Absent Duterte not playing video games–Palace

By: Philip C. Tubeza - @inquirerdotnetPhilippine Daily Inquirer


Yes, the President has gone AWOL for days—but so had his predecessor.

A Palace official on Thursday took a dig at former President Benigno Aquino III as he defended President Duterte’s absences from the public eye.

“It’s just different workloads. Some people, you know, they play PlayStation, whatever, but you have—some people are more… Some people are just busier,” presidential spokesperson Ernesto Abella told reporters in a press briefing, adding that Mr. Duterte’s time for rest had “not ended.”

Critics of Aquino during his term as President claimed that he spent too much time playing video games on Sony’s PlayStation—a claim Mr. Aquino had denied, saying it was not even his favorite pastime.

Asked to comment on Abella’s statement, Abigail Valte, spokesperson of Aquino, said there was no need to issue a counterstatement “because we do not feel alluded to.”

Mr. Duterte’s conspicuous absence from Monday to Thursday last week has sparked public concern, but was brushed off by Malacañang, saying the President simply got “tired” and needed some “private time” to rest.

After visiting wounded soldiers in Cagayan de Oro and evacuees in Iligan on Tuesday, Mr. Duterte had no scheduled public event on Wednesday and Thursday.

“That’s his style… Each of us has his own work mode,” Abella said.

“First of all, his rest [period] is not yet over. But on the other hand, we’ve seen that he works continuously,” he said.

Some senators have urged Malacañang to be more forthcoming about the President’s health, especially with the crisis in Marawi, but Mr. Duterte said opposition senators were only interested to hear about his death.

The Duterte administration marks its first year in office on June 30 but Abella said there are no planned celebrations.

“You know, it actually feels like three years already, right? Considering the amount of work to be done, considering the challenges and all the matters that have been addressed,” Abella said.

He said he hoped Filipinos were more united.

“I certainly hope—I mean this is just my opinion but since you asked—I wish that people would be more united in appreciating and not act as if they were not Filipinos,” he said.—WITH A REPORT FROM NIKKO DIZON



Indonesia, Malaysia link arms with PH to dismantle terror hubs

By: Nestor Corrales - Reporter / @NCorralesINQINQUIRER.net / 02:01 PM June 23, 2017

Photo: Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano, center, flanked by Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi, left, and Malaysian Foreign Minister Anifah Haji Aman, reads the joint statement following their Trilateral Security Meeting to fight terrorism and extremism. The Philippines, Indonesia and Malaysia plan to closely cooperate to halt the flow of militants, weapons, funds and extremist propaganda across their borders as they expressed alarm over recent attacks in their region. AP Photo/Bullit Marquez

The Philippines, Indonesia, and Malaysia have agreed to step up cooperation to strengthen the fight against extremism and prevent terrorists from establishing operational hubs in the region.

“We are making a collective effort against terrorism and extremism. Yesterday, foreign military, intelligence officials from the Philippines, Indonesia and Malaysia had a fruitful and productive discussion on a trilateral cooperation aimed at preventing extremists and terrorists from establishing operational bases in Southeast Asia,” Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella said during the Mindanao Hour briefing in Davao City on Friday.

Abella said “the three countries have agreed to work together to jointly develop and implement counterterrorism measures and strategies.”


“Let us underline that their joint aim, the end game, is to prevent the establishment of operational bases in Southeast Asia,” he said.

On Thursday, Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano discussed with his Malaysian and Indonesian counterparts measures to address terrorism issues in Southeast Asia.

The trilateral meeting with top security officials came a day after President Rodrigo Duterte discussed with Indonesian President Joko Widodo over the phone their commitment to fight terrorism amid the rising threat of the Islamic militants in the region.

Abella said the conversation between the two leaders were “fruitful and productive.”

“They both reaffirmed the need to step up operation to address threats posed by terrorism and violent extremism,” he said. JPV



JBC includes Marawi-born magistrate in shortlist for SC vacancy

By: Tetch Torres-Tupas - Reporter / @T2TupasINQINQUIRER.net 
Supreme court building

Photo: The Supreme Court. INQUIRER.net FILE PHOTO

A Court of Appeals (CA) associate justice who hails from Marawi City, the area currently under siege by the Maute group, is one of the shortlisted candidates for associate justice of the Supreme Court (SC).

Associate Justice Japar Dimaampao, who was born on Dec. 27, 1963 in Marawi City, is among the seven candidates for the position of SC associate justice, which will be vacated by Associate Justice Bienvenido Reyes who will retire at the mandatory age of 70 on July 6, 2017.

