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Leadership only for a leader EDITORIAL 07/18/2010

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Leadership only for a leader

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Some interesting battle is happening at the Senate that would likely have its leadership retained by Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile, a development that bespeaks of an independent 15th Senate, led by an independent Senate chieftain.
The configuration of forces in the chamber, which is not known for defined party boundaries, has, as the main contenders for the post, Senators Francis Pangilinan of the Liberal Party (LP) and Manuel Villar Jr. of the Nacionalista Party (NP), in a likely deadlock, with none willing to give in to either of the two declared aspirants for the Senate presidency.

Valid issues have been raised against both Pangilinan and Villar that kept either from getting unqualified support from their colleagues.
On Villar were the still unresolved issues involving the C-5 road controversy prior to the national elections while Pangilinan is being perceived as being too close to President Aquino that may compromise the independence of the Senate.

Truth to tell, this early, there already appears to be a compromising situation in the sense of Noynoy Aquino clearly meddling in the Senate race — as well as the justice arena — as Noynoy has telegraphed his punches in his bid to get a detained senator released, just to get him to vote for Pangilinan.

The support within two rival fences remains constant but with the group of five led by Sen. Edgardo Angara, within Villar’s group willing to compromise, but not in favor of their rival but in support of Enrile, who had not even thrown his hat into the battle ring, the probability of Enrile retaining his seat is greater... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20100718com1.html

Bum advice FRONTLINE Ninez Cacho-Olivares 07/18/2010

Bum advice

Ninez Cacho-Olivares
Noynoy Aquino will have a military problem in his hands if he keeps on interfering in the judicial and congressional processes just to get detained Sen. Sonny Trillanes released from detention merely to ensure an additional vote for his Liberal Party (LP) bet for the Senate, Kiko Pangilinan.

A member of his communications team, Sonny Coloma, was quick to deny that Noynoy was interfering in the judiciary, as well as denying Noynoy’s statement that Trillanes has been unjustly charged for a coup d’etat was done to get him to vote for Pangilinan.

Noynoy, it was said, was exercising his authority within his province, when he asked the Department of Justice (DoJ) to review the case of Trillanes.

But everyone knows that the DoJ will do exactly what Noynoy wants, which is to throw out the case by saying there was no probable cause for the crime of coup d’etat. The DoJ may have a new secretary of Justice, but that does not translate to the DoJ being independent of what the Malacañang tenant wants done, with the results of the review adhering to what he had already prejudged, which is that Trillanes was unjustly charged of the crime..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20100718com2.html

SP FPP? ENQUIRY Demaree J. B. Raval 07/18/2010


Demaree J. B. Raval
If one cannot hack it as majority leader of the Senate, then he is not good enough to be Senate President.

Long before Sen. Francisco Pancrateus Pangilinan acquired another name arising from his infamous role as co-chairman of the National Board of Canvassers for the 2004 presidential elections, he had another name in the vernacular that translates to “all buffery; no substance.”
I wrote then in my article of Feb. 15, 2004. Thus: “A majority leader is supposed to be learned in parliamentary rules, practices and precedents. He is expected to guide the deliberations of the Senate, which draws on his experience to set everything in order. His leadership inspires confidence among his colleagues. After all, he is the chairman of the powerful committee on rules, which sets the tone of the proceedings in the chamber. If he knows his rules, everything goes well; if he does not, then that is when the big problem starts. As the Senate now faces.
“It is on days like these that we pine for the good old days when the Senate had a majority leader in the mold of a Romulo or a Tatad; or, most recently, a Legarda. Today the Senate has a majority leader who is still wet behind the ears, and seemingly nothing in between, who is groping for the rules, prompting no less than Senate President Franklin Drilon himself to remark in disgust after once abruptly suspending the session: “Kabado naman itong si Kiko!” Drilon did not know he was near a live microphone, so that this remark was plainly heard by everyone in the session hall..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20100718com3.html

Koko’s unreachable dream BLURBAL THRUSTS Louie Logarta 07/18/2010

Koko’s unreachable dream

Louie Logarta
Lawyer Aquilino Pimentel III must be ruing his decision not to run in the senatorial elections last May, which were topped by re-electionists (only due to their being movie stars in this showbiz-crazed country of ours) Ramon “Bong” Revilla and Jinggoy Estrada, bragging he was confident of winning the protest he had filed in June 2007 against rival Sen. Juan Miguel Zubiri.

