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Political basket case EDITORIAL 01/11/2011

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Political basket case

EDITORIAL
Click to enlarge
01/11/2011
Charter changespeak is again up in the air, with a group of Liberal Party (LP) members pushing it, giving as reason that, as Noynoy Aquino has announced that he will no longer run in 2016, there is now need for a change in the Constitution.

Why Noynoy even bothered to make that statement is odd, considering the fact that he really can’t run for the presidency again as his reelection is banned in the Charter. But if he means another elective post, such as a seat in Congress a la Gloria Arroyo, then he really shouldn’t, mainly because he won’t amount to anything either, as his past and present record already shows.

Truth is, there really is need for a complete overhaul of the Charter, such as cutting the term of the president to four years, with one reelection.

As Filipinos already have experienced much too often, six years is too long a time for an incompetent, know-nothing, do nothing president. Four years should be sufficient time for a president to fulfill his campaign pledges and if he does well in his first four years, then the electorate can vote him in, or, if he performs horribly in the first four years, the electorate can kick him out of office — democratically..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20110111com1.html

Stupid is as stupid does FRONTLINE Ninez Cacho-Olivares 01/11/2011

Stupid is as stupid does

FRONTLINE
Ninez Cacho-Olivares
01/11/2011
It certainly looks more and more like Noynoy Aquino’s legal and administrative aides, including his spokesmen, never bother to do any research before shooting their mouths off with unsubstantiated claims.

Just yesterday, the Sandiganbayan’s second division blasted the Office of the Solicitor-General (OSG) for claiming and insisting that the plea bargain between former military comptroller, retired Maj. Gen Carlos Garcia and the prosecutors from the Ombudsman’s Office was approved last May, or two months before Gloria Arroyo stepped down from Malacañang.

The presiding justice was quoted as saying that had the OSG read the court’s May resolution, there would have to be certain conditions to first be met, before the plea bargain is approved.

The court then gave Garcia 15 days within which to respond to the OSG’s allegations to get the plea bargain agreement junked, but the court also junked any oral arguments for and against the plea bargain..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20110111com2.html

‘De-baptism’ gains in Belgium in wake of child abuse scandal FEATURE 01/11/2011

‘De-baptism’ gains in Belgium in wake of child abuse scandal

FEATURE

01/11/2011
BRUSSELS — The child abuse scandals rocking Belgium’s powerful Catholic Church are also shaking the faith of followers, with more and more people asking to be struck off baptism registers — a global movement known as “de-baptism.”

“When you don’t agree with an organization that you never chose to join in the first place, the healthiest thing to do is to leave,” Damien Spleeters told AFP.

In this mainly Catholic country of 10 million people, the 24-year-old is among a growing crowd exasperated by church policy on issues such as AIDS, and angered by revelations last year of massive child abuse by priests and lay workers.

After reports in April that the bishop of Bruges had sexually abused his own nephew for 13 years, starting when the boy was five, a church-backed commission in September issued graphic testimony of nearly 500 cases of child abuse by priests and lay workers, including 13 victims who committed suicide..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20110111com3.html

And now, from my mailbox NO HOLDS BARRED Armida Siguion-Reyna 01/11/2011

And now, from my mailbox

NO HOLDS BARRED
Armida Siguion-Reyna
01/11/2011
I fall back on my ever dependable e-mail box, and see pieces worth sharing, some of which need to be edited because of space constraints.

From Isabel Henderson, a production assistant who worked with me during my much, much more temperamental years. The former Isabel Sumayao whose father was the brother of Mila Ocampo, Snooky Serna’s mother, wrote on Dec. 20, just a day after Sig left:

“Hi Armida, I just read of Atty. Reyna’s passing today. I am very sorry for your loss, and I would like to extend my deepest condolences to you, Monique, Dodie, Carlitos, Bibeth and the rest of your family. Atty. Reyna was a very impressive man and it was a privilege to have known him. I’m sure he’s in a good place wherever that is. And I will pray that his soul rest in peace.”.... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20110111com4.html

Banks and breweries AN OUTSIDERS VIEW Ken Fuller 01/11/2011

Banks and breweries

AN OUTSIDERS VIEW
Ken Fuller
01/11/2011
Just after Christmas, this outsider received an e-mail from avaaz.org, the online campaigning organization, regarding the transmission costs of overseas remittances. The example given was of a Kenyan student in the Netherlands who sent his year’s savings back to his family in time for the holidays, only to find that Western Union took 20 percent of the total in fees.

Avaaz is therefore organizing a petition to pressure Western Union to reduce its transaction costs to 5 percent, the maximum recommended by the World Bank. Acorn International, which also campaigns for lower transfer fees, says that for every $100 remitted to the Philippines via Western Union, $12 goes in transfer fees, and another $2 is lost as a foreign exchange rate charge. According to a report by Associated Press, by the way, Western Union’s CEO saw her income treble in 2009 – to $8.1 million.

