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The Daily Tribune

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Mindanao power crisis ploy to justify coal plants – environmental groups

Saturday, March 31, 2012

Mindanao power crisis ploy to justify coal plants – environmental groups

“This is all artificial.” – Dr. Jean Lindo, Kalikasan Party, No to Coal-Davao

Manila – Environmental groups based in Mindanao slammed the recent blackouts in Mindanao as “deliberate acts” and are “part of a ploy of power distributors and the Aquino administration to justify the construction of more coal-fired power plants and other extractive energy projects such as Pulangi V Mega Dam.”
Dr. Jean Lindo, No to Coal– Davao convener and member of the newly-formed Kalikasan Party said the black outs in Mindanao are not real indicators of a power crisis.

“Power distributors can deliberately cause power black outs to happen by manipulating the power supply. This is not new. Every time these firms and investors want to build more coal-fired plants and dams, they mess around with the power supply and cry out that there’s a power crisis or an shortage in supply. This is all artificial,” he said.

Lindo said to verify the statement of Department of Energy (DoE) Secretary Jose Almendras that Mindanao needed 500MW of non-hydro power resources, “an independent ENERGY AUDIT is needed to disclose the genuine power situation of Mindanao.”

Various legislators and local government officials including Bayan Muna Rep. Teddy Casino and the two lawmakers of Gabriela Women’s Party Luz Ilagan and Emmi De Jesus have said that Congress should look deeper into the real causes of Mindanao brownouts before even considering giving President Benigno Aquino III special powers. Casiño said that “‘Old, worn out solutions won’t do to solve the Mindanao power crisis.”

“Pres. Benigno Aquino III proposed emergency powers are aimed at allowing him to enter into new contracts with the independent power producers (IPPs) without going through public bidding and the usual procurement processes. This is basically a rehash of the Ramos-era solution to the power crisis, which is to pass the ball to the private sector via onerous, oppressive, sweetheart contracts,” Casino said..... MORE


URL: http://bulatlat.com/main/2012/03/29/mindanao-power-crisis-ploy-to-justify-coal-plants-environmental-groups/

Hot air FRONTLINE Ninez Cacho-Olivares 03/31/2012

 Hot air

Ninez Cacho-Olivares
From the way they have been talking, prosecutors, who have already rested their case last month continue to try and “frighten” the Coronas and their defense team by constantly claiming they will be introducing “rebuttal” witnesses and open up the Basa Guidote Enterprises funds, as well as question the California property in the name of Chief Justice (CJ) Renato Corona’s daughter.

One question: Why do they keep on threatening to rebut all these, and introduce new evidence? Why don’t they just do it?

Perhaps because the prosecution knows it can’t, unless of course the defense comes up with testimonial evidence or documentary evidence on these two specific issues. The prosecution, in case it has forgotten, has rested its case, and merely held open the issue of the dollar accounts of the CJ — in the event the Supreme Court lifts its temporary restraining order on the PSBank’s petition on the same TRO.

As the prosecution, through its spokesman, Rep. Miro Quimbo, said, the Senate should accept all additional evidence against the Chief Justice to avoid public discussion of issues outside the impeachment court.
In the first place, there is a gag order of sorts from the Senate impeachment court on both the defense and the prosecution in airing issues outside of the courtroom, yet there went Quimbo, saying additional evidence should be allowed..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20120331com2.html

US and Saudis step-up regime change rhetoric in Syria (w/ Video)

US and Saudis step-up regime change rhetoric in Syria

US secretary of State Hilary Clinton was in Saudi Arabia to discuss the hitherto unresolved conflict in Syria. The long-term allies both advocate the removal of President Assad and seek a united strategy ahead of Sunday’s ‘Friends of Syria’ summit.

The US wants to unify the rebels and lobby for humanitarian aid, but Saudi Arabia’s more aggressive stance calls for military action.

Clinton met with King Abdullah and a number of other high-ranking Saudi officials behind closed doors on Friday with a view to “stopping the bloodbath in Syria”..... MORE


URL: http://rt.com/news/clinton-syria-riyadh-intervention-910/

NDAA in court over indefinite detention of Americans

NDAA in court over indefinite detention of Americans

After much debate on a new law signed by President Barack Obama, House Republicans are throwing around the idea of reviewing the National Defense Authorization Act after the law was challenged in court.

Seven witnesses appeared in front of US District Judge Katherine Forrest in New York on Thursday. Among the seven individuals,a Pulitzer-prize winning journalist Chris Hedges was responsible for filing the lawsuit believes the “indefinite detention” portion of the law could result in his imprisonment at Guantanamo Bay for merely doing his job.

Hedges a repeated guest on RT is an author, columnist for TruthDig.Com and a Middle-East expert, expressed in Federal court that the NDAA would have an effect on journalists and activists worldwide..... MORE


URL: http://rt.com/usa/news/obama-law-detention-military-883/

Benguet lass, friend, victims of rape by Army officer, fail to join graduation rites

 Benguet lass, friend, victims of rape by Army officer, fail to join graduation rites

The Army captain enticed the young, poor teenage girls with gifts and trips, until he had his way and the girls’ future were forever shattered.
BAGUIO CITY — A girl in a remote village high school in Mankayan, will not be able to attend her graduation rites.

“Isabel,” not her real name, 16, could have been in the graduating class of a Mankayan village high school because she had high grades in all subjects. She failed to take the final examinations in the last grading period because she lost her composure after she disappeared for four days in February.

Since then she has not been in a normal state of mind. She was pronounced as severely depressed by a doctor. The depression resulted in temporary amnesia, said the Innabuyog-Gabriela, a women’s organization in the Cordillera who is documenting cases of violations of women’s rights.

Isabel’s medico-legal certificate disclosed complete hymenal laceration, periannal laceration, which suggest that not just one person had raped her. The hospital that examined her also found that she has fungal infection.

Like Isabel, “Katrina,” her friend, might also have fallen victim to statutory rape, before the Christmas break last year, when she went on a sleep-over but returned home three days later.

Born of poor peasants in the mining town of Mankayan, in Benguet, Isabel, the second of five siblings, is among a group of village teenagers considered as vulnerable to becoming victims of sexual abuse.

“They are young, innocent, and they come from poor families who do not see money flowing to the family coffers,” said Mila Lingbawan, Innabuyog secretary-general, in a press conference on March 28.

What is appalling to Innabuyog is that their common “boyfriend” is a military officer, Captain Danilo Lalin of the Highlander 86 of the 50th Infantry Battalion, now patrolling the environs of Mankayan, Benguet.

It turned out that the military captain had enticed both girls to go out with him by giving the girls gifts such as money, cellphones and trips to Ifugao and elsewhere, as evidenced by photographs of the girls in Ifugao and tickets to tourist destinations.

Some likely evidences of sexual relationship with the captain include the contraceptive pills discovered among the personal belongings of the girls just after they revealed what happened.

From being “textmates,” they finally “eye-balled” (or personally meet) in December when the guy revealed his real identity and eventually invited ‘Katrina’ to a military Christmas party in Tinoc, Ifugao.

Cases of soldiers raping, deceiving girls

“This is not the first case of a military man raping innocent young community girls in the Cordillera,” said Lingbawan.

