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Striving for independence EDITORIAL 03/24/2011

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Striving for independence

EDITORIAL
Click to enlarge
03/24/2011
More likely than not, today’s Senate, as an impeachment court, will be, or will appear to be, a bit more careful in the senators’ ways and conduct during the trial of Ombudsman Merceditas “Merci” Gutierrez, in a bid to generate the perception that it is an independent court that will judge, not on partisan lines, but on the merits of the case, even when it is clear that in the end, it will be the numbers that will decide whether or not Merci stays or goes.

But what the Senate cannot control would be the dissemination of information, disinformation and misinformation that a highly partisan Yellow media whose Yellow-friendly “talking legal heads” will be commenting on the trial, making it appear that indeed the charges against Merci are already being proven, which is what the anti-Erap media did during his impeachment trial..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20110324com1.html

Ridiculous is, as ridiculous does FRONTLINE Ninez Cacho-Olivares 03/24/2011

Ridiculous is, as ridiculous does

FRONTLINE
Ninez Cacho-Olivares
03/24/2011
In Cagayan de Oro City, Noynoy reportedly admitted that he really wants Ombudsman Merci Gutierrez out of her office and sought the public’s support for the removal of Merci.

He said the reason he wants Merci out is that her ouster will be the strongest signal his government is sending in his drive to eliminate corruption in government institutions, which he said goes with his appointing the “right people who will prosecute those” who engage in corruption.

“This is why we called for the impeachment of the Ombudsman. We cannot have deals such as ZTE, Mega Pacific, or NAIA3 hold back the country any longer,” Noynoy was quoted in reports as saying, adding that the “impeachment of the Ombudsman is the strongest signal we can send to you (businessmen and investors) right now --- that we are trying to put in place the kind of level playing field for your businesses to survive and prosper in the long term. As the Senate prepares to try the Ombudsman, I urge you to support this and other efforts to fight corruption.”.... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20110324com2.html

Japan tsunami survivors tough it out at home FEATURE 03/24/2011

Japan tsunami survivors tough it out at home

FEATURE

03/24/2011
KAMAISHI — No running water, no electricity and precious little fuel and food. But for some of Japan’s tsunami survivors, it’s still home — and they’re not leaving.

For all the privations they now face, they are among the “lucky” ones; their houses spared — often by just a matter of meters — from the wall of water that wiped out the rest of their communities more than 10 days ago.

The majority opted to join their newly homeless neighbors in evacuation shelters which, while far from comfortable, offered companionship and some basic amenities.

But a few decided to stick it out where they were, stubbornly refusing to vacate their homes..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20110324com3.html

Pag-IBIG pampered Globe Asiatique BLURBAL THRUSTS Louie Logarta 03/24/2011

Pag-IBIG pampered Globe Asiatique

BLURBAL THRUSTS
Louie Logarta
03/24/2011
During its lengthy discourse in its Sunday edition on the shameful multibillion-peso scandal that is the Globe Asiatique-Pag-IBIG housing deal, the broadsheet The Manila Times which is published by our good friend Dr. Dante Ang had one glaring omission that astounds.

It is the fact that former Vice President Noli de Castro and incumbent Marikina Rep. Miro Quimbo were both at the helm of the state housing agency when this sorry excuse for a real estate developer Globe Asiatique Realty Holdings Corp. was permitted to “take out” some P6.6 billion in loans and other forms of financial support for its ambitious Xevera and Hanjin housing projects in Pampanga.

De Castro was appointed as the country’s “housing czar” in 2004 by President Arroyo, and as such supervised the Pag-IBIG Fund and other related companies, a position he held until June 30, 2010.

On the other hand, Quimbo was the president and chief executive officer of the Fund, since the time of Secretary Michael Defensor who preceded De Castro, until his resignation in 2009 reportedly to pursue a political career..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20110324com4.html

Unprecedented wave of popular protest hits Syria focus 03/24/2011

Unprecedented wave of popular protest hits Syria

focus

03/24/2011
DAMASCUS — After Tunisia, Egypt, Libya and Yemen, a wave of unprecedented anti-regime protests has now hit Syria, a country known for its iron grip on security matters.

“We now live in a new climate, and Syria cannot remain outside the movement” that is sweeping the Middle East, said Burhan Ghalyoun, an Arab studies professor at the Sorbonne University in Paris.

“The regime is mistaken if it thinks it can settle these problems through repression,” Ghalyoun told AFP.
“The security services’ old methods will only pour oil on an already burning fire.”

Syria, which is still under a 1963 emergency law banning demonstrations, has seen a string of small but unprecedented protests demanding the end of the ruling regime of President Bashar al-Assad for one week now..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20110324com6.html

Russian Chernobyl drama echoes Japan fears FEATURE 03/24/2011

Russian Chernobyl drama echoes Japan fears

FEATURE

03/24/2011
MOSCOW — A new drama film set in Chernobyl opens in Russian cinemas this week, recalling the trauma of the world’s worst nuclear accident just ahead of the the 25th anniversary of the catastrophe.

