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Still ‘highly corrupt’ EDITORIAL 10/28/2010

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Still ‘highly corrupt’

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Despite the entry of a new administration and its vow to rid the country of corruption, the Philippines remains “highly corrupt,” going by the latest Transparency International Report of 2010, with the ranking compiled from “a combination of polls, drawing on corruption-related data from expert and business surveys carried out by a variety of independent and reputable institutions,” the TI report said.

The TI survey consists of a composite of business surveys conducted between January 2009 and September 2010, where the Noynoy Aquino administration already shares a quarter time of the survey period.

The Philippines retained its rank as among Asia’s most corrupt, landing in 134th place, out of 178 countries ranked.

While the rating of the country showed an improvement from last year’s 139th place, the country was still at the tail-end in Asian countries..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20101028com1.html

Not kosher at all FRONTLINE Ninez Cacho-Olivares 10/28/2010

Not kosher at all

Ninez Cacho-Olivares
Reports are out that poll Chairman Jose Melo has opted for early retirement, as he is also said to have accepted an offer from Noynoy Aquino to join his administration.

This is a puzzling development, to say the least, considering the fact that Noynoy, shortly after the chaos and confusion of the barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) elections, marked moreover with irregularities and violence, not to mention disenfranchisement of voters and fraud, said he was holding the Commission on Elections (Comelec) responsible and liable for the messed up polls.

But if he blames the Comelec for the snafus that accompanied the village and SK elections — and for certain, as Melo is its chairman, then obviously, he too, must be held responsible and accountable, as all the other commissioners and their officials must be held liable — why then is Noynoy offering an administration job to the Comelec chairman?

Doing so is akin to absolving Melo, nay the entire Comelec, since Melo as its chairman, is the face of the Comelec..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20101028com2.html

Indian doctors, foreign patients play down ‘superbug’ fears FEATURE 10/28/2010

Indian doctors, foreign patients play down ‘superbug’ fears


MUMBAI — Carla looked out over Mumbai from the window of a luxury hotel, the line of stitches under her ears and yellowing bruises on her cheeks partially obscured by her dark, shoulder-length hair and glasses.

The 50-year-old Italian entrepreneur, who lives in the United States and Europe, had a complete facelift in a private hospital two weeks earlier and was about to leave the city, now looking, she said, as young as she feels.

“It was excellent,” she told AFP about the care she received. “Actually it was beyond what I expected. I was really happy with the experience, happy with the doctor, the hospital and the nurses.”

Carla, who asked for her real name not to be used, is one of more than 150,000 foreign nationals who come to India every year for medical treatment at a fraction of the cost in their own countries.

The Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India has estimated that the medical tourism sector is growing at an annual rate of about 30 percent and could be worth more than $2 billion by 2012..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20101028com3.html

At odds over Atong BLURBAL THRUSTS Louie Logarta 10/28/2010

At odds over Atong

Louie Logarta
The only way to decongest Edsa of its horrible traffic, according to Sen. Ralph Recto, and put some sanity in the mayhem that descends upon Metro Manila’s biggest thoroughfare each and every working day (Saturday is the worst because this is when all vehicle restrictions are lifted) is if the authorities are to sideline one-half of the estimated 7,000 passenger buses that had been granted routes by the national government.

Recto cited figures culled from studies by the World Bank which said that the optimum number of buses that should be plying the 17-kilometer long highway, considered to be the backbone of the metropolis, is only around 1,600.

Well, he must be referring to the 2,000 colorums which the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) has estimated to be operating alongside the legit buses on the heavily-traversed Edsa route.

But if he is, his proposal would be just a pie in the sky because it is an open secret that the only reason these colorum buses continue to operate along Edsa to the detriment of the general public is due to the weekly payola their owners dole out to corrupt MMDA and transport officials.... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20101028com4.html

Meralco’s rate increases C.R.O.S.S.R.O.A.D.S Jonathan De la Cruz 10/28/2010

Meralco’s rate increases

Jonathan De la Cruz
Concerned citizens are asking Energy Secretary Jose Rene Almendras and ERC Chairman Zeny Ducat to reject the petition for another round of rate increases by Meralco for its so-called distribution, supply and metering (DSM) charges.

