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Goodbye to independence FRONTLINE Ninez Cacho-Olivares 06/15/2012

Friday, June 15, 2012

Goodbye to independence

Ninez Cacho-Olivares
What Noynoy wants, Noynoy gets — and more easily this time, after having the impeached Chief Justice convicted and kicked out of his post.

It is on record that Noynoy made clear in his announcement that he no longer wants any argument on the automated machines, and stated very clearly that he wants the precinct count optical scan machines for the 2013 synchronized polls, as they have been proved credible (which is hardly accurate, as electoral cheating comes easily with the use of the PCOS machines).

A day after Noynoy had made this announcement, acting Chief Justice Antonio Carpio announced at a book launch that the Supreme Court has made this a priority and will be ruling on the petitions against the PCOS purchase by the poll body by Wednesday..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20120615com2.html

A CJ elected by peers DIE HARD III Herman Tiu Laurel 06/15/2012

A CJ elected by peers

Herman Tiu Laurel
Malacaang, the Judicial and Bar Council (JBC), and the media are making a fuss these days over the names shortlisted for possible appointment as the next Supreme Court (SC) Chief Justice. Seemingly everyone, laymen and lawyers alike, are agreed that the JBC recommends and the Chief Executive appoints. Even SC justices of the past have accepted this.

However, if the question from two brilliant legal minds who have truly proven their worth as constitutionalists and faithful advocates of the Rule of Law were to be heard, maybe some of the SC justices themselves will begin to rethink this accepted practice today that actually compromises, if not totally undermines, and violates the principle of separation of powers of the three branches of government. Such is important because negating the cherished democratic system of checks-and-balances leads to the most feared situation of an absolutely powerful chief executive, where corruption, as the old adage goes, corrupts absolutely.

The two mavericks, at least as far as what the mainstream legal community thinks of their propensity to point out infirmities in established notions of Philippine law is concerned, are Homobono Adaza and Alan Paguia. Their most recent challenge to the SC and the Senate impeachment court, though still not faced squarely by those confronted with their charges of illegalities in the impeachment process, still has not prevented them from thinking of coaxing the high court to respond with an new petition. Thats how tenacious they are.

In contrast, the senator-judges, whose dismal performance as agents of the law has repeatedly been demonstrated, are now evasive and meek in response, such as Sen. Juan Ponce Enrile who could only say that We will face them when the Supreme Court calls for the oral arguments, when he could very well start the debates by publicly responding to Adaza and Paguias specific charges. Lacson and Drilon, in similar fashion, both assume (or pray) that the SC, which has six months to dilly-dally, will eventually declare the issues moot and academic, when the high court, too, may well call for oral arguments immediately if it were really serious with its job.

Legal pundits, no doubt including the Jesuit Bernas, will tell us to look at the Constitution for the basis of this practice of the President appointing the chief magistrate. But a look at the pertinent provisions shows that there is no such specified power, duty or function of the Chief Executive. Article VIII on the Judicial Department, Section 7 (1) provides for qualifications to be appointed Member of the SC; Section 8 (1) and (2) describes the Judicial and Bar Council, its composition and functions and the Presidents appointment of its members.

The critical provision is Section 9 and here we quote fully: The Members of the Supreme Court and judges of the lower courts shall be appointed by the President from a list of at least three nominees prepared by the JBC for every vacancy. Such appointment needs no confirmation.

Evidently, nowhere can any specific power or duty for the Philippine President to appoint the Chief Justice be found there. In the US, its Constitution clearly states that its president nominates while its Senate confirms the Chief Justices appointment for it to take effect.

The US Constitutions system of appointment of the Chief Justice requires the agreement of two of the three co-equal but separate branches of government the Chief Executive with the Senate (which is part of the Legislature).

The Philippine practice of allowing an undemocratic, i.e. unelected and without accountability to the public, JBC, to nominate and for the President to appoint clearly skirts the checks-and-balance principle and gives the sole power to appoint to the president.

This is the practice which, upon second look thanks to Adaza and Paguia should now be seriously questioned given the repeated crises of democracy this presidential appointment of the Chief Justice has created.

The appointment of Hilario Davide with the alleged sponsorship of Lucio Tan was a big question; then came the alleged midnight appointment of Renato Corona; and today, the Chief Justice-to-be will definitely be suspected as a hatchet man or woman of BS Aquino III and/or his puppet master, the US.

The 1987 Constitution obviously has many flaws. Among its biggest screw-up is the creation of the JBC, which is undemocratic and manipulated by vested interests.

