[Blueboard] Newsbriefs 28 August 2007 Afternoon

Simbahang Lingkod ng Bayan slb at admu.edu.ph
Tue Aug 28 19:11:00 PHT 2007

Newsbriefs 28 August 2007 Afternoon

Simbahang Lingkod ng Bayan



(UPDATE) 'Hello Garci' sent to Senate committee of whole (INQUIRER.net)

MANILA, Philippines -- The Senate committee on rules has voted to let the committee of the whole hear the wiretapping issue linking President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and a former election official to cheating in the May 2004 polls.

Those who voted in favor of referring the privileged speech of Senators Panfilo Lacson and Richard Gordon to the "mirror of the plenary" were Senate Majority Floor Leader Francis Pangilinan, Senate Minority Floor Leader Aquilino Pimentel Jr., and Senators Lacson, Francis Escudero, and Manuel Roxas II.

Those who voted against were Senators Joker Arroyo and Juan Ponce-Enrile.

In his privilege speech two weeks ago, Lacson presented a videotaped testimony of Technical Sergeant Vidal Doble of the Intelligence Service of the Armed Forces of the Philippines who claimed that he and several agents had wiretapped the President who was then talking to Virgilio Garcillano over alleged plans to rig the presidential elections in 2004. Doble also said that he had the master tape as evidence.

Doble's statement contrasted with one he made in 2005 when he first admitted to the wiretapped recordings and then recanted but claiming later that he did so because he and his family's lives had been threatened.

The wiretapping controversy, which came to be known as the "Hello Garci" scandal, had been investigated by the Senate, but which eventually dismissed the case for lack of merit.

Rules panel tosses 'Hello, Garci' probe to committee of whole (abs-cbnNEWS.com)


The Senate Committee on Rules on Tuesday voted that the committee of the whole has jurisdiction over the reopening of the "Hello, Garci" investigation, radio DZMM reported. 


By a 6-2 vote, the committee members tossed the issue on whether to reinvestigate the controversy to the committee of the whole. 


"If there is a question about the jurisdiction of a committee, in this case it is the committee of the whole and not the rules committee that will decide," Sen. Francis Pangilinan said.  


Pangilinan said the committee of the whole will now discuss the issues raised by pro-administration Senators Richard Gordon, Juan Ponce Enrile, Miriam Defensor Santiago and Joker Arroyo over the revival of the probe.

Pro-administration senators mull SC option in 'Garci' case (INQUIRER.net)

MANILA, Philippines -- If the Senate will vote to use the wiretapped recordings linking President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo to cheating in May 2004 in a public hearing, the nine administration senators will as a "last option" seek a temporary restraining order from the Supreme Court, Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago said Tuesday.

Santiago, who will deliver a privileged speech later, also appealed to her colleagues to simply exclude the tapes, and instead focus their investigation on the alleged illegal wiretap operations of the Intelligence Service of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, or the Philippine National Police, against public officials.

"It is a crime to wiretap, and it is a crime to use a wiretap, by talking about its contents," she said.

Aside from Santiago, the eight other administration senators are Senators Edgardo Angara, Joker Arroyo, Juan Ponce-Enrile, Richard Gordon, Gregorio Honasan, Manuel Lapid, Ramon Revilla Jr., and Miguel Zubiri.

Citing the Constitution's Bill of Rights on privacy of communication, Santiago said the Constitution provided that an illegal wiretap was "inadmissible for any purpose in any proceeding."

"This absolute constitutional language creates an invincible legal fortress against spies and eavesdroppers," she said.

131 solons sign bill vs enforced, involuntary disappearances (INQUIRER.net)

MANILA, Philippines -- Crossing party lines, 131 members of the House of Representatives have signed a bill seeking to penalize enforced and involuntary disappearances in the country.

House Bill 2263 known as "An act defining and penalizing the crime of enforced or involuntary disappearance" was filed Tuesday by the progressive bloc composed of Bayan Muna Representatives Satur Ocampo and Teodoro Casiño, Gabriela Women's Partylist Representative Liza Maza and Luzviminda Ilagan, and Anakpawis Representative Crispin Beltran.

Ocampo and Casiño described as "unprecedented" and "historic" the number of legislators, including the five deputy speakers, the Majority and Minority leaders and their deputies, who had affixed their signatures on the bill.

"This is historic. That's already a majority of the House. So I hope we could pass this bill within the next six months," Casiño said at a joint press conference Tuesday.

'P5b not enough to modernize the military' (www.manilastandardtoday.com)

SENATE President Manuel Villar yesterday called for the modernization of the Armed Forces, saying that the Filipino soldiers should not be sent to battle ill-equipped. 

Villar noted that the P5 billion annual allocation for Armed Forces modernization is simply not enough. 

Villar proposed the diversion of part of savings from the debt service, which so far has reached P20 billion on the back of a strong peso, to the upgrading of the military's weapons and equipment. 

Senator Gregorio Honasan, for his part, endorsed the government's move to earmark at least P38.2 billion in the proposed 2008 national budget for the bonuses, including the unpaid allowances, of retired soldiers and policemen as well as firemen and jail guards. 

"Even in the absence of internal conflict and terror threats, the country should maintain "respectable air and naval assets" to deter poachers from plundering the country's rich fishing grounds," Villar said. 

Government to spend P700 M on tech-voc scholarships (www.philstar.com)

The Commission on Higher Education (CHED) and the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) will spend P700 million for scholarships this year to encourage enrollment in technical-vocational courses in state colleges and universities.

The P700-million budget would cover scholarships for one semester. Each grant is equivalent to P5,000.

TESDA is also offering scholarships in call center training programs worth P7,000 each.

Dr. Nona Ricafort, CHED commissioner and TESDA board director, said that with the implementation of ladderized education in 80 percent of 111 state colleges and universities, CHED and TESDA can aggressively steer high school graduates, out-of-school youths and unemployed college graduates to earn technical-vocational skills to improve their chances of getting employment in the local job market.

Ricafort said that the current strategy adopted by the two agencies in awarding scholarships involves the issuance of one-semester scholarships to schools with ladderized programs that will enable a scholar to get a job after finishing one semester and earning a vocational certificate.

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