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Politics and change EDITORIAL 06/16/2010

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Politics and change

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Change is a siren song, tempting, it is true, although in heeding it, danger lies ahead, so the legend goes.

At this point, the victors, President-elect Noynoy Aquino and his yellows, along with the Liberal Party (LP) members, continue singing the siren song of change, which is good, if they can really effect changes in government and governance.
But can they, given the length of time they will be in power and position?

They certainly are trying to make that move, with senator-allies of Aquino calling for the resignation of the incumbent Ombudsman, Merceditas Gutierrez, for Aquino’s anti-corruption drive to succeed. They said that Gutierrez, said to be sitting on graft cases against Gloria Arroyo and her aides, has failed to live up to public expectations.

Quite frankly, if such would be the justifiable reason for one to resign, then perhaps 80 to 90 percent of our officials — whether in the executive branch, legislative branch or the judicial branch of government should be called upon to resign, as most of them have hardly lived up to the public’s expectations.

Said Sen. Francis Pangilinan: “Given her (Ombudsman) track record of absolving suspected grafters left and right, especially those from the present administration, maybe she should not just tender a courtesy resignation but an outright resignation.”

Said Sen. Frank Drilon: “The common perception is that the Ombudsman is too protective of the Arroyo administration,” and this would stymie the efforts of new administration’s drive against corruption.... MORE    

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20100616com1.html

A prostituted Congress in the making FRONTLINE Ninez Cacho-Olivares 06/16/2010

A prostituted Congress in the making

Ninez Cacho-Olivares
For someone who claims he wants to ensure the independence and integrity of the three branches of government, the incoming president, Noynoy Aquino, appears to be going back on his word, or at the very least, wants control over the House of Representatives.

A report, quoting incoming Rep. Sonny Belmonte, who is slated to be the Speaker, said Aquino wants to have a say in the selection of chairmen of various committees in the lower chamber.
According to Belmonte, Aquino has asked him to be consulted on committees that have to do with governance, such as appropriations, ways and means and good government, among others, adding that “consultation” with Aquino on various chairmanships is essential since these committee chairmanships will have a “tremendous impact” on Aquino’s government.

There go independence and integrity of a so-called co-equal body, going down the drain, with the head of the executive branch directly meddling in the affairs of a co-equal body.

In the many years of changes in the administration and Congresses, as well as Speakers, to my recollection, there was never a time when the chief executive directly meddled in the affairs of Congress by having the last say on congressional committee chairmanships.

While it is perhaps accurate to state that the installation of a Speaker in the House of Representatives is always the choice of the president — as politics is practiced in this country — there has never been a time when a president openly interfered in the choices for the House committee chairmanships — except under an Aquino ll presidency.
Everyone knows — especially the Aquino-installed Speaker — that which is sought by the president-elect will be granted. After all, if the Aquino-anointed Speaker thumbs down that which Aquino wants, Belmonte will out as Speaker faster than he can say “no, please.”... MORE    

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20100616com2.html

Full up: India’s Muslims, Christians fight for burial rights FEATURE 06/16/2010

Full up: India’s Muslims, Christians fight for burial rights


NEW DELHI — India’s teeming cities, where even the living jostle for space, are running out of room for the dead.

India’s Hindus cremate their loved ones, but the country’s Muslim and Christian minorities usually choose burial — and they fear the practice is under threat.

About 185 million Indians belong to the two faiths, with census figures recording 13 percent of the population as Muslim and two percent as Christian.

Finding land for burials in urban areas is the primary problem, religious leaders say, as India’s cities become ever more congested and every piece of earth is fiercely fought over.

“Go anywhere in India and see the graveyards, they are all full,” said Imam Umer Ahmed Ilyasi, chairman of the All India Imam Organization in New Delhi. “The government has been overlooking this issue for decades.”

Ilyasi said the lack of burial space is not just a problem in major cities such as New Delhi, Mumbai and Kolkata but has spread to many small towns.

