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

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

December 23, 2009 Major News Stories



OPEC casts doubt on oil market

The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) oil producers' cartel warned of lingering weakness in the world economy and held its emergency crude output quotas unchanged at its meeting on Tuesday.

Oil prices rise as OPEC meets

LONDON—Oil prices rose slightly on Tuesday as Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) prepared to formally announce it was making no changes to the cartel's official crude output levels.

No bonuses yet for some gov't employees

by By Zen Hernandez, ABS-CBN News
MANILA, Philippines - It's just three days to go before Christmas but government employees have yet to receive bonuses promised by the national government.

The Alliance of Concerned Teachers or ACT said they have checked with their chapters across the country and verified that many, if not all, did not receive their Christmas bonuses last week.

Malacañang announced last December 9 that government employees will be given a P10,000 bonus this year. Of the amount, P7,000 will come from the national government while P3,000 will come from the savings of government agencies.

Palace deputy spokesman Gary Olivar asked state workers to be patient as he said resources are "being allocated wisely."

"If there are delays, please be a little more patient, it's just matter of time. I would attribute [the delays] to resources being allocated wisely," he said.


SSS, Netopia facilitate pension services

The Social Security System has teamed up with Internet cafe chain Netopia to facilitate members' and employers' access to the pension fund's Web-based services, according to SSS president Romulo Neri.

In January, SSS members may start getting discounts of up to 25 percent on the P40 to P60 hourly fee at Netopia to view contribution records and download of forms, Neri said.

"We understand that many of our members lack easy and affordable access to the Internet," Neri said. "Our partnership with Netopia will allow them to check their SSS payments, verify loan eligibility and enjoy other SSS services in our website."

Netopia has some 140 branches in strategic locations all over the country.

Neri said the partnership with Netopia is part of the pension fund's efforts to improve its electronic service facilities and speed up transactions.

According to Neri, the reduction in the workload for manual processing of transactions is needed considering that the SSS membership base continues to grow. The pension fund covers private sector companies and employees, domestic helpers, self-employed traders and migrant workers.

"We aim to maximize technology to make SSS transactions faster, easier and more convenient, and this includes enhancing the SSS website," Neri said.

SSS also plans to expand features of its website to include filing of loans and benefit claims, he added.

For December alone, SSS released P8.7 billion in 13th-month bonuses and monthly pensions for some 340,000 retirees.

SSS also provides monthly benefits for partial and total disability, retirement and death.

Indonesia to donate 12,000 tons of rice for ASEAN food security

JAKARTA (Xinhua) - Indonesia, which has abundant agricultural resources, will donate more than 12,000 tons of rice for food security of the Association of South East Asian Nations ( ASEAN), the country's Agriculture Ministry said on Tuesday.

September school opening opposed - survey

Majority of stakeholders in the public school system have opposed moving the opening of the school year from June to September, the Department of Education (DepEd) said on Tuesday.

Voting 6-4: Supreme Court affirms status of 16 new cities

The Supreme Court has upheld the constitutionality of the creation of the 16 new cities in the country including three in Cebu – Bogo, Naga and Carcar.

The Supreme Court en banc has reconsidered last Tuesday its earlier decision by granting the third motion for reconsideration filed by the 16 new cities.

Cebu Province 1st District Rep. Eduardo Gullas, father of the cityhood of Naga and Carcar, said the High Tribunal voted 6-4 in favor of the motion for reconsideration filed by Lawyer Estelito Mendoza representing the new cities.

Voting to upheld the constitutionality of the creation of the new cities were Justices Martin Villarama, Jr., Roberto Abad, Presbitero Velasco, Lucas Bersamin, Teresita De Castro and Mariano Del Castillo.

On the other hand justices Bernardo Carpio, Arturo Brion, Diosdado Peralta and Conchita Morales stood firm on the court's earlier decision that declared the creation of the new cities as unconstitutional.

The SC, in November last year, granted the petition filed by the League of Cities of the Philippines and several provincial government officials seeking to nullify the Cityhood Laws enacted by Congress.

The High Tribunal upheld the argument of petitioners that the Cityhood Laws violated Article X Section 10 and the equal protection clause of the Constitution since it prevents a fair and just distribution of the national taxes to local government units.

