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One too many zeroes EDITORIAL 10/08/2010

Friday, October 8, 2010

One too many zeroes

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Sprucing up Noynoy’s 100 days speech, which included an Obama-style townhall meeting, remote links to the farthest side of the country and a show of force with all his Cabinet men and business allies all present, was a necessity since the report itself was a big fat zero.

The supposed achievements that Noynoy claimed during the crucial sizing up period cannot be even considered as such.

Zero budgeting an achievement? Many will recall in their school days that this is just one of the many ways of doing the government budget and it will be an achievement for Noynoy if he invented it, which he obviously did not.

As to the effect of line budgeting, it had sown confusion as many key agencies literally ended up with a near zero allocation for next year’s budget..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20101008com1.html

100 days of nothingness FRONTLINE Ninez Cacho-Olivares 10/08/2010

100 days of nothingness

Ninez Cacho-Olivares
A hundred days in the presidential office, and Noynoy Aquino is still on a campaign mode, laying all the blame on his predecessor, mainly to justify his non-performance in office.

He was full of hubris, claiming that the nation is now united, with only a handful of the political opposition people and critics against him and even warning that the days are numbered for those who want to return to power and position.

“All of you involved in bad governance, I guarantee that your days are numbered,” he said in Filipino.

Is he saying that it will be he, and his party and yellow allies who will be in power and position forever? But it isn’t he who has that say. It is electorate that will have a say on who should be in power and out of it. And chances are, the way Noynoy and his administration have become non-performing assets, in the by-elections of 2013, his may even become a kiss of death for those he will be anointing for elective office..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20101008com2.html

Nigeria bomb blasts point to bloody electoral season ANALYSIS 10/08/2010

Nigeria bomb blasts point to bloody electoral season


ABUJA — They seemed designed to kill: two car bomb blasts within minutes of one another, on a busy road near the area where the country’s leaders and foreign dignitaries had gathered on independence day.

The attack on Friday, the first of its kind in the capital, left at least 12 persons dead, and it may have also signaled a bloody campaign season ahead for Nigeria, where elections have so often been tainted by violence.

“The election campaign has started on a very violent note, and I don’t see this stopping,” said Anyakwee Nsirimovu, head of the Institute of Human Rights and Humanitarian Law in the oil-producing Niger Delta region.

Even in a country that has grown weary with violence, the scale and boldness of the attack were shocking. Celebrations marking 50 years of Nigerian independence were occurring a short walk away at Eagle Square.
The bombs went off along a road that leads to the square from the Hilton hotel, the haunt of both Nigerian and visiting politicians, though none were apparently in the immediate area at the time..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20101008com3.html

Damaso, indeed NO HOLDS BARRED Armida Siguion-Reyna 10/08/2010

Damaso, indeed

Armida Siguion-Reyna
You all know about artist-tour guide Carlos Celdran, and how he held up a placard that read “Damaso” during Mass, literally screaming “Stop getting involved in politics!” right smack into the homily at the Manila Cathedral, a little over a week ago.

He was dressed like Rizal. If he wasn’t Rizal, he could only have been Rizal’s alter ego, Crisostomo Ibarra after his Noli Me Tangere nemesis, Damaso but no. Senior Police Officer II Ernesto Andres Jr. said Celdran was in a “Charlie Chaplin” costume. The cops didn’t know who Damaso was, so maybe that’s why they readily arrested Celdran. Naka-Chaplin costume nga naman, and there’s no room for a comedian on holy ground, di ba?

Seriously, Celdran was arrested, released only after posting a P6,000 bail, and now facing a lawsuit for supposedly violating Article 133 of the Revised Penal Code, “Offending the religious feelings. — The penalty of arresto mayor in its maximum period to prision correccional in its minimum period shall be imposed upon anyone who, in a place devoted to religious worship or during the celebration of any religious ceremony shall perform acts notoriously offensive to the feelings of the faithful.”.... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20101008com4.html

7,748 plus 100 days of Yellow infamy DIE HARD III Herman Tiu Laurel 10/08/2010

7,748 plus 100 days of Yellow infamy

Herman Tiu Laurel
Aquino III is but a continuation of Gloria Arroyo, as Arroyo was an extension of Fidel Ramos, who, in turn, carried over policies of Cory Aquino, the first Yellow puppet to have kicked off the globalist neo-colonial counter-revolution against Ferdinand Marcos’ national economic development program spearheaded by past nation-building presidents, Quirino and Garcia.

Simply put, Aquino III cannot be seen in any other light. Apart from not having his own agenda, he and his Cabinet have only upheld a policy of mendicancy, dependency, and enslavement to the oppressive Washington cabal (that subsidizes its crony oligarchs around the Makati Business Club), while taxing and exploiting the people, pulling economic support out from under them, and negating initiatives toward self-reliance and self-sustaining productivity.

