The Filipino Press

Nedka Babliku | Screengrab from her video President Duterte turns 73. As President Rodrigo Roa Duterte celebrates his 73rd bir...

Nedka Babliku | Screengrab from her video

President Duterte turns 73.

As President Rodrigo Roa Duterte celebrates his 73rd birthday on March 28, 2018, a heartwarming birthday greeting surfaced on social media. 

What makes the video of the birthday greeting extra special is that it comes from someone who did not even meet the Philippine President in the flesh. 

Nedka Babliku is the co-host of Adam Garrie in Digital Divides, a show that offers unbiased and original heavy-hitting geo-political analysis on the world's biggest news stories with no holds barred. 

Babliku and Garrie are only two of the solid foreign supporters of Pres. Duterte. As seen on their news program, their analysis are in favor of the Philippine President. This is due to the noticeable progress of the country as soon as the Mayor turned President took office. 
Screengrab from her video
Watching their show, it is hard not to observe how the two political analysts agree with how the President run the country through his well-thought of policies that endeavor to lift the Philippines from poverty while fighting illegal drugs, crimes, and corruption. 

Despite the demolition job of media outfits being done internationally, Babliku and Garrie remains supportive of Pres. Duterte's full-blown campaign of all out war to combat illegal drugs and make the country drug-free.

As the President turned a year older, Nedka Babliku did not miss this chance to let the Philippine President know how sincere of a supporter she is by sending him a heartwarming birthday greeting. 

In the video, the Digital Divides host can be seen greeting the President with sincerity, gratitude and so much respect. 
Babliku and Garrie | Photo CTTO

'Hi, I'm Nedka Babliku and I'm a geo-political commentator', she started.

Wanting to give a greeting to Pres. Duterte that he rightfully deserves, the geo-political commentator finds it 'painfully inadequate under circumstances' to greet the President with just a simple 'Happy Birthday'.

'A simple 'Happy Birthday' greeting to the greatest living Filipino feels painfully inadequate under circumstances', the political show host said.

She added that 'if there is anyone whose very birth deserves to be celebrated, and indeed it will be celebrated for decades and centuries to come, that man is Rodrigo Duterte'.

Saying that without the Mindanaoan President, the country will be bereft or deprived or lacking something. 

On the same video, Babliku wished Pres. Duterte all the best of health and luck. 

'So Mr. President, I wish you all the best of health and luck on your birthday', she said.
Photo CTTO
As her greeting concludes, she mentioned a very impacting line that the majority of Filipino people can certainly resonate of. Sure to cause you feel goosebumps, the commentator said 'Please stay with us. The world needs you'.

Not sealing it with a kiss, the pro-Duterte commentator instead ended her video greeting with a sweeter surprise by the gesture of mimicking the iconic Duterte fist bump. 

Below is the complete transcription of Nedka Babliku's birthday greeting to Pres. Duterte:

Hi, I'm Nedka Babliku and I'm a geo-political commentator. A simple 'Happy Birthday' greeting to the greatest living Filipino feels painfully inadequate under circumstances. But if there is anyone whose very birth deserves to be celebrated, and indeed it will be celebrated for decades and centuries to come, that man is Rodrigo Duterte — without whom the Philippines will be bereft. So Mr. President, I wish you all the best of health and luck on your birthday. Please stay with us. The world needs you.

Watch the video below:

Source: DU Correspondents

ICC President Silvia Alejandra Fernández de Gurmendi and ICC Flags| Photo CTTO Back in 2016, the ICC President's name has been link...

ICC President Silvia Alejandra Fernández de Gurmendi and ICC Flags| Photo CTTO

Back in 2016, the ICC President's name has been linked with corruption.

Atty. Paula Defensor Knack shared a compelling news that circulated two years ago.

Atty. Knack is the younger sister of the late Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago, which advocates online legal and political awareness of current issues in and truthful news of the Philippines, as well as legal opinions on political developments.

Paula Defensor Knack is also a former Assistant Secretary of Lands and Legislative Affairs of the Philippine Dept. of Environment and Natural Resources.

In one of her recent Facebook posts, Knack shared news articles regarding the President of the International Criminal Court, Silvia Alejandra Fernández de Gurmendi.

In them was a call for the ICC President's resignation. These news surfaced after it emerged that she may have received unexplained funds amounting to over US$17million that was allegedly used to bribe witnesses and to ensure the indictment of Sudanese President Omar al Bashir.

According to report, information reaching The London Evening Post say that between 2004 and 2015, Argentinian-born ICC President Judge Silvia Alejandra Fernández de Gurmendi allegedly received into her private bank accounts financial rewards to ensure the impeachment of Sudan leader.
ICC President Silvia Alejandra Fernández de Gurmendi and ICC logo | Photo CTTO
The funds are alleged to have been channeled through Judge de Gurmendi’s accounts by offshore financial companies, who purportedly made wire transfers ranging from US$150,000-US$250,000 to the judge’s bank accounts.

