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Archive for April 2007

New Pulse Asia senatorial survey: 7 GO, 5 TU, 2 independents

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By Joel Guinto
Last updated 05:07pm (Mla time) 04/30/2007

(UPDATE) MANILA, Philippines — SEVEN senatorial candidates of the Genuine Opposition (GO), five candidates of Team Unity (TU), and two independents have a statistical chance of winning in the May elections, an April 25-27, 2007 Pulse Asia survey released Monday said.

Former senator and GO opposition candidate Loren Legarda has remained on top with 59.6 percent while three others also from the opposition, Sorsogon Representative Francis Escudero (47.2 percent), Senate President Manuel Villar (47.0 percent), and Senator Panfilo Lacson (43.9 percent) were tied for 2nd to 4th places, according to Pulse Asia’s April 3-5 study.

Senate Majority Floor Leader Francis Pangilinan, who is running as an independent, fell to 5th to 10th place, from 2nd to 6th place, with a rating of 38.8 percent from 44.6 percent.

Another independent, former senator Gregorio Honasan, rose to 5th to 12th place from 8th to 15th, with 35.7 percent, just behind
Taguig-Pateros Representative Alan Peter Cayetano (GO), who ranked 5th to 10th with 38.2 percent.

Also ranked 5th to 12th were GO bet Tarlac Representative Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III (35.5 percent), and reelectionist senators Ralph Recto (35.4 percent), Edgardo Angara (35.2 percent), both from the administration’s TEAM Unity (TU).

Rounding the top 12, ranked 7th to 14th were reelectionist Senator Joker Arroyo (33.4 percent) and Bukidnon Representative Juan Miguel Zubiri (32.0 percent), also from TU.

Zubiri entered the winners’ circle for the first time, with his rating up 4.1 percentage points. He was ranked 10th to 18th in the previous survey.

Just outside the top 12, but still with a “statistical chance” of winning are GO bet Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel (30.1 percent) at 11th to
15th place and TU candidate former senator Vicente Sotto III (29.2 percent) at 11th to 17th place.

The Pulse Asia survey differed slightly from the pre-election survey by the Philippine Daily Inquirer, parent company of, and the Social Weather Stations (SWS) from April 14 to 17.

In the Inquirer-SWS study, the rankings of Cayetano and Aquino had dropped. Sotto was in 10th place in the said survey and 11th to 17th in the Pulse Asia poll.

In the Pulse Asia survey, Sonia Roco (GO), the widow of the late senator and presidential candidate Raul Roco was ranked 13th to
18th, followed by former presidential chief of staff Michael Defensor
(TU) and former senator John Henry Osmeña (GO), who were both ranked 14th to 20th.

Surigao del Sur Representative Prospero Pichay (TU) was ranked 15th to 21st, followed by Zambales Governor Vicente Magsaysay (TU) and ex-Navy Lieutenant Antonio Trillanes IV, who were both ranked 16th to 21st.

Actor Cesar Montano (TU) ranked 18th to 21st while fellow actor Richard Gomez, an independent candidate, ranked 22nd to 24th.

Pulse Asia polled 1,800 respondents for the study, which had a margin of error +/-2 percent.

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Written by joelguinto

Mon+00:002007-04-30T11:45:26+00:00+00:0004b+00:00Mon, 30 Apr 2007 11:45:26 +0000 22, 2006 at 12:45 am04

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Military chief orders increased checkpoints

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By Joel Guinto
Last updated 04:24pm (Mla time) 04/30/2007

MANILA, Philippines — Armed Forces Chief General Hermogenes Esperon Jr. has ordered a nationwide increase in checkpoints in response to President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s directive for enhanced cooperation among security forces to thwart rising election-related violence.

But before soldiers can be deployed to election hotspots, the
Commission on Elections (Comelec) needs to deputize the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), pursuant to a memorandum of agreement between the poll body and the Department of National Defense (DND), military spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Bartolome Bacarro said.

Bacarro said the checkpoints would be for the enforcement of the election gun ban and routine security checks, which do not require a prior request from the Comelec.

“The Chief of Staff has directed the chief of operations to direct all units to increase our checkpoints. Actually, these checkpoints can be done independently or in tandem, jointly with the PNP [Philippine National Police] and the Comelec,” Bacarro told reporters in Camp Aguinaldo.

Bacarro said the AFP had long prepared for possible deputation by the Comelec to respond to “serious armed threats.”

“The bottom line is we are ready to provide said assistance once we are deputized by the Commission on Elections based on the recommendation of the Philippine National Police,” he said.

