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Expensive failure FRONTLINE Ninez Cacho-Olivares 01/19/2011

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Expensive failure

Ninez Cacho-Olivares
Sixto Brillantes, new poll chairman, speaks of “perfecting” the automation system and do away with the glitches, as one of the “reforms” he will be instituting at the Commission on Elections (Comelec).

Yet even if the automated elections cost remains at P11.3 billion, which was what the Comelec’s budget was in the 2010 presidential polls, that amount added to the budget is much too much for the Filipinos to pay. And the Comelec was already talking about a P20 billion budget for the next automated polls.

And despite claims of Jose Melo and his commissioners that the automated polls were successful, there is hardly any doubt that the elections were marked with massive fraud. Worse, a manual recount of the vote is not even being allowed by the same poll body which, it should be stressed, is highly unconstitutional, since a machine recount will still not count votes that have not been read by the machine.

The better way is to go back to manual elections — or, at the most, if automation is insisted upon, automation should then be limited to the precinct level because this is where the least cheating is done, and there are enough witnesses to see if the votes are counted correctly. After all, what is desired is a quick count, not an automated vote..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20110119com2.html

Floods hit Aussie tourism FEATURE 01/19/2011

Floods hit Aussie tourism


BRISBANE — Brisbane is a travel hub for tourists and the gateway to the pristine beaches, rugged outback, tropical rainforests and Great Barrier Reef of Australia’s famed “Sunshine State.”

But the floodwaters that surged through the city last week, depositing tons of putrid mud and debris, have shut down Brisbane’s arts precinct, closed cafes, damaged hotels and scarred the image of tourist friendly Queensland.

“We depend on backpackers, yes, they are scared, they don’t want to go to Fraser Island or the Whitsundays, or the Gold Coast, they are afraid of being stuck on the road,” explains Lindsey Frazer of backpacker specialist Wicked Travel.

At the Cloud 9 hotel, which caters to backpackers, guest numbers are down.

“We were pretty much full at the start of the flooding,” says receptionist Andrew Josey. “But people have been scared of the lack of electricity.”.... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20110119com3.html

Just say sorry C.R.O.S.S.R.O.A.D.S Jonathan De la Cruz 01/19/2011

Just say sorry

Jonathan De la Cruz
Here’s the unsolicited advice of a certain Dado Manahan, an avid listener of our daily radio program Karambola over dwIZ 882, about the L’ Affaire Porsche now enveloping P-Noy and his administration: First, P-Noy should say “I am Sorry” for behaving as if he is just an ordinary official, not the highest elective official of the land; he has to behave like the sensitive, compassionate and responsible leader that he should and claims to be; Second, he should show all the documents related to this purchase, i.e., deed of sale, tax payment, registration, etc., to show that it was indeed a clean sale not a hush, hush one; Third, he should ask the reported seller and presidential friend, Manny Dimaculangan, to make himself available to media and show not only the documents relative to this sale but to tell his own story as a hard working enterpreneur who has earned his keep the proper way, paid his taxes and, for all intents and purposes, a good citizen who just happens to share a passion for fancy and fast cars with P-Noy. Fourth, he should seriously think of selling the car, maybe to his sister Kris who happens to be the richest in the brood, and if by any chance she fancies giving this to him as a gift so be it and finally, ask his apologists to stop their round of brownnosing. It is sickening already.

In fine, what Manahan and two or three other listeners are trying to say is for P-Noy to come clean and stop defending this purchase as if it was simply a private, personal matter. It cannot be simply that..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20110119com4.html

Shooting shows failures of US mental care — experts FEATURE 01/19/2011

Shooting shows failures of US mental care — experts


WASHINGTON — The Arizona shooting rampage has exposed a gaping hole in the US mental health care system, according to experts and lawmakers, who said numerous red flags went unheeded before the tragedy.

Dozens of witnesses, police officials, neighbors, friends, teachers and classmates of the accused gunman, Jared Loughner, pointed to warning signs that should have alerted authorities to the 22-year-old’s descent into mental illness.

There were the alarming comments to students and teachers at the community college that eventually suspended him; the reported looks and comments at his local bank, where tellers felt for the alarm button whenever he walked in; and behavior that Arizona authorities said showed Loughner hoped to acquire a firearm — even after being rejected by the US Army for failing a drug test.

Despite what some experts believe are clear signs of emerging schizophrenia in Loughner, there is no record of him undergoing a mental health evaluation, they said..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20110119com5.html

The real Noy? HE SAYS Aldrin Cardon 01/19/2011

The real Noy?

Aldrin Cardon
And so the applause has died down. Noynoy Aquino, who owes much of his popularity from his deceased parents, must have learned to stand on his own now, shortly after he got stung by the Porsche bug that denied his upbringing, pulling himself farther from the image he had wanted to project, that of a pro-poor leader which he actually isn’t.