The Russian film’s release comes after the quake-damage to a nuclear power plant in Japan brought fears of a nuclear explosion on the scale of Chernobyl and suspicions of another Soviet-style cover-up by officials.

The film, Innocent Saturday, shows a junior party worker, Valera, learning of the explosion by chance and initially trying to escape from the town of Pripyat just outside the Chernobyl zone.

But he misses the last passenger train out of the town because his girlfriend cannot run fast enough and finds himself drawn into a drunken wedding party, where he plays drums for a rock band and downs bottles of wine..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20110324com7.html

Indirect taxation VIEWPOINTS Archbishop Oscar V. Cruz 03/24/2011

Indirect taxation

VIEWPOINTS
Archbishop Oscar V. Cruz
03/24/2011
Truth to tell, the detestable indirect taxation imposed on consumer goods is not only in fact inequitable but also in effect unconscionable. There is ample reason to think that those who thought of this cruel design, proposed and approved its highly questionable legislation, belonged to the elite, the rich and famous. They must have immense resources and fat bank accounts. Hence, while duly preoccupied by direct taxation on their immense assets in cash and kind, its odious complementary part in terms of indirect taxation was however a non-issue to them. They were definitely not those who counted every peso in their pocket and who even did not know to get their next peso.

But the poor and destitute, the beggars and tramps, yes, they too pay indirect taxes on the goods they consume day after day — in the amount just like those in tenure of power and in possession of wealth. Yes, even but new born babies start paying indirect taxes the moment they are born. Their parents, those living in posh subdivisions as well as those living in squatter areas, all pay for them exactly the same amount of indirect taxes imposed on such items as cotton and alcohol, powder and milk..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20110324com5.html

Road User’s taxes to fund P20-M pork By Charlie V. Manalo 03/24/2011

‘DAANG MATUWID’ GOES CROOKED

Road User’s taxes to fund P20-M pork

By Charlie V. Manalo 03/24/2011

The straight path President Aquino claims to be treading took a turn leading to the crooked road on its way to the P20 million additional pork barrel for the House of Representatives members’ resounding “yes” vote to impeach the Ombudsman.

Yesterday, a member of the majority confirmed that Aquino had indeed offered its members an additional P20 million in pork in exchange for a “yes vote” for the impeachment case against Chief Ombudsman Merceditas “Merci” Gutierrez and House Bill 4146 which aims to postpone the August 2011 elections in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) until 2013 and granting Aquino the power to appoint officers-in-charge (OICs) for the region.

According to the solon who requested anonymity, Aquino promised the P20 million additional priority development assistance fund (PDAF) or more commonly referred to as pork barrel, composed of P5 million in soft package and P15 million in hard component over the weekend, to each congressman who would deliver a yes vote during the plenary voting for Gutierrez’s impeachment case and HB 4146..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20110324hed1.html

Manila hostage fiasco inquest wraps up in HK 03/24/2011

Manila hostage fiasco inquest wraps up in HK

03/24/2011
HONG KONG — An inquest probing a Manila bus hijacking that left eight Hong Kong tourists dead wrapped up with the jury expected to return a verdict as early as Wednesday.

The inquest held at the city’s Coroner’s Court heard from 31 Hong Kong witnesses and 10 from the Philippines.

The five-member jury was charged with determining the victims’ cause of death — including death by misadventure and unlawful killing — and whether they agreed or disagreed with statements made during the five-week hearing, the South China Morning Post reported.

“It was a tragedy that could have been avoided,” Hectar Pun, a lawyer for the victims’ families, was quoted as saying during his closing submissions.

“It was because of the incompetence of the Philippines’ police that eight people died and others were injured.”.... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20110324hed2.html

Military corruption exists, but AFP ‘helpless’—DND By Mario J. Mallari 03/24/2011

Military corruption exists, but AFP ‘helpless’—DND

By Mario J. Mallari 03/24/2011

The Department of National Defense (DND) special investigating committee (SIC) acknowledged there were irregularities in the utilization of funds for the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) during the past administration but admitted “helplessness” in running after those involved in the fund mess.

At a press briefing, DND spokesman Eduardo Batac said initial findings by the DND-SIC, headed by lawyer Patrick Velez, noted the “improper disbursement” of military funds from 2005 and earlier.

“I don’t think we can deny that at this point. The amounts involved are quite staggering,” Batac said.

“Evidently, there were irregula-rities that were committed and even to us at the department and the AFP, the amounts involved are staggering,” Batac added..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20110324hed4.html

China sets execution date for 3 Pinoy drug mules By Michaela P. del Callar 03/24/2011

China sets execution date for 3 Pinoy drug mules

By Michaela P. del Callar 03/24/2011

The three convicted Filipino drug smugglers in China will die by lethal injection on March 30, the Department of Foreign Affairs yesterday said, adding it will no longer appeal the Chinese court’s final verdict.

