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Clones EDITORIAL 06/05/2010

Saturday, June 5, 2010


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Noynoy Aquino may not realize it yet, but he does face a problem with his pledge to do justice in the cases of extra-judicial killings.

United Nations Special Rapporteur Professor Philip Alston pointed out that Aquino, who is soon to be proclaimed president-elect by Congress, is more likely to “go slow” on his campaign promise to prosecute perpetrators of summary executions and other human rights violations, as the members of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), both top ranking and regular soldiers, would be resisting any presidential move to strike hard against one of the military’s own, since the military officers tend to think enemy vs state, with the leftists and other militants seen as the enemy.

Like it or not, Aquino will have to rely heavily on the military and police, if he is to retain his crown for six years, no matter the claims of the AFP that it is a professional force. Like Gloria, he will have no choice but to even go the extent of keeping the top brass happy through financial rewards, to get them to be personally loyal to him.

In much the same way, he also has to do the same to the Philippine National Police, that is also alleged to engage in torture and summary killings of claimed suspects, whether drug suspects or just plain criminals. He too, must make the PNP top brass happy through financial gifts.

And in the case of the AFP and PNP, it may not be as easy as keeping the congressmen happy with their allocation of the pork barrel.

The reality of maintaining Philippine political power rests on the military and for sometime now, also the PNP.

In many instances of the unsuccesful coup plots against Gloria Arroyo, for instance, it was noted that the police were always first to come come to the Palace rescue.

Of course if the chief of staff and his service commanders come to an agreement to withdraw support from their commander in-chief, that’s the end of the Malacañang tenant and there is nothing that the police force can do.

This was experienced during the coup d’etat mounted by Gloria and the military, headed by then Chief of Staff Gen. Angelo Reyes, against then sitting President Joseph Estrada... MORE    

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20100605com1.html

Going the way of the US electorate? FRONTLINE Ninez Cacho-Olivares 06/05/2010

Going the way of the US electorate?

Ninez Cacho-Olivares
From the results of the local elections, with congressmen already proclaimed, it does appear that identification with Gloria Arroyo and her administration contributed hugely to the defeat of several of her local bets, although it must be pointed out that some, if not many, of the old Lakas politicians jumped the Gloria ship and swore allegiance to the LP during the campaign season.

Still, as of the last count of the winning Lakas candidates, the Lakas-Kampi numbers are much more than other parties, such as the Liberal Party, the Nacionalista Party, the Pwersa ng Masa, independents and party listers.

But with a new president and a new administration, it is very likely that some, if not many of the Lakas-Kampi congressmen will either retain their party identities but go into a coalition of sorts with the LPs, or remain together as a powerful opposition bloc and party in Congress, if a strong Lakas Party leader can pull the Lakas team together.
Right now, the fate of Lakas is in Gloria’s hands, that is, if she wants to do a Nancy Pelosi and become a powerful Speaker, although word today from Malacañang is that Gloria is not interested in the race for the speakership.
But then again, this is also the position she took when she said that she would no longer run for the presidency in 2004 as well as the Palace earlier insisting that Gloria would step down from Malacañang when her term is up, and that she is not eyeing a congressional post after she leaves the Palace.

But what should prove more politically interesting, however, is whether the electorate will be going the way of the American electorate, in that those politicians who had switched parties from Republican to Democrats and vice versa, with an Obama win, as well as those incumbents who had voted along with Obama’s Democrats, thus going against their constituents in their respective states, are now being spurned by the American electorate.... MORE  

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20100605com2.html

Free Gaza activists say they seek justice, not violence focus 06/05/2010

Free Gaza activists say they seek justice, not violence



NICOSIA — Greta Berlin, a co-founder of the Free Gaza Movement which spearheaded this week’s abortive bid to break the Gaza blockade, is a veteran activist who shrugs off Israeli claims of terrorist links.

“It’s nothing new... I’ve been involved with seeking justice for the Palestinians for 40 years,” the 69-year-old American mother of two told AFP on Thursday.

“I’ve stayed with this cause because it’s the one cause in my lifetime that has not been resolved,” she said, speaking by phone from the Free Gaza office in Cyprus.

