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Dangerous constitutional times EDITORIAL 03/09/2011

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Dangerous constitutional times

EDITORIAL
Click to enlarge
03/09/2011
These are constitutionally dangerous times for the nation, what with a president who has absolutely no respect for the separation of powers principle, as enshrined in the Philippine Constitution.

Noynoy Aquino had directly called on his allies in Congress, majority of whom are Liberal Party (LP) members, to impeach the Ombudsman, Merceditas Gutierrez, and they all agreed to do so.

Such a move brings on a dangerous situation that goes beyond Noynoy’s call to his allies in the House of Representatives to impeach a constitutional officer he personally dislikes, and wants thrown out.

The reason is simple: It works both ways. Noynoy is himself an impeachable official and calling on his LP allies in the House to impeach the Ombudsman and with these same allies agreeing to do so on Noynoy’s marching orders, also means that he can call on these same allies too, to reject any and all impeachment complaints that would be lodged against him or a close buddy..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20110309com1.html

Correcting the past or repeating it? FRONTLINE Ninez Cacho-Olivares 03/09/2011

Correcting the past or repeating it?

FRONTLINE
Ninez Cacho-Olivares
03/09/2011
With Noynoy’s open marching orders to his Liberal Party mates in the House of Representatives to impeach Merceditas “Merci” Gutierrez, LP senators were quick to claim they had no such marching orders from Noynoy by way of handling Merci’s impeachment in the Senate and stressed that they were not present during that luncheon meeting with the LP allies in Malacañang.

Maybe so, since this order to prosecute Merci was mainly for the House to do — at that stage of the impeachment game.

Noynoy did get what he wanted from his LP allies. The House justice committee, as predicted, voted overwhelmingly to find probable cause in the two impeachment complaints, which must have pleased the Malacañang tenant and his sycophants in the House no end, as his orders were heeded. But the question is, will the LP senators and other allies of Noynoy in the Senate who will act as judges also heed an order from Noynoy to convict Merci — not on the merits of the case, but on partisan lines?.... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20110309com2.html

Long war of attrition in prospect in Libya — experts FRONTLINE Ninez Cacho-Olivares 03/09/2011

Long war of attrition in prospect in Libya — experts

FRONTLINE
Ninez Cacho-Olivares
03/09/2011
CAIRO — Three weeks in, Libya’s popular uprising has lost all resemblance to those in its Arab neighbors amid rising death tolls and world powers’ stuttering search for peace as it tips closer to civil war.

Libya watchers believe the conflict has all the ingredients for a long drawn-out war of attrition that will exercise world diplomacy for many months to come.

“A civil war is already in progress,” says Arshin Adib-Moghaddam, a Libyan specialist at the School of Oriental and African Studies at the University of London.

“I don’t see any party backing up, so the likelihood of a protracted war of attrition is relatively high at this stage.”.... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20110309com3.html

Cityhood laws C.R.O.S.S.R.O.A.D.S Jonathan De la Cruz 03/09/2011

Cityhood laws

C.R.O.S.S.R.O.A.D.S
Jonathan De la Cruz
03/09/2011
The “Cityhood Laws” were those passed in the last two Congresses converting 16 municipalities into cities whose constitutionality became the subject of heated challenges before the Supreme Court. The petitioner League of Cities of the Philippines (LCP) which groups the existing cities under its then President Iloilo City Mayor Jerry Trenas and, in their personal capacities, Calbayog City Mayor Mel Senen Sarmiento and Trenas himself petitioned the high court to junk the said laws for being unconstitutional and “violative of the equal protection clause.” In its ruling dated Nov. 18, 2008, the court en banc by a vote of 6-5 granted the petitions and struck down the cityhood laws. The respondent 16 cities filed a motion for reconsideration which the court en banc denied on March 31, 2009 by a 7-5 vote. A month after, on April 28, 2009 the high tribunal by a 6-6 vote issued a resolution denied a second motion for reconsideration on the ground that the same was a prohibited pleading. However, the respondent 16 cities persisted and found solace in the court’s June 2, 2009 resolution which clarified its earlier decision and took cognizance of the second motion for reconsideration. It then handed another decision on Dec. 21, 2009 declaring the cityhood laws constitutional by a vote of 6-4. The petitioners questioned this decision and urged the court to reinstate its earlier rulings which the court through a resolution dated Aug. 24, 2010 voted 7-6 to set aside. Finally, after almost a year of review, the high court on Feb. 15, 2011 affirned the constitutionality of the said cityhood laws by the same 7-6 vote. That is latest ruling on this much discussed and reviewed case and will stay until it is overturned..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20110309com4.html

Harlem Globetrotters: Not your average basketball cases FEATURE 03/09/2011

Harlem Globetrotters: Not your average basketball cases

FEATURE

03/09/2011
FAIRFAX — Eighty-five years after starting life in a Chicago ballroom where business was slow, the Harlem Globetrotters are still innovators in the game of basketball and the world of showbiz.

