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Who’ll have the last laugh? EDITORIAL 03/04/2011

Friday, March 4, 2011

Who’ll have the last laugh?

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Ombudsman Merceditas Gutierrez has not been seen as comfortable as she is now, giving interviews to anyone who seeks it to face squarely each of the issues raised in the House to impeach her.

Gutierrez, whom Noynoy claims would be a hindrance to efforts in prosecuting Gloria and her cabal, is likely believing more than ever that she would complete her full seven-year term that expires next year due to the weak case against her being pushed at the House.

Sen. Miriam Defensor Santiago believes that the charges being pushed against Gutierrez will not hold up in a regular court, much less an impeachment court, and Santiago said she was taking her experience as a trial court judge to weigh the issues being raised against Gutierrez.

The House can ram Gutierrez’s impeachment through sheer numbers since the allies of Noynoy seem to be moving through a marching order from Malacañang but Santiago said the whole process would be largely a waste of time because of the weak cases raised against Merci in the House..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20110304com1.html

Appalling FRONTLINE Ninez Cacho-Olivares 03/04/2011


Ninez Cacho-Olivares
Kiko Pangilinan’s logic is appalling, especially so, because he is not only a lawyer, but will also be a senator-judge if the charges against Ombudsman Merceditas “Merci” Gutierrez are upheld by the House of Representatives and elevated to an impeachment trial by the Senate.

Pangilinan called on Merci to quit her post, saying that she should have the decency to resign since she has tarnished the image and reputation of the office she holds and has damaged the institution by clinging to it like a leech.

Said the senator: “It would be best for the Ombudsman as an institution, for the nation and for all of us, if she (Merci) just resigns and spares the nation the spectacle of a public trial. The once highly regarded, respected, and feared Office of the Ombudsman is no more. What we have is an office that is a complete and total embarrassment to public office and service. For the sake of decency in public office she should just get out or be kicked out.”

Pangilinan should also have the decency, at the very least, to inhibit himself from the Senate trial, as he has clearly prejudged the case against the Ombudsman..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20110304com2.html

US says Libya at crossroads of democracy, civil war focus 03/04/2011

US says Libya at crossroads of democracy, civil war


WASHINGTON — Warning that Libya is at the crossroads of peaceful democracy and civil war, the United States vowed Tuesday to press leader Moamer Kadhafi to quit by squeezing him economically and militarily.

However, US defense leaders said imposing a no-fly zone over Libya would be “extraordinarily” complex and Nato allies have yet to agree on any military intervention in the crisis.

Kadhafi has been fighting a bloody rearguard action against a pro-democracy uprising now in its third week, with at least 1,000 people reported killed and 100,000 people fleeing to neighboring Egypt and Tunisia.

“In the years ahead, Libya could become a peaceful democracy, or it could face protracted civil war, or it could descend into chaos,” US Secretary of State Hillary told the House Foreign Affairs Committee..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20110304com3.html

The worst is yet to come NO HOLDS BARRED Armida Siguion-Reyna 03/04/2011

The worst is yet to come

Armida Siguion-Reyna
Here I go again, you say. Proclaiming doom, instead of projecting hope. Casting negative thoughts, when there’s so much more to gain out of simply maintaining a positive outlook. Gloria Arroyo is out of Malacañang, isn’t that enough to make me happy?

It’s bad enough that we’re being made to believe wives of certain generals can escape Senate investigation on pretext of severe headaches, and some brothers-in-law can have plush apartment units, luxury cars, and fat bank accounts, without a job. And that while nothing else but the immediacy of resolving the impeachment case against Ombudsman is drummed into our heads, over at the Batasan, congressmen stopped working when the air-con conked out.

As if these aren’t enough, papers report daily on the thousands upon thousands of Filipino workers being sent home from Libya. Fine for the legal OFWs, but what of the legions of victims of dubious recruiters who cannot be extricated because they are undocumented, and will have to remain in the troubled Middle East for as long as only God knows? Let’s not even get into cases where the Pinoy would rather die in wherever than go safely home, for he’s only been just a few months there and still to pay off the whatever he had to mortgage to afford a placement agency, airfare, government training and departure fees, medical certificates and everything necessary to leave..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20110304com4.html

What about substantial justice? C.R.O.S.S.R.O.A.D.S Jonathan De la Cruz 03/04/2011

What about substantial justice?

