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Things just get worse DIE HARD III Herman Tiu Laurel 11/28/2011

Monday, November 28, 2011

Things just get worse

Herman Tiu Laurel
While mainstream media, politicians, lawyers, text addicts, and the man-on-the-street get sucked into a Gloria Arroyo-carping mindset, the situation on the ground just keeps getting worse. A new think tank that’s making its presence felt recently released some startling findings about the Philippines.

A report by Stratbase entitled, “Study traces poverty incidence to vested interests,” cited World Bank data showing the increase in the number of poverty-stricken Filipinos by 3.4 million between the years 2008 and 2009. Even worse, its comparison of growth rates in Asia showed how much of a basket case we are. It said that “while East Asian economies posted average annual GDP growth rates from 3.6 to 6.0 percent between 1960 and 2008, the Philippines only managed an annual average increase of 1.4 percent during the same period.”

But there’s more: While the Asian Development Bank (ADB) was said to have found “that for every one percent growth in gross domestic product (GDP), poverty incidence has gone down by an average of 1.5 percent across the world and two percent within Asia… poverty incidence in the Philippines had actually risen since 2003, a time when the economy (was) thought to have grown very well.”

Even with the modicum of growth the Philippines has supposedly gained, not only is its poverty incidence not been reduced — it is, in fact, growing. What this means is that we are doing even worse than Africa.
As I have always said, the Philippines is on course toward “Africanization,” i.e. becoming as poor as the poorest in Africa. But, it seems, we are now getting there even faster.

So who exactly are these “vested interests?” They are the “rent seekers” whom Stratbase says “attempt to derive ‘economic rent’ by manipulating the social or political environment in which economic activities occur, rather than by adding value.” Even though it failed to provide specifics, it’s quite easy to glean that these rent seekers comprise the oligarchs who use their money powers to obtain concessions from government and/or take over state contracts and assets; politicians who use their positions to enrich themselves; media prostitutes who peddle information and opinion for a fee; as well as lawyers who answer to the highest bidder; and so on.

Notably, only a few choose not to be part of this rent seeking class. A fine example is eminent lawyer and constitutionalist Alan Paguia, who, despite being among the first to criticize the Department of Justice’s hold departure order, declined the offer to join the legal team of Gloria Arroyo, leaving his other compañeros to stumble over one another in hopping aboard the hospitalized lawmaker’s defense bandwagon.

Still, there is a very deep irony in Stratbase itself. While it indicts the vested interests or rent seekers, its officers and academic resources also have strong ties to these oligarchs or their intellectual hires.

Its chairman Jose Ibazeta, for example, was an Anscor (A. Soriano Corp.) president, as well as a director and treasurer of a known port management giant, and a chairman of state holding firm, Psalm (Power Sector Assets and Liabilities Management Corp.), which privatizes our country’s power assets to the oligarchs.

Meanwhile, Antonio “Tony Boy” Cojuangco is a member of the board, along with Amboy Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario. Among its academic advisers are Calixto Chikiamco of the pro-privatization Foundation for Economic Freedom; Ayala adviser Randy David; and pro-USAid RH (Reproductive Health) bill law professor Raul Pangalangan.

In its prospectus, Stratbase says, “Our knowledge of the government and the ability to establish strategic communications network with policy and decision makers ensures that our client’s voices are heard.” Sounds like lobbying or rent seeking to me.

The Philippine ruling class that runs our society and political-economy today, of which Stratbase appears to be an epitome, is (in a real sense) fraudulent, self-seeking, parasitic, intellectually dishonest, hypocritical, and incompetent — as can be witnessed in all the raging debates about Mrs. Arroyo. Even as worse transgressions by the oligarchs and their foreign masters against our nation continue to escalate, all these are merely glossed over by such lofty campaigns against the “evils” of the past.

