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The Daily Tribune

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Same ‘watchdog’ style EDITORIAL 05/15/2010

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Same ‘watchdog’ style

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Before the scheduled polls, there were a great many number of yellows — including their media and the Namfrel along with the usual Makati Business Club types, plus the yellow-linked IT experts --- all called for full vigilance against election fraud as they scored Smartmatic and the Commission on Elections (Comelec) on the many pitfalls of electronic poll fraud.

It was they who were very vocal about probable electronic fraud being committed, pointing to the poll partners having removed most, if not all, of the anti-fraud security measures. Namfrel, although rejected as an accredited poll watchdog by the Comelec, claimed then that it would be conducting its own parallel count and report irregularities and fraud. Namfrel officials even brought up the issue of massive disenfranchisement, along with the need to delist the zombie registrants.

All too suddenly, with their presidential candidate, Sen. Noynoy Aquino leading in the unofficial tally of the poll watchdog, Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting (PPCRV), not a pip is being heard from any of them doing what they had earlier vowed to do, by way of safeguarding the ballot.

Namfrel and the rest of the IT experts linked to the yellows all claimed they are not partisans but neutral. All they wanted to do was to ensure the sanctity of the ballot.... MORE  

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20100515com1.html

Not deserving of the presidency FRONTLINE Ninez Cacho-Olivares 05/15/2010

Not deserving of the presidency

Ninez Cacho-Olivares

Who cares if and when Noynoy Aquino is proclaimed president-elect, he won’t take his oath of office before the new Chief Justice, Renato Corona?

Heck if he wants to, he can take his oath of office before a barangay captain, or lower. 

But naturally, he won’t take his oath before a village chief. Insead, to make his “political” statement more dramatic. He will probably ask his favorite, a former member of the FIRM, senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio, to swear him in.

Having a barangay captain swear him in isn’t going to have that kind of impact he wants his message to the high court — specifically, CJ Corona — to have, since the message would be meaningless. Noynoy, after all, wants to snub Corona by not having himself sworn in by the new CJ whom he opposes.

The issue here, for recalcitrant Noynoy, is to make it known that this is one way to let the people know that he does not recognize the CJ who has been appointed by Gloria Arroyo, which truly is pretty petty — if not stupid — of him, as it is very clear that Gloria, for all that she is, and that is plenty, was legitimately given the go-signal to appoint the replacement of Supreme Court Chief Justice Reynato Puno, by the SC itself.... MORE  

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20100515com2.html

Indian boot camp trains recruits against Maoist rebellion FEATURE 05/15/2010

Indian boot camp trains recruits against Maoist rebellion



KANKER — A huge explosion and men locked in mock combat on a sun-baked hillside are signs of the Indian government’s toughening resolve to crush a raging Maoist insurgency.

“Fight guerrillas like a guerrilla,” screams Basant Ponwar, director of the Counter Terrorism and Jungle Warfare College, which has sent 12,500 commandos into battle against the Maoists since 2005.
The rebels, who are active across east and central India, massacred 76 policemen in the Kanker district of Chhattisgarh state on April 6 — their deadliest strike since the insurgency emerged in 1967.
The carnage, which followed an attack in February when Maoists shot 24 policemen in West Bengal state, may prove a watershed in the government’s long and fruitless anti-insurgency campaign.
“State governments and Indian security agencies who suffered at the hands of the Maoists are now sending their men and women to my college to learn to survive — and to kill,” said Ponwar, a former infantry commander.
Ponwar’s facility in Kanker, 150 kilometers (90 miles) from Raipur, trains both police officers and paramilitary troops, and the national government plans to set up 20 more such units as it tries to end the insurgency.... MORE  

Has the Country Achieved a Clean, Honest, and Democratic Elections? Published on May 13, 2010

Has the Country Achieved a Clean, Honest, and Democratic Elections?

Published on May 13, 2010


MANILA — Despite the long queues and the glitches of some PCOS machines, the Commission on Elections (Comelec) is all too happy that the first automated elections pushed through without the failure of elections, the no proclamation, or massive disenfranchisement scenarios being predicted by election watchdogs and government critics. By 10 p.m. of May 10, Comelec Chairman Jose Melo could barely conceal the smile on his face when he was reading out the unofficial tabulated election results, a mere three hours after voting precincts have been declared officially closed. The day after, on May 11, the Comelec began declaring the winners of local elections and presidential candidates have been conceding defeat to Noynoy Aquino. By May 12, the Comelec announced that less than four percent of election results have yet to be transmitted.

