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All bark, no bite EDITORIAL 12/13/2010

Monday, December 13, 2010

All bark, no bite

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The results of Transparency International (TI)’s recent Global Corruption Barometer report revealed more than the already unflattering figures on Noynoy’s ascendancy to power that is supposedly based on the eradication of corruption anchored on the tenet “Kung walang corrupt, walang mahirap” (No corruption, no poverty).

Already reported was that 48 percent of Filipino respondents of the survey that TI stated was the most extensive survey done yet globally on corruption, considered the government ineffective in the fight against corruption.

The survey was undertaken by pollster Gallup International covering mostly 1,000 respondents and was conducted between June 1 and Sept. 30, which was the period well into the Aquino administration that started July 1.

In Asia-Pacific, the median was 44 percent believing their government ineffective against corruption and the Philippines was one of seven countries above the average..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20101213com1.html

Needed: A thinking cap FRONTLINE Ninez Cacho-Olivares 12/13/2010

Needed: A thinking cap

Ninez Cacho-Olivares
Obviously trying to save face after issuing a veiled threat to have the Chief Justice impeached by his allies over the high court’s ruling on the unconstitutionality of Executive Order 1 (EO 1), and where reactions from his congressional allies all pointed to their being clueless about any impeachment moves against CJ Renato Corona, along with their saying that such a ground is not valid, there went Noynoy Aquino, informing reporters that he is not thinking of supporting any move to impeach Corona and that instead, he prefers to dialog with the justices.

He also went to great pains to clarify to reporters that it was not he who had started the impeachment talk against Corona, insisting that he had received calls from his allies in Congress about their plan to impeach a Supreme Court (SC) justice — but not Corona.

Well, what can Noynoy do when caught at a lie, of not to spin another lie, especially since his allies in Congress went on the record to deny that there was such a plan to impeach Corona? Then too, why did he wait so long to clarify the matter?

He insisted that while he did not start that talk, he stuck to his claim that he had received calls from his allies about an impeachment plan against another SC magistrate, whom he failed to identify..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20101213com2.html

Phones are a feminist issue in Bangladesh FEATURE 12/13/2010

Phones are a feminist issue in Bangladesh


DHAKA — Dressed in a colorful sari, clutching boxes of herbal tea in one hand and a battered old Nokia mobile phone in the other, Monowara Talukder doesn’t look like the average business executive.

But in just six years, Talukder has built an international herbal tea empire in Bangladesh that employs 1,500 female farmers, wins orders from major Western health food chains, and has a turnover of 44 million taka ($625,000).

She was among the first people to sign up for a mobile phone when they arrived in the country in 1997. The costs were high, but the 48-year-old mother of four says she has never regretted the investment.

“My mobile phone has helped so much with the business — it is absolutely crucial for distribution and marketing,” Talukder told AFP over a cup of her signature Tulsi, or Holy Basil, tea in the Bangladeshi capital Dhaka.

“I don’t have an office or showroom so people just ring me on the mobile to place orders. I now have my products in all 64 districts of Bangladesh and get orders from buyers in Australia, Kuwait and Nepal.”.... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20101213com3.html

Pell-mell Peace Nobel DIE HARD III Herman Tiu Laurel 12/13/2010

Pell-mell Peace Nobel

Herman Tiu Laurel
Pell-mell: jumbled, helter-skelter, confused; that’s what the Nobel Peace prize has become. A third party observer such as the India Daily perceived this so clearly when its correspondent filed a report in response to the nomination of Liu Xiaobo for the Nobel Peace Prize with the headline, “Beijing denounces Nobel for Liu Xiaobo, after Obama, Gore, isn’t the Nobel Prize a joke?”

One definitely couldn’t get such a clear assessment of the Peace Prize from Western societies and media. I was almost ready to add the West’s minion states like the Philippines among those with the view skewed toward the West until the PeNoy government surprised us for once by doing the right thing, by joining the boycott of the Nobel Peace award to the questionable Liu Xiaobo.

