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Time for Cha-cha FRONTLINE Ninez Cacho-Olivares 08/12/2010

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Time for Cha-cha

Ninez Cacho-Olivares
It really is time to get the 1987 Constitution changed, and it really shouldn’t matter who filed the bills calling for a Charter change (Cha-cha).

Too often, whenever calls for Cha-cha are made, opposition is lodged and the reasons are always the same: Now is not the time to change the Charter. This change is to become the tool for political perpetuation of those in power and position. Congress cannot be trusted to amend or draft a new Charter. It’s too expensive to have a Charter change, and many more.

All these same reasons are aired, despite the oppositor’s acknowledgment that the 1987 Charter is very defective as well as their provisos having been prostituted by whoever sits in Malacañang.

That the Constitution is much too flawed is undeniable. Where on earth can one find a multi-party system under a presidential form of government?

This is the reason we have been having too many presidential candidates in elections and always end up with a minority president. And yes, Noynoy Aquino is a minority president, despite his supporters’ claim of a landslide victory and the boated 15 million votes. He still does not have the widest winning margin and more people against him than for him.... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20100812com2.html

Saudi Arabia hopes giant clock will establish ‘Mecca Time’ FEATURE 08/12/2010

Saudi Arabia hopes giant clock will establish ‘Mecca Time’


MECCA — Muslims around the world could be setting their watches to a new time soon when the world’s largest clock begins ticking atop a soaring skyscraper in Islam’s holiest city of Mecca.
Saudi Arabia hopes the four faces of the new clock, which will loom over Mecca’s Grand Mosque from what is expected to be the world’s second tallest building, will establish Mecca as an alternate time standard to the Greenwich meridian.

The clock is targeted to enter service with a three-month trial period in the first week of the holy month of Ramadan on or about Aug. 12, according to the Saudi state news agency SPA.

It boasts four glimmering 46 meter-across (151 feet) faces of high-tech composite tiles, some laced with gold, sitting more than 400 meters (1,320 feet) over the Holy Haram compound.

The tower’s height will reach 601 meters (1,983 feet), SPA said. On its Web site, Premiere Composite, which is responsible for cladding the top section, including a shimmering spire topped by a golden crescent moon, puts the planned height at 590 meters (1,947 feet).

That would make it the world’s second tallest building — ahead of Taiwan’s 509 meter (1,670 feet) Taipei 101, but well behind the Burj Khalifa, the 828 meter (2,717 feet) skyscraper inaugurated in Dubai in January..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20100812com3.html

HGC official dangles P50-M carrot for reappointment BLURBAL THRUSTS Louie Logarta 08/12/2010

HGC official dangles P50-M carrot for reappointment

Louie Logarta
There are some jerks in the Philippine National Police’ National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) that must have very little regard for the intellect of the Filipino public or else they wouldn’t have tried to pass off as a “legitimate kill” this unfortunate fellow identified as Ivan Padilla, an alleged leader of a gang of car thieves, whom they lamely claimed had died resulting from serious injuries he had sustained in a gunfight the other week with operatives of their anti-carnapping unit as he was trying to evade imminent arrest, while they were taking him to the hospital.

Dr. Raquel Fortun, a highly-respected forensics expert from the University of the Philippines, disputed the assertions of the NCRPO headed by the newly-designated Director Leocadio Santiago that there wasn’t any foul play surrounding the death of alleged carjack ringleader Padilla who had expired en route to the Ospital ng Maynila (which veteran police reporters refer to as the “Mona Lisa hospital” because the patients “just lie there and they die there” spoofing the lyrics of the song popularized by the late black crooner Nat King Cole) where he was being taken for emergency treatment.... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20100812com4.html

P-Noy’s golden eggs By Ronald Roy COMMENT 08/12/2010

P-Noy’s golden eggs

By Ronald Roy

It’s sad that more and more passengers are becoming disappointed with SS Pilipitnas’ newly installed ship captain Bienvenido Noyalastik, B-Noy for short. B-Noy is supported by a crew which he was given the authority to organize as a concession. He was also given the prerogative to fire personnel whenever he saw fit.

The previous captain, Ma. Guloria (Maguloria for short) Barroyot, and some of her crew were fired just three months ago for gross incompetence that drew mounting complaints from passengers for a period of 10 agonizing years. They had to go. The ship owners had hoped the new hires would restore the liner’s fitness to participate anew in the competitive business of seafaring.

