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EUROPEAN UNION (EU) BACKS WAR ON DRUGS; ENVOY SAYS, WILL ASSIST RODY's ANTI-DRUG CAMPAIGN
(Shift of Union’s funding toward rehab of narco dependents in PH under study)


JANUARY 17 -(Photo by Charmaine Tadalan | Manila Bulletin) The European Union (EU) has now decided to offer its assistance to the Philippine government’s anti-drug campaign, particularly through the rehabilitation of drug addicts, after initially criticizing the Duterte administration’s war on illegal drugs. EU Ambassador to Manila Franz Jessen said the EU is currently studying the possibility of shifting its funding within the Philippine health sector toward the rehabilitation of drug dependents. “We are trying to see if we should change the funding and focus more on the drug issue which is a key project for the government,” Ambassador Jessen revealed during an interview in the sidelines of the launching of the book, “Ties That Bind: Celebrating 25 years of EU in the Philippines,” held recently in Makati City. “It’s a question of a change in funds within the health sector toward the drug issue.” READ MORE...

ALSO: What has the Catholic hierarchy done for war on drugs? Rody asks (Duterte said Catholic leaders had no moral ascendancy to criticize the country's war on drugs that killed thousands suspects if it could not give justice to the children that priests molested.}


JANUARY 20 -President Rodrigo Duterte on Thursday slammed the Catholic hierarchy yet again for criticizing his war on drugs.
This time, he asked Catholic leaders why the church had yet to contribute to the campaign against illegal drugs despite the millions in collection its parishes receive. "May isang simbahan pa roon ipinapakita ‘yung mga extrajudicial. Anong ginawa ng simbahan? Kayong simbahan ng Katoliko. Milyon ang kita ninyo linggo-linggo all throughout the Philippines, karaming simbahan. Saan ang pera ng tao?" Duterte said in a speech in Malacañang. "Kami, ‘yung pera namin, ine-explain namin sa tao. Kayo? Kayong mga pari, mga Obispo. Ang gaganda ng suot ninyo, mga kotse. Meron ba kayong isang bahay lang maski limang kwarto para rehab? Anong ginawa niyo sa simbahan ninyo?" he added. He added that the priests should explain the dangers of illegal drugs to the Catholic faithful. READ MORE...

ALSO: PROTESTS AGAINST EJK - Church, critics set anti-Duterte rallies
[RELATED FROM ASIA TIMES : Catholic church withers under Duterte’s heavy hand]


JANUARY 16 -GOOGLED COMPOSITE PHOTOS
Church organizations and Catholic bishops will start leading street protests against President Duterte and his bloody war on drugs next month, a Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) report said. The CBCP, which is the country’s main Catholic Church group, said protesters from various lay Church organizations will take the streets of Manila to show “their rejection of the wave of extrajudicial killings (EJK) in the country.” Thus, far, however, street protests launched by civil society groups against Mr. Duterte are disappointments since these are poorly attended.The protests will culminate with the “Walk for Life” on February 18 which Sangguniang Laiko ng Pilipinas President Zenaida Capistrano said will be an opportunity for lay people to show that they care for others, especially the poor. READ MORE...RELATED, RELATED FROM ASIA TIME : Catholic church withers under Duterte’s heavy hand...

ALSO: Aguirre assures Digong won’t declare martial law
(“The public and the media should not be surprised and rather be already accustomed to this mindset of the President,” he said.)


JANUARY 17 -AGUIRRE: Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II assured yesterday that President Duterte has no plans to declare martial law reiterating that “the President loathed martial law declaration.” In a speech before members of the Davao City Chamber of Commerce, the President declared he was prepared to declare martial law if the country’s situation “deteriorates into something really virulent” and no one can stop him from exercising such power if only “to preserve my nation.” Duterte said the “right to preserve one’s life and my nation, my country transcends everything else even the limitation.” READ MORE..

ALSO: Martial law ‘baseless’ - Solons in uproar over Duterte’s renewed threat


JANUARY 17 -President Rodrigo Duterte MALACANANG PPDking
THERE is no basis for declaring martial law, senators said Monday, with one comparing President Rodrigo Duterte’s threats to impose military rule to “a dog that always barks but seldom bites.” “We should know by now that such theatrical bombast is part of the President’s oratorical repertoire,” said Senate Minority Leader Ralph Recto, who was reacting to Duterte’s declaration Saturday night that if he wanted to declare martial law, nobody could stop him. That threat, Recto said, should be filed under Duterte’s outlandish threats, like riding a jet ski to the Spratlys or feeding the fish of Manila Bay with the bodies of criminals. READ MORE...


