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UNegA meetings in October, Benitez not ruling out guv bid

Tue, 10/10/2017 - 21:30



Tuesday, October 10, 201
BY CARLA GOMEZ

The United Negros Alliance is set to hold meetings this month, that will include the swearing in of new members, its secretary general, Acting Governor Salvador Escalante, said yesterday.

He said Governor Alfredo Marañon Jr., UNegA chairman, is still determined to support Rep. Alfredo Benitez (Neg.Occ., 3 rd District) if he runs for senator or governor of Negros Occidental.

House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez and Senate President Koko Pimentel, Partido Demokratiko Pilipino–Lakas ng Bayan top officials, have said Benitez is on their party's senatorial line up shortlist for 2019.

But Benitez saidlast night thatrunning for governor of Negros Occidental is “still an option” along with even not running for any post at all.

If Benitez does not run for the top post of the province,UNegA has yet to determine whom it will field for governor, Escalante said.

He said no merger talks between UNegA and Love Negros have begun, so he could not say ifUNegAwould supporta gubernatorial bid of Vice Governor Eugenio Jose Lacson.

He said anything is possible from a Lacson-Alfredo Marañon III to a Lacson –Jeffrey Ferrertandem to a purely UNegA team up.

Meanwhile, among the likely contenders for the fifth congressional seat with Alejandro Mirasol on his third and last term, are Board Member Alain Gatuslao, Himamaylan Mayor Agustin Ernesto Bascon and Marilou Arroyo.*CPG

Source: The Visayan Daily Star

NHA may bid out Yolanda housing project again as contractor comes under fire

Tue, 10/10/2017 - 18:17



By: Vince F. Nonato - Reporter / @VinceNonatoINQPhilippine Daily Inquirer / 04:53 PM October 10, 2017

The National Housing Authority is set to terminate the contract of a construction firm that allegedly used substandard materials in the houses meant for the resettlement of families in Eastern Samar that were displaced by Typhoon Yolanda (internationally known as Haiyan) in 2013.

A notice to terminate and a show-cause order was issued to J.C. Tayag Builders, Inc., back in August, NHA Visayas Management Office officer-in-charge Grace Guevarra said on Tuesday during the joint inquiry of the House of Representatives’ housing and good government committees on Tuesday.

NHA Assistant General Manager Froilan Kampitan added that the affected projects in Eastern Samar could still be completed even though the houses were built using 8-mm steel rods instead of the 16-mm specification.

“We just need to rebid it to a new contractor,” he said.

No payment, no acceptance

Kampitan also stressed that “no payment has been made, no acceptance of the project has been done,” amid the issues hounding J.C. Tayag’s resettlement projects.

But, J.C. Tayag owner Juanito Tayag maintained during the hearing that he did not know that undersized bars were used in the construction.

Tayag already testified under oath in a Sept. 18 hearing that substandard materials were not used in the housing projects. But a subsequent inspection uncovered the use of undersized rods, prompting housing committee chair Rep. Albee Benitez to say on Sept. 26 that he planned to file perjury charges against Tayag.

The contractor, however, stuck to his claim during the Tuesday hearing and said that “based on our records, we did not use 8-mm [steel rods].”

He even raised the possibility of an inside job.

“In truth, even we are investigating it because we do not know why there were 8-mm. We really did not buy and use 8-mm,” he said.

Errors already spotted in December 2017

The lawmakers also grilled NHA Region 8 Director Rizaldy Mediavillo for not earlier disclosing to the House that the issue with the materials was already flagged in a “site memorandum” as early as December 2016.

Mediavillo told legislators that the site memorandum required the contractor to rectify the errors. Otherwise, they would not be paid.

But, Benitez questioned why the attention of the House was not called sooner and said no one would have noticed if the committee had not conducted a hearing and if J.C. Tayag subcontractor Camilo Salazar had not come forward as a whistleblower.

“I find it unusual that suddenly, there’s a site memo that you released in December 2016,” Benitez said. “You yourself don’t even know. Doesn’t it show the NHA’s shortcomings in the management of the project?”

“That site memo was very material and important [to this issue],” he said. “They’re using substandard material. In all construction, I haven’t seen anyone use 8-mm.”

Mediavillo explained, however, that such site memoranda were circulated among the on-site engineers and not the level of the regional office.

Kampitan defended the NHA regional office and conceded: “Maybe the issue really is the time response.”

Still, Benitez said: “There seems to be failure on the NHA’s monitoring system.”

Unqualified contractor

Meanwhile, good government committee chair Rep. Johnny Pimentel questioned why J.C. Tayag was engaged as a contractor for the P800-million project, when its previous project in San Jose del Monte in Bulacan was only worth P96 million.

He also questioned why the contract had not been rescinded when it had incurred slippages – that is, failure to meet the deadline – in the range of minus-70 percent.

“You do not enter into a contract with unqualified contractors”, he said. “No wonder the Yolanda emergency housing program is very much delayed.” /atm

Source: Inquirer.net

Solons grill NHA execs over Yolanda housing issue

Tue, 10/10/2017 - 16:27



Published October 10, 2017 1:21pm
By ERWIN COLCOL, GMA News

Lawmakers on Tuesday grilled officials of the National Housing Authority (NHA) over the supposed delays in the resolution of the alleged substandard construction of housing units for the victims of Typhoon Yolanda.

During a joint House inquiry into the snail-paced implementation of housing relocation and resettlement projects for Typhoon Yolanda victims, Juanito Tayag, owner of contractor J.C. Tayag Builders Inc., reiterated that they did not purchase or use substandard materials for the housing units.

This, even as the House Committee on Housing and Urban Development earlier sent an inspection team to the construction site to check the housing units.

Instead of the standard 10 millimeter steel rods, the team found that J.C. Tayag Builders Inc. used 8 millimeter ones for the construction of the housing units.

"I was speaking because based on our records we did not use 8 millimeter," Tayag stressed during the hearing.

