MANILA, JULY 19, 2011 (STAR) By Aurea Calica - President Aquino disclosed yesterday that he had parted ways with his Porsche, not because it was seen as a reason for his declining ratings but because it became a security nightmare.

“It was putting an unnecessary risk for the people who are guarding me,” the President said, referring to the Presidential Security Group (PSG).

He said he sold the car because “you (media) over-exposed it.”

The President purchased the white luxury car last year after selling his dark blue BMW.

Asked if it was true that he had sold his Porsche, the President said “yes” and admitted that the decision was “a bit difficult.”

“So it was like an advertisement that hey, I am here. I am most vulnerable here so I just relegated it to the garage and it would deteriorate if it’s not used. So it’s like it was time to let somebody experience it also,” the President said in an ambush interview at the Department of Foreign Affairs, which celebrated its 113th anniversary yesterday.

Aquino said “I sold it for exactly the same price that I bought it for” and refused to take any further questions.

“I hope that’s the last question on the car that is no longer in my possession,” he said.

Asked if he missed having it, the President replied: “I think I’ve answered enough questions on the car. Anything of more substance?”

PSG chief Col. Ramon Mateo Dizon said he had not seen the car for about “three weeks to a month now.”

“He already let go of it,” Dizon said, but refused to give other details on the car’s sale.

The President, when teased about giving a blowout for having sold an expensive car, said: “Walang kinita (No profit).”


Philippine leader: Graft-tainted projects stopped By AP News Jun 12, 2011 10:45AM

KAWIT, Philippines (AP) — Philippine President Benigno Aquino III says his government has stopped several graft-tainted projects and cut bureaucratic perks, allowing it to raise extra money to feed the poor, equip combat troops and improve the country’s image among investors.

Aquino acknowledged in an Independence Day speech Sunday that the impoverished nation still has formidable problems despite initial gains in his anti-corruption battle.

He said the problems include shortages of jobs, schools, doctors and hospitals and dependence on imported rice.

Aquino said Filipinos remain mired in social ills like poverty because they have failed to eradicate government corruption.

Philippine leader: no hero’s burial for dictator By AP News Jun 18, 2011 4:38AM UTC

MANILA, Philippines (AP) — President Benigno Aquino III on Friday ruled out a burial for dictator Ferdinand Marcos at the national heroes’ cemetery in Manila. “Not during my watch,” he said.

Aquino told The Associated Press in an interview that he was finalizing a decision on his vice president’s proposal to bury the strongman with military honors in his northern Philippine hometown, but that burial in the capital was out of the question.

Marcos’ widow, Imelda, has long pushed for the burial of her husband in the heroes’ cemetery, which is reserved for presidents, soldiers, statesmen and national artists. She is opposed by pro-democracy and left-wing groups, which say the late dictator committed massive human rights violations and plundered the nation’s coffers during his two-decade rule.

Marcos was ousted in a 1986 “people power” revolt led by current President Benigno Aquino III’s late mother, Corazon Aquino. Marcos died three years later in exile in Hawaii. His body was returned in 1993 to his northern Philippine hometown of Batac in Ilocos Norte province, where it has been displayed in a glass coffin and has become a tourist attraction.

Even 25 years after his downfall, Marcos is a divisive figure in the Philippines. Aquino has refused to decide alone where he should be buried, saying he would naturally be biased, so he asked Vice President Jejomar Binay to study the issue.

“I wanted to be fair to all parties concerned, to those who think Marcos is a great individual, to those who think Marcos is the worst evil (that) visited our country,” he said.

Aquino confirmed earlier news reports that Binay recommended that Marcos be buried with military honors in Ilocos Norte.

Aquino said it would be “very difficult” to allow Marcos to be buried with military honors, “but again, we have to be a leader of the entire nation.”

Officials were trying to verify if military honors were already accorded to Marcos after his remains were flown back to his hometown of Batac in 1993. If that was the case, “then the only remaining act that has to be done is the actual burial in Ilocos Norte,” Aquino said.

Aquino noted the large number of human rights victims, including some of his own close friends, who suffered under Marcos. He said a friend who was tortured during Marcos’ reign only recently acknowledged to him that she was raped by several people in detention.

The victims have never even received an official acknowledgment of their suffering or an apology from the government, Aquino said.

Aquino said he plans to commission a group to interview the victims so their ordeals could be stored in historical records “with the end in view of making sure that these don’t happen again.”

Marcos is reviled by many, including thousands of former political prisoners, and his alleged plundering of the economy remains the subject of protracted litigation. But he still enjoys a degree of popularity — particularly in Ilocos Norte, where his family holds significant political power.

Imelda Marcos won a congressional seat representing Ilocos Norte last year. A daughter was elected provincial governor and a son won a Senate seat — the post his father held before being elected president in 1965.

A survey by the independent Social Weather Stations in March showed that Filipinos are almost evenly divided over whether Marcos should be buried at the heroes’ cemetery. A majority of members of the House of Representatives have backed a resolution urging Aquino to allow it, extolling the late president as a patriot who built the country’s modern foundations with his infrastructure projects.

