Posts by Badette:

    Minority senators support De Lima’s plea for “legislative furlough”

    June 1st, 2017
    Leila De Lima mug shot Photo ©

    THE Senate’s minority bloc on Tuesday has expressed its support for Sen. Leila M. De Lima’s request for temporary furlough so she can vote on pending crucial legislation despite its earlier denial by Senate President Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III.

    Senate Minority Leader Franklin M. Drilon led his four other colleagues — Senators Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan, Paolo Benigno “Bam” Aquino IV, Risa Hontiveros, and Antonio Trillanes IV — in filing Senate Resolution No. 391 expressing the sense of the Senate to support De Lima’s request for legislative furlough.

    “Senator De Lima is not asking for the privilege of attending all legislative sessions or hearings but is simply requesting for a modicum of support from the Senate to enable her to properly perform her mandate,” the resolution said.

    “Senator De Lima has not been convicted of any crime and is in full possession of political and civil rights, the exercise of which are only limited by the deprivation of her physical liberty,” the resolution added.

    Moreover, the Senate Minority Bloc cited in their resolution a number of instances where the Supreme Court granted the request of former senators similarly charged with a non-bailable offense temporary furlough for humanitarian reasons. 

    It also noted that the Sandiganbayan granted temporary furlough to former Senators Ramon Revilla Jr. and Jose “Jinggoy” Ejercito Estrada for some important family occasions, personal or health reasons.

    The proposed resolution also cited that the Supreme Court has granted temporary liberty to former Senator Juan Ponce Enrile due to his “advanced age, poor health as well as his past and present disposition of respect for the legal process, length of public service and private reputation.”

    De Lima, a former chairperson of the Commission on Human Rights and justice secretary during the preceding Aquino administration, is detained at the Philippine National Police Custodial Center in Camp Crame, Quezon City awaiting trial over what she alleged are trumped-up charges of illegal drug trade. 

    Last May 11, De Lima has written to Pimentel, requesting for an expression of support from the Senate for her “desire to be occasionally granted furlough by the court in charge of her detention to vote on crucial landmark legislation on a ‘case-to-case’ basis.”

    In response, Pimentel gave De Lima advice to continue filing motions before the court in the hope of getting a positive response.

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    No one is above the law, not even PH President Duterte – Senator Pangilinan

    May 31st, 2017

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    Opposition lawmakers press for joint session of Congress to discuss Pres. Duterte’s martial law

    May 30th, 2017
    Minority Senators Riza Hontiveros, Franklin Drilon, Francis Pangilinan, Benigno Paulo Aquino, Antonio Trillanes IV and Leila de Lima Photo © and

    DESPITE the expression of support by pro-administration senators to President Rodrigo Duterte’s declaration of martial law in southern Philippines, the senate minority bloc on Monday has pressed for the convening of both houses of Congress, the Senate and House of Representatives, to a joint session to deliberate Proclamation No. 216 which placed Mindanao under military control.

    Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon and Senators Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan, Risa Hontiveros, Benigno Paul “Bam” Aquino, (detained) Leila de Lima, all members of the Liberal Party; and Antonio Trillanes of the Magdalo Party filed Senate Resolution No. 390 calling for a joint session of Congress to determine whether martial law is necessary to be enforced in Mindanao to defeat the terrorists.

    “By constitutional design and as observed through our history after its adoption in 1987, the President already exercises the most extensive powers as head of state, head of government, and the Commander-in-Chief  thus, the President’s exercise of the extra powers to declare martial law and suspend the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus must strictly comply with the Constitution,” they said.

    The minority bloc said the powers to declare martial law and suspend the privilege of the writ are considered “extraordinary powers given that the former entails a militarization of a portion of our otherwise civilian-controlled territory while the latter curtails the people’s rights against warrantless arrests and arbitrary detention.”

    “Pursuant to the constitutional mandates of transparency and accountability in government, respecting the right of the citizen to information of public interest, and the fundamental underlying principle of checks and balances among the separate branches of government, it is incumbent upon both the Senate and the House of Representatives to conduct a joint session for the purpose of determining the constitutional and factual validity of the proclamation, of preventing abuses in its implementation, and ensuring the safety of the people of Marawi and the whole of Mindanao,” the minority lawmakers added.

    This developed even after National Security Adviser Hermgenes Esperon Jr. briefed the senators about why Pres. Duterte had to declare martial law in Mindanao. He said the President only wanted to protect and defend the people as well as the government projects, and investments in Mindanao.

    Duterte, last week placed the home of some 20 million Filipinos under martial law and suspended the writ of habeas corpus after local terrorists belonging to Maute group and Abu Sayyaf, a kidnap for ransom gang, tried to take over Marawi City in response to a failed attempt by the authorities to arrest their leader Isnilon Hapilon.

    Duterte, who is already facing international scrutiny and domestic criticism for his bloody war on drugs which is said to have already claimed the lives of over 9,000 people, also encouraged soldiers and police authorities to be harsh in their implementation of martial law, a move that further alienated him from his critiques which include human rights organizations.

