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Power rot DIE HARD III Herman Tiu Laurel 05/11/2012

Friday, May 11, 2012

Power rot

DIE HARD III
Herman Tiu Laurel
05/11/2012
Meralco files plea for 2013 rate hike,” newspapers announced this week. Former Misamis Oriental Gov. Homobono Adaza and Jojo Borja of Iligan Light and Power updated me on this latest attempt of the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) to pull a fast one on power consumers. This refers to the case filed against the Maximum Allowable Price (MAP) application of Meralco (Manila Electric Co.) before the ERC by octogenarian accountant and consumer advocate Mang Naro Lualhati — a case that is now filled with several anomalies.

First, the notice for the May 7 ERC hearing arrived anomalously late, at lawyer Adaza’s residence on the Sunday afternoon just before Monday. Thus, Adaza had to call Borja to fly from Bukidnon, where the latter had just alighted, back to Cagayan de Oro and then Manila overnight to catch the next day’s event.

At the ERC hearing, only a “hearing officer” presided. Upon arriving and entering his appearance, Adaza asked the “hearing officer” if he was “the” hearing officer. It turned out that the guy was only a clerk of court. Only after being informed that Adaza was there did the chairman of the ERC, Zenaida Ducut, suddenly decide to appear and preside — a basic legal requirement that has never been met in all past ERC hearings participated in collectively or separately by our advocacy groups.

Since the occasion was being used to formally accept so-called evidence that will buttress Meralco’s MAP petition, it was an evidentiary hearing that, according Adaza, was illegal since Jojo Borja also had a pending petition at the Court of Appeals questioning the continuation of the proceedings until prejudicial questions were resolved.

Adaza and Borja would have missed the ERC hearing, with Meralco already laughing all the way to the bank, if the obviously and deliberately late arrival of the notice wasn’t noted that Sunday. Adaza no longer made an issue of it as he had already averted the scheme. Still, he found the order for the hearing anomalous, as it was merely signed “for the ERC commissioners,” even when the law states that such orders need to be signed by all commissioners — an anomaly regularly committed by the ERC, but this time, protested by Adaza — compelling the entire proceeding to be delayed for another five days.

As such, five million Meralco customers got a reprieve, thanks to Adaza, Borja and Lualhati (who wasn’t able to attend due to physical infirmities).

But trust the ERC to continue frustrating consumer advocates’ questioning and exposés of Meralco’s predatory rate hikes.

Since 2003, Meralco and ERC have been having their way in running rings around, despite roadblocks placed by the Puno Supreme Court and the Commission on Audit. This time, they have finally met the determined team that will stop them.

When BS Aquino III stepped into Malacañang, the power oligarchs’ noose tightened even more around the Supreme Court with the appointment of BS Aquino III’s justices, including Justice Lourdes Sereno who has decided in favor of Meralco in the most crucial issue of rate increases and nitpicks on consumer protectionists.

Meanwhile, on the postponed Joint Congressional Power Commission (JCPC) meet that was supposed to be jointly chaired by Sen. Serge Osmeña and Rep. Dina Abad (who was conveniently out-of-town last April to avoid its convening), there is yet no official word as to when the shelved hearing is to be re-scheduled.
The latest reports from Mindanao say the power crisis there is getting worse. Brownouts are getting longer. The cause is supposedly the rehabilitation work being done at the Agus-Pulangi, which energy officials, particularly Department of Energy Secretary Rene Almendras, left undone for two years of the BS Aquino III government, despite calls from Mindanaoans in 2010 that it was desperately needed.

Clearly, the negligence was deliberate, as the delay of the rehabilitation directly led to the power shortfalls that created the power crisis there this season.

In the wake of Mindanao’s electricity woes, government was compelled to call for a summit and schedule a convening of the JCPC. Amazingly, Mindanaoans were even blamed for this by PeNoy while the JCPC was indefinitely postponed due to a lack of quorum — this, as government losses due to the crisis have already reached P15 billion, with Mindanao’s own economy experiencing losses of up to P60 billion.

