[Blueboard] Newsbriefs 2 August Morning

Simbahang Lingkod ng Bayan slb at admu.edu.ph
Wed Aug 2 11:18:50 PHT 2006

Newsbriefs 2 August Morning

Simbahang Lingkod ng Bayan



Hope dims for 2007 automated elections (The Manila Times)

"Chairman Benjamin Abalos Sr. of the Commission on Elections is about to abandon his dream of a computerized election in 2007, or before his seven-year term runs out in February 2008.

Abalos said on Tuesday that he is hoping the Supreme Court will reverse its decision voiding the P1.2-billion deal of the COMELEC with Mega Pacific Consortium (MPC) to install automatic counting machines to speed up the poll process.

The ruling also prohibited the COMELEC from using the 1,191 automated counting machines it bought from Mega Pacific.

The machines were stored in a warehouse after the consortium refused to take the machines back and refund the COMELEC.

"The country can say goodbye to its quest for a computerized election in 2007 unless the Supreme Court reverses its decision," Abalos said."

Senate summons 6 Arroyo execs, threatens arrest (Inquirer)

"THE SENATE is sending out subpoenas to six officials who snubbed Monday's inquiry into the Arroyo administration's preparedness in evacuating Filipinos from war-torn Lebanon in an attempt to compel them to appear in a hearing next week.

"I'm hoping that they respect the Senate as an institution. If they don't respect me, they should respect the Senate," said Senator Jinggoy Estrada, chair of the investigating labor committee.

The subpoenas, signed by Senate President Manuel Villar Jr., would be sent to Labor Secretary Arturo Brion, Budget Secretary Rolando Andaya Jr., Foreign Undersecretary Esteban Conejos Jr., Overseas Workers Welfare Administration chief Marianito Roque, Philippine Overseas Employment Administration chief Rosalinda Baldoz and Undersecretary Ricardo Blancaflor.

Estrada, who opened the inquiry based on a resolution filed by Senator Richard Gordon, warned these officials they would be arrested if they defy the subpoenas and snub the next public hearing set for Monday.


"The next step the Senate can do is to issue a warrant of arrest. That's the only remedy we have right now," he told reporters."

Impeachment: Magic number is less than 79 (Inquirer)

"THE opposition in the House of Representatives now needs less than 79 signatures to transmit the Articles of Impeachment against President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo to the Senate with the recent appointment of several legislators to the Cabinet.

Representatives Ronaldo Puno of Antipolo City, Rolando Andaya Jr. of Camarines Sur's 1st district and Jesli Lapus of Tarlac's 3rd district were appointed to the interior, budget and education departments, respectively. 

Another factor was the demise last July 28 of Northern Samar 2nd district Representative Romualdo Vicencio.

Andaya and Puno were appointed in February while Lapus was appointed last month. They have yet to be confirmed by the Commission on Appointments.

The Cabinet appointments and Vicencio's death decreased the number of members of the House of Representatives to 232. Under the Constitution, one-third of the House membership is required for the impeachment against the President to proceed to the Senate for trial. Last year, with 236 House members, 79 was the so-called "Magic Number."

Finally, money for OFWs; Palace sends $150,000; Griping envoy was 'correct' after all (Inquirer)

"MALACAÑANG yesterday finally admitted that Ambassador Al Francis Bichara was "technically correct" in complaining that his embassy had not yet received fresh funds from Manila for the evacuation of Filipinos from Lebanon.

Foreign Undersecretary Esteban Conejos Jr. said that Bichara had only received on Monday, or four days late, the $150,000 the Department of Foreign Affairs had committed to send to Lebanon on July 27.

But Conejos stressed that Bichara should have not made a big fuss about it because he knew the money was on its way and that the delay in its delivery was inevitable because banks were closed on Fridays and Saturdays in the Middle East.

Conejos said the government had no choice but to hand-carry the $150,000 cash via Amman, Jordan, and Damascus, Syria, because banks in Beirut, Lebanon, had limited their dollar withdrawals to $25,000 per account.

"He (Bichara) was aware the money was coming. Technically, he might be right but then he knew in good faith that it was already on its way to Damascus," said Conejos.

447 more Filipinos arrive from Lebanon (abs-cbnNEWS.com)

"A batch of 447 Filipino workers from Lebanon arrived in Manila Wednesday morning.

>From Damascus, Syria, the latest batch arrived on an Orient Thai Airways plane at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport-Terminal 1 at 5:19 a.m.

The International Organization for Migration (IOM) had shouldered the expenses for Filipinos, the biggest batch so far of repatriated workers from Lebanon.

Administrator Marianito Roque of the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration said they were expecting 450 Filipino workers. Three of the Filipinos, however, did not board the plane. Roque said the three Filipino workers might have stayed in Damascus after finding new employers. 

Roque said the latest batch brings the total number of evacuees from Lebanon to 2,067.

The OWWA administrator reported that there are less than 400 Filipino workers at the Lebanon relocation site. He said the evacuees could be repatriated in three flights or a single flight funded by IOM until Friday."

Mayon checkpoints eyed (www.manilastandardtoday.com)

"LEGAZPI CITY-Police and military checkpoints may be set up in areas where the molten rocks ejected by Mt. Mayon are advancing within the 6-km permanent-danger zone to keep people out, an official said yesterday.

Cedric Daep, action officer of the Provincial Disaster Coordinating Council, said he would recommend police or military checkpoints in the volcano's southeast flank to warn onlookers of sudden explosions. 

Seventy-seven farmers in Bonga town died from Mayon's lava flows and gas emissions in 1993. 

"If this plan materializes, we will impose a 24-hour curfew in areas where residents or visitors will not be allowed without permission, Daep said. 

"We set up checkpoints during the previous eruptions, and that allowed us to maintain our zero-casualty objective." 

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