Fruits of good governance

The year 2012 was a year when we began to see the fruits of good governance and its impact on the Philippine economy.

At the start of 2012, the platform of good governance was criticized for having delivered a paltry performance the year before, 3.9%. It did not matter that the period coincided with global supply disruptions brought about by the tsunami in Japan, the crisis in MENA and the floods in Thailand; what the critics saw was the very minute contribution of government consumption expenditure to total GDP, a clear indication of governance reforms.  As it turned out, the reforms were investments to an improved climate for business and society, as a whole.

The President initiated the moves to promote transparency and accountability by announcing his “Social Contract with the Filipino People” at the start of his term in 2010.  This became the basis for the Philippine Development Plan 2011-2016, which translated the Social Contract into tangible policies and programs. The Plan preparation, while spearheaded by the NEDA, involved all agencies of government, the business sector and civil society.  The overarching goal articulated in the Plan was to achieve rapid, sustained and inclusive growth anchored on the principles of good governance.

One of the first reforms implemented was intended to expunge what was termed as the “culture of impunity” and this meant going after the “wang-wang”of Philippine society- the tax evaders, smugglers, corrupt officials, usurpers of authority, etc. Bureaucratic reforms to reduce the cost of doing business, such as the procedures for applying for a business permit and registering a business name, are further being addressed to improve the country’s business environment. Strategies to increase participation in the budgetary process were also piloted and will perhaps be expanded in 2013.

Beyond these reforms, the notion of “matuwid na daan” resonated in all agencies of government.  As a result, savings were being realized from many quarters of public service provision.

Towards the latter part of 2011 and all through 2012, government has accelerated its disbursement both in MOOE and capital outlay.  The former included the government counterpart in administering the conditional cash transfer (CCT) program, whose coverage was increased to some 3 million families.  The latter, together with projects under public-private partnership (PPP), was intended to address the neglected state of infrastructure that was eroding the country’s competitiveness.

The business sector, both here and abroad, have likewise appreciated these reforms. As a result, there have been eight positive rating actions earned since the Aquino Administration assumed office, from Fitch, S&P, and Moody’s. We have also moved up in various competitiveness and governance rankings.

Gross domestic product for the first three quarters of 2012 grew by 6.5 percent, and it is highly likely that growth will surpass the targets set by the Development Budget Coordinating Council (DBCC), which was 5-6 percent.  This growth occurred while deepening macroeconomic stability and fiscal discipline.  Inflation was low and stable, 3.2%; fiscal deficit was kept at about 2%; debt stock to GDP was reduced to about 50%, down from about 74% in 2004.  It must also be noted that elsewhere in the world, countries were going through economic crises (US, Japan, Euro Area) or political crises (Egypt, Libya, Syria).

The primary driver of growth on the demand side was household consumption, which grew by 5.7%, although the increase in fixed capital (7.9%) was also substantial.  In particular, investments in construction posted a major turnaround, growing by 12.6% in the first three quarters of 2012, from a contraction (-9.4%) the year before.  This development is expected to sustain the growth even in the medium term, for instance, public investments were channelled to addressing infrastructure bottlenecks.

The export sector continued to be weighed down by external events.  Nevertheless, it increased by 8.6%, contributed largely by exports in services that included the IT-BPO sector.  Apart from signs of a recovery, the portfolio of goods and markets has also diversified. This makes the Philippines less vulnerable to shocks coming from a single country or region.

The present challenge is to sustain the growth and make it more inclusive. It has been observed that employment has not responded quite well to the growth. Improvements in the country’s competitiveness are expected to bring in investments, perhaps in the short term; this will then create jobs, which can be expected in the medium term.  Public policies and programs will continue to address infrastructure bottlenecks and reduce the cost of doing business to encourage investments.  Programs for human capital development will also be in place to ensure that when these investments demand the labour, there will be an appropriate supply. Likewise, social protection and safety nets have been set in place for the marginalized and most vulnerable sectors of society, as well as providing for assistance to victims of disasters, natural or man-made.

