[Blueboard] Newsbriefs 13 December 2006 Afternoon

Simbahang Lingkod ng Bayan slb at admu.edu.ph
Wed Dec 13 17:36:13 PHT 2006

Newsbriefs 13 December 2006 Afternoon

Simbahang Lingkod ng Bayan


No more need for Luneta protest, says Palace (INQ7.net )

MALACAÑANG on Wednesday said with plans to amend the Constitution by convening Congress into a constituent assembly shelved, there is no more reason for the Church-initiated rally at the Luneta this Sunday.

"There is no more reason for protest but we nevertheless respect the opinion of those who are staging the prayer rally," Press Secretary Ignacio Bunye said in a statement.

Former president Corazon Aquino has confirmed her attendance at Sunday rally called by the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) and will also be joined by various religious groups, including the charismatic movement El Shaddai.

Aquino, who became president after the popular uprising that ousted the dictator Ferdinand Marcos in 1986, urged people to join the rally and ask God to enlighten lawmakers.

Although originally intended to protest a constituent assembly, organizers said they would push through with the Luneta rally even after the House majority said they are now pushing for a constitutional convention, the mode of Charter change the CBCP said it preferred.

If the protest takes place, Bunye appealed to participants to also pray for victims of recent typhoons and for Filipinos to have a merry Christmas.

He gave assurances that authorities will ensure that peace and order will prevail during the rally

It's the weather, insists Palace, ASEAN Summit organizers (INQ7.net Associated Press )

(UPDATE) THE WEATHER was the reason for the postponement of the ASEAN Summit in Cebu province, Malacañang and organizers of the summit reiterated Wednesday, despite claims by Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen and Japanese economic minister Akira Amari that terrorist threats had influenced the decision to call off the event.

However, an Associated Press report, quoting unnamed security officials, said security forces had tried to disrupt plots by Al-Qaeda-linked militants to stage attacks but failed to track them, setting off an alarm that influenced a decision to postpone the ASEAN and East Asian summits.

The plots may have included a possible car bomb attack in a key city to embarrass the Philippine government, a security official told the AP.

Press Secretary Ignacio Bunye said the postponement of the ASEAN Summit and the East Asia Summit, which the Philippines was supposed to host, was for the "common and collective interest."

"We respect the views of other officials in the region, but the Philippines did the right thing in taking no chances with the safety of the leaders," Bunye said.

'RP lost credibility in scrapping summit' (AFP) 


TOKYO - Japan's economy minister said Tuesday that the Philippines lost credibility by postponing twin Asian summits this week and doubted Manila's stated reason of an impending typhoon.


Economy, Trade and Industry Minister Akira Amari also said he believed the summits were effectively cancelled as the rescheduled January dates would not suit all the leaders.


The abrupt postponement of the ASEAN and East Asia summits "surely lowered the credibility of the Philippine government," Amari wrote on his blog.


"Officials concerned actually see the summits as de facto called off, considering the tight schedules of national leaders in the next six months," Amari said, in unusually blunt remarks about a friendly nation.


President Arroyo made a last-minute decision Friday to postpone the two summits in Cebu, citing an approaching typhoon.


The announcement came amid fears of a terrorist attack as Britain, Australia, the United States and other nations had warned against travel to Cebu.


"Considering the size of the typhoon and that it passed by Sunday morning, the reason for the rescheduling was difficult to understand," Amari wrote.


"(Philippine) media have reported the real reason might have been the warnings of a high possibility of terrorist attacks, released not only by Britain but also the United States immediately before the events," he said.

Smith to stay in Makati jail, judge rules (INQ7.net)

(2ND UPDATE) CONVICTED US Marine Daniel Smith will stay at the Makati City Jail after a local court denied his petition to be returned to the custody of the US embassy.

Smith was found guilty by the Makati regional trial court of raping a Filipina last year at the Subic Bay Freeport and was meted a 40-year prison term and has been ordered detained at the Makati jail.

Following Smith's conviction and commitment to a local jail, the lawyers of the US Marine immediately filed a motion that sought his return to the custody of the US embassy by virtue of Article 5 paragraph 10 of the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) until the appeal process on his sentence has run its course.

This position was supported by Justice Secretary Raul Gonzalez who signed an agreement with US Ambassador Kristie Kenney that was submitted to the Makati court along with Smith's petition.

In a six-page order however, Judge Benjamin Pozon of Branch 139 said that contrary to the allegations of Smith and the Department of Justice, the court did not violate Article 5 paragraph 10 of the VFA when it issued a commitment order for Smith's detention at the Makati City Jail.

"Thus the claim of accused Smith, through counsel, that this court will violate the obligation of the Philippines to comply in good faith with its treaty commitments under the international law is also misplaced," Pozon said.

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