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Restless haunting EDITORIAL 12/03/2010

Friday, December 3, 2010

Restless haunting

EDITORIAL
Click to enlarge
12/03/2010
Watered down and inconclusive — that was how Hong Kong, its government and citizens included, viewed Noynoy’s recommendations on the Incident Investigation and Review Committee (IIRC) report on the hostage taking bloodbath that cost the lives of eight residents of the territory who were in the country as tourists but instead got into the crossfire of one of the many public servants harboring a grudge against the government.

Not expecting justice from Noynoy and a system heavily tainted with political influence, Hong Kong is holding its own investigation into the incident that will spell new trouble for Noynoy.

It is expected to be a painful reconstruction of the events of Aug. 23 for Hong Kong, particularly to those who survived the bungled rescue of the local police force, but it is a necessary exercise to put closure on one of the most brutal attacks ever made on a group of Chinese citizens.

The mere decision of Hong Kong to reinvestigate is already a huge blackeye for Noynoy. It reinforced perceptions of the crooked judicial system in the country.

Included in the recommendations of the IIRC led by Justice Secretary Leila de Lima and created by Noynoy to dig deep into that man-made disaster were criminal sanctions against Interior and Local Government Undersecretary Rico Puno and then Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Jesus Verzosa, who were among the highest officials indicted in the report..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20101203com1.html

Screwed twice over FRONTLINE Ninez Cacho-Olivares 12/03/2010

Screwed twice over

FRONTLINE
Ninez Cacho-Olivares
12/03/2010
One truly wonders why Congress — both House and the Senate — bothers to spend time and effort to hold budget hearings and make the usual noises threatening to cut this or that item in the budget, when in the end, the two chambers always pass the national budget bill without any cuts at all.

The vote was 12 to 2, with only Senators Joker Arroyo and Alan Peter Cayetano giving the nay vote.

Since both chambers are wont to pass the budget anyway, as submitted, why bother to hold hearings and go into debates? Why not just pass the bill without any debates and scrutiny, since this will always be passed anyway as is, and with nary a cut?

The Senate Wednesday passed the budget bill without cuts, especially keeping the controversial conditional cash transfers (CCT) amounting to a huge P21 billion allotted to the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) intact — this despite earlier interpellations of senators to the budget bill sponsor Frank Drilon, bringing up the many difficulties seen in the implementation of the CCT, along with the huge P4 billion allocation for 4,000 new hires of Dinky Soliman..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20101203com2.html

US looks for ways to prosecute Assange focus 12/03/2010

US looks for ways to prosecute Assange

focus

12/03/2010
WASHINGTON — Lambasted as a “traitor” and “terrorist” in the United States, WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange is facing an all-out effort by US officials and politicians who want him tried and arrested.

But experts say the path to prosecution is strewn with potential legal complications, including free speech protections under the First Amendment of the US Constitution.

“Right now, believe me, at the Justice Department there are many lawyers that are going through all of potential statutes and trying to figure out which statute is going to be the best one to be able to prosecute him,” said Bruce Zagaris, an expert on international law at Berliner, Corcoran and Rowe.

The United States officially opened a criminal investigation after WikiLeaks released tens of thousands of secret documents on US military operations in Afghanistan in July.

But now, after being embarrassed by a third massive document dump — this time a quarter of a million US diplomatic cables, many with candid assessments of world leaders — US officials are under intensifying pressure to act..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20101203com3.html

Regarding Hubert NO HOLDS BARRED Armida Siguion-Reyna 12/03/2010

Regarding Hubert

NO HOLDS BARRED
Armida Siguion-Reyna
12/03/2010
Hubert Webb, Tony Boy Lejano, Peter Estrada, Michael Gatchalian, Pyke Fernandez, and Miguel Rodriguez. I wrote about these young men on Jan. 9, 2000, for yet another broadsheet; the piece is easily accessible in an old computer kept to store bits and pieces of a previously active life, and there I see I’d also taken note what others had felt toward the six, close to 10 years ago.

“‘Hardened criminals,’ said a friend who had seen them on national television the day they were adjudged guilty. ‘They didn’t even show remorse.’

“‘But what if they weren’t guilty?’ asked another friend. ‘Why would they look or feel sorry? If at all, they’d feel sorry for themselves.”

