[Blueboard] Newsbriefs 5 July Morning

Simbahang Lingkod ng Bayan slb at admu.edu.ph
Wed Jul 5 11:30:47 PHT 2006

Newsbriefs 5 July Morning

Simbahang Lingkod ng Bayan



One Voice hurls dare at Cha-cha backers (The Manila Times)

"One Voice, the nonpartisan and multisectoral group opposed to the timing and content of Charter-change proposals and activities supported by the Arroyo administration, on Tuesday challenged the Sigaw ng Bayan and the Advocacy Commission to file their petition on the people's initiative with the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) now so that One Voice can formally question it in the Supreme Court.

At a roundtable with editors and reporters of The Manila Times, One Voice lead convener and former COMELEC Chairman Christian Monsod said that as soon as the petition is filed by Sigaw and Adcom with the COMELEC, the group would immediately challenge in the High Court the legality of the people's initiative.

Monsod said that although his group opposes the signature campaign initiated by Sigaw ng Bayan and endorsed by the Adcom, under present rules One Voice could not question the initiative's legality unless a formal petition is submitted to the COMELEC.

"If the COMELEC dismisses the petition, there would be nothing for the Supreme Court to rule," Monsod said, explaining why One Voice cannot go to the High Court now.

Besides Monsod those who attended the roundtable were other original conveners of One Voice: the lawyers Carlos Medina and Benjie Tolosa, both from the Ateneo Law School, and former Communications Undersecretary Susan V. Ople, president of the Blas F. Ople Policy Center and Training Institute.

Monsod said the current people's initiative, financed by public funds, is legally flawed. "The process being used by its advocates is not only questionable but divisive. The Supreme Court has already ruled that Congress should first pass a proper enabling law before the constitutional provision on people's initiative can take effect," Monsod said."

Borra may be sued before impeachment - ex-Comelec chief (news.inq7.net)

"THE OFFICE of the Ombudsman can file charges in the Sandiganbayan against officials of the Commission on Elections found liable for the botched billion-peso election computerization deal, a former Comelec chair said yesterday.

Christian Monsod, who served as Comelec chair from June 1991 to February 1995, said there was a Supreme Court decision on the filing of charges in the anti-graft court against officials of constitutionally created agencies.

Comelec Chair Benjamin Abalos and the other commissioners are of the position that they have to be removed through impeachment first before charges can be filed against them.

Monsod said the opinion that Comelec officials could be charged in the Sandiganbayan had been put forward by Kilosbayan Foundation headed by former Senate President Jovito Salonga and Senator Aquilino Pimentel.

Both Kilosbayan and Pimentel have filed complaints against Comelec officials in the Office of the Ombudsman in connection with the Mega Pacific deal.

"I agree with the position (that a criminal case may be filed against the commissioners even before they are impeached)," said Monsod, also a member of the Constitutional Commission that drafted the 1987 Constitution."

NDF works out revival of talks in Norway (news.inq7.net)

"MALACAÑANG remains committed to pursuing its all-out war against communist rebels even if exiled leaders of the communist-led National Democratic Front have asked Norway to convince President Gloria Macapagal- Arroyo to return to the negotiating table.

In a statement, the NDF said it had sent its top leadership to Oslo on Monday for four days of consultations with the Norwegian foreign ministry.

Norway had facilitated the peace talks between the Philippine government and the NDF before negotiations were scuttled in 2004.

The delegation is composed of NDF chief negotiator Luis Jalandoni, Fidel Agcaoili, Connie Ledesma, Julie de Lima and Asterio Palima.

Also present in the consultations are NDF chief political consultant Jose Maria Sison, lawyer Romeo Capulong, NDF's senior legal adviser and NDF panel consultant Danilo Borjal.

"As far as we know the stance of government remains the same, which is no negotiations unless there is a ceasefire (on hostilities)," Press Secretary Ignacio Bunye told reporters yesterday, when asked to comment on the NDF leaders' consultations with the Norwegian foreign ministry."

Senga: Lim videotape 'unofficial' (www.abs-cbnnews.com)

"Armed Forces chief Gen. Generoso Senga said the videotape that showed Army Brig. Gen. Danilo Lim withdrawing his support from President Arroyo was unofficial and therefore, should not be made the basis of news reports. 

Senga was reacting to a report that came out during the initial airing Monday night of ABS-CBN's "Bandila." 

The videotape shown quoted Lim, former chief of the crack Scout Rangers unit, as saying: "We cannot stand idly by while the rule of law, the moral order and the integrity of our institutions, the very future of our country and people and our own professional careers are destroyed by this bogus president. "

Reached for comment in Tiaong, Quezon, as he visited a military unit Tuesday, Senga told Bandila that the basis of the report was incomplete since the AFP has yet to finish its investigation into the plot to unseat the President last February.

Senga said that since the report's basis was unofficial and "leaked" to the media, he has ordered an investigation to weed out the video's source." 

AFP officers ready to face coup probe (www.philstar.com)
"Senior officers of the Armed Forces investigated for their supposed complicity in the Feb. 24 coup plot expressed readiness to submit themselves under existing military rules even as a military fact-finding board said yesterday that it has not completed its report on the aborted military takeover. 

The botched power grab, which was planned to coincide with the 20th anniversary of the EDSA I people power revolt, prompted President Arroyo to place the country under a state of national emergency. 

Relieved Philippine Marines commandant Maj. Gen. Renato Miranda, reacting to reports that he and 37 other officers have been recommended for court martial, said he is willing to stand trial. 

However, he added that since he was then the Marine commandant, the board should have put all the blame on him and not have included the other Marine officers. 

"The buck stops with me," Miranda said, adding the others implicated were good junior officers, one of them a female aide-de-camp. 

Malacañang, on the other hand, said it wants officers involved in the failed coup to be swiftly brought to justice and vowed to continue to take "strong actions" against those plotting to overthrow the government."

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