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Time to lead by example EDITORIAL 08/24/2010

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Time to lead by example



EDITORIAL
Click to enlarge
08/24/2010
In slashing the budget of excessive intelligence funds, running into tens of billions, generally categorized as confidential funds that are moreover discretionary and outside the purview of the Commission on Audit (CoA), Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile brought up the proposal of the Senate to drastically cut this type funds from the budget, including some P500 million, or half a billion in intelligence funds allocated to the Office of the President.

If such cuts pass Congress, it is best that Noynoy Aquino does not veto this congressional slash from the budget, if only to prove to the nation that he is indeed sincere in his pledge to trim the national budget and use the money elsewhere, such as genuine social and health services, and, more important, lead the nation in a real austerity drive. After all, that which he asks others in government to do, so should do the same in the matter of fat allocations.

Noynoy Aquino, in his State of the Nation Address (Sona), blasted away at the fat pay, allowances and perks enjoyed by the executives of a government water agency, seeing this as being much too insensitive of them, given the difficult economic times hitting the Filipinos, apart from stating that such perks and fat allowances were a waste of public funds.
But, as it is turning out, it is the President of the Republic that has control of the fattest of funds, the fattest of pork barrels for his discretionary funds, whose expenditure is not even audited, just as his so-called Presidential Social Fund (PSF), which also runs into billions, is not under CoA audit either.

Malacañang has been pointing to Congress and its huge pork barrel enjoyed mainly by the allies of the President, even wanting earlier on to have this slashed, saying that slashing it would help ease the budget deficit problem this administration is facing. Yet Noynoy never pointed to making that “sacrifice” of letting go of his billions in Palace pork barrel, for which he does not even have to account.... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20100824com1.html


Special treatment sought FRONTLINE Ninez Cacho-Olivares 08/24/2010

Special treatment sought



FRONTLINE
Ninez Cacho-Olivares
08/24/2010
Fugitive Sen. Ping Lacson set certain conditions for his surfacing and facing the music, among which is for Noynoy Aquino to order the suspension of the senator’s arrest warrant and to order the reopening of the investigation into the double murder case involving publicist Salvador “Bubby” Dacer and his driver, Emmanuel Corbito.

Lacson claims that the probe on this case, naming him a principal accused in the murder case, done during the presidency of Gloria Arroyo, was politically-motivated.

If Noynoy, or even the Justice Department or the regional trial court judge handling the murder case does that for Lacson, then obviously, not only would Noynoy be directly interfering in, if not politically influencing the court’s decisions, but would also be giving Lacson special treatment, since others before him, including a President of the Republic, were never given such special treatment.

If Noynoy does as Lacson asks, then this opens wide the door to others similarly situated in the sense of the crimes being linked to suspects and accused of having arrest warrants lifted, as a pre-condition for the accused in such non-bailable cases, to face the courts and defend themselves.

Why, after all, would special treatment be accorded to a fugitive senator and not to others?... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20100824com2.html


Historic Manila seeks to tempt tourists FEATURE 08/24/2010

Historic Manila seeks to tempt tourists



FEATURE

08/24/2010
MANILA — In the shadows of an ancient cathedral in the Philippine capital, wilting horses attached to carriages shelter from the tropical sun as their drivers try to interest the few tourists milling around.

Hawkers exhibit sombreros, fans and rosaries on the pavement nearby but few buyers are in sight — a depressingly familiar scenario for Manila’s historic tourist district centered on the colonial Spanish walled city of Intramuros.
Tourists generally skip old Manila in their rush to Boracay and some of the Philippines’ other tropical islands, but the new government of President Benigno Aquino is hoping to entice them to linger a little longer.

“Intramuros should be the top tourist attraction in Manila,” Tourism Secretary Alberto Lim, who has been in the post since June, told AFP in a recent interview.

“We should build museums, we have so many beautiful artifacts that are sitting in warehouses, it’s almost criminal that they’re going to waste and that they’re deteriorating.”

The Southeast Asian archipelago’s cultural history includes three centuries as a Spanish colony that ended in 1898, followed by nearly half a century under US rule.... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20100824com3.html


Just desserts NO HOLDS BARRED Armida Siguion-Reyna 08/24/2010

Just desserts



NO HOLDS BARRED
Armida Siguion-Reyna
08/24/2010
Sometime ago, shortly before the family left for a vacation, the waiters at the Kulinarya in Rockwell’s Food Court didn’t know who ordered what and played a guessing game on us. By the time our orders were set before us, we had lost our appetites.

