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Archive for December 18th, 2008

Arroyo condemns Iligan blasts

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Vows capture of suspects

By Joel Guinto
INQUIRER.net
First Posted 18:19:00 12/18/2008

Filed Under: Acts of terror

MANILA, Philippines — President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo condemned the twin bombings in Iligan City on Thursday as she ordered security forces to run after the culprits, her spokesman said.

“The President condemns the ruthless and violent acts of terrorism against our communities. The PNP [Philippine National Police] and AFP [Armed Forces of the Philippines] will be relentless in their pursuit against the perpetrators,” deputy presidential spokesman Anthony Golez said.

“We condole with the families of those killed in this tragedy and the different government of agencies will support those who have survived,” he said in a statement.

Two explosions hit as many shopping centers in the Mindanao city, leaving at least two people killed and over a dozen others wounded.

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Written by joelguinto

Thu+00:002008-12-18T16:14:21+00:00+00:0012b+00:00Thu, 18 Dec 2008 16:14:21 +0000 22, 2006 at 12:45 pm12

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Arroyo shuns election talk

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By Joel Guinto
INQUIRER.net
First Posted 15:32:00 12/18/2008

Filed Under: Eleksyon 2010, Politics, Government

MANILA, Philippines — As the political scene starts to heat up ahead of the 2010 general elections, President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo once more stressed that she would focus on work, not politics.

“I will not engage in any [political] debate because our focus is [on] our programs that are pro-poor and our economic programs,” Arroyo said in an interview aired on state-run Radyo ng Bayan.

Asked about Task Force 2010, a voter education drive spearheaded by the Roman Catholic church and civic groups, Arroyo said in the Cebuano dialect: “We support efforts to move our democracy and anything that contributes to fair and clean elections.”

Earlier this week, business tycoon Eduardo “Danding” Cojuangco Jr. said the Nationalist People’s Coalition (NPC) party, which he founded, would field either Senator Loren Legarda or Senator Francis Escudero in the 2010 presidential race.

A few months back, Senator Manuel Villar and Metro Manila Development Authority chairman Bayani Fernando also declared their intention to run for president in 2010.

Other reported presidential aspirants are Vice President Noli de Castro and Senators Panfilo Lacson and Manuel Roxas II.

Arroyo won a six-year term in May 2004 under a cloud of doubt amid allegations she used the military to defeat popular movie actor Fernando Poe Jr., who died of a stroke in December of the same year.

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Written by joelguinto

Thu+00:002008-12-18T16:13:13+00:00+00:0012b+00:00Thu, 18 Dec 2008 16:13:13 +0000 22, 2006 at 12:45 pm12

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CARP resolution ‘adequate, realistic’

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By Joel Guinto
INQUIRER.net
First Posted 12:18:00 12/18/2008

Filed Under: Agrarian Reform, Congress, Legislation, Laws

MANILA, Philippines — (UPDATE) Malacañang welcomed as an “adequate and realistic” compromise, the passage of a joint congressional resolution that would extend the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP) for six months, or until June 2009.

Farmers groups and even some lawmakers have assailed the resolution as watered down, since it made the sale of land voluntary, not compulsory.

“We believe it is an adequate and realistic compromise solution for the time being, given the proximity of the CARP term’s expiration. We thank and congratulate the House and the Senate for their effort,” Presidential Political Adviser Gabriel Claudio said in a text message.

“The six-month extension will give Congress, in consultation with the farming sector and other stakeholders, time to come up with a final CARP extension law that hopefully embodies a consensus that will do justice to the purpose and spirit of agrarian reform for our country,” he said.

The Senate and the House of Representatives passed the resolution on Wednesday evening, before going on recess for the Christmas holidays.

Cabinet Secretary Silvestre Bello III said he was not aware of a reported meeting between President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and Bishop Broderick Pabillo, who joined farmers who went on hunger strike to press for the CARP extension.

“I’m not in a position to confirm or deny that,” he told a news conference at the Palace.

But Bello assured the farmers that government was “always prepared to address or respond” to their concerns.

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Written by joelguinto

Thu+00:002008-12-18T04:52:40+00:00+00:0012b+00:00Thu, 18 Dec 2008 04:52:40 +0000 22, 2006 at 12:45 am12

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It’s up to Congress

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By Joel Guinto
INQUIRER.net
First Posted 11:11:00 12/18/2008

Filed Under: Charter change, Constitution, Politics, Elections, Eleksyon 2010

MANILA, Philippines — Malacañang has once again passed the controversy over Charter change to Congress, saying lawmakers alone can determine the mode and timing by which the Constitution would be amended.

The Palace, through Presidential Political Adviser Gabriel Claudio, issued the statement Thursday despite a call by the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) to abandon Charter change until after the 2010 general elections.

“We leave the manner and timing of effecting Charter change to
Congress, which alone, except in the case of a people’s initiative, is empowered to set off mechanisms for proposing Charter changes either by calling for a constitutional convention or sitting as a constituent assembly,” Claudio said in a text message Thursday.

Nonetheless, Claudio said the Palace “respects” the “admonition” of the CBCP, which issued its stand on Charter change for the first time since President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s allies in the House of Representatives moved to convene themselves into a constituent assembly.

“We are heartened that, at least, the Church, as do we, together with the many sectors of society, recognizes the need for constitutional reforms that will redound to the economic, social, and political well-being of our country,” he said.

In a statement issued for the CBCP, its president, Jaro Archbishop Angel Lagdameo said that the new set of leaders that would be elected in 2010 should decide on Charter change.

Lagdameo said government officials should instead focus on solving the “real problem” of corruption, citing two massive corruption scandals besetting Arroyo’s administration — the alleged bribery and overpricing in the $329 national broadband network agreement between the government and China’s ZTE Corp. and the alleged diversion of P728 million in fertilizer funds to the President’s 2004 campaign chest.

Last Friday, senators, congressmen, clergymen, and former Arroyo Cabinet executives joined thousands of protesters in a march against Charter change in the Makati City financial district, saying such moves are a ploy to extend the President’s stay in power beyond 2010.

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Written by joelguinto

Thu+00:002008-12-18T04:51:50+00:00+00:0012b+00:00Thu, 18 Dec 2008 04:51:50 +0000 22, 2006 at 12:45 am12

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