Thursday, December 31, 2009

CBCP: 2010 an opportunity to kick out the corrupt

By Evelyn Macairan
The Philippine Star
Updated January 01, 2010 12:00 AM

Original Story:

MANILA, Philippines - Newly installed Catholic Bishops’ Conference
of the Philippines (CBCP) president Bishop Nereo Odchimar said 2010 is an opportunity for the Filipino people to institute changes in the political system to get rid of corruption through the elections on May 10.

“Institutions need change... 2010 in our political life is an election year. People, through the exercise of their right of suffrage will effect a power shift in the executive and legislative branches of our civil government. We must retain what is good, promote what still needs improvement and discard what is base and corrupt,” Odchimar said in his New Year’s message.

He said the coming elections are the perfect time to make right reforms.

“Social transformation starts within ourselves. Election is an opportunity we cannot afford to miss. Over and above the factors beyond our capacity, with our great faith in God and in ourselves, we can still make our wish for a happy new year a reality,” he added.

The 69-year-old bishop from Tandag, Surigao del Sur said Filipinos should look forward to the coming year despite the tragedies that happened in 2009.

“If we were part of the problem yesterday, we can also be part of the solution today. We hold the key to a better tomorrow. We need an informed electorate enlightened through voters’ education, a vigilant citizenry who will guard against the attempts of some to frustrate the genuine will of the people and steadfast persons who stay undaunted by intimidation of ruthless politicians, in order to put into office reliable leaders who would guide our nation in the coming years,” Odchimar added.

Meanwhile, Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Socrates Villegas urged Filipinos to uphold the integrity of life and let it “flow like a river” this 2010.

“Let wholeness shine like the noonday sun,” Villegas said in his message titled “A New Year of Integrity.” Noticing the division among the Filipino people, Villegas hoped that 2010 would see the country healed and be made whole.

“May Jesus make us all men and women of integrity and character, Christians who teach by the power of exemplary lives. Grace and responsibility must come together,” he said.

But Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop emeritus Oscar Cruz expressed pessimism in his message titled “Happy New Year?” posted on his blog.

He wondered whether it would indeed be a happy 2010 for Filipinos or an “empty habitual gesture of wishful thinking” amid the “imminent political troubles and social dangers it is about to bring.” With Eva Visperas

Original Story:

Prelate’s wish: Poor would vote wisely

December 31, 2009 19:35:00
Philippine Daily Inquirer

Original Story:

MANILA, Philippines--Voters, especially the poor, should be wary of candidates’ promises to deliver them from poverty only to forget about them after the election, said the new president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP).

Tandag Bishop Nereo Odchimar, in a New Year message, urged voters to choose only “reliable leaders” and not be swayed by the usual campaign favors and doles.

“The poor constitute the greater part of our population. They are remembered and courted by politicians during the campaign period. ‘Poverty alleviation, more jobs and upliftment of the masses’ are some familiar refrains chanted by candidates and issues incorporated into their attractive platforms,” he said.

Once elected to office, however, the campaign slogans become mere empty promises as politicians fall back to corrupt practices that perpetuate poverty, Odchimar said.

The CBCP president urged voters to exercise their right of suffrage wisely in the national elections on May 10, 2010.

“We must retain what is good, promote what still needs improvement and discard what is base and corrupt,” he said.

“Admittedly and sadly, a number of us have remained myopic by focusing our attention only on the satisfaction of the moment, swayed by the glitter of money and promises of patronage, and do not raise our eyes beyond election time to the resultant situation created by our indiscretion,” Odchimar said.

“Those who have allowed much worse abetted corruption to thrive in our midst do not have the right to complain,” he said.

He said the Church would continue to support voter education even as he urged citizens to be vigilant and to resist attempts by “ruthless politicians” to frustrate the genuine will of the people.

“An election is an opportunity we cannot afford to miss. Over and above the factors beyond our capacity, with our great faith in God and in ourselves, we can still make our wish for a happy new year a reality,” he said. Dona Pazzibugan

Original Story:

Verdict on Villar kept under wraps

by Fel V. Maragay

Original Story:

The Senate committee of the whole has rendered its verdict on the ethics complaint against Senator Manuel Villar but its chairman, Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile, has withheld the public disclosure of the document until it is signed by at least majority of its members.

Enrile refused to give any hint to the media on whether Villar has been cleared or found guilty by the committee on the allegations that he and his real estate empire benefited from the C-5 road extension from the South Luzon Expressway-Sucat Road to the Coastal Road in Parañaque City.

On Nov. 17 (exactly one year after Villar was ousted as Senate president), 12 senators signed a resolution seeking the dismissal of the complaint against the respondent. But Enrile blocked their attempt to railroad the adoption of the resolution on the ground that this would pre-empt the official investigation report which was still being drafted at that time.

He said the report, of which he was the first to sign, would be presented and debated on the Senate floor upon the resumption of the regular session on Jan. l8. At least three other senators—Panfilo Lacson, Jamby Madrigal and Richard Gordon—said they have already signed the report.

It was Lacson who exposed the alleged double funding of the C-5 project under the 2008 national budget. Madrigal filed the ethics complaint against Villar for alleged breach of the constitutional rule against conflict of interest.

Lacson was tightlipped when asked by newsmen to comment on the report. He chairs the committee on ethics and privileges, which originally investigated the Villar case. But Madrigal said she was satisfied with the report.

Original Story:

Bets hope for the best, hit one another

by Christine F. Herrera

Original Story:

Presidential candidates yesterday took turns exhorting the electorate to reflect during the New Year on who could be the “best bet” for 2010 but did not fail to hit out at one another.

Lakas-Kampi CMD standard- bearer Gilberto Teodoro Jr. was the first to remind the electorate to reflect on the new life and new beginnings under a “new leadership” next year as he warned them against “messianic candidates” who would promise them the sun, the moon and the stars.

“If those candidates would come to you one day and tell you that they can solve all the ills besetting the country, provided you vote for them, don’t believe them and don’t vote for them as they are lying. No such politician can do what they profess to do,” Teodoro said without naming names.

“Popularity, while it looks good on surveys, does not automatically make someone a competent leader,” Teodoro, the 1989 Philippine Bar Examinations topnotcher, pointed out.

Senator Benigno Simeon Aquino III, presidential candidate of the Liberal Party, urged the electorate to help him “bring back democracy” and reject the ruling elite that caters only to the vested interest.

“Sa darating na taon, tayo po ay may pagkakataong maibalik ang uri ng demokrasyang nagpapahalaga sa kapakanan ng buong bayan at hindi sa interes ng iilan lamang,” Aquino said.

Senator Manny Villar, standard-bearer of the Nacionalista Party who is now in the United States with his family, issued his New Year message through party spokesman and senatorial candidate Gilbert Remulla.

“Let us remember that 2010 is not about ‘good versus evil’ but about ‘good, better, best’ leader who could make the rich not become richer but share their wealth with the poor and the poor share the wealth of the country,” Remulla said of the NP message.

Villar was taking a swipe at the LP’s position that the 2010 national polls would be a battle between good and evil.

“What is important in 2010 is for the electorate to choose the most capable candidate who can alleviate poverty without enriching himself in office,” Villar said as he wished everyone a better year ahead.

But the three presidential candidates remain hopeful that things would be better for the country next year.

“We can only hope to stem the tide of the various problems besetting our country so that the next crop of national leaders will have a much easier task in rectifying the situation,” Teodoro said.

Aquino said he believed in the resiliency of the Filipinos following the series of typhoons this year that ravaged parts of Luzon and Visayas.

Original Story:

New killer firecrackers: Goodbye Gloria, Ampatuan

By Ric Sapnu
The Philippine Star
Updated January 01, 2010 12:00 AM

Original Story:

CAMP OLIVAS, Pampanga, Philippines – You can blow up an “Ampatuan” or bid “Goodbye Gloria” this New Year.

Firecracker vendors in Bocaue, Bulacan, in a bid to boost sales of pyrotechnics for the New Year revelry, came up with new types of firecrackers that are louder and more powerful.

Two of the most popular firecrackers are the “Ampatuan” and “Goodbye Gloria,” which pack so much punch and explosive power that they can shut off street lamps, trigger car alarms and shatter glass windows.

Police said the two brands stood out from among the banned firecrackers popularly known as “Goodbye Philippines,” “Bin Laden,” “In Cans” and “Trillanes.”

The Ampatuan firecracker was named after Datu Unsay Mayor Andal Ampatuan Jr. who has been accused of the massacre of 57 people in Maguindanao last November.

Goodbye Gloria, on the other hand, was coined as a farewell parody to President Arroyo who is supposed to step down this June after the next president is elected in May.

