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Marginalization of the SC EDITORIAL 11/22/2010

Monday, November 22, 2010

Marginalization of the SC

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House Minority Leader Edcel Lagman has noted that the recent assurance of Noynoy to investors in pushing the so-called public-private partnership (PPP) scheme — a mere refurbishing of the build-operate-transfer (BOT) scheme in which many of the graft-ridden government projects emanated — for the government to guarantee regulatory losses of big business projects, is another form of Noynoy’s legal shortcut and was meant to dull the effects of court decisions and even the enactment of new laws by Congress revising state policies on business.

It appears that Noynoy is bent on pursuing an all-out war against the Supreme Court (SC) whose head, Chief Justice Renato Corona, has been a long target of his for replacement, branding him as a midnight appointee of former President Arroyo despite the SC already having ruled that the appointment of the tribunal’s head does not fall within the ambit of the appointments ban under the Elections Code.

During a speech before law alumni of the state-owned University of the Philippines, Aquino again blasted away at the SC, referring broadly to the plagiarism allegations on one of the SC justices, Mariano del Castillo, in a ruling involving a compensation case filed by so-called comfort women.

Noynoy incidentally had a captive audience since it was the UP law community that is pushing the resignation of Del Castillo over his allegedly plagiarized ruling..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20101122com1.html

Incompetents, Inc. FRONTLINE Ninez Cacho-Olivares 11/22/2010

Incompetents, Inc.

Ninez Cacho-Olivares
Noynoy Aquino’s Cabinet — nay — administration, is not only lightweight, but also highly mediocre, as shown by the silliest campaign slogan of Tourism Secretary Bertie Lim’s “Pilipinas kay Ganda.”

This slogan, incidentally, was embraced by Noynoy, who even added his personal touch to with by adding a coconut tree and a tarsier up on the tree, but who now tries to get out of it with some lame excuse of having participated in the alleged drab original poster, now saying that this will not only undergo revisions, but would be scrapped completely, with the old logo of “Wow Philippines” to still be in use, until a new one surfaces.

This state of tourism affairs, in reality, shows not only Noynoy and his administration’s disdain for anything identified with the previous administration, but also their very amateurish and incompetent ways, what with a bunch of new officials who, by and large, have no experience in running government departmental ways — in this instance, the ways to sell a country, and to the extent of having a president who even has to put his “imprint” on a tourism logo.

Where the experience and expertise of the old tourism executives would have helped greatly in that department, Noynoy and his Bertie Lim kicked them out and replaced them with persons who know next to nothing about selling the Philippines. What on earth is the experience of a Black and Whiter being in charge of tourism promotions, or for that matter a spokesman of the elite Makati Business Club that only knows how to kiss the administration ass that it supports, and kicks administration ass when it goes against that administration?.... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20101122com2.html

Use of English stirs fear of job loss for Japanese focus 11/22/2010

Use of English stirs fear of job loss for Japanese


TOKYO — In the cafeteria at the headquarters of Japan’s top online retailer Rakuten, employees with furrowed brows can often be seen trying to comprehend the company’s strictly English language menus.

The online giant is swapping Japanese for English as its official language company-wide in preparation for an overseas expansion, a move “crucial for us to survive in this competitive industry,” said spokesman Hirotoshi Kato.

It is not the only Japanese firm to eschew its native tongue as it searches for overseas growth beyond a moribund, shrinking domestic market.

As the population shrinks and a stronger yen boosts companies’ power for overseas acquisitions, the need for better international communication is growing in Japan as firms pin their survival on emerging markets.

Fast Retailing, which operates the cheap-chic Uniqlo brand, also plans to evolve into a more global company, looking to increase its overseas sales ratio to more than 50 percent in five years from about 10 percent now.
“The Japanese market is shrinking while overseas markets are expanding,” said Hideki Yoshihara, professor of business management at Nanzan University..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20101122com3.html

Strike one for the environment C.R.O.S.S.R.O.A.D.S Jonathan De la Cruz 11/22/2010

Strike one for the environment

Jonathan De la Cruz
The Supreme Court decision to issue a temporary environmental protection order (Tepo) directing the First Philippine Industrial Corp. (FPIC) and First Gen to “cease and desist from operating its damaged 117-kilometer pipeline” brings hope to persons and communities threatened with environmental damage. This is the first time that the high court uses the so-called “writ of kalikasan” meant precisely to give teeth to our people’s aspirations and, yes, constitutional right to a clean and balanced environment to address a “clear and present danger” to the health and well being of the inhabitants of a threatened community or communities.