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EU backs war on drugs: Shift of EU’s funding toward Narco rehabs in PH under study


(Photo by Charmaine Tadalan | Manila Bulletin)

MANILA, JANUARY 23, 2016 (MANILA BULLETIN) January 17, 2017, by Roy C. Mabasa - The European Union (EU) has now decided to offer its assistance to the Philippine government’s anti-drug campaign, particularly through the rehabilitation of drug addicts, after initially criticizing the Duterte administration’s war on illegal drugs.

EU Ambassador to Manila Franz Jessen said the EU is currently studying the possibility of shifting its funding within the Philippine health sector toward the rehabilitation of drug dependents.

“We are trying to see if we should change the funding and focus more on the drug issue which is a key project for the government,” Ambassador Jessen revealed during an interview in the sidelines of the launching of the book, “Ties That Bind: Celebrating 25 years of EU in the Philippines,” held recently in Makati City. “It’s a question of a change in funds within the health sector toward the drug issue.”

READ MORE...

Jessen said the EU is now working with the Department of Health to see how it can support the best practices currently being implemented by the government to make sure that drug dependents can get the treatment they deserve.

“We have ongoing discussions with the administration with regards to creating a system for half-way houses to make sure that former addicts are integrated into the society without returning to their drug habit,” he said

The EU had earlier condemned the “current wave of extrajudicial executions and killings” following the launch of the government’s campaign against illegal drugs. The criticism drew the ire of President Duterte, who reacted with profanity-filled tirade last year.

In a resolution issued October last year, the EU parliament said it was concerned about the “extraordinarily high numbers killed during police operations … in the context of an intensified anti-crime and anti-drug campaign.”

Duterte must “put an end to the current wave of extrajudicial executions and killings… (and) launch an immediate investigation into (them),” the EU resolution stated.

With a new tack, the EU is also working the best way it can with the Philippine government on the country’s judicial system.

Jessen said he has been traveling to key cities to promote community policing and to share the European experience in this area.

“That is not to fight crime but to make sure that crime does not happen in the first instance,” he explained.

Ambassador Jessen said another key issue is reducing the trial time by having the lower courts decide on the cases.

“We are doing quite some work with the Quezon City courts to see if we can speed up the decision making,” he pointed out.


GMA NEWS NETWORK

What has Catholic church done for war on drugs? Duterte wants to know Published January 19, 2017 4:46pm By TRISHA MACAS, GMA News


President Rodrigo Duterte on Thursday slammed the Catholic hierarchy yet again for criticizing his war on drugs.

This time, he asked Catholic leaders why the church had yet to contribute to the campaign against illegal drugs despite the millions in collection its parishes receive.

"May isang simbahan pa roon ipinapakita ‘yung mga extrajudicial. Anong ginawa ng simbahan? Kayong simbahan ng Katoliko. Milyon ang kita ninyo linggo-linggo all throughout the Philippines, karaming simbahan. Saan ang pera ng tao?" Duterte said in a speech in Malacañang.

"Kami, ‘yung pera namin, ine-explain namin sa tao. Kayo? Kayong mga pari, mga Obispo. Ang gaganda ng suot ninyo, mga kotse. Meron ba kayong isang bahay lang maski limang kwarto para rehab? Anong ginawa niyo sa simbahan ninyo?" he added.

He added that the priests should explain the dangers of illegal drugs to the Catholic faithful.

READ MORE...

"Nagbibilang kayo ng pera instead of going around the neighborhoods explaining to the people why they should not be in that industry because they will die. [Ngayon] gusto ninyong matapos ang patayan? All you have to do is to preach kasi karamihan dito Katoliko," Duterte said.

"Kung mahusay ka na pari, ipaintindi mo, 'Mamamatay ka. Umalis ka sa droga.' Eh ‘di nakakatulong pa kayo. Hindi instead na maghintay kayo na may namatay na, you criticize the police, you criticize me. For what? Kayo ‘yung may mga pera eh. Sira ulo pala kayo," he added.

Duterte even offered to give his narco-list to the priests and asked that the drug personalities be bathed in holy water.

"Ito nga eh, ibigay ko sa inyo. Basbasan ninyo ito ng…Totoo man kaya ‘yung holy water? Paliguan ninyo ng isang toneladang tubig para gumaling. I thought that is a -- miracle ‘yung tubig ninyo. Eh ‘di ipainom ninyo," Duterte said.

