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Revolutionary gov't remark not an outright statement, Duterte insists

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte, in his speech during the closing ceremony of the 31st Association of Southeast Asian Nations Summit and Related Summits at the Philippine International Convention Center on November 14, 2017, expresses the country's continuing commitment to building a strong and resilient ASEAN Community. King Rodriguez/Presidential Photo
MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte clarified that he would only declare a revolutionary government if “things go out of control” and the government is in danger of being overthrown violently.
 
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Duterte accused the media of “chopping” his statements and leaving out the condition that would warrant such declaration.
 
 
"Revolutionary? Then we should have a revolution first then… Until there is a revolution ‘yung ma-ano, malabo (it is unlikely),” the president told reporters in Davao City Saturday.
 
“You are always shortchanged of quotations. I said before and I repeat now, and I know it would not be taken into account again. I said if things go out of control at tumagilid ‘yung gobyerno, ‘yun ang predicate ko (and the government is placed at risk, that is my predicate). It was not an outright statement,” he added.
 
 
Earlier, Duterte said he would set up a revolutionary government and declare all state posts vacant if the Philippines plunges into chaos because of the alleged destabilization plots against him.
 
“If I declare a revolutionary government, arestado kayong lahat. Hindi ako nananakot (All of you will be arrested. I am not scaring you),” Duterte told state-run television network PTV 4 last October 13.
 
 
“If I think you are about to take over the government, you destabilize the government, bantay kayo (watch out),” he added.
 
“If my see that my nation tilts into chaos and is really destabilized, I will declare a revolutionary government.”
 
The remark drew flak from the opposition, who accused the president of being paranoid and of trying to “annihilate democracy.”
 
 
Duterte claimed that only the parts of his statement that were “good for a public criticism” came out in news reports.
 
“Because they would always omit the predicate—Kung tumagilid ang bayan ko (if my country is in danger) and I see revolutionaries bringing firearms on the streets, well, maybe, huwag ka nang magdalawang-isip (do not think twice), I will declare a revolutionary government,” he said. 
 
“Ayaw ko ng (I do not like) martial law. Maraming (Too many) restrictions. Todohin ko na lang (I might as well go full force)… Do not do something that will cause or even attempt to topple government, hindi ako papayag ng ganun (I won’t allow that to happen).”
 
The 72-year-old Duterte has repeatedly denied seeking to perpetuate himself to power, saying he is not happy being a president because of the demands of the job.
 
Last month, Solicitor General Jose Calida claimed that the opposition, communist rebels and some members of the clergy are planning to oust Duterte but did not disclose their identities.

 

 
 
 
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NBI to lead probe into MRT decoupling incident

The National Bureau of Investigation would handle the probe into the decoupling incident of the coaches of the Metro Rail Transit last Thursday. File
MANILA, Philippines — Transportation Undersecretary Cesar Chavez on Sunday said the National Bureau of Investigation would handle the probe into the decoupling incident of the coaches of the MRT-3 last Thursday.

In a statement, Chavez said he had a two-hour meeting with the NBI's Special Action Unit, which would lead the MRT investigation. He said he already conveyed the message of Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade that the Department of Transportation and the MRT-3 would fully cooperate in the investigation.

“We thank the NBI for immediately forming a team of investigators,” Chavez said.
“DOTr and MRT will no longer make any statement regarding the investigation. Hawak na po ito ng NBI. Kung may statement man, sila na po ang magbibigay sa mga susunod na araw, (It is already being handled by the NBI. If there will be any statement in the coming days, it will be coming from them),” he added.

According to Chavez, the investigation would cover the decoupling incident and the missing messma card, commonly referred to as the black box of the light rail vehicle.

Chavez also met with MRT-3 Director for Operations Engr. Mike Capati, MRT Safety and Security Unit chief retired Major Willy Serano, his assistant Jess Duque and lawyer Dona Samson from the DOTr Office of the Undersecretary for Legal.
BURI denies sabotage plot

Meanwhile, the former maintenance provider of the MRT-3, Busan Universal Rail Inc., denied sabotaging the train and being involved in the decoupling of coaches last Thursday.

BURI spokesperson Charles Mendoza said they do not think they are among the persons of interest mentioned by Chavez.

