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

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

December 9, 2009 Major News Stories

Traders, retailers warned vs. overpricing of Christmas food items

Philippine retailers and traders were warned against selling Christmas food items at prices higher than those set by the government.

State workers to get Christmas bonuses: Palace

MANILA - Confirming an earlier announcement of the Department of Budget and Management, Malacañang said Tuesday that it will give cash gifts to all state workers possibly within the week.

Kidnap-prone Filipino seafarers keep remittances afloat at $2.5 billion

Amid the threat of kidnappings in the high seas, Filipino seafarers remitted a record $2.502 billion from January to September this year, the Trade Union of the Philippines (TUCP) said.

Dubai-based OFWs to lose bonus, not jobs

First the good news: Filipinos in Dubai are not likely to lose their jobs just yet. Then the bad news: Filipinos in Dubai are not likely to receive a Christmas bonus.

Threat to jobs not yet over, says ILO

Employment in developing countries, including the Philippines, will continue to drop in the near term despite early signs of economic recovery, the International Labor Organization (ILO) said in a report released yesterday.

Oil prices recover slightly

Oil prices rose on Tuesday following recent heavy losses, as traders capitalised on a weakening US dollar, analysts said.

NTC mulls sanctions vs telcos over new billing

The National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) may slap sanctions on mobile network operators who failed to adopt the new "per pulse" billing system that took effect last Sunday.

Gungob charged for mineral theft

Consolacion Mayor Avelino Gungob and seven of his job order employees were charged with theft of minerals before the Office of the Ombudsman Visayas following the seizure of three dump trucks owned by the town that were used in illegal quarrying operations.

Vehicular traffic will be rerouted on the affected streets in barangay Guadalupe on December 11 and 12, 2009 particularly, during the procession.

All Guadalupe passenger jeepneys while traversing along Osmeña Boulevard shall turn left to N. Escario Street, right turn to Don Gil Garcia Street, to M. Velez Street, right turn to V. Rama Avenue, right turn to barangay road beside Guadalupe barangay hall, right turn to A. Abellana Street, left turn to M. Velez Street, then back to their point of destination.

Likewise, all passenger jeepneys while traversing along B. Rodriguez Street shall turn right to V. Rama Avenue, right turn to barangay road beside Guadalupe barangay hall, right turn to A. Abellana Street, right turn to M. Velez Street, left turn to V. Rama Avenue, then back to their point of destination in the downtown area.

Meanwhile, passenger jeepneys going to Singson Village while traversing along Osmeña Boulevard shall turn left to N. Escario Street, right turn to Don Gil Garcia Street, to M. Velez Street, right turn to A. Abellana Street to Singson Village, then make a U-turn back to A Abellana Street, left turn to M. Velez Street then back to their point of destination.

Vidal blesses St. Therese Church

Cebu Archbishop Ricardo Cardinal Vidal the other day carried out the Dedication of the Altar of the newly constructed P30-million St. Therese Church in Lahug, Cebu City.

Bogo task force

POLICE Regional Office (PRO) 7 Director Lani-o Nerez has ordered the chief of the Bogo Police Station to account for all members of the City of Bogo Anti-Crime Task Force (CBACTAF) and to check their backgrounds.

House seat fight now in SC

THE election protest that former Bogo mayor Celestino "Tining" Martinez III filed against Rep. Benhur Salimbangon (Cebu, 4th district) is already with the Supreme Court (SC).

Girl, 13, flees from abductors, claims more kids left behind

A THIRTEEN-year-old girl told police she was forced into a van by three men in Carcar Monday morning. She escaped when they stopped to buy food in Minglanilla.

US Embassy monitoring child abuse case vs American

The US Embassy has expressed interest in the case of American Perry McNeely who is a respondent in child abuse, anti-trafficking and rape cases at the Cebu City Prosecutor's office.

Pinoys in Italy protest Lhuillier's ouster

ROME, Italy - Filipinos in Italy have gathered thousands of signatures to protest the replacement Philippe Lhuillier as Philippine ambassador to the country.

Rerouting announced for Lady of Guadalupe fiesta

The Cebu City Traffic Patrol Group and City Traffic Operations and Management will reroute traffic during the Guadalupe Fiesta Celebration in honor of Cebu City's Patron Saint, Our Lady of Guadalupe.

Gov't in show of might over Maguindanao

Bomber planes staged a show of force Tuesday over Maguindanao province placed under martial law, as helicopters dropped leaflets urging a warlord's militia to surrender.

Ampatuan militiamen firing at soldiers—Puno

More than 1,000 men, most of whom belonged to civilian volunteer organizations of the Ampatuans, have occupied certain areas in Maguindanao and are firing at government troops ``even when unprovoked,'' according to Interior and Local Government Secretary Ronaldo Puno.

