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

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

October 28, 2009 Major News Stories

Red alert raised on power supply

The power situation in Cebu is not going to get better yet.  The Cebu Energy Development Corporation sees the need of new power plants to be put up in Cebu as the current power supply and reserve coming from the Cebu-Negros-Panay grid, where the bulk of the energy in the province is coming from, is insufficient.  CEDC president Jesus Alcordo said that based on actual data of the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines that as of December of last year, Cebu already had a deficit of 151 MW.  Alcordo said that the needed reserve for Cebu should be 102 MW, but according to the studies made by the National Power Corporation, there is a 151 MW instead.

House urged: Fast track review of oil deregulation law

Amid the oil companies' intransigence in keeping prices of petroleum products at reasonable levels, Speaker Prospero Nograles on Tuesday said he would ask members of the House of Representatives to fast track deliberation on measures that would review the oil deregulation law.

Energy chief absent in hearing vs Big 3

(UPDATE) Energy Secretary Angelo Reyes failed to attend today's price manipulation hearing against the Big 3 oil companies, prompting the court to order him to explain why he should not be cited for contempt for failing to appear in court.

Petron, Shell cut pump prices in Luzon

(UPDATE) In compliance with President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo's Executive Order 839, Petron Corp. and Pilipinas Shell cut back oil prices effective Tuesday morning.

Militants urge boycott of oil firms over prices

Militant group Bagong Alyansang Makabayan on Tuesday called on the public to boycott oil firms that would refuse to bring down oil prices, stressing that they will remain profitable even with the imposition of a price ceiling.

Palace stands pat on oil price ceiling

Malacañang stood firm Tuesday on the ceiling it set on oil prices despite warnings by the oil companies of a possible supply shortage and steep price increases once once price controls are lifted.

Oil firms warn of rationing if rollback is forced

Nagbabala ang mga kumpanya ng langis na magkaubusan ng diesel at gasolina dahil sa utos ng Pangulo na sapilitang mag-rollback! Posibleng pa nga daw mauwi ito sa pagra-rasyon.

No rollback here, just Luzon

The Department of Energy yesterday clarified that the oil price rollback, which President Gloria Arroyo recently ordered, is only for Luzon, particularly areas that are affected by the typhoons that hit the country.

Gullas: No LRT without Cebu City cooperation

It may probably be a dead end for the proposed Light Rail Transit following Cebu City Mayor Tomas Osmeña's rejection of the proposal, said Cebu 1st district Rep. Eduardo Gullas.

Peras inhibiting from Ecleo case; move of judge surprises prosecution and defense

The inhibition of the seventh judge handling the parricide case against cult leader Ruben Ecleo, Jr. has surprised both the prosecution and the defense panels, who are all hoping that the trial of the seven-year-old case will soon be concluded.

Gakit denies withholding Balili papers

One of the Provincial Board members sued for alleged refusal to furnish environmentalists with the copies of the pertinent documents concerning the purchase of the controversial Balili property and its intended use denied that they ignored the request of lawyers Gloria Ramos and Benjamin Cabrido.

Police set for All Saints' and All Souls' days

Police Regional Office-7 director Lani-o Nerez said all is set for the All Saints' Day and All Souls' Day after all police units in Central Visayas were already issued their respective security preparations.

Cause-oriented groups optimistic "Zamboangita 3" would be freed

Militant leaders from student organizations and party-list groups are confident that the three graduates from Cebu City who were arrested last week for alleged involvement with the New People's Army will be released next week.

Transfer of wounded rebels to Cebu eyed

Provincial Police Director Jesus Gaquing has instructed his men at the southwestern part of Cebu to be watchful of wounded persons from Negros Oriental that would seek refuge in the area of Toledo City.

Foreign experts in RP to study post-storm leptospirosis

Foreign experts on post-disaster illnesses have arrived in the country to study the leptospirosis outbreak that hit Metro Manila, Rizal and other provinces in Luzon after Tropical Storm "Ondoy" (international codename: Ketsana) and Typhoon "Pepeng" (Parma) battered the country last September 26 and September 30.

Arroyo orders preparation for new storm

President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo on Tuesday ordered Cabinet officials to prepare relief goods and bring these to areas that are expected to be hit by an approaching coming storm later this week.

Cabral says blogger's allegations will hurt victims

The allegations of a blogger that the Department of Social Welfare and Development was hoarding foreign donations will ultimately hurt the storm victims, Secretary Esperanza Cabral lamented on Tuesday.

Arroyo orders implementation of 70's anti-flooding plan

Convinced of its relevance, President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo on Tuesday ordered the implementation of a Marcos-era urban plan for Metro Manila, including the sandbagging of flood-prone areas and the construction of a spillway.

Ms Arroyo agreed with the recommendations of architect and urban planner Felino Palafox Jr. who made a PowerPoint presentation on the 1976-77 study ``Metro Manila Transport Land Use Development and Planning Project'' (Metro Plan) at a Cabinet meeting here.

