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Kin Remember Loved Ones Who Disappeared, Express Disappointment Over Aquino’s Inaction

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Kin Remember Loved Ones Who Disappeared, Express Disappointment Over Aquino’s Inaction

Published on August 31, 2010

On the occasion of the International Day of the Disappeared, relatives of victims of enforced disappearances marched to Mendiola bridge to demand that their loved ones be surfaced and the perpetrators, including former president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo be punished.

MANILA — Sherly Pascual, 53, has been looking for her missing husband for 22 years now.

On April 7, 1988, between 4:30 p.m. to 5:00 p.m., Sherly’s husband Roberto was taken by at least four armed men in their house in Navotas. “We were fixing the house that day when they arrived. They took my husband without a word,” Sherly told Bulatlat.

Their three sons, then aged three, six and nine, also saw how their father was abducted. “Oyo, our second child, embraced his father but the men violently brushed him aside, his body slammed the wooden walls,” Sherly related.

“I was hit with the butt of a gun on the forehead,” Sherly said, pointing to a scar just above her left eye. “I followed them out of the alley but I eventually lost consciousness.”

Sherly has been searching for husband Roberto for 22 years now. (Photo by Ronalyn V. Olea / bulatlat.com)
Sherly was one of the relatives of victims of enforced disappearances who marched to Chino Roces (formerly Mendiola) bridge, Aug. 30 to express disappointment over President Benigno S. Aquino III’s actions and inaction regarding human rights. Aug. 30 is the International Day of the Disappeared.

“Personally, I do not have expectations on him [Aquino],” Sherly said, adding that her husband was abducted during the administration of Corazon Cojuangco-Aquino, the president’s mother.

Sherly said it was difficult having to raise her three sons all by herself. “We went through different crises,” Sherly said.
.... MORE


URL: http://www.bulatlat.com/main/2010/08/31/kin-remember-loved-ones-who-disappeared-express-disappointment-over-aquino%E2%80%99s-inaction/

Denial of truth FRONTLINE Ninez Cacho-Olivares 09/01/2010

Denial of truth

Ninez Cacho-Olivares
Malacañang is trying too hard to put on a brave face, dismissing charges of Noynoy Aquino’s lack of leadership, insisting that there was no failure of leadership during the hostage crisis that ended in a bloodbath, leaving eight Hong Kong tourists dead and an undetermined number of injured, not to mention many traumatized by the tragedy.

Communications Group chief Sonny Coloma says that in the opinion of Palace, there was no failure of leadership. But hey, what is he expected to say, that indeed, there was a failure of leadership, as concluded by the Palace? Duh!

He was quoted in a TV interview as saying that “hindsight is the clearest of all visions…In our opinion, there is no failure of leadership. Our President was in position. He was exercising his role as a leader in the way he deemed fit, he is doing what the people mandated him to do.”

Really? Was that the mandate of the people? For Noynoy Aquino to be unavailable and inaccessible all throughout the crisis, and flubbing everything? He deemed this fit for a President?

Is the mandate for Noynoy also to place the blame on everything and everybody?.... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20100901com2.html

Turkmens, Afghans struggle to realize pipeline dream focus 09/01/2010

Turkmens, Afghans struggle to realize pipeline dream


ASHGABAT — Plans for a pipeline to deliver natural gas from Turkmenistan through Afghanistan to Pakistan and India are picking up steam but the decade-long dream still risks never leaving the drawing board.

The Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) pipeline has featured prominently in recent talks among regional leaders eager to jumpstart the faltering project for reasons of economics or security.

But with spiraling violence in Afghanistan, one of the world’s most opaque regimes in Turkmenistan and miserable Pakistan-India relations, analysts remain skeptical that anyone can succeed in raising the pipeline off the desert floor.

Recent noises from Ashgabat, which may lack the volume to fill the pipeline, are at best wishful thinking, said Evan Feigenbaum, a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations and former assistant deputy US secretary of state.

“Their roadshows periodically include every pipeline idea under the sun, so in theory they’d like to do lots of things. In reality, they probably can’t and almost certainly won’t,” he told AFP by e-mail in response to written questions.

That, he added, is even before any discussion of Afghan President Hamid Karzai’s increasingly-embattled government in Kabul or the thorny issue of India-Pakistan relations..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20100901com3.html

Congress should dig deeper By Cecilio T. Arillo COMMENT 09/01/2010

Congress should dig deeper
By Cecilio T. Arillo


There’s no doubt that the fatal hostage-taking incident at the Luneta Park and the insolent reaction by some government officials that triggered a worldwide consternation could have been avoided.