Jude Baggo of the Cordillera Human Rights Alliance (CHRA) said his group has documented cases of rape involving the military. He cited the case of a 14-year old girl in Abra who was allegedly gang-raped by two to three soldiers in 1999. He said, in Mankayan, Isabel’s case is not the first..... MORE


URL: http://bulatlat.com/main/2012/03/29/benguet-lass-friend-victims-of-rape-by-army-officer-fail-to-join-graduation-rites/

Hire unemployed nurses in public hospitals -GWP

Hire unemployed nurses in public hospitals -GWP

Manila – A lawmaker and a labor center are protesting against the Department of Labor and Employment’s (DOLE) call to licensed nurses, nursing graduates, and other jobseekers with healthcare backgrounds to consider the array of non-clinical, yet, medical-related job opportunities as alternate careers in the healthcare industry. DOLE secretary Rosalinda Baldoz said nurses who are having difficulty finding employment should consider applying at business process outsourcing (BPO) companies or the so-called call-centers.

“After failing to find jobs for nurses abroad, the government now wants them to work as call center agents. From nursing volunteers to domestic helpers to call center agents, what’s next for Filipino nurses? This clearly shows the government’s lack of a comprehensive employment plan for graduates,” said Gabriela Women’s Party Rep. Emmi De Jesus.

Earlier, the DOLE cited a report of the Bureau of Local Employment (BLE) stating that the knowledge process oustourcing sector as one of the fast-growing sectors and that it has “fast-growing and innovative trends and advancements in the healthcare industry.” The BLE said that jobless nurses should go out-of-the-box, beyond the traditional clinical jobs, and explore other emerging medical and health-related careers.
“With the growth trend in the healthcare information management outsourcing industry, healthcare careers now expand into various disciplines which opens huge career opportunities for nursing graduates and allied medical professionals,” Baldoz said.

The Career Guides posted at the BLE website at cites healthcare knowledge process outsourcing careers, such as clinical research associates and clinical appeals specialists.

Citing the BLE Career Guides, Baldoz also said healthcare outsourcing jobs pay P14,000 ($325) to P18,000 ($418), while clinical appeals specialists employed in the BPO industry receive a basic pay of P20,000 ($ 465) to P40,000 ($930).

“The salary in these alternate medical careers is double the average monthly salary of P10,000 ($233) received by nurses working in hospitals and private institutions.” Baldoz said.

“Beyond the higher pay, considering these medical-related careers as employment alternatives is a ‘win-win’ solution for jobseekers in the healthcare industry. These jobs, alongside with constant re-tooling and re-training, add to their educational expertise which will increase and broaden their competencies as they venture to their dream medical profession in the future,” Baldoz said..... MORE


URL: http://bulatlat.com/main/2012/03/21/hire-unemployed-nurses-in-public-hospitals-gwp/

Noy scored by Rights group on broken campaign promises By Michaela P. del Callar 03/31/2012


Noy scored by Rights group on broken campaign promises

By Michaela P. del Callar 03/31/2012

He promised to dismantle the paramilitary forces being used by politicians as their private armies during his presidential campaign, but like all other campaign pledges, President Aquino again failed to deliver and has been slammed for it.

A prominent human rights watchdog yesterday admonished Aquino for backtracking on a campaign promise to dismantle paramilitary forces being used as private armies by politicians and blamed for the continuing election violence in the country.

New York-based Human Rights Watch (HRW) called on Aquino to live up to his commitment and ban paramilitaries or government-armed civilians in the Philippines “because of their long and continuing history of serious human rights violations.”.... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20120331hea1.html

Get ready to pay more for power, Palace tells Mindanaons By Rocky Nazareno 03/31/2012

Get ready to pay more for power, Palace tells Mindanaons

By Rocky Nazareno 03/31/2012

After years of enjoying subsidized power from the government, Mindanaons will now have to shoulder higher power costs due to the sudden need to construct new power plants or bring in additional power barges.

This was disclosed by presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda yesterday amid reports that the Energy Regulation Commission (ERC) has already allowed the state-run National Power Corp. (Napocor) to increase its generation charges in Luzon, the Visayas and, worse, in Mindanao which is already reeling from widespread brownouts.

“Mindanao enjoys the lowest energy power rates because of its hydro and, in fact, that’s the reason even when the Epira (Electric Power Industry Reform Act) was enacted, they exempted Mindanao from privatization,” Lacierda told a press briefing..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20120331hea3.html

Special school launched to preserve Ifugao culture By Ted Boehnert 03/31/2012

Special school launched to preserve Ifugao culture

By Ted Boehnert 03/31/2012

The Department of Education (DepEd) has launched an Ifugao Indigenous School to assist in preserving their culture.

DepEd Secretary Armin Luistro, who was in Banaue town last March 27, inaugurated the school, dubbed the Special Secondary School for the Conservation of the Ifugao Rice Terraces, during the graduation of a national high school in Banaue where he served as commencement speaker.

Luistro said the school will be piloted within the premises of the Gohang National High School, making the announcement during its 18th commencement exercises..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/nation/20120331nat4.html

Military takes no chances with ‘media-hungry’ terrorists By Mario J. Mallari 03/31/2012

Military takes no chances with ‘media-hungry’ terrorists

By Mario J. Mallari 03/31/2012

The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) has intensified security operations nationwide, particularly in places of worship, transport terminals and tourist spots, citing their assessment that terrorist groups, like the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) and the New People’s Army (NPA), may stage attacks during Holy Week.

At a press briefing, Brig. Gen. Roberto Almadin, co-chairman of the AFP-Philippine National Police Joint Peace and Security Coordinating Council (JPSCC), announced that all unified commands of the AFP have been directed to coordinate with the PNP, the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) and other government security agencies.

“As per our initial assessment, gatherings of people in churches, cathedrals and other places of religious interest and tourist spots may be taken advantage of by terror groups to conduct attacks to sow chaos, disorder and gain media mileage,” Almadin said..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/nation/20120331nat1.html

Group calls oil, power firms traitors, Noy Pontius Pilate By Pat C. Santos 03/31/2012

Group calls oil, power firms traitors, Noy Pontius Pilate

By Pat C. Santos 03/31/2012

An urban poor group yesterday condemned the recent approval by the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) of additional charges by power consumers of state-run National Power Corp. (Napocor) and Lopez-owned Meralco days before the Holy Week.

In a statement, Gloria Arellano, Kadamay national secretary-general, said “the Aquino administration preferred the right timing for the power rate hike announcement as the consumers head into holiday mode.”

But she warned the ERC as well as Meralco and Napocor that their collusion against ordinary consumers will be faced by the same fury and disgust that haunted the oil firms recently..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/metro/20120331met1.html

Ayala Ave. closed to traffic for Earth Hour 03/31/2012

Ayala Ave. closed to traffic for Earth Hour

Traffic will be rerouted at the Makati Central Business District starting at 6 p.m. today, March 31, to make way for the Celebration of Earth Hour, the ceremonial switching off of lights, to be held at the Ayala Triangle Gardens and Tower One and Exchange Plaza.

The event will start with an Earth-themed parade of participants, including Bailles de Luces, Lancer Band, Caracol Participants, Makati Representatives, Pascual Laboratories and Informatix contingents, Bus/Ejeep Groups, and Makati School and Barangay Contingents. The parade will start in front of Makati Central Fire Station on Ayala Extension and end at Tower One.

