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

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

September 16, 2009 Major News Stories

Passenger says no strong winds before SuperFerry 9 sank

ZAMBOANGA CITY - A survivor of the ill-fated SuperFerry-9 countered the claims made on Monday by the ship's captain before the Board of Marine Inquiry which is conducting a probe on the ferry's sinking.  

Fire hits SuperFerry 1 at South Harbor

Fire hit before dawn on Tuesday a docked vessel of the Aboitiz Transport System Company (ATSC), destroying P100,000 worth of equipment at the Dona Eva Macapagal Super Terminal in Manila.

TUCP urges Marina to lift suspension of SLI vessels

A year after the tragic sinking of the M/V Princess of the Stars, the Trade Union Congress of the Philippines is urging the Maritine Industry Authority to lift the suspension order on the vessels of Sulpicio Lines, Inc.

Number of jobless Pinoys rises in July, govt says

The number of jobless Filipinos rose in July with Metro Manila recording the biggest number of unemployed, the government said on Tuesday.

DTI chief warns against extorting inspectors

Trade Secretary Peter B. Favila has warned the public about "bogus" government inspectors out to extort money in the guise of checking a company's products.

Balili lot purchase issue: Mystery looms over voucher

The Cebu Provincial Government made the full payment of P98.9 million for the 24.7 hectare-Balili property last October 2, 2008 yet, but who prepared the payment voucher remains a mystery.

The members of the ad hoc committee of the provincial board conducting a fact-finding investigation into the Balili fiasco called last Monday the officials, whose signatures appeared in the payment voucher, but not one of them could tell where the voucher came from.

The payment vouchers for the P98.9 million property in Tinaan, Naga were processed at the Provincial Budget Office, Treasurer's office and even passed through the internal audit to ensure that the disbursement of funds is valid before the checks were issued for the approval of Governor Gwendolyn Garcia. But no one knows where the voucher came from.

The Capitol issued the first check to Romeo Balili, the executor of the Balili estate, amounting to P49,849,200 dated April 28, 2008, but released on May 21.

Gastardo says Bolo speech "malicious"

Provincial Board member Jose Maria Gastardo took offense at the privilege speech of fellow PB member Juan Bolo last Monday where he defended himself from all the accusations brought on by the bungled Balili land purchase.

Bolo also questioned why it was not asked whether or not the members of the Committee on the Provincial and Municipal Properties, which he used to head, met to discuss it when they are aware that this is not their practice and that there was no formal referral made by the board to his committee.

To emphasize his point, Bolo mentioned Gastardo, Victor Maambong, Agnes Magpale, Peter John Calderon and Wilfredo Caminero as among the members of the board who have also passed resolution granting authority to Garcia to enter a MOA also without a prior committee report.

Vice Governor Gregorio Sanchez on the other hand said that Bolo's speech has caused more division among the members of the board on the issue.

Sanchez, who claimed to have asked Bolo to deliver a privilege speech to clear everything about the transaction, said that Bolo failed the purpose because he tried to pick a fight with his colleagues.

'Proceed with Balili plan'

REP. Pablo Garcia yesterday urged Capitol officials to pursue their plans for the Balili resort property and objected to a Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) lawyer's statement that the titles were void from the start.

What provoked the congressman and former Cebu governor's reaction was a statement by lawyer Tranne Ferrer of DENR, in last Monday's hearing of the Provincial Board (PB), that the titles were "void ab initio."

"The Capitol has perfect titles. If ever there are issues about the property, it's not the concern anymore of the Province," said Congressman Garcia in a phone interview.

"She should examine the documents and find out how the property was titled. She should keep her mouth shut and take up a refresher course in public land and land registration laws because whatever is the fault of the Bureau of Lands, it's not the concern of the Province anymore. She should not be saying that titles were null and void from the very start."

Garcia, a former governor of Cebu, also said that DENR Director Leonardo Sibalucca should call Ferrer's attention and she should be charged administratively for "speaking out of turn."


Ferrer, however, said: "We are not saying that we are acting as a court. The stand of DENR is that the titles were void from the very start because of the issues surrounding the issuance of the titles."

"His statements were below the belt, considering that he's also a lawyer. He is insulting the whole DENR because I'm representing the agency. I'm not going to retaliate.

