Posts Tagged ‘Gary Alejano’

Philippine lawmaker wants President Duterte’s impeachment — Defeatist stance of Duterte gives the South China Sea to China — Unwillingness to defend the Philippines

March 30, 2017


Thu Mar 30, 2017 | 1:21am EDT

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A Philippines lawmaker filed supplementary charges on Thursday to an impeachment complaint against President Rodrigo Duterte, accusing him of taking a “defeatist stance” by doing nothing to challenge Beijing’s activities in the South China Sea.

Opposition congressman Gary Alejano said Duterte had made a slew of remarks that proved he had no intention to protect Philippine sovereignty and had alienated key allies like the United States through “rants and unstoppable outbursts”.

The complaint adds to a laundry list of what Alejano says are impeachable offences that amount to high crimes, abuse of power and betrayal of public trust.

He submitted the initial complaint two weeks ago, just as Congress went into a recess, a move aimed at keeping it in the public spotlight and preventing Congress from dismissing it right away. It reconvenes on May 2.

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A Chinese-bomber passes over the Philippines’ Scarborough Shoal

Duterte is frequently accused of abuse of power, though none of the allegations have so far stuck. The populist former city mayor commands a legislative majority and enjoys huge public support.

Presidential Legal Counsel Salvador Panelo said Alejano’s additional complaint was groundless propaganda and part of a coordinated conspiracy by Duterte’s opponents.

Alejano said Duterte had failed to act on a ruling by the Permanent Court of Arbitration last year that invalidated China’s nine-dash line claim to most of the South China Sea, its justification for building man-made islands in Manila’s exclusive economic zone.

He said Duterte’s recent comments that he could do nothing to stop China if it were to build structures at the disputed Scarborough Shoal indicated his unwillingness to defend the country’s rights.

The criticism comes as Duterte intensifies his charm offensive to encourage China to invest billions of dollars in the Philippines, including its flagging infrastructure, an approach that contrasts sharply with his open hostility towards the United States.

He last week railed against Washington for allowing China to construct and arm its artificial islands, but placed no blame on Beijing.

On Wednesday Duterte said he had asked the U.S. ambassador to Manila “why did you not send the armada?”.

A U.S. think-tank on Monday said China had finished building military infrastructure on those islands and was now capable of deploying combat planes there.

(Reporting by Martin Petty; Editing by Michael Perry)



 (Contains links to several previous articles on the South China Sea)

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On July 12, 2016 a ruling of the Permanent Court of Arbitration in the Hague said China’s nine-dash line claim (shown above) was invalid and not recognized in international law.

Philippines: President Duterte Foes Amend Impeachment Complaint, Call Duterte Stance on China ‘Dereliction of Duty’

March 20, 2017
Magdalo party-list Rep. Gary Alejano holds a copy of the impeachment complaint he filed against President Duterte at the House of Representatives on Thursday. photo
MANILA, Philippines — Magdalo Party-list Rep. Gary Alejano said that his group is considering  filing a supplemental complaint against President Rodrigo Duterte for allegedly being subservient to China.
Alejano’s statement came after Duterte claimed last week that he allowed China to send survey ships to Benham Rise as part of an agreement.
The Department of Foreign Affairs last week said it was not aware of an agreement or policy over the Benham Rise region.
In an interview on CNN’s ‘The Source,’ Alejano said that the president’s action is a matter of national security since there is a conflict of interest with China on the West Philippine Sea, the part of the South China Sea that Manila claims.
“We’re talking about national interest here, we’re talking about national security here because we have a clear conflict of interest in West Philippine Sea,” Alejano said.
China has repeatedly reiterated its position over the South China Sea, saying it has a historical and legal claim over the vast area.
An international tribunal however, ruled in favor of the Philippines in an arbitration case against China, saying that China’s “nine-dash line” claim over a large part of the South China Sea, including part of the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone, has no basis.
In a speech on Sunday, Duterte also said that he cannot stop China from setting up a reported monitoring station in the Scarborough Shoal, also known as Panatag or Bajo de Masinloc.
“We cannot stop China from doing its thing. Hindi nga napara ng Amerikano,” Duterte said.
Duterte added that the country will lose all of its military and policemen if he declares war against China.
Alejano however, said that war is not the only solution, saying that the president could constantly raise issues in the West Philippines Sea.
“He’s not doing that because he’s afraid to offend China,” Alejano said.
He added that if Duterte said he cannot do anything to protect the country’s territory “then that’s dereliction of duty.”
 (Contains links to several previos articles on the South China Sea)

