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Chest-beating at the Palace EDITORIAL 05/31/2010

Monday, May 31, 2010

Chest-beating at the Palace

Click to enlarge
The economy is booming and there is no other person to credit it to other than Gloria and her policies focused on the economy.

This is of course another Palace line and such a predictable line that most Filipinos saw coming the moment the National Statistics Office announced a 7.3 percent growth rate in the first quarter.

The growth push is as predictable as the Palace mouthpieces of Gloria, however. Money funneled into the economy by politicians itching for a government seat and recover what they had spent and maybe even earn a rich profit in the process, was the main source of the gross domestic product (GDP) expansion during the period.
It was practically all election money and the ever reliable remittances from Filipinos working abroad that were responsible for what the Palace has been trumpeting as Gloria’s crowning glory prior to her stepping down on June 30.

Manufacturing temporarily rose out of a slump as a result of the election campaign period where the many paraphernalia that defaced the city for nearly a year were churned out by factories. Services, mainly fastfood businesses, also benefited from the election windfall.

UP School of Economics professor Benjamin Diokno also cited the government’s rush to complete the so-called State of the Nation Address projects, which are major infrastructure projects which Gloria had listed in her 2006 Sona to support her Strong Republic thrust, as another source of growth.

For the nine years under Gloria, the economy had undergone a roller-coaster ride but as Gloria would say, it never went into a contraction. Of course, there were times when suspicions arose that some tweaking was being done with the statistics when growth would show a growth of less than one percent to avoid a technical recession.
For now the most stable source of economic output is the money being sent home by Filipino diaspora, which if seen in a different light, is labor resources sapped out of the economy.

The Palace has been bragging about Gloria’s policies centered on the economy that has been responsible for the strong growth in the quarter but the challenge would be for anybody in Gloria’s stable to name at least two defining policies of the supposed Glorianomics..... MORE  

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20100531com1.html

Fraud marks the spot FRONTLINE Ninez Cacho-Olivares 05/31/2010

Fraud marks the spot

Ninez Cacho-Olivares
Any which way one cuts it, the automated elections were marked by electronic fraud.
There were just too many things that went wrong--all suspected to be deliberate, all of which are being discovered today, and quite frankly, neither the Commission on Elections (Comelec) officials nor Smartmatic itself have come up with credible and satisfactory answers, thinking perhaps that the Filipinos are so stupid and can be fed with technical gobbledygook.

The facts are that there are many unexplained and even unjustified moves made by the Comelec and its partner, Smartmatic, such as, but not limited to, not following the conditions set forth by the US certification firm, to make the program fraud-free. And for that inspection of the program and system by SysTest Lab, which the Filipino people paid millions for the service, Comelec and its tech partner never bothered to correct the flaws as pointed out by the certification agency, which means that the program and system used for the 2010 presidential polls, were never certified by SysTest.

But what was most suspicious of all was the fact that some three days before the scheduled polls, where only some 2,000 machines failed the testing, Comelec and Smartmatic suddenly pulled out all 82,000 compact flash (CF) cards, ordered 82,000 cards from Hong Kong and Taiwan, reconfigured all these in just two to three days, with claims that all these reconfigured CF cards were tested and delivered to all the clustered precincts, all 76,000 of them throughout the Philippine archipelago.

This tale from the Comelec and Smartmatic officials is full of holes. It is impossible to, first, order and ship from abroad 82,000 CF cards, then reconfigure these in just a time frame of two days, then have these tested — and without any party representative to witness and check the reconfigured CF cards — and then have what, another day to deliver all these to the “right” precincts all over the Philippines.

Not having any witnesses from political parties for the testing certainly was pretty sneaky.... MORE    

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20100531com2.html

Piracy stifling Asian software industry, say experts focus 05/31/2010

Piracy stifling Asian software industry, say experts


SINGAPORE — Entrepreneur Binod Hariharan has big plans for his southern Indian firm, which develops astrology-based computer software to help users find a suitable spouse or plot their career paths.

