Monday, March 26, 2007




26 March 2007
Both the Moro National Liberation Front and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front have pledged support for the candidacy of Sulu Sultan Jamalul Kiram III who until now is still at the bottom three among all the candidates for the senatorial race.
Kiram said the support were given to him because of his royal blood and despite his position than no Muslim group should be granted autonomy in Mindanao.
"I am their Sultan. They have no choice but to support me," Kiram said in jest.
"But seriously, my family have known the leadership of both the MNLF and the MILF for a long time, and the influence that they command among our Muslim brothers would boost my chances. Any support at this point is most welcome," Kiram said.
Detained MNLF chairman Nur Misurari said Kiram has been very good to their group so he sees no reason why fellow Muslims would not support the Tausug royalty.
The MNLF has already signed a manifesto endorsing Kiram and his 11 other colleagues in Team Unity, a copy of which has been given to his wife, Fatima Celia.
MILF deputy chairman for information Khaled Musa admitted that while they prefer their Sultan not to engage in politics, they would help ensure his win since Kiram is bent on running.
"Win or loss, it is a still minus factor for the Sulu sultanate whose colorful tradition started way back 500 years ago. The position of sultan is something sacrosanct to the Moro people and any involvement in unprincipled politics is a letdown," Musa said.
"But of course we prefer the Sultan winning rather than losing," the MILF official added.
Kiram's main platform commitment is to achieve a lasting peace in Mindanao by pursuing the peace talks with the MILF and implementing full the 10-year peace accord with the MNLF.
Earlier, supporters of the Sulu Sultan from over 300 Muslim and Christian organizations nationwide launched the Brigada Kiram movement in a bid to hold the administration accountable in giving equal support to all the candidates of Team Unity regardless of their performance in recent surveys.
According to Ping Mugong, a member of the Supreme Council of Sulu, the effort is aimed at boosting Kiram's chances at the May 14 polls after placing second to the last in the latest survey of Pulse Asia.
"We deplore our candidate's position, in particular the sincerity of Team Unity toward Sultan Kiram and the issue of national reconciliation. This is a people's initiative, because we feel it is time for us to rise up in light of the issue of the way the Sultan is being treated," Mugong said in an interview.
Kiram is the official candidate of the Partido Demokratiko Sosyalista ng Pilipinas, which is headed by National Security Adviser Norberto Gonzales, to the administration's coalition ticket.
A source in the PDSP confirmed that even Gonzales was disappointed with the way Team Unity organizers were handling the campaign of Kiram who is a neophyte in the electoral exercise."I think we all feel that the Sultan is not being given what is due him, and we want to make sure that the Sultan does not lose face in this coming polls," Mugong added.
According to his wife, Fatima Celia, the administration only gave them P5 million since the campaign period began in February 13 and that the money has already been spent.
Kiram said about P3 million was used for his posters which he said are not even sufficient for a nationwide campaign.
"Look at all the posters of my colleagues in Team Unity? And where is my poster? None," Kiram said.

Sunday, March 25, 2007


25 March 2007Joyce Pangco Pañares
Lucena City -- Ilocos Sur Gov. Luis Singson has increased his total networth by more than 2,000 percent in
just a span of six years, but the local official who is now running as senator under the administration's
Team Unity denied his wealth came from the illegal numbers game jueteng.
In a copy of his 2006 Statement of Assets and Liabilities obtained by Standard Today, Singson declared
his total assets to be worth P49.59 million, which includes two houses in Vigan City, a house and lot in
Quezon City, and a commercial lot and building in Manila.
Singson, who has been a public servant for 28 years now, also has motor vehicles worth P4.5 million,
jewelries worth P1.2 million, and a cash on hand worth P5.37 million.
He also declared a total liability of P18.82 million, including loans from the Philippine National Bank as
well as other private payables.
This gives him a networth of P32.76 million, a 2,600 percent increase from his networth of only P1.2 million
contained in his 2000 SALN which he submitted to the Office of the Ombudsman.
"This should not be surprising because my family is really rich. It's not like I got rich overnight. We are
naturally rich," Singson said in an interview here in Lucena City.
But while Singson has brushed aside the significant hike in his assets, he did not deny that his main
source of income are his P28,000 monthly salary, a family-owned agricultural business in Vigan and an
LCS Mart in Manila which is being leased.
Singson said he is also stockholder in the Vigan Banco Rural Inc. and the Bantay Ice Plant and Cold Storage, two Ilocos Sur-based firms which he entered into in the early 1980s.
"Some would probably like to give this a negative spin and claim that I became wealthy through jueteng. But the truth is that I am a jueteng whistleblower, and whatever assets I have are hard-earned," he said.
"Most of the real estate properties that I own were acquired way, way back. Hindi naman ako mahirap, so wag naman sana ako insultuhin at kwestyunin pa kung saan nanggaling ang yaman ko dahil may pera naman ako (I am not poor, so I hope people won't insult me and question where my riches came from because I have money)," Singson said.
His networth last year, however, was the highest to be declared, with his 2000 SALN pegging his networth at only P1 million and a measly P512,488 in 1999 which was the same year that his former friend, Joseph Estrada, became president.
With his latest SALN, Singson is now the fifth richest candidate among the Team Unity senatorial bets, trailing behind re-electionist Ralph Recto, former senators Tessie Aquino-Oreta and Vicente Sotto III, and Surigao del Sur Rep. Prospero Pichay Jr.
Recto has a total asset of P237.11 million, which includes houses in Ayala, Alabang, in Batangas, and in Makati as well as investment shares worth P27 million and a variety of motor vehicles worth P6.5 million.
Following Recto in the money trail is the 62-year Oreta with P126.7 million including two Mercedez Benz (E240 and V230) and a Toyota Coaster, and a collection of jewelries worth P1.8 million.
Sotto, for his part, came in as the third wealthiest with P85 million followed by Pichay who is worth P41 million, which takes into account his jewelry stock that is higher than that of Oreta's at P2 million.