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Poor excuse EDITORIAL 06/22/2010

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Poor excuse

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The incoming president, Noynoy Aquino, rejects the idea of announcing his line-up of Cabinet appointees at this time — save for the earlier ones who had already announced their entry in the Aquino ll Cabinet.

Noynoy claimed his reason for not identifying his picks for the Cabinet at this time is that it will be unfair to some four others being considered for the same Cabinet positions to be known since they may be pilloried by the media and others who would want to land the job, too.

That is certainly just an excuse — and a bad one at that.

What is more likely is that Noynoy has either remained undecided about his choices — which is a sign of indecisiveness — or those he had approached for a job offer may have turned it down, for whatever reason.

What, after all, is wrong with the incoming Malacañang tenant making public his choices and alternatives, and having criticisms or praises for those choices he makes? That’s part of politics, and a path toward transparency.

And doesn’t Noynoy want the public to know if his Cabinet picks have skeletons in their closets?

But it does not appear to matter to Noynoy that some of his appointees to his Cabinet are stained with corruption — the evil he claims he would be slaying.

Take the case of his appointed Social Services secretary, Corazon “Dinky” Soliman. The fact that she and her NGOs scammed the Filipino people of P35 billion in their PeaceBonds in 2001 and netted for themselves a cool P1 billion, tax free, with no auditing from the Commission on Audit, certainly does not speak well of his pledge for a corrupt-free government under his stewardship, but protection of his allies.... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20100622com1.html

Useless peace talks FRONTLINE Ninez Cacho-Olivares 06/22/2010

Useless peace talks

Ninez Cacho-Olivares
Talking peace with insurgents hardly brings about any peace or peace agreements. What talking peace does, between insurgents and the government, is merely to provide government and its military — as well as the insurgents — some breathing space.

This peace talks move is always being brought up by every new government, but ends up with no peace agreement in the horizon, especially when the government is already on the way out.

The reason for peace talks not getting anywhere is that the demands of the insurgents cannot be met constitutionally by a government operating under constitutional rules.

Take the case of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and the Arroyo government’s peace talks, where much was promised by Gloria upon attaining power. The MILF demanded a sub-state, in reality, an independent Islamic state within the Republic of the Philippines, and getting a large slice of the Republic’s territories, a demand which goes against the constitutional grain. Gloria was ready to give the MILF all it demanded, even after having already given the rebels a piece of the territory to control.

No agreement was possible, as the high court ruled that this was unconstitutional. But, except for sporadic firefights between rebels and government troops, there was some kind of ceasefire during Gloria’s nine-year stay in Malacañang.

Similarly, there were peace talks between the communists and the Arroyo government, but these talks too, collapsed, mainly because the demands were pretty steep.

Still, it was during these so-called peace talks with the Reds that some of the communists in self-exile, returned to the country on safe passes, after which, they scurried back to their abodes in Europe, with the peace talks scuttled and government forces fighting it out with the rebels.... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20100622com2.html

Israelis flock ‘back’ to Germany FEATURE 06/22/2010

Israelis flock ‘back’ to Germany


BERLIN — “My grandmother was three when she had to escape Nazi Germany with her family,” says Shiri Rosen, one of thousands of Israelis to have moved “back” to Germany in recent years.
“My great-grandfather was a lawyer, his office was right near here,” the 24-year-old told AFP in a cafe in central Berlin, pointing over her shoulder to a parallel street.
“When I was a kid, in Israel, she (her grandmother) bounced me on her knee, singing a song in German ... They were the only words in German I ever heard from her.”
Before Adolf Hitler took power in 1933, Berlin had a thriving Jewish population numbering around 170,000, many of them professionals such as doctors and lawyers, or intellectuals and artists.
But this vibrant community was decimated in the 12 years of terror that followed as the Nazis murdered six million men, women and children across Europe in their attempt to destroy the Jewish race.
Unsurprisingly, once World War II was over and the new state of Israel came into being in 1948, the few Jews who had miraculously survived were loath to stay in Germany, in the “Land der Taeter” (“country of the perpetrators”).
But today, decades later, with an ever-dwindling number of Holocaust survivors still around, the scars are slowly healing and Germany is becoming an attractive place to live for many Israelis.
A steady trickle has been returning to make use of a law allowing descendants to claim German citizenship.
“Germany today is a haven of peace for the descendants of those who, one day, fled the country because they were in danger,” says Ilan Weiss, who moved from Israel 20 years ago.
“The fact that Jews are coming here again constitutes for Germany a certificate that it is acceptable again.”
In 2008, the last year for which figures are available, almost 2,000 Israelis became naturalized German citizens. Two years earlier, more than 4,300 did so..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20100622com3.html

