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Shameful lot EDITORIAL 12/11/2010

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Shameful lot

EDITORIAL
Click to enlarge
12/11/2010
Noynoy Aquino and his aides have become a huge embarrassment, and certainly not an administration that a nation can be proud of, what with him and his legal aides, among whom are Justice chief Leila de Lima and Solicitor-General Anselmo Cadiz and the disgraceful former Chief Justice Hilario Davide, blasting away at the Supreme Court (SC), publicly charging the majority of the high court as having been paid to rule against Executive Order 1 (EO 1) creating his Truth Commission, citing the ruling as Gloria Arroyo investment that is paying off as well as claiming that the ruling was politically motivated.

Davide claimed that he found nothing unconstitutional about EO 1, even saying that the efforts of Noynoy to go after the corrupt has been stymied by that ruling.

But then, Davide is hardly the person who would know what is constitutional, since he is a known violator of the Constitution. As for his claim that the anti-corruption campaign of Noynoy has been dashed by the high court, he should recall the way he tried to weasel out of an impeachment charge of high level of corruption, as he refused to even account for the judiciary development fund in the billions, which was clearly misused by Davide and his court.

He really has no moral standing to even head a claimed truth body as he can’t even tell the truth in how he, the then chief justice, was part of the unconstitutional coup d’etat in 2001 of a democratically elected president.... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20101211com1.html

Right way, wrong way FRONTLINE Ninez Cacho-Olivares 12/11/2010

Right way, wrong way

FRONTLINE
Ninez Cacho-Olivares
12/11/2010
There is a right way, or perhaps an acceptable way and a wrong way to do things.

It was probably right to get the case against the so-called “Morong 43” health workers, alleged by the military to be communists and caught at bomb-making activities, withdrawn by the Department of Justice (DoJ). After all, if the case is still under DoJ review, the complaint can be withdrawn, especially if the accused have not been arraigned in court, as technically, the court would still not have had jurisdiction over the accused.

But it was probably wrong for Noynoy Aquino to announce that he had ordered the DoJ to withdraw the case against the health workers, because he has set a precedent in the sense that it is he who now makes the decision on whether to have a case withdrawn or not — especially when the case is already in court and should be out of his jurisdiction.

What would have been a better way, was for him to have let his Justice secretary announce that she had directed her officers to withdraw the case against the Morong 43. The result would have been the same anyway, but as Noynoy probably wanted to act the hero, and during the Human Rights Day, he came forward to take full credit for the release of the health workers. Still, having been highly criticized by international human rights group for his boycotting the Nobel rites and bowing to China, Noynoy wanted to claim that he is a protector of human rights.... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20101211com2.html

Sudan’s oil-rich Abyei remains a thorny issue ahead of vote focus 12/11/2010

Sudan’s oil-rich Abyei remains a thorny issue ahead of vote

focus
12/11/2010
KHARTOUM — Washington has said out loud what everyone else has been whispering — that the self-determination referendum in Sudan’s oil-rich region of Abyei will not take place as planned on Jan. 9.

What people are asking now is what will be the outcome for this strategic region? A negotiated settlement or renewed conflict?

On Tuesday, US State Department spokesman Philip Crowley said “I think we have a recognition that that referendum will not go forward on Jan. 9, but we continue to encourage the parties to work on a solution to Abyei.”

“We continue to press the parties with respect to the situation in Abyei.”

Abyei is on the fault line between north and south Sudan and a referendum is due on whether it remains part with the north or joins an autonomous or independent south, which decides its future in a parallel Jan. 9 vote.

The vote was a central feature of a 2005 peace agreement that put an end to more than two decades of civil war between the north and the south.... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20101211com3.html