In fact, it was just a repetition of the old pattern of ineptitude, buck-passing and scapegoating that should have been radically, not incrementally, corrected long time ago.

No need here to discuss what happened because the public saw it in living color for 11 hours.
Public concern should be on why it happened and how to prevent it from happening again.

Congress should jointly (Senate and House) do an in-depth probe and look for antecedents because what and why it happened was just a consequence of some antecedents, with far-reaching social, political, economic and national security implications.

But why Congress? Because.... MORE
SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20100901com4.html

Globe Asiatique’s ‘ghost towns’ C.R.O.S.S.R.O.A.D.S Jonathan De la Cruz 09/01/2010

Globe Asiatique’s ‘ghost towns’

Jonathan De la Cruz
Calling SEC and PSE officials. Is it true as being reported that you have given the go signal for Globe Asiatique Realty Holdings Inc. to list its shares by the end of this month? The property developer owned by businessman Delfin Lee will reportedly offer more than 170 million common shares to the public from Sept. 15 to 22 preparatory to this year’s first PSE sanctioned IPO offering to finance a number of property projects including affordable townships in Pampanga and Cavite. The IPO prospectus indicates that the company plans to raise as much as P3.3 billion from this offering being underwritten by BDO Capital as lead underwriter with each share priced at a minimum pf P6.50. If these reports are true may we strongly advise you to kindly take a second, maybe even a third look, at this operation before you get yourselves and the public into a lot of trouble.

A leading newspaper just came out with a two part series detailing the various infractions committed by Globe Asiatique Realty Holdings in putting together the string of developments it is now offering to the public as the base of this IPO. Given the web of irregularities committed it will be a big mistake to let this IPO proceed as scheduled as it will not only add more salt to the wounds inflicted by the proponent on the housing sector but will probably sink the entire securities industry deeper into the pits.

The Globe Asiatique way

As detailed by Tonette Orejas, PDI investigative reporter, Globe Asiatique is at the center of a widespread and highly irregular scheme which has defrauded the main housing finance corporation, Pag-Ibig, of billions of pesos in loans to ghost recipients as an accredited developer under the agency’s Other Working Groups (OWG) program. The OWG pilot program involves the provision of housing for “workers who are not formally employed but earn through small businesses.”... MORE
SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20100901com5.html

Time takes its toll on Latvia’s ‘Old Believers’ FEATURE 09/01/2010

Time takes its toll on Latvia’s ‘Old Believers’


SLUTISKI — There are little more than a dozen residents left in as many wooden homes in this hamlet tucked away from civilization in eastern Latvia. Most are Old Believers, a faith struggling to survive.

“The young people are leaving,” said Aleksejs Zilko, newly elected head of the Latvian Old Believer Church. “To whom shall we pass on our faith?”

Followers of the Christian denomination that split from the Russian Orthodox Church in the 17th century migrated to escape persecution, building tight-knit ethnic Russian communities around the world, secluded from the mainstream.

Today they face new challenges as a less-religious generation heads to the cities in search of work, leaving the old behind.

Elderly men with beards gathered alongside women in traditional costumes and long shawls at a recent celebration near Slutiski of the 350th anniversary of their first prayer house built in Latvia..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20100901com6.html

Damage control HE SAYS Aldrin Cardon 09/01/2010

Damage control

Aldrin Cardon
A crying lady, kneeling behind yellow steel barriers placed to protect candles and flowers offered to appease the souls of the dead, all victims of the 8-23-10 hostage-taking tragedy, would have melted the strongest of hearts and possibly repaired strained relations between countries seared by bullets (not by war but by a possibly deranged former policeman) hadn’t she done it with a purpose other than just offering flowers and a prayer.

But the media cameras all around Krista Arietta Kleiner gave away her reasons, which included her safety (and possibly a winning chance) when she competes in the 50th Miss International, a beauty pageant to be held in Chengdu, China on Nov. 7, a good two months fresh after former Police Sr. Insp. Rolando Mendoza killed eight Hong Kong tourists in front of historic Quirino Grandstand, damaging Philippine relations with Hong Kong, whose chief executive, Donald Tsang, did not hide his displeasure over the government’s mishandling of the crisis.

Television accounts placed marchers in Hong Kong at around 50,000, expressing their anger against the incident which proved to be the blackest blot yet in President Noynoy Aquino’s presidency, and some political analysts are now predicting there would be a sharp decline of about 15 percent in his popularity, a big wake up jolt that Noynoy would have to address now.

