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

Sunday, December 13, 2009

December 14, 2009 Major News Stories

Arroyo orders another probe on 'overpriced' oil

MANILA -  President Arroyo has ordered Energy Secretary Angelo Reyes to check the alleged "overpricing" of petroleum products of some oil companies.

Sugar producers, SRA: No to price freeze on sugar

A Department of Trade and Industry official insisted on making refined sugar available at P43 a kilo in the retail market despite the objection of sugar producers and the Sugar Regulatory Administration (SRA) to fix the price of commodity.

Regular updates on OFWs on death row sought

The Department of Foreign Affairs should provide regular updates on the cases of overseas Filipino workers charged with crimes punishable by death, an OFW alliance based in the Middle East said on Sunday.

BSP projections aiding illegal recruiters — FAME

Recruitment agencies warned the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) against making statements about the expected rise in remittances from overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) in countries where the Philippine government has been negotiating for more job opportunities for them.

State of emergency in Maguindanao stays -- Palace

Maguindanao remains under a state of emergency following the lifting of martial law last Saturday, according to a Malacañang official.

Philippine crackdown goes on despite end to martial law

Philippine security forces are pressing ahead with the hunt for those behind a massacre of 57 people despite President Gloria Arroyo's scrapping of martial law in the region, an aide said Sunday.

High court hard-pressed for landmark martial law ruling

The Supreme Court is under pressure to pass upon the validity of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo"s December 4 declaration of martial law in Maguindanao, which the Palace lifted on Saturday, in what government critics say should be a landmark ruling.

Catholic bishops relieved over martial law lifting

Catholic bishops expressed relief over the lifting of martial law in Maguindanao by President Macapagal-Arroyo but pressed the need to bring the perpetrators of the grisly massacre of at least 57 people to justice.

Marcos: Martial law lifting shows it's not needed

Ilocos Norte Representative Ferdinand Marcos Jr. said here Saturday that the lifting of martial law barely eight days after its imposition in Maguindanao simply validated earlier speculations that the declaration was not needed.

AFP: Maguindanao residents have nothing to fear now

Residents in Maguindanao could go back to their old routine without fear as security forces were able to foil what they called an uprising among Ampatuan supporters that could have resulted in more deaths, the military said Sunday.

Maguindanao residents return after martial law

Bai Kenang Sultan and her family hurriedly left Shariff Aguak town the morning after Martial Law was imposed in the province.

Ex-Maguindanao police chief held for illegal possession of firearms

MANILA, Philippines - Police have arrested the former provincial police chief of Maguindanao on Sunday allegedly for illegal possession of high-powered firearms. 

Former superintendent Piang Adam Sr. was nabbed after a search on his house and farm in Barangay Katico in President Quirino town in Sultan Kudarat province.

The search allegedly yielded 2 M16 Armalite rifles, 2 grenades and magazines loaded with bullets.

The search was conducted by elements of the Criminal Investigation Detection Group of Region 12 based on a warrant issued by Kidapawan City Regional Trial Court Executive Judge Francis Palmones Jr..

Adam reportedly retired May 8, 2009 and his last post was as provincial police director of Maguindanao province.

Inspector Jesson Mocnangan, the police official who led the search operation, said however that their operation was separate from the investigation on the gruesome massacre in Maguindanao province last month.

What was clear, Mocnangan said, was that Adam was purportedly pinpointed by 2 witnesses as allegedly having high-caliber firearms in his possession.

Adam, meanwhile, said would question in court the alleged firearms that would be presented by police as evidence against him.

Congress set to end joint session on martial law

The joint session of Congress will meet on Monday, with the majority of the House of Representatives seeking to wrap up without voting on whether to revoke President Arroyo's declaration of martial law in Maguindanao.

Arroyo critics to push for Maguindanao martial law probe

Tutuldukan na ng Kongreso ang joint session kaugnay ng deklarasyon ng martial law sa Maguindanao! Pero ang mga kongresistang kritiko ng pangulo itutuloy ang imbestigasyon sa naging epekto ng batas militar at kung bakit kinailangang ipatupad ito sa lalawigan sa nakalipas na linggo. 

Palace weighs Basilan options

THE imposition of Martial Law in the province of Basilan is one option the government remains open to, but for now Malacañang says it's enough to send additional troops.

57 'memory trees' for Maguindanao massacre victims

Trees cannot vote for officials who will run the country, but they will keep alive the memories of those who fought to keep government officials honest.

42 hostages in Agusan now free-official

(UPDATE 2) Members of a tribal group released the remaining 42 people that were kept hostage in Agusan del Sur province since December 10, a police official said on Sunday.

After two hours of negotiations deep in the forest of San Martin, the 46 remaining villagers held captive by armed members of a tribe were released at 4:45 p.m. Sunday after four days of captivity.

