[Blueboard] Newsbriefs 21 November 2006 Afternoon

Simbahang Lingkod ng Bayan slb at admu.edu.ph
Tue Nov 21 17:06:44 PHT 2006

Newsbriefs 21 November 2006 Afternoon

Simbahang Lingkod ng Bayan



SC junks people's initiative petition anew (INQ7.net)

(UPDATE) THE SUPREME Court has dismissed a motion for reconsideration for a people's initiative to amend the 1987 Constitution.

The high court, by an 8-7 vote, ruled that Sigaw ng Bayan (People's Cry), Union of Local Authorities of the Philippines (ULAP), and the Office of the Solicitor-General have failed to raise any new issue that would warrant the reversal of its October 25 decision.

"Acting on the motions for reconsideration of the decision of October 25, 2006, the Court resolves by the same vote of 8-7 to deny with finality the said motion for reconsideration, as the basic issues raised therein have been duly passed upon by this court and no substantial arguments were presented to warrant the reversal of the questioned decision," the three-page resolution said.

The division of the justices' vote was the same as when they ruled on the original petition.

In a separate vote, 10 justices ruled that ruled that Republic Act 6735 or Initiative Referendum Act is sufficient to amend the Constitution through a people's initiative.

But the high court stood firm on its position that the signature campaign conducted by the Sigaw ng Bayan could not be passed off as a people's initiative to institute constitutional reforms because of the questionable procedures that the group had used.

The October 25 decision, penned by Associate Justice Antonio Carpio, called the manner used to gather signatures for the people's initiative a "grand deception."

The high court also dismissed a petition for inhibition against Chief Justice Artemio Panganiban and Associate Justice Antonio Carpio.

JBC undecided over Chief Justice nominees' interviews, tests (INQ7.net)

THE JUDICIAL and Bar Council (JBC) has not decided if there will be public interviews and psychological tests for the candidates for Chief Justice when incumbent Artemio Panganiban retires on December 7, Justice Secretary Raul Gonzalez said Tuesday.

Gonzalez said they would meet again on Thursday to discuss if public interviews and psychological tests would be conducted.

"Personally, I would prefer not to subject the candidates to public interviews and psychological tests," Gonzalez said, pointing out that the qualifications, credibility, and integrity of all the candidates are beyond question.

However, Gonzalez noted that some of the JBC members have reservations.

Candidates for the next Chief Justice are Senior Associate Justice Reynato Puno, Associate Justices Leonardo Quisumbing, Antonio Carpio, Angelina Sandoval-Gutierrez, Consuelo Ynares-Santiago, and Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago.

The JBC is tasked to screen and recommend appointees to the Judiciary.

Panel to try 'coup plotters' formed in 5 days  (INQ7.net)

(UPDATE) ARMED Forces chief of staff General Hermogenes Esperon said he will convene in five days the court martial panel that will try 30 Marine and Army Scout Ranger officers, including two generals, for their alleged involvement in a failed bid to topple the Arroyo government in February.

At the same time, Esperon stood firm on his order to try the officers on mutiny charges, reportedly against the recommendations of military prosecutors to drop the mutiny charges and try only 18 officers for violating Articles of War (AW) 96 (conduct unbecoming an officer and a gentleman) and 97 (conduct prejudicial to good order and military discipline).

But Esperon refused to categorically declare if he, indeed, reversed the recommendations of military prosecutors on the officers led by ex-marine commandant Major General Renato Miranda, Army Brigadier General Danilo Lim, and Marine Colonel Ariel Querubin.

"If I have indeed not approved all of their recommendations, that is my prerogative as the chief of staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines," he said.

DOJ opposes Honasan transfer, case review (abs-cbnNEWS.com) 


The Department of Justice on Tuesday said it will block moves by detained former senator Gregorio "Gringo" Honasan for a reinvestigation on his coup d'etat case in connection with his alleged role in the mutiny of hundreds of junior military officers and enlisted men on July 27, 2003.


State Prosecutor Juan Navera said Honasan had been given all the opportunities to submit his counter-affidavits but he refused to cooperate.


"They had full knowledge of the preliminary investigation and they did not participate. The DOJ can't be faulted that it resolved preliminary investigation. We can't wait in vain," Navera said.


DOJ will also oppose Honasan's request to be transferred to the Makati City Jail from Fort Sto. Domingo in Sta. Rosa, Laguna. 


Justice Secretary Raul Gonzalez said Honasan could escape from the jail if he is transferred, which would set a bad precedent for other individuals charged in connection with the mutiny.


"I don't think that at this stage Senator Honasan should be entitled to this kind of liberal treatment. After all, he has been taunting government for a long time. He has been on the run for nine months and government has spent so much money to take him," Gonzalez told Dateline Philippines. 


Bicam OKs fixed 3-year term for AFP chief (www.philstar.com)
The bicameral conference of the Senate and the House of Representatives has approved a proposed law that provides a fixed three-year term for the chief of staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and a minimum two-year term for the commanders of the Philippine Army, Air Force and Navy. 

"The proposed law provides that the chief of staff will serve a fixed term of three years regardless of the mandatory (retirement) age of 56, meaning a chief of staff appointed to the position may serve in order to complete his term of office and beyond his retirement age," said Sen. Rodolfo Biazon, chairman of the Senate committee on national defense and security. 

Once ratified, Biazon said the new law would help reduce the "politicization" of the AFP. The new law will not cover AFP chief Gen. Hermogenes Esperon and the current chiefs of the three major service commands. It will take effect after the terms of the incumbent officers expire. 

Biazon, who served for three months as AFP chief of staff during the Aquino administration, said the revolving door policy in the appointment of AFP chiefs has "trivialized" an "important" position. 

President Arroyo has appointed several AFP chiefs since January 2001, including one who served for just over two months. 

"Because of the tradition of seniority, you expect that the AFP chief of staff appointee will come from the more senior bracket of the AFP," Biazon said.
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