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Saudi embassy warns against entry of non-Muslims in Mecca

The Saudi Arabian Embassy in Manila has issued a warning that entry of non-Muslims into the cities of Mecca and Medina, the two holy places in Islam, is strictly prohibited, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said Tuesday.

Oscar G. Valenzuela, DFA Assistant Secretary for Middle East and African Affairs, said transgressors are subject to severe punishment if caught.

He said the Saudi Arabian Embassy has warned that such infractions may have serious religious repercussions.

Reports reaching the DFA said false certificates of Muslim identity have been used by some overseas workers to illegally enter Saudi Arabia as umrah and hajj pilgrims. The Office of Muslim Affairs earlier warned that persons found in possession of or attempting to obtain false certificates of Muslim identity will be prosecuted.

Valenzuela also warned Filipinos seeking fake certificates of Muslim identity against using them for employment in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

He said the DFA has received reports that some unscrupulous recruitment agencies have been sending workers to Saudi Arabia who are advised to misrepresent themselves as Muslims. He said overseas Filipino workers who use the fake certificates may be arrested by Saudi authorities. 

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Rallies face stricter PNP
Still rejecting the idea that the Supreme Court’s decision that the policy on calibrated preemptive response (CPR) is unconstitutional, Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita insisted on Wednesday that CPR was just a “catch phrase” to interpret the maximum tolerance provision in Batasan Pambansa 880 and warned that from on the police would enforce that law more strictly.
The Manila Times (4/27/2006 1:41:11 AM)

Gudani asks AFP to dismiss charges
Retired Marine Gen. Francisco Gudani and Lt. Col. Alexander Balutan, who are facing court-martial charges filed against them by the AFP high command for violating President Arroyo’s EO 464, are seeking the dismissal of the charges in the light of the Supreme Court’s ruling that the executive order is unconstitutional.
The Manila Times (4/27/2006 1:40:35 AM)

No travel tax for House members on govt work
The Manila Times has obtained records showing that 86 out of the 234 congressmen have traveled or are traveling abroad this Lenten-Holy Week-summer holiday. Some of the trips are personal and others are official.
The Manila Times (4/27/2006 1:39:53 AM)

Erap ready to disclose all in espionage case
Deposed President Joseph Estrada, seeing his name dragged into the US espionage case filed by the FBI against a Filipino American, Leandro Aragoncillo, is willing to give his deposition and tell all.
The Manila Times (4/27/2006 1:39:16 AM)

8-yr-old Pinay wins top prize in Korea int’l stamp design contest
An eight-year-old Filipina won the top prize in the 2006 international postage stamp design contest in Korea.
The Manila Times (4/27/2006 1:38:42 AM)

OSG halts court evaluation of payment for NAIA 3
The Office of the Solicitor General on Wednesday stopped three court-appointed commissioners from setting the guidelines for computing the just compensation to the consortium that built the Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 3.
The Manila Times (4/27/2006 1:37:54 AM)

Lomibao calls for regional alliance in anti-terror drive
Director General Arturo Lomibao, Philippine National Police chief, on Wednesday called for closer regional and international cooperation to address terrorism and other transnational crimes affecting the Asia-Pacific region.
The Manila Times (4/27/2006 1:37:17 AM)

US Marines to appear in court on Friday–Embassy
The United States Embassy on Wednesday assured the presence of the four American Marines accused in the Subic rape case in a court arraignment scheduled on Friday.
The Manila Times (4/27/2006 1:36:43 AM)

Govt must apologize to CPR victims
Party-list Rep. Risa Hontiveros-Baraquel of Akbayan on Wednesday demanded that the government and the Philippine National Police apologize publicly to all victims of the Arroyo administration’s policy on calibrated preemptive response (CPR).
The Manila Times (4/27/2006 1:36:09 AM)

'Corruption biggest obstacle to charter change'
Widespread perception of corruption in the government is hindering moves to change the Constitution, the charter change advocacy group of the Consultative Commission said Wednesday. (4/26/2006 10:46:39 PM)

Estrada says consulting lawyers on US allegation of spying
Jailed ex-president Joseph Estrada on Wednesday denied reported allegations by US prosecutors he was part of a conspiracy to steal classified documents from the American government.
AFP (4/26/2006 8:38:34 PM)

Biazon doubts Labor Day destab yarn
Sen. Rodolfo Biazon on Wednesday said military reports of another coup attempt on May 1 may pave the way for another "suppressive measure" against anti-Arroyo forces. (4/26/2006 8:33:07 PM)

AFP: Communist rebel numbers plummeting
The Armed Forces of the Philippines said Wednesday that communist guerrillas had lost 900 members or 12 percent of their total force in three months, an assessment contrasting with figures released by the police.
AFP (4/26/2006 6:48:30 PM)

Sandiganbayan OKs travel permit for Jinggoy
The Sandiganbayan on Wednesday allowed Sen. Jose "Jinggoy" Estrada to travel to Hong Kong for four days, DZMM reported. (4/26/2006 3:24:15 PM)