    Nacionalista Party’s Senator Cynthia Villar Photo ©

    Meanwhile, Sen. Cynthia Villar, a Duterte ally, defended the President’s decision to place Mindanao under martial law.

    “The President is from Mindanao. He is more familiar with what’s happening in Mindanao, being a mayor of Davao for so long,”  Villar noted.

    “I believe we should let the Mindanaoans decide for themselves because they are the ones having a hard time because of this problem. Tayo naman dito sa Luzon at Visayas wala naman tayong nararanasan na ganyan. Kawawa naman sila. Dapat kung ano ang desisyon nila, iyon ang desisyon ng lahat,” she said.

    She also expressed belief that there is no more need for Congress to hold a joint session and discuss Duterte’s declaration of martial law.

    “Ang intindi ko doon sa rule sa declaration of martial law, kapag hindi ire-revoke there’s no need for a joint session. Dito sa Senate kapag nag-botohan kami at hindi nanalo ang pagrevoke, walang joint session,” said Villar said.

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    Duterte lawmaker allies: “No need for congress to jointly discuss martial law”

    May 27th, 2017

    Duterte, on Tuesday, placed the entire island of Mindanao under martial law and later threatened to expand its coverage to include Visayas and Luzon.

    The declaration of martial rule came after two local criminal organizations, the Maute group and the kidnap for ransom gang Abu Sayyaf, which both made a pledged allegiance to the international terrorist group Islamic State; tried to seize Marawi City after the authorities botched the serving of a warrant of arrest in that city on Isnilon Hapilon, leader of the said criminal groups.

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    Martial law is Duterte being trigger happy – Senator Antonio Trillanes

    May 26th, 2017
    Senator Antonio Trillanes IV Photo ©

    SENATOR Antonio “Sonny” Trillanes said President Rodrigo Duterte is being “trigger happy” when he placed Mindanao under martial law to neutralize the local terrorists who tried to seize Marawi City.

    “Napansin ko lang sa pag-declare niya eh parang naging ‘yung ‘trigger happy.’ Na kating-kati mag declare na (ng martial law),” Trillanes said.

    Nevertheless, Trillanes, a critic of the President, expressed hope that Duterte would amend his martial law declaration limiting its effect only in Marawi City.


    “In this case, we should reject. Baguhin niya ‘yung declaration niya na dun lang sa area of conflict. Its for his own good. Dahil maraming negosyanteng natakot,” he said.

    Trillanes noted that the armed forces was not given time to assess the situation and whether the declaration of martial law is warranted.

    “Hindi man lang binigyan man lang ng konting panahon ‘yung Armed Forces to give an assessment or makontrol man lang ‘yung situation bago nag declare ng ganun. Kutob ko dito gusto niya nang mangyari ito eh. Gusto na n’yang i-declare ito,” he said.

    Trillanes said he received report that the skirmishes between government forces and the Maute group had been contained in Marawi City. 

    “Iyung kaguluhan ay di lumalabas sa Marawi. In short hindi warranted ng martial law sa buong Mindanao. So nag-ko cause siya ng unecessary panic,” he said.

    “Kaya ngayon inaantay natin ‘yung Malacanang kasi within 48 hours kelangan nilang magbigay ng report. But definitely ‘yung pag declare ng martial law for the whole of Mindanao ay hindi kinakailangan,” Trillanes said.

    Duterte said he will ask his fellow lawmakers to reject the declaration.

    “Kasi ‘pag bibigyan mo ng palugit itong si Duterte ang susunod dito ‘yung buong Pilipinas na, ‘di ba? Sinasanay niya or kino kondisyon niya ‘yung isipan ng mamamayan na ‘yung martial law okey lang. So, pag pinagbigyan natin ito ngayon, malamang aabusuhin niya ito, dadalhin niya sa susunod na level, buong bansa ang pag-de declare ng martial law,” Trillanes observed.

    “Even assuming na merong rebellion sa Lanao and Marawi. Dapat dun lang sa area na ‘yun ‘yung martial law,” he added.


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    Martial Law in Mindanao

    My martial law will be like Marcos’, “harsh” – President Rodrigo Duterte


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    UN must be told of China’s threat of war to PH – Senator Lacson

    May 25th, 2017
    Senator Panfilo “Ping” Lacson Photo ©

    STRESSING that the Philippines’ friendship with China should be based on goodwill, Senator Panfilo “Ping” Lacson said the government should inform the United Nations (UN) of the alleged war threat of Chinese President Xi Jinping against the country should President Rodrigo Duterte insists in drilling for oil in Recto Bank. 

    Lacson, comenting on Xi’s alleged threat of war during his recent bilateral meeting with Duterte in Beijing, said Obviously, veiled or not, threat ‘yan…assuming accurate ang pag-paraphrase ni President Duterte, obviously threat ang sinabi ng presidente ng China.”  

