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No respect for the law EDITORIAL 05/18/2010

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

No respect for the law

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Noynoy Aquino and his yellow horde have been doing nothing but insulting the Supreme Court (SC), simply because they can’t get their way in the matter of Noynoy appointing the Chief Justice of his choice, insisting all throughout that Gloria Arroyo’s appointment of Justice Renato Corona as CJ is unconstitutional, as it is a midnight appointment.

It’s all over. Corona was sworn in yesterday and he doesn’t care one way or the other, if a barangay chief swears in Noynoy.

Soon to be Justice secretary, Avelino “Nonong” Cruz, a member of the FIRM, has even advised Noynoy to void the appointment of Corona and appoint another CJ.

Cruz claims that this voiding of Corona’s appointment can be done through an executive order, just as the late President Diosdado Macapagal voided the midnight appointments made by then outgoing President Carlos Garcia.
Cruz added that the SC ruling is not yet final, as there is still a motion for reconsideration (MR) from Simeon Marcelo, also a member of the FIRM.

What is not being said by Cruz is the fact that the SC ruling granting Gloria the authority to appoint the replacement of Chief Justice Reynato Puno is that the high court ruling was deemed final and executory, as the SC also said it would no longer be entertaining any MR after that decision was made.... MORE  

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20100518com1.html

Back to a rubber stamp House FRONTLINE Ninez Cacho-Olivares 05/18/2010

Back to a rubber stamp House

Ninez Cacho-Olivares
If Gloria Arroyo runs for the speakership post and wins, it will be the first time — perhaps in a long time, too — that the Speaker of the House of Representatives will be one not anointed by the new Malacañang tenant.

If Noynoy Aquino’s anointed, said to be Rep. Feliciano Belmonte, does win the speakership, through the formation of a coalition with Manny Villar’s Nacionalista Party (NP) and the Nationalist People’s Coalition, then the nation can again be assured of a rubber stamp House of Representatives under an Aquino presidency.
But there is still one congressman — Rep. Boying Remulla of the NP — who has said he wants to run for the speakership, too.
This, according to some congressmen, would boil down not to a majority (one half of the members plus one) win by the next Speaker, but by a plurality of votes, which should make it easy for Gloria to win the speakership, that is, if her Lakas-Kampi partymates — said to number 100, don’t turn themselves into political butterflies.
With Boying Remulla in the speakership race picture, it is presumed that the NPs are not likely to coalesce with the LPs, that is, again, if the NP won’t have its congressmen flit from party to another.
While the country hardly ever had an independent Lower House, we may just have a fairly independent Congress, although this is will likely not come about, considering the quality of congressmen we have, in the sense of their not being loyal to their party. All told, what will matter most of them is their pork barrel and the way the still Malacañang tenant Gloria, used this to get her allies in tow. It is also almost certain that Noynoy will use the same tactics, to get himself a rubber stamp House.... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20100518com2.html

Monks pray for peace on edge of Bangkok flashpoint focus 05/18/2010

Monks pray for peace on edge of Bangkok flashpoint


BANGKOK — At a monument to a conflict that took place decades ago, hundreds of Buddhist monks prayed for an end to the modern urban warfare being waged around them in the Thai capital.

The Buddhist association that invited the monks to Bangkok’s Victory Monument had a message for Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva — stop the army killing “innocent people.”
An emergency vehicle raced past, siren wailing, as about 400 monks clad in orange and brown robes gathered at the city landmark on the edge of the Ratchaprarop district on Sunday evening.
The district has been one of the flashpoint zones in the capital which has seen three days of clashes between troops and “Red Shirt” protesters that have left 35 persons dead and 244 wounded.
Adisak Wanasin, president of the Buddhism Relation Association in Bangkok, said he invited the monks from temples in the city and surrounding provinces to ask for peace.
“We also would like to ask his excellency the prime minister of Thailand, please consider telling all of the Armed Forces in Bangkok: stop killing innocent people,” he told AFP..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20100518com3.html

The old, among the new NO HOLDS BARRED Armida Siguion-Reyna 05/18/2010

The old, among the new

Armida Siguion-Reyna
This was first going to be a tribute to the new young senators. It wasn’t going to matter if I didn’t vote for them (although I did re-electionist Jinggoy Estrada and newbie Ferdinand Marcos Jr.), or if I didn’t like them (and here I will politely not name the ones I don’t). The plan was to simply praise them for their youth, and by such praise encourage them to do good and show how very well they deserve the votes they got.

