[Blueboard] Newsbriefs 25 September 2007 Morning

Simbahang Lingkod ng Bayan slb at admu.edu.ph
Tue Sep 25 10:42:13 PHT 2007

Newsbriefs 25 September 2007 Morning

Simbahang Lingkod ng Bayan



Arroyo instructs Neri to stay, testify on NBN deal with ZTE (www.gmanews.tv)

(Update 3, 11:58 p.m.) President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo has instructed Romulo Neri, chairman of the Commission on Higher Education, to stay behind and attend Wednesday's Senate hearing on the controversial National Broadband Network (NBN) project awarded to China's Zhong Xing Telecommunications Equipment (ZTE) Corp. for $329.4 million. 

Neri was supposed to accompany President Arroyo to New York Tuesday night to attend a United Nations assembly. But a text message sent to reporters by Press Secretary Ignacio Bunye at 6:45 p.m. said "ES (Executive Secretary) Eduardo Ermita advised Sec. Neri of PGMA's (President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo's) instruction to stay behind and attend the Senate hearing." 


Neri to testify at Senate Wednesday (Inquirer)

MANILA, Philippines -- Malacañang on Monday hemmed and hawed before deciding to allow Romulo Neri to attend the Senate hearing on the controversial $329-million contract for the National Broadband Network (NBN) project awarded to China's ZTE Corp.

The Palace decision came after the Senate threatened to subpoena Neri, the director general of the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) when the NBN project was approved. NEDA reviews proposed government projects.

"If Neri allows himself to be silenced by the President, he can't blame anyone but himself if he is called a wimp without intestinal fortitude to help the Senate get at the truth in the ZTE deal. He should be condemned and burned at the stake," Sen. Aquilino Pimentel Jr. said.

Gov't places more China deals on hold (Inquirer)

MANILA, Philippines -- The Department of Agriculture is putting on the back burner plans to allow China use of 1.24 million hectares of Philippine agricultural land.

"This suspension is a unique case and has nothing to do with the ZTE and Cyber Education contracts. I just want more time for consultations with all stakeholders," Agriculture Secretary Arthur Yap said in a phone interview Monday.

Puno: Estrada could get to keep P1B of ill-gotten assets (Inquirer)

AN ABSOLUTE pardon means the government will no longer confiscate P1 billion in ill-gained assets that deposed President Joseph Estrada had allegedly acquired and that the Sandiganbayan wants forfeited in favor of the state.

This was how Interior Secretary Ronaldo Puno interpreted the proposed unconditional pardon that he and Estrada are expected to discuss when they meet over lunch Tuesday at the latter's rest house in Tanay, Rizal.

The alleged ill-gotten assets would include the notorious "Boracay Mansion" in Quezon City.

The Tanay meeting between Estrada and his own former interior secretary is taking place amid sharp opposition from some legal luminaries, who said an unconditional pardon would be blow to the justice system.

Tribunal readies approval of human rights remedy (www.manilastandardtoday.com)

AS PART of its campaign to stop the summary killing of political activists and journalists, the Supreme Court will approve tomorrow the draft rules governing the issuance of the so-called writ of amparo, a new, tougher legal remedy that will be made available to people whose rights to life, liberty and security are being threatened. 

Chief Justice Reynato Puno said that the tribunal's Committee on the Revision of the Rules of Court had already finished drafting the implementing rules to govern the issuance of the writ of amparo. The draft rules will be submitted to the full court during its regular session tomorrow. 

The writ of amparo, a legal remedy first developed in Mexico and other parts of Latin America, is similar to a writ of habeas corpus on a broader scale. The local rule is intended to cover so-called "extra-legal killings" and forced disappearances, or even threats thereof. 

Puno explained that the writ of amparo prevents authorities from using the defense of simple denial when they are sued to produce, before the courts, the victims of involuntary disappearances. Unlike the writ of habeas corpus, a general denial of allegations will no longer be allowed under the writ of amparo. 

GMA approval rating lowest this year; FG nets negative trust - SWS (www.philstar.com) 

More Filipinos are still not satisfied with President Arroyo, as shown in the latest survey of the Social Weather Stations (SWS) that gave her a net satisfaction rating of -11, the lowest so far this year.

The Third Quarter of 2007 Social Weather Survey showed 34 percent of respondents satisfied and 45 percent dissatisfied with the President's performance.

The survey was conducted from Sept. 2 to 5, using personal interviews with 1,200 adults divided into random samples of 300 each in Metro Manila, the balance of Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao. The SWS said the survey result was lower than Mrs. Arroyo's -4 rating in February and -3 rating in June this year.

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