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Tit for tat EDITORIAL 08/28/2010

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Tit for tat

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By this time, there can be no more doubts that mainland Chinese high officials, as well as Hong Kong’s Special Administrative Region’s chief executive Donald Tsang, are totally miffed with Noynoy Aquino and his bumbling administration for the snub given them earlier.

It’s now a tit for tat, what with Chinese officials not clearing the Philippine “high-level” delegation visit to Beijing and Hong Kong, which was scheduled last Thursday.
Noynoy and his communications aides’ keep on bungling things, worsening the serious diplomatic gaffes as the days wear on, what with his communications secretaries showing up Noynoy, as well as themselves, as, well, diplomatic idiots, not to mention incompetents.

One does not call the HK executive a liar, and Communications Group chief Sonny Coloma did that, no matter how he tries to spin it.

He said it was not true that Noynoy was inaccessible and that if there was a call from Tsang, he would have taken it. That’s calling Tsang a liar.

The other communications chief, Ricky Carandang, also made it worse when he explained that Tsang did call, but that Noynoy had not been alerted to his call, although he claimed the aide passed on the message to another aide, this time of Foreign Affairs chief Alberto Romulo, but that the DFA never called back. All that displayed the incompetence of not just the aides, but also of the different secretaries, all of whom apparently didn’t think it important that Tsang, the Hong Kong leader, had called and obviously in connnection with the hostage crisis.... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20100828com1.html

Not getting anything right FRONTLINE Ninez Cacho-Olivares 08/28/2010

Not getting anything right

Ninez Cacho-Olivares
Good grief! Can’t this government ever get anything right?

Relations between China and the Philippines are very strained at this point, and worse, the Hong Kong people are angry — very angry, and they want to let Noynoy Aquino and his government know it.
They, opposition and pro-administration, are getting together to mount a huge protest rally to air their sentiments against the utter mishandling of the Arroyo government of the hostage crisis that killed eight of their countrymen and earlier, Chinese officials made it known that they didn’t care for the snub of Noynoy Aquino of their frantic telephone calls by also snubbing Malacañang through their rejection in giving the high level Philippine delegation the go signal for its trip to Beijing and Hong Kong.

The Chinese snub, as usual, went on a spin, as the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) claimed it would be better to delay the trip until after the investigation is all done.

But the RP delegation was hardly tasked to present the findings of the probe on the hostage crisis to the Chinese officials. The team was created to “mend fences” with China and Hong Kong.

The go signal was not given by China, obviously as its way of showing its displeasure of the presidential snub as Noynoy did not take the calls from them. .... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20100828com2.html

Long wait for thousands of stranded Pakistanis focus 08/28/2010

Long wait for thousands of stranded Pakistanis


SAEEDABAD — Hakim Machhi has been camped out on a river bank for three days, waiting in vain for Pakistani aid workers to pluck him to safety after stinking flood waters swallowed up his home.

About 50 families lived in the remote village of Alan Suhebjo, 30 kilometers (19 miles) north of Hyderabad in southern Sindh province, but their homes have disappeared under water in Pakistan’s worst humanitarian disaster.

Around 10 kilometers from the nearest town of Saeedabad, the village is largely isolated from the state-sponsored and mainstream independent relief operations straining to cope with a crisis that has hit 17 million.

Instead villagers fell back on their resourcefulness, decamping to a nearby embankment and collection of mud huts already abandoned by their occupants too frightened by rising waters.

Children swam through the putrid flood. Wives and daughters busied themselves with what household chores they could do. Men took it in turns to keep watch over the rising waters and trudged into Saeedabad for help.... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20100828com3.html

US Behind Bloody Oplan Bantay Laya, Book Reveals Published on August 28, 2010

 US Behind Bloody Oplan Bantay Laya, Book Reveals

Published on August 28, 2010

Book Review: Oplan Bantay Laya: The US-Arroyo Campaign of Terror and Counterinsurgency in the Philippines (IBON Books, IBON Foundation Inc.)



