Today's Headlines in the Philippines

Benigno AquinoPresident Aquino: No more 2nd term
MANILA, Philippines–President Aquino on Tuesday said having a second term would not be the “right solution” to sustain the Philippines’ economic growth beyond 2016, in the most categorical answer he has made to the question of whether he is open to extending his term. “There are some quarters that were saying I should try and go for a second term. I don’t think that’s a right solution,” Aquino said at a general membership meeting of the Semiconductor and Electronics Industries in the Philippines (SEIPI).

Senate sub-committee to summon former owners of ‘Hacienda Binay’
The Senate Blue Ribbon subcommittee is set to summon the previous owners of properties that compose part the alleged estate of Vice President Jejomar Binay in Rosario, Batangas. According to a Tuesday report on GMA 7's “24 Oras”, property tax documents obtained from the Rosario, Batangas Assessor's Office revealed that four people owned sections of the alleged "Hacienda Binay": Hilario Comia (who owns 2.6 hectares), Renato Comia, Sr. (2.6 hectares), Benito Alday (10.5 hectares), and Balbino Perez (11.8 hectares). Former Rosario vice-mayor Danilo Alday, told GMA News that he bought his uncle Benito's parcel of land in 1994 and sold the property for P5 million through an agent. He said that he gave all the necessary papers for the purchase, including the propertiy's title, to the agent.

Grace PoePoe: No plans to run for president in ’16
MANILA, Philippines–People should not read too much into her use of her father’s altanghap campaign line in her privilege speech on hunger, Sen. Grace Poe said on Tuesday, as she continued to be skittish when the topic of 2016 was brought up. Poe insisted that she had no intention to run in the country’s next presidential election. “No plans at all,” she told reporters on Tuesday. She said her use of altanghap, shorthand for almusal, tanghalian, hapunan (breakfast, lunch, dinner) should not be an issue.

PNoy ‘endorses’ 2016 bet
President Aquino yesterday called on the public to vote for a like-minded and competent candidate rather than someone who extols “populist sentiments with no substance” to replace him when his term ends in 2016. Addressing a semiconductors and electronics industry forum in Makati City, the President conceded that his proposed term extension is “not the right solution” to sustain the country’s solid economic gains beyond 2016. “There are some quarters that were saying I should try and go for a second term. I don’t think that’s a right solution,” said the President, who has taken a beating since he started entertaining calls to stay in power beyond 2016.

Antonio “Sonny” Trillanes IV (L), and Jejomar BinayBinay-Trillanes Debate shouldn’t descend into shouting match
MANILA, Philippines–The camp of Vice President Jejomar Binay said it didn’t want the much-awaited debate between Binay and Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV over the corruption allegations against the former to descend into a shouting match. This is the reason they have been working with the Kapisanan ng Brodkaster sa Pilipinas (KBP), which has offered to organize the event, to ensure that there would be ground rules that both camps have to observe, they said. “The public deserves a discourse that is elevated to the level that is truthful and scholarly,” said Cavite Gov. Jonvic Remulla, Binay’s political spokesperson.

Cayetano to pursue Binay probe; VP won’t back out from debate
Admitting that his participation in the Senate Blue Ribbon sub-committee investigation of the Makati City Hall Building II could be costing him the much-needed base support, Senate Majority Leader Alan Peter Cayetano yesterday said he will continue to pursue the probe of Vice President Jejomar C. Binay. Cayetano, whose latest rating in the presidential preferential survey dropped from 5 to 1 percent, stressed this yesterday as he said he has not yet given up his dreams of running for president in 2016. “Pangarap ko pa din (It’s still my dream) but with the present numbers, as I said, who will run if mababa ka sa survey (if you are low in the surveys?)” Cayetano said in a televised interview.

Joseph Scott PembertonVFA under review but no amendments
MANILA, Philippines - The Philippines and the United States are reviewing the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA), focusing on certain provisions including custody of servicemen charged with crime, Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario said yesterday. Del Rosario stressed that the review, meant to “develop a shared understanding” of the agreement, began long before US Marine Private First Class Joseph Scott Pemberton was accused of killing Filipino transgender Jeffrey “Jennifer” Laude in Olongapo City on Oct. 11. But both Del Rosario and Malacañang officials said the review would not lead to an amendment or a renegotiation of the VFA.

Czech envoy wants to move on to new projects
MANILA, Philippines - The Czech Republic has a new ambassador, and he wants ties with the Philippines to move beyond the recent controversy involving the Metro Rail Transit (MRT). Welcoming guests to his country’s National Day reception the other night, Czech Ambassador Jaroslav Olsa Jr. told The STAR their embassy would continue helping their private companies doing business in the Philippines. But he said “we want to move on to new projects, more trade and people-to-people exchanges.” Olsa said trade relations between the Philippines and the Czech Republic remain at a high level despite the alleged $30-million extort try on Czech firm Inekon Group allegedly by MRT officials.

Ramon Revilla Jr.Bong hits ‘premature’ garnishment; JPE, Jinggoy next
MANILA, Philippines - It was premature for prosecutors to move for the garnishment of his assets as the Sandiganbayan anti-graft court has not even issued a ruling on his petition for bail, Sen. Ramon Revilla Jr. said yesterday. “I have not been proven guilty by the Sandiganbayan and yet the lawyers of the ombudsman are now moving heaven and earth to garnish my assets, which are the legitimate fruits of my labor as an action star of more than 20 years,” Revilla said in a statement sent from his detention cell at Camp Crame. He was reacting to ombudsman prosecutors’ asking the anti-graft court to issue a writ of preliminary attachment against his assets, supposedly to ensure they are intact and ready for recovery in case he is convicted of plunder.

Binay daughter linked to aviary inside controversial farm estate
Several dozen birds, including exotic ones, in an aviary inside the sprawling estate in Batangas allegedly owned by Vice President Jejomar Binay are registered under the name of his daughter, Makati Rep. Abigail Binay. A report on GMA News' “24 Oras” on Monday quoted the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) in Calabarzon as saying the aviary is the biggest in the region, and the 57 birds there are part of Rep. Binay's private collection. The aviary is one of the features that also include a maze garden, man-made lagoon, and mansion found inside Sunchamp Agri-Tourism Park, which is allegedly part of the Binay family's hidden wealth.

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