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‘Magingat Kayong Kontra Binay’ – Atty. Certez

Abante (05.16.15)

ni Horacio Paredes

Ang dating sagot ni Vice President Jejomar Binay sa mga hinala na kumita siya sa ilang transaksyon ay ang mg eto raw ay mga paninira lamang at walang katotohanan. Ngayon namang lumabas na ang Anti-Money Laundering Commission (AMLC) ng mga tinago niyang kayamanan, kakasuhan raw ni Vice ang mga magbalita sa pangyayari. Parang mali, ‘di ba?

Ayon nga kay Senador Francis ‘Chiz’ Escudero hindi umano dapat magtago si Vice President Jejomar Binay sa likod ng ‘bank secrecy law’ dahil naglabss na ang  Court of Appeals (CA) ng freeze order sa kanyang mga bank accounts.

“If true, this is no longer a mere allegation being hurled at him by a political opponent but, rather, a serious accusation that he should answer and address squarely,” ‘ika ni Escudero. “He should no longer ignore nor sweep this under the rug. Neither should he hide behind secrecy/confidentiality rules on AMLC/bank deposits. He owes the people nothing less.”

Sinabi naman ni Senador Antonio Trillanes IV:.“The freeze order is but validation of the corruption allegations against VP Binay. I’m just curious to find out how his spokesmen would choke on their explanations on this one.”

Sinabi naman ni Senador Aquilino ‘Koko’ Pimentel III: “Klarong-klaro na as a result ‘yan ng Senate hearings or investigations.”

Bukod sa CA, may ilang ahensiya na rin ng gobyerno ang kumilos sa mga impormasyon na lumabas nang ginagawang­ pagdinig ng Senado sa alegasyon ng korupsiyon laban kay Binay.

“Si Antonio Tiu may tax evasion case sa BIR at DAR, tinitingnan na ang implementation ng land reform sa Rosario Batangas property, ang Ombudsman kinikilusan ‘yung complaint for plunder, at ngayon na-trace na ang transactions. Marami nang bunga o resulta dahil sa hearing sa Senado,” saad ni Koko.

“‘Yung pagdating sa bank transactions, saan galing ‘yan, gaano kalaki ‘yan, ipapaubaya ko na sa Anti-Money Laundering Council or Ombudsman kasi malilihis na ako sa topic,” wika pa nito.

Subalit paliwanag nito, ang freeze order ay hindi ‘indication of guilt’ kundi isa lang ‘self-defense mechanism’ ng estado para ma-preserve ang diumano’y ‘ill-gotten wealth’.

Mariin namang itinanggi ng Liberal Party (LP) na may kinalaman ang mga ito sa ‘freeze order’ na ibinaba ng CA sa mga bank account ni VP Binay, asawa nitong si Dra. Elenita at anak na si Makati Mayor Jejomar Binay at iba pa.

“Walang kinalaman d’yan ang LP,” pahayag ni LP at Caloocan City Rep. Edgar Erice matapos palabasin ng kampo ni Binay na may kinalaman umano ang LP.

“Natatakot lang siya (VP Binay) sa sariling multo kaya kung sino-sino ang kanilang inaakusahan na may kagagawan sa freeze order sa kanilang mga bank account,” pahayag ni Erice.

Iniligaw diumano ng Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC) ang CA nang itago nila ang impormasyon hinggil sa iba pang ‘source of income’ ni VP Binay at misis na si Elenita.

Ito ay ayon kay Atty. Claro Certez, legal counsel ng mga Binay, kasunod ng ulat na naglabas ng freeze order ang CA sa 242 bank accounts ni Binay, mga kapamil­ya nito at iba pang mga personalidad na ginawa nitong ‘dummies’.

Sa tlotoo lamang, wala namang nagsabi na 242 ang bank account ni Vice. Ang 242 ay mga bank account ng Pamilyang Binay at ng kanilang mga  alipores!  Ganiyan kagaling ang AMLC!

* * *

Readers who missed a column can access www.duckyparedes.com/blogs. This is updated daily. Your reactions are welcome at duckyparedes@gmail.com or you can send me a message through Twitter @diretsahan.

Panalo si Mayor Bayron, Ping Lacson

Abante (05.12.15)

ni Horacio Paredes

Nagwagi sa ginanap na recall election si Puerto Princesa Mayor Lucilo Bayron kontra sa nagprotestang si dating mayor Edward Hagedorn sa Palawan City. Sa totoo lamang hindi na dapat na pinayagan pa ang recall election. Nagkagastos pa ang gobiyerno dhil lamang sa kagustohan ng dating Mayor Hagedon ng Puerto Princesa
Si Bayron ay iprinoklama ni Atty. Georgia Vitaliano ng Commission on election (Comelec) bilang nagwaging alkalde.
Nakakuha si Bayron ng botong 44,299  habang nakakuha lang ng 39,002 si Hagedorn.
* * *
Humanga ako sa sinulat ni Jake Macasaet tungkol kay Ping Lacson kung kaya uulitin ko rito ang ilan sa mga puntos nang sinulat ni Jake sa Abante noong Linggo
“Tinanggihan  ni Ping Lacson ang P200 million pork barrel bawat taon sa 12 taon niyang panunungkulan bilang senador. Sa isip niya ang paggamit ng pork tulad ng pagpapagawa ng maliliit na kalye, basketball court, palengke at marami pang iba ay tungkulin ng mga tauhan ng Pangulo.
“Bukod  duon, alam ni Ping na marumi ang paggamit ng pork. Hindi niya mababantayan ang bidding sa isang proyekto na pork ang kuartang gagamitin. Halos lahat ng bidding na pork ang gamit ay lutong macaw.”
* * *
“Kahit isang salita walang narinig kay Ping. Kung siya ay pulitikong mapagsamantala dapat sinabi niya na “alam ko iyan ang mangyayari kaya hindi ako tumanggap ng pork”. Hindi niya sinabi na marumi ang paggamit ng pork pero napatunayang marumi nga sa ginawa ni Napoles.
“Hindi marami ang tao na nakakaunawa ng dangal at linis ng mga mambabatas na tulad ni Ping. Matatandaan na nuong siya ay PNP Chief sinabi niya na dalawang klase lang ng tao ang magdadala ng baril: Ang mga pulis at mga kriminal.
“Nuon ding panahong iyon inalok siya ng mga jueteng lord ng P5 million bawat buwan. Tumanggi siya.”
* * *
“Ilan sa mga pulitiko natin ang ganyan ang pagkatao? Si Ping lamang at si Sen. Grace Poe na tahimik na tumutupad ng tungkulin bilang mambabatas pero hindi sumasali sa pa­sikatan sa harap ng TV camera sa maraming imbestigasyon ng Blue Ribbon Committee ng Senado.
“Nabalita na may ambisyon si Ping na kumandidato muli sa pagka-Pangulo. Pero tahmik pa rin siya at binabasa ang puwedeng mangyari sa botohan kung ipagpatuloy niya ang kandidatura.
“Hindi pa maunawaan ng maraming tao na ang mga tapat sa tungkulin ay hindi nagpapasikat sa TV o diyaryo. Trabaho lang ang ginagawa. Nagbabayad ng utang si Ping sa mga botanteng naghalal sa kanya.
“Panahon na para suriin natin ang tunay na pagkatao ng mga kandidato sa pagka-Pangulo. Balikan natin at pag-aralan ang kanilang record sa panunungkulan. Dapat ang mga malilinis at tahimik na naglilingkod sa bayan ang ihalal. Hindi iyong mga mai­ingay at pasikatero na nagwawaldas ng kaban ng bayan tulad ng pagkawaldas ng pork sa paggamit kay Janet Lim-Napoles bilang tulay.
“Sa tingin ko si Ping ang karapat-dapat. Lalo na kung makukumbinsi si Grace Poe na tumakbo bilang Bise Presidente ni Ping. Sila ang tamang team. Wala ng iba.
“Ang inaasahan ko kung itutuloy ni Ping ang kanyang kandidatura, maraming tao ang tutulad sa kanya na hindi maghihintay ng kapalit. Para sa bayan lang.”
Sana’y magkatotoo.
* * *

Readers who missed a column can access www.duckyparedes.com/blogs. This is updated daily. Your reactions are welcome at duckyparedes@gmail.com or you can send me a message through Twitter @diretsahan.