Yet as I gathered and re-read my research notes, one name stood out: Juan Ponce-Enrile, whose Web page since the start of the campaign period screamed “Enrile, Ibalik sa Senado! And the mini-headline, Juan Ponce-Enrile, Ang Manong N’yo sa Senado.” 

His videos were posted on the page, as well as his last message shortly before the polls: “The May 2010 elections present itself as a crossroads in our nation’s history where the toughest of choices have to be made. Needless to say, these times call for us to be critical and perceptive. We need to ask questions. We must consider all possibilities, and weigh all options. Whether we realize it or not, we hold in our hands the power to chart the course the Filipino nation must take in the days and years ahead.

“Get to know me and the issues I stand for through this Web site. As I seek fresh mandate from our people, I earnestly hope that I can once again count on you. The trust and confidence you have given me in the last 43 years of my public life have been a strong pillar of support as I endeavored to serve our country and our people to the best of my abilities. 

“Dala ang inyong tiwala at suporta, patuloy kong inaalay ang aking sarili sa paglilingkod sa ating bayan sa abot ng aking kakayanan. Magtulungan tayo upang makamit natin ang magandang bukas para sa ating lahat DAHIL GUSTO KO, HAPPY KA!”... MORE  

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20100518com4.html

Voting for development AN OUTSIDERS VIEW Ken Fuller 05/18/2010

Voting for development

Ken Fuller
Regular readers may wonder why, with a couple of exceptions which discussed the matter in the most general terms, this column was silent on the Philippine election campaign. Yes, there was the desire to avoid accusations of “meddling,” but it is also true that, despite all the mudslinging, this outsider found himself unable to work up much enthusiasm for the contest. The reason? As in the UK, there was so little fundamental difference between the main candidates, and no one campaigned — let alone organized — for real change.

Last week’s column made the point that in the UK election, the three major parties were really engaged in a race to the bottom as, faced with a whopping public debt, the only difference between them lay in the extent to which they were prepared to cut public spending; not one of them talked about reversing the process by which the debt had been created. 

If the UK’s debt has occurred because the country has, in losing its industrial base, also lost the ability to create the level of employment necessary to generate sufficient tax revenue, the Philippines’ own debt problems have occurred in part because this country never had an industrial base in the first place. And none of the four leading presidential candidates called for its creation – or, indeed, had anything to say about the fundamental economic questions facing the country. 

To this outsider’s knowledge, only Jamby Madrigal (and possibly Eddie Villanueva) called for nationalist industrialization but, with no electoral machine to support her, she had no chance of winning. In any case, in order for nationalist industrialization to be on the agenda, rather more than an electoral machine would be required.
True, it might look like an electoral machine, but it would be a national network of people committed to a cause rather than a personality, organized outside of an election campaign and with no thought of such matters until (is six years sufficient?) that cause had put down roots —not just geographically and organizationally, but also in the consciousness of the electorate. With a vigorous national movement for genuine economic development in place and in the running, an election would certainly be worth following.... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20100518com5.html

TRO sought vs Comelec’s flash cards destruction By Benjamin B. Pulta and Charlie V. Manalo 05/18/2010

Criminal raps filed against poll body, Smartmatic, et al.

TRO sought vs Comelec’s flash cards destruction

By Benjamin B. Pulta and Charlie V. Manalo

Defeated presidential candidates Sen. Ana Consuelo “Jamby” Madrigal, Nicanor Perlas and John Carlos “JC” de los Reyes petitioned the Supreme Court (SC) for a temporary restraining order (TRO) to stop the Commission on Elections (Comelec) from destroying the compact flash (CF) cards used that supposedly malfunctioned in the last elections.

Comelec spokesman James Jimenez last week announced that Comelec destroyed the defective flash cards.
Former Assemblyman Homobono Adaza also yesterday filed before the Ombudsman criminal charges againt Comelec Chairman Jose Melo and his commissioners, Smartmatic, media entities and heads of survey firms SWS and Pulse Asia.

At the same time Center for People’s Enpowerment in Governance (CenPEG) called on the joint congressional oversight committee to require Comelec and Smartmatic to bare all information or data on the conduct of the 201O automated polls.

