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Fearing the HK inquest EDITORIAL 02/15/2011

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Fearing the HK inquest

EDITORIAL
Click to enlarge
02/15/2011
Hong Kong’s Coroner’s Court opened yesterday its inquest on the Manila hostage tragedy that killed eight of its residents.

What will be obvious in that inquest would be the total absence of Filipino officials and officers who snubbed the Hong Kong invitation to testify before this court, that, among others would seek whether the Hong Kong victims were killed by friendly fire, or by the hand of the hostage-taker.


The odds, however, are that the court in conducting the inquest, would delve into the whys and wherefores of the botched hostage crisis, which may just prove embarrassing to the Noynoy government and his officials and police officers. But then too, in digging deeper, Hong Kong may just uphold the Incident Investigation and Review Committee’s first report, but may seek answers on why no one was being held accountable by Noynoy after the IIRC report was watered down by his legal counsels after a review.

A recent Hong Kong radio report said that the survivors and relatives of the victims are likely to form the bulk of the witnesses who are to testify in court, since Filipino officials and police officers who were invited to testify before the coroner’s inquest have snubbed the invitation..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20110215com1.html

Unchartered Egyptian waters FRONTLINE Ninez Cacho-Olivares 02/15/2011

Unchartered Egyptian waters

FRONTLINE
Ninez Cacho-Olivares
02/15/2011
Egypt’s revolt that lasted 18 days ended with the Egyptian military taking control of the so-called transition government, which only cements the fact that no “people power” revolt can succeed without the military going over to the people’s side.

Yet the Yellows refuse to admit that the 1986 Edsa revolt largely succeeded in toppling the Marcos regime because, in the end, the military supported the people, with Marcos losing control of his military.

The Yellows, to this day, even refuse to credit Johnny Ponce-Enrile for serving as trigger in the Edsa revolt. Yet it was because of Enrile’s position to hand over power to Cory Aquino, instead of taking power for himself and his rebel soldiers that civilian rule came into being again.

The Edsa rebels could have taken power easily. They were very popular then, and they had the arms. Few, if at all, would have crabbed if they took power and installed a transition government for say, four to six months, after which general elections would have been held..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20110215com2.html

What’s a senator to do? NO HOLDS BARRED Armida Siguion-Reyna 02/15/2011

What’s a senator to do?

NO HOLDS BARRED
Armida Siguion-Reyna
02/15/2011
Soon after the news of Angelo Reyes’ death hit media came the blame game, a timely indicator of who standing on what side of the political divide, with some perhaps simply caught in-between.

Never mind the uninformed, who forward the most improbable of theories, like, “What if the exposé is not ‘in aid of legislation’ but actually an act of treason to bring down these two institutions (the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Philippine Military Academy) and destroy democracy?” Never mind the illogical as well, like, “What’s all the fuss now to give this man a hero’s burial? Incongruous? No, it is overwhelming guilt for maligning a person so casually ‘in aid of legislation!’”

To the first statement we merely apply an old Filipino saying, “Ang nagsasabi ng tapat, nagsasama ng maluwat.” We allow the truth about all goings-on in the AFP to come out in order to ensure that such does not happen again, and we’re actually moving to have them guys in uniform around for much longer than they actually deserve.

Notice I’m not lumping the AFP and the PMA together, for as most PMA graduates aver, including whistle-blower Lt. Col. George Rabusa, in the PMA one is trained toward being an “officer and a gentleman” over and over again. The phrase is planted in the plebe’s mind from the first day he dons his cadet’s gray uniform, all the way to when he graduates. The temptation is when he joins the AFP..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20110215com4.html

What’s a senator to do? NO HOLDS BARRED Armida Siguion-Reyna 02/15/2011

What’s a senator to do?

NO HOLDS BARRED
Armida Siguion-Reyna
02/15/2011
Soon after the news of Angelo Reyes’ death hit media came the blame game, a timely indicator of who standing on what side of the political divide, with some perhaps simply caught in-between.

