18 June 2015

President Aquino still consulting with stakeholders on presidential bet
President Benigno S. Aquino III is continuously consulting with relevant stakeholders on his preferred candidate for next year’s presidential elections, a Palace official has said.

Communication Secretary Herminio Coloma, Jr. issued the statement on Thursday, the same day Pulse Asia released its latest survey, which showed Senator Grace Poe topping the list of possible presidential bets for the 2016 national elections.

The survey, conducted from May 30 to June 5, indicated that Poe got 30 percent, an increase from her previous rating of 14 percent, to pull ahead of Vice President Jejomar Binay, who garnered 22 percent.

“Public opinion survey results present a snapshot view of citizen preferences on potential candidates. The President continues to consult with relevant stakeholders and, as he stated most recently, he is looking at the period after his last SONA (State of the Nation Address next month) as the appropriate time for making an announcement on his preferred candidate for the 2016 presidential elections,” Secretary Coloma said.

“Meantime, the President and the Cabinet continue to focus efforts on implementing priority development and reform programs that will ensure the attainment of sustainable and inclusive growth,” he added.

Pulse Asia’s latest survey also showed Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte remaining at third place with 15 percent, followed by Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada and Interior and Local Government Secretary Manuel Roxas II, who were tied at fourth place with 10 percent each.

In last March’s survey, Duterte and Estrada were tied at the third spot. PND (jm)

President Aquino greets Muslim Filipinos as fasting month of Ramadan begins
President Benigno S. Aquino III has greeted the Muslim Filipino community as they celebrate the start of the Fasting Month of Ramadan on Thursday.

“It (Ramadan) is a time for you to embody the teachings of the Holy Quran as you practice greater discipline, compassion, and restraint,” the President said in his message released by the Office of the President on Wednesday.

“May this sacred occasion bring you closer to the Almighty, becoming his instruments of peace and unity as the Filipino nation gathers on our shared journey to create a more prosperous and equitable nation,” he said.

“Our entire country is with you in spirit as you observe this time of deep reflection. May we continue to exhibit excellence, integrity and accountability in our deeds, and achieve greater milestones in nation-building,” he added.

Ramadan is the 9th month of the Islamic lunar calendar, when Muslims abstain from food and water from sunrise to sunset.

This year’s Ramadan begins on June 18 and ends on July 17. PND (ag)

President Aquino appoints new Rights Commission Chair, Bureau of Corrections Chief
Malacañang on Thursday announced the appointment of lawyer Jose Luis Martin Gascon as new chairperson of the Commission on Human Rights (CHR), replacing Loretta Ann Rosales, whose term ended on May 5.In a statement, Deputy Presidential Spokesperson Abigail Valte said President Benigno S. Aquino III also appointed Karen Gomez-Dumpit, Gwendolyn Pimentel-Gana, and Leah Tandora-Armamento as new members of the CHR, replacing Cecilia Rachel Quisumbing, Norberto dela Cruz, and Maria Victoria Cardona.
All four of them will serve until May 5, 2022.
Gascon, a former director general of the ruling Liberal Party, has been a member of the Human Rights Victims’ Claims Board since February 2014. He chaired the Human Rights monitoring committee for the government; and the joint monitoring committee for the peace process between the National Democratic Front and the government from 2010 to 2014.

Gascon also served as undersecretary of the Office of the Presidential Adviser on Political Affairs from 2011 to 2014, and as board member of the Bases Conversion and Development Authority from 2010 to 2011.

He earned his law degree from the University of the Philippines (UP) and his master’s degree in international law from the University of Cambridge’s St. Edmund’s College.

Gomez-Dumpit, currently director at the CHR’s Government Linkages Office, has a master’s degree in human rights from the London School of Political Science and a master’s degree in public management from the Development Academy of the Philippines.

Children’s rights advocate Pimentel-Gana is chief of staff of the Office of Senator Aquilino Pimentel III. She obtained her law degree and her master’s degree in public administration from UP.

Tanodra-Armamento, who is currently an undersecretary at the Department of Justice, earned her nursing degree from Far Eastern University and her law degree from Ateneo de Manila University.

Meanwhile, President Aquino named Ricardo Rainier Cruz III as director general of the Bureau of Corrections, replacing Franklin Jesus Bucayu.

Retired Lieutenant General Cruz served as commander of the Eastern Mindanao Command of the Armed Forces of the Philippines from 2013 to 2014, and as assistant division commander of the 10th Infantry Division of the Philippine Army from 2011 to 2012. PND (jm)