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Nothing less than a carnival EDITORIAL 07/31/2011

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Nothing less than a carnival

EDITORIAL
Click to enlarge
07/31/2011
It is with fervent prayers that the penchant of Justice Secretary Leila de Lima and, by extension, Noynoy, her superior, to resurrect long dead cadavers of political and judicial issues will bear fruit as these are fueling higher and bigger expectations from the public.

De Lima has presided over the supposed surfacing of several whistle-blowers on the massive and syndicated cheating operations in the 2004 elections with the supposed police operators even seeking an apology from the wife of former opposition standard-bearer, the late Fernando Poe Jr., for their part in the stealing of the votes.

On its face, the revelations made brought back already forgotten hopes of the truth coming out from the obviously manipulated polls the results of which gave Gloria a new six-year term that was facilitated in Congress through the railroading of the canvass of the elections returns that was masterminded by persons who are now staunch allies of Noynoy.

De Lima also recently shocked the nation by presenting supposed witnesses who can attest to Hubert Webb being in the country when the Vizconde massacre happened against the basis of the Supreme Court (SC)’s decision to acquit Hubert Webb from the case..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20110731com1.html

US seniors fear hard times ahead if no debt deal focus 07/31/2011

US seniors fear hard times ahead if no debt deal

focus


07/31/2011
WASHINGTON — Retired CIA analyst Ruth Washington is one of the lucky ones. She says she could survive for six months if Congress fails to reach a debt deal and her Social Security payments are cut off.

But she and other senior citizens are not optimistic about the near future — they say their loved ones could suffer, and they are angry at lawmakers on Capitol Hill for allowing politics to endanger their livelihoods.

“I’m fine. I live well, not beyond my means. It just frightens me to think what all those people on Social Security are going to do without money. What’s going to happen if they don’t receive a check?” Washington, 83, told AFP.

“If the government delays my pension, I have about six months that I could survive on my own.”.... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20110731com3.html

Collector Gatchalian should have lifestyle check N.O . N.O.N.S.E.N.S.E Jacinto 07/31/2011

Collector Gatchalian should have lifestyle check

N.O . N.O.N.S.E.N.S.E
Jacinto
07/31/2011
One of the alleged untouchables in the P-Noy administration is a certain Rowel Gatchalian, the Collector of the Port of Manila at the Bureau of Customs. Toward the end of the Gloria Arroyo regime, Gatchalian was just a minor employee of the Bureau assigned at the Legal Division. He was, however, lucky to have a padrino who was then a deputy customs commissioner and who is now a congressman who also has a powerful padrino in the higher echelons of government who took it upon himself to pluck Gatchalian from the obscure position he came from and place him at as Collector of the Port of Manila. This move according to many senior collectors at the Bureau proved to a be very big disappointment, since Gatchalian who was just a junior employee, skipped all of them.

Despite being inexperienced and new to his position, he was already accused and suspected of being involved in anomalies at the Port of Manila such that he was summoned to appear in a congressional hearing some months ago. At the hearing, he was asked, why he caused the release from his port of several luxury cars such as Mercedes Benzes, Porsches, Jaguars and several other brands when the distributors/consignee of these vehicles did not pay the proper taxes and duties. He was further asked how come the proper “transaction value method” was not applied properly and by such malfeasance on his part, the government lost several hundreds of millions in revenues for the government in terms of taxes and duties..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20110731com5.html

Hamas seeks to attract youngsters to summer camps focus 07/31/2011

Hamas seeks to attract youngsters to summer camps

focus

07/31/2011
LLAZA CITY — The militant Islamist group Hamas is seeking to attract youngsters to its annual summer camps in the Gaza Strip, offering activities far beyond religious study.

But organizers say the activities do not include militia training.

“These camps have no military or political dimension; they are held outdoors, with sports, cultural, educational, social and recreational activities,” said Saleh Hamdan, a member of the central committee for summer camps.
An example, he said, were camps on Islamic fashion, being attended by thousands of girls, which he said “do not focus on purely religious matters.”

“We play, we learn and we make friends,” said 11-year-old camper Samia Ashur, her hair covered with a brown head scarf..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20110731com7.html

RP business: People VIEWPOINTS Archbishop Oscar V. Cruz 07/31/2011

RP business: People

VIEWPOINTS
Archbishop Oscar V. Cruz
07/31/2011
It offends sensibility. It insults decency. It leaves a foul taste in the mouth to know and say that the main, key and continuous business of the Philippine government is people. People for export. People for placement. People for rent. People on loan. People for exchange. Conclusion: Pitiful OFWs. Miserable Filipinos. Disgraced Philippines.

It is people whom the government considers as its big resources and constant business potential. It is people who laboriously support people while the government merrily imposes direct and in direct taxes on them from birth to death. It is people who keep this country economically afloat through OFWs remittances. And it is also people who become victims of corruption and deceit, of criminality and injustice — while the government looks on.

Yet this laid-back and short-sighted government looks at people as its arch-enemy to the point that it is resolved to take recourse to legislating artificial depopulation — under deceitful titles and purposes. It has come to hate births that it endorses male and female mutilations precisely to prevent them for becoming parents. The government looks at the phenomenon of birth as a curse such that it has its mind, eyes and ears closed about recourse even to abortions — through different means and diverse ways..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20110731com6.html

Whistle-blower cops sell ER switching tale — GMA lawyer By Charlie V. Manalo 07/31/2011

SAME VIDEO FOOTAGE OFFERED TO LOREN IN 2005

Whistle-blower cops sell ER switching tale — GMA lawyer

By Charlie V. Manalo 07/31/2011

The lawyer of former President now Pampanga Rep. Gloria Arroyo yesterday accused former Zambales provincial police director Senior Supt. Rafael Santiago of financial motives in exposing an alleged switching of the election returns (ERs) in the 2004 presidential elections stored in the halls of Congress and sell this to whoever is interested.

At the weekly Kapihan sa Annabels, lawyer Raul Lambino bared that in 2005 Santiago’s group had already tried to sell the same video footage and the story of alleged switching of the ERs to Sen. Loren Legarda who had then lodged an election protest against Noli de Castro who beat her in the vice presidential race.

“The same group had tried to make money out of the same video footage and the story on the alleged ER switching to Senator Loren,” Lambino told reporters. “However, from what I’ve heard, Senator Loren rejected their proposal and asked them if they are really sincere in exposing the truth as they claim behind the 2004 elections, then they should come out in the open without asking anything in return.”

“And now, they are again peddling the same lies.”.... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20110731hed1.html

Noy orders all-out war vs Abu Sayyaf even during Ramadan By Virgilio J. Bugaoisan 07/31/2011

Noy orders all-out war vs Abu Sayyaf even during Ramadan

By Virgilio J. Bugaoisan 07/31/2011

Although belatedly, President Aquino expressed indignation over the killing and mutilation of at least seven Marines and ordered the Department of National Defense to launch a full-scale combat operations against the bandits and anyone who will give them refuge even during the Ramadan period which starts on Monday.

In a statement issued Friday night which is more than 24 hours after the attack, Aquino condemned the perpetrators and vowed that his administration will stop at nothing to make sure that the perpetrators are brought to justice.

With this attack, Aquino said the Abu Sayyaf is now number one on his “radar” to stress his administration’s commitment to neutralize the armed bandits who are being continuously blamed in the series of atrocities in Sulu and other parts of Mindanao.

