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Thelma Cruz

Thelma Cruz

Duterte leads SWS survey, Poe and Binay tied at 2nd

Published in Headline

(Photo from Philippine Star)

 

DAVAO CITY — Mayor Rodrigo Duterte has surged on top of a survey for presidential candidates in the 2016 elections which Malacanang and supporters of other presidential aspirants immediately questioned.

 

In the survey conducted by the Social Weather Stations (SWS), Duterte gained 38 percent of the 1,200 respondents from all over the country with Vice President Jejomar Binay and Sen. Grace Poe tied at 21 percent.

 

Administration candidate Manuel Roxas II trailed in fourth place with 15 percent and Sen. Miriam Defensor Santiago at the bottom with 4 percent.


Duterte on Tuesday, Nov. 8, went to the Commission on Elections (Comelec) Central Office in Intramuros, Manila to validate his Certificate of Candidacy (CoC) for President, which was filed late last month.


Comelec Chairman Andres Bautista said the Comelec will still have to study Duterte's documents and decide whether he qualified as presidential candidate.


He said he went to the poll body to ask if the document submitted by his representative last Nov. 27 is sufficient. 


“Pumunta ako sa Comelec. Tinanong ko lang sila kung okay ang papeles ko, ang dokumento ko. Kapag hindi, sabi ko, e di i-disqualify na lang niyo ako. Kapag hindi sang-ayon sa procedure... Sabi nila, bulaklak na lang yan kasi qualified naman ako,” Duterte said after coming out from the Comelec Law Department and confirmed his CoC.


Duterte replaced anti-crime leader Martin Dino, who withdrew his CoC the previous month.


Lawyer Al Argosino said Duterte was prepared and ready to file another CoC if it was needed.


Duterte said he would accept whatever the decision of the Comelec First Division on the petition of Ruben Castor for his disqualification.


“If I am disqualified, it has to be due to a legal reason. Ano ba ang magagawa natin? I would not lose sleep. Hindi ako mamamatay kung hindi ako maging presidente,” he said.


In his petition, Castor said that "there is clearly no candidate for president who is withdrawing his candidacy for the same position of president; that there is none that respondent Duterte may substitute.”


The hearing on Duterte's disqualification case is set on Dec. 16.


Duterte was accompanied by his running mate, Senator Alan Peter Cayetano. 


Hundreds of residents from different cities in Metro Manila, as well as students of the Lyceum of the Philippines University (LPU), gathered in front of the Comelec Main Office to express their support for Duterte. 

 

On the SWS survey, vice presidential aspirants Sen. Francis Escudero garnered 30 percent, Sen. Ferdinand Marcos Jr. at 24 percent; Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano, 21 percent; Camarines Sur Rep. Leni Robredo at 12 percent; Sen. Gregorio Honasan at 6 percent; Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV at 5 percent with the undecided at 1 percent. 

 

The survey was conducted from Nov. 26 to 28 during which Duterte filed his certificate of candidacy, making official his run for the presidency after several weeks of giving mixed signals as to his political plans.

 

Those undecided in the survey comprised at least one percent of the total of 1,200 respondents with 300 each taken from Metro Manila, Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao.

 

The SWS has taken a separate survey without mentioning Duterte.

 

In that survey, Poe ranked first with 33 percent, Binay at 28 percent, Roxas at 20 percent and Santiago 11 percent with the undecided at 7 percent. 

 

On the other hand, the SWS survey mentioning Duterte revealed the Davao mayor garnered 48 percent in the National Capital Region (NCR); 26 percent for the rest of Luzon; 44 percent in the Visayas region and 50 percent in Mindanao.

 

Duterte was also highest with 62 percent among the candidates in the economic classes, ABC, 37 percent in Class D and 32 percent in Class E.

 

Binay had 18 percent in the NCR, 27 percent in Luzon, 14 percent in the Visayas region and 18 percent in Mindanao. 

 

Binay was also 16 percent in economic class ABC, 21 percent in class D and 26 percent in class E.

 

Meanwhile, Poe garnered 22 percent, 28 percent, 16 percent and 13 percent, respectively in NCR, Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao.

 

Poe had 13 percent in economic class ABC, 22 percent in Class D, 20 percent in Class E.

 

Roxas got 7 percent in NCR, 14 percent in Luzon, 20 percent in Visayas and 16 in Mindanao. 

 

And by economic classes, Roxas got 6 percent for ABC, 15 percent for D, and 7 percent for E.

