HEADLINE NEWS THIS WEEKEND...

NOY'S SPEECH IN BALI: HIS ELECTION IN 2010 WAS ANOTHER PEOPLE POWER

OCT 11 --PHOTO: President Aquino delivers his response after receiving from Indonesian President Susilo
Bambang Yudhoyono the ‘Bintang Republik Indonesia Adipurna,’ the highest state medal of honor of Indonesia, on the sidelines of the 7th Bali Democracy Forum yesterday. BALI – His election in 2010 was another people power revolution, President Aquino said yesterday. Addressing the 7th Bali Democracy Forum (BDF) here, Aquino said his election restored democracy and brought “genuine service” to the people, in contrast to the unpopular and corruption-tainted administration of his predecessor Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. The first people power revolution or EDSA 1 in 1986 ousted dictator Ferdinand Marcos and catapulted Aquino’s mother Corazon to the presidency.

The ouster of Joseph Estrada in 2001 amid public outrage over his acceptance of jueteng payola is generally acknowledged as people power II. He was replaced by Arroyo, his vice president and constitutional successor. President Aquino said his leadership is inspired by the same principles that guided his mother when she led the 1986 EDSA people power revolution. He called EDSA 1 “the defining democratic movement of its time.” “It was also that principle that enabled our people to carry on through the lost decade in our country: a time when, under my predecessor, democratic institutions were compromised and weakened by a culture of transactionalism and impunity, where the very select few rode roughshod over the will and aspirations of the vast majority,” Aquino told international delegates to the forum. “It was that very belief in People Power that manifested once more in 2010, when Filipinos, after many years of neglect and misgovernance, campaigned with us and voted for an idea whose fruits we are already reaping today: ‘Where there is no corruption, there will be no poverty’,” he said. * READ MORE...

ALSO: Noy hopeful ‘bosses’ will change mind on 2nd term 

OCT 11 --PHOTO: President Aquino, Brunei Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah, Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, Timor-Leste Prime Minister Kay Rala Xanana Gusmao and other delegates behind them including Foreign Secretary Albert del Rosario pose for a group photo at the Bali Democracy Forum yesterday. BALI – The “bosses” can still change their mind, and President Aquino has not given up on seeking a second term. “There is still the 18 percent undecided, but what if I get about 13 percent (in favor of term extension)? That means an absolute majority. And that’s not hard to get,” Aquino told reporters here yesterday after attending the 7th Bali Democracy Forum.

He was referring to the results of the latest Pulse Asia survey showing 62 percent of Filipinos against changing some provisions in the Constitution to remove term limits for officials and allow him to seek the presidency in 2016. The same poll showed that 38 percent of the respondents were in favor of political Charter change and 18 percent were undecided. Aquino earlier said he would “consult and listen to his bosses” after he and his officials floated the idea of Charter change to allow him to seek another term and clip the powers of the Supreme Court. Several of Aquino’s allies in the Senate and House of Representatives have repeatedly made known their opposition to political Charter change. * READ MORE...

ALSO: PH weighs Ebola options; Noy undecided whether to send health workers to W Africa

OCT 12 --No worries. President Benigno Aquino III has not yet decided to send health workers to West Africa to help fight the worst outbreak of the deadly Ebola disease, Malacañang said on Saturday. Former Health Secretary Jaime Galvez-Tan opposes the idea, recommending instead that the Philippines keep a core of medical workers to prevent the entry of the Ebola virus into the country. Galvez-Tan said the government’s priority was to safeguard the country’s borders against the entry of the Ebola virus, as many Filipino travelers and migrant workers come home from African countries.

If at all, the Department of Health (DOH) should send a team of five medical volunteers to study how West African countries deal with the virus and apply the system in the Philippines, Galvez-Tan said on Saturday. Presidential spokesperson Edwin Lacierda said the idea of the DOH to send medical workers to West Africa “needs serious consideration and discussion.” President Aquino needs to make a delicate balance between heeding the call of the international community for a united global action to combat the deadly disease and safeguarding the health of the Filipino healthcare workers who would be exposed to the virus, Lacierda said in a statement.

The President also needs to take into consideration the health of the general population when the medical volunteers who will be sent to West Africa return after their tour of duty, Lacierda said. Health Secretary Enrique Ona said at a summit on the Ebola outbreak on Friday that the Philippine government would have to decide soon whether to send medical volunteers to West Africa to help care for Ebola patients in response to a call by the international community for nations to help each other in arresting the spread of the deadly disease. But Galvez-Tan advised against sending volunteers to the Ebola hot zone. Let others handle it  --“There are enough health professionals in the world and nearer Africa such as Europeans and Africans themselves,” Galvez-Tan said in a telephone interview. “While it’s true that Africa may need it, I feel really that when we do a head count, there are enough professionals in the world who can volunteer and offer their services to Africa.”

ALSO: WHO says East Asia at risk of Ebola  

Warning comes as the Philippines considers a request to send health workers to Ebola-hit West African countries. The current outbreak of Ebola in West Africa has killed more than 3,800 people [EPA] East Asia, with its trade and transport hubs and armies of migrant workers, is at risk from Ebola but is improving its defences and may be more ready than other areas to respond if cases are diagnosed, the World Health Organization (WHO) has said.