In addition, it is alleged that these funds were made available to Judge de Gurmendi during the time that President Bashir was under investigation and the ICC was looking for evidence to indict him.
It has been further alleged that funds were supposedly distributed to groups in Darfur including the Sudan Liberation Movement to recruit, coach and fake evidence and buy witnesses to testify against President Bashir.

The scandal has led to Pan African Forum Chief Dr David Nyekorach Matsanga to call upon Judge de Gurmendi to resign from her position. 
Paula Defensor Knack | Photo CTTO
He added that the evidences that have been acquired include video and audio tape as well as bank statements that show the movement of huge sums of money to buy witnesses in order to facilitate the case against Gen Bashir.

Matsanga argued that it was improper for an ICC judge to receive unexplained colossal sums of money which outmatch her annual salary. “Her [Judge de Gurmendi] resignation would allow proper investigations to take place at OTP hence an account on how she continued to receive large sums of money into her private accounts from 2004, the year Sudan President Bashir was indicted by the court on charges of crimes against humanity, to 2015,” he added.

Matsanga further argued that the indictment against President Bashir now looks to have been carried out through the corrupting of senior ICC officials. “We thought ICC was created to catch dictators in Africa but instead its witch hunting,” relented Matsanga.

He added that on the directives of the then UN Secretary General Koffi Anan, former ICC chief prosecutor Louis Moreno-Ocampo was handpicked to be the ICC chief prosecutor to execute what he described as “Anan’s plan to molest Africa”, which he said has been internationally exhibited by the mode of investigation employed so far in African cases at the ICC in The Hague.

On March 14, Duterte said the Philippines would withdraw from the ICC "effective immediately."
President Rodrigo Duterte also has urged other countries to get out of the ICC days after the Philippines withdrew from the institution.

Check out her full post below:

FLASHBACK : The president of the ICC Gurmendi (up to March 2018) was accused of receiving monetary rewards for the warrant of arrest against Al Bashir which remains unserved (at large) for 10 years.
Pres. Rodrigo Duterte | Photo CTTO
Information reaching The London Evening Post here say that between 2004 and 2015, Argentinian-born ICC President Judge Silvia Alejandra Fernández de Gurmendi allegedly received into her private bank accounts at Banco Popular in the Virgin Islands, the First Caribbean Bank in the Bahamas and the Congregation B’nai Israel unexplained funds mounting to over US$17million that was allegedly used to bribe witnesses that enabled the ICC to indict the Sudanese leader.
FULL TEXT HERE :

By Jessica A Badebye in Nairobi – Kenya

The president of the International Criminal Court (ICC) is facing calls to resign after it emerged that she may have received financial rewards said to be in millions of dollars to ensure the indictment of Sudanese President Omar al Bashir.

Information reaching The London Evening Post here say that between 2004 and 2015, Argentinian-born ICC President Judge Silvia Alejandra Fernández de Gurmendi allegedly received into her private bank accounts at Banco Popular in the Virgin Islands, the First Caribbean Bank in the Bahamas and the Congregation B’nai Israel unexplained funds mounting to over US$17million that was allegedly used to bribe witnesses that enabled the ICC to indict the Sudanese leader.

The funds are alleged to have been channelled through Judge de Gurmendi’s accounts by Barting Holding Ltd, Atlantic Corporation, Genesis International Holdings and Napex International, all of which are offshore financial companies, who allegedly made wire transfers ranging from US$150,000-US$250,000 to the judge’s bank accounts. It is alleged that these funds were made available to Judge de Gurmendi during the time that President Bashir was under investigation and the ICC was looking for evidence to indict him.

It has been further alleged that funds channelled through Judge de Gurmendi’s accounts were allegedly distributed by her to groups in Darfur including the Sudan Liberation Movement, formerly the Darfur Liberation Front founded by Abdul Wahid al Nur and others in 2002. Appointed ICC President in March last year, de Gurmendi is alleged to have used the funds to ‘recruit, coach and fake evidence and witnesses to testify against President Bashir’.
ICC President Judge Silvia Alejandra Fernández de Gurmendi alleged received funds in her bank account to 'buy witnesses for use against Gen Bashir'
ICC President – Judge Silvia Alejandra Fernández de Gurmendi alleged to have received funds in her bank account to ‘buy witnesses for use against Gen Bashir’.

The scandal has led to Pan African Forum Chief Dr David Nyekorach Matsanga to call upon Judge de Gurmendi to resign from her position. He argued that it was improper for an ICC judge to receive unexplained colossal sums of money which outmatch her annual salary. He added that her resignation would allow proper investigations to take place at OTP hence an account on how she continued to receive large sums of money into her private accounts from 2004, the year Sudan President Bashir was indicted by the court on charges of crimes against humanity, to 2015.

Matsanga argued that the indictment against President Bashir now looks to have been carried out through the corrupting of senior ICC officials. “We thought ICC was created to catch dictators in Africa but instead its witch hunting,” relented Matsanga. He added that on the directives of the then UN Secretary General Koffi Anan, former ICC chief prosecutor Louis Moreno-Ocampo was handpicked to be the ICC chief prosecutor to execute what he described as “Anan’s plan to molest Africa”, which he said has been internationally exhibited by the mode of investigation employed so far in African cases at the ICC in The Hague.

