There is no stopping a senator’s media acrobatics, bleeding to the last drop the controversy over her citizenship and residency.

The latest of this saga of the country’s only “foundling” senator and presidential bet is Senator Grace Poe’s assertion that she is not withdrawing from the race to Malacañang.

This denial came as response to what she said was an email advisory reaching Senate reporters, saying: “Hindi na ako tatakbo pagkapangulo” (I will no longer run for President).

This “I have withdrawn” email reaching media desks and Senate reporters have all the makings of a “kidnap me” scheme, coming as it did few days ahead of reports that the DNA tests on her supposed parents to establish her natural Filipino parentage proved negative.

To keen political observers, that Poe reacted to an email from a certain Liza Cabigting, an unverified source thus is an AKA, reaching the Senate reporters is the first mystery.

Frankly her reaction insults Senate reporters. Does she believe the seasoned reporters assigned to the Senate beat will bite the story?

But her official act of reacting to a bum scare will surely get the reporters attention if only for the reporters to get even with her insult. Now it is obvious how manipulative if not naïve the senator is.

Talking of manipulative, nothing could b e more telling than how former Senator Francisco S. Tatad explains the citizenship issue of the “foundling” senator.

Tatad wrote: “The oral arguments at the Supreme Court on the quo warranto suit against Senator Grace Poe Llamanzares before the Senate Electoral Tribunal (SET) prove to be an absolute disaster for the respondent.”

The suit was filed by Lito David, who questioned the right of Poe to sit in the Senate. David was represented by Atty. Manuelito Luna at the SET hearing.

Luna enumerated the requirements to make one a natural-born Filipino citizen under the 1935 Constitution, the operative law when Poe was born in 1968. The senator failed in any and all the five tests.

Tatad said: “Unable to overcome the constitutional issues, the defense tried to politicize the discussion by talking about Mrs. Llmanzares’ votes in the last elections. Justice Art Brion quickly blunted their maneuver by saying her votes (assuming they were real) had nothing to do with the purely constitutional issue; the voters, he pointed out, had no inkling as to whether or not she was natural-born. At the same time, Mrs. Llmanzares’ financiers and promoters have now embarked on a highly intensified campaign to project her as ‘the most popular’ presidential wannabe for 2016, using the fraudulent surveys which have been used to fool Filipino electorate for so long.

“Their apparent hope is to delay the SET proceedings so that despite her constitutional ineligibility, Mrs. Llmanzares could run for President, and let the political circus overwhelm the resolution of the question about her constitutional eligibility. They froth with confidence that after she is hocus-PCOSed into the presidency despite her clear constitutional ineligibility, they would simply swamp the opposition with perverse cries of vox populi, vox Dei!”

It is not only former Senator Tatad who is talking about how the Poe camp and her funders are using media to confuse the real crime committed by the senator.

The talk in coffee shops months ago was Poe will be forced to run for President to save her from being kicked out from the Senate.

But latest events do not augur well to this maneuver in confusion. Thing are getting clearer in the ongoing SET hearings.

The results of the DNA tests still have not proven her natural parents are Filipinos. The match she hoped to establish in the DNA test came out negative.

The DNA tests would have made easy to prove that she is a natural-born Filipino. Now they have to resort to arguments in law to dismiss David’s accusations. At stake here is not only her dream to get to Malacañang, but her seat in the Senate.

The senator, who is facing numerous disqualification complaints owing to her lack of any proof of being a natural-born Filipino — a requirement specifically stated in the 1987 Constitution for those seeking to be elected president — is seen to have suffered a major setback in the race to the presidency this early.

But as her camp continue their efforts in seeking to establish a DNA match which is considered a conclusive presumption of filiations of the “foundling” senator, this latest turn of events will bring her back to the debates on her being only a naturalized citizen.

Supreme Court Associate Justice Antonio Carpio, current chairperson of the Senate Electoral Tribunal (SET), had earlier argued during the oral arguments on the disqualification case filed by defeated senatorial candidate and now presidential aspirant Rizalino David, that customary international law can be applied in Sen. Poe’s case, unless she is able to prove that her biological parents are Filipinos.

