Category Archives: HEADLINES


DUTERTE SPEAKERPresident Rodrigo Duterte has admitted that his daughter Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio “operated” the ouster of former House of Representatives Speaker Pantaleon “Bebot” Alvarez more than three months ago.

Be careful with that woman. She can oust even a Speaker. Look what happened in Congress. Alvarez was ousted, Duterte said in his speech during Thursday’s 44th Philippine Business Conference and Expo (PBC&E) Concluding Ceremony at the Manila Hotel.
Duterte, however, clarified that he had nothing to do with Alvarez’s ouster despite the former Speaker’s statements last year that he can impeach the President.
“ I can also impeach him,” said Duterte  who dismissed the impeachment threat. But Duterte also warned against making light of any impeachment moves.
You banter around but be warned about my children, Especially Sara. You watch out, he added.
As the then city mayor in 2011, Mayor Duterte-Carpio hogged headlines when she mauled a court sheriff for not heeding her plea to stay implementation of a demolition order on more than 200 urban poor dwellings in a private lot in Agdao District. She praised  for the violent act, which was captured on video and aired on nationwide television,  by urban poor groups, but the mayor, a lawyer, also earned a disbarment rap in the Supreme Court.

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Alvarez was replaced in a coup on July 23 before Duterte delivered his State Of The Nation Address (SONA). Alvarez was replaced by former president and Pampanga Congresswoman Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.
Days before Alvarez’s ouster, Mayor Duterte-Carpio called the then sitting Speaker as an “asshole” and a liability to the Duterte administration, after Alvarez described the Hugpong Ng Pagbabago (HNP) as an “opposition party” without the blessing of the President.

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The HNP is a regional political party organized by the presidential daughter along with the governors of the Davao Region in support of the programs of President Duterte.
Stung by Alvarez’s comment, Mayor Duterte-Carpio urged members of the House to replace him as Speaker.
She also vowed to campaign against the re-election of Alvarez in Davao del Norte’s First District in the 2019 mid-term election. In the coming polls, Alvarez’s return to Congress will be challenged by Davao del Norte Governor Anthony del Rosario who is running under the banner of the HNP.
Despite her impressive standing in the senatorial surveys, the Davao City mayor has decided to seek another term as mayor  in the 2019 mid-term elections.
Her youngest brother Sebastian Duterte will be her vice mayor candidate while former vice mayor Paolo Duterte will run for congressman of Davao City’s 1st District.
The President said he does not like political dynasties but “we are forced” because the people of Davao voted for them.
An anti-political dynasty provision of “up to the second degree of consanguinity or affinity” has been included in the proposed federal Constitution drafted by the Consultative Committee tasked by Duterte to review the 1987 Constitution.
Duterte, the country’s first president from Mindanao, will serve until 2022.

House, Senate approve Bangsamoro Basic Law

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The House of Representatives on Wednesday approved on second and third reading the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL), which has been certified as urgent by President Rodrigo R. Duterte.

With 227 affirmative votes, 11 negative votes, and 2 abstention, the House passed the substitute bill of House Bill 6475, which provides for the BBL and seeks to abolish the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM). The substitute bill contains the proposed amendments discussed during the three all-member caucuses.

Under the rules, the House can only vote a measure on third reading after copies of the bill that passed second reading are given to its members at least three days prior to voting. But with the President’s certification, the House can now vote on third reading immediately after the second reading.
The Senate unanimously approved on third and final reading early Thursday morning its version of the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL), following marathon deliberations that started Wednesday afternoon prior to the closing of the Second Regular Session of the 17th Congress.
The chamber approved Senate Bill 1717, or the Act Providing for the Basic Law on the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region, with 21 affirmative votes and no negative votes after ending deliberations at around 1 a.m.
Read More: Senate unanimously approves proposed BBL on final reading
Opposition lawmakers in the House said the proposed BBL is unconstitutional as it seeks to abolish the ARMM, which was provided for by the Constitution, using just mere legislation.
The bill aims to establish a political entity, provide for its basic structure of government in recognition of the justness and legitimacy of the cause of the Bangsamoro people and their aspiration to chart their political future through a democratic process that will secure their identity and posterity and allow for a meaningful self-governance.
One major amendment is the conduct of only one plebiscite not earlier than 90 days or later than 120 days after the effectivity of the BBL.
There will also be a block grant to the region amounting to five percent of the national revenue. (PNA)



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Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio has called on members of the House of Representatives to oust Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez “for being a burden” to the country and the administration of President Rodrigo Duterte.

