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Smells like political vendetta EDITORIAL 08/08/2010

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Smells like political vendetta

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Noynoy’s latest executive order, or EO 3, indicates a continuing effort of his administration to clean up the civil service rank, as both the two other previous presidential orders deal also with the supposed political appointees under the Gloria administration.

For a bureaucracy bulging at the seams with political appointees, it can be said that the process should have been started a long time ago. Trimming the bureaucracy is an effective measure to cut the bloated fiscal deficit.

EO 3 revoked the automatic civil service eligibility given to lawyers who enter government, which the Palace gave broad hints of being again intended to block Gloria’s hold on the bureaucracy, a silly move indeed, as such things in politics and government in this country never ever occur, due to perhaps to our being an incorrigible nation of turncoats — even in the politicized bureaucracy.

Unfortunately for this country, the bureaucracy, like the Philippine military and police, is much too politicized, aside from being bloated..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20100808com1.html

Shortchanging hacienda workers FRONTLINE Ninez Cacho-Olivares 08/08/2010

Shortchanging hacienda workers

Ninez Cacho-Olivares
Always, the Hacienda Luisita workers get shortchanged by dint of the circumstance of having an Aquino in Malacañang.

Prior to 1986, the Hacienda Luisita workers already won their land battle in the court of first instance, when the judge ruled that the hacienda must be parceled out to the workers.

Tough luck for the farmers, as an Aquino, Cory, was installed in Malacañang through the 1986 People Power Revolt.

One of the first things Cory did, upon her assumption to power, was to declare all farm lands under land reform, but exempted Hacienda Luisita from that land reform.

Then all too suddenly, the then solicitor-general, Frank Chavez, performed not as a government lawyer for the people, but as the lawyer for Cory Aquino.... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20100808com2.html

Truth meets fiction for S. African crime writers FEATURE 08/08/2010

Truth meets fiction for S. African crime writers


CAPE TOWN — An American tourist runs breathlessly through the streets of Cape Town, desperate to escape the killers who have already murdered one of her friends.

The scene from South African bestseller Deon Meyer’s latest novel 13 hours is fictional, but springs from fertile soil for the genre in a nation where truth is often bloodier than fiction and crime claims 50 lives a day.

“To me there’s absolutely no relationship between real-world crime in South Africa and crime fiction,” said Meyer whose international book tours include regular grillings on crime which he argues must be seen in context.
“Most crime in South Africa is very undramatic and unexciting. It’s mostly domestic in nature, it happens in the disadvantaged communities. Something like 83 percent of all crime in South Africa, especially violent crime, happens there.

“There’s nothing sexy about that. It’s sad — but you can’t fictionalize it,” he told the Cape Town Book Fair which ended this week..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20100808com3.html

Pagcor crony BLURBAL THRUSTS Louie Logarta 08/08/2010

Pagcor crony

Louie Logarta
The other week, it was the inane idea of introducing “drawerless” desks in the various offices of the Bureau of Customs in a bid to reduce if not eliminate shenanigans in what has been described as one of the most corrupt agencies in government that Commissioner Lito Alvarez was broaching.

This time around, he is ordering his people to prepare a list of names of suspected “bigtime smugglers” whose illicit activities over the years have deprived the government of untold billions in duties and taxes so that they may be included in the order of battle his office is drawing up in a desperate bid to make a dent on illegal activities in the country’s waterfronts — because he is being pressured by Malacañang to show results, or else.

To veteran Customs reporters, this is nothing but an old recurring refrain that’s been heard many times before, each time a new President assumes command of the ship of state.

In the course of covering the Customs beat, I remember coming across the contents of two such lists. The first was in 1992, when President Ramos ordered Commissioner Guillermo Parayno Jr. to submit one to Malacañang, and the second in 1999 when President Estrada directed Commissioner Nelson Tan to do likewise..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20100808com4.html

What’s Tolentino up to? C.R.O.S.S.R.O.A.D.S Jonathan De la Cruz 08/08/2010

What’s Tolentino up to?