“We are ready and willing to do that, but of course, we will need the deputation coming from the Commission on Elections,” he added.

On Monday morning, San Carlos town Mayor Julian Resuello died at the St. Luke’s Hospital in Quezon City. He was shot Saturday night in a fiesta. His bodyguard also died in the incident.

The incident came less than a week after two people were killed in a shootout in Jaen town, Nueva Ecija province between the feuding political parties of Nueva Ecija Fourth district Representative Rodolfo Antonino and Jaen Mayor Antonio Esquivel.

Nearly 30 people have been reported killed nationwide as rival candidates, many of them members of long-established political clans, have stepped up efforts to sway voters ahead of the May 14 polls.

Nearly 87,000 candidates are vying for 17,000 national and local positions. All 265 House of Representatives seats and half of the 24 Senate seats also are up for grabs.

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Written by joelguinto

Mon+00:002007-04-30T08:55:39+00:00+00:0004b+00:00Mon, 30 Apr 2007 08:55:39 +0000 22, 2006 at 12:45 am04

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AFP metro chief pursues campaign for clean polls

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Vote wisely, public told

By Joel Guinto
Last updated 02:43pm (Mla time) 04/30/2007

MANILA, Philippines — Claiming that Armed Forces Chief Hermogenes Esperon Jr. had given him the go-signal, the top military official in Metro Manila did not waste time in personally campaigning for clean elections and for people to “vote wisely.”

At a news forum in Quezon City on Monday, Major General Ben Dolorfino, head of the National Capital Region Command (NCRCom), called on the public to “exercise our right of suffrage wisely.”


On Friday, Lieutenant Colonel Bartolome Bacarro, military spokesman, said Dolorfino had been instructed to go easy on his media campaign and instead focus on preparations for possible troop deployment in case they would be deputized by the Commission on Elections (Comelec).

But Dolorfino said Esperon had given him the go-signal after he assured the military chief over the weekend that the media blitz would not affect the NCRCom’s operations.

“It will not affect their [troops’] operational activities and preparedness. I took this up with the Chief of Staff… It will be just me to include other heads of organizations that are parties to this covenant,” Dolorfino said.

The NCRCom chief was referring to the covenant for clean elections signed by the multi-sector Task Force HOPE (honest, orderly, and peaceful elections).

Dolorfino’s media campaign had been criticized by left-wing militants, who raised concerns that the military would be dragged into partisan politics.

But Dolorfino said he saw nothing wrong, saying he would not endorse specific candidates, and would only tell voters what qualities to look for in candidates.

“I call on our countrymen, the responsibility of promoting good governance starts in each one of us. Let us exercise our right to suffrage wisely,” Dolorfino said during the forum at the Sulo Hotel.

“Let us not be part of efforts to influence the outcome of the election, let’s not get involved in violence,” he added.

Dolorfino said the May mid-term elections, was “very important” and voters should look at a candidate’s “qualifications,” and not allow themselves to be swayed by popularity.

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Written by joelguinto

Mon+00:002007-04-30T08:06:15+00:00+00:0004b+00:00Mon, 30 Apr 2007 08:06:15 +0000 22, 2006 at 12:45 am04

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Troop presence in metro ‘necessary’– military commander

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By Joel Guinto

Last updated 02:11pm (Mla time) 04/30/2007

MANILA, Philippines — The presence of soldiers in poor communities in Metro Manila is “very necessary,” the military commander in the capital said Monday, amid a review of the controversial deployment.


“This [deployment] is very necessary in pursuit of our role, our peacetime role, as partner of the people and the local government units in the task of nation-building,” Major General Ben Dolorfino, Armed Forces National Capital Region Command (NCRCom) chief, told a news forum.

“Many communities need our help. It’s the responsibility of every sector in society to protect the interest of our countrymen, and that includes protecting human rights,” he said.

On Friday, Lieutenant Colonel Bartolome Bacarro, military spokesman, said Armed Forces Chief Hermogenes Esperon Jr. has ordered a review of the deployment to decide whether troops would return after the May 14 elections.

The announcement came a day after Dolorfino announced plans to add 12 more 10-man teams to the existing 26 Civil Military Operations (CMO) teams doing community service in Quezon City, Caloocan City, and Manila.

Dolorfino also said that policemen would join the deployment, which has been criticized on allegations of electioneering and harassment targeted at left-wing groups.

Acknowledging the reassessment of the deployment, Dolorfino said:
“After the elections, there is no certainty that troops will return.
It depends upon the review at GHQ [general headquarters] and the approval of the chief of staff.”