Jonathan De la Cruz
It is unfortunate that the House committee on justice has decided to proceed with the impeachment hearings against Ombudsman Merceditas Gutierrez immediately after the Supreme Court (SC) dismissed her petition to stop the process on the ground that such would violate her constitutional right against the filing of more than one impeachment complaint against an impeachable official within a period of one year. This, despite the fact that, as emphasized by the experts, she still had 15 days to file, as she did file, a motion for reconsideration.

This “rush to judgment,” as the committee’s action has been described even by those who have no love lost for Gutierrez, can only further muddle and complicate the issues on hand.

For it strikes at the very heart not only of the impeachment process itself and the “separation of powers” among the co-equal branches of government but the matter of “due and demandable rights” afforded each and every citizen under the Constitution. Substantial justice not only requires but presupposes that such rights are adhered to at all times. Thus, if the process is short circuited or arbitrarily or whimsically adhered then a crisis can set in..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20110304com5.html

Neither Singapore nor Libya DIE HARD III Herman Tiu Laurel 03/04/2011

Neither Singapore nor Libya

Herman Tiu Laurel
If Marcos had not been forced out of the country and continued to govern, would the Philippines be a Singapore today as Sen. Bongbong Marcos claims? Or would it be, as Aquino III countered, a Libya wracked by internal strife with thousands dead and an uncertain future?

I discussed this recently on my Global News Network cable show with UP Solair (School of Labor and Industrial Relations) economics professor Dr. Rene Ofreneo, Manila Standard columnist and author Rod Kapunan, and the Fertilizer Industry Association of the Philippines’ past president, Jun Aristorenas.

With our topic, “RP Economics: From Marcos to the Present,” we got to review 21 years of Marcos and 25 years of the Yellow movement’s control of the direction of this country; and there was only one common conclusion. It’s definitely something that will make Cory Aquino turn in her grave while Ferdinand Marcos and his Agriculture Secretary Bong Tangco smile from wherever they are.

Ofreneo’s historical account of the Marcos period divides it into two — the first half in the early ’70s marked by Marcos’ acquiescence to the IMF-WB economic prescriptions and the second half, as the ’80s began, with Marcos launching the “11 Industrial Projects” that would have made the Philippines among the first Tiger Economies in Asean.

Kapunan puts the thrust toward industrialization under Marcos earlier, as early as the mid-70s. He took the view that if Marcos had continued on, the Philippines today would not be a Singapore, which developed more as a trading and financial entrepôt, but more like South Korea, with heavy industries such as steel, petrochemicals, automotive manufacturing, and the like.

Aristorenas, who started his career in 1976 with the Department of Agriculture under Bong Tangco, described the Marcos-Tangco vision as “25 years into the future,” with the domestic fertilizer industry in partnership with the Republic of Nauru as a base to become a food production powerhouse.

Reviewing 46 years of economic history is surprisingly easy; hindsight allows us an easy view of the essential issues. Ofreneo said that the Marcos regime’s epiphany as a National Economic Development advocate and leader came with Marcos’ landmark book, Revolution from the Center. Co-written with nationalist intellectuals, it really had the Japanese “Meiji Restoration” and its crash agro-industrialization program in mind. This paradigm, Ofreneo said, is the same that China has adopted, propelling it to its status today as an economic superpower — the same path being taken by Vietnam.

Of course, all the other Tiger Economies used the same paradigm, all following Marcos’ lead. The only tragedy, Ofreneo asserts, is that by 1981, Marcos accommodated the IMF-WB prescriptions (under the Structural Adjustment Program) and accepted “neo-liberal, free trade” with Cesar Virata and Gerry Sicat as economic managers, which actions led to the scuttling of his agro-industrialization program.

After the fall of Marcos, Ofreneo lamented, agro-industrialization was completely supplanted by neo-liberalism. Thereafter, the industrial projects were privatized or completely abandoned. The national steel company went to seed, its equipment looted, its viability undermined by the “highest electricity cost in Asia,” with the Indian company that runs it today suspected of using it only as a front for dumping steel products.

PhilPhos, the Marcos-era state fertilizer company, used to provide chemical and organic fertilizers at very low cost, helping the country achieve rice self-sufficiency and export capability throughout the late ’70s and ’80s; but now, the Philippines is dependent on both fertilizer and rice imports.