Because if only he had opted to cast his lot with the opposition in the May 10, 2010 polls, instead of his political neophyte sister Gwen, he would most probably be one of those senators awaiting the opening of Congress in two weeks to formally assume their places in the upper chamber
Pimentel, son of former Senate Minority Leader Nene Pimentel of Cagayan de Oro City, it should be recalled, was edged out by a mere few thousand votes by former Arroyo ally Zubiri for the 12th and final slot in the winner’s circle in the senatorial race during the May 2007 polls, despite having led throughout the counting of votes conducted by the Commission of Elections that was acting as the national board of canvassers.

Pimentel saw the ever so slim lead of less than 20,000 votes he had maintained over 13th placer Zubiri (a la Jojo Binay vis-a-vis his struggle with Mar Roxas) in the tabulations suddenly dissipate after the Supreme Court allowed the Comelec to include the ballots from Maguindanao province, a known administration bailiwick, in their canvassing.

By then, the proclamation of the last-placed senator had been dragging on for some two agonizing months because Pimentel, a Bar topnotcher, had petitioned the tribunal to stop the Comelec from counting the votes from Maguindanao province where he alleged wholesale and massive fraud had taken place.... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20100718com4.html

Opening with closures TABLETS OF STONE Larry Faraon, OP 07/18/2010

Opening with closures

Larry Faraon, OP
This “Davide Truth Commission” is useless without the necessary judicial powers that should go along with it, nor without the funds to be allocated by Congress. But most importantly, the credibility and authenticity of its findings and recommendations for prosecution and eventual sending off the culprits to jail would suffer, since Davide himself cannot be considered untainted and unblemished. In short, moral ascendancy problems.

It may well be practical for President Noynoy Aquino to abrogate the creation of this commission. Besides, the celebrated cases listed in its menu, mostly from the Arroyo political and fund scams would be just that, i.e. “celebrated,” creating more witnesses, whistle-blowers, self-proclaimed political martyrs who would run for political positions in the next elections, owing to the celebrity status they reap in grueling yet entertaining hearings of these investigative bodies that are broadcast live on radio and television.

At the stretch of the day, a report would come up, replete with recommendations of prosecution by the Department of Justice or by the Sandiganbayan, while the people are scratching their tired eyes hoping to see some “celebrities” escorted to jail. Unfortunately, accused celebrities who land in prison in total humiliation are those who are unjustly condemned, not by a legitimate process in court, but by an extra-judicial modality, like that infamous people power at Edsa ll, sponsored by the wealthy and the elite few.
We will never forget this miscarriage of justice committed against President Joseph Estrada, because this would forever be etched in the pages of our history as one of the most embarrassing episodes ever.... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20100718com5.html

Pork barrel? Pork chop? Pork? VIEWPOINTS Archbishop Oscar V. Cruz 07/18/2010

Pork barrel? Pork chop? Pork?

Archbishop Oscar V. Cruz
This is but a simple and candid question. This is merely a plain and timely query. The government is not only flat broke but also in dire need because the public coffer is not merely empty of cash but also full of debts — courtesy of the previous administration. There are too many government officials and much more government employees to pay salaries to and give reasonable perks too. The annual income and budget, especially in the past six years, are too depressing to know how they have been “balanced” in terms of local and foreign borrowings, real huge debits and supposedly consoling reality in the form of big “deferred payments”

The needed funding for education is much less than actually needed. Hence, more children no longer good to school. The requirements of developing agriculture are beyond reasonable response. Wherefore, the matter of importing rice has become not only mandatory but are the salaries relatively low, but many do not even find any employment. Direct and indirect taxes are already too much. Yet public welfare has become less and less..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20100718com6.html

Frustrated Palestinians expected to reject direct talks focus 07/18/2010

Frustrated Palestinians expected to reject direct talks


RAMALLAH — Frustrated by the sluggish pace of proximity talks with Israel, the Palestinians will likely reject a visiting US envoy’s calls for direct negotiations, officials and analysts say.
In recent weeks Palestinian President Mahmud Abbas has largely backed away from conditioning direct talks on a full settlement freeze, instead insisting on “progress” on the issue of borders and security in the US-brokered talks launched in May.

But Israel has thus far refused to completely halt the construction of Jewish settlements on Palestinian land and, according to the Palestinians, has yet to respond to their proposals on the two thorny issues.

