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A rush to Malacañang EDITORIAL 05/24/2010

Monday, May 24, 2010

A rush to Malacañang

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There is a determined nay, aggressive effort on the part of the Liberal Party (LP) to speed up the proclamation of Noynoy to head off the increasing number of electronic fraud revelations cropping up which is becoming more and more credible by the day.

Just as Congress is still forming the joint congressional canvass committee to audit the votes for the presidency and the vice presidency, Noynoy held a victory bash that was followed the next day by a visit from the newly appointed American ambassador, Harry Thomas, who appeared to have been unwittingly used by the LP to beef up the premature recognition.

The LP also is harping on the no proclamation scenario after Speaker Prospero Nograles indicated the possibility the president will be proclaimed “on or before” June 30 at high noon against an earlier set date of June 4 as both the House and the Senate are determined to sift through the certificates of canvass (CoCs) and other poll documents if the accuracy of the CoCs is challenged.

With the volume of proofs cropping up daily on the massive fraud that occurred on election day, the expectation in Congress is that the canvass would make proclamation day longer than the time Congress validated Gloria’s presidency in 2004, when the elections held were manual but the validity of which was similarly questioned..... MORE  

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20100524com1.html

Remaining the same FRONTLINE Ninez Cacho-Olivares 05/24/2010

Remaining the same

Ninez Cacho-Olivares
The French having a saying which goes this way: The more things change, the more they remain the same.

This appears to be true in the case of the replacement of the current administration, that is, the Gloria Arroyo administration, or presidency, to be more specific, and the presumed incoming administration of Aquino II, or the presumed Noynoy Aquino presidency, which, from all indications, displays this early, the very same Gloria traits.

Change, said Noynoy and his Liberal Party, is coming, with the ascendancy of the Noynoy yellow group. No more trapo transactional politics, they claimed, yet even this early, they have announced that they will be using the pork barrel allocation of the congressmen to ensure that an LP Speaker will be elected, for Noynoy to have control of the House.

But didn’t Noynoy and his yellows claim that they want to repair the damage done by Gloria to the democratic institutions which they all said she had prostituted to the max?

Why then are they adopting the same Gloria tactics and forcing Congress to bend to the executive power, knowing that doing such would automatically eliminate whatever independence the Congress could have salvaged, if its members were, as stated by the Budget Law, given their allocations automatically.... MORE  

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20100524com2.html

After the burning of Bangkok, shocked residents return FEATURE 05/24/2010

After the burning of Bangkok, shocked residents return


Bangkok — In a gloomy pilgrimage, shocked residents of Bangkok ventured into the heart of a city turned into a battle zone, angry and despondent at the loss of landmarks and livelihoods.
Expatriates joined Thais meandering for the first time into what was once Bangkok’s most glamorous shopping zone, cameras in hand to record the devastation inflicted after anti-government protests were crushed.

In strange and silent scenes, they gathered in front of Thailand’s biggest shopping mall, Central World, reduced to a smoking ruin in a campaign of arson and looting unleashed after Wednesday’s military offensive.

Around them, squads of city workers wielded brooms and power hoses as the city attempted to get back to business, while enterprising street vendors offered ice creams and cold drinks in the tropical heat.

Many expats were glad to emerge from their homes after sheltering for days as the government battled to end two months of rallies by “Red Shirts” protesters demanding elections and a new leadership.

“We came to see the spectacle,” said Anna Perez, a 52-year-old French woman who has lived in Thailand for a decade. “This is just a disaster. In this country there have been coups, but not riots like this.”
The civil unrest, which has left 86 dead and 1,900 injured since mid-March, as well as 36 buildings torched in Wednesday’s mayhem including the stock exchange, has shattered Thailand’s image as the “Land of Smiles.”
Alan Nilson, a 30-year-old Briton who came to the ruins of downtown Bangkok with his Thai wife and their five-year-old daughter, was in nostalgic mood.