And as pointed out by many, the contradiction between Noynoy munching down a cheap hotdog sandwich in an American street corner and racing a 2007 Porsche 911 model up the Clark Speedway, where only a few are privileged to scoot down and up, is miles wide, he seems to have given away his real self.

It’s a PR nightmare for him and his group, and the people will not forget for sure.

While Noynoy desperately tried to project himself as a scrimping leader by stopping by a hotdog stall while on a visit to the US, actually taking a dig at the luxurious dinner his predecessor, Gloria Arroyo, once had where she spent $20,000 at the posh Le Cirque in New York, it now turns out as all done for show with his Porsche caper..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20110119com6.html

Reality check SHE SAYS Dinah S. Ventura 01/19/2011

Reality check

Dinah S. Ventura
Anyone who reaches the pinnacle of power, especially in the Philippines, is subject to close scrutiny. Everything one says, does and even thinks of doing gets dissected, criticized and very often given different interpretations.

This was the case with Marcos, Cory, Ramos, Erap, Gloria. This is the case with Noynoy, whose luck of the draw is that he gets to reap a harvest of bad fruits planted with seeds of corruption, negligence and apathy.

Although his popularity at the polls has not waned much — even through dismaying events such as the lack of training, efficiency and values of the police force, as well as the rising cost of living amid natural disasters that have already claimed lives throughout the country — President Noy would do well to tread carefully lest he end up with muck on his face like his predecessor Gloria.

The congresswoman of Pampanga must be laughing her way to the bank now that Noynoy is getting so much flak for his injudicious purchase of a Porsche, albeit a pre-owned one. Some people have defended the president by saying he has a right, just like anyone else, to enjoy his own money, which he did not lie and cheat for or steal from the country’s coffers. They say he even wisely sold his BMW in order to buy the Porsche, and besides, what bachelor does not love his cars and gadgets?.... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20110119com7.html

Noy’s ZTE-broadband deal in the works By Angie M. Rosales 01/19/2011

Noy’s ZTE-broadband deal in the works

By Angie M. Rosales 01/19/2011

President Arroyo was bogged down by the now infamous and overpriced ZTE-National Broadband Network deal (NBN), under an agreement formed with the Chinese firm, ZTE.

But from initial indications, President Aquino and his administration are not too far away from coming up with a grossly overpriced ZTE-NBN ll deal.

Thus was the concern aired yesterday by Senate President Jinggoy Estrada as he geared up for the filing of a resolution to effect an inquiry in the upper chamber into the P4-billion contract the Aquino government has awarded to a foreign consortium in modernizing the country’s aerospace communications and navigations system.

Estrada’s apprehension over the sealing of the deal recently was due to reports that the company, Thales Group of France, has a reported trail of bad records, the most serious of which was the allegedly defective speed sensors for an Airbus commercial jet that crashed in the Atlantic in 2009, killing all 288 passengers on board..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20110119hed1.html

SC junks Webb acquittal appeal; Vizconde ordered: Prove raps vs Carpio By Benjamin B. Pulta 01/19/2011

SC junks Webb acquittal appeal; Vizconde ordered: Prove raps vs Carpio

By Benjamin B. Pulta 01/19/2011

Lauro Vizconde and his camp led by Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption were dealt a double whammy by the Supreme Court (SC) yesterday after its en banc session, as the high court junked the Vizconde appeal for a reversal of Hubert Webb, et al. acquittal and asked Vizconde to prove his charges leveled against Associate Justice Antonio Carpio. In virtually the same breath, the SC, directed VACC founder Dante Jimenez to show cause why he should not be cited for contempt.

The appeal filed by the camp of widower Vizconde, which was initiated by the Public Attorney, Persida Acosta, has been turned down by the SC yesterday “for lack of merit.”

The so-called motion for intervention from former Vice President Teofisto Guingona, while not tackled, also presumbly had the same fate, as the appeal for a reversal of Webb’s not guilty was dismissed.

Court Administrator and spokesman Jose Midas Marquez an-nounced that the high court has denied the motion for reconsidera-tion filed by Vizconde seeking the reversal of its ruling acquitting Hubert Webb and six others in the killing of his wife, Estrellita, and daughters, Carmela and Jennifer, at their house in Parañaque almost 20 years ago..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20110119hed2.html

Possible LP breakup seen By Gerry Baldo 01/19/2011

Possible LP breakup seen

By Gerry Baldo 01/19/2011
The possibility of a breakup of the Liberal Party (LP) has been raised by some party members even as an alleged factionalism is brewing on the issue of who should lead the party to victory in the 2016 presidential elections.