A local fireworks manufacturer said Goodbye Philippines, Bin Laden, In Cans and Trillanes, named after detained Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV, were the most popular firecrackers until Ampatuan and Goodbye Gloria came out.

Five pieces of Ampatuan are reportedly being sold at P250.

Goodbye Gloria, on the other hand, is sold for P280 to P300 for three pieces.

Officials said the firecrackers are not being sold openly but produced on order, making it more difficult for police to confiscate the firecrackers from vendors.

Local firecracker dealers in Bulacan revealed that most buyers are shopping for more powerful and “killer” types of firecrackers.

While the police were able to arrest the makers of banned firecrackers like the traditional pla-pla, kabase and super lolo, dealers of the Ampatuan and Goodbye Gloria firecrackers have resorted to selling their goods only to preferred customers on a made-to-order basis, according to Superintendent Ronald de Jesus, Bocaue police chief.

“We haven’t seen them yet but there are persistent reports that those two brands of firecrackers are really oversized and pack a lot of punch,” he said.

De Jesus has ordered full deployment of policemen along MacArthur Highway in Barangay Turo in Bocaue, known to firecracker buyers as “The Strip.”

The local government has also deployed firemen and paramedics along the highway dotted with rows of firecracker and pyrotechnic stores.

De Jesus said policemen have been tasked to strictly implement the provisions of Republic Act 7183 known as the Firecrackers Law, regulating the size of firecrackers within the safe limits.

De Jesus said they would not allow smoking and testing of firecrackers in the area to prevent accidents.

The police intensified their campaign against illegal firecrackers, particularly against piccolo, which was blamed for 58 percent of firecracker injuries.

Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Director General Jesus Verzosa said the sustained campaign against piccolo and other forms of illegal and oversized firecrackers stems from the report of Health Secretary Francisco Duque on the rampant sale of such firecrackers despite the ban.

Duque reported that as of Dec. 30, a total of 121 cases, or 58 percent of firecracker injuries, was caused by piccolo.

Duque said piccolo is considered illegal because it is not among the regulated firecrackers and is often smuggled from abroad.

Piccolo looks like a big matchstick, but is hazardous and has been blamed for a large number of injuries, particularly burning of the eyes and limbs. -With Cecille Suerte Felipe

Original Story:

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Aquino belies rumors of ill health

By Gil C. Cabacungan Jr.
Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 04:20:00 12/30/2009

Filed Under: Eleksyon 2010, Inquirer Politics

Original Story:

MANILA, Philippines—He’s not sick, not even tired, just very busy.

Sen. Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III has shrugged off speculation that the rigors of preparing for next year’s election campaign have taken a toll on his health.

Aquino said he was fit to take on a nationwide campaign beginning February, adding that his rivals should change their tactics and stop making up stories about his supposedly failing health if they intend to catch up to him in the surveys.

“Yes I’ve got a cold but a lot of people I know have it because of the weather. If I were them (his opponents), I’d stop spreading these rumors because I won’t quit,” said Aquino who boasts a commanding lead in the surveys along with his running mate, Sen. Mar Roxas.

The state of Aquino’s health has been the subject of speculation the past few months due to his absence at rallies and other forums and his supposedly sickly appearance.

Aquino dismissed the rumors as “black propaganda,” asserting that he was holding up very well considering that he was attending to his duties as a legislator while at the same time preparing to undertake an intense campaign for the May 2010 presidential election.

“I am third in terms of attendance among senators, next only to the Senate president and the majority leader. I have taken a direct hand in approving the [national] budget as I have done in all my years as a legislator,” he said.

He said his schedule these days was much heavier and more packed than those of the other presidential candidates since he began his presidential bid only a few months ago while his rivals had been on campaign mode for years.

“My handlers are maximizing my provincial sorties with 12 to 15 engagements per trip. They must be testing my limits but I’m not complaining, I’m up to it,” Aquino said.

If he does get sick along the way, Aquino said it would be the normal illnesses that strike people his age.

“I have sinusitis and it has gotten worse but it is nothing I cannot handle,” he said.

Original Story:

SWS: Gloria retains most rejected title with net -- 38


Original Story:

The dismal perception among the public on President Arroyo’s effectivity continued during the final quarter of the year as she received a net rating of negative 38 as a result of 23 percent respondents expressing satis-faction on her performance against an overwhelming 61 percent stating dissatisfaction, the latest Social Weather Stations (SWS) survey showed.

Arroyo’s latest rating was unchanged from a net negative 38 (23 percent satisfied vs 62 percent dissatisfied) in the last immediate survey held in September.

With the latest rating, Arroyo retained her distinction as being the most rejected president since the assumption of former President Corazon Aquino when SWS started conducting the periodic polls. SWS data, in fact, showed only Arroyo was the first to incur net negative ranking in the survey, the worst being at negative 50 in the July 2008 survey.

The closest that any other president got to a net negative rating was a positive one in the October 1995 survey on Ramos.

In contrast, Estrada’s worst was a positive five in December 1999 and March 2000 against a best rating of positive 67 in March 1999. Ramos’ best ranking was a positive 69 in July 1993.

Aquino’s best ranking was a positive 72 in October 1986 and the worst at positive seven in November 1990 and April 1992.

The latest survey showed dissatisfaction on Aquino eased in Luzon but worsened in Visayas and Mindanao.

Arroyo’s net satisfaction ratings eased in Luzon outside Metro Manila but worsened in the Visayas and Mindanao.

Her net satisfaction rating rose by 10 points in Luzon outside Metro
Manila, to negative 35 (24 percent satisfied vs 59 percent dissatisfied) in December, from negative 45 (19 percent satisfied vs 64 percent dissatisfied) in September.

It rose by two points in Metro Manila, to negative 44 (19 percent satisfied vs 63 percent dissatisfied) from negative 46 (21 percent satisfied vs 66 percent dissatisfied).

However, it worsened by 13 points in the Visayas, to negative 45 (21 percent satisfied vs 66 percent dissatisfied) now, from negative 32 (26 percent satisfied vs 58 percent dissatisfied) previously.

It fell by eight points in Mindanao, to a bad negative 35 (26 percent satisfied vs 60 percent dissatisfied, correctly rounded) now, from a poor negative 27 (30 percent satisfied vs 57 percent dissatisfied) before.

Urban satisfaction with the President went to 22 percent in December from 21 percent in September, while dissatisfaction went to 62 percent from 65 percent, raising her urban net satisfaction rating by four points, to negative 40 from negative 44.

Rural satisfaction with the President went to 24 percent from 25 percent, while dissatisfaction went to 60 percent from 59 percent, hardly changing her rural net rating at negative 35 from negative 34.

Arroyo’s net satisfaction rating rose by 20 points in class ABC, to a bad negative 34 in December, from a very bad negative 54 in September.

It stayed bad in class D or the masa, at negative 40 from negative 39. It also stayed bad in class E, at negative 35 from negative 34.

Original Story:

Binay cancels P16-m countdown (No fireworks, no bands, no dancing.)

Original Story:

The much-awaited New Year’s Eve countdown in Makati City has been called off after Mayor Jejomar Binay ordered the revelry’s P16-million budget be used instead to assist victims in the recent Bangkal fire and families evacuated amid an erupting Mayon Volcano.

It is not the first time that Makati has dropped the merry making at the corner of Ayala and Makati avenues.

The pyrotechnics and free concert of top bands and performers were cancelled in 2005 during the economic crunch with the countdown funds going to food for distribution to poor residents.

“It would be improper for the city to push through with the countdown considering what many of our constituents as well as our brothers and sisters in other provinces are going through,” Binay said.

Earlier, Makati sent relief to over 150,000 families across Metro Manila and Luzon in places declared under a state of calamity by the National Disaster Coordinating Council after a spate of floodings.

The City Council allocated at least P27 million to buy rice, canned goods and other items needed by typhoon victims, such as bottled water, sleeping mats and blankets.

A week before the fire, Chairman Fermin Eusebio of cash-strapped Bangkal requested P4,735,341.84 to bankroll its employees’ paychecks and projects.

But the assistance was outvoted in the Nacionalista-dominated council along with P123-million package for infrastructure and social services being pushed by the Binay administration.

The Dec. 23 Bangkal blaze left some 700 families homeless as it fanned out to neighboring Pasay City.

