[Blueboard] Newsbriefs 10 July Morning

Simbahang Lingkod ng Bayan slb at admu.edu.ph
Mon Jul 10 11:04:17 PHT 2006

Newsbriefs 10 July Morning

Simbahang Lingkod ng Bayan



CBCP told to beware of Arroyo gifts (news.inq7.net)

"PRESIDENT Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo has come under fire for allegedly trying to buy off bishops as they discussed a Church stand on a renewed opposition attempt to unseat her over unresolved charges she stole the 2004 election, a participant told the Inquirer yesterday.

The two-day annual plenary of the 124-member Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) closed yesterday. A statement on its decisions was expected today.

As the prelates sat down, Pope Benedict XVI sent a message of "spiritual closeness" that was regarded as sympathetic to the bishops who in recent weeks had come under criticism from Malacañang for allegedly violating the principle of separation of Church and state.

The rebuke was prompted by Bishop Deogracias Iñiguez signing of an opposition impeachment complaint against Ms Arroyo in the House of Representatives last month.

The Pontiff's message, relayed through Vatican Secretary of State Angelo Cardinal Sodano, expressed hopes that the Philippine bishops would "give ever more effective service as ministers of the word and sacrament and better prepare the faithful . to be the authentic witness of the Gospel."

During the plenary, some bishops were placed on the hot seat over favors some of them were reportedly receiving from the President, according to one bishop, who requested anonymity because of the sensitivity of the issue.

According to the source, Bishop Jesse Mercado of Parañaque specifically asked fellow prelates at the opening of the plenary on Saturday about Malacañang's offer of medicines, rice and other goodies for dioceses of bishops critical of Ms Arroyo.

"Bishop Mercado asked about the different ways through which Malacañang was trying to buy off the bishops," the source said. "He wanted to know what he should do about them."

CBCP to renew call for 'search for truth' (www.philstar.com)
"Catholic bishops are standing firm on their call for a search for truth behind allegations of electoral fraud and corruption against President Arroyo. 

During the first day of its plenary assembly at the Pope Pius XII Catholic Center in Ermita, Manila Saturday, the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) agreed that the allegations against Mrs. Arroyo did not end with her dramatic apology on national television or with the reappearance of former elections commissioner Virgilio Garcillano at the Senate to deny that there was cheating in the 2004 elections. 

However, the bishops said the search for truth must be pursued through peaceful and constitutional means, expressing support for impeachment complaints filed against Mrs. Arroyo, a CBCP insider said yesterday. 

Meanwhile, Malacañang urged the bishops yesterday not to allow themselves to be used by interest groups in their mission of upholding morals in the country. 

"I really hope that the bishops issue a unifying message and not one that would be interpreted as stoking division among our people," Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita said in a telephone interview."


Provision in Charter gives license to putschists (www.manilastandardtoday.com)

"THE proponents of Charter Change are blaming a provision in the 1987 Constitution that, they say, is often misinterpreted by military adventurers as a "moral license" to grab power from duly-elected officials. 

"The 1987 Constitution-specifically the clause 'protector of the people and State'-legitimizes military intervention during deep political crises," Lito Monico Lorenzana, chairman of the Charter Change Advocacy Commission, said. 

"It is often used as a compelling legal argument that justifies the military to take over the government and grab power." 

Davao Oriental Rep. Joel Mayo Almarion says power grabbers are also distracting elected officials from doing their jobs and soldiers from campaigning effectively against communist and Muslim rebels. 

"They should not use our soldiers and civilians in their selfish bid to gain power," he said. 

Lorenzana says the 1987 Constitution is inspiring military adventurers to engage in politics and to use force without having to account for their actions. 

"The [Armed Forces] have become too politicized and we have seen renegade soldiers and their rightist leaders fall and rise from grace without being charged in court," he said." 

Pro-impeach solons won't get Palace support (news.inq7.net)

"MEMBERS OF Congress who continue to seek the impeachment of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo will not be supported by the administration during the elections next year.

Presidential Chief of Staff Michael Defensor said yesterday it would be "very clear who will be for or against" the administration during the 2007 elections.

"There can be no gray area and this will be manifested in the national elections," Defensor said in a phone interview.

But he said what happened during last year's political crisis had been "forgotten." That's why the administration continues to reach out to erstwhile allies in Congress, he said."

