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CATARMAN, Northern Samar  Vice President Jejomar C. Binay on Monday flew to Northern Samar to visit Catarman and several towns hit by typhoon Nona.

 

Binay is the first national government official to visit the province after the typhoon that left in its wake P974 million in damages.

 

“The report we received from our briefing with (Northern Samar) Governor (Jose) Ong is that 90 percent of the province was devastated by the typhoon. We were also informed 24 towns were affected and that only five percent electricity in the province has been restored,” the Vice President said.

 

After visiting Catarman, the Vice President also conducted ocular inspections in the towns of Bobon, San Jose, Rosario, Lavezares, and Allen.

 

During his visit to the affected areas, Binay urged local government units (LGUs) to support the national government efforts to mitigate the impact of climate change. At the same time, the Vice President also called on the national government to assist LGUs, especially in disaster response.

 

“If we look at the past three or four years, the strongest typhoons that hit our country arrived in November and December. This is becoming the new normal and so should always remain vigilant even during the holiday season,” he said.

 

“Climate change is a reality that must be addressed head on. We should shore up programs on disaster resiliency,” Binay added.

 

According to the initial report of the Eastern Visayas Regional Disaster and Risk Reduction Management Council (RDRRMC), Nona destroyed nearly 65,000 houses in Northern Samar during its onslaught last week.

 

Disaster response agencies also pegged the damage to public infrastructure at P743.43 million and to agriculture, P230.587 million.

 

The Northern Samar Electric Cooperative meanwhile said the earliest it could restore normal service is December 22.

 

Prior to his visit to Northern Samar, Binay also visited areas in Central Luzon affected by floods caused by Nona, including Gapan and Cabanatuan in Nueva Ecija and San Miguel in Bulacan.

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QUEZON CITY/LOS ANGELES (via PhilAmPress/MTVi) — Presidential aspirant Sen. Mary Grace Poe Llamanzares is still in the presidential race despite the back-to-back decisions of two divisions of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to disqualify her which the Comelec en banc affirmed.

 

There is no official ruling by the Comelec en banc as of press time but sources at the Comelec have indicated that the poll body en banc issued a ruling on appeal Tuesday that effectively voids the candidacy of Senator and presidential aspirant Grace Poe in next year's national election.

 

This as an independent survey group, Laylo Research, reported that Poe has maintained her top position among presidentiables. She is followed by Vice President Jejomar Binay, Davao Mayor Rodolfo Duterte and Manuel Roxas II.

 

The source said Comelec Chairman Andres Bautista indicated that the majority of the en banc voted in favor of Poe's disqualification.

 

Disturbed by the premature leaking of the supposed decision junking her twin motions for reconsideration on the disqualification case, the camp of Senator Poe asked the Comelec to investigate the matter.

 

“This is highly irregular and we believe that the Comelec should look into this seriously,” Valenzuela Mayor Rex Gatchalian, spokesman of Poe, said in a statement issued in response to the supposed leak.

 

 Gatchalian said that “if reports are to be believed the timing of the release of the supposed decision is also suspect.”

 

“Why release the decision in haste when the holiday breaks are upon us. Is it meant to disadvantage Sen. Poe's legal response?” Gatchalian asked.

 

Gatchalian said they have yet to receive a copy of the decision, and they will exhaust all legal remedies by filing a petition before the Supreme Court.

 

“We will appeal to the wisdom of the SC. We know that our arguments are based on laws. Sen. Poe is a natural born Filipino and has met the residency requirement,” Gatchalian stated.

 

Gatchalian expressed confidence that in the end, the Justices of the SC will see the merits of their position.


Filipino American leaders assailed what they said as bias decision of the Comelec.

 "We denounce under unequivocal terms the Comelec en banc decision on leading presidential candidate Grace Poe as tantamount to criminal abuse of discretion and a clear case of criminal discrimination against innocent and powerless citizens of society." they said in a statement released to the Fil-Am press.


The Grace Poe for President Movement-USA led by Jun Caringal said with the Comelec enbanc decision, there is a clear and blatant disregard of evidence, law, jurisprudence, precepts, principles on the matter favorable to Senator Grace's cause.


