SWS says Robredo, Arroyo net satisfaction ratings dropped in 2019 Q2

Robie de Guzman   •   July 24, 2019   •   625

MANILA, Philippines – The net satisfaction ratings of Vice President Leni Robredo and former House Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo went down in the second quarter of 2019, a survey conducted by the Social Weather Stations (SWS) revealed Tuesday (July 23).

The survey, conducted from June 22 to 26, showed that 57 percent of the 1,200 respondents were satisfied with Robredo’s performance while 29 percent were dissatisfied.

Robredo got a net score of +28 or “moderate” from +42 or “good” in March after a drop in all areas except Metro Manila, the pollster said.

“Compared to March 2019, the June 2019 survey found double-digit declines in Vice-Pres. Robredo’s net satisfaction rating in all basic socio-demographics, except for the single-digit changes among class E (down from +50 to +42), the 18 to 24-year olds (up slightly from +29 to +30), and college graduates (up from +6 to +13),” the SWS noted.

Arroyo, meanwhile, received a -20 or “poor” net rating after 29 percent said they were satisfied and 49 percent were dissatisfied with the former president’s performance towards the end of her term as House speaker.

Arroyo’s score is three points down from her previous score of -17.

“The 3-point decline in the overall net satisfaction rating of Speaker Macapagal-Arroyo was due to decreases of 7 points in Balance Luzon and 4 points in Metro Manila, combined with increases of 3 points in the Visayas and 1 point in Mindanao,” the pollster said.

Arroyo’s net satisfaction stayed poor in Balance Luzon and Mindanao, bad in Metro Manila while it rose from poor to neutral in the Visayas.

On the other hand, Senate President Vicente Sotto III and Supreme Court Chief Justice Lucas Bersamin maintained their “very good” and “moderate” ratings, getting +60 and +13, respectively.

The SWS survey showed that 72 percent were satisfied and 13 percent were dissatisfied with Sotto’s performance; while 37 percent of the respondents said they were satisfied with Bersamin’s work and 24 percent were not.

The survey also found that the public’s perception of the Senate stayed “very good” at +63, while the House of Representatives and the Supreme Court received record-highs “good” at +48 and “very good” at +54, respectively.

The SWS said its June 2019 survey has a sampling error margins of ±3% for national percentages, and ±6% each for Metro Manila, Balance Luzon, the Visayas, and Mindanao.

Sotto expects GCTA law amended before year ends

Robie de Guzman   •   September 4, 2019

Senate President Vicente Sotto III

MANILA, Philippines – Senate President Vicente Sotto III expressed confidence on Wednesday that the proposed amendments to the Republic Act 10592 or the good conduct time allowance (GCTA) law will be passed by the Congress before the year ends.

Sotto said the Senate will expedite the discussion on the proposals to amend the law’s certain provisions following complaints from many of the qualified beneficiaries of the GCTA law whose process for early release has been suspended due to the controversy.

“Maraming sumasama ang loob na sila ay qualified, na hindi mapoprocess sila ngayon, sila na yung napapag-iwanan. So, talagang bibilisan namin ito, fast-break ito,” Sotto told reporters.

The Senate president said he will also ask his counterpart in the House of Representatives to do the same.

“I will be coordinating with the Speaker of the House of Representatives, former Senator Alan, nai-fast-break din nila yung kanila, para mabilis yung amendments. I am sure the President will sign it right away,” he said.

“’Yang mga ganyang emergency measures, kailangan ‘yan apurahin kasi kawawa naman yung those languishing in jail na talaga namang qualified lalo na kung hindi heinous crimes,” he added.

Several senators have earlier filed proposals seeking to amend the GCTA law which recently came under scrutiny after news broke out that convicted rapist-murderer Antonio Sanchez could be among the 11,000 persons deprived with liberty who are eligible for early release due to good behavior.

The report sparked public uproar which prompted the Senate to hold an inquiry into the application of the law.

During the hearing, the Department of Justice (DOJ) proposed amendments including a clear definition of heinous crimes as well as clear classification of whether the law should be reformative, rehabilitative or punitive or retributive.