“The city government has put up a community kitchen for the fire victims, and a medical team to attend to their needs. Residents will be offered new homes in a resettlement area in Cabuyao, Laguna, while those who opt to go back to their provinces will get financial assistance through the ‘Balik Probinsiya’ program,” Binay said. Rudy Brul

Original Story:

Estrada cooling his heels in HK

by Fel V. Maragay

Original Story:

Former President Joseph Estrada has left for Hong Kong for a three-day vacation with members of his immediate family even as the Commission on Elections is expected to rule on his disqualification case in the next 10 days.

Estrada is grumbling over the loss of a huge number of his supporters and allies owing to the “black propaganda” being peddled by his adversaries that they should not waste their votes on him because he will be disqualified from the presidential race.

“That has a big impact on my presidential candidacy. They are saying that I will end up being disqualified or I will withdraw. That is what they are spreading all over the country, which I will never do,” Estrada told Standard Today over the phone from Hong Kong.

Taking a respite from his provincial visits, the former president said he flew to Hong Kong yesterday for a three-day vacation. He was accompanied by his wife Loi, his son Senate President Protempore Jose “Jinggoy” Estrada and other members of their family, including their grandchildren.

Estrada, who is running for president under the Puwersa ng Masang Pilipino, expressed the hope that the disqualification case against him will be resolved by the Commission on Elections and the Supreme Court as expeditiously as possible.

“That will be to my advantage,” he said as he expressed confidence that the case will be dismissed by the Comelec.

The disqualification case is up for resolution by the Comelec after just one hearing last week.

Comelec commissioner Armando Velasco said the final list of national candidates will be firmed up within the next 10 days before the ballots are printed starting Jan. 25.

The poll body has already purged the list of candidates but some names on the list may be scrapped if they do not meet the criteria, according to commissioner Lucenito Tagle.

Estrada’s disqualification was being sought by several complainants on the ground that the Constitution barred him from seeking reelection as president.

“We have a valid case. It is clear in the Constitution that the ban on reelection applies only to the incumbent president. The framers of the Constitution saw to it that the incumbent president will not have an undue advantage over his or her opponent because he or she has all the government resources under his or her disposal that can be used against his or her opponent,” Estrada said.

Meanwhile, his son, the senator, has vowed to campaign harder to pull up his father’s rating.

The young Estrada said he would bank on his popularity to convince the voters to bring back his father to the seat of power. He ranked third among presidential aspirants with a 17-percent popularity rating.

Estrada, the senator, garnered 60 percent in the latest survey. He was closely followed by partymates Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago at 59 percent; Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile, who ranked eighth, at 43 percent, and guest candidate and comebacking Senator Sergio Osmeña, who ranked ninth, at 39 percent.

“I attribute my 60-percent rating to the people’s trust in me. That will rub on to my father. It is not because I am more popular than my father but it is because for the longest time, his detractors have demonized him, even up to now,” Estrada told Standard Today over the phone. with Christine Herrera and Joel Zurbano

Original Story:

Gloria is Zaldy A’s airtight murder alibi (‘I was with GMA on day of murder’ — ARMM governor)

By Gerry Baldo and Angie Rosales
By Benjamin B. Pulta

Original Story:

Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) Gov. Zaldy Ampatuan has an airtight alibi that could get him off the hook in the mass murder charges: President Arroyo.

He cited in his affidavit that on the day of the multiple murders, he was in Malacañang meeting with Arroyo herself.

Reports on the day the Maguindanao massacre broke also had then presidential adviser on political affairs Secretary Gabriel Claudio confirming that the Ampatuans were in Malacañang at a meeting with the President.

Alibis ranging from a medical mission to a personal audience with the President can be found in the counter-affidavits of the four Ampatuan clan members who had opted to answer the multiple murder charges against them for their alleged involvement in the Nov. 23, 2009 murders in Maguindanao, where some 59 civilians, among whom were some 30 journalists, were massacred, allegedly on orders of Datu Unsay Mayor Andal Ampatuan Jr.

In separate sworn statements filed before the Justice department, the brothers Anwar, Sajid Islam and Zaldy Ampatuan, along with their cousin Akmad, all claimed they took no part in the murders. the four are the sons and nephew, respectively, of former ARMM Gov. Andal Ampatuan Sr. who is currently detained in a military hospital in Cotabato.

In his affidavit, one of the four, ARMM Gov. Zaldy Uy Ampatuan, insists that “even a cursory reading of the complaint will show that the a sham.

“When the aforesaid incident occurred, I was with the President of the Republic in Manila. We were then discussing the manner by which the National Government, in cooperation with the ARMM,will be able to resolve the conflict in the province of Sulu. With us in the meeting were Congressman Yusop Jikiri, Munir Arbison and other political leaders.”

A day before the incident, on Nov. 22 when a witness said the Ampatuans planned the attack, Zaldy claims he was with a certain Ulama Acad in his residence at Juna Subdivision,Davao City, 300 kilometers from Shariff Aguak.

Another respondent, Sajid Islam U. Ampatuan, the acting Governor of Maguindanao said he was at the Comelec office in Shariff Saydona Mustapha from 8 a.m. up to 12 noon on said date with Bai Zandria Ampatuan to accompany her in filing her certificate of candidacy as mayor of the municipality of Shariff Saydona Mustapha.

“I never once left the Comelec premises until 12 noon. This will be confirmed by the election officer himself, Mr. Saliao Amba, “ Sajid said as he claimed the charges against him are a “reckless and impulsive prosecution.”

A third respondent,Shariff Aguak, Maguindanao mayor Anwar Ampatuan reiterated his claim that “there is no direct or indirect evidence describing (his) involvement in the said murder other than the bare and unsupported allegations of purported witnesses, the truth of which cannot be fully ascertained.

“I vehemently deny any participation whatsoever in the said murder contrary to the claims of the complainants and their supposed witnesses..”

Anwar claimed that in the early morning of Nov. 23,2009, he went to the Municipal Hall to attend the joint meeting concerning the discussion of the Sangguniang Bayan members and Barangay officials with regard to the proposed project of the Local Water Utilities Board.

He claims that the testimony regarding the incident is “not based on personal knowledge or is a mere afterthought, if only to involve all members of the Ampatuan in this baseless,groundless and malicious complaint against (his) family.”

The four Ampatuans’ cousin, ARMM Vice-Gov. Akmad “Tato” Ampatuan for his part, said that on the day before the massacre he was in his residence, preparing for a scheduled medical mission as several doctors from Manila will be bringing medicine and medical supplies that had to be sorted and put in order.

“I tasked several of my men to fetch the doctors and thereafter to bring the medicines and medical supplies,” he said as he claimed the medical mission was scheduled the next day, Nov. 23, 2009, which was held at the municipal gymnasium from 7 a.m. until 5 p.m.

“No direct or indirect evidence describing my supposed involvement in the said murder other than the bare and unsupported allegations of purported witnesses, the truth of which cannot even be fully ascertained,” he stressed.

A member of the Ampatuan militia had submitted an affidavit to the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) detailing how Ampatuan Jr. carried out the murders on the orders of his father.

In his affidavit, Kenny Dalandag, a member of Ampatuans’ private armed group, said Ampatuan shot Jimmy Cabillo, a reporter of the Midland Review, one of the 30 journalists accompanying the ill-fated convoy of the Mangudadatus on Nov. 23.

Dalandag narrated how the elder Ampatuan gave the order to his son during a family gathering that was attended by the Ampatuan children as well as other relatives.

In Baguio City, Justice Secretary Agnes Devanadera yesterday warned respondents in the Maguindanao massacre, the Ampatuans and their corresponding legal counsels not to play with the law as she stressed that the government is dead serious in its pursuit against those who will be proven guilty of committing the dastardly crime.

Devanadera denied claims of the lawyers of prime suspect of the gruesome massacre, Andal Ampatuan, Jr. in saying that the Justice department has already prejudged the Ampatuans, along with the public, pointing out that the Department of Justice (DoJ) itself has issued statements detrimental to the Ampatuans during the first day of the DoJ panel of prosecutors’ preliminary investigations.

“If you recall, during yesterday’s (Monday’s) proceedings, some of the lawyers of some of the respondents, at the start of the preliminary investigations, manifested that they were not ready, they did not have their counter-affidavits notarized, they did not have their clients because of security reasons; and when the panel, especially the chairman Senior State Prosecutor Roseanne Balauag, said that then the cases for murder would be deemed submitted for resolution, all of a sudden there was a change of heart and some of the counsels requested reconsideration for them to be able to submit counter-affidavits, which, all along, they had with them,” Devanadera said.

“So, you know, we cannot be playing with the proceedings of the Department of Justice. The government is very serious about this. The government is serious in attaining whatever is necessary to have justice and the DoJ has given the respondents the due process that is guaranteed by the Constitution which is an opportunity to be heard,” she added.