Shin Young-soo, the WHO regional director for the Western Pacific, said on Friday East Asia had been a "hotspot" for emerging diseases in the past and had dealt with severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) and avian flu, so it was more prepared than other regions to respond after learning the importance of public education, strong surveillance and transparency. Shin said member countries were putting up strong infrastructure preparedness for Ebola and each had an emergency operating centre linked to the regional office in Manila and the WHO headquarters in Geneva. "All these travel, economic trade, and we have global hubs like Singapore, Hong Kong, and the Philippines is sending a lot of work forces all over the world," make it a possibility for the virus to reach East Asia, Shin said. But "we are in a better shape than other regions," he added. * READ MORE...

ALSO: Comelec chief faces disbarment case before SC  

OCT 13 --Commission on Elections (Comelec) Chairman Sixto Brillantes Jr. faces disbarment for stopping a mayor’s ouster. Complainant Reynaldo Ordanes has asked the Supreme Court (SC) to disbar Brillantes for allegedly stopping the Cabanatuan Regional Trial Court Branch 30 from ousting a former client, Mayor Elizabeth Vargas of Aliaga, Nueva Ecija. In his complaint, Ordanes accused Brillantes of gross ignorance of the law and violating Section 1, Rule 137 of the Rules of Court prohibiting a judge or judicial officer from handling a case where a party was a former client. “If he arrogates unto himself the authority allocated to other officials, there can be no consequence but confusion in the administration of justice and, in many instances, oppressive disregard of the basic requirements of due process,” read the complaint. Records showed the court had proclaimed Ordanes the winner in the May 2013 mayoral elections after garnering a total of 11,416 votes, or a margin of 11 over Vargas.

On June 19, Vargas asked the Comelec to stop the implementation of the court order. Her petition for writ of preliminary injunction was raffled off to the Comelec’s Second Division whose chairman, Commissioner Elias Yusoph, went on official leave. Ordanes alleged that Brillantes convened the Comelec’s Special Second Division last July 10 and appointed himself as presiding chairman in lieu of Yusoph. Brillantes immediately issued a 60-day temporary restraining order (TRO) stopping the court’s motion for execution, he added. Ordanes said Brillantes then issued a status quo ante order in favor of Vargas “without consultation with members of the (Comelec) en banc” after the Comelec dismissed Vargas’ petition on Sept. 15. Ordanes said Brillantes “took special interest” in the case because he was Vargas’ former election lawyer. “This is not only flagrantly erroneous, but likewise a manifestation of gross ignorance of the law,” he said. A separate graft charge was filed against Brillantes with the Office of the Ombudsman. Brillantes “had shown manifest partiality and evident bad faith in issuing the said orders,” Ordanes said. THIS IS THE FULL REPORT.

ALSO: PNoy passing the buck to Congress to cover his own inaction on looming energy crisis - lawmaker 

OCT 13 --PHOTO: Neri Colmenares.--Meant to cover his Cabinet ‘noynoying’ on crisis — solons. AN opposition lawmaker accused President Benigno Aquino III Sunday of blackmailing Congress into granting him emergency powers, saying they would be blamed for power outages next year if they did not do so. In trying to pass the buck to Congress, Bayan Muna Rep. Neri Colmenares said, the President was covering his own inaction and failure to deal with the looming shortage. “It seems that President Aquino is now trying to pass the buck on the supposed power crisis to the lawmakers while covering for his Cabinets’ noynoying and inefficiency,” Colmenares said, using a term that pokes ridicule at what critics say is the President’s tendency to waste time and ignore pressing national issues.

“Energy Secretary Jericho Petilla said as of the last week of May that there was enough power supply for 2015 and even for 2016.Then by July he said that there would be a 400 megawatt deficit and recently claimed the deficit may reach up to 900-1,000 MW,” Colmenares said. “The DOE has not fully established the basis of this predicted deficit. Now they are threatening both the Congress and the people just to get emergency powers,” Colmenares added. He said the draft of a joint resolution that the Palace wants has not even been submitted to the House committee on energy. “How can we carefully study the resolution that they seem to be hiding from us? Now they are rushing us into granting them emergency powers. Who will gain from these emergency powers that they are rushing us to grant?” Colmenares said. * READ MORE..

DOJ TOLD TO LAY OFF BINAY; LET OMBUDSMAN DO THE JOB, SAYS FORMER JUSTICE SECRETARY By WENDELL VIGILIA 

FORMER justice secretary Silvestre Bello III yesterday advised Justice Secretary Leila de Lima to abort her plan to investigate graft and corruption charges against Vice President Jejomar Binay. “They should leave the investigation to the Ombudsman which has the primary jurisdiction over the case,” said Bello, who represents the 1-BAP party-list and an ally of Pampanga Rep. Gloria Arroyo. Plunder charges were filed at the Ombudsman last July against Binay, his son, current Makati Mayor Erwin Jejomar Binay, and several Makati officials for the alleged overpriced construction of the Makati City Hall building 2. One of the complainants is lawyer Renato Bondal who lost the 2013 mayoralty race to Binay’s son. Last Thursday, De Lima said the allegations against the elder Binay, including his alleged ownership of a 350-hectare property in Batangas, have caught the “interest” of the Department of Justice. She said the NBI, which is under her department, could conduct its own inquiry even without a request from the Blue Ribbon sub-committee.

