Monday, April 26, 2010

Gordon Bayani's Platform

Vision, Strategy and Program of Bagumbayan 2010


The supreme goal and objective of our political party is to make the Philippines a better place to live in, work in, invest in, worship in, and all those other things that citizens seek in a free and democratic society. This is the dream we all share as members of Bagumbayan. This is also the hope we hear from our people as we travel and listen to them all over our archipelago.

As the first people to recover their independence after World War II in July 1946, the Philippines should have become by now a truly modern, developed and democratic nation. Instead, we are a nation in chronic crisis and decline.

In 1957 the World Bank said that “The Philippines has achieved a position in the Far East second only to Japan…[and] the prospects of the Philippine economy for sustained long-term growth are good.”
Today, 53 years later, the Philippines is a laggard in Asia, overtaken by Asian neighbors who used to look at us with envy.

Over this half-century, from one administration to another, great opportunities have come and gone. We have faltered because our government did not rise to its basic reason for being: to assure peace and security throughout the land, to provide opportunity for all, to lead in growing the economy, and to spread the benefits across all sectors of society.

Instead of peace, our country has been torn apart by rebellion, secession and disorder. Instead of our poor attaining a better life, we have only seen the rich get richer. Instead of sustainable development, we have witnessed boom and bust, growth and recession. Instead of providing for all, we have become less capable of providing for the health, education and welfare of our people as our numbers have increased to 94 million.

Strategy for Change: Effective Government

We submit that our national decline is due, not to any deficiency of talent of our people, or a damaged culture, or a lack of democracy. We have faltered because of the lack of effective government in our country.

Every problem that torments us today is rooted in poor governance.
From the perennial complaint about graft and corruption, to the nightmare in Maguindanao and the rise of private armies, to the huge fiscal deficit and the failure to collect the proper taxes, to the
perpetual weakness of the economy, to the decline of our education and public health systems, to our failure to compete in the world – all these are due to weak and ineffective government.

The way forward therefore, first and foremost, is the installation of Effective Government in our country. On this rests our vision and strategy for the transformation of the Philippines into a modern and progressive nation.

Simply stated, Effective Government means a government that can get things done, meet its targets and objectives, and realize the vision of progress and welfare for the nation. It means a government that can enable our people and our country to compete in the world – economically, politically, socially and culturally.

Five Strategic Objectives

Our strategy for change includes five key pillars:

• Establishing Peace and Security – We will uphold the authority of the Philippine Government in all provinces and regions of the country by establishing peace and order, bringing an end to the communist insurgency and Muslim secessionist rebellion, dismantling all private armies, and keeping the peace in all communities through effective local law enforcement.

• Rooting Out Graft and Corruption – We will stop graft and corruption in all levels of the government bureaucracy by making the President lead by example, installing full transparency and accountability in government operations, strengthening the independence of the Ombudsman, and overhauling government agencies long noted for graft.

• Mobilizing Government for National Modernization – We will transform the bureaucracy and the public service into a productive, efficient and forward-looking organization by adopting best practices in government operations, improving government finances through the collection of proper taxes, providing clear roles, guidelines and procedures for each government department and employee, and establishing meritocracy as the basis for advancement in the public service.

• Managing the Economy for Growth and Global Competition – We will raise the Philippine economy to a new level of growth and global competitiveness by investing in the modernization of national infrastructure, releasing the energies of the private sector, simplifying and streamlining the rules and procedures for doing business, raising domestic and foreign investments in the economy, and raising productivity in agriculture, industry and services.

• Developing our Human Resources – Recognizing that our people as our most important national resource, we pledge to provide for quality basic education to every Filipino child, modernize our education system from elementary to tertiary level, relieve once and for all the classroom shortage, modernize our public health system and provide health insurance for every citizen.

Establishing Peace and Security

We will establish peace and security throughout the archipelago by implementing the following measures:

• Enforcing the authority of the State in every community, every province and every region in the country.

• Bringing an end to the Communist insurgency and the Muslim secessionist rebellion through the process of peaceful negotiation if possible, or by force of arms if necessary.

• Disarming and disbanding of all private armies in the country.

• Improving law enforcement through the reorganization of the Philippine National Police and the greater participation of local government units and local communities in keeping the peace within their jurisdiction.

• Waging a vigorous campaign against organized crime, the drug trade and illegal gambling.

Rooting Out Graft and Corruption

We assign high priority to rooting out graft and corruption because it is a major obstacle to national progress and modernization. The spread of graft from revenue agencies to virtually all government agencies is pervasive. Local governments have likewise gotten into the action in a big way. To root our this menace, we pledge to implement the following measures:

• Make the position of Ombudsman a nationally elected position.

• Declog the Sandiganbayan in the prosecution of corruption cases.

• Eliminate presidential pardon for government officials found guilty of graft.

• Establish full transparency in executive projects, and include cabinet officials under judicial and congressional oversight.

• Punish all those who offer bribes and corrupt members of the bureaucracy.

Reinventing Government for National Modernization

Recognizing that the role of government has become more central and vital than ever in the new global economy, and considering how weak and ineffective our government has been for many decades, we assign top priority to the transformation of the government bureaucracy into an engine for national modernization and development. The key to achieving this are the following measures:

• Undertake from day one a full performance audit of the entire government bureaucracy in order to determine what agencies must be retained, strengthened, or eliminated because of obsolescence.

• Create clear roles and goals for each department to perform and meet in the modernization effort.

• Establish meritocracy as the rule for advancement in the civil service.

• Raise the standards for entry in the civil service.

• Adopt best practices in government management and operations.

