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A job for a president EDITORIAL 12/24/2010

Friday, December 24, 2010

A job for a president

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The case of Maj. Gen. Carlos Garcia gives little hope that Noynoy’s boast of walang corrupt, walang mahirap (no corruption, no poverty) will ever be achieved under his administration. Garcia’s plunder case was one of the many that was a residue of the past administration which is characterized by wholesale corruption and, like most cases that involved the raiding of money from the past administration already had built-in safety nets before these were inherited by Noynoy.

There may have been good reasons to suspect that those positions with guaranteed tenure under the Constitution, primarily in the judiciary, may have been stacked with people with whom the previous occupants of the Palace would not have a hard time negotiating, in terms of securing their rank. But Noynoy in classic yellow arrogance, chose to pick a fight with the well-placed appointees rather than win them over, which was all these supposed custodians of justice are waiting for..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20101224com1.html

Going to the dogs FRONTLINE Ninez Cacho-Olivares 12/24/2010

Going to the dogs

Ninez Cacho-Olivares
Good grief! Why is the military joining the fray and getting into the controversial plea bargain deal between the prosecutors and the former Armed Forces of the Philippines comptroller, Maj. Gen. Carlos Garcia — and to the point of even saying that the military has already made representations to oppose the plea bargain, as well as stating that a review of the plunder case of Garcia has been ordered by the AFP chief.

That is certainly not within the province of the military and it rightly belongs to the Sandiganbayan justices. Yet it was the AFP chief of staff, Gen. Ricardo David, who issued such a statement.

David claimed he is against the plea bargain deal that allowed the former comptroller to plead guilty to lesser charges of direct bribery and money laundering in exchange for returning a portion of the P300 million he is accused of stealing.

David was quoted as saying: “The position of the Armed Forces is not to have a plea bargain on the charges…If you are asking if the Armed Forces is for the plea bargain, no. We in the Armed Forces, we do not like it. We should proceed with the case.”.... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20101224com2.html

Korean showdown exposes China-US gap — analysts ANALYSIS 12/24/2010

Korean showdown exposes China-US gap — analysts


WASHINGTON — The tense weekend showdown on the Korean peninsula exposes the deep US-China gap over how to resolve a long-simmering crisis that risks erupting anew, analysts said.

Nevertheless, several experts suspected China helped to defuse the immediate crisis by privately warning its neighbor and nuclear-armed ally North Korea to avoid acting on its threat to retaliate for South Korean military drills.

“The Chinese were very concerned about escalation, even to the point of a widescale war on the peninsula,” said Bonnie Glaser, a China analyst with the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

“The fact that they were so worried about a military conflict may have in fact energized them to do more than they have under other circumstances, and urge the North Koreans not to retaliate,” Glaser told AFP.
And the North Koreans may have decided to hold fire for now only to consider staging a show of military force in the future, she said..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20101224com3.html

2011: Decade of change begins DIE HARD III Herman Tiu Laurel 12/24/2010

2011: Decade of change begins

Herman Tiu Laurel
Our problems are man-made, therefore they may be solved by man. No problem of human destiny is beyond human beings.

� John F. Kennedy

Ten years ago the country and the world were full of hope. It was a transition not only from an old decade to another, not only from an old century to a new one but also from one old millennium to another. Hope abounded. The Cold War had ended and the nuclear MAD-ness (mutual assured destruction) was believed to be a thing of the past. The Dot.com boom reached dizzying heights and its �wealth effect� would touch every member of the global economy for the better.

Political change was in the air; Bush Jr. became president in the US under the most questionable circumstances while in the Philippines Georgetown economics student Gloria Arroyo became president through a �power grab,� but the euphoria of change carried the day. Even the dreaded doomsday Y2K bug proved a dud, thereafter nothing seemed to be in the way of the new century and new millennium to spoil the good times ahead.

Little did the people of the World and of the Philippines realize that the forces that made a disaster of the last century were already at work to turn the new decade the start of another century of wars, exploitation and oppression. In the US, even before the old century ended, plans for global resurgence of US global pre-eminence was drawn up in the PNAC (Project for a New American Century) in 1997. It included a wish for �a new Pearl Harbor� is which many believe envisioned the 9/11 WTC �inside job� terror strike leading to the Iraq and Afghan wars. In the Philippines, a conspiracy to depose the elected president and install the vice-president already worked out in 1998 when the coup should happen (that is, less than half the official presidential term) to allow the installed vice-president to legally run for a new term and gain a full decade to solidify their gains.

