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Sonas: A forum for applause EDITORIAL 07/22/2010

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Sonas: A forum for applause

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State of the Nation Addresses (Sonas), to Filipinos, hardly mean anything, whether such were delivered by Ferdinand Marcos, Corazon Aquino, Fidel Ramos, Joseph Estrada, Gloria Arroyo, or the new President, Noynoy Aquino.

It is only Malacañang and its supporters that think a Sona is an important speech, as it is supposed to state where the country and the nation are at and where the new president will lead them in the next six years, which is why it is the Palace that turns these Sonas into a big deal.

Sonas, delivered before the Congress, also serve as a forum for a president to be applauded by members of Congress for his speech, although this applause, even when counted how many times they come by the media, is also meaningless, considering the fact that Congress is jampacked with the president’s new allies who form the majority, along with a Yellow gallery.

A newly-minted president in his first Sona, however, always has the edge, especially in the case of Aquino, who will no doubt focus his speech on the many irregularities committed under his predecessor’s government and the many problems being inherited by his administration, on account of the mismanagement of the Arroyo government, as he is likely to blame the current state of the nation on the Arroyo government.... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20100722com1.html

Party-list system: A failure FRONTLINE Ninez Cacho-Olivares 07/22/2010

Party-list system: A failure

Ninez Cacho-Olivares
That silly party-list system will have to go, sometime in the near future, because clearly, it has been abused through the years, and will continue to be abused — even by the so-called “cause-oriented groups.”

What this system has become is for many party-listers to enter Congress through the backdoor and end up having the congressional perks and more importantly for them, raking in millions — in pork barrel funds, which do not necessarily go to those constituents they claim to represent.

The truth is, even those party-listers who claim to represent the poor and the marginalized, as well as the leftists who do not seem to want anyone else other than their groups and those ideologically attuned to them, to become members of Congress, never once bared just where their pork barrel funds go, because for all the years that they have been serving as congressmen and getting all that pork, the same claimed marginalized groups they say they represent are still living under the same poverty-ridden conditions. Besides which, when they are aligned with the elite majority, their voices are voluntarily muted as they are in support of the administration — until they cut off and join the opposition forces.

Truth is, some of these party-listers have made oodles of money, enough for them to seek a higher seat and spend millions for their campaign..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20100722com2.html

Hong Kong prepares for life after the tycoons FEATURE 07/22/2010

Hong Kong prepares for life after the tycoons


HONG KONG — Hong Kong’s billionaire tycoons enjoy a status close to royalty in Asia’s wealth-obsessed financial

The city’s richest man Li Ka-shing has the fame of a movie star, while the court case involving the will of eccentric pig-tailed billionaire Nina Wang last year enthralled Hong Kong with its brew of sex, money and power.
But Wang’s death in 2007 and the hospitalization last year of casino tycoon Stanley Ho were a stark reminder that some of Hong Kong’s 40 richest tycoons — synonymous with its post-war economic success — are in their twilight years.

They will leave behind eye-popping fortunes worth more than US$130 billion and vast business empires that control everything from supermarkets and property development to ports and telecoms.

“Hong Kong in this respect is very special,” said Henry Hirzel, managing director of wealth management for Asia-Pacific at Swiss bank UBS. “The question is can this mega-wealth be kept together?”

That will depend on whether Hong Kong’s super-rich families descend into squabbles and bitter lawsuits once their entrepreneurial patriarchs die, analysts said.

To avoid huge fights over their fortunes, many aging tycoons create trusts leaving properties and other assets to specific family members..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20100722com3.html

National greed BLURBAL THRUSTS Louie Logarta 07/22/2010

National greed

Louie Logarta
Joel Villanueva of the Citizens’ Battle Against Corruption (Cibac) party-list group, it turns out, is one big fake. Don’t look at me, but this is according to the Supreme Court.