On OFW Mules, Presidential Appointees

Malaya (05.12.15)

“Congressman Mark Villar notes that in 1993, there were only two recorded Filipinos arrested abroad for drug trafficking. Now, the figure ballooned to 710.”

by Ducky Paredes

Las Piñas Rep. Mark Villar, vice chairman of the House Committee on Overseas Workers Affairs, is alarmed over the “noticeable trend” that more Filipino drug couriers are being exploited by drug trafficking syndicates.
“Of the 710 arrested, 265 or 37 percent are males, while 445 or 63 percent are females. Women are usually targeted by syndicates since they generally generate mild suspicion from authorities and the female body has more cavities possible to insert drugs in, therefore posing less detection risk,”  said the
Quoting the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) he said the number of Filipinos victimized as drug couriers by international drug trafficking syndicates is increasing “at an alarming rate.”
Congressman Mark Villa notes that in 1993, there were only two recorded Filipinos arrested abroad for drug trafficking. Now, the figure ballooned to 710.
Villar, chairman of the House Committee on Trade and Industry, said Congress should also look into recent reports that human traffickers and illegal recruiters have joined forces with drug syndicates to target OFWs heading for Southeast Asian countries as drug couriers.
“There is a need to look into these reported increase of human trafficking and illegal recruitment of our overseas Filipino workers for the purpose of carrying drugs abroad,” he said.
While we now look with abhorrence at Indonesia’s firing squad to deal with  drug lords, one notes that one Lim Seng, in the 1960s, in Manila was a struggling restauranteur in the when he dove into the heroin business.
There was then, as now, a growing heroin trade among Manila students, leading to the 1972 Ati-Drug Law under which Lim Seng was arrested days after martial law came down that September. He faced a military, rather than a civilian trial.
Naturally quite wealthy from his enterprise, he evidently believed up until the last moments that he could buy his way out of execution. Little did he understand that he had been ticketed to demonstrate the incipient dictatorship’s iron fist.
Should we go back to this Martial Law punishment that has obviously worked well for Indonesia? Death to drug dealers!
* * *
Malacanang defends the appointment of Sheriff Abas, a nephew of Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) chief peace negotiator Mohagher Iqbal, to the Commission on Elections (Comelec), saying there was no MILF influence.
“Obviously, what some people are trying to imply is that it was influenced by the MILF, which… was not, because you can see also that Commissioner Abas was already in government (prior to his appointment),” Valte said.
She noted Abas served at the Civil Service Commission in Cotabato and most of his professional life had been spent in government.
As for Comelec Chairman Andres Bautista, Valte said they were confident that he could hurdle the Commission on Appointments (CA) despite criticisms that he was not an election lawyer.
“And also the record of Chair Bautista will bear out his credentials… His CV (curriculum vitae) will bear out his competence. I understand that there are some other, I guess we could call it ‘observations’ at the very least, but Chair Bautista is ready to face the CA,” Valte said.
In Bacolod city, newly-appointed Elections Commissioner Rowena Guanzon also dismissed allegations that her appointment will favor the administration in next year’s election as she appealed to politicians and would-be candidates to discipline their leaders, campaigners and supporters to ensure peaceful, orderly and credible elections in 2016, saying “elections in the Philippines can be very violent.”
Guanzon, a former mayor of Cadiz City in Negros Occidental, met with the province’s local election officers in Bacolod City on Friday.
Asked how the 2016 poll would be conducted, Guanzon said the Comelec agreed in a meeting last week to push for automation.
“With an automated election, there is less margin of error and less opportunity of cheating inside the polling place,” she stressed.
She said even the election officers prefer automated elections because it is faster and orderly.
Guanzon said the Comelec will conduct two simultaneous public biddings – for the refurbishment and diagnostic of the precinct count optical scanner (PCOS) machines and for the purchase of additional 100,000 new units – as soon as the documents are prepared.
She hinted though that the Comelec prefers refurbishment because it is less costly than buying new ones.
Senate President Franklin Drilon brushed aside allegations made by the opposition’s United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) that the ruling Liberal Party will benefit from Guanzon’s appointment, she being a close ally of Interior and Local Government Secretary Manuel Roxas II, who may seek the presidency next year.
While Drilon admitted knowing Guanzon, who used to be his colleague at the ACCRA Law firm, he stressed that she is both competent and independent.
* * *
The President ignored the top choice of the Judicial and Bar Council and appointed an assistant solicitor general over three judges and a Department of Justice undersecretary as associate justice of the Sandiganbayan.

“We’d like to announce that the President has appointed the Honorable Sarah Jane T. Fernandez as Associate Justice of the Sandiganbayan. The President signed the appointment last May 5, 2015,” Malacanang announced..
It was the first presidential appointment to be announced by the Palace after the public criticism that met the appointment of little-known lawyer Sheriff Abas to the Commission on Elections, who  turned out to be a nephew of Moro Islamic Liberation Front chief peace negotiator Mohagher Iqbal.
A lawyer since 1994, the 45-year-old Fernandez was chosen from a short-list that included Muntinlupa City Judge Philip A. Aguinaldo, Makati City Judge Mary Ann Manalac, Quezon City Judge Bernelito R. Fernandez and Justice Undersecretary Jose Justiniano.
Aguinaldo, a former Ilocos regional prosecutor and DOJ senior state prosecutor, was the favored candidate of the JBC with seven votes along with Corpus-Manalac, 2013 winner of the Chief Justice Cayetano Arellano Award for outstanding regional trial court judges.
The two Fernandezes each got six votes while Justiniano had five.
The new Sandiganbayan magistrate is the youngest sister of Dagupan City’s first female mayor Belen Fernandez, president of the CSI mall chain and one of the top ranking officials of the Liberal Party in vote-rich Pangasinan province.
The new magistrate graduated from the Ateneo de Manila University with a degree of B.S. Legal Management and was conferred a Juris Doctor degree by the Ateneo in 1994. She also holds a Master in Management from the Asian Institute of Management and is an alumna of the Divine Word Academy of Dagupan.
The new justice joined the Office of the Solicitor General in 1995 as an associate solicitor and, as a full-pledged solicitor in 2006, was part of the team which successfully defended the Reformed Value Added Tax (RVAT) cases before the Supreme Court.
Like her politician-sister, the new justice also joined public life during the administration of former President Gloria Arroyo, who appointed her assistant solicitor general in 2006.
Valte said Fernandez was chosen to replace Associate Justice Gregory Ong who was dismissed by the Supreme Court last year over his alleged links to businesswoman Janet Lim Napoles.
Interestingly, the family of the new justice is closely associated with former Dagupan Mayor Alipio Fernandez and has consistently opposed former Dagupan Mayor Benjamin Lim.
Valte said Fernandez’ appointment paper, dated May 8 and signed by Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa Jr., has already been sent to Supreme Court Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno.
* * *

Readers who missed a column can access www.duckyparedes.com/blogs. This is updated daily. Your reactions are welcome at duckyparedes@gmail.com or you can send me a message through Twitter @diretsahan.