On Thursday, Abbas’s secular Fatah movement issued a statement warning that the “lack of credibility and confidence resulting from the Israeli rejection of the indirect talks, which have achieved no progress, will become entrenched... if there is a transition to direct talks.

“That is something the Palestinian leadership has not and will not accept.”
.... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20100718com7.html

Costly Centennial Expo remains a burden — CoA 07/18/2010


Costly Centennial Expo remains a burden — CoA

The centennial of the nation’s independence came and went more than 12 years ago but the government until now is spending for the Philippine Centenial Expo ’98 Corp. (Expocorp), the company formed in 1996 by then President Fidel V. Ramos for the centennial celebration, Commission on Audit (CoA) documents showed.

CoA records show an unreconciled balance of P269.607 million in accounts receivable Expocorp is claiming from the First Centennial Clark Corp. (FCCC), a joint venture between private firms and government agencies that undertook the development and operation of the Philippine Centennial International Exposition 1998 (Expo ’98) complex at the Clark Special Economic Zone in Pampanga, the construction of which was provided under Executive Order 128 of Ramos.

The construction of Expo ’98 or Expo Filipino cost a total of P3.5 billion. Ramos directed three government financial institutions, the Social Security System (SSS), the Government Service Insurance System (GSIS) and the Land Bank of the Philippines to release a total of P1.4 billion in loans to the developer of the project.

The project was criticized for the excessive amounts of money that went to its construction such as a Freedom Ring costing more than P1.2 billion; a parking lot worth P111 million; an entry zone costing P118 million; display villages worth P290 million; an artificial river built at a cost of P76 million, and bridges on the river that cost P32 million to build.

A dispute between FCCC and Expocorp on the actual amount of the project had delayed the liquidation of the Expocorp.

The phrase “amount actually paid by Expocorp solely for the for the construction of said properties” was not clearly defined resulting in different interpretations. Consequently, there is a variance of the receivable as per (Expocorp’s) records of P269,607,624 and that acknowledged by FCCC of P53,162,163, according to CoA.... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20100718hed1.html

MILF forwards 5 queries to new gov’t peace panel 07/18/2010

MILF forwards 5 queries to new gov’t peace panel

While Malacañang said yesterday definitive steps were being taken to hasten the resumption of peace negotiations with both the Muslim and communist rebels, the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) said it is backing a former peace adviser’s proposal for the new government panel to answer five questions first before sitting at the negotiating table with the secessionist group.

In a radio interview, Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Secretary Teresita Deles said she expects the peace talks to begin “within the next quarter.”

Lawyer Lanang Ali, a senior member of the MILF peace panel, said the rebel group is supporting the proposal of Camilo Montesa, former assistant secretary at the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP), in forwarding the so-called five basic questions (5BQ) to members of the government panel which are: Can the MILF be trusted?; Is there a Moro Problem?; What is the Moro Problem?; What are the roots of the Moro Problem?; How should we solve the Moro Problem?

“He is one of the few members of the government peace panel who enjoyed high regard from the MILF. He is very objective and is not one of a close mind when it comes to searching for the ‘new formulas’ in addressing the Moro Question in Mindanao,”... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20100718hed2.html

Trillanes coup case review not encroaching on judiciary — Palace By Aytch S. de la Cruz 07/18/2010

Trillanes coup case review not encroaching on judiciary — Palace

By Aytch S. de la Cruz
Malacañang yesterday tried to set the record straight relevant to the statement reportedly aired by President Aquino asking Justice Secretary Leila de Lima to review the coup d’état charges filed against Magdalo stalwart Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV as some have viewed such move as tantamount to encroaching on the independence of the court which is already taking care of the matter.

Presidential Communications Group official Herminio “Sonny” Coloma told reporters that such order from Aquino to De Lima is still in line with her mandate as chief of the Department of Justice which is tasked to enforce the rule of law and promote justice equally to the people.

Coloma clarified that Aquino has no intentions to cross the borderline that separates his department to that of the judiciary and he is only after the fulfillment of his pledge to avoid so-called “miscarriage of justice” to the wrongfully accused under his presidency.

