Opinion & Community

Lawyer: Vice mayor urged convict to testify vs De Lima

INQUIRER PHOTO/LYN RILLON

They say love moves mountains.

That was what moved Herbert Colanggo to testify against Sen. Leila de Lima, now detained on drug charges.

Colanggo, a convicted bank robber sentenced to life imprisonment, allegedly operated a drug distribution syndicate from New Bilibid Prison (NBP).


A recording artist who aspired to follow the foot prints of Michael Jackson, Colanggo is the acknowledged lover of Vice Mayor Nova Echaves, 36, whose father, Mayor Reynaldo Parojinog Sr., 60, was killed in a police raid on Sunday in which 14 others were also killed.

According to congressional testimony, Colanggo had held concerts at NBP, which he turned on such occasions into a “Little Las Vegas.”

Mayor Parojinog had been accused by President Rodrigo Duterte of being a drug lord.

Second thoughts

Speaking to reporters on Tuesday following the inquest of Echaves and her brother, Reynaldo Jr., lawyer Ferdinand Topacio said Colanggo was having second thoughts about testifying against De Lima, accused of receiving protection bribes from convicts running a multibillion-peso drug distribution system from NBP while she was the justice secretary.

“He was of course thinking of the repercussions in testifying against Senator De Lima. He was also thinking he might incriminate himself,” Topacio said.

The lawyer quoted Echaves as telling him: “Tell them. Tell them the truth. Why should you be afraid? Tell them who Senator De Lima is. The world needs to know who Senator De Lima is.”

Asked what made Colanggo go by Echaves’ wish, Topacio said: “He loves Nova… They say love can move mountains.”


Duterte last year revealed the vice mayor’s relationship with Colanggo.

Topacio said Colanggo and 18 other drug convicts, who were transferred to the detention center in Camp Aguinaldo from NBP, were standing by their testimony against De Lima.

“I personally spoke with them last week… None of them is planning to recant,” Topacio said.

 

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PCSO touts STL expansion; lawmaker doubts government benefit

PCSO chairman Jose Jorge Corpuz and general manager Alexander Balutan during Wednesday’s budget briefing. Photo: Vince F. Nonato.

Although the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office has touted the five-fold expansion of small-town lottery operations under the Duterte administration as an antidote to illegal gambling, a lawmaker on Wednesday questioned if the government is indeed getting its rightful share.

PCSO Chairman Jose Jorge Corpuz told lawmakers that 92 STL operators have been accredited from the previous figure of 18.

“It is converting illegal to legal, so the government will benefit. We know there are illegal activities on the ground. We encourage them to be legal,” Corpuz said, adding that PCSO wanted to turn gambling lords into “gaming lords.”


Kabayan Party-list Rep. Harry Roque commended the “increased efficiency” that led to the projected 183-percent increase of STL proceeds to P18.32 billion in 2017, from P6.46 billion last year.

However, Roque said this is also a “cause for alarm” because “we’re probably getting only the tip of the iceberg.”

“We know too that it’s an instrument of jueteng lords to enrich themselves,” he said, adding there’s “no way to ensure the amounts” since STL operations are practically outsourced to the employees of accredited agents.

“We conduct the lottery and allow them to accept the bets. They would determine how much they declare they made,” Roque noted.

Similary, appropriations committee chair Rep. Karlo Alexei Nograles asked if STL operations would only become “fronts” of the illegal gambling lords.

Corpuz acknowledged the concern but appealed for lawmakers to “look at the bigger picture” since “we just opened the market.” He stressed the goal of turning gambling lords into “allies of the government.”

“The ones we’ll allow to enter, we’ll help play [the game]. After we control the game, that’s the time we will impose all the restrictions you want,” he said.

Roque pitched that the STL system should be computerized too to centralize operations in the hands of actual PCSO employees, unlike the current setup of letting accredited agents and their personnel who handle the bets because of the agency’s lack of manpower.


However, General Manager Alexander Balutan, emphasized the job-generating aspect of the charity gaming industry.

