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Several lawmakers consider elevating the issue of martial law extension to the Supreme Court

by UNTV News   |   Posted on Thursday, December 14th, 2017

The House of Representatives’ Makabayan Bloc

MANILA, Philippines – The House of Representatives’ Makabayan Bloc has expressed grave concern over the decision of Congress to extend for another year the military rule in Mindanao.

With this, the opposition group wants to bring the matter to the Supreme Court (SC).

“We will question this in courts. We will question and we will resist this on streets,” Anakpawis Partylist Rep. Ariel Casilao said.

“Like the mentored resource person, this is a psychological war against the public. This is not a matter of public safety. They want to impose a state of fear. To fear the public so they won’t fight. But this is a huge mistake,” Bayan Muna Partylist Rep. Carlos Zarate

This is also what the Senate’s minority bloc plans to do.

“Bring the issue to the Supreme Court, raise the factual basis for the extension of martial law because there is no actual uprising, nor armed conflict that will justify the extension, the imposition of martial law,” Senate minority leader Senator Franklin Drilon said.

However, some senators believe the public has nothing to worry about in the decision of Congress to approve the request of President Rodrigo Duterte.

Especially since, the Senators said, there have been no reported human rights violations in Mindanao during the existing military rule.

“In a way it’s a blessing in disguise because the consciousness, the awareness of the people that there is a martial law allows us to focus our attention on the security forces. It might even be a deterrent against possible abuses,” Sen. Panfilo Lacson said.

“Where have been the abuses? Where have been the confirmed abuses? We asked for a briefing from the CHR (Commission on Human Rights), there have been no confirmed abuses,” Senate President Sen. Aquilino Pimentel III said.

According to Pimentel, the Congress will not allow the Executive Department to abuse the rights lawmakers and senators gave them.

“If there is no justification then you can expect, Congress or the Senate to oppose the imposition of martial law,” Pimentel said.

National Security Adviser Secretary Hermogenes Esperon also allayed fears over the alleged possibility of declaring military rule in the entire country.

“Because here in Visayas and Luzon, many of people here can commit insurgency. They can do small deployments,” Esperon said.

Esperon also emphasized that the decision of Congress i a huge help to them in achieving long lasting peace in the region of Mindanao. – Nel Maribojoc | UNTV News & Rescue

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President Duterte signs E.O. on travel ban vs gov’t officials, employees

by UNTV NEWS   |   Posted on Monday, January 15th, 2018

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte shares a light moment with House Speaker Pantalon Alvarez as the latter celebrated his birthday at the New Tagum City Hall in Davao del Norte on January 12, 2017. KARL NORMAN ALONZO/PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines — Though no official document has been released yet, President Rodrigo Duterte stated that he already signed an executive order which prohibits the personnel and government officials to travel into a foreign country except if they can submit corresponding documents before the scheduled travel.

The chief executive is referring to those under his authority in the executive branch down to the local government units.

“I just signed an executive order banning travel. You let me know first and I will read. I need to know what you are going for,” said President Duterte.

He made the statement when he attended the 60th birthday celebration of House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez, Friday night in Tagum City, Davao del Norte.

He again lambasted government officials who allegedly have no shame in using government funds and are using conferences abroad as an excuse to travel.

The President has already fired some officials who allegedly traveled abroad more than 12 times.

“They go out every convocation, convention, powwow, seminar — labas ng labas (always out). And for those who have traveled more than 12, you have to go. Hindi na ako bilib diyan sa most of the time nag-ibang bansa (I’m not impressed with officials who go abroad most of the time),” said Duterte. — Rosalie Coz | UNTV News & Rescue

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Makabayan bloc urges SC to issue TRO vs. TRAIN law

by UNTV   |   Posted on Thursday, January 11th, 2018

MANILA, Philippines — The Makabayan bloc of Congress is asking the Supreme Court to stop the implementation of the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion or TRAIN law of the Duterte administration.

