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Unity is priority EDITORIAL 06/21/2010

Monday, June 21, 2010

Unity is priority

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The gimmick being built up by the yellow crowd for the inauguration of President-elect Noynoy Aquino in making spectators take a collective oath with the new President — a first, as it is being bruited about by the same yellow horde — will likely be yet another attempt at exclusivity and will likely backfire.

The 10,000 (100,000 even, as claimed by the yellow media) estimated people who will troop to the Quirino Grandstand will likely be the same throng of civil socialites who mill around Aquino, Liberal Party (LP) members, movie stars and starlets and a sprinkling of supporters who are pinning their huge hopes on the Noynoy presidency.

Taking an oath presupposes a commitment which the organizers of the Aquino inauguration want the mass oath-taking to convey. It would be a commitment for support of Noynoy for the coming years he will be in Malacañang.

This is a pretty strange oath, pledging loyalty to a president, not the country or the nation, but to Noynoy. Still, the yellows have always been strange in their ways of showing “loyalty.”... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20100621com1.html

The perfect crime? FRONTLINE Ninez Cacho-Olivares 06/21/2010

The perfect crime?

Ninez Cacho-Olivares
Cesar Flores of Smartmatic and his partner, the Commission on Elections (Comelec), have a ready answer on allegations of automated fraud committed last May 10, 2010: Show me the evidence of cheating — even just one piece of proof of electronic cheating.

There is plenty of evidence — all staring them in the face, but no matter what is shown — even documentary proof showing different voting and transmittal dates — this is dismissed as just glitches.

But no matter how much they deny it, there certainly was fraud — and massive, too — committed during the last polls, and they certainly know it, but refuse to admit it.

The fact alone that neither Smartmatic nor Comelec officials were upfront with the people is more than enough evidence that not only were they hiding a lot of things from the Filipino people, but that they also had every intention to manipulate the vote for certain preferred candidates.

From the start, both the poll body and Smartmatic kept on insisting that these precinct count optical scan machines cannot be hacked, but a forensic examination of the 60 PCOS machines that were found in the Antipolo home of a Smartmatic technician showed a “secret backdoor” or a port called console which opens the door for easy manipulation of votes, and widescale fraud.

An IT expert, Roberto Verzola of Halalang Marangal, another poll watchdog group, pointed out that the “newly-discovered backdoor” in the PCOS machine, as discovered during the forensic examination, allows untraceable manipulation of its operations, as the console in the PCOS found, claimed by Smartmatic to serve as an output, has input capabilities.... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20100621com2.html

Violence dampens hope of ending Turkey’s Kurdish conflict FEATURE 06/21/2010

Violence dampens hope of ending Turkey’s Kurdish conflict


ANKARA — Mounting Kurdish rebel violence in Turkey and a harsh military response fed fears Friday that an already fragile government bid for a peaceful end to the 25-year conflict is in its death throes.

At least 130 members of the separatist Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) have been killed inside Turkey and in an air raid on rebel hideouts in neighboring Iraq since violence flared anew in March, the army said Friday, adding it had lost 43 personnel.

The PKK is expected to further intensify and spread its attacks, it warned.

The rebels have in the past bombed civilian targets in western Turkey, including tourist resorts.

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan charged the PKK sought to undermine a government initiative to boost Kurdish freedoms and investment in the impoverished southeast in a bid to peacefully end the conflict.

The so-called “Kurdish opening,” announced last year, has already faltered amid an opposition outcry that Ankara is bowing to the PKK, as well as persistent rebel attacks and a judicial onslaught on Kurdish activists.