“At 4:30 a.m. yesterday, July 28, 2011, there was an encounter between the Marine Battalion Landing Team 11 of the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Abu Sayyaf. In this encounter, seven of our troops fell in the midst of operations, and some of their remains were mutilated by the terrorists. I have instructed Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin to ensure that every possible aid and assistance is given to the families of these brave soldiers who paid the ultimate price for the defense of our security and our freedom,” said Aquino in a statement..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20110731hed3.html

Jinggoy prays for GMA recovery to face raps 07/31/2011

Jinggoy prays for GMA recovery to face raps

07/31/2011
Sen. Jinggoy Estrada hailed the successful five-hour surgery of former President Arroyo saying yesterday her speedy recovery is vital for the now Pampanga House representative to face all the charges filed against her.

Estrada issued the statement as he called on residents of Malolos City in Bulacan to pray for her recuperation from the major surgery.

“Let us pray for our former President as her condition is delicate,” Estrada said.

The senator added he wanted the former President to fully recover so that she could face the various charges filed against her, just like his father, former President Joseph Estrada, who faced all the charges against him..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20110731hed5.html

P2.4-B int’l container seaport will be built in Aurora 07/31/2011

P2.4-B int’l container seaport will be built in Aurora

07/31/2011
AURORA — The South Korean government is set to construct a P2.4-billion international container seaport here.

The project is seen to transform the Aurora Special Economic and Freeport Zone (Apeco) into a logistics hub for exports of agro-fishery, timber and industrial products in Central and Northern Luzon provinces. It is expected to be completed in four years.

Robbie Mathay, Apeco president and chief executive said the joint economic venture would be funded through the Official Development Assistance (ODA) of the Korean government, with counterpart funding from the Philippine government.

Mathay said that a consortium, composed of the Dasan Engineering and DY Engineering, had conducted a three-month feasibility study for the international container seaport, funded through a P15-million grant from the Korean Economic Development Cooperation Fund (EDCF)..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/nation/20110731nat3.html

‘Kabayan’ hits Bulacan; 908 people ordered to evacuate to safer places 07/31/2011

‘Kabayan’ hits Bulacan; 908 people ordered to evacuate to safer places

07/31/2011
The National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) yesterday said that some 192 families or 908 people were ordered to evacuate to safer grounds in several places in Bulacan province as they were hit by floods brought about by tropical storm “Kabayan” (international code name Muifa).

The NDRRMC identified at least seven barangays in three towns that were affected by floods as of 1 p.m. as reported last Saturday.

Reports show that in San Jose del Monte City some 38 families or 144 people were affected by floods while 45 families or 224 in Sta. Maria town. In Bocaue there are 105 families left their houses and 4 families in Paombong.

Search and Rescue operations are also being conducted for the missing eight fish pond workers whose motorized banca capsized between Hagonoy and Pampanga Delta last Thursday..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/nation/20110731nat2.html

Villar warns of danger in ‘tuko’ trading 07/31/2011

Villar warns of danger in ‘tuko’ trading

07/31/2011
Sen. Manny Villar yesterday expressed apprehension over the hunting of geckos which he said will allow dengue virus-carrying mosquitoes to multiply, hurting the government campaign to control the fatal disease.

Villar, chairman of the Senate committee on trade and commerce, said the reported massive trading of geckos, locally known as “tuko,” poses a threat to the population of this type of reptile that feeds on insects such as mosquitoes.

“Recent reports stating the rise in hunting and selling of these reptiles because of their high cost in the international wildlife market coincide with the rise in the number of dengue patients now being monitored by the Department of Health,” Villar said.

Data from the latest Disease Surveillance Report of the DoH-National Epidemiology Center from the period January-June 2011 estimated dengue cases nationwide at 27,000..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/metro/20110731met4.html

SC orders gov’t to issue tax credits to Mercury Drug By Benjamin B. Pulta 07/31/2011

SC orders gov’t to issue tax credits to Mercury Drug

By Benjamin B. Pulta 07/31/2011

The Supreme Court (SC) has ordered the government to issue tax credits to Mercury Drug Corp. arising from a claim filed by the pharmaceutical retailer over the interpretation of a law granting discount privileges to senior citizens.

In its decision, the high court’s Second Division through Associate Justice Jose Perez ruled to grant the petition filed by the firm.

“The assailed Decision and Resolution of the Court of Appeals are reversed and set aside. Respondent Commissioner of Internal Revenue is ordered to issue tax credit certificates in favor of petitioner (Mercury) in the amounts of P2,289,381.71 and P22,237,650.34,” the decision said.

Associate Justices Antonio Carpio, Teresita Leonardo de Castro, Arturo Brion and Diosdado Peralta concurred with the ruling..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/metro/20110731met1.html

Selective justice — Noy style EDITORIAL 07/30/2011

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Selective justice — Noy style

EDITORIAL
Click to enlarge
07/30/2011
In his claimed fight against corruption, Noynoy stated in his second speech to the nation that this fight is personal to him, saying that “what is right is personal. Making people accountable — whoever they may be — is personal... because we have all been victimized by corruption. What is wrong remains wrong; regardless of how it has been allowed to persist. We cannot simply let it pass. If we ignore the crimes of the past, they will continue to haunt us. And if we do not hold people accountable, they will do it again and again.”

Fine words, but what he really means by the fight against corruption being personal to him is nothing but his personal vendetta against his predecessor, Gloria Arroyo.

This was made much too clear when he appointed, a week before his State of the Nation Address, an accused plunderer, Lt. Gen. Gaudencio Pangilinan Jr (ret). as his new chief of the Bureau of Corrections (BuCor), who the other day took his oath of office before the Department of Justice chief, where the case against him is still pending. But didn’t Noynoy say the fight is personal to him, whoever they may be?

Apparently, like her boss, Leila de Lima also embraces selective justice as well as indulges herself in trial and conviction by publicity but only against the presidential foes, as she gave nary an objection to an accused plunderer being sworn in by her as the new BuCor chief.... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20110730com1.html

Of glass houses and stones FRONTLINE Ninez Cacho-Olivares 07/30/2011

Of glass houses and stones

FRONTLINE
Ninez Cacho-Olivares
07/30/2011
Like I always say: People who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones.

The old Pagcor management was accused by Noynoy Aquino during his State of the Nation Adress last Monday of having plundered P1 billion for coffee, in a space of some nine years.

Obviously, Noynoy and his aides must have struggled through in getting a passing grade in Math, but never mind that. Not everyone excels in Math, or pseudo-Morality 101, especially Noynoy and his aides, along with his KKK.

But guess what? In just one week, the new Pagcor management lost P400 million to a foreign gambling syndicate last May — and that’s only counting a few casinos. There must have been more casinos that have been victimized by this foreign gambling syndicate. Still, any which way it is cut, a P400 million loss in gambling casinos in just one week is certainly worse than the P1 billion in nine years of coffee-drinking gamblers.... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20110730com2.html

Libyan top rebel commander killed, backlash feared focus 07/30/2011

Libyan top rebel commander killed, backlash feared

focus

07/30/2011
BENGHAZI — Gen. Abdel Fatah Younes, commander of forces fighting to oust Moamer Kadhafi and once the Libyan strongman’s right-hand man, has been killed, sparking fears of a violent backlash.

Younes was shot dead by an armed gang after he was summoned from the front by the rebel National Transitional Council “for questioning over military issues,” NTC chairman Mustafa Abdel Jalil said late Thursday.

