30 Sept 2020
SC MOVES FORWARD ON POLL PROTEST, ORDERS COMMENT ON MARCOS' BID FOR
NULLIFICATION OF MINDANAO ELECTIONS
MANILA Â— The Supreme Court, sitting as Presidential Electoral Tribunal, has
moved forward on former Sen. Bongbong MarcosÂ’ poll protest against Vice
President Leni Robredo and ordered the Commission on Elections on pending
issues on the case.
The SC Public Information Office said the justices, voting 12-0 on Tuesday,
gave the Comelec and the Office of the Solicitor General to file its comment
on the issues related to MarcosÂ’ third cause of action in his poll protest.
In particular, this involves the annulment of elections in the provinces of
Lanao del Sur, Basilan and Maguindanao on the ground of terrorism,
intimidation, harassment of voters and pre-shading of ballots.
Specifically, the Comelec and the OSG were told to comment on the following
- Whether the Tribunal is empowered by the Constitution to declare the
annulment of elections without special elections and the failure of
elections and order the conduct of special elections
- Whether the TribunalÂ’s declaration of failure or elections and then the
ordering of special elections will infringe upon the ComelecÂ’s mandate and
power provided for in Article IX (C) (Sec. 2) of the Constitution
The SC PIO said that the Comelec is directed to report to the PET if
petitions for failure or elections were filed in the provinces of Lanao Del
Sur, Basilan and Maguindanao; corresponding resolutions to the said
petitions, whether they were granted or denied; whether special elections
were held in areas declared to have had a failure of elections in the said
provinces; and the results of the special elections.
The Comelec and OSG are required to furnish their comments to the parties,
while Marcos and Robredo are given 15 days from receipt of the comment to
submit their replies to the SC.
ABOLISH OR REVAMP PHILHEALTH Â– DUTERTE
MANILA Â— President Duterte wants the Philippine Health Insurance Corp.
(PhilHealth) abolished or revamped, saying reforms cannot be implemented if
officials who are already entrenched in the system remain in their posts.
Duterte said he is considering imposing a Â“single line of authorityÂ” in the
state-run insurer, which allegedly lost billions in funds due to fraudulent
Â“I will try to begin tomorrow shaking the tree in PhilHealth,Â” the President
said during a meeting of the governmentÂ’s pandemic task force last Monday at
Â“With regard to PhilHealth, I am going to propose to Congress to abolish...
if you privatize it, my God, there is no money. Who will provide your
insurance? DonÂ’t tell me capitalists will provide the insurance. Will we pay
for it? You do not have funds,Â” he said.
Duterte said the lack of funds is the reason why the government is selling
its real estate properties in Japan.
Â“We have to raise money. Wala nang pambayad Â‘yang sa PhilHealth na Â‘yan
kung... Kaya walang ibang remedy diyan (There is no money for
PhilHealth...there is no other remedy). It must be a surgical move,Â” he
VELASCO TO REPLACE CAYETANO AS HOUSE SPEAKER ON OCTOBER 14: SOURCE
MANILA - Marinduque Rep. Lord Allan Velasco will take over as Speaker of
the House of Representatives on Oct. 14, according to a source from the
Velasco and incumbent House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano met with President
Rodrigo Duterte on Tuesday night to put an end on the Speakership issue.
Neither Malacañang nor the camp of Cayetano has issued any confirmation or
details of the meeting or responded to ABS-CBN inquiries.
The same ABS-CBN source claimed that it was the President who decided to
enforce the agreement which he brokered last year.
At the end of Tuesday's meeting, it was agreed upon by all parties that
Cayetano will make an announcement. The same source also said Cayetano will
make the announcement Wednesday.
Congress will go on a recess from October 17 to November 15. CayetanoÂ’s
leadership has assured that the 2021 budget will be approved before the
DUTERTE WANTS VELASCO-CAYETANO TERM-SHARING DEAL ENFORCED: COLLEAGUES
MANILA -- President Rodrigo Duterte pushed Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano to
uphold a term-sharing deal with Marinduque Rep. Lord Allan Velasco and let
him lead the House of Representatives, two of its members said Wednesday.
Under the "gentleman's agreement" that Duterte brokered last year, Cayetano
will lead the House for the first 15 months of the 18th Congress or until
October, while Velasco would assume leadership for the next 21 months.
