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In aid of false publicity EDITORIAL Click to enlarge 10/15/2011

Saturday, October 15, 2011

In aid of false publicity

Click to enlarge
One knows when results of Senate investigations are in blatant aid of publicity to portray persons as immediately guilty, propped up by “evidence” that is not evidence at all.

A prime example of such a publicity stunt was displayed by the Guingona-led Senate blue ribbon committee report on the used helicopter issue, where the chairman, TG Guingona, pointed out that it was former First Gentleman Mike Arroyo was the true owner of the used choppers sold as brand new to the Philippine National Police (PNP), apart from naming more officials of the previous administration and other police officers linked to the sale of the choppers.

Guingona made a big show of saying that the Senate will be filing a complaint before the Ombudsman, when in fact what he did was merely to turn over the report to Conchita Carpio-Morales for further preliminary investigation.

It was not even made clear whether the report was signed by a majority of senators to be filed, after which once submitted, the report is taken for adoption or approval in plenary..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20111015com1.html

No more Mr. Nice Guy FRONTLINE Ninez Cacho-Olivares 10/15/2011

No more Mr. Nice Guy

Ninez Cacho-Olivares
Finally, the gloves are off, with the Supreme Court Chief Justice telling it like it is — at least on the manner by which the Aquino Palace and its rubber stamp Congress have been trying to control the high court into subservience to the executive power.

It really was time for the chief magistrate to shed off his Mr. Nice Guy personality, especially since it just wasn’t he, but the entire judiciary that Noynoy and his Palace boys were, even before he assumed the presidency, wanted destroyed by doing his bidding.
Last Thursday, speaking before a large audience of judges and justices, Chief Justice Renato Corona blasted Malacañang and Congress for “disrespect and lack of civility.”

“I say to them: Enough is enough!” Corona pronounced before his packed audience. “Let not those who pervert democracy and the Constitution for their selfish political ends mistake our judicial decorum, wisdom of silence and sense of dignity as signs of weakness, for nothing can be farther from the truth.”.... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20111015com2.html

Groups slam inadequate government assistance to farmers affected by typhoons

Groups slam inadequate government assistance to farmers affected by typhoons

 “Aquino is of no help to poor people like us even if he has the authority over all government agencies in the country, like a father to his family. So far, he has done nothing but to make sure he looks good before the eyes of the public “
Sidebar: Guimba peasants face calamities all year round 

MANILA — Farmer Juanito Ramiscal could not believe what he saw as soon as the flood subsided in the far-flung subvillage of Bertece in Guimba, Nueva Ecija. All the fruits of his hard work were washed away by typhoon Quiel, the last of the two consecutive typhoons that recently hit the country.

Ramiscal sat down and lost consciousness. His family brought him to the nearest hospital and was consequently announced dead on arrival. He died of a stroke on September 30. He was 58.

When Bayanihan Alay sa Sambayan (Balsa), a relief operation spearheaded by progressive group Bayan, arrived in their community, they brought them goods that could somehow ease their impoverished conditions for the next few days. Ramiscal’s name was called but it was his children who claimed it on his behalf.

Peasants lose their banana produce over strong typhoons. (Photo courtesy of NCCP / Bulatlat.com)
The town of Guimba is one of the most affected areas in Nueva Ecija, the country’s rice granary. Local peasant organizations estimates that about 70 percent of their crops were destroyed by the two typhoons that hit the country. Despite their conditions, residents said they hardly received sustainable assistance from the local government and none from the national government.

In his message before the residents, Bayan secretary general Renato Reyes Jr. said their efforts are in response to the inaction of the government to look into the needs of the Filipino people who were affected by the typhoons and consequently the release of water from nearby dams.

“But I urge everyone that we should not be satisfied with our humble relief goods. It is the government’s responsibility to address our concerns,” Reyes said.

The Department of Agriculture estimates that the agriculture sector lost about $277.4 million, of this, the loss in palay or rice produce amounted to $254.3 million or 760,207 metric tons.

