SLB Newsbriefs...daily news from different sources, truncated and compiled. updated daily.
Newsbriefs 02 December Morning
Simbahang Lingkod ng Bayan

Team RP grinds out slow day at Games (

TEAM Philippines’ campaign nearly slowed to a halt yesterday, but a gymnast, a pair of rowers and a judoka joined forces to keep the country afloat in an excruciatingly slow Day 6 in the 23rd Southeast Asian Games.

Roel Ramirez, the rowing pair of Benjamin Tolentino and Alvin Amposta and judoka Helen Dawa delivered the goods as the country successfully kept the opposition at bay going into the final four days of the meet.

Lawmakers demand apology from Thaksin (

Lawmakers on Thursday demanded an apology from Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra for insinuating that the officiating in the Southeast Asian Games favors the host Philippines.

President Arroyo, on the other hand, has ordered an investigation into questions raised by Thaksin.

"I’m directing the officials of the Games to conduct a thorough and impartial investigation into this matter and submit an impartial report within 24 hours," the President said.

Thaksin had said that the officiating seemed to be unfair, that he "often watched these Games and kept thinking ‘Why do results turn out to be that way?’ I don’t know what to say."

Black & White tells De Castro to quit; Drilon an option (

VICE PRESIDENT Noli de Castro is now welcome to resign.

The multisectoral Black and White (B&W) Movement junked De Castro as the acceptable replacement of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo after the deadline it had imposed on him to join the opposition lapsed midnight of Wednesday.

Over 2,000 anti-Arroyo partisans gathered at the La Salle Green Hills gymnasium -- among them former President Corazon Aquino, Senator Sergio Osmeña III, Cavite Representative Gilbert Remulla, Cibac party-list Representative Joel Villanueva and resigned Cabinet officials Corazon Soliman, Florencio Abad, Teresita Deles and Imelda Nicolas -- waited in vain for a word from De Castro.

At 12:12 a.m. yesterday, a black cloth was draped over the poster bearing De Castro's picture and the words "Kabayang Noli, Mabuhay Ka."

What remained in public view was a similarly sized poster bearing the pictures of Ms Arroyo and De Castro and the words "Noli, Magsama Kayo ni Gloria. Resign!"

"We wanted to go through a constitutional process," said Abad, the former education secretary. "We have already done everything. Now nobody can say we did not try."

Immunity proposed for Garci when he testifies in Congress (

Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago suggested yesterday that former Commission on Elections (Comelec) commissioner Virgilio Garcillano be given immunity by Congress to encourage him to tell the truth on the alleged electoral fraud in the May 2004 elections.

This came after Garcillano and his camp threatened to back out from appearing before the House of Representatives as lawmakers said they were disinclined to lift the warrant of arrest issued against the former poll official.

"I think the best way to solve this mess is to offer him the status of a state witness and immunity from prosecution for what he says. That way we can make sure that he will be telling us the whole truth," Santiago said.

FVR twits Gloria: Cha-cha too slow (

The shift to a parliamentary government and the institution of electoral reforms can be achieved in six months if Mrs. Arroyo uses the powers available to the presidency to persuade senators, former President Fidel V. Ramos said Thursday.

At a roundtable with editors, columnists and reporters of The Manila Times, Ramos said the presidency has a reservoir of powers that Mrs. Arroyo could use -- "if she has the mind to do it" -- to get the majority of the senators to support Charter change.

"There should be no wavering. Each step should bring her closer to her objective. This is supposed to be a Cha-cha. What is happening is a slow drag," said Ramos, who has been batting for parliamentary government since the presidential election campaign in 1991.

Palace last resort: 'PIRMA,' if Senate refuses to Cha-cha (

REMEMBER PIRMA, the signature campaign during the term of President Fidel Ramos aimed at amending the Constitution and extending his term?

The Arroyo administration may just resort to a PIRMA-like campaign if the Senate refuses to Cha-cha.

An administration senator told the Inquirer that President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo manifested this plan to Senator Ralph Recto at a recent dinner where they talked, among other issues, about the opposition of senators to Charter change (Cha-cha), which she and the House of Representatives are pushing.

"GMA [the President] told Ralph, 'Well, we can always use the people's initiative,"' said the senator, who asked not to be named.

DOH, Unilab sign anti-bird flu pact (

The Department of Health (DOH) and United Laboratories Inc. (Unilab) yesterday entered into a memorandum of agreement through which the drug company will provide $1.25 million worth of oseltamivir, an anti-avian influenza drug, for free.

Unilab’s donation of the drug, enough to treat about 50,000 people, will form part of the country’s stockpile as it braces for a possible outbreak of the virulent H5N1 bird flu strain, said Health Secretary Francisco Duque III.

Palace blames politics for Pinoys’ frustrations (

Malacañang blamed "poisoned politics" yesterday for the continued exodus of Filipinos seeking better job opportunities abroad but said things were looking up and might persuade people to stay.

A Pulse Asia survey found that one in every three Filipinos wants to move to another country and almost one quarter believes the Philippines is hopeless.

"Poisoned politics is the root of pessimism in our country right now but this is slowly being overcome by the growing confidence in the economy and the brightening prospects for the New Year," Press Secretary Ignacio Bunye said.

VFACom vows to pursue rape case (

THE Philippine government will pursue the case against the six American servicemen even if the alleged victim decides to submit an amended testimony that will clear the suspected rapists, the Presidential Commission on the Visiting Forces Agreement said.

VFACom executive director Zosimo Paredes said rape is considered a crime against the people of the Philippines and can be pursued even if the complainant decides to forgo the case.

“In the event that the prosecutor’s office finds probable cause, and if the victim decides not to push through with the case, we will still pursue it,” Paredes said in an interview.

He, however, admitted that the case will become “significantly weaker” if the victim decides to submit an amended testimony that “removes all elements of rape.”

Wycoco’s assistant named OIC of bureau (

PRESIDENT Gloria Macapagal Arroyo has designated Assistant Director Nestor Mantaring as the officer in charge at the National Bureau of Investigation a week after Director Reynaldo Wycoco suffered a stroke and fell into a deep coma.

A letter dated Nov. 24 was faxed from Malacañang to NBI head office on Taft Avenue, Ermita, Manila only yesterday morning.

In a statement, Mantaring said there would be “no significant changes” made to personnel or day-to-day operations.

“The existing plans and programs started by Director Wycoco are being implemented smoothly,” he said.

A number of NBI officials welcomed Mantaring’s designation as OIC, saying “it’s high time that President Arroyo appointed an NBI insider.”

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