Similarly ambitious is Somporn Maneeratanakul, managing director of Thai Software Enterprises, and Nguyen Minh Duc, director of BKIS Security, a Vietnamese company that makes anti-virus programs.

But their dreams of making it big overseas are in danger of being hijacked in the dangerous waters of the global software industry by pirates who make and sell illegal copies of their products right in their home markets.

While global giants such as Microsoft and computer security firm McAfee are prominent targets of copyright thieves, what is less known is that start-up Asian software companies are notable victims, industry players said.
And unlike the cash-rich industry big boys, these fledgling Asian companies are finding it harder to cope with losses resulting from copyright violations.

Industry group Business Software Alliance (BSA) said in a report released in May that software piracy losses reached $51.4 billion in 2009, of which $16.5 billion was incurred in the Asia-Pacific region.

On average, 59 percent of the 900 million pieces of software installed in the Asia-Pacific region were unlicensed, said the study carried out with industry research firm IDC.

Bangladesh had the highest software piracy rate in Asia, followed by Sri Lanka, Indonesia and Vietnam, with China and India also among the top culprits.... MORE  

  SourceThe Daily Tribune

  URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20100531com3.html

Questions, questions, questions! C.R.O.S.S.R.O.A.D.S Jonathan De la Cruz 05/31/2010

Questions, questions, questions!

Jonathan De la Cruz
More questions than answers is cropping up in the ongoing joint congressional canvass for president and vice president, which is a constitutional duty lodged only on the legislature and the concurrent inquiry of the House committee on suffrage and electoral reform into the conduct (or misconduct as one congressman noted) of the country’s first automated elections. In the case of the canvass, a number of potentially canvass breaking issues have cropped up. First, the matter of compliance by Commission on Elections (Comelec) and its automation contractor, Smartmatic-TIM, with the terms and conditions of their contract and the automation law. There were at least three features of the system which were not complied with such as: a) voter verification feature (VVF) to enable a voter to confirm that those he voted for were correctly recorded and counted by the PCOS machine; b) the use of UV lamps to test whether a ballot is fake or not (most precincts some as near as Magallanes Village in Makati City did not use any such implement); and c) the two boards (BEI at the precinct level and the BoC at the municipal, city and provincial levels) did not have “digital signatures” as provided for under the law. The question that arises is this: can — or should it be, must — the Congress proceed with the canvass without satisfying itself that the polls were not compromised, legal or otherwise, as a result of such non-compliance.

Up to now, for example, the matter of “digital signatures,” a key security component of the entire system has yet to be resolved to the full satisfaction of the canvass committee and the public. The matter of “digital signatures” impacts directly on the canvass committee’s aceptance of the Certificates of Canvass (CoC) now under congressional custody at the Batasan complex. As provided for under the law and the canvass rules, the canvass committee and later the full joint congressional session, must satisfy themselves that: a) each CoC was “duly executed, signed and thumbmarked by the chairman and members of the city, district or provincial boards of canvassers (BoCs); b) that it contains the names of all candidates for president and vice president and their corresponding votes in words and figures; and c) there exists no discrepancy in other authentic copies of the CoCs or in any other supporting documents and d) there exists no discrepancy in the votes of any candidate against the aggregate number of election returns of precincts covered by the CoC. The automation masters — Comelec and Smartmatic — have yet to fully explain the protocols, including selection, disclosure and naming of the recipients of the secret digital signature..... MORE    

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20100531com4.html

An Aquinorroyo II DIE HARD III Herman Tiu Laurel 05/31/2010

An Aquinorroyo II

Herman Tiu Laurel
It’s now looking more and more like an Aquinorroyo II, with the usual Big Business honchos and the US Embassy brokering various political deals and transition scenarios.
It’s not just the story going around that days prior to Comelec and Smartmatic’s recall of 76,000 compact flash cards, a known oligarch allegedly brokered a meeting between a Palace aide, et al. with the “pinkest” one of “The Three Sisters” to stave off an intra-Edsa II death match, which could have afforded the masa’s President Joseph Estrada a clear touchdown. The provenance of Aquinorroyo II is also due to the shared Cory Aquino and Gloria Arroyo patsies now figuring in the latest Yellow “trip to Jerusalem” — from Dinky Soliman, to Sonny Belmonte, to The Firm plus Teddy “Bear” Locsin, as well as, the likes of Jose “Ping” de Jesus.

