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The Daily Tribune

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Fair is fair EDITORIAL 07/07/2010

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Fair is fair

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Curiouser and curiouser it is that there is today talk from Malacañang of the probability of having the claimed Truth Commission probe not just former President Gloria Arroyo, but former Presidents Fidel Ramos and Joseph Estrada for alleged irregularities.

It was also just as curious that this suggestion came from Cardinal Gaudencio Rosales who, along with his bishops, has been noticeably actively meddling in politics, even as the bishops’ body had earlier claimed that the Catholic church will not be meddling in politics.

Still, it may be a good idea for the Davide-led Truth Commission to include all previous administrations, which should include the Cory Aquino administration and not just the Ramos and Estrada administrations, as the probe should show that the Cory administration was hardly as clean and sainted as the yellow media then portrayed it.
In the case of Estrada, the probe, if done objectively, would show that there were no irregularities committed by him or his Cabinet members, and would serve to clear him of all those allegations the anti-Erap media threw at him, in their bid to demonize him.... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20100707com1.html

Unprepared, undecided and unaware FRONTLINE Ninez Cacho-Olivares 07/07/2010

Unprepared, undecided and unaware

Ninez Cacho-Olivares
Noynoy Aquino and his team appear to be very unprepared for the presidency and a full administration organization, which is pretty strange, considering that he had all of a month and a half — more actually — to prepare appointees to his Cabinet, sub-Cabinet, bureaus and agencies, if only to hit the ground running from Day One. They appear to be hitting the ground...stumbling.

To this day, he has not even completed his Cabinet and he has not as yet decided whether to have a press secretary or a communications director to take charge of his media needs, or even have a press secretary that would be under the supervision of the communications director.

A secretary with Cabinet status functioning, not under the president but under a communications director?
There is also the unfilled Department of Interior and Local Government post, which he said he is taking on in a concurrent capacity. Lord knows how he can manage the DILG when he can’t even seem to manage the presidency, taking off three days after his official takeover of the presidency, and again, taking the weekend off..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20100707com2.html

Private detectives: A pre-nuptial priority for some in India FEATURE 07/07/2010

Private detectives: A pre-nuptial priority for some in India


NEW DELHI — The wedding, to be celebrated in sumptuous Indian style, was due for June and everything was progressing smoothly until the groom suddenly lost interest.

Suspicious of an affair, the bride did what increasing numbers of anxious lovers and nervous families are doing in India: she rang a private detective to find out why.

In a country where nine out of 10 marriages are still arranged and modern social pressures are putting the institution under pressure, the industry of snooping on lovers has expanded fast over the last five years, say insiders.

In this case an investigation by the agency AMX — “marriage is a gamble,” says its Web site — revealed that the groom had recently discovered he was HIV positive.

The discovery was made by an attractive female undercover agent sent by the agency, who befriended the groom and found his medicine.

The wedding was eventually called off, like 20 percent of cases after a probe, AMX boss Baldev Kumar Puri told AFP.

“A pre-matrimonial investigation is your duty,” Puri said. “A post matrimonial investigation is much more costly.”
Puri and others, like Kunwar Vikram Singh, director of the New Delhi-based Lancers agency, are in a growth industry being driven by social changes and the way in which weddings are arranged.

In cities, families are relying increasingly on small advertisements in newspapers and Web sites or specialist dating agencies to find the perfect match for their children.... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20100707com3.html

Good moves C.R.O.S.S.R.O.A.D.S Jonathan De la Cruz 07/07/2010

Good moves

Jonathan De la Cruz

It is good that newly appointed Energy Secretary Rene Jose Almendras has deferred any action on the proposed sale of the government’s 10 percent stake in the multibillion-dollar Malampaya gas project. That gives one and all, including the old set of directors which failed to firm up a decision on the matter until it was unceremoniously changed toward the end of the term of the previous administration, to come out with their suggestions on how best to handle this issue. As Almendras himself correctly noted “...it is best that the board issues be resolved first then we will study how the Malampaya approach is going to be, or even ask the question: Do we really want to sell Malampaya if it’s generating revenues for the government today...” Which is how it should have been worked out in the first place. For if truth be told, the sale of assets such as the revenue rich Malampaya stake, considered one of the remaining “crown jewels” among government properties, should really be as deliberate as can be.... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20100707com4.html

A-ha! HE SAYS Aldrin Cardon 07/07/2010


Aldrin Cardon
Wang-wang stories have fed tabloid (and even broadsheet) headlines for a week, with reactionary law enforcement agencies taking President Aquino’s order to rid our highways of siren-equipped cars which have become more of a curse than a simple menace to law-abiding motorists, like you and me.

