SLB Newsbriefs...daily news from different sources, truncated and compiled. updated daily.
Newsbriefs 11 January Morning
Simbahang Lingkod ng Bayan

De Castro says he's open to shortened term

SAYING everyone should be willing to make sacrifices, Vice President Noli de Castro yesterday disclosed that some Lakas leaders, including former President Fidel Ramos, had offered him a seat in the proposed parliament and a senior post in the Cabinet if he agreed to cut short his term in 2007.

De Castro, in an interview with the Inquirer, indicated he was open to the idea, if the people supported the proposed shift to a parliamentary form of government.

De Castro said that, during a dinner before Christmas, Ramos also spoke to him about the urgency of Charter change, particularly the proposal to put in place the elements of a parliamentary system by mid-2007.

Davide eyed as country’s United Nations delegate (

“FORMER Chief Justice Hilario Davide Jr. is reportedly being groomed to become the country’s next permanent representative to the United Nations, considered one of the most coveted posts in the foreign service.

Sources in the Department of Foreign Affairs revealed the plan, but Malacañang refused to confirm or deny the report.

“I am not in a position to (say) that. Both gentlemen are very highly qualified,” Press Secretary Ignacio Bunye said in an interview.

Davide, who retired from the judiciary last month, is reportedly being eyed by the President to replace current permanent representative Lauro Baja Jr.

“Ambassador Baja has done quite a lot as our man in the UN. His work is appreciated not only by the Philippine government but by his colleagues in the international community as well,” Bunye said.

Baja has steered the Philippine Mission in New York to a two-year seat in the UN Security Council, the most powerful body of the international organization.”

Faeldon bares ways to show popular protest (

“Fugitive Marine Capt. Nicanor Faeldon on Tuesday offered several ways of committing acts of civil disobedience against the government of President Arroyo, including flying the national flag at half-mast.

One of the junior officers in the failed Oakwood mutiny in July 2003, Faeldon, who escaped from detention on December 14, posted his proposals on his Web site.

Faeldon said flying the Philippine flag at half-mast would show that the country is in "a state of mourning." He added:

"Remember to take pictures of the flag flying at half-mast at your school or town and send it to us and we’ll post it here. Better yet, have pictures of you and friends lowering the flag."

He urged local authorities "to look the other way" from the Flag Act, which is "another form" of civil disobedience.

"If someone comes and points out it’s at half-mast, express surprise, promptly take it down, call for an investigation, vow to bring the perpetrators to justice, and relax," he said.

Faeldon recently showed up at the headquarters of the Armed Forces of the Philippines-Southern Command in Zamboanga City.”

House opposition to back Cha-cha if GMA quits (

”The opposition said it would be open to supporting the Cha-cha (Charter change) initiative if President Arroyo accepts former President Fidel Ramos’ call for her to step down in June next year, House Minority Leader Francis Escudero said yesterday.

"We can support Cha-cha on that condition," he said in reaction to Ramos’proposal for Mrs. Arroyo to relinquish power by mid-2007 to allow for early parliamentary elections through Cha-cha so the nation could rid itself of the crippling political crisis it has been experiencing since June 2005.

Escudero said the President should make a categorical statement that she would accept the former leader’s proposal.

"And she should stick to it. She should not break her word," he said.

Escudero recalled that more than two years ago, Mrs. Arroyo told the nation in a televised interview that she would not run in the May 2004 presidential elections only to turn her back on that commitment months later.

He agreed with Ramos that the leadership crisis that has hobbled the nation would continue to linger for as long as Mrs. Arroyo is in power.”

‘Hello, Garci’ issue recycled — Palace (

Malacañang criticized yesterday attempts in the Senate to revive the "Hello, Garci" wiretap investigation, saying it was a "heavily recycled issue" from which the country had nothing to gain.

Press Secretary Ignacio Bunye said the opposition had already "thrown… everything they could" in the first round of its investigation into the controversial audio recordings but noted the effort had not contributed anything of value to the nation.

"The worst that the heavily recycled wiretap issue could bring is already over, and our detractors would gain nothing for the national interest by kicking this dead horse," Bunye said.

Tougher measures vs bird flu in place at Naia (

HEALTH officials at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (Naia) were placed on 24-hour monitoring of incoming passengers following reports of more deaths caused by the deadly bird flu virus in Europe and some parts of Asia.

Although there were no confirmed reports of human-to-human transmission of the H5N1 virus, airport officials continue to maintain close monitoring of arriving passengers to detect and prevent possible entry of the deadly disease in the country.

Naia human quarantine chief Dr. Edgar Maala said that all arriving passengers must pass through the airport’s “thermal scanner” to detect if the passenger is suffering from fever, which could be caused by the virus.

He said any passengers suffering from high fever would be immediately isolated and be given medical attention.

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