The Vera Files has written one report entitled, JBC partly to blame for problems in Judiciary, and quotes former CJ Reynato Puno: In his centennial lecture at the University of the Philippines College of Law last year, retired Chief Justice Reynato Puno singled out the three ex-officio members as carriers of the virus of partisan politics, who, he said, could turn into the swing votes in determining who makes it to the shortlist to be submitted to Malacanang.

But from outside of the JBC, the influences are being brought to bear as well, such as from the economic oligarchs and giant law firms with notorious records (such as a well-known law firm), whose nominees are said to have invariably found their way to the SC.

The 1987 Constitutional Commissions feigned attempt to insulate (judicial appointments) from politics opened them to even greater intrusion and influence-peddling, with the complicity of the Chief Executive, who has now gained absolute power over the process.

In order to be faithful to the democratic principle and its subsidiary principles of separation of powers and checks-and-balances, Adaza and Paguia contend that the constitutionally correct procedure would be for the Chief Justice to be elected from and by the 15 members of the Supreme Court to rid the CJ of any debt-of-gratitude to any appointing power.

The composition of the SC, invariably drawn from appointments of members by several successive administrations, would ensure diversity, balance, and independence as its members elect a Chief Justice from among themselves.

Such election among peers would ensure the kind of Chief Justice who can guarantee the democratic leadership that a truly democratic government requires.

(Tune in to 1098AM, dwAD, Sulo ng Pilipino/Radyo OpinYon, Monday-Wednesday-Friday, 5 to 6 p.m.; watch Destiny Cable GNNs HTL edition of Talk News TV, Saturdays, 8:15 to 9 p.m., with replay at 11:15 p.m., on A Chief Justice from Among Peers with lawyers Bono Adaza and Alan Paguia; visit http://newkatipunero.blogspot.com for our articles plus TV and radio archives)

(May pahintulot ng pagkopya mula kay Ka Mentong)

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20120615com6.html

Aquino Court against all odds EDITORIAL Click to enlarge 06/15/2012

Aquino Court against all odds

Click to enlarge
Many are shaking their heads after the Noynoy Supreme Court (SC) upheld, apparently against all odds, the Commission on Elections (Comelec)’s option to purchase Smartmatic’s precinct count optical scan (PCOS) machines used in the 2010 presidential polls and acquired through a lease agreement.

One of them surely was Gus Lagman, who is against the purchase deal and who was unceremoniously booted out by Noynoy as commissioner of Comelec supposedly since he was unacceptable to the members of the Commission on Appointments (CA) but likely as a result of his steadfast objection against Comelec Chairman Sixto Brillantes’ insistence to resurrect an already dead option for the purchase of the machines, the reliability of which in the elections won by Noynoy remains highly in doubt.

The machines were those used in the first automated elections of the country where Noynoy supposedly won overwhelmingly obtaining 15 million votes in the 2010 elections. Questions were raised about certain irregularities in the machines but these were all drowned out by the whipped up euphoria about Noynoy taking the helm of the government to institute reforms, which is nowhere to be found until now..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20120615com1.html

Saudi Arabia may soon legalize nuptials of baby girls

Saudi Arabia may soon legalize nuptials of baby girls

A new fatwa recently issued in Saudi Arabia suggests that Supreme Mufti of the country will allow giving girls into marriage at the age of ten. However, he only legalized the existing orders: here eight-year-old girls, with the consent of their fathers, are married off to old men.    

The laws of Saudi Arabia provide and even encourage the practice of early marriage of girls. "From ancient times due to the social, economic, political and religious reasons, early marriage has been always encouraged," Mansour Bin Askar, professor at the University of King Saud in Riyadh, said in an interview with Arab media. "During wars, early marriage allowed strengthening the family clans, as well as the influence of tribes that have been always judged by their numbers.

It would be wrong to look for the advantages and disadvantages of early marriage, because for each girl it has a unique character. It is important that, from a medical point of view, early marriage does not cause harm to the young bride," said Professor Mansour Bin Askar. He said that in marriage it is important to have mutual agreement of the parties. Especially, for the young bride who must confirm her decision before a Sharia judge..... MORE

Source Pravda.ru

URL: http://english.pravda.ru/society/family/22-05-2012/121199-saudi_arabia_marriage-0/

The knowledge gap: A violation of basic human rights

The knowledge gap: A violation of basic human rights

By 2012, the terms of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights should have been fully implemented worldwide, all children should have basic birthrights such as an education, such as school accommodation which delivers this and human resources to implement it. As we spend billions on weapons systems to kill each other, the knowledge gap grows...