Hunger Strike Forced Gov’t to Withdraw Charges — Morong 43, Rights Advocates

Hunger Strike Forced Gov’t to Withdraw Charges — Morong 43, Rights Advocates


“We are happy but we are still angry. In the first place, the Morong 43 are innocent. They should not have been detained,” Ofelia Beltran-Balleta, mother of Jane Balleta, one of the Morong 43, said in an interview with Bulatlat.
By RONALYN V. OLEA
Bulatlat.com
MANILA — After President Benigno S. Aquino III announced, on December 10, that he has ordered the dropping of charges against the Morong 43, their relatives who were gathered at the Iglesia Filipina Independiente (IFI) cried with joy.
The 43 health workers were arrested on Feb. 6 in Morong, Rizal while conducting a health skills training when 300 combined elements of the police and military raided the rest house where they were staying. They were charged with illegal possession of firearms and explosives, tagged as members of the New People’s Army (NPA) and subjected to physical and psychological torture. The NPA is the armed wing of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP).
The Morong 43 had been on hunger strike and their relatives were also fasting since Dec. 3 when President Aquino announced his order.
“We are happy but we are still angry. In the first place, the Morong 43 are innocent. They should not have been detained,” Ofelia Beltran-Balleta, mother of Jane Balleta, one of the Morong 43, said in an interview with Bulatlat. “After Aquino repeatedly said ‘Let the courts decide,’ he finally ordered the dropping of charges against the Morong 43. Thanks to the international community, organizations and individuals who supported our struggle. This is a victory of the Filipino people,” Balleta said in a speech at the rally at the foot of Chino Roces (formerly Mendiola bridge) on Dec. 10.... MORE

SourceBulatlat.com

URL: http://bulatlat.com/main/2010/12/11/morong-43-rights-advocates-say-withdrawal-of-charges-a-victory-of-their-hunger-strike/

Call Center Employees in the Philippines Receive Low-End Jobs, Low Salaries

Call Center Employees in the Philippines Receive Low-End Jobs, Low Salaries


While providing a lot of support to Business Process Outsourcing Companies, the government is ignoring the oppressive working conditions of call center employees.
By MARYA SALAMAT
Bulatlat.com
MANILA – The news that the Philippines has overtaken India in the number of new hires in the call center industry has prompted a labor education NGO recently to warn industry stakeholders and the government against risking its workers’ welfare for the sake of such boom, or the projected boom up to 2016.
“The welfare of workers in BPO institutions must not be compromised for the sake of attracting more investors,” said Anna Leah Escresa-Colina, executive director of the Ecumenical Institute for Labor Education and Research (EILER). Citing the inquiry of the Kabataan Partylist on the “dire conditions of call-center agents,” which served as basis for the filing of House Bill No. 2592, as well as their own research into the plight of call center employees, Escresa-Colina reminded the government that it “must not only foster a good business climate, it must also guarantee good working conditions and protection of workers’ rights.”

Examples of What Filipino BPO Employees Have to Promote on the Job.(Photo by Marya Salamat / bulatlat.com)
BPO employees seem to be little aware of their rights, said employees themselves who attended discussions about their common plight even if they are working in different companies. There are more than 300,000 employed in the sector, some lasting for as long as four years or more. Yet, so far, there is no registered union or association of employees in the industry. This gives the employees little to no say in their working condition, from restroom breaks to determining the work-quotas, length of working hours, computation of wage, overtime pay and vacation leaves, if any, to emergency leaves and being accorded due process in cases of termination or forced/extended/open-ended leaves. Current working conditions account for the high attrition rate in the industry. Company owners and executives, meanwhile, have industry associations that actively lobby for, and achieve, more and better government support for their continuous expansion and profit.
Uphill Climb for Call Center Workers’ Protection
Kabataan Party-list Representative Raymond V. Palatino sponsored the BPO Workers Welfare & Protection Act during the past Congress. This year, he and his staff have been holding roundtable discussions with employees of the BPO industry as they prepare the ground for re-filing the bill.... MORE

SourceBulatlat.com

URL: http://bulatlat.com/main/2010/12/11/call-center-employees-in-the-philippines-receive-low-end-jobs-low-salaries/

