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Asking for trouble EDITORIAL 01/12/2011

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Asking for trouble

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Another Supreme Court rejection of a yet another move of Malacañang may be in the offing as a legal, if not constitutional question, is attached to it.

The planned move of the Aquino administration to sell the twin camps of Camp Crame and Camp Aguinaldo, if pursued, will likely be challenged before the high court, as this piece of land located in the heart of Edsa, has a condition set by the donors, as stated in the deed of donation.

The donors of the prime real estate stated that the land donated can only be used for military camps, and nothing else. Should the land be used for something else, it goes back to the donors.

Yet Malacañang, through Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima, wants to sell these military assets and no doubt will be pursuing this plan. And no doubt too, if sold, the money would merely be spent unwisely and even wasted, not to mention the fat commissions that are expected to be pocketed by the usual government crooks..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20110112com1.html

Time to go FRONTLINE Ninez Cacho-Olivares 01/12/2011

Time to go

Ninez Cacho-Olivares
The Presidential Commission on Good Government (PCGG) should have been abolished a long time ago.
In truth, it should not even have been created because the sequestration rules were not being followed at all.

When government sequesters properties, the usual course is to have these under the control of the courts that has a wealth of experience in administering sequestration cases.

As things went during the Cory and Ramos regimes — especially the Cory regime, even her edict on this was violated by her own government, as it is clearly stated in her first ever fiat that ownership of the sequestered assets must first be established, after which, government has to prove that the sequestered assets were ill-gotten.

But what happened during the Cory regime was that even without proving ownership; even without proving that these assets were ill-gotten, government quickly sold many of these assets, with a lot of these sales sold at bargain prices, and some even to those who were appointed to head such sequestered companies, with funds going to private pockets. Talk of corruption in the claimed sainted Cory Aquino government and there certainly was..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20110112com2.html

Corruption on Vietnamese minds as communists meet focus 01/12/2011

Corruption on Vietnamese minds as communists meet


HANOI — Cars and buses racing toward Hanoi’s expanding airport pass giant billboards that promote the symbols of Vietnam’s growth: housing estates, motorcycles and banks.
But just off the highway, things are moving more slowly.

Since the last Communist Party Congress five years ago, the country has certainly developed, Nguyen Van Tran says from behind a buffalo dragging a wood-and-metal plough through the caked earth of a rice paddy.

“But for farmers like us, I think there has been no change. It’s just the same,” adds Tran, whose bare feet are caked in dust.

The Congress that begins Wednesday to choose the country’s top leaders will not change anything either, says Tran, but he and other Vietnamese wish that it would..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20110112com3.html

On PCGG: It’s about time C.R.O.S.S.R.O.A.D.S Jonathan De la Cruz 01/12/2011

On PCGG: It’s about time

Jonathan De la Cruz
\"It’s about time.” This was the collective reaction of legislators led by no less than the leaders of both chambers, Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile and Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr., to the proposal of PCGG Chairman Andy Bautista and his fellow commissioners to close shop within two years and assign the agency’s remaining tasks to existing institutions, i.e., the investigation and prosecution of cases to the Department of Justice (DoJ) and the care and preservation of sequestered and/or surrendered properties and assets to the Department of Finance (DoF). This is welcome news indeed and we commend Bautista and his colleagues for finally realizing it is time to phase out what most observers have come to regard as a failed, undemocratic adventure in the “settling of scores.”

As Speaker Belmonte noted, the PCGG was meant to be a “temporary thing” but it has been there for more than 20 years already that it is time to give it rest. The agency which was created under Executive Order 1 of the then revolutionary government of President Cory Aquino will celebrate its 25th year of checkered existence this year. Over that period, the PCGG has been involved in many controversies and was perceived, rightly or wrongly, as having contributed to the enveloping “culture of graft and corruption” in the country rather than a beacon light of good governance which was its raison d’etre in the heady days of Edsa l. No less than the Senate Chief bewailed the fact that the PCGG “has deviated from its original mandate to go after the alleged ill gotten wealth of former President Marcos and his cronies... and became an instrument of injustice and oppression rather than an instrument for justice and good governance.” Indeed, the performance of the agency over the years has been so tainted it has earned the unsavory tag of being the “Pangkat Cawatan Ganid at Gahaman (PCGG)” which roughly translates into “The Agency of Greedy and Insatiable Persons” — an appellation which has gained currency over time. The stink associated with many PCGG operations from the time of its first chairman, then Senate President Jovy Salonga to Bautista’s predecessor, lawyer Camilo Sabio, has been such that even those who originally approved of its decidedly unorthodox and irregular if not illegal practices have come to lament its fall from grace..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20110112com4.html

Political lockdown at root of Algeria riots — experts focus 01/12/2011

Political lockdown at root of Algeria riots — experts


ALGIERS — Youths involved in Algeria’s worst rioting in decades were protesting not just against rising prices, but against a system that has left them no other way to voice their frustration, experts said.

