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As an election lawyer, De Lima won election cases for Alan Cayetano and Koko Pimentel

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Senators Alan Peter Cayetano and Koko Pimentel are both allies of President Rodrigo Duterte. On the other hand, Senator Leila de Lima is a staunch critic of the president. This puts Cayetano, Pimentel on the side opposite de Lima.

But did you know that before she entered politics, de Lima, as an election lawyer, won several cases for Cayetano and Pimentel?

The senators used to be de Lima’s clients before she was appointed as human rights commissioner, justice secretary, and now neophyte senator.

De Lima lawyered up for Cayetano in a disqualification case filed against him in 2007 over his citizenship when he ran for senator and a disqualification case he filed against senatorial candidate Joselito Pepito “Peter” Cayetano, who was considered a nuisance bet.

De Lima also won Pimentel’s electoral protest filed against Senator Juan Miguel Zubiri, who was declared as the 12th senator.

Duterte has accused de Lima of carrying on an affair with her married driver and bagman for drug money. He also tagged de Lima as the highest ranking government official in his drug matrix that explained the proliferation of illegal drug trade in the New Bilibid Prison.

In his article on Rappler “Leila de Lima: Woman for All Seasons,” former dean of the Ateneo School of Government Tony La Viña wrote about de Lima’s victory for Cayetano.

“She stood as the lawyer of Cayetano when a nuisance candidate with the same name as the senator, a dockworker from Davao, was fielded to undermine his candidacy as a result of his perceived opposition to then President Arroyo, as well as his exposes on the alleged corruption of former first gentleman Mike Arroyo. It was then said at the Comelec that the order to dismiss the case and allow the nuisance candidate to run came from the very top. De Lime nevertheless went on to win the case for Cayetano, and the senator got his Senate seat,” La Viña said.

De Lima says dealings with senators are purely professional

According to Rappler Newsbreak’s article, de Lima has said that she has no ill feelings or tampo at her former clients, despite the fact that they are on Duterte’s side.

“None at all. My engagements with those clients were purely professional. Of course we also became friends in the course of handling their cases, but definitely there is nothing personal when it comes to their position on issues in the Senate, especially now that I am their colleague,” de Lima said.

She added that her past dealings with the two no longer matters given the current circumstances that they are in.

“That is the nature of the Senate. As they say, each senator is a republic unto himself. So the fact that they were former clients is almost irrelevant to how we relate to each other now as colleagues and as friends,” de Lima said.

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Cayetano says it’s sometimes awkward dealing with de Lima

Cayetano is more vocal about defending Duterte and making tirades against de Lima. However, he said that there is nothing “personal” about those denouncements against his former lawyer, adding that he has debated with other senators and remained friends with them anyway.

“Halos naman except ‘yung mga bago, nakadebate ko naman lahat, di ba? Nakadebate ko si Chiz [Escudero], we’re still good friends. Nakadebate ko si Senator [Ping] Lacson, we’re very good friends. So we’re all professionals here, walang issue na magkaiba kami ng side. Walang personalan,” Cayetano said.

However, the senator himself cannot deny that it sometimes feels awkward between him and his friend, de Lima.

“At times awkward because we are friends, but we’re professionals eh. Dito naman sa Senado nagkakabanggaan. Of course, because she feels strongly about her issues, I feel strongly about how they’re playing it out,” he said.

Cayetano then launched to criticize how de Lima chose to launch a probe into drug-related killings without meeting the police first.

“It’s not about friendship. It’s about who’s correct. Kung mali si President Duterte, ever since naman sinabi niya sa akin: ‘Alan, salita ka lang kung may makita kang mali.’ But there’s a way to do it. Ni hindi nakipag-meeting ang committee on justice sa mga pulis or sa mga dapat tumutulong eh, ni di nagpa-brief, imbestiga na agad,” he said.

Pimentel said all the senators are his friends; Duterte is his idol

Pimentel, despite being Duterte’s ally, has kept relatively quiet about the constant exchange of words between de Lima and Duterte.

Asked what he felt about dealing with the issues between party-mate Duterte and senator-friend de Lima, Pimentel said: “Actually, lahat ng senator kaibigan ko, ha? So kung may issues involving a senator siyempre concerned din ako. Ganun lang po yun.”

Pimentel said that he also looks up to Duterte as his “idol.”

“Pero ang President kasi di lang sa kaibigan ko, idol ko pa, sinoportahan ko pa, isa kami sa nagkumbinsi sa kanya tumakbo, at kapartido ko po s’ya. Meron pong, ang samahan po naming ideology- and agenda-based. Kailangan ko suportahan ang Presidente na maging matagumpay kasi tagumpay din po yan ng aming partido,” he added.

Pimentel also said that the Senate has no plans to get involved even after Duterte has made several personal attacks against de Lima.

“No no no, di na. Actually, tatapatin ko kayo. Senator de Lima never asked for my help anyway, so okay,” he said.

In the recently concluded third hearing as part of the Senate’s probe into extrajudicial killings linked to the government’s war on drugs on September 15, de Lima declared Cayetano “out of order” for “imputing bad faith, ill motive.” This came after Cayetano said that bringing in a witness like the self-confessed hitman Edgar Matobato could be Liberal Party’s Plan B.

Sources: (rappler.com)

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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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