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

Monday, August 3, 2009

August 4, 2009 Major News Stories

Chevron, Shell to raise oil prices

Major oil players Chevron Corp. and Pilipinas Shell Petroleum Corp. announced that they will raise oil prices effective Tuesday.  At 6 a.m., Chevron and Petron will raise the prices of their regular and E10 gasoline and diesel by P1 per liter and kerosene by P0.50 per liter, said Chevron communications manager Toby Nebrida and Petron spokesperson Virginia Ruivivar.

Shell will also implement the same price adjustments at 12:01 a.m. Tuesday to "reflect the increase in international product prices," said Shell vice president for communications Roberto Kanapi.

Just last week, major oil players also increased oil prices by P2 per liter.

Cory brings people back to the streets

Former President Corazon Aquino drew tens of thousands to the streets one last time on Monday, amid an outpouring of support reminiscent of the 1986 revolt that she led to restore democracy in the country.

Police estimated the crowd in Makati at 25,000, while those that lined up along Edsa were estimated at 5,000, said Superintendent Rommel Miranda, spokesman of the National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO).

In the area of the La Salle Greenhills gymnasium, where the funeral procession started, the crowd was estimated at 30,000 to 40,000, said Senior Superintendent Carlos de Sagun, Mandaluyong City police chief.

Instead of stock prices, the Philippine Stock Exchange ticker turned yellow and displayed a message thanking the democracy icon.

Mrs. Aquino's younger brother, Jose Cojuangco Jr., led his clan from Tarlac in joining the funeral procession to the Manila Cathedral. Cojuangco, overwhelmed by the thousands who lined up Ayala Ave., flashed the "laban" sign to the crowd and reached out to shake the hands of some of the people there, saying thank you.

Employees of the Commission on Elections unfurled yellow banners and a large white tarpaulin written with the words "Salamat Pres. Cory." (Thank you, Pres. Cory)

Among those who were at the Manila Cathedral were Manila Mayor Alfredo Lim, Quezon City Mayor Feliciano Belmonte, former Ambassadors Henrietta de Villa and Howard Dee, Black and White Movement convenor Leah Navarro, and political analyst Lito Banayo.

So far, only Public Works Secretary Hermogenes Ebdane Jr. was the only administration figure spotted at the cathedral.

Aquino a role model for RP leaders

Former President Corazon Aquino was hailed as a "role model" for the country's leaders during a mass on the first night of her wake at the Manila Cathedral on Monday.  "Cory is known as icon of democravy but also for her simplicity and being prayerful. She is role model for all of you in public office," Cubao Bishop Honesto Ontioco said in his homily.  Manila Archbishop Gaudencio Cardinal Rosales led the mass even as Ontioco gave the homily.

Church breaks protocol for Aquino

The Catholic Church broke its protocol to bestow on former president Corazon Aquino the honor of being the first lay person to have her wake at the country's historic Manila Cathedral.

Bond of Cory, Sin relived at Cathedral

The memories of the late Manila Archbishop Jaime Cardinal Sin and the special bond he had with former president Corazon Aquino were very much on the minds of the Catholic priests who were waiting for the coffin of Aquino at the Manila Cathedral on Monday.

Aquinos to be 'civil' with Arroyo

President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo will be treated with "civility" and "respect" when she visits the wake of former President Corazon Aquino, her son, Benigno Aquino III said.

Brace for jeers at wake, solon tells Arroyo

While saying it is her "official duty" to pay her last respects to former President Corazon Aquino, militant party list lawmakers on Monday warned President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo to be ready to take jeers, snide remarks and spiteful looks from the public.

Palace sorry for pullout of Aquino security

Malacañang has ordered Armed Forces Chief of Staff General Victor Ibrado to explain the pullout of the close security aides of former President Corazon Aquino, as it apologized to the Aquino family.

Cory's aides speak on 'pullout gaffe'

LP solons seek 'Cory Aquino Day'

Members of the Liberal Party in the House of Representatives have proposed a "Cory Aquino Day" for the former President whom they hailed as a "great leader and heroine."  18 LP members proposed the declaration of "Cory Aquino Day" every January 25, the late President's birthday.

