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Good move, bad move EDITORIAL 09/25/2010

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Good move, bad move

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Abolishing agencies attached to the Office of the President (OP) can be both a good or bad thing.

More often than not, it is hardly ever the office, but the people who run it, and the actions taken by the Malacañang tenant that make the agency effective, if run well but ineffective, if run badly and its recommendations ignored by the President.

The Aquino administration is set to abolish 10 agencies under the OP, with Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa saying this would amount to big savings, budget-wise in relation to the expenses of the OP.

Some of these agencies should really be abolished, such as the North Luzon Quadrangle area, Office of External Affairs, the Luzon Urban Beltway Super Region, the Office of the Presidential Adviser on Global Warming and Climate Change and the Office on New Government Center, to name a few. But why abolish the Presidential Anti-Graft Commission (PagC)?

Its abolition is said to be based on its being a redundant office, as there are other agencies that perform the same function.

Not quite that redundant, since the PagC’s focus and probes are solely on the officials attached to the executive branch of government and recommendatory..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20100925com1.html

The problem with IIRC’s recommendations FRONTLINE Ninez Cacho-Olivares 09/25/2010

The problem with IIRC’s recommendations

Ninez Cacho-Olivares
Most interesting portion in the suppressed but leaked IIRC report’s recommendations is that which focuses on the role played by Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) Undersecretary Rico Puno.

The IIRC recommended the initiation of the corresponding administrative proceedings against Puno for gross negligence “under the appropriate civil service laws, rules and regulations for neglecting to disseminate and ensure the implementation of the order of the President to utilize the PNP SAF-CRG in the assault of the hostaged bus and for failure to exercise with due diligence his supervisory powers over the PNP as ordered by the President.”

It was also recommended that a preliminary investigation be conducted by the appropriate government agency for any possible criminal liability arising from commission of the above offenses and “in the course of the execution of his duties as DILG Undersecretary during the hostage crisis and in assuming the position of the DILG Secretary as NPOC CMC.”

In all probability, this is the portion on Puno’s recommended criminal and administrative charges to be filed that made Noynoy Aquino balk and pass this report on to his legal counsels for “review” and why he says he is not 100 percent sold on the IIRC report.

Take the administrative charge lodged against Puno on gross negligence, and the charge that Puno had failed to disseminate and ensure the implementation of Noynoy’s order to utilize the Special.... MORE
SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20100925com2.html

Cautious optimism in Philippines as peace talks to resume focus 09/25/2010

Cautious optimism in Philippines as peace talks to resume


DATU SAUDI AMPATUAN — Farmer Kinsag Alih is looking forward to his first rice harvest in two years, hoping the men with guns will stay away long enough for the yellowing grains to ripen.

Alih lives on Mindanao, a Muslim-majority island in the south of the mostly Roman Catholic Philippines, where the separatist Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) has been fighting for more than 30 years.

In August 2008 it abandoned peace talks and mounted attacks across Mindanao after the Supreme Court ruled a proposed peace deal that would have given the group control over large areas of the south was unconstitutional.

Now, though, late October should be doubly lucky for Alih as the 70-year-old and his neighbors reap the long-idle paddies while the combatants return to the negotiating table in a bid to end the conflict he has lived with for half his life.

“We hope the negotiations will resolve the conflict. But you always have to be prepared... anything can happen,” said Alih, stooped from a life of hardship on the edges of a decades-old battlefield.

Two years ago Alih packed off his family and their meager belongings to an evacuation site across town, leaving the 191-hectare (472-acre) rain-fed communal paddies, tended by a cooperative of 120 families, to the weeds..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20100925com3.html

International Lawyers Hit US Military Aggression in Asia-Pacific, Pin Hopes on Peoples of the World

International Lawyers Hit US Military Aggression in Asia-Pacific, Pin Hopes on Peoples of the World

 Published on September 25, 2010

 “Governments are only instruments. The peoples must exercise their power. The peoples are masters of international society. Law is a struggle of the peoples.” — Roland Weyl, IADL first vice president and dean of the Paris Bar Association


MANILA — Experts in international politics lambasted “US military aggression in Asia and the Pacific” during the recently concluded conference of lawyers held in Manila.

Jeanne Mirer, president of the International Association of Democratic Lawyers (IADL). (Photo by Ronalyn V. Olea / bulatlat.com)

“The 20th century was the bloodiest and most violent in the history of mankind and much of the blood is in the hands of US imperialism,” Rey Claro Casambre, a fellow of the Center for Anti-Imperialist Studies (CAIS) told the delegates of the Fifth Conference of Lawyers in Asia and the Pacific (Colap V).