Damages to crops, livelihood

In an interview with Aquilino Lopez, president of Mambayu, a local peasant organization, he said, “around 30 percent of the soon to be harvested rice crops were rotting when the flood subsided,” adding that the farmers could hardly sell those they were able to salvage because “the color of the rice grains darkened after it was soaked in the flood water.”.... MORE


URL: http://bulatlat.com/main/2011/10/14/groups-slam-inadequate-government-assistance-to-farmers-affected-by-typhoons/

Groups ask high court to stop Aurora ecozone project

Groups ask high court to stop Aurora ecozone project

“There is a real danger that a single family in Casiguran, Aurora will reap the majority of the benefits of the influx of money from the foreign investments into the special economic zone (SEZ) owing to the way the composition of the Board of Directors of APECO is crafted under RA 10083.”

MANILA – Residents of Aurora and their supporters filed a petition before the Supreme Court, Oct. 12, seeking to stop the Aurora Pacific Ecozone and Free Port (Apeco)

The Apeco, composed of residential, commercial, industrial, eco-tourism, highways, ports and airport projects, was created with the passage of Republic Act No. 9490 entitled “An Act Establishing the Aurora Special Economic Zone in the Province of Aurora, Creating for the Purpose the Aurora Special Economic Zone Authority, Appropriating Funds Therefor and for Other Purposes” (otherwise known as the ASEZA Act of 2007) and its amendatory law, Republic Act No. 10083 entitled “An Act Amending RA 9490 Otherwise Known as the Aurora Special Economic Zone Act of 2007” (or the Aurora Pacific Economic Zone and Freeport Act of 2010).

The petitioners, composed of farmers, fishermen, indigenous peoples from Casiguran, Aurora and organizations such as the Alyansa ng Magbubukid sa Gitnang Luzon (AMGL), Panlalawigang Alyansang ng Magbubukid ng Aurora (Pamana) and Justice and Peace Action Group of Aurora (JPAG), Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas and Pambansang Lakas ng Mamamalakaya (Pamalakaya), among others, are asking the Supreme Court to strike down and declare as unconstitutional the two laws. They are all part of the Resist Apeco! Defend Aurora Movement.

“The petitioners who belong to the poor and oppressed sectors of the society – the farmers, fisherfolks and indigenous peoples, are presently in great danger of losing their properties, their livelihood and what little they still have to be able to exist and survive, in clear violation of the rights and protection mandated to them by the Constitution,” the petition read, a copy of which was sent to Bulatlat.com by the Public Interest Law Center (PILC), counsel for the petitioners.

Aurora residents and supporters hold a picket outside the Supreme Court, urging the high court to stop the ecozone project.(Photo courtesy of Resist APECO! Defend Aurora! Movement / bulatlat.com)

The petitioners asked the court to issue a temporary restraining order and/or writ of preliminary injunction ordering the respondents to cease and desist from proceeding with the implementation of the Apeco.

Named respondents are Apeco as represented by its board composed of Roberto K. Mathay, Aurora Gov. Bella Angara-Castillo, Rep. Juan Edgardo “Sonny” Angara, Mayor Victorio Briones of Dilasag, Aurora and Harley Rose Alcantara Daquioag, House Speaker Feliciano Belmonte and Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile for Philippine Congress for enacting Aseza and Apeco laws.

Farmers, fishermen, indigenous peoples affected

The groups said that in implementing the Aseza-Apeco laws, the respondents are depriving the residents of Casiguran, Aurora of their homes, ancestral domain, land and livelihood.

The petitioners asserted that both laws violate the social justice provision on agrarian reform stated in the 1987 Philippine Constitution.

In one of the hearings at the House of Representatives, Undersecretary Gerundio G. Madueño of the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) said 525 hectares of land have been distributed to about 425 agrarian reform beneficiaries in the areas covered by the Apeco.

