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In bad taste EDITORIAL 03/12/2011

Saturday, March 12, 2011

In bad taste

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From early indications, it certainly looks like the Liberal Party senators and Senate allies of Noynoy don’t have the numbers to convict Ombudsman Merceditas “Merci” Gutierrez, which is why Sen. Teofisto “TG” Guingona and the LP senators came up with the partial report on the plea bargain deal just when the House is set for a plenary vote, which speaks of a psy-war effort to make it appear that they had the numbers to convict — 14 at the latest count, which would not have been too far off from getting two more senators to their side, the end game being for Merci to resign instead of facing an impeachment court.

But the psy-war tactic appears to have boomeranged on Noynoy’s LP boys in the Senate, as it not only appears that only five signed without reservations on the findings of the Senate blue ribbon committee “partial” report, but also already showed just how much of a presidental lackey they are, as displayed by their signatures agreeing to that partial report which calls for Merci to resign and for the House to impeach her as well as incorporate the finding’s report in its Articles of Impeachment to be transmitted to the Senate for court action..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20110312com1.html

Power play FRONTLINE Ninez Cacho-Olivares 03/12/2011

Power play

Ninez Cacho-Olivares
Some type of power play seems to be in the works within the Supreme Court (SC), with one faction pitting itself against another faction, in a bid to destroy the justices who do not toe Noynoy line, with perhaps the end result of the majority of justices being impeached, as the other faction takes on the high posts in the high court, along with a new set of justices who will now be at the beck and call of the appointing power: Noynoy.

This was fairly evident after SC Chief Justice Renato Corona tackled the “controversial” matter of the SC majority issuing a status quo ante (SQA) order --- or a TRO, for better layman’s understanding --- preventing the House committee on justice from holding hearings on the impeachment complaint against Ombudsman Merceditas Gutierrez last September.

It appears, from the SC rules, that the chief justice, or for that matter, any high court justice, on his own, is empowered to issue a TRO, subject to affirmation of the en banc when justices meet.

The rule also provides that the entire petition is not required reading in voting for the issuance of the SQA or TRO, since an SQA is not a decision but merely for the justices to thoroughly assess the case and decide on it after assessing the petition and ruling on it..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20110312com2.html

Kadhafi ‘will prevail,’ top US spy warns focus 03/12/2011

Kadhafi ‘will prevail,’ top US spy warns


WASHINGTON — America’s top spy warned Thursday that Moamer Kadhafi’s forces would “prevail,” even as the Obama government reached out to the Libyan opposition with direct talks and humanitarian aid.

US President Barack Obama was set to hold a press conference at 1615 GMT Friday to address issues such as rising oil prices as the world heaps pressure on Kadhafi and grapples for a response to the fighting on the ground.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who will travel to the Middle East next week and meet senior anti-Kadhafi figures, said a plan aimed at establishing a no-fly zone over Libya will be presented to Nato on Tuesday.

“We are continuing to plan for the full range of possible options including a no-fly zone,” Clinton told a press conference, declining however to indicate who would present it..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20110312com3.html

Balikatan in Nueva Ecija: Farmers Fear More Rights Abuses, Displacement

Balikatan in Nueva Ecija: Farmers Fear More Rights Abuses, Displacement

MANILA — Immediately in the wake of announcements that at least 6,000 American troops will be arriving in the Philippines to participate in the Balikatan joint military exercises, an alliance of peasant groups and their supporters from ecumenical formations declared their opposition. The farmers groups said that the presence of more military forces in the areas where the exercises will be held is certain to result in more human-rights violations against civilians. They also said that farmers will be facing renewed threats of eviction.

The public affairs officer of the Balikatan exercises representing the Philippines, Maj. Enrico Gil Ileto, recently announced that the American troops will join 2,000 Filipino soldiers in a series of exercises beginning April 10. For the next 10 days, the combined forces will hold exercises at the headquarters of the Armed Forces of the Philippines’ (AFP) Western Command (WESCOM) in Puerto Princesa in Palawan.

Field training exercises will be held in various training sites, namely in the Fort Magsaysay Military Reservation (FMMR), the headquarters of the Army’s 7th Infantry Division and Special Operations Command in Nueva Ecija; Basa Air Base and Clark Air Base, both in Pampanga; Crow Valley Range in Tarlac; Naval Station L. Gantioqui in Zambales; Sangley Point in Cavite City; Marine Base Ternate in Cavite; and in Mactan Air Base in Lapu-Lapu City.

