Tag Archives: Senator Loren Legarda

50 percent manual audit of election ballots pushed

By Gerry Albert Corpuz

MANILA, Philippines-The left-wing fisherfolk alliance Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya) on Wednesday urged the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to immediately conduct at least 50 percent manual audit of all election ballots that will include the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) to determine if there is truth to allegations that the elections was rigged in favor certain candidates in the recently concluded May 10 national and local elections.

In a press statement, Pamalakaya national chair Fernando Hicap said the allegations regarding automated –led cheating to favor certain candidates were serious enough to merit at least 50 percent manual audit of election ballots of all clustered precints.

“The Comelec is constitutionally, lawfully, politically and morally obliged to perform a round-the-clock manual audit of elections ballots that went through the PCOS machines. The election returns which were printed by PCOS machines should not be used as basis for audit. The manual counting of election ballots remains the most effective means to check if there is really large-scale cheating in the May 10 political exercise,” added Hicap.

Hicap aside from ARMM, the 50 percent manual audit should cover and concentrate should include vote rich areas such as the National Capital Region, the Southern Tagalog and Central Luzon regions, the Northern Luzon provinces, the Bicol region, Western Visayas and Central Visayas region and all Mindanao regions to mention a few.

The Pamalakaya leader said Comelec can accomplish manual audit of at least 50 percent of election ballots in two weeks time and can come out with objective and honest-to-goodness findings by the second week of June, where there is enough time to reverse previous proclamations and declare the real winners in the May 10 polls.

“Chairman Jose Melo and his peers at Comelec have two weeks to perform manual audit of election ballots. This is the only way to check or validate and affirm the outcome of the first automated polls in the country,” said Hicap.

The Pamalakaya official issued the proposal a day after a witness surfaced yesterday in a press conference called by losing presidential bets Nicanor Perlas, JC de los Reyes and Sen. Jamby Madrigal claiming massive automated election cheating were conducted in favor of President apparent Sen. Benigno Simeon “Noynoy” Aquino III of Liberal Party and former Makati Mayor Jejomar Binay, the leading vice-presidential candidate according to latest tallies.

The witness claimed the votes of administration candidate Gilbert Teodoro, Pwersa ng Masang Pilipino presidential candidate former President Joseph Estrada and Bangon Pilipinas Eddie Villanueva were shaved to benefit Aquino. The witness also said voted for vice-presidential candidates Loren Legarda and Bayani Fernando were also shaved in favor of former Mayor Binay.

The still identified witness who revealed the election irregularities through a video claimed Teodoro lost 5 million to 6 million votes, while Villanueva lost 2 million to 3 million votes. He said Estrada lost a lot but he did not provide a figure. The witness also said Legarda’s votes were shaved by 4 million to 5 million votes and these were transferred to Binay. With a report from Cupcake Mendoza

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Presidentiables told: Be ready for people power vs. GMA hold over presidency

By Gerry Albert Corpuz, Bb. Joyce Cabral and Billy Javier Reyes

MANILA, Philippines-The militant fisherfolk alliance Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya) urged on Saturday all presidential candidates to sign a covenant calling for the staging of another People Power in case the Macapagal-Arroyo administration declares failure of elections or installs a hold over presidency through a coup instigated by pro-Arroyo faction in the military.

In a press statement, Pamalakaya national chair Fernando Hicap asked Nacionalista Party (NP) standard bearer Manny Villar, Liberal Party presidential candidate Benigno Simeon “Noynoy” Aquino III,Lakas-Kampi merger party Gilbert Teodoro, Pwersa ng Masang Pilipino bet former President Joseph Bagumbayan candidate Sen. Richard Gordon, Bangon Pilipinas’s Bro. Eddie Villanueva and independent candidates Sen. Jamby Madrigal, JC de los Reyes of Ang Kapatiran Party and Nicanor Perlas to declare their readiness for another people power and commit to mobilize their political forces and members to frustrtate Arroyo’s hold over presidency in whatever form.

“Are they willing to join the people for another People Power? According to the latest survey of the Social Weather Station, 48 percent of the 92 million Filipinos are likely to join any call for popular uprising that will frustrate President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s sinister plot to perpetuate herself to power,” the fisherfolk leader said.

Likewise the same challenged was posed by Hicap to vice-presidential candidates Sen. Mar Roxas of the Liberal Party, Sen. Loren Legarda of Nacionalista Party, Bayani Fernando of Bagumbayan, Edu Manzano of Lakas-Kampi merger party, Jejomar Binay of Pwersa ng Masang Pilipino and Perfecto Yasay of Bangon Pilipinas.

