NBN witnesses set to undergo screening

May 15, 2008

A tight screening process for witnesses to the scandal-tainted and corruption-laced ZTE National Broadband Network whistleblowers is now de rigeur in the Senate prior to its presentation of witnesses at hearings yet to be scheduled.

But even as this appears to be a consensus among senators, there were fears raised that their insistence in having the witness provide an affidavit in advance for the legislators to examine and deem fit for a Senate hearing would merely provide Malacañang aides and allies the opportunity to know the identity of the witnesses in advance and work on the witness to recant, either through bribery or threats.

Such moves have been made in the past by Malacañang to ensure the cover-up of the crime.

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NFA rice stock vanishing, good for just 20 days

April 22, 2008

The National Food Authority (NFA) disclosed yesterday that its buffer stock of cheap rice for poor Filipinos, as of today, is good only for the next 20 days.

At a briefing of the members of the House committee on agriculture for the Congress to monitor the action taken by the government to address the looming rice crisis, NFA Deputy Administrator Ludovico Jarina said the NFA’s buffer stock was accounted at 659,400 metric tons which will be the cheap rice supply for the next 20 days.

Jarina added NFA is releasing 33,100 metric tons of rice for daily consumption.

But the NFA adminis-trator also told the congress-men that the government is expecting 426,000 metric tons of delivery which will be added to the present supply of rice.

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Freed from accountability, a one-term president has vast powers over treasury and bureaucracy

April 12, 2008

Our 1987 Constitution limits a president to only one term of six years.

This limitation was supposed to keep presidents from ruling for life, as the late Ferdinand Marcos was about to do.

Temptation to bad governance

But six years with no re-election tempts a president to ignore the tenets of good governance and make the most of what he has for himself—to hell with public accountability, opinion polls and exhortations from the churches.

And it harms Philippine republican democracy by taking away from the citizenry a valuable means to check presidents and their ruling parties.

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Richard Gutierrez, never nanggamit para sumikat! — Annabelle Rama

April 11, 2008

AYOS na pala ang gusot sa pagitan ni Richard Gutierrez at ng  GMA Network.

Mismong ang mother ng aktor na si Annabelle Rama ang nagbalita nito sa launching niya at nina Sen. Chiz at Christine Escudero kahapon bilang bagong endorsers ng Circulan.

Tsika ni Tita Annabelle, nakipag-dinner sa kanila (siya, Tito Eddie at Richard) ang pamilya Gozon (Annette Abrogar, Atty. Felipe and wife) nu’ng isang gabi.

Okay naman daw ang naging pag-uusap at kagabi naman sila nag-meeting ng GMA-7 exec na si Wilma Galvante para sa bagong two-year contract ng anak sa Kapuso channel.

Contrary sa tsismis, nilinaw ni Tita Annabelle na walang kinalaman ang talent fee sa mga naging problema ni Chard sa Siyete.

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Rice Crisis getting worst. NFA says goodbye to P18.25 rice

April 9, 2008

NFA says losses mounting

THE National Food Authority yesterday said it is considering an increase in the price of rice that it is selling for P18.25 because of the agency’s heavy losses.

NFA administrator Jessup Navarro said that last year, the NFA incurred a loss of P1.5 billion as it tried to keep the current NFA price.

The NFA recently started to buy rice at P17 a kilo as support to farmers. This will be classified as “commercial grade rice (well-milled or double milled)” and sold by the NFA at P22 to P25 a kilo. The NFA’s regular buying price is P12 a kilo for the P18.25 a kilo rice.

“We can’t keep prices too low because our farmers might be affected,” Navarro said.

Cabinet secretary Ricardo Saludo said the NFA has been subsidizing consumers by as much as P50 billion a year to ensure its affordability.

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Senate confident of SC reversal

April 8, 2008

Senators are confident that they will eventually win the case in the Supreme Court (SC) on the matter of the invocation of executive privilege by Commission on Higher Education (Ched) Chairman Romulo Neri, owing to the constitutionally-guaranteed provision on the separation of powers and their mandate to ensure check and balance in the government.

Senators Alan Peter Cayetano and Francis Escudero are banking on the reversal of the SC’s ruling on the Neri case, saying this will set a precedent case for Malacañang in evading inquiries involving alleged irregularities in government transactions.

“Our emphasis in filing our motion for reconsideration (MR) is that No. 1, we’re saying that the burden is on Malacañang and on President Arroyo in proving the policy on executive privilege, not the (policy of) anomaly or covering up the embarrassing political situation,” Cayetano, blue ribbon chairman, said, adding the Senate has prepared strong arguments to win the reversal.

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Swine loan scammers cannot hidebehind bank secrecy law: Escudero

April 7, 2008

OPPOSITION Sen. Francis “Chiz” Escudero yesterday belied the claim of Malacañang that the Quedan and Rural Credit Corp. (Quedancor) could not publish the names of its borrowers because of the bank secrecy law.

Escudero said the bank secrecy law covers only deposits and not loans.

An anomaly involving the Quedancor was made public by lawyer Harry Roque who said the Commission on Audit has discovered that at least P1.4 billion of the P2.5 billion that Quedancor released for the swine industry remains unliquidated. He said the farmers who supposedly received hogs were paid P200 to P300 to sign papers that indicated they received the livestock.

Escudero has asked Quedancor to publish the names of the borrowers. But Apostol, invoking the bank secrecy law, said Quedancor “would be liable to borrowers if it publishes their names without their permission.”
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