Thursday, July 21, 2016

Ganting mano po naman ni Cardinal Tagle kay Pangulong Duterte

Pagmamano ni Cardinal Tagle kay Pangulong Duterte.  Screengrab mula sa RTVM vid.

Kapag nakita mong ganito ang aktuwal na pagtrato sa isa't-isa ng mga namumuno sa pamahalaan at simbahan sa Pilipinas ay masasabi mong talagang may maliwanag na pag-asa ang bansa na marating pa rin ang pinagsamang panaginip ng mga anak-bayan, 
hindi po ba?

Nagkita ang Pangulong Rodrigo R, Duterte at Archbishop of Manila Luis Antonio Tagle sa Malacanang noong nakaraang Lunes nang bumisita ang Cardinal. Unang nagmano si DU30 na agad namang sinundan ng walang patumpik-tumpik na pagmano rin ng cardinal sa pangulo bilang kanyang sariling pagbigay galang. 

Sa Pilipinas lamang naman may ganitong uri ng paghahayag ng saloobin na walang pangungusap na kailangan. Hindi ito hiram at hindi rin isinasagawa nino man kapag hindi bukal sa kanyang puso.

May pag-asa pa talaga para sa Pilipinas na isipang-Pilipino lamang ang maghuhubog, magbubuo at magsasakatuparan. 
Lalo na sa napaka-pambihirang panahong kasalukuyan.

Screengrab mula sa RTVM vid.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

China naval chief to US naval chief: islands construction will not stop

US Chief of Naval Operations John Richardson is on his first visit to China from Sunday to Wednesday, during which he will meet with Admiral Wu Shengli, commander of the Chinese navy, according to a US Navy news release. 
What's the latest?

China released a photo Thursday of a nuclear-capable Chinese bomber flying south near Scarborough Shoal (Panatag Shoal)

Naval chief: islands construction will not stop

by Zhang Yunbi and Zhao Lei (ChinaDaily)

Beijing "will never give up halfway" over its islands construction on the South China Sea, China's naval chief told a visiting US navy officer on Monday.

Admiral Wu Shengli, commander of the People's Liberation Army Navy, also told US Chief of Naval Operations John Richardson that the Chinese navy had made "sufficient preparations" for any sovereignty infringement or provocation.

Despite existing negative factors, Beijing was still willing to peacefully resolve disputes via negotiations and "manage and control crisis through mechanisms and rules", Wu said.

Washington militarily pressured Beijing earlier this year by sending military ships and planes to approach or intrude Chinese territorial space on the South China Sea.

Wu said any attempt to intimidate China by flexing military muscle "will only backfire".

Beijing would "advance and complete islands and reefs construction as planned" no matter which country or individual pressures China, and "the level of our defense on these islands and reefs depends on the threats facing us", Wu said.

Richardson's first visit to China will run from Sunday to Wednesday. He told Wu on Monday that he was ready to join hands in boosting trust and friendship to achieve lasting development of ties between the two navies, militaries and countries.

Fan Jishe, a US researcher at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, warned that the US "has played a negative role in the South China Sea dispute, and its proactive engagement in Asia-Pacific aggravated conflicts".

Image Credit: U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Declan Barnes/Released
Zuo Xiying, an international studies specialist at the Renmin University of China, said the South China Sea had become the forefront of China-US competition, and "it would be a good thing if they reinforce strategic communication and formulate more rules accepted by both".

Su Ge, president of the China Institute of International Studies, told the World Peace Forum in Beijing at the weekend that:"Although the cooperation between Beijing Washington cannot give an end to all the issues in the world, not a single major issue could be resolved if the two sides walk into full-scale confrontation.

Full story: Duterte's meeting with Cardinal Vidal

There is no substitute for peace.

Hoping to bridge the gap between Catholic Church bishops and the new administration, Cebu Archbishop Emeritus Ricardo Cardinal Vidal last Wednesday visited President Rodrigo Duterte in what the prelate considered a worthwhile encounter with the country’s Chief Executive.

Sitting on a wheelchair and accompanied by his nurse, Vidal, 85, paid a courtesy call on the President in Malacañang that lasted for almost three hours and ended with an assurance of the Church’s prayers for Duterte.

They didn’t discuss about controversial issues like extrajudicial killings and the possible revival of the death penalty that clashes with the Church’s doctrines.

But the country’s most senior cardinal said it was enough to establish a good rapport between the Catholic Church and the new President.

“I opened the door of communication with his government,” he said in an interview in his retirement house inside the Sto. Niño Village in Barangay Banilad, Cebu City on Friday.