One potentially huge source of investments is the remittance from Overseas Filipinos (OFs), which are expected to increase by about 5% for the full year of 2012.  In the first nine months of 2012, remittances from OFs have already amounted to US$ 15.6B, much higher than FDI inflows. What is needed is a deliberate program to encourage investments from OFs and their families, effectively involving them in the economic development of the country and create jobs in the process.

There is a lot of scope for public policy and programs to promote inclusive growth.  NEDA is in the process of completing its assessment of the first two years of implementation of the PDP wherein the gaps to achieving the Plan targets have already been identified.  Going forward, the strategies of government will be deliberate; they will be directed to address the gaps, and they will take stock of what has been done and what can be expected in the future. The principles of good governance will continue to be the anchor on which these strategies will be designed.  As before, these strategies will be articulated in a document, the Updated PDP, against which we will commit, once again, our due accountability as an institution.

(COPYRIGHT: Malaya Business Insight)

P-Noy Richer By P10 Million In 2011

It was stated and showed in the latest statement of assets, liabilities and net worth (SALN) of President Benigno Aquino III that he grew richer by P10.130 million last year which was then submitted to the Office of the Ombudsman.

Aquino declared that as of December 31, 2011, he is to be worth P65.130 million, with P32.162 million in real properties and P32.967 million in personal and other assets, as opposed to P54.999 million in the previous year.

The increase of Aquino’s wealth last year is mostly revealed in the value of his real properties, which amounted to P22.073 million as of December 31, 2010.

His house in Quezon City was identified under inheritance was previously declared to be worth only P13.796 million but today was now valued at P23.6 million.

Aquino’s personal and other properties which cover motor vehicles, cash on hand and cash in bank, receivables, and other assets went down a little from P33.155 million in 2010 to PP32.967 million last year.

In total, Aquino’s net worth grew from P50.194 million as of June 30, 2010 to P65.130 million as of Dec. 31, 2011, after 18 months in office with an annual income of P1.212 million.

Aquino had earlier explained that the increase in his net worth last year can be attributed to inheritance, the transfer or documentation of which were completed only in 2011.

Aquino has so far submitted three SALNs before the Office of the Ombudsman, which is the official depository of the same along with that of the vice president and the heads of other constitutional bodies.

Aquino’s predecessor, former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s SALNS show that she grew richer by as much as P76 million during her nine years in office, from 2001 to 2010.

Comelec To Get P430 Million For New ARMM Voters’ List

Yesterday, March 28, 2012 President Aquino approved in the notion of the P430-million financing that the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) is looking for to withdraw the voter’s list in the Autonomous Region Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) following reports that its population has been increasing over the years.

According to Budget Secretary Florencio Abad, “Considering that ARMM reforms have been high in our agenda, I think P430 million will not be too much compared to the restoration of the credibility in the upcoming elections,” President Aquino just gave his nod.

Secretary Abad told the reporters in a chance interview that the money will be obtained from the original budget for the ARMM election proper that were postponed in August 2011 and also from the “discretionary funds” of the President.

Comelec Chairman Sixto Brillantes Jr., who were also present in the meeting in Malacañang have proposed the amount that will be needing for the “total annulment” of the voters’ list in the five provinces of the ARMM. In line with this it has been notoriously known for “command votes” in years.

Maguindano, Basilan, Lanao Del Sur, Sulu, and Tawi – Tawi composes the ARMM.

“Mr. President, we are going to seriously consider annulling the voters’ list in the entire five provinces of ARMM,” said Brillantes. With this, they’ve observed that this is the quickest way to cleanse the Comelec records of double registrants and other election-related difficulties.

“There will be total annulment of voters’ list of the five provinces. This is what we are going to do,” Brillantes uttered, ARMM officer-in-charge Gov. Mujiv Hataman proposed that the general registration be performed in May instead of June.

“We have reservations about pocket registrations because some sectors might just put political color into it. We prefer and we want to pursue a general registration, and hopefully to have a biometrics system in 2013,” Hataman alleged.

Preceding to the agreement of the P430-million funding, Hataman thought they would be needing at least P280 million to push through general registration and also that the regional government considers this can still be done within a week or two but the COMELEC said that 17 days would do.

