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Bribes and tithes EDITORIAL 10/01/2010

Friday, October 1, 2010

Bribes and tithes

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It is quite easy to imagine why many are loudly opposed to legalizing jueteng because of the several diverse interests that are benefiting from it.
The Church, for instance, is raising the bible and invoking morality to oppose moves to have the racket legalized. But the more economic reason for its vehement reaction is that it is getting huge tithes from jueteng lords, as what Archbishop Emeritus Oscar Cruz had recounted before the Senate inquiry into the illegal numbers game.

So long as the racket remains below ground, the bribes and the grease money will keep flowing, and it would take great political will to end such a lucrative and regular source of easy money.

Senate President Pro Tempore Jinggoy Estrada’s bill seeking to legalize jueteng will undoubtedly face rough sailing inside and outside the halls of Congress for the simple reason that Estrada will be up against one of the most moneyed syndicates in the country..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20101001com1.html

Warlords taint Afghan peace council — analysts ANALYSIS 10/01/2010

Warlords taint Afghan peace council — analysts


KABUL — A council appointed by Afghan President Hamid Karzai to broker a peace deal with the Taliban is so heavily stacked with warlords and militia leaders it could be set up for failure, analysts said.

The High Peace Council is Karzai’s brainchild for opening a dialog with the insurgents who have been trying to topple his government since the 2001 US-led invasion overthrew their regime almost nine years ago.
“This council is mandated to broker peace,” Karzai’s spokesman Waheed Omer said this week as he announced its 68 members.

The Taliban leadership has repeatedly said it will not enter into dialog with the Afghan government until all foreign troops — currently more than 152,000 from the United States and Nato — have left.

The commander of those forces, US Gen. David Petraeus, said that Taliban leaders, mid-level commanders and grassroots fighting men had made “overtures” to the Afghan government and to Nato..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20101001com3.html

Go beyond words NO HOLDS BARRED Armida Siguion-Reyna 10/01/2010

Go beyond words

Armida Siguion-Reyna
Excited for those who were going to be lawyers before her, second-year law student Raissa Laurel, 25, went to the De La Salle University on Taft Avenue on the last day of the Bar exams to greet friends who had taken the four-Sunday tests, perhaps thinking of when she’d go through the hurdle with the same hoopla, the shrieking and crying, the hugging, high-fives and fist bumps. And then, without warning, it happened: A blast from nowhere, that left 44 wounded, most severely Raissa and yet another female law student whose identity remains secret, pending the family’s permission to let it out.

Both of Raissa’s legs were amputated. The unidentified has already lost her left leg; as I write doctors are still trying to save her right leg and left hand.

Dear God in heaven, why? I kept on asking, over and over again. So two fraternities were warring. Why didn’t they among themselves lose limbs and whatever else, considering they didn’t have balls to battle face-to-face with each other, but had to draw innocents in as collateral damage?

I watched the news on TV of how Raissa responded to ABS-CBN news anchor Julius Babao’s questions, through writing. She said she was “in the wrong place at the wrong time,” but was thankful for a “second life.”.... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20101001com4.html

The war for truth rages on DIE HARD III Herman Tiu Laurel 10/01/2010

The war for truth rages on

Herman Tiu Laurel
The administration is on a continuing PR blitz to extract very ounce of propaganda gain it can from the recent US trip of Aquino III. After the so-called $434-million five-year Millennium Challenge Corp. “grant” (of roughly $87 million per year) — explained in our previous column as a “mirage” when stacked against our annual $17.8-billion debt service, which Aquino III isn’t squeaking about — now comes the so-called $2.4 billion in “investments” as pabaon.

Ado Paglinawan, one of the organizers of the “Solidarity for Sovereignty” movement exposing the Hocus-PCOS in the last elections, who has frequent tit-for-tat exchanges with US-based Yellows on the Internet, deftly answered a certain Mon Ram’s crowing about Aquino III’s alleged “huge investments” with this letter:

“Dear Mon,
“Of course, you know better than being swept your feet by this toy president.