Duterte-Carpio has also accused Alvarez of trying to draw a wedge between her and President Duterte.
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“The Philippines will be a better country if he is not Speaker. President Duterte will be a stronger President without Alvarez,” presidential daughter Duterte-Carpio said.
Calling Alvarez an “asshole,” Duterte-Carpio said that House members should unseat Alvarez. She accused Alvarez of spreading in media false information against her and her newly-formed regional political party.
“I do not understand why members of the House of Representatives do not tell the President what the fat ass is up to and just coup d’ etat the Speaker,” she said.
“He is not a leader. He will never be a leader. Many congressmen can do more than what he is delivering for the President,” the mayor added.
She said those who are loyal to Duterte should be suspicious of Alvarez, who is Secretary-General of the ruling PDP-Laban. Alvarez represents the First District of Davao del Norte.
Duterte-Carpio dished out the verbal blasts on Alvarez for the Speaker’s alleged attempt to draw a wedge between her and her father. She delivered the harsh indictment in posts in her Facebook account, on Instagram and in an interview with online news site Rappler.
On Thursday, Duterte-Carpio, in an interview prior to presiding over a meeting of the  City Peace and Order Council, blasted anew Alvarez’s comment against her forging with four Davao governors for Hugpong ng Pagbabago (HNP), which will be formally launched Friday, February 23, at the Royal Mandaya Hotel in Davao City.
The HNP is initially composed of Davao Occidental Governor Claude Bautista, Davao del Norte Gov. Antonio del Rosario, Compostela Valley Gov. Jayvee Tyron Uy, and Davao Oriental Gov. Nelson Dayanghirang. Alvarez is not in its rooster.
She alleged that Alvarez is peddling the lie that the formation of the party was not consulted with President Duterte.
“I would like everyone to know, including the Speaker of the House, that the unity I forged with the four governors of Region 11 has the blessing of President Rodrigo Duterte,” she had said in a statement released through the HNP on Thursday.
Duterte-Carpio said that even the word Hugpong in the regional party’s name has the President’s approval. President Duterte heads the nationalpolitical party called Hugpong sa Tawong Lungsod.
The mayor said that President Duterte also knew she will not join PDP Laban. The mayor said it was last year that Alvarez invited her to be a member of PDP Laban.
“The Speaker’s latest media statement that he respects the creation of Hugpong ng Pagbabago or that the unity is a non-issue, was unfortunately betrayed by his comment on political dynasties,” she said.
She added, “If the Speaker is attacking our effort to do something significant and timely for Region 11, and reducing it as a product of political dynasties, I suggest he pass the Anti-Political Dynasty Law.”
Duterte-Carpio reminded Alvarez he was a product of the political dynasty of the Floirendos. Duterte-Carpio also lambasted Alvarez for saying that she is now with the opposition for forming HNP.
She said, “Ano sabi mo in a crowd, President iba siya Speaker ako, (What did you say in a crowd, President is different, I am a Speaker), I can always impeach him!” And you call me opposition? Somebody should really tell the President about the truth.”
On Instagram earlier , the mayor said, “Kung asshole ka (If you are an asshole) in Congress, don’t bring that to Davao, leave it in Manila. Somebody should tell the President what you are doing. How dare you call me part of the opposition. Kapal ng mukha mo. You messed with the wrong girl.”
In the Thursday interview, the mayor further urged members of the House of Representatives not to keep quiet and speak out the truth about what is happening in Congress.
Duterte-Carpio admitted she had been hearing remarks that Alvarez is allegedly not a good leader and people not happy with his direction as Speaker.
Alvarez “is an asshole,” Duterte-Carpio said in capping the interview before presiding over the peace and order council at Grand Men Seng Hotel. (with PNA report)





SPEAKER Pantaleon Alvarez has lost his bid to have the Joint Venture Agreement (JVA)  between  the Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) and the Davao-based Tagum Agricultural Development Company Inc. (Tadeco) declared as illegal by the Department of Justice (DOJ).