The PCSO is one of the government’s major revenue-generating agencies, having been mandated to contribute funds for the purposes of at least 13 Republic Acts.

PCSO’s total retail receipts are projected to increase by 31 percent in 2017 to P51.88 billion, from the P39.56 billion actual income realized in 2016. Lotto continues to account for bulk of the said income, although it is projected to decreased by 1 percent to P28.59 billion, from P28.77 billion in 2016.

Besides lotto and STL, the other games under PCSO are Keno (to earn P4.95 billion, 15 percent up from 2016’s P4.32 billion) and sweepstakes (to earn P17.5 million, 40 percent higher than last year’s P12.5 million).

However, PCSO asked lawmakers to consider reviewing the various laws for mandatory contributions for possible repeal or amendment. This would free up more funds for health-related and charitable purposes. JE

 

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Aquinos: Where are our friends?

Photo: 

Ballsy Aquino-Cruz on Cory Aquino’s 8th death anniversary. Inquirer/Lyn Rillon

 

 

ON CORY’S 8TH DEATH ANNIVERSARY
On the 8th death anniversary of democracy icon former President Corazon Aquino, her children mused about how it must be difficult for their friends and supporters to be seen with them these days.

As she thanked them for joining the Aquinos in a Mass at the family mausoleum at Manila Memorial Park on Tuesday, Ballsy Aquino-Cruz quipped that it was not an “in” thing to be friends with the Aquinos nowadays.

This was met by chuckles from the crowd that was smaller compared to when Cory and Ninoy Aquino’s only son, Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III, was President for six years.

The former President, who stepped down from office in June last year, now faces charges of usurpation of authority and graft for allowing his then PNP Director General Alan Purisima, although serving a suspension at that time, to participate in the counterterrorism operation in Mamasapano, Maguindanao.

While the Mamasapano operation neutralized Malaysian terrorist Zulkifli bin Hir, alias Marwan, it also left 44 police commandos dead.

Cruz thanked those who supported her mother and brother during their terms as president, saying there were many of them when the Aquinos were still in power.

But there was still a good number of people who showed up at the cemetery, mostly clad in the opposition signature color yellow and singing the opposition battlecry song “Bayan Ko.”

Kris, the youngest Aquino sibling, kept a low profile, choosing to stay at the back with her son, James Jr., throughout the Mass. Elder son Josh, who also wore a yellow shirt, stood beside his uncle Noynoy.

Former Pres. Benigno S. Aquino III at the tomb of his parents, former Pres. Corazon C. Aquino and Sen. Ninoy Aquino, on the 8th death anniversary of his mother. Inquirer/Rillon

After their eldest sister spoke, the former president answered questions from reporters without hesitation.

Like his sister, Aquino said that their family was “touched to see the people who came to be with us today, especially those who were with us when Daddy was killed,” referring to the 1983 assassination of Ninoy.

“That time, many people were tense to be seen with us,” the former President said, adding that they seem to be living again in those times.


Asked if the foundation of the country’s democracy, restored through the bloodless 1986 Edsa People Power Revolution, remained strong, Aquino replied that anything that is not being taken care of would eventually crumble.

“It is our obligation to defend our rights that we fought for. If we don’t give importance to these rights, we might wake up one day to find them gone,” Aquino said.

Also present in the gathering were Aquino siblings Viel and Pinky, their cousin Sen. Bam Aquino, former Aquino Cabinet members Armin Luistro and Voltaire Gazmin and Cory spokesperson Deedee Siytangco. — With a report from Dexter Cabalza; editors: JE/ atm/ac

 

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With drug war questioned, Palace showers Aquino with figures

CITIZEN NOY / JULY 17, 2017
Former President Benigno Simeon Aquino III answers questions during an interview at his residence in Times Street in Quezon City on Monday, July 17, 2017.
INQUIRER PHOTO / GRIG C. MONTEGRANDE


Malacañang on Wednesday hit back at former president Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III for saying it seemed like nothing happened in the drug war of the Duterte administration.
Aquino told reporters on Tuesday that during his term in 2015, statistics showed that there were 1.8 million drug users in the Philippines. At the end of 2016, the number of drug users in the country remained at 1.8 million.
“Parang wala yatang nangyari (It seems like nothing happened),” Aquino said.

