The latest news stories from the major news organizations in Cebu and Manila in the Philippines, the US and other countries.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

August 12, 2009 Major News Stories

Transport group seeks P1 fare hike

Probe sought on overpriced taxi meters

Party-list Rep. Vigor Mendoza II (1-Utak) Monday urged Congress to look into the Land Transportation and Franchising Regulatory Board's decision to authorize a small group of suppliers to import receipt-generating taxi meters and sell them at "exorbitant" prices.

4 hospitals won't join 'hospital holiday'

At least four private hospitals in Metro Manila said they would not join a "hospital holiday" being planned by a group of private hospitals to protest the start of price control on five essential medicines on August 15.

Ombud checks on Balili property

THE Office of the Ombudsman-Visayas is formally looking into the Capitol's purchase of the Balili property in Naga, Cebu.

Rama cautions CH on P13M tab

CEBU City Vice Mayor Michael Rama cautioned city councilors and department heads on the P13.5-million payment for a lot owned by businessman Roque Ting in the South Road Properties (SRP).

Like the Balili property that the Province bought, previous records showed that a portion of Ting's 4,222-square-meter lot is underwater, the vice mayor said.

During the hearing on the proposed P200.4-million sixth supplemental budget (SB) yesterday afternoon, Rama said he was surprised why the payment for the Ting property was included when the case is still pending in court.

SC defers voting on cities-towns

Saying that two new justices have yet to study the case of the cities reverted back to towns and two other senior jurists are on leave, the Supreme Court en banc yesterday deferred the resolution of the appeal of the 16 cities to reconsider its November 18, 2008 decision that declared their cityhood unconstitutional.

Police: Student may be behind bomb scare

The police are now focusing their investigation on students of the University of Cebu-Banilad Campus as it is possible that one of them is the alleged prankster who called up of a bomb allegedly planted in the school premises last Monday morning.

Ombudsman, CSC mum on Gloria's SALNs

Mike may attend House probe on assets

First Gentleman Jose Miguel Arroyo will attend an inquiry by the House of Representatives into his and President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo's statements of assets and liabilities if they would be assured of a fair and friendly treatment, his lawyer said Tuesday.

Arroyo's growing wealth not impeachable

President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo has not committed any impeachable offense in connection with the reported increase in her wealth from 2001 to the present, her lawyer said on Tuesday.

Enrile urges Arroyo: Speak up on wealth

President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo should explain to the people how her wealth had allegedly doubled in the last eight years, Senate President Juan Ponce-Enrile said on Tuesday.

Senators: P1-M dinner not 'excessive'

The purported lavish dinner at the world-class Le Cirque restaurant in New York City was "excessive" if President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo feasted on it alone, Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago and Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile said.

Sue on P1M dinner or shut up

Chief Presidential Legal Counsel Raul Gonzalez Sr. on Tuesday told critics of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo to file a case against her and her entourage in connection with the lavish New York dinner instead of yapping through the media.

'Stop making a mountain out of a molehill'

Speaker Prospero Nograles wants to put an end to talks about the controversial P1 million dinner of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and her entourage at a New York restaurant, even as several congressmen, including the reported host of the lavish dinner, remained tight-lipped.

NY Post: Dinner fires up Meldy memories

A New York tabloid that broke a story on a $20,000 (P960,000) dinner by President Arroyo and her entourage last week updated New Yorkers Tuesday on the "firestorm" caused by its "little scoop."

The article said a copy of Mrs. Arroyo's tab, posted on several blogs, showed 11 bottles of Krug champagne were ordered at $510 a pop.

"The entourage - who were charged $238 a head for the feast - also devoured Osetra caviar at $1,400 for five ounces," the paper said.

Solons begin fresh moves to Con-Con

With the fate of the controversial House resolution seeking to convene a constituent assembly in limbo, proponents of a separate resolution for a constitutional convention have begun fresh moves to change the Charter.

Recto eyeing return to Senate – Ermita

Socio-Economic Planning Secretary Ralph Recto resigned from the Cabinet to prepare for the 2010 senatorial elections, Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita said on Tuesday.

Pres. Arroyo said that Recto was resigning effective August 16, but has not named a replacement for him. 

