[Blueboard] Newsbriefs 25 May 2007 Afternoon

Simbahang Lingkod ng Bayan slb at admu.edu.ph
Fri May 25 14:36:47 PHT 2007

Newsbriefs 25 May 2007 Afternoon

Simbahang Lingkod ng Bayan



Soldiers to guard Lanao del Sur polls (Inquirer)

MARAWI CITY -- Thousands of soldiers will take the "lead role" in providing security for the special elections to be held Saturday in at least 13 towns in Lanao del Sur province, according to Election Commissioner Rene Sarmiento.

Speaking at a command conference Thursday afternoon, Sarmiento said "the Armed Forces of the Philippines will play the lead role, supported by the Philippine National Police, to ensure the smooth operations of the elections."

Asked why, he said the move was intended "to avoid partisanship and bias." He cited "reports from the field that some police officers are related to some candidates by affinity and consanguinity."

Two retired generals -- Arturo Lomibao, a former PNP chief, and the controversial Jovito Palparan -- are personally monitoring the security preparations for the special elections.

In an agreement signed last October by then Defense Secretary Avelino Cruz and Comelec Chair Benjamin Abalos Jr., the Department of National Defense and the poll body reached a consensus on the military's role and functions in the midterm elections and in all other polls including special elections, plebiscites, etc.

The Comelec and DND agreed that the poll body should only deputize actual military units or commands in areas affected by "serious armed threats" to the electoral process, "as jointly identified by the Comelec and the DND-AFP."

Chief Supt. Joel Goltiao, Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao police director, said PNP members would "stay in the towns to perform normal law-enforcement functions."

Election-related orders will come from the military leadership, Army Col. Ronnie Javier told the Philippine Daily Inquirer, parent company of INQUIRER.net.

COMELEC: Winners will have to wait (abs-cbnNEWS.com)


The Commission on Elections said Thursday that it will postpone the partial proclamation of winning senatorial candidates Saturday.


On Wednesday the COMELEC announced it will be able to proclaim nine of the 12 winners in the senatorial race over the weekend. The commission had given itself until Friday to finish its tally at the Philippine International Convention Center in Pasay City.


Thursday's announcement followed a complaint from election lawyer Romulo Macalintal of the administration-backed Team Unity. He said the COMELEC has no right to partially proclaim winning candidates until all the votes are canvassed.


"Maari lang magawa 'yan kung ang [certificates of canvass] na hindi din dumarating ay hindi na darating. In other words hindi mo na makikita kailanman (A partial proclamation of winning candidates can only be done if the certificates of canvass that have failed to arrive will no longer arrive)," Macalintal said.


Namfrel to stay in La Salle after May 26 (INQUIRER.net)

MANILA, Philippines -- The National Movement for Free Elections (Namfrel) will extend its operations in the La Salle Green Hills campus after May 26 in anticipation of the special elections on that day.

The Commission on Elections announced earlier that special elections will be held in at least 13 towns in Lanao del Sur province, where a failure of elections was indicated.

However, Namfrel will move its equipment to a different area in the campus. It has been using the third floor of the school's gym and it will be moved to a smaller area.

Namfrel secretary general Eric Alvia said that the school's administration allowed an extension for another week from Saturday.

Alvia also said they hope to finish 82 percent of their quick count by Saturday midnight.

"We're still receiving election returns from some areas, including Metro Manila," Alvia said.

Corruption hindering justice in RP - Transparency Int'l (www.philstar.com) 

WASHINGTON - Corruption is undermining justice in many parts of the world, including the Philippines, denying victims and the accused the basic right to a fair and speedy trial, Transparency International (TI) said in its Global Corruption Report 2007.

It said in the Philippines on average, it takes five to six years to resolve an ordinary case in a trial court. If it goes to appeal, a further six years could elapse before a final verdict is received.

The report, which includes 37 country case studies, was released on Thursday following press conferences in Washington, London and Nairobi.

TI, a global coalition against corruption, said it chose to focus on the judiciary this year because judicial corruption blocks access to justice, hampers economic development, erodes human rights and undermines trust in the institutions of justice.

The report brings together notable scholars, judges and civil society activists from around the world to examine how corruption mars judicial processes and what reforms can be made to help remedy a corruption-tainted system.

The chapter on the Philippines, written by Judge Dolores Español, said severe hindrances to the smooth delivery of justice in the country included political interference, lack of transparency in the judiciary, backlog of cases, lack of monitoring and inadequate salaries and facilities.

Español said that while no formal study has been made on corruption in the judiciary, the public perception is that corruption does exist.

ADB: RP needs more rapid poverty reduction (www.philstar.com) 

The Philippine government needs to boost economic output growth to at least seven percent if it is to make an impact on the country's sprawling poverty, the Asian Development Bank (ADB) said yesterday.

The lender's country director Tom Crouch said the Philippines had an "atmosphere of greater promise than we have seen for a while" with the peso at seven-year highs against the dollar, stock prices at record high levels, and US firm Texas Instruments having just announced a billion-dollar investment.

Crouch credited President Arroyo's "prudent management of the economy," particularly the passage of key tax reforms that led to a "fiscal consolidation success story" for the renewed investor interest in Manila, long a laggard in Asia in terms of foreign direct investment flows.

"The size of the fiscal deficit is the principal proxy for what investors see as the Philippines' willingness, capacity, commitment to economic reforms, sound economic management, and moves to address long-standing issues like governance, investment climate, and poverty," Crouch said.

Health ignores hospitals' holiday threat (www.manilastandardtoday.com)

The Department of Health yesterday said there is no cause for alarm on the threat of a few private hospitals to declare a holiday today in protest of the passage of Republic Act 9439 or the Hospital Detention Law. 

Health Secretary Francisco Duque said that all government health facilities are prepared for any contingency and that most hospitals have decided against joining the "holiday." 

Under the planned hospital holiday, private hospitals will attend only to emergency cases, and those seeking simple consultations will be turned away. 

Duque considers the plan of members of the Private Hospitals Association of the Philippines as premature because the rules and regulations to implement RA 9439 have not been drafted. 

He said the implementing rules and regulations will be subject to public consultation and scrutiny before these are enforced. 

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