South China Sea: China says It Will Build Upon Scarborough Shoal — Apparently Breaking a Promise made to President Dutere

March 17, 2017


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The top official in Sansha City that has administered China’s island claims since 2012 was quoted by the official Hainan Daily newspaper as saying that preparations were underway to build an environmental monitoring station on Scarborough (Panatag) Shoal off the northwestern Philippines. File photo

BEIJING – China plans to build the first permanent structure on a South China Sea shoal at the heart of a territorial dispute with the Philippines, in a move likely to renew concerns over Beijing’s robust assertions of its claims in the strategically crucial waterbody.

The top official in Sansha City that has administered China’s island claims since 2012 was quoted by the official Hainan Daily newspaper as saying that preparations were underway to build an environmental monitoring station on Scarborough (Panatag) Shoal off the northwestern Philippines.

The preparatory work on the stations and others on five other islands in the strategically vital waterway was among the government’s top priorities for 2017, Sansha Communist Party Secretary Xiao Jie was quoted as saying in an interview published in the paper’s Monday edition seen online yesterday in Beijing. No other details were available.

Beijing seized tiny, uninhabited Scarborough in 2012 after a tense standoff with Philippine vessels. Taiwan also includes the island within its South China Sea claims that largely overlap with those of China.

The other stations mentioned by Xiao would be situated on features in the Paracel island group that China has controlled since seizing parts of it away from Vietnam in 1974.

China’s construction and land reclamation work in the South China Sea have drawn strong criticism from the US and others, who accuse Beijing of further militarizing the region and altering geography to bolster its claims. China says the seven man-made islands in the disputed Spratly group, which it has equipped with airstrips and military installations, are mainly for civilian purposes and to boost safety for fishing and maritime trade.

Prior to the announcement, South China Sea tensions had eased somewhat since Beijing erupted in fury last year after a Hague-based arbitration tribunal ruled on a case filed by the Philippines. The verdict invalidated China’s sweeping territorial claims and determining that China violated the rights of Filipinos to fish at Scarborough Shoal.

China has since allowed Filipino fishermen to return to the shoal following President Duterte’s calls for closer ties between the countries, but it does not recognize the tribunal’s ruling as valid and insists it has historical claims to almost the entire South China Sea, through which an estimated $5 trillion in global trade passes each year.

Scarborough has no proper land mass and any structure on it would likely have to be built on stilts. The shoal forms a triangle-shaped lagoon of rocks and reefs running for 46 kilometers, with its highest point just 1.8 meters (about 6 feet) above water at high tide. Known in Chinese as Huangyan Island, it lies about 200 kilometers (120 miles) west of the main Philippine island of Luzon, and about 600 kilometers (370 miles) southeast of China.

US diplomats have said privately that reclamation work on the shoal would be seen as crossing a red line because of its proximity to the main Philippine islands and the threat it could pose to US and Filipino military assets.

During his Senate confirmation hearing for secretary of state, Rex Tillerson compared China’s island-building and military deployments to Russia’s 2014 annexation of Crimea and suggested China’s access to the islands should not be allowed. The US says China has reclaimed more than 1,295 hectares (3,200 acres) of land in the area.

The topic is likely to be high on the agenda when Tillerson visits Beijing for talks with top officials on Saturday and Sunday.

Meanwhile, Chinese Vice Premier Wang Yang was visiting the Philippines, just days after Duterte said Monday that he had told the military to assert Philippine ownership of a large ocean region off the country’s northeastern coast where Chinese survey ships were spotted last year, in a discovery that alarmed Philippine defense officials.

China, the Philippines, Vietnam, Taiwan, Malaysia and Brunei have long contested ownership of the South China Sea, which straddles one of the world’s busiest sea lanes and is believed to sit atop vast deposits of oil and gas.

