[Blueboard] Newsbriefs 30 January Morning

Simbahang Lingkod ng Bayan slb at admu.edu.ph
Mon Jan 30 12:21:02 PHT 2006

Newsbriefs 30 January Morning

Simbahang Lingkod ng Bayan



CBCP: Continue search for truth (www.philstar.com)

Roman Catholic bishops said yesterday the "search for truth must continue" and the issue of legitimacy of the Arroyo presidency should ultimately be settled. 

Six months after censuring President Arroyo, the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) in a pastoral statement said that efforts to determine the truth behind impeachment allegations against Mrs. Arroyo should continue because past investigations were hampered by "acts of evasion and obstruction of truth." 

"We have all observed the failure of political processes to make public servants accountable for wrongdoings," said the 120-member CBCP in a statement read by its president, Archbishop Angel Lagdameo of Jaro, Iloilo at the end of a three-day retreat at the Pope Pius XII Catholic Center in Ermita, Manila. 

"What we have seen instead are acts of evasion and obstruction of the truth," the bishops said, citing allegations that Mrs. Arroyo tried to rig the May 2004 presidential election. 

The bishops recommended that the truth behind the controversies hounding Mrs. Arroyo be "relentlessly pursued through structures and processes mandated by law and our Constitution." 

They also said they would oppose moves by her allies to cancel congressional elections next year, and that there was a need to restore the public's trust in political processes. 

"As a first step, we strongly urge our political leaders to undertake electoral reforms posthaste," the bishops said. 

"Elections in 2007 should not be canceled," their statement said. 

The bishops said the Commission on Elections (Comelec) has to be transformed "into a competent and reliable body beyond reproach," and the electoral process modernized before the 2007 polls. 

.AFP not buying lawyer's line on Faeldon meeting (news.inq7.net)

A WOMAN officer arrested with fugitive Captain Nicanor Faeldon tried to give investigators the impression that her superiors knew she was seeing him on the sly, but the military was not buying the line, a top Armed Forces officer said yesterday.

"That seems to be her defense," said the senior officer, referring to Captain Candelaria Rivas who was nabbed with Faeldon in a car in Malabon on Friday night.

Rivas was said to be the girlfriend of Faeldon, who had been the object of a nationwide manhunt since he escaped from military detention on Dec. 14.

Faeldon was disguised as a woman in a wig at the time, but his captors grabbed the fake hair and confirmed it was their quarry, the senior officer told the Inquirer.

After his capture, Faeldon blamed himself for having been "careless," his lawyer said.

A lawyer, Rivas is a member of the team from the Armed Forces Judge Advocate General's Office (JAGO) prosecuting the cases against Faeldon and nearly 100 other junior officers involved in the 2003 Oakwood mutiny.

FVR: Arroyo can persuade senators to agree on Cha-cha (www.philstar.com)
Former President Fidel Ramos believes that President Arroyo can persuade senators to agree to amend the Constitution. 

Speaking to reporters during the Centrist Democrat International-Asia Pacific conference over the weekend, Ramos said Mrs. Arroyo "has enough leverage to convince, not coerce, everyone in government." 

"Of course in a friendly manner and persuasion, not coercion," he said. "I've been there before: appointments, fund releases to support projects, photo ops, ninong here, ninang there - she should go to all these weddings." 

Ramos said administration officials should work hard to convince those opposing the amendment of the Constitution. 

"We have to dive overboard to bring back all of those who abandoned ship sometime ago and you know they may be floundering in dark waters," he said. 

"Let's bring everybody back on the ship because that's the only one we have. And we have a long way ahead of us," the former military general and defense secretary said.


CBCP calls for mining law repeal (news.inq7.net)

DECLARING that the "Mining Act destroys life," the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) yesterday called for the repeal of the law that opened up the mining industry to foreign firms.

In a statement delivered after a national conference, the CBCP reiterated its request to President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo "to recall all approved mining concessions and to disapprove pending applications."

The bishops said "adverse social impacts" would far outweigh a boom in the mining industry.

They said it was the people's basic right to tap natural resources and allowing big mining companies access to these "amounts to violating their right to life."

"Furthermore, mining threatens people's health and environmental safety through the wanton dumping of waste and tailings in rivers and seas," the CBCP said in the statement read by Sorsogon Bishop Arturo Bastes.

The CBCP also expressed alarm over the deletion of the nationalist provisions in the Constitution being pushed by the Malacañang-formed Consultative Commission.

If it succeeds, the move could "pave the way (for) the wholesale plunder of our national patrimony and undermine our sovereignty," the bishops said.

World Bank decision on NAIA 3 out in 6-8 months - Romulo (news.inq7.net)

IT WILL be a while before the arbitration case filed by a German firm against the Philippine government before the World Bank over the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) Terminal 3 project will be resolved, Foreign Secretary Alberto Romulo said.

"I have been informed that it may take anywhere from six to eight months before a decision is handed down by the arbitration panel," Romulo said in a statement released Friday.

Fraport AG of Germany, which owns 30 percent of the Philippine International Air Terminal Co. (PIATCo), the consortium that built the terminal, had demanded $425 million from the government as compensation for its investments in NAIA 3 and brought its case before the World Bank's International Centre for the Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) based in Washington D.C.

PIATCo is 60 percent owned by the Cheng family, 30 percent by Fraport, and 10 percent by Nissho Iwai Corp. of Japan.

The Supreme Court nullified PIATCo's contract with the government in May 2003. In December 2004, a lower court issued a writ of possession in favor of the government.

In December 2005, the Supreme Court gave the government the go-signal to take over NAIA Terminal 3 when it affirmed the decision of the lower court requiring the government to pay P3 billion to PIATCo.

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