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Noynoy should mind his own business EDITORIAL 07/15/2010

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Noynoy should mind his own business

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Whatever thoughts and distrust he has and holds against the Ombudsman for whatever reason, President Aquino really should keep his trap shut on such matters, since such is not within his province as theoretically, the Office of the Ombudsman is an independent constitutional body and definitely does not belong to the executive branch of government.

The reality if that even if he dislikes Ombudsman Merceditas Gutierrez with a passion, and finds fault in her not having acted on the high profile cases with speed, there is nothing he can do about it precisely because this is not his arena and he can’t force her to resign, or fire her. At most, to remove her would have to be done through impeachment, as the Constitution states — and even in this, Aquino and his Malacañang should have no hand, because this is the business of Congress, not the executive branch.

But Noynoy has this penchant of quarreling with those who do not fall under the executive branch’s power and accountability. He publicized his dislike of Supreme Court Chief Justice Renato Corona, simply because he did not have his way in appointing a CJ of his choice.... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20100715com1.html

Politics and power play FRONTLINE Ninez Cacho-Olivares 07/15/2010

Politics and power play

Ninez Cacho-Olivares
Unholy alliance or not, it is just bad luck on the part of defeated candidate Koko Pimentel that the Senate Electoral Tribunal (SET) — at least the majority — made up of both justices and senators — chose to uphold the petition of Sen. Migz Zubiri to have certain ballot boxes from specific precincts recounted — which naturally delays the protest of Pimentel.

It could be called dirty play, but whoever said that politics is clean play?

It was of course the dissenting opinion of Justice Antonio Carpio that made sense. It is clear, from the data culled, that indeed, Koko Pimentel’s revised ballot count would put him in the winning circle, but as there is still thing called the majority rule, no matter what Carpio says, it won’t carry much weight — until or unless the majority in the SET go along with him.

The fact is that the three mentioned senators are now in alliance with the Angara bloc, and reality says that, as the bloc has seven members — if reports are accurate — both the Manny Villar and the Kiko Pangilinan blocs will have to deal with the seven — if either bloc leader wants the Senate presidency and end up as the majority in the Senate, because neither bloc has the numbers with which to win the top Senate post.... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20100715com2.html

BP well may be capped, but oil’s damage is far from over focus 07/15/2010

BP well may be capped, but oil’s damage is far from over


NEW ORLEANS — BP may be on the verge of capping the well which has been gushing oil into the Gulf of Mexico, but the cleanup is far from over and the damage to the region’s environment and economy could last decades.

An estimated two to four million barrels of oil have poured into the sea since the BP-leased Deepwater Horizon drilling rig sank spectacularly on April 22, and if the higher end of that range is correct it is the largest accidental discharge in history.

Some has been skimmed or burned off the surface. About 40 percent of the oil has likely evaporated and naturally occurring microbes will help to eventually break down a large chunk of the rest.

But there is still a vast amount of oil floating at all levels of the water column and spreading out for hundreds of miles in thousands of surface slicks which have sullied hundreds of miles of shoreline from Texas to Florida.

“Eventually a lot of that oil will settle to the bottom and in storms it’ll just keep washing up on beaches,” Paul Montagna, an ecologist with the Harte Research Institute for Gulf of Mexico studies, said in a telephone interview.
“That’s going to go on for 10 years, maybe 20. That was our experience with the Ixtoc spill off Mexico in 1979.”.... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20100715com3.html

Buccaneer businessman eyes North Harbor monopoly BLURBAL THRUSTS Louie Logarta 07/15/2010

Buccaneer businessman eyes North Harbor monopoly

Louie Logarta
The ongoing “unrest” that has been gripping portions of the Manila North Harbor, particularly the area fronting the former Smokey Mountain garbage dump, is not about dock workers or small stakeholders who are claiming they are going to be economically displaced once the multi-billion modernization project goes on stream, but about certain businessmen seeking economic enhancement by stamping their dominance over the nation’s largest and busiest port.

