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The Daily Tribune

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Comelec’s vow to fix fiasco baseless By Marie A. Surbano 05/06/2010

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Smartmatic, poll body say voting still on schedule

Comelec’s vow to fix fiasco baseless

By Marie A. Surbano

Election officials insisted yesterday that next week’s polls would go ahead, amid frantic efforts to replace more than 70,000 faulty memory cards
that were to be used in vote counting machines.

The Commission on Elections (Comelec) has come under enormous pressure since revealing the technical glitch.
But poll commissioner Gregorio Larrazabal said Monday’s election, when 50 million people are eligible to choose a new president and thousands of other government positions, would go ahead as planned, even as the Smartmatic consortium admitted that it will still be testing the machines with the newly reconfigured CFC cards on election day itself.

“Going manual is not an option,” Larrazabal said during a news briefing after the memory cards for the more than 82,000 precinct count optical scan (PCOS) machines malfunctioned during the sealing and testing early this week.
But most IT experts were wary over the poll body’s vow to go on with automated polls as scheduled, saying that the assurances given by Smartmatic officials that they can solve the fiasco in the failed final testing and sealing (FTS) of PCOS machines in Metro Manila and provinces are empty if not entirely baseless.... MORE  

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20100506hed1.html

Erap wants Smartmatic, poll execs jailed for PCOS mess By Gerry Baldo 05/06/2010

Erap wants Smartmatic, poll execs jailed for PCOS mess

By Gerry Baldo
Former President Joseph “Erap” Estrada, Pwersa ng Masang Pilipino (PMP) standard bearer, yesterday said that officials of Smartmatic Corp. and the Commission on Elections should be arrested and thrown in jail for the mess they created on the country’s first computerized elections less than a week from now after supplying defective precinct count optical scan (PCOS) machines under an P7.2 billion contract.
An irate Estrada said problems brought about by the lapses of both the supplier Smartmatic and the Comelec could ruin the automated elections.
“It’s very frustrating. They (Smartmatic and Comelec) have been assuring us that everything would be okay, that everything will go on smoothly, but what’s happening now?” Estrada said in a telephone interview.
“I suggest that the Comelec meet all the presidential candidates — Manny (Nacionalista Party bet Manuel Villar Jr.), Noynoy (Liberal Party’s Benigno Aquino III), Gibo (Lakas-Kampi-CMD’s Gilbert Teodoro), all of us — and tell us what it plans to do about this,” Estrada said.... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20100506hed4.html

Group warns of revolt; seeks SC nod for manual elections By Benjamin B. Pulta 05/06/2010

Group warns of revolt; seeks SC nod for manual elections

By Benjamin B. Pulta

A citizens’ group has asked the Supreme Court (SC) to stop the Commission on Elections (Comelec) from implementing the automated election system and to return to manual voting and counting of ballots.

Lawyer Harry Roque, president of Concerned Citizens Movement (CCM), cautioned the court of another people power if the election would not push through on May 10.

Another option, according to Roque, is to ask the Senate to elect a Senate president, whose term ends in 2013, with a mandate beyond June 30, 2010 so that there will be no power vacuum in the presidency in the event that the elections are postponed. 

“We will oppose all efforts to postpone the holding of the elections as this will inevitably lead to the transition junta that (Defense Secretary) Norberto Gonzales has been advocating,” Roque said.... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/nation/20100506nat1.html

Trash talk EDITORIAL 05/06/2010

Trash talk

Click to enlarge

Smartmatic and the Commission on Elections (Comelec), in their attempt to make it appear that the May 10, 2010 polls are still a go, and that these “little” problems of machines glitches are easily resolved, despite the fact that there are only five more days to election day and 82,000 machines can’t possibly be tested the way they should be, are really feeding the Filipino people trash.

How can these problems be resolved in some five days, when it took the programmers some four months to come up with the flash disks which even turned out to be a dud?

But if the problem solely rests on the wrong imput in the flash disks for some 76,000 precinct count optical scan (PCOS) machines, why then did some machines read the ovals right, but not the other machines that were tested?
Even more scary is that, according to Smartmatic, these flash disks are to be configured in a five-day period, which means that all security measures are off, and whatever is imputted in the flash disks will be solely that which has been programmed by Smartmatic — and there goes the automated Garci fraud at play.... MORE  

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20100506com1.html

No holdover presidency FRONTLINE Ninez Cacho-Olivares 05/06/2010

No holdover presidency

Ninez Cacho-Olivares

Truth is, I really don’t buy the scenario of Gloria Arroyo becoming a holdover president, mainly because the time for a “holdover” presidency — if it does come about at all, will have to start after June 30, 2010.

There also cannot be a holdover presidency because the succession mechanism should be at play — which would call for the Senate president to become the acting president.
It is being argued by some senators that, with a failure of elections and with the prospect of a holdover presidency, plus the fact that there will be no Senate president as acting president, along with no Speaker of the House of Representatives either, there is an urgent need for the Senate to elect a Senate president, since the incumbent Senate chief, Sen. Juan Ponce-Enrile, only has up till June 30 to his term. But he is running for reelection, and chances are very high that he will be reelected.... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20100506com2.html

Bomb plot may broaden US lens in Pakistan focus 05/06/2010

Bomb plot may broaden US lens in Pakistan



WASHINGTON — The thwarted car bomb plot in New York could lead to a broader US view of Pakistani extremists, with fears growing that an array of overlapping groups are determined to attack the United States.

