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No more excuses EDITORIAL 04/30/2011

Saturday, April 30, 2011

No more excuses

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Ombudsman Merceditas Gutierrez has resigned from her post and obviously, Noynoy must be overjoyed by the latest turn of events.

He immediately accepted Merci’s resignation.

But now that Merci is gone, he may be facing an even bigger hurdle as he no longer has that excuse he always uses to blame his failure to get rid of corruption in his government, due to what he and his allies call their major “stumbling block” now that she has resigned.

When scandals start to rock his government too, who else will he be blaming for the corruption?.... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20110430com1.html

Good choice? FRONTLINE Ninez Cacho-Olivares 04/30/2011

Good choice?

Ninez Cacho-Olivares
The Makati Business Club (MBC) is really riding high under the Noynoy administration, what with an additional appointee to the Commission on Elections (Comelec) commissioner in Gus Lagman.

Lagman was reportedly apppointed by Noynoy on the strength of his IT credentials. Fine. But his track record — at least during election quick counts in the past — always held a partisan color and this may prove disturbing to many when election time comes.

True, Lagman did question the reliability of the precinct count optical scan (PCOS) machines in 2010 as well as the anomalous Mega-Pacific deal during the time of Benjamin Abalos Sr. And Lagman, even as a commissioner, pushes the release of the source code and other documents which Jose Melo and his Comelec commissioners refused to release, despite a Supreme Court order for the Comelec to free these.

But it has also been noted that, despite all his and his Namfrel colleagues’ opposition to the PCOS machines, they all seemed to have stopped all complaints after their candidate won the Comelec “unofficial” precinct count that was pretty questionable. Even the provincial and municipal count failed to match the precinct count, as there was a clear 4 to 5 million votes in excess of the official precinct ballot count..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20110430com2.html

Bosnian Croats feel squeezed in Muslim-shared entity focus 04/30/2011

Bosnian Croats feel squeezed in Muslim-shared entity


MOSTAR — More than 15 years since the end of Bosnia’s 1992-1995 war, Muslims and Croats still avoid each other in this picturesque southern town.

They were allies against the Serbs during most of the conflict, but also fought each other for a period, notably in the region around Mostar.

Under the Dayton settlement they were forced into an autonomous but shared federation, with the Serbs having their own entity, the Republika Srpska.

Now demands are building among Croats to be given their own autonomy amid feelings that the majority Muslims are squeezing them out of a voice..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20110430com3.html

CHR Decision on Fil-Am Activist Case to Perpetuate Impunity – Rights Groups

Human rights group Karapatan said that with the CHR resolution, “the crime of torture will have its heyday under the Aquino administration.”

The Commission on Human Rights’s (CHR) report on the abduction of Filipino-American activist Melissa Roxas and two others has drawn criticisms from human rights groups.

Roxas, a member of Bagong Alyansang Makabayan-USA chapter, and her two companions Juanito Carrabeo and John Edward Jandoc were forcibly taken by armed men on May 19, 2009 in La Paz, Tarlac. Roxas suffered torture for six days before she was freed by her captors. In her affidavit and subsequent testimonies before the CHR and Congress, Roxas maintained that her captors were members of the military.

In its recent findings, however, the CHR said there is insufficient evidence to support Roxas’s allegations that members of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) took her and subjected her to physical and mental maltreatment.

Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan) bewailed the CHR resolution saying it “practically clears” the military of any wrongdoing.

While the CHR resolution states that there is “enough evidence to find that complainant has suffered cruel, inhumane and degrading treatment or punishment by persons unknown,” it also states that there is insufficient evidence to support Roxas’s claim of torture because, according to the rights body, there was not enough evidence to determine the identities of the abductors.

Melissa Roxas testifies during the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) investigation on her abduction and torture in 2009.(Photo by Ronalyn V. Olea / bulatlat.com)

 “In the light of the lack of evidence against the persons who inflicted the physical and psychological maltreatment on the complainant, it is not possible for the Commission to reach any findings on torture, the definition of which includes elements of State party or agent and certain intentions, purposes and motivations,” the CHR resolution said.

The same report states: “The CHR has received information that indicates the possibility that members of the NPA committed the kidnapping and other human rights violations on Roxas et al. These sources have been found to be credible. However, no specific names of individuals have been provided to the CHR, thus the Commission, with its limited resources, is unable to further follow up and identify specific persons as the possible perpetrators.”.... MORE


URL: http://bulatlat.com/main/2011/04/27/chr-decision-on-fil-am-activist-case-to-perpetuate-impunity-%e2%80%93-rights-groups/

Kin, Writers and Artists Launch Campaign for Release of Detained Poet Ericson Acosta

“His works as a writer, poet, thespian, singer and songwriter have remained relevant especially to the succeeding generations of UP activists in and out of the university. His bias for the poor and oppressed dates back to his campus days.”


Mrs. Liwayway Acosta is graceful in keeping her pain hidden; but sometimes it becomes too much and tears fall and she struggles to regain her composure.

For over two months now, Mrs. Liwayway and her husband Isaias Acosta and have been worried because one of their two children, their son, writer and poet Ericson, 37, had been detained and falsely and maliciously charged with illegal possession of firearms in Catbalogan, Samar. Both mother and father are now at the lead of a campaign pressing for their poet-son’s immediate release.

“At least we know that he’s alright and that he’s not being hurt. That was our greatest worry in the beginning. Our son is made of stronger stuff and we know that he’s holding up in prison. This is not the kind of thing that will break Eric,” said Mrs. Acosta.

Mr. Acosta in the meantime is the unashamedly proud father. He even has a list of his only child’s achievements since grade school, and at the drop of a hat can enumerate the various literary, theatrical and scientific awards Ericson has received since he was in shorts and attending grade school in St. Mary’s College,and eventually when he went to the University of Sto. Tomas for his secondary education.
“He has never been anything but a good son, an intelligent student, and a loving parent to his own son Emmanuel,” said Mr. Acosta.

Artists Rally Behind Campaign for Poet’s Release

Two weeks ago, the family and Ericson’s friends and former colleagues officially launched the Free Ericson Acosta campaign in Quezon City. It was a reunion of sorts for Ericson’s friends from his university days, and an event that saw some of the most respected names in the Philippines’ literary circles placing their support behind an artist who chose a path of human rights activism.

Family, friends and supporters from the art community commit their support to the Free Ericson Acosta Campaign. At the lead are father Isaias Acosta and mother Liwayway (not in picture)..(Photo by Ina Alleco R. Silverio / bulatlat.com)

At the time when Ericson was arrested earlier last February 13, he was a freelance journalist documenting the human rights situation in Western Samar. He was arrested in the company of various community leaders from a farmers’ organization who staunchly defended him and affirmed his work as a writer.