The groups argued that the Apeco’s compulsory coverage of agricultural land amounts to illegal land use conversion. They pointed out that the local government has not reclassified the lands affected by Apeco prior to the enactment of the laws..... MORE


URL: http://bulatlat.com/main/2011/10/14/groups-ask-high-court-to-stop-aurora-ecozone-project/

Groups say Constitution needs enabling laws, not amendments

Groups say Constitution needs enabling laws, not amendments

“Globally in the past ten years, the trend among countries is to put in restrictions and protection into their domestic economic policies; this is also true even among those who are pushing the Philippines to remove restrictions against foreign capital.” – Sonny Africa, Ibon Foundation
Sidebar: Critics view cha cha as 10 times more disastrous than current typhoons
MANILA – Eighty-two of the Philippines’ 130 constitutional provisions still have no enabling law; for the economic provisions in particular, at least eight articles still have no enabling law up to now, said Philippine Constitutional Association’s Manolo Gorospe during this week’s hearing in congress on charter change or cha-cha. The economic provisions that have no enabling law, he told bulatlat.com, include Articles 2 to 4, 8, 14, 16, 20 and 22.

The laws that have been passed serve only to push to maximum levels the further and wider liberalization of some sectors of the economy, said Sonny Africa, head of the research department of non-government think-tank Ibon Foundation at the public hearing. The nationalist economic provisions of the Philippine Constitution have not been implemented, he said, adding that this helps to explain why unemployment is at its worst today, as do the country’s persistently stunted agriculture and manufacturing.

“Since Congress has failed to pass enabling laws, or since many provisions of the Constitution have not been implemented, what are you going to amend now?” asked Gorospe.

Philconsa’s Manolo Gorospe at the chacha hearing. (Photo by Marya Salamat / bulatlat.com)
The House of Representatives has been holding public hearings on its Concurrent Resolution 10, which calls for Congress to constitute itself into a constituent assembly to propose amendments to economic provisions of the 1987 Constitution. A similar effort is afoot in the Senate although the House is still awaiting the Senate draft.

“As presented to the committee by resource persons from various sectors, the idea behind the move for constitutional amendment is to remove the restrictions in the economic provisions to the entry and participation of foreign investors, so the country’s economy can be flexible,” said the chairman of the House Committee on Constitutional Amendments Rep. Loreto S. Ocampos at the end of this week’s hearing.

Resource speakers who attended the public hearing asked Congress to maintain instead the “good policies” written in the present Constitution. The 1987 Constitution is “a moment of wisdom” for the Filipino framers of the Constitution, said Sonny Africa during the hearing. He reminded the members of the House Committee on Constitutional Amendments that historically, not one country has developed without maintaining economic restrictions or protection.

Citing figures and data in a presentation, he also showed that globally in the past ten years, the trend among countries is to put in restrictions and protection into their domestic economic policies. Africa observed that this is also true even among those who are pushing the Philippines to remove restrictions against foreign capital.

L to R: Bayan’s Renato Reyes and Ibon Phils.’ Sonny Africa at House committee hearing on chacha proposals. (Photo by Marya Salamat / bulatlat.com)
Based on the experiences of other countries including its neighbors whose economic policies are less liberalized or more protected than in the Philippines, Africa said, “The potential gains from foreign investments did not just happen without strong government regulations.” Without being anti-foreign investments per se, he pointed to the examples of some governments who pushed for technology sharing while others required their foreign investors to source raw or intermediate materials from the host country, to increase its economic gains from foreign investments.

“Experiences and common sense say that foreign investments are looking more for rich sources of profits; they cannot be depended on to develop our economy,” said Africa. Ibon Foundation is one of the groups that are opposed to the current drive among lawmakers to change the economic provisions of the present charter to further liberalize the economy. Citing again the experiences of other countries, Africa said, foreign investments have to be regulated if the country is to gain from its operations..... MORE


URL: http://bulatlat.com/main/2011/10/13/groups-say-constitution-needs-enabling-laws-not-amendments/

Police investigators overlook military as suspects in Burgos abduction

Police investigators overlook military as suspects in Burgos abduction

“Are technical matters more important than the life of a person?” – Mrs. Edita Burgos said after the Court of Appeals denied the request to show the photograph of a female soldier linked to the abduction of her son Jonas

MANILA –Mrs. Edita Burgos, mother of missing activist Jonas, was not able to control her tears. The mother who has been looking for her son for more than four years could not hide her frustration at the Court of Appeals (CA) hearing today.

