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The Daily Tribune

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Deluded FRONTLINE Ninez Cacho-Olivares 01/31/2011

Monday, January 31, 2011


Ninez Cacho-Olivares
With more of his Yellow followers now realizing the big mistake they made in electing a know-nothing with even no track legislative record for the 11 years he had as a member of Congress, there went Noynoy again, claiming he is now under attack on several fronts — but for another invented reason: The attacks have come into play since he started his reforms in government.

That is really a laugh, considering that he has done nothing at all — even by way of reforms, which is why the country continues to be directionless and his administration appears to be almost in a state of paralysis.

This is the underlying reason for criticisms leveled against him, and the root of the disillusion felt by his many Yellow supporters.

What reforms is he talking about that he claims to have instituted? In the sphere of corruption in government, corruption has not stopped at all. The only difference between the previous administration and the current one as far as corruption goes, is that it is now the then Yellow opposition that is now in power and enjoying the corrupt life. Opulent Gloria was; Opulent Noynoy is, too..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20110131com2.html

Drug violence edges closer to Mexican capital FEATURE 01/31/2011

Drug violence edges closer to Mexican capital


MEXICO CITY — The deployment of soldiers on the outskirts of Mexico City this month has sparked concern that the country’s drug wars are creeping toward the sprawling capital.
Soldiers began nightly patrols on the streets of Nezahualcoyotl, a working class municipality of Mexico state, on Jan. 18, two days after a shootout in a residential area left eight youths dead.

The poor municipality, which lies barely 15 miles (20 kilometers) east of the capital’s historical center, has long been a port of entry for drug dealers to Mexico City.

Suspected battles between drug traffickers broke out there at the end of 2010.

Local police chief Victor Torres blamed the fighting on a split within La Familia drug gang, which is based in western Mexico, and suggested that the notoriously violent Zetas gang could also be involved..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20110131com3.html

Letters C.R.O.S.S.R.O.A.D.S Jonathan De la Cruz 01/31/2011


Jonathan De la Cruz
We have some letters. A certain Leonardo de los Reyes wrote us regarding the proposed abolition of the PCGG which he agreed was long overdue. He bewailed the theft, transfer of the ownership and hollowing out of sequestered assets in the hands of PCGG agents during the heady days of Edsa 1, which he noted could have been saved from ruin had the leadership then provided clearer guidelines and strictly monitored the preservation and turnover of these assets to the rightful owners as declared by the courts. He also asked that proper auditing of all these sequestered assets be done and the names of all those who served as PCGG officials and agents be published to establish their accountabilities, if any. Finally, he advised that instead of creating the Truth Commission, P-Noy simply should form a dedicated special unit within the Office of The President which can study and go over the records of “suspect” deals especially such high profile ones as the aborted NBN-ZTE, NAIA3/Piatco, North Rail/CNMEG, LTO/Stradcom, Peace Bonds and the MRT3 “Bonds Buy Out,” to name a few of the more controversial projects, and then proceed to go after the malcontents if warranted. We also received letters from Jose Sevilla on the goings-on at the Comelec, Joan Cruz on the peace process, Haydee Duran on Slex and the toll rate increase and Roland Villacrucis on the NFA, LTO and Customs. We will discuss some of their points in subsequent columns and pursue some of the leads they provided..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20110131com4.html

Just the tip of the iceberg DIE HARD III Herman Tiu Laurel 01/31/2011

Just the tip of the iceberg

Herman Tiu Laurel
As Maj. Gen. Carlos Garcia couldn’t have pulled off his larceny on the Armed Forces’ logistics command without authorization from above, so could these superiors of his (i.e. Angie Reyes, other chiefs-of-staff, including various Defense secretaries) also not have conducted these rackets over time without their higher ups ever condoning such acts.

For one, let’s ask who got Reyes to turn against the Constitution in Edsa II by shanghaiing a busload of generals to Gloria Arroyo’s illegal oathtaking, with him even sardonically exclaiming, “Gentlemen, we are committing treason.”

Knowing the answer is key because ever since that fateful day, Mrs. Arroyo has lavishly taken care of Reyes’ fortunes; likewise that of the “cheap” magistrate who administered her oath; and, of course, the vast riches of that noted oligarch slash Edsa pavement dancer who financed her coup — whose ilk Gloria’s economic adviser Joey Salceda claimed nine years later to have “…never had it so good, earning P10 trillion in 10 years” under their Queen’s inglorious reign.

Going by the P300-million loot Garcia had amassed, the former military comptroller may look like a big or middling fish. But once people get to see how much more his bosses may have plundered, he will certainly look like a small fry.

A small fry indeed Garcia is compared to, say, his erstwhile boss, Angie Reyes, who could have amassed P500 million to well over a billion (or even more), and that former Chief Justice, who was alleged to have benefited from the P3-billion Judiciary Development Fund, a scandal circa 2002-2003 that set off impeachment proceedings against him, which Gloria expectedly quashed.

A small fry, too, is what Garcia appears to be especially when placed alongside members of the then expanding Arroyo cabal, whose power addiction grew simultaneous with their own designs to stay in power, such that subsequent elections had to be rigged in order to net the players hefty kickbacks in, say, the ZTE-NBN scandal or even the transitional ruse that was the fraudulent P11.8-billion Smartmatic system.
But then, these billions are definitely miniscule compared to the ten thousand billions of pesos (read: P10 trillion) that the handful of Big Business oligarchs got, starting from the P5-million to P10-million payola-laden passage of the Electric Power Industry Reform Act (Epira) by the Edsa II lameduck Congress under Sonny Belmonte, which ushered in a decade of power plunder that, up to this day, is the single biggest economic disaster for Filipino households and livelihoods.

Why, Epira was just a harbinger of all the predatory public utility rate increases that followed. In the years after Edsa II, the oligarchs were always on a roll — be it water, toll ways, or even port and harbor service fees! Good thing that a handful of consumer advocates, like the 89-year-old Mang Naro Lualhati, who won us our first P30-billion Meralco refund, are still around. This Feb. 7, he will be presenting in court Meralco’s P92-billion disallowances and P39-billion overcharges.

If and when the likes of Garcia and Reyes are put away in jail, does anyone believe Philippine society will be cleaned up? Their acts of corruption are but shovels of garbage from the Payatas pit of official corruption.
Who were the collaborators of Arroyo and Reyes all through the last decade in the Senate, Congress, media, religious and business sectors, as well as NGOs?

Ask Roilo Golez who, as National Security Adviser, defended Arroyo to the hilt during the Oakwood protests and investigations and called my radio program on dzXL to stop my reading of the Trillanes manifesto on July 27, 2003 and got me kicked out of the station a week later.

Ask Sen. Rodolfo Biazon to enlighten us as to why a group of retired generals reject him as being part of the so-called “righteous generals” of our soldiery. Ask Sen. Miguel Zubiri, too, who has been vocal on the Garcia issue. Let’s see if he can explain how he won his Senate seat.

Oops, I almost forgot, what about Etta Rosales and the funds she got from Gloria to jumpstart her party-lists and her comrades’ congressional careers?