This is definitely faster than previous elections. The transmission of results in a precinct takes a mere one to three minutes each for the three recipients. Not only are the tabulation and transmission of results fast, it is also smoother. Gone are the days when poll watchers used to crowd teachers who were reading the votes one ballot at a time and tallying the results on the board. In fact, the task of poll watchers has become boring. Also, the tension in precincts arising from strong and even violent reactions of losing candidates after all votes have been tallied has become a thing of the past.

However, the elections are far from being flawless, even if we do not consider the long queues. First, cheating through the infamous dagdag-bawas or vote padding-vote shaving could still happen during canvassing at the municipal, provincial, and national levels, especially if the difference in votes between two or more contending candidates is not that big. This is why vice presidential candidate Jejomar Binay is warning about the probability of him being cheated during canvassing. Cheats do not care if there are discrepancies between the tally of votes in all the precincts and the results of the canvassing at the municipal level; or if there are discrepancies between the certificates of canvass at the municipal level and that of the provincial level up to the national level. Former Comelec Commissioner Virgilio Garcillano was caught on tape assuring Pres. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo that everything could be fixed during the canvassing of votes. Also, in 2007, the number of party-list votes in Maguindanao and the rest of the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao exceeded the number of registered voters.

Second, while election automation was able to fix what is happening inside the precincts, it was not able to solve the politics of guns, goons, and gold outside of it. Clashes between the armed groups of rival politicians still occurred. Likewise, cases of harassments and intimidation committed by soldiers against members and supporters of progressive candidates and party-list groups have been recorded. Voters, especially in provinces where the power of coercion and intimidation of political warlords and the military still holds sway, continue to live in fear and their right to vote effectively suppressed. Vote-buying also still reared its ugly head during the May 10 elections.

Added to this, Malacañang-sponsored party-list groups were still able to get Comelec accreditation and have crowded the party-list elections.

More important is the fact that automation did not and could not alter the elite-dominated, money-operated character of Philippine politics. One has to spend billions of pesos to have a fighting chance in the race for the presidency. It would take hundreds of millions to conduct a formidable campaign for senator. And no less than tens of millions are spent to win in local elections. Thus, except for a very few exceptions, only scions of political cum landlord clans could run and win in local elections. Only members or representatives of big landlords and big business could run and win in the race for senator, vice president, and president. In the case of senators, there are a few exceptions such as actors or actresses, who, nevertheless, must have the resources or the support of people with the resources to run a decent campaign. As for progressive candidates, they must have the backing of major political parties, which have the resources.

Thus, whoever wins could not stamp out corruption, as landlords and big business would have to recoup their expenses. He or she also could not substantially alter the direction and orientation of the country’s economy. An article in the May 7-8, 2010 issue of Business World clearly shows that nothing would change in the direction and orientation of the economy, even if it is being battered by a crisis. The title of the article is Poll Success more urgent as Aquino, Villar stances don’t differ much. Here are a few quotations from the article:
“In its ‘Asia Economics Flash’ research published on April 28, Goldman Sachs said ‘we believe it is more important for the market to focus on the process and timeliness of the transition.’”

“It pointed out that between Benigno C. Aquino III and Manuel B. Villar, ‘we do not see any significant divergence on major market issues, including their positions on the state of the economy, fiscal policy, and budget consolidation.’”

To translate in simple terms, what Goldman Sachs is saying is that no substantial changes are expected in the orientation and direction of the economy and its concomitant policies of liberalization, deregulation, and privatization – which has sparked the crisis and caused untold sufferings on the Filipino people – whoever wins in the elections, whether it would be Aquino or Villar, or even Estrada for that matter. Thus, there would be no significant deviation from the economic policies that were pursued by the outgoing Arroyo administration. The only thing that needs to be ensured is a peaceful transition of power.

Goldman Sachs is one of the giant financial investment banks that has triggered the financial and economic crisis that imploded in 2007. Its former employees include Henry Paulson, its former CEO and the Treasury secretary under Pres. George W. Bush, and Robert Rubin, the Treasury secretary under Pres. Bill Clinton. The current US Treasury secretary Timothy Franz Geithner was an assistant of Paulson.