Grading Aquino III from this exploitative angle, one can indeed agree with the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry’s 90-percent score for him. On the other hand, if, like most of the 90 million or so Filipinos, the gauge will be faithfulness to such campaign promises as honesty, integrity and change (from Gloria’s deceitfulness, complicity in corruption and crime, cronyism, nepotism, competence, disservice to the people, alleviation of their burdens, better governance, etc.), then there are not enough Ds and Es to write down on PeNoy’s report card.

A very good example is the Malacañang Press Corps which has, among its ranks, the nearest yet objective people around the official Cabinet and their boss. In an informal survey among them, 17 Palace reporters gave Aquino III a C, seven a D, while two gave him a B and one an E.

From what I can see in my interviews with the common folk, these Palace reporters reflect the rest of the country’s views. Although they may be polite, they’re unwilling to give even an overall passing mark. Reality, however, has a way of being distorted by the Social Weather Stations (SWS) of Mahar Mangahas when it comes to the rescue of the Yellows’ political pets through manipulated popularity surveys whenever needed.

The latest SWS survey from Sept. 24 to 27 puts Aquino III’s satisfaction rating at 71 percent satisfied against 11 percent dissatisfied. This, as office secretaries, guards and janitors I come across are all one in rating Aquino III far worse than how the Palace reporters graded him. Well, this SWS survey is just a repeat of how the Yellow myth was earlier buttressed when Aquino III’s trust rating in July zoomed to 83 percent, even when over half of the nation voted against him.

The myth of Aquino’s popularity has to be maintained by the ruling class of oligarchs, their media and their minions to effectively follow the diktats of their foreign patrons. We often hear from the spokesmen of Aquino III the mantra of “sacrificing political capital to implement harsh measures” whenever they raise taxes and fees on toll ways, remove senior citizens’ VAT exemptions, pull out subsidies for public utilities such as the MRT, penalize farmers by eliminating price subsidies, as well as help Aquino III cover up serious transgressions of ethics, morality and trust (from the complicity of Aquino III’s lieutenants in the increasingly rampant jueteng operations to his direct personal failures, such as in the Hong Thai hostage tragedy, ad nausea).

For sure, the powers-that-be still have to stretch that illusory political capital as more pains are to be inflicted, such as the looming MRT fare hike in a month’s time.

Like the first two years of Gloria Arroyo, the Establishment is maintaining the perception that “while the lieutenants may be fouling up, Aquino III is still personally a good leader.” Hence, they’re postponing the day when the people would eventually blame the top honcho himself — or so they think.

In this light, the Reproductive Health (RH) bill brouhaha, supposedly pitting Aquino III versus the Catholic hierarchy, has become a PR manna from heaven for Malacañang’s spin masters for now. Aquino III is cast as an underdog against the archaic Church, while the continuing jueteng and other scandals, plus issues of economic hardship, are conveniently set aside.

I believe that in spite of the Catholic hierarchy knowing the RH bills to be antiquated, the bishops are only too happy to figure in this moro-moro with their Yellow santa’s only son. It’s a farce made more glaring by the fact that the Yellows, who are now protesting Church intervention against their dummy, celebrated the same when it was used against Marcos and Erap.

In the final analysis, since the first 100 days is not a grading period but a moment for taking the nation’s bearings, we ask: Where is the helmsman taking the ship? Lao Tse said that the journey of a thousand miles begins with one single step. But where is that first step headed? Or where is RP’s ship of state headed to?

Aquino III’s sails may be billowing but the anchors are still down! Even if he reached the malls of America and the steps of the UN building, in policy matters, he is merely running stationary, going nowhere. His first 100 days is just more added to the 7,748 days (24 years less Estrada’s two-and-a-half) of the same political-economic paradigm that Cory set in 1987, with the country being fed on a lot of wind, getting poorer, and ever more dependent on rice imports and manpower exports, with ever-growing debt and demoralization of the people.

(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)

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

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20101008com5.html

South Lebanon eager to see Ahmadinejad at Israel’s doorstep focus 10/08/2010

South Lebanon eager to see Ahmadinejad at Israel’s doorstep


KFAR KILA — People in southern Lebanon are brimming with excitement ahead of a visit by Iranian President Mahmud Ahmadinejad, who is expected to stand at the border with his arch-enemy Israel in a message of defiance.

“I can’t wait to see Ahmadinejad get close to the barbed wire and show the Israelis that he has them by the throat,” said Abdullah, a resident of the border village of Kfar Kila, who refused to give his real name.