The Vice President’s supposed ownership of the Batangas property was disclosed in last week’s hearing by former Makati vice mayor Ernesto Mercado who is under the witness protection program being administered by the justice department. Navotas Rep. Toby Tiangco, UNA interim president, said De Lima’s “sudden interest” in the Makati building inquiry only confirmed reports that LP stalwarts Interior Secretary Mar Roxas, Florencio Abad, and Senate President Franklin Drilon and other Palace allies are behind a “demolition job” against Binay. He accused De Lima of “double standard” and said the DOJ will protect the government allies from the ruling Liberal Party by purging political opponents. “What happened to the Malampaya Fund, MRT-3 extortion, PDAF and other probes she promised to pursue—and why the sudden interest in the Makati hearing?,” Tiangco asked. “We are aware that members of the Liberal Party who were recipients of the Malampaya Fund, PDAF and even DAP (Disbursement Acceleration Program) are being shielded from the investigation. This only goes to show that De Lima is not keen in sending to jail allies of the President,” he said.

ALSO Philstar Opinion: Racket at PDEA, car rentals; This accuser is employing militaristic tactic on Binay 

Malacañang ought to stop this racket at its Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency. Car rentals are being paid, for millions of pesos a month. Yet they’re all bogus. No vehicles actually are being rented, and the suppliers are inexistent. Obviously insiders are pocketing the money. Example: 16 disbursements, each for P245,000, all for car rental, were made on Jan. 18, 2013. Payee was a fictitious SSMM Vehicle Rental Services. On the same day nine other disbursements were made, for P235,000, P240,000, and P245,000. Payee was equally fictitious BEMV Transport Services. On Jan. 30, 2013, came 12 more disbursements, for P200,000, P220,000, P222,000, and P240,000. Payees were the same inexistent SSMM and BEMV.

That month alone P8,832,000 was paid to the two firms. Allegedly, one Jean P. cashed all the checks, then delivered the loot to the PDEA budget, finance, and audit sections. The racket went on in Feb. and Mar. 2013, with P11,007,000 and P7,975,000 laundered through SSMM and BEMV. In the first quarter of 2013 alone P27,814,000 was filched. And that’s only from fakes car rentals. There can only be other rackets. The PDEA runs after drug traffickers who thrive on addicts. Some of its officers apparently are addicted to money not their own. * * * And who’s this high ranker at the civil aviation authority loved more by airlines than his peers? As shown in airline execs’ letters to him, this official gives in to their frequent requests for leniency or exemption from safety and service standards. All this, to the point of surrendering the regulatory functions for which the authority exists to begin with.

Everyone’s free to back or bash VP Jejomar Binay on alleged sleaze. If justice runs its course, he will be cleared or jailed. What should alarm us is the militaristic way of one of Binay’s three senator-accusers. That is, in pronouncing him guilty solely from say-so and not documents, then challenging him to prove innocence. That’s what Marcos’s torturers did to tens of thousands of dissenters during Martial Law. We who are old enough to have lived through such horrors must warn against the likely resurgence, even if in seemingly milder forms.  *READ MORE...


READ FULL REPORT HERE:

2010 polls another people power – Noy


President Aquino delivers his response after receiving from Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono the ‘Bintang Republik Indonesia Adipurna,’ the highest state medal of honor of Indonesia, on the sidelines of the 7th Bali Democracy Forum yesterday.

BALI, OCTOBER 13, 2014 (PHILSTAR)  By Paolo Romero -His election in 2010 was another people power revolution, President Aquino said yesterday.

Addressing the 7th Bali Democracy Forum (BDF) here, Aquino said his election restored democracy and brought “genuine service” to the people, in contrast to the unpopular and corruption-tainted administration of his predecessor Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

The first people power revolution or EDSA 1 in 1986 ousted dictator Ferdinand Marcos and catapulted Aquino’s mother Corazon to the presidency.

The ouster of Joseph Estrada in 2001 amid public outrage over his acceptance of jueteng payola is generally acknowledged as people power II. He was replaced by Arroyo, his vice president and constitutional successor.

President Aquino said his leadership is inspired by the same principles that guided his mother when she led the 1986 EDSA people power revolution. He called EDSA 1 “the defining democratic movement of its time.”

“It was also that principle that enabled our people to carry on through the lost decade in our country: a time when, under my predecessor, democratic institutions were compromised and weakened by a culture of transactionalism and impunity, where the very select few rode roughshod over the will and aspirations of the vast majority,” Aquino told international delegates to the forum.

“It was that very belief in People Power that manifested once more in 2010, when Filipinos, after many years of neglect and misgovernance, campaigned with us and voted for an idea whose fruits we are already reaping today: ‘Where there is no corruption, there will be no poverty’,” he said.

* He said his election brought back government “to its core,” as “provider of genuine service” and as “champion (of) what is right, fair and democratic towards the benefit of the majority.”

After taking over the position of Estrada in 2001, Arroyo ran and won in the elections in 2004. Allegations of massive election cheating by the Arroyo administration prompted Aquino’s mother to withdraw her support for Arroyo and call for her resignation.

Arroyo, who is accused of plunder, is currently detained at the Veterans Memorial Medical Center in Quezon City where she is being treated for degenerative bone disease affecting her spine. Her lawyers are seeking bail for her provisional release, citing weak evidence against her.

Aquino admitted that establishing a dictatorship is tempting for a leader facing hurdles in implementing his goals.

“It can be said: In a totalitarian regime, things get done faster, whether they are right or wrong, precisely because there are no checks and balances in place. Very often, the consent and support of the governed are neither sought nor attained,” he said.

