Oppositon unites to counter charter change
THE UNITED opposition has begun its own campaign against charter change. They call their movement "Kontra Diktadura", and they include veterans of the anti-Marcos movement.
If pro-Ramos forces are gaining ground with Pirma, the united opposition has launched "Kontra Diktadura", an information drive meant to fight charter changes.
Cebu City is the pilot area and Cagayan de Oro is next. The opposition is bringing back fears of a dictatorship to counter Pirma's signature campaign.
An opposition congresswoman likens their campaign to the next peaceful revolution since Edsa. Rep. Tessie Aquino-Oreta says, "the next peaceful revolution will unfold soon unless forces allied with Malacanang withdraw their bid to perpetuate themselves in power."
Veterans of the anti-Marcos movement are among those opposed to charter change. They're still seeking the support of the Catholic church. But Catholic lay groups have already joined the bandwagon.
Some presidential aspirants will soon meet with one of Edsa's leading figures, Jaime Cardinal Sin.
But the ruling party dismisses the strength of the opposition. Opposition senators take this as a sign Malacanang considers them a serious force to contend with.
Senator Ernesto Herrera, says 20 congressmen from the Lakas Party are about to defect to them.
The opposition may match the media blitz of proponents of charter change but they have to square it off in the grassroots where Pirma's campaign seems to be growing far and wide.
Also, a new group opposed to charter change was launched today called "People Against Rising Tyranny", or "People Resist."
The group vows to fight any attempt to restore authoritarian rule. They have also begun their own signature campaign to oppose charter changes.
Congressman Wigberto Ta¤ada, warns Constitutional amendments would eventually lead to authoritarianism. Another member, newspaper columnist Herman Tiu Laurel, doubts if Malacanang has really dropped plans to amend the charter. The group plans to join the united opposition.
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Even Bishop Nakpil believes in Ramos' second term
THE RULING Lakas Party has not yet made an official stand on charter change. But the actions of party members and political allies say it all.
President Ramos joined Methodists last night in singing praises to the Lord. The President himself, was the recipient of praise from Methodist Bishop Emerito Nakpil who believes Ramos deserves a second term. Bishop Nakpil won't suggest how this can be done.
The President's sister, Senator Leticia Shahani, hints Ramos may still find a way to get it. The President's uncle, Ilocos Congressman Simeon Valdez, claims it's no secret that Ramos wants next year's elections postponed.
Senior Lakas officials deny this. But Speaker Jose de Venecia, admits Lakas members have yet to agree to a consensus to drop plans for charter amendments.
At the Lower House, only 36 congressmen have signed a resolution expressing the sense of Congress opposing moves to sit as a constituent assembly to amend the charter.
The newly created opposition alliance says it's ready to block any Lakas-initiated charter changes.
But Lakas leaders say the unified opposition is fighting an imaginary enemy.
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Santiago asks SC to widen scope of tro vs. signature drive
SENATOR Miriam Santiago is asking the Supreme Court to stop all groups and not just Pirma, from conducting a signature campaign to amend the Constitution.
Several groups, among them the Liga ng mga Barangay, have undertaken their own signature drive saying the temporary restraining order (TRO) only covers Pirma and the Commission on Elections.
Meanwhile, Santiago has the Senate's support in her fight against the 90-day suspension order slapped against her for graft.
She has fought her battles alone most of the time. But in her battle against a 90-day suspension order, Senator Santiago has the entire Senate behind her.
The Senate Legal Department is helping her appeal the suspension before the Supreme Court.
Senators say the suspension order by the Sandiganbayan violates the principle of separation of powers.
Santiago is being suspended for legalizing Chinese nationals during her stint as immigration commissioner when her power to do so was under question.
But the suspension is becoming a sidelight in the debate on the Charter. Santiago is the chairman of the committee on constitutional amendments. She says the 90-day suspension is meant to silence her.
Meanwhile, Santiago today asked the Supreme Court to amend its temporary restraining order against Pirma. Santiago wants the court to stop all signature campaigns aimed at amending the Constitution.
There is no proof of conspiracy between Malacanang and the Sandiganbayan. But the suspension could be used to dramatize the increasing tension between Malacanang and the Senate on the Charter issue.
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MWSS handed to winning bidders; CA shelved TRO
AFTER being put on hold by the court, the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System was finally handed over to the winning bidders. The contracts were signed this evening in Makati.