Brillantes assumed that the amount was high as for the government wants to gain machines that will be used for the purpose, as well as organize and utilize personnel.

Brilliantes aforesaid, “We can have several machines, but if there are no election inspectors then it will just delay the whole process. An election inspector should be there to conduct the oath for registrants.”

President Aquino observed from the PowerPoint presentation of the National Statistics Office that the ARMM population has been “very substantial,” mainly when records from 2007 and 2010 years were compared, which were both election years.

It was presented by NSO that ARMM had a population of 4.1 million in 2007 but in reality it was revealed last 2010 that it was only around 3 million, or a disparity of 1 million in only 3 years’ time.

One of the provinces in ARMM showed that there was only a difference of 432,000 in the population figures for 2007 and 2010.

NSO articulated that the ARMM had a population of 1.6 million in 1980, increasing to 2.1 million 10 years later (1990), then to 2.8 million in 2000 and 4.1 million in 2007, but decreased to 3.3 million in 2010.

“The population of the Philippines and Mindanao, both excluding ARMM, were falling from 1990 to 2007, whereas in ARMM, it was not only growing, (but) it was growing at an improbable rate,” according to Budget Secretary Abad.

For many years, ARMM has been considered to be the bailiwick of any administration and has been general with so-called “command votes,” which the region is always predictably to deliver to any administration candidate.

A Lifetime Benefit Bill for retired Filipino Athletes

From via

Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago has filed a bill; the Senate Bill 2741 that seeks to provide professional Filipino athletes with retirement, health care and death benefits provided that they have won prestigious titles for the Philippines.

It seeks to provide insurance coverage to athletes covered by the National Health Insurance Program of the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth) immediately upon winning any international professional sports competitions.

Filipino athletes who were former champions in their respective fields and who have reached the age of 50 will also receive a lifetime monthly pension of at least P15,000 for those who participated in individual events.

Those who participated and won in team sports will receive a lifetime monthly pension of P10,000.

If needed, hospitalization not covered by PhilHealth will be shouldered by the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO).

These retired athletes shall also be entitled to a lump sum death benefit of P30,000 to cover for funeral expenses.

This is good news to many athletes, but the bill is still subject for approval by President Benigno Aquino III upon the joint recommendation of the Budget Secretary and the chairman of the Games and Amusement Board.

In November 2010, House Representatives also filed a similar proposal to grant champion Filipino athletes a monthly pension.

This consolidated version was through the efforts of Puwersa ng Bayaning Atleta (PBA) party-list Rep. Mark Aeron Sambar, South Cotabato Rep. Pedro Acharon Jr., and Las Piñas Rep. Mark Villar.

Athletes including Lydia de Vega, Elma Muros-Posadas, bowling hall-of-famer Paeng Nepumuceno and billiards world champion Efren “Bata” Reyes are expected to benefit from the bill once it is passed.

Filipino Athletes

Filipino Athletes

Earlier this year, boxing hero and Sarangani Representative Manny Pacquiao had also raised the amendment of the Republic Act 9064 known as the Sports Incentives Law to help retired athletes in the country.

Pacquiao’s primary objective in the amendment of RA 9064 is to increase the incentives and widen the scope of the benefits to amateur athletes, especially amateur boxers.

He specifically cited Olympic boxers Leopoldo Serrantes and Anthony Villanueva who are suffering from sickness but are not getting enough support from the government.

President and VP Proclamation

MANILA, Philippines – With his overwhelming mandate, president-elect Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III declared “a new dawn for the country’s democracy” and said he is open to reconciliation with his political foes but not at the expense of justice.

“It’s really the emphasis that this is a people’s victory,” Aquino said in a speech he prepared but failed to deliver at his proclamation yesterday by Congress.

Also proclaimed was vice president-elect Jejomar Binay.

“We owe the people’s triumph largely to their efforts. There is much more to be done. There are a lot of expectations to meet. We can fulfill these expectations if we work together as one,” his speech read.

“I believe we can transcend party lines. We can prove that reconciliation and cooperation comes easily to those who have the best interest of our people at heart. Just as it is in the dawn that the family gathers to prepare for the day’s coming toil, let us pause to reflect on the new day for our country, a new dawn for democracy,” he said.