Devanadera said that in the event Ampatuan, Jr. and other members of his family who are being linked by the government in the Maguindanao killings are found guilty by the State prosecutors by the end of their preliminary investigations, they have no one to blame but themselves and their lawyers whom she said were employing poor legal strategies.

“The hearings are set regularly and they are set very much ahead of time just so the respondents can prepare for their defense. If the respondents do not avail of all these opportunities, there is no one to blame,” Devanadera stressed.

Devanadera also mentioned that the issuance of transfer order by the local Cotabato court to some other persons involved in the case into its own justice domain would not be a problem in the ongoing separate trial proceedings held in the Quezon City Regional Trial Court (RTC).

“The murder cases will proceed independently of the rebellion cases and the murder cases that are already in court are only those against Mayor Unsay Ampatuan. The other respondents’ cases are actually subject of the resolution that will be prepared by the prosecutors. So the issuances of the Cotabato court and the rebellion cases will not, in any way, affect the proceedings in the murder cases,” Devanadera explained.

The Justice chief stressed that the government will brook no delay in the disposition of cases against the members of the clan and their supporters who are suspected of having massacred 58 civilians and, in an attempt to hide the crime, of rising in rebellion.

As a result of the massacre and the subsequent rebellion, the President declared a state of emergency in Cotabato City, Maguindanao and Sultan Kudarat. She later placed Maguinadanao under martial law.

The President has since lifted martial law, but the state of emergency in the three provinces remains in force.

With Aytch S. de la Cruz and PNA

Original Story:

As ban is lifted, candidates campaign during the holidays

By Leila Salaverria
Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 22:27:00 12/29/2009

Filed Under: Politics, Elections, Eleksyon 2010

Original Story:

MANILA, Philippines—With the ban on premature campaigning lifted, most politicians are not using the holidays to rest. Instead, those running for public office next year are pressing flesh and doing their best to stay visible through advertisements and posters.

The Supreme Court’s decision lifting the ban on premature campaigning has effectively opened the campaign season.

Before the ruling came last month, many lawmakers were anxious about which of their actions—from starring in a movie to giving away calendars with their faces plastered on them—would be construed as premature campaigning.

Now that almost anything is allowed, one of the aspirants for the presidency, Lakas-Kampi-CMD standard-bearer Gilbert Teodoro, is hopping from province to province during the holidays to keep his name on people’s minds. Teodoro was recently in Quezon province.

Teodoro’s spokesperson, Zambales Rep. Ma. Milagros Magsaysay, said the lifting of the premature campaigning ban helped Teodoro to gain ground, especially since he only started pushing his plans for the presidency when he resigned from the defense department on Nov. 15.

“We were able to maximize his exposure and [get him to] explain himself by making him attend all city and provincial invitations and sorties. Because of the lifting, we can maximize his TV, radio and print ads, tarpaulins and hand-outs, attend all invitations and caucuses,” Magsaysay said on Tuesday.

Teodoro has been lagging behind in the surveys, although his supporters are touting the administration party’s machinery and his credentials as his tickets to victory.

Nacionalista Party standard-bearer Sen. Manuel Villar continues to be very visible on TV, where at least two of his TV advertisements are shown on rotation. One TV ad features street children singing that Villar, who came from a poor family, understands their needs. The other ad shows comedian Michael V. interviewing Villar on his plans and platform.

Front runner Sen. Benigno Aquino III has not been seen much. The Liberal Party standard-bearer has not maximized the free pass to campaign and is instead using the holidays to rest and prepare for the hectic months ahead, according to LP spokesperson Quezon Rep. Lorenzo Tañada III.

Aquino has put out one new advertisement for Christmas, where he thanked the people for consoling with him and his family as they grieved the loss of his mother, former President Corazon Aquino. His running mate Mar Roxas also has a Christmas ad with his wife and teenage son.

Tañada noted that Aquino’s only sortie was a visit to Albay, where thousands have been evacuated because of the threat of Mayon Volcano’s eruption.

“Outside of that, in the two weeks spanning Christmas and New Year, there are no scheduled out of town activities,” he said.

Original Story:

‘I wish lola will be President forever!’

Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 02:11:00 12/30/2009

Filed Under: Government, Family, Politics, Inquirer Politics, Eleksyon 2010

Original Story:

MANILA, Philippines—To be president forever is the Christmas wish of one of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s granddaughters for her grandmother.

“I wish that my lola, I mean … I hope she’ll be President forever!” 5-year-old Marie Angelique said on Sunday in Baguio, the abs-cbnnews website reported on Monday.

Marie Angelique, daughter of Pampanga Rep. Juan Miguel “Mikey” Arroyo, gave the answer when asked by reporters about her Christmas wish for her grandparents after the Arroyos attended Mass at St. Joseph Church.

The President, whose term ends in June 2010 after nine years in Malacañang, is vacationing with her family in Baguio.

Barred by the Constitution from seeking another term, Ms Arroyo is running for a congressional seat in her home province, Pampanga, in the May general elections.

Marie Angelique’s wish may not sit well with the public, however.

Public dissatisfaction high

Public dissatisfaction with Ms Arroyo’s performance remains high, according to the latest Social Weather Stations survey.

Sixty-one percent of those interviewed by SWS from Dec. 5 to 10 were dissatisfied with Ms Arroyo’s performance. Only 23 percent expressed satisfaction, resulting in a net rating of negative 38.

Classified as “bad” by SWS, the negative 38 was similar to the rating Ms Arroyo got in September, when 62 percent of the respondents were dissatisfied and only 23 percent were satisfied.

“Dissatisfaction eased in Luzon outside Metro Manila, but worsened in the Visayas and Mindanao,” SWS said in a statement Tuesday.

Noncommissioned survey

The noncommissioned survey, which used face-to-face interviews with 2,100 adults nationwide, had a margin of error of plus or minus 2.2 percentage points.

Compared with the previous quarter, Ms Arroyo’s net satisfaction rating rose 10 points in Luzon outside Metro Manila from negative 45 (19 percent satisfied and 64 percent dissatisfied) in September to negative 35 (24 percent satisfied and 59 percent dissatisfied) in December.

It also rose by two points in Metro Manila from negative 46 (21 percent satisfied and 66 percent dissatisfied, rounded off) to negative 44 (19 percent satisfied and 63 percent dissatisfied).

Down in VisMin

Ms Arroyo’s net satisfaction rating, however, declined by 13 points in the Visayas from negative 32 (26 percent satisfied and 58 percent dissatisfied) in September to negative 45 in the latest survey.

It also fell in Mindanao by 8 points from the previous quarter’s negative 27 (30 percent satisfied and 57 percent dissatisfied) to negative 35 percent (26 percent satisfied and 60 percent dissatisfied).

In urban areas, Ms Arroyo’s net satisfaction rating rose 4 points from the previous quarter’s negative 44 to negative 40. In rural areas, the figure hardly changed from negative 34 in September to negative 35 this month.

Very bad among class ABC

Dissatisfaction eased in the ABC socioeconomic classes. Ms Arroyo’s net rating rose 20 points from a “very bad” negative 54 (17 percent satisfied and 70 percent dissatisfied, rounded off) in September to a “bad” negative 34 (27 percent satisfied and 62 percent dissatisfied, rounded off) in December.

The rating stayed “bad” in Class D (from negative 39 to negative 40) and in Class E (from negative 34 to negative 35).

The latest SWS survey notes that among women, satisfaction with Ms Arroyo was 23 percent and dissatisfaction was 60 percent, bringing her net rating to negative 37.

Among men, satisfaction also stayed at 23 percent, while dissatisfaction was 62 percent, or a net rating of negative 39. Report from Lawrence de Guzman, Inquirer Research

Original Story:

Lakas head says shift in voters choice to favor Teodoro in long run

Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 19:56:00 12/29/2009

Filed Under: Eleksyon 2010, Elections, Politics

Original Story:

ALABEL, Sarangani—There will be a significant shift of choice among voters in favor of administration presidential candidate Gilbert “Gibo” Teodoro because of his qualifications, Sarangani Gov. Rene Miguel Dominguez said Tuesday.

Dominguez, Lakas national president, said qualifications would play a key role in the choice of voters.

“Popularity is not only the basis for electing a leader,” he said.

Dominguez said Teodoro is capable of bringing the country to a new level of development.

“With majority of provinces, cities, and municipalities supporting Gibo because of his leadership qualities, competence, integrity, the electorate in the next five months will choose wisely,” he said.

Business surveys

Dominguez said less publicized surveys, conducted in business communities, showed Teodoro, a bar topnotcher and Harvard trained lawyer, doing well.