Jonathan De la Cruz
All right. We grant that newly appointed MMDA Chairman Francis Tolentino knows his politics coming as he does come from a political family (his father, Isaac, was a long time Tagaytay City mayor, he himself served for three terms and his brother, Abraham, is now the current Chief Executive). Immediately after being named MMDA chief he warmed the public’s heart, so to speak, by denouncing the multimillion-peso “payola” allegedly being forked out by 30 or so bus companies operating within Metro Manila to “kotong” officials within the agency. He named five of those companies and promised to go after the rest and, of course, bring the kotong officials to task. Well, it has been two weeks after that announcement but we have not heard from Tolentino again. Who are the other payola giving companies and their partners-in-crime? Has he filed any case against the companies and their protectors? Or has he forgotten his pledge and, now, the law? We hope not.

Not a few people are wondering what’s keeping Tolentino from pursuing his vow against the kotong system at the MMDA starting with the obvious as he himself noted. About the only thing he has done so far is transfer the former MMDA traffic operations chief, Lito Vergel de Dios, to another post within the agency as part of a wide ranging reorganization and installing in his stead as his traffic consultant a defeated mayoralty candidate that act only muddled the situation. .... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20100808com5.html

Gambling RP: A work in progress VIEWPOINTS Archbishop Oscar V. Cruz 08/08/2010

Gambling RP: A work in progress

Archbishop Oscar V. Cruz
It is certainly not an exaggeration to declare, once and for all, that this otherwise beautiful and admirable country, by reason of its majority simple and guileless citizens, is a Gambling Nation in the making. This is definitely not some kind of an expression of frustration, much less a cry of desperation. It is an existing national reality that is precisely becoming more and more deeply rooted and extensive in coverage. Of course Luzon is way ahead in the vibrant incarnation of gambling, with the Visayas closely following, and Mindanao slowly but surely gain grounds — all in the context of “Gambling Philippines.”

There are major and marked indications to reasonably arrive at such a nauseating observation and conclusion — even if but considering the following three standing realities in the Philippines scene. These public and living facts may no longer rightfully demand for “evidence” — considering their naked truth long since well known and accepted by the general public. In other words, below mentioned are the factual and real observations that only downright fools or ignoramuses would dare to ask for proofs thereof:.... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20100808com6.html

Resign now, fly later TABLETS OF STONE Larry Faraon, OP 08/08/2010

Resign now, fly later

Larry Faraon, OP
The row over the mass resignation of the Philippine Airlines pilots causing havoc to the scheduled flights affecting both domestic and overseas clients is symptomatic and indicative of what really this new adminstration should set its focals on. Again, in this case the tail or low end among the middle or even lower laborers are at the behold. The life blood of any airline, namely the pilots, felt shortchanged with recent management skirmishes that would cut down on the pilot’s benefits and justifiable claims. There is allegedly an obvious malicious strategy of contractualizing the pilots, of course for cost efficiency.

As one independent journalist says, “The mass resignation of PAL pilots, the impending strike by the cabin crew union, the struggle of ground employees against mass termination and contractualization — all of these are interrelated. It all stems from Lucio Tan’s moves to increase his profits even more by intensifying the exploitation of all his employees in the aviation industry.” And this considering that the latest Fortune Magazine’s list of Filipino multi-billionaires puts Mr. Lucio Tan second only to tycoon Henry Sy. One man on the street commented, “Ano pa ba ang gusto nila, ang yayaman na nila!”(What else do they want, they are already rich). More labor problems are in the offing, actually.

