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Happy days here again EDITORIAL 07/09/2010

Friday, July 9, 2010

Happy days here again

Click to enlarge
It seems that happy days are indeed back again for the Lopezes. After a bitter and costly conflict with Gloria Arroyo who had launched a determined effort to take control of the Lopez family’s crown jewel, the Manila Electric Co. (Meralco), the Lopezes can’t seem to wait and collect payback from their natural ally, Noynoy Aquino, whom they had backed with the family’s full resources, including the best positive media coverage that they can give, through their radio and television stations.

A few days after Noynoy assumed the presidency, Meralco, which is now controlled by businessman Manuel V. Pangilinan through a multibillion-peso sweetheart deal with the Lopezes, announced an electricity rate increase and attributing the increase to the decision of the independent power producers (IPPs) from which it buys electricity to increase its charges.
Meralco buys electricity from power plants of the state firm National Power Corp. (Napocor), and naturally, the Lopez-owned IPPs and from the Wholesale Electricity Spot Market (Wesm). Nearly half of the power purchases are from the Lopez IPPs Sta. Rita, San Lorenzo and Quezon Power which are supplied by the natural gas pipeline from the Malampaya project.... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20100709com1.html

No hope for progress FRONTLINE Ninez Cacho-Olivares 07/09/2010

No hope for progress

Ninez Cacho-Olivares
Former Aggie chief Luis “Cito” Lorenzo slipped into the country recently, attended a yellow party, met up with Noynoy Aquino, who speaks of an immunity grant for him, while Lorenzo says he is now willing to testify on what he knows about the P728-million fertilizer fund scam.

But where is he going to testify, and when does he get immunity as a state witness?

The Truth Commission, which has no powers to prosecute, nor, for that matter, grant Lorenzo immunity for testifying before this body that is to be headed by the disgraced former Chief Justice of the Supreme Court Hilario Davide Jr., one who does not abide by the Rule of Law?

It is usual to first charge an accused for the crime, and if he is found to be the least guilty, he can then become a state witness and granted immunity from suit.

So who is to charge Lorenzo before he testifies? Davide and his Truth Commission? Impossible, unless again, the rules will be ignored, as they were ignored in the plunder case against former President Joseph Estrada.... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20100709com2.html

Putin’s Caucasus ‘viceroy’: a man with a plan focus 07/09/2010

Putin’s Caucasus ‘viceroy’: a man with a plan


KISLOVODSK — Alexander Khloponin may be Russia’s biggest optimist.
The senior most official in charge of the violence-plagued North Caucasus, he largely dismisses Islamists’ fight for a sharia-based state as a cause of violence in the region and says alcoholism and fires in Siberia kill more people.

“This is just the redistribution of property, just criminals,” Khloponin, deputy prime minister and former governor of Krasnoyarsk region, said in the spa town of Kislovodsk in the Caucasus foothills as he laid out plans to build ski resorts, ports and refineries in a region famous for its dramatic mountains.

The Kremlin calls the unrest in the Caucasus, where it is battling a violent Islamist insurgency bent on establishing a caliphate, its biggest headache. Russia fought two wars against separatists in Chechnya in the 1990s.

While relative normalcy has recently returned there, the unrest spread to neighboring Dagestan and Ingushetia exposing former President and current Prime Minister Vladimir Putin’s inability to bring order to the Caucasus by way of force alone.

Putin’s youthful successor at the Kremlin, Dmitry Medvedev, tried a new tack, when he in January appointed businessman Khloponin as a new Kremlin envoy responsible for the Caucasus.

Several months into his new job, Khloponin appears to have sold his recipe for the Caucasus to Putin, Russia’s top boss, who this week unveiled a new drive for the region where economic prosperity will ultimately lead to peace.
Putin, who once famously said rebels should be “wiped out in the outhouse,” said in much more mellow remarks in Kislovodsk that he “sometimes feels sorry” for the militants who run around the mountains as they do not have any other opportunities.... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20100709com3.html

Stop bang bang MR. EXPOSE Amb. Ernesto Maceda 07/09/2010

Stop bang bang

Amb. Ernesto Maceda
P-Noy’s spokesman Edwin Lacierda declared that the P-Noy administration has no policy of extra-judicial killings.

