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Will he, or won’t he? EDITORIAL 09/23/2010

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Will he, or won’t he?

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Having been tagged as one of the “ultimate” beneficiaries of jueteng payoffs during the Senate hearing on the illegal numbers game, along with the disclosure of anti-jueteng crusader retired Archbishop Oscar Cruz that a presidential cousin had interceded for the bishop to go easy on the jueteng exposé and on the official linked to the numbers game, Interior Undersecretary Rico Puno yesterday said he is set to tender his resignation to Noynoy Aquino upon his return, to “spare the President.”

He may well do so, but the question is, will Noynoy accept Puno’s resignation, considering that he is not only a trusted aide, but also his very close buddy?

As it is always said, presidential aides serve at the pleasure of the president.

And going by the usual indecision, and even delaying tactics employed by incumbent Malacañang tenant, this resignation offer won’t likely be accepted quickly.

As things stood earlier, immediately after media exposed the jueteng payoffs, there went Noynoy, immediately dismissing the allegations saying that the reported P2 million in payoffs was too small to be true, considering that the jueteng industry was raking in some P37 billion annually..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20100923com1.html

Lies to live with FRONTLINE Ninez Cacho-Olivares 09/23/2010

Lies to live with

Ninez Cacho-Olivares
First, he claimed that tons and tons of rotting rice were stored in the National Food Authority (NFA) warehouses, gleefully informing media of the waste of tens of millions in public money with the Arroyo administration’s penchant for over importing rice that is moreover no longer edible.

He now says that the NFA needs to import some 1.5 million tons of rice in the last quarter of the year, for next year’s rice stock.

NFA chief Lito Banayo, whose agency has been given a zero budget by his president, is now singing a different tune and that tune is no different from the tune sang by the former NFA chief, as he is now talking of importing 1.5 million metric tons of rice, even when earlier he had claimed that there is no need to import rice, as the NFA warehouses were stacked ceiling high with rice, plus his claim of the Department of Social Welfare and Development buying rice from the NFA for distribution to the school children. So why import rice again?

What it looks like is that Banayo wanted to look good before the media, and blame the previous administration of Gloria Arroyo for making money on the over importation of rice that would merely be left to rot.

Later, when reporters asked Banayo to identify just which warehouses were keeping the stock of rice, plus the rotting rice, Banayo hedged, saying that he is having an audit team go through the rice stock..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20100923com2.html

Cyprus clinic at center of human egg trafficking probe FEATURE 09/23/2010

Cyprus clinic at center of human egg trafficking probe


ZYGI — They may never see the light of day but Maria is not abandoning her Cypriot “children,” embryos that were seized after the fertility clinic where they were conceived in vitro was closed on suspicion of human egg trafficking.

Petra House, a large stone building near the fishing village of Zygi that housed the clinic in southern Cyprus, has been empty since mid-May when it was abandoned by its medical staff, mostly Russians.

“The staff have disappeared and the fate of our embryos is a mystery,” said Maria, an Italian who came to Cyprus for treatment and would not give her real name because of the investigation into the allegations.

“We cannot entrust our own lives to people without scruples, who play around with embryos and gametes as if they were toys,” she said.

Like other foreign patients, Maria and her husband were hoping the clinic’s bank of gametes — eggs and sperm — could help them start a family.

But the facility, which works with the eggs of young women mostly from Russia and eastern Europe, was closed on suspicion of illegal trade in human eggs based on the testimony of three Ukrainian women in their 30s..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20100923com3.html

[Logarta on the IIRC Report] BLURBAL THRUSTS Louie Logarta 09/23/2010

Cyprus clinic at center of human egg trafficking probe

Louie Logarta
President Aquino should really be cut some slack by critics regarding his disposition of the 83-page report submitted to Malacañang earlier this week by the Incident Investigation and Review Committee (IIRC) headed by Justice Secretary Leila de Lima on the Aug. 23 hostage tragedy.

He is currently being pilloried for his subordinates’ decision to give priority to Beijing, over his countrymen, in furnishing them with an official copy of the damning IIRC report that recommended the filing of criminal and administrative charges against 13 police officers, government officials and reporters as this is supposedly tantamount to showing subservience to the dictates of China and goes against the very grain of his pronouncement during the inaugural speech delivered in Pilipino at the Quirino Grandstand on June 30, 2010: “Kayo ang boss ko.”