 

Santiago, on the other hand, got 3 percent, 5 percent, 5 percent and 2 percent, respectively for NCR, Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao. 

 

Santiago also had 1 percent of the economic class ABC, 4 percent for D and 5 percent for E. 

 

The error margins for the SWS survey was at +3 percent for the entire country and 6 percent each for NCR, Luzon, Visayas and Mindan

PHL groups want Pacquiao-Floyd rematch in Manila

Published in Sports

(Photo from Philippine Star)

 

MANILA (via PhilAmPress)  World boxing champion Floyd Mayweather Jr. is insisting he will not give Filipino fighting congressman Manny Pacquiao a rematch.

 

But even as the American champion completely shot down the possibility of a rematch with Pacquiao, big businessmen in Manila expressed their intention to convince the two great boxers to do their fight in Manila.


The businessmen, in fact, would be willing to build a big arena south of Manila where the rematch could be staged.


There are big businessmen and corporations in the Philippines who could pool their resources to make the "dream fight" a reality in the Philippines, according to those close to the negotiators.


"We would be willing to put up the big prize for the two fighters," the businessmen said.


"We want another dream fight like the Muhammad Ali-Joe Frazier fight dubbed the Thrilla in Manila which was held at the Araneta Coliseum in Quezon City," they added.


"We know with the right prizes for the two fighters, we might be able to convince them to have their rematch in Manila," they added.


In a wire report, Mayweather was quoted as saying that Pacquiao is simply using his name to draw interest in his future fight.


Mayweather has already announced his retirement while Pacquiao wanted to do his one last fight, presumably in Las Vegas onApril 9, 2016 before the May elections in the Philippines. Pacquiao is a candidate for senator in that election.


Pacquiao was also quoted in Dubai that if it would be feasible, he wanted his last fight in Manila. 

 

Mayweather defeated Pacquiao during their fight at the MGM Grand Arena in Las Vegas last May 2, in what was billed as the "Fight of the Century." 


Although it failed to live up to the considerable hype, the bout nevertheless became the richest in the history of the sport. Mayweather reportedly pocketed $200 million while Pacquiao got $100 million from that fight.

 

"I dissected this fighter, the so-called 'best fighter of our generation.' I dissected him, probably 10 (rounds) to two, really 11 to one, but it's safe to say 10 to two," Mayweather said in an interview with Fight Hype.

 

"'Mayweather is so boring, he's this, he's that!' I'm boring enough to do the biggest and best numbers in pay-per-view history," he declared.

 

Mayweather retired in September after beating Andre Berto for a 49-0 win-loss record. Pacquiao, meanwhile, is still recovering from surgery done to his right shoulder to repair a torn rotator cuff, which he sustained while training for the Mayweather fight.

 

The Filipino boxer intends to return to the ring in early 2016, possibly in April. In a recent Facebook chat with fans, he said they are "still negotiating… about the rematch with Floyd Mayweather." He also told CNN that a rematch against Mayweather remains "possible."

 

Mayweather, however, denied that any such negotiations were happening.

 

"It's all bullsh*t," he told Fight Hype. "What they're doing is this – once again, piggy-backing off my name to sell pay-per-view numbers when he does go out there and fight again."

 

This is not the first time that Mayweather accused Pacquiao of "piggybacking" off him. After the Filipino's loss to Juan Manuel Marquez in December 2012, Mayweather said Pacquiao was able to "piggyback off my name and get a bunch of endorsement deals and make a good living."

 

Atty. Lourdes Santos Tancinco on Annulment

Published in Round Table

Atty. Lourdes Santos Tancinco, The Columnist

 

Dear Atty. Lou,

 

My cousin entered the United States as fiancé and got married within 90 days. She received her green card last March 22, 2015. They lived together for 9 month until they got into a big misunderstanding and decided to get annulment or divorce.

 

My cousin got hired last July 23, 2015 at Target. The question is after the annulment or divorce is granted is it possible that she can stay and continue working? My husband and I are willing to sponsor her to help her stay. She wants to fight to stay here and continue to work. Thank You!

 

Josie

 

---

 

Dear Josie,

 

Your cousin has a conditional resident status having been married for less than two years.  Since she received her green card on March 22, 2015, she will have a valid status until March 22, 2017.  Hence, her employment with Target is still considered as an authorized employment.