MANILA — The US government has blood in its hands, the newly published book by Ibon Foundation reveals.
 The fourth in the research institute’s series on State Terror and Human Rights in the Philippines, Oplan Bantay Laya: The US-Arroyo Campaign of Terror and Counterinsurgency in the Philippines (Oplan Bantay Laya for brevity) is a compilation of original and reposted articles on Oplan Bantay Laya (OBL), now considered by human rights advocates here and abroad as the bloodiest counterinsurgency (COIN) program implemented by the Philippine government.

 No less than United Nations special rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions Philip Alston affirmed what human rights group Karapatan has been saying all along – that the spate of extrajudicial killings is sanctioned by the OBL. Alston who visited the country in February 2007 blamed the Arroyo government’s COIN program for the killings.

The OBL’s core principle does not distinguish civilians from combatants. In crushing what the military calls “political infrastructures” of the Left, leaders and members of people’s organizations and party list groups are targeted for neutralization. 

According to Karapatan, Arroyo’s OBL has taken the lives of 1,205 unarmed individuals, mostly activists and members of progressive people’s organizations..... MORE

URL: http://www.bulatlat.com/main/2010/08/28/us-behind-bloody-oplan-bantay-laya-book-reveals/

Another Activist Killed in Eastern Samar Published on August 28, 2010

Another Activist Killed in Eastern Samar

Published on August 28, 2010

Casiano Abing is the sixth activist killed since President Benigno S. Aquino III assumed power. Human rights lawyer Katrina Castillo deems the killing a result of the extension of counterinsurgency program Oplan Bantay Laya.


MANILA — Days after the formal announcement of the military of the extension of the counterinsurgency program Oplan Bantay Laya (OBL), another activist was killed in Eastern Samar, August 25.
Casiano Abing, 56, a member of Bayan Muna was shot dead by an unidentified lone gunman in his house at barangay 5, Poblacion, Balangiga, Eastern Samar.

Based on the urgent action alert sent by Karapatan, at around 7 p.m., a man knocked on Abing’s house and asked for him. The house help called Abing who went to check who his visitor was. A few minutes later, gunshots were heard. Abing’s wife and five children rushed to him and found him wounded but alive. Abing was still able to tell his family that he saw his assailant but he did not look familiar to him. The assailant immediately fled after the shooting.

Abing was rushed to the Alvino M.Duran Memorial Hospital but the hospital lacks the facilities to treat him so he was transferred to St. Paul’s Hospital in Tacloban City, which is about an hour and a half away from Balangiga. He arrived there at around 10 p.m. where he was pronounced dead on arrival.

The victim suffered five gunshot wounds, one of which hit his liver.

Abing is the sixth activist killed since President Benigno S. Aquino III assumed power.... MORE


URL: http://www.bulatlat.com/main/2010/08/28/another-activist-killed-in-eastern-samar/

Court Orders Hospital Detention for Morong 43 Mom, Newborn

Court Orders Hospital Detention for Morong 43 Mom, Newborn

Published on August 28, 2010

After initially denying the petition for temporary release of Morong 43 mother Carina Judilyn Oliveros, the court, in deciding on the appeal filed by Oliveros’s counsel, ordered her and her son’s transfer to a hospital where she would be detained for a period of three months.  

Sidebar: Three Months Not Enough for Nursing Mom, Newborn


MANILA — After denying the petition filed by Morong 43 mother Carina Judilyn Oliveros for temporary release on recognizance for humanitarian grounds, the local court ordered that she and her newborn son be transferred to a hospital.

Oliveros is one of the 43 health workers arrested on Feb. 6 in Morong, Rizal. The 43 were charged with illegal possession of firearms and explosives. They were detained at Camp Capinpin in Tanay, Rizal before being transferred to a detention facility at Camp Bagong Diwa in Bicutan.