“Wala kaming responsibilidad o involvement sa mga nangyari. Alam niyo naman, sila na ang nagpapatakbo ngayon, (We have no responsibility or involvement in the incident. You know that the government already manages the MRT,” Mercado said in a radio interview with dzMM.

The MRT-3 decoupling incident occurred a week after the government terminated the contract of BURI as its maintenance provider.

On Saturday, Chavez said there were several persons of interest in the MRT-3 incident but he refused to identify these persons pending the NBI probe.

The MRT-3 decoupling incident at the Ayala Station last Thursday disrupted train operations and forced hundreds of commuters to walk to the next station.

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Duterte asks for MILF's patience on BBL passage

President Rodrigo Duterte signs the Executive Order reconstituting the Bangsamoro Transition Commission in Malacañan on Nov. 7, 2016. Also in the photo are Moro Islamic Liberation Front Peace Panel Chair Mohagher Iqbal, Presidential Peace Adviser Jesus Dureza, MILF Chairman Al Haj Murad Ebrahim, and Government of the Philippines Peace Implementing Panel Chair Irene Santiago. King Rodriguez/Presidential Photo
MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte appealed for patience from the Moro Islamic Liberation Front as Congress deliberates on the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law.
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Duterte noted that the BBL, which aims to implement the 2014 peace agreement between the government and the MILF, has to undergo a process before it is realized.
 
“I hope that the BBL guys, MILF would understand that in a democracy there is always a process, and sometimes it gets very hard to just move,” the president said in a press conference in Davao City last Saturday. 
 
“Especially, with the sentiments involved, this will not entail an automatic vote for no or yes, but I am asking for their patience,” he added.
 
 
Duterte stressed that the passage of BBL, which aims to form a Bangsamoro political entity in Mindanao with enhanced autonomy, remains a “personal commitment.” 
 
“The most that I can really assure you is it would be a federal system where we do not lose control.
 
“We are waiting for the BBL. Actually, it’s a commitment. That’s the centerpiece of my campaign, actually was Mindanao. Because if you are not going to fix it, I said, there is trouble,” he added. 
 
The executive branch transmitted the BBL draft to the House of Representatives and the Senate last August. 
 
 
Duterte said failure to pass the BBL and adopt federalism could lead to a “fractured” Mindanao. 
 
“I have been very frank with you. Ever since during the campaign, I thought there’s a looming of dark clouds also that would involve the Moro of Mindanao,” he said.
 
Last month, Duterte warned that Mindanao would be plagued with more rebellion if the type of government is not changed from unitary to federal.
 
“With regard to federalism, I’ll be frank. If it does not push through or any change that would modify the present structure, which is really an unfair set-up, it will lead into a trouble again in Mindanao,” the President said in a federalism forum in Camarines Sur last Oct 17.
 
“It would be harder for us to survive as a nation, a republic intact. I am not scaring you,” he added. 
 
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Ex-DepEd exec gets18 years for graft

Former regional director Jesus Nieves was meted a maximum prison term of 10 years for graft and another eight years for falsification of public documents. File

MANILA, Philippines — A former official of the Department of Education (DepEd) in Zamboanga peninsula has been sentenced to a maximum of 18 years in prison for the anomalous purchase of information technology (IT) materials.

Former regional director Jesus Nieves was meted a maximum prison term of 10 years for graft and another eight years for falsification of public documents.

The Sandiganbayan’s First Division issued the ruling on Friday.

Nieves was slapped with the accessory penalties of  perpetual disqualification from holding public office, payment of P4,776,786 in damage to DepEd and a fine of P2,000.

Court records showed Nieves purchased IT materials amounting to P4,776,786 in April 2006 from Felta Multi-Media Inc. through direct contracting instead of public bidding as required under the Government Procurement Reform Act.

The court said a resolution of the bids and awards committee was falsified to make it appear that the BAC recommended the purchase of the materials through direct contracting.

While there was no direct evidence showing that Nieves was the one who falsified the BAC resolution, the Sandiganbayan said “case law teaches that he who stands to benefit from such falsified document is legally presumed to be the author thereof.”

The court said a Commission on Audit (COA) report in 2007 showed the DepEd regional office received P4,776,786 from the Department of Budget and Management, but the amount was not recorded in its book of accounts.

The COA said there were no disbursement vouchers and other supporting documents to prove that the purchase was above board.

