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Pathetic spin EDITORIAL 12/06/2010

Monday, December 6, 2010

Pathetic spin

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What difference does the deletion of the word imminent in an advisory make when it still warned that a terrorist attack can happen in the country anytime, anywhere.

Can’t the Palace get the message?

The Palace was clutching at straws when it indicated that the removal of the word “imminent” from the Australian travel advisory against the Philippines, was a major development in the travel alerts issue.

Just how can such be called a major development when everything else remains the same.

Some six countries, the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and France, warned of the likelihood of a terrorist operation in the country while Japan also issued an advisory but warned its citizens against the rising incidence of crime in the country — which is just as bad.

One way to look at these travel advisories is that Noynoy and his government can’t be relied on to bring about peace and order, nor get rid of the terrorists in the country..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20101206com1.html

Losing support FRONTLINE Ninez Cacho-Olivares 12/06/2010

Losing support

Ninez Cacho-Olivares
Less than six months in the presidential office, and Noynoy Aquino has largely lost an important sector of his constituents — the students and the youth, many of whom were his supporters and even devotees — until Noynoy and his Budget secretary slashed the budget for the state universities and colleges, with the two even going to the extent of challenging the SUCs to lay bare the funding they get from several sales of property and raise funds themselves.

And to add insult to injury, while over a billion and a half was cut from the SUC budget, the senator allies of Noynoy provided some P170 million to the SUC budget as an addition to placate the students. That’s peanuts, if one realizes just how many SUCs there are in the country.

Then there went Sen. Franklin Drilon, claiming that the P1.7 billion that was cut from the SUC budget was a congressional insertion during the time of Gloria Arroyo, who had vetoed this insertion, and that the Senate can’t put this amount back.

This is truly illogical, considering the fact that this is a new budget under a new administration. This is a budget for 2011, not 2010, and there is no reason to claim that as this 2010 congressional insertion for the SUCs was vetoed by Gloria, this can no longer be undone by the Noynoy administration..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20101206com2.html

How the Barbra Streisand Effect keeps WikiLeaks online focus 12/06/2010

How the Barbra Streisand Effect keeps WikiLeaks online


PARIS — Mirror sites are keeping WikiLeaks up and running despite the loss of its original wikileaks.org address, shut down by an American provider: welcome to the Barbra Streisand Effect.

The elusive, intangible nature of the Internet has allowed the whistle-blowing Web site to keep a step ahead of its enemies.

For after its original web address was shut down, it was able to move to a second home at a Swiss address (http://www.wikileaks.ch).

And in less than 24 hours, dozens of mirror image sites were up and running across the Internet.

Some were set up by WikiLeaks, others by computer-savvy sympathizers determined to keep the information the Web site is leaking online.

For the mirror sites are just that: a replica of the contents of the original site, ensuring that the thousands of US diplomatic cables WikiLeaks has been leaking since last Sunday remain available for inspection.

By 1630 GMT several hundred WikiLeaks mirror sites were listed at one online directory (http://bluetouff.com/2010/12/03/acceder-a-wikileaks/)..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20101206com3.html

P6.5-B ghost surplus DIE HARD III Herman Tiu Laurel 12/06/2010

P6.5-B ghost surplus

Herman Tiu Laurel
The elections of 2010 brought out one of the most unique transitions in the annals of Philippine local government history. The old regime in Quezon City (QC) turned over its reins to its anointed mayor, vice-mayor, and team of officials. Whereas in the past, the new, incoming local government, especially if from the opposition, usually discovered “ghost projects” stemming from the looting of local government coffers left behind by the past administration, such was not the case in QC — or so it seemed.

That should have been very good news to everyone concerned. Many, in fact, expected him to have a splendid time fulfilling his campaign promises, especially since his predecessor was said to have left a budget surplus of P6.6 billion!

But poor little new mayor of QC: He suddenly realized that he won’t have a chance to be such a spectacular mayor after all. With his city’s coffers actually running empty, how on earth can he deliver on all his campaign promises? How could this have happened when QC is RP’s richest city, with a budget well over P9.5 billion that surpasses even that of Makati? And if there had been that surplus kept intact, where did it go?

Much to his consternation, the new mayor found that he was not going to have that claimed P6.5-billion inherited from his predecessor after all. Worse, he could not even talk about it nor explain to the public why he can’t do anything at all because the previous mayor is his mentor and his vice-mayor is the previous mayor’s daughter. He knows that he’d commit political suicide when he comes out with this in the open.

The significance of this revelation about the ghost QC budget surplus is far greater than the importance of the city itself, which neither has the business significance of Makati nor the political significance of Manila. It lies in the fact that the previous mayor of Quezon City represents a far greater political culture and clout than just local city politics because that previous mayor is now the Speaker of the House; and among the wards he trained and employed in his city administration is now Executive secretary in Malacañang.