    He said(Senior Associate) Justice (Antonio) Carpio is right. Dapat i-bring up ito sa attention ng UN. After all, China is a member. Member pa nga siya ng Security Council di ba? So dapat i-pursue natin dahil di maganda ‘yan.” 

    “Friendship should be based on goodwill. Pero where can you find goodwill kung may threat of going to war in case na ang claims i-pursue natin, to explore based on what we believe is ours?” he said.


    However, other than informing the UN, Lacson, who is a former Philippine National Police chief, is not sure what step to take.

    “It can take many forms. P’wedeng diplomatic protest. P’wedeng just a manifestation. Maraming p’wedeng gawin. But the matter should be brought to the matter of the UN. After all, we’re basing our claim sa arbitral ruling, and malinaw naman sa ruling sinabi sa atin ‘yan,” he said. 

    So, wala namang pagkakamali si President Duterte nang sinabi niyang it is ours dahil may basis ‘yan. Now kung China thinks otherwise, ano ang basis naman nila? But to threaten us with war, especially ‘yung disparity ng military might ng power ng China compared to ours, medyo malaking threat ‘yan,” he added.

    Despite affirming the correctness of the country’s position over the ownership of the contested bank, Lacson advised that plans to drill oil in the area should be carefully studied.

    “Maraming intricacies. Kung itutuloy natin, ano ang implications? Dapat pag-aralan ding mabuti,” Lacson said.

    “The point is, the crux of the issue here is the threat posited by China, by the president no less of China, during a conversation with our president,” he said.

    Duterte, late last week, told newsmen that Xi made the threat after he expressed his plan to drill for oil in Recto Bank.

    “We intend to drill oil there, if it’s yours, well, that’s your view, but my view is, I can drill the oil, if there is some inside the bowels of the earth because it is ours,” Duterte said recalling his conversation with Xi.

    “His response to me, ‘we’re friends, we don’t want to quarrel with you, we want to maintain the presence of warm relationship but if you force the issue, we’ll go to war.”

    Recto or Reed Bank, which is  believed to be rich in gas and oil deposits, is within the Philippines’ 200-mile exclusive economic zone (EEZ) but despite of it, China staked a claim on the area citing alleged historical accounts. 

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    My martial law will be like Marcos’, “harsh” – President Rodrigo Duterte

    May 25th, 2017

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    International lawmakers on fact finding mission to PH to ascertain facts on Senator Leila De Lima’s detention

    May 24th, 2017
    Image ©
    Senator Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III Photo ©

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    Senator Leila De Lima calls for Senate probe on the growth of child sex tourism in PH

    May 22nd, 2017

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    Senator Franklin Drilon warns of possible economic consequences due to Duterte’s rejection of EU aid

    May 20th, 2017
    Senator Franklin Drilon INQUIRER PHOTO/ JOAN BONDOC

    SENATE Minority Leader Franklin Drilon on Friday said the Philippines could lose billions of pesos worth of trade with European Union member countries should the Duterte administration follows through with its threat to reject aid from the European economic bloc.

    “I hope that the government has studied this thoroughly and carefully, and is prepared to deal with the consequences of its decision,” said Drilon referring to an earlier announcement of President Rodrigo Duterte that his administration will reject EU’s financial aid if there are “attached strings” that would affect the country’s internal affairs.

    Drilon noted that the EU has been a reliable trading partner and their assistance, by way of grant or aid extended to the country through the years has been “benefiting Filipinos particularly those in the impoverished communities in Mindanao.”

    Furthermore, Drilon said “the EU has been a Philippine’s committed partner in the pursuit of peace and development in Mindanao.”

    He stressed that because of EU’s support to the peace process in Mindanao and its 80 percent funding of the Mindanao Trust Fund, there is money to spend for the socio-economic recovery of conflict-affected communities of Mindanao.

    On the economic side, Drilon observed that the Philippines and EU’s partnership has resulted in billions of pesos in trade, helping to boost the economy and generate job opportunities.

    “We must not forget that aside from developmental aid, we are beneficiaries of the Generalized System of Preferences Plus (GSP+) that allows the Philippines to export 6,274 products, including the famous tuna of General Santos City, to the EU at zero tariff,” he added.

    This makes EU as one of the biggest trading partners of the Philippines with the total trade between the EU and the Philippines reaching 12.9 billion euros or roughly P704 billion in 2015 “of which 1.38 billion euros were from products qualified under the GSP+ scheme,” , Drilon said.

    According to the Philippines Statistics Authority (PSA), Philippine exports to the EU for the first quarter of 2017 constitute 15.5 percent of total exports of the Philippines, making the EU as the fastest growing export market for Philippine products.

    Before the Philippines was accepted in the GSP+ in 2014, Drilon told reporters, Filipino exporters had suffered heavily from the declining trade with the EU, from 8.5 billion euros in 2002 to 5.1 billion euros in 2014. He then warned that “the decision (to reject aid) might trigger the removal of the Philippines from the GSP+.”

