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Incompetence: The Comelec’s name EDITORIAL 10/27/2010

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Incompetence: The Comelec’s name

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Noynoy Aquino was reported to have been dissatisfied with the many snags encountered during the barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) elections. It is perhaps accurate to state that many more share his sentiments.

Still, just what can he do, given his dissatisfaction over the Commission on Elections (Comelec)’s poll performance?

The Comelec is, under the Constitution, an independent constitutional body and the executive branch can’t order it around.

But Congress can do something about the incompetence of the poll body and its officials in conducting any election every single time.

And every single time, the Comelec always lays the blame on some other body, such as the National Printing Office, with Comelec Chief Jose Melo saying that the delay was directly caused by the NPO for the ballot printing delay, adding that the NPO’s machines are old and outdated.

But weren’t the election documents, for the May 2010 polls, also printed by the NPO?.... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20101027com1.html

Too much propaganda over a trip FRONTLINE Ninez Cacho-Olivares 10/27/2010

Too much propaganda over a trip

Ninez Cacho-Olivares
It’s not quite that lean a delegation Noynoy Aquino has brought with him to Vietnam, because 53 or so people accompanying him on a short trip isn’t lean.

But it really makes one wonder why there is that need for Philippine presidents to have a sizable number of officials, their assistants and God knows who else traveling with them.
Then too, it is puzzling why Philippine presidents — Noynoy included — have to make every trip sound so important, and more important, they make their presence in the visits such an important event, wrapping up the propaganda spiel with the memorandums of agreement that more often than not, have already been forged prior to the visits.

Presidents and prime ministers of different First World countries don’t need to justify their visits in dollars and cents or even the importance of their presence in such meetings. They don’t come home to tell the nation what a successful visit they had, and just how much of the bacon they brought home.

But not in this country. Philippine presidents have that penchant to keep on justifying their trips abroad, perhaps because these trips are not that important, and that they then have to justify the trip and the expenses entailed.

As Noynoy put it, “It is very important that we develop our relations to our neighboring countries especially with our fellow members in the Asean (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) because all of the problems we have facing today really have worldwide global significance.”.... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20101027com2.html

Sun sets on Obama’s era of grand reforms ANALYSIS 10/27/2010

Sun sets on Obama’s era of grand reforms


WASHINGTON — The curtain is all but certain to drop on President Barack Obama’s era of transformative reforms, even if Republicans fall short of their dreams of a mid-term election landslide next week.

Obama, elected on a heady wave of hope and change in 2008, compiled a historic resume of domestic legislative triumphs, overhauling health care and Wall Street and pumping billions of dollars into the crisis-strangled economy.

He succeeded by uniting his Democratic Party and adding several moderate Republicans to pass bills over the objection of their leaders. But such tactics will become obsolete in the new Washington that emerges after Nov. 2 polls.

Even if Republicans do not pull off a seizure of the House of Representatives and trim the Democratic edge in the Senate, as most analysts expect, Obama is sure to see his room for maneuver curtailed.

History, and the dynamics of power in Washington, suggest Obama’s political capital will be depleted after a mid-term rebuke from voters, with a testing run-up to his 2012 reelection bid in prospect..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20101027com3.html

Three stories HE SAYS Aldrin Cardon 10/27/2010

Three stories

Aldrin Cardon
One is my own, and I cannot help but recall what could have been a fateful day in my life had it not been for a work-related gig that made me cancel a lunch date with my wife that Friday noon.

I should not have answered her call, which, soon after I pressed the talk button of my cellular phone as I was driving to up Makati in hopes of catching up with her and her friends who went shopping, sounded gibberish. I feared she would admonish me for not being able to make it. Then, as soon as I came to my senses as the green light that gave me access from Coastal Road to Roxas Blvd went on, I clearly heard her scream: A bomb went off in Glorietta.

