[Blueboard] Newsbriefs 11 February 2009 Afternoon

Simbahang Lingkod ng Bayan slb at admu.edu.ph
Wed Feb 11 16:41:28 PHT 2009

Newsbriefs 11 February 2009 Afternoon

Simbahang Lingkod ng Bayan


      GMA House allies blame WB for bid rigging mess (www.philstar.com)

MANILA, Philippines - Administration lawmakers have turned the tables on the World Bank and other international lenders, saying their rejection of a cap on the cost of foreign-assisted projects has spawned corruption.

One of those who hit back at the World Bank (WB) was former congressman Prospero Pichay, who described the institution's report on anomalies in road projects as an affront to the country's sovereignty.

Deputy Speaker for Mindanao Simeon Datumanong said lending institutions like the WB, the Asian Development Bank and the Japan Bank for International Cooperation protested his effort to limit - through a department order - their project cost estimates to 15 percent above the government's estimate. Datumanong said he was still Public Works secretary when he presented the proposal.

"The World Bank, ADB and JBIC had filed a written protest on this. They want projects to be awarded to contractors with very high price," the former justice secretary narrated.

      Senate orders arrest of businessman linked to fertilizer scam 

MANILA, Philippines - The Senate ordered the arrest of businessman Jaime "Jimmy" Paule yesterday for allegedly lying before a congressional inquiry into the P728-million fertilizer fund scam.

Sen. Panfilo Lacson said the Senate Blue Ribbon committee led by Sen. Richard Gordon has declared Paule in contempt for lying in his testimony when he said he had nothing to do with the distribution of the overpriced fertilizer to farmer recipients.

SC orders Daniel Smith's transfer out of US embassy (abs-cbnNEWS.com)

The Supreme Court (SC) has ordered Foreign Secretary Alberto Romulo to negotiate the transfer of convicted rapist Lance Corporal Daniel Smith from the US embassy in Manila to the custody of Philippine authorities, a court spokesman announced Wednesday.

"The court is also directing the Secretary of Foreign Affairs to negotiate with US representatives on the detention, under the Philippine government, of Lance corporal Daniel Smith," SC spokesman Midas Marquez said in a press briefing on Wednesday.

Salonga, other petitioners to appeal VFA ruling (abs-cbnNEWS.com/Newsbreak)
Former Senator Jovito Salonga and other petitioners will appeal the Supreme Court ruling upholding the constitutionality of the Philippine-US Visiting Forces Agreement despite losing the case with a 9-4 vote.

"We will appeal," UP Profesor Harry Roque, counsel for Salonga, said in a phone interview. "We are hoping we could convince the other justices to join the four dissenters."

In a statement, Roque said the SC stand on the VFA "is a bittersweet decision for the Filipino people." He said the High Court's refusal to declare the VFA unconstitutional "undermined its own independence."

The case was triggered by the transfer of convicted rapist Lance Corporal Daniel Smith to the custody of the US embassy. Salonga and leftist groups questioned the agreement executed between Foreign Affairs Secretary Alberto Romulo and US Ambassador Kristie Kenney waiving the right of custody of Smith to US authorities pending appeal of his case.

Solons wary about pre-need guarantee law (INQUIRER.net)

MANILA, Philippines -- Lawmakers are wary about approving a measure that would create the Pre-Need Insurance Corp. to guarantee payment to plan holders of distressed pre-need companies.

At the hearing of the House committee on banks and financial intermediaries Wednesday, the Securities and Exchange Commission (CES), the country's regulator of pre-need companies, admitted that it has yet to conduct a study to determine the feasibility of putting up a government-run corporation to insure pre-need plan holders.

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