[Blueboard] Newsbriefs 14 December 2006 Afternoon

Simbahang Lingkod ng Bayan slb at admu.edu.ph
Thu Dec 14 18:46:04 PHT 2006

Newsbriefs 14 December 2006 Afternoon

Simbahang Lingkod ng Bayan



CBCP to implement own measures to secure prayer rally (abs-cbnNEWS.com)


The Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines assured Thursday that it will also implement its own measures to secure the prayer rally on Sunday following the military's warning that communist and terrorist groups might sabotage the anti-Charter change demonstration.  


"Mayroong inaayos po na mga security measures 'yung naka-assign na komite dito (the organizing committee is also preparing the security measures) . we are trying our very, very best to address that issue," Monsignor Pedro Quitorio, CBCP spokesman, told DZMM. 


Armed Forces chief of Staff General Hermogenes Esperon warned the New People's Army and terrorist group Rajah Solaiman Movement could infiltrate the gathering at the Quirino Grandstand in Rizal Park, Manila. He said the groups could detonate bombs and later put the blame on the government for the violence. 

Quitorio also called on the people who will attend the demonstration to be alert for possible terror attacks.   


Major General Jose Angel Honrado, spokesman of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, said that although the military cannot entirely stop "a determined terrorist," the military and police forces will do their best to prevent any untoward incident. 


"I'm sorry but even the [AFP] cannot provide a 100 percent assurance. What we can assure the people is that what is available to us, in terms of manpower and equipment, will be made available in order to secure the safety of all those who are going there on Sunday," he said. 


Arroyo backs off from Charter change (INQ7.net)

(UPDATE) PRESIDENT Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo has backed off on the issue of Charter change and said the people would decide on the amendments at the time they deem "ripe and needful," and "in the manner they deem proper."

The President's statement comes after her allies in the House of Representatives archived the resolution convening Congress into a constituent assembly to pave the way for constitutional reforms.

And as far as some senators are concerned, Arroyo and the House's actions signal the start of the election season.

The Senate has openly opposed any move to amend the Charter, saying this was not the time to deliberate on the issue.

Arroyo's and the House's statements on Charter change were issued ahead of a large prayer rally, led by the Catholic Church, on Sunday.

"Philippine democracy will always find the proper time and opportunity for Charter reform at a time when the people deem it ripe and needful, and in the manner they deem proper," Arroyo said.

House archives constituent assembly resolution (INQ7.net)

(3RD UPDATE) THE HOUSE of Representatives has officially shelved a resolution calling for a constituent assembly to amend the 1987 Constitution.

With only about 20 lawmakers in the session hall on Thursday, Majority Floor Leader Prospero Nograles moved to archive House Resolution 197 calling for the convening of Congress to propose amendments to or revision of the 1987 Constitution.

No one objected to Nograles' motion.

Akbayan Representative Loretta Ann Rosales said she would have stood up on the floor, not to question the motion, but to make a similar move.

Later, Rosales moved for the restoration of an amendment made to the House rules last week to allow the swift passage of the archived resolution.

The amendment of the House rules involved deleting the last sentence of Section 105, Rule 15, which reads: "The adoption of the resolutions proposing amendments to or revision of the constitution shall follow the procedure for the enactment of bills."

Clergy to local execs: Join prayer rally vs Charter change (Inquirer )

BACOLOD CITY -- Church leaders in Negros Occidental province challenged local officials on Thursday to join the people in a prayer rally at the Bacolod public plaza this Friday to express their collective outrage at how administration congressmen "attempted to shamelessly, hastily and manipulatively tamper with our Constitution."

"If our officials are committed to serve their constituents, they should walk with the people on Friday," said Father Romeo Tagud of the Iglesia Filipina Independiente and secretary general of the Promotion of Church People's Response in Negros.

The church leaders said that although Speaker Jose de Venecia, Jr. had announced that the House had archived its resolution to convene a constituent assembly to amend the 1987 Constitution, the people's opposition to Charter change, by whatever means, remained.

"We need to send a strong message to the powers that be -- both the majority block in the House of Representatives and Malacañang, that the people have had enough of these brazen machinations," said a joint statement of the church groups here read by Bacolod Bishop Vicente Navarra at a press conference Wednesday.

"We need to say that we, the people, hold Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo ultimately accountable for these insidious plots to alter the political order to benefit politicians and not the people. We need to say that the people have lost trust and respect for their leaders," Navarra said.

Puno reorganizes SC divisions (INQ7.net )

CHIEF Justice Reynato S. Puno has reorganized the three divisions of the Supreme Court.

Puno will head the first division, with Justice Angelina Sandoval-Gutierrez as working chairperson and Justices Renato C. Corona, Adolfo S. Azcuna, and Cancio C. Garcia as members.

Justice Leonardo A. Quisumbing, former head of the third division, will chair the Court's second division with Justices Antonio T. Carpio, Conchita Carpio Morales, Dante O. Tinga, and Presbitero J. Velasco, Jr. as members.

The chairman of the Court's third division will be Justice Consuelo Ynares-Santiago, with Justices Ma. Alicia Austria-Martinez, Romeo J. Callejo, Sr., and Minita V. Chico-Nazario as members.

Puno, as concurrent ex-officio head of the Judicial and Bar Council (JBC), also named Quisumbing and Santiago as JBC consultants.

Quisumbing was also appointed chair of the Senate Electoral Tribunal, with Gutierrez and Martinez as members.

Santiago was named chair of the House of Representatives Electoral Tribunal, with Carpio and Corona as members.

The reorganization takes effect January 2.

Ombudsman downplays RP ranking in 'corruption survey' (INQ7.net )

THE OFFICE of the Ombudsman has downplayed results of a survey by an international watchdog that placed the Philippines as the second most corrupt country in the Asia-Pacific region.

Assistant Ombudsman Mark E. Jalandoni said, "The Transparency International's Global Corruption Barometer 2006 is only based on perception."

Jalandoni said that the effectiveness of the country's anti-corruption efforts should be measured by the overall performance in the fight against corruption.

Records provided by the Ombudsman showed that from January to the present, the office has dismissed 78 people from the service and placed 17 others under preventive suspension.

Jalandoni said they had also filed cases against a total of 16 mayors and 2 governors before the Sandiganbayan anti-graft court.

Jalandoni said that even the international community has made positive responses to the government's anti-corruption effort.

He cited the US' $25-million grant to the Philippines under its Millennium Challenge Account (MCA) to finance the country's anti-corruption efforts. He said the MCA was an international aid program "to assist countries that have shown marked improvement in governance and anti-corruption efforts."

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