If anyone thinks Garcia and Reyes’ alleged loots are scandalously huge, they should ask Sonny Belmonte where the former QC mayor’s annual P1-billion pork barrel went to in the past 10 years, and why his councilors’ counterpart pork barrel had grown from P40 million to P50 million a year, amid the worsening squalor of Quezon City’s poor.

What about the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas and its officials, who are collaborating in a great financial larceny by keeping the P1.22-trillion Special Deposit Account idle while borrowing heavily year in-year out, adding up to the country’s mounting murderous debt to the global banking mafia?

What about the Bureau of Internal Revenue’s top officials, who implement debilitating taxes on small and medium scale businesses, as well as the onerous VAT on hapless Filipino consumers, knowing that an awfully huge chunk of these go off to feed the insatiable sharks of international Finance?

Garcia is a small fry; Reyes is but a middling shark. And while we should never take our eyes off them, we must all know that the megalodons (or prehistoric, dinosaur-like sharks) are swimming below in the coldest, darkest depths of our predatory sea.

(Tune in to Sulo ng Pilipino, Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, 6 to 7 p.m. on 1098AM; TNT with HTL, Tuesday, 8 to 9 p.m., with replay at 11 p.m., on GNN, Destiny Cable Channel 8, about “Crime and Corruption in Philippine Society” with PMJ’s Tito Guingona and Atty. Oliver Lozano; 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/20110131com5.html

Terror or destab HE SAYS Aldrin Cardon 01/31/2011

Terror or destab

Aldrin Cardon
My source has never been in the forefront of things, but had always been a background player in government. He’s been there, first during the time of Cory, and on a limited capacity, with the present Aquino in Malacañang.

He knows how contending forces operate, being an experienced operator himself during the dark years of martial law, when he had to face players from the entire political spectrum for tactical alliances, or with their main foes themselves during those times when they were severely defeated.

Months before the Edsa bus bombing, my source told this writer in passing that there could be destabilization attempts this year. He revealed from which source these destabilization actions would come from, and their purpose.

Knowing his background, I did not brush off his claims as fatuous. I know where he is coming from, and why he thought Metro Manila would become a dangerous place to live in when that moment comes..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20110131com6.html

Shaken and stirred SHE SAYS Dinah S. Ventura 01/31/2011

Shaken and stirred

Dinah S. Ventura
Last week, explosions — literally and figuratively — shook us into either a panicky or philosophical state. The loss of lives last Jan. 25 in Makati outraged all of us and made us wonder who would be heartless and cruel enough to commit such a crime.

Who would put a bomb in a bus and walk away knowing it would kill and affect so many lives — those who are working hard to support their families, and took that bus not knowing they would never see their loved ones again?

We are no longer strangers to such senseless acts. Terrorism became a worldwide scourge since 911, and with reports saying that the Abu Sayyaf allegedly had a hand in the Makati bus bombing, we are once again confronted with the stark reality that there are those who walk among us with evil in their minds. With the deaths of those unfortunate five Filipinos, we wonder once more what these rebels are truly fighting for.

If it was intended to destabilize the current administration, it certainly did not get any sympathy from anybody, least of all the millions who are fighting to survive the times..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20110131com7.html

Rabusa testimony enough to pin down Reyes — Miriam By Angie M. Rosales 01/31/2011

Rabusa testimony enough to pin down Reyes — Miriam

By Angie M. Rosales 01/31/2011

The revelations in the Senate of retired Col. George Rabusa, a former AFP budget officer, is enough to pin down former Defense Secretary and Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) chief of staff Angelo Reyes for raiding military funds, Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago said yesterday.

A former regional trial court (RTC) judge turned lawmaker, Santiago noted the weight of the testimony of Rabusa as an eyewitness, saying such can stand alone in court even without any corroboration from another witness.

Former AFP comptroller Maj. Gen. Carlos Garcia, likewise, appeared to be on the same boat with another equally tough witness in the person of a Commission on Audit (CoA) auditor Heidi Mendoza who the senator described as an expert witness.

“Reyes, he’s dead meat. His goose is cooked. He’s a dead man walking because we have an eyewitness,” Santiago said in a radio interview..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20110131hed1.html

No easy peace deal with gov’t — MILF 01/31/2011

No easy peace deal with gov’t — MILF

Separatist Muslim rebels yesterday admitted peace negotiations with the Aquino administration will not be an easy and smooth-sailing process as it faces constant struggle across the negotiating table with representatives of the government.

During continuing consultations within the secessionist ranks, Moro Islamic Liberation Front peace panel chairman Mohagher Iqbal instead urged the group’s military and political leaders to maintain
objectivity in the peace process with the government.

“Don’t be too optimistic,” warned Iqbal during a talk before more than 800 participants from Marawi City, Lanao del Sur and Lanao del Norte, who arrived last January 28 in a convoy of more than 100 vehicles of various sizes.

The MILF and government ceasefire committees, along with the Malaysian-led International Monitoring Team (IMT), agreed, arranged and led the travel of these delegates from Butig, Lanao del Sur to Darapanan, Sultan Kudarat, Maguindanao, the venue of the consultation..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20110131hed2.html

No abolition, PCGG execs bid for broader powers By Jason Faustino 01/31/2011

No abolition, PCGG execs bid for broader powers

By Jason Faustino 01/31/2011

Presidential Commission on Good Government (PCGG) officials sought the creation of a new agency to focus on corruption prevention and recovery of properties stolen by way of corrupt activities that would in effect extend the life of the PCGG and broaden its powers.

The PCGG is marking its 25th anniversary on February 28 this year and public clamor for its termination had snowballed after failing through most of the years of its existence to win a case .

Responding to these clamors, PCGG chairman Andres Bautista wrote to President Aquino late last year proposing to wind up the efforts to recover the Marcos wealth and transfer all cases to the Department of Justice and all PCGG-managed assets to the Privatization Management Office (PMO) of the Department of Finance.

In the same letter, Bautista recommended the creation of a good governance institution that will conduct research and mainstream best practices on good governance in place of the PCGG..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20110131hed3.html

RP activates crisis team in Egypt By Michaela P. del Callar 01/31/2011

RP activates crisis team in Egypt

By Michaela P. del Callar 01/31/2011

The Philippine government has activated its crisis management office to closely monitor the ongoing tension in Egypt while a Filipino migrant workers group urged the Aquino administration to seriously consider evacuating the more than 6,000 Filipinos in the Middle East state to ensure their safety.

The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) has also allocated a P25-million standby emergency fund for Egypt should the security situation there deteriorates and there is a need to evacuate Filipinos to safer places.

Crisis management officials will be on 24-hour duty to provide guidance to the Philippine Embassy in Cairo and assistance to Filipinos who have relatives in Egypt.