Caringal told the Fil-Am press that the disqualification cases filed against Grace Poe affects FilAms particularly those voting as dual citizens and registered voters whose voices will be heard and exercise their right to choose the best candidates.


He told the media that the "politics of exclusion being employed by the Comelec" will have a bearing on Fil Ams who have the same predicament as Grace Poe or have the passion to serve our motherland and come back to enter the polical process there as a candidate in the future.


"Imagine, we will be subjected to the same ordeal and expect the same difficulties as Grace Poe is facing now," said Caringal.


As stated by Grace Poe that she will elevate her case to the Supreme Court, the GPPM–USA  decided to field a legal team of experienced Fil-Am lawyers led by Atty Mosqueda to bolster Sen. Grace Poe’s legal battle up to the Supreme Court following the unfavorable decision by the COMELEC enbanc disqualififying Sen. Grace Poe in the presidential race. 


Caringal said that to show their strong resolve to support Poe's presidential bid, his group has already identified 15 major US cities and to be activated with FilAm leaders/coordinators in USA and Canada.

 

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MANILA  The National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) has filed criminal charges against six airport personnel – two from the Office of Transportation Security (OTS) and four from the Philippine National Police-Aviation Security Group (Avsegroup) - for their alleged involvement in the "tanim-laglag-bala" scam at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA).

 

Named in the complaint for violation of Article V Section 38 (liability for planting evidence) under Republic Act No. 10591 or the Comprehensive Firearms and Ammunition Regulation Act were OTS personnel Maria Elma Cena and Marvin Garcia.

Charged for violation Article 293 (Robbery/Extortion) of the Revised Penal Code, Republic Act 7438 (An Act Defining Certain Rights of Person Arrested, Detained or under Custodial Investigation and Duties of the Arresting, Detaining and Investigating Officers) and Republic Act 3018, or the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act, were PNP-Avsegroup Senior Police Officer 2 Roland Clarin and Police Chief Inspector Adriano Junio, SPO4 Ramon Bernardo and SPO2 Romy Navarro.

The NBI based the charges on the complaint filed by Eloisa Zoleta and her stepson Lane Michael White, who reported being victimized by the illegal scheme this September at NAIA, where they accused the respondent airport personnel of trying to extort P30,000 from them in exchange for the release of White and the dropping of the case filed before the Pasay City regional trial court (RTC) against him after a .22 caliber bullet was allegedly found on his luggage when it went through the X-ray scanner at NAIA Terminal 4 on their way to Palawan.

White managed to gain provisional liberty after the Pasay RTC allowed him to post bail and lowered the amount from P80,000 to P40,000.

In a related development, NBI officials confirmed that, while some erring airport personnel were engaged in the extortion racket, it appears that no organized syndicate was behind it.

Department of Justice (DOJ) spokesman Emmanuel Caparas said this was indicated in the report submitted by the NBI task force created by Justice Secretary Alfredo Benjamin Caguioa last month to find out if a syndicate was behind the racket.

"The likelihood of an organized syndicate was not established. Based on what they've gathered at this point, they cannot definitively say. Syndicate implies many people acting together in unison or following a plan, and the NBI cannot establish that," Caparas said in a press conference Thursday.

But Caparas stressed that the NBI is not yet ruling out the possible existence of a syndicate, since the NBI investigation is not yet done. "At this point, they (NBI investigators) said they want to continue their investigation, so even they want to find out more," he said.

At the same time, Caparas said the DOJ is working with other government agencies to "evolve rules" on passengers getting caught allegedly in possession of ammunition so that those apprehended with just one bullet will not be covered by existing laws.

"We will now try to evolve rules for people with just one bullet. There is a legal regulation for us to comply with that effectively," he said, adding that, "unfortunately, some opportunist officials made use of our laws to victimize innocent passengers."

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MANILA — Congressman Manny Pacquiao is among the top picks in the latest Pulse Asia nationwide survey on senatorial candidates in the 2016 elections commissioned by ABS-CBN.


