Category Archives: NATION

President Duterte vows lasting peace in Mindanao

 DUTERTE FROM RUSSIAPresident Rodrigo Roa Duterte on Tuesday, June 27,  stressed anew his promise to the Filipinos that he would secure lasting peace in Mindanao.

“To our brothers and sisters who have been affected by the violence and conflict in Mindanao, I assure you that the government is committed to securing just and lasting peace in the island,” President Duterte said in his speech before an audience of Muslim Filipinos as he graced the Eid’l Fitr celebration held at the Rizal Hall of the Malacañan Palace. 

The Chief Executive said the military and police remain hard at work to ending the crisis with dispatch, especially in Marawi City.

At the same time, Duterte said the government will continue to support Muslim Filipino scholars like Omar O. Sacar and Abdul Aziz A. Banisil to help improve the capabilities of the country’s youth.

Sacar and Banisil are now studying at the Imam Muhammad Bin Saud University in Indonesia. 

Duterte hoped that the two will become part of the next generation of leaders who will help develop and advance their localities towards greater prosperity and progress.

Amid the continuing conflict in Marawi, Duterte said the entire nation stands beside the Muslim Filipino community.

“We will be with you as you rebuild your homes and localities, and as you realize your dreams of a better life,” he said.

Also in his address, the President expressed his sentiments over the misguided goals of the Maute group, which he said are against Filipino values and are only geared towards destroying lives and communities.

“Ang masakit sa akin, na pumasok a fractured ideology na hindi naman malaman sila mismo kung ano ang ginagawa. All that they want is to kill and destroy. Paano tayo mabubuhay niyan?” he said.

The President called for national unity as he extended his greetings of peace for the Eid’l Fitr celebration.

“So let us unite to achieve our common goals. With our solidarity and faith in each other, let us make Mindanao and the Philippines a land of order, stability, harmony and prosperity,” he said. (PND/PNA)

Fariñas declared ‘persona non grata’ in Ilocos Norte

The declaration, in Laoag City,  stemmed from Fariñas’ House Resolution No. 882 that paved the way for the conduct of investigation by the committee on good government and public accountability into the provincial government’s alleged misuse of tobacco excise funds amounting to PHP66.45 million.

The board members who voted to declare the solon as persona non grata are: Vicentito Lazo, Da Vinci Crisostomo, Mariano Marcos II, Ramon Gaoat, James Paul Nalupta, Donald Nicolas, Paulino Baltazar and Rogelio Balbag.

Technically, the legal term “persona non grata” means “unwelcome person.” It implies that a certain individual [declared as persona non grata] is being prohibited by the government from entering its jurisdiction after their ordinances and laws were violated by that individual.

However, lawyer-board member Da Vinci M. Crisostomo clarified that the motion “persona non grata” on Fariñas does not prohibit him from entering the province but it was made merely to “manifest or express our sentiments” toward the lawmaker.

“Well, this is in the form of a resolution, and under the parliamentary rules, it is a manifestation or expression of our feelings towards the subject person. So, ang gustong palabasin ng SP, whose members were directly elected by the people of the Province of Ilocos Norte and representing our constituents, ay yung mga damdamin at saloobin ng buong probinsiya,” he added.

In a text statement, Farinas, who is out of the country, said the declaration “only applies in diplomatic relations or aliens.”

“I will file cases against them for damages for the violation of my constitutional rights, as well as for violation of the anti-graft and corrupt practices act for causing me undue injury thru evident bad faith,” he said.

As the duly elected representative of Ilocos Norte’s first district and House Majority Floor Leader, Fariñas explained “no one, especially the Sangguniang Panlalawigan members, can declare me, or any other citizen of this country, a persona non grata. Not even convicted criminals are declared as such.”

The Ilocos Norte solon earlier initiated a congressional inquiry regarding an alleged misuse of tobacco funds under Republic Act (RA) 7171, citing in contempt six employees of the Provincial Government of Ilocos Norte.

Dubbed as “Ilocos Six”, the six employees are continuously detained under the custody of the House since May 29.

The House Committee on Good Government and Public Accountability as well as the Sergeant-at-Arms have defied the Court of Appeals (CA)’s order for the six employees’ provisional release, with Speaker of the House Pantaleon Alvarez even accusing three CA justices of “gross ignorance of the law.”