"Daldal kayo nang daldal diyan eh tapos kayo ang…With all the pageantry and ceremony, pa-gold-gold pa kayo ng mga chalice diyan. Eh, samantalang ‘yung nakikinig sa inyo mga walang kain. Mga chalice, chalice pa kayo, de-gold pa," he added.

"Gusto ninyo tunawin ko pa ito, ibigay ko sa inyo chandelier ng Malacañang. Dagdagan ninyo ‘yung gold ninyo. Gawin ninyong mga medalya. Tingnan mo ‘yung medalya ninyo, kalalaki, gold. P***** i** bakit si Kristo ba ipinako ng krus doon?" Duterte said.

No moral ascedancy

Duterte said Catholic leaders had no moral ascendancy to criticize the country's war on drugs that killed thousands suspects if it could not give justice to the children that priests molested.

"So kung gusto mo talaga showdown, eh showdown na sige. Magbago kayo ‘pag hindi…If you cannot mend your ways, if you cannot even give justice to the, you know, the small boys that you have molested in the past, you do not have that moral ascendancy to lecture on what to do," Duterte said.

"Sanctity of life? You’re enjoying your worth pagkatapos sanctity. Kayo diyan mga palasyo. Ang mga tao nandiyan sa squatters tapos sanctity? Tumingin nga kayo salamin ninyo," he added.

"You expose me, fine. I expose you. Bakit? Ang mali ninyo okay lang, ang amin hindi? B******. Kalokohan ‘yan. Extrajudicial killing, tumulong kayo," Duterte said.

The President after he announced his presidential bid in 2015 admitted that he was once molested by a priest when he was still a student of the Ateneo de Davao University.

The President also reminded the Catholic church of their shortcomings as some of their priests and bishop were involved in corruption allegations during the time of former President and incumbent Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

"Kayong mga pari, remember you ask, mga sakyanan kay Gloria? Knowing fully well na mga pulis nga walang masakyan. Kayo de Pajero pa mga p***** i** kayo. Binigyan kayo knowing that there is a principle of separation between Church and State. It was sheerly, purely graft and corruption because you did not deserve it," Duterte said.

"You cannot use property or money for your comfort. Hindi ‘yan para inyo para sa gobyerno but you had the gall. Kung kayo ang magkamali, okay lang. So bakit kaming mga nasa gobyerno na pwede ninyong sabihin, kayo ganoon ito," he added.

Duterte then recommended to read Altar of Secrets by the late journalist Aries Rufo.

"Basahin ninyo. Homosexuality, scandal, lahat na," Duterte said.

"O kami na ngayon ang magtanong. Katoliko man ako. Anong ginagawa ninyo sa pera? Anong gawin ninyo kabaklaan ninyo diyan sa mga seminaryo ninyo? Anong pinaggagawa ninyo sa mga bata noon? Did you investigate us? Mga l**** kayo," he added.

"Kayong mga Katoliko isipin ninyo ‘yan. Ano bang itinulong ng relihiyon sa inyo?,"Duterte said.

Letter to Pope

On Wednesday, Foreign Affairs Secretary Perfecto Yasay Jr. delivered a letter to Pope Francis in Vatican from Duterte to express his gratitude for visiting the Philippines in January 2015.

In a Facebook post by Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Secretary Jesus Dureza, he said he asked Pope to the bless the Philippines when they met at the Vatican.

He said the Pope answered that he would also bless Duterte. -NB, GMA News


TRIBUNE

PROTESTS TO CENTER ON EJK - Church, critics set anti-Duterte rallies Written by Tribune Wires Sunday, 15 January 2017 00:00  By Julius Leonen and Ted Tuvera


GOOGLED COMPOSITE PHOTOS

Church organizations and Catholic bishops will start leading street protests against President Duterte and his bloody war on drugs next month, a Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) report said.

The CBCP, which is the country’s main Catholic Church group, said protesters from various lay Church organizations will take the streets of Manila to show “their rejection of the wave of extrajudicial killings (EJK) in the country.”

Thus, far, however, street protests launched by civil society groups against Mr. Duterte are disappointments since these are poorly attended.The protests will culminate with the “Walk for Life” on February 18 which Sangguniang Laiko ng Pilipinas President Zenaida Capistrano said will be an opportunity for lay people to show that they care for others, especially the poor.

READ MORE...

Capistrano said the street rallies will show opposition “to the more than 6,200 unexplained killings and as well as government’s plan to restore the death penalty.”

“We, the Filipino Catholic lay faithful signify our protest against all forms of threats to human life and dignity that are coming from the economic, social, and political structures and authorities,” Capistrano said in a press briefing January 11.

“We have all the chances to do what is expected of us. Let us express to the government our real sentiments. Let us go out and tell them that we are against this culture of death,” she added.