During the campaign launch press conference, Ericson’s former editor-in-chief in the Philippine Collegian Michael John Ac-ac said that the former had true artist sensibilities and that he, Ericson, honed it through the years by voracious reading, prolific writing and by constantly discovering developments in the cultural scene.
.... MORE


URL: http://bulatlat.com/main/2011/04/27/kin-writers-and-artists-launch-campaign-for-release-of-detained-poet-ericson-acosta/

Think Tanks Refute Malacañang’s Arguments Against Wage Hikes

Think Tanks Refute Malacañang’s Arguments Against Wage Hikes

 “Since July 2010, skyrocketing commodity prices coupled with stagnant wages have eroded workers’ wages in lightning speed, which is unmatched by the previous administration,” said EILER executive director Anna Leah Escresa.

As Malacañang thumbs down the demand of government employees in the country for a substantial wage increase, research groups have taken turns debunking government claims that salary and wage hikes are impossible to implement given the current economic conditions.

Current Wage Provides Only 41 Percent of What Families Need 

The IBON Foundation said the value of the daily minimum wage in Metro Manila has dropped and is only able to provide for about 41 percent of the amount needed for a family to live decently. This is less than the figure 10 years ago, in 2001, wherein the minimum wage was about 52 percent of the cost to live decently.

According to the IBON Foundation, the daily minimum wage of P404 (US$9.39) is just 2/5 of the estimated average family living wage (FLW) of P988 (US$23) in the National Capital Region (NCR) as of March 2011. The family living wage is defined as the minimum amount needed for a family of six members to meet their daily food and non-food needs plus a 10 percent allocation for savings. The latest living wage estimates are based on the 2008 family living wage computation of the National Wages and Productivity Commission of the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE).

According to IBON data, the daily minimum wage of P265 (US$6) in 2001 was half of the amount a family needed to live decently, which was then pegged at P509 (US$12).

(Photo by Ina Alleco R. Silverio / bulatlat.com)
As the DOLE and the wage boards deliberate on whether to give a wage hike next month, the research group urged government to raise wages to a decent level and approximate the wage increase to the estimated family living wage.

Nonstop Price Hikes
Adding to the urgency of a wage increase, a labor research group said, is the fact that the combined wage increases in the past decade had been totally eroded within only eight months by nonstop price hikes under the Aquino administration..... MORE


URL: http://bulatlat.com/main/2011/04/23/independent-think-tanks-refute-malacanangs-arguments-against-p6000-and-p125-salary-wage-hikes/

Media Groups Urge Aquino to Take Concrete Action to Stop the Killings

Media Groups Urge Aquino to Take Concrete Action to Stop the Killings

“As we pause from daily routine in this period of spiritual contemplation and renewal, we ask once again that you draw strength from our advocacy to end the impunity that has punished the Filipino people for so long.”

MANILA – In an open letter, media organizations called on President Benigno S. Aquino III to take concrete action to put a stop to the killings of journalists.

The Freedom Fund for Filipino Journalists, Inc. (FFFJ), a national network of press oriented organizations, together with other media organizations and mass communication professors and students, said the action should “send a signal that the executive will do all that is necessary and within its power to counter impunity.”
Six journalists have been murdered since Aquino assumed the presidency. An unidentified gunman shot at broadcaster Miguel Belen of Camarines Sur on July 9, 2010; he later died on July 31. On January 24, Gerardo Ortega was gunned down in Puerto Princesa, Palawan. A woman broadcaster Marlina Flores Sumera was shot dead on March 24. The FFFJ noted that the first two killings are work-related and said that the murder of Sumera could also be work- related..... MORE


URL: http://bulatlat.com/main/2011/04/21/media-groups-urge-aquino-to-take-concrete-action-to-stop-the-killings/

Merci resigns By Arlie O. Calalo and Gerry Baldo 04/30/2011


Merci resigns

By Arlie O. Calalo and Gerry Baldo 04/30/2011

Catching her detractors by surprise, embattled Ombudsman Merceditas Gutierrez yesterday personally submitted her resignation to President Aquino 10 days before her impeachment trial at the Senate would have started, earlier scheduled for May 9, when sessions resume.

Gutierrez submitted her one-page resignation letter to Aquino around 10:30 a.m. in Malacañang and proceeded to her office in Quezon City where she held a news conference wherein she read a prepared statement regarding her sudden decision to resign from her post.

In her letter to the President, she said her resignation will take effect on May 6 or three days before her impeachment trial at the Senate was set to begin.

Scheduled to retire in December 2012, Gutierrez stressed that her “undivided loyalty” was to the Filipino people, and not to the former President, although she said she is grateful to the former President for having appointed her to this post.... MORE
SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20110430hed1.html

High court reverses Desierto ruling on behest loans 04/30/2011

High court reverses Desierto ruling on behest loans

The Supreme Court has reversed the 1998 ruling of the Office of the Ombudsman as it ordered to indict officials of a local company for an anomalous behest loan it allegedly obtained 35 years ago.

The high court’s First Division, through Associate Justice Jose Perez, reversed the findings of former Ombudsman Aniano Desierto who had dismissed the case along with 17 others filed by the Presidential Ad Hoc Fact-Finding Committee on Behest Loans.

Desierto dismissed all of these cases on the ground of prescription and insufficiency of evidence.

Named respondents in the particular case were Mohammad Ali Dimaporo, Abdullah Dimaporo and Amer Dianalan, stockholders and officers of the Mindanao Coconut Oil Mills (Mincoco), a domestic corporation established in 1974..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20110430hed3.html

Police confiscate guns from Cagayan farmers By Ted Boehnert 04/30/2011

Police confiscate guns from Cagayan farmers

By Ted Boehnert 04/30/2011

TUGUEGARAO CITY, Cagayan — Policemen confiscated several firearms believed to be unregistered owned by three farmers in a remote town here last Wednesday, police report said.

Senior Supt. Mao Aplasca, Cagayan police director, identified the farmers as Solito Cabbuag, Loreto Cabbuag and Jayson Banad, all residents of Barangay Mauanan in Rizal town, Cagayan Valley province.

According to Aplasca, confiscated were M16 Armalite rifle with 14 alloy magazines and 300 live rounds of ammunition, a 12-gauge shotgun with 6 live rounds of ammunition and a .22 caliber pistol with a magazine and 38 live rounds of ammunition.

The guns and ammunition were confiscated based on a search warrant issued by Judge Edman Castillo of Tuao Regional Trial Court Branch 11, Tuguegarao City.... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/nation/20110430nat10.html

Know RH, RP bills first before supporting them, urges solon By Angie M. Rosales 04/30/2011

Know RH, RP bills first before supporting them, urges solon

By Angie M. Rosales 04/30/2011

Amid the increasing tension between the Malacañang and the Catholic Church on the raging debates over the controversial Reproductive Health (RH) bill or Responsible Parenthood (RP) bill, a senator is appealing to the public to get themselves fully educated to the issue before taking any position on the matter.

Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV made the call as he took note of the apparent misconception of some individuals as to the advantages and disadvantages of the bill.

“The public is unwittingly supporting the RH bill because they are being led to believe that the measure would control population growth and allow access to contraceptives.

