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It’s called political payback EDITORIAL 12/01/2010

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

It’s called political payback

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Black and Whiter Edwin Lacierda, who is presidential spokesman, has been vigorously defending Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) Secretary Dinky Soliman, just as he defended recently resigned Tourism Undersecretary for promotions Vicente “Enteng” Romano, also a Black and Whiter, and of course DoT Secretary Alberto Lim.

In the case of Soliman and the subpoena she is reported to be handed by the House of Representatives, after she ignored the invitation from the lower chamber to attend a congressional hearing on the PEACe bonds scam, Lacierda said that Soliman has nothing to hide and nothing to divulge because she was no longer involved with Code-NGO when the bonds were issued.

“There is nothing for her to hide. The problem is, even if she appears before the committee, since she was not aware of the transactions of the PEACe bonds, there is nothing she can offer in terms of substance,” Lacierda was quoted as saying, although he did say that if summoned, Soliman would appear before the House committee probing the bonds scam.

This is yet another display of arrogance in the Noynoy Aquino Cabinet: Malacañang aides quickly absolve the Noy favorites in his administration, despite the fact that the PEACe bonds issue was a clear scam that will be bleeding the Filipinos dry as the P35 billion in interest rates will fall due next year, which is not far away..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20101201com1.html

Easier said than done, if unwilling FRONTLINE Ninez Cacho-Olivares 12/01/2010

Easier said than done, if unwilling

Ninez Cacho-Olivares
The Justice chief was reported to have given the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) an ultimatum to immediately arrest fugitive Sen. Panfilo “Ping” Lacson.

Intelligence reports, she said, point to his being in the country, and she doesn’t want the public to think that the Department of Justice (DoJ) and the NBI are so inutile that they cannot implement an outstanding warrant of arrest.

“It cannot simply be a case of monitoring. That’s untenable,” she was quoted as saying.
But surely the Justice chief knows that the NBI is probably reluctant to arrest Lacson as he has many friends there, and even the big chief at the NBI used to be his close aide when the fugitive senator was the Philippine National Police chief?

One would think that the Noynoy-appointed NBI chief would have gone hammer and tongs after Lacson and get him arrested, if only to have a feather in his cap. Lacson is certainly a high-profile fugitive and arresting him would be considered one of his major achievements. But thus far, the NBI has been failing to arrest Lacson..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20101201com2.html

The West’s war in Afghanistan is failing — Crisis Group FEATURE 12/01/2010

The West’s war in Afghanistan is failing — Crisis Group


KABUL — A leading international think tank Sunday issued a damning review of the US-led war in Afghanistan and said Nato plans to end its combat mission by 2014 would lead to the Kabul government’s collapse.

The Brussels-based International Crisis Group (ICG) said the coalition’s strategy to break the Taliban, build popular support among civilians, woo disenchanted rebels and boost Afghan security forces was failing.
More than 140,000 US-led troops are waging a counter-insurgency campaign mostly in the south and east of the country amid dwindling support for the war back home as the fighting returns a record number of coalition casualties.

“There is little evidence that the operations have disrupted the insurgency’s momentum.... The Taliban are more active than ever and they still enjoy sanctuary and support in Pakistan,” said the ICG report.

The Taliban and other militants tied to al-Qaeda are believed to hold rear bases in the tribal areas across the border in Pakistan, with rumors rife that they operate with the tacit consent of some Pakistani intelligence officials..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20101201com3.html

True colors HE SAYS Aldrin Cardon 12/01/2010

True colors

Aldrin Cardon
President Aquino has outlined his budget for 2011, which he dubbed as “Tungo sa Tuwid na Paggugol,” one that he claims to be attuned to rightful spending which would be focused on transparency, accountability and good governance.

We’ve heard this before and we’re hearing it again, like the campaigns have not yet ended for Noynoy, his rhetoric remains fixed on promises of delivery of basic social services like public education and health, economic services such as infrastructure and stable and safe environment, and so on and so forth.