From another third party point of view, Yoichi Shimatsu, former editor of the Japan Times Weekly in Tokyo, comes this objective summary of Liu Xiaobo’s history: “Liu Xiaobo’s personal link with Norway started during his days as a visiting scholar to the University of Oslo in 1988... Back in those dark days of the Cold War, there weren’t many Chinese in Scandinavia, so Liu was a rare commodity — a scholar from Beijing who loathed Beijing. Whether Liu became a Nato asset is a matter of top-secret classification. Oslo’s repeated inquiries about him through two decades, the Western media’s patronage, and the Nobel selection over other Chinese dissidents indicate some sort of special bond. Whatever the hidden details of his foreign involvements, Liu’s Peace Prize is serving as the bugle call for Nato’s global crusade against so-called “tyranny.”

“The fact that an open warmonger heads the Nobel Peace Committee has completely discredited what was once the world’s most prestigious Peace Prize. That honor is now just another weapon in the arsenal of the Great Powers mobilizing to reassert their authority over their former colonial domain. The goal of the West is not democracy and human rights; what its leaders really desire is domination and warfare. The intentions are clear. Thus we must each prepare, in our different ways, for the coming bloodshed.”

The Indian and Japanese media can be relied on to be more level-headed about the issues given their experiences with Western imperialism and persistent nationalist pride, unlike many in Philippine media and human rights NGOs who genuflect before the journalism and human rights foundations as well as foreign funding agencies for their scholarships and whatnot.

This dubious award of the Nobel Peace prize to Liu Xiaobo was preceded by two of the same equally dubious awards to Obama in 2009, when the newly-elected US president had just taken steps to expand the American and Nato war in Afghanistan; and before that in 2007 to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and Al Gore for their advocacy of the “man-made global warming” theory and restrictions on industrialization, which have subsequently been put under serious disrepute by IPCC’s own admissions of prediction errors, precipitated by an e-mail scandal unearthed by an IPCC scientist (not by WikiLeaks) revealing climate date manipulation to suit global warming theories. But these are not the only controversies.

The 1973 award to Henry Kissinger and Le Duc Tho for the Vietnam peace talks compelled two Nobel Peace Prize panel members’ resignation; they could not agree on the nominees’ qualifications as men of peace. Kissinger is considered by many historians and students of the Vietnam War, and I among them, as a war criminal for the atrocities and murder of four million Vietnamese civilians committed by American forces under his policy direction.

A lesser known awardee in 2008 was former Finnish President Martti Ahtisaari who executed the negotiations with Yugoslavia’s Milosevic that were so one-sided for the US and Nato that he was rewarded with a second assignment over Kosovo which ended with the latter’s declaration of independence. Gregory Elich of the Jasenovac Research Institute and adviser to the Korea Truth Commission says Ahtisaari’s Nobel was for services rendered.

In my political-economy classes at PUP up until 2005, I had always discussed the Nobel Peace Prize as a fraud and an instrument of cultural warfare to create icons favorable to Western purposes. I ask why, for example, the ultimate and historical paradigm of peace and peaceful struggle was never awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. Isn’t Mahatma Gandhi the world’s undisputed premier exponent of peace? The Nobel Peace Prize had been given out nearly every year since 1901.

I explain to my students that Gandhi could never be a Nobel Peace laureate because he is an anti-imperialist icon. It’s about time all Filipinos learn this basic truth about the Nobel Peace Prize: It is intended mainly to promote the West’s ideal of the “peaceful” man who is on their side. Liu Xiaobo is on their side, yet there is more material on him on the Internet that the Peace Prize panel never touched on.

