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The Daily Tribune

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Women’s Groups Push for Divorce Bill Published on August 21, 2010

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Amid the heated public debate regarding the divorce bill filed recently by Gabriela, battered women such as Maricon Reazo await its passage to be given another chance at having a happy family life.

Women’s Groups Push for Divorce Bill

Published on August 21, 2010


MANILA – As soon as the divorce bill was filed, it immediately generated a lot of emotional reactions from different sectors, especially the Catholic church. Unable to shy away from the debate on the divorce bill, President Benigno Simeon Aquino III recently declared that he is against divorce but is for legal separation with the option to remarry, which some sectors say is tantamount to divorce.

In the Philippines, which has a predominantly conservative Roman Catholic population, divorce is frowned at in public, although a lot of married couples have been living separately. Couples from wealthy families travel abroad to get divorced and to remarry. The Philippines is only one of two countries that do not have a divorce law yet. Gabriela said Malta, a Mediterranean island, has yet to legislate a divorce bill, too.

Women’s group Gabriela and Gabriela Women’s Party (GWP) are pushing for the passage of House Bill 1799, “An Act Introducing Divorce in the Philippines.” Filed recently by GWP Representatives Luzviminda Ilagan and Emmie de Jesus in Congress, they said this would give couples particularly women the option to terminate a marriage that is no longer working, is already beyond saving and already detrimental to their well-being..... MORE

Aquino’s Extension of Arroyo’s Dreaded Oplan Bantay Laya Draws Fire from Victims’ Kin Published on August 20, 2010

President Benigno S. Aquino III is “doing the exact opposite of his pronouncement that he will put closure to the human-rights violations of Arroyo and her cohorts. As commander-in-chief, he allowed the AFP to extend the counter-insurgency plan which was proven to have violated human rights.”
Read more stories on Oplan Bantay Laya
MANILA — For a mother of a slain human-rights defender, the extension of the counter-insurgency program Oplan Bantay Laya (OBL) proves that President Benigno S. Aquino III is no different from former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo when it comes to human rights.

Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) chief of staff Lt. Gen. Ricardo David announced on August 15 the extension of the implementation of OBL, which has been blamed for the spate of killings and other rights abuses in the Philippines. Human-rights group Karapatan has documented 1,206 victims of extrajudicial killings, 205 victims of enforced disappearance, and countless cases of torture and harassment.

“We, the families of the victims, were right when we said that Aquino will soon show his true color,” Evangeline Hernandez, spokesperson of Hustisya! and mother of slain journalist and human-rights defender Benjaline Hernandez, said in a phone interview with Bulatlat.

Benjaline, then vice president for Mindanao of the College Editors Guild of the Philippines (CEGP) and secretary general of Karapatan-Southern Mindanao, was killed by soldiers in Arakan Valley in North Cotabato on April 5, 2002.

Hernandez expressed disgust over Aquino’s move. “Instead of punishing the perpetrators of human-rights violations and put a stop to the OBL that leads to various human-rights violations, he has allowed the counter-insurgency campaign to be extended until January 2011,” she said....MORE

Friday the 13th ‘Massacre’ at ABS-CBN as Media Giant Axes 37 More Workers Published on August 17, 2010

The ABS-CBN IJM Workers Union asks President Aquino to stop the illegal dismissals, contractualization and union-busting at his “favorite” media network.
MANILA – Thirty-seven more workers at the country’s largest media network, ABS-CBN, have been dismissed, bringing to 92 the number of employees fired from the company’s “Internal Job Market,” the ABS-CBN IJM Workers Union said.

The firings, which occurred nine months after the workers were first officially disowned as employees by the Lopez-owned ABS-CBN, occurred in the same week that the network announced a staggering 179-percent increase in earnings for the first half of 2010.

In a report by Business Mirror, ABS-CBN said last Tuesday that its net income in the first six months hit a record P2.27 billion, higher than the P813 million it earned in the same period last year and also higher than its full-year net income of P1.7 billion in 2009..... MORE

Hypocritical society EDITORIAL 08/21/2010

Hypocritical society

Click to enlarge
Noynoy Aquino may be against divorce, preferring to have legalized separation laws amended to include a remarriage for estranged couples, but even as he is president, he certainly has no right, despite his abhorrence for divorce, to impose his personal view on a nation.