“But the thing is, contraceptives can be accessed freely now and the Department of Health (DoH), in fact, has been distributing contraceptives even without the RH bill. Also, there is no provision in the RH bill that would help control the population,” he said..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/nation/20110430nat2.html

Over 1 million toddlers enrolled in DepEd’s kindergarten schools By Jason Faustino 04/30/2011

Over 1 million toddlers enrolled in DepEd’s kindergarten schools

By Jason Faustino 04/30/2011

Over one million pre-school children signed up during the early registration campaign conducted last January giving the Department of Education (DepEd) a head’s up before universal kindergarten is implemented in all public schools starting June 2011.

Education Secretary Armin Luistro said the universal public kindergarten program for five-year-old will give new entrants to basic education the proper preparation on the rigors of schooling. “Studies have shown that school children who went to pre-school are better prepared for schooling and have greater chances of finishing school.”

Universal kindergarten is the first step under the 12-basic education programs of the government which aims to prepare high school graduates for the world of work, for college education and for the global arena.
“We always say that education is a great equalizer. This universal kindergarten program will do just that as it democratizes access to pre-school education which used to be enjoyed only by those who can afford it in private schools,” Luistro said..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/nation/20110430nat1.html

Security at Laperal Compound tightened By Pat C. Santos 04/30/2011

Security at Laperal Compound tightened

By Pat C. Santos 04/30/2011

Concerned over the safety of informal settlers at Laperal Compound in Guadalupe Nuevo, Makati City, Mayor Jejomar “Erwin” Binay has reiterated his appeal to the 400 families whose houses were razed by fire recently to avail themselves of the relocation sites and financial support offered by the city government.

This came after Binay ordered the Makati police to enforce tight security measures to prevent residents from rebuilding their houses after a violent confrontation they had with police-backed demolition team.

Binay said the compound is a danger zone and forbade residents to return after last week’s fire that razed more than 900 houses and left some 2,700 families homeless..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/metro/20110430met1.html

To tax or not to tax EDITORIAL 04/29/2011

Friday, April 29, 2011

To tax or not to tax

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Noynoy is in a quandary. The budget would be in a perpetually huge deficit if his administration does not take action in matching government expenditures with what is being earned through primarily taxes.

The other side of the equation is that the government needs to spend more as the nation’s need for basic services grows and along with it, higher allocations for the payments of interests and principals on debts when the shortfall in the budget hit record levels since the administration of former President Gloria Arroyo.

Revenues of the Bureau of Internal Revenue and the Bureau of Customs are making modest gains in meeting targets but the efforts will not likely be enough if the deficit in the budget would be drastically reduced from its current astronomical levels of above P300 billion every year which is equated with more borrowings by the government..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20110429com1.html

Weak case FRONTLINE Ninez Cacho-Olivares 04/29/2011

Weak case

Ninez Cacho-Olivares
It makes headlines, but the plunder complaint filed against former President Gloria Arroyo and her former officials probably will get nowhere, basically because Frank Chavez’s complaint is full of holes, despite his claims of having “hard” evidence to prove his charges.

Chavez really should start boning up on the plunder law because for one, even if the amount mentioned taken from the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) funds and transferred to other government agencies fits the plunder amount, the fact that Gloria — at least from official documents as of this time — did not personally benefit from it.

Of course Chavez claims she did benefit from it, saying that he has proof OWWA funds were transferred to PhilHealth for health cards’ distribution timed for her election. His proof was a memorandum from then PhilHealth chief Francisco Duque stating in essence that these OWWA funds for health cards would “enhance” her chances in her electoral bid for the presidency in 2004..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/

Focus on safety at Brazil nuclear plant after Japan FEATURE 04/29/2011

Focus on safety at Brazil nuclear plant after Japan


ANGRA DOS REIS — Brazil’s Angra dos Reis bay is a tropical paradise that attracts droves of tourists each year. But it is also sharply in focus as the home of the nation’s only nuclear power plant.

Brazilian officials insist things are safe at the two pressurized water reactors, Angra I and Angra II, which face the sea some 150 kilometers (90 miles) west of Rio de Janeiro.

But security improvements have been stepped up in the wake of the devastating disaster at Japan’s Fukushima nuclear power plant, crippled by a March 11 earthquake and tsunami.

“We were taking measures (to improve security), but Fukushima accelerated them,” Jose Manuel Diaz Francisco, in charge of security at Electronuclear, the public company in charge of the plants, told AFP..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20110429com3.html

Trench warfare C.R.O.S.S.R.O.A.D.S Jonathan De la Cruz 04/29/2011

Trench warfare

Jonathan De la Cruz
Those who are assuming and continue to insist that P-Noy’s “all-out war” against Ombudsman Merceditas Gutierrez and others perceived to be obstacles (or, in some instances the very poster boys and girls’ of corrupt practices) in his administration’s avowed battle against graft and corruption is all for show, are gravely mistaken. They should now realize that the battle is for real as far as the regime is concerned no matter that some sectors are saying the Chief Executive is simply diverting public attention from his own inadequacies.

They should now start imbibing P-Noy’s campaign slogan kung walang corrupt, walang mahirap and be ready for the consequences. As for us mortals we better be prepared to endure five solid years of trench warfare featuring P-Noy and his gladiators versus all others who, in their view, may be out of line or those who are simply exhausted and pissed off with this never-ending cycle of retribution. As one pundit noted, our penchant for national self-flagellation is simply indescribable. It is, in his view, beyond compare and, yes, self-defeating. Indeed, it is and will be a tough life especially for us ordinary folks because as things stand, the lines have been drawn and there seems to be no turning back. But first, let us revisit P-Noy’s “articles of faith and governance,” as it were, if only to ensure that we, the Filipino people, and, in his own inaugural words, P-Noy’s bosses, understand fully and properly from where his seemingly inexplicable crusade is coming. For it is only through a proper reading of these articles will we responsibly divine what prompts P-Noy and his advocates to do the things they have been doing almost a year into his six-year term..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20110429com4.html

Royal Wedding frenzy turns off many Americans focus 04/29/2011

Royal Wedding frenzy turns off many Americans


WASHINGTON — For every American setting an alarm clock to go off before dawn Friday to catch the Royal Wedding, there is at least one curmudgeon glowering in a corner, eagerly waiting for the whole thing to be over.

In America, as in Britain, the wedding of Kate and William is almost inescapable.

Food sections of US newspapers have reprinted scone recipes. Entrepreneurial vendors are hawking commemorative tea cosies and replicas of Kate Middleton’s now-famous sapphire engagement ring.

And a popular cable station last week aired the made-for-television romance William and Kate, viewed by millions of Americans..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20110429com7.html

Shiites decry ‘persecution in Bahrain’ focus 04/29/2011

Shiites decry ‘persecution in Bahrain’


DUBAI — Bahrain persists in persecuting members of its Shiite majority in “systematic” human rights violations, seven weeks after crushing a month-long pro-democracy protest, activists say.

Shiites face fast-tracked martial courts, continued detention of hundreds, demolition of mosques and arbitrary dismissal of employees in the Sunni-ruled kingdom, they say.

At least 567 people, including 38 women, remain in detention, former MP Matar Matar told AFP, out of around 1,000 people rounded up after security forces quelled the protest on March 16.