Dominguez said Teodoro’s platform for running the country would convince voters.

In Tarlac City, Teodoro said candidates within his family owe it to the next generation of Tarlaquenos to secure the future of the province.

Teodoro vowed “not to allow history to repeat itself” and to put personal squabbles to rest and move on.

Speaking before his province mates on Saturday night during the Christmas party of the Lakas-CMD, Teodoro reiterated his message of peace and unity for his province.

Better politicians

“Tarlac does not deserve to be embroiled in personal squabbles. We don’t want what happened before to be repeated,” he said.

He was referring to the long drawn feud between his uncles, tycoon Eduardo “Danding” Cojuangco Jr. and former Rep. Jose “Peping” Cojuangco Jr., that ripped the province apart for decades.

“Let us do something right,” Teodoro said.

Aside from name or family, platform and performance should be the measure, he said. “We should re-shape the language of politics and recognize that we are here to perform a political role and to be better politicians,” he said. Teodoro served three terms as representative of Tarlac’s first district before being appointed defense secretary. His wife, Nikki Monica Prieto-Teodoro, now serves as the district’s representative.

Teodoro was a key leader of the Nationalist People’s Coalition but bolted the party because of a misunderstanding with his uncle and Nationalist People’s Coalition chair emeritus, Eduardo Cojuangco.

No more clash

Recent developments in his district showed that Teodoro had veered away from a direct clash with Danding or family members who are with the NPC.

Danding’s younger brother, Henry Cojuangco, is now running for the post currently occupied by Prieto-Teodoro unopposed by any relative.

Factions of the Cojuangco clan clashed in the past. In 1965 and 1969, Danding and Peping Cojuangco battled it out. Peping won in the first battle but withdrew in the rematch “to prevent bloodshed and maintain peace in the province.”

In 1992, Henry Cojuangco clashed with Peping’s wife, Margarita “Tingting” Cojuangco, in the Tarlac gubernatorial race. Tingting won. Inquirer Mindanao and Jo Martinez-Clemente, contributor

Original Story:

3 of 5 Filipinos unhappy with Arroyo performance — SWS

12/29/2009 | 10:48 AM

Original Story:

President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo got a failing grade as her net satisfaction rating remained "bad" at -38 in the last quarter, with three out of five Filipinos dissatisfied with her performance, according to a survey by pollster Social Weather Stations.

The SWS survey conducted from December 5 to 10 showed that 23% of the population was satisfied with President Arroyo's performance, while a bigger 61% (correctly rounded) was dissatisfied.

"It was unchanged from the net -38 (23% satisfied, 62% dissatisfied) in September 2009," the SWS said on its Web site on Tuesday.

The survey showed dissatisfaction with Mrs. Arroyo had eased in Luzon excluding Metro Manila, but worsened in the Visayas and Mindanao.

Under the SWS rating scale, a score of +50 and above is considered very good; +30 to +49, good; +10 to +29, moderate; +9 to -9, "neutral; -10 to -29, poor; -30 to -49, bad; and -50 or lower, very bad.

Mrs. Arroyo's net satisfaction rating rose by 10 points in Luzon outside Metro Manila to -35 (24% satisfied, 59% dissatisfied) in December, from -45 (19% satisfied, 64% dissatisfied) in September.

But in Metro Manila, it was 2 points better at -44 (19% satisfied, 63% dissatisfied) in the last quarter, from -46 (21% satisfied, 66% dissatisfied) in the previous quarter.

It worsened by 13 points in the Visayas to -45 (21% satisfied, 66% dissatisfied), from -32 (26% satisfied, 58% dissatisfied) previously.

Meanwhile, the President's net satisfaction rating fell by 8 points in Mindanao to a bad -35 (26% satisfied, 60% dissatisfied, correctly rounded), from a poor -27 (30% satisfied, 57% dissatisfied) before.

Urban satisfaction with Mrs. Arroyo moved up to 22% in December, from 21% in September, while dissatisfaction slipped to 62% from 65%.

This raised her urban net satisfaction rating by 4 points, to -40 from -44.

Rural satisfaction with her slipped to 24% from 25%, while dissatisfaction went to 60% from 59%, hardly changing her rural net rating of -35 from -34.

Ramon Casiple, executive director of the Institute for Political and Electoral Reform, said the survey results showed that Mrs. Arroyo remained unpopular.

In a phone interview, Casiple traced the rise in the President's net satisfaction rating in Luzon to government relief and rehabilitation efforts following the devastation brought by typhoons Ondoy and Pepeng to the region in September and October.

"She poured in resources after Ondoy struck Luzon," he pointed out.

Her lower ratings in Mindanao, on the other hand, were due to what residents perceived as her poor response to the massacre of at least 57 people, including 30 journalists, in Maguindanao on November 23.

Dissatisfied masses
Mrs. Arroyo's net satisfaction rating rose by 20 points among class ABC Filipinos, to a bad -34 (27% satisfied, 62% dissatisfied) in December, from a very bad -54 (17% satisfied, 70% dissatisfied, correctly rounded) in September.

It stayed bad among class D or the Filipinos masses at -40 (22% satisfied, 62% dissatisfied) now, from -39 (23% satisfied, 62% dissatisfied).

It also stayed bad among class E Filipinos, at -35 (24% satisfied, 59% dissatisfied) now, from -34 (26% satisfied, 60% dissatisfied) before.

Compared with the previous quarter, satisfaction with Mrs. Arroyo among women stayed at 23%, while dissatisfaction went to 60% from 61%, keeping the women's net satisfaction score bad at -37.

Among men, satisfaction with the President stayed at 23%, while dissatisfaction went to 62% from 63%, keeping her net rating bad at -39.

The survey was conducted from December 5 to 10, using face-to-face interviews of 2,100 adults divided into random samples of 300 in Metro Manila and 600 each in the Visayas, Mindanao and the rest of Luzon. — with Johanna Camille L. Sisante, LBG/NPA, GMANews.TV

Original Story:

Less than 600K overseas votes seen in 2010

12/29/2009 | 04:33 PM

Original Story:

A total of 589,830 overseas Filipinos have registered to vote in the 2010 elections, according to the Commission on Elections (Comelec), with concerns that even fewer will actually turn out to vote.

According to the poll body’s summary of overseas absentee voting (OAV) statistics, 224,884 new voters were added to the previous list of 364,946 active voters from the past two elections. In addition to the land-based Filipinos, a total of 21,097 seafarers will also be allowed to vote in the 2010 elections.

For the 2010 polls, 235,950 applications were received by the Comelec’s committee on OAV. Of these, 11,066 were denied.

Discouraging voter turnout

Since the OAV was signed into law in 2003, figures have not been encouraging. In the 2004 national elections, only 360,000 of the more than four million qualified overseas Filipinos had registered. Of this figure, only 65 percent or 233,092 actually voted.

In the 2007 midterm elections, at least 145,000 more overseas Filipinos registered to vote but only 81,732 cast their ballots.

The low participation rate has sparked calls for a congressional inquiry to find out ways of encouraging better participation.

Despite this, the poll body said that it is all set to automate the balloting for Filipinos in Hong Kong and Singapore.

OFW voters up by 27.8 percent

OFW deployment attained a new record level of 1,376,823 in 2008, up by 27.8 percent from 1,077,623 the previous year.

Data from the Comelec indicated that the countries with the most number of overseas Filipino voters are Saudi Arabia with 111,549; Hong Kong, 95,355; and the United States of America, 40,430.

In terms of geographic regions, the Middle East and African nations have the most number of overseas voters, with a total of 225,148. The Asia Pacific, meanwhile, has 215,548; Europe, 61,294; and North and Latin America, 66,743. - KBK/TJD, GMANews.TV

Original Story:

Perlas, Jimenez defend presidential bids

12/28/2009 | 03:51 PM

Original Story:

At least two disqualified presidential hopefuls faced the Commission on Elections (Comelec) on Monday to defend their rejected candidacies, with one of them claiming that he enjoys the support of dozens of countries.

Nicanor Perlas, a self-styled environmentalist, told Comelec officials in a hearing that he has the backing of the Green Party of France, an international pro-environment group.

“The statement of the Green Party of France supporting my candidacy has been submitted to the Comelec," he said, adding that the support from 50 countries proves his “national and global presence."

Another disqualified presidential hopeful, businessman Mark Jimenez, was braver in defending his candidacy.

“The only reason why I’m not qualified is because you are all afraid of me, everybody knows that," said Jimenez, a former congressman representing Manila.

Perlas and Jimenez were both excluded from the initial list of approved presidential candidates for the 2010 elections.