Meanwhile, the Supreme Court (SC) has backed up CA, calling the House to reconsider the show cause order issued against the justices who issued the release order of the “Ilocos Six”.

The Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) also released a statement emphasizing adherence to the “rule of law”, further reiterating that the CA has the “authority to grant in habeas corpus proceedings unless detained person is under a charge for an offense punishable by death.”

In addition, the president of the IBP–Ilocos Norte Chapter had initially expressed that “if the writ of habeas corpus was already issued, then it should be immediately executory, even pending appeal or motion for reconsideration, owing to the fact that the life and liberty of the detained persons are at stake.” (Leilanie G. Adriano/PNA)

nation 3WORLD

SC extends ‘status quo order’ on Marcos burial to Oct. 18


 The Supreme Court on Wednesday extends Status Quo Ante Order (SQA) in connection with the burial of late President Ferdinand Marcos at the Libingan ng mga Bayani (LNMB) in Taguig City as ordered by President Rodrigo Duterte.

Marcos was reportedly set to be buried at the LNMB on Sept. 18.

The high tribunal initially issued the SQA, which stopped the government from proceeding with the planned burial of Marcos at the Libingan, last Aug. 23, effective for 20 days or until Monday next week, Sept. 12.

The order, which was directed at Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana and AFP chief-of-staff Gen. Ricardo Visaya, will lapse days before the scheduled burial on Sept. 18.

After the two oral arguments sessions on the consolidated petitions filed by groups of martial law victims against the planned burial at the heroes’ cemetery, SC spokesman Theodore Te said that the SQA, which is set to expire on Monday, has been extended until Oct.18 to allow the justices to resolve the case on merits.

”After the oral arguments were concluded, the Court En Banc met and agreed to extend the Status Quo Ante Order issued on 23 August 2016 (served on 24 August, expiring on 13 September 2016) up to 18 October 2016,” Te said.

The justices made the decision after the government defended before the high court the decision of President Duterte to allow Marcos’ burial at the Libingan.

The SC concluded the oral arguments at 5 p.m. and ordered parties to file their respective memorandum in 20 days before they resolve the case.

During the continuation of oral arguments, Solicitor general Jose Calida, who head of the government’s counsel assured that the interment would have no effect on claims of human rights victims during martial law as well as pending cases against the Marcoses before the Sandiganbayan as already confirmed in previous session by the human rights victims claims board and office of the Ombudsman.

Calida made assurance during the interpellation with Chief Justice Lourdes Sereno that the burial of Marcos will not affect the claims of the human rights victims.

Calida reiterated the government’s position that Marcos is qualified to be buried at the Libingan considering that he is not only a former president but also a former soldier and war veteran.

“From the vantage point of the government, of President Duterte, it is the fact that Marcos was a former president and also a soldier and military veteran,” Calida said in response to Supreme Court Associate Justice Marvic Leonen’s interpellation, prompting the latter to say that “when we bury somebody, it has to be the whole person viewed from what he is in history, what to his relatives, family and friends.’

But Calida said that while the Duterte administration acknowledged the numerous human rights violations committed during the martial law, it had nothing to do with his decision to allow Marcos to be buried at the Libingan and that the reparation of the martial law victims was already ongoing.

For his part, Associate Justice Francis Jardeleza was apparently not convinced by the arguments raised by Duterte for allowing Marcos to be buried at the Libingan.

“You have to convince me as to why a President who was a dictator, plunderer and human rights violator deserves to be buried in the Libingan ng mga Bayani,” Jardeleza told Calida during his interpellation.

Calida said the matter rest “solely and exclusively” on presidential prerogative under residual powers and that Marcos is not disqualified to be buried under AFP regulations.

He also said that cases against the Marcoses would not be affected even if the SC allowed Marcos burial.

SC Associate Justice Alfredo Benjamin Caguioa asked Calida on the effectivity of Presidential Decree 105 signed by Marcos in 1973 which declares national shrines as “hollowed and sacred places” due to their significance and importance in the lives of the country’s heroes and eminent leaders and as such must never be desecrated.

Caguioa said that since the Libingan was a national shrine, it was the policy of the State to hold it as a hollowed and sacred ground but Calida pointed that the Libingan did not fall under the definition of national shrine under the said decree.

