The latest news stories from the major news organizations in Cebu and Manila in the Philippines, the US and other countries.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

July 21, 2010 Major News Stories

Cebu lawyer's son shot dead by brother

The son of a former Cebu provincial board member was shot dead by his younger brother inside their house in Argao town, some 66.9 kilometers south of Cebu City, Tuesday morning, police said.

The Argao police said the fatality, Allan Almirante, 49, died on the spot when he sustained four gunshot wounds, two in the chest, one in the right chest area and another in the lower abdomen.

Senior Police Officer 1 Arnold Abenir, investigator of the Argao Police Station said, Allan was shot by his younger brother Antonio III, 44, after a brief altercation 9:30 a.m. Tuesday.

According to Abenir, Antonio III was resting in his room when Allan arrived in the family residence and went wild and even challenged his younger brother to get out of the room.

To scare his brother, Antonio III told the police that he went out of his room bringing his 9-millimeter pistol.
Abenir said Antonio III claimed that he had no intention of killing his brother.

However, Antonio III claimed that Allan, who was holding a knife, attacked him so that he was forced to fire at his brother.

The police recovered three empty shells from a 9-mm pistol from the scene of the crime.

Abenir also said that Antonio III did not feel remorseful over what he did, claiming that he was fed up by his brother's hostility.

The suspect did not resist arrest when the responding policemen arrived at their house.

Their father, former Provincial Board Member Antonio Almirante Jr., now in private law practice, was attending a court hearing when the shooting happened.

The Almirante family refused to issue any statement but some of their helpers claimed that Allan was always making trouble in the house.

When asked if the police would file charges against Antonio III, Abenir said they were still waiting for the decision of the family.

CCMC official suspended to pave the way for probe

The City Legal Office is set to serve today the order for the preventive suspension of Lourdes Archua, credit officer of the Cebu City Medical Center, who was involved in the release of the 28 checks lost to fraud last May.

Lapu-Lapu City mayor faces graft for causeway demolition

MANILA, Philippines - The Office of the Ombudsman has approved recommendations for the filing of graft charges against Lapu-Lapu City officials for the demolition of the city's causeway.

In a 10-page resolution, the Office of the Ombudsman-Visayas recommended graft charges against Lapu-Lapu City Mayor Arturo Radaza and city attorney Vincent Joseph Lim for the causeway's demolition.

The investigators of the Office of the Ombudsman said the demolition of the structure did not go through judicial proceedings and described the action as "unlawful, whimsical and despotic."

The ombudsman's record of the case said that Radaza ordered the demolition of the causeway despite a pending foreshore lease application of the Goldpoint Land Corporation (GLC) with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources.

The causeway was located within the foreshore area. The Ombudsman said that the causeway, which was in existence for over 15 years, is covered by an application for special registration under the amnesty program of the Philippine Reclamation Authority.

The Ombudsman's investigators said that "in the absence of judicial proceedings," Radaza put up a notice signed by Lim declaring that the causeway's existence was illegal.

It said that during the investigation, Radaza insisted that the demolition order was in compliance to a local government code ordinance, which allows the city mayor to order the demolition of illegally-constructed houses, buildings and other structures within the period prescribed by law or ordinance.

The local Ombudsman, however, gave weight on the evidence presented by GLC that "clearly illustrate their possession and occupation" of the land where the causeway built.

Young: Building projects of DepEd are overpriced

Is the Department of Education (DepEd) spending more than it ought to on school building projects?

Cebu City Vice Mayor Joy Augustus Young believes that the cost of buildings put up by the DepEd are 30 percent more they ought to.

At least six school building projects, funded and implemented by the DepEd in Cebu City last year, were found overpriced.

Each building has four classrooms and the cost of construction for each room is almost P1 million.

Young said that if the city had implemented the project, the cost would have only been around P700,000 per classroom.

The vice mayor also heads the Committee on Education of the City Council and is a member of the local school board.

He said yesterday that when he made his own computation, he arrived at the figure of P700,000.

Young believes that the DepEd has been negligent of its duties and the formula it is using for the cost per classroom only benefits the abusive contractors.

"This is negligence on the part of DepEd because they were not able to see this. The reason why DepEd took over the implementation of school building projects from the DPWH is para makabarato, pero mas mahal naman hinuon sa ilaha," Young said.

Young wants that the implementation of building projects be done at the city level.

"Let us take care of the program of works, bidding, etc. Just give us the funding and I'm sure we will be able to do better," he said.

From the six building projects implemented last year, Young said that over P10 million has gone to waste which could have been equivalent to 14 more classrooms in Cebu City.

These building projects are in Don Vicente Rama Memorial High School, Don Vicente Rama Elementary School, Zapatera Elementary School, Talamban High School, Barrio Luz Elementary School, Basak Elementary School and OPRRA Elementary School.

Not only are they overpriced, Young said that the buildings are also substandard because some have no stairs, no paint, no ceiling on the last floor allegedly due to lack of funds.

There are three other pending projects this year which Young ordered temporarily suspended after he discovered that the projects are overpriced.

Young wrote a letter of appeal to DepEd Secretary Armin Luistro to bring to his attention the issue on excessive cost of classrooms.

"We have traced the problem on the DepEd's way of making your costing which is too centralized in Manila," he said.

DepEd comes up with the total cost including labor, direct cost, indirect cost and Value Added Tax by adding 76 percent to the total material cost.

The city on the other hand only adds a total of 60 percent to the total material cost.

Young said that the 76 percent add on by the DepEd is even aggravated by the difference in the canvassed price, which is higher than the canvassed price here.

"May we request therefore that you follow the way the city POWE (Program of Works and Estimates) is made. If you find it impractical to do this nationwide, then make Cebu City an exception because we are capable to doing this better.

"I hope that you can act on this immediately as P21 million is about to be bidded out," he said.

Director Recaredo Borgonia of DepEd-7 said that it is their Manila office that handles the project costing.

He explained that this is a formula that they are using nationwide.

He urged the vice mayor to put his comments in writing so that this can be addressed in the proper forum.

Airport manager investigates info "leak"

Mactan Cebu International Airport Manager Danilo Augusto Francia has created a team to investigate and to identify the airport personnel who informed The Freeman about the granting of the controversial P500,000-severance pay to former tourism regional director Patria Auroa Roa.

In his Office Order No. 052-2010 dated last July 12, Francia named acting airport police chief Bonifacio Y. Pusta to head the team, with Jacinto Comendador, James R. Beloy and Douglas P. Magdadaro, as members.

Comendador is the airport's safety officer, Beloy is with the airport police division while Magdadaro is a staff in the Intelligence and ID pass division. Some of the personnel said Comendador still has no appointment as safety officer.