Vice Governor Santiago Cane said the kidnappers led by Ondo Perez agreed to free the captives after their demands were met. Perez also committed to return the fold of law.

"An agreement was reached between the group of Ondo Perez and the negotiating team today that hostages will be released at 3pm," Senior Superintendent Nestor Fajura, chief of operations of Caraga police told He said the hostages were fetched from the site at around 5pm.

Fajura declined to provide further details on the release. A press conference will be held in the area later today, he said.
"Ako'y nabunutan ng tinik. (It was as if a thorn was removed from my heart.) We did not like how the media pictured our province. We can really say that peace reigns in Agusan del Sur. What happened here was an isolated incident," said Cane.

The actual release came an hour after the gunmen, who were once deputized by the government in the fight against communist insurgents, agreed to free their captives on Sunday afternoon.

A negotiator then said that Perez, leader of the tribal gunmen, agreed to release the victims after government negotiators agreed to work on the dropping of murder charges against Perez and refer the issues he raised to the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP).

Perez had a meeting with Jun Tubay, who had accused him of killing the latter's son and three relatives in February.

But Perez said he was puzzled why he was the only one being arrested when Tubay also killed 21 of his relatives in 2008.

The violence between Perez and Tubay's group stemmed from a land border dispute. Since it erupted, more than 30 people had been killed on both sides, authorities said.

Both men belonged to the Lumadnong Pakigbisog sa Karaga (Lupaka), an organization of former communist rebels, which the military tapped in its counter insurgency drive in the region. Lupaka was formally disbanded in 2001 but most of its members retained their firearms.

Abductors of college professor demand P20-M ransom

MANILA, Philippines – The kidnappers of Orlando Fajardo, the vice president of Basilan State College, are demanding P20 million in exchange for his freedom. The kidnappers had initially asked P100,000 to serve as his "board and lodging fees" as well as medicines for Fajardo, who is diabetic.

2 dead in Basilan jailbreak

by by Jewel Reyes and Leila Vicente, ABS-CBN News Zamboanga
ZAMBOANGA, Philippines (1st UPDATE) - Thirty-one people, including Muslim guerrillas linked to brutal beheadings, escaped in a massive jailbreak that also left 2 people dead in Isabela City, Basilan province on Sunday, a police official said.

31 bolt Basilan jail with help of Moro rebels

(UPDATE) Thirty one prisoners bolted jail early Sunday, a few hours before Defense Secretary Norberto Gonzales' scheduled visit to Isabela City to assess the security situation in Basilan.

President Arroyo leaves hospital in QC

MANILA, Philippines – President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo on Sunday morning left St. Luke's Medical Center in Quezon City where she underwent regular medical examinations.

Arroyo in good health after checkup - Remonde

President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo is in good health condition and was allowed to check out of St. Luke's Medical Center (SLMC) Sunday afternoon, Press Secretary Cerge Remonde said.

Kusug says a Garcia will run for city mayor in 2010 polls

IT IS a Garcia for Kugi Uswag Sugbu's (Kusug) candidate for Cebu City mayor in next year's elections.

Wagas pursues House bid

THE Pwersa ng Masang Pilipino (PMP) of former president Joseph Estrada announced yesterday its lineup of local candidates in Cebu's fifth district for the May 2010 elections.

Nurse gripes vs. Soco's agency; Glenn's allies ask her to surface

A NURSE complained that Powerline Human Resource Management Inc., owned by vice gubernatorial aspirant Glenn Anthony Soco, has shortchanged some of its agency workers.

Noynoy's lead cut down in new survey

Senator Benigno 'Noynoy' Aquino III remained on top of a survey of presidential candidates made by a public relations firm early this month but his lead over his rivals has been cut down.  The survey, conducted by a group named The Issues and Advocacy Center from Dec. 2 to 6, showed Sen. Manuel Villar catching up with Aquino, former President Joseph Estrada regaining his footing, and former Defense Secretary Gilbert Teodoro and Senator Richard Gordon making big strides since the group's last survey in October.

Bohol traders unhappy with cargo inspections

Bohol businessmen are criticizing the disruption and delays in the transport of their cargoes caused by a group claiming to be agents of the Presidential Anti-Smuggling Group (PASG) and allegedly led by the brother of gubernatorial candidate Cesar Montano.

The PASG team led by Jose Rommel Manhilot, a part-time actor popularly known as Rommel Montano and younger brother of Bohol gubernatorial aspirant and actor Cesar Montano, flagged down trucks at the city wharf purportedly to check for smuggled goods.

The BCCI protested the "inspections," saying it was an inconvenience to both the business community and the consumer sector.

Detained military officers swap raps after scuffle

A bemedalled marine colonel and an Army officer detained in connection with the Marine standoff in 2006 were set to file criminal charges against each other after they figured in a scuffle inside a detention facility at Camp Aguinaldo on Saturday afternoon.  Both Marine Colonel Ariel Querubin and Major Jason Aquino sustained minor injuries following the fight triggered allegedly by a spat between the latter and Querubin's wife, Pong.