Ankara rejects dialog with the PKK, which it lists as a terrorist group.... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20100621com3.html

Trouble at SSS; PCOS’ backdoor C.R.O.S.S.R.O.A.D.S Jonathan De la Cruz 06/21/2010

Trouble at SSS; PCOS’ backdoor

Jonathan De la Cruz
Trouble, big trouble, is brewing at the Social Security System (SSS) — the pension fund for the country’s private sector workers. Word is out that the controversial Sapceo (Special Assistant to the President and CEO) former Neda Director-General Romy Neri, has applied for the newly created position of Deputy Chief Executive Officer. Nothing wrong with that, as the guy believes he fulfills all the basic requirements for the job. The problem is that he happens to be Neri’s nephew and, worse, has been credited with having steered the SSS into a number of questionable transactions which have been denounced by SSS personnel and other stakeholders as highly irregular and disadvantageous to the System. Indeed, if we go by the white papers which have been circulating in and out of the SSS, Neri’s nephew, a certain Antonio Echevarria Jr., has allegedly earned such notoriety that mere mention of his name elicits angst and concern if not outright revulsion from the SSS personnel. And now his possible entry as a full fledged employee has engendered renewed calls for investigation of a number of initiatives done during Neri’s stint.

Often cited is the P1 billion accommodation given by the SSS to the Philippine Postal Service (Philpost) supposedly to upgrade and modernize its offices and operations nationwide to service the remittance requirements of OFWs and other workers, promote a culture of savings among them and their families and enhance and promote employment and enterpreneurship opportunities especially in the countryside... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20100621com4.html

Evils of the media oligarchy DIE HARD III Herman Tiu Laurel 06/21/2010

Evils of the media oligarchy

Herman Tiu Laurel

Late last May, mainstream newspapers trumpeted the 7.3 percent GDP growth rate the outgoing Arroyo regime touted as the highest since 2007. Just two weeks later on June 15, the same newspapers reported that unemployment rose to 8 percent from 7.3 percent in January and 7.5 percent in the same period last year. Economist Alejandro “Ding” Lichauco noted the contradiction: “What kind of growth is this that actually loses jobs instead of creating them?” His explanation that “the growth was all election spending” sparked a remark from me: “Those billions of campaign funds went into buying ‘baller IDs,’ hand fans, caps, sticker body tattoos, tons of plastic campaign posters, and tons of cheap printed t-shirts from China!” But that’s not all of it.

Worst of all had been the candidates’ expenditure in broadcast media. From the highest to the lowest posts, candidates’ media spending could have run up to P30 billion. Nielsen’s Market Research estimates that 75 percent of such media spending went to TV; 5 percent to radio; and the rest divided among print and other media. Nobody really knows the absolute total since even the top candidates, such as the president-to-be, are presumed by seasoned election watchers to have grossly understated their official report of expenses to the Comelec. The Nielsen’s Market Research and the NGO consortium, Pera at Pulitika, monitoring the campaign expenses have their reports but few believe they have captured the real figures. Reports like that of BSA III’s spending of only P403 million is incredible to most analysts.

Each of the top four presidential candidates spent up to the billions; the rest of the thousands of candidates in the congressional, provincial and municipal levels put together spent tens of billions more. But these payments for media airtime, especially TV, do not generate new employment. They merely concentrate the flow of money to the two main broadcast networks and eventually cause major dollar drains as these networks have visibly spent much of their billions from campaign advertising earnings by importing top-of-the-line broadcast equipment to match the fancy floor-to-ceiling computer effects screens of CNN which cost fortunes. Broadcast media in the Philippines, which concentrate on entertainment, political or otherwise, do not expand real production in the economy.

In the 1990s, the country had a “political advertising ban” which limited candidates’ media election spending, with Comelec buying media allotments to give “equal time and equal space” to candidates. I benefitted from that in my 1995 Senate run. Posters were limited to “common areas,” a rule retained today but observed in the breach. Those rules responded to popular disgust with election overspending in the 1980s that always left the country poorer and dirtier. Then, Sen. Raul Roco in 2001 pushed RA 9006, the so-called Fair Elections Act, which lifted the political ad ban and has since made our national election campaigns more and more expensive — like the good old bad days when election costs had become unfair to candidates with little funds. It is clear that the media oligarchs were behind RA 9006, mobilizing politicians and NGOs like Melinda de Jesus’ media watchdog, as well as the KBP to lobby for it.

The only real (and really big) winner in the May 2010 elections is the Philippine broadcast media and, as evidenced by the rising unemployment, it left the country a lot poorer. It seems that we have held the elections only to benefit the media oligarchy. Why, the elections also led to the “triumph” of the candidate which the media oligarchs have supported all along. It seems that the losing presidential candidates were cooked in their own lard, paying through their noses billions in advertising charges that were giving cleverly disguised on-the-house media exposure, news insertions and, as many suspect, pay-later advertising to their top rival. After the elections, one of the broadcast giant’s minions will likely be appointed to a Cabinet seat such as the DPWH or DoTC.

