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JBC: Still a Palace adjunct EDITORIAL 08/17/2010

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

JBC: Still a Palace adjunct

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Noynoy Aquino, so said his propagandists, chose new Supreme Court (SC) Associate Justice Ma. Lourdes Sereno, a court outsider, purely based on her credentials and that he did not know her personally.

Malacañang has taken pains to state that Aquino does not know Sereno personally even if they were schoolmates at the Ateneo de Manila University. 

Maybe so. But it is usual in Ateneo, for Ateneans know each other, whether juniors or seniors. It’s that tightly knit among Atenistas.

The issue, however, is why Noynoy Aquino, according to a recent report, asked the Judicial and Bar Council (JBC), the body that submits to Malacañang the list of justices from which the President makes his choice, to add more to the list of three nominees it had submitted to him.

Under the Constitution, whenever a vacancy in the high court occurs, the JBC is constitutionally bound to submit to Malacañang a list of at least three nominees from which the President is to select one. This was not followed by Noynoy, as he wanted a new list. 

Apparently, in this specific case, the JBC submitted to Noynoy Aquino a list of three SC nominees, but Aquino reportedly wanted more names from the JBC, which is why the second list of nominees from the JBC had six names, from which Sereno, who apparently was last choice with the JBC, with a vote of only four was therefore not included in the first list of three nominees, but was now included in the second list of six.... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20100817com1.html

No hope for credibility FRONTLINE Ninez Cacho-Olivares 08/17/2010

No hope for credibility

Ninez Cacho-Olivares
Malacañang says it wants to sell two sequestered networks to private buyers, but that it will first enhance the future value of the Channels 9 and 13, which were sequestered in 1986, shortly after the Edsa Revolt.

By claiming that the Palace wants to first enhance the value of the two sequestered networks only means that the Aquino administration does not want to let go of the two networks, because frankly, whoever sits in Malacañang, always utilizes these sequestered networks for the President and his administration’s propaganda.

At the time I was in charge of the two sequestered networks, I pushed for privatization of the networks and even formally submitted the plan, complete with figures, to Malacañang.

At that time, the two sequestered networks could have been sold easily, and at the right price, since their programs were rating very well and doing well too, commercially.

This plan to privatize the two networks, however, was thumbed down by the Cory Aquino government, and naturally, her Presidential Commission on Good Government and her media people, that wanted control in the running of the two sequestered networks.... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20100817com2.html

Kabul’s frustrated expats run the streets FEATURE 08/17/2010

Kabul’s frustrated expats run the streets


KABUL — The group of foreigners jogging past mounds of fetid trash on the streets of Kabul attract bemused stares from locals, but the brief escape from bulletproof cars is a welcome break for ex-pats living in war-torn Afghanistan.

For the small crowd of intrepid foreigners whose lives are confined to heavily-secured pockets of the Afghan capital, the weekly “Hash” is a chance to do something normal in an environment that is anything but.

On a run earlier this month bodyguards and armored cars securing the route tried to be low-key, but the surreal scene of Westerners running was hardly inconspicuous.

“Car at the rear, goats in the front,” bellowed the leader of the 12 runners, dodging a farmer’s herd to reach an old military fort at the top of Kolola-Poshta hill in a residential district of the dusty, fortified city.

Pausing briefly to fly a kite on a roof with an excited group of young men, they ran past the gilded homes of former Afghan warlords, through bustling bazaars where men clad in traditional Muslim garb looked on mystified.... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20100817com3.html

An open letter to P-Noy NO HOLDS BARRED Armida Siguion-Reyna 08/17/2010

An open letter to P-Noy

Armida Siguion-Reyna
Your Excellency, Mr. President, I had promised to conform to the traditional 100 days honeymoon between media and the newly elected to the highest office of the land, so this is nothing personal, sir. It’s about the Movie and Television Review and Classification Board (MTRCB).

