Friday, September 25, 2009

Palace would abide by Comelec ruling on merged party

The administration is ready for the possibility that the Commission on Elections (Comelec) would reject the application for accreditation of the merged Lakas-Kampi-CMD.


The administration is ready for the possibility that the Commission on Elections (Comelec) would reject the application for accreditation of the merged Lakas-Kampi-CMD.

Cabinet Secretary Silvestre Bello III, also an official of Lakas-Kampi-CMD, said yesterday if the Comelec rejects the ruling party’s application, Lakas-Christian Muslim Democrats and the Kabalikat ng Malayang Pilipino (Kampi) “will go back to their individual identities.”

“In that situation, probably what they (Lakas-CMD and Kampi) can do is to coalesce,” Bello said.

The two parties merged last May but Pangasinan Rep. Jose de Venecia Jr. and former President Fidel Ramos opposed the merger.

De Venecia also filed a petition before the poll body asking it to declare the merger null and void and illegal.

Bello said such an adverse ruling would not break up the parties into factions.

He pointed out that the two parties are both headed by President Arroyo “and both parties support the President.”

“So the effort is just to merge (and) put these two parties into one political identity and nobody can prevent us from merging. The possible problem is our accreditation by Comelec as the dominant political party,” Bello said.

Source - Philstar.com
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Noynoy top choice among congressmen


Sen. Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III, Liberal Party standard-bearer in next year’s elections, has emerged as the top choice for the presidency among members of the House of Representatives.

Cebu City Rep. Antonio Cuenco told a news forum in Quezon City yesterday that in an “informal survey” he conducted among his colleagues, about 100 prefer Aquino, 50 are inclined to support Defense Secretary Gilbert Teodoro Jr. and another 50 would go for Sen. Manuel Villar Jr.


Sen. Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III, Liberal Party standard-bearer in next year’s elections, has emerged as the top choice for the presidency among members of the House of Representatives.

Cebu City Rep. Antonio Cuenco told a news forum in Quezon City yesterday that in an “informal survey” he conducted among his colleagues, about 100 prefer Aquino, 50 are inclined to support Defense Secretary Gilbert Teodoro Jr. and another 50 would go for Sen. Manuel Villar Jr.

Teodoro is the anointed presidential candidate of the ruling Lakas-Kampi which dominates the House, while Villar is candidate of the Nacionalista Party, which he heads.

Zamboanga del Sur Rep. Antonio Cerilles, who belongs to the Nationalist People’s Coalition (NPC), said their candidate, Sen. Francis Escudero, was not in Cuenco’s list “because Chiz has yet to declare his candidacy.”

NPC has more than 25 congressmen-members. It is scheduled to announce next month who between Escudero and Sen. Loren Legarda would be its presidential standard-bearer.

Another forum guest, former Surigao del Sur Rep. Prospero Pichay Jr., said Metro Manila Development Authority chairman Bayani Fernando, who lost the ruling party’s presidential nomination to Teodoro, is still in the running.

Pichay, who sits in the Lakas-Kampi executive committee, said the ruling party is considering Fernando as Teodoro’s running mate.

“He is one of those being considered. I think that once he comes out of meditation, he will join the fray in the selection of our vice presidential candidate,” he said.

Pichay said another politician being considered as Teodoro’s running mate is Batangas Gov. Vilma Santos.

“The vice presidential slot is till up for grabs,” he said.

Last week, the Lakas-Kampi national executive committee voted overwhelmingly for the defense chief as the party’s standard bearer. Fernando obtained only five votes out of the more than 60 members of the panel.

Shortly after the embarrassing outcome of the vote, Fernando said he would study his options but that sliding down to the VP slot was not one of them.

The executive committee also expressed preference for Interior Secretary Ronaldo Puno as the defense chief’s vice presidential running mate.

Teodoro said Puno is acceptable to him if the ruling party eventually nominates him.

Soon after, some Lakas leaders floated the name of governor-actress Vilma Santos as a possible running mate of Teodoro.

However, Santos said she is more interested in seeking another term as Batangas governor than aspiring for higher office.

On Puno’s part, he said he would respect his party’s decision.

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Teodoro wants review after polls


- Defense Secretary Gilbert Teodoro Jr. branded yesterday as ill-timed any move to renegotiate or abrogate the RP-US Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) due to the prevailing political season.

Teodoro, who is expected to be the presidential candidate of the ruling Lakas-Kampi-CMD in the 2010 elections, said he does not favor the renegotiation or abrogation of the VFA, but he supports a thorough study or review of the agreement after the elections.



- Defense Secretary Gilbert Teodoro Jr. branded yesterday as ill-timed any move to renegotiate or abrogate the RP-US Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) due to the prevailing political season.

Teodoro, who is expected to be the presidential candidate of the ruling Lakas-Kampi-CMD in the 2010 elections, said he does not favor the renegotiation or abrogation of the VFA, but he supports a thorough study or review of the agreement after the elections.

“We should conduct a thorough study (of the VFA) after the political season is over,” Teodoro said in an interview yesterday at the Mandarin Oriental hotel in Makati where he was among the key speakers in the two-day Public Governance Forum (PGF) attended by municipal and city mayors and business leaders that included Jesus Estanislao, chairman of the Institute for Solidarity in Asia (ISA).

Teodoro was reacting to the approval on second reading of Senate Resolution No. 1356 authored by Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago the other night that urged Malacañang to abrogate the VFA if the Americans would object to a renegotiation of the accord.

Santiago cited several grounds why the accord should be renegotiated or terminated, among them the shabby treatment the country gets from the US despite being an ally, and only hand-me-downs or excess defense equipment that are being provided to the Philippine military.

“If it (review of VFA) will be done now, emotions and politics will get in the way,” Teodoro said.

Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) deputy chief for operations Maj. Gen. Carlos Holganza said that under the VFA, a number of soldiers’ lives were saved in Sulu and Basilan because of the intelligence assistance provided by US troops.

At least 600 US troops are deployed in the country, mostly in Mindanao, as part of the VFA.

Teodoro said that the US government is providing the local military with the right equipment it can operate and maintain.

“We accept defense equipment based on our needs and also in our capability to handle and maintain these military equipment the right way,” Teodoro pointed out.

He said that the benefits the country gets out of the VFA, especially the military, far outweigh the disadvantages.

Meanwhile, there were military plans to acquire modern equipment from the US or other allies countries but budgetary constraints have hampered the procurement program.

“We can purchase modern aircraft or helicopter gunships, why not? But the question is, with our modest military budget can we maintain these modern aircraft in top shape? Maintaining these aircraft is very costly,” a senior military official said.

Teodoro said that the military is far behind compared to other Asian countries due to the low defense budget.


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Gays seek party-list accreditation anew

- The gay rights group Ang Ladlad has come out of the closet once again to seek recognition as a legitimate party-list organization by the Commission on Elections (Comelec).

The group led by Danton Remoto filed a petition before the Comelec yesterday, urging the poll body to allow them to participate in the 2010 elections.



- The gay rights group Ang Ladlad has come out of the closet once again to seek recognition as a legitimate party-list organization by the Commission on Elections (Comelec).

The group led by Danton Remoto filed a petition before the Comelec yesterday, urging the poll body to allow them to participate in the 2010 elections.

Remoto said their group represents gays, lesbians, bisexuals and transgenders that account for 10 percent of the total 43.5 million registered voters nationwide.

The group sought anew to be recognized as a party-list organization, two years after the Comelec junked their petition for accreditation citing the failure to comply with the legal requirements of national membership.

Remoto this time argued that Ang Ladlad has sufficient membership to mount a national campaign.

He insisted their advocacy to promote gay rights is legitimate and thus they should be allowed to participate in next year’s elections.

Remoto said the reason why they formed Ang Ladlad in September 2003 is to reclaim the lost rights of gays and lesbians because of public discrimination against them.

Remoto is hoping to secure a seat in Congress and file a measure to seek equal opportunities for gays and lesbians.

Remoto is also pushing for the repeal of the Anti-Vagrancy Law, which he said is commonly used by unscrupulous policemen for extortion of gays.

A group claiming to represent workers in the showbiz and media industry also sought accreditation before the Comelec.

The Alyansang ng Media at Showbiz (AMS) said they would champion the welfare and rights of the workers from showbiz and media who have been neglected by the government.

AMS president Rolly Gonzalo said writers, editors, cameramen, photographers, production assistants, technical crew, and other employees of the broadcast and print media are included in their group.

Gonzalo said AMS would ensure that workers from the entertainment and media industry would get the proper benefits and privileges.

Source - Philstar.com

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LP vs NP word war heats up

Stalwarts of the Liberal Party (LP) and the Nacionalista Party (NP) accused each other Thursday of being inconsistent in their stands against the Arroyo administration amid their presidential bets' close rivalry in public opinion polls.

At the weekly Serye press conference in Quezon City, NP leader Iloilo Vice Governor Rolex Suplico said LP members are "sleeping with the enemy" by claiming to be part of the opposition when some of them, like the LP bloc in the House of Representatives, are coalesced with the administration.


Stalwarts of the Liberal Party (LP) and the Nacionalista Party (NP) accused each other Thursday of being inconsistent in their stands against the Arroyo administration amid their presidential bets' close rivalry in public opinion polls.

At the weekly Serye press conference in Quezon City, NP leader Iloilo Vice Governor Rolex Suplico said LP members are "sleeping with the enemy" by claiming to be part of the opposition when some of them, like the LP bloc in the House of Representatives, are coalesced with the administration.

"The Liberal Party is a party of collaborators," Suplico said.

He noted that even though LP chairman emeritus and former Senate President Jovito Salonga led the filing of the impeachment complaint against Ombudsman Ma. Merceditas Gutierrez, only one LP member, Quezon Rep. Lorenzo “Erin" Tañada III, endorsed the complaint. Gutierrez was a batchmate of First Gentleman Jose Miguel Arroyo at the Ateneo Law School.

"I challenge the Liberal Party to break away and join the opposition...You have to walk the talk," Suplico said.

But Tañada said Suplico should "look at his own party" first before slinging mud at the LP, adding that the LP came up with a firm stance in past impeachment complaints against President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo.

