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The Daily Tribune

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Not a credible mechanism EDITORIAL 08/19/2010

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Not a credible mechanism

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Has it ever occurred to the military leadership that one of the major reasons some Armed Forces of the Philippines officers, senior or junior, air their gripes before the media, whether openly or through some interview with media, with the usual condition of the source being unidentified, is that the so-called AFP grievance mechanism does not work to the advantage of the military officer-complainants?
The way the military hierarchy is so rigidly structured, along with the fact — and it is fact, despite denials from the AFP brass — that the military officers do engage in heavy politicking, and indulge in partisan politics, which translates to their being very unprofessional, it is almost impossible for an officer --- who sees or senses injustice or unprofessional military conduct of top generals and even the top officials in the Defense department meddling in affairs that they shouldn’t meddle in — to get the AFP brass to right whatever wrong is pointed out.... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20100819com1.html

Come home, face the music FRONTLINE Ninez Cacho-Olivares 08/19/2010

Come home, face the music

Ninez Cacho-Olivares
Following news reports quoting Cesar Mancao, government witness in the Dacer-Corbito double murder who had pointed to fugitive Sen. Panfilo Lacson, as the mastermind, saying that he has been receiving pressures and multimillion-peso offers from Lacson’s emissaries to recant his testimony, the office of Lacson sent a media statement quoting the senator as brushing off Mancao’s claim of a bribe and saying that his former aide who had turned against him is now getting “desperate,” after former Senior Supt. Glenn Dumlao “effectively demolished Mancao’s fabricated claims.”

Said Lacson: “The fact of the matter is, the court testimony of Glenn Dumlao has effectively demolished Mancao’s fabricated testimony against me. That’s why Mancao and his lawyer are in a desperation mode.”

“From the very start, it is easy to comprehend that Mancao is conveniently fabricating these lies to benefit himself. He implicated Senator Lacson so he can get out of prison in the US and go back to the Philippines — all expenses paid at that. And now, he is accusing our camp of trying to bribe him into recanting a testimony which was already shattered in court,” Lacson’s lawyer Alex Avisado Jr. said.... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20100819com2.html

The battle to combat child trafficking in Haiti FEATURE 08/19/2010

The battle to combat child trafficking in Haiti


OUANAMINTHE — On market days, Clarine Joanice sits on a plastic chair by the crowded bridge marking the northern border between Haiti and the Dominican Republic. Every time a child walks by, she gently grabs its arm and asks the accompanying adults for travel papers.

Joanice is a child protection officer with the Heartland Alliance, a small US-based rights group helping to track down child traffickers sneaking minors through Haiti’s porous border.

Since January’s earthquake that killed more than 250,000 persons, the group has stopped 74 children it suspected were being trafficked out of the country.

“We stop everyone, public cars, private cars, trucks, children on foot,” explained Joanice on a busy Monday morning, as thousands of vendors carrying merchandise crossed the dusty bridge into the Dominican town of Dajabon.

Over 100 children cross the border each week, with that number doubling during school vacations. Southern crossings closer to the capital are even more jammed, and controls there are next to non-existent.

Before January’s devastating quake, an estimated 2,000 minors were trafficked into the Dominican Republic annually, according to official figures.

Since then, the Haitian police’s Minor Protection Brigades (CPM) has stopped 3,000 minors on the border, 750 of whom carried no documents.... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20100819com3.html

LA Café stays closed — city hall BLURBAL THRUSTS Louie Logarta 08/19/2010

LA Café stays closed — city hall

Louie Logarta
There are several facets with which to appreciate or dis-appreciate the convoluted and controversial case involving the Philippine government and the Philippine International Air Transport Corp. (Piatco), wherein the former was recently reported to have emerged with the longer straw in an arbitration case with the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) in Singapore.

I choose to delve into the fact that it is nothing more than a Pyrrhic victory for the state, something which the Aquino government conveniently glosses over, because in effect it lost an atrocious amount of money while defending itself in the complicated proceedings before the arbitration body thereby dampening the supposed huge gains that had come its way.