Citing ICC investigations in Sudan, Kenya, Uganda, the Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Libya and Egypt during Ocampo’s tenure as ICC chief prosecutor, Dr Matsanga said he has already provided evidence to the ICC that show Ocampo’s involvement in Bashir’s case. “We have a huge dossier of evidence against Ocampo and others that worked with him,” he said. He added that the evidence he has acquired include video and audio tape evidence as well as bank statements that show the movement of huge sums of money to buy witnesses in order to facilitate the case against Gen Bashir.

http://www.thelondoneveningpost.com/icc-president-in-corru…/
OR
http://www.sudanembassyindia.org/…/ICC-President-in-corrupt…

Source: Paula Defensor Knack

Professor Van Ybiernas and Vice President Leni Robredo | Photo CTTO Leni Robredo is back at it again. Vice President Maria Leonor ...

Professor Van Ybiernas and Vice President Leni Robredo | Photo CTTO

Leni Robredo is back at it again.

Vice President Maria Leonor 'Leni' Robredo expressed another disagreement with the highest elected officer in the land, President Rodrigo Roa Duterte, last Thursday, March 15.

This after Pres. Duterte announced that the country will withdraw from the institution that was established by the Rome Statute, the International Criminal Court that is based in The Hague in the Netherlands.

Asked what her stand is anent the ICC exit, the Vice President stated her opposition to the government's move in an interview.

'Ano ba iyong implikasyon ng pag-alis natin, pag-withdraw? Implikasyon nito, una...iyong international perception sa ating bansa apektado. Pangalawa, nagiging questionable na iyong commitment natin sa international agreements. Pangatlo, ano ba iyong gustong sabihin nito pagdating sa human rights? Ayaw na ba natin mangako na i-a uphold natin ito?', Leni said.
Photo CTTO

'Ang pinakamahalaga, inaalis natin iyong-ito kasi, parang safety net: kapag mapangabuso iyong mga opisyal, iyong pagiging signatory natin sa ICC, parang safety net natin na kung iyong mga opisyal natin hindi inaakysunan iyong mga pang-aabuso sa loob, mayroon tayong madudulugan', she added.

On the other hand, Robredo's comment drew rage from the public especially from the staunch supporters of the President as it sparked indignation.

One of them is Van Ybiernas, a Professor from the De La Salle University, who is known to give prudent and unbiased commentary on politics.

Due to such negative remark, the La Salle professor lambasted VP Robredo on one of his Facebook posts.

Greatly disappointed, Prof. Ybiernas wrote 'Ano ba! Wala na bang tigil sa katangahan si Robredo?'.
VP Leni Robredo | Photo CTTO

Trying to shed light on the ICC withdrawal by sharing his opinion, the Professor pointed out factors that is contradictory of Leni's.

According to Ybiernas, it is really not advisable to listen to what the Vice President is saying as it is clear that even she herself is not aware of what she says.

'Di talaga dapat nakikinig kay Robredo dahil malinaw na di nito alam ang mga pinagsasabi nya!', the Professor wrote.

Check out his full post below:

Safety net daw ng Human Rights ang ICC. At mawawala daw ito kapag nagwithdraw tayo ng pirma natin sa Rome Statute!

Ano ba! Wala na bang tigil sa katangahan si Robredo?

Una, pirmado man tayo o hindi sa ICC, kung kakasuhan nila si Duterte walang makakapigil sa kanila.
Prof. Van Ybiernas | Photo from Facebook

Pangalawa, ano na ba ang tangible na nagawa ng ICC para sa human rights para matawag itong “safety net”? Eh matapos gumastos ng US$ 1Bn e dalawang tao pa lang ang na-convict nila, tapos mahinang kaso pa dun sa isa. Ano’ng klaseng “safety net” ito?

Pangatlo, matibay na demokrasya sa loob ng bansa ang tunay na safety net ng human rights hindi ang mga pulpol na multi-lateral institution!

Pang-apat, nagsulat lang ako ng “pang-apat” na di ko pa naisip kung ano yung pang-apat.

Panglima, di talaga dapat nakikinig kay Robredo dahil malinaw na di nito alam ang mga pinagsasabi nya!
VP Robredo and Pres. Duterte | Photo CTTO
Source: Van Ybiernas

President of the Assembly of States Parties to the Rome Statute O-Gon Kwon | Photo CTTO International Criminal Court official said he i...

President of the Assembly of States Parties to the Rome Statute O-Gon Kwon | Photo CTTO

International Criminal Court official said he is willing to fly to Manila to talk with the Duterte administration.

In an interview, the President of the Assembly of States Parties to the Rome Statute, O-Gon Kwon, sounded — not just open but — very much willing to have a talk with with the Philippines' government officials following the country's withdrawal from the Rome Statute.

Speaking with Tina Palma and Tony Velasquez on ANC's The World Tonight Monday, the president of the Assembly of States Parties to the Rome Statute emphasized his call for Manila to remain a member of the ICC.