    Drilon expressed concern that “Once GSP+ is withdrawn, Filipino producers will be charged tariff rates.”

    Citing the tuna industry as an example, Drilon explained that the country’s tuna will be imposed a 22 percent tariff once GSP+ is removed.

    Moreover, Drilon, citing PSA data, said the value of tuna exports to EU member countries such as Germany, United Kingdom and the Netherlands in 2015 amounted to $133.12 million or roughly P6.65 billion. He predicted that the tuna industry, as well as those products enjoying zero tariff, stand to lose millions of pesos in case the GSP+ is terminated.

    Drilon, denying that the EU will interfere in our internal affairs, said the “the Philippine and EU’s long-standing partnership has always been based on mutual respect and cooperation.”

    “While it is the right of any country to accept or reject any grant from another country or institution, I do not agree that the grants offered by the EU would give it a license to interfere in our country’s internal affairs,” said Drilon.

    “We are just being asked to adhere to our treaty obligations and they did not come from the EU but from the treaties that we have signed and ratified,” he added.

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    From whimsical to determined

    May 18th, 2017

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    Respect congress’ decision not to impeach PH Pres. Rodrigo Duterte – Sen. Aquilino Pimentel III

    May 16th, 2017

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    UN position on PH EJKs a wake up call for President Duterte?

    May 10th, 2017


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    Philippine ‘war on drugs’ comes under fire at UN Human Rights Council

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    PH congress’ Commission on Appointments rejected environmentalist Gina Lopez as environment exec

    May 3rd, 2017
    Environment and Natural Resources Secretary Regina Lopez. INQUIRER FILE PHOTO / GRIG C. MONTEGRANDE

    SUCCUMBING to the lobby of powerful foreign mining interests, the traditional politician members of the bicameral Commission on Appointments (CA) panel on Wednesday has rejected the confirmation of environmentalist Gina Lopez as secretary of Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR).

    Although political pundits expected the rejection, still it caught many by surprise as not only it is rare in Philippine politics that a presidential appointee is rejected, Ms. Lopez’ rejection is also the second by the CA for the Duterte administration, the first being former Foreign Affairs Secretary Perfecto Yasay Jr. 

    Voting 16-8, the 24-member Committee on Environment and Natural Resources of the CA arrived at its decision through secret balloting. Under the rules, an appointee cannot be reappointed once rejected by the CA, unlike when the body only bypasses an appointment.

    “The deliberation of the ad interim appointment of Ms. Gina Lopez as secretary of DENR was perhaps the longest, dramatic and most watched by all Filipinos from all walks of life both rich and poor,” said former boxer turned lawmaker Senator Manny “PacMan’ Pacquiao, the panel chairman.

    “But the commission has voted today the required 13 votes. With sadness in my heart, this committee through this plenary is terminating its deliberation on Gina Lopez appointment not in the way I personally wanted to but the decision of the majority which I’m sorry but we must all respect,” the usually bible quoting Pacquiao said. 

    The four Liberal Party (LP) — Senate President Pro-Tempore Ralph Recto, Minority Leader Frank Drilon, and Senators Bam Aquino and Kiko Pangilinan — contingent in the CA voted for Lopez’s confirmation. Four other lawmakers — Senate Majority Leader Tito Sotto, Senators Loren Legarda, JV Ejercito, and Pacquiao — also voted in favor of Lopez’ appointment.

    Even if the CA decided to have the voting in secret balloting, Lopez’ supporters all stood up to express their vote during the CA’s plenary session.

    The other members of the CA’s environment panel were Senators Alan Peter Cayetano, Gregorio Honasan II, Panfilo Lacson, and Juan Miguel Zubiri; Representatives Benhur Salimbangon ( panel vice chairman), Joel Mayo Almario, Antonio Floirendo, Jr., Wes Gatchalian, Roy Loyola, Rosenda Ann Ocampo, Josephine Ramirez-Sato, Ronaldo Zamora, Rodolfo Albano III, Abraham Tolentino, Juliet Cortuna, and Jerry Trenas.

    After the session, Lopez expressed disappointment with the outcome of the voting. She then “recommended” President Rodrigo Duterte to replace her.

    “It is the constitutional right for every Filipino for a clean and healthy environment. It is the duty of every Filipino to make sure that their fellow Filipino to get that,” Lopez said.

    “How can a body which is mandated to make decisions based on the common good make decisions based on business interests? What else can you say? The ones who voted ‘no’ (for my confirmation must) explain it,” Lopez, who is obviously dismayed, said. 

    “My choice for DENR secretary is President Duterte. He is so powerful. You have the authority over the use of our resources. And you have the authority and the money to eradicate poverty. It’s an amazing position. I can’t think of any other person. It needs guts. It needs tapang because you have to step on business interests,” said Lopez.

    For her part, Sen. Legarda, who is a former newshen for the Lopez group of company owned ABS-CBN, rejected the CA’s rejection of the confirmation of Lopez.