Palace eyes 4-day workweek for govt workers
Malacañan is studying the idea to bring back the four-day workweek scheme to cut down on fuel consumption as the government anticipates the rise in prices of petroleum products, Press Secretary Ignacio Bunye said Wednesday. (4/26/2006 3:11:23 PM)

Erap, Chavit trade barbs on 'jueteng' scandal
Former President Joseph Estrada and his erstwhile friend, Ilocos Sur Gov. Luis "Chavit" Singson, on Wednesday exchanged accusations related to the deposed leader's alleged kickbacks from the numbers racket "jueteng." (4/26/2006 3:03:27 PM)

Foes want Arroyo held for anti-rally order
President Arroyo and her advisers should still be held accountable for the implementation of the "calibrated preemptive response" (CPR) policy against street rallies and the declaration of a state of national emergency, two opposition personalities said Wednesday. (4/26/2006 12:07:28 PM)

Erap marks 5th year in jail as trial resumes
Former President Joseph Estrada marked his fifth year in detention Wednesday, returning to the witness stand to defend himself against charges of massive corruption.
AFP/ (4/26/2006 12:03:57 PM)

Solgen claims win, won't file appeal on 'CPR'
Solicitor General Eduardo Nachura on Wednesday said the executive department will not appeal the Supreme Court decision against the "calibrated preemptive response" (CPR) because the high court ruled that the presidential directive's basis, the Batas Pambansa 880, is constitutional. (4/26/2006 12:01:00 PM)

LPG dealers cut prices by P0.50/kg
Dealers of liquefied petroleum gas said Wednesday they will cut prices of LPG products by 50 centavos per kilogram beginning 12:01 a.m. Thursday, ANC reported. (4/26/2006 11:19:31 AM)

Experts warn: Suspend RVAT, ruin economy
The Philippine government won’t be able to stabilize its finances if the revised value-added tax on oil is suspended as proposed by the President’s chief of staff, experts from the international credit rating firms Moody’s Investors Service Inc. and Fitch Ratings Inc. warned in an exclusive interview with The Manila Times.
The Manila Times (4/26/2006 10:51:17 AM)

Teves: EVAT lift on oil not an option
Finance Secretary Margarito Teves said Wednesday that the proposal to scrap the expanded value-added tax (EVAT) on oil products should not be considered an option to ease the burden of high fuel prices. (4/26/2006 9:23:02 AM)

SC nullifies CPR policy
The Supreme Court on Tuesday declared unconstitutional the Calibrated Preemptive Response (CPR) policy of the Philippine National Police in dealing with protesters.
The Manila Times (4/26/2006 7:16:31 AM)

Junket or official trip? Lawmakers take their pick
It’s travel time for many senators and congressmen with Congress still on its Lenten break.
The Manila Times (4/26/2006 2:15:44 AM)

Bush gas prices probe could be a lead GMA should follow
Responding to a wave of public anger and setting his sights on key congressional elections in about six months, US President George W. Bush has ordered an inquiry into whether gasoline prices sold at US fuel stations have been illegally manipulated.
The Manila Times (4/26/2006 2:14:42 AM)

‘Marcos wealth enough to pay debt’
The fabled wealth of the late President Ferdinand Marcos is enough to pay the country’s huge national debt, an official from the Presidential Commission on Good Government on Tuesday quoted Mrs. Imelda Marcos as saying.
The Manila Times (4/26/2006 2:13:28 AM)

Guen escapes Singapore death penalty
SINGAPORE - Guen Aguilar, the Filipino domestic worker facing trial over the death of a compatriot whose body was chopped up and left inside a bag, will escape a possible death sentence after prosecutors reduced the murder charge against her to culpable homicide, the woman’s lawyer said Tuesday.
The Manila Times (4/26/2006 2:12:37 AM)

Estrada marks 5th year in detention by forgiving foes
Forgiven and forgotten. This is how former President Estrada felt toward those responsible for his ouster from power, the fifth year marking his arrest and detention by the government for alleged plunder.
The Manila Times (4/26/2006 2:11:59 AM)

2nd junior officer tags Honasan in mutiny
Another junior military officer on Tuesday implicated former senator Gregorio Honasan in the foiled July 2003 Oakwood mutiny in his testimony at a Makati lower court.
The Manila Times (4/26/2006 2:10:57 AM)

Chief Justice backs GMA on capital punishment
President Arroyo found herself an ally Tuesday after Chief Justice Artemio Panganiban agreed that the death penalty law is unconstitutional.
The Manila Times (4/26/2006 2:08:08 AM)

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Easterly wave affecting Visayas and Mindanao. Ridge of North Pacific high pressure area (hpa) extending over Northern Luzon.

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* Palasyo 'di uurong sa oposisyon sa kabila ng CPR
* PNP nagpaligsahan sa crowd control, dispersal
* Maynila may 5 freedom parks