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Credibility: The only factor EDITORIAL 09/18/2010

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Credibility: The only factor

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It probably would have been best if the Incident Investigation and Review Committee (IIRC) and the Hong Kong Government would have formed a joint probe on the hostage taking crisis, in order to stave off any probability of a different analysis.
Still and all, since this was not the case, what will be relied on — at least in this country, would be the IIRC report, which its head, Justice Secretary Leila de Lima said, is credible.
Perhaps. But what may be credible to her and her team, may not be credible and even acceptable to some — especially those 10 who are said to have been implicated in the botched hostage rescue operations and who are expected to be meted out sanctions.

An even more ticklish issue is whether the report will be including the absence of presidential leadership during the hostage crisis, because certainly, the reason for the fiasco was the total absence of leadership and direction from the Palace.

No matter what is being claimed by Noynoy Aquino, as his explanation of his invisibility and inaccessibility during the hostage crisis went in his live panel interview, it was that vacuum of Palace leadership that had a lot to do with the way the hostage crisis was mishandled..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20100918com1.html

Time to worry FRONTLINE Ninez Cacho-Olivares 09/18/2010

Time to worry

Ninez Cacho-Olivares
Noynoy may not realize it, but the way he has been defending his appointees, such as DILG Undersecretary Rico Puno and his newly appointed police chief, Raul Bacalzo, isn’t doing him any good, especially as he has also not been defending his DILG chief, Jesse Robredo, casting him off as just an acting secretary on probation.

What his words and actions suggest is that when it comes to his close buddies, or those who serve his personal interest, he will go all out to protect them, while those with whom he is neither comfortable or whom he believes are not that personally loyal to him, he casts off.
At least, this is what it all looks like, at this point.

He says, for instance, that in the case of the jueteng issue and the alleged involvement of his target shooting buddy, Puno along with Bacalzo, is the improbability of jueteng payoffs of P2 million from a P37 billion illegal numbers game.

In the matter of Bacalzo, Noynoy says he is completely clueless about his police officials’ alleged involvement in jueteng and drugs.

Yet just before he was to appoint a new police chief, there was a white paper on Bacalzo from junior officers, which Noynoy quickly dismissed as “manufactured” and traditional — coming from junior police officers..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20100918com2.html

Pope’s words on pedophilia ‘unlikely to satisfy victims’ ANALYSIS 09/18/2010

Pope’s words on pedophilia ‘unlikely to satisfy victims’


GLASGOW — Some of Pope Benedict XVI’s clearest criticism yet of the Catholic Church’s approach to pedophile priests will fall short of the demands of abuse victims, Vatican analysts said.

As he flew into Scotland to begin a four-day state visit to Britain, the Pope told journalists on his plane that church authorities had “not been vigilant enough” to prevent the abuse of children by priests and nuns.
The Church “did not act quickly or firmly enough to take the necessary action” to quell the problem, he said, expressing “sadness.”

 Marco Politi, a commentator for Italian newspaper Il Fatto Quotidiano, said while the comments were a small step forward, they would do little to silence criticism of the Vatican’s stance on abuse.

“The Pope is sincere in his regrets, but that will not be enough in the eyes of victims’ groups,” he told AFP.
.... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20100918com3.html

Rights Groups Hold ‘Sympathy Fast’ to Press for Release of All Political Prisoners Published on September 18, 2010

Rights Groups Hold ‘Sympathy Fast’ to Press for Release of All Political Prisoners

There are at least 388 political prisoners in the country, 317 were arrested during the term of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. Under the new administration, activists continue to be slapped with “trumped-up” criminal charges. 


MANILA — At least 148 political prisoners in 20 detention centers in the country staged a fast, Sept. 17, to protest their continued incarceration and to pressure President Benigno S. Aquino III to release them.

Political detainees in the National Capital Region, Ifugao, Isabela, Tuguegarao City, Bohol, Danao City, Cebu City, Bacolod City, Tacloban City, Leyte Provincial Jail, Compostela Valley, Bukidnon and Cagayan de Oro participated in the protest. In Metro Manila, the 43 health workers in Camp Bagong Diwa and the high profile detainees from Camp Crame led the protest fast.

“Until now we could not understand what crime we have committed to deserve this injustice. Is it a crime to impart health knowledge and skills to community health workers in order to help deprived communities?” the Morong 43 detainees said in a statement released to the media. .... MORE


URL: http://www.bulatlat.com/main/2010/09/18/rights-groups-hold-sympathy-fast-to-press-for-release-of-all-political-prisoners/

Violent Sidewalk Clearing Operations Leave Pregnant Vendor Dead Published on September 18, 2010

Violent Sidewalk Clearing Operations Leave Pregnant Vendor Dead
Published on September 18, 2010

“We are condemning the violent dispersal by authorities here and elsewhere,” Bea Arellano of Kalipunan ng Damayang Mahihirap said, “While there are still no decent jobs available for the Filipino people, the government should allow vendors to sell, even on sidewalks, to earn a living.”  