The Comelec had earlier said that those excluded from the list were either deemed as nuisance candidates or incapable of running in the 2010 elections.

Comelec Resolution No. 8678 defines a nuisance candidate as someone who “put(s) the election process in mockery or disrepute," “cause(s) confusion among the voters by the similarity of names of registered candidates," or one who “has no bona fide intention to run for the office."

Earlier, the Comelec said that it might possibly add two more presidential hopefuls to the eight bets whose candidacies have already been approved.

Among the presidential candidates deemed qualified by the Comelec are Senator Benigno “Noynoy" Aquino III (Liberal Party), John Carlos “JC" Delos Reyes (Ang Kapatiran), Joseph M. Ejercito Estrada (Puwersa ng Masang Pilipino – UNO), Senator Richard J. Gordon (Bagumbayan), Senator Maria Ana Consuelo “Jamby" A.S. Madrigal (independent), Gilberto C. Teodoro Jr.(Lakas-Kampi-CMD), Eddie C. Villanueva (Bangon Pilipinas), and Senator Manuel B. Villar Jr. (Nacionalista Party).

The Comelec, however, said it still needs time to process the oppositions filed against the exclusion of some of the hopefuls from the list of approved candidates.

“All the cases will be deemed submitted for resolution," Commissioner Rene Sarmiento told reporters in an interview, adding that they have until January 25 to settle everything.

The poll body said it would start the printing of ballots on January 25. - Kimberly Jane Tan/KBK, GMANews.TV

Original Story:

Danilo Lim confident in fight vs disqualification

12/28/2009 | 10:45 PM

Original Story:

Detained former Scout Ranger commander Brig. Gen. Danilo Lim on Monday continued his fight to have his senatorial bid formally considered by the Commission on Elections (Comelec).

In a Comelec hearing on disqualified candidates, Lim said his nomination from the Liberal Party should convince election officials to reconsider their decision rejecting his senatorial bid due to his alleged inability to launch a nationwide campaign.

“I am confident na mako-consider lahat ng ito at mawawala na yung balakid sa aking pagtakbo (that they will take this endorsement into consideration and reconsider my political aspiration)," Lim told reporters after the hearing.

The Noynoy Aquino-led LP has Lim as a guest senatorial candidate.

Lim had earlier said that the Comelec erred in denying his senatorial bid on the ground that he has no support from an established political party.

The former military official admitted that he wrote “independent" in his certificate of candidacy. “At that time, physically I was not in possession of the document," he said, referring to LP’s nomination.

Lim is currently detained in Camp Crame for his alleged involvement in at the two attempts to overthrow the Arroyo administration in 2006 and 2007. He was deemed resigned from the military when he filed his COC.

Despite his incarceration, Lim believes he would be victorious in the 2010 elections.

“Alam ninyo nag-iisa ako at nakakulong pero ako ay naniniwala na marami ang naniniwala sa akin at sumusuporta sa akin (You know I am alone and even in jail but I believe that many people believe and support me)," he said.

He said among his supporters are members of the Rebolusyonaryong Alyansang Makabansa (RAM) and Samahang Magdalo – two groups that have been associated with coup attempts in the past. - Kimberly Jane Tan/KBK, GMANews.TV

Original Story:

Teodoro’s fish hunt draws laughter

By Delfin Mallari Jr.
Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 01:36:00 12/29/2009

Filed Under: Opinion surveys, Eleksyon 2010, Politics

Original Story:

LUCENA CITY, Philippines – When administration presidential bet Gilbert “Gibo” Teodoro went to market here on Sunday, he was hoping to improve his survey rating and find the exotic fish with the scandalous name.

“Do you have ‘tampal’ fish?” he asked vendors at the Lucena public market, raising eyebrows and eliciting laughter.

When told that the fish was not available that day, the former defense secretary said and not without humor: “I will return some other day; hopefully, I can find one.”

When his wife, the attractive Tarlac Rep. Nikki Prieto-Teodoro, who accompanied him in the market sortie, asked what sort of fish he was looking for, the presidential aspirant told her: “I can’t tell you in public [because] it’s censored.”

Elusive fish

Nevertheless, Teodoro whispered the name of the elusive fish to his wife and the two had a good laugh.

The Lakas-Kampi-Christian Muslim Democrats standard-bearer later told the Inquirer that the fish he was looking for was called “tampal p..i,” a local species shaped like a human palm.

“I once tasted it in Manila but it was not fresh. I hear it’s fresh here in Quezon,” he said.

Despite his failure to find the fish, Teodoro seemed please as he gained new supporters among the vendors and market-goers, shaking their smelly hands and greeting them “Merry Christmas.”

“We were completely surprised. Gibo (Tedoro’s nickname) is so different in person. He looks so presidential but he can easily relate to us,” said Bella Lagrosas, president of the Local Market Vendors Association.

She asked Teodoro if the wet market building could be expanded into a three-story structure if he becomes the next president.

“If the building foundation would allow it, we will make it. I promise you that,” he told Lagrosas.

Teodoro and his wife were accompanied by Quezon Rep. Danilo Suarez, his son, Assistant Environment Secretary David Suarez, Lucena Mayor Ramon Talaga Jr. and his wife Ruby.

Administration vice presidential candidate Edu Manzano also came with the Teodoro to the market sortie but the popular actor and TV host headed for the market’s dry goods section.

He was seen exchanging high fives and gamely posing for pictures with admirers.

After the market visit, Teodoro and Manzano met with local officials from the Lakas-Kampi-CMD at the Mug Café covered auditorium in a shopping mall here.

Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile—although a member of Partido ng Masang Pilipino (PMP) and a long-time ally of the party’s standard-bearer, former President Joseph Estrada—also graced the event and virtually endorsed Teodoro’s candidacy.

Enrile said only Teodoro and Estrada were capable of leading the country as president.

“If Erap (Estrada) is not my party mate, I will be with Gibo,” the veteran politician said.

Original Story:

Teodoro ratings to surge in campaign period-Lakas execs

Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 01:40:00 12/29/2009

Filed Under: Politics, Eleksyon 2010

Original Story:

Administration party Lakas-Kampi Christian Muslim Democrats remains confident that its standard-bearer, former Defense Secretary Gilbert Teodoro, will make a surge in the 2010 presidential campaign period.

“It’s anybody’s ball game at this point,” said Zambales Rep. Milagros Magsaysay in a text message on Monday. “The make or break stage is two months before the elections when local officials start campaigning and they are urged to toe the party line.”

Teodoro’s spokesperson was responding to Sen. Miriam Defensor Santiago’s pronouncement that the 2010 elections would be a three-horse race among Senators Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III and Manny Villar and former President Joseph Estrada. The three presidential candidates made the strongest showing in the recent surveys.

But Lakas-Kampi deputy secretary general Reginald Velasco remained optimistic about Teodoro’s chances, saying that many voters have not made up their minds based on the party’s own surveys.

“How can any astute politician possibly exclude an administration candidate that is endorsed by more than half of the incumbent governors, congressmen and mayors who will provide the needed political infrastructure to deliver the votes?” Velasco pointed out.

For his part, Teodoro said he considered survey result as a “guide and challenge for him to strive more.” Gil Cabacungan Jr. With Delfin L. Mallari Jr., Inquirer Southern Luzon

Original Story:

NPC won’t back any presidential bet –official

By Leila Salaverria
Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 01:35:00 12/29/2009

Filed Under: Politics, Eleksyon 2010

Original Story:

No presidential candidate will enjoy the support of the country’s second-largest party, the Nationalist People’s Coalition (NPC), in next year’s elections, Pangasinan Rep. Mark Cojuangco said on Monday.

Cojuangco, son of the party’s founder Eduardo “Danding” Cojuangco, said the NPC was happy being independent and not being tied down to anyone. The group has, thus, decided not to team up with any of the presidential aspirants so that it could work with whoever would win the elections.

“Officially, our stand is we’re not carrying a presidential candidate,” Cojuangco said in a phone interview.

“It does not serve our purpose. We have our independence, we have our own identity. It will not be served by coalescing with anybody. We stand for our own platform...We will rather just work with who wins,” he added.

The Cojuangcos have two relatives seeking the presidency—Sen. Benigno Aquino III of the Liberal Party and former Defense Secretary Gilbert Teodoro of the administration’s Lakas-Kampi CMD.

Not binding

But the NPC’s vice presidential candidate, Sen. Loren Legarda, is the running mate of Nacionalista Party standard-bearer Sen. Manuel Villar. The NPC had allowed Legarda to team up with whomever she likes following the decision of Sen. Francis Escudero to bolt the party and withdraw from the presidential derby.

