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‘Smoke and mirrors’ government EDITORIAL 09/22/2010

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

‘Smoke and mirrors’ government

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Transparency was promised by Noynoy Aquino in his presidency. That was the promise, but the reality is that there is no transparency in his administration. Instead, what he and his officials are giving the Filipinos is a “smoke and mirrors” government, as their intention is to deceive.

In Noynoy’s attempt to make his first trip abroad look austere, in comparison to his predecessor’s trips abroad, he and his propagandists claim he will have a very lean delegation — just less than 60, he said, adding that the amount of the trip to the United Nations General Assembly is some $25 million.

Yet what is not stated is the fact that his Cabinet secretaries, along with their staff, are spending for their trip — from their department’s budget. That would certainly up the trip cost to a lot more than $25 million in taxpayers’ money.

Then too, what is also not being stated by Noynoy and his boys is the fact that he had hired a US public relations firm for this trip abroad, which would cost the taxpayers at least another $1 million, or some P45 million.

In exchange for that expensive PR job, what has been lined up for Noynoy are two media interviews, one with the Wall Street Journal, and the other, the New York Times..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20100922com1.html

Toeing the China line FRONTLINE Ninez Cacho-Olivares 09/22/2010

Toeing the China line

Ninez Cacho-Olivares
Noynoy Aquino probably believes he still has a lot of political capital to waste, as without a shred of remorse, he announced Monday that the government panel report had already been handed to the Chinese government because he wants to mend strained ties with China.
As for the Filipinos, he claimed that the Incident Investigation and Review Committee (IIRC) report had already been posted in the Official Gazette, even when it wasn’t posted as yet, since the posting came in the early evening, hours after he held his brief press conference. Worse, it was an incomplete one, since absent were the recommendations of the panel — and this, after he had said, earlier on that day, that the Filipinos would be getting the report first.

Noynoy also gave every clue that the report will be undergoing changes — as far as liabilities of those indicted go, as he stated that the report will be reviewed and studied by his legal counsels, the translation of which would be the changes that China would want and the sparing of Noynoy’s favorite officials.
In truth, the panel report itself is very incomplete and despite Justice Chief Leila de Lima’s claim that the report will not be undergoing changes, the fact is that the posted report itself said that it could undergo changes and review.... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20100922com2.html

Educated young Greeks flee their country to find work abroad FEATURE 09/22/2010

Educated young Greeks flee their country to find work abroad


ATHENS — In a cafe in central Athens, two young men drink coffee and discuss plans for their future, going over preparations that will uproot them from the Greek capital to London.
Kostas Karanikos and Komninos Arvanitakis — both 26, both graduates, unemployed and struggling to find work — have decided to try their luck in Britain.

They are among seven out of 10 young Greeks that a survey has shown want to leave Greece for a better life abroad.

Komninos has been without a job since finishing his nine months’ military service last summer. “It’s a nightmare,” he says.

“I love my country, all my friends and family are here, but after one year, what can I expect? I expect nothing. There’s little to look forward to here in Greece,” he says.

“We don’t have a lot of choices, that’s the sad truth,” agrees Kostas..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20100922com3.html

No rhyme or reason C.R.O.S.S.R.O.A.D.S Jonathan De la Cruz 09/22/2010

No rhyme or reason

Jonathan De la Cruz
There is no rhyme or reason to the piecemeal issuance by the Aquino administration of the results of the investigation on the Luneta hostage tragedy. What is the point? Justice Secretary Leila de Lima has already disclosed most of the contents of that report in a series of daily briefings up to the weekend. She has said that the hostage taker, discharged cop Rolando Mendoza, shot all of the hostages after initially titillating us with the possibility that friendly fire may have caused some of the deaths. Then, P-Noy himself said heads will roll and that in time the Palace will make the report public without any censorship. And now this! Calling it a provisional or a first report with a caveat about its possible re-examination by Palace lawyers reeks with all kinds of dire possibilities. In fact, it comes very, very close to insinuating that the report is open to some adjustments, fair or foul, and from whatever source, here and abroad, which manages to whisper the same to the right people on the way to its final printing?