P-Noy losing allies MR. EXPOSE Amb. Ernesto Maceda 06/22/2010

P-Noy losing allies

Amb. Ernesto Maceda
Early P-Noy campaign boosters Billy Esposo of the Philippine Star and Conrad de Quiros of the Philippine Daily Inquirer have turned out to be early critics of P-Noy. Their main complaint: P-Noy has announced defeated vice presidential teammate Mar Roxas is his alter ego and head of his transition team and has allowed him to take active control of the transition and the choice of Cabinet appointments. De Quiros labeled Roxas a doppelganger which means “a ghostly double of a living person, especially one that haunts its fleshy counterpart.”

There’s a one-year ban on appointments to a government position for a losing candidate. A losing candidate will be a bitter person who is likely to be vengeful, would not be emotionally stable and objective and would be most likely minded to recoup his expenses using his government position. Giving Mar Roxas so much power and active participation this early in P-Noy’s administration certainly violates the spirit of the law. Roxas lost the election, but he is certainly winning the infighting and getting most of the spoils.

We bumped into Peping Cojuangco, Congressmen Amado Bagatsing and Tarzan Lazatin, Undersecretary Wencelito Andanar and 30 leaders of Pinoy Partriots, a citizens movement for P-Noy at Hotel Stotsenberg in Clark CDC Zone. They were highly critical of Mar Roxas. They even claimed that Mar Roxas went solo in his campaign when his survey ratings zoomed up to 53 percent and Noynoy dropped to 37 percent. Joining the unhappy group of Noynoy originals are Pastor Boy Saycon, Maria and Boy Montelibano and other leaders of the yellow army.
President Ramos has advised P-Noy to start reconciling with his political enemies. It looks like he has a bigger problem with his political allies. By his policy of not “hurting” Mar Roxas, he is hurting so many other people.
Nine days before inauguration day, P-Noy has not announced his Cabinet. It is clear that the P-Noy administration will not hit the ground running. And it takes three to six months for a Cabinet member to learn the job and take control of his department including choosing his key people.... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20100622com4.html

Delicadeza NO HOLDS BARRED Armida Siguion-Reyna 06/22/2010


Armida Siguion-Reyna
As others grapple with whether to yellow or not to yellow come the June 30 inauguration of the incoming administration, in Congress factions are intensely preparing —scheming is perhaps the better word — to elect their leaders. In the upper house, an emissary is supposed to have been sent to woo Senate President Juan Ponce-Enrile’s vote for Sen. Manuel Villar’s “return of the comeback” to the Senate presidency, but the re-elected senator is not biting.

“Nothing personal,” media reports my brother to have clarified. “This has to do with delicadeza.”

Recall that sometime in November of 2008, 13 senators — Mar Roxas, Chiz Escudero, Jinggoy Estrada, Ping Lacson, Jamby Madrigal, Lito Lapid, Greg Honasan, Bong Revilla, Rodolfo Biazon, Dick Gordon, Miguel Zubiri, Edgardo Angara and Loren Legarda — ousted Villar and installed JPE Senate president.

Nine were pinpointed to have instigated the ouster: Roxas, Lacson, Madrigal, Honasan, Biazon, Gordon, Zubiri, Angara and Legarda. Escudero, Lapid, Revilla and Estrada were the late additions that comprised the 13 necessary votes. Then, as now, 13 can make or break a Senate chief, so who says it’s unlucky?

Senator-siblings Alan Peter and Pia Cayetano stayed on Villar’s side, as did Joker Arroyo, Nene Pimentel and Francis Pangilinan. Noy Aquino abstained and Miriam Santiago was absent. That was how loyalties ran then.

A year later, Legarda made a complete turn-around to be on the Villar side of things, without so much as “ni ha, ni ho.” As did Angara, and, according to some quarters, history will judge them, I won’t. This now is a different ball game, there will be a loyalty shift. 