Also this week, the commander in chief of China’s navy, Vice Adm. Shen Jinlong, noted improving relations in a meeting with his Vietnamese counterpart, Rear Adm. Pham Hoai Nam, in Beijing.

China and Vietnam have had long-running territorial disputes in the South China Sea. Tensions spiked in 2014 after China parked an oil rig near Vietnam’s central coast, sparking mass protests in Vietnam.

The two navies and their countries should “together play a positive role in maintaining peace and stability in the South China Sea,” Shen was quoted as saying by China’s defense ministry.



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On July 12, 2016 a ruling of the Permanent Court of Arbitration in the Hague said China’s nine-dash line claim (shown above) was invalid and not recognized in international law.


Philippines tells EU lawmakers to butt out after criticism of drugs war — “They should mind their own business.” — More than 8,000 people have been killed since Duterte took power on June 30

March 17, 2017


March 17, 2017

MANILA (Reuters) – The Philippines derided the European parliament on Friday for interfering in its affairs after it issued a resolution calling for the release of a top critic of the president’s war on drugs, which it said should target narcotics networks instead of users.

EU lawmakers on Thursday adopted a resolution condemning the “many extrajudicial killings” taking place in the Philippines and showing concern for the safety of Senator Leila de Lima, a fierce critic of President Rodrigo Duterte, who is being held on charges of involvement in the drugs trade.

“They should mind their own business,” said Salvador Panelo, chief presidential legal counsel.

“They cannot dictate on the Philippine government on what to do with its constituent facing criminal charges,” he said. “Nor can they can interfere with the judicial processes of our country.”

More than 8,000 people have been killed since Duterte took power on June 30 last year and delivered on his election promise to launch a merciless campaign against crime and drug users.

Police take responsibility for over 2,500 of those deaths during their anti-drugs operations, but reject allegations by local and international human rights groups that police are involved in thousands of mysterious murders of drug users.

The EU parliament’s resolution said it supported fighting drugs, but from the source, not the consumer.

It called on Manila to “prioritize” the fight against trafficking networks and drug barons over tracking down small-scale consumers.

Duterte’s spokesman, Ernesto Abella, singled out the EU for criticism, rather than the parliament, and said it had been “spooked” into making “unwarranted threats” as a result of flawed information.

Duterte’s ally and Senate President Aquilino Pimentel said the EU parliament was trying to “micro manage” the Philippines’ internal affairs.

De Lima, a former justice minister, was last month arrested in her Senate office after being accused of accepting bribes from convicts engaged in the drug trade.

She says the charges are politically motivated and intended to stifle criticism of Duterte, whom she has called a “sociopathic serial killer”.

The foreign ministry also rejected the resolution and said European lawmakers had no right to comment on the judicial system of a sovereign state.

“The Philippine government asks the international community to refrain from influencing the outcome of a case that is rightly under the jurisdiction of Philippine local courts,” it said in a statement.

It said the government was “taking pains to investigate the veracity of these allegations of state-sponsored extrajudicial killings”.

(Reporting by Manuel Mogato; Editing by Martin Petty)


Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte (L) talks to Philippine National Police (PNP) Director General Ronald Dela Rosa (R) during a press conference at the Malacanang palace in Manila on January 30, 2017. © NOEL CELIS / POOL / AFP

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Philippines: Filipino’s killed by police without a court warrant or hearing in President Duterte’s “war on drugs.”

Amnesty International accused the Filipino police of murdering defenceless people or paying others to kill as part of President Rodrigo Duterte's drug war

Amnesty International accused the Filipino police of murdering defenceless people or paying others to kill as part of President Rodrigo Duterte’s drug war ©NOEL CELIS (AFP/File)

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Philippine National Police chief Director General Ronald dela Rosa

Philippines: Human Rights Watch director Phelim Kline also said the numbers of fatalities in the drug war launched by President Rodrigo Duterte when he assumed office on June 30, 2016, are “appalling but predictable” since he (Duterte) vowed to “forget the laws on human rights.”

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Philippines Policeman found tortured and strangled after some fellow police said he was involved in the illegal drug trade. Photo Credit Boy Cruz

 (December 23, 2016)

Discarded — The body of a dead Filipino girl looks like it has been put out with the trash…..

