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Obvious to the bone EDITORIAL 04/03/2011

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Obvious to the bone

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The most notable part of the decision of Malacañang to dismiss Deputy Ombudsman Emilio Gonzalez III was that most Filipinos read it on April Fools’ Day and considered it a joke.

Gonzalez, being the first official to be dealt a penalty for the the bungled hostage rescue on Aug. 23 last year resulting in the death of eight Hong Kong tourists, is clearly being made a scapegoat by the Palace for the incident.

No one would be believe that he carries the biggest blame for the hostage crisis and his name only cropped up among the many other people hostage-taker former cop Rolando Mendoza was blaming for his removal from the police force.

Mendoza also, in his fit of rage, accused Gonzalez of extorting P150,000 from him to get a favorable decision from the Ombudsman on an extortion case which later was among the reasons that later led to Mendoza being booted out..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20110403com1.html

One big fight FRONTLINE Ninez Cacho-Olivares 04/03/2011

One big fight

Ninez Cacho-Olivares
An interesting legal and constitutional battle has developed, brought about by the Palace order dismissing the deputy Ombudsman for “gross neglect of duty, gross inefficiency and misconduct committed by respondent deputy Ombudsman, and constitute a betrayal of public trust,” stemming, so says the Palace, from the hostage taking crisis on Aug. 23 last year.

For Malacañang, if respondent deputy Ombudsman did not betray the trust of Captain (Rolando) Mendoza, the hostage taker, he would not have been compelled to resort to hostage-taking to advance his cause. This fact cannot be denied as clearly expressed in the handwritten demand posted on the bus: “Release final decision OMB-P-A-090570-A.”

The Ombudsman shot back, pointing out that it is only her office that has the power and the authority to discipline government officials, usually by way of suspensions, and in other instances, get cases filed against them elevated to the Sandiganbayan or dismissed by the Ombudsman — except for impeachable officers. She added that there was already an internal investigation into the matter, and that the deputy Ombudsman has been acquitted on this specific charge..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20110403com2.html

Arming Libyan rebels risks diplomatic showdown focus 04/03/2011

Arming Libyan rebels risks diplomatic showdown


UNITED NATIONS — The nations staging air strikes on Moamer Kadhafi’s forces will be heading into a diplomatic minefield if they arm Libyan rebels as well, according to experts and envoys at the UN.

With international law specialists warning that any supplies would breach the UN Security Council arms embargo that the United States, Britain and France all voted for, diplomats say a council showdown would certainly follow if evidence emerges of deliveries.

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and British Prime Minister David Cameron have both said they believe UN resolutions on Libya allow arming the rebels.

“Many countries would certainly strongly oppose any attempt to interpret the current resolutions as permitting arms supplies,” one senior diplomat on 15-nation council responded, speaking on condition of anonymity..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20110403com3.html

Plumbing the depths of mediocrity BLURBAL THRUSTS Louie Logarta 04/03/2011

Plumbing the depths of mediocrity

Louie Logarta
Accused rapist Arnel Ocampo, whom we had first written about in December 2009, has finally been sent back to the country from Saudi Arabia where he has been hiding out for the past two years to escape prosecution, according to sources.

Ocampo, a native of Mexico, Pampanga, was a former professor in the prestigious Holy Angel University, one of the biggest learning institutions in Central Luzon with a student population of around 15,000, where he had befriended his victim who was 16 years old at the time of the alleged rape. She is supposed to have been one of his students in the HAU’s school of nursing which is why she had fallen under his influence.

Resultantly, the suspect was slapped with a total of 32 counts of rape which landed in the sala of Angeles City Regional Trial Court Judge Angelica Paras-Quiambao who subsequently issued a hold-departure order and two warrants of arrest to prevent him from fleeing the country. Despite these strictures, Ocampo was still able to leave for Saudi Arabia, after bribing certain Immigration officers at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport, where he reportedly resumed his teaching career..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20110403com4.html

Blaming poverty TABLETS OF STONE Larry Faraon, OP 04/03/2011

Blaming poverty

Larry Faraon, OP
Poor poverty — it has always been an excuse or the blame for anything unpleasant that comes up in this country. This administration’s singing tale speaks of the lame justification that the executed drug mules did it because of dire poverty; in fact, most of the couriers who daringly smuggle almost anything illegal from drugs to watches to and fro our Customs queues are all singing the same tune. Even the “pick up girls” — street prostitutes when apprehended by fickle-minded marauding police officers would sing out the same, “Wala po kaming alam na ibang trabaho” (This is the only job we know), which of course is simply pathetic and stupid.

