Opinion & Community

Trillanes to Pinoys: Duterte has been fooling you and I hope you’re already aware now

Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV/REUTERS FILE PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines — Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV is hoping that Filipinos have now become enlightened that the presidential candidate they picked in last year’s polls has been fooling them since the 2016 campaign period. 

Talagang pahiyang pahiya, bistadong bistado, huling huli sa pagsisinungaling at paggawa ng kwento. Ngayon, sana maliwanangan na ang mga kababayan natin. No’ng panahon palang ng kampanya niloloko na kayo. Hanggang ngayon niloloko eh. Nasasa inyo ‘yan kung patuloy na nagpapaloko pa rin kayo,” Trillanes said on Wednesday, Sept. 20. 

[He was really shamed, he was caught lying and inventing a story. Now, I hope that our fellow Filipinos will already be enlightened. You were already being fooled even during the campaign period. Even up to now. It’s up to you if you want to be fooled continuously.] 

The senator issued the statement a day after proving that he had no secret bank accounts in Singapore. Also on Tuesday, during a television interview, Duterte admitted that he “invented” at least one bank account number that he had attributed to Trillanes.

Isolated case, unorthodox style

Meanwhile, Malacañang defended Duterte on Wednesday. 

Presidential spokesperson Ernesto Abella said the President’s admission that he had invented one of the bank account numbers was an “isolated case.” 

“(H)e intentionally did that. But of course, first and foremost, he comes out in the open. He does not hide it, rightly so, in other words, he’s quite transparent about his actions,” said Abella. 

Abella reminded the public that every politician has his own style of handling issues and that Duterte’s method was unconventional. 

May kanya-kanya pong style. As we very well know, the President is quite unorthodox, and rather out of the box when he deals…Unorthodox as it may seem, on the whole, apparently, the impact of his actions tend to be economically viable,” he said.


Protest rallies call for end to tyranny

Militant activists gather at the foot of Mendiola bridge in Manila Tuesday night, September 19, 2017 as KADAMAY kicked of its camp out protest against the entirety of what they call Duterte’s War on the Poor. INQUIRER PHOTO / GRIG C. MONTEGRANDE
“Remember the 21st of September,” the militant coalition Movement Against Tyranny (MAT) says as Filipinos march across the country on Thursday to mark the 45th anniversary of the declaration of martial law by the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos and make known that they oppose the increasingly authoritarian rule of President Rodrigo Duterte.

Mr. Duterte has declared Thursday National Day of Protest to allow the people to express their frustration at the “excesses and shortcomings of the government.”
He has allowed protests to be held without permits, but ordered police to maintain order.The Armed Forces of the Philippines issued a statement late on Wednesday saying it was “duty-bound to protect” the “inherent right of the people to peaceful assembly.”
‘End Tyranny’
The “End Tyranny” rally at Rizal Park called by MAT is among several protests across the country on Thursday and the first massive movement opposing Mr. Duterte, who is unused to dissent after ruling Davao City as mayor with an iron fist for 22 years.
Mr. Duterte has placed Mindanao under martial law to break a terrorist siege of Marawi City and he has repeatedly threatened to put the entire country under military rule if opposition to his signature program, stamping out narcotics, turns violent.
Police have reported killing more than 3,800 people since Mr. Duterte launched his war on drugs after taking office in June last year, and unknown assailants have killed thousands more, sparking global concern over violation of human rights in the Philippines and warnings to Philippine officials about a possible crime against humanity.
At first, Filipinos supported Mr. Duterte’s war on drugs, but in recent weeks, teenagers have been the victims of police killings, causing widespread public anger.
Families of the campaign’s victims will be among the marchers on Thursday and police are watching two spots in Manila where the protesters and Mr. Duterte’s supporters are gathering.
In a press briefing on Tuesday, Director Oscar Albayalde, chief of the National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO), said up to 10,000 protesters from various groups were expected to turn up at Rizal Park in Manila for the “End Tyranny” rally.


300 buildings still to be cleared in Marawi

The military said these buildings are within a 10-hec-tare area where continuing airstrikes and ground assaults are focused. File
MANILA, Philippines — Government security forces still have to clear around 300 buildings in Marawi believed occupied by Maute militants.

The military said these buildings are within a 10-hec-tare area where continuing airstrikes and ground assaults are focused.

Most of the buildings are either occupied by snipers and machine gunners or laden with booby traps, Col. Edgard Arevalo, Armed Forces of the Philippines-public affairs office chief, said yesterday.

“The terrorists are now left with a 10-hectare maneuvering area…Overall, there are still 15 to 18 hectares that should be cleared,”Arevalo said.

