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Noy, prosecutors’ savior EDITORIAL 02/29/2012

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Noy, prosecutors’ savior

EDITORIAL
Click to enlarge
02/29/2012
Malacañang and its prosecution team certainly know that they have failed to prove their charges against Chief Justice Renato Corona, despite their claims that they already have sufficient evidence with which to convict the Chief Magistrate.

But they are probably convinced they will be able to convict Corona because the prosecution team has the President of the Republic ready to assist the congressman-prosecutors get a Senate court conviction of the Chief Justice, for hundreds of millions of reasons that will be flowing again when the time comes for a Senate vote.

How else could the prosecutors have obtained the bank account numbers as well as the dollar account copy of the Chief Justice, whether from the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) or the Philippine Savings Bank (PSBank), unless they had some very powerful from Malacañang to get the Corona account for them?.... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20120229com1.html

800 EU banks get 529.5 bln euros in ECB emergency loans

800 EU banks get 529.5 bln euros in ECB emergency loans

European Banks have sucked up €529.5bn in cheap money from the ECB. It’s the second auction by the European Central Bank in its Long Term Refinancing Operation (LTRO).

­The money will help improve liquidity in the market.  Stock markets have reacted positively. Analysts also expect that over €100 billion of the new LTRO are likely to be used to refinance current debt, while a significant sum will be deposited at the ECB..... MORE
SourceRT.com

URL: http://rt.com/business/news/euro-ecb-crisis-loan-cheap-503/

Assad could be classified as a war criminal – Clinton




Assad could be classified as a war criminal – Clinton

With the US labeling the Syrian President as a “war criminal” and France calling for his prosecution in the International Criminal Court, the West appears to be ratcheting up its rhetoric against the Syrian government.

­On Tuesday, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton testified before a Senate subcommittee on the State Department's budget. Pressured by Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) into answering whether she thinks Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad fits the definition of a war criminal, Clinton said: “Based on definitions of war criminal and crimes against humanity, there would be an argument to be made that he would fit into that category.”.... MORE

SourceRT.com

URL: http://rt.com/news/clinton-assad-war-criminal-455/

Iran ready to be paid in gold, national currencies for oil

 Iran ready to be paid in gold, national currencies for oil

Tehran announced Tuesday that it is ready to receive payment for oil supplies in gold as well as the national currencies of importer countries. That’s according to Mahmoud Bahmani, Governor of the Central Bank of Iran.
­In trade operations with foreign countries Iran does not limit itself to dollars, and any state is free to use its own currency, Bahmani is quoted as saying by Russia's Itar-Tass news agency. He also added that if any client state wants to pay in gold, Iran would accept it without hesitation..... MORE

SourceRT.com

URL: http://rt.com/news/iran-gold-currencies-oil-453/

Goodbye, First Amendment: ‘Trespass Bill’ will make protest illegal

Goodbye, First Amendment: ‘Trespass Bill’ will make protest illegal


Just when you thought the government couldn’t ruin the First Amendment any further: The House of Representatives approved a bill on Monday that outlaws protests in instances where some government officials are nearby, whether or not you even know it.

The US House of Representatives voted 388-to-3 in favor of H.R. 347 late Monday, a bill which is being dubbed the Federal Restricted Buildings and Grounds Improvement Act of 2011. In the bill, Congress officially makes it illegal to trespass on the grounds of the White House, which, on the surface, seems not just harmless and necessary, but somewhat shocking that such a rule isn’t already on the books. The wording in the bill, however, extends to allow the government to go after much more than tourists that transverse the wrought iron White House fence..... MORE

SourceRT.com

URL: http://rt.com/usa/news/348-act-tresspass-buildings-437/

Palawan river poisoned with cancer-causing chemicals- Kalikasan PNE


Palawan river poisoned with cancer-causing chemicals- Kalikasan PNE


By INA ALLECO R. SILVERIO
Bulatlat.com
Environmental groups are pointing an accusing finger at irresponsible mining operators for the worsening state of the Palawan river.

According to the Friends of the Earth Japan (FoE-Japan) and the Kalikasan People’s Network for the Environment (Kalikasan PNE), nickel mining operations in Palawan Island is to blame for the contamination of the Palawan river system. They said the river is already poisoned with unsafe levels of carcinogenic or cancer-causing chemicals.

During a recent present conference in Quezon City, the groups presented findings from an environmental field research study conducted in a river located downstream near the Rio Tuba Nickel Mining Corporation’s (RTNMC) mining operations and the Coral Bay Nickel Processing Plant’s operation.

The study, which started in 2009, analyzed water samples and revealed that present levels of hexavalent chromium (Cr-VI), a toxic and carcinogenic chemical, had already exceeded safe levels in the Togupon River. It showed that present levels of Cr-VI contamination in water samples from the Togupon River ranged from 0.1 to 0.3 milligrams per liter (mg/L). This exceeds the Philippines’s Cr-VI effluent standard of 0.1 to 0.2mg/L.

In the meantime, the levels of Cr-VI contamination in water samples taken from the Togupon River’s estuary ranged from 0.05 to 0.15mg/L—exceeding both the Philippine’s Cr-VI environmental standard of 0.05 to 0.1mg/L and the Japanese environmental standard of 0.05mg/L by one to three times over.

A researcher from FoE-Japan Hozue Hatae said the water contamination originated either from upstream mining or refinery operations.

Togupon River runs through the area where the nickel mining operations of RTNMC and the nickel processing facility of Coral Bay Nickel Corp. (CBNC) are located. Both projects are financed and pursued in partnership with Japanese multinational corporations and institutions, such as the Japan Bank for International Cooperation and the Nippon Export and Investment Insurance..... MORE

SourceBulatlat.com

URL: http://bulatlat.com/main/2012/02/25/palawan-river-poisoned-with-cancer-causing-chemicals-kalikasan-pne/

P-Noy’s 2nd evaluation report CROSSROADS Jonathan De la Cruz 02/29/2012

P-Noy’s 2nd evaluation report

CROSSROADS
Jonathan De la Cruz
02/29/2012
Last week, we highlighted the findings of the psychiatric evaluation of then patient 084 Benigno C. Aquino III by noted psychologist and Ateneo de Manila University professor Father Jaime Bulatao, S.J., which I downloaded from the blog goodmorningclass @wordpress.com.

Conducted 33 years ago on Aug. 9, 1979 when Aquino was just 19 years old that the first report revealed a lot about the patient, i.e., over all profile and characteristics as well as his “fears and ambitions” many of which remain valid up to this day. As a result of its printing in our column I received a load of additional information about the patient one of which is a psychiatric evaluation conducted by the Ateneo de Manila University Department of Psychology some 16 years ago when he was 36 years old.

My staff tried to get a certified true copy of this report from the said department but as of this writing I have been unable to secure one. Meantime, in the interest of transparency and good conduct, I am excerpting parts of this second evaluation report for our readers’ benefit. Here goes:

“Patient Name: Benigno Simeon Cojuangco Aquino III.... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20120229com4.html

Prosecution drops 5 raps; panel rests case vs Corona By Gerry Baldo Angie M. Rosales and Benjamin B. Pulta 02/29/2012

Prosecution drops 5 raps; panel rests case vs Corona

By Gerry Baldo Angie M. Rosales and Benjamin B. Pulta 02/29/2012

In a surprise move, the prosecution panel, led by Rep. Niel Tupas Jr., announced before the Senate impeachment court that it is dropping five Articles of Impeachment and has rested its case against Supreme Court Chief Justice Renato Corona but reserved its right to present evidence on the bank accounts of Corona in the event the temporary restraining order (TRO) issued by the SC on the bank deposits of the CJ is lifted.

