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The Daily Tribune

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New faces, same style EDITORIAL 09/14/2010

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

New faces, same style

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When such accusations of corruption, and naturally, jueteng, are aired, and with the fingers pointing to the presidential aides, the usual reply to such accusations is for the accuser to provide proof and substantiate the charges for the Palace to act on them.

Communications chief Sonny Coloma came out to state that retired Archbishop Oscar Cruz should show the Palace proof of his charges, adding that there are no sacred cows in the Aquino government.

That was pretty much the line of the Arroyo government, every time charges against Palace officials were aired.

It certainly looks like Aquino’s Malacañang is just a clone of Arroyo’s Malacañang, despite all those empty promises of change and reform in the new government, and the promise to eradicate corruption..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20100914com1.html

Getting even? FRONTLINE Ninez Cacho-Olivares 09/14/2010

Getting even?

Ninez Cacho-Olivares
One of the promises of Noynoy Aquino, with reference to reforms in government institutions, was the strengthening of the judiciary — to ensure justice for all under his regime, or so he claimed.

Yet it is clear that such pledge is merely another empty promise made by him, as his budget for next year has ensured that the judicial branch of government does not even comprise of just one percent of the total budget some P1.6 trillion.

But in the case of the Social Welfare and Services Department, its budget zoomed to some 127 percent, with the bulk of the funds allocated to the cash transfer program, which theoretically will be giving the “poorest of the poor” some P1,400 monthly.

Everyone knows that this cash transfer program is nothing but a deep well of corruption, as it is almost impossible for Dinky Soliman’s agency to even pinpoint the poorest of the poor beneficiaries. Just who will be identifying them, if not the local executives. What guarantee is there that once identified, these beneficiaries would really be receiving them? Receipts? Signatures can be faked..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20100914com2.html

US post in Afghan hamlet a ‘bullet magnet’ focus 09/14/2010

US post in Afghan hamlet a ‘bullet magnet’


CHAHAR QOLBAH — In Chahar Qolbah, a deserted hamlet on the edge of the village of Jelawar in southern Afghanistan, US paratroopers have taken over an old Taliban base and turned it into a forward combat post.

Patrol base Lugo, named after one of the soldiers’ comrades who was killed in action, is “a bullet magnet,” joked one of the men from Alpha Battery 1-320 of the 101st Airborne Division

The post is in the Arghandab Valley in the heart of Kandahar province — cradle and bastion of the Taliban insurgency.

Riddled with bullets and some of it in ruins, the building has been transformed into a fortified camp, with machine gun posts on the roof, sandbags, camouflage netting and sniper nests.

“When we moved in, we found weapons and underground medical facilities. They were treating their wounded here,” platoon commander Lt. George Babcock said as he showed the cellar..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20100914com3.html

Honeymoon is over? NO HOLDS BARRED Armida Siguion-Reyna 09/14/2010

Honeymoon is over?

Armida Siguion-Reyna
You read this on the 76th day that President Benigno Aquino III is in office, or 24 days to go before his honeymoon with all of us ends. How will he do after the traditional 100 days of harmony for the Chief Executive is over?

The stance of my paper is clear. Without fear or favor, said our masthead, from the time of Arroyo. Without fear or favor, still, in this presidency. And yet while I had declared observing a honeymoon with P-Noy, not once did I get an order, a request, or whatever, to go hit him. My editor respects my position, I likewise respect the paper’s clear-cut preference to stay on activist track — which is why I found Presidential Spokesman Edwin Lacierda’s scare tactics and harangue against our reporter so disappointing. 

I make it clear I want Lacierda’s Boss to succeed. I didn’t vote for him, but how well he does in Malacañang is how well the country will do. For P-Noy to do well enough to stop rallyists of the left and right and center of the spectrum from pouring out into the streets again is what I really want to happen, as heck, I’m soon to turn 80, and my legs won’t anymore take to marching.

