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Opposition senatorial bets cast vote on election day

by Robie de Guzman   |   Posted on Monday, May 13th, 2019

Senatorial aspirant and Magdalo Party-list Representative Gary Alejano (left), Muslim candidate Samira Gutoc (upper photo center), re-electionist Senator Bam Aquino (lower photo center), former solicitor general, Pilo Hilbay (right)

MANILA, Philippines – Some of the candidates of opposition slate ‘Otso Diretso’ went to their respective hometowns to cast their votes for the 2019 National and local elections on Monday morning.

Senatorial aspirant and Magdalo Party-list Representative Gary Alejano voted in his hometown in Negros Occidental.

The former soldier cast his ballot at precinct 0012A in Barangay 3 in Sipalay town.

Alejano believes the midterm polls will be a test to the relevance of the Magdalo party.

“Puwede naming sabihin na relevant kami, pero sabihin ng tao na you’re done. Then we will just die a natural death. Iyun din ang usapan namin sa kulungan, tumakbo si Trillanes,” he said. 

“Pag tumakbo ka, ‘pag natalo ka, e di pahinga na. Ganoon din kami, tumatakbo kami, ito ang aming tayo, kung ayaw nila sa amin, so be it,” the lawmaker said. 

In the last Pulse Asia pre-election survey conducted from May 3 to 5, Alejano placed 21st to 32nd.

Meanwhile, Otso Diretso’s lone female and Muslim candidate Samira Gutoc went back to her hometown in Marawi City to cast her ballot.

She voted in Precinct No. 0019A at the Cauayan Elementary School in Lanao del Sur.

Gutoc ranked 21st to 32nd in the latest pre-election survey of Pulse Asia.

Former Solicitor General Pilo Hilbay, on the other hand, voted at Jose Corazon De Jesus Elementary School in Tondo, Manila on Monday morning.

While Mar Roxas cast his ballot in Conrado Barrios Memorial Elementary School in Baybay, Roxas City a few minutes past 6 a.m., making him among the early birds.

Roxas, who served as Interior and Local Government Secretary under the administration of Former President Benigno Aquino III, is seeking to return to the Senate.

Roxas placed 16th to 17th in the latest Pulse Asia survey.

READ: Escudero, Pimentel, Roxas among first voters on Election day

Meanwhile, re-electionist Senator Bam Aquino voted at the South Central Elementary School in Concepcion, Tarlac at past 7 a.m., Monday.

Aquino was accompanied by his wife, Mary Fatima Gomez Aquino, when they voted in precinct no. 0225A, no. 75 clustered precinct.

Aquino was the only opposition candidate who was able to make it to the list of possible winners, ranking 9th to 15th in the survey.

In an interview, Vice President Leni Robredo described the opposition senatorial bets’ bid to win the elections as an uphill battle, but she took solace in the passion of their volunteers and supporters.

“Napaka-uphill ng battle, pero in the last several weeks, nakita namin ‘yung passion ng mga volunteers, ano ‘yun, unrivaled,” she told reporters after casting her vote in Naga, Camarines Sur.

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‘Destroyer of reputation’: Trillanes’ return to jail, possible – Malacañang

by Marje Pelayo   |   Posted on Monday, May 27th, 2019

FILE PHOTO: Sen. Antonio Trillanes in a press conference at Ilustrado in Intramuros on July 1, 2014. | PVI/Willie Sy

MANILA, Philippines – Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo in a statement wished outgoing Senator Antonio Trillanes IV the best of luck as he may need it once he exits the Senate.

“While many will wish Mr. Trillanes good riddance as he is about to leave the hallowed halls of the Senate at the end of June of this year, we will instead wish him luck as he faces another prospect of being placed behind bars again as the self-confessed black propagandist turns against his master, even as his victims look forward to seeing the Senate, or better yet the Government, without the cantankerously obnoxious coup plotter,” Panelo said.

This was Panelo’s response to Trillanes following the senator’s latest rant on Twitter.

“Ayan ka na naman. Hindi ka pa nga nakakabawi sa kapalpakan mo dun sa inimbento mong offshore bank accounts na bintang mo sakin pati na rin dun sa mga sinabi mo laban sa Nanay ko, tapos may bago ka na namang bintang. This time si Bikoy naman ang source mo. Henyo ka talaga, Duts,” Trillanes said on his post referring President Rodrigo Duterte as “Duts”.

Just recently, President Duterte tagged Trillanes as “shameless” for ruining the Senate and for using his power as senator to run after people.

“You are shameless. You are not even a man,” Duterte said during a thanksgiving party for Senator-elect Bong Go.

Panelo said, Trillanes should answer the accusations of Peter Joemel Advincula (alias Bikoy) against him.

“The outgoing Senator should first address the serious allegation pointing to him as the mastermind and in conspiracy with certain political leaders identified with the opposition of the unlawful plot to topple the Duterte Administration,” the Presidential Spokesperson said.

Panelo said throughout Trillanes’ service in the Senate, he just proved himself as a “destroyer of reputations of people”.