MANILA — It seemed like it was just another ordinary day for Lyka Emam, 32 years old and seven months pregnant, when she brought out her salt cart in Kaunlaran Extension, Manggahan-Litex, along Commonwealth Avenue early morning of September 8. Around 6 p.m., however, police officers and a sidewalk clearing operations team of Quezon City came.

Panoy and Lyka with their two children. Lyka, a vendor in Kaunlaran Extension, Manggahan-Litex, was 7 months pregnant when she died after the violent sidewalk clearing operation and dispersal on Sept. 8. (Photo courtesy of Panoy Emam / bulatlat.com)

“They confiscated my wife’s salt cart. She pleaded with them but a police officer kicked her cart, causing it to bump her stomach,” Panoy Emam, 26, Lyka’s husband, told Bulatlat in Filipino.

Lyka continued pleading with a high-ranking police officer, who, according to the residents of Kaunlaran, is a colonel, but was told that they were still waiting for the orders of a “higher” official. “She went home empty-handed,” Panoy said.

Around 11 p.m. that night, Lyka started to complain about pains in her stomach. Panoy and Lyka’s sister Mela Ismael brought her to the Fairview General Hospital. “We were still in the taxi on our way to the hospital when she died,” Panoy said.

“She was urinating blood,” Mela said, “It happened so fast and before we knew it, she died.”.... MORE


URL: http://www.bulatlat.com/main/2010/09/18/violent-sidewalk-clearing-operations-leave-pregnant-vendor-dead/

At Least P90 Billion Needed for Public Health System to Provide Services to the Poor — Health Groups Published on September 18, 2010

System to Provide Services to the Poor — Health Groups

Published on September 18, 2010

Is this proposed budget just a dream? A study conducted by health groups HEAD and AHW revealed that there are enough sources to fund a P90 billion ($$2.037 billion) health budget, if the Aquino government has the political will to do so. 


MANILA — “In the face of dengue cases doubling this year (compared to last year), the health department’s budget for dengue and other communicable diseases did not increase,” said Dr. Gene Nisperos, vice-president of Health Alliance for Democracy (HEAD). In fact, the Aquino government’s proposed budget for health in 2011 is so “very little and inadequate,” it “decreases the allotment for public hospitals and subsidy for indigent patients’ hospitalization,” said Emma S. Manuel, national president of the Alliance of Health Workers (AHW).

The Health Department proposed a miniscule PhP32-billion health budget for 2011. (Photo by Marya Salamat / bulatlat.com)

“Expect the health services to worsen further in government hospitals,” the two health leaders warned, if Aquino’s proposed budget for health is not increased by Congress.

In hopes of arresting this downward trend in government prioritization of public health, AHW and HEAD have embarked on another campaign this year to prod Congress to increase the health department’s proposed 2011 budget, from the P32.028 billion ($724.9 million) it submitted to P90 billion ($2.037 billion).

The two health groups asked the Aquino government to walk the talk in prioritizing social services and instituting change or reforms..... MORE


URL: http://www.bulatlat.com/main/2010/09/18/at-least-p90-billion-needed-for-public-health-system%C2%A0to-provide-services-to-the-poor-health-groups/

Aquino Government’s Peace Adviser Dilly-Dallying on Peace Talks — NDFP Published on September 18, 2010

Aquino Government’s Peace Adviser Dilly-Dallying on Peace Talks — NDFP

Published on September 18, 2010

The NDFP has reiterated its readiness to resume peace talks with the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP) on the basis of The Hague Joint Declaration and subsequent agreements — Luis Jalandoni,  chairman of the NDFP negotiating panel. 

MANILA — The Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP) snubbed a forum organized by peace advocates in Manila on Sept. 15.

Secretary Teresita Quintos-Deles of the OPAPP did not show up at the forum entitled “Prospects for Peace” organized by the Pilgrims for Peace, Benedictines for Peace, La Salle Justice and Peace Commission and Religions for Peace Philippines Interfaith Youth Network.

Organizers said the invitation was sent three weeks ahead of the schedule. The OPAPP even asked for a copy of the program but declined the invitation a day before the event. The organizers were told that Deles has a previous commitment.