But Malacañang refuted Aquino’s claims.
“Comments like the above from past leaders imply a jaded cynicism borne of a history of political opportunism,” Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella said in a statement.

Abella said “the results of (President Rodrigo Duterte’s) anti-illegal drug campaign speak for themselves.”
He said Duterte’s war on drugs resulted in the unprecedented voluntary surrender of more than 1.3 million drug personalities.
He cited that 96,703 drug personalities have been arrested in the first year of the Dutertes administration’s war on drugs compared to 77,810 drug personalities arrested in the six years of the Aquino administration.
He added that 2,445.80 kilos of shabu (methamphetamine hydrochloride) have been seized in the first year of the present administration’s anti-drug campaign compared to the 3,219.07 kilos of shabu seized in the six years of the previous administration.
“Much ground has been gained in the campaign against hard drug traffickers and violators, but the mission is to end the demand, production, distribution and sale of illegal drugs,” he said. IDL

 

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Former Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio Is Convicted of Criminal Contempt

Photo: Joe Arpaio, the former Maricopa County Sheriff, at his new office in Fountain Hills, Ariz., in May. Credit Courtney Pedroza for The New York Times


Former Sheriff Joe Arpaio committed a crime by defying a court order to stop detaining suspected undocumented immigrants, a judge ruled on Monday, in the latest rebuke for a once-popular politician who was voted out of office last year.

United States District Judge Susan R. Bolton found Mr. Arpaio, 85, guilty of criminal contempt of court, a misdemeanor punishable by up to six months in jail. Mr. Arpaio’s lawyers said he would appeal.

The conviction comes as sheriffs are under pressure to play a major role in the Trump administration’s immigration crackdown. The president has threatened to withhold federal funds from local governments that do not cooperate by holding jail inmates for deportation, and immigrant advocates have pushed back with lawsuits charging that such detentions violate constitutional rights.

Mr. Arpaio served for 24 years as sheriff of Maricopa County, Ariz., which includes Phoenix, building a national reputation for harsh conditions in his county jail, and for his campaign against undocumented immigrants. The criminal charge grew out of a lawsuit filed a decade ago charging that the sheriff’s office regularly violated the rights of Latinos, stopping people based on racial profiling, detaining them based solely on the suspicion that they were in the country illegally, and turning them over to the immigration authorities.

Hearing the suit, another federal district judge, G. Murray Snow, ordered the sheriff in 2011 to halt detention based solely on suspicion of a person’s immigration status, when there was no evidence that a state law had been broken. An appeals court upheld that ruling, and Judge Snow later reinforced it with other orders.

But Mr. Arpaio insisted, publicly and repeatedly, that his office’s practices were legal and would not change, and advocates said the detentions continued.

On Monday, Judge Bolton ruled that Mr. Arpaio had willfully violated the 2011 court order. “Not only did Defendant abdicate responsibility, he announced to the world and to his subordinates that he was going to continue business as usual no matter who said otherwise,” she wrote.

Cecillia Wang, deputy legal director of the American Civil Liberties Union and one of the lawyers in the suit against Mr. Arpaio , said the verdict “is a vindication for all the victims of his illegal stops and detentions whose constitutional rights were violated.”

Some supporters of stricter immigration enforcement rallied behind Mr. Arpaio. Dan Stein, the president of the Federation for American Immigration Reform, said the election of President Trump had vindicated Mr. Arpaio’s policies.

“Clearly Joe Arpaio won the war, even though he lost this particular battle,” Mr. Stein said. “Like any good American citizen, he recognized his obligation and was willing to pay the price for a form of civil disobedience.”

