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Different strokes for different presidents EDITORIAL 06/23/2010

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Different strokes for different presidents

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Not yet in full power and position, and already Sisters Inc. is butting in, not only in the affairs of the executive, but also in a supposed co-equal branch of government — the legislature.

Celebrity sister of President-elect Noynoy Aquino, according to a very reliable source in the Senate, has not only been calling up senators to solicit votes for Mr. Noted, Sen. Francis Pangilinan’s bid for the Senate presidency, but has gone to the extent of offering choice positions for several senators, in exchange of their vote for the Liberal Party bet to ensure his top position.
At the same time, it has been noted that the other sisters have not only been vetting candidates for the brother’s Cabinet positions, but are also into greatly influencing his decisions, if not making the major decisions for him.
As recounted by the Senate source, Kris offered several senators the retention of their positions and committee chairmanships, such as the Senate President pro-tempore, held today by reelected Sen. Jinggoy Estrada; the games and amusement committee chairmanship currently being held by reelected Sen. Lito Lapid, the public works committee held by reelected Sen. Bong Revilla, among other choice chairmanships, all to ensure that Noynoy gets a majority of senators in the incoming Senate.... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20100623com1.html

Senate politics FRONTLINE Ninez Cacho-Olivares 06/23/2010

Senate politics

Ninez Cacho-Olivares
Getting the top Senate slot may not be all that easy for Liberal Party (LP)’s Sen. Francis Pangilinan, if the Villar-Nacionalista bloc does not break, which is probably why presidential sister has been offering various senators choice positions in the Senate committees as chairman.

Truth is, whatever it is Kris and Pangilinan are offering today to senators whom they hope will join this LP bloc, the same positions can also be offered by the Villar bloc — save of course for the four-man bloc of Senate President Juan Ponce-Enrile, who has made a stand not to join the Villar bloc, for reasons of delicadeza. But this four-man bloc is certainly going to be a potent force in this Senate leadership struggle between the two main camps.

The truth is, in forming a coalition to get the numbers, both in the House of Representatives and the Senate, the sweetener offered to members being approached to join the coalition, or, in the case of the Senate, the majority bloc, since no one party ever has the numbers, courtesy of the anomaly of having a multi-party system under a presidential form of government, is the committee chairmanships, usually seen by the lawmakers as the plum prize.
It should be fairly easy to divide the Senate spoils — if one really had at least 12 signatories for a resolution to effect a leadership change, as getting one more from another camp would be a breeze.... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20100623com2.html

Sex education debate heats up in Philippines FEATURE 06/23/2010

Sex education debate heats up in Philippines


Anew sex education campaign in Philippine schools has sparked widespread debate in Asia’s bedrock of Catholicism, where the high birth rate is blamed for desperate poverty.

The United Nations-backed program, which is being piloted this month in primary and high schools, aims to promote safe sex, limit the spread of HIV-AIDS and prevent unwanted pregnancies.

However, the Catholic Church and powerful conservative crusaders have struck back with a high-profile campaign to shut down the project, saying it breaks the nation’s religion-based moral codes.

“Sex education in schools is not the answer to our population problem and poverty,” Eric Manalang, head of the conservative political party Ang Kapatiran (The Brotherhood), told AFP on Monday.

“It promotes promiscuity among children... it does not promote the proper values that we want our children to receive in schools and we believe sex education should strictly remain a family affair.”

