[Blueboard] Newsbriefs 28 August Afternoon

Simbahang Lingkod ng Bayan slb at admu.edu.ph
Mon Aug 28 17:04:00 PHT 2006

Newsbriefs 28 August Afternoon

Simbahang Lingkod ng Bayan



Arroyo keeps mum on family's alleged German bank account (news.inq7.net)

"PRESIDENT Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo kept mum on her family's alleged 500 million-dollar deposit with a German bank, which a pro-opposition lawmaker has exposed.

"I have no comment on political matters. It's more important to talk about Green Philippines," Arroyo said in an interview on radio station dzXL Monday.

Arroyo was interviewed on the government's actions on the Guimaras oil spill, when the anchor asked her about Taguig-Pateros Allan Peter Cayetano's allegation that First Gentleman Jose Miguel Arroyo has stashed away millions of dollars in unexplained wealth at the HypoVereins Bank AG in Munich.

Mr. Arroyo dared Cayetano to go with him to Germany to check if he had an account there but the lawmaker declined.

The First Gentleman flew to Germany late last week and claimed that he had obtained a certification from the bank, saying that there was no such account.

Cayetano exposed the alleged dollar deposits after the minority bloc at the House of Representatives failed for the second time to impeach the President on allegations of election fraud and corruption."

'One Voice' challenges people's initiative petitions (www.gmanews.tv)
"Legal counsels of One Voice, a multi-sectoral group against constitutional amendments, on Monday trooped to the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to formally oppose the people's initiative petition lodged late last week. 

One Voice challenged the petition of pro-Charter change groups, Sigaw ng Bayan (Sigaw) and Union of Local Authorities of the Philippines (ULAP), which was submitted last Friday to the poll body. 

"Comelec has no jurisdiction to entertain the petition. There is no enabling law for the people's initiative to amend the 1987 Constitution," One Voice's lawyers said in filing their opposition. 

One Voice counts among its members at least eight bishops and archbishops from the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP), members of the academe, people's organization leaders, poll watchdog officials and business leaders. 

Sigaw, for its part, has been seeking Charter changes on the back of its purported 10-million plus signatures for a people's initiative. 

GMA News reported some of the purported signatories lamented that they were not properly informed how their signatures would be used. 

Opposition and activist leaders have raised fears that tinkering with the Consitution would only allow politicians, including President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, to extend their terms of office. 

Raul Lambino, head of Sigaw ng Bayan, claimed last week that seven million signatures have already been verified by local Comelec officials."

People's initiative group vows to bring case to SC (www.abs-cbnnews.com)

"The group pushing for Charter change through a people's initiative said Monday it will elevate their case to the Supreme Court if the Commission on Elections rejects the petition due to the lack of an enabling law.

"Kami naman ang poposte sa Supreme Court (We will be the ones who'll face the Supreme Court)," Bohol Gov. Erico Aumentado told a DZMM interview. Aumentado is president of the Union of Local Authorities of the Philippines, a Charter change advocate.

Aside from ULAP, others pushing for a constitutional amendment are the Sigaw ng Bayan movement and the Advocacy Commission. Aumentado said about 300 more coalition partners are inluded in the petition.

ULAP and Sigaw the Bayan filed a joint petition for the people's initiative on Friday, the first major step in their bid to change the form of government to parliamentary."

Shaddai leader junks people's initiative campaign (www.abs-cbnnews.com)

"President Arroyo's spiritual adviser dismissed Monday the ongoing Charter change drive through a people's initiative, saying the campaign was initiated by the government and not the people.

"I am opposed to the people's initiative because this is really the government's initiative. Second, because the provisions of the draft that was submitted to the [Commission on Elections] provides no election. I am opposing this," Mike Velarde of the charismatic group El Shaddai told an ANC interview. 

He said that the petition contains provisions that were not explained fully to the people when the local government officials urged them to sign for campaign support."

 PCG: Tanker has already leaked 500,000 liters of bunker fuel (www.gmanews.tv)
"About half a million liters of bunker fuel has leaked out the sunken MT Solar I, the source of the worst oil spill in Philippine maritime history, according to estimates Monday by the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG). 

Capt. Luis Tuason Jr, PCG district commander for Western Visayas, said 500,000 liters has leaked out of the sunken tanker "since Day One." 

Estimates last week placed the leaked oil at 200,000 liters from one of the ten containers in the tanker. Each container is believed to contain 200,000 liters and reports said that oil continues to leak from the sunken ship. 

Because of the report, fears were raised that corrosion and wear and tear might have ruptured other containers. 

Tuason told GMA News said that they will need eight months to one year for the clean up of the area. 

The coast guard believes that the Wednesday arrival of the Japanese vessel for the underwater survey will greatly help."

Petron to do everything 'humanly possible' on oil spill (news.inq7.net)

"PETRON Corp., which owns the more than two million liters of oil that sank along the Guimaras Strait in early August, assured a joint congressional hearing on Monday that it would do everything "humanly possible" to clean up the oil spill that has destroyed Marine life in the area and the livelihood of its residents.

At the same time, the owner of the MT Solar I, said the tanker was insured for 250 million dollars to 300 million dollars, which "amply covers" the expenses that will be incurred from the operations.

Jose Jesus Laurel, Petron vice president for legal and external affairs, told a joint congressional oversight committee on clean water the Protection and Indemnity Insurance and the International Oil Pollution Compensation Fund would shoulder the bulk of the cost from hauling the ship from under the sea.

Laurel said Petron "would do everything humanly possible" to clean up what has been reported to be the worst oil spill in the country."

'Solar 1 a floating museum display' (www.abs-cbnnews.com)

"Environmental group Greenpeace on Monday bared that the sunken M/T Solar 1 in Guimaras has been sailing for more than 50 years and should be considered " a floating relic" for its age, DZMM reported.

'Yung tanker na ito ay noong 1951 ito kinomisyon, 55 years old na 'yan (The tanker was commissioned in 1951, so it's 55 years old)," Red Constantino of Greenpeace Southeast Asia told an interview prior to the start of a Senate environment committee investigation Monday.

He said that the Solar 1 is no longer fit to sail.

He added that Petron Corporation and Sunshine Maritime Corporation could have cut down on expenses. Petron chartered the tanker owned by Sunshine.

Officials of Petron and Sunshine were unavailable to comment on Constantino's accusation.

Constantino also said that Petron can say that it has no legal obligations because the tanker's owner should have maintained its fleet. He, however, said the company, which is semi-owned by the government, has moral obligations."



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