There can be no doubt that foreign remittances are big business for the banks and money transfer companies. The World Bank (remittanceprices.worldbank.org) says that such remittances added up to $414 billion in 2009, $316 billion of which went to developing countries, involving 192 million people (migrants and their families) — some 3 percent of the world’s population.

Avaaz, meanwhile, estimates that in the same year some $44.3 billion was “lost” in fees charged by banks and outfits like Western Union..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20110111com5.html

Arizona shooting spotlights ‘toxic’ political climate focus 01/11/2011

Arizona shooting spotlights ‘toxic’ political climate

focus

01/11/2011
WASHINGTON — Recriminations and soul-searching burst forth Sunday over whether an inflamed political climate influenced a gunman to shoot a US congresswoman and 19 other persons in Arizona.

From the left and the right, politicians and commentators seized on the attempted assassination of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords Saturday as either a reflection of the passions stirred up by rabble-rousing conservatives or the isolated act of an unhinged psychopath.

Liberals highlighted a map posted online ahead of the November elections by Sarah Palin’s political action committee showing the United States with the locations of vulnerable politicians, including Giffords, designated with cross-hairs.

Palin’s trademark war cry — “Don’t Retreat, Reload” — also came under fire.

“These sorts of things, I think, invite the kind of toxic rhetoric that can lead unstable people to believe this is an acceptable response,” said Dick Durbin, the number two Democrat in the Senate, in an interview with CNN..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20110111com6.html

Insurance fraud rings find fertile ground in Canada focus 01/11/2011

Insurance fraud rings find fertile ground in Canada

focus

01/11/2011
MONTREAL — It starts with a seemingly courteous gesture behind the wheel: An innocent driver signals to turn left, and a driver in an oncoming lane waves for him to go ahead — when another vehicle speeds up and crashes into the turning car.

Unbeknownst to the person just hit, the collision was staged in order to collect hefty insurance payouts under provincial no-fault insurance programs. The scammers first collect insurance for their car’s replacement value then submit bogus injury claims at health clinics.

Ken Bowman, vice president of RBC Insurance, said the growing trend of staged accidents involves buying vehicles, often luxury cars such as Mercedes, and having “seat sales,” in which fraudsters “pay 1,000 dollars for every person recruited to be in the car.”

In some cases, four persons will agree to participate in a staged accident and will go on to submit multiple injury claims, billing for costly healthcare assessments and treatments..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20110111com7.html

PNP to Noynoy: Not so fast, camps donated, not for sale By Angie M. Rosales 01/11/2011

PNP to Noynoy: Not so fast, camps donated, not for sale

By Angie M. Rosales 01/11/2011

The Philippine National Police appears to have more guts than its military counterpart, enough to tell President Aquino that he may face a big problem if he goes ahead with his plan to sell land portions of the PNP and the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP)’s twin camps: Camps Crame and Aguinaldo.

Over the weekend, Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima said the Aquino government has plans to sell government assets, including the 178-hectare Camp Aguinaldo and the 33-hectare Camp Crame.

Purisima claimed that he already has discussed this plan with the Defense chief, Voltaire Gazmin and the AFP leadership on the issue of the privatization of the twin camps. Reports said they brooked no objection to the Palace plan.

But Chief Supt. Agrimero Cruz Jr., PNP spokesman, said the main offices of the AFP and PNP are located in lands donated by Ortigas & Co. in the 1950s..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20110111hed1.html

House to study Cha-cha, Noy nixes change By Gerry Baldo 01/11/2011

House to study Cha-cha, Noy nixes change

By Gerry Baldo 01/11/2011

A day after a congressman from the Liberal Party made a call for Charter change, Speaker Feliciano Belmonte said that the administration is going to study the possibility of pursuing Cha-cha if it does not get in the way of important bills that have to be approved.

But the Palace also yesterday thumbed down any change in the Constitution, saying that this is not a priority under the Aquino administration.

Deputy Presidential Spokesman Abigail Valte said Aquino does not see amending the 1987 Charter as a priority of his administration, saying that “Nobody has ever presented an argument that would make Charter change urgent that it would place the country at risk if the Constitution at the present time is not changed. It is not a priority,” Valte said.

“There are more pressing concerns that should be addressed before this,” she added..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20110111hed2.html

SC junks suit on amnesty grant for active, ex-AFP By Benjamin B. Pulta 01/11/2011

SC junks suit on amnesty grant for active, ex-AFP

By Benjamin B. Pulta 01/11/2011

The Supreme Court has turned down a suit questioning President Aquino’s Proclamation No. 50 granting amnesty to active and former military personnel who participated in uprisings against former President Arroyo.

In a minute resolution, the court denied the petition filed by former Boac, Marinduque Mayor Pedrito Nepomuceno “for not being in the proper form.”

“The court resolved to deny, for not being in the proper form, the subject petition to declare President Aquino’s Proclamation No. 50 dated Oct. 11, 2010 premature, null and void from the beginning and without effect,” the SC declared.