OFW Survives Jail, Neglect of Philippine Government

OFW Survives Jail, Neglect of Philippine Government


By JANESS ANN J. ELLAO
Bulatlat.com
MANILA — A teary-eyed Camille, not her real name, 32, stepped out of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport at last on December 9. She immediately gave her family a tight hug, especially her three children whom she did not see for more than a year. Then, she reached out for her father and greeted him ‘Happy birthday, Tay.” It was her father’s 64th birthday, and he was getting his wish granted as he watched Camille’s homecoming.
“Yes, there were times when I thought I would never make it home,” Camille told Bulatlat.com, “But I know that through God’s will, I would. It might take longer than I hoped but at least I am alive.”
Camille left for Dammam, Saudi Arabia on May 14, 2009 to work as cleaner in a hospital there. But barely three months after arriving, her Bangladeshi co-worker, a certain Mr. Mammon, drugged her unconscious, raped her and got her pregnant as a result. The Bangladeshi co-worker is a driver tasked to do errands for the hospital staff, including buying their snacks for them while they work.
Sometime in September 2009, the Bangladeshi driver did not return with Camille’s “usual softdrinks,” so she asked instead if she could have a cup of tea. “I did not suspect that he put a sleeping tablet in it because another female co-worker handed me the tea,” Camille said.
When she woke up later and realized what happened, Camille said she was very afraid, especially of what her three children and husband back home might think. She was both afraid and ashamed of what had happened. She could not bring herself to tell her other co-workers about it. Upon discovering that she was pregnant, though, Camille’s employer refused to believe that she was raped. They accused Camille of having an extramarital affair and sent her to jail.
Government Neglect
All throughout her imprisonment, Camille said, no embassy official visited her nor asked her side of the story. “I went to court hearings five times but they (Philippine embassy officials) did not attend,” Camille said. “I was clueless about what was going on because the court did not give me an interpreter.” Being the only Filipino in their prison cell, Camille devoted most of her time to learning how to speak Arabic, not only to communicate with others but to have an idea of what was transpiring in her trial. But she was denied the opportunity to speak – she was asked only if she has a husband in the Philippines.
The court finally sentenced her with 11 months of imprisonment and 150 lashes for a crime she did not commit. She also did not have a single riyal for her daily needs. The Dammam local government, fortunately, allocates five riyals a day for every jailed person. The amount, according to Camille, could barely pay for her meals. For other necessities such as soap and shampoo, Camille had to sell her belongings to the police just to get by..... MORE

SourceBulatlat.com

URL: http://bulatlat.com/main/2010/12/11/ofw-survives-jail-neglect-of-philippine-government/

Whitewash in The Investigation On The Deaths of Co, Cortez, and Borromeo Feared

Whitewash in The Investigation On The Deaths of Co, Cortez, and Borromeo Feared


The physical evidence gathered in the fact finding mission revealed that the trajectories of bullets were coming from and going to only one direction, refuting the military’s claim that there was a supposed gun battle between the military and members of NPA.
By ANNE MARXZE D. UMIL
Bulatlat.com
KANANGA, Leyte– Leonard Co, Sofronio Cortez and Julio Borromeo were not caught in a gun battle between the New People’s Army (NPA) and the19th Infantry Battalion on that fateful day of Nov. 15. This was the main finding of the independent body that recently conducted a fact finding mission from Nov. 26 to 28 in Kananga, Leyte. The report was presented in a press conference, Dec. 8.
The NPA is the armed wing of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP).
The citizens’ based fact finding mission was led by Agham (Science and Technology for the People), an organization of progressive scientists dedicated to making science serve the people, not the party list group. Scientists, environmentalists, colleagues of Co and cause-oriented groups also joined the fact finding mission.

Dr. Giovanni Tapang points to the bullet marks on the tree during the fact-finding mission in Kananga, Leyte. (Photo by Anne Marxze D. Umil / bulatlat.com)
Based on news reports, Lt. Col. Federico Tutaan, commanding officer of the 19th Infantry Battalion (IB) of the Philippine Army, said the Nov. 15 incident was a legitimate military operation and Co’s team was caught in the crossfire. Two survivors, on the other hand, said no exchange of gunfire happened .
The physical evidence gathered in the fact finding mission revealed that the trajectories of bullets were coming from and going to only one direction, refuting the military’s claim that there was a supposed gun battle between the military and members of NPA.
Survivor’s Account
On Nov. 15, Co together with four other companions resumed their work. Based on the account of officials of the Energy Development Corporation (EDC), at about 9:00 a.m., Co decided to go to W403 pad, which is out of the itinerary. (Click here for complete fact finding report). A pad is a forested area inside the EDC complex where research studies are mostly being conducted.
“But this is not out of the ordinary, according to the EDC,” said Dr. Giovanni Tapang, national chairman of Agham and convener of Justice for Leonard Co Movement, who joined the fact finding mission team. The EDC, said Tapang, was informed of Co’s decision.
W403 pad is where the incident happened. The EDC complex is also where the Leyte Geothermal Facility is operating. In a sworn statement by Ronino Gibe, 24, survivor in the shooting incident, at about 9:00 a.m. their team reached W403 pad. Their team was composed of Co, Cortez, Borromeo, Gibe and another survivor Policarpio Balute.... MORE

SourceBulatlat.com

URL: http://bulatlat.com/main/2010/12/10/whitewash-in-the-investigation-on-the-deaths-of-co-cortez-and-borromeo-feared/

Noynoy orders release of ‘Morong 43’ 12/11/2010

MILITARY ADMITS DROPPING OF CHARGES VS ‘NPA REBS’ WON’T PLEASE TROOPS

Noynoy orders release of ‘Morong 43’


12/11/2010
President Aquino yesterday ordered the release of 43 persons accused by the military of being communist rebels, saying their rights had been violated during nearly a year in detention.

