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Philippines Today

 

MANILA — President Rodrigo Duterte has accused Senator Antonio Trillanes of being in cahoots with the Liberal Party (LP) and the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) in a plot to oust him from office by October.


President Duterte said the information was supplied by a foreign power, which he did not want to name to protect its identity.

"Trillanes has been sleeping with the enemy (the CPP)," Duterte said in a press briefing during his arrival last week at the Davao International Airport from his state visits in Israel and Jordan. On Tuesday, Sept. 11, Duterte repeated the same accusation on national television conversation with Presidential Legal Counsel Salvador Panelo.


Duterte said the alliance plans to launch the ouster plot into high gear in October — the period for filing of the certificates of candidacy for the 2019 midterm elections.


The President, however, said he is not perturbed by any ouster plot, saying: "I am ready to step down anytime."


Duterte said even the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) need not intervene if its officials want to join Trillanes and cohorts to overthrow the government.


"I will just invite them (Army officials) for coffee. If they want I can administer the oath (of office for) whoever wants the position. What will follow di ko na problema (What will follow will no longer be my problem)," he told reporters.


Duterte said he has evidence to back up the information, although disclosing this would be detrimental to the source.


If compelled by the court, however, Duterte said he would release the information.


"Watch out for these groups," Duterte warned.

 

 “They have combined and we have the evidence and we have the conversation provided by a foreign country sympathetic to us,” Duterte said a televised tête-à-tête with Chief Presidential Legal Counsel Salvador Panelo at the Malacañang Palace.

 

Duterte said the foreign country, which he did not identify, has agreed to his request to declassify the conversation and “show it to everyone”.

 

Nahihigop lahat eh. Alam nila ‘yan. (Everything can be monitored. They know it) So they were in constant communication. They are. It might be a loose conspiracy but they are into it,” Duterte said.

 

He said the connection “will be shown maybe any day now.”

 

Senator Trillanes, Liberal Party president Sen. Francis Pangilinan and CPP-NPA leader Jose Ma. Sison and other opposition leaders denied Duterte’s claims.

 

Sison called Duterte a "congenital liar and an incorrigible political swindler," who was bluffing when he claimed he had evidence that the CPP, Trillanes, and the Liberal Party were plotting to oust him.

 

"And I challenge him to present publicly what he claims as recorded conversations," said Sison in a social media post. "The experts will easily expose the fakery if he dares to present anything. This could be something like his invented foreign bank accounts of Trillanes."

 

The communist leader also denied that there had ever been any discussion between the CPP, Trillanes, and the Liberal Party on ousting Duterte.

 

The President, however, clarified that he will not stop the military and police if they believe he is no longer competent as president.

 

“I said my clear stand on the matter. If the armed forces think that I am not competent, that I am not qualified to be sitting here as President, I have discussed this matter with them in a command conference, bahala kayo (it’s up to you),” Duterte said.

 

“If you want another President, fine. I will not allow you to fight your own soldiers. So I would not allow my soldiers to kill another soldier or a policeman shooting another soldier. Eh kalokohan ‘yan (That’s ridiculous),” he added.

 

Duterte said he has fulfilled his promise to the military and police but if they think Trillanes can give them better. “I urge you to go to Trillanes,” he added.

 

He lambasted Trillanes for cursing all governments and committing ruckus when the latter spearheaded failed coup attempts against then president and now House Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

 

Duterte said Trillanes did even dare to visit the poor soldiers who fought against terrorists during the five-month Marawi City siege last year.

 

“I’m giving you (soldiers) a fighting chance. And when they said I doubled the salary, I doubled it long before Marawi. It was a campaign promise and I complied. Pero kung tingin ninyo mga sundalo na mas mabuti si Trillanes pati si Aquino (But if you think Trillanes and also Aquino is better), please kindly go to them and stage whatever you want. Pakita sa buong Pilipinas na kaya ninyo (Show to the whole Philippines that you can),” he said.

 

“I am challenging the Magdalo to start now. Kung sigurado ninyo na sa inyo ang sundalo, fine (If you’re sure that the soldiers are with you, it’s fine),” he added.

 

Duterte also denied Trillanes’ accusation that he is a dictator and that he is out to silence the senator and other opposition members.

 

“I have yet to sign anything, ordering the arrest and silencing of anybody in the government, especially the critics. The fact that they are doing it every day, it goes to show that I’m giving them the time of their lives to just talk and talk. Wala naman (nothing). It’s an invented phrase, that silencing,” Duterte said.

 

The President said Senator Leila de Lima, an opposition lawmaker, is jailed because she has pending case, referring to her illegal drug case.

 

Duterte maintained that the New People’s Army is a terrorist group.