Prosecutors said Tuesday that Pakistani-American attack suspect Faisal Shahzad admitted training in bomb-making in Waziristan, the mountainous region seen as a leading hotbed for al-Qaeda and Taliban militants.

The attempt to wreak havoc in bustling Times Square came as Pakistani Taliban supremo Hakimullah Mehsud — who US officials earlier thought died in a missile strike — resurfaced in videos and vowed to attack US cities.
US and Pakistani officials initially rejected out of hand a claim of responsibility for the New York plot posted by Mehsud’s group on YouTube. But investigators have grown more cautious as details emerged in Shahzad’s case.
If confirmed to be the Taliban, it would mark a significant foray into international operations for a movement long seen as primarily a local force interested in imposing an austere brand of Islam.

But experts said that the distinctions among militant groups in Pakistan are increasingly being blurred.... MORE  

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20100506com3.html

The President and The Firm BLURBAL THRUSTS Louie Logarta 05/06/2010

The President and The Firm

Louie Logarta

The key to success and longevity of the famous, or infamous depends on how you look at it, law partnership known all over the country as The Firm or CVC is probably its uncanny ability to penetrate and thrive within the corridors of power.

In the context of present-day events, this is why members of CVC have made it a point to get themselves entrenched in the camps of two of the three front-running presidential candidates, which in effect virtually assures them of a potent and moneyed client base that would more than tide them over till the next administration comes along and more importantly allow them to play god or kingmaker due to their influence with the man who would inherit the seat to be vacated by President Arroyo. 

Founding partner Pancho Villaraza, who stood as wedding sponsor during the marriage of President Arroyo’s son, Rep. Dato Arroyo of Camarines Sur (while wife Sally was one of the ninangs of GMA’s eldest son, Rep. Mikey Arroyo of Pampanga), is reportedly allied with Sen. Manny Villar of the Nacionalista Party.

On the other hand, you have Avelino “Nonong” Cruz, GMA’s former legal adviser until he had a falling out with his boss over the “Hello Garci” scandal and the failure of Malacañang to convince the Supreme Court to back the campaign for a people’s initiative to amend the Constitution, who is one of the more prominent advisers of Liberal Party presidential bet Noynoy Aquino. Cruz was brought into the LP fold by Sen. Mar Roxas who was at the time still entertaining thoughts of running for the presidency.... MORE  

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20100506com4.html

Pitiful Comelec VIEWPOINTS Archbishop Oscar V. Cruz 05/06/2010

Pitiful Comelec

Archbishop Oscar V. Cruz

It is a matter of record that the Commission on Elections (Comelec) was already a big mess in itself during the 2004 national elections — under the over-all “Hello Garci.”

Not far from the 2010 national elections, Comelec seems to be again in one huge messy situation. The key individuals in the commission have been long singing the same tunes — to the effect that “everything is on time and in place.” “We are 100 percent ready.” “There can be no such thing as failure of elections.” And similar endearing songs.

Needless to say, Malacañang is distinctly all calm on the matter and all quiet about a hundred and one serious reservations not only on the capacity but also about the dependability of the Comelec to conduct honest, orderly, peaceful and credible elections. 

The public in general, however, whose distrust in Malacañang is as low as low can be, has been for some time now harboring serious doubts, if not real anger, having grave anxiety, if not downright fear about Comelec 2010 act and agenda. There are even some naughty individuals who say that a “Hello Melo?” can be in the offing.... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20100506com5.html

Star-gazing brings Vatican’s chief astronomer ‘closer to God’ FEATURE 05/06/2010

Star-gazing brings Vatican’s chief astronomer ‘closer to God’



CASTEL GANDOLFO — Jesuit priest Jose Gabriel Funes, director of the Vatican’s astronomic observatory, says star-gazing brings him closer to God.

“I became an astronomer in order to get closer to God who created the universe,” said Funes at the observatory in the vast park surrounding the Pope’s summer residence in Castel Gandolfo, near Rome.
“We wonder the same things that our secular colleagues do — how does the universe work, how did it originate, are there planets similar to Earth?” said Funes, 47.
Both Funes and his colleague Guy Consolmagno studied astronomy before joining the priesthood.
“I’m primarily a scientist,” said Consolmagno, previously a university professor in the United States.
“It’s my belief in God that gives me the courage to do science because I have to have a faith... that there are answers, that there are laws to be found, that the universe is worth studying, it’s not just chaos,” he said.... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20100506com6.html

Bhutto niece tells Pakistan’s tale through own bloody past FEATURE 05/06/2010

Bhutto niece tells Pakistan’s tale through own bloody past


NEW DELHI — Her striking looks recall her famous aunt, slain Pakistani politician Benazir Bhutto, but Fatima Bhutto, who has penned a memoir of her family’s blood-soaked history, says the resemblance ends there.

Fatima is a fierce critic of her charismatic aunt, who twice served as prime minister, claiming she was power hungry and “morally responsible” for the murder of her own brother — the writer’s father — in 1996.
The book, Sons of Blood and Sword, is an adulatory — critics say airbrushed — portrayal of Fatima’s father, Murtaza Bhutto, a rival to Benazir in Pakistan’s volatile, faction-ridden politics.
“It’s a book I always knew I would write” as a “journey of remembrance of my father,” Fatima told AFP in New Delhi where she was promoting her book.
Pakistan’s most famous political dynasty has been dogged by bloodshed since Fatima’s grandfather, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, the nation’s first democratically elected leader, was hanged by the dictatorship of General Zia-ul-Haq in 1979... MORE  

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20100506com7.html

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