P-Noy’s birthday gift

SEARCH FOR TRUTH - Ernesto M. Maceda - The Philippine Star

President Aquino called on the Senate blue ribbon subcommittee to wrap up its probe into corruption allegations against Vice President Binay and instead to focus on pending bills such as the Fiscal Incentives Rationalization Act, which can distort the tax structure of the Philippine economy and take away billions of pesos from government every year that could be used to improve the country’s fiscal position and social services.

The P2.606-trillion proposed national budget for 2015 is also pending in the Senate as well as the grant of emergency powers to the President that will allow the government to contract new power capacities; and the increase of tax exemptions for wage earners ceiling on 13th month pay and other bonuses from P30,000 to P75,000.

In the recently concluded 22nd Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Summit in Beijing, President Aquino wondered why the investigation of corruption against Vice President Binay was “proceeding in dribs and drabs.”

The President expressed hope that all the evidence against Binay be presented “not on a piecemeal basis,” so that those liable could already be charged and those innocent could already be cleared.

It has been noted that former Makati Vice Mayor Ernesto Mercado has presented his charges on installments.

President Aquino said he was keeping Binay in his Cabinet as he expressed his wish that the Senate would be able to “wrap up soon” its investigation of the Vice President.

“I think the Vice President, without taking any side, is entitled to the presumption of innocence until proven guilty,” President Aquino said.

Senator Aquilino Pimentel III said it is the DOJ which the President should ask to expedite its investigation on Binay. Pimentel said such move would be “a dangerous precedent and could be misconstrued as interference with a co-equal branch of government.”

In an interview Tuesday, Senator Antonio Trillanes declared he will see to it that the Vice President is jailed, thus, confirming once again the Senate probe is not in aid of legislation.

Binay announced that he will no longer attend the debate, set for November 27, saying he is turned off by Trillanes’ claim of being the underdog.

Trillanes said that Binay’s reneging words are not new to him, recalling the Manila Peninsula siege, which then-Makati mayor Binay, who, he said, cannot keep to his word in 2007,  backed out from participating in the protest march against the administration of then-President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

The Binay’s camp was quick to counter Trillanes’ pronouncement saying that Trillanes was attempting “to rewrite history” with his own version of the Manila Pen siege to save his face as a mutineer.

Office of the Vice President Media Affairs head Joey Salgado said the Vice President was correct in deciding there would be nothing to gain from a debate with someone who does not respect reason, facts or the rule of law and tends to exaggerate his role in history.

Ona investigated

President Aquino has ordered Department of Justice (DOJ) Secretary Leila de Lima to investigate Health Secretary Enrique Ona and Assistant Health Secretary Eric Tayag for the irregular purchase of P833 million worth of PCV 10 (pneumonia vaccine) in 2012 through the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) which was intended for the pulmonary diseases of poor children.

The complaint against Ona and Tayag was filed by the National Center for Pharmaceutical Access and Management (NCPAM), the Formulary Executive Council (FEC) and the World Health Organization (WHO).

The three complainants had recommended the procurement of PCV 13, that said to be more cost-effective, which Ona and Tayag did not follow and instead ordered the PCV 10 vaccine.

Through all administrations, the Department of Health (DOH) has been accused of irregularities in the purchase of medicine and medical equipment.

Binay’s birthday

Vice President Jejomar Binay celebrated his 72nd birthday, starting at 7 a.m. with a jogging, with 500 Philippine Navy personnel at the Bonifacio Naval Station, after which a Boodle Fight for breakfast was served.

At 11 a.m.  he arrived at the Coconut Palace where a mass was celebrated by Bishop Camilo Gregorio, concelebrated by 12 priests.

About 1,000 people greeted him and were served lunch. Among the well-wishers were former President/Mayor Joseph Estrada, Senator Gringo Honasan, Congressmen Sherwin Gatchalian, Toby Tiangco, Danilo Suarez, Arthur Yap, Ferdinand Martin Romualdez, Ompong Plaza, Annie Susano, J.V. Bautista; Mayor Mike Rama of Cebu; Mayor Arlene Arcillas of Sta. Rosa, Laguna; Mayor Rex Gatchalian of Valenzuela; Cavite Governor Jonvic Remulla, Pag-IBIG President Darlene Berberabe, Alphaland CEO Babes Oreta and former Tarlac Governor Tingting Cojuangco.

Riding-in-tandem killings

Menchu Gochingco, human resources manager of Monolith Construction firm, was shot dead inside her car by four men riding in tandem in Panay Avenue, Quezon City.

Meanwhile, two bomb explosions hit Zamboanga City. PO2 Franklin Inet was hurt in a second explosion while he was inspecting baggage abandoned on the ground of the Deluxe Massage Parlor.

Clark International Airport Aviation chief engineer Ruel Angeles, 58, was shot dead by two gunmen as he left his house in Sta. Ignacia, Tarlac.


DOH reports that 116,000 women are due to give birth in the Yolanda-stricken areas for the next few months.

Additional senatoriables are Senator T.G. Guingona, Leyte Rep. Ferdinand Martin Romualdez.

Greetings to avid readers Margie de Veyra, Quezon Rep. Aleta Suarez, plastics tycoon William Gatchalian, former Occidental Mindoro Rep. Ding Quintos and former Caloocan Rep. Baby Asistio.


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