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Teddy Boy’s gone soft EDITORIAL 06/04/2010

Friday, June 4, 2010

Teddy Boy’s gone soft

Click to enlarge
How things can change in a few days.

Makati Rep. Teddy Boy Locsin who was fire and brimstone two weeks past in the House committee on suffrage and electoral reforms hearing on the alleged massive electoral fraud in the past elections after a representative of poll supplier Smartmatic admitted unforeseen errors in the precinct count optical scan (PCOS) machines during election day, was suddenly all chummying up with Smartmatic executive Cesar Flores during the last inquiry and even hinted broadly that Smartmatic will be cleared of any irregularities.

Locsin said that Smartmatic has satisfied the committee’s queries related to the past elections adding that Smartmatic-TIM was able to account for the import documents of the PCOS machines and other election paraphernalia. Was he kidding? Import documents? What the funk, the House body was supposed to be investigating poll irregularities and the conclusion was that the Bureau of Customs was not cheated.

What took the cake for Locsin was his statement that he finds nothing wrong with Smartmatic providing the automated poll services in the next elections in 2013. That’s hard to top as an endorsement.

Smartmatic with the Locsin House body’s clearance would get its ticket home, PCOS and all, along with the P7 billion Filipinos paid for its lousy services in providing the automated system for the May 10 polls.

The nation would be left like a stunned robbery victim when eventually the whole scale of either fraud or the defects of the automated system is realized.... MORE    

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20100604com1.html

Poll fraud — as clear as day FRONTLINE Ninez Cacho-Olivares 06/04/2010

Poll fraud — as clear as day

Ninez Cacho-Olivares
From the looks of it, the National Board of Canvassers (NBoC)’s canvassing of the votes for both the president and vice president, and even all the other elective posts, may be yielding fake votes, and fake certificates of canvass — all of which point to massive electronic fraud.

It has been found by the NBoC yesterday, that some, if not many, clustered precincts and provincial election officers have been sending the NBoC very compromised votes to be canvassed, as some votes were “reconstituted” and “reconciled.”

As usual, the culprit in all this are memorandums coming from Comelec officials, giving more last minute changes, lowering thresholds — and not to forget the Smartmatic that has also made a mess of the electronic voting through their machines and transmittal.

The idea or the push for automated polls, even with a huge bill of over P7 billion which the Filipino people will have to pay Smartmatic, was to ensure that there would not be human intervention, but the way it looks today, there certainly was a lot of human intervention involved — including cheating through electronic means, plus of course, the “reconciled” votes, which are a first in this country.

But this is where one can clearly see how the eradication of virtually all the safeguards — including the poll body and Smartmatic’s discarding of the electronic signature, and adopting instead the so-called electronic markings of the precint count optical scan (PCOS) machines, which is really a stupid move, since relying on the markings of the machine does not necessarily translate to the election officers having given their digital signatures. Worse, since apparently, the contract Comelec has with Smartmatic calls for the tech provider to get back its machines in 10 days time, as these have only be leased — and to think that these machines were just leased for a whooping P7 billion. We have been had by Smartmatic and the Comelec. But aren’t the PCOS machines evidence?
.... MORE    

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20100604com2.html

Resignation offers US new chance on Japan ANALYSIS 06/04/2010

Resignation offers US new chance on Japan


WASHINGTON — The resignation of Japan’s prime minister offers President Barack Obama a chance for a fresh start, with some asking if the US administration was too obstinate in the face of change in the key ally.

With his poll numbers tumbling and elections approaching, Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama quit Wednesday just nine months after the center-left leader broke a half-century of nearly interrupted rule by Japan’s conservatives.
While Japanese premiers have notoriously short shelf-lives, Hatoyama’s fall was all the more dramatic because it was tied to one issue — his promise, then failure, to change a plan on an unpopular US military base on Okinawa island.

“I think this is an opportunity, frankly, on both sides to quietly sit back and evaluate what needs to happen,” said Sheila Smith, a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations.

Smith said that both Japan and the United States shared some of the blame for the deterioration in relations between the two nations, which forged an alliance after World War II.

But Steven Clemons, director of the American strategy program at the New America Foundation, said that the Obama team had been tone deaf as Japan enters a critical phase of debating its role in the world.