High-priced lawyers who were engaged to defend the Philippines were reportedly remunerated to the tune of a staggering P2 billion in taxpayers’ money even if they had never won even one single counterclaim lodged against Piatco. The 23 counterclaims, we were told, could have won for the government a total of $900 million had its legal battery succeeded.... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20100819com4.html

Damned if you do, damned if you don’t VIEWPOINTS Archbishop Oscar V. Cruz 08/19/2010

Damned if you do, damned if you don’t

Archbishop Oscar V. Cruz
Without the least intention of being offensive, much less of expressing irreverence, the above quoted axiom is simply meant to emphatically drive home the truth about the present huge financial predicament of the current administration — in terms of inheriting a national vault that is empty of assets and full of liabilities. As already well noted and exposed, the previous administration with visionary plans and glorious aspirations, proved to be an expert in spending public funds while piling on personal wealth. Conclusion: The incumbent administration is at a loss on how to raise government funds — even if only to keep the country standing and the people surviving.
If someone is flat broke, what does he do? Brood and do nothing? Finger point and blame everybody else? Wallow in despair and jump out of the window? Or: Think of the doable. Have a plan of action. Act on what is proper, right and just? 

The national leadership with the assistance of sincere and competent Cabinet members is “counting the ways” on how to gather public funds, how to fill the government coffers — how to make “both ends meet” in terms of government earnings and expenditures. This is an expression of social justice, specifically in terms of the people giving to their government what is hereto due, and of same government giving back to the people in return what is required by their common good and public welfare.... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20100819com5.html

Australian PM backs republic after queen’s death FEATURE 08/19/2010

Australian PM backs republic after queen’s death


SYDNEY — Australia should become a republic when Queen Elizabeth II dies or abdicates, Prime Minister Julia Gillard said on Tuesday, unexpectedly reviving an emotional debate just days ahead of national polls.

Gillard, whose center-left Labor Party is in a tight electoral race against the conservative opposition, said a new monarch would be an “appropriate” time for Australia to stop having a British head of state.

“I believe that this nation should be a republic. I also believe that this nation has got a deep affection for Queen Elizabeth,” the Welsh-born Gillard told reporters.

“What I would like to see as prime minister is that we work our way through to an agreement on a model for the republic, but I think the appropriate time for this nation to move to being a republic is when we see the monarch change.”.... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20100819com6.html

Sarkozy crime crackdown draws racism charge focus 08/19/2010

Sarkozy crime crackdown draws racism charge


PARIS — President Nicolas Sarkozy’s racially tinged security crackdown has begun to cause concern even within his own right-wing camp and raise fears that he has damaged France’s international image.

Every day French police raid more Gypsy settlements, rounding up hundreds of foreign-born Roma for expulsion, using tactics that one member of Sarkozy’s ruling party compared to those of France’s Nazi-era collaboration.
The crackdown on illegal Gypsy campsites comes alongside planned measures to strip some foreign-born criminals of their citizenship, after the government made an explicit link between immigration and crime.

Sarkozy hopes such stringent tactics will restore his flagging popularity with French voters in the run-up to the 2012 presidential election, but the harsh tone has raised eyebrows even among some politicians of the right.

“The policy of dismantling illegal camps has taken an ugly turn,” said Jean-Pierre Grand, a lawmaker from Sarkozy’s majority UMP party, after police rounding up Gypsies were seen separating men from women and children.

Grand used the loaded term “rafle” — meaning “a round-up” — to describe the raids, implicitly linking them to France’s wartime detention of Jewish citizens..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20100819com7.html

Wobbly Luisita arguments on SDO crumble in SC By Benjamin B. Pulta 08/19/2010

Wobbly Luisita arguments on SDO crumble in SC

By Benjamin B. Pulta
Arguments offered by lawyers of the Cojuangco family-owned Hacienda Luisita crumbled upon scrutiny before the Supreme Court (SC) en banc yesterday as the Hacienda Luisita Inc. (HLI) management fought an uphill battle to defend the legality of the stock distribution option (SDO) as an alternative arrangement for land distribution under the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP).

Luisita lawyer Gener Asuncion claimed the government can no longer reverse the SDO Agreement (SDOA) even as it refused to acknowledge that the more than 10,000 beneficiaries are tenants, insisting that they are mere “farm workers.”

Asuncion said the SDOA as far as they are concerned had “matured into contracts” and are already covered by the non-impairment clause of the Bill of Rights. 