He also said that Salonga's initiative against Gutierrez was done in his capacity as a leader of Kilosbayan, a non-government organization, and not necessarily as one of the LP's heads.

"It's hard to say we are sleeping with the enemy. You should look at the mirror," Tañada said in an interview with reporters.

The LP and the NP are the country's two oldest political parties that composed what was then considered as the pre-martial law two-party system, until martial law resulted in their fragmentation.

Both parties gradually reorganized and regained strength especially after the 1986 EDSA revolt.

The LP recently named Senator Benigno Simeon "Noynoy" Aquino III as its standard bearer, while the NP is set to field Senator Manuel Villar Jr. Both have topped recent surveys on preferred presidential candidates.
Source - GMANews.Tv

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Resign too, Binay urges pro-Gibo cabinet members

Cabinet members who openly declared support for President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo's choice must also resign, if they want colleagues supporting other presidential bets to do the same.

United Opposition president and Makati City Mayor Jejomar Binay warned Thursday that those openly supporting Lakas-Kampi-CMD standard bearer Defense Secretary Gilberto Teodoro Jr. may use government resources for his campaign.



Cabinet members who openly declared support for President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo's choice must also resign, if they want colleagues supporting other presidential bets to do the same.

United Opposition president and Makati City Mayor Jejomar Binay warned Thursday that those openly supporting Lakas-Kampi-CMD standard bearer Defense Secretary Gilberto Teodoro Jr. may use government resources for his campaign.

“If Malacañang wants to show a professional Cabinet and a professional bureaucracy that is focused only on their work, then it should also ask for the resignation of those who will support administration candidates," he said.

“We will be looking at a possible replay of 2004, when everything – from fertilizer funds to road user’s tax – were utilized for the presidential campaign of Mrs. Arroyo," he added.

He also reminded Cabinet members that while they are alter egos of Mrs. Arroyo, this applies only to policy and "not necessarily politics."

Earlier, Palace officials asked Foreign Affairs Secretary Alberto Romulo to resign after he said he was supporting Senator Benigno Simeon “Noynoy" Aquino III, the Liberal Party's standard bearer.

But on Thursday, the chairpersons of the Senate and House committees on foreign affairs defended Romulo, whom they described as a well-respected government official.

“We would be deprived of an expertise of a person who is already an established name in international relations," said Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago in an interview with Senate reporters.

Cebu City Rep. Antonio Cuenco meanwhile said during the weekly Serye forum in Quezon City that he does not "blame" Romulo if the latter "opens his heart out to Noynoy Aquino."

"I rely on his sound judgment," said Cuenco, adding that there is a "difference" between expressing one's personal sentiments and making an official position.

Santiago said there should be no loyalty checks for Cabinet members because they are supposed to be appointed by the President on the basis of their competence.

She added that it is too late to replace Romulo because he has all the expertise as he had been in the job for almost six years.

“A new appointee will have to take at least six months to learn what the job is and by that time the elections have already rolled around. That (resignation) would simply be pointless," Santiago said.

“So, as chairman of the committee on foreign relations, I respectfully propose that Secretary Romulo should stay as Secretary of Foreign Affairs and be allowed to exercise his freedom of conscience," she added.

Romulo has said he has no plans of quitting his post.
Source - Gmanews.tv

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PEP: Kris says Marian will endorse Noynoy’s candidacy

Ang itinuturing na "Primetime Queen" ng GMA-7 na si Marian Rivera ang latest celebrity na nagpahayag ng suporta sa kandidatura ni Sen. Noynoy Aquino bilang pangulo sa 2010 elections.

Sa pakikipagusap ng PEP (Philippine Entertainment Portal) editor-in- chief na si Ms. Jo-Ann Maglipon kay Kris Aquino dakong 5:30 pm nitong Huwebes (Sept 24), nabanggit ng bunsong kapatid ni Noynoy ang pagbu-volunteer mismo ni Marian para i-endorse ang senador.


Ang itinuturing na "Primetime Queen" ng GMA-7 na si Marian Rivera ang latest celebrity na nagpahayag ng suporta sa kandidatura ni Sen. Noynoy Aquino bilang pangulo sa 2010 elections.

Sa pakikipagusap ng PEP (Philippine Entertainment Portal) editor-in- chief na si Ms. Jo-Ann Maglipon kay Kris Aquino dakong 5:30 pm nitong Huwebes (Sept 24), nabanggit ng bunsong kapatid ni Noynoy ang pagbu-volunteer mismo ni Marian para i-endorse ang senador.

Ayon kay Kris, ang plano talaga niya ay kunin ang top stars ng GMA-7 at ABS-CBN upang tumulong sa kampanya ni Noynoy. Kaya kinausap niya ang kaibigan niyang talent manager na si Popoy Caritativo upang alamin kung susuportahan ng alaga nitong si Marian si Noynoy.

Eleven years nang magkaibigan sina Kris at Popoy.

Ang sabi raw ni Popoy kay Kris: "You know, hindi ko prinesyur at all si Marian. Hindi ko binanggit yung idea kung puwede siyang mag-endorse kay Noynoy."

Si Marian daw mismo ang nagsabi kay Popoy nito: "Popoy, kay Noynoy tayo, ha. Dito tayo kay Noynoy... Kuya Noynoy ko na rin 'yan, dun tayo pupunta."

Personal conviction daw ito ni Marian at hindi na siya kailangang tanungin.

Sabi pa raw ng Darna star, "Hindi lang dahil kay Ate Kris kaya ko ginagawa ito. Dahil din ito sa nanay niya [former President Cory Aquino]. Kasi naniniwala talaga kami kay Cory."

Gusto pa sanang imbitahan ni Kris si Marian sa isang dinner upang ipaliwanag ang plataporma ni Noynoy para makumbinsi siyang i-endorse ang kandidatura ng kapatid. Pero sabi naman ni Popoy kay Kris, "Hindi na kailangan ang dinner. Dapat pa nga, kami ang mag-treat sa inyo ni Marian. Kasi sa pagka-busy n'yo na, hayaan n'yo na."

Tuwang-tuwa naman si Kris nang malaman niya ito dahil si Marian nga naman ang itinuturing na pinakamalaking female star ngayon ng Kapuso network.

"This is really genuine friendship, hindi ba?" ani Kris. "You know that si Marian, when she's on your side, she's really on your side. Biro mo, yung millions na tinanggihan niya. Kasi, mga dalawa na ang lumapit na gustong maging presidente kay Marian. Tapos ang sabi nga nila, 'Hindi, we are all really committed to another candidate.'"

Hindi na binanggit ni Kris kung sino ang dalawang pulitiko na lumapit kay Marian, pero madali nang hulaan kung sino ang mga ito dahil iilan pa lang naman ang nag-anunsiyo na tatakbo sila bilang presidente.

Kris is very touched dahil hindi pa man siya nagsasabi ay nagpahayag na agad si Marian na susuportahan niya ang kampanya ni Noynoy sa susunod na eleksiyon.

Samantala, napag-alaman ng PEP na nakatakdang magkaroon ng dinner sina Kris, Noynoy, at ang iba pa nilang mga kapatid na sina Ballsy, Pinky, at Viel, kasama ang top stars naman ng Star Magic.

Sa magaganap na dinner, bahala na raw si Noynoy magpaliwanag sa ABS-CBN stars kung ano ang stand niya at kung ano ang gagawin niya para sa bansa.

Ang iba raw sa kanila kasi ay gusto nang mag-commit, pero yung iba ay gusto munang malaman kung ano nga ba ang plataporma o ano ang stand ni Noynoy sa ilang partikular issues. Ilan sa kanila ay sina Piolo Pascual, na gustong malaman ang tungkol sa moral ascendancy ni Noynoy, at Diether Ocampo, na gusto namang malaman ang gagawin ni Noynoy para sa mga kabataan.

Marami raw mga tanong ang mga stars na ito na nagpapatunay na hindi lang emotional decision ang kanilang gagawing pagsuporta kung saka-sakali. Bagamat malinaw rin naman na marami ring emotional decisions na involved dito dahil kaibigan nga nila si Kris. Pero higit pa rito, naniniwala raw sila kay dating President Cory Aquino.

DINGDONG DANTES. Ilang araw lamang ang nakalilipas pagkatapos ideklara ni Noynoy ang kanyang desisyon na tumakbo bilang pangulo ng Pilipinas, nabanggit na ni Kris ang kagustuhan ng kanilang pamilya na kunin si Dingdong Dantes upang maging youth spokesperson sa kampanya ni Noynoy.

Bagamat nagpahayag na si Dingdong na malaking karangalan ang pagpili sa kanya ng Aquino family upang maging youth spokesperson ni Noynoy, napag-alamn ng PEP na hindi pa personal na nagkakausap ang aktor at ang senador.
Source - PEP, Gmanews.TV


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Pichay says Bayani ok to run for VP; not true, says Bayani


Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) chairman Bayani Fernando said he is willing to slide down and run for vice president instead of seeking the country's top post, an administration stalwart said Thursday.

But Fernando, whose bid to become administration party Lakas-Kampi-CMD's standard bearer was turned down in favor of Defense Secretary Gilberto Teodoro Jr., quickly denied issuing any statement on his political plans for 2010.


Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) chairman Bayani Fernando said he is willing to slide down and run for vice president instead of seeking the country's top post, an administration stalwart said Thursday.

But Fernando, whose bid to become administration party Lakas-Kampi-CMD's standard bearer was turned down in favor of Defense Secretary Gilberto Teodoro Jr., quickly denied issuing any statement on his political plans for 2010.

Local Water Utilities Administration chairman Prospero Pichay, the party’s vice president for membership and recruitment, said one of Fernando's aides informed him earlier in the day of the MMDA chairman's purported decision.

"He [Bayani] said he is also interested to participate in the selection process for vice president," Pichay said at the weekly Serye forum in Quezon City.

Fernando, along with Interior Secretary Ronaldo Puno, would be considered for the VP post, Pichay said.

The party will also court award-winning actress and Batangas Vice Governor Vilma Santos into being its vice presidential bet, Pichay said, adding that Teodoro's take might also be weighed in the party's choice.

