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More accusations in 2nd debate

SEARCH FOR TRUTH - Ernesto M. Maceda (The Philippine Star) - March 21, 2016 - 10:00am

The second PiliPinas Debates 2016 at the University of the Philippines in Cebu proved to be more interesting as the four candidates traded criticisms at each other.

Senator Grace Poe, Vice President Jejomar Binay and Mayor Duterte accused Secretary Mar Roxas of non-performance in his Yolanda relief and rehabilitation efforts, the Zamboanga siege, and the anti-criminality and anti-drug campaign.

Vice President Binay raised the issue of Poe’s citizenship and her acquiring United States citizenship focusing on her oath of allegiance to the US, emphasizing the words “I abjure,” which implies she was ashamed of being a Filipino.

Roxas and Poe raised the issue of Binay’s corruption, citing the Senate investigation, the Commission on Audit (COA) report and the Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC) report.

Roxas also hit Binay, for his proposal to grant income tax exemption to those earning P30,000 and below.

Binay explained the tax loss can be funded by reducing smuggling and also funding from savings and plugging tax leakages.

Poe hit the Aquino administration, for failing to pass the Freedom of Information (FOI) bill and for persecuting political opponents while rewarding its allies.

Roxas said that many Liberal Party (LP) members, including the governor of Capiz, have been charged. He vowed imprisonment for “all thieves” if elected, while Poe and Duterte both advocated restoration of the death penalty.

Roxas also hit Duterte, saying Davao has a high crime rate, particularly drug cases.

Duterte said Roxas should be blamed for rising criminality in the country during his stint as Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary.

“You are a fraud, even claiming that you graduated from Wharton when you did not. The problem is you’re afraid to die and kill. If you can’t do that, look for another job,” Duterte said.

Binay was asked what he would do if his son, Junjun, is convicted. Binay said he will respect the decision because we must be a government with a rule of law.

Poe and Roxas promised to shift to clean energy.

The issue of the coco levy was raised with Poe, saying she will use it to help coconut farmers; pointing out that 95 million coconut trees need to be replaced. Earlier, Poe drew criticisms from netizens when she claimed she did not sign the controversial Coco Levy Bill, as new evidence says otherwise proving that she was one of its signatories.

Roxas announced P46 billion for housing will be released and insisted P90 billion of projects have been completed.

Roxas said he does not believe Duterte can stop criminality and corruption in six months.

Duterte declared that 30 percent of the government budget goes to corruption.

The commercial ads were still plenty, with President Benigno Aquino III, Roxas, Binay, Poe, Francis Tolentino, Leila de Lima, Congressmen Sherwin Gatchalian and Martin Romualdez, and Senators Ralph Recto and Antonio Trillanes placing political ads.

IBP questions SC decision

In a one-page statement, the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) Board of Governors said the main decision and opinions of Justices suggest the Supreme Court (SC) has not resolved the issues involving Poe’s qualifications to run for office; and having complied with the requirements of being a natural-born citizen and a ten-year resident of the Philippines.

“It should be emphasized that the dispositive portion of the decision merely orders the reversal of the decisions of the Commission on Elections (Comelec), granting the petitions to disqualify her,” IBP statement explained.

“It can be concluded that the decision did not settle the matter of whether Poe is a natural-born citizen and whether she has met the residency requirement under the law,” the statement stressed.

Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio pointed out in his dissenting opinion the lack of majority ruling on Poe’s qualification as a natural-born Filipino and also lacks the residency requirement.

Tidbits

The Philippines will miss the Millennium Development Goal (MDG) to halve poverty incidence by 2015, from 34.4 percent in 1991 to 17.2 percent in 2015.

Asean neighbors, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam, have met this goal many years ago.

After ten years, Philippine poverty incidence is unchanged at 26.3 percent. One in four Filipinos is poor, despite P229 billion of conditional cash transfers (CCT).

The Philippine government has agreed to the United States, access through Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA), to five military bases, namely Fort Magsaysay in Nueva Ecija; Basa Air Base in Floridablanca in Pampanga; Antonio Bautista Air Base in Puerto Princesa, Palawan; Lumba Air Base in Cagayan de Oro; and Mactan-Benito Ebuen in Cebu.

A Social Weather Stations (SWS) survey reported that 54 percent of Filipinos said their quality life remained unchanged under President Aquino.

Mayor Rodrigo Duterte vowed to disband Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA), if he is elected.

Former Mayor Tommy Osmeña endorsed Mar Roxas and Leni Robredo.

3,000 Manila residents have been tapped to serve as eyes and ears of the Manila Police Department (MPD) and report criminal activity in the city. Mayor Joseph Estrada presided over the oath taking at City Hall last Thursday.

 

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