In an open court manifestation, Tupas told the impeachment court that the prosecution is resting its case, saying that the prosecutors have already presented 25 witnesses and 397 pieces of evidence that would be sufficient to convict the Chief Justice.

The surprise move taken by Corona’s accusers was announced by Tupas after hearing from SC that the high court was not waiving its judicial privilege on pending cases, which means that the high court did not allow the participation of two of its employees in the impeach proceedings..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20120229hed1.html

Iglesia rally draws 1M in clear show of force By Fernan J. Angeles 02/29/2012

Iglesia rally draws 1M in clear show of force

By Fernan J. Angeles 02/29/2012
In a rare massive assembly, nearly 1 million members of the influential Iglesia ni Cristo (INC) religious group congregated at the Quirino Grandstand in Rizal Park yesterday that many described as a tacit show of force amid perceived political tension with its once staunch ally President Aquino.

Yesterday’s INC rally was significant since the religious group does not usually call its members for an assembly other than during its anniversary celebration in July.

Despite the religious group’s claim that the rally had no political tinge, who were invited or not among political personalities were the subject of public discussion. For instance, known to have been invited to the assembly were all justices of the Supreme Court, except for three justices who are known to be allies of President Aquino, who himself did not receive an invitation from the INC..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20120229hed2.html

Senate shoots down call to probe Pagcor chief By Angie M. Rosales 02/29/2012

Senate shoots down call to probe Pagcor chief

By Angie M. Rosales 02/29/2012

Senate leaders are not keen on probing the alleged bribery charges against Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. chairman and chief operating officer (CEO) Cristino Naguiat Jr. filed by Las Vegas-based Wynn Resorts Ltd., owned by American casino magnate Steve Wynn.

Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile dismissed any significance on Wynn’s charges on Naguiat’s alleged receipt of $110,000 worth of accommodations and cash gifts, including a $20,000 shopping and gaming money, during a recent visit to Wynn Resorts in Macau in 2010 hosted by Japanese businessman Kazuo Okada.

“Investigate? For what?” asked Enrile.

Whether the allegations against Naguiat are true, the Pagcor official cannot be made to face charges in the Philippines but in the country where the supposed crime was committed, the Senate leader said..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20120229hed4.html

2 soldiers killed, several others wounded in separate NPA attacks against troops 02/29/2012

2 soldiers killed, several others wounded in separate NPA attacks against troops

02/29/2012
Two Army soldiers were killed while several others were wounded during separate landmine attacks launched by communist New People’s Army (NPA) rebels in the provinces of Compostela Valley and Eastern Samar on Monday, reports reaching Camp Aguinaldo said yesterday.

Army spokesman Maj. Harold Cabunoc said the elements of the 25th Infantry Battalion (IB) were conducting routine security patrols along Barangay San Vicente in Montevista, Compostela Valley around 5:30 p.m. when they hit a landmine.

Cabunoc said the explosion was immediately followed by heavy gun fires coming from the NPA rebels, numbering about 15..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/nation/20120229nat6.html

DND urges government to expedite military upgrade to protect Spratlys By Mario J. Mallari 02/29/2012

DND urges government to expedite military upgrade to protect Spratlys

By Mario J. Mallari 02/29/2012

The Department of National Defense (DND) yesterday maintained that the Department of Energy’s (DoE) oil exploration programs in the disputed West Philippine Sea has no security implication, stressing the projects are within the country’s territorial waters.

DND spokesman Peter Paul Galvez, however, stressed the need to expedite the ongoing capability upgrade of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) to enhance the country’s maritime security.

There is none (security implication). All those service contracts are within the jurisdiction of the Philippines, Galvez said..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/nation/20120229nat1.html

Malacanang not endorsing sin tax amendments solon 02/29/2012

Malacanang not endorsing sin tax amendments solon

02/29/2012
Despite the fact it is being proposed by the Department of Finance (DoF), a senior official of the House ways and means committee yesterday revealed that Malacanang remains non-committal to the proposed unitary or single tax system for tobacco and alcohol products.

Rep. Eric Singson Jr., ways and means committee vice chairman, made the disclosure even as University of the Philippines Prof. Leonor Briones, a prominent economist and social scientist, reminded government that in pushing the approval of the bill, it should not ignore the more urgent need to address the plight of people who will suffer severe economic dislocation in case the bill is approved.

We need revenue generating measures but we also need to make sure that they will eat, Briones told congressmen during the hearing of the ways and means committee yesterday..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/metro/20120229met1.html

Shift of corruption to IT projects bared 02/29/2012

Shift of corruption to IT projects bared

02/29/2012
Western Samar Rep. Mel Senen Sarmiento yesterday said with the rapid demise of huge filing cabinets and tons of paper in data storage and document processing and management in government agencies due to digitization and full computerization of government database and document processing systems, corruption and “gunder-the-table” negotiations now appear to be also shifting to government contracts involving multimillion-peso Information Technology (IT) projects.

“What makes corruption in IT projects nearly undetectable is the fact that with the exception of those employed as IT professionals, the technical intricacies in IT such as software and hardware specifications, are almost alien to most non-IT people, and that includes heads of the country’s government agencies that rely heavily on IT-driven services,” Sarmiento said..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/metro/20120229met4.html

BSP watches over PEPs EDITORIAL 02/28/2012

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

BSP watches over PEPs

EDITORIAL
Click to enlarge
02/28/2012
The hearing yesterday of the Senate committee on banks, financial institutions and currencies seeking to establish the source of the possible leaked Philippine Savings Bank (PSBank) documents of Chief Justice Renato Corona revealed the disturbing fact that the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) is in the habit of peeking into bank accounts of certain citizens even without court orders.

For PSBank alone, it was established that 112 bank accounts were looked into by the BSP, not the Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC) that the law authorizes to probe into suspicious bank accounts, but a so-called BSP anti-money laundering specialist that appears to have been done to skirt the Anti-Money Laundering Law (AMLA) that required the AMLC to secure a court order or the authorization from the account holder before a bank account can be opened.

The BSP undertakes the surreptitious examinations of accounts in the guise of an audit and majority of the targets are so-called politically exposed personalities (PEP) who are generally government officials and politicians or institutions that have a certain association with a PEP..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20120228com1.html

89% vote in favor of new Syrian Constitution



89% vote in favor of new Syrian Constitution


Syria’s Interior Minister has announced that 89 per cent of those who took part in the referendum have voted in favor of a new constitution. The new law puts an end to five decades of one-party rule among other reforms put forward by President Assad.

Interior Minister Ibrahim al-Shaar announced the results of the referendum at a press conference on Monday.­

According to the minister, out of 14,580,000 Syrians eligible to vote some 8,376,000, or about 57 per cent, actually came to the polling stations and voted, RT’s Maria Finoshina reports from Damascus..... MORE

SourceRT.com

URL: http://rt.com/news/syria-referendum-constitution-results-307/

Occupy London camp destroyed by police in riot gear (PHOTOS, VIDEO)



The Occupy London camp outside St Paul's Cathedral was destroyed early Tuesday. Hundreds of officers converged on the camp just before midnight local time and began to dismantle what had been home to around 70 activists.

­Bailiffs in high-visibility jackets dragged tents and their contents to garbage trucks and dumpsters where they were crushed. Police in riot gear formed cordons to keep protesters and their supporters out of the camp. Activists say the police were met with peaceful resistance.  However, media reports say around 20 protesters have been detained.