The country’s largest power distribution utility which covers a franchise area comprising 23 cities, 88 municipalities and 4.8 million customer connections with a resident population of 19 million and counting, has asked for an increase of P0.41 per kilowatt hour in its DSM charges from the current P1.4917/kwh set just a year ago last May 2009 to P1.9036/kwh by 2015. As noted by the oppositors headed by a certain Genaro Lualhati and the pro-consumer Nasecore led by Pete Ilagan, this P0.41 increase being worked out under the ERC’s newly instituted tranching scheme called Performance Based Regulation (PBR) is no pittance at all, if one considers that for every one centavo increase in Meralco’s rate this translates into a gross revenue of P360 million per year based on its present annual sales of 36 billion kilowatt hours. Thus, that 40 centavo increase translates into a whooping P14.4 billion a year additional revenue for Meralco!.... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20101028com5.html

Political will VIEWPOINTS Archbishop Oscar V. Cruz 10/28/2010

Political will

Archbishop Oscar V. Cruz
The graft and corrupt practices continue even in the advent of a new administration, making the powerful increasingly wealthy while converting the helpless into but socio-economic pawns.

The continuous exploitation of the poor is also done through all kinds of illegal number games, not to mention the marked growth of gambling addicts through the so called legal “Gaming Corporations.” More: The aggravating proliferation of illegal drugs. The phenomenon of the flesh trade plus the omnipresence of pornographic materials. The violation of women and the abuse of children. Thefts and robberies. More: The prevalent disregard for human rights — inclusive of the violent ending of human lives. The savage massacres here and there hand-in-hand with the forced disappearances of individuals. Kidnappings proper and carnappings as well. More: The long standing reality of the “Left” plus the covert truth of the “Right” that are in effect the same in their desire and design to grab governing power. The so called “Separatists” who wish and want to have their own country through peaceful or violent means..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20101028com6.html

Not your grandfather’s retirement: Boomers to hit 65 focus 10/28/2010

Not your grandfather’s retirement: Boomers to hit 65


WASHINGTON—The baby boom generation turns 65 on Jan. 1, marking a milestone in the graying of America that portends vast economic, social and cultural changes for the United States.

As the first of the 76 million US boomers reach the magic age in 2011, they will likely transform the notions of retirement and old age instead of following in the footsteps of their parents, say experts.

The demographic trend means a shock to the economy, government finances, a strain for the health care system, and even a potential shift in America’s role as a global superpower.

But analysts say this won’t be your grandfather’s retirement.

“Even though 65 is the conventional retirement age we’ve become accustomed to, this generation doesn’t look at retirement as the kind of cliff-ending of a career that previous generations had to experience,” says John Challenger, chief executive of the consultancy Challenger Gray & Christmas..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20101028com7.html

Binay brings Bar bomb suspect to NBI 10/28/2010 By Benjamin B. Pulta


Binay brings Bar bomb suspect to NBI

By Benjamin B. Pulta
Vice President Jejomar “Jojo” Binay helped the Department of Justice (DoJ)’s search for a suspect in the Bar bombing by convincing the suspect, a call center employee who is a native of Mogpog, Marinduque, and a member of Alpha Phi Omega (APO) fraternity, to which Binay belongs, to voluntarily appear before the DoJ and its agency, the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) yesterday. With Binay and the suspect was former Justice Secretary Silvestre Bello III.

The government’s so-called primary suspect underwent interrogation and was later released, as it was made clear that there was no warrant of arrest for him.

Justice Secretary Leila de Lima said the suspect in last month’s grenade attack in front of the De La Salle University, Anthony Leal Nepomuceno, voluntarily agreed to present himself to the NBI yesterday. He was also accompanied by senior leaders of the fraternity led by the Vice President.