“As leaders, all of us here have had our share of frustrations borne of the many factors that sometimes hinder the realization of our vision. This breeds the temptation to consider an authoritarian method, as this might promise immediate gains,” he said.

But he said history has shown that struggle for political survival would consume authoritarian regimes.

Aquino has openly declared his intention to clip the powers of the Supreme Court, claiming “judicial overreach,” following the latter’s having declared some of his controversial programs unconstitutional, including the Disbursement Acceleration Program and the Priority Development Assistance Fund.

Honors for P-Noy

Meanwhile, President Aquino was conferred here the “Bintang Republik Indonesia Adipurna,” the highest state medal of honor of Indonesia.

Aquino was given the award by outgoing Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono on the sidelines of the 7th Bali Democracy Forum where the former presided over the discussions as co-chairman.

The Bintang Republik Indonesia Adipurna (Star of the Republic of Indonesia) award is conferred on persons who have rendered “extraordinary service of integrity, viability, and greatness of Indonesia.” Aquino is the first Filipino to be conferred the award.

“This award I receive today represents the rich, historical relations between our countries; on top of that, however, it is also a recognition of the boundless potential of our partnership, and of our continuing task of exploring areas of cooperation and increasing our synergies in every possible manner, all for the mutual benefit of our peoples,” Aquino said after receiving the award at the Bali International Convention Center.

“It is for these reasons that the Philippines remains committed to working towards strengthening and expanding our partnership with Indonesia,” he said.

He said the Philippines’ relations with Indonesia have become warmer through the years.

He recalled that in 1963, following the eruption of Mt. Gunung Agung in Bali, the Philippines sent seven C-47 aircraft carrying paramedics, medical supplies and relief goods to help in the relief operations.

“In our time of calamity, Indonesia in turn demonstrated true solidarity. Your generous assistance in the aftermath of Typhoon Haiyan (Yolanda) earned the gratitude of the entire Filipino people,” Aquino said.

Aquino was expected to arrive in Manila at 9 p.m. last night on a chartered Philippine Airlines flight. – Paolo Romero

Noy hopeful ‘bosses’ will change mind on 2nd term By Paolo Romero (The Philippine Star) | Updated October 11, 2014 - 12:00am 0 8 googleplus0 0


President Aquino, Brunei Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah, Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, Timor-Leste Prime Minister Kay Rala Xanana Gusmao and other delegates behind them including Foreign Secretary Albert del Rosario pose for a group photo at the Bali Democracy Forum yesterday.

BALI – The “bosses” can still change their mind, and President Aquino has not given up on seeking a second term.

“There is still the 18 percent undecided, but what if I get about 13 percent (in favor of term extension)? That means an absolute majority. And that’s not hard to get,” Aquino told reporters here yesterday after attending the 7th Bali Democracy Forum.

He was referring to the results of the latest Pulse Asia survey showing 62 percent of Filipinos against changing some provisions in the Constitution to remove term limits for officials and allow him to seek the presidency in 2016. The same poll showed that 38 percent of the respondents were in favor of political Charter change and 18 percent were undecided.

Aquino earlier said he would “consult and listen to his bosses” after he and his officials floated the idea of Charter change to allow him to seek another term and clip the powers of the Supreme Court.

Several of Aquino’s allies in the Senate and House of Representatives have repeatedly made known their opposition to political Charter change.

* He recalled that he won the 2010 presidential race by obtaining 42 percent of the votes, which is close to the 38 percent in the survey that favored a term extension for him.

He said there would always be a portion of the voting population not supportive of him.

Aquino disclosed that while his closest supporters have admitted to being cool to the idea of him running again, they nevertheless have committed to support him fully if he finally decides to throw his hat in the ring in 2016.

He also cited a casual remark from a taxi driver a few days ago – as told to him by a friend – that his administration deserves another term given its achievements.

“I don’t think anybody can say that those who said ‘no’ said they don’t like me but rather, you know, there is that possibility that I myself (respondent) have not stated that ‘I really want this.’ How many of them are like that?” Aquino said.

“So for those who said ‘no’ that means that either they were content with what I’ve done, and for my supporters, they already pity me,” he said.

“So, if we pull six (percent) from those who said ‘no’ (term extension), and another six from those undecided, then it’s close to what you need to have an absolute majority (in the surveys),” he said.

FROM THE MANILA STANDARD

PNoy passing the buck to Congress to cover his own inaction on looking energy crisis - lawmaker By Christine F. Herrera | Oct. 13, 2014 at 12:01am

Meant to cover his Cabinet ‘noynoying’ on crisis — solons


Neri Colmenares

AN opposition lawmaker accused President Benigno Aquino III Sunday of blackmailing Congress into granting him emergency powers, saying they would be blamed for power outages next year if they did not do so.

In trying to pass the buck to Congress, Bayan Muna Rep. Neri Colmenares said, the President was covering his own inaction and failure to deal with the looming shortage.

“It seems that President Aquino is now trying to pass the buck on the supposed power crisis to the lawmakers while covering for his Cabinets’ noynoying and inefficiency,” Colmenares said, using a term that pokes ridicule at what critics say is the President’s tendency to waste time and ignore pressing national issues.

“Energy Secretary Jericho Petilla said as of the last week of May that there was enough power supply for 2015 and even for 2016.Then by July he said that there would be a 400 megawatt deficit and recently claimed the deficit may reach up to 900-1,000 MW,” Colmenares said.