His killing, and that of two military officers, is seen as a sign of divisions within the ranks of the rebels in eastern Libya even as they make fresh advances in the west in a pre-Ramadan push to drive Kadhafi out.

“With all sadness, I inform you of the passing of Abdel Fatah Younes, the commander-in-chief of our rebel forces,” Abdel Jalil said in a carefully worded statement at a press conference in Benghazi, the rebels’ eastern capital..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20110730com3.html

Rights violations victims file urgent motion before new Ombudsman

Rights violations victims file urgent motion before new Ombudsman

“However long this takes, we will never give up. What is important is we get justice for what was done to us. We urge newly-appointed Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales to act on the cases we filed that aim to seek justice for victims of human rights violations.”
– Raymond Manalo, victim of torture and arbitrary detention

By RONALYN V. OLEA

MANILA – Survivors of torture, their lawyers and supporters are confident that the new Ombudsman will act speedily to resolve the years-long complaints filed against several military officers for rights abuses.

Raymond Manalo and Oscar Leuterio filed today urgent motions to resolve the charges they filed against retired military officers Lt. Gen. Hermogenes Esperon, Maj. Gen. Jovito Palparan Jr., Maj. Gen. Juanito Gomez and other officials and personnel of the 24th Infantry Battalion of the Philippine Army and members of the Citizen’s Armed Forces Geographical Unit (Cafgu). Palparan and others were charged with kidnapping, arbitrary detention, physical injuries, threats, and involuntary servitude, among others.

Both were taken by soldiers in separate incidents and were subjected to various forms of torture. The two are also witnesses to the abduction and torture of University of the Philippines (UP) students Karen Empeño and Sherlyn Cadapan and farmer Manuel Merino.

The National Union of Peoples’ Lawyers (NUPL), whose members serve as lawyers of the complainants, noted that SC Justice Carpio-Morales was the one who penned the latest May 2011 decision granting the writ of amparo in favor of Cadapan, Empeño and Merino.

The group said the court found Manalo’s testimony as clear, categorical, consistent and credible. “Thus, with the evidence on hand, Manalo and Leuterio as well as other victims of human rights violations and their kin seek the speedy resolution of the charges against Palparan under the watch of Ombudsman Carpio Morales. “It is only through trying perpetrators and putting them behind bars that we can abate cases of abuse of state forces against innocent civilians,” Edre Olalia, NUPL secretary general, said.


L-R Oscar Leuterio, Erlinda Cadapan and Raymond Manalo are hopeful that the new Ombudsman will act on the cases filed against human rights violators. (Photo by Ronalyn V. Olea / bulatlat.com)


















“We are encouraged as honour and integrity is somehow restored into our justice system. With the appointment of a new Ombudsman, we can now prosecute human rights violators without worrying that the interests of the victims will be compromised by patronage politics,” Olalia said.

Manalo filed the charges on September 12, 2008 and Leuterio filed his complaints on November 16, 2006 at the office of former Ombudsman Merceditas Gutierrez.

“However long this takes, we will never give up. What is important is we get justice for what was done to us. We urge newly-appointed Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales to act on the cases we filed that aim to seek justice for victims of human rights violations,” Manalo said..... MORE

SourceBulatlat.com

URL: http://bulatlat.com/main/2011/07/29/rights-violations-victims-file-urgent-motion-before-new-ombudsman/

Govt version of Freedom of Information bill restrictive – journalists

Govt version of Freedom of Information bill restrictive – journalists


Theodore Te, lawyer and an advocate of freedom of information, noted that in the Aquino administration’s version of the Freedom of Information bill exceptions are longer than the list of information subject to mandatory disclosure.
Sidebar: Access to information more difficult under Aquino

By RONALYN V. OLEA
MANILA — Groups advocating for the passage of a freedom of information law have been waiting for 15 years already but they would not settle for the Aquino administration’s version of the bill, which ironically, turns out to be more restrictive.

In a policy forum organized by the Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility (CMFR), journalists and other advocates expressed dismay at the dilly-dallying of President Benigno S. Aquino III on the freedom of information (FOI) bill and criticized the proposals of the executive, as articulated by Manuel Quezon III, undersecretary of the Presidential Communications Development and Strategic Planning Office.

Several FOI bills have been filed in the House of Representatives and the Senate. Aquino tasked a study group to review it and come up with proposals. A draft is being worked on by the said team in consultation with various stakeholders, Quezon said.

Quezon admitted there are stumbling blocks to the passage of the FOI bill. On the other hand, Luis Tedoro, CMFR deputy director, could not accept the administration’s counter proposal, saying, “I feel that if the administration bill is passed, access to information may ironically be curtailed. If the admin bill gets passed, the FOI law may be one of those laws that are supposed to protect people’s rights but in actuality, do not.”

No clear signals

Advocates noted that Aquino did not mention FOI in his second State of the Nation Address (Sona) last Monday.

Malou Mangahas, executive director of PCIJ, said Aquino voted for the FOI bill when he was still a senator, and promised to push for an FOI law when he was still a presidential candidate. “In policy, Aquino and company [say they] support FOI but there are some concerns or is this an excuse?” Mangahas said, addressing Quezon..... MORE

SourceBulatlat.com

URL: http://bulatlat.com/main/2011/07/29/govt-version-of-freedom-of-information-bill-restrictive-journalists/

Auction of Mental Hospital land, budget cut of Heart Center threaten poor patients

Auction of Mental Hospital land, budget cut of Heart Center threaten poor patients

  “We are calling on the Aquino government to increase the budget of all public hospitals, not just of the Philippine Heart Center. If high costs of medical treatment even in government hospitals become more prevalent, more patients will die without being seen or treated by doctors.” – Bonifacio Carmona Jr., PHC Employees Association Congress speaker and AHW-NCR Representative.
By MARYA SALAMAT
Bulatlat.com

MANILA — Health workers, medical staff, employees and friends of the National Center for Mental Health (NCMH) in Mandaluyong City held a picket protest last week and this week, in front of their hospital, to oppose the impending displacement of the public hospital due to a government-planned bidding and sale of the land where it is located.

Called Welfareville, the approximately 48-hectare lands in Mandaluyong City are being eyed for conversion into a mixed commercial and residential area, a move participated in by Social Welfare Secretary Dinky Soliman, a union official charged. The planned “development” of Welfareville would adversely affect as many as 4,800 charity patients and 1,500 pay patients, said the National Center for Mental Health Employees’ Association last week, not to mention the other Filipinos who stand to lose their minds as poverty and problems afflict them day by day.


Health staff of NCMH in last week’s protest vs sale of Welfareville.(Photos by Gregorio “Jhun” B. Dantes Jr. / bulatlat.com)
If the conversion pushes through, the NCMH has only one year before it would be transferred, reportedly somewhere in Antipolo. The target final bidding for Welfareville is on June 2 next year.


What will happen now to mental patients? asked their friends.
NCMH has a total of 1,700 work force, majority of whom are members of the employees’ association. In one of the protests it held last week in preparation for a bigger mobilization for the protest action during the president’s State of the Nation Address, its union vice-president, Arman Palaganas, told bulatlat.com that the employees are worrying about how the displacement of the mental hospital would adversely affect the thousands of people, especially charity patients, who have mental problems.

Palaganas warned that if mental health patients continued to be neglected, more of them may likely just end up wandering our streets.
Protesting heartlessness
As weekly protests break out in the National Center for Mental Health in Mandaluyong City, in Quezon City, it is the Philippine Heart Center employees who have also been holding picket protests to call attention to the huge budget slash that has continued to afflict the hospital.

