PHILIPPINE HEADLINE NEWS ONLINE: Since 1997 © Copyright (PHNO) http://newsflash.org



EDITORIALS & OPINIONS OF THE WEEK
OR CLICK HERE TO READ ONLINE
(Mini Reads followed by Full news commentary)
FROM THE MANILA STANDARD

EDITORIAL: COLATERAL DAMAGE


JANUARY 4 -THE Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption, an anti-crime group, has been one of the most outspoken supporters of the Duterte administration’s war on illegal drugs, so when it speaks out against the “collateral damage” being done, the government should listen. The impetus for the VACC’s statement comes from the killing of seven people, including four teens and a pregnant woman, by armed masked men looking for a drug suspect in Bagong Silang, Caloocan City on Dec. 27. In that incident, a group of young men were dancing in a house that was reportedly a drug den when the masked gunmen barged in and started shooting. The assailants then followed one of the men who fled to a nearby house, where a pregnant woman and her mother-in-law were also killed. Police reports said five people died instantly when the gunmen opened fire on those inside the house. Two others died before reaching the hospital.READ MORE...

ALSO: EDITORIAL - Downward spiral


JANUARY 3 -Now that the Christmas and New Year holidays are behind us, we slide back into the business of government. One of the first things we watch out for is the congressional move to restore the death penalty, upon the prodding of no less than President Rodrigo Duterte who is keen on casting terror among those involved in the drug trade. The President says he is resorting to these drastic measures to contain the drug menace that threatens to turn the country into a narco-state and destroy the next generations. He has also said, though we do not know if he was being truthful or emphatic, that he would like to see several state executions, in a variety of manners, every day. This was briefly taken up at the House of Representatives last year, but our lawmakers said they were setting it aside in the spirit of the holidays and would revert to it in January. And now it is January. All the arguments appear to have been exhausted: How state-sponsored executions have not been proven to deter crime, how the death penalty runs counter to the idea of restorative justice, and how an imperfect justice system worsens the situation because innocent men may be put to death while the truly guilty can go scot-free. READ MORE...

ALSO By E. ONGSIOCO - 2017: Time to make things better


JANUARY 7 -by Elizabeth Angsioco
It is officially 2017. As expected, social media has been full of greetings, good wishes, and hopes for this brand new year. As tradition goes, many of the greetings (intentionally or not), gave the impression that a new year can bring good luck, love, success, wealth, health, and all those things people wish for. This is tradition. But reality is different, very different. In real life, a new year cannot do anything by itself. It cannot “bring” us our wishes. It is not magic. What a new year gives us, is time. It gives us another opportunity to make things happen, to realize our hopes, whatever these are. A new year is an opportunity for us to do better as individuals, and as citizens of this country and the world. My favorite among the many social media posts I read is from someone I know quite well both personally and professionally. Executive Chef Giney Villar wrote on her Facebook page, “A new year is the universe’s way of telling you that no matter how “it” ended, you can begin again. Now shine.” I could not have said it any better. READ MORE...

ALSO: By Kapunan - Comelec cannot renege on its duty


JANUARY 6 -by Rod Kapunan
The Commission on Elections has warned the Supreme Court that the election protest filed by former senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. against the touted vice president Maria Leonor “Leni” Robredo could cost more than P2 billion. In a manifestation it filed before the high court, the Comelec said it needs to secure the 97,366 units of vote-counting machines, the election management system and accessories it leased from Smartmatic-TIM Inc. It cited the lease contract from Smartmatic which would require it to pay to the tune of P2,078,304,225.76 on account of the election protest. Whether the “financial breakdown agreed with Smartmatic in itemizing the cost of the goods should the total purchase option under the two AES (Automatic Election System) contract” is admitted by the Comelec is, frankly speaking, irrelevant. Rather, it is an insidious attempt to renege on its duty to conduct a recount of the votes for vice president in the last May 2016 election. The Comelec can never justify its inability to enforce what the Constitution has mandated it to do. It is beyond its power or even for the Supreme Court to pre-empt what the law tells them to do. Rather, the Comelec alone is to blame for circumventing what the Constitution has mandated it to do when it subcontracted to a private contractor the automation of our electoral system to one suspected by many as an arm of the Central Intelligence Agency to ensure that only their certified stooge of the US will win in the election. READ MORE...


READ FULL MEDIA REPORTS HERE BELOW
OR CLICK HERE TO READ ONLINE

Collateral damage

MANILA, JANUARY 9, 2017 (MANILA STANDARD) posted January 04, 2017 at 12:01 am - THE Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption, an anti-crime group, has been one of the most outspoken supporters of the Duterte administration’s war on illegal drugs, so when it speaks out against the “collateral damage” being done, the government should listen.