Manila is also sending Special Assistant Enrico Fos of the Department of Foreign Affairs-Office of the Undersecretary for Migrant Workers’ Affairs to Egypt on Monday to assist the embassy in the implementation of contingency measures for the Filipino community..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20110131hed4.html

Thousands of prisoners escape in Egypt; death toll rises to 102 01/31/2011

Thousands of prisoners escape in Egypt; death toll rises to 102

CAIRO — Thousands of prisoners have escaped from detention facilities across Egypt as anti-regime riots raged into a sixth straight day with some soldiers joining the protests that have claimed at least 102 lives.

Several thousand inmates during the night overwhelmed guards at Wadi Natrun prison north of Cairo — which holds many Islamist political prisoners — and spilled out into nearby towns and villages, a security official said.

The official told Agence France Presse that eight prisoners were killed during rioting at the Abu Zaabal prison east of Cairo.

Dozens held at a facility in Fayum, south of Cairo, escaped on Saturday evening in clashes that left one policeman dead..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20110131hed5.html

Piatco offers 90-10 deal with gov’t on T3 By Conrado Ching 01/31/2011

Piatco offers 90-10 deal with gov’t on T3

By Conrado Ching 01/31/2011

Philippine International Air Terminals Co Inc. (Piatco), the consortium that built the expropriated Terminal 3 of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 3 (T3) put forward yesterday a compromise deal in which it will operate the airport together with the government through a joint venture to settle a long dispute over the ownership of the project.

The scheme, which Piatco called a Joint Venture Agreement-Gross Revenue Sharing Scheme, offers a 90 percent to 10 percent sharing agreement in favor of Piatco that will allow the government to operate the new terminal with the cost of improvements being shouldered by Piatco and a strategic investor that it will invite into the project.

Piatco did not say whether the foreign partner it is targeting will remain Germany’s Fraport AG which is claiming some P18 billion in compensation from the government over the expropriated project. The government, during the term of former President Arroyo, managed to pay only P2.5 billion of Fraport’s total claims.

Piatco president Jennifer Bote said the proposal will allow the government to prevent any cash disbursement to allow the full operation of T3 in which the payment of the government to Piatco shall be derived from daily revenues from the commercial operation of the terminal for a specific period..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20110131hed6.html

Makati police to file charges vs Eton owner, contractors By Pat C. Santos 01/31/2011

Makati police to file charges vs Eton owner, contractors

By Pat C. Santos 01/31/2011

The Department of Labor and Employment (DoLE) is eyeing possible violation on Eton subcontractors as they will be charged of negligence by the Makati police.

Five inspectors from DoLE conducted an inside and outside inspections of the ongoing construction of the building to find out what are those that were violated by the contractors of the 39 floor building said to be owned by Lucio Tan Group of Companies.

Aside from possible violation on safety measures by the contractors, the DoLE also is looking on the possibility of its CE Construction, Arlo Aluminum Corp., and its sub-contractor EMP Pinion Corp. and the owner of the building Eton Towers in relation to compliance with just compensation and some benefits from its workers.

The contractors were given a few days to submit to DoLE office the copies of contract of services in order to determine if they are following the law which gives protection to workers on the right pay scale not only on the aspect of safety on their lives but also the benefits that they must rightfully recieve..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/nation/20110131nat1.html

Detained NPA exec asks gov’t to join peace talks in Norway 01/31/2011

Detained NPA exec asks gov’t to join peace talks in Norway

TUGUEGARAO CITY — The alleged former spokesman of the communist New People’s Army (NPA) in Cagayan Valley has expressed desire to be released from detention to join the rebel peace panel in Oslo, Norway.

Randy Malayao, now facing criminal charges in Isabela province, sought the help of former Justice Secretary Silvestre Bello III, onetime head of the government peace panel. In turn, Bello called on Malayao last Friday advising him to get a safe conduct pass as National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) consultant.

However, authorities here doubted whether Malayao can be granted a safe conduct pass to Oslo as an NDFP consultant since the names of both consultants were submitted earlier.

The military tagged Malayao as Salvador del Pueblo, former rebel spokesman in Cagayan Valley, who has been in detention since 2008 when he was arrested by a joint military-police contingent in Rizal province..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/nation/20110131nat4.html

Playing up the playboy bachelor image EDITORIAL 01/30/2011

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Playing up the playboy bachelor image

Click to enlarge
It’s all media to blame. The so-called straight path of Noynoy is taking extreme twists and turns pointing to an administration that is very similar to the corrupt regime of Gloria Arroyo. And like Gloria, Noynoy is blaming no one else for all the adverse issues cropping up against him but who else, if not the usual Palace foe, the critical media.

Recall that sometime back, there went Gloria, lecturing to media just how they should treat a story.

Recall too, that Noynoy very recently — after the bus bomb blast in Edsa-Makati — lectured media, saying that criminal incidents have gone down under his regime, but the media have been portraying the country as though it was wracked with criminality and terrorism.

And not to forget. He even told media that they should not highlight such breakdown of peace and order, as this would scare away the investors he wants to woo..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20110130com1.html

Military probing itself? FRONTLINE Ninez Cacho-Olivares 01/30/2011

Military probing itself?

Ninez Cacho-Olivares
With the big scandal of a P500-million slush fund and arrival and departure cash gifts in the tens of millions for a military chief of staff, there went the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) leadership, saying that a probe into this practice of payola will be investigated, claiming that under the new President and Commander in Chief, this is not happening today.
Not happening, my eye! This practice has been ongoing for decades, with everyone taking a bite out of the “slush fund” which is getting bigger and bigger yearly, just as the military budget gets bigger and bigger every year.

The AFP under the Noynoy Aquino regime is certainly not going to come clean with the public and admitting that the payola practice and “tradition” continues to this day.

But the military leadership claims the finance section of the AFP has been broken up and reorganized and that it will still conduct a probe, because as claimed, the military is now a “transparent” and “honest” AFP.
That’s a laugh and if anybody believes that line, he must still believe in fairly tales..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20110130com2.html

EU’s Baltic states oppose Belarus embargo focus 01/30/2011

EU’s Baltic states oppose Belarus embargo


RIGA — Moves to ban senior Belarussian officials from the EU over a crackdown on the opposition have the backing of the bloc’s ex-Soviet Baltic states, but they oppose calls for economic sanctions.

The 27-nation European Union is set Monday to slap a visa ban on high-ranking Belarussian officials held responsible for mass arrests after the ex-Soviet republic’s Dec. 19 presidential election.

“We support imposing visa restrictions for those responsible for violating the democratic process,” Latvian Foreign Minister Girts Valdis Kristovskis told AFP.

“At the same time, we must think how to promote democracy in Belarus,” he said. “We don’t support economic sanctions because they affect many ordinary people, and haven’t worked before.”
Western observers faulted the poll, which gave victory to strongman Alexander Lukashenko who has ruled Belarus since 1994..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20110130com3.html

Flawed SC ruling on Vizconde case BLURBAL THRUSTS Louie Logarta 01/30/2011

Flawed SC ruling on Vizconde case

Louie Logarta
For practical considerations, Manila City Hall officials are elated that the multi-billion North Harbor modernization project to be undertaken jointly by San Miguel Corp. (SMC) and the Harbour Centre group is finally going to get off the ground.

