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Digong gets a medical check-up before his 3rd SONA

Less than 24 hours before he was to deliver his 3rd State of the Nation Address (SONA) before Congress this afternoon, July 23, President Rodrigo R. Duterte underwent a one-and-a-half hour medical check-up at the Cardinal Santos Medical Center in San Juan City.

But Spokesman Harry Roque said there was nothing to worry about, and that President Duterte went back to Malacanang after the check up to continue rehearsing his SONA. It was a routine check-up, Roque said.

Special Assistant Christopher Go said the prepared speech for the SONA consists of 16 pages.

The speech would not exceed 35 minutes for the President to deliver, according to Atty. Roque.PRRD_PUBHEALTH4-768x512

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Cynthia Patag’s fake news

The news about Cynthia Patag filing a letter with the Presidential Electoral Tribunal (PET) supposedly signed by 5,500 Ilonggos urging its esteemed members to adopt the 25% threshold for ballot shading in the poll protest filed by former Senator Bongbong Marcos was met with ridicule and contempt in her own city.

In the first place, there was no organized campaign to raise those 5,500 signatures in Iloilo City and Province. It just came out from nowhere, another of the magic tricks that the Liberal Party had mastered in obtaining electoral victory through fraud and deception. Not a single word has been heard about it; had it been real, it should have created so much noise here and the media would have gotten wind of it.

Secondly, Ilonggos are convinced there was massive cheating for the vice presidential race in the city and province. Leni Robredo was an unknown commodity in Iloilo in the May 9, 2016 elections. Bongbong Marcos was a one-term senator, and enjoyed high popularity and support among Ilonggos. His wife has many relatives in Iloilo province. There is quite a number of politicians who were once part of the Kilusang Bagong Lipunan (KBL) of his father, the late President Ferdinand E. Marcos.

Add to that is the fact that Bongbong ran as vice president in tandem with the late Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago. That fact alone boosted the popularity and credibility of Bongbong in the eyes of Ilonggos.

In my radio commentary last Friday, July 20, 2018, I described this antic of Ms. Patag as “fake news”. It insults the intelligence of Ilonggos. The first insult happened when the Liberal Party made it appear that Robredo won over Bongbong by a landslide in the elections. Based on conversations I had with political leaders after the 2016 national and local elections, the results was the other way around: Bongbong had trounced Leni in Iloilo.

Trenas: Joe III is still welcome to team up

Even as all indications point to an ultimate showdown with his own brother-in-law for the mayorship of Iloilo City in the May 13, 2019 local elections, Cong. Jerry P. Trenas continues to hope that City Mayor Joe Espinosa III will “be guided by the Holy Spirit” and realize that their unity will enable them to sustain the gains of the last eight years.

In an interview Friday night (June 29), Trenas explained that his decision to return to the political arena after announcing his retirement in December 2016 came after the dismissal of then City Mayor Jed Patrick E. Mabilog late last year. “The equation suddenly changed, and the triumvirate that enjoyed the series of political victories had a missing leg,” Trenas said.JPT interview Maayong Gab-i Iloilo

Trenas said the circumstances was different at the time he made the announcement.

“I wanted to preserve the unity of our group, and since my third term as congressman was ending in 2019, there was no place for me to go, as the positions that will be vacant are City Mayor and Congressman. Our plan was to field Jed as congressman and Joe III as city mayor,” Trenas said.

The wives of Trenas and Espinosa are sisters.

But the unexpected dismissal of Mabilog as city mayor in October 2017 changed the picture. He felt there was a need for him to return to the political arena as City Mayor while Joe III can make the move to the congressional seat he was vacating.

“There’s now a place for both of us,” he said.

Trenas brushed aside accusations that he had broken his word. If Mabilog was not dismissed, he would have stuck to his commitment as he did not want to destroy the unity of their group, he said.

Right now, Trenas said he is still holding off a decision to pick who will run as congressman under his ticket to give time for Espinosa to change his mind and reconcile.

Two former city councilors, Lex Tupas and Jamjam Baronda, have signified their interest in running for the House with him.

Trenas said he has asked the two to keep going around the city to meet with local leaders and gain their trust and confidence. If Joe III doesn’t change his mind, then he will pick from one of the two, he said.

Politics is like mahjong

I was privileged to have served the late Governor Niel Tupas, Sr. as Provincial Administrator during his nine years at the Capitol. Every day was a learning session for me about politics. Talking with the man was like getting a one-on-one tutoring on the arts of politics, leadership and governance. Those nine years, I believe, make up the most exciting and memorable phase of my 59 years.Niel-Tupas

And there was one lesson that really sank into my consciousness about politics. It’s that politics should be devoid of hatred and bitterness. Politics is a vehicle for public service, and never as a means to pursue power for its own sake, and especially not to amass wealth. Politics is about being with the people, looking after their welfare, and using one’s power and influence to achieve that end.

Gov. Niel put it this way: “Politics is like mahjong. After an election, everything goes back to square one. The cards are shuffled (“ginabalasa”) and everybody gets a fresh start.” For him, acrimony has no place in his heart, which is perhaps the reason why Gov. Niel was so well-loved by his constituents and respected even by his foes. In the nine years I worked for him, I never heard him raise his voice in anger. It’s not that he never got angry; when he got mad, he would just frown and mutter a few words expressing displeasure. But then, he was always able to recover and get back in a good mood after a minute.