Initial reactions on the mishandling of the crisis somehow poked at Noynoy’s weakness in managing such a big emergency. Malacañang is now scrambling to repair the big damage caused by Mendoza’s stupidity, but if its actions could not convince its own people, how could it even convince the Hong Kong authorities and the many Chinese around the world..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20100901com7.html

Blood and bitterness SHE SAYS Dinah S. Ventura 09/01/2010

Blood and bitterness

Dinah S. Ventura
At a breakfast buffet in a hotel somewhere in Manila, a young Filipino businessman is minding his own business, waiting for his bread to pop out of the toaster. A large Caucasian suddenly wedges his way in front of him, filling his plate with food. After a moment, the man glances back and looks at the young man, feels his back pocket ostensibly to check if his wallet is still there, and walks away.

The Filipino does not know whether to get mad or feel sad — he has, after all, been insulted in his own country by a man who must think that all Pinoys are out to rob him. Fresh in his mind, no doubt, is that recent fiasco of a hostage rescue, which up to now remains hot topic — one that burns us in more ways than one, in fact.

The hostage-taking crisis that took the lives of innocent tourists is not something we can relegate to the back burner, just as we have done about many issues and controversies the Philippines has had to face. We cannot simply feel regretful and sorrowful about what had transpired at the Quirino Grandstand and be done with it.
The issue goes far deeper, and it pricks us to the core of our being. Yes, we know that the rage many Hong Kong residents and Chinese people feel is unreasonably turned toward all Filipinos and the Philippines as a whole. It is an unfair and nearsighted view, to be sure, but somehow we understand the roiling emotion. Goodness knows we have felt a similar anger toward those in whose countries Filipinos have unjustly died.
.... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20100901com8.html

De Lima: No plans of probing Noy, DILG chief By Aytch S. de la Cruz and Benjamin B. Pulta 09/01/2010

De Lima: No plans of probing Noy, DILG chief

By Aytch S. de la Cruz and Benjamin B. Pulta
Justice Secretary Leila de Lima has no plans of summoning President Aquino to shed light on the botched hostage rescue operations, even if she claimed that the probe body, created by Aquino himself, will look into the level at which the command responsibility rests for the botched rescue operations which left eight Hong Kong residents dead, with eight injured, and left too, a trail of anger that continues to rage in Hong Kong over the incompetence of the Aquino government that mishandled the incident.

But this early, Aquino himself is now tossing the blame in the botched rescue operations on an undersecretary of his.

Aquino yesterday disclosed to Palace reporters that he is holding Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) Undersec-retary for Peace and Order Rico Escalona Puno as “partly” responsible for the bungled rescue operations by the police forces in the recent hostage taking incident.

This came amid the claim of one of his communications chief that the Aquino government is not into any blame game.

Aquino made the disclosure in
defense of embattled DILG Secretary Jesse Robredo whose credibility as vice chairman of the recently established Hostage Crisis Investigation Committee (HCIC) that will handle the ongoing probe on the incident is being questioned....MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20100901hed1.html/

Heavily-losing MWSS gives out 37 months in salaries By Angie M. Rosales 09/01/2010

Heavily-losing MWSS gives out 37 months in salaries

By Angie M. Rosales
While the state water service regulator was bleeding from a P3 billion loss in 2008, employees of the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS) were reaping windfalls from bonuses of up to 25 months, the current MWSS head told a Senate hearing yesterday on the excessive compensations given by state firms.

MWSS officer-in-charge Macra Cruz said before a joint hearing by the Senate committees on finance and government corporations that the water agency provides 25-month bonuses for its employees including a “family day” allowance which she said was an offshoot of a requirement for the agency to distribute five percent of its net income for “gender advocate and development.” All such incentives were given on the year that MWSS suffered a gargantuan P3.5 billion loss.
Senators, as a result, approved a resolution asking President Aquino to suspend the irregular MWSS perks and those that executives get from government-owned and controlled corporations (GOCCs) which are mostly losing.

The same appears to be the case of another water agency, the Local Water Utilities Administration (LWUA), receiving subsidies from the national government to more than P2 billion while it is yet to remit dividends of some P263 million.

Combined unremitted dividends of the two water utility firms would amount to more than P500 million pesos, the MWSS owing the government a total of P258 million.