• Eliminate wasteful spending in every agency of government.

Managing the Economy for Growth and Global Competition

Government’s role in the economy is central and vital to national success. The economy cannot be delegated merely to the private sector. Government must lead the way. To meet this objective the following programs will be implemented:

• Energy Sufficiency and Efficiency — The current power crisis and the continued volatility of oil prices highlight the need for a long-term and focused energy program to achieve both energy sufficiency and efficiency. We will adopt a comprehensive energy program that should include 1) overhauling and strengthening the Department of Energy, 2) setting clear targets for expansion of power generation capacity, 3) setting targets for the replacement of oil imports with alternative clean energy sources, and 4) setting standards for energy conservation and efficient energy utilization.

• Food Security and Agricultural Development — Food security and sufficiency is the primordial challenge facing the country every year as a result of typhoons and droughts. We believe Government must commit assign top priority to agricultural modernization. We have the human resources, the technical knowhow, and the land and marine resources to exploit.

• Tourism Development and Jobs Creation — Tourism is an export industry and it’s a tremendous jobs creator. And we have the natural beauty of our archipelago, the colorful culture and the people that can make tourism a long-lasting growth industry in our country. With the passage of the Tourism Development Act, attention must now focus on making it come to life through the right implementing rules and regulations, and effective reorganization of the Tourism machinery, and effective management. We set as a minimum the target 5 million tourist arrivals and one million new tourism jobs by 2013.

• Infrastructure Modernization and Jobs Creation — Infrastructure modernization is a must for national development and for Philippine competitiveness in the global economy. This is a challenge that the nation cannot shirk because of lack of resources or whatever. The public investment must be made in the modernization of the nation’s highways, transport systems, ports, airports, and communications. What government cannot provide in terms of capital, the private sector will be encouraged to supply. And whatever domestic investments cannot raise, foreign investments must fill the gap. We set the achievement of $20 billion direct foreign investments in three years.

Developing our Human Resources

Our people are our country’s greatest resource. And this has proven been many times over by our OFWs, our managers, our engineers, our artists and cultural workers. We believe therefore the education and health of our people must be of the highest priority to Government.

To meet our goals in education, we will implement the following measures:

• Undertake a comprehensive review of educational priorities and reorganize the Department of Education

• Add two years to basic education

• Meet the classroom shortage and reduce the average number of students to 50 per class within three years

• Increase the salaries of teachers to a minimum of P40,000 per month to attract top graduates to teaching.

• Provide sturdy, electronic book reader to public school students to lower costs for books and give them IT knowhow.

To meet our goals in public health, we will implement the following:

• Extend free public health services to cover all citizens, especially in the rural areas.

• Increase the salaries of doctors and nurses in order to keep more of them in the country.

• Establish compulsory healthcare savings account for all Filipinos.

• Establish more Botika ng Barangay outlets nationwide.

• Promote responsible parenthood.


Mar Roxas says sorry to wife Korina

MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – Liberal Party’s vice-presidential bet Sen. Manuel “Mar” Roxas II has disclosed that he apologized to his wife, broadcast journalist Korina Sanchez, after her name was dragged into an alleged smear campaign against him.

Roxas, who remains the frontrunner in pre-election surveys of the VP race, made this admission when he attended a gathering organized by Regal Films matriarch Lily Monteverde, the lawmaker’s supporter.

According to Roxas, his detractors were using Sanchez, who was absent during the event, to tarnish his reputation. He said sorry to his wife because, if not for him, she would have been leading a quiet life, the senator added.

Two weeks ago, Sanchez’s former household worker called a press conference to accuse the “Rated K” host of using her influence to force the Makati City prosecutor’s office to drop the charges she filed against her 8 years ago.

It was in 2002 when Bernardita Inocencio came forward and claimed that Sanchez had abused her.

Reports said Sen. Loren Legarda, Roxas’s opponent in the vice presidential race, had financed Inocencio’s press conference.

However, this was earlier denied by the Nacionalista Party (NP) and Legarda. Legarda said people should not to link the event to politics.

She said people should not immediately presume that disclosures such as these are black propaganda.

Source: ABS-CBN News

Villar 'desperate' for using own mom, says Erap

MANILA, Philippines - Former president Joseph Estrada on Tuesday branded as an "act of desperation" Nacionalista Party standard-bearer Manny Villar's move to use his own mother to defend himself from allegations that he is corrupt.

Estrada, who is running for re-election under the Pwersa ng Masang Pilipino banner, said he purposely shielded his mother, Doña Mary Ejercito, from all negative reports about him during his impeachment trial in December 2000.

"It happened to me also during the impeachment. In fact, ang ginawa ko at ng mga kapatid ko,wag pakita sa mama ko yung tv. Kakaunti na lang panahon niya? Bakit ko sasaktan kalooban ng nanay ko? Bakit bibigyan ng sama ng loob," he said in a ANC "Headstart" interview.

He added: "In my opinion, it's a desperate move, parang desperado. Bakit pati magulang mo isasama mo? Dadagdagan mo pa ng sama ng loob yung magulang mo eh ang tanda na. Kasama na sa departure area."

Estrada's mother passed away at the age of 103 last January 13, 2009.

On Monday, Villar' 86-year-old mother, Curita, faced the media for the first time to defend her son from her critics.

Nanay Curing Villar, as she is fondly called, said she felt helpless after hearing reports that her son is being accused of being corrupt. "Umiiyak lang ako sa sama ng loob. Tutulo na lang bigla ang luha ko,” she said.

She said Villar is a good, honest man who wants nothing more than to serve the poor. Their own poverty fueled Villar’s passion to help the poor, she said.