What makes this striptease even more objectionable is the release of the results to the Chinese first which was announced to everybody’s chagrin, later on retracted and finally reaffirmed by P-Noy himself. That was another fumble as grave in its repercussions as the handling of the crisis on that fateful day itself. Again, what was the point? P-Noy is our Chief Executive, not the Chinese’s, and he is answerable first and foremost to his bosses, the Filipino people, not to any other. Unless, of course, his advisers have some other funny thoughts about the handling of tragic incidents such as this. Is reparing our relations with the Chinese as was the drift of that initial Palace issuance more important than coming clean and unvarnished with the Filipino public?.... MORE
SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20100922com4.html

Vietnam’s mooncakes a sweet way to grease wheels of commerce FEATURE 09/22/2010

Vietnam’s mooncakes a sweet way to grease wheels of commerce


HANOI — Vietnam’s appetite for mooncakes is rising as adults use the annual treats, traditionally enjoyed by children, to grease the wheels of commerce.

Mooncakes are a sweet, round delicacy given to youngsters and offered to ancestors during Vietnam’s Mid-Autumn Festival, which falls on Wednesday.

But in Vietnam’s rapidly developing economy they have taken on increased importance for grown-ups who use gifts of mooncakes to build business relationships.

Most of the cakes sell for about one dollar but others, sometimes elaborately packaged and
made with expensive ingredients like birds nest or crayfish, can retail for almost two million dong ($101).

That is almost three times the official minimum monthly wage for civil servants.

“Those are for the rich, and for bosses,” Nguyen Thi Hoai, 42, who makes her living collecting used paper products, said outside one of the many temporary mooncake shops which have opened around Hanoi..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20100922com5.html

It’s not just jueteng HE SAYS Aldrin Cardon 09/22/2010

It’s not just jueteng

Aldrin Cardon
There’s Paris Hilton, and there’s Lindsay Lohan.
Rich and famous, blonde and beautiful, these women are. But they have become the epitome of “good girls gone bad.”
Paris and Lindsay, no longer the bankable bodies and faces around, are at it again, hogging the headlines, this time for their drug use and competing for precious newspaper space with the equally-disgraced Ricky Hatton, who fell into drug oblivion soon after he was reduced to a punching bag by Filipino boxing champion Manny Pacquiao.

Drug use has become so casual with this bunch, with Paris getting caught in possession of cocaine; Lindsay failing another test while on probation; and an image of Hatton snorting the evil powder in page one spread completing his fall from grace.

And then there are the not-so-famous ones.

In July last year, 11 high school students were caught in a pot session in a vacant lot. Unlike Paris, a hotel chain heiress, Lindsay, who has earned enough as a young actress several years back; and Hatton, who has earned millions of dollars pummeling opponents in the ring, these children did not have the money to spend to anything, coming from financially-distressed families which can only barely send them to school, but have fallen in the stinking mire of illegal drug use..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20100922com6.html

High on the list SHE SAYS Dinah S. Ventura 09/22/2010

High on the list

Dinah S. Ventura
The jueteng controversy remains a hot topic, with yet unnamed officials becoming the target of suspicion for protecting the illegal gambling in the country — one of the biggest sources of corruption in the Philippines.

Yet it is equally true that other illegal trades thrive in the country because they receive the same kind of protection — a complicated web of deceit that involves members of the police, the judiciary and other officials of the land.

A television feature just the other night showed this decaying old cinema somewhere in Quezon City that showed X-rated films to audiences that also took part in prostitution. As recorded in a hidden camera, homosexuals engaged in lascivious acts in this cinema, and propositioned men who went in to “watch” the movie. Because of a complaint filed with the authorities, and with the participation of said TV show, the cinema was investigated by city officials and found to be a fire hazard, with blocked fire exits and flammable structures, not to mention the vileness, literally and figuratively, found inside the theater. Seats had fallen apart, cushions were rotting and torn, the floors were filthy and the toilets dirty, ill-equipped and lacking in water sources. One wondered why people even bothered to come in and spend good money on that sorry excuse for a movie theater, but of course the answer was right there, like the scum on its walls and floors..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20100922com7.html

Noy kin to Cruz: Go easy on Puno By Angie M. Rosales 09/22/2010

DILG usec, Verzosa linked to jueteng payola 

Noy kin to Cruz: Go easy on Puno

By Angie M. Rosales

Presidential cousin, Antonio “Tonyboy” Cojuangco, tried to intercede on behalf of Interior Undersecretary Rico Puno, retired Archbishop Oscar Cruz yesterday informed Senate investigators in an open hearing on the illegal numbers game payoffs to government officials.