Duterte earlier criticized the Catholic Church and the bishops for the supposed sins committed by the clergy. On one occasion, he described the Catholic Church as the “most hypocritical institution” and lambasted the bishops for supposedly attempting to convince the electorate not to vote for him in the recent general polls.

But Vidal said there was no tension when he met with Duterte.

When he arrived in the Music Room of Malacañang, the cardinal said Duterte bowed his head and kissed his hand.

“I didn’t want him to kiss my hand. Sabi ko sa kanya ‘Ako ang dapat mag-mano sa inyo kasi po kayo ang presidente namin.’ Pero sabi nya ‘Hindi! Mas mataas ka sa akin sapagkat kayo ay cardinal. Ako ay presidente for six years lamang. Kayo sa isang cardinal,” Vidal narrated.

(I told him ‘I should be the one to kiss your hand because you are the President. But he told me ‘No! You are higher than me in rank because you’re a cardinal. I’m the President of this country for just six years, while your are a cardinal forever).

Vidal said Duterte was pleased when he heard him speak Cebuano.

“Pagsalubong ko sa kanya, sabi ko ‘Maayong gabii, Ginoong Presidente.’ At sabi nya ‘Oy, di ba ikaw ay isang Tagalog, marunong pala kayong magbisaya.

And I told him, ako ay nasa Cebu ngayon. At natuwa siya. (When I met him, I greeted him ‘Good evening, Mr. President.’ And he said ‘Don’t you speak Tagalog? Why do you know how to speak Bisaya? And I told him, I’ve been based in Cebu for sometime),” he said.

Vidal, a native of Mogpog in Marinduque, served as archbishop of Cebu for 29 years before he retired in 2011.

He attended the three-day assembly of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) in Manila over the weekend before he dropped by Malacañang.

The cardinal went on to speak with Duterte who he said is “very simple and humble man.”

“He (President Duterte) was very relaxed when I visited him. In fact, he was just wearing slippers inside Malacañang. I tell you, he’s very, very much simple; a humble man. He’s easy to talk with, and you won’t be afraid to approach him,” Vidal said.

During their conversation, Vidal and Duterte exchanged jokes and spoke about their respective origins.

Had Duterte talked about his plans which the Catholic Church had opposed, Vidal said he would have said his piece to the President.

“But we didn’t talk of any of his policies because it was just a courtesy call. And he didn’t open any problem. Hindi`na ako nakialam. Gusto ko lang siya makita kasi nakagalit niya ang mga obispo eh. (I just want to see him because he had a spat with the bishops),” the cardinal said.

Although they met on some occasions in the past, Vidal said it was the first time he met and spoke with Duterte since the latter assumed the presidency last June 30.

Vidal said it would be better for the bishops not to exchange barbs with Duterte because it might not be good for the country and the Catholic Church.

“We need to have a good relationship with each other. That’s precisely the reason why CBCP didn’t make any statement after the plenary assembly,” the cardinal said.

Vidal said he assured Duterte of his and the Catholic Church’s prayers during his six-year tenure.

“The President told me that he needs our prayers very much because it’s definitely not easy to be President of this country because there are many work to do and problems to address,” he said.

“Sabi ko huwag po kayong mag-alala at kayo ay ipinagdadasal namin. (I told him not to worry for we are all praying for him),” he added.

Vidal said he strongly supports Duterte’s campaign against illegal drugs which have been a menace to society.

“Families are broken and the future of young people are destroyed because of illegal drugs. This has to stop,” the cardinal said. - Inquirer

SC acquits Gloria Arroyo of plunder, sets her free

Voting 11-4, the Supreme Court rules in favor of former president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and sets the motion for her release

