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PNoy also corrupt, senatorial bet claims

Anti-RH bet calls PNoy a ‘liar’, an ‘evil man’

MANILA, Philippines — Senatorial candidate Rizalito Yap David on Wednesday called President Benigno Aquino III a “liar” and an “evil man” for allegedly not staying true to his promises on the controversial reproductive health (RH) law.

Aquino certified the RH bill as urgent December last year despite calls from the Catholic Church to reject the bill. It was signed into law last December 21.

“Well, he’s a liar. When he spoke before the bishops, he said he was not for it but then he certified it. Sabi niya ‘di [niya] pipirmahan before Christmas pero pinirmahan niya. So all the promises that he made before the bishops he did not follow,” David said on ANC’s “Headstart”.

“He’s an evil man,” he added.

David, who is one of the three senatorial candidates running under the Ang Kapatiran Party or the Alliance for the Common Good, also called Aquino a corrupt politician, citing the total worth of smuggled goods under the current administration.

“I doubt it… Panong magiging posible na makakapag-smuggle in ng P59 billion worth in two and a half years na hindi alam ng Palasyo? Is he not corrupt in that sense?”

“Kung ‘di man siya nakikinabang, allowing his people to do that makes him corrupt too,” he said.

David, who is also a commentator for Radio Veritas, also claimed: “Rumors have it that [Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa] is the one running the [Bureau of Customs], not Ruffy Biazon, together with Mar Roxas now.”

Mar a ‘twin’ of PNoy

He also branded Interior and Local Government Secretary Roxas as a “twin” of Aquino because the two have similar characters.

“The same way I describe Noynoy [because] they are twins,” he said.

David also claimed, “If ever he becomes a president in 2013, we’re facing a new dictatorship.”

‘PNoy received money from Malaysia’

Citing his own sources, David claimed the President received money from Malaysia, which is the reason behind his stand on the Sultanate of Sulu’s claim over Sabah.

“He never wanted [to pursue the claim] in the first place… It is not possible for them to take such positions and speak against their own people if they are not on the take,” he said.

When asked what he would do if he is slapped with libel cases due to his accusations against Aquino, David said: “I would welcome it provided I will be given a day in court.”

Catholic vote

During the interview, David said he is once again running for senator in the May 13 polls because of a “mission”.

“We are on a mission… We want to put back God in the center of politics. We have a message and this is the only way by which we can reach many people,” he said.

“I am blunt. I’ll take truth to the limits. ‘Yun ‘yung dadalhin ko sa Senado: katotohanan. Hindi ko bobolahin ‘yung taumbayan para ako manalo. Or kahit na nandoon na ako, ‘di ko lolokohin ‘yung mamamayan para lang ako maging popular,” David added.

He also said that the “Catholic vote” may help him win in the Senate race. He said about 8 to 10 million Catholic voters follow the common solidarity vote.

“Things are different now. People are moving, the Catholic faithful are moving and we might just make it.”

David also claimed that re-electionist senators Loren Legarda, Francis “Chiz” Escudero and Alan Peter Cayetano will not occupy the top three posts in the May 13 polls despite leading in recent surveys.

The three were included on the list which the Diocese of Bacolod had dubbed as “Team Patay” senatorial aspirants due to their support for the RH law.

“I can tell you now that Loren, Chiz and Alan Peter will never be 1, 2, 3 anymore because they will be voted out of the top 6,” he said, adding that an anti-RH candidate could land on the top spot.

by Kathlyn dela Cruz, ABS-CBNnews.com

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Trillanes forecasts fireworks vs PNoy in 2 yrs

MANILA – Re-elected Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV believes the new Senate minority will bide their time in the next 2 years before making any noise against President Aquino ahead of the 2016 election.

Speaking to ANC, Trillanes said he expects a real minority to emerge in the 16th Congress as the winners of the 2013 midterm election join the upper chamber. He said the senators from the opposition will hold off attacks due to the high popularity of President Aquino and will likely focus on their legislative agenda in the next 2 years.