Oliveros gave birth by cesarean section to her first child last July 22 at the Philippine General Hospital (PGH). On Aug. 18, the jail guards hauled Oliveros, together with her son, back to jail,. Presiding Judge Gina F. Cenit-Escoto of the Morong Regional Trial Court Branch 78 ordered the transfer, saying that there is no basis to grant the petition for temporary release filed on Oliveros’s behalf by her counsels.

The mother and child joined the rest of the Morong 43 women detainees in an overcrowded, damp and poorly ventilated detention cell where rats, bed mites and other insects are found.... MORE


URL: http://www.bulatlat.com/main/2010/08/28/court-orders-hospital-detention-for-morong-43-mom-newborn/

Spare OFWs from Aquino’s Administration First ‘Major, Major Blunder’ – Migrante Published on August 26, 2010

Spare OFWs from Aquino’s Administration First ‘Major, Major Blunder’ – Migrante

Published on August 26, 2010

MANILA — Upon learning what happened in the bloody ending of the August 23 hostage crisis, there is only one thing that Benedicta Tee, 60, was worried about – the welfare of her sister, an overseas Filipino worker in Hongkong.

Tee feared that her sister, Soledad Pillas, 52, might be sent home to the country by her employer, a Hongkong national, simply because she is a Filipino. “She is our breadwinner in the family. She supports the medical needs of my younger brother who is ill.”

Pillas managed to send a text message to her sister that she is fine. But added that, “most of the Hongkong nationals were really angry on how the hostage crisis ended on Monday.”

Former Police Senior Inspector Rolando Mendoza held Hongkong tourists and some Filipinos as hostages. He was demanding that the Office of Ombudsman to take action on his pending case, which relieved him from service. The 12-hour hostage, however, left eight Hongkong tourists dead.

The bloody ending of the hostage crisis was later on blamed on how the Philippine government poorly managed the situation and eventually to the media, who was giving blow-by-blow accounts of what was happening at that time.

Migrante International demands the Philippine government’s hand in protecting OFWs in Hongkong from possible backlashes because of the tragic hostage taking on Monday (Photo by Janess Ann J. Ellao / bulatlat.com)
Migrante International chairperson Garry Martinez told Bulatlat that he is not surprised if there are negative reactions coming from Hongkong nationals and its possible repercussions to OFWs. “We express our sincerest condolences to the families and friends of the victims,” Martinez said, “We know how difficult it is to fetch a loved one who is dead.”
But Martinez said that OFWs should not suffer the consequences of President Benigno Aquino III’s administration’s first “major, major blunder.”


Gabriela Rep. Luz Ilagan said that the Aquino government should brace itself for the possible repercussions of the bus hostage. “A backlash is inevitable. The Philippine government should also be prepared to have more local jobs ready should domestic workers in Hongkong find themselves being sent home by their employers,” she said in a statement..... MORE


URL: http://www.bulatlat.com/main/2010/08/26/spare-ofws-from-aquinos-administration-first-major-major-blunder-migrante/

Coloma won’t apologize for undiplomatic statement By Aytch S. dela Cruz 08/28/2010

Coloma won’t apologize for undiplomatic statement

By Aytch S. dela Cruz
Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) chief Herminio “Sonny” Coloma yesterday isn’t about to apologize for his tactless statement he aired Thursday where he categorically denied the assertion made by Hong Kong Special Administrative Region chief executive Donald Tsang that President Aquino was inaccessible during the crucial hours of the bloody hostage taking incident last Monday.

Coloma’s statement earned him flak as this as held being tantamount to calling Tsang a liar which the PCOO chief only dismissed this, claiming that “lost translation” was at fault while he was trying to get his message across the public.
In a radio interview, Coloma explained that he was asked the question in the vernacular and he answered it in Filipino which he said he sought to clarify Tsang’s allegation that he was not able to contact Aquino during the time.