Hatoyama’s Democratic Party of Japan took office with a pledge to develop a “more equal” relationship with the United States, while maintaining the alliance.

Clemons said the United States developed an “obsession” with preserving the previous agreement on the Futenma air base rather than seeing the dispute as a symbol of a deeper identity issue for Japan, Clemons said.

“I think there will be some very real ramifications,” Clemons said.

“The bottom line underneath all of this is increasing resentment by the average Japanese,” he said.

“Even with the North Korea problem, even with the rise of China, they feel that they are being bullied. The US was willing to risk the whole tone of the US-Japan relationship over one base,” he said.... MORE  

  SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20100604com3.html

Pacemaker NO HOLDS BARRED Armida Siguion-Reyna 06/04/2010


Armida Siguion-Reyna
And one is inside me now, put in by doctors the day after the nth fainting spell that saw me rushed Friday morning from the 365 Club at the Hotel InterCon to the Makati Medical Center.

I had been bothered by dizziness and bouts of general weaknesses for years now, and the possibility of a pacemaker had already been discussed with me by my doctors. True to my obstinate nature, I kept putting the matter off, using as excuse the regular monthly work for Aawitan Kita sa Makati, establishing Aawitan Kita Foundation, upgrading computer systems at home, trips to here and there abroad, the recent presidential campaign, the Sunday lunches with Erap, and heck, even the bi-weekly writing of this column I used as alibi, just to stall off the procedure.

But last I was bundled into my car, through the kindness of hotel nurse Josie Tan and hotel security officer Lorenz Lozada who brought me to the hospital emergency room, I realized just how tiresome my condition had gotten to be.
In New York City, where I used to traipse for blocks and blocks on end, walking three street blocks now tire me for the day, as does an hour’s shopping. In Bangkok last December, looking for clothing material, I blacked out in a store. In many a gathering for breakfast, lunch, or dinner, companions tell me how often I’d fall asleep — in the middle of a sentence. At home, where I enjoy going around and looking for rooms to clean, closets to put in order, I had so easily be sleepy or unbearably tired, in the middle of chores, ayusin nga lang ang tokador ko, napapagod na ako.

Here I am. Parang bagong tao, as they say. While it’s too early to say I’m back to my old form, so far, so very good; I feel energetic and recharged. The Sunday I was discharged, my daughter-in-law found me cleaning my dresser. About to chide me, she remembered how only a week ago she caught me napping there, so she woke me up, went out, then came back to catch me sleeping again. Seeing me on my feet was better, she said.

What is a pacemaker? Quite literally, it sets the pace, monitors and controls your heartbeat. Imagine your heart as a cell phone gone low-batt, unable to perform well enough, send and receive calls and text messages. A pacemaker restores your heart’s battery to normal, you don’t anymore alternate between slow and fast rhythms. Newer model pacemakers also “adjust your heart rate to changes in your activity,” according to MedicineNet.com, meaning you can now carry out more strenuous action or movement.... MORE    

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20100604com4.html

Gaza flotilla activists deported as witnesses accuse Israel FEATURE 06/04/2010

Gaza flotilla activists deported as witnesses accuse Israel


JERUSALEM — Israel on Wednesday was deporting more than 600 foreign activists whose accounts of a deadly raid on a Gaza-bound aid flotilla contradicted Israeli reports that its soldiers acted in self-defense.

As a new standoff with another aid ship loomed, British Prime Minister David Cameron took a tough stand against Monday’s pre-dawn Israeli raid, which killed nine activists, terming it “completely unacceptable.”

The hundreds of activists detained on the boats and diverted to Israel have all been released for deportation, prisons authority spokesman Yron Zamir said. They were all taken to Tel Aviv airport or the Jordanian border.
Authorities said 682 persons from 42 countries, with Turks the most numerous, were on board the six ships that tried to break Israel’s blockade of the Gaza Strip, which is ruled by the Palestinian Islamist movement Hamas.
Under widespread international condemnation over the bloodshed, Israel retorted that the violence had been initiated by the activists, forcing its soldiers to use live fire in self-defense.

The Israelis “defended themselves from a lynching,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Tuesday.