But if he had his way, Dolorfino said he would want soldiers to resume CMO activities after the elections.

“After elections, we can go back and continue what we are doing,” he said.

On Friday, Dolorfino was reprimanded by Commission on Human Rights (CHR) Chairperson Purificacion Quisumbing, who said that the deployment was reminiscent of martial law in the 1970s and soldiers were encroaching on the responsibilities of police and local government units.

Quisumbing reiterated this during the same media forum on Monday. She also criticized the deployment of soldiers late last year, shortly before the campaign period for the mid-term elections started.

“There is a problem with the timing, during the campaign time, the timing is wrong,” she said.

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Written by joelguinto

Mon+00:002007-04-30T07:24:06+00:00+00:0004b+00:00Mon, 30 Apr 2007 07:24:06 +0000 22, 2006 at 12:45 am04

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Military troops in metro on red alert ahead of Labor Day

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By Joel Guinto
Last updated 12:16pm (Mla time) 04/30/2007

MANILA, Philippines — Military forces in Metro Manila have been placed on red alert, the highest alert level, effective 12 noon Monday in anticipation of the rallies that would be held Tuesday, Labor Day, the military commander in the capital said.

At the same time, 2,000 anti-riot soldiers have been placed on standby to augment their police counterparts if requested, said Major General Ben Dolorfino, Armed Forces National Capital Region Command (NCRCom) chief.

“We will be on red alert effective today [Monday], which means we will place on standby our CDM [civil disturbance management] units,” Dolorfino told a news forum in Quezon City shortly before the red alert was raised.

“In addition, our quick reaction units will also be placed on standby,” Dolorfino said.

Labor Day has become a rallying point for anti-government forces after the bloody siege of loyalists of deposed president Joseph Estrada on May 1, 2001.

“We do not foresee such thing will happen again,” Dolorfino said, referring to the failed power grab, dubbed “EDSA Tres.”

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Written by joelguinto

Mon+00:002007-04-30T05:24:40+00:00+00:0004b+00:00Mon, 30 Apr 2007 05:24:40 +0000 22, 2006 at 12:45 am04

Posted in Uncategorized Video: Army defends Metro deployment

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MANILA, Philippines — Col Ricardo Visaya of Civil Military Operations unit defends the deployment of soldiers to poor communities in Metro Manila during a dialogue at the Commission on HUman Rights (CHR). Video taken by reporter Joel Guinto on April 27, 2007.

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Written by joelguinto

Sun+00:002007-04-29T14:31:04+00:00+00:0004b+00:00Sun, 29 Apr 2007 14:31:04 +0000 22, 2006 at 12:45 pm04

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Esperon to NCR commander: ‘Go easy on poll media blitz’

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By Joel Guinto
Last updated 05:10pm (Mla time) 04/27/2007

MANILA, Philippines — Armed Forces chief of staff General Hermogenes Esperon Jr. has ordered Metro Manila military chief Major General Ben Dolorfino to go easy on his planned media campaign for clean elections and instead prepare for the possibility of having his men deputized for poll duty.

“With the guidance given from the chief of staff, you can see [this] as an indication not to give priority for the advocacy,” Lieutenant Colonel Bartolome Bacarro, Armed Forces public information officer, said Friday.

“Less time [for the media campaign], but it does not mean no time [for it]. It’s just more on priority, preparing for the election to support the Philippine National Police, aside from, of course, our internal security operations,” Bacarro told reporters in Camp Aguinaldo.

Dolorfino had planned to go on a media blitz starting next week in support of a multi-agency campaign for honest, orderly and peaceful elections. While he would not campaign for particular candidates, the general said he would ask voters to choose qualified and God-fearing candidates.

And while the pullout of troops from depressed communities in Metro Manila before the May 14 elections would push through even if no definite date has been set, Bacarro said their redeployment would be subjected to review.

As National Capital Region Command (NCRCom) chief, Dolorfino oversees the Civil Military Operations (CMO) projects of 260 soldiers in the capital. On Thursday Dolorfino said 12 10-man teams, supported by policemen, will join the existing 26 teams when they are redeployed after the elections.

“Based on the directive of the chief of staff, the deployment in Metro Manila after the elections will be subject to his review and approval. It’s not definite. The additional deployment will be subjected to review,” the spokesman said.

“When you say under review, it can go both ways, [the deployment] can either be stopped or scrapped,” he added.

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Written by joelguinto

Fri+00:002007-04-27T09:43:15+00:00+00:0004b+00:00Fri, 27 Apr 2007 09:43:15 +0000 22, 2006 at 12:45 am04

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