[Blueboard] Newsbriefs 23 April 2007 Afternoon

Simbahang Lingkod ng Bayan slb at admu.edu.ph
Mon Apr 23 18:03:18 PHT 2007

Newsbriefs 23 April 2007 Afternoon

Simbahang Lingkod ng Bayan



SC asked to order COMELEC to reveal party-list nominees (abs cbnNEWS.com) 


Akbayan Rep. Loretta Ann Rosales and former senator Jovito Salonga asked the Supreme Court Monday morning to compel the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) to release the names of party-list nominees in the May 14 party-list system of elections, ABS-CBN News reported.


Rosales and Salonga of Kilos Bayan said they filed the petition for certiorari and mandamus before the high court because of the poll body's refusal to release the names of party-list nominees violates the voters' rights to be informed of who they're voting for.


The two were particularly referring to COMELEC Resolution No. 07-0724 that prohibits the release of names of party-list nominees. 


Commissioner Resurreccion Borra had announced the COMELEC ban on disclosing the names of party-list nominees. He said party-list groups that will be found violating the ban will be disqualified from the May 14 mid-term elections.


The warning came after Rosales revealed that brother of the poll body's chairman Dr. Arsenio Abalos was the number one nominee of Biyaheng Pinoy, which was tagged by the lawmaker as one of the "front groups" of the administration.


Aside from Biyaheng Pinoy, Rosales said other groups with links to Malacañang are women's group Babae Ka, Kasangga, which has alleged links to Malacañang's Office of External Affairs; Akbay Pinoy, a member of the Malacañang-backed Sigaw ng Bayan People's Initiative Group; Aksyon Sambayanan, allegedly a project of National Security Adviser Norberto Gonzales; Agbiag! (Agbiag! Timpuyog Ilocano Inc.), whose secretary general is Marcelo Farinas II, former assistant secretary in the palace's Office of External Affairs; Ahon Pinoy, headed by Dante Ang II, the son of Dante Ang who heads the Commission on Filipino Overseas; and Aangat Tayo, headed by Executive Teddie Elson Rivera of the Philippine International Trading Corp.


On Friday, left-leaning party-list groups revealed an alleged document that proves that Malacañang is funding party-list groups running for seats in the House of Representatives in the May mid-term elections.


Areas assigned to poll officials (The Manila Bulletin)


Commission on Elections (Comelec) Chairman Benjamin S. Abalos Sr. and its five commissioners have been assigned the regions or areas to supervise before, during, and after the elections to ensure fast and decisive action on problems that may crop up anywhere in the country that could disrupt peaceful, orderly, and credible conduct of the May 14 mid-term polls. 


But Abalos, along with Commissioners Resurreccion Z. Borra, Florentino A. Tuason Jr., Romeo A. Brawner, Rene V. Sarmiento, and Nicodemo T. Ferrer will all be in the Comelec main office in Intramuros, Manila, on Election Day itself so they can promptly meet en banc in case grave problems arise such as the need to postpone the elections in critical areas or hot spots.


Every commissioner, including the chairman, is clothed with ample powers to act on problems in his area of assignment. In certain cases, however, the action of the commissioner or the chairman needs to be affirmed by the Comelec en banc.


In a resolution, the Comelec en banc assigned to Abalos to supervise before, during, and after the elections the National Capital Region (NCR), Region 2 (Cagayan Valley), Region 3 (Central Luzon), and the Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR).


Borra is assigned to Region 6 (Western Visayas), composed of Aklan, Antique, Capiz, Guimaras, Iloilo, and Negros Occidental, and Region 7 (Central Visayas) composed of Bohol, Cebu, Negros Oriental, and Siquijor.


Tuason is in charge of Overseas Absentee Voting and has also been assigned to Region 4 (Southern Tagalog) composed of Batangas, Cavite, Laguna, Marinduque, Occ. Mindoro, Or. Mindoro, Palawan, Quezon, Rizal, and Romblon, and to Region 5 (Bicol) composed of Albay, Camarines Norte, Camarines Sur, Catanduanes, Masbate, and Sorsogon.


Brawner was assigned to Region 1 (Ilocos) composed of Ilocos Norte, Ilocos Sur, La Union, and Pangasinan, and to Region 11 (Northern Mindanao) which is made up of Campostela Valley, Davao del Norte, Davao Oriental, and Davao del Sur. He is also assigned to Region 12 (Central Mindanao) composed of North Cotabato, Saranggani, South Cotabato, and SultanKudarat.


Assigned to Region 9 (Western Mindanao) and the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) is Sarmiento. Western Mindanao has the provinces of Zamboanga del Norte, Zamboanga Sibugay, and Zamboanga del Sur, while ARMM is composed of Basilan, Lanao del Sur, Maguindanao, Sulu, and Tawi-Tawi.


Ferrer is in charge of Region 8 (Eastern Visayas), Region 10 (Southern Mindanao), and Caraga. Eastern Visayas is composed of Biliran, Leyte, Southern Leyte, Samar, Eastern Samar, and Northern Samar, while Southern Mindanao is composed of Bukidnon, Camiguin, Lanao del Norte, and Misamis Occidental.


Palace: TU ticket to remain intact (The Philippine Star)


Malacañang declared Sunday that the administration's senatorial ticket will "remain intact" and win in the May 14 elections.


Denying a report that a "weak" Team Unity (TU) candidate would be eased out, Presidential Adviser for Political 

Affairs Gabriel Claudio said Team Unity had nothing to do with the release on bail of former senator Gregorio 

Honasan, calling it "a purely judicial development."