Why the North Harbor? Well, it is a gem in the rough. While right now it may be one of the most inhospitable places in Manila, being a highly depressed locale with its filthy and dilapidated facilities, not to mention thousands of squatters living nearby, thus contributing to the high incidence of crime, it does hold promise of becoming a modern passenger and cargo hub given the proper infrastructure inputs. And more significantly, according to sources in the Philippine Ports Authority (PPA), it accounts for some 70 percent of the country’s local shipping volume and even more if accorded the right impetus.... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20100715com4.html

‘Isang ballpen ka lang’ C.R.O.S.S.R.O.A.D.S Jonathan De la Cruz 07/15/2010

‘Isang ballpen ka lang’

Jonathan De la Cruz
\"Isang ballpen ka lang (You are just a ballpen away)” is how Sen. Tito Sotto derided the stance of newly appointed Customs Commissioner Lito Alvarez over his alleged fudging of his score in a recent golf tournament when we asked him to comment on the matter in our radio program Karambola over dwIZ.

The comment, according to the Quezon City solon, actually came from his younger brother, actor and TV host Vic Sotto, who advised that he and his friends practice regularly to improve their game only to be confronted with people like Alvarez and company who “improve their game simply by fudging their scores.” 

Obviously, he and his playing buddies are incensed by Alvarez’s attempt to make light of the incident which caused his suspension from the club and the dismissal of two caddies and one of Alvarez’s golfmate from his top paying job. Sotto noted that golf is a “gentleman’s sport as one tends to play alone and thus expected to be honest and play by the rules.” Emphasizing that scoring in golf is a true test of one’s integrity and character, lying about it is considered a “mortal sin.” “He should spare President Aquino any more problems as a result of this act of ‘plain and simple cheating’ by resigning now,” Sotto advised. 

Well, even as Alvarez has gone on record as saying that he has explained himself already and asked that he be given a chance to prove himself at the Bureau of Customs, it seems Alvarez’s problems will simply not go away. In fact, even his threat to go after “influence peddlers” at the agency has fallen into deaf ears as a result of this one moment of indiscretion. And, as one observer noted, the more he explains himself the more he is digging a bigger hole. He has woven one tale after the other which has only eroded whatever is left of his standing. As Sen. Serge Osmeña III, advised: “Remember the biblical saying: How can you be honest with big things if you cannot even be honest in small things.”... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20100715com5.html

Petty and mean By Ronald Roy COMMENT 07/15/2010

Petty and mean

By Ronald Roy

I thank texter 3003 (last 4 digits of sender’s cellphone number) for welcoming me to the ranks of “responsible journalists.” Apparently, 3003 is happy to see me supporting President Benigno Aquino lll (P-Noy) despite some uncomplimentary things I’ve written about his parents. But I beg to clarify a few things here.

In the first place, I don’t consider myself a true blue dyed-in-the-wool journalist. I am a lawyer with a business administration degree in economics, and have other things to do by way of creative and recreational hobbies. But at 75, I’ve come to realize being a political critic is my best way of helping save a nation that has gone to the dogs. At my age, I suppose people get to play new roles in the universal scheme of God, planet, country, people and family in that order.

I receive no pittance for scribbling my heart out against bad people in government. Doing so would go against my doctor’s advice. But how do I ignore the persistent notion that one’s self-proclaimed love of country is nothing but bombast unless suffered with the burning passion of a Rhett Butler or a Cyrano de Bergerac?

I had initially hoped to stand by P-Noy’s side since his success would redound to our benefit. But because passing developments seem foreboding, I may soon be back where 3003 once considered me an irresponsible critic, the certain return of life-shortening conditions notwithstanding.
.... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20100715com6.html

Justice is not vengeance VIEWPOINTS Archbishop Oscar V. Cruz 07/15/2010

Justice is not vengeance

Archbishop Oscar V. Cruz
Justice is the quest for truth in order to bring about social change and peace. Vengeance is the pursuit of revenge in the context of bitterness and pursuant vindictiveness to equate justice with vengeance. In fact, vengeance does not bring about justice but revenge. This is neither that profound to understand, nor that complex to acknowledge. Vengeance is doing something wrong in response to another wrong. Justice is meant simply to right the wrong done. Justice is an imperative — not an option!