If he is against divorce, he should have stated clearly to reporters that this was his personal view, because, as it is often pointed out, as he is president, what he says is seen as policy.

If the nation had an independent House of Representatives, perhaps Noynoy could easily air his personal distaste of divorce in the country.

Unfortunately, the House, no matter how hard it tries to appear as being “independent” of Malacañang, is largely under the control of the President. And with a lot of members being certified lapdogs, one can be certain that his announced view against divorce will kill whatever divorce measure that has been filed in the House.

Noynoy may have made the Catholic bishops happy, but he should remember, at all times, that this nation, even with a preponderance of Catholics — mostly nominal — composing the populace, does not have to toe the line of the Catholic church, given the separation principle between Church and State, and the Constitution does allow for religious freedom, as well as a democratic and system of government..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20100821com1.html

High level fixing FRONTLINE Ninez Cacho-Olivares 08/21/2010

High level fixing

Ninez Cacho-Olivares
Any which way it is cut, the arrest and detention of Philippine Rep. Ronaldo Singson on charges of drug trafficking, caught as he was at Chek Lap Kok International Airport en route to Macau on July 11 for possession of 26.1 grams of cocaine and two tablets of Valium, has negative international impact not only on the Aquino government, but also on the Philippine Congress, that can hardly afford any more negative publicity, given the fact that a senator, Ping Lacson, is an accused in a double murder case and has gone to ground abroad, along with a new case, the accused drug trafficker who is a congressman, both of whom are in the media limelight.

For weeks on end, there was no question at all about how much cocaine Singson had with him, when he left Manila and arrived in Hong Kong. 

The fact alone that there were reportedly three applications for bail within his period of detention, two of which were rejected, on dates of July 13 and July 22, last Thursday, bail was finally granted, as two Chinese friends put up a HK$1 million bond.

What this could mean is that from the day of Singson’s arrest, up till Thursday, there was no change in cocaine gram size from the authorities who arrested him. Yet all too suddenly, there was this decrease of 20 grams from the 26 grams, as the “new evidence” for Singson to be granted bail, as the charge has been reduced from drug trafficking to mere possession of cocaine, which is bailable.... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20100821com2.html

Jordanian journalists furious over new cyber crimes law focus 08/21/2010

Jordanian journalists furious over new cyber crimes law


AMMAN — Jordanian journalists are up in arms after the government on Aug. 3 passed a temporary law on cyber crimes seen by many as a way of controlling local news Web sites.

Late last month the government also barred civil servants while at work from accessing around 50 Web sites, mostly local news, in what it called an effort to improve productivity.

Journalists say the new law allows the authorities to raid
and search offices from which websites are published and to access computers
without prior approval from public prosecutors.

“The law was written in an elastic way so the government can interpret and implement it the way it wants and according to its interests,” Mohammad Hawamdeh, managing editor of Khaberni (Tell me) online news agency, told AFP.

“For example, if I want to publish an article about any social, economic or political issue, under the new law I could be accused of harming Jordan’s interests and economy.”

Like most journalists, Hawamdeh believes the real intention is a local news sites crackdown.

“The fact that the Internet ban and the law came out almost at the same time is suspicious. Why did the ban focus mainly on local news sites? It’s clear the government is targeting us and wants to shut us up,” he said.
The government denies this.

“The law was issued to cope with information technology developments as well as related legal issues and cyber crimes. It does not criminalize people for expressing their opinions,” Information Minister Ali Ayed told AFP.
He also defended the Internet ban for civil servants, saying “work hours should always be used for work.”
“We respect professional Web sites. We are not targeting anybody, for example we blocked the Petra news agency’s site, even though it’s state-run. We did not block sites like Google and Yahoo!”.... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20100821com3.html

No gag order on alter egos—Noy By Aytch S. de la Cruz 08/21/2010

EO restricting GOCCs, GFIs fat pays under way

No gag order on alter egos—Noy

By Aytch S. de la Cruz
No gag order has been imposed by President Aquino on his Cabinet members and executive officers, Malacañang yesterday said, despite the clear snubbing of several Cabinet members last week, among whom were Budget Secretary Florencio “Butch” Abad and Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima.