“Exercise Balikatan 2011 is a great opportunity to conduct training which is vital in maintaining the readiness and interoperability of the AFP and U.S. Armed Forces,” said Armed Forces chief of staff Eduardo Oban Jr., according to a report by the Philippine Information Agency. The report said “the conduct of Balikatan allows a long and lasting partnership, founded firmly on common heritage between two freedom-loving countries committed to the preservation of liberty and democracy.”

Peasant leaders during the Lakbayan ng mga Magbubukid in October 2009, which also denounced the military’s continued claim of Fort Magsaysay. (Photo courtesy of Tanggol Magsasaka / bulatlat.com)

A local peasant group said that military exercises in the FMMR should be banned the same way that the whole Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) that allows said exercises should be scrapped. The Alyansa ng Magbubukid na Nagkakaisa sa 3,100 Ektarya ng Fort Magsaysay Military Reservation (ALMANA 3,100) has been campaigning against military interference in the 3,100 hectare land, while the residents in the military reservation have been fighting for their right to own the land since the 1960s..... MORE


URL: http://bulatlat.com/main/2011/03/12/balikatan-in-nueva-ecija-farmers-fear-more-rights-abuses-displacement/

Labor Leader Shot Dead in Cavite, 41st Killed Under Noynoy

Labor Leader Shot Dead in Cavite, 41st Killed Under Noynoy

MANILA – A labor leader was shot dead by two unidentified assailants at around 10 p.m. on March 8 along Governor’s Drive in Langkaan village, Dasmarinas, Cavite, according to the Workers Assistance Center Inc. (WAC).

Celito Baccay, 31, a key leader and organizer of the union in Maeno Giken, a Japanese-owned manufacturer of steel, iron and stainless steel products, is the 41st victim of extrajudicial killings under the Aquino administration.

Witnesses said that the gunmen flagged Baccay’s motorcycle and shot him at point-blank range. The victim sustained gunshot wounds in the head and in the chest. He was rushed to the De La Salle University Medical Center but was pronounced dead on arrival at 10:45 p.m..... MORE


URL: http://bulatlat.com/main/2011/03/11/labor-leader-shot-dead-in-cavite-41st-killed-under-noynoy/

Philippine Rice Industry in Peril, Says Agriculturist

MANILA – The rice industry is in peril as production of the staple food in the Philippines has been declining in the last two years, an agriculturalist said in a recently released report.

Finesa Cosico, an agriculturist and member of Agham (Advocates of Science and Technology for the People), cited figures from the Bureau of Agricultural Statistics showing that corn and rice production contracted last year.

Based on data from the bureau, from producing as much as 16.8 million metric tons (MT) of rice in 2008, the country only had a production of around 15.8 million metric tons production in 2010.

The same decrease in production happened to corn crop output  in 2010. Total corn production went  down by 9.34 percent from 7.0 million metric tons in 2009,  to only 6.3 million metric tons last year.

Cosico said that there was a  host of reasons that are cited for the drop in crop output.


A rice farmer in Davao del Sur. Agriculturist Finesa Cosico cites a host of reasons for the drop in output. (Photo by Karlos Manlupig / bulatlat.com)

“There are the effects  of climate change and the vulnerability of our agricultural sector to both drought and rainfall. Then there’s the unabated land conversion for residential, commercial and industrial land and the replacement of staple food crops with high-value crops. These crops are grown mostly for export markets,” she said..... MORE


URL: http://bulatlat.com/main/2011/03/11/philippine-rice-industry-in-peril-says-agriculturist/

Kin of 5 Slain Journalists File Raps Vs. Philippine Gov’t Before UN Body

 Kin of 5 Slain Journalists File Raps Vs. Philippine Gov’t Before UN Body


MANILA – Finding no justice here in the Philippines, families of five slain journalists in Mindanao have filed complaints against the Philippine government before the United Nations Human Rights Committee (UNHRC).

The families of journalists Dennis Cuesta, Maricel Vigo, Juan Pala, Fernando Lintuan, and William Yap Yu said that the Philippine government violated the right to life of their loved ones under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR). The Philippines is a signatory to the ICCPR. They filed the complaint on March 4.

The five journalists were killed in separate instances across a time span of eight years, from 2000 to 2008. No one has been convicted for these murders.