Jack Wilenchik, one of Mr. Arpaio’s lawyers, said Judge Snow’s 2011 order “was not clear and definite, and Judge Bolton did not adequately address that.” He added that Judge Bolton had also violated Mr. Arpaio’s rights by denying him a trial by jury.

The former sheriff lost the civil case in 2013, when Judge Snow ruled that his office had systematically violated the rights of Latinos, echoing the findings of a Justice Department report from 2011.

In 2015, Judge Snow found Mr. Arpaio in civil contempt of court for violating the initial order, and prosecutors charged him with criminal contempt. Mr. Arpaio maintained in both cases that he had not willfully defied the court, and that any violations were committed by his underlings.

Judge Bolton dismissed that claim, citing evidence that Mr. Arpaio understood the order, and noted the several times when he had said he would not change his ways.

She scheduled sentencing for Oct. 5.

Mr. Arpaio, who once called himself “America’s toughest sheriff,” made jail inmates wear pink underwear and served food that some prisoners called inedible. He regularly held undocumented immigrants past their court-ordered release dates to ensure that they would be picked up by immigration agents, and vowed to investigate President Barack Obama’s birth certificate.

He was also accused several times of abusing his authority to investigate political opponents, and his legal troubles caused mounting bills for the county, Arizona’s largest.

Last year, frustration with his headline-grabbing tactics turned into a defeat at the polls.

Caitlin Dickerson contributed reporting.

Here Are The People Who've Been Ousted From The Trump Administration So Far

 

Anthony Scaramucci

Tasos Katopodis / AFP / Getty Images
Former Title: Communications Director
Length Of Service: 10 days

Scaramucci was ousted on July 31, minutes after John Kelly took the oath of office as chief of staff.

Scaramucci repeatedly told reporters that he was willing to "fire everybody" in the White House communications office to stop leaks to the press from administration staffers.

During his tenure he also called New Yorker reporter Ryan Lizza and went on an expletive-laden rant about then-Chief of Staff Reince Priebus and Trump advisor Steve Bannon.

Reince Priebus

Mike Theiler / AFP / Getty Images
Former Title: Chief of Staff
Length of Service: 189 days.

Priebus was replaced as the White House chief of staff by Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly, Trump announced in a Tweet on July 28.

"I am pleased to inform you that I have just named General/Secretary John F Kelly as White House Chief of Staff," Trump tweeted. "He is a Great American and a Great Leader. John has also done a spectacular job at Homeland Security. He has been a true star of my Administration."

Priebus told CNN that he offered Trump his resignation after he and the president talked about the administration's direction. White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders told reporters that the president and Priebus had been discussing the timing of his departure for about two weeks.

Derek Harvey
Former Title: National Security Council Adviser

Retired Col. Derek Harvey was removed as an advisor on the National Security Council on July 28.

Harvey was appointed by Michael Flynn and served as the council's senior director for the Middle East.

Sean Spicer

Win Mcnamee / Getty Images
Former Title: Press Secretary
Length of Service: 182 days

Sean Spicer resigned as White House press secretary on July 21, minutes after Trump hired Scaramucci to be the administration's new top communications official.

Spicer's tenure was marked by a rocky relationship with the media. He often made false statements during White House press briefings — something that was routinely parodied on Saturday Night Live.

His tenure was among the shortest ever for a press secretary.

"It's been an honor & a privilege to serve @POTUS @realDonaldTrump & this amazing country. I will continue my service through August," Spicer tweeted.

As of July 31, Spicer has still been at the White House.

Mike Dubke

Andrew Harnik / AP
Former Title: Communications Director
Length of Service: 86 Days

Mike Dubke resigned as White House communication director on May 30, citing "personal reasons."

“But it has been my great honor to serve President Trump and his admin," he wrote in his resignation letter. "It has also been my distinct pleasure to work side by side, day by day, with the staff of the communications and press depts. This White House is filled with some of the finest and hardest working men and women in the American government."