Manalang said his party and church had filed a petition in court on Monday requesting an injunction to stop the program.... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20100623com3.html

Carry on, V-nay MR. EXPOSE Amb. Ernesto Maceda 06/23/2010

Carry on, V-nay

Amb. Ernesto Maceda
From all indications and from reliable sources in the Aquino-Roxas camp, defeated vice presidential candidate Mar Roxas has gotten his wish that no Cabinet position be given to Vice President-elect Jejomar Binay who received a mandate to govern from close to 15 million voters.
So be it. Vice President Binay can now discharge the equally important job of being the leader of a loyal but critical opposition. As P-Noy original defender Billy Esposo observed in his Philippine Star column yesterday: “We must be alarmed over this developing rift between the President-elect and Vice President-elect because of the sensitivities of defeated P-Noy runningmate, Mar Roxas. If it is important for P-Noy to attain the cooperation of his presidential rivals, then it is imperative that his vice president — Jojo Binay (V-Nay) — does not become the rallying point of the new opposition”...
“It is one thing to give or not to give V-Nay the DILG (Department of the Interior and Local Government) portfolio. It is political suicide to vilify V-Nay and transform him into an opposition rallying point.”

At Monday night’s cocktails to close the 340th anniversary of Makati, the people in attendance included more than 200 mayors, most of whom belong to Lakas-Kampi-CMD. VP Binay would have been the best person to unite local officials to support the administration of P-Noy.... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20100623com4.html

JPE’s notes; Abalos’ point C.R.O.S.S.R.O.A.D.S Jonathan De la Cruz 06/23/2010

JPE’s notes; Abalos’ point

Jonathan De la Cruz

It is well that Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile has vowed to look into the “inordinate increase” in toll fees to be collected by the new operators of the South Luzon Expressway beginning next month. The new toll rates imposed by the Toll Regulatory Board (TRB) in response to an earlier petition by the operator South Luzon Tollway Corp., a Malaysian controlled joint venture company, is one of a number of “legacies” which the Arroyo administration is leaving to President Aquino and his team. But it may well be the bellwether of how the new group handles what may well be called “highly sensitive and combustible issues.” Quite apart from the fact that the toll rates are being imposed prior to actual and responsible consultations with all stakeholders as provided for under the law its imposition at this point may wreak havoc on the commuting public and a wide range of economically sensitive sectors. As the Cagayan solon correctly noted “there is no question that there should be an increase to give the operator the opportunity to recoup its investments this being a modified BOT project but why so much?” Indeed, why the rush to such a steep, 250 percent increase across the board? That should be the first question to be answered by the TRB and the joint venture company.

Still on JPE, as the Senate President is called, his take on the proposed “independent commission” to handle possible cases against President Arroyo and her family to be attached to the Department of Justice (DoJ) much like the PCGG during President Cory Aquino’s time should be seriously considered by the incoming President. Said JPE: “Independent commission? For what? We always have these commissions but nothing happens to them. You give that to a commission, the members would not know what to do, years will pass and they will have no case. Let the DoJ and the courts handle the job. The entire prosecution service of the government is there. They will be in control of the government, if there were those who committed wrongdoings, including me, they should use that..” Even the fear of some Aquino supporters that those in the DoJ and even the courts and the Ombudsman are so indebted to the Arroyos does not sit well with JPE. He noted that the new administration and its allies can always impeach the Ombudsman and put a new one. ... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20100623com5.html

The spare tire HE SAYS Aldrin Cardon 06/23/2010

The spare tire

Aldrin Cardon
Sure words coming from President-elect Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino’s camp point to Vice President-elect Jejomar Binay only filling his role as a “spare tire” as former Naga City Mayor Jesse Robredo is said to be a cinch to be appointed secretary of the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG).

So, two cars are expected to go their separate ways shortly after they are sworn in next Wednesday before a mass of an overly expectant people, who will hinge their hope for a meaningful change on Aquino’s campaign promise, while Binay will try to find his role in a government (and a president) that does not seem to want him as a partner.

Binay had openly declared his intent to support Aquino while letting the nation know that he does not want to become only a spare tire to wait for the presidency to be vacated either through death, incapacity, resignation or when the president gets ousted by whatever cause.

Binay had also declared his “preferred appointment,” which is the DILG, with which he is familiar with after serving as Makati mayor for many terms. Binay’s preference, however, was also read as fishing for that opportunity to solidify his base in case he opts to run for the presidency in 2016, although he would be 75-years old by then.
Age, however, is hardly a factor in politics, and Aquino’s Liberal Party friends view Binay as a threat to their planned redomination of the Philippine political landscape.