“This is what a blogger among us, not I, once called ‘political masturbation.’

“You see, I worked for the Philippine Embassy in Washington DC for seven years under Ambassador Pelaez.
“Before Cory Aquino came to the US and Eddie Ramos after her (I was in charge of press protocol for these three visits), the whole Embassy, especially the economic and trade sections, was busy padding up hallelujahs in millions of dollars, even if they were still on paper or under negotiation or were already on the roll. The entire Philippine diplomatic mission in the US, including those in the UN, gets organized and makes a ‘praise list’ to play on public perceptions.

“Remember the multilateral aid initiative under Ambassador Elliot Richardson that was inspired and proposed by Ambassador Pelaez to serve as a mini-Marshall plan for the Philippines after being ‘ravaged’ by Marcos rule? That was billed at $3 billion (when the exchange was still P20:$1) from 19 countries and multilateral institutions.

“Know what? Less than half of it was used by the Philippines. Reason? We did not have the absorptive capacity to use all of it. $100 million of that money donated by the Sultan of Brunei, intended to build a state-of-the-art satellite receiving station in Barotac Nuevo in Iloilo, was even diverted by Cory Aquino to fuel the government’s budgetary requirements for salaries. Had that facility been built, we could have better prepared for ‘Ondoy.’

“The only thing that really made sense was the $800 million the Philippine Embassy lobbied through (the US) Congress, capitalizing on Cory’s home-run speech… But this was because the Americans themselves managed the project using Korean contractors in building the airport complex, the seaport and related infrastructure, the four-lane circumferential road around the Sarangani Bay, and financing for farmers and fishermen’s cooperatives in South Cotabato and Sarangani provinces. None of that money was lost to corruption, diversion or incompetence. Try visiting General Santos City and see what I mean. The second visit of Cory Aquino and the first visit of Eddie Ramos were basically fruitless.

“This is to say that PeNoy has nothing whatsoever to do with this $2.4-billion talking point that he is barking about in terms of US investments. He just read this from his teleprompter. In fact, I question this hot air because who would invest in a country where tourists are being mowed down by the police? (The millennium fund, of course, is also not his but in fairness, Gloria Arroyo’s legacy, even if that is hard for me to admit. The release of the fund is just happening during the toy president’s watch.)
“These billions that PeNoy is crowing about (are) merely a praise report to supplant: (1) his incompetent appointments; (2) his family’s Hacienda Luisita land-grabbing; and (3) the Rizal Park hostage-taking where the PNP’s ‘friendly’ fire massacred in cold blood innocent Chinese tourists.

“As PeNoy returns to the Philippines, he is still without any brownie point and his lackadaisical 100 days is about to end. I have not even verified yet if Enrico Puno and Tony ‘Boy’ Cojuangco are meeting him at the airport to give him a reality check. LOL!”

Frankly, I have long given up on such online debates with US-based Yellows. In fact, I’ve already opted out of the Worldwide Filipino Association forum led by a certain Cesar Torres who claims to have a thousand subscribers, most of whom are either Yellows or mere hecklers not interested in the truth.

The “Mon Ram” that Ado had his tit-for-tat with is just one of a number of confirmed Yellows. We can’t even tell if they’re for real or just part of a PR team hired to constantly prop up the Yellow argument.

During the last election campaign where debates on the Web got intensely acrimonious as tons of disinformation were being dished out, I challenged a certain Perry Diaz for a real square-off via an open and media-covered debate in Manila. After a long period of heehawing, Diaz accepted it only if it were held in Hawaii, which is really saying that he didn’t care enough to come home to his native land, which he supposedly cares so much for, to exhaustively ferret out the truth.

Well, it seems many of these US-based Fil-Am bloggers are only there to show off their sites to State Department people to gain points for their citizenship.