The SC noted that Nepomuceno merely submitted a six-page self explanatory petition against Proclamation No. 50 which covered active and former personnel of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) involved in the July 27, 2003 Oakwood Mutiny, the February 2006 Marines Stand-Off and the Nov. 29, 2007 Manila Peninsula incident and related incidents..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20110111hed3.html

AFP casts doubt on arrested NPA leader’s peace role By Mario J. Mallari 01/11/2011

AFP casts doubt on arrested NPA leader’s peace role

By Mario J. Mallari 01/11/2011

The military yesterday expressed doubts over the supposed inclusion of arrested top New People’s Army (NPA) leader Tirso Alcantara in the list of consultants of the Communist Party of the Philippines-National Democratic Front (CPP-NDF) talks covered by the Joint Agreement on Security and Immunity Guarantee (Jasig).

Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) spokesman Brig. Gen. Jose Mabanta Jr., during a press briefing, noted that Alcantara, alias “Ka Bart,” failed to present documents to prove he is indeed a consultant of the CPP-NDF in the conduct of peace negotiations with the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP).

“Looking at the rules and regulations of Jasig, he needs to present two things, first, is a document stating he is a member of the negotiating team, and second, he was actually in the performance (of his role) in the negotiating panel,” he said.

“These two items were not present, so with that in mind, we doubt really if he is a member (covered) of the Jasig,” Mabanta stressed..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20110111hed4.html

Audit PCGG before abolition — solons By Angie M. Rosales 01/11/2011

Audit PCGG before abolition — solons

By Angie M. Rosales 01/11/2011
Terminating the 25-year Presidential Commission on Good Government (PCGG), which has been assailed as a breeding farm for milking cows of the government, should happen only after an exhaustive audit is made on all sequestered properties based on their value when they were taken over by the agency particularly the dissipated assets, according to senators.

“The Senate President (Juan Ponce Enrile) has been proposing (that) for a long time already. From the view, at least of the Senate, it (PCGG) has nothing to show except for a long string of litigations,” Sen. Gregorio Honasan said during a phone-patched interview with reporters.

Honasan, chairman of the committee on public order, referred to earlier statements made by Enrile backing the plan of current PCGG chairman Andres Bautista to phase out the commission within two years and turn over all pending litigation to recover alleged ill-gotten wealth of the Marcoses and their cronies to the Department of Justice (DoJ) and the recovered assets to the Finance Department (DOF).

Enrile is of the position that the PCGG should have long been abolished and not made practically a permanent institution since its mandate was to recover.... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20110111hed5.html

Groups want land rent moratorium on 21 flood-affected provinces By Charlie V. Manalo 01/11/2011

Groups want land rent moratorium on 21 flood-affected provinces

By Charlie V. Manalo 01/11/2011

Four of the biggest rural-based groups which include the militant farmer group Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP), the fisherfolk alliance Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya), the peasant women federation Amihan and the Unyon ng mga Manggagawa sa Agrikultura (UMA) yesterday called on President Aquino to impose moratorium on payment of land rent of farms damaged by heavy rains and flooding in 21 provinces in the regions of Caraga, Eastern Visayas, Bicol and five more regions all over the country.

KMP secretary general Danilo Ramos urged President Aquino to issue an executive order compelling landlords to refrain from collecting land rent in disaster ravaged areas affected by continuous massive flooding and landslides since December 2010 in at least 1,073 farming villages in eight regions, majority of those affected came from Caraga, Eastern Visayas and Bicol regions.

Ramos said landlords extraction of land rent from poor farmers usually ranges from 50 to 70 percent of the farmers produce which the KMP leader described as extremely exploitative and feudal slavery of the highest order..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/nation/20110111nat1.html

Enrile hails SC ruling on anti-terror act 01/11/2011

Enrile hails SC ruling on anti-terror act

01/11/2011
Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile yesterday hailed the recent Supreme Court (SC) ruling that Republic Act 9372, also known as the Human Security Act of 2007 or the Anti-Terrorism Law, does not violate the Philippine Constitution.

“I commend the Supreme Court for ruling with finality that the Anti-Terrorism Act conforms to the fundamental law. The state must have ample means at its disposal to protect the citizenry from terrorist acts that lead to loss of life and destruction of property. Terrorism has no place in a civilized society such as ours,” Enrile said.

“The Anti-Terrorism Law contains adequate safeguards against abuses by the military and the police. We need it to maintain law and order throughout the country and prevent terrorist groups from causing disorder and chaos in our society,” he said.

“We cannot allow terrorist groups like the Abu Sayyaf, which has already launched terrorist bombings not only in Mindanao but even in Metro Manila, to hold the nation hostage to their lost cause. Our security forces should pursue them without let-up. The Anti-Terrorism Act ensures that the government will be able to uphold the rule of law in our country at all times,” Enrile added..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/nation/20110111nat7.html

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