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The Daily Tribune

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The way it is EDITORIAL 12/18/2010

Saturday, December 18, 2010

The way it is

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The way the justice system works, or is supposed to work, in criminal cases, the accused is also always asked during arraingment how he pleads and it is always guilty or not guilty, or if the accused refuses to enter a plea, for some reason, the judge always enters a plea of not guilty — precisely because of the doctrine that all accused are presumed innocent until proven guilty.
In convictions or acquittals, the same phrase is used: An acquittal brings out the verdict of not guilty beyond reasonable doubt, or guilty beyond reasonable doubt. There is no such thing as a verdict from the courts declaring that the accused is innocent.

But when the courts hand a not guilty verdict, it is assumed that the accused did not commit the crime, even when technically, since it is always a case of legal arguments and evidence the prosecutor and the defense get into, the verdict of not guilty means that the prosecutor failed to prove his case against the accused.

The fact alone that, under the principle of double jeopardy, the accused who has been acquitted can no longer be tried for the same crime, ought to be taken as a vindication of the accused — whether one agrees with the verdict.... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20101218com1.html

WikiLeaks: A bane for US, a boon for others FRONTLINE Ninez Cacho-Olivares 12/18/2010

WikiLeaks: A bane for US, a boon for others

Ninez Cacho-Olivares
The United States wants WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange and his cables stopped, which is why pressure is being placed by the US on their allies to stop Assange from making public more and more cables that have put the US and other countries in a bad light.

But the cables’ impact is hardly their so-called exposes, as some of these have already been reported in international media quoting unnamed sources. Even the cable on concerns over the crown prince of Thailand taking over is virtually public knowledge, although this has never seen print in Thailand.

What worries and irks the US and other western powers is that these cables are proving very embarrassing to their officials and the way their diplomats insultingly measure their hosts privately.

The cable saying that Clinton’s state department wanted the United Nations diplomats’ dossiers, including bank account numbers and even their DNA may have been made light of by one UN official, who gave his shoe size away in a gathering, but such public display does not change the fact that the diplomats worldwide would now be seeing their American counterparts in a more guarded way..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20101218com2.html

Portuguese exhibit hunts radical solutions in Angolan slums FEATURE 12/18/2010

Portuguese exhibit hunts radical solutions in Angolan slums


LISBON — A major exhibition in the Portuguese capital is presenting radical solutions to one of the world’s most pressing architectural conundrums: Genuinely low-cost housing in the developing world.

The target? The “musseques” or slums of Luanda, the densely populated districts of corrugated iron shacks surrounding the capital of Portugal’s former colony, Angola.

Architects from around the world were invited to enter a contest to design a low-cost house for the slums. Thirty of the best designs are being displayed until Jan. 16 at the Lisbon Architectural Triennale, billed as one of the top architectural events in western Europe, before being taken on to the southwest African state.

“Luanda is a challenge for any architect,” said Jose Mateus, the director of the Triennale. “It was built for 500,000 people, but today the population is six million.”

The rules of the competition were simple: architects had to design a 100-square-meter (1,076 square feet) house on a 250-square-meter lot for a family of up to nine persons that could be built for a maximum of 25,000 euros (34,000 dollars)..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20101218com3.html

Aquino’s Assumption of Jurisdiction Over PAL Dispute: A Christmas Gift to Workers or a Delaying Tactic?

Aquino’s Assumption of Jurisdiction Over PAL Dispute: A Christmas Gift to Workers or a Delaying Tactic?

“The real test of whether Aquino’s assumption of jurisdiction order is pro-worker or pro-Lucio Tan lies in his future decision on Tan’s contractualization through mass layoffs and outsourcing scheme,” said Joselito Ustarez, vice-chairman of KMU.
MANILA – Thousands of ground crew employees of the Philippine Airlines (PAL) “will have a merry Christmas since no retrenchment will happen this holiday season,” said Gerry Rivera, president of PAL Employees Association (PALEA), after President Benigno ‘Noynoy’ Aquino assumed jurisdiction last Dec 16 of PALEA’s pending strike. The assumption of jurisdiction (AJ) order, a power vested on the labor secretary and the country’s president, enjoined both parties (PAL and PALEA) to withhold their planned actions until Aquino comes up with an official resolution addressing the conflicting issues of the workers and PAL management.

