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Easy way out of accountability questions EDITORIAL 08/10/2010

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Easy way out of accountability questions

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Poll Commissioner Rene Sarmiento, a nominee for the post of Supreme Court (SC) associate justice, who faces criminal and administrative charges related to alleged election irregularities during the 2010 automated elections, lodged before the Ombudsman by the Philippine Computer Society, has asked the Ombudsman to dismiss the charges.

He says that being an impeachable officer, the Ombudsman has no jurisdiction over his case.

Sarmiento, who wants to be named SC associate justice, can’t get the nod of the Judicial and Bar Council (JBC) as the rules say that a nominee, or candidate for that high court post gets disqualified due to pending criminal charges filed against him.

But there is a problem in the case of Sarmiento in this specific instance. While he may be an impeachable officer, and the case against him is dropped on account of his constitutional status, it must also be evident that if he gets the post, he will virtually no longer have to account for his alleged election irregularities, along of course with his co-accused, the rest of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) commissioners and other officers..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20100810com1.html

Fooling the workers, again FRONTLINE Ninez Cacho-Olivares 08/10/2010

Fooling the workers, again

Ninez Cacho-Olivares
Malacañang is hard put in convincing Filipinos that Noynoy Aquino has no hand in his family’s move to come up with that compromise agreement.

Even as his spokesman, Edwin Lacierda, insists that Noynoy was not, in any way, involved in the compromise deal, saying that all he was told were “broad strokes” on the move of his clan, few, if any, truly believe that.

Lacierda said: “Let me just state, he (Noynoy) had no discussion or involvement in the compromise deal. He was just informed recently of the compromise…He does not know the details.”

Can you believe that? Noynoy, even when informed of the compromise agreement, didn’t even bother to know the details, such as SDO retention or land acquisition? Just what kind of compromise agreement did he think it was, that no questions were even asked by him on the details of the agreement?

Little wonder that neither Malacañang nor Noynoy is being believed, because it is impossible for Noynoy not to have known about such a family plan. As a matter of record, Noynoy even came out publicly saying that he was elated that the Hacienda Luisita issue is finally settled.... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20100810com2.html

Wind turns to gold in remote Romanian region FEATURE 08/10/2010

Wind turns to gold in remote Romanian region


COGEALAC — Strong winds sweeping southeastern Romania have long been seen as a curse but as electricity companies are increasingly turning to renewable energy, the area has become a coveted asset.

Romania’s decision to open up its wind-power market has triggered fierce competition among investors, several of whom target the Dobroudja region, described by experts as one of the best sites in Europe.

In June, Czech company CEZ started operating its first wind energy unit in Romania, at Fantanele, 260 kilometers (170 miles) east of Bucharest.

The 1.1-billion-euro ($1.45-billion) energy farm, expected to become the biggest in Europe next year, will have a capacity of 600 megawatts (MW).

But CEZ’s plans to expand to the neighboring village of Cogealac have been hampered by Spanish energy giant Iberdrola, which has set its mind on the same site..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20100810com3.html

SBMA, CDC, DBP excesses MR. EXPOSE Amb. Ernesto Maceda 08/10/2010

SBMA, CDC, DBP excesses

Amb. Ernesto Maceda
The Commission on Audit (CoA) has released the list of the highest paid government officials. The top three are Armand Arreza, Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) Administrator who received a whopping P26,865,923.20 in salaries, allowances, bonuses and reimbursements; Clark Development Corp. (CDC) president Benigno Ricafort P14,506,466.74 and Development of the Philippines (DBP) deputy chief executive officer Edgardo Garcia P12,718,842.61.

DBP insiders say that president and chief executive officer Rey David receives much more than his deputy Edgardo Garcia. It is to be noted that in the top 12 highest paid, there are six DBP vice presidents, among them Ernesto Bitonio Jr., P9,309,042.75; Rolando Geronimo, P9,080.633.12; Armando Samia, P6,983,533.14; MariaTheresa Quinine P6,753,136.41 and Jesus Guevara P5,672,395.45. Also in the top 20 is DBP vice president Benilda Tejada who received P5,216,275.46. Not listed are the members of the DBP Boad of Governors who received similar fantastic bonuses, allowances and reimbursements. DBP officials are receiving higher pay than Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas and Land Bank officers..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20100810com4.html

Development or low-wage economy AN OUTSIDERS VIEW Ken Fuller 08/10/2010

Development or low-wage economy

Ken Fuller
In reality, the argument about the Philippine Airlines (PAL) pilots is about a lot more than that.
After 25 pilots and first officers resigned, with the intention of taking up better-paid options with foreign airlines, PAL threatened them with administrative, civil and criminal charges for breaching their contracts. (Criminal charges? What kind of labor relations regime exists at PAL?) With flights canceled, the government stepped in, warning both pilots and airlines about the damage to the tourist industry.