“The question that was delivered in Filipino was: Why Chief Executive Donald Tsang is claiming that he was not able to contact the President? That was very clear, why was he unable to contact, so I answered that this was hard to believe. My statement points to his assertion that he wasn’t able to contact (the President),” Coloma said.

Coloma further claimed that the clarification issued by his counterpart, Presidential Communications Development and Strategic Planning Secretary Ricky Carandang, regarding the matter was in response to a hypothetical question forwarded by one of the resident reporters covering Malacañang.... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/nation/20100828nat1.html

PNP to blame for fiasco, not Noy — Palace By Aytch S. de la Cruz 08/28/2010

PNP to blame for fiasco, not Noy — Palace

By Aytch S. de la Cruz
The buck does not stop with President Aquino.
He appears to be one Chief Executive who refuses to accept command responsibility and accountability as his Palace aides yesterday pointed to the Philippine National Police (PNP) as the lone institution that should be held responsible and accountable for the recent Manila tourist bus hijacking that claimed the lives of at least eight Hong Kong Chinese tourists, not counting the death of the hijacker, a sacked but decorated police officer.

Earlier, Malacañang had pointed the finger of blame on the previous Arroyo administration, claiming that then President Arroyo, in power and position for nine years, had failed to provide funds for the right equipment and training for the police Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) units as the reason the police failed in their rescue operations during the hostage crisis that ended in a carnage.

Arroyo’s spokesman quickly countered this by saying that the PNP special teams were provided all the equipment needed for such crises, and that training was also part of the funding.

Arroyo spokesman Elena Bautista-Horn stressed that they have the documents to substantiate their statements.
Malacañang has dropped that excuse for its failure in preventing the senseless deaths of the Hong Kong tourists as Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) chief Herminio “Sonny” Coloma yesterday said the tragic hostage taking incident last Aug. 23 is an “acid test” that lends itself more on the competence of the country’s police forces and not to the Aquino administration.

Coloma issued the statement in a radio interview when asked to clarify his statement that the government’s mismanagement of the said crisis situation should again be blamed on the previous administration..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20100828hed1.html

Fresh wounds opened for China with hijacker’s RP flag-draped coffin 08/28/2010

Fresh wounds opened for China with hijacker’s RP flag-draped coffin

The wounds coming from the botched rescue operation that ended in carnage of eight Hong Kong tourists have not even healed, but a fresh wound has again been inflicted on the Chinese government and its people as TV footage yesterday showed the coffin of the slain police senior officer Rolando Mendoza, the hostage taker, was draped with the Philippine flag.

The Chinese Embassy in the Philippines quickly reacted, expressing “strong indignation” over such an image as it said that Mendoza does not deserve to have such an honor after killing Chinese nationals.

“The person who deserves a national flag at funerals should be someone of (known for his) heroism, decency and integrity, not someone who inflicts atrocity on innocent lives. This is nothing but a smear on the dignity of the Philippine national flag,” it said in a statement.

The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) echoed the sentiments of the Chinese government, calling such an act as a violation of the existing rules in displaying the national flag.

“There are rules and protocols with respect to the manner of display of the Philippine flag and we do not consider the display of the Philippine flag in this particular instance as conforming with existing rules,” the DFA said.... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20100828hed2.html