The Senate adjourned the probe Wednesday to hold a caucus and discuss the proposed amendments to the law.

Sotto, along with Senators Panfilo Lacson and Richard Gordon earlier moved to repeal the law but the Senate president said they realized it would be better to just amend it.

READ: 3 Senators want GCTA law repealed

“There are good amendments that are being proposed, kaya pwedeng amyendahan na namin kaagad yung batas ng mabilisan at linawin,” Sotto said.

One of the amendments they are planning to introduce is that the implementing rules and regulations should be approved by Congress to prevent the law from being abused or misinterpreted.

“Siguruhin doon sa after the repealing clause and all that, ilagay namin na ang IRR ay kailangan with the approval of Congress para hindi nababago yung intention ng batas,” he said.

Sotto added that they might also include this provision in future measures that Senate will approve.

“Itong batas na ito na aamyendahan namin, ilalagay namin yun. Ngayon, pagaralan namin kung paano lalahatin lahat ng mga IRR. Well, of course, this will be prospective,” he said.

The RA 10592 was passed and signed in 2013 during the time of President Benigno Simeon “Noynoy” Aquino. Last June 2019, the SC ruled that the law could be applied retroactively.

“Allow me to reiterate, the law, principally authored and sponsored by Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago I think, is very important and very valid at that time that we passed it because the reason for the law according to Miriam was, it would benefit those who are aging, the ailing convicts in the National Bilibid Prison, and it will decongest the NBP,” he said.

“Naka-enumerate naman doon kung alin ang hindi qualified, di ba? Ang heinous crime, nakalagay na hindi qualified. Ang masama at nagpasama nito, nagbigay ng pagkakataon na abusuhin ito, ng ibang tao, ay yung IRR. Yung IRR na ginawa nung dating DOJ at DILG na grupo, or na heads. Yun ang diperensiya,” he added.

3 Senators want GCTA law repealed

Robie de Guzman   •   September 3, 2019

Senate President Vicente Sotto III (center) together with Senators Panfilo Lacson (right) and Richard Gordon (left) want GCTA law to be repealed.

MANILA, Philippines – Three senators have jointly filed a bill seeking to repeal the controversial Republic Act (RA) 10592, the law that increased the good conduct and time allowance (GCTA) for inmates.

Senate President Vicente Sotto III together with Senators Panfilo Lacson and Richard Gordon on Monday filed Senate Bill No. 993 which proposes to scrap the GCTA law that was enacted in May 2013.

The measure particularly seeks to repeal the amendments in Articles 29, 94, 97, 98 and 99 of the Revised Penal Code as contained under RA 10592.

Amendments contained in the GCTA law provides for partial extinction of criminal liability, including conditional pardon, commutation of sentence by allowing good conduct to be credited in the reduction of stay in detention.

The bill was filed amid a Senate inquiry into the questionable application of the law following the aborted release of convicted murderer-rapist, former Calauan mayor Antonio Sanchez who was sentenced to 7 terms of reclusion perpetua for raping and killing Eileen Sarmenta and murdering her friend, Allan Gomez.

The senators said the early release of some convicts involved in heinous crime, including Sanchez, has sparked public outrage and prompted the upper chamber to look into the propriety of the law’s application in general.

Sotto, Lacson and Gordon cited Senate Bill 3064 filed in 15th Congress that became the basis of the GCTA, saying the intention of the framers “was primarily to grant good conduct allowance to persons deprived of liberty (PDL) while their case is still pending.”

The senators said the purpose of the measure is laudable in decongesting the overpopulated prison cells in the country.

“However, when it was enacted into law, it caused an absurd interpretation and its very provisions needed harmonization,” they said in a statement, adding that it has been subject to abuse by the persons allowed by law to grant time allowances.

In their explanatory note for the bill, Sotto, Lacson and Gordon said there’s logical reason to abandon the grant of GCTA if the magnitudes of its aftermath “are prejudicial for many of the victims and their relatives who are seeking justice.”

“The provision on GCTA has been in effect since the 1930s and it has not raised this kind of concern from the people and the government. Thus, it is an opportune time to go back to the old law where no question of proper implementation has been put forth to the government and prisoners are enjoying its benefits without a question of the propriety of its applicability on them,” they said.