I have no problems with Noy’s order, however. If that’s what Noynoy wants, then he deserves to get it, as it is primarily the thrust of his inaugural speech. President Aquino only wanted to drive home a point, and there was no better way than to stir his crowd of common folk to an applause by providing a simple solution to a simple problem, which our law enforcement agencies could not seem to address, except perhaps for a short period of time when Erap was president (and Ping Lacson his Chief of Police), but it also led to Erap’s downfall when he intended to silence Chavit Singson’s siren, which proved to be louder than anybody else’s wang-wang during Gloria Arroyo’s ambitious drive to power..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20100707com5.html

Uh-oh SHE SAYS Dinah S. Ventura 07/07/2010


Dinah S. Ventura
Now that the excitement of “newness” has begun to ebb and the Aquino administration is buckling down to work, one can’t help but wonder about some early “slip-ups” and brow-raising moves that have reaped their share of reactions.

Philippine media, which have often been regarded by the objects of their eagle eyes as a living, breathing being that tend to bite and breathe noxious fumes, were the first to raise an “issue,” if one may call it that. 

On President Noynoy’s first day at work, the Malacañang press corps got all confused over Memorandum Circular No. 1, which declared “all non-career executive service positions vacant as of 30 June 2010 and (extended) the services of contractual employees whose contracts expire on 30 June 2010.” This was then revised but still signed as Memorandum Circular No. 1, but now declared “all non-career executive officials occupying career executive service positions to continue to perform their duties and responsibilities and extending the services of certain contractual and or casual employees whose contracts expire on June 30.”.... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20100707com6.html

Luisita massacre case closed—Palace By Aytch S. de la Cruz 07/07/2010

Ombudsman already cleared Noynoy—spokesman

Luisita massacre case closed—Palace

By Aytch S. de la Cruz

For a presidency that calls for closure — even through a special Truth Commission — this is easily claimed to have closure when it comes down to a case involving President Aquino and his Cojuangco relatives pertaining to Hacienda Luisita. To Aquino and his Palace, the hacienda case is a closed case that should not be questioned or investigated further.

Malacañang yesterday said the long-standing issue on the plight of the victims in the 2004 Hacienda Luisita massacre should be regarded as a “closed case” following the resolution supposedly executed by the Office of the Ombudsman which absolved then Tarlac congressman now President Aquino of any accountability in the massacre of the farmers.

This acquittal of Aquino must have been recent, since this issue was a campaign issue against him yet his camp never stated that then Senator Aquino had already been cleared by the Ombudsman.

Presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda made this statement in response to a reporter’s question on how Aquino plans to address the continuing cry for justice of the relatives of the farmers who were killed in the outskirts of the Hacienda Luisita in Tarlac while fighting for their right to just compensation from the Cojuangco-Aquino clan.
“That (Hacienda Luisita massacre issue) has been investigated. There was already an Ombudsman report way, way back and it has already cleared then Congressman Benigno Aquino III. So it’s an old issue,” Lacierda said.

“That’s been a closed issue…that has been a campaign issue before and we have already answered that—that the charges against then Congressman Benigno Aquino were already dismissed,” he reiterated in an apparent bid to quickly end a discussion on the matter.

Lacierda also mentioned that the protracted land row dispute in the HLI between the farmers and the Cojuangco-Aquino clan will be addressed by newly-appointed Agrarian Reform Secretary Gil de los Reyes but he said the case will be treated just “like any other ordinary case.”... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20100707hed1.html

Noynoy eyes line budgeting, slashed pork By Gerry Baldo 07/07/2010

Noynoy eyes line budgeting, slashed pork

By Gerry Baldo

President Aquino’s popularity could be short lived in the Senate and the House of Representatives, with his Liberal Party (LP) allies disclosing yesterday that the ruling party is now eyeing to itemize the budget and slash the pork barrel, euphemistically called Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF), into something that is just enough for each congressional district.
Quezon Rep. Lorenzo “Erin” Tañada III, LP spokesman, said each department would have to depend on its budget and not on the congressional allocations from the pork of the lawmakers.
“It has always been mentioned during the campaign that President Aquino favors zero budgeting, which means each department would have to depend on its actual budget.”
Tañada explained that Aquino wants to find out if there is really a need to increase the budget.
“This is because we might say that we need a P1.6 trillion or P1.7 trillion budget, but that the reality is that we may just be needing only P1 trillion,” Tañada said, adding that a big cut in the pork barrel could drastically reduce the budget deficit.
Citing the recent decision of the G20 heads of government during their Toronto Summit on June 26 and 27, 2010 to reduce their deficits, Tañada said Aquino’s move would augur well with the move of the world’s biggest economies.
.... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20100707hed2.html

Miriam claims Villar already has Senate presidency in the bag By Angie M. Rosales 07/07/2010

Miriam claims Villar already has Senate presidency in the bag

By Angie M. Rosales
While senators engage in a psy-war to gain the needed numbers to seat a new Senate president when Congress opens late this month, Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago said the support being contested is already in the bag for Sen. Manuel Villar Jr.
Santiago disputed conflicting claims on who among the senators will support to replace Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile and gave hints that Senator Villar, one of the frontrunners, already has secured the commitment of 12 of them.
This, she said, was long before another aspirant, Liberal Party (LP) bet Sen. Francis Pangilinan, started courting senators for support.
“There are some who are mistaking their dream for the reality. They’ll wake up on July 26 (Congress’ opening),” the senator said in twitting Villar’s so-called rivals during a phone-patched interview with reporters.
Santiago, who already made earlier pronouncement on Villar securing the commitment of some of their peers, said immediately after the May 10 elections, where Villar lost in his bid for the presidency, he had managed to seal the support of 12 senators for the Senate leadership.
This would mean having 13 of the required votes, to include Villar himself, according to Santiago.... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20100707hed3.html

