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Silly fear EDITORIAL 01/13/2011

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Silly fear

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Like it or not, there is popular support for a change in the Charter this time around, although there will always be those who will spurn it, bringing up the fear of Gloria Arroyo returning to power and position through a Charter change (Cha-cha) that they fear will bring about a parliamentary system.

But why make the fear of Gloria becoming the first prime minister under a parliamentary system the reason for opposing Cha-cha? Why have this fear dominate the lives of the Filipinos by insisting on retaining a very flawed and contradictory Constitution whose many provisions moreover have been prostituted by too many chief executives?

The 1987 Charter provides that the fundamental law can be revised or amended by Congress on a three fourths vote, while Congress transforms itself into a constituent assembly (con-ass) to draft a new constitution that will have to be ratified by the voters in a plebiscite; or through a constitutional convention (con-con) with an election for delegates, that will then draft a new Charter..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20110113com1.html

Wrong move FRONTLINE Ninez Cacho-Olivares 01/13/2011

Wrong move

Ninez Cacho-Olivares
From reports, Noynoy Aquino confirmed that he had interviewed at least two election lawyers — one, the election lawyer of Gloria Arroyo in 2004, Romulo Macalintal, and his election lawyer in his 2010 presidential run, Sixto Brillantes, for the position of chairman of the Commission on Elections (Comelec), which is to be vacated by Jose Melo.

Apparently, Noynoy does not care about appointing individuals who would be in a conflict of interest situation, as both Macalintal and Brillantes, perhaps between them, have cornered about 60 percent, if not more, of the number of protesting candidates, and there are many.

At the same time, there is doubt that these two, even if they are admittedly knowledgeable in matters of election laws, may nevertheless not be computer-savvy, that is, if we are to again have computerized polls, which may not happen mainly because despite claims of a successful automated presidential poll exercise, and with too big a budget, there certainly was not only automated fraud, but also a highly unconstitutional way of a recounting and the validation of votes cast for a candidate protesting his loss, to check whether or not he really won or lost.

The poll body is merely making false claims and the Yellows are hardly complaining about the fraudulent presidential polls, because their anointed won the race..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20110113com2.html

Mass fetus find stokes Thai abortion debate FEATURE 01/13/2011

Mass fetus find stokes Thai abortion debate


BANGKOK — Nitancha, 17, ended her five-month pregnancy herself, causing severe bleeding. In a Buddhist nation where abortion is illegal and pregnant teens are stigmatized, the young Thai saw no other option.

Rejected by the baby’s father and frightened at the idea of talking to her family, she sought a solution on the Internet, where suggestions ranged from throwing herself down the stairs to illegal clinics and abortion pills.

After saving for several months to scrape together 5,300 baht ($175), Nitancha — who was 16 at the time — last year used a drug against stomach ulcers, because a possible side effect was to cause miscarriage.

It had the desired result — accompanied by a lot of blood in the toilet of her new boyfriend’s house, and an emergency trip to hospital..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20110113com3.html

CDC dinosaurs hang tough BLURBAL THRUSTS Louie Logarta 01/13/2011

CDC dinosaurs hang tough

Louie Logarta
The Clark Development Corp. (CDC), six months into the term of President Noynoy Aquino, is practically the last high-profile public office that remains untouched by Malacañang despite the fact it is packed full with cronies of former President Arroyo who are reportedly receiving more than generous salaries and perks for their sinecures, just like their president Benny Ricafort whom the Commission on Audit found out made off in 2009 with some P14.5 million, thus making him one of the highest-paid officials in the government.

President Aquino is said to be agonizing over the replacements for the incumbent CDC board, many of them lightweights who have been sitting in office for 10 years (which is practically an eternity), because several of them are his friends since his days as Tarlac congressman and then senator, not to mention the fact they are also politically well-connected.

Last December, Malacañang spokesman Edwin Lacierda, who was guest on the weekly televised public affairs program “Meet the Press” of the National Press Club, admitted that the Palace search committee indeed was encountering some difficulty in filling up certain positions in the government, among them the CDC postings, but chose not to elaborate.

Just the other day, Undersecretary Abigail Valte announced that the board of the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority — which incidentally is headed by Administrator Armand Arreza who was also one of the best-paid government officials in 2009 with some P26.8 million in salaries and benefits — had been partially revamped with the appointment of six of the 12 directors, including former Ayala Land head Francisco Licuanan..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20110113com4.html

No to wang-wang; yes to jueteng VIEWPOINTS Archbishop Oscar V. Cruz 01/13/2011

No to wang-wang; yes to jueteng

Archbishop Oscar V. Cruz
There is something not only quite strange but also very wrong when someone proclaiming himself as the incarnation of honesty and integrity, wants no wang-wang in the streets in Metro Manila, yet allows jueteng to thrive in many parts the country. The tabooed sound merely inconveniences some motorists every now and then. But the illegal numbers’ game continuously exploits the poor millions of the population, and incessantly corrupts a big number of local officials plus their Philippine National Police counterparts.

