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The Daily Tribune

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Integrity the nation needs DIE HARD III Herman Tiu Laurel 03/16/2012

Friday, March 16, 2012

Integrity the nation needs

Herman Tiu Laurel
Last Monday the nation was witness to a rare display of integrity from a member of Congress. In the eyes of many, Navotas City Rep. Tobias “Toby” Tiangco became a shining example of how an elected official — who swore fealty to the Constitution — should behave in the exercise of his duties.

The Articles of Impeachment against Chief Justice (CJ) Renato Corona were rammed by the leaders of the congressional majority into the faces of their fellow legislators without giving them the time to read through the documents before affixing their signatures. It was, from all accounts, a gross violation of the basic rule of verification involving documents sworn before the law.

For refusing to be part of that travesty, Toby became the symbol of congressional integrity — a trait that is sorely lacking nowadays. Even though some of his colleagues, such as Reps. Boying Remulla and Hermilando Mandanas, also refused succumb to Malacañang’s pressure-tactics, when the challenge came to voluntarily put the truth on record in the Senate, only Toby rose to the occasion, with the others simply copping out by seeking Senate subpoenas that were never to come. Through it all, Toby did not shirk from his duty to the Constitution and the nation.

At the other end of the pole, stuck in the mud of trapo politics is a congressman from the lair of some of the most notorious political personalities this country has ever seen — the city of Mandaluyong. Rep. Neptali Gonzales II is a member of one of two political clans that have controlled that city’s politics. The Gonzaleses and Abaloses have, for quite some time, alternated for control of the congressional and mayoralty seats to perpetuate themselves in power.

These two political families are, in fact, among the most yellow of the Yellows. Tracing their roots to the Yellow armies of Edsa I and II vintage, they are believed to be the most sanctimonious yet the epitome of trapo politics.

Even before Toby Tiangco set foot in the Senate, Neptali Gonzales II, in no uncertain terms, already threatened him with expulsion if he were to push through with it — something that the principled Navoteño readily defied.

What gall, indeed, for this Yellow congressman from Mandaluyong to threaten another elected representative of the people. The power that comes with his position as House majority leader must have so gotten into his head that he now throws his weight around with abandon, just as the “supreme” power over impeachment has gone to the heads of some senator-judges cum prosecutors, who simply brush aside all pretenses of impartiality in browbeating witnesses and defense lawyers while refusing to inhibit when openly chastised by the public.

The likes of Gonzales represent a majority of the politicians prevailing in our corrupt political system while Toby is just the one whom most of our suffering people can pin their hopes on.

Tiangco is, in fact, among the rare breed of political leaders who have dared raise the power issue when, in the halls of Congress, he asked why power consumers are paying a value added tax (VAT) on “systems losses.” Dina Abad, in contrast, merely sat on her cushy seat as chairman of the House energy committee and did nothing.

Similarly, the so-called young House prosecutors at the forefront of the botched impeachment case, such as Niel Tupas, Erin Tañada, Miro Quimbo, Bolet Banal, et. al, have proven themselves to have kowtowed to Malacañang. By executing illegal orders in behalf of their Palace patron, they have readily violated the sacrosanct separation of powers; prostituted themselves for their slice of the pork barrel; trampled upon constitutional rules and the Rules of Court just to adopt patently illegal House rules on impeachment and verification, thereby trampling upon the rights of the accused; and conspired to obtain information illegally.

But trapo politics cuts across generations. These young trapos have surely learned well from their forebears, who are themselves getting their well-deserved rewards. To wit, the following lucrative posts were recently handed: For the elder Tañada, the chairmanship of the group of United Coconut Planters Bank, Coconut Industry Investment Fund, et. al; for a former Quezon City councilor said to have operated several sauna bath joints in Cubao during his incumbency, membership in the board of Poro Point Management Corp.; and for the extremely lucky Tupases, a Philippine National Oil Co. post for the father and a Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office board seat for the sister.