DOJ Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre III has slammed the door on  Alvarez’s personal request for DOJ to declare the JVA as illegal.
According to Aguirre, declaring the JVA as illegal is not within his powers. Only President Rodrigo Duterte can make such a declaration, said Aguirre.
In his request to DOJ, Alvarez claims that the JVA is disadvantageous to the government.
Tadeco, one of the country’s biggest banana producer and exporter owned by the family of Representative Antonio Floirendo Jr., says the deal was legal and reviewed and approved by Congress.
Rebuked by DOJ, Alvarez would now have to rest his case against Tadeco in the House of Representatives that he has asked to conduct a congressional inquiry.
Tadeco president and CEO Alex Valoria insists that despite Alvarez’s claim,  the JVA is valid and legal and  highly beneficial to the government.
At the joint committee hearing on May 9  of the House of Representatives’ Committee on Good Government and Public Accountability and the Committee on Justice, Valoria submitted a position paper and presented key points on the constitutionality and legality of the Tadeco-BuCor JVA to answer point by point the erroneous allegations made against the company.
At the hearing, Aguirre said it is only the President who can declare the JVA between BuCor and TADECO as illegal.
Aguirre  also acknowledged employment by TADECO of thousands of workers, the huge tax it pays to government  and its positive over-all impact on the community.
The JVA forged between BuCor and
Tadeco primarily aims to help rehabilitate inmates at the Davao Prison and Penal Farm (DPPF) and prepare them for their eventual reintegration to society by providing them with a decent means of livelihood while serving their sentences.
Tadeco has developed a banana plantation inside the DPPF Reservation to realize these goals.
“We respectfully would like to point out to our honorable lawmakers that the JVA is not only about money; the more important aspect to it is its core purpose of the rehabilitation of the inmates which has been a proven success,” Valoria said. “The benefits to thousands of ex-inmates, their spouses and children, and finally to the communities they eventually settled into are immeasurable.”
Rep. Antonio Floirendo Jr., whose family owns TADECO and a member of the House justice committee  did not attend the hearing “to obviate any perception of personal interference or influence on the outcome.”
       Alvarez who had filed a House resolution calling for an investigation into the BuCor-TADECO JVA after he figured in a personal quarrel with Floirendo, was present at the hearing.
30,000 JOBS
Valoria said that aside from the benefiting inmates inside the Davao penal farm, the banana operations under the JVA “create 30,000 jobs in direct, indirect and ancillary roles,” which  translates to the secure livelihood and future of at least 181,000 Filipinos.”
Valoria also said that Tadeco paid P438 Million in taxes and fees to the Philippine government in 2016 alone.
BuCor, on the other hand,  gets more than P26,900 per hectare  in profits and other payments from Tadeco, contrary to erroneous claims that BuCor was at the losing end of the deal,  Valoria said.
“In 2016, Tadeco actually paid the BuCor a total of P142,719,662.  This equates to P26,900 per hectare.  We must emphasize that Tadeco paid to BuCor not only the Guaranteed Annual Production and Profit Share but also the Inmates Farm Training Support, Stipend and Support Program, and Training Subsidy.  The financial benefits paid by Tadeco from 2004 to 2016 amounted P 1,620,549,230,” Valoria said.
The Tadeco president also clarified before lawmakers that the contract between BuCor and the government is a JVA, and not a lease and tenancy agreement, which  is the main basis for the erroneous arguments against the deal.
SAGIP Partylist Rep. Rodante Marcoleta said he also believes the contract between BuCor and TADECO is not a tenancy agreement, as erroneously pointed out by Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre III at the hearing and the COA findings on the deal.
“I don’t think TADECO is cultivating and tilling the land as tenant,” Marcoleta said. “I don’t think the appreciation of the Commission on Audit is accurate,” he added.
