[Blueboard] Newsbriefs 22 Sep 2006 Morning

Simbahang Lingkod ng Bayan slb at admu.edu.ph
Fri Sep 22 12:07:08 PHT 2006

Newsbriefs 22 Sep 2006 Morning

Simbahang Lingkod ng Bayan



RP now banned from reintroducing death penalty after signing UN protocol (www.philstar.com)

"The Philippines signed yesterday a United Nations protocol banning the reimposition of death penalty in the country. 

A ranking Department of Foreign Affairs official, who asked not to be named, said the Second Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights requires "presidential ratification," not Senate concurrence. 

"The Secretary's act needs to be ratified by the President," the official said. 

"The signed copy of the Optional Protocol will be forwarded by the DFA to the President for presidential ratification. This will not need Senate concurrence because this is pursuant to a congressional enactment or a law." 

Signing the Second Optional Protocol on behalf of the government at UN Headquarters in New York was Foreign Affairs Secretary Alberto Romulo. 

Speaking after signing the protocol, Romulo said the Philippines binds itself before the world to uphold and protect the life of individuals, and turns its back on capital punishment by signing and acceding to the Second Optional Protocol. 

"For my country and its people, the sanctity of the life of the individual is a paramount value," he said. "

House leaders unite in stand vs martial law (Inquirer)

"LEADERS OF the House of Representatives yesterday joined the opposition in vowing to fight any move to reimpose martial law.

Bacolod City Rep. Monico Puentevella said Filipinos were all too aware of the signs and would not tolerate the return of dictatorial rule.

"We shall never allow it again," Puentevella said, pointing out, however, that President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo in all her actions to protect the state from recurring destabilization attempts never tried to impose martial law.

"If she does, it will even be a trigger for the people to turn against her," he said.

Rights violations abound

Pater-Taguig Rep. Alan Peter Cayetano, House deputy minority leader, said those in government should stop saying "never again" because "tyranny and oppression are here again."

"Our country may not strictly be under martial law, but intolerance to dissent and criticism, massive corruption, gross violation of human rights and our freedoms abound," Cayetano said.

No apology

At the Senate, however, Sen. Juan Ponce Enrile defended President Ferdinand Marcos' declaration of martial law 34 years ago and his own role in its implementation, but acknowledged that there were excesses.

Enrile said he was not apologizing for the declaration of martial law. "It was a constitutionally authorized act. It was a decision of the leadership of the country at that time," he said.

Enrile also defended his election as chair of the Senate committee on justice and human rights from the criticism that he was unfit for the job because of his role in the implementation of martial law.

"If there are people who believe my conduct during that period was less than proper or less than legal or less than correct, they're free within the legal system to assert their rights. And I'm equally free and ready to defend myself because I don't think I committed any violation of the law, or a violation of the human rights of anybody if that is the charge," he said. "

Palace on '1081' anniversary: Let us celebrate democracy (www.philstar.com)

"Amid criticism that the Arroyo administration has been violating human rights, Malacañang assured the people yesterday that the government will continue to strengthen democracy and fight all forms of tyranny. 

"On this year's commemoration of the declaration of the martial law, the Filipino people renew their collective vow never to allow dictatorship in whatever form to happen again," Press Secretary Ignacio Bunye said in a statement. 

He said the people must all celebrate Philippine democracy in its most vibrant moments and fight all attempts to undermine it. 

The Arroyo administration has been accused of tolerating the extra-judicial killings of leftists activists and journalists as the military and police intensified the anti-insurgency campaign. 

Militants also denounced Malacañang's enforcement of the calibrated preemptive response, which bans rallies without permits, to counter the mounting protest actions calling for the resignation of President Arroyo. "


Rice defends Bolante detention (Inquirer)

"US SECRETARY of State Condoleezza Rice and other high-ranking American officials have maintained that the detention of former Agriculture Undersecretary Jocelyn "Joc-joc" Bolante in the US is legal and asked a Wisconsin court to junk his petition for habeas corpus.

In a 12-page memorandum, Rice and her fellow respondents asked the US district court to dismiss Bolante's petition for "lack of jurisdiction." They questioned their inclusion in the suit and said Bolante should have impleaded only his immediate custodians -- like the warden of Kenosha county jail, where Bolante is currently detained."

