Duterte willing to serve public even after his term

President Rodrigo Duterte said Tuesday the Filipino people could still seek his assistance even after he steps down from office in June.Duterte issued the statement during the campaign rally of his ruling party, the Partido Demokratiko Pilipino – Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban) in Cainta,… Read More

DOJ set to appeal RTC ruling on Trillanes case


“The DOJ (Department of Justice) will file, not later than Friday, a motion for partial reconsideration of the order of RTC-Makati Branch 148 (coup d’ etat) only insofar as it found that Sen. Trillanes had sufficiently shown that he filed his certificate of amnesty, and that therefore it follows that he also admitted his guilt for the offense of coup d’ etat and recanted all statements inconsistent with such admission of guilt,” Secretary Menardo Guevarra said.

Presidential Spokesperson and Chief Presidential Legal Counsel Salvador Panelo earlier said Solicitor General Jose Calida intends to file ‘very soon’ a petition seeking the reversal of the decision before the Court of Appeals (CA).

DOJ set to appeal RTC ruling on Trillanes case

MANILA — Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra on Tuesday said government lawyers will be filing within the week the necessary pleadings to ask Makati Regional Trial Court Branch 148 Judge Andres Soriano to take a second look at his order in connection with the criminal charges against Senator Antonio… Read More

Calida to appeal Trillanes ruling before CA

MANILA — Malacañang on Tuesday said Solicitor General Jose Calida will elevate a Makati court’s decision denying the Department of Justice’s petition for an alias arrest warrant and travel ban against Senator Antonio Trillanes IV to the Court of Appeals (CA).Presidential… Read More




Malacañang on Thursday said President Rodrigo Duterte respects the separation of powers of the three branches of government and would not meddle in the impeachment case filed against Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno at the House of Representatives.

At a Palace briefing, Presidential Communications Office Assistant Secretary Ana Marie Banaag assured that Duterte would respect the House of Representatives and the Supreme Court of the Philippines, or any other co-equal branch of government for that matter.
“The President was always clear about saying that if and when the House of Representatives or any other co-equal branch would do so, then that is up to them,” she said.
Banaag, who is also a lawyer, said that with regards to the impeachment complaint filed against Sereno, the Palace would respect any action that is within the bounds of the law.
“We respect, if and when a civilian or any person for that matter would file a complaint against any impeachable officer. That is up to them because that is within the bounds of the law,” she said.
The Palace official likewise belied insinuations that the impeachment complaint filed against the Chief Magistrate has the blessings of Duterte since it was filed by a group allegedly allied with the President.
“Hindi kontrolado ng Presidente kung may mga kaalyado man siya na may gustong mag-file ng complaint against any impeachable officer. Nasa sa kanila po ‘yun . And it’s not necessarily galing sa ating Pangulo,” Banaag said.
As for the complaint itself, she pointed out that it is the prerogative of Congress’ how to handle the matter.
“That is up for the House of Representatives to handle or tackle. It is really up to them to consider and reconsider,” Banaag said.
On Wednesday, Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption (VACC) chair Dante Jimenez and Vanguard of the Philippine Constitution Inc. (VPCI) president Eligio Mallari submitted the first complaint against Sereno to the House secretary general.
However, without an endorsement from a member of the House, the complaint was not considered to have been officially filed. (Cielito M. Reganit/PNA)


“The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) is very glad and expresses its appreciation to the SC for the favorable ruling which is supportive of Martial Law in Mindanao. The AFP takes this as a vote of confidence that we are doing what is right and what is necessary for the restoration of the rule of law, peace and order in the whole island,” said AFP chief-of-staff Gen. Eduardo Año on Tuesday.
Martial Law in Mindanao was declared by Duterte, nighttime of May 23, the very day the Maute Group attacked Marawi City.
“We remain committed to our mandate to protect our people and the integrity and sovereignty of our country,” he said.
And while admitting that the mission is not yet over, the AFP chief assured the public that the entire military is focused and determined to carry on the fight till peace and order in Mindanao is fully restored and the liberation of Marawi from terrorists is achieved at the soonest time possible.
Department of National Defense (DND) Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, for his part, said he is happy with the SC decision regarding Martial Law in Mindanao.
With this ruling, he said they can take the necessary steps to do their job.
“Personally, I’m happy that the Supreme Court find… it has legal basis so that we can continue our job properly until the end of martial law which is up to July 23, 2017,” Lorenzana said. (PNA)