For all intents and purposes, P-Noy is as much a hostage to superpower China, the acknowledged big bully in this part of the hemisphere, as those eight unfortunate Hong Kong tourists who lost their lives to Luneta hostage-taker Senior Insp. Rolando Mendoza as a direct result of the bungling by concerned authorities who could have easily neutralized him early on but didn’t due to fuzzy reasons only they can comprehend..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20100923com4.html

Jueteng By Ronald Roy COMMENT 09/23/2010

By Ronald Roy


Should the kitchen knife be banned? Obviously not, otherwise we could be a society of people reeling sick from ill-cooked meals. And it should not even matter if the instrument has features in numerous homicides. So, what can be done to at least reduce the loss of innocent lives? Catch the culprits and send them to jail, simple.

Not only would the knife-wielding malefactors be held accountable, but others as well; like anyone who may have purposely or carelessly left a carver within the reach of a child. The point is: it is not the knife per se that is condemnable, but the person who mishandles or abuses it. On this proposition is premised the ensuing discussion on the illegal numbers game called jueteng.

Jueteng is back in the news, reportedly at a much worse state than ever. It has long been assailed as a criminal enterprise so immoral and widespread that only political will can stamp it out of our lives. In partially agreeing, I would like to propose a tactical approach to the problem by acknowledging the numbers game as an alarmingly extensive social cancer. For it is only in this light that we can begin to recognize the imperative for a political resolve to eradicate it.

Take it from former President Joseph Estrada, whose gray-haired wisdom gives probably the most cogent suggestion on the matter: Legalize jueteng. “Think about it,” he once told me. To this day, President Estrada staunchly advocates its legalization..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20100923com5.html

Fraud complaints haunt Afghan vote focus 09/23/2010

Fraud complaints haunt Afghan vote


KABUL — Millions of Afghans may have risked Taliban attacks to vote for a new parliament, but the credibility of the entire process is on the line at a crucial time for the US-led war strategy.
Even before polls closed on Saturday, the parliamentary vote appeared to be heading into a similar quagmire of claims and counter-claims of fraud, ballot-stuffing, vote-buying and fudged figures as the 2009 presidential poll.

More than 2,500 candidates stood for 249 seats in the Lower House in Afghanistan’s fourth election and second parliamentary vote since the 2001 US-led invasion evicted the hardline Taliban regime.

It was the latest step in a US-led process to bring democracy to an impoverished country ravaged by 30 years of war, and a key plank of the strategy to try to end a brutal nine-year Taliban insurgency and strengthen government.

But after the 2009 election returned Hamid Karzai for a second term amid massive fraud, Western and Afghan officials made sure they kept expectations low, warning that Saturday’s poll would also be riddled with irregularities.

Disputes are being handled by the Electoral Complaints Commission (ECC), which expects to receive thousands of formal objections by the deadline of 4 p.m. (1130 GMT) Tuesday..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20100923com7.html

Justice delayed is justice denied VIEWPOINTS Archbishop Oscar V. Cruz 09/23/2010

Justice delayed is justice denied

Archbishop Oscar V. Cruz
Time and again, the sayings that delay in the administration of justice are in effect the perpetration of injustice. And the same negative perception and critical appreciation become even more aggravating with the thought that such an equation infallibly implicates the Justice department itself. Thus it is that the official purveyor of justice in effect becomes the cause of injustice.

This blatant contradiction cannot but adversely affect the mind-set of the people in general, and especially the victims of injustice — be this personal or institutional. 

In such a predicament, the sense and feeling of injustice come from no less than three directions: One, the unjust individual or corporate agent. Two, the unjust social structures and practices. Three, the unjust judicial branch of government.

