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Senators urge ethics probe, ask for apology from Trillanes after he calls them ‘cowards,’ ‘lapdogs’

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Several senators reacted to Senator Antonio Trillanes IV’s statement calling his colleagues ‘cowards,’ ‘puppets’ and ‘lapdogs’ of the Duterte administration, with one urging for an ethics probe and some asking Trillanes for an apology.

On July 3, Trillanes said the Senate, which is supposed to be the ‘last bastion of democracy’ has become the ‘puppets’ of the Duterte administration.

“Itong Senado na dati ay ‘yan yung last bastion of democracy eh ngayon, wala na, para na rin kaming mga tuta nitong administrasyon na ’to. Ni ayaw mag-imbestiga eh,” he said in a press conference at the Kapihan sa Manila Hotel.

“Dito ako makakakita ng mga senador na takot, kaalyado ka na lang kasi ayaw mo aminin na takot ka eh,” he added.

Trillanes accused some Senate committee chairpersons of not doing their jobs by not investigating the “abuses” of the Duterte administration, although he did not name names.

“‘Yung mga dapat sana na pumuna eh wala eh, sila yung mga bahag ang buntot,” he said.

He added that the administration is destroying the Philippine National Police because of the bloody drug war.

“Dati, professionalized ang hanay ng kapulisan pero dahil inengganyo magpatay (sic) ng tao eh ngayon, d’yan sa hanay ng kapulisan, may mga mamamatay tao eh,” he said. “Eh papaano yan, papaano madi-displina later on?”

Senator Panfilo “Ping” Lacson said what Trillanes did is the “darndest thing he can do.”

“Calling one’s own colleagues ‘cowards’ or ‘puppets’ wholesale and without qualifying, is the darndest thing he can do,” Lacson reacted to Trillanes’ remarks in a text message sent to reporters on July 3.

Lacson said Trillenes was “so out of touch with reality, if not hallucinating too much.”

“I don’t know where he is coming from and I’m not even sure if he is still rationale in his thinking,” Lacson said. “One thing I’m sure about, he is dead wrong.”

Senator JV Ejercito on July 5 urged for an ethics probe on Trillanes’ supposed damaging remarks.

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“I find the recent statements of Senator Trillanes disrespectful and unparliamentary. He should be reminded that as a democratic institution, we in the Senate debate issues instead of hurling insults; we vote instead of calling each other names when we disagree,” Ejercito said in a statement.

“Maybe it is high time that we refer to the Senate Ethics Committee Sen. Trillanes’ actions, since he is becoming damaging to the institution, and becoming destructive to the country,” he added.

Senator Vicente “Tito” Sotto III, chairman of the Senate ethics committee, cautioned Trillanes to be careful in calling his fellow senators names.

“I do not know his reasons for saying that. He should be careful in calling us names. Hindi ko siya papatulan sa ngayon,” Sotto said in a text message.

He said that he would wait for an official complaint to be filed first before taking action.

“Motu propio is possible but it’s better if I receive a complaint. Hard to judge through media reports. I will entertain any complaint against any member of the Senate. Ngayon, ipaalala ko lang, when you point a finger at others, three others point at you,” Sotto said.

Ejercito said that he would consult with his colleagues whether to push through with filing an ethics complaint.

Trillanes said that he welcomes complaints filed against him, but shot back at Ejercito, asking him why he does not see anything wrong about Duterte’s recent ‘rape’ remarks.

“But here’s the thing, if Sen. Ejercito believes that my statement that the Senate is becoming a lapdog of the Duterte administration is highly offensive yet sees nothing wrong with Duterte’s rape comments to the soldiers, then we really have a problem,” Trillanes said via text message.

Trillanes was referring to Duterte saying that he would take responsibility for the soldiers if they rape women.

“Ako na ang magpakulong sa inyo. Pag naka-rape ka ng tatlo, aminin ko na akin ‘yun. Pag nag-asawa ka ng pang-apat, tang ina, bugbugin ka ng…” Duterte said.

Sotto later said that apologizing would be Trillanes’ “honorable way out.”

Asked to comment on whether he would ask Trillanes for an apology, Sotto said, “Instead of saying it’s the easy way out, it’s the honorable way out.”

Sotto said that agreeing with the administration’s policies does not mean they are lapdogs, adding that Duterte has never compelled the lawmakers to support his programs and policies. He also said Trillanes used the “wrong terms” to describe his colleagues.

“Medyo mali siguro ‘yung mga terms na ginagamit kaya nagiging offensive kasi pag sinabi mong ‘puppet,’ ang ibig sabihin nun ang Malacañang ang nagdidikta kung ano ‘yung mangyayari… For example the declaration of martial law, and you agree with the declaration of martial law, puppet ka na no’n? Hindi naman siguro,” he said.

Ejercito demanded an apology from Trillanes, not to the senators, but to the Senate

“An apology would be good for the institution. Not for me, it’s for the institution. We have to maintain decency. We have to maintain parliamentary ethics in the Senate,” Ejercito said in the forum.

But he said that once an apology was issued, “end of story. Hindi po tayo ‘yung nag-sorry na sige pa rin, hindi ka pa rin titigil.”

While Ejercito is not keen on filing a complaint against Trillanes, he cited Section 97 of the Rules of the Senate about punishing an unruly Senate member. The said section said, “Upon the recommendation of the Committee on Ethics and Privileges, the Senate may punish any Member for disorderly behavior and, with the concurrence of two-thirds (2/3) of the entire membership, suspend or expel a Member. A penalty of suspension shall not exceed sixty (60) calendar days.”

“Kaya nga meron mga rules ang Senado, there are rules of the senate to maintain proper decorum, maintain proper behavior,” Ejercito said.

Sources: ( gmanetwork.com , 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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