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Look to Congress for solution EDITORIAL 12/15/2010

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Look to Congress for solution

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Why is there so much Palace resistance in seeking a measure from Congress for the body to create a commission that would not only investigate former President Gloria Arroyo but all other previous presidents? That should be the solution to the problem of Noynoy Aquino’s constitutionally flawed Executive Order 1 (EO 1) — as long as the congressional measure adheres to the constitutional parameters as set out by the Supreme Court (SC) in its ruling.

The answer is fairly simple: Vindictive Noynoy wants the focus of investigation on graft charges solely on Gloria and only on the charges he wants investigated that would lead to her being charged in court..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20101215com1.html

Lessons to be learned FRONTLINE Ninez Cacho-Olivares 12/15/2010

Lessons to be learned

Ninez Cacho-Olivares
Hubert Webb and his co-accused have been acquitted by the Supreme Court, and they are today free men, yet 15 years of their lives have been robbed from them, and frankly, those to blame for their wrongful conviction by two courts are the hearing Parañaque Regional Trial Court (RTC) judge, Amelita Tolentino, the Justice secretary at that time, Franklin Drilon, if memory serves; the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) known to plant witnesses and, most of all the media, all of whom had conducted a trial and conviction by publicity of Webb and company.

It was so clear even at that time, that the NBI was making sure that Webb and company would be tried by publicity, as the NBI kept on talking to the media, giving them clues as to the identity of Webb — and just as quickly, the media started their trial and conviction of Webb and company by publicity — this despite the fact that all of them knew that they had no evidence to prove Webb’s guilt.

In fact, the NBI and the RTC even made sure that the semen sample taken from the rape victim would “be lost” because this would prove without doubt, the innocence of Webb and company and prove too that they, along with Jessica Alfaro, the so-called state witness, were out to frame these young men — even when they knew they were innocent..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20101215com2.html

Guantanamo detainees take fight to US Supreme Court FEATURE 12/15/2010

Guantanamo detainees take fight to US Supreme Court


WASHINGTON — Condemned by the lower house of the US Congress to remain in Guantanamo Bay indefinitely, “War on Terror” detainees are taking their cases to the Supreme Court (SC), hoping it can break them out.

The House of Representatives last week approved a bill that would prevent any detainees held in the US naval base in Cuba from being transferred to the United States for detention or trial.

But eight cases are pending in the highest US court, representing nearly all of the prison’s more than 170 detainees and reflecting their diverse legal predicaments, with final rulings expected in 2011.

US President Barack Obama vowed to shut down the controversial military prison during his 2008 White House run and issued an executive order shortly after assuming office to close it by January 2010.

But Obama has missed his own deadline as the administration has run into knotty legal issues, difficulties in finding countries to accept detainees and congressional opposition to trying them in US courts..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20101215com3.html

PNCC, MWSS under fire C.R.O.S.S.R.O.A.D.S Jonathan De la Cruz 12/15/2010

PNCC, MWSS under fire

Jonathan De la Cruz
Two of the worst performing GOCCs are in the news yet again. The Commission on Audit (CoA) has advised that the Philippine National Construction Corp. (PNCC), formerly CDCP, granted unauthorized and excessive allowances to its board of directors, officers and employees and paid out consultancy and other fees to various individuals and entities in violation of existing rules and regulations. The company whose tollways franchise has expired also owes the government P7 billion in concession fees and related liabilities. The state audit office noted that the PNCC also gave P261 million in unauthorized cash advances to its employees which were not covered by any board resolution; paid out P3.3 million in retainer and legal fees and another P1.61 million in consultancy fees and other benefits.

PNCC is the same firm which nearly lost billions of pesos worth of valuable real estate at the reclamation area to a BVI company, Radstock, based on a spurious document of indebtedness issued in the ’80s yet. It is also the same firm which has been accused of surrendering its rights, privileges and even assets to its joint venture partner — Malaysian firm MTD Berhad — in the controversial South Luzon Expressway (Slex) project..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20101215com4.html

A South African first: Black porn focus 12/15/2010

A South African first: Black porn


JOHANNESBURG — A tall, leggy actress peels off her skirt and top to dance in what in some places would be an unremarkable movie scene — except that this is porn in South Africa made by blacks, for blacks.

The dialog, as scant as the clothing, is spoken in Xhosa, Zulu and Sotho, in a film that producer Tau Morena, 30, describes as a “voyeuristic experience” designed to portray the “average guy and girl next door, having great sex.”

The movie, Mapona Volume 1 (naked in Sotho) has caused a stir among social conservatives in a country that under apartheid saw porn banned from open public sale, leading to a rampant under-the-counter market.
It has also grabbed people’s attention because unlike most locally produced DVD erotica the men are filmed putting on condoms before sex, and all actors underwent mandatory tests for HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases.

“We want to show using condoms can be fun and practical,” says Morena, who insists that if people “condomise” before sex then their health will benefit.