“We are in touch with international organisations to highlight the systematic violations by the authorities,” he said, claiming the government was taking advantage of “international silence” over the violations..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20110429com6.html

Political implosion imminent DIE HARD III Herman Tiu Laurel 04/29/2011

Political implosion imminent

Herman Tiu Laurel
As I write this piece, I recall my recent radio chat with “Sorry Yellow Movement” lead convenor Linggoy Alcuaz. He sees the accelerating collapse of the current regime, citing as a major fissure in the political firmament the declared intention of the presidential uncle, Rep. Peping Cojuangco to actively join the PDP group identified with Binay. “Tito Joe,” as Peping is known in their family circle, was followed by “Tita Tingting,” who resigned from her post as head of a government safety academy connected with state security institutions.

Alcuaz adds that these tremors are just a precursor to more earthquakes ahead as the deadline nears for the one year-ban on appointments, where only one out of 10 of PeNoy’s losing partymates from the 2010 elections can ever hope to get appointed. Many of these un-appointed loyalists will then start to grumble as PeNoy is now a captive of the warring Balay and Samar groups, himself bereft of any redeeming accomplishment.

At the same time, I recall my discussions with leading pro-PeNoy figures from three major economic sections of society — the rice, dairy and coconut sectors. In all, the judgment is the same: The present government has been a massive letdown.

The rice sector’s problems are clearly reflected in the contradicting pronouncements of PeNoy’s Agriculture secretary and his National Food Authority chief, with the former declaring no need for rice imports but with the latter openly contradicting it.

In the dairy sector, the country’s premier organizer of farmer-dairy production networking and marketing says PeNoy’s government has absolutely no support for efforts to increase farm income through production substitution of the country’s yearly P100-billion dairy imports. While he admittedly supported PeNoy as he was taken in by the Yellow mania, when I reminded him that it was President Estrada who was his industry’s biggest supporter, he acknowledged his error.

The coconut industry, meanwhile, which directly and indirectly supports the livelihood of some 20 million Filipinos, initially had high hopes. Coming from the past administration’s kleptocracy, particularly in state coconut institutions such as Philcoa (which was headed by a tradpol), coconut farmers and entrepreneurs anticipated changes; but their hopes were short lived.

To everyone’s disappointment, a coconut NGO leader averred that another non-coconut man was appointed to Philcoa, resulting again in paralysis, where coconut exports slumped severely in the first quarter while coconut development programs continue to be at a standstill.

As the combined rice, dairy and coconut sectors constitute 70 percent of the country’s population, the multi-layered incompetence plus the breakdown of PeNoy’s political coalition, notwithstanding his regime’s administrative aimlessness in the critical economic sectors, all predicate disaster for the Filipino people.

Can we wait until 2016 to take another shot at changing the leadership that is obviously failing big even at this early stage? Can we sit idly by when the food price crisis starts impacting on the people by the third quarter, with the full force of a Fukushima-like tsunami and nuclear disaster, as we face PeNoy’s unceasing commitment to his masters at the US Embassy and the IMF-WB to increase VAT from 12 to 15 percent, to raise MRT/LRT fares, and to keep unchecked the murderously escalating fuel prices pushed by the global “oily-garchs?”

It probably won’t be like Oakwood in 2003 or the 2006 Marine standoff but there certainly will be a new variation that is more political than military. Such a move will be prompted by the pressing need to save the nation from the unprecedented crises that have emerged from a second of year of PeNoy’s massively failing governance and irreconcilable turf wars.

The genuine opposition must come together, prepared for this imminent implosion. By “genuine opposition,” we do not mean the GMA-led trapos who are engaged in a moro-moro with the sitting administration via a fake, acoustic war around the issues of Merci Gutierrez and this new, designed-to-fail Frank Chavez plunder case against Gloria Arroyo. (Why not revive the “Hello Garci” case when all the evidence is there?)
By genuine opposition, we mean the peasants, farmers, coconut planters, workers, as well as urban poor movements — the constituency that is bearing the brunt of PeNoy’s failures. By taking to the streets once more, much like in Edsa III of 2001, the nation can finally install a leadership that is both sincere in its passion for the people and armed with a competence born of experience, maturity and wisdom. Lest it be nipped in the bud, we shall not name names just yet. But believe me, it is growing and biding its time.

To continue our post-Lenten recap from the last column, here’s my take on the cultural front: The Revillame imbroglio is really a political campaign to clobber the entertainer for repeatedly snubbing the Yellow powers. If cultural reformation were the real goal, then they’d also have to demand for a review of Tito, Vic and Joey’s decades-long trashy fare. With the growing number of street children which the Commission on Human Rights isn’t doing anything about, this Jan-Jan child abuse charge by Etta Rosales, et al. is pure hypocrisy.

On the global front, a recent event encapsulates how pitiful some local opinion writers are for being hoodwinked by the West’s info manipulation: The resignation of Al Jazeera Beirut bureau chief, Ghassan Ben Jeddo, over his former network’s unprofessional coverage of Libya — where massacres that never took place were repeated over and over — and Bahrain — where massacres that did take place have been all but ignored. Need I say more?

(Tune in to 1098AM, Monday to Friday, 5 to 6 p.m., and Sulo ng Pilipino, Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, 6 to 7 p.m.; TNT with HTL, Tuesday, 8 to 9 p.m., with replay at 11 p.m., on GNN, Destiny Cable Channel 8, on “Edsa Tres Revisited;” visit http://newkatipunero.blogspot.com for our articles plus select radio and GNN shows)

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

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20110429com5.html

DoJ not ordered to take charge of Gloria’s plunder raps — Noynoy By Aytch S. de la Cruz and Angie M. Rosales 04/29/2011

DoJ not ordered to take charge of Gloria’s plunder raps — Noynoy

By Aytch S. de la Cruz and Angie M. Rosales 04/29/2011

Malacañang yesterday feigned ignorance over Justice Secretary Leila de Lima’s move to claim jurisdiction over the plunder charges filed recently by former Solicitor General Francisco “Frank” Chavez against former President and now Pampanga Rep. Gloria Arroyo.

Presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda said De Lima was acting on her own and did not receive any order from Aquino when she decided to take over the case filed by Chavez instead of having Ombudsman Merceditas Gutierrez, an Aquino foe, take on the case, since government officials and employees’ cases are usually lodged in the Office of the Ombudsman.

De Lima reportedly also wants the plunder cases against Arroyo pending in the Ombudsman’s Office transferred to the Department of Justice (DoJ)..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20110429hed1.html

MILF trying to woo back Kato; gov’t panel expresses alarm By Michaela P. del Callar 04/29/2011

MILF trying to woo back Kato; gov’t panel expresses alarm

By Michaela P. del Callar 04/29/2011

The Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) has ordered its rogue commander currently leading a separate armed group to immediately return to its fold and stop staging rebellions.

In an official resolution adopted on March 23, 2011 that was released on Thursday, the MILF, the country’s largest separatist Muslim group, stopped short of expelling Ameril Umbra Kato even as the Philippine government and MILF have said that the new faction would derail the ongoing peace process and threaten the security and stability of Mindanao.

In Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, where the government and MILF are holding talks, Mohagher Iqbal, chairman of the MILF peace panel, said Kato “has not yet burned his bridges” with the group..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20110429hed3.html

Bar blast suspect charged by DoJ By Benjamin B. Pulta 04/29/2011

Bar blast suspect charged by DoJ

By Benjamin B. Pulta 04/29/2011

Criminal charges for multiple frustrated murder and multiple attempted murder have been recommended yesterday by the Department of Justice (DoJ) against a member of the Alpha Phi Omega (APO) fraternity in connection with the grenade attack outside the De La Salle University last Sept. 26.

In a 21-page resolution, prosecution lawyer Gerard Gaerlan recommended the filing of charges which were then approved by Prosecutor General Claro Arellano and Senior Deputy State Prosecutor Richard Anthony Fadullon.

The Justice department also found probable cause to indict Anthony Nepomuceno of Mogpog, Marinduque for illegal possession of explosive.

The DoJ ruled that Nepo-muceno’s alibi that he could not have committed the crime because he was not present at the La Salle premises when the bombing took place “is weak.”.... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20110429hed2.html

Air Force jump master dies in Pampanga skydiving mishap 04/29/2011

Air Force jump master dies in Pampanga skydiving mishap

An Air Force jump master died after his parachute malfunctioned during a training at Clark Airbase in Pampanga last Wednesday.

Air Force spokesman Lt. Col. Miguel Ernesto Okol identified the fatality as M/Sgt. Samuel Nagac, an acclaimed jump master of the 770th Special Operations and Combat Support Group.

Nagac, Okol said, was among the five jumpers undergoing capability training on airborne operations when the fatal accident happened. The Air Force men jumped from a Huey helicopter..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20110429hed6.html

Widow-maker aircraft crashes anew; pilot dead By Mario J. Mallari 04/29/2011

Widow-maker aircraft crashes anew; pilot dead

By Mario J. Mallari 04/29/2011

An Air Force trainer jet crashed yesterday near a resort in Bataan province, killing one of its two pilots.

Military Northern Luzon Command (Nolcom) chief Lt. Gen. Gaudencio Pangilinan confirmed that an Air Force S-211 trainer jet crashed near Stela Mariz Beach Resort in Barangay Banawang, Bagac town.

Pangilinan said that one of the pilots was confirmed dead but he did not give the name pending confirmation.
“Aircraft disintegrated upon impact…one confirmed dead,” Pangilinan said.

According to Pangilinan, heavy rains were ongoing at the crash site at press time yesterday..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/nation/20110429nat1.html

Complaints against Willie based on tampered YouTube video — Revillame’s counsel 04/29/2011

Complaints against Willie based on tampered YouTube video — Revillame’s counsel

Lawyer Leonard de Vera said yesterday that the child abuse complaints against Willie Revillame, including one filed by the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), were based on eight minutes of video spliced and doctored and then uploaded on YouTube to make his client look bad.

De Vera said that a viewing of the unedited 48 minutes of TV appearance by six-year-old Jan-jan would show that the eight-minute YouTube video misrepresented the actual events and their proper context in an obvious bid to portray Revillame as a child abuser.

Revillame’s counsel said that Jan-jan only cried twice in the six times he danced on Revillame’s show last March 12, but that the uploaded YouTube clip made it appear like he was crying all the time..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/nation/20110429nat2.html

MMDA gives green light to 10 renowned artists to re-design walls and pillars of Edsa 04/29/2011

MMDA gives green light to 10 renowned artists to re-design walls and pillars of Edsa

The Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) has given the green light to 10 renowned artists in the country to paint the walls and pillars of Edsa with the aim of providing a respite from the drab surroundings of smoke-belching vehicles and billboards and a refreshing contrast that can help commuters and motorists calm down when they’re stuck in traffic.

The MMDA with the support of a leading paint manufacturing company, top-rate science and art have put together an urban renewal initiative, dubbed the Edsa Project, that will enable not only huge artworks to be posted on eight strategic locations along Metro Manila’s main road artery but will also lessen air pollution through the use of a local breakthrough air-cleaning paint as well.

This year-long Edsa Project will be launched on May 7, in Barangay San Lorenzo, Makati City to coincide with the village’s Community Day celebration.

The artists will compose eight artworks and execute them with the Knox-Out paint by Boysen, a paint that uses sunlight to transform poisons in the air, particularly nitrogen oxide, into a harmless residue that is easily washed away by rain..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/metro/20110429met5.html

Two lawmakers oppose use of full-body scanners at NAIA By Gerry Baldo 04/29/2011

Two lawmakers oppose use of full-body scanners at NAIA

By Gerry Baldo 04/29/2011

Two lawmakers from Mindanao yesterday pushed an investigation into the plan of the Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA) to acquire full-body scanners for the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) amid complaints that these intrude into the privacy of the travelers.

According to Cagayan de Oro Rep. Rufus Rodriguez and his brother Abante Mindanao party-list Rep. Maximo Rodriguez, the use of the machines would virtually strip those who go through it.

“They are also known as ‘virtual strip search’ because they use low levels of radiation to see terrorist contraband and provide a very detailed image of the travelers’ naked body,” the Rodriguezes said in House Resolution 1115..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/metro/20110429met1.html

No dividing line EDITORIAL 04/28/2011

Thursday, April 28, 2011

No dividing line

Click to enlarge
With several allies of Noynoy Aquino — coming from the executive, legislative and even local executives, once allies of Gloria Arroyo when she was in power and position — being charged by the Ombudsman’s office for plunder and graft, how would the Malacañang tenant handle this, especially since these complaints on the P728-million fertilizer fund scam will likely be elevated before the Sandiganbayan?

Already, Speaker Sonny Belmonte quickly reacted by claiming that Ombudsman Merceditas Gutierrez had these charges filed against certain congressmen in her bid to weaken the impeachment charges against her and he said he does not consider this move as retaliatory on her part.

Said he: “The members of the House are already out of this, since we have voted on it. I look at it as a move to defang one of the impeachment charges, which is related to the fertilizer scam,” adding that the fact that it took seven years after the 2004 fertilizer scam to come up with this charge “only proves that there was prolonged delay of action,” which is also a charge leveled against Merci by the House..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20110428com1.html

No end to the cycle FRONTLINE Ninez Cacho-Olivares 04/28/2011

No end to the cycle

Ninez Cacho-Olivares
Plunder complaints against political foes are easy to file. Proving the charges, may, however be much more difficult.

Of course, everything connected to a political foe’s plunder charge can get him arrested, jailed and convicted by a court, no matter if such charges are not proven at all by the prosecutors ---- that is, if political influence is involved.

This was the case of former President Erap Estrada. It was clear that the plunder charge leveled against him by the then new Gloria Arroyo presidency had no basis and it was the anti-Erap mob, not the rule of law and due process that was at play, leading to his arrest and long detention.