Several dozen protesters have been camped on the steps of St Paul's Cathedral since October last year. It was one of the longest-surviving encampments inspired by the New York “Occupy Wall Street” movement against corporate greed..... MORE

SourceRT.com

URL: http://rt.com/news/occupy-london-camp-evicted-357/

Of families and winners NO HOLDS BARRED Armida Siguion-Reyna 02/28/2012

Of families and winners

NO HOLDS BARRED
Armida Siguion-Reyna
02/28/2012
And this was what family talked about last Sunday, at dinner, on account of the 84th Annual Academy Awards due to air Monday morning, yesterday. “Palagi na lang impeachment ang pinag-uusapan natin,” my nephew Ponchit commented. “Ibahin naman natin, hapon pa iyong sa senado, let’s go Hollywood!”

Or, what is generally referred to by cinephiles, worldwide, as the night of the Oscars. The award is officially “the Academy Award of Merit,” but as legend has it, the trophy got the affectionate nickname in 1931, when one of the Academy’s secretaries exclaimed it looked liked her “Uncle Oscar.”

There’s another version that says it was film actor Bette Davis who looked like it after her first husband, the band leader Harmon Oscar Nelson, but what’s what, no one will never know, kasi sa totoo lang, it no longer matters, basta Oscar na siya, tapos..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20120228com4.html

The persistent professor and burial barongs AN OUTSIDERS VIEW Ken Fuller 02/28/2012

The persistent professor and burial barongs

AN OUTSIDERS VIEW
Ken Fuller
02/28/2012
As oxymoronic as this might strike the ear, there are probably honest property developers in Metro Manila, but someone of my acquaintance — let’s call him The Professor — reckons there are several of the other kind as well. Along with fellow unit-owners in the condo tower where he resides, he has complaints about the developer and its contractor, and arising from this he, in his words, “without even trying have been made aware of five other cases where there have been serious complaints/legal actions by residents who did not get what they thought they signed up for.”

Those complaints range from “what appear to be shady or questionable practices (misrepresentation) in selling to customers, to illegal practices and the ignoring of the law regarding building plans, environmental issues, worker health and safety, lack of transparency and accountability, etc.”

In his own case the problems started when the developer announced that a third tower would arise on a site where residents were under the impression when they bought their units that there would be only two. A group of them put together a campaign, some members of which were then hit with a libel suit brought by the developer which, in due course, was thrown out by the prosecutor..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20120228com5.html

Something is wrong VIEWPOINTS Archbishop Oscar V. Cruz 02/28/2012

Something is wrong

VIEWPOINTS
Archbishop Oscar V. Cruz
02/28/2012
Would that everything were all right with the Philippine Government, with Philippine democracy, with the people of the Philippines! Would that the Legislature enact needed and relevant laws, the Executive ably and satisfactorily implement them, and the Judiciary accordingly act on its violations! Would that there be equality and separation of power — in truth and in fact — among the said three branches of government! Would that the Philippine Constitution be not merely a nice paper to read but really a basic document for the government to abide with and for the people to live by! Then, the Philippines would be a blessed country and the Filipinos a fortunate people — and thus probably become the big envy of the world.

But something is wrong — here and now! The Philippine government is not of the people, by the people and for the people — but of the politicians, by the politicians and for the politicians. The Legislative Department rests primarily immersed in but partisan politics and pursuant political alliances. The Executive Department remains disabled and incompetent in its mandatory agenda for the common good and public welfare of the citizenry. The Supreme Court is anything but supreme in the interpretation and application of the laws of the land. To say that such an adverse composite phenomenon spells social disaster for the country and misery for people is one big understatement..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20120228com7.html

RP gov’t defies China, to bid out 15 oil, gas areas By Michaela P. del Callar 02/28/2012

RP gov’t defies China, to bid out 15 oil, gas areas

By Michaela P. del Callar 02/28/2012

Ignoring China’s protest, the Department of Energy (DoE) will continue to offer 15 maritime offshore territories for oil exploration, including two areas near the province of Palawan being claimed by Beijing.

Energy Secretary Jose Almendras said the Philippine government hopes to award the service contracts to winning bidders next month amid opposition from China, which asserted that two of the 15 areas are part of the disputed South China Sea.

“We offered these service contracts which the Republic of the Philippines believes are within its territorial claims,” Almendras told reporters at the sidelines of the 1st European Union-Philippines Energy Meeting.

China maintains “indisput-able sovereignty” and historical rights over the vast sea that straddles one of the world’s vital.... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20120228hed2.html

Exiled Joma says no deal with Noy government By Mario J. Mallari 02/28/2012

Exiled Joma says no deal with Noy government

By Mario J. Mallari 02/28/2012

Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) founding chairman Jose Ma. Sison yesterday denied that he is already in the country after striking an agreement with President Aquino, blaming supporters of detained former President and now Pampanga Rep. Gloria Arroyo for spreading the false information.

In a rare broadcast interview over dzRH, Sison stressed that he is still in Utrecht, The Netherlands where he is in self-exile.

“I am here in Utrecht, and only yesterday (Sunday in Manila) I was a public speaker in Amsterdam,” Sison said.

Earlier reports circulated about the homecoming of the exiled CPP founding leader. There were also reports that Sison was offered a Cabinet position by the Aquino administration..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/nation/20120228nat1.html

Court slams prosecutors’ bid to force SC confrontation By Angie M. Rosales 02/28/2012

JUDGES REPRIMANDING HOUSE PANEL TOOK MOST OF DAY’S PROCEEDING

Court slams prosecutors’ bid to force SC confrontation

By Angie M. Rosales 02/28/2012

The House prosecution panel remains nowhere near substantiating any of their eight allegations on impeached Chief Justice Renato Corona as they again suffered a severe blow yesterday with Senate judges issuing a barrage of lectures and reprimands on their efforts to pit the impeachment court with the Supreme Court (SC) through their pleadings that would impinge on the independence of branches of government.

The court also ruled against seeking SC Associate Justice Ma. Lourdes Sereno’s testimony personally or in writing that was topped off by another reprimand from presiding justice Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile after they appealed for a clarification on the court’s rejection of a witness.

The move of the Senate impeachment court to deny Sereno’s testimony was due to the decision of Senator-Judge Antonio Trillanes IV to “withdraw” an earlier motion to send her written questions to shed light on the

prosecution’s alleged partiality of Corona to former President Gloria Arroyo in the issuance of a temporary restraining order (TRO) that would have allowed Arroyo and her spouse, Jose Miguel Arroyo, to leave the country last November..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20120228hed1.html

House panel declares Wynn persona non-grata, clears Pagcor on bribery raps 02/28/2012

House panel declares Wynn persona non-grata, clears Pagcor on bribery raps

02/28/2012
The House committee on good government yesterday effectively banned contro-versial American casino magnate Steve Wynn from doing business in the Philippines after the panel declared him persona non grata for allegedly bes-mirching Philippine Amuse-ment and Gaming Corp. head

Cristino Naguiat and the country regarding his bribery accusation against the Pagcor chairman.

This even as the panel lauded Wynn’s corporate rival, Japanese gambling mogul Kazuo Okada, for his continued faith in the prospects of the Philippines as the next gaming and entertainment center in Asia.