Aquino, whose decision to run for president came only after the massive outpouring of grief on the death of his mother former President Corazon Aquino in August last year, was finally proclaimed winner with more than 15.2 million votes or 5.7 million votes ahead of his closest rival, former President Joseph Estrada. The latter won by a landslide in 1998 but was ousted in 2001.

Speaking at a press conference after his proclamation, Aquino said he was “a little anxious, a little eager to start solving the problems still besetting our countrymen.”

Promises to keep

“We cannot say there is total joy at this point. But of course we admire the Filipino nation who stood up and really produced this campaign and this victory despite all of the odds,” Aquino said.

“I have had a lot of promises in the campaign, especially the idea of change. It cannot be business as usual. If we are going to just replace people like in a game of musical chairs, I think I would have disappointed everybody who made this victory possible,” he said.

“Therefore, there has to be closure on so many issues,” he said.

Aquino said he would “really strive” for justice as “we have been striving for it even before we decided to run.”

“As president we will be in a position to effect the necessary changes. With the backing of the people I don’t think anything is impossible,” he said.

Aquino said he was not naïve to think he would not encounter difficulties during his term, citing for instance the staggering projected deficit of P400 billion this year.

“So there is crisis to be inherited immediately. We have to repair institutions and our ability to ensure check and balance,” Aquino said.

“At the end of the day I think I am after the benefits and upliftment of the conditions of the majority of the people. If what I am doing is right, then those who would oppose doing right will be left by the wayside. If they are politicians they will not want to be left by the wayside. So it is a contest, it is a race,” he said.

“Can we do substantial changes at the shortest possible time? There will be some people who will not want us to succeed,” he said.

“I welcome criticism, especially if it is constructive criticism, because I am humble enough to admit I do not possess the perfect knowledge all the time,” he said.

“But at the end of the day we really are focused on doing the best we can for the majority of the people,” Aquino said.

He also said the Arroyo administration’s conditional cash transfers to help the poor would likely continue, but imposing new taxes would be the least priority of his administration despite the huge deficit.

“More food, yes. The conditional cash transfers that will be devoid of politics is high on the priority list. Growing the agriculture sector, enabling them to market their produce most effectively, not just the production side, turning them to higher value crops, irrigation, etc.,” Aquino said.


Aquino also said he is ready to offer his hand of reconciliation to his political foes but would make sure justice would be served.

“The campaign had been bruising, there had really been a lot of below-the-belt attacks that I had to swallow. But I was also the first to say and it was clear in my mind that if the senseless acts could stop and we could all go to the path that would be for the good of the country, why wouldn’t I invite them to join and why wouldn’t I cooperate with all the sectors?” Aquino said.

He said he was heartened by Estrada’s offer to help him.

“To the others who conceded and offered help, I will probably tap their experience and abilities to hasten the solutions needed by the nation,” Aquino said.


Aquino said he would also be praying a lot as president.

“At times when I feel there is need for more resources, more skills and more talent than I possess, I always turn to prayer because I am confident that as far as working for the betterment of our people is concerned, God will be with us,” Aquino said.

“So I want to be focused on that idea that those who have least in life should have the most priority, taking into cognizance that we are our brothers’ keepers,” he said.

“And second, I will not be daunted by the task ahead, because the source of nourishment, strength and support has been prayer throughout the entire campaign. But at the end of the day, being a democratically elected president of a multi-religious country, I cannot impose my religious beliefs on each and every countryman. That will have to be in the conscience of each and every one,” Aquino said.


The Senate and the House of Representatives proclaimed Aquino and Binay in a joint public session after unanimously approving the report of their joint canvassing committee as well as the resolution of proclamation.

Immediately following the approval of the report and the resolution, Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile and Speaker Prospero Nograles declared before the nation that Aquino and Binay are the “duly elected president and vice president of the Republic.”

Supporters of the top two elected officials shouted “Noynoy, Noynoy!” and “Binay, Binay!” as well as “Noy-Bi, Noy-Bi!” from the gallery every time they heard their candidates’ names.