Senate Worries About Defense, The New Comelec

Malaya (05.11.15)
“‘We do not question the appointment of the President of anyone, we just want to raise a question: why now?’ asks Sultan Firdausi Abbas, MBAP president.”

by Ducky Paredes

The Senate national defense and security committee pushed finally faced up to our defense problems and called for an accelerated modernization of our armed forces to be able to put up a credible defense against Chinese agression in the Western Philippine Sea.
This was the assessment of Sen. Antonio F. Trillanes IV, the committee chair after a three-hour hearing on the land reclamations and dredging operations by China on disputed areas in the West Philippine Sea (WPS).
“It is clear that we modernize the AFP and accelerate it due to the potential threat to national security. There is no debate there,” he said. Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin and AFP Chief of Staff Gen. Gregorio Pio Catapang pressed lawmakers to increase the budget and annual cost of modernizing the AFP.
The government has spent only P63-billion to modernize the AFP since 2002, since 13 years ago. That’s a pittsnce compared to what our neighbor countries have been spending
Cesar P. Garcia Jr., director-general of the National Security Council (NSC),  told the Senate committee that “with the reports of massive reclamation projects by China in our exclusive economic zone, it is now very clear that our territorial disputes in the West Philippine Sea has in fact overtaken all security issues in our  hierarchy of national security concerns.”
Trillanes, a former Navy officer, agreed with Garcia’s assessment and believed the country “should have at least a minimum credible defense posture or at least a minimum deterrent capability so that they could not just come in and out of our territory.”
Seven of the islands reclaimed by China are “very close to Palawan” rather than to Hainan island in the southeastern most portion of China, say our defense officials.
The new islands rising in the South China Sea has gotten the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) worried.
A series of satellite images, the latest of which were taken in February and March and released by defense publication IHS Jane’s show that China has intensified the construction of artificial islands by dredging sand from submerged coral reefs and building up land mass, sometimes doubling or tripling the size of existing features. Among at least half a dozen islands being reconstructed, work on Fiery Cross Reef has attracted most attention because of its speed and scale. According to Jane’s, the new island is already big enough for a 3,000-meter (9,500-foot) runway able to accommodate big military planes.
* * *
Shaking off jet lag, President Aquino rallied Filipinos in the US to chase the “Filipino dream” of a better Philippines beyond 2016.
“The future of the Philippines is in your hands,” the President told the Filipino community at JW Marriott Hotel in downtown Chicago, stressing the significance of the 2016 presidential vote in perpetuating the administration’s reforms.
Ahead of the President’s visit, Chicago-based accountant Edilberto Ortiz posed the question for Aquino: “Is this good government going to continue?”
“There’s a saying: You ain’t seen nothing yet,” Aquino said, raving about the Philippines’ accomplishments.
Under “good governance,” he reported that the Philippines has gone from being Asia’s “sick man” to the region’s “darling,” and has seen investor confidence rise, “untouchables” go to jail, and unfinished infrastructure projects completed.
While not promising to solve everything before he steps down in June 2016, Aquino said it was clear Filipinos were reaping the fruits of the reforms his administration had sown.
“Surely, even the next administration will reap what we [have sown], that is if the straight path doesn’t turn crooked, and if you pick the right leaders as you [did] in 2010,” he said.
“I get blamed for a heavy downpour, and for heavy traffic on Edsa. I even get blamed for Manny Pacquiao’s recent loss,” he said, drawing chuckles from the Filipinos.
But then again, the President said, Filipinos “[could] not be fooled.”
“I’m confident that like in 1986, and in 2010, come 2016, you’ll be there to carry on what we’ve started. Our goal is not to go back to the rotten system, but to continue our country’s transformation,” he said.
And there’s no other way to achieve this but for all Filipinos to band together “whichever part of the world you are in,” he added.
“Let’s continue to chase the Filipino dream: a Philippines that is not only full of zest, enthusiasm and goodness, but of opportunities to better one’s self and country, and contribute to a better world,” he concluded.
The President kicked off his working, whirlwind visit to Chicago by receiving Mayor Rahm Emanuel at JW Marriott on Wednesday afternoon. He’s flying Thursday morning to Canada for a three-day state visit.
Emanuel presented Aquino with a city council resolution welcoming him to the Windy City, citing his phenomenal ascension to the presidency and achievements as a leader, before they sat down for a chat.
It was Emanuel’s first day at work after he was reelected for a second term in April. Emanuel is a former White House chief of staff to fellow Chicagoan President Barack Obama. He was elected mayor of Chicago in 2011.
“He said, ‘I am your admirer for being outspoken and clear-eyed on important issues affecting your country,”’ Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. said, quoting Emanuel.
After the meeting, Aquino motored to the nearby TransUnion headquarters for a roundtable discussion with executives of the US Chamber of Commerce, US Asean Business Council and the National Center for Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec).
Aquino ditched a prepared speech and forthwith asked them about their experiences in doing business in the Philippines, and how else this could be improved, Coloma said.
David Neenan, president of International TransUnion, expressed appreciation for the government’s thrust of promoting inclusive growth. TransUnion, he said, has been working with Land Bank of the Philippines in helping small- and medium-scale entrepreneurs gain access to financing.
The other executives expressed interest in doing or expanding business in the Philippines, and Aquino discussed areas that needed their expertise.
Thomas La France, senior executive of GE Transportation, spoke about possible investments in infrastructure development, Coloma said.
President Aquino replied that being an archipelagic country, the Philippines needs to improve connectivity by expanding the existing nautical highway, improving roll-on, roll-off and port facilities. Possiblities for improving the country’s railway system were also mentioned.
Ralph Carter, Federal Express managing director for legal, trade and international affairs, talked about his company’s involvement in improving the Philippines’ links with the global supply chain.
Julie Hoeniges of Caterpillar spoke about expanding her company’s business in mining, while Michael Fernandez of Cargill raised the possibility of raising his company’s investments in the agribusiness field, Coloma said.
“Monica Whaley, president of the National Center for Apec, lauded the Philippine government’s path-finding initiatives in promoting financial inclusion across all spheres of socioeconomic activity,” Coloma said.
At the end of the discussion, Marc Mealy, vice president for policy, US-Asean Business Council, gifted Aquino with a red Chicago Bulls jersey and a green Boston Celtics jersey. Having lived in Boston with his family during martial law, Aquino is a Celtics fan.
Members of the Chicago-based militant group Anakbayan staged a rally in front of JW Marriott, calling for the President’s resignation, renewing the group’s constant refrain.
When he faced the gathering of Filipinos, Aquino cracked jokes, and afterward stayed longer to pose for group pictures with them on stage, smiling and pressing flesh.
“I got excited when this visit was confirmed. I thought, this is my chance at tasting your deep-dish pizza,” he said to chuckles.
The Philippines has grown by leaps and bounds, the President said, since the administration adopted good governance as its rallying cry. Sadly, this good news has never “trended” on social media, hence, it must not only be “liked” but “shared” on Facebook, said the President.
So far, the government has filed 637 cases under the Revenue Integrity Protection Service, Run After Smugglers and Run After Tax Evaders programs, Aquino said.
“I’m sure you’ve heard the news that our politicians who are untouchable are now in jail, if not under hospital arrest,” he said.
Even corruption-ridden agencies, such as the Department of Public Works and Highways, have turned a new leaf, he added.
“Our basic principle: Good governance equals good economics, equals good-quality inclusive growth. That’s why we should forget our tag as Sick Man of Asia; we’re now called the Darling of Asia,” he said.
“The country has achieved investment grade status and risen in the World Economic Forum’s Global Competitiveness Report and in the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business Report, and according to Bloomberg, is poised to become the second fastest-growing economy,” he added.
From 2010 to 2014, the Philippines’ gross domestic product (GDP) grew by an average of 6.3 percent, Aquino said.
“We’re targeting 7 to 8 percent GDP growth this year,” he said.
According to the the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the Philippines will continue to be the “exception” in Asia and in the world as its economy is expected to continue its upward growth momentum.
“We see falling potential growth in the world and in Asia in general, but the Philippines is an outlier,” IMF resident representative Shanaka Jayanath Peiris said in a briefing.
IMF’s current estimate of the Philippines’ annual potential growth is at six to 6.5 percent. Peiris said the IMF would update this figure during its Article IV Consultation slated next week.
The IMF last month increased its forecast for Philippine economic growth this year to 6.7 percent from an earlier projection of 6.6 percent. The latest estimate is faster than the 6.1 percent expansion recorded last year but still short of the government’s seven- to eight-percent target for 2015.
For next year, the IMF expects economic growth to slow down to 6.3 percent, also below the government’s seven to eight percent target for that period.
The Philippines should remain as Southeast Asia’s growth driver this year until the next, despite a slower first quarter growth versus the fourth quarter of last year.
“Manufacturing and exports are weaker, but domestic demand remains strong. This suggests that growth is overall strong… definitely stronger than first quarter of 2014 but may not be stronger than fourth quarter of 2014,” Peiris said.
* * *
The Muslim Bar Association of the Philippines (MBAP), notes that Sheriff Abas, a Comelec provincial director in Maguindanao before his new appointment as Comelec Commissioner, was reportedly a cousin of MILF chief negotiator Mohagher Iqbal.
“We do not question the appointment of the President of anyone, we just want to raise a question: why now?” asks Sultan Firdausi Abbas, MBAP president.
Noting that several competent Muslims have been named to the Comelec in the past without being questioned because most of them were known to the public as effective public servants. Of Abas, he said, “It appears he is unknown.”
Abbas added that “the little information” they had was that he was closely related to Iqbal.
The number of questions about the new commissioner spurred Oblate priest Eliseo Mercado Jr. to crowd source information about Abas, who is known to be a member of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines, and was once a regional director of the Civil Service Commission.
People describe Abas as “a young lawyer” who studied at Notre Dame University in Cotabato City, and  the son of Maguindanao public school principal Mildred Abas.
Abas was appointed to the Comelec along with its new chairman, former Philippine Commission on Good Government Juan Andres Bautista, and former Cadiz City mayor Rowena Amelia V. Guanzon, as commissioner.
Former Comelec chairman Christian Monsod questioned Bautista’s competence to lead the poll agency saying that Bautista may be a good lawyer but he has no background on election law.
“While he is a good lawyer, he has not been an election lawyer,” the former Comelec Chairman notes.
Monsod said Bautista has a good background in law as dean of the Far Eastern University’s Institute of Law and enjoys a good reputation as an honest person, but he said being an election lawyer was a critical qualification for the position. As a matter of fact, Monsod, himself was never an election lawyer.
Monsod also questioned if Bautista had sufficient management experience, because being Comelec chairman was “primarily a management job.” Actually, the new Chairman has a lot of hand-on experience as a manager having worked withe private companies and as head of the PCGG.
Bautista will join six other lawyers in the Comelec, which faces a management problem rather than a legal one, says Monsod.
Asked if the new appointees would have enough time to learn the ropes, Monsod said they will have a “very short learning period.”
“They should immediately connect with their field organization because credible elections are delivered from the ground level,” Monsod says.
Asked what Bautista should do with the controversial automated elections, Monsod said the Comelec commissioners should consult their field personnel and let them recount their personal experiences on automation and how people feel about it. For me, the knowledge that  the votes are counted automatically by a machine makes them safe from the dagdag-bawas perpetrators is good enough reason to continue with our elections.