The team that made former Pope John Paul II an honorary member, helped to develop the slam dunk — when a player leaps into the air and slams the ball into the net — and performs skits on the court is due to kick off its 51st tour of Europe with a game in Frankfurt, Germany on March 18.

From there, the players, their mascot Globie, his big brother and a back-up crew of entertainers who number some of the best break-dancers ever to grace a basketball court, will visit 42 European cities in two months, including 10 in France, nine in Britain and eight in Italy.

Also on the cards is a week’s visit to the United Arab Emirates in April..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20110309com5.html

The battle within SHE SAYS Dinah S. Ventura 03/09/2011

The battle within

SHE SAYS
Dinah S. Ventura
03/09/2011
The recent speech given by President Benigno Aquino III to the 196 members of the Philippine Military Academy (PMA) Laon Alab Class of 2011 spoke about resisting corruption.

I must say that this is new coming from a Philippine president. In her last speech before the PMA in 2010, for which she was late for about two hours, former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo lauded the young cadets for their “brilliance.” The class, according to the PMA superintendent, was “the product of a reformed curriculum,” which emphasizes technology. President Arroyo upheld the importance of excellent education in the future of our youth.

She also made the audience erupt in applause when she announced that the monthly stipend of P10,000 being received by the cadets would become P19,000..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20110309com7.html

Officers and gentlemen! HE SAYS Aldrin Cardon 03/09/2011

Officers and gentlemen!

HE SAYS
Aldrin Cardon
03/09/2011
Courage. Loyalty. Integrity.
And when they forget all these, they either get rich or they develop amnesia.
A wayward few develop suicidal tendencies, but that’s too punk for a PMA graduate.
They did not start that way. The crooks developed their crookedness along the way.

And there are many forms that make one mark his career with bends — some small, others wide. The higher the position he gets, the greater the degree of his dishonesty.

He becomes unscrupulous, his ways fraudulent. He becomes a crook.

It was not too much for President Aquino to ask the first batch of PMAers to graduate from their courses under a P-Noy leadership to stay clean.

That is all he can do, especially when the Armed Forces of the Philippines is under tremendous scrutiny after revelations of cases of stolen money by the millions of pesos while junior officers rebel against an old, problematic system and get punished for it..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20110309com6.html

Impeach vote set for plenary By Gerry Baldo 03/09/2011

MERCI CALLS HOUSE JUSTICE COMMITTEE ‘KANGAROO COURT’

Impeach vote set for plenary

By Gerry Baldo 03/09/2011

Heeding the marching orders of President Aquino to ensure the prosection of Ombudsman Merceditas Gutierrez, the House justice committee voted to find “probable cause” to impeach her, with the justice panel chairman Iloilo Rep. Niel Tupas Jr. defining probable cause as “reasonable grounds to support the well-founded belief that the respondent committed an impeachable offense and should be held for trial.”

The votes predictably went the way of the Aquino majority, with the first complaint getting 39 in favor, nine against and one abstention. The second complaint obtained 39 in favor, six against and one abstention.

Gutierrez refused to appear before what she called a “kangaroo court” but appeared unfazed by the threat made by Aquino, stressing, however, that the Liberal Party congressmen and allies of Aquino should have followed the rule of law and not the rule of men.

Gutierrez appeared before the media at the weekly forum sponsored by the Catholic Media Network, saying she is ready to face the Senate trial..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20110309hed1.html

Lacierda cites Arroyo court, picks fight with SC’s Marquez By Aytch S. de la Cruz 03/09/2011

Lacierda cites Arroyo court, picks fight with SC’s Marquez

By Aytch S. de la Cruz 03/09/2011

Presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda who indirectly called the majority of justices composing the Supreme Court as an Arroyo court yesterday engaged in a word war with his counterpart in the Supreme Court (SC), Jose Midas Marquez, who earlier issued a statement implying that President Aquino would like to appoint justices who would be loyal to him.

This developed as Marquez cautioned Ilocos Norte Rep. Rodolfo Fariñas, a known ally of the Aquino administration, on his plans to subject SC justices who concurred with the status quo ante (SQA) order on the House committee on justice which delayed deliberations on petitions to impeach Ombudsman Merceditas Gutierrez to impeach-proceedings themselves.

Marquez reportedly took such move as a concerted effort to bring the court down in a perceived attempt of the President to finally appoint justices who would be loyal to him, a statement that seriously irked Lacierda..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20110309hed2.html

Angara demands ‘vigorous protest’ over Spratlys incident By Angie M. Rosales 03/09/2011

Angara demands ‘vigorous protest’ over Spratlys incident

By Angie M. Rosales 03/09/2011

A senator yesterday dared the government to undertake a vigorous protest against what he described as a bullying act of China after its military ships harassed a government-owned exploration vessel near the disputed Spratly islands but clearly within Philippine territories as the Chinese government yesterday reiterated its claim over the contested islands in the South China Sea.

Aside from the Philippines, Vietnam has also protested to Beijing over its naval activity in the contested waters.

Sen. Edgardo Angara said while the country has “no reason to quarrel with China, nor does China have a reason to infringe on our rights.”