Mayor Alfredo Lim said he cannot but feel glad for thousands upon thousands of residents who stand to benefit most from the estimated P20 billion which the proponents are going to be investing to make the port project a going concern in terms of employment benefits; not to mention the various downstream businesses that are expected to sprout about in the Tondo area, long considered one of the most depressed in the country, where the North Harbor is located.

More importantly, he said the city expects to generate easily in the vicinity of P1 billion in the form of real estate as well as income taxes from a redeveloped North Harbor which the SMC-Harbour intends to transform into a world-class industrial hub in the mold of similar models in Kaohshiung, Taiwan and Laemchabang, Thailand complete with state-of-the-art pier facilities, cargo warehouses, gantry cranes and other capital equipment, passenger terminals all of which are designed to promote the country’s economy..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20110130com4.html

‘General Appropriations Act’ TABLETS OF STONE Larry Faraon, OP 01/30/2011

‘General Appropriations Act’

Larry Faraon, OP
...Or the act of appro-priating public funds to the generals!

Of course, we can provide answers to explain why such corruption of the highly placed among the generals epitomized by the retired generals now scorching their assess at the Senate hot seats. Indeed, since the time of the late Ferdinand Marcos who bankrolled the military, especially the helm masters, for his martial law mechanics, dynamics and logistics, a culture of “awakening the sleeping giants” has crept into the sacred grounds of camps where the military has become fully aware of the maximum use of their position, precision and power in perpetuating civilian power but not without favors, either during their incumbency or after, from their handlers or manipulators.

Any sitting president for that matter has to woo and coo the defense establishment to secure his position at least for the duration of his term or at least ensure that no military adventurism such as a “coup d’etat” or a military putsch would push through in case of a general dissatisfaction among the people. The Cory government knew too well the role of the military in the political governance and leaned on Gen. Fidel Ramos to offset the lingering ambitions of Col. Gringo Honasan and company by appointing him as Chief of Staff and later endorsing him as the next president of the Republic. Being a military man himself, Ramos kept at bay any adventurism. However, failing to “Cha-cha” his way into a term extension, he connived imperatively in ousting illegally a duty elected sitting president in 2001..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20110130com5.html

Clarification LETTER 01/30/2011



Dear Editor:
This concerns the newspaper column Crossroads of Jonathan de la Cruz entitled “Questionable Appointments” published in the Daily Tribune on Monday, Jan. 24, 2011.

In his article, Mr. De la Cruz centered on the appointments made by H.E. President Benigno Aquino of key government personnel with supposed “questionable records.” He then proceeded to make,both false and malicious innuendos linking me to certain irregular and immoral activities. I do not wish to gratify the baseless accusations against me but nevertheless, to set the record straight and for the sake of transparency, please allow me this reply.

Firstly, I am not aware of being particularly “charged,” either civilly, criminally or administratively of any offense relating to being an “overstaying and autocratic” Chairman of the Board of Mechanical- Engineering, for “illegal collection of fees,” for “irregular and arbitrary implementation of laws,” for “favoritism,” for “whispers of sexual indiscretion,” and for “conflict of interest.” Please note that Mr. De La Cruz, to his credit, qualified the statement by pointing out that that I was merely “reportedly charged” of the above enumerated offenses..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20110130com6.html

‘Boys and Toys’ VIEWPOINTS Archbishop Oscar V. Cruz 01/30/2011

‘Boys and Toys’

Archbishop Oscar V. Cruz
By way of a foreword, let it be expressly said from the very start that the matter herein thought of, the concern hereby taken up, is general in content and common in intent.

While it may readily arouse certain assumptions and easily lead to some conclusions, the subject matter of “Boys and Toys” has reference to but on the ground reality without the need of psychological profundities nor expert interventions. In substances, it merely says that toys are for boys in the same way that boys need and want toys. It is that plain. It is that simple.

Hence: it is great to be a boy. It is challenging to be a young man. It is defining to be an adult. What is disastrous is being an adult yet thinking like a boy. Thus it is that toys are meant for boys, not for adults. This is why it is not merely unbecoming but also demeaning when adults behave like boys and thereby get toys. This has special relevance the moment “boy-adults” hold tenure of influential officers, have authority and power — in a family, in a community, in a country. Their victims are always the same, viz., their subordinates, their followers, their dependents..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20110130com7.html

Reyes, Cimatu, Villanueva up for grilling over ‘pabaon’ By Gina Peralta-Elorde 01/30/2011


Reyes, Cimatu, Villanueva up for grilling over ‘pabaon’

By Gina Peralta-Elorde 01/30/2011

At least three former chiefs of staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) — Angelo Reyes, Roy Cimatu and Diomedio Villanueva — are being lined up for “grilling” at the Department of National Defense (DND) in its scheduled inquiries following the revelations of a former finance military officer on the alleged “pabaon” or send-off gift of as much as P50 million in lump sum to a retiring head of the AFP.

AFP spokesman Brig. Gen. Jose Mabanta Jr. said the practice stopped with the abolition of the office of the AFP deputy chief of staff for comptrollership (J6) in 2004. It was abolished following the controversy involving former military comptroller Maj. Gen. Carlos Garcia who was charged with plunder before the anti-graft court after he was accused of amassing more than P300 million in ill-gotten wealth from his post as military comptroller.

Last Thursday before a Senate hearing, retired Col. George Rabusa, a former military budget officer, pointed to Reyes as having received P50 million as a send-off gift when he retired as AFP chief of staff.
Mabanta appealed to the public to give former AFP leaderships the benefit of the doubt before making sweeping accusations against them.

Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin created last Friday a special DND committee to investigate allegations of corrupt practices within the AFP..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20110130hed1.html

Aquino’s critics grow; protest rallies set 01/30/2011

Aquino’s critics grow; protest rallies set

The rank of the disillusioned with President Aquino keeps growing and now includes supporters of his mother, former President Corazon Aquino, who indicated plans to start holding protest actions mainly as a result of the rising cases of criminality in the country.

The group, some associated with the Council for Philippine Affairs (Copa) led by Pastor “Boy” Saycon, openly expressed to the Palace its intention to organize an anti-Aquino administration movement and added their voice to those warning that Aquino won’t be able to finish his six-year term should he fail to address all the security issues facing his administration.

The Palace said the group is free to express its anti-Aquino views.

“We are always open to them. If they have any concerns, they could have easily approached us. But, again, this is a free country. They have the right to express whatever grievances they have. But we can very well assure them that we are doing everything that we could. In fact, if they are less myopic, they will see that there is development going on,” said presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda at a post-briefing interview when asked of Malacañang’s thoughts about this latest set of Aquino’s detractors..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20110130hed2.html

Use gov’t car, avoid flak, solon tells Noy By Charlie V. Manalo 01/30/2011

Use gov’t car, avoid flak, solon tells Noy

By Charlie V. Manalo 01/30/2011
Consider using an official car, this was the advice given by a legislator to President Aquino after the string of controversies he had faced in being seen periodically riding a luxury vehicle.