Pacquiao, who is currently serving as Sarangani congressman, placed 7-10 in the November 8-15, 2015 Pulse Asia survey for ABS-CBN.


The poll said 96% of survey respondents were aware of Pacquiao and 50.2% said they would vote for him if the elections were held during the survey period.
 

(Photo from Rappler)

 

Senator Vicente Sotto topped the survey, with 72.6% of respondents saying they will vote for him.


Philippine Red Cross chairman Richard Gordon (49.7%, 7th-10th places), former Justice Secretary Leila de Lima (37.9%, 11th-12th places), and former Akbayan party-list Rep. Risa Hontiveros-Baraquel (11th-12th places) were also in the winning circle.


Others in the winning list are Panfilo Lacson (65.3%) 2nd-3rd places, Ralph Recto (62.9%) 2nd-6th), Francis Pangilinan (58%) 3rd-6th, Franklin Drilon (57.5%) 3rd-7th, Juan Miguel Zubiri (57.5%) 3rd-7th, Sergio Osmeña III (52.1%) 5th-9th, and Teofisto Guingona III (44.8%) 8th-10th.

 

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By CLAIRE MORALES TRUE and JO ERLINDA GABOT NEBRES

 

Ilocos Norte Governor Imee Marcos, Ilocos Norte 2nd District Congresswoman Imelda Marcos, Former president and now Pampanga Congresswoman Gloria Arroyo, and Pampanga Governor Lilia Pineda. 

 

LAOAG CITY/TRECE MARTIRES CITY (PHLTODAYUSA/PhilAmPress) — Governor Maria Imelda Josefa Marcos, popularly known as "Imee," is now considered reelected for another three-year term as provincial chief executive.


And so with her cousin Vice Governor Angelo Marcos Barba.


This developed after the candidates for Governor and Vice Governor of Ilocos Norte under the Liberal Party and Nationalist People’s Coalition withdrew their CoC on December 10, the last day of substitution of candidates for the 2016 elections.


Only one vote will be needed on election day to affirm the reelection of Governor Marcos and Vice Governor Barba for their third and final term of office.


The development confirms that Ilocos Norte remains a stronghold of the Marcoses three decades since the ouster of the clan's patriarch, President Ferdinand Marcos, in the 1986 People Power Revolution and replaced by President Corazon Cojuangco Aquino. Mr. Marcos won and was proclaimed reelected president in a snap election against Mrs Aquino before the revolution. 


Also running in Ilocos Norte is former First Lady Imelda Romualdez Marcos, who is seeking her third and final term as congresswoman of the second district. Like Governor Marcos, Congresswoman Imelda Marcos is reportedly also unopposed.


Another member of the clan, Matthew Marcos-Manotoc, the governor's youngest son, is running for member of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan representing the second district; Governor Marcos, elder sister of Sen. Ferdinand Marcos Jr. who is running for vice president, joined about 40 percent of candidates nationwide with no opponents or if at all have token opponents, which political analysts reported was unprecedented in election history in the country.

 

Other notables who have no opponents are former president now Congresswoman Gloria Macapagal Arroyo and her ally Pampanga Governor Lilia Pineda, and the governor of Cavite, the country’s biggest province in terms of population.


Former Congressman Jesus Crispin "Boying" Remulla, a lawyer, substituted for his unopposed brother, incumbent Cavite Governor Juan Victor "Junvic" Remulla who reportedly is pursuing post gradudate studies in Harvard University. Like the Pampanga Governor, Vice Governor Dennis Pineda is also unopposed.


 Negros Occidental Governor Alfredo Marañon Jr. is unopposed for his third and last term under the United Negros Alliance (UNegA). Also unopposed in the province are 2nd District’s Rep. Leo Rafael Cueva and 6th District’s Rep. Mercedes Alvarez and nine town mayors.


In Bataan, Governor Albert “Abet” Garcia whose father, Rep. Enrique Garcia is running also unopposed for vice governor together with his  Balanga City Mayor Jose Enrique “Joet” Garcia III for congressman of the second district, and Francis Garcia, a financial analyst and member of the board of directors of the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority, who is running for Balanga mayor.