"It was the agreement and it was enforced during the time they were
discussing among the 3 of them. The question was only as to when, but both
parties agreed before the President on Oct. 14," Oriental Mindoro 1st
District Rep. Salvador "Doy" Leachon told ANC.
Cayetano and Velasco, with "7 or 8" allies each, met Duterte at the
Malacañang Golf Clubhouse, after which he held a separate meeting with the
pair and his longtime aide and now senator Christopher "Bong" Go.
"It was stated very clearly. Well, the position of course of the President,
even during the time it was being impressed upon us, the nature of the
conversation, is to enforce definitely," Leachon, Velasco's PDP-Laban
DUTERTE STOPS SQUABBLE
At one point in Tuesday's meeting, the Cayetano camp claimed that though
they wanted to uphold the deal, Velasco "betrayed" them by supposedly
mounting several failed power grabs and had offered the post of senior
Deputy Speaker to his supporters.
"Sabi niya (Duterte), Â‘Okay, tama na Â‘yan.Â’ Pero napakabait, dahil binigyan
naman lahat ng pagkakataon magsalita," Leachon said.
(Duterte said, 'Okay, that is enough.' But he was very kind because he gave
everyone a change to speak.)
"For that reason, in behalf of Cong. Velasco and all us there, I would like
to take this opportunity to thank the President for giving such important
time to all of us. He has shown to me not only the President of the country,
but likewise, just like a father of a family, he wants all things in order,"
RCBC WAIVES PESONET, INSTAPAY FEES UNTIL DEC. 31
MANILA - Rizal Commercial Banking Corp said Wednesday it would continue
waiving fees for online fund transfers until Dec. 31 to offer relief for
Filipinos during the pandemic.
Fees for PesoNet and InstaPay transactions will remain free until the end of
the year, RCBC said in a statement.
Such move will also encourage clients to do their banking transactions at
home and reduce the risk of exposure to COVID-19, it said.
"In response to the continuing call for relief measures during these
extraordinary times, RCBC will continue to waive fund transfer fees through
PesoNet and InstaPay until December 31, 2020," the lender said.
Several banks and other e-money operators have said that they would resume
charging fees for select money transfer transactions starting Oct. 1.
The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas earlier urged banks to waive fees for
digital transactions. Several other banks will waive their fees until
December, according to an updated list released by the central bank in
DUTERTE RANT VS FACEBOOK PART OF 'MEDIA SUPPRESSION, REPRESSION': JOURNALIST
MANILA - President Rodrigo Duterte's rant against Facebook is "part of a
long trend of media suppression and repression," veteran investigative
journalist Sheila Coronel said Wednesday.
Duterte had called out the social media giant after it took down several
propaganda networks in support of the administration.
"In a way this is Duterte being Duterte. This is a part of long trend of
media suppression and repression. HeÂ’s focused on Facebook now. HeÂ’s
eliminated most of ABS-CBN, he has intimidated the Inquirer, his government
has filed a dozen cases against Rappler and Rappler staff," Coronel told
"What heÂ’s doing is heÂ’s employing an arsenal of media control that populist
and autocratic leaders all around that world have deployed."
The President's move was "ironic" as Facebook helped him during his 2016
elections campaign, Coronel said.
"Facebook is a double-edged sword. Facebook was in a way an enabler of
President Duterte during his campaign and into his presidency when Facebook
allowed a number of whole plethora of fake news accounts and disinformation
in support of President Duterte to proliferate," she said.
Should Facebook be banned from the Philippines, it may "backfire" to the
Duterte administration, she added.
"Whether this will backfire, it may because a lot of Filipinos overseas who
rely on Facebook in order to connect. Facebook is not only a source of news,
itÂ’s a source of personal connection," she said.
JEEPNEY DRIVERS CRY DISCRIMINATION, URGE SC TO NULLIFY MASS TRANSPORT BAN
MANILA Â– Deprived of livelihood during the months-long mass transit ban, a
confederation of transport workers and several jeepney drivers asked the
Supreme Court on Tuesday to nullify several mass transport ban issuances
that, they said, deny them of their right to work while other public utility
vehicles have resumed operations.
The National Confederation of TransportworkersÂ’ Union (NCTU) and 17 drivers
filed on Tuesday a petition challenging memorandum circulars issued by the
Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) as well as
guidelines from the Department of Transportation (DOTr) and the Inter-Agency
Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF).
