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Getting away with it EDITORIAL 06/15/2010

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Getting away with it

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Will Gloria Arroyo, her spouse and a multitude of her Cabinet secretaries be facing charges once President-elect Noynoy Aquino is sworn into high office?

Maybe. But then again, maybe not — especially if some kind of deal has been cooked up between good ole USA and the new dispensation, which really isn’t far-fetched at all.
Naturally, there will be a commission formed, as this was the promise of Aquino, but there is serious doubt that the inquiry would get very far, first because very few, if at all, incriminating documents would be found as evidence. Gloria and her boys are hardly the types that would leave incriminating documents behind. Second, not one of the Gloria boys will be willing to talk and implicate themselves in the crime.
Chances are very high that whatever incriminating evidence there is, by way of documents, already has been fed to the shredder.
In fact, long before the elections were scheduled, some of the NBN-ZTE documents were claimed by an official to be have been “lost.”
Truth is, what Noynoy’s mother could do by way of charging Marcos and his family members in 1986, Noynoy can’t do, in the case of Gloria Arroyo.... MORE  

  SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20100615com1.html

No transparency FRONTLINE Ninez Cacho-Olivares 06/15/2010


No transparency

Ninez Cacho-Olivares
Commision on Elections (Comelec) officials have this plan of tapping foreign IT experts to perform and evaluate the first nationwide automated polls in the country, as the introduction of the new automated system made it necessary for the election system to be evaluated, so it says.

The reason for hiring foreign experts to carry out the assessment and evaluation of the May 10 polls computerized elections is that the poll body wants this evaluation to be free from any malice as well as to show that the polls have been credible.

That is hardly the real reason behind Comelec hiring so-called foreign experts — and probably tap people with links to Smartmatic, too.

But hey, why should these so-called foreign experts be hired by the Comelec, when we have independent Filipino IT experts to do the job, and even for free. There are enough IT experts in this country, and their organizations are pretty independent — and malice shouldn’t be attached to their call for Comelec to make public several relevant documents for their independent study, all of which demands by various IT groups have been spurned by the Comelec, such as the full disclosure of documents relative to the implementation of the automated polls.

The documents include the SysTest full report; the source code walk through plan; the source code of the precinct count optical scan program; the source code of the CCS programs; file formats of all data files used or produced by the PCOS program; file formats of all data files used or produced by the CCS program; public keys used by all the PCOS computers; public keys used by all the CCS computers; user manual of the PCOS program; user manual of the CCS program; and the Smartmatic-Comelec contract with the complete annexes.... MORE  

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20100615com2.html

In Italy, a university for Slow Food gastronomes focus 06/15/2010

In Italy, a university for Slow Food gastronomes


BRA — Students from all over the world are flocking to a one-of-a-kind university devoted to the Slow Food movement, founded nearly a quarter century ago to promote “good, clean and fair” food.

Nestled in the heart of the Langhe wine-producing region, near the white truffle “capital” Alba, the University of Gastronomic Sciences (UNISG) has a student body of more than 300.

Visitors to the six-year-old university, housed in a sprawling 19th-century complex once owned by the House of Savoy, may be surprised to see no pots or pans in the classrooms.

“The university was born from (Slow Food founder) Carlo Petrini’s idea of looking at gastronomy like a science, stressing the affective, cultural and humanistic ingredients without which one cannot understand the value of food,” said UNISG director Valter Cantino.

The students are not on the way to becoming chefs but rather gastronomes, “new figures” capable of working in all areas of “quality food-processing,” including production, distribution, promotion and communication, the university says in its prospectus..... MORE    

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20100615com3.html

Nothing personal NO HOLDS BARRED Armida Siguion-Reyna 06/15/2010

Nothing personal

Armida Siguion-Reyna
On Friday, June 25, 2010, Movie and Television Review and Classification Board will recognize four Best Pictures in Drama, Comedy, Action and Fantasy, as well as Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Supporting Actor, Best Supporting Actress, Best Director and Best Screenplay.