In Pampanga, former President now Representative Gloria Macapagal Arroyo of the second district is also running unopposed for her third and final term in the district which covers the towns of Lubao, Sasmuan, Guagua, Sta. Rita, Floridablanca and Porac. Mrs. Arroyo’s father, the late President Diosdado Macapagal, hailed from Lubao, while her mother, the late First Lady Dr. Evangelina Macapagal hailed from Binalonan, Pangasinan where a grandson, Mayor Ramon N. Guico III, is also running unopposed.

In Laguna, outgoing Santa Rosa City Mayor Arlene Arcillas and Binan City Mayor Marilyn Len Len Alonte-Naguiat are running unopposed for congresswoman in first district and the new congressional district of Binan.

 

Also unopposed are Aurora Gov. Gerardo Noveras,  Pangasinan Rep. Leopoldo Bataoil, Mountain Province Congressman Maximo Dalog and Gov. Leonard Mayaen and Apayao Congressman. Eleanor Begtang and Gov. Elias Bulut Jr. 


In Davao del Norte, banana king Antonio Floreindo is running unopposed for congressman, replacing his nephew Rep. Antonio Lagdameo. Others unopposed are Imus Rep. Alex Advincula and Cavite Rep. Abraham Tolentino; Negros Oriental Representatives Leo Rafael Cueva and Mercedes Alvarez; comebacking former Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio, Davao City Rep. Karlo Alexei Nograles, and North Cotabato Gov. Emmylou Taliño-Mendoza.

 

The new province of Davao Occidental also has a lone candidate for governor, Claude Bautista, who is relinquishing his first-term governorship of Davao del Sur in exchange for the honor of being the founding chief executive of the new province. His sister, Lorna Bautista-Bantigan, is also running unopposed as the province's congressional representative, her first electoral venture. Another sibling, incumbent Davao del Sur Rep. Franklin Bautista is instead running for vice governor under his brother, also unopposed.

 

In Metro Manila, running unopposed are Quezon City Rep. Alfredo Vargas, Las Pinas City Rep. Mark Villar, Navotas City Mayor John Rey Tiangco and Rep. Toby Tiangco, Antipolo City Rep. Romeo Acop and Rizal Rep. Isidro Rodriguez Jr.

 

Considered sure winners but with token opponents are  Quezon City Mayor Herbert Bautista together with Vice Mayor Josefina Belmonte, Parañaque City Mayor Edwin Olivarez,  Pasig City Roberto Eusebio, husband of incumbent mayor; Las Piñas City’s Imelda Aguilar, wife of incumbent mayor Vergel Aguilar; and Carmelita Abalos of Mandaluyong City, wife of incumbent mayor Benjamin “Benhur” Abalos Jr.

 

There are many other candidates, mayor, vice mayors, councilors, governors, vice governors, provincial board members and other local posts and national posts in many parts of the country who will need only one vote to affirm their election or reelection in the May 9, 2016 elections. (Claire Morales True/Jo Erlinda Gabot Nebres/PhilAmPress)

 

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MANILA — Vice President Jejomar Binay and Sen. Ferdinand Marcos Jr. slammed the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) and its Secretary Corazon Soliman after 284 sacks of rice meant for typhoon victims were spoiled and buried in Dagami, Leyte.

 

“Such act borders on criminal neglect. Thousands of Filipinos suffer from hunger every day, especially those affected by calamities, and yet we have a government that allowed food to rot,” Binay said in a press statement.

 

“What’s more disappointing is that this was not the only time food for calamity victims had gone to waste,” he added.

 

Binay and Marcos cited the 2013 audit report of the Commission on Audit (COA), which said that family food packs worth P2.8 million for 7,527 families affected by Super Typhoon Yolanda were spoiled “due to improper handling.”

 

In 2014, COA said the DSWD had been left with undistributed and expired or about-to-expire relief goods worth P141 million.

 

The COA also found that the DSWD bought and accepted relief goods without considering the absorptive capacity and condition of the warehousing facilities and personnel, available stocks, shelf life or expiry dates and the actual needs of the victims.