To get rid of the intrigues involving his use of luxury cars, Deputy Speaker Cavite Rep. Juan Crispin Remulla said President Aquino should content himself with an official car for his use.

“The Office of the President has the funds to procure an official car for the President. It is a privilege and right enjoyed by the sitting President, to have an official vehicle for his own use that can also guarantee his safety,” Remulla told the Tribune in a telephone interview.

Remulla said by getting his own official car, Aquino can do away with the intrigues peddled by his critics he (Aquino) is insensitive to the plight of the people due to the country’s worsening economic, political and peace and order problems as he has indulged himself in luxury sports car..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20110130hed3.html

Senate probe of POEA’s ‘role’ in human trafficking slated 01/30/2011

Senate probe of POEA’s ‘role’ in human trafficking slated

The alleged anomalies and collusion of some officials and employees of the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) with syndicates engaged in human trafficking, in the guise of recruitment of migrant Filipino workers, are set to be unveiled in the Senate anytime soon following a move to conduct an investigation by the blue ribbon committee.

Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV initiated the filing of Resolution 329 in the light of complaints lodged with the Department of Justice pointing to the alleged connivance between POEA officials and three recruitment agencies that led to the exploitation of around 100 overseas Filipino workers (OFWs).

It was found out that the licenses of these recruiters had expired and yet were not sanctioned by the POEA, the senator noted.

“Concerns have been raised by various stakeholders regarding allegations that certain officials and employees of the POEA are themselves involved in human trafficking and violations of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act,” Trillanes said..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20110130hed4.html

DND backs mandatory SIM registration 01/30/2011

DND backs mandatory SIM registration

The Department of National Defense (DND) is supporting calls for mandatory registration of pre-paid SIM (subscriber identification module) cards as part of the government’s long-term anti-criminality efforts following a series of high-profile crime incidents in Metro Manila within this month.

DND spokesman Eduardo Batac voiced the department’s support to the proposal made by Sen. Vicente Sotto III following increase in prank calls about bomb threats, particularly in Makati City.

“All SIM cards should be registered so that at least when there are these prank calls we would know (where they are comingfrom), or even when undertaking criminal acts like for example kidnapping,” Batac said..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20110130hed5.html

The economics of Comval ‘plantas’ where gold is sold 01/30/2011

The economics of Comval ‘plantas’ where gold is sold

NABUNTURAN, Compostela Valley — Located near Purok Reserba, Barangay Mainit, Nabunturan and delineated by the Manat River, the mineral processing zone seems to have its covert and lively presence having some 30 plantas of varying production tonnages.

Plantas are actually the carbon-in-pulp cynidation plants, locally fabricated plants that were endogenously cocooned out and made effective during the over two decades of small scale mining development in Compostela Valley Province.

Found mostly in Barangay Mainit mineral processing zone are 15-ton and 20-ton plantas. There are only few 25-ton, 30-ton and 40-ton plantas.

Each planta has its set of crushers or ballmills which would mill and pulverize into sands the half bags of raw gold ores, the locals called as “puyong”, from tunnels somewhere, before the sands are poured down to the plantas for carbon-in-pulp cyanidation processing..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/nation/20110130nat5.html

Cities of Cebu, Mandaue placed under state of calamity By Gina Peralta- Elorde 01/30/2011


Cities of Cebu, Mandaue placed under state of calamity

By Gina Peralta- Elorde 01/30/2011

The National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) yesterday confirmed that cities of Cebu and Mandaue were placed under a state of calamity following heavy rains triggering flash floods for some days now.

The cities councils reportedly approved separate resolutions to declare a state of calamity by allowing the two cities to get calamity funds.

Last Tuesday, Cebu and Mandaue experienced flash floods due to heavy rains.

Meanwhile, the NDRRMC also said yesterday that a resident of Surigao del Norte was reported missing while at least 225 families were evacuated to safer grounds due to floods in that area.

The missing person was Amado Basadre, 40, of Honrado village in San Francisco town. He was about to cross a river but was swept away due to the strong current..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/nation/20110130nat1.html

Soldiers Offer Inconsistent Testimonies During CHR Hearing on Botanist’s Killing

Soldiers Offer Inconsistent Testimonies During CHR Hearing on Botanist’s Killing

 During the first public hearings into the deaths of Leonard Co and company conducted by the Commission on Human Rights, soldiers admitted that fired their weapons at the direction of the three victims but at the same time denied having killed them.

MANILA — The Philippine military was hard pressed this week to explain the inconsistencies in the testimony and statements of soldiers regarding the supposed encounter with communist guerrillas on Nov. 15 in Kananga, Leyte, where noted botanist Leonard Co and two other companies were killed.

Agham’s Dr. Giovanni Tapang, together with Renato Reyes Jr. of Bayan, witnessed the inconsistencies in the testimony of soldiers regarding the supposed encounter with the NPA and the circumstances behind the killing of the Kananga 3. (Photo courtesy of Philippine Native Plants Conservation Society, Inc. / bulatlat.com)
During the first public hearings into the deaths of Co and company conducted by the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) in Tacloban on Jan. 26 and 27, soldiers admitted that they fired their weapons at the direction of the three victims but at the same time denied having killed them.

Co, a renowned botanist and his companions, Julius Borromeo and Sofronio Cortez, were shot dead while conducting research inside the Energy Development Corporation (EDC) complex in Kananga, Leyte, on Nov. 15, 2010.

Based on information made public by Renato Reyes, secretary-general of Bayan, and Giovanni Tapang of Agham, who were at the public hearings held at the Leyte Park Hotel in Tacloban City, 11 soldiers belonging to the 19th Infantry Battalion came to testify. Lt. Col. Federico Tutaan said they only knew of the presence of the civilians at the EDC complex at around 10:30 a.m., 30 minutes before the three victims were killed.

All the soldiers were consistent in saying that they saw “three men in black who seemed to be observing something.” 1st Lt. Ronald Odchimar, the platoon leader, said he saw three to 10 armed men in the area..... MORE


URL: http://bulatlat.com/main/2011/01/28/soldiers-offer-inconsistent-testimonies-during-chr-hearing-on-botanist%E2%80%99s-killing/

Deadly Eton Accident Opens Can of Worms About Abuse of Construction Workers

Deadly Eton Accident Opens Can of Worms About Abuse of Construction Workers

 The 10 who fell to their death at Lucio Tan’s construction site were contractual workers. Subcontracting and labor-only contracting are a common practice in the construction industry, where workers are thoroughly exploited.


Related Story: Work Safety Group Urges Probe of Lucio Tan Firm for Death of 10 Workers
MANILA – The death yesterday of the 10 construction workers at the construction site of Eton Residences in Makati City could be regarded by some as a “freak accident” but is actually the result of the gross neglect of labor standards and workers’ rights, both by the employers and the Department of Labor and Employment (Dole).