“The only reason this is a citizens’ initiative is because the governments are not doing anything, and we are ultimately responsible if our governments fail to act,” Berlin added.

Berlin, who is married to a Palestinian refugee and teaches engineers for a living, helped to organise the latest flotilla of ships carrying 10,000 tonnes of aid which was stormed by Israeli commandos on Monday in a botched pre-dawn raid in which at least nine people were killed.

Numerous non-governmental organisations participated in the flotilla this time but it was Berlin’s group, which comprises volunteers from dozens of countries, “of all ages and backgrounds,” that started the blockade-busting movement four years ago.... MORE    

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20100605com3.html

Errors in CoCs found in 57 provinces, NCR By Angie M. Rosales 06/05/2010

Smartmatic’s counting system blamed; debugging urged

Errors in CoCs found in 57 provinces, NCR

By Angie M. Rosales
At least 57 provinces as well as cities of the National Capital Region (NCR) were found to have erroneous certificates of canvass on account of these being the CoCs based on final testing and sealing (FTS) returns, not the May 10 returns. 

This confusion, the Center for People Empowerment in Governance (CenPEG) said yesterday, is attributed to Smartmatic’s erroneous counting system used for the May 10 synchronized elections.

CenPEG IT Fellow, Dr. Pablo Manalastas, shared this explanation in response to Thursday’s debate at the joint congressional canvassing committee triggered by the submission of two CoCs, one of which was the corrected version. But the confusion prompted the joint committee to defer the canvassing for Bacolod. 

As a result, Manalastas said, both the Commission Elections (Comelec) and Congress should now debug all CoCs that incorporated FTS results. Data extracted from Comelec’s website http://electionresults.comelec. gov.ph showed at least 57 provinces and cities have this problem, he said.

Manalastas hastened to add, however, that “the committee actually has a much bigger problem, namely, the fact that many cities and provinces had FTS election returns included in their CoCs, and these cities and provinces have not yet submitted reconciliation CoCs.”

He said this problem resulted from the failure of the Smartmatic’s counting and canvassing system (CCS) program to reject the invalid CoCs and accept only the valid ones. The Smartmatic CCS program was not subjected to a testing and certification in accordance with Philippine election laws, despite the SysTest testing and certifications issued by Comelec’s Technical Evaluation Committee, Manalastas said.

Despite these flawed CoCs that have been canvassed, the new president and vice president may be known by mid next week, in time for the commemoration of the country’s Independence Day.

Senators, sitting in the National Board of Canvassers (NBoC) yesterday assured that the president-elect and vice president-elect will be proclaimed simultaneously either by Tuesday or Wednesday.

This, despite pleadings and posturing by the camp of Sen. Manuel “Mar” Roxas, Liberal Party (LP) vice presidential candidate, contesting the estimated three million “null votes,” to have these audited by the NBoC.

“We will dispose of that (motion) because some of those raised in those pleadings are matters that can only be handled by opening the ballot boxes.

“In a canvassing process you cannot open the ballots. Only the electoral tribunals can open the ballot boxes. Only they can go to the ballots. The canvassers do not go to the ballots,” said Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile.

“There’s no reason not to proclaim both, as far as I know there is no major issue left to delay the proclamation of one or the other,” he added.

The NBoC is set to resume on Monday afternoon the canvassing of the five remaining CoCs coming from Mt. Province, Bacolod City, Davao City, Eastern Samar and Lanao del Sur estimated to be between 1.4 to 1.5 million votes, which is believed to spell a difference in the standings in the vice presidential race of Roxas and Jejomar Binay of the Pwersa ng Masang Pilipino (PMP).... MORE    

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20100605hed1.html

14th Congress adjourns on a discordant note By Gerry Baldo 06/05/2010

14th Congress adjourns on a discordant note

By Gerry Baldo

The Senate adjourned sine die yesterday with farewell speeches and goodwill, but the House of Representatives adjourned sine die on a discordant note with even the supporters of the Freedom of Information Bill were arrested amid protests in the gallery following the failure of the House to pass the proposed law.