Did we have clean and honest elections? Perhaps, only at the precinct level.
Did we have democratic elections? If by democratic we mean that the Filipino people would be able to choose their true representatives who would genuinely work for their interests, definitely not. (Bulatlat.com)

(Reprinted with permission from Bulatlat.com)


URL: http://www.bulatlat.com/main/2010/05/13/benjie-oliveros-has-the-country-achieved-a-clean-honest-and-democratic-elections/

Comelec destroying flash card ‘evidence’ By Marie A. Surbano 05/15/2010

CenPEG: Poll body has no right to tamper with proof for audit purposes

Comelec destroying flash card ‘evidence’

By Marie A. Surbano

What should be part of the body of evidence in an audit, such as Smartmatic’s faulty compact flash cards, has now been tampered with by the Commission on Elections (Comelec) through its destruction of these flash cards.

The Center for People Empowerment in Governance (CenPEG) yesterday called on the Comelec to stop destroying the controversial compact flash (CF) cards that malfunctioned during the May 3 final testing and sealing (FTS) procedure done in many voting areas in the country.

Speaking through IT consultant Lito Averia, CenPEG said “the destruction of the remaining CF cards should be stopped and a review of their contents be done by an independent group of experts to determine the cause of the May 3 FTS errors.”

The destruction of the CF cards was revealed by Comelec spokesman James Jimenez in a TV phoned-in interview last May 13. 

It was at about the same time that presidential candidates have bared the many instances of probable electronic fraud that may have been committed during the May 10 polls.

Jimenez was quoted as saying that the Comelec fears the CF cards might fall into the wrong hands, a reason found inexcusable by various groups.... MORE  

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20100515hed1.html

SC dismisses Mike A’s petition vs journalists 05/15/2010

SC dismisses Mike A’s petition vs journalists


The Supreme Court has junked a petition filed by First Gentleman Jose Miguel “Mike” Arroyo which sought to dismiss the damage suit filed against him by a group of journalists.

The high tribunal, in a minute resolution, ruled that the Court of Appeals did not commit a reversible error in sustaining the ruling of Judge Zenaida Galapate-Laguilles of the Regional Trial Court of Makati City Branch 143.
Galapate-Laguilles had previously denied Mr. Arroyo’s motion to dismiss the P12.5-million class suit.

The First Gentleman cited the failure of the journalists to immediately answer the written interrogatory within the prescribed extended period.

“The court resolves to deny the petition for failure of petitioner to sufficiently show that the Court of Appeals committed any reversible error in the challenged decision and resolution,” the SC stated in a resolution dated March 10, 2010 but released only recently.

The class suit against the presidential spouse was filed in December 2006 by the Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility, Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism, The Daily Tribune, Ninez Cacho Olivares.... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20100515hed4.html

Noynoy wants to take oath before village watchman By Aytch S. de la Cruz 05/15/2010

Noynoy wants to take oath before village watchman

By Aytch S. de la Cruz

Sen. Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino continues with his stand of refusing to recognize the appointment of the new Supreme Court (SC) Chief Justice, Renato Corona, and plans to insult the new CJ further by having a provincial barangay tanod (village watchman) swear him in as president of the republic, if and when he is proclaimed president-elect by Congress.
He intimated this to the reporters who covered him yesterday.
While no constitutional rule or law will be breached if Aquino does take his oath of office before a barangay tanod, and that traditionally, SC justices swear in presidents, it is believed that this is Aquino’s way of pressuring the new CJ through constant non-recognition of new CJ, into not accepting the post given him by President Arroyo.
It is, however, doubted whether Corona will buckle down to the pressure being applied by Aquino and his yellow followers.
Corona is scheduled to take his oath of office by the 17th at the earliest, or the 18th at the latest.
Malacañang yesterday said a possible constitutional crisis could erupt if Aquino, who is currently leading in the presidential race in the unofficial tally, will keep on refusing to recognize Arroyo’s appointed Chief Justice, intimating that such a position Aquino is taking may further rent the nation.... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20100515hed2.html

Aquino, LP into congressional horse trading 05/15/2010

Aquino, LP into congressional horse trading


With very few Liberal Party members getting into the 15th Congress, the claimed “high standards” of LP presidential candidate Sen. Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino in first screening political butterflies joining his camp before acceptance into his camp, have been vastly lowered.

Today, with no hope of gaining a majority in Congress, Aquino, the leading presidential candidate in unofficial tallies, is now wooing Sen. Manuel “Manny” Villar, his campaign rival, whom he had called corrupt, and demanded an explanation into Villar’s abuse of power while benefitting his businesses and himself.

Aquino, who was in Tarlac yesterday, made overtures to his defeated rivals in the presidential election to join the LP in forming a majority bloc as part of his efforts to win control of Congress.

