[Blueboard] Newsbriefs 13 July Morning

Simbahang Lingkod ng Bayan slb at admu.edu.ph
Thu Jul 13 12:01:50 PHT 2006


Newsbriefs 13 July Morning

Simbahang Lingkod ng Bayan

http://www.slb.ph/newsbriefs.htm



Panel sought impeachment of Abalos et al in 2005 (news.inq7.net)



"A PANEL that probed the liability of Commission on Elections officials in the anomalous P1.3 billion poll automation deal had recommended in 2005 the impeachment of Comelec Chair Benjamin Abalos and all Comelec commissioners, except Commissioner Rufino Javier.



The four-man panel, formed by then Ombudsman Simeon Marcelo in 2004 and headed by Director Joaquin Salazar, submitted its findings to then Deputy Ombudsman for Luzon Victor Fernandez for approval on June 23, 2005.



"With regard to the liability of the Comelec chairman and commissioners, this Office finds that probable cause exists for charging them with a violation of Section 3 (e) (of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act)," read a copy of the panel resolution left unsigned since it was submitted in 2005.



A copy of the document was furnished the Inquirer by former Senate President Jovito Salonga in the wake of the June 30 resolution signed by Ombudsman Merceditas Gutierrez that recommended the impeachment of Commissioner Resureccion Borra and other Comelec officials.



A spokesperson for the Office of the Ombudsman said that Abalos and the other Comelec commissioners are "still the subject of further investigation."

Salonga's Kilosbayan organization was among those that filed corruption and plunder charges against the Comelec officials after the Supreme Court voided the poll automation deal with Mega Pacific consortium in January 2004.



None of the panel's members signed the Gutierrez resolution which was meant to beat the June 30 deadline set by the Supreme Court for the Ombudsman to resolve the case.



"This shows there is an internal strife inside the Office of the Ombudsman," Salonga said, quoting his sources."



Bolante wants asylum; Palace keeps mum on facts of arrest (www.gmanews.tv)



"Former agriculture undersecretary Jocelyn "Joc-joc" Bolante has sought political asylum in the United States, even as Philippine officials remained stingy with details on the real circumstances surrounding his arrest and detention by US immigration agents in California six days ago. 

Bolante, a close political associate of First Gentleman Jose Miguel Arroyo, was detained by US immigration agents at the Los Angeles airport, upon arrival from Seoul, South Korea, purportedly for using a cancelled B1-B2 visa. 

GMA 7's DZBB said Bolante made the request for political asylum at 1 a.m. Thursday Manila time, but gave scant details. 

Bolante was reportedly scheduled to undergo an immigration hearing Thursday Philippine time. 

Questions remain, however, as to the real circumstances that prompted his arrest and subsequent detention at the San Pedro Detention Facility in California. 

The Department of Foreign Affairs in Manila has failed to explain as well why Bolante needs to post a bail bond as huge as $100,000, if his only alleged offense is carrying a revoked visa."

 

US jails Arroyo point man, Bolante's extradition urged (news.inq7.net)



"CALLS FOR extradition were aired yesterday as news broke that the former agriculture undersecretary embroiled in the P728-million fertilizer fund scam had been arrested on visa matters in the United States.



Senate President Franklin Drilon called on the government to seek the extradition of Jocelyn "Jocjoc" Bolante, who had defied summonses from the chamber for months and whom it subsequently ordered arrested last year.



Senate Minority Leader Aquilino Pimentel Jr., who was en route to the Philippines from Spain when reached by the Inquirer, offered a similar view: "[Bolante] probably violated US laws. No matter, we need him here to put a closure to the fertilizer scam."



"Good development," Pimentel added in a text message, referring to Bolante's arrest. "It gives him a chance to clarify where the over P1 billion in fertilizer money for the farmers went, and who benefited from it."



Sen. Ramon Magsaysay Jr., chair of the Senate committee that looked into the fund scam, also said the government should seek Bolante's extradition so he could face investigation before the Ombudsman.



"But I don't know if [it has] the will," Magsaysay said in a phone interview. He said that embezzlement of funds was an "extraditable offense," and that the government "should look at that aspect."



Esperon pooh-poohs 'Hello, Garci' stigma (abs-cbnNEWS.com) 


"Incoming Armed Forces Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Hermogenes Esperon said he is ready to answer allegations he was involved in poll fraud, ANC reported Thursday.



"I can face whoever will question me that I was party to any election fraud," said Esperon without elaborating.



Esperon, along with Generals Gabriel Habacon, Roy Kyamko and Francisco Gudani, was implicated in election cheating by the "Hello, Garci" tape scandal in 2005.



President Arroyo announced Esperon's appointment Wednesday.



Esperon has long been rumored as a strong contender for the post because of his alleged participation in securing the victory of President Arroyo in the 2004 elections, an allegation he has denied.



Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita dismissed insinuations that Esperon's appointment would fuel restiveness among the junior officers because of his link to election fraud."



New education system launched (www.philstar.com)
 
"President Arroyo launched yesterday a "ladderized" education system (LES) to help more Filipino youths obtain a college degree by taking a combined technical and vocational course. 

Under the system, students who take up technical and vocational courses will need fewer units to earn a college diploma. 

This way, they will be able to work early and save up for the continuation of their college education. 

Technical Education and Skills Development Authority director general Augusto Syjuco said the system was simple yet radical and powerful because by the time students graduate, they would have accumulated work experience to gain competitive advantage over 

those who completed their degrees in the traditional, uninterrupted span of four years. 

"There is no doubt in our minds at TESDA that ladderized education is the solution to poverty, inequality and unemployment. Ladderized education is empowerment because it offers students and workers the opportunity to take control of their lives; to liberate themselves from the shackles of poverty, helplessness and hopelessness," Syjuco said."



MILF, militia call a truce in Mindanao (www.manilastandardtoday.com) 



"The Moro Islamic Liberation Front and the military-backed civilian volunteers's organization in Maguindanao have signed a declaration of ceasefire Tuesday, ending two weeks of fierce fighting. 



"We have signed a formal truce agreement with the militia and agreed to halt the fighting and draw a demilitarized zone in Shariff Aguak [town] in Maguindanao," MILF spokesman Eid Kabalu said yesterday. 



The truce was endorsed by the Armed Forces, the Department of National Defense, the Malaysian-led international team of foreign observers to the peace talks, and Maguindanao Gov. Andal Ampatuan. 



"This is a good development and those who fled their homes can now return to their villages," Kabalu said. 



Presidential adviser on the peace process Jesus Dureza said the government and non-government organizations will now concentrate "without fear of getting caught in crossfire" on the delivery of relief and medical goods to the civilians who were displaced by the fierce fighting. 



Government estimates said up to 30,000 civilians were displaced in less than two weeks of fighting between the militiamen and MILF." 

 
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