[Blueboard] Newsbriefs 6 March 2008 Afternoon

Simbahang Lingkod ng Bayan slb at admu.edu.ph
Tue Mar 4 11:50:50 PHT 2008

Newsbriefs 6 March 2008 Afternoon

Simbahang Lingkod ng Bayan


(UPDATE) CA drops Arroyo from Lozada's 'amparo' petition (INQUIRER.net, Philippine Daily Inquirer)

"MANILA, Philippines -- The Court of Appeals has dropped President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo as a respondent in the writ of amparo petition for Rodolfo Noel Lozada Jr., key witness in the national broadband network controversy.

In a seven-page resolution dated March 5, through Associate Justice Celia Librea-Leagogo, the court said that Arroyo, as President, had immunity from civil and criminal suits and thus could not be sued.

It also said that the President was impleaded as Armed Forces commander- in-chief, although no member of the military was impleaded in the petition.

"The rationale for the grant to the President of the privilege of immunity from suit is to assure the exercise of Presidential duties and functions free from any 

hindrance or distraction, considering that being the Chief Executive of the Government is a job that, aside from requiring all of the office-holder's time, also demands undivided attention," the appeals court said."

Ex-Cabinet members plan moves should Arroyo ignore demands (abs-cbnNEWS.com)


"The group of Former Senior Government Officials (FSGO), composed of more than 60 former Cabinet members met Wednesday morning to map out their "next move" in case their demands which expires middle of next week would not be met by President Arroyo. 


According to former education secretary Butch Abad, they are just giving Mrs. Arroyo time, one week, and if she fails to heed their call, people power will continue and the group will be stepping up efforts to ferret out the truth. 


Abad called the abolition of Executive Order 464 as "superfluous", and demands Mrs. Arroyo also abolish Memorandum Circular 108. Abad said MC 108 is essentially a "gag order" . 


The FSGO said it also wants the Supreme Court to make clear boundaries of what is covered by executive privilege. "


Another whistleblower set to appear in Tuesday's NBN hearing (abs-cbnNEWS.com) 


"While former socioeconomic planning secretary Romulo Neri may not be attending The Senate's next hearing on Tuesday on the investigation into the scrapped national broadband network deal controversy, another whistleblower in the case will be introduced.


Sen. Panfilo Lacson said that the new witness will be introduced on the next hearing. 


Sen. Aquilino Pimentel added that the new witness has direct knowledge in the distribution of money from China's ZTE Corp. to its recipients and how the arrangements were made."


(UPDATE) Senate issues subpoenas to alleged 'Greedy Group' (INQUIRER.net)

"MANILA, Philippines -- The Senate has issued subpoenas to seven people, including Commission on Elections chairman Benjamin Abalos, who have been linked to the allegedly tainted national broadband network project, the head of the Senate security said.

Abalos, along with retired general Quirino "Torch" Dela Torre, Leo San Miguel, and Ruben Reyes allegedly form the "Greedy Group," which had supposedly brokered the $329 million telecommunications contract between the Philippines and China's ZTE Corp., according to witness Dante Madriaga who had testified at the Senate.

They and Jimmy Paz, Abalos' chief of staff at the Comelec; ZTE Corp. disbursing officer Fan Yang, and Chinese embassy's commercial attaché Yu Yong had been asked to attend the Senate inquiry into the NBN scandal next Tuesday, said retired General Jose Balajadia, sergeant-at-arms."

Solons seek probe of Spratlys deal with China (INQUIRER.net)

"MANILA, Philippines -- Fourteen members of the House of Representatives, four of them administration allies, have filed a resolution calling for an investigation into an agreement involving the disputed Spratlys Islands that was allegedly struck in exchange for Chinese loans and attended by corruption.

House Resolution 496 directs the committees on foreign affairs, national defense and security, and ecology to look into the 2004 Joint Marine Seismic Undertaking (JMSU) between the Philippines, China and Vietnam, ostensibly intended to map resources in the Spratlys but which critics claim sells out Philippine interests and sovereignty "in exchange for overpriced loans to fund controversial projects like the national broadband [network or NBN] deal, the Northrail and Southrail project[s], among others."

The measure, filed Wednesday, listed as authors Representatives Teodoro Casiño and Satur Ocampo of Bayan Muna (People First), Roilo Golez of Parañaque, Crispin Beltran of Anakpawis (Toiling Masses), Teofisto Guingona III (Bukidnon), Rufus Rodriguez (Cagayan) de Oro, Liza Maza (Gabriela), all from the opposition bloc;

Independents Teodoro Locsin Jr. of Makati and Nonato Joson of Nueva Ecija; and administration Representatives Luis Villafuerte and Felix Alfelor (Camarines Sur), Bienvenido Abante Jr. (Manila), and Crispin Remulla (Cavite).

"The subject agreement is effectively giving away the national patrimony as it actually concedes the exploration and exploitation of natural resources to foreigners which, under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), clearly fall within the archipelagic waters, exclusive economic zone and continental shelf of the Philippi nes," the resolution said."

 RP may lose Kalayaan islands by default (abs-cbnNEWS.com/Newsbreak)


"The Philippines could lose its claimed territories in the South China Sea by default if it fails to pass a new baselines bill as required by the United Nations (UN). 


Several congressmen warned Tuesday that if the House of Representatives keeps stalling on the bill defining the country's territory--to include the disputed Kalayaan Islands Group (KIG)-- it may result in the "forfeiture of our claim to the territory."


To settle the territorial dispute in the South China Sea, the UN required all six claimants - Philippines, China, Vietnam, Malaysia, China, Taiwan, Brunei - to pass a law defining their respective "archipelagic baselines". 


The deadline is May 2009, a little over one year from now."


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