The military said on Wednesday no weapons were found aboard the ships aside from knives, wooden batons and metal rods it says the activists used to ambush the commandos that stormed one of the ships, wounding six of them.
On their return home, some accused the Israelis of having opened fire without warning.

“Israeli commandos started shooting from the air without warning,” Kuwaiti lawyer Mubarak al-Mutawa, who was on the main vessel, the Turkish-flagged Mavi Marmara, told reporters in Kuwait City.

About 380 Turks were on the six-boat flotilla when it was raided by Israeli naval forces in an operation that quickly deteriorated into chaos and bloodshed.... MORE    

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20100604com5.html

That’s entertainment SILVER LINING Dean Ernest Maceda 06/04/2010

That’s entertainment

Dean Ernest Maceda
For sheer entertainment value, nothing beats the whines and gripes of losing candidates in popular elections. Just as inmates will tell you that there are no guilty men in prison, candidates will swear that there are no honest victories in an election.

As an electorate, we are not so naïve as to believe that 100 percent clean elections can be attainable — not in this lifetime. We have lived and bled through too many a fraudulent scheme to trust in the capacity of government to be straight with so much at stake. Are there eyes remaining unjaundiced after Gloria said hello to Garci? But though innocence be frayed, the capacity to laugh so endemic in the Filipino remains enduring. Good for us for there is much to laugh about. Switch on the news or tune in to ANC.

Top of the top 10 list would have to be the “hail mary” arguments of Sen. Mar Roxas’ canvassing team. By their own computations (arrived at after tallying the entries in the different certificates of canvass from the 278 provinces and highly urbanized and independent cities, including overseas and absentee votes), the total number of null votes reach a staggering 2,600,000, more or less, for the position of vice president. To this, they would add the approximately 400,000 votes not counted when the threshold percentage was lowered (as low as 85 percent, was it?) by the Comelec for the proclamation of local candidates.

To begin with, the 400,000 or so votes supposedly not counted were, in fact counted, when the final, complete transmission was done from city or municipal consolidating and canvassing servers (CCS) to the Comelec servers. The advance proclamations of local winners and the partial results printed out for the purpose of appeasing the impatient winners were just that, partial printouts. These were not the same figures actually transmitted when the counts were completed. Hence, the 400,000 are phantom votes. Nice try, children..... MORE    

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20100604com6.html

NBoC canvasses CD votes 06/04/2010

Erap lawyer objects, Binay lawyer pushes compact discs count

NBoC canvasses CD votes

The National Board of Canvassers, despite clear irregularities marking the provincial election officials’ documents in the ballot boxes, such as the absence of electronically transmitted Election Returns (ERs), double Certificates of Canvass where the figures were conflicting, and no CoCs, went on with the canvassing yesterday, instead relying on the compact discs submitted by the election officers.

During the canvassing, Pwersa ng Masa (PMP) and personal counsel of former President Joseph Estrada, George Garcia, objected to the use of the CD in lieu of the electronically transmitted CoCs.

“The CD cannot be used to take the place of the electronically transmitted CoC,” Garcia said.

PMP spokesman Ralph Calinisan explained that the use of the CD is not in the requirement of the law. He lamented that amid the serious objections raised by the PMP and other presidential candidates the canvassing continued.
“The digital signature is supposed to be in the electronically transmitted CoC. Now we are faced with Cds,” Calinisan said, adding that they have a continuing objection on the ground that the electronically transmitted CoCs do not bear the digital signatures of the Board of Election Inspectors.

Lawyer Homobono Adaza, counsel for presidential candidate Sen. Jamby Madrigal shared the PMP’s position regarding the lack of digital signatures on the electronically transmitted CoCs.

“The basis of the CoC is illegal, it is not signed,” Adaza said in an interview. Adaza had continually manifested before the NBoC that the CoCs are not digitally signed and therefore illegal.... MORE    

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20100604hed1.html

House body ends poll fraud inquiry By Charlie V. Manalo 06/04/2010

House body ends poll fraud inquiry

By Charlie V. Manalo

The House committee on suffrage and electoral reforms yesterday suspended its inquiry on allegations of electronic fraud in the country’s first automated polls and instead directed the Commission on Elections (Comelec) and equipment supplier Smartmatic to make an inventory on compact flash (CF) cards used in the election including the additional 1,600 CF cards issued to 80 provincial directors of the Department of Science and Technology (DoST) during the polls.