At the committee hearing, panel chairman Manila Rep. Amado Bagatsing virtually cleared Naguiat of any wrongdoing when he was hosted by Okada during a visit to Wynn Resorts..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20120228hed4.html

Taiwan gov’t extends OFWs’ term to 12 years By Mina Diaz 02/28/2012

Taiwan gov’t extends OFWs’ term to 12 years

By Mina Diaz 02/28/2012

The Department of Labor and Employment said that Taiwan government has extended the cumulative stay of foreign workers in their country from nine to 12 years, which would benefit Filipino caretakers, domestic workers, factory workers, nursing aides and fishermen.

Labor Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz said that Taiwan ’s parliament has amended the provision of the island’s Employment Service Act extending the previous cumulative stay limit of nine years for foreign workers, including Filipinos from nine to 12 years.

OFWs in Taiwan number about 90,000, of which around 15 percent are caregivers and domestic helpers, while the remaining are factory workers..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/nation/20120228nat3.html

Oreta’s nephew takes over Malabon mayoral post By Arlie O. Calalo 02/28/2012

Oreta’s nephew takes over Malabon mayoral post

By Arlie O. Calalo 02/28/2012
Malabon City Vice Mayor LenLen Oreta has formally taken over the post of his ailing uncle Mayor Canuto “Tito” Oreta.

In a huddle with some members of the media, the younger Oreta, who is first cousin of President Aquino whose late father was the elder brother of ex-Sen. Tessie Aquino-Oreta, the vice mayor’s mother, confirmed that he has assumed the city’s top post.

Asked on the health condition of his uncle, who has been undoubtedly well-loved by most residents and even some political rivals for his kindness and being too caring to them since the time he was Barangay Maysilo chairman and barangay league president for years, Acting Mayor Lenlen said he was slowly recovering.

“He is on leave and he is recovering but he needs complete rest,” said the younger Oreta on his ailing uncle..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/metro/20120228met3.html

Gatdula asks court to secure evidence on NBI exec’s ambush By Benjamin B. Pulta 02/28/2012

Gatdula asks court to secure evidence on NBI exec’s ambush

By Benjamin B. Pulta 02/28/2012

Beleaguered former National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) chief Magtanggol Gatdula has filed a suit before a Manila Court seeking a protection order against his former subordinates and boss.

In a 14-page petition, Gatdula sought an amparo writ against Justice Secretary Leila de Lima, NBI deputy director Reynaldo Esmeraldo and acting NBI officer-in-charge Nonnatus Rojas.

Gatdula filed the petition in connection with allegations that he was behind the ambush on Esmeralda’s convoy last week which De Lima and Esmeralda stated that it was linked to the case of a Japanese national who claimed that Gatdula’s men extorted money from her in exchange for her liberty..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/metro/20120228met1.html

IPPs owe public $9.99B DIE HARD III Herman Tiu Laurel 02/27/2012

Monday, February 27, 2012

IPPs owe public $9.99B

DIE HARD III
Herman Tiu Laurel
02/27/2012
Much as this space would like to tackle the myriad other issues bedeviling the nation, we are constantly dragged back to the electricity or power plunder that continues to ravage this country to this day. We have repeatedly highlighted the anomalous fact of the Power Sector Assets and Liabilities Management (Psalm) Corp. and National Power Corp. (Napocor) debt staying at $18 billion despite over 10 years and almost 90 percent of the state’s power assets being “sold off” to the private sector since the start of the power privatization program under the Electric Power Industry Reform Act (Epira) of 2001. It is as if money from the sales vanished into thin air.

Last week, one clue was given by the state agency that manages these assets. When its top honcho, Emmanuel Ledesma Jr., said, “Psalm is yet to collect $9.99 billion in additional proceeds from the transfer of IPP (independent power producer) contracts to private administrators as of September 2011,” what it says is that taxpayers and power consumers are to be charged what the IPPs should have paid for but didn’t.

As for the other half of that $18-billion debt, Ledesma claims it as “$8.44 billion in debts assumed from” Napocor. Now wasn’t the privatization of Napocor assets supposed to cover all these? Where did proceeds from the sale of diesel-fired to hydroelectric and geothermal power plants go? How about the latest $4-billion privatization of the TransCo (the erstwhile state-owned transmission grid) to the private sector operator, National Grid Corp. of the Philippines (NGCP), that has also not been collected after two years?

In June 2011, it was reported that “government may use the receivables from the concession contract of the NGCP” on the pretext that “selling the receivables ahead of the scheduled payment of NGCP may help in the efforts to reduce the universal charge (UC).”

Wait a minute: TransCo was earning P18 billion a year when it was sold off; now it’s not even paid while the NGCP is already earning; hence, we now even have to rediscount the receivables? What name can you give to such a deal if not “historic swindle?”

I am just aghast at the magnitude of this scam and the impunity with which it continues to be perpetrated before the eyes of 95 million Filipinos. With the silent blessings of four Edsa administrations (Cory Aquino, Fidel Ramos, Gloria Arroyo, and now PeNoy), this national swindle rages on because of the silent consent of the entire Senate and Lower House of Congress, in collaboration with all government electricity agencies — from Psalm to the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC).

What is the power behind these power plunderers that all government institutions are cowed into compliance, even as we ordinary folk see their dictates as an unconscionable swindle?

What are we, the people of this nation, to do when our supposed representatives in government stand idly by as our pockets are looted and our economy is systematically laid to waste by the garrote of high electricity prices and a progressively failing economy over years and years of power plunder?

The latest statements of the Psalm chief only reveal how helpless government authorities really are in the face of the IPPs and power plunderer-privateers. Instead of pressing for these companies to pay up what are clearly debt obligations to government and the Filipino people, our supposed leaders continue to find ways on how to unburden these companies — to the detriment of the public.

With deceitful intent, Psalm has been trying to pass on these debts of the privateers via piecemeal transfers: P140 billion to be paid from the national budget and assumed by taxpayers; P0.39 per kilowatt-hour (kWh) as UC, shouldered again by power consumers over 20 years; with another bulk to be charged to Malampaya’s earnings; and only God knows what else.

If they were to pass these on as one lump sum to each electricity bill, it would amount to an additional P5/kWh over 20 years, which means up to 35 percent of added cost to each power consumer, who will fork out over P100 billion in power payments annually.

Congress has not approved such piecemeal schemes just yet because the ploy is too blatantly oppressive and dishonest; but it has done nothing to resolve the power plunder for the nation’s welfare either.

Malacañang, for its part, has only played deaf and dumb to the issue and the pleas of all sectors of society. At the rate the situation is developing, it is apparent that government has been made inutile, with the implication being that, at some point, all these debts will finally be transferred to us when we are at our most vulnerable — perhaps under another “revolutionary government” dictatorship a la Cory — so that the IPPs and power plunderers will never be made to pay the $18 billion anymore, thanks to Edsa I, Edsa II, and PeNoy.

Meanwhile, the power crisis in Mindanao is growing unabated despite an overabundance of capacity from hydroelectric dams that were deliberately sabotaged. The NGCP now projects an average shortfall there of 179 megawatts (MW) next month and a high 345 MW in April, even when just one facility, the Agus-Pulangi hydroelectric complex, already has 727 MW of installed capacity — this despite its production of only 467 MW today due to seemingly deliberate maintenance deficiencies.

Two Napocor power barges, 117 and 118, privatized to Aboitiz’ Therma Marine Corp. can, as well, generate 200 MW; but the rates are so high that the 33 Mindanao electric cooperatives refuse to buy from them.

