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Grandstanding only EDITORIAL 02/03/2011

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Grandstanding only

EDITORIAL
Click to enlarge
02/03/2011
Evidently, the House committee hearing Tuesday was hardly meant to zero in on the plea bargain deal between the Ombudsman’s office and former military comptroller Ret. Maj. Gen. Carlos Garcia, and not, for that matter, was it on the corruption in the military through its “pasalubong” and “pabaon” system and the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) slush fund.

What the House panel was really after was to pin down the Ombudsman, Merceditas Gutierrez, whom panel chairman Niel Tupas has been gunning for, since he took control of the justice committee.

Obviously, Tupas failed because like her or not, Gutierrez held her own against the congressional panel, so much so that Tupas is now reduced to “studying the possibility of filing cases in the Office of the President against government prosecutors who inked the deal with Garcia.”.... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20110203com1.html

Timing FRONTLINE Ninez Cacho-Olivares 02/03/2011

Timing

FRONTLINE
Ninez Cacho-Olivares
02/03/2011
Catholic bishops, in their pastoral letter, hinted at yet another people power as they harked back to the 1986 Edsa revolt with which they credit themselves as having aided greatly in its success. At the same time, they issued the warning that there will be street protests once Congress approves the enactment of the Reproductive Health bill or the Responsible Parenthood bill of Malacañang.

That the bishops can gather a crowd is not in doubt, since they can always call on Catholic school heads to have their students — even grade schoolers — make up the crowd. They did it in Edsa 11.

But that the bishops and Catholic students can do a reprise of Edsa I on the issue of the use of contraceptives and bring down the government is in grave doubt.

The bishops are hardly going to admit it publicly, but the fact is that they have lost their “moral” and even political clout over Filipinos and even Philippine governments, mainly because they were into ousting a legitimate and popular president, yet kept their mouths shut during the Gloria Arroyo years, despite the many instances of massive corruption, as well as electoral fraud. They supported moral decadence during Gloria’s time, yet they now they dare to speak of the use of contraceptives as the “root of ‘moral corruption?’”.... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20110203com2.html

ElBaradei no easy choice for the West — analysts ANALYSIS 02/03/2011

ElBaradei no easy choice for the West — analysts

ANALYSIS

02/03/2011
VIENNA — Far from seeing Mohamed ElBaradei as the answer to Egypt’s problems, the West fears the Nobel laureate is out of touch with the mood on the Arab street after a two decade absence, experts said Tuesday.

The 68-year-old, a former head of the UN’s Vienna-based nuclear watchdog, has been mandated by Egypt’s opposition groups to negotiate with the President Hosni Mubarak amid the current unrest sweeping the country.

But Western diplomats and analysts suggest his lengthy absence from domestic politics means he may not be suitable as anything more than a temporary caretaker of power in the transition currently underway.

“ElBaradei has been out of Egypt for a number of years so he hasn’t really been part of Egyptian opposition politics,” said an analyst at London-based Exclusive Analysis, Zaineb Al-Assam. “His basis of power is fairly small.”.... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20110203com3.html

PNP clinging on to P5M Panlilio bounty BLURBAL THRUSTS Louie Logarta 02/03/2011

PNP clinging on to P5M Panlilio bounty

BLURBAL THRUSTS
Louie Logarta
02/03/2011
The National Press Club is looking into recent allegations of whistle-blower retired Col. George Rabusa that certain “defense reporters” were willing beneficiaries of a multimillion-peso slush fund in Camp Aguinaldo (where the headquarters of the Armed Forces of the Philippines is located) which was culled from the Defense budget.

“The Fourth Estate once again has been dragged into a controversy. We want to get to the bottom of things to clear our name,” according to NPC president Jerry Yap, who promptly referred the matter to the ethics committee.

Rabusa, a former budget officer who testified last week before the Senate blue ribbon committee regarding top-level corruption in the AFP during the early part of the last decade, had drawn up a list of alleged regular recipients of the under-the-table appropriation — which was read into the records by Sen. Jinggoy Estrada during cross-examination of the witness — that was derived principally from the controversial PCDA or provision for command-directed activities and “savings” from the budgets of various units of the military..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20110203com4.html