"Sa totoo po, pati kami nagpapaimbestiga dahil 'di namin alam bakit may 8 millimeter... Talagang wala po kaming binili at ginamit na 8 millimeter," he added.

A whistleblower named Camilo Salazar earlier revealed that J.C. Tayag Builders Inc. had used 8 millimeter instead of 10 millimeter steel rods for the project.

Tayag has since denied Salazar's allegations.

House panel chairman Alfredo Benitez then turned the questioning to NHA Region VIII director Engineer Rizaldy Mediavillo to ask how J.C. Tayag Builders Inc. got away with using substandard materials for the housing project.

Mediavillo, however, said they issued a site memo to J.C. Tayag Builders in December 2016 upon learning that the contractor used substandard materials.

The site memo obligates the contractor to rectify the issues the NHA found in the construction of the project.

"Hindi nakalusot dahil binigyan namin siya ng site memo noong ma-inspect," Mediavillo said.

"'Yung mga hindi in compliance with contract, subject to site memo to rectify. Kung 'di ico-comply, hindi mababayaran," he added.

But Abang Lingkod party-list Representative Joseph Stephen Paduano found it alarming that the NHA only informed the House panel of the existence of the site memo when the issue of the substandard materials was already being discussed in the previous hearings.

Benitez asked Mediavillo to provide the committee with a copy of the site memo.

"Can you submit yung site memo? I find it very unusual na bigla na lang nagkakaroon ng site memo na pinadala niyo ng December 2016," he said.

"Napaka-material ng site memo na 'yun. Sa lahat ng construction, walang gumagamit ng 8 millimeter," he added.

Engineer Grace Guevarra, officer-in-charge of the Visayas Management of the National Housing Authority, said they have already issued a notice to terminate the project last August.

NHA Assistant General Manager Froilan Kampitan, meanwhile, assured that the J.C. Tayag Builders Inc. will not be paid for their non-compliance in the contract for the project.

"No payment has been made, no acceptance of the project has been done. As far as the payments, none has been done yet as of the moment and the action of the [NHA] general manager right now is to pursue termination of that project," he said.

Benitez has warned that they may file perjury charges against Tayag for allegedly making false statements in their previous hearings.

This was after he declared under oath that J.C. Tayag Builders Inc. did not use substandard materials for the construction project when the inspection team found otherwise. — RSJ, GMA News

Source: GMA News Online

PDP-Laban shutting doors to new members to prepare for 2019

Mon, 10/09/2017 - 19:15



(philstar.com) | Updated October 9, 2017 - 1:25pm

MANILA, Philippines — Senate President Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III on Monday said that the ruling Partido Demokratiko Pilipino- Lakas ng Bayan party will no longer accept new members by the end of November.

Pimentel, also the president of PDP-Laban, said his party mulled closing doors to potential members after several others jumped ship from their respective parties. He, however, clarified that the recruitment drive will continue until the end of next month.

The PDP-Laban president said that their party needs sufficient time to prepare for the May 2019 national and local elections.

“After the massive influx of new members into the party for the past year, we now have significant presence in most of the provinces of the country,” Pimentel said in a release.

“We should now focus on teaching all the members the Party Ideology and Program of Government and deepening their understanding of these. After this, we can present a solid and united front come 2019,” he added.

New members might reap privileges without contributing to party

Pimentel described PDP-Laban as one of the few parties in the country that recruits members bound by the following ideology: "Belief in God; Human Dignity; Love of Country; Equal Opportunities for All; Consultative and Participatory Democracy; and Federalism."

He said he is worried that “latecomers” to the party may claim the privileges of the membership “without actually contributing anything to the development of PDP-Laban.

“PDP-Laban is a party for those who believe in its principles, whether it is in power or not. We are not a party of political convenience. By stopping recruitment, we will have time to indoctrinate and train our members, screen possible candidates, and absorb our new members into our grassroots infrastructure,” Pumentel said.

"It is the duty of every member of PDP-Laban to pursue the change that we have promised under President Duterte, foremost of which is the shift to the Federal System of Government,” he added.

Last Friday, Pimentel disclosed the names of the party's six potential senatorial candidates for the 2019 midterm polls. He said senatorial slate could include himself as well as House Majority Leader Rodolfo Fariñas (Ilocos Norte), presidential adviser Francis Tolentino, Rep. Karlo Nograles (Davao City), Rep. Geraldine Roman (Bataan) and Rep. Alfredo Abelardo Benitez (Negros Occidental).– Rosette Adel

Source: Philippine Star

PDP-Laban won't accept new members by end-November

Mon, 10/09/2017 - 10:32



Published 7:40 PM, October 08, 2017
Updated 7:45 PM, October 08, 2017

Senate President Aquilino Pimentel III says this would give the ruling party time to screen candidates for the 2019 midterm elections

MANILA, Philippines – Politicians wishing to join the Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban) would only have until next month as the ruling party is set to stop accepting new members by the end of November.

Senate President and party president Aquilino Pimentel III said they need enough time to screen and choose their official candidates for the midterm elections in May 2019.

PDP-Laban is already preparing for the national and local elections. Just last week, Pimentel revealed the initial names on their Senate slate for 2019.

These include Pimentel himself, Negros Occidental 3rd District Representative Albee Benitez, Bataan 1st District Representative Geraldine Roman, Davao City 1st District Representative Karlo Nograles, former Metropolitan Manila Development Authority chairman Francis Tolentino, and House Majority Leader Rodolfo Fariñas.

"After the massive influx of new members into the Party for the past year, we now have significant presence in most of the provinces of the country. We should now focus on teaching all the members the Party Ideology and Program of Government and deepening their understanding of these. After this, we can present a solid and united front come 2019," Pimentel said.

He added that they are wary of possible members only showing up in the period leading up to the elections to enjoy the privileges of being in the ruling party.

"We are not a party of political convenience," said Pimentel.

