[Blueboard] Newsbriefs 20 January Morning

Simbahang Lingkod ng Bayan slb at admu.edu.ph
Fri Jan 20 11:55:59 PHT 2006

Newsbriefs 20 January Morning

Simbahang Lingkod ng Bayan



Escape part of bigger plot (news.inq7.net)

THE "MAGDALO 4" had outside help and their escape appeared increasingly to be part of a bigger plot to finally accomplish what they failed to do at Oakwood in 2003.

A clandestine group in the military, the Young Officers Union new generation (YOUng), said it facilitated the escape of Captain Nathaniel Rabonza and 1st Lieutenants Lawrence San Juan, Sonny Sarmiento and Patricio Bumidang (not Bumindang as earlier reported) from Fort Bonifacio in Taguig City on Tuesday night.

YOUng said seven junior officers -- two from the Air Force, two from the Navy and three from the Army -- helped the four leave their cells at 8:42 p.m. and flee in four vehicles.

"They were out of the camp by 9 p.m.," the time the Army said it discovered the four were missing, said the YOUng statement signed by a Lieutenant Colonel Arsenio Alcantara, obviously a pseudonym. It did not provide details.

"We make up the New AFP. And we join our fellow Filipinos who now refuse to be cowed. We are a force that grows stronger by the day," the four Oakwood mutineers said in a statement they issued later through GMA 7 network.

Congressmen will urge senators to Cha-cha  (The Manila Times)

Congressmen have vowed to persuade senators to appreciate the merits of Charter change.

They believe that Lakas-CMD Rep. Prospero Pichay of Surigao del Sur, whom the party council appointed to lead the dialogue with the senators, could convince them of the possibilities the proposed constitutional reforms can bring about. 

The House deputy majority leader, Rep. Antonio Cerilles of Zamboanga del Sur, said that "nationalism and statesmanship could shine brightest" if the senators will consider the suggestion to shift to parliamentary government.

"They only have to look around to realize that the presidential system cannot work anymore in the Philippine setting," Cerilles noted.

Senators on Wednesday insisted on their prerogative to vote on the proposal as a chamber independent of the House. 

They took up the issue whether the Senate and House should vote separately during the first hearing of the Committee on Constitutional Amendments, Revision of Codes and Laws on Charter change. 

Junk VFA, stop war games - lawmakers (www.manilastandardtoday.com)

INCENSED by the US refusal to turn over four American marines accused of raping a 22-year-old Filipina, lawmakers moved yesterday to terminate the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) between the United States and the Philippines and to stop all joint military exercises for the duration of the trial. 

The legislative oversight committee on VFA also recommended that all funding for the military exercises and VFA-related activities be cut. 

These recommendations, contained in a joint resolution, will be presented to the full Senate and House of Representatives for approval, said committee chairmen Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago and Rep. Antonio Cuenco. 

"This is no simple matter of custody, which has been so well settled in other jurisdictions or other countries. The United States is not even willing to treat us in parity with its other allies," Santiago said. "It is time to renegotiate the treaty." 

Santiago said because VFA has no provision about renegotiation, the best approach is to serve a notice of termination of the agreement. 

Senate probe bares massive ISAFP wiretapping of Arroyo foes (news.inq7.net)

THE VOICES on the tapes were hardly recognizable and the conversations uninteresting.

But when played at the Senate yesterday, the two tapes, dubbed "children" of the widely popular "Hello Garci tape," revealed the extensive wiretapping of opposition personalities shortly before the May 2004 election. And the fingerprints of the Intelligence Service of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (ISAFP) appeared to be all over it.

Some of the voices caught in the recordings were those of retired Navy Commodore Rex Robles; Mira Dumlao, secretary of former senator Gregorio Honasan; retired Major General Rodolfo Canieso, a supporter of opposition presidential candidate Senator Panfilo Lacson, and Michael Angelo Zuce, a former Malacañang operative.

They appeared at the resumption of a Senate inquiry into the wiretapping to listen to the tapes and identify their voices.

Honasan was identified with Fernando Poe Jr., another candidate in the May 2004 presidential election.

The wiretaps were carried out from January to June 2004 during the presidential election period.

Palace's press briefers 'missing' (The Manila Times)

President Arroyo's communication team has been eerily quiet despite new issues confronting the administration, including the jailbreak of four junior Army officers from Fort Bonifacio on Tuesday. 

The President's spokesman, Press Secretary Ignacio Bunye, as well as Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita, incoming chief of staff Mike Defensor and the President's political adviser, Gabriel Claudio, declined to answer reporters' text messages seeking reactions to and comments on the officers' escape, the wiretapping hearing in the Senate, and the statement of former Executive Secretary Renato de Villa on the Oakwood mutineers.

Last December Mrs. Arroyo met with her communications team in Baguio City to find ways to improve the Palace's approach to issues affecting the government.

At the meeting the President asked Ermita, Bunye, Defensor and Public Information Authority chief Rene Velasco to come up with an improved communication plan.

The only Palace briefing this week was held on Wednesday by Ermita in which he invited the Army chief, Lt. Gen. Hermogenes Esperon, and Justice Secretary Raul M. Gonzalez to react to the escape of four officers and the custody issue surrounding the four US Marines charged with rape.



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