[Blueboard] Newsbriefs 7 November 2006 Afternoon

Simbahang Lingkod ng Bayan slb at admu.edu.ph
Tue Nov 7 16:25:59 PHT 2006

Newsbriefs 7 October 2006 Afternoon

Simbahang Lingkod ng Bayan



Ombudsman stands pat on ruling over poll counting machines (INQ7.net)

"THE OFFICE of the Ombudsman is standing pat on its ruling absolving officials from the Commission on Elections (Comelec) and MegaPacific from any criminal liability over the purchase of 1, 991 automated counting machines (ACMs) worth P1.3 billion, according to a comment it filed before the Supreme Court.

Ombudsman Merceditas Gutierrez has "no intention to bring dishonor to her office or to renege from the proper exercise of her sworn duties," said the Office of Legal Affairs, which drafted the 24-page consolidated brief.

"The Ombudsman knows where she stands in the hierarchy in the structure of governance of the Republic of the Philippines," it added.

The Comment branded as "misleading allegations" the claims of petitioner-Senators Aquilino Pimentel Jr., Sergio Osmeña III, Panfilo Lacson, Alfredo Lim, Maria Ana Consuelo Madrigal, Luisa Ejercito, Jose "Jinggoy" Estrada, Richard Gordon, and Rodolfo Biazon as well as the Information Technology Foundation of the Philippines (ITFP), in a separate petition that Gutierrez be held for indirect contempt for not following the high court's order when her office absolved the Comelec and MegaPacific.

"It is most unkind to ascribe to this Honorable Court that it issued any such directive that the Ombudsman's sole remaining task is to identify 'the specific personalities,' who are probably guilty thereof," it said."

Enrile files con-ass resolution lead in Senate (www.philstar.com)
"In the spirit of what he described as "national unity," Sen. Juan Ponce Enrile filed yesterday a counterpart resolution calling for a constituent assembly (con-ass) at the Senate. 

Enrile filed Senate Resolution 580 calling for Congress to convene into a constituent assembly to propose amendments to the Constitution even as administration congressmen led by Speaker Jose de Venecia moved last night to leave the Senate out of con-ass. 

"We are proceeding with Plan B as we announced before. We are unanimous and united on Charter reform," De Venecia told reporters after a caucus among House leaders. 

De Venecia was referring to the administration's alternative plan to pursue Charter amendments through con-ass without Senate concurrence. 

De Venecia pointed out there are 195 congressmen who signed a resolution calling for con-ass to introduce amendments to the Constitution without the concurrence of the Senate."


5 senators 'backing constituent assembly' -- Arroyo aide (INQ7.net)

"FIVE senators, including Senate President Manuel Villar, are backing efforts to amend the Constitution through a constituent assembly, a close aide of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo said on Tuesday.

Aside from Villar, Presidential Chief of Staff Michael Defensor also named Senators Juan Ponce Enrile, who has filed a resolution supporting a constituent assembly, Miriam-Defensor Santiago, Ralph Recto and Edgardo Angara.

However, Defensor admitted that the votes of seven more senators are needed to pass the resolution for a constituent assembly in the Senate.

He also acknowledged that convening Congress into a constituent assembly, which he called Malacañang's "best option" in its efforts to amend the Constitution after the Supreme Court struck down a bid for a people's initiative, would succeed only with the Senate's support.

"If the Senate can support us on this, then it's a path that can be pursued and I feel it would be cheaper and much more efficient and effective for the country," Defensor told reporters in an interview."

Arroyo accepts Cruz resignation 'with much regret' (INQ7.net)

"(UPDATE) PRESIDENT Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo has accepted the resignation of Defense Secretary Avelino Cruz Jr. "with much regret," according to her spokesman Ignacio Bunye.

Arroyo will temporarily take over as defense chief until she appoints a replacement for Cruz, said Bunye.

"The President has accepted, with much regret the resignation of Secretary Cruz. She is grateful for Secretary Cruz's professionalism and key contributions in crucial areas of political, economic, and security policy," Bunye said in a statement Tuesday.

"As everybody knows Secretary Cruz has been a trusted ally and adviser of the President, and continues to be so," he said.

Bunye said the President told Cruz that she would continue to seek his advice on governance as the situation arises.

One of the longest serving members of the Arroyo Cabinet, Cruz, a lawyer, resigned Sunday after meeting with the President."

RP foreign reserves hit $22.27B at end Oct (Reuters)


"The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas said on Tuesday the country's gross international reserves rose 3.14 percent from the previous month to a fresh record of $22.27 billion at the end of October.


Earlier on Tuesday, the BSP said it would monitor any inflationary impact from foreign exchange inflows, which have been riding high on the back of billions of dollars of remittances from Filipinos working overseas.


The country's gross foreign reserves have been clocking up monthly peaks since the start of the year due to inflows from around eight million Filipinos working abroad. Remittances rose 15 percent to $8.1 billion in the first eight months of the year. Reuters"
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