“This is where we had our first date,” said the seven-year resident of Thailand. “Now there is something broken in Bangkok.”... MORE  

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20100524com3.html

Computer forensics on CF cards DIE HARD III Herman Tiu Laurel 05/24/2010

Computer forensics on CF cards

Herman Tiu Laurel

When you listen to these prevaricators of Smartmatic, the Commission on Elections (Comelec) and the Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting (PPCRV), it’s as if computer fraud were a only simple matter and any layman could see through such schemes with ease. When they claim that their automated election system (AES) and precinct count optical scan (PCOS) machines cannot be hacked, they forget that no less than the world’s most secure computer system in the Pentagon has twice been hacked in a span of just two years.

One incident in September 2007, which the US blamed on the Chinese military and which was naturally denied by the latter’s government, had this account from the Pentagon: “These hacking attacks go on everyday but this was a more complicated attack with more sophisticated technology that broke through the current firewalls… It’s a constant game of cat and mouse. This was a wake-up call for us.”

The second major incident in April 2009 had hackers breaking into the $300-billion F-35 Joint Strike Fighter Project and then stealing several terabytes of data including maintenance, defense, and other design systems. Again, the Pentagon suspected Chinese hackers — another charge denied by China.

The attacks were so sophisticated that the Bush administration had planned to spend $17 billion over the years on a new online security program, which the Obama administration promptly indicated it will be expanding.

Compared to the automated voting machine system in the recent Philippine elections, the Pentagon computer system’s computer firewall is already like the Maginot Line the French built before World War II. Still, if the Pentagon’s computer defenses were breached, how can Smartmatic and Comelec, neither of which are really computer savvy, stand up to expert hackers?

While the Comelec, PPCRV and their media hacks continue with their PCOS “praise releases,” dedicated and determined computer forensics conducted by Halalang Marangal’s Engr. Obet Versola (a UP Electronics Engineering trailblazer and maker of the first Filipino computer) seeks to convert html and pdf formatted Smartmatic election returns (ERs) from the compact flash (CF) cards to a more readable format in a week’s time.

Last Friday, Versola texted me to “request all the protesting candidates to get a printed certified true copy of the file slog.text in the cfcards then to e-mail them to rversola@gn.apc.org for analysis.” I was told that Mathematics-IT expert Vivienne Tan (University of San Francisco) is also helping decipher the data.

Now, knowing how much technical knowhow and time is required to minutely analyze the CF card ERs, I wonder how Comelec and PPCRV can say everything is honky-dory.

We’re happy that Rep. Teddy “Boy” Locsin finally blew his top at Smartmatic after testing his patience for days on end with their circumlocutions about the PCOS. Finally, Locsin made the point: While Smartmatic has been assuring everybody that the AES, using their PCOS, would be literally error free with a “0.005 percent error rate,” it’s been an empty claim all along with the many demonstrated flaws cropping up. It seems Locsin put his irascible temper to good use this time (even if just for show).

For many citizens, it is the same feeling for Smartmatic, the Comelec and even the PPCRV for hurrying everybody to conclude that the PCOS is so great and its critics are just sore losers. Since we have mentioned PPCRV, we might as well prod its lady chief, Tita de Villa, to dispel text allegations that a relation of hers made P400 million in supplying Smartmatic with vital computer paraphernalia.

While Obet Versola and others like him are doing their analyses of the data sent to them by protesting candidates, may we beseech the Comelec, PPCRV (and I should now add Lente, another one of the usual Church-linked NGOs, which on the Internet is accusing critics of “speculation”) and their hacks to refrain from claiming “success” about the AES?

It is very likely that eventually the investigation of the CF cards data will reveal, as it is being suspected now, that Smartmatic’s Heider Garcia is the new Garci — albeit a high-tech e-Garci.

It will take cyberforensics, “the application of computer investigation and analysis techniques to gather evidence suitable for presentation in a court of law” with Obet Versola and company to get to the bottom of the Hocus-PCOS. Anything less is allowing any thief of our elections to go scot free.

The use of computer and electronic voting is championed mainly by the Big Business class in all countries, and this has led to the belief that it’s the billionaire corporations that are plotting to institutionalize computerization of all elections to control as many societies as they can.

If Mussolini and Hitler originated fascism, the alliance of Big Business and political bureaucrats, through use of force (and deception) in stealing the people’s acquiescence, is the modern version of fascism.

Here, even with an absence of force but with the most subtle preprogramming of voting machines, the people are to be ushered into an almost undetectable imposition of fascism without them knowing it. Thus, none would be the wiser to it — until the cyber-sleuths break the code in the CF cards and find the smoking gun.