Clearly, as these appointees do not bring anything new to the table, it is all plain nepotism. But as such is the rule of success in Yellow society and politics, can they all be expected to have any shame?

Fortunately, despite this culture of corruption, Filipinos can still celebrate whenever there are leaders who rise above the mire by becoming shining examples of integrity in government.

So we ask: Is Neptali Gonzales II going to make good his threat of expelling Toby Tiangco from the House? Let’s see him try and invite a good skewering from the public. Tiangco’s Senate appearance right after Gonzales’ shameless threat is without doubt a gauntlet across the majority floor leader’s cheek. As Toby is sure to not back down, we should let the good congressman know that we are all rooting for him in his fight for decency and integrity in the Lower House.

(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 “Mindanao power crisis and Epira;” visit http://newkatipunero.blogspot.com for our articles plus TV and radio archives)

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20120316com4.html

More doses of their own medicine EDITORIAL 03/16/2012

More doses of their own medicine

Click to enlarge
The blogging community was abuzz yesterday about an informal gathering of bloggers with, guess who, Chief Justice Renato Corona.

The most vicious of the attacks being waged against the head of the Supreme Court by the dirty tricks department of the Palace are all coming from the Internet, spam mail and blogs fed with poison stories from the rumor mills of Malacaang abound and with the speed at which information travels the virtual world, it would take the resources that only the government has in matching the gossip barrage being circulated against Corona..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20120316com1.html

Pro-Assad rally in Damascus decries ‘one-year conspiracy’ (VIDEO)

Pro-Assad rally in Damascus decries ‘one-year conspiracy’ (VIDEO)

Thousands have taken to the streets of the Syrian capital Damascus to support the country’s embattled leader Bashar al-Assad. The demonstration comes on the year anniversary of the anti-Assad uprising that has left scores dead and injured.

The pro-Assad rally is taking place under the slogan of protesting a ‘one-year conspiracy’ to overthrow the regime. The opposition said that Assad has forced people to attend the Damascus demonstration in order to overshadow the opposition rallies marking the beginning of the popular uprising in Syria a year ago, AP reports. .... MORE

URL: http://rt.com/news/syria-pro-assad-rally-damascus-643/

SWIFT financial service cuts Iran off

SWIFT financial service cuts Iran off

SWIFT, the Brussels based transaction provider, announced it has been instructed to cut services to Iranian financial institutions that are subject to European sanctions, in order to comply with the EU Council directive.
­The Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication, or SWIFT, is crucial to Iran’s oil and other trade.

The EU Council decision prohibits companies such as SWIFT from continuing to provide specialized financial messaging services to EU-sanctioned Iranian banks..... MORE

URL: http://rt.com/news/swift-iran-ban-oil-667/

Microwave-goodbye weapon: 'Heat ray' crowd dispersal cannon unveiled (VIDEO)

Microwave-goodbye weapon: 'Heat ray' crowd dispersal cannon unveiled (VIDEO)

The American military have presented the world with a new weapon, informally named the heat ray or microwave cannon. The “Active Denial System” is a non-lethal weapon primarily designed for crowd control.

A video was uploaded on YouTube by USFORCESTV channel of the US military testing a new super high frequency (SHF) weapon. Rumors have long been spread about a “cannon”, which can be mounted on a military vehicle to disperse crowds with the help of a high-powered beam of electromagnetic radiation.
.... MORE


URL: http://rt.com/news/weapon-us-microwave-cannon-363/

Internet providers to start policing the web July 12

Internet providers to start policing the web July 12

Some of the biggest Internet service providers in America plan to adopt policies that will punish customers for copyright infringement, and one of the top trade groups in the music biz announced this week that it could begin as soon as this summer.