Aquino’s announcement came after the 43 detainees began a hunger strike last week to publicize their cause, and after communist leaders demanded their release ahead of a planned resumption of peace talks next year.

The presidential move also came after international human rights group blasted Aquino and his government for kowtowing to China by boycotting the Nobel Prize rites.

“We recognize (the suspects’) right to due process was denied them. As a government that is committed to the rule of law and the rights of man, this cannot stand,” Aquino said in a speech to mark International Human Rights Day.

Communist rebels have been waging a rebellion in the Philippines since 1969, with the conflict claiming thousands of lives.... MORE

SourceBulatlat.com

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20101211hed1.html

Impeaching Corona will lead to ‘failed state,’ says constitutionalist By Angie M. Rosales 12/11/2010

Impeaching Corona will lead to ‘failed state,’ says constitutionalist

By Angie M. Rosales
12/11/2010
The country will become a failed state if Malacañang and its allies succeed in filing an impeachment complaint against Supreme Court (SC) Chief Justice Renato Corona, Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago said yesterday.

She discussed at an impromptu press conference yesterday the recent SC decision declaring as unconstitutional President Aquino’s Executive Order No. 1 (EO1) which creates a Truth Commission.

“The rumor that certain members of the House of Representatives are passing around an impeachment complaint for signature makes people jumpy. If the agitators succeed, the Philippines will definitely become a failed state according to standards set by the international legal community,” she said.

Santiago added impeaching a Chief Justice by imputing “political motives” behind a decision clipping the President’s powers would be fatal to the tripartite system of government.

“The executive and legislative branches are political in nature. But the judicial branch is non-political. If the Chief Justice is removed for political reasons, then that would be a signal that even the judicial branch has also become political. That would be the end of our democracy as we know it today,” she said.... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20101211hed2.html

DoJ to probe killings under GMA, excludes salvaging in Noy’s time By Benjamin B. Pulta 12/11/2010

DoJ to probe killings under GMA, excludes salvaging in Noy’s time

By Benjamin B. Pulta
12/11/2010
The Aquino knives are still out to stab former President Arroyo after the Supreme Court struck down the truth commission finding President Aquino’s Executive Order 1 unconstitutional.

Justice Secretary Leila de Lima yesterday said the goverment will investigate extra-judicial killings which have cast a long shadow on the credibility of the Philippine government’s ability to maintain peace and order.

But there is a catch: The Justice department will be limiting its review of the extra-judicial killings only to incidents committed during the Arroyo administration.

“We will look into all cases, including cold cases, we will look into what (pieces of ) evidence there are so we can focus on those cases, so there can be progress,” De Lima said.

Pressed on the cut-off date for the cases involved, De Lima conceded that the cut-off date will be “2001 (or those extra-judicial killings committed during the) past administration,”... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20101211hed3.htmltime

Solgen defends Palace lawyers’ performance in EO1 case By Benjamin B. Pulta 12/11/2010

Solgen defends Palace lawyers’ performance in EO1 case

By Benjamin B. Pulta
12/11/2010
Government lawyers yesterday claimed that a revamp of the Malacañang legal team will not help convince the justices of the Supreme Court (SC) to reverse its Dec. 7 decision that declared unconstitutional President Aquino’s Executive Order (EO) 1 which created the Truth Commission.

Solicitor General Jose Anselmo Cadiz defended the Palace legal team from its critics who claimed it was the ultimate reason for the failure of the executive department to secure a favorable ruling from the high tribunal to uphold the legality of establishing the truth body to investigate various anomalies during the administration of former President and now Pampanga Rep. Gloria Arroyo.

Cadiz doubted a revamp of the Malacañang legal team would pave the way for a reversal of the SC ruling on EO 1.