Up for Aquino’s review is the contentious matter of PAL’s planned spinoff and outsourcing, which, when implemented, would result in the termination of nearly 3,000 regular employees and their transformation into lower-paid non-unionized contractual workers. PAL president Jaime Bautista has insisted that after the mass layoff, PAL would “outsource” the jobs of inflight catering, aircraft maintenance and ticketing services to three supposed third party service providers: SkyLogistics Philippines Inc., SkyKitchen Philippines Inc. and ePLDT Ventus.

But PALEA and the Anakpawis Partylist chapter in PAL have repeatedly belied such claims, saying PAL only plans to transfer its workers to the Lucio Tan Group’s dummy companies to slash their wages, bust their union and make the CBA suspension permanent. In fact, an exhaustive paper trail investigation of writer Raissa Robles has recently confirmed in detail that SkyLogistics and SkyKitchen are indeed dummy companies, if not outrightly under Lucio Tan’s MacroAsia Corporation.

Thus, Aquino’s review may likely find out that a big factor cited by PAL in its planned spin-off/outsourcing and DOLE’s approval of it appears to be without basis. For now though, the dispute has been a year-long exchange of saber-rattling between the management and the workers’ union. The recent AJ is already the second of such order issued for the same dispute this year alone..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://bulatlat.com/main/2010/12/18/aquino%E2%80%99s-assumption-of-jurisdiction-over-pal-dispute-a-christmas-gift-to-workers-or-a-delaying-tactic/

Workers Frustrated Over Lower House Decision to Take Early Break

 Workers Frustrated Over Lower House Decision to Take Early Break

The long-delayed substantial wage hike demanded by Filipino workers found no room this Christmas in the House of Representatives. Meanwhile, prices of food and transport continue to soar, and even the ILO reported that the Filipinos’ wages suffered one of the biggest cuts in Asia.
MANILA – “It looks like our legislators were very excited in having their Christmas vacation,” said Ferdinand Gaite, co-convener of the alliance Koalisyon ng Progresibong Manggagawa at Mamamayan or KPMM. His group went to the gates of the House of Representatives on Wednesday to push for the approval of House Bill 375 which seeks to legislate a P125 ($2.82) across-the-board wage increase nationwide.

Filed by Anakpawis Rep. Rafael Mariano last July 1, the bill was supposed to be scheduled for deliberations by the House Committee on Labor and Employment that day, but it did not push through because the congressional sessions adjourned earlier than scheduled.

There were supposed to be two more working days at least before the Congress was to have adjourned for Christmas, Gaite said as his group pressed on with their planned brief program before the House of Representatives.

With Gaite were workers from the public and private sectors. They were carrying big signboards bearing the group’s demand for a P125 ($2.82) wage hike, as well as big and small Christmas lanterns. The workers’ visit to the gates of the House of Representatives was supposed to be their way of “sending their message of hope” to lawmakers for the passage of the wage hike bill.

But the workers were forced to swallow yet another disappointment. Last Wednesday’s scheduled deliberations would have been the first since the bill was last tackled by the House Committee on Labor last September 2008.... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://bulatlat.com/main/2010/12/18/workers-frustrated-over-lower-house-decision-to-take-early-break/

Critics Condemn the TRB’s ‘Lies, Treachery and Betrayal’ in Hastily Approving 300% Toll-Fee Hikes

Critics Condemn the TRB’s ‘Lies, Treachery and Betrayal’ in Hastily Approving 300% Toll-Fee Hikes

“The TRB cannot even tell us how the toll rates were computed. What was the basis for the computation of the toll rates? These questions must be answered first before they raise the toll fees,” said Northern Samar governor Paul Daza, co-convenor of the TUTOL-SLEX.
MANILA – Is the Toll Regulatory Board (TRB) a Philippine government body or a tool of foreign contractors for “muscling its way into the pockets of ordinary taxpayers”? The TRB has incurred the wrath of Taxpayers’ Unity vs Toll Hike in SLEX (TUTOL-SLEX), an alliance of commuters, drivers, peoples’ organizations, businessmen, local government officials, neighborhood associations and other taxpayers. The board, they said, “hastily approved” this week the petition of the South Luzon Tollway Corporation (SLTC) for a 300% increase in toll rates.