Even before this column gets to its main point there is more to this than meets the eye, as it is alleged that some pilots had been forced to transfer to Air Philippines, PAL’s low-cost subsidiary, at reduced wages. (What was that about breach of contract?) Some of the resigned pilots were, reportedly, directly affected by this, while others feared that before too long they would meet the same fate. Furthermore, the Manila Times reports allegations by the Flight Attendants and Stewards Association of the Philippines that, due to cutbacks, PAL flights have been understaffed during recent times.... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20100810com5.html

Korean forced laborers remember Nagasaki attack focus 08/10/2010

Korean forced laborers remember Nagasaki attack


TOKYO — Kim Jong-ki was an 18-year-old forced laborer digging tunnels for a Japanese arms manufacturer in Nagasaki 65 years ago, on the day a US aircraft dropped an atom bomb on the city.

Like the other estimated 1,000 Koreans toiling below ground, Kim worked from dawn to dusk in the port city where Mitsubishi Heavy Industries was churning out warships, torpedoes and other wartime hardware.

“We were given only poor meals but no payment,” Kim, now 83 and living in his home country, told AFP by telephone. “Every day we saw American warplanes flying from right to left for aerial bombardments of the city.”
This year marks the 65th anniversary of the US raid which made Japan the only nation that has ever been attacked with atomic bombs — first on Aug. 6, 1945 in Hiroshima, and three days later in Nagasaki.

But for Kim, this year also brings another important anniversary — 100 years since imperial Japan annexed the Korean peninsula..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20100810com6.html

Battered Balkan men struggle to overcome social stigma FEATURE 08/10/2010

Battered Balkan men struggle to overcome social stigma


CUPRIJA — “I must be the first man in the Balkans to admit that I have been battered by my wife,” Dusan Stojkovic said with a wry smile, speaking from Serbia’s first safe house for battered men.

It took a lot for the man who is in his fifties to reach out and get help, breaking a taboo in a country where men still cling to a fierce macho image.

Stojkovic has been in the safe house for abused men in central Cuprija, the first in Serbia, since it was founded in July 2009 by the Safety for Men non-governmental organization.
“My wife and her daughters (from another marriage
) hit me with baseball bats,” he told AFP, thumbing through his thick legal file.

After the beatings, Stojkovic said, his wife accused him of battering her, saying she fought back in self-defense. He assumed this was his spouse’s way to get her hands on his assets: The house and his dog breeding business.
The hardest part for Stojkovic was to convince people that, actually, he is the victim.
He was jailed for two months following his wife’s accusations, and when he was released he was ordered to stay away from his own home.

His wife has kept his house, his assets and his business.

“All this is the result of the court’s denial that men can also be victims of domestic abuse,” said Verica Zivanovic, a lawyer who volunteers for Safety for Men.... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20100810com7.html

DAR: Hacienda SDO a ‘done deal’ 08/10/2010

Peasant group goes to SC to nullify Luisita referendum

DAR: Hacienda SDO a ‘done deal’

Curiouser and curiouser the Hacienda Luisita’s compromise agreement offered to farmer workers has become.
Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) Secretary Virgilio de los Reyes, was quoted by Sen. Gregorio Honosan, who had earlier announced his plan of holding an inquiry into the hacienda owners’ compromise agreement, that the Stock Distribution Option (SDO) adopted and implemented during then President Cory Aquino’s time in Malacañang, was already a done deal, and had been the deal for decades now.

No new beneficiaries can avail of the SDO of farmers claiming a stake in the Cojuangco family’s Hacienda Luisita as this has been a done deal several years ago, it was stresed,

There was, however, no clarification from the DAR secretary on the reason behind the hacienda owners to come up with a referendum on the workers’ options: Whether they want to own land, or to stick to the SDO.

Reports quoting the Hacienda Luisita Inc. (HLI) officials said that 70 percent of those who had signed up want the SDO maintained.

SDO or that of owning a third of the shares instead of owning a peace of land, which was agreed upon as early as 1991 in relationto the implementation of the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP) law which covers the HLI..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20100810hed1.html

Palace to Angue: Show proof military engaged in partisan politics in ’10 polls By Aytch S. dela Cruz and Mario J. MallarI 08/10/2010

Palace to Angue: Show proof military engaged in partisan politics in ’10 polls

By Aytch S. dela Cruz and Mario J. MallarI
Malacañang yesterday dared National Capital Region Command (NCRCom) chief Rear Admiral Feliciano Angue to present his evidence before the proper forum on his recent revelations that some high-ranking officials of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) are still following the culture of partisan politics and that this was evident not only during the 2004 poll exercises but also during the last 2010 elections where President Aquino won.