According to the employees’ union, the 77-percent budget slash they had been forced to work with is pushing the hospital to indebtedness, lack of supplies and since this year, a strict decision of the hospital management to hold back on services to charity heart patients, even if servicing them remains to be the hospital’s supposed main mandate..... MORE

SourceBulatlat.com

URL: http://bulatlat.com/main/2011/07/29/auction-of-mental-hospital-land-budget-cut-of-heart-center-threaten-poor-patients/

Aquino’s Sona: All for show, no substance – Bayan

Aquino’s Sona: All for show, no substance – Bayan

 There were many important things to the Filipino people that were missing in Aquino’s Sona, most speakers in the Sona rally said.
Sidebar:
Aquino hit for embracing paramilitary group in Cordillera


“Wang-wang Sona: too much noise, too little substance” – KMU

Sona 2011 has little to report, less to look forward to – Ibon
By MARYA SALAMAT
Bulatlat.com
MANILA – The second State of the Nation Address (Sona) delivered by President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino yesterday was buttressed in Metro Manila by a deployment of 7,000 policemen and 700 to 1,000 soldiers from the Philippine Navy and Philippine Army, plus some armored carriers in case it would be needed. These were to counter the mass of protesters who had sought permission earlier to conduct a “true Sona” rally near the Batasan grounds.

President Aquino had wanted the protesters to hold their program far from Batasan but the protesters persisted, reasoning that that would indeed show they are worse off than before. In the end, the Sona protesters led by the multi-sectoral alliance of progressive people’s groups BAYAN and the labor center Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU) managed to hold their program in front of St. Peter’s Church in Commonwealth Avenue.

Aquino has reportedly had a hand in drafting his Sona speech, which went through seven revisions by morning of his scheduled Sona. It was hyped to talk of “only the simple truth, without lies, in Tagalog,” as one of his communication secretaries, Sonny Coloma, promised on radio.


(Photo by Angelica de Lara / bulatlat.com)


















On the day of the Sona, President Aquino reportedly woke up early to prepare, and for only the third time since he was sworn in as president, he had called for a Cabinet meeting.

But despite the numerous times Aquino had revised his Sona speech and conducted a cabinet meeting, protesters still found his Sona greatly wanting in substance. After a year of Aquino’s rule, progressive people’s organizations declared that they have seen and suffered enough from the policies Aquino just continued from where Arroyo left off. Their effigy of Aquino is that of a “smelly rotten egg”.

No change under Aquino 

Aquino’s Sona was denounced as empty, for the Filipino masses at least, by leaders and members of progressive organizations that gathered for their main protest rally in Quezon City. More Sona protests airing “the true Sona” were simultaneously held in many other cities outside of Metro Manila. On the other hand, a single pro-Aquino rally was held and allowed to hold a program in front of the Batasan grounds..... MORE

SourceBulatlat.com

URL: http://bulatlat.com/main/2011/07/26/aquinos-sona-all-for-show-no-substance-%E2%80%93-bayan/

Worst year for OFWs

 Worst year for OFWs

OFWs are still forced to go abroad because the government has offered them nothing substantive and sustainable to address their families’s economic needs. Instead, what it has offered are mere dole-outs and band-aid solutions that does not do anything to address widespread unemployment and landlessness the root cause of forced migration.” – Migrante International
By JANESS ANN J. ELLAO
Bulatlat.com
MANILA — Fanny Espiritu, 47, stood before protesters in front of the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA). She was agitated while lambasting a government agency, which she referred to as “useless.” But when she went down from their makeshift stage, on top of a jeepney, tears flowed from her eyes.

“It is my first time to speak in a protest rally,” Espiritu told Bulatlat.com, “I do not know how I managed to pluck up the courage. In my heart, there is just too much hatred and disappointment on this government, which neglected my sister.”

Espiritu’s sister, Zosima Monterey, 43, is an overseas Filipino worker. It was her first time to work in Saudi Arabia. Their other sister suffered a bad fate when she worked in Jeddah, so naturally, Espiritu said, they were all against Monterey’s plan. “But she insisted for the sake of his nephews and nieces. She wants to help them because she loves them very much.”?

On June 12, 2007, Monterey left for Riyadh, Saudi Arabia to work as a beautician for Sarah Abdullah Alsaeed Ladies Dress Shop. Her contract stipulates that she would be receiving $500 a month, including free accommodation and food. But like what happened to most OFWs, she received less and her salary was always delayed..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://bulatlat.com/main/2011/07/24/worst-year-for-ofws/

Political prisoners start fasting up to Aquino’s Sona

“It appears that the Arroyo policy of witch-hunting, arrest, criminalization of political offenses and/or the slapping of fabricated criminal charges to silence and put behind bars human rights defenders continues to be implemented under Aquino,” Angelina Ipong, Selda spokeswoman, said.
By RONALYN V. OLEA

Bulatlat.com
MANILA – Hundreds of political prisoners in various detention cells nationwide have started fasting today up to President Benigno S. Aquino III’s State of the Nation Address (Sona) on Monday.

Dramatizing their call for general, unconditional and omnibus amnesty, 230 political prisoners in Camp Crame, Camp Bagong Diwa, New Bilibid Prisons, Manila City Jail, Quezon City Jail and other detention cells in Central Luzon, Batangas, Cagayan Valley, Central Visayas, Iloilo, Eastern Visayas, Southern Mindanao, Northern Mindanao, and Caraga, participated in the fasting.

According to Karapatan and Samahan ng Ex-Detainees Laban sa Detensyon at Aresto (Selda), there are 354 political prisoners nationwide. Majority of them were arrested during the previous administration of Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

“The redress of injustice to all political prisoners and the return of the freedom deprived from them are both a basic human right and an essential element in the peace process,” political prisoners detained at Camp Crame said in a joint statement.

“One year since the first Sona of Aquino, nothing has been done to serve justice for the illegal arrest, torture and illegal detention of the 354 political prisoners who are still languishing in jails all over the country,” Angelina Ipong, a recently released political prisoner and Selda spokeswoman, said..... MORE

SourceBulatlat.com

URL: http://bulatlat.com/main/2011/07/22/political-prisoners-start-fasting-until-aquino%E2%80%99s-sona/

House break-in ‘videographer’ skipped country By Angie M. Rosales 07/30/2011

ERAP CALLS FOR ‘BAYANIHAN FOR TRUTH’

House break-in ‘videographer’ skipped country

By Angie M. Rosales 07/30/2011

The police officer who was pointed to by a senator as the person who took the video showing the alleged “break-in” at the Batasang Pambansa in 2004, referring to the purported “switching” of ballot boxes during the height of the canvassing procedures of the presidential and vice presidential race, is no longer in the country.

“He is no longer here in the country. But there’s a way to contact him and he is already thinking on (whether to testify). Actually he is inclined to come out to testify but he is not here in the country right now,” Sen. Panfilo Lacson said yesterday.

Lacson has been coming with “exposés” a la MacArthy, the American congressman who was on a wild communist witchhunt” who always claimed he had a list of communists and their sympathizers, naming, without evidence, many American celebrities, in business, movies and politics.

