[Blueboard] Newsbriefs 21 February 2008 Afternoon

Simbahang Lingkod ng Bayan slb at admu.edu.ph
Thu Feb 21 18:37:56 PHT 2008

Newsbriefs 21 February 2008 Afternoon

Simbahang Lingkod ng Bayan



'YouTube video proves govt eavesdropping' (abs-cbnNEWS.com)


Senate witnesses Rodolfo Noel "Jun" Lozada Jr. and businessman Jose "Joey" de Venecia III on Thursday said a YouTube video of their alleged phone conversation proves that the government is illegally tapping phone calls of private citizens. 


"The conversation I was supposed to have made with Jun Lozada and posted in YouTube shows people like you and me can be bugged, harassed and threatened by this government," de Venecia III said in a statement. 


'Malicious fabrication' by De Venecia III, Lozada (INQUIRER.net)

MANILA, Philippines -- Resigned Commission on Election chairman Benjamin Abalos Sr. denied wiretapping Rodolfo Noel Lozada Jr. and Jose de Venecia III, the key witnesses in the Senate inquiry into the scandal-tainted national broadband network (NBN) deal.

At the same time, Abalos' lawyer, Salvador Panelo, called a video uploaded on Youtube of a purported wiretapped phone conversation between De Venecia III and Lozada a "malicious fabrication" by the two that was produced only very recently and intended to back up their claims that the former Comelec head had demanded a $130-million commission from the NBN contract.

Neri, Lozada to appear before DoJ panel Friday (INQUIRER.net)

MANILA, Philippines -- Two key witnesses on the national broadband network scandal will appear before the investigating panel of the Department of Justice Friday to shed light on the scrapped $329 million contract with a Chinese firm, a DoJ official said Thursday.

Rodolfo Noel Lozada Jr., a consultant for the NBN agreement forged by the government with ZTE Corp., and former socio-economic planning secretary Romulo Neri confirmed their attendance, said Justice undersecretary Ernesto Pineda.

Lozada will arrive Friday morning while Neri will be present in the afternoon of the same day to answer questions from the panel, said Pineda, its chairman.

Neri asks for 'one year of social peace' (abs-cbnNEWS.com)


Chairman Romulo Neri of the Commission on Higher Education on Thursday called for a stop to the politics of hate and the declaration of a one-year cease-fire in the current political squabbles. 


"I urge for our political leaders to declare a one year of social peace so we can focus on real solution to our country's deeply rooted problems," Neri said while reading a prepared statement to the media.


House panel wants probe on pork barrel funds (abs-cbnNEWS.com)


The House of Representatives' "Reform Committee" said it will look into how lawmakers spend their "pork barrel" funds amid allegations that the leadership of former speaker Jose de Venecia may have misappropriated money meant for projects.


The committee proposed that congressmen submit a liquidation of their pork barrel funds to account where and how the money was used.


Palawan Rep. Abraham Mitra said the pork barrel funds paint a bad image of Congress because there is no clear record how lawmakers use the money. Mitra is a member of the committee


"What gives Congress a bad image is the pork barrel. The suspicion is that it's like a blank check, and we're sick and tired of this image. We want to change it," said Mitra.


Generics provision stalls cheaper medicines bill OK--Roxas (INQUIRER.net)

MANILA, Philippines - (UPDATE) After a four-hour bicameral conference committee meeting on the cheaper medicines bill Tuesday night, Senator Manuel Roxas II said Wednesday that the cheaper medicines bill was still stuck over the generics provision requiring doctors to prescribe only generic drugs.

However, Roxas is confident that the bill will be approved as lawmakers from both Houses of Congress have basically agreed on the premises of most of the bill's provisions.

"As I said, almost 90 percent are agreed on or are similar or are very close to agreement. That's why we're setting aside [the disagreements] and we're OK. It's simply subject to style," Roxas said in Filipino.

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