Organizers said the march will converge at the Quirino Grandstand in Manila that is expected to be attended by different lay organizations.

Manila Auxiliary Bishop Broderick Pabillo, chairman of the bishops’ Commission on the Laity, added the clergy needs to strengthen the Church’s teachings on the value of human life.

He lamented that many Filipinos are indifferent, with some even approving, the killings of suspected drug pushers and users, where majority of the victims are among the poor.

“On the part of the clergy, it is a real challenge for us to teach the faithful that being a true Christian means we have to care for others also,” Pabillo said.

Leni hits out vs violence



The yellow oppositions’ leader Vice President Leni Robredo added that she opposed violence and bloodshed as a means to eradicate poverty and inequality in the country, arguing that there are alternative means to solve the country’s problems peacefully.

In a speech before the 17th Edsa Ortigas Consortium of Schools Peace Congress, Robredo said that political intimidation and violence has no place in a democracy, insisting that the appropriate alternative is to solve the country’s poverty and inequality peacefully.

“In protecting the Filipino people and the interests of our nation, we must not resort to the brutality of warfare. Our democracy has no room for political intimidation or violence. Progress can always be achieved peacefully,” Robredo said.

“For some reason, we now take warfare for granted. People are killed in the name of seemingly noble causes,” she said.

Robredo has been a vocal member of the political opposition in disputing Mr. Duterte’s brutal war on illegal drugs, a campaign marred by extrajudicial killings. The President has been praised by his allies for his solid political will in his violent crackdown on illegal drugs.

Since Robredo resigned from her Cabinet post as Housing secretary, she has been hailed by political allies as the default leader of the opposition. Following her resignation, Palace officials and Duterte’s allies alike have implied that the Chief Executive has deep mistrust in Robredo.

In addition, the vice president argued that the country must not resort to a violent crackdown on its persistent problems. She insisted that violence, which she says is being experienced on a “terrific scale and complexity,” must be prevented and condemned.

“Violence is the quick fix that we must prevent and condemn. Violence is a way of cutting corners, where complex problems are met with simplistic but ineffective solutions,” Robredo said.

“Here in the Philippines, we are faced with issues of terrific scale and complexity. But violence is not the right response to poverty and inequality. Bloodshed will not solve crime and injustice,” she said.

Since President Duterte took office, over 6,000 lives have been claimed in the government’s brutal crackdown on the country’s narcotics trade, with over 4,000 people killed by vigilantes and 2,000 suspected drug personalities killed in police operations.

New York-based Human Rights Watch (HRW) recently lashed out at Mr. Duterte over his alleged indifference towards the respect of human rights in his internationally-condemned war against illegal drugs.

“In the name of wiping out ‘drug crime,’ President Duterte has steamrolled human rights protections and elevated unlawful killings of criminal suspects to a cornerstone of government policy,” according to HRW Asia deputy director Phelim Kine.
Polls show Rody on right track

The Palace, however, said Mr. Duterte’s fight against criminality has been effective as majority of the Filipino population approves it.



Presidential Communications Office (PCO) Secretary Martin Andanar, in a statement, referred to a Pulse Asia report released last Friday noting that 84 percent out of 1,200 respondents nationwide says they approve Mr. Duterte’s tough approach on criminality.

“The survey result shows once and for all that we are on the right track in fighting criminality,” Andanar said, adding that crime remains to be one of the “five most urgent national concerns of Filipinos.”

“We shall not rest until the day would come that our people feel safe and secure in their homes and in the streets,” he noted.

During the campaign season, saying that the crime rate in his hometown of Davao City is relatively low compared to ther urban areas, Mr. Duterte promised to curb criminality in barely three to six months.

He however admitted that he was overwhelmed by the problem on criminality — particularly on illegal drugs — and was not able to solve it as promised, thus seeking a six-month extension to fulfill it.

More than 6,000 deaths have been attributed to the administration’s fight against crime and its much sensationalized war on illegal drugs.

New York-based HRW, however, named Mr. Duterte as among strongman leaders ignoring the rule of law.

“Since taking office on June 30, 2016, Duterte and senior government officials have praised the killing spree of suspected drug dealers and drug users and resisted holding those responsible to account,” HRW said in “World Report 2017: Demagogues Threaten Human Rights.”

Mr. Duterte was listed along with US President-elect Donald Trump, Russian President Vladimir Putin and North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un.

Presidential spokesperson Enresto Abella, in an interview over state-run dzRB, responded to such claims saying that those espoused with the Western brand of liberal ideology are ones who do not appreciate “strong leadership” as President Duterte accordingly has.