The attitude and misdeeds of all those involved in the Philippine energy sector, private power companies and the agents they get appointed to government who are horrendously corrupt and rotten — promoting oligarchs’ interests and their own “golden parachutes” — constitute a clear betrayal of the people.
How these people continue to hold on to their posts can only be explained by the complicity of the top appointing power and the corruption of money-based elections of this country.

In all sectors of the Philippine power elite, such betrayal of duty and rot is evident, as when the Senate cavalierly dismisses the plea to inhibit compromised judges; or when media practitioners irresponsibly report false information; or when police officials get involved in the murder of protected state witnesses, ad nausea.
(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., this May 12 on “Power, Manila, and Mindanao” with Bono Adaza, Al Tillah and Jojo Borja; visit http://newkatipunero.blogspot.com for our articles plus TV and radio archives)

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20120511com7.html

Spinners FRONTLINE Ninez Cacho-Olivares 05/11/2012

Spinners

FRONTLINE
Ninez Cacho-Olivares
05/11/2012
It is amazing how much spin the prosecution propagandists put into impeachment trial developments.

But they really should realize that spins no longer serve the purpose when they become outright lies.

The prosecution is not likely to admit it, but the fact that the Chief Justice, Renato Corona, agreed to testify at his trial, after the testimonies from several of his accusers, namely Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales Riza Hontiveros, Walden Bello and Harvey Keh, to name a few, will shatter its case against Corona.

This is the reason one of the prosecution spinners, Neri Colmenares, questioned why these individuals served subpoenae by the Senate court should be made to testify, claiming that this move by the defense is yet another delaying tactic..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20120511com2.html

Loving the bomb: NATO to splurge billions on nuclear weapons overhaul

Loving the bomb: NATO to splurge billions on nuclear weapons overhaul


The US is planning to spend $4 billion to upgrade NATO’s Western Eruopean nuclear arsenal. The “unnecessary and expensive” initiative is likely to stir new animosity with Russia, a report says.

­The alliance is preparing to replace “dumb” free-fall nuclear bombs with new generation of precision-guided nuclear gravity bombs, reveals a report by the European Leaders Network (ELN), a political think tank. The new bombs will also require new delivery aircraft, the Lockheed Martin F-35, each costing $100 million.

The report “Escalation by Default? The Future of NATO Nuclear Weapons in Europe” is authored by Ted Seay, a former arms control advisor to the US mission at the NATO headquarters in Brussels. It points to the fact that the upgrade will target such countries as Russia and Iran, who will be the most unlikely to be overjoyed with the prospect..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://rt.com/news/us-nato-nuclear-overhaul-969/

British public sector rises up as 200,000 strike against cuts and reforms (VIDEO)




British public sector rises up as 200,000 strike against cuts and reforms (VIDEO)

As many as 200,000 angry public sector workers staged a day of protest on Thursday, taking to the streets of London to voice their disgust at proposed government cuts.

­Among the demonstrators were civil servants, lecturers, health workers, Ministry of Defence staff, and immigration officers – fueled by ministers' vows to press ahead with the controversial reforms, made clear in yesterday's Queen's Speech.

About 20,000 off-duty police officers from all 43 forces across England and Wales also took to the capital for the first police march there in more than four years..... MORE
SourceRT.com

URL: http://rt.com/news/uk-strikes-public-cuts-946/

Apocalypse not now: Mayan relic says 2012 not end of time

Apocalypse not now: Mayan relic says 2012 not end of time


The discovery in a Guatemala jungle of a previously unknown version of the Mayan calendar offers humankind a ray of hope: the world is not going to end on December 21, 2012 and could most probably last for another billion years – or more.

­The ancient inscription is estimated to be the oldest Mayan almanac found so far. It dates back some 1,200 years, at least 600 years older than previous examples. In many ways, however, the new calendar corresponds with others.