But Fernando, in a phone interview with GMANews.TV, denied Pichay's claim. "Wala akong sinasabing ganun (I said no such thing)," he said. Fernando said his aides also could not have made the statement.

When asked whether he has made up his mind about his next political step, Fernando said, "Nagpapahinga pa ako ng buhay ko (I am still taking a break)."

Fernando had earlier said running for president as an independent candidate was one of his options if Lakas-Kampi-CMD does not choose him as its standard bearer.

On September 16, members of the party's national executive committee voted to pick Teodoro as its preferred presidential bet. The decision is still subject to ratification by a convention.

Source - GMANews.Tv

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Comelec fears not all areas are ready for automated polls

The Commission on Elections (Comelec) expressed fears Thursday that it might end up conducting a manual election in some areas next year if suppliers Smartmatic Corp. and Total Information Management (TIM) fail to fix the bugs in its transmission system.

Comelec Chairman Jose Melo mentioned such possibility after acting director Jeannie Flororito of the poll body’s Information Technology Department said that at least 25 percent of areas nationwide don’t have transmission systems.


The Commission on Elections (Comelec) expressed fears Thursday that it might end up conducting a manual election in some areas next year if suppliers Smartmatic Corp. and Total Information Management (TIM) fail to fix the bugs in its transmission system.

Comelec Chairman Jose Melo mentioned such possibility after acting director Jeannie Flororito of the poll body’s Information Technology Department said that at least 25 percent of areas nationwide don’t have transmission systems.

“Malamang na mag-manual tayo kung ‘yang 25 percent na ‘yan ay hindi mahanapan ng nararapat na technology (We might end up going manual if we don’t find the needed technology for that 25 percent," said Melo.

In the planned automated elections, transmission is needed for the electronic relay of results from the precinct level and up. With it, ballot counting in the precinct is pegged to be done within an hour, while results can be made available within 36.

Flororito said that so far, 75 percent of areas in the country already have the necessary mode of transmission. These areas have in place more than 82,000 precinct count optical scan (PCOS) machines.

The Smartmatic and TIM consortium, however, was quick to add that it has yet to determine if there really are areas that have no such technology. “We are still in the process of determining that," said their spokesman Cesar Flores.

Comelec ICT consultant Renato Garcia said they have already made arrangements with the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) and some telecommunications providers to be able to determine where Smartmatic-TIM should put the necessary adjustments.

He said the survey will start in the first week of October and will end in the middle of November, giving the Comelec ample time to evaluate the chances of full automation in 2010.

By December 15, the Comelec hopes to be able to determine whether there really will be full automation or not, said executive director Jose Tolentino.

The poll body said it is expecting the first batch of 20,000 PCOS in October. The remaining 60,000, on the other hand, will be delivered in November and December.
Source - GMANews.TV

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Senate-House panels OK bill adding 9th ray to RP flag

The country’s national flag will soon have nine rays in its sun instead of only eight.

The Senate and House of Representatives are expected to ratify next week the reconciled version of Senate Bill 3307 and House Bill 6424 which provides for the inclusion of additional ray in the sun, Senator Richard Gordon told GMANews.TV Thursday.



The country’s national flag will soon have nine rays in its sun instead of only eight.

The Senate and House of Representatives are expected to ratify next week the reconciled version of Senate Bill 3307 and House Bill 6424 which provides for the inclusion of additional ray in the sun, Senator Richard Gordon told GMANews.TV Thursday.

The two bills proposed amendments to Republic Act No. 849, or An Act Prescribing the Code of the National Flag, Anthem, Motto, Coat-of-Arms and Other Heraldic Items and Devices of the Philippines.

The bicameral conference committee approved on Tuesday, among others, the additional ray to the sun in the Philippine flag symbolizing the courage, bravery and integrity of Muslim Filipinos who fought for the nation's independence.

Gordon, chairman of the Senate panel and principal author of Senate Bill (SB) 3307, lauded the approval of the measure saying that it would foster greater unity among Filipinos regardless of religion.

He said the National Historical Institute initially opposed the proposal but he still pursued it. “I don’t care what they think about it. Once it is signed, they should follow the law."

“We are a country that has had a conflict with our Muslim brothers for the last so many decades. I think this is a big step towards reuniting our country, recognizing the contributions of our fellow countrymen, the Filipino Muslims. We should recognize their deeds in our country," he said.

The other members of the joint Senate-House panel were Sen. Juan Miguel Zubiri, and Representatives Del De Guzman, chairman of the House contingent, with Ma. Carissa Coscoluella, Salvador Escudero III, and Roman Romulo as members.

Gordon said the national flag not only represents principles of sovereignty and solidarity of the Filipino nation, but also embodies the ideals and traditions of the Filipino people developed over the course of national history.

He added that the flag symbolizes the nation’s struggle for independence and victory against foreign colonizers.

The three stars in the flag represent the three major geographical divisions of the country: Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao; while the eight rays of the sun represent the eight provinces that revolted against the Spanish regime, namely: Batangas, Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna, Manila, Nueva Ecija, Pampanga, and Tarlac.

The senator said he proposed the addition of the ninth ray because behind the stories of the most celebrated names of national heroes, who fought for the country’s independence, lie the stories of mostly-forgotten Muslim heroes, including Lapu-Lapu, Sultan Kudarat and Rajah Sulayman, who displayed courage, bravery and integrity against a determined foe.

Source - GMANews.TV

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Thursday, September 24, 2009

Romulo won't quit; Gibo says no need for loyalty check

- Defense secretary and administration presidential bet Gilbert Teodoro said there is no need for a loyalty check among Cabinet members despite Foreign Affairs Secretary Alberto Romulo’s declaration of support for opposition Liberal Party standard bearer Sen. Benigno Aquino III.

“In my opinion, it’s best to lay down our cards. But in terms of loyalty check, what good would it bring? Parang nagsosona ka na nyan at hindi naman maganda yan (It’s like persecution and it’s not good anymore),” Teodoro said.


- Defense secretary and administration presidential bet Gilbert Teodoro said there is no need for a loyalty check among Cabinet members despite Foreign Affairs Secretary Alberto Romulo’s declaration of support for opposition Liberal Party standard bearer Sen. Benigno Aquino III.

“In my opinion, it’s best to lay down our cards. But in terms of loyalty check, what good would it bring? Parang nagsosona ka na nyan at hindi naman maganda yan (It’s like persecution and it’s not good anymore),” Teodoro said.

Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita said there are no “traitors” in the Cabinet even as he also ruled out a loyalty check.

“I don’t think there’ll be such, as you said, traitors. Our Cabinet members are decent,” Ermita told a news briefing. “I’m sure they won’t be able to sleep if they have that sinister design. I don’t believe anybody will put himself in such a position and the decent thing to do is for him to approach the President and say why he thinks he should already resign from his post,” he said.

“I hope they understand the implications of their actions,” Ermita added.

Teodoro said the country’s next leader should be a “healing president.”

“That’s his personal decision and I respect that,” Teodoro said referring to Romulo.

Romulo, who had also served under the Aquino administration as budget chief, said his “long years of association with Tita Cory and the Aquino family was the basis” of his support for the presidential bid of the only son of the late president and the martyred Sen. Benigno Aquino Jr. Sen. Manuel Roxas II is Aquino’s running mate.

Lakas Kampi leaders earlier chose Interior and Local Government Secretary Ronaldo Puno as the party’s vice presidential candidate, although they claimed the decision was not yet final.

There are 10 Arroyo Cabinet members who had served under the Aquino administration.

Romulo rejected calls for him to resign and said he is “standing by the President until the end of her term and beyond.”

“I have to make it very clear that such comments do not in any way diminish my service and support for President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. Neither does it mean that I am moving to the opposition,” Romulo said in a statement.

At Tuesday’s farewell dinner for the Konrad Andenauer country director at the Mandarin Oriental hotel in Makati City, Teodoro said he felt no rancor about Romulo’s decision.

“I don’t bear ill-feelings towards any body but the Abu Sayyaf and the rogue Moro Islamic Liberation Front,” Teodoro said.

“If that is his stand, I respect that. I don’t want to go personal about it,” he said.

“I have been in politics and I don’t get mad. Instead I learned how to deal with the situation,” he said.

“Different perspectives, that’s politics, and in politics many things can happen and there are many things that should be accepted with an open mind. You have to deal with it rather than feel bad about it.”

He also said he is optimistic that Romulo’s pronouncement will not have severe repercussions on his political plans, adding that more political realignments will take place before the filing of certificates of candidacy.

“We know that in the run-up to the elections, many things can happen. It’s like a crisscrossing road,” he said in Filipino.

“I’ve been in politics for quite long and have seen all these political developments,” he said.

“We don’t really talk about politics during Cabinet meetings, we are just focused on governance. Right now, I don’t know of any other Cabinet member who has said that they are supporting any other candidate. I don’t see the need for a loyalty check right now,” he said in an interview on ABS-CBN’s “Umagang Kay Ganda.”

Still with administration

Romulo said he’s not bolting the administration despite his declaration of support for Aquino.

“The comments that I have made on the candidacy of Sen. Noynoy Aquino have created some concern from various quarters. These comments were originally made in a private conversation,” Romulo said.

“I will continue to discharge my duties with utmost integrity, professionalism, and loyalty which has been the hallmark of my long years of public service,” Romulo’s statement read.

“I take pride in playing a major role in the tremendous achievements of President Arroyo in the arena of foreign relations, especially on the three pillars of our foreign policy, which are: the promotion of the welfare of Filipinos at home and abroad; economic diplomacy which has brought investments to our country; and political security where we are on the cusp of achieving lasting peace in Mindanao,” the DFA chief said.

“Democracy in our country is strong and vibrant. I am confident that in the end, our people will choose a leader who will build on the legacy of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and will move us forward to a brighter and stronger nation,” Romulo said.

Secretary to the Cabinet Silvestre Bello, in reaction, said Romulo should consider resigning.

“We, as members of the Cabinet of President Arroyo, are the alter egos of the President. So if we cannot support the choice of the President, the only honorable thing to do is leave the Cabinet,” Bello said in Filipino.