“The DOE has not fully established the basis of this predicted deficit. Now they are threatening both the Congress and the people just to get emergency powers,” Colmenares added.

He said the draft of a joint resolution that the Palace wants has not even been submitted to the House committee on energy.

“How can we carefully study the resolution that they seem to be hiding from us? Now they are rushing us into granting them emergency powers. Who will gain from these emergency powers that they are rushing us to grant?” Colmenares said.

* A copy of the joint resolution that his office managed to obtain would allow sweetheart deals and take-or-pay contracts in which the public would have to pay for power generated whether or not it is actually used, Colmenares said.

The powers would also enable the government to use taxpayers’ money to rehabilitate, repair and improve plants that are owned by the private sector, he added.

“The budget for these emergency powers will also be sourced from the Malampaya funds and inevitably from the consumers through the universal charges,” Colmenares said.

“The resolution says that the emergency powers will last up to July 31, 2015, meaning that President Aquino will have these powers from six to nine months, which is far from the three months that its proponents are saying,” he said.

The resolution, Colmenares said, also wants to bypass permits but doing this would destroy the grid and would be the cause of blackouts.

“Each plant that would be added to the grid should have a grid impact study because they cannot be forced into the system. Obviously the ones who drafted the resolution do not know the technical parameters in operating a power plant or a generator set,” he said.

“President Aquino wants so much from the emergency powers but up until now Secretary Petilla is still hard put to explain the real energy situation in the country. Besides, based on the rules of Congress, a unilateral declaration for emergency powers cannot be passed in the House of Representatives. A bill or resolution should first be deliberated upon at the committee level and then at the plenary and cannot automatically be passed,” Colmenares said.

“As it is, President Aquino and Secretary Petilla’s threats of brownouts only prove that the country is still in the same rut it was in when the Electric Power Industry Reform Act (EPIRA) was passed. While we continue to question DOE’s basis for the supposed lack of supply, the much feared energy crisis will eventually happen unless we repeal EPIRA and craft a pro-people law that will govern the energy sector,” he said.

Colmenares said the Makabayan bloc to which he belongs opposes emergency powers for the President, “precisely because not only has Secretary Petilla failed to prove the claimed lack of supply, but also because this shortsighted band aid solution will increase the cost of electricity and will not assure stable energy supply.”

“We need long term solutions, not short term magic tricks,” he said.

Colmenares said the only solution to the country’s energy problem is for the government to fund and build power plants.

But the first step toward this solution is to repeal EPIRA now, he said.

“As of now, what would be the basis for Congress and Senate to grant emergency powers to the President before the end of October? There is no hard evidence that there would indeed be a power crisis next year,” he said.

“All we have are the projections and rantings of Secretary Petilla, which are also effectively countered by players in the energy sector as well as the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines,” Colmenares said.

“Many are saying that there are a million and one ways to address a supposed power deficit outside the emergency powers scenario but Malacanang is hell-bent on getting these powers, giving rise to speculation that these will be used for the next elections,” he added.

Bayan Muna Rep. Carlos Isagani Zarate added that the power crisis was nothing but a bogey to justify the grant of emergency powers to President Aquino.

He said there was enough capacity to cover the supposed shortfall in energy over the summer next year.

“There is more to this phantom shortfall than meets the eye,” said Zarate, also a member of the minority bloc.

“These emergency powers are even probably designed so that Malacanang can dip its fingers again on the Malampaya fund, the spending of which was already restricted by the November 2013 decision of the Supreme Court,” Zarate aid.

“It is good that more and more people and agencies are being critical of these proposed emergency powers because on the one hand they will cause power rate hikes and on the other hand, they will plunder the Malampaya funds.”

PH weighs Ebola options; Noy still undecided whether to send health workers to W Africa By Nikko Dizon, TJ Burgonio |Philippine Daily Inquirer2:03 am | Sunday, October 12th, 2014

No worries. President Benigno Aquino III has not yet decided to send health workers to West Africa to help fight the worst outbreak of the deadly Ebola disease, Malacañang said on Saturday.

Former Health Secretary Jaime Galvez-Tan opposes the idea, recommending instead that the Philippines keep a core of medical workers to prevent the entry of the Ebola virus into the country.

Galvez-Tan said the government’s priority was to safeguard the country’s borders against the entry of the Ebola virus, as many Filipino travelers and migrant workers come home from African countries.

If at all, the Department of Health (DOH) should send a team of five medical volunteers to study how West African countries deal with the virus and apply the system in the Philippines, Galvez-Tan said on Saturday.

Presidential spokesperson Edwin Lacierda said the idea of the DOH to send medical workers to West Africa “needs serious consideration and discussion.”

President Aquino needs to make a delicate balance between heeding the call of the international community for a united global action to combat the deadly disease and safeguarding the health of the Filipino healthcare workers who would be exposed to the virus, Lacierda said in a statement.

The President also needs to take into consideration the health of the general population when the medical volunteers who will be sent to West Africa return after their tour of duty, Lacierda said.

Health Secretary Enrique Ona said at a summit on the Ebola outbreak on Friday that the Philippine government would have to decide soon whether to send medical volunteers to West Africa to help care for Ebola patients in response to a call by the international community for nations to help each other in arresting the spread of the deadly disease.

But Galvez-Tan advised against sending volunteers to the Ebola hot zone.