Foreign Affairs spokesman Eduardo Malaya said the executions will be carried out on
Ramon Credo, 42, and Sally Ordinario-Villanueva, 32, in Xiamen while Elizabeth Batain, 38, will be executed in Shenzhen.

“The government respects the Chinese law and the finality of the verdict of the Chinese People’s Court,” he said, noting the Philippine government’s strong anti-illegal drug policy.

.News of China’s decision to go ahead with the executions came at a time when Aquino’s administration is grappling with an array of problems involving large number of Filipino workers, who are trapped in raging conflicts in several Middle Eastern and North African countries or dealing with deadly disasters like earthquake catastrophes in Japan and New Zealand.... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20110324hed5.html

Lack of funds hinders OFW repatriation By Gerry Baldo 03/24/2011

Lack of funds hinders OFW repatriation

By Gerry Baldo 03/24/2011

The failure of the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) to release and identify the sources of funds is taking its toll on the repatriation of overseas Filipino workers hit by armed conflict in the Middle East and the tsunami in Japan.

Officials of the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) attending a congressional hearing appealed to the DBM headed by Secretary Florencio “Butch” Abad to prepare a financial contingency plan which could be used for repatriation of Filipinos many of whom are undocumented.

According to Michael Macaraig of the DFA, there are hundreds of Filipinos in Japan, Libya, Bahrain and Yemen who are waiting to be repatriated but could not because they do not have the funds to do so.

“All of us are trained to assist OFWs whether it is right or wrong, we are supposed to help them. But how can we do our jobs when things are purely based on budget,” Macaraig told lawmakers yesterday..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/nation/20110324nat2.html

Roque urges De Lima to shield prosecutors from politics By Benjamin B. Pulta 03/24/2011

Roque urges De Lima to shield prosecutors from politics

By Benjamin B. Pulta 03/24/2011

Rights activist Harry Roque said government prosecutors should be shielded from politics in pursuing the murder cases arising from the killing of more than 50 individuals in Maguindanao in 2009.

Roque said he was disappointed that Justice Secretary Leila de Lima did not consult them when she replaced the panel then led by Assistant Chief State Prosecutor Richard Anthony Fadullon after she sided with her classmate in San Beda College of Law (Santos).

“I wouldn’t be surprised. I’m sure it would greatly affect the case,” Roque said as he explained that the new prosecution panel is not yet familiar with the case. “The state prosecutors should maintain their independence from the private prosecutors,” he added.

Following a rift between the original prosecution panel with lawyer Nena Santos, who represents Maguindanao Gov. Esmael Mangudadatu, another member of the prosecution panel of the Department of Justice (DoJ) panel prosecuting some members of the influential Ampatuan clan resigned from the panel..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/nation/20110324nat1.html

Binay tells FPIC to follow schedule on pipeline repair in Barangay Bangkal 03/24/2011

Binay tells FPIC to follow schedule on pipeline repair in Barangay Bangkal

03/24/2011
In response to the clamor of some residents affected by oil leakage in Barangay Bangkal, Makati City, Mayor Jejomar Erwin Binay Jr. has told the First Philippine Industrial Corp. (FPIC) to go by the timetable it has submitted in connection with the pipeline repair.

The oil leakage in the barangay that has displaced residents of West Tower Condominium and raised health concerns among residents is almost a year now but the fumes emanating from the leakage from the pipeline of the company have yet to subside and have affected many.

Binay said the city government is wary about the exact time the cleanup will be done by the FPIC people because of concerns about health and the displacement of the condominium dwellers.

He added FPIC told the city government it was doing everything and in fact fabricating a tool coming from the United States but it would take time..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/metro/20110324met4.html

Comelec orders manual recount of ballots in Atienza’s protest 03/24/2011

Comelec orders manual recount of ballots in Atienza’s protest

03/24/2011
After waiting for 10 months, former Manila Mayor Lito Atienza’s election protest against Mayor Alfredo Lim will finally commence as the Commission on Elections (Comelec) First Division ordered the manual recount of the ballots Atienza protested in the election protest which he filed last May 21, 2010.

The order which was released on March 22 and signed by First Division Presiding Commissioner Rene Sarmiento directed the “recount proceedings in the Atienza protest starting March 29, 2011 at 8:30 in the morning on the ground floor of Palacio del Gobernador, Intramuros, Manila.”

Atienza’s lawyers Romulo Macalintal and Melchor Monsod said the order also directed “the recount of the ballots will prioritize the precincts selected by Atienza which shall involve at least 200 pilot precincts which he believes attest to and exemplify the frauds or irregularities pleaded in his election protest.”.... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/metro/20110324met1.html

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