Another argument presented by the petitioners is that these new cities have not complied with the P100 million income requirement required under the LocalGovernment Code.

The new cities that also include Baybay, Leyte; Catbalogan, Samar; Lamitan, Basilan; Mati, Davao Oriental; Bayugan, Agusan del Sur; Borongan, Eastern Samar; Batac, Ilocos Norte; Tabuk, Kalinga; Tandag, Surigao del Sur; El Salvador, Misamis Oriental; Guihulngan, Negros Oriental; Tayabas, Quezon; and Cabadbaran, Agusan del Norte, then filed a motion for reconsideration on the ruling. But the Supreme Court dismissed it on April.

The new cities did not give up. They again filed the second motion for reconsideration which was against shot down by a vote of 6-6.

The court then ruled that the decision is already final and that no other pleadings shall be entertained.

But, Gullas said they persisted and succeeded in convincing the higher court to re-open the case.

Gullas said their lawyer argued that the issue was not yet resolved by the denial of their second motion for reconsideration considering that the voting was tied.

Gullas said the justices finally saw the light on Tuesday and reversed its earlier decision. The veteranlawmaker believed that the statement of the author of the Local Government Code, Senator Aquilino Pimentel, during the interpolation made by then Senate President Franklin Drilon, that the new cities are exempted from the new income requirement since their cityhood have been pending when the amendment to the local code was made.

Gullas said they are hopeful that the decision will become final considering that under the rules the petitioners are only given 15 days to file a motion for reconsideration.

He said because of the holidays there may not have enough time for it.

"It's a great gift to the 1st District and a great Christmas gift to the people of Carcar and Naga," Gullas said in an interview.

Naga Mayor Valdemar Chiong said the decision was a great "Christmas gift" for the people of Naga. He said this would mean progress and development for the city.

According to Chiong, their present P92 million internal revenue allotment will shot up to P224 million to finance the various projects of his administration.

Chiong said he intends to immediately start the construction of the city jail, slaughterhouse and the public market. He is also looking at the start of the construction of the city college of Naga by next year.

"Merry Christmas gyud ni para namong tanan. As much as we are concerned we deserve this, gitaan lang gyud mi og stumbling block nga malangay pa gyud ang umento sa Naga," said Chiong.

However, the mayor said that in spite their being back to being a city where they should have 10 councilors, they will still have eight for next year's elections, considering that the final resolution of the case is not yet out.

His next move, he said, is to request the Department of Budget and Management "to restore" and "replenish" the city's Internal Revenue Allotment, that it started reducing in May.

"Thanks to the Lord, to the Nagahanons, who believe in our leadership and Congressman (Eduardo) Gullas and Governor Gwen (Garcia) for being very supportive of Naga," said Chiong. 

Supreme Court fines 2 Cebu judges

The Supreme Court has fined two Cebu judges after they were found guilty of gross ignorance of the law for interfering in a civil case already taken cognizance of a co-equal court.

The high court has ordered Regional Trial Court Judges Cesar Estrera and

Gaudioso Villarin of Branches 29 and 59, respectively, in Toledo City to pay P21,000 each as fine.

On top of it, Villarin was also required to pay an additional P11,000 after he was also found guilty for undue delay in rendering and order.

The High Tribunal likewise warned the two judges that a repetition of the same offense will be dealt with more severely.


Lhuillier breaks silence on his 'replacement'

by by Jocelyn Ruiz, ABS-CBN Europe News Bureau
ITALY - Current Ambassador of the Philippines to Italy Philippe Lhuillier finally broke his silence on the issue of his replacement.

"I have read the press releases like everybody else. President (Arroyo) appointed me to this position because of her confidence in my abilities to represent our country here in Italy," Lhuillier said.

"And as long as I enjoy this confidence, I will continue to pursue my thrust to advance the economic, commercial and political interests of our country and to promote the welfare of our countrymen in Italy," he added. 

Cebu Representative Antonio Cuenco was named to take his place.

Meanwhile, Lhuillier expressed his appreciation to the initiatives of the overseas Filipino workers to make him stay in office until the end of his term in June 2010.

