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Merci the conqueror EDITORIAL 07/16/2010

Friday, July 16, 2010

Merci the conqueror

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The current stalemate between the Ombudsman and the Aquino administration provides a gauge on the confidence of the new administration in the steps it is taking.

Noynoy’s administration started off on the wrong foot and his Palace minions are earning a reputation of shoot first and think later, primarily on the issuance of Memorandum Circular No. 1, which Malacañang revised after being released when it nearly triggered chaos in the bureaucracy due to the mass layoffs that could have resulted from the order.

Incidentally such first impression is carried to the end of the administration as President Arroyo started out her presidency in 2001 with a lie by issuing her first proclamation order barring her relatives from entering the government. It didn’t take weeks for her to campaign for her favorite son, Juan Miguel “Mikey” Arroyo, for the position of Pampanga vice governor.

At the end, she was appointing not only relatives but her personal manicurist and gardener into government posts.
In much the same way, Noynoy has been tapping his relatives for government posts, but saying that these are relatives that do not fall under the banned degree of consanguinity.

Aquino’s spokesman Edwin Lacierda fired off the initial salvo against Ombudsman Merceditas Gutierrez by saying that the Aquino administration is exploring every means, including pushing an impeachment complaint against her, through Aquino’s allies in the House of Representatives to boot her out of her current post.... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20100716com1.html

All about power and position in a small turf FRONTLINE Ninez Cacho-Olivares 07/16/2010

All about power and position in a small turf

Ninez Cacho-Olivares
More likely than not, there is an ongoing power bloc struggle, not so much in the composition of the Noynoy’s “communications” group, but in who among the three-mentioned members of the communications group will be the boss of the many “bosses,” since the so-called turf is shared by at least three, and with no press secretary being on top of the group.

Put another way: Would Ricky Carandang want to take orders from Sonny Coloma or Manuel Quezon? The same applies to Coloma. Would he want to take orders from Carandang or Quezon?

All three are from media, print and electronic, but no matter the medium, most of those working in media as columnists or hosts, believe themselves to be media celebrities — or differently stated, they are mostly full of themselves and think themselves more important than most.

This in turn brings on the problem, which is this: Which media “star” in Noynoy’s media group shine, and call the shots?

After all, these so-called “media celebs” aren’t likely to be out of the spotlight. Each would want to have control of the media group, and not be relegated by one of them to a “desk job” where he would hardly be seen or heard.
In other words, why give up the newsmedia “star” status, merely to be a, well, pencilpusher who will be hardly seen or heard, unlike their media days, when their faces were much too familiar?

One would think that if they who believe themselves to have “star” status, join government, would want to have a title, and become a member of the Cabinet.

Besides three members, even if each has a task, will still have to be reporting to someone, and there is doubt that all three, or at least two of them, would be reporting to Noynoy himself.... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20100716com2.html

Lion, wolves and bears draw the crowds at Baghdad pet shop FEATURE 07/16/2010

Lion, wolves and bears draw the crowds at Baghdad pet shop


BAGHDAD — Sabah Alazawi is doing a roaring trade these days at his Baghdad pet shop — and not only because he has a lion for sale. Along with dogs, he also offers bears, wolves, monkeys and vultures.

While hundreds of people visit his menagerie daily, most are there because it offers a free alternative to an outing to the zoo, rather than to buy.

But Alazawi, a former soldier who has long harbored a passion for wild animals, doesn’t mind in the least.
“Children and families are depressed in Iraq. I am proud to give some happiness to these people,” he says, as crowds mill around his pet shop in Mashatel street, a leafy thoroughfare in northern Baghdad’s Adhamiyah district.
Jutting out on to the pavement are three cages that serve as the homes respectively of two young bears, a lion cub and a pair of baboons.

Another monkey, chained at the leg, hops from one cage to another while two vultures are tied to their perch nearby, completing the strange scene that meets the bemused gaze of passersby and motorists queuing at a security checkpoint on the other side of the road.

More curiosities can be found inside the shop, which gets around 400 visitors a day.

According to Alazawi, the numbers increased dramatically once the sectarian violence which ravaged the Iraqi capital from 2006 to 2008 began to decline..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20100716com3.html

Happy birthday, Mr. Mayor NO HOLDS BARRED Armida Siguion-Reyna 07/16/2010

Happy birthday, Mr. Mayor

Armida Siguion-Reyna
News of the discount on public utility jeepneys and tricycles spread like chismis last Sunday, but chismis it wasn’t, as members of the Unified Transport Federation of Makati (UTFM) and Ang Bagong Makati Tricycle Federation (AB-MATRIFED) proved true to their word and delivered, from 8 to 12 noon of July 12, one peso-less transportation fare to Makati commuters, a present, of sorts, to the new guy at the Makati City Hall.