“I think now as I said earlier, we would have a real minority this time around because there will be 2016 to consider. Everybody will try to position themselves for that derby and make themselves relevant so I think the majority will face some opposition this time around,” he said.

“Some senators will try to position themselves as opposition may be reluctant to come out early because they know they might be swimming against the current because you have a very, very popular president. It may not be prudent for them to come out early. I think they will try to hit or strike once in a while just for media purposes but no real opposition until the end of the second year,” he added.

Trillanes said the so-called Senate macho bloc could try to position themselves as the opposition ahead of the 2016 polls when Vice-President Jejomar Binay runs for president. Among the members of the macho bloc are resigned Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile, Senators Tito Sotto, Gringo Honasan, and Jinggoy Estrada and incoming Senators Nancy Binay and JV Ejercito.

Trillanes reiterated that Enrile’s resignation was meant to preempt his removal as Senate president in the next Congress. He said he stands by his description of Enrile’s speech as “theatrics” and “rantings.”

He also noted that Sen. Franklin Drilon, who served as campaign manager of Team PNoy in the recently concluded election, stands a good chance of being elected Senate President.

Trillanes said one piece of legislation that administration allies should push for is the freedom of information bill.

“I think it is still the freedom of information bill. If the President is really an anticorruption president, then this bill is it and it should be a legacy bill for him. He can leave behind a mechanism that would promote transparency in governance. Once we pass that, we wouldn’t have to search for or request for SALNs of justices or senators because it will be mandated, because SALNs will be posted and you can search it through the Internet,” he said.

Why he won

In the interview, Trillanes said he is also thankful that he won a fresh mandate in the recently concluded election.

Asked what accounted for his victory, the re-elected senator said he won his re-election bid because the people saw that he is consistent in his reform advocacy.

He said that even during his incarceration, he pushed for bills that reflected his advocacy.

Trillanes said his ongoing word war against Enrile also showed that he is not afraid to speak out against leaders who are doing wrong even if they are popular.

“When we had this encounter late last year, I was very much aware of the fact that [Enrile] had a very high approval rating but it never mattered to me and to us ever since. Remember when I stood up against GMA in 2003, she was also a media favorite back then. But we had to say what we needed to say,” he said.

By David Dizon, ABS-CBNnews.com

Posted at 06/10/2013

River bank squatters to go, Roxas declares

The government has devised a plan to relocate more than 15,000 squatter families living on the banks of rivers and waterways that run across 11 towns and cities in Metro Manila, Interiror and Local Government Secretary Manuel Roxas said on Sunday.

He said he has summoned the various government agencies involved in relocation of squatters to a meeting at Camp Crame today to unify their efforts and ease the effect on the affected families, especially those who were unable to move out before the onset of the rainy season.

“We need to prepare. We need to harmonize our plans. We want to avoid casualties during the rainy season,” Roxas said.

About 15,773 families live on the banks of six rivers and waterways that usually overflow its banks during the rainy season. Their houses are made of cardboards, discarded plywoods and plastic sheets recovered from garbage dumps.

The 7.3 km San Juan River has the most number of squatters on his banks with 4,567 families followed by Tripa de Gallina, a narrow waterway that runs through Pasay, Paranaque and Manila with 3,684 families. Manggahan Floodway, which was built in 1986 to ease the flooding along Pasig River, has become a home for 1,889 families.

Roxas said the government has prepared a three-year program to move about 60,000 squatter families to relocation areas by the year 2016.

“We are preparing because we are concerned about their welfare. When the typhoon season arrives, we want to make sure that their lives will not be in danger,” Roxas said.

Source: Manila Standard Today

By Florante S. Solmerin

Zero casualties

EDITORIAL- The Philippine Star

The government is aiming for zero casualties as it maps out measures for disaster preparedness, according to the Department of the Interior and Local Government. It’s an ambitious goal for the DILG, but it’s good to aim for the ideal as the nation marks Disaster Preparedness Week.