"It is heartwarming to know that the FILCOM (Filipino community) recognizes and appreciates the work that I have been doing all these years. Nais ko ring ipaabot ang aking pasasalamat sa ating mga kababayan dito sa Italya sa kanilang pakikiisa sa lahat ng mga programa at proyekto ng ating Embahada," he said.

Lhuillier was instrumental in the OFWs' campaign in Italy to reduce the cost of green passports from 65 Euro to 50 Euro. Likewise, the costs of certificates, affidavits, drivers' licenses, translations and other consular fees were lessened from 32.50 Euro to 25 Euro.

He was also involved in the setting up of the first honorary consul in Florence that benefitted about 15,000 to 18,000 OFWs.

He also did his part in the RP-Italy Memorandum of Understanding on the Automatic Conversion of Driver's Licenses. The agreement exempts Filipino license holders from attending Italian driving school and passing the required written and practical driving examinations which are not only costly but also written and conducted in Italian language. 

The agreement also lowers the fee for the documents that Filipinos will have to get from the Philippine embassy for the conversion of their licenses from € 65.00 to € 25.00. This was the first agreement of its kind to be signed by the Philippine government with a member country of the European Union. It also served as a precedent for concluding similar agreements between the Philippines and other European Union members.

34 Naga residents have respiratory tract infection

Environmentalists said they have found an "even more substantial cause of action" to keep blocking the Korean Electric Power Corporation-Salcon Power Corporation power plants from operating by 2011.

Balili lot to be center of agriculture program

The controversial Balili lot in barangay Tinaan in Naga town will soon be the center of the provincial government's program in the field of fishery and agriculture.

Yesterday, Governor Garcia visited the Balili lot for the stocking up of tilapia and bangus fingerlings.

Administration Presidential aspirant Gilberto "Gibo" Teodoro also visited the place before speaking before members of the Barangay Health Workers and Day-Care workers at Minglanilla Sports Complex.

City to award contract for 30 hectares of SRP

The Cebu City government expects to award by the second week of January to the highest bidder the contract to purchase 30 hectares at the South Road Properties.

Miguel O graduating summa from UCLA

Mayor Tomas Osmeña said he is a proud father this Christmas after receiving what he considers the best Christmas gift from his only son Miguel.

Ex-police chief 'helped' in withdrawing 7 cars

AGENTS of the Customs Intelligence and Investigation Service (CIIS) failed last Monday to seize seven vehicles at Pier 5, Cebu City because a police officer allegedly harassed them and took the units.

An incident report dated Dec. 21, 2009 and signed by lawyer Ramon Rory Antiojo of the CIIS-Port of Cebu said the six Honda Fit units and one Toyota, all believed to be smuggled, arrived on board mv Asia China of Trans-Asia Shipping Lines.

While the vehicles have plate numbers, CIIS agents believed these were intended for other vehicles and were only transferred to the units while in transport.

This was allegedly aimed to mislead customs authorities into believing that these were not smuggled but already registered with the Land Transportation Office (LTO).

CIIS Agents IA2 Daryl L. Panulaya, SA1 Dionisio Edera and 1A1 Ronnie Antonio Ylaya placed the vehicles under surveillance. The CIIS is a unit of the Bureau of Customs.

While they were trying to verify the documents of the vehicles consigned to Manuel Velayo of Cebu Off Roads, Supt. Vicente Merzan Premne allegedly arrived on a motorcycle and berated the CIIS agents.

Premne "harassed the CIIS agents and forcibly led the withdrawal of the vehicles from the area," read Antiojo's report, submitted to District Collector Ronnie Silvestre.

Premne could not be reached for comment, but a man who answered his cell phone and identified himself as Premne's brother said he couldn't believe the official would threaten to use force on anyone.

"Dili ko katuo nga buhaton na sa akong igsuon," the man said. He refused to give his name or another number where the police official could be reached.

Silvestre could not be contacted for comment as of press time as he was in a meeting with the Cebu Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

Premne is the chief of the Mandaue City Police Office. A few months ago, he allegedly disarmed two agents of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) who were guarding a warehouse full of suspected smuggled rice.

The CIIS agents wanted to arrest Premne in Monday's incident but noticed a Toyota Prado full of men with high-powered firearms.