Barely after the elections, the Left announced “There’s no honeymoon. The total political exposition of, and opposition to Aquino, and the newly installed ruling Mafia in Malacañang is the top order of the day… a declaration of round-the-clock vigilance and just war against Mr. Aquino, who is no different to Mrs. Arroyo.”.... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20100914com4.html

Paymasters of the right AN OUTSIDERS VIEW Ken Fuller 09/14/2010

Paymasters of the right

Ken Fuller
Last month saw a large gathering in Washington as Glenn Beck, a right-wing rabble-rouser on the odious Fox channel, called a rally at the spot where Martin Luther King Jr. made his “I have a dream” speech 47 years earlier. Beck says it was mere coincidence that it was the anniversary of the King speech but that, when he realized it, he decided to use this as his theme. And he did, making the ludicrous claim that his Tea Party audience was heir to the civil rights movement.

Anyone listening to Beck for the first time might have come away with the impression that here was a man who believed that the solution to the USA’s problems lay in the embrace of God and constant prayer. Scoundrels often enlist God in their attempts to win a following for their dubious undertakings, and Beck threw in all the icons — not just God but the founding fathers, Abraham Lincoln, the Constitution, etc.

In reality, of course, Beck has a quite different agenda. Last year in the New York Times, Nobel Prize-winning economist Paul Krugman called him “Exhibit A for the mainstreaming of right-wing extremism.”

The Beck agenda is pretty much the same of that of the Tea Party, a loosely-organized movement which takes its name from the event in 1773 when American colonists threw cases of tea, upon which the British government was demanding a tax, into Boston’s harbor. “No taxation without representation” was the cry. Current Tea Party adherents, though, seem to object to paying any tax intended to fund socially desirable projects like welfare — and, of course, “bailouts,” where they might be on stronger ground..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20100914com5.html

India’s lost Buddhist university to rise from ashes FEATURE 09/14/2010

India’s lost Buddhist university to rise from ashes


NEW DELHI — Indian academics have long dreamt of resurrecting Nalanda University, one of the world’s oldest seats of learning which has lain in ruins for 800 years since being razed by foreign invaders.

Now the chance of intellectual life returning to Nalanda has come one step closer after the parliament in New Delhi last month passed a bill approving plans to re-build the campus as a symbol of India’s global ambitions.
Historians believe that the university, in the eastern state of Bihar, once catered for 10,000 students and scholars from across Asia, studying subjects ranging from science and philosophy to literature and mathematics.

Founded in the third century, it gained an international reputation before being sacked by Turkic soldiers and its vast library burnt down in 1193 — when Oxford University was only just coming into existence.

Piles of red bricks and some marble carvings are all that remain at the site, 55 miles (90 kilometers) from Bihar’s state capital of Patna..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20100914com6.html

Logging spells danger for Europe’s last primeval forest FEATURE 09/14/2010

Logging spells danger for Europe’s last primeval forest


BIALOWIEZA — Deep in the forest, along a dirt road off-limits to tourists, the trunks of centuries-old fir trees lie waiting to be hauled to a sawmill — felled giants from Europe’s last primeval forest.

Further in, old oak and ash trunks wait to be turned into planks, furniture or matchsticks: proof, say ecologists, of illicit logging that is endangering the ancient Bialowieza forest in eastern Poland.

“Some of the trees have been cut down illegally by Poland’s National Forests service, in violation of European Union legislation,” contends Polish environmentalist Adam Bohdan, who with other campaigners has raised the alarm in Warsaw and Brussels.

State forestry officials deny any logging for commercial purposes in Bialowieza, saying only diseased or infested trees are being felled in the vast woodland area which is home to wild bison, lynx and wolves.

“We are also ecologists,” says Andrzej Antczak, head of the Bialowieza forest service. “We log only to protect the forest from bark beetles — insects that pose a grave danger to trees. We want to help nature defend itself and we do it according to Polish legislation,” he insists..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20100914com7.html

Detractors name-dropping on payola—Noy By Aytch S. de la Cruz 09/14/2010

‘P2 million too cheap for jueteng payoffs’

Detractors name-dropping on payola—Noy

By Aytch S. de la Cruz
Without even bothering to probe the allegations of jueteng payoffs to at least two presidential aides by Archbishop Oscar Cruz, President Aquino yesterday not only branded the P2 million monthly payola given to his officials as “cheap” but also dismissed these allegations, saying that his political detractors are behind this reports of the payola, while linking him and his officials through name-dropping.