“It may loosely be considered voluntary surrender,” De Lima said, adding that they sought Binay’s help once they had learned of the suspect’s affiliation, saying that Nepomuceno will be undergoing preliminary investigation to see whether there is evidence that warrants his indictment for multiple physical injuries charges..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20101028hed1.html

Noy goes crazy over ‘small RP paper’ in Vietnam By Aytch S. de la Cruz 10/28/2010

Noy goes crazy over ‘small RP paper’ in Vietnam

By Aytch S. de la Cruz 10/28/2010

Nothing has changed with the Palace since the days of former President Arroyo.
A small newspaper with a few readers got into the nerves of President Aquino yesterday as he blasted away at obviously The Daily Tribune for a story quoting Marbel Bishop Dinualdo Gutierrez as saying that Aquino may fail to complete his six-year term as a result of his poor management skills and his reliance on unsound legal advice from Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa Jr. and Chief Presidential Legal Counsel Eduardo de Mesa, instead of heeding “the voice of the people.”

Before a gathering of Filipino workers in Vietnam, where he is on a state visit, Aquino branded the newspaper as a product of those who benefitted from the past corrupt system of government.

“Just take a look at what is happening to the Supreme Court today. There’s a Manila-based newspaper of minor circulation, minor only because it only has few readers, they are hitting us again. They say I am being given wrong advice and that I was not listening to the voice of our people and my executive orders are being criticized anew,” Aquino said.

Aquino has claimed previously he never reads The Tribune due to its mostly critical stories against him. In branding The Tribune as having benefited from the Arroyo administration, Aquino was speaking in contradiction since it was the only newspaper that the Arroyo administration attempted but failed to take over as a result of stories which the former administration believed to be highly critical against it..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20101028hed2.html

Aquino extols self in Transparency Int’l corruption survey 10/28/2010

Aquino extols self in Transparency Int’l corruption survey

Going by its principle to always look at the glass half-full instead of the other way around, President Aquino and his administration once again took the credit with re-gard to the recent improve-ment of the country’s ranking based on the latest global cor-ruption survey of Transparency International despite the glaring fact that TI also ranked the Philippines as one of the “highly corrupt” countries.

Despite improving from 139th last year to 134th this year, however, the Philippines is still being considered even as the most corrupt nation in Southeast Asia as it continues to lag far behind its neighboring countries such as Malaysia (56th), Thailand (78th), Indonesia (110th) and Vietnam (116th), according to the corruption perception index (CPI) report of TI.

At a press conference with reporters who joined his trip to Vietnam, Aquino mentioned that this report gives a “momentum” for his administration to continue the steps they are taking toward the elimination of corruption in the country.

“As I maintained during my presidential campaign, we will need to eliminate corruption if we want our country to move forward,” he said.

For his part, presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda claimed that the fact that the Philippines’ ranking improved by five notches indicates that the current administration’s determination to promote good governance is working..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20101028hed3.html

House impeach body has ax to grind vs ‘Merci,’ SC told By Benjamin B. Pulta 10/28/2010

House impeach body has ax to grind vs ‘Merci,’ SC told

By Benjamin B. Pulta 10/28/2010

Lawyers representing Ombudsman Merceditas Gutierrez yesterday told the Supreme Court (SC) that she would not get fair treatment if the two impeachment proceedings filed against her would push through, noting that the proceedings will also affect the Ombudsman’s office, especially the government’s drive against graft and corruption.

In a 124-page memo-randum, Gutierrez, through her lawyers led by former SC Associate Justice Serafin Cuevas, said records of the House committee pro-ceedings undertaking the impeachment trial show undue bias against the Ombudsman.

“The numerous charges alleged in the two im-peachment com-plaints filed against her cannot be properly defended without reviewing the facts and circumstances pertaining to each charge spanning over three years which will not only enslave petitioner Ombuds-man in preparing her defense but also disable her from performing her duties and functions as Ombudsman,” Cuevas stressed.