The initial results of its study have been published in Science magazine by experts from Boston University. They say the calendar precisely describes solar and lunar cycles, as well as the motion of the brightest stars. Most probably it was used to conduct ceremonies and rituals, synchronized with the positions of celestial bodies..... MORE

SourceRT.com

URL: http://rt.com/news/maya-calendar-guatemala-discovery-973/

It ain’t over yet NO HOLDS BARRED Armida Siguion-Reyna 05/11/2012

It ain’t over yet

NO HOLDS BARRED
Armida Siguion-Reyna
05/11/2012
Just as I was about to do the second part of “On actors as National Artists, and Dolphy,” everything and anything to do the matter of Tulfo vs Santiago/Barretto at the NAIA Terminal 3 hit the fan Monday this week.

That it was headline news at the Philippine Daily Inquirer wasn’t surprising, for the aggrieved Mon Tulfo had been a long time columnist of the paper. That GMA Network’s 24 Oras, Saksi and Unang Hirit not only gave it extensive coverage but more than hinted the aggrieved Raymart Santiago and Claudine Barretto were not to blame was also no surprise, for husband and wife are regular talents of its soap opera department. That ABC-TV’s news and public affairs programs especially T3 were also on it was expected, as after all, wouldn’t the aggrieved Erwin, Raffy and Ben rush to defend their kapatid?

I tell you, lahat sila, aggrieved, and, hey Raymart and Claudine are said to be planning to sue Tulfo for “child abuse,” for his “acts” that allegedly “traumatized” their two young kids who were in the airport with them, when the incident took place..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20120511com4.html

Witness in the poll sabotage case vs GMA blinks 05/11/2012

Witness in the poll sabotage case vs GMA blinks

05/11/2012
The electoral sabotage case that was slapped by the Comelec against the former leader suffered another setback as another witness appeared to have blinked, after admitting before the Pasay Regional Trial Court Thursday that she was not certain whether the voting results she had tabulated were different from those actually canvassed.

This as several hearings and more than six witnesses presented, the Commission on Elections (Comelec) has yet to link former president, incumbent Pampanga Rep. Gloria Arroyo to the crime of electoral sabotage.

At least four hearings had already been conducted on the bail petitions filed by Arroyo, her co-accused former Maguindanao Gov. Andal Ampatuan and former provincial election supervisor Lintang Bedol while some six witnesses had already been presented but neither one pointed to any participation of the former president on the crime charged..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20120511hea6.html

Beijing suspends RP tours, warns citizens on anti-China protest 05/11/2012

Beijing suspends RP tours, warns citizens on anti-China protest

05/11/2012
BEIJING — China is suspending some tourism to the Philippines due to a tense territorial row between the two nations that has prompted state media to raise the possibility of war and growing anti-Chinese sentiment in Manila.

Chinese tour agencies, including Beijing’s biggest travel agency China International Tour Service (CITS), cited safety concerns for the suspension, just two days after Beijing said it was ready for “any escalation” in the row with Manila.

The month-long flare-up is one of the most high-profile incidents for years between the two countries over their competing territorial claims to parts of the South China Sea, which is believed to sit atop vast oil and gas deposits..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20120511hea2.html

City hall employees complain to Erap over ‘delayed’ pays By Van C. Suarez and Pat C. Santos 05/11/2012

City hall employees complain to Erap over ‘delayed’ pays

By Van C. Suarez and Pat C. Santos 05/11/2012

Employees of the city government complaining about their delayed salaries and allowances greeted former President Joseph Estrada when he went to City Hall yesterday to obtain his Community Tax Certificate or cedula prior to filing his certificate of registration with the Commission on Elections as a voter of the City of Manila to comply with requirements on his planned bid to become the next Manila Mayor in next year elections.

The other day, Estrada formally announced that he is throwing his hat into the mayoralty race in Manila.

