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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Hanjin’s bribe offer bared; Gloria scolded Mayor

May 2, 2008

Hanjin Heavy Industries and Construction Corp., the South Korean firm embroiled in the controversial construction of condominium units in the forest reserve area in Subic, is in for more serious problems as the company earned the ire of Senate probers again, this time stemming from a reported bribe offer to a local official in Mindanao.

Reports said the Korean firm allegedly offered a P400-million contract to a municipal mayor in Misamis Oriental in exchange for a reversal of his order stopping the construction of a $2-billion shipyard which had not secured the necessary permits.

This came after Senate investigators, led by Sen. Pia Cayetano, Thursday said Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) officials were found to have allegedly committed grave violations in allowing Hanjin to construct two high-rise condominium buildings within its forest reserve area and the firm would likely be facing numerous serious charges.

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Senators oppose ZTE probe end; Cayetano backs off

April 30, 2008

With most of the senators expressing stiff opposition to Senate blue ribbon chairman Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano’s announced plan to “wrap up” the investigation of the ZTE-National Broadband Network (NBN) project in a week’s time, with a report to be submitted by the three panels, the blue ribbon chairman yesterday backed off from his plan to end the probe, saying instead that he was misunderstood by the media and what he had in mind was merely to issue a preliminary report.

A round of fierce debates is seen to ensue if Cayetano’s plan is to be pursued, as a number of senators are resisting the idea, keeping issues pending before the Supreme Court (SC) hanging such as the question on the invocation of executive privilege of Commission on Higher Education (Ched) Chairman Romulo Neri.

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Rape scene sa Maligno, inapela ni Claudine Barretto

April 20, 2008

Hindi pa alam kung ano’ng oras i-ere ang Maligno na magsisimula sa April 28. Bagama’t papalitan nito ang Kung Fu Kids na magtatapos naman sa April 25, baka raw magkaroon ng movement sa timeslot.

Pinagtatalunan kasi kung sa maagang time slot ito i-ere o medyo late na. May nagsasa-suggest kasi na huwag gawing maaga ang airing dahil hindi bagay sa mga bata ang maseselang eksena, lalo na nga ang first episode.

Pero, may nagsasabi rin naman na dapat ay late na ito i-ere dahil baka naman madala hanggang sa pagtulog ang mapapanood at magkaroon pa tuloy ng nightmare.

Samantala, kumalat ang balita sa showbiz na isa-sanitize raw ang rape scene nina Claudine Barretto at Rafael Rosell sa Maligno dahil umapela raw ang aktres na baka maapektuhan ang mga endorsement niya sa sobrang selan ng eksena.

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SC warned: ‘Executive privilege a refuge for scoundrels’

April 8, 2008

High court to be held responsible for country’s path to gov’t autocracy — Senate

If the Senate goes down, it will go down fighting.

This was seen in the motion for reconsideration (MR) prepared by the Senate where the high court was warned of the danger and the chilling effect of its decision upholding President Arroyo’s invocation of executive privilege even when the issue involves a crime, pointing out that executive privilege will have become a “refuge for scoundrels” without a reversal from the Supreme Court, stating that the SC bears the responsibility of paving the way for an “autocracy.”

Lawyers representing the Senate yesterday made good on the upper chamber’s earlier promise to appeal the SC decision on the petition filed by former National Economic and Development Authority (Neda) Director General Romulo Neri.

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Gloria ‘excommunicated’ - ‘No communion for GMA, a public sinner’ — Archbishop Cruz

March 26, 2008

Gloria Acting to be HolyPresident Arroyo has been virtually excommunicated by an Archbishop, saying she is a “public sinner” who must be denied communion, intimating that it would be making a mockery of the sacred host which, to Catholics, is the body and blood of Jesus Christ effected through transubstantiation, for her to be given any communion.

Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Oscar Cruz yesterday made waves with his announcement of denying the President communion, which is a form of excommunication, or at the very least, a humiliating repudiation of a member of the Catholic flock, excluding her from the grant of the sacrament.

Wikipedia describes excommunication as a religious censure used to deprive or suspend membership in a religious community. The word literally means putting (someone) out of communion.

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Brion defies calls, won’t inhibit from SC hearing

March 18, 2008

Reacting to the calls for him to do so out of delicadeza, freshly named Supreme Court (SC) Associate Justice Arturo Brion yesterday said he will not inhibit himself from the high court’s deliberations on the petition filed by former National Economic and Development Authority (Neda) Chairman Romulo Neri challenging the Senate’s right to summon him to its probe into the multimillion-dollar National Broadband Network (NBN) deal mess.

Brion, who was Labor and Employment secretary prior to his new appointment, said as a justice of the SC, his constitutional duties include taking part in the high court’s deliberations, such as Neri’s case.

“One of the duties the Constitution mandated was for me to take part in the high court’s deliberations. After I take my oath, my critics want me to inhibit? I don’t think that’s possible,” he said.

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