For starters, Roxas, Madrigal, Gordon, Biazon, Pimentel and Aquino are no longer in the Senate; Bongbong Marcos and TG Guingona III are in; Frank Drilon, Tito Sotto and Ralph Recto are back; Lacson is yet to resurface; Antonio Trillanes IV still can’t vote; Honasan is again in JPE’s group, which includes Sotto and Estrada. “We will decide who to align with,” JPE explains. “We will vote as a bloc, that’s our agreement.”... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20100622com5.html

Electoral statistics and the beautiful game AN OUTSIDERS VIEW Ken Fuller 06/22/2010

Electoral statistics and the beautiful game

Ken Fuller
For someone professionally or academically interested (or, like this outsider, with little better to do), electoral statistics are endlessly fascinating. Setting out with the intention of analyzing the performance of the left-wing party-list groups in the May 10 election, I soon found myself side-tracked by statistical curiosities. Look, for example, at how the number of registered voters has increased over the past three elections.

2004: 43,536,028 2007: 45,029,443 2010: 50,723,733

While between 2004 and 2007 the number increased by less than two million, in the succeeding period it rose by more than double that rate. This may not be as anomalous as it seems at first sight, of course, as the number on the register is not determined solely by the birth-rate 18 years earlier but also by the active encouragement to register.
Just as interesting are the fluctuations in the numbers of people who actually voted in the party-list elections, and the number of groups accredited or, in the case of 2010, appearing on the ballot paper (the figures for 2010 are provisional, as according to Comelec there is, once the results of the special elections are canvassed, a possible maximum of 30,626,579 party-list votes).

2001 15,118,815 162
2004 12,721,943 66
2007 30,056,695 93
2010 29,441,706 179.... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20100622com6.html

US signals better relations with Israel

US signals better relations with Israel


WASHINGTON — The United States
signaled Sunday strained relations with Israel were on the mend, announcing White House talks with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu early next month and backing him to the hilt over his plans to ease a four-year blockade of the Gaza Strip.
The July 6 meeting between Netanyahu and US President Barack Obama, announced by the White House, will also provide the leaders with an opportunity to inject some fresh momentum into the moribund Middle East peace process.

Damaged by a row over Jewish settlements in east Jerusalem and the West Bank, the state of the all-important US-Israel relationship was placed under the microscope by the deadly raid on May 31 on a Gaza-bound aid flotilla.
Israel on Thursday bowed to international pressure and agreed to loosen restrictions on what goods are allowed in and out of the Palestinian enclave, fleshing out those proposals on Sunday.

The United States was fulsome in its praise for the plans, saying they “should improve life for the people of Gaza” and pledging US assistance to make sure they are implemented as quickly as possible.

“We urge all those wishing to deliver goods to do so through established channels so that their cargo can be inspected and transferred via land crossings into Gaza,” White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said.... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20100622com7.html

Kris A peddles choice Senate posts for LP bet By Angie M. Rosales 06/22/2010

Sisters vet Cabinet bets, are behind Noynoy’s major decisions

Kris A peddles choice Senate posts for LP bet

By Angie M. Rosales

It didn’t take long for the Aquino sisters, chief among them, television celebrity Kris Aquino, to wield power and influence and interfere in state affairs, not only in the Executive branch of government, but also in the Legislature, more specifically in the Senate at this time.

While the youngest sister of President-elect Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino was busy calling up several senators again, this time peddling choice committee chairmanships in exchange for their vote to ensure the Senate presidency seat for Liberal Party’s Sen. Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan, the other sisters, Ballsy Aquino-Cruz and Pinky Aquino-Abellada, were at their brother’s residence in Times Street, meeting the vetted Cabinet choices and informing them what they ought to be doing as Cabinet secretaries of Noynoy, who was also present at the meeting, reportedly giving the selected officials their “marching orders,” as earlier approved with the sisters.

It is an open secret that the sisters of the incoming president are consulted by him, and most, if not all decisions made, and being made, arrived at after consulting them. 

A reliable Senate source disclosed to the Tribune yesterday that presidential sister Kris Aquino has not stopped calling up the senators for their vote, this time going a step further and offering several senators choice positions in the upper chamber, as committee chairmen in the incoming Senate.

It is presumed that this has the approval of her brother Noynoy, as she alone cannot promise these choice committee seats — ranging from the Senate President pro-tempore, to the Majority leader, to the finance and ways and means committee, as well as offers from her for some senators to be able to retain their previous chairmanships in the incoming Congress—in exchange for giving their vote to Pangilinan, who is the spouse of movie and TV celebrity Sharon Cuneta.