 (Tune in to 1098AM, Sulo ng Pilipino, Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, 6 p.m. to 7 p.m.; Global News Network, Destiny Cable Channel 21, Talk News TV, Tuesday, 8:15 p.m. to 9 p.m. on “The Philippine Political-Economy Post-GMA Regime;” also visit http://hermantiulaurel.blogspot.com)

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

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20100524com4.html

At Dubai eatery, ‘ship of the desert’ makes burger the king FEATURE 05/24/2010

At Dubai eatery, ‘ship of the desert’ makes burger the king


DUBAI — “Don’t miss yummy camel burger” reads the Dubai restaurant’s sign, putting a Western twist on traditional fare to entice adventurous tourists into giving camel meat a chew.
Camel meat is eaten throughout the Gulf, but Dubai’s Local House restaurant targets visitors who may never have bitten into this edible form of desert transport.

“Most of our guests are tourists from different parts of the world,” says Ramesh, a 44-year-old Indian national who has managed the restaurant since it opened in 2004. He says the restaurant was the brainchild of the owner, a local from Dubai who grew up on camel meat and milk.

“With this restaurant (the owner) wanted to (introduce) that to the world as well. That’s how it all started,” said Ramesh, who gave only one name.

Camels, sometimes called “ships of the desert,” are a big part of culture in the Arabian Peninsula. In the United Arab Emirates, there are camel races, camel beauty contests and competitions for the tastiest camel cuisine.

Camel meat is cooked many ways and sometimes served as a “shawarma” — grilled meat wrapped in flat bread.
Local House prides itself on its novel burger, but the menu boasts an extensive camel-based offering.

“We have... camel soup, camel salad, then we have the camel burger, camel kebab, camel steak, then we have camel biryani — that is a mixture of rice and camel meat,” says Ramesh, as he rattles off still more menu items.
The restaurant also offers a camel curry dish, grilled camel ribs and the camel special, which is cooked in oyster sauce. Camel sausage, bacon and pizza are in the works, Ramesh says.... MORE  

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20100524com5.html

Reality and fiction HE SAYS Aldrin Cardon 05/24/2010

Reality and fiction

Aldrin Cardon

‘Twas a comedy, drama, romance and suspense thriller rolled in one. And I’d like to think all of these were part of the recent May 10 polls, but not exactly. But some twists are parallel to our first computerized elections, which are now being thrown in a mayhem by, I believe, several fronts that want to discredit the success of the polls, if they were indeed successful; or may break further our trust in the Commission on Elections, which has yet to recover from the ugly taint of the fraudulent Virgilio Garcillano of 2004.

I love Robin Williams, his films being among the very few that I care to watch as this rubbernecker being a sucker for good comedy.

When I first saw Man of the Year, Williams’ 2006 movie about the possible imperfections of computerized elections, which we tried and are now debating its success — or failure, however we look at it, I grabbed a copy of it with nary a care from a street stall of pirated DVDs in Quiapo, ignoring the whispers of a heavily perspiring vagrant, who pestered me with “Manong, triple X!”

I made one of the biggest mistakes of my life when I curtly replied: “Hindi ako nanonood nyan, pari ako! (I don’t watch triple x films, I am a priest!).” To which he retorted: “Yung pari sa amin, apat asawa! (The priest in my town has four wives!).”

I made a hasty exit, not wanting to become a recipient of some rapid fire of bullets coming from the hobo and his associates’ hands.

Dissecting the movie was as quick as my flight. It dealt with a television comedian (we’re back to Robin Williams. And no, we’re not talking about Manny Pacquiao!) who made a daring joke about running for the US presidency and was egged on by numerous fans that his joke became real.... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20100524com6.html

PCOS ruckus SHE SAYS Dinah S. Ventura 05/24/2010

PCOS ruckus

Dinah S. Ventura

I may have to take back my glowing review of the speed the recent elections took in terms of coming up with results. After a few days of summing up the votes from all parts of the country, the count slowed down quite drastically. And now we have to contend with a barrage of complaints from those claiming that cheating took place… again.

