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Predicting top Senate win EDITORIAL 07/13/2010

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Predicting top Senate win

Click to enlarge
Too bad we don’t have Paul the Octopus, that was spot on in all his predictions of winners in the World Cup’s football to predict the likely winner of the country’s Senate President.

Still, given the developments in the Senate political arena, and the different blocs that exist today, before the Senate opens and votes for its leader, neither the Liberal Party (LP) bloc, headed by Sen. Francisco Pangilinan, nor the Nacionalista Party (NP) bloc, headed by Sen. Manny Villar, said to be the major contenders, may win the Senate crown, and the likely winner would be either Sen. Ed Angara or the hold-over or compromise Senate President Juan Ponce-Enrile.

It’s really just a matter of doing the math and analyzing the improbabilities of one bloc merging with the other bloc that is more or less regarded as one bloc’s perceived foe.

The LP bloc does not have enough votes to land the plum Senate prize and can only count on six sure votes, counting Pangilinan; eight, if he gets the vote of Enrile and Sen. Jinggoy Estrada.

Even if two more allies show up to vote, say, Sen. Panfilo Lacson and detained Sen. Sonny Trillanes, the LP bet still would be short of the needed 13 votes.

He must therefore try to get anywhere from five senators from a different bloc at the most, or at least three more from a different bloc, if Pangilinan already has the votes of Lacson and Trillanes locked in.

It is highly unlikely that the LP bet can get anyone from the NP camp of Manny Villar, which is also short in numbers, as of this time. The presidential campaign, where the LPs and the NPs were pitted against each other created deep wounds that have hardly healed.... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20100713com1.html

Easiest solution ignored FRONTLINE Ninez Cacho-Olivares 07/13/2010

Easiest solution ignored

Ninez Cacho-Olivares
The easiest solution to the jueteng problem, which breeds the corruption problem, is to legalize it, because the problem of jueteng is the fact that it is, and remains illegal.

And because it is illegal, there is need to give protection money by the drug lords to high ranking officials and officers of the police and military establishments, as well as mayors, congressmen and whoever is on the jueteng take.

Legalize jueteng and there will no longer be any need for the operators to provide protection money to anybody. The jueteng proceeds then go to the government coffers, which will be fatter and there will not be any job displacements for all those who work in the jueteng operations, as they can be legally hired by the government.

It would help too, in getting rid of the jueteng problem if the government doesn’t tack on a tax once the game is legalized.

Sometimes, it is taxing the winnings that makes it attractive for gamblers, small and big, to engage in illegal games.
It is no secret that harassment from authorities come because the game is illegal, as well as this being a way of the authorities to earn big cash by allowing the illegal numbers game to thrive.

This jueteng situation today is no different from the days of the prohibition in the US. As the manufacture, shipment and even drinking of whiskey or sprits, and of course “moonshine” were deemed illegal, corruption reared its ugly head with the police force in the payroll of the gangsters..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20100713com2.html

Electronic voting no threat yet to the old style ballot box FEATURE 07/13/2010

Electronic voting no threat yet to the old style ballot box


HONG KONG — They held elections within days of each other: The Philippines, a lively democracy where politicians get shot dead in the street and Britain, the rock solid “mother of all parliaments.”

But the Asian state’s quick-fire digital vote made the European nation look more like a grandmother as its citizens stuck to the old style of dropping bits of paper in battered old boxes.

It was hoped electoral automation in the Philippines would cut rampant cheating, where ballot boxes went missing or were stuffed with fake votes and local officials sometimes simply fiddled the results themselves.

There was also the logistical nightmare of collecting votes from a country made up of over 7,000 islands, some of them tiny.

In Britain, there were angry scenes outside a handful of polling stations which had closed before thousands of people had voted on May 6, leading some commentators to describe it as a “third world” ballot.

In the Philippines, Venezuelan company Smartmatic won the contract to run the electronic election. Voters still had to go to a booth and mark a piece of paper, but it was fed into a machine for counting, not a ballot box. The results were then sent electronically to election headquarters in Manila, with 30 copies printed out and sent to stakeholders as a back up..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20100713com3.html

Why no plunder? MR. EXPOSE Amb. Ernesto Maceda 07/13/2010

Why no plunder?

Amb. Ernesto Maceda
Ombudsman Merceditas Gutierrez has been sitting on the 2004 fertilizer scam for the last five years, after the matter was officially referred by the Senate to charge then Department of Agriculture Secretary Cito Lorenzo, Undersecretary Joc-joc Bolante, Undersecretary Ibarra Poliquit, Undersecretary Belinda Gonzales, several assistant secretaries and officials of the DA complete with very strong evidence.

