SLB Newsbriefs...daily news from different sources, truncated and compiled. updated daily.
Newsbriefs 29 November Morning
Simbahang Lingkod ng Bayan

Philippine gold haul rises to 25 (

FILIPINOS found a treasure trove in the pool and struck a gold mine on the track to pace the medal chase of the 23rd Southeast Asian Games yesterday.

Diver Sheila Mae Perez became the meet’s first double-gold medalist and long jumper Henry Dagmil broke the meet record with a golden leap as the Philippines jacked up its output for the day to 20 golds with contributions from taekwondo, karatedo, wushu, fencing, tennis and billiards.

As of 11 o'clock last night, the Philippines had a total of 25 golds, 10 silvers and 15 bronzes in the 11-nation biennial meet. Reigning overall champion Vietnam was running second with a 14-11-15 tally, towing Thailand (7-12-17), Malaysia (7-10-8) and Indonesia (6-9-9). (More SEAG stories in Sports, Pages A17-A21.)

Ong dared to produce ‘Hello Garci’ original tape (

PRODUCE the original "Hello Garci" recording.

“They have to show us that there was such an original tape, if such indeed existed,” former Election Commissioner Virgilio Garcillano told Inquirer reporter Michael Lim Ubac in an interview on Sunday somewhere in central Mindanao.

Military wraps up wiretap probe sans Garci side (

THE Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) has wrapped up its probe into the alleged involvement of some of its top officers in the “Hello Garci” scandal without getting the side of former Election Commissioner Virgilio Garcillano.

The five-member fact-finding board headed by Inspector General Vice Admiral Mateo Mayuga turned over its findings to AFP Chief of Staff Gen. Generoso Senga last week amid reports that Garcillano had reappeared after hiding for months.

The board has no intention of reopening its inquiry and asking Garcillano to answer questions, said AFP spokesperson Col. Tristan Kison.

“We can’t compel him to come because we have no jurisdiction over Garcillano,” Kison told reporters yesterday.

GMA men split on plan of Garci to face probe (

KEY members of the Arroyo Cabinet are split on elections commissioner Virgilio Garcillano’s plan to face congressional probers as his brief TV interview Sunday raised more questions.

The “doves” such as Environment Secretary Michael Defensor and presidential chief of staff Tomas Alcantara do not want Garcillano to tell his version of the “Hello Garci” tapes for fear it would backfire on the administration, a Palace source said.

But the “hawks” led by Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita, Interior Secretary Angelo Reyes and Transportation Secretary Leandro Mendoza argue that Garcillano’s decision will work to the advantage of President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, because the former poll official can resolve the controversy once and for all.

The “tell-all” approach is also supported by Antipolo Rep. Ronaldo Puno, who served as crisis manager at the height of the tape scandal.

Garcillano may still face arrest -- House (

DESPITE his offer to tell all about the tape scandal that rocked the government, former elections commissioner Virgilio Garcillano may still be arrested if he snubs House or Senate investigations that are likely to reopen in the wake of his return.
House Majority Leader Prospero Nograles raised this possibility yesterday, even as he attacked the opposition for dismissing the testimony of the controversial poll official out of hand.

Also yesterday, Senate President Franklin Drilon said the committee on national defense and security chaired by Senator Rodolfo Biazon will issue a subpoena to Garcillano to compel him to testify.

Garcillano protected by armed Moro groups (

COTABATO CITY -- Is the most elusive man in the country being shielded from the public eye by an influential Moro [local Muslim] group?

In an interview on Sunday somewhere in Maguindanao province, former Election Commissioner Virgilio Garcillano claimed he was being protected by “Moro friends” with links to armed movements in Mindanao.

Garcillano said this allowed him to roam provinces in Mindanao the last five months undetected by the authorities.

Ping to pin down Garci on fraud (

Opposition Sen. Panfilo Lacson claimed yesterday that he has an "embedded" informant in the camp of former election official Virgilio Garcillano and is currently gathering affidavits from witnesses who will bolster the charges of fraud against him and President Arroyo in the May 2004 presidential elections.

"In due time we will come out with affidavits of certain (Commission on Elections) officials in the area of Mindanao," Lacson told reporters.

Erap acceptable to Left (

The biggest left-wing political group, Bayan Muna, and its four allies will accept former President Joseph Estrada if that becomes the clear will of the people, as manifested in a popular uprising similar to EDSA 1 and EDSA 2.