“The President is a very decisive leader. He is a man of action. These critics keep making labels that limits a leader. They do not see what you’re actually doing as long as they make certain labels such as dictatorship,” Abella said.

“But the President is very authoritative and let us remember that he goes by the rule of law. That’s why they call him negatively — especially the liberal media and the liberal political order. They keep on becoming antagonistic against more authoritative forms or styles of governance,” he added.

Local Lee Kuan Yew

Abella compared Mr. Duterte to the late Singaporean strongman Lee Kuan Yew whose leadership transformed the third world city-state into a first world economy through his tough state policies.

“Liberal institutions tend to emphasize individual rights which we value, of course. However, we also need to understand that you can’t replace within the context of common good,” Abella explained.

But as it turns out, criminality is not only the Filipino peoples’ concerns as the same Pulse Asia survey reported that there are other urgent national concerns such as controlling inflation (34 percent), reducing poverty (33 percent), creating more jobs (31 percent) and fighting corruption (31 percent).

Abella also said that the Duterte administration should not be viewed as a government that focuses only on the issue of criminality.

“We need to understand that our President is working with a wide range menu of topics,” Abella said.

“I think we also need to appreciate the fact that, especially in terms of managing our economic conditions, he runs it well,” he added.

Abella also pointed out that, given looming political and economic crises in the global scene, the public should not expect too much on issues regarding controlling inflation, reducing poverty and job generation.

“It may not be ideal at this stage but then nothing is ideal right now in the world of economic, socio-political conditions,” he stressed.

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

RELATED FROM ASIA TIMES

Catholic church withers under Duterte’s heavy hand By DAVID HUTT JANUARY 13, 2017 3:15 PM (UTC+8) 687


President Rodrigo Duterte speaks in front of housewives and mothers, involved in the anti-illegal drugs campaign at Clark Freeport Zone in Pampanga on December 22, 2016. Photo: Reuters/Erik De Castro

Bishops are wary of criticizing Philippine president too much over his war on drugs fearing the strongman's wrath



At a recent meeting of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP), the organization’s president Archbishop Socrates Villegas took to the podium. “Although death is a twin sister born with us on the same day we were born,” he said, “death by terror and violence, death in the hands of our fellowmen, is a sin that cries to heaven for vengeance.”

Villegas’ comments came just as President Rodrigo Duterte’s controversial drug war was reaching fever pitch. At that time, in mid-September, it was estimated 2,500 people had been killed since Duterte’s inauguration on June 30. Many of the low-level drug users or dealers were murdered in extrajudicial fashion, either by vigilante groups or the police. The death toll in the widely criticized campaign is now believed to be as high as 6,000.

The Philippines is one of the most Catholic countries in the world, with an estimated 86% of the population belonging to the Roman Catholic Church. But Duterte has arguably given the church hierarchy pause for thought, witnessed in its so far tepid opposition to his state-sponsored killing spree prosecuted in the name of law and order.

Catholic clergy have claimed they are fearful for their lives if they oppose the strongman president too forcefully, as they told Reuters in an extensive report published in October. Other church leaders say their reticence is in line with the will of their flocks.

“The church is moderating its criticism over the war on drugs because it knows that Duterte is still very popular. How can you go against an 86% approval rating?” said Aries Arugay, associate professor of political science at the University of the Philippines-Diliman, citing recent poll figures.


Members of Special Action Force guard the parade of the black statue of Jesus Christ during the annual Black Nazarene Catholic religious procession in Manila, Philippines, January 9, 2017. Photo: Reuters/Erik De Castro Special Action Force members monitor the annual Black Nazarene Catholic religious procession in Manila, Philippines, January 9, 2017. Photo: Reuters/Erik De Castro

But does the Catholic church have the authority or strength to go toe-to-toe with the president? Manuel Victor Sapitula, a sociology professor at the University of the Philippines-Diliman, told Asia Times that the church’s response to Duterte’s drug war lacks the “forcefulness that characterized the involvement of the Catholic church in social issues in the past.”

Catholicism has had a far-reaching influence on Philippine politics and society since Spanish colonizers introduced the religion in the 16th century.

CARDINAL SIN

The Catholic church and, in particular, the figure of Jaime Sin – best remembered by his ironical title, Cardinal Sin – was at the foreground of the fight against dictator Ferdinand Marcos. In 1986, it was indispensable to the “People Power” uprising that led to Marcos’ fall and the return of democracy. The church was also a prominent voice in the political protests that led to the peaceful overthrow of president Joseph Estrada in 2001, after he was accused of widespread corruption and embezzlement.