“This is our simple way of showing Mayor Junjun Binay that he has our full support, as we have supported his father. Former Makati Mayor and now Vice President Jejomar Binay never failed to look after our welfare, constantly finding viable and permanent solutions to our sector’s woes,” the transport coalition said in a statement.
What better birthday gift can a newly elected leader get than the feeling of acceptance, from his constituents?

In all probability, Jejomar Erwin Sombillo Binay Jr. woke up the day he turned 33 thinking of his wife Kennely Ann and how they’d still been together same day last year without an inkling of the tragedy soon to ensue. After grieving for her untimely death, he hit the ground running soon after her cremation: as father to Alexi, Isabel, Jejomar III (Jej), and Baby Ken. And PDP-Laban mayoralty candidate. 

It wasn’t easy.
First, there was the baby to deal with. Maria Kenelly was born premature, at six months and four days only 980 grams on the weighing scale. Reacting to advice that preemies easily survive if fed breast milk, Junjun let his baby’s need known to friends, NGOs and other civic groups. The milk came in sterilized containers, bumaha ng mother’s milk, but the excess was shared with other babies at the hospital’s neo-natal intensive care unit so not one drop was wasted.... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20100716com4.html

Pagasa wrong again SILVER LINING Dean Ernest Maceda 07/16/2010

Pagasa wrong again

Dean Ernest Maceda
At the National Disaster Coordinating Council meeting Wednesday morning, P-Noy asked Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical And Astonomical Services Administration (Pagasa) Director Prisco Nilo why they did not accurately predict the path of typhoon “Basyang.” It hit Metro Manila, Laguna, Batangas and Central Luzon instead of the Ilocos provinces and was stronger than predicted.

Laguna and Batangas were hardest hit by Basyang together with Real and Infanta, Quezon. Laguna and Batangas residents complain that they were caught off-guard because there was no previous warning that Basyang would hit their provinces hard. So far, eight persons died and eight missing in Laguna while eight people died in Batangas and Cavite.

In Mariveles, nine vessels sank at the port.

Once more, the excuse given by Director Nilo was the need to upgrade the equipment of Pagasa. After every typhoon, that’s the excuse of Pagasa. After typhoons Reming, Frank, Ondoy and Pepeng, hundreds of millions were released to upgrade Pagasa’s equipment, especially three Doppler radars. Up to now they are not operational. Maybe what needs to be upgraded is the director of Pagasa, not the equipment. There are too many unnecessary deaths in every typhoon.
Start in your backyard. Newly installed Department of Interior and Local Government Secretary Jessie Robredo announced that President Aquino ordered him to stop all jueteng operations. Let’s wait and see if Robredo can succeed in this task. No administration has successfully eradicated jueteng.... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20100716com5.html

From PeNoy to plunder? DIE HARD III Herman Tiu Laurel 07/16/2010

From PeNoy to plunder?

Herman Tiu Laurel
Even to doubting Thomases on PeNoy’s abilities to lead the nation, my title for this piece might come as a shocker. They’ll think, “Incompetence, yes; hypocrisy, certainly; but plunder? Is he capable of that?” To PeNoy’s admirers from the Yellow army, such a suggested intent to plunder will most likely elicit remarks such as “Sobra na yang si Tiu Laurel; sobra na (He is going overboard)!’’
But as I have listed several of PeNoy’s 180 degree-turns on his campaign pledges the past two weeks, such as his reversals on the budget deficit and on cutting the “pork barrel,” as well as, his dilly-dallying on his anti-corruption and anti-jueteng drives, the July 14 report of a loyal PeNoy paper, The Philippine Star, rings all the plunder alarm bells. The following are its salient points:
“Privatization of Pagcor eyed, by Delon Porcalla... President Aquino yesterday hinted at turning over the Pagcor to the private sector, saying the government has apparently been shortchanged on the revenues generated by the state-owned gaming firm. Mr. Aquino said the privatization of Pagcor would possibly end corruption in the agency by some officials who make it a milking cow. Pagcor earns an estimated P30 billion a year in revenues for the government. ‘We have uncovered several anomalies in Pagcor amid allegations that the government is not really getting its share of the revenues,’ Mr. Aquino told reporters during a dinner late Tuesday. Mr. Aquino said it would be more practical to sell Pagcor and have it run by the private sector. He said private entities would be more professional in running the firm that would also translate to more profits for the government.”