The riots, which have left at least five persons dead and more than 800 injured, most of them police, erupted following a dramatic rise in prices for basic goods including food. In some cases, prices had risen by as much as 30 percent since Jan. 1.

The government has scrambled to deal with the crisis, announcing plans for cuts on import duties and taxes on sugar and food oils.

But experts said the underlying cause of the violence — a political regime that has clamped down on dissent — will remain..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20110112com5.html

How much can you bear? HE SAYS Aldrin Cardon 01/12/2011

How much can you bear?

Aldrin Cardon
It’s the prick that could trigger social restlessness, the devaluation of Juan de la Cruz’s spending power as a result of the price increases in the most basic of commodities.

They are coming in a chain-reaction mode, like a single cancer cell does to a human body.

Some can carry the brunt and will survive through these price increases by working harder, or by scrounging the pits for whatever extra job is available for an extra income. For others, they mean all hopes are lost as they grope to establish their footing in this economic disparity where only the rich get richer.

Tough times loom for Juan de la Cruz, whose belt needs extra tightening as he braces for the effects of a higher transportation fare (including the government-subsidized tram systems), more expensive car fuel, pricier food items, and with them, most things follow..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20110112com6.html

Rude awakenings SHE SAYS Dinah S. Ventura 01/12/2011

Rude awakenings

Dinah S. Ventura
The floods, the crimes by men in uniform, and now the price hikes. What a rude way to welcome the new year!

Talk of any cost increases is always painful for those who must survive on low salaries, especially for those who cannot even look forward to a measly increase year after year. It does not matter if the Palace thinks the fare increases are “slight” and “reasonable,” as Presidential Communications Strategy Secretary Ricky Carandang described the new rates in a press conference last week — the people cannot help but react against it.

On the heels of the toll fee increases, the proposed fare hikes for the Metro Rail Transit (MRT) and the Light Rail Transit (LRT), the rail networks that connect different parts of Metro Manila, was approved by Malacañang. As of this writing, the LRTA board has yet to give the proposal a go-ahead before it can be implemented.

The Palace explains that the reason for its approval of the fare hike is a realignment of priorities. According to reports, the new fares would range between P21 and P25, or reach P30 at the maximum end. The real cost of an MRT and LRT trip is about P48, so government is spending about P7 billion a year to subsidize MRT operations. If the hikes are implemented, government would save about P2 billion yearly, which could go to projects expected to benefit the entire nation rather than just MRT and LRT riders in the nation’s capital..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20110112com7.html

Sale of twin camps ill-conceived, reckless—Noy ally By Angie M. Rosales 01/12/2011

Sale of twin camps ill-conceived, reckless—Noy ally

By Angie M. Rosales 01/12/2011

Ill-conceived, bordering on being reckless. This was how a Senate ally of President Aquino yesterday described the pronouncements made by his finance secretary over the government’s plan to auction off portions of Camp Aguinaldo and Camp Crame.

Malacañang continued to be bombarded by criticisms over its plans to sell government assets, as announced by Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima, including portions of the prime real properties, the latest of which came from Sen. Ralph Recto.

“The brash notice of sale of Camps Aguinaldo and Crame borders on the reckless. While I admire the Aquino administration’s efforts to raise funds at a time our coffers need it most, the government just cannot display its prime assets ‘on sale’ without studying other options,” he said.

He added that the reason for the sale was not even made clear as well as where the money would be going if the sale pushes through..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20110112hed2.html

DoJ ready to take over PCGG cases — De Lima 01/12/2011

DoJ ready to take over PCGG cases — De Lima

The Department of Justice (DoJ) is ready to absorb all criminal cases which may be left hanging once the plan to abolish the Presidential Commission on Good Government (PCGG) pulls through, Justice Secretary Leila de Lima said yesterday.

De Lima told reporters the remaining sequestration cases which are still pending could also be handled by the Office of the Solicitor General.

De Lima added any pro-posal to abolish the PCGG would need legislation and that a mere executive order (EO) would not suffice.

“The EO executed by then President (Cory) Aquino didn’t require a law because she had law-making powers then. But it’s different now. An EO might not suffice. There should be a law,” she explained.....MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20110112hed3.html

CSC favors state lawyers in PAO row 01/12/2011 By Benjamin B. Pulta

CSC favors state lawyers in PAO row

By Benjamin B. Pulta
The Civil Service Commission (CSC) favored embattled chief public attorney Persida Rueda-Acosta and her deputies in an eligibility dispute, saying state lawyers in the Public Attorney’s Office (PAO) need not obtain civil executive service (CES) eligibility to keep their posts.