But her decision did not bind the party to support Villar.

The NPC has two senatorial candidates—former Sen. Vicente Sotto, who is well-within the Magic 12 in recent surveys, and Agusan del Sur Rep. Rodolfo Plaza.

The NPC is also fielding 100 candidates for the more than 200 seats in the House of Representatives, according to Valenzuela Rep. Rex Gatchalian, the party’s spokesperson.

“We’re also concentrating on the local, that’s why we have so many congressional candidates deployed,” Gatchalian said.

Force to reckon with

At present, the NPC has over 3,000 incumbent officials nationwide, a force that could be a great asset to an aspiring president. They include one senator, 28 representatives, eight governors, nine vice-governors, 88 board members, 20 city mayors, 17 city vice mayors, 162 city councilors, 448 municipal mayors, 471 municipal vice mayors and 2,276 municipal councilors.

Cojuangco said the NPC would cooperate with the next president as long as their stand on issues jibe. He added the NPC has enough in common with the candidates for president that they would be able to find things to collaborate on after the elections.

He said the NPC does not want to make enemies now by singling out a presidential candidate to support.

While there were some people, who had made informal overtures to the party for a possible team-up, the NPC was not receptive to the idea, said. Cojuangco.

He also noted that the NPC already tried to enter the race for the presidency, but its plans got waylaid by Escudero’s departure.

Original Story:

Teodoro, wary of Mayon stump, tries market tack

by Christine Herrera

Original Story:

The ruling party’s standard-bearer Gilberto Teodoro Jr. and his vice presidential running mate Edu Manzano have decided to stay away from Albay, where their rivals have been seen distributing relief to evacuees of Mayon volcano. Instead, they have opted to do a tour of public markets along the Quezon-Lucena corridors in a bid to boost their popularity ratings.

The Lakas-Kampi’s standard-bearers have shifted their campaign to high gear even as Teodoro has been topping the online poll of presidential aspirants including the latest Facebook survey. But party leaders say the Teodoro-Manzano tandem has a lot of catching up to do since they have been lagging behind the Liberal Party’s Benigno Aquino III and Mar Roxas II in most pre-election surveys.

Teodoro and Manzano are one in saying that they need not resort to such gimmickry as distributing relief to endear themselves to voters.

The market visits, called “Palengke Tour” will be spearheaded by members of the Lakas-Kampi-CMD that have strong following in their respective areas of jurisdiction.

“It is in the palengke, the market, that all kinds of people mingle with one another,’’ said Quezon Rep. Danilo Suarez, who cooked up the tour.

“You can find the rich, the middle class, the businessmen and the poor there converging in a single venue every single day.”

Suarez, secretary general of the Lakas-Kampi-CMD executive committee, vowed to make Teodoro and Manzano more visible together doing the rounds of the markets nationwide.

“The tour will be replicated throughout the country. I am proud to say that the random palengke tour was a success when both Gibo [Teodoro] and Edu [Manzano] pulled a surprise to the market-goers and vendors,” Suarez said.

Not to be outdone, the Liberal Party will embark on a new ad campaign to preserve the gains of the Aquino-Roxas tandem.

While the surveys show that Roxas is “statistically tied” with Senator Loren Legarda, the vice presidential bet of Senator Manuel Villar of the Nacionalista Party, Aquino said he was giving the voters no option but to pick him and Roxas as inseparable partners.

“We will emphasize the partnership that Mar and I have, a very necessary element for successful governance,” Aquino told Standard Today.

Aquino was in Iloilo City Sunday to attend the wedding of Councilor Lex Tupas of Iloilo City. “We will be shooting joint ads soon,” he said.

Villar spent the holidays meeting his party’s candidates and leaders before going to Los Angeles with his family to spend Christmas there.

“The NP will kick off its most serious campaign next month, and Senator Villar believes this is the only time he has to be bonding with his family,” said lawyer Adel Tamano, one of the NP’s senatorial bets.

“While his family will be completely behind him during the entire campaign period, they will never have a chance again to be together only as a family, so they decided to all go together.”

Tamano toured the Glorietta 5 mall Sunday, tending his children while his wife did the shopping He said the Nacionalistas would reach out to as many areas and people as possible.

“As part of our campaign strategy, the [Nacionalista Party] will be setting out into two groups, one group led by Senator Villar and another by Legarda,’’ he said.

“Then the two groups will merge from time to time. That way, we can cover as many areas as possible.’’

Tamano said the Macionalista Party candidates would also use the holidays to start shooting their advertisements.

Legarda chose to go back to her roots and spend Christmas holidays with the people who have known her since she was born. She said she could overtake Roxas in the surveys if she worked extra hard.

“All I have to do is continue with my humanitarian work of feeding the hungry and teaching environment to the youth as I did before and I am doing now,” Legarda said.

In fact, she spent the Christmas holidays feeding people and sharing her blessings.

“I fed 2,000 people in Barangay Potrero, where I was born, on Christmas Day and served roasted calf to the tricycle drivers and commuters in busy Caloocan and Malabon. That’s my happiness,” Legarda said.

The success of the “Palengke Tour” would give the Teodoro-Manzano ticket a big boost and prove that they could pull the rug from under the feet of their rivals, Suarez said.

Some people said the Palengke Tour was catering to the mass appeal, a move intended to complement Teodoro’s gains in the thinking crowd, Suarez said.

Teodoro has yet again emerged as the “thinking crowd’s favorite in an ongoing online poll by the country’s oldest newspaper on who could be the most competent candidate among the presidential hopefuls.

Teodoro had 45 percent; Aquino, 39 percent; Villar, 10 percent; and former President Joseph Estrada, 3 percent.

In the seventh round of the Facebook survey, Teodoro firmed up his lead with 47.44 percent; Richard Gordon, 22.01percent; and Aquino, 16.18 percent. Villar was a far fifth with 4.72 percent after Eddie Villanueva, 8.84 percent.

Original Story:

Estrada son tops Senate race in poll

Original Story:

SENATOR Jinggoy Estrada has emerged as the top candidate for the Senate in the second Standard Today Poll, with Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago a close second.

Estrada was first on the list of 60 percent of the 2,500 registered voters interviewed nationwide on Dec. 6 to 12, with Defensor-Santiago coming in at 59 percent.

Estrada was second in the first Standard Poll last month, with 47 percent, behind Santiago’s 48 percent.

The two were followed in the December survey by Senator Ramon Revilla Jr., 55 percent; former Senate President Franklin Drilon, 51 percent; Senator Pia Cayetano and former Senator Ralph Recto, 47 percent each; former Senator Vicente Sotto III, 44 percent; Senator Juan Ponce Enrile, 43 percent; former Senator Sergio Osmeña III, 39 percent; Ilocos Norte Rep. Ferdinand Marcos Jr. , 38 percent; Bukidnon Rep. Teofisto Guingona III, 26 percent; and Muntinlupa Rep. Rozzano Rufino Biazon, 26 percent.

According to the Standard’s resident pollster Pedro Laylo, the other candidates who may be considered within the range of statistical probability of still making it to the top 12 list are Jose de Venecia III, Senator Lito Lapid, Sonia Roco, Gwendolyn Pimentel, Alexander Lacson, former Senator Francisco Tatad, former Congressman Gilbert Remulla, and Jose Apolinario Lozada.

Original Story:

48% of voters may still switch choices

by Pedro Laylo Jr.

Original Story:

THE determinants of the votes for each presidential candidate remain unchanged since November 2009. The most often cited reason for voting for Aquino is still the legacy of his parents Cory and Ninoy and his perceived untainted image. Villar voters persist in their view that he can best help the poor and best advocate the welfare of Filpino workers abroad. Estrada’s believers cling to his pro-poor image. Teodoro voters resolutely see him as smart, intelligent and capable.

The first Laylo report in November 2009 noted that 44 percent of the votes were still up for grabs. This has increased to 48 percent, now that there is a definite list of candidates running for president. The percentage of voters for each candidate who will no longer change their minds about whom they will vote for in the 2010 elections was not markedly different from the November results. This is because the formal campaign period has not yet started.

Among the potential vote shifters, the front-runners are also the major beneficiaries of any shifts in voting choices. Among the potential Aquino vote shifters, 39 percent say Villar is their second choice. Conversely, among the Villar potential vote shifters, 41 percent say Aquino is their second choice.

For the Estrada, Teodoro and Delos Reyes vote shifters, their second choices are split between Aquino and Villar. For the Villanueva vote shifters, Aquino and Estrada stand to gain, while for the Madrigal vote shifters, Villar is their second choice.