Villar's sisters, Baby Villar-Benedicto and Vicky Devenagracia, also lashed out at ABS-CBN News and GMA 7 for allegedly being biased against the NP bet, whose ratings have dropped in the most recent surveys of Pulse Asia and Social Weather Stations.

'Nothing personal vs Villar'

For his part, Estrada said he has nothing personal against Villar despite the latter's role in elevating the impeachment case against the then-president to the Senate. Villar was former Speaker of the House of Representatives during the impeachment of President Estrada.

Estrada said he has already forgiven Villar for the act but added that he had a duty to tell the people the truth about the former House Speaker and Senate President.

Estrada and Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile have accused Villar of using his influence to pressure members of the Philippine Stock Exchange Board board so he can illegally profit from the public listing of his company's shares in 2007. Villar has denied the accusation.

"I don't have the intention of mudslinging any of my opponents but as a former president and as a citizen, I have to inform the public about what's really behind all these candidates," he said.

Estrada also branded former Securities and Exchange Commission Perfecto Yasay Jr. a liar for saying that Estrada ordered him to stop the investigation on the Best World Resources stock manipulation scandal. He said that instead of stopping the investigation, he actually told Yasay to expedite it.

Willing to lose

The former president, meanwhile, said he has made great gains in the presidential race as shown by recent pre-election surveys. He said his own survey showed that he has overtaken Villar for 2nd place and is only 10 percentage points behind frontrunner Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino III of the Liberal Party.

During the interview, Estrada also said that he is willing to accept a loss from Aquino or Villar in the May 10 polls.

“Why not? Vox populi, vox dei. The voice of the people is the voice of God. Kaya nga galit ang Diyos sa atin,” he said, adding that the voice of the majority was not heard when he was illegally ousted during EDSA II.

Estrada declined to answer when asked who he would endorse if he had not decided to run for president. He confessed, however, that he admires Lakas-Kampi Christian Muslim Democrats candidate Gilbet Teodoro for being articulate and intelligent and for his experiences as a former congressman and defense secretary.

He also said he has decided to change his campaign color to tangerine after a dispute with Villar over the use of the color orange for the campaign. Asked what was different between the colors tangerine and orange, he replied: "Different ang spelling."

Source: ABS-CBN News

Thursday, April 22, 2010

An optimistic Lucy Torres still campaigns for Richard

MANILA, Philippines – Despite the Commission on Elections’ (Comelec) disqualification of Richard Gomez’s candidacy, his wife, television host Lucy Torres, still proudly campaigns for her husband barely 2 weeks before Election Day.

“I don’t have the luxury of time. The moment I am done with my commitments in Manila, I go home immediately to Ormoc and share the campaign with Richard,” Lucy said during the launch of her newest endorsement, an herbal weight loss powder, Wednesday afternoon.

She goes with Gomez, a disqualified congressional candidate, even in the remotest places to campaign for her husband. Gomez too has been staying practically in the province since the election period began.

Torres said Gomez would even dissuade her from joining the campaign rallies, but she would not yield.

“Sabi nga niya sa akin na huwag na akong sumama sa kampanya dahil kaya naman daw niya,” exclaimed Torres. “I will be 100% behind my man…. I don’t mind being pressured and my physical body exhausted just to see Richard win.”

Torres has been shuttling from Manila to Leyte and back to fulfill her show biz commitments.

Torres was also optimistic that Comelec will reverse its earlier ruling disqualifying her husband from the congressional race.

Gomez was disqualified from running after he reportedly failed to establish his residency in Ormoc City, Leyte.

“The disqualification is still on appeal,” said Torres. “But we have enough pieces of evidence to support his claim. I am very optimistic Richard will be off the hook sooner than we expect.”

“In the end, the truth will prevail,” Torres remarked.

Source: ABS - CBN News

Gordon sues SWS, Pulse Asia over surveys

MANILA, Philippines - Presidential candidate Richard Gordon on Thursday asked a local court to stop research groups Pulse Asia and Social Weather Stations (SWS) from further releasing results of pre-election surveys to the public.

Gordon's lawyer, Christian Diaz, filed the case before the Quezon City Regional Trial Court on Thursday morning.

"What we filed is a complaint for damages with TRO (temporary restraining order) and preliminary injunction, basically asking the court to enjoin SWS and Pulse Asia from conducting further surveys and publishing them to the public, especially if they are using false methodologies," Garcia told ANC.

Gordon told ANC's Dateline Philippines that the 2 survey companies are "stealing the people's minds" and preventing voters from carefully choosing their preferred candidates, particularly those running for president.

The senator has been lagging in the surveys since last year.

Latest Pulse Asia and SWS surveys released early this month showed Gordon remains way behind other presidential candidates with only 2% voter preference.

"People don't want to open their eyes, apparently because they have been influenced by the overwhelming mental conditioning of these survey companies," Gordon said.

He said that he filed a case against the 2 survey firms to expose to the public their survey methodologies.

He added that he wants the court to ask the 2 companies to reveal who are paying for the pre-election surveys and how much money they are making out of it.

SC has ruled against similar petition

Professor Ronnie Holmes, president of Pulse Asia, meanwhile, was confident that case would be dismissed by the lower court because of a previous Supreme Court (SC) ruling.

Holmes said that a similar petition had been filed before the SC against the SWS and the high court "upheld the right to information."

He added that the high court has also "prohibited" the filing of similar cases against the SWS.

"In our own country, we're confident with regard with the most recent decision of the Supreme Court that it would uphold the right to information," he said.