Aquino is also not keen on resurrecting former President Arroyo’s Executive Order 464 which bars Cabinet officials and members of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) from testifying before any congressional inquiry, Malacañang said yesterday.

EO 464 was struck down by the Supreme Court which ruling was deemed as vague by the Arroyo administration.
The same EO, was however, replaced by a Memorandum Circular (MC) by Arroyo which banned all officials, officers and employees falling under the executive branch from appearing before congressional hearings without the written permission of the President.

This was never revoked by Arroyo, nor, for that matter, the incumbent Malacañang tenant, which means that the gag rule on the MC is still in force and effect.

There was also a ruling by the high court, penned by Associate Justice Teresita de Castro, that upheld the President’s executive privilege, even in the instance where a probable criminal action is involved, as spelled out in the case the Senate brought before the Supreme Court.... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20100821hed1.html

Poll body seeks DoJ findings on Susano’s CF cards, ‘Hello Nico’ By Marie A. Surbano and Gerry Baldo 08/21/2010

Poll body seeks DoJ findings on Susano’s CF cards, ‘Hello Nico’

By Marie A. Surbano and Gerry Baldo
The Commission on Elections (Comelec) yesterday asked the Department of Justice (DoJ) to release the results of its investigation on the possession of former Quezon City Rep. Annie Rosa Susano of compact flash (CF) cards and the controversial “Hello Nico” recording where Commissioner Nicodemo Ferrer is said to be linked to alleged poll irregularities.

Comelec Commissioner Rene Sarmiento called on Justice Secretary Leila de Lima to follow up on the status of the probe into the two cases, saying it is already way beyond the agency’s self-imposed deadline.

“Our request is for the DoJ to fast-track the probes so there will be no repeat of these incidents in future elections… so that we can learn lessons from these cases,” Sarmiento told reporters.

Sarmiento also said former Justice Secretary Alberto Agra committed to complete the probes on the two incidents by June 15, with the reports immediately submitted to the Comelec.

“They (DoJ) had a timetable within which to submit the findings but until now there has been no report and no findings of the probe. We hope the DoJ can complete the investigation… there seems to be too long a delay,” said Sarmiento.

It will be recalled that in May, Agra said the DoJ, along with the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), would complete the probe in three weeks time regarding Susano’s unauthorized possession of the CF cards and the allegation of a taped conversation between Ferrer and Department of Interior and Local Government Secretary Ronaldo Puno..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20100821hed2.html

Truth body should start with ‘Hello Garci,’ says solon By Angie M. Rosales 08/21/2010

Truth body should start with ‘Hello Garci,’ says solon

By Angie M. Rosales
The Truth Commission should start with the reopening of the “Hello Garci” tapes scandal, being what Senate Minority Leader Alan Peter Cayetano dubbed the “original sin” of alleged massive graft and corruption committed by the previous administration.

“The original sin is ‘Hello Garci’. The ‘Hello Garci’ (scandal) started it all and from here, we went into a period in time wherein graft and corruption was the rule rather than the exception.

“So when you don’t deal with the original sin, you will go to the root of the problem which is the money that the politician spent during the elections and cheating during the elections.

“My view, what the Senate started, should (be) finished,” Cayetano told reporters in an interview.

The senator’s call to revive the probe on the alleged wiretapped conversations believed to have been, among others, former President Gloria Arroyo and former Commission on Elections (Comelec) Commissioner Virgilio Garcillano Jr. during the 2004 presidential polls, in the light of the controversy concerning the purported demotion of Rear Adm. Feliciano Angue..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/nation/20100821nat1.html

Navy whistle-blower placed on ‘floating status’ By Mario J. Mallari 08/21/2010

Navy whistle-blower placed on ‘floating status’

By Mario J. Mallari
Taking the cue from the Commander-in-Chief, President Aquino, the Armed Forces of the Philippines top brass are now throwing the book at disgruntled Rear Adm. Feliciano Angue whose designation as Naval Forces Western Mindanao chief was held in abeyance pending investigation for his alleged violation of the AFP’s Code of Ethics and Articles of War.