The impetus for the VACC’s statement comes from the killing of seven people, including four teens and a pregnant woman, by armed masked men looking for a drug suspect in Bagong Silang, Caloocan City on Dec. 27.

In that incident, a group of young men were dancing in a house that was reportedly a drug den when the masked gunmen barged in and started shooting. The assailants then followed one of the men who fled to a nearby house, where a pregnant woman and her mother-in-law were also killed.

Police reports said five people died instantly when the gunmen opened fire on those inside the house. Two others died before reaching the hospital.

READ MORE...

Reports said four of those killed were teenagers, two of them 15, one 16 and one 18, in what police reported as the result of a gang war.

However, Dante Jimenez, VACC founding chairman, said the incident was not the result of a gang war, but a covert police operation based on witnesses’ accounts.

“We went to the area because of our concern about those teenagers being involved in drug use, trafficking or pushing. In four places we’d gone to, three of the minors were confirmed not [to be] using drugs, according to their relatives and neighbors,” he said.

“We also went to the barangay to investigate, and found out only one of the teenage boys had tried using drugs just once.”

He said five of the fatalities just happened to be in the area of the police operation.

“In our initial assessment, I think there have been many people who became what President Rodrigo Duterte called... collateral damage. And we call them collateral victims. They are the ones who get caught in a crossfire. Some are just a case of mistaken identity,” he said.

Jimenez, a supporter of the administration, urged the President to create a special task force composed of police officers and prosecutors to look into the deaths of innocent people.

It is time for President Duterte to listen.

He can continue to blindly insist that the police version of such incidents is always correct, but this would isolate him from the people and the truth.

In the last six months, more than 6,000 people have been killed in the bloody war on drugs—averaging 39 deaths a day. On Dec. 27, it seems, at least seven of those people—or about 18 percent of the daily average death rate—were “collateral damage,” a military euphemism that dehumanizes people who shouldn’t have been killed but were.

What is an acceptable level of “collateral damage”? Even at 5 percent, that would translate to 300 people who didn’t have to die, but did—all in the name of the President’s unrelenting war on drugs.

Nobody is suggesting that the war be called off; we do insist, however, that the police make it their goal to ensure that no innocent bystanders are killed, and that when they are, a proper accounting be made to the people.

After all, in our democratic system, regardless of what Mr. Duterte wishes or thinks, the police are still accountable to the people.


Downward spiral posted January 03, 2017 at 12:01 am



Now that the Christmas and New Year holidays are behind us, we slide back into the business of government.

One of the first things we watch out for is the congressional move to restore the death penalty, upon the prodding of no less than President Rodrigo Duterte who is keen on casting terror among those involved in the drug trade.

The President says he is resorting to these drastic measures to contain the drug menace that threatens to turn the country into a narco-state and destroy the next generations. He has also said, though we do not know if he was being truthful or emphatic, that he would like to see several state executions, in a variety of manners, every day.

This was briefly taken up at the House of Representatives last year, but our lawmakers said they were setting it aside in the spirit of the holidays and would revert to it in January.

And now it is January.

All the arguments appear to have been exhausted: How state-sponsored executions have not been proven to deter crime, how the death penalty runs counter to the idea of restorative justice, and how an imperfect justice system worsens the situation because innocent men may be put to death while the truly guilty can go scot-free.

READ MORE...

There are also arguments based on religion.

We can only repeat these and hope the supposedly enlightened lawmakers find it in their hearts to vote against something fundamentally opposable. This, instead of going along with the wishes of an incumbent administration that single-mindedly pursues an objective no matter the cost or damage.

The thought of death penalty in a country like the Philippines with a system so skewed, imperfect and oppressive can only sow terror among the boldest among us.


2017: Time to make things better posted January 07, 2017 at 12:01 am by Elizabeth Angsioco


by Elizabeth Angsioco

It is officially 2017. As expected, social media has been full of greetings, good wishes, and hopes for this brand new year. As tradition goes, many of the greetings (intentionally or not), gave the impression that a new year can bring good luck, love, success, wealth, health, and all those things people wish for.

This is tradition. But reality is different, very different.

In real life, a new year cannot do anything by itself. It cannot “bring” us our wishes. It is not magic. What a new year gives us, is time. It gives us another opportunity to make things happen, to realize our hopes, whatever these are.

A new year is an opportunity for us to do better as individuals, and as citizens of this country and the world.