SC allows Sabio to go home, stays arrest orders (Inquirer)

"THE SUPREME COURT yesterday ordered the suspension of the Senate inquiry into the misuse of funds of certain sequestered corporations, and effectively allowed detained Presidential Commission on Good Government Chair Camilo Sabio to go home.

Chief Justice Artemio Panganiban also suspended the arrest warrants issued by the Senate for four PCGG commissioners and five officials of Philcomsat Holdings Corp. (PHC), but imposed a gag order on the parties concerned pending the resolution of the cases questioning the warrants.

"None of the parties is allowed to talk. There is a gag rule on the matter. You can't interview parties, which will be a violation of the ruling with contempt," said Ismael Khan, public information chief of the high court.

The parties were instructed to submit their memoranda in 15 days, after which the tribunal is expected to issue a ruling in a month's time.

Earlier in the day, Senator Richard Gordon said Sabio was to be released regardless of how the Supreme Court ruled on the petition for a writ of habeas corpus filed by the PCGG in its chair's behalf."

Martial Law anniversary remembered with rallies (www.manilastandardtoday.com )

"THOUSANDS of left-wing activists marking the declaration of Martial Law 34 years ago converged in Metro Manila to denounce a wave of political killings under the administration of President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo. 

Some 6,000 protesters gathered at the Liwasang Bonifacio in Manila, where they burned the President in effigy and launched a noise barrage. 

Marchers from Central Luzon and Southern Tagalog, on the last leg of a four-day caravan, joined their comrades from Metro Manila for the rally. "

PCGG eyes settlement with Marcos widow (abs-cbnNEWS.com )


"The Presidential Commission on Good Government will pursue a settlement with the widow of the late strongman Ferdinand Marcos, as issues relating to the former president arose on the 34th anniversary of the declaration of martial law Thursday, ABS-CBN's Bandila reported.


"I will do what I believe is right. Malakas ang paniniwala ko na iyan ang tamang dapat gawin (I have a strong feelling that this is the right thing to do)," PCGG Commissioner Ricardo Abcede said. 


Abcede said he already had two meetings with Marcos' widow, Imelda. He said that PCGG has asked Mrs. Marcos to execute a special power of attorney to prevent her children from questioning the proposed settlement.


The PCGG commissioner did not elaborate on the proposal but said that Mrs. Marcos would have to declare the extent of the Marcos wealth in the Philippines and abroad.


Robert Sison, Mrs. Marcos's legal counsel, however, said the deal might be too late. He said that most of the Marcos cases in court are at the final hearing state."


Thailand bans political activities (www.manilastandardtoday.com)

"BANGKOK-Thailand's ruling generals banned all political activities yesterday and were set to impose tough new curbs on the media, including a ban on expressions of public opinion, as they tightened their grip on power two days after a bloodless coup. 

An army official said news and broadcast chiefs had been summoned for a meeting later in the day to spell out the new regulations demanded by the military leaders who ousted Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra. 

A statement read on national television said: "In order to maintain law and order, meetings of political parties and conducting of other political activities are banned. 

"Political gatherings of more than five people have already been banned, but political activities can resume when normalcy is restored," it said. 

The announcement came amid strong international criticism of General Sonthi Boonyaratglin, who insisted the coup had the backing of Thailand's revered king and that it would be one year before democracy could be restored. 

President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo yesterday urged the generals who ousted her friend and role model, Thaksin, to restore democracy and the rule of law in Thailand. "

Pinoy alcohol use on the rise (www.philstar.com)

"Many Filipino teenagers, like most youths in the Western Pacific region, are becoming habitual drinkers and are unaware of the harmful effects of alcohol abuse. 

Alcohol consumption among the youth is nearing an alarming level, the World Health Organization (WHO) reported yesterday, with as many as 75 percent of the youth in the region guzzling booze at an average of two to three times a week. 

In Pacific island countries like the Philippines, WHO noted that going on a drinking binge is a common practice. 

"Despite the fact that 45 percent to 75 percent of the young people in the Western Pacific region consume alcohol regularly, there is poor public awareness of the harmful effects of alcohol abuse," it said. 

To address this, WHO is calling on member countries to implement programs that can reduce youths' alcohol consumption by regulating the marketing of alcoholic beverages. 

Another major concern is that teens are starting to drink at an earlier age than before, WHO said. 

"The onset of drinking at earlier ages as well as binge or problem drinking among young people are of particular concern," WHO said. "

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