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His day EDITORIAL 07/01/2010

Thursday, July 1, 2010

His day

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Missing in the inaugural rites of President Aquino was the solemnity of the occasion, as whoever planned the ceremony mixed it up with too many songs, with the theme of a new Philippines, plus the corny pledge of support from the crowd gathered at the Luneta.

Not to throw the damper on the occasion, but song and dance routines should have been reserved for the street party the yellows have planned in Quezon Memorial Circle to celebrate the formal entry of Noynoy into the presidency. The atmosphere for that street party is certainly right for all those songs and dances.
As to that pledge of support and for all Filipinos to do their thing in helping shape a new nation, and a new Philippines, just how long will that yellow “fervor” to change the ways of the Filipinos last?

Let’s cite an experience Filipinos had when then President Ferdinand Marcos declared martial law, and brought up that slogan of Filipino discipline, as well as new beginnings toward a great nation.

If we are honest, majority of the Filipinos then welcomed martial rule, or at least strongman rule and actually believed that discipline was the answer and that with Marcos at the helm, we would become a great nation.

It didn’t take too long for abuses to rear their ugly head, and Filipinos were again thrown into deep depression, as they now felt betrayed, and later oppressed by the strongman regime.... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20100701com1.html

A powerless commission FRONTLINE Ninez Cacho-Olivares 07/01/2010

A powerless commission

Ninez Cacho-Olivares
Noynoy Aquino will be creating what he calls “The Truth Commission,” where he claims all allegations against the Gloria government will be probed. This commission is to be headed by former Supreme Court Chief Justice Hilario Davide Jr., and the body, as claimed by Aquino, if evidence warrants, will be filing cases against whoever was involved in scams, if there were scams at all.

Truth is, that commission can’t do much by way of investigating mainly because it can’t possibly have the power to summon witnesses or the accused to appear before the body under pain of contempt — unless of course, Congress grants that body the powers to probe, summon and prosecute whoever is indicted.

It is doubted that the 15th Congress will be giving that body such powers, as like it or not, even if Liberal Party Rep. Sonny Belmonte becomes the Speaker of the House of Representatives and even when the Lakas-turned LPs are with him, this won’t come to pass.

Neither is the Senate likely to grant that body the powers it seeks, since Congress has that mandate to probe whatever it wants to probe. And giving this task to the commission merely duplicates Congress’ function, apart from the duplication of the Justice department and the Ombudsman’s office.... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20100701com2.html

Saudi clerics battle over music fatwas, adult-breastfeeding FEATURE 07/01/2010

Saudi clerics battle over music fatwas, adult-breastfeeding


RIYADH — One cleric’s endorsement of breastfeeding for grown men and another’s saying music is not un-Islamic have opened up a pitched battle in Saudi Arabia over who can issue fatwas, or Islamic religious edicts.

Hardline and progressive religious scholars, judges and clerics have taken the fight public in what some describe as outright “chaos” in the once ivory-tower world of setting the rules that govern much of life in the ultra-conservative Muslim kingdom.

Much of the fight in the past week has focused on a fatwa endorsing music issued by Adel al-Kalbani, a Riyadh cleric famed as the first black imam at the Grand Mosque in Mecca, Islam’s holiest city.

Kalbani, popular for his soulful baritone delivery of Koranic readings, said he found nothing in Islamic scripture that makes music haram, or forbidden.

But, aside from some folk music, public music performance is banned in Saudi Arabia, and conservatives say it is haram even in the home.

“There is no clear text or ruling in Islam that singing and music are haram,” Kalbani said.

Also in recent weeks, a much more senior cleric, Sheikh Abdul Mohsen al-Obeikan, raised hackles with two of his opinions, both of which could be considered fatwas..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20100701com3.html

Stateless in Manila BLURBAL THRUSTS Louie Logarta 07/01/2010

Stateless in Manila

Louie Logarta
It looks like a duck. It walks like a duck. It quacks like a duck. Then it must be a duck.