The Pamalakaya leader asserted the possibility of another People Power revolution in the Philippines is not a remote scenario according to political experts closely following the turn of political events unfolding two months before the May 2010 elections that include the Supreme Court decision allowing Mrs. Arroyo to appoint the next Chief Justice two months before the elections and the designation of Gen. Delfin Bangit as the new chief of the Armed Forces of the Philippines.

“If that is the case, then the 92 million Filipinos have no options but to take the streets for the third time around and stage another popular people uprising to frustrate President Arroyo’s attempt to perpetuate herself to power as a hold over president or chief of an installed civilian-military junta dominated by military generals loyal or associated with the party of Arroyo,” said Hicap.

Pamalakaya said the outrage expressed by political activists, lawyers, professionals and politicians opposed to the Supreme Court decision granting President Arroyo the power to appoint the next Chief Justice despite the constitutional prohibition and their opposition against the appointment of Bangit as new AFP chief is an indication that Filipinos are ready to go to the main capital for another People Power to effectively stop the ruling gangland in Malacanang from extending their terms beyond June 30, 2010.

Pamalakaya described the SC ruling as a major legal disaster and the appointment of Bangit and other rabid pro-Arroyo officials in various positions in the government highly revolting.

Pamalakaya advised President Arroyo to refrain from complicating things and instead do the most lawful, sensible and objective action that suits to the national interest and collective will of the people. It said the trouble with President Arroyo is her super obsession to stay in power beyond June 30, 2010 and the President is hell bent in appointing a Chief Justice that will follow the doctrine of Malacanang.#

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Mar Roxas a major disappointment, says climate change group

By Cherry de Belen and Bb. Joyce Cabral

MANILA, Philippines-The left-wing fisherfolk alliance Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya)on Tuesday said they were shocked and disappointed with Liberal Party (LP) vice presidential candidate Sen. Mar Roxas for questioning his closest rival- Nacionalista Party (NP) Vice presidential candidate Sen. Loren Legarda for prioritizing environmental issues such as climate change and El Nino as election campaign.

“Senator Mar Roxas is a major disappointment. He failed millions of farmers and fisherfolk with his avant-garde display of mediocrity, wholesale ignorance and political arrogance on environmental issues like El Nino and climate change,” Pamalakaya national chair Fernando Hicap said in a press statement.

“For the information of Senator Roxas, climate change , El Nino and the scores of environmental issues besetting the country today are issues that are matters of life and death to millions of food producing people across-the-archipelago. Why is he is taking for granted issues pertaining to climate change, El Nino and the environment? This is mind-boggling and totally outrageous,” he added.

Yesterday, Sen. Legarda told reporters that she is willing to educate Sen. Roxas on climate change, after the LP vice-presidential bet apparently belittled her environmental advocacy during the ABS-CBN “Harapan” vice presidential debate.

At last Sunday’s debate held at La Consolacion College in Manila, the LP vice-presidential candidate questioned Legarda’s priorities in making the environment her campaign advocacy, noting that the Philippines accounted for less than 1 percent of the Carbon dioxide (CO2) emission that is chiefly blamed for global warming.

But Legarda argued that climate change was a gut issue, as the Philippines was one of 10 countries considered most vulnerable to disasters related to climate change.

Pamalakaya’s Hicap said Roxas’ “earth shaking statement” dismissing the people’s issues and advocacy on climate change and El Nino will mean voluminous reduction of electoral support for the LP Vice-Presidential candidate.

“Sen.Roxas has wittingly or unwittingly attacked environmental and climate change advocacy in this country and this would compel the green advocates and the grassroots voters to think over a thousand times to think if he deserves their votes come May 10, 2010 elections. On the part of the 100,000 strong Pamalakaya, he is no longer in contention in the VP race courtesy of his blasphemous anti-environment and anti-fisherfolk view. Rejection becomes Mr Roxas,” Hicap said.

Pamalakaya expressed doubt Sen. Roxas will accept the offer of Sen.Legarda to get a crash course on climate change and El Nino.

“Mr. Palengke’s humble crusade and humility are only good for election ad and for image building. The LP vice-presidential wannabe is the candidate of big business groups and Roxas’ business clients hate genuine advocacy against climate change, global warming, environmental disaster and El Nino,” the group said. #

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Militant senatoriables will not back Bongbong’s bid

By Billy Javier Reyes

Manila, Philippines-Nacionalista Party senatorial guest candidates Satur Ocampo of Bayan Muna and Liza Maza of Gabriela Women’s Party on Tuesday affirmed that the progressive coalition party Makabayan will not support the senatorial bid of Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr.