Muslims bury the dead as fast as possible, and disapprove of cremation as they believe there will be a physical resurrection on the Day of Judgment.

To meet their needs, increasing numbers of Muslims are joining together to buy small pieces of wasteland to convert into “Kabristans” — Muslim graveyards.

Mohammed Arif, a resident of Noida on the outskirts of Delhi, purchased a government-registered plot along with his siblings and cousin in 2008.

“When my nephew died in a car crash, we struggled to get space in a graveyard in Delhi to bury him,” said Arif. “We want to avoid such a crisis in future.”

Indian Muslims often face widespread discrimination and live in the most densely packed, poorest parts of inner cities.... MORE  

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20100616com3.html

A different P-Noy MR. EXPOSE Amb. Ernesto Maceda 06/16/2010

A different P-Noy

Amb. Ernesto Maceda
Pia Hontiveros, ABS-CBN senior reporter and other House reporters noticed that from his body language, President-elect Noynoy Aquino was not too warm toward Vice President-elect Jojo Binay. For one, Noynoy did not invite Jojo to join his initial presscon. But the older Jojo took it in stride.

Vice President-elect Jojo Binay received more than 14 million votes, a surprise choice of the electorate in an upset win. He has a solid mandate from the people, having won in 14 out of 17 regions. He should be treated by P-Noy with more respect. P-Noy needs all the support he can get to start his presidency with the right foot.

As the observant columnist Manolo Quezon said of Noynoy’s first presscon, President-elect Noynoy Aquino was “combative.” Well, he certainly has started to pick a fight with Chief Justice Renato Corona, Department of Defense Secretary Bert Gonzales and Armed Forces of the Philippines Chief of Staff Delfin Bangit. Looks like a different Noynoy is coming out of his shell and may shed off his dependence on Mar Roxas who has been “dictating” certain appointments, even opposing Vice President Binay’s apointment to a Cabinet post.

People expected that his first statement would be a call for reconciliation and national unity. It would have been proper for him to reach out immediately to all the defeated presidential and vice presidential candidates, especially Manny Villar and Loren Legarda who are still senators and ask for cooperation. I remember President Ferdinand Marcos’ first statement after winning in 1965. He said: “In defeat, defiance. In victory, magnanimity.” Now that he has agreed to take his oath at the Quirino Grandstand, it would be an act of statemanship if he took his oath before Chief Justice Corona.... MORE  

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20100616com4.html

US enlists ex-warlord’s men for Afghan police force focus 06/16/2010

US enlists ex-warlord’s men for Afghan police force


RAWHANAY — Drawing on a cigarette held between his tattooed fingers, Mohammed Daoud is thanked by an American junior officer for dispatching 5,000 Afghan militiamen to join the police force.

“This would make me very happy to stand side by side with my friends,” US Lt. Jared Hollows tells the 35-year-old commander and loyalist of former warlord Gul Agha Sherzai in a village in Kandahar.

US troops fighting to control the southern province have cut a deal to bring Sherzai’s militia into the police, providing salaries and uniforms in return for help quelling Taliban unrest.

Nato commanders hope such deals can help reverse the tide of the nine-year Afghan war in the crucial months ahead under a strict timetable, as US President Barack Obama is keen to start getting troops out next year.

“We’re building an Afghan solution that puts the legitimate power where it belongs — in the government and in the security apparatus,” said US Lt. Col. John Paginini, commander of the 1st squadron, 71st cavalry regiment.

“There is no distinction between them and any other policemen from any other tribe or any other family.”

But alliances with men like Sherzai — former warlords suspected of pursuing personal profit — are not universally welcomed.

At least 30 US and Nato soldiers died in Afghanistan last week. Record casualty numbers and tough fighting across the south have raised questions about the course of the war, with commanders under intense pressure to show progress....More

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20100616com5.html


Cycle HE SAYS Aldrin Cardon 06/16/2010


Aldrin Cardon

It was around this time when I first stepped in a university as a college freshman. I was full of hope, as the country was, with what was called as the revolution of Edsa only a few months back.