The FREEMAN learned that the team yesterday called up Dahl Cesar of the airport's Budget Division and Luz Cosejo of the Cashiering Division. Both of them were asked why some of the documents were leaked to the media.

The team also summoned Delia Paciencia of the airport's Cashiering Division to appear before them this morning.

Some personnel of the airport's finance section claimed that the workers, particularly those who leaked the information about the granting of the P500,000 severance pay, deserve public praise and not prosecution.

A worker at the airport's legal section who asked not to be identified said, "Granting without admitting that they really released the information, they must have done it only in the interest of truth and transparency."

Another airport personnel said, "This is not to say that the ones being investigated right now are really the whistleblowers but my point is that this is plain harassment. Which is the wrongdoer here, those who raised the alarm over an immoral transaction or the ones who approved it in the first place?"

Francia's order said the investigating team shall have the power to issue subpoena to any airport employee and to ask for records and documents pertaining to the release of the severance pay. The team is asked to submit its report directly to the manager within 15 days.

Directors to submit list of bodyguards

Police Regional Office (PRO) 7 Director Lani-O Nerez will require all city and provincial police directors to submit to him lists of policemen that are detailed as bodyguards of politicians and private individuals throughout Central Visayas.

Nerez said that during the campaign period for last May's elections, about 300 of the more than 5,000 policemen in Central Visayas were assigned as escorts.

But he explained that last June 9, all of these policemen were ordered to go back to their mother units, except those assigned to incumbent governors and mayors.

Based on the new guidelines of Camp Crame, Nerez said, only those assigned with the PNP Security and Protection Group can be detailed as escorts, after a request is approved.

But while Camp Crame may approve the requests for bodyguards of politicians and private individuals who are facing actual threats, only two bodyguards are allowed for each governor and mayor.

Cebu Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia has six police bodyguards who were detailed before the new Camp Crame directive was issued. Nerez said the rest will be recalled. 

However, Nerez clarified that the police may assign to governors and mayors additional police bodyguards if the elective officials will visit places that are considered threats to their security.

The governor said that it was the police and military officials who aired concern for her safety after she declared an all-out war against the New People's Army (NPA) and illegal drugs in Cebu.

"Kon ako lang ang pagbut-on dili gyud ko gusto anang dunay magsige og sunod-sunod nato, pero ang mga polis mao may nabalaka sa akong pagka butang," said the governor. (If it was up to me I don't want any police bodyguards following me around, but it was the PNP officials who expressed concern for my safety.)

Nerez also clarified that police bodyguards are not allowed to act as security guards to guard houses at nights.

During the news forum yesterday, Cebu Provincial Police Director Erson Digal was asked about reports that Paulo, the governor's son, has a police bodyguard.

Digal said records would show that the young Garcia has none.

The report, added Digal, stated that Paulo only provides suggestions and recommendations but the purchase of firearms and uniforms of policemen undergo proper bidding process and passed the requirement as provided for by law.

Capitol spokesman Rory Jon Sepulveda also made this clarification after newspaper reports stating that although Paulo does not occupy a position at the Capitol, he influences transactions related to purchase of firearms and uniforms.

Vice mayor slams police on arrest of brgy captain

Barili Vice Mayor Marlon Garcia has called as arrogant and improper the arrest of Jonas Binondo, the barangay captain of Mayana who yielded to authorities last weekend with unlicensed firearms.

Garcia said the joint team of the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) and Investigation and Detective Management Branch of the Cebu Provincial Police Office (IDMB-CPPO) placed Binondo under arrest allegedly without properly coordinating with the local police.

Authorities went to Binondo's house 6:30 am last July 17 by virtue of a warrant issued by Regional Trial Court Judge Soliver Peras.

Garcia said if there is enough reason for Binondo to file a case against CIDG.

"Mu-blotter man gani tag naay sinumbagay kana pa ba kahang pick-a-pon sa balay og i-detain," Garcia said, adding, he has never heard that Binondo having conflict with anyone. 

Garcia, however, would not say if Binondo is his political ally.

Police recovered a caliber .45 pistol and a 12-gauge shotgun, both with serial numbers, and a caliber .357 revolver from Binondo.

Also recovered from him were two magazines, 18 live ammunition, 10 empty shells and a holster for the .45 pistols, as well as four live ammunitions for a 12-gauge shotgun, and three live ammunitions and a holster for the caliber .357 revolver.

The CIDG found that both the .45 caliber and the shotgun have memorandum receipts issued by the municipality, but Binondo failed to present pertinent documents for the cal. 357 revolver.

Binondo claimed the .357 revolver is owned by his brother, but the CIDG said Binondo can present proof before the prosecutor's office.

Binondo said earlier politics might be behind his arrest, considering that the Barangay election is just about three months away.

He was detained at the CIDG-7 stockade, but was eventually released after posting bail.

The CIDG applied for the warrant after it conducted surveillance on Binondo who was complained of by a resident of his barangay for carrying the firearms.

Cop faces dismissal over accidental firing

Police Regional Office (PRO) 7 Director Lani-O Nerez said PO1 Ronie Berngel Barangian will be dismissed from service if proven that he was playing with his gun when it went off and hit a fellow policeman while both of them were drinking last Monday evening.

Reports said that Barangian played with his caliber .45 pistol when he accidentally shot PO1 Ronnie Barrita, 27. Barrita was hit in the neck and the bullet exited his nape. He is still fighting for life in one of the hospitals in Cebu City.

Abad: We didn't ask to be appointed

by By Jorge Cariño, ABS-CBN News
MANILA, Philippines - Budget and Management Secretary Florencio "Butch" Abad on Tuesday defended his family after several sectors questioned why numerous Abads are working in the Aquino administration.

Binay takes oath as HUDCC chair

MANILA, Philippines - Vice President Jejomar Binay took his oath of office as chairman of the Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council (HUDCC).

Belmonte retains House secretary general

MANILA, Philippines - Quezon City Rep. Feliciano Belmonte Jr., who is considered a shoo-in for the position of Speaker of the House of Representatives, said Tuesday that he is retaining Atty. Marilyn Barua-Yap as House secretary general.

Lakas concedes Speakership to LP

Pampanga Representative Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo called on her fellow lawmakers in the Lakas-Kampi-Christian Muslim Democrat party to cooperate with the new leadership in the House of Representatives, as stalwarts of the party conceded that they were soon to be relegated as the minority bloc in the chamber.

Some party-list nominees still can't sit in Congress

Three more party-list groups were proclaimed winners in the May 10 polls by the Commission on Elections (Comelec) Monday but their first nominees still can't take their seats when Congress opens on Monday.

Proclaimed were 1-United Transport Koalisyon (1-UTAK); Advocacy for Teacher Empowerment through Action, Cooperation and Harmony toward Educational Reforms (A Teacher), and Butil Farmers Party.