People now tend to forget that Gloria would never have catapulted from vice president to president without Cory’s sponsorship of Edsa II. Thereafter, Mrs. Aquino graced every Edsa II celebration giddily, sitting alongside Arroyo. Even during the August Twenty-One (Atom) anniversary in the crucial Oakwood protest year of 2003, Cory towed Gloria along to buttress the latter’s shaky government — cementing the Aquinorroyo partnership — with Cory wearing a wide rimmed buntal hat while holding Gloria’s hand, as if aiding her tottering little understudy. All that, of course, changed a few years later when certain events came between them.

But the stakes for both the Gloria and BSA III camps now rest on keeping their tenuous shares of power over the only outsider in the political spectrum: President Joseph Estrada. While Teddy “Bear” Locsin strains the definition of “digital signatures” and displays arrogance with aplomb, President Estrada’s true potential for upsetting the last voting exercise is now only beginning to surface as various anomalies in the automated election system are cropping up one after another.

In particular, the massive disenfranchisement that came about, which, going by the foreign election observers’ report, in conjunction with the Center for People Empowerment in Governance (CenPeg), could have reached as high as 8 million disenfranchised voters — more than enough to be the factor in the upset, as the disenfranchised were mostly masa voters.

Meanwhile, former Quezon City Mayor Sonny Belmonte is a particularly crucial personality to analyze in the emerging structure of Aquinorroyo II, being probably the biggest single contributor to BSA III’s campaign kitty, with a billion pesos taken from the three billion from Quezon City’s budget, as exposed by QC opposition leaders Johnny Chang and Rod Kapunan.

Although there is ostensibly a looming fight between Arroyo and Belmonte for the House speakership, knowing their cozy relationship in the past decade, it will be more of a staged act to keep the many power and economic deals of Edsa II intact. Talk of an old official of Cory becoming part of the BSA III Cabinet is another sure sign that makes me visualize an even sharper Aquinorroyo picture.

Former Neda Chief Romulo Neri, in one of his frequent candid narrations about the goings-on among oligarchs and government projects (as he did in the ZTE-NBN mess), reportedly mentioned he queried about a P700-million item for “information and legal charges” in the project cost of an expressway takeover. The answer he got was that this was already cleared with the powers that be, with the sources of this information translating this to mean that the same major figures in the ZTE-NBN deal had already taken their slice of the pie. This being the case, the guy becomes a perfect “crossover” figure to maintain the bridges over potentially troubled waters in the Aquinorroyo continuum.

For many parties with vested interests in the perpetuation of the policies of the past 10 years, this Aquinorroyo continuity is truly a valued commodity. Proponents of projects such as the “Deal of the Century” $4-billion sale of Transco involving the US Carlyle Group, the China State Grid and Monte Oro (the local broker identified with Fidel Ramos) would naturally not want anything to upset their sweetheart deals (which, in the instant case, should have already netted for the Philippines $6 billion if all the assets and potential ancillary businesses were factored in).

And this is why a political successor other than Aquinorroyo II would have created tremendous problems; hence, the imprudence with which the premature visit of US Ambassador Harry Thomas was made to a non-president, followed by that of the Chinese ambassador.

Even if BSA III transcends his cluelessness and desires to go beyond the Aquinorroyo legacy, he will only find himself shackled by his relatives and political confidantes. Already, his financial and tax policies are being pre-determined, such as in his soft-pedaling on the P6-billion excise tax on fuel, as well as, his financial advisers’ insistence on seeking a 15-percent VAT hike.

Gloria Arroyo has even gleefully advised BSA III to impose new taxes to resolve the crisis-laden deficit, which will only worsen the economy and increase the deficit further. Sadly, the only solution, which is to cut the horrendously exorbitant P3-trillion profit pie of Big Business to balance the economy, is suicide for him, considering that the local corporatocracy constitutes his power base.