Getting into the Palace act was the Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting (PPCRV) that has also demanded for Angue to execute a sworn affidavit on the information he knows about the election fraud where some military officers and men were engaged in active cheating.

According to PPCRV Chairman Henrietta de Villa, having a sworn statement would be the best way to ensure that the statements the military official has been making would hold up in a legal proceeding.

De Villa noted that a sworn affidavit would also show that Angue is serious in really determining the truth to the alleged manipulations of the 2004 presidential polls..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20100810hed2.html

Noynoy hands off on Ombudsman impeach raps 08/10/2010

Noynoy hands off on Ombudsman impeach raps

President Aquino is going to keep his hands off the impeachment complaint against Ombudsman Merceditas Gutierrez even as a lawmaker said Malacañang is not sending any signal to the ruling Coalition for Peace and Development in the House of Representatives to pursue the cases filed by allies of the Liberal Party (LP).

Aurora Rep. Juan Edgardo “Sonny” Angara of the Laban ng Demokrationg Pilipino (LDP) said Aquino is distancing himself from the lower chamber in accordance to the policy of separation of powers of the executive and judiciary.

“There’s no signal from Malacañang on what to do with the impeachment... As members of the majority coalition, we did not receive signals from Malacañang on which way to go,” he added. 

The LDP is part of the ruling Coalition for Peace and Development which is composed of the Lakas-Kampi-CMD faction of former Interior Secretary Ronaldo Puno, the Nationalist People’s Coalition, Nacionalista Party, Pwersa ng Masang Pilipino, PDP-Laban and some party-list groups including Bayan Muna, Gabriela and Kabataan, among others..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20100810hed3.html

Dato breaks silence; Minority to file plaint vs Bello for anti-GMA remarks By Charlie V. Manalo 08/10/2010

Dato breaks silence; Minority to file plaint vs Bello for anti-GMA remarks

By Charlie V. Manalo
Camarines Sur Rep. Diosdado “Dato” Arroyo yesterday took the floor to lash back at critics who delivered “unparliamentary” remarks against his mother, former President Gloria Arroyo, now a representative of Pampanga’s Second District. 

Without naming names, the younger Arroyo, in his privilege speech, accused Akbayan Rep. Walden Bello and Bayan Muna Rep. Teodoro “Teddy” Casiño 

of abusing their privilege as members of the House of Representatives when they hurled “unfounded accusations” against the former president in the guise of freedom of speech, Monday and Tuesday.

“I believe that the privilege speech is a privilege accorded to a member of Congress to express freely for the good of the country,” said Dato. “What happened last Monday and Tuesday, the privilege speech was used under the guise of freedom (of speech) to hurl invectives which is not acceptable to anyone, be it outside or inside the halls of Congress, young or old, male or female.”

Making matters worse, Dato said, was that the invectives was aimed at no less than the former head of state, whom he stressed, successfully steered the country “out of harm’s way in the midst of the global financial meltdown.”..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20100810hed4.html

RP rejects US involvement in South China Sea dispute By Michaela P. del Callar 08/10/2010

RP rejects US involvement in South China Sea dispute

By Michaela P. del Callar
The Philippine government yesterday said that Southeast Asian nations do not need US help in solving territorial disputes with China over the potentially resource-rich South China Sea.

Foreign Secretary Alberto Romulo told reporters that negotiations should be strictly between the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) and China, without the US or any other party’s involvement.

Asked if he supported US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s statement last month hinting at greater US involvement in the South China Sea dispute, Romulo said: “No”.

Clinton, in a regional security meeting in Hanoi, Vietnam last month, made it clear that the US wants unimpeded access to the area that China claims wholly as its own and urged parties to reach an agreement on a formal code of conduct to prevent conflict.

Asked if he supports the US position, Romulo said: “We have to talk about it within Asean and of course China. It’s Asean and China.”

“It’s (between) Asean and China. Can I make myself clear? It’s Asean and China. Is that clear enough?” Romulo told reporters..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20100810hed5.html

Three Aquino spokesmen get Cabinet seats under EO 4 By Aytch S. de la Cruz 08/10/2010

Three Aquino spokesmen get Cabinet seats under EO 4

By Aytch S. de la Cruz
The former Office of the Press Secretary (OPS) is now the Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) while a new related office called Presidential Communications Development and Strategic Planning Office (PCDSPO) was created under Executive Order 4 released yesterday to formalize the forming of two offices handling the former functions of the OPS that is wIdely believed as a compromise to two feuding groups within the Palace.

Critics have said that with the reorganization, three overlapping Cabinet positions will be created for Spokesman Edwin Lacierda, Herminio “Sonny” Coloma, head of PCOO, and Ricardo “Ricky” Carandang, head of PCDSPO resulting in a questionable increase in the budget of what was the former OPS.

The three are also considered spokesmen of Aquino. 

.... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20100810hed6.html

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