Let others handle it

“There are enough health professionals in the world and nearer Africa such as Europeans and Africans themselves,” Galvez-Tan said in a telephone interview. “While it’s true that Africa may need it, I feel really that when we do a head count, there are enough professionals in the world who can volunteer and offer their services to Africa.”

* The government needs its own medical professionals to “safeguard its own interest first,” said Galvez-Tan, president of Health Futures Foundation Inc., a nonprofit organization involved in the design and management of health and social development programs.

“If we have a duty to preserve, protect or even treat or prevent Ebola in the Philippines, our health professionals [should] stay in our country,” Galvez-Tan said.

Core of professionals

The government should maintain a core of 100 medical professionals on heightened alert against Ebola, said Galvez-Tan, who served as health secretary in the administration of President Fidel Ramos.

“We should have a critical mass of health professionals all over the country who are knowledgeable about Ebola and who would keep a double eye, a triple eye on Ebola incidents if ever there are any in the Philippines,” he said.

A single carrier of the Ebola virus entering the country would require thorough surveillance, from the point of entry to their final destination, and medical workers at every point should stay alert, he said.

“That in itself is part of the global action for prevention of further transmission of the disease,” he said.

Study team

Should the DOH decide to send a team to West Africa, Galvez-Tan said, it should send five medical workers to study how people there and in Europe handle Ebola cases.

“I have no problem with sending a team to be aware and be capacitated to help in learning how to deal with Ebola if and when it reaches the Philippines,” he said. “We’re talking of real experiences in dealing with Ebola.”

But the Philippine Red Cross (PRC) said it was ready to deploy staff and volunteers to West Africa to help care for Ebola patients.

“We have to contain the Ebola virus in those areas so as to protect our borders,” PRC Chair Richard Gordon said in a statement on Saturday.

“In this day and age of air travel, we have to make sure that we have the necessary mechanisms in place to detect the Ebola virus at our airports, and have prepared isolation facilities when necessary,” Gordon said.

Rising death toll

The World Health Organization said on Friday that 4,033 people have died from Ebola as of Oct. 8 out of a total of 8,399 registered cases in seven countries.

The United Nations and leaders of Ebola-stricken nations of Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone pleaded on Friday for greater help for the front-line of the disease in Africa.

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) predicted the number of cases could reach 1.4 million by January unless strong measures are taken to contain the disease.

Leaders of hard-hit Guinea met Friday with IMF Director Christine Lagarde, who promised the organization was “ready to do more if needed” to fight the disease.

UN Deputy Secretary General Jan Eliasson appealed for more funds to fight the disease. He said only a quarter of “the one billion dollars sought” to combat the disease had been pledged. He appealed for doctors, nurses and other health-care personnel to come forward. With reports from Tina G. Santos and AFP

FROM THE AL JAZEERA ASIA/PACIFIC NEWS ONLINE

WHO says East Asia at risk of Ebola Last updated: 10 Oct 2014 17:13

Warning comes as the Philippines considers a request to send health workers to Ebola-hit West African countries.

The current outbreak of Ebola in West Africa has killed more than 3,800 people [EPA]
East Asia, with its trade and transport hubs and armies of migrant workers, is at risk from Ebola but is improving its defences and may be more ready than other areas to respond if cases are diagnosed, the World Health Organization (WHO) has said.

Shin Young-soo, the WHO regional director for the Western Pacific, said on Friday East Asia had been a "hotspot" for emerging diseases in the past and had dealt with severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) and avian flu, so it was more prepared than other regions to respond after learning the importance of public education, strong surveillance and transparency.

Shin said member countries were putting up strong infrastructure preparedness for Ebola and each had an emergency operating centre linked to the regional office in Manila and the WHO headquarters in Geneva.

"All these travel, economic trade, and we have global hubs like Singapore, Hong Kong, and the Philippines is sending a lot of work forces all over the world," make it a possibility for the virus to reach East Asia, Shin said. But "we are in a better shape than other regions," he added.

* An outbreak of SARS began in southern China in 2002 and infected about 8,000 people worldwide, killing nearly 800.

The current outbreak of the Ebola virus has killed more than 4,033 people, the vast majority of them in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, according to the WHO.

Li Ailan, the director of health security and emergencies at the WHO regional office, said two candidate Ebola vaccines under development in the US and United Kingdom were now in the human clinical trial phase and a vaccine might be ready on a limited scale by January.

Philippine Health Secretary Enrique Ona said the Philippines was considering a request by the US and UK for the country to send health workers to Ebola-hit West African countries, where there was a shortage of health personnel. A firm decision would be made within a week.

The Philippines has some 8,000 workers in Ebola-affected countries in West Africa and 115 peacekeepers in Liberia.

Also on Friday, the UN special envoy on Ebola said the number of cases was probably doubling every three-to-four weeks and the response needed to be 20 times greater than it was at the beginning of October.

David Nabarro warned the UN General Assembly that without the mass mobilisation of the world to support the affected countries in West Africa, "it will be impossible to get this disease quickly under control, and the world will have to live with the Ebola virus forever." SOURCE AP

FROM PHILSTAR

Comelec chief faces disbarment case before SC By Edu Punay (The Philippine Star) | Updated October 13, 2014 - 12:00am 0 25 googleplus0 0


BRILLANTES

MANILA, Philippines - Commission on Elections (Comelec) Chairman Sixto Brillantes Jr. faces disbarment for stopping a mayor’s ouster.