Good thing we still have a number of outstanding individuals who represent the interests of the vast silent majority. Paguia, for one, continues to shine a light in the legal arena; while others such as Mang Naro Lualhati, Jojo Borja, Butch Junia, Bono Adaza together with Sulo ng Pilipino, Bagong Katipuneros (Magdalos), PLM and others, continue to fight for several nationalistic causes. They certainly prove that, unlike the ruling class, not everybody is simply out for a buck.

But, while the people have yet to seize victory, things can only get worse. No, we’re not just speaking of political-economic decay but one that eats away at the spirit of man, too. With all the demoralization, im-moralization, doublespeak, obfuscation, scapegoatism, hypocrisy and idiocy around, under a supposed democracy where the economic life of the nation deteriorates while only a few monopolize it in greater and greater proportions, just how can one’s humanity be left untarnished?

As Mahatma Gandhi correctly pointed out, “Corruption and hypocrisy ought not to be inevitable products of democracy, as they undoubtedly are.”

True, some may continue to point the accusing finger — like the pot to the kettle — to hide their own corruption; but as long as there are Filipinos who won’t tolerate such hypocrisy, there’s hope that they can be brought together in a political movement that will oust the corrupt in our society in due time.

(Tune in to Sulo ng Pilipino/Radyo OpinYon, Monday to Friday, 5 to 6 p.m. on 1098AM; Talk News TV with HTL, Saturday, 8:15 to 9 p.m., with replay at 11 p.m., on GNN, Destiny Cable Channel 8; visit http://newkatipunero.blogspot.com for our articles plus TV and radio archives)

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

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20111128com5.html

Farmers slam Aquino’s call for ‘just compensation’ for Hacienda Luisita land

Farmers slam Aquino’s call for ‘just compensation’ for Hacienda Luisita land

“The Cojuangcos have long benefited from their illegal and immoral stranglehold of Hacienda Luisita and the farmworkers’ have long paid for the land.”– Randall Echanis, Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas
MANILA – After the Supreme Court issued its decision on the nearly half-a-century land dispute at Hacienda Luisita, President Benigno S. Aquino III said there should be just compensation for land owners.

The high court unanimously ordered, Nov. 23, the distribution of 4,916 hectares of Hacienda Luisita land, owned by Aquino and the Cojuangco clan, to the original 4,296 original farmworker beneficiaries (FWBs).

Asked to react on the high court’s decision, Aquino said, “In agrarian reform, there are two objectives: number one, empower the farmers so that they could have their own land to till. Second, don’t exhaust the capital. There should be just compensation for the land owner. The capital that will be returned to the landowner could be used to invest in other endeavors.”

“It is the height of callousness that President Benigno Simeon Aquino III now has the gall to demand for land compensation for his extended family,” Anakpawis Rep. Rafael Mariano said.

Mariano, also chairman of the Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP), said that since 1957, the Cojuangco-Aquino clan “has made a milking cow out of Hacienda Luisita sugar estate and amassed wealth by exploiting farmers and farmworkers.”

In 1957, the Cojuangcos acquired the Hacienda Luisita land through a government loan with a condition that the land shall be distributed to the farmers after ten years. Land distribution never took place until now.

“The nerve,” KMP deputy secretary general Randall Echanis said, “They have used government money to acquire the hacienda in the late 1950’s and have made a fortune for more than half a century now. And now, they want the government to pay for the land.”

Echanis said, “the Cojuangcos do not deserve compensation. The Cojuangcos have long benefited from their illegal and immoral stranglehold of Hacienda Luisita and the farmworkers’ have long paid for the land.”

Echanis said the “Cojuangcos still owe billions of pesos to the government and to farmworkers aside from blood debts,” referring to the massacre that claimed the lives of seven farm workers on November 16, 2004.

“Hacienda Luisita must be distributed to farmworkers for free.” Echanis said.