It was also reported earlier that the LP bet for the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Felicisimo “Sonny” Belmonte had stated that Noynoy Aquino had informed him that he wanted a say in the assignment of committee chairmanships, which is deemed as clear inteference in the affairs of a independent and co-equal branch of government by the incoming president.... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20100622hed1.html

Nothing unusual in SC review of HLI — Palace 06/22/2010

Nothing unusual in SC review of HLI — Palace

Malacañang said yesterday it does not see anything peculiar about Chief Justice Renato Corona’s order to review a long-standing labor dispute in Hacienda Luisita Inc. (HLI) in Tarlac owned by the Cojuangco family of President-elect Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III adding that it is a regular course of the judicial process.

Corona only reacted to a case properly filed by a group representing the employees of the hacienda so it’s given due course and it is expected that this will be properly processed by the Supreme Court, President Arroyo’s spokesman Gary Olivar said. 

“This is a regular court action and we trust that it will be processed appropriately and expediently by our justice system,” he added.

The order is being linked to Aquino’s rejection of Corona as head of the Supreme Court and his refusal to take his oath of office as president from the Chief Justice who was appointed to the post by outgoing President Arroyo.
“We should certainly give the benefit of the doubt and have a high regard for the character of the Chief Justice and the President-elect, that they will behave appropriately as required by their respective positions. There is no reason for us to lower our regard for either these gentlemen as this case proceeds,” Olivar said. 

“It has been properly filed, there are interested parties and I see no reason to read anything more into this incident,” Olivar added.

Aggrieved farm workers of the 6,453 hectare sugar estate, meanwhile, welcomed the order of Corona to give priority on the review of the land reform row on Hacienda Luisita.

“The order for review is welcome news. We hope this won’t be the beginning of another false start. We hope this is the beginning of an end to a sugar coated reign and long-running feudal exploitation inside Hacienda Luisita,” the Unyon ng Mga Manggagawa Sa Agrikultura (UMA), the Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP), the Amihan peasant women federation and the left leaning fisherfolk alliance Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya) said in a joint statement in reaction to Chief Justice recent order for a review on the Hacienda Luisita land row case..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20100622hed2.html

Bangit bids final goodbye to AFP By Mario J. Mallari 06/22/2010

Bangit bids final goodbye to AFP

By Mario J. Mallari

It’s final.

Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Chief of Staff Gen. Delfin Bangit is retiring today as chief of the 120,000-strong organi-zation, giving way to incoming President Benigno Aquino III’s choice as military chief when he assumes office on June 30.

Outgoing President Arroyo has already accepted Bangit’s request for an early retirement which takes effect today, her spokesman Ricardo Saludo told reporters via short messaging service yesterday.

Saludo added that following the recom-mendation of the AFP Board of Generals, Arroyo has designated AFP Vice Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Nestor Ochoa to suc-ceed Bangit in an acting capa-city until the next Commander-in-Chief, names his choice for the top post.

Bangit’s decision to file for an early retirement stemmed from Aquino’s public refusal to retain him in office owing to his alleged questionable appointment since his predecessor, Ret. Gen. 

Victor Ibrado, vacated the post right when the election ban on midnight appointments took effect.

Apart from this, Aquino has perceived that Bangit might be beholden to Arroyo given the fact that he has been among her longest-serving generals whose loyalty has been aptly rewarded gradually through promotions.

Bangit reportedly took Aquino’s snide remarks seriously and this eventually drove him to file for an early retirement instead of accepting the lower rank.

AFP spokesman Lt. Col. Arnulfo Marcelo Burgos Jr. yesterday confirmed there is a scheduled change of command ceremonies in Camp Aguinaldo at 3 p.m. today, with acting AFP Vice Chief of Staff Ochoa taking over from Bangit in an acting capacity.

Burgos said the AFP’s Board of Generals recommended that Ochoa should take command as the acting chief of staff of the AFP today in a retirement and change-of-command ceremony at the post parade grounds. President Arroyo is expected to preside over the turn over rites.
.... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20100622hed3.html

Comelec commissioner’s son kidnapped By Marie A. Surbano 06/22/2010

Comelec commissioner’s son kidnapped

By Marie A. Surbano

A new style to get a winning candidate’s proclamation annulled has surfaced, with the son of a Commission on Elections (Comelec) official kidnapped and held hostage by what is believed to be supporters of the losing team.
Comelec confirmed yesterday that Noraldin Yusoph, son of Commis-sioner Elias Yusoph, was kidnapped by still unidentified suspects inside a mosque in Marawi City Sunday.