Other projects such as car manufacturing, Kapunan pointed out, provided economic multiplier effects such as production of radiators, automotive glass, rubber seals, car seats and upholstery. All these provided thousands of jobs which have all been lost today.

There was very little to discuss about Cory Aquino or Yellow-era economics, evincing the fact that there’s really very little or no economic initiative that can be attributed to it. Indeed, everything that happened after Cory assumed power seems to have emanated from the IMF-WB.

Liberalization, privatization and deregulation have been the rule since — accentuated even further by the Fidel Ramos and Gloria Arroyo regimes. The results have been tragic — food import dependency, de-industrialization, jobless growth, the decline of the middle class, growing poverty and hunger, ad nausea.
When I brought up the debt issue relative to the capital needed to restart economic development, Ofreneo cited the 2002 debt default of the late Nestor Kirchner of Argentina, who got an 80-percent discount on the country’s debts, allowing it to achieve “one of the highest growth rates today not only in Latin America but the world.” So, obviously, my last question was: Is it too late to restart RP’s economic renaissance?

Ofreneo, in a tangential reference to the OFW evacuation crisis in the Middle East, rhetorically asked, “Where’s the evacuation plan for the economy?” When I asked if Aquino III has the capability to solve the crisis, Ofreneo only had this to say: “He has to if he is to survive.” But then, Kapunan doesn’t believe Aquino III will survive. And even as Aristorenas said it may no longer be possible to compete with China’s very cheap fertilizers, still, he said, Filipino farmers must be supported with micro-financing and price subsidies, just as Japan, South Korea, and many countries are doing.

My conclusion is that the Philippines would neither have become a Singapore nor a Libya (since Marcos had already vanquished the Moro National Liberation Front and the New People’s Army, with Nur and Joma exiled); nor a copycat of South Korea. And since no one really has a copyright on good ideas, Aquino III might as well adopt Marcos’ “Revolution from the Center” and forge the path toward a Greater Philippines.
(Tune in to Sulo ng Pilipino, Monday, Wednesday and Friday, 6 to 7 p.m. on 1098AM; TNT with HTL, Tuesday, 8 to 9 p.m., with replay at 11 p.m., on GNN, Destiny Cable Channel 8, on “Reviewing the Marcos Path;” visit http://newkatipunero.blogspot.com for our select radio and GNN shows)

(Reprinted with permission from Mr. Herman Tiu-Laurel)

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20110304com6.html

Senate inquiry marked by mental lapses, denials By Angie M. Rosales 03/04/2011


Senate inquiry marked by mental lapses, denials

By Angie M. Rosales 03/04/2011

Mental lapses, “high blood pressure” reading for Erlinda Ligot, and a “surprised” former Armed Forces Chief of Staff at owning two houses in Iloilo even when he was still a major, despite his signature appearing in the documents and frustrated Senate probers over the witnesses hiding behind the right to incriminate themselves marked the Senate blue ribbon committee hearing on the military corruption probe yesterday.

Former AFP Chief of Staff Gen. (ret.) Roy Cimatu, who claimed he never received send-off and welcome gifts in the millions, was rendered speechless when Sen. Franklin Drilon confronted him on his alleged two properties in Iloilo, acquired by him and wife Fe, while he was still carrying the rank of a major.

Although Cimatu claimed it was reflected in his filed statement of assets and liabilities (SAL), he appeared unaware of the said properties as he was repeatedly caught offguard when Drilon tried to dig into the details.

In a document furnished by Drilon, it showed that a property was registered under the name of Cimatu and his spouse on July 12, 1984 while another property was placed under the name of his wife on June 22, 1987..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20110304hed1.html

Marcelo ‘lapses’ in Ligot, Garcia cases cited 03/04/2011

Marcelo ‘lapses’ in Ligot, Garcia cases cited

Former Ombudsman Simeon Marcelo allegedly committed lapses similar to those being raised against current officials in the Office of the Ombudsman and were even worse.

Former Solicitor General Frank Chavez bared this before Senate probers yesterday as he disclosed the fact that plunder charges were actually filed against retired military comptroller Lt. Gen. Jacinto Ligot as early as 2005, almost the same time as that of his successor, Maj. Gen. Carlos Garcia, but these were said to have been disregarded and reduced to mere forfeiture cases.