"By stopping recruitment, we will have time to indoctrinate and train our members, screen possible candidates, and absorb our new members into our grassroots infrastructure," he added.

Pimentel's father, PDP-Laban founder and former Senate President Aquilino Pimentel Jr, earlier called on the party to question the motives of new members.

"It is now being swamped by new members, and I think it is important that the motivation of these people going to the party should be put into question," said Pimentel in a Rappler Talk interview last July 29.

"Only if the party is satisfied that they are really sincere, eager to learn about party platforms, direction that they should be accepted as members. Otherwise, they should be accepted as allies but not necessarily members."

After President Rodrigo Duterte's victory in the May 2016 elections, some lawmakers from former president Benigno Aquino III's Liberal Party (LP) jumped ship to PDP-Laban. The House of Representatives is dominated by a Duterte-allied "supermajority."

Local officials from different political affiliations also shifted to PDP-Laban. Just last week, Sulu Governor Abdusakur Tan, Siquijor Governor Zaldy Villa, and Occidental Mindoro Vice Governor Peter Alfaro took their oath before Pimentel. – Rappler.com

Source: Rappler.com

2019 SENATORIAL: POLLS PDP-Laban to field Fariñas, Roman, Tolentino

Sun, 10/08/2017 - 15:37



BY THE MANILA TIMES ON OCTOBER 7, 2017

THE ruling Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban) has identified six of the 12 candidates for its senatorial slate in the 2019 mid-term elections.

The PDP-Laban senatorial line up will be, so far, composed of Senate President Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel 3rd, House Majority Leader Rodolfo Fariñas, Representatives Alfredo Benitez, Karlo Nograles and Geraldine Roman; and former Metro Manila Development Authority chief Francis Tolentino.

“I will limit it to those who are already party members as of today. We will try our best to come up with a complete 12-person slate,” Pimentel told reporters in a Viber message. “If we cannot come up with 12 then we are open to entering into coalition agreements with other parties. If incumbent re-electionist senators join the party then they will enjoy priority in inclusion in the slate,” he said.

Pimentel said the ruling party was aiming to sweep the senatorial elections.

“I plan to ask [House] Speaker [Pantaleon] Alvarez to be the national campaign manager for the senatorial slate under the battlecry ‘12-0.’ This is a ‘developing/evolving’ matter, hence not final, not official. [It’s] just my personal preference,” he said.

The re-electionist senators belonging to other political parties but allied with President Rodrigo Duterte are Juan Edgardo “Sonny” Angara (Laban ng Demokratikong Pilipino), Nancy Binay (United Nationalist Alliance), Joseph Victor Ejercito (Pwersa ng Masa), Grace Poe (Partido Galing at Puso) and Cynthia Villar (Nacionalista Party).

“SP (Senate President) Koko is convincing me to transfer to PDP. I’ll be going with them in their activities as guest and observer of the party. I might join them next year,” Ejercito said when asked if he was considering joining the PDP-Laban.

Asked whether he was open to running under the PDP-Laban banner in 2019, Ejercito said: “Since I am with the majority that is a possibility. That is if I will still run (for the Senate in 2019).

Source: Manila Times

Pimentel: Benitez ‘interested’ to run for senator in 2019

Sat, 10/07/2017 - 16:53




Saturday, October 07, 2017
Marchel P. Espina

SENATE President Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III said Negros Occidental Third District Representative Alfredo “Albee” Benitez is inclined to join the senatorial race in the 2019 elections.

Pimentel, president of the ruling Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban), bared Friday, October 6, the initial list of senatorial candidates who will banner the administration party in the next polls.

The six senatorial bets, aside from Pimentel, are Benitez, Bataan First District Representative Geraldine Roman, Davao City First District Representative Karlo Nograles, House Majority Leader Rodolfo Fariñas, and former Metropolitan Manila Development Authority chairman Francis Tolentino.

Pimentel, in a text message sent to SunStar Bacolod, said that PDP-Laban is pushing for the senatorial bid of Benitez because the Negrense lawmaker is “an interested party member.”

“I think he (Benitez) is interested to run as senator. That is good enough for us,” the senator said.

He said that the lawmaker “makes the final decision next year.”

Pimentel also said that the list is not yet final – “Nothing is final.”

Benitez, who has yet to bare his plans for 2019, said the other day that he has been going around and telling people about his advocacies.

He said he will decide to run for senator if there is already acceptance of his advocacies.

On Thursday, House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez, who administered the oath of about 12,000 PDP-Laban members from Negros Occidental in the cities of Bacolod and Victorias, had asked the Negrenses to vote straight for the senatorial candidates of the administration party in 2019.

Alvarez also announced that the party is pushing for the senatorial bids of Benitez, the third richest congressman in the country; and Roman, the first transgender woman elected to Congress.

The United Negros Alliance of Governor Alfredo Marañon III, which is pushing for a coalition with PDP-Laban, and Grupo Progreso led by Bacolod City Mayor Evelio Leonardia have also declared support for Benitez’s senatorial bid.

Source: Sunstar Bacolod

Koko backs Albee for senator, too

Sat, 10/07/2017 - 14:35



Saturday, October 7, 2017
BY CARLA GOMNEZ

Senate President Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III said yesterday Rep. Alfredo Abelardo “Albee” Benitez (Neg. Occ., 3 rd District) is among his personal choices to be included in the 2019 senatorial slate of the ruling Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan.

The statement of Pimentel, PDP Laban president, came on the heels of the announcement of party secretary general, House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez, in Negros Occidental Thursday, that Benitez was among the PDP-Laban senate bets for 2019.

Benitez, the third richest man in the House of Representatives, yesterday told the DAILY STAR he is “grateful for being considered.”

Benitez said he is now going around the country to see if the people will accept his plan to run for senator, which will be the basis for his decision. There has to be acceptance, he said.