It’s the first, ever, from the regulatory body, as well as the first where the harvest is gleaned from a year-and-a-half’s produce. The Academy Awards, more famously known as the Oscars, perhaps the mother of all award-giving bodies, makes its choices from films done in the year just past, from January to December lang talaga. So do our very own FAMAS, Film Academy of the Philippines and the Manunuri ng Pelikulang Pilipino, but this selection covers films shown since January of 2009, up to May of this year.
MTRCB chairman Ma. Consoliza Laguardia says “It was easy for us to make our choices because all of us have already viewed the films.” Laguardia also says the awards-giving stands to be one of her legacies.
Nothing personal here, especially as the recipient of the premiere MTRCB Film Awards Lifetime Achievement Award is Regal Films’ Lily Monteverde, whom I admire for being feisty and open with her political endorsements, where other producers are on the sly with their under-the-table arrangements..... MORE    

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20100615com4.html

A symbolic relationship AN OUTSIDERS VIEW Ken Fuller 06/15/2010

A symbolic relationship

Ken Fuller
In the various reports of the proclamation of President and Vice President on June 9, mention was made of the fact that Aquino supporters declined to participate when Binay supporters chanted “Noy-Bi.” True enough. It was also reported that the joint session of Congress voiced no objection to the proclamations. That was perfectly true in that no senator or congressman raised an objection.

But, watching the live coverage on ANC, it seemed to me that when Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile posed the question, the yellow-garbed Aquino supporters’ chant of “Noynoy!” (at first it sounded like “Mar! Mar!” — a reference to Aquino’s defeated running mate Manuel Roxas II) from the public gallery was issued as a challenge to Binay. Just as significantly — and maybe more so — these chants were met with a thunderous roar of “Binay! Binay! Binay!” from the supporters of the Vice President-elect, whereupon the yellow shirts were silenced.
That may prove to have been a very early defining moment. It is, after all, just possible that the relationship between President Noynoy Aquino and Vice President Jejomar Binay could symbolize the balance of forces between those intent upon continuing the ruinous agenda of globalization, following a script written by the World Bank Group and the World Trade Organization, and those favoring a more pro-people approach.
The pressures upon Aquino, even before he takes the oath of office, must be enormous. Reportedly, he has complained about the office-seekers and advice-givers who have been badgering him since it became clear that he had won the presidency. Yes, being continually nipped by small fry can be extremely irritating, but there are other, considerably larger fish looking for a meal.
On the international front, the new US Ambassador Harry Thomas Jr. has called for China’s role in its relations with the Philippines to be “transparent.” Although that quality has often been lacking in the USA’s relations with this country, on this occasion Ambassador Thomas made US interests perfectly clear when he argued that the South China Sea issue should be addressed by the whole of Asean. These were international waters, he asserted, and US ships had the right to ply them. It may be that Aquino does not consider such comments to be pressure, and that this was just the kind of thing he had in mind when he told the Philippine Star on Feb. 21 that his presidency would see “more cooperation with America to balance strategic forces within the area.”.. MORE    

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20100615com5.html

French tour group breathes new life into Iraq’s rich past FEATURE 06/15/2010

French tour group breathes new life into Iraq’s rich past



TELLO — Staring out at the ancient Sumerian city of Girsu with the sun beating down in the midst of the Iraqi desert, Philippe Cousin breathlessly exclaims, “It’s extraordinary.”

The retired French engineer’s family, even his country’s foreign ministry, urged him not to make the trip for security reasons but, he says, “I just had to see this with my own eyes.”

Cousin is travelling with 18 others as part of the first French tour group to visit Iraq since 2003. On the itinerary are the ancient cities of Ur, Babylon and Uruk, sites regarded as the birthplace of civilisation that few foreigners have seen since the US-led invasion of that year.

“This really stirs up the emotions,” murmurs Cousin as Catherine Sudre, one of the group’s four guides, recalls Girsu’s history, and details of Sumerian gods and goddesses and various legends that have influenced biblical stories such as those of the Great Flood and of Cain and Abel.