The CA Special 7th Division is again hearing the habeas corpus petition filed by Mrs. Burgos after the Supreme Court, in a decision issued in July, reverted back the case to the CA. The same division of the appellate court dismissed the habeas corpus petition in June 2008, saying the prosecution failed to prove that the military was behind the abduction.

In today’s hearing, October 12, lawyer Ricardo Fernandez, counsel of the petitioner, called on the CA justices to enjoin the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) to show the photograph of a certain Lt. Fernando who has been identified by a witness, through a cartographic sketch, as one of those who took Jonas. Jonas was abducted on April 28, 2007 at a restaurant inside a mall in Quezon City.

Fernandez said the identification of the female suspect “could establish the link between the abductors and the military.”

Before the start of the hearing, Assistant Solicitor General Amparo Tang, counsel of the public respondents, showed a copy of the summary of information of 1st Lt. Rachel Fernando-Facunda, formerly assigned to the 56th Infantry Battalion of the Philippine Army, to Fernandez. When Fernandez insisted that Tang show the photograph of the female soldier to the justices and to Senior Supt. Joel Napoleon Coronel, former regional director of the National Capital Region (NCR) Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG), Tang objected.

Tang said the SC resolution clearly states that the summary of information and the other documents were submitted by the OSG exclusively to the high court. “The SC will be the one to determine the relevance and the advisability of public disclosure of these documents. To show this summary of information would be preempting the SC,” Tang argued.

“This is a chance for the petitioners to establish the direct link [of the military to the abduction]. That photo could be the female in the [cartographic] sketch,” Fernandez pointed out.

According to one of the memoranda issued by NCR CIDG on the case of Jonas in 2007, the Quezon City Police District made seven sketches of suspects based on the descriptions of witnesses. Only two – one male and a female – however, were attached to the documents submitted by authorities to the courts. When asked about this, Coronel said the other five were not subscribed to by the witnesses and he never had the chance to see the sketches.

Justice Rosario Vicente asked Coronel, then chief of the NCR-CIDG and who was at the witness stand, if cartographic sketches are reliable in identifying suspects. Coronel answered yes. “It baffles us why you have not attempted to identify the female composite sketch.”

Coronel said they asked for a roster of the 56th IB but the Army refused, citing security reasons. “Had the Army given us the roster, we would be able to see the photographs and show them to the witnesses,” Coronel said.

“Given the testimony of the witness [Coronel], it has become material and relevant. In 2007, he was not able to compare the photo to the sketch. We’re not making this up. This name cropped up in the CHR [Commission on Human Rights] report. We’re just following up on that report,” Fernandez said.

The lawyer of the petitioner was referring to the CHR report issued in March. Based on that report, the CHR interviewed a rebel returnee named as Maria Vita Lozada who, upon being shown the sketch of the female suspect, identified Fernando. Lozada said she worked with Fernando in counterinsurgency operations when she was still in the custody of the 56th IBPA from March 2006 until she left the 56th IB headquarters in October 2007. Jeffrey Cabintoy, a former busboy at Hapag Kainan restaurant, a key witness, provided the description of the female abductor..... MORE


URL: http://bulatlat.com/main/2011/10/12/police-investigators-overlook-military-as-suspects-in-burgos-abduction/

Former captives recount NPA’s ‘lenient treatment’

Former captives recount NPA’s ‘lenient treatment’

Davao Today
Posted by Bulatlat.com
TRENTO, Agusan Del Sur — Her voice rising above the soft hum of radio songs, Amelia Dano could not hide her restlessness. Sitting at the front of a four-wheel drive vehicle, Amelia waited in trepidation as the ten vehicle convoy finally crossed Monkayo town, the last municipality in Compostela Valley province.