Manila Rep. Bienvenido Abante said it was a “sad and painful day for the House” to end without passing the bill that has been in the making for nine years.

“I declare that this Congress has faulted the Filipino people,” Abante said in dismay. He walked out of the session hall.

Speaker Prospero Nograles, who presided over the last session day of the 14th Congress, stressed that he could not bend the rules of the House to accommodate members who wanted the bill passed.

“But there is nothing I can do. Under the rules, when there is no quorum, the Speaker has to bang the gavel and adjourn. Those are the rules,” Nograles said. “I am at a loss.”

Earlier, Nograles was about to bang the gavel to approve the proposed Freedom of Information Act when Camiguin Rep. Pedro Romualdo stood up to object and question the quorum.

“I object,” Romualdo said even as supporters that filled the gallery hissed in dismay.

Nograles suspended the session and tried to talk Romualdo into withdrawing his motion but the Camiguin representative refused. 

Romualdo said he had wanted all transactions in government to be “very transparent” but that “should be based on a law that has been properly, legitimately, legally inactive.”

He said that he is refusing to withdraw his motion amid a perceived backlash from the media who would “paint me with whatever they say badly against me.”

He accused the House of succumbing to pressure and for taking a shortcut to pass the bill.

“The House is practically being pressured for this FoI bill to be passed, in short, trying to make a short cut,” he said. “For the record I would say that this did not pass any debate, because this did not pass any debate, all our courts, especially the Supreme Court, is now always rendering decisions which we sometimes call judicial legislation, because the laws we enacted lacked debates, our intention, spirit of the law cannot be found in our records because it did not pass any debate,” he said..... MORE    

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20100605hed2.html

Lakas-Kampi to slug it out for speakership By Charlie V. Manalo 06/05/2010

Lakas-Kampi to slug it out for speakership

By Charlie V. Manalo

Saying that Lakas-Kampi will not coalesce with the Liberal Party for it to be part of the ruling party, Lakas-Kampi will be fielding its own candidate for the speakership, with both Quezon Representatives Danilo Suarez and Edcel Lagman aiming to serve in the top congressional post on a term sharing basis.

Palace political adviser Prospero Pichay yesterday announced to media that Lagman and Suarez had agreed on a term-sharing plan, with the first 18 months going to Lagman, and the next 18 going to Suarez.

The same term sharing agreement holds if Lagman loses the speakership fight and becomes the minority floor leader, as the House Rules say..... MORE    

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20100605hed3.html

AFP chief’s tenure uncertain as Bangit fails to get CA nod By Angie M. Rosales 06/05/2010

AFP chief’s tenure uncertain as Bangit fails to get CA nod

By Angie M. Rosales
Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Chief of Staff Gen. Delfin Bangit may find himself in a peculiar situation, beginning today, as he failed to secure the confirmation of the powerful Commission on Appointments (CA) for his promotion before 14th Congress adjourned sine die.

As his ad interim appointment had effectively lapsed, it’s either he is replaced immediately by the AFP vice chief of staff who is a three-star officer or placed in a floating status as a four-star general.

Senators took note of this as they formally closed the sessions yesterday, with Bangit among those left bypassed by the bicameral appointments body as his ad interim appointment had lapsed.

In Bangit’s case, senators said AFP Vice Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Rodrigo Maclang should take over, in an acting capacity or at least until the new president name his choice for the said position.

“If his appointment is an ad interim appointment, he cannot continue holding the position of chief of staff but he will carry the rank of a four-star because his appointment was ad interim and in my understanding of the Constitution, once you are appointed ad interim, the appointment is complete in every respect. Of course you will hold the position during the duration of your term if you are confirmed but if your ad interim appointment lapses, you are entitled to all the benefits or emoluments of the office for which you have been appointed as ad interim appointee,” Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile said.... MORE    

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20100605hed4.html

Filipino children face deportation from Israel By Michaela P. del Callar 06/05/2010

Filipino children face deportation from Israel

By Michaela P. del Callar

Children of Filipino migrant workers will be among the 1,200 minors to be deported from Israel, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) yesterday said.