Maguloria Barroyot was also suspected as having caused the larcenous disappearance of all the ship’s expensive equipment. The new complement were thus expected to introduce those changes that would rebuild public confidence, but those changes were slow in coming.

The trouble is that B-Noy seems unprepared for the job as are some of his choice hires. He remains silent on management issues when he should speak up, speaks up when he should not, delegates authority when he should not, and does not delegate authority when he should. Anyway, here now is an eyewitness account of what happened during the SS Pilipitnas’ voyage last weekend.

The sun had long set when the vessel was sailing through some shark-infested straits off the coast of Panay. B-Noy was in a foul mood because he had not slept well in a new bed the night before. Worse, strong winds suddenly kicked up creating high waves that violently rocked the boat and made him feel sick.
.... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20100812com5.html

Warning: Jueteng-STL tandem a formidable political force VIEWPOINTS Archbishop Oscar V. Cruz 08/12/2010

Warning: Jueteng-STL tandem a formidable political force

Archbishop Oscar V. Cruz
Now it can be openly and publicly told what was probably already known before but remains unsaid and/or underestimated. There was strong and solid reason behind the fact that all the post-martial maw administrations in the past shamelessly danced with the jueteng lords. Now, there is more forceful and cogent cause why even the present administration — with anti-corruption and pro-integrity as its loud and repeated battle cry — expressly and officially declared that eradicating jueteng was not and remains not a “priority.” And as a matter of course, much less does the PNP together with local public officials look at neutralizing jueteng as anything relevant. In fact, recently a former President at that, fervently and loudly proclaimed that jueteng should be “legalized” — in the spirit of the saying that if you cannot lick ‘em, then join ‘em. Simple yet devoid of principle, and wherefore ethically flat broke.

If by itself then, jueteng was not only a national shame but also a fearsome social cancer, very much more it is during these times since Small Time Lottery (STL) became its intimate buddy, its bosom partner — making themselves an awesome and fearful paring. In case there are people who are still unaware of it or who miss the sinister significance and foreboding consequences of the jueteng-STL tandem, let them know the following on-the-ground realities..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20100812com6.html

Racing against time to preserve Racing against time to preserve focus 08/12/2010

Racing against time to preserve


MUMBAI — High in the hills of western India, Homi Dhalla looks around the Bharot Caves complex, pointing out the cracked and crumbling stone in the roughly-hewn rocks.
“If we wish to save these caves, the world community has to stand up and do something about it now before it’s too late,” he says, as the Web video fades to a still image of two Parsi priests worshiping in one of the stark grey vaults.
Time and neglect have left the ancient caves in a dangerous state of disrepair that now threatens them as a place of pilgrimage for India’s fire-worshipping Parsi community.
In the 14th century, their ancestors fled to the caves with the sacred fire of their Zoroastrian religion to escape a Mughal invasion.
According to legend, the “Iranshah” — the first fire to be consecrated in India — stayed lit throughout the 12 long years they were there.
So far, 3,000 persons have signed a petition on the www.zoroastrians.net portal — where Dhalla’s video is shown — which will be sent to the Archaeological Survey of India, urging it to repair the protected caves..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20100812com7.html

Creating more headaches EDITORIAL 08/12/2010

Creating more headaches

Click to enlarge
Midnight appointments are hardly the core issue in the executive order released by Malacañang, because there really is no way for Noynoy and his legal team to know just who are the so-called midnight appointees, as the EO is a blanket order, combined with threats to remove all of those appointments done within the election ban period and probably reappoint the bulk of these so-called appointees.

It is very likely that Gloria Arroyo did not appoint anyone — at least officially — within the election ban period. She would have known better than to be caught appointing anyone — outside of appointing people in an acting capacity — within the election ban period.

Truth is, if Noynoy and his lawyers knew just who among the close to a thousand appointees are midnight appointees, they would already have been given their walking papers.

It would be pretty difficult to identify close to a thousand of so-called midnight appointees and quite frankly, Malacañang is just giving itself a huge headache over this EO and spend time and effort before the court defending its EOs.