Pimentel yesterday told Manila reporters that,aside from himself, among his personal choices to be included in the PDP-Laban senatorial slate for 2019 are Benitez, Majority Leader Rodolfo Fariñas, Rep. Geraldine Roman (Bataan), Rep. KarloNograles (Davao City), and former Metropolitan Manila Development Authority chair Francis Tolentino.

But he said “This is a developing/evolving matter, hence, not final, not official…just my personal preferences.”

Pimentel said if Alvarez has no opponent for his congressional seat in 2019, he plans on asking him to be the national campaign manager for the PDP-Laban senatorial slate with the battlecry“12-0”.

Also invited to join the PDP Laban slate is Senator JV Ejercito, he added.

“We will try our best to come up with a complete 12-person slate. If we cannot come up with 12, then we are open to entering into coalition agreements with other parties,” he said in a text message.

The 1987 Constitution allows senators to serve only two consecutive terms, but Pimentel said he could still seek re-election because his case is different.

He only served one year and 10 months of his first term after finally being proclaimed senator onAugust 2011 after winning a protracted election protest against Senator Juan Miguel Zubiri. He won another term in the Senate in 2013.*CPG

 

Source: The Visayan Daily Star

Koko bares ‘personal’ choices for Duterte’s 2019 senatorial slate

Fri, 10/06/2017 - 21:24




By KATHRINA CHARMAINE ALVAREZ, GMA News
Published October 6, 2017 1:39pm Updated October 6, 2017 4:01pm

Senate President Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III on Friday bared his personal choices to be included in the 2019 senatorial slate of the ruling Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban).

Pimentel is the president of PDP-Laban, while President Rodrigo Duterte is the party chairman.

In a text message to reporters, Pimentel said that aside from himself, to be included in the senatorial slate are Majority Leader Rodolfo Fariñas, Representatives Alfredo Benitez (Negros Occidental), Geraldine Roman (Bataan), Karlo Nograles (Davao City), and former Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) chair Francis Tolentino.

Tolentino ran for senator in the 2016 elections, and ranked 13th in the final tally. He has since been appointed as Duterte’s political adviser.

Pimentel clarified that the first six candidates are not yet official.

“This is a developing/evolving matter, hence, not final, not official. [These are] just my personal preferences,” the Senate President said, adding that he has not yet personally discussed his choices with the party.

He added that the PDP-Laban is open to entering into coalition agreements with other parties if the party fails to come up with a complete 12-person senatorial slate.

Pimentel added that he plans on asking House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez, secretary general of the party, to be the national campaign manager “under the battlecry ’12-0’.”

Senator JV Ejercito, a re-electionist, is also being convinced by Pimentel to transfer to PDP-Laban. Ejercito, son of former President and now Manila Mayor Joseph “Erap” Estrada, is a member of Pwersa ng Masang Pilipino (PMP).

“Since I am with the majority, that is a possibility. That is, if I will still run,” Ejercito told reporters.

“SP Koko and I have been talking these past few months. In fact he talked to Mayor Erap and asked permission if I can transfer  from PMP, because he needs me to strengthen PDP in the Senate,” Ejercito added. — RSJ, GMA News

Source: GMA News Online

Duterte party names 6 senatorial bets for 2019 mid-term polls

Fri, 10/06/2017 - 21:12



BY THE MANILA TIMES ON OCTOBER 6, 2017

THE Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban) has identified six of 12 possible candidates for its senatorial slate in the 2019 mid-term elections.

They are: Senate President Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel 3rd, House Majority Leader Rodolfo Farinas, and Representatives Alfredo Benitez, Carlo Nograles, Geraldine Roman and former Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) Francis Tolentino.

“I will limit to those already party members as of today. We will try our best to come up with a complete 12-person slate,” Pimentel said through Viber.

“If we cannot come up with 12 then we are open to entering into coalition agreements with other parties. If incumbent re-electionist senators join the party then they will enjoy priority in inclusion in the slate,” he said.

Pimentel added: “I plan to ask (House) Speaker (Pantaleon) Alvarez to be the national campaign manager for the senatorial slate under the battlecry “12-0.” This is a ‘developing/evolving’ matter hence not final, not official. (It’s) just my personal preferences.”

The re-electionist senators belonging to other political parties but allied with President Rodrigo Duterte are Juan Edgardo “Sonny” Angara (Laban ng Demokratikong Pilipino), Nancy Binay (United Nationalist Alliance), Joseph Victor Ejercito (Pwersa ng Masa), Grace Poe (Partido Galing at Puso) and Cynthia Villar (Nacionalista Party).

“SP (Senate President) Koko is convincing me to transfer to PDP. I’ll be going with them in their activities as guest and observer of the party. I might join them next year,” Ejercito said when asked whether he was considering to join the PDP-Laban.

Sought to comment on whether he was open to run under the PDP-Laban banner in 2019, Ejercito said, “Since I am with the majority that is a possibility. That is if I will still run (for the Senate in 2019). BERNADETTE E. TAMAYO

Source: Manila Times

PDP-Laban to open doors to senators seeking re-election in 2019

Fri, 10/06/2017 - 19:05



Sherrie Ann Torres, ABS-CBN News
Posted at Oct 06 2017 03:33 PM

MANILA- The ruling Partido Demokratiko Pilipino–Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban) party will open its doors to incumbent senators who will seek re-election in the 2019 mid-term elections.

Senate President Koko Pimentel, who also heads the party, said on Friday that the "offer" will prioritize incumbent senators.

"If incumbent...senators [who would like to] join the party, then they will enjoy priority in inclusion in the slate," Pimentel told reporters in a message.

Members of PDP-Laban occupy a majority of key positions in the government. Among them are President Rodrigo Duterte, Pimentel, and House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez.

Senators who might seek re-election in 2019 and membership in PDP-Laban are Sonny Angara, JV Ejercito, Grace Poe, and Cynthia Villar.