“Can you imagine? He is going to stand barely a meter (yard) from Israel and that’s so symbolic,” added Abdullah, who runs a restaurant at Fatima Gate, just beyond the border fence between the two countries.

The Iranian leader will visit Lebanon on Oct. 13 and 14 at the invitation of his counterpart, Michel Sleiman, and will be his first to the tiny Mediterranean country.

The official first day of the trip is expected to proceed smoothly. It is the unofficial part the following day, when he Ahmadinejad is set to be taken on a tour of the south by the Shiite militant group Hezbollah — considered a proxy of Iran — that has prompted jitters..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20101008com6.html

Mystery masterpiece emerges from dusty Paris flat FEATURE 10/08/2010

Mystery masterpiece emerges from dusty Paris flat


PARIS — When an auctioneer entered a dust-covered old Parisian flat in June to take inventory of the deceased owner’s possessions, he had the impression of creeping into Sleeping Beauty’s castle.

In the gloom of the flat that had been shut-up for decades, he came across a portrait unknown to art experts of a beautiful woman by one of 19-century Paris’ most prized portrait artists, Italian Giovanni Boldini.
“There was a smell of old dust,” said auctioneer Olivier Choppin-Janvry.

The painting recently fetched 2.1 million euros ($2.9 million) in frenzied bidding, making a record for one of the artist’s works.

The flat’s last occupant, who was the grand-daughter of Boldini’s muse, had shut it up before World War II to go live in the south of France and never returned..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20101008com7.html

More promises, Gloria bashing, 100 days on By Aytch S. de la Cruz 10/08/2010


More promises, Gloria bashing, 100 days on

By Aytch S. de la Cruz 10/08/2010

In what sounded as a reprise of a speech he made 100 days ago during his inaugural at the Quirino Grandstand which was filled with promises punctuated by attacks on the previous administration for leaving a host of problems on him, President Aquino rattled off non-achievements while warning his detractors whom he called as those seeking a return to the crooked path that their days are numbered in his 100-day report to the nation.

Aquino’s address sidestepped all the critical issues that faced his administration from the hostage crisis fiasco that claimed the lives of eight Hong Kong tourists where he received international humiliation, the jueteng scandal in which a close aide was accused of receiving payolas from jueteng lords and the thorny Hacienda Luisita issue in which he is accused of inaction on an age-long land reform problems in a huge farmland owned by his family.

Instead, Aquino harped on what he called “fruits” of good governance which he claimed included the strengthening of the stock market and the peso, which was, however, more the result of investors shunning away from the still weak developed economies and putting their money into the developing markets where the returns are higher.

Aquino also sounded more like his predecessor, former President Arroyo, in seeking refuge in his supposed economic achievements and blaming controversies hounding him to maneuverings of political detractors..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20101008hed1.html

HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH: Noy shows no commitment to justice By Michaela P. del Callar 10/08/2010


Noy shows no commitment to justice

By Michaela P. del Callar 10/08/2010

A New York-based human rights watchdog said President Aquino has yet to fulfill his campaign promise to address human rights abuses and eradicate private armies, which according to the group, “jeopardizes his stated commitment to justice.”

Human Rights Watch (HRW) said 100 days into his presidency, Aquino has not yet carried out his pledge to abolish private armies, provide justice for human rights abuses, and address impunity by the police and military. Aquino, it said, must address these persistent problems with long-term measures.

“President Aquino came into office with a mandate to abolish abusive forces and pursue justice for serious abuses,” Elaine Pearson, HRW deputy Asia director, said Wednesday. “He made impassioned promises, but 100 days on, we’re still waiting for action.”

Since Aquino took office on June 30, 2010, human rights organizations have reported killings of three journalists and 16 leftist activists..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20101008hed2.html

After leak, Palace to alter, delay report again By Aytch S. de la Cruz 10/08/2010

After leak, Palace to alter, delay report again

By Aytch S. de la Cruz 10/08/2010

With the Palace reviewed report of the Aug. 23 botched hostage crisis having been leaked to a newspaper that quoted from it liberally yesterday, which stated that the Palace report had absolved Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) Undersecretary Rico Puno, Manila Vice Mayor Isko Moreno, and former Philippine National Police Chief Jesus Verzosa from any administrative and criminal liability, Malacañang yesterday said the report will be delayed once more, as more individuals would be held liable.

The Palace’s reviewed report on the botched hostage rescue which saw eight Hong Kong tourists dead has been altered radically from the Incident Investigation and Review Committee’s report and recommendations, with virtually all indicted by the IIRC in its report getting off with a limp slap on the wrist by Malacañang.

Changes are to be expected as the government officially releases the entire contents of the report to the public alongside the evaluation made by the Palace legal team on Monday, a Palace lawyer said.