# # # #

Readers who missed a column can access www.duckyparedes.com/blogs. This is updated daily. Your reactions are welcome at duckyparedes@gmail.com or you can send me a message through Twitter @diretsahan.

Senate Worries About Defense, The New Comelec


Readers who missed a column can access www.duckyparedes.com/blogs. This is updated daily. Your reactions are welcome at duckyparedes@gmail.com or you can send me a message through Twitter @diretsahan.

Senate Worries About Defense, The New Comelec

Malaya (05.11.15)
“‘We do not question the appointment of the President of anyone, we just want to raise a question: why now?’ asks Sultan Firdausi Abbas, MBAP president.”

by Ducky Paredes

The Senate national defense and security committee pushed finally faced up to our defense problems and called for an accelerated modernization of our armed forces to be able to put up a credible defense against Chinese agression in the Western Philippine Sea.
This was the assessment of Sen. Antonio F. Trillanes IV, the committee chair after a three-hour hearing on the land reclamations and dredging operations by China on disputed areas in the West Philippine Sea (WPS).
“It is clear that we modernize the AFP and accelerate it due to the potential threat to national security. There is no debate there,” he said. Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin and AFP Chief of Staff Gen. Gregorio Pio Catapang pressed lawmakers to increase the budget and annual cost of modernizing the AFP.
The government has spent only P63-billion to modernize the AFP since 2002, since 13 years ago. That’s a pittsnce compared to what our neighbor countries have been spending
Cesar P. Garcia Jr., director-general of the National Security Council (NSC),  told the Senate committee that “with the reports of massive reclamation projects by China in our exclusive economic zone, it is now very clear that our territorial disputes in the West Philippine Sea has in fact overtaken all security issues in our  hierarchy of national security concerns.”
Trillanes, a former Navy officer, agreed with Garcia’s assessment and believed the country “should have at least a minimum credible defense posture or at least a minimum deterrent capability so that they could not just come in and out of our territory.”
Seven of the islands reclaimed by China are “very close to Palawan” rather than to Hainan island in the southeastern most portion of China, say our defense officials.
The new islands rising in the South China Sea has gotten the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) worried.
A series of satellite images, the latest of which were taken in February and March and released by defense publication IHS Jane’s show that China has intensified the construction of artificial islands by dredging sand from submerged coral reefs and building up land mass, sometimes doubling or tripling the size of existing features. Among at least half a dozen islands being reconstructed, work on Fiery Cross Reef has attracted most attention because of its speed and scale. According to Jane’s, the new island is already big enough for a 3,000-meter (9,500-foot) runway able to accommodate big military planes.
* * *
Shaking off jet lag, President Aquino rallied Filipinos in the US to chase the “Filipino dream” of a better Philippines beyond 2016.
“The future of the Philippines is in your hands,” the President told the Filipino community at JW Marriott Hotel in downtown Chicago, stressing the significance of the 2016 presidential vote in perpetuating the administration’s reforms.
Ahead of the President’s visit, Chicago-based accountant Edilberto Ortiz posed the question for Aquino: “Is this good government going to continue?”
“There’s a saying: You ain’t seen nothing yet,” Aquino said, raving about the Philippines’ accomplishments.
Under “good governance,” he reported that the Philippines has gone from being Asia’s “sick man” to the region’s “darling,” and has seen investor confidence rise, “untouchables” go to jail, and unfinished infrastructure projects completed.
While not promising to solve everything before he steps down in June 2016, Aquino said it was clear Filipinos were reaping the fruits of the reforms his administration had sown.
“Surely, even the next administration will reap what we [have sown], that is if the straight path doesn’t turn crooked, and if you pick the right leaders as you [did] in 2010,” he said.
“I get blamed for a heavy downpour, and for heavy traffic on Edsa. I even get blamed for Manny Pacquiao’s recent loss,” he said, drawing chuckles from the Filipinos.
But then again, the President said, Filipinos “[could] not be fooled.”
“I’m confident that like in 1986, and in 2010, come 2016, you’ll be there to carry on what we’ve started. Our goal is not to go back to the rotten system, but to continue our country’s transformation,” he said.
And there’s no other way to achieve this but for all Filipinos to band together “whichever part of the world you are in,” he added.
“Let’s continue to chase the Filipino dream: a Philippines that is not only full of zest, enthusiasm and goodness, but of opportunities to better one’s self and country, and contribute to a better world,” he concluded.
The President kicked off his working, whirlwind visit to Chicago by receiving Mayor Rahm Emanuel at JW Marriott on Wednesday afternoon. He’s flying Thursday morning to Canada for a three-day state visit.
Emanuel presented Aquino with a city council resolution welcoming him to the Windy City, citing his phenomenal ascension to the presidency and achievements as a leader, before they sat down for a chat.
It was Emanuel’s first day at work after he was reelected for a second term in April. Emanuel is a former White House chief of staff to fellow Chicagoan President Barack Obama. He was elected mayor of Chicago in 2011.
“He said, ‘I am your admirer for being outspoken and clear-eyed on important issues affecting your country,”’ Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. said, quoting Emanuel.
After the meeting, Aquino motored to the nearby TransUnion headquarters for a roundtable discussion with executives of the US Chamber of Commerce, US Asean Business Council and the National Center for Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec).
Aquino ditched a prepared speech and forthwith asked them about their experiences in doing business in the Philippines, and how else this could be improved, Coloma said.
David Neenan, president of International TransUnion, expressed appreciation for the government’s thrust of promoting inclusive growth. TransUnion, he said, has been working with Land Bank of the Philippines in helping small- and medium-scale entrepreneurs gain access to financing.
The other executives expressed interest in doing or expanding business in the Philippines, and Aquino discussed areas that needed their expertise.
Thomas La France, senior executive of GE Transportation, spoke about possible investments in infrastructure development, Coloma said.
President Aquino replied that being an archipelagic country, the Philippines needs to improve connectivity by expanding the existing nautical highway, improving roll-on, roll-off and port facilities. Possiblities for improving the country’s railway system were also mentioned.