The chief executive officer of the Recording Industry Association of America told an audience of publishers on Wednesday that a plan carved out last year to help thwart piracy is expected to prevail and be put in place by this summer. RIAA CEO Cary Sherman was one of the guest speakers among a New York panel this week and he confirmed that, at this rate, some of the most powerful Internet providers in America should have their new policies on the books by July 12, 2012..... MORE


URL: http://rt.com/usa/news/internet-providers-year-sherman-661/

Soldiers shoot at houses of residents in Isabela, Cagayan provinces

Soldiers shoot at houses of residents in Isabela, Cagayan provinces

“Why are you shooting at us? We are civilians!” the residents shouted but their pleas were ignored.

MANILA – On December 15, 2011, at around 2:00 p.m., Dominador Martinez, 28, heard gunshots. He, along with his wife Eliha and mother Mercolina were clearing a portion of the forest for planting (kaingin).
Having lived in Purok 2 Sitio Palaspas, Brgy. San Jose, San Mariano, Isabela for years, Dominador and the residents knew another encounter between the New People’s Army and soldiers of the 51st DRC of the Philippine Army was happening. To avoid being caught in crossfire, the three decided to go home.

Dominador went to the house of his aunt, Teresa, while the two women went straight to their house.

In a sworn statement submitted to the House Committee on Human Rights, March 13, Dominador said when gunshots coming from the direction of the NPA guerrillas stopped, he saw soldiers going up the hill while several men in uniform moved toward their houses and started to fire in their direction.

Outside the Congress, members of human rights groups hold a picket calling on the Aquino administration to junk its counterinsurgency program Oplan Bayanihan. (Photo by Macky Macaspac / bulatlat.com)
“For more than an hour, the soldiers fired their M16, M14 and M203 rifles at the direction of our house,” Dominador said in his statement. “At that time, I, my uncle Robert Wania and his seven-year-old daughter Jenny (not her real name) were sitting in front of the house…My left foot was hit by a bullet. Jenny was hit on her right leg. We went inside the house,” he said.

“I shouted at the soldiers, ‘Why are you shooting at us? We are civilians!’” Dominador said. His pleas were ignored.

Meanwhile, Mercolina was washing her feet at the well beside her house when soldiers started firing at her. She ran and heard one of the soldiers say, “There is another one, a woman!” Fifty empty shells were recovered from the site..... MORE


URL: http://bulatlat.com/main/2012/03/15/soldiers-shoot-at-houses-of-residents-in-isabela-cagayan-provinces/

Again, tell me what you think NO HOLDS BARRED Armida Siguion-Reyna 03/16/2012

Again, tell me what you think

Armida Siguion-Reyna
I not only enjoyed the e-mail you sent me, the last time I asked what you thought of issues related to the impeachment trial. I learned a lot, and was able to share so much here and with others in face-to-face discussion, so here I am again asking for more of the same, except this time to do with the presentation of the defense.

Bear in mind, though, that I do not re-print scurrilously obtained documents and white papers. I don’t care who has got a second wife and children elsewhere, or who has had a psychiatric evaluation, so think twice there, you with hand on mouse and about to click “send.” It is your opinion on the present goings-on at the impeachment trial that I’m after, and while I’d be interested in related matters, let’s merely stick to what has to do with the case, or observations closely related to it..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20120316com3.html

Military justifies keeping troops in Luisita, points fingers at NPA By Mario J. Mallari 03/16/2012

Military justifies keeping troops in Luisita, points fingers at NPA

By Mario J. Mallari 03/16/2012

The military has no plans to pull out troops from Hacienda Luisita in Tarlac, which is owned by the family of President Aquino and is subject of a Supreme Court decision ordering the distribution of the large sugar estate to its farm workers, despite calls from various groups to recall soldiers from the area.

Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) spokesman Col. Arnulfo Marcelo Burgos Jr. yesterday said the military leadership has no plans yet to reassign elements of the Army’s 3rd Mechanize Infantry Battalion, headed by Lt. Col. Ernesto Torres Jr., out of the Hacienda Luisita.

