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A question of numbers EDITORIAL 02/17/2011

Thursday, February 17, 2011

A question of numbers

EDITORIAL
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02/17/2011
High court justices paved the way for the House of Representatives — or at least its justice committee — to go ahead with its move to have Ombudsman Merceditas Gutierrez impeached.

What is puzzling, however, in the absence of the ponencia and the dissenting opinions as of press time, is whether certain earlier rulings have been overturned with this latest Supreme Court (SC) decision.

It will be recalled that when the issue of then SC Chief Justice Hilario Davide Jr’s impeachment complaint was brought before the high court, the same SC, whose ponente was — if memory serves — SC Associate Justice Conchita Carpio-Morales and concurred in by Associate Justice Antonio Carpio and the majority of the justices — ruled that the second impeachment complaint lodged against Davide, which had the required number of House members to elevate this second complaint to the Senate, that only the first impeachment complaint — which was not even voted upon — was valid and which starts the impeachment process..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20110217com1.html

Illogical FRONTLINE Ninez Cacho-Olivares 02/17/2011

Illogical

FRONTLINE
Ninez Cacho-Olivares
02/17/2011
Malacañang says the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) is a “failed experiment” and a “failed sub-state” which is why there is the need for a synchronized election of the ARMM in 2013, when national polls are scheduled.

As the Palace argues, since ARMM is a failed experiment, the way to “reform” the claimed “sub-state” is to immediately kick out the elected officials and replace them with presidential appointees, reasoning that the ARMM elections have been known to always be marked with fraud.

First, the ARMM is not a sub-state, or even a state and can never be such. The Constitution does not allow the creation of a sub-state, as stated in the ruling junking the Memorandum of Agreement on Ancestral Domain between the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF). The ARMM is an autonomous region that has to follow the Constitution and Philippine laws and is definitely not a sub-state.

Second, if the ARMM is a “failed experiment” because of fraudulent elections, with ARMM officials sitting in elective offices even when they are -- officially at least -- the choice of the people, they must now be thrown out of office before the 2013 polls with the presidential appointees seated in their stead, then it should follow that the President of the Republic can at whim, kick out elected officials, such as mayors, governors, congressmen and senators on claims that elections were marked with fraud, then replace them with whoever the President chooses to appoint to these elective offices, until the next elections..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20110217com2.html

Egypt fuels US-Iran fight for regional influence — analysts ANALYSIS 02/17/2011

Egypt fuels US-Iran fight for regional influence — analysts

ANALYSIS

02/17/2011
WASHINGTON — Reeling from the fall of its ally Hosni Mubarak of Egypt, the United States is hitting back at Iran as the arch foes fight for influence in a Middle East upended by popular unrest, analysts said.

Iran presents Mubarak’s fall as a new sign of Washington’s and Israel’s decline in the region, but the United States sees opportunities in a new outbreak of anti-government protests in the Islamic republic.

More broadly, analysts said, Iran frames the anti-government unrest sweeping the Middle East as inspired by Iran’s 1979 Islamic revolution, while the United States paints it as a democratic trend it inherently supports.
“We’re going to see a more heightened rhetorical posture by the United States,” said Trita Parsi, president of the National Iranian American Council, which seeks to advance Iranian-American community interests.

The tougher verbal stance, he added, is driven mainly by the United States seeking to put Iran on the defensive after it tried to use events in Egypt to “undermine America’s position” in the region..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20110217com3.html

RP officials ignorant of dangerous drugs law BLURBAL THRUSTS Louie Logarta 02/17/2011

RP officials ignorant of dangerous drugs law

BLURBAL THRUSTS
Louie Logarta
02/17/2011
Sen. Tito Sotto is on the right track in calling on the concerned government officials to account for their stupidity and unparalleled ignorance in relation to the importation of opium poppy seeds in violation of Republic Act 9165 otherwise known as the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002.

The good senator, we have to assume, must know his onions after all he was the principal author of the aforementioned law, plus he used to be the chairman of the Dangerous Drugs Board for some years before re-joining the legislature in 2010.