 

“But everyday throughout the country, they are killing barangay (village) captains, those sympathetic with government, even soldiers. Those are violations of… they are terrorists,” Duterte said.

 

Sison, as a terrorist, should face trial, he said.

 

“As a terrorist, I do not see any leeway or enough elbow room for him to move around,” he added. 


Duterte said he was also not keen on checking the loyalty of military officials, although he noted that Trillanes hails from the military.


“At the beginning of my term as President, I’ve had several discussions and far and in between the months that followed, I’ve always stressed to the uniformed people of our government that they should not nurture in me or in anybody else in my Cabinet and government, loyalties,” he said.


He recalled telling the military officials: “You should focus your loyalty to the flag of the Philippines and the Constitution. I do not need loyalties.” 


He pointed out that he was elected as President and intends to serve the people.

“Well, ako magtrabaho lang. Kung ayaw ng Pilipino eh ‘di talagang bababa ako. Walang problema ‘yan (Well, I will just work. If the Filipinos do not want me then I will step down. There is no problem,” he said.


“I'm old. I am ready to step down anytime. Short of working it out for the last remaining years of my term,” Duterte added. 

BAY AREA DAYCARE SCANDAL: 4 PINOYS FACE 59 CHARGES

Published in Headline

HUMAN TRAFFICKING, TAX EVASION, EXPLOITATION, WAGE THEFT, OTHERS SLAPPED; ILLEGAL GUNS SEIZED

 

DALY CITY, California – The Filipino community in the Bay Area is in shock after the California Attorney General’s Office unraveled its findings after a year-long investigation of a Filipino family and the operations of their four adult daycare and two child care facilities in the area.

 

California Attorney General Xavier Becera and his team disclosed in a media conference their findings resulted to the filing of at least 59 criminal charges against the Gamos family composed of Carlina, 67; Joshua, 42; Noel, 40; and Gerlen, 38, who owned and operated the Rainbow Bright Day Care facilities in Daly City, South San Francisco and Pacifica and employed mostly Filipino immigrants.

 

Becera and the team said the charges included violating human rights and worker rights, tax evasion, wage theft, rape and possession of illegal weapons. The 59 charges may increase as authorities dig further into the operations of the care facilities, they added.

 

Among those who expressed shock were Dorie Paniza, RCFE and ARF operator and 6Beds Norcal president; Ron Simpson RCFE operator and 6Beds Socal president; and Gina Wasdyke, ARF operator and 6Beds founder and director.

 

“We express the shock we feel that such abhorrent events could happen in a licensed residential facility,” they said in a joint statement sent to Philippines Today. “It in no way represent who we are, and what we stand for,” they added.

 

“We express the horror and repulsion we feel reading about the charges against six Bay Area adult and child care residential facilities. Our hearts go out to all individuals, and their families, affected by this tragic, inhuman crime,” they said.

 

Becerra said at the news conference and on Twitter that the workers of the facilities helped initiate the investigation.

 

“It was the workers who helped bring this case to light, and it is the workers who are the greatest victims of Rainbow Bright and its operations,” Becerra said. “While the employees were providing by all accounts loving care, they were doing so under egregious circumstances.”

 

He said 26 of the charges filed were for grand theft of wages and labor amounting to approximately $8.5 million. Eight of the charges were for human trafficking and violence, and another three for rape.

 

Officials also found 14 illegal assault weapons, including a loaded pistol and three “ghost” rifles without serial numbers, at a childcare facility that was also the suspects’ residence while serving the warrants.

 

Becerra said agents have also seized luxury cars vehicles, including a Lamborghini.

 

“We expect additional charges to be filed,” he said.

 

Becerra disclosed hundreds of workers may have been victimized during the 10-year period covered by the charges.

 

The defendants allegedly targeted members of the Filipino community, many of whom were new to the United States, for labor exploitation.

 

In a news conference, Becerra said additional criminal charges will be filed related to the firearms.

 

The daycare also failed to pay its fair share of state income taxes, worker’s compensation and insurance.

 

He said that under the year-long investigation by the California Department of Justice’s Tax Recovery and Criminal Enforcement (TRaCE) Task Force, and included several state and local law enforcement agencies,investigators found that the suspects took away workers’ passports and forced them to work nearly 24 hours a day.

 

Since its creation in 2014, TRACE, Becerra said, has identified close to one-quarter of a billion dollars in unreported business income. Becerra urged  the public who may suspect similar crimes in their neighborhoods to contact the TRaCE task force at (855) 234-9949.

 

“What’s most painful as we discuss this is this is happening in neighborhoods,” Becerra said. “This could be happening in your backyard, in your neighborhood, with people you believe are living a regular life and being cared for.”