The three groups were among the 11 winners of the party-list race whose proclamations were deferred due to questions about their registration.

However, the first nominees of these groups still can't take their seats because of pending cases regarding their qualifications to represent their sectors.

The first nominees of 1-UTAK and A Teacher, former Energy Secretary Angelo Reyes and Mariano Piamonte, respectively, will not be able to take their seats in Congress until their cases are resolved.

Militant transport groups questioned Reyes' qualification to represent marginalized members of the transport sector.

The Comelec said the groups' second nominees may initially assume the organizations' House seats when the legislative session opens.

In the case of Butil, it has two rival sets of nominees.

"The issue of disqualification of party-list nominees does not pertain to the qualification of an organization to participate in the party-list system of representation and should, therefore, not affect the entitlement of the party-list organization to guaranteed additional seats," said the Comelec, acting as the National Board of Canvassers (NBC).

According to the NBC tally, A-Teacher received 614,725 votes; Butil, 506,703 votes; and 1-UTAK, 220,002 votes.

The three groups are thus entitled to one seat each in the House of Representatives.

With the resolution of the cases of the three groups, 36 of the 57 seats allotted for party-list groups in the House have been filled.

On May 31, the NBC proclaimed 28 party-list groups, allotting them 33 seats.

The top-ranked groups were entitled to more than one seat.

Meanwhile, eight other party-list organizations have pending petitions to cancel their registrations. These are: Ako Bicol Political Party, Buhay Hayaan Yumabong, First Consumers Alliance for Rural Energy, Citizen's Battle Against Corruption, LPG Marketers Association Inc., Ang Asosasyon Sang Mangunguma Nga Bisaya-Owa Mangunguma Inc., Association of Philippine Electric Cooperatives, and Alliance for Nationalism and Democracy.

This means their nominees, even if they are qualified, cannot take their seats in the House until the petitions are resolved.

Mikey back in House, now as party-list representative

Voting 4-2-1, the Comelec has allowed former Pampanga Rep. Mikey Arroyo to sit as representative of Ang Galing Pinoy (AGP), a party-list organization that claims to represent tricycle drivers and security guards, in the House of Representatives. He will now join his mother, former President and now Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, and brother, Camarines Sur Rep. Diosdado "Dato" Arroyo, there.

Arroyo son hits critics after getting Comelec OK

After the Commission on Elections (Comelec) allowed him to assume a seat in the House of Representatives as a partylist representative, former congressman Juan Miguel "Mikey" Arroyo blasted his critics anew and called them "hypocrites."

"In fact, based on the SALN of all 52 party-list representatives, only seven are not millionaires and even some have declared a much higher net worth than I have declared," he said.

"My critics also had the privilege of enjoying charmed childhoods. And it's so hypocritical on their part to seek my disqualification because they too, have enjoyed privileged lives. I just pray that their minds which have been enmeshed in the quagmire of hypocrisy for such a long time now, be enlightened so that they would come to realize that the stones they are hurling against me are also actually meant for them," Arroyo added.

4,500 cops at Batasan area for SONA

from by By RG Cruz, ABS-CBN News
MANILA, Philippines - The Philippine National Poilce (PNP) will deploy 4,500 policemen to secure the Batasan Pambansa during the State of the Nation Address (SONA) on July 26.

Hacienda Luisita case transferred to Supreme Court en banc

by By Ina Reformina, ABS-CBN News
MANILA, Philippines - The Supreme Court on Tuesday said it has transferred the land distribution case of Hacienda Luisita from the First Division of Chief Justice Renato Corona to the Court en banc.

SC sets session on Hacienda Luisita Wednesday

The Supreme Court will hold a full court session on the Hacienda Luisita case this Wednesday, a spokesman for the high tribunal said Tuesday.

DA chief asked to probe P455-M ice machine deal

The national fisherfolk group Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya) on Tuesday urged Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala to investigate the controversial "ice-making machine" project under former agriculture secretary and now Bohol Representative Arthur Yap.

P21-M Pagcor food order was over 6 months—fastfood chain

The local unit of global fastfood chain McDonald's has defended its deal with the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. (Pagcor) wherein the latter paid the former P21 million to supply food to policemen over a six-month period.

McDonald's Philippines said that it billed the state-owned gaming agency "only for products ordered and legitimately delivered."

"Official receipts were issued to Pagcor for the food orders," said McDonald's vice president for marketing Ma. Margarita B. Torres. "It must be noted that the dates indicated in the official receipts reflect the dates of payment and not necessarily the dates of the food delivery."

Torres said that the food orders in question were covered by multiple transactions involving multiple stores. This was corroborated by a Pagcor official who spoke on condition of anonymity for lack of authority to speak on the matter. The official explained that the food bills were for "assistance" given by the agency to the Philippine National Police during large-scale deployment of policemen to ensure peace and order during rallies and protest marches.

"Handling large food orders is nothing unusual for the company," Torres said. "Catering large food orders is among the services offered by McDonald's."

She explained that in facilitating large food orders, several stores may be assigned to prepare and deliver the food, depending on the quantity of the order, and all large food orders are placed in advance with a specific delivery schedule as requested by the customer.

"McDonald's is a reputable and responsible company, which has been operating in the Philippines for almost 30 years," she said. "The company abides by all Philippine laws and does not and will not be involved in any illegitimate transaction."

The new Pagcor management is reportedly set to probe the purchase of P21-million worth of cheeseburgers and fried chicken for policemen by the agency.

The former Pagcor management issued a check for P21 million purportedly to reimburse ex-chair Efraim Genuino for the food.

DOJ suspends 20 immigration officers for trafficking

MANILA, Philippines - Justice Secretary Leila de Lima on Tuesday ordered the suspension of 20 immigration officers for their alleged involvement in human trafficking activities at the Diosdado Macapagal International Airport (DMIA) in Clark, Pampanga.

Amorous judge gets 30 years for molesting employees

MANILA, Philippines - The Sandiganbayan First Division on Monday sentenced a former Caloocan trial court judge to 30 years' imprisonment after finding him guilty of kissing and molesting three female staff.

The anti-graft court found former Metropolitan Trial Court branch 52 presiding judge Armando C. de Asa Sr. guilty of five counts of acts of lasciviousness and sentenced him to a maximum jail term of six years for each count, for a total of 30 years imprisonment.
He was also ordered to pay each of his victims P30,000 as moral damages and P10,000 as exemplary damages.

Case records showed MTC stenographers Floride Dawa and Femenina Barreto and casual employee Noraliz L. Jorgensen each filed complaints against de Asa for alleged kissing them when they brought papers for his signature. 
Jorgensen said the judge kissed her on four separate occasions and even licked her left ear and whispered "I love you." Three of the cases on which De Asa was convicted were based on her complaints.
The three female staff said the judge made his advances when they had to do some official transactions in his office. 
Based on their complaints, the Supreme Court dismissed de Asa from government service on July 22, 1998 for "misconduct and immorality" and forfeited all his benefits.