While initially Sen. Poe’s camp insisted that based on facts, documentary evidence and pertinent laws and jurisprudence, she is a natural-born citizen and her residence or length of stay in the country is more than sufficient when she ran and won as a senator.

The issue on her citizenship being questioned at any time, such rule applies only if the senator changed her citizenship after being proclaimed as a senator or if she concealed her foreign citizenship when she filed her certificate of candidacy, they added.

“In the case of Poe, she did not change her citizenship after she was proclaimed and more certainly, she never concealed anything regarding her life and background. From the very start, the entire country knows that Poe is a foundling and was adopted by couple (the late) FPJ (Fernando Poe Jr.) and Susan Roces,” her lawyers said in submitting their response to the charges filed by David before the SET.

Yet, Sen. Poe’s lawyer, Atty. George Garcia, in one of the media interviews, acceded that the DNA tests would be the only way to establish her parents’ citizenship.

But if all efforts fail, there would still be the internationally-accepted principles of law that apply in the country that she could avail of, he said.

Carpio, however, said that the Constitution has primacy over international customary law.

In the absence of a law, an international customary law can be applied.

“If there is a customary international law saying foundlings can be deemed citizens of the country where they were found, we apply that under the principle of incorporation. It is deemed as municipal law. But you are still a naturalized citizen, not a natural-born citizen.

“Because if customary international law says a foundling is natural-born, it will violate our Constitution and we cannot apply it here,” he said.

The senator, based on her pronouncements Wednesday, appeared to be banking on the fact that the SC magistrate, who took the same position in hearing the disqualification case of her father, during the 2004 presidential elections may not be shared by the rest of those handling her case.

Hindi naman sya at hindi lang naman ang opinyon nya ang magiging desisyon para sa lahat,” she said.

Sen. Poe admitted being disheartened by the DNA results, which she had long hoped to yield positive results.

Gayunpaman, hindi naman ako nawawalan din ng loob o lakas-loob dito, sapagkat ang amin ding tinatayuang legal na basehan ay hindi lamang sa DNA nakasalalay. Nakasalalay po ito sa karapatan ng mga bata, bilang mga pinanganak dito sa ating bansa.

“Ako ay Pilipino, ipinanganak sa ating bansa, pinag-aral ng aking mga magulang dito. Hindi lamang dito lumaki, ngayon ay naninilbihan dito sa ating bansa, at walang duda sa aking puso, sa aking isip na ako’y Pilipino,” she said.

Poe insists she is a natural-born Filipino citizen. Hundreds of millions of pesos is funding this campaign to politicize her citizenship issue and force the courts to look the other way.

It looks like what Poe hopes to happen, politicize the issue and confuse the Filipinos, will not come to pass. The attitude of the justices is Poe’s politics is not above the law.

Even when Sen. Poe accuses Binay’s party and the LP of orchestrating the black propaganda, the slip is showing, the script is obvious. The dirty game is orchestrated by the Poe handlers.

That this email advisory reaching Senate reporters is a “kidnap me” scheme is all too glaring.

By Art V. Besana



If the financial crisis in Saudi Arabia as projected by the IMF would persist and hold true, it would be a huge whammy for about one million overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) and their families, and to the country’s economy, and a huge challenge to the next Philippine President.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) recently reported that Saudi Arabia, the world’s leading crude oil producer, could go bankrupt in five years.

This report has created anxieties among Filipinos, as the financial crunch in Saudi Arabia — which according to the IMF was caused by depressed crude oil prices (which is as of September 2015 has plunged to $46 per barrel) and overspending by its government — may retrench up to one million OFWs in that oil-rich country.

Is the Philippines ready for the return of our one million ‘overseas heroes’ who remit billions of dollars every year to their families?

It would surely be a heartbreaking scenario. The families of OFWs in Saudi Arabia may face a bleak future.

Since the early 1980’s Filipino homes have been blessed with regular remittances or ‘Saudi money’ sent regularly by their working ‘tatay,’ ‘nanay,’ ‘kuay,’ ‘ate,’ or ‘kamag-anak.’ Their families have been using their hard-earned ‘Saudi money’ to better their lives, to finance food, shelter, education and entrepreneurial pursuits.