This, despite of the Pres. Duterte's call for mass withdrawal to other countries that are associated with the The Hague-based tribunal.

Also the head of the International Criminal Court's management oversight and legislative body, O-Gon Kwon, said he is willing to fly out to the Philippines to engage with the authorities or government officials in a dialogue. Even though President Rodrigo Duterte has already decided to withdraw the country from the global tribunal.
ICC Building | Photo CTTO

According to Kwon, the Philippines' withdrawal from the ICC would prevent the international court to live by with its mission: to investigate war crimes and crimes against humanity.

"One thing I can add is I'm ready to fly to Manila to engage in dialogue with any authorities of the Philippines' government, and have open debate, if feasible and necessary, any time," Kwon said.

He also said that the withdrawal of the Philippines' from the said institution would paint a negative impact to the "global efforts to fight impunity."

Asked what his impression is regarding the President's call for the other country's withdrawal, the ICC official said "I find it regrettable if the Philippines does indeed withdraw from Rome Statute because it will impact negatively on the global efforts to fight impunity for the most serious crimes, to prevent atrocities and bring justice to the victims".
The ICC | Photo CTTO

Pres. Duterte recently said he would urge other signatories to the Rome Statute to get out of the agreement and called it disrespectful.

However, reportedly, the Spokesperson of the President, Harry Roque, believes it is too late for such negotiations - referring to Kwon's attempt to have a talk with the Philippine officials.

In a statement, Roque said "Too late the hero. Let him talk to that prosecutor".

Pressed for more details, the spokesperson said he will be able to discuss more about Kwon's pronouncements on his upcoming press briefing on Tuesday .

It can be remembered that it was only last week when Pres. Duterte announced it's intent on the country's move towards the ICC exit which eventually, has launched a preliminary examination on his war against drugs.
Pres. Duterte and the ICC logo | Photo CTTO

The International Criminal Court has started a preliminary examination on the charges filed by lawyer the Filipino lawyer. The case filed by Jude Sabio against the President was in relation to the Duterte administration's campaign against illegal drugs.

The former Davao City Mayor later officially announced the Philippines' withdrawal from the ICC.

Last Friday, the global tribunal released a statement in response to Pres. Duterte's announcement.  In the statement was the International Criminal Court's call for the Philippines not to push with its plan to withdraw its ratification of the treaty that made the institution.
The ICC logo | Photo CTTO

Source: ABS-CBN News

Photo CTTO President Duterte did it again! On Wednesday, March 21, President Rodrigo Duterte and Vice President Leni Robredo shar...

Photo CTTO

President Duterte did it again!

On Wednesday, March 21, President Rodrigo Duterte and Vice President Leni Robredo shared the same stage at the graduation exercises of the Philippine National Police Academy’s Maragtas Class of 2018 in Silang, Cavite.

The two of the country's top leaders shared the same stage for the third time this week. 

It was last Sunday at the Philippine Military Academy's commencement exercises in Baguio City  when President Duterte and Vice President Robredo first shared the same stage this week. The second was on Tuesday at the 121st founding anniversary celebration of the Philippine Army in Taguig City.

“This is the third time I greeted you, my lady,” the President told VP Robredo.

“Sana po may graduation pang iba para magkita pa rin tayo”, Pres. Duterte added.

During the 121st founding anniversary celebration of the Philippine Army, the President apologized at the beginning of his speech for being late at the event. This is because according to him, he slept late after a 13-hour long meeting with his Cabinet officials yesterday that started at around 2 p.m.
Photo CTTO

After the country's Commander-in-chief apologized, President Rodrigo Duterte threw a joke to Vice President Leni Robredo.

Speaking to the Vice President, who was one of the high-profile guests at the Philippine Army anniversary celebration in Taguig City, Pres. Duterte told Robredo, “Natapos ho kami Ma’am ng three, ang pinag-usapan namin ikaw”.

On their meeting last Sunday at the Philippine Military Academy graduation, Duterte told Robredo that they are friends.

It can be recalled that the Vice President herself was once part of the Duterte Cabinet where she served as the housing czar under Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council (HUDCC). She later resigned from her post in December 2016 after some disagreements with the policy of the President.

Currently, VP Robredo is in the midst of battling an election protest filed against her by the former senator Ferdinand Marcos Jr.
Photo CTTO

NAIA | Photo CTTO Another good news! A recent global survey finally changes the image of what was once a terrible and controversial a...

NAIA | Photo CTTO

Another good news!

A recent global survey finally changes the image of what was once a terrible and controversial airport. This, after a London-based research firm awarded the main airport of the country's hub redeeming the airport's reputation.

In a recent global survey of Skytrax, a research firm based in London, NAIA or the Ninoy Aquino International Airport has been named as one of the world’s “most improved” airports in 2018.

With actual travelers all over the world as its real respondents, the airport that was then ranked as one of the world's worst airport now ranked 10th place in Top 10 World’s Most Improved Airports, Skytrax survey showed.

Along with Ninoy Aquino International Airport are other countries mostly located at the western side of the globe.

Topping the list was Fiumicino Airport in Rome, Italy. Next to it was Perth Airport in Western Australia and then followed by Calgary International Airport in Alberta, Canada.