“The President will not tolerate extra-judicial killings under his administration.” What else can he say? But the simplistic statement merely echoes what GMA, Gibo Teodoro and Bert Gonzales used to say. As GMA used to do, they have created a Task Force Baldomero to investigate the Aklan Bayan Muna provincial coordinator’s killing in a business as usual vein.

We would have expected P-Noy to order Philippine National Police Director General Jesus Verzosa and PNP Western Visayas Director Samuel Pagdilao to come up with a solution within seven days. P-Noy could have ordered the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) to conduct a parallel probe and also giving them a seven-day deadline. 

What did the PNP say on the killing? Gen. Jesus Verzosa proposed the “creation of a multi sectoral task force to look into the phenomenon.” That’s an admission of PNP incompetence. Remember Task Force Usig under then Gen. Avelino Razon? They came out with nothing.

New PNP spokesman, Senior Supt. Agrimero Cruz Jr., was even unbelievable. He said the PNP was “looking into local politics, noting the supposed heated rivalry between Baldomero and others who ran for the town council seat of Lezo, Aklan.” Give us a break. He was just one of 10 councilors. He did not run for mayor or vice mayor.... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20100709com4.html

Lying to God NO HOLDS BARRED Armida Siguion-Reyna 07/09/2010

Lying to God

Armida Siguion-Reyna
Before he got his latest appointment, he was Philippine ambassador and permanent representative of Gloria Arroyo’s administration to the United Nations. He resigned April 1, and when he said it was to “campaign for change,” many thought it was an April Fool’s Day Joke.

He spoke as if he had nothing to do with installing the Inglorious, but as Sen. Jinggoy Estrada recently pointed out of the man, “He illegally administered the oath to then Vice President Arroyo as the new president of the country, even if that action did not satisfy any of the requirements set forth by our Constitution, specifically in Article III Section 8, for assumption by a vice president into the presidency ‘in case of death, permanent disability, removal from office, or resignation of the President.’” 

Put Arroyo in place he did, and thereafter played dedma to, among others, “Hello, Garci,” Joc-joc Bolante and the fertilizer scam, the NBN-ZTE controversies, the Le Cirque outing that cost the Filipino taxpayers close to $20,000, or P954,000 for a one-time meal — as if none of these ever happened.

And now President Noynoy Aquino has named him head of the new government’s Truth Commission, so help us God, to put “closure on so many issues and allegations,” “prepare and prosecute” cases, and “collate data and evidence” to jail those who have committed crimes against the people. 

Magbayad nga naman ang may-utang, but how, with former Supreme Court (SC) Chief Justice Hilario Davide Jr. at the helm?

He left Arroyo’s employ for change, my foot.... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20100709com5.html

The ‘late’ PeNoy Aquino DIE HARD III Herman Tiu Laurel 07/09/2010

The ‘late’ PeNoy Aquino

Herman Tiu Laurel
What is a “Red Mass?” I later found out that it is an annual mass of the Catholic Church for lawyers, judges, magistrates, and all those who seek and work for justice. I saw this item in a GNN regular news program and had to wait for it to reappear before I could clearly spell out the words “red mass.” But even before the whole news item read “P-Noy late for Red Mass at the Cathedral,” all I could blurt out was “Late again?!!”

This clearly is not just a “wang-wang” matter. It’s beginning to look more like an ingrained habit that is reflective of natural character. I hope this is not PeNoy’s way of reaffirming the truism of the much-derided “Pinoy time” (sounds familiar, doesn’t it?); but if that is his intention, then he’s doing it absolutely well. Now, the much-derided character of Pinoy time, likened to a presidential trait, or P-Noy time, even becomes a truly presidential — even national — virtue, as writers of mainstream media seem to want.

Thus, in honor of this highly-praised official presidential demeanor, I’m presenting a famous quote on the art of being late. From Marilyn Monroe: “I am invariably late for appointments — sometimes as much as two hours. I’ve tried to change my ways but the things that make me late are too strong, and too pleasing.” 