The Sandiganbayan said the purchase was initiated despite a moratorium in the procurement of supplementary and reference materials to ensure that available funds are used to address the backlog in textbooks and teachers’ manuals.

“What made the matter worse is...that the accused was not able to come up with any reliable proof to show that the procured items had...been delivered...Neither did the defense present any of the supposed beneficiaries of the said items to debunk...the audit report,” the court ruling read.

 

 
 
 
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'Don't let Duterte's minions use you,' De Lima tells new state witness Ragos

DRUG CASES. Senator Leila De Lima wave to supporters as she arrives for her hearing on the case filed against her on the illegal drug trade inside the New Bilibid Prison at the Muntinlupa RTC on October 13, 2017. Rappler file photo

 
 
 
 
 
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MANILA, Philippines – Detained Senator Leila de Lima called on her former subordinate, Rafael Ragos and another co-accused, former boyfriend Ronnie Dayan, to “listen to their conscience” and “not allow themselves to be used by Duterte’s minions.”

De Lima made the statement on Saturday, November 18, days after the Department of Justice dropped the charges against Ragos, former officer-in-charge of the Bureau of Corrections (BuCor). Ragos will now turn witness against De Lima and Dayan.

Ragos and Dayan allegedly collected grease money from convicts inside the New Bilibid Prison to fund De Lima’s senatorial campaign. The BuCor and Bilibid are both under the DOJ, which De Lima headed for over 5 years under the previous administration.

In a statement, De Lima said Ragos turning witness is “suspicious and fishy,” as if there was a “done deal…for more lies.”

Alam ko na alam nila [Ragos and Dayan] na inosente ako, at gawa-gawa lang ang mga kaso laban sa akin. Pakinggan sana nila ang kanilang konsensiya. Magpakatotoo sila. Magpakalalaki sila. Huwag na silang magsinungaling. Huwag silang magpagamit sa mga kampon ni Duterte,” said the senator.

(I know that Ragos and Dayan know I am innocent, that these cases against me are all made up. I hope they listen to their conscience. They should be true to themselves. They should man up. They should not lie. They shouldn't let themselves be used by Duterte’s minions.)

De Lima is in jail for illegal drug charges filed before a Muntinlupa court.

Ragos and other witnesses for the prosecution, some of them Bilibid convicts, had earlier claimed that they gave and collected money for De Lima in 2012, allegedly to fund her senatorial bid. De Lima’s camp had rejected this claim. 

De Lima was – and continues to be – among Duterte’s loudest critics. She and her allies have repeatedly said that the the allegations against her are all false, and intended to silence her. (READ: The public trial of Leila de Lima)

A neophyte senator, De Lima led a Senate probe into allegations of extrajudicial killings in Duterte’s bloody drug war. She was kicked out as chairman of the Senate justice committee. Senator Richard Gordon later took on the post and released a report saying that neither Duterte not the state had a hand in apparent summary killings in the drug war. – Rappler.com

 
 
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A year after Marcos burial, minority senators honor protesters as 'true heroes'

TRUE HEROES'. Protesters against the burial of the late President Ferdinand Marcos at the Libingan ng mga Bayani converge to voice their collective outrage. Photo by Alecs Ongcal/Rappler 

 
 
 
 
 
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MANILA, Philippine – A year after former president Ferdinand Marcos was buried at the Libingan ng mga Bayani, minority senators honored the "true heroes" who expressed outrage against the hero’s burial of the late dictator.

“On this day, let us choose to remember not the burial but the people who rose to the call: protesters who showed a strong sense of hope, pride, and solidarity,” the senators said in a statement on Saturday, November 18. (READ: TIMELINE: The Marcos burial controversy)

 

They are Senators Paolo Benigno Aquino IV, Leila de Lima, Franklin Drilon, Risa Hontiveros, Francis Pangilinan, and Antonio Trillanes IV.