“Everyone would love to see these sights, but they are afraid, they say it is impossible to visit such a country,” the tall white-haired 65-year-old says. “We know that we are pioneers, but other people probably think we are crazy.”
Ur, the biblical birthplace of Abraham, “is extraordinary, it’s amazing, it’s moving,” says Christiane Leroy Prost, a 65-year-old academic.

“We’ve all been dreaming of seeing places like this since we were kids when we read stories and legends about the Middle East.”... MORE    

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20100615com6.html

House of the future like living in an iPad FEATURE 06/15/2010

House of the future like living in an iPad


PARIS — Life inside the next generation of western habitat will be something like nesting inside an iPad, a Paris-wide exhibition on design indicated this week.

No need to turn on a tap or raise a toilet lid, smart sensors will do it for you. Toilet seats are warm, the bathtub remembers how best you like the water, and walls function like screen-savers, changing color or design at a touch.
“A few years back, when people thought about the future they’d think there’d be lots of knobs and buttons, but now that’s not so — it’s all tactile and touch-screen,” said Vincent Barue, an award-winning architect of 27 taking part in Paris’ Designers Days.

A decade from now, he said, entire building facades will be like tactile 3-D screens, communicating with passers-by or with nature, morphing with the wind, responding to the news.

“People will walk on LED-incrusted floors that change light and come alive,” he said.

“Water will be entirely recycled within each home, running on a closed circuit. Apart from the drinking water, there’ll be zero water consumption, even for people with swimming pools.”

At the six-day design event, gathering designers, brands, schools, museums and Paris city hall, Barue’s architecture office threw up 20 visions of the bathroom in the year 2100.

“I see bathrooms as being increasingly important in the future,” he told AFP. “Because people will be more into well-being, into their image. Bathrooms, the ultimate private space, will be the heart of the house.”... MORE    

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20100615com7.html

Upper classmen gloat: PMA Class ’78 regime over By Mario J. Mallari 06/15/2010

With Bangit opting to retire early

Upper classmen gloat: PMA Class ’78 regime over

By Mario J. Mallari

The military chief has opted for an early retirement, and there seems to be gloating from upperclassmen.

Beleaguered Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Chief of Staff Gen. Delfin Bangit has opted to retire early from the military service, apparently to give way to the choice of President-elect Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino who had publicly announced that he will not retain the incumbent chief of the 120,000-strong organization.

AFP spokesman Lt. Col. Arnulfo Marcelo Burgos Jr. yesterday confirmed that Bangit had started his farewell visits to major military commands, starting with the Army’s 2nd Infantry Division (ID) based in Tanay, Rizal yesterday.
“Definitely, he will be retiring from service early. As far as the exact date is concerned, we don’t have any formal information when,” said Burgos.

Asked if Bangit will be retiring before Aquino’s inauguration on June 30, Burgos replied “it’s hard to tell while there is no definite date…but his farewell visit is an indication he will retire early.”

Should Bangit retire before June 30, Burgos said an acting chief of staff will take over. “There is no problem with that, the AFP is institutionalized, we have procedures to follow. We don’t pay honor not just to one person but to the institution,” he said.

Elsewhere in the military, there appeared to be gloating in the Philippine Military Academy as PMA Class of 1978, which has President Arroyo as honorary member, has said that this class may now come to an end, with the ruling class in the AFP having the same fate as Bangit.

Noynoy Aquino has already hinted that his choice for the next AFP chief comes from a senior class of the PMA Class of 1978, apparently a member of either PMA Classes of 1976 or 1977.

Military insiders expressed belief that Aquino’s ascension to power could lead to the shortlived “rule” of members of the PMA Class of 1978, which include Bangit.

“He (Aquino) is obviously not comfortable with the class (PMA 1978), so it is safe to say that their (members of PMA Class of 1978) reign could be over,” said one source.