As early as now, Pimentel already revealed other personalities who may be included in the party's senatorial slate, namely Representatives Albee Benitez, Geraldine Roman, Karlo Nograles, Rodolfo Fariñas, and former Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) chair Francis Tolentino.

The Senate president, however, clarified that he has yet to speak with these public figures he mentioned.

Party outsiders, according to Pimentel, will only be considered if PDP-Laban fails to complete its "Magic 12."

"We will try our best to come up with a complete 12-person slate. If we cannot come up with 12, then we are open to entering into coalition agreements with other parties," he said.

Meanwhile, Alvarez will be asked by Pimentel to be their party's "national campaign manager" for the senatorial slate under the battle cry "12-0."

Source: ABS-CBN News

Koko wants these 5 politicians to run as PDP-Laban senators in 2019

Fri, 10/06/2017 - 18:55



By Mae Ann Los Banos, News5 | October 6, 2017, 4:19 PM

MANILA, Philippines — Besides himself, Senate president Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III wants these five people to become the administration’s senatorial candidates in the 2019 polls:

–Negros Occidental Third District Rep. Albee Benitez

–Bataan First District Rep. Geraldine Roman

–Davao City 1st District Rep. Karlo Nograles

–Former Metropolitan Manila Development Authority chairman Francis Tolentino

–House Majority Leader Rodolfo Fariñas

Pimentel said he would still “personally discuss” with the five politicians their possible candidacies and the PDP-Laban Party “will try” its “best to come up with a complete 12-person slate.”

“This is a developing, evolving matter. Hence, not final, not official, just my personal preferences,” he told reporters on Friday.

“If we cannot come up with 12 then we are open to entering into coalition agreements with other parties…If incumbent re-electionist senators join the party, then they will enjoy priority in inclusion in the slate,” said Pimentel.

The Senate president said he was planning to ask Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez to be the national campaign manager for the senatorial slate “under the battle cry 12-0” or winning all senatorial seats.

Source: InterAksyon News 5

Pimentel bares initial 6 PDP-Laban Senate bets for 2019

Fri, 10/06/2017 - 18:36



Camille Elemia
Published 1:09 PM, October 06, 2017
Updated 2:12 PM, October 06, 2017

MANILA, Philippines – Senate President Aquilino Pimentel III on Friday, October 6, revealed the initial 6 senatorial candidates of the ruling PDP-Laban’s for the 2019 midterm elections.

Answering questions from the media, Pimentel said that aside from him, the other candidates will include Negros Occidental 3rd District Representative Albee Benitez, Bataan 1st District Representative Geraldine Roman, Davao City 1st District Representative Karlo Nograles, former Metropolitan Manila Development Authority chairman Francis Tolentino, and House Majority Leader Rodolfo Fariñas.

If other reelectionist senators would join the party, Pimentel said they would have priority in the slate.

He earlier said Senator Joseph Victor Ejercito might join PDP-Laban and might be included in their slate. Asked if this was already confirmed, Pimentel said, “We have to wait for it to happen.”

The PDP-Laban president said he would ask Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez to be the national campaign manager for the slate under the battlecry “12-0," or a clean sweep of the senatorial race.

Pimentel said the party will try to complete a 12-member slate but should they fail, he said PDP-Laban is open to joining a coalition with other parties.

“We will try our best to come up with a complete 12-person slate. If we cannot come up with 12, then we are open to entering into coalition agreements with other parties. This is a 'developing/evolving' matter hence not final not official; just my personal preferences,” Pimentel said in a text message.

Pimentel’s expected battle

Pimentel earlier said he would seek reelection amid possible legal challenges against his candidacy.

While the 1987 Constitution allows senators to serve only two consecutive terms, Pimentel said his case is different because he was not able to complete his first 6-year term.

He was proclaimed senator only in August 2011 after a protracted and bitter election protest against Senator Juan Miguel Zubiri. Pimentel served only one year and 10 months of his first term and won another term in the Senate in 2013.

Pimentel also earlier told Rappler that he might leave the Senate presidency to "focus" on his reelection.

Roman, the first transgender woman elected to Congress, Benitez, and Fariñas were former members of the Liberal Party. Tolentino was initially included in the LP senatorial lineup for 2016 but left after being embroiled in a lewd performance controversy.

Benitez, the 3rd richest man in the House, supported then presidential front runner Senator Grace Poe in the 2016 elections. – Rappler.com

Source: Rappler.com

Pimentel bares six potential PDP-Laban senatorial bets

Fri, 10/06/2017 - 16:37



By Audrey Morallo (philstar.com) | Updated October 6, 2017 - 3:25pm

MANILA, Philippines — Senate President Aquilino "Koko" Pimentel III on Friday announced six potential senatorial candidates of the administration Partido Demokratiko Pilipino- Lakas ng Bayan for the 2019 midterm elections.

Pimentel, who is the president of PDP-Laban, said that half of the party's 12 candidates for the senatorial elections could include himself, House Majority Leader Rodolfo Fariñas (Ilocos Norte), presidential adviser Francis Tolentino, Rep. Karlo Nograles (Davao City), Rep. Geraldine Roman (Bataan) and Rep. Alfredo Abelardo Benitez (Negros Occidental).

Pimentel however was quick to emphasize that the list is not yet final and official as the matter is still "developing, evolving."

The senate president said that the administration party would try to field 12 candidates but is also open to entering coalitions with other parties to complete its slate.

"If we cannot come up with 12, then we are open to entering into coalition agreements with other parties. This is a 'developing/evolving' matter hence not final not official; just my personal preferences,” Pimentel said in a text message to reporters.

Before joining PDP-Laban, Roman, Benitez and Fariñas were members of the Liberal Party, the administration party from 2010 to 2016.

Tolentino, Aquino's Metropolitan Manila Development Authority chairman, was supposed to run under the LP slate in the 2016 elections but was dropped after being involved in a controversy involving a lascivious dance performance by an all-girl group.

The former MMDA chief has a pending poll protest against Sen. Leila De Lima, who placed 12th in last year's senate elections.