His Private Partnership Program (PPP), in which he gave government guarantees to investors, however was giveaway, so little would change from past policies and we cannot expect much from his campaign promises as Noynoy simply wants to survive all six years of his term by maintaining the economic status quo which serves capital and big business to the detriment of the poor.

Noynoy says government would need P1.6 trillion to keep government afloat next year. Much of the budget, however, will remain allotted to debt servicing, to the smiles of foreign creditors and lenders who would chew on nearly P850 billion chunk of the proposed budget as payment for their principal capital and interests..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20101201com4.html

Hue and cry SHE SAYS Dinah S. Ventura 12/01/2010

Hue and cry

Dinah S. Ventura
Last week saw a horde of students from State Universities and Colleges (SUCs) gathered and holding up signs and placards bearing pithy phrases directed at President Noynoy Aquino. It looked and sounded like we were back to Gloria days, but this time the students were setting fire to roughly hewn images of Ninoy’s son.

The students were all heated up about the news of budget cuts allegedly to be made on state universities by 2011. Later, however, a very perplexed Sen. Franklin Drilon wondered on television why there was such a fuss when, in fact, he said that the budget for SUCs had been increased!

Was there a mistake? Who was mistaken?

Senator Drilon, who is chairman of the Senate finance committee currently deliberating the proposed P1.645 trillion national budget, explained in a report that appears in the Diliman Diary blog that the allotment for SUCs in the 2010 budget “was loaded with congressional insertions” that were not actually released because “there were no additional revenues.”

He clarified that when the 2010 budget was approved, these “congressional insertions” upped the total budget of SUCs to P22.4.

He said: “For the record, we did not remove anything. What happened is that in the 2010 budget, embedded in that budget are congressional insertions... to the amount of over P2.8 billion.”.... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20101201com5.html

Japan’s frilly ‘maids’ go grey FEATURE 12/01/2010

Japan’s frilly ‘maids’ go grey


TOKYO —Japan’s famed “maid cafes” featuring coy young girls serving tea in frilly aprons and bonnets have been given a new twist — a cafe of unsmiling, grim-faced grannies reflecting a fast-greying nation.

Tokyo’s Ikebukuro district now boasts Cafe Rottenmeier, named after the disciplinary housekeeper in the hit 1970s anime series Heidi, Girl of the Alps, and has been drawing some 500 customers daily during weekends in November.

Patrons are greeted with a terse “welcome home” by an unsmiling Fraulein Rottenmeier lookalike before being scolded for slouching in chairs or for not removing their coats in the cafe’s warm, cosy environs.

There are 30 “Rottenmeiers” who work shifts, including students, office workers and retired real-life grannies, as part of the Festival Tokyo contemporary arts gathering being held until the end of November.

Although the “grannies” range from 24 to 77 years old — with the younger matriarchs sporting heavy make-up to look old — the woman behind the concept says she is making a statement on societal pressures to stay young..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20101201com6.html

‘Cablegate’ could undermine diplomatic practice — experts focus 12/01/2010

‘Cablegate’ could undermine diplomatic practice — experts


PARIS — By ripping aside the veil of discretion that shields private dialog between nations, WikiLeaks’ cable dump radically undermined the rules of trust that allow the world to conduct its affairs.

While the “Cablegate” leaks reveal little that is dramatically new in terms of events or policy, the sometimes undiplomatic language used by US envoys has embarrassed their allies and shaken the rules of their trade.
“No-one will say what they think any more, even in cables,” said Dominique Moisi, of the French Institute of International Relations (IFRI), warning that diplomats would now be even more reluctant to speak frankly to one another.

“People will focus on the vulnerability in the system that was to blame, and on the careless ways some diplomats expressed themselves. From Saudi Arabia to European capitals, people will close ranks against America.

“It’s not WikiLeaks that will be blamed,” he predicted, in an AFP interview. “This accelerates the United States’ relative decline in the world. No-one will blame the thief, they’ll blame the victim.”

