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

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

October 15, 2009 Major News Stories

Two oil firms to be probed for hiking gas prices

Justice Secretary Agnes Devanadera said Wednesday that the Task Force on the Oil Deregulation Law may investigate two oil companies for raising prices despite the state of calamity proclaimed by President Macapagal-Arroyo as the country struggles with the misery wrought by tropical cyclones Ondoy and Pepeng.

DOE rules out price control on oil products

Even with Luzon reeling from the damage caused by recent cyclones, Energy Secretary Angelo T. Reyes ruled out on Wednesday any government-imposed price ceiling on petroleum products as this would be against the law.

Arroyo powers to control oil prices sought

Lawyers' group Social Justice Society (SJS) called on the Congress on Wednesday, to enact a law that would grant President Macapagal Arroyo emergency powers to control the prices of petroleum products amid the state of calamity.

After expose on Simala shrine: Ex-monk files libel raps vs. Cardinal

The former monk, who exposed the alleged fraudulent and lascivious acts inside the famous Marian Monks of the Eucharistic Adoration monastery in Upper Lindogon, Sibonga, yesterday filed a criminal complaint for libel against Cebu Archbishop Ricardo Cardinal Vidal and three other priests, who have caused the publication of an alleged defamatory notice to the public against him.

Capitol 'sure' that Balili can pay P37.8M refund

THE Capitol is satisfied with the accounting that Atty. Romeo Balili, executor of the estate of Luis J. Balili, provided the court.

Dads approve minibus ordinance

THE Cebu City Council yesterday approved City Councilor Sylvan Jakosalem's ordinance that bars minibuses from entering the Cebu South Bus Terminal (CSBT) and gives bus operators an option to operate

Alleged overpriced materials: Fire victims sue Jonas and other city officials

The fire victims in Umapad, Mandaue City yesterday sought the preventive suspension of Mandaue City Mayor Jonas Cortes and eight other city officials as they filed criminal and administrative complaints against them before the Office of the Ombudsman Visayas over the alleged overpriced and substandard construction materials that were given to the more than 500 victims.

Mabolo boy latest casualty of dengue

The total number of dengue deaths in Cebu City since January has reached 32 following the death of a 7-year-old boy in barangay Mabolo last Monday, health officials announced yesterday.

Barangays can't tax cockpits - city treas.

The officials of barangay Inayawan have endorsed to the Cebu City Council the granting of a franchise to RMI Cockpit Arena that wishes to operate a cockpit in their place hoping that it will stop illegal cockfighting and allow revenue collection.

Cuenco says he won't run

THE opposition in Cebu City will now have to look for another candidate for mayor in the 2010 elections.

`Pepeng' death toll reaches 375, says NDCC

(UPDATE) The death toll due to typhoon Pepeng (international name: Parma) reached 375 as of Wednesday, the National Disaster Coordinating Council (NDCC) said.

Sniffer dogs help find bodies in Benguet landslides

Two sniffer dogs brought up by a Makati City rescue team led to the retrieval of one more body at Little Kibungan in Barangay Puguis here on Wednesday.

Two weeks notice given to ULTRA evacuees

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Dalawang linggo na lang at isasara na ang ULTRA bilang evacuation center. Problema ngayon kung paano pauuwiin ang may 7,000 pamilyang pansamantalang nakatira doon.

RP to experience more rains—Pagasa

(UPDATE) A low pressure area is expected to bring rains over most parts of the country, the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa) said Wednesday.

10 domestic flights at NAIA cancelled due to low pressure area

(UPDATE) At least 10 domestic flights to and from four provinces—Southern Luzon and Romblon, Albay and Palawan—were cancelled Wednesday at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport due to bad weather caused by a low pressure area crossing between Luzon and the Visayas.

Arroyo eyes int'l aid for climate change effects

President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo said the Philippines, as a victim of climate change, would press for additional aid from multilateral lenders and other foreign institutions run mostly by rich countries so it could rebuild from the damage caused by storm "Ondoy" (international codename: Ketsana) and typhoon "Pepeng"

Senate OKs P12-B reconstruction budget

by by Purple S. Romero,
Identifies P14-B from sale of Malampaya natural gas MANILA - Racing against time, the Senate passed on Wednesday a joint resolution allotting a P12- billion supplemental budget for the relief operations and rehabilitation of areas devastated by tropical storms Ondoy and Pepeng. 

Task force set up to go after delinquent insurers

The Department of Justice has created a task force of 41 prosecutors that would look into complaints of typhoon victims whose insurance claims on damaged homes and motor vehicles are being held off by their respective insurers.

SSS releases P490-M loan renewals

MANILA - State-run pension fund manager Social Security System (SSS) announced Wednesday that it has released almost half a billion in salary loans of members affected by storms "Ondoy" and "Pepeng" (international code names Ketsana and Parma, respectively).

Palace explains why MVP is reconstruction czar

MANILA - President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo chose Philippine Long Distance Telephone Co. (PLDT) chair Manny V. Pangilinan to head the National Public-Private Reconstruction Commission due to his experience in forging business deals abroad.

