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Congressman denies links to Impeach Leni complaint, slams lawyers for using his name without consent

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Puwersa ng Bayaning Atleta (PBA) Partylist Rep. Jericho Nograles revealed on May 2, Tuesday, that he did not endorse the impeachment complaint against Vice President Leni Robredo, adding that his name was included in the draft complaint without his consent.

His name was floated as one of the lawmakers who are in talks with the people behind the Impeach Leni Movement, but he denied it.

“There is a group of people who want me to endorse something I have not read. And for me, that is improper at best,” Nograles told the media on Tuesday.

The movement is composed of lawyers, bloggers, and a government official. As per the law, any Filipino citizen may file for the impeachment of a public official, but only with the endorsement of a lawmaker.

Lawyer Bruce Rivera, the movement’s spokesperson, said that a male solon asked them to furnish a copy of the complaint to his office so he may review it. The same lawmaker told the group to distribute copies to other solons who could endorse the complaint. Rivera, however, refused to name the lawmaker.

Nograles denied that he was the legislator Rivera was referring to.

“That would not be me. Whoever that lawmaker is, it surely is not me. I saw the front page of that said complaint bearing my name and the names of other individuals who I do not know,” said Nograles.

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“I do not know these people. I have not met them. I have not shook their hands. Even when I asked them, ‘Magkakilala ba tayo? Have we ever met? Have we ever spoken to each other?’ Ang sagot nila hindi,” he added.

Nograles was referring to Rivera and his fellow lawyer Trixie Cruz-Angeles, also a part of the Impeach Leni Movement, as the lawyers who left a copy of what turned out to be a draft complaint in his office on Tuesday.

“Ganito kakapal. Ang nakasulat pangalan nila through Representative Jericho Nograles PBA Party-list vs. Leni Robredo,” Nograless described the document.

The PBA representative even showed the media the front page of the draft impeachment complaint.

The complainant section reads: “Rose Beatrix Cruz-Angeles, Antonio Contreras, Epimaco Densing III, G Ahmed G Paglinawan, Bruce Rivera, Tomas Berenguer, Through Rep Jericho Nograles, PBA Partylist.”

Nograles said he returned the draft to Angeles and Rivera.

“Binalik ko sa kanila. Anong gagawin ko diyan? ‘Di ko trabaho iyan. Kung pinagkamalan ako na Karlo, bakit Jericho nakasulat?” the lawmaker said.

His brother, Karlo Nograles, is also a solon representing Davao City.

He added that he asked the lawyers to leave his office immediately.

“They want me to endorse the complaint. When presented with the complaint, I was surprised to see my name… And [I said] ‘I did not give you any authority to use my name. I do not know why you are presenting this to me and I said I’d like you to leave because you are using my name without my consent,” Nograles said.

‘Misunderstanding’

Rivera later told Rappler that the confusion over Nograles’ name’s inclusion in the draft complaint was due to a “misunderstanding.” He added that he was not referring to Nograles either as the lawmaker that his group is talking to.

“Ang ano kasi diyan, we were initially asked to talk to several congressmen. Ngayon, ‘di naman namin alam sino mag-e-endorse so gumawa kami ng draft letters,” said Rivera.

Rivera also said that his group informed Nograles’ camp that they would be furnishing him a copy of the complaint for him to review.

Draft lang ‘yan. If we were informed about it, we will not include his name kasi marami naman kaming nakausap,” he added.

Political science professor Antonio Contreras, another member of the Impeach Leni group, told GMA News Online via a text message that the PBA party-list rep “sent feelers that he would be interested to endorse” the complaint but only after reviewing it.

“To save time, we included his name already, but in the event he declined to endorse as what happened, we had a cover letter prepared addressed to the Speaker. We just deleted his name,” Contreras added.

The lawyers’ move in including Nograles’ name without asking for his permission first may subject them to disbarment, said the solon.

“I find it highly irregular for attorneys-at-law to use my name over a document they prepared without my consent. It can be misrepresentation. I would have to study that, [but] for the moment, I have already informed the Office of the Secretary-General that I have not endorsed any impeachment complaint against the Vice President,” Nograles said.

Filing did not push through

The Impeach Leni Movement’s plan to file the impeachment complaint on Tuesday did not push through because not one lawmaker showed up for the required endorsement.

