PNoy to Comelec: Proceed with barangay polls

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    Philippines calls on ASEAN to urge China to halt land reclamation

    Reuters
    Philippines calls on ASEAN to urge China to halt land reclamation

    The Philippines called on its Southeast Asian neighbours to unite in urging China to halt reclamation of land in the South China Sea, but the call failed to raise widespread support ahead of a regional summit. China claims 90 percent of the South China Sea, which is believed to be rich in oil and gas. Its claims overlap with those of Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Vietnam and Taiwan. Recent satellite images suggest China has made rapid progress in filling in land in contested territory …

  • Philippines urges ASEAN to stop China in South China Sea

    Philippines urges ASEAN to stop China in South China Sea

    Associated Press
    Philippines urges ASEAN to stop China in South China Sea

    KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) — The Philippines on Sunday urged its fellow Southeast Asian countries to take immediate steps to halt land reclamation by China in the disputed waters of the South China Sea, warning that failure to do so will see Beijing take "de facto control" of the area. …

  • Philippines urges Southeast Asia to rally to halt China reclamation in …

    Philippines urges Southeast Asia to rally to halt China reclamation in …

    Reuters
    Philippines urges Southeast Asia to rally to halt China reclamation in …

    The Philippines on Sunday called on neighbouring Southeast Asian nations to push for an immediate halt to China's reclamation in the disputed South China Sea ahead of a regional summit. China claims 90 percent of the South China Sea, which is believed to be rich in oil and gas, with overlapping claims from Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Vietnam and Taiwan. Recent satellite images suggest China has made rapid progress in building an airstrip suitable for military use in contested …

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    Ex-Ranger's long march to honor WWII hero

    Associated Press
    Ex-Ranger's long march to honor WWII hero

    ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — For years after Col. William O. Darby was killed in World War II, fellow soldiers would make a pilgrimage to his family's home just to talk to his mother about the fallen hero credited with forming the U.S. Army Rangers. …

  • Kazakhstan President Nazarbayev 'wins fifth term by a landslide …

    Kazakhstan President Nazarbayev 'wins fifth term by a landslide …

    AFP News
    Kazakhstan President Nazarbayev 'wins fifth term by a landslide …

    Energy-rich Kazakhstan's incumbent strongman Nursultan Nazarbayev scored a crushing victory in Sunday's one-sided presidential ballot, taking 97.5 percent of the vote to win a fifth consecutive term, an exit poll showed. The exit poll carried out by the Institute for Democracy, a research company based in the authoritarian state, also showed Nazarbayev's closest competitor Turgun Syzdykov as scoring 1.8 percent of the ballot and third candidate Abelgazy Kusainov taking 0.63 percent. …

By Mikha Flores, VERA Files

President Benigno Aquino III said on Tuesday the country should proceed with the scheduled barangay election this October instead of postponing it, as suggested by the Commission on Elections.

“I’m nervous about the postponement. There might be a lot of postponements that will happen like what we experienced before and the mandate of the people should be secured periodically,” Aquino said in Pilipino.

Comelec Chairman Sixto Brillantes Jr said on Monday he would prefer that barangay elections be held next year or early 2015 to give the poll body time to deal with more urgent issues, including the expected electoral protests by losing candidates in the recently concluded polls.

Another priority is to meet with the Joint Congressional Oversight Committee for the May 13, 2013 post-elections assessment, he said.

“It’s really up to legislature and the president, because all acts will be decided by the President,” Brillantes said when asked to comment on the president’s position.

There are pending bills in Congress seeking to delay the elections scheduled later this year.

“If the Congress passes a postponement law, the president can still veto the postponement,” Brillantes said.

Election lawyer Romulo Macalintal said in a radio program Comelec’s proposal to postpone the elections is against the Constitution. While Congress has power to set the date for the barangay elections, it has no power to extend the term of office of barangay officials.

"Hindi dapat magkaroon ng postponement sapagkat anumang batas na gagawin ng Kongreso ay magiging labag sa ating Saligang Batas (There should be no postponement because any law that Congress will pass will be against the Constitution)," said Macalintal.

The poll chief, for his part, said he did not want to extend the terms of barangay officials. “Puwede naman matapos ang term nila at walang hold over, at mag-appoint si Presidente, mas gusto ko iyon (They can complete their terms without holdovers and let the President appoint [officers-in-charge]. I prefer that),” Brillantes said.

(VERA Files is put out by veteran journalists taking a deeper look at current issues. Vera is Latin for “true”.)

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  • Indonesian executions: key questions and answers
    Indonesian executions: key questions and answers

    Indonesia is set soon to execute eight foreigners convicted of drug offences, despite international outrage and desperate appeals for mercy from relatives. Authorities on Saturday gave formal notice to the eight -- from Australia, Brazil, Nigeria and the Philippines -- that they would face a firing squad imminently. If the executions go ahead, the seven men and one woman will be led to a clearing on a prison island to be shot by police marksmen -- after authorities have placed a black mark on …

  • Indonesia defiant as UN leads condemnation of looming executions
    Indonesia defiant as UN leads condemnation of looming executions

    Indonesia on Sunday signalled it was determined to push ahead with the execution of eight foreign drug convicts, despite a growing wave of global condemnation led by United Nations chief Ban Ki-moon. Authorities on Saturday gave formal notice to the eight -- from Australia, Brazil, Nigeria and the Philippines -- that they would be executed by firing squad imminently, along with an Indonesian prisoner. The group have been moved to the high-security prison island of Nusakambangan, where …

  • Philippines calls on ASEAN to urge China to halt land reclamation
    Philippines calls on ASEAN to urge China to halt land reclamation

    The Philippines called on its Southeast Asian neighbours to unite in urging China to halt reclamation of land in the South China Sea, but the call failed to raise widespread support ahead of a regional summit. China claims 90 percent of the South China Sea, which is believed to be rich in oil and gas. Its claims overlap with those of Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Vietnam and Taiwan. Recent satellite images suggest China has made rapid progress in filling in land in contested territory …

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