In a four-page letter dated Jan. 7 and furnished to Acosta, CSC chairman Francisco Duque III and Commissioners Cesar Buenaflor and Mary Ann Fernandez-Mendoza said the requirement placed by the law on Acosta’s post as well as her deputies is the bar examinations.

“It is the Commission’s opinion that for purposes of permanent appointment to the positions of Chief Public Attorney, Deputy Chief Public Attorney and Regional Public Attorney, no third level eligibility (CES) is required but only Rep. Act No. 1080 (Bar) civil service eligibility,” the CSC said.

The CSC cited that Rep. Act No. 9406 which reorganized the PAO requires that the chief public attorney, deputy chief public attorney and regional public attorney shall have the same qualifications as the chief state prosecutor, assistant chief state prosecutor and regional state prosecutor, respectively..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20110112hed4.html

Thefts leave million at flood risk in RP 01/12/2011

Thefts leave million at flood risk in RP

A million people in the country are more at risk from deadly deluges after expensive flood warning equipment was stolen, likely by scavengers for scrap metal, meteorologists warned yesterday.

The state weather service said it had sought the help of police and local governments to help guard the rest of the sensors which it suspects are being cannibalized by poor locals who sell them for scrap and quick cash.

A million people have been left without advance warning of flash floods after the theft of the sensors at Agno River and its Tarlac River tributary, said

Ranny Ragasa, a member of the technical staff at the weather service..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20110112hed5.html

SC thumbs down oral arguments on Vizconde appeal 01/12/2011

SC thumbs down oral arguments on Vizconde appeal

A motion asking the Supreme Court (SC) to hold oral arguments on the Vizconde massacre case has been turned down by the tribunal, court officials said yesterday.

Lawyers of widower Lauro Vizconde have filed a motion for reconsideration which had been filed before the high court claiming that justices who voted to acquit Hubert Webb and his co-accused in the June 1991 Vizconde massacre case committed grave abuse of discretion.

Court spokesman Jose Midas Marquez said that the SC deferred ruling on Vizconde’s motion for
reconsideration of the Court’s Dec. 14 decision reversing the conviction of Webb, Antonio Lejano, Michael Gatchalian, Hospicio “Pyke” Fernandez, Peter Estrada and Miguel Rodriguez for the murder of Estrellita Vizconde and her two daughters Carmela and Jennifer..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20110112hed6.html

Collection of ‘training’ fees from nurses illegal By Angie M. Rosales 01/12/2011

Collection of ‘training’ fees from nurses illegal

By Angie M. Rosales 01/12/2011

Some hospitals indeed charge fees for training programs for new nurses but this practice is allowed by both the Commission on Higher Education (Ched) and the Professional Regulation Commission (PRC), Senate probers were told yesterday.

Philippine Hospitals Association vice president Dr. Hermogenes Jarin admitted before the Senate committee on health and demography that it was the first time he had heard of the practice of “volunteerism-for-a-fee.”

In the said hearing headed by Sen. Pia Cayetano, nursing organizations told lawmakers that newly registered nurses and nursing graduates are forced to resort to “volunteerism-for-a-fee,” just so they could earn needed work experience required for future employment here or abroad.

Instead of being employed by certain hospitals as regular staff or as “on-the job trainees” (OJTs), they are made to pay for their training, work experience and certification..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/nation/20110112nat1.html

Palace expresses surprise on Sandiganbayan’s comment on Garcia deal By Aytch S. de la Cruz 01/12/2011

Palace expresses surprise on Sandiganbayan’s comment on Garcia deal

By Aytch S. de la Cruz 01/12/2011

Malacañang yesterday said it is surprised to hear the denial of the Sandiganbayan with respect to the assertion of the Solicitor General Jose Anselmo Cadiz that the plea bargaining agreement between the Office of the Ombudsman and retired Maj. Gen. Carlos Garcia has already been approved since May 4, 2010.

Presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda, however, considered such development a good sign since it would mean that it’s not yet too late for the anti-graft court to let the government’s plunder case against former Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) comptroller go unresolved.

“If it [plea bargaining agreement] as they [Sandiganbayan justices] say, then at least, hopefully, we can still convince the Sandiganbayan justices [to change their position] that is not in favor of the government. Our countrymen do not support this kind of deal, the plea bargaining agreement. So we, too, wonder why they made that statement. But, again, we’ll just wait for the Solicitor General [to answer] — they were given time to comment,” Lacierda told reporters.

Lacierda said they do not wish to speculate over the statements made by the Sandiganbayan justices and would rather wait for their action on the motion for intervention filed by Cadiz last week amid observations that such petition might be rejected since there was no agreement to revoke anyway..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/nation/20110112nat6.html

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