 

In the same report, COA mentioned that of the P1.151 billion in local and foreign cash donations the DSWD received from November 2013 to December 2014, 33 percent or P382.072 million had been unused and kept in the agency’s bank accounts.

 

 Soliman reportedly admitted that 284 sacks of rice meant for the Food for Work program for Typhoon Ruby victims were buried in Barangay Macaalang in Dagami, Leyte, adding she has ordered an investigfation on the matter.

 

“The admission by Secretary Soliman only highlights the reality that she has failed to provide the department the efficiency and compassion required in providing immediate aid to calamity victims,” Binay said.

 

“This is a gross disservice to both the calamity victims who needed all the assistance they could get, and the taxpayers and donors who contributed to the government’s calamity fund. In times of disaster, government should be able to provide immediate relief to the victims. There’s no room for dilly-dallying. Their survival largely depends on government’s ability to extend the needed assistance,” he added.

 

Marcos said Soliman should take full responsibility for the spoilage of food as she is the person ultimately responsible for the handling and distribution of relief goods.

 

“The DSWD claimed it has learned its lesson and even acquired a mechanized repacking system and yet this unconscionable wastage of relief goods continues to happen,” he said.

 

“Can you imagine how many typhoon victims the DSWD could have helped with such amount of relief goods? Surely, those responsible for this are unfit as public servants.  Someone should be held accountable,” he added.

 

Binay also claimed that Soliman has played politics, “placing premium on advancing the candidacy of the Liberal Party candidate over the more urgent needs of the poor.”

 

Binay, presidential candidate of the opposition United Nationalist Alliance, scored Soliman over the supposed spreading of black propaganda against him.

 

He claimed that some DSWD personnel are telling beneficiaries of the government’s conditional cash transfer program that he will not continue the project if he is elected president. The Vice President has denied this.

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MANILA (PHLTODAYUSA/PhilAmPress) — A total of 205 aspirants for national positions in the May 2016 polls have been declared nuisance candidates by the Commission on Elections (Comelec).


This was disclosed by Comelec Chairman Juan Andres Bautista based on the decisions of the polls body's First and Second Divisions which granted the moto proprio petitions filed by the Law Department against the Certificates of Candidacy (CoCs) of 100 presidential, nine vice presidential and 96 senatorial aspirants.


With 100 presidential aspirants out, only five candidates for president will remain. In the vice presidential race, only six candidates will remain.


The five presidential candidates remaining officially are presumed to be Sen. Mary Grace Poe Llamanzares, Vice President Jejomar Binay, Davao Mayor Rodrigo Duterte, former Secretary Manuel Roxas II and Sen. Miriam Defensor Santiago.


This could mean that Rep. Roy Seneres, an incumbent congressman, a lawyer and former ambassador, who represents the OFW Party may have also been considered a nuisance candidate. Seneres is expected to contest the decision of Comelec.


The names of candidates who were declared nuisance candidates, however, were not revealed pending the appeal of the concerned aspirants.  


However, he noted that these individuals may still file their respective motions for reconsideration, challenging the ruling of the Divisions before the Commission en banc.


“They still have the chance to file a motion for reconsideration with the Comelec en banc,” Bautista said.


Of the 130 CoCs submitted for president, 125 were filed petitions to be declared nuisance candidates.


In the vice presidential post, 13 of the 19 aspirants were included in the petitions while 129 out of the 172 looking to run for senatorial seats also faced motto proprio petitions.


The poll body is set to come up with the final list of official candidates for next year’s elections by Dec. 15.

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QUEZON CITY/SAN JUAN CITY (via PhilAmPress) — The Office of the Ombudsman (Ombudsman) has found probable cause to charge former Mayor and now Senator Joseph Victor "JV" Ejercito for violation of Section 3(e) of Republic Act No. 3019, or the "Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act", and technical malversation in connection with the anomalous procurement of high-powered firearms in February 2008.