According Associate Justice Conchita Carpio-Morales, during the 14th Congress, from 2007-2010, Villanueva had been functioning as an honorable member of the House of Representatives — filing proposed bills, co-authoring legislation, attending caucuses of the opposition to which he belongs, making privilege speeches and collecting salaries and pork barrel allocations paid for by the Filipino people — when he actually shouldn’t have.

There is an unflattering word for this in street lingo: Hao shao.

In a recent decision which was made available to the media last week, Justice Morales declared Villanueva — son of the twice-defeated presidential candidate Bro. Eddie Villanueva of the Jesus Is Lord (JIL) religious community — to be “ineligible” to sit as congressman as of May 2007 representing either Cibac’s youth or its OFW sector.
For starters, Morales found in favor of petitioner Milagros Amores that the “honorable” congressman was already over the maximum age specified in Republic Act 7941 or the Partylist System Act. This disqualified him as the first nominee of the Cibac youth sector since he was already 31 years old or beyond the age limit of 30 years pursuant to Section 9 of said law at the time of the filing of his certificates of nomination and acceptance..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20100722com4.html

Dear Mr. President COMMENT 07/22/2010

Dear Mr. President


Dear Mr. President, it is by what we divine to be the grace of providence that you have been sent to succeed where all your post-war predecessors have failed. Pending over the past decades are claims for damages suffered by Filipino comfort women at the hands of the Japanese Imperial Forces who had come to our islands in the early forties to wage a war that was not even ours.

Now late in their years the petitioners in G.R. No 162230 still hope — albeit in deeper despair — that justice will soon shine upon them despite the fact that the Supreme Court has already dismissed their petition.

Soon, Mr. President — because at no other time has it become transcendentally urgent for you to use your Excellency’s persuasive powers to personally negotiate with Japan’s Prime Minister the petitioners’ just claims before they leave their twilight years. Parenthetically, we believe that although further ventilation on the level of agencies and alter egos would be futile, you may nonetheless take a summit initiative for the dispute’s satisfactory settlement.

Soon, Mr. President — because we trust your sense of fairness will not allow the technical rigors of the RP-Japan Peace Treaty to frustrate the petitioners’ quest for justice.... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20100722com5.html

Asia security forum to boost regional disaster relief focus 07/22/2010

Asia security forum to boost regional disaster relief


HANOI — Asia’s largest security forum is expected this week to adopt a plan boosting civil and military co-ordination in response to natural disasters — a rising threat across the region.
The 27-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) Regional Forum meets in Hanoi on Friday, where a priority is improved cooperation in disaster relief by 2020, according to a draft action plan seen by AFP.

The forum gathers major powers including China and the United States but is driven by the 10-member Asean bloc, which has been criticised in the past for a lacklustre response to Southeast Asian natural disasters.

An initiative to improve relief was welcomed by the Asia-Pacific disaster chief of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), Michael Annear.

But “these agreements need to then be taken to the country level and incorporated into national processes” to be effective, he added.

The forum’s statement aimed to “harmonize regional cooperation” over relief and strengthen civil-military coordination — for example by holding regular exercises — to enhance disaster responses over the next decade.

It also sets out plans to develop tools such as a “model legal arrangement for foreign military assistance.”....MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20100722com6.html

Priority, priority, priority VIEWPOINTS Archbishop Oscar V. Cruz 07/22/2010

Priority, priority, priority

Archbishop Oscar V. Cruz
The matter of “priority” has been and still is repeatedly invoked by the present administration. And rightly so — considering the big socio-economic debacle, not to mention the ethico-political mess merrily left behind by the previous supposedly glorious administration.

In short and plain language, priority is the principle of “first things first.” It will be good to note well that such a prime norm of right reason and sound logic, only works when neither personal considerations or private concerns are allowed to meddle therein. Otherwise, it could be anything but “You are my boss.”