Cebu Port Authority (CPA) General Manager Angelo Verdan will look into why the security guards on duty at Pier 5 allowed the vehicles to leave, even though the CIIS agents were still verifying the documents.

LTO 7 Director Raul Aguilos said he will trace the plate numbers to verify if these were indeed for the vehicles believed to have been smuggled.

DoJ looking for bigger venue for Ampatuan probe

The Philippine National Police is looking for an alternative venue for the preliminary investigation of multiple murder and rebellion charges against members of the Ampatuan clan and their many followers, Acting Justice Secretary Agnes Devanadera told reporters Tuesday.

Lawyer could have prevented Ampatuan Jr. from angry mob

The lawyer of Andal Ampatuan, Jr., the principal suspect in the Maguindanao massacre, could have prevented his client from getting mobbed and injured by emotional journalists during the preliminary investigation on Friday, Acting Justice Secretary Agnes Devanadera told reporters on Tuesday.

NBI limits visiting hours of Ampatuan's lawyers

by abs-cbnNEWS.com
MANILA, Philippines - The National Bureau of Investigation on Tuesday said it will limit the visiting hours of the lawyers of Datu Unsay, Maguindanao Mayor Andal Ampatuan Jr. after noting that many of the lawyers were staying inside the detention facility round the clock.

Govt forces guarding Ampatuan warehouse attacked

A group of armed men on Monday night attacked government forces manning a warehouse owned by the powerful Ampatuan clan in Maguindanao province.

Some Ampatuan weapons, Army guns have same serial numbers - AFP

A number of firearms seized from the Ampatuan compound in Maguindanao bear the same serial numbers as those of weapons issued to Army troops and in used by them, Armed Forces chief Gen. Victor Ibrado said Tuesday.

5 more Ampatuan kin, 633 others to face rebellion raps

Five more members of the Ampatuan clan and 633 others were summoned on Tuesday by the Department of Justice to the preliminary hearing on rebellion charges that stemmed from the clan"s alleged involvement in the November 23 massacre in Maguindanao.

Australia resumes aid in Maguindanao

The Australian government has continued its development projects in Maguindanao and the rest of the Southern Philippines, according to the Manila office of the Australian Agency for International Development (AusAID).

No Christmas break for Mindanao troops

Almost 4,000 soldiers assigned in several areas of Western Mindanao and some parts of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao will be away from their families on Christmas after the military decided to forfeit their break, an official said Tuesday.


Comelec backs early ARMM polls

The Commission on Elections urged Congress in a resolution on Tuesday to fast-track a law that would allow residents in the restive Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao to vote ahead of the May 10 nationwide balloting.

'Extended voter registration won't require more ballots'

by by Jesus F. Llanto, Newsbreak
MANILA, Philippines - The Commission on Elections (Comelec) will not print additional ballots to accommodate the new voters who will register during the extended listing, a poll official said.

Guidelines for Philippines' first automated polls out next week

by by Aries Rufo, abs-cbnNEWS.com/Newsbreak
MANILA, Philippines - The General Instructions (GI) for the country's first automated polls will finally be released next week, two months after it was supposed to come out.

Commissioner Rene Sarmiento told abs-cbnnews.com/Newsbreak that the GI, which will serve as the Bible for all candidates, poll watchers, lawyers and Comelec staff on the conduct of the automated elections, would be issued before the year ends.

Sarmiento said the only contentious issues remaining before the instructions are released pertain to the protest mechanism and the continuity plan in case of a poll automation systems breakdown.

The GI, which serves as the guideline for all stakeholders on the conduct of polls, was supposed to have been released last October. The Comelec said before that it was waiting for the final resolution of the Penera election case before finalizing the GI.

Yet, the GI remains in limbo even if the Supreme Court has already resolved the Penera case. The Penera case is a premature campaigning case.

To fast track the release of the GI, Sarmiento said the poll body is considering releasing a supplemental GI to cover the protest mechanism and the continuity plan or the contingency measure.

Fine-tuning

Comelec law department director Ferdinand Rafanan said the continuity plan is being fine-tuned to cover potential systems problems related to automation.

