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Selective treatment EDITORIAL Click to enlarge 02/02/2011

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Selective treatment

Click to enlarge
A military probe on the corrupt “practice” and “tradition” in the Armed Forces of the Philippines relating to the use of military funds by generals and senior officials of the AFP in the hundreds of millions of pesos, is underway, but the focus, or so it appears, would be on the previous AFP officials’ terms, with the incumbent military officials spared from the probe.

As claimed by the AFP spokesman, there is no need to include the current military officials because these practice and tradition are a “thing of the past” and no longer in practice.

And the military under the new administration thinks that which its officials say is credible? Why should the current AFP leadership be believed when it claims that such corrupt practice is no longer being tolerated?

The corrupt practice has been going on for decades, and in that time, the military officials of today, who were then junior officers, have been promoted, and with their promotions, they necessarily got a piece of the AFP slush funds..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20110202com1.html

2 bad deals: Which is worse? FRONTLINE Ninez Cacho-Olivares 02/02/2011

2 bad deals: Which is worse?

Ninez Cacho-Olivares
Former Ombudsman Simeon Marcelo, in yesterday’s congressional hearing on the plea bargain agreement, went full blast in attempting to portray his being independent and highly competent during his term as Ombudsman.

He tried to give the impression that he was performing his duties independently of the Malacañang tenant and that his plunder case against former military comptroller was airtight, with him now scoring the incumbent Ombudsman for agreeing to a plea bargain deal with Garcia on lesser charges.

What is not being mentioned is the fact that he certainly did nothing in the case of Gloria Arroyo’s appointed secretary of Justice, Hernando “Nani” Perez, who stood accused of having extorted some $2 million or P100 million from then businessman turned congressman, Mark Jimenez, which was deposited in a Coutts Bank account that his brother-in-law withdrew and which funds went to a Swiss bank, complete with a power of attorney document naming his wife on the matter of deposit and withdrawal of the P2 million.

Marcelo cannot deny the fact that the evidence against Perez for plunder and money laundering was very strong, since Coutts Bank, as well as the Swiss bank, provided Marcelo with incriminating documents..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20110202com2.html

Mubarak’s deputy linked to secret CIA program focus 02/02/2011

Mubarak’s deputy linked to secret CIA program


WASHINGTON — The man named by President Hosni Mubarak as his first ever deputy, Egyptian spy chief Omar Suleiman, reportedly orchestrated the brutal interrogation of terror suspects abducted by the CIA in a secret program condemned by rights groups.

His role in the shadows of the “war on terror” illustrates the ties that bind the United States and the Egyptian regime, as an unprecedented wave of protests against Mubarak present Washington with a difficult dilemma.
With Mubarak’s rule in jeopardy, Suleiman was anointed vice president last week and is now offering wide ranging talks with the opposition in a bid to defuse the crisis.

Suleiman is a sophisticated operator who carried out sensitive truce negotiations with Israel and the Palestinians as well as talks among rival Palestinian factions, winning the praise of American diplomats.

For US intelligence officials, he has been a trusted partner willing to go after Islamist militants without hesitation, targeting homegrown radical groups after they carried out a string of attacks on foreigners..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20110202com3.html

Remorse C.R.O.S.S.R.O.A.D.S Jonathan De la Cruz 02/02/2011


Jonathan De la Cruz
It is for my own use and I have no intention of trafficking in drugs is how Ilocos Sur Rep. Ronald Singson explained his possession of 6.67 grams of cocaine when he pleaded guilty to drug trafficking before a Hong Kong court last Monday. Saying that he has never been more remorseful in his life, Singson added his return to drug use was due to “..depression from his break up with actress Lovi Poe and anxiety over financial losses in the Usher concert which his company produced..” In open court, Singson admitted that he has been using drugs intermittently and that the day before he was to leave for Hong Kong last July he had been up for two nights without sleep drinking and gambling at the casino losing HK$3 million in the process. Here’s how he explained this ruinous incident in his life to the court: “If you allow, I will compare the drugs seized from me to a man drinking large amounts of alcohol. I know that this is just the beginning of my problems. I still don’t know what I’ll face back home. I aks your honor to find in your heart to forgive me. I ask that you find within the bounds of law to give sentence..”