Never mind the uninformed, who forward the most improbable of theories, like, “What if the exposé is not ‘in aid of legislation’ but actually an act of treason to bring down these two institutions (the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Philippine Military Academy) and destroy democracy?” Never mind the illogical as well, like, “What’s all the fuss now to give this man a hero’s burial? Incongruous? No, it is overwhelming guilt for maligning a person so casually ‘in aid of legislation!’”

To the first statement we merely apply an old Filipino saying, “Ang nagsasabi ng tapat, nagsasama ng maluwat.” We allow the truth about all goings-on in the AFP to come out in order to ensure that such does not happen again, and we’re actually moving to have them guys in uniform around for much longer than they actually deserve.

Notice I’m not lumping the AFP and the PMA together, for as most PMA graduates aver, including whistle-blower Lt. Col. George Rabusa, in the PMA one is trained toward being an “officer and a gentleman” over and over again. The phrase is planted in the plebe’s mind from the first day he dons his cadet’s gray uniform, all the way to when he graduates. The temptation is when he joins the AFP..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20110215com4.html

Meddling in Latin America AN OUTSIDERS VIEW Ken Fuller 02/15/2011

Meddling in Latin America

AN OUTSIDERS VIEW
Ken Fuller
02/15/2011
President Barack Obama rarely fails to disappoint. Such disappointment is not confined to domestic policy where, even before the Republican victory in the congressional elections last year, he was moving steadily to the right.

On the international front, there were hopes of a clean break with the past. Remember his inaugural speech? “To those who cling to power through corruption and deceit and the silencing of dissent, know that you are on the wrong side of history, but that we will extend a hand if you are willing to unclench your fist.”

This gave the impression that, more that just a new administration, Obama’s arrival in Washington would usher in a new era in foreign relations in which the USA would cast off its previous practice of supporting those who trampled on human rights. We now see, as Washington was quite comfortable with the vice presidency of Egypt being occupied by Omar Suleiman, a man whose fist has for years been clenched in the service of the USA as his intelligence department has tortured suspects “rendered” into his hands by the CIA, that the fine words were worthless..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20110215com5.html

US ponders future of military ties with Egypt focus 02/15/2011

US ponders future of military ties with Egypt

focus

02/15/2011
WASHINGTON — With the fall of Hosni Mubarak’s regime, the United States holds sway over Egypt’s political future thanks to its strong ties with a military it helped build over three decades, experts said.

Egypt watchers said the massive $1.3-billion annual US military aid package to the country has largely paid off over the years — yielding cooperation on counterterrorism, the Middle East peace process and safe passage through the Suez Canal. Many warned against bowing to calls for freezing the US funds.

“There are tremendous risks,” said Andrew Exum of the Center for a New American Security.

“At the very least, you need to keep military to military exchanges and contacts because you never know how valuable those relationships might be in the future.”.... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20110215com6.html

Valentine’s Day: Desecrating the sacred VIEWPOINTS Archbishop Oscar V. Cruz 02/15/2011

Valentine’s Day: Desecrating the sacred

VIEWPOINTS
Archbishop Oscar V. Cruz
02/15/2011
Instead of celebrating it as something noble and sacred; instead of fomenting the exalted intention and exalting spirit that launched the “Day,” it is sad to know that there are certain individuals and organized groups apparently bent on making it but carnal in nature and egoistic in context. And this is exactly the case of associating Valentine’s Day with condoms — whether they are given away free or sold at half their price. Thus it is that the “Day” becomes associated with but sex, contraception and motels.