The omens were clear: Bush Jr.�s electoral coup d�etat aided by the Florida voting machine fraud and the Republican dominated US Supreme Court thwarting the popular will of the American people, and in the Philippines, the Edsa Dos coup d�etat aided by the Davide Supreme Court thwarting the Filipinos� popular will.

What followed in both countries was a record of misuse and massive abuse of political power triggering endless wars by the US president and endless larceny by the Philippine president � all of which benefitted the global and local corporatocratic aristocracy, institutionalizing their systematic looting and monopoly of political power and economic plunder. As that decade ended they prepared for the next with new elections that installed their own again � no change in American, no change in the world, no change in the Philippines.

Elections generally achieve only an illusion or change, little real change happens when structural foundations stay the same. The real power behind America today is still the financial class, despite its mess that collapsed the US economy and caused massive American jobs losses; Obama and the US Congress bails out the financial class and not the people. The same in the Philippines: New names on old, old programs, like old roads given new street names: the Build-Operate-Transfer law is still the basis for the �new� Public-Private Partnership projects, the Conditional Cash Transfer replaces the old Millennium Fund dole-outs � �same same.� Some cosmetic changes have more psychological impact than others, such as the release of political prisoners that does not change the political equation but releases revolutionary fervor of formerly imprisoned reform leaders.

However, real change still can come under these difficult situations, such as from an unexpected turn of mind of those installed by elections, compelling drastic moves from the powers behind the throne, such as assassination � and frequently in US history. In the Philippines, a coup d�etat is normally sufficient, or its threat is usually enough to keep the installed leader on �good� behavior. The forces for real change, leaders that identify themselves with the welfare of the people, can also rise within the system and work stealthily both within and outside in springing surprises on the forces of the neo-aristocracy or corporatocracy. There will always be a sufficient number of leaders and forces for real change because oppression and exploitation are real. Suffering of all oppressed classes is real, and heightening of consciousness continues unabated especially in the alternative media like the Internet.

A holiday get together highlighted four generations of genuine and progressive change-leaders with ideologies ranging from communist/socialist, Marcos military, Yellow officers, young officers, church laity and Edsa Tres stalwarts, I was told by one reformist politician that the �army� for change is now three times larger than it was when it shook the Marcos and Aquino regimes; I added that the people�s bitter experiences (as in the electric power plunder issue) and failed economic promises (increasing unemployment, for example) of the new US and Philippine establishment leadership also prepare the population to an insurrection against the oppressive order (as we see in Europe and smashing of Prince Charles� car window). One caveat was expressed, �When we strike against the oligarchy, it must be finished completely in one blow.� I can see it all happening, beginning 2011.

(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., replay 11 p.m., Global News Network, Destiny Cable Channel 8; visit our blogs, http://new-katipunero.blogspot.com and http://hermantiu-laurel.blogspot.com; P.S. � �10 Minutes Lights Out vs Power Plunderers,� 7 to 7:10 p.m., Monday nights)

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

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20101224com4.html

Lebanon’s disabled war veterans spread Christmas cheer focus 12/24/2010

Lebanon’s disabled war veterans spread Christmas cheer


BEIT SHABAB — Bechara was only 19 when, fighting for one of Lebanon’s many militias during the 1975-1990 civil war, he was wounded in battle as a bullet lodged itself in his spine.

Thirty-four years later, from his wheelchair, he is crafting Christmas gifts for children across his native Lebanon, a still-divided country that risks sliding back into chaos at any moment.

“My biggest hope is that Lebanon will no longer know war,” said the 53-year-old from his work station at the Lebanese Institute for the Disabled, where he paints mistletoes and pictures of Saint Nicholas onto tablecloths.

The institute, located in the charming mountain village of Beit Shabab some 24 kilometers (15 miles) east of Beirut, has given Bechara and dozens others the chance to rebuild their lives after the bloody 15-year civil war, which left more than 150,000 dead and thousands missing and maimed.

The war, which initially pitted leftist and Palestinian factions against rightwing Christians, quickly escalated into a free-for-all sectarian bloodbath..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20101224com5.html

Lighting up in style: The gentleman’s smoking room is back FEATURE 12/24/2010

Lighting up in style: The gentleman’s smoking room is back


PARIS � Sink back into a leather armchair and let the grey plumes curl up to the ceiling: Tobacco may be banned from bars and clubs across Western cities, but the gentleman�s smoking lounge is making a comeback.

Even as Spain prepares to ring in the New Year with a smoking ban in bars, renegade nightspots in Paris and Berlin are bucking the European trend, opening designer smoking rooms, complete with pianos, pool tables and cigar lockers.

Since the French capital outlawed smoking in bars and clubs three years ago, sending hordes of punters onto the sidewalk to smoke and chat, the city has seen a surge in lawsuits pitting clubs and bars against their sleepless neighbors.