“You cannot be the alter ego of the President and take a different stand as the President,” he added.

“As a person, I have very high respect for him (Romulo). I know when he makes a decision it is for a very good reason and I know that he knows what he will do after he makes his statement,” Bello said.

Keep Romulo

Speaker Prospero Nograles, for his part, said Romulo should not be asked to resign.

“Let us respect the man. Secretary Romulo is a very, very decent and upright man. He is dignified and with solid principles and track record. Whatever it is he decides is fine by me. I truly respect him,” he said.

But his statement was a turnaround from his weekend declaration that administration officials not supporting Teodoro should “step aside.”

He said he expected these officials to rally behind the defense chief, his running mate and other Lakas-Kampi candidates.

But the matter of whether they quit or stay on “is really up to the judgment of the President, who appointed them,” he said.

In the wake of Nograles’ appeal, former economic planning secretary Ralph Recto said those calling on Romulo to resign are doing a disservice to the nation.

“Bert Romulo is the brightest light in the Cabinet and it would be a monumental folly to snuff him out on the petty basis of his tentative choice for 2010,” Recto said in a text message to reporters on Tuesday.

“You don’t make a senior statesman a casualty of politics or the first victim of a purge. Dogcatchers you can fire anytime, but you don’t serve your foreign affairs secretary his walking papers just because his politics doesn’t jibe with yours,” Recto said.

“And you don’t subjugate the welfare of overseas Filipino workers and diplomacy to political whims,” he said.

“Gibo (Teodoro) has his own charm and powerful draw that you don’t have to crack the whip so others will follow,” he stressed.

Puno also advised his colleagues not to be too harsh on Romulo. “Cabinet members are free to articulate their choice for president – first, the president is not running; second, Sec. Romulo expressed his relationship with the Aquino family, which relationship I think he is proud of,” Puno said.

“I don’t believe he should be made to feel negative about that…I don’t believe that expressing an honest personal opinion should be reason to be banished from the work you are doing if you are doing it well.”

“I don’t think he talked about campaigning for anyone since that would obviously be electioneering,” he said, adding “we shouldn’t be too sensitive about such things.”

“A lot of people in the Cabinet say they don’t like me,” he pointed out. “I still consider them my friends even if they are misguided,” he added.


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Ate Vi: I'm really for Batangas

Batangas Governor Vilma Santos-Recto said yesterday she was flattered to be considered as the vice presidential candidate of the administration Lakas-Kampi-CMD party, but was not prepared to seek higher office.

In an interview before she left for Canada last night to promote her movie “In My Life,” Recto told The STAR’s Ricky Lo that she was “really for Batangas,” and that so far, no one had talked to her about running for vice president under any party.



Batangas Governor Vilma Santos-Recto said yesterday she was flattered to be considered as the vice presidential candidate of the administration Lakas-Kampi-CMD party, but was not prepared to seek higher office.

In an interview before she left for Canada last night to promote her movie “In My Life,” Recto told The STAR’s Ricky Lo that she was “really for Batangas,” and that so far, no one had talked to her about running for vice president under any party.

Recto had earlier declared she would seek reelection as Batangas governor. She had served as mayor of Lipa City in Batangas for three terms, or nine years, before running for governor in 2007.

Interior and Local Government Secretary Ronaldo Puno yesterday welcomed reported moves to replace him as vice presidential candidate of the administration Lakas-Kampi-CMD with Recto.

Puno said the presence of Recto in the national slate would further boost the chances of the administration in the 2010 elections.

“To me, we have to produce the strongest slate, and it can be discussed during the party convention. I don’t know the plans of Gov.Vi. I have the highest regard for her, she is an excellent governor and public servant as shown by her accomplishments in Batangas,” Puno told the Manila Overseas Press Club at the Intercontinental Hotel in Makati City the other night.

Puno also noted the pronouncement of some Malacañang officials that the tandem of Defense Secretary Gilbert Teodoro and Recto is an unbeatable team in the 2010 elections.

Reports quoting presidential political adviser Gabriel Claudio described the Teodoro-Recto tandem as a “powerhouse combination.”

Teodoro was named standard bearer of Lakas-Kampi-CMD with Puno as his running mate.

But local government officials have urged the party to review the selection of Puno as vice presidential candidate.

Party officials, on the other hand, stressed the tandem of Teodoro and Puno is not yet final since the selection has to be formally ratified by the national convention before the deadline of filing of certificates of candidacy on Nov. 30.

Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita, interim president of Lakas-Kampi-CMD, stressed the party’s national executive committee has indicated its preference for the tandem of Teodoro and Puno.

Ermita though admitted the party is interested in tapping Recto because of her popularity and experience in public service.

Ermita, however, declined to comment on moves to replace Puno with Recto as Teodoro’s running mate.

“For the moment, I’m not saying that I’m pushing for anybody because I’m the president of the party and during our national executive meeting, Puno emerged as the choice for vice president,” Ermita said.

“So it’s only proper for me to say that we are backing whoever was agreed upon even if this is all still for ratification,” he added.

The fact that the choices of the national executive committee would still have to be ratified during the party’s national convention later this year leaves the door open for other aspirants to make a challenge, including the Batangas governor, he said.

Ermita admitted the tandem of Teodoro and Recto is entirely possible because “between now and that period of ratification by the national convention, we can expect that things can happen.”

Ermita said that Recto, as the running mate of Teodoro, could provide a boost to his ratings as her popularity could pull him up.

“By golly, as a candidate… she is a great actress, Vilma is very good,” Ermita quipped.

‘Murky political waters’

Former President Fidel Ramos, on the other hand, said it would be too early for him to support any presidential candidate.

Ramos though admitted Teodoro is a qualified candidate but stressed his interest for now is for the country’s unity.

“I am not favoring anyone except the Republic of the Philippines,” he said, adding that he still foresees more political realignments to happen before November, which is why it is still premature to declare who among the presidential candidates he would support.

Ramos said “when the murky political water becomes clear by Nov. 15,” he would announce his presidential choice.

He even predicted that some presidential wannabes would eventually drop out of the race.

Ramos also maintained his position against the merger of Lakas-CMD with Kampi, the party founded by President Arroyo in 1998.

Ramos, who co-founded Lakas-CMD along with Pangasinan Rep. Jose de Venecia Jr. in 1992, said he was in favor of the merger with Kampi but qualified that that was his position four years ago.

Ramos, chairman emeritus of Lakas, maintained the merger with Kampi was unilaterally done without proper consultations among party members.

Ramos refused to accept the post as chairman emeritus of the merged parties while De Venecia has filed a petition questioning the legality of the Lakas-Kampi-CDM merger before the Commission on Elections (Comelec).

The issue prompted Kampi’s national executive council to hold a meeting to discuss the effect of Comelec’s upcoming decision on the merger.

Puno said Kampi’s national executive council held a caucus yesterday on how to assist Lakas in its legal woes before the Comelec.

Puno said Kampi also laid out measures on how to revitalize the party in the run-up to the May 2010 national and local elections.

Puno said Kampi officials took measures to help Lakas accelerate the official status of their merger, including “ways and means to help in the early and favorable resolution of the legal issues pending the Lakas-Kampi merger and the officials of Lakas themselves.”


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Lawyers to Erap: ‘Your reelection bid is illegal’

In a forum attended by former President Joseph “Erap" Estrada himself, lawyers voted Wednesday against his plan to run again for the country’s top post in the 2010 elections.

Estrada surprised participants of a debate on the legality of his plan to join next year’s presidential race when he showed up and participated in the event in San Juan. However, his presence failed to sway the lawyers’ vote in favor of his reelection.



In a forum attended by former President Joseph “Erap" Estrada himself, lawyers voted Wednesday against his plan to run again for the country’s top post in the 2010 elections.

Estrada surprised participants of a debate on the legality of his plan to join next year’s presidential race when he showed up and participated in the event in San Juan. However, his presence failed to sway the lawyers’ vote in favor of his reelection.

Eighteen of the 30 lawyers who attended the forum said Estrada cannot run again for president in 2010, because the Constitution clearly prohibits ex-presidents to seek reelection. Seven lawyers agreed with the legality of Estrada’s reelection bid, while three said they were undecided.


For the latest Philippine news stories and videos, visit GMANews.TV

Election lawyer Romulo Macalintal argued against Estrada’s reelection, saying that the former president had clearly resigned after the EDSA 2 popular uprising in 2001, thus making him ineligible for reelection.

Macalintal cited a Supreme Court ruling in March 2001 saying that Estrada “constructively left" Malacañang, thus allowing then Vice President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo to assume the presidency.

He added that Estrada’s expressed desire to clear his name and his appeal to followers to support the Arroyo administration were sure indications of his resignation.

After Estrada’s ouster, Arroyo continued his unfinished term and was eventually elected in 2004 for another six years as president.

When Estrada tried to rebut Macalintal’s arguments, the election lawyer urged the former president to respect the constitutional provision disbarring his reelection.

"The Constitution is clear. Kailangan pa bang i-memorize yan? (Does that point still need to be memorized?)" Macalintal said, invoking a catchphrase popularized by a radio station.

Section 4 of Article VII in the Constitution says that “(the) President shall not be eligible for any re-election. No person who has succeeded as President and has served as such for more than four years shall be qualified for election to the same office at any time."
Source - GMANews.TV

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Comelec division ordered to resolve Lakas-Kampi merger issue soonest

As the deadline draws near for political party conventions to select candidates for the 2010 polls, Commission on Elections chairman Jose Melo ordered a poll body division Thursday to resolve soonest the row involving the administration Lakas-Kampi-CMD party.

In a radio interview, Melo said the hearings on the merged party are already finished and it is up to the division handling the case to come out with a resolution.



As the deadline draws near for political party conventions to select candidates for the 2010 polls, Commission on Elections chairman Jose Melo ordered a poll body division Thursday to resolve soonest the row involving the administration Lakas-Kampi-CMD party.

In a radio interview, Melo said the hearings on the merged party are already finished and it is up to the division handling the case to come out with a resolution.