After nearly 4 years of hospital arrest, former Philippine president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo will soon be free.
The Supreme Court on Tuesday, July 19, acquitted Mrs Arroyo of plunder as it granted her plea to drop the case against her. This sets in motion herrelease from the Veterans Memorial Medical Center, where she has been detained since October 2012. (READ: Timeline: Gloria Arroyo – from plunder to acquittal)
Rappler sources said the vote was 11-4 in favor of Arroyo's petition to junk a Sandiganbayan ruling that gave the go-signal for her plunder trial in connection with charges that she misused funds of the state-run Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO).
The justices who dissented or voted against Arroyo are Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno, Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio, and Justices Marvic Leonen and Benjamin Caguioa. Of the 4, only Carpio is an appointee of Mrs Arroyo; the rest were appointed by former president Benigno Aquino III.
The 11 justices who ruled in favor of the former president are:
  • Justice Presbitero Velasco Jr
  • Justice Teresita de Castro
  • Justice Arturo Brion
  • Justice Diosdado Peralta
  • Justice Lucas Bersamin
  • Justice Mariano del Castillo
  • Justice Jose Perez
  • Justice Jose Mendoza
  • Justice Bienvenido Reyes
  • Justice Estela Perlas-Bernabe
  • Justice Francis Jardeleza
Of the 11, eight are Arroyo appointees and 3 were appointed by Aquino: Bernabe, Reyes and Jardeleza.
'Final bastion of justice'
One of Arroyo's lawyers, Raul Lambino, was with her Tuesday at the Veterans hospital.
He told radio station dzMM: "Kasama ko nga po si Pangulong Arroyo rito at lubos po yung ating kagalakan ngayon dito sa naging botohan o info na dumating sa amin. Naiyak po siya siyempre lahat ng mga kasama namin rito sa magandang balitang dumating sa atin." (I am with President Arroyo, and we're grateful for the decision or the information that reached us. We are all in tears.)
"Para sa akin, malaya na ang dating Pangulo," he added. (As far as I am concerned, our president is free.)
Lambino said the Philippine National Police would process Arroyo's release after the SC releases its verdict.
Arroyo’s other lawyer, Ferdinand Topacio, said in a statement: "The Supreme Court has once again proven itself to be the final bastion of justice and the rule of law. Its ruling today has validated what we have been saying for six years now: that the charges against former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo are nothing more than disingenuous attempts at political persecution by a corrupt and inept Aquino administration intent on covering up its gross lack of accomplishments by harassing its political opponents."
The Court found the evidence against her weak, the same sources said. Prior to this, the Supreme Court already stopped her trial at the Sandiganbayan.
The 69-year-old Arroyo, who is currently Pampanga representative, is the second Philippine president to be detained for plunder.
In April 2001, ousted president Joseph Estrada was jailed for plunder over charges of unexplained wealth. The Sandiganbayan convicted and sentenced him to life in jail in September 2007. But only 6 weeks after, in October 2007, his successor Arroyo pardoned him.
Landmark ruling
Tuesday’s landmark ruling on Mrs Arroyo came barely a month after Aquino stepped down from office and less than a week before President Rodrigo Duterte, who favors her release, delivers his first State of the Nation Address (SONA.)
It was Aquino who jailed Arroyo and subsequently led the impeachment charge against her appointed chief justice, the late Renato Corona.
Through veteran lawyer Estelito Mendoza, Arroyo had petitioned the Supreme Court to approve her "demurrer to evidence," a plea to dismiss a case on the basis of weak evidence. She went to the High Tribunal for relief after the anti-graft court Sandiganbayan dismissed the demurrer. 
Arroyo filed the "demurrer to evidence" in 2014 before the Sandiganbayan. The anti-graft court dismissed this in April 2015, paving the way for her trial for plunder over the alleged misuse of PCSO funds.
Arroyo then challenged the Sandiganbayan ruling before the Supreme Court in a 100-page petition filed by Mendoza - Read more on Rappler

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Duterte bares narco govt under Aquino; Marinduque drug users surrender


by  Ted Tuvera, Tribune

Narco politics existed under the administration of President Aquino, with several “members” of the executive branch in cahoots with police generals running a drugs syndicate within the government in partnership with the notorious Triad, the main drugs cartel in the Asian region, and another Chinese drug cartel, President Duterte said in a televised address in the government channel. Duterte convened the Cabinet security cluster meeting in which Philippine National Police (PNP) officials presented intelligence reports that supposedly went deep into the operations of major Chinese drug cartels in the country.

In the PNP disclosure, retired PNP Deputy Director General Marcelo Garbo was tagged as the chief associate of the notorious Triad Group from Mainland China.

Duterte identified a certain Wu Tan alias Peter Co, who is a member of the Triad, as being on top of the narcotics syndicate in Luzon and the National Capital Region; a certain Peter Lim alias Jaguar as the head of the syndicate in Visayas and a certain Herbert Colangco running the drugs trade in Mindanao.

Duterte said that he is recommending that the three Chinese drug lords and their cohorts commit suicide as he vows not to allow “those idiots to ruin this country.”

Co and Colangco are currently detained at Bilibid while Lim or Jaguar is outside the country, Duterte said.

Solicitor General Jose Calida said Jaguar is the top associate of Garbo and is not the same person killed during a drug bust in Cebu.