In an interview, Comelec spokesman James Jimenez said the poll body and the family of the Commissioner are closely coordinating with authorities for the safe return of the young Yusoph.

“We are coordinating with several law enforcement agencies. We are working very hard for the safe return of Noraldin. This is the priority right now,” he said, adding that the kidnappers are in constant communication with the Yusoph family, as the commissioner was able to talk with the kidnappers after the abduction took place and was assured that his son is still alive.

“There is a proof of life and Noraldin is in good condition. They called up Commissioner Yusoph
right after the abduction,” the Comelec official said.

Jimenez also said that “the Commissioner (Yusoph) is alright, the fact that he was able to talk to his son helped make him calm and steady. He is focused on how to resolve the situation.”

Comelec officials believe the abduction of Yusoph’s son is “politically motivated” and “aimed to pressure the commission (into annulling the victory of a rival candidate)..

Jimenez,confirmed that the 22 year old Noraldin was kidnapped by still unidentified suspects at a mosque in Marawi City, Sunday afternoon.

According to reports, the kidnappers of Yusoph were demanding the nullification of votes in four municipalities in Lanao del Sur namely: Malabang, Picong, Taraka and Masiu.

However, it was not clear as yet whose candidates will benefit from it.... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20100622hed4.html

Senate likely to recall security detail to whistleblowers 06/22/2010

Senate likely to recall security detail to whistleblowers

Security personnel assigned to so-called whistleblowers or those who expose anomalies allegedly being perpetuated by influential government officials are likely to be pulled out anytime soon as the Senate’s mandate to protect the witnesses is seen to expire following the 14th Congress’ adjournment.

Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile said it will be up to next upper chamber leader whether to continue providing security to the key witnesses.

“I don’t think they’re still under any threat. We provided them security because we don’t want to be accused of being inconsiderate of their well-being,” he stressed.

Enrile said he believes that giving them such privilege even when the issues involving witnesses are no longer subject to investigation by the Senate is no longer practical.

“If I had been the Senate president then, when they sought for security detail, I would not have granted it. It’s an added expense for the government.... If you really want to serve the country by exposing the ills in government, you should be willing to risk your life,” the Senate chief said in a radio interview.

Amid talk of an impending reorganization in the Senate, Enrile pointed out the possible implication of the stay of upper chamber security to the witnesses when 15th Congress opens in July.

“I told the (Senate) Secretariat Emma Reyes that come June 30, afternoon of June 30, I will no longer be signing any papers. When the Senate opens, I will no longer be presiding. I’m only the president during the 14th Congress. Come June 30, the 14th Congress had already lapsed and it will already be the 15th Congress so there’s no Speaker of the House, Senate president, officers.
“There will be a new set of officers for both the Senate and Lower House. So when Congress opens on July 26, the ones presiding will be the secretary general of both Houses,” he said.

Enrile, who admitted being courted by those in the running for the upper chamber leadership, said it will be up to whoever can muster the needed 13 votes to handle the matter.... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20100622hed5.html

Sandiganbayan issues arrest warrant against Neri; ex-Neda chief posts bail By Charlie V. Manalo 06/22/2010

Sandiganbayan issues arrest warrant against Neri; ex-Neda chief posts bail

By Charlie V. Manalo

The anti-graft court Sandiganbayan yesterday issued a warrant of arrest against former National Economic Development Authority (Neda) director general and now Social Security System (SSS) president Romulo Neri in connection with the botched $329-million NBN-ZTE contract.

In an order issued by Sandiganbayan Associate Justice Roland Jurado, chairman of the 5th Division, Neri was ordered arrested in view of the graft charges lodged by the Office of the Ombudsman against him.
Neri, however, also yesterday immediately went to the anti-graft court to post a P30,000 bail for his temporary liberty.

In an interview with lawyer Teresita Pabulayan, Clerk of Court of the Sandiganbayan 5th Division, she confirmed that Neri went personally to court to post bail.

The Sandiganbayan official added Neri underwent the procedural fingerprinting for the processing of the payment of his bail.

Aside from the arrest warrant, a hold departure order (HDO) is expected to be issued by teh Sandiganbayan 5th Division against Neri.

According to lawyer Renato Bocar, Executive Clerk of Court of the Sandiganbayan en banc, it is expected for the court to issue warrants of arrest and HDOs against an accused after finding probable cause.

He said at present only Neri filed a motion for the determination of probable cause which is now lodged at the Sandiganbayan 5th Division.... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20100622hed6.html

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