Solons warn on poor backgrounds in polls

Some partylist members of the House of Representatives expressed alarm over the rising number of Davao Mayor Rodrigo Duterte in the pre-election surveys even as they pointed out that the respondents may not have enough knowledge of the consequences of their decision.

The lawmakers said survey respondents are having the wrong perception that the Davao mayor has been successful in his anti-crime activities when in fact Davao is one of the most crime-ridden cities in the country.

The lawmakers shared Vice President Jojo Binay's view that extra-judicial killings, as espoused by Duterte, will not solve criminality.

The lawmakers also stressed that the country needs a truthful leader and not one who deceives the Filipino people as with a dubious survey results that was disowned by a pollster.

The lawmakers posited that the Filipino people may have been so frustrated with the Aquino government to opt for a candidate who espouse quick solutions to the country's woes.

"By the time they realize that their choice of a president was wrong, they could have been a victim of summary execution," one lawmaker said.

Earlier, Buhay partylist Rep. Lito Atienza, who was Manila Mayor for 9 years, said his 9 years in office turned Manila into one of the safest cities without killing people.

"We never snuffed out any life thru summary executions or salvaging. We got the police to do their jobs and perform better, at the same time tapping barangay officials to help in fighting crime. Duterte's solution of fighting crime with crime and snuffing out lives of poor and defenseless citizens will only aggravate the situation. No society can solve crime with summary executions and even the death penalty which only multiplied crimes," Atienza said.

Atienza also reminded Mayor Duterte that Davao ranks #4 in crime and tops the national statistics on the most number of rape cases among all major cities.

"Where is Mayor Duterte coming from? Showmanship and entertainment are not the solution, let's be true to ourselves. He keeps bragging about Davao, when figures and statistics show otherwise," Atienza added.

Atienza, who founded and maintains one of the biggest women's organizations-the Kababaihan ng Maynila with an active membership of 10,000 and a base of 50,000 - also criticized Mayor Duterte for trivializing women's rights, saying it is totally unacceptable.

"I urge all Filipinos to judge candidates according to their values, religious beliefs and track record in curbing criminality. Let's be wary of false promises not in consonance with our religious and traditional Filipino values. Only hardworking and hands on executives will help our country recover from the mess we are in," Atienza added.

Robredo suggests Chiz

hand in mayhem

Liberal Party (LP) vice presidential candidate Leni Robredo, meanwhile, called on the Philippine National Police (PNP) to investigate an incident where armed men barged into LP's political meeting and threatened the party's candidates for governor, mayor and other local positions.

"We are calling on the police force to investigate this alarming incident which even happened in front of several people," said Robredo, a representative of the 3rd District of Camarines Sur.

"Is this the situation in Sorsogon, where armed individuals freely roam and intimidate other people anywhere and anytime," she added.

Robredo said that a CCTV (closed-circuit television) footage of the incident is now being retrieved by authorities to identify the perpetrators.

According to witnesses, the incident happened around 8 p.m. on Sunday while the party was having a political meeting in a barangay hall at Brgy. Buhatan, Sorsogon City.

Buhatan is Escudero's barangay.

While the meeting was ongoing, three to five armed men entered the hall, brandished their firearms - consisting of an AK47, M203 grenade launcher and armalite rifles - and told them to stop the meeting.

The armed men then pointed their guns at LP gubernatorial candidate Eric Dioneda, ordered him to drop to the ground and shouted "P_ta ka Eric, si Chiz ngani nagpaaram samuya (even Chiz seeks permission from us)".

The armed men also looked for former Sorsogon City Mayor Leovic Dioneda, who is running to regain his former post, but he locked inside a room by his supporters.

While inside the room, Dioneda asked the gunmen if they were henchman of Sally Lee, to which they responded "Na'no man kung goons kami ni Sally?!" (So what if we are goons of Sally?).

Also inside the barangay hall were other candidates of the party, including Vladimir Frivaldo, Maning Villamor, Atty. Ron Espinosa, Ryan Dioneda, Atty. Athan Balintong, Edna Mancera and Nong Blazo.

Aside from the men inside the barangay hall, several armed men were also spotted outside. The armed men "hostaged" the candidates for almost one hour before leaving.

Sorsogon is a known bailiwick of Sen. Chiz Escudero, who is also running for vice president, while Mayor Lee is a known supporter of the senator.

Dioneda, on the other hand, is a supporter of Robredo.