In an earlier interview with Bulatlat.com, Rodel Mesa, spokesman of Alyansa ng Magbubukid sa Asyenda Luisita (Ambala), said, “We will not agree to pay [amortization] or for the HLI to receive compensation from the government. The compensation to be paid to the Cojuangco-Aquinos will come from taxpayers,
including us. The Cojuangco-Aquinos have no right to receive any compensation. The Aquino administration has no right to pay his family because morally, historically, the land is ours.”.... MORE


URL: http://bulatlat.com/main/2011/11/27/farmers-slam-aquino%E2%80%99s-call-for-%E2%80%98just-compensation%E2%80%99-for-hacienda-luisita-land/

Sea alert: Russian warships head for Syria

Sea alert: Russian warships head for Syria

Moscow is deploying warships at its base in the Syrian port of Tartus. The long-planned mission comes, providentially, at the very moment when it could help prevent a potential conflict in the strategically important Middle Eastern country.

­The Russian battle group will consist of three vessels led by the heavy aircraft-carrying missile cruiser, Admiral Kuznetsov.

Russian military officials insist that the move has no connection with the ongoing crisis in the region and was planned a year ago, the Izvestia newspaper reports. Apart from Syria, the aircraft carrier and its escort ships are set to visit the Lebanese capital, Beirut, Genoa in Italy and Cyprus, says the former Chief of Naval Staff, Admiral Viktor Kravchenko..... MORE


URL: http://rt.com/news/russian-aircraft-carrier-syria-363/

US govt demands Wikileaks destroy all files about them – Assange

 US govt demands Wikileaks destroy all files about them – Assange

Wikileaks founder Julian Assange has told a media summit that the US government has ordered Wikileaks to destroy all the material is has published on them and stop working with its sources in the government.

­“[When we released our documents] the Pentagon said we must destroy everything we published and were going to publish,” Assange said.  ”And if we didn’t, we would be ‘compelled to do so,’” the summit’s website says.

Assange made the allegation in the course of a speech made via Skype at the News 2011 Summit in Hong Kong. Reports say he is being forced by police to stop talking at the summit – exactly the kind of oppressive official action his work has been highlighting.  .... MORE


URL: http://rt.com/news/us-wikileaks-assange-summit-371/

Investigate Owwa for missing P21 million – Migrants group

Investigate Owwa for missing P21 million – Migrants group
Next time overseas Filipino workers complain that they are not benefitting from the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA), they will know at least one reason why: their contributions might have been pocketed by corrupt officials.

The OFW group Migrante International has called attention to a recent report of the Commission on Audit that the OWWA’s overseas officers have failed to remit more than P21 million ($488,372) in collections to OWWA’s Land Bank- Manila dollar account during the last 10 years. This prompted the group to call for an “immediate independent investigation” of the OWWA and its personnel both here and in offices abroad.
Migrante’s chairman Garry Martinez said the audit should include investigations into the performance and financial transactions of Owwa officials including members of the Board of Trustees.

The COA said the multi-million remittance failure has put the Owwa funds at risk of misappropriation. In its 2010 report on the agency, the audit authority said the dollar and euro collections from various foreign posts amounting to P21.587 million ($488,372) has been un-remitted “for a long period of time.” These funds comprise fees collected under the Owwa’s voluntary membership program. The program funds are intended for the immediate use of OFWs and their families for emergency concerns and related needs.

According to reports from the CoA, the overseas-based officers of Owwa are required to remit their monthly collections to the Owwa Land Bank-Manila dollar account not later than the fifth day of the following month. When the audit agency went through the Owwa’s records, however, it discovered that a staggering P21.587($488,372) million had not been remitted for periods ranging from one to 10 years.

The CoA 2010 report on the Owwa said that several of the officers who had the responsibility to remit the collections remain in service: but four have absconded or are absent without leave. In the meantime, another 10 have already resigned or moved to another agency. The audit agency also discovered that collections from Switzerland from October 2007 to December 2010 were remitted by an employee of the Department of Labor and Employment..... MORE


URL: http://bulatlat.com/main/2011/11/25/investigate-owwa-for-missing-p21-million-migrants-group/

Morong 43 pushes court to act on their case against Arroyo

 Morong 43 pushes court to act on their case against Arroyo

MANILA – Health workers who sued former president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo for human rights violations are dismayed at what they described as the slow pace of the local court handling the case.