A certain Lt. Joel Pinawin, an intelligence officer, surfaced Thursday afternoon in the office of Lacson to turn over to the senator copies of videos recorded via a mobile phone on the supposed ballot-switching incident that was said to have taken place in the Batasang Pambansa building several years ago..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20110730hed1.html

5 Marines beheaded in Abu Sayyaf Sulu clash By Mario J. Mallari 07/30/2011

5 Marines beheaded in Abu Sayyaf Sulu clash

By Mario J. Mallari 07/30/2011
Five of the seven slain Marines, one of them a junior officer, in Sulu province were beheaded by the terrorist Abu Sayyaf group after an intense five-hour clash on the outskirts of Patikul town last Thursday.

Reliable military sources, who requested anonymity, said the bodies of the five Marines were recovered in the vicinities of the encounter site in Barangay Panglayaan Mungit with their heads mutilated.

The sources added the head of one of the recovered bodies was still missing at press time. One source said the five Marines were the ones who were initially reported missing.

“Apparently, they were pinned down by the terrorists,” the source said..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20110730hed4.html

Death toll from ‘Juaning’ reaches 41; P1-B infra, crops destroyed By Mario J. Mallari 07/30/2011

Death toll from ‘Juaning’ reaches 41; P1-B infra, crops destroyed

By Mario J. Mallari 07/30/2011

Damages brought about by tropical storm “Juaning” was initially estimated at more than P1 billion, most of which was in Albay province, as the death toll increased to 41 persons yesterday, the National Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council (NDRRMC) reported.

Initial damage assessment reported by the NDRRMC showed that a total of P110,913,913.31 worth of agricultural products and an estimated P1,021,927,899.66 in infrastructure were destroyed by the havoc wrought by “Juaning.”

The province of Albay, which was placed under the state of calamity, recorded the highest damages both in agriculture and livestock sector and infrastructure with P799,000 and P967,886,899.66, respectively.
The figures could still go up as official reports coming from other affected provinces are expected to come in..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/nation/20110730nat1.html

Nene: Koko deserves seat of ‘fake’ senator 07/30/2011

Nene: Koko deserves seat of ‘fake’ senator

07/30/2011
Former Senate President Aquilino “Nene” Pimentel Jr. said yesterday that his son, lawyer Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III, deserves to take over the seat now occupied by Sen. Juan Miguel Zubiri.

“Political justice demands that Koko should be seated today, not in October or later,” said the elder Pimentel, who now stands as Koko’s legal counsel.

“Our electoral protest has been vindicated by the recent pronouncement of former Maguindanao provincial election supervisor Lintang Bedol that the 2007 senatorial election was rigged to favor Zubiri,” Pimentel said.

Detained former Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) Gov. Zaldy Ampatuan had earlier made the same claim of widespread fraud in the province in the 2007 elections.
.... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/nation/20110730nat11.html

NDF consultants released from detention will boost peace talks — Deles 07/30/2011

NDF consultants released from detention will boost peace talks — Deles

07/30/2011
Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Teresita Quintos-Deles said yesterday the release of a captured rebel leader and two National Democratic Front (NDF) consultants from detention following the dismissal of their cases by a court would help boost the government’s confidence-building in the resumption of peace talks next month.

Released from detention were rebel leader Jovencio Balweg and NDF consultants Maria Luisa Purcray of Agusan del Norte and Jaime Soledad of Leyte.

“The government has always maintained its commitment to this peace process. We look at this as a bonus that favorably affects the government’s current negotiations with the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army-National Democratic Front of the Philippines,” Deles said.

“We are appreciative of the efforts made by other government agencies in this matter,” said Alexander Padilla, chairman of the government peace panel negotiating with the CPP/NPA/NDF..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/nation/20110730nat15.html

Death toll from ‘Juaning’ reaches 41; P1-B infra, crops destroyed By Mario J. Mallari 07/30/2011

Death toll from ‘Juaning’ reaches 41; P1-B infra, crops destroyed

By Mario J. Mallari 07/30/2011

Damages brought about by tropical storm “Juaning” was initially estimated at more than P1 billion, most of which was in Albay province, as the death toll increased to 41 persons yesterday, the National Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council (NDRRMC) reported.

Initial damage assessment reported by the NDRRMC showed that a total of P110,913,913.31 worth of agricultural products and an estimated P1,021,927,899.66 in infrastructure were destroyed by the havoc wrought by “Juaning.”

The province of Albay, which was placed under the state of calamity, recorded the highest damages both in agriculture and livestock sector and infrastructure with P799,000 and P967,886,899.66, respectively.

The figures could still go up as official reports coming from other affected provinces are expected to come in..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/nation/20110730nat1.html

House panel to BIR: Liquidate P100-B forfeited properties By Gerry Baldo 07/30/2011

House panel to BIR: Liquidate P100-B forfeited properties

By Gerry Baldo 07/30/2011

The House committee on ways and means yesterday asked the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) to liquidate over P100 billion worth of properties it had forfeited in favor of the government.

According to Valenzuela Rep. Magtanggol Gunigundo, vice chairman of the ways and means panel, the properties have been idle in the BIR for three decades since the seventies.

“There are money and assets forfeited in favor of the Philippine government that are being hoarded by the BIR. This is atrocious. It should liquidate these properties immediately,” Gunigundo told House reporters.
Gunigundo also asked the BIR, now headed by Commissioner Kim Henares, to submit a list of all the properties that it forfeited in Isabela, Pampanga and some provinces in Cagayan as well as in Caloocan City that would help the panel to determine how much funds the government can generate in selling the assets..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/metro/20110730met1.html

Lawmakers push inclusion of road safety education in school curricula By Charlie V. Manalo 07/30/2011

Lawmakers push inclusion of road safety education in school curricula

By Charlie V. Manalo 07/30/2011

Road safety will soon be included in elementary and high school curricula as lawmakers strongly sought its inclusion in basic education to protect the young from road and traffic accidents.

Reps. Angelo Palmones (Agham) and Homer Mercado (1-Utak) filed House Bill 4890 to be known as the Road Safety Education Act of 2011 as they stressed the urgent need for the Filipino youth to be educated on road safety.

“I believe that the State can ensure the protection of the vulnerable road users by supporting all road safety strategic measures and programs that will inculcate in the minds of school children through early basic education behavioral changes and discipline in road use,” Palmones said..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/metro/20110730met2.html

Shameless obfuscation DIE HARD III Herman Tiu Laurel 07/29/2011

Friday, July 29, 2011

Shameless obfuscation

DIE HARD III
Herman Tiu Laurel
07/29/2011
What is P1 billion over nine years of graft to P800 billion in debt service corruption each year, totaling P7.2 trillion the past nine years? The former is just coffee money while the latter is a gargantuan scam by the financial institutions. Officially adopted as policy in past administrations, this national swindle has even worsened under PeNoy after a fresh new round of debts was incurred, beginning with P300 billion in December 2010. And that’s despite the fact that the foreign debt, which the country no longer needs, can even be reduced by paying off substantial portions while renegotiating the rest. But has PeNoy made a squeak, much less, thought about it?

Indeed, this problem has gone on for decades; but the present regime has now been handed the golden opportunity to end it by tapping the OFW remittances accumulated and idled in the Special Deposit Account (SDA), as well as the surplus Gross International Reserves (GIRs) regularly bragged about by the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP). So why does PeNoy keep mum on all this? Could it be ignorance, cowardice, or both?

Consumer woes brought about by inflation are one of the most serious crises ever to hit the Filipino people — from the astronomical rise in the price of National Food Authority (NFA) rice (P11/kilo during Erap’s time to today’s P23/kilo) to the high cost of public utilities (including our highest electricity rates in Asia and our highest cellphone interconnection rates in the Asia-Pacific).