But, as an Aquinorroyo I came and went, so will an Aquinorroyo II fade. The only question is, will a death clash resume or will an implosion of the conundrum ensue? Here, it would be best for the masa and President Estrada to never concede but to be ready for sudden changes in the political sphere.

(Tune in to 1098AM, Sulo ng Pilipino, Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, 6 p.m. to 7 p.m.; Destiny Cable Channel 21, GNN Herman Tiu Laurel Edition, live on Tuesday, 8 p.m. to 9 p.m.; also visit http://hermantiulaurel.blogspot.com)

(Reprinted with permission from Mr. Herman Tiu-Laurel)

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20100531com5.html

Cross your fingers HE SAYS Aldrin Cardon 05/31/2010

Cross your fingers

Aldrin Cardon

We’re almost halfway through 2010, a year which we welcomed with so much hope. We have anticipated a new leadership, and on June 30, a new president will be sworn in for another six years of hoping, praying and of more expectations we are optimistic would be fulfilled, all for the better of our country, which had not grown much in the decade it is about to leave.

June also brings hope to those who still can barely make it to school, children of the low-income earners who will fight on to earning their diplomas, and eventually and hopefully, decent work that is hard to come by these days.

Their diplomas would be their tickets out of poverty, with each of them aiming to better the lives of their minimum wage earning parents who kept the struggle to send them though college.

Providing cheap access to, if not totally free education, and ensuring the labor force would not lack in work would (and should) be among the top concerns of president-apparent Noynoy Aquino.

 But it’s still a good month before he starts working. It would be a job cut out only for the best of men, which, sad to say for this country that has yet to shake off the vestiges of the old world, and remains in the palms of the only several political clans who have ruled then and are still ruling now.

Nearly 10 of every 100 Pinoys are out of work. Yet, outgoing President Gloria Arroyo would brandish her government’s “achievements” when she presides over the last celebration of Independence Day under her term.
She has a lot to say about her government, mostly good as expected. But there would be no mention of the scandals she and her family have been tainted with. Gloria is even trying to influence Noynoy to continue with her policies, which she credits for what she claimed as a “stable economy” under her watch..... MORE    

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20100531com6.html

Midyear blues SHE SAYS Dinah S. Ventura 05/31/2010

Midyear blues

Dinah S. Ventura

Tomorrow is June 1, and the month is rife with occasions we have come to expect every year: the start of the school season, Independence Day celebrations and Father’s Day are three of the most common (since bonuses are not).

Then again, the month also reeks with issues we have come to dread year in and year out.

For instance, with the start of the school year, we train our sights on the state of our education, the sorry condition of many of our public schools, the inevitable tuition price hikes and the plight of out teachers, who may as well be crowned as the new martyrs of the millennium.

This year is particularly special as school is about to start, parents are busy scouting around for the most affordable school supplies, and the rest of us are still arguing about the recent national elections... held in our schools and helmed by our teachers, no less.

The rumor mill is cranking up with murmurs of a plan to push the issue of a failure of elections, which the mongers say is the whole point behind all the stories suddenly coming up on alleged anomalies and irregularities in the automated elections.

If that were so, who would stand to benefit from a declaration of a failed elections? That may well be the question we should be asking ourselves, too, rather than just getting ourselves agitated with masked men and technical mumbo-jumbo.

We also hear that on June 12, President Gloria Arroyo will have a big celebration, highlighted by a long speech no doubt brandishing her administration’s achievements. (And some people, I think, will be celebrating the country’s approaching ‘independence’ from her, no doubt.)... MORE  

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20100531com7.html

Impound PCOS machines, flash cards — poll observers 05/31/2010


Impound PCOS machines, flash cards — poll observers

A poll observer team recommended yesterday the impounding of some 82,000 precinct count optical scan (PCOS) machines and memory and compact flash cards used in the recently held automated elections to allow detailed investigations into the allegations of widespread electronic poll fraud.