Malacañang aides also hinted that members of the executive branch from the previous administration being either negligent or were associates in the narcotics trade.

In a press briefing prior to Duterte’s address, Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre said there were big government officials, without naming names, who benefitted from the drugs trade.

“It was not mentioned in the meeting but it is not far fetched. This is known by some high officials of government,” Aguirre told reporters.

“If any evidence to that effect will be presented, they could be in conspiracy with these people. Many officials in government received monetary consideration because of protection or partial treatment to these drug lords,” he added.

Garbo is often associated with the defeated Liberal Party (LP) presidential candidate and former Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Mar Roxas.

President Duterte identified the group Triad and its operations in the Philippines explaining that it originated from Mainland China, Calida said.

“There are five levels depending on the capability of the drug pusher to sell and these are categorized either in grams or kilograms. So the level five is the top tier of the drug hierarchy,” Calida told reporters.

Calida also emphasized that the President is ready to kill the identified drug lords. President Duterte warned Lim or Jaguar that if he returns and steps into the NAIA airport, he will be killed.

Colangco alias Ampang is an inmate at the National Penitentiary and aside from dealing with narcotics is also into kidnap for ransom, bank robbery in alliance with Parojinog Drug Syndicate and Kuratong Baleleng.

“The identities of Chinese nationals, PNP officials, prison officials, local government executives and other persons of interest will be divulged in succeeding press conferences of Duterte,” Calida said.

Some drug personalities in 2 Marinduque towns surrender

Meanwhile. 'drug personalities' in the towns of Boac and Buenavista have voluntarily turned themselves in to the local police forces in a show of support to the current government campaign against illegal drugs. In separate reports from Marinduque News Online 9 persons from Boac and 55 from Buenavista took their oath of promise to stop the use of drugs before concerned officials in the two municipalities.

Barangay officials to face drug probe; Duterte meeting Cong. Velasco and wife Wen, other lawmakers in Davao

Presidential spokesperson Ernesto Abella.

ASIDE from mayors, the Duterte administration will also investigate barangay officials in areas where the illegal drugs trade has flourished, Malacañang said on Tuesday.

A memorandum was being drafted to pave the way for the investigation of mayors and barangay captains in places with a high number of drug-related incidents, according to presidential spokesperson Ernesto Abella.

They may be investigated for “serious neglect of duty,” Abella said in a press briefing.

The Department of Interior and Local Government would handle the inquiry, he said.

“They will go through their own due process,” he added.

Asked why barangay captains would be included in the probe, he said the drug incidents usually took place at the barangay level.

“It’s basically area management. If this is your area, that’s your area of responsibility,” he said. - More on Inquirer

Duterte meeting in Davao with lawmakers, others to discuss illegal drugs, priority bills

Cong. Velasco's philanthropist wife, Wen Velasco with President Duterte 
and presidential aide Christopher "Bong" Go in Davao.

Meanwhile, about two weeks before his first State of the Nation Address, President Rodrigo Duterte on Saturday met with some lawmakers to discuss the state of the country and his corresponding plans.

Two senators, two governors, and 12 congressmen from the incoming majority bloc flew all the way to Davao City to meet with the President.

Among those present were Senators Alan Peter Cayetano and Juan Edgardo “Sonny” Angara, Citizens' Battle Against Corruption Rep. Sherwin Tugna, Marinduque Rep. Lord Allan Jay Velasco, Palawan 1st District Rep. Franz Alvarez, and Masbate 3rd District Rep. Scott Davies Lanete.

Also present were Tarlac Governor Susan Yap and Bataan Governor Albert Raymond Garcia.

Duterte and Velasco

Tugna said PDP-Laban members invited lawmakers who are joining the incoming majority at the House of Representatives.

"[T]hey invited members of congress who are allied with them who are part of the incoming majority. It's a courtesy visit," Tugna explained.

The legislators got a peek at how the President works in his hometown. Duterte, a night owl, met them for about five hours — from around 9:00 Saturday evening to 2:30 Sunday morning.

Angara said the President mostly talked about the illegal drug situation in the country and how he plans to address the issue.

"He mentioned that so many officials are involved. Treason iyon para sa kanya, kasi sila iyong dapat magprotekta pero sila pa naging cause ng paglaganap ng droga sa bansa," Angara said.

[Translation: "He mentioned that so many officials are involved. That amounts to treason for him, because they are the ones who are supposed to protect the country, but they are the reason for the spread of drugs."] - More on CNN Philippines