JUNE 2016



For better? Or for worse?


ABOVE PHOTO: From L-R: Pantaleon Alvarez, Mark Villar, Sen. Antonio Trillianes and Leni Robredo

By Mariano "Anong" Santos

PINOY Publisher/Editor

CULLED from the wires of our news partner, Inquirer.net, are the following news summary of important development after the historic election of May 9, 2016 that saw the election of Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte who belatedly threw in his hat in the presidential ring and won a landslide in a record setting turnout of voters (81% or 55 million). The items will speak for themselves.

Robredo: Victory claim based on Comelec numbers

By DJ Yap
Inquirer News Service

MANILA — Liberal Party (LP) vice presidential candidate Leni Robredo on May 15 claimed victory in the electoral race, saying it has become mathematically impossible for her closest rival Sen. Ferdinand Marcos Jr. to catch up with her.

“It’s irreversible. We have won,” the Camarines Sur congresswoman told a big crowd of supporters on a makeshift stage at the Ateneo de Manila University.

Robredo spent more than 20 minutes expressing her thanks and thoughts on the election, speaking at length about her underdog journey. “Among all the national candidates, I was the least likely [to win],” she said.

Addressing the allegations of fraud, she said: “You know I would never allow myself to be used either as an instrument or recipient of cheating.”

High Ground

The widow of former Interior Secretary Jesse Robredo also asked her supporters to show patience to detractors. “Take the high ground,” she said, adding: “There’s no need to quarrel with anyone. We have won.”

Her campaign team had also begun to refer to Robredo as “Vice President-elect.”

The head of Robredo’s policy unit, Boyet Dy, told the crowd that her lead of more than 257,000 votes was insurmountable even if all the remaining votes went to her opponent.

“Of the 18 regions in the country, Congresswoman Leni won 10, Senator Marcos won 7, and the remainder went to another candidate,” he said.

Based on their latest count, including the overseas and local absentee voting, Robredo led Marcos by 257,567 votes, he said, more than the 168,988 votes from the nine remaining municipalities.

“Numbers do not lie. Because of this, we wholeheartedly say that no one can stop Leni Robredo. We have full trust that she is our next Vice President,” Dy said.

Robredo said they based all their calculations on Comelec-released numbers. She attended mass at Ateneo’s Church of the Gesu May 15.

The 51-year-old Robredo was accompanied by her three daughters Aika, Tricia and Jillian, who each had a role in the mass officiated by her spiritual adviser Fr. Manoling Francisco.

The Jesuit priest gave a nonpolitical homily and did not mention Robredo, focusing his talk on the “language of love” that empowers Christians to spread God’s message.

Robredo is leading Marcos in partial and unofficial tallies by more than 200,000 votes but the latter’s camp has raised doubts about the integrity of the results, including the introduction of unauthorized script in the transparency server. SFM

Plans by the controversial incoming president to give late dictator Ferdinand Marcos a hero’s burial triggered outrage on May 24, with martial law victims warning it would whitewash the strongman’s crimes.

Duterte announced on May 23 he would allow Marcos to be buried at the Heroes’ Cemetery in Manila, in what would be another big win for the dictator’s family as it cements a remarkable political comeback.

“Burying him at the (cemetery) will whitewash all crimes he committed against the people and will send the wrong message to the world: that in the Philippines, crime pays,” Bonifacio Ilagan, who was detained and tortured by Marcos forces, told AFP.

Duterte plan for Marcos hero’s burial sparks outrage

Ilagan, who heads a group trying to stop the Marcos family from returning to power, said the highly emotional and symbolic burial of the dictator at the cemetery — where the nation’s most revered war heroes have been laid to rest — would trigger street protests.

Marcos’ two-decade rule ended in 1986 when millions of people took to the streets in a famous military-backed “People Power” uprising, forcing the family into US exile where the patriarch died three years later.

Marcos and his wife Imelda were accused of plundering $10 billion from state coffers and overseeing widespread human rights abuses by security forces. Rights groups say Marcos’s forces killed or tortured thousands of people.

However Imelda and her children were allowed to return and over the past two decades have enjoyed a stunning rise back into the political elite while fending off a barrage of lawsuits and criminal probes.