Whether the court will believe his testimony or not remains to be seen. Whether his words of remorse will bring him some sympathy from the judge or the public we will soon see too. But certainly life will never be the same again for the young Singson. Once a final judgment is issued he will have to serve it in Hong Kong whether that is detention for a period or a fine or both..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20110202com4.html

Polish cleaner takes revenge on ‘filthy’ Germans FEATURE 02/02/2011

Polish cleaner takes revenge on ‘filthy’ Germans


BERLIN — A sharp-tongued Polish cleaning lady is making a splash in Germany with a tell-all memoir revealing the seamy underbelly of Europe’s biggest economy and exploding the myth of Germans’ penchant for order.

“Under German Beds” written under the pen name Justyna Polanska shot to number four on online retailer Amazon’s best-seller list after its release this month.

It is a cringe-inducing, stomach-churning read for the legions of middle-class Germans who employ a cleaner, exposing the pettiness, hypocrisy, lechery and plain filth behind the tidiest facades in the country.

“I wrote this book because I’d like to see more humanity and more respect for cleaning women,” Polanska told AFP.

“Asking during a telephone interview if I have large breasts or am wearing red underwear is rather crass, don’t you think?” she asked, recounting just a few of the degrading experiences the German job market has offered her..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20110202com5.html

In whose honor? HE SAYS Aldrin Cardon 02/02/2011

In whose honor?

Aldrin Cardon
In war and when the occasion permits, boots of the fallen soldiers are lined up to take their place with their surviving comrades in salute of their heroism.

But there are no boots for some dead Filipino soldiers. Many of them fought in the jungles in their rubber sandals, and worse, with very limited bullets and support that they were sometimes overran by their foes and their heads beheaded.

It was against this backdrop that 321 armed soldiers took over the Oakwood Hotel in Makati on July 27, 2003 to dramatize their demand for reforms in the Armed Forces of the Philippines.

They also called for the resignation of former President Arroyo, whom they claimed is the endpoint of all the corruption transpiring in the country..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20110202com6.html

Heartbreak SHE SAYS Dinah S. Ventura 02/02/2011


Dinah S. Ventura
More than the maliciously planted explosives that spread blood and bones on Edsa-Makati last Jan. 25, it was the “bombshell” that retired Col. George Rabusa dropped, which shattered us to pieces.

The former military budget officer, who served for about two years in that capacity, came out with his shocking revelations at the recent Senate hearing on his former boss Maj. Gen. Carlos Garcia’s controversial plea bargain agreement. Garcia, who was being tried for plunder based on the P303. 27 million he allegedly stole from the government coffers, had agreed to plead guilty to a lesser offense and return about half of the money he had purportedly pocketed.

It was not merely the fact that a “strong case,” which Malacañang representatives asserted government possessed, had been rendered weak with this plea bargain agreement. It was the sheer arrogance of it all that rankled among many.

And so while senators set out to discover the truth behind the agreement — which Special Prosecutor Wendell Sulit said they worked out to be a “win-win” when, in fact, Sen. Juan Ponce-Enrile corrected, it should have not — the unexpected happened..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20110202com7.html

House panel goes ‘soft’ on ex-AFP CoS By Charlie V. Manalo 02/02/2011


House panel goes ‘soft’ on ex-AFP CoS

By Charlie V. Manalo 02/02/2011

Congressmen yesterday failed to even seriously dig deeper and question the former chiefs of staff (CoS) on the corruption in the Armed Forces of the Philippines during their terms, as they merely asked each general whether they had received welcome and send-offs gifts during their stint as the top military chief, giving them all the opportunity to merely deny that they had ever received any funds for their personal use and that their wives never travelled abroad, save for two to four official trips, paid for by the host government.