No to wang-wang! It is hard to wake up in the morning to be on time for a given occasion. It is taxing to arrive on time to be present at a public event. Arriving late is thus readily justified because wang-wang is not used. It has to be conceded that this scheme is not only convenient but also ingenious.

Yes to jueteng! Why? It is downright illegal, yet on and on it goes, all the days of the week, all the weeks of the year. Money is consistently taken precisely from those who have less in life. And the money infallibly goes to the big and deep pockets of those precisely tasked to stop the illegal activity.

The previous administration said something and did exactly the opposite as far as jueteng is concerned. It even had a special law enacted supposedly to stop the illegal numbers game. Among the many and impressive penalties supposedly for imposition against the violators is not only cash but also imprisonment. And the law was dead the moment it was signed..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20110113com5.html

US gun-culture, wars helped shot lawmaker focus 01/13/2011

US gun-culture, wars helped shot lawmaker


WASHINGTON — America’s gun-culture and overseas wars may ironically have helped surgeons hone some of the techniques they used to save the life of US lawmaker Gabrielle Giffords after she was shot in the head.

“Wars are — I wouldn’t use the term necessary evils, but there’s no question that they have taught us how to treat people who have been shot in the head,” Dr Anders Cohen, chief of neurosurgery at the Brooklyn Hospital Center in New York, told AFP.

“If we’re hurting people on a massive schedule, then I guess we have to figure out ways to patch them up,” he said.

Six persons died, including a nine-year-old girl and a federal judge, and 14 were wounded when 22-year-old Jared Loughner allegedly fired 31 rounds from a semi-automatic Glock pistol at a public meeting Saturday in Tucson, Arizona.

Doctors in Arizona said they had removed a part of Congresswoman Giffords’s skull to reduce swelling after she was shot point-blank in the head..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20110113com6.html

Of mistahs gone wrong COMMENT By Ronald Roy 01/13/2011

.Of mistahs gone wrong


By Ronald Roy 01/13/2011
I find disturbing Chief Public Attorney Persida Rueda-Acosta’s announcement two weeks ago that there was a good chance Webb’s acquittal verdict in the Vizconde massacre case would be overturned on the basis of revelations by eight new witnesses and an intervention by former Vice President Teofisto Guingona Jr. We all recall her leap for joy when she exclaimed: “I can’t believe it, no less than Vice President Guingona is willing to convince the Supreme Court to reverse its ruling!” — or words to that effect.

Without meaning to diminish the luster of the former Vice President’s prominence in our country’s chronic search for truth and justice, his lofty standing is generally not expected to dent the acquittal judgment. As the Justice secretary at the time of the investigation and trial of the case, he is presumed to have been in effective control of the prosecutorial efforts to convict the accused, thereby rendering weak any “new” argument he now presents — unless of course he can show the acquittal verdict was void, or otherwise was rendered with such an abuse of authority as bars the operation of the double jeopardy doctrine.... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20110113com7.html

More deaths, misery from Philippine rains 01/13/2011

More deaths, misery from Philippine rains

Widespread flooding in the Philippines has claimed seven more lives, raising the death toll from two weeks of heavy rain to 40, officials said Wednesday.

The seven deaths occurred over the past four days as floods engulfed Samar, the country’s third-largest island, the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council said in its latest bulletin..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20110113hed2.html

Balay-Samar factions at odds over poll chairman choice By Angie M. Rosales 01/13/2011

Balay-Samar factions at odds over poll chairman choice

By Angie M. Rosales 01/13/2011

They are at it again, the two warring factions within the support group of President Aquino.

The subject of the tug of war between the two warring factions this time around revolves around the each faction’s choice of candidate for the top position in the Commission on Elections (Comelec), as replacement of outgoing chairman Jose Melo.

The Yellows (Samar group) are said to be for Sixto Brilliantes, while the Blues (Balay group) are for Romulo Macalintal.

The prime post of the Comelec chairman is seen as crucial to the fate of political affairs, not only of Aquino’s Liberal Party (LP) but also of ally-personalities within the presidential circle..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20110113hed3.html

Gov’t sale of camps unauthorized — solon 01/13/2011

Gov’t sale of camps unauthorized — solon

The proposal to sell Camps Aguinaldo and Crame in Quezon City would be illegal unless sanctioned by an enabling law.

House Minority Leader Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman yesterday stressed that not even the President or any Philippine official for that matter can sell the military and police headquarters without an enabling law.