He clarified reports that the terrorists are holed up in only a 500-square-meter area.“I think there was a confusion…It has been corrected,” Arevalo said.

He said military operations to defeat the terrorists are gaining ground.

However, Arevalo declined to give a timeline on when the fighting will end, saying that the matter is in the hands of ground commanders.

Armed Forces of the Philippines chief Gen. Eduardo Año had earlier expressed confidence the military offensive in Marawi will be over before he retires from the service.

Año will reach the mandatary retirement age of 56 on Oct. 26.

Marawi rehab

Meanwhile, Valenzuela Rep. Wes Gatchalian said the budget of the Road Board should be realigned to rehabilitate Marawi.

Gatchalian said he supports the move of the Senate and House of Representatives to abolish the agency and divert its proposed budget of P1.2 billion next year to more noble causes.

“I would be more comfor-table seeing that money go to the Free Higher Education Act or the rehabilitation of Marawi City. There is no cogent reason why...this body should still exist,” he said.

“Whatever function or mandate (the agency) is currently performing could be handled by the DPWH (Department of Public Works and Highways). Adding another layer of bureaucracy…increases the chance of inefficiency and irregularities in government,” Gatchalian said.

The Road Board was created under Republic Act 8794 to ensure the maintenance of national and provincial roads. Its budget is sourced from road users tax.

House Bill 6236 filed by Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez seeks to abolish the agency and transfer its functions to the DPWH and Department of Transportation.

Alvarez cited allegations that the agency misused more than P90 billion in road users’ tax. – With Delon Porcalla


P1.3-M drugs seized in Mandaluyong condo

PDEA chief Aaron Aquino (left) presents alleged online drug dealer Jovet Atillano in a press conference yesterday. BOY SANTOS
MANILA, Philippines — Anti-narcotics operatives seized P1.3 million worth of illegal drugs from a suspected dealer during a raid on a condominium in Mandaluyong City yesterday.

Jovet Atillano, 32, has reportedly been involved in the illegal drug trade since July 2014, Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) director general Aaron Aquino said, citing their intelligence reports.

Atillano uses Facebook and Instagram as well as other websites to sell his products, Aquino said in a press conference yesterday.

Atillano is said to be a major distributor of illegal drugs in Metro Manila, Baguio City, Cebu and Boracay island.

“Most of his customers are young professionals and affluent persons,” said Aquino, adding they are not discounting the possibility that celebrities and public figures could be among Atillano’s clients.

Atillano admitted to selling illegal drugs in the past but claimed he stopped when President Duterte assumed his post last year. He denied owning the illegal drugs reported to have been found in his condominium unit.

PDEA agents, armed with a search warrant, raided Atillano’s unit at GA Towers in Barangay Malamig at around 5 a.m.

They seized 500 tablets of the party drug ecstasy, with a street value of P1 million; 50 grams of shabu, with a street value of P350,000; 83 tablets of nitrazepam, an anti-anxiety drug, with a street value of P5,810; and 12 tablets of diazepam, another anti-anxiety drug, priced at P200 each; and assorted drug paraphernalia.

To avoid detection, Atillano transfers to another condominium building every six months, Aquino said.

Alleged dealers like Atillano also use drivers of transport network companies like Grab to deliver drugs to their customers. This way, law enforcement authorities have difficulty in tracking their locations, according to Aquino.

1 dead, 11 arrested

In other parts of Metro Manila, a drug suspect was killed and 11 others were arrested.

Valerio Villaflor, 48, reported to be a high-value target, was shot dead by unidentified motorcycle-riding assailants along Manuel Quezon street in Barangay Cupang, Muntinlupa City at around 2 a.m. yesterday.

In Quezon City, three minors were caught using marijuana in Barangay Marilag, and four alleged dealers were caught in separate stings in Barangay Tatalon.

Two of the alleged dealers were identified as Janrei Gallardo, 27, and Danilo Cullera, 53.

In Pasig City, Jason Padayao, Marvin Batica, Bonifacio Luciano and Paulino Mallari were arrested in separate stings on Monday.


45 Zamboanga City minors get counseling after gang hazing

The barangay chairperson said the recruiter was only a 17-year-old boy and his recruits were minors, including an 8-year-old boy and some girls.
ZAMBOANGA CITY, Philippines — Barangay officials in Zamboanga City have provided counseling for at least 45 minors who went though hazing rites over the weekend.

The initiation rites were discovered when Barangay Tumaga Chairperson Jacky Lim overheard some parents in a waiting shed talking about recruitment by a certain "fraternity" last Saturday.