Four power barges of Psalm, 101 to 104, lying idle in Luzon are being asked by the Mindanao Business Council to be deployed there to provide emergency power. But this cannot be done allegedly because it would violate the Epira’s ban on government from participating in power generation, even if it is just to help the people. How twisted, indeed, have our country’s laws become? Yet some twisted minds still have reason to celebrate Edsa?

(Tune in to 1098AM, dwAD, Sulo ng Pilipino/Radyo OpinYon, Monday to Friday, 5 to 6 p.m.; watch Destiny Cable GNN’s HTL edition of Talk News TV, Saturdays, 8:15 to 9 p.m., with replay at 11:15 p.m., on “Hocus PCOS: New proof of cheating?;” visit http://newkatipunero.blogspot.com for our articles plus TV and radio archives)

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


SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20120227com5.html

An important lesson in history FRONTLINE Ninez Cacho-Olivares 02/27/2012

An important lesson in history

FRONTLINE
Ninez Cacho-Olivares
02/27/2012
United States Supreme Court’s Associate Justice Samuel Chase’s impeachment trial appears to be eerily similar to that of the impeachment of Philippine Chief Justice Renato Corona’s.

It was also a US president, Thomas Jefferson, who disliked Chase and his Federalist views, and wanted him and other Federalist justices, among whom was the US Chief Justice Marshall, impeached, fearing that the high court would become too powerful.

Jefferson directly encouraged Congress, which was then dominated by Republicans, to impeach Chase. And he was so impeached, no differently from Noynoy’s direct intervention of the impeachment of Corona.... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20120227com2.html

US pressures India to give up Iranian oil

US pressures India to give up Iranian oil

“Anyone but Iran,” is what the United States is telling India, as America attempts to persuade the country to go elsewhere for its oil needs.

There are currently no sanctions that would restrict India from continuing to do business with Iran, but any disruption in their relationship could cause the Iranian economy to be impacted significantly. Traditionally, India purchases around 12 percent of all its crude from Iran, a transaction that is worth around $12 billion each year. As the US continues to warn Iran to abandon its nuclear program or face the consequences, America is getting creative in finding ways to get them to crack.

Sources close to the matter tell Bloomberg that the US is considering getting involved in India’s oil trade and could offer assistance in broker deals with outside suppliers. At least three sources with inside knowledge have discussed the deal with the news outlet, but did so under condition of anonymity as details of the matter are intended to be kept confidential..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://rt.com/usa/news/us-india-oil-iran-159/

Smartphone users give total access to spying apps

Smartphone users give total access to spying apps


Every time you use your smartphone app your personal information – emails, phone numbers and even photos – is sent off to dozens of Internet companies all over the world. And you are the one who is allowing them access.

­Most users are aware that Internet companies like to collect information on their clients so that they can target their adverts better. But the sheer extent of their spying is shocking. And it’s all buried in the small print of the license agreement few bother to read. Often the information collected has nothing to do with function of the application.

Despite being a social network, Facebook reads your text messages, while photo application Flickr raids your contact book. In turn, video portal Youtube can access and download all of the users’ photographs..... MORE

SourceRT.com

URL: http://rt.com/news/smartphone-internet-privacy-spying-261/

China lashes out at Google’s lifting censorship (W/ Video)



China lashes out at Google’s lifting censorship

China has accused the world's leading search engine of breaking the promises it made when entering the market, after Google stopped self-censoring search results in the country.

It is now re-directing visitors to its unfiltered Hong Kong site.

However, not all results will still be accessible inside China, as government filters restrict the links people can click on..... MORE

SourceRT.com

URL: http://rt.com/news/google-china-censorship-scandal/

Gabriela to CBCP: Do not bear false witness against women’s health

Gabriela to CBCP: Do not bear false witness against women’s health


We continue to say, ‘yes’ to a comprehensive and pro-poor reproductive health bill and ‘no’ to population control.” – GWP Rep. Emmi de Jesus
By INA ALLECO R. SILVERIO
Bulatlat.com
MANILA — The Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines has charged the Gabriela Women’s Party of allegedly admitting that that the Reproductive Health (RH) bill pending in both chambers of Congress, is “ neither pro-poor nor pro-women.”

In a report posted on the official CBCP website last February 20, the CBCP said that Gabriela has made the admission in a note on its own Facebook page. It referred to a note made by Gabriela declaring that “the RH bill cannot be genuinely pro-poor and pro-women for as long as it espouses population control, which blames poverty on women’s bodies, fertility and population.”

The somewhat misleading news story has prompted Gabriela Rep. Emmi de Jesus to call on the CBCP to “stop bearing false witness against women’s health.”

“GWP believes that House Bill 4244, popularly known as the RH Bill, has made positive strides for women. Gabriela Women’s Party has successfully included in the consolidated bill substantive provisions from its own bill, HB 3387. Among these are reproductive health care programs and services throughout one’s life cycle, services to address breast and reproductive tract cancers, and protection against chemicals injurious to working women,” De Jesus said.

According to de Jesus, her group also lobbies for prenatal leaves for women workers and pro-bono services especially for low-income and indigent pregnant women, as stated in the RH bill.

“On top of this, population or demographic targets were thrown out of the bill, and desired family size was made neither mandatory nor compulsory,” she said. “We need to remind CBCP not to distort the truth in its campaign against the RH bill. While it is true that GWP has consistently opposed the population control agenda, it does not mean that the GWP stands beside the Catholic Church hierarchy in blocking the passage of a legislation that calls for the promotion of women’s right to health.”.... MORE

SourceBulatlat.com

URL: http://bulatlat.com/main/2012/02/22/gabriela-to-cbcp-do-not-bear-false-witness-against-women%E2%80%99s-health/

P-Noy on Naguiat: Innocent until proven guilty? CROSSROADS Jonathan De la Cruz 02/27/2012

P-Noy on Naguiat: Innocent until proven guilty?

CROSSROADS
Jonathan De la Cruz
02/27/2012
P-Noy has declared that his close friend and classmate Cristino “Bong” Naguiat is innocent until proven guilty. Which is how it should be. Not the other way around. That is, nobody can and should be declared guilty until and after he has been apprised of his crime, has confronted his accuser and the witnesses against him, afforded all the opportunity to prove his innocence and judged in the proper court with all the attendant protection of the law. That is how due process and the rule of law should be applied in a democracy.

“There is a presumption of innocence until proven guilty,” P-Noy intoned in defense of Naguiat, “so in this particular instance, we should afford him also the benefit of hearing him out before we make any judgment.” OK so far. Then came the breaker. “This constitutional presumption,” P-Noy continued, “is also being applied to Chief Justice Renato Corona.” What?! How?!.... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20120227com4.html

Purisima’s financial papers show income, networth disparity 02/27/2012

Purisima’s financial papers show income, networth disparity

02/27/2012
Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima, the economic lieutenant of President Aquino, appears among the public officials who have not been properly disclosing his true financial worth based on various documents obtained by the Tribune, including his statement of assets, liabilities and networth (SALn).

During his confirmation hearings last year with the bicameral Commission on Appointments (CA), the discrepancy between Purisima’s declared assets and income from 2006 to 2009 was already raised.

The CA, in a report then, said Purisima declared an income of P22 million in his tax return against a P35 million networth in his SALn..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20120227hed6.html

CPP brands Edsa People Power rites as ‘stale, uninspiring’ 02/27/2012

CPP brands Edsa People Power rites as ‘stale, uninspiring’

02/27/2012
The failure of the Aquino government to address the social problems plaguing the country at present was “stale and uninspiring,” said the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) yesterday as the country celebrated the 26th anniversary of the Edsa People Power I.