1 dead in landslide in Dinagat Islands

by by Trini Velasco, ABS-CBN News Northern Mindanao
TUBAJON, DINAGAT ISLANDS, Philippines - Two residents were victims of a landslide in Sitio Campayas, Barangay Navarro in Tubajon town in the province of Dinagat Islands Friday afternoon.

Senate lauded for passing Freedom of Info bill on 2nd reading

Members of the multi-sectoral Right to Know. Right Now! network will march to the Senate on Monday to congratulate and thank the senators for the passage of Senate Bill 3308, or the Freedom of Information Act, on second reading last week.

Two Koreas, US, China to discuss peace treaty

SEOUL — The United States and North Korea agreed to discuss a peace treaty on the Korean peninsula at four-nation talks involving the two nations, China and South Korea, a news report said Sunday.

Thais detain plane with weapons from North Korea

by CNN
BANGKOK, Thailand -- Thai authorities seized a cargo aircraft carrying tons of weapons from North Korea during a refueling stop in Bangkok, a government official said.

Hundreds detained in Copenhagen protests

by CNN
COPENHAGEN, Denmark -- Thousands of protesters took to the streets and hundreds were detained Saturday in Copenhagen as they demanded a climate-change agreement that would curb greenhouse gas emissions and aid developing countries harmed by pollution.

Olympic-style drug testing for Pacquiao-Mayweather sought

The camp of Floyd Mayweather Jr. are reportedly seeking a random, Olympic-style drug testing for their fighter and seven-division champion Manny Pacquiao in the run-up to their targeted March 13 super fight.

PBA: Beermen halt Giants' streak

MANILA-  San Miguel Beer stopped Purefoods Tender Juicy's four-game winning streak with an 87-80 win Sunday night in the KFC-Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) Philippine Cup at the Araneta Coliseum.

RP nets four golds in swimming, athletics

A spate of record breaking feats courtesy of hammer thrower Arniel Ferrera and swimmers Daniel Coakley and Ryan Arabejo sparked Team Philippines' resurgence in the 25th Southeast Asian Games in Vientiane, Laos.

Thailand takes lead at SEA Games

VIENTIANE (AP) — Weightlifter Pitaya Tibnoke and cyclist Monrudee Chapookam won gold to put Thailand on top of the medal table at the Southeast Asian Games on Sunday.  Thailand leads the medal tally with 22 gold as the biennial tournament approaches halfway point. Vietnam is second with 21 gold, followed by Singapore with 19.

   Timor Leste
         Grand Total

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Guess who's Derek Ramsay's latest admirer? It's Jinkee

by by Napoleon Quintos,
MANILA, Philippines - Jinkee Pacquiao, wife of world-renowned boxing champion Manny Pacquiao, said in an interview that she finds Derek Ramsay very sexy. At his solo press conference for the movie "I Love You, Goodbye," Ramsay blushed upon learning who his latest admirer was.

Korina Sanchez excited to celebrate Christmas as Mrs. Mar Roxas

by by Fionna Acaba,
MANILA, Philippines - Korina Sanchez is excited about spending Christmas with Sen. Manuel "Mar" Roxas II, their first as husband and wife. Sanchez revealed that she is not expecting any gift from Roxas, who she jokingly described as "stingy (kuripot)."

FPJ kin, supporters to commemorate 5th death anniversary

Magdaraos ng misa ang mga kaanak at tagasuporta ni Fernando Poe Jr. sa paggunita ng kanyang ika-5 taong pagkamatay ngayong disyembre katorse. Pero may mas mahalaga umanong paraan ang kanyang anak para gunitain ang alaala ng ama.

Tiger Woods' wife buys Swedish island estate

Scandal-hit golfer Tiger Woods' wife Elin Nordegren has bought a vast beachfront estate on an island near Stockholm that can only be reached by boat, a residents' association said on Sunday.

Malaysian royal's estranged wife ordered home—lawyer

KUALA LUMPUR—The estranged teenage model wife of a Malaysian prince was ordered by an Islamic court Sunday to return to her marriage and repay a 1.1 million ringgit (326,518 dollars) debt, his lawyer said.

Paul McCartney regrets marriage

by Bang Showbiz
Sir Paul McCartney's marriage to Heather Mills is his biggest regret of the last ten years. The Beatles star - who has a six-year-old daughter Beatrice with the former model-and-charity-campaigner - admits if he could go back and change anything since 2000 it would be his union to Heather.

Germany unveils world's largest weather supercomputer

by Agence France-Presse
BERLIN – Germany Thursday unveiled the world's most powerful weather supercomputer that scientists hope will provide critical data on global warming for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

Ted Turner  - "Sports is like a war without the killing."

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