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Marcos election protest to proceed despite possible Cabinet position — Lawyer

by UNTV News   |   Posted on Thursday, February 23rd, 2017

FILE PHOTO: Former senator Bongbong Marcos

FILE PHOTO: Former Senator Bongbong Marcos

MANILA, Philippines — The resolution issued recently by the Supreme Court (SC) is a partial victory for the camp of former senator Bongbong Marcos in his election protest against Vice President Leni Robredo.

The SC sits as the Presidential Electoral Tribunal (PET) that exercises jurisdiction over protests relating to presidential and vice presidential elections.

In its resolution, the SC allowed the protest to proceed and gave Marcos opportunity to prove his case.

His lawyer, Atty. George Erwin Garcia, now wants the high court to set the case for preliminary conference and start hearing the protest.

“What is important here is the case was not dismissed. This will proceed. We won the first battle,” said Atty. Garcia.

He also said the protest will proceed even if Marcos accepts a position in President Rodrigo Duterte’s Cabinet.

Atty. Garcia said, there had been instances in the past of protestants running for other positions. He cited the case of the late Sen. Miriam Santiago who filed a protest after losing in the presidential elections then ran for the Senate and assumed office when she won.

“The Supreme Court ruled, that is an abandonment of her election protest. But it is a different case for Marcos, because [if ever] he will accept a Cabinet position, which is appointive not elective, and therefore, that doesn’t mean he is abandoning his protest,” he said.

Meanwhile, Robledo’s camp intends to appeal the SC resolution to clarify some details and issues.

“There were issues that need to be resolved first, for example, it was not clear which municipalities will have the ballots reopened and which will not and will only have annulment [of votes],” said Atty. Romulo Macalintal, lawyer for Robredo

Marcos’ lawyer raises no issues with this but says it would be better if the case is resolved the soonest to end questions on the legitimacy of Robledo’s victory last elections.

“It would be better if the case will proceed unhindered because they are claiming that we don’t have evidence. They claim that maybe not everything we are saying were true. So it would be better if we are allowed to present our evidence and prove our case and that will only happen in the absence of their dilatory tactics,” he said. — Roderic Mendoza | UNTV News and Rescue

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Comelec: Martial law favorable to BOL plebiscite, 2019 elections in Mindanao

by UNTV News and Rescue   |   Posted on Wednesday, December 12th, 2018

FILE PHOTO: Members of the Philippine army man the checkpoint at the entrance of Maguindanao province, 11 May 2013. Security is tightened as political tension rises two days before the Philippine midterm election in the province. Maguindanao is among the election hot spots tagged by Comelec.

 

QUEZON CITY, Philippines – On January 21 next year, The Commission on Elections (Comelec) will hold the plebiscite in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), in Isabela City in Basilan, and in Cotabato City.

The plebiscite will determine if residents are in favor of the passage of the Bangasamoro Organic Law that will govern the proposed Bangsamoro region.

According to Comelec Spokesperson Director James Jimenez, a second plebiscite will be held in February in 19 barangays that wish to be included in the new Bangsamoro region.

“Ang unang plebisito ang dedesisyunan niya kung mararatify ba ang BOL o hindi. Ang susunod na eleksyon, ang susunod na plebisito para doon sa mga lugar na gustong sumali kung matutuloy ang pagsali nila sa Bangsamoro,” Jimenez explained in an interview with the program ‘Get It Straight with Daniel Razon’ on Tuesday (December 11).

Jimenez said the poll body has already printed 2.8 million ballots for the plebiscite which they have started distributing in areas where the plebiscite will be held.

Former Commissioner Samira Gutuc of the Bangsamoro Transition Commission (BTC) hopes that the plebiscite will be a success.

She expressed concern of the possible consequences should the BOL fails citing the impending petition against its passage in the Supreme Court (SC).

“Baka the Supreme Court would look at the petition against the BOL favorably at baka hindi maiakyat ang batas BOL sa implimentasyon. Pagka walang BOL at walang boto ng ‘yes’ ngayong January, ay baka balik tayo sa ARMM at magkakagulo ang Mindanao ulit,” Gutuc explained.

 On the other hand, the former commissioner believes that the recent approval to extend the martial law in Mindanao may not be favorable to the conduct of the plebiscite and the midterm elections in 2019.

“Martial Law will not help a free and shared democratic debate over BOL,” she argued.

Some opposition personalities who are running in next year’s elections agreed with Gutuc on the matter.

“Sa buong panahon na nasa ilalim ng martial law ang Mindanao, hindi umangat ang kabuhayan ng mga kababyan natin doon,” former Deputy Speaker Erin Tañada said.