But what Malacañang is said to be pushing is not the appointments made before the ban, but the appointees’ acceptance and swearing in, as well as claims of such appointment dates being antedated, which antedating style Noynoy and his boys are guilty of too, with at least four of the EOs clearly being antedated..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20100812com1.html

Hacienda seeks SC approval of farmers’ SDO accord By Benjamin B. Pulta and Aytch S. de la Cruz 08/12/2010

Noy insists on no involvement in deal

Hacienda seeks SC approval of farmers’ SDO accord

By Benjamin B. Pulta and Aytch S. de la Cruz
Hacienda Luisita Inc. (HLI) management appears to be striking while another Aquino presidential iron is hot.
It was during then President Cory Aquino’s time that the hacienda came up with the stock distribution option (SDO) in a Cojuangco-Aquino hacienda bid to evade placing Hacienda Luisita under the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Law.

Another Cojuangco-Aquino sits in Malacañang today, and the same hacienda owners want the SDO retained through an agreement that has been branded by critics and activists as “deceptive,” “illegal” and a “sham.”

Lawyers of the Cojuangco-owned HLI, formally asked the Supreme Court (SC) yesterday to approve the compromise agreement it had signed with the supposed representatives of the 5,000 farmworkers who are supposed to benefit from the government’s land reform program.

HLI is finalizing the full implementation of the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP) and is seeking the approval of the compromise agreement sought by HLI and farmers belonging to Alyansa ng mga Manggagawang Bukid ng Hacienda Luisita, (Ambala) United Luisita Workers Union (Ulwu) and Supervisory Group of Hacienda Luisita, Inc.

Some of the signatories reportedly said that money, to the tune of P150 million and pledges of work for farmers who sign up were offered by the Cojuangcos.

The approval of the compromise agreement may make moot HLI’s petition seeking the nullification of a resolution issued by the Presidential Agrarian Reform Council (PARC) recalling the stock distribution option (SDO) adopted by the Cojuangcos and the farmworkers 16 years ago.... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20100812hed1.html

TRO sought vs toll fees e-VAT; Noy has power to suspend tax By Benjamin B. Pulta and Angie M. Rosales 08/12/2010

TRO sought vs toll fees e-VAT; Noy has power to suspend tax

By Benjamin B. Pulta and Angie M. Rosales
A petition before the Supreme Court (SC) asks the tribunal to stop the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) and the Toll Regulatory Board (TRB) from imposing the value-added tax on toll fees being collected from motorists which is scheduled to start on Monday, Aug. 16.

However, Malacañang can order the suspension of the scheduled imposition of the 12-per-cent expanded value-added tax (eVAT) on toll fees, which is seen to bring to as much as 286 percent the total rate increase, pending Congress’ review on the said policy, an administration senator said yesterday, although signs are that the Palace won’t move to stop this.

Sen. Franklin Drilon said that unless there is a court order that will put on hold its implementation on Monday, there is no stopping the eVAT on toll fees which, incidentally, will also coincide with the increase in its current rates.
“The Senate cannot do anything because the Senate does not have injunctive power. If there is no TRO (temporary restraining order) issued on it, it will have to be enforced, unless the Executive branch would order the deferment of the charges. The secretary of finance can do it,” he said. 

Drilon yesterday called on Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima to direct the Bureau on Internal Revenue (BIR) to impose, at least a moratorium, pending a review of the said policy vis-à-vis existing laws alongside inquiry in the upper chamber.

The suit was filed by former Nueva Ecija 1st District Representative Renato Diaz and former Trade and Industry assistant secretary Aurora Timbol.

Diaz is the principal author in the House of Representatives of Republic Act No. 8424, otherwise known as the “Comprehensive Tax Reform Act of 1997” and one of the co-authors and sponsors of Republic Act No. 7716, otherwise known as the “Expanded VAT Law.”

Timbol,on the other hand is one of the principal writers and initiators of the Consumer Code of the Philippines and a former consultant of the TRB Toll Operating Agreements (TOAs) and Supplemental Toll Operating Agreements (STOAs) between the government and its private sector partners... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20100812hed2.html

Solons: Lacson can’t be impeacheds toll fees e-VAT; Noy has power to suspend tax By Angie Rosales 08/12/2010

Solons: Lacson can’t be impeacheds toll fees e-VAT; Noy has power to suspend tax

By Angie Rosales
Only senators can remove a senator, Senate president Juan Ponce Enrile said yesterday in response to an anti-crime group’s plan to file an impeachment complaint against fugitive Sen. Panfilo Lacson. 

The Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption (VACC) said it would initiate moves to impeach Lacson from the Senate for being implicated in the double murder case of publicist Salvador “Bubby” Dacer and his driver Emammnuel Corbito and for going into hiding to evade an arrest order.

“Nobody can remove a senator. They should first review the Constitution before they open their mouth,” Enrile said in an interview with reporters.

