[Blueboard] Newsbriefs 2 August Afternoon

Simbahang Lingkod ng Bayan slb at admu.edu.ph
Wed Aug 2 17:10:15 PHT 2006

Newsbriefs 2 August Afternoon

Simbahang Lingkod ng Bayan



Now it's pro-Arroyos' turn, ask House to junk impeach rap (INQ7.net)

"A MOTION seeking an outright dismissal of all impeachment complaints against President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo has been filed at the House Representatives by 17 all-women's groups and known supporters of Arroyo.

Saying that the impeachment move was "politically motivated" and a "waste of time," the movants-intervenors, led by Evelyn Kilayko, filed at exactly 10:20 a.m. Wednesday a five-page "motion to dismiss in intervention" before the office of House Secretary General Roberto Nazareno.

The petitioners said the complaints should be dismissed because:

. The "serial impeachment" or filing of identical complaints allegedly exposed the weaknesses of the cases;
. The move was a mere waste of time and resources of the government;
. The allegation that the President exercised dictatorial powers to suppress the lawful exercise of free speech and information was "clearly unfounded;"
. The allegation that the President committed high crimes by allegedly allowing and abetting the killing of political dissenters in the country was "so incredible" that it should not merit the attention of the House.
. Arroyo's issuance of a state of emergency and Executive Order 464 barring government officials from congressional inquiries was not a ground for impeachment.
. The allegation that the President committed electoral fraud in 2004 was a "dead issue" and could no longer be resurrected.

All complaints filed against President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo are politically motivated and to give them due course will only waste the time and resources of this Honorable House," they said."

News blackout imposed on destabilization probes (INQ7.net)

"THE government has imposed a news blackout on its investigation into destabilization attempts against President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, Justice Secretary Raul Gonzalez said on Wednesday.

Gonzalez said the blackout was agreed on by the agencies involved in the investigation.

Aside from the Department of Justice, the other agencies are the Department of Interior and Local Government, National Bureau of Investigation, Philippine National Police, Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Presidential Anti-Crime Emergency Response.

"No one is authorized to talk. We have agreed to keep silent while we are still cross-checking everything," Gonzalez said, quickly adding that the blackout is restricted only to information deemed "sensitive."

"If everyone will speak, there will be a different interpretation, which will only create confusion," he explained. "When we are finished evaluating, everything will come out...things will be released because of (the principle of) transparency."

NDF proposes joint probe into 'desaparecidos' (INQ7.net)

"COMMUNIST rebels have proposed a joint fact-finding mission with the government to look into the abductions and disappearances of activists and suspected rebels.

In a statement released Wednesday, the National Democratic Front (NDF) said the proposal was made in a letter from Fidel Agcaoili, chairman of the NDF's human rights committee, to lawyer Sedfrey Candelaria, who heads the government's monitoring committee.

In the letter, Agcaoili pointed out to Candelaria that, since May 8, the "arrests and disappearances of suspected revolutionaries and of unarmed civilians have escalated to unconscionable proportions."

The abductions are aside from the extrajudicial killings that human rights groups say have claimed the lives of more than 700 activists, journalists and ordinary citizens.

The probe, Agcaoili said, should determine the circumstances surrounding the disappearances and to find the victims, "whether dead or alive."

Agcaoili suggested that the "ad-hoc joint committee" to conduct the fact-finding be composed by independent observers to the Joint Monitoring Committee, the body formed to oversee implementation of the Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Laws between the government and NDF.

These are Mercedes Contreras-Danenberg and Aileen Bacalso, the government-appointed observers, and Bishop Tomas Millamena and Marie Hilao-Enriquez for the NDF.

"To ensure further objectivity and guarantee the security of the committee, we are also proposing that a representative each from the Royal Norwegian Government and the International Committee of the Red Cross sit as observers and join all fact-finding missions," Agcaoili added in the letter."

Filipino lawyers keep tight watch on Bolante case in US (INQ7.net)

"A TIGHT watch is being kept on a former official of the Department of Agriculture who has been linked to cheating in the 2004 election, as lawyers from a Philippine university are making sure that his request for political asylum in the US will not be granted.

A "Bantay Joc-Joc" (Joc-joc Watch) is being organized by the University of the Philippines lawyers to monitor and assist the US Homeland Security Department in the case of former agriculture undersecretary Jocelyn "Joc-Joc" Bolante, said Harry Roque of the UP Law Center.

Filipino lawyers based in Los Angeles have been helping the Homeland Security, Roque said.

Roque said that if Bolante's bid to transfer the case to Chicago was granted, another "Bantay Joc-joc" group would be organized in that state.

"The groups, in coordination with us, provide the trial lawyers with documents justifying why Bolante should be sent back to the Philippines," Roque said in an interview."

DEPED conducts survey on September class opening (abs-cbnNEWS.com )

"Education Secretary Jesli Lapus on Wednesday said the Department of Education is conducting a survey on a proposal to move the opening of the school year from June to September to avoid the rainy season. 

Lapus said the new survey will determine if schoolteachers, parents and students favored the proposal. He said a 2003 survey showed that 70 percent of respondents favored the June opening.

"We want to avoid the typhoons in June as well as the hot season in April and May," he told DZMM. He added that school season in the northern hemisphere starts in September to avoid the summer season, which lasts from July to August. 

Lapus said moving the school opening would also give more time for the construction of more classrooms.

Several lawmakers, including newly installed Senate President Manuel B. Villar, have proposed resetting the opening of classes from June to September due to the rainy season.

Villar's bill on the change of the school calendar has remained unacted in the Senate. A counterpart version is also pending in the House of Representatives."

Govt seeks P1.137-trillion budget for 2007 (abs-cbnNEWS.com )

"President Arroyo will seek a national budget of P1.137 trillion ($22.04 billion) in 2007 to support a massive investment program, the Department of Budget and Management said Wednesday. 

Budget Secretary Rolando Andaya said the 2007 budget proposal was a pro-growth measure that increases spending in all areas except for debt service, thanks to robust tax collection. 

The government has announced an infrastructure program which will cost P72.02 billion over the next four years, to be spent on roads, rail systems, airports, ports, and other basic requirements. 

The 2007 budget is based on the assumption the Philippines will post 5.7 percent gross domestic product growth, an inflation rate of 4.3 to 4.8 percent and an exchange rate of P51 to P53 to the dollar. 

Debt service, which has traditionally taken up the largest slice of government budgets, is expected to fall to 28.8 percent of the 2007 budget compared to 36.2 percent this year, Andaya said. "

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