Not even warming his seat as president of this Republic, President Noynoy has already been treated to the poor man’s real woes in the looming water crisis. Myriads of angry and thirsty marginalized members of society vie for gushes of rationed water as the many rich and blessed ones douse themselves in showers that could have been potable water for the poor. And this was aggravated by the recent killer typhoon “Basyang” which claimed almost 57 persons dead and missing. Again, the poor dwellers are the usual victims..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20100808com7.html

EO 883 not illegal—GMA camp By Charlie V. Manalo 08/08/2010

Points to Cory issuing similar EO in 1987

EO 883 not illegal—GMA camp

By Charlie V. Manalo
Reacting to Malacañang aides’ claim that the Executive Order 883 issued by former President Gloria Arroyo which granted automatic Career Executive Officers (Ceso) level lll rank was illegal, which was the reason President Aquino revoked it by issuing EO 3, the camp of the former president, who is today Pampanga a congressman, yesterday belied claims by Aquino that the Arroyo EO is illegal, pointing out that if this was illegal, then Aquino’s mother, Cory’s similar EO issued in 1987 was also illegal.

In a text message, Arroyo’s chief of staff, Elena Bautista-Horn said EO 883 grants government lawyers Ceso rank, but this does not in any way usurp the powers of the Career Executive Service Board (CESB) as the final say on whether to confer a Ceso rank still rests with the board.

“We respect the powers of the sitting president to issue and revoke executive orders. EO 833 entitled granting Ceso rank to lawyers in the executive government service, issued by President Gloria Arroyo on May 28, 2010, that is now being revoked by EO 3 issued by President Aquino. EO 833 initially grants lawyers who passed the bar a CESO rank 3,” said Bautista-Horn who also headed the Presidential Management Staff (PMS) during Arroyo’s time.

“The appropriate level of the Ceso rank shall be determined by the agency head and evaluated by the CESB, depending on: (a) The position of the lawyer in the service; (b) Academic honors; (c) bar examination rating.”
She stressed that “there are requirements that need to be complied with and evaluated prior to recommendation for conferment. The conferment is not automatic.”... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20100808hed1.html

Signs show Malacañang softening on gag rule 08/08/2010

Signs show Malacañang softening on gag rule

The blooper-prone Palace admitted to have made much ado about nothing in saying earlier that President Aquino is studying the revocation of Executive Order No. 464 or more notoriously known as the “gag rule” which required officials of former President Arroyo to seek her permission before attending Congressional hearings thus giving them the option to snub inquiries in both the Senate and the House of Representatives after saying that it has long been revoked following a Supreme Court (SC) ruling regarding the matter.

Presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda said the EO was found to have been revoked in response to the lawmakers’ wondering on why Aquino has not acted on EO 464 despite revoking other edicts issued by the former administration but at the same time issued statements showing that the Palace is reconsidering its stand against the gag rule.

Aquino’s stand on the gag rule remains vague, however, given the fact that the SC ruling indicates that it is only declaring it as “partially invalid” as Lacierda admitted that there a certain “presidential communications privilege” that remains available to the president..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20100808hed2.html

Sham deal won’t end conflict in HLI — group By Charlie V. Manalo 08/08/2010

Sham deal won’t end conflict in HLI — group

By Charlie V. Manalo
The compromise agreement signed by the Cojuangco-Aquino family of President Aquino and what a farmers group said were surrogates of the family posing as leaders of the farm workers on Hacienda Luisita the other day will not end the conflict in the vast sugar estate, Anakpawis Rep. Rafael Mariano said yesterday.

Mariano said the official of the Hacienda Luisita farmworkers union who signed the agreement with the Cojuangcos is a puppet of the hacienda owners.

“This compromise is a grand deception by the Cojuangco-Aquinos of farmers and the entire nation. It exposes the greedy character of the President’s relatives,” said Mariano.

“It will not end the conflict in the Hacienda,” Mariano said adding: “Instead, this will add fuel to the conflagration of peasant resistance in Tarlac.”

Reports also quoted President Aquino saying that what is going on in Luisita is “an intra-corporate dispute.”
“We call on the Supreme Court to junk this sham deal. The Luisita dispute is not simply about intra-corporate dispute as claimed and signaled by the landlord-President to the court. This is about agrarian reform, about social justice to Luisita farmers tied in more than half a century of bondage at the hands of the Cojuangco feudal lords,” said Mariano.