An artist rendering of the Eton Residences in Makati, where the fatal accident took place.
The victims — Joel Abezilla, Celso Mabuting, Michael Tatlonghari, Kevin Mabunga, Borz Cristobal, Tisoy Perez, Vicente Piñion, William Bañez, Jaykie Legarda and Diocado Jeffrey — were all project-based employees of Arlo Aluminum and Glass Inc., the subcontractor of Eton Properties, the real estate arm of the Lucio Tan Group of Companies. The only surviving victim, Rowel Perez, is still fighting for his life at the Ospital ng Makati.

 The workers were installing glass windows on the 32nd floor when the gondola or construction elevator they were on gave way and sent them crashing to the seventh floor. Each of them was paid P260 a day to work at the dangerous construction site.
Underpaid, No Benefits

The work-related accident opened a can of worms about the operations of Eton Properties, one of the biggest real-estate developers in the country. It also reminded the public as well as authorities about the institutionalized violation of workers’ rights, labor standards and occupational health and safety regulations in the construction industry, considered by the International Labor Organization (ILO) as one of the most hazardous workplaces.

The P260 daily wage received by the construction workers at Eton is way below the government mandated P402 daily minimum wage in the National Capital Region. This doesn’t come as a surprise since construction workers at Eton are hired through a subcontractor, CE Construction Corp..... MORE


URL: http://bulatlat.com/main/2011/01/28/deadly-eton-accident-highlights-neglect-of-labor-standards-and-workers-rights-in-philippines/

Philippine Agencies, State Schools That Promote GMOs Are Violating the Law — Casiño

Philippine Agencies, State Schools That Promote GMOs Are Violating the Law — Casiño

Bayan Muna Rep. Teddy Casiño said agriculture agencies and government-ran agricultural schools are mandated by the law to promote organic farming. So why are they promoting genetically modified crops like Bt eggplant?

MANILA – Government agencies and institutions that are supposed to promote organic agriculture in the Philippines are violating the law because these, too, are proponents of genetically modified organisms (GMOs), Bayan Muna Rep. Teddy Casiño said this week.

Casiño said Congress should investigate the involvement of these agencies and institutions in promoting GMOs, which critics deem harmful to humans and the environment.

“Congress, through its Committee on Agriculture and Food, has to look into the cases of testing and releasing genetically modified organism (GMO) crops into the Philippine environment,” Casiño said.

He expressed incredulity that the proponents of Bt eggplant in the Philippines, particularly the Department of Agriculture, the Bureau of Plant Industry and the University of the Philippines Los Baños (UPLB) and other state colleges and universities, are the same entities tasked to spearhead organic agriculture in the Philippines.

Bt eggplants. (Photo from whybiotech.com)
“Field tests on Bt eggplant runs counter to organic agriculture law and the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety, a protocol to which we are a signatory,” Casiño said. “By allowing the field tests and even by merely planning to sell Bt eggplant in the market, these agencies are breaking the law and, much worse, they are putting public health at risk.”

Among the schools that participated in recent field tests of Bt eggplant is the University of the Philippines- Mindanao, which was forced to uproot and destroy the crops after the local government issued a cease and desist order in December..... MORE


URL: http://bulatlat.com/main/2011/01/27/philippine-agencies-agri-schools-that-promote-gmos-are-violating-the-law-casino/

Mendiola Massacre Survivors Recall the Horror (Video)

Mendiola Massacre Survivors Recall the Horror (Video)

24 Years Since Mendiola Massacre, Victims Still Clamor for Justice from Bulatlat on Vimeo.


Survivors of the Mendiola Massacre talk about that day, when bullets fell from the sky like rain, as one of them put it. Along with farmers and peasants, they remain indignant at the injustice that continues 24 years later. (Interview by Ina Alleco R. Silvero, video by Jo A. Santos, edited by Ayi S. Muallam).... MORE


URL: http://bulatlat.com/main/2011/01/26/mendiola-massacre-survivors-recall-the-horror-video/

Join the AFP, be a multi-millionaire EDITORIAL Click to enlarge 01/29/2011

Join the AFP, be a multi-millionaire

Click to enlarge
Now it really is out: Military chiefs not only get millions as “welcome” gifts then millions more in send-off gifts, but also close to P500 million, or half a billion yearly — at their disposal and all taken from taxpayers’ money which has never been intended to be pocketed by the military brass.

It was divulged during the Senate hearing yesterday that Angie Reyes, while he was chief of staff, got a welcome gift of P10 million, along with a P50 million pabaon, plus of course the P500 million yearly, plus definitely a lot more. And it is not just the military honcho who makes millions. Down the line of military officers, millions more are pocketed.

Recall that Reyes’ wife and the wife of his then comptroller, Jacinto Ligot, always took trips abroad together, no doubt to stash the cash — which has already been converted to dollars.

Think of all those bloated military contracts in the billions. There is always more money to be made..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20110129com1.html

Same treatment please FRONTLINE Ninez Cacho-Olivares 01/29/2011

Same treatment please

Ninez Cacho-Olivares
There should be enough prima facie evidence of plunder against Angie Reyes and all the other chiefs of staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), before and after him. But will the Ombudsman, once the Senate, or some such other government office, say even Malacañang, through its Department of Justice (DoJ), file the right complaint against them?

It should be easy enough for Noynoy and his allies in the Senate, along with his DoJ to file plunder charges against Angie and all the others who came before and after him — who served under the Gloria Arroyo regime, as individuals who are identified with Gloria are automatically seen as the Aquino regime’s political foes.

Yet even the Noynoy appointees in the top military hierarchy and his new allied appointees installed in his executive department should also be investigated for the same reason, because that which is alleged to have been done during their time, whether in the military or the police, or even in other executive departments, are said to still being done today. After all, such plunderous practices are, as retired military officer George Rabusa said, part of “tradition.”

It is also easy for a new administration, along with its political allies, to quickly charge those who are seen as their political foes, but they hardly ever — if at all — move to probe one of their own, despite their awareness of that which is happening inside government offices..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20110129com2.html

Egypt protests pose US dilemma focus 01/29/2011

Egypt protests pose US dilemma


WASHINGTON — Egypt’s political unrest leaves Washington torn between freedom-seeking protesters and a government that has been a vital ally — a dilemma with deep implications for its troubled Middle East policy.

Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak has been a fulcrum of US regional strategy for decades, a guarantor of his nation’s peace with US ally Israel and a central player in successive and frustrated American peace initiatives.

But with his 30-year rule seemingly under threat, amid talk of a possible “Arab spring” of revolt against authoritarian rulers, US policymakers must pick their way through a political minefield.

“They are in a difficult position because there is all sorts of momentum in Egypt — and in Washington people think that the dominoes just are going to fall,” said Gregory Gause of the University of Vermont..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20110129com3.html

SND, ex-generals into AFP payolas By Angie M. Rosales 01/29/2011

Saturday, January 29, 2011

SND, ex-generals into AFP payolas

By Angie M. Rosales 01/29/2011

The bombshell of military corruption in the Armed Forces of the Philippines hierarchy, dropped by military whistle-blower retired Col. George Rabusa, is more massive than originally thought, as it was also discovered, from a document read into the Senate records Thursday that the brass, from the top chief, to the vice chief of staff and down the line, are all recipients of the payola that comes from the close to P500 million military slush fund.