Holmes admitted that pre-election surveys influence a voter's preference, but insisted that its effects are just the same as other sources of information that voters use to choose their candidates.

He denied that the Pulse Asia has kept its survey methodology secret from the public. He added that survey firms do not insinuate that their surveys are the absolute reality, since they have repeatedly indicated in their releases that the surveys may have "sampling errors."

"Sampling error would be sufficient to say that there are occasions wherein the figures may actually be wacky, and our methods are open for any inspections of any experts," Holmes said.

Meanwhile, he said that the Pulse Asia would seriously look into Gordon's case and study on how they could legally react to it.

Source: ABS-CBN News

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Andal Jr. changes mind, says he's for Noynoy

MANILA, Philippines - In a bizarre twist, a Muslim warlord accused of carrying out the Philippines' worst political massacre said Tuesday he is endorsing the candidacy of Liberal Party presidential candidate Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino III.

Datu Unsay Mayor Andal Ampatuan Jr. said his family was now backing Aquino less than a week after he told ABS-CBN's TV Patrol World that he was backing the candidacy of Nacionalista Party presidential bet Manny Villar.

"It was a family decision to support Noynoy Aquino," he told reporters.

He then smiled as he flashed an "L" hand signal that is used by Aquino and is widely regarded as a symbol of clean government.

Sought for comment, Aquino said he was surprised by Ampatuan's endorsement especially since he has never sought out the support of the warlord alleged to have led the massacre of 57 people in Maguindanao last year.

"Siguro joke po yun. Di ko nakakausap yan, di namin hinahabol ang kanilang endorsement. Tayo nabiktima na sa [Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao] noong tumakbo tayo 2007," he told reporters in Butuan City.

Aquino noted that Ampatuan is a known supporter of President Arroyo and was a member of the ruling Lakas-Kampi Christian Muslim Democrats before he and his family were kicked out of the party after the massacre.

He also noted that the mayor had admitted last Thursday that he was supporting Villar, and even wore a baller ID of the Nacionalista bet. (Read: Andal Ampatuan Jr. is for Villar)

"Basta alam ko noong isang araw baller na suot-suot sa TV ang kulay di dilaw (All I know is that the other day, the baller ID he was wearing on TV wasn't yellow)," he said.

Asked if he is accepting Ampatuan's endorsement, Aquino replied: "No, thanks."

Andal Jr. protests innocence

Aside from the endorsement, Ampatuan Jr. also told reporters at Camp Bagong Diwa in Bicutan, Taguig that he is innocent of the crimes charged against him.

Wearing a yellow prison T-shirt but no handcuffs, Ampatuan Jr. was relaxed and smiled as he gave his most expansive comments to the media since being arrested last year for the slaughter of 57 people.

"I had no role in what happened," he said.

Ampatuan Jr gave a variety of scenarios as to who may have been behind the November 23 massacre in the southern province of Maguindanao, where his family had dominated politics for over a decade. He earlier accused members of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front of carrying out the murders.

The family is accused of orchestrating the killings to stop a rival politician, Esmael Mangudadatu, from running against Andal Jr. for the post of Maguindanao governor in the May 10 national elections.

The patriarch of the clan, Andal Ampatuan Sr, was then the governor of Maguindanao. He was grooming Ampatuan Jr to succeed him and the son is accused of leading 100 gunmen in carrying out the murders.

Among the victims were the wife and two sisters of Mangudadatu, along with 32 journalists travelling with them in a convoy to register his candidacy for the Maguindanao governorship.

Until the massacre, the Ampatuans had been close political allies of President Gloria Arroyo and used by her to contain Muslim fighters waging a decades-long insurgency in the south.

As part of this containment strategy, Arroyo had allowed the Ampatuans to maintain a private army numbering thousands of men, as well as massive amounts of weapons and ammunition.

According to conspiracy theories in the Philippine media in recent days, Arroyo is still secretly protecting the Ampatuans.

These theories were fuelled by a shock government decision over the weekend to drop murder charges against two key Ampatuans.

The party of Aquino, who is the clear favorite to succeed Arroyo, said the decision to drop the murder charges against Zaldy and Akmad Ampatuan was part of the president's plan to rig the national elections.

Source: ABS-CBN News

Monday, April 19, 2010

Who is Alberto Agra?

MANILA, Philippines – The spotlight is on Alberto Agra, the acting justice secretary who made a controversial move on the murder case involving the massacre of 57 people in Maguindanao province.

Who is he?

Agra assumed his post at the Justice Department on March 3, 2010. He replaced former Justice Secretary Agnes Devanadera who resigned to seek a seat in Congress.

Aside from the post in the Justice Department, Agra is the concurrent Solicitor General, a position he assumed on January 8, 2010.

He currently sits on an interim basis in the 8-man Judicial Bar Council, the body that vets nominees to the courts, representing the Justice Department.

Arroyo loyalist

Agra is known as someone who is loyal to President Arroyo. He served as President Arroyo’s lawyer when congressment tried to impeach her in 2006.

He was one of those who defended President Arroyo when issues were raised against her numerous cabinet appointments. Most of these appointments have fixed terms, which means the next president will not be able to replace them during that tenure.

Agra said these did not violate any law since they were made before the appointment ban took place. The executive department is banned from appointing new officials two months before the May 2010 polls.

Agra first joined the government in March 2007 when he was appointed head of the Office of the Government Corporate Counsel (OGCC), the agency that represents government-owned and controlled establishments in legal proceedings.

He was eventually appointed to head the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS) Regulatory Office, a position he relinquished in June 2008 because of conflict of interests allegations.