“It is our position that the Libingan is not covered by PD 105. This proclamation states that national shrines are the sites of the birth, exile, imprisonment, detention or death of great and eminent leaders of the nation and the Libingan clearly does not fall under this,” the Solicitor General answered.

Calida argued that Marcos, being a former president and duly recognized soldier and war veteran, should be entitled to interment at the Libingan.

He said the Libingan is not exclusive for heroes as the national pantheon under Republic Act No. 289 was never really built.

Calida explained that the decision of President Duterte is not really to honor Marcos as a hero but rather “to accord him a simple mortuary rites befitting a former president, commander-in-chief and soldier.”

He stressed that it was a campaign promise of the President, who won in the elections with over 16 million votes.

During interpellation, however, he clarified that the government does not plan to accord state honors for Marcos burial but “only a simple graveyard military honor.”

The top government counsel invoked the President’s authority under the Constitution and Revised Administrative Code to decide on political question that does not involve any justifiable issue for the high court to resolve.

The petitioners insisted that allowing Marcos to be buried at the LNMB would distort history, foster division instead of unity and even glorify him despite the numerous human rights violations and rampant graft and corruption during his term.

Among the petitioners were Bayan Muna party-list Rep. Satur Ocampo, Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman and former Commission on Human Rights chair Etta Rosales; a group led by former senator Heherson Alvarez; a group of University of the Philippines students; and former Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao human rights chair Algamar Latiph. (MANILA, Sept. 7/PNA)


Duterte favourite as Philippines holds presidential elections

May 9, 2016

The Philippines on Monday launched elections to choose a new president with anti-establishment firebrand Rodrigo Duterte the shock favourite after an incendiary campaign full of profanity-laced threats to kill criminals.

Duterte, the longtime mayor of the southern city of Davao, has hypnotised millions with his vows of brutal but quick solutions to the nation’s twin plagues of crime and poverty, which many believe have worsened despite strong economic growth in recent years.

Duterte’s critics have warned he will plunge the country into another dark period of dictatorship and turmoil, three decades after a “People Power” revolution ended the regime of Ferdinand Marcos.

Duterte, a pugnacious 71-year-old, surged from outsider to the top of surveys with cuss-filled vows to kill tens of thousands of criminals, threats to establish one-man rule if lawmakers disobey him, and promises to embrace communist rebels.

He also boasted repeatedly about his Viagra-fuelled affairs, while promising voters his mistresses would not cost a lot because he kept them in cheap boarding houses and took them to short-stay hotels for sex.

Duterte caused further disgust in international diplomatic circles with a joke that he wanted to rape a “beautiful” Australian missionary who was killed in a 1989 Philippine prison riot, and by calling the pope a “son of a whore”.

Departing President Benigno Aquino, whose mother led the democracy movement that ousted Marcos, has warned repeatedly the nation is at risk of succumbing to another dictatorship.

“I need your help to stop the return of terror in our land. I cannot do it alone,” Aquino said in an appeal to voters in a final rally on Saturday in Manila for his preferred successor and fellow Liberal Party stalwart, Mar Roxas.

Across town, Duterte was outlining to tens of thousands of cheering fans his plans to end crime within six months of starting his presidency.

“Forget the laws on human rights,” Duterte, who has been accused of running vigilante death squads in Davao, said in his final campaign rally.

“If I make it to the presidential palace, I will do just what I did as mayor. You drug pushers, hold-up men and do-nothings, you better go out. Because as the mayor, I’d kill you.”

– Big lead –

Duterte went into polling day with an 11-percentage-point lead over his rivals, according to the latest survey.

Roxas, who is promising to continue the slow reform process seen under Aquino, was tied for second place.


Aquino, who is limited by the constitution to a single term of six years, has overseen average annual economic growth of six percent and won international plaudits for trying to tackle corruption.

However his critics say he has done little to change an economic model that favours an extraordinarily small number of families that control nearly all key industries, and has led to one of Asia’s biggest rich-poor divides.

Roxas belongs to one of those families, with his grandfather serving as the Philippines’ first president after the nation achieved independence from the United States post-World War II.

Senator Grace Poe, the adopted daughter of movie stars, was in equal second place, having seen her popularity slide after critics pointed to her taking US citizenship then later giving it up.

Vice President Jejomar Binay, the early favourite, fell to fourth place under the weight of a barrage of corruption allegations.