Comelec into cover-up on folder scam—ex-employee By Marie A. Surbano 07/07/2010

Comelec into cover-up on folder scam—ex-employee

By Marie A. Surbano
Commission on Elections officials, evidently, even the Comelec commissioners, are allegedly into a cover-up of the P700-million budget translated into 1.8 million ballot secrecy folder scam, with their refusal to even put under suspension those poll officials mentioned in the poll body’s law department probe findings.

This was the charge aired by former Comelec employee Melchor Magdamo, the whistleblower, who has called for the immediate suspension of the people behind the botched P700-million secrecy folder acquisition during the May 10 polls.

Magdama said by not suspending the poll officers named in the probe report, there is no one to prevent the pieces of evidence in the case from possible “disappearances.”

Magdamo stressed that all those implicated in the controversy remain in position and it has become only too obvious that the Comelec high officials are planning a cover up.

He particularly cited Comelec executive director Jose Tolentino who he stated in his affidavit as the poll official who had approved the specifications of the ballot secrecy folder that was given to the winning supplier OTC Paper Supply.
“The mere fact that Tolentino (and others) are still there, it is obvious that there would be a cover up. They (their superiors) should have placed under preventive suspension all those involved to prevent them from getting the evidence…,” Magdamo said in Filipino during an interview at UNTV.

Magdamo noted that this is not the first time that evidence in cases in the Commission disappears.

A highly reliable source in the Comelec, told the Tribune that on top of the list of poll officials involved in the folder scam is Tolentino, who was also under fire during the congressional probe of the automated polls as well as the Congress during the presidential canvassing, for having issued last minute memos and changing rules, thus opening the auto polls open to electoral fraud.... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20100707hed4.html

Widened ambit seen to weaken truth body 07/07/2010

Widened ambit seen to weaken truth body

Expanding the scope of the so-called Truth Commission to include alleged irregularities and abuses committed during the Ramos and Estrada administrations could only muddle, if not weaken, the purpose of the body and affect its initial expressed purpose of giving closure to issues raised against former President Arroyo.

Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago also expressed pessimism over the competence of the fact-finding body under the helm of former Chief Justice Hilario Davide Jr. in taking up unresolved cases supposedly committed in the last three adminis-trations.

“That is justified under the circumstances but it might have a problem building up a case or finding evidence to sustain the charges against (former) President Arroyo. We might be asking too much from it,” she said in a phone-patched interview with Senate reporters.

Some church leaders have urged Malacañang to expand the mandate of the body and not focus solely on Arroyo but to include past presidents.

Presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda said the Palace was open to this idea but clarified that it is up to Davide to decide on this matter given his authority to oversee the commission.

“For me, the magnitude of the task makes it impossible. You’re talking the presidency. There are so many layers of bureaucracy that insulates the president. So it’s very hard to prove that the (former) president was first liable for an official act of the State. That’s why if the investigation against all other prior presidents are conducted at the same time as the investigation against (former) President Arroyo, that is the best way to dilute the limited resources of government and in effect, stymie the proceedings,” she pointed out.... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20100707hed5.html

Malacañang sees nothing wrong in extension By Michaela P. del Callar 07/07/2010

Malacañang sees nothing wrong in extension

By Michaela P. del Callar
Foreign Affairs Secretary Alberto Romulo defended yesterday his directive to extend the terms of 21 political diplomats appointed by former President Arroyo, saying there is nothing irregular and illegal about it.
In a media interview, Romulo said the extension of terms of political envoys has been a common practice by previous presidents such as Corazon Aquino, Fidel Ramos and Joseph Estrada.
“During the time of transition from President Ramos to President Estrada, they were extended for six months from July 1 to Dec. 31. During Cory’s time, they were also extended,” Romulo was quoted as saying.
Under the Constitution, the President has the power to appoint or re-appoint officials and diplomats, but not extend their terms and, therefore, a Commission on Appointments confirmation is needed.
In a separate interview with the same network, former congressman Apolinario Lozada, who used to be a career diplomat, branded as “questionable” the extension of the envoys.
Lozada pointed out that political diplomats cease to represent the Philippines once the President who appointed them steps down. “They aren’t representatives of (President) Noynoy (Aquino). That’s illegal,” Lozada said.
He added that the envoys should have tendered their courtesy resignation on or before June 30 and turned over the operations of the embassies to their deputies.
Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa Jr. said in a statement that he and Romulo have jointly recommended to Aquino to allow a three-month extension of the terms of the ambassadors, whose terms were deemed to have ended with that of Arroyo on June 30. If approved, the terms of 21 ambassadors should expire on Sept. 30.... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20100707hed6.html

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