Also facing charges for technical malversation are Vice Mayor Leonardo Celles and City Councilors Andoni Carballo, Vincent Pacheco, Angelino Mendoza, Dante Santiago, Rolando Bernardo, Grace Pardines, Domingo Sese, Francis Peralta, Edgardo Soriano, Jannah Ejercito-Surla, Francisco Javier Zamora, Ramon Nakpil and Joseph Christopher Torralba.


Ejercito said he was surprised at the indictment but nevertheless welcomed the filing of the charges to give him the opportunity to clear himself and the others of the charges.

”I’m really surprised because I thought it will not prosper because first it was filed by an anonymous person and secondly, I was very careful then in every documents and you must understand during those times, I was in the opposition. That’s why I’m very confident that there was no irregularity,” Ejercito said in the Senate.


Ejercito confirmed that he requested the San Juan City Council to purchase firearms using calamity fund.


”It was an urgent need then because of series of robberies, hold-up and kidnap for ransoms,” Ejercito explained.


The senator clarified that he rectified the mistakes based on the advised of the Commission on Audit (COA) by asking for supplemental budget from the City Council to cover the purchase.


”In the year end in 2008, COA found nothing irregular. The calamity funds were intact so there is no malversation. There were no things of disallowance up to this very date from the COA,” he said.


Ejercito said he suspected that the revival of the case was politically motivated considering his mother, San Juan City Mayor Guia Gomez is seeking reelection against former ally Vice Mayor Francis Zamora, son of Rep. Ronaldo Zamora of San Juan.


”Well, it is really politically motivated. My suspicion is that our rivals in politics are pushing this case. I might be wrong but no one else will push it because it’s an old case and the COA cleared us already as well as the whole Sangguniang Bayan,” Ejercito said.


Nevertheless, Ejercito said he is ready to answer “every accusation hurled at me regarding technical malversation.”


”My lawyer, Atty. Sig Fortun, has prepared a sound response to this case and we are confident that we will see the light of day in no time. We will submit a Motion for Reconsideration at the Office of the Ombudsman soon,” Ejercito said.


The Ombudsman also found probable cause for violation of Section 3(e) of RA No. 3019 against the Bids and Awards Committee members, namely: City Administrator Ranulfo Dacalos, Treasurer Rosalinda Marasigan, City Attorney Romualdo Delos Santos, City Budget Officer Lorenza Ching and City Engineer Danilo Mercardo.


Dacalos, Marasigan, Delos Santos, Mercado and Accountant Alicia Barazon were also found guilty of misconduct and were ordered suspended without pay for six months.


Investigation found that in February 2008, Ejercito requested the City Council for authority to purchase high-powered firearms using its calamity fund.


In response, the councilors passed City Ordinance No. 9 (Series of 2008) authorizing Ejercito to purchase firearms for the San Juan Police Department.Ejercito admitted appropriating money for the purchase from the calamity fund, but the same was replaced from a special fund eventually. 

He said that the purchase was made at a time when the long firearms of Metro Manila policemen were recalled and given to the provincial policemen. It was a time when there was a rash of kidnap for ransom, robbery and other crimes, he said.

In 2008, the respondents purchased three units of model K2 cal. 5.56mm sub-machine guns and 17 units of Daewoo model K1 cal. 5.56mm sub-machines guns in the total amount of P2.1 million.


Under Department of Budget and Management-Department of Interior and Local Government (DBM-DILG) Circular No. 2003-1, high-powered firearms are not among the items contemplated for disaster relief and mitigation.


Also, there was no declaration placing San Juan under a state of calamity at that time.


In its 20-page joint resolution, the Ombudsman found a "hasty procurement of specific high-powered firearms of a particular brand sans competitive bidding and without any post-qualification, bolstered by bid documents bearing dates earlier than the publication of the invitation to bid, showing that an unwarranted benefit, advantage and preference" was accorded to the supplier.


Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales said that Ejercito "acted in concert with the members of the city council who authorized him to purchase firearms using the city's calamity funds paving the way for the application of public funds for a purpose different from the one for which they were originally appropriated by law."

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MANILA — The Supreme Court (SC) has granted the request of former President and now Rep. Gloria Macapagal Arroyo for Christmas Day and New Year’s Day furloughs.