Assault rifles traced to Ampatuan militiamen

Five of the 16 assault rifles that soldiers dug up at the back of the town hall here late Monday afternoon belonged to militiamen, the Philippine Army disclosed Tuesday.

Firearms seized from ARMM capitol's chief security

MANILA, Philippines - Police commandos on Tuesday seized more firearms from a top Civilian Volunteer Organization (CVO) official linked to the gruesome killing of 57 people in Maguindanao province last November 23.

Military probes accidental firing in Maguindanao capitol

Military authorities here are investigating a soldier for "accidentally" pulling the trigger of a 50-cal. machine gun near the capitol building here, Tuesday afternoon, the second full work day under martial law.

Ampatuan private army now split into 3 groups

The alleged private army of the Ampatuan clan, whose members have been tagged as the primary suspects behind the massacre of at least 57 people, have splintered into smaller groups and are scattered all over the province of Maguindanao, according to Defense Secretary and National Security Adviser Norberto Gonzales.

Case vs Ampatuan Sr., 23 others strong : DOJ

MANILA - The Department of Justice on Tuesday said there was probable cause to file rebellion charges against 24 people including former Maguindanao Gov. Andal Ampatuan Sr. following their arrest last Saturday.

"Arroyo govt setting stage to let Ampatuans go scot-free"

(Update 2 - 7:47 PM) By filing rebellion charges against the alleged masterminds of the Maguindanao massacre, the Arroyo administration could be setting the stage to let the Ampatuans go "scot-free," said Franklin Drilon, an ex-justice secretary who filed rebellion charges against Juan Ponce Enrile after the latter was involved in a 1989 coup attempt.

Murder case vs Ampatuan Sr. will stand on its own - DOJ

Government lawyers on Tuesday guaranteed that rebellion charges to be filed against Andal Ampatuan Sr. would not weaken a separate case for multiple murder that the clan patriarch may face in connection with the massacre of 57 persons in Maguindanao two weeks ago.

Big vault found in Ampatuan's mansion

Mga kapamilya, ito ang ika-16 na araw ng paghahanap ng katarungan para sa mga biktima ng Maguindanao massacre! Sa pangalawang pagkakataon ay pinasok kagabi ng mga otoridad ang bahay ni dating Maguindanao Governor Andal Ampatuan Sr. sa bayan ng Shariff Aguak, Maguindanao. Tinarget ng mga otoridad ang mga vault o kaha-de-yero sa bahay ng matandang Ampatuan.

Martial law 'alarming', says ex-High Court justice

An expert on constitutional law said the declaration of martial law is "alarming" especially to those who will be arrested following its declaration.

Supreme Court defers ruling on martial law

The Supreme Court deferred the issuance of a temporary restraining order against the implementation of Proclamation 1959 imposing martial law in Maguindanao.

Did delayed joint session violate constitution?

Has Congress violated the Constitution when it failed to convene within 24 hours after the declaration of martial law in Maguindanao?

Congress majority can revoke martial law--Enrile

A simple resolution signed by the majority of the total membership of Congress would be enough to revoke the martial declaration in Maguindanao, Senate President Juan Ponce-Enrile said on Tuesday.

House, Senate get 10 hours each to discuss martial law

Allies of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo in the House of Representatives will not immediately move in for the kill of initiatives to revoke Proclamation 1959 when the joint session of Congress begins on Wednesday.

Senate, House agree on rules, joint session

by by Carmela Fonbuena,
MANILA, Philippines - The Senate and the House of Representatives have agreed to hold at 4 p.m. on Wednesday the start of the joint session to tackle Proclamation No. 1959 declaring martial law and suspending the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus in parts of Maguindanao province.

Nograles: No Cha-cha in joint session

MANILA, Philippines -Three administration allies holding key positions in the Senate and in the House of Representatives on Tuesday said Charter change (Cha-cha) will not be taken up during the joint session of Congress.

Amnesty Int'l calls for martial law 'timetable'

Rights group Amnesty International urged the Philippines on Tuesday to establish a "clear and short timetable" to end martial law imposed on a southern province where a political massacre left 57 dead.

Mindanao local execs support martial law declaration

While backing the martial law declaration of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo in Maguindanao, several local officials of Mindanao said Tuesday it should be lifted as soon as law and order is restored in the province.

Arroyo 'testing the waters' with martial law: NDFP

MANILA - The National Democratic Front of the Philippines on Tuesday said President Arroyo's declaration of martial law in Maguindanao province is reminiscent of the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos's suspension of the writ of habeas corpus before the declaration of martial law in 1972.