Rivera said that the group understands how legislators circumspect about making the endorsement.

“Here is the deal. When we were already forming it, they already reached out and said that we continue it because that was what they also wanted-that they wanted to endorse. It’s just that of course, we have to be, in more ways than one, we have to understand that they have to be a little circumspect about it,” the lawyer said.

The group said the impeachment complaint against Robredo accused her of culpable violations of the Constitution, betrayal of public trust, and graft and corruption.

Sources: ( rappler.com , news.abs-cbn.com , gmanetwork.com , cnnphilippines.com , newsinfo.inquirer.net )

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Netizens slam Duterte for saying women ‘could not stand threats and intimidation’

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President Rodrigo Duterte drew flak for another controversial comment involving women after he remarked on May 24 that women “could not stand threats and intimidation.”

Duterte said that while he believed in women’s competence, it does not necessarily ring true in all aspects of life.

“I believe in the woman, the competence and capability, pero hindi lahat sa buhay dapat.Hindi ka, hindi, hindi. Dapat lang. It’s not appropriate when you cannot stand threats and intimidation,” he said in his May 24 speech.

He also said that women should be “prim and proper” and talked about his reservation in sending women police and soldiers to the field because unlike men, they did not grow up with a mindset that involves violence.

“Ang mga babae, sundalo pati pulis, ayaw ko ‘yan sa bukid. Unlike men kami, maliit pa lang, suntukan, bakbakan, barilan. And we grew up with a sort of a mindset na sometimes prone to violence. Itong mga babae, prim and proper man ‘yan, isang tingin lang sa nanay niyan, wala na tunaw na ‘yan. Tapos gawin mong pulis, ipaaway mo doon. Naku,” Duterte remarked.

Netizens then took to social media to react to Duterte’s most recent statements, making #BabaeAko trend again on Twitter.

“Mr. President, you just horrifyingly disrespected your own mother who bravely fought against the Marcos dictatorship. She withstood threats and intimidation. Siya ay babae! #BabaeAko,” a Twitter user remarked.

Forensic expert Dr. Raquel Fortun spoke out, too, saying “I am threatened and intimidated a lot. All my life. Don’t me. #BabaeAko.”

So did film and theater actress Chai Fonacier, who said, “Encouraging women — and I mean including those who identify as women — and our friends from the entire spectrum to share your #BabaeAko statements to fight the misogyny that the President and his ilk normalize through their behavior. Make them remember the feminine strength.”

KABATAAN Partylist Rep. Sarah Elago also reacted, saying she refused to be stereotyped.

Former Solicitor General Florin Hilbay urged other Filipinos to protest against Duterte’s misogynistic statements.

Other Twitter users weighed in on the issue.

Duterte’s previous misogynistic remarks

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His remarks in his speech on May 24 seemed to have sought to explain another controversial remark he made on May 16 when he said that he did not want a politician, especially a woman, to become the next Ombudsman.

“Mag-nominate sila, pero I choose, but gusto ko ‘yung bilib ang tao sa integrity niya. Of course it could not be a politician, lalo na hindi babae,” he said during a chance interview.

This gave birth to the launching of the #BabaeAko movement on social media on May 21 by women activists and other people who also want to protest Duterte’s misogynistic and sexist statements.

One of  the women who joined the #BabaeAko campaign was former Social Welfare Secretary Judy Taguiwalo who said, “Akala ko taumbayan ang boss ni Duterte. Yun pala sina Marcos, Gloria, Trump at China. Para sa bayang makatarungan at malaya, lalaban ako.”

In February, he was also slammed for telling his audience of former NPA rebels that he told his soldiers to shoot female rebels in the vagina.

Sources: ( rappler.comphilstar.com )

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New DOT chief to ask Montano why he rushed official New York engagement to watch Broadway show

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Newly installed Department of Tourism (DOT) Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat said she plans on talking with Tourism Promotions Board (TPB) COO Cesar Montano to ask for his side on certain accusations that were hurled against him.

Among these accusations came from an Abante report where Montano was said to have rushed a speaking engagement staged by the DOT in New York to watch the Broadway musical show “Hamilton.”