To paraphrase, it looks like a midnight deal. It appears to be a midnight deal. It seems to be a midnight deal. It has the hallmarks of a midnight deal. Then it must be a midnight deal.
The signs were unmistakably clear, which is probably why P-Noy’s inauguration committee wisely opted to distance themselves from the Quirino Grandstand renovation project where the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) upon the say-so of the puppet masters in Malacañang reportedly spent a small fortune, around P230 million, for the renovation of the storied Quirino Grandstand at the Luneta for yesterday’s inauguration and oathtaking of the President-elect as mandated by the Constitution.
The official reason put out in a press release by the DPWH was that the extraordinarily large sum was needed in order to ensure the allegedly dilapidated structure (formerly called the Independence Grandstand) would be ready in time for Noynoy Aquino’s grand coming-out party as the nation’s 15th President since being granted independence in 1946.
Several members of Aquino’s inauguration committee, that had been tasked with making sure there were no hitches in the affair, described as obscene the last-minute splurging by the Arroyo government of such an amount which is why they didn’t want to touch it with a ten-foot pole.... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20100701com4.html

We cannot fail, Mr. President! By Ronald Roy COMMENT 07/01/2010

We cannot fail, Mr. President!

By Ronald Roy


After administering the oath of office to President Benigno Aquino III, Supreme Court Associate Justice Conchita Morales-Carpio might have said while shaking hands with the new Chief Executive: “Save us, Mr. President, save us!”And he might have answered: “I’ll try my best, Madam Justice, I’ll try my best!”

That wee bit of dialog would have been a most refreshing way to punctuate the inaugural rite in a departure from the hackneyed and the prosaic — not that it would have presaged a difference in Noynoy’s discharge of presidential duties for the next six years — because it will not. But it would have opened the door for an imperative reformist socio-political agenda for the next quarter of a century. Anyway, let me join the nation in glorious jubilation, savoring every moment of it until the daunting work begins.

Wow! I still don’t believe it! Noynoy Aquino, President of the Republic of the Philippines! “Mabuhay kayo, kagalang-galang na Pangulo. Nawa’y matupad ang inyong mga pangako! Pero baka hindi po makakaya, gaya ng sinabi ninyo.”

After a nine-year misrule by a gnome and her horde of dragons, we can only look at Noynoy’s story like a fairytale — a knight in shining armor mounted on a white horse, descending from a cloud to slay and drive away these monsters. As in all cases of a new president, the expectations are high. But there’s the rub. President Aquino has declared his six-year term will most likely “not be enough to make a difference.”

I would agree with you, Mr. President, if you meant it would be like sweeping away Smokey Mountain overnight. And I would agree that only the fictional Superman (not even Albert Einstein) could do that. And I certainly would agree you are not the Clark Kent who is impervious to all weapons of mass destruction, with the exception of kryptonite. But I disagree history would rate you a failure if that heap of garbage stayed around for the next six years.... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20100701com5.html

Imported brides popular as money mixes Asian marriages focus 07/01/2010

Imported brides popular as money mixes Asian marriages


HONG KONG — Asian men from rich countries such as Japan and South Korea are increasingly seeking brides from poorer ones like Vietnam and the Philippines — as economically liberated local women get picky.

Marriages between Japanese men and foreign women shot up 73 percent between 1995 and 2006, to 35,993, according to the latest government survey. Most of the women were Filipinas, followed by Chinese.

“Asian brides — notably Chinese and Filipina — remain popular in the countryside, where it’s quite hard to find young women,” said Toshio Esaka, president of dating agency Royal in Osaka, western Japan.

“But nowadays, it’s getting harder even downtown as a lot of young Japanese women are economically independent and prefer to remain single,” Esaka said.

In South Korea, more than 35 percent of fishermen and farmers who married in the 12 months to May 2009 took foreign brides, mainly from China and Vietnam, government statistics show.

Both examples point to the role of cash and lifestyle in Cupid’s quiver — it is mainly the less marketable men in the richer countries who look abroad for a wife when they can’t find one at home.
The story is repeated in Singapore — Southeast Asia’s wealthiest society — Hong Kong and Taiwan, and often involves marriage brokers.

An online matchmaking site in Singapore, where lower-income men often fear rejection by better-educated local women, offers low-cost tours to Vietnam on which men can meet “medically examined and certified virgins.”

On the other side of the transaction, the women are usually so impoverished that even poorer men from rich countries offer hope of a better life.

“Due to poverty in their families and because they want to help improve the situation, Cambodian women decide to marry foreigners,” said Ya Navuth, director of a Cambodian group which fights human trafficking.... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20100701com6.html

‘Honeymoon’ VIEWPOINTS Archbishop Oscar V. Cruz 07/01/2010


Archbishop Oscar V. Cruz
So it is. The socio-political honeymoon has finally began formally and officially today — after all the noise of the campaign period, plus all the uproar of the pre-proclamation weeks. This is neither the time to wring hands nor to show sour faces. Much less it is the occasion for the losers to mop, nor for the winners to lap it up. Instead, this is the time: To pray for the country. To wish its public officials well. To implore the citizens not only to claim their rights but also to do their obligations.
Be it the customary 30-day honeymoon period, be it a little less or more, it provides a good occasion for all the parties concerned, the winners, the losers, and the general public, to stay united, to do their job, to stay cool and calm, and to watch — even but for the meantime. Worry they should not because the right time and occasion — after the honey is finished and the moon is gone — to once again take account of the good or evil done by the winners, the uselessness or usefulness of the losers, and the unity or division of the general public.