Nardy Sarbino of the Promotion of Church People’s Response (PCPR) and a member of the secretariat of the Pilgrims for Peace told Bulatlat that they asked for a representative to come or a statement from the OPAPP. Neither was granted..... MORE


URL: http://www.bulatlat.com/main/2010/09/18/aquino-government%E2%80%99s-peace-adviser-dilly-dallying-on-peace-talks-ndfp/

Largest International Group of Rights Lawyers Takes on Morong 43 Case Published on September 17, 2010

Largest International Group of Rights Lawyers Takes on Morong 43 Case

 Published on September 17, 2010 

“I’ll keep mentioning this case to the President…It’s just a matter of time, you can expect some action,” Justice Secretary Leila de Lima said when asked about the Morong 43 case. “It’s the case I would want to focus on after the [IRRC],” De Lima said, referring to the Incident Report and Review Committee on the Aug. 23 hostage taking incident.

MANILA — An international group of human rights lawyers met with Justice Secretary Leila de Lima, Sept. 15 to raise their concerns over the continuing detention of 43 health workers.
The 43 health workers, now known as the Morong 43, were arrested by combined elements of the police and military on Feb. 6 in Morong, Rizal. Slapped with illegal possession of firearms and explosives, the 43 were tagged as members of the New People’s Army.

Thirty-seven of them have been transferred to Camp Bagong Diwa since May 1 while five remained in military captivity in Camp Capinpin, Tanay, Rizal.

The International Association of Democratic Lawyers (IADL), the world’s oldest and biggest organization of human rights lawyers in the world with members in 90 countries, decided to take the case of the Morong 43 as one of its major international campaigns. The IADL is a non-government organization with consultative status to the Economic Social Council (ECOSOC) and United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO)..... MORE


URL: http://www.bulatlat.com/main/2010/09/17/largest-international-group-of-rights-lawyers-takes-on-morong-43-case/

Noy’s 60-man US delegation to spend P25M, says Palace By Aytch S. de la Cruz 09/18/2010


Noy’s 60-man US delegation to spend P25M, says Palace

By Aytch S. de la Cruz
The Palace dug up the spending records on foreign trips made by former President Arroyo to rationalize the P25-million budget of President Aquino’s entourage for a seven-day working visit to the United States next week. 

Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa Jr. also described the US delegation as lean even as it will be made up of 60 persons who would be made up of four Cabinet officials and Aquino’s in-house media, private staff and security aides.

Aquino’s official delegation includes Foreign Affairs Secretary Alberto Romulo and his economic managers Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima, Trade and Industry Secretary Gregory Domingo and Energy Secretary Jose Rene Almendras.

The budget is about a third of the average spendings on foreign trips of the past administration and would include air fare, hotel accommodations, meals and transportation within the US, Ochoa said.

The finance office of the Office of the President has released P22 million to cover the expenses of the entire trip and P3 million for the costs of the plane tickets, Ochoa said..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20100918hed1.html

Senate priority sought on whistleblower protection bill By Angie M. Rosales 09/18/2010

Senate priority sought on whistleblower protection bill
By Angie M. Rosales

Two senators yesterday called on the Senate to give priority to a pending bill seeking to improve state protection on witnesses or so-called whistleblowers on crimes and corrupt practices.

Senators Miriam Defensor-Santiago and Francis Escudero supported the appeals made by former Senate key witnesses in the light of the resurgence of the jueteng payola issue and the latest revelations by witnesses in court proceedings of the Maguindanao multiple murder case.

The Senate blue ribbon committee is set to conduct another round of inquiry into the jueteng scandal beginning next week. 

Santiago said she refiled Senate Bill 1883 or the Whistleblower Protection Act which she first introduced during the 13th Congress that sought to strengthen government and even corporate accountability by supporting and protecting the right of employees to speak out about irregularities in their workplace.

“Whistleblowers automatically expect retaliation for their honesty. They are usually accused of being malcontents trying to profit from their accusations. The fear generated by retaliation creates a chilling effect on the willingness of people to come forward and expose wrongdoing,” she said..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20100918hed2.html

Erap camp calls ‘absurd’ Dacer case filed in US By Gerry Baldo 09/18/2010

Erap camp calls ‘absurd’ Dacer case filed in US
By Gerry Baldo

The camp of former President Joseph Estrada described as absurd a $120-million civil suit that the daughters of slain publicist Salvador “Bubby” Dacer had filed at a Northern District court in the State of California that included Estrada along with fugitive Sen. Panfilo Lacson and several others in connection with the Dacer-Corbito murder case . 

Estrada, in a radio interview, said the filing of the case was a desperate act on the part of the Dacer siblings. Estrada stressed that he does not have a reason for the alleged crime and that it is not within his character to kill a person.