That said, RA 9165 views the opium plant in its totality as verboten and defines as illegal its handling, to include any and all species of the opium poppy or parts thereof or substances derived from it.

Now here is a question I would like to address to the incumbent officials of the Dangerous Drugs Board, Philippine National Police, National Bureau of Investigation, Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Bureau of Plant Industry, Bureau of Customs and Philippine Drug Enforcement Administration: Was RA 9165 written in Greek that all of you failed to comprehend what it said during all this time, that the opium poppy is akin to the forbidden fruit of Eden?.... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20110217com4.html

Modern farming threatens Argentina’s gauchos FEATURE 02/17/2011

Modern farming threatens Argentina’s gauchos

FEATURE

02/17/2011
SAN ANTONIO DE ARECO — Gauchos helped defeat Spanish troops and win Argentina independence in the 19th Century, but the cowboys of lore are no match for today’s soybean boom and factory farms.

“The classic gaucho is disappearing,” Lisandro Floral, a 30-year-old who manages a farm of 3,800 hectares (9,400 acres) deep in the Pampas, told AFP.

Floral has forsaken the horse and the boleadoras — the traditional rope and leather ball sling used by gauchos to capture running cattle or game — in favor of a 4x4 equipped with a satellite positioning system.

Even on the smaller, more traditional ranching properties, signs of “real” gauchos, as painted romantically in the epic poem “Martin Fierro” by Jose Hernandez, are few and far between..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20110217com5.html

Gambling Philippines VIEWPOINTS Archbishop Oscar V. Cruz 02/17/2011

Gambling Philippines

VIEWPOINTS
Archbishop Oscar V. Cruz
02/17/2011
In all probability, there are those who would abhor the phrase “Gambling Philippines” for one reason or another. They might find it offensive to good taste, to delicate sensitivity or something. For “good manners and right conduct,” they would rather say or call it “Gambling Philippines.”

This is precisely how Pagcor — the incarnation of professional or expert gambling the country — prefers to call itself: The “Philippines Amusement and Gambling Corp.”

The objective reality, however, is that it is neither that amusing nor is it merely gaming. Now that the government-owned and -controlled corporation has been placed directly under the Office of no less than the Chief Executive — for reason only known thereto — the truth however, still remains that Pagcor could be neither amusing nor simply engaged in gaming.

There are times what the maxim “Let us call a spade, a spade” has to be observed under pain of falsity, hypocrisy or the like. And the reality is that this country — whose flagship remains corruption plus poverty — has downright gambling accommodated for all the economic sectors or “classes” of Philippine society which are now not merely the standard three but actually four in number. There is gambling designed for all of them..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20110217com6.html

Supporters in Haiti make ready for Aristide focus 02/17/2011

Supporters in Haiti make ready for Aristide

focus

02/17/2011
PORT-AU-PRINCE — Supporters beat drums in the slums while workers spruced up his private villa as Haitians prepared Tuesday for the possible return of Jean-Bertrand Aristide with feverish anticipation.

“Some people are cleaning the streets, others are getting the residence ready, and we are making preparations for a beautiful party,” Rene Civil, a die-hard follower of Haiti’s first democratically elected leader, told AFP.

“There is a real feeling of expectation among the people,” Civil said, desperate to see his beloved “Titid” — or little Aristide due to his slight frame — walk once again on Haitian soil.

Haiti has cleared the way for Aristide’s return from exile in South Africa by issuing him with a new passport despite warnings from the United States that the move would only add to the quake-hit nation’s political turmoil..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20110217com7.html

Pabaon, P40M for police top gun exist By Angie M. Rosales and Benjamin B. Pulta 02/17/2011

LACSON REFUTES DILG, PNP CHIEF ON SEND-OFF, WELCOME GIFTS

Pabaon, P40M for police top gun exist

By Angie M. Rosales and Benjamin B. Pulta 02/17/2011

Fugitive Sen. Panfilo Lacson yesterday refuted claims made by officials of President Aquino, who denied the tradition and practice of “send-off” and “welcome” cash gifts, along with a P40 million yearly allotment given to the Philippine National Police (PNP) chief.