Then again two Sundays ago, at Gaudi’s on Serendra, the same thing. The waiters didn’t know what was out of stock, they kept on accepting our orders, only to keep on coming back to us and say, “Wala na ho pala no’n.” Finally, for dessert, we asked, before placing our orders: “Ano ang wala, at ano ang meron?”

“Wala na hong leche flan, pero meron pa hong crème brulee,” was the response.

Two of us asked for crème brulee, and at the count of three, the waitress shook her head, as if waking up from deep slumber: “Ay, crème brulee pala ang wala, at leche flan ang meron.” From here we were interrupted twice yet, first to ask for our senior citizen cards, and again to ask for the credit card to pay for the meal — when both cards could have been requested for in one blow.

At the St. Luke’s Hospital in Global City yesterday for consultation regarding a highly possible sleeping disorder, we decided to have lunch at the Via Mare on ground-floor level. My daughter-in-law enjoyed her bagnet mustasa salad and raved over tinola flan (chicken soup served as custard). I found my mungo soup a little too watery, but as a regular customer in the restaurant’s Rockwell branch at least once a week, I still wasn’t about to complain. And then came dessert, puto bumbong served with shredded coconut on the side with clumps, as in clumps of panocha.... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20100824com4.html


Colonial casualties AN OUTSIDERS VIEW Ken Fuller 08/24/2010

Colonial casualties



AN OUTSIDERS VIEW
Ken Fuller
08/24/2010
A few weeks ago, this outsider became involved in an ill-tempered argument with a fellow expatriate Brit over the body-count in the Philippines during the Philippine-American War and World War II. His claim was that more Filipinos had died in the former event than in the latter. As appalling as Filipino losses were during the process of US colonization, however, he was wrong, for while some 600,000 are reckoned to have died during that conflict, most estimates of Filipino deaths due to the Japanese occupation come up with a figure of one million.

It was not until some time after our argument that I worked out why my opponent had reacted so intemperately when I disputed his claim. Early on, he had made an equally questionable assertion — that “we” (i.e. the British Empire) had never behaved as atrociously as the Americans had in their conquest of these islands — and I, never happy to be included in this particular “we,” had told him that I would reserve my position. The look he gave me then was that of the military officer who detects the first sign of insubordination (and maybe even “treason”) in a subordinate whose “loyalty” he has hitherto taken for granted.

Well, we never got to argue about the iniquities inflicted by Britain on its colonies, but it does seem a subject that should receive an airing, if only because there have been various attempts in the past 15 or 20 years to rewrite history and paint the colonial experience in glowing colors. For example, A BBC series and book from 2007 entitled The Story of India manages to completely ignore the various holocausts visited upon that country between the years 1757 and 1947 when, according to one estimate, the subcontinent suffered no less than 1.8 billion “excess deaths.”... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20100824com5.html


US looks to Iraq strategy for Afghanistan focus 08/24/2010

US looks to Iraq strategy for Afghanistan



focus

08/24/2010
KABUL — With the withdrawal of the final American combat brigade from Iraq, US commanders in Afghanistan are hoping to emulate a strategy used there as they step up the war against insurgents.
The number of US and Nato soldiers in Afghanistan is set to peak at 150,000 in coming weeks following orders from US President Barack Obama for an extra 30,000 troops, a “surge” aimed at speeding the end of the war.
Critics say his goal to start drawing down the US presence from mid-2011 is unrealistic, as Afghanistan’s security forces are not up to the task of taking charge of the war-torn country.

The 2007 US troop surge in Iraq built on moves the year before to co-opt Sunni tribal militias and turn them against their former al-Qaeda allies.

Violence peaked, but the United States was soon able to capitalize on the two-pronged approach and turn around the war, which had raged increasingly out of control since the 2003 overthrow of Saddam Hussein.

Now Washington is hoping the war in Afghanistan — deadlier than ever and already two years older than the Iraq conflict — can benefit from a similar strategy.

The commander of international forces, US General David Petraeus, who took up his post on July 4, was quick to press for what are now called Local Police Forces — armed men paid by the government to defend their villages..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20100824com6.html


France honors ‘lost and found’ US WWII fighter pilot FEATURE 08/24/2010

France honors ‘lost and found’ US WWII fighter pilot



FEATURE

08/24/2010
TOULOUSE — When US World War II fighter pilot Roy Simmons received France’s Legion d’Honneur on Sunday it marked the culmination of one man’s quest to resurrect a chapter of forgotten history.

