Palace on VP Robredo’s anti-drug report: ‘Nothing new’

Marje Pelayo   •   January 6, 2020   •   1122

MANILA, Philippines – Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo criticized Vice President Leni Robredo’s revelations of what she claimed as her discovery during her short stint as the anti-drug czar.

In response to her press briefing Monday (January 6), the Palace said it was Robredo who failed as the co-chairperson of the Inter-Agency Committee on Anti-Illegal Drugs (ICAD), and not the Duterte Administration’s campaign against illegal drugs.

“Palagay ko ang failure ay ang pag-upo niya (I think the real failure is when she took the post),” Panelo said.

Robredo spent only 18 days in the ICAD before President Rodrigo Duterte dismissed her from the position due to a lack of trust.

As for the figures that the Vice President divulged before the press, the Palace official said they were wrong and all anti-drug law enforcement agencies could attest to that.

Panelo argued that in comparison to Robredo, the President has unlimited resources when it comes to the government’s war on drugs as compare to her who knows nothing about the campaign.

“I think she just wants to be relevant,” Panelo said.

“It’s a dud. Wala naman siyang sinabing bago na hindi tinututukan ng mga ahensya na involved sa laban droga (There was nothing new with what she said that anti-drugs agencies didn’t address. There’s nothing new in what she said),” Panelo concluded. MNP (with details from Rosalie Coz)

Duterte renews call for regional unity to attain peace, stability in South China

Robie de Guzman   •   October 27, 2021

President Rodrigo Duterte has reiterated his call for the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) to remain united in pursuing peace, stability, and prosperity in the South China Sea, Malacañang said Wednesday.

In a press statement, the Palace said that Duterte made the remarks during the 38th and 39th ASEAN Summits on Tuesday.

Duterte said the regional bloc should pursue initiatives to resolve the dispute in the contested waters in accordance with the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) and the 2016 Arbitral Award that favored the Philippines.

“We have come a long way in keeping the peace and promoting prosperity in our region. We must not allow those with diverging interests to make our efforts fail,” he said.

Duterte, in his intervention at the 24th ASEAN-China Summit, urged countries to translate their commitments into action regarding the 2002 Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea in the midst of the evolving geopolitical situation in Asia.

“Talks should not remain empty rhetoric. They should be translated into action to fortify the trust and confidence we have cultivated through the years. Acta non verba. Deeds, not words,” he said.

As claimants craft a binding Code of Conduct in the South China Sea, Duterte lauded the Philippines’ contribution to the substantive progress in the second reading of the Single Draft COC Negotiating Text, as the country reaffirms its commitment to the conclusion of an effective and substantive COC.

Noting 2017-2027 as the Decade of Coastal and Marine Environmental Protection in the South China Sea, the president reiterated the Philippines’ call for holistic efforts to protect and preserve biodiversity and the marine environment.

Also during his intervention, the Filipino leader pointed out that a dynamic ASEAN-China cooperation puts both sides in a formidable position to combat the COVID-19 pandemic, address climate change and manage geopolitical issues.

He expressed his gratitude to China for supporting ASEAN’s pandemic response, particularly by “making life-saving vaccines global public goods,” the Palace said.

Also during the summit, the president said that ASEAN’s road to recovery from the coronavirus pandemic will be long and difficult as the region reels from the impact of the contagion.

He emphasized the need for a phased and comprehensive implementation of the ASEAN Comprehensive Recovery Framework and called for the immediate establishment of the ASEAN Centre on Public Health Emergencies and Emerging Diseases.

Aside from COVID-19 and the territorial dispute, the Palace said that Duterte also called on his fellow ASEAN leaders to stand with Myanmar in solving its crisis peacefully for the welfare of its people.

He likewise urged Myanmar’s political players to “engage in constructive dialogue,” and allow the ASEAN Special Envoy to visit the country.

At the 22nd ASEAN-Republic of Korea Summit, Duterte welcomed the Joint Statement on Advancing ASEAN-ROK Cooperation and underscored the need for deeper regional integration to accelerate post-pandemic recovery.

At the same time, he welcomed the signing of the Philippines-ROK Free Trade Agreement Tuesday, noting it is needed “for our economies to recover and bounce back,” the Palace said.

He also pushed for the full implementation of the ASEAN-Korea Free Trade Agreement and the early entry into force of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement, it added.

Malacañang also said that the President welcomed the United Kingdom as ASEAN’s new Dialogue Partner and vowed to enhance relations with the European Union (EU) as the new Country Coordinator for ASEAN-EU Dialogue Relations.

Duterte attended Tuesday’s summit via video conference. This is Duterte’s second straight year of virtually attending the meeting amid the coronavirus pandemic.

 

 

COMELEC spox says vote buying a poll offense

Robie de Guzman   •   October 27, 2021

COMELEC spokesperson James Jimenez

MANILA, Philippines – Vote buying is an election offense “regardless of financial situation or noble intentions,” Commission on Elections (COMELEC) spokesperson James Jimenez said Wednesday.

Jimenez made the remark a day after Vice President Leni Robredo said that Filipinos should take the money being offered to them but still vote for their preferred candidate.

Robredo, a presidential aspirant and standard bearer of the opposition for the 2022 elections, on Tuesday said that Filipinos who are offered money in exchange for their vote should accept the money but still vote according to their conscience.

While vote buying is illegal, she said that individuals engaging in such act is hard to apprehend as it is not done in public and the money could now be transferred electronically.

She made the response when asked on the issue of vote buying during a forum with a group of household service workers who support her election bid.

“Lagi kong sinasabi, tanggapin niyo kasi galing sa inyo ‘yan. Pera ‘yan ng taumbayan. Pero iboto mo kung ano ang nasa konsiyensiya mo,” Robredo said.

But Jimenez countered Robredo’s statement.

“I disagree with the notion of taking the money and voting according to your conscience. Vote buying is an election offense regardless of financial situation or noble intentions,” he said.

“Di dapat ginagawa, at di dapat sina-suggest yan sa mga botante,” he added.

Under Omnibus Election Code, vote buying and vote selling are considered as election offense.

Duterte inaugurates Sariaya Bypass Road

Robie de Guzman   •   October 22, 2021

President Rodrigo Duterte has inaugurated the 7.42-kilometer long Sariaya Bypass Road in Quezon Province.

In a speech after unveiling the marker on the new road on Thursday, Duterte said the completion of the project affirms the administration’s “strong commitment to improve the quality of life of Filipinos by pursuing strategic infrastructure projects across the country thereby improving connectivity and mobility, creating jobs, and dispersing economic activity throughout the regions.”

“It will likewise spur the growth of industries and business opportunities in the area, thereby boosting the socio-economic development of Quezon Province and improve the lives of the people,” Duterte said.

“As we continue to overcome the current pandemic and carefully reopen our national and local economies, infrastructure development will play a vital role in our success,” he added.

The bypass road is seen to provide faster and safer travel for motorists and will also allow efficient transport of goods to and from the markets in Southern Luzon, the President said.

The road could also lessen the traffic volume along Daang Maharlika from Sariaya to Lucena City by 40 percent.

Stretching from the Manila South Road Daang Maharlika to the Quezon Eco-Tourism Road, the Sariaya Bypass Road is expected to cater to around 15,000 motorists and commuters daily going to the different provinces in the Southern Tagalog Region.

At the same time, it is seen to spur economic and social development through efficient transportation, improved road safety and enhanced business opportunities in Quezon Province.

The Sariaya Bypass Road is one of the flagship projects of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) under the administration’s Build, Build, Build Program.

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