Enrile and Nograles had to admonish them to observe silence and decorum so the session could proceed.

The presiding officers briefly suspended the session so that Aquino and Binay could enter the session hall.

Aquino and Binay stayed in the office of Nograles while the joint session was tackling the canvassing committee’s report.

They shook hands and exchanged pleasantries with lawmakers as they walked into the session hall.

Enrile and Nograles then asked Binay and Aquino, one after the other, to ascend the podium, together with their families, so they could be proclaimed winners.

With Aquino were his sisters Ballsy, Pinky, Viel and Kris, and some members of their families.

Aquino’s girlfriend, Valenzuela City Councilor Shalani Soledad, was in the gallery but was not among those who ascended the podium.

Conspicuously absent was Aquino’s running mate Sen. Manuel Roxas II, who lost to Binay.

Aquino said Roxas, a friend, was having a rest in an undisclosed place and that he would give him space. When asked if Roxas’s plan to file an electoral protest would affect his administration, Aquino said it would remove doubts on the conduct of the first automated polls.

Majority Leader Juan Miguel Zubiri and Minority Leader Aquilino Pimentel Jr. sponsored the canvassing report for the Senate, while Majority Leader Arthur Defensor and Senior Majority Leader Neptali Gonzales II were the sponsors for the House.

Gonzales said that although the canvassing committee went through unfamiliar ground since it was the first automated elections in the country, “the results of the canvass are credible, trustworthy and acceptable to the Filipino electorate.”

Defensor said the last elections “have convinced us that we should continue in an automated system.”

“We have proven that we can do it with the commitment that we will do it better in the next elections,” he said.

Pimentel delivered an elaborate sponsorship speech, entitled, “Hail to the Chief, and Blessed be his Vice.”

“Vice does not refer to the Chief’s (Aquino’s) smoking but to Mayor Jejomar Binay,” he said.

He said Aquino’s parents “must be smiling with parental pride” with the “PCOS (precinct count optical scan) meaning President Cory’s Only Son,” he said in jest.

He told his colleagues that he was happy that “we are doing the proclamation in broad daylight, not in the wee hours of the morning when only the witches are the witness.”

He was referring to the proclamation at 2 a.m. on June 24, 2004 of President Arroyo and Vice President Noli de Castro.

The proclamation session took only about an hour and a half, compared to the tumultuous proceedings in 2004 that started in the afternoon of June 23 and lasted until early morning the next day.


Stars shone in the gallery as celebrities, led by Aquino’s youngest sister and popular talk show host Kris, came in droves for the proclamation.

Kris’ basketball player-husband James Yap was in the upper section of the gallery.

Alsoeated on the upper portion of the gallery was Aquino’s girlfriend, Soledad, who was in a black dress with a yellow ribbon.

Kris’ best friend and popular talk show Boy Abunda, singer Ogie Alcasid, actor Dingdong Dantes and movie producer Lily Monteverde were seen in the gallery with Aquino’s and Binay’s cheering supporters.

Members of the Apo Hiking Society also attended the historic event, as did ABS-CBN president Charo Santos-Concio, and even comedian Juana Change, who was in an eccentric yellow attire.

Among the other high-profile personalities who attended were Quezon City Rep.-elect Feliciano “Sonny” Belmonte and Manila Mayor Alfredo Lim.

Senate President Pro Tempore Jinggoy Estrada delivered a speech for his father conceding defeat to Aquino.

Militants congratulate Noy-Bi

Left-wing party-list group Bayan Muna, which supported Villar’s presidential bid, congratulated Aquino and Binay.

“It is our most fervent hope that under their leadership, a new government will emerge that embodies our people’s hopes and aspirations for one that is the exact opposite of the previous administration,” the group said in a statement.

“We share in President Aquino’s declared platform of eradicating corruption and instilling good governance in all levels. We are ready to work with his administration in ensuring greater transparency and accountability in government,” it said.

“In particular, we will be re-filing in the next Congress our proposals for an expanded freedom of information act, a whistleblowers protection act, as well as resolutions investigating various irregularities in government.”

