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Get them all EDITORIAL 07/31/2010

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Get them all

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Poll executives have been placed under preventive suspension by the Ombudsman, in connection with the canceled awarding of the so-called secrecy folders to OTC Paper supply, originally priced at P350 per folder, which is clearly overpriced.

Preventively suspended for six months without pay are Commission on Elections Executive Director Jose Tolentino Jr.; Bids and Awards Committee Chairman Maria Lea Alarkon; members Allen Francis Abaya, Maria Norina Casingal, Martin B. Niedo, as well as Antonio Santella.

The Ombudsman, in its order said that the facts and circumstances of the case justify a preventive suspension, as the Ombudsman’s investigation team found that Tolentino, head of the specifications committee, “provided unwarranted benefits, advantage or preference to OTC Paper Supply by making prior arrangements and/or divulging valuable and confidential information with them as shown by OTC’S astonishing speed to produce a tailor-fitted, Comelec-approved design in just a matter of days.”.... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20100731com1.html

Still spinning it FRONTLINE Ninez Cacho-Olivares 07/31/2010

Still spinning it

Ninez Cacho-Olivares
It really is amazing how the Aquino officials, the communications group, and their media partners plus yellow supporters spin the reports and portray the big blunders made by Noynoy Aquino in his State of the Nation Address (Sona) as no mistake at all, spinning it all to make it appear that while no irregularities or anomalies in the budget figures were found, it was still “morally” and “fiscally irresponsible” of the previous Arroyo administration to have spent more than it should have.

Neither Gloria nor her officials are my cup of tea. That has been much too evident even at the start of her regime, but hell, since when does a morality issue reign over legal issues? And who is to judge what is moral or immoral? Noynoy? His appointed officials? The yellows? Their protective yellow media? Well, who the hell do they think they are to set themselves up as the nation’s moral teachers, especially when they are not too clean themselves?
As for the charge that the previous administration was “fiscally irresponsible” over expenditures, just why do they insist on judging what is fiscally responsible by way of spending the budget funds, especially if, as admitted by the Noynoy officials, there was nothing irregular or anomalous found in the expenditure of the budget funds and allocations?... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20100731com2.html

Human traffickers prey on vulnerable in Thailand FEATURE 07/31/2010

Human traffickers prey on vulnerable in Thailand


KOH KRED — Sixteen-year-old Kaew slumped into unconsciousness in a van somewhere in southern Thailand, believing she was on her way to work in a textile factory near the border.

She woke up in Malaysia to discover that she had been sold into the sex trade.
Hers is just one of a multitude of cases of modern-day slavery in Thailand, most of which involve a mix of poverty, violence and betrayal.
Apparently drugged and later locked in a room in Kuala Lumpur, Kaew met three other Thai women who asked if she had been lured to work like them.
“I had no idea what they were talking about, but then they told me what kind of job they did and what kind of job I had to do. I was very scared,” said Kaew, whose name AFP has changed to protect her identity.
She managed to escape before her first job, using money she had been given to buy food to take a taxi to the Thai embassy.... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20100731com3.htm

Advocates Worry That Aquino’s Mining, Environment Agenda Is Similar to Arroyo’s Published on July 31, 2010

Advocates Worry That Aquino’s Mining, Environment Agenda Is Similar to Arroyo’s

Published on July 31, 2010

President Aquino’s electoral platform, inaugural speech and State of the Nation Address (SONA) contain no clear environmental agenda and position on major issues such as mining, climate change and the garbage problem, said Clemente Bautista of Kalikasan.
MANILA — Environmental groups noted that the recent pronouncements and actions of President Benigno S. Aquino III lean toward the same anti-environment policies of the previous Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo administration.

“It is still early to say that President Aquino is anti-environment like his predecessor. However, based on what Mr. Aquino is doing and saying so far, prospects are not good for the communities and groups that have long clamored for fundamental change in terms of the national policies and programs that have caused much harm to our environment,” said Clemente Bautista of the Kalikasan People’s Network for the Environment (Kalikasan PNE).... MORE


URL: http://www.bulatlat.com/main/2010/07/31/advocates-worry-that-noynoys-environment-agenda-is-similar-to-arroyos/

After Fleeing from Palparan, Peasant Leader Ends Up in Manila Prison by Bulatlat.com

After Fleeing from Palparan, Peasant Leader Ends Up in Manila Prison

Published on July 31, 2010

After the attempt on his brother-in-law’s life, peasant leader Dario Tomada fled to Luzon and took on different jobs to support his family back in Leyte. Five years later, he was arrested by soldiers for 15 counts of murder that allegedly took place in 1984 — when he was still peacefully tilling a small piece of land and was not involved in any organization.