It is noteworthy to mention also that there are almost the same percentages of core voters and potential vote shifters for the respective vice presidential partners of the presidential candidates.

The Standard Today Poll also tested the concept of same-ticket voting for president and vice president. When specifically asked about the importance of voting for a president and a vice president who come from the same party, a plurality of 45 percent say this is very important and a fourth say this is important, yielding a high total of 75 percent saying same-ticket voting is important.

Upon further analysis of the votes, the results show that there is a significant number of voters who indeed chose a president and a vice president coming from the same political party or group, and it even closely resembles the percentage of core supporters of presidential and vice presidential candidates.

The December 2009 Standard Today Poll also looked into what voters perceive as the most effective means for candidates running in national elections of reaching and convincing them.

About half of the voters find news about candidates aired on TV as well as TV commercials and advertisements as the means to help them decide whom to vote for.

About a third are influenced by stories of personal visits in their place of residence.

Participation in debates as well as news narratives in newspapers are appreciated by 28 percent of the voters.

A fifth base their vote decisions on radio commercials and radio news on specific candidates.

Sample ballots, billboards, posters, and personalized letters are the preferences of about 11 percent of the voters.

Comics and leaflets or brochures are helpful to 9 percent of the voters. Personal text messages account for only 5 percent while only 3 percent prefer Web sites and podcasts. Optical media is the choice of only 2 percent of the voters. About 2 percent admit they could be swayed to vote for a candidate if someone paid them to do so.

The results of the Standard Today Poll and The Laylo Report may be accessed in the Web at Questions, comments may be sent via e-mail at

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Aquino maintains lead in Standard’s December survey

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SENATOR Benigno Aquino III has maintained a double-digit lead over Senator Manuel Villar Jr. in the race for the presidency, the latest poll commissioned by Standard Today shows.

The nationwide face-to-face survey of 2,500 respondents conducted from Dec. 6 to 12 showed Aquino with 46 percent of the vote, followed by Villar with 27 percent and ousted President Joseph Estrada with 17 percent. Administration candidate Gilberto Teodoro garnered 5 percent.

The survey has a margin of error of 2 percentage points.

All candidates improved from the previous Standard Today poll in November, picking up votes that had gone to Senator Francis Escudero, who has dropped out of the race, and from the ranks of the undecided, which fell to only 2 percent from 4 percent last month.

In the December poll, Aquino picked up 5 percent, Villar 3 percent, Estrada 5 percent, and Teodoro 2 percent. Evangelist Eduardo Villanueva, who was unlisted in November, managed 2 percent in December. Senators Richard Gordon and Jamby Madrigal each got less than 1 percent.

“The most often cited reason for voting for Aquino is still the legacy of his parents Cory and Ninoy and his perceived untainted image,” said Pedro Laylo, Standard Today’s resident pollster.

“Villar voters persist in their view that he can best help the poor and best advocate the welfare of [migrant workers].

“Estrada voters cling to his pro-poor image. Teodoro voters resolutely see him as smart, intelligent and capable.”

In the vice presidential race, Senator Manuel Roxas II maintained a slim lead with 41 percent over Senator Loren Legarda, with 37 percent. Makati Mayor Jejomar Binay came in third with 9 percent, followed by administration candidate Edu Manzano with 3 percent, Bayani Fernando with 2 percent, and Perfecto Yasay with 1 percent.

Roxas and Legarda gained 12 and 13 percentage points from the withdrawal of Escudero and Vice President Noli de Castro.

About 75 percent of the respondents felt it was important to vote for a president and vice president from the same ticket, Laylo noted.

“Upon further analysis of the votes, the results show that there is a significant number of voters who indeed chose a president and a vice president coming from the same political party or group,” he said.

With five months before the 2010 elections, as many as 48 percent could still change their minds, the Standard Today poll showed. Of the 46 percent who said they would vote for Aquino, 22 percent said they might change their minds. Some 13 percent of Villar’s 27 percent and 8 percent of Estrada’s 17 percent said they might shift their votes as well.

Across demographics, Aquino dominates the presidential race with relatively higher vote shares in Visayas and among the upper and middle classes, the survey shows.

Villar has closed the gap in Northern and Central Luzon and leads among the Aglipayans and Protestants.

Despite their reputation for bloc voting, the members of the Iglesia ni Cristo are split among Aquino, Villar and Estrada. Teodoro’s best score is among Protestants.

In the vice presidential race, Roxas leads in the Visayas and among the upper and middle classes, mirroring the results for Aquino in his run for the presidency.

Legarda leads in Northern and Central Luzon, much like Villar’s good showing in the same areas, and she is closing the gap in the Bicol region and in Mindanao.

Binay’s best showing is in Metro Manila, where he ranks second, while Manzano gets a relatively higher percent vote among Protestants. By religion, Legarda is more favored among the Iglesia, the Aglipayans and Muslims.

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Sunday, December 27, 2009

‘Gibo’ leads MB, Facebook surveys of presidential bets

December 27, 2009, 6:59pm

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Lakas-Kampi-CMD standard bearer Gilberto "Gibo" Teodoro Jr. is leading in an on-going Manila Bulletin on-line survey for presidential candidates in next year’s election, garnering 45 percent of the 57,000 votes over rival bet Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III of the Liberal Party.

At the same time, the latest results of the Facebook application "Election 2010" survey showed Teodoro having a sizeable lead over Sen. Richard Gordon having 47.44 percent and 22.01 percent of the total votes cast as of Sunday, respectively. Aquino is in third position with 16.18 percent in the Facebook election survey.

The on-line survey focused primarily on the perceived ability of the presidential candidates to run the country if successful in the May, 2010, elections. The poll asked: "Which presidential candidate for the May, 2010, elections is most capable of handling the duties as the Philippines' next leader?"

As of noontime Sunday, the latest data from the ongoing online poll in the Manila Bulletin website ( showed the 1989 Bar topnotcher and Harvard-trained Teodoro with a strong lead of 25,814 votes or 45 percent of the 57,578 votes cast by those who took part in the on-line poll.

Teodoro was trailed by Sen. Noynoy Aquino with 39 percent (22,191 votes), Sen. Manny Villar, 10 percent (5,821 votes), Bro. Eddie Villanueva, 3 percent (1,869 votes), and former President Joseph Estrada, 3 percent, (1,635 votes).

Sarangani Governor and Lakas-Kampi-CMD National President Miguel Rene Dominguez, commenting on Teodoro’s huge lead in the Manila Bulletin on-line survey, said many people are beginning to see in Teodoro the kind of decisive leadership and intelligence they believe the next Philippine president should possess in the face of great challenges.

Teodoro’s camp expressed belief that the former defense chief was a top choice among the presidential bets of the “thinking class” who are mostly computer literate that use the Internet frequently.

In the Philippines, Internet users number around 15 to 20 million, accounting for 28 percent of some 35 million of the urban population, and about 70 percent of them are between the ages of 10 to 29 year old. Most (71 percent) of users access the Internet from Internet cafes, more than 51 percent have visited a social networking site such as Facebook.

Dominguez cited Teodoro’s decisiveness in expelling from the ruling party the Ampatuans, the alleged masterminds in the Nov. 23 massacre in Maguindanao of 57 people; his efficient handling of relief and rescue efforts during the “Ondoy” and “Pepeng” calamities; and his academic accomplishments that include topping the Bar, passing the New York Bar in 1997 and training at the prestigious Harvard University and becoming a licensed commercial pilot.

The latest Facebook survey results as of Sunday noon showed Teodoro firming up his lead over Sen. Richard Gordon and Sen. Aquino. “Round #7” of the Election 2010 ( showed Teodoro in first place with 47.44 percent, followed by Gordon at 22.01 percent and Aquino at 16.18 percent.

Evangelist Bro. Eddie Villanueva took fourth (8.84 percent), Sen. Manny Villar, fifth (4.12 percent), Nicanor Perlas, sixth (1.01 percent) and former President Joseph Estrada, seventh (0.40 percent).

“We are not surprised by the outcome of this poll, because we have always known that the youth who are looking for change in this election can spot those who can be the agents of change,” Dominguez said.

“We have known all along that only our candidate Gibo has the brilliance, the clean track record and the vision to bring progress to this country. We are happy that the young, smart and computer savvy netizens see in Gibo the leader that the country desperately needs,” the Lakas-Kampi-CMD official said.

Zambales First District Rep. Milagros Magsaysay, campaign spokesperson for Teodoro, said the latest results of the Facebook’s simulated election only showed that majority of youth voters who flocked to the social networking site picked the Lakas-Kampi standard bearer over his strong rivals Aquino and Villar.

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