Ironically, Associate Justice Conchita Carpio-Morales who had administered the oath of office to President Aquino, tore away at the lawyer’s arguments as the lady magistrate pointed out that the constitutional guarantee against impairment of contracts covers only laws.

“Do you consider the orders of the PARC (Presidential Agrarian Reform Council) laws or legislative acts?” Carpio-Morales said.

Protests ran to last night prompting policemen to close Padre Faura where the Justice Department (DoJ) and the Supreme Curt are located.... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20100819hed1.html

Cayetano’s grumbling stalls Senate CA posting By Angie Rosales 08/19/2010

Cayetano’s grumbling stalls Senate CA posting

By Angie Rosales
The Senate held off naming its delegates to the powerful bicameral Com-mission on Appointments (CA) yesterday after senators were caught in a new standoff that was sparked by Minority Leader Alan Peter Cayetano’s complaint over his exclusion from the list while questioning the distribution of the CA membership.

During the Senate’s afternoon plenary session, Cayetano took the floor to insist that the group identified with Sen. Manuel Villar Jr. or the so-called Villar bloc, should be entitled to three and a half seats in the appointments body and not merely three seats based on the initial lineup for the CA members.

A member of the bloc, however, said that Cayetano, was not included in the drafting of the minority’s nominees to the CA.

Majority Leader Vicente Sotto III told reporters that on the list as supposedly drafted by Villar, Cayetano’s name was never included.

Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile, in debating with Cayetano, said the senators have agreed on the “groupings” scheme instead of party representation in their previous caucuses and thus, it is the responsibility of each group to assign where or to whom the seat will go.

Senators had earlier reached a consensus to do away with the Constitutionally-mandated composition of CA members, that of filling in seats through “proportional party representation.”.... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20100819hed2.html

Noy appoints allies, kin to SSS, SRA and CHR By Aytch S. de la Cruz 08/19/2010

Noy appoints allies, kin to SSS, SRA and CHR

By Aytch S. de la Cruz
A political columnist’s brother, a presidential cousin-in-law’s sister, and a human rights victim serve as the latest additions to the administration of President Aquino.

Emilio de Quiros Jr., an economist, was appointed chairman of the Social Security System (SSS), the position previously held by the controversial Romulo Neri during the administration of former President Arroyo.

De Quiros is brother to political columnist, Conrado de Quiros, who, as columnist, also served as a propagandist for then presidential candidate Aquino. But the President claimed this information has no relevance in his decision to sign the new SSS chief’s appointment papers Tuesday.

“I wouldn’t ask his (Conrado’s) advice with regard to this,” Aquino said during his hour-long press conference at Malacañang yesterday. 

The Sugar Regulatory Administration (SRA) also found a new chief in the person of Maria Regina Bautista-Martin whom Aquino introduced to Palace reporters as a “small sugar planter” from Negros Occidental.

Aquino admitted that Bautista-Martin is related to him as since she is a sister to one of his cousins-in-law but he underscored as well that this did not factor in his decision to appoint her at the SRA.... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/nation/20100819nat5.html

House ignores Aquino, hears postponement of barangay polls By Gerry Baldo 08/19/2010

House ignores Aquino, hears postponement of barangay polls

By Gerry Baldo
President Aquino’s statement that he prefers to push through with the scheduled barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) elections, is being ignored by his allies in the House of Representatives as the House committee on suffrage and electoral reforms conducted its first hearing on the measure to postpone the Oct. 25 polls.

The Commission on Elections (Comelec) was also open to the idea of postponing even as it stressed it is ready to proceed with the elections without a law postponing this.

“I think it can be done. It’s only Aug. 18. Perhaps we can finish the committee report next week. We could submit the committee report on the floor a week after,” Cavite Rep. Elpidio Barzaga said. 

Barzaga is the chairman of the committee on suffrage and electoral reforms.

He said that the Senate will be doing the same thing.

“Thereafter we can vote and I think the Senate, if it is the consensus of the senators, the Senate would be doing a similar thing,” Barzaga added..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/nation/20100819nat1.html

Noy insists on Davide as ‘perfect’ for truth body; solons divided By Aytch S. de la Cruz and Angie M. Rosales 08/19/2010

Noy insists on Davide as ‘perfect’ for truth body; solons divided

By Aytch S. de la Cruz and Angie M. Rosales
It’s Hilario Davide Jr. to head the Truth Commission, or nothing.

