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Dangerous argument EDITORIAL 10/20/2010

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Dangerous argument

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In the matter of the amnesty grant, neophyte senator, TG Guingona, was quoted as saying that while the military rebels violated the law, in the view of many, they were following the law.

He explains that the Constitution provides that the President of the Philippines shall be elected by the people. Gloria Arroyo, now a representative in Congress, was not elected. “She cheated her way to the elections, therefore she had no legitimate claim to the Office of the President...therefore it was incumbent upon the officers of the Armed Forces to remove the usurper who has no legitimate claim on the office of the presidency. They (the mutineers) were acting in compliance, and not in defiance of the Constitution.”

That’s a pretty dangerous line of thought embraced by a senator of the republic, as it virtually gives the AFP officers and men carte blanche to rebel against a Malacañang tenant and his government anytime they are of the belief that the sitting president is a usurper and has not been elected by the people.
Stated differently, staging a coup or a mutiny is no longer a crime but a constitutional act, following Guingona’s argument..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20101020com1.html

Recipe for corruption FRONTLINE Ninez Cacho-Olivares 10/20/2010

Recipe for corruption

Ninez Cacho-Olivares
It is to his yellow allies that budgets have been increased and in the case of Dinky Soliman’s Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) budget, it is a 100 percent increase.

In other cases, budgets were slashed, and dramatically, yet not too long ago, he spoke of wanting to do justice to all Filipinos, but he slashed the budget for the judiciary — mainly because he is allergic to the Supreme Court owing to the appointment of Chief Justice Renato Corona, instead of his choice, which would have been either Justice Antonio Carpio, or his cousin, Conchita Carpio Morales.

In the case of the Vice President’s budget, this too, was slashed in half, along with his budget for the housing department, part of which went — not surprisingly — to Soliman again. So what does the DSWD have to do with housing?

And oh yes, there too went part of VP Jojo Binay’s housing budget to the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG), which really should have nothing to do with housing..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20101020com2.html

Gaza tunnelers turn former lifeline into export channel FEATURE 10/20/2010

Gaza tunnelers turn former lifeline into export channel


RAFAH—The workers herd cows through the dusty tunnels beneath the Gaza border, but this time they are leading them out of the isolated Palestinian enclave and into Egypt.
The lifting of restrictions in recent months has seen consumer goods pour into the Hamas-run territory through Israeli crossings, transforming the tunnels that once served as a lifeline for Gaza into its sole export channel.

The tunnels are still used for smuggling in construction materials that Israel only allows to enter via authorized crossings for projects carried out under international supervision.

But the canvas sacks full of food, beauty products and second-hand clothes that used to be dragged through hundreds of tunnels beneath the border now flow the other way in a lucrative trade conducted by an entrepreneurial few.

“We reversed our trade since the easing of the Israeli blockade and now we export,” said a tunnel operator who goes by Abu Jamil..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20101020com3.html

‘Good for the poor, bad for poverty’ C.R.O.S.S.R.O.A.D.S Jonathan De la Cruz 10/20/2010

‘Good for the poor, bad for poverty’

Jonathan De la Cruz
Romulo Paes Souza, executive secretary of the Brazil Social Development Ministry, the agency tasked to implement the much heralded federal anti-poverty program “Bolsa Familias” cautioned one and all that the plan is not a “magic bullet.” Souza was quoted as having said: “It has helped a lot of our people but it is not going to lift Brazil’s ‘poorest of the poor’ in one sweep or even in the immediate future. It gives them time and the will to battle ‘old poverty’, i.e.., lack of food and basic services, but have to do much more as they also have to battle ‘new poverty,’ i.e., drug addiction, violence, family breakdown and environmental degradation, at the same time. That is the irony of it all. It has done a lot of good but much more needs to be done to lift the millions out of their poverty.”