Harry Roque of the CenterLaw Philippines and one of the lawyers of the families said “the woeful response by the Philippines to these murders has contributed to the impunity for media killings in the country, culminating in the tragic Maguindanao massacre of 2009.”

“It’s not surprising that we’re ranked by the CPJ [Committee to Protect Journalists] as the third deadliest country in the world for journalists to work in – and what is the government doing to address this issue? What has it done for these families?” Roque said..... MORE


URL: http://bulatlat.com/main/2011/03/11/kin-of-5-slain-journalists-file-raps-vs-philippine-govt-before-un-body/

NPA Blames Military for Botanist’s Death, Refutes Encounter Claim by Army

 NPA Blames Military for Botanist’s Death, Refutes Encounter Claim by Army


MANILA — The New People’s Army (NPA) blamed the military for the murder of botanist Leonard Co and two others and denied that there was an encounter.

Co, Sofronio Cortez and Julius Borromeo, were killed inside the Energy Development Corporation (EDC) complex in Kananga, Leyte, on November 15, 2010. They were part of a team conducting a research for the EDC.

Officers of the 19th Infantry Battalion (IB) of the Philippine Army claimed that the three were killed in crossfire between the soldiers and the NPA rebels. Later, the Department of Justice (DOJ) reported that the NPA were the ones who shot dead the three victims....

.In a statement sent through email, the Mt. Amandewin Command of the NPA-Leyte denied any responsibility and said that what happened on November 15, 2010, was a plain massacre by the 19th IB.
The NPA said that the EDC area is disadvantageous to them because it is “too heavily guarded by the 19th IB, the police, paramilitary and private security guards.”MORE


URL: http://bulatlat.com/main/2011/03/11/npa-blames-military-for-botanists-death-refutes-encounter-claim-by-army/

Blue ribbon panel report is null, void, say senators By Angie M. Rosales and Gerry Baldo 03/12/2011


Blue ribbon panel report is null, void, say senators

By Angie M. Rosales and Gerry Baldo 03/12/2011

As good as soiled toilet paper and just as useless, is Senate blue ribbon committee chairman Teofisto “TG” Guingona’s “partial report,” or so it seems.

The Senate’s partial report enjoining the House of Representatives to impeach Ombudsman Merceditas Gutierrez does not carry the unqualified vote of the majority of the members even if it has been already signed by 14 senators, which makes the committee report invalid.

Sen. Joker Arroyo said this yesterday amid public perception stirred by the pronouncements having obtained 14 signatories as claimed by Guingona on the partial panel report which found Gutierrez guilty of being “incompetent” in her position as Ombudsman, when she allowed her prosecutors to enter into a plea bargain deal with former military comptroller, discharged Maj. Gen. Carlos Garcia which deal the report described as “manifestly disadvantageous to the Republic.”

In a statement, Arroyo pointed out that “unless a majority vote in the committee reached on the impeachment aspect, that matter cannot be submitted for plenary consideration and approval.”.... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20110312hed1.html

Japan rocked by major quake, tsunami; at least 60 killed 03/12/2011

Japan rocked by major quake, tsunami; at least 60 killed

TOKYO — A massive 8.9-magnitude earthquake hit northeast Japan yesterday, setting a nuclear plant ablaze, unleashing a 10-meter tsunami that tossed ships inland and leaving at least 60 persons reported dead and 56 others missing.

Police in Iwate prefecture, near the epicenter, confirmed the deaths of 17 persons there.

It was the strongest earthquake ever to hit Japan. Police said many others were injured in Tokyo and coastal areas of the main Honshu island while television footage showed scenes of utter devastation and flooding.

A monster 10-meter tsunami wave hit near Sendai City where a tide of black water sent shipping containers, cars and debris crashing through streets and across open farmland, destroying everything in its path.

Tokyo said the tsunami and quake, which was felt as far away as Beijing, some 2,500 kilometers away had caused “tremendous damage” while aerial footage showed massive flooding in northern towns..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20110312hed2.html

RP raises tsunami alert in 19 provinces By Mario J. Mallari and Aytch S. de la Cruz 03/12/2011

RP raises tsunami alert in 19 provinces

By Mario J. Mallari and Aytch S. de la Cruz 03/12/2011

The government yesterday raised the tsunami alert in at least 19 provinces on the country’s eastern coast following a magnitude 8.9 earthquake off Japan.