Lt. Colonel Simmons, 87, returned for the first time to Larzac, in the south of France, 66 years to the day since a Nazi column shot down his wingman’s Mustang and killed 23 French resistance fighters in a train raid.
France commemorates the dead fighters and two American pilots, including the late Richard Francis Hoy, every year but Simmons had no idea of the honour until he was contacted by US Vietnam veteran Donald Bohler in 2009.
A phone call from Bohler shortly before Christmas came “out of the blue.”

“He says: were you flying in southern France on the 22nd day of August 1944. And I said: ‘yes,’ because the fact that I lost my wing man there and he got killed is stuck in my mind.”

Colonel Bohler, who is married to a Frenchwoman and lives between the southern French city of Montpellier and Florida, attended the commemoration at La Pezade in 2006 and saw the dead American’s name on the memorial.

His interest piqued, Bohler began to search the web and the local newspaper archive for details of previous commemorations.

“I looked at the pictures and wondered why I did not see any American faces, it’s fairly easy to spot them,” Bohler told AFP.... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20100824com7.html

Palace to Senate: Hands off Noy’s pork By Aytch S. de la Cruz and Angie M. Rosales 08/24/2010

Palace to Senate: Hands off Noy’s pork


By Aytch S. de la Cruz and Angie M. Rosales
08/24/2010
Malacañang yesterday virtually told the Senate to back off from slashing President Aquino’s huge intelligence fund that comes up in yearly budgets at half a billion pesos, that is unaudited and non-accountable.

Malacañang yesterday thumbed down the proposal of Senate President Juan Ponce-Enrile to reduce, if not totally remove, the 2011 budget appropriation for the Office of the President’s (OP) intelligence funds, also known as his pork barrel.
Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) Secretary Herminio “Sonny” Coloma said the President is not inclined to take Enrile’s suggestion because the status of these funds is currently under review by the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) to determine if such resources are being mishandled.

He said it was premature for the Senate to railroad such proposal considering that a new administration has just been installed which is yet to find out the purpose for which these intelligence funds are created.

“We are reviewing the current status of those funds because these were just inherited by the current administration. All of it is being reviewed and we are also studying how these will be utilized in response to Senator Enrile’s call,” Coloma said during a press briefing.

The PCOO chief declined to give categorical statement when pressed to answer questions on whether Aquino can live without an intelligence fund in his office citing the history that comes with the creation of such item in the budget..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune


URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20100824hed1.html


Big time ‘smuggler’ to turn whistle-blower — Customs By Conrado Ching 08/24/2010

Big time ‘smuggler’ to turn whistle-blower — Customs


By Conrado Ching
08/24/2010
The Office of the Commissioner (OCom) of the Bureau of Customs (BoC) was reported yesterday to have convinced a “major player” at the waterfront to blow the whistle on big time smugglers and turn state witness.

This was described by an OCom source as a “positive development” to once and for all pin down big-time smugglers whose continuing illegal activities have been causing the government billions of pesos in lost revenues every year.

“This is a positive development, which could successfully bring to an end to the government campaign against big-time smuggling and to put behind bars those behind it, a source from the OCom, who asked for anonymity, told the Tribune.
The OCom wants to zero in on the publicly-known smugglers but it has been having difficulty in pinning them down allegedly due to the lack of a paper trail on their illegal operations. 

These alleged smugglers also operate under several layers and only their dummies surface, which explains why none of them had been charged, except for the “John Does,” whose fictitious names appear as incorporators in non-existent trading firms being used as their conduits in smuggling operations.

Targets of the OCom to put behind bars are the so-called big time smugglers notoriously known at the piers as “King David,” “Manny,” the “Saint,” a certain Teves. R.T. Jeffrey, and Lucio C.J. Waldorf, to name a few..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20100824hed2.html


Senate mulls Lacson custody; Palace says no to demands By Aytch S. de la Cruz and Angie Rosales 08/24/2010

Senate mulls Lacson custody; Palace says no to demands


By Aytch S. de la Cruz and Angie Rosales
08/24/2010
The Palace rejected yesterday the twin demands of fugitive Sen. Panfilo Lacson for the suspension of his arrest warrant and his being placed under house arrest as conditions for his surfacing and surrender to face double-murder charges but Sen. Gregorio “Gringo” Honasan raised the possibility of the Senate taking custody of the embattled legislator while his court case is pending.

Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) Secretary Herminio ‘Sonny’ Coloma, instead, directed the son of Lacson to submit his father’s appeals to the Manila regional trial court (RTC) saying that President Aquino does not have the authority to grant any of the conditions Lacson has set for his surrender.

Lacson’s son and chief of staff, Ronald Jay, the other day said that his father would come out of hiding if the arrest warrant issued against him in relation to the 2000 slaying of publicist Salvador Dacer and his driver Emmanuel Corbito is suspended and that he be placed under house arrest.

Coloma said there is nothing that the Executive branch can do on Lacson’s case because it is now under the jurisdiction of the Manila RTC.

Senate president Juan Ponce Enrile gave the same view on Lacson’s demands saying the suspension of his arrest warrant is beyond authority of the Chief Executive.... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20100824hed3.html


Cop hijacker’s HK hostages all shot dead— escaped bus driver 08/24/2010

Cop hijacker’s HK hostages all shot dead— escaped bus driver


08/24/2010
A sacked policeman who hijacked a tourist bus yesterday with at least 15 Hong Kong tourists that kept a nation glued to TV, appears to have ended tragically, as the escaped bus driver who was earlier handcuffed to the wheel, claimed that all the hostages were dead.

“Everyone (in the bus) is dead,” the driver told media before being escorted by police.

He escaped by jumping out of the window.

It was not, however, explained how he was able to free himself, having been earlier cuffed to the wheel.

As of press time, the reports of the hostages having been killed could not be independently verified.

There were at least 15 hostages on board the tourist bus, hijacked by disgruntled cop turned hostage-taker Rolando del Rosario Mendoza.

Before his escape, it was reported on television that at least 5 to 6 gunshots near the bus were heard by police.
The report added that snipers shot the front tires of the bus to stop the bus from moving..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20100824hed4.html


Noynoy dared to fulfill campaign vow on Luisita 08/24/2010

Noynoy dared to fulfill campaign vow on Luisita


08/24/2010
An opposition lawmaker in the House of Representatives has scored President Aquino for becoming reticent in his off-the-cuff commentaries on the Hacienda Luisita issue, saying being the prime leader of the country, he does not only have moral influence over his Luisita relatives and co-owners but he has unmistakable ascendancy to convince his family to jettison the dubious “Stock Distribution Option” in favor of land distribution which is the unequivocal mandate of the Constitution.
In a privilege speech yesterday, Minority Leader Edcel Lagman said Aquino has yet to redeem his campaign promise of having the Hacienda Luisita lands distributed to the tillers.

“He recently demurred from answering questions on his said campaign promise by conveniently invoking sub judice which in his estimation precluded him from commenting on an issue involving the validity of Hacienda Luisita’s Stock Distribution Option, which is pending before the Supreme Court,” he noted.

Aquino, he said, has found an expedient shield for an ominous silence.

“But the cat is out of the bag. No less than presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda revealed in a press conference the President’s position when he said ‘hopefully the Supreme Court (SC) will look with favor on the compromise agreement, which deal implements the controversial Stock Distribution Option,’” Lagman added.... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20100824hed5.htmll


Order given to expedite probe against Angue By Mario J. Mallari 08/24/2010

Order given to expedite probe against Angue


By Mario J. Mallari
08/24/2010
The Navy leadership yesterday vowed to expedite the ongoing investigation against embattled Rear Admiral Feliciano Angue who publicly branded the military’s promotions system as “prostituted” following his “demotion” to a Navy position in Western Mindanao region.

Navy spokesman Lt. Col. Edgard Arevalo said the Navy committee tasked to investigate Angue has already started its probe with the gathering of statements and other materials, such as broadcast interviews, pertinent to the directive of Navy Flag Officer in Command Danilo Cortez.

“If he would be summoned before the board, one thing we can say is we are going to expedite the process because we do not want to cause undue injustice to all the parties involved, Admiral Angue and the Navy,” Arevalo said.

Angue has lambasted the military promotions system after he was relieved from his post as National Capital Region Command (NCRCom) chief, which is a three-star position, and was designated as commander of the Naval Forces Western Command, a two-star post.

Prior to airing gripes before the media, Angue also called for the investigation of some ranking military officers for alleged involvement into “politicking” during the last May 10 presidential elections.... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20100824hed6.html


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