[Blueboard] Newsbriefs 18 September Morning

Simbahang Lingkod ng Bayan slb at admu.edu.ph
Mon Sep 18 12:25:17 PHT 2006

Newsbriefs 18 September Morning

Simbahang Lingkod ng Bayan



Bishops back con-con as the way to Cha-cha (The Manila Times)


"Saying that cost is immaterial if it is for the good of the people, the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) said it would be amenable to proposals to amend the Constitution only if it is done through constitutional convention.


The CBCP maintained its stand in a "pastoral exhortation" after the regular meeting of the CBCP Permanent Council Thursday. The statement was signed by CBCP president and Archbishop Angel Lagdameo of Jaro.


The Church's stand clashes with Charter-change proponents, the Sigaw ng Bayan Movement (SNB) and the Union of Local Authorities of the Philippines (ULAP), which have been fighting tooth-and-nail to convince the Supreme Court to reverse its 1997 ruling on the people's initiative and allow amendments to the Constitution to proceed.


CBCP, in its latest statement, remained firm in its decision to support the holding of a constitutional convention instead of amending the Constitution either through a constituent assembly or the administration-backed people's initiative, even if will cost the government more. 


The bishops admitted holding a constitutional convention might prove to be a "very expensive process" but said it doesn't matter as long as it is for the common good. 


"We may be spending or losing much more than that through government overspending and cheating and graft and corruption, which are very difficult to assess and account," the statement said. "


SC urged to 'heed people's voice' on 'initiative' (www.philstar.com)
"Mayors, governors and other local government officials asked the Supreme Court (SC) yesterday to "heed the voice of the people," as they expressed hope that the backing of the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) on the people's initiative will be considered by the tribunal. 

League of Provinces executive vice president and Nueva Ecija Gov. Tomas Joson III cited the surveys conducted by the Social Weather Stations showing a progressive and steady rise in the percentage of people supporting Charter change. 

"I hope the OSG opinion will be seriously considered by the high tribunal and will not be drowned by the loud noises of the few who are opposed to the people's initiative," Joson said. "


RP slips in anti-graft drive -- World Bank, Good governance rank declines in last 8 years (Inquirer)

"SINGAPORE -- The ability of the Philippines to improve its governance and curb corruption has faltered over the past eight years despite its vibrant democratic society and free press, according to a World Bank report.

The report, "Governance Matters 2006: Worldwide Governance Indicators," which covers 209 countries, painted a sobering picture of global trends in governance. It was launched on the sidelines of the joint International Monetary Fund-World Bank annual meetings here.

Drawn from the responses of more than 120,000 citizens, enterprises and experts provided by 25 different organizations worldwide, the report showed a sharp decline in the ranking of the Philippines in the control of corruption benchmark from 50.5 percent in 1998 to 37.4 percent in 2005.

The country's percentile rank means that it is better off than 37.4 percent of all other countries covered by the study based on the index for control of corruption, defined as the extent to which public power is exercised for private gain, including petty and grand forms of corruption and the "capture" of the state by elite and private interests.

In a recent visit to Manila, World Bank managing director Juan Jose Daboub said the Philippines, having one of the most "open" societies in the region with its vibrant private sector, lively civil society organizations and vigorous media, had "fertile" ground for good economic policies to flourish.

"The strength of regional competitors sounds an alarm bell that this country cannot afford to ignore. Time wasted, reforms that lapse, large segments of the population with untapped potential, continued tolerance of corrupt practices will have a real price, not just in lost income and lost market share, but in lost opportunity for millions of Filipinos," Deboub said at a forum organized by the Makati Business Club and the Asian Institute of Management."

Raps poised against Arroyo in UN agency (Inquirer)

"ARMED WITH DEATH certificates, the leader of a Filipino peasant group flew to Switzerland yesterday to file charges against the Philippine government as a human rights violator before a United Nations body.

Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) secretary-general Danilo Ramos left for Geneva on a trip his group said could embarrass President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo internationally, as she headed home from her own foreign trip that has been touted by Malacañang as having brought immense benefits to the country.

In the complaint it is filing before the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC), the KMP names Ms Arroyo, Armed Forces Chief of Staff Gen. Hermogenes Esperon and retired Army Maj. Gen. Jovito Palparan as representatives of a government involved in murder, torture, illegal arrests and political persecution, according to the group."

Hold your ground, Sabio tells other PCGG execs (Inquirer)

"NO SURRENDER," Camilo Sabio advised his four fellow commissioners who are facing arrest for contempt of the Senate and are on the run.

>From his detention room at the Senate clinic, the chair of the Presidential Commission on Good Government (PCGG) said it would be prudent for the other commissioners to "hold their ground" just as he had done in his face-off with senators in Thursday's hearing on the alleged losses of government-sequestered corporations.

"No, I would not advise them to do that," Sabio said, chuckling, when asked if he would tell the commissioners to appear at the Senate before its sergeant at arms could serve arrest warrants on them.

"That's a decision for them to make. But if they were to ask me, I would say, 'Hold your ground.' They have filed a petition to prevent the Senate from arresting them; they should stick to it. It wouldn't look OK if they later say, 'We surrender,'" he added."

NPAs beaten by 2010 - AFP (www.philstar.com)
"Government forces are geared up to accomplish their mission to neutralize the communist New People's Army (NPA) before President Arroyo ends her term by 2010, Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) chief Gen. Hermogenes Esperon declared yesterday. 

Esperon said the military has already set the timetable to neutralize the NPA in such a way that the Philippine National Police (PNP) can handle the insurgents without any military support. 

"We believe that we have the mechanics for addressing the roots of insurgency and as we go along, we believe that we could dictate a faster pace of operations... and in four years time, we hope to achieve some kind of strategic victory," he said. 

And by that time, Esperon said, the AFP would be in a better position to put down any armed conflict because of the Philippine Defense Reform Program currently being implemented. 

"You will have an even stronger Armed Forces by 2010 to address the insurgency (problem)," Esperon said."


Bolante wants to talk but... (abs-cbnNEWS.com )


"Ex-agriculture undersecretary Jocelyn Bolante has vowed to talk about the P728-million fertilizer fund scam provided, Filipino lawyers help him regain his canceled US visa, TV Patrol reported Sunday.


Lawyer Harry Roque said Bolante's lawyers called him up for help to reinstate the former agriculture official's canceled US tourist and business visa. 


Roque, however, said that Bolante should first talk about the scandal before any aid is extended. Roque is leading efforts to bar Bolante from being granted asylum in the US. The lawyer had filed an amicus brief before a US court hearing the former official's case."


Comelec announces candidacy filing dates (www.manilastandardtoday.com)

"THE Commission on Elections has determined the dates when candidates for senatorial and local positions may file their certificates of candidacies for next year's elections. 

Senatorial aspirants and party-list candidates may file from Jan. 15 to Feb. 12. Those seeking local positions may file from Jan. 15 to March 29. 

Jan. 28, a Sunday, is the last day to file all petitions for inclusion in the local voter registry. 

Feb. 2, also a Sunday, is the last day to file any petition to remove the name or names of voters from the local registry. 

Feb. 13 is the start and May 12 the end of the campaign period for senatorial bets, political parties, organizations or coalitions participating in the party-list system of elections. 

March 30 is the last day for party-list participants to submit the names of nominees. 

March 30 is also the start-and May 12 the end-of the campaign for those seeking congressional, provincial, city and municipal posts."
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