[Blueboard] Newsbriefs 3 July Morning

Simbahang Lingkod ng Bayan slb at admu.edu.ph
Mon Jul 3 11:37:33 PHT 2006

Newsbriefs 3 July Morning

Simbahang Lingkod ng Bayan




CBCP: No Church, State separation on moral issues (www.philstar.com)
"The constitutional principle separating Church and State does not apply when political controversies involve morality, according to the head of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines. 

CBCP president Archbishop Angel Lagdameo said this was the essential message of Pope Benedict XVI in his encyclical entitled "Deus Caritas Est (God is Love)" that the camp of President Arroyo seemed to have missed when it called on the Church to sanction Caloocan Bishop Deogracias Iniguez Jr. for filing an impeachment complaint against her last week. 

"Too often the separation of the Church and the State is invoked. This separation should not be used as an argument against the participation and involvement of the Church in shaping the politics of our country," Lagdameo said in a statement. 

"Concretely, this means that the bishops, clergy and laity must be involved on the area of politics when moral and Gospel values are at stake," Lagdameo said. 

Quoting the words of the Pope, the CBCP head stressed that the Church "cannot and must not remain on the sidelines in the fight for justice." 

"The Church has to play her part through rational argument and she has to reawaken the spiritual energy without which justice - that will always demand sacrifice - cannot prevail and prosper," Lagdameo said. 

Catholic bishops are expected to come up with a common stand on the revival of impeachment complaint against the President in their second and final plenary assembly for the year set next week.


Abalos: Why include me in impeachment case? (news.inq7.net)

 "WHY ME?"

Commission on Elections Chair Benjamin Abalos raised this question amid suggestions that he be recommended for impeachment by the Office of the Ombudsman over the voided P1.3-billion Mega Pacific election automation deal.

"I'm very shocked with the recommendation to impeach Commissioner Borra. I'm doubly shocked that they want to include me," Abalos said in a telephone interview with the Inquirer.

After several admonitions from the Supreme Court, the Ombudsman announced on Friday it had adopted a resolution containing factual findings which the House of Representatives could use to open impeachment proceedings against Election Commissioner Resurreccion Borra.

The high court had given the Ombudsman until June 30 to resolve its investigation of the liability of the poll officials who approved the deal.

The Ombudsman said Abalos and the rest of the commissioners who approved the award of the contract to Mega Pacific e-Solutions Inc. were still being investigated. Two and a half years ago, the Supreme Court voided the deal, saying the Comelec had disregarded the law and its bidding procedures.

Senate Minority Leader Aquilino Pimentel Jr. said it was not fair to single out Borra because all those who took part in the contract should be charged.

Apart from Abalos and Borra, retired Commissioners Luzviminda Tancangco, Rufino Javier, Ralph Lantion and Mehol Sadain, and current Commissioner Florentino Tuason Jr. approved the contract on April 15, 2003.

Augusto Lagman, the main complainant in the Mega Pacific deal, wanted Abalos on the list of poll officials to be recommended by the Ombudsman for impeachment.

"Abalos and all the other commissioners who signed the deal are culpable. And Abalos has been defending and defending the legality of the contract in so many forums," Lagman said earlier.

Comelec personnel urged to turn state witness in ACM case (www.philstar.com)
Senate Minority Leader Aquilino Pimentel Jr. urged employees of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to come out and turn state witness against the poll officials involved in the MegaPacific bidding scandal. 

Pimentel particularly turned his appeal to the employees of the Comelec's bids and awards committee to turn state witness to unravel the truth behind the controversial P1.3 billion poll computerization contract. 

"The minor employees may volunteer to be state witnesses and blow the whistle on the erring Comelec commissioners," Pimentel said. 

Palace denies hand in Ombudsman ruling (www.manilastandardtoday.com)

MALACAÑANG yesterday said it had nothing to do with the Ombudsman's decision recommending the impeachment of only Commissioner Resurreccion Borra out of the seven top officials of the Commission on Elections who awarded the poll computerization contract to Mega Pacific Consortium. 

Comelec officials also expressed disappointment over the Ombudsman ruling, saying they were not given the chance to air their side. 

Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita rejected the accusation of former Senator Francisco Tatad that the Palace had a hand in the decision of Ombudsman 

Merceditas Gutierrez to "single out" Borra as the main culprit behind the allegedly fraudulent contract. Borra headed the automation project. Chairman Benjamin Abalos and other Comelec commissioners who signed the resolution awarding the computerization project to Mega Pacific were not indicted. 

"That was entirely the decision of the Ombudsman and Malacañang has nothing to do whatsoever with that. We do not want to put our fingers into a matter where the Comelec and Ombudsman, which are both independent bodies, are involved," Ermita told newsmen at the Villamor Air Base in Makati City. 

Opposition leaders voiced outrage over an alleged ploy to make Borra the scapegoat in the deal that was voided by the Supreme Court. They said that Ombudsman Gutierrez, as former Palace legal counsel, succumbed to Palace's pressures in an alleged attempt to clear Abalos of the irregularity. 