At the resumption of the committee hearing yesterday, panel chairman Makati Rep. Teddyboy Locsin asked both the Comelec and the operator of the poll automation to submit a report on the status of the 1,600 CF cards issued to the 80 DOST provincial directors.

Earlier, the Comelec and Smartmatic admitted having issued each of the directors with 20 CF cards as a contingency measure in case the flash cards used in polling precincts break down in areas where Smartmatic was not able to field technicians.

The directors were authorized by the poll body to configure the CFCs, with the program being provided by Smartmatic, in case replacements for the damaged flash cards are needed.

The measure was adopted by the poll body supposedly to prevent the voting from being derailed or being delayed unnecessarily.

Also, during the hearing, Alagad Party-List Rep. Rodante Marcoleta asked Comelec and Smartmatic officials why the results generated by a PCOS machine showed a Jan. 17 record which he said put into question the integrity of both the machine and the election results.

However, despite being prodded by Comelec executive director Jose Tolentino to identify the precinct number and municipality, in which the erroneous date showed, Marcoleta refused do so..... MORE    

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20100604hed2.html

Roxas camp: Hello Garci all over again 06/04/2010

Roxas camp: Hello Garci all over again


The Liberal Party was quiet when the “Hello Garci” cheating operation was ongoing, in 2004. But now, it is the LP that is saying that it is Hello Garci all over again, with the clustered precinct at Barangay Benolen, Datu Odin Sinsuat town in Maguindanao, transmitting the election returns (ER) an hour before the polls closed, and with a very high percentage of voters who voted.

This was bared by the camp of vice-presidential candidate Manuel “Mar” Roxas II, that had an IT expert analyze the time stamp found on the transmitted ER.

The IT expert pointed to the first ER that was sent was timed at 5:42 p.m., with 1,064 votes for the vice presidential race from voting in Maguindanao.

Despite concerns about transmission problems that may occur in the region, the ARMM was able to consistently transmit its results to the Comelec for seven straight days from May 10 to May 17, the IT expert said.

By midnight of May 10, the ARMM transmitted 393,196 votes for vice president: 196,626 from Maguindanao and 72,005 from Lanao del Sur.

Former Education Secretary and LP vice president for Policy, Platform and Advocacy Florencio “Butch” Abad said the Datu Odin Sinsuat incident is but one of the many questionable transactions that happened related to the May 10 polls and which raises questions on the integrity of the country’s first automated election system (AES).
But the LP camp, while claiming irregularities, only focused on the VP race and votes for Roxas, and say nothing on the same irregularities that obviously should also affect the presidential race, since it is Sen. Noynoy Aquino who appears to have been the beneficary of the fraud in the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao.

Pwersa ng Masang Pilipino vice presidential candidate Jejomar Binay yesterday dared Senator Roxas to file the appropriate case if he has proof of irregularities in the May 10 election. 

Lawyer J V Bautista, spokesman for Binay said the LP has been engaging in a “desperate propaganda drive” that will not alter the outcome of the canvassing being conducted by Congress.

“The LP’s attempt to pressure the board of canvassers to look into the ballots that were null is a futile exercise that is beyond the mandate of the joint committee,” Bautista said.... MORE    

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20100604hed3.html

SC revamps divisions, reps in poll tribunals By Benjamin B. Pulta 06/04/2010

SC revamps divisions, reps in poll tribunals

By Benjamin B. Pulta

The Supreme Court revamped the composition of the Tribunal’s three divisions and its representatives in the Senate and House electoral tribunal as a result of the retirement of former Chief Justice Reynato Puno.

The Chief Justice sits as head of the high court’s First Division and ex-officio chairman of the Judicial and Bar Council (JBC) and the Presidential Electoral Tribunal (PET).

Before his appointment as Chief Justice, Renato Corona was the chairman of the SC’s Third Division and the House of Repre-sentatives Electoral Tribunal (HRET).

In a series of administrative orders, Corona designated Associate Justice Conchita Carpio-Morales as the new chairman of the Third Division and head of the HRET.

Presumtive president-elect Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III earlier had said he was inclined to take his oath before Carpio-Morales, the lone dissenter in the March 17 decision that exempted appointments to the SC from the constitutional ban on midnight appointments.

Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio retained his chairmanships of the Second Division and the Senate Electoral Tribunal (SET).

Court Administrator and SC spokesman Jose Midas Marquez said the appointments of Carpio-Morales and Carpio are crucial since the country has just undergone a process of elections..... MORE    

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20100604hed4.html

New president warned vs going easy on ‘extra-judicial killers’ By Michaela P. del Callar 06/04/2010

New president warned vs going easy on ‘extra-judicial killers’

By Michaela P. del Callar

A United Nations special rapporteur has warned that the military might intervene and advise presidential front-runner Sen. Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino, who is likely to be proclaimed the next Philippine President, to go slow on his campaign promise to prosecute the perpetrators of extra-judicial killings and other human rights violations in the Philippines.

“The President-elect will likely be reminded that he is heavily dependent on the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), not to cause problems and that any prosecution will alienate the military,” UN special rapporteur Philip
Alston said at a side event during the ongoing 14th Session of the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva, Switzerland.

The Philippine military has been instrumental in bringing down the governments of Ferdinand Marcos in 1986 and President Joseph Estrada in 2001 while President Arroyo has survived at least two coup attempts by disgruntled junior military officials due to strong support for her by senior military officials.

Alston advised the incoming President to have a “vision” and a firm resolve in eradicating the killings of activists, journalists and human rights defenders.

“It is very important, in my experience, to try to think strategically and to have a vision of how one really wants to look forward and I wouldn’t for the moment, downplay the importance of prosecution, which I have emphasized consistently and I wouldn’t de-emphasize the extent of the problem of impunity which sends a continuing signal to the military that they can do what they want,” Alston noted.

Local rights group Karapatan claimed that 1,118 extra-judicial killings and more than 200 enforced disappearances were documented in the Philippines between 2001 and October 2009.

According to Alston, “impunity is a serious issue that characterized extra-judicial killings and enforced disappearances in the Philippines.”

Alston, who was in the Philippines for a fact-finding mission in 2007, blasted the Arroyo administration for failing to put an end to extra-judicial killings, which he said has decreased in recent years, but has continued due to lack of substantial measures to address the problem.... MORE    

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20100604hed6.html

DoJ summons 4 lawyers, 2 newsmen in ‘The Firm’ libel case 06/04/2010

DoJ summons 4 lawyers, 2 newsmen in ‘The Firm’ libel case


The Department of Justice (DoJ) yesterday summoned a former Ombudsman and four lawyers of the so-called “The Firm” and two staffers of the newspaper Philippine Daily Inquirer (PDI) in connection with the libel charges filed against them by former Solicitor General Francisco “Frank” Chavez.

In a subpoena signed by Senior State Prosecutor Theodore Villanueva, summoned were former Ombudsman Simeon Marcelo and lawyers Avelino “Nonong” Cruz Jr., Raul Angcangco, Alejancro Alfonso Navarro and Arthur Villaraza. 

Also summoned were the PDI reporter and editor, respectively namely, Daxim Lucas and Pergentino Bandayrel Jr. and the complainant, Chavez. 

The preliminary investigation was set on June 16, at 2 p.m. 

The respondents were also ordered to submit their respective counter-affidavits. 

The complainant was also ordered to submit his evidence to substantiate his allegations.... MORE    

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/nation/20100604nat4.html

House to take up information bill By Charlie V. Manalo 06/04/2010

House to take up information bill

By Charlie V. Manalo
Speaker Prospero Nograles yesterday vowed to take up the controversial Freedom of Information (FOI) bill today before Congress adjourns sine die.

This even as he appealed to all members of the House to attend today’s session to ensure quorum in order to ratify the bill.

Before Congress adjourned last February for the election campaign, the House failed to ratify the bill due to problems on quorum. 

The bill had already been ratified by the Senate.

“Yes, the FOI is in our agenda and we will take it up before our sine die adjournment today,” Nograles said. “We have already put that in our agenda. I believe (all of the pending bills) can be finished and approved (today).”

Nograles, however, admitted that he cannot prevent his colleagues from questioning the quorum. 

“The only problem is when somebody questions the quorum. But hopefully there will be a quorum,” he said.
.... MORE  

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/nation/20100604nat5.html

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