Aside from Bangit, several members of the PMA Class of 1978 are currently occupying key positions both in the AFP and Philippine National Police (PNP).... MORE  

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20100615hed1.html

Ally frowns on Aquino political compromise By Angie Rosales 06/15/2010

Ally frowns on Aquino political compromise

By Angie Rosales
Not all defeated political allies of President-elect Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino should be rewarded with government posts, one of the incoming Chief Executive’s staunch supporters said.

Sen. Francis Pangilinan openly admitted his dislike of rewarding government positions to Liberal Party (LP) members or known allies who lost in the recent elections especially if the person is not qualified for the job.

“More than party affiliation, I think it is whether or not you are fit for the job. Not all who supported President-elect Aquino possess the requirements for the job. Not all who supported him should be given a post,” he said.

“In my opinion, in a model LP, let’s look at the qualifications of the person. And having said that, I know there are a lot, not all from LP that are qualified,” Pangilinan added.

The senator’s statements came long before reports came out over the weekend that outgoing Isabela Gov. Grace Padaca and some other defeated local candidates of LP have been assured of a government post next year, after the one-year employment ban for losing candidates in the last elections ends.

Padaca, who lost her reelection bid for the governorship of Isabela, claimed she even received a text message from Aquino himself asking her what post she preferred to have under his administration.

“What position would interest you?” Padaca quoted Aquino as having allegedly asked her during their brief conversation through text messaging after the latter was proclaimed Wednesday by Congress as the winner of the presidential race last May 10.

Pangilinan was named among the “consultants” or effectively a member one of the screening committees on some of the Cabinet posts.

“I for one am being consulted on some on the Cabinet posts, particularly with respect with the justice system and the judiciary. I was part of the study group that put together the agenda for the justice system of the Aquino-Roxas campaign. I suppose that’s the role that I am playing as LP member,” he told reporters during the Kapihan sa Senado forum last Thursday.

“We have provided a number of names to President-elect Aquino for his consideration. So ultimately, that is his decision,” he said.... MORE  

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20100615hed2.html

Same old problems hound school opening By Jason Faustino 06/15/2010

Same old problems hound school opening

By Jason Faustino


Perennial problems hound public and private students from both in the elementary and secondary levels return to their respective schools today, marking the start of the 2010-2011 school year.

Education Secretary Mona Valisno said they expect 24.43 million students to return to school, to which 20.17 million or 86 percent of the total number will be attending public schools, while 3.26 million will go to private schools.

Of the number, 3.15 million are in Grade 1 and 1.73 million in first year high school. 

All in all, 13.44 million students will attend public elementary schools and 5.65 million in public secondary schools, while 1.17 million and 1.45 million will be attending private elementary and secondary schools, respectively.
Another 0.88 million are enrolled in public pre-schools and 0.45 million in private pre-schools.

The Department of Education (DepEd) said this year’s enrolment figures showed an increase of close to one million from the 2009 level of 22.44 million (19.46 million in the public schools and 2.98 million in private schools).
In 2008, the number of students stood at 21.61 million, or an increase of nearly one million from the 2007 figures of 20.91 million.
Enrolment has consistently risen over the years with Education officials attributing this to an increase in the population of the country
as well as campaign to get as many school-age children and out-of-school-youth to attend classes.... MORE    

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20100615hed3.html

Palace willing to face queries on GMA achievement record By Aytch S. de la Cruz 06/15/2010

Palace willing to face queries on GMA achievement record

By Aytch S. de la Cruz

Armed by the usual growth numbers that its officials have been showing off the nation in the entire transition period, Malacañang remains unfazed by the attacks of its critics in disputing the Arroyo administration’s claims of passing a better Philippines to President-elect Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III.

Speaking on behalf of the government she has served, Presidential Management Staff (PMS) chief Maria Elena Bautista-Horn yesterday said they are ready to face every question to be raised by their critics in the upbeat reports and statements they are releasing to the public these past few days.