“Alam ninyo, 'di ako nakikialam sa trabaho ng division. Sabi ko sa kanila medyo bilis-bilisan nila ang action. Mukhang natapos na ang hearing, ilalabas na lamang ang decision nila (You know, I do not interfere in the work of the Comelec’s divisions. But I have ordered the one handling the case to speed up its work and come up with its decision soon)," he said in an interview on dzXL radio.

Founders of Lakas, including former House Speaker Jose de Venecia Jr., had questioned the party’s merging with President Gloria Arroyo’s Kabalikat ng Malayang Pilipino (Kampi).

De Venecia is even seeking to nullify the merger.

Earlier this month, the Lakas-Kampi-CMD selected Defense Secretary Gilberto Teodoro Jr. as its standard-bearer for the 2010 elections.

However, Teodoro cannot be formally named standard-bearer until the party holds its convention.

Under the Comelec’s calendar of activities for the 2010 polls, parties can hold conventions to select official candidates for all elective positions between October 21 and November 19. The period for filing of certificates of candidacy starts from November 20 to 30.

Meanwhile, Melo said that the Comelec, as a rule, reshuffles its personnel nationwide to make sure they do not favor any particular candidate in the elections.

But he admitted the Comelec expects some politicians to intercede and prevent the reshuffles.

"As usual expect ninyo may people interceding retentions of some poll body officials," he said.
Source - GMANews.TV


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Ping: I didn’t know Dacer opposed my appointment as PNP chief in ‘99

Maintaining that he is not involved in the 2000 killing of Salvador "Bubby" Dacer, Senator Panfilo Lacson said Thursday he was not aware that the slain publicist had opposed his appointment as chief of the National Police in 1999.

Lacson said he only knew about the matter on Wednesday after Estrada’s son, Senate President Pro Tempore Jose "Jinggoy" Estrada, exposed the contents of Dacer’s letter to former President Joseph Estrada dated Oct. 8, 1999, barely a month before Lacson was named PNP chief.


Maintaining that he is not involved in the 2000 killing of Salvador "Bubby" Dacer, Senator Panfilo Lacson said Thursday he was not aware that the slain publicist had opposed his appointment as chief of the National Police in 1999.

Lacson said he only knew about the matter on Wednesday after Estrada’s son, Senate President Pro Tempore Jose "Jinggoy" Estrada, exposed the contents of Dacer’s letter to former President Joseph Estrada dated Oct. 8, 1999, barely a month before Lacson was named PNP chief.

"Yung liham kay dating Presidente Estrada na ino-oppose yung pag-appoint, nun ko lang nalaman (It was only during Jinggoy’s privilege speech when I knew about Dacer’s letter to former President Estrada opposing my appointment)," Lacson said in an interview on GMA’s Unang Hirit.

On Wednesday, Jinggoy also cited a portion of Dacer’s letter to former National Security Adviser and retired general Jose Almonte. In the letter, Dacer accused Lacson of spreading rumors that the veteran publicist was behind destabilization plots against the Estrada administration.

"It was no less than General Panfilo ‘Ping’ Lacson who concocted and spread these lies…," Dacer wrote Almonte on July 27, 1999.

But in Thursday’s interview, Lacson also said he was not aware of the said letter. "Hindi ko alam yang liham na yan, ngayon ko lang narinig yan (I do not know about that letter. I only heard about it now)," Lacson said.

Lacson, however, neither confirmed nor denied Dacer’s accusations.



GMA News obtained a copy of Dacer’s another letter to Almonte dated October 20, 2000. Back then, Dacer elaborated on false accusations that he was the main implementor of the supposed destabilization campaign against Estrada’s presidency.

"I have been repeatedly warned by friends in the police, military, local governments, business, and media that President Estrada has tagged me as the field officer in the alleged destabilization campaign against the admin (Estrada administration)," Dacer wrote.

Lacson’s ‘foul’ means

Lacson and Estrada are two of the key personalities being implicated in the abduction and killing of Dacer and his driver, Emmanuel Corbito, on Nov. 24, 2000.

Both have repeatedly denied any involvement and motive in the crime that remains unsolved for almost nine years. Also, both have stressed that they have no motive in abducting, much more, in killing Dacer.

In Dacer’s October 1999 letter to Estrada, the publicist warned that Lacson could resort to "foul" means just to get what he wanted.

"I, too, have direct experience with General Lacson’s willingness to use any means, including foul, to advance his interests. I set great faith in Your Excellency’s wisdom and ability to defeat threats against our civil society," Dacer had told Estrada in the letter.

It was then that Dacer voiced out his opposition to Lacson’s looming appointment as head of the PNP: "Alang-alang po sa inyong kabutihan, Mister President, at sa kabutihan ng buong sambayanan, I vehemently oppose General Lacson for the Chief PNP post."

Though allies since the early 1990s, Estrada and Lacson had a falling out since the latter delivered his privilege speech last week, which the senator said was intended to expose the "true" character of the former Philippine leader.

Lacson had said that he resorted to such means in order to dissuade voters from electing Estrada again, the latter having been very vocal on his intention to reclaim the presidency in the 2010 polls.

Source - GMANews.TV


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Palace to Lacson: Take your accusations vs Erap to court

Agreeing that the Senate is not the place to bare the alleged criminal activities of former President Joseph Estrada, Malacañang on Wednesday urged Senator Panfilo Lacson to take his issues against his erstwhile boss to the court.

“I support the position taken by the Senate President [Juan Ponce Enrile]. Ayaw naman naming panghimasukan ang bagay na iyan sapagkat iyan naman ay (We do not want to meddle in that issue because it) does not involve us at all," said Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita.


Agreeing that the Senate is not the place to bare the alleged criminal activities of former President Joseph Estrada, Malacañang on Wednesday urged Senator Panfilo Lacson to take his issues against his erstwhile boss to the court.

“I support the position taken by the Senate President [Juan Ponce Enrile]. Ayaw naman naming panghimasukan ang bagay na iyan sapagkat iyan naman ay (We do not want to meddle in that issue because it) does not involve us at all," said Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita.

Enrile, in a privilege speech on Tuesday, said Lacson should take his accusations against Estrada to the court.

Enrile also defended Estrada in his speech, which was delivered before Lacson took the floor for the second part of his tirades against Estrada.

In his second privilege speech, Lacson aimed his tirades at Estrada's son, Senate Pro Tempore Jose "Jinggoy" Estrada.
Ping not keen on suing Erap, Jinggoy

Senator Panfilo Lacson on Wednesday said he is not keen on taking his allegations against former President Joseph Estrada and his son, Senate President Pro Tempore Jose "Jinggoy" Estrada, to the court.

“It is not my intention to put President Estrada back in jail, so I will abide by that statement," Lacson said in a television interview shortly after Jinggoy delivered his privilege speech and dared Lacson to bring his accusations to the proper forum.

Asked what were his objectives in exposing the anomalies and crimes the Estradas are allegedly involved in, Lacson replied: “To inform the Filipino people, because President Estrada is again presenting himself before the electorate." More...

Jinggoy, in refuting Lacson’s accusation that he benefited from jueteng operations, challenged Lacson to sue him as well as his father.

“I believe the most basic and decent thing to do is for Senator Panfilo Morena Lacson to file the necessary charges in the proper court," he said in a privilege speech Wednesday.

By bringing the issue to the courts, Jinggoy said he and his father would be given a chance to properly defend themselves.

The sins of Erap

In his first privilege speech delivered Monday last week, Lacson said Estrada was a protector of jueteng operators and smugglers during his short-lived presidency. He also accused the former President of pressuring tycoon Alfonso Yuchengco to give up his business shares in the Philippine Long Distance Telephone (PLDT) company.

Lacson, who was the national police chief during the Estrada administration, also said the elder Estrada might have important knowledge in the killing of publicist Salvador “Bubby" Dacer and his driver Emmanuel Corbito in 2000. In his second speech on Tuesday, he linked Estrada to the disappearance of government employee Edgar Bentain in 1999.

Bentain, video operator of the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (Pagcor), in 1998 provided a video of then Vice President Estrada gambling in a casino. Estrada then was a presidential aspirant.

In his speech on Wednesday, Jinggoy said Lacson had abused the hospitality of the Senate to pursue his "selfish and self-serving agenda" with his speeches.


Lacson's "crimes"

Turning the tables against Lacson, Jinggoy cited past killings and criminal activities that were allegedly masterminded by Lacson when he was still a police officer.

Jinggoy showed the audience a video interview of the late Francisco “Kit" Mateo, who admitted that Lacson ordered him to kill former Captain Jimmy Victorino of the Western Police District (WPD) in 1986 and Alfredo "Joey" de Leon of the Red Scorpion Group in February 1993.

Jinggoy likewise revived Lacson’s alleged involvement in the Kuratong Baleleng case, referring to the alleged summary execution of 11 suspected members of the robbery syndicate in 1995 by members of Task Force Habagat, who were under the Lacson-led and now defunct Presidential Anti-Crime Commission.

He also nailed Lacson in the Dacer-Corbito case, saying he had the resources and capability to commit the crime.

Lacson, aside from being the Philippine National Police (PNP) chief during the time of the Dacer-Corbito murders, was also the head Presidential Anti-Organized Crime Task Force (PAOCTF), the law enforcement group allegedly behind the killings.

Rumors

Jinggoy said Lacson had spread rumors that Dacer was involved in destabilization plots against the Estrada administration. He said this information was contained in a July 27, 1999 letter written by Dacer to former National Security Adviser Jose Almonte.

“In Mr. Dacer’s letter to General Almonte, he complained and identified General Lacson as the one spreading lies to implicate Mr. Dacer to alleged destabilization plots against the Estrada administration," Jinggoy said.

Jinggoy also said Dacer opposed Lacson’s appointment as PNP chief in November 1999. Source - GMANews.TV


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Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Noynoy ready to debate with Gibo

- Sen. Benigno Aquino III is ready to engage other presidential aspirants in a debate, including his cousin, Defense Secretary Gilbert Teodoro Jr.

Meanhile, Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile warned Aquino against supporters who were the same people behind the ouster of President Joseph Estrada and a plot to overthrow the Arroyo administration.



- Sen. Benigno Aquino III is ready to engage other presidential aspirants in a debate, including his cousin, Defense Secretary Gilbert Teodoro Jr.