Ayala Property Management Corp. Traffic Consultant Estela Lomat said as the parade head marshals approach the intersection of Paseo de Roxas, westbound lanes of Ayala Avenue from Makati Avenue to Paseo de Roxas will be closed to traffic until the tail end gets inside the TOEP driveway at around 7 p.m..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/metro/20120331met3.html

Serge’s Epira contradictions DIE HARD III Herman Tiu Laurel 03/30/2012

Friday, March 30, 2012

Serge’s Epira contradictions

Herman Tiu Laurel
The electricity spaghetti hit the ceiling fan last week, and the stench of the power oligarchs reeks all over the place. Now it’s not just electricity consumers charging the oligarchs and their captive government officials with conspiracy; local officials, such as North Cotabato Gov. Emilou Taliño-Mendoza and General Santos City Mayor Darlene Antonino-Custodio, are saying that the Mindanao power crisis is “intentional.” Even Sen. Koko Pimentel openly agrees with Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA) Chairman Lualhati Antonino’s assertion that the “artificial shortage” is the National Grid Corp. of the Philippines’ (NGCP) means to “have the Agus-Pulangi Power Plant privatized.”

The NGCP is by no means the main culprit. It goes way up to the oligarchy and the international corporatist mafia behind it. We must remember that the NGCP Frankenstein was sewn together by Fidel Ramos’ Monte Oro Corp., with the Carlyle Group catalyzing the entry of the State Grid Corp. of China, together with the Sy Group, to become the NGCP.

Monstrous as it became, the NGCP Frankenstein is but the son. The mother Frankenstein is the Electric Power Industry Reform Act (Epira), which, in its time, was sewn together by the International Monetary Fund (IMF), World Bank (WB), Asian Development Bank (ADB), the illegal Gloria Arroyo regime, the oligarchs and their Yellow “civil society,” together with the corrupt 12th Congress of Edsa II. They managed to use the thread of the ADB’s $900-million power sector loan and the IMF-WB’s $300-million rehabilitation loan release as conditions for the enactment of the Epira into law.

The local power oligarchs were also alleged to have contributed to a payola of P500,000 for every member of Congress under Speaker Sonny Belmonte, which emoluments were further spruced up by Gloria’s P10-million per congressman “O, Ilaw” project. And, like the current railroaded Corona “Articles of Impeachment,” it is doubtful that even half-a-dozen of the representatives or senators who signed the Epira even read it.

As for media, the oligarch-controlled “presstitute” (press-prostitute) merely suppressed the truth. Only a few, like this columnist and the Freedom from Debt Coalition (FDC), campaigned in the streets against it.
The argument for Epira was that the monopoly enjoyed by the government’s National Power Corp. (Napocor) was too big to be efficient and had to be broken up into smaller units. Fast forward to today and the chairman of the Senate energy committee, Serge Osmeña, himself a champion of the Epira, now argues for the expansion of the split-up units.

In his defense of Department of Energy (DoE) Secretary Rene Almendras’ disastrous handling of the Mindanao power crisis, Osmeña claims the Energy chief “is aware of economies of scale and that electricity would be cheaper for everyone if distributed over a bigger transmission grid than a smaller one…”
The shift in tone is obviously because much of the elite — a class to which Osmeña belongs — have already formed an oligopoly in the sector and are using their clout to blackmail the entire nation into swallowing the “highest power cost in Asia.”

Osmeña says, “The national reform policy on electricity… was to harness the finances and management talents of the private sector in ensuring that the country would be supplied in a timely manner with dependable, quality and reasonably priced power…” Really?

Independent power producers (IPP) are private utility companies established on the basis of state “sovereign guarantees” and/or securitization of captive consumers’ aggregate payments in a contract period. Here, securitization comes in “the form of financial instruments used to obtain funds from… investors… backed by amortizing cash flows.” These cash flows, in turn, are derived from the pockets of millions of electricity consumers.

Historically, securitization was done by the Republic of the Philippines to launch the Napocor; and as government did not shell out any money, only acting as an intermediary of the funds from power consumers, we can say that the power sector was never (repeat, NEVER) subsidized.

When the state’s power assets were still under Napocor control, the price of electricity in the Philippines was not only competitive but one of the lowest in Asia. Today, after Epira, power costs in this country have shot up way into the stratosphere.

In the case of Mindanao, we now see the IPPs blackmailing consumers, the way the privatized Aboitiz Group Power Barges 117 and 118 and the now Lopez-run Mt. Apo Geothermal are being used to force Mindanaoans into accepting 20-year, exorbitantly priced contracts, or else continue being denied much-needed electricity.

But wait. Isn’t price a reflection of these privateers’ much-vaunted “efficiency?” If so, aren’t they and other utilities like the Manila Electric Co. (Meralco) guilty of doing their jobs at a very high cost to the nation and, in fact, destroying its entire economy?

Therefore, given that these oligarchs are only “efficient” from the point of view of profit extraction, totally missing the mark of providing efficient and reliable electricity at the least cost to consumers, why should we accept any of this, in view of the fact that things have gone from bad to worse despite 90 percent of the power sector being privatized?

As if to further cover up the litany of lies that is the Epira, Osmeña raises another point, saying that “Napocor was bankrupt and that even if it sold all of its assets, it still could not cover its liabilities.”

Napocor was a very healthy and viable public corporation before Corazon Aquino, her Yellow gang, and her oligarch-patrons took over the reins of the Philippine Republic. They abolished the Ministry of Energy and placed its functions under the Office of the President to ensure an efficient dismantling of the nation’s energy development program. They established almost a dozen IPPs and cancelled half a dozen major energy projects (including the Bataan Nuclear Power Plant). All these led to a “Dark Age” under a Cory-appointed oligarch as Napocor head. What followed during the Ramos era were 43 more plundering IPP contracts that were to be the most massive bloodletting of Napocor’s resources to this day — via the $18-billion so-called stranded debts that Epira was supposed to have erased but never did. All these have transpired while the oligarchs have not paid $10 billion of what they owe government for these privatized assets.

The current Speaker, Sonny Belmonte, when pressed for a response to the crescendo of complaints from Mindanao lawmakers, said, “We have to investigate (the power crisis) to know what is going on.” Let’s see when the investigation will start and how far it will go (considering who the distribution source of the Epira payola in 2001 really is).

Still, on a slightly positive note, despite the elder Sen. Nene Pimentel’s signing of the Epira, we are hopeful that the younger Pimentel will take up the energy cause in the Upper Chamber this time. My only criticism is that he may have weakened his position when he stated, “If I need to personally beg to Senator Osmeña to hold the inquiry before the Holy Week break, I will have to.”

Why even beg, Koko? Your duty lies with the people and no one else.

(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., after Lent, on “Mindanao power blackmail? Part II;” visit http://newkatipunero.blogspot.com for our articles plus TV and radio archives)

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20120330com6.html

Yellow surveys FRONTLINE Ninez Cacho-Olivares 03/30/2012

Yellow surveys

Ninez Cacho-Olivares
Amazing, really, these pro-Noynoy surveys!

Imagine, there was Social Weather Stations (SWS) survey findings completely following the line of its patron, the Malacaang tenant, with 73 percent of the respondents saying they prefer a guilty verdict for Chief Justice Renato Corona, plus the finding of respondents saying that whether acquitted or convicted, the Chief Justice should resign.