The AFP inspector-general, Office of the Secretary of National Defense (OSND), and even the senior military aide of the President and commander in chief, along with “lola” said to refer to the former President, to the Congressional Legislative office in the lower house and to the auditor, among the few mentioned, get a slice of the military slush pie.

With virtually all involved and getting their monthly pay-offs from P50,000 to millions, the practice of pocketing public funds and putting this money into their private pockets, and with the Inspector General, along with the auditors also in the AFP pocket, the military practice and “tradition” never surfaced nor investigated--until now..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20110129hed1.html

No clear evidence vs MILF yet in Edsa bus blast, concedes DND By Mario J. Mallari 01/29/2011

No clear evidence vs MILF yet in Edsa bus blast, concedes DND

By Mario J. Mallari 01/29/2011

Authorities are very careful in pointing an accusing finger at the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) as culprit in last Tuesday’s Makati City bus bombing without conclusive evidence considering the upcoming peace negotiations between the government and the secessionist group.

Department of National Defense (DND) spokesman Eduardo Batac yesterday said ongoing investigations still point to terrorism as probable motive behind the explosion that killed five persons and wounded 13 others.

But Batac stressed there has been no conclusive evidence to tag a certain group as responsible for the bombing, particularly the MILF which is talking peace with the government.

“We are facing the peace process and we have been very careful. We’d like really to make good a try of attaining this enduring and lasting peace through the peace process. So, if we start pointing fingers without any conclusive evidence, it might derail the peace process,” he said..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20110129hed2.html

Bullet-proof Lexus is brod in-law’s, says Noy By Aytch S. de la Cruz 01/29/2011

Bullet-proof Lexus is brod in-law’s, says Noy

By Aytch S. de la Cruz 01/29/2011

Bothered by the latest alleged intrigue about his new bullet-proof sports utility vehicle (SUV), President Aquino came down to the media’s quarters late afternoon yesterday to personally explain how he got the Lexus LX 570 which was reportedly worth P8.5-million.

Reacting to the report published by the Tribune’s Friday edition, Aquino claimed the new SUV was actually a replacement for the presidential limousine, a Mercedes Benz, which was left to him by his predecessor upon learning that it has been damaged when typhoon “Ondoy” ravaged most parts of Metro Manila, including Mala-cañang’s freedom park.

The Mercedes Benz was the vehicle that then outgoing President Arroyo and incoming president, Noynoy Aquino, utilized for Aquino’s inaugural at the Luneta Park which was after the Ondoy-Pepeng typhoons.
Aquino said he never

purchased the Lexus because it came from his brother-in-law who is actually leasing the vehicle for him, for security purposes, to spare the government from spending just to buy an alternative vehicle for his official use..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20110129hed3.html

RP interest is the top priority, priority, Palace tells US By Aytch S. de la Cruz 01/29/2011

RP interest is the top priority, priority, Palace tells US

By Aytch S. de la Cruz 01/29/2011
National interest is the utmost priority of the Aquino administration when it comes to its diplomatic relations, Malacañang said yesterday, in response to a United States government official’s call for the Philippines not to abandon its ties with the Americans while building a strong alliance with their greatest competitor, China.

Presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda told a post-briefing interview that while they recognize the US as its strategic partner, Aquino and his administration will always put national interest above anything else.

“The Philippines will always act in accordance with its national interest. We recognize the importance and, of course, we recognize that the US has always been our strategic partner and we have longstanding alliance with them.

So, as always, the Philippines will act in accordance with national interest that would also mean involving ourselves with improving our relations with China and also maintaining our relations with the US,” Lacierda said..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20110129hed4.html

DoJ: Rabusa to be under witness protection program By Benjamin B. Pulta,Angie M. Rosales and Mario J. Mallari 01/29/2011

DoJ: Rabusa to be under witness protection program

By Benjamin B. Pulta,Angie M. Rosales and Mario J. Mallari 01/29/2011

Justice Chief Leila de Lima yesterday said former state auditor Heidi Mendoza and retired Col. George Rabusa qualify for inclusion in the government’s witness protection program to ensure they would testify on what they know about the corruption in the military.

“Heidi Mendoza was invited to the Senate inquiry (and) we heard Sen. Jinggoy Estrada announced they are considering making a request to cover him (Rabusa) under the witness protection program but preliminarily he will be with the Senate. We are ready. The DoJ stands ready to cover under the witness program, either or both Heidi Mendoza of the Garcia case and Rabusa.” she said.

Mendoza was the head of a special six-member team of the Commission on Audit (CoA) and was detailed at the Office of the Ombudsman from 2004 to 2006 to investigate Carlos Garcia’s transactions.

Mendoza testified on the missing P50 million double reimbursements where part of expenses for soldiers who went abroad to serve under international coalitions already paid under the United Nations fund but were again reimbursed under the Balikatan funds..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20110129hed5.html

GOCCs remit P29-B revenues to Aquino 01/29/2011

GOCCs remit P29-B revenues to Aquino

A total of P29.25 billion was remitted by 19 government-owned and -controlled corporations (GOCCs) to the national government.

According to President Aquino, who received the checks in a ceremony held at Malacañang yesterday, the dividends and other remittances will be given back to the people in the form of social of services, including anti-poverty programs.

“As you can see, we are working overtime to bolster our abilities to give back to the Filipino people what they have given us,” the President said. “We will do this, not only because this is what we are mandated to do, but more importantly, because this is the right thing to do.”

In his message at the ceremonial turnover of GOCCs check dividends and remittances at the Rizal Hall of Malacañang, the Chief Executive said dividends and other remittances from GOCCs will allow the government to frontload its expenditures and speed up the implementation of anti-poverty programs, among others..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20110129hed6.html

DILG wants juvenile law amended 01/29/2011

DILG wants juvenile law amended

The Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) said yesterday it will submit to Congress a bill seeking to amend the law that exempts youth offenders from criminal liability.

DILG Secretary Jesse Robredo said he will propose for the amendment of certain provisions of the Juvenile Justice and Welfare Act (JJWA), including Section 6 of the said law, which states that “a child above fifteen (15) years but below eighteen (18) years of age shall likewise be exempted from criminal liability and be subjected to an intervention program, unless he/she has acted with discernment, in which case, such child shall be subjected to the appropriate proceedings in accordance with this Act.”.... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/nation/20110129nat7.html

NPA denounces Makati bombing, justifies killing of 5 policemen By Ted Boehnert 01/29/2011

NPA denounces Makati bombing, justifies killing of 5 policemen

By Ted Boehnert 01/29/2011
TUGUEGARAO CITY, Cagayan – The communist New People’s Army (NPA) vehemently denounced the bombing last Tuesday of a bus in Makati City that killed five passengers.

At the same time, the CPP-NPA justified the killing of five policemen, and wounding two others here.
The CPP-NPA statement said that the bombing was “the most despicable act” as it perished at least five ordinary working class people and wounded 15 others.”