New Senate bill seeks to insure field journalists

MANILA, Philippines - A new Senate bill is seeking to compel media entities to provide mandatory insurance coverage and benefits for journalists and media workers who are on field assignment.
Senate Majority Leader Juan Miguel Zubiri has sought additional insurance coverage for journalists and media workers on field assignment after the spate of media attacks in recent weeks.

Zubiri's Senate Bill (SB) No. 160 or the "Journalists Insurance Act of 2010" aims to give the victims and their families immediate assistance from the government and the media outfits.

The senator cited data from the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP) which states that 140 journalists and media workers were killed since 1986. However, 104 of those deaths occurred between 2001 to 2010.

Zubiri said the insurance benefits are a way of recognizing the courage and sacrifice of members of the so-called "Fourth Estate."

He explained that his measure covers not only to permanent journalist employees but also temporary, contractual, and casual journalists employed by media outfits in the country, including freelance journalists.

Aside from the existing insurance benefits from the Social Security System (SSS) and the Government Insurance System (GSIS), Zubiri said field journalists and media workers should also be entitled to the following:

  • A P200,000 death benefit "for all mass media practitioners and employees on field assignment who shall perish in line of duty;"

  • Disability benefit up to P200,000 "for all mass media practitioners who shall suffer total or partial disability, whether permanent or temporary, arising from any injury sustained in the line of duty," and

  • Reimbursement of actual medical expenses up to but not to exceed P100,000 "for all mass media practitioners and employees on field assignment who shall be hospitalized or who shall require medical attendance for injuries sustained while in the line of duty."

    SB 160 mandates media entities to pay the insurance premium and give them the option to choose the insurance company where they can enrol their qualified employees.

    The bill defines media entities as "newspapers, radio, television and internet companies involved in the dissemination of news and information for public consumption and are duly accredited by any reputable media organization or association but not limited to the Philippine Information Agency (PIA), Office of the Press Secretary (PIA-OPS), National Press Club (NPC), National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP) and Kapisanan ng mga Brodkaster ngPilipinas (KBP) duly registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission or any other government agency."

    The PIA-OPS, NPC, NUJP and KBP will also be mandated to offer the opportunity for freelance journalists to secure additional insurance coverage before working on war zones or dangerous areas.

    For violators, SB 160 recommends a fine of not less than P200,000 but not more than P500,000 or imprisonment of not less than one year but not more than six years or both fine and imprisonment.

  • Lawmakers want libel 'decriminalized'

    Two lawmakers have filed anew a bill seeking the "decriminalization" of the act of libel, presently considered under Philippine laws as a crime punishable with a jail term and a fine.
    Bayan Muna Representatives Teddy Casiño and Neri Colmenares filed House Bill (HB) 1009 seeking to amend the law such that libel would no longer be considered a crime but merely a civil offense.

    The Revised Penal Code (Article 355) states that libel "is punishable with prision correccional in its minimum and medium periods or a fine ranging from 200 to 6,000 pesos, or both, in addition to the civil action which may be brought by the offended party."

    The lawmakers said existing libel statutes are inconsistent with the Constitution and are a hindrance to the people's right to know.

    Casiño said the intent of the libel law is to protect private citizens from unwarranted damage to their reputation. 

    The lawmaker noted however that on many occasions, libel has been used by some public officials as a tool to muzzle an independent press or shield subjects of reporting from so-called media abuse. 

    "It is the convenient and predominant way for the powerful to harass and silence critical and opposing voices and consequently, the people's right to know," he said. 

    He further said libel laws violate the constitutional right to press freedom and the presumption of innocence.

    In HB 1009, Casiño and Colmenares are seeking the repeal of Articles 353, 354, 355, 356, 357, 360, 361, and 362 of Act No. 3815 that specify libel in the Revised Penal Code.

    "The bill clearly aims to remove the Sword of Damocles hanging over media practitioners' heads, especially those who ferret out wrongdoings and anomalies in government," he added.

    Casiño explained that even if libel is decriminalized, an offended party may still file for civil damages based on Articles 19 and 26 of the Civil Code of the Philippines.

    A media practitioner may be held civilly liable for damages by violating Article 19 of the Civil Code which enjoins media persons to act with justice and to observe honesty and good faith when exercising their rights and performing their duties.

    On the other hand, Article 26 of the Civil Code reminds the media of their duty to respect the dignity, personality, privacy, and peace of mind of others or they could be held civilly liable for damages for violations thereof.

    In the previous (14th) Congress, militant party-list representatives Casiño and Colmenares filed HB 3535, supported by the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP) and the UP College of Mass Communication, among others.

    The bill was later consolidated with other similar proposed measures and renamed HB 5670. 

    Casiño and fellow progressive legislators later withdrew their authorship from the consolidated HB 5760, saying it did not carry the intent of the bill they earlier filed because it retained imprisonment as a penalty and further increased the fines for libel.

    'Squatter' VP, Senate need permanent offices: solons

    by By RG Cruz, ABS-CBN News
    MANILA, Philippines - With their leases running into the tens of millions annually, not a few lawmakers are asking: Why isn't the national government preparing permanent offices for the Vice-President and the Senate?

    The Office of the Vice-President leases space from the Philippine National Bank Financial Center along Macapagal Boulevard while the Senate leases some floors from the GSIS Financial Center, both in Pasay City.

    A look at the  General Appropriations Acts from 2008 to 2010 shows that the OVP spends at least P10 million annually and the Senate, at least P100 million annually, in rental.

    The OVP spent P10,001,000 in 2008; P11,200,000 in 2009; and P11,200,000 in 2010 just to rent its current office.

    In comparison, the Office of the President owns the official residences and offices of the Presidency, namely Malacañan Palace in Manila, The Mansion in Baguio and Malacañan Sa Sugbu in Cebu City. However, it also spent P73,367,000 in 2008; P98,926,000 in 2009; and P94,939,000 in 2010 just for rental.

    The Senate, meanwhile, spent P120,337,000 in 2008 and P168,648,000 in 2009 and 2010 for its own rentals.

    Sen. Francis Pangilinan said a new permanent office for Vice-President Jejomar Binay is something that Congress could look into and debate during the 2011 budget deliberations.

    Bayan Muna Rep. Teodoro Casiño, however, prefers to house the Office of the Vice-President inside the Malacañan Palace Complex. "As to the OVP, I'm sure there's space in Malacanang for that," he said.