State turns over Joma rap sheets to Dutch (www.manilastandardtoday.com)

THE Philippine government has begun giving the Dutch government documents pertaining to the murder and rebellion charges against communist leader Jose Ma. Sison to facilitate his extradition. 

"We have already supplied evidence and talks for his expulsion and return to the country are in progress. We are taking a very active stance on this even if the control is really with the Dutch government," Justice Secretary Raul Gonzalez said in a chance interview at the Villamor Air Base yesterday. 

Gonzalez said the Dutch government has raised two issues before they decide on whether to strip Sison of his status as a political refugee. 

The first is the need to determine whether the Philippine government is already in possession of sufficient evidence to back up the charges against him, and the second is whether the charges filed against him in Manila are congruent with the criminal offenses recognized by the Dutch government. 

"Their main concern is that the crimes we have slapped against Sison here are also crimes in The Netherlands," Gonzalez said. 

Gonzales scores Jamby for 'sleeping with enemy' (The Manila Times)

National Security Adviser Norberto Gonzales on Sunday warned Sen. Jamby Madrigal she faces sanctions for allying herself with the leaders of the Communist Party of the Philippines.

Gonzales berated Madrigal for stooping to the auspices of the CPP leadership, which has been labeled as a terrorist organization by the European Union and the United States.

"In seeking an alliance with the CPP head, Jose Maria Sison, Madrigal revealed her true undemocratic colors," Gonzales said.

Madrigal has signed a joint communiqué with the negotiating panel of the CPP and the National Democratic Front (NDF) urging the Arroyo administration to resume peace talks with the communist front.

Madrigal, Luis Jalandoni, Jose Maria Sison, the NDF's chief political consultant, and Fidel Agcaoili, the NDF's monitoring committee chairman, signed the agreement following a two-day meeting in the Netherlands on the human-rights condition as well as the socioeconomic problems and the political crisis.

UN declaration on rights of indigenous peoples signed (www.philstar.com)
After more than 20 years in the pipeline, the Universal Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples was finally approved on June 29. 

With 30 states voting in favor and only Canada and Russia against it, the declaration marks a milestone in the recognition of the rights of indigenous peoples around the world and brings to an end indigenous peoples' long struggle for self-determination. 

Under the declaration indigenous peoples have the right to the full enjoyment, as a collective or as individuals, of all human rights and fundamental freedoms as recognized in the Charter of the United Nations, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and international human rights law. 

It also says that indigenous peoples and individuals are free and equal to all other peoples and individuals and have the right to be free from any kind of discrimination, in the exercise of their rights, in particular that based on their indigenous origin or identity. 

The declaration recognizes and protects the right of indigenous peoples to self-determination and, by virtue of that right, they may freely determine their political status and pursue their economic, social and cultural development. 

Filipina's essay on climate change wins Tokyo honors (news.inq7.net)

AN ENGINEERING professor's essay on climate change, whipped up in 20 minutes, had its 15 minutes of fame in Japan last week.

Carmela R. Centeno's "No More Decembers" was among the four essays cited for "particular excellence" during the 14th Eco-Asia Congress in Tokyo last week, besting more than 40 entries of university and postgraduate students from 16 other countries.

Centeno, an associate professor in the engineering department of the University of Santo Tomas, wrote about the experience of global warming in the Philippines.

"When I was young, I waited in eager anticipation for the coming of December. You see, coming from the Philippines where no snow kisses the trees in winter, I used to bask in the cold weather of the holiday season," she said in her two-page essay.

"I remembered the simple joy of going to school in my new jacket. Then there were Decembers no more," she lamented, detailing the Kyoto Protocol and the Philippine government's dismal efforts at combatting climate change.

Centeno, who is attending a research course on water and the environment at the Tokyo Institute for Technology under a UNESCO program, was pleasantly surprised that she won.

"Modesty aside, in 20 minutes, I was done with the essay. I thought I had nothing to lose . [but] I didn't think it was worth any award so I was surprised when they called me," she told the Inquirer yesterday in a phone interview.

Manila is cheapest city for expats, survey finds (www.manilastandardtoday.com)


MANILA is the least expensive city in Asia for expatriates, according to the results of a global survey released recently. 

In its Worldwide Cost of Living Survey 2006, Mercer Human Resource Consulting, an international human resource firm, ranked Manila as the fourth least expensive of the 144 major cities in the world that it included in its poll. 

Only Asuncion in Paraguay, Harare in Zimbabwe, and Buenos Aires in Argentina were considered less expensive than Manila in the survey, which measured the comparative cost of over 200 items in each city including housing, transport, food, clothing, household goods, and entertainment. 

Mercer said there were significant changes in the 2006 rankings, and these were due mainly to exchange-rate fluctuations-in particular the strengthening of the US dollar. 

It described its cost-of-living survey as the most comprehensive in the world, saying it could help multinational firms and governments determine compensation allowances for their expatriate employees. 

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