Among the initiatives to be launched starting today, apart from regular flood drills, is a three-year program to remove informal dwellers along waterways, relocate them, and make sure they don’t return. The DILG counts 15,773 families squatting along six major waterways in Metro Manila. Apart from the Pasig River, the waterways include the Manggahan Floodway, where informal settlers were among the worst victims of torrential flooding at the height of Typhoon Ondoy in 2009.

According to a study released recently by the World Bank, natural disasters present a serious development challenge for East Asian and Pacific countries, with the poor often the most affected. Over 1.6 billion people have been affected by disasters in the Asia-Pacific since 2000, with the region accounting for 61 percent of global losses from disasters in the past 20 years and 40 percent of suffering from flooding in the past three decades.

The World Bank study pointed out that disaster risk has become a major issue in poverty alleviation, with natural disasters derailing long-term growth and diverting state resources from essential services and development projects. The study also noted that among the most vulnerable to disasters are rapidly growing cities in East Asia.

Economic losses from disasters have been increasing in recent years, with the figures 15 times higher in the 1990s than in the 1950s, according to the World Bank report. In 2011, the costliest on record, economic losses in the Asia-Pacific amounted to $259 billion in the first nine months alone, accounting for 80 percent of the global total. The most affected were Pacific island nations.

The Philippines, which also faces the Pacific, is no stranger to disasters, with scores of lives lost and billions in crops and property destroyed annually from typhoons, floods and earthquakes. The nation cannot afford not to give high priority to disaster preparedness.

PCCI head in Marikina to sue city official, newspapers for libel

MANILA, Philippines—The head of the local business group who was among those charged by the Marikina City government for reportedly failing to pay around P14 million for the operation of a Christmas bazaar in 2012, is also filing charges—this time, against the head of a government unit and media organizations that reportedly maligned him.

In an interview in Marikina on Tuesday, Eduardo Francisco, who heads the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry-Marikina Chapter, said he has instructed his lawyer to file libel charges  this week against Paul Sison, the head of the City Public Information Office, whom he said leaked “libelous information” to media “with the intention of destroying his reputation.”

“The PIO is using the social media…If you look at the PIO website, even before the stories were published in the papers, (there was already a story there),” he said.

The Philippine Daily Inquirer tried to reach Sison for comment, but he has not responded to calls and messages so far.

Francisco added the same charges would be filed against Manila Bulletin and Remate, among several others, that reportedly did not “even bother to get his side” despite the fact that he was mentioned in their stories as one of the respondents to the civil case Mayor Del de Guzman on Saturday had ordered to be filed.

The P14-million suit, which was filed against PCCI key officials including Francisco on Monday, stems from the group’s reported failure to fully pay the local government P22 million, which represents the “contract price” agreed upon by both parties for the PCCI’s operation of a Christmas bazaar near the city hall in December.

Of the P22 million specified in the memorandum of agreement signed by both parties in October 2012, the PCCI has paid P7.2 million so far.

In the group’s defense, Francisco argued that it did not owe the local government any more money as he said the P16.2 million it had reportedly incurred as “losses” from the local government’s “failure to comply with its deliverables” under the MOA should be deducted from the total contract price.

He said the group had in fact paid the government “in excess.”

A check of the stories published online on June 2 showed reporters quoting De Guzman as saying that PCCI, “specifically” Francisco and PCCI executive director Leonardo Clarino, “would be held accountable for making a travesty of the public-private partnership intended by the project.”

“The fact that (those media organizations) didn’t get my side, it destroyed my integrity, my reputation as a businessman,” Francisco said.

He said the media organizations should have given him “the benefit” of answering the allegations, and not merely ran the “libelous information” that was leaked to them.

He said he has always been available to reporters trying to get the side of the PCCI local chapter on issues.]

He said the libel charges would be filed at the Marikina Regional Trial Court.