It seems that this fun habit is just “too strong and too pleasing,” like the luxury of time enjoyed by the hacenderos who never have to hurry with an army of alalays, bodyguards, and gofers waiting.

But wait, there was another Malacañang occupant who liked to be caught up in traffic. Remember Fidel Ramos and the long, unmoving lines of cars and vehicles on South Expressway coming from his home in Alabang? It circulated in the media that FVR actually enjoyed it because it was there that he could sleep. And PeNoy swears by FVR’s “efficiency?”

It is true that even from some non-admirers of PeNoy, there is a sense of obligatory kindness to him these days, as if it were totally impolite and improper to be other than deferring to the one who shuns the “wang-wang” and painstakingly projects himself to be (ahem) humble.

One of our TV crew said: “It’s true, his car is not tinted; I could him see through his car windows as he passed where we line up for our ride.” Well, I thought, if I rode in one of those limousines with frigid air-conditioning, I wouldn’t need tints either.

I suppose one can indeed look at an issue from many different angles, from the positive as those praising PeNoy for his P-Noy time for depriving himself of the “wang-wang” to those who see it as really corny and hypocritical as I do. PeNoy can streak in front of the Presidential Honor Guard tomorrow in full view of the press and the writers of mainstream media will still find something great to write about.

I have a sense of déjà vu from all these because this is the exactly the same treatment Gloria Arroyo got from print and broadcast media in her first two years following her Edsa II power grab. I have the same sense of outrage from watching all this foolishness of the Yellow media’s patent idolatry, and that’s why I must insist on using PeNoy as I used Gloria Labandera then.

Indeed, we can look at the matter from many sides. And from a US baseball legend, who some say inspired the birth of a cartoon character that PeNoy’s stride seems to mimic, Yogi Berra’s “It gets late early out there” could well be speaking for PeNoy, too.

The bottom line is that this issue is also about media and their foibles. For the Yellow media, that are especially sanctimonious about their intentions (as the whole Yellow movement is about itself), happier days are here again. Indeed, inasmuch as PeNoy is in the clutches of the financial and banking mafia, he is also very thankful to his loyal media.

But before you know it, one of the major pro-PeNoy columnists of the Inquirer already has his banker-sister appointed as chief of the GSIS. So why not appoint someone from the government employees’ sector (such as Land Bank, which needs to have the GSIS funds transferred to the Aboitiz’s Union Bank returned) who knows both financial and other non-financial concerns of the fund’s government employee-members? Well, your guess is as good as mine.

On a more positive note (no matter how difficult, given PeNoy’s first week of booboos), let’s raise some quotes on “lateness” that should be good advice to the dearly beloved president of the Yellows whom they will always see with their yellow rose-colored glasses.

From Jonathan Swift: “I never knew a man come to greatness or eminence who lay abed late in the morning.”

Or maybe from Bill Gates: “In this business, by the time you realize you’re in trouble, it’s too late to save yourself. Unless you’re running scared all the time, you’re gone.”

(Tune in to 1098AM, Sulo ng Pilipino, Monday, Wednesday and Friday, 6 to 7 p.m.; Destiny Cable Channel 21, Talk News TV — Infowars Edition, Tuesday, 8 to 9 p.m., featuring “Pro Bono: Adaza’s Struggle vs Hocus PCOS — The Final Chapter;” also visit http://hermantiulaurel.blogspot.com)

(Reprinted with permission from Mr. Herman Tiu-Laurel)

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20100709com6.html

Lorenzo, Joc-joc, equally guilty By Angie M. Rosales 07/09/2010

Ex-Senate prober Magsaysay says

Lorenzo, Joc-joc, equally guilty

By Angie M. Rosales
Despite having concluded in a Senate report sent to the Ombudsman that former Agriculture Secretary Luis “Cito” Lorenzo is a principal accused in the P728-million fertilizer fund scam and in the same accusatory league with his undersecretary, Jocelyn “Joc-joc” Bolante, former Sen. Ramon Magsaysay Jr. yesterday said that as long as Lorenzo names names, especially in identifying those in “higher offices,” Magsaysay implied that Lorenzo could be given the kid glove treatment, as well as be granted immunity from suit, even if Lorenzo and Bolante are equally guilty.