Poverty and democracy VIEWPOINTS Archbishop Oscar V. Cruz 02/03/2011

Poverty and democracy

VIEWPOINTS
Archbishop Oscar V. Cruz
02/03/2011
On the one hand, there is factual and living poverty in the country, viz., a negative socio-economic condition whereby the people concerned either barely have enough to buy their basic necessities, to finance their simple and bare living, to sincerely look forward to a better future. In the plain understanding of poverty, specifically in the context of the Philippine garbage dumps, it is taking shelter under bridges, sleeping in cartons laid down on streets. Most of their children are practically naked. This is not to mention those engaged in mendicancy as a matter of course — using either newly born babies or small children to beg for some coins from pedestrians, braving even the danger of following one car after another, just to get some centavos every now and then — if ever..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20110203com5.html

Britain’s ‘hotbed of extremism’ faces new threat FEATURE 02/03/2011

Britain’s ‘hotbed of extremism’ faces new threat

FEATURE

02/03/2011
LUTON — Its concrete-laden town center looks an unlikely spot for a clash of civilizations, but Luton has emerged as the battlefield for tensions between radical Islam and Britain’s far-right.

Efforts by this drab commuter town north of London to shed its image as an extremist hotbed suffered a setback in December when local resident Taymour Abdelwahab blew himself up in a botched suicide attack in Stockholm.

Luton, where around 15 percent of the population of nearly 200,000 are Muslim, was also the departure point for the four suicide bombers who killed 52 persons on London’s transport system on July 7, 2005.

Now the anti-Islamist English Defense League (EDL), which formed in Luton two years ago amid simmering communal tensions, will hold a march in the town on Saturday that is expected to draw thousands of supporters..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20110203com7.html

China’s New Year rail travel: The need for speed? FEATURE 02/03/2011

China’s New Year rail travel: The need for speed?

FEATURE

02/03/2011
BEIJING — Getting home for Chinese New Year used to mean squeezing into rundown trains that creak their way through the countryside.

But this year, many are opting for the comfort and ever-expanding network of China’s high-speed trains, even if it means paying on average more than three times more — sparking concern the not-so-wealthy are losing out.

“High-speed trains do not benefit middle- and low-income segments of the population,” Zhao Jian, a professor at the Economy Management Institute of Beijing Jiaotong University, told AFP.

They might benefit rich people, giving them another travel option. But we build railways to promote economic development, not to serve one particular group of people.”.... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20110203com8.html

Reyes wants 4 senators out of probe By Angie M. Rosales and Aytch S. de la Cruz 02/03/2011

NOY UNAWARE OF CIMATU’S NOY UNAWARE OF CIMATU’S

Reyes wants 4 senators out of probe

By Angie M. Rosales and Aytch S. de la Cruz 02/03/2011

Former Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Chief of Staff Angelo Reyes wants at least four senators to inhibit themselves from the Senate blue ribbon committee investigation into the multimillion-peso miltary perks, saying the four — Senate President Pro Tempore Jinggoy Estrada, Senators Miriam Defensor Santiago, Antonio Trillanes lV and Francis “Chiz” Escudero — have already prejudged the case against him.

Other former chiefs of staff are likely to be called as they have been linked to the military payola, including former CoS Roy Cimatu.

President Aquino, however, has not come up with any strong statement with regard to the involvement of former CoS Diomedio Villanueva and Roy Cimatu.

Aquino, in a chance interview with reporters, expressed complete unawareness regarding the issue involving his appointed official, Cimatu, whom he had given the same ambassadorial post. He said he merely acted on the recommendation of the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) when he made that decision..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20110203hed1.html

Noynoy response key to AFP morale — JPE By Angie M. Rosales 02/03/2011

Noynoy response key to AFP morale — JPE

By Angie M. Rosales 02/03/2011

Legislators are worried that the can of worms being let out in the ongoing Senate inquiry into allegations of corruption in the military may result in gross disillusionment among soldiers and the administration of President Aquino was put to task in turning around the probes’ backlash into a positive result by not letting off any of those who will be found responsible for the wholesale raid of public funds.

Already, recently, there were signs the House of Representatives and the Palace are softening on former chiefs of staff, primarily those allied with the ruling power.

Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile cited a growing concern in the Senate over the impact stirred by the latest scandal involving the military organization and its officials among the military ranks..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20110203hed2.html

CenPEG warns vs use of PCOS machines in ARMM elections By Charlie V. Manalo 02/03/2011

CenPEG warns vs use of PCOS machines in ARMM elections

By Charlie V. Manalo 02/03/2011

While calling for the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindano (ARMM) elections to push through as scheduled, poll watchdog Center for People Empowerment in Governance (CenPEG) warned against the use of the Smartmatic-provided Precinct Count Optical Scan (PCOS) election program used in the May 2010 elections, describing the machines as inherently defective with their many critical bugs and errors that have been found in the review of the US-based SysTest Labs..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20110203hed3.html

WikiLeaks: US links RP to nuclear, radioactive smuggling By Michaela P. del Callar 02/03/2011

WikiLeaks: US links RP to nuclear, radioactive smuggling

By Michaela P. del Callar 02/03/2011

Whistle-blower WikiLeaks released yesterday a confidential cable from the United States embassy in London linking the Philippines to possible smuggling of nuclear and other radioactive material.

A diplomatic cable dated Nov. 21, 2007 and marked “sensitive,” said at the time, the location of the nuclear material, reportedly uranium, was in the Philippines and that it formerly belonged to the US.

The leaked cable added that the intended destination of the material is unknown nor it was determined if it was already in transit.

At the time the memo was issued, Philippine authorities had not been notified.

“Post wishes to alert the Department and Washington agencies per reftel that it has received a report indicating a potential incident of illicit trafficking in and possible offer of nuclear and/or radiological materials. This report came to post’s attention via call-in and email. Information concerning this report was relayed telephonically to PMAT at 0715 GMT on 11/21/07,” the cable said..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20110203hed4.html

Belmonte not keen on joining calls for Singson’s resignation 02/03/2011

Belmonte not keen on joining calls for Singson’s resignation

02/03/2011
Speaker Feliciano “Sonny” Belmonte yesterday said he would not join calls for Ilocos Sur Rep. Ronald Singson to voluntary resign from his post, saying the beleaguered lawmaker will have all the opportunities to defend himself before the House committee on ethics.

The House leader, in a chance interview, stressed that Singson will be accorded due process despite his guilty plea last Monday for his drug trafficking case before the Wan Chai District Court in Hong Kong.

“Despite everything, due process is still very important and it does not automatically mean that we have to do this or that. Of course, they (Hong Kong court officials) have to finish (hearings),” Belmonte told reporters.

“I am not asking for him to resign or anything like that. All that I’m asking is that due process to be followed and I don’t think that people will be disappointed,” the Speaker said..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20110203hed5.html

Malacañang ignores political satirist video ‘taunting’ Noynoy By Aytch S. de la Cruz 02/03/2011

Malacañang ignores political satirist video ‘taunting’ Noynoy

By Aytch S. de la Cruz 02/03/2011
Malacañang simply ignored the latest video of political satirist, “Juana Change,” expressing her disappointment on President Aquino over his controversial purchase of a P4.5-million worth Porsche which has now gone viral in various social networking and video-sharing sites.

The video did not only mock Aquino’s acquisition of an expensive car but also his apparent non-achievement thus far after being elected as the country’s 15th President that was delivered through the witty exchanges of dialogs by the five characters featured in the skit representing ordinary people.

In a post-briefing interview yesterday, Presidential Communications Development and Strategic Planning (PCDSP) Secretary Ricky Carandang expressed indifference over this latest criticism hurled against Aquino’s cars.

“I haven’t seen it and I don’t care,” Carandang said of the latest satire.

Aquino earlier defended his fetish for cars, claiming that the public should not begrudge him for satisfying himself with these luxuries because they allow him to switch his mind off the country’s pressing problems from time to time..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/nation/20110203nat1.html

Solon asks DPWH to hold implementation of overloading law By Charlie V. Manalo 02/03/2011

Solon asks DPWH to hold implementation of overloading law

By Charlie V. Manalo 02/03/2011

Western Samar Rep. Mel Senen Sarmiento is appealing to the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) to defer until April the implementation of the anti-overloading law which took effect last Tuesday, pending the result of a House study designed to find out the most appropriate computation on the weight limit for cargo vehicles.

According to Sarmiento, while he understands the DPWH position in relation to the rapid wear and tear of the country’s roads and highways due to the unregulated weighs for cargo and container trucks, these mammoth vehicles also play a major role in fueling the country’s economy.

Sarmiento said cargo and container trucks that ply along the country’s major roads and highways are responsible for transporting imported and domestic goods all over the country.

“We should balance the necessity of minimizing public work cost on road repairs and rehabilitation with the need to provide our people of their basic necessities. Anything from farm goods to imported canned food and your favorite instant noodles are transported by these trucks,” Sarmiento noted..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/nation/20110203nat4.html

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