[Blueboard] Newsbriefs 17 August Morning

Simbahang Lingkod ng Bayan slb at admu.edu.ph
Thu Aug 17 13:33:56 PHT 2006

Newsbriefs 17 August Morning

Simbahang Lingkod ng Bayan



House panel kills impeachment bid, Arroyo allies say case DOA, only a cadaver (Inquirer)

IN ANOTHER KILLING, President Gloria Macapagal- Arroyo's dominant allies threw out yesterday a second attempt to unseat her in two years. The House committee on justice voted 56-24 to trash the impeachment complaint backed by civil society.

"We have presented our case in its complete form, but you have chosen not to hear the case," an exasperated House Minority Leader Francis Escudero said, conceding defeat.

The vote came an hour after opposition supporters heckled administration allies out of the session hall in the midst of intense debates on whether the complaint was sufficient in substance to bring it to trial in the Senate.

A formal report on the committee hearing was expected to be prepared and submitted to a plenary that was likely to affirm the committee decision in another vote on either Monday or Tuesday.

Tension flared shortly after the summation of arguments by Escudero and Deputy Majority Leader Edcel Lagman at the panel hearing on substance that began on Tuesday and continued through last night.

Summing up for the majority, Lagman had declared that the impeachment complaint was not being killed by the committee. "It was already dead on arrival. What was brought before the committee on justice was a cadaver of a complaint."

He said the debate on whether the complaint was sufficient in substance was like a eulogy.

"What we heard from its endorsers were funeral orations," said Lagman, noting that the initiative had been destined to fail not only because the complainants and their allies lack numbers "but principally because the complaint itself manifestly lacks sufficiency in substance."

Impeach backers pin hopes on plenary (abs-cbnNEWS.com)

The opposition on Thursday pinned their hopes on fellow congressmen to reject a justice panel report junking the second impeachment complaint against President Arroyo.

Senior Deputy Minority Leader Allan Peter Cayetano said the public should ask their congressmen to support the complaint when the justice panel submits its report in plenary. 

"We ask the people to urge their congressmen to allow Mrs. Arroyo to defend herself," he told DZMM. 

Cayetano said several congressmen have already crossed party lines to endorse the complaint. 

The House of Representatives Committee on Justice on Wednesday threw out the impeachment complaint against Mrs. Arroyo, ruling that it lacked sufficient substance to form the basis of a trial in the Senate.

728th leftist leader slain in Nueva Ecija (abs-cbnNEWS.com)

Another leftist leader was shot dead by unidentified gunmen in Guimba, Nueva Ecija, Thursday, bringing the total number of political killings to 728 since Mrs. Arroyo became President in 2001. 

Initial DZMM reports said gunmen shot dead Julie Velasquez, an official of the provincial chapter of the left-wing Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas. 

Reports said Velasquez was visiting a friend in Guimba when gunmen shot the activist leader at least 15 times using .45 caliber pistols and M-16 rifles. 

Leftist leaders said Velasquez was a vocal critic of a military-imposed barangay defense system requiring residents of several Nueva Ecija communities to carry community-tax certificates all the time. 

The Commission on Human Rights earlier said the defense system is being implemented in barangays Villa Marina, San Agustin, Kaliwangan and Culaylay, all in San Jose City, on the instruction of Maj. Gen. Jovito Palparan, commander of the Army's 7th Infantry Division.

SC orders Meralco to refund 13¢/kwh 'overcharge' (www.philstar.com)
The Supreme Court (SC) ordered the Manila Electric Co. (Meralco) yesterday to refund the unauthorized increase in its generation charge of 13.27 centavos per kilowatt-hour that it had imposed on its customers. 

Meralco president Jesus Francisco said they would abide with the decision of the high tribunal and now start studying ways to implement the ruling. 

According to initial estimates, Meralco would need to refund some P800 million for the three months that it collected the increase. 

The high tribunal, however, suggested to Meralco that instead of actual refunds, the amount due to the customers could be credited to future billings.

4-hour check-in imposed at NAIA (www.philstar.com)
Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) security officials are advising travelers to show up four hours before their flight because of new stringent security measures following a foiled terrorist plot to blow up several US-bound airliners in Britain. 

Travelers bound for the United States are now prohibited from bringing any kind of liquid, gel, lotion or similar items in hand-carried luggage after British security forces reported thwarting a plot to blow up several US-bound airliners in mid-flight using explosives concealed in sports drink bottles. 

Senior Superintendent Atilano Morada, Aviation Security Group deputy commander, said the new restrictions applied mostly to flights bound for the United States, in line with US government edicts against liquids or gels in hand-carried baggage. 

"What is happening right now is based on the security advisory from the other countries, we also follow the advisory since we have flights to and from the United States. We follow what is being advised by the Transportation Security Administration of the US such as those liquids being banned," he said.

Task force to be formed vs cell phone snatching (www.philstar.com)
President Arroyo ordered yesterday Deputy National Security Adviser Virtus Gil to head a composite team that would put an end to the theft and illegal re-sale of cellular phones. 

Mrs. Arroyo instructed Gil to form a task force with "police and operational powers" to curb the incidents of cell phone snatching, which have become prevalent and even deadly. 

Secretary to the Cabinet Ricardo Saludo said Gil was given the marching orders to run after cell phone thieves after he presented a proposal for the setting up of a Cellular Phone Registration System (CPRS) at the Aug. 15 meeting of the Export Development Council in Malacañang. 

Gil made the presentation in his capacity as head of Task Force Aurora, created last year to streamline front-line services. 

He said only a re-liable CPRS would discourage cellphone theft and illegal resale because stolen units can be blocked out of cellular networks and traced once reported stolen. 

Gil cited statistics from the Philippine National Police (PNP) which showed that incidents of cellphone snatching rose by 53 percent, and robbery involving cellphones by 35 percent from 2003 to the first quarter of 2006.

Mayon cone swells; big bang just a matter of time (www.manilastandardtoday.com)

LEGAZPI CITY-Mayon Volcano's cone swelled slightly yesterday as fresh magma forced its way to the top, indicating material is building up for an explosive eruption, scientists said. 

They said instruments detected a slight swelling in the mountain's upper part and some deformation on the ground as fresh magma started pushing up to the top. 

Volcanologist Ed Laguerta said there was a high probability of the volcano erupting any time following recent readings. 

"Almost all parameters such as lava flows, ash explosions, pyroclastic flows, and the recent edifice swelling indicate that the volcano could blow any time," Laguerta said. 

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