Jailed Oakwood officers mum on arrests (news.inq7.net)

"THE JUNIOR military officers detained for allegedly leading the failed 2003 Oakwood mutiny have kept mum on the recent arrest of their comrades.

"They'd rather not comment, but they did notice a few things," a source close to the Magdalo group told the Inquirer yesterday.

When the Magdalo officers were arrested on Friday, they should not have been treated like criminals, or even terrorists, the source said.

And despite being on the run for six months, the fugitives were looking good. Captain Nathaniel Rabonza and 1st Lieutenants Sonny Sarmiento and Patricio Bumidang"


AFP: Coup threats neutralized (The Manila Times)

"Gen. Generoso Senga, outgoing chief of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), said on Sunday that the danger of rebel soldiers taking over the government by force has been removed with the arrest of six of renegade junior officers. 

Senga made the observation during his calls on troops stationed in Jolo, Sulu, a known stronghold of al-Qaeda-linked Islamic militants. He was on a whirlwind tour of major military posts preparatory to his upcoming retirement.

According to Senga the capture of the six rogue officers, who belong to the Magdaló group, has neutralized a major antigovernment faction. 

Nevertheless, Senga said the Army will always have its share of malcontents, saying it is difficult to satisfy everybody. He advised the troops not to allow themselves to be used by politicians for their own selfish ends. 

Instead, he told the soldiers, they should be mindful of their responsibility of behaving in such a way that they become a symbol of peace and security for the people."

State may resume talks with Reds if... (www.manilastandardtoday.com)

"THE government is willing to resume talks with the communist rebels but only if their leaders show real interest in achieving peace through negotiations, National Security Adviser Norberto Gonzales said yesterday. 

"The burden of showing proof of sincerity to talk peace is on the leaders of the communist movement, given their deceitful conduct in the past and the timing of their peace overtures now, which is suspect," Gonzales said. 

As a result, he said, government peace negotiators would draw new terms once the administration deemed it wise to go back to the negotiating table. 

"Are they willing to stop their politics of violence and their human rights violations?" Gonzales said. 

"Are they willing to disband the New People's Army, bring their struggle for societal change in the political arena, and compete equally with other parties, the way we social democrats are?" who heads a group of social democrats called the Partido Demokratiko Sosyalista ng Pilipinas. 

Gonzales said the Communist Party of the Philippines and the National Democratic Front should not only agree to a ceasefire but also to holding negotiations within new parameters." 

Four regions to announce salary increases (The Manila Times)

"At least four regional wage boards are set to come out within the week with a new wage hike order for minimum wage earners in the private sector ranging from P15 to P20 a day to enable workers to cope with deregulated oil prices, automatic adjustments in rates of electricity and water, and increases in prices of basic commodities.

Labor and Employment Secretary Arturo D. Brion said on Sunday that Ilocos, Eastern Visayas, Northern Mindanao and 4-B regions are prepared to announce the wage grants in their respective areas.

Reports from the National Wages and Productivity Commission (NWPC), according to Brion, the Regional Tripartite Wages and Productivity Boards (RTWPBs) in regions Eastern Visayas and Northern Mindanao are scheduled to sign their Wage Orders Monday.

NWPC officer in charge Rebeca Calzado said the Northern Mindanao wage board is gearing toward the possibility of an integration of the P16 cost of living allowance plus a new cola ranging from P15 to P20 a day.

The Ilocos region and Region 4-B, or Mimaropa (Mindoro, Marinduque, Romblon and Palawan), have scheduled its en banc deliberation on Tuesday.

Both plan to release their wage grants before the end of the week."

Four oil firms hike prices anew by 50¢ (www.philstar.com)

"Four of the country's oil companies raised the pump prices of their products yesterday by 50 centavos per liter and 50 centavos per kilo for liquefied petroleum gas (LPG). 

Petron Corp., Total Philippines Inc., Unioil Philippines and Eastern Petroleum Corp. said they needed to adjust their prices to reflect the continuing rise in world crude prices. 

"Because of the continuing volatility of international prices of crude and refined petroleum products, major independent players like Eastern will continue to aggressively promote the use of alternative fuels like LPG for gasoline engine, which only retails at P24 per liter in Metro Manila versus P43 per liter for gasoline or lower by 43 percent than gasoline," EPC chairman Fernando Martinez said."
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