Mainstream print media are villainous too as highlighted by one recent case: The sacking of Belinda Cunanan by the Philippine Daily Inquirer (PDI). The PDI masthead which claims that it stands for “Balanced News, Fearless Views” has constantly been belied by its putting the pro-Gloria, anti-Erap, then anti-Noynoy columnist prominently on top of its op-ed section’s second page throughout Gloria Arroyo’s nine-and-a-half year reign. It was only after the election triumph of BSA III whom PDI had clearly supported that Cunanan was summarily fired. Despite the claim of PDI that it has accepted Cunanan’s resignation, the latter denies that she ever did.

To begin with, the PDI never had balance in its news or views on Erap as it’s only known for coddling either pro-Gloria or pro-Yellow columnists. But now that Gloria is out and Noynoy is in, it seems that the newspaper won’t even allow one anti-Noynoy columnist to exist alongside its horde of Yellow writers!

But frankly, all these evils we see today in Philippine media pale in comparison to what happened in 2001 when they actively aided and abetted the ouster of the popularly-elected President Estrada by demonizing him, fanning the frenzy of the Cardinal Sin-Yellow Army mob, and rationalizing the treason of AFP and PNP generals. Not stopping at that, they later kept vital information about the Epira law which allowed the highest power rates in Asia to slip through public scrutiny. Then they lobbied for the removal of the “political advertising ban” and swept the Garci cheating under the rug for a whole year. Today, they are trying to sweep “Hocus PCOS” under the rug as well by helping Smartmatic’s “Miss Transparency” distract the nation’s attention.

(Tune in to 1098AM, Sulo ng Pilipino, Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, 6 p.m. to 7 p.m.; Destiny Cable Channel 21, Talk News TV — Infowars Edition, Tuesday, 7 p.m. to 8 p.m.; also visit http://hermantiulaurel.blogspot.com)

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

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20100621com5.html

How much for justice? HE SAYS Aldrin Cardon 06/21/2010

How much for justice?

Aldrin Cardon

A grieving mother, all 74 years of her remaining firm in a dogged pursuit of justice for the murder of her two sons, could be the happiest mom on Father’s Day as she finally got what she wished and prayed for.

Call it a hunch, but lawyer Carmencita de Castro, knew her seven-year chase of Jose Ma. “Bong” Panililio, son of the late jeweler Fe Panlilio and prime suspect in the murder of brothers Albert Gutierrez and Ariel Real would end with the tip she received by telephone on the whereabouts of suspect Panlilio.
She had received much information about Panlilio before, some accurate while others false and given for a fee, but it was this tip that sent her packing for a short trip to Pattaya, Thailand where Panlilio was arrested, with the National Bureau of Investigation and the International Police acting swiftly on her request to arrest and immediately deport the suspect.

She claimed to have had a good feeling about the tip that she wasted no time in bringing documents related to the twin murders, which she presented to Thai authorities, who accommodated her request to arrest Panlilio as soon as he was spotted in the Thai city renowned for its beach resorts.

Panlilio’s arrest was swift, wasting no time acting on Mrs. De Castro’s request, a very revealing opposite of her experience in seeking justice and tracking Panlilio in Manila.

Mrs. De Castro had spent most of the last seven years in search of Panlilio.... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20100621com6.html

Lost and found SHE SAYS Dinah S. Ventura 06/21/2010

Lost and found

Dinah S. Ventura
A seven-year-old student, Kyron Horman, had been missing for three days when we arrived in Portland, Oregon. The little boy attended a science fair on June 4 at his elementary school in Portland and never got home. His stepmother immediately called 911 and the search has been going on since then. Media and the authorities, as well as a host of volunteers from nearby communities, are taking part in this ongoing effort. A vigil was held most recently where over 400 persons attended.

