Philippines: President and Politicians Stir a Media Riot of Rumors and Speculation

PNoy: Joma may run in 2013 polls

by Joyce Pangco Pañares and Maricel Cruz, Manila Standard Today

Sunday March 4 2012

Benigno Aquino III ("Noynoy")

Jose Maria Sison ("Joma")

PRESIDENT Benigno Aquino III on Friday confirmed that Communist Party of the Philippines founder Jose Maria Sison will be returning to the country.

However, Sison, who has been on a self-imposed exile in Utrecht since 1988, would only return to the Philippines after a formal and comprehensive peace agreement between the government and the National Democratic Front has been signed, the President said.

“Joma Sison will return home once there is already an agreement … There is ongoing negotiation for the signing of a peace agreement. But negotiations for his return have not yet begun,” Mr. Aquino said.

He also hinted that Sison could participate in the 2013 elections but did not elaborate.  “We have an upcoming election.  Whoever wins in the elections will represent the people and will decide for the majority. So the end point is if he returns to the country, it will be for the final peace agreement,” Mr. Aquino said.

The anti-communist party-list group Alliance for Nationalism and Democracy earlier claimed that at least four members of Mr. Aquino’s Cabinet were convincing Sison to return to Manila to join the government as part of national unification efforts, a claim the Palace has denied.

The group’s spokesman, Joey Sison, named presidential peace adviser Teresita Deles, presidential political adviser Ronald Llamas, Justice Secretary Leila de Lima, and government chief negotiator for the CPP-NDF Alexander Padilla as among the conduits of the communist leader.

Padilla, in a phone interview Friday, denied that the government is offering a Cabinet post to Sison for the sake of “national unification.”

“If the government and the NDF sign a peace agreement tomorrow, then maybe Sison would come back here. But that is so impossible at this point because the NDF is still insisting on the release of their political prisoners, which we cannot agree to,” Padilla said. Continue reading

First in 9 years: No effigy burned after Philippines’ State of the Nation Address

JERRIE M. ABELLA, GMANews.TV,  July 26, 2010

Former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo's effigy during her last SONA in 2009 was burned, in line with the tradition in protest actions of imagining the subjugation of the enemy. Ugat Lahi

One thing was missing during President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III’s first State of the Nation Address (SONA), and that was the symbolic burning of the president’s effigy outside the Batasan Complex.

This was because militant groups do not consider Aquino as their adversary yet.

“It’s too early to ‘burn’ him (Aquino),” said visual artist Max Santiago of Ugat Lahi, which has been making effigies of the country’s top leaders in the last 12 years.

Effigy-burning had been a regular spectacle during the SONAs of Aquino’s predecessors.

For this year, militants made an Aquino effigy not to condemn his month-old administration, but to pose challenges and remind him of the promises he made when he wooed voters in this year’s presidential campaign.

Harry Potter or Lord Voldemort?

Like the effigies for the last three presidents, this year’s drew heavily on references to popular culture.

The 14 feet by 15 feet papier-mâché cast from a terra cotta mask featured Aquino as a magician complete with a cape, a magic wand and a magician’s hat.

Aquino's "The Magician" effigy, clad in yellow and complete with a wand, cape and hat, draws a crowd of curios protesters during Monday's SONA. The effigy was not burned, a first after nine years.

“He can either be a Harry Potter or a Lord Voldemort,” Santiago told GMANews.TV, referring to the hero and villain, respectively, of the popular “Harry Potter” book series that has been turned into movies.

Regarding the effigy’s “solo performance,” Santiago said the bubbles that came out of its hands signified Aquino’s earlier promises that may not be realized.

Performance artists likewise emerged from the effigy’s hat, portraying such issues as the presence of American troops in the country, extrajudicial killings, and the alleged crimes of Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, Aquino’s predecessor.

“There exists an illusion that Noynoy’s victory will signal the end of all of our problems. But the people must realize that at this point, everything is just PR job, just an illusion,” Santiago said. Continue reading