He was also convicted by the Sandiganbayan, not on the merits of his case, but because of undue political influence. The justices who had heard his case and convicted him were all promoted to the high court as their reward for convicting Estrada..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20110428com2.html

Desperate migrants threaten EU’s Schengen treaty focus 04/28/2011

Desperate migrants threaten EU’s Schengen treaty


BRUSSELS — After battling to maintain a united front through the euro crisis, Europe faces a new threat of its unity unravelling as thousands of desperate migrants test the EU’s ground-breaking Schengen treaty.

First signed in 1985 as a giant step toward European integration, the treaty opening passport-free travel to 400 million people in 25 nations is in the line of fire as divided EU nations squabble over how to deal with a sudden influx of migrants from Africa, notably Tunisia and Libya.

The issue will dominate a summit Tuesday in Rome between French President Nicolas Sarkozy and Italian President Silvio Berlusconi, ahead of new EU proposals on Schengen due to be released May 4.

Italy has complained loudly for weeks of being left alone to cope with the arrival of some 30,000 migrants from North Africa since early this year, some fleeing the conflict in Libya, the majority economic refugees from Tunisia..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20110428com3.html

A fox guarding the chicken coop BLURBAL THRUSTS Louie Logarta 04/28/2011

A fox guarding the chicken coop

Louie Logarta
Kagay-anons (as longtime residents of Cagayan de Oro City want to be called) aren’t exactly ecstatic over the scheduled opening early next year of the P8-billion Laguindingan International Airport in Northern Mindanao, primarily due to time, cost and distance considerations.

According to the Department of Transportation and Communications (DoTC) which is supervising the construction work, the Laguindingan project — a joint undertaking of the Export-Import Bank of Korea, the Korean Economic Development Cooperation Fund and the Philippine government — is in the final stages of completion and could realistically be opened to the public in January 2012 to serve as the gateway to Southern Philippines.

The DoTC gushed that the LIA would provide safe, comfortable and reliable transportation facilities in the Cagayan de Oro-Iligan City corridor because of the modern passenger terminal, runway, taxiways, aprons, cargo terminal, control tower, maintenance and administration buildings and waste water treatment plant that have been constructed to make it conform to international standards, much unlike the P25-billion lemon Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 3 which has created so much headaches for the government..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20110428com4.html

Love VIEWPOINTS Archbishop Oscar V. Cruz 04/28/2011


Archbishop Oscar V. Cruz
As faith is the virtue of belief in God and as hope is the virtue of confidence in God, love is the virtue of affection for God. Yes, they are called and known as the three “Theological Virtues” whereas their origin is God, their medium is God and their object is God. There is something else that makes the acquisition and retention of these virtues, distinct and extraordinary. This: It is only God who implants and nurtures them in the heart and mind of every man who receives and observes them — nothing less but something definitely more in the sphere of the supernatural and/or in the realm of the eternal. This is why the virtues of faith in, hope on and love of God bring about personal security and emotional strength, inward certitude and spiritual power to those who have them and live by them.

Theological love is the virtue through which people love God above everybody and everything else. To love God for His own self and to love others for the sake of God — this is the genuine theological virtue of love. Observing all the universal Ten Commandments given by God Himself to humanity as a whole — without exception— equals the real and concrete expression of the love of God. After all, the first three Commandments are about God Himself. And all the other seven Commandments are about loving others or neighbors. Let it be clearly said and duly noted that all men, women and children — especially those still in their mothers’ wombs — are the centerpieces of creation, the images of their Creator and wherefore the objects of his particular concern and the repositories of His special predilection..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20110428com5.html

In tsunami-hit Japan, a mother finally finds closure FEATURE 04/28/2011

In tsunami-hit Japan, a mother finally finds closure


ISHINOMAKI — Weeks after a tsunami crashed into her Japanese home town and took away her daughter, Takako Suzuki received the phone call she had long dreaded but finally come to hope for.

Police had found the remains of the 41-year-old woman, this AFP reporter’s sister, only a few hundred meters from the ruined family house in the fishing port of Ishinomaki, now a wasteland of mud and rubble.

In a sign of how agonizing searching for a loved one had been for Suzuki, 67, and for countless others here, a neighbor expressed relief at the news that the remains had been found, saying simply: “That’s good.”

The news brought a degree of closure for Suzuki after a painful search that had started after the March 11 quake, when snow fell on the town, and ended when cherry trees started to blossom above the rubble..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20110428com6.html

Guantanamo files show inmates combative, depressed focus 04/28/2011

Guantanamo files show inmates combative, depressed


WASHINGTON — Vindictive, depressed or cooperative: the behavior of Guantanamo detainees, described in secret US documents released by Wikileaks, sheds light on conditions in the US military prison in Cuba.

“He went on three hunger strikes in the past, most recently in July 2005. The detainee was a major participant in the voluntary total fast of 2005-2006,” read a March 2006 entry in the file of detainee Yasser Al Zahrani.

The Saudi died months later when he committed suicide with two other detainees, according to US military officials.

Zahrani’s file reported that in July 2005 he “told a guard that he would use a knife to cut his stomach open, cut his face off, and then drink his blood, smiling and laughing as he said it.”.... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20110428com7.html

De Lima takes over GMA plunder rap By Benjamin B. Pulta and Aytch S. de la Cruz 04/28/2011


De Lima takes over GMA plunder rap

By Benjamin B. Pulta and Aytch S. de la Cruz 04/28/2011

Ensuring that former President and current Rep. Gloria Arroyo will be found guilty of plunder, Justice Secretary Leila de Lima will be taking on the case against her, saying that it is she who has jurisdiction over the Arroyo plunder case.

It is common knowledge that President Aquino is obssessed with seeing his predecessor charged and jailed for plunder.

De Lima added, however that there will be no undue interest from her office in going after the former president who was charged with plunder before the Department of Justice (DoJ) the other day by former solicitor general Francisco Chavez.

Anti-corruption cases against government officials, former and present, always land in the Ombudsman’s office for investigation, but De Lima yesterday said it is she who has co-jurisdiction over the case..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20110428hed1.html

Erap: Gloria must be made accountable for past acts 04/28/2011

Erap: Gloria must be made accountable for past acts

Former President Joseph Estrada yesterday maintained that his successor, former president and current Pampanga Rep. Gloria Arroyo should be made accountable for her past actions and anomalies that surrounded her administration.

“There is the ZTE-NBN broadband deal. There is the fertilizer fund scam. And she cheated my friend, FPJ (Fernando “Ronnie” Poe, Jr.) of his electoral victory in 2004,” he said.

Estrada’s statement came amid the filing of former Solicitor-General Frank Chavez of a complaint for plunder before the Department of Justice (DoJ) against Arroyo, two of her former alter-egos and another high-ranking government official for the alleged misuse of Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) funds mainly for purposes of Arroyo’s reelection bid in the 2004 elections.

The 23-page complaint filed at the DoJ on Tuesday named former Arroyo executive secretary and former Foreign Affairs secretary Alberto Romulo, former Arroyo health secretary and current Civil Service Commission (CSC) Chairman Francisco Duque III, and former OWWA administrator Virgilio Angelo as co-respondents..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20110428hed2.html

Aquino extradition now likely after US court ruling By Pat C. Santos 04/28/2011

Aquino extradition now likely after US court ruling

By Pat C. Santos 04/28/2011

Former Philippine National Police (PNP) intelligence officer Sr. Supt. Michael Ray Aquino’s extradition became imminent after the US Court of Appeals junked Aquino’s petition for a rehearing of his extradition case, the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) said yesterday.

