[Blueboard] Newsbriefs 21 July Morning

Simbahang Lingkod ng Bayan slb at admu.edu.ph
Fri Jul 21 12:23:45 PHT 2006

Newsbriefs 21 July Morning

Simbahang Lingkod ng Bayan



6 Cabinet men probed for graft (www.manilastandardtoday.com)

"There is enough basis to start an administrative investigation against six Cabinet members and all the officials of the Power Sector Assets and Liabilities Management Corp. over the release of P10 million "privatization bonus" despite the bungled sale of the coal-fired Masinloc power plant, the ombudsman said yesterday. 

In two separate decisions on July 12, Jose de Jesus Jr., director of the ombudsman's preliminary investigation and administrative adjudication bureau, ordered the Cabinet secretaries and PSALM officials to submit their counteraffidavits and evidence to disprove that the release of the P10 million was not anomalous. 

"Failure to file their counteraffidavits within that period shall be deemed a waiver of their right to submit controverting evidence and the preliminary investigation shall proceed accordingly," De Jesus said. 

The two graft cases stemmed from a Commission on Audit report in 2004 that showed that PSALM officials were awarded the multimillion-peso bonus for their "extraordinary accomplishments" in selling the assets of the National Power Corp. 

Filed by the militant group Bagong Alyansang Makabayan, the case named as respondents Finance Secretary Margarito Teves, Budget Secretary Rolando Andaya, Energy Secretary Raphael Lotilla, Economic Planning Secretary Romulo Neri, Trade Secretary Peter Favila, and Justice Secretary Raul Gonzalez. 

The six Cabinet officials sit on the PSALM board. 

PSALM president Nieves Osorio and vice president Froilan Tampinco were also included in the charge sheet." 

Fate of 2006 nursing board examinees hangs (www.manilastandardtoday.com) 

"New nurses are preparing to take their oaths as professionals on Aug. 22, but some of them may find their licenses revoked or suspended even before that date. 

"If it is established that there was indeed an irregularity in the recent nurse licensure examination, then we can revoke or suspend their licenses," said Leonor Rosero, chairman of the Professional Regulatory Commission, in reference to allegations of a leakage. 

Two commission employees who have been identified as the source of the leakage are now being inhibited from performing their duties pending an investigation, Rosero said. 

But the task of tracing which schools and who among the board examinees took advantage of the leakage is the problem of the National Bureau of Investigation, she added. 

"It's now the job of the NBI to establish if there was really a leakage. The only evidence that we have is the manuscript of the 500 test questions," Rosero said. 

Bowing to pressure, the commission released the results of this year's nursing board examination on July 19 that showed more than 17,000, or about 24 percent of the nearly 43,000 people who took the test, passed. 

The board topnotcher, who got a score of 83.2 percent, came from the University of Pangasinan. Of the schools with more than 100 examinees, Saint Louis University in Baguio City topped the performance list. 

The leakage, which Anesia Dionisio and Virginia Madeja purportedly sprung, started in this northern city." 

First batch of OFWs fleeing Lebanon reach Syria (INQ7.net)

"THE first batch of overseas Filipino workers who have fled the war in Lebanon has arrived in Damascus, Syria early Friday, GMA Network's "Unang Hirit" morning newscast reported.

After taking an easterly route through several detours as major roads and bridges were damaged by Israeli air strikes, the 192 Filipino evacuees who boarded buses that left Beirut at 9 a.m. Thursday (2 p.m. in Manila) reached the Syrian capital at about 3 a.m. Friday (Manila time).

They are temporarily staying in a monastery, the report said.

>From there they will proceed to board a chartered Lockheed 11 aircraft of Emirates Airlines that will fly them directly to the Philippines.

The group is expected to arrive in Manila at 1 p.m. on Saturday "

Govt ID plan constitutional, SC rules with finality (The Manila Times)

"The Supreme Court on Thursday denied with finality the motion for reconsideration filed by militant groups against a presidential order implementing of a national ID system for government agencies and government-owned and-controlled corporations. 

The decision paves the way for the implementation of the national ID system.

In an en banc resolution dated June 20 but released only Thursday, the court junked the motions for reconsideration filed by Kilusang Mayo Uno (May First Movement) and Bayan Muna (Nation First), saying the two party-list groups failed to present substantial arguments to warrant the reversal of its April 19 ruling. 

The high court had earlier voted 12-2 in declaring Executive Order 420 as constitutional, saying it was within the President's constitutional power to direct entities under the executive department to adopt a uniform ID data collection and format."  

Lawmakers say Binay 'misleading the people' (www.manilastandardtoday.com)

"LAWMAKERS attacked Makati Mayor Jejomar Binay yesterday, accusing him of spreading lies about a plan by pro-Charter Change supporters to spend P10 million in his district to buy signatures for a constitutional reform petition. 

House Deputy Speaker for Mindanao Gerry Salapuddin said Binay was misleading the public in hopes of derailing the drive for Charter Change, which has already gathered nine million signatures. 

Leyte Rep. Eduardo Veloso said Binay and his supporters should stop using black propaganda to block the government's development efforts. 

"No amount of propaganda will derail ChaCha," Veloso said. "The people's choice must be respected." 


Officials hit bishop for harboring Magdalo (www.manilastandardtoday.com)

"HARBORING fugitives is a crime, and not even Novaliches Bishop Antonio Tobias can evade charges by claiming he was merely giving shelter to fellow Christians in hiding rebellious Magdalo soldiers who had escaped from detention last January, a Palace official said yesterday. 

"The Magdalo soldiers are facing charges and harboring them is illegal," Presidential chief-of-staff Michael Defensor said. 

"They are fugitives, and extending sanctuary to them means you are condoning their crimes." 

1Lt. Lawrence San Juan, one of the escaped soldiers who was rearrested, revealed this week that the bishop had hidden him and two other fugitives in safe houses in Novaliches. 

Tobias admitted providing refuge to San Juan and other Magdalo soldiers but denied he was part of a plot to overthrow the government. 

"I will not even get a lawyer. I will abide by the decision of Justice Secretary Raul Gonzalez. Let the country be my judge," he said. 

He predicted the controversy would die down. 

Tobias also defended his defiance of state laws, saying "State laws are sometimes to the disadvantage of citizens." 

He said he did not advise San Juan and the others to surrender because he felt this would be "an act of betrayal of trust and confidence." 

While mincing no words on Tobias, Defensor eased off on businessmen who were linked to the coup, promising there would be no witch-hunt. 

Two of them, Manuel "Beaver" Lopez, a scion of the wealthy Lopez clan, and Antonio Cojuangco, chairman of the ABC-5 TV network, have denied an involvement in the Feb. 24 aborted coup." 

Ombudsman rejects Comelec plea(www.manilastandardtoday.com) 

"The Ombudsman yesterday rejected the petition of election officials to terminate the investigation into their culpability in the irregular purchase of automated counting machines in 2004. 

Lawyers representing officials of the Commission on Elections, however, were unfazed by the sudden turn of events that prompted them to launch a barrage of attacks to counter the allegations of irregularities in the awarding of the automation contract to the Mega Pacific Consortium. 

"Actually, the government saved a total of P2.28 billion, making it the most advantageous deal for the government in its bid to modernize the country's electoral process, said Federico Alday, lawyer for Comelec chairman Benjamin Abalos and Commissioner Florentino Tuazon. 

In an 11-page decision, the Ombudsman clarified that it was exercising its "investigatory power over impeachable officials, though such authority is limited only for the purpose of filing a verified complaint for impeachment." 
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