 

Before her expiration of 2017, she should be able to remove conditions of her residence. If she is divorced by that time, she should make sure that she does not obtain an annulment based on “fraud.” There is a difference between the “annulment” and divorce due to irreconcilable differences. Your cousin should make sure that if the U.S. citizen spouse files for annulment it is not based on the fact that the there was “fraud” in the marriage.  If the termination of the marriage is due to fraud, there is a strong probability that the green card status of your cousin will be revoked.

 

 In order to remove the conditions of the resident status and extend the green card beyond March 22, 2017, the non-citizen must prove that she entered into marriage in good faith. This means that the marriage was not entered to circumvent immigration law or simply for the purpose of getting the green card. She has the burden of proving that they intended to live a life together as husband and wife. While there is no hard and fast rule in determining what and how much evidence is necessary to prove a valid marriage, it is important to know what the immigration examiners are looking out for in determining fraud. As per U.S.C.I.S Adjudicator’s Field Manual, there is possible marriage sham if the following exist: (1) separate cohabitation; (2) disparity in age; (3) marriage between relatives; (4) no common language; (5) multiple prior marriages and (6) marriages arranged by third parties.  

 

The fact that there was a break down in the marriage, in itself, is not a ground to deny the grant of the waiver of joint filing. Divorce based on irreconcilable differences will be the appropriate way of terminating the marriage to avoid a finding of fraud.

 

Atty. Lou

 

 

(Lourdes Santos Tancinco, Esq is a partner at the Tancinco Law Offices, a Professional Law Corp. Her principal office is located at One Hallidie Plaza, Ste 818, San Francisco CA 94102 and may be reached at 1 888 930 0808; email atThis email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  or check their website at www.tancinco.com or www.facebook.com/tancincolaw. The content provided in this column is solely for informational purpose only and do not create a lawyer-client relationship. It should not be relied upon as legal advice. This column does not disclose any confidential or classified information acquired in her capacity as legal counsel. Consult with an attorney before deciding on a course of action. You can submit questions to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. )

‘BULLET PLANTING’ SCANDAL ROCKS PHL AIRPORTS

Published in Headline
Charges filed as solons urge officials to resign, overseas Filipinos protest
 
By ALFRED GABOT
 

(Photo from Manila Bulletin)

 

 

PASAY CITY (PHLTODAYUSA/PhilAmPress) — Once labelled as the world’s worst airport, the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) in Pasay City has been in the news the past several weeks due to many bullets found in the travelling bags of Filipinos going abroad or other Philippine airports as well as foreign tourists, including an American missionary, angering officials and overseas Filipinos.

 

Many victims, including a 65-year-old overseas worker for 26 years and the young American missionary, claimed that the bullets were planted and a syndicate at the airport may have been doing the planting for money for years now.

 

The American missionary, Lane Michael White, 20, of Florida, accused security personnel at the NAIA of placing a bullet in his luggage and using the “planted” contraband to extort P30,000 from him.


Since he refused to pay up, White a spent six days in jail and was released after posting a P40,000 bail.


Causing him all this trouble was the .22-caliber bullet found in his bag in the morning of Sept. 17, when he and his family were scheduled to take a flight to Coron, Palawan. He ended up being charged with illegal possession of ammunition before Pasay City Judge Pedro Gutierrez.

Earlier, a wheelchair-bound American woman said she had to give P500 to an OTS member just to be cleared for her flight back to California. Like in White’s case, two .22-caliber bullets were found in one of the pockets of her luggage.

 

Another supposed victim, Santiago Cabrera, 77, an American bound for Los Angeles with a daughter, was held at the airport on Nov. 3 after his handcarried bag reportedly had a bullet.

 

Another victim was identified as Nimfa Fontamillas, 65, of Cavite who was kept from boarding a plane early morning Sunday after a bullet was allegedly found in her handbag at the NAIA Terminal 1.

 

Fontamillas was with her daughter, Menchu Tan, and were supposed to board a Tiger Airways flight TR2729 for Singapore when the .9-mm bullet was allegedly found in her bag when it went through the NAIA Terminal 1 final x-ray scanner at 5:30 a.m.

 

Mrs. Fontamillas said: “God knows wala akong kasalanan. Paano kami magdadala ng bala, kung sa aming bahay wala kaming mga baril (How can we bring bullet when we don’t have guns in our house)?”


Menchu said that they were going to Singapore because her 11-year-old son was scheduled to play football in a match in the Singapore ‘Singa Cup.’ “My son and his team left for Singapore via Philippine Airlines, while we booked on Tiger Airways,” she said.

