[Blueboard] Newsbriefs 14 August Morning

Simbahang Lingkod ng Bayan slb at admu.edu.ph
Mon Aug 14 12:01:24 PHT 2006

Newsbriefs 14 August Morning

Simbahang Lingkod ng Bayan



'Impeach evidence won't be allowed' (www.philstar.com)
The nation may never see the evidence impeachment petitioners and opposition congressmen claim they have against President Arroyo. 

According to Maguindanao Rep. Simeon Datumanong, chairman of the House committee on justice that is hearing the impeachment complaint against the President, evidence cannot be presented in the determination of the substance of the petition. 

The committee begins that process tomorrow. 

In a radio interview over the weekend, Datumanong said under the House impeachment rules, presentation of evidence is allowed only when the justice committee has determined the complaint to be sufficient in substance. 

He said the panel would confine itself to the allegations in the petition in deciding whether there is substance in them. 

Impeachment petitioners led by former social welfare secretary Dinky Soliman and opposition congressmen have appealed to Mrs. Arroyo's allies to see the evidence they have against the President. 

At least one member of the majority bloc, Makati Rep. Teodoro Locsin Jr., is pleading with his colleagues to examine the evidence in closed-door sessions so they could fully appreciate whether the complaint lacks or has substance.


Nene: No anti-terrorism bill until political killings stop (www.philstar.com)
The anti-terror bill will not be passed by the Senate until all political killings throughout the country stop, an opposition lawmaker told Malacañang yesterday. 

Although there is an urgent need for an anti-terror law, Senate Minority Leader Aquilino Pimentel Jr. said it will be passed but "only when the government shows its sincerity and determination in solving and preventing killings attributed to the police and military." 

"The problem with the government of President Arroyo is that even if there is no anti-terrorism law, it has been harassing people perceived to be her enemies. They (the opposition) are being treated like terrorists," he said. 

Pimentel noted the importance of an anti-terrorism law in the country but stressed the more important issue of protecting the civil liberties of the people. 

The opposition lawmaker stressed the need to strengthen the safeguards against human rights violations as an indispensable feature of an Anti-Terrorism Act. 

"Unless those freedoms are guaranteed, the danger of our losing them to government terrorists would be as great, if not worse than our losing our lives to fanatical terrorists," Pimentel said.


'Senate a monumental failure' (www.manilastandardtoday.com)

House leaders yesterday accused the Senate of hiding behind the phrase "for the Filipino people," when they have actually lost the moral right to such claim by ignoring hundreds of propeople legislation and the nationwide clamor for Charter Change and for the removal of the obstacles to stability and progress. 

Deputy Majority Leader Rodolfo Antonino of Nueva Ecija and Rep. Monico Puentevella of Bacolod City blasted opposition Senator Aquilino Pimentel Jr. for "grossly diverting" attention from the real issue of the Senate's monumental failure to focus on its primary constitutional duty of legislation. 

"Pimentel is in a period of denial, like most people when afflicted with a terminal disease," Antonino said. "The truth is, the Senate has not been able to carry out its constitutionally-mandated function as a legislative body and all its other actions are geared toward self-promotion." 

The Senate is a terminal case and no amount of denial can save it from abolition, said Puentevella, one of the most outspoken leaders in Visayas. 

Puentevella added the Senate has lost its reason to exist because it has failed to respond to the people's needs. 

The two lawmakers said they found it "hypocritical that the Senate that slashed the 2006 budget by P63 billion intended for propoor programs should now use the people as a shield to muddle the true issue of its utter failure as a legislative institution." 

Yap heads task force on P372-b projects (www.manilastandardtoday.com)

President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo has created an Infrastructure Monitoring Task Force and an Anti-Red Tape Task Force to make sure that her P372-billion pump-priming projects will not go down the drain because of corruption or get mired in bureaucratic processes. 

"There is a low absorptive capacity of the agencies implementing pump priming projects, especially the infrastructure projects. The Task Force shall take steps to speed up the implementation of the projects," she said after signing Executive Order 553 which named Presidential Management Staff chief Arthur Yap head of the IMTF. 

Members of the interagency IMTF come from the National Economic and Development Authority, the Department of Transportation and Communications, the Department of Energy and the Export Development Council. 

President Arroyo invited the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry to assign a representative to the Task Force as a private sector partner of the government. 

Mrs. Arroyo also created an Anti-Red Tape Task Force to cut down the number of days it takes to make a transaction in government agencies. 

"The Anti-Red Tape Task Force will be headed by the Department of Trade and Industry. I expect the task force to submit their inputs during the National Competitiveness Summit we have scheduled for this month," she said. 

Evacuation still on despite UN truce (www.manilastandardtoday.com)

THE ceasefire in Lebanon takes effect at exactly 1 p.m. today, but President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo said the hours before the UN-declared end to hostilities would be the most crucial for Task Force Lebanon, the group evacuating Filipinos from the war-torn country. 

"I shall spare no effort to keep every Filipino safe and sound until they are brought home or to a safe sanctuary elsewhere," she said. 

She called on Israel and Lebanon to respect the humanitarian corridor, "silence the guns and place the safety and welfare of innocent civilians in paramount consideration." 

She ordered the task force to intensify the search for some 25,000 Filipino workers in Lebanon to ensure they were safe, Foreign Affairs Undersecretary Esteban Conejos Jr. said. 

"We expect the heavy fighting to get even worse until 5 a.m., or 1 p.m. Manila time, when the ceasefire accord is implemented," he said. 

"Both Israel and Lebanon are expected to maximize their respective positions and use all the military power they've got until the 1 p.m. deadline." 

The government has so far evacuated only about 5,000 Filipinos from Lebanon since Israeli fighters started bombing it in retaliation against the Hezbollah militia's rocket attacks, but that has been mainly because many are reluctant to leave their jobs. 

"We can hardly fill the plane in Damascus, but how much more when the ceasefire is in effect?" Conejos said. 

He said the government expected the number of Filipino evacuees to dwindle following Saturday's passage of Security Council Resolution 1701 imposing the ceasefire. 

Landslides bury 10 villages, thousands evacuated (www.abs-cbnnews.com)

Landslides triggered by heavy rains buried 10 villages in Pagadian , 
Zamboanga del Sur, displacing thousands of residents, rescuers said Monday. 

There were no immediate reports of casualties from the affected area near the town of Kapatagan following the landslides, which took place late Sunday. 

Boulders and loose earth rolled down the mountainside along a 10-kilometer (six-mile) stretch of coastal highway between Kapatagan and Pagadian on the Moro Gulf side of the island, provincial disaster relief officials said. 

The landslides cut off parts of the highway and residents fled to a government shelter in Kapatagan, they added. 

The southern and central Philippines have been hit by a spate of bad weather this month, with huge waves inundating coastal areas, destroying more than 1,200 homes. Six people were killed in a recent landslide. AFP

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