The financial crunch in Saudi Arabia would also be a huge shock to the Philippine economy, because it will break the backbone of its main source of strength — the OFW remittances.

Thousands of Filipinos first arrived in Saudi Arabia in 1973, who worked as engineers and field personnel in construction and oil industries. From then on, the exodus began.

For the first in 2008, Saudi Arabia had 300,000 job orders for Filipino professional in the medical field, doctors, nurses, care-givers, therapists, radiology technicians, etc.

In addition to the construction, oil, and medical fields, Filipinos in Saudi Arabia work as automotive workers, technical personnel in desalination facilities, petroleum production and processing, telecommunications and transportation, and other services.

In 2013 alone, about 674,000 Filipinos were working in the Kingdom, about 25 per cent of them were nurses.

Saudi Arabia is also the preferred destination of most OFWs, according to a 2014 survey conducted by the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA), at 24.8%. The results of the PSA survey were released last May 27, 2015.

Currently, the Saudi Arabian embassy in the Philippines processes between 800 and 900 jobs for Filipinos daily.]



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If ever the economy of Saudi Arabia would experience financial crunch, OFW retrenchment is not far off. Those who would be laid off may add up to the current unemployed in the country, which the PSA estimates at 6.5% of the total Filipino workforce.

The adverse effects of Saudi Arabia’s financial woes are unthinkable.

The Philippines depends on OFW remittances, perhaps more than any country in the world. The country is the third highest remittance-recipient country after India and Mexico, and the highest when remittances are measured as ratio to population, GDP and exports.

Money transfers from Filipinos working all over the world account for at least 10% of the Philippines’ GDP, the second largest source of foreign capital after value-added exports like electronic components, and a major source of private consumption, which in turn accounts for 75% of GDP.

Every day about 3,000 Filipinos leave for jobs abroad even if the government officially does not have a labor migration policy.

Decreased remittances from one million Filipinos working in Saudi Arabia alone would be the biggest ‘game-changer’ in the Philippine economy.

It is quite ironic that despite the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is not a signatory to the Geneva International Convention for Human Rights, it has remained the number one favorite destination not only for Filipino workers, but also importantly for its market opportunities.

In 2012, Saudi Arabia was the 10th largest trading partner of the Philippines, and the 31st and 8th largest export and import market, respectively.

In the whole of Middle East region, Saudi Arabia is also the Philippines largest trading partner and import supplier, and second largest export market.

According to the Saudi Government, trade between Saudi Arabia and Philippines amounted to $3.6 billion in 2011, $900 million bigger than in 2010, at $2.7 billion.

Reports have it that Saudi Arabia is the easiest place to do business in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, making its operating environment conducive for businesses. The Kingdom is committed to economic openness, has flexible labor markets and low taxes. However, the lack of transparency and skills shortages pose problems. The consumer market holds immense growth potential making it attractive for business across sectors.

Its government is also committed to openness, liberalization and privatization, making it an attractive destination for foreign investments. It has also a well-developed information and communications technology (ICT) sector.

Saudi Arabia also has amongst the lowest taxes in the region, and flexible labor markets. Its total tax rate is at 14.5% of commercial profit, compared to the average of 32.2% in the MENA region.

The country has a relatively young population, making it an attractive market for businesses across sectors. By 2020, middle youth (aged 30-44 years) and youth adults (aged 18-29 years) would account for over 40% of the total consumer population. In 2011, it ranked 5th in terms of total consumer expenditures in the Middle East and Africa region, behind South Africa, Iran, Egypt and the UAE. However, on a per capita basis, it ranked 10th in the region, out of 61countries. Consumer expenditure per capita has grown by 27% in real terms between2006 and 2011. In the medium term up to 2020, consumer expenditure is projected to grow at 18% in real terms. Hotels and catering are expected to witness the fastest growth in consumer spending.

However, all these bright economic forecasts on Saudi Arabia would come to naught should the IMF prediction come true.

To the millions of Filipino families, the collapse of the Saudi Arabian economy would most likely be felt more than typhoons “Yolanda” and “Lando” combined.