“No. Whoever Malacañang places in the position to question the ruling before the SC, the Supreme Court will still invalidate the EO 1. They were just looking for a justification,” Cadiz said, when asked if Palace lawyers are to blame for the failure to secure a favorable ruling from the high court.

“Everything in the EO is correct and whoever genius you put there to handle the case does not matter because they will look for a reason to invalidate it,” he noted.... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20101211hed4.html

SC could be held accountable for blocking ‘Merci’ impeach raps By Gerry Baldo 12/11/2010

SC could be held accountable for blocking ‘Merci’ impeach raps

By Gerry Baldo
12/11/2010
While efforts to hold justices of the Supreme Court accountable for junking the presidential move to create a truth commission failed to prosper, the latter’s attempt to allegedly block the impeachment of Ombudsman Merceditas Gutierrez could be a strong issue against the high court justices.

According to Iloilo Rep. Neil Tupas, chairman of the House committee on justice, the inaction of the high tribunal on the status quo ante order it issued against the House for it not to proceed with the impeachment complaint could be raised against them.

Tupas warned that he would be filing an impeachment complaint against some justices of the high tribunal if they fail to resolve the status quo ante order within the 60-day period allotted for the House committee on justice to come up with a committee report on the impeachment complaint.

“If they permanently restrain us from proceedings, certainly an impeachment proceeding will happen. If they permanently restrain the House committee on justice to proceed which complaint 1 or 2 then I think it would now very very clear that it would be an impeachable offense. I’ll be the one to file that,” Tupas told reporters... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20101211hed5.html

Confusion arises over RP gov’t stand on Nobel rites invitation 12/11/2010

Confusion arises over RP gov’t stand on Nobel rites invitation

12/11/2010
Malacañang and the Department of Foreign Affairs yesterday issued confusing statements on whether the Philippines will send a representative to Friday night’s Nobel Peace Prize awarding ceremonies for a jailed Chinese human rights advocate in Oslo, Norway.

Palace officials denied the government has changed its mind and would attend the event after previously declining the Nobel Committee’s invitation allegedly due to Chinese government pressure.

According to Nobel Institute director Geir Lundestad, Ukraine and the Philippines, two of the 19 states that had earlier decided to skip the ceremony, would attend the rites for Liu Xiaobo, who won the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize for his long and non-violent struggle for fundamental human rights in China.

But for Foreign Affairs spokesman Eduardo Malaya, the reports are “unconfirmed.”
“We are verifying this,” Malaya told the Tribune in a text message.... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20101211hed6.html

Flash floods, landslides displace 52 families in Cotabato 12/11/2010

Flash floods, landslides displace 52 families in Cotabato

12/11/2010
GENERAL SANTOS CITY — More than 50 families in two municipalities in South Cotabato province have been displaced due to the flash floods and landslides that hit several communities in the area during the last three days.

Nelida Pereira, Provincial Social Welfare and Development Office (PSWDO) chief of South Cotabato, said yesterday their monitoring showed that the floods and the landslides, which were triggered by heavy rains, mainly ravaged upland and riverbank villages in Banga and T’boli towns.

She said in Banga town, some 22 families in Barangay Lampari were so far affected by the calamity.

Barangay Lampari Councilor Rodrigo Franilla said some 40 hectares of palay and corn farmlands located in Sitios Lampange and Kalubihan were swept by the flash floods, which triggered some landslides in upland portions of the affected area.

He said several parts of the village were submerged in floodwaters due to the overflowing of a creek in the area.... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/nation/20101211nat4.html

Why do Filipinos carol then and now? 12/11/2010

Why do Filipinos carol then and now?

12/11/2010
DAVAO CITY — Why do Filipinos carol, too? Mainly just to share the joys of the season via singing carols or songs of praise to the coming of the Lord and conditioning the rebirth of a new year a week after Christmas.

But when did Christmas caroling come to us?

As far back in early l5th century following the Christianization of the Philippine islands through the Spanish colonization heydays, caroling among early Filipinos had emerged gradually.
It was so because the birth of the Baby Jesus in a manger in faraway Bethlehem, Jerusalem was and is still among the important dates the Roman Catholic Church teaches of its flock around the world.

Spanish colonizing wooden fleets always tagged along with them friars of the Augustinian Order and later also reinforced by Jesuits and other religious orders in the western hemisphere....MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: ttp://www.tribuneonline.org/nation/20101211nat9.html

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