Dimaampao got five votes from the seven-member Judicial and Bar Council (JBC) that is tasked to screen aspirants for the judiciary and the Office of the Ombudsman.

From a senior prosecutor at the Department of Justice (DOJ), Dimaampao became a regional trial court judge in Mandaluyong City. Then, in April 2004, he was appointed Court of Appeals associate justice, the youngest to be appointed at age 40.

He is also an educator teaching taxation, commercial law and civil law in various schools and a noted lecturer in taxation and commercial law in Bar review classes all over the country.

Aside from Dimaampao, other names in the shortlist are CA Presiding Justice Andres Reyes Jr., CA Associate Justices Rosmari D. Carandang and Jose C. Reyes Jr., Justices Apolinario D. Bruselas Jr. and Amy S. Lazaro-Javier as well as law professor Rita Linda Ventura-Jimeno. JPV/rga



6 CA justices, law school vice dean nominated to SC

By Rey Panaligan

Six Court of Appeals (CA) justices and the vice dean of a law school were nominated by the Judicial and Bar Council (JBC) on Friday to the lone vacancy next month in the 15-member Supreme Court (SC).

Photo: MB FILE—Oral arguments for the en banc session on RH LAW inside the Supreme Court attended by justices August 16, 2013. Photo by: Linus Guardian Escandor II
Supreme Court
(Linus Guardian Escandor II / MANILA BULLETIN FILE PHOTO)

Nominated were CA Presiding Justice Andres Reyes Jr. with seven votes; Associate Justices Rosmari Carandang and Jose Reyes Jr. with six votes each; Associate Justices Apolinario Bruselas Jr. and Japar Dimaampao and Centro Escolar University vice dean of law school Rita Linda Ventura-Jimeno with five votes each; and Associate Justice Amy Lazaro-Javier with four votes.

The list of nominees was submitted to President Duterte who is expected, under the Constitution, to appoint within 90 days the replacement for SC Justice Bienvenido L. Reyes who is set to retire on July 6.

The President already has two appointees in the SC. They are Associate Justices Samuel Martires and Noel Tijam.

The JBC, with seven members, is mandated by the Constitution to accept, screen, and nominate appointments in the judiciary and high officials in the Office of the Ombudsman.

It is chaired by Chief Justice Maria Lourdes P. A. Sereno. Retired SC Justice Angelina Sandoval Gutierrez is the head of the executive committee.



Who stole valuables from congressman’s wife?

by Ellson Quismorio

This was the question raised by Surigao del Sur (2nd Dist.) Rep. Johnny Pimentel at the continuation of the House of Representatives’ (HOR) joint panel inquiry yesterday into the Resorts World Manila (RWM) burning incident that resulted in the death of 38 people, including the perpetrator Jessie Carlos.

Pampanga (3rd Dist.) Rep. Aurelio “Dong” Gonzales Jr. claimed that his wife, Elizabeth lost her valuables as she lay lifeless on the second floor of the RWM last June 2?

During the hearing, Pimentel, chairman of the House Committee on Good Governance and Public Accountability, asked who between the Philippine National Police (PNP) and Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) personnel were first to enter the premises of the RWM.

“I’m asking this question because this is very important. This representation has received reports that there were some looting on the valuables of the victims,” he noted.

“In fact during the hearing at NAIA III, one of the BFP personnel testified that on their way up, they encountered an unconscious person and at that time, meron pang relo (he/she was wearing a watch). But when they came back, wala nang relo (the watch was gone).”


9 wounded soldiers transported to Manila

By Edith Regalado (The Philippine Star) 


Photo:President Duterte sits with wounded soldiers inside the presidential plane which transported them from a hospital in Cagayan de Oro City to Manila the other night.


DAVAO CITY , Philippines – The presidential plane was used to transport nine soldiers wounded in the clashes in Marawi City to receive further medical treatment in Manila.

The nine wounded soldiers were confined at the Camp Edilberto Evangelista Station Hospital in Cagayan de Oro City. They were transported to Manila on Tuesday night after President Duterte offered the use of his plane.

The President also sent off the wounded soldiers and talked to them while they were in the ambulance going from the station hospital to the tarmac of the airport in Cagayan de Oro City.

In a speech last year, Duterte promised to use the presidential aircraft as an air ambulance.

Duterte rode another aircraft to return to his home in Davao City on Tuesday night.

Earlier in the afternoon, Duterte awarded Wounded Personal Medals to at least 79 soldiers confined at the Camp Edilberto Evangelista Station Hospital.