A product of years of deliberations which came about during the term of Chief Justice Reynato Puno, the writ of kalikasan is a “remedy available to any natural or juridical entity...on behalf of persons whose constitutional right to a balanced and healthful ecology is violated or threatened with violation by an unlawful act or omission of a public official or employee or private individual or entity, involving environmental damage of such magnitude as to prejudice the life, health or property of inhabitants in two or more cities or provinces.” The leakage from the 117 BatMan (Batangas-Manila) pipeline, particularly the portion near the Magallanes fly over has been traced as the source of the unabated flow of fuel into the basement of the West Tower condominum.

And, as experts on the scene now confirm, this leak may have discharged fuel over time which seeped into the grounds affecting the water table of a huge portion of Barangay Bangkal in Makati. It is very possible that there are leaks or related defects in other parts of the pipeline which is why the high tribunal also ordered the respondents to “check the structural integrity of the whole span of the 117-kilometer pipeline” to ensure that no other areas are as environmentally vulnerable as West Tower and Barangay Bangkal..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20101122com4.html

Charge of the ‘light brigades’ DIE HARD III Herman Tiu Laurel 11/22/2010

Charge of the ‘light brigades’

Herman Tiu Laurel
For the past weeks, we have focused on the skyrocketing rate increases and leapfrogging net incomes of power companies. We highlighted Meralco’s 60-percent jump in profits from September last year of P7 billion to its target of P11 billion this year, which it even projects to surpass.

A week later, we zeroed in on Aboitiz Equity Venture’s 187-percent surge in net income to P16.8 billion, of which 80 percent came from its power generation ventures. This included the two power barges it bought at a huge bargain from the National Power Corp. (Napocor), which were later overpriced for Mindanao’s use and set as the basis for the island group’s new exorbitant electricity rates.

Last week, we highlighted the Wholesale Electricity Spot Market (Wesm)’s petition for a rate increase for the “commodity” being auctioned through its trading floor to the power distribution networks; upon which we concluded that the profiteering “…just goes on and on, keeping our power rates the highest ever in Asia.

And yet, this week brought us a new shock report: the Lopez-owned First Gen Corp. reported a net income of $66.5 million (P2.8 billion), or P301 million in just nine months. First Gen said that its unit, Energy Development Corp. (EDC) — the Napocor geothermal company privatized under the tenure of Gloria Arroyo-appointed president Paul Aquino who then joined the privatized EDC as CEO (so much for the ethics of the Aquinos) — generated the gargantuan increase in its profits. According to First Gen president Giles Puno, “…earnings growth was delivered by EDC coming mainly from the increased contribution of the plants that it acquired last year. We are fortunate that these developments are aided by the positive sentiment and growth in our economy today.”

So, a national patrimony such as EDC, which gave us very cheap electricity, is privatized so that prices can be jacked up just to profit one family’s firm. The profit swell for the four privatized power operations here brings the additional burden on the Filipino power consumers from Luzon to Mindanao to at least P28.766 billion; and these are just four of several dozens upon dozens of privatized power companies we have counted.
This added burden to consumers would not have been there if privatization had never been inflicted on us.

This is P28.766 billion less money for Filipinos who would otherwise have spent it on other needs and consumables — from food to medical care, to education and entertainment, to clothes and transportation costs, to more visits to the malls and trips to provincial relations, or a trip to the beaches to spread a little more money to the rural areas.

Privatization of power is not just sucking us dry, it is sucking us dead. How do we fight back? Let’s organize into “Light Brigades” to promote the struggle, starting with the “Lights Out” campaign to continue disseminating information.

Still, after this constant focus on the matter of our debilitating power costs, a moment of comic relief did come along. It started when a wayward cellphone rang inside the session hall of the Senate, which triggered the harangue of Miriam Defensor Santiago on the “lightweights” in Malacañang, or around what Linggoy Alcuaz calls the “happy hour kitchen Cabinet.”

Santiago does have good reason to pick up her lance and charge at the lightweights, particularly Secretary Armin Luistro, who is nothing but a factotum of the Catholic hierarchy and naturally expected to execute the agenda of the Catholic Church in a government that is supposed to be separate from any religious bias.
Luistro was a key element in the mobilization against the duly-elected government of President Estrada; clearly, this Luistro is not a trustworthy individual to function for a secular, democratic state.

The only problem with Miriam’s assault on the “lightweight” brigade of the Palace is that she can also be charged for the same thing. One can only imagine what Santiago faced at that moment, paraphrasing from Tennyson, “Cellphone rings to the left of her, cellphone rings to the right of her; volleyed and thundered, stormed up with shot and shell” and so she had to sally forth too. Most of the three hundred or so of our legislators today can also be included in this category, which explains why this country continues down the crazy path of deterioration.

Neither the legislature nor Malacañang has done anything to alleviate the dire plight of the nation’s residential and industrial power consumers, making millions upon millions of us suffer along with the national economy from the highest power costs in Asia, if not the world.