The past administration under the practically absolute power and overwhelming influence of the boss-chief — who is present out but not off — made injustice something already incarnate in the country. Especially in the past six years, the wheels of justice in the Philippines not only made a complete half for the wealthy and powerful, but in fact even sped up for the poor and helpless. Now, it would not only be callous but also dumb, if the then blatantly unjust and infamous characters would be simply allowed to enjoy their loot and sneeringly laugh at their national victim — the now suffering people of the Philippines.

There was that sad and pitiful time when the principal and cohorts in the plunder and desecration of the country, were altogether beyond the reach of the hands of the law — on account of the enigmatic constitutional provision of “immunity” that makes the supposedly most esteemed and respectable figure in government untouchable not only in its civil misdeeds but also criminal offenses. Interesting! The principal suspect is beyond suspicion. Someone most disrespected has the claim to respect..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20100715com7.html

‘Basyang’ leaves 20 dead, major damage 07/15/2010

50% power restored in Metro Manila, Luzon

‘Basyang’ leaves 20 dead, major damage

The death toll from a typhoon that tore across the country rose to 20 yesterday, authorities said.

At least 12 persons were crushed to death by trees, walls and other objects, while most of the others drowned and one was electrocuted, according to authorities.

The deaths occurred in six provinces on the Philippines’ main island of Luzon, including on the outskirts of Manila.
The tally of 20 was compiled by Agence France Presse from reports by various military, police, civil defense and local government officials.

The National Disaster Coordinating Council (NDCC), the government body that normally compiles death tolls during disasters, said in its latest report yesterday morning that seven people had been confirmed killed.
But it acknowledged the final death toll would be higher, as it had yet to compile all its data and restore downed communication links to outlying areas.
The council told reporters it would release a new figure yesterday.

Eleven fishermen also remain missing off the Bicol region southeast of Manila, while three other people were unaccounted for south of the capital after flooding swept away their shanties, according to the military.

Basyang (International code name Conson), packing maximum gusts of 120 kilometers an hour, hit Luzon late on Tuesday, then ripped through Manila and neighboring areas on Wednesday.

The typhoon left a trail of wreckage in Manila and sweeping shanties into the sea, officials and witnesses said Wednesday.

The official civil defense office said 19 fishermen from the eastern island of Catanduanes had failed to return home and were missing at sea after the typhoon hit the area late Tuesday.
.... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20100715hed1.html

Noynoy raps Pagasa after typhoon hit Metro Manila By Aytch S. de la Cruz 07/15/2010

Noynoy raps Pagasa after typhoon hit Metro Manila

By Aytch S. de la Cruz
President Aquino let rip at the state weather agency Pagasa yesterday for not warning the residents of Manila about a strong typhoon that pummelled the nation’s capital.

“This is not acceptable,” Aquino told red-faced weather service officials at an emergency meeting of rescue agencies.

“We rely on you to tell us where the potential problems are.”

Many of the city’s 12 million residents went to bed late Tuesday having been lulled by forecasters’ bulletins that typhoon “Basyang” would hit the northern provinces instead of Manila.

However, the weather service failed to mention that the disturbance had a wide radius of 300 kilometers, meaning that although the eye of the typhoon passed north of Manila, the city still suffered from fierce winds.
Much of the capital suffered blackouts shortly before midnight Tuesday that continued into Wednesday morning.
Uprooted trees, power pylons and roofing sheets blocked roads early Wednesday.

Flights were suspended at Manila airport and schools were closed, even though the typhoon, packing winds of 120 kilometers an hour, blew out to the South China Sea.

“All the agencies have adequately met their responsibilities at this point in time but your information is sorely lacking. We have had this problem for quite a long time,” Aquino said..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20100715hed2.html

Noynoy says VP seeking another gov’t post, gives Binay 5 choices 07/15/2010

Noynoy says VP seeking another gov’t post, gives Binay 5 choices

Vice President Jejomar Binay has to speak now or forever hold his peace as President Aquino disclosed to reporters that he still has five Cabinet rooms for Binay to take in view of reports that he is allegedly reconsidering his previous decision not to take any position in the Aquino Cabinet.