In past annual assessments made by former presidents, inflation has always been a key emphasis, with the lowly galunggong as the standard. Nowadays, even galunggong is way beyond the reach of poor Filipinos and is no longer mentioned. Discussions on commodity prices are relevant only if the people have the jobs and the decent income to purchase such goods and services.

However, one of the centerpiece programs of PeNoy, the CCT (Conditional Cash Transfer) or his political doleout program, where pro-PeNoy rallyists are rewarded, and which doesn’t create jobs — confirms his government’s failure at jobs creation.

One of the commodities that define Filipino living standards today is electricity. PeNoy praised Congress for two laws extending the lifeline rate subsidy and the Joint Congressional Power Commission (JCPC) set-up to oversee electricity privatization.

Upon hearing this, power consumer advocate Butch Junia immediately texted us: “I do not know what to make of P-Noys’ claiming credit for the lifeline rate and extension of the JCPC. Did he endorse the lifeline rate knowing full well that those consuming 101 kWh or more per month are the ones paying that subsidy? That is P25 additional cost for a 150 kWh household. Did he know that the Epira administered by the JCPC increased our power rates to the highest in Asia? If he knew these, what kind of a president is he to lay the subsidy burden on unknowing customers?... If he did not know these fundamental realities… what kind of president is he?”

PeNoy boasted of reducing unemployment from 8 percent as of April 2010 to 7.2 percent. But Ibon Foundation contradicted this, citing the failure of 1.2 million new entrants to be absorbed into the job market. PeNoy, as expected, reacted acerbically, saying: “Kung ayaw n’yong makita, ‘di ba, sorry, ‘di ba, wala akong magagawa do’n.”

To settle the question, I checked on data banks culled from the International Labor Organization (ILO) figures placing RP’s 2010 unemployment rate at 7.2 percent — no different from what PeNoy is claiming today. Only, PeNoy and his speechwriters tried to distort the picture by presenting seasonal against annual trends — which is no different from Gloria Arroyo’s style in claiming better stats.

But as they all obfuscate, they have invariably classified tricycle drivers as among the employed when such is the recourse of those who lose their jobs, same with their tact of considering unpaid family workers as among the employed.

This jobs crisis should be seen against the backdrop of the economic environment — from Cory Aquino down to her son — characterized by liberalization, deregulation and privatization. Trade liberalization undercut Philippine industries that deregulation and privatization made uncompetitive with predatory rate fixing of privatized public utilities (electricity, water, irrigation, tollways, port services, telecoms). Add to this increasing tax burden on both industry and consumers and the humongous annual debt service and you have a recipe for disaster.

As the Philippines became uncompetitive, the middle class shrank and the underground economy expanded, thus narrowing our tax base and causing government capabilities to collapse with escalating graft and corruption. Kilusan para sa Makabansang Ekonomiya (KME) chairman Jimmie Regalario summed this all up in our Destiny Cable TV show entitled, “So-Ano Na?”: PeNoy has nothing on any of these.

A long decade after mainstream broadcast media stopped inviting me to their TV debates, I was invited again last Monday to a 1 p.m. GMA News show. Winnie Monsod sat across me. She gave PeNoy a passing mark based on the Movement for Good Government (MGG)’s rating of 10 indicators — this, despite the fact that the MGG actually rated PeNoy a failure, with a score of only 4.75 out of 10.

Furthermore, Monsod crowed about the anti-corruption drive of the “daang matuwid,” which I said was belied by PeNoy’s appointment of several corrupt personalities — from the DILG and DoTC undersecretaries, to the sweepstakes agency chief who was with the Arroyo and FVR boards where she consented to and undoubtedly partook of all the graft and corruption there. While I was at it, I also cited Joker Arroyo’s alleged use of that agency’s funds for his 2001 campaign which they choose to keep silent about.

Finally, PeNoy’s flagship Public-Private Partnership (PPP) program was not mentioned because it’s still an absolute zero; same with the bluster around the Spratlys and the boasted acquisition of vintage Hamilton cutters, which are laughable. These are why PeNoy’s cheering squad in mainstream papers such as the Inquirer can only praise his “greatness” in oratory (like an Amorsolo in speech) and the oversold “wang-wang” spiel… All in the spirit of shameful and shameless obfuscation.

(Tune in to Radyo OpinYon, Monday to Friday, 5 to 6 p.m., and Sulo ng Pilipino, Monday, Wednesday and Friday, 6 to 7 p.m. on 1098AM; Talk News TV with HTL, Tuesday, 8 to 9 p.m., with replay at 11 p.m., on GNN, Destiny Cable Channel 8; visit http://newkatipunero.blogspot.com and http://hermantiulaurel.blogspot.com for our articles plus TV and radio archives)


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

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20110729com5.html

Dirty, wicked politics EDITORIAL Click to enlarge 07/29/2011

Dirty, wicked politics

EDITORIAL
Click to enlarge
07/29/2011
The horse trading between the House and Malacañang on the 2012 budget has started and to describe these as wretched would be an understatement.

President Aquino had submitted a P1.8-trillion budget that included more than P40 billion in lump sum for the centerpiece cash transfer program or what his administration calls the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) that was even copied from the previous administration of Gloria Arroyo.

On the day that the House received the proposed budget, Speaker Feliciano Belmonte’s first move was to strike a deal with the Budget secretary on the release of congressmen’s pork barrel or the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) for which Belmonte nearly faced a mutiny earlier.

Belmonte, who is an ally of Noynoy, but was a staunch ally of Gloria when she was in Malacañang, bluntly told Budget Secretary Butch Abad that unless the pork barrel is released the budget would be consigned to the dust bin..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20110729com1.html

Noy embracing the ‘wang-wang’ culture FRONTLINE Ninez Cacho-Olivares 07/29/2011

Noy embracing the ‘wang-wang’ culture

FRONTLINE
Ninez Cacho-Olivares
07/29/2011
Noynoy claims to be treading the straight path and has even called on the nation to do away with what he calls the “wang-wang” culture representing abuse of power and privilege. He says that as president, his vision is the nation’s social transformation. He also says that he is there to strengthen the institutions and even speaks even of instilling independence in such institutions.

But what he says is not necessarily what he does, that’s for certain.

Noynoy called for an end to corruption, yet he and his aides are heavy into corrupting the House of Representatives by dangling the congressional pork barrel release in exchange for the swift passage of his proposed national budget.

But if, as he claims, he wants to strengthen the institutions, one of which is the House, whose members are said to be representatives of the people, why is he resorting to bribery and further corrupting the already corrupt congressmen? Why should there be a quid pro quo for the congressmen’s pork barrel, when this is what is really due them, as allocated in the national budget?.... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20110729com2.html

Afghan army fights for respect, equipment in south focus 07/29/2011

Afghan army fights for respect, equipment in south

focus

07/29/2011
COMPANY OUTPOST WARE — Afghan commander Maqim Sediqi has spent more than half of his life on battlefields but says that these days he is more preoccupied fighting for respect than firing his gun.

The army captain leads some 100 men battling alongside American forces to keep control of the critical Arghandab Valley in southern Kandahar province, where a surge of US troops last year has seen some successes against a trenchant insurgency.

But this year’s traditional summer fighting season comes as thousands of US troops prepare to leave Afghanistan, putting the fledgling force under pressure to show what they can do for themselves.