President Aquino a day earlier had hinted broadly that he was for granting Lorenzo immunity from suit and make him a state witness in the same fertilizer scam.

It will be recalled that Bolante, at a previous hearing conducted by the House committee on agriculture, had testified that Lorenzo authorized him to “download money” for the purchase of fertilizer and farm implements in 2004.

It could all end up as a “he says, but another he says” story, with Lorenzo placing full blame on Bolante, while Bolante will point to Lorenzo as having ordered him to “download” the funds.

Lorenzo is among those found to be liable in the P728-million fertilizer fund scam, having signed some documents for the release of some funds.

Magsaysay, who led the first Senate inquiry into the fertilizer fund scandal in 2005, took note of this, following reports that Malacañang wants Lorenzo as a state witness.

Lorenzo recently returned to the country after almost four years of self-exile in the United States.

He left on the eve of his scheduled appearance in the Senate, earning him contempt charges from the committee on agriculture then under the chairmanship of Magsaysay.

In a radio interview, Magsaysay noted his panel’s recommendations to hold accountable Lorenzo along with former President Arroyo and alleged architect in the “mismanagement” of the farmers’ subsidy fund, Joc-joc Bolante.... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20100709hed1.html

Lacson sends surrender feelers to Justice chief 07/09/2010 By Benjamin B. Pulta

Lacson sends surrender feelers to Justice chief

By Benjamin B. Pulta
Fugitive Sen. Panfilo “Ping” Lacson has sent feelers for his surrender to Justice Secretary Leila de Lima, she said yesterday.

Lacson quietly slipped out of the country seven months ago to dodge an arrest warrant about to be issued against him by a Manila court last Feb. 5 over his indictment for the killing of publicist Salvador “Bubby” Dacer and his driver Emmanuel Corbito.

De Lima told reporters that Lacson’s surrender feelers were not directly sent to her, however.

“Not to me directly, that is part of the confidential discussion we had,” De Lima said in reference to Lacson’s surrender feelers.

De Lima said the change in the country’s leadership has prompted Lacson to consider returning to the country and face the criminal charges against him. De Lima, however, said the Aquino adminis-tration will not give Lacson special treatment as he has to go through the legal process as an accused in a criminal case.

She said Lacson’s offer to surrender was part of the confidential discussion she had with National Bureau of Inves-tigation (NBI) Director Nestor Mantaring.

De Lima noted that the DoJ and the NBI have yet to confirm reports that the senator is already in the country.
Lacson was earlier reported to have fled to Hong Kong although the last information that the NBI received indicated that the senator was already in Rome. “The NBI itself does not have confirmation. The NBI said it has been receiving certain information that Lacson is already in the country. So far, the information the NBI had was that he is in Rome, from Hong Kong to Rome, and then it losttrack,” De Lima added.... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20100709hed2.html

LPs into raiding Villar’s NP, no success By Angie M. Rosales 07/09/2010

LPs into raiding Villar’s NP, no success

By Angie M. Rosales
The administration’s Liberal Party (LP) attempted to raid the ranks of Sen. Manuel Villar Jr. in the Senate in an apparent effort to secure the number needed to get hold of Senate leadership.

Sen. Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. yesterday bared that the LP bloc tried to set up a meeting with him in relation to the race to Senate presidency.

“The one who approached me was the other ‘rookie’ (in the Senate), TG (Teofisto) Guingona. And he said if I could meet with his group and I said I will be happy to meet with his group.

“So that I don’t come with false pretenses, I said my position is very clear that I ran with the NP (Nacionalista Party), I won with the NP, so I will stay within the group. Having said that, I told him that maybe if they still want to see me, I will be very glad to meet them. But it was not pursued further so that was the end of that. That was in our last session of the House, sometime during the Joint Session, during the beginning of the canvassing procedure,” he narrated.

Sen. Francis Pangilinan, when he was presented by LP as its bet for the Senate presidency, claimed that he did not and does not intend to approach Villar’s camp to fill the gap in the required number of votes.