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 (Philippine Star, December 1, 2016)

 (Philippine Star, December 1, 2016)

“They are afraid the incident could cause President Duterte to declare martial law. I talked with some sultans and ulamas and elders here… and that’s what they have told me,” Ponyo said.

 (November 30, 2016)


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High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein. UN Photo, Jean-Marc Ferré

Summary executions of supposed drug dealers and other criminals have become a common occurence in recent weeks. The STAR/Joven Cagande, file

 (November 16, 2016)


 (August 10, 2016)

Davao City’s Ronald dela Rosa has been appointed to become the next chief of the Philippine National Police to lead President-elect Rodrigo Duterte’s planned crackdown on illegal drugs. Facebook/Dela Rosa

Crime scene investigators examine a vehicle used by two drug suspects killed during an alleged shootout with officers along NIA Road in Quezon City on June 21, 2016. JOVEN CAGANDE/file

President Rodrigo Duterte's crusade against drug users and dealers is controversial


Workers burying cadavers in various stages of decomposition in a mass grave in Manila, after health officials recovered the cadavers from Henry's Funeral Home. Picture: AFP / Noel Celis.

Workers burying cadavers in various stages of decomposition in a mass grave in Manila, after health officials recovered the cadavers from Henry’s Funeral Home. Picture: AFP / Noel Celis.Source:AFP

A worker arranging cadavers in various stages of decomposition at the morgue of Henry's Funeral Homes in Manila. Picture: AFP/ Noel Celis.

A worker arranging cadavers in various stages of decomposition at the morgue of Henry’s Funeral Homes in Manila. Picture: AFP/ Noel Celis.Source:AFP

Health officials closed Henry's Funeral Home after recovering at least 120 unclaimed and rotting cadavers in Manila. The city health department conducted a surprise raid after receiving complaints about a foul odour coming from the funeral parlour. Picture: AFP / Noel Celis.

Health officials closed Henry’s Funeral Home after recovering at least 120 unclaimed and rotting cadavers in Manila. The city health department conducted a surprise raid after receiving complaints about a foul odour coming from the funeral parlour. Picture: AFP / Noel Celis.Source:AFP

Workers carrying cadavers in various stages of decomposition at the morgue of Henry's Funeral Homes in Manila, October 2016. Picture: AFP / Noel Celis.

Workers carrying cadavers in various stages of decomposition at the morgue of Henry’s Funeral Homes in Manila, October 2016. Picture: AFP / Noel Celis.Source:AFP

China to build on Scarborough Shoal in South China Sea — Did the Philippines Get Swindled? —

March 17, 2017


China will begin preparatory work this year for an environmental monitoring station on Scarborough Shoal in the South China Sea, an official said, as two U.S. senators introduced a bill to impose sanctions on its activities in the disputed waterway.

Last month, a Philippine minister said Chinese President Xi Jinping had promised his Philippine counterpart China would not build structures on the rocky outcrop both countries claim, but China called the comments “baffling and regrettable”.

China seized the shoal, which is northeast of the Spratly islands, in 2012 and denied access to Philippine fishermen. But after President Rodrigo Duterte visited China last year, it allowed them to return to the traditional fishing area.

This week, Xiao Jie, the mayor of what China calls Sansha City, said China planned to begin preparatory work this year to build environmental monitoring stations on a number of islands, including Scarborough Shoal.

Sansha City is the name China has given to an administrative base for the South China Sea islands and reefs it controls.

The monitoring stations, along with docks and other infrastructure, form part of island restoration and erosion prevention efforts planned for 2017, Xiao told the official Hainan Daily in an interview.

A spokesman for the Philippine foreign ministry, Charles Jose, declined to comment, saying it was trying to verify the reports.

U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson arrives in Beijing on Saturday for a two-day visit, where the South China Sea, almost all of which is claimed by China, is likely to figure.

Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan and Vietnam also claim parts of the waters, which have rich fishing grounds, along with oil and gas deposits. About $5 trillion worth of trade passes through the waterway each year.

The United States has criticized China’s construction of manmade islands and its build-up of military facilities there, expressing concern they could be used to restrict free movement.