House approves Office of the President's budget

The 2010 budget of the Office of the President (OP) on Wednesday hurdled plenary debates at the House of Representatives amid questions on its use of intelligence and travel funds.

Pirate abducted Irish priest—military

A kidnap for ransom group seized Irish priest Micheal Sinnott but the military "cannot discount the possibility" that the Moro Islamic Liberation Front is also behind the abduction, a military general said Wednesday.

Sinnott now in hands of MILF commander—police

(UPDATE) Kidnapped Irish priest Michael Sinnott is now in the hands of a Moro rebel commander in Lanao Del Norte, the police said Wednesday.

Abducted Irish priest not with us - MILF official

The Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) on Wednesday belied reports that one of its commanders is holding abducted Irish missionary Michael Sinnott as claimed by police officials in southern Philippines.

Military confirms sighting of abducted Irish priest

MANILA - The military's Western Mindanao Command (WesMinCom) confirms, there have been sighting of Irish priest Michael Sinnott in Lanao del Norte.

Help sought for runaway OFW

An alliance of overseas Filipino worker organizations in the Middle East appealed to the government on Wednesday to help a runaway domestic worker in Al-Khobar, Saudi Arabia, who claimed she was sexually abused by her employer for three months.

Commissioners OK'd

THE COMMISSION on Appointments (CA) has confirmed the appointments of Elias R. Yusoph and Gregorio Y. Larrazabal as election commissioners in its last session day yesterday, completing the seven-member Commission on Elections.

Comelec delists 25 party-list groups

The Commission on Elections has delisted 25 party-list groups, making them ineligible to participate in the May 2010 elections.

Enrile, 'Jinggoy' Estrada top UNO senatorial line up

Senate President Juan Ponce-Enrile and Senate President Pro Tempore Jose "Jinggoy" Estrada lead the initial senatorial line up for the 2010 elections of United Opposition (UNO), comprised of the Pwersa ng Masang Pilipino (PMP) and the Partido ng Masang Pilipino (PDP-Laban).

UNO said the list also includes the following congressmen: Representatives Teodoro "Teddy Boy" Locsin of Makati, Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. of Ilocos Norte, and Rodolfo Plaza of Agusan Del Sur.
Newcomers Grace Poe-Llamanzares, daughter of actor Fernando Poe Jr., and NBN-ZTE whistleblower Jose "Joey" De Venecia III, son of Congressman and former House Speaker Jose De Venecia Jr., are also running under UNO.

Jailed Brigadier General Danny Lim and actor Edu Manzano are also included. Lawyer Aquilino "Koko" Pimentel III, if he decides to drop his case in the Supreme Court for having been cheated in 2007 elections, will also be an UNO candidate. Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago is a guest candidate.

"The list only has 11 names so far, with one more slot left open for a possible guest candidate," the UNO statement said.

Neri gets TRO on suspension order

MANILA - Social Security System (SSS) president Romulo Neri on Wednesday received a 60-day temporary restraining order enjoining the Office of the Ombudsman from suspending him for six months without pay.

CA rejection of CSC chair Saludo final

by by Lynda Jumilla, ABS-CBN News
MANILA - The Commission on Appointments (CA) on Wednesday declared as final its earlier decision to reject the nomination of Ricardo Saludo as chair of the Civil Service Commission (CSC).

'Pacquiao firecrackers' sell like hotcakes

MANILA – With the holiday season just months away, firecrackers are starting to sell briskly again. Among the top sellers in the market is a new firecracker named after Manny Pacquiao.

Asia leading world out of downturn—Bush

Former US president George W. Bush Wednesday praised Asian economies for leading the global economy out of its slump, while warning against protectionist measures.

Iraq government: 85,000 Iraqis killed in 2004-08

BAGHDAD - At least 85,000 people lost their lives from 2004 to 2008 during Iraq's violent, sectarian uprising, according to the first official report by the Iraqi government on the death toll since the war begun.

Pre-paid mobiles pose a security risk—Indian govt

India's home minister said Wednesday that pre-paid mobile telephones may be banned in the disputed region of Kashmir as concerns grow that they are impossible to trace if used to trigger bombs.

Study charts links between mobile phones, tumors

by Reuters
WASHINGTON - Studies on whether mobile phones can cause cancer, especially brain tumors, vary widely in quality and there may be some bias in those showing the least risk, researchers reported on Tuesday.

More than 50,000 Nissan cars recalled in China

A Chinese joint venture involving Japan's Nissan Motors will recall nearly 52,000 cars in China due to safety defects in the steering system, the country's product-quality watchdog said.

'Pepeng' did Manny Pacquiao good -- trainer

Believe or it not, typhoon "Pepeng" (international codename: Parma) did Manny Pacquiao good.

Pacquiao's conditioning coach, Alex Ariza, said without irony that the strong rains and winds of Pepeng made Pacquiao to relax a bit.