One fine Sunday morning, the fleet of families, media and peace advocates entered the province of Agusan del Sur, through the rough road traversing the palm oil plantation and roads littered with logging workers. At the first stop, Amelia reached for her make-up, looked at the mirror and retouched a faintly gaunt face, borne out of weeks of sleepless nights. Soon, her husband, Henry Dano, mayor of Lingig town, Surigao del Sur will be released by the New People’s Army (NPA).

All throughout the trip, Cristina Desamparado and Sherlmalyn Saban who were sitting at the backseat, kept their silence. They too were excited. Their husbands — Corporal Alrey Desamparado and Private First Class Alan Saban — who are the military escorts of Mayor Dano, will also be released — just days after the NPA announced death sentence for the two as “maximum punishment for blood debts and espionage.”
For these three women, second chance is at hand.

64 days in custody

Hours later, a visibly happy Mayor Dano, wearing a white camisa de chino, a pair of black jogging pants and slippers, said of the day of his release, October 9 as another birthday celebration. He celebrated his birthday at the forests with the NPA last September 6.

Dano was arrested by the NPA on August 6 right at his home and his release means another chance for him to continue serving the people of Lingig as its first-time mayor..... MORE


URL: http://bulatlat.com/main/2011/10/13/former-captives-recount-npas-%e2%80%98lenient-treatment%e2%80%99/

Sotto nixes plan to end RH debates 10/15/2011

Sotto nixes plan to end RH debates

Staunch Reproductive Health (RH) bill critic Sen. Vicente Sotto III has opposed the sug-gestion of Sen. Pia Cayetano to end the interpellation on the contro-versial RH measure and instead proceed to the period of amendments when the upper chamber resumes consideration of the Senate Bill 2865.

Sotto also belied allegations that senators were no longer interested to interpellate the bill’s sponsors.

“She is wrong. Many interpellations are still lined up,” he stressed.

The Senate has set aside two of its three session days each week for the RH bill debates but this week nobody stood up to debate the sponsors of the bill..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20111015hed2.html

Anti-Pinoy sentiments on the rise after NZ oil spill; sailors forced into hiding By Michaela P. del Callar 10/15/2011

Anti-Pinoy sentiments on the rise after NZ oil spill; sailors forced into hiding

By Michaela P. del Callar 10/15/2011

The oil spill incident in New Zealand waters involving a Filipino captain has stirred negative sentiments against Filipinos in the city of Tauranga, but the Philippine Embassy said these are only “few” and do not reflect the general feeling of all residents there.

A Filipino captain of a container vessel that leaked oil in Tauranga is facing charges for causing environmental disaster, angering locals. He is currently out on bail but he will remain in New Zealand until after all court hearings are over. The bail expires on Oct. 19.

“Based on the reports of our man on the ground, Philippine Embassy Minister and Consul Giovanni Palec, and the embassy’s feedback from some members of the Filipino community in Tauranga, the reported negative reactions to the Filipino people there are few and are not reflective of the general sentiments of the public in Tauranga,” the embassy said in a statement..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

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

Malacañang nudging exile for Arroyo couple? By Virgilio J. Bugaoisan 10/15/2011

Malacañang nudging exile for Arroyo couple?

By Virgilio J. Bugaoisan 10/15/2011

It appeared to be a Freudian slip but presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda gave former President Gloria Arroyo a veiled message to choose whether or not to return to the country from medical treatment abroad, saying the now Pampanga representative has the option whether or not to return home.

Lacierda told reporters the administration is not worried at all if Arroyo would decide to stay overseas even if the government would start filing charges against her by November.

“That is something for her to decide. We will do what is incumbent on us to do; we will do what we have set out to do. As to what her course of action, again, that is for her to answer and not us,” said Lacierda when asked what would Malacañang do in case Mrs. Arroyo seeks foreign asylum and decides not to come back to face the charges that will be filed against her.