“No executive official, including the President, can sell, lease or encumber Camp Aguinaldo and Camp Crame or portions thereof without any authority from Congress through an enabling statute or law,” he said.
Lagman noted that Section 48 of Book I of the Administrative Code of 1987 provides that conveyance of real property of the government should be authorized by law.

He said the Supreme Court in a number of cases has ruled that legislative authority is necessary for the Executive to sell, alienate or encumber erstwhile properties of the public dominion after they have been declared as disposable partimonial properties of the state..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20110113hed4.html

Magdalo soldier, 10 other ‘mutineers’ apply for amnesty By Mario J. Mallari 01/13/2011

Magdalo soldier, 10 other ‘mutineers’ apply for amnesty

By Mario J. Mallari 01/13/2011

A Magdalo officer, who was among the nine junior officers who were pardoned by former President and now Pampanga Rep. Gloria Arroyo, yesterday applied for amnesty offered by the Aquino administration.
Former Army Capt. John Andres, a member of the Philippine Military Academy (PMA) Class of 1995, formally filed his application for amnesty before the Department of National Defense (DND) amnesty committee in Camp Aguinaldo.

Andres was among the 11 officers and enlisted personnel yesterday who applied for amnesty under President Aquino’s Proclamation 75 which covers the Oakwood mutiny, the February 2006 standoff at the Marine headquarters in Fort Bonifacio and the November 2007 siege of the Manila Peninsula Hotel all in Makati City.

At press time, a total of 137 officers and enlisted personnel have already submitted their applications for amnesty before the Azcueta committee..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20110113hed6.html

Pervasive RP corruption remains, says Heritage 01/13/2011


Pervasive RP corruption remains, says Heritage

Despite the supposed “straight path” taken by President Aquino who assumed power in June last year, the annual Index of Economic Freedom still cited corruption as being pervasive in the country that has resulted in the Philippines under Aquino ranking a poor 115 out of 179 countries in the annual list compiled by The Heritage Foundation (Heritage), a conservative Washington-based think tank, and The Wall Street Journal.
The ranking showed that the Philippines’ freedom score of 56.2 this year even fell from 0.1 point from last year placing it among countries with a “mostly unfree” economy.

It ranked lower than Cambodia which placed 102nd and Sri Lanka, at 107th, in the index.

The Philippines scored the lowest on the “Freedom from Corruption” category where it got a 24 grade.
Heritage Foundation said corruption (in the Philippines) is perceived as pervasive.

“A culture of corruption is long-standing. The government has worked to reinvigorate its anti-corruption drive, but these efforts have been inconsistent,” it said..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20110113hed1.html

Prioritize anti-dynasty bill not Cha-cha, says Casiño By Charlie V. Manalo 01/13/2011

Prioritize anti-dynasty bill not Cha-cha, says Casiño

By Charlie V. Manalo 01/13/2011

Bayan Muna Rep. Teddy Casiño yesterday proposed that instead of going through a complicated Charter change process, the country’s leaders can start changing the political landscape by simply passing the long overdue bill prohibiting political dynasties.

Reacting to former Chief Justice Reynato Puno’s call for Charter change to reform the political system, Casiño said more than changing the Constitution, what is needed is to ensure that its anti-dynasty provision and other progressive sections are followed to the letter.

“The former Chief Justice rightfully observed that power has been monopolized by the economic and political elite, especially powerful political clans. So why not pass the enabling law that would make the Constitutional ban on political dynasties a living reality in our national life?” the lawmaker said..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/nation/20110113nat1.html

CPP-NDF demand to gov’t: Release Alcantara By Mario J. Mallari 01/13/2011

CPP-NDF demand to gov’t: Release Alcantara

By Mario J. Mallari 01/13/2011

The Communist Party of the Philippines-National Democratic Front of the Philippines (CPP-NDFP) has formally demanded the release of the New People’s Army (NPA) top commander Tirso Alcantara who is claimed to be among theconsultants in the peace negotiations between the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP) and the CPP-NDFP.

In a letter to GRP negotiating panel head Alex Padilla, NDFP chief negotiator Luis Jalandoni confirmed the earlier pronouncement of the CPP that Alcantara is among the holders of a Document of Identification issued by the NDFP to its personnel participating in the peace negotiations.

The CPP said the government should immediately release Alcantara, alias Ka Bart, to enable him to sit as a consultant of the NDFP and represent the Southern Tagalog region once formal peace negotiations with the GRP resumes on Feb.19 to 25 in Oslo, Norway. ”The continued detention of Ka Bart and other NDFP peace consultants and their staff constitutes a blatant violation of the Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees or Jasig,” said the CPP..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/nation/20110113nat2.html

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