So it�s hardly surprising that high-end Paris clubs are now spearheading the smoking lounge revival.
In the heart of the Latin Quarter on Paris� Left Bank, Castel � a private club founded in 1958 which has hosted the likes of Mick Jagger or Romy Schneider � just opened one as part of a top-to-bottom makeover..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20101224com6.html

Asia’s baby shortage sets demographic timebomb ticking focus 12/24/2010

Asia’s baby shortage sets demographic timebomb ticking


TOKYO — East Asia’s booming economies have for years been the envy of the world, but a shortfall in one crucial area — babies — threatens to render yesterday’s tigers toothless.
Some of the world’s lowest birth rates look set to slash labor forces in Singapore, South Korea and Taiwan, where fewer workers will support more retirees and their ballooning health care and pension costs.

Shuffling along in the vanguard of ageing Asia is Japan, whose population started slowly shrinking three years ago, and where almost a quarter of people are over 65 while children make up just 13 percent.

On current trends, Japan’s population of 127 million will by 2055 shrivel to 90 million, its level when it kicked off its post-war boom in 1955, warns the National Institute of Population and Social Security Research.

Asian population giant China may still be near its prime, with armies of young rural workers flocking to its factories. But, thanks to the 30-year-old one-child policy, its demographic timebomb is also ticking..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20101224com7.html

DoJ bans Garcia travel with HDO By Benjamin B. Pulta 12/24/2010

DoJ bans Garcia travel with HDO

By Benjamin B. Pulta 12/24/2010

Retired Maj. Gen. Carlos F. Garcia, at the center of the controversial plea bargain agreement that has been denounced by President Arroyo and his Justice Secretary who insists that the plea bargain is illegal, has been placed on Immigration’s Hold Departure Order (HDO) by the Department of Justice.

The reason behind the HDO, according to the Justice chief, Leila de Lima, is that Garcia is still facing a tax evasion case and cannot leave the country despite a decision by the Ombudsman to allow a plea bargain in the plunder case pending against him at the Sandiganbayan anti-graft court.

De Lima issued yesterday the HDO against the former Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) comptroller to prevent him from leaving the country, citing the pending tax evasion case at the DoJ..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20101224hed1.html

AFP chief orders Garcia plunder case review By Mario J. Mallari 12/24/2010

AFP chief orders Garcia plunder case review

By Mario J. Mallari 12/24/2010

The Philippine military is once again treading on political grounds, despite claims that it is now an “apolitical” and “professional” armed force, as its top chief joined in on the controversial plea bargain agreement forged between the Special Prosecutor and the former military comptroller who has been charged with plunder.

Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Chief of Staff Gen. Ricardo David Jr. said he is not in favor of the plea bargain agreement entered into by the government with former military comptroller retired Maj. Gen. Carlos Garcia, who was accused of amassing more than P300 million in unexplained wealth during his incumbency.

The plea bargain calls for lesser charges of direct bribery and money laundering, all of which are bailable offenses.

Garcia had already admitted guilt on these two lesser charges before the anti-graft court, after the agreement was forged.

During a chance interview, David stressed that the military wants the cases filed against Garcia to proceed in the courts..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20101224hed2.html

Court junks anew Ping review plea By Benjamin B. Pulta 12/24/2010

Court junks anew Ping review plea

By Benjamin B. Pulta 12/24/2010

A Manila court turned down another motion of fugitive Sen. Panfilo Lacson to compel the Department of Justice (DoJ) to reinvestigate the criminal charges filed against him in connection with the double-murder case involving publicist Salvador “Bubby” Dacer and his driver Emmanuel Corbito.

In an order dated Dec. 21, Manila Regional Trial Court Branch 18 acting presiding Judge Thelma Bunyi-Medina said Lacson’s lawyers failed to present new arguments or issues that would warrant a reversal of the court’s order last July 23 that initially junked the petition.

“After considering all the allegations and arguments contained in the said motions as well as the comments or opposition thereto by the prosecution and accused Cesar Mancao II, this Court finds no compelling reason to deviate from its previous findings in its said order,” the court ruled.

The Manila court also explained that any disposition on the part of the DoJ with regard to the reinvestigation will ultimately still be subject to the court’s appreciation..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20101224hed3.html

Reconsider ruling on truth body, Palace asks SC By Aytch S. de la Cruz 12/24/2010

Reconsider ruling on truth body, Palace asks SC

By Aytch S. de la Cruz 12/24/2010

President Aquino has decided to just file a motion for reconsideration (MR) after giving it much thought with all the options that his legal team was trying to feed him concerning the Supreme Court’s (SC) ruling that nullified his Executive Order 1 (EO1) which created the Philippine Truth Commission last Dec. 7.