Casambre said the US Pacific Command is a symbol of US domination in Asia Pacific. The US Pacific Command’s 325,000 troops, equivalent to one-fifth of the US armed forces, operate in 36 nations or half of the earth’s surface, he said. Most of the troops are engaged in actual combat and 100,000 are stationed in Japan and South Korea..... MORE


URL: http://www.bulatlat.com/main/2010/09/25/international-lawyers-hit-us-military-aggression-pin-hopes-on-peoples-of-the-world/

PALEA Celebrates 64th Anniversary Amid Turbulent Times at PAL Published on September 25, 2010

PALEA Celebrates 64th Anniversary Amid Turbulent Times at PAL

Published on September 25, 2010

This year, both PALEA and FASAP are seeking to finally ink a new, improved CBA with PAL. But PALEA has so far been met with mass termination notices on account of PAL’s planned spin-off, while FASAP has been forced to file a notice of strike as PAL firmly refuses to put the discriminatory retirement provision affecting flight attendants on the negotiating table in this CBA.

MANILA — The union of Philippine Air Lines ground workers, “(un)arguably the oldest union existing today,” celebrated its 64th anniversary last Tuesday September 21 with a prayer rally at Nichols and a mass at Our Lady of Airways Parish in Mia Road, Parañaque City. The prayer rally and mass were attended by over a hundred employees, including some PAL executives such as PAL president Jaime Bautista. During the homily, the officiating priest noted that PALEA’s anniversary coincides with the feast of St. Matthew the tax collector and the commemoration of Martial Law. The priest enjoined the gathered unionists and PAL executives to “be content with what you have” and “leave the disputes to God.”

Since April this year the 3,732-strong PALEA has been restive over the PAL management’s plans to terminate most of their members under a planned spin-off that had been approved by the labor department last June. PALEA is questioning the management’s moves, saying the spin-off is just the PAL management’s way of turning employees into lower paid contractual employees without benefits and without protection of a union. The union and management are currently holding conciliation meetings being mediated by the labor department.

In his brief speech during the mass, PALEA president Gerardo Rivera thanked the union members and the PAL management, calling the latter as a “partner”, and expressed hopes that PALEA would continue working with them as a “partner.”

History of Ups and Downs

PALEA was founded in September 21, 1946, at a time when PAL was still a public-owned airline. Its establishment was spearheaded by airplane mechanics. Ironically, airplane mechanics are now without a union after their department was transferred or spun-off to Lucio Tan Group’s MacroAsia Corporation in 2000..... MORE


URL: http://www.bulatlat.com/main/2010/09/25/palea-celebrates-64th-anniversary-amid-turbulent-times-at-pal/

After 38 Years, Justice Remains Elusive for Martial Law Survivors Published on September 25, 2010

After 38 Years, Justice Remains Elusive for Martial Law Survivors

Published on September 25, 2010

Up to now, not a single victim of human-rights violation during the Marcos dictatorship has achieved justice nor received any compensation from the government.

MANILA — Thirty eight years have passed since the declaration of martial law but the victims of human-rights abuses during the Marcos dictatorship are still calling for justice.

Veterans of the First Quarter Storm joined other protesters in a march to Chino Roces (formerly Mendiola) bridge to commemorate the dark period in the nation’s history.

The FQS of 1970 was marked by a series of giant demonstrations, mostly by students and workers, against then President Ferdinand Marcos.

“How can we achieve justice? The past governments should have already prosecuted the Marcoses if they were sincere in giving justice to us victims. But then, as we can see, they [Marcoses] even won in the May 2010 elections. Now, they are all back,” Caloy Salvador, a victim of torture during martial law, said in an interview with Bulatlat. Salvador heads the organizational department of the First Quarter Storm Movement (FQSM)..... MORE


URL: http://www.bulatlat.com/main/2010/09/25/after-38-years-justice-remains-elusive-for-martial-law-survivors/

Hacienda Luisita Peasants, Lawyer File Memorandum Asking SC to Order Land Distribution

 Hacienda Luisita Peasants, Lawyer File Memorandum Asking SC to Order Land Distribution

Published on September 24, 2010

The 49-page document contained the farm workers’ final stand regarding the agrarian dispute, which has been going on for more than a century already. “The justices would be able to find every answer to their questions (in this memorandum),” ULWU acting president and Ambala vice chairmain Lito Bais said.


MANILA — Farm workers of Hacienda Luisita filed before the Supreme Court their memorandum, which, according to their legal counsel Jobert Pahilga, contained their final stand regarding the agrarian dispute, which has been going on for more than a century already.