I shall quote Article 26 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights* in its entirety:

Article 26.
(1) Everyone has the right to education. Education shall be free, at least in the elementary and fundamental stages. Elementary education shall be compulsory. Technical and professional education shall be made generally available and higher education shall be equally accessible to all on the basis of merit.

(2) Education shall be directed to the full development of the human personality and to the strengthening of respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms. It shall promote understanding, tolerance and friendship among all nations, racial or religious groups, and shall further the activities of the United Nations for the maintenance of peace..... MORE


URL: http://english.pravda.ru/history/05-06-2012/121321-violation_human_rights-0/

China will buy Iranian oil

China will buy Iranian oil

China will continue to buy Iranian oil, despite the pressures of the U.S. on Southeast Asian countries to stop buying oil from the Islamic Republic.

On Tuesday, the spokesman for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of China, Liu Weimin, advocated  that they maintain trade relations between Tehran and Beijing, and reported that China will continue to import Iranian crude.

During a press conference in Beijing, capital of China, Weimin said that his country buys oil from Iran through normal channels and in an open and transparent manner, so that trade is legal and rational..... MORE


URL: http://english.pravda.ru/business/companies/14-06-2012/121389-china_iran-0/

Regarding interviews NO HOLDS BARRED Armida Siguion-Reyna 06/15/2012

Regarding interviews

Armida Siguion-Reyna
I don’t mind getting requests for interviews, especially as these days it’s mostly in connection with Juan Ponce Enrile, and why not, when he is the man-of-the-hour?

Except “batu-bato sa langit, ang tamaan, huwag magalit: I get the feeling young television production people sent out to do pre-interviews or research don’t exactly know what they’re doing, or why they’re doing what they’re doing.

I can almost hear the young ones saying I’m one to talk, given how dismally forgetful I’ve become and how very much I need to be prodded to get into details such as names and particular incidents. It’s precisely because I’m no longer the Armida who first burst into the medium noong uso pa ang black-and-white TV, that I offer the following bits of advice, to help interviewees my age..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20120615com4.html

What coastal watch? CROSSROADS Jonathan De la Cruz 06/15/2012

What coastal watch?

Jonathan De la Cruz
Reports have it that in addition to the expanded “access arrangements” which the US military has asked to be worked out for US forces under the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) as America “pivots” to Asia, we are now being told that the Pentagon is also planning to set up an integrated “coastal watch system” for the country.

At first blush, that system which has yet to be firmed up may be a blessing for us given our extensive coastline and inadequate resources to patrol our shores. But it may well turn out to be a magnet which can suck us deeper into the front lines of an increasingly deadly cat and mouse game of the superpowers in our midst — the United states and China.

Here’s what a Pentagon official, a Maj. Catherine Wilknison said about the said US initiative: “We are at the planning stages of assisting the Philippines with a National Coast Watch Center. The center is designed to create an overall picture of what is going on in Philippines’ territorial waters. Right now we are discussing a range of options and the details have yet to be finalized. Radars may be eventual part of the package but it hasn’t been determined yet.”.... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20120615com5.html

Smartmatic, Comelec dared to bare PCOS’ errors, repairs 06/15/2012


Smartmatic, Comelec dared to bare PCOS’ errors, repairs

With the Supreme Court (SC)’s 11-3 ruling allowing the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to purchase 82,000 Smartmatic’s precinct count optical scan (PCOS) machines used in the 2010 presidential elections, the poll body, along with Smartmatic, was yesterday dared to publicly bare the defects of the automated machines and the repairs made, if they had been repaired at all.

At the same time, at least two congressmen called on the SC and the Comelec to dig deeper into allegations made by a former poll commissioner who was not reappointed by President Aquino, concerning some 236 problems suffered by the machines during the last elections, and what has been done to fix these problems.

The Center for People Empowerment in Governance (CenPEG) yesterday challenged the Smartmatic-TTM company to reveal to the public the real ownership of its program and all the errors and bugs, major to minor, found in the election system it provided in May 20 to and the corrections supposedly made..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20120615hea1.html

Palace claims CARP completed by 2014 but eases out DAR chief 06/15/2012

Palace claims CARP completed by 2014 but eases out DAR chief

The Palace is again caught saying one thing but doing another after President Aquino’s spokesman Edwin Lacierda said yesterday that the Aquino administration will complete the distribution of “all” agricultural land by 2014 starting with farms which are 25 hectares or over before the end of the year while squeezing out Agrarian Reform Secretary Virgilio de los Reyes which a farmers group said was the result of efforts to evade land distribution at the Hacienda Luisita owned by Aquino’s relatives.

