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

Thursday, August 27, 2009

August 28, 2009 Major News Stories

One-hour brownouts in some parts of city

Some areas in Cebu City experienced a one-hour power interruption as early as 10 a.m. yesterday after the Toledo Power Corporation-Cebu Thermal Power Plant I had to do an emergency shutdown due to leakage in its main cooling system at shortly past midnight yesterday.

Ailments from ash?

SOME residents from six barangays in Naga town linked the fly ash emissions from a nearby coal-fired power plant to numerous ailments over the years, but want to hold on to their homes and jobs.

Capitol not sure on Balili as dumping area

AS CAPITOL officials wait for the "notice of intent to sue" from environmentalists, lawyer Rory Jon Sepulveda said the Province is not yet 100 percent sure about using coal ash from a power plant as a filling material.

Ratification a must: Noval; no: Rory Jon

WHAT Gov. Gwen Garcia considers a "very minor issue" – the ratification of the contract – is one of the flaws of the multi-million-peso Balili property deal.

Summon Bolo

A TEAM formed by Capitol to look into the Balili lots purchase will summon Provincial Board (PB) Member Juan Bolo and members of the Provincial Government's appraisal committee.

Woes pile up for PB's Bolo

Bolo wrote the Provincial Appraisal Committee on June 26, 2007 requesting for the appraisal of the 25-hectare Balili property in barangay, Tinaan, Naga because the province is interested to buy the properties.

He allegedly presented himself as chairman of the committee on properties when he made the request. However, documents obtained by The FREEMAN showed that the different committee chairmanships were still vacant on that date because the May 2007 elections had just passed.

The provincial board was only organized on July 9, 2007 when the newly elected members of the board held its inaugural session. It was only then that the reorganization of chairmen and committee chairmanships of the different standing committees was approved giving Vice Governor Gregorio Sanchez the full authority to appoint and assign respective officers and chairpersons.

The committee on provincial and municipal properties eventually was assigned to Bolo as chairman with board member Wenceslao Gakit as vice-chairman and Joven Mondigo, Jr., Julian Daan, Alfred Francis Ouano and Teresita Celis as members.

Papers show Bolo getting richer

PROVINCIAL Board (PB) Member Juan Bolo, who allegedly facilitated the Capitol's purchase of the Balili property in Tinaan, Naga, grew richer from 2003 to 2007, financial records show.  After posting a total value of P4.419 million in 2003 and P6.2 million in 2004, the Provincial Board (PB) member's Statement of Assets and Liabilities in 2007 places his net worth at P6.2 million.

Abalos, Neri face charges over NBN deal

The Office of the Ombudsman has recommended the filing of criminal charges against former elections chief Benjamin Abalos Sr. and former socioeconomic planning secretary Romulo Neri over the graft-tainted broadband deal with China's ZTE Corp., a party-list lawmaker said Thursday. 

But the government anti-graft body threw out the complaints against President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and First Gentleman Jose Miguel Arroyo, both were accused of being involved in the supposedly overpriced $329-million contract, according to a resolution of the Ombudsman sent to the office of Representative Risa Hontiveros of Akbayan.

Also absolved of liability were Pangasinan Representative Jose de Venecia Jr., Department of Transportation and Communication Secretary Leandro Mendoza, DOTC Undersecretaries Lorenzo Formoso and Elmer Soneja, and ZTE officials Yu Yong, George Zhuying, Fan Yan and Hou Weigui.

Palace vows better use of pork in 2010

Arroyo to visit Libya Sept 1—DFA

President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo will visit Libya on September 1 on the invitation of the Libyan president, Colonel Muammar Qaddafi, to attend the 40th Anniversary of the Great Al Fateh Revolution, according to the Department of Foreign Affairs.

Declare VFA unconstitutional

Petitioners led by former Senate President Jovito Salonga on Thursday asked the Supreme Court anew to declare as unconstitutional the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) due to the prolonged stay of visiting United States troops.

US troops not involved in combat—AFP

The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) denied claims made by Balikatan mess whistleblower Lieutenant Senior Grade Nancy Gadian that US soldiers join combat operations in Mindanao.

US: Troops not joining Mindanao war

The United States Embassy in Manila on Thursday night vehemently denied that American troops participating in military exercises here have been engaged in combat operations and have put up permanent structures in Philippine military camps.

OFWs under Jeddah overpass swells again

A week after the Saudi government deported more than a hundred runaway OFWs to the Philippines, the number of Filipinos gathered at under an overpass in Jeddah in hopes of being sent home is increasing again.