With that reputation, Panelo believes Trillanes’ exit from the Senate will be his “great service to the nation.”

Trillanes’ term as senator ends in June this year.

The outgoing senator, meanwhile, posted a taunting reply to the Presidential Spokesperson.

“Panelo’s long press release betrays his and Duterte’s obsession about me. While, I’m supposed to feel good knowing that I have successfully gotten under their skin, but coming from somebody like Panelo, it somehow feels creepy,” he said in a tweet. — Marje Pelayo (with details from Rosalie Coz)

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DILG to pursue raps against winning narco-politicians

by Robie de Guzman   |   Posted on Friday, May 24th, 2019

Campaign posters and flyers are left scattered after people voted for their candidates during the election on May 13, 2013 at the Tabuk Central School, Tabuk City, Kalinga. The same scenario is seen on other precincts, posters and flyers are seen scattered on entrances of precincts. (Gaye Fritz Ofilas/PVI)

MANILA, Philippines – The government will pursue the administrative charges filed against the politicians named on the narco-list who won in the 2019 midterm elections, the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) said Friday.

“Kahit na pinalad silang manalo, tuloy pa rin ang administrative cases laban sa kanila. Hindi pa rin sila makakalusot kung sila ay mapapatunayang sangkot talaga sa iligal na droga,” DILG Secretary Eduardo Año said in a press statement.

Año said that the government still considers as victory the defeat of some narco-politicians in the recent polls.

“The purpose of President Duterte in releasing the names was to inform the public of the local officials who are linked to the drug trade. The fact that some of them lost is already a substantial victory for us because if we didn’t release the names, more, if not all, could have won the election,” he said.

The DILG in March filed administrative charges against 46 suspected narco-politicians. Of this number, 37 ran for public office and 26 won a fresh term despite the release of the narco-list two months prior to the polls.

Among them were two congressmen, one vice-governor, 18 mayors, three vice-mayors, one councilor and one board member. These suspected narco-politicians were from Calabarzon, BARMM, Eastern Visayas, Ilocos Region, Northern Mindanao, Western Visayas, Central Luzon, Zamboanga Peninsula, SOCCKSARGEN, and Caraga.

Año said the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) will file the criminal cases against the said politicians linked to narcotics trade.

He added that the DILG is in close coordination with the Philippine National Police (PNP), PDEA, and other national government agencies tasked in the illegal drugs war for the continued pursuit of all cases against the winning narco-politicians.

Año said there is a possibility that drug money was used during the election campaign.

“It’s not impossible that drug money was used in the campaign so that could have been a factor in their victory considering the prevalence of vote buying in the last election,” he said.

He further stated that the DILG is in close coordination with the National Police Commission for the removal of police deputation powers of the winning narco-politicians ahead of their official assumption to office on June 30.

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Outgoing senators reveal plans after Senate

by Marje Pelayo   |   Posted on Wednesday, May 22nd, 2019

Upper row: (L-R ) Senators Antonio Trillanes IV, Bam Aquino, Francis Escudero Lower row: (L-R) Senators Gringo Honasan, Joseph Victor Ejercito, Loren Legarda

MANILA, Philippines – Six senators of the 17th Congress are soon to leave the Senate.

Senators Francis Escudero, Gringo Honasan, Loren Legarda and Antonio Trillanes IV have until June 30 to serve their last term.

Senators Bam Aquino and Joseph Victor Ejercito, meanwhile, needed to leave following their defeat in the 2019 midterm polls.

Escudero may be leaving the Senate but he remains in public office after winning as governor of Sorsogon.

Legarda, likewise, is shifting to local governance after being proclaimed as the new representative of Antique.

For his part, Honasan said he is still hoping for President Rodrigo Duterte’s appointment of him as head of the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT).

“It’s up in the air. That will be decided after June 30 by the appointing authority,” Honasan said.

Meanwhile, Senators Aquino and Ejercito said that their next plan to enjoy their private lives with their respective families.

“Ngayon ang ating destiny ay maiba hindi man magpatuloy dito. I guess na mahalaga right now just to take steps back. Spend more time with your kids and try to determine how to help the country in other ways,” Aquino said.

“Maraming paraan para tumulong sa ating bayan,” he added.

“Tulungan ko muna ang wife ko sa mga businesses naming,” Ejercito said when asked about his plans following his exit from Senate.

He admitted, however, that he regretted the outcome of running against his brother Jinggoy Estrada.

“Ang regrets ko…ang pinakamabigat kong problema yung dalawa kaming magkapatid na tumakbo,” Ejercito said.

“Sana kinausap ko na lang. Nag-usap kami ng father ko, ng pamilya na nasabi ko na sana ang aking concern. Ilang beses ko sinabi na ito ang mangyayari na pwede kaming mahila lahat pababa. Exactly ito  na nga ang nangyari,” he added.

Trillanes, meanwhile, said he is thinking of going back to school.

The controversial senator earlier said he will remain critical of the Duterte administration even outside of Senate. — Marje Pelayo (with reports from Nel Maribojoc)

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