He previously taught at the Ateneo Law School, his alma mater. Since 2003 he taught Law on Public and Government Corporations, Election Law, the 1991 Local Government Code, Administrative Law, and Law on Public Officers

He graduated from the University of the Philippines in 1984 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Philosophy. He finished law at the Ateneo de Manila where he graduated in 1990. He passed the bar in 1991.

Not Ampatuan lawyer?

State prosecutors and relatives of the slain victims 57 people assailed his decision to absolve 2 leaders of the Ampatuan clan from the Maguindanao massacre case—Zaldy Ampaturan, suspended governor of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, and kin Akmad Ampatuan, former Maguindanao vice governor.

Murder charges were filed against the two Ampatuans for allegedly slaying 57 people, including 32 journalists, in November 2009. The case is being watched by the international community as a gauge of the government's determination and resolve to stamp out the culture of impunity.

He was quick to stress that his decision was based only on the evidence presented to him. In an interview with ANC’s The Rundown on Monday, he said he there were “no considerations” when he made his decision.

“I am not a vindictive person,” he told The Rundown. “I was never a lawyer for the Ampatuans,” he added.

Controversy surrounds this decision due to Agra’s link to President Arroyo, who was close to the Ampatuans.

The Ampatuan clan had been responsible for securing enough votes from Mindanao for President Arroyo when she was seeking legitimacy during the presidential elections in 2004.

Source: ABS-CBN News

DOJ orders prosecutors to drop murder raps vs 2 Ampatuans

MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) - The Philippine government said Saturday it would drop murder charges against two prominent members of a powerful Muslim clan over the massacre of 57 people last year.

Zaldy and Akmad Ampatuan, initially alleged to be two of the key planners of the election-linked killings in the restive south, will be dropped from the list of those accused, Justice Secretary Alberto Agra said.

"I just issued the resolution. I have already instructed the prosecutors to amend the charges to drop them against Zaldy and Akmad," Agra told AFP, although he said lawyers opposed to his decision could appeal in court.

The decision provoked outrage among the relatives' victims, who have repeatedly voiced concern that President Gloria Arroyo secretly intended to protect the Ampatuans because they were long-time political allies.

"This is evidence that the victims cannot get justice under the administration of President Arroyo," said human rights lawyer Harry Roque, who is representing some of the victims' families.

The prosecution in February charged that Zaldy, Akmad and other members of the Ampatuan clan conspired to murder a convoy of political rivals and journalists in Maguindanao province on November 23.

The murder, which shocked the world, was allegedly intended to prevent a rival from running against clan member Andal Ampatuan Jnr for the post of provincial governor in the May 10 national elections.

However Agra said that, after reviewing evidence, the initial decision to charge Zaldy and Akmad was flawed.

"There was no proof of conspiracy and there was a proof of an alibi," he said.

Agra cited airline tickets and cellphone records showing Zaldy and Akmad Ampatuan were not in Maguindanao during the massacre as reasons for dropping the charges.

"There is no proof or any document that shows they were part of the planning. They (the prosecution) only had one witness against Zaldy and Akmad."

The Ampatuans are a powerful Muslim political clan that has long dominated politics in Maguindanao.

They were members of Arroyo's ruling coalition and delivered her crucial votes in the 2004 presidential election, but were expelled after the massacre.

Arroyo allowed them to run their own private army as part of a containment strategy against Muslim rebels in the south.

Zaldy Ampatuan had been governor of a Muslim autonomous region in the southern Philippines that encompasses Maguindanao at the time of the massacre. Akmad was the acting vice-governor of Maguindanao.

The patriarch of the clan and the then-governor of Maguindanao, Andal Ampatuan Snr, as well as his son and namesake, remain charged with murder.

Myra Reblando, widow of one of the murdered journalists, said she was not surprised by the decision to drop the charges.

"This is an indication there is no justice under Gloria Arroyo. She will protect the Ampatuans because she owes them," she said.

But Agra insisted he was only acting in accordance with the law.

"They are entitled to their opinion. I am just doing my job... my resolution is based only on the evidence before me, nothing else," he said.

It was not clear when Zaldy and Akmad Ampatuan would be released from jail.

They, and the other Ampatuan members, were also charged with rebellion for allegedly trying to resist government efforts to bring the killers to justice.

A court last month dismissed those rebellion charges. But Agra said the government was seeking a motion of reconsideration with the same court.

Source: ABS-CBN News

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

CBCP hits Villar's 'womanizer' endorsers

MANILA, Philippines – The Catholic Church on Tuesday criticized Sen. Manuel Villar Jr. of the Nacionalista Party (NP) for tapping celebrity endorsers who are reputed “womanizers.”

Monsignor Pedro Quitorio, media affairs director of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP), said he disapproved of some of Villar's endorsers namely Dolphy, Willie Revillame and Manny Pacquiao.

Dolphy has several children from different women, while Pacquiao has been rumored to be keeping an illicit affair with a young sexy actress. Revillame, on the other hand, has been romantically linked to several women.

Quitorio wondered how voters can support a presidential candidate who is purportedly not putting any value on the issue of morality. He said candidates should get endorsers who are good role models themselves.

“Dapat mag-reflect po yan sa kandidatura ng kandidato. Sinasabi ng simbahan at civil society na dapat piliin ang mas OK ang buhay ng kandidato," he said.

“Why should we select a person na immoral kung ang ating pakay ay mag-build ng bansa?" he added.

When sought for reaction, Willie Revillame merely brushed off Quitorio’s remarks.