China’s display of power – one that shows a big country strong-arming a poor country – should not be allowed to pass without strong complaint and vigorous protest,” Angara said as he took the floor in the Senate to bring the current subject of tension with the Chinese government..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20110309hed3.html

SC warns UP Law profs over plagiarism protest row By Benjamin B. Pulta 03/09/2011

SC warns UP Law profs over plagiarism protest row

By Benjamin B. Pulta 03/09/2011

Faculty members of the University of the Philippines College of Law got a slap on the wrist from the Supreme Court over their stand off with the high court over their protest against a ruling by the SC which had been copied from unacknowledged sources.

Speaking to newsmen, Court spokesman Midas Marquez said that “in a vote of 9 to 5 the court admonished (UP College of Law Dean) Marvic Leonen for intemperate language, setting a bad example to law students, but exonerated (lawyer Raul) Vasquez who has apologized to the court, while others (faculty members were) reminded of their duty.”

On the other hand those who voted to find the compliance of UP satisfactory Marquez said were Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio and Associate Justices Conchita Carpio- Morales, Antonio Nachura,Martin Villarama and Lourdes Sereno.

Associate Justice Mariano del Castillo who had been at the center of the controversy took no part..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20110309hed4.html

Noy wrong to order allies against Merci —Marcos By Angie M. Rosales and Aytch S. de la Cruz 03/09/2011

Noy wrong to order allies against Merci —Marcos

By Angie M. Rosales and Aytch S. de la Cruz 03/09/2011

With President Aquino taking a direct hand in having his allies in the House of Representatives prosecute Ombudsman Merceditas Gutierrez, the proceedings against her are clearly a political move rather than a legal proceeding, Sen. Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. said yesterday.

The marching order given the presidential House allies “created the effect of galvanizing the House members to accelerate the process of impeachment.”

Aquino’s allies in the Senate, however, gave conflicting statements in confirming or denying the participation or even on the order of the President among majority bloc members in the lower house to pursue the impeachment move against Gutierrez.

“It’s his (Aquino’s) prerogative but again it throws into suspicion whether or not their (House members’) vote is a vote based on the merits or a vote based on the partyline. If it’s partyline, then we have introduced partisan politics into the the impeachment process which is perhaps not entirely proper,” Marcos said..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20110309hed5.html

Aussie envoy pushes MILF peace pact By Michaela P. del Callar 03/09/2011

Aussie envoy pushes MILF peace pact

By Michaela P. del Callar 03/09/2011
Decades-old Muslim unrest in southern Philippines not only hinders peace but also drains the country’s development funds, scares away foreign investors and impedes the government’s efforts to ease the lives of poor Filipinos, Australia’s top diplomat to Manila said as he called on the Aquino administration and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front to finally forge a lasting peace settlement.

“There is a large opportunity cost to not securing peace. Scarce government resources will continue to be sapped, investment will remain constrained and efforts to raise living standards will be diluted,” Smith said in a statement before the Philippine Development Forum held last week.

“Low-level insurgencies and difficulties in bringing the peace process to completion, contribute to unrest,” he added..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20110309hed6.html

13,000 OFWs repatriated from Libya By Michaela P. del Callar 03/09/2011

13,000 OFWs repatriated from Libya

By Michaela P. del Callar 03/09/2011

At least 13,000 of the estimated 30,000 Filipinos have exited tension-plagued Libya as government teams scour for hundreds more who seemed undecided about leaving and will try to convince them to evacuate as the conflict intensifies.

The latest Philippine government chartered flight left Tunisia yesterday while two more chartered flights are being arranged to bring home Filipinos evacuated in Crete, Greece.

So far, 5,381 have returned to the Philippines since government mass evacuations began in Libya two weeks ago.

The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) yesterday said there will be no forced evacuation of Filipinos there amid the escalating conflict but has called on remaining workers there to get out of the troubled North African state and avail themselves of the repatriation being offered by the government. A number of Filipinos refuse evacuation for fear of losing their work benefits..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/nation/20110309nat1.html

P10.5 billion worth of TCCs go to Shell, Petron not to exporters By Angie M. Rosales 03/09/2011

P10.5 billion worth of TCCs go to Shell, Petron not to exporters

By Angie M. Rosales 03/09/2011

Of the almost P11-billion tax credit certificate (TCC) issued by the government last year to exporters as tax refunds, P10.5 billion ended up in the hands of major oil companies, particularly Pilipinas Shell and Petron Philippines, senators were told yesterday.

At a hearing conducted by the congressional oversight committee on the comprehensive tax reform package (COCCCTRP), lawmakers learned that the P10.92 billion TCCs issued by the Bureau of Customs (BoC) last year virtually wiped out the P9 billion excise taxes paid by the oil companies for their imports in 2010.

“This means that aside from enjoying fat profits from their relentless oil price hikes, oil players effectively save millions more on their import taxes through the use of discounted TCCs,” committee chairman Sen. Ralph Recto noted.

The panel is now eyeing of abolishing TCC and replaced it with outright tax refund scheme, limited only to export industry members..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/nation/20110309nat2.html

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