James Comey

Jonathan Ernst / Reuters
Former Title: FBI Director
Length of Service: 109 days

President Trump suddenly fired FBI Director James Comey on May 9, after a memo from top Justice Department officials argued the bureau had suffered "substantial damage" under his tenure.

Trump later told NBC News' Lester Holt he was thinking about the FBI's investigation into Russia interference in the US election when he decided to fire James Comey.

Since then, Comey has testified before the Senate Intelligence Committee regarding his interactions with Trump. Read more about that here.

K.T. McFarland

Kena Betancur / AFP / Getty Images
Former Title: Deputy National Security Advisor
Length of Service: 79 days

McFarland was asked to step down from her role as the White House's deputy national security advisor on April 9.

She has since been nominated to become the next US ambassador to Singapore.

Katie Walsh

Carlos Barria / Reuters
Former Title: Deputy Chief of Staff

Katie Walsh — a longtime advisor to Reince Priebus — served as the deputy chief of staff until March 30.

She has since returned to a senior role within the Republican National Committee.

Michael Flynn

Win Mcnamee / Getty Images
Former Title: National Security Advisor
Length of Service: 23 days

Flynn resigned as the administration's national security advisor on February 13 after he misled Vice President Mike Pence about his conversations with the Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak.

Flynn fielded accusations that he had discussed sanctions with Russian ambassador Kislyak as a private citizen in December. Pence publicly defended the retired general, and reports said Flynn lied to the vice president about his conversations with the ambassador.

Sean Spicer said at the time that Trump asked for Flynn's resignation because trust between the two had "eroded."

Sally Yates

Aaron P. Bernstein / Reuters
Former Title: Acting Attorney General
Length of Service: 10 days

Trump fired Yates 10 days after his inauguration after she ordered Justice Department lawyers not to defend the president's refugee and travel ban.

In a letter sent to department lawyers before she was fired, Yates wrote, "[F]or as long as I am the Acting Attorney General, the Department of Justice will not present arguments in defense of the Executive Order," detailing that she is "not convinced" that defending the order met with her responsibilities as head of the Justice Department "to always seek justice and stand for what is right."

Mary Ann Georgantopoulos is a reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York.
Contact Mary Ann Georgantopoulos at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Trump’s Biggest Online Defenders Are Sad To See Scaramucci Go

The Mooch quickly became popular among some of Trump’s biggest supporters. Some in the base are disappointed he didn’t get more of a chance in the White House.

 

Photo: Carlos Barria / Reuters
Anthony Scaramucci is anything but politically correct. And in the days since he announced himself as the incoming White House communications director, he found over-the-top ways to bash the press, White House staff who talked to the press, and the GOP establishment — the kind of high-energy assault President Trump’s base craves.

The routine was too much, however, for Trump's newly installed chief of staff John Kelly, who on Monday dismissed Scaramucci just over a week after his appointment to the new job was announced, even with the White House still recovering from Friday’s departure of Kelly's predecessor, Reince Priebus. The rapid move has torn people in the president’s far-right base who had embraced Scaramucci and cheered on Priebus’s dismissal.

Those who saw Scaramucci, who is referred to by himself and others as "The Mooch," as the aide who had the president's back and wasn't afraid to speak his mind — even if it meant publicly ridiculing others to make his point — are upset that he wasn’t given a real shot in the White House. Others understand why he had to go, but believe the White House could still use a straight-talking Trump “mini-me” as communications director.

"This is a sign Trump is going to return to a more conventional media strategy," Mike Cernovich, a pro-Trump media personality who has reported on the administration, told BuzzFeed News. "It's a bad sign. I won't even try to spin this news — losing Mooch is bad for the movement."

A source close to the administration said most Trump loyalists were fond of The Mooch and aren’t thrilled about his early exit, but the source also acknowledged that he "wanted the focus to be on ending Obamacare, major tax reform, and infrastructure. If this helps those, then I'm for it."