This, despite the finding that 67 percent will accept any verdict given by the Senate impeachment court.

So, if as claimed by SWS, 67 percent of the respondents would accept the Senate courts verdict, why then do they want the CJ to quit if he is acquitted? Does not make any sense, given the fact that if the verdict is acquittal, then it stands to reason that the senator-judges believe him to be innocent of the charges. In turn, if he is deemed not guilty, why then should an innocent man resign from his post?.... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20120330com2.html

Congressional report: Attack on Iran would be a failure

Congressional report: Attack on Iran would be a failure

A new Congressional report affirms that a potential US or Israeli strike on Iran would be useless since the Islamic Republic could recuperate from it within a six month time frame.

The report sparked by Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta’s remarks claiming he “believes” Israel is “likely” to attack in Iran in either April, May or June, says although US and Israel aren’t certain of the precise location of the nuclear sites, the facilities may be spread out in a way that an attack would result in failure.

Bloomberg described the report stating it is “unclear what the ultimate effect of a strike would be on the likelihood of Iran acquiring nuclear weapons.”.... MORE


URL: http://rt.com/usa/news/iran-report-nuclear-israel-785/

Philadelphia student arrested for photographing police

Philadelphia student arrested for photographing police

A student in Philadelphia has been arrested for taking photos of a traffic stop outside his house. That’s despite of the fact that police officers were specifically instructed that people can take pictures of their activity in public.

­Ian Van Kuyk, a Temple University photojournalism student, has been charged with obstruction of justice, resisting arrest and disorderly conduct. All for simply trying to do his course assignment.

Van Kuyk relates the story. He was sitting on the porch stairs of his home when police pulled a vehicle to the side of the street. As he was tasked with a night-photography assignment, Van Kuyk decided to use the moment, grabbed his camera and began shooting photos..... MORE


URL: http://rt.com/usa/news/student-police-arrest-photo-810/

Let there be light NO HOLDS BARRED Armida Siguion-Reyna 03/30/2012

Let there be light

Armida Siguion-Reyna
I don’t know if you’ve noticed how much darker it’s become at nights, out on Edsa, on other national roads, city streets, not to mention the much narrower district eskinitas and kalyehons. Especially so, when it’s raining.

It was while going to Ali Sotto’s birthday party, two years ago, that I had first noticed this. Katipunan Road, on the way to Loyola Grand Villas, still had the Ateneo de Manila and the Miriam College (formerly Maryknoll) on one side, but facing a whole lot of establishments that weren’t there yet when my children were going to school in the area. Pizza parlors and burger joints galore, a botica, more than a couple of banks with ATM machines, pero, wow, ang dilim.
The darkness struck me again, last November, on the way to Vice President Jojo Binay’s affair, at the Coconut Palace. And once more, when I visited Dolphy in his house, almost close to where Binay holds office, about a month ago. And, almost just recently, when I attended former Sen. Ramon Revilla Sr.’s celebration..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20120330com4.html

Blackmail, not blackout CROSSROADS Jonathan De la Cruz 03/30/2012

Blackmail, not blackout

Jonathan De la Cruz
This is the universal cry of all Mindanaoans after the Palace and Energy Secretary Jose Rene Almendras tried to cavalierly downplay the worsening power situation in the country’s second biggest island by suggesting that the same is a result of years of neglect by previous administrations. Of course, Mindanaoans do not buy this argument. They point out that Mindanao never experienced such long, drawn out blackouts before especially during the Marcos years. They even noted that as far back as pre-Edsa I days, the Ministry of Energy then headed by the late Geronimo Velasco had already laid out an energy development plan not only for Mindanao but for the entire country which factored in the kind of problems, i.e., drought, community resistance, high priced oil and coal and the like, which Almendras and company are now trying to use to explain their negligence if not utter insensitivity to the plight of our brothers in Mindanao.

The Velasco power and energy road map, to use a Palace favorite short hand, was handed over to the Cory administration with all the attendant measures and even timeliness for the installation of generating and distribution capacities nationwide. Had the plan been implemented with adjustments for any critical developments, the power situation would not be as highly problematic as it is today. In fact, many experts now claim that had the nuclear power plant been commissioned we would not be in such dire straits as we are today..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20120330com5.html

Aquino, RP execs to defy China’s opposition to Spratlys issue By Michaela P. del Callar and Rocky G. Nazareno 03/30/2012

Aquino, RP execs to defy China’s opposition to Spratlys issue

By Michaela P. del Callar and Rocky G. Nazareno 03/30/2012

President Aquino and other Philippine officials will defy China’s opposition and continue to push the inclusion of Manila’s proposal to prevent South China Sea armed conflicts in a proposed code of conduct during the regional summit next week in Cambodia.

Foreign Affairs Assistant Secretary Teresita Barsana said the Philippine government would want to see key elements of its major foreign policy initiative called the Zone of Peace, Freedom, Friendship and Cooperation (Zopffc), which calls for the segregation of disputed zones from the non-disputed areas, integrated in the legally-binding code amid strong objections from China.

“The Philippines is part of the drafting of the code of conduct and that is where we can incorporate the elements that we want in our proposal,” she told a press briefing in Malacañang..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20120330hea3.html

Robinsons Galleria Ortigas bombed By Gina Peralta-Elorde 03/30/2012


Robinsons Galleria Ortigas bombed

By Gina Peralta-Elorde 03/30/2012
Bombings in provincial malls are no longer the domain of the provinces, with Metro Manila now the target of lawless elements carrying with them grenades.

An upscale mall in Ortigas was bombed, with a security guard killed while six others were reported wounded, once again coming to fore the perception of a serious breakdown of law and order in the metroplitan area in the Philipines.

This occurred when two men — armed with guns and grenade-robbed bank tellers inside the Robinsons Galleria mall along Edsa, in Quezon City yesterday morning.

Reports said that two armed men donned security guard uniforms and followed the roving tellers of Security Bank located inside the mall..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20120330hea1.html

100 families left homeless in Cainta fire By Gina Peralta-Elorde and Jason Faustino 03/30/2012

100 families left homeless in Cainta fire

By Gina Peralta-Elorde and Jason Faustino 03/30/2012

Some 100 families lost their homes as 50 houses caught fire in Cainta, Rizal before dawn yesterday.
Authorities said the blaze in Barangay San Andres started at around 2:30 a.m. It was declared under control by around 4:30 a.m. No one was reported hurt.

The fire, which reached the second alarm, allegedly began at the house of one Joventina Dante. The cause of the fire has yet to be determined.

Several barangay authorities are also looking into the possibility that the houses were intentionally burned by a man who recently earned the ire of his neighbors for his involvement in theft incidents in the area..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/nation/20120330nat4.html

7th most wanted man in Laguna apprehended in La Union 03/30/2012

7th most wanted man in Laguna apprehended in La Union

The seventh most-wanted criminal in Laguna has been arrested in La Union, Police Chief Inspector Santiago Cuntapay, chief of police of the Calauan, Laguna Municipal Police Station (MPS) said, adding that the suspect was arrested at around 8 in the evening of Tuesday.

Police identified the arrested suspect as Isidro Natividad Resaba, married, of legal age and resident of Barangay Paliparan.

