Today's Headlines in the Philippines

Benigno Aquino IIINoy wants judiciary powers clipped before term ends
MANILA, Philippines - President Aquino declared yesterday that the only thing that motivates him to push for amendments to the Constitution is to have the powers of the judiciary clipped, at least before he steps down in June 2016. During the question and answer portion of the annual forum hosted by the Foreign Correspondents Association of the Philippines (Focap), Aquino repeated his plans of making the Supreme Court reminiscent to that of the late strongman Ferdinand Marcos. “My main issue with the Constitution is the concept of judicial overreach. It’s kind of involved a discussion, if you want to hear it. That is the first priority for me,” the President said in answer to a question about his stand on Charter change.

Binay strikes again, slams embarrassing performance of some gov’t agencies
Vice President Jejomar C. Binay yesterday slammed the “embarrassing performance of some government agencies” four years into the Aquino administration. He stressed that the much-vaunted sterling domestic economic growth figures have not really trickled down to assisting small businesses and uplifting the poor. While he praised “some right things” done by the administration like “squeaky-clean governance at the top, dogged strategies for revenue generation, government spending, resulting in the overall optimism in the prospects of the Philippine economy,” Binay said that some government agencies have failed in delivering basic services to the people. “Yet, it seems, we are still not doing things right.

Anthony Tiu (right) chats with Martin SubidoSenators won’t buy Tsinoy trader’s story
MANILA, Philippines - As he promised, businessman Antonio Tiu faced a Senate Blue Ribbon subcommittee yesterday, but failed to convince its members that he instead of Vice President Jejomar Binay is the owner of a 150-hectare agricultural estate in Rosario, Batangas. The subcommittee investigating an allegedly overpriced parking building constructed by the city government of Makati rejected Tiu’s claim. Tiu, chief executive officer of Greenergy Holdings Inc., has been granting interviews and taking out print advertisements to defend his reputation as a legitimate businessman and denying the allegations that Binay is the actual owner of the Batangas property.

Malaysia refuses to extradite Amalilio
Malaysia has declined the Philippine government’s request to extradite Manuel K. Amalilio whose company, Aman Futures Group Philippines Inc., was linked to a P12-billion scam that victimized thousands of investors in Mindanao. Justice Secretary Leila de Lima expressed “deep disappointment” over this development but stressed the Philippine government will continue to press the Malaysian Office of Ministry of Home Affairs to reverse its decision in withdrawing its consent to have Amalilio extradited to the Philippines to face syndicated estafa charges. Countries seeking the extradition of a fugitive hiding in Malaysia should seek the consent of the Malaysian Ministry of Home Affairs in order for the whole extradition process to proceed.

Mar RoxasRoxas laughs off Binay charge on Oplan Nognog
MANILA, Philippines–Just face the music. This was the message of Interior Secretary Mar Roxas to his political nemesis, Vice President Jejomar Binay, after the latter named him the brains of the “Oplan Stop Nognog 2016,” a supposed smear campaign meant to derail Binay’s chances in the 2016 presidential election. Roxas, who lost to Binay in the 2010 elections, is the presumptive standard-bearer of the ruling Liberal Party in the next national elections.

Trillanes accuses Antonio Tiu of withdrawing millions of cash from QC bank
MANILA, Philippines — The Chinese-Filipino businessman tagged as Vice President Jejomar Binay’s dummy had allegedly withdrawn millions of pesos from a bank in Quezon City last July, Senator Antonio Trillanes IV told a Senate hearing on Wednesday. Trillanes made the disclosure after the businessman, Antonio Tiu, confirmed during the hearing of the Senate blue ribbon subcommittee that he has an account with Banco de Oro branch in Banawe, Quezon City. The senator then asked Tiu if he made any withdrawals from the bank sometime in July.

Antonio “Sonny” Trillanes IVTrillanes: Binay camp buying silence of witness
MANILA, Philippines–The camp of Vice President Jejomar Binay has allegedly been trying to buy the silence of former Makati City officials to stop them from testifying in the Senate blue ribbon subcommittee that has been looking into alleged anomalies in Makati. Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV on Wednesday alleged that Binay’s camp has been paying off former Makati City engineer Nelson Irasga P10 million for every subcommittee hearing he skipped. Former Makati Vice Mayor Ernesto Mercado also said common friends he had with Binay had approached him to buy his silence and even asked him to name his price after he began testifying in the subcommittee on alleged corruption in Makati, but he refused the offer.

MRT-3 breakdown seen to continue until next year
MANILA, Philippines - Transportation officials admitted yesterday that there would be no relief from possible breakdowns for the more than 500,000 daily riders of Metro Rail Transit 3 until late 2015. MRT-3 officer-in-charge Renato San Jose told the House committee on transportation and communications that planned improvements on MRT-3, the rail line along EDSA, would be undertaken next year. He said such improvements include the replacement of six kilometers of rails, procurement of traction motors and the upgrading of the signaling network, which detects problems with the entire rail system. He said the improvement projects would be funded under the proposed P2.606-trillion 2015 national budget.

Josie Tallado‘Missing’ Camarines Norte governor’s wife surfaces
Almost a week after she was reported missing, the wife of Camarines Norte Governor Edgardo Tallado surfaced on Wednesday. Josie Tallado said she left their home because she feared the wrath of her husband, according to GMA News TV's News TV Live. "Umalis po ako ng aming bahay ... dahil nararamdaman ko hindi na ako safe sa bahay namin kaya napilitan akong umalis na," she said in an interview with GMA News' Arnold Clavio on Unang Balita on Wednesday. Mrs. Tallado said the problem stemmed from an alleged affair her husband had been having.

Camp Aguinaldo detention guarantees no flight for Pemberton—DFA
The Department of Foreign Affairs on Wednesday welcomed the transfer of US Marine Private First Class Joseph Scott Pemberton to a Philippine military detention facility, saying it was a guarantee that he would not flee the country to evade possible charges for allegedly killing a Filipino transgender woman in Olongapo City on October 11. Unlike the case of US Lance Corporal Daniel Smith, who was detained at the US Embassy in Manila during his trial for the rape of a Filipino woman in Subic in 2005, Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario said US Navy Private First Class Joseph Scott Pemberton’s movements could be monitored by Philippine authorities.

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