Lurking in the shadows of this chief factotum of the Chief Executive is a coterie of Rasputins of the former QC mayor, such as the one whom more than a decade ago served the most unpopular Chief Executive then (beaten only by Gloria Arroyo), Fidel Ramos.

This coterie of Rasputins include the draftsman turned public housing developer nurtured by the former mayor when he was head of the premier public pension organization of the country. This housing estate developer dummy figured in the recent urban settlers demolition and relocation project in QC, which was reportedly due to the failure of this housing developer’s relocation site preparations that was 80 percent short of his promised delivery.

But since he’s a relative of the ward of the former mayor who is now Secretary No.1 of you-know-who, there has been no sanction for this failure. The National Housing Authority has been left to hold the bag. But this latest failure of this team of the former QC mayor is no longer new as it has been the greatest sandal of the city in the past 10 years — so much so that despite its almost P10-billion annual budget, Quezon City remains the largest squatter city in the country.

How is it that a grandly ballyhooed P6.6-billion surplus, supposedly accumulated by the previous mayor over nearly a decade of “superb” management, turned out to be a complete hoax and nobody was the wiser all that time?

This speaks of the link between media ownership and politicians in the country, as the mayor in question owns (or used to own) one of the mainstream newspapers and commands serious leverage in the community of journalists and journalism. That newspaper, founded by the former mayor’s late wife, was used to propel the Yellow movement, as well as the former mayor, into power. That newspaper gave this former QC mayor starring role in the Yellow movement that has dominated Philippine politics for two decades and a half and running. The Yellows’ gratitude is such that they named a street and an LRT station after his deceased wife.

This coterie of shadowy figures is now the real powerhouse in the present government. They have their tentacles not only in the House but all the way inside Malacañang as well as in Quezon City Hall itself. Moreover, they continue to control the quiet real estate scams that transfer QC properties to private titles.

The former QC mayor, meanwhile, assumes a greater political role today as the “Bridge Over Troubled Waters,” i.e. the channel between Gloria Arroyo and Aquino III, as he ensures the smooth continuity of policies between the two, such as the Conditional Cash Transfer and Public-Private Partnership projects (previously known as BOTs), the unbroken protection of the oligarchs in the privatized public utilities, namely, the National Grid Corp. of the Philippines, Meralco, Manila Water, Maynilad, Energy Development Corp., AboitizPower, ad nausea.

Will the ghosts of Christmas ever really come to save the Philippines?

(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 Lights Out vs Power Plunderers,” 7 to 7:10 p.m., Monday nights)

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

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20101206com4.html

Beautiful and obsolete: The wristwatch boom mystery FEATURE 12/06/2010

Beautiful and obsolete: The wristwatch boom mystery


PARIS — Charles Dupont bends with satisfaction over a watchmaker’s table where 78 minuscule cogs, wheels and springs lie in a neat display. It took an hour to unpick the mystery at the watch’s core. Now it’s time to put it back together.

Mobile phones may have elbowed out the humble wristwatch as the modern time-keeper of choice but the luxury end of the trade is booming, supported by an army of passionate watch-lovers and collectors from Paris to Shanghai.

Dupont, a 40-year-old computer technician, was one of dozens of aficionados who signed up for a watchmakers’ workshop at a luxury watch fair in the French capital last week — to get under the case of the coveted object.

“It’s all about the precision, how on earth they managed to make such ultra-precise mechanisms, even centuries ago,” said the Parisian, who used to take alarm clocks to bits as a child to peer at their intricate innards.

Organized by the Swiss-based Fondation de la Haute Horlogerie, for the duration of the Belles Montres fair in Paris and once a month in Geneva, the workshops are fully booked until February..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20101206com5.html

Ping. Hubert. Andal HE SAYS Aldrin Cardon 12/06/2010

Ping. Hubert. Andal

Aldrin Cardon
Three names with different stories. They are stories whose truth only they themselves know and are trying to convince us and the courts that they were not part of three separate celebrated crimes that have caught the people’s fancy as they were much publicized and involved big personalities.

Or maybe not in the case of Sen. Ping Lacson, who has gone into hiding even before his nemesis Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo lost power and sought a new, safer haven in Congress.
But the wheels of justice will continue rolling even without Gloria in Malacañang and her supposed pressure on her Justice officials to nail Ping down.

Ping has not surfaced since he went AWOL from his Senate duties, leaving his legal team to fight for his defense as the families of the murdered Bubby Dacer and his driver Emmanuel Corbito are in overdrive to nail him down as they suspect him as the brains behind the twin murders.