Meanhile, Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile warned Aquino against supporters who were the same people behind the ouster of President Joseph Estrada and a plot to overthrow the Arroyo administration.

Aquino said he would like to join the presidential debates proposed by presidential political adviser Gabriel Claudio so the elections would focus on issues rather than personalities.

“I’m okay with that,” Aquino said.

Aquino said it would also be good to have a debate with Claudio, even if he is not running for office.

“We will come to that,” he said.

“But maybe it’s better if we will do that after the filing (of certificates of candidacy) so we would not have to debate with those who would not really be in the scene.”

Speaking in defense of Estrada against the allegations of Sen. Panfilo Lacson at the Senate, Enrile said he could see the same people who were involved in Edsa 2 that toppled Estrada in 2001 in the inner circle of Aquino.

“Today, I see these same faces parading themselves as leaders and supporters of the candidacy of my dear colleague (Aquino),” he said.

Enrile said these were the same people who asked Estrada to support them when they wanted to oust President Arroyo.

“Evidently, they have no more use for Erap,” he said.

The leaders of the so-called civil society also asked him for help in their protest actions against the Aquino administration, Enrile said.

Senate Majority Leader Juan Miguel Zubiri said he would like to watch Aquino and Teodoro engage in debate.

“We will know all these things once debates are held in time,” he said.

“We want major news networks and print (media) to come out with a nationwide debate so we will find out the best among the candidates who deserve our votes.”

Aquino supporters

Supporters are shelling out change for the presidential candidacy of Aquino.

Residents of Lupang Pangako in Payatas, Quezon City each gave a P1 coin for Aquino, who they believe will bring about the change they have always wanted.

Ed Roces, Noynoy Aquino for President Movement spokesman, said it was the local leaders in Payatas who approached their group about their intention of supporting Aquino’s presidential bid.

“They said they would support by giving money and we were so touched,” he said.

Speaking at the launch of the “Piso at Puso sa Pagbabago,” Roces said around 200 residents dropped a P1 coin into cans that would be delivered to Aquino’s residence on Times Street in Quezon City on Nov. 27.

“These people are sharing money for the campaign instead of the other way around. This is a revolution of the masses,” he said.

“This is the real change, very unusual thing.”

Roces said the residents of Payatas are investing in Aquino.

“That’s a different thing because the peso here is very significant,” he said.

They would be replicating the movement in other areas of the country, particularly in President Arroyo’s bailiwick in Pampanga, Roces said.

Source - Philstar.com

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Teodoro track record better than Noynoy

- Opposition presidential bets are not likely to measure up to the performance and track record of administration standard bearer Defense Secretary Gilbert Teodoro, a Malacañang official said yesterday.

Presidential deputy spokesperson Lorelei Fajardo said the economic policies implemented by President Arroyo would put Teodoro “way ahead” of opposition presidential candidates as the administration’s performance on the field allowed the country to avoid the full brunt of the global economic crisis.



- Opposition presidential bets are not likely to measure up to the performance and track record of administration standard bearer Defense Secretary Gilbert Teodoro, a Malacañang official said yesterday.

Presidential deputy spokesperson Lorelei Fajardo said the economic policies implemented by President Arroyo would put Teodoro “way ahead” of opposition presidential candidates as the administration’s performance on the field allowed the country to avoid the full brunt of the global economic crisis.

“I think what we should talk about is: what are the plans of those running? Let’s not be basing it on general statements like ‘I will not steal. I will not do this. That I will be better’,” Fajardo said, referring to the statements made by Sen. Manuel Roxas.

Roxas, who will be the vice presidential candidate of the Liberal Party (LP), said the party’s standard bearer Sen. Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III is better than Teodoro in continuing the economic policies of the Arroyo administration.

“Let’s lay on the table what are their platforms of government and their intentions when they are in office,” Fajardo said.

She said Teodoro is “very clear on his stand on all issues and all things hurled against him” and knows what to do once in office.

“I think voters should (use) platforms of government as basis (in deciding who to vote),” she said.

Another lawmaker, on the other hand, urged Teodoro to consolidate his base of support before hitting the campaign trail on the way to the May 2010 elections.

Ilocos Norte Rep. Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. said Teodoro should unify the factions within the administration party Lakas-Kampi-CMD to sustain his presidential bid.

Marcos claimed Teodoro’s proclamation as standard bearer of Lakas “remains in doubt” in light of the petition of Pangasinan Rep. Jose de Venecia Jr. questioning the legality of the merger of Lakas-CMD to Kabalikat ng Malayang Pilipino (Kampi).

De Venecia, who co-founded Lakas-CMD in 1992 along with former President Fidel Ramos, sought to nullify the merger before the Commission on Elections (Comelec).

De Venecia went on to form the group of so-called Lakas originals refusing to recognize the merger with Kampi.

“Gibo needs to talk and court FVR (Ramos) and JDV (De Venecia) because they still have supporters within Lakas. We may not hear from them now but they will surely come out as election day approaches,” Marcos warned.

He said Teodoro should take the initiative to reach out to the Lakas founders if he wants to have a solid support for his candidacy.

Marcos said Teodoro must also convince Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) chairman Bayani Fernando to support his candidacy.

Marcos noted Fernando did not categorically give his support to Teodoro after he was defeated in the party’s selection process as standard bearer.

Fernando did not rule out the possibility of bolting Lakas and forming his own group to pursue his presidential bid.

“BF (Fernando) is good and he also has many supporters. Gibo needs to talk to BF,” Marcos said.

There were reports that Fernando is eyeing an alliance with the Lakas originals of Ramos and De Venecia after failing to get the endorsement of Lakas-Kampi-CMD.

Marcos added Teodoro should prevent this scenario of the three Lakas stalwarts forming an alliance separate from the ruling party that could later ruin his chances to become the next president.

Marcos also advised Teodoro to distance himself from President Arroyo if he wants to win in 2010, believing that an endorsement from the unpopular leader is a “kiss of death.”

After Teodoro was proclaimed as standard bearer of Lakas-Kampi-CMD, local government officials have urged the party to review the selection of the vice presidential candidate.

Interior and Local Government Secretary Ronaldo Puno, as chairman of Kampi, was selected as Teodoro’s running mate.

Former senator Ernesto Herrera, for his part, observed Teodoro is under pressure to choose a vice presidential candidate to represent the regions of Visayas and Mindanao.

Herrera pointed out the tandem of Senators Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III and Manuel “Mar” Roxas represent the North-South combination. Aquino is from Tarlac while Roxas served as congressman of Capiz.

“The Aquino-Roxas tandem definitely represents a formidable North-South combination that both Teodoro and Villar will now have to match in order to build up their own chances of drawing more votes from the Visayas and Mindanao,” Herrera said.

Herrera, a former congressman of Bohol, also noted Teodoro is from Tarlac while other presidential wannabes, mentioning Sen. Manuel Villar Jr., is from Bataan.

Herrera pointed out that there are highly qualified prospective vice presidential candidates from the Visayas or Mindanao – naming the Osmeñas of Cebu, the Defensors of Iloilo, the Plazas of Agusan, and Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte.

Herrera added Sen. Aquilino Pimentel Jr., from Cagayan de Oro City is also a highly qualified vice presidential candidate.

Herrera said former senator Sergio “Serge” Osmeña III is interested in returning to the Senate. Osmeña and Pimentel, he said, are both supporting the candidacy of Aquino.

Source - Philstar.com

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Lacson calls Jinggoy 'traitor' in Part 2 of anti-Erap speech

If former President Joseph Estrada was a jueteng protector, a smuggler’s godfather and a bully, his son is a jueteng beneficiary, a traitor, and one who consorts with the government he claims to oppose.

This was how Senator Panfilo Lacson described Senate President Pro Tempore Jose "Jinggoy" Estrada on Tuesday, a week after the younger Estrada accused Lacson of being a secret ally of the Arroyo administration.


If former President Joseph Estrada was a jueteng protector, a smuggler’s godfather and a bully, his son is a jueteng beneficiary, a traitor, and one who consorts with the government he claims to oppose.

This was how Senator Panfilo Lacson described Senate President Pro Tempore Jose "Jinggoy" Estrada on Tuesday, a week after the younger Estrada accused Lacson of being a secret ally of the Arroyo administration.

"I was aghast at how the gentleman from San Juan, in his privilege speech in this same hall last week, accused this representation of being an administration ally, simply because I exposed the true character of his father, the former president," Lacson said in the second installment of his privilege speech.

Jinggoy made the accusation last Sept. 15, or a day after Lacson delivered the first part of his privilege speech where he detailed the former President’s alleged involvement in jueteng and smuggling operations, and of pressuring trader Alfonso Yuchengco to sell his business shares.

In the second part of his speech, Lacson not only narrated three "horror stories" about Jinggoy but also linked Estrada to the abduction-murder of a casino worker in 1999 and of conniving with a lawyer to fabricate evidence to pin him (Lacson) as the mastermind in the Dacer-Corbito double killings of 2000.

Using a PowerPoint presentation, Lacson disclosed a supposed phone conversation between Jinggoy and former presidential pal Charlie “Atong" Ang in 2006. At the time, Ang was about to be extradited to testify in former President Estrada's plunder case then pending at the Sandiganbayan.

The original charge sheet had included “the father, the mother and a son. Of course we now know that the father was convicted, while the mother and son were acquitted," Lacson said.

"Pare, kung uuwi ka, kung ano man ang plano mo, huwag mo na kaming idamay ni mommy. Si daddy na lang, kaya niya namang i-depensa ang sarili niya. May ambisyon pa ako. Magpe-presidente pa ako. Ako ang bahala sa ‘yo," Lacson recalled the "man" in Los Angeles telling Ang.

(If you’re coming home, leave my mother and me out of this. Just pin daddy. He can defend himself. I have ambitions of being president. I’ll take care of you.)

Lacson said Ang, who was in Las Vegas at the time, "could not believe" what the man in Los Angeles told him. He said he himself could not believe the story were it not for the source of the conversation being "unimpeachable."

"It reached this humble representation because the source heard my privilege speech followed the other day by a litany of diatribes and name-calling from the other representation," he said.