Both Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Jesse Robredo and PNP Chief Raul Bacalzo claimed there was no tradition and no practice of pabaons and pasalubongs that exists in the PNP last Tuesday.

But Lacson rejected the two officials’ claim, saying that this practice existed even during the time he assumed the position of PNP director general during the Estrada administration, but emphasized that he did not avail of it.

In a statement sent through e-mail to reporters, the senator admitted knowing of a P40 million yearly allotment for the PNP chief, the apparent counterpart of the military’s provision for command directed
activities (PCDA) and even this close other supposed “perks” that came with the post, including a credit card with a high limit for both personal and official use, as well as gas allowance equivalent to the 24-hour consumption of 50 vehicles..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20110217hed1.html

Aquino gets dose of own medicine on China calls By Aytch S. de la Cruz 02/17/2011

Aquino gets dose of own medicine on China calls

By Aytch S. de la Cruz 02/17/2011
China appears to have returned the courtesy, or the lack of it, of not returning phone calls which its territory Hong Kong’s Chief Executive Donald Tsang suffered at the hands of President Aquino at the height of the hostage crisis in August last year as Aquino said all his calls yesterday to Chinese President Hu Jintao to appeal the case of three Filipino drug couriers who face execution next week went unanswered.

Malacañang admitted the chances of saving the lives of the three Filipinos are between slim and nil with Aquino saying that appealing their cases before his Chinese counterpart being remote as all his phone calls were not returned regarding the matter.

Aquino tried chiding China for “reciprocity” to show clemency saying none of the Chinese drug law offenders in the country were meted the penalty of execution despite knowing that the death penalty has long been abolished in the country unlike in Beijing.

For Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile, there’s no more legal remedies as far as the Philippine government is concerned..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20110217hed2.html

Noy does a Gloria, gives AFP CoS civilian post 02/17/2011 By Mario J. Mallari

Noy does a Gloria, gives AFP CoS civilian post

02/17/2011
By Mario J. Mallari
The more things change, the more they remain the same seems to characterize the Aquino administration.

President Aquino, who promised change, yesterday took the same path taken by former President Gloria Arroyo in rewarding her retired Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Chief of Staff (CoS) with a high ranking civilian post.

It was during her term that she virtually militarized her Cabinet and other executive offices, the same path Aquino appears to be taking, as many of his sub-appointments are being filled with retired military officials.

Aquino announced that incumbent AFP CoS Gen. Ricardo David Jr. will be appointed to a civilian post after his scheduled retirement from the active military service next month, the very same move made the former president..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20110217hed3.html

Pacquiao meets, has lunch with Obama, top pols 02/17/2011

Pacquiao meets, has lunch with Obama, top pols

02/17/2011
President Aquino went to New York City for the United Nations Assembly, had a photo-op posing with a hotdog for lunch in a Manhattan street, got to shake hands with US President Barack Obama and spoke of nothing meaningful for a reported five minutes — but got nary a mention in the US media.

Rep. Manny Pacquiao, the known “pound for pound” boxer with eight boxing belts from eight different division championships to his name, went to Washington DC, was welcomed by Harry Reid, the US Senate Majority Leader who had given a privilege speech, praising Pacquio as a politician and citizen of the world and did what other Philippine presidents failed to do: Meet the current US President.

Pacquio and his wife Jinky, met with Obama, not just for five minutes, but even had lunch with the American president and also met Vice President Joseph “Joe” Biden.