And while commanders cite gains in the outlying areas of the province, the birthplace of the Taliban, a string of political assassinations in Kandahar city a few kilometers (miles) south has brought fresh fears of an insurgent comeback..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20110729com3.html

Norway’s aristocrat PM voices grief of a nation focus 07/29/2011

Norway’s aristocrat PM voices grief of a nation

focus

07/29/2011
OSLO — Jens Stoltenberg, whose government and party was targeted by last week’s deadly attacks, has been unanimously hailed for his dignified and quintessentially Norwegian handling of the crisis aftermath.

According to a poll published on Wednesday, 94 percent of Norwegians have been satisfied with the prime minister’s performance in the aftermath of last week’s massacre while only two percent have been dissatisfied.

“Stoltenberg has been a fantastic leader under exceptional circumstances, humane and yet firm at the same time.
 He has never been so impressive, Harald Stanghelle, a columnist for the leading Aftenposten daily, told AFP.

When a massive car bomb exploded outside his office on Friday afternoon, the 52-year-old was rushed into hiding by his security detail for fear that his life was in danger..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20110729com6.html

How Norway’s police moved in on the gunman FEATURE 07/29/2011

How Norway’s police moved in on the gunman

FEATURE

07/29/2011
OSLO — Bullets were still hitting the water when police arrived to stop the massacre on the Norwegian island of Utoeya, the officer who led the operation said Wednesday.

Haavard Gaasbakk, who headed the intervention team, defended his men against criticism from some quarters that they were too slow to get to the scene.

Gaasbakk said he was proud of his men’s work Friday, the day self-confessed killer Anders Behring Breivik went on the rampage and shot dead 68 people on the island.

“They were extremely solid and showed much courage right down the line,” Gaasbakk said.

According to the official version of events, it took police just over an hour after receiving the first message about the shootings on the island, 40 kilometers (25 miles) from Oslo, to arrest Behring Breivik..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20110729com7.html

Letter from Mika Ortega C.R.O.S.S.R.O.A.D.S Jonathan De la Cruz 07/29/2011

Letter from Mika Ortega

C.R.O.S.S.R.O.A.D.S
Jonathan De la Cruz
07/29/2011
Mika Ortega is the daughter of murdered broadcast journalist and environmentalist Dr. Gerry Ortega whose case remains unsolved, mired in bureaucratic limbo at the Department of Justice (DoJ).

Last we heard, the panel investigating Doc Gerry’s murder has recommended the filing of charges against members of the “hit team” — all from Quezon — who confessed to the crime. But, wonder of wonders, the panel did not even bother to look at the confessions of these people implicating in no uncertain terms, prominent Palaweños, including former Palawan Gov. Joel Reyes whom the Ortega family and a growing number of those who have been monitoring this case allege have something to do with this dastardly act. But Mika and her family, though doubly heart broken as a result of the panel’s decision, continue to plod on. Before P-Noy’s second State of the Nation Address (Sona), Mika and her mother made the rounds requesting friends in media and in other sectors, including the religious, to please remind the Chief Executive not only of Doc Gerry’s fate but all other unsolved media and extra-judicial killings. They were hoping that at the very least P-Noy would say something to get the investigating bodies, especially the DoJ back on their feet and move even faster to solve these cases. No such luck. But they remain hopeful. Yesterday, Mika guested in our daily morning show Karambola over dwIZ and repeated her plea. In response to her call and P-Noy’s pledge to do away with the “wang-wang” culture of abuse of power and impunity, we are giving space to her latest plea. We hope Malacañang will listen not only to her family’s plea but those of other victims whose cases remain in limbo. Here goes:.... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20110729com4.html

Police brass stonewall Senate on choppers probe By Angie M. Rosales 07/29/2011

PROBERS FAIL TO LINK ARROYOS TO DEAL

Police brass stonewall Senate on choppers probe

By Angie M. Rosales 07/29/2011

Officials of the Philippine National Police (PNP) placed in the hot seat at a Senate probe into the acquisition of two used helicopters supposedly owned by the family of former President Arroyo, passed off and paid for as brand new units, tried to wash their hands off the anomalous purchase while at the same time tried covering up for the real owners of the aircraft in the raw deal which, in turn, incensed the senators.

As a result, Senate probers failed to establish at the hearing yesterday the true owners of the choppers who were alleged to be the Arroyos or the former First Family were the original owners of two of the three choppers the PNP purchased.

Appearing before the Senate blue ribbon committee, PNP officials privy to the transaction of the alleged irregular P105 million purchase of light operational helicopters from Manila Aerospace Trading Corp. (Maptra) failed to provide solid information on the purchases that happened in 2009 despite admitting that the PNP supply contract specified that the helicopters to be purchased should be “unused” or brand new. One official admitted to Senate probers that they were actually deceived by Maptra, the supplier..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20110729hed1.html

DoJ set to probe ’04 vote fraud; GMA camp says ER switch ridiculous 07/29/2011

DoJ set to probe ’04 vote fraud; GMA camp says ER switch ridiculous

07/29/2011
There is no let-up from the Aquino administration in its bid to pin down former President now Rep. Gloria Arroyo on poll fraud, with the Department of Justice (DoJ) yesterday saying it will be investigating fresh allegations that Arroyo used the police to steal the 2004 presidential election.

The inquiry will look into claims by a senior police officer that he broke into the House of Representatives in 2005 to switch election documents stored there so that Arroyo’s victory would survive a recount, Justice Secretary Leila de Lima said.

“We’ve always known that in each election there’s cheating, but the scale of it in 2004, based on the various bits and pieces that we’ve been getting from our sources... it’s really mind-boggling,” De Lima told reporters.
She said Arroyo’s win could not be overturned by a finding of fraud, but the evidence could be used to file criminal charges against those involved..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20110729hed2.html

Australia probes Philippine organ allegations 07/29/2011

Australia probes Philippine organ allegations

07/29/2011
SYDNEY — Australian police said yesterday they had launched their first organ trafficking investigation after an elderly kidney patient reportedly brought a Filipina to Sydney for harvesting purposes.

Police said a house had been raided in March in relation to “suspected organ trafficking” and a probe was under way.

“This is the first organ trafficking case investigated by the Australian Federal Police,” a spokesman told AFP.

Officers usually tasked with people trafficking and sex slavery crimes were examining the case, she added, declining to detail the specific allegations..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/nation/20110729nat6.html

Tropical storm ‘Juaning’ leaves 35 dead; 130,225 families affected By Mario J. Mallari 07/29/2011

Tropical storm ‘Juaning’ leaves 35 dead; 130,225 families affected

By Mario J. Mallari 07/29/2011
Tropical storm “Juaning” yesterday left the country, leaving at least 35 people dead, including four policemen and personnel of the Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) whose truck stalled in Ifugao province while conducting hazard mapping in the area on Wednesday and was hit by a massive landslide.

National Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council (NDRRMC) executive director Undersecretary Benito Ramos said that four bodies have been recovered by rescuers from the landslide that hit a portion of the national highway in Aguinaldo town.

At around 7 a.m. yesterday, two bodies were unearthed from the landslide while two others were discovered hours later.

On Wednesday, three personnel of the MGB-Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) were conducting hazard mapping in the area at around 4 p.m. when their pickup truck stalled. Two policemen assisted the MGB inspectors but unfortunately the landslide happened, burying the victims..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/nation/20110729nat1.html

Lawmakers urge House to speed up probe into ballot-switching By Gerry Baldo 07/29/2011

Lawmakers urge House to speed up probe into ballot-switching

By Gerry Baldo 07/29/2011

Lawmakers yesterday urged the House leadership to expedite the investigation into the alleged switching of ballots at the time these were being canvassed at the House of Representatives after the 2004 elections.