Five former AFP CoS invited by the House committee probing the plea bargain agreement struck between the Office of the Ombudsman and retired military comptroller Maj. Gen. Carlos Garcia, who was earlier charged with plunder but has pleaded guilty to a lesser offense of direct bribery and money laundering activities, had an easy time at yesterday’s House hearing, claiming there was no such slush fund in existence as this practice had been cut off completely..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20110202hed1.html

Agfo: Military corruption ‘demoralizing’ By Mario J. Mallari and Angie M. Rosales 02/02/2011

Agfo: Military corruption ‘demoralizing’

By Mario J. Mallari and Angie M. Rosales 02/02/2011

The Association of Generals and Flag Officers (Agfo) yesterday branded as “demoralizing” the alleged massive corruption in the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) during the term of Gen. Angelo Reyes as military and defense chief as it threw full support behind various investigations into the matter.

The Agfo focused on corruption during Reyes’ term, but was silent on reports of his successor received over P180 million during his short stint as AFP Chief of Staff.

Agfo president retired Lt. Gen. Raul Urgello, Reyes’ mistah from Philippine Military Academy (PMA) Class of 1966, said the group is backing the probes being conducted by the Department of National Defense (DND), the Department of Justice (DoJ) the Senate and the House of Representatives.

“The recent expose about the large-scale misuse of Armed Forces’ funds allegedly for the personal benefit of some former chiefs of staff is disconcerting and demoralizing to the serving men and women of the AFP and those who have served it with honor, self-sacrifice and dignity,” Urgello said..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20110202hed2.html

Merci approves review of plunder case vs Garcia By Charlie V. Manalo 02/02/2011

Merci approves review of plunder case vs Garcia

By Charlie V. Manalo 02/02/2011

Ombudsman Merceditas Gutierrez yesterday said she was willing to reevaluate and review the plunder case against former military comptroller Carlos Garcia in light of new allegations of corruption in the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) that were being linked to the former general.

But she added her office and prosecutors cannot merely rely on just the reported testimonies and that evidence must be weighed and judged as evidence.

The Ombudsman told a congressional hearing looking into the plea bargain agreement with Garcia that she had formed a special panel to investigate the corruption claims of retired Lt. Col. George Rabusa, a former budget officer at the AFP, against former military chiefs of staff.

Gutierrez said her office would review the plunder case against Garcia based on new documentary evidence that the committee on justice of the House of Representatives would turn over to her..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20110202hed3.html

RP offers voluntary return of OFWs in Egypt By Michaela P. del Callar 02/02/2011

RP offers voluntary return of OFWs in Egypt

By Michaela P. del Callar 02/02/2011

As protest actions continue to rage in Egypt, the Philippine government has offered voluntary repatriation to Filipinos who wish to come home or be moved to safer areas.

The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) has given the Philippine Embassy in Cairo the go signal to make immediate arrangements for the repatriation of Filipinos who want to return to the Philippines from Egypt.
The DFA said it is closely monitoring the planned million-strong protest march in Cairo.

It also reiterated its advice to Filipinos there to stay indoors, steer clear of public places, particularly sites of mass protests, and to avoid involvement in political actions.

Thousands of Egyptians are demanding the ouster of Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak who have been in power for 30 years..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20110202hed4.html

Church-led protests on with RH bill passed — Cruz By Pat C. Santos 02/02/2011

Church-led protests on with RH bill passed — Cruz

By Pat C. Santos 02/02/2011
Retired Archbishop Oscar Cruz warned President Aquino with being faced with daily street protests led by the Church once the Reproductive Health (RH) bill that his administration is backing gets Congress’ approval.

Cruz said politicians can fool around with the Catholic Church on other issues but never on the sanc-tity of life.

Cruz said the Catholic hierarchy will definitely react and will wage battle when the sanctity of human life is under threat such as the possible passage of the RH bill.

“There’s nothing more precious for the church other than life. The most precious reality in the world is human life,” Cruz, former president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines, added..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20110202hed5.html

Besieged Noy waives loyalty check on LP By Aytch S. de la Cruz 02/02/2011

Besieged Noy waives loyalty check on LP

By Aytch S. de la Cruz 02/02/2011

The Palace went to great lengths yesterday in denying a fracture within the ranks of President Aquino’s Liberal Party (LP) but showed signs it was ruffled by reports of destabilization plots supposedly coming from within disgruntled groups that once supported Aquino.