Chief among these recommendations were pumping out floodwaters and sandbagging flood-prone areas; and the construction of a P20-billion Parañaque spillway linking Laguna de Bay and Manila Bay.

5.6 quake hits Mindanao

A 5.6 magnitude earthquake hit Mindanao island Tuesday morning, the US Geological Survey said.

NEDA sees higher food prices

The country faces higher food prices this month as a result of the recent back-to-back storms, according to the National Economic Development Authority.

CHEd requesting deferment of exam fees

THE COMMISSION on Higher Education (CHEd) has asked colleges and universities to defer examination fee payments in light of recent natural disasters.

Comelec says no to extended voter registration

The Commission on Elections (Comelec) urged Filipino citizens who wish to register as voters in the 2010 elections to do it now before the deadline ends on Oct. 31.

Escudero has new venue for 'important' announcement

Senator Francis "Chiz" Escudero will make an "important political" announcement on Wednesday, his office said on Tuesday.

The announcement will be made at the Club Filipino in Greenhill, San Juan, at 10:00 am, said the advisory.

The event was originally scheduled at 6:00 pm on Wednesday at the Bahay ng Alumni at the University of the Philippines.

Chiz not withdrawing bid: adviser

MANILA - Senator Francis 'Chiz' Escudero is expected to announce his plans for 2010 at Club Filipino on Wednesday, his office and an adviser said Tuesday.

Escudero to announce candidacy even without Legarda

After several delays, Sen. Francis Escudero is to finally announce his intention to run for President under the Nationalist People's Coalition on Wednesday but his would-be running-mate and party colleague, Sen. Loren Legarda, was "not expected" to attend, members of his campaign team said.

No rift between Chiz, Loren - NPC spokesman

MANILA - The spokesman of the Nationalist People's Coalition (NPC) has denied a rift exists between Senators Francis "Chiz" Escudero and Loren Legarda. The two are rumored to have had a falling-out, after reports surfaced that Legarda has been in talks with other presidential hopefuls.

Comelec gives Lakas-Kampi-CMD signal as political party

(UPDATE) It's all systems go for the Lakas-Kampi-CMD political party.

Comelec junks Magdalo's bid for accreditation

The Commission on Election has shot down the Magdalo group's intention to participate in the 2010 elections when it rejected their petition to be accredited as a regional political organization.

Palace says Estrada should be allowed to join 2010 race

In a sudden turnaround, Malacañang on Tuesday said former president Joseph Estrada should be allowed to join the 2010 presidential elections.

Comelec dismisses Lozano petition vs Erap

MANILA, Philippines - The Commission on Elections (Comelec) rejected Tuesday the petition of lawyer Oliver Lozano seeking the disqualification of former President Joseph Estrada from the presidential elections in 2010.

Noynoy tops IBON presidential preference survey

Senator Benigno Simeon "Noynoy" Aquino III of the Liberal Party has topped a recent nationwide survey conducted by militant think tank IBON Foundation on 2010 presidential aspirants.

Aquino, son of the late President Corazon "Cory" Aquino and slain senator Benigno "Ninoy" Aquino Jr. ranked first in both the open-ended and multiple choice surveys conducted from October 2 to 8.

Aquino, included in the survey list for the first time since announcing his presidential bid last September 9, got the approval of 22.6 percent of the 1,496 respondents who answered the open-ended survey, and 32.2 percent of those who answered the multiple choice survey.

The IBON survey asked its respondents to answer the question: "If the presidential elections were held today, who would you vote for?"

Sen. Manuel Villar Jr. of the Nacionalista Party placed second in both surveys, getting the nod of 16.31 percent of those who answered the open-ended survey and 19.32 percent of those who were presented with names of possible presidential aspirants in 2010. 

Another incumbent senator, Francis Escudero, who is yet to announce his plans for 2010, ranked third in both lists while former President Joseph Estrada, who announced his bid for reelection last week amid legal questions, placed fourth.

IBON said Aquino "may have cornered possible votes" for former frontrunners Villar and Escudero after he formally announced his candidacy in early September.

Aquino also got the support of respondents from different parts of the country, being the most preferred presidential candidate of respondents who were administered the multiple choice survey in Luzon (25.5 percent), Visayas (34.6 percent), Mindanao (46.5 percent) and the National Capital Region (24.2 percent).

The IBON survey was conducted using a multi-stage probability sampling scheme and has a margin of error of plus or minus three percent. 

Aquino slams law creating new political district in Camarines Sur

Presidential aspirant Senator Benigno "Noynoy" C. Aquino III on Tuesday asked the Supreme Court to declare as unconstitutional a law creating a new district in Camarines Sur which he said is meant to potentially accommodate administration lawmakers, including Representative Diosdado "Dato" Arroyo.

Marcoses, PCGG seek ruling on disputed Malacañang jewels

MANILA - The government and former First Lady Imelda Romualdez-Marcos have asked the Sandiganbayan First Division to render a ruling on their dispute concerning rightful ownership over the so-called Malacañang jewelry collection valued between $110,055 and $153,089.