Imelda is a congresswoman representing the family’s northern provincial stronghold, while her son, Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. was elected to the Senate in 2010. Her daughter, Imee Manotoc is Ilocos Norte Governor.

Marcos Jr. ran for the vice presidency in this month’s elections against Rep. Leni Robredo and four other candidates but the winner has yet to be proclaimed though Robredo leads Marcos by no fewer than 200,000 votes.

Duterte said he wanted to have the body of Marcos, currently embalmed and enclosed in a glass casket, to be buried at the “Libingan ng mga Bayani” to end decades of divisions in society over the issue. Duterte has been a subject of severe criticism for his alleged human rights violations.

However Nilda Lagman-Sevilla, chairwoman of a group of families whose relatives vanished under Marcos’s rule, said healing would only come from discovering what happened to their loved ones and bringing the perpetrators to justice.

Her brother, a human rights lawyer who vanished in 1977, is among 882 people who disappeared under Marcos’ rule, according to the group.

“They (the families of people who vanished) are still in pain because of the absence of closure,” Lagman-Sevilla said.

Joma warns Duterte of coup, slay plots

By Delfin T. Mallari Jr.

Inquirer News Service

LUCENA CITY— President-elect Rodrigo Duterte should watch out for coup d’etat and assassination plots by disgruntled military officers supposedly supported by Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV, according to Communist Party of the Philippines founder Jose Maria Sison.

“The Trillanes gang has declared war on Duterte. Upon assumption of office as President and Commander in Chief, [Duterte] has to deliver decisive blows on this tiny gang,” Sison said in an online interview on May 19.

On the eve of the national elections, a 13-minute video was uploaded on YouTube by a group called the Network of Officers to Defend the Republic. Trillanes, a former Navy officer, earlier confirmed it was produced by military officers and soldiers who did not approve of Duterte’s alliance with communist rebels.

“Only stupid political prostitutes and pathological anticommunists like Trillanes cannot understand Duterte as a smart representative of his government,” Sison said.

Duterte has said he would consider a general amnesty for political prisoners, which Sison described as a “high-minded, generous and excellent initiative.”

Has NP, Magdalo left Trillanes in the cold?

Is Senator Antonio Trillanes IV now left on his own to expose the alleged shenanigans of incoming President Rodrigo Duterte?

The question arose after the two groups to which he belongs threw their support behind the outgoing Davao City mayor.

On May 16, the Nacionalista Party where Trillianes is a member formally forged an alliance with Duterte’s political party, PDP-Laban.

On May 18, Trillanes’ colleague in the Magdalo party-list, Rep. Gary Alejano, was seen in the company of lawmakers who met with Davao del Norte Rep. Pantaleon Alvarez to show their support for Alvarez’s speakership bid.

Sen. Cynthia Villar, wife of NP chairman and former senator Manny Villar, practically confirmed that Trillanes was not consulted before the coalition with PDP-Laban was sealed.

Trillanes, who exposed the bank accounts where Duterte was said to be keeping his undeclared wealth, said after the May 9 elections that he is willing to cooperate with the incoming administration for the country’s sake.

Whether or not he has abandoned his crusade to expose Duterte’s alleged involvement in wrongdoing, however, remains to be seen.

Coalition of change

Nationalist People’s Coalition of businessman Eduardo “Danding” Cojuangco Jr. have signed an agreement joining the coalition of change with the Partido Demokratikong Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban) of President-elect Rodrigo Duterte.

The agreement was signed at the Makati Diamond Residences on 20 May 2016 by NPC president Giorgidi Aggabao and PDP-Laban president Sen. Koko Pimentel. NPC supported losing presidential bet Grace Poe in the May 9 elections.

PDP-Laban will meet the National Unity Party of businessman Ricky Razon next.

PDP-Laban has signed coalition deals with the Nacionalista Party, Lakas-Christian Muslim Democrats of former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, the 45-member party-list bloc led by Ako Bicol and some 80 members of the Liberal Party.