Global Filipino Nation (GFN) which deployed observers on election day in municipalities and cities in Pampanga, Quezon and Iloilo also challenged the legitimacy of the May 10 elections, citing five cases that “put to question the authenticity, integrity, confidentiality, veracity and accuracy of the vote counts.”

The impounding of the PCOS machines and the flash cards is necessary in anticipation that these machines will be shipped out immediately after the elections in the pretext that these machines were leased under the Comelec-Smartmatic contract for a whopping P40,000 + each, the group said.

The group, which represents offshore and onshore Filipinos in 30 countries, cited the following reasons for doubts it raised on the legitimacy of the polls: the election results transmitted from the precincts do not have digital signatures of the Board of Election Inspectors (BEI); the number of disenfranchised voters is sufficient to affect greatly the results of the elections; the Automated Election System (AES) was implemented live without the appropriate field testing and law-specified testing in actual elections; the source code review was not completed and initial findings were not addressed; and no audit was done on the AES prior to the elections and only a mandated random manual audit was held that up to now has not been completed.

Aside from its recommendation to impound PCOS machines, the memory and CF cards, and perform forensics on these using the actual ballots, the group also said the Commission on Elections should promptly comply with a Supreme Court directive to make public the documents on Comelec’s preparation and compliance with the requirements of the automated elections law.

It added that an independent, non-partisan qualified party should conduct a full-blown audit of the automated polls system including recommended improvements to include automated registration, purging of voters lists, precinct mapping, and Internet Voting.

In a statement, GFN said that based on industry standards, the digital signature on the precinct election return (ER) is a summary of the ER encrypted using the BEI’s secret key that identifies the BEI personnel and the precinct number from which the ER came; and that the precinct ER was not modified in any way.

It said that under Comelec Bid Bulletin No. 10 issued on April 27, 2009 “the digital signature shall be assigned by the winning bidder to all members of the BEI and the Board of Canvasser (BOC) whether city, municipal, provincial, district. For the National Board of Canvassers (NBOCs), the digital signatures shall be assigned to all members of the Commission and to the Senate President and the House Speaker. The digital signature shall be issued by a certificate authority nominated by the winning bidder and approved by the Comelec.”... MORE    

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20100531hed1.html

JPE to ensure proclamation of winners by June 15 By Angie M. Rosales 05/31/2010

JPE to ensure proclamation of winners by June 15

By Angie M. Rosales

The Senate leadership yesterday vowed to overcome all delaying tactics and other schemes intended to sabotage the proclamation of the winning president and vice president in the just-concluded national elections.

Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile said he will exhaust all efforts to meet the self-imposed deadline of wrapping up the canvassing of votes by June 15.

“That’s my target, June 15. If there will be any snag, it still should not be later than the 28th or 29th of June. 

“I will not let allow this country to be without a president by June 30. I will not let that happen even if they hang me,” he said in a radio interview over at dzBB.

The upper chamber chief’s pronouncements made the assurance amid speculations by some sectors over setbacks in the ongoing canvassing procedures and concerns by some on possible protracted debates surrounding the electronically-transmitted results.

The Noynoy Aquino supporters have been vocal in demanding that Aquino be proclaimed and for the National Board of Canvassers, composed of both panels from the Senate and the House of Representatives, where Enrile sits as chairman, together with Speaker Prospero Nograles as co-chairman, to speed up the process, while doing away with the accuracy of the count.

“I no longer want to answer those doubting Thomases. I no longer want to speak on the issue. They can think whatever they want to think. They can die thinking (of the worst-case scenario) for all I care,” he said.

“I’m appealing to the public not to be swayed by doomsayers. They need not worry. They can be assured that we will be doing what is expected of us. We will do what we ought to do,” said Enrile.... MORE    

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20100531hed2.html

Chinese envoy confident of Northrail’s second life under Noynoy gov’t By Michaela del Callar 05/31/2010

Chinese envoy confident of Northrail’s second life under Noynoy gov’t

By Michaela del Callar

Chinese Ambassador to the Philippines Liu Jianchao’s meeting with presumptive President-apparent Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino was more than just the Spratlys, as Liu yesterday con-firmed their dis-cussion also centered on business, with China expressing hopes its deal for the rehabilitation and construction of the $503-million Northrail project would find a second life under an Aquino administration.