Describing the said approval as “treachery”, and the TRB as “traitors to the interest of the public”, the group raised questions about the “lies” cited by the TRB as some of its bases for coming out with the approval. One of it was the supposed public hearings it had conducted.

“There was no public hearing,” Sammy Malunes, co-convenor of Tutol-SLEx, told Bulatlat.com during one of their protest actions. “We do not consider as genuine that so-called public hearing they conducted last Dec 10,” Malunes explained.

The TRB called for a public hearing in their head office last week, but, according to Tutol-SLEx, drivers’ and operators’ organization PISTON and other critics of the toll fee hikes, the public was not really invited because the TRB only announced it through a newspaper with minimal circulation.

The TRB published on December 8 in Manila Standard the SLTC’s proposed toll increases. Toll fees for class 1 vehicles will be raised to P77 ($1.74) from P22 ($0.50), Class 2 – P155 ($3.49) from P43 ($0.97) and Class 3 – P232 ($5.23) from P65 ($1.47). TRB spokesman Julius Corpus said in an interview that the published rates are not yet approved by the TRB pending the result of the public consultation..... MORE


URL: http://bulatlat.com/main/2010/12/18/critics-condemn-the-trb%E2%80%99s-%E2%80%98lies-treachery-and-betrayal%E2%80%99-in-hastily-approving-300-perent-toll-fee-hikes/

HK summons Lim, 115 others to hijack probe By Michaela P. del Callar 12/18/2010


HK summons Lim, 115 others to hijack probe

By Michaela P. del Callar 12/18/2010

Hong Kong had summoned 116 Filipino witnesses, including Manila Mayor Alfredo Lim to testify at a public inquiry into the fatal bus hijacking last Aug. 23 near the Quirino Grandstand at the Rizal Park that left eight Hong Kong tourists dead.

Hong Kong Department of Justice lawyer Jat Sew-tong said the witnesses include Lim, who is facing administrative sanctions over the authorities’ failed rescue operation, local Radio RTHK reported.

Police snipers, doctors and Philippine medical examiners would also be part of the witness group, RTHK quoted the lawyer as saying.

Disgraced policeman Rolando Mendoza, who commandeered a tourist bus in an ill-fated bid to get his job back, was also killed during the incident’s bloody conclusion, which played out live on television around the world..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20101218hed1.html

Vizconde slay case ordered reopened By Aytch S. de la Cruz 12/18/2010

Vizconde slay case ordered reopened

By Aytch S. de la Cruz 12/18/2010

The Palace issued an order yesterday for the reopening of investigations into the two-decade-old Vizconde family massacre case after the Supreme Court (SC) acquitted last Tuesday Hubert Webb and the six others who were implicated in the slaying of Estrellita Vizconde and her two daughters.

Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa Jr. issued a memorandum dated December 16 directing Justice Secretary Leila de Lima, Interior and Local Government Secretary Jesse Robredo, Philippines National Police (PNP) Chief Raul Bacalzo and National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) Director Magtanggol Gatdula to tap all available resources of their agencies to capture the real killers of the Vizcondes.

The reinvestigation of the case will have to work against time as the prescription period under the law for the case ends on June 30 next year..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20101218hed4.html

Court grants release of ‘Morong 43’ By Benjamin B. Pulta 12/18/2010

Court grants release of ‘Morong 43’

By Benjamin B. Pulta 12/18/2010

A local court in Rizal province yesterday ordered the release of the so-called “Morong 43” who were arrested in February while allegedly holding a bomb-making seminar in Morong, also in Rizal.

At least six of the 43 detainees, however, will remain behind bars for pending cases for murder, rape and violation of the law on bouncing checks.

In a 12-page order, Morong, Rizal Regional Trial Court Branch 78 upheld the Department of Justice’s position that a majority of the arrested health workers could not be prosecuted for illegal possession of explosives in violation of Presidential Decree 1866 as amended by Republic Act 8294 and RA 9516 by virtue of the fruit of poisonous tree or the doctrine excluding evidence gathered through illegal searches.