"It will cover instances like, what if the machines breaks down, what if the machines fails to scan the ballot, what if transmission fails," Rafanan said.

As for the protest mechanism, Rafanan said the old guidelines in pre-proclamation cases will have to be overhauled since automation has rendered some of these irrelevant.

For instance, under automation, appreciation of ballots by the Board of Elections Inspectors is no longer applicable since the machines have replaced them.

Rafanan said the Comelec is anticipating potential issues in the GI like what should be done in case there is a discrepancy in the election results for purposes of filing a protest.

He acknowledged that the release of the GI is long overdue.

The delay in the release of the GI is just one of the problems facing Comelec in the conduct of the first ever nationwide automated polls.

Training for teachers and technicians for the machines has yet to start, while production of the machines is facing similar problems of delay.


Almost half of Filipino voters go for Aquino, survey shows

Nearly five in ten voting-age Filipinos would vote for Sen. Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino III if elections were held this month, according to the latest Social Weather Stations (SWS) survey.

Noynoy's consistent wide lead already a sign of victory - analyst

Unless he does something damaging to his political career, Benigno Simeon "Noynoy" Aquino III's consistent wide lead over his political opponents in several nationwide surveys is already a sure sign of his victory in the 2010 presidential polls, according to a political analyst.

Aquino: Teodoro's surge in surveys not enough

Senator Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino III, the frontrunning presidential aspirant in surveys, acknowledged on Tuesday the surge in the latest Pulse Asia survey of his cousin and rival, former Defense Secretary Gilberto "Gibo" Teodoro, but he said it would not be enough for him to contend and be victorious in May.

Miriam, Bong and Jinggoy top SWS poll

by abs-cbnNEWS.com
MANILA, Philippines -  If the May 2010 senatorial election was held today, re-electionists Miriam Defensor Santiago, Ramon "Bong" Revilla Jr. and Jose "Jinggoy" Estrada would be sure winners, results of the latest Social Weather Stations survey showed Tuesday.

Palace justifies Arroyo's HK vacation

So what if President Macapagal-Arroyo is vacationing in Hong Kong while Albay residents flee the expected eruption of Mayon Volcano?

President Arroyo skips HK Disneyland

by abs-cbnNEWS.com
Only Mikey, Dato and kids visit theme park MANILA, Philippines - Only the President Arroyo's 2 sons and their children were seen enjoying the rides at the Disneyland theme park in Hong Kong Tuesday. Mrs. Arroyo and her husband First Gentleman Jose Miguel Arroyo were not with their grandchildren.  

Mayon's rumblings stronger

Mas dumalas pa ang pagbuga ng abo mula sa bulkang Mayon ngayong araw! Bagamat apat na buwan nang nag-aalburoto ang Mayon, sinabi ng Phivolcs, ngayon pa lang nagaganap ang pinakamataas na aktibidad ng bulkan. Bukod sa ashfall, mas lumakas din ang mga dagundong na naririnig mula sa bulkang Mayon, mga senyales na nagbabadya na ang malakas na pagsabog.


Residents told: Avoid lahar-prone areas near Mayon

The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) warned residents around Mayon Volcano to stay away from river channels on the southern sector of the volcano on fears of lahar flow.

'Mayon's eruption won't be as explosive as Pinatubo's'

by abs-cbnNEWS.com
MANILA, Philippines - Mayon Volcano's imminent eruption will not be as explosive as the June 1991 explosion of Mount Pinatubo, a geologist said Tuesday.

2 mild quakes jolt RP areas—USGS

Two mild earthquakes shook southern Mindanao Monday and northern Luzon Tuesday, the United States Geological Survey (USGS) said.

The latest quake occurred at around 3:59 a.m. Tuesday with the epicenter at 135 kilometers northeast of Baguio City.

The tremor was recorded at a magnitude of 5.4 and a shallow depth of 10km.

The last quake occurred Monday at around 2:39 a.m. with the epicenter at 165km east southeast of General Santos City. It had a magnitude of 4.7 and a depth of 119.2km.

This area of southern Mindanao and Indonesiahas been seismically active in the past few weeks, with weaker quakes occurring Monday and Thursday and Wednesday last week.