The resolution was signed by Representatives Lorenzo R. Tañada III, Joseph Emilio A. Abaya, Maria Evita R. Arago, Proceso J. Alcala, Rozzano Rufino R. Biazon, Mary Mitzi L. Cajayon, Liwayway V. Chato, Glenn A. Chong, Solomon R. Chungalao,Paul R. Daza, Antonio A. Del Rosario, Magtanggol T. Gunigundo, Manuel N. Mamba, Hermilando I. Mandanas, Alvin S. Sandoval, Niel C. Tupas, jr., Alfonso V. Umali Jr., and Reynaldo S.

Joma: Aquino was true to her word

Self-exiled Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) founder Jose Maria Sison said he remembered the "mutual sense of gratitude" between him and former President Corazon Aquino.  He recalled the day he met Aquino in her office at the penthouse of the Cojuangco building in Makati City. He thanked her for signing the release order for political prisoners and she also thanked Sison for supporting her.  Sison claimed then defense minister Juan Ponce Enrile and military vice chief Fidel Ramos tried, but failed to block his release.

Aquino was like a mother to troops

Former President Corazon Aquino was not just a commander-in-chief to the Armed Forces of the Philippines, but was also a mother figure to low-ranking officers and enlisted personnel.

"Tita Cory was more like a mother to us than a typical Commander-in-Chief," said Army Colonel Santiago Baluyot, chief of Task Force Zamboanga.

Baluyot was assigned as one of Mrs. Aquino's close-in security from April 1986 until her term ended in 1992.

"She assumed power as an ordinary person, stepped down after her term and still identified with ordinary people, and up to her death, she remained with the ordinary people. Sana may isa pang katulad niya [Hopefully, there will be another one like her]," he added.

Senate ratifies Carp as 'gift' to Cory

The Senate ratified on Monday afternoon the bicameral conference report reconciling provisions of the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (Carp), which would extend for another five years the land-acquisition and distribution program with a budget of P150 billion.

Congressmen pay tribute to Aquino

They were activists, students, political prisoners, journalists, professors, and what-have-you when Corazon Cojuangco Aquino was thrust into power in 1986, but each has been touched by the revered leader one way or the other.

Withdraw Cha-cha, solons asked

Halting moves to amend the Constitution through a constituent assembly that could perpetuate the sitting President in power would be the "best honor" the House of Representatives could give former President Corazon Aquino, a lawmaker said on Monday.

Marcos seeks reconciliation with Aquinos

Former first lady Imelda Marcos said Monday she wanted a reconciliation with the family of Corazon Aquino, as the ex-president's coffin was taken on a solemn procession through Manila.

Ramos-Horta to condole with Aquinos

Timor-Leste President Jose Ramos-Horta and Indonesia Foreign Minister Hassan Wirajuda will arrive here Tuesday to personally deliver their governments' letter of condolences to the Aquino family and the Philippine government.

On the Web, thousands grieve for Cory

The outpouring of condolences and support for former President Cory Aquino continues to flood the Internet, a venue for those who cannot join thousands who gathered in the streets to pay respect and mourn her passing.

Noynoy sees hard times ahead w/o Cory

Senator Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino III on Monday said he is bracing himself for "hard times ahead" now that he has lost his mother, former President Corazon Aquino.  The senator said their kitchen, which used to be a cheerful place, has been enveloped with gloom since his mother's death last Saturday due to cardiorespiratory arrest. He said the kitchen was one of his mother's most favorite places in their house.

Cory's rift with Danding over

Former President Corazon Aquino believed her long feud with cousin Eduardo "Danding" Cojuangco was over before she succumbed to colon cancer last Saturday, her daughter Kris Aquino said.

JBC refuses to add names to SC shortlist

The Judicial and Bar Council on Monday denied Malacañang's request for the council to expand its list of nominees to the two vacancies in the Supreme Court.  Senator Francis Escudero, who represents the Senate at the JBC in his capacity as chairman of the committee on justice, said the voting to reject the Palace request was unanimous.  "The JBC already did its job. It would set a bad precedent," Escudero said.