This week, U.S. Senators Marco Rubio and Ben Cardin introduced the South China Sea and East China Sea Sanctions Act that would ban visas for Chinese people contributing to building development projects in the South and East China Seas.

It would also put sanctions on foreign financial bodies that “knowingly conduct or facilitate a significant financial transaction for sanctioned individuals and entities” if China steps up activity at Scarborough Shoal, among other actions.

The senators’ proposal was “extremely grating,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said on Friday.

“I think the proposal put forward by individual senators shows their arrogance and ignorance,” Hua told a daily news briefing in Beijing.

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Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying

China resolutely opposes the proposal, which infringes international law and international relations norms, she added.

Tension over the South China Sea reached a flashpoint after the Philippines filed an arbitration case against China in the Hague and as China started militarizing artificial islands it built up on reefs in the region.

China is also involved in a separate dispute with Japan over a group of uninhabited islands in the East China Sea.

(Reporting by Ben Blanchard and Christian Shepherd; Additional reporting by Manuel Mogato in MANILA; Editing by Clarence Fernandez)



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On July 12, 2016 a ruling of the Permanent Court of Arbitration in the Hague said China’s nine-dash line claim (shown above) was invalid and not recognized in international law.


Philippines — Editorial: Road to impeachment — At some point, an impeachment effort will prosper

March 17, 2017

 (The Philippine Star) |

Impeachment is a numbers game, as everyone knows in this country where a president, chief justice and ombudsman have been impeached.

Right now, President Duterte still has the numbers – 267 members out of 292 – in the House of Representatives, where all impeachment efforts are initiated. And the House super majority, consisting overwhelmingly of balimbings whose chief concern is self-preservation, isn’t about to impeach this President. At least not while he remains immensely popular, as indicated in surveys.

The only sure consequence of the complaint filed yesterday by party-list Rep. Gary Alejano, Sen. Antonio Trillanes’ brethren in the Magdalo, is the inoculation of Du30 for a year from further impeachment efforts.

Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez accurately summed up the fate of Alejano’s impeachment complaint: “Everybody is entitled to his own stupidity.”

True enough, though mean – but it’s the mean season in our country.

*      *

At this point the only thing that might alter balimbing support is if lawmakers’ personal or family interests are threatened, or if there is a lobby as persuasive as the one that prompted the House ways and means committee to pass with impressive haste the bill imposing a two-tier excise tax on cigarettes.

No such factors are present in the impeachment complaint against Duterte.

Also, it’s early days yet – no longer a honeymoon period for a new president, but still too early for regime change, especially for someone who obtained a clear mandate in free elections.

Du30 hasn’t even fully repaid yet the political debts he incurred during the elections. Cabinet seats and other government posts await his allies who lost in the polls when the one-year prohibition on their appointment to public office lapses.

Except for the extrajudicial killings linked to Oplan Tokhang and Double Barrel (the original, not the reloaded version), the offenses cited in the impeachment complaint are enhanced versions of the accusations hurled against presidential candidate Duterte during last year’s vicious campaign.

Extrajudicial killings have always been raised against him, but candidate Duterte actually used the EJK issue as a campaign platform. He publicly and unequivocally promised to kill, kill, kill, using the same reasoning that he still invokes to explain the continuing deaths related to his war on illegal drugs.

Candidate Du30 was more incensed about the accusations of corruption, P2 billion in bank transactions and lying about his wealth. This is one of the issues cited in the impeachment complaint. His family members led by partner Cielito “Honeylet” Avanceña have been accused of questionable bank transactions.

Apart from the impeachment complaint, a new issue raised by Du30’s opponents is the Chinese incursion in Benham Rise in the Pacific Ocean, which the President indicated was mentioned if not cleared with him by his Chinese friends.

From the reactions of administration officials, it’s clear that the Chinese “research trip” in the Benham continental shelf, where the Philippines has sovereign rights recognized since 2012 by the United Nations, was not cleared with the defense or foreign affairs departments.

There is grumbling in the military / defense establishment in particular that Benham is shaping up to be the next Panatag or Scarborough Shoal, occupied and never relinquished by the Chinese even after the UN-backed Permanent Arbitration Court declared it a common fishing ground where no country can keep others away.