South Africa has 5.6 million people who are HIV-positive out of a 50-million population, according to UN estimates..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20101215com5.html

Red woes and other tales HE SAYS Aldrin Cardon 12/15/2010

Red woes and other tales

Aldrin Cardon
Aclenched fist either means defiance or victory. And during the recent months when I followed the persecution of the so-called “Morong 43” through media, I’ve seen many fists up in the air. They would satiate many former activists who love to romanticize their pasts during reunions and small gatherings, they seem to forget that there are others who are still deeply embedded in the struggle they have left long ago in exchange for better fortunes and other various reasons.

These guys are real. And whether they are members of the Communist Party of the Philippines, or the New People’s Army, as the military had claimed, could be proved (or disproved) in legitimate venues and must undergo a daunting legal process if the military would want to establish the Morong 43 as enemies of the state.

But not in the way they were arrested during the waning days of Gloria Arroyo. And if my voice would count, I’ll give a thumb up to President Noynoy for his enlightened decision to free majority of the Morong 43 on Human Rights Day.

It was not an easy political decision to make, a harder one compared to his recent gift of freedom to Sen. Antonio Trillanes and his group. It may even equal in weight with his boycott of the Nobel Peace Prize if only to appease China..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20101215com6.html

Seeing red SHE SAYS Dinah S. Ventura 12/15/2010

Seeing red

Dinah S. Ventura
Mixed reactions met the recent acquittal of Hubert Webb, who appealed his conviction for the rape and murder of Carmela Vizconde, as well as the murders of the latter’s mother and younger sister.

This immense development comes on the heels of President Noynoy Aquino’s order to withraw information on the “Morong 43,” the group of health workers arrested and detained by the military for over 10 months now.

The move was hailed by communist groups and human rights advocates, who at the same time could not help by criticize the length of time it took for Malacanang to do anything about it. The communist insurgents think the action would go a long way into the peace process, which has been going on for decades now. It was, according to the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) in its Web site, a “boost of goodwill for the forthcoming resumption of peace negotiations.”

The CPP also said the President’s release order was an “inspiration” for “thousands of other victims of military abuses to defend their rights” and to “seek redress for the grave injustices inflicted on them.”.... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20101215com7.html

Webb walks; Alfaro claims not credible By Benjamin B. Pulta 12/15/2010

Webb walks; Alfaro claims not credible

By Benjamin B. Pulta 12/15/2010

Hubert Webb and his co-accused, all convicted by two lower courts 15 years ago, walked free yesterday after the Supreme Court (SC) acquitted them on the basis of Webb’s strong and incontrovertible alibi that he was not in the Philippines when the Vizconde massacre occurred. As the case was a conspiracy, the other accused were set free, save for two who are still at large.

A ruling by the SC voting 7 to 4 cleared Hubert Jeffrey Webb and six others in connection with the 1991 Vizconde massacre.

In a 38-page decision, the high tribunal through Associate Justice Roberto Abad said the testimony of National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) asset Jessica Alfaro four years after the incident raised reasonable doubts about the guilt of the accused in the murder of a mother and her two daughters in a Parañaque City suburb.

“The positive identification of the offender must come from a credible witness. She is credible who can be trusted to tell the truth, usually based on past experiences with her. Her word has,to one who knows her, its weight in gold,” the decision said, addingthe said “the witness’ story of what she personally saw must be believable, not inherently contrived.”.... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20101215hed1.html

Gov’t duty-bound to get real Vizconde killers By Angie M. Rosales and Aytch S. de la Cruz 12/15/2010

Gov’t duty-bound to get real Vizconde killers

By Angie M. Rosales and Aytch S. de la Cruz 12/15/2010
Government is duty-bound to assist Lauro Vizconde in hauling to court the real killers in the 1991 massacre of his family, now that the high tribunal has acquitted those accused in the case.

“That means that the killer is on the loose. That’s an open case again. They have to look for the real killer or killers.

“In fact, it is the duty of the state to prosecute all criminal cases. To investigate and prosecute all criminal cases, that’s the function of the state. No ifs and buts about it,” Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile said in an interview.

“It’s the end of the line for the prosecution panel, insofar as insisting on the guilt of Hubert Webb and six others, accused in celebrated case in view of the acquittal rendered by the Supreme Court.

“In acquittal, there’s no appeal. You appeal to God. The end of the line is the SC,” he said..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20101215hed2.html

Noy aides: HK black advisory ‘baseless’ By Aytch S. de la Cruz and Michaela P. del Callar 12/15/2010

Noy aides: HK black advisory ‘baseless’

By Aytch S. de la Cruz and Michaela P. del Callar 12/15/2010

Malacañang was back in its “baseless advisories” mode yesterday after the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) issued a new black travel advisory mentioning the threat of terrorism in the Philippines.

Presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda claimed that the alert warning is baseless because the peace and order situation in the country remains “fine” and there is no reason for the HKSAR to come up with this advisory that might affect the Philippine tourism industry.

“We don’t know where that was coming from. Some of the countries have downgraded their travel advisories,” Lacierda said, referring to the six other nations, namely, the United States, United Kingdom, France, New Zealand, Australia and Canada that issued a string of travel advisories against the country last month.