Source: PCCI head in Marikina to sue city official, newspapers for libel

Bishops give PNoy failing grade in 3 years of gov’t

Palma to PNoy: Tell the truth on state of economy

MANILA — Leaders of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) gave President Benigno Aquino III a failing grade for failing to curb poverty in the country amid claims of better-than-expected economic growth.

CBCP-National Secretariat for Social Action chairman and Manila Auxiliary Bishop Broderick Pabillo said he is giving Aquino a grade of three out of 10 because the so-called economic growth has not trickled down to the poor.

“Asset reform means the assets are with the people: land reform for the poor, no contractualization in companies. The gap between the poor and the rich is widening,” he told Radio Veritas.

CBCP president and Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma also challenged Aquino to tell the truth rather than trumpeting the 7.8-percent gross domestic product report during his state of the nation address (SONA) in July.

The National Statistical Coordination Board (NSCB) earlier reported an “impressive” 7.8% growth in the first quarter on higher consumption, manufacturing and government spending. This is faster than last year’s 6.5% growth and the previous quarter’s revised 7.1% expansion.

Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Arsenio Balisacan said this is even the highest so far among the major East and Southeast Asian economies, particularly Indonesia, Thailand, Vietnam and China.

But Palma said the GDP data remains a mystery to him amid the bigger picture of hunger besetting a larger population.

“Now, the people are hungry for the truth. What is really the truth? Up to what extent is the so-called development?” Palma also told Radio Veritas.

He also criticized the businessmen for questioning the administration’s imposition of higher taxes.

“I have to talk to some businesses. They are asking if the President is doing the right thing by imposing too many taxes. In the end, it’s the businessmen who are progressing and not the people,” he said.

Palma warned Aquino that any secret his administration is keeping will always come out in the open.

He also told Aquino to disclose the “real events” that happened during the elections.

“There are still a lot of questions in the recent election. It is very crucial, how do we address the anomalies?” Palma said.

Source: ABS-CBN News.

Rival Koreas hold first talks in years

SEOUL – North and South Korea held their first official talks for years on Sunday, confronting decades of mutual distrust in a search for some positive end to months of soaring military tensions.

The working-level discussions, which began at around 10:00 am (0100 GMT) in the border truce village of Panmunjom, were aimed at building a framework for ministerial-level talks tentatively scheduled for Wednesday in Seoul.

The agenda will focus on restoring suspended commercial links, including the Kaesong joint industrial complex that the North effectively shut down in April as tensions between the historic rivals peaked.

“The overall atmosphere was… calm and the discussion proceeded with no major debates,” the South’s Unification Ministry spokesman Kim Hyung-Seok told reporters after the morning session.

The agenda, venue, date and duration of the ministerial meeting were all discussed, Kim said, adding that the meeting would resume after lunch.

The talks came about after an unexpected reversal on Thursday from North Korea, which suddenly dropped its default tone of high-decibel belligerence and proposed opening a dialogue.

South Korea responded swiftly with its offer of a ministerial meeting in Seoul, the North countered with a request for lower-level talks first and—after some relatively benign to-and-fro about the best venue—Sunday’s meet in Panmunjom was agreed.

In a further signal of intent, North Korea on Friday restored its official hotline with the South, which it had severed in March.

The two Koreas last held working talks in February 2011, and they have not met at the ministerial level since 2007.

The move towards dialogue has been broadly welcomed—given the threats of nuclear war that were being flung around in April and May—but there is sizeable skepticism about Pyongyang’s intentions.

“The North Korean offer has all of the hallmarks of Pyongyang’s diplomacy,” said Stephan Haggard, a North Korea expert at the Peterson Institute for International Economics.

“Pyongyang is ‘sincerely’ and ‘magnanimously’ inviting the South to fix, and pay for, problems of the North’s own creation,” Haggard said.

It was the North’s decision to withdraw its 53,000 workers in early April that closed Kaesong.

The North also wants to discuss resuming tours by South Koreans to its Mount Kumgang resort. These were suspended after a North Korean soldier shot dead a South Korean tourist there in July 2008.