Ralph Carter, Federal Express managing director for legal, trade and international affairs, talked about his company’s involvement in improving the Philippines’ links with the global supply chain.
Julie Hoeniges of Caterpillar spoke about expanding her company’s business in mining, while Michael Fernandez of Cargill raised the possibility of raising his company’s investments in the agribusiness field, Coloma said.
“Monica Whaley, president of the National Center for Apec, lauded the Philippine government’s path-finding initiatives in promoting financial inclusion across all spheres of socioeconomic activity,” Coloma said.
At the end of the discussion, Marc Mealy, vice president for policy, US-Asean Business Council, gifted Aquino with a red Chicago Bulls jersey and a green Boston Celtics jersey. Having lived in Boston with his family during martial law, Aquino is a Celtics fan.
Members of the Chicago-based militant group Anakbayan staged a rally in front of JW Marriott, calling for the President’s resignation, renewing the group’s constant refrain.
When he faced the gathering of Filipinos, Aquino cracked jokes, and afterward stayed longer to pose for group pictures with them on stage, smiling and pressing flesh.
“I got excited when this visit was confirmed. I thought, this is my chance at tasting your deep-dish pizza,” he said to chuckles.
The Philippines has grown by leaps and bounds, the President said, since the administration adopted good governance as its rallying cry. Sadly, this good news has never “trended” on social media, hence, it must not only be “liked” but “shared” on Facebook, said the President.
So far, the government has filed 637 cases under the Revenue Integrity Protection Service, Run After Smugglers and Run After Tax Evaders programs, Aquino said.
“I’m sure you’ve heard the news that our politicians who are untouchable are now in jail, if not under hospital arrest,” he said.
Even corruption-ridden agencies, such as the Department of Public Works and Highways, have turned a new leaf, he added.
“Our basic principle: Good governance equals good economics, equals good-quality inclusive growth. That’s why we should forget our tag as Sick Man of Asia; we’re now called the Darling of Asia,” he said.
“The country has achieved investment grade status and risen in the World Economic Forum’s Global Competitiveness Report and in the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business Report, and according to Bloomberg, is poised to become the second fastest-growing economy,” he added.
From 2010 to 2014, the Philippines’ gross domestic product (GDP) grew by an average of 6.3 percent, Aquino said.
“We’re targeting 7 to 8 percent GDP growth this year,” he said.
According to the the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the Philippines will continue to be the “exception” in Asia and in the world as its economy is expected to continue its upward growth momentum.
“We see falling potential growth in the world and in Asia in general, but the Philippines is an outlier,” IMF resident representative Shanaka Jayanath Peiris said in a briefing.
IMF’s current estimate of the Philippines’ annual potential growth is at six to 6.5 percent. Peiris said the IMF would update this figure during its Article IV Consultation slated next week.
The IMF last month increased its forecast for Philippine economic growth this year to 6.7 percent from an earlier projection of 6.6 percent. The latest estimate is faster than the 6.1 percent expansion recorded last year but still short of the government’s seven- to eight-percent target for 2015.
For next year, the IMF expects economic growth to slow down to 6.3 percent, also below the government’s seven to eight percent target for that period.
The Philippines should remain as Southeast Asia’s growth driver this year until the next, despite a slower first quarter growth versus the fourth quarter of last year.
“Manufacturing and exports are weaker, but domestic demand remains strong. This suggests that growth is overall strong… definitely stronger than first quarter of 2014 but may not be stronger than fourth quarter of 2014,” Peiris said.
* * *
The Muslim Bar Association of the Philippines (MBAP), notes that Sheriff Abas, a Comelec provincial director in Maguindanao before his new appointment as Comelec Commissioner, was reportedly a cousin of MILF chief negotiator Mohagher Iqbal.
“We do not question the appointment of the President of anyone, we just want to raise a question: why now?” asks Sultan Firdausi Abbas, MBAP president.
Noting that several competent Muslims have been named to the Comelec in the past without being questioned because most of them were known to the public as effective public servants. Of Abas, he said, “It appears he is unknown.”
Abbas added that “the little information” they had was that he was closely related to Iqbal.
The number of questions about the new commissioner spurred Oblate priest Eliseo Mercado Jr. to crowd source information about Abas, who is known to be a member of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines, and was once a regional director of the Civil Service Commission.
People describe Abas as “a young lawyer” who studied at Notre Dame University in Cotabato City, and  the son of Maguindanao public school principal Mildred Abas.
Abas was appointed to the Comelec along with its new chairman, former Philippine Commission on Good Government Juan Andres Bautista, and former Cadiz City mayor Rowena Amelia V. Guanzon, as commissioner.
Former Comelec chairman Christian Monsod questioned Bautista’s competence to lead the poll agency saying that Bautista may be a good lawyer but he has no background on election law.
“While he is a good lawyer, he has not been an election lawyer,” the former Comelec Chairman notes.
Monsod said Bautista has a good background in law as dean of the Far Eastern University’s Institute of Law and enjoys a good reputation as an honest person, but he said being an election lawyer was a critical qualification for the position. As a matter of fact, Monsod, himself was never an election lawyer.
Monsod also questioned if Bautista had sufficient management experience, because being Comelec chairman was “primarily a management job.” Actually, the new Chairman has a lot of hand-on experience as a manager having worked withe private companies and as head of the PCGG.
Bautista will join six other lawyers in the Comelec, which faces a management problem rather than a legal one, says Monsod.
Asked if the new appointees would have enough time to learn the ropes, Monsod said they will have a “very short learning period.”
“They should immediately connect with their field organization because credible elections are delivered from the ground level,” Monsod says.
Asked what Bautista should do with the controversial automated elections, Monsod said the Comelec commissioners should consult their field personnel and let them recount their personal experiences on automation and how people feel about it. For me, the knowledge that  the votes are counted automatically by a machine makes them safe from the dagdag-bawas perpetrators is good enough reason to continue with our elections.

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Malaking Pagkakamali ng Team Pacquiao

Abante (06.09.15)