The Skytrax’s World Airport Awards website says the award was “based on the relative year-on-year Quality performance by all airports featured in the World Airport Survey, and takes into account the change in rating together with performance changes across the different product and service categories in the awards.”
NAIA | Photo CTTO

Reportedly, there was more than 13 million travelers from over a hundred different nationalities around the world who participated in the survey of the London-based research firm.

The Skytrax website also stated that “The survey operated from August 2017 to February 2018, covering 550 airports worldwide and evaluating traveller experiences across different airport service and product key performance indicators – from check-in, arrivals, transfers, shopping, security and immigration through to departure at the gate. The Survey was available in English, Spanish and Chinese language options”.

It can be recalled that during the time of the former President Noynoy Aquino, the country was put into shame after the 'laglag-bala' scam thrived and corrupted a lot of passengers from different parts of the world. Thus, gave the Philippines a bad name due to the disappointment of both the local and foreign travelers brought by such scandal.

Soon after President Rodrigo Roa Duterte came to power, the controversial airport was removed from the world's worst airport list year 2017 based in the travel website The Guide to Sleeping in Airports prior being one of the most improved airports this year as released by another survey firm, Skytrax.
Pres. Rodrigo Duterte | Photo CTTO

Source: Inquirer

Loida Lewis | Photo CTTO Loida Lewis is back! Filipino-American philanthropist Loida Lewis has the means to connive with the Interna...

Loida Lewis | Photo CTTO

Loida Lewis is back!

Filipino-American philanthropist Loida Lewis has the means to connive with the International Criminal Court (ICC), says Malacañang in a press conference on Thursday, March 22.

This, after President Rodrigo Duterte earlier accused Lewis of doing such.

According to the Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque, Loida Nicolas-Lewis, who is known as a Fil-Am community leader, is capable of doing a conspiracy with the international court based in the Hague to file charges against the President for crimes against humanity for the reason that "she’s rich."

The statement of the Malacañang Palace was made shortly after Pres. Duterte recently threatened to release a transcript of a wiretapped phone conversation concerning the preliminary examination to be performed by the ICC into the country's bloody war on drugs. Reportedly, the preliminary examination is not yet an investigation.

The said conversation allegedly involved Lewis, whom the President mistakenly referred to as 'Loida Reyes'.

Reluctant to provide any further details, Pres. Duterte only added that the transcript was given to him by "some countries".

On the other hand, the Fil-Am Duterte critic strongly denied the President's accusation.

When Roque was asked if he has further information regarding the allegedly tapped phone call, the presidential spokesperson said that while he has no additional details about the data that the President received, he said he cannot disregard the possibility that Lewis could have really had a hand in the examination of the International Criminal Court into the administration's war against illegal drugs.

He added that "The ICC accepts donations from private persons and organizations and I do know that particularly on the reparation fund... the ICC welcomes donations from everyone".
Loida Lewis | Photo CTTO

It was only last week when the president announced that he is going to withdraw the Philippines from the founding treaty of ICC, Rome Statute. Soon after the court announced that it would conduct a preliminary examination into a communication filed by a Filipino lawyer accusing him of crimes against humanity.

The Philippines’ permanent representative to the UN, Teodoro 'Teddy' Locsin, was the one who sent a letter to the United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres informing him of the government's decision of withdrawal from the ICC as one of its members.

Apart from the anti-Duterte Fil-Am, Pres. Duterte also said that he has information against ICC prosecutor Fatou Bensouda. This is because supposedly, her phone was also tapped.

Suspicious, Pres. Duterte doubts Fatou Bensouda's ability to handle the drug war case as the ICC prosecutor specializes in maritime law.

Reports says 'Bensouda holds a masters degree in International Maritime Law and Law of The Sea and is the first international maritime law expert of The Gambia. She was also previously Justice minister of The Gambia'.

Meanwhile, the ICC mentioned on its public website that "Prior to her work at the International Criminal Court, Ms Bensouda worked as legal adviser and trial attorney at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) in Arusha, Tanzania, rising to the position of senior legal advisor and head of the Legal Advisory Unit".

It also added that "She has served as delegate to United Nations conferences on crime prevention, the Organization of African Unity's Ministerial Meetings on Human Rights, and as delegate of The Gambia to the meetings of the Preparatory Commission for the International Criminal Court".
Loida Lewis and Pres. Rodrigo Duterte | Photo CTTO

Source: Philstar

ICC Judges | Photo CTTO ICC will not give up. Not this time. Recently, the Presidential Spokesperson himself Harry Roque said before ...

ICC Judges | Photo CTTO

ICC will not give up. Not this time.

Recently, the Presidential Spokesperson himself Harry Roque said before the press that the International Criminal Court (ICC) would not get any cooperation from Manila no matter how insistent it is to proceed with an announced “preliminary examination.”

This, after the ICC's Assembly of States President O-Gon Kwon has declared that he is “ready to fly to Manila to be involved in any dialogue with any authorities” as well as “to plead with the Philippine people to reconsider” the administration's withdrawal of the country the from the institution that has been established by the treaty of the Rome Statute, the ICC. 