Kaesong and Mount Kumgang were both significant sources of scarce foreign currency for North Korea, which is squeezed by UN sanctions imposed over its nuclear weapons program.

There are also suggestions that Pyongyang was playing to a specific audience by proposing talks just before US President Barack Obama and Chinese President Xi Jinping sat down for their crucial summit in California.

“The offer was transparently timed to coincide with the Obama-Xi summit, suggesting — probably wrongly—that the North is willing to do something substantive to unfreeze relations on the peninsula,” said Haggard.

China, the North’s sole major ally and economic benefactor, has been under US pressure to restrain its neighbor and has pushed Pyongyang to drop its destabilizing strategy of confrontation.

On Saturday, Obama and Xi closely consulted on North Korea’s recent nuclear brinkmanship, and agreed to work together on the “denuclearization” of the Korean peninsula, US National Security Advisor Tom Donilon said.

Analysts say South Korea will approach talks with Pyongyang with a caution born of long experience.

President Park Geun-Hye, who took office in February with a promise of greater engagement with Pyongyang, has welcomed the initiative.

But she remains adamant that any substantive dialogue can only take place if the North shows some tangible commitment to abandoning its nuclear weapons program.

North Korea has been equally emphatic in declaring its nuclear deterrent is not up for negotiation.

It was the North’s nuclear test in February—and subsequent UN sanctions—that triggered the recent crisis that saw Pyongyang threaten both the South and the United States with pre-emptive nuclear strikes. — Agence France-Presse

http://www.gmanetwork.com/news/story/312071/news/world/rival-koreas-hold-first-talks-in-years

People of Turkey have spoken: We will not be oppressed!

The people protesting bravely throughout Turkey are ordinary citizens. We span several generations and represent a spectrum of ethnic, religious, socioeconomic, ideological, sexual, and gender identities. We stand united because of our concern for Turkey’s future. Our future.

We demand an end to police brutality.
We demand a free media.
We demand open democratic dialogue between citizens and those elected to public service, not the dictates of special interests.
We demand an investigation of the government’s recent abuse of power, which has led to the loss of innocent lives.

Proceed to: http://www.indiegogo.com/projects/full-page-ad-for-turkish-democracy-in-action

Tagle wants Phl free from corruption, discrimination

MANILA, Philippines – Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle yesterday said that the heart of the country should be clean by ridding it of corruption and discrimination.

In his homily during the Mass in celebration of the National Consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary at the San Fernando de Dilao Parish, Tagle reminded the Catholic faithful to clean their hearts and the “heart of the country.”

“Clean the heart of the country from corruption. Corruption has no place in the heart of the country, which is anchored on the clean heart of Mary. There is no room for discrimination in the heart of a country that came from the heart of Mary, which is filled with memory of Jesus Christ,” Tagle said.

He explained that the heart of the country should not be numb, aggressive or pretentious. It should not step on others or destroy the heart of others.

“The heart of Mary is clean not because it has nothing in it. It is clean because it is filled to (the) brim with Jesus… May our hearts not be filled with heartaches,” he added.

The Manila archbishop also said that when God consecrates His people, He will demand a response. There might be those who, when claimed by God, would tell the Lord that they prefer to be claimed by money, ambition, power or self gratification.

Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) secretary general Monsignor Joselito Asis also read a message from Pope Francis.

“On this important occasion praying that the most pure heart of the Blessed Mother may inspire Filipinos to devote themselves through her son Jesus, her divine son, he hopes that devotions to Mary Immaculate Heart…may inspire an ever faithful appreciation and attention to human life from conception through natural death,” read the letter addressed to CBCP president Jose Palma and signed by Vatican Secretary Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone.

Palma said that with the election of Pope Francis to the papacy, the CBCP expects that his election will boost their fight against anti-family and anti-life measures in Congress, especially since the Pontiff is known for teaching clearly the doctrines of the Church.

“I heard he (Pope Francis) is strong against contraception, against divorce, against all these issues. On the other hand, he is also strong when it comes to social concerns,” Palma added.