Joining the discussion, Alvarez, insisted that the agreement between BuCor and TADECO involves a “rental” and not a JVA, despite repeated explanations from Valoria.
COOP NATCCO Partylist Rep. Anthony Bravo, on his part,  pointed out that TADECO provides jobs not only for the inmates but also for other workers.
Valoria pointed out that Tadeco workers enjoy the “highest salaries and benefits in the agricultural sector,” belying erroneous reports that they are supposedly ill treated and exploited.
“Tadeco has about 12,000 employees inclusive of a rolling average of 800 inmates that are enrolled in the DPPF’s rehabilitation program.  Last year 2016, Tadeco paid out to its workers Php 2.8 Billion in wages, benefits and incentives,” Valoria said.
Tadeco workers, besides receiving above-industry standard wages, also enjoy medical coverage for them and their families, and have free access to elementary and secondary schools, chapels, a hospital, and recreation center and facilities, Valoria said.
Valoria invited the chairpersons and members of the two committees to visit the banana plantation and facilities set up by Tadeco in Tagum City so that they can “see for themselves the successes that the JVA between BuCor and Tadeco have obtained in the field of rehabilitation of prisoners.”
“We likewise would like you to see the productive, healthy and happy communities of Tadeco.  It is a glimpse of what the Philippine rural communities should be,” Valoria said.
As for the legality and constitutionality of the contracts forged between BuCor and Tadeco, Valoria noted that as early as the 1970s, the Senate blue ribbon committee have already found such deals to be valid and aboveboard, with even then Senator Benigno “Ninoy”  Aquino Jr. saying that the rates benefiting the government at that time were “extremely good and beyond competitive.”
Valoria noted that besides the Senate, the  various agreements between Tadeco and BuCor from 1969 up to the present passed through  14 Secretaries of the Department of Justice  who all upheld their validity and was also examined in 2012 by the House Committee on Agrarian Reform, which found the JVA “beneficial to the government and to the community.”
“In fact, the Department of Agrarian Reform uses Tadeco as the showcase of success of its Agrarian Reform Program.  The Agrarian Reform Cooperatives in Tadeco have today assets in the hundreds of millions of pesos; whereas we understand the Agrarian Reform Cooperatives in other banana farms have quite the opposite – debt levels going into the billions of pesos,” Valoria said.
Valoria also disputed the other flawed claims against the BuCor-Tadeco JVA, by pointing out the following:
  • On the claim that the JVA is illegal because the land involved is “an inalienable land of the public domain,”  the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee in 1970 already resolved this issue and upheld the validity of the agreement. The Senate panel pointed out then that the BuCor is prohibited under the law, from entering  into a lease deal, and thus “we would not have approved the Bureau of Prisons-Tadeco contract if it did not clearly create a joint venture relationship between the parties.”
Under both the 1935 and 1973 Constitutions, no prohibition exists barring the government from entering into joint venture arrangements involving inalienable lands like the DPPF.
In the  1987 Philippine Constitution, “there is now an express provision allowing joint venture arrangement involving exploration, development, and utilization of natural resources” and there is no limitation as to the area to be developed.
  • The agreement between the two parties is not a lease but a joint venture and the 25-year term is allowed under Section 2, Article XII of the Constitution. “There is no such thing as a prevailing practice in land leases of ‘just 10 years’. There are leases that go up to 75 years.”
Valoria said that besides receiving multiple awards here and abroad for its good agricultural and labor management practices, Tadeco’s model in rehabilitating inmates has also been recognized as a successful one that the BuCor even asked Tadeco to replicate the same program in the Iwahig Penal Colony in Palawan.