Souza’s assessment parallels that of a host of Brazilian economists and analysts who described the Bolsa Familias’ plan as a “double edged sword” — good for the poor but bad for poverty. The group going by the name Progresium noted that the program has been used by the outgoing Lula regime as a means to endear itself to the Brazilian masses in a calculated move to perpetuate itself in power. It has succeeded in large measure because it was tied up with a kind of “windfall tax” on a number of goods and services which provided, together with loans from the World Bank, the means by which the program got by. To them, this is an unsustainable proposition especially if it results in the diversion of resources from the core units addressing the basic problems associated with the plague of poverty. Worse, it induces a culture of passivity and laziness both antithetical to the very notion of empowering the poor and getting them to lift themselves and the families by their bootstraps..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20101020com4.html

US parties aim big guns at knife-edge California FEATURE 10/20/2010

US parties aim big guns at knife-edge California


ANAHEIM — US President Barack Obama is due in California this week, as his Democrats and their Republican rivals aim their big guns at the Sunshine State, facing knife-edge polls on Nov. 2.

Former President Bill Clinton brought his star power to Los Angeles this weekend, followed closely by Republican “Grizzly Mama”-in-chief Sarah Palin, who roused the faithful at a packed rally in Orange Country, south of LA.

The Republicans are fighting tooth and nail to help wrest power from the Democrats in crucial mid-term polls — and also to elect another Republican to succeed former film star Arnold Schwarzenegger as California governor.

The most populous state in the United States and one of its most socially liberal, California has long been a Democratic stronghold, with a massive 61 percent of its voters backed Obama in the 2008 presidential polls.
But Congressional and gubernatorial races are more complicated, and the Republicans hope that gains in California can help them tip the balance nationally in Congress, two years after Obama won the White House..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20101020com5.html

Everything was alright HE SAYS Aldrin Cardon 10/20/2010

Everything was alright

Aldrin Cardon
Something seemed odd on Monday morning, I felt I was in a different world.
There was Gerry Baja subbing for Ted Failon on radio, and giving a fast-paced account of what’s to come with typhoon “Juan” (International name: Megi). Gerry and his crew gave his listeners all they wanted to know. And in 30 minutes of the featured news for the day, there was nothing more to ask for.
Juan was definitely making a landfall in some places up north; with maximum winds falling under Signal No. 4 — the strongest by Philippine typhoon standards, with some calling it a “super typhoon,” although weathermen say there is no such category as a “super typhoon”; and that we are ready.

Yes, we were ready. And that was odd.

Even the Pagasa did exceptionally well in providing forecasts, which it made in hourly basis on orders of President Aquino, himself. And even P-Noy did not see need to attend a conference of the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) after he expressed satisfaction over its earlier brief to apprise the Chief Executive of what to expect for the day.

Even the NDRRMC is new. Okay, at least it had a new name as it was formerly called National Disaster Coordinating Council (NDCC), which did not really had a favorable review on its performance during the dark and wet days of typhoons “Ondoy” and “Pepeng” only last year..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20101020com6.html

Winds of change SHE SAYS Dinah S. Ventura 10/20/2010

Winds of change

Dinah S. Ventura
With memories of “Ondoy” and “Pepeng” still fresh in our minds, typhoon “Juan’s” imminent arrival was met with much trepidation. Days before, people were sending prayer chains, asking for divine intervention. Nobody wanted a repeat of the tragedy caused by nature and man’s abuse and negligence, so the prospect of another major typhoon was daunting, to say the least.

No doubt because of our recent experiences, as well as President Noy’s strong reaction to the Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration’s (Pagasa) lack of accuracy in forecast last time, the country has been better prepared to deal with typhoon Juan’s coming.

Massive information dissemination, mostly via the Internet and mobile gadgets, gave citizens early warning and enough time to prepare. Billboards went down before the first strong winds were felt. Rescue forces were alerted in the provinces and the metro. The Department of Social Welfare and Development immediately had millions worth of relief goods readied for those who would be evacuated from danger zones. The weather forecasters gave updates on an hourly basis, which TV and radio blared just as quickly. Concerned agencies put their communications strategies in place..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20101020com7.html

Juan leaves 10 dead, destroys P1.5-B crops By Mario J. Mallari 10/20/2010

Juan leaves 10 dead, destroys P1.5-B crops

By Mario J. Mallari 10/20/2010
Super typhoon “Juan” left behind at least 10 persons dead and damaged rice crop ripe for harvest estimated at least P1.53 billion as it roared toward the China Sea yesterday afternoon, a level of casualty and damage that President Aquino said was “not significant” and a reason not to regret his failure to show up during the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) meeting the other day to map out preparations for the typhoon.