SC merges petitions vs martial law

ADVOCACYThe first petition was filed by former senator Rene Saguisag former party-list lawmaker Loretta Ann Rosales, detained Senator Leila De Lima, former PhilHealth Director Alexander Padilla and law professor Rene Gorospe on Tuesday.
Meanwhile, Bishop Emeritus Deogracias Iniguez, Bishop Broderick Pabillo, Bishop Antonio Tobias former senator Wigberto Tanada, Adelaida Ygrubay, prioress of St. Scholastica’s Priory Missionnary Benedictine Sisters, Shamah Bulangis of Siliman University and Cassandra Deluria of the University of the Philippines-Diliman filed the second petition on Wednesday.
The mandamus petitions named Senate President Aquilino Pimentel III and Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez as respondents.
SC spokesman Theodore Te said that petition filed by opposition lawmakers led by Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman asked the SC to nullify the martial law declaration is different from the mandamus petition which were filed after the Court’s En Banc session last Tuesday.
He noted it will not be tackled in the preliminary conference on June 12 and on the oral arguments set by the justices on June 13, 14 and 15 at 10 a.m.
”At present, there are two petitions for mandamus filed by Alex Padilla, et al. and Wigberto Tanada, et al.; both were filed after the Court’s En Banc session last Tuesday. They differ from the Petition challenging the factual basis/es for Martial Law in MIndanao and will thus not be consolidated with the Martial Law petition and will not be covered by the Court’s instructions given last Tuesday for preliminary conference, and oral arguments,” Te said in a statement.
Aside from Lagman, other petitioners include Akbayan Rep. Tomasito Villarin, Magdalo Rep. Gary Alejano, Capiz Rep. Emmanuel Billones, Ifugao Rep. Teddy Brawner Baguilat, Jr. and Caloocan Rep. Edgar Erice.
Named respondents to the petition were Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea, Defense Secretary and Martial Law Administrator Delfin Lorenzana and AFP Chief of Staff and Martial Law Implementor Eduardo Año.
The high court gave respondents on or before noon on June 12 to submit their comment.
”Require the Office of the Solicitor General, for and in behalf of the respondents, to comment on the petition not later than June 12, 2017 at 12:00 Noon (The Docket Receiving Section of the Supreme Court will be open to receive the Comment.),” Te said.
It also set preliminary conference on the case on the same day (June 12) at 2 p.m. and required parties to submit memoranda not later than June 19 at 2 p.m. after the oral arguments.
In their petition filed Monday, Lagman and six other congressmen asked the high court to exercise its power under the Constitution to review a president’s martial law declaration.
Petitioners argued, in a nutshell, that there was no factual basis to justify the proclamation of martial law and the suspension of the privilege of writ of habeas corpus.
They claimed that the siege in Marawi is not rebellion or invasion, but rather an “armed resistance by the Maute Group to shield Hapilon from capture, not to overrun Marawi and remove its allegiance from the Republic.”
Petitioners believes that what was present in Marawi may be considered only as “imminent dange, which has been obliterated from the 1987 Constitution as an alternative ground for the declaration of martial law and the suspension of the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus.”
On Monday, Solicitor General Jose C. Calida said that he is ready to defend Proclamation No. 216 and he is confident that the government will win.
Calida made the statement in response to the filing of opposition lawmakers a petition before the Supreme Court to challenge the constitutionality of President Rodrigo Duterte’s proclamation of martial law in Mindanao.
“Who are these rabble-rousers to say that there is no factual basis for the declaration of martial law?” Calida said in a statement.
“Their denial that there is an ongoing rebellion by the combined forces of the Maute group and the Abu Sayyaf, heightened by the participation of foreign jihadists to make Mindanao a caliphate of ISIS (Islamic State in Iraq and Syria), is like saying that the sun does not rise from the east. This is a symptom of psychosis since they are detached from reality,” he noted.
President Rodrigo Roa Duterte issued Proclamation No. 216, on May 23 declaring a state of martial law and suspending the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus in the whole of Mindanao. This was a result of the attack of the Maute group in Marawi City, which is still ongoing and is subject to military operations.
“Nowhere in the Constitution does it state that the President’s declaration of martial law needs the recommendation or concurrence of the Defense Secretary, or any cabinet official,” Calida said, refuting the petitioners’ argument that Duterte acted alone in declaring martial law without the benefit of a recommendation from his cabinet. (Christopher Lloyd T. Caliwan/PNA)

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)