SLB Newsbriefs...daily news from different sources, truncated and compiled. updated daily.
Newsbriefs 07 December Afternoon
Simbahang Lingkod ng Bayan

Garcillano confirms talking to Arroyo in 2004 election

FORMER Commission on Elections commissioner Virgilio Garcillano confirmed on Wednesday that he had spoken with President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo in the 2004 election but that he was not the election official she had referred to when she apologized to the nation for making the controversial call.

At the same time, Garcillano said that he had talked to the President only once and that there was nothing irregular about it.

"I'm not accepting that I was the one she [President] was referring to [in her speech], " Garcillano said Wednesday, responding to a question by Minority Floor Leader Francis Escudero if he was the official the President had referred to when she made her apology.

"I'm not agreeable that she was sorry for calling me. [It is okay] to call as long as you'll not demand something that is irregular," he stressed.

Garci: I'm the poll official in GMA apology (

Former poll commissioner Virgilio Garcillano said Wednesday he was the election official President Arroyo was referring to in her "I'm sorry" speech to the nation on June 27 when she apologized for a "lapse in judgment" for phoning a poll official after the May 10, 2004 elections.

"There 's only one instance that she called me up, and I'm accepting that I was the one she (Mrs. Arroyo) was referring to [in her speech], " Garcillano told members of the House joint inquiry on the "Hello Garci" audiotapes when Minority Floor Leader Francis Escudero asked him to comment on the President's apology to the nation.

Garcillano said he saw nothing wrong talking to the President or any candidate on matters regarding the conduct of the elections.

Ong reveals more wiretap tapes (

Former National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) deputy director Samuel Ong said he has three more tapes of alleged wiretapped conversations between former poll commissioner Virgilio Garcillano and public officials, ABS-CBN reporter Aladin Bacolodan reported Wednesday.

Bacolodan said Ong talked to a few members of the media at an undisclosed location. He said he is ready to face congressional inquiries into the wiretapping controversy if criminal charges against him are dropped.

Ong said he has three other master tapes of other wiretapped conversations allegedly taped by operatives of the Intelligence Service of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (ISAFP).

Ong appealed to Justice Secretary Raul Gonzales to withdraw sedition charges against him and vowed to turn in the tapes to any investigating body.

SC asked to drop petition vs people's court (

MEMBERS of the Citizens' Congress for Truth and Accountability (CCTA) have urged the Supreme Court to dismiss a petition seeking to stop them from trying President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo allegedly for various offenses via a people's court.

In a 45-page comment filed Wednesday, the CCTA through its head, former vice president Teofisto Guingona Jr., told the high court that they were allowed to conduct proceedings under the 1987 Constitution.

"The framers of our 1987 Constitution created the entirely new Article 13 on Social Justice and Human Rights, and saw fit to invigorate and empower people's organizations as a method of direct democracy, as a way for the sovereign citizenry to participate in their government's decision-making," Guingona said in the CCTA petition.

He also pointed that they were not pretending to be a court or a legislative body. Guingona said their aim was to search for truth.

Dike collapses, triggers state of calamity in Calapan (

The Calapan local government on Wednesday declared the city in a state of calamity following floods triggered by the overflow of a dike.

Mayor Carlos Bokal of Calapan City in Oriental Mindoro province told DZMM that 48 of the 62 barangays in the city have been flooded after a dike collapsed due to heavy rains.

Bokal said that as of Tuesday night, dozens of houses in the city were without electricity. He said utilities were cut off after floods damaged power lines.

He also said that the highway connecting Calapan, Roxas and Caticlan has also been flooded and rendered unpassable to light vehicles.

Bokal also appealed for help from the national government for the evacuees. The Mayor said that though he has already ordered the city's disaster council to release funds for the procurement of food and medicines, the national government assistance is still much needed.

Shares close firmer led by PLDT, Petron (

(UPDATE) Share prices closed slightly higher helped by gains in blue chips such as PLDT and Petron, dealers said.

Analysts said the market managed to gain despite renewed political worries as some investors hope that Wednesday's appearance of a former election official at a congressional inquiry would finally put an end to the poll fraud scandal that has hounded President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo since early this year.

The composite index closed up 4.27 points or 0.20 percent at 2,103.42 after trading between 2,097.28 and 2,105.80. Volume traded reached 462.4 million shares worth 1.06 billion pesos.

The broader all-shares index advanced 2.70 points to 1,273.02.
Gainers outnumbered losers 44 to 25 and 64 stocks ended flat.
Newsbriefs 7 December Morning
Simbahang Lingkod ng Bayan

Garci takes ‘striptease’ to House

AFTER tantalizing the political scene with hints and partial revelations, former elections commissioner Virgilio Garcillano may well bare all today when he faces the House panel investigating wiretapped conversations during the 2004 elections that linked him to over 30 politicians.