We grew up in a community and family where poverty is defined not by lack but by the meager possessions we have, particularly human resource. Wealth is confined to having more children who could help out plant and farm in order to at least live decently and pursue little dreams. And therefore anything bigger than our dreams belongs to God’s graciousness and generosity, not to purely human mundane ambition. It is even divine intervention that gives out opportunities and “breaks..... MORE
SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20110403com6.html

Census sparks tensions across Western Balkans focus 04/03/2011

Census sparks tensions across Western Balkans


SARAJEVO — Croatia, Kosovo and Montenegro have started to count their populations as part of a year of censuses across the ethnically tense Western Balkans to keep up with EU countries doing the same.

The three countries are the first in the volatile region, torn apart by interethnic wars in the 1990s, to launch the census this year.

Because of the painful history organization of the count sparked debate and controversy throughout the region: From Macedonia, where ethnic Albanians fear that their importance will be reduced, across Montenegro, where there are complaints that Serbs are being “assimilated,” to Bosnia which did not even manage to adopt a census law.

In Kosovo, where the last census was held in 1981, while it was still a province in the Yugoslav federation, Belgrade called on ethnic Serbs not to take part in the count organized by ethnic Albanian authorities in Pristina..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20110403com7.html

Kawawa naman, walang magawa ang payaso VIEWPOINTS Archbishop Oscar V. Cruz 04/03/2011

Kawawa naman, walang magawa ang payaso

Archbishop Oscar V. Cruz
Thus thinks and speaks a leading national broadsheet about the antics of someone who precisely appears to have the haughty Spanish blood and flamboyant spirit of “Damaso” running in his veins and invading his mind. Translation of the above perception and description of the character concerned: “Pitiful clown with nothing to do.” Someone who has nothing to do is bad enough as he is pathetic. Somebody who is a clown is both the source and object of jokes, of ridicule and laughter. This is also why clowns hide their faces and persons behind ridiculous make-up, exaggerated clothing and antics.

The current Damaso caricature is a good jumping board to bring to fore certain relevant as well as significant on-the-ground realities about the Church as an institution that has been operative on the imperatives of reason and the article of faith. It all began some two thousand years ago — and that Church is all around. She, yes “She” as a loving and caring mother, started local then went regional and has become truly global, long since. Not only her enemies but also her own members have repeatedly and earnestly attempted time and again to stop her, to ruin her, to make her disappear from the face of the earth. They are all gone and the church is still around..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20110403com5.html

3 not enough, Palace taps all agencies for PR work By Aytch S. de la Cruz 04/03/2011

3 not enough, Palace taps all agencies for PR work

By Aytch S. de la Cruz 04/03/2011

Despite the many-headed communications group at the Palace, President Aquino believed that there is failure in delivering his supposed achievements to public notice, resulting in the drastic fall in Aquino’s recent performance surveys, the reason for Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) Secretary Herminio Coloma to order yesterday “all government agencies to work together” to do public relations (PR) for the Aquino administration.

Already the Palace has three officials — Coloma, Presidential Communications Development and Strategic Planning (PCDSP) Secretary Ramon Carandang and Press Secretary Edwin Lacierda — with Cabinet ranks but Aquino the other day conceded a weakness in communicating his claimed achievements to the nation for his ratings drop.

“All government agencies must work together to inform the public about the accomplishments of the Aquino administration to further improve public perception,” Coloma said..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20110403hed1.html

Ombudsman not independent, under OP jurisdiction — Valte By Aytch S. de la Cruz 04/03/2011

Ombudsman not independent, under OP jurisdiction — Valte

By Aytch S. de la Cruz 04/03/2011

Malacañang put forward an argument that the Office of the Ombudsman is not a separate or co-equal branch of government and thus is under the jurisdiction of the Office of the President (OP) which runs against the intent of the Constitution in making the anti-graft body as an independent and autonomous constitutional agency in asserting its authority to terminate Deputy Ombudsman Emilio Gonzales III supposedly acting on the recommendations of the Incident Investigation and Review Committee (IIRC) that looked into the Aug. 23 hostage crisis.

Ombudsman Merceditas Gutierrez, however, indicated that she will not carry out the OP’s order on Gonzales who Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa charged of being guilty of gross neglect of duty and gross misconduct in handling the case of hostage taker dismissed police officer Rolando Mendoza..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20110403hed3.html

Tribesmen hold 16 hostages in Agusan del Sur 04/03/2011

Tribesmen hold 16 hostages in Agusan del Sur

A group of armed men abducted 16 children and adults in a bizarre bid to have their leader released from prison after he was jailed for another mass kidnapping, police said Saturday.