“I’m very particular with procedures. I want everything to be in order so I made the effort to go to City Hall and file my cedula myself,” Estrada said..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20120511hea4.html

Luisita valuation issue may outlive Carper, Aquino regime 05/11/2012

Luisita valuation issue may outlive Carper, Aquino regime

05/11/2012
The militant peasant group Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) yesterday said the Supreme Court (SC) ruling provided President Aquino’s family, the Cojuangco-Aquinos of Tarlac, the opportunity to maneuver and maintain control over the more than 6,000 hectares Hacienda Luisita.

KMP deputy secretary general Randall Echanis said that “upon scrutiny of the decision, the Supreme Court has given the Cojuangcos the opportunity to further derail and even evade land distribution.

“The valuation issue alone on Hacienda Luisita could drag for years. It may even outlive the bogus Carper and even the Aquino regime. This case might even go back to the Supreme Court,” said Echanis..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/nation/20120511nat2.html

CJ’s wife merely exercised right on libel case — counsel 05/11/2012

CJ’s wife merely exercised right on libel case — counsel

05/11/2012
Branding as “downright malicious” the allegations of being insensitive to a deceased relative after the court awarded Cristina Corona compensation in a libel case she won against her uncle, one of the Corona’s lawyers said the wife of Chief Justice Renato Corona was merely exercising her rights.

“She just exercised her rights. That is the legal course of action of anyone whose reputation is intentionally damaged. She was the aggrieved party in this case and (she) did not go beyond the bounds of the law,” defense spokesman lawyer Tranquil Salvador III said on the various media commentaries that sprang out on the sidelines of Day 36 of the impeachment trial.

During Tuesday’s hearing, Quezon City Regional Trial Court (QC RTC) Branch 216 clerk of court Lucita Masangkay-Cristi took the witness stand and testified that the lower court ordered the late Jose Maria Basa III, Raymunda Basa, et al to pay Mrs. Corona P500,000 as damages for the two counts of libel the latter filed and won..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/nation/20120511nat1.html

Gov’t lawyers uphold legality of diplomatic immunity granted to Panamanian diplomat accused of rape 05/11/2012

Gov’t lawyers uphold legality of diplomatic immunity granted to Panamanian diplomat accused of rape

05/11/2012
Government lawyers have upheld the legality of diplomatic immunity granted by the government to the Panamanian accused of raping a 19-year-old girl.

Justice Secretary Leila de Lima yesterday said the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) was merely complying with the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations when it issued certification for immunity that led to the release from detention of Erick Bairnals Schcks.

“The DFA is the agency with primary competence or authority on the matter. The immunity from criminal jurisdiction accorded to Mr. Schcks under the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations was indeed valid,” she told reporters in a chance interview..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/metro/20120511met2.html

Speaker calls for investigation into murder of witness under WPP By Charlie V. Manalo and Gina Peralta-Elorde 05/11/2012

DILG SECRETARY DISCLOSES YOUNGER BROTHER OF DOMINGUEZ CAR THEFT SYNDICATE LEADERS NOW A SUSPECT IN SUNDAY SLAY

Speaker calls for investigation into murder of witness under WPP

By Charlie V. Manalo and Gina Peralta-Elorde 05/11/2012

House Speaker Feliciano “Sonny” Belmonte yesterday expressed disgust over the killing of a witness under the protection of the government through the Witness Protection Program (WPP), saying a congressional inquiry into the controversy should be initiated by the appropriate legislative committee.

Belmonte said the murder of state witness Alfred “Bading” Mendiola and two other men is “something worth looking into as it raises serious problems in the way government is securing vital witnesses against the accused.

Mendiola was the government witness who had positively identified alleged carjacking syndicate kingpins Roger and Raymond Dominguez as the masterminds in the kidnapping and murder of car dealer Venson Evangelista last year..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/metro/20120511met1.html

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