(POLITICAL) I. FUGITIVE MANCAO ON PLEADING WITH SEN. LACSON
Fugitive former police Senior Supt. Cezar Mancao II said that he did everything he could to make Sen. Panfilo “Ping” Lacson stop harassing him, but his former boss in the Philippine National Police (PNP) ignored his pleas.
He called news organizations to say that he had learned about a plot to move him to Manila City Jail and kill him there, and claimed that Lacson was behind the plan.
II. CALL FOR MANCAO’s SURRENDER
Justice Secretary Leila de Lima warned Mancao that he might lose his coverage under the Witness Protection Program (WPP) if he fails to surrender.
Interior and Local Government Secretary Manuel Roxas II also called on Mancao to surrender if he wants to be secured from any kind of threat to his life.
III. GORDON ON SC PETITION TO OPEN SOURCE CODE
With little more than a week before voters troop to the poll precincts on May 13, senatorial candidate Dick Gordon has asked the Supreme Court to compel the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to allow the political parties to examine and review the source code of the precinct count optical scan (PCOS) machines to be used in the elections.
IV. CRITICS’ UN PETITION VS COMELEC
Civil society groups brought their issue with the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to the United Nations, accusing the Philippine government of violating their right to vote and of turning over to a foreign entity the conduct of the technical aspect of the country’s elections. The group, led by former Vice President Teofisto Guingona Jr., submitted a petition to the UN Human Rights Committee.
Renewing his verbal attacks on the Aquino government from his Dutch aerie, Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) founder Jose Maria Sison warned of increased offensives throughout the country from the New People’s Army (NPA), the CPP’s armed wing, as a result of the government’s allegedly unilateral termination of the peace talks.
The government is “asking for intensified tactical offensives by the NPA” when it declared an end to the negotiations, Sison said in an e-mail interview from Utrecht, The Netherlands.
VI. KRIS AQUINO’s POLITICAL PLANS IN 2016
Presidential sister Kris Aquino has announced her plans to run for public office in 2016 not in Makati, where she has long been a resident, but in her home province of Tarlac. “Mahirap tibagin ang mga Binay,” Kris Aquino said.
Kris Aquino earlier said that she would establish residency in a city in Metro Manila and run for office there. But later, she said she would probably just run for governor in Tarlac.
Team PNoy’s campaign manager, Sen. Franklin Drilon, said that Sen. Loren Legarda was not breaking away from the administration coalition as a result of an apparent feud with Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano.
Legarda said that all her properties—including an apartment in New York bought by her former husband—had been declared in her Statements of Assets, Liabilities and Net Worth (SALN) since 2007.
VIII. SENATORIAL BETS IN SOCIAL MEDIA RACE
If netizens are to be believed, Bro. Eddie Villanueva, Grace Poe, Bam Aquino, Chiz Escudero, Risa Hontiveros and Sonny Angara should win in the senatorial race in the May 13 elections.
That’s because these candidates generated the most positive mentions on social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter, according to data culled by C18 Research and analyzed by Astrolabe, an upstart risk mitigation and crisis management company.
Senatorial candidates Nancy Binay and Jack Enrile, however, appeared on the list of candidates with the most negative mentions on social media.
IX. PNP DEPLOYMENT FOR POLL DUTIES
With only nine days left before the May 13 elections, the Philippine National Police (PNP) will start deploying 30,000 cops to areas where there is a high risk of violence.
PNP is closely monitoring Ilocos Sur, Pangasinan, Abra, La Union, Pampanga, Nueva Ecija, Cavite and Batangas for security-related concerns. Although there is still no indication of possible source of violent incident in these provinces, the PNP will not leave everything to chance. The PNP security coverage will also be augmented by the strategic deployment of soldiers.
X. CUSTOMS’ REFORM
Faced with unabated smuggling and corruption issues in the Bureau of Customs (BOC), President Aquino is set to implement an overhaul of the agency after the elections.
Customs Commissioner Ruffy Biazon said that the President has indicated support for the filing in the next Congress of the Customs Modernization Bill, which will amend the Tariff and Customs Code and pave the way for BOC reforms.
XI. SENATORS’ SALN
Sen. Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. became the seventh senator to make public his statement of assets, liabilities and net worth (SALN) for 2012, declaring a total net worth of P437,238,356.18. His net worth increased by P72.85 million, owing mostly to the need to declare the acquisition costs of various properties as a result of the lessons learned during the impeachment trial of former chief justice Renato Corona.
Apart from Marcos, those who revealed their SALNs for scrutiny of the media were Senators Francis Escudero, Loren Legarda, Ramon Revilla Jr., Teofisto Guingona III, Sergio Osmeña III and Antonio Trillanes IV.