Lunch was not just a hotdog stand, but a full lunch at the White House, and they even had a private, closed door meeting, the reports also said..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20110217hed4.html

Romulo out as DFA chief, may get new gov’t post By Michaela P. del Callar and Aytch S. de la Cruz 02/17/2011

Romulo out as DFA chief, may get new gov’t post

By Michaela P. del Callar and Aytch S. de la Cruz 02/17/2011

Foreign Affairs Secretary Alberto Romulo has all but left his department, packing up his belongings in his office since last week and starting to relieve himself from foreign policy concerns, including the planned execution of three Filipinos convicted of drug trafficking in China, three Filipino diplomats yesterday told the Tribune.

Romulo’s departure from the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) as one of its longest-serving secretaries marks the exit of former President Gloria Arroyo’s Cabinet member retained by her successor and political nemesis, President Aquino. He has however, retained Arroyo’s other Cabinet secretaries, such as Cesar Purisima, Corazon Soliman and Teresita Deles, to name only a few.

Speculations continue to whirl that Romulo, 78, may still have a chance to land another government post. Aquino himself hinted that Romulo may be given another government job..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20110217hed5.html

Solon quizzes Noy’s foreign policy, probe of OFWs’ situation sought 02/17/2011

Solon quizzes Noy’s foreign policy, probe of OFWs’ situation sought

02/17/2011
Sen. Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. yesterday questioned President Aquino’s foreign policy regarding China and Taiwan, noting what he claimed as “change” in the diplomatic relations with the Taiwanese government under the current administration.

Marcos moved for a conduct of an inquiry into this issue in the Senate, stemming from the recent deportation of 14 Taiwanese to mainland China, especially on the matter of remedial measures being undertaken by the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) to the estimated 96,000 overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) in Taiwan now alleged to be under threat of possible retaliatory actions

Marcos moved for a conduct of an inquiry into this issue in the Senate, stemming from the recent deportation of 14 Taiwanese to mainland China, especially on the matter of remedial measures being undertaken by the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) to the estimated 96,000 overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) in Taiwan now alleged to be under threat of possible retaliatory actions by the host country..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20110217hed6.html

Military solution will not end communist insurgency, says Eide By Michaela P. del Callar 02/17/2011

Military solution will not end communist insurgency, says Eide

By Michaela P. del Callar 02/17/2011

Norway’s State Secretary Espen Bath Eide said a military solution will not end the more than four decades of communist insurgency in the Philippines, saying a political and negotiated settlement is required to achieve peace.

At the opening of the Norwegian-brokered formal peace talks between the government and the National Democratic Front, the negotiating arm of the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army (CPP-NPA), this week in Oslo, Eide hopes that both sides could finally address substantial issues and “get down to the business of addressing the root causes of the armed conflict, and talk about basic social, economic and political reforms.”

He said the two parties should finally work towards establishing a platform based on just and lasting peace.
The negotiations, the first in six years, will take place until February 21..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/nation/20110217nat3.html

SC upholds cityhood laws By Benjamin B. Pulta 02/17/2011

SC upholds cityhood laws

By Benjamin B. Pulta 02/17/2011

A close vote in the Supreme Court (SC) has reversed anew the tribunal’s ruling and upheld the validity of a batch of laws passed during the Arroyo administration converting 16 municipalities into cities.

The SC decision granted the motion for reconsideration filed by the 16 municipalities whose cityhood laws had earlier been declared unconstitutional by the high court namely Republic Act 9389 (Baybay City in Leyte), RA 9390 (Bogo City in Cebu), RA 9391 (Catbalogan City in Samar), RA 9392 (Tandag City in Surigao del Sur), RA 9393 (Lamitan City in Basilan), RA 9394 (Borongan City in Samar), RA 9398 (Tayabas City in Quezon), RA 9404 (Tabuk City in Kalinga), RA 9405 (Bayugan City in Agusan del Sur), RA 9407 (Batac City in Ilocos Norte), RA 9408 (Mati City in Davao Oriental), RA 9409 (Guihulngan City in Negros Oriental), RA 9434 (Cabadbaran City in Agusan del Norte), RA 9435 (El Salvador City in Misamis Oriental), RA 9436 (Carcar City in Cebu), and RA 9491 (Naga City in Cebu)..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/nation/20110217nat5.html

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