Palace sees 'crisis' if JBC insists on list

Malacañang warned of a "constitutional crisis" if the Judicial and Bar Council (JBC) would insist on its original list of nominees for two vacant positions in the Supreme Court.  Cabinet Secretary Silvetre Bello III said on Monday the problem would crop up if the JBC would no longer submit a shortlist as required by the Constitution and insist on the original shortlist it submitted to fill up the vacancies left by retired Justices Dante Tinga and Alicia Austria-Martinez.

In the past, Bello noted that the JBC usually submitted five names for every vacancy, as was not the case now when the body came up only with six names for the two vacancies.

Included in the initial JBC list were Court of Appeals Associate Justices Martin Villarama, Hakim Abdulwahid, and Mariano del Castillo; Sandiganbayan Associate Justice Francisco Villaruz; University of Santo Tomas (UST) Law School Dean Roberto Abad; and lawyer Rodolfo Robles.

RP to show US inroads v corruption

Malacañang will submit a report card on the gains it has made in rooting out corruption in government to the Millennium Challenge Corp. (MCC), a US government agency that gives aid to poor countries to encourage good behavior.

Don't rush talks with MILF, NDF

A civil society peace network has cautioned government against rushing the peace process with the Moro and communist rebels as the Arroyo administration enters its last 11 months in office.

Cesar Villanueva, president of Pax Christi Pilipinas and co-convener of WPP, said the best that government could do would be to focus on what could be done, and "not give concessions that it cannot deliver."

He explained that substantive issues facing the talks with both the communist and Moro rebels "necessarily have implications on the Constitution, policy framework of national governance, and socio-economic structure" that would have to be "dealt with in short, medium, and long-term phases."

22 dead or missing in floods, landslides

Twenty-two people were reported dead or missing and more than 400,000 others were displaced after several days of floods, storms and landslides in the Philippines, rescuers said Monday.

Iloilo City suspends classes due to floods

Classes at all levels in most schools in Iloilo City were suspended starting Monday morning due to flooding in many parts of the city.

New depression seen east of Luzon

A day after tropical storm Jolina left the country, another weather disturbance was seen near Luzon, the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical, and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa) said.

More nurses eyed as rural midwives

Congress should build up the Nurses Assigned in Rural Service (NARS) Project toward mobilizing a larger number of unemployed nurses, this time as village midwives, a lawmaker from Mindanao said.

Soldier nabbed after robbing truck

A soldier and his companion were arrested after allegedly staging a highway robbery in Agusan del Sur province Saturday midnight, a police official said on Monday.  First Lieutenant Roel Bontuyan Hengania of the 8th Infantry Division of the Philippine Army, and his companion Maximo Ucab were arrested by police after allegedly robbing a truck of more than P200,000 worth of earnings, said Chief Superintendent Jaime Milla, police regional office 13 director.

Cheaper cellphone calls by December

By December, mobile phone users will enjoy cheaper voice calls since they will no longer be charged per minute, the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) said on Monday.

Starting August 7, telecommunication companies will be given up to 30 days to submit their proposed flag down rates. 

One hundred twenty days after the same date, mobile phone companies should already have altered their hardware and software requirements to comply with the new six-second charging arrangement. 

SEC goes to tribunal over Legacy fund

Soft drink maker to invest $1B in RP

The Atlanta-based Coca-Cola Co. will pour in $1 billion (currently P47.9 billion) over the next five years to further cement its hold on the Philippine beverage market.

185 killed in Sudan tribal violence

A local south Sudanese official says gunmen have attacked a group of displaced people camping near a river close to the Ethiopian border, killing 185 of them.

Turbulence slams Continental jet, 26 hurt

A Continental Airlines jet carrying 179 people from Brazil to Texas hit severe turbulence over the Atlantic early Monday, injuring at least 26 - including four seriously - and forcing an emergency landing in Miami, officials said.

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