But at a roundtable with editors and reporters of The Manila Times, Bayan Muna Rep. Satur Ocampo also said that the plunder case against Estrada must first be resolved.
Ocampo said Bayan Muna and its allies -- Anakpawis, Anak ng Bayan, Gabriela, Migrante, the party-list groups that won the most votes in the last election -- have observed the sincerity and willingness of such pro-Erap leaders as Mayor J. V. Ejercito, Estrada’s son, to help reform the country.

Asked if Vice President Noli de Castro is acceptable, Ocampo replied: "We can’t even talk about that now, because he has remained with President Arroyo.

BSP poll: Consumer outlook optimistic (

Good news came from the Bangko Sentral on Monday: The overall consumer outlook improved in the fourth quarter of 2005 and will remain good in the first quarter of 2006.

This is true of the family financial situation, the level of family income and the national economic condition, the BSP said, revealing results of its latest Consumer Expectation Survey.

The respondents, belonging to major income groups, based their optimism on their expectations of improved and additional income, their hopes of seeing more domestic and foreign jobs being available, and sound government policies being carried out.

The latest CES, which covers 2,427 households in Metro Manila, was conducted from October 1 to 7, 2005.

The survey response rate for the fourth quarter was higher at 94.7 percent than the 93.5 percent in the previous, third-quarter survey.

The average infusion index for the consumer outlook went up by 1.4 index points compared with the previous quarter.

The family financial situation index improved by 2.4 points, the level of family income index by 1.3 points, and the index of economic condition by 0.6 points compared with those in the previous survey.

Bayan Muna will take murder cases to UN (

Leftist progressive groups in the House of Representatives vowed to bring the issue of escalating political killings in the country before the United Nation Human Rights Committee and other forums to serve justice to the families and relatives of the victims.

At a roundtable Monday with editors and reporters of The Manila Times, Party-list Rep. Satur Ocampo of the Left-leaning Bayan Muna said that besides holding congressional inquiries into these killings, they plan to address the issue through the UN Commissioner on Human Rights.

Ocampo lamented that 71 members of Bayan Muna have been killed since 2001.
This year alone, he said, 26 members of Bayan Muna were murdered, the latest being a "massacre" in Palo, Leyte.

Asian bishops concerned over RP political situation — Cruz (

Catholic bishops from other Asian countries have expressed concerns about the current political situation in the Philippines, according to Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Oscar Cruz.

Cruz, who represented the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) in the recent Synod of Asian Bishops in Vatican City, said yesterday ranking Catholic Church officials from other countries have inquired with him as to the political situation in the Philippines and developments of the Church in the country.

"I have to go there to make a report of what is happening in the country, especially as far as the Church is concerned. But incidentally, a lot of them were asking about the political situation in the country," Cruz said yesterday.

4,775 OFWs in jail (

CONGRESS is looking for more ways to assist overseas Filipino workers, or OFWs, especially after the Department of Foreign Affairs reported that 4,775 of them were languishing in jails abroad -- in all continents except Antarctica -- the chair of the House appropriations committee said yesterday.

Rep. Rolando Andaya Jr. of Camarines Sur province said one proposal his committee has decided on was to increase the amount Philippine embassies are allowed to keep of the income they generate in the form of fees for various consular services such as the issuance of visas and renewal of passports. This income could then be used for OFWs in distress, including the 4,775 Filipinos in foreign jails.

“This is also in appreciation of the robust dollar remittances of overseas Filipino workers,” Andaya said.

1 year after, logging back in Aurora (

A year after flashfloods and landslides washed out communities in the provinces of Quezon and Aurora, illegal logging continues.

Residents of the provinces, who lost their loved ones in the tragedy attributed to unabated illegal logging, cannot help but feel insulted by what they perceive to be the disregard of authorities who have failed to limit logging operations.

Just three months ago, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) allowed more logging concessionaires to cut trees and transport logs.

The DENR has reportedly issued six permits allowing eight holders of industrial forest management agreements (IFMAs) and a holder of timber license agreement (TLA) to operate.

"This adds insult to the fresh injury that we, victim’s of last year’s flashfloods and landslides, endure until now," said Marieta Corpuz of the Samahan ng Katutubo sa Sierra Madre (SKSM).

"Our cry for justice has not been heeded by Mrs. Arroyo, who has been busy attending to the demands of her patrons, including logging and mining companies," she added.

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