According to Israeli law, once migrant workers give birth to children in Israel, they must leave with their child or send the baby back home and continue their employment.

“There is no indication as to how many are Filipino kids. We take it that (the deportation) pertains to all nationalities,” Foreign Affairs spokesman Eduardo Malaya said.

The DFA said it is ready to repatriate them should that happen as it is already coordinating with the Department of Social Welfare and Development and the Department of Labor and Employment, as well as the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration, to prepare for the possible deportation of these children.

The Philippine Embassy in Tel Aviv reported to the DFA that the Israeli Foreign Ministry has given its assurance that the imminent deportation of children of Filipino migrant workers “will be handled in the most humane way.”
“The Embassy has made representations with the Israeli government about the imminent deportation of Filipino children, and we were informed by the Foreign Ministry that it will be handled in the most humane way possible and in the best interest of our two countries,” Philippine Ambassador Petronila Garcia said.

Garcia added that there are still no news of the deportation, as the final decision of the Ministerial Committee is still pending.

There was a planned deportation of around 1,200 children in August 2009, but was held in abeyance due to public outcry and protests of Israeli activists, as well as to give time for the committee to study the issue and present their findings.... MORE    

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20100605hed5.html

Corona vows smooth JBC process for Noynoy By Benjamin B. Pulta 06/05/2010

Corona vows smooth JBC process for Noynoy

By Benjamin B. Pulta
A streamlined process for the incoming President to choose the next Supreme Court justice is what Chief Justice Renato Corona promises when he convenes the Judicial and Bar Council (JBC) when the SC en banc goes back to work on June 15.

The Chief Justice is the ex-officio chairman of the JBC which screens nominees for vacant judicial posts. 

Corona underscored the need for presumptive President-elect Sen. Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino to fill up the vacancy caused by the retirement of former Chief Justice Reynato Puno last May 17.

Corona’s appointment drew flak from several groups, including Aquino’s Liberal Party camp, saying the move by outgoing President Arroyo was done to serve her personal political interest. 

Under the Constitution, the JBC should submit at least three nominees for a vacant position and the President has 90 days from the date of retirement or the occurrence of vacancy to fill up the position.... MORE    

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20100605hed6.html

Erap not conceding yet, but says ‘willing to work’ with new gov’t By Jason Faustino 06/05/2010

Erap not conceding yet, but says ‘willing to work’ with new gov’t

By Jason Faustino

Although he has yet to formally concede the contest, deposed President Joseph Estrada has said he is willing to work with the presumptive incoming administration of presidential race front runner Sen. Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III, should the latter ask him to.

Interviewed by giant broadcast network ABS-CBN upon his arrival in London to attend the graduation of his 20-year-old daughter Jerika, Estrada called on Filipinos to “forget politics” and rally behind Aquino, who is apparently set to be proclaimed next week by Congress, which is sitting as the National Board of Canvassers of the votes for the May 10 elections.

With only five certificates of canvass (CoC) left to be canvassed by the joint congressional committee starting Monday, Aquino is seen to be already assured of having won the presidency as the latest tally of the votes show that his closest rival, Estrada, has no more chance of catching up with him as he leads the former President by almost 5 million votes.

The five CoC include those from Davao and Bacolod cities and Mountain Province, which is estimated to contain some 860,000 votes. Another CoC pending canvassing is the result of the recent special elections in Lanao del Sur province. The total number of all these votes, however, are inconsequential to the present tally as it would no longer affect the final outcome of the canvassing. In other words, it is already statistically impossible for Estrada to gain on, much less overtake Aquino in the vote count.

The former President who was ousted in a military-backed popular revolt in 2001, said he was ready to help the foreseen incoming Aquino administration if it so asks for his hand.

“If my services would be needed, specially on the matter of alleviating poverty in the country, I am more than willing to help (the Aquino government) in whatever capacity,” Estrada said in half Filipino.

But while saying this he stressed that it does not mean that he was already conceding the presidential race.

“Like I have said before, once the canvassing and proclamation are done, I have no problem with that (conceding). But why would I concede when they are not over yet?” he maintained.