The suspect was apprehended by virtue of warrants issued by Judge Fernando Sagun of the Calauan Municipal Trial Court for the crime of attempted homicide and frustrated homicide issued by Judge Romeo de Leon of Branch 35 of the Regional Trial Court..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/nation/20120330nat6.html

BI on alert vs foreigners who may take advantage of Holy Week 03/30/2012

BI on alert vs foreigners who may take advantage of Holy Week

The Bureau of Immigration (BI) was placed on heightened alert to prevent undesirable aliens and human trafficking victims from taking advantage of the long Holy Week break to slip in or out of the country.

Immigration Commissioner Ricardo David Jr. directed immigration officers and immigration intelligence agents stationed in the ports to be extra vigilant and closely monitor all arriving and departing international travelers.

David warned that the long holiday might be exploited by foreign terrorists, drug mules and other undesirable aliens to sneak into the country..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/metro/20120330met3.html

Palace warned of massive nationwide protest, public outrage over unbridled power rate hikes By Charlie V. Manalo 03/30/2012

Palace warned of massive nationwide protest, public outrage over unbridled power rate hikes

By Charlie V. Manalo 03/30/2012

The militant fisherfolk alliance Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya) yesterday warned President Aquino to better stop “noynoying” around as the looming increase in electricity rates this May is inviting the Filipino people to stage a nationwide electrifying protest and express their high voltage outrage if Malacañang and the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) will not recall the power rate hike.

“President Aquino is inviting a major political showdown with the people. Let us see how this insensitive presidency of Mr. Aquino will fare against the collective outrage of consumers across-the-nation,” said Pamalakaya national chairman Fernando Hicap in a statement as he called on the Filipinos through consumer groups, sectoral and multisectoral organizations to flood the ERC, the Department of Energy (DoE), the Senate and the House of Representatives and the Office of the President with protest and condemnation letters denouncing the latest hike in Napocor power rates..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/metro/20120330met1.html

Cyberbullies EDITORIAL 03/29/2012

Thursday, March 29, 2012


Click to enlarge
Social media that local TV and radio rely on and crow about, even making it part of the news have led less in people keeping in touch with friends and acquaintances, but give dangerous rise to cyberbullying in this country, not to mention the rise of irresponsibility of social media users, as well as the TV and radio networks’ journalism, as abusive tweets and Facebook messages are quickly read out during their programs and newscasts or posted in their online news Web site as part of the news.

As defined in Wikipedia, cyberbullying is the use of the Internet and related technologies to harm other people, in a deliberate, repeated and hostile manner.

Another definition of cyberbullying is “when the Internet, cell phones or other devices are used to send or post text or images intended to hurt or embarrass another person.”.... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20120329com1.html

Tension builds up in Hacienda Luisita; 7 arrested

Tension builds up in Hacienda Luisita; 7 arrested

“The Cojuangco-Aquino clan is the mastermind of this brutality as they see the camp-out at barangay Balete as symbol of the farmworkers’ unity in struggling for their rights to the land.” – AMGL

MANILA –For three consecutive days, security guards hired by the Rizal Commercial Banking Corporation (RCBC) have been attempting to put up fences at the 184-hectare land at Balete village in Hacienda Luisita.
The RCBC “acquired” the land on November 24, 2004 as payment for the loan obligations of Luisita Industrial Park Corporation (Lipco).

Since July last year, the farm workers led by the Alyansa ng Manggagawang Bukid sa Asyenda Luisita (Ambala or Alliance of Farmworkers of Hacienda Luisita), have occupied the land and cultivated it for their survival.

For three days, farm workers have been defending their camp, preventing RCBC security guards from putting up fences. At around 3 p.m. today, seven farm workers have been arrested by the local police.

Farm workers of Hacienda Luisita and their supporters march toward the Chino Roces (formerly Mendiola) bridge, March 27, condemning the latest incidents of harassment against farm workers (Photo by Ronalyn V. Olea/ bulatlat.com)
Among those arrested are two village officials of barangay Balete – Winky Esteban and Jay Martinez–Dionisio Mandigma, Manuel Mandigma and Robert Mendoza, according to Alyansa ng Magbubukid sa Gitnang Luson (AMGL), the regional federation of farmers groups where Ambala belongs. They have been charged with malicious mischief and are now detained at the Philippine National Police (PNP)-Tarlac City.

Also arrested were Alfred Martinez, 17 and Meric Trinidad, 16 and were eventually released at around 4 p.m.
AMGL also reported that during the arrest, two policemen pointed their M-16 rifles at farm worker Becky Canlas while two other policemen manhandled Florida Sibayan, leader of the women of Ambala.

“We condemn this latest attack against Hacienda Luisita farmworkers. The Cojuangco-Aquino clan is the mastermind of this brutality as they see the camp-out at barangay Balete as the symbol of the farmworkers’ unity to struggle for their rights to the land,” said Joseph Canlas, AMGL chairman.

Pending petition

Leonor Saroza, Ambala secretary general, told Bulatlat.com that the land being claimed by the RCBC should be part of the thousands of hectares of land to be distributed to them.
On November 23, 2011, the Supreme Court issued a decision ordering the distribution of 4,916 hectares of land to farmworker beneficiaries. In the same decision, however, the high court excluded the land being claimed by the RCBC, stating that the bank was a “buyer in good faith.”

Ambala filed a petition before the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) seeking to revoke the conversion order the agency issued for the 500 hectares of land, including portions being claimed by the RCBC. In their petition, the farmworkers said the HLI did not comply with its obligations mandated under the conversion order. Specifically, it did not pursue the proposed development plan that was contained in the application for conversion and instead disposed of the 500 hectares to other Cojuango-owned companies and to RCBC..... MORE


URL: http://bulatlat.com/main/2012/03/27/tension-builds-up-in-hacienda-luisita-7-arrested/

‘Russia is Public Enemy No. 1’ – Mitt Romney

‘Russia is Public Enemy No. 1’ – Mitt Romney

US presidential candidate Mitt Romney has branded Russia as America’s number one geopolitical enemy. He slammed President Obama’s comments to Russian counterpart Dmitry Medvedev over flexibility concerning US missile defense as alarming and worrying.

"This is without question our number one geopolitical foe; they fight for every cause for the world's worst actors. The idea that he has more flexibility in mind for Russia is very, very troubling indeed," he said

The presidential hopeful cited this case, along with the new START treaty and the decision to reduce missile defense sites in Poland and Alaska, as “unfortunate developments.”.... MORE

URL: http://rt.com/news/romney-russia-enemy-obama-532/

Explosions near Arab Summit venue in Baghdad - reports

Explosions near Arab Summit venue in Baghdad - reports

Several explosions have been reported at the edge of the fortified Green Zone in Baghdad, where an Arab League summit with ten heads of state is taking place. The location apparently was hit by mortar shells of rockets.

The blasts happened minutes after the opening of the summit took place.

Sources say the explosions happened near the Iranian embassy, which is one of the many governmental and diplomatic facilities located in the highly-fortified Green Zone..... MORE


URL: http://rt.com/news/explosion-baghdad-arab-league-summit-756/

Labor rage: Arrests as General Strike locks Spain (PHOTOS, VIDEO)

Labor rage: Arrests as General Strike locks Spain (PHOTOS, VIDEO)

At least 58 people have been arrested and nine injured in Spain, as thousands take part in a general strike and rally against recent labor reforms. Flag-waving protesters fear the decree will undo employers’ hands and thus rob them of their rights.

