Today's Headlines in the Philippines

Mar RoxasRoxas to Mayor Binay: You’re not special, you don’t own Makati
Interior Secretary Mar Roxas urged Makati Mayor Junjun Binay to step aside. “This is not a telenovela or a drama about your family lording it over Makati City. This is about the rule of law which says you are suspended by the Ombudsman,” he told reporters. “You don’t own Makati City, Mayor Binay. No one is king here except the law. We will implement the law… If you want to say anything, do so before the courts,” said Roxas, the likely presidential candidate of the ruling Liberal Party in next year’s elections.

House eyes ‘super body’ to prevent repeat of Torre de Manila issue
The House Committee on Metro Manila Development is looking at the creation of a “super body” that would help prevent issues similar to the Torre de Manila construction. The super body would integrate and synchronize the regulatory functions of the National Historical Commission of the Philippines and the National Commission for Culture and the Arts. The proposal, which the committee could endorse to Congress, was announced in a hearing held Wednesday to probe the Torre de Manila project that supposedly mars the visual corridors of the Rizal National Monument in Luneta.

Junjun BinayJunjun steps down
MANILA, Philippines - Saying he could not bear to see more people get hurt, suspended Makati Mayor Jejomar Erwin Binay yesterday stepped down “temporarily,” ending a standoff that began Monday when dozens of his supporters rushed to the city hall to prevent him from being removed. Shortly after stepping out of his office at around 9 a.m., Binay faced hundreds of supporters and kibitzers at the city hall grounds to thank and assure them that his decision to vacate his post is only temporary, as he expects the Court of Appeals (CA) to stop his suspension through a temporary restraining order (TRO) or writ of preliminary injunction.

Global carriers tag NAIA as ‘high-risk’ airport
MANILA, Philippines - Global airlines have tagged the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) as one of the high-risk airports in the Asia-Pacific region due to unresolved safety concerns as well as poor infrastructure. In a paper entitled “Immediate and long-term priorities for Manila Airports,” the International Air Transport Association (IATA) said member airlines were seriously concerned about the safety of the ground movement operations and management of the airside infrastructure at the NAIA.

Conchita Carpio-MoralesOmbudsman orders filing of PDAF charges against 5 more former solons
Five more former congressmen, including members of the Liberal Party (LP), are facing graft and corruption charges in connection with the alleged illegal disbursement of their Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF). In a press conference, Assistant Ombudsman and spokesman Asryman Rafanan identified the new batch of PDAF respondents as former Muntinlupa Rep. and Customs Commissioner Ruffy Biazon and Energy Regulatory Commissioner Chairman Zenaida Ducut, former Pampanga representative.

Aquino blames previous admins for poor state of military
CLARK, Philippines — With about a year before he bows out of Malacañang, President Benigno Aquino III scored the previous administrations once more during his keynote speech at the Philippine Air Force’s 68th anniversary for seemingly neglecting the military. “Sagana nga po sa ganitong mga eksena ng kagitingan ang kasaysayan ng Hukbong Himpapawid. Ang masaklap: Imbes na tumbasan ng kalinga ng Estado ang inyong mga pagsisikap, ang isinukli ng ating sinundan ay status quo ng kapabayaan,” Aquino said.

Jejomar BinayVeep Binay describes Aquino gov’t: Lazy, slow, indecisive
Where is the government? Vice President Jejomar Binay repeated this sentence throughout the 15-minute speech in Filipino as he delivered his sharpest words yet against the Aquino administration at the launch of his political party on Wednesday in Makati, the city that the Binay family has controlled for almost 30 years. He devoted a large part of his stinging and emotionally charged speech lambasting the government, at one point describing it as an association of “tamad, usad-pagong at teka-teka (lazy, slow and indecisive)” people.

ERC chief, ex-BOC head indicted for ‘pork’ misuse
MANILA, Philippines - The Office of the Ombudsman has trained its guns on administration allies by ordering the filing of criminal charges against former Bureau of Customs (BOC) commissioner Ruffy Biazon, Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) chief Zenaida Ducut and four other former lawmakers before the Sandiganbayan. Assistant Ombudsman and spokesperson Asryman Rafanan yesterday said the anti-graft agency has found probable cause to indict them for graft, malversation of public funds and direct bribery after 18 months of investigation.

Joseph EstradaErap skips party launch: ‘I'm not part of UNA’
Former President and incumbent Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada was absent during the launch of the United Nationalist Alliance as a political party because he was too busy with other matters, GMA News reported on Wednesday. Estrada is considered one of the pillars of UNA when it was still a coalition of the Puwersa ng Masang Pilipino that he founded, and the PDP-Laban, the former party of the opposition's presumptive standard-bearer Jejomar Binay. "I'm not part of the UNA. I'm not a member of the UNA. I belong to my own party. Puwersa ng Masang Pilipino," Estrada told reporters.

Binay's defiance creates instability: Makati Business Club
MANILA – The Makati Business Club has expressed concern over developments involving the suspension of Makati Mayor Junjun Binay. In a statement, the group said Binay's "defiance of the suspension order" up until he vacated the city hall on Wednesday "has created an environment of uncertainty and instability in the country’s financial center." "Such a situation is unnecessary and is counterproductive, especially at a time when the economy is steadily growing and that there is renewed investor interest in the Philippines," the Makati Business Club said.

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