Military court junks motion to absolve 17 coup plotters

MANILA - A military tribunal on Tuesday junked a motion to declare innocent 17 officers accused of mutiny and involvement in a February 2006 coup plot against President Arroyo.

Grenade explodes outside Jolo cathedral

A grenade exploded outside the Jolo Cathedral in Sulu on Tuesday morning.

Marines sent in to stop fighting in Tawi-Tawi

The military's Western Mindanao Command (Westmincom) has sent troops to stop the fighting between two armed political factions in the province of Tawi-Tawi, a military official said Tuesday.

Negotiations ongoing for release of Sinnott, says fellow priest

Negotiations are ongoing for the release of abducted 79-year-old ailing Irish priest Father Michael Sinnott, a Catholic church spokesperson said Tuesday.

US repeats offer to help in MILF peace talks

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The United States government has reiterated its willingness to help in the peace talks between the Philippines and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).

1 dead, 52 hurt in North Cotabato accident

One person died 52 others were injured when the Isuzu forward truck they were riding in plunged into 20-feet ravine in Barangay Bulatukan, Makilala, North Cotabato, Tuesday afternoon, police said.

Makati Shangri-La ordered to pay over guest's murder

The Court of Appeals on Tuesday ordered one of the nation's most luxurious hotels to pay more than $1 million in damages over the murder of a Norwegian guest a decade ago.

The murder of Christian Harper could have been prevented if the Makati Shangri-La Manila had provided adequate security, the appellate court ruled as it upheld a lower court's judgment against the hotel.

"Unfortunately, records failed to show that it was exercising reasonable care to protect its guests from harm and danger by providing sufficient security commensurate to it being one of the finest hotels in the country," the appeals court ruling read.

The hotel was ordered to pay P52 million ($1.1 million) in damages to the heirs of Harper, an executive of a European power company who was found dead after being bound, gagged and then robbed in his hotel room on November 6, 1999.

Philippines reelected to UN economic, social body

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NEW YORK, United States — The Philippines was reelected to another two-year term in the United Nations Economic and Social Council (Ecosoc), garnering the biggest number of votes among the 18 countries that won seats in the 54-member body, the Philippine Mission to the United Nations here announced Monday (local time).

Japan may refuel anti-piracy ships off Somalia

The government may send a naval refueling mission now backing the Nato-led Afghan campaign to support anti-piracy efforts off Somalia next year, the defense minister said Tuesday.

US diplomat resigns over Afghan war: report

by Agence France-Presse
WASHINGTON - A diplomat disillusioned with US involvement in Afghanistan has become the first US official known to have resigned in protest over the eight-year war, The Washington Post said Tuesday.

22 Malaysia children feared drowned in river

Twenty-two Malaysian schoolchildren were feared drowned after they plunged into a river while crossing a bridge that collapsed during their camping trip, officials said Tuesday.

Pacquiao continues 'hard training' in LA

MANILA -- Despite feeling jet lagged after arriving from the Philippines a few days ago, Manny 'Pacman' Pacquiao had a two-and-a-half hour workout during his first day of training at the Wildcard Boxing Club in Los Angeles, California, which ended with coach Freddie Roach's mitt flying off his hand.

PSC chairman Angping turns table on accusers

PSC chairman Harry Angping has turned the tables on his accusers saying that it was WAP that owed his agency more than P4 million in funds used when the country hosted the Asian Junior Wrestling Championships (AJWC) this year.

Luis, Billy to host 'Pilipinas Got Talent'

by by Reyma Buan-Deveza,
MANILA - Actor-host Luis Manzano and international Filipino artist Billy Crawford will host ABS-CBN's "Pilipinas Got Talent (PGT)," which is touted as the biggest talent search show in the country.

'This Is It' set for worldwide premiere

LOS ANGELES - Four months after his death, pop icon Michael Jackson on Tuesday receives his most extravagant tribute to date, with the worldwide release of a movie charting the tragic singer's doomed comeback concert.

Errant US pilots were working on their laptop

Two pilots have told U.S. investigators that they were going over schedules using their laptop computers in violation of company policy while their Airbus passenger jet overflew their Minneapolis, Minnesota, destination by 240 kilometers, the National Transportation Safety Board said Monday.

Pagasa: New cyclone may make landfall Saturday

If it stays on its course, a new cyclone heading for the Philippines may make landfall on Saturday night, the Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration said Tuesday.

Storm heading for RP intensifies

The tropical storm heading for the Philippines intensified further Tuesday night and now has an international code name, Mirinae.

NASA counts down for Mars rocket test

by Agence France-Presse
WASHINGTON - The US space agency began the countdown Tuesday for the test launch of a rocket designed to replace the aging space shuttle fleet and one day take astronauts to the Moon and Mars.

Marie von Ebner-Eschenbach  - "Even a stopped clock is right twice a day."

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