His former aides have pointed their fingers at Ping, although they could have been under pressure from Gloria and husband Mike, who did not stop persecuting Erap’s former Police Chief when they were still in power.
With a change in administration, though, and with a presumably Ping-friendly President Aquino, going into hiding does not help Ping’s cause..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20101206com6.html

CRIMEmas SHE SAYS Dinah S. Ventura 12/06/2010


Dinah S. Ventura
There’s a chill in the air, and we’re feeling it not because the merry season of parties and gift-giving is here. It’s because we seem to be getting a steady diet of criminal cases — that is, those that involve Sen. Ping Lacson, the Ampatuans and Hubert Webb.

Rather than reflect on the goodness of man this Christmas, some of us are wondering what will become of these unfinished businesses, and probably thinking how sad it is that one senator, some members of a political clan, as well as the son of a former senator are involved in grisly crimes that remain unsolved to this day.

Oh, sure, we have heard the cases tried in court and to a certain extent, in media, but not one of them can truly be closed as yet. The Vizconde massacre case was tried in the 1990s, and a number of young men and a police officer were convicted of the crime. When the millennium turned, the Dacer-Corbito murders came to fore, and as the first decade of the 2000s drew to a close, an even bloodier massacre took place, this time in Mindanao, where over 50 civilians died and a powerful clan was involved.

This December, we suddenly heard “a voice from the unknown” announce: “I will only come out when justice is rightly served or when I’m already dead.” The disappearing former chief of police and current Sen. Ping Lacson, in making known his position (or his continued invisibility), was clearly stressing his innocence in the case of the Dacer-Corbito killings in 2000. And before you could say “boo,” his call for a reinvestigation of the case was supported by fellow senator, Gringo Honasan..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20101206com7.html

Robredo coddling Ping, Mancao’s lawyer claims By Pat C. Santos 12/06/2010


Robredo coddling Ping, Mancao’s lawyer claims

By Pat C. Santos 12/06/2010

The lawyer of a key witness in the Dacer-Corbito double murder case strongly claimed yesterday that Interior and Local Government Secretary Jesse Robredo gives protection to fugitive Sen. Panfilo Lacson, resulting in his being able to elude arrest from the authorities.

A crack team of National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) agents left empty handed the other day after conducting a raid on a paper mill suspected of being used as Lacson’s temporary lair. The paper manufacturing firm in Quezon City is owned by Sebastian Chua, a close friend of the senator.

At the weekly Balitaan sa Tinapayan, Ferdinand Topacio, counsel for former police Supt. Cesar Mancao, who has implicated Lacson in the slaying of publicist Salvador Dacer and his driver Emmanuel Corbito, accused Robredo of protecting Lacson after the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) chief rejected a P2 million bounty for the capture of the fugitive senator.

Topacio said he cannot understand Robredo reason for rejecting placing a bounty on Lacson’s head which was his supposed worry for the life of the would be informant on the whereabouts of Lacson. He said the reward would only be for the supply of information and that an informant will not be the one who will arrest a wanted person..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20101206hed1.html

Retiring Comelec execs asked to bare source codes 12/06/2010

Retiring Comelec execs asked to bare source codes

A poll watchdog demanded yesterday that Commission on Elections (Comelec) officials release vital election documents unconditionally, including the source codes used in the automated elections of May 2010 as directed by the Supreme Court last Sept. 21 before they are allowed to retire or resign and before automated polls provider Smartmatic leaves by end of the year.

AES Watch, a coalition of non-government, private and civil society organizations seeking transparency in elections that the country holds and has as members industry and academic information technology (IT) experts and professional groups, said it will present its assessment of the automated elections before the House committee on suffrage and electoral reforms chaired by Rep. Elpidio Barzaga Jr, today.

Comelec Chairman Jose Melo filed his resignation letter last Nov. 24 to take effect on Jan. 31 next year.
Melo was appointed by former President Arroyo on Jan. 26, 2008 and took his oath of office on March 25.
He replaced former Comelec Chairman Benjamin Abalos Sr. who resigned from office after he was implicated in the botched ZTE broadband deal..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20101206hed2.html

Reds urged to refrain from imposing talks terms By Angie M. Rosales 12/06/2010

Reds urged to refrain from imposing talks terms

By Angie M. Rosales 12/06/2010

In order for the peace negotiations between the government and communist groups to take off and go on smoothly, National Democratic Front (NDF) leaders should not impose any conditions on the government.
“If they’re really sincere in their approach to resume peace talks, if they are really after a peaceful solution, they should not set any pre-condition at the moment,” Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile yesterday said.