Lim said she immediately had the reports of recruitment investigated and discovered the hazing of the 45 young recruits took place near a riverbank in her village.

The news comes as the National Bureau of Investigation is set to launch a probe into the death of University of Santo Tomas law freshman Horacio Tomas Castillo III, 22, who was pronounced dead last Sunday allegedly after hazing rites by the Aegis Juris fraternity.

“I was alarmed because it was not really good. So I called all the parents of the children and the recruiter for a confrontation and dialogue to prevent the recruitment further,” Lim said.

Lim said that during the dialogue at the barangay hall on Monday, she found out the recruiter was only a 17-year-old boy and his recruits were minors, including an 8-year-old boy and some girls.

She said the recruits were all students. Some of them still had signs of bruising, which, Lim said, suggests the hazing happened on Saturday.

The Anti-Hazing Law defines hazing as "an initiation rite or practice as a prerequisite for admission into membership in a fraternity, sorority or organization by placing the recruit, neophyte or applicant in some embarrassing or humiliating situations such as forcing him to do menial, silly, foolish and other similar tasks or activities or otherwise subjecting him to physical or psychological suffering or injury."

The law, however, is focused on organizations based in schools and universities.

Lim said that the young recruits told her that the "fraternity" started from a simple bonding activity, where the recruiter collected P10 from each of them for a picnic along the river.

She said the gang initially used banana stalks in the hazing but later on used a wooden paddle.

Lim immediately coordinated with City Social Welfare Officer Socorro Rojas and counseling was held with the parents, the minors and the young recruiter.

“Most of the victims claimed they joined just out of curiosity,” Lim said.

Lim said she has directed village watchmen to be alert against similar incidents in the village. She also lamented the lifting of a curfew that she said would have kept children from going astray.


Father and son, Solano primary suspects in hazing death

Close friends, classmates, fellow law students, and other students of the University of Santo Tomas offer their prayers and sentiments through lighted candles at the Civil Law lobby of UST for Horacio Castillo III.

Solano was initially considered a witness after reportedly discovering Castillo’s body wrapped in a blanket in Balut, Tondo in Manila, but barangay officials disputed his claims.

“It was found out that Solano deliberately and intentionally gave false statements to the MPD in the course of this investigation,” Coronel said. “He claimed he only found the body of the victim in the early hours of Sept. 17 and brought him to the hospital when in fact, Solano knew the victim even before the death of Castillo.”

Solano, Coronel said, has been confirmed to be a law student of UST and a member of the Aegis Juris fraternity.

Coronel presented to the media a closed circuit television (CCTV) footage showing Solano with Castillo and other alleged fraternity brothers walking along Dapitan Street in UST around 11:45 a.m. on Saturday, a day before the victim was declared dead on arrival at Chinese General Hospital.

Castillo told his parents that he would attend an overnight fraternity welcome party and would be home by Sunday morning. He was however found by his family at a funeral home with hematoma and candle drips before dawn Monday.

Police also showed the media the photo of Solano when he gave his initial testimony to MPD and a photo of him wearing Aegis Juris fraternity shirt.

The red vehicle with plate number ZTV 539 which initial reports said brought Castillo to the hospital, meanwhile, has been found to be registered under one Antonio Trangia, father of Ralph, an Aegis Juris official.

Coronel however said that it was not clear who was driving the vehicle at the time of the incident.

“Solano, with the assistance and cooperation of the Trangias deliberately misled our investigation by providing us false and fraudulent statements, which we feel was a cover up for the actual killing and murder of Castillo, which is why they are now considered suspects,” Coronel said.

Coronel added that all the eight officials of the Aegis Juris fraternity enrolled this semester are also considered suspects.


Team Sky fade to third in Worlds TTT

They came, they saw, but in the end Team Sky's galacticos had to settle for bronze in the men's team time trial in Bergen. Steered by Tour de France and Vuelta a España winner Chris Froome, the British team had led at the first checkpoint but were overhauled by winners Team Sunweb and BMC Racing.

Team Sky team arrived in Norway with a stacked squad that included Froome, former yellow jersey Geraint Thomas, former world time trial champion Vasil Kiryienka, one-time road world champion Michal Kwiatkowski, Vuetla revelation Gianni Moscon and the highly-rated Owain Doull. Yet in the end Sunweb's proficiency and BMC's experience shone through.

"We gave it everything out on the course today," Froome told Cyclingnews and De Telegraph at the line.

"It wasn't good enough for the first place but we've got to be happy with that. It's a very tough circuit and maybe we could have done things differently in hindsight but we've got to be happy with third place."

