Malacanang says no “sacred cows” in solving carjacking and other crimes

Malacañang assured that there will be no “sacred cows” in its efforts to solve the spate of carjacking and other crimes in the country the past weeks.

In a media briefing at the Palace on Tuesday, Presidential Deputy Spokesperson Abigail Valte expressed the commitment of the Aquino administration in serving justice to those who will be proven guilty of involvement in the recent crimes even as she assured that the suspected culprits in the government will be put behind bars.

It will be recalled that Interior and Local Government Secretary Jesse Robredo, during a press briefing at the Palace on Monday, said that the brutal kidnap-slay of Manila-based car dealers is not yet closed as authorities will be conducting thorough investigations to identify the accomplices of the suspects in the government.

Robredo said they will be looking into the suspected collusion between the carnapping group and some government agencies that help perpetuate their illegal activity.

Robredo even questioned how Raymond Dominguez, a suspected car thief who was charged with carnapping and kidnapping with homicide in the Venson Evangelista slay case, managed to post bail several times in the past although one of the cases was a non-bailable offense.

According to Robredo, there should be a thorough investigation to determine if Dominguez and his group have cohorts in some government agencies.

He added that carnapping will not flourish if the suspects have no cohorts in the government to facilitate the registration process of the stolen vehicles. (PIA/PCOO)

Philippines hailed as ‘country to explore’ in 2011

The Philippines was recently cited as the “country to explore” in 2011 by Ireland’s leading newspaper, The Irish Times.

The daily broadsheet based in Dublin, Ireland said the Philippines’ pristine beaches and first-class diving sites were the main reasons the country was chosen over other well-known tourist attractions in the region.

In an article published in T.I.T’s January 8, 2011 weekend supplement entitled “What’s Hot for 2011,” writer Alanna Gallagher was all praises for two “stand-out yet accessible” tourist attractions to visit in the Philippines: the islands of Cebu; and Boracay island in Malay, Aklan.

“It (Cebu and Boracay) offers first-class diving and beaches like Thailand had 20 or 30 years ago before it was over-developed,” Gallagher’s article read.

With these distinctions, aside from many other more tourist attractions to see and experience, Gallaghar says, “the new country to explore in Asia is the Philippines.”

The Irish Times, which was established in 1859, is Ireland’s quality daily newspaper with news reports coming from throughout Ireland and from a comprehensive network of foreign correspondents, as well as sports and business coverage, features and arts sections, lifestyle, jobs and property.

Each issue contains well-informed background analysis and assessment of the events of the day, and diversity of debate in the daily opinion columns.

Alanna Gallagher is a freelance journalist who contributes to publications such as the Irish Times and Sunday Times. She has also recently started her own weekly e-zine (electronic-magazine), The Weekly Edit, which gives Alanna’s top picks in fashion, beauty, interiors, and things to do that week. (PIA/PCOO)

DoT told to drop slogan, tap Pacquiao

SEVERAL lawmakers on Wednesday hit the new slogan of the Department of Tourism
(DOT), advising the agency to drop it and tap Sarangani Congressman Manny Pacquiao as
its endorser to better promote the Philippines.

Zambales Representative Mitos Magsaysay said Pacquiao is the only Filipino personality
who is known globally. He believed that Pacquiao can do “a good job of selling the country”
than the new slogan, “Pilipinas Kay Ganda,” of the Tourism department.

The new slogan was introduced recently, replacing the “Wow, Philippines!” shoutout.

However, several lawmakers said there was no need to drop the previous slogan, as the new
one would only confuse tourists who cannot understand Filipino. (PIA)

Palace to review US position on VFA

Malacañang wants an overhaul of the controversial Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) between the Philippines and the United States.

President Aquino has directed Justice Secretary Leila de Lima to take a look at the controversial agreement which is among the primary legal pretext for military exercises of local and American troops in the country.

Aquino agreed to a review of the agreement following renewed calls by some groups for its immediate abolition.

Presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda said the President has not yet made a decision whether the government would terminate the RP-US military deal pending the study being conducted by the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA).

For now, Lacierda said there are “no discussion on the abrogation” of the VFA as far as the Executive branch is concerned, although the DFA has recognized the benefits of having such military deal with the United States.

Lacierda said the President stands by his personal commitment made when he was a senator that VFA forged between Manila and Washington should be studied anew. He said then Senator Aquino signed a joint resolution calling for a review of such agreement. (PIA)

IIRC findings to restore confidence between RP, PROC – Aquino

PRESIDENT Benigno S. Aquino III on Monday expressed optimism the report of the Incident Investigation and Review Committee (IIRC) on the tragic Aug. 23 hostage incident will restore confidence to the existing bilateral relationship between the Philippines and the People’s Republic of China (PROC).

The President stressed that the findings would also provide an accurate message to Beijing that his administration is taking appropriate actions to prevent such tragedy from happening again.

He also said the high-level mission to be headed by Foreign Affairs Secretary Alberto Romulo will definitely push through to personally bring the IIRC findings and reiterate the government’s sincere apology over the incident.

The Philippine government has already furnished the Chinese Embassy a copy of the IIRC probe and the complete report will be published on the government’s Official Gazette at

To further strengthen the cases recommended by the IIRC, the President also announced he has directed Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa Jr. and Presidential Legal Counsel Ed de Mesa to review the report before he acts on the committee’s recommendation. (PCCO/PIA)