“Ang ikinakatakot natin dito, bumababa yung batayan sa pagdedeklara ng Martial Law kaya pwedeng ikasa na yung lahat ng elemento para magdeklara ng isang nationwide Martial Law,” former Solicitor General Florin Hilbay noted.

“Kapag sinabi nating Martial Law, that is an emergency power. May emergency pa ba sa Mindanao?” argued Atty Jose Manuel Diokno, a senatorial candidate in 2019.

Despite the oppositions, the Comelec and the Palace believe that the extension of Martial rule in Mindanao will benefit both the conduct of the plebiscite and the 2019 midterm elections.

“From the point of view of election administration nakabuti pa actually ang martial law. Ang presensya ng military, it pacifies the area and it minimizes yung mga attack yung mga decedent forces,” Director Jimenez said.

I do not see any relation, what is the relation. In fact, martial law is even acceptable to people of Mindanao precisely because the security is kept. If there will be a plebiscite then people who would want to do something to derail the plebiscite, They will think twice because there is martial law. It’s even helpful,” Presidential Spokesperon Salvador Panelo concluded. – Marje Pelayo (with reports from Rey Pelayo)

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Comelec intensifies campaign vs vote buying as 2019 election nears

by UNTV News   |   Posted on Friday, December 7th, 2018

MANILA, Philippines — The Commission on Elections (Comelec) is busy with its preparations for the upcoming 2019 midterm elections.

Aside from this, Comelec reminded the public to vote wisely and warned candidates against vote buying.

Comelec Spokesman James Jimenez said they have coordinated with the Philippine National Police (PNP) and other groups to keep an eye on said election offense.

Comelec admitted that the battle against vote buying is a tough challenge, however, their work becomes easier with reports that help identify those who are engaged in vote buying.

“Vote buying remains a problem but over the last two elections. We’ve been making advances dahil nakikipag-ugnayan tayo sa PNP and sa mga local groups ngayon ang pinanggagalingan ng reports na nakukuha natin,” said Jimenez.

Comelec explained that cash is not the sole means to buy a person’s vote.

In the previous elections, offers ranged from livestock, vegetables, sacks of rice, and grocery items.

Jimenez said a few cash is not worth handing the country’s management over to corrupt officials.

“Kahit sabihin mo ng limang libong worth of something, limang libo lang iyan hindi tatagal iyan pero iyong serbisyo na mawawala sa inyo dahil binigay niyo sa taong walang pakialam sa kapakanan ninyo. Tatlong taon niyong iindahin iyon at kung minalas-malas kayo baka ang umalit sa kaniya kamag-anak  pa rin,” said Jimenez.

Apart from cash and products, election candidates take advantage of government services to score a vote.

“We’ve also had cases of vote buying where being promised were insurance cards, and in some cases membership in government. Dole out programs, those are particularly disturbing,” said the spokesperson.

The Omnibus Election Code states that any candidate who is proven to have engaged in vote buying, may face disqualification, imprisonment and lose the right to vote. —  UNTV News & Rescue

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Robredo, lawmakers urge gov’t to suspend value added, excise taxes on fuel, water & electricity

by UNTV News   |   Posted on Tuesday, November 6th, 2018

 

FILE PHOTO: Vice President Leni Robredo

MANILA, Philippines — House committee on banks & financial intermediaries chairman Henry Ong is calling on President Rodrigo Duterte to suspend the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) regulations implementing the fuel excise taxes of 2018 and 2019.

This is to ease the country’s inflation that surged in the past months.

Bayan Muna party-list Rep. Carlos Zarate echoed Ong’s sentiments, pressing as well for the suspension of 12 percent value added tax on fuel, water, and electricity.

Senator Bam Aquino, meanwhile, urged Congress to work together in passing the Senate Bill 1798, dubbed as the Bawas Presyo Bill.

The proposal seeks to amend the tax reform law and add a safeguard ensuring the suspension in the collection of additional fuel taxes once the inflation rate surpasses the government’s target for three consecutive months.

If the excise tax on fuel will be suspended, around P3.00 will be deducted from the price of oil while fuel, water and electricity rates may decrease by P120 if the 12 percent value-added tax will be suspended.

Vice President Leni Robredo believes it is high time to review the subsidy placed under the TRAIN law since the inflation remains at 6.7 percent.

“First, they should check if the 10 million beneficiaries on the list is still correct. Second, if the P200 daily subsidy is still effective considering the computation was done before the inflation jumped,” said Robredo.

Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo, meanwhile, assures to forward these suggestions to the president.

For its part, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) said in a statement that the passage of the rice tarrification bill is expected to tame inflation in 2019 and 2020. — Grace Casin | UNTV News & Rescue

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