Fortunately, there are hopeful signs in Congress that some individual legislators are standing up to be on the truly courageous “Light Brigade” that brings to light the prevarications of state regulatory agencies. One of them, a guest in our last GNN program, Rep. Bernadette “BH” Herrera, is standing up to the oligarchs’ predatory manipulation of water and power rates. She is ably joined by the amiable congressman from Navotas-Malabon, Toby Tiangco, who will also guest with us next. Of course, there’s our own “Light Brigade” that meets every Saturday and farms out everyday to keep the struggle going. So let us all charge forth with the light that will obliterate the power pirates’ darkness!

(Tune in to Sulo ng Pilipino, Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, 6 to 7 p.m. on 1098AM; watch Politics Today with HTL, Tuesday, 8 to 9 p.m., with replay at 11 p.m., on Global News Network, Destiny Cable, now Channel 8; visit our blogs, http://newkatipunero.blogspot.com and http://hermantiulaurel.blogspot.com)

(Reprinted with permission from Mr. Herman Tiu-Laurel)

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20101122com5.html

Mega, nega! HE SAYS Aldrin Cardon 11/22/2010

Mega, nega!

Aldrin Cardon
The backdrop to the mega story does not look good.

On two sides lie a fractured Cabinet, and on their backs groupings of different kinds of supporters with their own ambitions and interests; On the far side is the main opposition long besmirched with graft and corruption, yet waiting for the world to tilt to its side for its awaited comeback.

On the ground, people are suspicious. Not even President Noynoy Aquino’s high ratings can convince them that he has not succumbed to pressure from big business and foreign interest groups. The Philippines is not for sale, and so they say. And that’s what we thought, too.

Suddenly, the popular president is veering away from his former populist stand.

And in pushing $3.3 billion in so-called mega projects, he’s finally kissing the hands of foreign masters and big local capitalists for the infusion of fresh money to keep his government treading past its daily chores after it was left nearly bankrupt by Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20101122com6.html

For sale? SHE SAYS Dinah S. Ventura 11/22/2010

For sale?

Dinah S. Ventura
During hard times, Philippine presidents tend to say one thing, and that their job is made doubly difficult because of the failures of the previous administration.
President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino is no different, and I think we all understand why. After nine-plus years under Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, which were riddled with corruption controversies, the country’s coffers were discovered to be sadly depleted, right along with our trust for government.

P-Noy, when he took office, was thus faced with unresolved issues, slim coffers, dirty secrets and a populace too scarred to pay attention. The gargantuan task of funding projects fell on his inexperienced hands. It is a good thing he could count on high trust ratings, which has been giving him a chance to prove his worth.

Naysayers, of course, lost no time in discrediting what seemed to be every move and every word of the newbie president. Some even likened him to US President Barack Obama, whose immense popularity is generally believed to have dwindled.

In the realm of economic policies, observers note that early statements by President Aquino and his economic managers “indicate strong adherence to controversial free market policies embraced by past regimes, which have pushed poverty and hunger to ever worsening levels.” This, according to the Philippine Online Chronicles’ article on Aquino’s first 100 days..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20101122com7.html

4 extremist groups operating in Metro By Charlie V. Manalo 11/22/2010


4 extremist groups operating in Metro

By Charlie V. Manalo 11/22/2010

An imminent danger involving four extremist groups operating in Metro Manila was likely the source of the string of terror warnings issued by western governments on their citizens aand a similar report was issued by the former chief of the military’s National Capital Region Command (NCRCom) refuting earlier pronouncement of Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin who downplayed the travel advisories of the United States, Australia, Britain, New Zealand, Canada and France against the Philippines. Gazmin also dismissed the supposed presence of terror groups in Manila.

President Aquino had subscribed to Gazmin’s assessment and had even accused the six countries of singling out the Philippines on the terror alert.

Malacañang also floated the possibility that the travel advisories were meant to pressure the Aquino administration after indicating that it may review the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) with the United States.
... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20101122hed1.html

Maguindanao bomb attack hurts 2 Ampatuan clansmen 11/22/2010

Maguindanao bomb attack hurts 2 Ampatuan clansmen

An estranged member of the powerful Ampatuan clan accused of the country’s worst political massacre was the target of a bomb attack yesterday that wounded two members of the clan, officials said.

Akmad Ampatuan, mayor of Datu Salibo town, also said a bomb that exploded on a roadside in the southern province of Maguindanao, scene of the bloody massacre of 57 persons a year ago, was aimed at him.

The victims were identified as Bai Ling Uy, second wife of Datu Piang Mayor Samer Ampatuan, and a certain Jalandoni Ampatuan. They sustained injuries in the arm and the leg.