ni Horacio Paredes

Kahit na hindi maaaring suportahan ang ginawa ng Team Pacquiao na tinago nila ang inury nag Pambansansang Kamao bago nagsimula ang kaniulang labanan ni Floyd Mayweather kung saan  ang nangyari ay iyon na yata ang ang pinakamasamang bout ni Pacman, magandang balita naman na sumailalim na si  Manny Pacquiao sa arthroscopic surgery para ayusin ang injured na kanang  sa Los Angeles.
Ayon kay Dr. Neal ElAttrache, ang kilalang orthopedic surgeon na nagsagawa ng 90-­minute operation sa torn rotator cuff ni Pacquiao, maayos naman ang naging resulta.
Inaasahan  ni E­lAttrache na babalik pa rin sa ring si Pacquiao. Sa kanyang pananaw, posibleng lumaban muli si Pacquiao 9 months hanggang 1-year mula ngayon.
Si ElAttrache din ang nag-opera sa mga sikat na atleta gaya kina Kobe Bryant ng Los Angeles Lakers at quarter­back Tob Brady ng New England P­atriots sa NFL (National Football League).
Natalo  si Pacquiao via unanimous decision kay Floyd Mayweather Jr. sa kanilang pound-for-pound showdown Sabado ng gabi sa MGM Grand sa Las Vegas, pero lumaban siya kahit na may damage ang kanang balikat.
Hindi  raw sinabi ng Team Pacquiao ang injury sa Nevada State Athletic Commission,  kaya maaari siyang pagmulta­hin at suspendi­hin dahil sa pagsi­sinungaling sa pre-fight medical questionnaire na binuo naman ng isang miyembro ng Team Pacquiao/
Kung sinabi sana ng Team Pacquiao ang injury na nakuha 2 ½ weeks bago ang laban, ma­lamang na gumawa ng treatment plan ang commission doctor ka­sama ng Team Pacquiao at posibleng pinayagan sana siyang mabigyan ng anti-inflammatory shot sa fight night. Pero dahil hindi nalaman ng commission ang injury hanggang ilang oras bago ang laban, na-­deny ang request.
Nitong Lunes ay na-diagnose ni ElAttrache si Pacquiao na may punit ns tinawag ng duktor na “significant tear” sa rotator cuff.
“If all goes as expected with the surgery and the rehab is success­ful, Manny could be back training in about six months. At that point he will be regaining strength and endurance and competition is reasonable within nine months to a year,” pahayag ni Dr. E­lAttrache.
Dahil naman na tinago ng Team Pacquiao ang kaniyang kundisyon, meon nang dalawang tao na kinasohan si Manny ng $5 million sa gainawa nilang pagtago ng injury ni Manny na nagresiulta sa hindi niyanaibigay ang kanilang inaasahan na mapapanood na labanang ng dalawang boxer. Malamang, na kapag tanggapin ng korte ang reklamo, marami ang mga gaya-gayang mag-file rin ng kaso dahil ganoon sa Amerika. Kahit nga napaso lamang sa paginom ng mainit na kape sa Macdo o nadulas sa basang bangketa ay nakakasingil ng malaking kwarta.
Pinagbibigyan ng mga hukom ang mga nawawalan kahit na sa katangahan naman nila kung baket sila nadulas o nawalan. Ang pagtago ng Team Pacquiao sa tunay na kalagayan ng kuindisyon ni Pacman hanggang sa itao ay kaniyang binunyag tapos ng bout ay maaaring lumaki at marami ang mga sumali sa sumbong ng unang dalawang nagsumbong.
Hindi malayo na maubos ang natanggap; ni Pacman sa kaniyang bout kay Mayweather sa mga magsusumbong pa sa kaniya kasama ang mga sikat na mga bilyonariyo ng Las Vegas at Hollywood.
Baka pa nga’y wala na lamang sinabi si Manny tungkol sa kaniyang kundisyon bago sa kanilang sagupaan ni Mayweather. Kung tinaggap niya na natalo siya “fair and square” kahit na nagpa-opera rin siya pagkatapos, baka walang kahit na sinong maghahabla sa kaniya. Para kasing hindi matanggap ni Manny ang kaniyang pagkatalo, kaya — ayan — lalaki ang gastudin niya at aasa na lamang tayo na sa sunod nilang pagtagpo nmi Floyd ay wala nang maaaring rason an matalo na naman ang ating kampeon!
Sa mga hindi pa rin matanggap na walng kakwenta-kwenta ang pinakita ni Manny sa kaniyang laban kontra Mayweather, huwag silang tumulad kay Hun Sen ang diktador ng Kampucheaa na tumaya ng $5,000 kay Manny ngunit ayaw mgbayad na pagkatalo dahil sa kaniyang desisyon (kuno) nsgkamali ang mga hukom ng mga boxing judge sa Las Vegas. Dahuil diktador siya, sino ang maaaring kumontra sa kaniya sa Kampuchea.

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Readers who missed a column can access www.duckyparedes.com/blogs. This is updated daily. Your reactions are welcome at duckyparedes@gmail.com or you can send me a message through Twitter @diretsahan.

BCDA’s Misplaced Belligerence

Malaya (05.08.15)

By insisting on evicting the 1,631 third party investors in CJH, the BCDA is clearly guilty of unashamed, unjust enrichment.

 

by Ducky Paredes

The series of legal setbacks suffered by the Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA) in the case of two of its private developer-partners—SM Land Inc. (SMLI) at Taguig’s Bonifacio Global City (BGC) and Camp John Hay Development Corp. (CJHDevCo) in Baguio—illustrate everything wrong with the agency tasked to attract investors and keep them happy in former military camps converted to special economic zones (SEZs).

In SMLI’s case, the Supreme Court (SC) called down BCDA for “grave abuse of discretion” with its “unilateral cancellation of (a) perfected contract” on a 2010 commitment to conduct a Swiss Challenge on the developer’s unsolicited proposal for the development of BGC’s 33.1-hectare Bonifacio South Pointe property near Forbes Park.

BCDA had justified its policy reversal on grounds that holding a competitive bidding would undermine the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) modernization program and discourage prospective investors. The SC ruled, however, that the BCDA could not abandon its obligation to subject SMLI’s unsolicited proposal to a Swiss Challenge because five years ago, both signed a perfected contract covering such an arrangement.

* * *

In CJHDevCo’s case, an arbitral tribunal—the Philippine Dispute Resolution Center Inc. (PDRCI)—decided last February to rescind BCDA’s 1996 lease contract with this developer-partner, owing in large part to the agency’s serial violations of their original Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) and subsequent Revised MOAs (RMOAs) on the development and management of Baguio’s former American facility Camp John Hay (CJH).

Because of BCDA’s repeated MOA and RMOA transgressions, PDRCI ordered BCDA to pay an arbitral award of P1.42 billion to CJHDevCo.

BCDA’s pugnaciosness has cost the government big time, equivalent—according to CJHDevCo chairman Robert John Sobrepeña—to a whopping P5 billion, representing the P1.42 billion monetary award ordered by PDRCI and the developer’s proposed 2011 settlement package consisting of an upfront P500 million plus P3.3 billion more spread over 10 years, and another P150 million in annual rentals until the lease expires in 2046.

On April 14, the Baguio Regional Trial Court (RTC) handed out a Writ of Execution to implement the PDRCI decision, which required BCDA to pay P1.42 billion in exchange for CJHDevCo’s withdrawal from CJH.

But BCDA’spresident-chief executive officer (CEO) Arnel Casanova, BCD refuses to pay CJHDevCo and, worse, has been bullying John Hay’s 1,631 sub-lessees to vacate the former camp even if they are third-party investors “in good faith” who are protected by law from such arbitration cases or legal disputes between lessors and their principal lessees.

* * *

Why are these considered third-party investors “in good faith”?

Because, both BCDA and CJHDevCo were declared by the PDRCI to be at fault. Given this “mutual fault,” the investors were thus declared in good faith.

The BCDA has claimed it was not bound to respect the vested rights of CJH investors because CJHDevCo was supposedly in bad faith. Following this BCDA logic, because the third-party investors trace their presence to a party in bad faith, then they too are in bad faith also and lose all their rights, which the BCDA can now ignore with impunity.
However, this BCDA position is wrong because the investing public or sub-locators/sub-lessees, have been declared in good faith by PDRCI in its arbitral decision.

* * *

CJHDevCo’s withdrawal from CJH must be, under the PDRCI and RTC rulings—simultaneous with BCDA’s payment of the P1.4-billion reward, but Casanova appears bent on not paying the private developer at all.

Rather than pay the arbitral award by writing a check to CJHDevCo, BCDA deposited the P1.4 billion last April 17 in an escrow account in the name of a Baguio RTC.

In refusing to pay the monetary award directly to CJHDevCo as ordered by PRCI, BCDA is guilty of unashamed and unjust enrichment because the amount is a refund of previous rentals paid by CJHDevCo.

* * *

In her Writ of Execution that confirmed the PDRCI’s Final Award, RTC Judge Cecilia Dulay Archog explains that the sub-lessees and/or vested rights holders “will be governed by the law on obligations and contracts.”

Article 1385 of the Civil Code states that, “An order for mutual restitution cannot include properties currently in possession of third persons who acted in ‘Good Faith’.”

This effort to eject third-party lessees and scare them into filing a class suit against CJHDevCo is proof that BCDA does not want to pay the P1.42 billion arbitral award in violation of the PDRCI and Baguio RTC orders.

* * *

The “Notice to Vacate” arising from the decision of the arbitral tribunal is not directed at the 1,631 third-party investors—among them 300 timeshare owners of the Forest Lodge, 185 timeshare owners of The Manor, 82 country home or forest cabin owners, 13 log home or commander’s cabin owners, and 39 owners of country estate or forest estate lots.