Aquino’s LP will not have majority of seats in the Senate or the House of Representatives even if he enjoys a commanding win in Monday’s presidential election.

Saying that cooperation between the LP and the Nacionalista Party, which Villar heads, Aquino claimed: “There shouldn’t be a problem if it is for the good of the country.”

It will be recalled that during the campaign, Aquino claimed that while he welcomes administration party defectors, not all will be accepted, as he claimed that he does not want the corruption-tainted adminis-tration party members to be in his team..... MORE  

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20100515hed6.html

Stranded OFWs in Saudi plead for help N E W S B R I E F S 05/15/2010

Stranded OFWs in Saudi plead for help



An alliance of Filipino migrant rights group in the Middle East yesterday said it has been receiving several requests for assistance and inquiries from 22 stranded Filipinos, mostly women and children, living under a bridge in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.

The Khandara Bridge in Jeddah has been made into a refugee camp for stranded foreign and Filipino migrant workers who hope that local immigration police would apprehend them and eventually deport them to their respective countries.

John Leonard Monterona, Migrante-Middle East regional director, said staying under the Khandara Bridge poses dangers to the stranded Filipinos, especially to their children.

“Our Migrante chapter in Jeddah has been receiving requests for assistance from 22 stranded OFWs (overseas Filipino workers), some with four children (with them), as they seek refuge under the Khandara Bridge in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia,” he said..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/nation/20100515nat13.html

Ship with 19 Filipino crew seized by Somali pirates 05/15/2010

Ship with 19 Filipino crew seized by Somali pirates

A Greek cargo vessel with 19 Filipino crew members was seized by ransom-seeking Somali pirates off the coast of Oman on May 12, a Philippine embassy report said yesterday.

The Philippine Embassy in Nairobi reported to the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) that the Liberian-flagged, Greek-owned M/V Eleni P was hijacked 250 nautical miles off the coast of Oman, while it was on its way to Kandla, India. 

Aside from the Filipinos, two Romanians and an Indian were also on board the ship.

“The European Union Naval Force said the crew are safe and they are monitoring the situation,” the embassy said.
There are now 66 Filipino seafarers on board six vessels being held captive by Somali pirates: three onboard the M/V St. James Park, one onboard the M/V Iceberg 1, 19 onboard the M/T Samho Dream, three on M/V Tai Yuan 227, 21 on M/V Voc Daisy and 19 on board the M/V Eleni P. 

The DFA said it continues to coordinate closely with the local manning agencies for the early and safe release of all these seafarers.... MORE  

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/nation/20100515nat2.html

Trend won’t change, Binay to win over Mar — PMP 05/15/2010

Trend won’t change, Binay to win over Mar — PMP


The current trend in the counting of votes for the vice presidential race is not going to change and the final result of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) and the Parish Pastoral Counting for Responsible Voting’s (PPCRV) canvassing will ultimately spell victory for Pwersa ng Masang Pilipino (PMP) vice presidential bet, Makati City Mayor Jejomar Binay.

According to Prof. Leny de Jesus of the University of the Philippines College of Economics, only an “external force” could change the trend in the on-going count for the votes in the vice presidential race.

De Jesus, who was engaged by the PMP to explain the data released by the Comelec and the PPCRV, said changes in the results or trend will only be brought about by an extraordinary situation.

“What I’m saying is that if there are changes, there must have been something that happened out of the ordinary,” she said in a press conference at the PMP headquarters on Shaw Boulevard.

“Any statistical change will only happen if there is some kind of manipulation,” she added.... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/nation/20100515nat5.html

Automated voting jolts local politics into digital age 05/15/2010

Automated voting jolts local politics into digital age


Philippine politics will never be the same after the country’s first automated ballot electrified voters long used to cheating, violence and disputes over delayed results.

Sen. Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III, 50, whose parents led the struggle to restore the country’s democracy, will soon become the nation’s first digitally elected President after a rapid vote count showed him winning by a landslide.

Despite daunting logistic challenges in a sprawling Southeast Asian archipelago with 50 million voters, ballot-counting machines were activated just in time for Monday’s elections for 17,000 positions.

The saying that “guns, goons and gold” lord it over Philippine elections may no longer be totally true after a new weapon, the microchip, entered the scene.

“That was so pleasant: waking up to the results the morning after general elections,” political scientist Alex Magno wrote in his column in another daily.

“If there was any group wanting to disrupt the voting and the count, they were stumped by the speed of the process.”... MORE  

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/nation/20100515nat7.html

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