“‘Were they?’ the first friend countered. ‘They didn’t look it; they were eating, or making faces, or sending text messages out on their cell phones, cell phones which Echagaray didn’t have, or Pablito Andan, when their sentences were read out.’

“‘We’re taking away their future. If they can’t keep their future, why can’t we allow them to wear masks when they want to?’.... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20101203com4.html

Abetting treason and corruption DIE HARD III Herman Tiu Laurel 12/03/2010

Abetting treason and corruption

DIE HARD III
Herman Tiu Laurel
12/03/2010
The House finally approved the amnesty bill for the military protestors who are better tagged as “conscientious objectors” rather than “mutineers.” This brings the nation closer to an act that is long overdue: A recognition of the protest actions of the Bagong Katipuneros (a.k.a. Magdalos) led by Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV and Para sa Bayan (PsB) of Gen. Danilo Lim as just and courageous.

These soldiers are finally getting the justice they deserve even as the truly guilt-riddled Gloria Arroyo generals such as Reyes, Esperon, Ebdane, Mendoza, Espinosa, et al. remain scot-free for their gang rape of the Constitution in 2001 and their continuing transgressions thereafter, including the 2004 “Hello Garci” episode and their rape of the national coffers by partaking in the feeding frenzy throughout nine-and-a-half years of Arroyo’s misrule.

Instead of helping and supporting these conscientious and patriotic soldiers, a mainstream newspaper has joined the ranks of some Joker Arroyo factotums in Congress, i.e. Edcel Lagman and company, to demand an apology as condition for the amnesty.

But amnesty, as distinguished from a pardon, has never required an admission of anything. Even as the latter can only be granted after a conviction, the former is unconditional and erases whatever charges there are. Every lawyer worth his salt confirms this — most notably Alan Paguia, who backs up competence with proven integrity. Justice Secretary Leila de Lima, probably the only Cabinet member who enjoys some degree of credibility, has likewise buttressed this position.

The fact is, this grant of amnesty, albeit political, is a recognition of the overwhelmingly moral justification for what Sen. Sonny Trillanes, Gen. Danny Lim, and their men did as part of their bounden duty as citizens — and even greater responsibility as “soldiers of the people” — to defend our nation from the treason committed by the corrupt and rapacious usurpers in government.

The people had already twice “amnestied” these patriotic soldiers: First in the electoral victory of Senator Trillanes in 2007 and secondly in the most recent elections where Gen. Danilo Lim obtained a sizeable number of votes but obstructed from actual victory by the “Hocus PCOS.” All that was lacking was a formal amnesty by the “institutional” authorities that the military, police and government organizations recognized.

The Inquirer, hewing to the line of those factotums, issued an editorial on Nov. 24, 2010, saying: “We wonder if he (Gen. Danilo Lim) is aware of the irony of it all. The protector-of-the-people provision was one of those post-Marcos innovations in the Constitution, designed precisely to prevent the use of the Armed Forces for political or partisan purposes. Lim joined the service at a time when the AFP had been completely corrupted by Marcos, when officer and men, like Lim himself, thought it was only natural for them to take an active part both in government and in business. The new provision was designed to help reorient the thinking of the military, to remove them from the exercise of political power and to demilitarize the political culture. Now, Lim cites this very provision as his justification for attempting to seize political control.”

But what supreme irony! The Inquirer conveniently omits the fact that it was that very same provision used by the Edsa II coup plotters to oust a popular and duly-elected president, a historic transgression which that leading Yellow army paper had stoked, supported and reveled at.

The leading role of the military generals in the Edsa II coup was openly boasted, as Gloria Arroyo was caught on video acknowledging the generals involved, from Espinosa, Mendoza, to Ebdane and many others, one by one. Then, there’s that infamous statement from Angelo Reyes, confirmed by witnesses, who told the busload of generals he waylaid to the Edsa shrine: “Gentlemen, we are committing treason.” The SYM (Sorry Yellow Movement) confirms all these.

Unlike the Yellows and the Arroyo generals, Trillanes and Lim never went against any legitimate government. And in Gloria’s case, her regime was not only an illegitimate government twice over but one that was horrendously corrupt and had gravely impoverished the nation. Trillanes, et al. raised the issue of corruption in the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) that opened a Pandora’s box of cases, including Gen. Carlos Garcia’s multi-hundred million scams.