We’re just glad the fight for truth is alive and well for some noted US-based Filipinos such as Ado Paglinawan, who are still bravely manning the ramparts.

(Tune in to Sulo ng Pilipino, Monday, Wednesday and Friday, 6 to 7 p.m. on 1098AM; watch Politics Today, Tuesday, 8 to 9 p.m., with replay at 11 p.m. on Global News Network, Destiny Cable Channel 21; visit our blogs, http://newkatipunero.blogspot.com and http://hermantiulaurel.blogspot.com)

(Reprinted with permission from Mr. Herman Tiu-Laurel)

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20101001com5.html

Time marches on, so does contraception FRONTLINE Ninez Cacho-Olivares 10/01/2010

Time marches on, so does contraception

Ninez Cacho-Olivares
Ghurch leaders will find out soon enough that they can’t do much by way of stopping the Reproductive Health bill from becoming law, especially since Congress always takes the cue from Malacañang.

But they could win the fight though, if Noynoy Aquino flip flops in his announced couple’s choice in family planning — through the use of natural and artificial methods.

The Church leaders are naturally against such a law, since to them, and adhering to their doctrine, artificial contraception is a no-no.

But the truth is, it is not illegal for couples — married or not — to engage in sex, with the protection of condoms, or birth control pills. As a matter of fact, some local government executives provide condoms and the like, which the Church refers to as abortifacients.

What the law will do, however, is to make these contraceptives available on a nationwide scale, to couples who choose to make use of these artificial contraceptives. This law, moreover, does not force couples to use these artificial contraceptives, if they choose the Church-sanctioned contraception, such as rhythm and abstinence, if such method is what their faith tells them to do.... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20101001com2.html

Clarification LETTER 10/01/2010



Dear Editor:
It is quite unfortunate that our statement of facts about what we in the new administration were confronted with when we assumed office are to be construed as “lies” simply because we were so transparent to say what we actually saw. This refers to the item entitled “Lies to Live With” in the column Frontline published in The Daily Tribune last Sept. 23.

As a fellow journalist and columnist, please allow me to clarify your take against me. I stand by my pronouncement when I assumed my position as administrator that the National Food Authority (NFA) was swimming in rice. This was made in the context of the agency’s mandate which states that it should maintain a 30-day supply of rice as food security stocks beginning July 1 until the end of September or the lean production period. Beginning July this year, however, the agency’s rice inventory was sufficient for some 56 days food security stocks, just four days short of doubling the required volume.

As for the “rotting rice,” I would like to emphasize that like all other grains, rice has a limited shelf life, specifically six months. Again, using July as reference period, when I visited some NFA warehouses during my familiarization process, I noticed we still have rice stocks which were imported sometime in 2008. At the latest, these should have been in the market in the first half of last year, and yet, still formed part of our present inventory. For this reason, I ordered an independent system and management audit of NFA to enhance operational efficiency and in the process, also find out if we still have aging inventory as we are seriously pursuing the thrust of marketing only quality rice under our program Total Grains Quality Management (TGQM)..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20101001com6.html

Political deadlock deepens Nepal economic woes focus 10/01/2010

Political deadlock deepens Nepal economic woes


KATHMANDU — Three months after Nepal’s government collapsed, the country is facing a deepening economic crisis, with vital development projects on hold and even schools and hospitals facing closure.

Government departments say they have been forced to cut spending to a minimum, suspending road building and sanitation projects in desperately poor rural areas, because the long-overdue annual budget has not been passed.

Nepal’s lawmakers are due to vote for the ninth time on Thursday to try to elect a new leader for the troubled young republic, which has been without a functioning government since the prime minister resigned on June 30.

But eight earlier votes have failed to produce a clear winner, and in the absence of agreement between the political parties, there is little immediate prospect of an end to the damaging leadership vacuum.