The Philippines lies in a region called the Pacific Ring of Fire that is characterized by a high degree of volcanic and seismic activity.


PCGG to drop Lucio Tan sibling as state witness

The Presidential Commission on Good Government (PCGG) may have no other choice but to turn down the offer of Mariano Tanenglian to testify against his brother, businessman Lucio Tan, after he failed to appear before the PCGG.

Dead Filipino seaman, 7 others in cargo ship sinking named

The Department of Foreign Affairs on Tuesday identified the lone Filipino casualty and seven other seamen still missing when the Panamanian cargo ship Dany F II sank off the coast of Tripoli, Lebanon last Dec. 17 due to stormy weather.

Confirmed dead was 3rd Engineer Alex Crisostomo. Still missing are Manuel Calaor, Leonardo Tiongson, Fuller Edgar, Manuel Bordas Jr., Benedicto Cruz, Enrico Librada and Vilter Amit. They were among the 21 Filipino seafarers of the Panamian-flagged ship.

The DFA, in a statement, said the local manning agency had notified the next of kin of the fatality and the missing seafarers of the incident.

The Dany F II left Montevideo on Nov. 29 and was on its way from the Uruguay capital of Montevideo to the Syrian port of Tartus, north of Tripoli, with a consignment of 10,000 sheep and 18,000 when it was hit by Thursday night's storm and altered course for Lebanon.

The ship's operator, Agencia Schandy, said the ship had a crew of 76 and six passengers – four Uruguayans, one Brazilian and an Australian. The crews consist of Filipinos, Pakistanis, a Russian, a Lebanese and a Ukranian.

In a report to the DFA, Philippine embassy in Beirut charge d'affaires Mohd. Noordin Pendosina Lomondot said that Labor Attache Nathaniel Lacambra and Overseas Workers Welfare Administration welfare officers had been dispatched to Tripoli to extend assistance to the seafarers.

Lomondot said the embassy was also coordinating with the Lebanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Emigrants and the Lebanese Ministry of the Interior on the rescue operation for other missing crewmembers.

The Philippine embassy in Damascus, meanwhile, reported that the latest Filipino seafarer rescued in Tartus, Syria was already in its custody but did not identify him.

Philippine Embassy in Damascus Charge d' Affairs Marlowe A. Miranda said the seafarer has undergone medical examination and was in good condition.

He said the embassy was also processing the travel documents, including the exit visa, for his repatriation.

Thirteen other Filipino seafarers who were earlier rescued are now housed in Tripoli. They are Danilo Policarpio, Wilson Vicente , Lezer Gepulgani, Michel Olivia, Edgardo Pucan, Jonathan Rada, Rafael Tarroza, Erasmo Galanza, Leolen Babao, Rogelio Dequina, Joebert Benoman, Jowey Quinto and Jason Magsino.

Online reports from Lebanon placed the number of survivors at 40.

Lebanese and Syrian vessels as well as the United Nations Interim Force on Lebanon (Unfil) were involved in rescue efforts, as was a British helicopter from Cyprus.

The Lebanese Red Cross has reported that the survivors in hospital, mostly Filipinos, were mainly suffering from "exhaustion, broken bones and concussion."

Lower 2010 tax collection goal for BIR mulled

by By Michelle Orosa, ABS-CBN News
Tax collection losses from Ondoy, Pepeng expected to reach P7.2 billion MANILA, Philippines - Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) is considering lower collection targets for 2010, as it expects adverse impacts from casualty losses due to recent typhoons, combined with the implementation of a fresh batch of government incentives to hamper revenue-generation. 

Cement group to help gov't go after unscrupulous traders

Local cement makers are teaming up with the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) to go after traders selling overpriced cement, the Cement Manufacturers Association of the Philippines (CEMAP) said in a statement.

Malaysia activists win gov't damages for detention

A Malaysian court ordered the government Tuesday to pay compensation totaling 870,000 ringgit ($250,000) to 29 human rights activists and journalists who were detained by police after attending a 1996 forum on rights abuses in neighboring Indonesia.

US could pressure Myanmar with bank sanctions

The Obama administration has ready a powerful economic weapon if talks with Myanmar fail to achieve democratic reforms: pressuring banks to avoid doing business with the country's ruling generals.


