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Política Editorial | Webeditorial

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PHILIPPINES

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I’ll miss Hugo. When I first was introduced to him in Porto Alegre in 2003, he greeted me, “Mi padre,” and said he learned a lot from me. I was dubious about this and thought he was simply buttering me up, like any two-bit politician. Then he started telling me what he learned from Development Debacle, Deglobalization, and Dark Victory. I was stupefied; the guy actually read my stuff!

About two years later, we met again, this time in Caracas.  He told me he was seriously concerned about my safety since he had heard that the Darth Vader Battalion had marked me as a “counterrevolutionary” and targeted me for elimination.  He invited me to cool off in Venezuela, telling me he would take me on a tour of the whole country.  Thank you, I said, but he shouldn’t worry since I was dealing with a bunch of space cadets, though crazy ones.  He asked me through the translator what a “space cadet” was.  I tried my best to explain, then he said, “Ahh, un pendejo,” and roared in laughter.

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One can understand Andres Bautista’s deep frustration in wanting to abolish the Presidential Commission on Good Government, which he has headed since October 2010, although — or because — it has failed to accomplish its two-pronged mandate, 27 years after President Cory Aquino created the PCGG through Executive Order No. 1.

The mandate: to recover an estimated $10 billion in ill-gotten wealth, amassed and stashed away by Ferdinand Marcos, his wife Imelda, and his cronies during his 14-year dictatorship, and to prosecute them accordingly. (Marcos died in Hawaii on Sept. 28, 1989.)

The PCGG claims to have recovered $4 billion in cash and assets, about half the estimated loot.

However, the PCGG has been losing the court battles in more than 200 cases it filed against the Marcos heirs and cronies. Bautista attributes this losing streak to two factors: 1) the cases “were weak from the very start,” and 2) “our justice system is flawed.”

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Japanese Prime Minister's Approach to Dispute with China

     The world of Japanese politics has been wrought with scandals and upheaval in recent years. This would include Shinzo Abe who resigned from the nation's highest office during his first term as prime minister. But this didn't stop him at all. The resilient leader was recently re-elected and aims to have a major impact on the nation.

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IN several forums this month, Congressman Walden Bello is visiting Filipino-American communities in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Seattle and Portland to talk about the upcoming May 13 mid-term congressional elections in the Philippines, and the role his political party, Akbayan Citizens’ Action Party, has played in the passing of progressive legislation during the just-concluded 15th Congress. Akbayan’s Risa Hontiveros is running for a Senate seat in May, and is in the circle of candidates deemed to have a chance of winning a seat – a first in the Senate for Akbayan. Akbayan is also running as a party-list organization to again have their House seats.

No less than six Akbayan-sponsored bills which benefit the lives of Filipinos have become Republic Acts in the last Congress. If Hontiveros gets elected, her presence in the Senate will complement Akbayan’s presence in the Lower House, and will constitute a significant step forward for more legislative reforms.

The list of Akbayan priority measures that were successfully translated into law in the 15th Congress – under the sponsorship of Akbayan representatives, Walden Bello and Kaka Bag-Ao – includes the following bills:

• Reproductive Health and Responsible Parenthood Act, which advances women’s rights and welfare, and promotes sustainable and manageable population growth;

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The Party of the Laboring Masses (Partido Lakas ng Masa - PLM) is spearheading a campaign to eradicate corruption, patronage politics and shamelessness among government officials. The picket today at the Senate is only the first of the PLM campaign to pursue transparency in government.

On the recent scandal over Senate President Johnny Enrile’s distribution of P30 million savings in the maintenance and other operating expenses fund (MOOE) to the senators last December, we call on all senators to return the so-called “gifts” or “bonus” right away. Such appalling act of dispensing people’s money for personal discretions by the senators disgraces and dishonors whatever virtue the people sees in this Senate.

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Still enough time for FOI – if House leadership supports it. With only nine session days remaining before Congress adjourns for a long election break, members of the Right to Know Right Now Coalition are reminding members of Congress that they still have enough time to pass the Freedom of Information (FOI) bill even without the prodding of Malacanang.

All that is needed, the Coalition says, is a clear commitment from the leaders of the House of Representatives.

In a statement signed by more than a hundred organizations, the Coalition challenged House Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. and Majority Leader Neptali M. Gonzales II to declare the bill as urgent so as to facilitate its immediate passage.

Under Rule X, Section 52 of the House Rules, the Committee on Rules, through the Majority Leader, “may declare a bill or resolution urgent and consider it in accordance with a timetable.”

If the House leaders would not act immediately on the FOI bill, the Coalition says the current House leadership would just go the way of their predecessors in the 14th Congress, who killed the FOI bill on its last hurdle.

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Women’s rights have been in the forefront of international concern over the last few weeks.

Up in arms against rape

Making the biggest headlines were the massive demonstrations in New Delhi and other cities in India provoked by the brutal gang-rape by six men of a 23-year-old physiotherapy student in a moving bus in the Indian capital.   The crime, which saw the victim suffer extremely serious wounds in her genitals and intestines, proved to be the trigger for the release of popular anger that had built up over the years over the rise in violence against women.

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At a one-day assembly of more than 500 delegates on November 28, the militant socialist Party of the Laboring Masses (PLM - Partido Lakas ng Masa) introduced its candidates for national elections scheduled for May 13 next year.

The PLM, which now holds positions in several Barangay (neighbourhood) councils, is running 20 candidates for municipal councillor, vice-mayor, mayor and Congress. They include candidates in Negros and Iligan, in the Philippine archipelago’s south. Most candidates, however, are in Metro Manila or the semi-urban provinces surrounding the capital: Cavite, Rizal, Bulacan and Laguna.

This area, home to more than a third of the country’s population, is where the party has its strongest base.

Along with the PLM candidates, the assembly was also addressed by Dick Penson, a businessperson running for the Senate.

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The newly-formed workers party-list Partido ng Manggagawa Coalition (PM Coalition) today filed a petition at the Supreme Court seeking to overturn the Commission on Elections resolution disqualifying the group. In its petition, PM also sought a temporary restraining order on the scheduled raffle of party-list names and printing of the ballots in January.

Partido ng Manggagawa chairman and PM Coalition nominee Renato Magtubo said the group has complied with all the requirements for accreditation thus it finds no reason to be rejected by the poll body which has declared its intention to rid the party-list system of non-marginalized groups.

PM Coalition cited Rule 44 in its petition which allows review of decisions of constitutional commission bodies. The group is protesting why a truly marginalized group and whose nominees  possess laudable track records in serving the working class is denied accreditation by the Comelec while highly questionable groups got blind approval.

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Philippines: A war on semantics had been waged by the front organizations of the CPP-NPA-NDF regarding Children Involved in Armed Conflicts. They are contented with just twisting the truth and to play with words. For the truth of the matter, the issue is all about children recruited by the Communist front organizations and the New People’s Army and used as frontliners and in any other capacity, armed or unarmed.

These children had been the unwitting pawns in the communist revolution that the CPP-NPA-NDF had been waging for more than forty years now. Purposely this war on semantics is being done to mislead the public from the real issues at hand and to stage an emotional drama in time for the arrival and visit to the country of the United Nations Secretary General Special Representative for Children and Armed conflict.

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