    Casiño said the Senate can construct an office inside the sprawling Batasan Pambansa Complex. The House of Representatives spends nothing on rentals as it is housed in the Batasan Pambansa Complex it owns. 

    "It would be a very good thing if we can house the Senate in the Batasan Complex. We can easily erect a building for them in the parking lot or any of the gardens. This will result not only in savings but will facilitate the work of both Houses owing to their proximity to each other," he said.

    Pangilinan said the Senate should seriously consider looking for its own place to save on rental costs.

    He said the Senate previously created a committee tasked to prepare a master plan for the Senate's eventual transfer.

    "We in the 15th Congress should pick up from where this committee left off so as to face the issue squarely and find long term solutions," he said.

    Pangilinan, meanwhile, clarified that rental costs just go from one pocket to another so to speak since the GSIS is also a government office.

    "Our landlord is the GSIS so it's actually taking money from the left pocket and transferring it to the right considering both are government offices," he said.

    GSIS is a government agency administering pension funds collected from government employees.

    Poll commissioner reunites with kidnapped son

    MANILA, Philippines - Comelec Commissioner Elias Yusoph finally reunited with his kidnapped son, Nuraldin, in Manila on Tuesday afternoon.

    Rebels free soldier on humanitarian grounds

    The New People's Army released on humanitarian grounds Sergeant Bienvinido Arguilles Jr. at around 1:30 p.m. Tuesday, a month and a day after he was captured.

    Aquino reshuffles 12 senior military officers

    President Benigno Aquino III has approved the latest round of reshuffle within the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), which affected 12 senior military officers, the AFP said.

    Chief of Staff Ricardo David Jr. said the movement in the military hierarchy was just part "of growth and dynamism of the military organization" following the retirement of several senior officers.

    "As natural processes, they should not be maligned or be given any politicized meaning," David said in an emailed statement.

    Among those given new positions were Lieutenant General Reynaldo Mapagu, who will vacate his post as commander of the Philippine Army to replace retired Lt. Gen. Nestor Ochoa as AFP vice chief of staff.

    Major General Arturo Ortiz will take over as commander of the Philippine Army. Brigadier General Roberto Morales will take over Ortiz's post as commander of the AFP Special Operations Command.

    On the other hand, Colonel Aminkadra Undug will take over Morales' former post as chief of the Army's Special Forces Regiment.

    Meanwhile, the AFP spokesman, Brig. Gen. Jose Mabanta, was appointed to head the AFP Civil Relations Service, replacing Brig. Gen. Francisco Cruz Jr., who will assume his new post as deputy chief of staff for intelligence.

    Fishing boat missing after leaving Davao waters

    MANILA, Philippines - The Philippine Coast Guard on Tuesday started search and rescue operations for a fishing boat that went missing after leaving Davao City and straying into Indonesian waters.

    Commodore Lino Dabi, commander of the Coast Guard District South, said the incident was reported Monday morning by Ted Okubo, a Japanese and operations manager of Sanko Pacific Tuna Inc. based in Toril district in Davao City.

    Dabi said F/B Kairo Maru, with one Japanese national and 8 Filipino crew onboard, departed the Davao Port Complex around 7 a.m. last Friday enroute to Palau island to go fishing.

    $1: P46.430

    $1: P46.430

    Euro 1: P60.1680

    Philippine economy will grow 4.5% in 2010, says IMF

    The Philippine economy will grow at a faster pace of 4.5 percent next year, the International Monetary Fund said Tuesday, revising an earlier forecast of 4 percent in terms of the gross national product for 2011.

    UK minister visits Manila to boost RP-UK trade links

    British Foreign Office Minister of State Jeremy Browne MP is visiting Manila this week for a two-day visit, British embassy's Chargé d'Affaires Colin Crorkin said in a statement.

    Int'l labor group seeks Aquino's intervention in PAL feud

    MANILA, Philippines - The International Transport Workers' Federation (ITF), is urging President Benigno Aquino III to intervene in the Philippine Airlines (PAL) labor dispute.

    New tourism chief wants PAGCOR revenues

    MANILA, Philippines - The National Tourism Policy Act has been signed into law last year, but certain provisions have yet to be met, in particular funding coming from the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. (PAGCOR).
    Tourism Secretary Alberto Lim said "the new law…is supposed to provide for funding from different agencies. In the past, it was funded by the Duty Free. In the new law, PAGCOR is supposed to give a percentage of its income for tourism."

    Energy Department retains Tampinco as Napocor chief

    To ensure that operations of the National Power Corp. will continue without disruptions, the Energy Department will retain Froilan Tampinco as president of the state-owned power producer.

    DA pledges support for local chicken traders

    Agriculture Secretary Proseso Alcala said future chicken importation should be approved by both the government and poultry stakeholders to prevent dumping of cheap, imported chicken from competing with local poultry.

    Arroyo admin expenses breached deficit ceiling - Abad

    The Arroyo administration made "surprise" expenditures to its last day on June 30 that the government will likely breach the revised deficit ceiling of P178.5 billion for the first half of the year.
    Budget Secretary Florencio "Butch" Abad disclosed the information Tuesday after the weekly Cabinet meeting in Malacañang, saying the Budget and Management Department (DBM) is now looking at the "billions" of pesos the Arroyo administration spent in its last few days in office.

    It was "likely" that the government breached the January-June deficit ceiling set by former Finance Secretary Margarito Teves, he said. 

    "Well, you know, there were still surprises in the expenses, expenditures made up to the last month, up to the end of June, June 30," Abad said when asked if there was a marked increase in spending during the last days of the Arroyo administration.

    Abad said the expenses included "congressional initiatives." 

    His department is now checking into which projects benefited from the last minute expenses of the Arroyo administration.

    At noon on June 30, former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo turned over the reins of government to then President elect Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino III

    The Office of the President through the DBM approves the proposed recipients of lawmakers' Priority Development Assistance Fund, also known as pork barrel. Each senator gets P200 million in pork barrel a year, while congressmen get P70 million each.

    Given the tight fiscal situation, Abad said the government might have to resort to foreign borrowings if revenue collection targets are not met

    In a separate ambush interview at the Palace, Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima said the deficit figures for the first half of the year would likely be released Wednesday. 

    Asked whether the numbers would be a cause for concern, Purisima said the Aquino administration is trying to "look forward.

    "We believe that what's past is past and we cannot do anything about it, so what's important to us is what we will do over the next six months which we have declared, and what we'll do over the next six years," said Purisima.

    Purisima urges BSP to enforce no-tax-no-loan policy

    The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas must adopt a no-tax-no-loan policy against individuals and corporations that borrow millions of pesos from the banking system but do not pay taxes.

    Thailand lifts emergency rule in 3 provinces

    by Agence France-Presse
    BANGKOK - Thailand said Tuesday that it was lifting a state of emergency in three northern provinces but not in Bangkok, two months after the end of anti-government protests in the capital that turned deadly.