Martial law may not reach 60 days, govt hints

Malacañang on Tuesday said the martial law in Maguindanao may be lifted even before the Congress or the Supreme Court could decide on its legality.

FVR hits martial law

Former President Fidel V. Ramos last night lambasted the Arroyo administration over its declaration of martial law in Maguindanao following the massacre of 57 people, some of whom were journalists.

Victims' kin welcome transfer of Ampatuan trial

The families of the Maguindanao massacre victims welcomed the Supreme Court's decision transferring the venue of the murder trial of Andal Ampatuan Jr. to Quezon City.

QC court yet to raffle Ampatuan murder case

The Quezon City Regional Trial Court has yet to raffle the multiple murder case filed against Andal Ampatuan Jr. to any of its branches as of Tuesday afternoon.

DoJ seeks transfer of Maguindanao mayor to Camp Crame

The Department of Justice (DoJ) is set to seek the transfer of detention of Datu Unsay Mayor Andal Ampatuan Jr. from the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) to Camp Crame.

Makati police watching Ampatuan apartments

The Makati police have been closely watching two apartments and two condominium units reportedly owned by Datu Unsay Mayor Andal Ampatuan Jr. and his relatives for any movements in connection to what the government claimed as an imminent rebellion by the supporters of the Ampatuan.

Media groups set to march for victims of Ampatuan massacre

Local and international media groups will hold a rally and march in Manila on Wednesday in a Global Day of Solidarity to demand justice for at least 30 journalists killed in the November 23 Ampatuan massacre in Maguindanao.

US-based media groups raise funds for slain journalist

CHICAGO, Illinois - Chicago-based media organizations - including a group of Filipino journalists in the United States - have begun raising funds for one of the 31 media workers who were killed in the Maguindanao massacre.

Senate passes Freedom of Info bill on 2nd reading

The Senate has passed on second reading a bill that, according to Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano, could solve more than 50 percent of the problem of corruption in the country.

RP military wary of power vacuums in troubled south

The Philippine military is confident of quashing a rogue politician's militia in the troubled south, but worried the offensive is creating power vacuums from which more fearsome forces could emerge.

132 private armed groups exist in RP - DND

There are at least 132 armed groups, composed of about 10,000 men, connected to political clans in the country, most of them in Mindanao, who may be used to sow violence and disorder in next year's elections, according to Defense Secretary Norberto Gonzales.

PNP ordered to dismantle private armies nationwide

Signaling the start of a nationwide crackdown, Philippine National Police chief Director General Jesus Verzosa has ordered tactical police units to go after private armies in their jurisdictions.

RP, MILF resume peace talks

KUALA LUMPUR – The Philippine government and Muslim separatists have a good chance of achieving a "just and lasting" peace deal, a government official said Tuesday as talks resumed after a 16-month impasse.

Senate may cut ARMM budget due to massacre

MANILA, Philippines - Senators on Tuesday appeared reluctant to grant a 9.44 billion peso-budget to the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) for next year, amid accusations of unexplained wealth against its governor, Zaldy Ampatuan, and his family.

SC junks petition to disqualify Estrada from running in 2010 polls

The Supreme Court Tuesday dismissed the petition to disqualify former President Joseph Estrada from seeking the presidency in next year's election.

NP junks alliance with KBL, but keeps Bongbong as Senate bet

Internal squabbling within the Marcos-led Kilusang Bagong Lipunan (KBL) party led to the collapse of its alliance with the Nacionalista Party. Ilocos Norte Rep. Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr., however, will remain in the NP's Senate slate in the 2010 polls.

Comelec unseats Padaca as Isabela governor

(Update - 7:15 p.m.) The Comelec Second Division on Tuesday declared as null and void the term of incumbent Isabela Governor Grace Padaca in favor of former governor Benjamin Dy, who contested the results of the 2007 elections.

Memorial plaque for 956 Ondoy-Pepeng dead unveiled in Australia

Some 956 Filipinos who died during the destructive cyclones "Ondoy" (Ketsana) and "Pepeng" (Parma) will be forever remembered in Australia after a memorial plaque for them was unveiled in New South Wales.

BIR gets conviction for 3 more tax evaders

The Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) has secured the conviction of three more tax evaders, bringing the total of convicted persons under its Run After Tax Evaders (RATE) program to five so far this year, BIR Deputy Commissioner Gregorio Cabantac said on Tuesday.

101 killed, 182 wounded in Baghdad explosions

Five powerful car bombs rocked Baghdad on Tuesday, killing at least 101 people, many of them students, wounding 182 and shattering a month of calm in the capital ahead of a general election.

