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PDP-Laban execs to meet with Communist Party of China

/ 01:59 PM January 13, 2017

UPDATED: 8:07 p.m., Jan. 13, 2017

A delegation from the ruling Partido Demokratikong Pilipino-Laban (PDP-Laban) will meet with the Communist Party of China from Jan. 22 to 25, Senate President Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III confirmed on Friday.

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He stressed, however, that the meeting would not be an issue of national concern.

“This is a party internal matter which we want to keep internal as there will not be any adverse effect on the state whatsoever,” Pimentel said in a text message to reporters.

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“Hence, this is not an issue of national concern. (It’s only for the) strengthening of ties between the two parties. Very simple objective only,” he added.

The PDP-Laban delegation will be headed by Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi, who was PDP-Laban vice chairman before his Cabinet appointment.

President Rodrigo Duterte, who is the chairman of PDP-Laban, has vowed to pursue closer ties with China despite its dispute with the Philippines over parts of the West Philippine Sea. At the same time, he has made statements about easing ties with the United States, a close ally of the Philippines.

In an statement e-mailed by the Department of Energy (DOE), Cusi clarified that his trip only coincided with the meeting between the PDP-Laban delegation and the Communist Party of China.

He said he was going to China on the invitation of Chinese Ambassador Zhao Jianhua to “enhance energy cooperation between our two countries.”

“The DOE is fortunate to have the opportunity to touch base with our counterparts in China’s own Ministry of Energy,” Cusi said. “The purpose of the meeting is exclusively to improve our overall energy development efforts, gain knowledge from their best practices, and hopefully attract investments in our local energy projects.”

“I will be there strictly in my official capacity as DOE secretary,” he added. “About the PDP’s trip to China, I would say that it coincides with the DOE official trip. In any case, it is a simple side trip for pleasantries, sharing and cultural exchange.”

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Another PDP-Laban official, Efraim Genuino would want to join the delegation in his capacity as chairman of the party’s finance committee.

But since he has standing Hold Departure Departure issued against him, he submitted a motion for permission to travel at the Third Division of the Sandiganbayan last Wednesday.

Genuino, a former chairman of the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. (Pagcor), faces four counts of perjury charges for making false statements under oath in his statement of assets and liabilities net worth (SALN) from 2002 to 2005.

According to the prosecution, Genuino failed to disclose four lots in Bangkal, Makati, one lot in Tunasan, Muntinlupa, another in Los Baños, Laguna, and still another in Santa Rosa, Laguna.

READ: Ex-Pagcor chair Genuino charged with perjury in SALN

He was accused “willfully” and “feloniously” making false statements under oath in his SALN for the years 2002 to 2005.

The prosecution said Genuino failed to disclose four lots in Bangkal, Makati, one lot in Tunasan, Muntinlupa, one lot in Los Banos, Laguna, and another in Sta. Rosa, Laguna.

Genuino also faces two charges of graft for the anomalous disbursement of P37-million Pagcor funds for the training of swimmers competing in the Olympics in a college he owns.

READ: Ex-Pagcor chair seeks dismissal of graft raps over funds mess

In his motion, Genuino told the court that the visit to China would “deepen exchanges and cooperation, boost mutual trust and friendship for sound and stable progress in China-Philippines strategic and cooperative relationship for peace and development.”

Genuino also asked the court’s permission to make a side trip from China to Hong Kong for a “much needed short vacation.”

He vowed to inform the court of the details of his itinerary as soon as they become available.

He added he would be willing to post a travel bond, noting that this was his first time to ask for permission to travel abroad from the court.

“From the time the instant criminal charges in these cases were filed… accused has never sought permission from this Honorable Court to travel abroad,” Genuino told the court through his lawyers. “In fact, he has been appearing before this Honorable Court every time his presence is required.”

“This is only the first time that he is requesting to be allowed to travel, and only for the above-stated reasons,” he added. /RAM/rga/ATM

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TAGS: Communist Party of China, Efraim Genuino, Pagcor, Partido Demokratikong Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan, PDP-Laban
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