My favorite among the many social media posts I read is from someone I know quite well both personally and professionally. Executive Chef Giney Villar wrote on her Facebook page, “A new year is the universe’s way of telling you that no matter how “it” ended, you can begin again. Now shine.” I could not have said it any better.

READ MORE...

Indeed, no matter what happened in the past year, 2017 is a chance to start again and achieve what we set out to achieve in whatever field we choose. This time, with the lessons learned from 2016, and even the years before. We need to go at “it” in a smarter, more informed way. We are given time to undo wrongs (that can still be undone), pursue dreams we have long aspired for, or even take a different direction from the ones we have tried before.

A new year cannot make us shine. We need to exert effort, work, to become a rock star.

Many have repeatedly expressed that 2016 was not a good year. Not because 2016 willed it, but because of events that happened, many of which were caused by people’s actions or inaction, and decisions.

In our country, we lament the more than 6,000 people killed in the name of government’s “war on drugs.” 2016 did not murder them. People did. And it is also the people, those who believe in due process, the rule of law and human rights, who can stop this terror. Those killed cannot be made to come back BUT the criminals who did these horrendous acts, whoever they are, should be made to face justice.

Equally important is for people to speak up and act to halt the killings. We are not a country of barbarians. We have laws to rule us and must be followed by everyone, especially those in government. The Executive Department’s main mandate is to implement laws. The president, voted into power by 16 million of our citizens, is there to protect the welfare of more than 100 million Filipinos.

If we all appeal to the Chief Executive, there is no way that he will not hear us.

The. Killings. Must. Stop.

2016 saw the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos “buried” in the Libingan ng mga Bayani. 2016 did not make this happen. It was the country’s president and the Supreme Court Justices who made this possible. The case remains to be in the hands of the Magistrates of the highest Court of the land. Those who oppose said “burial” can still make their voices heard. The Justices are people, too. If they remain true to their honorable title, they will find a way so true justice prevails.

Whatever happens to this case, the Filipino people need to remain vigilant to protect, maintain, even strengthen our democratic gains. Tens of thousands were tortured and thousands offered their lives in the struggle against dictatorship and the return of democracy in our land.

Whatever the shortcomings and failures were of previous administrations after 1986, we cannot give up on our democratic freedoms. We cannot allow Martial Law to happen again. We cannot have another dictator rule our country. We, the people should make this clear this year.

2016 also saw women’s rights disrespected and outright violated. We did not have a shortage of misogynist attitudes, words, and actions from government officials and personalities. Slut-shaming became a tactic to pressure and harass women from both pro- and anti- administration.

We witnessed how President Duterte himself catcalled women journalists. We saw how men of power, “HONORABLE” lawmakers ridiculed, made fun of, and feasted on Senator Leila de Lima and her relationship with a former lover in the halls of the House of Representatives, during formal hearings no less. We heard of malicious pregnancy rumors spread by opponents of Vice President Leni Robredo. Almost nude photos of Mocha Uson are virtually permanent fixtures in social media.

People have forgotten that women’s rights are human rights. We have forgotten that wherever we stand on issues, we cannot violate human rights. We should rather stick to the issues at hand.

2016 also saw the Supreme Court disregarding women’s reproductive health and rights through its August decision. Thanks to our Justices, a total stock out of family planning contraceptives, used or needed by more than 14 million Filipino women, is now possible.

This decision, if not reversed, will surely result in more unwanted pregnancies, teenage pregnancies, unsafe abortions, poverty, and maternal deaths. The SC has dealt women a huge blow.

2017 should be a year of women (and allies among men) making our voices heard loud and clear. We are not going to idly stand by while our rights are being violated, most especially by those who are supposed to champion us in government. This year, women must demand respect for our rights, including our right to decide to family planning.

2016 left us with important issues that need addressing. 2017 is the year to do this. We have this time, this opportunity to make things better.


Comelec cannot renege on its duty posted January 07, 2017 at 12:01 am by Rod Kapunan


by Rod Kapunan

The Commission on Elections has warned the Supreme Court that the election protest filed by former senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. against the touted vice president Maria Leonor “Leni” Robredo could cost more than P2 billion.

In a manifestation it filed before the high court, the Comelec said it needs to secure the 97,366 units of vote-counting machines, the election management system and accessories it leased from Smartmatic-TIM Inc. It cited the lease contract from Smartmatic which would require it to pay to the tune of P2,078,304,225.76 on account of the election protest.

Whether the “financial breakdown agreed with Smartmatic in itemizing the cost of the goods should the total purchase option under the two AES (Automatic Election System) contract” is admitted by the Comelec is, frankly speaking, irrelevant. Rather, it is an insidious attempt to renege on its duty to conduct a recount of the votes for vice president in the last May 2016 election.