MANILA — On Sept. 10, 2006, Dario Tomada, then chairman of the Samahan han Gudti nga Parag-uma ha Sinirangan Bisayas (Sagupa-SB or Organization of Small Farmers of Eastern Visayas), left Kanangga, Leyte, upon the advice of his colleagues. Like many of the leaders of people’s organizations in the region, Tomada’s life had been in danger.

Dario Tomada inside his jail cell. (Photo by Ronalyn V. Olea / bulatlat.com)
During that period, retired Maj. Gen. Jovito Palparan Jr. was the commanding general of the 8th Infantry (Storm Troopers) Division in Eastern Visayas. Within six months of Palparan’s assignment in the region, human-rights group Karapatan had recorded 570 human-rights violations victimizing 7,561 individuals, 1,773 families and 110 communities. These include 126 cases of extrajudicial killings and 27 cases of enforced disappearances.... MORE


URL: http://www.bulatlat.com/main/2010/07/31/after-fleeing-from-palparan-peasant-leader-ends-up-in-manila-prison/

Kin of ‘Morong 43′ File Rights Raps vs Military Before GRP-NDF Body by Bulatlat.com

Kin of ‘Morong 43′ File Rights Raps vs Military Before GRP-NDF Body

Published on July 29, 2010

“Nearly six months since the Morong 43 were arrested and the wheels of justice have been grinding slow on our detained colleagues. For these innocent health workers, being held each day more in detention is a continuing torture and a serious injustice.” – Dr. Eleanor Jara, CHD executive director and convenor of the Free the 43 Health Workers Alliance 


MANILA — Relatives and colleagues of the Morong 43 trooped to the office of the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP) section of the Joint Monitoring Committee (JMC) July 28 to file cases against the military for violations of the Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (CARHRIHL).

The 43 health workers were arrested February 6 while conducting a health training in Morong, Rizal. Slapped with charges of illegal possession of firearms and explosives, the 43 were held under military captivity at Camp Capinpin, Tanay, Rizal for almost three months. In May, the 38 of them have been transferred to Camp Bagong Diwa in Bicutan, Taguig.... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.bulatlat.com/main/2010/07/29/kin-of-morong-43-file-rights-raps-vs-military-before-grp-ndf-body/

With More Privatization, Aquino Uses Same Old Policies by Predecessors by Bulatlat

 With More Privatization, Aquino Uses Same Old Policies by Predecessors

Published on July 29, 2010


MANILA — In his first State of the Nation Address (SONA), President Benigno Aquino III used the various cases of misuse of public funds by the Arroyo administration as a pretext to promote the so-called Public-Private Partnerships or PPPs. According to Aquino, PPPs will address the lack of resources due to a depleted government budget for the country’s many needs.

(Read the full text of Aquino’s SONA here)

Incidentally, PPPs were among the legacies of the first Aquino administration. It was during the term of Noynoy’s mother, the late President Cory Aquino, that the first PPPs in the power generation sector were implemented. In 1987, she issued Executive Order (EO) No. 215 that allowed private corporations to construct and operate electric generating plants. (Read here) Cory’s privatization formed part of a wide-ranging package of structural reforms pushed by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank to supposedly address the country’s fiscal crisis in the late 1980s.... MORE


URL: http://www.bulatlat.com/main/2010/07/29/with-more-privatization-aquino-uses-same-old-policies-by-predecessors/

Wide scope bared for truth body in EO By Aytch S. de la Cruz 07/31/2010


Wide scope bared for truth body in EO

By Aytch S. de la Cruz
While focused on the nine-year Arroyo administration, the so-called Truth Commission created yesterday through Executive Order No. 1 will include in its broad scope public officials of at least third-level, such as department heads of government agencies and even private individuals suspected of being involved in graft and corruption cases.
President Aquino signed EO 1 yesterday creating the commission vested with investigative powers on all the reported cases of graft and corruption involving third-level public officials and higher, their co-principals, accomplices and accessories from the private sector during the previous administration, based on the order.
Officials who are implicated in the allegations of large-scale graft and corruption cases during the previous administration will be compelled to cooperate with the recently created body to be called the Philippine Truth Commission of 2010, Justice Secretary Leila de Lima said..... MORE

House hearing on impeach Gutierrez bid starts Sept. By Gerry Baldo 07/31/2010

House hearing on impeach Gutierrez bid starts Sept.

By Gerry Baldo
The House committee on justice expects to start hearing the impeachment complaint against Ombudsman Ma. Merceditas Gutierrez in September, committee chairman Iloilo Rep. Niel Tupaz Jr. said.

Gutierrez is assured of an impartial trial of the impeachment case filed against her, Tupas added.

