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Robredo should file a counter-protest against Marcos Jr – election lawyer

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Vice President Leni Robredo should take a counter-offensive and file a counter-protest versus former Senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr., suggested election lawyer Emil Marañon III.

In his article published by Rappler, Marañon said that Robredo is not in a position to just “sit back and watch,” as what some political observers have suggested because of her narrow lead of 263,000 votes over Marcos.

“To offset any potential votes that Marcos will gain in the recount, it is both strategic and necessary for the VP to take a counter-offensive and file a counter-protest herself,” Marañon wrote.

“A counter-protest will allow her to make the necessary claims on her unaccounted votes and also attack the votes cast in favor of Marcos,” he added.

Robredo earlier said that she is more concerned about where to get the funding for the legal fees than Marcos’ election protest, deeming it baseless. However, election lawyer Romulo Macalintal said that he is willing to represent Robredo for free.

Marañon noted that a counter-protest is just as costly as an election protest as it also requires P500 cash deposit for each established precinct, which could amount to millions depending on the protests’ scope. The counter-protestant also needs to pay the P100,000 filing fee, which could truly present a problem to Robredo, who has a declared net worth of P8 million. On top of these fees, Robredo would have to pay for lawyers’ fees, expenses incurred in evidence gathering, daily’s meals, and fees of recount watchers and revisors, and other miscellaneous expenses.

Several Robredo supporters planned to donate money to help cover the cost of the election protest. Although grateful for the support, Robredo’s camp said that they would not accept the funds since it is not in accordance with the law.

Aside from the expenses, Marañon also pointed out how 10 days might not be enough to squeeze in her counter-protest.

The Supreme Court acting as Presidential Electoral Tribunal (PET) asked Robredo on August 2 to respond in ten days to Marcos’ protest.

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Examining Marcos’ grounds for filing an election protest

Marañon also discussed each parameter in Marcos’ protest, which included the following, as published on Rappler:

  1. The non-compliance of the 2016 Automated Election System (AES) with the mandatory provisions of Republic Act 8436, as amended by RA 9639
  2. The unauthorized tampering of the Transparency Server, which allegedly paved the way for the commission of technical fraud during the transmission of votes
  3. The presence of 3 million undervotes, which Marcos claims to be “highly unlikely”
  4. The existence of massive electoral fraud on election day, particularly in Basilan, Maguindanao, and Lanao del Sur; move to recount votes in 36,000 precincts in 22 provinces and 5 cities also on ground of various irregularities

According to Marañon, parameters (1) and (2) are “issues that may not be tried in an election protest case, unless Marcos proves that such allegations actually affected the final result.”

He also pointed out that a protest recount’s ultimate goal is to disregard the result of the AES and go back to manual counting of the physical ballots. But by protesting the non-compliance of the 2016 AES, Marcos basically waives his objection over this issue.

Earlier, Robredo’s lawyer, Macalintal, said that Marcos’ protest is erroneous because he protested the election results in some areas, essentially calling for a failure of election. He added that this is not within the jurisdiction of the PET but of the Comelec En Banc, under Section 14 of RA No. 7166.

“Likewise, ‘failure of election’ means ‘no one is elected,’ hence, there could be no failure of election since the President down to the last councilors were duly elected and had already assumed their respective offices,” Macalintal said.

Marañon also pointed out the same thing in his article.

“It must be noted that effect of an election protest – as also explicitly prayed for by Mr. Marcos – is for him to be declared and proclaimed as the winner of the 2016 vice presidential election. How can one possibly pray to be proclaimed as the “winner” of an election, which at the same time one claims to be null and void? Those are two irreconcilable and inconsistent positions that technically cancel each other,” Marañon said.

“As regards the prayer for the annulment of election results in Basilan, Maguindanao, and Lanao del Sur, it is quite strange to see it prayed in an election protest. A prayer for a wholesale annulment of election results is technically a prayer for the declaration of “failure of elections” under Section 6 of the Omnibus Election Code. However, this following a line of cases, is within the exclusive jurisdiction of the Commission on Elections en banc, and not of the PET,” he added.

As for the issue regarding the 3 million undervotes, Marañon said, “Marcos cannot claim that all 3 million as his without first proving that they were indeed cast in his favor and not mere abstentions.”

Marañon, according to his Rappler profile, served as chief of staff of former Comelec Chairman Sixto Brillantes Jr. He is said to be currently studying Human Rights, Conflict and Justice at SOAS, University of London, as a Chevening scholar.

Sources: (rappler.com, newsinfo.inquirer.net, philstar.com, interaksyon.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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