Marcos was buried at the Libingan ng mga Bayani on November 18, 2016, a week after the Supreme Court ruled in favor of his hero's burial. The private burial rites were done in secret, as requested by the family, sparking condemnation from groups and personalities opposed to the hero's burial. (READ: Marcos a thief till the end, say senators

The secret burial triggered nationwide protests where "true heroes" converged, the minority senators said on Saturday. (IN PHOTOS, VIDEOS: A night of rage, camaraderie, purpose)

"While a false hero was being buried at the Heroes' Cemetery, true heroes were rising to the challenge and making their voices heard. All across the country, we saw the power of a people who never forgot the truth about this dictator. Crowds numbering in the thousands gathered to condemn the disrespect and utter shamelessness of the secret funeral," they said. – Rappler.com

 
 
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Negros Occidental town suspends classes as Mount Kanlaon emits sulfur fumes

NEGROS OCCIDENTAL, Philippines – Classes were suspended in La Castellana town here on Friday, November 17, after Mount Kanlaon emitted sulfur fumes. 

Mount Kanlaon remained on Alert Level 2, or in “moderate level of unrest.”

 

On November 15, the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) raised the alert status of Mount Kanlaon from Alert Level 1 to Alert Level 2 after it recorded 279 volcanic earthquakes in the last 24 hours. 

The following day, on Thursday, Phivolcs recorded 210 volcanic earthquakes for 24 hours. 

Phivolcs, in its Friday advisory, said it only monitored 10 volcanic earthquakes in the past 24 hours. 

However, residents in La Castellana town complained about the odor coming from the active volcano.

This prompted La Castellana Mayor Rhumyla Mangilimutan to order the suspension of classes in the 6 barangays, which were in the danger zones. These are Barangays Sag-ang, Mansalanao, Cabagnaan, Biaknabato, Masulog, and Puso. 

The mayor said classes suspension in other barangays were up to the discretion of the principal. 

She added the odor was gone Friday afternoon. 

Mangilimutan said the residents, especially in the danger zones, were already informed about the situation. 

The barangay leaders and the community-based disaster councils were also told to prepare and be on alert, she added.

She said school officials were also advised to be ready as their institutions will be utilized as evacuation centers. 

The mayor also said that food packs were being readied. 

For his part, Zeaphard Gerhart Caelian, head of Negros Occidental Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Division, said Phivolcs has checked the area, but has yet to release its findings. 

Caelian said even if the volcano's activities have dropped, it remained under Alert Level 2.

He explained only Phivolcs can lower its alert status, "until such time the volcano is stabilized based on their own parameters." 

Moreover, he said they coordinated with the Mount Kanlaon National Park superintendent for monitoring of the volcano’s activities. 

"We strengthen our communication. Whatever problems they encounter on the ground, we ask them to relay the information right away because they are within the proximity of the volcano," he said. 

He also appealed to the public to be careful when sharing information especially online about Mount Kanlaon as not to cause panic. 

He reminded the public to always verify with the right agencies or authorities whatever information they receive. 

Local government units in the province had already prepared a comprehensive contingency plan in case there will be major eruption. 

Mount Kanlaon is the highest point in the Visayas at 2,465 meters (8,087 feet) above sea level. It straddles the provinces of Negros Occidental and Negros Oriental. – Rappler.com

 
 
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Actress on ASEAN lane breach: A lapse of judgment

Maria Isabel Lopez arrives at the Land Transportation Office in Quezon City yesterday. Boy Santos
MANILA, Philippines — Movie actress Maria Isabel Lopez yesterday admitted that her driving along a lane of EDSA designated for delegates of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) summit was a lapse of judgment on her part.

Lopez said she is ready to face the consequences of her actions as the Land Transportation Office (LTO) has yet to decide whether to revoke her driver’s license.

Lopez appeared at the LTO-Law Enforcement Traffic Adjudication Service (LETAS) office yesterday morning and explained a video showing herself driving along the ASEAN lane.

 

She said she did not intend to breach the security, noting she talked to a traffic constable of the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) before she decided to take out the traffic cones marking the ASEAN lane.

“If there was a breach of security, I wouldn’t have talked to him and just gone ahead,” Lopez said, referring to the MMDA constable.

The actress drew flak after she posted a video of herself driving along the ASEAN lane over the weekend.

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She apologized to the public and appealed to the LTO to consider the whole picture before it decides what sanctions to impose against her.

Lopez is facing charges of disregarding traffic signs, reckless driving, violation of the Anti-Distracted Driving Act and a breach of protocols, LTO-LETAS director Francis Ray Almora said.

He said Lopez could appeal to Transport Secretary Arthur Tugade and President Duterte whatever decision the LTO would make on the matter.

Aside from suspension or revocation of license, Lopez is facing a fine of up to P5,000 for traffic violation.

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