There must more than a hundred and one errant public structures plus more than a thousand and one erratic public officials all left behind by a thus most distrusted and least appreciated government. It is wherefore left to the new national leadership — with his chosen advisers and close collaborations precisely — to determine the priority of his supposedly plain, simple and straightforward administration qualified by the battle cry integrity and honesty in governance. Question: Taking into consideration the obtaining over-all pitiful situation of the Philippines, what would be the key priority agenda of the P-Noy government. Could they be the following?

First Priority: Establish a functional justice system.... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20100722com7.html

LP, NP in stalemate; JPE likely compromise bet By Angie M. Rosales 07/22/2010

Pangilinan, Villar still short of required number

LP, NP in stalemate; JPE likely compromise bet

By Angie M. Rosales
Sen. Juan Ponce Enrile will still be the Senate president when the 15th Congress opens on Monday, July 26.
Sources yesterday disclosed the information that Enrile has been finally convinced to continue leading the Senate as reportedly, a consensus was formed from among his colleagues, the result of which was that Enrile being the likely “compromise leader.”

Speculations are rife that the Senate is heading toward a stalemate on the issue of the Senate presidency as the two contenders for the top post, Senators Francis Pangilinan and Manuel Villar Jr. do not have the numbers to get themselves elected, nor have either been able to attract more to their camp.

Enrile already announced that he will not invoke Rule 10 of the Senate rules where he can continue discharging the duties of upper chamber leader in a hold-over capacity, standing firm on his belief that his term for the position ended when the 14th Congress adjourned last month.

Enrile, sources said, was present when some senators held a meeting Tuesday night in an undisclosed venue where he was shown overwhelming support to the idea of a “compromise leader,” with “more than” the numbers required to elect a Senate president.

It was not immediately known what Enrile’s reaction was, when told of the decision of his colleagues.
Enrile made a statement Friday, during his thanksgiving party, that he will only accept the position if he is elected by 13 of his peers.... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20100722hed1.html

Poll chiefs still in denial, to let go of BAC members By Marie A. Surbano 07/22/2010

Poll chiefs still in denial, to let go of BAC members

By Marie A. Surbano
Poll officials are still in a state of denial, despite the publication of the findings of the probe on the excessively overpriced folders done by Commission on Elections (Comelec) legal director, which findings reportedly indicted not just the poll body’s executive director and the Bids and Awards Committee (BAC) but also all the commissioners, although it was also clear in the published report by a newspaper the other day that even as he indicted the poll commissioners, including the chairman, Jose Melo, the legal officer also provided “mitigating circumstances” that may absolve them.

An official of the Comelec yesterday confirmed that they will appoint the new members of its BAC next week following the controversial P700-million ballot secrecy folder.

According to Comelec Commissioner Rene Sarmiento, the members of BAC headed by its chairman Leah Alarkon would have to be replaced soon since their terms have already expired.

He did not say that this is linked to the report that was submitted to the Ombudsman for action.

“I think Alarkon and company have submitted their notice of resignation submitted their notice of resignation because their terms have expired for one year so they sent their notice to the en banc that they should be relieved and a new BAC be appointed by the commission,” Sarmiento told reporters..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20100722hed2.html

GMA to evade media in House By Gerry Baldo 07/22/2010

GMA to evade media in House

By Gerry Baldo
Pampanga Representative and former President Gloria Arroyo again is not in the mood to entertain media questions, telling reporters covering the lower chamber to spare her from any media coverage during the first two to three months of her being a congresswoman.

According to her, she would like to concentrate on her duties and responsibilities as the repre-sentative of the second district of Pampanga.

Arroyo, who was at the Batasan Complex to take over the room of former Speaker Jose de Venecia, did not give the reason she would shun any media coverage.

“Don’t interview me,” she told reporters.

“Interview me two or three months from now. I’m keeping a low profile,” Arroyo, who was the most powerful individual in the country for the past nine years, stressed.