The 24-hour general strike began before dawn, as well as pickets and sporadic clashes with police. Most of those arrested were detained in the early hours after trying to stop night shift workers getting to their jobs on public transport, in  factories and wholesale markets..... MORE

URL: http://rt.com/news/spain-labor-strike-protest-720/

Liberia journalist in hiding after genital mutilation expose FOCUS 03/29/2012

Liberia journalist in hiding after genital mutilation expose


MONROVIA A Liberian journalist says she has been forced into hiding after lifting the lid on initiation rituals, including genital mutilation, by a secretive womens society.

Mae Azango, a reporter with Liberian daily Front Page Africa, published a story on March 8 in which a woman recounted how when she was a child she was held down and had her clitoris sliced off by members of the Sande Society.

The society is an initiation school where women and girls are sent to be circumcised and groomed to be prepared for marriage, as culture and tradition demand in the west African state, Azango wrote.
Azangos story was illustrated with pictures of initiated teenage girls emerging from the bush..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20120329com5.html

So far, so bad VIEWPOINTS Archbishop Oscar V. Cruz 03/29/2012

So far, so bad

Archbishop Oscar V. Cruz
This is all contrary to the many news items published and regular statistics taken about the sentiments of Filipinos and the plight of their country. This is entirely the contradiction of the loud and repeated claims of the administration and some of its avid and loyal followers. This is exactly the opposite of the often and insistently alleged progressive socio-economic development of the Philippines plus the fast emerging prosperity of the people. This is in the spirit of the dictum “truth knows no party.”

This definitely is the ground reality of where the Philippines is in terms of its financial situation, where the people are in the matter of their temporal welfare, where Philippine society is in its quest for order, justice and peace.
This is specifically in conjunction with the realistic worth and basic competence of the present administration. This is categorically in conjunction what the Chief Executive has done after more than two years of regime. The common and realistic verdict is “So far, so bad.” Why?... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20120329com7.html

Gov’t loses 25-yr-old case vs Bongbong, Imelda, JPE, et. al By Benjamin B. Pulta 03/29/2012

Gov’t loses 25-yr-old case vs Bongbong, Imelda, JPE, et. al

By Benjamin B. Pulta 03/29/2012

A ruling by the Supreme Court (SC) has turned down the government’s appeal in a civil case against an ill-gotten wealth case of the late strongman Ferdinand Marcos and persons close to him.

The case started on July 22, 1987 when the Presidential Commission on Good Government (PCGG) filed a complaint against Jose L. Africa, Manuel H. Nieto Jr., Ferdinand E. Marcos, Imelda R. Marcos, Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr., Juan Ponce Enrile and Potenciano Ilusorio for reconveyance, reversion, accounting, restitution, and damages before the Sandiganbayan involving shares in Eastern Telecommunications Philippines Inc. (ETPI).

In a two-page Resolution dated March 13, 2012 and signed by en banc Clerk of Court Enriqueta Vidal, the court maintained its split 7-7 decision and denied the government’s appeal for lack of merit..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20120329hea2.html

Unrest in Luisita brews anew; five arrested 03/29/2012

Unrest in Luisita brews anew; five arrested

Tension is mounting again in Hacienda Luisita, a sprawling agricultural estate owned by the Cojuangco-Aquino family in Tarlac, following the arrest of five farmworkers for refusing to vacate their camp inside the disputed parcel of land.

According to the Hacienda Luisita Peasants’ Supporters Network (HL PeasNet) secretariat, the arrests are in connection with the case of grave coercion and illegal occupation of property filed before a Tarlac court by the Rizal Commercial Banking Corp. (RCBC) last February.

The warrants of arrest were released by Judge Marvin Mangino, against 23 farmworkers of the hacienda, last Feb. 23..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20120329hea4.html

House panel’s funds for CJ trial run out By Gerry Baldo and Benjamin B. Pulta 03/29/2012


House panel’s funds for CJ trial run out

By Gerry Baldo and Benjamin B. Pulta 03/29/2012

The members of the House of Representatives did not expect the trial of impeached Supreme Court Chief Justice Renato Corona to take longer than expected, with An Waray Rep. Florencio “Bem” Noel saying that the Lower House already has spent over P3.5 million for supplies and food expenses during the past 34 days of the trial.

Noel, chairman of the House committee on accounts, said P1.9 million was spent for the supplies while food expenses reached P1.565 million.

Noel added at least P500,000 is yet to be liquidated since the money was used for the operations of eight teams of prosecutors working on the eight articles of impeachment..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20120329hea1.html

Court martial for AFP-SF senior officers in bungled Basilan ops By Mario J. Mallari 03/29/2012

Court martial for AFP-SF senior officers in bungled Basilan ops

By Mario J. Mallari 03/29/2012

General court martial proceedings were recommended against four senior officers of the Army’s elite Special Forces (SF) in connection with the bungled military operation in Basilan province last year that resulted in the killing of 19 soldiers, including four junior officers.

Army chief Lt. Gen. Emmanuel Bautista said that the pre-trial investigation (PTI), which was conducted at the Army level, has recommended court martial proceedings against four SF officials for approval of Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Jessie Dellosa.

The recommendation in the PTI was court martial... the recommendation was to court martial for probable cause... it was not mentioned when, that depends on the approval of the chief of staff, said Bautista..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/nation/20120329nat1.html

EcoWaste Coalition finds toxic metals in slippers sold in marts, stores By Jason Faustino 03/29/2012

EcoWaste Coalition finds toxic metals in slippers sold in marts, stores

By Jason Faustino 03/29/2012

A toxics watchdog has uncovered high amounts of heavy metals in what many consider as essential purchases, especially during the summer season: slippers.

Using an X-Ray Fluorescence (XRF) spectrometer, the EcoWaste Coalition screened the slippers for toxic metals and detected lead, antimony, barium and cadmium above levels of concern in 11 out of the 20 samples.

Lead, in particular, is a known brain-damaging poison and kids are among the extremely susceptible because of their fast developing nervous systems.

Health experts have determined no safe level of lead exposure, notably for fetuses and children..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/metro/20120329met4.html

Ecoshield’s septage treatment plant to clean up polluted rivers 03/29/2012

Ecoshield’s septage treatment plant to clean up polluted rivers

Ecoshield Development Corp. (EDC) isn’t just putting up a modern sanitary landfill in Obando town, Bulacan, which has the distinction of being the first one to do it in all of Central Luzon.

The company earlier entered into a partnership with the national government agencies and local government units to set up a septage treatment plant in Meycauayan, Bulacan.

The septage treatment plant will greatly boost efforts to clean up the badly contaminated rivers of Bulacan, namely Marilao, Meycauayan and Obando rivers, which have been named as among the most polluted rivers in the world today..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/nation/20120329nat3.html

Advertising group files criminal raps vs MMDA chief for abuse of authority By Pat C. Santos 03/29/2012

Advertising group files criminal raps vs MMDA chief for abuse of authority

By Pat C. Santos 03/29/2012
An advertising group has filed a criminal case against Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) Chairman Francis Tolentino for grave abuse of authority in violation of an article in the Revised Penal Code.