House legislators, meanwhile, filed a resolution yesterday seeking to abolish at least 36 “non-performing and unnecessary” GOCCs and financial institutions (GFIs).... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20100901hed2.html

Justices cry foul over unpaid benefits, new taxes By Gerry Baldo 09/01/2010

Justices cry foul over unpaid benefits, new taxes

By Gerry Baldo
Amid the fat pay checks and frivolous perks accorded the employees of government-owned and controlled corporations, thousands of justices and judges around the country have been left hoping that their promised benefits amounting to P900 million would be paid by the Aquino government.

According to lawyer Midas Marquez, Supreme Court administrator and spokesman, there are 2,308 justices and judges whose benefits have been left unpaid since 2007.

Marquez, who was yesterday at the House of Representatives to brief 

lawmakers on the judiciary, said that the unpaid benefits have been accrued from four executive orders issued in 2007, 2008, 2009 and 2010, mandating salary increases and benefits for the justices and judges.

Marquez said that the discrepancy has affected 2,200 judges, nine justices in the Court of Tax Appeals (CTA), 69 justices in the Court of Appeals (CA),15 justices in the anti-graft court Sandiganbayan and 15 justices in the Supreme Court (SC)... MORE

PASG, PAGC get zero budget By Aytch S. de la Cruz 09/01/2010 For all his tal

PASG, PAGC get zero budget

By Aytch S. de la Cruz
For all his talk about curbing corruption and smuggling and introducing reforms in his government, President Arroyo yesterday virtually abolished two presidential bodies involved in anti-smuggling activities and anti-corruption checks among Cabinet officials and other Palace executives.

Two presidential bodies that are on the brink of possible dissolution have not been given any appropriation in the 2011 national budget which Malacañang has submitted to the House of Representatives last week.

According to Presidential Com-munications Development and Strategic Planning Secretary Ricky Carandang, he received con-firmation from the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) that both the
Presidential Anti-Smuggling Group (PASG) and Presidential Anti-Graft and Corruption (PAGC) will be receiving zero funds for next year.

In a phone interview, Carandang explained that the primary reason behind such move by Aquino was the zero-based budgeting principle that he and his financial managers have applied when they drafted the national budget for next year.... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20100901hed4.html

Noy cancels Indon, Vietnam trips; Asean fails to squeeze in visits By Aytch S. de la Cruz 09/01/2010 President Aqu

Noy cancels Indon, Vietnam trips; Asean fails to squeeze in visits

By Aytch S. de la Cruz
President Aquino yesterday abruptly canceled his scheduled trips to Indonesia and Vietnam in the coming weeks citing, as reason, the two countries’ failure to accommodate his visits this month without bumping into his scheduled attendance at the United Nations General Assembly in New York come Sept. 20.

Speculation in some quarters was rife that the two Asean countries, Indonesia and Vietnam, may be finding themselves being squeezed into the fallout of the Aquino presidency vis a vis the continued anger shown by China and the Hong Kong residents over the botched hostage rescue operations which have proved embarrassing to the Philippines and President Aquino.

The visits to Indonesia and Vietnam were scheduled earlier, And it is usual, protocol-wise, to announce an scheduled visit only after the other foreign governments already agreed to the visit at a scheduled time.
Aquino was supposed to visit Indonesia on Sept. 14 and 15 and seek its participation to become one of the third party facilitators in the resumption of the peace negotiations between the Philippine government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).

Vietnam, on the other hand,currently heads the Association of Southeast Asian Nation (Asean) and tradition reportedly dictates any newly-elected heads from member nations s to go around the region first before making any foreign visit to the countries located in the west... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20100901hed5.html

Senate postpones inquiry into hostage crisis 09/01/2010

Senate postpones inquiry into hostage crisis

The Senate yesterday suspended its inquiry into the recent hostage bloodbath that cost the lives of eight Hong Kong tourists to give way to joint investigations of the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) and the Department of Justice (DoJ) on the incident.

“I consulted the other senators including the Senate President (Juan Ponce Enrile), and the consensus is to postpone indefinitely until the final investigation report so that we will not lose our concentration and focus being undertaken in a parallel capacity of the DoJ, Philippine National Police (PNP) and DILG,” Sen. Gringo Honasan, chairman of the Senate committee on public order and illegal drugs, said.

Honasan added the postponement of the Senate hearing has nothing to do with the gag order issued by Justice Secretary Leila de Lima but rather as a result of a consensus among Senators.

“We will not preempt whatever facts that will come out in the investigation of PNP, DILG, DoJ and Hong Kong authorities,” Honasan, a former military colonel, said.

He said he has his own practical reason to postpone the second Senate inquiry which was supposed to be held either today or tomorrow.... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20100901hed6.html

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