It’s quite funny, really. Let us not deny that part of us hoped the automation would negate that joke about Filipinos never losing in elections. (Okay, if you still don’t know, the punch line is that Pinoys never lose because those who do not make it insist they won but were cheated!)

But now it’s all happening again, and this time, a number of characters are complaining to the Commission on Elections (Comelec) that something fishy went on with the precinct count optical scan (PCOS) machines, thereby giving birth to the new “Hello Garci” (or election fraud term), “hocus-PCOS.”

If the masked man claiming to be a whistleblower on the automated cheating that allegedly went on last elections is to be believed, then “thousands of so-called ‘players’ supposedly rigged the recent elections,” as revealed to media. The man who calls himself Robin (Hood or hoodlum?) made special mention of presidential candidate Jejomar Binay as one of those who paid millions to win.

How was it supposedly done? According to this faceless, nameless (and apparently evidence-less) person, the “players used pre-programmed compact flash (CF) cards and pre-shaded ballots” to send “data via the PCOS machines to the central server of the Comelec three minutes ahead of certain precincts’ transmission, blocking the transmission from the real PCOS machines.”... MORE  

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20100524com7.html

Poll machines show 153M May 10 voters By Gerry Baldo 05/24/2010


Poll machines show 153M May 10 voters

By Gerry Baldo

Suspicions of more electronic fraud anomalies cropped up yesterday as the poll watchdog Center for People Empowerment in Governance (Cenpeg) said vote counting machines supplied by Smartmatic registered 153 million voters at the National Canvassing Center of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) while cause-oriented group Kadamay said that votes for party-list groups surged 79 percent to 27.5 million, equivalent to 83 percent of the total 33 million voters in the May 10 elections.

Cenpeg said it is asking the Comelec to account for the 153 million voters Smartmatic machines registered at the National Canvassing Center.

Cenpeg’s director for policy study, publication and advocacy Bobby Tuazon said there were nagging unresolved questions that have enveloped the recent elections in a cloud of doubt.

Among the issues raised by Tuazon was the Comelec’s failure to fully cleanse the voter’s registration lists and the failure to disclose the actual number of precinct count optical scan (PCOS) machines that successfully transmitted the election results.

In a letter sent to the joint congressional oversight committee, Cenpeg is also asking the Smartmatic to explain why it registered 153,902,003 registered voters at the national canvassing center.

“There are many other questions that beg to be answered, including the 153,902,003 voters registered by Smartmatic machines at the National Canvassing Center,” Evita Jimenez, Cenpeg’s director, said.

In the same letter sent to the joint congressional oversight committee, another issue that the Cenpeg wants clarified was the “magnitude of PCOS breakdowns, malfunctioning CF cards, and other technical problems.”... MORE  

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20100524hed1.html

Ermita, Atienza, Gonzales tagged behind ‘koala bear’ By Ted Boehnert 05/24/2010

Ermita, Atienza, Gonzales tagged behind ‘koala bear’

By Ted Boehnert

After an outburst the other day from Malacañang officials about his “unsubstantiated” and “illogical” pointing to Malacañang as the mastermind for the surfacing of the masked electronic poll fraud whistleblower, Makati City Rep. Teodoro Locsin Jr. identified the patrons of who he calls as “koala bear” as former Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita, former Environment Secretary Lito Atienza and Defense Secretary Norberto Gonzales, all allies of President Arroyo.

On radio, Locsin said “as long as Malacañang keeps opening its mouth, I will keep opening my mouth.” 

Saludo, the other day, unexpectedly vented his anger on media, saying that reporters in the House of Representatives or editors of various media organization should have squeezed the details out of Locsin’s allegations.

Locsin, chairman of the House committee on suffrage and electoral reforms, said Ermita supplied the video tapes while Manila mayoralty losing bet Atienza and Gonzales had knowledge of the whistleblower.

“I have nothing against Ed (Ermita) but he is supposedly part of it,” Locsin said.

“Lito Atienza, he seems to know about it. We were talking with Bel Cunanan (Robin’s spokesman), they need security and Atienza told me to call Bert Gonzales who will provide security,” Locsin said.

Locsin vowed to keep on pounding on Malacañang if it continues to deny knowledge of the whistleblower.

