[Blueboard] Newsbriefs 27 January Morning

Simbahang Lingkod ng Bayan slb at admu.edu.ph
Fri Jan 27 11:43:23 PHT 2006

Newsbriefs 27 January Morning

Simbahang Lingkod ng Bayan



ChaCha via people's initiative pushed (www.manilastandardtoday.com)


THE League of Cities of the Philippines (LCP) urged its member-cities to work vigorously for a "people's initiative" to amend the 1987 Constitution and change the form of government from a presidential to a parliamentary system. 


"Our League is behind the adoption of the parliamentary system that will institutionalize fiscal and local autonomy so that strong local governments can grow and develop on their own and be self-reliant," said Iloilo Mayor and LCP president Jerry Treñas in a statement issued after the LCP's two-day general assembly in Iloilo City recently, 


Treñas said all 117 member-cities, with an estimated combined constituency of 34 million people, will support the people's movement for Charter Change on the belief that governance would be devolved to the cities and none of the existing local government units shall be abolished. 


Davide: No politics, I just want to help (news.inq7.net)


CEBU CITY- Retired Chief Justice Hilario Davide Jr. yesterday defended his decision to accept his appointment as President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo's adviser on electoral reforms, saying it had nothing to do with politics.


"I do not think it's politics-related in the concept of politics in the minds of those who asked me that before. Politics, for me, is running for political positions and I said so that I would not run ... for an elective post. I don't want a position that is related to politics," he said.


Davide told the Inquirer in an interview that he accepted the post because he believed that he could help institute structural reforms to achieve an honest and credible election process in the country.


As presidential adviser, he said he would be in a position to address electoral concerns and "the preservation and promotion of our democratic institutions and the right to vote of the people and recognition of the sanctity of the ballot."


In Manila, Sen. Joker Arroyo yesterday said the Commission on Elections could not modernize the country's elections until its chair, Benjamin Abalos Sr., and the other commissioners implicated in the voided MegaPacific computerization deal resigned.


Government asked to allot P10B for martial law victims (news.inq7.net)

SENATOR Joker Arroyo yesterday asked the Department of Finance and the Department of Budget and Management to set aside $200 million of the Marcos Swiss bank deposits recovered by the government to compensate the human rights victims of martial law.


"We request that the peso equivalent of $200 million be restored and set aside, and that the amount be transferred to a trust account, which cannot be touched in any except for the purpose as stated by [the Senate bill]," Arroyo wrote Finance Secretary Margarito Teves and Budget Secretary Romulo Neri.


At the present exchange rate of P52.46 to a dollar, $200 million is worth P10.49 billion.

Arroyo made the request after budget officials said only P8 billion had been set aside for the victims, or P2 billion short of the P10 billion set aside by administration-sponsored human rights compensation bills in the Senate and the House of Representatives.


Judge kowtows to VFA (www.abs-cbnnews.com)

The judge hearing the rape charges against four US marines on Thursday recalled the warrants for their arrest after the US Embassy in Manila invoked the Visiting Forces Agreement allowing it to keep custody of the accused. 


Judge Renato Dilag of Olongapo City recalled the warrants for Keith Silkwood, Daniel Smith, Chad Carpentier and Dominic Duplantis after the Department of Justice informed him that the embassy had issued a note verbale invoking the VFA. 


"This court takes judicial notice of the fact that the VFA, as a treaty, is now part of the law of the land. Its constitutionality has been upheld by the Supreme Court in several cases," Dilag said in his ruling. 


Military on the defensive in mind games with Faeldon (www.abs-cbnnews.com)

Shirts, armbands and Web sites are emerging as the weapons of choice in the battle for the hearts and minds between the military and one of its fugitive officers, Marine Capt. Nicanor Faeldon.


The military appears to be on the defensive for the moment. Reacting to reports that some soldiers sympathetic to Faeldon have taken to wearing T-shirts and armbands with his name stenciled on, the Armed Forces spokesman on Thursday warned that such display of support is punishable under military law.


"Such an act is tantamount to violating Article of War 97," the Armed Forces Public Information chief, Col. Tristan Kison, said at a briefing in Camp Aguinaldo. 


He said that if a soldier is found to have expressed support for Faeldon, he could be violating Article of War 97, which is conduct prejudicial to military order and good discipline. 


Palace says amnesty for Magdalo is up to solons (www.manilastandardtoday.com)


MALACAÑANG yesterday said it would have nothing to do with a proposal to grant amnesty to junior officers who led the failed Oakwood mutiny in 2003, saying only Congress can act on the matter. 


"That is the job of legislators," said National Security Adviser Norberto Gonzales, reacting to a proposal from opposition Senator Alfredo Lim to grant the mutineers an amnesty. "We need a law to grant amnesty to the Magdalo soldiers." 


Gonzales also dismissed attempts by the Magdalo officers to convince Catholic bishops on the need to remove President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo. 


The Catholic bishops, he added, are against using violent means to replace a duly-elected government. 


Earlier, Lim had proposed an amnesty as a way of eliminating a major cause of division within the Armed Forces and preventing further escapes by Magdalo leaders. 


Paredes: VFA next to go (www.manilastandardtoday.com)


THE executive director of the Presidential Commission on the Visiting Forces Agreement said yesterday the organization's impending abolition is a sign that Manila is ready to terminate its treaty with the United States. 


Facing the ax, VFACom Executive Director Zosimo Paredes also told Standard Today that an executive order is already being drafted to create a new body to oversee the agreement, which has been severely tested by the case in which four US servicemen have been accused of raping a 22-year-old Filipina. 


The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), however, emphasized yesterday the abolition of VFACom had no direct bearing on the Subic rape case, VFA itself or the country's ties with the United States. 


After Washington refused to turn over the four marines to local authorities, angry lawmakers have called on the administration to abrogate the executive agreement. 


Thousands evacuated after flooding (www.philstar.com)

Thousands were displaced Thursday in the northern and southern Philippines as torrential rains triggered flash floods, disaster response officials said. 

The province of Nueva Ecija in the north was the most heavily affected, with more than 7,000 people forced to evacuate to higher ground after a dyke broke. 

In Kalinga province, also in the north, at least 20 houses were underwater and almost 1,500 people were evacuated, the Office of Civil Defense said. 

Flooding was also reported in the provinces of Cagayan, Abra and Aurora, stranding hundreds of commuters. 

In the southern city of Davao, flash floods washed out at least two houses, officials said. 

Rescuers and emergency medical teams have been dispatched to affected areas while the public works office was asked to begin clearing operations, they said.

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