The Outdoor Media Advocacy Group Inc. (Omag) headed by its executive director Wintrop Baez charged Tolentino violated Article 239 of the Revised Penal Code or usurpation of legislative powers when he entered into an agreement with the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) granting him authority to implement a provision under the National Building Code.

Included in the powers which the MMDA asserted was administering the construction, regulation and maintenance of billboards and other advertising signs where, according to Omag, the agency committed abuses..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/metro/20120329met2.html

‘Motorcycle Lane’ on Edsa dangerous to riders – group By Pat C. Santos 03/29/2012

‘Motorcycle Lane’ on Edsa dangerous to riders – group

By Pat C. Santos 03/29/2012

A big motorcycle association yesterday asked Metropolitan Manila Development Authority Chairman Francis Tolentino to stop implementing the “Motorcycle Lane” on Edsa, saying it poses danger to motorcycle riders.

Members of the association said Tolentino should conduct further study of the motorcycle lane along the 23.8-kilometer stretch of Edsa because of the dangers it posed to the riders.

In a letter dated Feb. 27, 2012 sent to Tolentino, Alfredo Lejano, president of the Motorcycle Development Program Participants Association Inc. (MDPPA), said the group has been very supportive of the government’s programs for the safety and protection of the citizens as far as motorcycling is concerned..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/metro/20120329met1.html

Revolutionary farmers group salutes NPA (w/ Photos)

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Revolutionary farmers group salutes NPA

MANILA – A 15’ x 36’ mural of Gregorio “Ka Roger” Rosal was unveiled at the footbridge nearest to the Chino Roces (formerly Mendiola) bridge by members of the Pambansang Katipunan ng mga Magbubukid (PKM), March 26.

In its statement, the Southern Tagalog chapter of PKM, a revolutionary organization of farmers, said Rosal, the late spokesman of the New People’s Army (NPA), is a hero of the Filipino people. On March 29, the NPA, armed wing of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) will celebrate its 43rd founding anniversary..... MORE


URL: http://bulatlat.com/main/2012/03/26/revolutionary-farmers-group-salutes-npa/

Crisis: The result of his Noynoying EDITORIAL 03/28/2012

Crisis: The result of his Noynoying

Click to enlarge
Noynoy has been in the presidential office just under two years, and even as he had been aware even then of the power problem the nation was facing long before, Noynoy, while admitting there is indeed a power crisis in Mindanao and even in Metro Manila, he still passed the blame of such crisis on the previous administrations, which should include his mother, Cory.

He claims today that his administration will resolve the problem, adding that it will take some two years to fix, boasting too, that he will be pouring in some P2 billion to fix the problem.

That’s peanuts, and something he could have spent to fix up the problem that was already staring him in the face in 2010 and even 2011, but he chose instead to underspend, and make the economic growth drop drastically.

It cannot be denied that as early as 2010, the power problem was already acknowledged, yet Noynoy still did nothing about it, as he was focused on wreaking vengeance on his political foes..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20120328com7.html

Libya’s ‘non state’: Tribal war claims 50 lives

Libya’s ‘non state’: Tribal war claims 50 lives

50 have been killed and dozens injured in Libya as tribal groups are fighting in the country’s south. After the overthrow of Muammar Gaddafi, Libya is left in a condition which some residents call a ‘non state’.

The fighting between rival armed militias, ongoing since Sunday, has spilled into the center of Libya’s third largest city of Sabha on Tuesday. The country’s National Transitional Council initially sent out 300 of its troops to calm the situation but the contingent had to be reinforced two-fold, Reuters said..... MORE

URL: http://rt.com/news/libya-ntc-tribal-wars-621/

Trial of UK protesters: Student beaten half-dead ‘was looking for it’

Trial of UK protesters: Student beaten half-dead ‘was looking for it’

Some 200 people attended a London demonstration to support Alfie Meadows and four others standing trial for their part in December 9, 2010 student protests. Meadows suffered a near-death blow to his head, allegedly falling victim to police brutality.

The demonstrators, who gathered outside Kingston crown court on Monday accuse police officers of leaving Alfie with bleeding on the brain, and say it’s the authorities who should be in the dock.

“I think that’s completely unjust and rather it should be the police that hit Alfie that should be being pursued and charged and not Alfie himself who was a victim of violence on that day. Really it sends a message that the police can essentially do what they like and if you’re a protester, you are fair game,” Hannah Dee, Chair of the Defend the Right to Protest group told RT..... MORE


URL: http://rt.com/news/alfie-meadows-trial-protest-619/

Noy wants power deals signed covering 18 yrs. By Rocky G. Nazareno 03/28/2012

Noy wants power deals signed covering 18 yrs.

By Rocky G. Nazareno 03/28/2012

President Aquino bared yesterday a renewal energy program that sounds like a clone of the energy build up strategy of former President Fidel V. Ramos that resulted in a power glut and along with it came the cost of electricity in the country spiralling which has now become the world’s most expensive.

Aquino said his administration’s renewal energy program had lined up service contracts to fill the projected energy demand until 2030 of 15,500 megawatts (MW) or about $15 billion worth of contracts based on a thumb rule of $1 million per 1 megawatt on the cost of generating electricity.

Amid reports that Congress is mulling to grant him special emergency powers to address the Mindanao power crisis, Aquino said his administration’s energy plan seeks to cover power demands until 2030..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20120328hea3.html

CJ vows to fight Noy’s move to have puppet SC By Benjamin B. Pulta 03/28/2012


CJ vows to fight Noy’s move to have puppet SC

By Benjamin B. Pulta 03/28/2012
The big judicial fight to save the Supreme Court (SC) from being hammered into a rubber stamp high court and be completely controlled by President Aquino continues.

Chief Justice Renato Corona said the public should expect more attacks on the judiciary in a proxy war waged by Malacañang to ensure the creation of an Aquino-controlled high court that will bow to his every whim.

“The judiciary has been at the receiving end of continued and relentless attacks on its independence with only one purpose, and that is to create a compliant and malleable judiciary,” Corona said

The Chief Justice specifically cited media bashing against him as part of the attacks aimed at undermining court independence in a speech before the graduates of the Philippine Law School (PLS) held at the Philippine International Convention Center..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20120328hea1.html

SC clears Lacson, others of martial law tortures 03/28/2012

SC clears Lacson, others of martial law tortures

The Supreme Court (SC) upheld yesterday a 2003 ruling of the Court of Ap-peals (CA) reversing the award for damages against Sen. Panfilo “Ping” Lacson and several others stemming from alleged torture incidents blamed on security officials during the martial law period.

The SC’s Third Di-vision through Associate Justice Jose Mendoza said the CA acted correctly when it reversed the findings of the Quezon City Regional Trial Court (RTC) in 1993 that Lacson, the late Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Chief of Staff Fabian Ver and several others should pay damages to suspected subversives they allegedly arrested and tortured at the height of martial rule under former President Ferdinand Marcos.

The SC said Lacson, Ver with Colonels Fidel Singson; Rolando Abadilla; Gerardo Lantoria and Galileo Kintanar; Maj. Rodolfo Aguinaldo; 1Lt. Pedro Tango and M/Sgt. Bienvenido Balaba were deprived of procedural due process when they were ordered by the Quezon City RTC to pay damages without giving them the chance to give their side..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20120328hea6.html

Poll witnesses: No knowledge of tampering of votes in Maguindanao 03/28/2012

Poll witnesses: No knowledge of tampering of votes in Maguindanao

Commission on Elections (Comelec) lawyers acting as prosecutors in a case of electoral sabotage against former President Gloria Arroyo yesterday were caught with their pants down, as they presented their witnesses who admitted in open court that they had no knowledge of the alleged tampering of votes in Maguindanao.