Speaker Prospero Nograles has also already ordered the House committee on suffrage and electoral reforms to conduct a parallel probe on Adaza’s and other complaints on the poll automation.

The Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting (PPCRV) also acted on the reports that election returns (ERs) and compact flash cards (CF cards) were discovered in a junk shop in Barangay Puntod, Cagayan de Oro.

According to Henrietta de Villa, chairman of PPCRV, the watchdog’s chapter in Cagayan de Oro headed by Fr. Nathaniel Lerio reported the discovery of the CF cards and ERs.... MORE  

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20100518hed1.html

Gov. Nantes, 3 others dead in helicopter crash 05/18/2010

Gov. Nantes, 3 others dead in helicopter crash


At least four people including a provincial governor were killed when a helicopter crashed yesterday, police said.

The helicopter, carrying Quezon Gov. Rafael Nantes, two security escorts and a pilot went down in a residential area of Lucena city just moments after taking off, said local police director Chief Inspector Bing Baasis.

Baasis said all four aboard were killed.

Nantes was taking the chartered helicopter to a meeting

in Manila about 100 kilometers away when the incident occurred, Rizza Salvana, an aide of the governor, told Agence France Presse.

Television reports quoted eyewitnesses as saying that a woman on the ground was also killed when the helicopter slammed into a house. However police could not immediately confirm this.
The cause of the crash was still not known, police said.

AFP Southern Luzon Command spokesman Col. Generoso Bolina said the chopper exploded around 3:15 p.m, about 300 meters from takeoff point....MORE

  Source:  The Daily Tribune 

Comelec paid Smartmatic bulk of total deal cost 05/18/2010

Comelec paid Smartmatic bulk of total deal cost


Despite the reported delays in the delivery of voting machines and glitches in the performance of the precinct count optical scan (PCOS), poll automation provider Smartmatic-TIM has collected 80 percent, or more than P5 billion, of the P7.2-billion automation contract.

The Commission on Elections (Comelec), however, stressed that the electoral body has yet to decide when to pay the remaining P1.4-billion to P2.16-billion balance.

Speaker Prospero Nograles the other day asked that payment be withheld “until such time as the Congress oversight joint committee can give the public a clean bill of health about the first automated polls.”

According to Commissioner Lucenito Tagle, the payment for the leased PCOS machines that were used in the last May 10 polls was done through milestone reports.

“It’s not yet fully paid because its based on milestones but roughly it could be around P5 billion,” Tagle said in an interview.
Comelec Commissioner Gregorio Larrazabal, for his part, said they still owe Smartmatic around 20 to 30 percent or between P1.4 billion and P2.16 billion considering that the elections had been completed.

“They have not yet been fully paid. There’s a procedure for them to be paid certain amounts. There are milestones for that. The reports will be the basis for us to consider paying them,” he added....MORE

  Source:  The Daily Tribune

Nograles wants poll automation plaints probed 05/18/2010

Nograles wants poll automation plaints probed

Speaker Prospero Nograles yesterday said he has ordered the committee on electoral suffrage and reforms currently headed by Makati City Rep. Teodoro Locsin Jr. to convene and look into the conduct of the first automated elections in the country in the face of public complaints about electronic fraud and pre-determined election results or the so-called “hocus PCOS (precinct count optical scan).”

“Rep. Locsin must convene the committee prior to the May 24 canvass of the joint session of Congress,” Nograles told the media in a text message.

The outgoing Speaker also said the Commission on Elections (Comelec) and Smartmatic must explain if there are provisions in the automated election law that were “disregarded” or not followed or were not implemented, and asked them to explain the cause of such electoral confusion nationwide.

“They (Comelec and Smartmatic) owe the nation some kind of plausible and legitimate explanations. Let the cards fall where they should,” he said.
Nograles earlier urged the poll body to not fully pay Smartmatic the P7.2-billion contract they had forged for the latter’s supply of the80,000 precinct count optical scan machines that were used in the automated elections last May 10 until the Congress’ oversight joint committee can give the public a clear assessment of the first-ever automated general polls in the country.

He also said Smartmatic should make public with whom it sub-contracted the automation project and the supply for the flash cards, most of which were found to be defective even on Election Day itself.