Cruz, testifying before the Senate, recounted the meeting he had with Cojuangco where he (Cruz) was allegedly told to “go easy” on Puno whom he finally named as one of the two high officials he had earlier exposed to be on take of jueteng payola.

The other was retired Philippine National Police (PNP) Chief Jesus Verzosa, as indicated in the list submitted by the bishop before the joint probe by the blue ribbon and local governments, as the “ultimate recipients” of the cash flow of the illegal numbers game operations in the national level, with a certain Gen. (ret.) Rey Cachuela as “intermediate recipient” and one Eddie Fontanilla as “collector on the ground.”

Verzosa and some other police officials yesterday strongly denied the accusations they were recipients of jueteng payola..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20100922hed1.html

DoJ chief to recuse self from any case arising from IIRC report By Benjamin B. Pulta 09/22/2010

.DoJ chief to recuse self from any case arising from IIRC report

By Benjamin B. Pulta

Justice Secretary Leila de Lima will take no part in the prosecution of possible criminal charges which may land in her agency against any of the 13 individuals who have been found liable for the hostage-rescue operations last Aug. 23.

In an interview with reporters yesterday, the justice chief acknowledged the possibility that charges may end up before the DoJ in connection with the report and recommendations of the Incident Investigation and Review Committee (IIRC) submitted to the President Aquino Friday last week.

De Lima, who also headed the five-man IIRC panel which crafted the report, noted that criminal or administrative charges may also be brought to other appropriate forums aside from the DoJ. “There are appropriate mechanisms on how to address potential cases (of prejudgment), like possible perception of prejudgment. The option to inhibit is always there,” De Lima said.

In a separate statement, De Lima assured that the IIRC respects the decision of President Aquino to review their recommendation to initiate administrative and criminal proceedings against the 13 individuals and three television networks that allegedly breached protocols in covering the hostage crisis situation.... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20100922hed2.html

SC to hold oral arguments on Merci’s stop ouster plea 09/22/2010

SC to hold oral arguments on Merci’s stop ouster plea
Oral arguments have been ordered by the Supreme Court (SC) on the petition filed by Ombudsman Merceditas Gutierrez to stop the House committee on justice from hearing the impeachment complaints filed against her.

Speaking at news conference yesterday, Court Administrator Jose Midas Marquez said the Court agreed to hold an oral argument on Sept. 30 due to the “urgency” of the matter.

“The Court, on its own, decided to hold an oral argument to clarify all the issues so that it can resolve the case as soon as possible,” Marquez said.

The SC official admitted that the magistrates would not want to prolong the disposition of the case as this might be construed as “interfering” already with the affairs of Congress.

Marquez said the magistrates would want to be clarified on the positions of the parties concerning the constitutional provision barring more than one impeachment proceedings against the same official within a period of one year.... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20100922hed3.html

‘Doppleganger’ Roxas joins Noy’s US mission By Aytch S. de la Cruz 09/22/2010

‘Doppleganger’ Roxas joins Noy’s US mission
By Aytch S. de la Cruz

President Aquino’s ad-mitted subaltern, defeated vice presidential candidate Manuel Roxas II who some columnists called Aquino’s doppleganger, will be a member of the official delegation in Aquino’s seven-day working visit to the United States as Malacañang confirmed Roxas’ slot yesterday, saying that Roxas’ experience as an investment banker earned him his ticket to the US trip. 

The inclusion of Roxas raised eyebrows as the Palace had said that the delegation will only bring those really needed for the US trip, prompting criticisms that Aquino continues to work under the shadow of Roxas who the Palace said will serve as one of Aquino’s counsels in negotiating with American businessmen.

Two of Aquino’s communi-cations group officials said Roxas’ international expertise and his so-called “connections” with a lot of American business leaders was the principal reason behind his being included in the delegation.

Lacierda said Roxas used to be a banker in New York and has worked with an investment company before, Allen & Co., which is based in Manhattan.