“I think our Executive department, especially our President, has no intention to cross the line and disrespect the rights or (duties) covered by the judiciary. What he did is just to ensure that there is no miscarriage of justice. If you’re going to take a look at the oath of office of the President, it is stated therein that one of his duties is to do justice to every man — make sure that justice is being implemented to every Filipino and because of which we have our Department of Justice,” Coloma explained in an interview over the state-run Radyo ng Bayan.... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20100718hed3.html

House ally hits Aquino plan to end rice subsidy 07/18/2010 By Charlie V. Manalo

House ally hits Aquino plan to end rice subsidy

By Charlie V. Manalo
Less than a month into office, the Aquino administration is fast earning criticisms from its allies, the latest resulting from a proposal of the Department of Finance (DoF) to scrap subsidies on rice prices and transfer the responsibility of ensuring the poor’s access to rice to the Social Welfare Department supposedly to stop the financial drain on the National Food Authority (NFA).

“What (Finance) Secretary (Cesar) Purisima is, in effect, proposing is to leave something as vital as rice trade to the hands of traders and business. He wants government to save money by abandoning its commitment to help farmers get fair prices for their palay and assure consumers of access to affordable rice,” Akbayan Rep. Walden Bello in criticizing the Finance department’s proposal.

While President Aquino has vowed to lick poverty, Purisima’s pronouncement only validates observations from some sectors the newly installed government is in disarray with so many power players, including the President’s sister power, Kamag-anak Inc., Hyatt 10 and some civil society groups, trying to jostle each other with regard to appointments and policy-making, he said.... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20100718hed4.html

Palace won’t push Neri to play Truth Commission game 07/18/2010

Palace won’t push Neri to play Truth Commission game

Former Socio-economic Planning Secretary Romulo Neri’s refusal to cooperate with the yet-to-be-established Truth Commission whose objective is to provide closures to the scandals of the previous administration will not be a problem, a Malacañang official yesterday said.

According to Presidential Communications Group official Herminio “Sonny” Coloma, Neri has the right to freely express his opinions on the purpose for which the Truth Commission is being built since he is among the accused to one of the cases that it is planning to explore.

“Former Secretary Neri has the right to express his opinions because he is one of the accused. Perhaps that is what he thinks he should do as one of the accused so let’s just respect his right in that aspect,” Coloma said.

Neri, through his legal counsel Paul Lentejas, said he has no intentions to serve as state witness in the investigations to be undertaken by the Truth Commission once it has been launched by the Aquino administration through its chosen chief, former Supreme Court Chief Justice Hilario Davide Jr.

Lentejas even went as far as saying that “whatever the Truth Commission will do is irrelevant” since the cases that it wants to pursue are now being heard in courts, including the botched $329-million national broadband network (NBN) deal that the previous government unsuccessfully forged with the Zhongxing Telecommunication Equipment Corp. (ZTE), on which his client was involved.

Neri pleaded not guilty of the graft charges filed against him by the Office of the Ombudsman before the Sandiganbayan the other day.... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20100718hed5.html

Pinay dies, two compatriots hurt in Iraq hotel fire 07/18/2010

Pinay dies, two compatriots hurt in Iraq hotel fire

A Filipina worker was among at least 23 persons killed when a fire broke out in a hotel in northern Iraq Thursday night (Baghdad time), the Department of Foreign Affairs yesterday confirmed.

Citing a report from the Philippine Embassy in Baghdad, the DFA said the Filipina was an employee of the Asiacell Mobile company based in Sulaimania, Kurdistan Region Governorate in Iraq.

“The Filipina was at the Hotel SOMA in Sulaimania City when a fire occurred, which started at a nearby furniture shop. The DFA identified the Filipina as Maricar Cente,” Foreign Affairs spokesman Eduardo Malaya said.

Two other Filipinos survived the fire, he added. They are Joshua Ermitanos, who is recuperating at a hospital from a broken leg, and Richie Salceda, who was discharged from the hospital Friday.

The embassy, Malaya said, is being assisted by a Filipino volunteer based in nearby city of Erbil, and is coordinating with their employers for the repatriation of remains and entitlement to benefits.... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20100718hed6.html

Aquino to provide Aquino to provide 07/18/2010

Aquino to provide Aquino to provide

President Aquino is getting ready for his first State of the Nation Address (Sona), which he will deliver to the 15th Congress when it opens on July 26.

Herminio Coloma of the Palace’s Communication Group said yesterday Aquino has been holding meetings with various department secretaries since June 30, discussing the content of his Sona. 

“What I know is that the President wants to find out from each Cabinet member what’s going on and what’s really happening around the country. Almost everybody have already submitted a report,” Coloma said over dzRB Radio ng Bayan. 

He said he does know the specific itinerary of President Aquino a week before the Sona, but what he knew of was that the Chief Executive was very busy preparing for it. ... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20100718hed7.html

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