I will never forget what former 1st District Congressman, and now Guimbal municipal mayor Oscar Garin Sr. said two months after their 2004 gubernatorial battle. The two met at the Jaro Cathedral for the oath-taking of newly elected local officials. Then President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo was the guest of honor. I was with Gov. Niel aboard his Nissan Patrol vehicle. Mayor Garin saw him and approached with a wide smile, extending his hand in reconciliation and friendship. Garin quipped: “Pati na gid man ako nga pirdi ang kwarta sa pikpik sa abaga (Now I believe that money can be beaten by just a pat on the shoulder).”

The elections had started as a close race between Gov. Niel and Mayor Oca. The latter had the edge in terms of money and logistics. But when the results came out, Gov. Niel had won by over 180,000 votes against Garin, who had never before experienced defeat in an election. Garin had the money; Gov. Niel had the love of the people.

With the national and local elections just a year away, I think it would be good for potential adversaries to ponder upon the wisdom of Gov. Niel in the field of politics. He never spoke ill of anybody. He was the type who would turn the other cheek if insults are hurled his way and get hit. He was always kind and helpful, never spiteful and arrogant.

Indeed, if politicians are looking for a role model, the late Gov. Niel would be the perfect leader to copy. He was the epitome of a genuine public servant and leader. He was Mr. Public Service.

Leni must resign, now

The on-going manual recount for the Vice Presidential race in the first pilot province of Camarines Sur has established a trend: A steady and consistent decline in the number of votes credited to Leni Robredo in her home province.

leni robredo credit inquirer nino jesus orbeta

Photo credit: Philippine Daily Inquirer

As reported yesterday by Atty. Glenn Chong on his Facebook wall, the teams of revisors who had opened ballot boxes from just 500 clustered precincts have already nullified an estimated 21,000 votes counted in her favor.

Most probably, these involved inadequately shaded ovals beside her name for failure to meet the 50% shading threshold as required by a Comelec resolution promulgated in March 2010 for purposes of manual recount.

The Supreme Court has ruled that 25% shading which apparently is what was found in thousands of ballots does not count for a valid vote. Robredo’s lawyers have filed a motion for reconsideration.

Slowly, but surely, her lead of 263,475 votes over former Senator Bongbong Marcos is being whittled — by 21,000 after only 500 of 2100 clustered precincts in Camarines Sur — and the pattern, and trend, will only speed up in the weeks ahead.

The lead of 263,475 was a rabbit-out-of-the-hat trick pulled off by the Comelec then headed by disgraced Chairman Andy Bautista. It was a hairline margin by any standards, and is now getting thinner and thinner.

If Robredo’s integrity is still intact, as she insists it does, she should now resign. Every week that goes by, and as more evidence of fraud are uncovered, the image of Robredo is growing more rotten. She is desecrating the memory of her husband by allowing herself to be part of this charade put up by the Liberal Party.

Leni loses 21K votes after just 3 weeks

Leni votes going down

Photo credit: ATTY. GLENN CHONG FACEBOOK WALL

 

The slide is gaining momentum.

After just three weeks, and 500 clustered precincts, Vice President Leni Robredo has lost an estimated 21,000 votes in the on-going manual recount for the Vice Presidential race at the Supreme Court which is sitting as the Presidential Electoral Tribunal.

This was reported today, May 2, 2018, by Atty. Glenn Chong, citing information from unnamed revisors, in his Facebook wall.

At the end of three weeks, the lead of Robredo over former Senator Bongbong Marcos has gone down to 242,000 votes. Robredo was proclaimed the victor in the Vice Presidential race for the May 9, 2016 elections with a lead of 263,473 votes.

There are still 1,300 clustered precinct ballot boxes to be opened and scrutinized for Camarines Sur and another 4,000 clustered precincts from Negros Oriental and Iloilo provinces which Marcos had identified as pilot provinces where massive electoral fraud had allegedly taken place.

Atty. Chong said that at the rate the votes of Robredo are being reduced, her lead could go down to 20,000 votes once all the clustered precincts from the three pilot provinces have been revised.

If it does go down to 20,000 votes, then Marcos will have proven his point that rampant cheating had taken place and thereby pave the way for more provinces being scrutinized for more electoral fraud.

This early, the fraud in Robredo’s victory is already very clear to most Filipinos who are closely monitoring the on-going manual recount. There are already calls for her to resign in the same manner as Senator Migz Zubiri when a recount into the protest of now Senate President Koko Pimentel became clear that the latter was the winner.

This time, it’s not just water, but chemicals

The evidence of massive cheating in Camarines Sur is growing, and all indications point to an organized effort to stall the manual recount being undertaken by the Supreme Court, sitting as the Presidential Electoral Tribunal, and prevent the unseating of Leni Robredo as Vice President in the near-term.

This surfaced last week when revisors discovered more wet ballots from the towns of Canaman ang Garchitorena in Robredo’s home province. This time, however, the ballots were not soaked in water; these were found to be powdery and smelly, and nothing could be read anymore.

The Philippine Star published this report in its April 30, 2018 edition. Here’s the full report. “PET finds ballots soaked in chemicals, jumbled voters’ receipts.”

ballot box design