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Archive for December 3rd, 2008

Palace predicts win for Pacquiao

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By Joel Guinto
First Posted 16:03:00 12/03/2008

MANILA, Philippines — Malacañang sees a win by Filipino boxing champion Manny Pacquiao over Oscar dela Hoya, when the two square off in Las Vegas on Saturday (Sunday here).

Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita said Pacquiao was in “peak condition” as shown in his last two fights, while age may have caught up with Dela Hoya.

“I wish Manny Pacquaio the best. I hope he is well conditioned. I hope my prediction is correct. [There is] the fact that age may have caught up with Dela Hoya,” Ermita told a news conference at the Palace.

“He’s in peak condition. He has been practicing for months. That is something for Dela Hoya to think about,” Ermita said of Pacquiao.

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Written by joelguinto

Wed+00:002008-12-03T09:09:33+00:00+00:0012b+00:00Wed, 03 Dec 2008 09:09:33 +0000 22, 2006 at 12:45 am12

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Gov’t declaring holiday truce vs Reds

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By Joel Guinto
First Posted 14:57:00 12/03/2008

MANILA, Philippines — The government will declare a unilateral suspension of offensive military operations (SOMO) against communist rebels for the Christmas holidays, Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita said Wednesday.

The length and duration of the SOMO will depend on the recommendation of the Department of National Defense (DND) and the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), Ermita told a news conference at the Palace.

“The SOMO is a policy that is being followed by this administration ever since. We might just do that in keeping with the spirit of Christmas,” he said.

An informal meeting between government and rebel peace negotiators in Oslo, Norway last week failed to restart formal talks, which have been stalled since mid-2004..

Ermita said the upcoming Christmas SOMO “has nothing to do whatsoever with the attitude of the other side.”

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Written by joelguinto

Wed+00:002008-12-03T09:08:18+00:00+00:0012b+00:00Wed, 03 Dec 2008 09:08:18 +0000 22, 2006 at 12:45 am12

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Palace exec denies ‘immature’ comment

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By Joel Guinto
First Posted 12:31:00 12/03/2008

MANILA, Philippines — Deputy presidential spokesman Anthony Golez denied saying that Thailand was politically immature, shortly after the Thai ambassador to the Philippines said he would file a diplomatic protest.

“For the record, I did not say that the Thais lack political maturity. I said in my interview that the Filipinos have reached a high level of political maturity,” Golez said in a statement Wednesday.

In a press conference earlier in the day, Ambassador Kulkumut Singhara Na Ayudhaya said he was set to file a diplomatic protest over reports quoting Golez and Senator Richard Gordon as saying that the unrest in Thailand reflected the citizens’ lack of political maturity.

Last November 26, Golez was asked if the takeover by anti-government protesters of an international airport, like what happened in Bangkok, could happen in the country. He answered: “That’s a very remote scenario. Thailand’s condition is different from us.”

Asked why the possibility of an airport siege was “remote,” Golez said: “Because our people have reached a high degree of political maturity, whereby our people respect due process and the rule of law.”

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Written by joelguinto

Wed+00:002008-12-03T09:07:14+00:00+00:0012b+00:00Wed, 03 Dec 2008 09:07:14 +0000 22, 2006 at 12:45 am12

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Palace: ‘A welcome development’

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By Joel Guinto
First Posted 11:03:00 12/03/2008

MANILA, Philippines — Malacañang hailed as a “welcome development” the dismissal of the latest impeachment complaint against President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo before the House of Representatives and called for unity so that the country could move forward.

A total of 183 congressmen at the plenary voted to dismiss the complaint, approving a report by the House committee on justice that the charges were insufficient in substance. Twenty-one lawmakers voted against the report.

“The dismissal of the complaint is an act of Congress. It is a welcome development for it will allow us to move forward,” Deputy Presidential Spokesperson Lorelei Fajardo said in a statement.

“The Palace once again makes its call to the people, to help government and work towards a common goal of progress,” she said.

Arroyo is in Hong Kong for the Clinton Global Initiative during the voting. She is expected to be back in the country late Wednesday.

The latest impeachment complaint was based on charges of election fraud and massive corruption, which included the botched $329-million contract between China’s ZTE Corp. and the national broadband network (NBN) project.