Some 250 policemen will be deployed around the Batasan Complex today in preparation for Garcillano’s arrival at the House at 10 a.m.

Bayan Muna Rep. Teodoro Casiño, an outspoken critic of the administration, urged Garcillano not to be a “tease” and make a full disclosure of his alleged participation in rigging the May 2004 elections.

“Garci’s striptease may appear titillating at first but when the time comes for him to bare all, he’ll most likely hide the essential parts of his testimony. Baka mabitin ang live show (The live show might leave us hanging),” Casiño said.

On the other hand, the chairmen of the five committees in the investigating panel said they would not allow Garcillano to dictate what lawmakers would ask him at the hearing today.

Every committee member would be given three minutes to question Garcillano, said North Cotabato Rep. Emmylou Talino Santos, head of the panel.

Makati City Rep. Teodoro Locsin Jr., chairman of the committee on suffrage and electoral reforms, rejected Garcillano’s conditions that he not be asked about the contents of tapes, since these are the subject of an appeal at the Supreme Court.

“Nobody can dictate on us during the proceedings,” Locsin said.

Supreme Court won’t stop House wiretap probe

THE SUPREME Court has refused to stop a congressional inquiry into the wiretapping controversy which is set to resume Wednesday at the House of Representatives.

Instead, the high tribunal ordered the five House committees jointly investigating the alleged wiretapped recordings to comment within 10 days on the petition of former election commissioner Virgilio Garcillano to stop the probe, saying the tapes were illegally obtained and could not be used as evidence.

Allegations that President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo rigged last year's elections are largely based on wiretaps of phone calls in which the President is allegedly heard speaking to an election official, believed to be Garcillano, about ensuring a million-vote victory in the presidential race.

Ordered by the Court to comment are members of the House committees on public information, public order and safety, national defense and security, information and communications technology, and suffrage and electoral reforms, Court information officer Ismael Khan said Tuesday.

In his November 25 petition, Garcillano also asked the high court to order the House committees to strike off the record all references to the wiretaps and refrain from further using them in future hearings.

Defensor confirms report: No more logging in Samar (
ENVIRONMENT Secretary Michael Defensor yesterday confirmed reports attributed to the bishops of Samar Island that he had given them his personal commitment that San Jose Timber Corp. (SJTC) would not be allowed to resume logging operations on the island.

SJTC is owned by Senator Juan Ponce Enrile.

SJTC counsel Napoleon Poblador earlier said that Defensor may have been misquoted.

"There's no legal move by the [opponents] to question the lifting of the moratorium. How can the DENR (Department of Environment and Natural Resources) make a pronouncement like that?" he said.

At a news conference where he announced the cancellation of 276 forest management agreements covering 3 million hectares, Defensor said Borongan Bishop Leonardo Medroso was not misquoted when he told reporters about the secretary's commitment.

DA officials admit fertilizer scam documents missing (

Officials of the Department of Agriculture (DA) led by Secretary Domingo Panganiban admitted to the Senate yesterday that the documents pertaining to the release of P728 million in fertilizer funds were missing.

Panganiban, however, snubbed the initial hearing of the House of Representatives good government committee on the fertilizer fund scam totaling P2.8-billion. So did Budget Secretary Romulo Neri.

The two Cabinet members failed to send a representative to the inquiry. Also, they did they write the committee to explain why they could not attend.

During the budget hearing for the agriculture department at the Senate, the DA officials said the request document for the release of the funds by the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) and the "program of work" or description of the program that accompanied the funding request could not be found.

What the DA had with them was only a copy of the annex to the request made to the DBM that was signed by former agriculture undersecretary Jocelyn Bolante which contained the list of the alleged proponents of the program.

But Bolante and other key DA officials who could shed light on the controversy failed to attend the budget hearing.

Napocor to raise rates in January (

The state-owned National Power Corp., in a move to recover its various deferred charges, will raise power rates in January, ranging from 8.31 centavos to 51 centavos per kilowatthour nationwide.

The move followed the approval by the Energy Regulatory Commission of Napocor’s application to collect deferred generation, fuel and foreign exchange costs.

Napocor power rates will go up by 12.23 centavos per kilowatthour in Luzon, 8.31 centavos in Visayas and 51 centavos in Mindanao.

Napocor said the new adjustments will be reflected in January electric bills of its consumers, considering that generation charges of distribution utilities and electric cooperatives to their customers have a one-month lag following.

Napocor’s petition under the generation rate adjustment mechanism (GRAM) and incremental currency exchange adjustment (Icera) covers the period October 2004 to March 2005.

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