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Ombudsman to probe Comelec ballot folders By Marie A. Surbano and Benjamin B. Pulta 04/09/2010

Friday, April 9, 2010

P30-M UV lamp purchase done in haste, PPCRV charges poll body

Ombudsman to probe Comelec ballot folders

By Marie A. Surbano and Benjamin B. Pulta

Motu propio, the Office of the Ombudsman yesterday announced it will initiate an investigation into allegations on the near consummation of the contract involving the anomalous and highly overpriced “secrecy folders” entered into by the Commission on Elections (Comelec) with OTC Paper Supply which were to be utilized for the May polls.
Ombudsman Merceditas Gutierrez said she had ordered the creation of a task force to spearhead the inquiry, which would focus on the P690-million contract, adding that the “task force will evaluate the procedure conducted by the Bids and Awards Committee (BAC) of the Comelec to determine if it is in accord with Republic Act No. 9184, the Government Procurement Reform Act.”

Earlier in the day, a complaint for graft was filed before the Office of the Ombudsman against former and incumbent officials of the Comelec in connection with alleged irregularities in “small scale” procurement contracts entered into by the poll body during the 2008 elections in Mindanao.

In a 10-page joint complaint-affidavit, the petitioners led by lawyer Harry Roque said their complaint proves that “anomalies similar to those done in the recent P700 million peso poll scam contract are entrenched in certain parts of the Comelec Bids and Awards Committee process.”

Leading those named respondents in the complaint was former Comelec chairman Benjamin Abalos Sr.... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20100409hed1.html

Erap-Binay tandem gets Zamboanga’s NPC support By Gerry Baldo 04/09/2010

 Erap-Binay tandem gets Zamboanga’s NPC support

By Gerry Baldo

The Nacionalista Party (NP) and the Nationalist People’s Coaltion (NPC) may have come together as the Commission on Elections (Comelec) approved dominant opposition group, but the NPC support may not necessary be given to NP presidential bet Manuel “Manny” Villar, as the position of the NPC bigwigs, among them, the party’s founder, Eduardo “Danding” Cojuangco and his son, Tarlac Rep. Mark Cojuangco, is one that says NPC members are free to support their choice of presidential candidates.

And for the NPC officials and members in Zamboanga City, their choice is former President Joseph “Erap” Estrada.

In Zamboanga, the campaign of the opposition Pwersa ng Masang Pilipino got a big boost Wednesday when members of the NPC in Zamboanga threw their support behind the Estrada-Binay tandem. According to incumbent Vice Mayor Manuel Jose Dalipe, the NPC is going to support the PMP slate headed by the former President.... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20100409hed2.html

LP-NP word war shakes up Aquino-Cojuangco bones 04/09/2010

LP-NP word war shakes up Aquino-Cojuangco bones


After having been pilloried by Liberal Party (LP) standard bearer Sen. Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino and his yellows, the Nacionalista Party (NP) yesterday started to fight back by rattling the skeletons in the Aquino-Cojuangco closet and surfaced the bones of Noynoy’s grandfather, Benigno Aquino Sr., blaring out that Noynoy’s grandpa was a “Makapili,” known as a Filipino group of Japanese colla-borators during the war.

Aquino Sr., the NP statement said, was a Japanese collaborator and a member of the Philippine puppet government during World War II.

“Buried deep in the annals of Philippine history is this stain in the Aquino family’s legacy. We are disappointed that Noynoy, like his continued indifference to the Hacienda Luisita issue, had chosen to let this fact stay buried instead of owning up to his family’s sins against the people,” the NP said.

“Contrary to claims that the Aquino clan is a family of heroes, history tells us differently. Benigno Sr., known to his peers as Igno, has chosen to aid the Japanese at a time of great suffering and strife among Filipinos during the war.”
.... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20100409hed6.html

A pathetic PR attempt EDITORIAL 04/09/2010

A pathetic PR attempt

Click to enlarge

The P700-million secrecy folder exposé of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) appears to be a diversionary move on the part of the embattled commissioners of the poll body to take away the heat from their inability to purge the padded voters’ list and the several other issues raised on the erosion of the integrity of the May 10 elections.

The Comelec itself supposedly nipping the anomaly in the bud and the commissioners themselves exposing it, was a complete departure from the usual practice in the Gloria administration of keeping such a huge scandal within an agency and appears commendable it being as if indeed a radical shift in the Comelec is taking place.