Chavez told the Senate blue ribbon committee, during the continuation of its investigation into corruption in the military, that he and his group called Operation Clean Hands initiated the filing of the case against Ligot almost at the same time as that of Garcia.

Ligot’s case was the second plunder complaint his group lodged before Marcelo’s office, filed on April 15, 2005, or just a month after the Garcia case..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20110304hed2.html

ICC chief sets RP visit ICC chief sets RP visit 03/04/2011

ICC chief sets RP visit ICC chief sets RP visit

The head of the International Criminal Court (ICC) will have an eight-day visit to Southeast Asia starting tomorrow with the Philippines as its first stop to inquire into the country’s stalled ratification of the Rome Statute that created the ICC and which would allow the ICC to exercise its jurisdiction on the country over crimes of international concern such as genocide, crimes against humanity, and war crimes.

An ICC press statement said ICC president Judge Sang-Hyun Song of South Korea will be in the Philippines from March 5 to 8, in Malaysia on March 8 to 11, and Brunei from March 11 to 13.

The ICC statement said the main purpose of Song’s visit is to raise awareness about the ICC and “to facilitate informed consultations in countries that may be considering ratification of the Rome Statute.”

It stated that Song will meet with state officials, members of the legal profession and civil organizations..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20110304hed3.html

DoJ drops criminal case filed vs 24 Taiwanese 03/04/2011

DoJ drops criminal case filed vs 24 Taiwanese

More trouble is brewing for the country’s relations with Taiwan after the Department of Justice (DoJ) ruled to clear the 24 Taiwanese, 14 of whom were deported, of criminal fraud charges.

In separate resolutions, the Justice department dismissed the charges of syndicated estafa and violation of Republic Act 8484, or the Access Devices Regulations Act of 1998, filed by the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) and the Embassy of the People’s Republic of China against all of 24 foreigners.

The 14 Taiwanese deported last February 2 to Beijing are: Tsou Chi-Feng, Lin Te-Kuei, Chuang Chao Shan, Liu Kuei-Yun, Fan Ming-Fu, Lee Hsiang-Pin, Lin Ying-Chang, Wang Chun-Hsiang, Kung Ying Pin, Lin Chih-Chiang, Tai Yao-Pin, Chen Chia Hsiang, Chen Ho-Yang and Li Yuan-Hsing..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20110304hed5.html

OV-10 bomber plane sent to drive away Chinese patrol boats By Mario J. Mallari 03/04/2011

OV-10 bomber plane sent to drive away Chinese patrol boats

By Mario J. Mallari 03/04/2011
The military’s Western Command (Westcom) on Wednesday dispatched an OV-10 bomber plane to drive away two Chinese patrol boats reportedly harassing a Department of Energy (DoE) ship out on an exploration mission at the Reed Bank on the disputed Spratly Group of Islands.

Westcom chief Lt. Gen. Juancho Sabban yesterday said that he dispatched the aircraft after receiving reports that two Chinese patrol ships attempted to drive away DoE personnel exploring at the Reed Bank at around 9:30 a.m.

“The Chinese patrol boats went near those who were conducting exploration in the area, which is well within our territory, and told them (DoE personnel) to stop and leave the area because it is a Chinese territory,” said Sabban.

However, Sabban stressed that Reed Bank is well within the Philippine territory but maintained there was no military presence in the area before the reported harassment by the Chinese..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/nation/20110304nat4.html

Four members of breakaway Reds killed in Zambales By Gina Peralta-Elorde 03/04/2011

Four members of breakaway Reds killed in Zambales

By Gina Peralta-Elorde 03/04/2011

Four persons — three of them said to be members of a breakaway communist group and a policemen — were killed when the two groups had an encounter in Zambales province on Wednesday afternoon, the police report disclosed.

Philippine National Police (PNP) spokesman Chief Supt. Agrimero Cruz Jr., disclosed that the clash took place in Sitio San Isidro, Barangay Uacon, Candelaria town, Zambales province at around 5:30 p.m.

Cruz said operatives of the 23rd Company of the PNP-Special Action Force (SAF) were conducting security operations when they chanced upon undetermined members of the Rebolusyonaryong Hukbong Bayan (RHB), a breakaway group of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) in Barangay Baloganon.

The RHB is the armed wing of the Marxist-Leninist Party of the Philippines (MLPP) and was formed in 1998 and operating mainly in Central Luzon..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/nation/20110304nat7.html

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