The IATF guidelines imposed quarantine protocols, while DOTr and LTFRB
issuances regulated which types of mass transportation can operate under
The petitioners said the 3 agencies did not have the authority to impose the
mass transit ban because it is a police power that can only be exercised by
Congress, unless validly delegated.
They claimed these government agencies unreasonably confiscated their right
to work when they Â“failed to establish a causal connection between the
prohibition and the mitigation of the effects of the pandemic.Â”
They also accused the government agencies of discriminating against jeepney
drivers and operators.
Jeepneys were among the modes of public transportation suspended upon the
implementation of the Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ) in March. While
64,000 public utility vehicles including buses have resumed operations, only
about 13,000 out of the 55,000 PUJ units have been allowed to ply certain
routes as of August.
Â“There is also uncertainty as to what standards were followed in choosing
which among the traditional PUJs were to be allowed to ply the roads. The
decision-making process of Respondents is thus patently whimsical and
infringed PetitionerÂ’s right to due process,Â” they added.
The group slammed the government for its preference for modernized jeepneys
despite research showing modern jeepneys are not safer than traditional
Â“If we were to base safety from COVID-19 with the passenger capacity of the
vehicle, traditional jeepneys should not have been excluded or placed last
in bringing back public transportationÂ… As a matter of fact, riding a
traditional PUJ is even safer compared to a modernized PUJ because the
former needs no conductor to operate, which is not the case for the latter,Â”
SENIOR CITIZEN QUESTIONS QUARANTINE PROTOCOLS
But jeepney drivers are not the only ones feeling the pinch of the
Senior citizen Eugenio Insigne filed a petition also on Tuesday for
declaratory relief, asking the high court to declare various IATF issuances
void and to issue a temporary restraining order to stop their
In particular, Insigne complained against travel restrictions on senior
citizens who are not allowed to go out while quarantine protocols are in
He claimed confinement of senior citizens inside the house violated their
rights to due process, freedom of choice, self-determination, and equal
protection, invoking even international treaties.
He warned of Â“severe negative mental and psychological impact of [the]
quarantine,Â” claiming that the Â“cure is worse than the problem.Â”
Â“They confine us at home; to await our death,Â” he said in his rant-filled
Â“Restore our freedom; give back our lives; let senior citizens enjoy their
retirement,Â” he asked the high court.
The 2 petitions are the latest to challenge measures taken by Philippine
authorities to address the coronavirus pandemic.
Two previous petitions Â– one questioning the Bayanihan to Heal As One Act
and quarantine measures, and the other urging free mass COVID-19 testing Â–
were dismissed outright by the SC, without requiring comment from
COVID-19 CASES AMONG FILIPINOS ABROAD BREACH 10,500
MANILA Â— The Department of Foreign Affairs on Wednesday recored another
spike in the number of Filipinos infected with novel coronavirus abroad.
With 40 new COVID-19 cases reported by the DFA, infections among Filipinos
abroad are now at 10,507.
The agency said the newly reported infections came from the Americas, Asia
and the Pacific, and Europe.
"The reported spikes are due to the belated reports received by our Foreign
Service Posts in Asia and the Pacific and Europe. Meanwhile, there are no
new COVID-19 fatalities reported today," a statement released by the
The number of deaths is unchanged at 792.
DFA also reported a spike in recoveries, with 51 new reports on Tuesday
bringing the total number of recoveries among overseas Filipinos to 6,727.
In the Philippines, the Department of Health has confirmed 309,303 cases of
novel coronavirus along with 5,448 deaths.
PHILIPPINES TO LAUNCH NATIONAL ID PROJECT IN OCTOBER 9
The Philippines' national ID program will finally kick off on Oct. 9, Local
Government Undersecretary Jonathan Malaya said on Tuesday.
The plan is to pre-register 5 million households in 32 priority provinces,
he said in an online briefing.
"This is just the first tranche of registration. Once we are done with the
priority provinces, we will slow do the registration for the rest of the
country," Malaya said in Filipino.
RENO LIVER SPREAD MAKER APOLOGIZES, SEEKS GOV'T APPROVAL: FDA
The maker of popular liver spread Reno has apologized to regulators and is
seeking their seal of approval, the Food and Drug Administration said
"Sumulat naman sila at nagpaumanhin dahil hindi nga raw sila nakapagrehistro
ng produkto nila," Director General Eric Domingo told ABS-CBNÂ’s TeleRadyo.