“We wish to emphasize that the key basis of Makabayan’s mutual adoption agreement with the Villar-Legarda tandem is the accord to carry specific reforms in our platform during the campaign and to implement them after victory,” said Ocampo and Maza in a statement sent to The Pamalakaya Times.

Ocampo added that “Makabayan intends to talk with other senatorial candidates of the Nacionalista Party for concrete forms of cooperation on the basis of our platform except with Bongbong Marcos.

“We respect and uphold the expressed will of our mass constituents not to support Bong Marcos senatorial bid because he echoes his mother’s repeated claim that former Pres. Marcos did nothing wrong in his dictatorial rule,” Ocampo said.

Ocampo added that the Marcoses “have in so many ways obstructed the rendering of justice and indemnification to the victims of martial law and the recovery of ill-gotten wealth.”

“One important aspect of the platform we clinched with Sen. Villar and the Nacionalita Party is the commitment to immediately give justice and indemnification to martial law victims and the full recovery of ill gotten wealth according to law,” Ocampo concluded.

Makabayan, a coalition of eight progressive parties, namely Bayan Muna, Anakpawis, Gabriela, Kabataan, Migrante, ACT Teachers, Courage and Katribu yesterday endorsed the presidential and vice-presidential bid of Senators Manny Villar and Loren Legard, and is also open to endorse a number of senatorial candidates who will support the coalition’s platform.

The progressive coalition is also open to endorse and support progressive candidates seeking congressional seats and local government posts in the 2010 elections.

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Lake groups launch 10k signature drive vs. NCHS

By Ms Sugar Hicap and Billy Javier Reyes

Lakeshore groups in Rizal and Laguna provinces belonging to the activist fisherfolk alliance Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya), its regional chapter Pamalakaya-Southern Tagalog and the multi-sectoral environmental group Save Laguna Lake Movement (SLMM) has launched a signature drive seeking the immediate and conditional dismantling of Napindan Hydraulic Control Structure (NCHS), which the groups blamed the massive flooding of lake towns around Laguna Lake.

In a joint press statement, Pamalakaya and SLMM said the Laguna Lake and its people will always be in state of across-the-lake flooding and constant danger, unless, the national government and lake authorities decide the dismantling of the structure, which it said is the biggest obstruction to the smooth and logical flow of flood waters to Manila Bay.

Pamalakaya national chair and SLLM convener Fernando Hicap said anti-NCHS groups hope to gather at least 10,000 signatures and will submit these to Senate and the House of Representatives once Congress resumes session next month.

“10,000 signatures will be enough to convince lawmakers about the necessity of removing this structure from Laguna Lake. If that is not enough, then we will gather more and engage in pound-for-pound fight for the dismantling of Napindan hydraulic monster,” Hicap added.

The Pamalakaya leader said signatures for the dismantling of NCHS will come from several towns of Rizal, Laguna and on the part of the National Capital Region, the signatures will come from Taguig, Pateros and Muntinlupa.

The signature campaign will also ask the national government and the local government units to put an end to all reclamation and road dike projects along Laguna Lake, which Hicap said is also one of the factors why Laguna Lake swallowed 30 towns in the lake , because these projects also prevented the smooth flow of waters in the 90,000 hectare-lake on its way to Pasig River and then to Manila Bay.

The 10,000 signature campaign will also demand the formation of independent body that will investigate and will look into the current state of Laguna Lake. The groups suggested that the body shall be composed of representatives from the Philippine Senate, the House of Representatives, the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) and the other church organizations, environmental groups and experts, representatives from people’s organizations. Leaders of Pamalakaya and SLLM eye Supreme Court Chief Justice Reynato Puno to head the probe body.

Pamalakaya and SLLM asserted that towns surrounding Laguna Lake were already submerged in waters ahead of the arrival of tropical storm Ondoy.

Reports from field coordinators of Pamalakaya and SLMM in Rizal and Laguna provinces said fisherfolk and lakeshore residents had already noticed the rising water level in Laguna Lake and excess waters had spilled along in 30 towns in Rizal and Laguna provinces, and in the National Capital Region before Ondoy pounded heavy rains on September 26.

“The disaster is bound to happen. It is a perfect storm in the making because the Laguna Lake Development Authority (LLDA) refuses to open the NCHS that will dispose excess waters in the lake. Tropical storm Ondoy only fast tracked the commencement of the super calamity,” they said.

Hicap lamented: “We have been sending hundreds of notices to LLDA General Manager Edgar Manda that the lake authority should open NCHS to prevent the happening of a Great Flood all over the lake and in Metro Manila, but Mr. Manda is either not listening to this fearless forecast, or he is not doing his assignment or he is ignorant of the issue and its consequences to more than 6 million lakeshore people.”