Jueteng money

A second story involved two "presidential brothers," where the elder brother called the attention of a jueteng operator in Baguio City after learning that the younger brother was getting P1 million payola (payoff) a month.

"‘Yung P1M na ibinibigay mo sa kapatid ko, hatiin mo. Sa akin mo ibigay ang kalahati, baka gamitin lang pambili ng drugs 'yung pera," the brother supposedly told the operator.

(The P1 million you are giving to my brother, split it with me because my brother may just use it to buy drugs.)

Aside from the additional P500,000 sequestered from the younger brother, according to Lacson, the elder brother had a regular monthly payola of P800,000 from another jueteng operator from Bulacan, P1 million from former Ilocos Sur Gov. Luis Singson, and an unspecified amount from yet another gambling lord from Pampanga.

"Talk about betrayal, Mister President," Lacson said.

The third story involved an incumbent Cabinet secretary and "an elected senator of the Republic" who would ask the Cabinet official for a project when he loses P10 million.

Lacson said the day after the senator asked for a project, a member of the senator’s staff would call on the Cabinet secretary to make a follow-up.

"Mister President, distinguished colleagues, the three short stories that I shared with you only show the rotten moral values of that son, brother and public official," he said.

Dacer-Corbito case

In the second part of his speech Tuesday, Lacson talked about an alleged attempt to pressure a witness in the Dacer-Corbito case into implicating him as the mastermind.

He claimed that Estrada and Ferdinand Topacio, the lawyer of former police Senior Superintendent Cezar Mancao II, have forged an unholy alliance and that Topacio had sent a lawyer to pressure former Senior Superintendent Glenn Dumlao into corroborating a supposedly new witness who would link Lacson to the crime.

“Only last Friday, September 18, 2009, at around 2 o’clock in the afternoon, Glenn Dumlao was visited by a lawyer who conveyed a message from the same Attorney Ferdinand Topacio to convince him to corroborate the affidavit executed by the new found false labandera witness that I had a shouting match with Mister Dacer in a beach resort in Batangas," Lacson said.

Two days later, he said, Topacio went to Estrada’s house in San Juan City to “report" to the former president. He said this shocked Estrada’s lawyers who were there at the time.

Dumlao and Mancao both served under Lacson in the Philippine National Police (PNP) and the defunct Presidential Anti-Organized Crime Task Force (PAOCTF), the organization believed to be behind the disappearance and killing of publicist Salvador Dacer and his driver Emmanuel
Corbito on Nov. 24, 2000.

Both Lacson and Estrada have denied involvement in the Dacer-Corbito case.

The Dacer family's lawyer, Demetrio Custodio Jr., last week said a laundrywoman would link Lacson to the crime by claiming she saw Lacson and Dacer arguing on a beach in Batangas a week before Dacer and Corbito disappeared.

Lacson said that when the lawyer relayed Topacio’s message to Dumlao and the former officer was "unconvinced to perjure himself and cooperate with them," Topacio told him that his reinstatement in the PNP would be stalled.

“‘Papaano ‘yan? Iipitin nila ang reinstatement mo sa PNP kung hindi mo susundin ang gusto nila.’ To which, Dumlao replied, ‘Eh di hindi na lang ako magpupulis. Magsasaka na lang ako.’ The lawyer added, ‘Mukhang nagkakasabwatan na sina Topacio at Estrada," Lacson narrated.

(The lawyer told Dumlao, your reinstatement to the PNP will be stalled. Dumlao replied, then I'll just be a farmer. The lawyer said, there now appears to be an unholy alliance between Topacio and Estrada.)

Lacson also noted that when Sen. Jinggoy Estrada delivered a counter-privilege speech last September 15, he cited an “opinion" from Topacio that Lacson masterminded the Dacer-Corbito disappearance.

He lamented that Estrada has now joined the Arroyo government in trying to link him to the Dacer-Corbito case.

Fabricated evidence

Citing his Malacañang sources, Lacson said there had been a “clockwork" plan by former Presidential Security Group head and now Intelligence Service of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (Isafp) chief Romeo Prestoza to have Mancao use “fabricated evidence" to implicate him in the case.

Lacson cited Mancao’s radio interview on dzMM on August 12 last year, where he said Prestoza called him up while Mancao was in Florida, sometime in 2007. He also cited Mancao’s television interview on GMA-7 on August 6 last year, where he said he was being pressured to link Lacson to the case.

He added that Mancao even sent him a text message assuring him of his loyalty.

“On several occasions, Cezar Mancao had confided to some people when asked pointblank if this representation had anything to do with the Dacer-Corbito case. He told (anti-crime crusader) Teresita Ang-See that I had no participation, direct or otherwise," Lacson said.

Lacson also questioned Mancao’s open court testimony last Sept. 3, when he said Lacson and former Senior Superintendent Michael Ray Aquino supposedly discussed plans to neutralize Dacer while riding in Lacson’s car on the way to a Japanese restaurant somewhere Greenhills in September 2000.

Yet, he said that in the early part of October 2000, Mancao went to Aquino’s office to ask him what the so-called “Operation Delta" was all about. Mancao supposedly asked Aquino if the special operation was cleared with Lacson, then PAOCTF chief.

“Sila (Malacañang) na daw bahala sa kanya (Malacañang said they will take care of informing Lacson)," Aquino supposedly answered.

“Why would Mancao need to ask Aquino about the operation in October if he already knew about it in September during the alleged car conversation? And, more incredibly, why would Mancao ask Aquino whether this representation knew of the operation if he already heard
us talk about it in my car several days before? There is a plausible explanation. The September conversation in my car never happened!" Lacson said.

Lacson said he is planning to file administrative and criminal charges against Topacio for claiming late August that Mancao had linked him to the case. He said Topacio clearly violated Rule 13.02 under Canon 13 of the Code of Professional Responsibility that states: “A lawyer shall not make public statements in the media regarding a pending case tending to arouse public opinion for or against a party."

Who killed Edgar Bentain?

Lacson's third bombshell linked former President Estrada to the disappearance and murder of casino worker Edgar Bentain more than 10 years ago.

According to Lacson, a police officer whom he did not name reported “mission accomplished" to Estrada a day after Bentain was abducted and then killed in January 1999.

“This much I can share, in the meantime, to our distinguished colleagues, the family of Mr. Bentain and the Filipino people. Sometime in the middle of January, 1999, one day after Edgar Bentain was abducted somewhere in Roxas Blvd. and killed somewhere in Laguna, a police officer went to Estrada's house on Polk Street in Greenhills, San Juan, and reported compliance of his mission.

He said the "house occupant" - meaning Estrada - simply said, "Sige, sabihin mo sa mga bata, maraming salamat (Okay, tell the boys thank you very much),’" he said.

Bentain was a video operator of a hotel casino where Estrada, then vice president and a candidate for president, played baccarat, a high-stakes card game.

Bentain was suspected to have given an unflattering video of Estrada and Ang gambling to former film censors chief and Estrada critic Manuel Morato, who used it as an issue against Estrada.

Lacson, however, did not give more details of the incident, saying he is still conducting his own investigation.

“I did not identify the criminal simply because I did not have any participation or direct personal knowledge of these criminal activities while they were taking place years ago. My investigation is ongoing even as I speak today. But I have gathered enough facts and data to provide the useful leads to unmask the mastermind’s true identity and his active participation including other persons who were barely mentioned in the conduct of investigation," he said.

Jinggoy's retort

There was no immediate comment by Estrada on the speech, but his spokesperson said Lacson only ended up assailing the credibility of Mancao and Dumlao.

"A statement by the Senator Lacson gave some important points: First, that Mancao's credibility is not to be trusted. Second, that Dumlao's credibility is not to be trusted either. This is bad for the Dacer case because now we will never know whether and when these two are speaking for personal convenience or in the interest of justice," said Margaux Salcedo in a press statement.

"The good senator obviously just wants to clear his name. It is just unfortunate that his method of vindication is vindictiveness towards the Estradas," she added.

Lacson's claims against Jinggoy and Estrada's involvement in large-scale illegal gambling reconfirms the allegations raised by Singson, which sparked an impeachment move against Estrada in Congress in 2000.

When administration senators voted to reject the opening on an envelope that was supposed to contain evidence against Estrada, congressmen prosecuting the case walked out and joined street protests that eventually forced him to resign in January 2001.

Estrada, along with Jinggoy and his wife Loi, would later be charged with plunder by the government of his successor, President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo. In 2007, the anti-graft court Sandiganbayan acquitted Jinggoy and Loi and convicted Estrada, but President Arroyo granted him absolute pardon without his serving his prison sentence at the National Penitentiary in Muntinlupa.

One of the biggest ironies when the Estrada administration collapsed was that Lacson, who retired as national police chief, ran and won a seat in the Senate in the 2001 elections. Loi also won a seat during that same election, while Jinggoy ran and won his own seat in the 2004 elections.

Jinggoy, who was seen alternately smirking and forcing a smile during Lacson's lengthy speech Tuesday, dared his fellow senator to charge him and his father in court if he has the evidence, and not "hide under the cloak of parliamentary immunity."

But he begged off from questioning his colleague's expose, saying he will deliver his own privilege speech on Wednesday, just like he did after Lacson's first "bombshell" against the former president.

No other senator stood to interpellate Lacson, prompting Majority Leader Juan Miguel Zubiri to call on the chamber to "go back to work."
Source - GMANews.TV


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Melo washes hands off leaked SC ruling

Commission on Elections (Comelec) chairman Jose Melo on Tuesday washed his hands off the alleged leakage of the Supreme Court’s decision favoring government's deal with a private consortium to automate next year’s elections.

In his comment filed before the SC, Melo said the information came from a Manila Times reporter who texted him twice on September 8 to get his side on the court’s decision on the P7.2 billion automation contract.


Commission on Elections (Comelec) chairman Jose Melo on Tuesday washed his hands off the alleged leakage of the Supreme Court’s decision favoring government's deal with a private consortium to automate next year’s elections.

In his comment filed before the SC, Melo said the information came from a Manila Times reporter who texted him twice on September 8 to get his side on the court’s decision on the P7.2 billion automation contract.