Burgos also expressed fears that only “bad and criminal elements,” including communist New People’s Army (NPA) could benefit if military troops are pulled out from the area..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20120316hea3.html

Solon hit BIR for going after Manny Pacquiao 03/16/2012

Solon hit BIR for going after Manny Pacquiao

One of President Aquino’s allies in the Senate yesterday cried “foul” over the move of the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) to go after and subject to a tax investigation Filipino boxing champion and Sarangani Rep. Manny Pacquiao for alleged discrepancies in his filed income tax returns (ITRs), specifically in 2010.

Pacquiao does not only deserve a better treatment from the BIR but he also need not be compelled to pay taxes on his earnings from his boxing bouts in the United States since he already paid for it with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), Sen. Ralph Recto said.

The chairman of the Senate ways and means committee said he was appalled on how Pacquiao is being treated in the country compared to the “respect and adulation” that he enjoys before the global sporting community..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20120316hea5.html

Witnesses verify Corona’s SALn property entries By Angie M. Rosales 03/16/2012

Witnesses verify Corona’s SALn property entries

By Angie M. Rosales 03/16/2012

Defense witnesses yesterday attested to Supreme Court Chief Justice Renato Corona’s declaration of entries on real estate properties in his statement of assets, liabilities and net worth (SALn), even affirming that the lot in McKinley Hills in Taguig City subdivision is owned by his daughter based on tax declarations.

But the prosecution panel tried to undermine the testimony of the defense’ fifth witness, engineer Roberto Villaluz who is the officer-in-charge of the Taguig City assessor’s office claiming that Corona supposedly misdeclared its real value as it’s acquisition cost is P5 million higher.

The impeachment court adjourned for the week after the defense panel continued the presentation of its witnesses on the valuations of the properties owned by Corona’s family..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20120316hea6.html

Chinese envoy to RP: Shelve differences, bolster cooperation By Michaela P. del Callar 03/16/2012

Chinese envoy to RP: Shelve differences, bolster cooperation

By Michaela P. del Callar 03/16/2012

China’s new ambassador to the Philippines said her country and the United States should not clash in the Asia-Pacific, noting that the Cold War years are over and they can co-exist in the vast region.

Chinese Ambassador Ma Keqing also sounded exasperated that journalists highlight territorial disputes in the resource-rich West Philippine Sea.

“We hope there’s a possibility for China and US to have a cooperative relationship in this region rather than confrontation,” Ma said at her first formal press conference in Manila yesterday..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/nation/20120316nat1.html

Malacanang says it is not to blame for the unnecessary suspension of classes By Rocky Nazareno 03/16/2012

Malacanang says it is not to blame for the unnecessary suspension of classes

By Rocky Nazareno 03/16/2012
A Palace official yesterday took exception to reports that it is to blame for the unnecessary suspension of classes throughout Metro Manila in anticipation of a transport strike which turned out to be a mere protest caravan consisting of a few vehicles bearing protesters.

Piston should not hide behind terminologies, presidential deputy spokesman Abigail Valte said.

She maintained that Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) Chairman Francis Tolentino tried to talk to the transport groups not to push through with the planned strike..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/metro/20120316met2.html

EPD officials forbidden to make anymore comments on case of Tribune reporter By Rocky Nazareno and Gina Peralta-Elorde 03/16/2012

EPD officials forbidden to make anymore comments on case of Tribune reporter

By Rocky Nazareno and Gina Peralta-Elorde 03/16/2012
Malacaang has ordered a gag order on Eastern Police District (EPD) officials who have apparently turned Tribune reporter Fernan Angeles from being a victim of a near-fatal stabbing to being a criminal, himself, in its ongoing investigation into the attempted homicide in Pasig City.

I saw it only last night, (EPD) making announcement on the seeming focus on Fernan being a suspect rather than focusing on the alleged mastermind in the attempt on the life of Fernan Angeles, presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda said. Angeles works the Malacaang beat for The Daily Tribune.

Lacierda said he immediately pointed out this discrepancy to Interior and Local Government Secretary Jessie Robredo who told him that he has instructed (EPD) not to make any comments anymore..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/metro/20120316met1.html

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