In a petition filed by Representative Carlos Zarate of party-list group Bayan Muna, ACT Teachers party-list Representative Antonio Tinio and Anak Pawis Representative Ariel Casilao, they argued that the TRAIN law had not been properly ratified by the Lower House of Congress.

They said the deliberations on the then TRAIN bill had no quorum, and that the majority did not give other members of the Congress the chance to question the proposal.

“Hinihiling natin sa pestisyong ito na i-TRO na itigil muna ang implementasyon ng batas na ito (We asked in the petition to issue a TRO to stop the implementation of the law),”  said Tinio.

“Kung ganito nang ganito ang gagawin ng mga liderato ng Kongreso naipapasa kahit na sagasaan ang aming sariling rules at nakatakdang probisyon ng Konsitution ay hindi natin papayagan iyon, said Zarate.”

(If the leadership of Congress will continue to pass a bill without following the rules and provisions in the Constitution, then we will no longer allow this)

The group of lawmakers said that they are looking for loopholes in the said law and afterward, will file another petition.

“The first one we filed is procedural because what happened in Congress is that before we can discuss the substantive requirements, theoretically, there is no such law in which we have discussed these substantive contents. But nevertheless, we still insist in our petition despite the fact that our first petition questions it in terms of its procedural side, there are still substantive infirmities therein,” said Atty. Maria Christina Yambot.

Meanwhile, Solicitor General Jose Calida has not expressed concern over the petition of the said group.

Malacañang is also confident that the Supreme Court will not rule in favor of the said petition and insists that there had been no irregularities in the passage of the proposal.

“There’s overwhelming presumption of regularity because of the enrolled bill doctrine, that the TRAIN was signed by the Senate president and the speaker of the house before it was signed by the president into law. That’s entitled to full respect from our courts,” said Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque. — Aiko Miguel | UNTV News & Rescue



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Pulse Asia: President Duterte remains the most trusted government official

by UNTV   |   Posted on Tuesday, January 9th, 2018

MANILA, Philippines — Eight out of ten Filipinos approve of the performance of and continue to trust President Rodrigo Duterte.

In the 2017 last quarter survey of Pulse Asia, 80 percent of Filipinos approve of the performance of the President, seven percent disapprove, while 13 percent are undecided.

The Chief Executive’s trust rating, meanwhile, is at 82 percent.

The highest recorded performance and trust rating of the President came from Mindanao, followed by Visayas, and the National Capital Region (NCR). He received the lowest ratings in other parts of Luzon.

Filipinos who are among the class E gave the highest ratings to the President.

“This number showed that our people are aware of and recognize the significant strides the President undertook in his one and a half year in office. We assure our people that he will continue to discharge his duties with the nation’s interest foremost of his mind. We, thus, call on everyone to put this appreciation into action by standing as one and help the government as we continue to address poverty, illegal drugs, criminality, and corruption,” said Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque.

In the same survey, Vice President Leni Robredo got an approval rating of 59 percent, and a trust rating of 58 percent.

It rose several points higher compared to the results of Pulse Asia’s survey in the 3rd quarter of 2017.

Senate President Koko Pimentel, meanwhile, got a trust and approval rating of more than 50 percent.

House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez got a 42% approval rating and a 37% trust rating.

Of the five highest officials of the land, Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno got the lowest ratings.

The said survey was conducted among 1,200 respondents last December 10 to 15 and 17.

The issues making headlines during the conduct of the Pulse Asia survey were the ratification of Congress of the TRAIN law; the passage of the  3.7 trillion pesos 2018 national budget; the  hearing for the CJ Sereno impeachment case; the order to stop the country’s immunization program after Sanofi Pasteur admitted its Dengvaxia vaccine might cause severe dengue to individuals without prior infection; the PNP’s return to the drug war; the President’s labelling of the CPP-NPA as a terrorist group; the Chief Executive’s supporters call for a revolutionary government, among others. — Victor Cosare | UNTV News & Rescue

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