According to San Juan Rep. Joseph Victor “JV” Ejercito, the admission of the police officer that there was switching of election returns during the Batasan canvass is a major evidence during the 2004 electoral fraud.

“All those who have knowledge of the cheating and those who allowed this to happen should be included in the investigation,” Ejercito said yesterday even as he called for a wider probe into the allegations.

“I am encouraging those involved to come out and shed light regarding the 2004 electoral fraud and 2001 conspiracy that both stole the presidency from the rightful persons,” Ejercito, son of former President Estrada, said. Estrada was ousted in a coup led by then Vice President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo in 2001..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/metro/20110729met2.html

1,305 smoking ban violators fall in Caloocan City, penalized 07/29/2011

1,305 smoking ban violators fall in Caloocan City, penalized

07/29/2011
Joint operatives of the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) and Reformed Department of Public Safety and Traffic Management (RDPSTM) of the Caloocan City government have apprehended a total of 1,305 smoking ban violators all over the city.

This was revealed by RDPSTM chief Al Sta. Maria in his report to Mayor Enrico “Recom” Echiverri updating the latter on the number of apprehensions that the two agencies have made since July 1.

Most of the violators were individuals caught smoking cigarettes at the Light Rail Transit (LRT) Monumento Station which is frequented by thousands of commuters daily, Sta. Maria said.

Smoking ban is strictly observed not only in public places like the LRT but also in and around the city hall, he said..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/metro/20110729met3.html

Unacceptable then, acceptable now? EDITORIAL 07/28/2011

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Unacceptable then, acceptable now?

EDITORIAL
Click to enlarge
07/28/2011
Sometime in 2010, shortly after Noynoy became the Malacañang resident, and when the weather bureau failed to announce the occurrence of stormy weather with heavy rains pouring into Metro Manila, Noynoy publicly berated the weather bureau chief, firing him on the spot, saying that it was unacceptable to him that the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa) failed to predict the stormy weather accurately and warn residents as well as the Coast Guard, which he said left the government unprepared for such a calamitous situation.
The then Pagasa chief, who was fairly respected and held in esteem by the Pagasa employees, tried to explain that the equipment they had was obsolete, along with many more explanations besides. But none of these explanations mattered. He was told to go by Noynoy, without as much as a probe.

Last heard of the old Pagasa chief was that he had left for work abroad..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20110728com1.html

Whither independence? FRONTLINE Ninez Cacho-Olivares 07/28/2011

Whither independence?

FRONTLINE
Ninez Cacho-Olivares
07/28/2011
The hype over the appointment of a former high court justice was that, finally, the nation is to have an independent Ombudsman.

But by independent, as measured by Noynoy and his Yellows, is meant for one who is seen as biased against his predecessor, Gloria Arroyo.

Noynoy devotees speak of the new Ombudsman’s voting record as a dissenter in many Supreme Court (SC) decisions that favored the then administration. But what is being omitted is the fact that before the fall- out of a law firm with the Arroyos, which firm earlier served as her personal lawyers, the new Ombudsman, former Associate Justice of the SC Conchita Carpio-Morales’ voting record was certainly Malacañang-friendly, just as friendly as that of her cousin, SC Associate Justice Antonio Carpio.

Evidently, Noynoy and his Yellows see being “independent” to mean anyone friendly to him and biased against his predecessor..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20110728com2.html

Hezbollah on edge in face of Syria revolt ANALYSIS 07/28/2011

Hezbollah on edge in face of Syria revolt

ANALYSIS

07/28/2011
BEIRUT — The unprecedented revolt threatening the regime in Syria has placed key ally Hezbollah in a tight spot and prompted the Lebanese militant group to adopt a more measured attitude, analysts say.

“Hezbollah’s margin of maneuver is currently very limited because the strategic Iran-Syria-Hezbollah axis is threatened by the revolt and this forces the group to act prudently,” said Paris-based Middle East expert Agnes Levallois.

The Shiite party, also backed by Iran, is the most powerful military and political group in Lebanon and is a key player in the new government formed last month.

But the upheaval in neighboring Syria caught Hezbollah off guard and threatens its position, analysts say..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20110728com3.html

The nightmare of love across the West Bank barrier focus 07/28/2011

The nightmare of love across the West Bank barrier

focus

07/28/2011
JERUSALEM — When Sana, who comes from the West Bank city of Hebron, married her Jerusalem-born husband Mohammed 13 years ago, she never imagined their union would lead to a life of fear and hiding.

At first, their different residency permits — hers for the West Bank, his for Jerusalem — weren’t much of an issue. She could live with her husband in Arab east Jerusalem with a temporary permit, and movement between the city and the West Bank was still fairly easy.

But, with the outbreak of the second Palestinian uprising in 2000, travel restrictions gradually tightened until in 2003 Israel effectively stopped issuing Jerusalem residency permits to Palestinians, catching Sana and Mohammed in an impossible bind.

Without an Israeli permit, Sana can’t live in Jerusalem with her husband and children. But if Mohammed moves to the West Bank, he risks losing his Jerusalem residency and all access to the city of his birth..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20110728com6.html

Iraqi jihadists back anti-regime protests in Syria focus 07/28/2011

Iraqi jihadists back anti-regime protests in Syria

focus

07/28/2011
BAGHDAD — Iraqi jihadists have strongly backed protests against President Bashar al-Assad even though his regime purportedly aided the militants by allowing arms and fighters to cross into Iraq.

One Internet posting on jihadist Web site Honein, a forum for al-Qaeda supporters, equated Assad’s Alawite regime to Iran’s former Safavid dynasty, in an effort to show that both are Shiite heresies.

“The Syrian Safavid regime has destroyed the country, tortured and murdered Muslims and showed no mercy to sheikhs (religious leaders), women or children,” said a posting signed Ibn Ard al Nahwi (Son of the land of courage).

The jihadists regularly invoke Iran’s Safavid past, referring to the Shiite dynasty that ruled between the 16th and 18th centuries in Persia, and conquered part of Iraq..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20110728com7.html

Mendicant nation INSIDE CONGRESS Charlie Manalo 07/28/2011

Mendicant nation

INSIDE CONGRESS
Charlie Manalo
07/28/2011
In Noynoy’s second State of the Nation Address Monday, he boasted to high heavens of the more than a million job his administration had generated in his one year in office, the positive effects of which was immediately dismissed by analysts saying they were more than offset by a growing labor force of 1.2 million people and an 829,000-increase in underemployment.

However, almost overlooked in Noy’s Sona was his assessment of the conditional cash transfer which he claimed to have yielded positive results. But if we are to believe that his CCT, which targets 2.3 million family-beneficiaries this year, is indeed successful, along with his job-generation program, then how come his administration seeks to increase the CCT beneficiaries to 3 million families this year, almost doubling the budget for the dole outs from P21 billion in 2011 to P39 billion next year?

Aren’t the objectives of these two programs totally contradictory?

If indeed Noy is successful in his economic program (which until now has been vague) that includes job generation to be made possible by enticing foreign investors through his private-public partnership agenda, then he has no reason to increase the number of CCT beneficiaries, much more its budget..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20110728com5.html

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