Justice Secretary Leila de Lima strongly condemned the bomb attack in Shariff Aguak town in Maguindanao. “(The perpetrators are) simply heartless and evil,” De Lima said in a text message..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20101122hed2.html

RP-MILF talks stalled over mediator dispute By Mario J. Mallari and Michaela P. del Callar 11/22/2010

RP-MILF talks stalled over mediator dispute

By Mario J. Mallari and Michaela P. del Callar 11/22/2010

Talks between the Government of the Republic of the Philippines and the secessionist Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) have reached an impasse and might be stalled again should the GRP pursue its interest in replacing the Malaysian third party facilitator in the peace negotiations.

“There is impasse,” MILF chief negotiator Mohagher Iqbal said.

“They (GRP) are questioning the integrity of the Malaysian facilitator and they are doing it not in accordance with the established practice and protocol,” he noted.

The government has expressed its interest in replacing Malaysian Datuk Othman Razak from acting as third party facilitator in the peace negotiations for showing supposed bias toward the MILF.

Iqbal stressed the MILF’s Central Committee’s position to retain Othman, citing no reason in the proposed changing of the facilitator..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20101122hed3.html

‘Silence not an option’ — Pimentel 11/22/2010

‘Silence not an option’ — Pimentel


Lawyer Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III yesterday said he is determined to pursue his 2007 electoral protest against Sen. Juan Miguel Zubiri and will not be cowed into silence by an adverse ruling of the Senate Electoral Tribunal (SET).

In his reply to the Nov. 4, 2010 resolution of the SET asking him to explain why he should not be punished for contempt, Pimentel, in a statement, said he did not commit a rebellious act when he asked three SET members, namely, Senators Edgardo Angara, Loren Legarda and Manuel “Lito” Lapid, to inhibit themselves from the deliberations of the body to avoid any impression that their political bias could influence their decision on his election protest.

According to him, there was nothing in the records of the case or outside of it that would show that he was pitting public opinion against the SET or that he had adopted a belligerent and provocative stance in making a mockery of the proceedings.

Pimentel disputed the assertion of the SET majority of six that his “actions speak of anarchy and (of) a gross as well as condemnable disrespect of the rule of law.”.... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20101122hed4.html

No guilt admission, no amnesty, insists Joker By Angie M. Rosales 11/22/2010

No guilt admission, no amnesty, insists Joker

By Angie M. Rosales 11/22/2010

Detained Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV and other fellow mutineers seeking amnesty for their participation in coup attempts against the administration of former President Arroyo should admit their guilt first before they can be eligible for official pardon.

Sen. Joker Arroyo yesterday said he will insist on this position when the Senate tackles today President Aquino’s Proclamation No. 50, granting amnesty to soldiers and officers charged in connection with military uprisings in 2003, 2006 and 2007, including Trillanes, which has been submitted by the Executive to Congress for concurrence.

Most of the rebel soldiers have been firm on their assertion that the uprising against Arroyo’s government was provided under the Constitution and thus refuse to admit guilt in the mutiny charges pressed against them.

“I cannot accept that. There is the decision of the Supreme Court that if there is no admission of guilt, (there will be) no amnesty,” he said in a radio interview..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20101122hed5.html

Bulusan spews ash anew; over 500 families evacuated 11/22/2010

Bulusan spews ash anew; over 500 families evacuated

More than 500 families from two towns near Mount Bulusan in Sorsogon province were forced to flee their homes after the volcano shot a column of ash into the air yesterday, showering surrounding villages, authorities said.

According to Office of the Civil Defense (OCD) Region-V Director Rafael Alejandro, 500
families from Irosin and another 40 in Juban evacuated their homes after the volcano shot a column of ash some two kilometers into the air.

“The explosion lasted for almost nine minutes,” he said.

The evacuees were taken to government schools that are being used as relief centers.

“We prioritize those pregnant, children, the elderly and it was day time that’s why they easily mobilized and evacuated,” Alejandro said.

The evacuees were living within the six-kilometer and outside the four-kilometer danger zone..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20101122hed6.html

Ballot shortage mars polls in Palanan, Isabela By Ted Boehnert 11/22/2010

Ballot shortage mars polls in Palanan, Isabela

By Ted Boehnert 11/22/2010

BAYOMBONG, Nueva Vizcaya — Ballot shortage in some poll precincts in one of the coastal towns in Isabela marred the special elections of Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) in that place last Saturday.

This was the fear raised earlier by some sectors of a possible violence following a shootout between candidates of opposing parties for a barangay chairman post in Palanan which resulted to the death of a candidate and his supporter.

The restive special elections in Palanan and neighboring Divilacan and Maconacon towns became peaceful when Isabela Comelec office requested for reinforcement of troops from the Army’s 5th Infantry Division and from the provincial police office.

Comelec provincial head Manuel Castillo had made the request to prevent the possible recurrence of the shootout between Alexander Salazar, candidate for village head in Marikit, Palanan, and his rival, incumbent Wilmer Atienza which led to the death of Salazar and his supporter..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/nation/20101122nat3.html

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