 

SC Public Information Office (PIO) Chief and Spokesman Atty. Theodore O. Te said “the Court took action on petitioner Macapagal-Arroyo’s Urgent Motion for House Arrest Pending Resolution of the Petition.”

 

Te said that before acting on petitioner’s “Urgent Motion, the Court REQUIRES the Office of the Solicitor General to comment thereon within twenty days from notice.”

 

Pending the resolution of the urgent motion, the SC granted to the petitioner Christmas and New Year furloughs for the inclusive periods of 8 a.m. of Dec. 23, 2015 to 5 p.m. of Dec. 26, 2015, and of 8 a.m. of Dec. 30, 2015 to 5 p.m. ofJan. 2, 2016, to be spent exclusively at her residence at No. 14 Badjao Street, La Vista Subdivision, Quezon City.

 

”It is understood that notwithstanding the furloughs the petitioner shall remain under preventive custody of the law,” the SC said.

 

The SC ordered Albert A. Dela Cruz, the Acting Chief of the Security and Sheriffs Services of the Sandiganbayan, to implement the resolution in coordination with the appropriate office of the Philippine National Police (PNP) and to report to the Court on his full compliance on or before January 11, 2016.

 

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MANILA — Losing 2013 senatorial bet Rizalito David, himself now a presidential aspirant, has asked the Senate Electoral Tribunal (SET) to reconsider its decision by 5-4 vote denying his petition to disqualify Senator Mary Grace Poe Llamanzares as a senator.

 

David filed his petition for reconsideration before the SET hoping that the senators who voted in favor of Poe will change their decisions, particularly Sen. Juliana Pilar Pia Cayetano and Sen. Paolo Benigno Bam Aquino IV.

 

Aside from Sens. Cayetano and Aquino, the other senator-members of the SET -- Vicente Sotto, Loren Legarda and Cynthia Villar - voted to dismiss David's petition while all members who are Associate Justices of the Supreme Court - Antonio Carpio,Teresita Leonardo-de Castro and Arturo Brion -- voted in favor of disqualification together with Sen. Maria Lourdes Nancy Binay.

 

This developed as the SET made public the dissenting opinions of the three justices while the Commission on Elections readied to hear four disqualification cases filed against Poe on the basis of questionable citizenship and lack of residency.

 

David said that the ruling was "political" and not based on the provisions of the Constitution and the laws.

 

"Parang nangyari dito political accommodation, binigyan ng temporary relief si Grace," said David.

 

David's lawyer, Atty. Manuelito Luna, said they filed their motion for reconsideration before the SET so these senators can "correct themselves."

 

David said that Sen. Aquino should not have agreed to dismiss the case after considering Sen. Poe's status as a foundling. Aquino earlier said he cast a "conscience vote" favoring Poe because doing otherwise would mean deeming other foundlings as stateless or naturalized citizens.

 

"Iyun talaga ang medyo mabigat na because of an electoral case, iyung libo-libong foundling at lahat ng ipapanganak pa na foundling, mag-iiba iyung status nila from natural-born to either naturalized or stateless," he said.

 

"Feeling ko maling-mali ang ginawa niyang reasoning dun ano. Sa kaso ni Grace Poe Llamanzares, magiging pareho na rin ang ruling mo dun sa ibang foundling na kunwari ay tatakbong senador o congressman, presidente o bise presidente in the past. There are only about 4,500 registered foundlings since 1950 and how many of them are running for president. That is totally wrong for him to say that when he made his decision, he made it on concern of the foundlings," David said.

 

Meanwhile, he is also hoping that Senator Pia Cayetano will also change her position because she did not submit any written concurring opinion.

 

Sen. Cayetano's next move with regard to Poe's case is being closely watched as her brother, Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano, is the presumptive running mate of Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte, who earlier said he is now running for president because he does not want to see an "American president," according to an ABS-CBN report.

 

Poe's running mate, Sen. Francis Escudero, admitted he is concerned about the possibility of Sen. Cayetano considering David's appeal. The lady senator was supposedly the swing vote that provided the initial victory for Poe.

 

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