In other words, with the advent of the post-honeymoon period, lo and behold, the country is eventually back to normal — in witnessing protest rallies and marches, in hearing loud accusations and counter accusations, in knowing who is good and who is bad plus the consequent high praises and loud blames that go therewith. For the moment, it is not hard to imagine and feel a Philippines that is politically at peace and/or ideologically in harmony. Sometime after, perhaps — but not yet, meantime.... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20100701com7.html

Politician’s vows usher in Aquino By Aytch S. de la Cruz 07/01/2010


Politician’s vows usher in Aquino

By Aytch S. de la Cruz

Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino took over as president yesterday with a traditional politician’s vows to lift the nation out of poverty and wipe out crippling corruption that he said thrived under his predecessor in a 20-minute speech which many political analysts said was short on specifics.

Aquino urged thousands of Filipinos attending his inauguration and those who were watching and listening from their homes to help him carry the nation’s cross, saying that his “calvary” has unfolded given the weight of the problems he had inherited from his predecessor former President Gloria Arroyo.

Police estimated 500,000 people turned up at Rizal Park for Aquino’s inauguration at the Quirino Grandstand, and the event took on a festival-style atmosphere with a popular folk singer belting out songs of hope before the oathtaking.

Aquino said he draws his strength from Filipinos, “for they are the ones responsible for his presidency,” adding that he neither imagined nor desired to take over the nation’s helm.

“Neither have I dreamed to raise hopes nor inherit the predicaments of our nation. My goal in life was just simple — to be faithful to my parents and our country as a principled son, good brother, and a decent citizen,” Aquino opened in his inaugural address.

“Today marks the end of a regime indifferent to the appeals of the people,” Aquino said in one of many stinging criticisms of Arroyo whose nearly 10 years in power were marred by allegations of vote rigging and massive graft.
“Through good governance in the coming years we will lessen our problems. The destiny of the Filipino will return to its rightful place and, as each year passes, the Filipinos’ problems will continue to lessen.”

Aquino said ending poverty, experienced by nearly a third of the nation’s 90 million people who live in slums, by eradicating corruption would serve as the foundation of his administration’s six-year term.

“Our foremost duty is to lift the nation from poverty through honest and effective governance,” said Aquino, who many has been criticized as an under-achiever during his past 12 years as member of Congress.... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20100701hed1.html

GMA’s former Cabinet men plucked by Noynoy face CA grilling By Angie M. Rosales 07/01/2010

GMA’s former Cabinet men plucked by Noynoy face CA grilling

By Angie M. Rosales

With President Aquino inducting yesterday his Cabinet officials in simple ceremonies at the Rizal Hall in Malacañang, reelected Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago issued the warning that the likes of former Arroyo officials who have been named Cabinet members by Aquino and other personalities perceived to have been partisan during the campaign period are likely to face rough sailing before the Commission on Appointments (CA).

“There may be a lot of ‘triumphanism’ today, that is to say that certain groups, and certain individuals will feel like they have triumphed over their opponents, over their rivals or over their nominees. But in all this short-lived euphoria, these new appointees must remember they have to pass the CA. 

“It must be tougher than they think, especially those groups that have already been around a lot of partisan rhetoric, for example the Hyatt 10, the Kamag-Anak Inc., and the Makati Business Club (MBC),” she said. 

Aquino has been hounded by criticisms, even before he unveiled before the public Tuesday the members of his official family, for having known former Arroyo key official, with some seeing the list of Aquino’s Cabinet as a “recycled” Cabinet.

Aquino himself noted that he is running an administration with old and new faces and that a significant number of them worked with former President Gloria Arroyo..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20100701hed2.html

GMA free to join vital panels but won’t be given chairmanship, says Belmonte 07/01/2010

GMA free to join vital panels but won’t be given chairmanship, says Belmonte

Quezon City Rep. and aspiring Speaker Feliciano Belmonte yesterday said it is very unlikely for former President and now Pampanga Rep. Gloria Arroyo to secure any committee chairmanship given her minority status in the lower chamber.