The two officials earlier mentioned in the report may just be victims of name-dropping, Aquino told reporters in an ambush interview yesterday.

His spokesman, Edwin Lacierda, took another tack, challenging Cruz to “name names” for Malacañang to be spared from taking a “circuitous route of investigation” over the alleged jueteng payoffs to Aquino officials.
Lacierda, in a press conference, also mentioned that the first agency that should be concerned with on this accusation is the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) headed by the controversial Secretary Jesse Robredo.

Interviewed at the sidelines by Malacañang reporters following a mass oath-taking ceremony, Aquino intimated that the cropping up of this jueteng issue, tagging two of his officials, is the work of his detractors..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20100914hed1.html

Embattled Ombudsman runs to SC to halt impeach move By Benjamin B. Pulta 09/14/2010

Embattled Ombudsman runs to SC to halt impeach move
By Benjamin B. Pulta

Embattled Ombudsman Merceditas Gutierrez has petitioned the Supreme Court (SC) to stop the impeachment proceedings against her before the House of Representatives.

In a 60-page petition filed by her lawyer retired SC Justice Serafin Cuevas, Gutierrez sought the issuance of a temporary restraining order (TRO) against the House committee on justice, headed by Iloilo Rep. Neil Tupas Jr.

SC Court Administrator Jose Midas Marquez in a press briefing said the case may be raffled either today or tomorrow by the tribunal to determine the justice who will handle it.

Gutierrez also asked the high court to nullify the resolutions of the House committee finding the two impeachment complaints filed against her sufficient in form and substance as she described the proceedings before the legislature as an “arbitrary, capricious and whimsical exercise by the committee of its power to impeach.”

Two groups have filed separate impeachment complaints against Gutierrez for allegedly failing to act on the corruption and human rights violation cases filed against Pampanga Rep. Gloria Arroyo accusing Gutierrez of culpable violation of the Constitution and betrayal of public trust..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20100914hed2.html

Noynoy appoints Bacalzo as PNP chief, bane of junior officers By Aytch S. de la Cruz 09/14/2010

Noynoy appoints Bacalzo as PNP chief, bane of junior officers
By Aytch S. de la Cruz

The warning previously transmitted by the junior officers of the Philippine National Police (PNP), which Malacañang merely branded as “speculative”, had completely fallen on the deaf ears of President Aquino III as he named PNP deputy director general for operations, Raul Bacalzo, as its next top official.

Bacalzo, a member of the Philippine Military Class 1977, edged out fellow nominees PNP deputy chief for administration Dir. Gen. Perfecto Palad and PNP chief for directorial staff Dir. Benjamin Belarmino.

Palad was considered by many as the most qualified for the position if the seniority rule and police hierarchy would be faithfully taken into consideration by the appointing authority that is Aquino — their Commander-in-Chief.

But for reasons that are yet to be disclosed, Aquino decided to pick Bacalzo as successor to outgoing PNP Chief Dir. Gen. Jesus Verzosa who is poised to go for an early retirement tomorrow, September 15..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/nation/20100914nat1.html

Truth body a go despite pending SC case — Davide 09/14/2010

Truth body a go despite pending SC case — Davide
The Philippine Truth Commission will push through with its mission to investigate the allegations of corruption that were successfully fended off the Arroyo administration — unless the Supreme Court declares it unconstitutional, newly inducted PTC chairman and former SC Chief Justice Hilario Davide Jr. yesterday said.

Acording to Davide, the first thing his agency will do is to come up with the rules of procedure that will give direction toward successfully accomplishing their task which is to execute President Aquino’s maiden executive order (EO).

He also claimed that the petitions pending before the high court questioning the legality of EO 1 that created his office would not discourage them from executing their mandate of putting closure to the scandals of the previous government.