Besides, there is still Mar Roxas waiting in the wings.... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20100623com6.html

Swearing in SHE SAYS Dinah S. Ventura 06/23/2010

Swearing in

Dinah S. Ventura
Sen. Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino’s sisters Ballsy Aquino-Cruz, Pinky Aquino-Abellada and Kris Aquino-Yap have already inspected the Quirino Grandstand at Rizal Park in Manila where his inauguration as the Philippines’ 15th president will take place on June 30. The family wants the inauguration rites to be simple.

When President-elect Aquino calls on Malacañang on June 30 and rides in a limousine with outgoing President Arroyo to the Quirino Grandstand, the Filipino people will be watching. No doubt many will be looking avidly at what people are wearing or where Noynoy’s famous sister Kris will be seated. The wags will talk about who were there and who weren’t, and what the new President said.
Indeed, the upcoming presidential inauguration is on everybody’s minds — well, most everybody’s, that is. For some people, it’s a formality that has ceased to have meaning, certainly not after one too many presidents had fudged the job they swore to do.

Is President-elect Aquino up to the job ahead? Before his proclamation by Congress, he had told reporters that for his inauguration (although he did not want to sound too presumptuous), he wanted the event to be “a people’s celebration” before the “hard work” begins — that is, before “all the problems of the Arroyo administration were ‘passed on to us,’” he is quoted in the report.

For now, at least, one thing has been settled. After all the furor about the Gloria Arroyo-appointed Chief Justice that Aquino had requested she leave off for the next president, he has invited Associate Justice Conchita Carpio-Morales of the Supreme Court to administer his oath of office on June 30. After all, he had already made it clear that if elected, he would not want to be sworn in by Arroyo’s former legal adviser and appointed Chief Justice Renato Corona.... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20100623com7.html

Binay challenges Noynoy: Deliver on campaign vows By Gerry Baldo 06/23/2010

Binay challenges Noynoy: Deliver on campaign vows

By Gerry Baldo

Vice President-elect Jejomar Binay yesterday dared President-elect Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino to make good on his campaign promises, particularly on what he would do to stem the growing poverty and helplessness among the millions of poor Filipinos.

Binay, in an interview yesterday, said the incoming government should act drastically to stop the oil companies from increasing the prices of gasoline and other petroleum products. 

Binay also stresed that the government should stop the operators of the South Luzon Expressway (Slex) from increasing its toll rates.

He pointed out that the government — specifically the President — can simply stop the implementation of the gasoline price and toll rate increases it if does not want to be part of the system that would further burden the people.

“It really is very simple. Just don’t implement the increases,” Binay said.

Binay, who ran under the banner of the Pwersa ng Masang Pilipino, reminded the incoming Aquino administration about the promises it made to the people.

“I repeat it this early. The President-elect has just finished coming up with his pledges to the people (one of which is to ease the living conditions of the poor). Why can’t this (high prices in oil and toll rates) be stopped by the new administration? Just stop it. Stop its implementation,” he stressed.

toll rates) be stopped by the new administration? Just stop it. Stop its implementation,” he stressed.
The Vice President-elect pressed the incoming Aquino administration to scrap the value added tax (VAT) on tollways.
“This is the first test for the new administration in its determination to fulfill the campaign promise to improve the lives of our people,” he said.

Binay said the new administration must analyze the reason behind imposing such tax since it is of dubious legality as nowhere in the Republic Act 9337, the Reformed VAT Law of 2005, does it allow its imposition on tollway users.
“A line-by-line reading of RA 9337 will not yield a single provision authorizing the collection of VAT on expressway fees,” Binay said.

He said the law expands the coverage and raises the rate of VAT from 10 to12 percent, but toll road use is not among the goods and services enumerated.