We were supposed to lunch in an Asian restaurant not far from where the bombing took place. I called it off at the last minute, but she went anyway, along with some friends. They were fitting jeans when the bomb went off, just two halls away from the blast. My wife recalled hearing the loud explosion, sending dust from the ceiling of the fitting room where she was trying out new jeans. They ran to the exit as fast as they could.
She was my first “reporter” of the incident. How glad I was that she survived the incident..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20101027com4.html

Apparitions SHE SAYS Dinah S. Ventura 10/27/2010


Dinah S. Ventura
The Glorietta 2 blast has come back to haunt us.

Or, more specifically, the ghost of the administration past is spooking us... and it’s not Halloween yet. And, really, what could be more horrifying than the scary reminders of what went on in the last 10 years of our lives — laid out, cut open, probed with a razor-sharp tongue and all the bloody bits examined without mercy?

If you recall, the Glorietta 2 explosion happened in October 2007, at the height of the ZTE-NBN broadband deal controversy, which linked the Arroyo couple, along with some of their loyal officials, to an alleged overpriced contract scheme with a Chinese company. An impeachment complaint was already hanging over then-President Gloria Arroyo’s head.

When the mall blast happened, killing 11 and injuring over 100, the earliest reports quoting investigators at the scene mentioned the finding of a certain component used to make high explosives such as C4. (Indeed I distinctly remember seeing a female officer telling a news crew about finding traces of some component at the scene.) Succeeding police interviews, however, became more guarded afterwards..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20101027com5.html

Indian arms race offers prizes for presidential visits focus 10/27/2010

Indian arms race offers prizes for presidential visits


NEW DELHI — Arms-hungry India is expected to hand out a raft of military deals worth billions of dollars during an upcoming rush of presidential visits from the United States, France and Russia.

The biggest-ticket item is the scheduled signing of an estimated $30-billion stealth fighter co-production agreement when Russian President Dmitry Medvedev visits in late December.

Medvedev’s trip will follow those of President Barack Obama and President Nicolas Sarkozy, both of whom will be pushing existing US and French tenders for lucrative military contracts.

Fuelling India’s drive into the international arms market are growing concerns over China’s military strength and its expanding sphere of regional influence.

“China would like to have a foothold in South Asia and we have to reflect on this reality,” Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh warned in September.

“There is a new assertiveness among the Chinese. It is difficult to tell which way it will go. So it’s important to be prepared,” Singh said..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20101027com6.html

‘Military regime’ in battle for Venezuela’s beautiful prize FEATURE 10/27/2010

‘Military regime’ in battle for Venezuela’s beautiful prize


CARACAS — “It’s not true that we only eat celery all day,” said Eliana Calicchia, a finalist in the Miss Venezuela beauty contest, famed both for its strict rules and production of world-renowned beauties.
“There are sacrifices and sometimes you wish you could eat something, but then you think of the positive side,” said Calicchia ahead of Thursday’s final, where the latest queen will be selected from 28 slender, short-listed hopefuls.

Venezuela has long been a beauty factory — it has six Miss Universe titles which make it almost level with the United States overall, even though with only 26 million people it has less than one tenth of America’s population.

Behind the South American nation’s success is the Miss Venezuela franchise and its determined president, Osmel Sousa, who proudly supports cosmetic surgery.

Sousa, who has been at the helm since 1981, decides changes in weight, hair, make-up and teeth for each of the 28 finalists as well as the “errors of nature” which need to be corrected with surgery — financed by the competition organizers.

“This is a contest of beauty, not of naturalness,” Sousa told AFP..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20101027com7.html

TI puts RP as among Asia’s most corrupt 10/27/2010


TI puts RP as among Asia’s most corrupt

The country retained its rank as among Asia’s most corrupt even as it slightly improved in its ranking this year in Transparency International (TI)’s yearly global corruption survey which placed the Philippines 134th out of 178 countries ranked.
The rating of the country improved from 139th last year but among its Asian peers it remained dismally at the tail-end as most countries in the region improved remarkably in the ranking.

The Philippines lagged behind most of its neigboring countries in Southeast Asian countries such as Malaysia, 56th; Thailand, 78th; Indonesia, 110th; and Vietnam, 116th, making the Philippines the most corrupt in this region.