In Zambales and even Pangasinan, residents are lamenting that Panatag has been their traditional fishing ground for centuries.

Du30 can pass off as an oversight his failure to inform at least his defense chief about any agreement for a Chinese visit in Benham Rise. But he will still have some explaining to do in case inquiries on the Benham incident, planned in both chambers of Congress, push through.

*      *      *

Although Du30 enjoys a firm hold on the House, it would be prudent for him to consider how quickly political winds can change direction in this country.

He cannot afford to disregard the turbulence that has buffeted his administration so early in his term.

His daughter’s kumpareng sarado Joseph Estrada, now the godfather of Du30’s newest grandson Stonefish, can personally attest that reversal of political fortunes in this country can be brutally swift.

It’s useful to remember that Erap also won the presidency by a landslide, despite everything including the kitchen sink hurled at him during the bruising 1998 campaign.

There were stories, mostly accurate, about Erap’s extended family and his predilection for pricey Petrus wine, women, late-night carousing and high-stakes gambling. He was linked to the still unsolved disappearance of a PAGCOR employee who reportedly leaked a video showing Erap playing in a VIP casino pit accompanied by the redoubtable (up to now) gambling aficionado Atong Ang.

And yet Erap won, and enjoyed high ratings in the surveys for at least a year and a half. Pinoys, however, can only tolerate so much. Scandal after scandal chipped away at the popularity of the former movie superstar. In the end, Erap failed to serve even half of his term.

Dirty Rody seems to have keener survival instincts than “Erap para sa mahirap.” But if the ongoing turbulence, now including active destabilization (according to Du30 and some of his officials), doesn’t kick him out of office, it can make governance of this ungovernable land even more complicated.

Public service then suffers; business confidence is shaken and jobs and the economy are affected. Already, the employment picture this year isn’t encouraging.

Any sign of weakening public support for the President and his notoriously fickle super majority will smell blood.

That’s the time an impeachment effort will prosper.



Philippines: Impeachment complaint highlights alleged graft and corruption

March 16, 2017
Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte reacts during a press conference at the Malacanang presidential palace in Manila, Philippines on Monday, March 13, 2017. The Philippine president has ordered the military to assert his country’s ownership of a vast offshore region off its northeastern coast where Chinese survey ships have been sighted last year and alarmed defense officials. AP/Aaron Favila

MANILA, Philippines — The first impeachment complaint filed against President Rodrigo Duterte on Thursday morning highlighted graft and corruption allegedly committed by the president.

Of the 17-page impeachment complaint filed by Magdalo party-list Rep. Gary Alejano, at least ten pages discussed the alleged violations of the Anti-Graft and Corruption Practices Act by Duterte and his family.

Alejano, allied with vocal Duterte critic Sen. Antonio Trillanes, said the complaint contains annexes of the president’s bank accounts, which he claims were not declared in his statement of assets, liabilities and net worth (SALN). He also alleged Duterte has a number of bank accounts amounting to P2.2 billion.

House Speaker: This is stupidity

House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez, Duterte’s party mate and ally, has dismissed the complaint as stupidity and has said it will not prosper.
“Simply put, this is stupidity, period,” Alvarez said in a TV interview.
He said the House of Representatives will process the complaint but said that nothing will come of it.
“Huwag na po tayong makarating doon sa numbers, pag-usapan na lang po natin yung substance. I don’t think doon sa substance po ay papasa iyan. Malinaw na malinaw po yan, kasing linaw po ng sikat ng araw,” he said.
Administration party PDP-Laban leads a supermajority coalition at the House and members are expected to toe the line as they did on the vote on the death penalty bill, which the House has already passed on third and final reading.
On Wednesday, several members of the majority were removed from leadership positions for voting against the bill. Among those removed was Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, who was, until then, a deputy speaker.
Trillanes: Impeachment could happen by May

Prior to the filing of the impeachment complaint, Trillanes already mentioned possible impeachment proceedings against Duterte.

He said among the grounds to impeach Duterte include his alleged ill-gotten wealth that were undeclared in his SALN as well as his supposed violations of due process, human rights provision of the Constitution and the multiple murder when he was still a mayor of Davao City.