Whatever the real reason for the PeNoy government’s joining the boycott of the Liu peace award, even it was merely a right mistake taken to obfuscate a real rejection of US imposition on it, we anti-imperialist Filipinos welcome it. When I praised this apparently courageous act on my radio program last Friday night, a yellow butterfly (yes, this is true) fluttered from the window into the room where I was phone-patching. Was it a providential message that there is a hidden hope there somewhere? Wonders, accidents or not, may truly never cease.

(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 Channel 8; visit our blogs, http://newkatipunero.blogspot.com and http://hermantiulaurel.blogspot.com; P.S. – “10 Minutes Lights Out vs Power Plunderers,” 7 to 7:10 p.m., Monday nights)

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20101213com4.html

WikiLeaks cables release reshapes diplomatic landscape focus 12/13/2010

WikiLeaks cables release reshapes diplomatic landscape



PARIS — Was the WikiLeaks cable release a stone thrown into the waters of US diplomacy, causing waves that will eventually calm, or a brick though the window of the State Department, causing irreparable harm?

With only 1,200 of the quarter million stolen US diplomatic telegrams so far released, it is perhaps too early to understand all the repercussions for the sole superpower’s international standing and for current crises.
But it is already possible to see certain diplomatic realignments — some aspects of foreign relations may never be the same again.

One of the early surprises was the revelation of the extent to which Arab fears of a future nuclear-armed Iran have put them on the same page as their traditional foe Israel in pushing for military action against Tehran.
Washington’s inability to keep its secrets secret has seen it lose face with rising rival China, and Beijing has been careful not to let its own guard down, giving a careful response to leaked criticisms of its policy..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20101213com5.html

The Truth Pt. 2 HE SAYS Aldrin Cardon 12/13/2010

The Truth Pt. 2

Aldrin Cardon
Who was surprised at the recent Supreme Court decision declaring Noynoy’s Truth Commission unconstitutional?

Not I, and I suppose not everyone else who cares for our God-forsaken country.
And maybe not Noynoy, who may have anticipated the worst to come from an SC, whose majority is perceived to remain “friendly” to former President Arroyo, to whom its members owe their seats.

Noynoy had taken a fighting stance against the SC for what he deemed was its late transmittal of the decision, which, in matters of importance to the Palace, was handed down to Malacañang only two days after it came out in the media, a discourteous act in whatever way we view it.

An appeal could also take the same route as the previous SC decision, and would validate the people’s suspicion that Gloria Arroyo, now a “humbled” congressman representing the second district of Pampanga, remains deeply entrenched in power, and is just awaiting the grand comeback said to have been long laid out, but could not yet push as Noynoy remains so popular they fear a big political backlash..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20101213com6.html

Davide and Gloriath SHE SAYS Dinah S. Ventura 12/13/2010

Davide and Gloriath

Dinah S. Ventura
Ten years and three presidents later, former Chief Justice Hilario Davide Jr. is still around, figuring much in cases involving the search for truth and justice. When former President Joseph Estrada was forced to step down, Davide was there swearing in former President Gloria Arroyo. When Arroyo’s popularity took a deep dive, Davide was there still, and now that President Benigno Aquino III is in power, Davide is leading the commission that Aquino wants to be established to look into the cases of corruption in the previous administration.

Davide’s tenacity is matched — or perhaps outweighed — by Gloria’s own hold onto power. His continued visibility is also nothing like Gloria’s ability to fade in and out of public range when it suits her.

It has been said before, and we are getting massive doses of déjà vu now, that Arroyo has the cunning of a fox. It seems she is able to see far beyond the future and plan accordingly, making us bitterly regret that we had ever thought her brains would be used to actually help the country. And her vengeance seems to know no bounds either — just look at what happened to Noynoy’s plans for a truth body.