Both camps earlier had claimed the meat of their talks focused on the two countries’ continuing cooperation despite the thorny issue of their respective claims to the Spratlys Islands. But it turned out to be more than just that with Liu now admitting China will once again push the controversial project which was among the questionable deals entered into by Gloria Arroyo with a Chinese construction firm.

Government could not proceed with the construction of the railway due to a pending case in the Supreme Court, seeking for the annulment of the multi-million dollar contract.

“We talked about that (Northrail project) and we carry on with our productive cooperation on all things. On
Northrail, I think we can work on that as well. I’m more than optimistic about that,” Liu said.

The Northrail project aims to rehabilitate the old Philippine National Railway’s north line, an estimated 80.2-kilometer railroad project that will link Metro Manila to Clark Field in Pampanga.

Liu said the prolonged delay in the construction of the Northrail will cost the government and the Chinese contractor more money.

The Chinese ambassador stressed the importance of the immediate resumption of work, saying the fast completion of the North Rail will be “very good for the Philippines and the people” living in Metro Manila as it would ease the capital’s traffic woes..... MORE    

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20100531hed3.html

Erap-Binay camps welcome military, police votes 05/31/2010

Erap-Binay camps welcome military, police votes


Pwersa ng Masang Pilipino (PMP) presidential candidate former President Joseph Estrada and his vice presidential bet, Makati Mayor Jejomar Binay, yesterday expressed elation over the recent results of the local absentee voting that included the military and the police establishments as well as teachers, who gave the tandem the biggest number of votes.

According to former Rep. J V Bautista, who now serves as Binay’s spokesman, the vote of confidence from the police and the military for Estrada and Binay is a clear sign of the trust and support by the men and women in uniform, as well as the teachers, for the Pwersa ng Masang Pilipino candidates.

“The victory obtained by Erap and Binay in the local absentee voting is a clear expression of the trust and support that the two leaders enjoy among our men in uniform,” Bautista said yesterday.

Estrada got 8,770 votes while Binay got 12,995 votes. 

Estrada was generally liked by the military and it was known even as he was ousted, that the rank and file in the military had nothing to do with his ouster in January 2001.

The coup d’etat against Estrada was plotted by then Vice President Gloria Arroyo, the elite civil society, including the Catholic bishops led by the late Jaime Cardinal Sin, along with the military generals, led by then Armed Forces chief of staff Angelo Reyes, who had called his service commander and convinced them to withdraw support from their commander in chief, then sitting President Estrada.... MORE    
SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20100531hed5.html

NPA ambushes gov’t troops; 5 soldiers go ‘MIA’ 05/31/2010

NPA ambushes gov’t troops; 5 soldiers go ‘MIA’


Five Army troops, including a lieutenant, went missing while three other soldiers were wounded after heavily armed communist New People’s Army (NPA) rebels ambushed government forces in Camarines Sur province at dawn yesterday.

Army 9th Infantry Division (ID) spokesman Major Harold Cabunoc identified the missing soldiers as 1Lt. Miguel Logronio Jr., Cpl. Arturo Hernandez and Privates First Class Albert Jamera and Pfc. Edwin Britanico, all members of the 42nd Infantry Battalion.

As of press time, the military has yet to know what befell these four soldiers.

Cabunoc said a fifth soldier who went “missing in action” (MIA) – Pfc. Bernard Vergara, also of 42nd IB – is alive. He said Vergara had sent a text message to his colleagues that he is just hiding in the vicinity after surviving the ambush in the outskirts of Barangay San Francisco in Presentacion town.

Cabunoc said they had been told by civilians in the area that they saw the bodies of the four missing Army men. But he said the military will consider the four as “MIA” until their bodies have been recovered.