This was the gist of President Aquino’s reaction to Senate President Pro-Tempore Jinggoy Estrada’s privilege speech last Monday calling Davide, a former Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, a man of dubious integrity and a violator of the Constitution.

Aquino, at a press conference in Malacañang yesterday, rejected the allegations leveled by Estrada against Davide, the personal choice of Aquino to head his Truth Commission.

The supposed excellent “track record” of Davide in the legal profession served as Aquino’s lone defense as he underscored Davide’s instrumental contributions in crafting the 1987 Constitution under which government operates today.

“I guess we should emphasize the fact that he (Davide) was a member of the constitutional commission (con-com). There are so many provisions (in the Constitution) that have become controversial today. He is among the leading members who debated at the con-com. For instance, in the redistricting, it was he who clarified in the debate what rights can each citizen hope for his representatives. How many Filipinos are needed to constitute one district? Of course, there are some decisions made by the Supreme Court today that are somehow no longer in line with the debates at the con-com before,” Aquino told reporters.

Aquino lauded Davide’s efforts in leading the investigation on the several coup attempts perpetrated by restive military soldiers during the turbulent periods in the administration of his late mother, former President Corazon Aquino.

The Truth Commission whose legality and constitutionality are currently being questioned before the high tribunal targets the allegations of corruption and deceit allegedly committed during the nine-year reign of former President Arroyo..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20100819hed4.html

Aquino dismisses Biazon’s warnings on AFP unrest By Aytch S. de la Cruz and Mario J. Mallari 08/19/2010

Aquino dismisses Biazon’s warnings on AFP unrest

By Aytch S. de la Cruz and Mario J. Mallari
The Commander-in-Chief has finally spoken and his word shall become an order to the military.
President Aquino yesterday dismissed the warnings issued by former Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) chief of staff and former senator and now Muntinlupa Rep. Rodolfo Biazon to pay serious attention in view of the ongoing rumblings in the military organization that were sparked by Rear Adm. Feliciano Angue’s recent statements in the media.
Angue has been griping for weeks over the alleged politicization in the AFP’s promotions and assignment system by those officials who were granted choice positions by Aquino in the military institution.
Aquino earlier deferred to his AFP Chief of Staff Gen. David to answer on this issue but yesterday, at a press conference he held in Malacañang, he finally declared his position.
“I have been elected by the people and part of my duties is to serve as Commander-in-Chief. He (Angue) is my subordinate. It is my decision so he needs to follow (orders) — it’s just that simple,” Aquino said.
Aquino added he would not allow any of his subordinates to question his orders so as to keep the chain of command in place which he considers as key element toward maintaining the peace and order situation in the country.... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20100819hed5.html

Senators to Mancao: Name names behind ‘bribe’ attempt 08/19/2010

Senators to Mancao: Name names behind ‘bribe’ attempt

Embattled Sen. Panfilo “Ping” Lacson’s colleagues in the upper chamber, led by Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile, yesterday urged former police Senior Supt. Cesar Mancao, the state witness in the Dacer-Corbito double murder case, to openly identify the personalities who allegedly attempted to bribe him to recant his testimony against the fugitive lawmaker to ascertain if there are indeed some political maneuverings already taking place. 

“He should name names, who approached him and what did they tell him, to clear this issue. We cannot just take his statement as it is. We have to assess what was said. How was the offer made? How much and who made the offer? It could have been planted, for all we know to further pin down the subject of the matter,” Enrile told reporters in an interview.

“He should name them so that they will be compelled to surface. We do not know (if) there is so much maneuvering going around,” he added.

Mancao claimed that he is being pressured by emissaries allegedly from the camp of Lacson to retract, in exchange of an “eight-digit” bribe, his affidavit naming Lacson as mastermind of the killings of publicist Salvador “Bubby” Dacer and his driver Emmanuel Corbito in November 2000.

Senators Francis “Chiz” Escudero, Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. and Juan Miguel Zubiri made similar calls to their beleaguered colleague.

Escudero said anybody can easily make such claims and hopefully Lacson and his lawyers can refute such charges..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20100819hed6.html

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