Malacañang rejected the need for Aquino to conduct a loyalty check among his party mates at the LP, saying that as the chairman of the said coalition, he has been assured that they will remain supportive of his administration.

Presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda belied reports about groups that were supposedly moving to oust Aquino and that these rumors are being spread from within the LP quarters.

The Council on Philippine Affairs (Copa), which was also pinpointed as among the disillusioned Aquino supporters came out with a statement the other day denying that the group is devising a plot to destabilize the Aquino administration..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20110202hed6.html

De Lima orders new ballistics tests on soldiers’ guns in Co’s death By Benjamin B. Pulta 02/02/2011

De Lima orders new ballistics tests on soldiers’ guns in Co’s death

By Benjamin B. Pulta 02/02/2011
Prosecutors had been tasked by Justice Secretary Leila de Lima to take a second look at the government’s findings on the death of noted botanist Leonardo Co and others who were caught in a crossfire between the military and insurgents last November 15 in the wilderness of Kananga, Leyte.

“If the evidence adduced during the preliminary investigation warrants,the panel shall file the corresponding information before the appropriate court,” De Lima said in Department Order No. 078 which designated Assistant State Prosecutors George Yate Jr., Bryan Cacha and Tofel Austria to conduct a preliminary investigation.

“(A)s part of the preliminary investigation, and as requested by the complainants, the panel shall require the submission of all the firearms used by the 38 soldiers involved in the incident,” De Lima said.

An initial report clearing the military of involvement in the deaths had been based on a ballistic examination of only nine firearms despite the military’s admission that at around 40 soldiers took part in the operation..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/nation/20110202nat3.html

Life in the fast lane EDITORIAL 02/01/2011

Life in the fast lane

Click to enlarge
Noynoy Aquino and his Malacañang probably realize the damage done to him owing to his luxurious taste in cars and are now busy trying to explain away the luxury vehicles in which he has been seen.

Noynoy personally popped in at the media offices in the Palace to explain about his new Lexus. His explanation was that the Lexus was merely leased from an unnamed brother-in-law, claiming that leasing the high-end bullet-proof Lexus was cheaper than buying one for presidential use, adding that the bullet-proof Mercedes Benz used by the previous president was flood-damaged.
He told the Palace press corps that this would be the last time he would talk about his cars.

That may be so, but Malacañang is certainly doing all it can to erase the public perception of a president who is living the luxurious and ostentatious lifestyle, living in the fast lane, speeding it up with his Porsche, and being carefree, without, however, accomplishing anything in his seven months in office..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20110201com2.html

Turks avenge deadly Israeli raid on the big screen FEATURE 02/01/2011

Turks avenge deadly Israeli raid on the big screen


ISTANBUL — You cannot kill a Turk with impunity — this is the message to Israel from a Turkish movie taking fictional revenge for a deadly Israeli raid on a Gaza-bound aid ship last year and threatening fresh political tensions.

Valley of the Wolves: Palestine — to be shown in a dozen European countries and more than 20 others in the Middle East — promises to be a blockbuster with Turkish and Arab audiences, but may make life harder for Turkish diplomats at a time when ties with Israel are already in a deep crisis.

“Go and show the world what is really the state of Israel,” says an Israeli officer named Moshe Ben-Eliezer — an incarnation of evil — as he orders the assault on the Mavi Marmara ferry in the film.

The May 31 raid on the Turkish vessel claimed the lives of nine Turks, dealt a major blow to once-close Turkish-Israeli ties and triggered a wave of international criticism of the Jewish state..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20110201com3.html

Recalling Edsa 2001 NO HOLDS BARRED Armida Siguion-Reyna 02/01/2011

Recalling Edsa 2001

Armida Siguion-Reyna
With the world now commenting on what is going on in Egypt and Tunisia, one remembers how it was here for people power, in 1986 and 2001. I’m choosing here not to dwell so much on the first one, now on its 25th year of commemoration, but on the relatively still recent, especially as last Sunday in President Joseph Estrada’s house for lunch, talk focused on how it was then for the man who could have been president again in 2010, and how much, much kinder world-wide opinion was for him. Here are snippets.

