[Blueboard] Newsbriefs 6 December 2006 Morning

Simbahang Lingkod ng Bayan slb at admu.edu.ph
Wed Dec 6 12:01:16 PHT 2006

Newsbriefs 6 December 2006 Morning

Simbahang Lingkod ng Bayan



House to tackle resolution on constituent assembly  (INQ7.net)

ALTHOUGH the majority bloc scored a victory by amending House rules governing constitutional amendments that would pave the way for the implementation of Charter change, it was not able to get approval of a resolution convening Congress into a constituent assembly after the House reset its session to Wednesday afternoon.

Up for discussion at 4 p.m. Wednesday is House Resolution 1450 convening Congress into a constituent assembly to propose amendments to or revision of the 1987 Constitution by a three-fourths vote of its members.

Majority Floor Leader Prospero Nograles was only able to present the resolution on the floor at around 3:30 a.m. Wednesday, or after almost eleven hours of marathon session.

Before this, Cagayan de Oro Representative Constantino Jauraula tried to introduce House Resolution 1230 proposing specific amendments to the Constitution by way of a constituent assembly.

HR1230 has been pending for plenary action since September 18.

Camarines Sur Representative Luis Villafuerte, an administration ally, admitted that the majority bloc was also surprised by Jaraula's move since what they had earlier agreed upon was to push for HR 1450.

But opposition members questioned Jaraula's resolution especially when he started reading the "whereas" provisions of an entirely new provision.

This prompted the House to suspend the session.

After a lull of almost an hour in the session, the House resumed to discuss Nograles's new proposal.

Nograles moved to refer HR1450 to the House committee on rules, which he also heads, to calendar it for plenary discussion later in the day.

But Minority Floor Leader Francis Escudero objected, saying that the referral was inappropriate because after the rules committee, it should be referred to the committee on constitutional amendments for deliberations.

But Nograles again invoked the just amended rules in the House, in particular Section 105, which allows them to tackle a Charter change resolution directly on the floor without going through the normal process of committee hearings.

Speaker Jose de Venecia, who presided during the last few minutes of the session, ignored the minority's call for adjournment, and instead suspended the session until 4 p.m.

But de Venecia assured the opposition that there was "nothing mysterious" in the Nograles's resolution.

On Tuesday evening, the House voted 161-25 in a plenary session to adopt a motion filed by Deputy Majority Floor Leader Arthur Defensor that would pave the way for a speedy approval of Charter change resolutions.

The majority bloc plans to file two resolutions -- one seeking to convene Congress to propose constitutional amendments or revisions and the other containing proposed specific changes to the Charter.

House eyes con-ass by December 15 (abs-cbnNEWS.com)


Speaker Jose de Venecia said Wednesday that after amending a portion of the House rules, the Congress will convene Monday next week into a constituent assembly to propose a change from presidential bicameral system to a unicameral parliamentary system.


"If we finish sometime between December 11 and December 15, we will present this to the whole country and the citizens will decide whether or not they want to change the system of government," he said.


Administration allies in the House of Representatives voted to fast-track the process of Charter change by amending Section 105 of Rule 15 of the House rules. Voting 161 to 25, majority lawmakers successfully deleted a sentence in the House rule that indicates separate voting of the lower and upper chambers of Congress on Charter amendments.


The deleted sentence reads: "The adoption of resolutions proposing amendments to or revision of the Constitution shall follow the procedure for the enactment of bills."


The Senate said they are gearing up to question the moves of the House before the Supreme Court.


"We are preparing a resolution reiterating the position that this is a bicameral chamber," Senate President Manuel Villar said, explaining that this resolution is being prepared by the minority. 


"We want to assure our colleagues that we will do our best here. We are devising ways on how we can defend the Senate as an institution," Villar said.


Senate Majority Leader Francis Pangilinan added: "We have discussed this with [other senators.] We are coordinating our efforts."


Senator Franklin Drilon said that preparations are underway for filing a motion to the Supreme Court against what they believe are constitutional violations of the House. "They changed their internal rule (on constitutional amendments) which is in violation of the Constitution since the basis for this internal rule is the Constitution," he said. 


Foreign aid pours but health problems arise (abs-cbnNEWS.com)


Foreign aid, food and medical supplies started to pour into Bicol where disaster officials said mudslides had left at least 1,266 people dead or missing, ABS-CBN News reported Tuesday.


Officials, however, said major health problems are starting to arise because of the threat brought by decomposing bodies left behind by last week's tragedy.


The first flight of two C-130 transport planes from Indonesia touched down in Legazpi city, where disaster relief operations are being coordinated. The planes carried more than 12 tons of food and medicine. 


Also in Legazpi, a small team of Spanish firemen set up a field hospital near the city airport for injured survivors.


The National Disaster Coordinating Council said the Indonesian aid is aside from the financial and medical support pledged by the Japanese International Cooperation Agency, the Australian and Malaysian governments and the US Agency for International Development, among others.


The Office of the Civil Defense said they are racing against time as the confirmed number of fatalities already reached 526. Of the number of bodies recovered, 508 came from Bicol. At least 740 people were reported missing.


Disaster officials said the medical needs of survivors are among their highest priorities as health problems in the area are starting to increase.


ABS-CBN's Bandila reported that bodies buried under tons of mud in Albay have started to contaminate some of the province's water supply. There are more than 80,000 evacuees scattered to 29 shelters in the province and other areas in Bicol.


Most of the evacuees in makeshift health centers are reportedly suffering from asthma, hypertension, gastro-enteritis and skin diseases.


The report said survivors have no choice but to drink deep well water since the region's water system was destroyed by the mudflow. Decomposing bodies buried under the mud, however, endanger their water supply.


The devastating torrents of mud and volcanic ash triggered by typhoon rains swallowed more than 700 villages near Mayon volcano on Thursday during the height of super typhoon Reming (international codename Durian), one of the strongest storms ever to hit the Philippines. 


AFP bucks Christmas ceasefire with NPA (www.philstar.com)
The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) said yesterday there should be no ceasefire with communist rebels during the holiday season because this might have operational implications in the government's intensified campaign against the New People's Army (NPA). 

AFP chief Gen. Hermogenes Esperon said the government should not declare a ceasefire with terrorist groups, which include the NPA. 

"There should be no ceasefire with terrorism. Therefore, there should be no ceasefire with the NPA," he said in a phone interview. 

But Lt. Col. Bartolome Bacarro, AFP public information office chief, clarified that the declaration of a ceasefire depends on the political leadership. 

"In the spirit of peace, if the leadership would decide to have a truce with them we will abide as mandated," he said. 

Bacarro said that last year, it was the NPA rebels who first declared a unilateral ceasefire. The government traditionally declares a ceasefire with the NPA during the holiday season. 

However, he added that even if a truce is declared, the AFP will react accordingly if the NPA violates the provisions of the ceasefire. 

"Kapag sila ang unang nang-harass, then we will respond," he said.
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