 

Workers slept on floors in garages in the homes that also operated as daycare facilities, Becerra said. The workers were locked outside sometimes in the rain when the owners were not home.

Duterte's trust rating drops but still very good

Published in Latest News

 

MANILA – President Rodrigo Duterte’s net trust rating experienced an eight-point drop in the second quarter of 2018, but still remained “very good” based on a new survey.

 

Malacanang said it welcomes the results of the said survey, expressing gratitude to the people for putting confidence on Duterte during a “challenging time.”

 

“The Palace views the latest survey results with humility; however, we have to take note that regardless of ratings, the President remains focused on his job of governing the nation,” said Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque in a statement. 

 

“Much remains to be done, especially in assisting the poor, vulnerable and severely hungry families.  We are now working double time to aid families affected by high prices while keeping the economy stable,” he added. 

 

The Social Weather Stations’ latest survey, released last week said Duterte received a +57 net trust rating in June 2018, falling by eight points from the +65 rating in March 2018.

 

“In the eight SWS surveys following his inauguration as President, from September 2016 to June 2018, Duterte’s net trust rating was excellent in five and very good in three,” the SWS said.

 

The survey was conducted from June 27 to 30, 2018, using face-to-face interviews of 1,200 adults aged 18 and older nationwide. The SWS asked 300 individuals each in Metro Manila, Balance Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao.

 

The survey also found that 70 percent of adult Filipinos have “much trust” on Duterte, 13 percent have “little trust,” while 18 percent said they are “undecided.”

 

According to SWS, the President’s 8-point decline in overall net trust rating from March to June 2018 was due to declines in the Visayas and Metro Manila, combined with steady scores in Mindanao and Balance Luzon.

 

Net trust in Duterte fell by two grades from “excellent” to “good” in the Visayas, down by 21 points from +70 in March 2018 to +49 in June 2018. 

 

In Metro Manila, it fell by one grade from “very good” to “good,”  down by 20 points in March to +42 in June.

 

However, Duterte’s trust rating stayed “excellent” in Mindanao, hardly moving from +89 in March to +88 in June. It also stayed “”very good” in Balance Luzon, although down by three points from +53 in March to +50 in June.

Photo from Philippine Star

 

MANILA – The Supreme Court (SC) has denied Senator Antonio Trillanes IV’s plea for a preliminary injunction and the issuance of a temporary restraining order (TRO) against Proclamation 572 voiding his amnesty.

 

With this development, the High Court leaves the decision to the Makati Regional Trial Court whether or not to issue an alias warrant of arrest and a hold departure order against Trillanes.

 

“Only a trial court and in certain cases, the Court of Appeals are trier of facts. Hence it is appropriate that the Makati RTC should be given leeway in exercising their concurrent jurisdiction,” stated Atty. Maria Victoria Gleoresty Guerra, the SC’s acting Chief PIO.

 

Trillanes’ camp sought to restrain the implementation of President Rodrigo Duterte’s revocation of his amnesty granted by former President Benigno Aquino III.

 

The senator insisted that the nullification was unconstitutional because it proceeded without the approval of Congress which, Trillanes’ claimed, was a clear violation of his right to due process.

 

However, the SC maintained that the issuance of an alias warrant of arrest should be acted upon by the lower court before proceeding to the arrest.

 

“The court takes judicial notice of the categorical pronouncement of President Duterte that Senator Trillanes will not be apprehended, detained or taken into custody unless a warrant of arrest has been issued by the trial court and thus there is no extreme and urgent necessity for the court to issue an injunctive relief considering that the respondents have acknowledged Senator Trillanes’ right to due process,” the decision further states.

 

The Department of Justice (DOJ) said it was pleased with the decision and the High Court’s recognition of the Makati Regional Trial Court’s jurisdiction as it has set the trial on the case on September 13 and 14.

 

“More significantly, the Supreme Court has recognized that the issue the of validity of Proclamation 752 involves factual questions that only the trial courts may properly resolve. In the process, the Supreme Court has also acknowledged the trial courts’ continuing jurisdiction over the coup d’ etat and rebellion cases, notwithstanding the alleged ‘finality’ of the orders of dismissal based on the grant of amnesty to Sen. Trillanes,” said Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra.

 

Trillanes’ camp welcomes the SC decision.

 

“We are gratified by the ruling of the Supreme Court. We are happy also that the Supreme Court required the respondents to comment on the petition,” explained Atty. Rey Robles, Trillanes’ legal counsel.

 

The respondents were given 10 days to comment on the petition. – Mai Bermudez / Marje Pelayo.

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