Duterte backers threaten UNA bet

The opposition United Nationalist Alliance (UNA), meanwhile, denounced the apparent thug-like tactics carried out by political rivals against senatorial candidate Princess Jacel Kiram who is being pressured to support another presidential candidate.

Kiram, a resident of Davao City, said some people have approached her and even advised her to print campaign posters with Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte if she wants her campaign materials posted in the city.

"They told I have to produce a tarp showing me and Duterte, but I cannot do that because I have my president," she pointed out.

Kiram cried foul over the removal of her campaign posters and tarpaulins in Davao city just because she was supporting UNA presidential candidate Jejomar Binay. She noted that this is not the first time that her campaign materials were removed in Davao.

Supporters of Kiram personally saw "people who looked like employees of the Davao City Traffic Management Center" taking down and confiscating her campaign materials even those posted in private residences.

According to UNA spokesman Mon Ilagan, UNA has received several reports from its leaders in Davao that personnel of city hall were removing campaign tarpaulins of UNA candidates even in private establishments.

Despite the intimidation she and her followers experienced in Davao, Kiram urged her supporters to observe propriety and sobriety at all times.

"I hold my rivals in high regard and I do not want to believe that anyone has ordered the removal of my posters. However, it is very disappointing to see such acts of sabotage," she added.

She also said that they already called the attention of the Commission on Elections to look into the incident.

Kiram is running under the United Nationalist Alliance and is pushing for the Philippines to intensify its claim over Sabah. She is also for decentralization, greater Muslim participation in government, and the advancement of women rights and welfare.

Lacson hits tit-for-tat politics

Former Sen. Panfilo M. Lacson, meanwhile, lamented what he called the "bawian" (tit-for-tat) cycle that has plagued the local brand of politics for decades.

Lacson said many candidates allow people to make fools of them for 45 to 90 days, but aim to get back their "investments" once they are elected into office.

On the other hand, he said some voters take advantage of the campaign period to solicit money and other favors from such candidates.

He said that when he first ran for a Senate seat in 2001, he received advice from an old-timer in Philippine politics to go with the flow of such a cycle.

The old-timer even advised him to dole out money if asked, then take back what he had given once he is in power, he added.

Lacson said one way to stop this is to empower local government units (LGUs) so they need not depend on politicians' dole-outs. This will also change the mentality of Filipino voters and would-be public servants, he added.

Lacson, who is running as an independent senatorial candidate, pushed the empowering of LGUs via the downloading of funds from the national budget to the barangay, city, municipal and provincial levels through his Budget Reform Advocacy for Village Empowerment (BRAVE).

"If we give each of our 81 provinces P500 million to P1 billion; each town P50 to P100 million; each city P150 to P300 million and each barangay P3 to P5 million for development projects, we can generate jobs and lure people in the metropolis to the provinces," Lacson said.

He said the funds may be taken from the unused part of the national budget, which amounts to an average of P332 billion a year from 2002 to 2015. Such unused amounts ballooned to P703.6 billion in 2015.

Such amounts are on top of the 20 percent of internal revenue allotments (IRAs) for local government units' local development projects, plans and activities.

Lacson added he is pushing for the establishment of a National ID system to help deter criminality and ease transactions with government agencies.

Lacson told reporters here he plans to file a bill for such a system should he win a seat in the Senate in the May 9 elections.

Such an ID will deter criminals who steal others' identities, he noted.

Besides, Lacson said this will make it more convenient to transact business with government agencies.

"Why can't we incorporate all personal circumstances and data in one ID to avail of all types of social services?" he said.

Lacson is running as an independent senatorial candidate and is pushing the Budget Reform Advocacy for Village Empowerment (BRAVE),

Under BRAVE, the country's 81 provinces can get P500 million to P1 billion each; each town P50 to P100 million; each city P150 to P300 million and each barangay P3 to P5 million for development projects.

Such amounts are on top of the 20 percent of internal revenue allotments (IRAs) for local government units' local development projects, plans and activities.

Lacson said the funds may be taken from the unused part of the national budget, which amounts to an average of P332 billion a year from 2002 to 2015. Such unused amounts ballooned to P703.6 billion in 2015.

But this proposed distribution of appropriations can be used only for LGUs' developmental endeavors, and not for other purposes.

"We can generate jobs and lure people in the metropolis to the provinces," Lacson said, adding people seeking jobs in Metro Manila and major urban areas can be convinced to return to their home provinces - if local government units get enough funds to implement development projects," he said.

Source: Tribune

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