[Blueboard] Newsbriefs 17 August Afternoon

Simbahang Lingkod ng Bayan slb at admu.edu.ph
Thu Aug 17 17:45:52 PHT 2006

Newsbriefs 17 August Afternoon

Simbahang Lingkod ng Bayan



Arroyo seeks unity after surviving impeach bid (abs-cbnNEWS.com )

President Arroyo on Thursday called on opponents to "close ranks" behind her for the sake of the nation after surviving the first stage of another attempt to impeach her. 

"Let's finally leave this issue behind and close ranks to meet the pressing tasks and challenges that we as a nation need to face together," she said in a statement. 

"Let us just move on with life and our work. To be fixated in the events of the past will guarantee us a future of disruption, of interrupted growth and overlooked opportunities," she added. 

The House of Representatives justice committee voted behind closed doors late Wednesday to recommend the 235-seat chamber reject the case against the 59-year-old leader because it lacks "substance", congressman and committee member Salacnib Baterina said. 

The House, which like the committee is dominated by Arroyo allies, is expected to ratify the recommendation next week. 

Opposition unites under new party (abs-cbnNEWS.com)

Several opposition parties on Thursday said they have banded together in a bid to defeat President Arroyo's allies in the 2007 mid-term elections, DZMM reported.

The anti-Arroyo groups launched Partido UNO to grab majority of the seats in Congress and other positions in local government in next year's polls. The move came after the House justice panel junked the impeachment complaint against her. 

Partido UNO is composed of businessman Eduardo "Danding" Cojuangco and House Minority Leader Francis Escudero's Nationalist People's Coalition, Senate Minority Leader Aquilino Pimentel Jr.'s Partido ng Demokratikong Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan, ex-president Joseph Estrada's Pwersa ng Masang Pilipino, and the late actor and president bet Fernando Poe Jr.'s Koalisyon ng Nagkakaisang Pilipino. 

Makati Mayor Jejomar Binay, who was named Partido UNO chairman, said that on top of their agenda next year, the group aims to block the Malacanan-backed people's initiative for Charter change.

Binay, chairman of the United Opposition, Partido UNO's predescessor, said that the new coalition believes that the polls next year would be postponed if the people's initiative pushes through.

New govt body to probe political, media slays (abs-cbnNEWS.com )

President Arroyo is forming a new commission that will investigate the spate of leftist and media killings following the murder of another leftist leader on Wednesday. 

"This commission will have the credibility and the clout to move ongoing probes forward, examine policy matters, recommend reforms and consolidate the effort to mete out justice in cooperation with all concerned sectors in the domestic and international community," Press Secretary Ignacio Bunye said in a statement. 

Bunye said Mrs. Arroyo is looking over a short list of appointees to determine who will head the commission. 

"The President has condemned these killings in the strongest terms and is determined to take all the necessary measures to protect human rights and uphold the rule of law," he added. 

Rebels call for renewed talks in wake of AI report (INQ7.net)

COMMUNIST rebels renewed calls for the resumption of peace negotiations, saying the government's "all-out war" against them will only "further escalate human rights violations and.further economic ruin."

The call, issued by National Democratic Front (NDF) negotiating panel Chairman Luis Jalandoni, followed the release of an Amnesty International (AI) report which faulted the Arroyo administration's "failure to protect individuals" for the continued killings of mostly leftist activists in the country.

The NDF welcomed the AI report, saying it echoed the "findings from several other international fact-finding missions on the Philippines confirming that the US-Arroyo regime is culpable for the ever-mounting number of murders and more than 180 'desaparecidos [disappearances]' in the country."

Among the latest findings were those from the Uniting Church in Australia, which blamed the government for the deaths of several Protestant pastors and activists.

"More than ever, the NDF reiterates its call for the resumption of peace negotiations directed at addressing the social roots of the armed conflict and demands that the [government] stop the political killing and abductions of legal activists and civilians," Jalandoni said.

Benipayo can testify before Ombudsman on Megapacific, says Pimentel (www.philstar.com)

Senate Minority Leader Aquilino Q. Pimentel, Jr. Thursday disputed the argument of lawyers of the Commission on Elections that former Solicitor General Alfredo Benipayo should not be allowed to testify on the ongoing Ombudsman's hearings on the possible criminal liability of elections officials involved in the P1.3 billion poll automation contract with MegaPacific. 

Pimentel asked the Ombudsman to reconsider its ruling granting the motion of Comelec lawyers that Benipayo should be barred from testifying on the ground that this will violate the principle of client-lawyer relations. 

Benipayo acted as legal counsel for Comelec during the Supreme Court hearings on the MegaPacific case and as such supposedly received confidential or privileged information from the poll body. Benipayo also once served as chairman of Comelec before Chairman Benjamin Abalos. 

Pimentel, one of the complainants in the case, said that former Solicitor General Benipayo should not be barred from testifying, pointing out that his testimony is not covered by lawyer-client privileged communication.


Palace to monitor Meralco compliance of SC ruling (INQ7.net)

MALACAÑANG will be monitoring whether the Manila Electric Co. (Meralco) will comply with a Supreme Court decision ordering the private power firm to refund its consumers the unauthorized increase it had been collecting since June 2004, President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo's spokesman said Thursday.

But at the same time, Press Secretary Ignacio Bunye said the Palace was "confident that Meralco would find a way to comply with the mandate of justice."

"We assure the public that the executive will continuously monitor the firm's compliance with the high court order," said Bunye who called the ruling "another victory" for the people.

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