Scaramucci, a major GOP donor in the last two presidential elections, dominated headlines since getting the communications director post — at first by taking his feud with Priebus public and later with tabloid reports about his impending divorce and absence at the birth of his newborn child.

The exclamation point of Scaramucci’s brief reign came in a New Yorker story published last Thursday, which featured an angry tirade from Scaramucci, who called Priebus "a fucking paranoid schizophrenic, a paranoiac," and said that he — unlike Trump's top adviser Steve Bannon — was not seeking publicity for himself.

“I’m not Steve Bannon — I’m not trying to suck my own cock,” he told the New Yorker. “I’m not trying to build my own brand off the fucking strength of the president. I’m here to serve the country.”

A source close to the Bannon-wing of the administration who had cheered on Scaramucci’s hiring said that those comments made it tough to support The Mooch, even if they thought he could ultimately do the job well. “He told Steve to go suck his own cock, so,” the source said.

Some initial backers on the far right quickly soured on Scaramucci, as was apparent on the website Breitbart. The site, which Bannon previously ran as a top executive, welcomed Scaramucci's hiring, but turned against him by the end of his first week.

"In the first week of 'The Anthony Scaramucci Show,' the new White House communications director displayed numerous ways that he could give Trump and his family multiple headaches if he continues his one-man reality show," read a Breitbart story over the weekend, published after the New Yorker story, that listed Scaramucci's "blunders."

Although Breitbart’s tone shifted, several major pro-Trump media personalities mourned Scaramucci's firing Monday as a missed opportunity for the administration.

For Cernovich and others in the pro-Trump media, Scaramucci's first few days signaled the arrival of a like-minded communicator inside the West Wing, even though Scaramucci had previously publicly supported positions anathema to much of the far right movement. His rise to the top communications job suggested that, perhaps, the White House was poised to adopt some of the tactics of Twitter personalities like Cernovich, meaning more content — Periscopes and tweets — aimed straight at the base.

In an interview on Saturday at Politicon, Cernovich predicted that Scaramucci would bring the White House's messaging "direct to the people" and praised the new communications director for Periscoping moments during his first week, like Trump walking onto Air Force One (Scaramucci himself abruptly canceled his scheduled Politicon appearance). Cernovich hoped Scaramucci would usher in a White House where "Anything that doesn't jeopardize national security should just be GoPro — Have a guy with a GoPro walking around and streaming everything."

But Scaramucci never got the chance. Jack Posobiec, a member of the New Right and a pro-Trump activist, wasn't surprised by the firing, but lamented the personnel shake-up.

"Team Trump needs a brash, unscripted, dynamic figure leading the comms shop. If not Mooch, someone who fits the bill,” he said. “No talking points or canned speeches. Someone who can reach out and connect with the audience on a human level like Trump does and [outgoing press secretary Sean] Spicer never could."

Despite only one week on the job, Scaramucci seemingly won over the Trump internet last week with his on-record Priebus-bashing in the New Yorker. After the story published, a prominent 4chan personality flagged a tweet by user Adorable Deplorable with the note, "In one sentence...This is The MAGA Base." The tweet read: "I had my doubts about @Scaramucci, but NewYorker article is the best credential and vetting I could have ever asked for. I Love Mooch now."

Alt-right personality Baked Alaska responded with a crying face emoji to the news over direct message. On Twitter, he called it a "huge mistake" and said that "his pure lack of political correctness will be missed." (Baked Alaska is a former employee of BuzzFeed.)

Many conservative media sites were beginning to jump behind Scaramucci on Monday — roughy an hour before his removal was announced, The Federalist published an article with the headline "Why Anthony Scaramucci Is The Man Trump And America Need." Similarly, Sinclair Broadcast Group's chief political analyst Boris Epshteyn put out a new video op-ed expounding on Scaramucci's "fresh perspective" in the communications shop. And some in the MAGAland media — who're usually able to deftly spin the chaos inside the Trump White House — seem unmoored by the news.

"Mooch is BELOVED by MAGA," one pro-Trump media personality told BuzzFeed News. The person stressed the fear that the change will mean a more conventional White House social media strategy, "which has been an utter failure on all levels."