Sen. Francis “Chiz” Escudero, chairman of the justice and human rights committee, said Lacson can be expelled from being a member of the upper chamber either through a vote by the Senate, following a recommendation by the committee on ethics and privileges or by order of the Court in case there is a conviction by final judgment which will include the penalty of absolute and perpetual disqualification to hold public office.

Escudero said there should first be a resolution or a complaint filed before the ethics panel, so that appropriate action can be taken against Lacson.

“So far, there’s no information reaching us regarding that matter. If they are out to impeach the senator, they cannot do that because senators are not among the impeachable officers under the Constitution. In fact, it is the Senate that conducts the trial proceedings on any impeachment case,” he said..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20100812hed3.html

AFP probing ‘politicking’ officers — DND By Mario J. Mallari 08/12/2010

AFP probing ‘politicking’ officers — DND

By Mario J. Mallari
Now they’re talking.
The Department of National Defense (DND) yesterday said the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) is currently investigating the allegations of National Capital Region Command (NCRCom) chief Rear Admiral Feliciano Angue that some ranking military officers were engaged into partisan political activities during the last May 10 elections.
“The AFP has its own internal procedures already in place and I am sure that it has already acted on this or at least started investigations on these allegations,” DND spokesman Eduardo Batac told a press briefing.
Angue earlier called for an investigation into the alleged “politicking” of some ranking military officers during the last May 10 polls.
The two-star general also decried that those who sided with the winners are now occupying choice positions in the military and expressed disgust over the return of “bata-bata system” or patronage politics in the AFP promotions. He, however, did not name names.
After making the allegations, Angue was “gagged” by AFP Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Ricardo David Jr. who demanded him to explain why he should not be sanctioned for issuing statements not covered by his mandate and mission as commanding general of the NCRCom, the AFP’s primary unit against coup d’etat. the AFP leadership also challenged Angue to formalize his allegations and substantiate them with pieces of evidence. But the AFP did not admit any ongoing investigation of Angue’s allegations regarding politicking of some officers during the May 10 elections.... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20100812hed4.html

No SC TRO means axing of Gloria appointees on — Palace By Aytch S. de la Cruz 08/12/2010

No SC TRO means axing of Gloria appointees on — Palace

By Aytch S. de la Cruz
The Palace will pursue the termination of the so-called “midnight appointees” of former President Arroyo after the Supreme Court (SC) held off from issuing an injunction against Executive Order nos. 2 an 3 that reversed previous edicts on government postings.

EO 2 revoked the appointments of officials appointed by Arroyo on or after March 11 and those appointed prior to March 11 but took their oaths and assumed office after the date which was the designated date from which a 45-day ban on appointments under the Omnibus Election Code took effect while EO 3 nullified EO 883 granting career executive service rank to lawyers in the Executive Department.

Given the SC decision not to grant a temporary restraining order (TRO) sought by some petitioners on both executive orders was taken by the Palace as a green light for Malacañang to pursue the firing of “midnight appointees”.

“They (petitioners) asked for a TRO and the Supreme Court did not grant them that remedy, therefore, having no legal process to restrain us from performing our functions, all the Cabinet departments are still given the right to replace midnight appointees,” Presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda told reporters.

Lacierda added that Solicitor General Joel Cadiz will issue the Executive’s response to the SC’s order for the Palace to comment on the petitions filed against Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa Jr, who was named sole respondent in the complaints against the two executive orders.... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20100812hed5.html

Solon resurrects Right of Reply bill 08/12/2010

Solon resurrects Right of Reply bill

In an apparent bid to get even with some mediamen who have maligned him and his family, a lawmaker from Camiguin yesterday refiled the controversial Right of Reply Bill (RoRB) in the House of Representatives.

RoRB seeks to penalize journalists, including newspaper publishers, broadcast directors and media owners if they fail to allot airtime or newspaper space that would publish or air the side of a person criticized by the concerned media outlet.

Rep. Pedro Romualdo was the lawmaker who could be blamed for the demise of a similar bill during the 14th Congress when he questioned quorum at the time when the House was set to approve the bicameral conference committee report on the Freedom of Information (FoI) bill.

The FoI has been pushed by media workers as a tool for reporters to get the public documents and other information needed in the course of their news gathering.

Romualdo, now a member of the ruling Liberal Party coalition, claimed that the RoRB will not curtail press freedom..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20100812hed6.html

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