The objective reality is exactly the opposite: Valentine’s Day is the affirmation of human love, the distinction of the affection reigning between a man and a woman. And rightly so. Even those people, who are avidly pro-contraception and/or pro-abortion, precisely came to life because of the consummate conjugal love between their fathers and mothers. In fact, anyone who is anti-life can only be such because of the life they already have through their parents..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20110215com7.html

Gunning for Garcia’s ‘protector’ not priority—Noy By Aytch S. de la Cruz and Angie M. Rosales 02/15/2011

Gunning for Garcia’s ‘protector’ not priority—Noy

By Aytch S. de la Cruz and Angie M. Rosales 02/15/2011

Nothing, or so it appears, is a priority for President Aquino, as he yesterday told the media that even as he already has an idea of the identity of the “powerful person” behind retired military comptroller, discharged Maj. Gen. Carlos Garcia, going after that powerful person is not his priority.

He said there are much too many cases going on, and “it has gotten to a point that you really have to choose (which one to focus on and file the case.”

“We’re in the stage where we are collating not just on this issue but on so many issues. It has come to the point where you really have to choose (which one) in the face of so many cases to be filed. It’s like the resources of the administration are being diluted, which means the personnel, the people who are responsible — if we have to have to focus on all the cases simultaneously,” Aquino said, by way of explaining why filing a case against the Garcia protectors cannot be his priority.

In many instances where sensitive issues crop up, Aquino always claims that such issues are not his priority,
Aquino always claims that such issues are not his priority, and has admitted that he can’t only focus on one issue at a time..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20110215hed1.html

Prosecutors: Garcia deal a ‘judgment call’ By Arlie O. Calalo 02/15/2011

Prosecutors: Garcia deal a ‘judgment call’

By Arlie O. Calalo 02/15/2011

State prosecutors who entered into a plea bargain with former Armed Forces comptroller Maj. Gen. Carlos Garcia that reduced his plunder case to direct bribery, which is a bailable offense, maintained the agreement with Garcia was a judgment call and that Sen. Franklin Drilon’s statement they all can be hauled to court for gross negligence was not a “proper approach to the problem.”

Standing pat on the propriety of the plea bargain agreement entered into with Garcia, Assistant Ombudsman Jose Tereso de Jesus Jr. also said the Office of the Special Prosecutor had submitted a manifestation before the Sandiganbayan to hold its ruling on the plea bargain deal in abeyance following revelations by ex-public auditor Heidi Mendoza and ret. Col. George Rabusa during the hearings called by both upper and lower chambers “in aid of legislation.”

“For the good senator to press suit against our prosecutors for their judgment call he only happens to hold a contrary opinion, even before the Senate and the House of Representatives can craft the needed legislation, which is supposedly the avowed purpose of their separate hearings on the matter, may not be the proper approach to the problem,” De Jesus said.

He stressed that a manifestation has been submitted before the anti-graft court to give the prosecutors time to find any such material and relevant evidence which would be sufficient for them to change their stand on the issue, if ever,..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20110215hed2.html

AFP: UN RP contingents’ accomplishments the issue, not aging equipment By Mario J. Mallari 02/15/2011

AFP: UN RP contingents’ accomplishments the issue, not aging equipment

By Mario J. Mallari 02/15/2011

The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) yesterday maintained that despite “aging” equipment being deployed with its peacekeeping troops to United Nations missions in various parts of the world, Filipino contingents have performed very well and above expectations.

AFP spokesman Brig. Gen. Jose Mabanta Jr., however, downplayed Tribune reports of sending dilapidated AFP equipment to UN missions abroad but admitted that AFP equipment could be “aging.”

“That is the real state of the AFP, but that is not the issue here, the real issue is that — are we capable of attaining the mission? Have we accomplished the missions? Did we perform credibly in the tasks given by the UN? Looking at our records, we did perform very well,” declared Mabanta.

On Monday, The Tribune reported a Commission on Audit (CoA) report in 2009 citing the AFP Peacekeeping Operations Center’s (AFPPKOC), based in Capas, Tarlac, description of equipment deployed with AFP.... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20110215hed3.html

Noy says no emissary yet but to come from private sector 02/15/2011

Noy says no emissary yet but to come from private sector

02/15/2011
President Aquino yesterday said he will appoint a “private citizen” who will act as government emissary to Taiwan that will address pressing diplomatic concerns over the Department of Justice’s (DoJ) decision to deport 14 suspected Taiwanese fraudsters to mainland China, angering Taiwanese officials.