The CPP, in a statement, said that the Aquino administration failed to address the grave social problems like landlessness, unemployment, poverty, hunger, social injustice and worsening inequities.

“The Aquino regime is now responsible for the perpetuation of the acute social ills that plague the Filipino people,” the CPP said.”Aquino has sought to draw from the spirit of the Edsa people uprising to generate support to his regime but miserably fails to inspire the toiling masses whose grave social conditions continue to deteriorate under his anti-people and pro-imperialist policies.”.... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/nation/20120227nat5.html

House panel junks probe into colleagues role in CJ ‘leaked’ bank accounts By Gerry Baldo 02/27/2012

House panel junks probe into colleagues role in CJ ‘leaked’ bank accounts

By Gerry Baldo 02/27/2012

The House ethics committee yesterday rejected the move to cite two lawmakers in connection with their alleged participation in the disclosure of the questionable bank accounts of impeached Chief Justice Renato Corona.

According Bohol Rep. Erico Aumentado, chairman of the House committee on ethics, he will start with the investigation for possible violation of the Bank Secrecy Law only after the impeachment case of the Chief Justice has been resolved.

The House minority has asked Aumentado to have Oriental Mindoro Rep. Reynaldo Umali, a public prosecutor, and Quezon City Rep. Jorge “Bolet” Banal, a member of the prosecution’s secretariat, investigated for alleged involvement in the disclosure of Corona’s bank accounts..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20120227hed2.html

Malacaang vacillates on need to evict Arenda settlers By Fernan J. Angeles 02/27/2012

Malacanang vacillates on need to evict Arenda settlers

By Fernan J. Angeles 02/27/2012

President Aquino, who has been boasting of his administrations sensitivity on the need to fast-track socialized housing program for the poor, is now made to choose whether to render some 50,000 families homeless or to let them stay in a 270-hectare reclaimed parcel at the border of Pasig City and Taytay town in Rizal.

Malacaang doesnt appear keen on getting them out of the danger zone despite stern warnings based on recent findings manifesting the 270-hectare lakeshore community in Barangay Sta. Ana in Taytay, Rizal, isnt fit for human settlement.

In a statement issued to Palace reporters, the Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) said that the government has already put in place remedial measures designed to minimize liquefaction of an area that is now referred to as Lupang Arenda..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/nation/20120227nat2.html

Stradcom mouthpiece lambasts P7.9-B DoTC Road Transport IT project By Charlie V. Manalo 02/27/2012

Stradcom mouthpiece lambasts P7.9-B DoTC Road Transport IT project

By Charlie V. Manalo 02/27/2012

Why spend when it could have everything for free?

With the government aggressively trying to cut down on unnecessary expenditures and enjoining private enterprise to invest in so-called private public partnership (PPP) programs , the intention of the Department of Transportation and Communications (DoTC) to procure P7.9-billion hardware and software to construct the IT infrastructure of the Land Transportation Office (LTO) and the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) contradicts the very essence of the administration’s advocacy of a true and ideal PPP.

Stradcom spokesman Margaux Salcedo made the observation as she reiterated the call urging DoTC officials to study and reconsider first the plans of Stradcom for a renewed contract before total and outright rejection of the IT firms proposal which, according to Salcedo, will put to waste almost P8 billion of taxpayers’ money for a project which the government could get for free..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/metro/20120227met3.html

Ona to Noy: Air we breathe today ‘far more risky’ 02/27/2012

Ona to Noy: Air we breathe today ‘far more risky’

02/27/2012
While President Aquino has claimed that pollution level in Metro Manila significantly went down when he assumed office, Health Secretary Enrique Ona said otherwise, hinting that the air we breathe today is far more risky.

Portraying a role of an environmental expert, deputy presidential spokesman Abigail Valte at a radio press briefing insisted the conflicting claims are similarly factual and consistent even as she cited other factors that should be considered, one of which is the onset of the summer season.

Valte, who is neither an environmental specialist nor a physician, had a lengthy technical explanation designed to reconcile what appears to be totally opposing claims made by Ona and the President at the Pulong Bayan ng Pangulo in La Consolacion College in Manila..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/metro/20120227met5.html

Solon wants life term imposed on participants in frat hazing By Angie M. Rosales 02/27/2012

Solon wants life term imposed on participants in frat hazing

By Angie M. Rosales 02/27/2012

Senate Majority Leader Vicente Sotto III has sought the amendment to the Anti-Hazing law by imposing the penalty of life imprisonment on all those found to be participants in a fraternity-related violence.

The upper chamber leader is proposing to have Republic Act 8049 an absolute imposition of reclusion perpetua or life term, on those who will be found guilty of the crime, whatever the condition of the victim.

The present law provides for a graduated level of penalty, depending on the harm that the victim suffered..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/metro/20120227met1.html

US blocking Philippine bid to regulate rice imports – KMP

Sunday, February 26, 2012

US blocking Philippine bid to regulate rice imports – KMP


By INA ALLECO R. SILVERIO
Bulatlat.com
MANILA — The Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) is outraged against what it described as the United State government’s attempts to blackmail the Philippines.

The US is standing against the petition of the Philippines to the World Trade Organization for the extension of the Quantitative Restriction (QR) on rice in retaliation over the issuance of Department of Agriculture (DA) AO 22, which provides technical requirements, such as proper labeling, in the packaging of frozen meat.

“The US’ opposition on our bid to extend the QRs on rice betrays US arrogance and underscores the need for the Philippines to withdraw from the WTO,” said KMP secretary general Danilo Ramos.

According to recent reports, the United States is opposing the Philippines’ petition for the World Trade Organization (WTO) to stop the continued entry of imported rice into the country. This was revealed to the media by Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala..... MORE

SourceBulatlat.com

URL: http://bulatlat.com/main/2012/02/25/us-blocking-philippine-bid-to-regulate-rice-imports-kmp/

Let her come forward FRONTLINE Ninez Cacho-Olivares 02/26/2012

Let her come forward

FRONTLINE
Ninez Cacho-Olivares
02/26/2012
It is almost certain that Supreme Court (SC) Associate Justice Lourdes Sereno will either face the impeachment court to testify, or submit herself to the “interrogatory” as proposed by a junior member of the Senate court and so moved by his senior comrade in arms.

What appears to have puzzled presiding officer, Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile, was the fact that a junior senator, Sonny Trillanes, who is not even a lawyer, proposed the interrogatory for Sereno. The interrogatory is said to be an alternative mode of gathering evidence through a written list of questions sent by the court to a witness.

It is also curious that another non-lawyer, Sen. Panfilo Lacson, moved for such an alternative mode, although the explanation of both Trillanes and Lacson was that since Justice Chief Leila de Lima testified on hearsay evidence basis, needed was Sereno to testify about what she had written in her dissenting opinion, where what she bared were allegedly “irregularities” in the issuance of the temporary restraining order (TRO) during a closed-door en banc session of the justices, which is definitely a violation of the rules covering judicial executive sessions..... MORE
SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20120226com2.html

Syria holds referendum amid bloodshed



Syria holds referendum amid bloodshed

War-torn Syria is holding an unprecedented referendum on a new draft constitution on Sunday that would put an end to five decades of single-party rule. But the opposition is calling on the population to boycott the vote.