A student demonstration in the first day of classes, however, greeted my peace. And it exposed this rubbernecker to some of life’s realities, which were totally different from what was being fed by the yellow media then, diminishing the euphoria of Edsa that once engulfed my heart, and hastening my transformation from boy to man, from believer to a critic.

Less than a year after, 13 demonstrators were killed in what is now known as the Mendiola Massacre; Several more months later, Lean Alejandro was murdered. We were back to where we once have been.

Other than the things we anticipate for this opening of the new school year, like shortage in teachers, classrooms and the usual traffic, we also look forward to what the incoming administration of President-elect Benigno Simeon “Noynoy” Aquino can offer, not for us, but for our youth, many of whom have just started chasing their dreams through college education on at which they will hinge their future.

Like his mother before him, Aquino would be our youth’s symbol of hope. He will have the mandate previous presidents before him did not enjoy. Ranged against his shoulder is an anticipation of better governance, something which the president before him had failed to deliver.

Much is also being hoped for under an Aquino administration, all of which are hinged on his promise of a clean governance. How he will fare as a president will be gauged on what he can do for our youth, many of whom are hoping to finish college and crossing their fingers on chances at working overseas..... MORE

  SourceThe Daily Tribune

  URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20100616com6.html

15th president SHE SAYS Dinah S. Ventura 06/16/2010

15th president

Dinah S. Ventura

A month after the country’s first automated elections, Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino was proclaimed the 15th president of the Philippines.

The number 15 holds great significance in the Bible. My research shows that the first time this number is seen is in the story of Noah, whose ark was raised by 15 cubits of water. The number is also thought to mean “divine grace,” and often appears “where new life or resurrection feature,” according to australis.com.

Now I know some people may scoff at this little numerology attempt, but in the case of Noynoy’s victory in the polls, allow me to point out some significant parallels.

One might say that President Noynoy’s ascent to the highest office of the land occurred largely because of “the energy of divine grace.” First, his image as the son of “revered democracy icons Ninoy Aquino Jr. and former President Corazon Aquino” undeniably contributed a lot to the positive response he got from majority of the electorate. When his mother died from cancer last year, the quiet politician was urged to run for the presidency and submitted that his decision was influenced largely by the fateful events in his family’s life.

In reference to the number 15’s “new life” meaning, the Liberal Party’s campaign dwelt mainly on the promise to stay clean, as well as to act against corruption and poverty, which he reiterated when he was proclaimed last June 9. “As president, we will be in a position to effect the necessary changes,” he is quoted in an online report after the proclamation. “With the backing of the people, I don’t think anything is impossible.”... MORE    

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20100616com7.html

Corruption, collusion, factors for failed prosecution By Michaela P. del Callar 06/16/2010

US State Dep’t Report on RP’s continued human trafficking

Corruption, collusion, factors for failed prosecution

By Michaela P. del Callar

For the US State Department, the inability of the Philippine government to curb human trafficking and failure to prosecute such cases in court rests on endemic corruption in government and the collusion between authorities and syndicates, along with a weak judiciary.

As a result, the United States has retained the Philippines on its tier two watchlist of countries that do not comply with international anti-human trafficking laws for the second straight year, citing the government’s inability to effectively prosecute trafficking crimes due to an “inefficient judicial system and widespread corruption.”

In its 2010 Trafficking in Persons report released Monday (Tuesday in Manila), the US State Department said the Philippines “is a source country, and to a much lesser extent, a destination and transit country for men, women and children who are subjected to trafficking in persons, specifically forced prostitution and forced labor.”

It said a significant number of Filipino men and women who migrate abroad for work are subjected to conditions of involuntary servitude worldwide. Men, women, and children, it said, were subjected to conditions of forced labor in factories, construction sites, and as domestic workers in Asia and increasingly throughout the Middle East.