“We eagerly await President Aquino’s promise to hold Mrs. Arroyo and her officials accountable for their various crimes against the people,” said Bayan Muna, whose representatives are Satur Ocampo, Teddy Casiño and Neri Colmenares.


The Social Weather Stations (SWS) said it felt vindicated by the final and official tally by the National Board of Canvassers (NBOC).

In a statement, the SWS said the NBOC count as of June 8 showed that the average difference of the TV5-SWS Exit Poll from the Commission on Elections results is 0.4 percent for president and 0.4 percent for vice-president.

“This resulted in a slight over-estimation of 1.13 percent in the Exit Poll’s Aquino-Estrada lead of 16.96 percent compared to the actual Aquino-Estrada lead of 15.83 percent,” SWS said. With Delon Porcalla, Helen Flores, Rhodina Villanueva and Alexa Villano – By Aurea Calica and Jess Diaz (Philstar News Service, and Yahoo! Philippines News)

Kris defend Boy Abunda

Confirming what many have been speculating all along, Kris Aquino finally admitted to being the brains behind the drive to install her friend, Boy Abunda, as head of the Department of Tourism (DoT).

Kris, youngest sister of president-apparent Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III, came clean on the matter during the June 6 airing of showbiz talk show, “The Buzz.”

“If anybody is to blame, it’s me. I was the one who brought it up with Noy. I was the one who brought it up with Boy, not realizing that it would cause such a major [issue], front page, 3 days straight,” she said.

Citing Abunda’s “marketing capabilities,” among other things as main considerations for her endorsement, the controversial host-actress went on to shower praises on Abunda, mentioning her many dealings with the manager-host.

“I’ve dealt with Boy with so many money matters. And if you are going to recommend somebody for a government position, you’d want somebody who is trustworthy, one that wouldn’t dare steal and would be protective and caring of the president,” she detailed.

She urged Abunda to consider the offer, saying, “We all know how big a contribution you could give to the Philippines [so] go for it, Boy.”

It was late last month that Aquino III declared he was eyeing Abunda to head the DoT, mentioning the latter’s ability to clearly communicate ideas and understand the sentiments of the populace.

“He is an icon in the country, and more so for his ability to communicate, to understand the audience and to be able to propound and advance a particular set of ideas,” Noynoy said.

When sought for reaction, Abunda said he is “not inclined to accept it.”

He noted that joining the government would mean him quitting show business, which he said he is “not ready to do” as yet as he is still, “happy” doing it.

“I can help ‘Noy in another capacity. I have a personal relationship with Noy. I think it will be more effective if I continue what I am doing now… giving him advice — devoid of agenda and bias, devoid of politics,” said he.

Still, not a few wags continued to belittle Abunda, assailing him for being a mere “entertainer.”

Apparently hurt by the insinuations, Abunda change his mind on the matter saying he is “open” to the idea but not anytime soon.

“I have a contract with ABS-CBN that will last until the end of 2011. I will respect and honor that contract.”

The Congress is set to confirm Aquino poll win next week!

MANILA, Philippines – Senator Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III could be officially declared the next Philippine president on Monday, four weeks after his landslide win in the May 10 polls, with lawmakers set to soon complete their canvass of votes.

Aquino, only son of the country’s revered democracy icon, Cory Aquino, has an insurmountable lead of more than 5 million votes over his nearest rival, former President Joseph Estrada, based on unofficial tallies from the election commission.

The deadline for Congress to declare the winners in the presidential and vice-presidential elections is June 30.

“It’s safe to say that we’ll be able to proclaim by Monday,” Juan Miguel Zubiri, Senate majority floor leader and a close ally of outgoing President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, told reporters.

“I can’t make promises, but our best effort is to complete our job by Thursday evening and proclaim winners next week,” said Zubiri.

“We’re not trying to railroad the process. We’ve deferred tallies from provinces and cities which submitted incomplete documents, or those with discrepancies. But, we’ll tabulate them as soon as election officials give us valid explanations.”