At the same time, the church lost some big battles in the 20th century. For instance, it failed in its opposition to the so-called Rizal Law, introduced in 1965, which mandated that all educational institutions teach courses on the celebrated Filipino writer and national independence hero José Rizal, whose writings often mocked the Catholic hierarchy.

But the clergy’s past influence as a source of moral authority over the country’s rough and tumble politics has waned over the last decade. The most visible example has been the debate over reproductive health and the Catholic church’s stubborn opposition to birth control despite a still high fertility rate.

Calls for a law to guarantee universal access to contraceptives, fertility control and sex education have been around for decades, but were stepped up in the early 2000s when a number of international aid organizations began to phase out their free contraceptives and fertility treatment programs across the country.

Despite popular demands for the government to introduce legislation, Catholic pressure on former president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, who served in the role from 2001 until 2010, helped to keep prospective bills out of the House of Representatives. In January 2011, however, congressman Edcel Lagman tabled a bill, informally known as the Reproductive Health (RH) bill, which was eventually enacted in December 2012.

Steven Shirley, author of Guided By God: The Legacy of the Catholic Church in Philippine Politics, told media in 2013 that the law’s enactment was “a sign that the Philippines is becoming globalized, that the younger generation is opening up to other ideas beyond the church.” He said the law’s supporters had “been able to shoot down centuries of Catholic doctrine with just one bill.”

Archbishop Ramón Cabrera Arguelles, then president of the CBCP, even described the government’s promotion of the legislation as an “open war” on the Catholic church. If there is an “open war” between the Catholic hierarchy and forces of modernity, then Duterte has sided forcefully with the latter. “It is Duterte and his government that clearly is the loudest voice of secularism or progressive social policy in the country so far,” said Arugay.

Duterte’s relationship with the Catholic church was fraught well before he assumed the presidency. He has claimed to have been sexually abused by a priest as a child, an alleged crime he says has shaped his view of the church. On the campaign trail, he called bishops “sons of whores” and threatened to expose clergy allegedly guilty of corruption, womanizing and sexual abuse. He has referred to himself in media reports as a “realist Christian.”

Since taking power Duterte has sustained previous president Benigno Aquino’s campaign for reproductive rights. This month, for example, he ordered government agencies to distribute free contraceptives to six million women, describing the provision as “pro-life, pro-women, pro-children, and pro-economic development.”

It remains unclear, however, whether the program can be legally implemented in light of a Supreme Court decision in 2015 that put a temporary restraining order on the Department of Health, prohibiting it from “procuring, selling, distributing, dispensing and administering, advertising, and promoting” contraceptives.

Despite their differences, Duterte and the Catholic church are fighting for the loyalty of the same masses, said Arugay. “Given their conflicting values and principles, it seems that Duterte has the advantage” for now, he said. “The question is: can a strong, larger than life, single person match the power of an entire social institution [which] has occupied an eminent place in the country’s political landscape?”

While the suggestion that political Catholicism is dead, or dying, in the Philippines may be premature, the clergy is certainly on a back foot. If Duterte eventually becomes unpopular, as academic Arugay suggests, then the church would likely step up its moral opposition against his alleged abuses. “Institutions outlast personalities and the church is one of the most enduring institutions in the country,” said Arugay. “It might be dormant or in retreat, but its not completely out of the political arena.”


MANILA BULLETIN

Aguirre assures Digong won’t declare martial law 8 SHARES Share it! Published January 17, 2017, 12:08 AM by Rey G. Panaligan and Genalyn D. Kabiling

Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II assured yesterday that President Duterte has no plans to declare martial law reiterating that “the President loathed martial law declaration.”

In a speech before members of the Davao City Chamber of Commerce, the President declared he was prepared to declare martial law if the country’s situation “deteriorates into something really virulent” and no one can stop him from exercising such power if only “to preserve my nation.”

Duterte said the “right to preserve one’s life and my nation, my country transcends everything else even the limitation.”

READ MORE...

The President is allowed to declare martial law under Section 18, Article VII of the 1987 Constitution only under three circumstances – invasion, rebellion or when public safety requires it – but subject to confirmation by Congress and review of the Supreme Court.

Aguirre said the President is firm in his belief that the martial law imposed from 1972 to 1981 did not improve the lives of the Filipino people and his statement last Saturday was merely taken out of context.

“It was just an expression of anger from the President. He was exasperated by the continuous illegal drug operations in the country despite intensified efforts by the government,” the secretary explained.