"I, therefore, had no copy of a decision of the honorable court to leak. I gave out no information not already known to the media about an alleged decision. I merely reacted to queries about a supposed decision," Melo said.

“Obviously some sectors in the media had information about a supposed decision before I gained knowledge regarding the same, as verily, I got information from people in the media, or learned it from the media," he added.

Melo, a retired SC associate justice, came under fire early this month after he allegedly bared to the media an unpromulgated and unreleased SC ruling favoring the commission’s 2010 poll automation project.

Last September 8, Melo told reporters that 11 justices voted for the contract, three others dissented, while one was out of the country when the supposed voting took place.

The ruling, however, was promulgated on September 10. A court decision becomes final and official only after promulgation.

Citizens group Concerned Citizens Movement (CCM) had asked SC to probe Melo and find out how he obtained advance information on the ruling.

It was also the CCM, represented by lawyer Harry Roque, which asked the SC last July 9 to nullify the automatoim deal signed by the Comelec and the Smartmatic-Total Information Management consortium.

The CCM claimed that the contract was riddled with irregularities, including violations of the law on poll automation, and thus have to be canceled before it results in heavy losses for the country next year.
Source - GMANews.TV


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Noynoy expects support from more govt officials

After Foreign Affairs Secretary Alberto Romulo, other government officials will support presidential aspirant Senator Benigno “Noynoy" Aquino III in next year's elections.

This was according to Aquino himself, although he declined to give the names and positions of the government officials.


After Foreign Affairs Secretary Alberto Romulo, other government officials will support presidential aspirant Senator Benigno “Noynoy" Aquino III in next year's elections.

This was according to Aquino himself, although he declined to give the names and positions of the government officials.

“I think there are others that will be forthcoming but I will not preempt their announcements," he told reporters on Tuesday.

He also refused to say if the officials are members of President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo’s Cabinet. "Can I keep that to myself until it happens?"

As this developed, Ilocos Norte Rep. Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. urged Defense Secretary Gilberto Teodoro, the looming presidential bet of the administration, to distance himself from President Arroyo to ensure his victory in 2010.

Marcos, son of the late strongman Ferdinand Marcos, said President Arroyo's endorsement would be the "kiss of death" for Teodoro's candidacy.

Instead, Teodoro, a former congressman, should reach out to other influential personalities like former President Fidel Ramos and Pangasinan Rep. Jose de Venecia Jr. in order to unify the administration, according to Marcos.

“Gibo [Teodor's nickname] needs to talk and court FVR and JDV because they still have supporters within [administration party] Lakas. We may not hear from them now but they will surely come out as the Election Day approaches," said Marcos, who is rumored to be eyeing a senatorial seat in 2010.

The Marcos family was ousted from Malacañang in 1986 through the historic EDSA People Power revolution, which catapulted Corazon Aquino, Sen. Aquino's mother, to power.

Aquino meanwhile said Romulo’s support means much to him.

“Sa akin on a personal basis, napakalaking bagay nun. Isa siya sa mga tao na tinitingala at iginagalang ng aking ina," he said.

(I am thankful for his support. He’s one of the people my mother had held in high regard.)

Romulo served as budget secretary under the Aquino administration. During the 1998 elections when Mrs. Aquino supported the tandem of Alfredo Lim and Serge Osmeña III, Romulo acted as the campaign manager.

For voicing his support to Aquino, Romulo – who also hails from Tarlac like the Aquinos – received criticisms Tuesday, with Cabinet Secretary Silvestre Bello III saying Cabinet officials might as quit their posts if they would not support the administration’s presidential bet in next year’s elections.

Romulo expressed his support to Aquino in an interview in London where he was accompanying President Arroyo in her three-nation trip, which would also include visits to Saudia Arabia and Turkey.
Source - GMANews.TV


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Aquino, Roxas forge game-changing partnership

By combining Noynoy Aquino's powerful narrative with running mate Mar Roxas' campaign organization, the two heirs of political dynasties have suddenly become the team to beat, banking on an array of advantages that makes the 2010 elections "theirs to lose," according to analysts.

But a spokesman for previous front runner Manuel Villar dismisses the new excitement over the Aquino-Roxas tandem as a "carryover of the Cory-mania from the passing of Cory Aquino."



By combining Noynoy Aquino's powerful narrative with running mate Mar Roxas' campaign organization, the two heirs of political dynasties have suddenly become the team to beat, banking on an array of advantages that makes the 2010 elections "theirs to lose," according to analysts.

But a spokesman for previous front runner Manuel Villar dismisses the new excitement over the Aquino-Roxas tandem as a "carryover of the Cory-mania from the passing of Cory Aquino."

"We are keenly observing if this will last," said Gilbert Remulla of the Nacionalista Party.

Aquino was not even on the radar screen until last month, with no one candidate having a commanding lead. But his mother's death on August 1 and the phenomenal crowds that turned out for her wake and funeral changed the political landscape.

Aquino's disadvantage of entering the race this late was canceled out by his team-up with Roxas, who has been campaigning unofficially for months, with an organization and network of donors that Aquino can now harness.

There was certainly plenty of "Cory-mania" at the historic Club Filipino yesterday where Roxas, who abandoned his own presidential bid to give way to Aquino, formally accepted Aquino's offer to be his running mate in next year's elections. "Mabuhay si Cory!" was shouted by the yellow-clad crowd several times.

The location and atmosphere of the Liberal Party event were in fact part of a conscious effort by his campaign to associate Roxas, 52, with the so-called "Cory magic" that has pushed the late former president Cory Aquino's son Noynoy to the top of the surveys. Mrs. Aquino took her oath of office at the same venue on February 25, 1986.

While Roxas' acceptance speech focused on the nation's "collective thirst for change," the event also harked back to earlier eras. The two senators' fathers, the late senators Gerardo Roxas and Benigno "Ninoy" Aquino Jr., were both LP leaders who opposed former dictator Ferdinand Marcos in the 1970s.

But the era that the event most recalled was the anti-Marcos struggle that followed Ninoy Aquino's assassination in August 1983 and culminated in the people power uprising that ended the Marcos regime in February 1986. Many in the standing-room-only crowd seemed to be aging anti-Marcos activists or die-hard Cory loyalists and their children. Beaming in a seat beside Roxas, Noynoy was conspicuously still in mourning-black, with a yellow ribbon pinned to his chest.



One of those who witnessed and studied that era was political scientist Dr. Mark Thompson of the University of Erlangen in Germany, who was also at Club Filipino yesterday for Mar Roxas' announcement. He believes the rise of Noynoy and his team-up with the technocratic Roxas signifies the "revival of reformism."

"This re-establishes the electoral connection between Philippine dynasties with the masa, versus the populism exemplified by Erap, with its rich-poor dynamic. Now it's good government versus evil again," Thompson said, recalling the campaign of Cory Aquino in 1985-86. He said the days when movie stars could simply bank on their popularity to get elected are over.

Thompson added that a successful candidate needs a powerful narrative, or life story, which Roxas may have lacked but which is Aquino's primary strength, with a martyr and a democracy icon as parents. Aquino's "inherited charisma," according to Thompson, makes "the election his to lose."

Before Aquino entered the race, Manuel Villar appeared to be the only candidate with a convincing narrative, with his rags-to-mega-riches story. Combined with his enormous wealth from real estate development and a bombardment of TV ads, the narrative kept Villar atop the surveys until early this month when Aquino started to overtake him.

A Social Weather Stations survey in early September revealed that an astounding 50 percent of respondents would choose Aquino if the elections were held then, with Villar a distant 14 percent. Private surveys conducted around the same time in Cebu province and Davao City by local politicians not allied with Aquino or the Liberal Party reflected similar results, apparently debunking statements by Senator Juan Ponce Enrile and others that voter enthusiasm over Aquino was limited to Luzon.

Remulla acknowledged that "there is a little tweaking going on" in response to the Aquino-Roxas ticket, but he said the core message stays the same: "Galing sa mahirap, tumutulong sa mahirap."

"With 8 months to go to election day, we expect so much to happen to alter the political landscape," Remulla said. "In the end, it's the communication of the right message and imagery that will matter. Whoever can connect with the masa with that will win the elections."
Source - GMANews.TV

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Romulo: I will not resign from Arroyo Cabinet

Foreign Affairs Secretary Alberto Romulo – controversial for openly expressing his support for Sen. Benigno “Noynoy" Aquino III’s presidential bid – has no plans of quitting his post despite a reminder from a Malacañang official.

“I will continue to discharge my duties with utmost integrity, professionalism and loyalty which have been the hallmark of my long years of public service," he said in a statement released Tuesday night.



Foreign Affairs Secretary Alberto Romulo – controversial for openly expressing his support for Sen. Benigno “Noynoy" Aquino III’s presidential bid – has no plans of quitting his post despite a reminder from a Malacañang official.

“I will continue to discharge my duties with utmost integrity, professionalism and loyalty which have been the hallmark of my long years of public service," he said in a statement released Tuesday night.

Earlier in the day, Cabinet Secretary Silvestre Bello III said Cabinet officials who will not support the administration’s presidential bet in next year’s elections might as well do the "honorable thing" and resign from their posts.


Bello’s reminder came amid reports that Romulo hinted that he would vote for Aquino instead of Defense Secretary Gilberto Teodoro Jr., the looming presidential candidate of the administration, in the 2010 elections.

Romulo admitted favoring Aquino, saying his long association with his family – particularly to his mother, the late President Corazon “Cory" Aquino – was the basis for his position.

“These comments were originally made in a private conversation. When the comments saw print, I sought to put things in perspective by explaining that my long years of association with Tita Cory and the Aquino family was the basis of my position," he said.

Romulo was the budget secretary under the Aquino regime, and had served as the campaign manager of the Mrs. Aquino-endorsed tandem of Alfredo Lim and Sergio Osmeña III in the 1998 elections.

The official said his presidential preference means neither a withdrawal of support from President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo nor his transfer to the opposition.

“I am standing by the President until the end of her term and beyond," Romulo said.

Aquino, for his part, said he was humbled by Romulo's support to his presidential bid.
Source - GMANews.TV

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