    “In such a short time, in less than a year of service, Gina Lopez has already done a lot as DENR Secretary. She could have done so much more if we had given her the chance. I wish my support would have been enough, but we have rules to follow,” said Legarda.

    “I just hope that the next DENR chief would also have the same passion and political will but would not suffer the same fate in the Commission on Appointments,” she added.

    Sen. Pacquiao also expressed the same sentiment.

    “To my mind this is not only Gina’s fight for the environment but a fight between Filipinos versus Filipinos who both need the environment. One group to use it and the other to preserve it,” said Pacquiao.

    Furthermore, Pacquiao said “To you Gina Lopez, my supposed DENR secretary I salute you. Take this as a challenge to strive for more. The DENR post is not the end of your career but only the beginning.”

    Read More:

    PH green group sought Lopez’ appointment as DENR chief to save the country’s natural resources

    PH Congressional Commission Appointment is set to bypass Gina Lopez?

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    Filipinos favor the return of the death penalty?

    April 29th, 2017
    Photo ©

    ACCORDING to the latest Philippine Social Weather Station survey, 60 percent or three out of every five Filipinos favor the revival of the death penalty for drug related crimes.

    Senator Fraklin Drilon, however, was quick to downplay the results of the recent SWS survey saying it is a “mere reflection” of the people’s frustration over a poor justice system rather than its endorsement. He expressed confidence that the survey will not affect the position of majority of senators who have declared their opposition against the death penalty “out of principles.”

    The lawmaker from Iloilo on Wednesday said the proposed death penalty bill, which was approved by the House of Representatives, will not pass.

    “By my own estimate, there are at least 13 senators who will block the passage of the death penalty bill, including the six-member minority group and seven from the majority block. It’s dead and the chances of resurrecting it before we even bring it to a vote are very slim, if not zero, at least in this [17th] Congress,” Drilon, in a statement, said.

    Aside from Drilon, the 13 anti-death penalty senators include Sen. Kiko Pangilinan, Bam Aquino, Leila de Lima, Risa Hontiveros, all members of the Liberal Party; and Sonny Trillanes. The rest are from the majority bloc whom Drilon declined to identify.

    For his part, Sen. Vicente “Tito” Soto III welcomed the result of the survey saying it will influence the stand of some senators on the death penalty.

    Malamang. Lalo na sa mga reelectionists,” Sotto said refering to reelectionist senators Juan Edgardo “Sonny” Angara, Nancy Binay, Juan Victor “JV” Ejercito, Grace Poe, Cynthia Villar, and Aquino.

    Sotto insists that the survey clearly shows that Filipinos are supportive of the death penalty for heinous crimes.

    Sen. Ejercito, on the other hand, said that being a representative of the people, he has “to follow their will.”

    Meanwhile, Sen. Hontiveros said the latest SWS survey on the death penalty is a “cry of desperation from a public who is tired of drug-related crimes rather than their tacit approval of a supposed crime deterrent that doesn’t work.”

    “This stems from the failure of the country’s law enforcement and public health systems to address the drug problem and bring to justice big-time drug traffickers based on the rule of law,” she said adding that “This inspires me more to campaign against the reimposition of the death penalty and to push for policies that will radically reform our judicial system.”

    “I believe that by realizing a fair, efficient and functional justice system, we will ensure the safety of our people and lead them away from the allure of the death penalty, which has been proven to be a dangerous shortcut in addressing the peace and order problem of any country,” she said.

    She added that there are “no empirical proof” that shows that death penalty is an effective deterrent against crime, particularly high-level drug trafficking.

    Sen. Pangilinan, in a brief statement, agreed with Sen. Hontiveros and explained that when he voted against the death penalty in 2006, he did it “not because it was popular thing to do but because we believe it was the right thing to do.”


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    Death penalty DOA at PH senate?

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    ASEAN should bring equitable and sustainable development – Senator Loren Legarda

    April 28th, 2017
    Senaotor Loren Legarda Photo ©

    SENATE Loren Legarda on Friday appealed to the leaders of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations to bring about more equitable and sustainable economic development across the region and to promote stronger regional cooperation.

    Legarda, in an interview with reporters, said the Philippines, as chair of ASEAN 2017, has an excellent opportunity to steer ASEAN’s work in ways that will address the most critical challenges facing the region today.

    “ASEAN is one of the fastest growing regions of the world, is home to more than 600 million people, and is the fourth largest exporting region in the world; but income distribution and equality concerns abound,” she said.

    According to the World Economic Forum (WEF), some 180 million citizens or about 29 percent of the ASEAN population still live in poverty, she said.

    The GDP (gross domestic product) per capita across ASEAN countries can be as low as $800 to a high of $49,000. 

    Senator Franklin Drilon

    Meanwhile, Minority Leader Sen. Franklin Drilon urged the Duterte administration to grab the opportunity to “re-assert” the Philippine claims over the disputed Spratly islands during the ASEAN Summit.