Wounded soldiers also received Samsung J1 smartphones, P100,000 in cash assistance and Armscor Caliber .45 pistols.

The President also assured the soldiers of his support, including the establishment of a P50-billion trust fund for the education of the children of all soldiers and policemen.

Duterte likewise promised the military that he would provide them with brand new and high-standard equipment and weapons, helicopters and fighter jets.

Before visiting the wounded soldiers, the President checked on the internally displaced persons in an evacuation center in Iligan City. He gave food and cash to the Muslim evacuees to use for breaking the fast marking the end of Ramadan on June 26.



Ex-PCGG chair Sabio gets 12 to 20 years for graft

By: Vince F. Nonato - Reporter / @VinceNonatoINQPhilippine Daily Inquirer

Photo: Camilo Sabio (left) and wife Marlene talk to reporters after leaving the sala of the Sandiganbayan’s First Division which convicted Sabio of graft. PHILIPPINE DAILY INQUIRER / VINCE F. NONATO

The Sandiganbayan has sentenced former Presidential Commission on Good Government chair Camilo Sabio to at least 12 years in prison over anomalous vehicle lease deals.

During an open court hearing on Thursday morning, the First Division pronounced Sabio guilty of two counts of violating Section 3(e) of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act.


A copy of the full decision has yet to be released as of press time.

Sabio’s wife Marlene told reporters that they planned to file an appeal.

For now, the court has ordered Sabio to post within five days a cash bond double the bail he posted for temporary liberty during trial.

The court will give him provisional liberty as he appeals the verdict through a motion for reconsideration.

Sabio’s case arose from lease contracts in 2007 and 2009 worth P5.93 million and P6.73 million, respectively. The vehicles were allegedly leased from the United Coconut Planters Bank Leasing and Finance Corp. without going through public bidding. CBB/rga



PH, Indonesia, Malaysia execs to meet in Manila for fight vs terror

By: Kristine Angeli Sabillo - @KSabilloINQINQUIRER.net 

FILE – In this file photo, a Philippine Marine guards the display of high-powered firearms, ammunition, uniforms and black ISIS-style flags which were recovered from Muslim militants on May 30, 2017 in Marawi City, Mindanao. AP Photo/Bullit Marquez)

Following the launch of their joint maritime operations, the governments of the Philippines, Indonesia and Malaysia will be meeting in Manila on Thursday to further strengthen ties in their fight against terrorism and extremism in the region.

“The Philippines, Indonesia, and Malaysia are intensifying defense and intelligence collaboration in the wake of the recent attack of the IS-affiliated Maute group in Marawi City,” the Department of Foreign Affairs said in a statement released on Wednesday.

It said Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Cayetano announced on Wednesday that “foreign ministers, top security and intelligence officials will meet tomorrow, June 22, in Manila to discuss plans for intense trilateral cooperation aimed at preventing extremists from establishing operational bases in the Southeast Asian region.”

“The aim is to make a team effort, rather than each country fending off extremism by themselves,” Cayetano was quoted saying.

The meeting comes after the June 19 launch of joint maritime operations of the three countries in Indonesia.

The “Trilateral Maritime Patrol” command center was inaugurated at the Tarakan Naval Base in Indonesia. Present at the event were Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, Indonesian Defense Minister Ryamizard Ryacudu and Malaysian Defense Minister Hishammuddin Hussein.

Warships, speedboats and helicopters were used in a military drill during the launch of the joint maritime patrol, which seeks to push back insurgents. Ships passing through Sulu Sea have previously been hijacked by the Abu Sayyaf.

A report from The Jakarta Post said there is a “sense of urgency” now as the Islamic State-linked Maute terror group continues to have a presence in Marawi City.

“As security concerns threaten the robust economic growth of the region, countries are forging a collective effort against terrorism and extremism,” DFA said.



Gov’t to sell Marcos jewels after last remaining legal case is settled – DOF

by Chino Leyco/http://news.mb.com.ph

The national government will sell the three jewelry collections seized from former first lady Imelda Marcos once the last remaining legal case is finally resolved, the Department of Finance (DOF) said Tuesday.

Finance Undersecretary Grace Karen G. Singson said the Presidential Commission on Good Government (PCGG) wants to settle all the legal issues before the government puts the Marcos jewels on the auction block.

“We’re waiting for one case to just settle… but it will be decided soon,” Singson said in an interview at the DOF headquarters.

“We need to raise revenues, so it’s always been part of the privatization plan. We just want to make sure we get the most value because if there’s this legal situation, we might get a much lower valuation,” she added.