Tupas said Gutierrez would be given her day in the hearings that would be conducted by his panel which could begin as soon as it is referred to him by the House committee on rules.

“The sense of fairness will always be there, I can guarantee that,” said Tupas who lamented that the hearings conducted by the previous Congress on the previous impeachment case against Gutierrez were lopsided.

“There were lapses in terms of following the Constitution and the rules of the House, that’s why I voted against the report in plenary. Some jurisprudence were not properly appreciated at that time,” he said..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20100731hed2.html

Folder scam freezes all Comelec payments By Marie Surbano 07/31/2010

Folder scam freezes all Comelec payments

By Marie Surbano
Poll equipment suppliers of the May 10 elections are lining up with the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to collect their bills but the Comelec said all the contracts related to the recent automated polls have yet to be signed as a result of the controversy generated by the P700-million ballot secrecy folder scandal. 

Ferdinand Rafanan, director of Comelec Law Department, said the contractors are now asking for payment for various services rendered or equipment sold but the poll body is not ready to pay since there was no contract signed yet.

Rafanan said Comelec Chairman Jose Melo has ordered Comelec officials not to sign any contract until it has been reviewed by the law department. 

“All these contracts are under review as a consequence of the ballot secrecy folder scandal. Melo opted to be cautious so no contracts were signed and all were sent to the law department for review,” Rafanan told reporters.
Asked what these unsigned contracts were, Rafanan said these include contracts with forwarding companies which provided delivery services on what he called as “non-accountable forms.” 

“They were not paid since the contracts were unsigned,” Rafanan said adding that once the contract were reviewed and signed the commission will promptly release payments. 

He admitted that the overpricing of the ballot secrecy folder that supposedly cost P380 a piece has taught the chairman a great deal on contracts being entered by the government.... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20100731hed3.html

Gov’t sends envoy to Iraq to check OFWs’ situation By Michaela P. del Callar and Marie Surbano 07/31/2010

Gov’t sends envoy to Iraq to check OFWs’ situation

By Michaela P. del Callar and Marie Surbano
The Philippine government has sent an assessment mission to Iraq to oversee and examine the security situation and security measures for the thousands of overseas Filipino workers who were ordered to be expelled by the United States due to an existing labor deployment ban by Manila.

Presidential special envoy to the Middle East Roy Cimatu, who left for Iraq Thursday, will return to Manila next week to submit his report and recommendations to an inter-agency committee that closely monitors the work condition of Filipino workers and studying options to address their situation and concerns in Iraq.

“The inter-agency committee, composed of the Office of the Executive Secretary, Department of Foreign Affairs, Department of Labor and Employment, the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration, among other agencies, is expected to issue policy guidelines shortly after Ambassador Cimatu’s return,” a DFA statement said.

According to the DFA, there are around 6,000 Filipinos working in Iraq despite the Philippine government’s travel and labor deployment ban to Iraq. But the Embassy of Iraq in Manila said the figure has swelled to 15,000, most of them working for foreign companies in Iraq’s northern region.... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20100731hed4.html

CAT: SC ruling a labor, not agrarian, issue 07/31/2010

CAT: SC ruling a labor, not agrarian, issue

The top management of the Central Azucarera de Tarlac (CAT) yesterday clarified that the Supreme Court (SC) decision on the 13th month differential pay of its workers is purely a labor issue that involved the CAT which is an entirely different company from that of Hacienda Luisita Inc. (HLI).

Joey Romasanta, CAT vice president for Corporate Affairs, in a statement, stressed the high court ruling involves the Central Azucarera de Tarlac, a publicly listed company which operates a sugar mill located in Tarlac City, is separate and distinct from HLI. 

He said the SC decision could be regarded as “moot and academic” since CAT had already satisfied the 13th month differential pay being claimed by the workers through the union by paying the amount of P6 million, more or less, as early as Jan. 26, 2010..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20100731hed5.html

Pacquiao sister wanted for illegal gambling racket 07/31/2010

Pacquiao sister wanted for illegal gambling racket

Authorities yesterday said a sister of boxing champion and Sarangani Rep. Emmanuel “Manny” Pacquiao was involved in running an illegal gambling racket after detaining 25 persons in a raid on her home in General Santos City.

A police vice squad detained the suspects and seized evidence, including gambling materials and cash, in Thursday’s raid on the home of Pacquiao’s elder sister, Isidra Paglinawan, Chief Insp. Leo Sua said.

Pacquiao, the seven-time world champion who was elected to a seat in the House of Representatives this year, personally watched as police searched the house, but vowed not to interfere.

A lower court in the southern port of General Santos ordered the raid as part of a police crackdown against an illegal numbers game, locally called “masiao,” but the 34-year-old sister was not at home, Sua told reporters.
.... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20100731hed6.html

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