The Comelec can never justify its inability to enforce what the Constitution has mandated it to do. It is beyond its power or even for the Supreme Court to pre-empt what the law tells them to do.

Rather, the Comelec alone is to blame for circumventing what the Constitution has mandated it to do when it subcontracted to a private contractor the automation of our electoral system to one suspected by many as an arm of the Central Intelligence Agency to ensure that only their certified stooge of the US will win in the election.

READ MORE...

The Comelec passed on its responsibility to Smartmatic to give it an excuse not to fulfill its obligation, or to put it bluntly, block the order for a recount issued by the Presidential Electoral Tribunal. That responsibility is on the shoulder of the Comelec officials led by that abrasive chairman Andes Bautista. Bautista cannot cite the huge amount as his convenient alibi because it would amount to denying the electorate of its right to question who was elected vice president with the unsavory consequence of being governed by one who cheated them of their votes and now boldly seeking to discredit and wanting to overthrow the duly elected president.

As supposedly competent people, the commissioners should have anticipated that there would be a protest demanding a recount of the votes. The possibility that Bongbong Marcos would file a protest even became certain because the election held last May was characterized by massive fraud and systematic cheating. In fact, everybody wonders, except those hypocrites who clothe themselves as responsible voters, just how could a candidate who was leading by almost one million votes in the early evening of the counting be overtaken by more than 200,000 votes by sunrise? Even fools questioned the methodology used in counting unless the Comelec would admit their machines faltered.

For Bautista to say that the Comelec failed to anticipate that a protest would be lodged and it would cost us that much is to admit criminal liability. The Comelec cannot give as reason the huge amount that will entail to conduct a recount because that is equivalent to telling the aggrieved candidate that Marcos’ petition cannot be entertained or that he can only blame himself for failing to come out with the required bond. Invariably, that alibi could lead to the nullification of the law and the dismissal of the petition, something that was not contemplated by the legislators when they enacted a law for the automation of our electoral system. It would be an unprecedented stupidity for the Supreme Court to render a law unconstitutional just because the Comelec now refuses to have it implemented.

In fact, those people in the Comelec can be criminally prosecuted apart from their failure to make a recount as ordered by the PET. Malice is evident because the Comelec cannot act on the basis that it failed to inform the candidate of the amount he will spend to resolve his petition. Besides, the Comelec should have stated that requirement beforehand, meaning before the filing of his candidacy and not after the election was held because that could lead to the denial of his petition. These are questions that Bautista and his conspiring cabal should answer. They can only be prosecuted now because they are not allowed to give any excuse that could invalidate the electoral law or much more deny the losing candidates of their right to make a protest.

Interestingly, that portion in the contract with Smartmatic-TIM, Inc. that would require them to secure the 97,366 units of vote-counting machines, the election management system and accessories is already questionable because the contracting made by Comelec appeared to commit the poll body to permanently hire its services with the exclusive right to dictate the terms and the amount for their services only to be cheated by the result of the election.

It was lease contracts that Smartmatic-TIM, Inc. entered into with the Comelec. That means Smartmatic remains under obligation to preserve the automatic election equipment and records such as Voting Counting Machines (VCMs), Consolidation and Canvass System (CCS) units, Secure Digital (SD) cards (main and back-up) and other data storage devices totalling 92,509 clustered precincts used in the May 2016 election pursuant to obligation under the contract.

Whatever the outcome is, it is no longer the concern of the PET, much that it has already granted the petition. The Comelec now has no choice but to proceed with the recount of the ballots. The Comelec, as lawyers would say, is now “estopped” from questioning the order. It should have anticipated that possibility to happen. Moreover, these contemptible appointees of the graft ridden holier-than-thou administration should be the one to explain because the expenses that will be incurred to resolve an election protest appear to be open-ended amount. This alone is an indicator of possible graft in the contract the Comelec entered into with Smartmatic.

It is basic that all contracts involving the payment of money should clearly state the amount including accessory penalties, if applicable. More so, if the other contracting party is the government. In the end, the world will again be laughing at us because we exhibit our stupidity in bending our laws just to ensure that the lackeys installed by the US cannot be removed even by the legal process of a recount.


CONTINUE TO >> NEXT HT-OPINION PAGE

GO TO >> HEADLINE NEWS PAGE

GO TO > > BUSINESS & ECONOMY PAGE


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

RMAIL: PHILIPPINE HEADLINE NEWS ONLINE
© Copyright, 2016 All rights reserved


GO TO PHILIPPINE HEADLINE NEWS ONLINE [PHNO] WEBSITE