“The law is always changing. It is usually reactive to what the society dictates and it constantly reflects changes that occur in our society because a law is simply never perfect,” the senators added.

The Senate Committee on Justice and Human Rights joined the Committees on Constitutional Amendments and Revision of Codes, Public Order and Dangerous Drugs, Finance and Blue Ribbon have conducted an inquiry into the alleged early release of Sanchez and the implementation of the law.

Robredo counters inciting to sedition complaint, denies meeting with ‘Bikoy’

Robie de Guzman   •   August 29, 2019

Vice President Leni Robredo filed her counter-affidavit for the sedition case filed against her on Thursday, August 29, 2019, at the Department of Justice in Manila. VP Leni signed her counter-affidavit and swore under oath before DOJ Senior Assistant State Prosecutor Olivia Torrevillas. (Photo by Charlie Villegas / OVP)

MANILA, Philippines – Vice President Leni Robredo on Thursday (August 28) denied allegations she met Peter Joemel Advincula, who accused the former of being behind the online videos linking the Duterte family to narcotics trade.

In her counter-affidavit in relation to inciting to sedition complaint filed against her by the Philippine National Police Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (PNP-CIDG), Robredo maintained she did not take part in an alleged destabilization plot against the Duterte administration, through a meeting supposedly held at the Ateneo de Manila University on March 4, 2019.

Robredo filed her counter-affidavit at the Department of Justice, personally appearing to sign it under oath before Justice Senior Assistant State Prosecutor Olivia Torrevillas. She was accompanied by her lawyer, Marlon Manuel.  

Along with her counter-affidavit, Robredo also provided photos, news reports and other documentation to prove that she was in Bulacan on March 4 for official engagements.

Advincula, who claimed to be the hooded figure ‘Bikoy’ in the online “Ang Totoong Narco List” video series, earlier said the videos were orchestrated by the opposition Liberal Party under the guidance of Senator Antonio Trillanes III.

He said he met with Robredo and other opposition members in March to discuss “Project Sodoma” – an alleged plot to oust Duterte.

He also accused Robredo and other opposition members of forcing him to speak lies about the Duterte family’s supposed links to the narcotics trade.

Robredo and other opposition figures have earlier denied Advincula’s claims.

Robredo said the evidence she submitted to the DOJ will prove that Advincula’s allegations were “impossible” and an “outright lie”.

She also slammed the statement made by the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG), acting as counsel to the PNP-CIDG in an Omnibus Comment it filed earlier, which erroneously insisted that she “repeatedly met” with Advincula.

This, Robredo noted, “directly contradicts” the allegation the witness-respondent made in his Sinumpaang Salaysay.

OSG’s claims, she said, clearly “underscores that the purported charges are aimed at hounding and oppressing me simply because I am perceived as critical of the current administration.”

“The false and perjurious Sinumpaang Salaysay and the Letter-Complaint should be viewed with the highest degree of caution and suspicion not only because of the unreliable nature of the allegations as discussed above, but because of the very nature of the charges itself,” Robredo’s counter-affidavit read.

“It has been held that ‘[s]edition is the crime usually resorted to by tyrants as a pretext to silence or suppress those persons who have the firmness of character to oppose them and expose their abuses.’”

Atty. Manuel noted that there are no other allegations stated against the Vice President, and that the charges were based solely on Advincula’s Sinumpaang Salaysay.

“Isa lang iyong paragraph na nag-aakusa sa kaniya ng isang gawain na diumano ay isang krimen. May pitong krimen na isinama doon sa reklamo laban sa kaniya at iyon ang isinagot namin at pinatunayan namin na kasinungalingan—iyong nakalagay doon sa counter-affidavit na siya ay dumalo sa isang diumano ay pagpupulong sa Ateneo na ginawa noong March 4,” he told reporters after the filing.

“Wala nang ibang ebidensya. And as far as the Vice President is concerned, it’s just that one paragraph that accuses her of a direct action—and that is a complete falsehood,” he added.

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