Even during her time in Malacañang, Arroyo was already considered “media-shy.”.... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20100722hed3.html

No Peping-Corona meet over HLI case, claims SC By Benjamin B. Pulta 07/22/2010

No Peping-Corona meet over HLI case, claims SC

By Benjamin B. Pulta
Amid reports that a high profile one-on-one meeting between Chief Justice Renato Corona and Jose “Peping” Cojuangco Jr., who is a member of President Aquino’s clan, took place, a Supreme Court (SC) official, nevertheless, said there is no basis for Corona to inhibit himself from taking part in the deliberation on the pending SC case involving the sprawling Aquino-Cojuangco estate Hacienda Luisita as Court Administrator Midas Marquez asserted that the supposed meeting never took place.

“It is not true at all and no such meeting took place, Chief Justice Corona does not know Mr. Cojuangco personally and it is unfortunate that something is being invented,” Marquez told reporters.

A report by the newsmagazine Newsbreak related that Corona and Cojuangco met at a house in Dasmariñas Village, Makati City.

Cojuangco is the uncle of the President and an officer of Tarlac Development Corp. (Tadeco) which owns 60 percent of Hacienda Luisita.

“This will have to stop. I don’t see this as basis for the chief justice to inhibit himself from the (Luisita) case.” Marquez said, adding that the report “erodes confidence in our courts.”

However while Marquez denied that the Dasmariñas house meeting took place, the court spokesman conceded that Corona had met Cojuangco in public functions where they were both invited as guests.

As this developed Marquez said the SC division handling the Luisita case has decided to defer the oral arguments on the controversy and has required the Hacienda Luisita Inc. (HLI) to submit a list of its shareholders..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20100722hed4.html

Word war between Mikey A, militant solons rages 07/22/2010

Word war between Mikey A, militant solons rages

Opposition to the ruling of the Commission on Elections (Comelec), allowing former Pampanga Rep. Juan Miguel “Mikey” Arroyo to return to Congress representing a marginalized group of tricycle drivers and security guards, continued to persist yesterday even as other party-list lawmakers said the decision was a travesty of the party-list system.

“It is a travesty of the party-list system. The party-list system was set up so that those coming from the marginalized sectors can have a voice in Congress. Allowing Mikey Arroyo to sit as party-list representative sets a very dangerous precedent of using the party-list system as a way to perpetually entrench a family in power and pursue vested interests,” Gabriela party-list Rep. Luzviminda Ilagan said.

Mikey is representing Ang Galing Pinoy party-list group. 

Aside from Mikey, other Arroyos in the 15th Congress include former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo who took over Mikey’s seat in the 2nd district of Pampanga, Camarines Sur Rep. Diosdado “Dato” Arroyo and Negros Occidental Rep. Ignacio “Iggy” Arroyo.

Malacañang, for its part, distanced itself from the Comelec’s decision with presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda expressing no comment on whether the government is inclined to support petitions that the opposing parties would file in a bid to reverse the Comelec ruling..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20100722hed5.html

Filipina maid inherits $4M from employer 07/22/2010

Filipina maid inherits $4M from employer

Singapore — A devoted Filipina maid provided a refreshing twist to the almost daily reports of abuse on an estimated 9 million Filipinos working overseas, after she inherited $6 million Singapore (more than $4 million US) from her late employer after more than 20 years of service, a newspaper report said yesterday.

“I am the luckiest maid in Singapore, with or without the money,” the 47-year-old single woman — identified only by the pseudonym “Christine” — told the Straits Times in an interview.

The maid refused to be named in public for fear of possible threats to her or members of her family’s life in the impoverished Philippines, where wealthy people have been kidnapped for ransom and some killed by their abductors.

The windfall, including cash and a luxury apartment near the Orchard Road shopping belt, came from the estate of her employer Quek Kai Miew, a medical doctor and philanthropist who died last year at 66.

The maid had also taken care of the doctor’s late mother, and was told that she would be a beneficiary of her employer’s will when it was drawn up in 2008.

“There were no secrets between us. I was not surprised at all when she told me how much I was going to get,” the maid recalled..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20100722hed6.html

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