"He has begun to overdo himself again," said Ariza, after giving Pacquiao a punishing obstacle course of exercises using a 20-pound medicine ball, a bench, dumb bells and a barbell handlebar.

He said this series of exercises was to strengthen Pacquiao. This set is given twice a week.

After this, Pacquiao has to do his abs crunches to strengthen his torso because Puerto Rican boxer, Miguel Cotto, whom he will fight for the World Boxing Organization welterweight crown on November 14 in Las Vegas, is a body puncher and Pacquiao has to tone that part of his body.

Pacquiao sparred with American lightweight Shawn Porter and former champion Jose Luis Castillo, who was flown here on Sunday by Pacquiao's business partner and friend, former Ilocos Sur Governor Luis "Chavit" Singson.

Pacquiao sparred four rounds first with Porter and three rounds with Castillo, who is known as "El Terrible."

Roach: Speed, not power will win the fight

MANILA -- Famed boxing coach Freddie Roach stressed that speed and not power will determine the outcome of the "Firepower" match up between Filipino champ Manny Pacquiao and Puerto Rico's Miguel Cotto.  

No Pacquiao-Mayweather in 2010 - Arum

by By Dino Maragay

MANILA, Philippines – Bad news, boxing fans: Don't expect the biggest fight in the sport to happen any time soon.

Cebu dancing inmates dance to Korean hit song "Nobody"

After becoming a cyberspace sensation in 2007, the famous "dancing inmates" of Cebu once again gained popularity after dancing to "Nobody," a hit song sung by the all-girl Korean pop group Wonder Girls.

Chocolate, water blunt pain—study

WASHINGTON – Chocolate activates a part of the brain that blunts pain and makes it difficult to stop eating, a study published Wednesday in the Journal of Neuroscience has found.

Pepsi apologizes for girl-getting iPhone app

by Agence France-Presse
SAN FRANCISCO – US soft drink giant PepsiCo has apologized for a free iPhone application crafted to help men seduce women and keep records of conquests but the program remained available on Tuesday.

Schwarzenegger vows action over wife cellphone bust

by Agence France-Presse
LOS ANGELES - California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger went into "Terminator" mode on Tuesday after his wife Maria Shriver was caught breaking the state's car cell phone laws.

While in Paris, Brillante Mendoza wins in Spain filmfest

by By Boy Villasanta,
MANILA - Brillante Mendoza, the 2009 Cannes International Film Festival's Palm d'Or best director, wanted to fly to Sitges, a coastal town in Catalonia, Spain, to attend the 42nd Sitges Film Festival awards rites last October 12.

ABS-CBN wins big in 31st CMMAs

MANILA -  ABS-CBN shows and talents on Wednesday bagged numerous awards at the 31st Catholic Mass Media Awards, the Philippine Caholic Church's highest honor for media practitioners.

Among the night's first winners were "Sports Unlimited," which was inducted into the CMMA Hall of Fame, and dzMM anchor Christine Bersola-Babao's children's storybook "Bakit Siya Meron, Bakit Ako Wala?" was awarded Best Short Story.

Radio dzMM, the company's AM radio station, bagged several awards including Best Radio Ad for public service, Best Business News or Feature for Sikap Pinoy, Best Drama Program for Maalala Mo Kaya, Best News Program for Radio Patrol Balita Alas-Siete and Best News Commentary for Pasada Sais Trenta.

ABS-CBN Cebu's "Sidewalk" program was awarded a citation for Best Educational Program for radio.

Kris Aquino's "The Greatest Love" album, meanwhile, was awarded Best Album (Secular).

For television, ABS-CBN got 6 regular awards: Best Business News or Feature program for ANC's "Start Up"; Best TV Special for "Kwento ng mga Peligrino"; Best Special Event Coverage for "Kidnap"; Best News Magazine for "Wonder Mom'; Best News Program for ABS-CBN Baguio's TV Patrol Northern Luzon; and a tie for "May Bukas Pa" and "Tayong Dalawa" for Best Drama Series.

"May Bukas Pa" was also awarded a special award, by no less than Manila Archbishop Gaudencio Cardinal Rosales.

The cast of the show, led by Zaidjian Jaranilla, who plays the main character "Santino," received the award, with cast members playing as priests also wearing cassocks.

The late former president Corazon Aquino, meanwhile, was awarded a posthumous Serviam Award, a special award.

The awards were given out during a ceremony at the San Carlos Seminary Auditorium in Makati City. 

PRC: 119 new interior designers

MANILA - The Professional Regulation Commission (PRC) announced Wednesday that 119 out of 237 passed the Interior Designer Licensure Examination given by the Board of Interior Design in Manila last September 2009.

What Mar-Korina's reception would have been

MANILA - If plans pushed through for Sen. Manuel "Mar" Roxas and Korina Sanchez's grand wedding reception, it would have been one heck of a show.

4.1 magnitude quake hits Batangas

A 4.1 magnitude earthquake shook Batangas province at 5:15 p.m. Wednesday, the US Geological Survey said.

Charles de Gaulle  - "The better I get to know men, the more I find myself loving dogs."

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