(Photo by Janess Ann J. Ellao / bulatlat.com)

 The 49-page memorandum was submitted by the lawyers of the farm workers to the Supreme Court on Wednesday, September 22, in compliance with the agreement arrived at during the August 24 hearing that all parties would submit their memorandum within 30 days.

In the said memorandum, the Alyansa ng mga Magbubukid sa Hacienda Luisita (Ambala), the respondents to the petition filed by Hacienda Luisita Inc. (HLI), argued that it is well within the jurisdiction, power, and authority of the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) and the Presidential Agrarian Reform Council (PARC) to revoke the Stock Distribution Option (SDO); due process was followed in revoking the SDO; and there is more than substantial factual basis to revoke the SDO, especially since the economic conditions of the farm worker beneficiaries have “become onerous and has miserably deteriorated.”   .... MORE


URL: http://www.bulatlat.com/main/2010/09/24/hacienda-luisita-peasants-lawyer-file-memorandum-asking-sc-to-order-land-distribution/

Senate opts out of jueteng probe 09/25/2010


Senate opts out of jueteng probe

With Malacañang aides and cronies now feeling the heat over allegations of jueteng payoffs in the millions, Senate allies of President Aquino, led by Senate blue ribbon committee chairman Sen. TG Guingona, are no longer keen on continuing with the investigation, and will be wrapping up the probe sooner than expected.

The move is seen by some sectors as Malacañang’s staunch Senate allies’ way of killing the issue of the payoffs to close aides and allies of Aquino from the illegal numbers game by big jueteng lords and operators, as well as this stoppage being their way of protecting Aquino from further allegations that may end up having fingers pointed to more national level officials being the recipients of jueteng payola.

It will be recalled that a day after Sen. Miriam Defensor delivered her privilege speech that named several big jueteng lords, she also mentioned that the payoffs also go to national government officials.

Sen. Edgardo Angara, the next day, called for Santiago to name the different high government officials who are the recipients of jueteng payoffs.

With more names currently being dragged in the latest “juetengate” controversy, the Senate panel will no longer continue with its probe..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20100925hed1.html

Cops idle as riots erupted in QC demolition, De Lima wails By Benjamin B. Pulta 09/25/2010

Cops idle as riots erupted in QC demolition, De Lima wails
By Benjamin B. Pulta

Justice Secretary Leila de Lima yesterday said she would look into reports if there had been lapses in the handling by policemen of the situation during Thursday’s demolition in Sitio San Roque, Barangay Bagong Pag-asa, Quezon City.

According to De Lima, she would talk with the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) regarding the possible conduct of investigation into the matter. 

The Philippine National Police (PNP) is under the supervision of the DILG.

She said while PNP operatives are not to involve themselves during the conduct of the demolition, policemen should not have stood idly by when violence erupted. 

The Justice chief said the police should act in the event that there is a “breakdown
of law and order.”.... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20100925hed2.html

Enrile calls for survival as nation marks typhoon ‘Ondoy’ anniversary 09/25/2010

Enrile calls for survival as nation marks typhoon ‘Ondoy’ anniversary
Marking the first anniversary of typhoon “Ondoy,” Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile today issued a call for the formation of a national survival agenda anchored on public finance and adaptation to climate change.

“We know about the terrible effects of climate change and we are aware that its impacts on the Philippines will worsen. Yet it is simply not enough to just name the problem,” said Enrile. “We need to identify long-term solutions to the climate crisis along with the means to fund programs that will allow our people to cope with the rapidly and dangerously changing climate,” Enrile said.

Enrile called for the retooling of the national budget to address the vulnerabilities of Filipino communities facing the projected increase in severity and frequency of extreme weather events. The Senate President said he is studying, and will file, a bill “that will create a survival fund for local governments in anticipation of worsening impacts such as rising sea levels, intense flooding and extreme precipitation.”

Enrile said the bill he will file is focused on supporting localities “particularly exposed to the ravages of global warming. “Local Government Units are the first line of defense of hapless communities facing the effects of climate change. LGUs need predictable, long-term and directly accessible sources of public finance that can fund their climate change adaptation programs.”.... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/nation/20100925nat6.html

Palace assures no whitewash of IIRC sanctions By Aytch S. de la Cruz and Gerry Baldo 09/25/2010

Palace assures no whitewash of IIRC sanctions
By Aytch S. de la Cruz and Gerry Baldo

Malacañang yesterday assured that the position being taken by Justice Secretary Leila de Lima on the recommendations and criminal and administrative sanctions sought against several officials in the executive department as stated in the Incident Investigation and Review Committee (IIRC) will stand. The Palace yesterday claimed it will be standing by the IIRC recommendations on who should be held liable for the Aug. 23 hostage rescue fiasco but also said that the “review” will be “fair.”