“It depends on what will be the decision of Supreme Court. If the court will decide that it is unconstitutional, then we will stop our work,” Davide said in a chance interview..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20100914hed3.html

Sanctions mulled vs meddling mediamen in hostage taking By Benjamin B. Pulta 09/14/2010

Sanctions mulled vs meddling mediamen in hostage taking
By Benjamin B. Pulta

Justice Secretary Leila de Lima yesterday said the inter-agency body investigating the bungled hostage rescue may consider recommending possible sanctions against individuals and organizations including mediamen.

“We are deliberating on that, on who are to be held accountable and the filing of appropriate charges. As to the extent of the recommendation in the report that is being discussed,” De Lima, also the chairman of the Incident Investigation and Review Committee (IIRC), confirmed when asked by reporters on the likelihood of possible charges against mediamen who may have interfered with law enforcers during the tense stand-off in front of the Quirino Grandstand in Manila’s Rizal Park last Aug. 23.

“Of course there will be an issue of press freedom but as you know it is not really an absolute right inasmuch as we recognize press freedom but there are restrictions on press freedom on the interest of public order,” she stressed.

“The department order between the DILG (Department of Interior and Local Government) and the DoJ (Department of Justice) includes the appropriate civil, criminal or administrative charges as may be warranted,” De Lima said.

Among the resource persons who testified before the IIRC during its five-day fact-finding investigation were Radio Mindanao Network spokesman Jake Maderazo, RMN reporter Michael Rogas,.... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20100914hed4.html

Solons unite behind probe on ‘juetengate’ By Angie M. Rosales 09/14/2010

Solons unite behind probe on ‘juetengate’
By Angie M. Rosales

Opposition and administration senators yesterday moved for another round of the “Juetengate” scandal, following recent allegations by retired Archbishop Oscar Cruz on the resurgence of operations of the illegal numbers game, which is being allegedly protected by certain influential personalities in the Aquino administration.

A number of them called on Aquino to fire those suspected to be beneficiaries of jueteng payoff.

Even before Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago’s resolution calling for an investigation into the fresh allegations could be read on the floor, the chairman of the blue ribbon committee and strong ally of Aquino, Sen. Teofisto “TG” Guingona III manifested the same.

He described as “shocking and disturbing facts” the former prelate’s allegations that those in receipt of payolas are trusted aides of President Aquino. “These bribery allegations and coddling of gambling lords not only undermine the President’s promised ‘tuwid na daan’ or good government but also destroys the very moral fabric of Philippine society.

“This allegation is a clear indication of malfeasance, misfeasance and nonfeasance and a violation of their sworn duty to uphold the laws of the Republic,” Guingona said on the floor..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20100914hed5.html

Senators warn Palace on judiciary cuts 09/14/2010

Senators warn Palace on judiciary cuts
Senators yesterday cau-tioned Malacañang over the reported proposed cuts in the appropriation intended for the judiciary which is said to be only .78 percent of the entire P1.614 trillion national budget eyed for 2011.

They expressed alarm over the possibility of a “judicial revolt” as warned by the Supreme Court, should the imminent slash in the proposed 2011 budget for the judiciary be put in place.

Even those coming from the ranks of administration allies, stood against the planned cuts as they expressed belief that the legislated increase in judicial budgetary support was meant to help reduce the average case life by creating more courts and by filling up vacancies in the Judiciary.

According to court administrator and SC spokesman Jose Midas Marquez, the judiciary is asking for P27.1 billion appropriation but Malacañang has cut the proposal to only P14.3 billion.

“That should be given a second, hard look because it’s really injurious to the administration of justice, that you starve the judiciary of funds,” Sen. Edgardo Angara, former Senate finance committee chairman, said in an interview. “The judiciary right now is suffering from lack personnel as well as poor facilities for lack of funding. It’s true that we allocated some money coming out of the collection of the SC but that not sufficient because that’s used mostly for salary adjustment but the improvement of facilities, the building of new courts and salas, that’s critical,” he added..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20100914hed6.html

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