Tolentino, who got 1.3 million votes fewer than De Lima, asked the Senate Electoral Tribunal to remove the detained senator allegedly for committing fraud.

Roman is part of a political family in Bataan and is the first transgender to be elected to Congress.

Pimentel is expected to face a legal problem in his bid for reelection as the 1987 Constitution allows only two consecutive six-year terms for senators.

The senate president served a little less than two years of his first term as he was locked in an electoral protest against Juan Miguel Zubiri, whom he accused of fraud in the 2007 elections.

Zubiri denied cheating but resigned from the Senate before the Senate Electoral Tribunal could decide on the protest. Pimentel took his oath of office as senator in August 2011.

Pimentel ran for a second term in the 2013 eelctions and won. 

Source: Philippine Star

Koko reveals half of PDP-Laban’s possible ‘Magic 12’

Fri, 10/06/2017 - 16:23



By: Julliane Love De Jesus - Reporter / @JLDejesusINQINQUIRER.net / 01:27 PM October 06, 2017

Senate President Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III disclosed on Friday the partial list of senatorial bets that the ruling Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban) would possibly consider for the upcoming 2019 senatorial election.

Pimentel, who is also the PDP-Laban president, said that half of the party’s “Magic 12” could include himself, House Majority Leader Rodolfo Fariñas, Negros Occidental Representative Alfredo Abelardo Benitez, Bataan Rep. Geraldine Roman, Davao City Rep. Karlo Nograles, and former Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) chairman Francis Tolentino.

However, Pimentel said in a text message that the list is still unofficial as it was “just my personal preferences” and that coming up with the 12 senatorial candidates is “a developing/evolving” matter, hence, not final.

Pimentel also said that he has yet to personally discuss the issue with the prospective candidates.

Before moving to PDP-Laban, Benitez, Roman and Tolentino were allies of the Liberal Party during the administration of former President Benigno Aquino III.   /kga

Source: Inquirer.net

Alvarez to Negrenses: Support PDP Laban candidates in 2019

Fri, 10/06/2017 - 16:09



By: Carla P. Gomez - Correspondent / @carlagomezINQInquirer Visayas / 05:28 PM October 05, 2017

VICTORIAS CITY, Negros Occidental—Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez on Thursday rallied their forces to support President Rodrigo Duterte amid what he called moves to derail the administration’s efforts to bring about change.



The PDP-Laban gathering at Victorias Coliseum drew hundreds of once supporters of Mar Roxas and now admirers of President Duterte. —CARLA P. GOMEZ

Alvarez also called on supporters to back the senatorial candidates of Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban) in 2019, which would include Representatives Alfredo Abelardo Benitez of Negros Occidental and Geraldine Roman of Bataan to ensure that the ruling party would dominate the Upper Chamber.

Alvarez was here to lead the mass oath-taking of new PDP-Laban members in Negros Occidental, a province that used to be dominated by the once ruling Liberal Party and where LP standard bearer Mar Roxas won during the presidential elections.

At least 10,000 community leaders took their oath before Alvarez at the Victorias Coliseum in Victorias City about 10 a.m. on Thursday and at past noon, it was the turn of 4,000 leaders at the University of Negros Occidental–Recoletos in Bacolod.

They would be tapped to push the campaign for a federal form of government that will go full swing next year, said PDP Laban Negros Occidental secretary general Yves Akol.

Two local political groups – United Negros Alliance led by Gov. Alfredo Marañon and Love Negros led by Benitez, have already shifted to PDP-Laban.

During his speech at Victorias Coliseum, the Speaker said the Duterte administration has been under attack by those “who cannot accept defeat” and derail the President’s efforts to fulfill his promise to effect change in the country.

“We will not allow them to succeed. We will do everything to deliver the promises made by the President during his campaign,” said Alvarez.

“He (Mr. Duterte) promised genuine reforms, we will deliver them come hell or high waters,” he said, adding that they would not take sitting down these plots to oust the President.

Alvarez pointed out that 180 legislative measures had been passed at the House of Representatives but less than 10 had been acted upon by the Senate where there were opposition senators.

“In 2019 I am asking you, if you fully support the President, support the candidates of PDP-Laban for the Senate,” he said, with a 12-0 vote.

Among the senatorial candidates were Benitez, the third richest man in the House, Roman, the first transgender woman elected to Congress.

But Benitez said he had not fully decided whether to run for senator or not since he was still getting the pulse of the people by going around the country.

Roman, who ran under LP, said she shifted to PDP-Laban because of its advocacy to change the form of government into federalism to bring progress to the rest of the Philippines, instead of having a highly centralized government with all the progress and development concentrated in Metro Manila.

Roman also cited the party’s commitment to support the President’s fight versus drugs and crime in the country that must be addressed for the country to further grow. /jpv

Source: Inquirer.net

Ex-Poe backer, Ex-LP solon tagged as 2019 Duterte senate bets

Fri, 10/06/2017 - 15:54



By: Carla P. Gomez - Correspondent / @carlagomezINQPhilippine Daily Inquirer / 06:20 AM October 06, 2017

VICTORIAS CITY—Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez yesterday bragged that the now ruling Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban) would control the Senate after the 2019 elections with candidates that he said would surely be elected because they adhere to the principles of President Duterte, among them Representatives Alfredo Benitez and Geraldine Roman.



The PDP-Laban gathering at Victorias Coliseum drew hundreds of once supporters of Mar Roxas and now admirers of President Duterte. —CARLA P. GOMEZ

Alvarez named Benitez and Roman at a rally here for the mass oath-taking of new members of PDP-Laban, a party that rose from near anonymity to being sought after.

The oath-taking of hundreds of politicians and officials in Negros Occidental marked a political transition being replicated nationwide. The province used to be dominated by Liberal Party (LP), which had been in power under former President Benigno Aquino III. LP candidate Mar Roxas won in the presidential elections in the province.