Trillanes in a previous radio interview, said Duterte’s ill-gotten wealth should be exposed because the people are not yet aware of this.  He said the president always portrays himself living a simple life when he own several secret bank accounts and properties.

The senator last week claimed that Duterte also owns around six to eight Harley-Davidson motorcycles, which he said belies the president’s simple image. Asked where he got the information, he said it was former SPO3 Arthur Lascañas, who also claims that he is a Davao Death Squad member, who told him.

“Maraming video niyan na naka-Harley Davidson si Duterte. Sa media, I believe makikita ‘yan, ipinagmamalaki niya yan,” Trillanes told at the Kapihan sa Manila Bay forum last week.

“Hindi kasi puwedeng sabihin simpleng buhay ka lang kasi yung Harley Davidson mga 1.5 to 2 million pesos each ‘yan e,” he added.

‘Unexplained wealth’

In his impeachment complaint, Alejano also raised the unexplained wealth of Duterte and his children who include local government officials, Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio and Vice Mayor Paolo Duterte.

Alejano said the president and his family’s wealth grossly is disproportionate to their legitimate means while their salaries and wages are also disproportionate.

He added that there had been several public admissions from the president himself. He also cited that Duterte made an excuse that some properties were given as “gifts” and “donations” from long-time friend Pastor Apollo Quiboloy of the Kingdom of Jesus Christ, the Name Above Every Name Church, which he stressed, were also not declared.

Alejano slammed Duterte for not declaring his wealth, saying even property given as gifts should be declared in SALNs.

“The problem is not whether or not the Respondent Rodrigo Roa Duterte’s wealth is legal or illegal or whether or not it exceeded a certain threshold or not. The fact is that he never reported the same in his SALN, where he claimed to have Net Worth of around P23.5 million only even in his latest SALN filed in 2016,” the complaint read.

The Magdalo representative also raised the Commission on Audit report questioning the hiring of 11,000 contractual workers in 2014 which took P708 million from Davao City.

By doing this, Alejano said, Duterte violated the Anti-Graft Corrupt Practices Act or the Republic Act 3018.

He said this may result to “dismissal due to unexplained wealth in accordance to the provisions of RA 1379” or the “Act declaring forfeiture in favor of the state any property found to have been unlawfully acquired by any public officer or employee and providing for the proceedings therefor.”

Philippines: Lawmaker Cautions About Sea Sovereignty — “Are we going to let China fool us again in Benham Rise?”

March 14, 2017

By  – Reporter / @MJcayabyabINQ

/ 04:07 PM March 14, 2017
Philippines: Lawmaker Cautions About Sea Sovereignty — “Are we going to let China fool us again in Benham Rise?”

benham rise

Map showing disputed claims in the South China Sea. Includes locations for Reed Bank and Benham Rise, where Chinese survey ships were seen last year, according to the Philippine government. AFP

A former soldier turned lawmaker on Tuesday denounced the entry of Chinese ships in Benham Rise, a 13-million hectare mineral-rich undersea region east of Luzon, urging President

Rodrigo Duterte to fight for our country’s territorial rights instead of making sweet deals with China.

In a press briefing at the House of Representatives, Magdalo Rep. Gary Alejano scored Duterte for selling out the country’s territory while making sweet deals with China in exchange for foreign investments and loans.

“Kailangang maging transparent ang Pangulo dahil parang pinagpapalit sa pera ang ating teritoryo,” Alejano said.

(The President should be transparent about this because it seems he is exchanging our territory for money.)

Alejano denounced the entry of Chinese ships in the Benham Rise, a biodiversity hotspot, even though this was not part of China’s nine-dash line which an arbitration court earlier ruled as invalid.

China had said the Philippines could not claim Benham Rise as its own territory, and that the passage of the Chinese survey ships supposedly to look for submarine stations was an “innocent passage” supported by international law.

READ: PH can’t claim Benham Rise as its own territory—Beijing 

President Rodrigo Duterte took a soft stance on the Benham Rise, adding that the Philippines should not fight China about sovereignty or ownership over the Benham Rise especially because the Philippines could not match China’s might.

“Why would I pick a fight, I’d rather talk,” Duterte said on Monday.

