The Daily Roundup: 22 February 2011

Corona is whistle-blower, claims Lauro Vizconde” by Cathy C. Yamsuan, Nikko Dizon

No less than Chief Justice Renato Corona warned Lauro Vizconde that Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio had approached fellow justices to vote for Hubert Webb’s acquittal three months before the decision was released in December last year.

Vizconde made this revelation to the Philippine Daily Inquirer Monday after acknowledging that he was piqued by portions of the tribunal’s en banc resolution admonishing him for his accusations against Carpio and for publicly accusing the justices of issuing the decision for a fee.

While Vizconde has a witness to support his claim, Corona Monday denied blowing the whistle on Carpio.

Read more at Philippine Daily Inquirer

Corona categorically denies Vizconde statement” by Nikko Dizon

While they did meet briefly in July last year, Supreme Court Chief Justice Renato Corona Monday denied being Lauro Vizconde’s source of the information against Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio, according to the high tribunal’s spokesperson, Jose Midas Marquez.

“The Chief Justice categorically denies the statement of Mr. Vizconde,” Marquez told the Philippine Daily Inquirer.

Marquez said he spoke with Corona to get his reaction to Vizconde’s revelation. (It is rare for Supreme Court justices to grant interviews to the media.)

Read more at Philippine Daily Inquirer

Palace: No concessions in drug mules reprieve” by Jocelyn Montemayor

PRESIDENTIAL spokesman Edwin Lacierda yesterday said the Philippines does not owe the People’s Republic of China anything nor did the state make any promises in exchange for the postponement of the Feb. 21 execution of the three Filipinos who had been convicted of drug trafficking.

Lacierda branded as speculations the concerns of some groups that China may be trying to gain some political leverage by showing “goodwill” to the Philippines through the postponement of the scheduled execution of Elizabeth Batain, Sally Villanueva and Ramon Credo. He said as far as Malacañang is concerned, they look at the postponement as a gesture of goodwill and friendship.

“That is speculation at this point. We have, again, stated that no concessions were made. In fact, that was a request from this government and based on the joint statement, they postponed the execution within the scope of Chinese laws. That is something that (China) would have to define, we are not familiar with Chinese laws. But definitely, again, we are saying categorically that no concessions were given to the Chinese government. It was a gesture of friendship,” he said.

Read more at Malaya

Chinese envoy says stay of execution was ‘consideration for a friend’” by DJ Yap

China said Saturday its decision to postpone the execution of three Filipinos convicted of drug trafficking resulted from its serious consideration of “the request of a friend.”

The Chinese Embassy in Manila said the stay of the executions, originally scheduled for Monday and Tuesday, was a “special arrangement given by the Chinese side” following the visit of Vice President Jejomar Binay to make a last-ditch appeal in Beijing.

The embassy said it was not authorized to comment on whether the Philippines had made any concessions or offered anything in return.

Read more at Philippine Daily Inquirer

No apology to Taiwan by Anjo Perez and Genalyn D. Kabiling

Unsuccessful vice-presidential candidate Mar Roxas left Monday for Taiwan in a bid to mend the rift caused by the deportation of 14 Taiwanese nationals to China early this month.

But Malacañang said Roxas was not sent by President Benigno S. Aquino III to Taiwan to apologize, but rather to explain the government’s position on the deportation incident as well as request Taiwan to relax its rules on the entry of interested Filipino workers.

“The more important parameter or instruction of the President is about the concerns of overseas Filipino workers. We know that the Taiwan government has tightened its rules. That’s one of our concerns. We hope they will relax its stringent rules towards Filipino workers,” he said, citing the presence of around 70,000 hardworking Filipino workers in Taiwan.

Read more at Manila Bulletin

CBCP scrubs RH talks withNoy” by Gerard Naval

THE Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines has decided to indefinitely suspend its dialogue with the government on the issue of the reproductive health bill.

CBCP president Bishop Nereo Odchimar gave three reasons for the decision. The main reason, he said, is that bishops are preoccupied with visits to Pope Benedict XVI at the Vatican. The two other reasons are developments in the legislative process, apparently referring to the recent passage at the House committee level of a consolidated version of the RH bill which it is strongly opposing, and the pastoral letter issued by the CBCP last month.

The third in a series of dialogues was supposed to be held before the end of the month, according to Malacañang.

Read more at Malaya

Palace dismayed with bishops

Malacañang has expressed dismay over the decision of Catholic bishops to suspend talks with the government over the reproductive health (RH) bill.

Presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda said on Monday said the Office of the President should not be blamed over the row.

He said Malacañang remains open to holding talks anew with the bishops.

He said the executive department will continue to live up to its duty and stand of the President Benigno Aquino III on responsible parenthood.

Read more at ABS-CBN News

Strong peso hurts food exports” by Cai U. Ordinario

THE appreciation of the peso has been cited among the main reasons for the steady loss in competitiveness of local food exporters in the global market, the Philippine Food Processors & Exporters Organization Inc. (PhilFoodex Inc.) said on Monday.

PhilFoodex Inc. president Roberto Amores told reporters at the sidelines of the briefing on the 10th Philippine Food Expo that with expectations of the peso-dollar exchange rate reaching P37.50 to the dollar, exporters in general could lose around $100 million this year.

For food producers and exporters alone, Amores said a P37.50-to-the-dollar exchange rate could cost them around $30 million to $40 million this year.

Read more at Business Mirror

Prepare for possible oil supply, OFW evacuation shocks – MAP” by Jessica Anne D. Hermosa

THE GOVERNMENT should draw up plans to address the possibility of oil shortages and the evacuation of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) given civil unrest in the Middle East and North Africa, the Management Association of the Philippines (MAP) yesterday said.

“The Philippines must be prepared in case there will be a recurrence of the 1973 oil crisis and should reduce dependence on fossil fuel consumption,” the business group said in a statement issued yesterday.

The MAP’s call followed reports of continued protests in Bahrain, Algeria, Libya and Yemen that were spurred by the successful ouster of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak.

Read more at Business World

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