In its 2010 Corruption Perception Index (CPI), TI said the Philippines was ranked 134th with a score of 2.4, better than its 139th ranking in 2009. In 2008, the Philippines was ranked 141st with a score of 2.3.
Only Cambodia and Myanmar were below the Philip-pines in the transparency list.

The Philippines is still consi-dered in the survey as “highly corrupt” and at the same level as that of Kenya, Laos, Papua New Guinea, Russia, Republic of Congo, Uganda, Timor Leste, Lebanon, Solomon Islands, Mali, Mongolia, Niger, Libya, Iran, Nepal, Yemen, Cambodia, Venezuela, Honduras, Syria, Nicaragua, Bolivia, Benin, Gabon, Indonesia, Kosovo, Kazakhatan, Modova, among others..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20101027hed1.html

Comelec to probe itself for poll snafus 10/27/2010

Comelec to probe itself for poll snafus

The Commission on Elections (Comelec) has created an investigating panel that would probe the delays in the distribution of election materials that caused the postponement of the barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) polls in some parts of the country.

Commissioner Armando Velasco, head of the fact-finding body, was given 15 working days to come up with the panel’s recommendation to be forwarded to the Commission en banc.

“We are given more than two weeks to finish the investigation to know what happened. What are the causes? Who are responsible? Likewise, we have to give recommendations for possible reform in distribution of election supplies and paraphernalia. We will try our best to finish that in 15 working days. If not we can ask for (an) extension,” he said.

Velasco said that those who will be probed are those involved in the preparation and distribution of the supplies, including forwarders, Bids and Awards Committee (BAC) and the National Printing Office (NPO).
.... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20101027hed2.html

Bar bomber to fall within week, vows DoJ By Benjamin B. Pulta 10/27/2010

Bar bomber to fall within week, vows DoJ

By Benjamin B. Pulta 10/27/2010

The Department of Justice (DoJ) vowed yesterday to collar within the week the elusive suspect in the grenade attack during the bar examinations celebration last Sept. 26.

Speaking to reporters, Justice Secretary Leila de Lima said the suspect has been placed under the Bureau of Immigration’s (BI) watchlist and said the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) was coordinating with a group that could help facilitate the surrender of the blast suspect. At least 47 persons were injured when a man lobbed a MK2 fragmentation grenade at the crowd during the event.

“I have already directed (the Bureau of Immigration) to place the blast suspect under a watch list,” she told reporters during the press briefing.

De Lima said the NBI had approached the blast suspect’s mother who told authorities that she would convince her son to surrender.

De Lima added the NBI had sent a team to the home province of the blast suspect to find him. “We know his hometown province, a team was sent there last week, we continue to monitor the area. They are monitoring the area but he was not there,” she said..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20101027hed3.html

House to probe Code-NGO ahead of Truth body By Gerry Baldo 10/27/2010

House to probe Code-NGO ahead of Truth body

By Gerry Baldo 10/27/2010

Congressmen aren’t about to wait for the Malacañang-created Truth Commission headed by former Chief Justice Hilario Davide Jr. to investigate the alleged P10-billion bond scam.

Ahead of an impending investigation planned by the Truth body, the House of Representatives is bent on initiating its full-dress investigation into the allegations that a big non-government organization – Caucus of Development NGO Networks (Code-NGO) — then headed by Social Welfare Secretary Corazon “Dinky” Soliman profited from the flotation of the P10-billion Poverty Eradication and Alleviation Certificate (PEACe) bonds.

Malacañang has absolved Soliman, along with Peace Adviser Secretary Teresita Deles, who is said to also have been part of Code-NGO, with the Palace insisting that various investigations already have been conducted on Soliman and that she had been already cleared.

But lawmakers said that while the issue had been investigated during the time of former President Arroyo, the probe was “half-cooked.”