Aquino is considered key in shedding light on the double-murder case of publicist Salvador Dacer and his driver Emmanuel Corbito NBI Interpol division head Claro De Castro said the return of Aquino, who is now detained in Hudson County jail at New Jersey, has a bigger chance of happening based on the report his office received on the US appellate court’s ruling..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20110428hed3.html

RP losing valuable resources in unprotected boundaries By Mario J. Mallari 04/28/2011

RP losing valuable resources in unprotected boundaries

By Mario J. Mallari 04/28/2011
The country is losing billions of pesos worth of natural resources, enough to fund an entire military, due to unprotected territorial boundaries, a ranking official of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) said yesterday.

At a press briefing, Brig. Gen. Roy Deveraturda, chief of the AFP Modernization Program Management Office, said the military has no clear estimate of the loses due to poaching, illegal fishing, smuggling that happened in the country’s territorial waters but admitted it may run in billions of pesos.

“How do we know if we cannot really monitor but as we see it, it’s a lot…you cannot quantify, you can just make estimate. As I say in our informal talks, we are losing much if we count it, for example, in marine resources and we don’t benefit from it. Maybe if you sell it, it’s enough to buy you a new army, air force and navy,” Deveraturda said..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/nation/20110428nat1.html

RP Embassy in Rome warns Filipinos of bogus job offers 04/28/2011

RP Embassy in Rome warns Filipinos of bogus job offers

The Philippine Embassy in Rome yesterday warned prospective Filipino workers against bogus job offers for the reconstruction and rehabilitation of L’Aquila, an Italian city devastated by a strong quake in 2009.

In a report to the Department of Foreign Affairs, the embassy said the project proponent in the email represents itself as the “Ministry of Development, Public Works and Housing Reconstruction of Earthquake Affected Cities Program,” allegedly under the auspices of World Rehabilitation Program (WRP) and Italian Freedom Corps (IFC)..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/nation/20110428nat8.html

Gov’t execs, priest file child abuse raps against Willing Willie host By Arlie O. Calalo 04/28/2011

Gov’t execs, priest file child abuse raps against Willing Willie host

By Arlie O. Calalo 04/28/2011
At least two government officials and running priest Fr. Robert Reyes have joined others as they filed yesterday another child abuse complaint against embattled television host Willie Revillame before the Quezon City Prosecutor’s Office.

Reyes, Department of Social Welfare and Development Secretary Corazon “Dinky” Soliman and Assistant Secretary for Luzon Parisya Taradji, officer in charge-executive director for the Council for the Welfare of Children, singled out Revillame in their complaint sparing business tycoon and TV5 owner Manny Pangilinan and its other executives.

“We only sued the TV host (in reference to Revillame). According to our legal services, the crime is just a single act of abuse,” Soliman told reporters as they emerged from the Prosecutor’s Office.

To get their acts together, the DSWD chief said she had met with other the non-government organizations and individual personalities who earlier filed separate complaints against Revillame..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/metro/20110428met1.html

High court rules on Taguig elections dispute By Benjamin B. Pulta 04/28/2011

High court rules on Taguig elections dispute

By Benjamin B. Pulta 04/28/2011

A ruling by the Supreme Court (SC) has turned down the plea of Taguig Mayor Maria Laarni Cayetano to stop the recount and retrieval of ballots in the city.

In an 11-page resolution, the SC en banc through Associate Justice Antonio Eduardo Nachura ordered the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to proceed with dispatch the election protest filed by retired SC Justice Dante Tiñga in connection with the city’s mayoralty elections.

The high tribunal pointed out that it is the Comelec which should decide the election protest of Tinga against Cayetano since it is the court which has jurisdiction over the case.

“(T)he protest filed by private respondent (Tiñga) and the counter-protest filed by petitioner (Cayetano) remain pending before the Comelec, which should afford petitioner ample opportunity to ventilate her grievances. Thereafter, the Comele should decide these cases with dispatch..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/metro/20110428met5.html

The time has come EDITORIAL 04/27/2011

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

The time has come

Click to enlarge
Catholic bishops and their priests in the Philippines should really let up on their demonization of the Reproductive Health (RH) bill that is now in the House of Representatives, and will, in all likelihood be passed by the Senate.

They can argue until they are blue in the face that human life must always be upheld, even when this particular issue has no bearing on the use of contraceptives that are, in reality, not abortifacients, since these prevent conception — which means no meeting of the sperm and the egg, and therefore, no fertilization and no conception, which means no human life has formed or has been destroyed..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20110427com1.html

Asking for more trouble FRONTLINE Ninez Cacho-Olivares 04/27/2011

Asking for more trouble

Ninez Cacho-Olivares
Noynoy can forget about his public-private partnership (PPP) program and his claims of foreign investors flooding the Philippines in a bid for big ticket projects under his administration, not when he again proves to the world of big foreign business that he, like Gloria Arroyo before him, refuses to honor contracts that have already been approved by government.

To this day, Noynoy has not settled the compensation issue with the owners of NAIA 3 terminal, despite government’s expropriation of the airport terminal, even if his administration is violating the ruling of the Supreme Court (SC) that bans government from exercising ownership rights.

This incidentally, is the major reason foreign investments have been too slow in coming.

Yet Noynoy compounds this problem by unilaterally cancelling a project that had already been approved by two Justice secretaries, one of whom is his: The P18.7-billion contract with the Baggerwerken Decloedt en Zoon (BDC) firm for the dredging of Laguna Lake..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20110427com2.html

Collaboration suspected in Afghan jail break ANALYSIS 04/27/2011

Collaboration suspected in Afghan jail break


KABUL — The daring prison escape of nearly 500 Taliban through a tunnel that took months to dig could never have happened without Afghan officials turning a blind eye or actively collaborating, experts said.

Some went further, suggesting they may even have condoned the plot as a way of building bridges with the Taliban and furthering peace efforts by President Hamid Karzai’s government as Nato troops start withdrawing.

Either way, analysts agreed the operation at Kandahar prison was a major win for the Taliban at the start of the Afghan fighting season, which Western officials see as key to assessing how far a US-led troop surge has succeeded.

“This is a tremendous achievement for the Taliban because the Taliban were under heavy pressure in the greater Kandahar area... and now they have been able to free some high-profile commanders,” political analyst Haroun Mir said..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20110427com3.html

Royal wedding sidelines Australia republic drive FEATURE 04/27/2011

Royal wedding sidelines Australia republic drive


SYDNEY — Their views could not be further at odds, but the upcoming royal wedding has Australia’s royalists and republicans in rare and unlikely agreement — the monarchy is digging in Down under.

A former British penal colony famed for its boisterous irreverence, it is perhaps unsurprising that Australia is usually seen as the most republican of Queen Elizabeth II’s realms.

Prime Minister Julia Gillard is a staunch believer in replacing the British royal family with an Australian head of state once the queen dies.