Recto's announcement of his resignation was surprising, and his reason even more surprising. He has been quiet about his political plans unlike some Cabinet members who have been coming out with print or TV ads.

RP's first ePassport issued to Arroyo

Serial number EA0000001. That's the number of the country's first ePassport that the Department of Foreign Affairs issued to President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

President Arroyo scanned her ePassport on the passport reader which immediately revealed her biometric information, digital signature and photograph.

The ePassport's security features have been enhanced with a hidden encoded image, an ultra-thin holographic laminate, and a tamper-proof electronic microchip.

SC junks habeas plea of fixer in agri scam

The Supreme Court has dismissed the petition for habeas corpus filed by the alleged "fixer" in the P728-million fertilizer fund scam.

Bongbong for VP stickers in Senate

Stickers disclosing Ilocos Norte Rep. Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos' alleged intention to run in next year's elections as Senator Manny Villar's running mate were distributed to the members of the Senate media Tuesday afternoon.

Sisters split over senator's 2010 plans

Senator Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino III said his siblings were divided over the public's clamor for him to seek a higher office so that he could continue the legacy of his parents.

Aquino said his sisters – Pinky and Viel – were empathic against the idea while his eldest sister, Ballsy, was hesitant.

His youngest sister, popular TV host Kris, has publicly announced that she would support whatever the senator would decide to do.

Binay's daughter-in-law passes away

The wife of Makati City Councilor Jun Jun Binay, son of Mayor Jejomar Binay, passed away due to complications of her pregnancy as she gave birth to a baby girl, seven months into term.

US aircraft carrier docks in Manila Bay

Troops from the United States Navy's 7th Fleet, on board the USS George Washington aircraft carrier, will conduct humanitarian projects together with the Philippine Navy during a four-day "goodwill visit" to the country.

200 Filipino OFWs in NZ go on strike

About 200 Filipino employees of a New Zealand telecommunications firm joined a nationwide rally Tuesday that was held to protest the adoption of a scheme transforming the employees into sub-contractors.

Remove OFWs' documentary stamp tax

A Senate body is inclined to remove the documentary stamp tax (DST) on cash sent home by Filipinos working abroad, even if it means forfeiting a P1 billion a year.

5 cent-text tax unconstitutional: Globe

Congressional moves to impose a five centavo tax on text messages without allowing telecommunication firms to pass it on to consumers are unconstitutional, the Philippines" second-largest mobile phone company said.

100 feared buried in Taiwan mudslide

About 100 people in a remote village of southern Taiwan are feared to have been buried alive in a mudslide, the government's rescue service said Tuesday.

Taiwan military rescues 260 from mudslide

Taiwan's military has rescued about 260 people from the area around a village that was struck by a typhoon-triggered mudslide, but there is no word on the fate of scores of others buried by the disaster in the island's south.

Strong quake hits central Japan

A strong earthquake measuring 6.4 struck central Japan early Tuesday, causing some minor injuries from falling objects while shutting down a nuclear power plant and bullet trains.

RP deplores Suu Kyi's new prison term

The Philippines deplored on Tuesday the conviction of Myanmar's opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi who will remain in prison for 18 more months.

50M Asian women at risk of HIV infection

More than 1.5 million women living with HIV in Asia were infected by their husbands or boyfriends and 50 million more are at risk of infection, according to a report released Tuesday.

RP loses to Iran

Manila to host World Volleyball qualifier

Lapid seeks 16-day extension of stay in US

LA coroner to hold Jackson autopsy result

The Los Angeles County coroner's office said Monday it had completed a "thorough and comprehensive" autopsy of Michael Jackson but would not release the results until police complete their investigation.

'This is It': Jackson film out in October

Fans will get to see Michael Jackson's final rehearsals in a film to be released on October 30, just four months after the sudden death of the King of Pop, Sony studios announced Monday.

Tycoon's brother faces maltreatment raps

A criminal complaint will be filed against the brother of tycoon Lucio Tan for alleged maltreatment of his maid.

'Kiko' death toll rises to 25

The number of casualties due to typhoon "Kiko" (international name: Morakot) rose to 25 after three more miners trapped after a landslide in Baguio City were confirmed dead, authorities said Tuesday.

Samuel Goldwyn  - "I'm willing to admit that I may not always be right, but I am never wrong."

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