At least 10,000 community leaders took their oaths as new PDP-Laban members before Alvarez at the Victorias Coliseum here. At past noon, at least 4,000 other leaders took oaths at the University of Negros Occidental-Recoletos in Bacolod.

Federalism campaign

They would be tapped to push the campaign for a federal form of government that would be in full swing next year, said Yves Akol, PDP-Laban Negros Occidental secretary general.

Two local political groups—United Negros Alliance led by Gov. Alfredo Marañon and Love Negros led by Benitez—had already shifted loyalty to PDP-Laban. Benitez had supported the presidential candidacy of Sen. Grace Poe.

During his speech, Alvarez said the Duterte administration was under attack by those “who cannot accept defeat” and want to derail the President’s efforts to fulfill his promise to bring about change.

“We will not allow them to succeed. We will do everything to deliver the promises made by the President,” Alvarez said.

“We will deliver them come hell or high water,” the Speaker said.

Obstacle in Senate

Alvarez said the House had passed 180 measures but less than 10 had been acted upon by the Senate where there were opposition senators.

“In 2019, I am asking you, if you fully support the President, support the candidates of PDP-Laban for the Senate,” he said, with a 12-0 vote.

Among the senatorial candidates were Benitez, the third richest man in the House, and Roman, the first transgender woman elected to Congress.

But Benitez said he had not fully decided whether to run for senator or not since he was still getting the pulse of the people by going around the country.

Roman, who ran as an LP candidate, said she shifted to PDP-Laban because of its advocacy to change the form of government into federal.

Roman also cited the party’s commitment to support the President’s fight against drugs and criminality.

Source: Inquirer.net

Back Duterte,PDP Laban 2019 senate bets: Alvarez

Fri, 10/06/2017 - 15:48



Thursday, October 5, 2017
BY CARLA GOMNEZ & CHRYSEE SAMILLANO

House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez, who led the mass oathtaking of about 13,000 new Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan members in Negros Occidental yesterday, rallied their forces to support President Rodrigo Duterte amid what he called moves to derail the administration's efforts to bring about change.

He also called on the new PDP Laban members to back the senatorial candidates of PDP-Laban in 2019, who would include representatives Alfredo Abelardo Benitez (Neg. Occ., 3 rd District) and Geraldine Roman (Bataan, 1 st District) to ensure the ruling party will dominate the Upper Chamber.

“In 2019 I am asking you, if you fully support the President, support the candidates of PDP-Laban for the Senate,” he said, with a 12-0 vote.

He said the Lower House had passed 180 legislative measures with only less than 10 acted in the Senate, so far.

The Speaker led the massoathtaking of more than 10,000 new PDP Laban members at the Victorias Coliseum in Victorias City organized by Benitez at about 10 a.m. and close to 3,000 organized by Bacolod Mayor EvelioLeonardia at the University of Negros Occidental – Recoletos in Bacolod City at past noon yesterday.

“Thank you for your show of support for the president by joining his party, PDP Laban,” Alvarez said.

“The Duterte administration is continuously under attack by those who cannot accept defeat,” he said.

The president promised change for the country but they are doing everything to prevent him from fulfilling that, he said.

“We will not allow them to succeed, we will do everything to deliver the promises made by the president during his campaign,” he said.

“He promised genuine reforms, we will deliver them come hell or high waters”, Alvarez said.

Change will happen, because the president will deliver, Alvarez said, with the support of the people.

Alvarez said those who are planning moves to oust the president should not eventry it, because they will not take it sitting down.

Alvarez was accompanied by Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi - PDP Laban national vice chairman, and Deputy Internal Revenue Commissioner Clint Aranas – PDP Laban national treasurer.

DRUGS

Before he administered the oath of officeto the new members in Bacolod City, Alvarez asked the crowd dominated by barangay officials if there was anyone engaged in illegal drugs.

He said the President does not want anyone involved in drugs to be a member of the PDP Laban. If ever they are, they should join the Liberal Party instead, he added.

BENITEZ

Benitez said he is now going around the country to see if the people will accept his plan to run for senator, which will be the basis for his decision. There has to be acceptance, he said.

Negros Occidental officials led by Gov. Alfredo Marañon Jr. and Bacolod officials, led by Leonardia, have expressed support for the Senate bid of Benitez.

Leonardia declared during the oathtaking in Bacolod that their party, the GrupoProgreso, is endorsing the bid of Benitez for the Senate.

ROMAN

Roman, the first transgender woman elected to Congress, said she belonged to another political party, but when the president won she decided it was time to leave politics behind and get down to work.

She noted that the number one agenda of the PDP Laban is the shift toward a federal form of government to bring progress to the rest of the Philippines, instead of having a highly centralized government with all the progress and development concentrated in Metro Manila.

Roman also cited the party's commitment to support the president's fight versus drugs and crime in the country that must be addressed for the country to further grow.

The congresswoman also noted the commitment of the PDP-Laban to help the poor and for equality among all.

The new PDP Laban members will be tapped to push the campaign for a federal form of government that will go full swing next year, PDP Laban Negros Island secretary general Yves Akol said.

IN VICTORIAS

Representatives present at the PDP-Laban oathtaking rites in Victorias,aside from Benitez, were GregGasataya (Bacolod) and Stephen Paduano (AbangLingkodPartylist).