The rebels described military reports of the bombing that was attributed either to the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) or to NPA as it was just a product of the military’s imagination.

“The NPA does not engage in such senseless acts of violence that cause death and injury to ordinary people. The MILF also outrightly denied having anything to do with the bombing,” the CPP-NPA said..... MORE
SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/nation/20110129nat6.html

Empty, nonsensical talk EDITORIAL 01/28/2011

Empty, nonsensical talk

Click to enlarge
Noynoy appears to have got up on the wrong foot after a likely afternoon nap the other day when he faced media as he droned on and on, some of which droning were the most nonsensical statements thus far he had uttered over the bus bombing at Edsa.

In his somnambulist state, Noynoy said there was a big difference between the bombing of the bus and a supposed threat to blow up a mall which he said was the subject of the adverse travel advisories that six western countries late last year issued on the Philippines.

The subject of the alert on the country, however, was the possibility of a bomb blowing up anywhere in the country, with which the administration of Noynoy is not capable of dealing, as proven in the incident at Edsa and even with the admission of Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin that his office had been tipped off but did short of nothing by way of government security action.

Noynoy asking the silly phrase, “aren’t buses very much softer targets? This is not identified in the previous records” was no different from telling the world that the Philippines is definitely safe since terrorists only bomb buses instead of malls..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20110128com1.html

Utter failure FRONTLINE Ninez Cacho-Olivares 01/28/2011

Utter failure

Ninez Cacho-Olivares

Noynoy tried to excuse his and his aides’ failure of intelligence and failure to stem the bombing of a bus, to the extent of claiming that the foreign advisories sent by their governments were still not validated, saying all those advisories spoke of mall bombings, not bus bombings and stupidly argued that some 7,000 buses cannot possibly be monitored.
He then added that bombings cannot be prevented, citing the recent Moscow bombing that killed more people.

But realizing too late that this bus bombing incident in the heart of the Metro Manila would turn off foreign investors who have been turned off since he took the presidency and blunders through it, Noynoy asked media not to highlight the negative aspect of the peace and order situation in the country, which won’t do him any good.

While it can be argued that such bombings can, and do occur in other countries where intelligence gathering and networking are superior to the country’s, the fact is that there is a high level of confidence in the leaderships of governments of other countries, whether in the United States, the United Kingdom, Spain or Russia, at least in doing their utmost to keep their citizens safe, something which is horribly lacking in the leadership and security forces of the country, as they are truly headless, inefficient and highly incompetent in handling such preventive measures, despite the fact that billions of taxpayers’ money in intelligence funds are hardly ever utilized for intelligence work..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20110128com2.html

School hijab ban divides Muslim Azerbaijan FEATURE 01/28/2011

School hijab ban divides Muslim Azerbaijan


NARDARAN � A woman with her head uncovered is a rare sight in Nardaran, an impoverished village on the Caspian Sea which has become a stronghold of Islamic activism in ex-Soviet Azerbaijan.

Roadside posters offer messages from the Koran, alcohol is absent from local shops, and hundreds of villagers recently took to the streets in protest against a controversial decision to stop girls wearing the Islamic headscarf in schools.

Angry worshipers demonstrated last month outside the huge mosque which dominates the village on the outskirts of the capital, set fire to a photograph of the education minister and chanted: �We�d rather die than give up the hijab!�

The hijab was effectively banned in schools last year by new rules defining what kind of uniforms pupils should wear in this mainly Shiite Muslim country, which emerged as one of the most secular in the Islamic world after decades of Soviet rule..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20110128com3.html

More ‘X’-es NO HOLDS BARRED Armida Siguion-Reyna 01/28/2011

More ‘X’-es

Armida Siguion-Reyna
Yesterday marked the 40th day of my husband’s demise. Writing this in advance, I was of course unable to know who would be going to the mass and dinner my children and I tendered for the occasion. The card we’re still sending out reads, “There are simply no words to thank you for the loving expression of sympathy you have given us during the passing of Sig. Please know how much we appreciated your prayers and kind words, and taking the time to comfort us. Sig was a happy, loving and kind man. We are grateful to have been part of his life.”

My appreciation, once again, for all who dropped by last night.

Aawitan Kita sa Makati goes on its 63rd staging this evening at the University of Makati’s 6th floor auditorium, also with Bimbo Cerrudo, Isay Alvarez, Bayang Barrios, Bangge Mabanta, Joel Villaflor, Raul Montesa and Miguel Castro, in a first-of-the-year presentation entitled “Bagong Taon, Bagong Puso.” I play the role of a widow, in a script that was written way before I became one. The show starts exactly at 6 p.m., but be there 30 minutes earlier to get good seats. Admission is free, but senior citizens get priority accommodation, as part of the Office of the Mayor of Makati City’s project for the city’s elderly..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20110128com4.html

Time to step up C.R.O.S.S.R.O.A.D.S Jonathan De la Cruz 01/28/2011

Time to step up

Jonathan De la Cruz
There is a time for everything, the Good Book says. After days of crime and violence — from the kidnapping and killing of Emerson Lozano and Venson Evangelista to the killing of Gerry Ortega and then, culminating in the bombing of a Newman Goldliner bus along Edsa, causing death to five persons and injury to dozens — it is time not only to grieve and condemn but to act and act decisively to get the perpetrators to justice and the nation to come around united in fighting all forms of criminality and mayhem now enveloping the length and breadth of the archipelago. For sometime we have somehow assumed that these types of crimes will never reach our shores lulling us into complacency and inaction. And so, our officials are bumbling their way around uttering all kinds of rubbish to explain away the mess only to be dragged back to earth with the wails of our people for justice and peace. But this is not the time for finger pointing so we urge one and all to stay focused, get to the bottom of this wave of criminal acts and find ways to stem the flow, as it were..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20110128com5.html

Clarification LETTER 01/28/2011 Dear Editor:



Dear Editor:
This is to respond to the points raised by Mr. Charlie V. Manalo in his article entitled “Group asks Congress to investigate corruption in DSWD’s CCT program,” published in The Daily Tribune last Jan. 3, 2011.

In the article, it was written that Mr. Fernando Hicap, chairman of the Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya), has called on the House oversight committee on monitoring CCT funds to conduct investigation into the alleged corruption of CCT funds last year in Donsol, Sorsogon. In another statement, it was claimed that Mr. Hicap received several text messages from CCT beneficiaries in Barangay Vinisitahan, Donsol, Sorsogon complaining about the distribution, if any, was committed in the area.

On this note, we would like to inform the public that the cash grants for the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program go directly to the hands of the beneficiaries. A systematic process of transfer of amount is done through over-the-counter payments and ATM cash cards facilitated by Land Bank of the Philippines and their partner rural banks in the Pantawid Pamilya areas. We have also embarked on the use of Globe G-cash Remit to deliver the cash grants to the beneficiaries living in far flung areas with minimal or no cost on their end (we are already implementing G-Cash in 17 municipalities, including Taytay and Balabac, Palawan)..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20110128com6.html

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