­Millions of Syrians are expected to vote on their country’s new constitution. Posters and banners calling on people to come and vote are everywhere in the capital and all around the country, RT’s Maria Finoshina reports from Damascus. For the first time in the country’s history the Interior Ministry is urging people to come and vote without actually telling them how they should vote, she says..... MORE

SourceRT.com

URL: http://rt.com/news/syria-referendum-vote-constitution-211/

Egypt tries foreign-sponsored activists despite US pressure

Egypt tries foreign-sponsored activists despite US pressure

The trial of NGO workers suspected of illegally using foreign funding and fomenting unrest starts in Cairo on Sunday. Washington is pushing Egypt to drop the charges and release the activists, 16 of whom are American citizens.

Thirteen Egyptian defendants were in the courtroom filled with hundreds of lawyers and reporters. None of the accused Americans were in court for the opening session..... MORE
SourceRT.com

URL: http://rt.com/news/egytp-ngo-trial-us-237/

Pumping arms: Pentagon’s bigger stick to beat Iran

Pumping arms: Pentagon’s bigger stick to beat Iran


Pentagon wants $100 million extra to be prepared for a war with Iran. The money, requested from the Congress, is to beef up US military presence in the Persian Gulf and rapidly upgrade weapons to more effectively combat Iranian armed forces.

US Central Command, which oversees American forces in the Gulf region, wants them prepared to defeat the Iranian fleet and shore artillery. They also want additional drone capabilities and mine swiping equipment to clear the Strait of Hormuz, should Iran act to set mines there as it threatened to, reports The Wall Street Journal..... MORE

SourceRT.com

URL: http://rt.com/news/pentagon-upgrade-persian-gulf-201/

Hepatitis C kills more in US than HIV

Hepatitis C kills more in US than HIV


Studies show that deaths from hepatitis C (HCV) infection among US adults outnumber AIDS fatalities. And while greedy pharmaceutical giants advertise new drugs that cost a fortune, Oxford dons claim success in developing anti-HCV vaccine.

­Hepatitis C virus, or HCV, causes serious liver infection which can eventually lead to fatal liver scarring (cirrhosis) and liver cancer. It usually passes with infected blood, and therefore, most people contract the disease in medical facilities through improperly sterilized medical instruments or while injecting drugs with shared needles..... MORE

SourceRT.com

URL: http://rt.com/news/hepatitis-treatment-hiv-vaccine-231/

Clear and imminent danger VIEWPOINTS Archbishop Oscar V. Cruz 02/26/2012

Clear and imminent danger

VIEWPOINTS
Archbishop Oscar V. Cruz
02/26/2012
\"Danger” means the reality of a threat or a hazard, a pending disaster or something ominous and sinister. The danger is said to be “clear” when it is already distinct and felt, when it is somehow now simply expected but probably even in fact experienced. Ultimately, the same danger is qualified as “imminent” when it is perceived as probably forthcoming and wherefore already impending. Though sad to take note of and think about, it is however good to face the truth that there is a clear and imminent danger poised against the People of the Philippines — taking into realistic account the composite significance and implications of but the three following signal political plus economic plus social fast building up liabilities in the country.

First and foremost, there is the gradually most noticeable propensity — akin to an obsession — of the present administration to continuously flex its muscles in demonstration of its defining resolve to acquire progressively more power and the pursuant exercise of gradually greater influence in the exercise of governance. The key sign of this fearful phenomenon is the now ongoing impeachment process precisely lodged by Malacañang. In other words, the Commander-in-Chief is manifestly flexing his muscles not only in making the Legislative function according to plan but also to eventually run the Judiciary as well. This is why there are already some people who go to the extent of saying that there are already signs of a “dictatorial” behavioral pattern on the part of the Chief Executive..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20120226com6.html

Religious mutiny TABLETS OF STONE Larry Faraon, OP 02/26/2012

Religious mutiny

TABLETS OF STONE
Larry Faraon, OP
02/26/2012
The late Ferdinand Marcos was booted out of power by a military coup d’etat. President Joseph Estrada was illegally overthrown by a combined elitist force of businessmen and the so called civil society and some elements of the Church.

If guesses could be rated accurate then some guesswork could rank in higher percentages than the others. Well, rank this wild guess: That the present resident of Malacañang and his cohorts would have to go by way of a “religious mutiny.” All “guesses” are pointing to one direction on the scheduled “bible exposition” of the Iglesia ni Cristo (INC) on Tuesday at the Quirino Grandstand, where some two million religious warm bodies would possibly crowd to the tills the 50 hectare Rizal Park.

There are many religious groups who have claimed millions of members littering every square kilometer of Manila’s prime park, but were short in estimates. However, INC is known to deliver well on its promise, especially in mobilizing its members. They have the crowd and loyalty on their beck and call. We have witnessed this during the National Day of Prayer of Nov. 12, 2000 during the incumbency of President Estrada where over 1.5 million attended, mostly from the INC, El Shaddai and some other Christian religious groups including Muslims and Buddhists..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20120226com7.html

Thin crowd, drab Noy speech mark Edsa rites By Charlie V. Manalo 02/26/2012

NO CELEBRATION WITH HIGH PRICES, ABSENCE OF CHANGE

Thin crowd, drab Noy speech mark Edsa rites

By Charlie V. Manalo 02/26/2012

A sparse crowd, failed promises and President Aquino’s uninspiring speech stood out yesterday in the 26th anniversary of the People Power revolt of 1986 where Aquino spoke more of his crusade to oust Chief Justice Renato Corona than what he intended to accomplish in terms of improving the Filipinos’ lives.

Amid the unabated oil price hike, power rate increases along with the prices of other basic commodities and the rising unemployment, nothing is there to celebrate in the 26th Anniversary of the first Edsa People Power, a militant solon said yesterday.

“Nothing is celebratory about the 26th Edsa People Power anniversary. Nothing is celebratory about incessant oil price hike, power rate hike and increases in the price of basic good and commodities, and lack of basic social services for the marginalized Filipinos,” Gabriela Rep. Emmi de Jesus said..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20120226hed1.html

Pinoys warned vs working illegally in Egypt 02/26/2012

Pinoys warned vs working illegally in Egypt

02/26/2012
The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) has reminded Filipinos who are seeking employment in Egypt to obtain a working visa/permit prior to departure for that country.

“The public is advised not to believe recruiters who are offering tourist visas which could allegedly be converted to a work permit upon arrival in Egypt. Irregular workers, or those who do not have proper documents, do not have the same rights as regular ones and could become victims of abuse or unlawful practices. Penalties can also be imposed by the Egyptian government on all violators,” the DFA said.

It added the public is encouraged to apply through agencies accredited by the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) and to abide by all the rules and regulations of both the Philippines and the host country..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20120226hed5.html

Flash floods destroy two houses, displace 93 families 02/26/2012

Flash floods destroy two houses, displace 93 families

02/26/2012
Two houses were destroyed and displaced 93 families by flash floods brought about by low pressure area (LPA) in Lanao del Norte province on Feb. 15, said Lyndon Calica, Lanao del Norte provincial government public information office chief.

Calica said the destroyed houses were located in Barangay Kawit Occidental, Kauswagan town. Another 11 houses also were damaged by the flash floods which hit seven barangays of Kauswagan, he added.

Affected barangays were Libertad, Tacub, Kawit Oriental, Tugar, Bagumbayan and parts of Poblacion..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/nation/20120226nat4.html

Hapinoy, Xavier University light up Cagayan de Oro village with solar energy 02/26/2012

Hapinoy, Xavier University light up Cagayan de Oro village with solar energy

02/26/2012
The Hapinoy program has launched another community-oriented project in partnership with Xavier University of Cagayan de Oro City that benefited more than 500 families in the Xavier Ecoville village in the city who were among the victims of tropical storm “Sendong.” The project involved the distribution of eco-friendly solar lamps that lighted up the streets in the community.