Pregnant GIs in Iraq could face courts-martial

by By Barbara Starr and Adam Levine, CNN
Washington (CNN) -- A new order from the general in charge of northern Iraq makes getting pregnant or impregnating a fellow soldier an offense punishable by court-martial.

PSC spent P80M less in this year's SEA Games

The Philippine Sports Commission can easily come up with millions of reasons to feel happy.

Expert: Pacquiao could 'disjoint' Mayweather's shoulder roll

MANILA, Philippines -- An orthopedic surgeon is claiming that 7-time world champ Manny Pacquiao can smash his way through Floyd Mayweather Jr.'s "shoulder roll" defense with his power punches.

Corteza beats Orcollo, sets finals date with Geronimo

MANILA, Philippines -- Lee Vann "The Slayer" Corteza leaned on a strong start to repulse 2009 Predator International 10-Ball Champion Dennis "Robocop" Orcollo, 9-7, on Tuesday to advance to the final round of the 4th BSCP National Championships at the Star Billiards Center in Quezon City.

The Davao City native Corteza of Jonathan Sy's Negros Billiard Stable will battle Bugsy Promotion bet Rodrigo "Edgie Marilao" Geronimo in the finals.

Geronimo edged former Southeast Asian Games 9-ball gold medallist Victory Arpilleda, 9-7, in their semifinals duel.


Star Cinema urged to make Melai-Jason movie

by abs-cbnNEWS.com
MANILA, Philippines – Pinoy Big Brother (PBB) Double Up housemates Melisa "Melai" Cantiveros and Jason Veron Francisco might be included in a comedy film that will be produced by Star Cinema as their love team continues to gain mass following, a report said.

'Journey' vocalist Arnel Pineda to give acting a try?

by by Napoleon Quintos, ABS-CBN.com
MANILA, Philippines - After a year of touring the world as the vocalist of American rock band "Journey," Arnel Pineda is finally home for the holidays. Pineda spoke with fans during the Kapamilya Interactive Chat last December 13 held at the backstage of "ASAP '09" where he shared his excitement to be here in time for Christmas.

Tiger, Elin go separate ways for holidays: reports

by Agence France-Presse
ORLANDO - Tiger Woods is reportedly yachting to the Bahamas for the holidays to escape the firestorm over his sex scandal while his wife Elin is said to be off back to Sweden for Christmas with her family.

Pakistani court orders 2 men's noses, ears cut off

LAHORE, Pakistan - A Pakistani court has ordered the noses and ears of two men cut off after they did the same thing to a young woman whose family spurned one of the men's marriage proposal, a prosecutor said Tuesday.

Cold, wet Christmas likely, says Pagasa

It might be a wet and cold Christmas season this year, the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa) said Tuesday.

In a special weather advisory from Tuesday to Saturday, the agency said they did not expect any tropical cyclone to develop throughout the week.

Pagasa said the northeast monsoon (Amihan) and the tail-end of a cold front would be the dominant weather situation across the country this week, particularly the eastern sections.

"The northeast monsoon which brings cold air from the Siberian peninsula blows towards mainland Luzon and cause light rains in most parts of Eastern Luzon and Eastern Visayas," the agency said.

On the other hand, the tail-end of a cold front will affect Northern and Eastern Mindanao "bringing widespread rains in these areas" on Wednesday and possibly for the coming days. These conditions could become scattered rainshowers for the rest of the week.

Pagasa also said they expected good weather for the rest of the country but advised the public to prepare for passing light rains particularly in the early morning hours.

Because of the northeast monsoon, Pagasa said there could be moderate to strong northeasterly winds over Luzon and Visayas. Coastal waters will be moderate to rough and fishermen are alerted against moderate to high waves.

Number of Filipinos suffering from kidney failure increasing--expert

by by Maria Althea Teves, abs-cbnNEWS.com/Newsbreak
Experts encourage organ donation from living donors, even those unrelated to patients, but stress that donors should be informed of potential consequences prior to giving consent Before stuffing yourself with sweets, oil-rich food and alcohol this Christmas, you may want to take this as a warning.



Samuel Goldwyn  - "I'm willing to admit that I may not always be right, but I am never wrong."

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