“The respondent committee violated the laws and settled jurisprudence which require the publication of laws and rules of procedure which affect third parties. Petitioner Ombudsman will be compelled to respond and defend herself against the numerous and disparate acts and/or omissions alleged in the two complaints and will subject her to undue harassment and oppression,” Cuevas said as he underscored the hurried impeachment which was undertaken before the publication of the House’s own rules on such proceedings..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20101028hed4.html

Senate execs found getting fat allowances, bonuses By Angie M. Rosales 10/28/2010

Senate execs found getting fat allowances, bonuses

By Angie M. Rosales 10/28/2010

Sen. Franklin Drilon has been harping about the excessive pay, allowances and bonuses of executives of Government owned and controlled Corporations (GOCC) and Government Finance Institutions (GFI), but in his own backyard, the Senate, some Senate executives have been found by the Commission on Audit (CoA) to be receiving excessive allowances and bonuses, with some of them receiving amounts even higher than their monthly pay.

Those currently subject of “investigation” by the CoA are said to be receiving monthly allowances ranging from P33,000 to as much as P200,000.

This information came about as Drilon stood his ground on the decision made by President Aquino suspending until the yearend the fat bonuses and other perks of some GOCC executives.

The issuance of Executive Order No. 7 was the result of a series of investigations in the Senate on the GOCC executives, led by Drilon.

Drilon yesterday defended the legality of EO 7, saying it was only proper to stop the bleeding of government coffers.

Those now under scrutiny by the CoA are from the Senate secretariat; those who are regular personnel of the upper chamber and not assigned to any of the current senators..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20101028hed5.html

NZ group urges PM to call Noy’s attention to rights abuses By Michaela P. del Callar 10/28/2010

NZ group urges PM to call Noy’s attention to rights abuses

By Michaela P. del Callar 10/28/2010

A New Zealand-based group yesterday strongly urged New Zealand Prime Minister John Key to tackle the continuing human rights violations and political killings of left-wing militants in the Philippines during his meeting with President Aquino at the sidelines of a Southeast Asian summit in Hanoi, Vietnam this week.

Auckland Philippines Solidarity (APS), a group supporting human rights campaigns in the Philippines,
said Aquino, who is expected to call for fair and peaceful Myanmar elections in November and seek the release of all political prisoners in the junta-ruled state at the opening of the Association of South East Asian Nations (Asean) Summit Thursday, “needs to clean up human rights mess in his (Aquino’s) own backyard first if he wants to gain moral authority” on human rights and democracy.

“It’s a good thing that the Philippines is adding pressure for the restoration of democracy in Myanmar, but it’s totally outrageous that scores of political prisoners including 43 community health workers remain in unjust detention under the supposedly democratic Aquino government,” Luke Coxon, APS spokesman said.

It also scored the Philippines’ plan to host the secretariat of the Asean Inter-governmental Commission on Human Rights since human rights abuses under Aquino’s watch have persisted..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20101028hed6.html

Filipino woman slapped death sentence in Indonesia By Michaela P. del Callar 10/28/2010

Filipino woman slapped death sentence in Indonesia

By Michaela P. del Callar 10/28/2010

An Indonesian court has sentenced a Filipino woman to death for illegal possession of drugs, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said yesterday. The Filipina, whose identity was refused to be disclosed by the DFA, was apprehended last April 25 at the Audisucipto International Airport in Yogyakarta by the Customs and Excise Authorities due to alleged possession of 2.6 kilograms of heroin.

She was sentenced to death by Yogyakarta’s lower court on Oct. 11, despite the state prosecutor’s petition for life imprisonment.

The DFA said the Philippine Embassy in Jakarta has extended assistance to the Filipina through jail visitations, and is currently coordinating with her lawyer for the appeal.

The DFA’s migrant workers office is also in touch with the Filipina’s relatives in the Philippines.

DFA Undersecretary for Migrant Workers’ Affairs Esteban Conejos warned of the stiff penalties imposed by other countries such as China on anyone caught carrying illegal drugs. At least 75 Filipinos, mostly women, were meted the death penalty in China for drug smuggling..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/nation/20101028nat2.html

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