‘Bayan’ to protest alleged fraud in 2019 midterm polls
by Marje Pelayo | Posted on Wednesday, May 15th, 2019
MANILA, Philippines – The group Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan) is brewing a mass protest on Friday (May 17) to question the results of the 2019 midterm elections.
Bayan Secretary-General Renato Reyes criticized the remarks of Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo on Tuesday (May 14) saying it is through “Duterte’s magic” that most of the admin-endorsed senatorial candidates entered the Top 12 list of the partial, unofficial results of the midterm polls.
Due to this, Reyes said, the election results cannot be trusted.
Reyes has accused Duterte of using government resources for election results to favor administration bets. Also, he alleged that the Armed Forces and the National Police have been utilized to target and harass opposition groups.
Apart from that, Duterte allegedly placed the Commission on Elections (Comelec) under his control to do some “magic” in the automated polls.
Reyes also accused the President of extending the martial law in Mindanao and backing government-sponsored disinformation to manipulate the elections.
Reyes, meanwhile, gets the support of former congressman and losing senatorial candidate, Neri Colmenares.
In a Twitter post, Colmenares refused to accept the election results saying: “I will never concede defeat to a rotten electoral exercise that has basically deceived, bribed, intimidated and manipulated our people into electing the worst kinds of leaders imaginable.”
Meanwhile, Malacañang said such reactions are expected from left-leaning party-list groups.
Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said, “Their loss is a clear indication that our people do not believe in their advocacies.”
He added that Reyes’ allegations “have not been backed by any semblance of evidence and can easily be fact-checked.”
“We hope that Mr. Reyes would be humble enough to accept the electoral defeat even as we are magnanimous in our triumph,” Panelo said,
“We reiterate our call to the opposition. Let us set aside our partisanship and work together for the betterment of the Filipino people. The sovereign voice has spoken,” the Presidential Spokesperson concluded. – Marje Pelayo (with details from Rosalie Coz)
by Marje Pelayo | Posted on Tuesday, July 16th, 2019
MANILA, Philippines – Malacañang assured that President Rodrigo Duterte will be the first to obey the newly-signed Republic Act 11313 also known as the Safe Spaces Act or ‘Anti-Bastos Law’.
“Since the president signed that law, it means he recognizes the need for that law and since he is the chief enforcer of all the laws of the Philippines, he will be the first one to obey the law,” said Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo.
Signed on April 17, 2019, the new law imposes stiffer penalties to crimes “committed through any unwanted and uninvited sexual actions or remarks against any person regardless of the motive for committing such action or remarks.”
Among these acts include:
online sexual harassment
persistent unwanted comments on one’s appearance
relentless requests for one’s personal details
Likewise, the law prevents gender-based sexual harassment such as use of words, gestures or actions that ridicule sexual orientation, identity and/or expression from occurring in streets, public places, online workplaces, and educational and training institutions.
Penalties range from P1,000 to P500,000 fine, community service, and imprisonment of six days up to six months.
President Duterte has been criticized many times for his controversial remarks against women, but Panelo said those were all jokes, and definitely not sexual harassment against women.
“That particular law is penal in nature, meaning criminal in nature. In other words, the subject offended party must be offended personally by an offender,” the Presidential Legal Counsel explained.
“Pero kung general na nagkukwento, mao-offend ka? Paano mo sasabihing ikaw ang tinutukoy noon? May problema ka doon. (But he is just telling a story, in general, will you be offended? How can you tell that he was referring to you? Do you have problems with that?) How can you even charge him with what? How did they offend you? Did I refer to you? Papaano ka na? Dismiss agad iyon (How about you then? [The case] will be dismissed right away). Crime is personal to the offender,” he added.
Panelo added that persons who think they were offended by the President are always free to file a complaint once the President steps down from office.
“Any person can sue him for that violation. If you argue that, well, he is immune. Well, you can sue him after the presidency. No one is above the law, including this president and he always tells us that,” Panelo concluded. – with reports from Rosalie Coz
by Marje Pelayo | Posted on Wednesday, July 10th, 2019
MANILA, Philippines – The United States is reportedly sending Deputy Assistant Secretary Mina Chang as the replacement to outgoing U.S. Ambassador to the Philippines Sung Kim, according to insider information from the US Executive Department.
The report set the country’s diplomatic scene abuzz and though he couldn’t confirm it, Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo was obviously thrilled saying days ahead would be “exciting” if Chang’s appointment would push through.
First, the 32-year-old Korean-American diplomat is a stunner and is among the top-caliber official of the United States government.
She is currently assigned to the State Department’s Bureau of Conflict and Stabilization Operations.
Second, she is an advocate of global education. Before assuming a government position, Chang was the Chief Executive Officer of the non-government organization Linking the World.
Likewise, she is an advocate “for proactive stabilization as a strategic tool of foreign engagement and an investment in a stronger America abroad.”
According to her U.S. State Department profile, Chang has “extensive on the ground experience in conflict areas such as in Afghanistan, Iraq, Somalia, Nigeria, and the Philippines.”
Third, Chang has impressive academic credentials: “An alumna of the Harvard Business School, a graduate of the United States Army War College National Security Seminar, a Harvard John F. Kennedy Senior Executive in National and International Security and a former International Security Fellow at New America.”
Aside from good looks, Chang also had a flourishing career as an international pop singer and recorded both English and Korean songs, a platform she used to push her humanitarian goals.
With the Filipinos’ weakness for beauty pageants and President Rodrigo Duterte’s fondness for beautiful women, U.S. President Donald Trump is perhaps using this ‘beauty queen diplomacy’ to convince the President to make a turn around as he pivots to China.
Once confirmed, Chang will be the second female US ambassador to the Philippines after Kristie Kenney, who served as ambassador to Manila from 2006 to 2009.
Duterte already announced the term-sharing on Monday (July 8) between Taguig City Representative Alan Peter Cayetano and Marinduque Representative Lord Allan Velasco as House Speakers.—AAC (with reports from Rosalie Coz)
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