    ASEAN meets in shadow of Korea tensions

    by by Ian Timberlake, Agence France-Presse
    HANOI, Vietnam - Southeast Asian foreign ministers met in Vietnam on Tuesday for discussions dominated by concerns over the sinking of a South Korean warship and elections in military-ruled Myanmar.

    Afghans set ambitious 2014 target for security

    KABUL, Afghanistan - Afghan forces should be leading security operations across the country by 2014, an international conference agreed on Tuesday, with the aim of relieving foreign troops in some areas by as soon as the end of the year.

    Jeff Mayweather: Pacquiao fight still possible

    MANILA, Philippines – Even if the adviser of Floyd Mayweather, Jr. claimed that there were no negotiations with Team Pacquiao for the November 13 super showdown, a glimmer of hope still stands for the dream fight.

    Baguio, Roger Yap named PBA players of the week

    MANILA, Philippines – Cyrus Baguio and Roger Yap were named as the Accel-PBA Press Corps Co-Players of the Week for their superb performances in the recently-concluded quarterfinals.

    Andrew Bynum to reportedly have surgery on July 28

    Lakers center Andrew Bynum will have surgery July 28 to treat the lateral meniscus tear in his right knee, according to the Lakers website.

    Nowitzki pulls out of world championships

    BERLIN—Mavericks forward Dirk Nowitzki on Tuesday opted out of playing for Germany in next month's world championships in Turkey in order to focus on preparing with his club for the new NBA season.

    Charice Botox news makes it to top Twitter topics

    MANILA, Philippines - Netizens from the Philippines and other parts of the world reacted strongly to news that 18-year-old international singing sensation Charice had a cosmetic procedure done on her face.

    Mariel getting cozy with Robin?

    MANILA, Philippines - Rumored couple Robin Padilla and Mariel Rodriguez were seen together during the action star's surprise birthday party for his daughter Queenie last Friday.

    No new movie for John Lloyd, Sarah?

    MANILA, Philippines (CORRECTED) – "It" actor John Lloyd Cruz is wary of doing another movie with Pop Star Princess Sarah Geronimo as fans might not warm up to the box-office tandem because of his new relationship.

    Pacman supports Willie's return to 'Wowowee'

    MANILA, Philippines – People's Champ and Sarangani Rep. Manny Pacquiao is one of those clamoring for Willie Revillame's return to ABS-CBN's noontime program "Wowowee."

    Manolo Quezon bids adieu to 'The Explainer'

    MANILA, Philippines - For political columnist and "explainer" Manolo Quezon, the next challenge would be keeping his mouth shut, especially since he will be working for the most powerful man in the Philippines.

    Lindsay Lohan begins jail term in LA

    LOS ANGELES (Reuters Life!) ( UPDATE ) - Lindsay Lohan was taken to jail on Tuesday to serve a 90-day term for violating her probation on a 2007 drunk-driving and cocaine-possession charge.

    Major step seen in quest for anti-HIV vaginal gel

    VIENNA, Austria—Scientists on Monday reported a major stride toward a vaginal gel that can thwart HIV, a goal that would be of huge benefit to African women bearing the brunt of the AIDS pandemic.

    Ambassador to Israel takes 40 cats and all, leaves wife

    from by Agence France-Presse
    JERUSALEM, Israel - A Latin American ambassador to Israel abandoned his wife and left her with nothing, taking her personal belongings and the 40 cats she raised, YNet reported on Tuesday.

    First half of 2010 hottest ever, but is it climate change?

    PARIS – The first six months of 2010 brought a string of warmest-ever global temperatures, but connecting these dots to long-term climate change patterns remains frustratingly difficult, experts say.

    How dynasties fared in the May 2010 elections

    Dynasties can be defeated. But in the May elections they lost mostly to other clans with several generations of politicians, giving credence to the metaphor that our democracy is a merry-go-round of the same families taking turns in controlling the levers of power. Part 2 of a 3-part series on the biggest winners and losers in the last elections.
    Of the 64 political families that had two or more victorious members in the last elections, only the Ampatuan family and the Singsons of Ilocos Sur had more than 10 winning relatives.

    The Ampatuans had the most, winning 15 local posts in Maguindanao, including one of the two congressional seats. The clan implicated in the massacre that occurred last November in the Maguindanao town named after them was the subject of the first part of this report, which was based on a GMA News Research study on how political families fared in the May 2010 elections. 

    We identified the biggest winners and losers among the country's political families after the May 10 vote. In more than a few places, members of rival dynasties simply replaced each other. 

    The Singsons led by returning governor Luis "Chavit" Singson have 11 winners: a governor, three district representatives, four mayors, and three vice mayors. 

    Maguindanao Gov. Esmael Mangudadatu (right) and vice governor Ismael Mastura. Froilan Gallardo/File
    The arch enemies of the Ampatuans, the Mangudadatus of Maguindanao and Sultan Kudarat, have nine winners led by Maguindanao Governor Esmael Mangudadatu and Sultan Kudarat Governor Suharto Mangudadatu. The family also has a district representative, four mayors and two vice mayors sitting in July. 

    Esmael defeated Datu Ombra Sinsuat, an Ampatuan ally who was substituted for Andal Ampatuan Jr. as gubernatorial candidate after the latter was arrested in relation to the massacre that claimed the lives of Esmael's wife and two sisters. 

    The Petilla-Cari-Loreto-Garin clan of Iloilo and Leyte provinces has eight winners: a governor, a vice governor, two district representatives, three mayors and a vice mayor. 

    Ecleos to lose positions they just won?

    The Ecleos extended their dynastic grip on Dinagat Island with the victory of seven clan members: they will hold the posts of governor, vice governor, lone district representative, three mayors and a vice mayor. 

    But they may be on the verge of being legally disenfranchised. On February 10, the Supreme Court declared as unconstitutional the law creating Dinagat Island province for failing to comply with the territorial and population requirements under the Local Government Code. 

    Dinagat Island was created in 2006 based on a bill of then Surigao del Norte First District Rep. Glenda Ecleo, who just assumed the seat of governor vacated by her daughter, Geraldine Ecleo-Villaroman. It was carved out of Surigao del Norte's first district. 

    The ruling became final on May 12, when the justices denied the motions for reconsideration filed by the Office of the Solicitor General and then governor Geraldine. 

    A Comelec source said special elections will be held in Surigao del Norte so votes from Dinagat Island will be included in the tally for the affected provincial and congressional posts.

    Balindongs, Jalosjoses and Marcos-Romualdezes

    Three prominent families each has six relatives who won: Balindong of Lanao del Sur, Jalosjos of Zamboanga del Norte and Zamboanga Sibugay and the Marcos-Romualdez of Ilocos Sur and Leyte. 