“Hindi [ako galit]. Wala akong kinagagalitan. Basta ang sinasabi ko lang mahirap manghusga ng kapwa mo, hindi ba? Dapat nga diyan kapag may nadadapa ay tinatayo natin. Hindi ‘yong binabagsak pa natin,” he told

He also told radio dzMM that those who judge him should first get a good look at themselves in the mirror.

When pressed about the womanizer tag, the “Wowowee” host replied: “Hindi, nagsha-share lang ako.”

In the dzMM interview, Revillame continued to criticize ABS-CBN for not showing the number of people who attend the "Wowowili" rallies that he hosts for Villar. "I just want things to be fair...If you don't show what is happening, then there is bias," he said.

He also downplayed the results of pre-election surveys showing Villar ranking second behind Liberal Party presidential candidate Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino III.

NP’s senatorial bet Adel Tamano, meanwhile, hit back at CBCP for criticizing Villar's celebrity endorsers.

Tamano pointed out that it is hard to judge the morals of Dolphy, Revillame and Pacquiao. He also expressed sadness that political mudslinging has gone this low. "Huwag sana tayong lumihis sa mga tunay na isyu ng halalan," he said.

Come Election Day, Tamano said Villar should be judged based on his qualifications as a leader.

He also noted that Villar is not a womanizer.

Source: ABS-CBN News

Friday, April 9, 2010

NP denies releasing Aquino's fake psych report

MANILA, Philippines - The Nacionalista Party (NP) denied Friday that it was the source of a fake psychiatric evaluation report of Liberal Party (LP) presidential candidate Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino III.

In a statement, NP executive director Maria Victoria Loanzon said "The Nacionalista Party vehemently denies being the source of an alleged psychological report of Sen. Noynoy Aquino."

She reiterated that the NP does not advocate black propaganda and that the party believes "far more important issues that need to be attended to than resorting to black propaganda."

A "document" with the header of the Ateneo de Manila University’s (ADMU) Department of Psychology surfaced on social media networks on Thursday. It said Aquino underwent a psychiatric evaluation in 1996, when he was about 36 years old. (Click here to read the alleged Psychiatric Evaluation Form of Sen. Benigno Aquino III)

The fake document, supposedly signed by Fr. Carmelo "Tito" Caluag, was an assessment of how Aquino was suffering from major depressive disorder due to work-related issues and after separation from his flight attendant girlfriend.

ADMU’s psychology department has declared that the report is false since it has never conducted a psychiatric assessment on Aquino. Caluag has also stressed that he is not competent to make any kind of psychological assessment since he is an educator by training and a priest by vocation.

The LP has alleged that the report came from the NP camp.

Black propaganda

Aquino's spokesman Edwin Lacierda told that NP should stick to the issues instead of propagating a non-issue.

"This is not a legitimate issue. There is no mental incapacity issue. They couldn't hit Noynoy with anything else. This is pure black propaganda," Lacierda stressed.

The NP has also been complaining of repeated attacks against its standard-bearer, Sen. Manuel “Manny” Villar Jr.

The LP has questioned Villar's claims of being dirt-poor in his political ads. It released documents showing that Villar's cancer-stricken brother was brought to a mid-range hospital and did not die because Villar's family could not afford the cost of his treatment.

Villar has also admitted that the “Villaroyo” claim of the LP has affected his ratings in the latest presidential surveys.

Aquino and Villar have been the leading the surveys on presidential aspirants for the upcoming May elections. The latest Social Weather Station survey showed Aquino's lead over Villar has widened to 6 percentage points, while the latest Pulse Asia survey showed Villar sliding by 4 points, giving Aquino a 12 percentage-point advantage.

Stick to issues

NP senatorial bet and party spokesman Adel Tamano, in an interview over radio DZMM on Friday, said all aspirants for the May elections should stick to issues.

"We should start talking about issues and platforms only," Tamano said.

Nonetheless, he alleged that the fake psychiatric report on Aquino could have originated from the LP camp as a "negative news" to diffuse rumors that Aquino has mental problems.

"I honestly think the Liberal Party will be the one to benefit from it... By coming out with a document like this, it's like you're diffusing [the rumors] to weaken the claims, if ever there really is any truth that their candidate has a mental history. It actually benefits them," Tamano alleged.

He added that it was also ironic that the news of Aquino's alleged mental history came out the same day that the NP held a press conference lambasting the use of black propaganda in this elections.

Source: ABS-CBN News

Noynoy’s Psychological Problems (Fact or Fiction)

Noynoy has already denied this accusation and it is already up to all of us to decide whether the rumor is a fact or just a fiction to bring Noynoy down.

Here are the excerpts of the medical records that is circulating in the internet.

History of Present Illness: The patient is a 36-year old single male with a history of profuse salivation and labile moods since his childhood. He was observed to be sleeping excessively, disoriented and confusing family and household member’s name. When interviewed at the time of psychiatric assessment, the patient said he had difficulty in speech, poor concentration, impaired thinking and melancholia brought about by the stresses of his work and the break-up with his flight attendant girlfriend. He also claimed he felt clumsy and uncoordinated. He also describes what appeared to be a deep sense of foreboding and feeling that the “world was coming to an end.”