This as former Sen. Ernesto Maceda, spokesman of the United Opposition, said the opposition party is doubting the “big” lead of Sen. Benigno Simeon “Noynoy” Aquino III, the front-runner among the presidential candidates in the May 2010 elections, against deposed President Joseph “Erap” Estrada.

“We have doubts on Noynoy’s edging Erap in the count. We will bring our case before Congress when it convenes. We do not want to install an electronically determined President of the Philippines,” Maceda said in a radio interview.
He said Congress must require that not only election results be turned over to it but also all the compact flash cards that were distributed nationwide “so these can be examined for possible pre-programming.”... MORE

  Source:  The Daily Tribune 

Palace ‘alright’ with return of nepotism under Noynoy’s term By Aytch S. de la Cruz 05/18/2010

Palace ‘alright’ with return of nepotism under Noynoy’s term

By Aytch S. de la Cruz

Malacañang yesterday expressed ambiguousness over the “foreseen” return of the so-called “Kamag-Anak Inc.” in government that had marked the late President Corazon “Cory Aquino’s administration as talk has been brewing that Sen. Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino may give his sister, actress and TV personality Kristina Bernadette “Kris” Aquino-Yap and their other relatives positions in his administration if and when he is declared the winner of the presidential race.

When asked by reporters about the matter, deputy presidential spokesman Gary Olivar expressed passiveness, saying the Palace stands neither for nor against the issue of nepotism resurrecting under Noynoy Aquino’s term.

That stance notably runs contrary to the opinion recently made by Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago, who has aired aversion over the common practice by government officials of employing family members and relatives and the perpetual existence of political dynasties in the country.

“It is up to the incoming President. You know, I am always more flexible with the issue of potential nepotism. You (try to) avoid the appearance (of questions) on propriety, but if the person (or persons that are in question) has what it takes and can contribute something in government, the public would be deprived of the services of that person (if he or she is not tapped for service in public office),” Olivar moreover said in reply to the media’s query.... MORE

  Source:  The Daily Tribune

Congratulations, senators SILVER LINING Dean Ernest Maceda 05/18/2010

Congratulations, senators

Dean Ernest Maceda

The Comelec formally proclaimed nine winning senators last Saturday afternoon.
They are Bong Revilla, Jinggoy Estrada, Miriam Defensor-Santiago, Frank Drilon, Johnny Ponce- Enrile, Pia Cayetano, Bongbong Marcos, Ralph Recto and Tito Sotto.

They should also have proclaimed Serge Osmeña and Lito Lapid as it is highly improbable that their lead of over 2 million and 1.5 million votes over 13th placer Riza Hontiveros Baraquel could be overtaken.

The No. 1 placing of Bong Revilla is impressive considering that he is in the administration Lakas-Kampi-CMD ticket which was affected by the GMA “kiss of death” principle.

Credited for his topnotcher position is the highly successful movie Panday in the Metro Manila Film Festival. Also impressive is Ralph Recto’s return to the Senate despite his being a GMA Cabinet member (Neda) and his authorship of the eVAT law.

Recto and TG Guingona made the right move when they abandoned Manny Villar’s NP and transferred to the Liberal Party.

Manong Johnny Ponce Enrile’s 5th place victory was also impressive because he was also known to be friendly to GMA and because of his age... MOR

  Source:  The Daily Tribune 


Sri Lanka seeks harmony between elephants and humans FEATURE 05/18/2010 LUNUGAMW

Sri Lanka seeks harmony between elephants and humans



LUNUGAMWEHERA — In the early hours of a hot dry day, four orphaned elephants begin a bumpy truck ride back to the jungles of southern Sri Lanka where they had been rescued from near certain death.

The four baby jumbos — now aged five and six — are ready to leave the Elephant Transit Home where they have been treated and cared for since they were less than a year old.

The state-run home is refuge for dozens of baby elephants who are separated from their herds, fall into wells or ditches or are shot at by angry farmers as they raid banana, rice and sugarcane farms for food.

A one-hour drive takes Ollie, Toledo, Zicasso and Rani to the release site deep inside the Lunugamwehera national park. To rid them of human odour, they are hosed with elephant dung mixed in water.

The wildlife department staff clasp their hands in prayer while a saffron-robed Buddhist monk chants blessings for the elephants’ future.... MORE

  Source:  The Daily Tribune

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