Hours after turning over the presidency to now President Aquino, Arroyo also officially took her oath of office as representative of Pampanga’s second district before Supreme Court Associate Justice Antonio Eduardo Nachura in San Fernando City.

The Liberal Party (LP) House bet, however, stressed Arroyo can enter as a member where she can apply her legislative expertise.

Belmonte also vowed that he would treat Arroyo with respect to the extent that he would not allow any member of the House who may have personal grudges against her to “harass” her.

“Nobody is going to go out of his way to make things bad for her and we won’t allow it. She’s a celebrity and, of course, it’s very difficult to be very private if you are a celebrity. But in terms of getting harassed by anybody there in the House, I don’t think that will happen,” he said.

Belmonte added he is confident that he has the numbers to win the House Speaker post.... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20100701hed3.html

Davide ‘ties’ with GMA raise probe questions 07/01/2010

Davide ‘ties’ with GMA raise probe questions

While there are those who expressed optimism over the creation of a truth commission that will investigate alleged crimes of Arroyo and her allies, some have misgivings in President Aquino’s decision to appoint former Supreme Court Chief Justice Hilario Davide Jr.

“I hope he will be objective,” Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago yesterday said.

The senator was quick to emphasize that she is not questioning the decision of Aquino in naming Davide, saying she holds in high regard the former high tribunal chief.

“I always hold Justice Davide in high regard as a jury and a fellow lawyer. I hold him highly not just because of his qualifications or competence, but also because of the facility (by) which he becomes objective with regard to a case,” she added.

But Santiago noted the role played by Davide under the Arroyo administration before he decided to align with Aquino’s camp during the campaign period.

It was Davide who swore then Vice President Arroyo into office after the aborted impeachment of President Joseph Estrada in 2001.

After retiring from the judiciary in 2005, he was appointed by Arroyo as the country’s permanent representative to the United Nations two years after..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20100701hed4.html

Noy’s speech silent on land reform, social issues By Gerry Baldo 07/01/2010

Noy’s speech silent on land reform, social issues

By Gerry Baldo
While President Aquino’s inaugural speech was strong on the issues of going after erring government officials, it was, however, silent on the issues of land reform and social issues, a militant party-list congressman commented yesterday.

Rep. Teddy Casino also said that Aquino’s statement about his economic policies appears to be vague.

“(It was) disappointing that he was totally silent on land reform and many social justice issues,” Casino said, even as he described Aquino’s speech as an “interesting mix of populist rhetoric and general policy pronouncements.”

“His strong statements on ensuring justice to be meted erring officials of the previous adminis-tration and on instilling good governance are exciting and most welcome. We hope his administration delivers on this. On the other hand, his economic policies appear nebulous and appears to be the same old neo-liberal agenda,” Casino said.
Rep. Luzviminda Ilagan of Gabriela said that the speech was crafted to please the Filipino people.

“Well, it was crafted to address the very things people wanted to hear. He articulated in very specific terms what the ordinary Filipino had been sick and tired of: Behavior associated with the corrupt GMA administration,” Ilagan said.

She pointed out that the courses of action stated by Aquino are responses to a people’s hopes for change.
For outgoing Speaker Prospero Nograles, the presidential speech was “sincere and pragmatic.”.... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20100701hed5.html

Days of wang-wang users numbered — Noynoy 07/01/2010

Days of wang-wang users numbered — Noynoy

The days of irresponsible motorist-users of sirens and blinkers are numbered!

In compliance with President Aquino’s directive to rid the streets of unscru-pulous users of sirens and blinkers, the Philippine National Police (PNP) yesterday vowed to intensify operations against irresponsible motorists and mulcting people of authority.

Aquino said this during his inaugural speech, but it was not clear whether he included himself and his escorts in this ban of sirens.

Philippine National Police chief Director General Jesus Verzosa issued an order to all PNP units to implement President Aquino’s directive.

”The PNP and all its members will align and follow all the programs and policies of President Aquino,” said Verzosa.

Barely hours after hearing the new president’s directive, Verzosa immediately ordered his men to start coordinating with other government agencies.

”Regarding the use of sirens, the PNP will immediately coordinate with the Land Transportation Office (LTO), the primary implementor of Republic Act 4136 and Presidential Decree 96 for the immediate implementation of this presidential directive,” said Verzosa.

Under the law, only the President, the Vice President, the Senate President, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, ambulances and police mobile patrols are allowed to use sirens and blinkers.... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20100701hed6.html

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