From Time magazine’s Sandra Burton, Jan. 29, 2001: “Remember Estrada — however cynically — was acting within the framework of the law and under the terms called for by the impeachment proceedings. Had he been declared guilty, he would have had to go. The troubling point remains that he had not been convicted… but they had mechanisms to legally change their head of state. The option they chose, popular uprising, while rousing and probably justified, could portend a troubling future for democracy… but if those protests lead to constitutionally questionable successions, it becomes a subversion of democracy. Even now, we don’t know what percentage of Filipinos wanted Erap to go.”.... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20110201com4.html

Peace problems AN OUTSIDERS VIEW Ken Fuller 02/01/2011

Peace problems

Ken Fuller
Although formal peace talks between the Philippine government and the National Democratic Front (NDF) are due to recommence this month, the process is not without its problems.

After President Aquino ordered the release of the Morong 43, Anakpawis Rep. Rafael Mariano speculated that the insurgency could end in 2011, as due to Aquino’s actions “we can see light at the end of the tunnel.”

It is doubtful whether there is unanimity on this within the Maoist movement. On Dec. 15, 10 soldiers died in a New People’s Army (NPA) ambush in Northern Samar. True, this was a day before the commencement of the Christmas ceasefire, but the signal sent by the incident was hardly encouraging.

When, in July last year, the newly-elected Aquino called on the NDF to resume negotiations, Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) founder Jose Maria Sison responded: “I have… gone so far as to propose a concept of immediate truce and alliance on the basis of a mutually acceptable declaration of principles and policies upholding national independence and democracy, confronting the basic problems of the Filipino people and adopting effective measures of social, economic and political reforms.”.... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20110201com5.html

China goes rabbit-crazy for Lunar New Year focus 02/01/2011

China goes rabbit-crazy for Lunar New Year


BEIJING — In stews, as pets or adorning shop windows, rabbits are ubiquitous as millions of Chinese mark the Lunar New Year, hoping for a more tranquil time ahead as the old Year of the Tiger roars its last.

The nation’s 1.3 billion inhabitants will welcome the Year of the Rabbit on the night of Feb. 2 to 3 in a hugely important family event marked by feasts and a blaze of fireworks.

Occupying the fourth position in the Chinese zodiac, the rabbit is closely linked to the moon and symbolizes happiness and good fortune.

Many — including brokerages — are banking on the calm and sensitive rabbit to usher in a calm 12 months after the tiger brought a spate of deadly natural disasters to China such as earthquakes and mudslides..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20110201com6.html

Poor DILG VIEWPOINTS Archbishop Oscar V. Cruz 02/01/2011


Archbishop Oscar V. Cruz
The DILG is definitely not poor because it does not have the needed funds to satisfactorily pay its personnel, to acceptably finance its operations.

The DILG is certainly neither poor for not having the money to run all its affiliated agencies, to undertake its important intelligence task, but, yes, the DILG is poor basically on account of its queer structure and thereby dubious operational competence, plus pursuant accountability to the general public that financially sustains the whole department with their omnipresent direct and ominous indirect taxes, paid to death.

First of all, does the DILG have but an acting secretary in charge of the Local Government, with however a permanent undersecretary having the direction of the PNP? But much more than this unique and interesting administrative arrangement, the said undersecretary directly relates with and reports to the Chief Executive himself — not to the secretary. This makes the DILG but one agency with practically two independent heads. One body with two heads is neither standard nor healthy — if not sick and sickening.

Then, there is the much talked about disturbing information that while the Acting Secretary is a long proven able executive, it is said that the permanent Undersecretary is such simply because of a rather long and close standing friendship with the Malacañang occupant — plus the likewise said avowed fidelity, if not only obedience but subservience in effect. It is further said that the righteousness of the same personality appears open to question. The composite of these alleged liabilities is anything but reassuring of DILG administrative credibility and competence..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20110201com7.html

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