There is widespread opinion that Merceditas Gutierrez should resign as Ombudsman. Malacañang is mulling impeachment proceedings against Gutierrez. Akbayan Rep. Waldon Bello announced he plans to file an impeachment complaint when Congress opens. Friday, she finally released the recommendation of her fact-finding team to charge Lorenzo, Joc-joc, et al. for malversation of public funds and violation of the Anti-Graft law.

But she still has to conduct a preliminary investigation before Cito Lorenzo, Bolante, et al. can be charged before the Sandiganbayan and issued warrants of arrest. Whether Lorenzo will be discharged as a state witness is for the Sandiganbayan to decide. Cito Lorenzo, Joc-joc, Poliquit, Gonzales, et al. must be formally charged with plunder, not just malversation. The amount of P728 million malversed is certainly plunder.

Will Ombudsman Gutierrez take another four years before she finishes the preliminary investigation? Still protecting GMA, Madame Ombudsman? It raises the specter that whatever the Truth Commission finds, it will just die a natural death in the hands of Gutierrez.

q q q
Buy now. DA Secretary Proceso Alcala said he will achieve self-sufficiency in rice in three years time. That implies importation of rice will continue, estimated at 2.1 million metric tons (MT) this year. Because of the huge harvest in Thailand and Vietnam, the price of rice on the world market has gone down to a low $330 per MT from the $1,000 per MT at which then DA Secretary Arthur Yap bought a few years back..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20100713com4.html

Spokesman NO HOLDS BARRED Armida Siguion-Reyna 07/13/2010


Armida Siguion-Reyna
Or, the person who makes statements on behalf of another individual or a group. But there are spokesmen and there are spokesmen.

Let’s take you, for instance. You speak for your family, comprised of ordinary wage earners, engaged in a word war with neighbors over who really dumped the dead dog out on the street. One of the kalaban snidely remarks she thought the dead dog was your sister because your bitch of a sister looked like one. You furiously react and refuse to talk to that kalaban from hereon. The matter is elevated to the barangay council and most everyone understands your fury in an usapang magkakapitbahay situation.

But take Lacierda vs Paner. 

Edwin Lacierda is the spokesman of President Noynoy Aquino. I don’t know much about him, bits and pieces from the Internet say he is (was?) legal counsel and co-convenor of the Black and White Movement, Ateneo Law School graduate, Constitutional Law Professor at the Far Eastern University.

Mae Paner is the real life persona of the character Juana Change; her satirical pieces on those not wanting to change, the “wa na change,” were viral hits on YouTube in the last couple of years. She directs TV commercials, and in 2007 did the Manny Villar Para sa Senado ads. She joined the Aquino campaign late last year and quit it in March of this year.

Lacierda vs Paner is the offshoot of Paner’s open criticism of the appointment of mag-amang Abad to the Cabinet of the new presidency; Papa Butch is head of the Department of Budget and Management, and daughter Julie, of the Presidential Management Staff. 

Paner clarified, “‘Di ako galit sa mga Abad pero naniniwala pa rin ako na hindi dapat mga pamilya ang nasa Gabinete.” To this, Lacierda responded on Facebook, “Mae is totally ignorant of the relationships of the Abads with Noynoy. The most charitable thing I can describe her statement is envy!”.... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20100713com5.html

The illusions of Ilustrado AN OUTSIDERS VIEW Ken Fuller 07/13/2010

The illusions of Ilustrado

Ken Fuller
Warning: If you intend reading Miguel Syjuco’s much-praised Ilustrado, winner of the 2008 Man Asian Literary Prize while still in manuscript form, as a mystery novel (which it is not), proceed no further.

A major character, a young writer, berates himself for “those damn confusing experiments with style. The thing is to write a straight narrative… Emulate A Passage to India.” This advice was, reportedly, given to Syjuco by an agent. That it was rejected may be gleaned from the fact that the character in question is called “Miguel Syjuco.” Moreover, the italicized passage is one of several which, dotted throughout the novel and often giving a slightly different version of events from that in the first-person account by “Syjuco,” seem to be written either as a commentary by Syjuco, or by an alter ego of “Syjuco.” 

Although both these interpretations could be said to be true, we later learn that their author is the book’s other main character, the elderly writer Crispin Salvador, who (we think) dies before the novel opens.

Ilustrado employs a variety of media (e-mails, extracts from Salvador’s published work and interviews, text messages, snatches of radio commentary), but it reminds this outsider of the films of both Hitchcock (rich in illusion) and the French New Wave (bristling with symbols and allusions).