"Sila'y nag-submit na rin ng application for registration. Hinihintay pong
makumpleto nila ang requirements. Basta naman po kumpleto ang requirements,
mabilis ang approval sa FDA," he added.
The requirements include a test checking whether or not the product's
ingredients are safe, Domingo said.
The FDA in 2009 got its mandate to register processed foods, which was
previously a task of the agriculture department and its meat inspection
unit, the official earlier said.
Recently, an FDA agent noticed that Reno Liver Spread was not in the
agencyÂ’s records, prompting the agency to urge the public to refrain from
buying the product.
DOT ISSUES DOS AND DONÂ’TS FOR Â‘STAYCATIONSÂ’ IN GCQ AREAS
MANILA Â— The Department of Tourism on Tuesday released the strict guidelines
for hotel staycations for leisure purposes in general community quarantine
Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat signed Administrative Order
2020-006-a, or the Amended Guidelines for Staycations Under GCQ, last
Friday. It was only released to the members of the press early Tuesday.
Under this order, hotels within the GCQ areas may accept guests of all ages,
except those with underlying medical conditions.
These accommodation establishments, however, must secure a DOT Certificate
to Operate for Staycations prior to accepting guests.
The DOT launched the online accreditation system on Tuesday.
They must also follow guidelines on guest handling and maximum capacity
number of guests for room.
MANILA LGU OFFERS FREE SWAB TESTS FOR CERTAIN WORKERS IN THE CITY
MANILA Â— Swab testing for COVID-19 will be free for certain workers in
Manila Mayor Isko Moreno said Wednesday that the city government is offering
free RT-PCR testing for employees of malls, hotels, restaurants and
supermarkets; vendors in public markets; and drivers of e-trikes, pedicabs,
tricycles, jeepneys and buses operating in the Philippine capital.
The Manila Public Information Office said Wednesday that Moreno issued
Executive Order No. 39 directing the cityÂ’s health department to provide
free swab tests to the workers after the Sta. Ana HospitalÂ’s second
molecular laboratory was launched on Tuesday.
The hospitalÂ’s new molecular laboratory can process about 1,000 swab tests a
day, the Manila PIO said.
ENTERTAINMENT & LIFESTYLE
ANGEL LOCSIN MOST ADMIRED WOMAN IN PH; DUTERTE HIGHER THAN POPE IN MENÂ’S
MANILA Â— Kapamilya star Angel Locsin is the most admired woman among online
users in the Philippines.
This is according to a poll that also placed President Rodrigo Duterte
higher than the Pope.
The poll was conducted by UK-based market research and data analytics
company, YouGov, which annually publishes a list on which men and women
around the world people look up to the most.
The local results of the survey, conducted online, showed Locsin and Duterte
as the most admired people by Filipinos. They are followed by Miss Universe
winner Catriona Gray and Manny Pacquiao, respectively.
Only four out of the top 10 most admired women in the list are Filipinos,
with Sarah Geronimo and Liza Soberano being the other two. It included
global names such as Taylor Swift, Angelina Jolie, and Emma Watson.
Locsin, who has inspired millions with her acts of charity, especially
during times of crisis, sat atop the list with a 15.03% Â“admiration
score.Â”On the menÂ’s side, Duterte topped the list by more than 9%, four
places above Pope Francis. Pacquiao, Isko Moreno, and Jackie Chan all ranked
higher than the Pope as well.
The results were published September 23.
As explained in YouGovÂ’s website, the poll was conducted online, from May to
It featured a list of names that were compiled via another survey earlier in
the year (from January to March), wherein respondents were asked: Â“Thinking
about people alive in the world today, which [man or woman] do you most
The 40 nominated figures (20 men and 20 women) then featured in the actual
survey, with YouGov adding an Â“additional 5-10 popular local figures Â…for
YouGov explained that because the Philippines is included in a list of
countries where Â“internet penetration is low,Â” the results can only be said
to be representative of its online population.
FOREX $1 = P 48.50
THOUGHT FOR THE DAY
Anger, if not restrained, is frequently more hurtful to us than the injury
that provokes it. - Lucius Annaeus Seneca