The kidnappers have threatened to kill their hostages, who include at least two students and were taken captive last Friday from a number of schools in Prosperidad, Agusan del Sur, police said.

“They should behave because if they continue to come into our area we will make an example out of the hostages,” the kidnappers’ leader, Reyjoy Brital, told a negotiating team’s mobile phone that was handed to a journalist.

Brital, a former communist rebel who had since left the insurgency, is demanding the release of fellow Manobo tribesman Ondo Perez and three of his followers who were jailed for kidnapping 79 persons from the same town in 2009..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20110403hed2.html

‘Fukushima disaster worse than Chernobyl’ 04/03/2011

‘Fukushima disaster worse than Chernobyl’

WASHINGTON — Japan’s unfolding nuclear disaster is “much bigger than Chernobyl” and could rewrite the international scale used to measure the severity of atomic accidents, a Russian expert yesterday said.

“Chernobyl was a dirty bomb explosion. The next dirty bomb is Fukushima and it will cost much more” in economic and human terms, said Natalia Mironova, a thermodynamic engineer who became a leading anti-nuclear activist in Russia in the wake of the accident at the Soviet-built reactor in Ukraine in 1986.

“Fukushima is much bigger than Chernobyl,” she said, adding the Japanese nuclear crisis was likely to eclipse Chernobyl on the seven-point scale used to rate nuclear disasters.

A 2005 report by UN bodies, including the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), called Chernobyl “the most severe in the history of the nuclear power industry” and ranked it a seven on the International Nuclear Event Scale (INES)..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20110403hed5.html

Pinoy inventor develops radiation shield gadget 04/03/2011

Pinoy inventor develops radiation shield gadget

A Filipino inventor has developed a handy radiation shield gadget which he claims cannot only detect radiation at home but also ward off this deadly atmospheric pollutant.

The inventor, Rod Brutas, said he invented the anti-radiation device in 2003 but lack of funds and support prevented him from going into mass production.

He said he is looking for a financier, domestic or foreign, to bank roll in the mass production of his invention at a time when the Philippines and the rest of the global community are being threatened with radioactive contamination from Japan’s leaking nuclear power plant.

Brutas, a born-again Christian pastor, describes his invention as “God’s gift to me and I thank the Lord for giving such talent in the field of invention.”... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/nation/20110403nat4.html

Malacañang tells transport groups: Be content first with temporary fuel subsidy By Aytch S. de la Cruz 04/03/2011

Malacañang tells transport groups: Be content first with temporary fuel subsidy

By Aytch S. de la Cruz 04/03/2011
Public transport groups that are still complaining about the government’s offer of a temporary fuel subsidy were urged yesterday by Malacañang to be content even for just awhile as the Department of Energy (DoE) continues to study other alternative solutions to address the regular rounds of oil price hikes.

Deputy presidential spokesman Abigail Valte, in a radio interview, expressed that certainly the fuel subsidy which the government plans to implement anytime soon is not enough to address the high pump prices but she appealed for understanding from the dissatisfied public transport groups.

“We never claimed that this (fuel subsidy) will be the end-all and the be-all, the greatest solution to the problem of increasing prices but we did recognize that this is a short-term solution to the pressing problems. Sometimes, we just couldn’t say it publicly before but when this subsidy program was not yet announced, they (public transport groups) were insisting to have this subsidy implemented. Now that it’s already in the works (they’re still complaining),” Valte told the state-run dzRB, in reaction to the criticisms of the Pinagkaisang Samahan ng mga Tsuper at Opereytor Nationwide (Piston)..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/metro/20110403met2.html

Recruiter of executed OFW returns to NBI for safety By Pat C. Santos 04/03/2011

Recruiter of executed OFW returns to NBI for safety

By Pat C. Santos 04/03/2011
The controversial recruiter of one of the overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) who was executed in China last March 30 is back in the custody of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) after a few days in hiding.

This was reported by NBI-Reaction Arrest and Interdiction Division chief Jonathan Galicia who identified the recruiter as Mapet Cortez a.k.a. Tita Cacayan who was brought back the NBI head office on Taft Avenue in Ermita, Manila last Friday night.

Cacayan said she had voluntarily surrendered even before Sally Ordinario-Villanueva, Ramon Credo and Elizabeth Batain were executed because she had been receiving death threats.

She added she opted to be placed under the protective custody of the NBI for fear for her life..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/metro/20110403met1.html

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