“Women were subjected to sex trafficking in countries such as Malaysia, Singapore, Hong Kong, South Korea, Japan, and various Middle Eastern countries,” the report said. 

“Within the Philippines, people were trafficked from rural areas to urban centers including Manila, Cebu, the city of Angeles, and increasingly to cities in Mindanao. Hundreds of victims are trafficked each day in well-known and highly visible business establishments. Women and children were trafficked internally for forced labor as domestic workers, small-scale factory workers, beggars, and for exploitation in the commercial sex industry,” the report stated.... MORE  

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20100616hed1.html

PCOS pullout may negate poll protests — Macalintal By Marie A. Surbano 06/16/2010

PCOS pullout may negate poll protests — Macalintal

By Marie A. Surbano

Election protest cases, including one that defeated vice presidential bet Sen. Manuel Roxas II, plans to file, may come to naught since the more than 82,200 precinct count optical scan (PCOS) machines that the government leased from automated poll equipment contractor will be pulled out by the end of this year.

Based on previous cases, it takes more than two years to resolve challenges on the result of elections and even those involving local candidates filed with the Commission on Elections (Comelec) are not decided on until near the next election period.

Protests on the presidential and vice presidential votes are filed with the Presidential Election Tribunal (PET) composed of members of the Supreme Court and past protest cases took close to three years to resolve.
According to election lawyer Romulo Macalintal, the expiration of the contract between Comelec and the supplier Smartmatic Corp., and 

Total Information Management Corp will also result in the pulling out of the computers.

“These protest cases, Including that of Mar Roxas against (vice president-elect Jejomar) Binay, may not be possible at all since by December 31 the PCOS machines will be gone,” Macalintal said during a forum.
“Everything should be accomplished while the PCOS machines are still here… If not, it would be goodbye to all protest cases in the country,” he added.

Based on the Comelec rules of procedures, contested ballots in a protest case must be fed to a PCOS machine anew to verify the authenticity of the ballots that will be recounted.... MORE  

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20100616hed2.html

FG defends self, GMA in non-fiction By Aytch de la Cruz 06/16/2010

FG defends self, GMA in non-fiction

By Aytch de la Cruz

First Gentleman Jose Miguel Arroyo has turned into an author overnight as he announced yesterday the release of a 175-page book titled The First which consisted mainly of what he did for nine years in Malacañang but what caught the eye of most of those who received first copies of the book were 18 pages of the book under the chapter “Controversies: Setting the Record Straight.” 

Arroyo claimed in the chapter he has been “crucified in the public eye” for years since his wife took over the nation’s helm in 2001, while detailing his charitable deeds and addressing all the controversies hurled against him and outgoing President Arroyo.

The book was published by his personal charity organization, the First Gentleman Foundation Inc. (FGFI), and was launched yesterday inside Malacañang’s Ceremonial Hall to counter all allegations of corruption pressed upon him by their critics.

In the final chapter devoted to fending off allegations hurled against him, Mr. Arroyo claimed that all the issues reported by the media based on the statements of his regular critics were “baseless, 

politically-motivated, and are meant to discredit him to erode public confidence in the President.”

Issues such as the use of Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) funds for campaign purposes (2001), Jose Pidal expose (2003), the multiple libel suits filed against members of the media (2004), the Jueteng payola (2005), the Hello Garci vote-rigging scandal (2005), the use of the expensive Las Vegas suite during the Manny Pacquiao fight (2005), his multi-million dollar bank accounts (2006), the Fertilizer Fund Scam (2006), the National Broadband Network (NBN)-ZTE anomaly (2006), the allegations on his fake heart ailment and money laundering (2008), the World Bank projects scandal (2009), and many other controversies were chronicled in the book but all explaining the side of the First Gentleman..... MORE    

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20100616hed3.html

SC may rule on Bangit appointment row By Benjamin B. Pulta 06/16/2010

SC may rule on Bangit appointment row

By Benjamin B. Pulta

Moot or not, a ruling may be handed down by the Supreme Court (SC) in a case challenging the constitutionality of the appointment of Gen. Delfin Bangit as chief of staff the Armed Forces of the Philippines despite his recent decision to retire early.