Streamers with Kyron’s picture and a hotline number are posted everywhere. Daily, news updates are given in both the local TV and print media. As the days pass and Kyron remains missing, the people’s concern increases rather than dissipates. Empathy is strong and action has been consistent. 

It’s the kind of support any parent would appreciate at a time like this.

It’s the kind of support someone like Filipina lawyer Carmencita de Castro could have used soon after her two sons were killed and the primary suspect disappeared, just like those other crime suspects that have tended to vanish from trace, while all we can ever do is throw up our hands in frustration.

Not so, however, for Carmencita de Castro.... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20100621com7.html

Villar to challenge LP bets for top Senate post By Angie M. Rosales and Gerry Baldo 06/21/2010


Villar to challenge LP bets for top Senate post

By Angie M. Rosales and Gerry Baldo

Sen. Manuel Villar who seems to have his wounds healed from the May 10 polls is now seeking a comeback as Senate president and had sent an emissary to convince one of his most recent staunch critics, Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile, to support his bid for the upper chamber presidency.

Enrile, however, had turned down the idea, saying he’d rather go independent or coalesce with the ranks of the Liberal Party (LP) members and allies than align with the so-called Villar bloc.

Enrile himself revealed this, emphasizing that the issue is nothing personal against Villar but more of “delicadeza.”
In a radio interview, the Senate chief said that not only the ranks of Senators Francis Pangilinan and Franklin Drilon sought him out for support in their respective bids for the upper chamber presidency but also Villar through an emissary.

“They sent an emissary insinuating an invitation, asking me if I could join their group even if I would opt not to vote for him. They just want to make sure I will join them,” Enrile said, referring to the number requirements in installing a Senate president.

Under Senate rules, a solid vote of 13 is needed to elect an upper chamber leader.

“But I told them, that (proposition) will not work for me. This is nothing personal but I don’t 

think it’s possible, even if I will not cast my vote for him because the moment I take on committee assignments under his leadership, if and when Villar gets elected, it signifies the same thing,” he explained.... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20100621hed1.html

AFP all set for leadership turnover 06/21/2010

AFP all set for leadership turnover


It’s all systems go for the early retirement of Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Chief of Staff Gen. Delfin Bangit tomorrow.

In fact, AFP spokesman Lt. Col. Arnulfo Marcelo Burgos Jr. yesterday said Bangit will be wrapping up his farewell visits to military units today (Monday) during a testimonial parade in his honor at the Army headquarters in Fort Bonifacio.

“That’s the last among the major services, I don’t know if there are any more on Tuesday but I think that’s the last, the one tomorrow (Monday),” he added.

Burgos said they are just awaiting words from the Commander-in-Chief, President Arroyo, after acting Defense Secretary Norberto Gonzales has already approved Bangit’s request to retire formally from the military service on June 22. 

Gonzales said last week he already forwarded Bangit’s request to the President.

“So far, I don’t know the schedule on Tuesday…if there would be, that would be the last, the relinquishment, turnover,” Burgos stressed.

“He applied for June 22, that will be the last (testimonial parade), that would be the turnover,” he added.

According to Burgos, the military would know by today what will be the final schedule on Tuesday.

If the President approves Bangit’s request, Burgos said there will be formal turnover ceremonies at Camp Aguinaldo on Tuesday where the Commander-in-Chief is expected to attend.... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20100621hed3.html

Japan-RP trade pact under WTO review By Michaela P. del Callar 06/21/2010

Japan-RP trade pact under WTO review

By Michaela P. del Callar

The controversial free trade pact between the Philippines and Japan is currently being reviewed by the World Trade Organization (WTO) to ensure the agreement’s transparency, the Department of Foreign Affairs yesterday said.
The review of the Japan Philippines Economic Partnership Agreement (Jpepa) was considered by the WTO’s Committee on Regional Trade Agreements (CRTA) chaired by Ambassador Alfredo Suescum of Panama last June 15 in Geneva, Switzerland. 

Aside from the Jpepa, the CRTA also considered the free trade agreement between Australia and Chile.

The CRTA was established by the WTO General Council to examine individual regional trade agreements (RTAs). The review process is governed by the Transparency Mechanism for Regional Trade Agreements adopted on Dec. 14, 2006 establishing on a provisional basis a new transparency mechanism for all RTAs.

