80,000 come for Truth at Makati

February 29, 2008

Gloria ResignIN their biggest anti-Arroyo gathering so far, sectoral groups yesterday gathered at the Ninoy Aquino Monument in Makati City in an interfaith prayer rally attended by former Presidents Corazon Aquino and Joseph Estrada, who reiterated their calls for President Arroyo’s resignation.

Senate witness Rodolfo Noel “Jun” Lozada, who exposed payoffs and other anomalies in government’s national broadband network deal with a Chinese firm, also briefly addressed the crowd that organizers said peaked at 80,000 at the monument at Paseo de Roxas and Ayala avenues, with the protesters on Ayala reaching the Glorietta area.

Police estimated the crowd at 15,000 at its peak.  Sobra na, tama na, resign na,” Aquino told the crowd.

Aquino said at her age, she thought she was done with rallies but said the times are calling for her to act.

Estrada said the red windbreaker he was wearing symbolizes his desire to be with the people in the continuing search for the truth in the overpriced NBN deal with China’s ZTE Corp.

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Harassment at checkpoints decried

February 29, 2008

THE militant group Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan) yesterday said its contingent from Southern Tagalog was blocked by police in the Cabuyao, Laguna area, as it was on its way to Makati City for the interfaith rally.

The police did not give any reason, said Renato Reyes, Bayan secretary general, quoting sketchy reports from its chapter.

The Southern Tagalog chapter eventually arrived in Makati at around 4:30 p.m.

In Calamba, Laguna, a group of protesters in 11 vehicles was blocked by policemen at the national highway. Police said their vehicles were out of line. Instead of Makati, the group held their anti-Arroyo rally in Calamba.

In Quezon City, the Kabataan party list group said some 500 students from UP Diliman marching to the rally site were stopped by police manning a checkpoint in Philcoa. The students were allowed to proceed after negotiating with the police, said the group’s Raymond Palatino.

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76% of Pinoys distrust and junk GMA performance

February 29, 2008

President Arroyo is not just the “most corrupt Philippine president” ever. She is also the most distrusted Chief Executive by far, as the latest Pulse Asia survey conducted in Metro Manila from Feb. 21 to 24 showed that 76 percent of Metro Manilans distrust both Mrs. Arroyo and her spouse, Jose Miguel “Mike” Arroyo, along with 71 percent disapproving of her and her performance in the presidential office.

The President in the latest survey registered big majority disapproval and distrust ratings in the metropolis, Pulse Asia said in its media release yesterday.

In the midst of controversies hounding the incumbent Arroyo administration, around three in four Metro Manilans (71 percent) expressed strong disapproval of her performance in office while 76 percent expressed distrust of Mrs. Arroyo and her husband, who is currently mired in the controversy over the scandal-tainted and kickback-laden $329-million ZTE-National Broadband Network (NBN) project, now being probed by the Senate.

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Anomalous RP-China Spratlys exploration deal bared

February 29, 2008

A Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) official yesterday admitted that there was irregularity in the deal entered into by President Arroyo with the Chinese government for joint exploration for Philippine-claimed territories in the disputed Spratlys.

The official, who asked not to be named, confirmed the existence of the agreement, but said it has yet to be implemented.

Reports said the Spratlys deal would allow China to exploit the country’s exclusive economic zones as contained in an agreement signed by the Department of Trade and Industry and ZTE International in January

2007 in exchange for projects amounting to $4 billion.

“I don’t know to what extent is this deal treasonous. I am also puzzled why they entered into such arrangement without consulting other claimant states,” the source said, adding “We have already cautioned the government against this, but those people in Malacañang refused to listen.”

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PMA Class ’71 sumama sa rally– Sen. Lacson

February 29, 2008

PATI ang Class ’71 ng Philippine Military Academy (PMA) ay sumali na rin sa inter-faith rally kahapon sa Makati City.

Sa text message, sinabi ni Senador Panfilo Lacson na ilan sa kanyang mga mistah ang kasama niya sa naturang kilos-protesta. Partikular na rito ay sina Ret. Gens. Raul Urgellos at Romeo Dominguez, mga kaklase ni Lacson sa PMA Matatag Class of 1971.

Bukod sa kanila, kasama rin ni Lacson na kinatagpo sa Gabriella monument sa Ayala corner Makati Avenue Congressmen Rolex Ronnie Zamora, Carlos Padilla, Rolex Suplico, Dra. Miguita Padilla, Makati Councilor Armand Padilla, Sandra Cam at ilan pang mga naging whistle-blowers na Senado.

Tumanggi naman si Senate President Manny Villar na sumama sa rally kahapon dahil hindi aniya magandang tingnan kung makikilahok pa siya rito bunsod na rin sa may ginagawa pang imbestigas-yon ang Senado hinggil sa ZTE scandal.

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Freddie Roach: “I’ve never seen Pacquiao this Focused”

February 29, 2008

Freddie Roach has no delusions about the task he and pupil Manny Pacquiao have in front of them on March 15. “We have our work cut out for ourselves,” Roach tells BoxingScene.com of the rematch with Mexico City’s Juan Manuel Marquez. “I think he’s a great fighter and has a very good trainer.” Nonetheless, he has been impressed with Pacquiao’s efforts in camp thus far.

“One thing about this fight, I’ve never seen Manny as focused for a fight as this one. He’s really bitten down. I have to be careful about over-training him. We’re averaging 30-35 rounds per day, he’s just a machine. He wanted to go more rounds but I held him back of course. I expect in this fight to see the best Pacquiao yet.”
Pundits and fans alike are split on who to favor in the rematch of their May 2004 clash which produced a polarizing even verdict. One judge had it going away for Pacquiao, while one had it a one-sided rout for Marquez. The third judge scored it a 113-113 draw. Freddie Roach believes that the difference lies more so in Pacquiao’s changes rather than Marquez’s. “I think he’s a 90 percent better fighter,” Roach remarked. “He’s smarter, more experienced, he sets things up, he has two hands now. I think he’s a much better fighter than the first time they fought.”

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From all sectors they come and cry out Gloria Resign

February 29, 2008

DEFYING last-ditch scare tactics, a broad movement of groups seeking President Arroyo’s resignation yesterday mobilized tens of thousand protesters at the interfaith rally at the Ninoy Aquino Monument in Makati City.

Organizers placed the crowd at 80,000 to 85,000. The police figure was 12,000.

Makati City Mayor and United Opposition president Jejomar Binay unleashed a minor political earthquake when he ended his opening remarks by calling on stage former Presidents Corazon Aquino, in her trademark yellow dress, and Joseph Estrada, in a red windbreaker.

Aquino and Estrada gave brief remarks before the crowd, in an apparent effort not to violate the agreed rally protocol that no politician would be allowed on stage, except for Binay who was tasked to deliver a welcome speech.

Aquino and Estrada sat beside each other on the makeshift stage.

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