Current Symptoms:

1. Psychomotor retardation
2. Slowed gait and activity
3. Lack of initiative
4. Melancholia
5. Fatigue
6. Lack of self-confidence
7. Lack of sexual interest

Substance Abuse History:

* Smoker = Yes, up to two (2) packs a day
* Drugs = Yes, teen-age experimentation with Marijuana and various pills
* ETOH = Yes, solitary drinker


The Psychologist conducting the interviews noticed that the patient would occasionally walk slowly and aimlessly around the room when being interviewed. He appeared inattentive, vague, non-spontaneous and detached in interactions, but passively followed simple commands. He appeared disoriented. There was some difficulty in communicating due to his deep depression and melancholia. On mental state examination, he was a lanky man of medium height who was mildly psychomotor retarded with a latency of verbal replies, and a slowness of movement. He was preoccupied with his inner thoughts, brooded and felt melancholy. He appeared quite elevated and irritable when he spoke of the loss he was feeling when he recounted his relationship with his girlfriend. He expressed a poorly-formed grandiose delusion that the world was ending and described feelings of foreboding but no disturbance in any other sensory modality. The patient was oriented in person and place, with only very mild impairment of time. Attention and concentration deficits were evident, though much in the slightest and confirmed on formal testing that he had minor difficulty in counting down by seven from 100 and could not readily spell some words backwards. Registration and short term memory were intact on testing but he was often distracted and distant. There was evidence of dysphagia, mild difficulty with three-step commands, concretism and trial-constructional dyspraxia (he could not copy complex diagrams). No confabulation or remote memory deficits were identified. His Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE) score totaled 28/30. No cognitive impairments. He denied being in need of medical assistance and explained his presence in the school as being due to his sister’s concerns, but did not appear suspicious of possible motives or irritated by his presence in the department. He denied that he had any cognitive deficits. He said he required medication and dietary modification, but did not accept medication offered in fact requiring detailed explanation on why the medication had to be taken.

In as much as the patient exhibits the following symptoms (1) Depressed mood (i.e. feeling sad and empty) most of the day for 10 days, (2) Markedly diminished interest on pleasure in almost all activities (including lack of sexual interest) most of the day for 10 days, (3) A noticeable fluctuation of appetite most of the day for 10 days, (4) Psychomotor agitation or retardation (i.e. increased restlessness) most of the day for 10 days, (5) A diminished ability to concentrate ordering on indecisiveness most of the day for 10 days, (6) Insomia nearly everyday, (7) Fatigue nearly everyday , And (8) a feeling of foreboding everyday. He is diagnosed as suffering from Major Depressive Disorder.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Villar thanks Baby James for 'endorsement'

MANILA, Philippines – Nacionalista Party (NP) presidential candidate Sen. Manny Villar said he feels honored to know that children support him, including apparently the son of TV host Kris Aquino.

“Ikinararangal ko na kapag nakikita kong nagugustuhan ako ng mga bata. Dahil ang mga bata honest,” Villar said.

The NP standard-bearer made this statement after the 2-year-old son of Kris Aquino, youngest sister of Liberal Party standard bearer Sen. Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III, shouted Villar’s name during Aquino’s campaign sortie in Bacolod on March 29.

Kris was carrying James “Baby James” Yap Jr. on stage when her youngest son said Villar’s name on the microphone. The slip-up was heard by hordes of people who attended the sortie.

A footage showed Kris saying, “No, it’s a no.” Kris then hurriedly handed Baby James over to an LP member.

In an entertainment blog, Kris confirmed that Baby James indeed said Villar, but not “Vote Villar” as some speculated.

Kris also explained that Baby James would sometimes tease his uncle by saying the names of his political rivals like Villar and former president Joseph Erap.

Kris, who is very active in campaigning for her brother, appealed to the public to spare her son from politics, and let Baby James enjoy his life as a 2-year-old.

Source: ABS-CBN News

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Aquino keeps lead in Pulse Asia survey

MANILA (Updated, 12:48 p.m.) -- Senator Benigno "Nonoy" Aquino managed leads in the latest presidential survey, while his closest rival Sen. Manuel Villar suffered a four points decline in voter preference, according to the Pulse Asia survey released on Tuesday.

Aquino, standard bearer of Liberal Party (LP), increased by one point to 37 percent, while Villar of Nacionalista Party dropped four percentage points from 29 percent in February to 25 in the survey conducted last March 21-28.

Following Villar and Aquino in the Pulse Asia survey are former President Joseph "Erap" Estrada (18 percent), Lakas-Kampi-CMD's Gilbert "Gibo" Teodoro (7 percent), Bagumbayan's Richard "Dick" Gordon and Bangon Pilipinas' Eddie Villanueva (2 percent).

At the bottom of the list were independent candidate Nicanor Perlas (0.30 percent), John Carlos "JC" Villanueva of Ang Kapatiran (0.20 percent), and independent candidate Sen. Jamby Madrigal (0.10 percent).

In the vice presidential race, Aquino's running mate Manuel "Mar" Roxas continued to enjoy a significant lead, at 47 percent, the Pulse Asia said.

Senator Loren Legarda and Makati Mayor Jenomar "Jojo" Binay are statistically tied in the vice presidential survey at 23 percent and 19 percent, respectively.

The survey said other vice presidential aspirants received support of three percent or less, namely: Bayani Fernando (3 percent), Edu Manzano (2 percent), Perfecto Yasay (1 percent), Jay Sonza (0.5 percent) and Dominador Chipeco (0.1 percent).

Nine percent of the survey respondents refused or remained undecided as to their presidential and vice presidential preference, the Pulse Asia said.

The survey was conducted using face to face interviews with 3000 respondents. It has a margin of error of plus-minus 2 percent at 95 percent confidence level.


Thursday, April 1, 2010

Gibo quit to protest GMA's lack of support: sources

But Pichay says all's well in Lakas-KAMPI

MANILA, Philippines - The move by presidential candidate Gilberto 'Gibo' Teodoro to resign from the ruling Lakas-KAMPI-CMD as party chairman was a sign of protest against the lack of support from President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, sources from Teodoro's camp told ABS-CBN News.