Sure, sure: Privatize Pagcor so its P30 billion revenues go to private pockets. Privatize it to his uncle with whom he partnered for the security agency that cornered all government security contracts, or to the other uncle who set up the jueteng coalition called the Northern Alliance — all during his mother’s tenure. Or maybe privatize Pagcor to the Malaysians who have raked in billions from operating lotto in this country at the expense of the government-run sweepstakes lottery which has lost a sizable chunk of its market, thanks to the second Yellow government of Fidel Ramos.

If there has been corruption in Pagcor under the previous regime, then start prosecuting Gloria Arroyo and Efraim Genuino. Follow through by looking into the management systems and correcting the flaws that lead to corruption. PeNoy should also took into his own culpability for supporting Arroyo through five years of her illegal reign. But why privatize?

Too often have we heard these same old lame excuses for privatization and subsequently, the abject failure of most if not all privatization projects. These should help us all wise up to the malicious, duplicitous and larcenous intent of those proposing these privatizations.

Maybe that is why a close buddy and classmate, Bong Naguiat, is being appointed to Pagcor instead of someone more objective and beyond reproach as Erap did when he appointed the venerable Alice Reyes.

Pagcor is the crown jewel of all the government gaming operations that produce billions for government’s social projects and programs. The nation’s poor should not lose the Pagcor revenues as the PCSO (Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office) beneficiaries did when the Malaysians’ lotto raided PCSO markets.

PeNoy’s statements on the corruption in Pagcor parallel his most recent pronouncements on jueteng — all bemuddling, hypocritical and insidious. As several earlier Tribune op-ed pieces have shown, underground jueteng is the root of corruption. Yet PeNoy is still hedging on the issue of its immediate eradication by giving instructions to the Department of Interior and Local Government and Philippine National Police to go after jueteng while at the same time declaring it as a “low priority” because (a) the PNP is preoccupied with peace and order and (b) he wants to prepare alternative livelihood for the many poor people who will be displaced by his drive.

PeNoy is thus admitting that Erap is correct. That jueteng is an important livelihood. Why not legalize it then rather than prevaricate?
As the 25 years of its practice in the Philippines shows, privatization is plunder. We have seen it fail to provide competition, lower rates, and satisfactory supply and service — whether in electricity generation, transmission, and distribution, water, toll ways, or telecommunications. We have also seen it happen in the privatization of the election voting and counting operations in the Smartmatic AES (Automated Election System) where the country was gypped of at least P7.2 billion (some say up to P15 billion) with nothing left to show — not even the cog, screw or chip of a voting machine — except for a severely questioned election process.

The privatization of Pagcor will without doubt reduce benefits to government and its most needy recipients, and only fatten the rich corporate predators. The signs are there. The “P” in PeNoy could very well stand for plunder.

(Tune in to 1098AM, Sulo ng Filipino, Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, 6 p.m. to 7 p.m.; Destiny Cable Channel 21, Politics Today, Tuesday, 8 p.m. to 9 p.m., with replay at 11 p.m.; also visit our new blog, http://newkatipunero.blogspot.com)

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

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20100716com6.html

Chavez calls for disbarment of ‘The Firm’ partners 07/16/2010

Affidavit shows Marcelo making a mockery of the JBC

Chavez calls for disbarment of ‘The Firm’ partners

For making a mockery of Judicial and Bar Council (JBC), former Solicitor-General Frank Chavez wants the partners of The Firm — Pancho Villaraza, Raul Angangco, Avelino “Nonong” Cruz, former defense chief, and Simeon Marcelo, former solicitor-general and former Ombudsman under then President Arroyo — disbarred.
In an 87-page Consolidated Reply-Affidavit filed yesterday with the Department of Justice by Chavez in support of his libel complaint against “The Firm,” Chavez demanded that the partners of “The Firm” be disbarred.

Chavez based his assertions on the sworn statement dated July 2, 2010 executed by Special Prosecutor Wendell Barreras-Sulit. 

In her sworn statement, Sulit stated that, in a telephone conversation with Marcelo, he had told her that “ginagago lang namin ang JBC kasi naman si Corona ang gagawing Chief Justice. I-impeach namin yan.” (We were merely making a mockery of the JBC, since we already know that (Supreme Court Chief Justice Renato) Corona will be appointed Chief Justice and that we will be impeaching him.