Others will tell you I am angling to be put back in the office I held under President Joseph Estrada — please do not believe them. At 79 years, I’m a little too long in the tooth for the job. I also believe that the best thing to do with the MTRCB is to totally and completely abolish it in favor of a voluntary ratings and classification system similar to that successfully practiced by the Motion Picture Association of America since Jack Valenti put it up in 1966, upon orders of then US President Lyndon B. Johnson. If I may be brazen, I admit the establishment of a similar body is what I truly want, and I hope you create a Task Force to study its possibilities. 

Meanwhile, talk is circulating about the reappointment of Ma. Consoliza Laguardia as MTRCB chairman. While to my knowledge Chairman Laguardia has never been linked to corruption or to wheeling and dealing for material benefits, her weaknesses have had gravely to do with allowing her members’ cavalier approach to film classification and permitting them to impose judgment according to the political convenience of powers-that-be, in complete disregard of the constitutional provision on freedom of expression.... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20100817com4.html

A mad desire to read AN OUTSIDERS VIEW Ken Fuller 08/17/2010

A mad desire to read

Ken Fuller
The purchase of second-hand books is one of this outsider’s few compulsions. But don’t run away with the impression that I spend my time browsing through expensive antiquarian collections in Manila or other world capitals. No, I’m talking about the hardbacks you can pick up from the second-hand stack in a chain bookstore for P99.

A few days ago, I netted another three: Elie Wiesel’s A Mad Desire to Dance (2009, what a title!); Walter Mosley’s Fearless Jones (2001); and the 50th anniversary edition of Jack Kerouac’s On the Road (2007). I kicked myself for not hitting the stack sooner, as there would almost certainly have been one or two more gems to be had.

By this means, I address both past and future. On the Road, first read 40-odd years ago, will be a trip down memory lane. Kerouac was the original “beatnik,” precursor of the hippy; he could have messed up my life with his pseudo-Buddhist, drop-out nonsense if I’d let him. He died at 46, an alcoholic mouthing right-wing sentiments. A Mad Desire, on the other hand, will be my first Wiesel, but probably not my last..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20100817com5.html

Obama policy feeds violence on Kabul’s doorstep focus 08/17/2010

Obama policy feeds violence on Kabul’s doorstep


KABUL — Increased fighting between the Taliban and Nato on the doorstep of Afghanistan’s capital reflects the growing difficulties faced by the United States’ landmark counter-insurgency strategy.
As US-led forces try to secure large towns and cities from Taliban infiltration, the lesson from Kabul’s southwest fringe is that extra troops are alienating war-weary residents who resent central control.

Over the past 18 months nearly 4,000 US soldiers have poured into the provinces of Wardak and Logar, both Taliban hotbeds neighboring Kabul.

The increased presence is part of a general surge ordered by President Barack Obama under a counter-insurgency strategy designed to reverse the Taliban’s momentum and allow American forces to start withdrawing next year.
The Taliban were chased out of the area when their government was toppled in the 2001 US-led invasion, but returned in 2005, exploiting poor development and governance just a stone’s throw from the capital.

A Western security official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the deployment of new American units had made things worse.

“We’ve definitely seen a rise in the number of incidents this year, especially in the Pashtun districts,” he said.... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20100817com6.html

Petraeus holds out prospect of reconciliation with Taliban FEATURE 08/17/2010

Petraeus holds out prospect of reconciliation with Taliban


WASHINGTON — Gen. David Petraeus, the US commander in Afghanistan, held out the prospect Sunday of eventual reconciliation with the Taliban, including negotiations with leaders with “blood on their hands.”

“It doesn’t mean that (Taliban leader) Mullah Omar is about to stroll down main street in Kabul anytime soon and raise his hand and swear an oath on the constitution of Afghanistan,” Petraeus said in an interview.

But he told NBC’s Meet the Press there is “every possibility, I think, that there can be low- and mid-level reintegration and indeed some fracturing of the senior leadership that could be really defined as reconciliation.”

Petraeus, who took command in Kabul following the sacking of his predecessor General Stanley McChrystal, famously exploited rifts within Iraq’s Sunni insurgency to turn around a losing US-led war there.