In an interview on Thursday, March 22, with the Bloomberg TV Philippines’ “The Big Story”, the Assembly of States President was the guest of its anchor Roby Alampay.
ICC's Assembly of States President O-Gon Kwon | Photo CTTO

On the said news program, it can be noticed that O-Gon Kwon tends to avoid some questions when it comes to the institutions way of moving forward, or do they even have a choice, in case the country does not cooperate, given that the Malacañang Palace has already stated in one of its interviews, that their cooperation with the ICC should not be expected .

Nonetheless, Kwon insists that he is “ready to fly to Manila” as part of the international body’s endeavor in attempt to reclaim the trust of the Philippine government that impartiality and due process will be the premise of the ICC’s investigation.

“There are a lot of points that I can discuss with my friends in the Philippines,” Kwon told Roby Alampay of the “The Big Story”.

“With all due respect to Mr. (Harry) Roque and his Excellency President (Rodrigo) Duterte, in my humble opinion there seems to be some kind of misinformation as to the nature of the preliminary examination or complementarity, and the date on which the withdrawal will take effect,” Kwon added.
ICC's President Judge Silvia Fernández de Gurmendi | Photo CTTO

The Assembly of States President was referring to the previous announcement made by the ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda.

According to the ICC Prosecutor, her office is set to start with a “preliminary examination” of the Philippine situation in the wake of the complaints anent supposed extrajudicial killings, while stressing that the so-called “preliminary examination” is not an actual investigation.

Trying to clarify things out, Kwon stated that a preliminary examination “does not mean that the court has decided to have the jurisdiction over the situation of Philippines.”
The ICC | Photo CTTO

Adding that “nor does it mean that it is, that the court has decided guilt or innocence at all. The pre-trial examination is a process in which the prosecutor considers whether there is (enough) information to proceed with the investigation, proper investigation. In such a case, still she needs authorization from the pre-trial chamber that consists of three judges”.

The ICC official also made an emphasis on the principle of complementarity, saying that it is “one of the most important pillars of the ICC”.

“If the national domestic jurisdiction is able and willing to prosecute and address the alleged crime, there is no room for the International Criminal Court to intervene. So if the alleged crime is genuinely addressed by the national jurisdiction, then the ICC is not, will not proceed with [investigating] the crimes anymore,” Kwon explained.
ICC Building | Photo CTTO

When the “The Big Story” anchor  Roby Alampay asked if there would still be an examination should the Philippine government happens to refuse in cooperating, Kwon replied, “There is no time limit on the part of the preliminary examination, so I take it the prosecutor will endeavor in trying to get the sufficient information to make her decision whether or not to proceed with the information”.

Due to the court's protocol — of which the signatories were made aware of upon joining — that it would take a year before the withdrawal finally takes effect once a member decides to cut ties from it, Kwon said there is 'ample time' for the Filipino public to think about it.

In the event that an examination gets the chance to run its course, Kwon stated that since the withdrawal of the country is going to take effect after a year from the date of the notification to the United Nations, if and only if the ICC official has been allowed to continue with its investigation in a span of one year, the withdrawal will then be nullified.

“If by any chance the prosecutor is able to get the authorization to proceed with the investigation in a year’s time, then this withdrawal has no effect at all.”, Kwon said.

Watch the video of the interview below:

 

Source: InterAksyon

John Abou-Samra | Photo CTTO A proof that hospitality goes a long way. The Philippines has always been known to be the land of natura...

John Abou-Samra | Photo CTTO

A proof that hospitality goes a long way.

The Philippines has always been known to be the land of naturally hospitable people — something that is one of a kind.

As this seems too common for us, Filipinos, we do not realize how it greatly impacts people from around the world, especially the westerners, that they find such deed life-changing.

One perfect example is the firsthand experience of this tourist that go by the name of John Abou-Samra, a Canada bus driver who planned to have his 'vacation of the year' in the country.

The tourist initially spent his few days in El Nido, Palawan last June before heading to the other side of the island to explore. Everything was fine until it rained on his parade. Hence, what was supposed to be a day for nature tripping took an ugly turn and brought Samra to the hospital instead.
John Abou-Samra | Photo CTTO

He was supposed to have fun as he bask under the welcoming sun. With the tropical weather that's inviting, Samra decided to go skinny-dip. But prior to that, he got someone to take him a picture first before getting himself soaked in the blue waters of Kayangan Lake, a gem hiding in the mystic side of Coron, Palawan.

However, Murphy's rule always has its way of ruining happy moments.

As soon as the photo was taken, the floorboard he was stepping on split causing him to fall in between the woods with his right leg plunged.

“I asked someone to take a picture of me, and then after she took picture, I moved to this side to sit down. While I moved, two of this wood, they split, and my right leg sank between them up to my hip. Until now I still have the pain,” said Samra.
John Abou-Samra | Photo CTTO

Due to what happened, Samra went black and blue for weeks. Nonetheless, he is thankful there was no bleeding. When the accident took place, the bystanders rushed towards him for the assistance he needed at that time.