After Crispin Salvador’s body is found floating in New York’s Hudson River, his young friend and research assistant “Miguel Syjuco” finds it hard to accept that he has committed suicide. He was, after all, nearing completion of his magnum opus The Bridges Ablaze, an outpouring of bile which, he has recently told a hostile audience at the Philippine Cultural Center, will expose “our shared guilt.”.... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20100713com6.html

Obama sets campaign mode to attack focus 07/13/2010

Obama sets campaign mode to attack


LAS VEGAS — Barack Obama has decided that fiery self defense and withering mockery of Republicans are the best modes of attack as he tries to save Democrats from a drubbing in November’s mid-term elections.

The US President road-tested his pitch to grassroots Democrats and wavering independent voters during a two-day western campaign swing last week, flinging partisan rhetoric at foes of his 17-month presidency.
His swipes at Republicans and calls for change were a reminder of stump skills that few US politicians can match, recalling his 2008 campaign.
Obama adopted a sarcastic tone, rarely seen back then, likely distilled from months of frustrating political combat in Washington.
He branded Republicans as extreme and incompetent, deriding, for instance, an apology to BP by Republican lawmaker Joe Barton who described a compensation fund set up by the company for victims as a “shakedown.”
And he lampooned Republican House of Representatives leader John Boehner, who criticized measures Obama used to rescue the crisis-riddled economy as tantamount to using a nuclear weapon to kill an ant.
“It should be a movie: The Ant That Ate the Economy,” Obama said in a mocking tone while stumping for Democratic Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid at an event in Las Vegas.... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20100713com7.html

Ombudsman: Noy can’t force me to quit 07/13/2010

Ombudsman: Noy can’t force me to quit

Despite calls for her resignation, mostly coming from President Noynoy Aquino’s yellow supporters, and even a threat from Malacañang, as aired by presidential
spokesman Edwin Lacierda last week that the Palace will force her to resign, or get her impeached by its Liberal Party allies in the House of Representatives, Ombudsman Merceditas Gutierrez yesterday, holding a press conference, stood her ground and stated categorically that she will not resign her position.

She also stressed that it is only through impeachment that she can be removed, while pointing out that it is the legislature, not Malacañang, or the executive department that can impeach her.

But Gutierrez also pointed out that there is no ground at all to impeach her, saying that being “close to the Arroyos” is not a ground for impeachment.

“Like many constitutional officials, the Ombudsman has a fixed term and can be removed only by impeachment. The Constitution enumerates the specific grounds for impeachment. Alleged closeness to the appointing authority is not one of them,” she said.

She also stressed that she has every intention to complete her fixed seven-year term as Ombudsman, which ends in December 2012. 

She was appointed in December 2005 by Arroyo, to whom she allegedly has close ties.

Critics, including Malacañang officials, have said that President Aquino distrusts Gutierrez because she is said to have close ties with the Arroyo couple, having been a classmate of the former presidential spouse, Jose Miguel Arroyo in law school at the Ateneo de Manila University.... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20100713hed1.html

PET OKs Roxas poll protest, tells Binay to reply 07/13/2010

PET OKs Roxas poll protest, tells Binay to reply

It’s all systems go, for defeated vice presidential candidate former Sen. Manuel “Mar” Roxas’ election protest as the Presidential Electoral Tribunal (PET) found his poll protest petition sufficient in form and substance.

This was stated yesterday by court administrator and Supreme Court (SC) spokesman Jose Midas Marquez.
At the same time, Vice President Jejomar Binay was also summoned by the SC convening itself as the PET to answer the electoral protest of Roxas.

Marquez said The SC required Binay to submit his comment on the protest seeking to nullify his proclamation.
Roxas wants a recount of some three million votes nullified by the Commission on Elections (Comelec).
The Vice President was given 10 days to comply by Ma. Luisa Villarama, SC clerk of court and ex-officio secretary of PET.

“The PET will see the counter claims of Vice President Binay and if he will raise a counter protest before setting the case for preliminary conference,” Marquez explained.

“This is faster because the PET no longer has to go through each of the ballots and scrutinize handwritings, for example. But it still depends on the comment and counter comments of both parties,” he explained.

He said previous PET cases only covered protestants who joined elections so their pending protests then were junked by the tribunal for abandonment of their protests.