With the recent Supreme Court (SC) ruling that the Truth Commission, a product of President Aquino’s first Executive Order (EO), is unconstitutional, some sectors are blaring that it is the result of the influence of previous Arroyo, who made sure to fill the high court with people whose sympathies lie with her..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20101213com7.html

Noynoy dared to defend AFP in Morong 43 row By Angie M. Rosales and Mario J. Mallari 12/13/2010


Noynoy dared to defend AFP in Morong 43 row

By Angie M. Rosales and Mario J. Mallari 12/13/2010
President Aquino was challenged yesterday to stand his ground and defend the arrest and detention made by the military against health workers suspected of being members of a communist group who are collectively called Morong 43 even after their release has been effected through Aquino’s order to drop the charges against the group.

Sen. Gregorio Honasan issued the challenge yesterday to Aquino amid reports that the health workers are contemplating to file cases of rights abuse against the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP).

“The President has decided already. The military has no choice but to follow his orders. It’s part of their mandate to follow such orders from the commander in chief, including that of overseeing the implementation of the legal procedures,” Honasan said.

“But if they (Morong 43) will file charges, I think it will be a wrong move. If at all, the defect (in the situation) is in the law, not the implementation of the law. If they will take retaliatory action against the military who merely did their mandate, it is the duty of the executive branch to defend the soldiers,” he said in a radio interview..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20101213hed1.html

CA denies amparo writ on JI suspect 12/13/2010

CA denies amparo writ on JI suspect

The Court of Appeals (CA) has dismissed a petition for a writ of amparo filed by the wife of a suspected financier of terrorist group Jemaah Islamiyah in Mindanao.

The writ of amparo, Spanish for protection, bars military officers in judicial proceedings to issue denials regarding petitions on disappearances or extrajudicial executions which were legally permitted in habeas corpus proceedings.

The CA 10th Division ruling, penned by Associate Justice Michael Elbinias, effectively prevented Eduard Gerra, alias Abraham Lonto from being released from the custody of the Intelligence Service Group of the Philippine Army (ISG-PA).

“The reason why the pendency of a criminal action bars the filing of a petition for amparo is, as the Supreme Court (SC) explains in its annotation to the writ of amparo, to avoid the difficulties that may be encountered when the amparo action is allowed to proceed separately from the criminal action, wherein two courts trying essentially the same subject may issue conflicting orders,” the CA said in its ruling..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20101213hed2.html

RP seeks IAEA help in ‘mothballed’ nuke power By Michaela P. del Callar 12/13/2010

RP seeks IAEA help in ‘mothballed’ nuke power

By Michaela P. del Callar 12/13/2010

The Philippines has sought the assistance of the International Atomic Agency in its ongoing review and assessment of the possible rehabilitation of the Bataan Nuclear Power Plant (BNPP) which has been dormant for more than two decades.

At a meeting last week in Manila with visiting IAEA Director Yukiya Amano, who was in the country last December 8 to 11, Philippine government officials said the IAEA can assist the Philippines “if and when the government decides to include nuclear power generation in its present energy mix.”

“In addition to the science and technology area, the Philippines benefits from the activities undertaken by the IAEA under its safety and security pillar, particularly in the review and assessment of the possible rehabilitation of the Bataan Nuclear Power Plant,” the Department of Foreign Affairs said in a statement yesterday.

While in the country, Amano toured the mothballed plant, a $2.3-billion facility constructed during the Marcos regime that was nearly completed in 1984 but never fueled..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20101213hed3.html

Noy’s Nobel alibi hit as surrender to China 12/13/2010

Noy’s Nobel alibi hit as surrender to China

President Aquino in giving an obvious face-saving alibi that the country skipped the Nobel Peace Prize ceremony to encourage China to spare the lives of five Filipinos on death row charged for drug trafficking was widely criticized yesterday as a surrender to China.

Aquino gave a newspaper an exclusive inter-view the other day in his bid to rationalize a decision to stay away from the ceremony to honor jailed Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo, saying the move was “in our national in-terest” as human rights groups worldwide assailed the move as bowing to Chinese pressure.

Initially, Malacañang tried to deflect the criticisms, saying that a represent-ative assigned to represent the country in the event had a “conflict of schedule.”