In the absence of a law authorizing its collection, Binay urged the BIR to stop adding to the difficulties of the people and recall Revenue Memorandum Circulars 30-2010 , 72-2009 , 52-2005, which all stated that toll fees were subject to the VAT.... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20100623hed1.html

DFA careerists to go on mass leave if Romulo is retained By Michaela P. del Callar 06/23/2010

DFA careerists to go on mass leave if Romulo is retained

By Michaela P. del Callar

Department of Foreign Affairs career diplomats have threatened to take a mass leave should President-elect Benigno Aquino III retain DFA Secretary Alberto Romulo whom they have accused of engaging in political turncoatism, incompetence and mishandling of an allegedly graft-tainted passport project.

Aquino was quoted as saying that Romulo is a long-time friend of the Aquinos and praised Romulo for being the first among the Arroyo Cabinet officials who publicly announced support for his (Noynoy) candidacy for president.
Talk is rife that Romulo will be retained in his post for at least one year, apparently to warm the DFA seat for a losing Liberal Party official, as losers in the elections are slapped with a one-year ban from being appointed to a government position.

The 300-strong Union of Foreign Service Officers or Unifors called Romulo a “major impediment” to the DFA’s forward movement.

They said they would back Aquino but warned him against extending the term of Romulo, noting that throughout the six years of President Arroyo’s administration, he was its “main representative to the world and its principal defender.”

“While he did come out to voice his support for the Aquino candidacy, he did not do the honorable move of resigning immediately from the Cabinet and instead came out with the confusing mixed message of ‘I am standing by the President (Arroyo) until the end of her term and beyond.’ This was fence-sitting of the highest order,” the union said in a June 20 letter sent to Aquino.

A copy of the protest letter, which was signed by union president and DFA Assistant Secretary for Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) Affairs Victoria Bataclan, was obtained by the Tribune Tuesday.

Bataclan and the diplomats’ union said there is “widespread opposition in the DFA to the reappointment of Romulo to his current position, while there is also the fear of reprisal silencing those who would like to take a more public stand.”

“Six years is too much. We can not take it anymore. We are prepared to go on mass leave if he stays,” one senior diplomat told the Tribune.... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20100623hed2.html

Bangit: Some AFP officials engaged in partisan politics By Mario J. Mallari 06/23/2010

Bangit: Some AFP officials engaged in partisan politics

By Mario J. Mallari

Former Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Chief of Staff Gen.Delfin Bangit, as he retired from the service yesterday, threw a broadside broadly hinting that some military officials could have engaged in partisan politics during the last May 10 national elections which could have meant being part of the electoral fraud.

In his retirement speech, Bangit repeatedly thanked military troops for maintaining their professionalism during the last presidential elections but hinted broadly that some active AFP personnel could have failed to perform as ordered and as expected.

“When I pleaded that you stay out of politics during the last elections, most of you did. I cannot ask for more. I am proud of you, so proud. As for the rest, we leave them to the next leadership to deal with,” said Bangit.

Prior to the presidential elections, there were reports that then presidential candidate and now incoming President Benigno Aquino III had met with some active officials of the AFP. Aquino himself had confirmed this, even mentioning some names.

Among those mentioned in the reports was AFP-Eastern Mindanao Command chief Lt. Gen. Raymundo Ferrer, who vehemently denied meeting with Aquino.

But even as Ferrer denied it, Aquino insisted that he had already said he met with Ferrer and a group of active military officers and that he wasn’t going to backtrack on his earlier statement.

Ferrer, the administrator of martial law in Maguindanao province, became controversial after publicly expressing disenchantment over the promotion of members of the Philippine Military Academy (PMA) Class of 1978, particularly that of Army chief Lt. Gen. Reynaldo Mapagu last March.... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20100623hed3.html

DoJ chief: Susano may face raps on CF card issue By Benjamin B. Pulta 06/23/2010

DoJ chief: Susano may face raps on CF card issue

By Benjamin B. Pulta

Losing Quezon City mayoralty candidate, Rep. Annie Susano, may face a criminal indictment for her unexplained possession of the compact flash cards (CF) supposedly used by the Commission on Elections (Comelec) for last May’s elections.