OFW remittances kept RP afloat

Overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) have once again saved the country as they continued to send enough money back home to keep the economy afloat, an economist said on Thursday.

Kennedy burial set for Saturday

Edward Kennedy will be buried on Saturday beside his brothers at Arlington National Cemetery following a private funeral mass and memorial service in Boston, his family said.

Bomber hits Pakistani border; 18 dead

A suicide bomber hit a Pakistani security checkpoint Thursday at the main border crossing for convoys ferrying NATO supplies into Afghanistan, killing at least 18 border guards, police said.

Malaysian party axes head over scandal

Malaysia's biggest ethnic Chinese political party expelled its deputy leader over a video sex scandal, re-igniting a party feud that has hampered efforts to revive the ruling coalition's sagging support.

Malaysian Chinese Association President Ong Tee Keat said Chua Soi Lek's expulsion was "in the best interest of the party" and that a senior party council made the decision because the deputy had tarnished the party's image.

But Chua, who resigned as health minister last year after DVDs surfaced of him having extramarital sex with a woman in a hotel room, insisted he was ousted because he was Ong's rival for authority in the MCA, the second-largest party in the National Front governing coalition.

Sy, Villar, Marcos allies in RP's 40 richest

Super Lotto pot to rise to P145-M

Hindi pa rin nakukuha ang higit sa P120-million pesos na jackpot sa Super Lotto. Sa linggo na ang susunod na bola. Tinatayang aabot na ng mahigit P145 milyon ang jackpot.

Amalia Fuentes' son posts bail for libel rap

The son of actress Amalia Fuentes has posted bail in connection with a libel case filed against him in a Cebu court.

Libel case vs Hayden Kho's mom junked

The Quezon City Prosecutor's Office has dismissed the libel complaint filed by actress Katrina Halili against the mother of Dr. Hayden Kho Jr. for lack of probable cause.

Housemaid sues Lucio Tan's brother

An 18-year-old housemaid filed a criminal case against her former employer, the brother of business tycoon Lucio Tan.

Mary Jane Sollano filed the case before the Justice department for maltreatment, illegal detention, slavery and frustrated homicide against Mariano Tan, his wife Aleta and children Maximilian and Fayette.

In her three-page affidavit, the victim detailed the "physical and mental abuses" she suffered in the hands of the Tan family in their Quezon City residence from July 2004 up to August 10.

Sollano said she and the other house help were "not allowed to use the telephone or cell phone, talk to fellow house helpers, laugh, sit in their (family's) chairs, look 
outside the window, watch TV, eat at any time, sleep or rest before our tasks were completed, and read any material or write." 

She also claimed that Tan's wife slapped her in the face repeatedly.

"In my five-year stay in their house, I was not allowed to go out. They even threatened me that they would do something bad if I ask for help from outside," Sollano claimed.

She said she tried to escape when she sought permission to go to her province but was not allowed to leave. She added Tan's wife and Fayette even took nude photos of her.

"When they were not yet satisfied, they would hit me with steel or slippers, and threaten me that they would show my nude photos to other people or bring me to a nightclub owned by Ate Aleta's friend," she alleged. 

Sollano, who had been working for Tan's household for five years and two months, was rescued by operatives from the Quezon City Police District, CHR and DSWD last August 10.

Lucio Tan's brother cites harassment

The criminal complaint filed by a former housemaid against the brother of tycoon Lucio Tan, Mariano Tanenglian, is meant to harass him for offering to testify against his sibling, Tanenglian's lawyer told the Inquirer on Thursday.

Birth of the Beatles to be filmed

US producer David Permut will make a film on the birth of the Beatles, based on the life of the man who discovered and managed the group, Variety reported Wednesday.

Permut's picture is to be based on "A Life in the Day," a Tony Gittelson script about the life of Brian Epstein. Epstein, born in Liverpool in 1934, was the man who believed the Beatles would make it huge, and managed them from 1961-1967.

He convinced EMI to sign the mop-topped young group, and saw them start to soar before he died of a drug overdose at 32.

Epstein, who sold records from his father's store in Liverpool, had heard the Beatles on his lunch break at the Cavern Club. He became a huge fan who doggedly pursued a big record deal for the future Fab Four.

"Everybody turned down the band, even though Brian promised they would become bigger than Elvis, and he finally got George Martin at EMI to change his mind and give them an audition," said Permut.

Pablo Picasso  - "Computers are useless. They can only give you answers."

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