He now has less than a year to show results in Afghanistan where what he described as a “Pashtun insurgency” operating from sanctuaries in Pakistan has exposed the weakness of the government in Kabul and the Nato-led force backing it.

His interviews with NBC television, The New York Times and The Washington Post were released hours before the Web site icasualties.org announced that the total number of foreign troops killed in the nearly nine years of the Afghan war has topped 2,000.... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20100817com7.html

‘Massacre’ at OSG 08/17/2010

SolGen Cadiz ignores SC’s ‘status quo’ order on EO2, fires ‘midnight’ employees

‘Massacre’ at OSG

No judicial courtesy is being extended to the Supreme Court by newly appointed Solicitor-General Jose Anselmo Cadiz, as he fired many employees in the Office of the Solicitor-General, a day after he was appointed head of the OSG, in defiance of the SC’s call for the executive department not to enforce Executive Order No. 2 while the case remains pending.

Furious employees, many of them lawyers, have slammed Cadiz’s action, which was justified as merely being consistent with EO2 issued by President Aquino last July 30 that revoked all supposed midnight appointments.

“We are extremely disappointed at how we were shabbily treated by Cadiz,” they complained.

Last Aug. 6, 2010 or two days after EO No. 2 was announced by Malacañang and a day after Cadiz assumed his post at the OSG, he designated one of the Assistant Solicitors General to tell the affected employees that Aug. 6 was going to be their last day at the agency.

Cadiz is doing much worse than Malacañang in sacking people, many of them career officers since he issues orders as serious as sacking people without the benefit of a written notice, the OSG employees complained..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20100817hed1.html

Sequestered networks’ sale queried; ‘Midnight’ IBC deal bared By Michaela P. del Callar 08/17/2010

Sequestered networks’ sale queried; ‘Midnight’ IBC deal bared

By Michaela P. del Callar
Sen. Ferdinand Marcos Jr. yesterday questioned the Aquino administration’s plan to privatize sequestered tele-vision networks RPN 9 and IBC 13, saying only the courts can decide the fate of the government-run assets.

Legally, the government cannot dispose of the TV stations without court approval since it was only entrusted to the government for safekeeping and that it does not have sole ownership of the confiscated assets, Marcos explained.
“The courts have always had the duty to decide what to do with sequestered properties,” Marcos told reporters. “If it may be shown that they are not ill-gotten, they will be returned to the previous owners. If they are shown to be ill-gotten, it’s also up to the courts to dispose of those properties or those assets. That has always been the situation.”

The networks have been in government custody since the fall of Marcos’ father and namesake, dictator Ferdinand Marcos, in 1986.

Marcos said he was “surprised” to learn that the government is intending to sell the properties when there is still no final court decision on what to do with the assets..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20100817hed2.html

‘Clueless’ Noy claims to have divested from HLI By Aytch S. de la Cruz and Benjamin B. Pulta 08/17/2010

‘Clueless’ Noy claims to have divested from HLI

By Aytch S. de la Cruz and Benjamin B. Pulta
President Aquino yesterday virtually admitted that he is clueless on what to do with his relatives’ as well as the farm beneficiaries’ woes at the Hacienda Luisita Inc. (HLI) and that he has already divested all his shares which is why he is trying to maintain a hands-off policy as much as possible on this longstanding agrarian issue.

Aquino reiterated his lone defense that he now has zero interest in the HLI since he has already divested thereby leaving the matter between the owners, who are his relatives from the Cojuangco side, and the farmers who toil in the sugar estate for years now.

He did not say to whom he has divested his shares, just as his late mother did, but he argued that only the interested and concerned parties can settle these issues among themselves because it is they who have direct involvement in the HLI farmlands, not himself.