These investors include, instead, the Philippine Long Distance Telephone Co. (PLDT), International Container Terminal Services Inc. (ICTSI) of tycoon Ricky Razon, LBC Properties Inc. of the Aranetas, Union Bank of the Aboitizes, Keyland Corp., Rustan’s Coffee Corp., Phoenix Petroleum Philippines, mining tycoon Manuel Zamora Jr., industrialist Raul Concepcion, manufacturing magnate Norberto Quisumbing, developer Rex Drilon II, former agriculture secretary Luis Lorenzo Jr., Maynilad president Victorico Vargas, Reps. Eric Singson and Alfredo Benitez, Ambassador Raul Rabe and Afficionado perfume manufacturer Joselito Cruz.

Incidentally, if BCDA would have its way, then it should also evict from CJH the BFF (best friends forever) of Casanova, namely, the Ayala Corp., as the Ayala business centre now running at this SEZ–the Baguio-AyalaLand Technohub–was built under an agreement with CJHDevCo.

Same case for Le Monet Hotel, which is owned by Rep. Singson and which was similarly built through an agreement with CJHDevCo.

But will Casanova kick out these two, especially his BFF, Ayala Corp., in the same way that he wants to evict the rest of the third-party investors after using their money to pay interest to CJHDevCo?

* * *

At the height of this post-arbitration squabble, BCDA has come out not only with newspaper advertisements on its Notice of Eviction against these third-party investors, but also with media reports claiming that this agency has raised an aggregate of P29.16 billion for the AFP modernization program in its 22 years of existence.

Under the Aquino administration, the BCDA proudly claims that it gave to the national treasury an average of P2 billion yearly for the benefit of the AFP and 14 other beneficiary-institutions.

What BCDA did not say is that it would have generated another P5 billion had it dropped its quarrelsome ways and abided by the separate appeals earlier by the House special committee on bases conversion, Baguio City’s elective officials led by Mayor Mauricio Domogan and the Baguio RTC for it to settle its feud with CJHDevCo.

* * *

In a month-ago news conference, Sobrepeña noted that BCDA was actually aware of CJHDevCo’s contracts with sub-lessees because these investors had to secure permits from BCDA to proceed with their CJH use and operations.

Blaming BCDA for the long-running conflict that ended in arbitration and the PDRIC and RTC rulings, Sobrepeña said the BCDA lost an estimated P5 billion from its refusal to accept the offer of CJHDevCo earlier to restructure the back rentals and pay an annual lease for CJH.

BCDA’s belligerence has been detrimental to the government’s efforts to attract firms to engage in Public Private Partnership (PPP) projects as investors are looking for stability and rule of law.

* * *

CJHDevCo explains that third-party investors have nothing to fear and should assert their lawful rights to their properties because:

The “Notice to Vacate” signed by RTC Clerk of Court lawyer Linda Montes Loloy and ex-officio Sheriff, Sheriff BobbyGalano is directed to “CJHDevCo and all persons claiming under them,” which refers only to CJHDevCo, its employees, security personnel as well as its subsidiaries;

CJH Investors do not claim under CJHDevCo, they all claim in their own names and

for their accounts as investors in good faith and for valuable consideration in CJH;

Judge Archog’s ruling clearly states that “As to the list of sub-lessees and/or vested rights holders, they will be governed by the law on obligations and contracts.”

Thus, this”Writ of Execution” issued by Judge Archog does not mention or include the third parties and/or vested rights holders;

All purchases in Camp John Hay were made in ‘good faith’ and were purchased with the full consent and knowledge, if not the inducement, of the BCDA, which (contrary to repeated denials) was completely “privy” to all investor’s contracts.

In fact, under the Arbitral Decision, the BCDA was held liable and ordered to return to CJHDevCo the interest on the P1.42 billion;

PDRCI considered the BCDA interest obligation to be completely paid by BCDA to CJHDevCo from the monies paid to CJHDevCo by the third-party investors.

Thus, the BCDA paid CJHDevCo its obligations from funds paid by CJH investors.; CJHDevCo was likewise ordered to pay the BCDA ‘reasonable rent’ for 18 years,which came by way of improvements introduced by CJHDevCo.

CJHDevCo, therefore, discharged its obligation to the BCDA using its own property and resources while the BCDA used the investments paid by all CJH investors to settle its obligations to pay interest to CJHDevCo.

By insisting on evicting the 1,631 third party investors in CJH, the BCDA is clearly guilty of unashamed, unjust enrichment;

Fundamental fairness dictates that a government entity such as the BCDA, having accepted the benefit under the Arbitral Award to pay for its obligation using the hard-earned investment of CJH Investors, must then respect the vested rights of the third-party investors at CJH; and

The BCDA is intent on forcing the CJH third-party investors to fight by coercing them to claim their potential losses against CJHDevCo, losses which the BCDA will have singularly and illegally caused by commandeering the third-party properties.

* * *

Casanova and BCDA legal services chief Peter Paul Flores have the gall to assert that BCDA will not honor the sub-lease agreements on apparent lie that the BCDA was never privy to these transactions, and telling the concerned sub-locators and other lease-contract holders to instead run after the lessor, the CJHDevCo.

* * *

Readers who missed a column can access www.duckyparedes.com/blogs. This is updated daily. Your reactions are welcome at duckyparedes@gmail.com or you can send me a message through Twitter @diretsahan.

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Readers who missed a column can access www.duckyparedes.com/blogs. This is updated daily. Your reactions are welcome at duckyparedes@gmail.com or you can send me a message through Twitter @diretsahan.

Galit pa rin si Celia, Niloko Tayo ni Pacman

Abante (05.07.15)

ni Horacio Paredes

Nagpasaring si Pangulong Benigno ‘Noynoy’ Aquino III sa ina ng convicted drug trafficker na si Mary Jane Veloso na hindi siya ang gumawa ng problema kung kaya’t nahaharap sa parusang kamatayan ang kanyang anak sa Indonesia.
Ito ang buwelta ng Pangulo matapos magsalita si Celia Veloso na nagsinungaling ang Pangulo nang paniwalain silang ito ang gumawa ng paraan para masuspinde ang pagbitay kay Mary Jane at marami daw silang sisingiling pagkakautang ng gobyerno sa hindi pagtulong sa kaso ng anak.
Sa isang ambush interview sa Naga City, Cebu, nagpasaring si PNoy na hindi naman siya ang may kasalanan kung bakit nakulong sa Indonesia si Mary Jane.
“We did what we could. We were not involved in the creation of the problem. You must remember she was arrested, if I am not mistaken, April of 2010. Hindi pa Presidente noon si PNoy”

Maaaring pagkalooban ng clemency si convicted drug trafficker Mary Jane Veloso kung makikipagtulungan siya sa gobyerno para mahuli ang mga taong nagbigay sa kanya ng 2.6 kilo ng heroin upang ipuslit sa Indonesia noong 2010.
Ito ang ipinahayag ni Pangulong Benigno ‘Noynoy’ Aquino III nang matanong sa isang ambush interview sa Naga City, Cebu, kung sinisikap ng pamahalaan na mapagkalooban ni Indonesian President Joko Widodo ng clemency si Veloso.
Ayon kay Pangulong Aquino, wala sa kanyang kamay ang bola sa usapin ng clemency, kundi hawak ito ni Mary Jane kung makikipagtulungan siya sa gobyerno para makilala at mahuli ang mga taong nasa likod ng human at drug trafficking na kanyang kinasangkutan.
“If Mary Jane becomes very, very helpful in the process, then that might be a basis for extending some clemency,” ‘ika ng Pangulo.
Matatandaan na nahatulan na ng parusang kamatayan si Mary Jane noong 2011 dahil sa pagpupuslit ng 2.6 kilos ng heroin sa paliparan ng Jakarta, Indonesia noong Abril ng 2010.
Isasalang na sana ito sa firing squad subalit binigyan ng reprieve sa huling sandali. Ang walo namang drug convict ay natuloy ang pagbitay sa pamamagitan ng firing squad.
Sa panayam naman ng Abante sa Migrante International, tila malaki ang tsansa ni Mary Jane na mapawalang-sala at maalis sa death row dahil malakas ang ebidensya na magpapatunay na biktima lamang ito ng illegal recruitment. Ito ay dahil tatlo katao pa ang naloko ni Maria Kristina Sergio at live-in partner nito na si Julius Lacanilao, ngunit tumanggi muna silang pangalanan ang mga ito.

