Noynoy sees government delaying his flights
By Delon Porcalla
The Philippine Star
TACLOBAN CITY, Leyte , Philippines – Liberal Party (LP) standard-bearer Sen. Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III yesterday observed that President Arroyo’s use of her privilege to declare no-fly zones too often coincides with his party’s sorties.
“I think this is too much of a coincidence already,” Aquino said in a news conference at the airport in this city, arriving two hours late for his engagements.
Aquino arrived in a Lear jet, in convoy with running mate Sen. Mar Roxas. He said their flight from the Manila Domestic Airport was delayed by almost an hour because Mrs. Arroyo, who was in the nearby Parañaque district, declared the area a no-fly zone, delaying all commercial flights in the process.
President Arroyo and Aquino were both at the domestic terminal at around 10 a.m. yesterday. Mrs. Arroyo was flying to Tuguegarao, Cagayan and Aquino to Borongan, Samar.
The flight delay disrupted Aquino’s hectic schedule, forcing him to conduct his scheduled radio interview through phone patch instead of a sit-down interview inside a local radio station in Samar.
An area may be declared a no-fly zone fifteen minutes before the arrival of a head of state until fifteen minutes after the departure of the state leader.
Only the President has the power to declare a no-fly zone, but this is rarely done. This rule has not been imposed until recently.
Malacañang, the country’s seat of power, is a known no-fly zone.
Last week, the LP suffered a delay of close to three hours in Davao City when it was declared a no-fly zone, even if President Arroyo’s itinerary showed she had no engagements in the city.
Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte is a member of the LP.
Because of this, Aquino failed to personally meet with Teng Mangudadatu. As it turned out, President Arroyo paid a surprise visit to Magudadatu.
Leyte Vice Governor Mimieta Bagulaya said this city, once considered a Marcos bailiwick, might support the LP, especially because the ruling Petilla clan has thrown their support behind Aquino and Roxas.
The mother of incumbent Leyte governor Carlo Jericho Petilla, former Gov. Remedios Petilla, was Aquino’s colleague in the House of Representatives.
“This is no longer Marcos country,” said Bagulaya, also the provincial chairman of LP.”They would feel it’s still their (Marcoses) country…but you can see it’s not anymore.”
Bagulaya said there was, in fact, a member of the Romualdez family who lost in a congressional bid.
She said the Romualdezes only won elections because of their money.
“But this time, we’re considering the strength of the opposition so we will also see, and we project our presidential candidate will win here.”
The vice governor expressed apprehensions, however, that the first ever automated elections might be tainted with cheating.
“We’re also apprehensive that maybe with automation comes automated cheating. We have to intensify voters’ education,” she said.
Meanwhile, Aquino clarified that he did not backtrack on his stance on not imposing new taxes once elected. He stressed he would not impose new tax measures without addressing the leakages first.
“I have always been very clear on that. I first said this before the Makati Business Club, that it will not be right for me to impose new taxes without collecting existing taxes (effectively),” Aquino said.
Aquino said he would first try to increase collection but would have to impose new taxes if the collection volume is not enough to manage the budget deficit.
“But I said that if fiscal deficit remains unmanageable, then we would consider (new tax policies),” he said. With Aurea Calica