[Blueboard] Newsbriefs 18 October Morning

Simbahang Lingkod ng Bayan slb at admu.edu.ph
Tue Oct 18 10:56:43 PHT 2005

Newsbriefs 18 October Morning

Simbahang Lingkod ng Bayan


 Malacañang relaxes rule on mass actions (www.manilastandardtoday.com)

"TAKEN aback by negative reactions to the dispersal of a prayer-rally in Mendiola on Friday, Malacañang yesterday ordered law enforcers to observe maximum tolerance toward antigovernment demonstrators. 

However, if protesters get unruly, break the law or insist on entering no-rally zones such as Mendiola Bridge - as they did last week - police will break up the gathering, said Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita. 

"First we have the policy of maximum tolerance, but this could graduate to the calibrated preemptive response (CPR), especially if protesters would taunt and provoke the police," Ermita told a radio interview. 

Determined to test that resolve yet again, various militant groups made up of farmers, students, and laborers threatened to march yet again on Mendiola from Eliptical Road in Quezon City on Oct. 21 in a protest rally called "Lakbayan Mamamayan '05." 

The decision to fall back on the maximum tolerance policy seems to be a response to calls from some administration allies to scrap the CPR, which has been blamed for the outbreak of violent confrontations between protesters and police." 

El Shaddai leader slams CPR policy (inq7.net)

"THE INFLUENTIAL LEADER OF the Catholic charismatic group El Shaddai yesterday blasted the police dispersal of a prayer rally last week and warned President Macapagal-Arroyo that her tough stand on dissenters was fueling political instability.

"Brute force should not be used against the elderly," said Bro. Mike Velarde in his first public expression of displeasure at Ms Arroyo, to whom he is spiritual adviser.

"The suppression of prayer rallies led by responsible religious leaders is a clear sign of disrespect to faith and beliefs which must not be tolerated by the faithful and the people regardless of religious affiliation," said Velarde.

Velarde, whose El Shaddai group claims a following of five million, said he was shocked and angered by the police dispersal of the march led by former Vice President Teofisto Guingona, 77, and Bishops Deogracias Iñiguez, 64; Antonio Tobias, 64, and Julio Xavier Labayen, 79. No serious injuries were reported during the incident."

Miriam slams 'creeping theocracy' (www.philstar.com)


"Sen. Miriam Defensor Santiago warned yesterday of a "creeping theocracy" as she criticized the clergy anew for their role in the political affairs of the country following the violent dispersal of protesters last Friday. 

"No religion can serve to camouflage law disobedience by invoking freedom of religion. That would be creeping theocracy," Santiago said. 

Santiago, considered to be a staunch ally of President Arroyo in the Senate, pointed out that the participation of the clergy does not change the rules on the conduct of rallies. 

The senator was reacting to the claim of protesters that they were merely conducting a peaceful religious march from Plaza Miranda in Quiapo, Manila last Friday when they were hosed down by members of the Philippine National Police near the Chino Roces Bridge on the road to Malacañang. 

Santiago said that no citizen has the right to hold a rally in any place other than what is designated in the rally permit and that the terms of the permit cannot be changed by the mere use of the term "prayer rally." 

This is not the first time that the senator has criticized the clergy for taking part in the political affairs of the country." 

Gonzales goes on medical leave (inq7.net)

"NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER Norberto Gonzales, at the center of a political firestorm between President Macapagal-Arroyo and the Senate, has asked for a medical leave and got it, Press Secretary Ignacio Bunye said yesterday.

Bunye said there was no intention to replace Gonzales, who is reportedly suffering from a heart ailment. But he raised the possibility that an officer in charge would be named to his office.

Sen. Joker Arroyo, chair of the blue ribbon committee that cited Gonzales in contempt, nixed the move as "worthless" and gave no indication Gonzales would be released from Senate custody.

"A medical leave may not mean a leave from his job. Why don't they just follow the [committee] order, identify the donor and the next minute we will release him?" said Arroyo.

The maverick administration senator said Gonzales and Malacañang had first asked for an executive session, then executive privilege, bail and now a medical leave. "What is this? They are playing with words."

Arroyo's committee had cited Gonzales in contempt after he refused to respond to questions during a hearing last month into an agreement he signed on July 25 with the US lobby firm Venable LLP to tap American funding for Ms Arroyo's project to amend the Philippine Constitution."

'Bill on citizens' duties must be included in amended Charter' (www.philstar.com)


"A bill on the duties and obligations of each Filipino citizen is among the proposals to be included in recommended amendments to the 1987 Constitution. 

"Citizens assert so much of their rights but not their duties, such as paying of taxes. There should be a balance between rights and duties," said Jose Abueva, former University of the Philippines president and chairman of the 49-member consultative commission (con-com) to propose amendments to the 18-year-old Charter. 

The proposed "Bill of Duties and Obligations" would follow the Bill of Rights in the Constitution and would have eight sections. 

Abueva said a Bill of Duties and Obligations has already been included in the 46-page draft amendments to the Charter prepared by the Citizens Movement for a Federal Philippines (CMFP), which he also heads. 

The first section of the proposed bill states that it shall be the duty of each citizen to be loyal to the Federal Republic of the Philippines and to honor the Philippine flag. 

Citizens are also called to defend the State and contribute to its development and welfare, to uphold the Constitution and obey the laws, and to cooperate with the duly constituted authorities in the attainment and preservation of a peaceful, just and orderly society. 

Among the key sections of the proposed Bill of Duties and Obligations is Section 3 which deals with human life, dignity and rights."

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