According to the President, somebody informed him that Binay is now ready to get a Cabinet post.

Aquino failed to enumerate which departments he is offering Binay but he mentioned the urgency of having someone take care of the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA), especially since the rainy season is in full swing.

“I gave him (Binay) five choices. He can choose anything from these. Someone went to ask him (and he said) he is reconsidering. But he has to decide soon (because) I’m already running out (of positions) to offer him. I really need someone (to help me), like in the MMDA which takes care of the flooding,” Aquino said when asked by reporters at a dinner in the Palace on Tuesday evening.

Binay has previously made public his desire to lead the Department of Interior of Local Government but he was edged out by former Naga City Mayor Jesse Robredo in this position.... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20100715hed3.html

Aquino bends further, calls off Merci impeach By Aytch S. de la Cruz 07/15/2010

Aquino bends further, calls off Merci impeach

By Aytch S. de la Cruz
Ombudsman Merceditas Gutierrez knows how to play her cards well as President Aquino himself took a policy of friendly persuasion instead of direct confrontation even hinting that the administration may go slow on the impeachment bid against Gutierrez, adding that his House of Representative allies should carefully weigh the consequences of supporting moves to have her impeached.

Aquino, instead, now supports the proposal to talk with Gutierrez and settle issues between themselves.

During the first Media Night he hosted at the Palace last Wednesday, Aquino said it is not the proper time to push an impeachment complaint against the Ombudsman, realizing that undergoing such process will be lengthy and might just slow down his administration’s efforts toward attaining judicial reforms.

“This is not the time to talk about impeachment. This is the time we’re really mapping out judicial reforms (which are among) the major planks in our platform and we are trying to find the best way to afford complete justice for all at the fastest time. So if we can address our issues with other branches of government through requests instead of arguing with them, why not?” Aquino said.

Aquino said that Gutierrez holds “levers” that would make an impeachment against her a tedious process.
Aquino said, instead, he wanted to see the shortening of the “adjudication period” of the Office of the Ombudsman from six years to just one or two years to deny public officials under prosecution “exit points” if they wish to run from any accountability.... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20100715hed4.html

Creation of Truth Commission hit 07/15/2010

Creation of Truth Commission hit

A close ally of former President and now Pampanga Rep. Gloria Arroyo yesterday lambasted the Aquino government for establishing a “Truth Commission” which, he said, would duplicate the functions of the existing judicial system and work as a tool to get back at the former leader and her officials.

Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman said while the President can create non-permanent offices and commissions, the funding for such agencies would come from the House of Representatives.

“There is delay in the issuance of the executive fiat creating the projected Truth Commission because there is need to ascertain to what extent can the President create a public office like a commission and the parameters of his authority to fund its operation,” he noted.

Lagman, who is going to be the Lakas-Kampi-CMD’s bet against Quezon City Rep. Feliciano Belmonte of the Liberal Party in the speakership race, said the Truth Commission is a clear duplication of the functions of the Department of Justice (DoJ) and the Office of the Ombudsman.

He stressed that the Office of Ombudsman and the DoJ “are not bound by the findings and recommendations of a Truth Commission because these regular bodies determine the filing of cases as well as assess the admissibility and competence of evidence based on their own independent judgment.”

Lagman said there is a need to resolve the issue of duplication of functions before the Truth Commission is finally created.... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20100715hed5.html

Pinay arrested in Bali for heroin smuggle 07/15/2010

Pinay arrested in Bali for heroin smuggle

A Filipina was arrested by authorities in Bali, Indonesia for attempting to smuggle 2.5 kilograms of heroin.

The suspect was identified as Carolina Sarmiento Bautista, 41, who was apprehended at the airport following a search into her luggage upon arrival in the tourist island from Kuala Lumpur on Monday evening, Indonesian state news Antara said..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20100715hed6.html

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