He said that “the President’s blessing to his cousins was instrumental in retaining the stock distribution option scheme and striking another highly disadvantageous deal against farmers.” 

President Aquino may also be held equally liable in what is turning out as a stage-managed compromise deal which Mariano said was signed between the Cojuangco-Aquino family and their puppets who misrepresented the workers’ group..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20100808hed3.html

Lacson case review seen as way out for senator By Aytch S/ dela Cruz 08/08/2010

Lacson case review seen as way out for senator

By Aytch S/ dela Cruz
With President Aquino’s order to Department of Justice chief Leila de Lima to review the case against fugitive Sen. Panfilo “Ping” Lacson, following the claim of the senator’s close aide, former police colonel Glenn Dumlao, speculation was rife that this order from Aquino for the DoJ to do a full review of the Dacer-Corbito double murder case is a prelude to having the charges against Lacson dismissed to save him from being jailed upon his return.
Aquino Friday reportedly called for a full review of the charges filed against Lacson, since a primary witness had claimed he was forced by the government to pin down the senator on the double murder case.

“I want the DoJ Secretary to thresh out the truth,” he said, stressing that he also wants to know if there was fair treatment of Lacson by the prosecutors.

Lacson, during the campaign period, not only expressed support for Aquino’s presidential candidacy but also had his publicist and staff work for and with the campaign staff of Aquino.

But Justice Secretary Leila de Lima’s “intervention” in the double murder case filed against Lacson cannot be considered as encroaching in judicial matters.

Presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda said De Lima’s statement and actions regarding the matter should not be
considered tantamount to encroahing on the prerogatives of the judiciary because Lacson has not been arraigned by the court..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20100808hed4.html

Manhunt on for 2 politicians linked to Zambo airport blast 08/08/2010

Manhunt on for 2 politicians linked to Zambo airport blast

Authorities yesterday said they were investigating the possible involvement of two politicians in the bomb explosion outside the arrival area of the Zamboanga City International Airport that left two persons dead and dozens others wounded last Thursday.

“We requested our partners from the Armed Forces of the Philippines and other intelligence agencies to conduct manhunt operations for the (politicians),” Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Director General Jesus Verzosa told reporters.

The “human bomb” attack may have been linked to a failed assassination attempt last year on Sulu Gov. Abdusakur Tan, he added.

Tan was among 24 persons injured when a man carrying a backpack loaded with explosives and another man were killed in a blast outside the passenger terminal shortly after Tan had stepped off a plane.

Verzosa said police want to question three persons including two of Tan’s political rivals, Temogen Tulawie, known by his nickname Cocoy, and Moamar Askali.... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20100808hed5.html

Asean seeks formal code of conduct to prevent South China Sea disputes By Michaela P. del Callar 08/08/2010

Asean seeks formal code of conduct to prevent South China Sea disputes

By Michaela P. del Callar
The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) is batting for a legally binding code of conduct in the disputed South China Sea to avoid conflict and further reduce tension among claimants, a senior Philippine diplomat said.
In a press briefing, Foreign Affairs Undersecretary for Policy Erlinda Basilio said Asean will put forward its proposal for a more formal code of conduct at its next round of dialog with China. The schedule of the meeting has yet to be determined.

“We should start talking about the provisions of a regional code of conduct…to ensure that the South China Sea remains a peaceful and stable place where vessels can pass safely,” Basilio stressed.

Seen as one of Asia’s major flashpoints, the Spratlys — a cluster of islands, shoals, islets, atolls, cays and reefs along the South China Sea — is said to be harboring rich minerals and oil reserves. It is claimed in part or in whole by China, the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia and Taiwan.

In 2002, Southeast Asian nations the Philippines, Vietnam, Indonesia, Malaysia, Cambodia, Brunei, Laos, Myanmar, Singapore and Thailand and China signed a landmark non-binding code of conduct in the South China Sea to reduce the tension among the claimants by maintaining status quo and temporarily putting ownership issues in the backburner..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20100808hed6.html

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