“Our interest is to advance our citizens’ needs first,” the paper quoted the President as saying.
Aquino said he had written to Beijing seeking clemency for five Filipinos sentenced to death for drug trafficking..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20101213hed4.html

19 Pinoy sailors freed by Somali pirates 12/13/2010

19 Pinoy sailors freed by Somali pirates

Nineteen Filipino sailors on board a Greek vessel were released by ransom-seeking Somali pirates last Saturday after seven months in captivity, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) yesterday said.

The mv Eleni P was hijacked last May 12, 50 nautical miles off the coast of Oman on its way to Kandla, India. Also freed were two Romanians and an Indian.

The release of the Filipino hostages brings down to 82 the total number of Philippine sailors onboard six vessels held captive by pirates.

Repatriation of the Filipinos to the Philippines are already being arranged by the seafarer’s manning agency and the vessel owner, the DFA said.

The DFA also assured that it continues to coordinate closely with the local manning agencies for the early and safe release of all the other Filipino sailors held in Somalia..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20101213hed5.html

House panel to resume ‘Merci’ impeach raps in January 12/13/2010

House panel to resume ‘Merci’ impeach raps in January

The impeachment com-plaint against Ombudsman Merceditas Gutierrez will have to be stalled following the Supreme Court’s inaction on the status quo ante order it issued and the Christmas break of the members of both houses of Congress.

According to Iloilo Rep. Niel Tupas, chairman of the House committee on justice, despite the overwhelming position of panel members to proceed with the hearing on the impeachment complaints against Gutierrez they are compelled to resume with the hearing on Jan. 17, 2011 when Congress resumes.

“Most likely, the next hearing would be in January after the break,” Tupas yesterday said.

House Deputy Speaker and Quezon Rep. Lorenzo “Erin” Tañada III insisted that the panel should resume its impeachment hearings.

“It is the constitutional duty of the panel to resume its proceedings,” he stressed..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20101213hed6.html

House set to approve amnesty proclamation By Gerry Baldo 12/13/2010

House set to approve amnesty proclamation

By Gerry Baldo 12/13/2010

The House of Representatives is expected to approve today a concurrent resolution to Malacañang’s amnesty proclamation for rebel soldiers who have been involved in several cases of mutiny against the previous Arroyo administration.

Iloilo Rep. Niel Tupas, chairman of the House committee on justice, said that there is no more reason for the House to delay its adoption of Proclamation No. 75, saying that the next step for the concurrent resolution, after terminating the period of amendments, is the approval of the resolution.

“(This is) in principle of peace and reconciliation and we should give a second chance to those officers, supporters who might have committed crimes and may wish to come back to the fold of law,” Tupas said in reacting to a proposal to bar those involved to return to their mother units at the Philippine National Police (PNP) and the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP).

Earlier, former President and now Pampanga Rep. Gloria Arroyo said that recipients of the amnesty should be barred from returning to the PNP and the AFP..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/nation/20101213nat1.html

Flash flood hits 108 barangays in Capiz 12/13/2010

Flash flood hits 108 barangays in Capiz

ILOILO CITY — The Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council (PDRRMC) here has remained on alert as it mobilizes various municipal disaster councils to closely monitor the rising water level in low-lying areas due to the prevailing heavy rainfall.

PDRRMC chief retired Supt. Joe Daradar said that the massive flash flood brought about by heavy rainfall since last Wednesday evening affected a total of 108 barangays in the different municipalities in the province of Capiz.

Daradar said municipalities affected by flash flood included Pontevedra, Panay, Panit-an, Maayon, Sigma, Mambusao, Dumarao, Jamindan, Tapaz, Cuartero and Dao, where most of barangays were underwater.

The PDRRMC chief reported that the town of Panay has 13 barangays affected; Pontevedra had eight barangays submerged underwater and 66 families affected which temporarily took refuge in two designated evacuation centers in their respective locality..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/nation/20101213nat3.html

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