Other experts were less stark, but most agreed that the sheer scale of the security breach — the Web site is promising to publish 250,000 cables — would send shivers through the global diplomatic establishment..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20101201com7.html

DoJ eyes P2 million bounty for Lacson By Benjamin B. Pulta 12/01/2010


DoJ eyes P2 million bounty for Lacson

By Benjamin B. Pulta 12/01/2010

No more excuses. Authorities can no longer just keep on monitoring the movements of the fugitive. They must arrest him and have him face the music.

This was the gist of Justice Secretary Leila de Lima’s statements, as she has given the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) less than a few weeks to arrest murder suspect fugitive lawmaker Sen. Panfilo “Ping” Lacson in connection with the killing of publicist Salvador “Bubby” Dacer and his driver Emmanuel Corbito in November 2000.

De Lima issued the deadline following reliable information that Lacson is in the country.

An NBI team tasked to go after him has already identified the area where he is possibly hiding.

“The mission is to implement the arrest warrant. They have reports already, some updates have already been given to me but for obvious reasons,I cannot share that with you. But since they have yet to make any arrest, my order is for them to implement what they have to do within a few days,” De Lima said..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20101201hed1.html

Drilon in hot seat over CCT defense By Angie M. Rosales 12/01/2010

Drilon in hot seat over CCT defense

By Angie M. Rosales 12/01/2010

The proposed P21-billion conditional cash transfer (CCT) program of the Aquino administration in the 2011 national appropriations bill is wanted slashed by some senators who remain doubtful about the so-called absorptive capacity of the implementing agency, the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD).

“I will suggest to the bicam (bicameral conference committee level) that we lower it. So if that’s possible, we’ll leave P6 billion to P7 billion, we can put that back in agriculture, infrastructure, all of the other budgets that were cut,” said Sen. Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr., chairman of the local governments as well as urban planning committee.

Marcos, in interpellating yesterday the chairman of the finance committee Sen. Franklin Drilon for almost an hour on the proposed P34.5-billion DSWD budget, a 123 percent increase in the current year’s budget, underscored the fact that he is not against the program, per se.

But he raised concerns over the mishandling, even abuse in carrying out the huge amount of funds for the dole-out program, a matter also shared by a number of other senators, including some considered close allies of Malacañang..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20101201hed2.html

Wikileaks’ US cable spills worry Aquino By Aytch S. de la Cruz and Michaela P. del Callar 12/01/2010

Wikileaks’ US cable spills worry Aquino

By Aytch S. de la Cruz and Michaela P. del Callar 12/01/2010

President Aquino showed alarm over the extent of classified information the whistleblower website, Wikileaks, could get from various countries given the volume of diplomatic cables of the United States government it was able to crack open.

Aquino, in an interview after gracing an event inside Malacañang’s Heroes Hall, hinted that every confidential intelligence information that is being disclosed by Wikileaks in its online domain may spell danger to a country’s national security, especially when the document is taken out of context.

The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), however, was far more calm as it said it was premature to make an assessment on how the leaked US diplomatic cables would impact on the Philippines’ ties with Washington.

Web site Wikileaks and media organiza-tions, which obtained advance copies of the memos, disclosed that 1,794 classified com-munications from the American Embassy in Manila were among the 251,287 US
diplomatic dispatches from its embassies worldwide that were released online on Sunday..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20101201hed3.html

Poll favoring RH bill fails to impress Noy 12/01/2010

Poll favoring RH bill fails to impress Noy

A convincing majority of respondents, or 69 percent, agreed with the intent of the Reproductive Health (RH) bill pending in Congress with 79 percent favoring the rights of Filipino women and couples to choose their own family planning method and 55 percent agreeing to government funding the distribution of modern family planning methods, the latest Pulse Asia survey showed.

The survey, nevertheless, showed that the debate on the bill may center on a provision to include the subject “Reproductive Health and Sexuality Education” in the school curriculums which in the survey 44 percent of respondents disagreed with.

Surprisingly, President Aquino, a known advocate of the bill showed diffidence on the survey result.