Meanwhile, important government decisions are being put off by caretaker ministers reluctant to overstep their constitutional powers, while work on the peace process that began when the civil war ended in 2006 is being neglected..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20101001com7.html

Noy excommunication possible — CBCP By Aytch S. de la Cruz 10/01/2010

Noy excommunication possible — CBCP

By Aytch S. de la Cruz 10/01/2010

In a bid to make President Aquino bow to the Catholic bishops’ stand against the passage of the Reproductive Health Bill that will have government providing contraceptives to those who choose to utilize the artificial method in cutting down the size of their families, though “responsible parenthood,” the president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP), Bishop Nereo Odchimar of Tandag, Surigao del Sur yesterday, in an interview with Catholic radio station Veritas, threatened Aquino with a possible excommunication if he continues to be firm on his stand on family planning through choice.

The bishop said: “Well, being the President of all, you must consider the position of the Catholic Church because we are approaching these issues from the moral aspect like the unborn. Abortion is a grave crime and excommunication is attached to this. That is an issue of gravity; that is a violation of God’s commandment,” Odchimar said, adding, when prodded during the interview, that excommunication of Aquino, who is a Catholic, is a “proximate possibility.”

“That (excommunication) is a possibility.

Right now, it is a proximate possibility.”.... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20101001hed1.html

AMLC stopped filing raps on PNP claim Luzon ‘jueteng-free’ By Angie M. Rosales 10/01/2010

AMLC stopped filing raps on PNP claim Luzon ‘jueteng-free

By Angie M. Rosales 10/01/2010

Prime government agencies that would have been instrumental in halting the growth of local jueteng operations looked the other way when implied pressures were applied on them, including a mere incredulous statement from the Philippine National Police (PNP) that Luzon is jueteng-free during the term of President Arroyo.

Government officials yesterday admitted before Senate probers to have been stumped in going after jueteng operators or even in curbing, at the very least, the illegal numbers game despite the on and off drum beating of a resolute campaign to end the illegal numbers racket that continues until this day.

Officials of the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) and the Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC) cited legal setbacks in going after jueteng operators and in freezing their bank accounts.

At one point, an AMLC official said the agency was in the process of readying charges and was about to file cases during the height of jueteng investigation in 2005 in which some members of the then First Family of President Arroyo were implicated in alleged multi-million payoffs but was held back by the government’s declaration on being “jueteng-free” country..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20101001hed2.html

Roxas: Manual count, forensic test; Binay: Pay P166M first By Benjamin B. Pulta 10/01/2010

Roxas: Manual count, forensic test; Binay: Pay P166M first

By Benjamin B. Pulta 10/01/2010

The camp of former Sen. and losing Liberal Party (LP) vice presidential candidate Manuel “Mar” Roxas says a forensic test of the machines and manual count of all the ballots from 300,000 precincts all over the country should be done, to check whether there was electoral fraud during the last presidential automated elections, where the Precinct Count Optical Scan machines, found in many instances to be defective, were used.

But Vice President Jejomar Binay and his lawyer countered this claim, saying that Roxas should be required to put up a deposit of some P166 million for the manual count in all the precincts Roxas claims he had been cheated.

The lawyers of Roxas said they will insist on the conduct of forensic analysis of all the votes cast for the vice presidency in the May synchronized automated national and local elections, particularly the votes garnered by Roxas and Binay.

In an interview with members of the media yesterday, Roxas’ legal counsel Joey Tenefrancia said his client will not allow the case to push through without the appropriate analysis of all the votes cast for the vice presidential candidates in the May 10, 2010 elections..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20101001hed3.html

No Noy decision yet on IIRC report — Palace By Aytch S. de la Cruz and Benjamin B. Pulta 10/01/2010

No Noy decision yet on IIRC report — Palace

By Aytch S. de la Cruz and Benjamin B. Pulta 10/01/2010

Three days after his arrival from the United States, President Aquino still hasn’t come up with a decision concerning the Incident Investigation and Review Committee’s (IIRC) recommendations on who should be held accountable for the collapse of hostage negotiations last Aug. 23 that led to the deaths of eight Hong Kong tourists.