 

Due to alleged slow action by concerned Philippine officials led by President Benigno S. Aquino III from whose father the premier international airport had been named and Transportation Secretary Jun Abaya on growing complaints on the alleged “bullet planting,” overseas workers have launched a social media campaign calling for the resignation of Secretary Abaya, Manila International Airport Authority general manager Angel Honrado, who is reportedly a relative of the President, and security personnel at the airports to resign.

 

Others called for the National Bureau of Investigation to do an independent investigation while others proposed that army soldiers replaced the police and security men assigned at the airport.

 

(Photo from Philippine Inquirer)

 

Following the widespread uproar of Filipinos, especially netizens from all over the world, Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano, an administration ally, and concerned groups have filed a complaint before the Ombudsman against four officials over the "tanim-bala" scam that has victimized passengers, including overseas Filipino workers.

 

Earlier, several senators like Sens.Vicente Sotto, Grace Poe, Ferdinand Marcos Jr. and congressmen called for an investigation by Congress on the scam and the suspension or resignation of those involved in the scam.

 

Sarangani Rep. Manny Pacquiao volunteered his own personal lawyers to assist alleged victims of an extortion racket called “tanim-bala” at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport.

 

Pacquiao, vice chairman of the House Committee on OFW Welfare, said he is strongly convinced that many, if not all, outbound air passengers arrested at the NAIA for allegedly having bullets in their travelling bags are innocent.


Pacquiao said “laglag bala” scam victims who want to avail of free legal services may contact lawyer Jojo Bondoc at telephone no. 09209211162.

 

Another group, Migrante International, called for a “laglag boto” by calling on the Filipinos not to vote for the candidates of President Aquino and the Liberal Party who they said could be blamed for the scandal. “Laglag boto is our answer to laglag bala at the airports,” one Migrante leader was quoted as saying.


The military migrant group also coined a new monicker for the Ninoy Aquino International Airport, calling it as “the world’s best bullet detector.”


Migrante party-list issued the statement after a Hong Kong-bound Filipina fell victim to the alleged “bullet planting” scheme in NAIA last Oct. 25.


Gloria Ortinez, 56, was arrested and jailed after airport authorities claimed that they found a bullet inside her hand-carry bag at the NAIA Terminal 2.

 

Earlier, overseas workers called for the same action in the wake of the controversy over the inspection and strict rules on “balikbayan” boxes which was initiated by controversial Customs Commissioner Alberto Lina.

 

The migrant workers also called for a “Zero Remittance Day” to dramatize their anger and protest.

The workers’ actions resulted to lesser remittances and fewer balikbayan boxes sent to the Philippines during the last few months, it was learned.

 
In Davao City, Mayor Rodrigo Duterte, reacting to the outcries of citizens to the seemingly growing racket dubbed “tanim-bala,” said that if he were president, he would make the ones responsible for the mess swallow those bullets.

 

Cayetano’s co-complainants are the Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption and the Network of Independent Travel Agents, whose leaders are also asking for the preventive suspension of the officials who allegedly failed to conduct thorough, proactive, and preventive measures on the bullet planting incidents.

 

The officials sought to be suspended are led by Transportation Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya, Manila International Airport Authority General Manager Jose Angel Honrado, Office for Transportation Security Administrator Roland Recomono and PNP Aviation Security Group Director Pablo Francisco Balagtas.

Honrado, however, refused to resign as he continues to defend the action of the men assigned at the airport which he supervises. He said he will do so only when President Aquino orders him to resign.

 

Pushed to the wall, Malacanang assured on Tuesday that the government is taking concrete steps in addressing the alleged “bullet-planting” scam on passengers at the Manila airports.

 

President Aquino himself has called for a thorough investigation of the incidents and directed the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) to undertake measures to stop the scandal which has become a black mark in the image of the Philippines as a tourist and business destination.

 

“(The) DOTC will show the entire picture. We hope the DOTC will be able to convince our countrymen, our OFWs (overseas Filipino workers) that measures are being undertaken and it’s not true that we are not doing anything about it,” spokesman Edwin Lacierda stressed in a Palace press briefing.

 

Lacierda said the DOTC is addressing alleged ‘bullet-planting’ incidents based on the data submitted by the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) and the Office for Transportation Security (OTS).


Other victims of the bullet mess are Pancho M. Salgado, 65, of Taytay, Rizal; and Chris Valerie Panopio Mendoza, Sampaloc Manila. Salgado allegedly yielded an armalite bullet while entering NAIA-2, while a .45 caliber bullet was confiscated from the luggage bag of Mendoza.