“I’m not going to base any of my decisions or my stand on what the survey says. Let me reiterate, I have not changed my position. It’s still called responsible parenthood and what it seeks to do is to remind parents or would-be parents that they have a responsibility they need to fulfill,” according to Aquino.... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20101201hed4.html

MILF warns gov’t IMT expiry will lead to armed conflicts By Michaela P. del Callar 12/01/2010

MILF warns gov’t IMT expiry will lead to armed conflicts

By Michaela P. del Callar 12/01/2010
Muslim rebels yesterday warned that the expiration of mandate of Malaysian-led international peace monitors next week might lead to a resurgence of armed conflict in Mindanao.

The current term of the International Monitoring Team (IMT) will end on December 8.

According to the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, the renewal of the IMT deployment is “remote” as the Philippine government and the MILF are in a deadlock over the insistence of the government of President Aquino to oust current Malaysian facilitator of the talks, Datuk Othman Razak.

Othman stands accused by the government peace panel of being biased in favor of the MILF.

“The two peace panels of the MILF and the government have to meet formally in order to renew the IMT mandate, with the concurrence of IMT member states,” the MILF said in a statement posted on its website..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20101201hed5.html

Palace tells Lotto winner: Share pot with poor 12/01/2010

Palace tells Lotto winner: Share pot with poor

A mystery punter in the impoverished Philippines has become an instant multi-millionaire after winning the country’s biggest-ever lottery jackpot, organizers said Tuesday.

The lucky gambler will collect P741.176 million after his numbers came up in Monday’s Philippine Charity Sweepstakes draw.

The winner, who has yet to claim his prize and is likely to remain anonymous, beat odds of one in nearly 29 million to guess the right combination of six numbers between one and 55, the lottery organizers said.
President Aquino, through his spokesman, advised the lotto winner to share his “blessings” with the poor.

Presidential Spokesman Edwin Lacierda, in an ambush interview yesterday, advised the lone big winner to be responsible in spending the winnings, adding that the winner should also “thank the Lord and give to charity aside from the PCSO (Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office) . This is gift from above. It is very rare for someone to win that amount of money.”.... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20101201hed6.html

NPA execs dared to present ‘Ka Roger’ if he is alive, says AFP By Mario J. Mallari 12/01/2010

NPA execs dared to present ‘Ka Roger’ if he is alive, says AFP

By Mario J. Mallari 12/01/2010
The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) yesterday challenged the communist New People’s Army leadership to disprove the military’s belief that NPA spokesman Gregorio “Ka Roger” Rosal is already dead.
AFP spokesman Brig. Gen. Jose Mabanta Jr. stressed that while the military has not validated the death of Rosal, his continuous silence after reports of his death due to sickness two years ago is leading the military to conclude that the NPA top leader is really gone.

“At this point, we challenge members of the NPA, if they feel that he (Rosal) is still alive then come up with evidence,” said Mabanta.

“At our level, we are also trying to dig deeper into this… so if indeed he is still alive then let them show proof,” Mabanta added.

Earlier, AFP-Southern Luzon Command (Solcom) chief Lt. Gen. Roland Detabali expressed belief that Rosal is already dead.

Detabali noted intelligence reports which cropped up two years ago that Rosal died while being transported out of a hospital somewhere in Southern Luzon region.... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/nation/20101201nat1.html

Military rejects Military rejects By Mario J. Mallari 12/01/2010

.Military rejects
By Mario J. Mallari 12/01/2010

The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) yesterday junked calls for the relief of a brigade commander who is now being linked to the killing of a Maguindanao vice mayor in Davao City last Sunday.

AFP spokesman Brig. Gen. Jose Mabanta Jr. stressed that mere allegations against Army 603rd Brigade commander Brig. Gen. Ernesto Aradanas for alleged involvement in the killing of Barira Vice Mayor Alexander Tomawis will not stand unless backed up by solid evidence.

Tomawis was killed last Sunday morning in Barangay Buhnagin, Davao City. He was shot at close range by two unidentified assailants.

Reports said Aradanas and Tomawis had been at odds during the last barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) elections.

Immediately after the killing, calls for Aradanas’ relief cropped up.... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/nation/20101201nat3.html

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