    The Marcos family was able to clinch a national post for the first time since the ouster of Ferdinand Sr. from the presidency in 1986. 

    From their Zamboanga del Norte base, the Jalosjos family branched out to Zamboanga Sibugay province and trounced members of the most prominent political family in that province—the Hofers. 

    Seven clans each have five winning relatives: 

  • Del Rosario of Davao del Norte and Isabela 
  • Dimaporo of Lanao del Norte 
  • Durano of Cebu 
  • Dy of Isabela 
  • Estrada of San Juan City and Laguna 
  • Ortega of La Union 
  • Plaza of Agusan del Sur and Agusan del Norte 

    There were few surprises in the above cases because nearly all seven families were already well-entrenched in their respective localities. 

    The exception: The Dy dynasty was able to regain the highest post in the province after defeating incumbent Gov. Grace Padaca, a former radio broadcaster who had ended the reign of the Dys by winning in the 2004 elections, only to lose in 2010. Padaca had governed in a provincial sea of Dys controlling other positions in the province, all plotting to defeat her in the next election.

    The Estradas (as in former president Joseph Ejercito Estrada) captured Laguna's highest seat in an upset win. 

    Estrada nephew Emilio Ramon "E.R." Ejercito III is the new governor after running for a provincial post for the first time and bested bets from Laguna's two well-entrenched clans: Dennis Lazaro, Laguna provincial administrator and son of outgoing three-term governor Teresita Lazaro, and former senator and Laguna governor Jose "Joey" Lina. 

    Ejercito was Pagsanjan mayor for three terms; his wife Girlie took over the post after winning in the May polls. 

    Aquino and Arroyo 

    Ilocos Norte Rep. Imelda Marcos, QC Rep. Feliciano Belmonte, and Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. Lia Mañalac/File
    Among the 10 families with four winners are the Aquino-Cojuangco clan of Tarlac and Pangasinan and the Macapagal-Arroyo clan whose members won in Pampanga, Camarines Sur, Negros Occidental and Pangasinan. Aquino scion Noynoy Aquino, of course, is now the 15th President of the Republic, while former president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo is now congresswoman from Pampanga.

    Each clan has three members who will sit in the House of Representatives. 

    Clans with 4 winning family members:

  • Aquino-Cojuangco of Tarlac and Pangasinan
  • Espina of Biliran 
  • Garcia of Cebu 
  • Macapagal-Arroyo of Pampanga, Camarines Sur, Negros Occidental and Pangasinan 
  • Marañon of Negros Occidental 
  • Sangki of Maguindanao
  • Seachon-Lanete of Masbate 
  • Bernos of Abra 
  • Sinsuat of Maguindanao 
  • Mastura of Maguindanao

    At least 23 families each have three winning members, including those who have one family member clinching a national post: Binay of Makati, Defensor of Iloilo, Osmeña of Cebu, Revilla of Cavite. 

    They also include families who will control all major local posts (governor + Lone District representative + mayor of capital/major city): Romualdo of Camiguin and Angara of Aurora.

    Among the 16 families with two victorious family members, seven are based in Metro Manila:

  • Belmonte of Quezon City 
  • Calixto of Pasay City 
  • Cayetano of Taguig City 
  • Gatchalian of Valenzuela City 
  • Oreta of Malabon City 
  • Tiangco of Navotas City 
  • Villar-Aguilar of Las Piñas City 

    The Recto clan of Batangas, the Enriles of Cagayan as well as the Joson and Umali families in Nueva Ecija also fall under this category.

    Biggest losers: Gordon, Deloso, Piñol

    Richard Gordon (left).GMANews.TV/File
    Dynasties can be defeated. Four members of the Gordon clan—all incumbents in their last terms—found themselves out of power for the next three years following their defeats in May. They are led by two defeated presidential candidates, sixth-placer and then-senator Richard Gordon and his nephew, bottom-dweller JC de los Reyes, then an Olongapo City councilor. 

    Then Zambales Vice Gov. Anne Marie Gordon, Richard's sister-in-law, was unsuccessful in her bid to unseat Maria Milagros "Mitos" Magsaysay, the first district representative.

    Then Olongapo City Vice Mayor Cynthia Cajudo, Richard's cousin, also failed in her reelection bid. 

    Richard's sibling James Jr. won in his reelection as Olongapo City mayor. Another nephew of Richard Gordon and JC's sibling, James de los Reyes, won as Olongapo City councilor. 

    Also in Zambales, four members of the Deloso clan lost, led by then Gov. Amor Deloso, who failed in his reelection bid opposite former Public Works Secretary Hermogenes Ebdane. 

    Only one of Amor's three children who were candidates for local posts won: provincial prosecutor Ad Hebert Deloso who ran for mayor of Iba town. Daughter and former vice governor Cheryl Deloso-Montalla lost her candidacy for second district representative while son Renoir Deloso failed to clinch the vice mayoralty post in Botolan. 

    Amor's nephew and then second district provincial board member Jury Deloso lost his candidacy for vice governor. 

    In North Cotabato, seven out of the 11 Piñol brothers ran for local posts. Four of them lost. 

    The losers are led by two who were then incumbents: Vice Gov. Emmanuel Piñol, who failed in his bid to reclaim the gubernatorial post that he held for three terms from 1998 to 2007, and re-electionist second district Rep. Bernardo Piñol Jr. 

    Former Cotabato Vice Gov. Manny Piñol. Danny Pata/File
    Emmanuel Piñol was defeated by Emmylou Taliño-Mendoza, former first district representative.

    Ferdinand Sr. and Patricio Piñol lost their candidacies for Matalam mayor and Kidapawan City vice mayor, respectively. 

    Those who won were re-electionist mayors Efren Piñol of Magpet and Joselito Piñol of M'lang as well as Gerardo Piñol for M'lang councilor. 

    Three Barbers brothers all lost 

    Five political families each have three members who lost in the May elections: Barbers of Surigao del Norte and Makati City, Carloto of Zamboanga del Norte, Dumpit of La Union, Hofer of Zamboanga Sibugay and Veloso of Leyte and Siquijor. 

    The three sons of the late senator Robert Barbers, all of whom are also named Robert, lost: re-electionist Surigao del Norte governor Robert Ace Barbers; former Philippine Tourism Authority CEO and general manager Robert Dean Barbers for Makati City first district representative; and former Surigao del Norte governor Robert Lyndon Barbers for Surigao City mayor.

    Except for Dean, the brothers were defeated by members of a single clan. Retired DepEd regional director Sol Matugas won as Surigao del Norte governor while her brother-in-law, engineer Ernesto Matugas, is now Surigao City mayor.