    Five ASEAN member-states have overlapping territorial claim in the Spratlys in the South China Sea. These are Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, Vietnam, and the Philippines. Neighboring Taiwan has also a stake in the South China Sea.

    “We must take this opportunity to re-assert our sovereignty over the disputed island,” said Drilon when asked about his expectations from the 30th ASEAN Summit which is being held in the Philippines as this year’s host.

    “We have a decision in our favor. We must continue to avail of every opportunity to assert that ruling by the arbitral court,” said Drilon referring to the decision of the international court nullifying China’s nine-line which eats up part of the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone (EEZ). 

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    PH Senator Grace Poe calls for prosecution of former President BS Aquino’s transport officials

    April 27th, 2017
    Senator Grace Poe Photo ©

    SENATOR Grace Poe calls for the prosecution of former transport officials of the preceding Aquino administration who were involved in the allegedly anomalous P3.8 billion (US $ 75.7 million) purchase of 48 defective train coaches that are now wasting away in depots.

    Poe, chairperson of the Senate Committee on Public Service, issued the call as she announced her intention to investigate a report of the Department of Transportation (DoTr) showing that the coaches bought during the administration of former President Benigno Simeon Aquino III from Dalian, China have defective signaling system and that it cannot be used in the next three years.

    Moreover, She insists that those responsible for the anomalous purchase should be held liable to serve as a lesson to others that commuter safety is paramount.

    “Ang problema nito ay ang kalidad ng signaling system at sinabi ng DoTr na mukhang hindi nila gagamitin ang 48 trains na iyan. So, matetengga iyan. P3.8 billion at ilang daang libong pasahero ang hindi makikinabang diyan,” said Poe adding “Iyan ang isa pang malaking kasalanan na kung sino man ang nag-apruba niyan ay dapat managot.”

    Poe said the senate must determine how and why the anomaly happened when congress resumes its next session on May 2.

    “Dapat talaga makita kung saan tayo nagkamali para hindi natin ulitin ‘yun at maturuan ng leksyon ang mga pumasok dito na hindi inisip ang kapakanan ng mga Pilipino. Dapat talaga pagbayaran nila iyan. Dapat magkaroon ng kaso (laban sa kinauukulan).”

    Poe said “Kung sino man ang pumasok diyan na hindi ginawa ang kanilang homework ay dapat managot sa batas at sa taumbayan. Sayang ang perang ipinambili.”

    She then urged Transportation Secretary Art Tugade to build up the case against the concerned officials.

    “Humanap na kayo ng ebidensya at magsampa na ng kaso doon sa mga nagkulang sa atin at iyon din ang balak kong gawin sa mga pagdinig sa Senado.”

    At the same time, she expressed agreement with the DoTr’s plan to review and cancel all contracts that are not in conformity with existing rules and slap fines on contracting parties who failed to fulfill their end of the contract.

    “Patuloy pa rin ang aming paninindigan dito na dapat managot ang pumasok sa kasunduan na ‘yan. Puro sila abogado doon, pero lahat naman ng kasunduan nila palpak,” Poe said.

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    The evidence against President Rodrigo Duterte is substantial – Senator Antonio Trillanes IV

    April 26th, 2017


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    Filing of charges against PH President Rodrigo Duterte before international court is a disservice to the country – Senator Panfilo Lacson

    International Criminal Court asked to prosecute PH President Rodrigo Duterte for crimes against humanity

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    Filing of charges against PH President Rodrigo Duterte before international court is a disservice to the country – Senator Panfilo Lacson

    April 25th, 2017

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    Confessed killer laments over PH Senator Lacson’s failure to understand

    April 12th, 2017
    Confessed killer Arthur Lascañas Photo ©

    RETIRED SPO3 Arthur Lascañas, a self-confessed leader of the Davao Death Squad, expressed disappointment with Senator Panfilo “Ping” Lacson over his failure to understand why he left the country for Singapore to be with his family.

    Lacson, a former Philippine National Police chief, on Monday wondered who financed Lascañas trip to Singapore which he said is an “expensive” place to stay.

    Lascañas, who left the country on Saturday, noted that Lacson also fled the country in 2009 during the term of former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo (GMA) to evade arrest and trial for his alleged involvement in the Dacer-Corbito double murder case.

    “Sa lahat ng tao, si Senator Lacson dapat ang pinakamakakaunawa sa aking kalagayan,” Lascañas said in a text message sent to reporters covering the senate through the Office of Sen. Sonny Trillanes.

    “Hinanap siya ng awtoridad at umalis siya dahil sa pangamba sa kanyang safety,” Lascañas said referring to the time when Lacson fled to an undisclosed country.

    “Marami din naniniwala sa kanya na tama ang kanyang ginagawa kaya maraming tumulong sa kanyang pag-alis,” Lascañas added.