Speaking to reporters in a chance interview after an event at the East Avenue Medical Center, Aquino said he is still in the process of convincing one of the persons he has in mind who, he said, is a private citizen.

“As you know there are restrictions under the One China Policy. I haven’t chosen (him yet). I talked to the person I have in mind, he’s dotting the I’s and crossing the T’s just to make sure there are no other attendant issues. He hasn’t agreed yet and we’re still looking for others who might be, to determine who is the best to convey all the details of the incident,” Aquino stressed.

He added that the potential emissary he would be sending to Taiwan used to work in government but is now a private citizen..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20110215hed4.html

Inquest on Manila hostage fiasco opens in HK 02/15/2011

Inquest on Manila hostage fiasco opens in HK

02/15/2011
An inquest into the Manila bus hijacking in August that left eight tourists dead opened in Hong Kong yesterday, six months after a diplomatic row erupted over the Philippines’ handling of the incident.

The 25-day hearing before Hong Kong’s Coroner’s Court is due to hear from witnesses, including survivors and families of the Hong Kong hostages killed in a botched police rescue attempt aired on live television around the world.


Staff from thea trip’s tour operator were slated to testify at the inquest, but none of the 116 Philippine witnesses — including police officers, the bus driver, and a reporter who spoke to Mendoza — had confirmed their attendance.

Department of Justice (DoJ) Secretary Leila de Lima confirmed that no Filipino witness will testify in the investigation being conducted by the Hong Kong government in connection with the Quirino Grandstand hostage-taking incident..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20110215hed5.html

Ex-Govs Reyes, Carreon charged with murder By Benjamin B. Pulta 02/15/2011

Ex-Govs Reyes, Carreon charged with murder

By Benjamin B. Pulta 02/15/2011

Former Palawan Gov. Joel Reyes and several others have been charged with murder in connection with the death of Palawan-based broadcaster Gerardo “Gerry” Ortega on Jan. 24 in Puerto Princesa City.

Accompanied by lawyer Harry Roque, widow Patricia Gloria  “Patty” Ortega, wife of Gerry, personally went to the Department of Justice (DoJ) to file the complaint.

In a five-page sworn statement, the widow also named former Marinduque Gov. Jose Carreon, former Palawan provincial administrator Romeo Seratubias, Coron, Palawan Mayor Mario Reyes and several others, namely, Marlon Ricamata, Dennis Aranas, Valentin Lesias, Arturo Regalado, Armando Noel, Rodolfo “Bumar” Edrad Jr., and other John Does and Jane Does.

Edrad surrendered to the authorities last weekend and confessed being the one who hired the gunman upon orders allegedly coming from Reyes. Roque said charges against Edrad may still be dropped once he is turned into a state witness..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/nation/20110215nat1.html

Army awaits gov’t panel’s go signal to suspend offensive against NPAs By Mario J. Mallari 02/15/2011

Army awaits gov’t panel’s go signal to suspend offensive against NPAs

By Mario J. Mallari 02/15/2011

Guidelines have already been in-placed for possible reciprocation by the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) of the ceasefire declaration of the communist group in observance of the formal peace negotiations between the government and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP).

AFP spokesman Brig. Gen. Jose Mabanta Jr., however, said the military is awaiting directive from the government’s peace panel for the implementation of the guidelines on the possible suspension of offensive military operations (Somo).

“At this point, we cannot really make any statement. We are awaiting the guidance and instructions from our peace negotiating panel but there are already guidelines that we are preparing but we cannot announce them until there is an announcement of finality regarding the suspension of military operations,” said Mabanta.

In a statement dated Feb. 12, the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) declared ceasefire for the duration of the formal peace negotiations starting on Feb. 15 to midnight of Feb. 21. The talks are scheduled in Oslo, Norway..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/nation/20110215nat4.html

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