Lacierda’s statement came amid repeated declarations by Malacañang that it would surely file charges against Mrs. Arroyo despite the admission of the Justice Secretary Laila de Lima that the government might still not be ready by then in its effort to build cases against the former president and the members of her family..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20111015hed6.html

Amnesty Int’l tells Noy to rescind plan of deploying militias in mining sites 10/15/2011

Amnesty Int’l tells Noy to rescind plan of deploying militias in mining sites

The Philippine government should rescind its plan of deploying civilian militias to augment security at private mining operations, Amnesty International said.

President Aquino approved the military’s proposal on Oct. 12 after forces from insurgent group New People’s Army (NPA) attacked mining operations at Surigao del Norte province in northern Mindanao, killing three private security guards.

Amnesty International said that such militias, including the Citizens’ Armed Forces Geographical Units (Cafgus), have a long record of human rights violations in the Philippines. According to the Commission on Human Rights of the Philippines, Cafgus have been responsible for arbitrary detention, torture, and killings of local community leaders.

Moreover, the use of such militias at remote mining areas has put Indigenous People at particular risk, according to the UN special rapporteur on indigenous issues..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/nation/20111015nat1.html

‘RP business managers to be ready if EU economy collapsed’ 10/15/2011

‘RP business managers to be ready if EU economy collapsed’

“The aborted three-day official visit of Slovakia’s President Ivan Gasparovic yesterday to Manila sent a strong signal to the grim economic situation in Europe that should compel cautious monitoring by the country’s economic managers, as the economic troubles in Europe would eventually have dire financial consequences to governments around the world, including the Philippines,” Sen. Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III said yesterday.

“This should compel our government’s economic managers to closely monitor the economic developments in the European Union so that whatever impact it may have around the world, the Philippines will not be caught by surprise,” Pimentel said.
“Countries around the world do not live in isolation. What is happening in the European Union will ultimately impact the financial conditions of countries around the world, including the Philippines,” he added.
“For a head of state to abruptly cancel his official visit, only tells the gravity of the economic situation in Europe which should warrant our government economists to give serious attention to the brewing financial troubles in Europe,” Pimentel said..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/nation/20111015nat6.html

Retarding basins to be built in flood-prone areas By Mina Diaz 10/15/2011

Retarding basins to be built in flood-prone areas

By Mina Diaz 10/15/2011
Retarding basins will be built in low-lying areas of Metro Manila, including España Boulevard, as part of national government’s approach to flooding problem that has cost billions of pesos annually.

At a media briefing yesterday, Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) Secretary Rogelio Singson said he had high hopes on the construction of water retarding or detention basins as a most viable solution to reduce downstream flooding during rainy season.

Such basins are constructed to temporarily store some, if not all, of the rainwater run-off, to absorb and contain flooding in periods of high rain and pump it out later at regulated rate of flow to a level that can be safely carried by nearby rivers or esteros..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/metro/20111015met2.html

VP Binay condemns murder of PUP official 10/15/2011

VP Binay condemns murder of PUP official

Vice President Jejomar Binay yesterday condemned the killing of the vice president for administration of the Polytechnic University of the Philippines (PUP), saying it added to the tension at PUP caused by leadership row.

“I am saddened because I used to teach there when it was still Philippine College of Commerce,” said Binay, who also heads the The Bagong Katipunan Foundation that is helping the university..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/metro/20111015met3.html

Toyota conducts 4th tree-planting in Penablanca 10/13/2011

Toyota conducts 4th tree-planting in Penablanca

Team members from Toyota Motor Corporation, Japan joined volunteers from the Toyota Group and its partners during a recent tree-planting activity to continue Toyota’s reforestation efforts in Peñablanca, Cagayan Province. Team members from Toyota Motor Philippines Corporation (TMP), Toyota Autoparts Philippines, Inc., dealers Toyota Makati, Inc., Toyota Bicutan-Parañaque, and Toyota San Fernando Pampanga; Lexus Manila, Inc., and Toyota Financial Services Philippines Corporation planted trees in the protected zone..... MORE
SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/motoring/20111013mot3.html

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