting LP president Francis Pangilinan asked this question yesterday as party leaders denied Duterte’s claim that they are out to remove him from office. GEREMY PINTOLO, file photo

MANILA, Philippines - Membership in the once ruling Liberal Party has dwindled so much that what’s left can fit into a Volkswagen Beetle, so how can the LP even plot to oust President Duterte?

Acting LP president Francis Pangilinan asked this question yesterday as party leaders denied Duterte’s claim that they are out to remove him from office.

In a Facebook post, Pangilinan also pointed to a lettuce garden as his only “plot” as he maintained there was nothing to support the allegations made by the President.

READ MORE...

“The alleged plot is untrue. There is no such plot. In fact, the bulk of the so-called yellows have abandoned the LP ship and are now card-carrying members of other parties such as the PDP (Partido Demokratiko Pilipino), NUP (National Unity Party) and even NPC (Nationalist People’s Coalition) and aligned with Malacañang,” Pangilinan said.

“Being critical of the burial of (former dictator Ferdinand) Marcos in the Libingan (ng mga Bayani) or being critical of the spate of extrajudicial killings does not mean we want Duterte ousted. We are in a democracy and dissent and rallies should be seen simply as such and should not be viewed as part of a so-called larger conspiracy,” he added.

Senate President Pro Tempore Franklin Drilon, LP vice chairman, said the reported plan to oust Duterte was unfounded.

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

RELATED FROM THE MINADANAO NATION BLOG (COMMENTARY)

Here comes Leni Robredo – the Liberal Party’s puppet on a string By Carlos Munda - 2 days ago - in Opinion 0 Comments


Leni robredo

I think there’s not one person bringing all of us together and so I think that would be who I want to be in the next few days: to be the unifying voice of all those who have expressed either disgust or opposition to the policies of this administration – Leni Robredo, alleged vice president of the Philippines

So, Leni Robredo has finally come out in the open. She says she is ready to be the voice of the opposition. Well, that is one of the few honest words I have heard from her in a while.

After playing coy about her political ambitions for so long, its a wonder how she can reconcile her previous statements with her new found assertiveness.

Perhaps her political handlers thought they saw an opportunity for her to jump the line and so they are taking it. Maybe Leni is more the voice of opportunism rather than the voice of opposition?

Leni’s positioning is mainly based on her political handler’s fears that she might actually lose the electoral protest filed by Bongbong Marcos. This is not a far fetched scenario considering that there are real evidence that she cheated. This is a last ditch gamble to get those who voted for her to rally behind her cause.

So shall we expect a bunch of Smartmatic executives and a few thousand PCOS machines to flock to Edsa now?

But what of Frank Drilon and Kiko Pangilinan and Mar Roxas? The original three kings of the Liberal Party? Are they ok with Leni’s new role as the poster child of the opposition?

It’s no secret after all that the guys who ran Leni’s campaign detest Roxas, and in fact junked him in some place where Leni could get a vote but Mar couldn’t. So will she unify the opposition as she claims, or is this a hostile takeover?

NEW CORY AQUINO

On the side of her allies and supporters, there is no doubt that they see Leni as the rising political star.The new Cory Aquino.

One thing we can agree on though is that their level of political naïveté are about the same. Leni is in the driver seat of this whole thing just as much as that monkey the Russians sent to space.

Worse, she is a puppet who thinks she is the puppet master.


AUTHOR OF MINDAnation.com Carlos Munda:  Communications and Public Relations Consultant Region XI - Davao, PhilippinesPublic Relations and Communications Current MindaVote, Infinitemonkees.com, Edge Davao Previous St. Augustine Gold and Copper, Ltd. (SAGCL), Mindanao Media Broadcast Network Group, Inc., Office of Rep. Antonio F. Lagdameo, Jr. Education Ateneo de Davao University. FROM LINKEDin


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