The three collections are known as the Malacañang, Roumeliotes, and Hawaii collections. They are now kept in the vaults of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) in Manila.

“They have already been appraised but they might do it again because there’s a requirement that the appraisal should be done within one year (before the auction). But Christie’s and Sotheby’s have already did the preliminary,” Singson said.

The inter-agency Privatization Council needs to re-approve the plan to put on sale the pieces of jewelry seized from the family in 1986. “The Privatization Council already approved it before, (but) if it’s more than six months, they have to re-approve it,” Singson said.

Last February, the Supreme Court upheld the partial summary judgment of the Sandiganbayan ordering the forfeiture in favor of the government of the third jewelry set known as the Malacañang Collection.

The value of the collection, composed of smaller and less expensive pieces, was estimated at $110,055 to $153,089.

The Roumeliotes Collection is a set of 60 pieces of jewelry, while the Hawaii Collection consists of 300 pieces of jewelry and other luxury items.

Finance Undersecretary Antoinette C. Tionko had earlier said the government will sell the 300-piece Hawaii Collection, which was confiscated by the US Customs in 1986 after the Marcos family fled to exile during the People Power Revolution in 1986.

Tionko said the PCGG and Privatization and Management Office (PMO) will lead the auction for the Marcos jewels.

In 2016, the Privatization Council approved the sale of the Hawaii jewelry, said to be at least P1 billion, based on appraisals from auction houses Christie’s and Sotheby’s.

The collection includes a 25-carat “extremely rare” pink diamond believed to be previously owned by a Mogul emperor, which was estimated to be worth at least $5 million or around P237 million.

Based on a memorandum from the DOF-led Privatization Council, the minimum bid price for the jewelry is set at $14 million, equivalent to P658 million.

In November, 2015, the Bureau of Customs and the PCGG had the three Marcos jewelry collections appraised by Christie’s and rival Sotheby’s.

Finance Undersecretary Gil S. Beltran said the sale of the Hawaii Collection will proceed as planned after the Marcos family voluntarily relinquished ownership of this particular jewelry set.

“Proceeds from the sale will go to the Bureau of the Treasury and PCGG,” Beltran said. “The sale of this jewelry was deferred during the previous administration because of lack of time.”


Cosmetics could boost spirit of conflict-stressed teachers

By Merlina Hernando-Malipot/http://news.mb.com.ph

To boost the spirit and morale of women during crisis, donations of cosmetics–particularly lipstick, face powder, foundation, rouge and the like–are being suggested to be given to teachers and volunteers in war-torn Marawi.

Former Education Secretary Armin Luistro, F.S.C., and former Undersecretary Reynaldo Laguda said that the “continuing crisis in Marawi and the surrounding towns have affected thousands of families who are in need of support and assistance [and] public school teachers are among the most affected.”Credit: Pixabay / Manila Bulletin

Currently, Luistro is the President of the Philippine Business for Social Progress (PBSP) while Laguda serves as the Executive Director.

“In our experience during Typhoon Yolanda, we found that aside from physical nourishment, it is important to also help uplift their spirits and give dignity,” Laguda said.

One effective way to do this, he stressed, was to help teachers “feel beautiful” by giving new makeup such as lipstick. “Consequently, the smile on teachers’ faces can infect thousands of students and provide hope,” he added.

Luistro, when he was still DepEd secretary, first made the unusual request for donation of makeup after talking to a Yolanda-affected public school teacher who – despite wearing slippers – still managed to put on lipstick to look good in front of her students.

PBSP is the “largest corporate-led social development foundation in the Philippines” and a first of its kind in Asia leading the “promotion and practice” of corporate social responsibility (CSR)..

Hoping to achieve the same effect, PBSP is appealing for donations–make up such as lipsticks for 5,000 teachers and volunteer workers in the front lines of humanitarian work. “We hope you can be part of this simple but effective gesture of solidarity by providing dignity through beauty,” Laguda said.

As of June 13, Luistro said that PBSP was able to collect donations combined with pledges totalling Php 5.68 million. “These contributions from corporations and individuals will help us provide needed assistance to at least 4000 families including hundreds of public school teachers from Marawi currently displaced in Iligan and nearby towns,” he added.

PBSP, Luistro said, is “working with local non-governmental organization (NGO) partners and government to deploy assistance” since last week. “We hope to get more information about other needs as well as plans for rehabilitation and provide updates thereafter,” he added.

Luistro and Laguda stressed that in times like these, “acts of generosity and solidarity ground us with hope amidst the darkness” and that “no amount of support is too small as an act of solidarity with our Muslim brothers and sisters.”

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