But the circumstances surrounding the revelation only point to the inescapable conclusion that Comelec needed something big to not even restore the faith of the public in the poll body but merely to make it look as if the poll body is doing its job.... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20100409com1.html

LP arrogance FRONTLINE Ninez Cacho-Olivares 04/09/2010

LP arrogance

Ninez Cacho-Olivares

One thing that stands out in the Liberal Party (LP), especially its prime candidate, Noynoy Aquino, is the display of sheer arrogance, which is quite a turn off. There is not a shred of humility found in whatever statements Aquino and his supporters make, and they have made many statements to the extent of Noynoy even saying that with just one more month to go, it is evident that the race is only between him and his rival, ostensibly, Manny Villar. Ergo, he concludes, all the other presidential candidates should now withdraw from the race.

What chutzpah this Noynoy has, to dismiss all other bets, as though it is a sure thing that he will be the winner of the race, and all based on these dubious survey results.

In the first place, even as Noynoy leads in the mock polls, by nine points in one, and 12 points in another, the fact remains that his ratings have stayed in a static mode for sometime now, which translates to his not moving at all or may even have dropped a bit, given the error margins.... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20100409com2.html

Nigerian acting leader in bid to cement grip on power focus 04/09/2010

Nigerian acting leader in bid to cement grip on power



LAGOS — Nigeria’s acting leader moved to cement his control on power this week, appointing a new Cabinet and state oil firm chief, raising hopes of much-needed change in Africa’s leading crude producer.
Goodluck Jonathan, who took over from ailing President Umaru Yar’Adua two months ago, has about a year before elections — not much time for reform in a nation where the majority of people remain stuck in poverty despite the oil wealth.
Observers say he is also facing political pressures in addition to the time limits.
Jonathan sacked the entire Cabinet set in place by Yar’Adua last month and unveiled a new line up in which he retained less than half of his predecessor’s choices..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20100409com3.html

Cannot count NO HOLDS BARRED Armida Siguion-Reyna 04/09/2010

Cannot count

Armida Siguion-Reyna

Commission appears to be the operative word, as far as the Commission on Elections (Comelec) is concerned. Not the enforcement of laws and regulations pertaining to election-related matters. Not for the coming elections, or any other elections in the recent past. It’s all in the percentage, in the who is making exactly what from whom.

Our TV sitcoms used to alternate two jokes for every election period. First was that if you had a child who could not do basic math, you sent him to work in the Comelec. The second dealt with variations of how the Comelec sounded like “kumolek,” “naka-collect,” or “ko-collect.” 

I had once made the mistake of running for public office, a decision that required me to deal with the Comelec. My election checkers needed ID cards, the ID cards had to be signed by the Comelec supervisor of my district, the ID cards could not be signed quick and fast, dahil bigla raw nangalay ang kamay ng pipirma, and, dig the exact words of our Comelec point-person, “Kailangan hong masahiin ang pipirma.”... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20100409com4.html

Of surveys, prayers and false pretenses DIE HARD III Herman Tiu Laurel 04/09/2010

Of surveys, prayers and false pretenses

Herman Tiu Laurel

Mainstream newspapers headlined the latest Pulse Asia survey once again as if it were gospel truth. The Inquirer, for one, billed the Yellow dummy’s one-percent rise as a “solidifying” lead. But as every layman who has learned enough of survey statistics knows, a one-percent uptick doesn’t mean a thing. In fact, even a movement of up to two to three percent is considered statistically meaningless as it covers only the margin of error. Well, there goes their “solidifying” spin!
In contrast, the one “survey” that no one in the world can misinterpret is the viva voce of thousands of middle C, D and E class El Shaddai members who gathered at their annual Easter Salubungan, giving President Joseph Estrada their unequivocal — and rousing — support over his two rivals.

That El Shaddai gathering for all intents and purposes became a test of the three frontrunning candidates’ real support from the most significant segment of our voting population, as represented by that Easter morning crowd.
The largely masa El Shaddai worshippers arrived in their extended chassis jeepneys, AUVs (Asian Utility Vehicles, not SUVs), FXs, as well as, metro and provincial buses. Even the Lopez-owned ANC, a staunch supporter of you-know-who, had to report that Erap’s speech was interrupted 40 times by the crowd’s ardent applause and impassioned chorus of support.

The worshippers’ reaction to Aquin-o-rroyo, at best, was tepid — hardly deserving of any comment from media. The only other significant thing that caught the TV cameras was Villarroyo’s demeanor, as he could no longer hide his displeasure at media’s badgering. By brushing off questions about the religious sect’s support, saying that it’s all up to Mike Velarde, it’s as if he is appealing to just one singular authority.