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Written by joelguinto

Wed+00:002008-12-03T09:06:08+00:00+00:0012b+00:00Wed, 03 Dec 2008 09:06:08 +0000 22, 2006 at 12:45 am12

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Palace seeks consensus on Charter change

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To consult House on substance, limits, method

By Joel Guinto, Maila Ager
First Posted 12:01:00 12/03/2008

MANILA, Philippines — (UPDATE 2) Amid mounting criticm, Malacanang is seeking a dialogue with leaders of the House of Representatives to forge a “consensus” on charter change that is “acceptable to the people,” President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s chief political adviser said Wednesday.

But the Palace will not abandon its advocacy for Constitutional reforms to ensure “economic and political stability,” Presidential Political Adviser Gabriel Claudio said in a statement.

Claudio’s statement came soon after Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita, earlier in the day, dismissed calls by President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s spiritual adviser to stop her allies from amending the 1987 Constitution despite his threat to mount one million-strong street protests.

The leader of the Catholic group El Shaddai, Mike Velarde, had threatened to mobilize at least one million of his followers in street protests if Arroyo’s allies insist on amending the Constitution, a move administration critics fear would pave the way for an extension of her term beyond 2010.

Claudio acknowledged these fears, saying: “Even as the Palace reiterates its assurances of the President’s sincere intent to step down in 2010, we acknowledge that Charter change moves do lead to suspicions and accusations, unfair as they may be, that her term will be extended.”

“Without abandoning the administration’s advocacy for constitutional reforms in order to secure the country’s economic and political stability, we will seek a dialog with leaders of the House to help forge a consensus on charter change that is acceptable to the people,” Claudio said.

“What is needed is a clear consensus on the substance, limits, method and timing of such change. The President has always been in favor of establishing such a consensus,” he said.

Claudio said the Palace “values and respects” Velarde’s “admonition,” and appreciates his wish for the President to continue her leadership “undisturbed” until the end of her term in 2010.

Ermita earlier said the Palace could not stop Velarde from thinking the way he does about Charter change.

“This is a free country. Anybody can plan anything. Anybody say what they want to say so it’s not for us anymore to stop [Velarde] from thinking that way. E yun ang nasa isip niya e [That is what is on his mind],” Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita told reporters at the Senate on Wednesday.

He said Malacañang was not bothered at all by Velarde’s pronouncement since many groups have made similar threats in the past.

“No, no kasi sabi lang naman niya yan e [because it was merely what he said]. Ang dami na nagtatangka [A lot of them have tried],” Ermita said.

“Ang mahalaga diyan [What is important], we can’t stop anybody from talking or thinking or planning or anything. As I said, this a free country so harapin na lang natin [so let’s just face them] when they come,” he said.

Ermita also believes that Malacañang did not have to make any statement or move to stop these planned anti-Charter change protest actions.

“What do you want us to do?” he said. “The situation will present and unravel itself so we don’t say what Malacañang, what the President has to do.”

Ermita also said earlier that the House of Representatives is an independent institution and Malacañang would not interfere in its internal affairs.

“Well, moves are coming from the separate body such as Congress so it’s not for us to say, ‘hey stop it or push it.’ Otherwise, sasabihin naman niyo o ng taumbayan e kontrolado pala ng Malacañang [you or the people would say that they are controlled by the Malacañang],” he said.

“It’s an independent body so we don’t have to say or make a move about what the people in Congress are doing,” he further said.

As to speculations that the Charter change bid was meant to extend Arroyo’s term, Ermita reiterated that the President would step down in 2010 as provided for in the Constitution.

But when asked if the President would change her mind if the Charter change bid would succeed, Ermita said, “Well, lets cross the bridge when we get there. I’m not a prophet…It’s very hard to speculate.”

Palace deputy spokesperson Lorelei Fajardo said that while the Palace listened to “sound advice,” the executive and lawmakers would bow only to the “will of the people.”

“Wielding power over an independent body is not good leadership, especially since they have not committed anything unlawful,” Fajardo said, when asked if Arroyo would stop lawmakers from pursuing Charter change.

“The Palace listens to each piece of sound advice and bow to the will of the people. Lawmakers, undoubtedly, do too,” she said.

“Brother Mike should call on the people to rally behind the government and help the country. Charter change is a matter for Congress to tackle on its own,” Fajardo said.

“This is not a time for anger and rash behavior. We need to think calmly and act judiciously,” she added.

Former President Fidel Ramos said Charter change should come only after Arroyo’s term ends in 2010.

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Written by joelguinto

Wed+00:002008-12-03T09:05:06+00:00+00:0012b+00:00Wed, 03 Dec 2008 09:05:06 +0000 22, 2006 at 12:45 am12

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