Chavez said that Marcelo made those statements when he was queried by Sulit why he (Marcelo) was pushing Dennis Villa-Ignacio to be the next Ombudsman when earlier he (Marcelo) was pushing for Villa-Ignacio’s appointment as Chief Justice of the high court.

Chavez said it is obvious that Marcelo, alluding to the name partners of “The Firm,” was making a mockery of, and trifling with the nomination process of the JBC.

“They (Marcelo) made light of it and, in the process, denigrated the standing of their own nominee, Villa-lgnacio, to spite the entire nomination process because, at that point, it became clear to them’ that “Justice Renato Corona was going to be appointed Chief Justice, and not their Founding Partner Antonio Carpio,” Chavez added.
.... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20100716hed1.html

Noynoy failed to consult sectors on Davide’s post By Angie M. Rosales 07/16/2010

Noynoy failed to consult sectors on Davide’s post

By Angie M. Rosales
An ally of President Aquino yesterday took note of the “displeasure” aired by former President Joseph Estrada and his son, Senate President Pro Tempore Jinggoy Estrada, in handpicking former Supreme Court Chief Justice Hilario Davide Jr. as chairman of the Truth Commission, intimating that Aquino would not have had all these criticisms leveled at his choice of Davide as head of the commission even from his allies, if he had sought the sentiments of concerned sectors prior to his appointment of a chairman of a fact-finding commission.

Davide, known for having gone against the Constitution when he swore in then Vice President Gloria Arroyo — not as acting president but a full president, despite the fact that the Office of the President was not vacant, as then sitting President Joseph Estrada had not resigned, nor was he permanently incapacitated, nor impeached — had been identified as a staunch ally of Arroyo, and was, until a few months ago, her appointee to the United Nations as the Philippines’ permanent representative.

Sen. Sergio Osmeña III said Aquino should have conducted consultations with concerned parties over criticisms in having Davide as lead of the body that will investigate alleged anomalies of the previous administration.

“I respect the opinion of (former) President Erap (Estrada). Yes, I have heard criticisms along those lines and perhaps (President) Noynoy (Aquino) should have touched base with other people or other groups who might have had those concerns.

“But it’s too late now. Unless President Noynoy changes his mind, it’s (former) chief justice Davide who will conduct inquiries of the Truth Commission,” he said, during the Kapihan sa Senado news forum.
Estrada’s son. Senator Jinggoy, in a radio interview two days ago, vowed to expose the alleged anomalies linked to Davide and said he has the evidence to prove his charges.

He promised to deliver a privilege speech on this.

It will be recalled that when Davide was the sitting Chief Justice, the House of Representatives filed an impeachment complaint against him, on account of his having misused the multi-million Judiciary Development Fund (JDF) and went all out to build a retirement hotel for SC justices in Baguio City as well as purchased overpriced curtains and furniture for the renovation of the high court’s offices and courtroom.... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20100716hed2.html

Controversial Code NGO Peace Bonds probe revived By Gerry Baldo 07/16/2010

Controversial Code NGO Peace Bonds probe revived

By Gerry Baldo
It stank during President Arroyo’s time. It still stinks even with a new president and administration.

The controversial Peace Bonds that earned a windfall profit of P1.48-billion for the Code NGO then headed by now Social Welfare and Development Secretary Dinky Soliman, along with the sister of then Finance Secretary Isidro Camacho, should be investigated and that people behind it should be held accountable for the mess that allegedly duped the Philippine government in billions of pesos.

The P10 billion Peace Bonds float where a group of civil socialites made a killing in commissions plus another P1 billion plus tax free that went to Code NGO, which funds are not accountable, will have Filipinos paying some P35 billion to pay off these peacebonds.

Cagayan de Oro City Rep. Rufus Rodriguez and Abante Mindanao party-list Rep. Maximo Rodriguez, in House Resolution (HR) No. 58, said that an investigation into the controversy should be done by the House committee on good government.

The lawmakers said that those involved in the issue, including officials of the Department of Finance (DoF), the Bureau of Treasury, Code-NGO and other individuals, entities and corporations which could shed light and resolve the issue should be summoned by the House to explain what happened with the 10-year zero coupon Treasury Notes that had been auctioned off by the Bureau of Treasury as the Peace (Poverty Eradication and Alleviation Certificates) Bonds.

