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Congress to probe poll glitches on June 4

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

MANILA, Philippines – The Senate and the House of Representatives are planning to hold an inquiry on the technical glitches and other issues that marred the 2019 midterm elections.

Senator Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel, chairman of the Senate committee on electoral reforms, said on Wednesday that the joint congressional committee on the automated election system agreed to conduct the hearing on June 4.

Several officials from the Commission on Elections (Comelec) will be summoned to explain the problems encountered on election day.

He said Comelec should reexamine the diagnostic tests they used to clear vote-counting machines (VCM) after some of the units encountered glitches during the May 13 polls.

The Comelec earlier said that more than 900 of the 85,000 VCMs were pulled out from several voting precincts nationwide after encountering hiccups on election day.

The poll body blamed this on faulty secure digital (SD) cards provided by their supplier. Around 1,665 of the 85,769 SD cards used in the midterm polls were defective.

The said figures are higher than the 120 SD cards and 801 VCMs replaced in 2016 polls.

Comelec Commissioner Rowena Guanzon earlier said that she will propose to the Comelec en banc to withhold the payment for the SD card supplier.

READ: Comelec Exec says supplier of ‘faulty’ SD cards shouldn’t be paid in full

Senator Panfilo Lacson supported the planned hearing to clear the technical issues, which could cast doubt on the results of the elections.

Lacson added that aside from the procurement of low-quality memory cards, he also wants to Comelec to explain about the delays in transmission related to their transparency server.

Senator Sherwin Gatchalian also echoed his colleagues’ sentiments.

He said there is a need to look into the issues that marred the 2019 polls to preserve the integrity and credibility of the automated elections, and avoid repeating them in the succeeding elections.

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Palace: the Filipino suicide bomber a cause for concern

by Aileen Cerrudo   |   Posted on Thursday, July 11th, 2019

Scene of the suicide attack at a military camp in Indanan, Sulu that killed three soldiers and two bombers. | Courtesy: AFP-WESMINCOM

One of the two suicide bombers who was confirmed to be Filipino is a cause for concern according to Malacañang.

The attacker was identified as Norman Lasuca, 23 years old. Authorities say he was the first confirmed Filipino suicide bomber.

READ: Authorities confirm one of the suicide bombers in Indanan, Sulu was Filipino

According to Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo, the attacker’s action goes against the character of Filipinos.

“It’s a cause for concern, given that this is the first time that there is a Filipino suicide bomber. It goes against the grain of the character of Filipinos, iyong magsu-suicide ka para sa terrorism (committing suicide for terrorism),” he said.

The Palace calls on the public to remain vigilant and immediately report suspicious individuals to authorities.—AAC (with reports from Rosalie Coz)

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Lacson: Duterte broke his silence and left us heartbroken

by Aileen Cerrudo   |   Posted on Tuesday, June 18th, 2019

(L-R) Senator Panfilo Lacson and President Rodrigo Duterte

Senator Panfilo Lacson has expressed dismay over the remarks of President Rodrigo Duterte about the Chinese vessel ramming a Filipino fishing boat in Reed Bank last June 9.

During his speech on Monday (June 17), Duterte said the sinking of the Filipino fishing boat was only a ‘maritime incident’ and it is not necessary to send the Philippine Navy to the area.

“Dalawang bangka lang iyan (Those are just two boats). Now you go there and create a tension. I said, hindi ako g*go na presidente na papayag (I am not a foolish president who will allow it). If we have to die, we have to die in the correct way, and to die in dignity,” said Duterte.

Lacson is also dismayed by the limited action of the president regarding the issue.

“It is disappointing to say the least, not much by his insulting remark but his self-limiting course of action which disregards an effective ‘weapon’ in our arsenal. It is found in the Mutual Defense Treaty,” his statement adds.

Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon, meanwhile, said there is no need to confuse the public if the ramming by the Chinese vessel is intentional or not.

He said there is already a violation of the United Nations Convention of the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) when the captain of the Chinese vessel did not assist the Filipino fishermen.

“This violates China’s obligation under the UNCLOS to rescue those in distress at sea. This is the issue that should be addressed and the basis of China’s liability under international law and the UNCLOS,” he said.

Duterte also said that he will not be issuing an official statement while the incident is still to be investigated.—AAC (with reports from Nel Maribojoc)

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Duterte should be president for life if he fixes flight delays, traffic – Lacson

by Robie de Guzman   |   Posted on Monday, June 10th, 2019

President Rodrigo Duterte | Courtesy : PCOO

MANILA, Philippines – Senator Panfilo Lacson on Monday said President Rodrigo Duterte should be president for life if he can deliver on two of the promises he recently made.

Those promises include cutting down the travel time from Cubao to Makati to five minutes and to eliminate flight delays at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA).

Lacson added that Duterte could be considered superhuman if he is able to address the said perennial problems.

“If PRRD delivers on just two promises he recently made: (1) to cut travel time from Cubao to Makati to 5 minutes within 6 months and; (2) to eliminate flight delays in NAIA within one month, for being superhuman, he deserves to be president for life,” Lacson wrote on his Twitter account.

Senate President Vincente Sotto III, on the other hand, welcomed the president’s promise but he has yet to see how this will be fulfilled.

“Sounds good but I have no idea how yet,” Sotto said in a text message sent to reporters.

The President earlier vowed to reduce travel time between Cubao and Makati to five minutes before the year ends.

Solving the traffic in Metro Manila is among Duterte’s promises since he became president in 2016.

His administration even asked Congress to grant him emergency powers to address the issue.

The proposal was approved by the House of Representatives in the 17th Congress but was stalled in the Senate.  

According to Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade, the said bill possibly be refiled in the next Congress by Senator-elect Francis Tolentino, who was a former chairman of the Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA).

READ: Duterte makes surprise visit at NAIA

Earlier on Monday, President Duterte made a surprise visit at the NAIA following reports on delays and cancellations of several domestic and international flights.

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