Six of the Morong 43, or the 43 health workers arrested on February 6, 2010 and detained for ten months for trumped up charges, trooped to the Quezon City Hall of Justice this morning calling on the Regional Trial Court Branch 226 to act on the first case filed against Mrs. Arroyo and her key military officials.

Filed in April this year, the P15-million ($348 thousand) damage suit seeks five causes of action against the former president and her officials involved in the case. These include damages for torture, damages for the violation of their constitutional and statutory rights, including their right against arbitrary and illegal detention, right against self-incrimination and right to counsel, divestment of personal belongings, Arroyo’s neglect of duty, and moral damages.

Through their counsels from the National Union of Peoples’ Lawyers (NUPL), the complainants filed a second motion to resolve their petition for the writ of preliminary attachment, a supplemental motion to the civil case. A writ of preliminary attachment can be issued against the property of a defendant to serve as security for the satisfaction of any judgment that may be recovered; and that after due hearing on the principal cause of this action, judgment will be rendered against the defendant.

The lawyers were surprised to know that the court has already issued a resolution on Sept. 30 denying their petition. Ephraim Cortez, one of the lawyers, said they have not received an official copy of the court’s resolution until this day. He said the court officials said they have sent the copy through snail mail on Oct. 18. The lawyers were furnished a photocopy of the resolution but they filed the second motion to resolve the petition any way.

The local court has not yet issued summons to Arroyo and other defendants. NUPL lawyers said the court asked them additional copies of the complaint before the court could issue summons. The lawyers provided additional copies on the same day. Cortez said the summons should be served immediately.

Dr. Merry Mia-Clamor and Gary Liberal, two of the Morong 43, demand the prosecution of Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo in a rally outside the Quezon City Hall of Justice, Nov. 28. (Photo by Ronalyn V. Olea / bulatlat.com)
“Is this because of the court’s inefficiency or is this a deliberate effort to delay the case? I’m no longer surprised why cases have been dragging on for years,” Dr. Merry Mia Clamor, one of the Morong 43, said in an interview with Bulatlat.com.

In denying the petition for writ of preliminary attachment, Judge Ma. Luisa Quijano-Padilla of the RTC Branch 226 said that “mere suspicion that there is a possibility of flight by the defendants to avoid any liability is not sufficient for a writ of preliminary attachment to be issued.”

The resolution was issued before Mrs. Arroyo’s recent attempts to leave the country.
In their second motion, the lawyers of the Morong 43 argued that the recent events bolstered their clients’s claim as shown by the attempt of Mrs. Arroyo to fly out of the country, under the guise that she will seek medical treatment abroad for what is now admitted as a non-life-threatening ailment.

“Arroyo’s attempts to leave the country only show her deliberate intent to evade justice,” Roneo Clamor, secretary general of Karapatan and husband of Dr. Mia-Clamor, said. “She wants to evade the charges filed against her, including the damage suit filed by the Morong 43.”

Cortez explained that the denial of the motion for writ of preliminary attachment has no implications whatsoever to the main case, the civil suit filed against Arroyo and her top military officials. “The writ of preliminary attachment is only a provisional remedy. The merits [of the main case] are not affected,” the human rights lawyer said..... MORE


URL: http://bulatlat.com/main/2011/11/28/morong-43-pushes-court-to-act-on-their-case-against-arroyo/

Electoral sabotage in Imus C.R.O.S.S.R.O.A.D.S Jonathan De la Cruz 11/28/2011

Electoral sabotage in Imus

Jonathan De la Cruz
Compared with what happened and is being allowed to happen by Imus Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 22 Presiding Judge Cesar Mangrobang in the electoral protest filed by defeated candidate Emmanuel Maliksi against incumbent Mayor Homer Saquilayan, former President now Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s indictment for “electoral sabotage” based on the belated and questionable testimony of then Maguindanao provincial administrator Unas that he “overheard her ordering the shut out of the opposition in the 2007 elections” is a joke. If Unas’ testimony is the only evidence that government has against GMA then this much publicized case can easily be overturned.