READ: ‘Let’s not fight over sovereignty at this time,’ says Duterte on Benham Rise 

Alejano said China had misled the Philippines when it built illegal structures over the Mischief Reef and the Scarborough Shoal which China claims are part of its territory.

“China foiled us in Mischief Reef, foiled us in Scarborough Shoal. Are we going to let China fool us again in Benham Rise?” Alejano said.

Alejano urged the administration to defend the country’s territory and not bow down to the whims of China.

“We won’t be able to assert our rights even in Benham Rise in the future if we want to always appease China,” Alejano said.

Alejano said Duterte may be liable for treason, an impeachable offense, if the administration does not defend its sovereignty over the Benham Rise.

“Kasama ang treason as basis for impeachment. Dapat pangalagaan ang ating teritoryo. ‘Pag ang Pangulo na mismo ang nag-va-violate niyan, he should be accountable,” Alejano said.

(Treason is a basis for impeachment. We should protect our territories. If the President is the one violating that, he should be accountable.) JE

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On July 12, 2016 a ruling of the Permanent Court of Arbitration in the Hague said China’s nine-dash line claim (shown above) was invalid and not recognized in international law.


Philippines: Aquino Urged To Bare All Text Messages, Phonecalls on Mamasapano

February 26, 2015


President Benigno S. Aquino III at service for slain policemen January 30, 2015. (Photo by Gil Nartea / Malacañang Photo Bureau)

A group of progressive House members has challenged President Benigno Aquino III to publicly disclose all his text messages and calls from December 2014 to January 27, 2015 determine the extent of his involvement in the concerning the top secret police operation in Mamasapano, Maguindanao.

Bayan Muna party-list Rep. Carlos Isagani Zarate said Aquino only showed select text messages he received from then-suspended Philippine National Police (PNP) Director General Alan Purisima during his dialogue with lawmakers and families of the 44 Special Action Force (SAF) troopers killed in Mamasapano last Jan. 25.
“[There’s] a conscious effort engineered by Malacanang to shield Pres. Aquino and this should be exposed. Pres. Aquino here is the most accountable because he was the one who approved the operation and authorized Gen. Purisima to command the operation even when he was suspended,” he told reporters in a press briefing Thursday.
Gabriela party-list Rep. Luzviminda Ilagan slammed what she called a “strip tease of text messages” shown by Purisima during the recent hearing on the Mamasapano clash, the snippets of which she said were carefully chosen to shield Aquino from accountability.
“The text messages that were released seem to be screened and the actual text messages of Pres. Aquino and Purisima during the most crucial time of the operation from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. were not released,” she noted.


Committed to the truth


Asked for comment on the lawmakers’ call, Malacañang said that it would like to wait for results of various probes on the Mamasapano incident.
“The President is committed to ferreting out the truth. It is best to await the full report of the Senate and the Board of Inquiry,” Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. said in a text message.

An ally of Aquino’s in the House said the call was unnecessary.


“The executive session in the Senate and the BOI was given all the info they needed in the investigation. Not necessary,” said Western Samar Rep. Mel Senen Sarmiento, the secretary-general of Aquino’s Liberal Party.


In a transcript of text messages that he read before a Senate inquiry Monday, it was revealed that Purisima had told Aquino the military was already providing mechanized and artillery support even though they have not yet been deployed at that time.
Purisima was already suspended as PNP chief when the SAF commandos carried out the operation to nab terrorists Zulkifli bin Hir alias Marwan and Abdul Basit Usman.
Oplan Wolverine
Earlier this week, Aquino showed lawmakers the text messages he received from Purisima that fateful Sunday at a meeting in Malacañang. He convened the meeting in part to explain the extent of his involvement in the police operation dubbed “Oplan Wolverine.”
One of the lawmakers present at the meeting, Magdalo party-list Rep. Gary Alejano, said the lingering questions he had about the President’s involvement in the Mamasapano operation were answered by Aquino’s presentation of the text messages he had received from Purisima.
“Bago sa akin ang sinabi ni PNoy [sa meeting] dahil doon ko nalaman that he wasn’t given complete details about what’s happening on the ground. The reason why he didn’t act with urgency was because he didn’t know the true picture,” he said. —NB, GMA News