[Blueboard] Newsbriefs 07 November Morning

Simbahang Lingkod ng Bayan slb at admu.edu.ph
Mon Nov 7 11:35:45 PHT 2005

Newsbriefs 07 November Morning

Simbahang Lingkod ng Bayan

Senate could oppose military pact between RP, Australia (www.abs-cbnews.com)

"Australia said Sunday the Philippine Senate could pose an obstacle to a troop-training agreement being negotiated between the two countries. 

Defense Minister Robert Hill said he expected details of a counterterrorism training agreement to be finalized by the end of 2005.

"Then it will need approval of the Philippine Senate, which might be quite challenging," Hill told Channel Nine television.

The countries are negotiating a "status-of-forces" agreement similar to that already in place between Manila and Washington, which overcomes constitutional constraints on foreign soldiers' participation in training exercises on Philippines' soil.

Hill said Australia wanted to help Philippine forces contain Muslim extremists in the country's south.

"We think it is in our interest to help the Philippines more effectively meet the threat of terrorism in Mindanao and other parts of southern Philippines, because we believe that that is not only a threat to them but also to us," he said.

Hill said any agreement would impose clear limits on what Australian troops could do.

"I'm not suggesting military operations in the Philippines, I'm certainly suggesting we should be able to give them more support in training," he said."


Scrapping VFA not an option - Palace (www.manilastandardtoday.com) 

"The Arroyo administration yesterday dismissed the demands made by irate lawmakers for the abrogation of the Visiting Forces Agreement between the Philippines and the United States in the wake of the alleged rape of a 22-year-old Filipina by six American servicemen inside Subic Freeport. 

Presidential Spokesman Ignacio Bunye urged party-list representatives to stop fueling controversy over the rape case by calling for the end of VFA, which is on its sixth year. 

In line with this, a Catholic bishop yesterday called on the authorities to enforce the laws of the land on the six American servicemen in the same way as suspects in any other crime are charged. 

"Even without the Visiting Forces Agreement incidents like this could happen. What is important is that the law is applied to them just like any suspect in a crime," Caloocan Bishop Deogracias Iñiguez said." 

House urged to take lead in pushing pay hike (www.abs-cbnnews.com) 

"Calling regional wage boards "antiworker and antiwage hike," a party-list congressman on Sunday urged the House of Representatives to take it upon itself to approve the proposed P125 increase in the minimum daily wage.

Anakpawis Rep. Crispin Beltran said Speaker Jose de Venecia should acknowledge the need for the House to approve at the soonest possible time House Bill 345 which provides for the salary increase. 

"There is no way around it: Congress must step up to the bat and assume jurisdiction over the wage-hike issue and the overall determination of minimum-wage levels all over the country," Beltran, a staunch critic of President Arroyo, said Sunday. 

He added, "More than a decade's worth of experience under the authority of the regional wage boards has shown that it is really Congress that should determine wage hikes and minimum wages. The regional wage boards are institutions that actually kill wage-hike demands from workers and take primary consideration of the employer and big business' interests."


DOJ to expose terrorists' financiers, media handlers (www.philstar.com) 

"The Department of Justice (DOJ) now has in its custody a witness who can identify the legal advisers and media handlers of the terrorist groups Rajah Solaiman Movement (RSM) and the Abu Sayyaf, including details of their bombing plans. 

Senior State Prosecutor Emmanuel Velasco said the new witness is a member of the RSM. 

"We have a new state witness who will directly link the Santos brothers and the others to bombings," Velasco said, referring to captured RSM founder Hilarion del Rosario Santos III and Abu Hamid Al-Luzoni, also known as Hannah Santos. 

The  DOJ filed rebellion charges against them before the Makati City prosecutor's office last week along with six other suspects who were arrested by combined military and police personnel in Zamboanga City. 

Also charged were Abu Sayyaf chieftain Khadaffy Janjalani, Jainal Sali who is also known as Abu Solaiman, a certain Police Officer 3 San Amdal, Khalil Pareja, Pio de Vera, Abdul Kareem Ayeras, Omar Lavilla, Mike Rueca and Ashty Dan. 

The case stemmed from the bombing of a passenger bus in Makati on Valentine's Day this year in which four people were killed and several others wounded." 

Cha-cha, budget top House agenda (www.philstar.com)

"The push for Cha-cha (Charter change) and the approval of the proposed P1-trillion national budget top the agenda of the House of Representatives for the remainder of the congressional session, which resumes today. 

Majority Leader Prospero Nograles said yesterday the appropriations committee chaired by Camarines Sur Rep. Rolando Andaya Jr. is expected to endorse the budget later this week or next week. 

"We should be able to pass the appropriations bill this month. The absolute deadline should be early next month. Then we transmit it to the Senate. Hopefully, we can still finally approve it before yearend," he said. 

At the Senate, Sen. Manuel Roxas II, a member of the committee on finance, said yesterday that he is ready to roll up his sleeves and use a fine-tooth comb to examine the budget when session resumes Monday. 

"We, as legislators, are given by the Constitution the important power of the purse, to set direction for the country through the allocation of resources," Roxas said. "This power should be taken seriously and resources should be spent wisely for the benefit of every Filipino." 

Arrested amputee not 'Putol,' after all (www.manilastandardtoday.com)  

"THE government yesterday apologized for the false report that Abu Sayyaf terrorist leader Radullan Sahiron had been captured by a joint team of police and military operatives. 

Presidential Spokesman Ignacio Bunye said an investigation by the Philippine National Police revealed that the man who was taken into custody turned out to be "only a look-alike." 

"It is but right to correct that mistake and bring back the person invited for questioning to his family. We assure everyone that his rights are not violated. We apologize," Bunye told newsmen in a text message." 

Face-off looms between De Venecia, Pichay in House (news.inq7.net)


"THE QUESTION on whether Speaker Jose de Venecia will lose his grip on the House leadership will be answered Monday when Surigao del Sur Representative Prospero Pichay formally declares his bid for the speakership after the House of Representatives resumes sessions in the afternoon. 

But until Sunday, Pichay, who is being supported by the Mindanao bloc of congressmen, continued to play coy about his real intentions.

"I have not (formally) declared that I'm running for Speaker. I will continue to make consultations, then I will decide," he said in Cagayan de Oro City.

De Venecia however remained confident the majority coalition led by the Lakas-Christian Muslim Democrats (Lakas-CMD) party, which he heads, was fully behind him.

"Resistance is futile," he declared.

Congressional sources said De Venecia "will force a vote" on Monday to prevent the majority from breaking up.

De Venecia vowed to reach out to his "challenger" to preserve the ruling coalition comprised of the Lakas-CMD, the Nationalist People's Coalition, Liberal Party, Nacionalista Party, Kabalikat ng Malayang Pilipino and Social Democrats.

A motion to declare all seats vacant in the House leadership filed before Congress adjourned last month will confront the 236-chamber when it resumes sessions on Monday."
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