In the case of Imus, the evidence of electoral sabotage is so strong only a blind or blinded person cannot see. Yet, through means which can only be described as brazen and illegal, Mangrobang has ordered Saquilayan’s ouster and Maliksi’s seating to the consternation of Imus voters who gave the former an overwhelming vote of confidence in the 2010 elections. Maliksi who was then the incumbent got a vote of 39,682 while Saquilayan got 48,181 or a commanding margin of 8,499..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20111128com4.html

Saudization in full swing; OFWs at risk of losing jobs in early 2012 11/28/2011

Saudization in full swing; OFWs at risk of losing jobs in early 2012

Thousands of Filipinos are expected to be forced out of jobs in Saudi Arabia in early 2012 if the companies they work for will not comply with the Kingdom’s new labor law of hiring more local workers than foreigners, the recruitment sector yesterday warned.

As the third phase of the Saudization programs has set in late last week, at least 100,000 to 300,000 Filipino workers remain employed in companies under the red category or those that have yet to effectively implement the scheme.

Analysts believe it will be huge setback to the Philippine economy that is mainly dependent on overseas Filipino workers’ remittances..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20111128hed6.html

Paguia: Poll sabotage law ‘unconstitutional’ By Charlie V. Manalo 11/28/2011

Paguia: Poll sabotage law ‘unconstitutional’

By Charlie V. Manalo 11/28/2011

A constitutional expert yesterday claimed the Election Sabotage Law of 2007 or Republic Act 9369 which formed the basis of creating a Department of Justice (DoJ)-Comelec joint panel to investigate and prosecute large-scale election irregularities which implicated former President and now Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo is unconstitutional.

In a statement, lawyer Alan Paguia, who was a counsel for former President Joseph Estrada, said the constitutional provision on the creation of the Sandi-ganbayan, which was provided for in the 1973 Constitution, was carried over to the 1987 Cons-titution.

He said the constitutional jurisdiction of the Sandiganbayan in the 1973 Constitution is specific on criminal and civil cases involving graft and corruption practices and such other offenses committed by public officers and employees in relation to their office as may be determined by law.

“The legislature has no authority to amend the constitutional jurisdiction of the Sandiganbayan. The exercise of ordinary legislative authority which resulted in the passage of the Electoral Sabotage law is not a valid mode of amending the Constitution,” Paguia said..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20111128hed3.html

Bail for Gloria still possible, says Miriam By Angie M. Rosales 11/28/2011

Bail for Gloria still possible, says Miriam

By Angie M. Rosales 11/28/2011

Embattled former President and now Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo can still post bail despite being charged with electoral sabotage which is a non-bailable offense, if the court finds the “evidence of guilt” by government prosecutors is weak, Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago yesterday said.

“It’s the job of the prosecutor to prove that the evidence of guilt is strong which means that if the evidence of guilt is weak, you can still post bail. All talks are still premature. They are all overlooking the fact that she may post bail, if she is able to post bail, then she’s free. You can go anywhere,” she told dzBB radio during an interview.

“Even if the offense falls under a non-bailable case, it’s in the law that if the evidence against the accused is weak (he or she can post bail). The judge is not bound by the evidence alone during the bail hearing. The judge, at the outset, can say that the evidence alone is not strong so I can grant you bail,” Santiago added.

Before actual trial pro-ceedings take place, there will first be a bail hearing where the evidence against Arroyo will be weighed and determined if it can stand in court..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20111128hed4.html

Angara proposes major agricultural reforms 11/28/2011

Angara proposes major agricultural reforms

Sen. Edgardo Angara proposed major agricultural reforms to keep pace with the country’s rising demand for food due to a burgeoning population — post-harvest network, better logistics, access to credit for small farmers, protection of our export market and improved research development (R&D).