Isn’t it so like the line of mainstream media that try to condition the public to leave the issue of voters’ support to the “authoritative” professional pollsters such as the SWS, Pulse Asia and others they choose to play up as “respected” outfits?

Well, Villarroyo’s annoyance could only betray a deep-seated fear of his having Velarde in his hands but not the multitude of El Shaddai followers. Perhaps more dismaying is his realization that no “authority” can ever dictate the heart and mind of the masses.

For as they did in 1998 against the dictates of Cardinal Sin and the elite; in 2001 against the Couples for Christ’s 13-0 campaign; and in late April of that year when Edsa III culminated in a march to Malacañang, the masses will decide for themselves.

And as the El Shaddai expressed solidarity with Erap in the past during the Edsa III vigils, wherein they, together with flock from the Iglesia ni Cristo, formed a half-a-million-strong crowd demanding the return of the duly-elected president, they continue to be one with him today.

There at the Salubungan, Erap’s mass support is, at the very least, 8 to 2 against the two other bets combined.
As the masses formed a bulk of Erap’s voters in 1998, they have not only remained his supporters but have deepened their identification with him even with the passage of time. Rey Ileto’s Pasyon at Rebolusyon reminds us of the masses and Erap sharing a life of struggle as they continue to suffer persecution and tribulation at the hands of the elite regime. Despite a decade of vicious demonization, Erap emerges not only unscathed but becomes endearing to the masses even more.

Meanwhile, Villarroyo, destroyed by his own PR spin that turns out to be a mountain of lies, is now in the dustbin of history. Aquin-o-rroyo, in turn, is sliding down the same path. The media spins about his pristine honesty are being belied by the bare facts: From his vote against the playing of the “Hello Garci” tapes; to his ad hoc security agency to corner government contracts under his mother’s term; to the New York Times story belying his claim of initiating “change” in his family’s hacienda; to his tortured justification for the SCTex-Luisita service link, ad nausea.
Still, the greatest blow to Aquin-o-rroyo springs from his overuse of the memory of his late mother — a memory that leaves nothing to be desired, even just on “Hello Garci.”

In a July 2005 report, it was reported that “Tarlac Rep. Benigno ‘Noynoy’ Aquino III disappointed his colleagues in the House when he voted on Thursday night against the playing of the audio tape, although an overwhelming majority had voted yes.”

Furthermore, another newspaper story quotes: “After Arroyo delivered her famous ‘I am sorry’ speech on TV on June 27, 2005… Mrs. Aquino defended Arroyo, saying, ‘I am glad the President has broken her silence. Her admission of judgment lapses leading to improper conduct on her part is a truly welcome development. Tonight the President has made a strong beginning and I hope she will continue in the direction of better and more responsive governance. Let us pray for her and for all of us Filipinos.’”

So you see: When the “Hello Garci” scandal broke out, Cory Aquino and her son hardly ever really prayed for truth, democracy or the Filipino people. They prayed only for Gloria Arroyo — and that is the unvarnished truth!
(Tune in to 1098AM, Sulo ng Pilipino, Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, 6 p.m. to 7 p.m.; Global News Network, Destiny Cable Channel 21, Talk News TV, Tuesday, 8 p.m. to 9 p.m.; also visit http://hermantiulaurel.blogspot.com)

(Reprinted with permission from Mr. Herman Tiu Laurel)

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20100409com5.html

Thai unrest, Myanmar overshadow Asean summit FEATURE 04/09/2010

Thai unrest, Myanmar overshadow Asean summit



HANOI — Southeast Asian leaders open talks Thursday with their vision of building a regional “community” of nations overshadowed by major unrest in Thailand and Myanmar’s widely criticized election plans.

On the eve of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) summit in the Vietnam capital, Thailand’s premier declared a state of emergency as protesters stormed parliament in a dramatic escalation of an anti-government campaign.

Thailand’s long-running political drama is among the domestic issues within the 10-member Asean bloc which are distracting it from moving forward collectively, observers say.... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20100409com6.html

Internet weapons are double-edged sword in British election focus 04/09/2010

Internet weapons are double-edged sword in British election



LONDON — British politicians are using the full array of online weapons to target voters in knife-edge elections — but the technology could also backfire on hapless candidates, experts warn.

With polls indicating a tight race between the governing Labour Party and the main opposition Conservatives ahead of the May 6 general election, both groups now hope tools such as Facebook or Twitter can boost their campaign.
Inspired by Barack Obama’s ground-breaking use of the web in his successful bid to become US President, Prime Minister Gordon Brown and Conservative leader David Cameron are deploying an arsenal of cutting-edge technology.... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20100409com7.html

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