It is bad enough when someone becomes the victim of injustice from the hands of a hoodlum, a goon or a crook. But it certainly becomes much worse when in addition thereto, no less than the courts of justice themselves eventually become the hindrances to justice if not the unaware purveyors of injustice. And this is precisely the errant and erratic situation in the country long since: First, there are more and more cases filed before the three sections of the department as there are more and more people with criminal minds and/or amoral stances. Second, there are much less operative courts in the land, especially so in the certain sections of the Philippines where “Law and Order” are practically non-existent. Third, the files of cases brought for adjudication but which precisely remain unresolved and undecided, are becoming higher and thicker..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20100923com8.html

Chavit, Atong, Bong top jueteng lords By Angie M. Rosales 09/23/2010

Chavit, Atong, Bong top jueteng lords

By Angie M. Rosales
Ailing Sen. Miriam Defensor Santiago yesterday dropped a jueteng bombshell, as she identified the three big-time jueteng lords who control the bigger share of the illegal numbers racket in the Luzon Region, as she named Ilocos Sur Gov. Luis “Chavit” Singson, Charlie “Atong” Ang and Rodolfo “Bong” Pineda as the personalities, among others, controlling the jueteng network in several regions in the country.

Singson, Ang and Pineda were also the personalities who had figured in the first “juetengate” scandal, investigated by the Senate almost a decade ago, and are again implicated in the illegal numbers game that is said to continue proliferating in the country under the Aquino government.

The three alleged jueteng lords in Luzon are said to rake in a daily income of P1 million at the least to as much as P9 million.

She said that “jueteng is the crown jewel of any new administration. During any presidential campaign, corrupt racketeers, self-advertised as campaign experts busy themselves by alternately courting each of the leading presidential candidates. By simply tracking the campaign surveys, the racketeers are able to predict the likely winner. In the crucial last few weeks, the racketeering groups formally affiliate themselves with the likely winner, throwing everything his way, notably exorbitant cash contributions, and the alleged support of an alleged nationwide campaign machinery..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20100923hed1.html

Dual insertions resurface in DPWH’s 2010 budget By Charlie V. Manalo 09/23/2010

Dual insertions resurface in DPWH’s 2010 budget
By Charlie V. Manalo

The notorious double insertions of road projects in the budget that got Sen. Manuel Villar in hot water and may have contributed to his defeat in the battle for the presidency last May appears to be a yearly racket as the Department of Public Works and Highways’ (DPWH) budget under the Noynoy administration for 2010 was found containing some P1.875 billion worth of double appropriations for various road projects.

Bayan Muna Rep. Teddy Casiño wants the new cases of double insertions investigated in the House of Representatives.

“I wonder how it happened that under this year’s DPWH budget, at least 25 road projects were listed twice under different budget items. I hope this is not another ‘typographical error’ like in the C-5 controversy,” Casiño said..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20100923hed2.html

Luisita farm workers firm on boycott of high court mediation committee By Charlie V. Manalo 09/23/2010

Luisita farm workers firm on boycott of high court mediation committee
By Charlie V. Manalo

The eight leaders of the striking farm workers in Hacienda Luisita who walked out from the session of the Supreme Court (SC) created mediation committee last Monday affirmed their decision not to attend the succeeding hearings of the high tribunal sanctioned mediation body.

“We don’t want to be part of this modern-day zarzuela and long-running fiasco instigated by the management of Hacienda Luisita and their closet apologists and operators in the SC mediation committee,” said United Luisita Workers Union (ULWU) acting President Lito Bais.

“This SC mediation committee is useless. It appears to us that this body is acting on behalf of HLI management and carries the sinister agenda of the Cojuangco-Aquino landed aristocracy. The boycott of SC mediation committee stays,” said Bais.

The Luisita farm worker leader issued the statement in reaction to Atty. Christian Monsod call for them to return to the negotiating table. The mediation committee is currently discussing the land valuation pertaining to 4,100 hectares of the sugar estate..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/nation/20100923nat5.html

Noy US travel budget expanded; Palace confirms hiring of PR firm By Aytch S. de la Cruz 09/23/2010

Noy US travel budget expanded; Palace confirms hiring of PR firm
By Aytch S. de la Cruz

Malacañang yesterday acknowledged the fact that the government’s expenses for President Aquino’s working visit to the United States do not just amount to P25 million upon confirming that they have employed the services of a public relations (PR) firm there for the Chief Executive’s exposure to the US media.

Secretary Ricky Carandang of the Presidential Communications Development and Strategic Planning Office admitted that they have indeed obtained the services of a PR firm in the US but said this just part of the standard operating procedure (SOP) whenever governments visit a foreign country.

