[Blueboard] Newsbriefs 7 September 2007 Afternoon

Simbahang Lingkod ng Bayan slb at admu.edu.ph
Fri Sep 7 16:25:49 PHT 2007

Newsbriefs 7 September 2007 Afternoon

Simbahang Lingkod ng Bayan



Estrada verdict out Sept. 12 -- Sandiganbayan (INQUIRER.net)

MANILA, Philippines - (UPDATE) The Sandiganbayan anti-graft court will issue its ruling on the plunder case against ex-president Joseph Estrada on September 12, according to an order by the special division that presided over the former leader's trial.

Presiding Justice Teresita Leonardo de Castro asked Philippine National Police Chief Oscar Calderon and Chief Superintendent Romeo Hilomen to bring Estrada before the court at 9 a.m. next Wednesday when the court would read its verdict.

"You are hereby notified that the [promulgation of decision] will be heard before the Special Division of this Court, Second floor, First Division Courtroom, Sandiganbayan on September 12 at 9 o'clock in the morning," De Castro said in the court order she had written.

The order was addressed to both defense and prosecution, as well as to the PNP.

Meanwhile, Ed Urieta, Sandiganbayan sheriff, said the justices of the Sandiganbayan Special Division - De Castro and Associate Justices Francisco Villaruz Jr. and Diosdado Peralta -- would be given additional security to ensure their safety.

"I have already requested the Philippine National Police [PNP] for additional escorts for our justices," Urieta said.

Arroyo 'aide' offered help if I shut up on 'Garci' row - Doble (www.gmanews.tv)

Former military intelligence agent Vidal Doble on Friday said that in June 2005, a certain "Medy" - supposedly a personal secretary of President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo - had offered to "help" him if he does not testify on the "Hello, Garci" wiretapping controversy. 

Doble, a former Air Force technical sergeant, told the three Senate committees investigating the "Hello, Garci" scandal that he met Medy in the quarters of then Armed Forces chief General Efren Abu in Camp Aguinaldo, Quezon City, where he was reunited with his wife and two children.

"My wife Arlene told me that Medy is a secretary of President Arroyo. Medy said that in case of any problem, we can approach her. She told Arlene she will help her if I don't testify," Doble said in Filipino.


SC asked to stop 'Garci' probe (Inquirer)

MANILA, Philippines -- Saying the issue would further divide the country, two retired appellate court justices Thursday asked the Supreme Court to stop the Senate's reopening of the "Hello Garci" controversy to probe President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo's alleged involvement in electoral fraud as purportedly shown by wiretapped phone conversations.

Retired Court of Appeals Justices Santiago Ranada and Oswaldo Agcaoili also told the high court the Senate's planned investigation, scheduled to open Friday, would be in violation of the Anti-Wiretapping Law, or Republic Act No. 4200, as well as the constitutional rights of those appearing before it.

They said that since the rules of procedure for the conduct of inquiries in aid of legislation had not yet been published, "any person who may testify in the investigation is deprived of his rights."

Ranada and Agcaoili filed the petition for a temporary restraining order on the Senate investigation, and for an eventual permanent injunction against it, as concerned citizens, taxpayers and members of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines.

"Petitioners are of the firm conviction [that] any attempt to use the so-called Garci tape will further divide the country," they said in their petition.

Neri drops bombshell: Abalos approached me for ZTE (abs-cbnNEWS.com)


Another official of the Arroyo administration has said that embattled Chairman Benjamin Abalos Sr. of the Commission on Elections has, in one way or another, lobbied for the approval of the government's $329-million national broadband network (NBN) deal with China's ZTE Corporation.


The report by ABS-CBN correspondent Ricky Carandang said Romulo Neri, former secretary general of the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA), was approached by Abalos. As NEDA chief, Neri reviews proposals for government projects before these are approved by the President.


Neri said Abalos talked to him about ZTE Corp., which is partly-owned by the Chinese government.


Neri said he opposed the deal. He, however, clarified that he was not against the NBN project.


Reports said Abalos tried to offer Neri with P200 million to change his mind, a claim that the COMELEC chief has denied.


To this, the former NEDA chief said, "As I said I'd rather not comment on that".


Sources told ABS-CBN that Neri informed Mrs. Arroyo about the bribe offer. She asked him to turn it down but insisted that the deal should be approved.


With regard to Abalos's denial, Neri said: "That's his recollection. I'd rather not comment." 

House defers barangay polls  (www.manilastandardtoday.com)

The House of Representatives has passed on second reading the bill resetting the barangay and youth council elections from Oct. 29 this year to the second Monday of October 2009. 

But Senator Richard Gordon, chairman of the committee on electoral reforms, said yesterday the bill could be considered dead on the water once it is forwarded to the Senate. 

Most senators, like the Palace, are not so keen on postponing the barangay and youth elections, which are long overdue, according to Gordon. 

Makati City Rep. Teddyboy Locsin, chairman of the House committee on electoral reforms, led the defense of the bill. He said that holding the elections next month would only delay infrastructure projects whose timetable was set back by the May elections. 

The law bans public works during the 45-day campaign period. 

Dive sites luring more European tourists to RP (www.philstar.com) 

CEBU CITY - Europeans are flocking to the Philippines for scuba diving.

The number of European tourists in the Philippines jumped by 13.6 percent in the first half of the year as the Department of Tourism began promoting the country as the world's best diving site.

Speaking to reporters, Tourism Secretary Joseph Ace Durano said scuba diving is emerging to be the magnet for high-spending travelers who look for world-class diving facilities.

"Scuba diving is one product we are very competitive in," he said. 

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