[Blueboard] Newsbriefs 19 July Morning

Simbahang Lingkod ng Bayan slb at admu.edu.ph
Wed Jul 19 11:39:21 PHT 2006

Newsbriefs 19 July Morning

Simbahang Lingkod ng Bayan



Ombudsman probe violates Constitution, says lawyer (Inquirer)

"THE OFFICE of the Ombudsman would be violating the Constitution if it persists in investigating impeachable officials like the commissioners of the Commission on Elections, according to the lawyer of the Comelec commissioner found liable for the controversial P1.3-million Mega Pacific poll modernization contract.

Subjecting constitutional officers like his client, Comelec Commissioner Resurreccion Borra, to interrogation by a fiscal or by a prosecuting officer of the Ombudsman's Office, would be tantamount to subjecting the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court or, worse, the President of the Republic, to the same process, said lawyer Gabriel Villareal.

"Chairman Benjamin Abalos Sr. and the rest of the Comelec commissioners would be doing their office and our people a great disservice if they submit themselves to a probe by an investigating body which clearly and by its own admission has no authority over impeachable officials," said Villareal in a motion filed with the Ombudsman.

Villareal said the Supreme Court itself has stated that constitutional officers cannot be investigated or prosecuted by any other method except impeachment, not because they are immune from criminal liability, "but due to the fact that there is a procedural requirement under the Constitution that must be followed."

Parliament in place by yearend? (www.manilastandardtoday.com)

"Expect a parliamentary form of government to replace the bicameral-presidential system before the year ends if plans to change the government setup through a people's initiative push through this month. 

This loomed strong yesterday after Sigaw ng Bayan, a grassroots-based movement of over 300 organizations, and the Union of Local Authorities of the Philippines, reiterated their bid to file before the Commission on Elections a petition for people's initiative signed by over nine million voters nationwide. 

Sources in the Sigaw ng Bayan and Ulap said the petition would seek to amend Articles VI and VII of the 1987 Constitution and propose a transitory provision for the orderly shift to provide a fitting sequel to President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo's State-of-the Nation Address next week. 

"With the filing of the petition, Comelec will have to schedule a plebiscite on the proposed parliamentary shift not later than 90 days, which means that we could have a more stable political system conducive to economic growth soon," Sigaw ng Bayan spokesman Raul Lambino said." 

SONA to focus on funds for 'super regions' (Inquirer)

"ONE OF the issues that President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo will focus on in her State of the Nation Address on July 24 will the decentralization of funds for the development of the country's planned "super regions," according to a Malacañang official.

"The President is going to be concentrating on decentralizing a lot of funds," Arthur Yap, chief of the Presidential Management Staff and presidential adviser on job creation, told the Bulong Pulungan forum yesterday.

Yap said there were enough funds from revenue collections and earnings for Malacañang to put in more investments into the development of the so-called "super regions."

Metro Manila on high alert for Arroyo address (Inquirer)

"POLICE placed Metro Manila on high alert yesterday amid intelligence reports that communist rebels would stage grenade attacks during President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo's State of the Nation Address (SONA) to Congress next week.

Vidal Querol, the National Capital Region police director, said the Philippine National Police had information that New People's Army (NPA) rebels would infiltrate planned anti-Arroyo protest marches during the SONA on July 24 and foment violence.

The high alert means all police forces in the capital will be refused leave and will be in precincts at all times.

Querol said a certain "Ka Angie," an alleged NPA leader in Mindoro, would be leading a small group that would try to slip into Metro Manila for the SONA."

Lopez scion: I gave Magdalo P2 million (www.manilastandardtoday.com)

"A SCION of the wealthy Lopez clan and son-in-law of deposed President Joseph Estrada yesterday admitted giving P2 million to the Magdalo rebel group but denied the money was used for the aborted Feb. 24 coup attempt. 

Manuel "Beaver" Lopez, married to Estrada's daughter Jackie, said he would clear his name of claims that he was a coup financier when he returned from the United States. 

"I deny that completely. I had not had any contacts with anyone from the Magdalo since last December," he told radio dzBB. 

Lopez's statement came as the bishop of Novaliches admitted he hid Magdalo officers in safe houses in Fairview, Quezon City, for three days after they escaped from detention in January." 

Libya gives priority to Filipino workers (www.manilastandardtoday.com)

"Filipino workers have been listed as "priority recruits" for a $765-million (about P40 billion) construction project in Tripoli following a bilateral agreement signed by President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo and Libyan leader Muammar Gadafi. 

In her opening statement at last night's Cabinet meeting at the Palace, Mrs. Arroyo said the agreement will also facilitate the entry of doctors, nurses and caregivers to Libya. 

"There is a P40 billion worth of construction projects being financed by the Bank of Libya, and their first priority for hiring will be Filipino workers," said the President who arrived last night in Manila from her two-day state visit to Tripoli. 

The multimillion dollar project is under the "Libya Build 2007" program where some 400,000 housing units will be built by 2010." 

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