“Where will Mrs. Arroyo and Mr. Manda relocate the people of Laguna Lake? In the moon? In the purgatory? ” the Pamalakaya leader asked.

The NHCS was built in 1983 to prevent or lessen the increase of salinity from Manila Bay and pollution from the Pasig River from entering Laguna de Bay during times of reverse flow. The NHCS is found on the confluence of Marikina and Pateros-Taguig rivers with Pasig River. This confluence is also the downstream endpoint of the Napindan Channel, which is the upper part of Pasig River that connects to Laguna de Bay.

Aside from preventing the reverse flow of Pasig River, the NHCS is also used for flood control. During the rainy season, most of the flooding along the Pasig River area is due to the increased water flow coming from Marikina River.

The Manggahan Floodway in Pasig City was constructed to divert much of this water from Marikina River directly into Laguna de Bay. By also closing the NHCS during times of rain, the water is effectively dammed in Laguna de Bay preventing it from flooding the downstream portions of Pasig River (with reports from Lollipop de los Reyes and Gerry Albert Corpuz). #

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Militants to Loren: Slowdown on relocation of lakeshore residents

By Rey Manangan, Tootsie Roll Arcadia and Lollipop delos Reyes

Manila, Philippines- The lake wide fishers group Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya) and staunch ally- the multisectoral alliance Save Laguna Lake Movement (SLLM) on Sunday said Senator Loren Legarda should slowdown on her proposal to relocate tens of thousands of fisherfolk and residents of lakeshore towns, including alleged illegal settlers at the mouth of the lake.

Pamalakaya and SLMM added this might be exploited by the Laguna Lake Development Authority (LLDA) which had programmed the conversion of the lake for private use and profit-driven activities at the expense of lake people and the environment.

Pamalakaya national chair Fernando Hicap said his group wanted to get in touch with Legarda, who chairs the Senate oversight committee on climate change, after they learned that she already agreed with LLDA General Manager Edgar Manda on the immediate relocation of residents without conducting first a public consultation with the affected people.

“We are aware of the honest and noble purpose of Sen. Legarda, her concern for the people and the environment, but the good senator should first consult the people, learn and understand their collective interest and current sentiment on the proposed relocation before subscribing to the suggestion of Mr. Manda, who is known in the Laguna Lake community as lapdog of big business, a certified puppet of the Office of the President, and a public official with cruel intentions against the people,” the Pamalakaya leader said in a press statement.

Legarda who ran in the 2004 election for vice-president and 2007 in the senatorial election was endorsed and supported by Pamalakaya for her outstanding advocacy on environment, peace talks and her gallant cause against the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA).

“To set the record straight, we have (been) anticipating the senator’s invitation for us to appear in the hearing of the Senate oversight committee on climate change, but up to now, no invitation was sent to our national office. Perhaps in the next hearing, the good senator will invite us to hear and know the real score coming from the lake folk and not from Mr. Manda alone,” Hicap added.

On Saturday, Sen. Legarda and Manda conducted an ocular inspection of the lake whose water level at the height of tropical storm Ondoy reached 14.5 meters from its normal level of 12.5 meters. She and the LLDA chief reached the poor community after inspecting flooded areas along Pasig River from Guadalupe in Makati City to Pasig.

Legarda said the LLDA had repeatedly warned the Lupang Arenda, a community of shanties built along the banks of the lake in Taytay, Rizal, was permanently at risk of flooding at every abnormal rise of the water level. She said the residents and the government should agree on permanent relocation site.

As many as 100,000 households in Lupang Arenda, Cainta and Pasig have been displaced by the abnormal rise in lake’s water level but Lupang Arenda residents have resisted relocation, telling LLDA that they had been paying fees to the National Housing Authority for a permit to stay in the reclaimed area.

Yesterday, Pamalakaya attended a meeting of calamity victims in Muntinlupa where tens of thousands of lakeshore residents and fishermen are still submerged in deep waters. The consultation among fisherfolk and residents was called by Bayan-NCR and the Muntinlupa chapters of party list groups—Bayan Muna, Gabriela, Kabataan Party and Akap-Bata.

During the consultation, Pamalakaya information officer Gerry Albert Corpuz explained that the immediate cause of continuous flooding was the permanent closure of Napindan Hydraulic Control Structure (NCHS), a flood support structure, the prevented excess waters of Laguna Lake to flow into Pasig River on its way to Manila Bay.

