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PH respects US work visa ban; eyes appeal if baseless

by Marje Pelayo   |   Posted on Tuesday, January 22nd, 2019

(L-R) The American flag and the Philippine flag

MANILA, Philippines – Malacañang on Tuesday (January 22) said it respects the decision of the United States government to impose a one-year ban for Filipino applicants of US work visas.

“(The President says) whatever your laws are, we will never intrude into that. The same way that whatever laws we have, we will enforce it. So if that is the law in the US and there were violations, then we have to respect. They have basis for that. we will only react if our workers are mistreated, maltreated or being discriminated against. But if they violated the laws of the US, then they have to face the music,” Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said in a press briefing.

However, Panelo said, the Palace is yet to verify the basis of the US Department of Homeland Security for issuing such order.

“What we can do is first, we need to know whether there is basis for their decision. If we can see na wala naman (there’s none), then we will ask for a reconsideration,” he said adding that it is up for the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) and the US Ambassador to the Philippines to discuss the matter.\

On its website federalregister.gov, the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) removed the Philippines from its list of countries eligible for the H-2A and H-2B visas along with Ethiopia and Dominican Republic citing overstaying and human trafficking concerns.

Panelo said the Palace is yet to receive a report from the US Embassy as to the exact details of the ban.

The Presidential Spokesperson added that once the report reaches them, that’s the time that the government will make a move officially according to the situation.

In response to the issue, the DFA reminds Filipinos overseas, particularly those in the US, “to follow immigration rules and avoid staying beyond what is allowed in their visas.”

“As visa issuances are a country’s prerogative, the DFA notes the concerns that led the DHS to arrive at its decision. Nonetheless, the Philippines is open to the possibility of working with the United States in addressing these issues, as it has previously done so with similar concerns involving the Filipino Community there,” the DFA said in a statement.

“The Philippine Embassy in Washington, D.C. along with the other Philippine Consulates General in the US, will continue to extend appropriate assistance to all its nationals pursuant to law,” the agency concluded. – Marje Pelayo (with reports from Rosalie Coz / JL Asayo)

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Palace denies hand in filing of sedition raps vs Robredo, opposition

by Robie de Guzman   |   Posted on Friday, July 19th, 2019

Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo

MANILA, Philippines – Malacañang on Friday denied involvement in the filing of sedition charges against Vice President Leni Robredo and other known opposition figures over the “Ang Totoong Narcolist” video series.

Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo insisted that the Palace had nothing to do with the complaint, when asked if the move is part of the Duterte administration’s “crackdown” against the opposition group.

“We have nothing to do with this case. None at all,” Panelo said in a statement.

The Philippine National Police-Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (PNP-CIDG) on Thursday filed the complaint before the Department of Justice (DOJ) in connection with videos, where a certain Bikoy linked members of the Duterte family to the narcotics trade.

Peter Joemel Advincula, who claimed to be the hooded figure “Bikoy” in the videos, was named in the complaint as a witness and respondent.

Aside from Robredo, other named respondents in the complaint were former Senators Bam Aquino, Antonio Trillanes IV, Senators Risa Hontiveros, Leila de Lima and members of the Otso Diretso senatorial slate.

Cyber libel, estafa, and obstruction of justice charges were also filed by the police against a total of 38 respondents.

The opposition Liberal Party has branded the charges as “harassment” and “persecution”, while de Lima belittled the case, calling it “pure hogwash.”

“Pure hogwash ‘yung mga kaso na naman yan. Basura yun,” she said in an ambush interview before the hearing of the charges filed against her at Muntinlupa Regional Trial Court Branch 205.

Panelo, meanwhile, called on administration critics to let the justice system work to determine the truth about the issue. (with details from Rosalie Coz)

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Malacañang says Duterte’s 4th SONA will be ‘short’

by Robie de Guzman   |   Posted on Wednesday, July 17th, 2019

Courtesy : PCOO

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte is expected to deliver a ‘short’ speech for his fourth State of the Nation Address (SONA) on July 22, Malacañang said on Tuesday.

Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said the President’s speech will not be lengthy this year, probably because of the pre-SONA forums held by his administration in the run-up to the event.

“By the way, he (Duterte) said that, because I asked him about the SONA this morning. He said, ‘Oh, it will be short,’” Panelo told reporters in a Palace press briefing.

The president, in numerous times, has been observed to give lengthy speeches that would sometimes extend for hours.

When asked how short will be Duterte’s speech, Panelo replied with “Di naman sinabi, basta ang exact words niya, ‘short lang’. You count from the two hours, one, two, three, maging tatlo.”

Duterte’s first SONA in 2016 lasted for more than one hour and 30 minutes, his second SONA lasted for two hours while his last year’s SONA lasted for 48 minutes.

READ: Duterte to explain Chinese fishing in PH waters at 4th SONA

Panelo did not provide any detail on the topics that Duterte might discuss in his speech but the President earlier said he would use SONA to ‘educate’ the public on the constitutionality of his decision to allow Chinese fishermen to trawl in the Philippine waters.

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Palace: Term extension bid for elected officials up to Congress

by Robie de Guzman   |   Posted on Thursday, July 11th, 2019

Courtesy : HOR Facebook page

MANILA, Philippines – The decision on whether to amend the Constitution to provide for longer terms of elected officials, as proposed by House speaker bet Taguig-Pateros Representative Alan Peter Cayetano, is up to lawmakers, Malacañang said on Thursday.

“The decision would always lie on the members of Congress because they are the ones passing the bill. I will not preempt the wisdom of the members of Congress on this matter,” Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo told reporters at a Palace press briefing.

Cayetano, during a gathering of lawmakers on Wednesday, proposed to extend the term limits for elected officials, insisting it would be more “practical” and “productive” for the Lower House.  

Panelo also suggested to congressmen to consult the public about the proposal.

“I think they should conduct a survey on the sentiments of the people, whether or not they agree on that proposal. And I’m sure since that has been floated, there will be opinions being expressed by many sectors,” he said.

At present, a congressman has a three-year term and may serve for no more than three consecutive terms.

A senator has a six-year team with one re-election. (with details from Grace Casin)

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