“The court agrees with the prosecution that without the evidence which are fruits of the poisonous tree, the Department of Justice finds that the accused cannot be prosecuted successfully, as there remains no other evidence against them,” explained the order signed by Presiding Judge Gina Cenit-Escoto..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20101218hed5.html

EU envoy alarmed over Pinoys poor access to health service By Michaela P. del Callar 12/18/2010

EU envoy alarmed over Pinoys poor access to health service

By Michaela P. del Callar 12/18/2010

European Union’s top envoy to the Philippines yesterday expressed concern that majority of Filipinos continue to have lack of access to affordable and quality health service.

EU Ambassador Alistair MacDonald said major challenges remain, especially in ensuring the implementation of reform program by the Department of Health (DoH) and effective delivery of service to the people.

“There are certainly notable accomplishments in the public health system but major geographic inequities and inaccess to public health services and facilities still persist and indeed in some cases it continue to worsen overtime,” MacDonald said at the signing of the Philippines-EU health support program at the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA).

MacDonald noted that the problem in accessing health care remains very common in rural areas, particularly in the poorest and the most marginalized indigenous communities..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20101218hed6.html

BU engineers make ginger tea easier to prepare 12/18/2010

BU engineers make ginger tea easier to prepare

POLANGUI, Albay — Four engineers from the research department of the Bicol University (BU) extension campus here have invented a portable machine capable as a multi-purpose post-harvest implement designed to multiply the value of farm produce for higher earnings of the farmers.

The invention is a washer-peeler, juice extractor, crystallizer and a mill rolled into one to be called the multicrop processing machine that also works well as a component of a processing system for the mechanical production of arrowroot starch and flour.

When customized into a washer-peeler, the machine peels outer skin or cleans and removes undesirable debris of ginger rhizome, sweet potato, potato, arrowroot, radish, carrot and other rootcrops.

As a juice extractor, it extracts juice from ginger, lemon grass, pandan leaves, arrowroot, herbal plants, vegetable leaves among other crops while as a crystallizer, it cooks ginger juice to produce powdered ginger tea..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/nation/20101218nat10.html

Philippines’ first solar testing facility opens 12/18/2010

Philippines’ first solar testing facility opens

The first solar testing facility of the Philippines opened yesterday at the First Philippine Industrial Park in Tanauan, Batangas.

The testing facility is a product of a Public-Private Partnership (PPP) between the Congressional Commission on Science Technology and Engineering (COMSTE) and First Philec Solar Corporation.

Senator Edgardo Angara, chairman of COMSTE, lauded the opening of the testing facility as significant proof that the government and industry collaboration works, and that continued PPP’s can spur the growth of innovation especially in the fields of Science and Technology (S&T).

The testing facility has 180 KW on-grid capacity, and is capable of testing photovoltaic (PV) modules for efficiency and resilience in field conditions, as opposed to being tested in laboratories in controlled environments.

COMSTE has been planning projects to enhance the use of solar power in the country. Through the new solar testing facility, local and foreign solar manufacturers can test panels for optimal output in tropical conditions..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/nation/20101218nat9.html

AFP arrests top NPA leader in Agusan Sur By Mario J. Mallari 12/18/2010

AFP arrests top NPA leader in Agusan Sur

By Mario J. Mallari 12/18/2010

Government security forces stumbled upon a ranking leader of the communist New People’s Army (NPA), who was the subject of a number of warrants of arrest for murder charges, during checkpoint operations in Agusan del Sur province yesterday.

Arrested was Pedro Codaste, who is facing double murder and double frustrated murder charges before the Malaybalay City Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 8.

Codaste was arrested during checkpoint operations conducted by elements of the Army’s 4th Infantry Division (ID), Police Regional Office-10 and PRO-13 along Barangay Fili in Bayugan town around 11 a.m.
During subsequent investigation and background checking, authorities established that Codaste was the same person as Ka Gonyong, the front secretary of the NPA’s North-Central Mindanao Party Committee.

Also arrested were Codaste’s civilian contacts identified as Eliezar Asaraga, Norberto Espina Jr. and Hector Camelote, and Codaste’s NPA comrade, Eddie Alegre..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/nation/20101218nat1.html

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