Senate to probe Lim’s role in botched rescue attempt By Angie Rosales 08/28/2010

Senate to probe Lim’s role in botched rescue attempt

By Angie Rosales

Manila Mayor Alfredo Lim faces an inquiry before his former colleagues in the Senate for reportedly ordering the arrest of the brother of hostage-taker which is believed to have triggered Capt. Rolando Mendoza to snap and kill eight of his remaining foreign hostages.
Senate investigators, however, are conspicuously cautious in stating the possible liability of the mayor in the apparent mishandling of Monday’s hostage crisis.
Sen. Gregorio Honasan, overall chairman in the Senate’s inquiry into the hostage crisis, yesterday indicated accountability of more and higher personalities, if information and testimonies that will be gathered, support this assessment.
“We asked that question to (Interior) Secretary (Jesse) Robredo and his reply was that the chain of command will not stop with (Manila District Police chief) Gen. (Rodolfo) Magtibay. It went all the way to the top. There is an override mechanism when there are lapses. The next higher commander will assume control and responsibility and that’s what we have found out from the committee hearing,” Honasan, chairman of the committee on public order and illegal drugs, said.
“We will be talking about command responsibility. Then we will wait for an investigation report. We don’t want to be premature and hasty in judging the negotiation and subsequent tactical operation,” he added.
Lim, for his part, also yesterday expressed his willingness to face the Senate as he stood pat on his claim that he did not order the arrest of SPO2 Mendoza but merely instructed other police personnel to handcuff and restrain the brother of the slain hostage-taker.... MORE

SC defers orals on truth body suits By Benjamin B. Pulta 08/28/2010

SC defers orals on truth body suits

By Benjamin B. Pulta
The ruling on the constitutionality of President Aquino’s creation of the Truth Commission will have to wait. The Supreme Court (SC) has put off its hearing on the suits challenging the creation of the truth commission to investigate anomalies during the term of former President and now Pampanga Rep. Gloria Arroyo.

Court spokesman Jose Midas Marquez yesterday said the oral arguments originally set for Tuesday, Aug. 31, have been deferred for a week and will be held on Sept. 7.

“It was the office of the solicitor general that moved for deferment of the oral arguments on Executive Order No. 1 because they (OSG lawyers) wanted more time for preparation,” Marquez said.

The government was already ordered by the Court last Tuesday to comment on petitions of House Minority Leader Edcel Lagman and other allies of Arroyo. It was given 10 days upon receipt of notice to comply with the order.

In their petition last Aug. 12, Lagman and company argued that the Palace violated the separation of powers of the executive and legislative branches as ordained by Article VI, Section 1 and Article VII, Sections 1 and 17 of the Constitution.
“EO No.1 arrogates the power of the Congress to create government or public offices, agencies and commissions, thereby breaching the constitutionally ordained separation of powers,” stated the 55-page petition..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20100828hed5.html

House probe on Noy’s MWSS appointee’s fat perks sought 08/28/2010

House probe on Noy’s MWSS appointee’s fat perks sought

A congressional investigation into the bonuses of President Aquino’s appointee to the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS) is now set even as a party-list lawmaker disclosed that the newly appointed acting head of the water regulatory body has received some P5.9 million in bonuses, allowances and other perks during the past three years.

According to Bagong Henerasyon party-list Rep. Bernadette Herrera-Dy, she has  uncovered documents that showed newly appointed MWSS Administrator Macra Cruz is getting fat allowances and bonuses from the MWSS, a government-owned and -controlled corporation.

The documents showed that Cruz received a total P5,956,899 in allowances, anniversary and Christmas bonuses, traditional bonuses, honoraria, grocery incentives and other perks such as “PX mart allowance, family week allowance, corporate Christmas Package, Christmas bonus” as a senior official of the state water firm in less than three years, from 2008 to 2010.
Some of the bonuses and allowance received by the official also included “registration fee service” amounting to P17,000; “Traditional Christmas Bonus” amounting to P71,860.95; another “Tradional Christmas Bonus” amounting to P71,460.00; “Discretionary Allowance” worth P137,513.72; “Family Week Allowance” worth P98,591.00 and a “Privatization Financial Assistance” worth P78,388.40.

Macra also received an allowance for the anniversary of the privatization of the MWSS worth P237,987.60; A “traditional anniversary bonus” worth P197,182.20.

Herrera-Dy has filed House Resolution 137 seeking to create a special body to investigate alleged irregularities at the MWSS “that may have contravened President Aquino’s order and thrust toward good governance and social transformation.”... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20100828hed6.html

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