    Sons of convicted rapist Romeo Jalosjos win in Zamboanga

    The two children of the first governor of Zamboanga Sibugay, George Hofer, were also beaten by members of a single clan—the prominent Jalosjos family. The Jalosjos clan is the most prominent political family in the neighboring province of Zamboanga del Norte. 

    Then incumbent Second District Rep. Dulce Ann Hofer failed in her attempt to take over her father's post, losing to Rommel Jalosjos, a son of convicted child rapist and former Zamboanga del Norte congressman Romeo Jalosjos. 

    The Hofer family lost its hold on the second district congressional post after provincial administrator George Hofer II was defeated by then Tampilisan, Zamboanga del Norte Mayor Romeo Jalosjos Jr., another son of the former congressman. 

    Patriarch George Hofer ran for mayor of Ipil town but lost. It was Hofer who passed the bill that became the basis for the creation of the province in 2001. He became its first governor and won reelection in 2004 and 2007. He just finished his third and last term. 

    Parent-child losers 

    GMA News Research identified at least 21 more political families with two members who lost on May 10. 

    Among them are families closely identified with President Arroyo. Then incumbent Rep. Matias Defensor failed in his reelection bid in Quezon City's third district while his son and Philippine National Railways chair Michael Defensor lost his candidacy for that city's mayoralty post. 

    Arroyo's former chief presidential legal counsel Raul Gonzalez failed in his bid to become Iloilo City mayor while son Raul Jr. failed in his reelection bid as lone district representative. 

    Former Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita was trounced when he attempted to return to his old post of Batangas first district representative. Son Edwin also lost his bid for the vice governor post. 

    The Dilangalens of Maguindanao, Acostas of Bukidnon, Agbayanis of Pangasinan, Mathays of Quezon City, Alfelors of Camarines Sur, Dominguezes of Mt. Province and Mambas of Cagayan are also in this group. 

    Most of the clans with multiple losers lost to other families with several generations of politicians, giving credence to the metaphor that our democracy is a merry-go-round of the same families taking turns in controlling the levers of power. 

    The image would seem to apply not only to numerous localities, but even to the presidency where the son of a former president just succeeded the daughter of a former president.

  • Risky start-ups?

    A CLOSE look at election spending reports of seven presidential candidates and three political parties in the May 10 polls reveals that election campaigns are funded in the manner and mold of financing for risky business start-ups. 

    Money comes mostly from personal funds, family members, and friends rather than a wide network of supporters of the political party, organization, or movement. In business, these private-equity sources of funding are ideal for ventures with low success rates but high pay-offs that are usually shunned by banks and the capital markets.

    There is also the political equivalent of the venture capitalist: the wealthy individual who is unrelated to the candidate but who makes a big bet on his or her candidacy either because of genuine conviction or shrewd calculation. But the names of these donors and their contributions, which could run to hundreds of millions of pesos, do not usually appear in the official lists, according to campaign fund raisers.

    In the last elections, the biggest source of campaign money was none other than Nacionalista Party standard bearer Senator Manuel B. Villar Jr., who reported that he coughed up P431 million of his considerable personal wealth and did not receive a single donation for his presidential bid. Another was former Senator Ma. Ana Consuelo 'Jamby' Madrigal, who reported spending P55.2 million of her own money for her presidential bid.

    Newly sworn-in President Benigno Simeon C. Aquino III, meanwhile, raised P440 million, with mainly family members and friends as his top donors. They include Antonio 'Tonyboy' Cojuangco, an uncle and former head of the Philippine Long Distance Telephone Co., who gave P100 million; and Kris Aquino-Yap, his famous kid sister, who gave P15 million.

    Aquino's other big donors include Chiong Bu Hong, said to be Mizamis City's biggest hardware owner, Martin Lorenzo of Pancake House and brother of Luis Lorenzo (former agriculture secretary who had been implicated in the "fertilizer funds scam"), and Fulgencio Factoran Jr., the environment secretary of President Noynoy Aquino's mother, the late President Corazon C. Aquino.

    Of former President Estrada's P227.5 million in total donations, P20 million came from members of the Ejercito family, the biggest contribution to his campaign to regain the presidency. They are joined by close personal friends such as Jaimy Dy, Enrique Razon Jr., Antonio Evangelista, and Jorge Antonio. Current PLDT .chairman Manuel Pangilinan also made a P10-million donation.

    Teodoro, the administration party's presidential candidate, reported the lowest amount of total donations of only P64,000, which was even much less than the P2.2 million raised by environmentalist and independent candidate Nicanor Perlas.

    Donations for Teodoro were even less than a tenth of the $20,000 (P920,000) worth of food and drinks consumed by then President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo and her party in Le Cirque restaurant in New York last year.

    According to documents submitted to the Comelec, Teodoro's party, Lakas-CMD/Kampi, raised P110 million in donations. Of the amount, P100 million came from Emmanuel 'Noel' Oñate, one of former President Fidel Ramos's fund-raisers and operators who struck it big when he sold a budget airline he founded in 1995 for P1.4 billion in 2003.

    Similarly, the Liberal Party raised a fourth of its P157-million total donations from its party chief and vice presidential candidate, Manuel Roxas II. Other top donors of the LP include Aquino's uncle Ramon Cojuangco Jr. and again, Aquino's kid sister Kris Aquino-Yap.

    The Nacionalista Party raised P80 million from just six generous donors: Charlie Gorayeb, Rolando Evangelista, Ibrahim Nuño, Luis Pastor, Vincent Miranda, and Teresita Medina.

    Gorayeb is former national president of the Chamber of Real Estate and Builders' Association or CREBA, and chairman of the board of four entities, namely, the construction firm Goram Development Corporation, Dolores Industrial Park Corporation, (a special ecozone owner/developer in Malvar, Batangas) Alta-Agri Corporation (engaged in agricultural production); and Red Sea Construction & Realty Corporation (engaged in mining and quarrying of aggregates). He is also the honorary consul-general of the Republic of Djibouti.

    Nuño is president of the Metro Stonerich Corporation that supplies construction materials.

    Like business start-ups that prove themselves viable, election campaigns also begin to get money from an increasingly wider circle of funders if the candidate does well in the pre-election surveys.

    "Surveys are a very important consideration for donors in deciding where to put their money," said a campaign fund raiser. "Donors may give you a small amount at the beginning but the big money comes in only if you do well in the surveys."

    Many donors also hedge. Some play it safe by donating to several candidates vying for the same position. Few can afford not to give any donation at all.

    Remarks one Filipino-Chinese business leader: "If you see your business competitor becoming unduly close to the likely winner, you tend to worry and begin to look for ways to get to know the candidate, too." - PCIJ, July 2010


    About Me

    My photo
    RP's Best Radio Station