Lacierda added Roxas was serving in his capacity as a personal senior adviser of Aquino and that there is “nothing unusual” about it given the friendship they had with each other for years..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20100922hed4.html

Hong Kongers outraged by ‘full of holes’ IIRC report By Gerry Baldo 09/22/2010

Hong Kongers outraged by ‘full of holes’ IIRC report
By Gerry Baldo

A Hong Kong survivor, Li Yick-biu, and HK legislators were reportedly outraged over the Incident Investigation and Review Committee (IIRC) report, saying the report was “full of holes” and incomplete.
The South China Morning Post yesterday reported that Li criticized the IIRC report, describing it as “full of holes” as it failed to explain whether the severe head injury suffered by survivor Jason Leung Song-xue was inflicted by the hostage-taker or police.

“There are so many doubtful points in the report, especially how Jason was injured,” survivor Li was quoted as saying. “Were his injuries caused by the handle of hostage-taker (sacked police officer Rolando) Mendoza’s rifle or by the police sledgehammer?”

Li also questioned why the accounts of the survivors— Lee Ying-chuen and Jason’s mother, Amy Leung Ng Yau-woon — were not included in the IIRC report.

The IIRC report posted in the online Official Gazette Monday evening stated that the survivors’ affidavits were not included due to lack of material time, although the head of the probe panel, Justice Chief Leila de Lima, earlier had claimed that the three affidavits of the survivors taken in Hong Kong corroborated the testimony of the bus driver in the matter of Mendoza having killed the hostages at close range..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20100922hed5.html

Huge P17.6-billion DA budget raises old corruption fears By Gerry Baldo 09/22/2010

Huge P17.6-billion DA budget raises old corruption fears
By Gerry Baldo

Legislators yesterday questioned the unusually huge budget of the Department of Agriculture (DA) even as Anakpawis Rep. Rafael Mariano said the agency’s budget proposal was not clear on where the whopping P17.6 billion allocation would be spent.

During the Arroyo admi-nistration, diversion of funds from DA projects was suspected as the usual sources
of political seed money.

“This lump sum allocation is vulnerable to corruption,” Mariano said.

Mariano demanded that Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala explain how he intends to use the funds allotted to the DA which included the P5.2 billion funding for the nationwide implementation of the National Rice Program, which, according to the lawmaker, is actually a continuation of the irregularity-laden Gintong Masaganang Ani (GMA) rice program under the Arroyo administration.

The lawmaker listed down a breakdown of the P17 billion lump sum fund under DA consisting of P50 million for the Young Farmers Program; P170 million for the payment of right of way; P1.8 billion for the repair of irrigations nationwide; P500 million for the Balikatan Sagip-Patubig; P250 million for the feasibility study and detailed engineering of various projects nationwide; P100 million for the so-called 4H club; P 5.2 billion for the National Rice Program (nationwide); P 483.6 million for the National Corn Program (nationwide); P2.5 billion for the repair, rehabilitation and construction of farm to market roads in key production areas; P926.8 million for high value commercial crops; P682 million for the National Livestock Program and P5 billion for Public-Private Partnership (PPP) projects..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20100922hed6.html

No definite plan to rehabilitate RP facilities in Spratly — DND 09/22/2010

No definite plan to rehabilitate RP facilities in Spratly — DND
The Department of National Defense (DND) yesterday maintained that it has no definite plan to rehabilitate government facilities at the Philippine-held territories on the disputed Spratly group of islands on South China Sea.

At a press briefing in Camp Aguinaldo DND spokesman Eduardo Batac said the planned visit of defense officials at the Philippine-held Kalayaan Island Group (KIG) is part of the tradition of new leaderships both of the DND and the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP).

“We are not even discussing this… KIG is part of traditional visits of the new leadership whether in AFP or the department to visit outlying outpost. In fact, the trip might be just a side trip to the visit to Wescom (Western Command). Remember the SND (secretary of National Defense) and the chief of staff are doing the rounds to visit these major commands,” said Batac.

Batac stressed there is no solid plan to rehabilitate government facilities at the disputed islands.
“As far as I know, there is none (on the department level) maybe at the level of the AFP,” said Batac.
The DND spokesman, however, said that if there would be rehabilitation, it would only be on a need basis..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/nation/20100922nat4.html

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