According to Samra, they pulled him up, used ice and cold water to soothe his bruises, then helped him walk up over a steep ridge where he could catch a boat that would bring him back to his hotel. Little did he know, the wounds would later cause him disturbing pain. The following day, the staff on the hotel where he was staying arranged to get him to Coron District Hospital to get checked out.

Dr. Edgar Flores, the attending physician, sent Samra for X-rays to make sure no bones had been broken and advised him on his injury treatment through the use of hot and cold water, combined with rest.

While waiting, the tourist had the chance of observing the small hospital's poor condition. There, he found out that the equipment necessary for medical assistance were either non-existent or age-old already. But that did not hinder the hospital's staff to treat him with so much respect and genuine care. Reason why he was totally impressed with the way he was treated.

“Two nurses took care of me in a way I could not imagine, plus in the half an hour I stayed in the hospital, I heard the word ‘sir’ more than 25 times. Even when I was wearing something very casual; I looked like a homeless person, they never stopped calling me sir,” he said.

The brief experience left a great impact on the Canada-based tourist, making him think on how he could repay their kindness. He was amazed with how the Filipinos work. So much so that he returned the next day to ask how he could help. Speaking with the physician who attended him, Dr. Flores gave him a small donation box. But Samra had a better idea.
Photo CTTO
He was about to retire that time and the money he would get is allotted for his supposed tour around the world. But since his planned cruise upon retirement could be put on hold, to return the favor, he offered to procure the medical equipment for the hospital that helped him in Coron. The good Samaritan communicated with the doctor and asked him to compile a wish list that could help him be a better doctor by empowering the hospital to provide better services to its community.

Despite not having much to give, Samra believes in contributing to his community as he has been longtime supporting the food bank in the Tri-Cities.
Photo CTTO
After a few months and only few weeks after his retirement from Coast Mountain Bus Company, Samra has was set to fulfill his promise. The grateful Canaadian ordered at a local medical supplies company for the medical equipment like ECG machine, oxygen gauge, stethoscopes, a centrifuge and even a defibrillator. All these with the help of his friend from the Filipino community, Freddie Baguno, to coordinate with the Philippines’ consulate in Vancouver to transport the equipment to Coron.

The bill will amount to more than $16,000. But the figure no longer matter for Samra as the items to where his funds will go would surely be beneficial for so many lives.

Impressed still, the tourist said “If you give them the means, they can work miracles,” adding “I like to make a difference”.

Samra was set to come back to Coron late September last year to personally witness the first batch of his donation's arrival.

Indeed, this man's sincerity to pay it forward is both commendable and heartwarming. May this act of kindness influence others to do the same.

Watch the video below:



Sources: Tri-City News ABS-CBN Pinoy Thinking

Sen. Tito Sotto and Franco Mabanta | Photo CTTO Vice Presidential votes recount has finally started. Recount of the votes for the Vic...

Sen. Tito Sotto and Franco Mabanta | Photo CTTO

Vice Presidential votes recount has finally started.

Recount of the votes for the Vice President has commenced on Monday, April 2. This, after a long time of painful waiting (and praying) that almost took two years at last made its way to the gates of heaven and has come to its fruition.

The event was made possible due to the electoral protest of the former Senator Ferdinand Romualdez Marcos Jr. — who is commonly known as 'Bongbong' Marcos — filed before the Presidential Electoral Tribunal (PET) against his opponent, the incumbent Vice President Maria Leonor 'Leni' Gerona Robredo.

As the recount on the votes for the Vice President is happening, the supporters of President Duterte are divided on the issue considering there are people who are solid supporters of the President but are nowhere near the same when it comes to the Marcoses.

With the majority of them favoring the theory that there was indeed an electoral fraud committed from the national elections that occurred way back May 2016, some are either concerned only about kicking out the current Vice President from her office (and not about having Bongbong Marcos take over the seat) for the reason that they do not believe that she actually won or — just like the rest —  some could just not care less.

However, the recount which has been long overdue becomes more and more interesting as the unexpected turn of events unfold.

Take this for example.

Franco Mabanta, the social media strategist of former Sen. Bongbong, who used to be critical of Sen. Tito Sotto changes tune after learning about the Sen. Sotto's recent remark made.

In his recent tweet made on Twitter, Sen. Sotto expressed his dismay about what seemed to be questionably fishy regarding the ongoing recount of votes in the 2016 vice presidential race.
Sen. Tito Sotto | Photo CTTO

The tweet shocked the public as Sotto seemed to curse the commission due to its shady handling of the audit logs where the recount solely depends on.

With great disappointment, the Senator, who is a brother of the comedian and Eat Bulaga host Vic Sotto, tweeted 'If comelec says d early trnsmssion logs i’m asking for are missing, sobrang obvious na nagkadayaan! P££%@.$?¥ ina nyo!' with pro-Duterte blogger Sass Sasot's tweet attached on it.

