[Blueboard] Newsbriefs 11 August Morning

Simbahang Lingkod ng Bayan slb at admu.edu.ph
Fri Aug 11 11:51:20 PHT 2006

Newsbriefs 11 August Morning

Simbahang Lingkod ng Bayan



Impeach case dead in 6 days, say Arroyo allies (Inquirer)

ALTHOUGH it has been declared to be sufficient in form, the impeachment complaint against President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo is still "slated for the deathbed."

House Majority Leader Prospero C. Nograles yesterday told reporters the chamber's leadership was out to dispose of the latest impeachment complaint against the President in the "next few days," as he maintained that the congressmen needed to focus on their priority agenda.

This could mean the last impeachment hearing could be conducted by the House committee on justice as early as Tuesday or Wednesday next week.

Administration Rep. Mauricio Domogan of Baguio City said the opposition was "just trying to prolong the life of their dying bid."

"Though the impeachment complaint's form was declared sufficient, it is still slated for the deathbed. Impeachment is a numbers game and we have yet to see the minority with the required numbers to push their impeachment bid," Domogan said.

LGUs press for shift to unicameral parliament (www.manilastandardtoday.com)

Town mayors have expressed support for a shift to a unicameral parliamentary government, saying that the present system makes local government units hostages to a hostile Senate. 

Mayor Ramon Guico of Binalonan, Pangasinan, speaking as president of the League of Municipalities of the Philippines, said that the perennial legislative gridlock that has hampered national growth and development for decades will finally be eliminated by a one-House parliamentary system, thus ensuring the automatic release of the Internal Revenue Allotment shares of the LGUs annually. 

"Our IRA will no longer be exploited as a striking balance by some opposition senators who are using the LGUs as pawns in their quarrel with Malacañang," said Guico, expressing the sentiments of majority of the 1,502 town mayors nationwide. 

GMA sets new rules for officials' testimony (www.manilastandardtoday.com)

CONGRESS must give Cabinet officials 15 days notice and a list of questions to be asked during legislative hearings, a new circular signed by President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo says. 

The President said this would give Cabinet officials enough time to prepare for the hearings and establish some ground rules for their participation in legislative inquiries. 

"There is a need to lay down guidelines for the appearance of department heads and other officials of the executive department before either House of Congress to protect the rights of officials appearing... ensure the security of confidential information vital to national interest, and uphold the constitutional principle of separation of powers," the President said. 

Memorandum Circular 108 also says that government-assigned counsel must accompany Cabinet officials who are invited to appear before Congress. 

The circular also says Cabinet officials at a hearing must be allowed to consult the President before answering questions that may concern executive privilege. 

Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita said the new rules were not designed to widen the rift between the Senate and Malacañang, but to speed up the process of legislative inquiry since they would clear the air of any misinterpretation. 

Arroyo appeal to NPA: Don't attack Mayon troops (Inquirer)

PRESIDENT Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo yesterday appealed to the communist New People's Army to desist from mounting attacks in the midst of the government's relief effort for some 40,000 residents evacuated from the rumbling Mayon volcano.

Ms Arroyo saw off a Philippine National Railways (PNR) train that left the Buendia station for Legazpi City carrying P10 million worth of relief goods -- mostly confiscated by the customs bureau for having been misdeclared -- for the Mayon evacuees.

She said the train would ferry supplies as often as necessary and would transport evacuees who wanted to come to Manila.

The President, who said she would visit the evacuees tomorrow, appealed to the guerrillas not to delay or attack the train. "The NPA should not cause trouble," said Ms Arroyo.

WB urges 'quality spending' for RP (www.philstar.com
The Philippines is now beginning to rebuild its credibility before the international investment community with its above-target revenue collections but it should be able to observe "quality spending" and ensure the funds would go where they should, according to the World Bank. 

World Bank country director Joachim Vom Amsberg said the government-improved revenue collection was "one more step reached toward rebuilding credibility and really restoring the fiscal health of the Philippine state." 

"That's very positive news and we are very supportive of that. And I think what it means is that the country is really gaining breathing space to work on delivering better services to its citizens and what I would emphasize is really these elements of quality of spending," Amsberg told reporters after a televised roundtable discussion with President Arroyo at Malacañang on the country's revenue collection. 

"Now that there are revenues that can be spent, the focus (now) should be on how it is being spent, what is being spent for? And that puts the whole agenda on government and quality of spending," he said. 

Amsberg emphasized the importance of transparency in spending, procurements to ensure that nothing is wasted due to corruption. 

"What I mean by that is transparency spending, meaning clear and public disclosure of where expenditures are planned, whether implemented, whether executed. (There should be) civil society participation in monitoring expenditure execution. That's where the transparency part (comes)," he said.

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