“We are not yet sure if they are alive, but there were civilians who reported that four of the soldiers died in the jungles. We, though, can’t say if that is true (that they are dead), unless (their bodies are) found by our own soldiers,” Cabunoc told the media..... MORE    

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/nation/20100531nat2.html

Senate sessions resume today, but legislative work doubted By Angie M. Rosales 05/31/2010

Senate sessions resume today, but legislative work doubted

By Angie M. Rosales

The Senate is set to resume sessions today, when it is expected to take up and approve some remaining pending bills.

But Minority Leader Aquilino Pimentel Jr. doubts whether plenary proceedings will prove to be productive at all considering that those listed in the Senate’s agenda are non-controversial measures, mostly on the mere creation of schools.

Contained in a notice for the session issued by Majority Leader Juan Miguel Zubiri is the Senate’s scheduled approval on third reading of five proposals in the upper chamber and another five from the lower House.

Pimentel said apparently Zubiri was asked by friends of the latter in the House of Representatives to prioritize for approval certain pending bills in the Senate.

“The problem is the moment you accede to any request for the approval of certain bills or resolutions, even if they are non-controversial, this could trigger similar requests from other lawmakers for the approval of other measures. But we may not have the time to act on pending bills since we are pressed for time to canvass the votes and proclaim the new President and Vice President before June 30,” the minority leader said.

Pimentel said he initially discussed this matter with Sen. Joker Arroyo, who told him he was not in favor of putting the pending bills on the Senate’s agenda for today’s session.

He said the report on the National Broadband Network-ZTE deal has already been overtaken by the Ombudsman’s move to elevate to the Sandiganbayan its decision to file graft charges against former Commission on Elections Chairman Benjamin Abalos Sr. and former National Economic and Development Authority Director General and now Social Security System Administrator Romulo Neri.... MORE    

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/nation/20100531nat3.html

No speed contest EDITORIAL 05/30/2010

Sunday, May 30, 2010

No speed contest

Click to enlarge
The joint congressional body validating the results of the votes for the new president and vice president is moving in the right direction: That of flushing out all possibilities of fraud and inaccuracies from the country’s first venture into automated elections.

From the start, the leaders of both chambers of Congress showed a resolve to not sacrifice accuracy for speed and thus far, the National Board of Canvassers (NBoC) that has been constituted from members of the Senate and the House, appears to be holding up in their commitment.

The real trial, however, would come when glaring differences occur in the Certificates of Canvass (CoC) which are the main documents that the NBoC uses as basis for the count and the supplemental documents such as the electronic and manual elections returns that supposedly would all have to show identical figures.

Also the holding of the House committee on suffrage and electoral reforms of a related inquiry into the allegations of electronic fraud provides a clearer picture of what the NBoC is up against and will likely contribute to facilitating the canvass.

The pressure bearing on the congressional body is to come up with a proclamation of the new leaders prior to June 30 when the term of Gloria finally constitutionally lapses. But a greater undertaking for the body is to make a pronouncement that is indisputable to most Filipinos.

If for instance the count for Noynoy Aquino, based on the unofficial Comelec tally, fails to hold in the NBoC canvass, his administration faces the same endless strife that had beguiled the Arroyo administration for the past nine years..... MORE  

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20100530com1.html

Disappointment comes early FRONTLINE Ninez Cacho-Olivares 05/30/2010

Disappointment comes early

Ninez Cacho-Olivares
This early, even before proclamation day, it looks like a lot of Noynoy Aquino voters and supporters are rueing having campaigned for him and perhaps even voted for him.

Some of them of course expect too much from a Noynoy victory, as gleaned from the number of disgruntled folks who went to his home on Times Street, expecting to be given jobs — even that of being his driver or some other menial job.

The common gripe: Noynoy asked us to help him win the presidency. Now that he has won, we now seek his help --- evidently to get them out of their miserable existence.

What was striking was the mood they were in, when Noynoy, to them, no longer made himself accessible to the “people.”

This change is naturally expected. On the campaign trail, the candidate, to win the vote, goes all over the archipelago, smiles, waved, throws whatever to those lining the streets. He always makes certain he is visible before the people. Once he is presumed to have won the polls, the candidate no longer mingles with the crowd, mainly for security reasons but also because he was never comfortable being with the masses.