The Magdalos focused our attention on the plight of officers and men who died in the frontlines for lack of communication as well as medical equipment and supplies while higher officers diverted funds to graft and arms to insurgents who could pay for them. The indignation of the idealistic Magdalo and Para sa Bayan soldiers grew even more after the miscarriage of the 2004 elections which Arroyo generals Esperon, et al. stole in broad daylight for their principal.

The Inquirer harps that Lim “subverts the fundamental principle of civilian supremacy over the military… effectively trains the guns the people have provided the military, not on enemies of society, but on the people themselves… Not least, it gives unelected men and women like Lim the right to intervene.”

Yet the unelected and unelectable elite participated in 2001 with their treasonous and corrupt AFP generals to subvert the will of the people that saw the overwhelming victory of President Joseph Estrada in 1998.
In May 2001 at the gates of Malacañang, unarmed Edsa III protesters were fired at in defense of the illegal (and Yellow) Arroyo regime, bloodying and killing dozens. The SYM has already said mea culpas for these. But the Inquirer, instead of showing integrity by apologizing, still attempts to coddle the treasonous and corrupt by perpetuating the lies.

(Tune in to Sulo ng Pilipino, Monday, Wednesday and Friday, 6 to 7 p.m. on 1098AM; watch Politics Today with HTL, Tuesday, 8 to 9 p.m., with replay at 11 p.m., on Global News Network, Destiny Cable channel 8; visit our blogs, http://newkatipunero.blogspot.com and http://hermantiulaurel.blogspot.com; P.S.-“10 minutes of lights out vs power plunderers,” 7 to 7:10 p.m., Monday nights)


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


SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20101203com5.html

Dutch cyclists caught up in the wheels of success FEATURE 12/03/2010

Dutch cyclists caught up in the wheels of success

FEATURE

12/03/2010
THE HAGUE — Fatal accidents, gridlock at the traffic lights: cycling’s popularity in the Netherlands, where the number of bicycles outnumber the country’s population, has brought with it its own problems.

“Sometimes there are so many people at the traffic lights that there are jams: not everyone has time to cross the street in one go,” Hugo van der Steenhoven, president of the Dutch Cyclists Federation, told AFP.
“We are victims of our own success,” he added.

More than a quarter of journey made by the Dutch are on bicycles.

But at rush-hour in the morning, between 8 and 9 a.m., that means some 1.75 million are jostling for position on the country’s cycling paths.

And even if there are nearly 19,000 kilometers (11,800 miles) of such paths, that is still a lot of bicycles. In fact, in a country of 16.5 million people, there are 18 million bicycles.

“More people also means less safe cycle paths,” Frand de Kok of the Dutch Tourism Federation (ANWB) told AFP..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20101203com6.html

Bonds, ‘haircuts,’ savers and their shirts FEATURE 12/03/2010

Bonds, ‘haircuts,’ savers and their shirts

FEATURE

12/03/2010
PARIS — The eurozone debt crisis is being played out through the sovereign bond market, an enormous investment sector funded heavily with the savings of ordinary people who may not realize they are financing governments.

The eurozone government bond market has been showing signs of rising tension since at least last year when Greece slid toward the rescue lifeboat.

The latest violent twists have been driven essentially by a determination mainly from Germany that investors who buy eurozone government debt must share the costs of bailouts.

They must no longer count on state rescues ensuring they do not lose their shirts.

This change in the rules, made official on Sunday, has heightened long-running concerns that some of the countries with huge public finance problems might eventually be driven to restructure their debt.

At Pimco investment fund, chief executive Mohamed El-Erian, said: “My concern is that indecisive management of problems in Greece and Ireland might lead investors to sell sovereign bonds issued by peripheral (eurozone) states as a preventive measure.”.... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20101203com7.html

Catch me if you can, dead or alive — Ping By Benjamin B. Pulta, Angie M. Rosales and Aytch S. de la Cruz 12/03/2010

DE LIMA TO LACSON: SURRENDER FIRST, THEN GET JUSTICE

Catch me if you can, dead or alive — Ping

By Benjamin B. Pulta, Angie M. Rosales and Aytch S. de la Cruz 12/03/2010

Fugitive Sen. Panfilo “Ping” Lacson yesterday remained defiant, saying in a statement sent to media that he will surface “only when justice is rightly served, or when (he) is already dead.”