Ecoville is a resettlement project for victims of Sendong which killed over a thousand people and destroyed billions of pesos worth of crops and property.

The lamps were provided by the Center for Agriculture and Rural Development-Business Development Services (CARD-BDS) and are powered by charging the lamp batteries with solar energy during the day..... MORE
SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/nation/20120226nat6.html

‘Bistek’ warns owners of industries, comm’l firms vs violating clean water law 02/26/2012

‘Bistek’ warns owners of industries, comm’l firms vs violating clean water law

02/26/2012
The Quezon City government has vowed to impose stronger punitive actions on owners of industries and commercial establishments whose business operations are potential sources of water pollution.

This was declared by Mayor Herbert “Bistek” Bautista as he emerged from a conference hosted by the city’s Environmental Protection and Waste Management Department (EPWMD) held at the Philippine Social Science Center on Proper Wastewater Disposal for a Healthy Business Environment.

He called on the business sector in the city to comply with the provisions of Republic Act 9275 or the Clean Water Act, particularly the requirement that establishment owners must install waste treatment facilities..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/metro/20120226met3.html

Fires hit Tondo, Navotas City; 10-year-old boy dies, 20 hurt By Pat C. Santos and Arlie Calalo 02/26/2012

Fires hit Tondo, Navotas City; 10-year-old boy dies, 20 hurt

By Pat C. Santos and Arlie Calalo 02/26/2012
A 10-year-old boy died while 20 others were injured in fires that hit Tondo, Manila and Navotas City yesterday.

Fire authorities identified the boy who perished in the Tondo fire as John Stephen Lesigue whose body was found inside a comfort room and the injured as John Kennedy, John’s twin brother, and his elder brother Fredlyn, 12, who both sustained serious injuries during the incident.

Investigation showed the fire started at 4 a.m. from a residential house on Herbosa Street in Tondo..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/metro/20120226met1.html

Computing the oligarchy’s plunder DIE HARD III Herman Tiu Laurel

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Computing the oligarchy’s plunder

DIE HARD III
Herman Tiu Laurel

As I continued my pencil pushing on the power plunder that has raged on for over 10 years — now with a particularly renewed ferocity in Mindanao, I realize that the P80,000 per electricity consumer I computed in my last column speaks only half the story.

The Power Sector Assets and Liabilities Management (Psalm) Corp. debt today stands at $18 billion (P800 billion), despite 10 years of privatizing National Power Corp. (Napocor) assets by almost 90 percent. As it is, authorities are now in a quandary as to how to charge this to us consumers without blowing the lid on the swindle of the century. Their latest attempt, therefore, is to charge 20 percent of this to government, which, of course, means the taxpayers. As for the rest, well, the shysters at Psalm are still working with Congress on passing this on to consumers via a so-called Universal Charge. In short, they will try to make 10 million electricity customers pay for all this by hook or by crook. But that’s not all.

The other half of the story involves the oligarchs who got these $18 billion worth of Napocor assets that we as taxpayers and power consumers paid for since the state power company was established by government in 1936.

What Filipino power consumers have really been plundered of is not only P80,000 per paying customer and, to a lesser extent, per individual taxpayer (as even the consumption of candies, diapers etc. have VAT included). Because we are being made to pay for P80,000 through the various surreptitious means that Psalm is devising with the corrupt bureaucracy, including Malacañang, the Upper and Lower Houses of Congress, the Energy Regulatory Commission, and the Judiciary, the oligarchs on the other hand are already enjoying cash flow benefits and profits from collections on power generating assets they have taken over.

Since the private conglomerates now “owning” our erstwhile public assets took them over on credit, based on sovereign guarantees and guaranteed payments from consumers, we are also actually paying for those assets now in list of acquisitions. This is a classic lagaring Hapon on us as each consumer is actually going to pay double the amount at P180,000!

Some of these asset transfers — such as the national transmission grid that used to be under the National Transmission Corp. but now in the hands of the private National Grid Corp. of the Philippines, which was supposed to have brought in $4 billion for Psalm and the government — have not been paid since their turnover in January 2009.

In fact, we, the taxpayers, have had to foot the bill for Psalm’s operations to the tune of P75 billion to P85 billion each year since the state agency has had to borrow for its operational funds, with the approval of Congress.

You see, we are being cooked in our own fat while the oligarchs are fattening themselves, also on our monthly payments.

And while we are computing and discovering the mounting sums which the oligarchs and their corrupt political agents in government are plundering from the nation’s electricity consumers and taxpayers, Mindanaoans are at present beginning to feel the full force of the power swindle in their area.

“Power curtailment” of four to eight-hour brownouts regularly hit parts of Mindanao today. I have been receiving reports from our colleagues there, particularly Mr. Jojo Borja, early this week that Mindanaoans are now up in arms over the situation since the rains have not stopped and the hydro-electric plants that include the vast Agus-Pulangui complex should already be supplying enough power.

At the same time, Mindanaoans are well aware that there are four emergency power barges with Napocor that can immediately be deployed to supply emergency power there. Yet, the Department of Energy and Psalm refuse to do so, as both await the privatization of these barges by March.

Confirming Borja’s report was the appeal aired last Sunday by the Mindanao business community and the island’s 33 electric cooperatives (led by the Association of Mindanao Rural Electric Cooperatives) to look into the region’s power crisis. They say that it is not only due to the reduced capacity of the hydro-electric plants which have not been maintained properly but also because of the “derating” or control of other power plants in Mindanao.

The two power barges privatized to the Aboitizes in 2009 are not generating power because the electric cooperatives cannot buy from them through NGCP as the grid’s power rates are not affordable to Mindanao consumers. The ECs, thus, bear the brunt of power consumers’ anger when they pass on the generation charge from Therma Marine Corp., also of the Aboitiz Group.

Meanwhile, Malacañang, the Senate, and the House merely display their grandstanding antics in the Corona impeachment hearings.

When Pampanga Rep. Aurelio Gonzales Jr. came out with a bill against what he calls the negative typecasting of Philippine solons as crooks, I remembered asking: What was the vote of his fellow congressmen on the Electric Power Industry Reform Act? Weren’t they reported to have each received a P500,000-payola for the onerous law’s approval, as exposed by Rep. Rene Magtubo in 2001? How about the P10-million National Electrification Administration projects per congressman ordered released by Gloria Arroyo to those who voted favorably for the measure?

Another one of Gonzales’ harebrained colleagues, sadly, seconded him, saying there are many “crabs” among the public dragging the reputation of congressmen down out of envy. These legislators should instead look at themselves and see that they are the ones dragging the entire country down with their constant scrambling for huge scraps of pork and other large morsels from the national budget for themselves. We challenge these whining solons to a face-to-face debate anytime, anywhere on who the crabs really are — the public or their ilk — so that they can be put in their proper places.

(Tune in to 1098AM, dwAD, Sulo ng Pilipino/Radyo OpinYon, Monday to Friday, 5 to 6 p.m.; watch Destiny Cable GNN’s HTL edition of Talk News TV, Saturdays, 8:15 to 9 p.m., with replay at 11:15 p.m., on “Hocus PCOS: New proof of cheating?;” visit http://newkatipunero.blogspot.com for our articles plus TV and radio archives)

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


SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20120224com6.html

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