In other cases, such as in the case of the Noynoy volunteers, there appears to be a lot of disappoinment, if not disenchantment, being aired among these volunteers, who apparently very naively believed that with Noynoy in Malacañang, change would be coming, but now with reality setting in, they know that no change will be forthcoming, with the same bunch of Gloria’s former officials and politicians, whom Noynoy scorned during his campaign, now surrounding him.

Bottom line is that Noynoy and his propagandists succeeded in generating too much hope among the voters and volunteers with his campaign line of change, something he and his administration will hardly be able to deliver, because change cannot really come about, even as that nonsensical musical plug of ABS-CBN about change beginning with the each of the Filipino (Ako ang Simula) plays itself out.... MORE    

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20100530com2.html

No-el and No-proc? ENQUIRY Demaree J. B. Raval 05/30/2010

No-el and No-proc?

Demaree J. B. Raval
Elections were actually held on May 10, 2010, but a grave and inexcusable error on the part of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) may put to waste that exercise — as if no elections were held at all and, therefore, we may have to go back to the polling precincts and vote all over again.

A voter verification feature in the counting machine would have shown the voter if his choices were correctly registered, but the Comelec disabled this feature. That feature, required under the law, was designed to warn voters of errors made by the machines on election day. Simply put, the voter should have been given proof that his vote was properly counted, that is, the machine read his ballot exactly the way the voter made his choices when he marked the “bilog na hugis itlog.” But the Comelec, instead of implementing this mandatory requirement, disregarded it; rather, “repealed it, usurping the power of Congress,” as my friend Leina de Legazpi correctly pointed out.

If we are to follow the precedent set in Germany last March 3, 2009 regarding electronic voting, then we could see the 51 million voters trooping back to the polls after the nullification of the results of the May 10 elections. Let’s ask former Sen. Kit Tatad why this could be the result of the Comelec’s grave and inexcusable error.

At the Kapihan sa Sulo yesterday, Tatad came out with his paper entitled “A Proposal to Nullify the May 10 Elections.” Tatad noted that “in 2009 in Germany, the Federal Constitutional Court ruled electronic voting was unconstitutional. The court held that the voting machine does not make it possible for the voter or the voting board to reliably examine, when the vote is cast, whether it has been recorded in an unadulterated manner, or whether when transmitted it has been accurately transmitted in its unadulterated form.... MORE  
SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20100530com3.html

Sourgraping in Subic BLURBAL THRUSTS Louie Logarta 05/30/2010

Sourgraping in Subic

Louie Logarta

As we had predicted, Bongbong Marcos, youngest child of former President Marcos and wife Imelda who handily clinched a seat in the Philippine Senate in the recently-concluded May 10 elections, has started laying the groundwork for his run for the vice presidency (if not the presidency) in 2016 with the reported revival of the Kilusang Bagong Lipunan (KBL).

The KBL, for those who don’t know, was the political party formed by Bongbong’s late father after he declared martial law in 1972 and abolished the Nacionalista Party and the Liberal Party that have been alternately ruling the country since independence was granted in 1946.

The party, which was totally dominant in the Batasang Pambansa from 1978-1986, lost its sheen overnight when Cory Aquino assumed the presidency in February 1986 as a result of Edsa 1, and its members started defecting to other political groups that had sprouted to take advantage of the anti-Marcos fervor as was the fashion of the day. It has remained largely dormant since then, except for a few excursions by Marcos loyalists identified with them, and it is only now that it has regained some of its popularity.

Bongbong’s new-found confidence stems from the fact that he had garnered 7th place in the senatorial derby in the Nacionalista ticket, coupled with the stunning victories of his mother as congressman of Ilocos Norte’s second legislative district and sister Imee as governor also of that province. Marcos is himself an incumbent Ilocos Norte congressman, and prior to that a three-term governor of the province.

Now that the elections are over and he has proven himself to be a force to be reckoned with in the local political scene, Marcos is said to have this early set his sights on some “higher elective post” in government, and plans to utilize the moribund KBL party as a platform to achieve this objective.... MORE    

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20100530com4.html

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