“You know, it’s a standard operating procedure. When a foreign government or a government goes to a foreign country, they usually engage the services of different firms in order to help them get exposure in the US media. I would venture to say that it 

is not only the Philippines who hired a PR firm for the purpose of this visit. There are so many leaders who are there in the US and I know that it’s SOP for any foreign government to do that,” Carandang said..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20100923hed3.html

Puno to quit; Noy yet to act on resignation By Aytch S. de la Cruz and Gina Elorde 09/23/2010

Puno to quit; Noy yet to act on resignation
By Aytch S. de la Cruz and Gina Elorde

Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) Under-secretary Rico Puno yesterday announced that he is set to submit his courtesy resignation to President Aquino upon his return to the country on Sept. 28 if only to “spare the presidency.”

Puno has been linked to the latest controversy involving the illegal numbers game after Archbishop Emeritus Oscar Cruz named Puno as among the two government officials said to be receiving P8 million each every month as jueteng payola. 

Former police chief General Jesus Verzosa was also named by the bishop. Cruz named Puno and Verzosa as the “ultimate recipients” of jueteng operations in the country.

Puno vehemently belied the accusation saying that he even planned campaigns to neutralize the illegal numbers game in the country.

Puno was also among those 13 personalities that should be blamed with the failure in handling a hostage-taking incident that took place in Manila last August 23 that left eight Hong Kong tourists dead..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20100923hed4.html

MILF insists on Moro ‘sub-state’ in Mindanao By Mario J. Mallari 09/23/2010

MILF insists on Moro ‘sub-state’ in Mindanao
By Mario J. Mallari

The secessionist Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) yesterday stood firm on its having a sub state in Mindanao, despite a Supreme Court decision thumbing down any proposal for the country to provide for a sub state for the secessionist group, saying that this is not allowed under the Constitution.

But the MILF yesterday vowed to push the establishment of a Bangsamoro sub-state during the peace negotiations with the Aquino administration, expected to resume next month.

MILF chief negotiator Mohagher Iqbal, however, admitted the secessionist leadership’s aim to put up a sub-state in Southern Philippines was not formalized in a proposal submitted for the resumption of the peace talks.

“It’s not stated in our proposal specifically but the formulation that we have put up is really for the creation of a state, sub-state arrangement,” said Iqbal..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20100923hed6.html

Solon wants full copy of IIRC report, seeks probe on hostage tragedy 09/23/2010 By Charlie V. Manalo

Solon wants full copy of IIRC report, seeks probe on hostage tragedy

By Charlie V. Manalo

Insinuating the Incident Investigation and Review Committee (IIRC) created by President Aquino to probe the Aug. 23 hostage-taking fiasco might be hiding something as manifested by the “serialized release” of its report to the public, the minority bloc in the House of Representatives yesterday insisted that Congress be furnished with a full copy of the report so that the legislative body could come up with its own assessment on the incident.

This even as opposition lawmakers insisted on the House leadership to continue with its own investigation into the tragic rescue operation which claimed the lives of eight foreign tourists.

At a press briefing, Minority Leader and Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman said no concrete assessment could be made of the IIRC report on the hostage rescue fiasco because of Aquino’s refusal to disclose the more substantial portions of the report, namely, the “Conclusions on Accountability” and “Recommendations.”
Lagman warned that if Aquino continues to “hold the major aspects of the report close to his breast longer, popular clamor for their immediate and full disclosure may burn his chest.”.... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20100923hed5.html

Gazmin reveals to Emano ‘assassination plot’ on Noy By Mario J. Mallari 09/23/2010

Gazmin reveals to Emano ‘assassination plot’ on Noy
By Mario J. Mallari

An alleged plot to assassinate President Aquino cropped up yesterday emanating from a conversation between Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin and his good friend Mayor Vicente Emano of Cagayan de Oro City last Tuesday.

Department of National Defense (DND) spokesman Eduardo Batac confirmed the conversation between Gazmin and Emano but stressed that there is nothing “concrete” about the alleged plot which cropped up amid the growing jueteng controversy which has dragged several personalities identified with Aquino.
“There is nothing concrete about the plot; there is no specific threat but only possibilities,” said Batac.
The DND spokesman described the talk between Gazmin and Emano was a “candid and private one between close friends.”

“He (Gazmin) could be taken out of context,” said Batac, as he claimed the defense chief was also speaking as a former Presidential Security Group (PSG) chief of Aquino’s mother, the late President Cory Aquino.
Batac, however, admitted that President Aquino could always be a target of such threat..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/nation/20100923nat1.html

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