    Lacson returned to the country only after the term of Pres. GMA was succeeded by his ally, Sen. Benigno Simeo Aquino III, as the 15th president of the republic.

    Moreover, Lascañas said just like Lacson, a lot of people also believe his testimony against President Rodrigo Duterte whom he claimed to have ordered the EJK of criminals and political enemies when he was still Davao City mayor.

    “Ganun din sa akin. Maraming naniniwala at nagmamalasakit kaya nila ako tinutulungan,” said Lascañas.

    Senator Panfilo “Ping” Lacson Photo ©

    In response to Lascañas’ lamentation, Lacson said:”Of course, I understand SPO3 Lascañas’ predicament and I am not blaming or criticizing his decision to leave the country. Anybody who feels persecuted and physically threatened is entitled to make a personal decision on self-preservation.”

    He added:”I will never regret that decision. I thought it was the right decision to make given the circumstances at that time. If Lascañas feels the same, so be it.”

    “In my case, as I stated when I resurfaced after being proven innocent of the trumped up charges thrown against me by the Arroyo administration, I chose to fight my legal battle under our country’s judicial system based on jurisprudence although I refused to give my enemies and detractors the pleasure of seeing me behind bars even for a second for a crime I did not commit,” Lacson, who chairs the Senate Committee on Public Order and Dangerous Drugs, explained.

    “If I asked which group is financing his and his family’s trip and accommodations in an expensive place like Singapore, it was in the context of an obvious destabilization efforts against President Duterte since nobody seems to admit being involved in the scheme,” Lacson added.

    The former police chief also noted that Lascañas family had left for Singapore even before the principal witness testified at the Senate hearing.

    “So that could be his personal reason for leaving.”

    Lacson alleged that Lascañas’ claim linking the President to Extra Judicial Killings while he was still Davao City mayor is designed to “destabilize” the Duterte government.

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    Militant’s takeover of housing project in Bulacan a wakeup call to address PH housing problem

    April 7th, 2017
    Senator Juan Victor “JV” Ejercito Photo ©

    SENATOR Juan Victor “JV” Ejercito said the occupation of an idle housing project for military personnel in Bulacan by a militant urban poor organization is a wakeup call for the government to address the worsening housing problem.

    Sen. Ejercito issued the statement after learning that the Kalipunan ng Damayang Mahihirap (Kadamay), a Metro Manila based militant urban poor organization, swooped down and occupied an idle housing project intended for enlisted men in Pandi, Bulacan.

    The lawmaker from San Juan City also expressed appreciation over President Rodrigo Duterte’s decision to hand over the housing project to Kadamay members in order to avoid bloodshed. However, he stressed that he does not agree that the government should be “held hostage” in order to justify anyone’s need for shelter except in times of calamity.

    “While I appreciate President Duterte’s heart for the poor and homeless this (taking over) should not be the means for anyone to become a recipient of housing projects,” said Ejercito, chairman of the Senate Committee on Urban Planning and Housing.

    “We have to do things right. Kadamay should still go through the proper process in the turn-over and awarding of housing units,” he added warning that Kadamay’s occupation might become a “precedent” for other groups demanding housing from the government.

    “We want them to comply with the process.”

    The President on Tuesday asked the beneficiaries of the Pandi housing project to “let go” of their assigned units to avoid any violent confrontation. He made the appeal during the Philippine Army’s 120th anniversary in Fort Bonifacio wherein he also vowed to look for a “better” housing site for them.

    Ejercito, at the same time, said that regardless of the President’s decision, the Senate probe on Kadamay’s occupation of the Pandi, Bulacan housing project will still push through on April 18. He said he wants to know from the National Housing Authority why the project was neglected and made up of substandard materials. Furthermore, he also wants to know where the funds for it went. 

    “By now I believe we are convinced that government housing projects are no longer about structures but should also cover a comprehensive and strategic plan in addressing other basic needs of beneficiaries such as access to livelihood, transportation, education, and health facilities,” he said. 

    He added:”To effectively map this out and to address the housing backlog, we need to pursue the creation of a Department on Human Settlements and Urban Development and the passage of the In-City Relocation Bill. These two are our priority measures in the Senate committee this year.”

    Sen. Richard Gordon Photo ©

    Meanwhile, Sen. Richard Gordon said the President’s decision to give away the idle government housing units in Pandi to the members of the organization that illegally occupied it is a “ticket to anarchy.”

    “That’s bad signal Mr. President. Again your falling on your own sword because ‘pag ganyan that’s a ticket to what you called anarchy. Anybody taking the law into their own hands. These people are not above the law. And we shouldn’t do that,” said Gordon.

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    Senator Trillanes deplores “communist presence” in Duterte administration

    April 6th, 2017

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    Firing of PH Interior and Local Government exec Sueno an excuse to make the post available to a President Duterte ally – Senator Trillanes

    April 5th, 2017
    Senator Antonio Trillanes © INQUIRER PHOTO/JOAN BONDOC

    SENATOR Antonio Trillanes IV claimed that the sacking of Interior and Local Government Secretary Ismael “Mike” Sueno is a “convenient excuse” by President Rodrigo Duterte to make the post available for someone close to him.