DOT reportedly launched the Philippine Tourism Presentation and Dinner Reception on May 9 to showcase Philippine tourism and fashion at the Roosevelt Hotel in New York. Montano was introduced as the event’s keynote speaker, but he was said to have only spoken for a bit before hurriedly leaving the venue, disappointing the guests, which also included US officials.

Montano was said to have been invited to the event in behalf of the now-resigned Tourism Secretary Wanda Teo. He was also named as one of the two hosts, the other being Teo, of the said event.

In reaction to this report about Montano, Puyat said she would talk to Montano as well as the Tourism attache and other DOT officials who attended the event to verify the accusation in the report mentioned above.

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Puyat said that she would investigate into the “Buhay Carinderia” program that the TPB is set to implement. This was after Philippine Star Boo Chanco accused Montano of issuing P80-million worth of three checks to the event proponent and organizer.

“I still don’t have the papers. I will be asking [and] will be arranging a meeting with Mr. Cesar Montano to ask about ‘yung mga nabasa ko sa ‘Buhay Carinderia’ – kung totoo ba na walang bidding ‘yung P80 million na advance,” Puyat said on May 15.

“I’m planning to talk to him and ask his side. I want to ask all those who were there if it actually happened,” Puyat added.

In March 2017, TPB employees filed a complaint against Montano for his alleged corruption and mismanagement of the agency. These include hiring friends and relatives, using TPB’s funds for personal trips, and showing incompetence in fulfilling his obligations as the agency’s COO.

Sources: ( tnt.abante.com.phphilstar.comrappler.com )

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Eldest Tulfo vows to help Wanda clear her name, berates ‘black sheep’ Ben over controversial P60-M DOT ad deal

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Inquirer columnist Ramon Tulfo spoke up about the controversy involving his siblings, now resigned Tourism Secretary Wanda Tulfo-Teo and hosts Ben and Erwin Tulfo, over the P60 million tourism ad deal.

The eldest Tulfo wrote in his Inquirer column on May 10 that while President Rodrigo Duterte himself advised the Tulfo family to avoid talking to the media, he took it upon himself as the family’s acting patriarch to tell the story behind the controversy.

First up, Ramon blamed Teo for not hiring smart staff members who could have advised her against inking a deal with PTV 4, where one of the Tulfo brothers, Ben, was a blocktimer.

As a blocktimer, Ben pays for his TV show’s airtime on the state-run channel.

According to Ramon, Wanda was only complying with President Duterte’s injunction for his Cabinet secretaries to support PTV 4, adding that she did not know Ben’s company would get most of the multimillion advertising contract with DOT.

He also hit Ben, whom he called a “black sheep” with a “middle child” syndrome as the fifth child out of 10 siblings, for signing the P60-million advertising contract with PTV 4 despite knowing that there would be a conflict of interest on Wanda’s part.

Ramon also said that Wanda still tried to save Ben, who insisted on his innocence amid the controversy, leading her to resign from her post. He also explained that Wanda seemed to have forgotten the fact that her husband was on the board of director of the Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Zone Authority (Tieza), a part of DOT, when Duterte appointed her as tourism chief. He added that it should have been up to her husband to step down from his post upon his wife’s appointment.

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In the same column, he also slammed Wanda’s lawyer, Ferdinand Topacio, whom he said did not even consult the Tulfo brothers on returning the P60-million funds from the ad deal. He also described the lawyer as “all talk,” a counsel who’s only focused on gaining publicity for himself.

Unlike what has been previously reported about Wanda resigning out of delicadeza amid the controversy, Ramon let it slip that he commended President Duterte for “sacking Wanda,” prompting some people to ask whether Wanda was fired instead of resigned.

Before he ended his column, he vowed to support “Wanda’s fight to clear her name, but not Ben’s.”
Wanda resigned on May 8 to show delicadeza and to spare everyone, especially Duterte, from the pain caused by the controversy, according to her lawyer.

The issue started with the Commission on Audit’s report showing the DOT paying P60 million worth of commercials to PTV 4, which in turn, tapped Ben’s Bitag Media Unlimited Inc. to air the tourism ads during Ben and Erwin’s show “Kilos Pronto.”

Malacañang said that Teo’s resignation does not mean that she is off the hook since the Ombudsman is still looking into her and other government officials involved in the controversial ad deal.

Sources: ( inquirer.netnews.abs-cbn.com , nnphilippines.com )

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