He pointed out that the President’s remarks were “understandable” and urged the media and the public “not to make a fuss” about it anymore.

“The public and the media should not be surprised and rather be already accustomed to this mindset of the President,” he said.

ABHORS ABUSE

While the President may have raised the scepter of martial rule, Chief presidential legal counsel Salvador Panelo allayed concerns of possible abuses, including a term extension for President Duterte.

“Let’s remember that President Duterte is very out of character to be abusive. In fact, that’s the basis of his service as mayor and President. He really abhors abuses,” Panelo added.

“He is telling us the reality on the ground. If it becomes virulent at medyo talagang kailangan na kailangan na, then it is his duty – constitutional duty to declare martial law,” he said. “And you must remember that the very reason precisely by the framers of the Constitution in putting that emergency power is to preserve our country from chaos,” Panelo added.

Meanwhile, Presidential Communications Secretary Martin Andandar scored media agencies for “misreporting” the President’s martial law statement that tend to create panic and confusion.

Andanar said the President was prepared to declare martial law “only under the premise that the country has deteriorated into an utter state of rebellion and lawlessness.”

“As President, he recognizes the challenges and limitations set by our Constitution in declaring martial law but he would nonetheless act accordingly if it warrants the preservation of the nation,” he said.


MANILA STANDARD

Martial law ‘baseless’: Solons in uproar over Duterte’s renewed threat posted January 16, 2017 at 10:01 pm by Macon Ramos-Araneta and Maricel V. Cruz


President Rodrigo Duterte MALACANANG PPDking

THERE is no basis for declaring martial law, senators said Monday, with one comparing President Rodrigo Duterte’s threats to impose military rule to “a dog that always barks but seldom bites.”

“We should know by now that such theatrical bombast is part of the President’s oratorical repertoire,” said Senate Minority Leader Ralph Recto, who was reacting to Duterte’s declaration Saturday night that if he wanted to declare martial law, nobody could stop him.

That threat, Recto said, should be filed under Duterte’s outlandish threats, like riding a jet ski to the Spratlys or feeding the fish of Manila Bay with the bodies of criminals.

READ MORE...

Senate President Pro-Tempore Franklin Drilon cautioned the administration against making such statements.

“We call on the administration to exercise prudence in making public statements that are very disturbing and could create undue fear and tension,” Drilon said.

In his speech Saturday night, the President said: “I have to protect the Filipino people. It’s my duty. And I tell you now, if I have to declare martial law, I will declare it. Not about invasion, insurrection, not about danger. I will declare martial law to preserve my nation, period. I don’t care about the Supreme Court. Because the right to preserve one’s life, and my nation, my country, transcends everything else, even the limitations.”

But Drilon said the Constitution only allows the declaration of martial law when there is actual invasion or rebellion and when public safety requires it. These two requisites must be present, he said.

Drilon also chided the President’s communications team for accusing the media of misreporting the President’s remarks.

“The way I see it, the news reports were devoid of any interpretation by the media,” he said, adding that the reports were based on the President’s speech and the statements were quoted verbatim.

“We should not blame the press for reporting what the President said,” Drilon said.

A clarification from the Palace, he said, would have been unnecessary if prudence was exercised in the first place.

“The truth is, mere talk of martial law is enough to send chills to the spine of any Filipino. Therefore, it is something that should not be taken lightly,” said Drilon, noting that a recent Pulse Asia survey showed that 74 percent of Filipinos are against the imposition of military rule.

Recto said neither of the requisites for martial law—an actual invasion or rebellion—exists.

“And as the President himself likes to brag, crime is down and the people are safe in their homes and communities,” he added.

Recto said the real enemies of the people–joblessness, hunger and poor social services—cannot be suppressed by the Armed Forces.

He also rejected the assertion of the President that the declaration of martial law is a unilateral act of the chief executive. He insisted that this claim has no legal basis.

He said the Constitution, which the President had sworn to uphold in his oath of office, empowers Congress to revoke it.

“It is also subject to Supreme Court review, and if to last more than 60 days, to congressional concurrence.”

He described martial law a cure worse than the perceived disease. “At a time when we project stability to reel in tourists and investors, a martial law declaration will show the opposite,” he said.

“The problems we face today do not require the calling in of the army. We do not burn the house down to kill a few rats.”

Senator Antonio Trillanes IV, a staunch critic of Duterte, said all freedom-loving Filipinos should be prepared to fight another dictator. He said soldiers should also start reviewing their constitutional mandate.

Senator Francis Pangilinan warned of further divisiveness if martial law is imposed. He said this would not provide a solution, but rather, would add to the existing problems.