Complainant Reynaldo Ordanes has asked the Supreme Court (SC) to disbar Brillantes for allegedly stopping the Cabanatuan Regional Trial Court Branch 30 from ousting a former client, Mayor Elizabeth Vargas of Aliaga, Nueva Ecija.

In his complaint, Ordanes accused Brillantes of gross ignorance of the law and violating Section 1, Rule 137 of the Rules of Court prohibiting a judge or judicial officer from handling a case where a party was a former client.

“If he arrogates unto himself the authority allocated to other officials, there can be no consequence but confusion in the administration of justice and, in many instances, oppressive disregard of the basic requirements of due process,” read the complaint.

Records showed the court had proclaimed Ordanes the winner in the May 2013 mayoral elections after garnering a total of 11,416 votes, or a margin of 11 over Vargas.

On June 19, Vargas asked the Comelec to stop the implementation of the court order.

Her petition for writ of preliminary injunction was raffled off to the Comelec’s Second Division whose chairman, Commissioner Elias Yusoph, went on official leave.

Ordanes alleged that Brillantes convened the Comelec’s Special Second Division last July 10 and appointed himself as presiding chairman in lieu of Yusoph.

Brillantes immediately issued a 60-day temporary restraining order (TRO) stopping the court’s motion for execution, he added.

Ordanes said Brillantes then issued a status quo ante order in favor of Vargas “without consultation with members of the (Comelec) en banc” after the Comelec dismissed Vargas’ petition on Sept. 15.

Ordanes said Brillantes “took special interest” in the case because he was Vargas’ former election lawyer.

“This is not only flagrantly erroneous, but likewise a manifestation of gross ignorance of the law,” he said.

A separate graft charge was filed against Brillantes with the Office of the Ombudsman.

Brillantes “had shown manifest partiality and evident bad faith in issuing the said orders,” Ordanes said.

FROM MALAYA

DOJ TOLD TO LAY OFF BINAY; LET OMBUDSMAN DO THE JOB, SAYS FORMER JUSTICE SECRETARY By WENDELL VIGILIA | October 13, 2014


DE LIMA

FORMER justice secretary Silvestre Bello III yesterday advised Justice Secretary Leila de Lima to abort her plan to investigate graft and corruption charges against Vice President Jejomar Binay.

“They should leave the investigation to the Ombudsman which has the primary jurisdiction over the case,” said Bello, who represents the 1-BAP party-list and an ally of Pampanga Rep. Gloria Arroyo.

Plunder charges were filed at the Ombudsman last July against Binay, his son, current Makati Mayor Erwin Jejomar Binay, and several Makati officials for the alleged overpriced construction of the Makati City Hall building 2. One of the complainants is lawyer Renato Bondal who lost the 2013 mayoralty race to Binay’s son.

Last Thursday, De Lima said the allegations against the elder Binay, including his alleged ownership of a 350-hectare property in Batangas, have caught the “interest” of the Department of Justice. She said the NBI, which is under her department, could conduct its own inquiry even without a request from the Blue Ribbon sub-committee.

The Vice President’s supposed ownership of the Batangas property was disclosed in last week’s hearing by former Makati vice mayor Ernesto Mercado who is under the witness protection program being administered by the justice department.

Navotas Rep. Toby Tiangco, UNA interim president, said De Lima’s “sudden interest” in the Makati building inquiry only confirmed reports that LP stalwarts Interior Secretary Mar Roxas, Florencio Abad, and Senate President Franklin Drilon and other Palace allies are behind a “demolition job” against Binay.

He accused De Lima of “double standard” and said the DOJ will protect the government allies from the ruling Liberal Party by purging political opponents.

“What happened to the Malampaya Fund, MRT-3 extortion, PDAF and other probes she promised to pursue—and why the sudden interest in the Makati hearing?,” Tiangco asked.

“We are aware that members of the Liberal Party who were recipients of the Malampaya Fund, PDAF and even DAP (Disbursement Acceleration Program) are being shielded from the investigation. This only goes to show that De Lima is not keen in sending to jail allies of the President,” he said.

* He noted that De Lima, last May, promised to file another batch of cases in relation to the diversion of some P10 billion in allocations from lawmakers’ Priority Development Assistance fund, or “pork barrel.”

The first batch was filed in September last year and the second in October. The first batch of plunder and graft cases included known opposition lawmakers— Senators Juan Ponce Enrile, Ramon Revilla Jr. and Jose “Jinggoy” Estrada.

“Why the inaction? The answer is simple: Because members of the LP and other administration allies are included in the list, and this includes one hypocritical senator-inquisitor,” Tiangco said without naming names.

“Ang tanong kay De Lima. Bakit pagkatapos ng tatlong senators wala nang sumunod? Dahil ba LP na ang kasunod? Bakit ‘yung affidavit ni Napoles during the five-hour interview sa Ospital ng Makati, kung saan sinabi ni Napoles na si Abad ang umano’y mastermind ng pork scam, hindi pa inilalabas ni De Lima? So maliwanag na ginagamit ang DOJ para sa mga kalaban sa politika,” Tiangco said.