NDF leader Luis Jalandoni is reportedly already in the country to lay the groundwork for peace negotiations between the government and the umbrella organization of the local communist movement.

Talks are slated to resume sometime in February in Norway after being stalled for over five years.
It is worthy to note that President Aquino, shortly after taking office in June, said he wanted to resume peace talks with the rebels after negotiations under his predecessor were suspended in 2005..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20101206hed3.html

CPP’s free ‘Morong 43’ plea proves health workers NPAs, says Army By Mario J. Mallari 12/06/2010

CPP’s free ‘Morong 43’ plea proves health workers NPAs, says Army

By Mario J. Mallari 12/06/2010

The Army leadership yesterday branded the request made by the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) for the release of the so-called “Morong 43” as affirmation that the health workers are indeed members of the New People’s Army (NPA).

Reports said the CPP is calling for the release of the Morong 43 as part of the confidence-building measures for the resumption of the peace negotiations between the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP) and the National Democratic Front (NDF).

Army spokesman Col. Antonio Paralde said such request coming from the CPP only indicated that the Morong 43, who were tagged by the military as members and leaders of the.... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20101206hed4.html

Gov’t affirms backing for Palestinian state By Michaela P. del Callar 12/06/2010

Gov’t affirms backing for Palestinian state

By Michaela P. del Callar 12/06/2010

Short of recognizing a Palestinian state that risks a diplomatic lashback from the United States and Israel, the government said yesterday it is supporting the establishment of a free and independent Palestinian state and called on Israel and Palestine to work together to achieve lasting peace in the Middle East.

In a statement delivered at the plenary of the United Nations General Assembly, Philippine Permanent Representative Libran Cabactulan said the Philippines has for many years joined in the global clamor for the establishment of a Palestinian homeland to help alleviate the dire situation of the Palestinian people.

“The Philippines sees merit in the Two-State Solution proposed by our partners for peace and hopes that both Israel and Palestine will put their hands together to meaningfully achieve a long-lasting and durable solution to the problem,” he said..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20101206hed5.html

Justice chief wants guns for lawyers, judges 12/06/2010

Justice chief wants guns for lawyers, judges

Justice Secretary Leila de Lima yesterday backed calls to allow judges and lawyers to carry firearms amid a rising incidence of attacks targeting them.

According to her, judges and lawyers were also being encouraged to improve practical shooting and driving skills as a precaution against possible ambush attacks.

“Their line of work makes them natural targets of harassment and violence, especially because of weak
enforcement of laws and a prevailing culture of impunity,” De Lima told Agence France Presse.

She, however, said she favored only a “selective, on a case-by-case” basis to allow judges and lawyers to carry firearms.

“And only on a reasonable showing of security threats, and purely for self-defense purposes only,” De Lima stressed..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20101206hed6.html

Taiwanese express interest in local agri investments 12/06/2010

Taiwanese express interest in local agri investments

A group of Taiwanese investors recently visited the country for possible agricultural and fishery cooperation.
Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala, who hosted the Taiwanese delegation members during their inspection of various projects and facilities in Quezon province, said the visit aims to explore opportunities of possible partnerships or joint ventures in setting up agribusiness enterprises and mariculture parks, including sustained promotion and facilitation of trade between the two countries, and exchange of agricultural and fishery technical experts and trainees to share breakthroughs in their respective fields.

During their informal meeting in Quezon, Donald C.T. Lee, representative of the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Manila, sought the DA chief’s advice on their plan to relocate an existing Taiwan-initiated hybrid corn demonstration farm in General Santos City.

Alcala told him it would be wise to maintain the demo farm in General Santos City, and suggested potential replication sites like the Southern Luzon State University (SLSU) in Quezon, and two other agricultural schools in major corn-producing provinces..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20101206hed7.html

DoLE chief suspends labor inspection activities By Mina Diaz 12/06/2010

DoLE chief suspends labor inspection activities

By Mina Diaz 12/06/2010
Labor Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz issued Administrative Order (AO) 443, Series of 2010 suspending all labor standards enforcement activities all over the country effective Dec. 1 until Jan. 14, 2011.

“I have ordered the suspension of all labor inspection activities, including the conduct of Training and Advisory Visits (TAVs) and Self-Assessment (SA) activities, in all of the country’s 16 regions effective Dec. 1, 2010 until Jan. 14, 2011,” Baldoz said.

Baldoz added the suspension is guided by our mandates on labor and employment in the light of the goal of President Aquino in his 22-point agenda on labor and employment which is to strengthen the welfare and protection of the country’s workers. It is also to uphold the integrity of labor standards enforcement by precluding opportunities and temptations for abuse of the inspection power during Christmas and New Year holidays..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/nation/20101206nat1.html

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