To the authorities, he had this to say: “Don’t look for me. Look at the evidence. It’s right under your nose. It won’t cost you two centavos to fulfill your duty to provide justice to all concerned.

“I will only come out when justice is rightly served, or when I’m already dead. It may not be the best way to spend geezerhood, but unless you get me ahead of my time, I prefer to suffer in pain but with dignity, sitting alone with my conscience for the rest of my life, rather than do time in jail for a crime I did not commit.”

President Aquino reportedly told reporters from a broadsheet that arresting Lacson is not his priority, giving rise to speculation that the Palace is coddling Lacson who is his supporter and close political ally.

Justice Secretary Leila de Lima, for her part, called on the senator murder suspect to have faith in the law and come in from the cold even as she said the Department of Justice (DoJ) cannot act on Lacson’s plea for investigation which is not legally feasible at this point..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20101203hed1.html

GMA seen as eyeing gymnastics, POC post as safe haven By Aldrin Cardona Sports Editor 12/03/2010

GMA seen as eyeing gymnastics, POC post as safe haven

By Aldrin Cardona Sports Editor 12/03/2010
The buzz is that Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo— yes, the former president who is now Pampanga’s representative in Congress, is allegedly buying her way into sports.

What’s no longer just a buzz was her P500,000 “donation” to the Gymnastics Association of the Philippines (GAP), which will hold its General Assembly on Sunday, but with its acting president, Cynthia Carreon, allegedly bypassing her own board to push Arroyo’s election by acclamation as GAP president.

The GAP would then become Arroyo’s ticket to the Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) presidency, which her brother, Art Macapagal, missed when he lost the POC presidential election of 2008 to Jose “Peping” Cojuangco, it was claimed by a Tribune source.

And so, sports will soon be transformed into a battleground among these Pampangos, who have not only have locked national politics among themselves, but the sporting arena as well.

A member of the GAP board confirmed Arroyo’s “donation” to the group, but questioned its timing, quipping: “Why should she give now, when we have been asking for financial support long before when she was still the president?”.... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20101203hed2.html

Appropriations Act of 2011 labeled as ‘stagnation budget’ By Angie M. Rosales 12/03/2010

Appropriations Act of 2011 labeled as ‘stagnation budget’

By Angie M. Rosales 12/03/2010

While Malacañang patted the backs of its allies in the Senate for approving the P1.645-trillion national budget almost intact and promptly, op-position sena-tors described the govern-ment appro-priations next year as a “stag-nation budget” which greatly scrimped on basic services.

The appa-rent skewed priorities of the very first general appropriations bill under the Aquino administration may not sit well with the rest of the Filipino people, Sen. Pia Cayetano said.

“It is unfortunate that the very first budget that looms to be approved under this new administration will be remembered by Filipinos for scrimping on allocations for public tertiary education and hospitals, as well as for agriculture and vital public infrastructure,” said Cayetano, who voted against the budget measure on third reading, along with minority leader Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano.

She also expressed serious reservations about allocating a huge chunk of taxpayers’ money to the controversial conditional cash transfer (CCT) program of the five-month-old Aquino administration.
“Although I support the concept of a subsidy program for the poor, the P21 billion alloted to the CCT is too large an amount to invest in an untested program,” she said..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20101203hed3.html

HK inquest developing clashing conclusions; Palace won’t comment on speculations By Aytch S. de la Cruz 12/03/2010

HK inquest developing clashing conclusions; Palace won’t comment on speculations

By Aytch S. de la Cruz 12/03/2010

Malacañang yesterday refused to entertain premature specu-lations when confronted with the probability that the Hong Kong authorities might draw conclusions different from those that were specified in the revised Incident Investigation and Review Committee (IIRC) report now that its 25-day public inquest into the Aug. 23 hostage crisis rescue fiasco is about to begin.

Deputy presidential spokes-man Abigail Valte said they would rather wait until the Hong Kong government releases its own findings from the separate investigation it would be taking but Malacañang is standing by its legal team’s conclusions.

“It would be difficult to speculate on that matter because, as I understand, the inquest is just beginning. It would be better to wait for the results. But, again, we are confident with the results of our investigation and we will stand by it,” Valte told reporters.