Estrada was buoyed by his having obtained nearly 10 million votes, and interpreted the huge number of votes he got as a manifestation of the Filipinos belief that he did not commit the crime he was charged with and that he should not have been jailed for it.... MORE    

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/nation/20100605nat2.html

Four provinces notch zero high school dropout rate, reveals DepEd By Jason Faustino 06/05/2010

Four provinces notch zero high school dropout rate, reveals DepEd

By Jason Faustino

Four provinces in the country have posted a zero dropout rate in the secondary level of schooling, the Department of Education yesterday bared.

Education Secretary Mona Valisno identified the provinces as Zamboanga Sibugay, Cotabato, Southern Leyte and Romblon.

Masbate, meanwhile, recorded a dropout rate of 0.95 percent in its five national high schools. 

Valisno attributed this to the department’s Drop Out Reduction Program (DORP), which uses various approaches to significantly reduce if not totally eradicate the problem of dropouts.

DORP was primarily used as a tool of the department to enable the country to meet the United Nations goal of Education for All by 2015.

DORP was designed to address the problems faced by students which prevent them from completing their elementary and high school education. Many students cannot report to class regularly because of various reasons such as work, financial problems physical handicap, family and health issues, among others.

The DepEd said it has been working extra hard to be able to reach and bring back to school some 5 million more school-aged children who are out of school and not only the dropouts.

The department earlier set a target to cut the dropout rate in public schools to some 7.13 percent for school year 2009-2010. This is far lower than the national dropout rate of 12.51 percent when DORP started in 2005-2006.
The 2010 target reflects a consistent decline from the 8.35 percent drop out in SY 2006-2007 and 7.45 percent in 2007-2008.... MORE    

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/nation/20100605nat4.html

SC: Land for gov’t housing exempt from agra laws By Benjamin B. Pulta 06/05/2010

SC: Land for gov’t housing exempt from agra laws

By Benjamin B. Pulta

The Supreme Court (SC) has decided that land taken over by the government for its resettlement and housing efforts are beyond the scope of agrarian laws.

In its decision, the high tribunal’s Second Division, through Associate Justice Roberto Abad, reversed and set aside a ruling of the Court of Appeals (CA) and dismissed the suit filed by the family of a tenant-farmer for possession of a three-hectare portion of lot.

Associate Justice Antonio Carpio, Arturo Brion, Mariano Del Castillo and Jose Perez concurred with the ruling, which upheld the National Housing Authority (NHA)’s position in the controversy claiming that the lot is exempt from the coverage of the agrarian reform laws, having been acquired by NHA for its housing program.

Sometime in 1960, the administrator of the estate of the late C.N. Hodges asked Mateo Villaruz, Sr. to work as tenant of the estate’s seven-hectare rice field in Barangay Alijis, Bacolod City, designated as Lot 916. 

The estate wanted to prevent the land from falling into the hands of squatters. It had a house constructed on the lot for Villaruz and engaged his daughter and son-in-law to serve as co-tenants. 

In 1976, however, squatters settled into Lot 916, occupying four of its seven hectares. Villaruz was thus left with only three hectares for planting rice and corn.

As it later turned out, the estate mortgaged Lot 916 to a bank, resulting in its foreclosure when the loan could not be paid..... MORE    

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/nation/20100605nat6.html

Priest dissuades gays from working in Saudi 06/05/2010

Priest dissuades gays from working in Saudi


An official of the Catholic Church has warned Filipino homosexuals not to seek employment in Saudi Arabia following the recent issuance of the Kingdom of a laws banning gay and lesbian workers in their country.

According to Fr. Edwin Corros, executive secretary of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines Episcopal Commission on Migrants and Itinerant People, Filipinos who belong to the third sex will likely be discriminated if they will opt to work in Saudi.

“It’s much better if they don’t go to Saudi. They should look for another country where there is no discrimination,” he said over Church-run Radyo Veritas 846.

“It would be a waste of talent if an individual is capable of working but will not be allowed because he is gay,” he added.... MORE    

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/nation/20100605nat7.html

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