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Malacañang expects Go, Bato, Tolentino to be independent as senators

by Robie de Guzman   |   Posted on Thursday, May 16th, 2019

(L-R) Former Philippine National Police chief Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa, former presidential adviser Francis Tolentino, former special assistant to the president Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go

MANILA, Philippines – Malacañang on Thursday (May 16) said it expects incoming senators, particularly those who are close allies of President Rodrigo Duterte, to be independent when it comes to issues involving national interest.

Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo made the statement following concerns that the check and balances in government may be affected as administration-backed Senate bets look set to join the upper chamber of Congress.

Partial and unofficial count from the Commission on Elections (Comelec) showed that nine Senate bets endorsed by Duterte are in the top 12.

These are reelectionist Senator Cynthia Villar, former special assistant to the president Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go, former Philippine National Police chief Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa, former presidential adviser Francis Tolentino, House Deputy Speaker Pia Cayetano, reelectionist senators Sonny Angara and Koko Pimentel, Ilocos Norte Governor Imee Marcos and former Senator Bong Revilla.

Three of them – Go, Dela Rosa and Tolentino – are known close allies of Duterte.

Panelo, however, believes that the three will do their job well and always put first the best interest of the nation.

 “It’s just happened that they are very close to the president but that doesn’t mean they will be subservient,” he said.

“Whether or not Senate or Congress is dominated by the allies of whoever is incumbent, we expect them to pass economic reforms that will be beneficial to the Filipino people. The issue on whether you are an ally or not should not be discussed,” he added.

Panelo stressed that the mandate of the Congress is to pass laws that will be beneficial for the people.

“It’s about time to eradicate the discussion on parties’ consideration. That is where we fail,” he said.

Aside from Duterte’s allies, other senatorial candidates who are in the winners’ circle based on partial tally are reelectionist senators Grace Poe, Nancy Binay, and former senator Lito Lapid. (with details from Rosalie Coz)

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Malacañang calls on DOJ to probe ex-NYC Chairman Cardema

by Marje Pelayo   |   Posted on Tuesday, May 21st, 2019

Ronald Cardema

MANILA, Philippines – Malacañang has called on the Department of Justice (DOJ) to probe former National Youth Commission (NYC) chair, Ronald Cardema over possible violations.

“We refer the case of Cardema to the DOJ because we have received reports, that despite his filing of a certificate of substitution, he presided over a meeting subsequent to that certification. So, we are referring the matter to the DOJ,” said Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo.

Panelo said Cardema did not inform the President of his decision and so the Palace directed the DOJ to look into Cardema’s violation of the law or any regulation pertaining to his functions as a public official.

The Palace earlier announced that Cardema was deemed resigned the moment he submitted the petition for substitution to the poll body.

Cardema was a known Duterte ally.

“No allies, no friends, no supporters. If they have committed any wrong, will not be tolerated by this government,” Panelo said.

Cardema, meanwhile, has yet to respond on the issue. – (with reports from Rosalie Coz) Marje Pelayo

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Gov’t checks on security concerns amid Huawei woes

by Marje Pelayo   |   Posted on Tuesday, May 21st, 2019

Courtesy : Reuters

MANILA, Philippines – Malacañang assured the public that the government is acting on the issue involving Chinese telecom giant Huawei.

Millions of smartphone users across the globe went into a frenzy after U.S. President Donald Trump ordered U.S. companies to ban supplying their technology to Huawei amid the ongoing US-China trade war.

The ban was followed by Google’s decision to cut off Huawei’s Android license which dazed Huawei users with the thought that they would lose access to Google’s proprietary services and be deprived of future upgrades on their phones.

The U.S. accused Huawei of posing an international security threat saying the Chinese telecom company is being used by China for surveillance and to “spy” on Americans.

In line with this, Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo made certain that President Rodrigo Duterte will do his part once he receives the recommendation from the concerned agencies.

“I supposed the Department of National Defense, as well as the national security adviser, is studying that matter and the President is waiting for whatever recommendation they have on that,” Panelo said.

Meanwhile, the Philippine National Police (PNP) said they do not see any threat to the country’s security so far with the public’s patronage of Huawei products.

“Magmula ng lumabas ang issue na iyan ay nagsagawa ng validation ang PNP at sa araw na ito ay natunghayan natin na wala pong sapat na katibayan o ebidensya na mag uugnay sa kumpanya ng Huawei sa alegasyon na umanoy pang-eespiya,” said Police Colonel Bernard Banac, the PNP Spokesperson.

(Ever since that issue surfaced, the PNP has begun conducting validation on it. And up to this day, we have no proof or evidence linking Huawei to alleged espionage.) – Marje Pelayo (with details from Rosalie Coz)

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Amid rumors: Palace says Duterte is OK, working while out of public eye

by Robie de Guzman   |   Posted on Monday, May 20th, 2019

President Rodrigo Duterte and former SAP Bong Go enjoying their classic Filipino merienda. The photo was originally posted on Go’s Facebook account, disproving rumors that the Chief Executive is confined in a hospital. | Courtesy: Bong Go

MANILA, Philippines – Malacañang on Monday assured that there is nothing to worry about regarding the health of President Rodrigo Duterte amid fresh rumors about his condition fueled by a week-long absence from the public eye.

Speculations circulated over the weekend that the president was confined at the Cardinal Santos Medical Center in San Juan City after suffering a cardiac or respiratory arrest.

The chief executive was last seen during the May 13 polls when he cast his ballot in Davao City.

But Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said there is no truth to this rumor, adding that President Duterte is in his residence at the Palace, signing papers and working privately when not attending public engagements.

“Ang President, pag di ninyo nakikita, nagtatrabaho yun. Ayaw niyang naiistorbo yun, kasi pag nalabas siya, ang daming gustong makipag-usap sa kaniya,” he said.

“Ang focus niya ay signing papers, reading documents, memo hindi niya ginawa so he decided to stay put,” he added.

Panelo also said that the President sounded cheerful when they talked over the phone, however, he would not say whether he went to the hospital or not.

“Sabi niya, ‘I neither confirm nor deny, you draw your own conclusions’,” Panelo quoted the president as saying, adding that Duterte will inform the public if he is facing a serious health concern.

“Let me assure the nation, if there is anything wrong with the president’s health, serious or not to be of our concern, he will tell us, and he said so himself, many times over,” Panelo said.

On Sunday, former presidential special assistant Bong Go released photos of the President posing with daily broadsheets and sharing a meal in his residence in Malacañang.

Duterte’s common-law wife Honeylet Avanceña also belied rumors that the president was rushed to the hospital.

Speculations on Duterte’s health is no longer new as these are often sparked by his prolonged absences from the public eye.

In 2018, the 74-year old president admitted to undergoing a medical checkup to examine a growth found inside his digestive tract. He also said he needed to undergo some medical procedures for his gastrointestinal ailment.

READ: Duterte quells death rumors, appears on live stream

In February 2019, rumors about the president’s death circulated online. He later appeared in a video to end speculations. (with details from Rosalie Coz)

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