On the fifth day of canvassing, Congress, sitting as the National Board of Canvassers, Aquino and Pwersa ng Masang Pilipino (PMP) vice-presidential candidate Jejomar Binay kept their leads in the presidential and vice-presidential polls, respectively.

Aquino had 11,460,226 votes, while Estrada had 7,391,416 votes.

In the vice-presidential election, Binay had 10,916,224 votes, while LP vice-presidential candidate Manuel Roxas II had 10,745,422 votes.

As of 9:13 pm of June 2, a total of 214 Certificates of Canvass (COCs) had been opened, 7 COCs had been deferred, and 207 had been canvassed.

Final tally for Day 5 of canvassing, as of 9:13 pm, June 2, 2010

Presidential candidate

# of votes

Vice-presidential candidate

# of Votes









De los Reyes




























Day 5: Only 18 ballot boxes On Tuesday, Aquino was also ahead with 9,564,943 votes compared to Estrada’s 5,927,990 votes, with a total 203 COCs opened, 189 of which had been counted.

Compared to Tuesday’s work of tabulating votes from 54 COCs, Congress was only able to open 18 ballot boxes on Wednesday.

Zubiri said canvassing on Wednesday was “not as productive as yesterday.”

Some of the boxes opened were from provinces whose COCs had been deferred for not being able to electronically transmit results to the congressional server, and for not being able to complete the documents that must be contained in the ballot boxes received by the Senate.

The provincial board of canvassers (PBoC) chairs were asked to explain why certain mishaps happened, which slowed the pace of canvassing. Failed transmission explained

Before the deferred COCs from Tuesday’s canvassing were counted, the chairs of the provincial board of canvassers of 14 provinces summoned by Congress to appear on Wednesday explained why the Congress server was not able to receive the COCs from their areas, and why other requirements were not present in the ballot box.

The board chairs from Ilocos Sur, Kalinga, Aurora, Davao Oriental and Surigao del Sur all gave the same reason: that they were able to transmit the provincial COCs electronically to all other servers except for the server of Congress.

The PBoC chair of Bukidnon, however, could  not explain why the Congressional server was not able to receive the electronically transmitted results. He added that a certain Agent 85 of the National Support Center of the Comelec confirmed receipt of their electronic transmission, which was reconfirmed by a certain Agent 18. They were even congratulated for being the first to transmit in Region 10.

For the province of Cagayan de Oro, the chair said that they were able to completely electronically transmit the results.

The chair of the PBoC of Camarines Norte maintained that they were able to transmit the results properly. The CD, where data from the flash cards were stored, was uploaded in Congress’ server and was printed.

For the province of Zambales, canvassing was deferred on Tuesday because there was no COC for the vice presidential position contained in the ballot box submitted to the Senate. The PBoC chair maintained they put it in the ballot box.

The San Juan City chair said every one was present in their office on the day they transmitted the results to the different servers. There was an LCD projector seen by everyone saying that they had successfully transmitted the results to all servers. He proposed to get a copy of the CD intended for the city board of canvassers in his office.

Missing documents

The 2 ballot boxes from Oriental Mindoro were deferred on Tuesday because the manual provincial COCs were not in the ballot boxes. Congress decided to check the electronic copy of the COC in the congressional server.

Zubiri noted they could be sanctioned for not putting the required documents in the ballot boxes.

The PBoC chairs from Sultan Kudarat, Pampanga, and Biliran were absent. Canvassing was deferred for those provinces until the chairs could appear before Congress.

By Tuesday, lawmakers had confirmed 203 vote tallies out of a total of 278 from provinces, cities, embassies and consulates.

In the vice presidential race, Jejomar Binay, Estrada’s running mate and long-time mayor of Manila’s financial district, leads Manuel Roxas, Aquino’s running mate.

The Comelec’s unofficial tally showed, with more than 90 percent of votes counted, Binay led Roxas by about 800,000 votes.

Roxas’ lawyers have claimed he was cheated because up to 2.6 million votes were nullified due to ambiguous marks on ballots.

Binay’s lawyers said that should not delay the proclamation of vice-president, and said Roxas could file an election protest before the Supreme Court.