And though Australians voted against ditching the royals in 1999 the republican movement has long argued it is a matter of when, not if..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20110427com5.html

Pilipinas kay ganda! HE SAYS Aldrin Cardon 04/27/2011

Pilipinas kay ganda!

Aldrin Cardon
I should be in Boracay already when this column sees print.

I expect it to be a story different from my sojourn in Marinduque, where I had my taste of the Moriones festival last week.

The Holy Week was the highlight of the Moriones celebration. It was a well-covered event by some of the leading media companies, which have sent their crews, writers and photographers to capture the island-wide activities centered on the last few days of Christ. The Moriones is not limited to His life only, but also the characters which figured prominently in His trial but up to His crucifixion and resurrection.

To say that I was impressed by the elaborate costumes worn by the “Moryons,” those who acted as the Roman centurion soldiers who crucified Christ is an understatement. My experience stood out from all the summer vacations I had in the past. Marinduque offered the best opportunity for both body and soul to relax, and then some....... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20110427com6.html

Tara na! SHE SAYS Dinah S. Ventura 04/27/2011

Tara na!

Dinah S. Ventura
I have come to believe that Metro Manila is the best place to be during Holy Week, if you prefer peace and quiet. For someone who spends much of his or her time on weekdays in the office, and out with family or friends on weekends, one’s home can become the ideal place to hole in when everyone else is gone.

I never would have said this 10, even five years ago, when any long break meant travel, especially to the beach. I guess age has led me to prefer the quieter city when it’s time for Lenten reflection. With age comes experience, and I have had many years to enjoy summer and Lenten sojourns to different parts of the country. We used to love going to Zambales, where a friend’s family owned a beach house, but when they sold it years ago, we took to spending the break in Subic or anywhere else one could drive to. But with age, too, comes a desire for hassle-free, peaceful escapes, where one could truly commune with nature, or simply enjoy the comforts of one’s home. The crowded beaches now lend little appeal for me..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20110427com7.html

Finally, Almendras takes aim C.R.O.S.S.R.O.A.D.S Jonathan De la Cruz 04/27/2011

Finally, Almendras takes aim

Jonathan De la Cruz
Finally, Energy Secretary Jose Rene Almendras has taken aim against oil companies that chose to raise prices last week in what one transport organization dubbed as a pamatay (deadly) Holy Week operation. The group advised that these companies, Shell, Total and Chevron, didn’t even take pause during the most “Holy of Hollies” even as the group welcomed Almendras’ belated order for these guys to bring down their prices immediately to reflect the movement in the world oil market. The youthful secretary told the companies to explain the inordinate haste in raising prices or else face “pricing abuse” charges if they fail to sufficiently justify their action.

Well, as they say, better late than never. At least, the agency has seen enough of these companies’ willy-nilly operations which brought about inordinate price increases in just a matter of months. We note that gasoline prices have been raised 13 times; diesel, 11 times and kerosene, 14 times while rollbacks, if at all, were small and came far in between. Even the price movements as far as LPG is concerned have not been as satisfactory as expected. So there. Imagine, getting whacked with such blows even as the global oil market’s volatility barely approximated that of the 2008 panic and in the midst of the peso’s strengthening at that. Nobody, not even the experts and oil industry veterans could come out with a rational explanation of such price movements in the local market, triggering protestations of “price manipulation.” Which is why the public awaits with bated breath what Almendras and company will do next now that they have finally decided enough is enough..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20110427com4.html

Noy allies to face criminal charge on fertilizer scam By Gerry Baldo and Charlie V. Manalo 04/27/2011


Noy allies to face criminal charge on fertilizer scam

By Gerry Baldo and Charlie V. Manalo 04/27/2011

Allies of former President Gloria Arroyo, now turned allies of President Aquino are not spared from the fertilizer funds scam.

This new development arose as the Office of the Ombudsman, in its resolution, disclosed that it is planning to file criminal charges against government officials who may have misused the fertilizer funds weeks before the 2004 national elections.

Among those listed in the Ombudsman’s resolution as recipients of the fertilizer funds is the congressional district of former Bukidnon Rep. Nereus Acosta, who is also facing graft charges before the Sandiganbayan in connection with the alleged diversion of his “pork barrel” to a foundation headed by members of his family.

In its 134-page resolution released last April 15, the anti-graft body said the First District of Bukidnon of then Rep. Nereus Acosta Jr. was one of five legislative districts that received a share from the Farm Input/Farm Implements Fund (FIFIF) even if none of them was included in the list submitted to the Department of Budget and Management in 2004 for issuance of Special Allotment Release Order (SARO)..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20110427hed1.html

P550M plunder filed vs Gloria, Romulo, et al. 04/27/2011

P550M plunder filed vs Gloria, Romulo, et al.

A criminal complaint for plunder and malversation has been filed by former solicitor general Francisco Chavez against former president Gloria Arroyo and three former officials of her Cabinet for the alleged misuse of at least P550 million in funds collected from Filipinos working abroad.

A similar case had been filed before the Ombudsman by Chavez in July 2004, but the complaint had to be shelved by the anti-graft office because of the then chief executive’s immunity from suit.

Aside from Arroyo, Chavez in his 23-page complaint, also named Virgilio Angelo, Francisco Duque III, who is now the Civil Service Commission Chairman, and Alberto Romulo..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20110427hed2.html

Jan-jan’s parents file child abuse rap vs Carandang’s mother, 2 others By Arlie O. Calalo 04/27/2011

Jan-jan’s parents file child abuse rap vs Carandang’s mother, 2 others

By Arlie O. Calalo 04/27/2011

The parents of Jan-jan, the six-year-old boy embroiled in the recent controversy over alleged child abuse, filed yesterday a child abuse complaint against the mother of Presidential Communications Group Secretary Ricky Carandang, a blogger and a Facebook page administrator.

Accompanied by their counsel John Pineda, Joe Suan, 35; and wife Diana, 29, Jan-Jan’s parents, filed a 13-page supplemental complaint/affidavit against Dr. Lourdes “Honey” Carandang, blogger John Silva, and Facebook page administrator Froilan Grate before the office of Quezon City Prosecutor George Cabanilla at around 11:30 a.m..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20110427hed4.html

Palace okays Noy’s move seeking advice from Lacson By Aytch S. de la Cruz 04/27/2011

.Palace okays Noy’s move seeking advice from Lacson
By Aytch S. de la Cruz 04/27/2011

Malacañang sees no problem with President Aquino soliciting advice from his “good friend,” Sen. Panfilo “Ping” Lacson, on police matters occasionally yet it keeps on vacillating to entertain the possibility of the lawmaker joining the Cabinet in the future.

Presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda explained during a press briefing yesterday that Aquino was just being “consultative” when he sought Lacson’s advice on who to pick as future chiefs of the Philippine National Police (PNP) during their meeting last month.

Aquino withaeld such information when he admitted to reporters that he met with Lacson three days after the senator returned following a 14-month hibernation to evade police officers’ arrest owing to his previous involvement in the Dacer-Corbito double murder case in February last year.... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/nation/20110427nat6.html

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