Defense counsels of the former President questioned the materiality and relevance of the two witnesses presented by the Comelec on her bail and her co-accused in the electoral sabotage case filed by the poll body and the Department of Justice.

The prosecution witnesses testified that they had no knowledge of the tampering of votes in Maguindanao..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20120328hea4.html

DoJ issues lookout order vs Ortega slay suspects By Benjamin B. Pulta 03/28/2012

DoJ issues lookout order vs Ortega slay suspects

By Benjamin B. Pulta 03/28/2012

A “lookout bulletin order” has been issued by the Department of Justice (DoJ) against former Palawan governor Joel Reyes and others accused in the killing of broadcaster Gerry Ortega in Puerto Princesa City.

In a two-page memorandum, DoJ Secretary Leila de Lima has directed the Bureau of Immigration “to be on the lookout on” Reyes, his brother Coron Mayor Mario Reyes Jr., former provincial administrator Romeo Seratubias, close-in aide Arturo Regalado and Valentin Lecias “should any of them pass through immigration counters in any international airport.”

The DoJ chief clarified the LBO would not prevent the accused from leaving the country — unlike a watchlist order or a hold departure order, which she said she could not issue because of the subsisting temporary restraining order from the Supreme Court..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/nation/20120328nat1.html

RP, Vietnam navies strengthen defense cooperation 03/28/2012

RP, Vietnam navies strengthen defense cooperation

The Philippine Navy is eyeing stronger defense cooperation with the Vietnam People’s Navy (VPN), including a proposed joint patrol of common maritime domains in the west of the Philippine territory, following the signing of the first ever memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the neighboring navy.

During a recent official visit to Vietnam, Navy Flag Officer in Command Vice Admiral Alexander Pama discussed with his Vietnamese counterpart Admiral Nguyen Van Hien matters to enhance cooperation between the two navies.

Navy spokesman Lt. Col. Omar Tonsay said that part of the discussions was the active collaboration of the PN and VPN, especially the forging of defense cooperation through the MoU for the enhancement of mutual cooperation and information sharing..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/nation/20120328nat4.html

Solons bewail lack of fire stations in 645 towns By Charlie V. Manalo 03/28/2012

Solons bewail lack of fire stations in 645 towns

By Charlie V. Manalo 03/28/2012

About 645 towns all over the country do not have fire stations while 666 others are using old and dilapidated fire trucks, lawmakers from Mindanao revealed.

This could be the reason why there are around 800 to 900 fire incidents every month as per records of the Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP), Cagayan de Oro Rep. Rufus Rodriguez said.

Rodriguez and Abante Mindanao Rep. Maximo Rodriguez filed House Resolution 2250 asking the House committee on public order and sfety to probe the lack of fire stations in the 645 towns and the use of old and dilapidated fire trucks in 666 others..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/nation/20120328nat6.html

Navotas mayor bares building of 2 more anti-flood pumping stations By Arlie O. Calalo 03/28/2012

Navotas mayor bares building of 2 more anti-flood pumping stations

By Arlie O. Calalo 03/28/2012

Navotas Mayor John Reynald Tiangco yesterday revealed the local government had built two more “Bombastik” pumping stations, bringing to 26 the total number of anti-flood equipment the city has wholly funded.

The latest two pumping stations were set up at a strategic and flood-prone area in Barangay Tanza where residents are usually experiencing flooding even only during high tides, according to the mayor.

City’s public information officer Jayne Banayad told the Tribune the mayor led a simple ceremony that took place recently where he formally opened the two Bombastik pumping stations with Tanza Barangay Chairman Carlito de Guzman, other city and village officials in attendance..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/metro/20120328met4.html

Steel firm questions CA ruling on multimillion-$ issurance case By Benjamin B. Pulta 03/28/2012

Steel firm questions CA ruling on multimillion-$ issurance case

By Benjamin B. Pulta 03/28/2012
Lawyers of a local steel corporation have formally sought the inhibition of three Court of Appeals (CA) magistrates hearing its multi-million-dollar case after the justices allegedly exhibited manifest partiality and negligence in hearing the suit.

The Steel Corp. of the Philippines (SCP), through its legal counsel Nonnatus Chua, formally sought the recusal of Justice Fernanda Lampas Peralta, chairman of the former Fourteenth Division of the CA, together with the two other members of the Division, namely, Justices Priscilla Baltazar-Padilla and Agnes Reyes-Carpio, for “manifest partiality, evident bad faith and gross inexcusable negligence” in deciding the case and promulgating the decision dated Feb. 8, 2012.

The decision by Justice Peralta had declared null and void the order dated June 1, 2011 of the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Balayan, Batangas which had held SCP’s panel of insurers liable to SCP and directed them to pay SCP’s insurance claims in the total amount of $42 million or replace SCP’s damaged equipment..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/metro/20120328met1.html

Church official saddened over cancellation of dialogue with Aquino on human rights

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Church official saddened over cancellation of dialogue with Aquino on human rights

“Somebody needs to speak about the human right situation — the disappearances, the detention of political prisoners, the tortures and the over all lack of legal security Filipinos face. This is a big challenge for the Philippines, and these need to be addressed.”

MANILA — The general secretary of the World Council of Churches Rev. Dr. Olav Fykse Tveit expressed disappointment over President Benigno Aquino III’s seeming lack of interest to discuss issues pertaining to the human rights situation in the Philippines. The WCC is the biggest protestant organization in the world, with a worldwide fellowship of 349 churches representing 560 million Christian members coming from various Christian traditions including the Lutheran, Methodist, Baptists, Reformed churches, Anglicans, Orthodox and Pentecostal Churches. It is considered to be on equal footing with the Roman Catholic religious authorities in the Vatican.

Tveit was in Manila from March 22 to 24 to attend the pre-assembly of the WCC Commission for World Mission and Evangelism (WCC-CWME), which began March 22 and continues until March 27.

(Photo courtesy of World Council of Churches / bulatlat.com)
Tveit was scheduled to meet with Aquino in Malacañang around noon last Friday, but, according to the National Council of Churches of the Philippines (NCCP), which handled Tveit’s schedule, Malacañang suddenly cancelled the meeting when it was told that the church leader was interested in discussing the Philippine human rights situation. The NCCP and its member churches belong to the WCC fellowship.

An issue of legality and morality 

In an interview with Bulatlat.com, Tveit said he could not help but be “disappointed because it would have been a tremendous opportunity for the president and us to talk about matters that are highly important to the Church and the Filipino people.

“There a lot of a people who need the attention of both the Church and the government. Somebody needs to speak about the human right situation — the disappearances, the detention of political prisoners, the tortures and the over all lack of legal security Filipinos face. This is a big challenge for the Philippines, and these need to be addressed. When the well-being of the people suffer, when their human rights are not cared for, then the Church’s fellowship also suffers. Anyone can be a victim of human rights violations,” Tveit said..... MORE


URL: http://bulatlat.com/main/2012/03/26/church-official-saddened-over-cancellation-of-dialogue-with-aquino-on-human-rights/

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