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Cong. Celso Lobregat talks on the proposed postponement of the upcoming barangay elections, but in a cleverly calculated tone, seen to dissuade from offering his side on the issue.

Read over his well-guarded opinion of it when asked about the proposition of President Rodrigo Duterte to further postpone the said electoral process schedule on October, this year, “It would be possible if there will be a law,” adding “the possibilities for such thing to happen is open, but a law must be passed to amend the existing law as stipulated in the 1986 Philippine Constitution which determines the term of elected barangay officials.”

He further said, Article 10, Section (8) thereof states the specific term of elected officials - The term of office of elective local officials, except barangay officials, which shall be determined by law, shall be three years and no such official shall serve for more than three consecutive terms.

See how wily given his response was? Nowhere in his statements did he ever mention his position. A minuter throwback here - he was “asked about the proposition of President Rodrigo Duterte to further postpone the said electoral process schedule on October, this year.” Surely, the interviewer meant what position of it is. That is where the big “But” comes to play.

Truly crafty this public official is. A hand salute here for him.

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Unlike in the city of Zamboanga where recruitment is worked out by Cong. Lobregat, in Zamboanga Sibugay, poseur organizers of Partido Demokratiko Pilipino (PDP)-Laban are reportedly enlisting people to be "members of President Rodrigo Duterte's movement" and collecting P380 as membership fee. Alicia, who asked that her surname be withheld, a resident R.T. Lim town, Zamboanga Sibugay, told SunStar Philippines that the group is asking people to join the party, so that they will be included as "beneficiaries of a livelihood program of the government."

PDP-Laban is the political party of Duterte. It controls both houses of Congress.

Similar reports of it were received from other towns in the province

It could not be ascertained though if the ongoing campaign for membership to the ruling PDP-Laban is different from the movement initiated by Duterte's most trusted ally, Cabinet Secretary Leoncio Evasco Jr., who was going around the country to organize a nationwide movement called "Kilusang Pagbabago" (KP).

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Pres. Duterte has emphasized, China assured him that they will not claim Benham Rise as part of their territory.

But Duterte earlier admitted that he allowed China to survey Benham Rise even without the knowledge of the Department of National Defense and the Department of Foreign Affairs.

On Thursday, Malacañang assured that the administration is not just sitting on the issue of Benham Rise and the maritime dispute on the South China Sea.

Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella said Duterte is striving to “safeguard the national interest, sovereignty and territorial integrity.”

“On the issue of Benham Rise, Scarborough Shoal, and the disputed features in the West Philippine Sea, the Philippines will continuously uphold and assert our rights,” he said in a statement.

And here’s a one day throwback of SS, in relation to the Alejano impeachment raps relaive to the issue at hand, “And who said, Duterte is serious in his pronounced laxity over the Spratlys issue. Read on.

China’s reclamation activities in the South China Sea will be one of the issues to be tackled when Beijing and Manila start discussions on a bilateral mechanism on the disputed region this coming May.

“I think this will simply be one of the issues that we will ask China: ‘What is the intention of building this?'” acting Foreign Secretary Enrique Manalo said in television interview Thursday (March 29). “We made it perfectly clear that we want to raise issues of concern to our side.”

That Manalo valiant stand can only be poised with express instructions of the president. Need we say more?”

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Filipino pride Michael Christian Martinez danced his way to the free skate finals of the 2017 International Skating Union (ISU) World Figure Skating Championships in Helsinki, Finland.

Martinez’s feat proved to be dramatic with a score of 69.32, enough to land him a slot in the 24-man finals set Saturday at the Hartwall Arena.

SS sees, if this Filipino skater puts up a little more effort, chances for him to still rise higher looms very big. You should have seen his striking pose in a still photo - he was a Plastic Man replica.

But truly he is up against a veteran top skater, two-time titleholder Javier Fernandez of Spain, who garnered 109.05 in the men’s short program.

Martinez, 20, is just one of four Asian bets in the finals as entries from Japan, China and Malaysia who also succeeded in advancing.

And indeed he is aiming high - his target is to break into the world’s top 10. Good luck, man.

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The Philippine Government Panel (GRP)  is pursuing no less than a bilateral ceasefire agreement - a truce that will truly hold and be binding for both sides, which will be at the top of the agenda when it meets the National Democratic Front (NDF) in a return to the negotiating table tomorrow (April 2) in The Netherlands.

While neither side has declared a unilateral ceasefire as agreed upon in the backchannel talks in Utrecht, The Netherlands, last March 10-11, there have been some forms of goodwill that have been exchanged.

Yesterday, GRP Peace Panel chairman Silvestre Bello III announced that NDF consultant Ariel Arbitrario, who was arrested and was detained at the Compostela Valley Provincial Jail after the peace talks bogged down last February, was already released and had, in fact, left for Noordwijk Thursday night.

The NDF had also said that the New People’s Army (NPA), the local communist movement’s armed component, would order a unilateral ceasefire before March 31.

And it’s 1st April now, but no such announcement has been made, which may be is why Bello said the government may not be inclined to declare its own unilateral ceasefire just yet.

The government would rather forge a bilateral ceasefire pact with the communist rebels, Bello stressed.

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The Integrated Bar of the Philippines on Friday steps into the row between two Duterte close allies, cautioning lawyer and House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez of the “highest standards of morality, behavior and professionalism” expected of lawyers.

Malacañang, however kept its distance of it, saying it would not interfere in the ongoing rift between Alvarez and Davao del Norte Rep. Antonio Floirendo Jr., claiming it is their business.

“The Palace will allow them to settle it privately between themselves,” Spokesperson Ernesto Abella said when asked if the row could impede the progress of the President’s legislative agenda.

The quarrel reportedly started over suspicions that Floirendo was leading a plot to oust Alvarez as Speaker and to replace him with former president and now Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal Arroyo.

But Floirendo has denied being part of any plot.

Other reports said the row started with a fight between Floirendo’s live-in partner, Cathy Binag, and Alvarez’s girlfriend, Jennifer Maliwanag Vicencio.

Meanwhile, the minority bloc in the House of Representatives said it is considering filing an ethics complaint against Alvarez, who admitted he had a mistress.

That is something we in the minority bloc will discuss,” Magdalo party-list Rep. Gary Alejano said.

Alejano, who filed an impeachment complaint against President Duterte, said that Alvarez’s admission gave the House a bad name.

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Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV yesterday corrected President Duterte with regard to the P200 million that he had allegedly stashed away in bank accounts.

Trillanes said that what he claimed was not that the President had P200 million in his accounts, but rather over P2 billion, which Duterte never declared in his statements of assets, liabilities and net worth (SALN).

“By the way, my allegation wasn’t P200 million but more than P2 billion in accumulated credits in your bank accounts,” Trillanes said.

“Just sign a waiver,” continuing in Pilipino, “so that the truth will come out. You are a liar.”

In speeches last Thursday, the President lashed out at the Philippine Daily Inquirer and ABS-CBN for their supposedly unfair reporting when it came to issues involving him.

He cited in particular the reports on Trillanes’ allegations that Duterte and his family members failed to disclose billions of pesos in bank transactions over a period of several years when he was still mayor of Davao City. (By Jimmy Cabato) ##




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