[Blueboard] Newsbriefs 14 September Afternoon

Simbahang Lingkod ng Bayan slb at admu.edu.ph
Thu Sep 14 17:33:02 PHT 2006

Newsbriefs 14 September Afternoon

Simbahang Lingkod ng Bayan


CA clears new poll agency member (www.manilastandardtoday.com)

The bicameral Commission on Appointments yesterday unanimously confirmed the appointment of former Sandiganbayan Justice Nicodemo Ferrer as member of the Commission on Elections. 

Senator Alfredo Lim, chairman of the CA committee on constitutional commission and offices, endorsed the confirmation of Ferrer's appointment after a brief public hearing to determine his competence. 

In seeking the confirmation of Ferrer's appointment, Lim noted that his committee did not receive any adverse report or complaint against the nominee. 

With the 2007 national elections just a few months away, the CA committee members stressed the need to restore the public's confidence in the Comelec, which has figured in several controversies recently. 

New Opposition Battlecry: Cha-cha by con-con after GMA (www.philstar.com)
Amending the Constitution through a constitutional convention is emerging as the favored mode of making changes to the 1987 Constitution among groups opposed to President Arroyo. 

But they made it clear that any Cha-cha or Charter change effort should not be made while Mrs. Arroyo is in office. 

Leaders of opposition groups making up the Black and White Movement met yesterday at the Club Filipino in Greenhills, San Juan and adopted a common stand on the issue. 

Corazon "Dinky" Soliman, one of Black and White Movement's organizers, said they have vowed to block attempts to make changes to the Constitution through a people's initiative and a constituent assembly, two of three methods to make amendments. 

Soliman, Mrs. Arroyo's estranged former social welfare secretary, said the administration's initiative to amend the Constitution and replace the Philippines' current form of government with a parliamentary system would only allow her to extend her stay in office and with added powers. 

"By making her head of both executive and legislative branches of government, able to change the Constitution, laws and policies as a unicameral body, thereby keeping herself and her allies perpetually in power with no accountability for crimes committed against the people," according to a joint statement issued by the leaders of the groups forming the Black and White Movement. 

One of the groups, the Citizens for Constitutional Convention, advocates amendments made only through a constitutional convention and only after Mrs. Arroyo leaves office at the end of her six-year term in mid-2010.


Arroyo backtracks, won't sign pact on int'l court (Inquirer)

BRUSSELS -- President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo has wavered at the last minute on the suggestion of Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago to declare the Philippine intention to finally sign the Rome Statute creating the International Criminal Court even at the expense of losing military aid from the United States which opposes the pact.

Press Secretary Ignacio Bunye said that the President did not raise the issue in her meeting with European Union officials on Tuesday.

"The Philippines remains non-committal to the pact as the President believes the country needs more time to observe how the system works," Bunye said.

Santiago claimed that the President had agreed to bare the country's support for the ICC the day before the EU meeting.

The President is in Brussels to win back Europe's leaders who have been growing skeptical on her administration's human rights records and Europe's businessmen critical of the country's poor record in honoring contracts, particularly that of the voided contract for the construction of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 3, that was undertaken by the Philippine International Air Terminals Co. (PIATCo) and its partner, the German airport operator Fraport AG.

In an interview, Santiago said that the President's change of heart on the issue was influenced by the decision of Latin American countries to join the ICC which subsequently resulted in the loss of their aid from the US.

Senate-PCGG showdown 

Sabio: I won't answer questions at hearing (Inquirer) 

POSITIONS APPEAR to have hardened in the showdown between the Senate and the Presidential Commission on Good Government (PCGG).

More than 24 hours after he was arrested and detained by the Senate for snubbing its inquiry into the alleged losses of government-sequestered corporations, Camilo Sabio, 70, declared he would not yield to senators at today's hearing.

The otherwise soft-spoken PCGG chair, who had been afflicted with unstable blood pressure since his arrest on Tuesday morning, confirmed he would appear at the 1 p.m. hearing by the Senate committees on government corporations and public services.

"[But] I will not be compelled. Nobody can compel me to answer questions," Sabio told reporters outside the room at the Senate clinic and medical services department where he had been held since his arrest at his office.

"I will stand on that. It's a matter of principle for me to follow the law. I'll follow the law, but I will not answer questions," he said, indicating that he would invoke Executive Order No. 1 which says PCGG officials cannot be required to testify in legislative, judicial and administrative proceedings.

Joc-joc takes on Condi in freedom bid (Inquirer) 


Jocelyn "Joc-joc" Bolante is taking on US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, naming her and other ranking US government officials as respondents in his petition to gain freedom in the United States.

In a 26-page petition for a writ of habeas corpus, Bolante asked a Wisconsin district court to order Rice, US Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff and other US officials to release him from custody.

The former Philippine agriculture undersecretary said his continued detention at Kenosha county in Wisconsin and the decision of the US Embassy in Manila to revoke his B1/B2 visa were illegal.

"The revocation of his visa was contrary to material and formal requirements of a lawful revocation and it has been determined that he is not an intending immigrant pursuant to (the US Immigration and Nationality Act)," said the petition, a copy of which was obtained by the Inquirer.

The petition, dated Aug. 9, 2006, was initially brought before a district court in northern Illinois but it was later refiled in Wisconsin, where Bolante is currently detained. The Wisconsin district court will hear the petition on Sept. 20.

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