Perhaps most of all for the pro-Trump media, the shake-up is another sign that the White House isn't just impossible to read, but also might not always align with the media apparatus designed to parrot its message.

"The grassroots Trump supporters want to know they have a voice in the White House too, not just spoken to from behind the gates," Posobiec said of the news. "In those 10 days, Trump supporters really got on board with Mooch. Big shoes to fill."

Online fundraiser for Leni’s counter-protest reaches P6 M

The online fundraising campaign launched by supporters of Vice President Leni Robredo to help finance her counter-protest against former senator Ferdinand Marcos Jr. has raised about P6 million in almost a month. Office of the Vice President/Released, File


MANILA, Philippines - The online fundraising campaign launched by supporters of Vice President Leni Robredo to help finance her counter-protest against former senator Ferdinand Marcos Jr. has raised about P6 million in almost a month.

More than 25,000 backers have responded to the Piso Para sa Laban ni Leni campaign launched by Robredo’s women supporters last July 4.

“Our movement is a testament how Filipinos from all over the country value and want to protect their votes,” Museo Pambata founder Nina Lim-Yuson, one of the campaign’s proponents, said.

“We will continue to ask support until we reach the amount needed,” she said.

Lim-Yuson, along with other women leaders, filed last June a petition before the Supreme Court (SC), sitting as the Presidential Electoral Tribunal (PET), to allow them to contribute to Robredo’s counter-protest fee.

The other petitioners are former Pag-IBIG Fund chief executive officer Zorayda Amelia Alonzo, former human rights commissioner Paulynn Sicam, award-winning singer Celeste Legaspi-Gallardo, Ateneo de Manila University Press director Karina Bolasco and former social welfare secretary Corazon Soliman.

The PET, however, has yet to rule on their petition.

Earlier, the SC granted the request of Robredo’s lawyers for an extension of her deadline to pay the remaining P7.43 million required to process her counter-protest against Marcos.

Robredo paid the initial deposit of P8 million last May 2.

Marcos, on the other hand, has completed payment of the P66.02-million protest fee.

The former senator is contesting the poll results in 39,221 clustered precincts, while Robredo’s counter-protest covers 8,042 clustered precincts.

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Oil firms raisepump prices today

Pilipinas Shell Petroleum Corp. and SeaOil Philippines Inc. said pump prices would increase starting at 6 a.m., with gasoline prices going up by P0.35 per liter, kerosene by P0.40 per liter and diesel by P0.50 per liter. File


MANILA, Philippines - Petroleum companies are raising pump prices for the fourth straight week today as higher demand and lower US production continue to induce price surges in the international oil market.

In separate text advisories yesterday, Pilipinas Shell Petroleum Corp. and SeaOil Philippines Inc. said pump prices would increase starting at 6 a.m., with gasoline prices going up by P0.35 per liter, kerosene by P0.40 per liter and diesel by P0.50 per liter.

Eastern Petroleum Corp., Phoenix Petroleum Philippines Inc. and PTT Philippines Corp. announced the same price increases on gasoline and diesel products effective 6 a.m. today.

In a separate advisory, Flying V said it would have the same price adjustments starting 12:01 a.m.

UniOil Petroleum Philippines Inc., on the other hand, said its price hikes would take effect at 6:01 a.m.

During last week’s trading, oil prices settled at $49.71 at the closing, its strongest week this year, Reuters reported.

High demand and a decline in US production were supportive factors in this week’s fuel price increases, Department of Energy (DOE)-Oil Industry Management Bureau director Melita Obillo said in a text message.

She said there was robust demand after recent data showing US, Singapore and Japan’s overall inventory drawdown and higher consumption from China and India.

The DOE official also said drilling for new US production is slowing down.

Meanwhile, the US threat of sanctions against Venezuela’s vital oil sector in response to Sunday’s election of a constitutional super-body also drove prices higher, Obillo said.

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