SC Chief Justice Renato Corona had Binay summoned for his comment..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20100713hed2.html

AFP, Comelec back Lim’s call to reopen Garci probe By Mario J. Mallari 07/13/2010

AFP, Comelec back Lim’s call to reopen Garci probe

By Mario J. Mallari
Both the institutions involved, the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Commission on Elections (Comelec), in the Hello Garci scandal in 2004 in which former President Arroyo was widely held as having stolen the elections through a massive and orchestrated fraud supported the call of former Scout Ranger chief Brig. Gen. Danilo Lim to reopen an investigation into it to put closure on the controversy.

Officials of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the Commission on Elections (Comelec) vowed full cooperation on the probe, if this is reopened, as a way to remove doubts on the credibility of both. 

The AFP seconded Lim’s call on the scandal which was allegedly participated in by top military officers to the 2004 election cheating as contained in the controversial “Hello Graci” recordings.

In a press briefing in Camp Aguinaldo, AFP spokesman Brig. Gen. Jose Mabanta Jr., however, maintained that a proper order should be made on the military organization’s participation on the possible reopening of the investigation.

Mabanta said the AFP leadership welcomes such opportunity to finally clear the image of the 120,000-strong organization.... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20100713hed3.html

No demoralization in military ranks but Aquino works to win over AFP By Mario J. Mallari 07/13/2010

No demoralization in military ranks but Aquino works to win over AFP

By Mario J. Mallari

The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) yesterday downplayed the reported demoralization within the ranks of the 120,000-strong military organization following recent and upcoming top-level “re-assignments.”

In a press briefing in Camp Aguinaldo, AFP spokesman Brig. Gen. Jose Mabanta Jr. said the issue was not even discussed during the first command conference of President Aquino with the military top brass.

“I don’t think there is any demoralization. There are just individuals who are airing their sentiments as to changes in leadership,” he told reporters when asked whether the appointment of senior officers associated with Aquino’s allies and supporters had created discontent in the ranks.

“As we have always said there will be no demotion in position but probably lateral movement and, of course, upward because we have to fill in the gap created by vacancies and ensuing vacancies because of retirement,” Mabanta added.

While admitting the such sentiments were normal, Mabanta urged the officers who have sentiments regarding the “movements” to avail of the established AFP grievance mechanism.

“The sentiments of some officers that were affected are but just normal and we encourage that. There are systems, there are grievance systems in the Armed Forces that can be instituted to and we are very democratic and we will listen to everyone,” Mabanta said.

He discouraged the officers from going directly to the media to air their gripes.... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20100713hed4.html

Noynoy: Legalizing jueteng not a priority; crackdown is By Aytch S de la Cruz 07/13/2010

Noynoy: Legalizing jueteng not a priority; crackdown is

By Aytch S de la Cruz
Legalization of the illegal numbers game known as jueteng is farthest from the mind of President Aquino, who intimated to reporters that this was not a priority of his government.

Echoing the position taken by his newly appointed Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) Jesse Robredo who is also against the the idea of legalizing jueteng and other small town lottery (STL) operations in the country, Aquino said he is against jueteng and is not going to encourage any gambling activity to go on, especially in poor communities.

Aquino categorically stated before members of the media yesterday that he does not encourage any form of gambling activity to continue, especially in the poor communities because it only makes people more unproductive instead of helping them earn a decent living for themselves. 

“You know, I do not encourage gambling — it’s not a productive activity… The resources that are being devoted to that could have been devoted to more worthwhile pursuits. So we will provide, hopefully, more training that people can take advantage of, that will enable them to get jobs — that will use up their time in a more productive manner,” Aquino said.

Despite his saying he does not encourage gambling, he, however, did not say what the future of the biggest government gambling business, the Philippine Amusement Gaming Corp. (Pagcor), which is now headed by his classmate.... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20100713hed5.html

Aquino, Binay get high trust ratings — SWS 07/13/2010

Aquino, Binay get high trust ratings — SWS

A recent survey has unveiled that a vast majority of Filipinos trust their new leaders — President Aquino and Vice President Jejomar Binay.

Around 88 percent of Filipinos said they trust Aquino while 53 percent said they believe that the President can fulfill only a few of his campaign promises, according to the latest Social Weather Stations (SWS) survey. 

The Second Quarter 2010 SWS, conducted from June 25-28, found that 88 percent of adult Filipinos have “much trust” and 4 percent have “little trust” in Aquino, for a “very good” net trust rating of +83 percent.

For Binay, 77 percent have “much trust” and 8 percent have “little,” for a “very good” net trust rating of +69 percent, it added.

The survey also found that 19 percent believe Aquino can fulfill “almost all” his promises during the campaign, 14 percent “all,” 4 percent “almost none” and 5 percent “none.”

Net trust in Aquino is highest in the Visayas and class ABC.... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20100713hed6.html

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