Aquino said he decided to focus on other matters instead of “engaging in rehearsed photo opportunities and idle chit-chat” by attending the NDRRMC meeting, but speculations were raised that Aquino, a late riser, failed to get up on time to make it to the meeting.

Aquino, in a prepared statement, said he was “very pleased” with the level of preparedness shown and the actions taken by the respective government agencies concerned when “Juan” unleashed its strength and left with no significant amount of damages to lives or properties during its wake.

“We got the job done. We proved that, together, we can mitigate risk; and that Filipinos working together, minimized the costs of natural disasters,” Aquino’s statement read by his spokesman Edwin Lacierda indicated..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20101020hed1.html

Peace talks doomed to fail with Deles’ arrogance By Angie M. Rosales 10/20/2010

Peace talks doomed to fail with Deles’ arrogance

By Angie M. Rosales 10/20/2010

Unless Office of Presidential Adviser on Peace Process (OPAPP) chief, Secretary Teresita Quintos-Deles is willing to “reform” herself in dealing with lawmakers and other concerned sectors involved in forging peace with the Bangsamoro people, the Palace’s efforts in ending insurgency in Mindanao are doomed to fail.

“If she does not, I don’t think she will succeed and it will reflect on the President again. It’s the President’s choice. If he’s using her as the pillar for peace initiatives in Mindanao, then it’s doomed to fail if she keeps on talking and acting this way. I don’t think it will do well,” Sen. Francis “Chiz” Escudero said in an interview with reporters.

The senator, chairman of the committees on justice and human rights and the national defense and security, said Deles should immediately address the issues against her so as not to exacerbate the situation.

A number of members from the House of Representatives have called on President Aquino to heed their call following the issuance of a manifesto calling for the ouster of Deles, whom they accuse of displaying arrogance during a meeting with them recently.

Deles allegedly insulted Rep. Aliah Dimaporo and the Maranaos during
the said meeting..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20101020hed2.html

Amnesty a done deal, court or no —Palace By Aytch S. de la Cruz and Angie M. Rosales 10/20/2010

Amnesty a done deal, court or no —Palace

By Aytch S. de la Cruz and Angie M. Rosales 10/20/2010
By Aytch S. de la Cruz
and Angie M. Rosales
Malacanang yesterday indicated that President Aquino’s amnesty proclamation remains, notwith-standing the possibility that the scheduled promulgation of its recipients, Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV and his fellow Magdalo soldiers on coup d’état charges, by the Makati regional trial court will come ahead on Oct. 28 pending the House of Re-presentatives’ concurrence with Proclama-tion 50.

Presidential spokesman Edwin La-cierda told reporters the ball is no longer in the executive’s hands even as the Senate approved on committee level last Monday the amnesty grant to military soldiers and junior officers who were accused of attempting to overthrow the Arroyo administration.

“It’s a matter of the reality that the Senate has just approved of it and we’re still waiting for the House. On the part of the Senate, it would still be brought up to the plenary so they will only touch on that on Nov. 5 if I’m not mistaken. So obviously, the (Makati RTC’s) judgment will come first. But, nonetheless, the effect of amnesty is there. It’s total extinction of the criminal liability,” Lacierda explained.

He added that the House of Representatives is still studying the matter and only after it provides the same concurrence as the Senate can the effects of the Proclamation No. 50 be implemented where over 300 detained military insurgents are expected to benefit from..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20101020hed3.html/

Angara urges courtesy, asks PTC to wait for SC By Angie M. Rosales 10/20/2010

Angara urges courtesy, asks PTC to wait for SC

By Angie M. Rosales 10/20/2010

The recently formed Philippine Truth Commission (PTC) should put on hold planned investigations on alleged irregularities of the previous administration until after the Supreme Court has issued a decision on cases filed questioning the legality of the creation of the body.