He's older than me and as a Filipina, I respect my elders," she said.

If the Balili issue is presented in court for the reversion of some titles, she said the DENR holds all the necessary documents to prove its case.

Rama wants Ace-Davide tandem for the province

Acting Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama said a tandem between Department of Tourism Secretary Joseph "Ace" Durano and Cebu City councilor Hilario "Junjun" Davide III will realize the One Cebu theme.

Lawyer accuses Tom's son of harassing her daughter

Miguel Osmeña, 24, son of Cebu City Mayor Tomas Osmeña, has been accused of harassing a woman for allegedly failing to stop the former's girlfriend from drinking too much.

Lawyer Sandra Smits, called up The Freeman yesterday and claimed that Miguel threatened to kill her daughter, Samantha Elise Diores Benitez, 20, who is the best friend of Miguel's girlfriend, Ana Gabriela Beatriz Villegas, 20, early morning Monday.

Miguel and his parents left for Los Angeles Monday evening. 

Smits said that she informed Miguel's mother, Margarita "Margot" Osmeña about the threat via a text message asking her to call the attention of her son, but said she got no reply.

This prompted her to report the matter to the Mabolo Police Station.

Malversation filed against Fortuna

Mandaue City Vice Mayor Carlo Pontico Fortuna is accused of malversation of public funds before the Office of the Ombudsman Visayas for allegedly collecting transportation allowance from the city government even if he was issued a service vehicle.

COA says DA paid more for seedlings

The Commission on Audit has uncovered anomalies at the Department of Agriculture in Central Visayas, including the purchase of 37,692 fruit tree seedlings for P6.9 million, or P3,085,560 more than what should have been the right price.

Environmental group seeks moratorium on coal-fired power plants

An environmental group is urging the government to issue a moratorium on coal-fired power plants, saying the proliferation of such plants pose a great risk to the environment and the health of the people.

Wife spears husband who hid messages from her

ANGRY that her husband would not allow her to read the messages in his cellular phone, a wife threw a spear at her husband and hit him past 9 p.m. Monday.

The incident took place in Barangay Maalat, Madridejos town in Bantayan Island.

Dennis Duran Arcasa, 25, was about to sleep when his wife Jessel Tiongson-Arcasa, 24, reached for his cellular phone to read some of the text messages stored in it.

When she asked him if he had a textmate, Dennis told her to return his phone.

Jessel confronted him and asked him who a woman named Nene was.

When Dennis asked for his phone a second time, Jessel reportedly refused to give it to him.


According to a report submitted to the Cebu Provincial Police Office (CPPO), Dennis punched her left shoulder and recovered his cellular phone.

Irked, he reportedly got up from bed and decided to leave the room.

But this angered Jessel, who grabbed a spear locally called "bideo" and hurled it at him.

The spear hit the left side of his back. Though wounded, Dennis ran to his parents' house and sought help.

He was brought to the Bantayan District Hospital for treatment.

Comendador says burglary at ABC office could be an inside job

Considering that the office of the Association of Barangay Councils is located in a remote area at the South Road Properties, City Police Director Patrocinio Comendador yesterday said it is possible that the burglary therein last Monday was an inside job.

The city police office took cognizance over the burglary after the ABC staff sought assistance when they discovered last Monday that a total of P11,500 cash was stolen from the office drawers.

Rose Lyn Arellano, the bookkeeper, lost her P5,000 personal cash while Teresa Ang, an administrative staff, discovered that their P6,500 traveling allowance went missing.

SC tells Melo to explain role in leakage of poll automation ruling

The Supreme Court on Tuesday ordered Commission on Elections (Comelec) chair Jose Melo to clear up his alleged role in the leakage of the court"s ruling that favored the commission"s poll automation project in 2010.

Let Comelec decide on poll failure - PNP

The Commission on Elections (Comelec) should be the one to decide of the consequences in case of a total failure of elections, a police spokesman said on Tuesday.

Lacson diverting murder case, fronting for Palace — Estrada

REBUTTING ACCUSATIONS hurled against his father, ex-president Joseph E. Estrada, Senate Pro-Tempore Jose "Jinggoy" E. Estrada yesterday said Senator Panfilo "Ping" M. Lacson was diverting public attention from his alleged involvement in a double murder case and insinuated that his colleague is fronting for the administration.