“The people there are open for relocation provided that the following requirements will be addressed by the national and local governments—on city relocation that will provide decent mass housing for calamity victims, provisions for comprehensive rehabilitation projects and social services and the immediate yet productive creation of jobs for thousands of displaced residents,” he said.

According to Corpuz, Bayan-NCR and local chapters of progressive party list groups and urban poor organizations today will conduct a fluvial parade in Muntinlupa, that will include distribution of relief goods to several calamity stricken villages and clean up.

“Bayan-NCR and the people in the lakeshore side of Muntinlupa are doing their very best to address the immediate needs and demands under Kilusang Bayanihan movement. Sen. Legarda should involve them in the current hearing of her committee on climate change. They can speak on the matter more than Mr. Manda,” the Pamalakaya information chief added.

Earlier, Pamalakaya and Save Laguna Lake Movement urged leaders of the Philippine Senate and the House of Representatives to also prioritize the legislative inquiry on Laguna Lake which is still under 14.5 meter deep since tropical storm Ondoy hit the country on Sept.26.

“Today is Oct.18 or about 22 days since storm Ondoy turned Laguna Lake into a virtual water world. Do we need 40 days before Congress takes up an inquiry on the ill-fated 90,000 hectare lake? Excuse us, but Laguna Lake, its people and environment are not dead entities waiting for 40-day ritual,” the groups said.

Pamalakaya added: “Let me remind our lawmakers that 30 towns and cities of Rizal and Laguna provinces and the National Capital Region were swallowed by Laguna Lake at the height of storm Ondoy affecting 2.2 million out of the 6 million fisherfolk and lake shore population. But the investigation is not moving as if the issue on hand is just a dime-a-dozen concern”.

The groups noted that only a handful of lawmakers agreed to their proposal for an all-out investigation on the current state of Laguna Lake. They are Senators Jamby Madrigal and Legarda in the Senate, Muntinlupa Rep. Ruffy Biazon and militant party list lawmakers Satur Ocampo, Teddy Casino and Neri Colmenaras of Bayan Muna, Luzviminda Ilagan and Liza Maza of Gabriela Women’s Party, Raymond Palatino of Kabataan Party and Rafael Mariano and Joel Maglunsod of Anakpawis party list.

“The Senate has 23 senators and the House of Representatives has 255 congressmen. But only a few good men and women managed to rise above the occasion. It is not too late for the leadership of both Houses and their peers to come to their senses and start the ball rolling on Laguna Lake catastrophe,” added Pamalakaya.

The lake-based groups said Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile and House Speaker Prospero Nograles should discourage members of the Senate and the House from going into vacation or abroad and instead call for special sessions that will look into the impacts of storm Ondoy and typhoon Pepeng and root the causes of the twin catastrophe that plagued the almost entire island of Luzon. Both houses are set to have their recess on Oct.15.

“No more foreign trips please, and the lawmakers should continue their legislative work by pursuing these investigations in aid of legislation and by going back to their respective districts and find out the needs of their devastated constituents,” Pamalakaya added.

Prior to typhoon Ondoy, Pamalakaya and SLLM asserted that towns and cities surrounding the lake were already flooded. The groups attributed the flooding to the closure of the NCHS that prevented excess waters of Laguna Lake from passing through Pasig River on its way to Manila Bay. Both groups said at the height of typhoon Ondoy, the Napindan channel was still closed impounding more waters to the lake and later spilled to 30 towns in Rizal, Laguna and Metro Manila.

The Social Action Center of San Pablo City in Laguna said the mass flooding affected 20 towns of Laguna, excluding several towns in Rizal province and had displaced around 750,248 people mostly fisherfolk, farmers and urban poor.

The most affected towns are the towns of Binan where 45,125 families or 198,700 people were displaced, followed by San Pedro (25,606 families or 153,636 people affected), Sta.Cruz (20, 498 families or 102,590 people displaced) Sta. Rosa (14,951 families or 77,052 people displaced), Cabuyao (7,670 families or 46,001 persons affected), Calamba (8,024 families or 33, 819 people affected) and Los Banos (5,496 families or 29,730 people displaced.

Pamalakaya and SLLM suggested the following names and offices to be invited or subpoenaed for the congressional inquiry, whether separate or joint congressional inquiry.

Their list includes environment Secretary Joselito Atienza, Laguna Lake Development Authority (LLDA) General Manager Manda, the governors of Rizal and Laguna provinces, mayors and local government officials of affected 30 towns and cities surrounding the lake, the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), the National Economic Development Authority (NEDA), the officials of Board of Investment (BOI), the National Disaster Coordinating Council (NDCC) and the Office of Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita to represent President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. #

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