Although Teodoro is the official candidate of the administration in the May 10 presidential race, the sources complained that the Teodoro camp has not received the support it needs from the president ever since the official campaign period started last February 9.

The lack of support is evident in Teodoro's low level of spending on political advertisements compared with the other major opposition presidential bets.

From February 9 to March 2, Teodoro spent P60 million, even lower than Bagumbayan presidential bet Sen. Richard Gordon, who spent P67 million.

Teodoro was fifth in TV ad spending after Sen. Manny Villar (P120 million), former President Joseph Estrada (P88 million), Sen. Benigno 'Noynoy' Aquino III (P87 million), and Richard Gordon (P67 million).

He spent only half of what Villar spent in the first month of the presidential campaign. This is based on a study by Libertas using data of media research firm, AGB Nielsen.

TV ads from FEBRUARY 9 - MARCH 2

1. Manny Villar (NP) 120 million pesos
2. Joseph Estrada (PMP) 88 million pesos
3. Noynoy Aquino (LP) 87 million pesos
4. Richard Gordon (Bagumbayan) 67 million pesos
5. Gibo Teodoro (Lakas-Kampi-CMD) 60 million pesos

According to a source close to Teodoro, the former defense chief has not been able to spend as much as he would like on TV ads since President Arroyo, who is the titular head of the party, has not been giving funds to the party.

Lakas-KAMPI-CMD vice-presidential candidate Edu Manzano had earlier complained that he was not receiving enough support from the party.

Manzano still does not have any political ads on TV, as of March 31. (Read: Edu denies quitting VP race)

According to another source in Lakas-KAMPI-CMD, the lack of support from President Arroyo was the real reason behind Teodoro's resignation on Tuesday as party chairman. (Read: Gibo quits as Lakas-KAMPI chairman)

Lakas-KAMPI-CMD president Miguel Dominguez, the governor of Sarangani province, and Lakas-KAMPI-CMD secretary-general Francis Manglapus, who are both in the inner circle of Teodoro, followed suit and resigned from their party posts on Wednesday. (Read: After Gibo, 2 top Lakas-KAMPI execs quit)

The source said it is not clear how far Teodoro will go to express his frustration over Arroyo's lack of support for her official candidate.

The source said this will depend on how Malacañang will respond to Teodoro's move.

'Money not the reason'

But Mike Toledo, spokesman for Teodoro, denied money was the reason behind Teodoro's resignation as party chairman. He said the party has funds, but it has been very particular about where to spend the money.

The Lakas-KAMPI-CMD quickly replaced Teodoro, Dominguez, and Manglapus on Wednesday in a meeting with President Arroyo. (Read: Villarosa replaces Gibo as Lakas-KAMPI chair)

Lakas-KAMPI-CMD vice-president for membership and recruitment Prospero Pichay downplayed the resignations and said all's well within the ruling party.

"Ang bilis ng aksyon ng executive committee and so, I think, everything's well, wala tayong dapat alalahanin at tuloy-tuloy ang kampanya natin for Gilbert Teodoro, for Edu Manzano and for our senators," Pichay said.

JDV: Lakas-Kampi is crumbling

Meanwhile, Lakas founder Jose de Venecia said the ruling party is crumbling and disintegrating, and he blames Malacañang for the discontent within Lakas-KAMPI-CMD.

De Venecia said he expected this to happen to the ruling party, especially since the merger between the Lakas and KAMPI was only forced on them.

He said the party's internal problems was God's punishment for the alleged treacherous acts of Malacañang against the original members of Lakas.

He also claimed these woes were a result of Malacañang's outpouring of support for its real candidate, whom he did not identify.

The Liberal Party (LP) has accused Villar as being the real candidate of Malacañang, a charge Villar has denied.

De Venecia vowed that he and former President Fidel V. Ramos, also a co-founder of Lakas, will reclaim leadership of the party.

He said they will call original Lakas members to a meeting after Holy Week to elect a new leadership and endorse a presidential candidate, who will not necessarily be Teodoro.

Teodoro sees win in Southern Leyte

Meanwhile, despite having a fever and cough, Teodoro on Wednesday campaigned in Maasin, Southern Leyte.

He reiterated that he quit as Lakas-KAMPI-CMD chair so that he can focus on his presidential campaign.

"Minabuti ko na na magbitaw, kasi either ako magsakripisyo katulad nung ginawa ko sa aking partido noong araw, ako nagsakripisyo, ako...ang aking political career ang nag-suffer. Kaya't hindi ko na puwede gawin yan e. Kailangan manalo ako e," he said.

Teodoro denied there were serious rifts among the leaders of the party, including President Arroyo. He also refused to be affected by the persistent rumors about Mrs. Arroyo's alleged support for Villar.

Teodoro said he will remain the standard-bearer of Lakas-KAMPI-CMD, and that he will not leave the party to run as an independent candidate.

"Kung didistansya lang ako e di umalis na ako sa Lakas-KAMPI. Pero miyembro pa rin ako at ako ang kandidato. Yun lamang, hindi ko na kaya hatiin yung katawan ko," he said.

Even if his survey ratings have not significantly improved enough to be competitive in the race, Teodoro said he is happy with the warm support of the people he meets in his sorties, such as the big attendance at the grand proclamation rally in Southern Leyte,

Local party officials expressed continued support for Teodoro, and said they believe the party machinery will help Teodoro win in the province.

Source: ABS-CBN News
Copyright 2009 Election 2010. Powered by Blogger Blogger Templates create by Deluxe Templates. WP by Masterplan