Election lawyer Romulo Macalintal added that a delay in the proclamation of a new President and Vice President may occur if election protests of losing candidates were given time to be heard during canvassing of votes in Congress.

Macalintal said in the 2004 presidential canvass, Sen. Francis Pangilinan earned the monicker “Mr. Noted” when, as co-chairman of the congressional canvass committee, he simply ruled ‘Noted’ every time an objection was raised against a COC.”... MORE  

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20100524hed2.html

UN lists RP among world’s worst child rights violators By Michaela P. del Callar 05/24/2010

N lists RP among world’s worst child rights violators

By Michaela P. del Callar

United Nations (UN) Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon has expressed deep concern over grave human rights violations against Filipino children as both rebel and government forces have killed and recruited them during ongoing conflicts in the country.

In his first annual report to the Security Council, the UN chief listed the Philippines as one of the world’s worst child rights violators in the last five years, along with Somalia, Congo, Myanmar, Colombia, Sudan and Uganda.

The 51-page report released on May 21 stated that dozens of children were either killed in conflict situations or used by the Armed Forces of the Philippines, communist New People’s Army, the separatist Moro Islamic Liberation Front rebels, and the terrorist Abu Sayyaf group in combat operations.

However, Ban noted that reports on grave violations against children in the Philippines “may only be indicative” as its investigators in the country face tremendous challenges, such as inadequate human resources capacity for the monitoring and reporting mechanism, as well as safety and security considerations in affected areas. A significant portion of southwestern Mindanao, particularly in Zamboanga, Sulu and Basilan provinces, continues to be highly restricted to UN staff travel, as armed skirmishes between militant groups and government forces intermittently erupt, a situation compounded by the tangible threat of abduction.

But during the reporting period, reports on recruitment and use of children by the MILF and the NPA were received consistently according to UN partner organizations, although the reports could not be verified. In addition, although children have been reportedly associated with Abu Sayyaf units, no accurate estimate of the number of children is currently available.... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20100524hed3.html

Journalists urge next gov’t to act on media killings By Benjamin B. Pulta 05/24/2010

Journalists urge next gov’t to act on media killings

By Benjamin B. Pulta

The National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP) is calling on the incoming administration to hold those accountable in last November’s massacre of more than 50 individuals, including 30 journalists.

In a message sent to journalists through text, the NUJP said “let us demand from the incoming administration state accountability in the Ampatuan massacre and other media killings.”

A commemorative ceremony was held at the Port Area where most of Manila broadsheets are located marking the sixth month of the massacre. 

The Department of Justice (DoJ) has earlier announced an aid package for the exclusive use of the families of the 57 persons who were waylaid and then executed last Nov. 23, 2009 in Ampatuan, Maguindanao province, by a group of over 100 armed men that government and private prosecutors said was led by Datu Unsay Mayor Andal Ampatuan Jr.
The DoJ had made a final ruling keeping suspended Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) Gov. Zaldy Ampatuan and his cousin, former Maguindanao Vice Gov. Akmad Ampatuan, on the multiple murder charge sheet relating to the Maguindanao massacre, on the strength of new evidence presented by lawyers of the victims’ families pointing to the existence of probable cause to indict them for conspiracy in the gruesome killings.... MORE  

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20100524hed6.html

Pacquiao faces toughest challenge in new career 05/24/2010

Pacquiao faces toughest challenge in new career

Boxing hero Manny Pacquiao may have won in the recent general elections in the country but the challenges he faces as a politician are more formidable than any ring opponent.

The world champion made many campaign promises to the people of the impoverished southern province of Sarangani to get elected as their representative in the nation’s parliament. And they expect him to deliver.

“He said whether he wins or loses, he will build a hospital for Sarangani,” said Michelle Bargo, 25, a housewife, recalling one of Pacquiao’s promises.

That commitment is widely remembered in the province where the population of more than 400,000 do not have a single hospital to serve them.

Pacquiao, 31, said repeatedly during the campaign his priorities as congressman would be “livelihood programs, education, healthcare and medical assistance,” although he did not give too many details.

Schools and infrastructure, as well as medical facilities, are all in short supply in the 1,700-square mile province where over half the population live in poverty, according to government figures.... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/nation/20100524nat3.html

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