Salgado was bound for Osaka, Japan, while Mendoza was supposed to leave for Dubai, United Arab Emirates, when they were held by airport authorities. Both were detained at the PNP Aviation Security Group detention center while awaiting bail.


Last Thursday, Revelina A. Combis, 68, of South Poblacion, Dipaculao, Aurora, was prevented from boarding Philippine Airlines flight PR 2041 bound for Caticlan, Boracay, after members of the Office for Transportation Security (OTS) found a .45 caliber bullet allegedly inside her hand carry bag at the NAIA-3.


Combis has been charged before the Pasay City Prosecutor’s Office with violation of Section 28 of R.A. 10591, the “Comprehensive Firearms and Ammunition Regulation Act.”


A Japanese, who was earlier arrested after airport police found two .44 caliber bullets in his luggage bag, has been released after posting a P40,000 bail.

 

Migrante International is calling a “no remittance day” to protest the ‘tanim-bala’ scam that victimizes the OFWs.

 

Meanwhile, Ednalyn Purugganan, an OFW in Hong Kong who launched an online petition, expressed alarm at the possible plight of OFWs who would be returning to the country this holiday season.


“Lahat kami ang pinakaasam-asam ang makauwi sa Pilipinas kahit panandalian lang. Makakauwi pa ba kami nang walang takot na baka sa kulungan ang bagsak namin?” Purugganan said in her open letter.

“We would like to show our OFW brothers and sisters that government is resolved to fixing these allegations of ‘tanim-bala’,” the Palace official said.

 

The tanim-bala scam involves the planting of bullets in a victim's bag, which will then be seen via X-ray by an airport security screener. The passenger then has to choose whether to pay a bribe or end up being investigated.

 

In their complaint, Sen. Cayetano and the VACC cited the Executive Order No. 226 or the 'Institutionalization of the Doctrine of Command Responsibility in all Government Offices, Particularly at all Levels of Command in the Philippine National Police and all Government Agencies' which states that "government officials or supervisors of any law enforcement agency shall be held accountable for 'Neglect of Duty' under the doctrine of command responsibility if they have knowledge of an offense committed by their subordinates and, despite such knowledge, did not take preventive or corrective action either before, during, or immediately after its commission."

 

Cayetano said it took a month before the concerned officials acted to solve the tanim-bala racket.

"It took them one month bago mag-meeting at the level ng DOTC para pag usapan yung laglag bala no? Dito sa atin, ang nangyayari, parang in denial pa. Ibig sabihin ayaw pang tanggapin ng gobyerno na may problema. Kung gusto niyo sa gobyerno, magtrabaho kayo. Kung ayaw niyo magtrabaho, mag-resign kayo, kasi kung hindi, kakasuhan kayo," he said.

 

The senator even compared the DOTC's "delayed" action to the prompt response of the Davao local government when the incident took place in the region.

 

"Sa Davao City nung nalaman nilang ganito, nagdagdag agad ng pulis, namigay agad ng leaflet. Si Mayor Duterte ang nagsabing, ako in charge dito ako mag-legal aid sa nahulihan ng bala, pakakasuhan natin yan, ipapakain natin ang bala sa naglalaglag bala. So there was someone immediately in charge," added Cayetano.

Davao City Congressman Karlo Alexei Nograles said there was a need to conduct an inventory of all past arrests due to alleged confiscation of ammunition as well as a review of all cases that were filed in court, including those that were already given judgment by the regional trial courts.

 

"The discovery of this so-called laglag bala scheme at the NAIA has opened up serious doubts as to the authenticity and legitimacy of all the previous arrests involving alleged seizures of ammunition," he said.

"We owe it to the victims of this laglag-bala scheme to review their cases, re-open them if necessary, so that we can truly give justice to these people," Nograles said.

 

Nograles also called on MIAA general manager Jose Angel Honrado to resign from his post out of delicadeza.

 

Abakada Patrylist Rep. Jonathan Dela Cruz said that the only way for the Aquino government to be able to get into the bottom of the 'laglag bala' issue is to remove Honrado and allow independent probers to investigate this scheme.

 

TUCP Partylist Rep. Raymond Democrito likewise called on Honrado to voluntarily resign from his post to spare the President from further embarrassment.

 

He said that there was also a need to review the system of employing contractuals in the Office of Transportation Security (OTS).

 

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