    “I believe, meron silang gustong i-appoint dyan sa Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) ‘pagka natapos na ‘yung election ban (on appointing losing candidates who participated in the May 2016 election),” Trillanes, a fierce critic of Pres. Duterte, said.

    “Kasi meron nang papasok ngayong May. So na-open nila ‘yung door. Nagbigay ng opening itong si Secretary Sueno. Kaya tinanggal sya,” Trillanes, a former officer of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, told reporters during in a media forum Tuesday.

    “Tingnan n’yo nung nabalitaan ‘yung ganyan (corruption issue) kay Cesar Montano, tinanggal ba si Montano? So, ‘yung kay Sec. (Vitaliano) Aguirre, tinanggal ba? Hindi,” Trillanes stressed adding that “Ganun lang ‘yan. Political convenience ‘yan na gagamitin nila. Iinsist nila na may parang anti-corruption drive na nangyari.” 

    “What I’m saying is rampant ang corruption ngayon. We have been identifying senior officials of this administration na engaged in corruption, pero hindi naman ginagalaw. Pero eto komo convenient na tatanggalin (na nila),” he explained.

    “Makikita nyo they are very careful na sabihin ‘loss of trust’ lang ang reason. Kasi nga naman, kung didiinan nila ng husto, baka mag salita ‘yan. Ngayon, kung meron naman talagang na-discover silang illegal, ba’t di nila kasuhan? Ba’t nila tinanggal lang?”

    Nevertheless, Trillanes clarified that he does not know who will get the vacated post since it appears that there is still an infighting among Pres. Duterte’s allies.

    “May mga names being floated around pero ano ‘yan, kumbaga meron pang infighting kung sino eventually makakakuha niyan,” said Trillanes.

    On Monday, Pres. Duterte unceremoniously fired Sueno after a cabinet meeting citing loss of trust and confidence as reasons. Sueno’s dismissal came after his dispute with his three undersecretaries became known to the Pres. Duterte and the public

    The three undersecretaries, who were all old friends of Pres. Duterte, accused Sueno of corruption and abuse of power, charges that the beleaguered former DILG chief firmly deny.

    “I wholeheartedly accept the decision of the President.  It is his call if he wants me in his Cabinet or not.  But for the record, Mr. President, and I can say this with all honesty and sincerity, hindi po ako corrupt,” Sueno, a relatively newcomer in Duterte’s circle of allies, said.

    It was earlier rumored that Pres. Duterte’s friend, former Sen. Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr., has been promised the DILG post.

    The young Marcos, son and namesake of the former strongman Ferdinand Marcos Sr., has a pending electoral protest before the Supreme Court, sitting as Presidential Electoral Tribunal (PET), against Vice President Leni Robredo as he questioned her victory in the last vice presidential election.

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    PH President Duterte fires his interior and local government secretary due to “loss of trust”


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    Communist rebels to be prosecuted if they arrest former President BS Aquino for crimes against humanity

    April 4th, 2017
    Senator Panfilo “Ping” Lacson Photo ©

    SENATOR Panfilo “Ping” Lacson said communist rebels should be held criminally liable if they push through with their threat to arrest former President Benigno Simeon Aquino III and put him on trial for crimes against humanity in connection with the bloody dispersal of farmers in Kidapawan, South Cotabato last year.

    Sen. Ping Lacson made the suggestion in view of the threat of the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army-National Democratic Front (CPP-NPA-NDF) to “indict” Aquino, among others, for the violent dispersal of farmers who picketed the National Food Authority office in Kidapawan on April 1, 2016.

    At the same time, the former Philippine National Police chief said it is the responsibility of the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the PNP “to protect former President Aquino and all those placed under the liquidation list of the CPP-NPA-NDF who, by any definition, are enemies of the State.”

    “Having said that, there is only one duly constituted authority that can mete out any form of penalty against anybody found violating the laws of the land and that is a court of law of the Republic of the Philippines,” said Lacson, chairman of the Senate Committee on Public Order. 

    “Anybody else is unauthorized and therefore illegal. Hence, they should be made criminally liable if and when they perform such criminal act,” he said. 

    The NDF said the “revolutionary government” had indicted Aquino and other officials including North Cotabato Gov. Emmylou Talino-Mendoza, Kidapawan City Mayor Joseph Evangelista, North Cotabato 2nd District Rep. Nancy Catamco as well as military and police officials involved in the dispersal.

    Three farmers died and dozens others were injured during that violent police dispersal of farmers blocking the Cotabato-Davao highway. The farmers were seeking immediate help for food aid and farm assistance from the government to cope with the harsh impact of the long-drawn drought on their crops.

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    PH should setup a floating terminal at Benham Rise ASAP – Senator Gatchalian

    April 3rd, 2017

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