Today, the LP is slated to elect its new officers at the Club Filipino, for its founding day celebrations, the highlight of which would be the election of LP officials.

Insiders say that the party could suffer yet another breakup similar to the recent Drilon-Atienza rift during the time of former President Arroyo when Sen. Franklin Drilon and former Manila Mayor Lito Atienza had a falling out after Drilon in a bid to grab party leadership, called for an election without the Atienza group and the national directorate. Drilon was then the party president.

However, Atienza pointed out then that the election of Drilon was done in violation of party rules, since it was not a national directorate that elected Drilon, but his batch of LP followers..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20110119hed3.html

Lim defiant, says Gloria not him should admit guilt By Mario J. Mallari 01/19/2011

Lim defiant, says Gloria not him should admit guilt

By Mario J. Mallari 01/19/2011

Former Scout Ranger chief retired Brig. Gen. Danilo Lim has asked President Aquino to start punishing the “true enemies of the people” such as former President and now Pampanga Rep. Gloria Arroyo and Ombudman Merceditas Gutierrez and not those who stood with the people during the nine years of oppression under Arroyo.

“It is time for the wheels of justice to turn. It is time to make Arroyo and her associates accountable,” said Lim as he reiterated his stance not to admit guilt for his involvement in at least two plots against the Arroyo administration in the past if only to avail himself of the amnesty offered by Aquino.

“It is they who must admit to their crimes,” Lim added.

Lim figured in the alleged plot last February 2006 to overthrow the Arroyo administration and in the November 2007 siege of the Manila Peninsula Hotel..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20110119hed4.html

House starts ball rolling for Cha-cha By Charlie V. Manalo 01/19/2011

House starts ball rolling for Cha-cha

By Charlie V. Manalo 01/19/2011

The House of Representatives started the ball rolling yesterday on Charter change (Cha-cha) as a party-list representative said the time has come for Congress to make a stand on the issue and proposed to convene a constitutional convention after the 2013 elections.

“There is time for everything. Let the constitutional convention take care of constitutional reforms and Congress, the legislative reforms, working at the same time without prejudicing the more urgent needs of our citizens,” Ang Kasangga Rep. Teodorico Haresco said yesterday.

At the Senate, Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago had stated her determination to start the great debate on Cha-cha.

Malacañang said it is unfazed by the moves in Congress the Aquino administration maintains that amending the Constitution is not a priority..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20110119hed5.html

No meat in Noy’s Cabinet meet By Aytch S. de la Cruz 01/19/2011

No meat in Noy’s Cabinet meet

By Aytch S. de la Cruz 01/19/2011
Malacañang heralded it as the “first full Cabinet meeting of the President for the year,” the second, actually, in his close to seven months’ presidency, but nothing substantial was apparently achieved, as even his presidential communicators made themselves scarce to the Palace press corps.

The Cabinet meet-ing was billed by the Palace mouthpieces as tackling the urgent legislative bills, some
32 pieces of legislation, but apparently, there was noting substantive in that meeting.

Aquino and his Cabinet secretaries are seen to be proving themselves as a complete disappointment to the media and the general public.

His three-headed Communications Group leaders were nowhere to be reached for the media’s access to information and updates on that Cabinet meeting and media were limited to social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter. .... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20110119hed6.html

Ex-AFP chief of staff ready to face probe on Garcia plunder By Mario J. Mallari 01/19/2011

Ex-AFP chief of staff ready to face probe on Garcia plunder

By Mario J. Mallari 01/19/2011

Former Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) chief of staff and erstwhile chief of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) retired Gen. Dionisio Santiago is ready to face any investigation in connection with the alleged massive corruption in the military organization during the tenure of former Defense Secretary Angelo Reyes.

“If there will be investigation, we are open, we agree to that,” said Santiago, who was among the five AFP chiefs who served under the stint of Reyes in the defense department from 2001 to 2003.

“I have no problem with that… personally whatever their questions are I will answer them,” Santiago added.
Earlier, calls for wider investigation of the case of former AFP comptroller retired Maj. Gen. Carlos Garcia had cropped up, particularly naming Reyes and his former chiefs of staff for inclusion in the much-deeper investigation..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/nation/20110119nat1.html

Bishop asks gov’t to cancel deal with Australian mining firm By Pat C. Santos 01/19/2011

Bishop asks gov’t to cancel deal with Australian mining firm

By Pat C. Santos 01/19/2011

A Catholic bishop called on the government to cancel its deal with Australian mining firm Oceana Gold after the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) affirmed that it violated rights of the indigenous peoples (IPs).

Bayombong Bishop Ramon Villena said it’s about time for the Aquino administration to take the necessary action and made the mining company liable for their mistakes committed against the IPs..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/nation/20110119nat4.html

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