[Blueboard] Newsbriefs 25 October Morning

Simbahang Lingkod ng Bayan slb at admu.edu.ph
Tue Oct 25 11:40:24 PHT 2005

Newsbriefs 25 October Morning

Simbahang Lingkod ng Bayan


Arroyo: No to snap polls, yes to coalition gov't (inq7.net)

"PRESIDENT Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo has rejected proposals that she cut short her term to pave the way for the holding of snap elections in 2007, but she is now open to giving the opposition seats in her Cabinet, the Inquirer learned yesterday.

Ms Arroyo has been meeting quietly with El Shaddai leader Bro. Mike Velarde and Cebu Archbishop Ricardo Cardinal Vidal to look for a "way out" of the political crisis brought on by questions of the legitimacy of her presidency, according to two people familiar with the recent meetings.

Velarde and Vidal are reportedly pushing for the holding of a special election in 2007 through an amendment to the Constitution. But in a statement released by the Cebu Archdiocese, Vidal distanced himself from the proposal.

The Black and White Movement (BWM) has presented another proposal calling on Vice President Noli de Castro to serve as "transition president" until a special election is held, also in 2007.

The group, which includes former Cabinet secretaries known as the Hyatt 10, gave De Castro until Nov. 30 to withdraw support from Ms Arroyo and to accept the proposal to take over the government as her constitutional successor.

In one of the meetings, Ms Arroyo agreed to at least one proposal to put up a coalition Cabinet with opposition members.

The sources said the President met with Velarde twice after he and Vidal conferred with the Makati Business Club (MBC) and other business groups two weeks ago in Makati City."

Senate lifts order on ailing Gonzales (The Manila Times)

"The Senate early Monday evening lifted its order holding National Security Adviser Norberto Gonzales in contempt for refusing to divulge vital information on the contract he had signed with the US lobby group Venable LLP, a Senate source told The Manila Times.

Observers of the struggle between leading members of the Senate and Malacañan see the move as a possible reconciliation. Businessmen and religious leaders have been urging the opposition and Malacañan to reconcile for the sake of the national interest.

The decision was reached at an all-Senate caucus held behind closed doors. The Senate source, who asked not to be identified, said Senate President Franklin Drilon and Sen. Joker Arroyo, chairman of the Senate blue-ribbon committee, will announce the lifting of the contempt citation Tuesday. 

Parliamentary rules forbid a member to disclose what happened in an executive session.

It was reported that Gonzales would undergo surgery in Sweden to remove a blockage in his heart artery. The blockage was discovered at the Philippine Heart Center, where he was rushed after suffering hypertension during the blue-ribbon committee hearing on the Venable contract."

CHR says no legal basis for CPR, Mendiola ban (inq7.net)

"THE ARROYO administration's ban on demonstrations on Chino Roces Bridge, popularly known as Mendiola, has no justification in law, according to the Commission on Human Rights.

But police officials do not quite agree. They went yesterday to the Manila city prosecutor's office and filed charges of obstruction and illegal assembly against left-wing leaders of last Friday's rally.

There is no legal basis to the declaration of Mendiola as a no-rally zone, as well as to the requirement for protesters to seek a permit to rally, or the calibrated preemptive response (CPR) policy, or the use of fire trucks to disperse protesters, said Commissioner Wilhelm Soriano.

Soriano said this consensus was reached during a commission discussion of the Oct. 14 dispersal of a prayer rally near Mendiola.

"We've asked Mayor Lito Atienza by what particular declaration was Mendiola turned into a no-rally zone, but as of this hour, there is no declaration, no local ordinance," he told reporters at the Kapihan sa Maynila.

Even if such a declaration is issued, the CHR can still contend that such an act of the local government violates human rights, Soriano said."

AFP finishes poll fraud probe (www.philstar.com)


"A military fact-finding board has completed its investigation three months after it was created to look into the alleged participation of some military officers in electoral fraud last year in Mindanao. 

The findings will be released next week at the earliest. 

Lt. Cmdr. Evan Earl Pabalan, military fact-finding board spokesman, said the body will submit its final report to Armed Forces chief Gen. Generoso Senga in the last week of October or the first week of November. 

"Definitely, the board will be submitting a factual report," he said. "It is based on the outcome of the probe." 

Pabalan said the fact-finding group has performed its assigned mandate and will stand by its recommendation once it is has been finalized. 

"If there are indications of unprofessionalism (among the troops), they would be recommended for further investigation and subsequent. actions," he said. 

Pabalan also said that the findings, once submitted to Senga, would be made public to avoid any suspicion of a cover-up. 

"As previously stated, the board, by authority of the Chief of Staff, shall look into the systems that prevailed during the last national elections," he said. 

"It shall also examine the professional conduct of the AFP officers and men." 

The board interviewed 73 resource persons who, as members of Task Force HOPE (Honest, Orderly and Peaceful Elections), were deputized by the Commission on Elections (Comelec) during the 2004 elections, he added." 

AFP bent on pursuing Gudani, Balutan (www.manilastandardtoday.com)

"THE military leadership is bent on pursuing court-martial proceedings against Brig. Gen. Francisco Gudani and Lt. Col. Alexander Balutan, gag order or no gag order. 

Armed Forces of the Philippines chief of staff Gen. Generoso Senga insisted that Executive Order 464, which bars military and other government officials from facing Senate inquiries without the President's approval, is not the issue at hand. For Senga, the matter is both personal and official since the two Marine officers willfully disobeyed his order. 

"EO 464 is not the issue here. The thing is both of them disobeyed my order. It was a direct order from me which came even before the EO was issued by the President," Senga told Standard Today. 

Gudani and Balutan last month appeared before a Senate committee investigating the controversial "Hello Garci" tapes which tell of how military officers allegedly participated in a supposed plan to rig the 2004 elections. Gudani and Balutan are under the legal custody of the Senate since they testified last Sept. 28. 

Senga's sentiments against the two officers was aired as the pretrial investigation proceedings against two Marine officers started with military prosecutors set to formally serve them with charges for alleged insubordination." 


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