The Palace official informed reporters that the Hong Kong authorities have so far not indicated any intention to seek any form of assistance or cooperative efforts from the Philippine government as they go about their public inquest.... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20101203hed4.html

Rebel officer rejects amnesty to prove innocence in AFP court By Mario J. Mallari 12/03/2010

Rebel officer rejects amnesty to prove innocence in AFP court

By Mario J. Mallari 12/03/2010
One of the mid-ranking officers charged in the February 2006 alleged plot to overthrow the Arroyo administration will not avail himself of the amnesty proclamation of the Commander-in-Chief, President Aquino.

Through his counsel, lawyer Trixie Angeles, Army Maj. Jason Aquino, the first captain or baron of the Philippine Military Academy (PMA) Class of 1991, stressed that he will prove his innocence through acquittal from a military general court martial.

“He will not avail himself of the amnesty,” Angeles said of Aquino, who served as the operations officer of the Army’s elite First Scout Ranger Regiment under Brig. Gen. Danilo Lim, who is expected to avail of the amnesty.

Aquino was among the 29 Marine and Ranger officers charged with the February 2006 alleged plot to overthrow the Arroyo administration.

“There is no evidence against him…on the merits of the case alone, we can go for an acquittal…we are sure of our case,” said Angeles..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20101203hed5.html

Iran invites Aquino for state visit 12/03/2010

Iran invites Aquino for state visit

12/03/2010
The government of Iran has extended its invitation to President Aquino for a state visit, the Department of Foreign Affairs yesterday said.

This was conveyed by Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki at a meeting with Foreign Affairs Undersecretary Rafael Seguis in Tehran this week. Mottaki also invited DFA Secretary Alberto Romulo for a visit.

Former President Fidel V. Ramos was the last Philippine leader to make a state visit to Iran in March 1995. It was followed by a reciprocal visit by then Iranian President Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani in October 1995.
Iran has actively supported the Philippine initiative of interfaith dialog in international forums for sustainable peace. It has also voiced strong support for the country’s inclusion as observer to the 57-member Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) even as the Muslim bloc has thumbed down Manila’s bid for the seat several times in the past..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20101203hed6.html

RH bill unconstitutional — Tatad By Gerry Baldo 12/03/2010

RH bill unconstitutional — Tatad

By Gerry Baldo 12/03/2010

The Reproductive Health (RH) bill, now being pursued by its advocates in the House of Representatives, is unconstitutional as it goes against the fundamental rights of the family to be free from state regulation, former Sen. Francisco Tatad said yesterday.

Tatad, who was one of the panellists at the weekly Usaping Balita news forum at the Serye Restaurant in Quezon City, stressed that the Philippine government does not have the power to tell married couples what to do or what not to do with their family.

“The state does not have the authority or power to tell married couples what to do before, during or after sexual intercourse. That happens only in totalitarian states,” Tatad said.

“If Congress cannot pass any law ‘abridging the freedom of speech, of expression, or of the press, or the right of the people to peaceably assemble and petition the government for redress of grievances,’ neither can Congress pass a law abridging the God-given right and duty of married couples to perform the marital act without intervention of the State or any third party,” he explained..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/nation/20101203nat2.html

Pimentel Jr. wants Angara’s inhibition on Koko’s poll protest 12/03/2010

Pimentel Jr. wants Angara’s inhibition on Koko’s poll protest

12/03/2010
Former Sen. Aquilino “Nene” Pimentel Jr. has urged Sen. Edgardo Angara to inhibit himself from participation in the deliberations of the Senate Electoral Tribunal (SET) on the electoral protest filed by his son Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III against Sen. Juan Miguel Zubiri.

The elder Pimentel, in his capacity as lead counsel for Koko, filed a Supplemental Motion to Disqualify Angara before the SET.

Koko Pimentel had earlier filed a Manifestation with Motion for the Disqualification of Senators Angara, Legarda, and Lapid from further sitting as members of the SET on June 24, 2010.

However, after the SET was reorganized in July 2010, Senators Angara, Legarda, and Lapid returned to the SET and continued to participate in the decision-making processes of this Tribunal.

“It is with some pain in the heart—considering that he had been a colleague of the undersigned counsel in the Senate for some time— that Senator Angara should be reminded of the officially-tallied results for the Province of Maguindanao in the 2007 national and local elections,” Pimentel said..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/nation/20101203nat6.html

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