The militant peasant group Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) yesterday described the reported resignation of Department of [Agrarian Reform Secretary de los Reyes] as “collateral damage” of the “evil conspiracy between President Aquino and his allies in Akbayan to once again evade the distribution of Hacienda Luisita.”

The case of Hacienda Luisita, a vast sugar estate controlled by President Aquino and family for nearly half a century, is a testament to the failure of comprehensive agrarian reform program (CARP), according to KMP..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20120615hea4.html

Massacre victims’ kin score De Lima, Palace for coddling Unas By Charlie V. Manalo and Pat C. Santos 06/15/2012

Massacre victims’ kin score De Lima, Palace for coddling Unas

By Charlie V. Manalo and Pat C. Santos 06/15/2012

Relatives of the victims of the Maguindanao massacre yesterday scored Justice Secretary Leila de Lima and Malacañang for continuing to coddle one of the primary suspects in the 2009 mass killing, Provincial Administrator Norie Unas.

The massacre claimed the lives of 54 persons, including 31 me-dia practitioners.

The relatives of the victims accused the Aquino adminis-tration of using Unas as a pawn to pin down former President, now Pampanga Rep. Gloria Arroyo..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20120615hea3.html

5 RP universities among top 300 in Asia By Jason Faustino 06/15/2012

5 RP universities among top 300 in Asia

By Jason Faustino 06/15/2012
Five of the country’s universities made it to the top 300 universities in Asia.

According to the education network Quacquarelli Symmonds (QS), the top Philippine school is the state-run University of the Philippines, which ranked 68th on the list.

The Ateneo de Manila University ranked 86th and the De La Salle University ranked 142nd..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/nation/20120615nat3.html

Heavy rains leave 9 dead, 62 missing By Mario J. Mallari 06/15/2012

Heavy rains leave 9 dead, 62 missing

By Mario J. Mallari 06/15/2012

The death toll from the prevailing shallow low-pressure area (LPA) affecting some parts of the country, particularly the Mindanao region, yesterday rose to nine persons while some 62 others were reported missing among the more than 3,000 families that have been affected by continuing heavy rains.

The National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) announced that the latest fatalities were 10-year-old Sweet Jhara Onad, who was buried by a landslide that struck their
house in Barangay Marilog, Davao City, and Juanito Tito, a passenger of the ill-fated M/V Josille II which capsized off the waters of Palawan..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/nation/20120615nat2.html

Pampanga rep tops list of lawmakers with most number of absences By Gerry Baldo 06/15/2012

Pampanga rep tops list of lawmakers with most number of absences

By Gerry Baldo 06/15/2012

Former President and now Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo led the list of lawmakers with the most number of absences.

She was absent for 33 session days.

Detained at the Veterans Memorial Medical Center in Quezon City on charges of electoral sabotage, the Pampanga lawmaker was recorded absent during the Second Regular Session of Congress from July 25, 2011 to June 6, 2012 when Congress adjourned sine die. In contrast to her performance last year when she was present in all 70 session days.

Rep. Emmanuel “Manny” Pacquiao of Sarangani posted 21 absences to get the second place.
Not far behind Pacquiao is Rep. Augusto Syjuco of Iloilo who registered 18 absences. Syjuco ran and lost in the senatorial race during the previous elections despite his television ads showing his dancing prowess..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/metro/20120615met2.html

QC mayor joins officials, concerned citizens in calling for review of juvenile law By Arlie O. Calalo 06/15/2012

QC mayor joins officials, concerned citizens in calling for review of juvenile law

By Arlie O. Calalo 06/15/2012

Quezon City Mayor Herbert “Bistek” Bautista has joined the growing list of government officials and concerned citizens pressing a review of Republic Act 9344, otherwise known as the Juvenile Justice Welfare Act of 2006.

Bautista said he was prompted by the reported increase in the number of children younger than 15 years old who have become involved in criminal activities.

The reported growth in the number of minors used as drug couriers and “Akyat-Bahay” gang members or getting involved in fraternity wars compelled the mayor to seek a review of the juvenile justice law which provides exemption to children aged 15 years and below from any criminal liability..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/metro/20120615met3.html

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