Duterte wants Smartmatic out of PH election

Marje Pelayo   •   May 31, 2019   •   2134

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte wants the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to find another service provider for the automated elections.

“I would like to advise Comelec now — hindi ko na lang hintayin — dispose of that Smartmatic and look for a new one that is free of fraud,” the President said during his meeting with the Filipino community in Japan on Thursday (May 30).

The poll body, for its part, welcomes the President’s preference for a different firm other than the controversy-stricken technology solutions firm Smartmatic.

“Malinaw naman siguro sa sinabi niya iyon pero malinaw din na hindi niya itinatakuwil ang ating automated system kundi lamang iyong supplier,” Comelec Spokesperon Director James Jimenez said.

(What he [Duterte] said was clear. He is not denouncing the automated system but only the supplier.)

However, the poll body maintained that they cannot just breach their contract and impose a ban on Smartmatic without any strong evidence.

“Kakailanganin natin ng legal basis to ban any supplier so iyon ang titignan natin,” Jimenez said emphasizing that it was Smartmatic that won the contract to handle the needs of the 2019 midterm polls.

(We will need a legal basis to ban any supplier and that is what we are contemplating.)

Aside from Smartmatic’s existing contract, additional funds will also be a concern but still, it is always possible to search for another service provider.

“Dumadaan tayo sa pubic bidding so there’s always a chance for that and the bidding schedules are designed to accommodate a new supplier,” he explained further.

Malacañang, meanwhile, was also quick to clarify the President’s statement saying he (Duterte) did not mean to give the impression that the recently concluded election was not honest nor credible.

“It is,” Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said referring to the credibility of the 2019 midterm polls.

Panelo explained that President Duterte was just responding to some concerns raised by both the opposition on certain technical glitches that raised questions on the technological competence of Smartmatic.

“The President wants that the future elections will not be subjected to the same aforementioned concerns,” Panelo said.

Panelo calls on Comelec to take President Duterte’s suggestion ‘seriously’ emphasizing that the poll body “should be the first one that should be fiercely protective of its image being the constitutional body mandated to safeguard the sanctity of the ballots.”

Duterte orders stricter road safety checks after South Cotabato mishap

Aileen Cerrudo   •   September 20, 2019

President Rodrigo Duterte has ordered stricter implementation of road safety checks after a private truck fell into a ravine in South Cotabato on Tuesday (September 17).

Based on reports, 21 people were killed while 14 others were injured due to the South Cotabato mishap.

According to the Department of Transportation (Dotr), officials from several departments had a meeting with the president on Wednesday (September 18).

The chief executive has ordered to intensify roadworthiness checks, improve driver’s licensing requirements, periodic drug testing, and financial capability checks for operators.

“The chief executive pushed for the urgent nationwide implementation of the PUV Modernization Program (PUVMP) to improve the level of safety and security of passengers,” the Dotr said in a statement on Facebook.

Duterte has also emphasized that private vehicles used beyond their legitimate purpose should be banned.

Vehicles should also have proper road safety equipment and facilities while operators who do not have the financial capability for safety improvements should cease to operate.

DOTr Secretary Arthur Tugade said the department will improve on road safety through various programs including Motor Vehicle Inspection System (MVIS).

“Ilang buhay na naman ‘ho ang nawala sa atin. Itigil na ang kawalan ng disiplina. Itigil na ang pagiging pabaya sa kalsada. Sa utos ng ating Pangulo, sisikapin naming masiguro na tanging mga roadworthy vehicles lang ang bibiyahe sa kalsada, at lahat ng driver ay may sapat na kaalaman at disiplina sa pagmamaneho, (Several lives have already been lost. Let us stop the lack of discipline. Stop recklessness on the road. According to our President’s order, let us strive to ensure that only roadworthy vehicles should operate and all drivers should have discipline in driving),” Tugade said.—AAC

‘Tracker team’ all set for deployment as Duterte’s surrender deadline for heinous crime convicts passes

Marje Pelayo   •   September 19, 2019

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte’s surrender deadline for heinous crime convicts freed through the Good Conduct Time Allowance (GCTA) will be until midnight of Thursday (September 19).

After which, the Philippine National Police (PNP) will deploy its tracker team to chase those who refuse to yield to the President’s call.

According to National Capital Region Police (NCRPO) Chief Police Major General Guillermo Eleazar, out of 1,914 heinous crime convicts released under GCTA, a total of 202 reside in Metro Manila.

From that number, only 26 surrendered.

Therefore, a total 176 convicts remain at large and they are the target of the NCRPO’s tracker team.

“All the tracker teams natin of the 176 targets in Metro Manila, they will start their manhunt at 12 o’ clock. They are distributed in the 26 police station,” Eleazar said.

“Within 6 hours from 12 o’clock to 6 o’clock all the 176 addresses, lahat iyon ay pupuntahan ng tracker teams natin, (They will all be chased by our tracker teams,)” he added.

Eleazar said they want to arrest their targets alive as much as possible.

“We want to get them alive, but kung mayroong (but in the event of) aggressive behavior on their part, of course, we have to defend ourselves,” he explained.

The official warned to file appropriate charges against those convicts who would refuse arrest.

Earlier today, four convicts surrendered to the NCRPO though their names were not included in the list of GCTA-freed convicts of the Bureau of Corrections (BuCor).

All they wanted, they said, was to make sure their lives are safe.

They are now under the custody of the BuCor. – MNP (with details from Lea Ylagan)

Duterte certifies passage of 2020 national budget as urgent

Aileen Cerrudo   •   September 19, 2019

President Rodrigo Duterte

President Rodrigo Duterte has certified the proposed P4.1 trillion 2020 national budget as urgent.

According to his letter dated September 17 addressed to the Senate and the House of Representatives, he wants the immediate passage of the proposed national budget to “maintain continuous government operations.”

“Ensure the budgetary preparedness that will enable the government to effectively perform its constitutional mandate,” the letter stated.

According to Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo, the president certified the proposed 2020 national budget as urgent to avoid a repetition of last year’s delay which affected several economic programs of the administration.

“He [Duterte] wants the members of Congress [to know] the importance of passing the budget on time to avoid a repeat of last year’s delay of its passage that wreak havoc in the economic program of the administration, and affected the delivery of basic services to the people,” he said in a statement.—AAC

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