Court Administrator Jose Midas Marquez said the SC is set to rule on a petition filed by the Philippine Bar Association (PBA) led by former Ombudsman Simeon Marcelo which sought to nullify Bangit’s appointment, along with two other top military officials —Philippine Army commanding general Lt. Gen. Reynaldo Mapagu and AFP-NCR commander Rear Adm. Feliciao Angue — for alleged violation of the constitutional ban on midnight appointments.

Marquez said the case was among those taken up in the Court session presided over by Chief Justice Renato Corona yesterday .

Bangit figured in a public and unfriendly exchange of words with President -elect Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III over his appointment .

“The Court requires petitioner (PBA) to submit reply on the comment of the respondents filed through Office of the Solicitor General before it submits the case for resolution,” he explained.

The lawyers’ group is given 10 days to comply with the order.

The OSG, in its comment, defended the assailed appointments and argued that there was no violation of the Charter because General Bangit and the other two were appointed before the midnight appointments ban took effect.
In a petition filed last May 4, the PBA alleged that the promotions of General Bangit and the two other officials violated the ban on midnight appointments under Section 15 Article VII of the Constitution.... MORE    

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20100616hed4.html

US gov’t attention on Noynoy highly suspicious — Miriam By Angie M. Rosales 06/16/2010

US gov’t attention on Noynoy highly suspicious — Miriam

By Angie M. Rosales

The apparent attention being given by the American government to the incoming administration is highly suspicious, Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago said yesterday.

“I’m very concerned that America is showing its hand too early, giving him the big build up,” Santiago said, referring to President-elect Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino.

“That is going to provoke the suspicion in the minds of many that America is intending to manipulate the Aquino presidency,” she added.

One of the first ambassadors to visit Aquino shortly after the unofficial count was aired by the Commission on Elections, and even as Aquino was not as yet proclaimed, was the new US ambassador, who even congratulated his victory and the automated elections, despite early allegations of electoral fraud, and despite the fact that Smartmatic was under the carpet by a US agency for the flaws in election in several American states.

Santiago, in a phone-patched interview with reporters, related her observation following the recent airing over at the History Channel of a documentary featuring Aquino’s father, the late Sen. Benigno Aquino Jr., titled “The Assassination of Ninoy Aquino.”

The international satellite and cable television channel that features mainly historical events and persons has links to other countries but its headquarters operates in New York, according to Wikipedia.... MORE    

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20100616hed5.html

Davao radio journalist shot dead 06/16/2010 The killing of journalists never stops.

Davao radio journalist shot dead

The killing of journalists never stops.

An outspoken radio broadcaster has been shot dead by an unknown gunman in Davao, police said yesterday in the latest in a rash of attacks on journalists.
Desidario Camangyan, 52, of Sunrise FM in Mati City, was shot dead by the lone gunman shortly after the victim hosted a singing contest at a nearby town late Monday, said local police spokesman Supt. Querubin Manalang.
“We don’t have suspects yet. That is why we have created a task force to find out the full circumstances behind his murder,” Manalang added.
Mati residents said Camangyan was unafraid in his broadcasts to attack the area’s criminality including illegal drugs and gambling.
Police authorities are now looking into some angles that could have triggered the killing of Camangyan in Manay town, Davao Oriental province Monday night.
Reports reaching the Philippine National Police (PNP) headquarters in Camp Crame, Quezon City showed that the killing took place at around 10:30 p.m., in Bgy., Old Macopa, Manay town while the victim was sitting onstage as one of the judges of a singing contest.
The reports claimed that the gunman came from behind and shot the victim while seated on stage.... MORE  

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20100616hed6.html

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