Chief Presidential Legal Counsel Eduardo de Mesa told reporters yesterday that among those changes is the additional list of persons they have recommended to be charged for the mismanagement of the hostage crisis that transpired last Aug. 23..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20101008hed3.html

Pag-IBIG dared to file case vs Globe Asiatique; Fund not yet off the hook By Angie M. Rosales 10/08/2010

Pag-IBIG dared to file case vs Globe Asiatique; Fund not yet off the hook

By Angie M. Rosales 10/08/2010

Officials from Home Development Mutual Fund, popularly known as the Pag-IBIG Fund, face possible gross negligence while Globe Asiatique Realty Corp. Inc. could be held liable for falsification and estafa, if it cannot disprove charges of alleged “ghost borrowers,” currently the center of controversy in the P7-billion housing loan mess.

Pag-IBIG executives yesterday found themselves at the receiving end of intense grilling from Senate probers, during the initial public hearing on the matter conducted by the committee on banks, financial institutions and currencies chaired by Sen. Sergio Osmeña III.

Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile challenged Pag-IBIG Fundofficials to file falsification charges against Globe Asiatique (GA) for allegedly making accounts of hundreds of questionable buyers just to get some P7-billion loan.

“Pag-IBIG should file falsification case against this guy,” Enrile said, referring to GA chairman and president Delfin Lee who attended the Senate inquiry into the alleged irregularities in the housing loan transactions between Pag-IBIG and GA.

“I challenge you to file falsification case against him so that he can be examine in the court and we will punish him,” the Senate leader added..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20101008hed4.html

Wrap up jueteng probe — Angara By Angie M. Rosales and Benjamin B. Pulta 10/08/2010

Wrap up jueteng probe — Angara

By Angie M. Rosales and Benjamin B. Pulta 10/08/2010

Unless a witness is willing to come out to attest to the alleged jueteng payoffs to high officials in government, the Senate should seriously consider terminating its ongoing investigation.

Sen. Edgardo Angara yesterday made the call as he expressed pessimism on whether his colleagues will be able to extract truth over purported jueteng payola scandal in the absence of a testimony from a credible witness.

He said they must break the public perception that legislators “keep on launching investigations but never get around to finishing them.”

“Otherwise, our credibility and authority are diminished in the eyes of the public to whom we owe our mandate,” he stressed.

“Bribery is one of the most difficult crimes to prove unless there is a credible whistleblower
who would testify. In this case, not just any ordinary man has come forward, but a man of the cloth, an archbishop. That, in large part, already speaks about his credibility and that of his claims,” Angara said, referring to retired Archbishop Oscar Cruz, who exposed the latest alleged jueteng scandal.
These accusations are difficult to investigate so the role of witnesses is crucial, he added..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20101008hed5.html

P400 million for condoms can be used to hire 3,000 doctors, says solon By Charlie V. Manalo 10/08/2010

P400 million for condoms can be used to hire 3,000 doctors, says solon

By Charlie V. Manalo 10/08/2010

The proposed P400 million allocation for contraceptives in the 2011 budget of the Department of Health (DoH) can be put to better use if spent for the salaries of about 3,000 medical specialists, a lawmaker said yesterday.

Zambales Rep. Mitos Magsaysay said that in the order of priorities doctors “clearly come ahead of condoms and pills.”

With only one government doctor for every 29,000 Filipinos, “there is no doubt that doctor shortage is one problem area in the health system that needs to be addressed,” Magsaysay said.

Magsaysay said rechaneling the “birth control devices fund” to the hiring of doctors “would yield more benefits and serve the public interest more than using it for its original purpose.”.... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/nation/20101008nat2.html

DSWD chief’s planned purchase of ‘luxury’ vehicles scored By Gerry Baldo and Charlie V. Manalo 10/08/2010

DSWD chief’s planned purchase of ‘luxury’ vehicles scored

By Gerry Baldo and Charlie V. Manalo 10/08/2010

With tens of billions of pesos in the hands of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWS), its chief prefers to splurge it in new vehicles.

Amid the cuts in the budgetary allocations from most of the government agencies, the planned purchase of a fleet of vehicles by the DSWD Secretary Dinky Soliman, was off tangent in the Aquino administration’s claimed tight national budget.

According to Bayan Muna Rep. Teddy Casiño, Soliman’s plan to purchase sport utility vehicles and four-wheel drive pick-ups was “rather lavish” considering the cuts in capital outlay of public hospitals and state universities.

Such purchase runs counter to Budget Secretary Florencio Abad’s repeated declarations that no motor vehicles would be bought in the remaining months of 2010 and under the national budget for 2011. The said policy was outlined by Secretary Abad as No. 6 of the general budget principles under the proposed P1.645 trillion budget for next year..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20101008hed6.html

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