"Ex-senator Honasan will just have to continue running as an independent or be taken in by the opposition. Team Unity 

was fielded not only as a ticket but as a team, and espousing unity for national stability and progress. Team Unity candidates care for each other. They campaign for one another." 


Claudio said the administration ticket enjoys strong support from the public because of unity and camaraderie among its members. 


"A vast number of local government units and local candidates and constituents are rooting for them because, unlike 

the fragmented opposition. (TU) has gained tremendous momentum going into the homestretch of the campaign," Claudio said. 


However, sources told The STAR Honasan's release was "part of a greater deal" for the former coup plotter not to launch any more uprisings against the administration. 


"Now that there are reports that he is going to Team Unity, there is more basis to believe that the decision to allow him temporary" freedom was part of a package, a source said. 


Manila's Q1 deficit puts budget goal in question (Inquirer.net)


MANILA, Philippines -- The Philippines missed its budget deficit goal in the first quarter after tax collections failed to keep pace with spending increases, casting doubt over the government's ability to meet its full-year shortfall target.


The government clocked a budget deficit of P52 billion ($1.09 billion) in the first three months of 2007, 14 percent higher than expected, and representing over 80 percent of the total planned deficit for the year, data on Monday showed.


Finance Secretary Margarito Teves insisted the government, which has made reversing the country's slack finances its economic cornerstone, would still meet its budget deficit target of P63 billion for the full year.


The peso dipped to 47.56 to the dollar against Friday's close of 47.51 following the news.


"We remain concerned that the ability of the government to raise revenues and its target to balance the budget by 2008 remain questionable," said Frederic Neumann, an economist at HSBC.By 0435 GMT, the currency, which hit six-year highs last week, was quoted at P47.53 Yields on benchmark three-month paper were quoted at 4.4625 percent compared with Friday's close of 4.4514 percent.


But the stock market shrugged off the disappointment, reversing a three-day losing streak to finish up 1.97 percent at 3,319.01 points, led by gains in telecom groups PLDT and Globe Telecom


MERALCO customers get 56¢/kwh refund (The Philippine Star) 


The Manila Electric Co. (MERALCO) is set to refund 56 centavos per kilowatt-hour (kWh) next month to consumers after it implemented a generation charge adjustment for November and December 2006. 


MERALCO head for utility economics Ivanna de la Peña said the refund stemmed from the "mistake" in the collection scheme based on the provisional authority granted by the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC). 


The ERC had found a "technical slip" on its part that prompted MERALCO to submit a proposal on how to refund the "mistake in collection." 


The 56-centavo increase was included in the bills of MERALCO customers under the category "other charges." 


The total amount of adjustments were calculated to represent November 2006 generation charge adjustment; December 2006 generation charge adjustment; November 2006 system loss charge adjustment; December 2006 system loss charge adjustment plus applicable value added taxes. 


Dela Peña, however, clarified the amount of refund would depend on the consumption of the customers during the period. 


The provisional authority given to MERALCO by ERC to collect the 56 centavos pekWh was an offshoot of the increase in generation costs brought about by the spikes in Wholesale Electricity Spot Market (WESM) during these periods. 


With the "mistake," the MERALCO bill indicated in its April 2007 billing that the generation charges would be brought down to P4.42 per kWh.


Cops still unsure of Campbell killer (abs-cbnnews.com)


Police are not yet certain who attacked and killed US Peace Corps volunteer Julia Campbell whose body was found in a shallow grave in Banaue town in Ifugao province last week.


This development came despite the police disclosure of a suspect's name on Sunday. Police said identified the suspect as Juan Dontugan, 25, a woodcarver from Ifugao and described as 5'7" tall, fair complexioned and strong.


Chief Superintendent Raul Gonzales, Cordillera Administrative Region police director, said they are still waiting for the complete results of Philippine National Police-Crime Laboratory examinations. 


Items examined include those recovered by personnel of the Scene of the Crime Office operatives near the grave in Barangay Batad where Campbell's body was exhumed Wednesday.


"We are looking further and still waiting for the result of autopsy and the items recovered. If the [samples from the evidence] match [Campbell's] DNA. We can say that we have a suspect," Gonzales told ANC.


Gonzales was referring to the blood-stained wood found near the house of the suspect. Police suspect that the blood stain was Campbell's and that the piece of lumber was used to bludgeon the volunteer.


He also said that a camera was recovered from the bushes near the grave site. Gonzales said he had asked the Crime Laboratory to try to develop the films recovered from the camera.


Cops to undergo training on anti-terror law (The Philippine Star)


With the anti-terror law due to go into effect in two months, Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Director General Oscar Calderon ordered the extensive training and education of police officers on the implementation of the new law, which is also known as The Human Security Act of 2007. 


Calderon directed the PNP Legal Service to tie up with the University of the Philippines (UP) Law Center for the extensive workshop training for PNP members. 


"We don't want our personnel to implement the new law like a blind men. This training will help the public of the 

PNP's full capability, resolve and sincerity in enforcing the new law fairly and fearlessly," he said. 


The UP Law Center had been very active in providing the PNP with continuing education and trainings on subjects related to law enforcement, human rights and the Omnibus Election Code, particularly those provisions and legal percepts, that will help clearly establish the PNP roles in implementing public security operations during election period. 


"It is prudent as well as important for the PNP, as the premier enforcement agency and implementing arm of the anti-terrorism law, to be knowledgeable of the new legislation to prevent misrepresentations that may lead to abuses and curtailment of the people's civil and human rights," Calderon said. 


Calderon pointed out that those errors may also prove costly to police officers who will be made to pay victims of erroneous arrest. 


Calderon said the training also aims to address the apprehension of some sectors that the government could use the anti-terror law as an instrument for political repression and oppression. 



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