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Basis for Martial Law declaration, against the law – Constitutionalist

by UNTV News   |   Posted on Thursday, May 25th, 2017


MANILA — A constitutionalist has questioned the basis of President Rodrigo Duterte for declaring martial law in the entire region of Mindanao.

One of the framers of the 1987 Constitution, Atty. Christian Monsod, argues that the turmoil in Marawi can be considered as lawless violence only, and not rebellion or invasion which should be the basis of martial law as stated in the Constitution.

“It seems to me that the situation there can be addressed by the 1st part of section 18 on the Constitution calling for the armed forces to address lawless violence. [I] don’t think it needs a declaration of martial law,” Monsod said.

Even a group of human rights lawyers explained there had been only one encounter in Marawi City that authorities were not able to immediately control.

“We think the declaration is not valid because there is no factual basis. There are only two basis – rebellion and invasion. There is definitely no invasion. We think there is no rebellion as well. Because first, when you say rebellion, there has to be an armed uprising with the purpose of removing your allegiance with the government,” Atty. Ephraim Cortez, secretary general, National Union of Peoples’ Lawyers said.

Meanwhile, Senator Franklin Drilon has asked for a separate briefing because of some seemingly conflicting statements from the administration and the armed forces.

The senator said, “I think that would be useful so that we could fully understand the premises or the basis, because we get conflicting reports like, I heard the AFP Spokesman that everything is under control. If it’s under control, why was martial law declared? We don’t want to come to any conclusion until, at the very least; We get a report as required by the constitution.”

And even Davao City Mayor Sarah Duterte herself believes the situation in Marawi City is not that severe.

“What’s happening in Marawi City is only lawless violence,” Mayor Sarah Duterte said.

Monsod, meanwhile, sees a bigger motive behind the declaration of the President.

He said, “It is scary because he is testing weather the people are accepting or willing to accept martial law even if there are really no sufficient grounds of declaring it and it would be a good sign for him to carry out a broader agenda than just federalism.”

Monsod said the power is now in the courts to study the martial law declaration of the President, while it’s up to Congress to decide on whether or not to approve the imposition of military rule.

“There must be a check and balance in our Constitution because it is really open to abuse with extra ordinary powers that the President has,” Monsod added.

President Rodrigo Duterte is the fifth president that declared martial law. The first was Emilio Aguinaldo in May 1898. Second was Jose P. Laurel in September 1944. Third to declare was Ferdinand Marcos in 1972 which lasted for nine years.

Gloria Macapagal Arroyo also declared a one month martial law in the town of Maguindanao in 2009 after the Maguindanao massacre. – Grace Casin | UNTV News and Rescue


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Malacañang opposes delay in return of Canada trash

by Marje Pelayo   |   Posted on Thursday, May 23rd, 2019

MANILA, Philippines – Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo on Thursday (May 23) said President Rodrigo Duterte will not allow a delay in the return of trash shipment to Canada.

Thus, Panelo said Duterte’s order of tapping the service of a private shipping company to immediately ship the abandoned trash back to Canadian territory will push through at the soonest possible time even at the expense of the Philippine government.

“I understand from secretary Dominguez that malapit nang ipadala. The trash will be sent back the soonest,” the Presidential Spokesperson said.

On Wednesday (May 22), the Canadian government through its Ministry of Environment and Climate Change said they have already hired a shipping company to safely bring the waste back to Canada.

But Environment Minister Catherine McKenna said: “The removal will be complete by the end of June, as the waste must be safely treated to meet Canadian safety and health requirements.”

“Sabi nila it will take end of June pa. Hindi papayag si President noon,” Panelo stressed.

“We will not allow ourselves to be a dumping ground of trash,” he concluded. – (with reports from Rosalie Coz) Marje Pelayo

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Bong Go vows independence as senator, but…

by Robie de Guzman   |   Posted on Wednesday, May 22nd, 2019

Senator Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go | Courtesy : PVI-PRESS by Rodel Lumiares

MANILA, Philippines – Former presidential special assistant Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go on Wednesday vowed independence from Malacañang when he formally assumes his post as one of the country’s newly-elected senators.

Go, who ranked third in the senatorial race, was not accompanied by his family when he attended the proclamation of 2019 Midterm election winners held by the Commission on Elections (Comelec) at the Philippine International Convention Center (PICC) on Wednesday morning.

READ: Winning Senators of 2019 polls thank voters, bare legislation plans

Go arrived at the PICC with some of his staff members and Malacañang officials.

When asked why he was not accompanied by his family at his proclamation, Go said they were not able to make it because the event was on short notice.

Although Go often spends time with President Rodrigo Duterte, his wife and children are rarely seen in public.

Prior to running for senator, Go had served as Duterte’s closest aide for more than 20 years since he was mayor of Davao City.

The President even went with Go when the latter filed his candidacy in October 2018.

Despite his close association with Duterte, the newly-elected senator vowed independence and will not just be a rubber stamp of the Chief Executive.

However, he was quick to add that he will remain supportive of Duterte’s legislative agenda.

“Of course, magiging independent po ako,” he said.

“Subalit susuportahan ko po ang mga legislative agenda ni Pangulong Duterte dahil alam ko po ginagawa niya lang po ang tama,” he added.

When he formally assumes his role in the upcoming 18th Congress, Go said, he will support the proposed reimposition of the death penalty on heinous crimes and high-level drug trafficking.

If given an opportunity, Go said he would like to head the Senate committee on education and health.

He will also work on the passage of the proposed shift to federalism, and expressed willingness to be a conduit to promote stronger ties between the Senate and the Executive branch.

“Kung papaano po natin mapapaganda at maisasaayos ang koordinasyon between the Senate and the Malacañang ay handa po akong maging tulay,” he said.

Go has been media’s go-to man about President Duterte’s whereabouts when he is not attending public engagements.

But even if he is now a duly elected senator of the republic, Go said his personal relationship with the president will remain unchanged.

“Bilang taga-Davao, bilang ako po ay kaibigan ni Pangulong Duterte, for the past 21 years nagtatrabaho po ako sa kaniya, pangako ko po yun kay Pangulong Duterte habang buhay ko po siyang sasamahan,” he said. (with details from Rosalie Coz)

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Duterte fires FDA chief Puno over alleged corruption

by Robie de Guzman   |   Posted on Thursday, May 16th, 2019

Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Director General Nela Charade Puno | Courtesy: PNP Directorate for Personnel and Records Management

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte has fired Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Director General Nela Charade Puno for alleged corruption, the Malacañang said on Thursday.

Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo announced this during a press briefing on Thursday by reading a letter signed by Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea addressed to Puno.

“Dear Ms. Puno, please be advised that upon the instruction of the President, your appointment as director general of the Food and Drug Administration of the Department of Heath is hereby terminated effective immediately,” the letter dated May 15 stated.

“This is in line with the President’s continuing mandate to eradicate graft and corruption, and to ensure that public officials and employees conduct themselves in a manner worthy of public trust,” the letter added.

Puno was also directed to turn over all official documents, papers and properties in her possession to the office of the Undersecretary for Health regulation of the Department of Health “to ensure uninterrupted delivery of public service.”

Puno was appointed by Duterte as head of the FDA in 2016.

READ: 3 cops killed, 3 others wounded in Camarines Sur ambush

She survived an ambush in October 2018 allegedly staged by the New People’s Army in Lupi, Camarines Sur.

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