Malacañang yesterday still was not able to produce new statements when asked by reporters on the progress of Aquino’s decision on the IIRC’s findings which were supposedly simplified for him by Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa Jr. and Chief Presidential Legal Counsel Eduardo de Mesa.

Presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda said Aquino hasn’t as yet finished studying the IIRC report together with the review made by Malacañang’s legal team, implying that they still cannot release in full the copy of the document for the public’s perusal.

Lacierda also was not able to provide a statement when asked if the public can expect Aquino to make a decision on the matter before he reaches his 100th day in office. He said he would have to seek the President’s confirmation first..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20101001hed4.html

Impeach Merci moves to take backseat, says Speaker By Gerry Baldo 10/01/2010

Impeach Merci moves to take backseat, says Speaker

By Gerry Baldo 10/01/2010

A delay in the impeachment proceedings against Ombudsman Merceditas Gutierrez is imminent as the House of Representatives gears for the passage of the 2011 national budget starting Monday next week.

According to Speaker Feliciano Belmonte, the next two weeks would be entirely devoted to the plenary debates on the proposed General Appropriations Act of 2011 followed by a three-week break. “The next two weeks is devoted almost entirely to budget deliberations and sponsorships and, thereafter, there will be a three-week break,” Belmonte said during a weekly press conference with House reporters yesterday.
Congress will take a recess from Oct. 16 to Nov. 7.

He added the filing of comments by the lower chamber before the Supreme Court yesterday could untangle the impasse between the legislature and the judiciary.

The House committee on justice hasvoted to ignore the high tribunal’s status quo ante ruling enjoining the House to refrain from hearing the impeachment case against Gutierrez pending the resolution of the latter’s petition for the SC to come up with a ruling on whether two impeachment complaints against her could be pursued by the House..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20101001hed5.html

Pinoy workers ordered out of Afghanistan By Michaela P. del Callar 10/01/2010

Pinoy workers ordered out of Afghanistan

By Michaela P. del Callar 10/01/2010

Thousands of Filipino workers in Afghanistan stand to lose their jobs and could be sent back to the Philippines by the end of this year after the US government ordered the pullout of foreign workers from countries currently imposing a deployment ban to the Middle East state.

On Sept. 17, the US Central Command advised all contractors in Afghanistan to remove such third country nationals, including Filipinos, from the jobsites uponthe termination of their contracts this year and to repatriate them to their country of origin.

“Contractors in violation of third country laws should immediately make plans to repatriate these individuals,” a copy of the memorandum signed by Brig. Gen. Camille Nichols, commanding general of the US Centcom, said.

Contractors who will violate the US directive would result in contract termination or debarment from future US government contracts..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20101001hed6.html

1,500 families flee as floods submerge 4 villages in Sultan Kudarat 10/01/2010

1,500 families flee as floods submerge 4 villages in Sultan Kudarat

GENERAL SANTOS CITY — Some 1,500 families in Lambayong town in Sultan Kudarat have evacuated following a series of flashfloods that hit the area anew during the last three days.

Lambayong Vice Mayor Arnold Guerrero yesterday said at least four farming villages in the area are currently submerged in flood waters after an earlier heavy downpour triggered flash floods anew at a portion of a major river channel that traverses the town.

He said the floods along the Allah River, which passes through at least nine municipalities and a city on South Cotabato and Sultan Kudarat provinces, destroyed a portion of a dike in the area and eventually caused huge volumes of flood waters to swell toward the nearby communities.

He said hardest hit were Barangays Udtong, Sadsalan, Sigayan and Madanding, which were temporarily isolated by the floods.

“The main roads leading to these areas were heavily flooded at this time and the affected residents were forced to use bancas so they could move from one area to another,” Guerrero said..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/nation/20101001nat4.html

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