“If I would allow myself to intervene, it’s as if I am It is as if I am meddling into this issue. But as I said, the people are my boss and they (HLI farmers) are part of them. They are the ones who have interests there. They should tell me straight which direction we must take,” Aquino told Palace reporters in a chance interview..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20100817hed3.html

Comelec seeks P20B for 2013 polls; Senators shocked 08/17/2010

Comelec seeks P20B for 2013 polls; Senators shocked

Getting congressional approval of an P11.3-billion budget for the 2010 presidential automated elections proved easy for the Commission on Elections (Comelec) commissioners by bringing up a rosy picture to a fraud free election through automated counting machines.

So easy it was that the poll body is now calling for practically a doubling the budget, with the price tag of P20 billion.
Senators, during a Senate hearing were aghast at the audacity of the Comelec officials’ estimated cost for the automated 2013 mid-term elections.

Commissioner Rene Sarmiento informed the Senate committee on local governments headed by Sen. Ferdinand “Bong-Bong” Marcos that the poll body is expected to spend anywhere from P15 billion to P20 billion for the 2013 polls.

The estimated cost does not include the barangay and Sagguniang Kabataan polls, which will be conducted on a manual mode.

“Are you serious? That’s too big a budget for elections,” Senator Marcos said. “We managed to hold automated
elections with P11.3 billion in May, that included the buying of the machines and the training of the people which we will no longer have to do, such as the leasing of the machines and the training of the people,” Marcos said.

To date, however, even with the P11.3 billion budget, the Comelec failed miserably to prevent electoral fraud, and worse, took out all of the safety features that were required by the election law.

Comelec never even bothered to makes its transactions transparent either, and to this day, there has been no accounting of the P11.3 billion budget spent for the 2010 polls.

It was also shown during the poll season, that the Comelec commissioners, given the huge P11.3 billion budget by Congress, were indiscriminately approving contracts that were highly overpriced..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20100817hed4.html

Aquino freezes VAT on toll 08/17/2010

Aquino freezes VAT on toll

President Aquino went into face-saving as he announced his decision to suspend the imposition of the 12-percent value added tax (VAT) on toll operations as well as the impending 250-percent toll rate increase in the South Luzon Expressway (Slex), a few days after the Supreme Court (SC) made a similar move via temporary restraining order last Friday.

Aquino, however, claimed that he already ordered the suspension of these activities that were supposed to be implemented yesterday since last week which is quite unusual because his spokesman, Edwin Lacierda, never mentioned anything about it last week.

“On the VAT, actually I’ve put it on hold as of last week. This is still subject of discussion because our first priority is the impending 250 percent (toll rate) increase in the SLEX (but) the initial that we had sough to employ to address that increase is not panning out,” Aquino told reporters yesterday.

Presidential Communications Operations Office Secretary Herminio Coloma clarified that Aquino’s decision to suspend these VAT imposition and rate increases in the tollways was not a face-saving move owing to the controversy generated by these policies that his government would like to implement..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20100817hed5.html

Gazmin, ex-PSG men dictating AFP postings — Angue By Mario J. Mallari and Aytch de la Cruz 08/17/2010

Gazmin, ex-PSG men dictating AFP postings — Angue

By Mario J. Mallari and Aytch de la Cruz

A defiant National Capital Region Command (NCRCom) chief Rear Admiral Feliciano Angue yesterday accused Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin of meddling in the promotions system in the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the movements of military officers after President Aquino assumed his post, saying these promotions were mostly planned out among Gazmin and former members of the Presidential Security Group (PSG) of the late President Corazon Aquino, the current president’s mother.

Angue also told reporters yesterday the leadership of the AFP and the Department of National Defense (DND) are misleading President Aquino in justifying his impending relief as commander of the military’s primary anti-coup unit and his transfer as commander of the Naval Forces Western Mindanao as not being a demotion but a mere lateral movement.
Angue, who called a press conference yesterday, said that contrary to the AFP leadership’s claim that he is being laterally re-assigned as commander of the Naval Forces Western Mindanao, his new designation is a clear demotion as the position only calls for a two-star general when NCRCom is a three-star position..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20100817hed6.html

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