XII. 2 FILIPINAS FREED FROM SAUDI HOME IN US
Immigration officials have removed two Filipino domestic workers from a Virginia home owned by the government of Saudi Arabia as part of an investigation into a report of human trafficking.
In Manila, the Department of Foreign Affairs said that it had relayed the report on the incident to the Philippine Embassy for confirmation and comment. There was no word on the identity of the Saudi diplomat who lived there.
The Supreme Court has ruled with finality that Sandiganbayan Justice Gregory Ong is a natural-born Filipino, dismissing challenges to his citizenship. In a six-page en banc resolution, the high court junked a letter-query of former special prosecutor Dennis Villa-Ignacio who earlier questioned Ong’s Chinese roots and his Filipino citizenship.
XIV. ONGPIN GRAFT CHARGES
Businessman Roberto Ongpin has asked the courts to dismiss the graft charges against him and 24 current and former officials of the Development Bank of the Philippines (DBP), reiterating that the loans he obtained from the state-owned bank had been fully paid and, as such, could not be considered behest.
XV. SUMMER TEMPERATURES
Summer temperatures are expected to peak this month, the state weather bureau said as it warned against heat strokes and other ailments triggered by warm conditions.
The maximum temperature recorded in Metro Manila yesterday was 36.4 degrees Celsius, slightly lower than the record-high 36.6 degrees Celsius registered in the metropolis so far this year. The warmest day was last April 19, according to PAGASA.
I. PH STOCKS RECORD HIGH
Optimism over the investment grade rating carried the main stock index to charge past the 7,200-barrier and close at an all-time high for the 28th time this year.
The Philippine Stock Exchange index (PSEi) jumped 1.72 percent or 121.93 points to end at 7,215.35, breaking the previous high of 7,120.48 recorded just last April 22.
II. PH ON US INVESTMENT ROAD SHOW
Filipino business chief executive officers (CEOs) have concluded in their United States-wide investment road show an appeal to Americans to take advantage of the “resurging” Philippine economy.
The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) quoted Harvard University economist Dr. Bernardo Villegas as saying that the Philippines, recently given upgraded ratings by Fitch Ratings and by Standard & Poor, is a rising economic tiger in Asia that is poised to grow by an average of 7 to 9 percent during the next two decades.
III. BSP ON GUARD AGAINST ASSET BUBBLES
The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) is on guard against the threat of asset bubbles following succeeding promotions to investment-grade status expected to boost the country’s financial system. Local banks have enjoyed high capitalization and assets, backed by the low interest environment that are driving them to lend more.
IV. CREDIT UPGRADE AS BOOST TO APPROVED INVESTMENTS
A 10 percent growth in investments “would be a safe target this year” considering the improving economic outlook for the country underpinned by two recent credit rating upgrades, Trade and Industry Secretary Gregory Domingo said.
The Standard & Poor’s Ratings Services (S&P) raised its credit rating for the Philippines to BBB- with a stable outlook, just over a month after Fitch Ratings gave the same rating last March 27.
Data from the National Statistical Coordination Board showed that total approved foreign investments for 2012 went up by 12 percent to P289.1 billion from the previous year’s P258.2 billion.
V. DOLE ON LABOR STATISTICS
Unemployment is not as bad as some surveys have shown, according to Labor Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz. She said that her agency’s Labor Turnover Statistics showed that employment in large enterprises in Metro Manila was up 2.47 percent in 2012, from 1.88 percent in 2011. She also said that there were indications that more jobs would be made available to Filipinos in the near future.
VI. DA ON NEW RULES FOR MEAT IMPORTERS
The Department of Agriculture (DA), through the National Meat Inspection Service (NMIS), has issued new rules for the accreditation of meat importers to eliminate fly-by-night traders.
NMIS director Minda Manantan said that the DA, through Administrative Order No. 9 issued in March 18, now requires new meat importers to submit their audited financial statements to the NMIS to qualify for accreditation. Exempted from the rule are businesses that have only been in operation for less than a year.
VII. PH-RUSSIA CUSTOMS COOPERATION AGREEMENT
The Philippines and Russia signed the first customs cooperation agreement between the two countries that will help the government’s campaign against border security breaches and transnational crimes, including smuggling.
VIII. REVISIONS IN FARE MATRIX COMPUTATION
The government will revise the matrix of factors that guide authorities in setting the minimum fare for commuters around the country. Transportation Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya explained that the idea linking the minimum fare to the price of oil came from Energy Secretary Carlos Jericho Petilla.
He added that the review was triggered by an informal discussion on whether or not the minimum fare for commuters across the Philippines should be linked directly to the price of imported oil.
PRESIDENTIAL COMMUNICATIONS DEVELOPMENT AND STRATEGIC PLANNING OFFICE (PCDSPO)