Lacierda explained that foreign tourists have nothing to worry about in the realm of the country’s security situation since the government has

already moved to accomplish the institutional recommendations set by the Incident Investigation and Review Committee (IIRC) after the Aug. 23 hostage crisis in Manila where eight of Hong Kong’s residents died..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20101215hed3.html

Palace surprised over Elma’s PCGG formula 12/15/2010

Palace surprised over Elma’s PCGG formula

Erstwhile Justice Magdangal Elma, who currently serves as presidential adviser for special concerns, apparently acted on his own as Malacañang yesterday couldn’t get its message straight when sought for its feedback in the matter of his proposal for President Aquino to just have the Presidential Commission on Good Government (PCGG) do the work in the event the Truth Commission won’t make it through the Supreme Court.

Presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda said Elma’s decision to publicize his proposal be-fore submit-ting it to the President was without the knowledge of Malaca-ñang as far as the legal team, composed of Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa Jr. and Chief Presidential Legal Counsel Eduardo de Mesa, is concerned.
“I think the prudent thing to do was just to submit it to the President. But since it’s out, again, we’re saying that all the recommendations will be studied by the legal team,” Lacierda told a news conference..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20101215hed4.html

China rebuffs Noynoy as another OFW convicted 12/15/2010

China rebuffs Noynoy as another OFW convicted

Another Filipino has been convicted of violating drug laws in China as a Chinese official gave President Aquino the cold shoulder yesterday, saying it was handling the cases of the initial five Filipinos sentenced to death for drug offences according to law after Aquino earlier had linked their fate to his decision to boycott the Nobel peace prize ceremony in Oslo to honor peace laureate Liu Xiaobo who is a dissident in the mainland.

Vice President Jejomar Binay who flew to Guangzhou yesterday to represent the country for the opening ceremonies of the Asian Paralympic Games, said he was informed of the new conviction, adding that he had directed the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) to extend all possible assistance to a Filipina who works as a teacher in Shanwei City.

The unnamed Filipina is waiting for her trial to start on charges of drug trafficking, which is punishable by death in China, bringing to six the number of Philippine nationals on China’s death row

Aquino had claimed that staying away from Friday’s ceremony had been “in our national interest”, a reference to convicted Filipinos in China..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20101215hed5.html

Imelda jubilant after winning back Leyte mansion 12/15/2010

Imelda jubilant after winning back Leyte mansion

Former First Lady and incumbent Ilocos Norte Rep. Imelda Marcos was triumphant yesterday after the Supreme Court (SC) returned a beachfront mansion that was seized by the Cory Aquino government in 1987.

The 81-year-old widow said she planned to bring in renovators to the sprawling property in Olot, Tolosa, in Leyte province after the high tribunal handed down its ruling late Monday, as she insisted it had
always belonged to her family.

“I am very happy. This property is very important to me because this is where my father was born,” Marcos told Agence France Presse.

“The property had belonged to my family long before I met Ferdinand Marcos, so how could government say it is ill-gotten wealth? Now I can rebuild it.”

The high court last Monday dismissed a petition filed by the government, which had asked it to make a final ruling on whether it had been allowed to confiscate the property..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20101215hed6.html

3 Filipino seamen rescued in Antarctica waters By Michaela P. del Callar 12/15/2010

3 Filipino seamen rescued in Antarctica waters

By Michaela P. del Callar 12/15/2010

The Philippine Embassy in New Zealand yesterday said the three Filipino crew members who were earlier reported missing were among the survivors of the sunken South Korean fishing vessel that sunk two days ago off the icy waters of Antarctica.

In a report to the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), the embassy said the New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs informed them that Filipino crewmen Carlo Castillo, Nickson Telete and Pilardo Mariano are alive.

“They were among the 20 survivors rescued by another fishing vessel in the area that responded to the Number One Insung’s sinking and assisted in the rescue operations,” the embassy report said.

The crew includes 39 others, comprised of eight Koreans, eight Chinese, 11 Indonesians, 11 Vietnamese, and a Russian...... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/nation/20101215nat5.html

5 US Huey helicopters delivery slated on Sunday By Mario J. Mallari 12/15/2010

5 US Huey helicopters delivery slated on Sunday

By Mario J. Mallari 12/15/2010
The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) will boost its air capability with the scheduled delivery of five newly refurbished UH1H or Huey helicopters from the United States this week.

Col. Arnold Mancita, assistant chief of air staff of the Air Force, said that five UH1H helicopters are expected to arrive on Sunday.

“These (Hueys) are the primary utility helicopters not only of the Air Force, these also serve the Army and the Navy,” said Mancita.

“Any additional number of helicopters will boost the mobility of our men in the field, and also the transport of supplies during calamities. This is a big boost to the capability of our Armed Forces,” added Mancita.

Mancita said that Hueys are the primary asset used in providing close-air support to operating ground troops during combat. He, however, stressed that same helicopters are used during disaster response and relief operations.

“The mission of the Huey is close air support, troop insertion, extrication. Transportation of relief goods, rescue of stranded people,” said Mancita..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/nation/20101215nat6.html

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