Hernani Braganza

NP claims Noynoy forming a 'GMA Cabinet'

NP claims Noynoy forming a ‘GMA Cabinet’

MANILA, Philippines – The Nacionalista Party (NP) on Saturday scored Liberal Party standard-bearer Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino Jr. for allegedly forming a Cabinet way ahead of the May 10 automated elections.

“Aquino is clearly jumping too soon,” the NP said in a statement, hinting that Aquino is being overconfident that he will win the presidential race.

Aquino has slowly regained his wide lead over the NP standard-bearer Sen. Manuel “Manny” Villar Jr. in the presidential survey. The latest Pulse Asia survey showed Aquino gaining a double-digit margin from his closest rival.

“This is proof that Aquino is already thinking of holding the highest position in the land when the election is still a month away. How can he do this when he has yet to prove that he will win the election?” the NP said. “And worst is that the Aquino presidency will be a virtual Arroyo administration with a GMA rehash Cabinet.”

Without naming its source, the NP said that among the future appointees of Aquino is Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) Undersecretary Thomson Lantion.

It said Lantion, a former police official who is close to President Arroyo’s current executive secretary, Leandro Mendoza, will be appointed by Aquino as DOTC secretary.

The NP claimed that the other future Aquino appointees are re-electionist Alaminos City Mayor Hernani Braganza as head of the Department of Agrarian Reform; North Cotabato Vice Gov. Emmanuel Piñol as secretary the Department of Energy; Avelino “Nonong” Cruz as National Defense chief; former Education Secretary Florencio “Butch” Abad as Secretary of the Department of Public Works and Highways; former Social Welfare and Development Secretary Dinky Soliman as Department of Environment and Natural Resources head; Ed Gana as Department of agriculture chief;

Former Economic Planning Secretary Ralph Recto, now running for senator under the Liberal Party as head of the Department of Finance; Makati Business Club’s Ramon del Rosario as Secretary of the Department of the Interior and Local Government; Leah Navarro of the Black and White Movement as Presidential Management Staff chief; and former Pangasinan governor Victor Agbayani as secretary of the Department of Trade and Industry.

The NP predicted that if Aquino wins, they expect him to appoint relatives and friends to his future Cabinet.

Villar to Noynoy: Come clean on Luisita

Villar to Noynoy: Come clean on Luisita
By Christina Mendez
The Philippine Star

BANGUI, Ilocos Norte , Philippines  – The word war rages between the Liberals and the Nacionalistas.

Nacionalista Party (NP) presidential candidate Sen. Manuel Villar Jr. yesterday reiterated his challenge to Liberal Party (LP) presidential bet Sen. Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III to reveal the truth behind the massacre of seven farmers in the family-owned Hacienda Luisita in 2004.

Villar challenged Aquino to accompany him to Hacienda Luisita in Tarlac and show the scene where the farmers were killed.

Villar said he wanted to see for himself the vast tracts of land that the Cojuangco family has refused to distribute to thousands of tenants in the sprawling estate.

Some of the victims in the massacre were workers at the plantation, he said.

Villar also challenged Aquino to point out the land of the hacienda that was appropriated to the Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway (SCTEX).

Villar noted the controversy surrounding the government purchase in 1999 of 83 hectares of the hacienda where the SCTEX would pass through.

Cavite Rep. Crispin Remulla has alleged the Arroyo administration and the Aquino-Cojuangco clan of Tarlac agreed to an “overpriced” purchase of land from the 6,400-hectare hacienda for the right-of-way for the SCTEX.

Remulla said the government paid P83 million for the purchase of the right-of-way and poured in another P170 million for the construction of a road interchange in the middle of the sprawling sugar estate.

Remulla said the government agreed to buy 83 hectares of Luisita land at P100 per square meter, which he claimed was more than 10 times the going rate of P6 to P8 per square meter for similar raw sugar lands in Concepcion and San Miguel, Tarlac.

There were calls last month for Aquino to shed light on accusations that he lobbied for the SCTEX to pass the Cojuangco-owned property. He was also challenged to give up his share of earnings from the right-of-way payment.

“I still wonder why the SCTEX was allowed to pass through the hacienda,” Villar said.

Villar also dared Aquino to prove the “Villarroyo” allegations suggesting he was the secret candidate of President Arroyo.

Villar claimed it is Aquino who has links to Mrs. Arroyo since many of his relatives are key officials in the government.

He named Interior Undersecretary Margarita Cojuangco, who heads the Philippine Public Safety College; Secretary Tessie Aquino Oreta, who heads the Early Childhood Care and Development Council; and Lupita Aquino-Kashiwahara, the President’s image consultant.

Paul Aquino, who is now the chief political officer in Noynoy’s campaign, was the CEO of Energy Development Corp. before it was privatized in 2007. It used to be a subsidiary of the state firm Philippine National Oil Co.

Former environment secretary Eleazar Quinto, a son-in-law of Kashiwahara, is currently the director general of the Presidential Coalition Affairs Office under the Office of the President.

In sharp contrast, there is not a single Villar relative now employed in the Arroyo administration, he said.

At the same time, Villar lashed out at his critics for sowing intrigue over the recent alliances forged by the NP with local officials belonging to Lakas.

He said the LP also accommodated some Lakas-Kampi-CMD members.

“Why question the shift of support of some members of the administration party to the NP when the LP itself benefited from the same last year? Once again, we can see how dirty the LP plays its politics,” Villar said.

Villar said several Lakas stalwarts that include Caloocan City Mayor Enrico Echiverri; Alaminos, Pangasinan Mayor Hernani Braganza; Cavite Gov. Ayong Maliksi; the Osmeñas in Cebu and Cebu Rep. Antonio Cuenco, among others, had moved to LP.

He said the NP raised no malice for those who joined LP but it was the other way around for those joining the NP.

“Now that administration party members have stopped going to LP and started trooping to the NP, they counter by sowing intrigues that we have an alliance with Malacañang. This is just plain hypocrisy and sourgraping at the highest level,” he said.