Trade Undersecretary Thomas Aquino, who chairs the Inter-agency Technical Committee on WTO Matters and the lead negotiator for the Jpepa, headed the Philippine delegation. Those who joined him were officials from the National Economic Development Authority, Board of Investments, Bureau of International Trade Relations, Department of Agriculture, Tariff Commission, Department of Justice and Bureau of Customs, as well as officers of the Philippine Mission to the WTO led by Ambassador Manuel Teehankee.... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20100621hed4.html

Third journalist killed in a week 06/21/2010

Third journalist killed in a week

Gunmen shot dead a 50-year-old newspaper reporter in southern Philippines at the weekend, the third journalist slain in a week, police yesterday said.

Nestor Dedolido was pronounced dead on arrival at a hospital after two men on a motorcycle shot him at close range outside a bar he owned in the southern city of Digos in Davao del Sur province on Saturday night, police said in an incident report.

Dedolido was a reporter for Kastigador, a weekly allegedly financed by a group of politicians and his death may have been related to his work, police said.

“I believe the killing of my father is politically motivated. There is a politician involved,” Dedolido’s son, Marxlen Dedolido, 22, told reporters without elaborating.

The Philippines is considered one of the most dangerous places in the world for journalists.

Broadcaster Desidario Camangyan, 52, was shot dead by a gunman who walked onstage as the victim hosted a village singing contest in the southern province of Davao Oriental on Monday.

A day later, Lito Agustin, 37, a radio reporter, was ambushed and shot dead as he rode a motorcycle home in the northern city of Laoag in Ilocos Norte province.... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20100621hed5.html

Enrile queries Aquino proclamation re-enactment 06/21/2010

Enrile queries Aquino proclamation re-enactment


Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile does not see the need to “proclaim” anew President-elect Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III during his inaugural rites on noontime of June 30 but said that he will, nonetheless, accede to do it if Aquino’s group asks him to as part of the inauguration ceremonies.

Enrile noted the “insignificance” of such proceedings when Aquino is formally installed to the presidency less than two weeks from now.

“It need not be done. It’s part of Congress’ responsibilities. He’s proclaimed already, it’s part of the records now, part of history and we (Congress leaders) already signed that proclamation,” he said.

“I’m not really sure if we still have to read those pronouncements because it’s been part of the official records
now and now that’s he’s being inaugurated because he emerged as the winner (in that polls),” he said in a radio interview.

Enrile added that when Congress named Aquino as the president-elect, alongside vice president-elect Jejomar Binay, he and his counterpart from the House of Representatives, Speaker Prospero Nograles, already affixed their signatures as to who was the rightful winners in the last presidential and vice presidential race.

“If they want to re-enact it, that’s fine with me. I don’t have a problem with that.”

“But I don’t see the need to repeat it. Why? Is anyone questioning their victory? I don’t there is. I don’t think there’s anyone claiming that they should not be installed.

“They have been proclaimed by Congress, the body mandated by the Constitution to state, ascertain the winning candidates in the elections,” he said.... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20100621hed6.html

Group seeks Ched chief resignation over subsidy bid By Jason Faustino 06/21/2010

Group seeks Ched chief resignation over subsidy bid

By Jason Faustino
A militant youth group had sought the resignation of Commission on Higher Education Executive Director Atty. Julito Vitriolo due to his proposal for the national government to subsidize private colleges and universities to prevent yearly increases in tuition and other fees.

Vitriolo earlier said that the government should increase the budget allocation for state universities and colleges (SUCs) to prevent the annual tuition hike in private schools.
But according to Anakbayan, Vitriolo is acting as a spokesperson for the private schools, leaving them to questions his priorities and if he is colluding with private schools.

“Vitriolo should resign from his position and just designate himself as the spokesperson for private school owners, just to make it official. His bias against the students and parents is appalling. How did someone who is so ignorant of the concept of ‘education is a right’ ever get into such a high position in the CHED?” said Anakbayan national vice-chairperson Anton Dulce.

Vitriolo made the statement apparently to justify the annual tuition and other school fee increases being imposed by private schools owners with impunity.... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20100621hed7.html

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