[Blueboard] Newsbriefs 24 May 2007 Morning

Simbahang Lingkod ng Bayan slb at admu.edu.ph
Thu May 24 10:14:01 PHT 2007

Newsbriefs 24 May 2007 Morning

Simbahang Lingkod ng Bayan



Poll body set to proclaim 9 new senators (Inquirer)

MANILA, Philippines -- The Commission on Elections is gearing up to proclaim the top nine winners of the senatorial race on Saturday.

Comelec Chair Benjamin Abalos Wednesday told reporters the poll body could proceed with the proclamation of the top nine winners if the remaining votes to be canvassed would no longer affect the results.

Special elections in 13 towns in Lanao del Sur province are scheduled for Saturday, affecting about 100,000 votes.

The Comelec, acting as the National Board of Canvassers (NBC), has yet to read 28 certificates of canvass (CoCs), more than half of which are from provinces in Mindanao.

It was still 8-2-2 in favor of the Genuine Opposition (GO) as of Wednesday afternoon after the Comelec canvassed CoCs from six provinces and one city in Metro Manila.

That brought the total number of canvassed local CoCs to 66 provinces and nine cities in Metro Manila, or almost 73 percent of the 103 local CoCs.

The Comelec has completed the canvassing of all the 154 CoCs for the overseas and local absentee voting.

Mindanao poll fraud detailed (Mindanao )Bureau, Inquirer, Visayas Bureau

MANILA, Philippines -- Poll watchdogs Wednesday gave detailed accounts of massive vote-buying, flagrant cheating and intimidation -- including death threats to a foreign observer -- in Mindanao during the May 14 elections.

The price of a vote ranged from P1,000 to P7,000 in some areas in Lanao del Sur province, according to the watchdogs' accounts.

"Not even the Manila city jail can accommodate all the corrupt people in our area," lawyer Nasser A. Marohomsalic, a member of the executive committee of the legal group Lente, told reporters.

Ranking officers of the Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting (PPCRV), National Citizens' Movement for Free Elections (Namfrel), Legal Network for Truthful Elections (Lente) and Citizens' Action for Responsible Elections (C-CARE) took turns detailing how rampant cheating took place in Lanao del Sur.

The officers submitted their report to the Commission on Elections (Comelec).

The Comelec has ordered special elections in at least 13 towns in the province, where voting could not be held because of the presence of armed goons.

Marohomsalic said one supporter of a candidate in Ramain-Ditsaan town even had the audacity to offer P300 to a foreign observer, an Indonesian female he identified only as Marini.

Marohomsalic surmised that the person mistook Marini for a Filipino given her Malay features.

"Most buyers were inside the polling precincts coaching voters. Witnesses included local and foreign observers," the watchdogs said in a statement.

Palace defends Team Unity's Maguindanao sweep (Inquirer)

MANILA, Philippines -- Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita defended the 12-0 victory of Team Unity in Maguindanao, saying there were no opposition officials there to campaign for the Genuine Opposition.

In his weekly press conference, Ermita welcomed the investigation of the Commission on Elections on reports of election manipulation in Maguindanao. He also called on the teacher, who claimed to have been forced at gunpoint to tamper with the results, to come out in the open.

Ermita also protested why Maguindanao was being "singled out" when TU had swept the elections in at least eight other provinces.

"How can you fault the people in that area if the other party has no machinery and, in fact, do not have any candidate for mayor and is under the control of the (administration) alliance," he said, quoting the explanation given to him by Maguindanao Rep. Simeon Datumanong.

Ermita noted that there were no opposition candidates or watchers in the province.

GO candidates did not even bother to campaign in Maguindanao. "If you do not go there, if you are not seen there, chances are they might forget to vote for you," Ermita said.

Sigaw resurrects signature campaign (www.philstar.com)

Sigaw ng Bayan, the main proponent of the failed people's initiative to amend the 1987 Constitution, will launch a new wave of signature gathering for a shift to a unicameral parliamentary system of government.

The signature drive will start in July as soon as the new set of local officials assumes office, Charter change advocate Raul Lambino said yesterday.

Newly elected city mayors and governors are expected to support the signature drive, Lambino said, citing the assurance given by League of Municipalities of the Philippines (LMP) president Ramon Guico, who won in his re-election bid for mayor in Binalonan, Pangasinan.

"We will campaign for the complete overhaul of the electoral system and go back to a more accountable political system," Lambino told The STAR.

The new petition will call for the abolition of Malacañang and Congress and will pave for a new unicameral parliamentary system that will be composed of district, regional and party-list representation all over the country, said Lambino, who organized the party-list Banat or Barangay Association for National Advancement of Transparency that ran in the May 14 elections. As of 7:00 last night, Banat has yet to break into the top 20 of the party-list elections, according to the official partial tally of the Commission on Elections.

To avoid the same mistake in the failed initiative last year, Lambino said they will comply with the all legal steps as provided for in the Supreme Court ruling on the manner the signature campaign would be carried out.

"We want no more legal obstacles," he stressed.

GMA okays P2-trillion investment priority plan (www.manilastandardtoday.com)

PRESIDENT Gloria Macapagal Arroyo and the National Economic and Development Authority yesterday approved the Investment Priorities Plan listing business areas to be given state incentives, and the revised list of priority infrastructure projects under the Medium Term Public Investment Plan. 

Cabinet Secretary Ricardo Saludo said the priority projects amounting to P2.01 trillion have been budgeted in the revised investment plan. 

Presiding over a meeting of the Neda board, the President expressed confidence that the projects listed in the plan will be funded by the government in partnership with the private sector. 

She also re-affirmed the government's goal of achieving a balanced budget by next year despite doubts expressed by some international credit rating agencies. She has ordered the Bureau of Internal Revenue and Bureau of Customs to implement this year the Lateral Attrition Law which provides for a system of rewards and punishment for tax officials who will meet or fall short of collection targets. 

"The major legacies of our administration shall be a balanced budget and infrastructure," the President told the Neda board. "In this way, we shall set the nation on course to achieve first-world status by 2020." 

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