“It’s more of a desperate act,” Estrada told the Tribune when asked about his thoughts on the case. He admitted though that he only heard about the case through media.

Estrada insisted that he does not have any involvement in the double murder slay.

San Juan Rep. Joseph Victor Ejercito said his father could not have been involved in the murder case.
“That is really absurb because it is not in the character of my father to be involved in such a gruesome act. Even Bishop Bacani attested to the fact that it is so unlikely for President Erap to be involved,” Ejercito said.
Dacer’s daughters, Carina and Sabrina, filed the case that included businessman Dante Tan; Reynaldo Butch Tenorio, former chief executive officer of the Philippine Amusement.... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20100918hed3.html

Solon warns of P3.2-B ‘attack chopper’ scam By Charlie V. Manalo 09/18/2010

Solon warns of P3.2-B ‘attack chopper’ scam
By Charlie V. Manalo

A party-list lawmaker has expressed apprehension that last week’s bidding of seven military night-capable attack helicopters worth P3.2 billion may have been rigged.

At yesterday’s budget hearing of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), military officials revealed that only one bidder, WSK-PZL Swidnik S.A of Poland, participated and eventually bagged the contract worth P3,180,169,000. 

The bidding was held last Sept. 9 at the AFP headquarters at Camp Aguinaldo in Quezon City.
The helicopter purchase is a project under the AFP Capability Upgrade Program funded by the annual P5-billion AFP Modernization Fund.

Upon questioning by Bayan Muna party-list Rep. Teodoro Casiño, military officials admitted that the P3.2-billion budget was originally for 14 attack helicopters.
In December 2009, then Defense Secretary Norberto Gonzales announced that the acquisition was down to eight 

W-3 Sokol combat utility helicopters worth P2.8 billion. But in last week’s bidding, the number of units had gone down to seven while the cost increased to P3.2 billion..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20100918hed4.html

New PNP chief to enforce ‘one-strike policy’ vs jueteng 09/18/2010

New PNP chief to enforce ‘one-strike policy’ vs jueteng
Newly installed Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Director General Raul Bacalzo yesterday vowed to strictly implement the one-strike policy on police commanders found coddling the illegal numbers game jueteng.

Bacalzo, who was implicated by jueteng whistleblower Sandra Cam in jueteng operations, said he already ordered all police commanders in the field to strictly implement the one-strike policy in an effort to address the menace brought about by the illegal numbers game.

“This time, we need to implement that (one-strike policy)…we will instruct our subordinate commanders that we will fully implement the one-strike policy,” said Bacalzo, who was also accused, in an unsigned manifesto allegedly coming from PNP junior officers, of taking jueteng payola.

The PNP chief, however, denied any links to operators of the illegal numbers game.... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20100918hed5.html

Women’s group condemns rape of 12-year-old girl By Charlie V. Manalo 09/18/2010

Women’s group condemns rape of 12-year-old girl
By Charlie V. Manalo

Describing the incident as another Jalosjos rape case in the offing, the militant women’s group Gabriela yesterday strongly called for the arrest and persecution of the mayor of San Marcelino Zambales suspected of raping a 12-year old girl right in his resthouse.

“We call for the immediate arrest and persecution of the perpetrator. Any delay in carrying out measures to exact justice for the victim by the police and the court is as good as condoning the disgusting act,” said Lana Linaban, Gabriela secretary general.

Last Tuesday, the victim filed a case before the Olongapo City Fiscal’s Office accusing San Marcelino Mayor Jose Rodriguez of rape.

In her complaint, the girl, who is now under the custody of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), alleged she was brought to the rest house of Rodriguez on September 12 by a pimp identified only as “Jodie.”.... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/nation/20100918nat1.html

Noy receives hostage report; Robredo inhibits self from IIRC’s liability vote 09/18/2010

Noy receives hostage report; Robredo inhibits self from IIRC’s liability vote
President Aquino yesterday began studying the Incident Investigation and Review Committee (IIRC) report that called for charges to be filed against those behind the bungled bus hostage rescue that left eight Hong Kong tourists dead.

“I have read the report halfway,” Aquino told a group of businessmen in Malacañang.

He met investigators led by Justice Secretary Leila de Lima later in the day, but presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda said Aquino would not immediately comment on the report.

The government will brief the press on Monday about the next steps to be taken, Lacierda said.

De Lima told reporters her panel’s report held more than a dozen people culpable, including police officers, government officials and journalists.

It also concluded that the eight Hong Kong tourists were all shot by the lone hostage-taker, she added.
De Lima said the investigative panel would resume its work in late September to review the operations of the institutions involved in the fiasco..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20100918hed6.html

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