Businessman confirms Lacson expose

Filipino-Chinese tycoon Alfonso Yuchengco confirmed early on Tuesday that he was threatened and intimidated to sell his stake in the country's largest telecommunications firm to businessman Manuel Pangilinan 11 years ago.

Dacer children to include Erap in double murder case

MANILA - The children of slain publicist Salvador "Bubby" Dacer on Tuesday are ready to implead former president Joseph "Erap" Estrada as one of the respondents in the gruesome killing of their father and his driver Emmanuel Corbito in November 2000.  

Lakas-Kampi seen to pick Teodoro

MANILA - The Lakas-Kabalikat ng Malayang Pilipino-Christian Muslim Democrats (Lakas-Kampi-CMD) is expected to pick Defense Secretary Gilbert Teodoro as its standard-bearer during the ruling party's national executive committee meeting on Wednesday.

Arroyo makes 28th visit to Pampanga projects

Four days after visiting flood-stricken areas in her home province of Pampanga, President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo was back Monday to open water systems and inspect a schoolbuilding and farm-to-market roads.

Panlilio recount ends Wednesday -- Comelec

The Commission on Elections (Comelec) will finish the recount and revision of ballots against incumbent Governor Ed Panlilio on Wednesday, an official said on Tuesday.

Small explosion near US troops in Zamboanga: military

by Agence France-Presse
ZAMBOANGA - A small explosion rocked a wharf where US soldiers were unloading supplies from a boat in the southern Philippines, local military officials said on Tuesday.

Arroyo rejects additional rebel release

PRESIDENT Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo yesterday rejected demands of the Communist Party of the Philippines-National Democratic Front (CPP-NDF) to free additional consultants before formal peace talks could resume.

71 more stranded Filipinos arrive from Jeddah

A third batch of 71 more Filipinos stranded in Jeddah is scheduled to arrive in Manila tomorrow, September 16, the Department of Foreign Affairs said in a statement Tuesday.

21 Filipino crew of Greek-owned ship released

NAIROBI – Somali pirates have freed a Greek-owned merchant vessel and its 21 Filipino crew, five months after hijacking it in the Gulf of Aden, a maritime watchdog said Monday.

SC upholds CAP rehab; defers payment to pre-need clients

MANILA - Before there was Legacy Group, Pacific Plans, and other failed pre-need firms, there was College Assurance Plan (CAP). And the fate of CAP plan holders, who have battled it out in the courts for years, was sealed in a recent Supreme Court decision. The high court's third division affirmed a lower court's previous decisions allowing CAP to go under rehabilitation.

WHO chief warns of swine flu threat to poor countries

COPENHAGEN - Swine flu will have a "devastating effect" on poor countries where lives will be lost due to ill-equipped health care facilities, the World Health Organization warned on Tuesday.

Oil prices fall on US-China trade row

NEW YORK – Oil prices pulled back Monday amid fears that a US-China trade row could derail a fragile global economic recovery, adding to pressure from an oversupply of crude.

Iraqi who threw shoes at Bush released from prison

BAGHDAD - The brother of an Iraqi reporter who threw his shoes at former President George W. Bush in a stunning act of protest that made him a hero around the Arab world says the journalist has been released from a Baghdad prison.

Cotto in the thick of training; Pacman not threatened

Dalawang linggo nang nag-eensayo si Miguel Cotto para sa laban niya kay Manny Pacquiao sa Nobyembre, pero ang kampo ni Pacman, hindi nasisindak at tiwalang makukuha ang WBO welterweight belt ni Cotto kasama na ang espesyal na diamond belt.

Venice prize to help Diokno fund new film

Young Filipino filmmaker Jose Lorenzo "Pepe" Diokno, who won two top prizes at the just-concluded Venice International Film Festival, hopes to use his P4.8-million cash prize to fund a new film—after paying off debts.

Mayon volcano spews ash anew

by by Jose Carretero, ABS-CBN News Bicol
The Mayon volcano in Albay spewed ash at around 5:30 a.m. on Tuesday, according to the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs).

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