Navy Flag Officer in Command Rear Adm. Danilo Cortez, at a press conference at Camp Aguinaldo in Quezon City yesterday said Angue, who publicly criticized the AFP’s promotion system after his “demotion,” will not assume his new post until the investigation against him is completed.

“As of now, we are holding in abeyance his assumption (as commander) of Naval Forces Western Mindanao because of the directive of higher headquarters for the investigation,” Cortez said.

The investigation against Angue is being conducted by a Navy committee.

In the meantime, Cortez said Angue will be attached with the Navy’s receiving station, without any assignment.
“That’s our normal process… he cannot assume the position because of the directive (of higher headquarters),” the Navy chief said..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20100821hed3.html

World Bank says RP farm policy deepens poverty 08/21/2010

World Bank says RP farm policy deepens poverty

Misguided farming policies, including land reform, are keeping millions in the Philippines poor, according to a report released by the World Bank this week.

The report said only the manufacturing and service sectors, which require huge capital and skilled workers, had grown significantly over the last decade while agriculture, which employs most of the non-skilled, faltered.

“These productivity trends reflect a growing scarcity of land and a progressive reduction in the amount of land per worker, aggravated by agrarian reform policies,” the World Bank said.

The Philippines passed a land reform law in 1987 to break up large agricultural estates owned mostly by the ruling elite and give land to millions of farmhands.

Last year, Congress extended the program by five years amid widespread landlord opposition, which has kept a number of big corporate farms intact, including one controlled by the family of President Aquino.

The World Bank urged the government, among others, to set up a commission to review its current agrarian reform policy so farm land is not tied up and can be used more freely as capital.

The government says one in three persons in the country of 95 million are poor, with most living in rural areas.
The farm sector employed 32.5 million people in April, the latest official data available..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20100821hed4.html

Dead ensign’s kin seek DoJ’s reopening of case By Benjamin B. Pulta 08/21/2010

Dead ensign’s kin seek DoJ’s reopening of case

By Benjamin B. Pulta
Parents of murdered Navy Ensign Philip Pestaño who died 15 years ago are asking the Department of Justice (DoJ) to reinvestigate the case.

Lawyer Harry Roque Jr., who represents Pestaño’s parents, met with Justice Secretary Leila de Lima to formally request a preliminary investigation on the murder complaint they filed with the Ombudsman for the military and other law enforcement offices. The case was dismissed a few days after they filed impeachment case against Ombudsman Merceditas Gutierrez.

“Fifteen years have passed but the family of the victim has not yet obtained justice,” Roque said in an interview with reporters.

“We can’t allow the killing of Ensign Pestaño to be ignored just like that. We are hopeful that justice will be served in this administration of President Aquino and leadership in DoJ of Secretary de Lima,” he explained.

The lawyer stressed that the government has an obligation in its declaration during the UN Human Environment Conference to act within 180 days after investigation to ensure that justice will be served on victims.

He added that since the Ombudsman has already completed its probe, the DoJ may now step in a conduct another investigation into the case.... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20100821hed5.html

Cayetanos split over divorce scheme 08/21/2010

Cayetanos split over divorce scheme

The brother-sister tandem in the upper chamber, Minority Leader Alan Peter Cayetano and Sen. Pia Cayetano, appear to be at odds over their position on the proposition of allowing divorce in the country.

The minority leader said accepting divorce in the country could bring more harm than good in the society.
He, however, agreed with Pia that there is a need to review provisions of the laws surrounding legal separation and there could be other options other than divorce.

“I understand that there are cases in the Philippines as in around the world where couples find it impossible to keep their marriage. I do agree that we have to address people who feel that they are in an impossible situation or impossible marriages,” he told reporters in an interview.

“What I’m concerned of, if we allow divorce, especially the kind of divorce that what is called in the United States as ‘no-fault’ divorce, it might cause more harm than good because if we are saying a minority or small group of people married in the Philippines are going through some problems, that can be addressed by strengthening the remedy of the annulment by psychological incapacity.

“Let’s remedy that. But the best remedy there still is the best remedy available – declaration of nullity or annulment or annulment by psychological incapacity,” he said.... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20100821hed6.html

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