He is said to be still short of three votes to seal his fate as the next upper chamber leader when 15th Congress opens on July 26.

Marcos said it need not be explained why his loyalty remains with the NP considering that Villar’s party helped him get elected to the Senate.... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20100709hed3.html

Aquino-approved AFP leadership changes quizzed 07/09/2010

Aquino-approved AFP leadership changes quizzed

A ranking military officer yesterday questioned some of the designations during the initial tranche of top-level “re-assignments” in the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) approved by President Aquino, doubting that seniority and meritocracy are being observed.

“If they are saying that seniority and meritocracy would be observed, that is not what is happening,” said the top-ranking AFP officer who requested anonymity.

The official was apparently noting what Aquino announced earlier that seniority and merit system would be considered in promotions of officers in the military organization.

Aquino has already approved the first wave of top-level “re-assignments” in the military leadership involving the AFP’s number two man, the vice chief of staff; the Navy top post, and other sensitive positions in the 120,000-strong military.

The officer particularly questioned the promotion of newly installed AFP Northern Luzon Command (Nolcom) chief Maj. Gen. Gaudencio Pangilinan and Intelligence Service of the AFP (Isafp) chief Brig. Gen. Romulo Bambao, both members of the Philippine Military Academy (PMA) Class of 1979.

He cited that there are 10 divisions Scommanders who could have been promoted to Nolcom as he stressed that Pangilinan has not been designated as division commander.... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20100709hed4.html

Faeldon recognizes Noy gov’t but crusade vs corruption stays 07/09/2010

Faeldon recognizes Noy gov’t but crusade vs corruption stays

Marine Capt. Nicanor Faeldon is expecting justice from the Aquino administration but made no guarantee that he will not escape again to pursue his advocacies for reforms if corruption continues to persist under the new government.

At a press conference in Antipolo City, Faeldon was formally presented to the media by Navy Flag Officer in Command Rear Adm. Danilo Cortez and Marine Commandant Maj. Gen. Juancho Sabban.

“I am one of those who are hopeful that justice will be attained not only by me but all those who have cases. Maybe we will attain justice,” he said.

By justice, Faeldon clarified that he meant not being exonerated with the charges slapped against him before the general court martial and Makati City court.

“Justice in a sense that I believe this new administration will not meddle on our justice system. It will allow the processes. That’s what I meant in saying justice. I am not asking for anyone to meddle in my case,” said Faeldon, one of the core leaders of the Magdalo group that staged a short-lived mutiny at the posh Oakwood Apartments in Makati City in 2003.

Faeldon, who is the subject of P1 million reward offered by the government, maintained that his decision to “surface” was in accordance with his previous pronouncement that he will submit himself to duly elected government.... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20100709hed5.html

No need for Truth Commission, says Marcos Jr. 07/09/2010

No need for Truth Commission, says Marcos Jr.

Sen. Ferdinand Marcos Jr. yesterday twitted President Aquino’s decision to form a truth commission to probe alleged wrongdoings of the Arroyo administration, saying there is no need for it.

Former President Joseph Estrada, for his part, said he does not object to having a Truth Commission to look into alleged anomalies committed in previous governments, but questions the impartiality of its head, former Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, Hilario Davide Jr.

Marcos said there are already existing institutions to handle the task that Malacañang wants the fact-finding body to handle.

“We don’t know exactly what the President has in mind, we can only wait and see. Whether or not they should be investigating, I think rather than using up the bureaucracy’s time in these investigations, perhaps if there are any wronged individuals, they should come forward and say their piece and conduct a regular investigation into these anomalies that are being alleged and act accordingly.

“I don’t think it will need any special commission,” he said during the Kapihan sa Senado news forum.

“The Judiciary is there, the investigative agencies are there, the police are there. I suppose if it is in the interest of having an objective third party, if we are going to investigate, investigate everyone, sure, if that’s what the intention of the truth commission,” he added.

The neophyte senator noted the apparent similarity of the body with the Presidential Commission on Good Government (PCGG) ordered created by Aquino’s late mother, President Corazon Aquino, to go after Marcos family’s alleged ill-gotten wealth.... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20100709hed6.html

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