“It will be prudent for them to wait for the SC decision, out of courtesy,” Sen. Edgardo Angara said yesterday.

A number of legislators have come out joining the cause of those who have filed a petition before the high court challenging the constitutionality of the Executive Order (EO) 1 forming the PTC which is among the first issuances made by President Aquino.

Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago earlier had expressed views that the Executive Branch had no constitutional authority to create agencies like the PTC. She continues to have reservations whether the findings and recommendations of such body will be able to stand in court..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20101020hed4.html

DoJ chief: Lacson an embarrassment for RP law enforcement By Benjamin B. Pulta 10/20/2010

DoJ chief: Lacson an embarrassment for RP law enforcement

By Benjamin B. Pulta 10/20/2010

Flight is considered proof of guilt, Justice Secretary Leila de Lima advised fugitive lawmaker Panfilo “Ping” Lacson yesterday as she conceded that local law enforcement officials’ failure to bring the indicted senator to court is fast “becoming an embarrassment” for the Aquino administration.

“Flight is indicative of guilt although it does not apply all the time,” De Lima said, adding that she had received information that Lacson is avoiding a public arrest. “As I understand it, it is what he (Lacson) abhors—the very idea that he would be handcuffed and jailed.”

The Justice chief claimed the Philippine government is still clueless on the whereabouts of Lacson who was accused in the November 2000 Salvador “Bubby” Dacer and his driver Emmanuel Corbito killings.

Lacson claims he was victim of political persecution of the administration of former President Gloria Arroyo. He is facing two counts of murder at the sala of Manila regional trial court (RTC) Branch 18.

The Justice chief is set to discuss with the prosecution panel regarding the next steps to be taken after a United States court denied the habeas corpus filed by former police Senior Supt. Michael Ray Aquino, Lacson’s erstwhile right hand man..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20101020hed5.html

Rep. Singson’s drug hearing hits snag By Gerry Baldo 10/20/2010

Rep. Singson’s drug hearing hits snag

By Gerry Baldo 10/20/2010

The hearing on the drug case against Ilocos Sur Rep. Ronald Singson hit a snag yesterday as the Hong Kong Court handling his case postponed the scheduled hearing again.

According to Marikina Rep. Miro Quimbo, vice chairman of the House committee on justice, the doctor who did some tests on Singson was not able to attend the hearing.

“The hearing was postponed or reset because there is something to be looked into. If you remember, the first hearing was also postponed because Singson was ordered to undergo a medical procedure which was why more time was needed to get ready and this was to be validated in court—that medical procedure,” Quimbo told House reporters.

Quimbo was assigned by the House leadership to monitor the case of Singson in Hongkong.

Singson was supposed to be arraigned on Sept. 7, 2010 but this was also postponed because of a motion filed by the Ilocos lawmaker asking the Court to give him more time to study his case. In his motion, he also told the Court that he was not feeling well. The arraignment was set on Oct. 19, 2010.

Quimbo said that the Hongkong Court had rescheduled the arraignment for Nov.23, 2010 when his doctors were also summoned to tell the court about the medical condition of Singson..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20101020hed6.html

Harness S&T for disaster and agri systems — Angara 10/20/2010

Harness S&T for disaster and agri systems — Angara

Sen. Edgardo Angara called on the government to use science and technology (S&T) to engineer resilience into energy, agriculture and health systems and help the country grow and remain competitive even when confronted by natural calamities.

“We have to utilize the tools that S&T gives us in order to create a more resilient nation. We are often left at the mercy of typhoons and natural disasters, but with the proper approach we can lessen the impact of these events by equipping ourselves with the tools to be better prepared,” said Angara.

Angara, chairman of the congressional commission on science technology and engineering (Comste), said that the establishment of the Disaster Management Training Center (DMTC) should be a national priority since the center could train officials from the National level to local government units (LGUs), including NGOs in scenario-type situations.

The DSMC is set to be a public-private initiative that the scientific community can use to understand the mechanics of managing disasters with the cooperation of neighboring countries like Taiwan and Japan, who have experienced similar storms and natural calamities as the Philippines..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/nation/20101020nat3.html

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