[Blueboard] Newsbriefs 4 December 2006 Afternoon

Simbahang Lingkod ng Bayan slb at admu.edu.ph
Mon Dec 4 18:12:34 PHT 2006

Newsbriefs 4 December 2006 Afternoon

Simbahang Lingkod ng Bayan



House holding marathon session to press Charter change (INQ7.net)

THE House of Representatives will hold a marathon session this week as the majority prepares to implement the administration's "final push" to amend the 1987 Constitution through a constituent assembly, House Majority Floor Leader Prospero Nograles said Monday.

Nograles told INQ7.net they will hold sessions from Monday to Friday to approve resolutions to convene a constituent assembly and proposing specific Constitutional amendments such as the shift to a parliamentary-unicameral system and postponing next year's elections to November.

The overwhelming administration majority also intends to amend the House rules to allow the resolutions to be tackled on the floor without going through the normal process of conducting committee hearings.

"Yes, [we will hold] marathon sessions from Monday to Friday this week. We ought to be able to finish this [approval of the resolutions] including the physical voting," Nograles said in a text message.

US Marine guilty of raping Filipina, 3 others acquitted (INQ7.net)

(6TH UPDATE) ONE of four US Marines accused of raping a Filipina in Subic last year was found guilty while three others were acquitted by a local court Monday.

Lance Corporal Daniel Smith, 21, from St. Louis in Missouri, faces up to 40 years in prison following the verdict handed down by Judge Benjamin Pozon of Branch 139 of the Makati regional trial court (RTC).

He was also ordered to pay P50,000 in compensatory and P50,000 in moral damages.

Meanwhile, the court acquitted Lance Corporals Keith Silkwood and Dominic Duplantis and Staff Sergeant Chad Carpentier for lack of evidence.

Pozon ruled on the case 23 days before the one-year deadline under the Visiting Forces Agreement to finish the case or return the Marines to US jurisdiction would have expired.

As of posting time, Smith is at the Makati City Police office awaiting a commitment order from the court that will pave the way for his transfer to the Makati jail.

Smith is inside the office of the Makati's deputy chief for operations under heavy security.

Superintendent Gilbert Cruz, Makati City chief of police, said mugshots and fingerprints of Smith would be taken.

"Nicole," a court-appointed pseudonym, had accused Smith of raping her at the Subic Bay Freeport on Nov. 1, 2005 while the other three allegedly cheered him on.

Lawyer wants Smith detained in US embassy (abs-cbnNEWS.com)


The legal counsel of the principal respondent in the Subic rape case opposed Monday the decision of Makati court judge to detain the US marine convicted of raping a Filipina at the Makati City Jail.


Upon promulgation of the verdict, lawyer Ricardo Diaz moved for reconsideration to allow Lance Corporal Daniel Smith to stay under the custody of the US embassy since the Philippine and US governments have yet to agree where to detain Smith.


He said that under the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA), the accused should be detained by US authorities until the end of the judicial proceeding.


Lawyer Adel Tamano, a legal analyst, clarified that Monday's verdict is not yet the end of the case. He said that a motion for reconsideration could still be filed at the city court. If junked, the defense could go to the Court of Appeals and the Supreme Court.


Another defense lawyer, Benjamin Formoso, said he will a motion for reconsideration before the Court of Appeals regarding Pozon's decision.


"We are protesting the judgment against our client and we are going to appeal it to the Court of Appeals. Now the judge ordered the detention in the meantime that the decision is not yet final and executory before the Makati City jail. We are appealing that. We are going to file habeas corpus to invoke the provision of the VFA agreement," Formoso told DZMM. 


Palace: Subic rape case verdict won't affect RP-US ties (abs-cbnNEWS.com)


Malacañan on Monday said the conviction of a US marine for the rape of a Filipina in Subic Bay Freeport last year will not affect relations between the Philippine and US governments. 


"We laud the triumph of impartial justice. The court maintained an even keel despite the tremendous pressures upon the bench," Press Secretary Ignacio Bunye said in a statement.


"We have shown the world that due process is a hallmark of Philippine democracy. It is not about diplomatic relations but about universal justice and the rule of law," he added. 

United Opposition registers with Comelec ahead of '07 polls (INQ7.net)

THE United Opposition (UNO) has registered with the Commission on Elections (Comelec) in preparation for the upcoming 2007 elections.

House Minority Francis Escudero confirmed on Monday that the UNO had registered as a coalition last week with Makati Mayor Jejomar Binay as head of the group.

For now, Escudero acknowledged, UNO is composed of only two political parties -- the Partido ng Masang Pilipino (Party of the Filipino Masses or PMP) and Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas Ng Bayan (Democratic Philippine Party-Strength of the People or PDP-Laban).

The membership in the UNO of "other political groups are still under negotiation because there's still what we call an NP (Nacionalista Party) wing, NPC (Nationalist People's Coalition) wing, and LP (Liberal Party) wing," he told reporters, referring to the existence pro-administration and opposition factions within these parties.


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