Benpres and Ayala corporations can now start working on the takeover of MWSS scheduled in May.
President Ramos approved the deal this morning upon the recommendation of the Committee on Privatization.
The Court of Appeals lifted the temporary restraining order on the privatization last Wednesday.
Presidential Legal Adviser Renato Cayetano, says there are no more legal impediments to the privatization, unless opponents ask the Court of Appeals to reconsider its decision.
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Lagdameo, ready to go to jail
TRANSPORATION Secretary Amado Lagdameo, says he'd rather go to jail than appear before the Senate committee investigating the Public Estate Authority-Amari land deal.
Lagdameo wrote the Blue Ribbon and Government Corporations Committees and said the investigation was just a witchhunt. He said the Constitution gives cabinet members the right not to submit themselves before a Senate inquiry.
On the other hand, Executive Secretary Ruben Torres has agreed to appear before the Senate question hour.
Senators want to grill him on the role of Malacanang and the Lakas Party in the move to amend the Charter.
President Ramos has approved Torres's appearance before the Senate.
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Malaysians, now cautious on investing
A TRADE official says Malaysian businessmen are now cautious about investing in the country as a result of the Manila Hotel case.
Trade Undersecretary Melito Salazar, was in Malaysia last week. Salazar says Malaysian businessmen feel the Philippines seems to be slowing down on its commitments to open up the economy. But Salazar assured them economic reforms are underway.
But government is still confident about attracting Malaysian investments. A Malaysian business mission will visit Mindanao next month.
On the Manila Hotel sale, the Committee on Privatization presented the Supreme Court with an alternative.
The Solicitor General asked the high court to allow it to re-bid the sale of 51 percent of Manila Hotel's shares. But that's in case the high court refuses to reverse its earlier decision. The shares are owned by the Government Service Insurance System (GSIS).
If the court allows a re-bidding, Solicitor General Silvestre Bello III, says they will give preference to qualified Filipinos.
Meanwhile, U.K.-based elite carmaker, Jaguar Cars Limited, has joined the country's growing luxury car market. The company expects to sell 100 cars in their first year of operation.
For P3.85 million, you can get Jaguar's 3.2 liter base model. The flagship 4-liter Damler model costs P5.4 million.
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The new champion comes home
GERRY PEĽALOSA, the new World Boxing Council Super Flyweight champion, arrived early this evening.
Last night he defeated hometown favorite and Japanese champion Hiroshi Kawashima.
Pe¤alosa says he took the first flight out of Tokyo to immediately share his victory with the Filipino people. He was greeted by fans who patiently waited for his return. His group proceeded to the Hotel Sofitel where they will stay until next week. Pe¤alosa says he plans to conquer other divisions.
In golf, Danny Zarate leads after the second round of the Konica-Ubix Manila Open at Wack Wack. He grabbed the lead from Canadian Ian Leggatt, with his second 2-under par 70.
Yesterday's co-leader Robert Pactolerin had a miserable 80 and slipped to 33rd place. Another Filipino, Al Cruz, shot a day's best 66 to tie Leggat at 2nd.
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Ron Jacobs' days are numbered - Guiao
VICTORY ON Ron Jacobs '97 debut. The revitalized Beermen led by Neslon Asaytono defeated the Cowboys 70 to 66, in their opening match at the PBA All-Filipino Conference.
The Beermen won despite the absence of injured key players Allan Caidic, Franz Pumaren and Bong Alvarez.
Ron Jacobs may have scored his first win. But BCAP head Yeng Guiao warns his days as San Miguel Beer head coach are numbered. Guiao says Labor Secretary Leonardo Quisumbing has advised them on how to handle the matter.
The BCAP is questioning Jacobs' work permit.
In the second game, Shell overcame a 20-point deficit down to beat Santa Lucia.
Meanwhile, broken dreams for the RP booters. Thailand blanked RP 2 to 0, at the President's Cup semi-finals today.
And finally, one of America's leading sports magazine is in hot water. The National Caucus for Women criticized Sports Illustrated for devoting an issue entirely on swim wear.
The magazine's 34th Annual Swimsuit issue even featured female athletes as models. Steffi Graf was one of them.
The women's group says the magazine is sending the wrong message about ethics and women in particular.
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