* * *

Posibleng mag-semi-retire si Filipino boxing icon Manny Pacquiao kung sasailalim sa surgery para iayos ang injured shoulder na naging dahilan umano ng kanyang ‘di magandang performance sa laban kay Floyd Mayweather Jr. sa Las Vegas.

Sumailalim sa MRI scan si Pacquiao at posibleng bago matapos ang linggo ay operahan na ito.

“Ito  (shoulder) talaga ‘yung pumigil sa akin, tingin ko 60% lang ‘yung performance ko, kasi hindi ko mai-kunekta ‘yung kanan,” ‘ika ni Pacquiao.

Kaugnay nito, ayon kay Dr. Neal ElAttrache, kilalang doktor ng mga sikat na atleta, posibleng pansamantalang mawawala sa eksena ang Pambansang Kamao sa loob ng siyam hanggang 12 buwan para makarekober.

Ang injury ay nakuha ni Pacquiao sa training tatlong linggo bago ang ‘fight of the century’ at sa halip na humiling na ipagpaliban ang laban, ay minabuting ituloy kahit may nararamdaman siyang kirot.

“Umasa rin ako na mapagbigyan ng NSAC ng shot para mabawasan ‘yung kirot, kaya itinuloy ko ang laban,” wika ni Pacquiao.

Pero, sa gabi ng laban, hindi pumayag ang NSAC sa hiling nitong shot (injection) ng anti-inflammatory na magpapamanhid sa sakit.

Ngunit, di kaya na maaaringnawalan na ng tiwala ang mga tmaya kay Pacman dahil sa kahit na nagsimula na ang labn sy wala siyang sinabi tungkol sa injury kung kaya marami pa ring pumusta sa kaniyac kahit na malamang na ang mga malapit sa kaniya ay pumusta na sa kaaban dahil nlalaman nila ang tunay na kalagayan ni Pacquaio

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Paman Should Quit Boxing

Malaya (05.07.15)

“Who would believe him the next time he goes into a ring, considering that before this fight, he assured everyone that he was in top condition, even when he could no longer punch.

by Ducky Paredes

Whether Manny Pacquiao will need surgery or not on his right shoulder hardly matters anymore to boxing fans. Our hero should just retire from professional sports.

Pacquiao will have the shoulder examined to find the gravity of the injury he sustained in training for his Fight of the Century with Floyd Mayweather Saturday night at MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas.

If the result shows that the tear underneath the rotator cuff will require surgery, Pacquiao will most likely ask that the operation be held in the Philippines, since he has his duties as Sarangani representative to attend to.

If ever, the operation will put Pacquiao out of the ring for three to six months, effectively ruling him out of a rematch with Mayweather in September.

There was no rematch clause in Saturday’s colossal battle projected to earn $400 million, Team Pacquiao is hoping that Mayweather will reconsider because there’s no other fight out there that would bring in more money than Mayweather-Pacquiao II.

The first edition will give Mayweather up to $180 million in revenues, with a $100-million check handed to him after the fight that drew a packed crowd of 16,507.

Pacquiao stands to earn around $100 million depending on the pay-per-view revenues all around the world.

In a press conference held Sunday afternoon, shortly before Team Pacquiao left for Los Angeles, Pacquiao said he re-injured the shoulder while raining punches on Mayweather in the fourth round.

A sudden stinging pain forced Pacquiao to stop the attack, and he was never the same after that.

“It felt like a needle was being stuck into my shoulder,” said Pacquiao while holding his right arm like a sling under his jacket.

From the fifth round onward, Pacquiao was fighting with a good left hand and a damaged right, which certainly wouldn’t be enough against a boxer of Mayweather’s caliber.

Fight statistics reveal that Pacquiao was but a shadow of the perpetual motion machine that dominated the ring from 2008-2011.

Pacquiao threw just 429 punches, the fewest he has ever unleashed in a 12-rounder, based on compubox figures.
In his last three fights against Brandon Rios, Tim Bradley and Chris Algieri, respectively,Pacquiao averaged 674 punches.

In his meanest offensive form, Pacquiao threw over 1000 punches twice, against Antonio Margarito and Joshua Clottey.
That the defense-master Mayweather could out-punch Pacquiao simply boggles the mind.

In his last two fights against Marcos Maidana, Mayweather unloaded an average of just 376 punches.

To me, this is the end of the line for the Pacman. Who would believe him the next time he goes into a ring, considering that before this fight, he assured everyone that he was in top condition, even when he could no longer punch.

* * *

Newly appointed elections chief Andres Bautista is expected to breeze through the confirmation process in the Commission on Appointments (CA).

Isabela Rep. Rodolfo Albano III, who is a member of the House CA contingent, said yesterday he expects the commission to speedily confirm Bautista’s appointment as chairman of the Commission on Elections (Comelec).

“I will propose that we confirm him and the two other new appointees as soon as possible so that they and their four colleagues in the Comelec could focus on preparations for the May 2016 combined presidential-congressional-local elections,” Albano said.

“They have only about a year to work on such preparations and it is important that they not be burdened by lack of confirmation from us in doing their job,” he said.

Another CA member, Rep. Rufus Rodriguez of Cagayan de Oro City, said he would ask his colleagues in the appointments body to immediately tackle Bautista’s appointment in the committee and plenary levels.

“I can vouch for his integrity and honesty. I personally know him. We took him as one of our law professors in San Sebastian when I was law dean and he was then a fresh graduate from Harvard,” he said.

“The President made the right decision in appointing him Comelec chairman,” he added.

But Rodriguez said the Comelec under its new leadership should immediately comply with the Supreme Court ruling nullifying the contract of the poll body with Smartmatic for the test and repair of precinct count optical scan (PCOS) machines.

He said the Comelec should immediately hold another bidding for the contract to ensure automated 2016 elections.

“If we go back to manual, we would likely see cheating,” Rodriguez told reporters.

Albano said he supports Aquino’s choice of Bautista as Comelec chairman.

“He is a highly accomplished professional who has performed very well in the private and public sectors. He is very honest and capable and has no political leanings,” Albano said of Bautista.

During Bautista’s tenure as chairman of the Presidential Commission on Good Government (PCGG), there were no reports of corruption in the agency, Albano said.

He noted that the former PCGG chairman had even recommended that the agency – formed to recover ill-gotten assets of the Marcoses and their cronies – be disbanded and its functions transferred to the Department of Justice as it had already largely accomplished its task.

Aside from Albano and Rodriguez, several CA members in the Senate have expressed support for Bautista’s appointment.

They include Senate President Franklin Drilon, who is CA presiding officer, and Sen. Sergio Osmeña III.

Bautista and newly appointed commissioners Rowena Guanzon and Sheriff Abas took their oath of office before acting Comelec Chairman Robert Christian Lim on Monday, shortly before Congress reconvened after a six-week Lenten break. Malacañang’s appointment of the three was dated April 28.

Under CA rules, appointments made while Congress is on recess are immediately effective and remain so until the next adjournment of Congress.

On the other hand, appointments made while Congress is in session need CA confirmation before they take effect.

Thus, Aquino had to name the new Comelec members before Monday’s reconvening of Congress so they could immediately assume office.

Their appointments will remain valid and become permanent if confirmed, otherwise, they will lapse on June 12 when Congress ends its second regular session.

A check with the CA website yesterday showed that Malacañang has not submitted the appointment papers of Bautista, Guanzon and Abas to the appointments body.

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Readers who missed a column can access www.duckyparedes.com/blogs. This is updated daily. Your reactions are welcome at duckyparedes@gmail.com or you can send me a message through Twitter @diretsahan.