“In three years, our population will reach 100 million and we have to find ways to feed all of them. One major agricultural reform the government should undertake is the installation of post-harvest facilities all over the country as we are losing enough agricultural products that could have made up for our importations,” the former Agriculture secretary said.

Angara said that post-harvest network will reduce the country’s losses in palay by as much as one million tons, or the equivalent of our yearly rice import which costs the government $500 million.

Angara also underscored the need to develop a sound transport and logistics infrastructure in order to facilitate easy transport of agricultural products from the provinces to Manila. “The lobsters in Aurora ar.... MORE
SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/nation/20111128nat5.html

53.3 percent of Filipinos travel for pleasure, says NSO 11/28/2011

53.3 percent of Filipinos travel for pleasure, says NSO

More than half of Filipinos travel for pleasure or vacation last year, according to the National Statistics Office (NSO).

In its 2010 Household Survey on Domestic Visitors (HSDV), the NSO said about 23.1 million Filipinos, who are 15 years old and above, have traveled in any place within the country from April to September last year.
These domestic travelers represent 36.6 percent of the about 63.2 million Filipinos who are more than 15 years old.

The NSO said pleasure or vacation was the main purpose of a trip for 53.3 percent, followed by visit to friends or relatives and attendance to family gatherings, 36.9 percent..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/nation/20111128nat7.html

President title can be conferred to FPJ — Comelec By Pat C. Santos 11/28/2011

President title can be conferred to FPJ — Comelec

By Pat C. Santos 11/28/2011

If it can be proven that movie actor Fernando Poe Jr. is the real winner of the 2004 presidential election, the Commission on Election (Comelec) will make a clarification and may confer the president title to him.

This was the assurance made yesterday by James Jimenez, Comelec spokesman, during yesterday’s forum “Balitaan sa Tinapayan” in Dapitan, Manila.

Jimenez made a call to anyone who knew the massive cheating on 2004 election to come out in the open and testify..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune
URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/nation/20111128nat4.html

SC stops implementation of Paraaques newly approved ordinance on land, bldg. tax 11/28/2011

SC stops implementation of Paraaques newly approved ordinance on land, bldg. tax

The Supreme Court (SC) has handed down a restraining order stopping the implementation of Paranaque Citys newly approved ordinance on the values of land and building in the city.

In a two-page notice, the Courts Third Division granted the plea of the citys homeowners association to stop the implementation of Paraaque City Ordinance No. 11-11.

The local legislation would result in an excessive increase in land tax.

Acting on the application for issuance of a temporary restraining order, the Court further resolves to issue a temporary restraining order enjoining the implementation of said Ordinance No. 11-11, Series of 2011, dated Oct. 13, 2011 of the Sangguniang Panlungsod, City of Paraaque, effective immediately and continuing until further orders from the Court, the SC said..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/metro/20111128met5.html

Water firms dared to have their books of accounts audited By Charl

Water firms dared to have their books of accounts audited

By Charlie V. Manalo 11/28/2011

A party-list solon yesterday dared two Metro Manila water concessionaires to emulate the example of the country’s leading oil firms that recently volunteered to have their books of accounts audited to show publicly that their profits are well within the limits of decency and fairness in trade.

Bagong Henerasyon Rep. Bernadette Herrera-Dy aired this challenge to the Manila Water Co. Inc. (MWCI) and the Maynilad Water Services Inc. (MWSI) which she accused of imposing excessive water rates through the help of the state-run Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS).

“If the oil companies can do it, I don’t see any reason why the two MWSS water concessionaires can’t. It’s just a matter of showing that they have nothing to hide and that their dealings are fair and their businesses conducted within the bounds of reason and decency,” Herrera-Dy said..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/metro/20111128met1.html

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