The Makati Business Club, a group of top business executives, blasted the resolution, saying it was “a gross distortion of the late dictator’s true legacy of autocracy, ruined democratic institutions, violent political repression, unprecedented wholesale corruption, shameless nepotism, crony capitalism.”

While he wanted to put an end to the long-hanging issue, Aquino said he was concerned Marcos’s burial might open old wounds.

“It really is difficult that instead of moving us closer to having a closure, it really might just revive all of the pain, the anguish and, shall we say, the thirst for justice,” Aquino said.

 Philippine leader vows punishment in graft scandal By AP News Mar 07, 2011 12:02PM UTC

MANILA, Philippines (AP) — President Benigno Aquino III vowed Sunday to punish officers linked to a high-profile corruption scandal and ordered a new military chief to make reforms aimed at halting large-scale graft in one of Asia’s weakest militaries.

Aquino used a speech at a graduation ceremony at the prestigious Philippine Military Academy — traditionally focused on anti-insurgency and national security issues — to admonish the 196 graduating cadets to resist graft.

“I hope you can say ‘no’ when somebody dumps a truckload of money in front of you,” Aquino said to loud applause at the academy, patterned after the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. “You’re here not to get rich.”

Corruption, long entrenched in Philippine society, is an especially explosive issue in the ill-equipped and poorly paid 126,000-strong military and has sparked several insurrections by disgruntled troops in the last two decades. Soldiers have been struggling with a dearth of weapons while battling communist and Muslim rebels and al-Qaida-linked extremists.

A new scandal broke out in January when a former military budget officer testified before the Philippine Senate that at least three retired military chiefs of staff pocketed huge amounts of money siphoned off from budgets for troop salaries, weapons, intelligence and a military hospital.

One of the accused, Gen. Angelo Reyes, denied the allegation but committed suicide at his mother’s grave last month as the Senate investigation continued.

Aquino, who won a landslide election victory last year on a promise to battle corruption and poverty, told the cadets at the academy in northern Baguio city that corruption flourished in the past because it was tolerated.

Aquino said some officers openly enjoyed lavish lifestyles, splurging on foreign trips with their wives.

“We’ll have these robbers and their cohorts pay for their crimes,” he said. “Nobody will be spared.”

Aquino said his anti-corruption campaign has raised funds that allowed the government to finance 20,000 low-cost houses for soldiers and police officers this year.

He also announced that retiring military chief of staff Gen. Ricardo David Jr. will be succeeded this week by Eduardo Oban Jr., a three-star air force general without extensive combat experience but whose name has not been tainted by graft scandals.

Aquino ordered Oban to press on with reforms aimed at curbing graft, promoting human rights and bolstering talks with insurgents.

Leading a military hounded by corruption controversies “is a big challenge,” said Oban, who assumes his post Monday.

Oban told the ABS-CBN TV network that he would review the handling of the military’s finances, including procurement.

Philippine leader’s Porsche buy revs up criticism By AP News Jan 14, 2011 6:47PM UTC

MANILA, Philippines (AP) — A third-hand used car isn’t likely to raise eyebrows on Philippine streets — unless it’s a Porsche just bought by President Benigno Aquino III.

The 50-year-old president elected last year promising to fight corruption and poverty said he bought the 2007 car with his own money and sees nothing wrong.

Some commentators worry it’s sending the wrong message after he criticized the lifestyle of his predecessor. A third of Filipinos live on a dollar a day.

Aquino’s spokesman Edwin Lacierda said Aquino paid 4.5 million pesos ($102,000) and sold his BMW.

Aquino told reporters his reflexes may not be the same in 10 years, and “I will not play video games just to have that same experience.”

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The AQUINO PROMISES TRACKER aims to monitor the promises made by President Benigno Aquino III to the Filipino nation. collected dozens of promises, in topics ranging from taxes to textbooks. The majority of these promises came from Aquino's 10-point agenda, which he outlined during his campaign. Other promises are from his statements during the campaign and during his first days in office. If a new promise is made, it will be included in this site.

The Aquino administration's action on each promise is rated by in two levels: first, if the promise is being acted upon, and then, once finished, if the promise is kept, broken, or a compromise is reached. The status of the promises will be updated regularly.

Comments? Suggestions? Think we missed out on a promise Aquino made? Need more information? Read the Frequently Asked Questions at the About page. GO TO

The promises of Benigno Simeon C. Aquino III FROM CITIZEN MEDIA BLOGWATCH

Promises made by Noynoy Aquino from the time he was running as a candidate to the time of his oath taking as 15th president of the Republic of the Philippines was compiled by ang_mungo.

The fact that these all came from his own mouth makes it better than those put together by his staff. As of June 27, 2010, there are 24 promises. If you know of a promise that is not included here and have the appropriate reference, you can also email so that we can add it.

Blog Watch is a citizen journalism site. We are composed of independent-minded bloggers and social media users that leverage new technology tools to advocate social change and serve as citizens’ watchdog for transparency and good governance. URL:  citizen media Blog Watch


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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