“People despised martial law and the ousted dictator. The country would further be divided if they insist on martial law,” said the senator, who is president of the Liberal Party.

“What the people are looking for are solutions to the increase in prices of basic commodities, additional wages and job and not dictatorship or martial rule,” he added.

Senator Paolo Benigno Aquino IV said Duterte’s vacillating statements on martial law create uncertainty and fear among Filipinos.

Just last month, Duterte declared that placing the country under martial law was far from his mind, adding that Filipino lives did not improve under military rule during the Marcos regime.

Before that, he said he wanted to amend the Constitution to make it easier for the President to declare martial law, without having to answer to Congress or the Supreme Court.


KOKO - NO CAUSE FOR WORRY

Senate President Aquilino Pimentel III, a key Duterte ally, said the President would not declare martial law without consulting various stakeholders.

“Don’t worry about a martial law declaration. I’m sure the President would make a lot of consultations before doing that. And he will be reminded about the constitutional provisions about martial law,” Pimentel said.

In the House of Representatives, Duterte’s allies defended his pronouncement, while the opposition urged him to stop making such threats.

SOLONS

“President Duterte has to stop making threats about declaring martial law,” said Akbayan party-list Rep. Tom Villarin.

Villarin, a member of the opposition, said Duterte’s “virulent drug problem” would never be a justification for declaring martial law.

“What drives him to repeatedly raise that threat?” Villarin asked.

“Surveys show our people reject martial law. People are saying that poverty is the main problem not drugs. The police are saying they have been successful in the war against drugs. Business groups want political stability and not martial law for our economy to improve. The Mindanao and Bangsamoro concern is for a just and lasting peace. So, is the President saying that all of them are wrong?” Villarin added.

Reps. Robert Ace Barbers of Surigao del Norte and Fred Castro of Capiz said Congress will exercise its power to review the declaration of martial law if the President declares it.

“The President was right when he said no one can stop him from declaring martial law anytime he wishes to declare it. But the declaration on martial law will be reviewed thoroughly by Congress to find out if such a declaration has basis and is in accordance with the Constitution,” Castro, a House deputy speaker, said.

Castro stressed that martial law is only effective within 60 days after its declaration, and that only Congress has the power to extend the duration.

But Barbers said he supported martial law because he knows the President will not abuse his powers.

He added that if Duterte declares martial law, it would be “for the good of the country and our people.”

Oriental Mindoro Rep. Reynaldo Umali, who jumped from the Liberal Party to the President’s PDP-Laban after Duterte won the election, said the definition of “rebellion” might be “stretched” to include the war on drugs.

“This is probably something that the committee on dangerous drugs... should look into: how far has this drug problem gone. Whether this has escalated into a level where this is something that even government now is unable to handle,” Umali told reporters at a news conference.

“And so if that is the case, we may be able to stretch the definition of rebellion when these members of drug syndicates are already effectively rebelling on government to the point that it has already taken over some of the government machineries,” Umali added.

 “Loathed martial law”

Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II said Duterte won’t declare martial law because he is actually against it.

“It was just an expression of anger from the President. He was exasperated by the continuous illegal drug operations in the country despite intensified efforts by the government,” Aguirre said in a text message.

The Justice secretary said the remarks were “understandable” and urged the media and the public not to “make a fuss” about it anymore.

“The public and the media should not be surprised and rather be already accustomed to this mindset of the President,” he said.

He added that Duterte “loathed martial law” because it did not improve people’s lives under Marcos.

MISREPORTING

Earlier, Communications Secretary Martin Andanar attacked the press for “misreporting” the President’s remarks to “sow panic and confusion.”

The National Union of Journalists of the Philippines quickly slammed Andanar for his “utterly dishonest tack” of blaming the media for the President’s statements.

“We do understand the difficulty of trying to decipher your principal’s words preserved on video, including footage from your own RTVM. But we admit being in awe of such loyalty and dedication as yours, which would not hesitate to denounce even your very own outfit—RTVM—for engaging in what you call ‘the height of journalistic irresponsibility’ by accurately recording his message,” the NUJP said in a statement directly addressing Andanar.

NUJP said it was not the press, but Duterte himself who was sowing panic.

Philippine National Police chief Ronald dela Rosa said they would support the President if he declares martial law.

“By all means, we will support the President if he declares it, but I doubt if he will declare it. He said that maybe because of frustration over the situation,” Dela Rosa said in a briefing.

An Armed Forces spokesman said the military is reluctant to recommend any kind of martial rule. With Sandy Araneta, Rey E. Requejo and Francisco Tuyay


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