Acting Justice Secretary Alberto Agra said that under election laws, mere possession of election paraphernalia, which are all “accountable documents,” is punishable with either a fine or prison term, or both.

Agra said Susano was supposed to meet with him, Comelec Commissioner Jose Melo and the other commissioners, but that the meeting did not push through because some of the commissioners were unavailable.
He said that based on the Comelec’s inventory of all CF cards and Precinct Count Optical Scan (PCOS) machines, there were missing main and backup cards.

The card found in Susano’s possession, Agra said, turned out to be the main CF card assigned to Barangay Bahay Toroin QC. 

Quoting the Comelec officials that he had interviewed, the results of the CF card in Susano’s custody had already been transmitted to the Comelec and to the QC board of canvassers before she was able to obtain it.

“We have yet to establish how she got the card. We’re checking now on the automated election law (wherein) possession of a CF card would render a person liable. So the question now is, how did she obtain the CF cards? I wouldn’t want to make that conclusion (that Susano is liable) yet until we find out how she obtained the card,” he said.

Aside from Susano, he said that the election officer assigned to take custody of the card may also be held accountable for misplacing the card.... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20100623hed4.html

Loyal to the end, Neri warns ‘honest men’ on joining gov’t 06/23/2010

Loyal to the end, Neri warns ‘honest men’ on joining gov’t

Embattled Social Security System (SSS) president Romulo Neri, who along with former Commission on Elections (Comelec) Chairman Benjamin Abalos, is facing prison terms for graft related to the botched $329-mil-lion National Broadband Network (NBN) project, gave an advice to those seeking a govern-ment post: Don’t do it if you’re honest and you want to stay out of trouble.

Neri, in an implied defense of his innocence from misdeals in the kickback-rich contract, told reporters “it’s hard to keep out of trouble if you’re in the government.”

Neri told Palace reporters yesterday that the ordeal that he is going through over the NBN scam was the most significant lesson he has learned from public service under the nine-year Arroyo administration. 

“No matter how careful you are, how honest you try to be, it’s hard to... keep out of trouble if you’re in govern-ment. It’s a warning to anybody who wants to join govern-ment,” he said in a chance interview during the launching of President Arro-yo’s legacy books in Malacañang.

Neri, however, said he does not bear a personal grudge against Arroyo notwithstanding other people’s perception that she should be held liable for what has happened to him as Arroyo’s fallguy.

“The President has to do what she has to do. I respect whatever decision she has done. I’m professionally loyal to any boss. Since the president is my boss, I have to be professionally loyal to her,” Neri explained.

Neri, who was then the Socioeconomic Planning Secretary, told a Senate inquiry into the NBN mess that he had informed Arroyo of a kickback offer from former Comelec chairman Benjamin Abalos who was facilitating the deal in exchange for the approval of the project in the National Economic and Development Authority (Neda), which Neri concurrently headed.... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20100623hed5.html

New book critiques Arroyo administration 06/23/2010

New book critiques Arroyo administration


Everybody seems to be writing books these days, with veteran journalist Joel Paredes unleashing a stirring indictment of the Arroyo administration in his 300-page book Critical Times launched yesterday morning at the Executive House in UP Diliman.

Paredes said the nine-year Arroyo dispensation was hounded by scandals from Day 1, and this set the tenor for the rest of the administration.

The launch was attended by incoming Vice President Jejomar Binay, who also called for a better deal for 93 million Filipinos in the next six years.

The book, a compilation of columns, essays and commentaries on a broad range of subjects, actually beat the release of favorable books on the legacy of Arroyo, who was swept to power in 2001 even without the completion of the impeachment trial of President Estrada by the Senate.

Arroyo’s ascension to power was questioned by Washington, Singapore and other foreign governments along with the New York Times and Washington Post.... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20100623hed6.html

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