On the retweeted post of Sasot, she said 'Sa isyung papaano nabasa ang mga balota, may kasabihan po tayo: Ang unang pumutak, siyang nangitlog. Macalintal bakit ikaw ang nagpapaliwanag kung bakit nabasa? At bakit di kayo bothered na nabasa?'.

Much to the Filipino public's disappointment, another news involving the controversial ballots surfaced: some of the audit logs are missing while some ballots has gone wet.

Because of Tito Sotto's fearless tweet, he won the Marcos PR over who used to be one of his harsh critics to the point that Mabanta posted his positive reaction about it on Facebook.

Overwhelmed, the social media strategist wrote 'I was openly (and oftentimes harshly) critical of this man for the plagiarism and MMFF issues, but SWEET JESUS, Tito Sotto has been PHENOMENAL -- really, all kinds of excellent -- during this whole BBM vs. Leni #recount process'.
Franco Mabanta | Photo CTTO
Mabanta seemed to be very impressed with the feisty comment of the said Senator that he mentioned that Vic Sotto's brother's balls are 'impressive as f*ck'.

'Here's a sitting Philippine Senator straight up cussing out the multinational, multibillion-peso electoral scam that is SmartMatic. Talk about fearlessly taking on some big enemies! The balls on Enteng Kabisote's big brother are impressive as fuck and he's now completely won me over.'

The Marcos loyalist also managed to throw a spoiler alert when he wrote that we are going to see a lot of politicians that would start speaking up just about how Bongbong Marcos got cheated, adding how corrupt of an election system the SmartMatic is. He also mentioned that the Venezuelan-owned multinational company that provides service in electronic voting technology got banned already by other countries around the world.

'In the next few weeks, you will hear more and more strong politicians start speaking up about how Bongbong got cheated and how corrupt of a system SmartMatic is. (FYI - it's already banned in several countries around the world'.

Staying on the safe side, Mabanta also shared that while he does not confirm anything, he spilled an 'educated guess' that not long enough, we might also start to hear the thoughts of Chiz Escudero, Juan Ponce Enrile, Grace Poe, Panfilo Lacson and a 'legion of other powerhouses', as Mabanta would call it, about the election recount snafu.

'Not confirming anything, but aside from Sotto, I'll make an educated guess and say that soon enough, you might hear from Chiz Escudero, Juan Ponce Enrile, Grace Poe, Panfilo Lacson and a legion of other powerhouses, all of whom know wassup. At some point, I'm hoping even Duterte chimes in. The President KNOWS WITHOUT A SHADOW OF A DOUBT that Bong got screwed out of the Vice Presidency. (There's a pervasive theory as to why he's yet to intervene, but I won't divulge that just yet.)'
Screengrab from Twitter

Obviously infuriated with these recent events, Bongbong Marcos's PR did no longer hide how bad he feels, agreeing with Sen. Sotto's rant he made on Twitter.

'Anyway, Senator Sotto is 1,000% right. Nagkaroon talaga ng dayaan...at tangina nila.', Mabanta said.

Prior concluding his Facebook post, Atty. Macalintal, VP Leni's lawyer, did not pass Mabanta's tirade.

'Especially this Attorney Macalintal character, Leni's lawyer. If you guys knew what we knew and watched how he lied through his teeth over and over and over at yesterday's press con, you'd be bursting at the seams with disgust. What a revolting human being.', he wrote but still managed to end the post on a positive note: Happy Tuesday, peeps. Love you, Tito. And thank you.
Screengrab from Twitter

Check out his full post below:

I was openly (and oftentimes harshly) critical of this man for the plagiarism and MMFF issues, but SWEET JESUS, Tito Sotto has been PHENOMENAL -- really, all kinds of excellent -- during this whole BBM vs. Leni #recount process.

Here's a sitting Philippine Senator straight up cussing out the multinational, multibillion-peso electoral scam that is SmartMatic. Talk about fearlessly taking on some big enemies! The balls on Enteng Kabisote's big brother are impressive as fuck and he's now completely won me over. 

Spoiler alert:

In the next few weeks, you will hear more and more strong politicians start speaking up about how Bongbong got cheated and how corrupt of a system SmartMatic is. (FYI - it's already banned in several countries around the world.)
Not confirming anything, but aside from Sotto, I'll make an educated guess and say that soon enough, you might hear from Chiz Escudero, Juan Ponce Enrile, Grace Poe, Panfilo Lacson and a legion of other powerhouses, all of whom know wassup. At some point, I'm hoping even Duterte chimes in. The President KNOWS WITHOUT A SHADOW OF A DOUBT that Bong got screwed out of the Vice Presidency. (There's a pervasive theory as to why he's yet to intervene, but I won't divulge that just yet.)

Anyway, Senator Sotto is 1,000% right. Nagkaroon talaga ng dayaan...at tangina nila.

Especially this Attorney Macalintal character, Leni's lawyer. If you guys knew what we knew and watched how he lied through his teeth over and over and over at yesterday's press con, you'd be bursting at the seams with disgust. What a revolting human being.

Happy Tuesday, peeps. Love you, Tito. And thank you.
Franco Mabanta and Pres. Rodrigo Duterte | Photo CTTO
Source: Franco Mabanta