OPINION
Racket at PDEA, car rentals; This accuser is employing militaristic tactic on Binay GOTCHA By Jarius Bondoc (The Philippine Star) | Updated October 13, 2014 - 12:00am 0 4 googleplus0 0


By Jarius Bondoc

Malacañang ought to stop this racket at its Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency. Car rentals are being paid, for millions of pesos a month. Yet they’re all bogus. No vehicles actually are being rented, and the suppliers are inexistent. Obviously insiders are pocketing the money.

Example: 16 disbursements, each for P245,000, all for car rental, were made on Jan. 18, 2013. Payee was a fictitious SSMM Vehicle Rental Services.

On the same day nine other disbursements were made, for P235,000, P240,000, and P245,000. Payee was equally fictitious BEMV Transport Services.

On Jan. 30, 2013, came 12 more disbursements, for P200,000, P220,000, P222,000, and P240,000. Payees were the same inexistent SSMM and BEMV.

That month alone P8,832,000 was paid to the two firms. Allegedly, one Jean P. cashed all the checks, then delivered the loot to the PDEA budget, finance, and audit sections.

The racket went on in Feb. and Mar. 2013, with P11,007,000 and P7,975,000 laundered through SSMM and BEMV.

In the first quarter of 2013 alone P27,814,000 was filched. And that’s only from fakes car rentals. There can only be other rackets.

The PDEA runs after drug traffickers who thrive on addicts. Some of its officers apparently are addicted to money not their own.

* * *

And who’s this high ranker at the civil aviation authority loved more by airlines than his peers? As shown in airline execs’ letters to him, this official gives in to their frequent requests for leniency or exemption from safety and service standards. All this, to the point of surrendering the regulatory functions for which the authority exists to begin with.

Of late, the official has succumbed to airlines’ pressures to reduce their subsidy of travel accommodations for safety inspectors. In spending less on such expense, airlines can afford to delay compliance with the inspectors’ safety impositions.

* * *

Everyone’s free to back or bash VP Jejomar Binay on alleged sleaze. If justice runs its course, he will be cleared or jailed.

What should alarm us is the militaristic way of one of Binay’s three senator-accusers. That is, in pronouncing him guilty solely from say-so and not documents, then challenging him to prove innocence. That’s what Marcos’s torturers did to tens of thousands of dissenters during Martial Law. We who are old enough to have lived through such horrors must warn against the likely resurgence, even if in seemingly milder forms.

* To be sure, unlike in the Marcos days, nobody is pulling out Binay’s nails, banging his head on the wall, or electrocuting his genitals. He merely has been invited to give his side at the Senate inquiry. And he has chosen to snub it, unlike under Martial Law when an “invitation” for questioning at the military camp meant months of forced vacation. Still that one militaristic senator is subjecting Binay to the same Marcos ruse of accusing first, then asking questions later.

This goes against the democratic way. Normally the burden is placed on the accuser to prove guilt, not on the accused to show otherwise. That’s because it is easy to make an accusation, even from hallucination or malice.

So far have spoken against Binay a political ally-turned-bitter foe, ex-subordinates, and in periphery a veteran state auditor. Hopefully they can back their narratives with direct proof of P1.3-billion kickback in a car park construction during Binay’s Makati mayoralty. That would put Binay away for good.

Same with the assertion of Binay’s secret ownership of a 350-hectare country estate, with huge orchid and maze gardens, and “air-conditioned piggery.” Yet so far it’s all only the say-so of one witness, versus tax and asset documents to the contrary.

Added to this is the vivid recollection of the militaristic senator of having been invited to the estate’s recent inaugural by its registered owner.

For the militaristic senator, that owner is actually Binay’s “front man.” His proof: that Chinoy oddly pushed through with the inaugural last Aug. during the Chinese ghost month when no project should be started, at the height of a typhoon at that.

This is the same militarist who attempted a coup d’état in 2003 against the civilian government.

Fortunately he and his cohorts failed. Still it should be recalled that at the height of that mutiny they called the press to a briefing at a posh hotel in Makati. They disliked the racket that reporters made in setting up mikes, tape recorders, and video-cams.

That militarist’s right-hand man pointed a cocked assault rifle at the newsmen, and yelled, “You are part of the problem.” Whereupon, the crowd quieted down and the militarist began his megalomaniac spiel.

Days later, his unexplained ownership of a dozen for-hire vehicles was exposed in the press, and the exposers received death threats.

Binay’s two other senator-accusers would do well to steer clear of their militaristic colleague. Lawyers both, they know the basic principle of criminal justice: the accuser has the duty to prove his rap. Otherwise they risk tarnishing their fathers’ image: one in avoiding link to Marcos’s Martial Law, the other in going to political prison fighting it.

* * *

Edward, an overseas Filipino worker whose real name I shall keep, reacts to my piece on the social cost of separated families and broken homes (Gotcha, 6 Oct. 2014):

“I’ve been following your column since becoming an OFW, albeit as TNT (tago nang tago), 15 years ago. Working abroad for the children’s sake comes at a price – as you said, marital breakups, physical-emotional distress, and missing special family events including burials. There’s also a prize, at least in my case as a factory worker here. My sacrifices have produced an Australian immigrant (my eldest), a government lawyer, a military pilot, and a registered nurse. The last, having gone on to medical school, is the main reason I still need to work here. The sad part of working abroad is, per your exposés, how officials enrich themselves in government – at the expense of our blood, sweat, and tears. Is there hope for the motherland?”

Now there’s a true star, unlike those officials who call OFWs “modern-day heroes,” yet strive not to improve domestic employment.


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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