Foreign visitors may observe that in some homes in the Philippine countryside, the portrait of the Royal Family of Saudi Arabia is displayed and revered as honored guests. This is an indication that a member of that particular family had been privileged to have worked in the Royal Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

Davao City Rodrigo “Digong” Duterte finally is not running for President.
His followers are wailing. His believers are unaccepting. There is not stopping these believers.
Their waiting is now stretched to December 10, the deadline for substitution of candidates.
To Duterte’s supporters, the end to the wait has not yet come. To Duterte, though, he counsels his followers: stop the wait.
Months back in a dinner in Davao City with the mayor, he said he would rather just serve Davao City. “Groups of great influence would not want me President,” he said adding that the first thing he will do if elected President is abolish Congress.
It was a dinner to thank OpinYon for our trust in his leadership. More importantly, the dinner was of knowing a leader who is willing to go against norms and conventions to achieve peace and prosperity.
My impression then was he will want to change the current system that has caused widespread poverty. “I know I will be going against the all the major economic, business, and political interests that it is almost next impossible to win,” he said.
His next best thing is push for federalism.
He said he would use the attention on him to bring attention to federalism. “Federalism is the solution to the poverty in the countryside,” he said.
That Filipinos see federalism as a solution to the abuses of imperial Manila, here, Mayor Duterte is a big winner. Indeed he succeeded to bring national attention to federalism.
Having achieved his objective on federalism, he finally puts a period to speculations he is running for President. This did not come as a surprise to OpinYon.
We were not also surprised at the circus that happened last week at the Commission on Elections (Comelec) offices in Intramuros.

Fiesta, political fever!
Never in almost 60 years since the Philippines gained her independence has its political scene gone so amusing, feverish, likened to a fiesta.
Observers say “it’s happy-days-are-here-again,” particularly at the Palacio del Gobernador, where the offices and grounds of the Comelec have turned festive, starting at the break of dawn on October 12, 2015.
All sorts of personalities starting with those with brilliant ideas to those with the craziest and funniest came trooping to the newly-painted walls and decorated sidewalks of the COMELEC grounds, complete with band and entertainment.
As of this writing, hundreds have filed their respective Certificate of Candidacy (CoC) for national and local elective posts, from the Presidency down to the lowest post in the government bureaucracy.
It’s Philippines “democrazy” in action, according to political observers, as dozens could be considered outright as simply 'nuisance' candidates.
Section 69 of the COMELEC’s Omnibus Election Code describes a nuisance candidate as someone who files a CoC that puts “... the election process in mockery or disrepute or to cause confusion among the voters by the similarity of the names of the registered candidates or by other circumstances or acts, which clearly demonstrate that the candidate has no bona fide intention to run for the office for which the certificate of candidacy has been filed, and thus prevent a faithful determination of the true will of the electorate.”
While the COMELEC has yet to decide and rule who are capable, willing and able to run or not for national posts, particularly for such coveted post as presidency, here are some candidates, as of October 15, 2015, who aspire and seek our vote, with their respective qualifications and platforms:

Jose Larry Maquinana, a man in swastika calling himself the “Far East Nazi.” He said he is the "Hitler of this generation." Asked why he had a swastika on his shirt, Maquinana said, "Katuparan yan ng kasulatan sa Bible." His platform: "Ipagtatanggol ko ang Pilipinas laban sa ibang bansa."
Elly Pamatong, lawyer and pastor. He was the first presidential aspirant to file a CoC. In a press briefing, he said he will fight China against its claims on several reefs and islets in South China Sea. This is the center of his platform of governance. Before filing, he burned the flag of the People's Republic of China to show his intention to defend the disputed territories being claimed by China.
Freddiesher Llamas, a tricycle driver from Zambales. His campaign slogan: "Eh Di Wow!"
Adolfo Inductivo, retired military officer, self-proclaimed appointee of God. His platform: instill discipline among Filipinos
Eric Abuyen Negapatan, Pastor from the Power of Jesus Christ Church
Arturo Pacheco Reyes, who described himself as a member of the US Navy. His platform: legalize the four seasons, including winter, as well as free burial services for all, and transform the Philippines into a US state.
Leonardo Bulabula of the Ang Konstitusyon at ang Dangal ng Demokrasya
Esmeraldo Reyes, known for his nickname "Papa P"
Sel Hope Kang, a housewife from Quezon City who claims she was an honor graduate from the University of the Philippines.
Robert John Ygonia, "Archangel Lucifer", a volunteer missionary who believes he was sent and chosen by God to run for president.
Alfredo Tindugan, a Targayen from Catanduanes, representing the Divine Government Party.
• Marita Arilla, a teacher from Surigao del Sur who is advocating for a "divine absolute monarchy from God." One of her platforms is to abolish the Senate.
Benjamin Rivera, a refrigeration technician and a consultant from Tondo, Manila, who holds a wrench as his lucky charm to "tighten" the cabinet when he wins.
Virgilio Yeban, a driver from Pandacan, Manila. His platform: removal of the membership status of the Philippines in the United Nations.
Juanito Luna, a businessman from Makati. His platform: "spiritual-based leadership." He wants Manny Pacquiao to be his running mate – even if the latter has already decided to run for Senator.
Josephine Murillo, a masseur from Quezon City, who wants Bongbong Marcos to be her running mate.
Romeo Plasquita, a retired police officer from Leyte. His platform: better pension and retirement packages for police retirees.
Allan Carreon, Pasay City native, who claims to be an "Intergalactic Earth Ambassador," and he could speak to aliens via the Internet. His platforms: free Wi-Fi and protection of Philippine shores.
Leo Cadion, a businessman from Pasay, of the Philippine Green Republic Party.
Gauvencio Serrano, a "Rizalista" and advocate of "Maharlika" Republic from Leyte (Bigkis Rizalista Philippine Military Divine Government)
Juanita Mendoza Troceño of the Partido Bagong Maharlika.
Victor Lawag, a.k.a. "Itinakda", "National Champion of Public Debate," self-employed genius and savior of God.
Jean Pierre Pardo, a fashion and interior designer, who claims to have studied at UST. Her platform is simply to improve residential houses.
Marianito Mendoza, said he will institutionalize government reforms when he wins. He also supports the candidacy of Leni Robredo as Vice President.
Wendell Lope (a.k.a. Lapu-Lapu), an inventor, who claims that he secured permission from the Supreme Court to add his name into the ballot. His platform: disqualification of incumbent senators from running for any other political position, as well as changing the present form of government to a monarchy.
Rodrigo Lapitan, a postman from Quezon City. Solving poverty will be his primary platform.
Ramon Asuelo, a mechanical engineering graduate and farmer, who congratulated President Aquino III on his speech after the candidacy filing, saying "You’re on the right track."

Last year, we had a similar bunch of candidates.
We hope the COMELEC weeds out and choose who are capable to mount a presidential campaign nationwide.
Then, let all of us, Filipinos decide who will rightfully sit in Malacanang for the next six years.
Let's not waste our precious vote!

By Atty. Salvador S. Panelo

Rodrigo Duterte, the tough-talking and curse-spewing Mayor of Davao City tagged by the Time Magazine as “The Punisher” for his legendary execution of criminals, viewed as the wildcard and game-changer of the 2016 presidential elections, from reliable sources, was set to file his certificate of candidacy for President on the 15th of October 2015 – to respond to the continuing and phenomenal clamor of a vast segment of the Filipino people that cut across all classes of our society, when in an unwelcome twist of fate, two (2) days before he embarked formally to an unwanted and unintended foray on the presidency of the land, made an announcement in a press conference in Davao City, to the shock, bewilderment and consternation of the multitudes who egged him to join the presidential run, that he was not running for President.
Duterte’s declaration that he was counting himself out of the presidential race was akin to a bomb that blasted with its explosion reverberating through the edges of the archipelago. The self-denial was received with tears and sadness even as it brought disbelief and disappointment from his legions at supporters and admirers. Hundreds of thousands of hearts were broken on that day when the sad news was flashed on TV screens and reported on the radio. It was a political Armageddon, the after-effects of which - and its repercussions on the presidential contest – and on the person of Duterte himself have yet to take shape.
Quite suddenly and unexpectedly the electorate, already uninspired by the quality of the present presidential candidates, have been divested of a perfect choice for President in these critical and dangerous times. The only hope for change is gone.
Anxious news reporters, excited to the brim with the prospect of finally hearing from Rodrigo Duterte that he has finally decided to seek the presidency after months of mixed signals emanating from the controversial Mayor himself triggering speculations as to where his advocacy of federalism would lead him – were jolted and aghast as the man whom they want to be President read his statement. There were two (2) prepared statements, one announcing that against his family’s advice he has bowed to the people’s clamor for him to run for President – and another statement expressing his apologies to his friends and supporters who worked hard and supported him in his advocacy, and who hoped that he would seek the presidency.
Rodrigo Duterte opted to read the unexpected shocker. In measured and unreversible tone, the man from whose hands millions of Filipinos, with bated breath, hoped would take the helm of a ship of state in distress, read his unequivocal message:

I am sorry to disappoint those who spent much and worked hard and long in support of me as I went around the country espousing the benefits and advantages of federalism. I therefore beg for everyone’s kind understanding and acceptance of my sincerest apologies. After all, there was no ambition for me to aspire for the Presidency. The Country does not need me. I find no need for it. I guess it is fate that wills that our long journey together should end this way.
Time and again, those who believed in me and in the cause that I advocated and continue to advocate, advised me to go for the country’s presidency because that is the destiny that awaits me. But I believe that my destiny is to end years and years of public life in the service of Davao City and every Dabawenyo.
Thus, if Inday Sara agrees to run for Mayor, I will retire at the end of my term in 2016. If she does not, the option to be Mayor again is on the table.
When all is said in the wake of this decision, perhaps we can find comfort in the thought that this is indeed a beautiful day to end a wild dream.
God bless the Philippines. God bless us all!

The second statement, announcing his long awaited – and prayed for – entry to the presidential contest, which remained tucked in the pocket of his short, reads:

I have repeatedly said I was not going to run for President. The Presidency does not appeal to me. To be President at these dangerous and stressful times is hazardous to one’s health. Our country faces problems the magnitude of which overwhelms me and scares the wits out of me.
There appears to be a people’s clamor for me to seek the Presidency of our great nation. The clarion call has reached a crescendo that no mortals can escape from. It has become a moral issue to me.
Will I run away from the challenge of the times and seek the comforts of political retirement? Or shall I heed the people’s voice to lead and put order in our society?
Against the advice of my family, and throwing caution to the winds, I have decided – and I solemnly declare: I am Rodrigo Duterte. I am a Filipino. I love my country, it is the land of my birth and the home of my people – and I will not allow it destroyed by fratricidal strife, by drugs that shatter the Filipino soul, by corruption that destroys its institutions, by criminality that imperils the lives and properties of its people, and by poverty that chains its citizens.
I therefore bow to the implorings of the multitudes and place myself into the hands of the sovereign electorate as a candidate for President of the Republic of the Philippines. So help me God.

The shocker of a disavowal of intent to seek the highest gift that the voters can give to a person who aspired for it, put Duterte’s inner circle of friends in confused limbo momentarily paralyzed by the announcement akin to a reading of a death sentence. There followed a frantic effort to persuade the man of the hour to reconsider his decision. Telephone lines were burned among the Duterte organizers and supporters even as his close friends emplaned to Davao to confer with him – but the latter made himself unavailable and non-communicative.
On Wednesday (October 14, 2015) Duterte’s daughter, the equally tough and gutsy lawyer, former Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte, one of the four (4) women in Duterte’s life who strongly opposed his running for President, reeling from a backlash coming from netizens who viewed her as the obstacle derailing his father’s presidential run shaved her head and posted in her Instagram with the hashtag: Duterte 2016, and dared him to run for President sans machinery and money, an anticipated and surprising development that buoyed up the legions of Duterte fans and followers who prayed in unison for a miracle.
On Thursday (October 15, 2015) Sara Duterte’s daring act triggered the local officials of Davao City to having a skin head hair cut in support of Sara and to dramatize their appeal for Duterte to cast his lot in the presidential contest in 2016, which dramatic demeanor was followed suit by a throng of supporters holed up in the street across COMELEC in Intramuros, Manila, waiting for their idol to show up and file his certificate of candidacy for President.
On Friday (October 16, 2015), the last day for filing of certificates of candidacies, the ante was raised when Sara Duterte posted in her Instagram a copy of his certificate of candidacy for Mayor of Davao sparking a more positive probability that Duterte would be withdrawing his own COC as Mayor of Davao City, and file his COC for President. The country was abuzz with news that he was on a chopper coming from Davao City en route to the COMELEC Office in Intramuros, Manila.
Another news was flashed on the radio that he was already at the Manila Hotel and preparing to go the COMELEC to file his COC.
The truth of the matter was that Mayor Duterte never left Davao City, and he was in fact at home monitoring the news about his supposed trip to Manila while a private jet plane owned by a close friend waited at the Davao International Airport for the very important passenger.
To put a stop to the wild speculation rising in crescendo – and the roller coaster of emotions that everyone was undergoing, that included the declared presidential candidates and their supporters, Mayor Duterte released a press statement that reads:

A little over two years ago I posted in the government website over the internet that I was not interested in the presidency. Nothing has changed. I am comfortable where I am now. If Inday Sara would want it she has the choice of running in 2016 or the next election. Personally, the earlier the better. I want to retire. I am tired. Give the presidency to the one who wants it. I don’t.

Thereafter, to finally write finis to the unfolding pulsating drama, Mayor Duterte had himself interviewed for almost an hour in a local radio station and finally dashed the people’s hope and expectation of a Duterte presidential run.
Despite, however, Mayor Rodrigo Duterte’s himself declaring that he is not interested in becoming President – as he repeatedly said throughout his advocacy of federalism as he criss-crossed the country, millions remain hopeful that before December 10, 2015, when the filing for a substitute candidate of a political party ends, Rodrigo Duterte in an anti-climactic moment will resurrect from his political hibernation and launch what could be the inevitable odyssey to Malacañang.
Hope springs eternal and the millions of orphaned Filipino voters who have been suddenly deprived of a best choice in the 2016 electoral battle refuse to accept the inevitable that Rodrigo Duterte, for a compelling reason that no mortal can escape from, has opted to skip his date with destiny and appointment with history, as the greatest President that the country could have had – but never had.
The Davao City Mayor’s refusal however to plunge into the presidential foray is not the end of the Davao Mayor’s unprecedented and phenomenal non-presidential run to Malacañang. He has caught the imagination of the Filipinos – and the torch and the idea of change he carries remains burning in the hearts and minds of our disillusioned countrymen who look up to him to deliver them to be promised land.
The unending saga of Rodrigo Duterte continues to unfold even as a large part of the population are riveted to the final chapter of his journey.
The hope for change refuges to vanish. The Dutertistas have intensified their movement to persuade the non-candidate to embrace the challenge hurled to him by the gods of destiny and quench the thirst of a nation for a leader of his caliber, and feed their hunger for the coming of a knight with shining armor and brandishing sword that slay the dragons of corruption of criminality, of violence, of rebellion of economic stagnation, of poverty, of illiteracy of bigotry, of discrimination, of indifference and that have chained the great masses of our people to the rot that the country is in.
On or before December 10, 2015 the saga of Rodrigo Duterte must end. Meanwhile the calls for him to rise to be challenge of the times have reached a deafening height that only Rodrigo Duterte could respond to.
As Shakespeare would ask: “To be – or not to be”, that is the question – which only the man of the hour could answer.
Quo Vadis, Rodrigo Duterte?

*****

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HEIDI Mendoza has just been appointed as the new head of the United Nations (UN) internal audit group. She is one of the commissioners of our country’s Commission on Audit (COA). Her appointment was announced by no less than the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.

The country is supposed to cheer over this promotion by one top official of the country to a position at the UN that requires highest trust and competence.

UN says Mendoza has the competence for the job and has earned its trust. 

Some think UN has erred and is a victim of deception.

Those who do not agree with UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon suggest the UN takes a closer look at the history of incompetence of the newly-appointed auditor general of the UN.

 

Corona Impeachment Trial

On May 14, 2012, during the hearing on the impeachment trial of Chief Justice Corona, Heidi Mendoza stood as an expert witness.

She was asked to testify on the movement of cash deposits involving several bank accounts of Corona.