Two of President Arroyo’s long-time politician critics, Citizen’s Battle Against Corruption party-list Rep. Joel Villanueva and Nueva Ecija Rep. Eduardo Nonato Joson were united on Sunday in slamming the positive report card laid out by the Arroyo government upon the termination of its nine-year rule.

Bautista-Horn, however, countered that Malacañang’s figures were drawn from various credible sources and they have more back-up documents in store to support their statements which they are willing to explain to their challenging critics.

“I can face them, talk to them, and show them the data I’m holding. I also would like to discuss this matter in the open because of the many allegations that are surfacing. But, I guess, they’re just coming from different quarters. I’m not claiming that what they are saying are lies, maybe we’re just coming from different points of view,” she stressed. ... MORE  

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20100615hed4.html

Noynoy ally asks GMA critics to go slow on probe By Charlie V. Manalo 06/15/2010

Noynoy ally asks GMA critics to go slow on probe

By Charlie V. Manalo

A high ranking official of Sen. Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino’s Liberal Party (LP) yesterday asked critics of President Arroyo to go easy in probing the outgoing president on allegations of graft and corruption, saying priorities should be properly identified first if the nation is to move forward.

Armed by the usual growth numbers that its officials have been showing off the nation in the entire transition period, Malacañang says it remains unfazed by the attacks disputing the Arroyo administration’s claims of bequeathing a better Philippines to the Aquino (see related story) .

Reacting to Sen. Edgardo Angara’s call to form an independent body to probe Arroyo, Cavite Rep. Joseph Emilio Abaya, LP secretary-general, said the country is facing various serious problems which need to be addressed with dispatch before anything else.

“That’s the very reason it has to be studied first so Senator Angara should hold his horses. Priorities should be carefully studied,” said Abaya when 

asked if the creation of an independent body to probe Arroyo would be a good start of the Aquino presidency.
Abaya said the decision should be best left to the administration of Aquino.

“I think we’ve heard that or a similar commission from President-elect Aquino, so it is best to await the decision and announcement,” said Abaya

Outgoing Bayan Muna party-list Rep. Satur Ocampo said that “the idea of an independent commission to investigate the many charges versus GMA after she leaves the presidency is not new. It has been proposed by people’s organizations and human rights groups on the next president,” said Ocampo, although he agreed with Abaya saying that investigating Arroyo and her allies in the next government through an independent body should be best left in the hands of Aquino.... MORE    

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20100615hed5.html

DoJ: P6.1-B budget needed for prosecutors, court houses By Benjamin B. Pulta 06/15/2010

DoJ: P6.1-B budget needed for prosecutors, court houses

By Benjamin B. Pulta
Justice department (DoJ) officials are recommending the approval of a P 6.1 billion increase in the 2011 budget of the department to bankroll 34 programs and projects, including the hiring of more prosecutors, the construction of new court houses, and expanding the government’s witness protection program.

Acting Justice Secretary Alberto Agra said, “The DoJ needs the go-ahead from the DBM (Department of Budget and Management) for this 2011 budget plan because the P6.1-billion hike is P3.7 billion 

or 151 percent higher than the adjustment ceiling of P2.4 billion set by the budget department in the proposed General Appropriations Act (GAA) for next year. Of the proposed increase of P6.1 billion, P4.536 billion is earmarked for the continued implementation of 10 programs, or P2.301 billion more than the DBM-fixed 2011 budget ceiling of P2.235 billion.

The DoJ is also seeking an increased outlay of P1.312 billion for 24 existing and new projects, or P1.260 billion higher than the ceiling of P52 million for next year.

Agra said that more than half the planned budget increase for the OSEC—P3.826 billion—is earmarked for the prosecution services, particularly for salaries and other compensation for vacant positions filled up in 2008 and 2009, creation of positions for 100 new prosecutors as well as positions for additional 733 support staff to augment the inadequate manpower at various city and provincial prosecution offices.... MORE  

  SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20100615hed6.html

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