The 15 mayors who also attended the mass oathtaking rites in Victorias were Lourdes Escalante – Manapla, Richard Jaococo – Toboso, MagdalenoPeña – Moises Padilla, JilsonTubillara – San Enrique, Patrick Escalante - Cadiz City, Enrique Miravalles – Valladolid, Andrew Montelibano - Murcia, RhumylaNicor-Mangilimutan – La Castellana,Eddie Montero - Escalante, Francis Palanca – Victorias City, Mark Golez – Silay City, JoselitoMalabor – Isabela, Marvin Malacon – EB Magalona, Neil Lizares – Talisay, and NadieArceo – Hinigaran. IN BACOLOD

Bacolod officials present at the oathtaking rites at UNO-R were Leonardia, Gasataya, Vice Mayor El Cid Familiaran, councilors EmAng, Caesar Distrito, RenecitoNovero, Noli Villarosa, and Bartolome Orola, and City Administrator John Orola.*CPG/CGS

Source: The Visayan Daily Star

Alvarez Endorses Benitez for Senate

Fri, 10/06/2017 - 15:37



By Dominique Gabriel G. Bañaga
October 6, 2017

PDP-Laban secretary-general, House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez, formally endorsed Negros Occidental third district Rep. Alfredo Benitez, along with Bataan first district Rep. Geraldine Roman, for senatorial runs in 2019.

“If you support President Rodrigo Duterte, this coming 2019 election, you should support the PDP-Laban, including Senator Benitez,” the speaker declared during his address at the University of Negros Occidental-Recoletos (UNO-R). “Give us 12-0 in the Senate.”

In response, Benitez said he is still formulating a platform before announcing a run.

“There should be an advocacy that is acceptable to the people,” he explained. “Not that we will just run for the sake of running.”

The speaker also threw some barbs at the Senate, calling them “the slow house.”

“We have forwarded 110 bills to the Senate as of the beginning of Congress,” said Alvarez. “Those approved by the Senate have not even reached ten.”

He credited the sluggish process as his reasoning behind endorsing Benitez and Roman.

“Since it’s your last term anyway, you can transfer to the Senate in order to get things going there,” the speaker claimed.

Meanwhile, Bacolod City Mayor Evelio Leonardia said his local political coalition, Grupo Progreso, will go “all out” for Benitez.

Last month, Benitez said he does not intend to pursue the governorship as he would prefer not to run against Love Negros partymate, incumbent Vice Governor Eugenio Jose Lacson, who previously expressed an interest in the position./WDJ

Source: Watchmen Daily Journal

House Speaker, actor endorse Benitez for senator

Fri, 10/06/2017 - 15:05




Friday, October 06, 2017
Teresa D. Ellera and Carla N. Cañet



BACOLOD. House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez leads the oath-taking of members of PDP-Laban in Victorias City Thursday, with (on stage) Deputy Commissioner Clint Aranas, Moises Padilla Mayor Magdaleno Peña, Negros Occidental Third District Rep. Alfredo Benitez, Bataan First District Rep. Geraldine Roman, actor Gabby Concepcion, Silay City Mayor Mark Golez, and Talisay City Mayor Neil Lizares. Contributed Photo

HOUSE Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez officially endorsed Third District Representative Alfredo Benitez for senator before about 10,000 Negrenses who joined the mass-oath taking of the Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban) at the Victorias City Coliseum yesterday.

“If you support President Rodrigo Duterte, this coming 2019 elections, you should support PDP-Laban, including Senator Benitez, and give us 12-0 in the Senate,” Alvarez, party secretary-general, said in his speech.

He said that it’s already definite that Benitez will be included in the senatorial line-up of PDP-Laban for 2019, and in fact, he has been going around the country.

Benitez said he has been going around telling people about his advocacies and that when there is already acceptance by the people, that would be the time he will decide to run for senator.

“I’m already in the shortlist of the senatorial line-up of PDP Laban. I need acceptance, not that we will just run for the sake of running. There should be an advocacy that is acceptable to the people,” Benitez said.

Actor Gabby Concepcion, Benitez’s friend, who also attended the mass oath-taking rites, endorsed the Negrense lawmaker for senator as well, saying he is his “best man” for the Senate.

Concepcion said he has been supporting Benitez since he first ran for congressman in 2010.

“I am just in the background. I have known Albee since high school. He is kind and quiet type of person. I never expected that he will enter politics. Politics is embedded in his genes, and he has helped a lot of people,” he added.

Yesterday’s mass-oath taking was attended by 15 mayors in the province.

The 15 mayors who took their oath were Frederick Palanca of Victorias City, Marvin Malacon of E. B. Magalona, Mark Andrew Golez of Silay City, Neil Lizares of Talisay City, Andrew Montelibano of Murcia, Lourdes Escalante of Manapla, Patrick Escalante of Cadiz City, Richard Jaojoco of Toboso, Magdaleno Peña of Moises Padilla, Jilson Tubillara of San Enrique, Joselito Malabor of Isabela, Enrique Miravalles of Valladolid, Eddie Montero of Escalante City, Rhumyla Mangilimutan of La Castellana, and Jose Nadie Arceo of Hinigaran.

Governor Alfredo Marañon III, who was traveling abroad was represented by Second District Board Member Salvador Escalante, who handed the resolution of United Negros Alliance to House Speaker Alvarez for the proposed coalition between local ruling party Unega and PDP-Laban.

Bacolod City Lone District Rep. Greg Gasataya and Councilor Ricardo Tan as well as Abang Lingkod partylist Rep. Stephen Paduano were also present.

Alvarez was joined by Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi, Bureau of Internal Revenue Deputy Commissioner Clint Aranas, and Bataan First District Rep. Geraldine Roman, also one of PDP-Laban senatorial candidates.

Meanwhile, Paduano said 37 of the 61 village chiefs of Bacolod City joined him at the orientation and oath-taking rites in Victorias.

A total of 538 leaders from Bacolod accepted his invitation, including more than 200 kagawad, he added.

Support for Benitez

Also in Bacolod, Grupo Progreso led by Mayor Evelio Leonardia declared their support for Benitez’s senatorial bid.

“The Grupo Progreso officially declares its support for Congressman Benitez for senator in 2019,” said Leonardia, who announced their support during the separate oath-taking ceremony of more than 2,000 members at the University of Negros Occidental-Recoletos Gymnasium.

Councilor Em Ang and former Councilors Roberto Rojas and Al Victor Espino also took their oath before Alvarez.

Source: Sunstar Bacolod

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