According to the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC), the tsunami alert was raised around 2 p.m. and immediately relayed to local government units (LGUs) and other government agencies in the eastern seaboard of the country.

Among the provinces alerted were Batanes Islands, Cagayan, Ilocos Norte, Isabela, Quezon, Aurora, Camarines Norte, Camarines Sur, Albay, Catanduanes, Sorsogon, Northern Samar, Eastern Samar, Leyte, Northern Leyte, Surigao del Norte, Surigao del Sur, Davao Oriental and Davao del Sur.

NDRRMC executive director Benito Ramos, however, maintained there is no need for evacuation of residents of the provinces..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20110312hed3.html

Show-cause notice issued against special prosecutor in Garcia deal 03/12/2011

Show-cause notice issued against special prosecutor in Garcia deal

Malacañang has formally issued a show-cause order against Special Prosecutor Wendell Sulit but has referred the case of her assistants and deputies to the Civil Service Commission (CSC) in line with the complaint filed by the House committee on justice for their involvement in the questionable plea bargaining agreement with retired Maj. Gen. Carlos Garcia.

In a statement released by Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa Jr.’s office, Sulit is being asked to provide explanation why she and her co-accused should not be sanctioned for getting themselves involved in such a controversial act.

The initiation of administrative proceedings is based on the recommendations of the House committee on justice headed by Iloilo Rep. Neil Tupas Jr. upon conducting an investigation into the alleged anomalous plea bargain agreement.

Tupas’ resolution reportedly sought the dismissal of Sulit which, according to presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda, is within the jurisdiction of the Office of the President (OP) but has to be studied first in accordance with the Ombudsman Act..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20110312hed4.html

Lacierda: SC chief ‘petty, paranoid’ By Aytch S. de la Cruz 03/12/2011

Lacierda: SC chief ‘petty, paranoid’

By Aytch S. de la Cruz 03/12/2011

Presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda yesterday implied that Supreme Court Chief Justice Renato Corona is being perceived by the Filipinos as “petty and paranoid” over claims that there are “politicians forcing the justices to play their game,” while subverting democratic processes, and bringing down the institution of the SC.

Lacierda put yet another spin on the remarks of the SC chief, challenging the SC chief to be specific on his allegations of a “concerted effort” from the presidential allies to bring the high tribunal down, otherwise he will be perceived as petty and paranoid.

Lacierda denied outright that the executive branch is involving itself in the alleged moves to “destroy the reputation of the Supreme Court” in connection with the plans of Ilocos Norte Rep. Rodolfo Fariñas to impeach some high court justices who voted for the issuance of a status quo ante (SQA) order that stalled the House committee on justice’s impeachment proceedings against Ombudsman Merceditas Gutierrez..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20110312hed5.html

Faeldon files amnesty application before DND By Mario J. Mallari 03/12/2011

Faeldon files amnesty application before DND

By Mario J. Mallari 03/12/2011

Marine Capt. Nicanor Faeldon yesterday filed his amnesty application before the Department of National Defense-Amnesty Committee (DND-AC) as he vowed to continue his anti-corruption advocacy even after his military career.

Faeldon formally filed his amnesty application before the DND-AC, headed by Defense Undersecretary Honorio Azcueta, along with Lt. Edwin Duwitao.

Faeldon, however, maintained that his application for amnesty will not stop his campaign against corruption, not only in the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) but in the entire society. He said he applied for amnesty to effectively pursue his advocacy against corruption.

“My concern is how will I be able to be more effective in trying to combat corruption not just in the Armed Forces but in the entire society, and by staying in jail or fighting these cases in the next several years, it would be a waste, instead of doing that I’ll be roaming around the country talking to people and do the fight against corruption” said Faeldon..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/nation/20110312nat5.html

Padaca charged with P25-M ‘fund scam’ By Ted Boehnert 03/12/2011

Padaca charged with P25-M ‘fund scam’

By Ted Boehnert 03/12/2011

ILAGAN, Isabela – As she is being considered to be given a top post in the national government, former Isabela Gov. Grace Padaca appears to be in danger of losing it as she would be facing malversation case filed against her and three others in connection with alleged illegal disbursement of about P25 million public funds to a private foundation.

This after the Ombudsman recommended the filing of charges against the former governor and three others in connection with the said disbursement to the Economic Development for Western Isabela and Northern Luzon Foundation, Inc (EDWINLFI) in 2006..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/nation/20110312nat9.html

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