The House of Representatives, as well as the Senate, was dominated by the Arroyo allies. At that time of the investigations, with the majority being allied with Malacañang and its Cabinet members, not a single scandal or scam was ever throughly probed, with Palace aides predictably being cleared..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20101027hed4.html

Bishop: Noy won’t finish his term; EO 2 questioned anew By Pat C. Santos and Benjamin B. Pulta 10/27/2010

Bishop: Noy won’t finish his term; EO 2 questioned anew

By Pat C. Santos and Benjamin B. Pulta 10/27/2010
“Chances are high that President Aquino will not finish his term, if he continues to listen only to two of his Cabinet members, and refuses to heed the voice of the people,” a Catholic bishop predicted yesterday.
Catholic Bishop Dinualdo Gutierrez gave this prediction during a weekly forum held at Intramuros where he mentioned the names of Secretary De Mesa and Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa both of whom he said have not been giving Aquino the right advice.

“He (Aquino) needs management (skills) and most important (skill) is human relations,” Gutierrez said.
The prelate cited that all of his seven Executive Orders are being challenged in court and by the time he reaches his 100th EO, he may no longer be in Malacañang, and no longer president.

“Every executive order is being questioned because they are not reflective of the feelings and aspirations for many people.

“Honesty alone will not save him (Aquino) as he has lost the people’s trust and confidence and if it continues he will be losing all the goodwill. He must consult people and ask those who know and not only his two trusted Cabinet officials,” the bishop said.

The bishop perceives the two as running the government.

“If he is really sincere in his statement that the people are his boss, then he should consult the people who have the the wide contact with the masses, such as the priests..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20101027hed5.html

HK OFWs want Salud fired; Palace denies Gaa’s US stay By Michaela P. del Callar and Aytch S. de la Cruz 10/27/2010

HK OFWs want Salud fired; Palace denies Gaa’s US stay

By Michaela P. del Callar and Aytch S. de la Cruz 10/27/2010

A group representing Filipino workers in Hong Kong yesterday demanded the recall of a “rude” Philippine labor attaché who allegedly insulted and neglected distressed Filipinos in the Chinese territory, while Malacañang denied President Aquino has retained current Philippine ambassador to the United States Willy Gaa.
United Filipinos in Hong Kong (Unifil) said Labor Attaché Romulo Salud should be fired for treating Filipino workers shabbily“one time too many.”

“He must be recalled from his post,” the group said. “We call on the Philippine government to finally make accountable officials who have done misconducts and have showcased their disregard of the rights and well-being of Filipino migrant workers. Neglect and transgressions on the rights of overseas Filipino workers with impunity must stop.”

In a statement from Hong Kong, Dolores Balladares, Unifil chairman, cited one case wherein a first-time OFW, Agnes Tenorio, reportedly received shabby treatment from Salud when she sought the labor official’s help after her contract was illegally terminated by her employer a couple of hours upon her arrival in the city.
In their first meeting, Salud, according to Unifil, did not even offer advice to Tenorio nor was she informed that she has the right to file a case before the Hong Kong Labor Department for illegal termination of contract.
.... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20101027hed6.html

AFP to study management, training of Cafgu recruits By Mario J. Mallari 10/27/2010

AFP to study management, training of Cafgu recruits

By Mario J. Mallari 10/27/2010

The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) yesterday admitted the need to improve management and training of Citizens Armed Forces Geographical Unit (Cafgu) recruits following series of killings perpetrated by its members in various part of the country, resulting to multiple deaths.

At a press briefing, AFP spokesman Brig. Gen. Jose Mabanta Jr. said the Army, under the leadership of Lt. Gen. Arturo Ortiz, is presently studying moves to address the issue on Cafgus.

“We have to improve the personnel management of the Cafgu…this is being looked at by the commanding general of the Army,” said Mabanta, noting the Army has a direct supervision over the militia group.

Last Monday, Cafgu member Olegario Vocal Jr. went amuck inside a military detachment in Zamboanga Sibugay province, killing five of his fellow militia using his service M14 rifle.

Vocal attempted to escape but was tracked down by elements of the Army’s 18th Infantry Battalion (IB). Instead of surrendering, Vocal shot it out with the troops, killing another Cafgu. The suspect, who was supposedly suffering from mental illness, was subsequently killed.

Earlier, another Cafgu member went berserk after being mauled during a wake in Laguna province, killing five people. The suspect, however, peacefully surrendered..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/nation/20101027nat2.html

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