On May 15, the day following her testimony, upon a motion of Senator Pimentel III and duly-approved by the Impeachment Court, the testimony of Ms. Heidi Mendoza was stricken off the record. She was also discharged as witness.

From the Senate Journal on the Impeachment of former Chief Justice Renato Corona, May 14, 2012, p. 56

The fact that the testimony of Ms. Mendoza was stricken out and that she was discharged as a witness tells a lot of stories on her credibility. 

This incident alone should have caught the attention of the UN body, checking on the background of those the UN wishes to appoint in sensitive positions. 

Those closely following the trial said the Impeachment Court’s action to prematurely discharge Mendoza as expert witness was due to suspect exaggeration by the COA official, distorting facts in the evidence presented. 

She stated an inflow of $28 million and an outflow of $30 million, creating the impression that CJ Corona was depositing to his dollar account such large amounts. 

“It was obvious Mendoza was deliberately ‘massaging’ the data to fit a conclusion that the PNoy administration wanted from the trial,” they said, adding that this was noticed, though, by the senator-judges.

 

Colorful Stint at COA

Sources inside COA say Mendoza’s stint at the COA is as colorful as her testimonies regarding high profile cases. 

The first and most significant was her much vaunted audit report about former General Carlos Garcia, AFP Comptroller.

“There was no COA audit report by Mendoza. She was never told by COA to render a report, the office order assigned her as member of the composite team of the office of the Ombudsman. Mendoza wrote a report, which she herself and members of her team did not sign. COA refused to endorse the report and the SandiganBayan rejected it,” Arturo Besana, a former state auditor said.

Parts of the affidavit filed by former state auditor Arturo Besana against the appointment of Heidi Mendoza as COA Commissioner

This “audit report” caught high public interest, catapulting Mendoza to stardom, even when senior auditors considered the Mendoza audit report as suspect at best and a trash at worst.

Besana said Mendoza, in one instance, claimed that the COA chairman, COA directors and supervisors did not help her in the pursuit of truth on the anomalies at the AFP. 

“However, COA provided her with a motor vehicle and a cash advance of P375,000.00, belying her claim of absence of top management support to her investigations,” he added. 

Besana said that the P375,000 cash advance given to Mendoza was never audited.

She was tricky and unabashedly creative in getting media interest and public attention.

At one time she threatened to run naked, if Gen. Garcia were acquitted from his plunder case. Gen. Garcia was acquitted. Mendoza reneged on her boast.

Auditor Besana said Mendoza boasted Gen. Garcia was imprisoned in Muntinlupa because of the plunder case. The fact is Gen. Garcia was detained not because of the plunder case, but because of his violation of the Articles of War for unbecoming of an officer and a gentleman and for being a green card holder.

(Gen. Garcia is supposed to be discharged from detention, but he has been at peace with the Lord. He chose to stay and serve as a pastor, spreading the teachings of the Church.)

The most significant record of Mendoza — now appointed Undersecretary-General of the United Nations for Internal Audit — was her performance as an ‘overseer’ of the audit of the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) of members of Congress.

The audit took three years and four months. The special audit team was composed of 11 auditors, two team leaders and one director. The audit report contained 462 pages.

After that length of time of audit by so many auditors, the team came out without a single disallowance, a congenital defect that renders the report useless. No less than the Ombudsman and the Secretary of Justice said that the PDAF report cannot be used as an evidence. It can be used only as a reference.

“Here the COA team, headed by Mendoza, deviated in the exercise of the audit function. It did away with the most fundamental requirement in performing such magnitude of audit activity,” Besana said. 

“The COA did away with collegial planning under the exclusive jurisdiction of Mendoza. The result was a monumental blunder,” he added. 

“The audit was bad enough for being faulty. The report was worse for being crude. And the release was worst for being slow, selective and partisan,” Besana said. 

Having been appointed to the UN body, Commissioner Mendoza is expected to resign from her post soon.

Inside the commission, anti-Mendoza forces are celebrating her departure, while her friends and allies are all praises on this “iron lady.” 

Will COA be better after Mendoza leaves as an overseer of PDAF audit? Or will its performance suffer from her absence? 

Only time will tell.

It’s too early to say if and when Mendoza would embarrass herself and the country in her new assignment and challenge.

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