[Blueboard] Newsbriefs 5 December 2006 Afternoon

Simbahang Lingkod ng Bayan slb at admu.edu.ph
Tue Dec 5 17:44:56 PHT 2006

Newsbriefs 5 December 2006 Afternoon

Simbahang Lingkod ng Bayan



'Reming' casualty toll hits 1,266 (abs-cbnNEWS.com)


At least 1,266 people are either dead or missing after rivers of mud and volcanic ash triggered by a typhoon swamped hundreds of villages in the Philippines, civil defense officials said Tuesday. 


A civil defense office update put the official death toll at 526 dead, 740 missing, a total of 1,266. 


It said more than 1,000 were also injured from the mudslides around Mayon volcano in the eastern region of Bicol that engulfed entire villages. 


President Arroyo arrived in the region to inspect the damage wrought by typhoon Reming (international codename Durian) last week. 


Mrs. Arroyo arrived around 11:50 a.m. at Camp General Simeon Ola where she was briefed on the damage by disaster and local government officials.


National Police chief Oscar Calderon ordered Chief Superintendent Victor Boco Jr. to stay and finish rehabilitation operations in Bicol before he retires on January 11. With a report from AFP


Admin solons fail to short cut chacha (abs-cbnNEWS.com)


Administration congressmen on Monday failed to amend Section 105 of the House rules, cutting short the charter change process, ABS-CBN News reported.


With 137 congressmen in attendance they first tried to pass several other bills for third reading.


An unidentified opposition congressman commented that this was meant to make it look like that they were doing legitimate work other than changing the rules in the middle of the game in order to effect Charter change. 


As the hours progressed, however, the number of congressman started to decrease and was not enough to constitute a majority that would approve the planned revision of Section 105. 


The House session was suspended until Tuesday. 


US formally seeks custody of Smith (INQ7.net)

THE United States on Tuesday formally asked the Philippine government for custody of convicted rapist Daniel Smith, a day after the Marine corporal was found guilty and sentenced to 40 years for raping a 23-year old Filipina in the Subic Bay Freeport November last year.

A statement read by Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) undersecretary for Special Concerns Rafael Seguis said the American note verbale "reaffirms the right of the United States military authorities to exercise custody of any United States personnel over whom the Philippines is to exercise jurisdiction until completion of all judicial proceedings, notably in the ongoing legal case of Lance Corporal Daniel Smith."

Smith, 21, is at the Makati City Jail on orders of Regional Trial Court Judge Benjamin Pozon, who said he should remain there until Philippine and American authorities agree on where he should be detained.

However, the DFA contends that the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA), which the US note verbale invokes, requires that Smith remain in American custody until the appeal process on his conviction runs its course.

Seguis cited Article V, paragraph 6 of the VFA, which the note verbale quotes.

US custody of Smith 'slap in face' of judiciary -- lawyer (INQ7.net)

(UPDATE) ALLOWING the United States to take custody of convicted rapist Daniel Smith would be a "slap in the face" of the judiciary, the private prosecutor in the just concluded Subic rape trial said on Tuesday.

A lawyer's group also urged the government not to allow special treatment to Smith, saying "atrocities against women will not end unless our government will stop bowing down to them [US government]."

But the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) maintained that detaining the US Marine lance corporal, who was sentenced to 40 years for raping a 23-year old Filipina at the Subic Bay Freeport in November last year, at the Makati City Jail would violate the Visiting Forces Agreement between the Philippines and US.

Following the verdict on the case Monday, Smith's lawyers insisted that pending an agreement between the two governments on the detention facility for his client and while the appeal of the sentence continued, the convict should remain with the US Embassy.

"The custody [of Smith by the US] is out of the question," lawyer Evalyn Ursua, counsel of the complainant publicly known as "Nicole," said at a press conference.

Ursua stressed that the government should obey the instructions of Makati City Regional Trial Court Judge Benjamin Pozon that Smith remain at the Makati jail until US and Philippine authorities agree on the facility where the convicted Marine should serve his sentence.

"The court's order is only for the facility within the Philippine jurisdiction," she said. "They [government] cannot divert to anything unless they get the court's permission," she added.

Acting Chief Justice named ahead of Panganiban retirement (INQ7.net)

SENIOR Associate Justice Reynato Puno will be acting Chief Justice when incumbent Artemio Panganiban retires on December 7, a spokesman for the high tribunal said Tuesday.

"The position will not be vacant. The most senior associate justice will assume in an acting capacity until an appointment is made [by President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo]," Ismael Khan said.

Khan said President Arroyo was not required to make an immediate decision.

"Under the Constitution, the President has 90 days to make an appointment," he added.

Puno is himself a nominee for the top judicial post. Other candidates include Associate Justices Leonardo Quisumbing, Consuelo Ynares-Santiago, and Angelina Sandoval-Gutierrez.

Removed from the list were Associate Justice Antonio Carpio and Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago who made no qualms about showing her anger at the decision by the Judicial and Bar Council, which is tasked under the Constitution to recommend to the President possible choices for Chief Justice.

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