In the same breath, however, Malacañang acknowledges the fact that President Aquino is not 100 percent sold on the recommendations and had expressed some doubts on the IIRC’s report. But Palace aides claimed this is the reason for Aquino’s legal team to conduct a review of the facts.

These were the apparent flip-flopping statements issued by presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda to reporters during his Friday press briefing in relation to the lingering concerns on the Manila bus siege controversy a week after the IIRC handed its report to the President.

De Lima publicly expressed her, and her panel members’ disappointment over the decision of Aquino to have the IIRC report reviewed by Palace lawyers, with Aquino saying that he was not about to simply take the IIRC report and recommendations at face value, as he needs his lawyers to point to him whether these sanctions, if taken, would stand in court, saying 

that he does not want to bring cases against those who have been indicted in the report if such wouldn’t stand up in court..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20100925hed3.html

AFP takes ‘Kill Noy’ plot seriously By Mario J. Mallari 09/25/2010

AFP takes ‘Kill Noy’ plot seriously
By Mario J. Mallari

The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) is taking seriously the alleged plot to assassinate President Aquino, as revealed by Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin, despite there having been no details of the alleged assassination plot bared to a local executive by the defense chief.

Despite the absence of any detail on the alleged plot to kill Aquino, AFP Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Ricardo David Jr. said he immediately ordered the Intelligence Service of the AFP (Isafp) to look into the alleged plot.
“I directed the chief Isafp to look into it because even if it is only a rumor, we must be serious about that,” said David.

“Of course, we take everything seriously, especially a plot of that sort,” added David.
Many have dismissed the alleged plot as just another ploy by the Palace through an Aquino aide, Gazmin, to divert the public’s focus of attention from the twin crises that have befallen Aquino and wreaked heavy damage to his presidency 

and government, such as the botched hostage rescue operations that left eight Hong Kong tourists dead, made worse by Aquino having handed a full report to the Chinese government first and providing the Filipino people with an expurgated De Lima probe report, deliberately withholding the recommendations and sanctions of those involved in the hostage crisis..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20100925hed4.html

GMA outdoes Noy in US, highlights admin’s feats before world leaders By Charlie V. Manalo 09/25/2010

GMA outdoes Noy in US, highlights admin’s feats before world leaders
By Charlie V. Manalo

While both are now in the United States, former President and now Pampanga Rep. Gloria Arroyo was said to have outdone President Aquino who has been too busy splurging on fastfoods and hotdog stands, by presenting the achievements of her administration in a gathering of international leaders.

Arroyo’s spokesman, Elena Bautista-Horn, in a statement, yesterday said Arroyo was designated as the principal presenter of the commitment on enhanced education for nearly one million girls in the 5th Clinton Global Initiative conference and 5th Important Dinner for Women.

The commitment was shared by Barclays (a financial services institution), Goldman Sachs (a global investment banking and securities firm) and Room to Read (a non-profit organization based in the US).

Arroyo was personally invited to the conference by former US President Bill Clinton and Queen Rania Al-Abdullah of Jordan.

Both events focused on addressing women issues related to the Millennium Development Goals by 2015.
In the 5th Important Dinner for Women, Arroyo discussed the lagging targets on women empowerment and
maternal deaths..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20100925hed5.html

Aquino’s hotdog delight not ‘scripted’ — Palace 09/25/2010

Aquino’s hotdog delight not ‘scripted’ — Palace
Malacañang yesterday defended President Aquino’s so-called “cheap” lifestyle while staying at the Big Apple, given his photo op of eating hotdog sandwiches and pizzas across New York City’s busy streets over healthy yet affordable meals, that was described by many as a poor “publicity stunt” carried out by his propagandists.

Presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda claimed that the President was just showing his “natural” character as a person when he decided to grab a bite at a hotdog kiosk in New York for his lunch and insisted that this move was not “scripted” and neither was he trying to score “pogi” points from the general public through the media.

He explained that they really cannot do away with people who would try to ascribe various and often conflicting opinions with the way the President carries himself in public since everyone is entitled to his own opinion to begin with.

“There are two views there (in Aquino’s taking a hotdog meal). Some people are claiming that he doesn’t appear presidential; some people are saying that he is being down to earth. The President is who he is. He loves to eat hotdogs. He mentioned also that in his previous stay in the US whenever they go to New York they would look for hotdogs and I think that’s also a standard thing — you go to New York and you’d like to try the hotdog stands. But it’s the way he is,” Lacierda told reporters..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20100925hed6.html

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