While several teams, including BMC and fellow pre-race favourites QuickStep Floors, organised training camps ahead of the race and arrived several days in advance, Team Sky's approach was somewhat different. They selected riders from the Tour of Britain and the Vuelta but spent less time riding reconnaissance than several of their rivals.

Froome and company started in impressive fashion, hitting the first checkpoint in the fastest time, with Quick-Step second, BMC third and Sunweb a distant fourth but according to Froome the early pace may have come back to punish Sky.

"We probably started a little bit fast, so maybe we'd start a little bit more controlled," Froome said when asked if he and his team would have tackled the course differently after the experience.

"I think we went out a bit fast and then paid the price towards the end. Maybe we could have put more emphasis on getting more guys over that climb with 11km to go. It seems like there were big time gaps made and lost against the teams that got over there with six guys."

On the major climb of the race – a 1.4-kilometre slog with pitches of nine per cent – Team Sky showed signs of frailty. They weren't the only team to do so, of course, but by then Doull had peeled off and Thomas was jettisoned with Froome seemingly making the call to push on with four riders left.

"Initially the plan was to try and get over the climb with Geraint but towards the top of the climb he said 'no guys, it's enough' and signalled to us to keep going," Froome added.

"For me personally it's not something I've really focused on. I'm just here on the back of the Tour and the Vuelta. I still feel good and the legs feel good. I was happy to be part of the team and bring something to the team but as you said, a lot of teams have focused for this and pulled riders from Grand Tours to be ready for this. We just put the best squad we could together."

Froome's next and final outing of these World Championships will come on Wednesday when he looks to win the individual time trial.


Contador: It was the right time to retire

Although he appeared in the race just three times during his career, Alberto Contador seems to hold the Giro in special regard. It was the Giro, after all, that provided him with a lifeline in May 2008, when his Astana team was barred by the organisers of the Tour de France.

Contador was welcomed back warmly in 2011, despite the fact that he was in the process of appealing to the Court of Arbitration for Sport – ultimately unsuccessfully – against his positive test for Clenbuterol the previous year. In 2015, Contador made his third and final appearance, claiming what he maintained to be his third win, though only two remain in the record books.

No matter, Contador hit all the required notes when he appeared on stage at the Waldorf Astoria in Jerusalem on Monday to promote the Israeli Grande Partenza of the 2018 Giro d'Italia. He was applauded by local attendees at the presentation when he downplayed the idea that bringing the Giro to Israel constituted a security risk.

"In my opinion, I don't think it's a problem to be here," Contador said. "I was in Israel in 2012 for close to two weeks on a training camp and the support was incredible. Now the situation of the world is a little crazy but it's not a question for just one country or another, it's all the world. I'm sure all the riders will be happy to come here and won't think of these things."

RCS Sport will have been equally content with Contador's comments to reporters after the presentation, when he suggested that Chris Froome ought to line out in next year's Giro in order to complete the rare feat of holding all three Grand Tour titles at once. Contador pointed in particular to the strength of Froome's supporting cast at Team Sky.

"If I were Froome, I'd ride this Giro, but clearly the decision is up to him," Contador said. "He can definitely do it. He's used up a lot of energy in the last few months both physically and mentally, but he has a great team around him, and that allows him to make the difference in the time trials or in the last kilometre of mountain stages. So if I were in his place, I'd aim for the Giro, especially with this spectacular and difficult start."

Barely a week on from his hanging up his wheels, it is perhaps too early to wonder whether Contador has any regrets about his decision. He is, after all, still only trying the mantle of ex-professional cyclist for size, but he evinced no doubts in Jerusalem on Monday, not least because he signed off on his turbulent career with a valedictory win atop the Angliru on the final weekend of the Vuelta a España.

"I don't feel nostalgia, I'm just happy for the way I finished my career by winning on the Angliru. It was the right time to leave," Contador said. "I decided at the Tour when I crashed. I've always given everything and I think it was the best thing to leave while I was still at a high level. At the Vuelta, every day was like a fiesta for me. The last month of my career was incredible, and I couldn't have asked for better."

Contador explained that his time in retirement will be divided between supporting his Fundacion Contador development squad – which will step up to Continental level after taking over the running of Trek-Segafredo's development team – and acting as an ambassador to promote stroke awareness.

"Maybe people don't know the symptoms and it is very important to know to catch this disease in time," said Contador, who suffered a stroke at the Tour of Asturias in 2004.

"I will continue to ride my bike, but I will also have other commitments and a great part of my time will be dedicated to the Fundacion Contador, where we have several cycling teams, including this year a new Continental one." 


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