In a press statement released by the office of Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa Jr. yesterday, Malacañang argued in its MR that the truth body does not violate the equal protection clause which was cited by the petitioners against EO1.

Filed by Solicitor General Anselmo Cadiz, the MR pointed out some reasons explaining why the EO 1 should not be rendered unconstitutional because “the language of executive order shows that there is no intent to unfairly discriminate against the previous administration.”

He insisted that “the Truth Commission does not single out specific individuals but refers to questionable trans-actions in the administration of former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo,” and that “there is no invidious classification of the of the transactions during the previous administration since
this is based on substantial distinctions that make for real differences.”.... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20101224hed4.html

Binay focuses priority to protect OFWs’ welfare, housing sector 12/24/2010

Binay focuses priority to protect OFWs’ welfare, housing sector

As “housing czar” and presidential adviser for OFW concerns, Vice President Jejomar Binay is seeking significant changes in the two fields next year.

“There is much work to be done in the coming years but we have already taken the important first step in reforming the housing sector and ensuring government assistance for our overseas Filipino workers,” Binay, in a statement, yesterday said.

Binay was designated presidential adviser for OFW concerns by President Aquino.

In November, the Vice President led government officials in bringing home 162 distressed OFWs from Lebanon, the first mass repatriation undertaken by the new administration.

He also directed the Philippine National Police (PNP) to intensify the drive against illegal recruitment, following the arrest of British citizens victimizing Filipinos..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20101224hed5.html

RP, Switzerland agree to exchange professional nurses 12/24/2010

RP, Switzerland agree to exchange professional nurses

The Philippines and Switzerland have agreed to draw a comprehensive plan for promoting and strengthening the full potential of the two countries’ agreement on the exchange of professional trainees, particularly health workers.

In a report to the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), the Philippine Embassy in Berne said the plan will give particular attention to prospective hospital employers of Filipino nurses, whose entry into Switzerland as professional trainees is covered by the existing Philippine-Swiss trainee exchange agreement.

“Upon the full implementation of the agreement, new windows of opportunity will be opened,” an embassy report said.

These include the expansion of the quota on the number of trainees and the increased flexibility in the categories of skills of trainees to be qualified under the agreement..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/nation/20101224nat3.html

CPP brands AFP’s ‘Bayanihan’ as patterned after US program 12/24/2010

CPP brands AFP’s ‘Bayanihan’ as patterned after US program

The Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) has branded the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP)’s internal peace and security plan (IPSP) “Bayanihan” as “the same dog with a different collar,” stressing the new plan is patterned after the United States militarist counterinsurgency guide.

In a statement, the CPP said that “Aquino’s Oplan Bayanihan is not at all new except in name and heavy cosmetizing,” comparing it to the previous Operation Plan Bantay Laya under the Arroyo administration which was blamed for various human rights violations.

“The ‘new’ plan hews to the fancy rhetoric of the latest edition of the US Counterinsurgency Guide. It contains the same, brutal, militarist doctrine and prescriptions of all previous US-designed co-in (counter-insurgency) plans. It pretends only to be different from Arroyo’s Oplan Bantay Laya by harping on new rhetoric that are neither grounded in practice nor in will,” said the CPP.

Last Tuesday, AFP Chief of Staff Gen. Ricardo David Jr. formally presented IPSP Bayanihan to the Commander in Chief President Aquino during the AFP’s 75th founding anniversary. Aquino gave his full support to the new counterinsurgency program..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/nation/20101224nat2.html

Magdalo supported defeated top candidates Villar, Roxas By Angie M. Rosales 12/24/2010

Magdalo supported defeated top candidates Villar, Roxas

By Angie M. Rosales 12/24/2010
Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV, who now consider himself a political ally of President Aquino, said it was a collective decision of his Magdalo group, not his, to back up during the last elections the candidacies of defeated candidates Senators Manuel Villar Jr. and Manuel Roxas II.

Villar, president of the Nacionalista Party (NP), ran for the presidency while Roxas, president of the Liberal Party (LP), was gunning for the vice presidency.

Sometime late February, Magdalo announced that Villar and Roxas have gotten their support, promising to deliver at least 250,000 votes.

“There were certain dynamics that the group observed before we arrived with that decision,” said Trillanes, explaining for the first time of the issue.

“In fact, I didn’t vote myself but I was bound by the decision of the group. And I made that decision on my own. That was as far as the campaign is concerned. The people have now spoken and we have to move on. We cannot go against the will of the people,” he said..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/nation/20101224nat5.html

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