The Congress will devote Friday’s sitting to pending bills, including a Freedom of Information Act to promote transparency in government deals, before its term ends on June 30. (Read more on ABS-CBN News and Yahoo! Philippines News)

Noynoy is Not Yet Ready to Quit Smoking for Good Example

MANILA, Philippines - Philippine president-elect Benigno Aquino, seen here in April 2010, has rejected calls to quit smoking, saying his habit would help him deal with the severe pressures of his new position.

Noynoy, smoking

Noynoy, smoking

Aquino brushed aside calls from health groups that quitting smoking would set a good example for the country.

“I will be coming under a lot of pressure. Should I add another unnecessary pressure? Maybe that might even affect my decisions on what I should do,” Aquino told reporters.

The 50-year-old bachelor, said by former colleagues to smoke about one or two packets a day, conceded that quitting smoking would be good for his health and that he intended to kick the habit eventually.

But he said quitting now would add stress to his life and pointed out that, as long as he followed smoking regulations and did not bother anyone, he should be free to smoke.

“This is one of my few remaining freedoms,” he said.

The son of recently deceased democracy heroine Corazon Aquino won the May 10 national elections by a landslide after campaigning on pledges to wipe out corruption in the impoverished nation.

However, although the election commission released vote tallies showing him to have an insurmountable lead, the nation’s parliament has still to proclaim Aquino the winner officially.

Barring unforeseen circumstances, this will occur over the next couple of weeks, and Aquino will succeed President Gloria Arroyo on June 30. (read more on AFP and Yahoo! Philippines News)

NOY the movie: COCO MARTIN

The official winners of the 2010 Presidential Elections was not officially declared yet, but the Filipino voters are more than a hundred percent sure that Benigno ‘Noynoy’ Aquino III is the 15th president of the Philippines. Thank you to his influential parents Nonoy and Cory and to her controversial younger sister Kris Aquino.

Cinemedia in cooperation with Star Cinema will soon release NOY The Movie. If you are thinking that the movie is all about the upcoming Philippine president, then you are right. But it doesn’t stop there.

The movie is all about Noy (Coco Martin) a breadwinner of a normal Filipino family he applied as a journalist in order to support the needs of his family. He will soon discover more about Noy Aquino, who is his namesake.

NOY The Movie tackles more on the election campaign period of Noynoy Aquino and at the same time shows what an ordinary Filipino family hopes for in order to survive in the Philippines. The movie is a must-see for every Filipino.

The trailer of Noy The Movie can be seen here. For more information about this interesting docu-drama, you can visit The tentative showing date is May 26, 2010.

Makati Jejomar Binay the new Vice-President of the Philippines?

Makati City Mayor Jejomar Binay is sure to be the new vice president. Mar Roxas a.k.a “Mr. Palengke” needs a magical power to overtake him, he says, for his closest rival to catch up with his numbers in the race for the second highest post in the country.

The sudden rise of Binay, said to be the dark horse in the vice presidential race, has stunned a nation that had seen Sen. Manuel Roxas II as the front runner since the start of the campaign until a week ago, when pre-election surveys showed the two tying for the first time.

On Thursday, three days after the elections, GMA Network’s partial and unofficial results showed Binay and Roxas still in dead heat — with Binay getting 13,374,107 votes as against Roxas’ 12,587,596 votes, a difference of about 800,000 votes.

“I am confident that I will win … I will be neck-and-neck [with Roxas], in the sense that there will be a one million [vote] gap or less between us,” Binay told GMA News Tuesday.In a press conference Wednesday, Binay tells reporters the only way he can lose is if his rivals cheat the election results. GMANews.TV

He said he is prepared to be the vice president of Sen. Benigno Aquino III, who is emerging as the clear winner in the presidential race with a lead of five million votes over former president Joseph Estrada, Binay’s running mate.

In his speeches, Estrada repeatedly says he is lucky to have Binay, “the best mayor,” as his running mate. Binay, in turn, showered Estrada with praises.

Regardless of whether his pro-poor image shared with Estrada or Escudero’s “Noy-Bi” endorsement fueled Binay’s take-off, the Makati City mayor seems poised to be Aquino’s vice president.