“Up until the present, no one knows, except Code-NGO, how the funds generated were spent,” the two lawmakers stressed in the resolution.... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20100716hed3.html

Zubiri accused of deceiving SET in Pimentel poll protest By Angie M. Rosales 07/16/2010

Zubiri accused of deceiving SET in Pimentel poll protest

By Angie M. Rosales
Some alleged staff of embattled Senate Majority Leader Juan Miguel Zubiri reportedly participated and even presented themselves as “representatives” of three senators, who are sitting as judges, in a pending electoral case against their principal.

This is contained in the petition seeking to disqualify Senators Edgardo Angara, Loren Legarda and Manuel “Lito” Lapid from further sitting as members in the Senate Electoral Tribunal (SET) hearing the electoral protest case filed by lawyer Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III against Zubiri.

Pimentel III is calling for the inhibition from the proceedings of Angara, Legarda and Lapid following a recent issuance of a resolution by the SET ordering the conduct of further proceedings in the remaining 75 percent of Zubiri’s counter-protest.

The three senators were among those who voted for the continuation of the so-called revision proceedings, effectively favoring Zubiri.

Pimentel III, who is protesting the proclamation of Zubiri as the elected 12th senator in the May 14, 2007 elections, had accused the latter of supposedly conspiring with the three other senators to rule in favor of his counter-protest case.

In filing his manifestation last June 24, Pimentel III also accused Zubiri of resorting to dirty tactics to supposedly further delay the resolution of the case.... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20100716hed4.html

Agra, ex-NBI chief in hot water over Ampatuan bribe try By Benjamin B. Pulta 07/16/2010

Agra, ex-NBI chief in hot water over Ampatuan bribe try

By Benjamin B. Pulta

Justice Secretary Leila de Lima yesterday said former Justice Secretary Alberto Agra and former National Bureau of Investigation Director Nestor Mantaring will be formally asked to explain why they failed to initiate an investigation into the claim of an NBI official that a retired Air Force official attempted to bribe a key witness in the Maguindanao massacre case.
De Lima noted that Ricardo Diaz, chief of the NBI’s Counter-Terrorism Unit, in his sworn statement filed before the Department of Justice (DoJ), told Agra about the P10-million offer made by a certain retired Air Force Col. Juanito Mariano.
The amount was supposedly meant to secure the recantation of Kenny Dalandag, a witness in the Nov. 23 Maguindanao massacre.
Dalandag, a member of the Ampatuan private army, claimed that he saw former Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) Gov. Zaldy Ampatuan among those meeting in the house of clan patriarch Andal Ampatuan Sr. in Shariff Aguak in the evening of Nov. 22, 2009, the eve of the massacre.
De Lima pointed out that Agra did not encourage the NBI official to pursue against Mariano due to lack of evidence.
“Well at the very least, an investigation should have been ordered. At the very least, there should have been effort to look into the incident deeper,” the she stressed.... MORE

Binay accepts Cabinet post as HUDCC head 07/16/2010

Binay accepts Cabinet post as HUDCC head


Vice-President Jejomar Binay finally relented on a Cabinet position yesterday, accepting the offer of President Aquino to assume the chairmanship of the Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council (HUDCC) which was the same post held by Binay’s predecessor, former Vice President Noli de Castro.

Binay said in a statement he is always ready to assist Aquino in attaining his vision for the Philippines and the Filipino people. 

“I look forward to implementing the President’s objectives for housing and shelter and working with volunteer organizations like the Gawad Kalinga, with whom I share a common dream of building not just homes but sustainable communities for our people,” he said in the statement. 
Aquino welcomed Binay’s acceptance of the (HUDCC) post, according to Palace spokesman Edwin Lacierda.
“We look forward to the Vice President’s positive contributions to the administration’s efforts,” Lacierda told reporters in a text message last night.

Binay had indicated his preference to head the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) but Aquino appointed, instead, former Naga City Mayor Jesse Robredo to the post.

Aquino, the other day, said he is offering five vacant Cabinet positions to Binay including being the head of the Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA), which Bonay earlier turned down.

Aquino also yesterday appointed former Negros Occidental Governor Daniel Lacson Jr. as chairman of the Government Services Insurance System (GSIS) but has not named a replacement for GSIS president Winston Garcia. Lacson also served as Philippine National Bank (PNB) president during the time of Aquino’s mother, the late President Corazon Aquino.

Aquino said he has signed Lacson’s appointment papers last Wednesday but said he has yet to decide on who will replace Garcia.

With Lacson included at the helm of the GSIS, Aquino expressed confidence that lingering problems in the pension fund will be addressed particularly the concerns of teachers who are experiencing delays in receiving their benefits..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20100716hed6.html

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