Alvarez said that his quest for Speaker in the 17th Congress was in the bag. Incumbent Speaker Feliciano Belmonte (LP, Q.C.) had already conceded the speakership to Alvarez.

Next Speaker Alvarez’s airport baggage

The PDP-Laban-endorsed Davao del Norte First District Representative Pantaleon 'Bebot' Alvarez who has also the blessings of president-elect Duterte to be the next House Speaker was implicated in a plunder case involving NAIA 3 deals.

The secretary-general of Duterte’s party is no stranger to government. He already represented Davao del Norte in Congress for one term, from 1998 to 2001, and was also the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) secretary under the administration of President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo.

But his involvement with the Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA) put him under the spotlight.

According to a Newsbreak piece published in 2007, Alvarez was implicated in wrongdoing for awarding the Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 3 build-operate-transfer (BOT) contract to Philippine International Air Terminals Co Inc (Piatco) when he was MIAA senior assistant general manager.

A plunder case was filed against him and other officials in 2001 by the MIAA-NAIA Association of Service Contractors (MASO) after he was alleged to have gained something from the contract.

New Solicitor General’s Pagcor Connection

Rodrigo Duterte has appointed former Arroyo Justice Secretary Jose “Jun” Calida as Solicitor-General.

Calida is a member of Duterte’s ulta-exclusive inner circle who mapped out and carried out his campaign strategy which led to his landslide victory in the May 9 elections.

Calida is listed as Duterte’s campaign manager.

Calida served primarily as Justice Undersecretary and served as acting Justice Secretary for a limited period. He also served as executive director of the Dangerous Drugs Board.

Aside from his official government positions, Calida also served as a consultant of former Pagcor Chair Efraim Genuino.

Genuino’s Long list of Legal Troubles

Remember Efraim Genuino, the notorious head of the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. (Pagcor), who is facing plunder charges for forcing overpriced Figaro coffee on casino clients and diverting state funds to his party-list BIDA ?

Genuino could be back in control of Pagcor now that Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte won as president.

A Politiko source said Genuino’s close friend and top gaming consultant, Atty. Jose Calida, is an original member of Duterte’s inner circle of advisers and financiers. Calida is even listed as Duterte’s campaign manager.

Genuino was appointed Pagcor chair from 2001 to 2010 largely due to his connection to former First Gentleman Jose Miguel Aroyo. Genuino formed deep ties with Arroyo when the latter was chair of the Rotary Makati Central.

Among the charges filed against Genuino, his family and his cohorts are:

1)A P258-million coffee supply contract with Figaro coffee concessionaire Carmela Manalo Tan. The coffee was overpriced by P78 million.

2) Malversation of P34 million in financial assistance meant for Filipino athletes.

3) Misusing P26.7 million in fund to support the film “Baler” in 2008

4) Plundering P186 million to support the election bid Genuino’s children and party-list group.

Choices for Panelo, Villar not well-thought-out

Opinion By Ramon Tulfo

President Digong’s decision to appoint Salvador Panelo as presidential spokesperson and reelected Rep. Mark Villar as public works secretary was not well-thought-out.

Panelo is adversarial to the press, both in countenance and demeanor.

First, a presidential spokesperson should be pleasant-looking because he’s called upon to talk to reporters in front of the TV camera.

Second, Panelo’s antics and the outlandish knickknacks he wears on his person will make him a laughingstock which will reflect on Duterte.

Digong should rethink his decision if he wants to get along with the press in the vital first six months of his administration.

***

Mark Villar was probably chosen as part of a horse trade with Mark’s parents, former Senate President Manny and Sen. Cynthia Villar. But the Villars are real estate developers.

Mark’s appointment as public works and highways secretary would be a conflict of interest as all the roads and highways might lead to Camella Homes and the Villars’ other subdivisions.

Senator Manny was rejected by the people in the 2010 presidential election, some say, because of the C-5 Road extension project controversy.

He was accused of influencing the Department of Public Works and Highways into having two road projects—the C-5 Road extension and Las Piñas-Paranaque Link—built near his corporation’s real estate properties.

Besides, appointing Mark Villar to Digong’s Cabinet will deprive the people of Las Piñas of representation in Congress.


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