Pacquiao ignores Mayweather trash talk

Ngayong tuloy na ang labang Pacquiao-Mayweather, ayaw paawat ng tatay ni Floyd Mayweather Junior sa mga pasaring kay Manny Pacquiao. Pero si pacman, cool lang, at sa halip, mas iniintindi muna ang bagong business nila ng asawang si Jinkee.

My son's too much for Pacquiao: Mayweather Sr.

MANILA, Philippines – Floyd Mayweather, Sr. has always chosen Manny Pacquiao's opponents to prevail over the pound-for-pound king, but the Filipino boxing icon always proved him wrong. Not this time, though, said Floyd Sr.  

Filipinos ready for SEA Games battle

VIENTIANE, Laos — Two years after carving out golden moments in Thailand, 23 Filipino athletes will shoulder the brunt of the Philippine campaign in this landlocked country as they prepare to defend their titles in the 25th Southeast Asian Games here.

BAP's Lim nabbed, faces deportation charge

by by Sandy Araneta, The Philippine Star
MANILA, Philippines - Graham Lim, the controversial secretary-general of the Basketball Association of the Philippines (BAP) who has pending deportation cases since 2006 due to a citizenship issue, was arrested yesterday at the Makati City Hall by National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) Interpol agents.

Israel defense minister in hot water over illegal Pinoy maid

by Agence France-Presse
  JERUSALEM - Israel's Defense Minister Ehud Barak found himself in hot water on Monday amid revelations that the former premier had hired a Filipina maid without a work permit. Barak and his wife Nili had for several months employed a Filipina cleaner who did not have a work permit and did not undergo the required security checks by the Shin Bet domestic security agency, public radio reported.

Filipino couple nabbed for chopping up Pinay maid

SAUDI ARABIA – Authorities apprehended a Filipino couple for the killing of their Pinay household service worker two years ago in Saudi Arabia, an online news provider reported. According to the internet edition of the Saudi Gazette, the couple, whose identities were not disclosed, admitted to killing the victim. They then chopped her body and buried the pieces under the concrete floor of their house.

Gary V. brought to US hospital

MANILA – Mr. Pure Energy Gary Valenciano is now "on the road to recovery" after he was brought to a hospital in Orlando, Florida where he held a benefit concert, dubbed as "Gary V: A Wave of Hope," for typhoon victims.

Jinkee gets 'peace offering' from Manny Pacquiao

MANILA, Philippines -- How does Filipino boxing champion Manny Pacquiao patch things up with his wife Jinkee? With diamonds, no less.

Angel raring to work with John Lloyd

by by Bernie Franco,
MANILA - With Angel Locsin's working on upcoming fantasy series "Kokey @ Ako," her teleserye with John Lloyd Cruz will have to wait a little longer. But Locsin is still looking forward to her team-up with the actor and shared that ABS-CBN management is already looking for the perfect script.

Facebook, Maricar Reyes top Google searches in RP

MANILA, Philippines - What do boxing champion Manny Pacquiao, actress Maricar Reyes and social network Facebook have in common? According to Google's annual Zeitgeist report, they are among the fastest rising Google searches in the Philippines for 2009 representing what was top of mind for Filipinos this year.

Noynoy, Pacman top local Google search

Topping this year's Google most-searched items in the Philippines are presidential aspirant and senator Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino III and Manny Pacquiao.

Facebook and Twitter, two of the most popular social networking sites tools on the Web, grabbed the first and eighth spots in the top ten fastest rising search items, according to Google's 2009 Year-End Zeitgeist report.

Music-related searches also made it high up the top ten local searches, with Love Story being the hottest sing-along song, Lady Gaga who visited the country for a one-night concert at the Araneta Coliseum on August and pop king Michael Jackson's unexpected death.

Filipinos' interest in celebrities continues as among the year's top searches include local actress Maricar Reyes and controversial actor-surgeon Hayden Kho, who were allegedly previous lovers and both involved in sex videos uploaded online, and Korean TV star Kim Bum from the show "Boys Over Flowers."

Also in the top ten is Pacquiao's second round knockout of British boxer Ricky Hatton last May.

Therese Lim, Google's corporate communications head for the Philippines, believes the year-end report serves as "barometer to reflect the pulse of Filipinos on wide-ranging issues" such as politics, the Internet and celebrities.

"Searches via Google offer an accurate assessment and is reflective of the information seeking behavior of Filipinos, especially on issues that interest them locally and even globally," Lim told

"As with other 50 countries, the results in the Philippines are very local as seen in the various categories. The results also reflect the country's interest for international news," she added.

Aquino, son of former senator Benigno Aquino Jr. and late president Corazon Aquino, leads this year's "fastest-rising politicians" category, and managed in four months to gain as much web search volume as other politicians have for the year, the report added.

Interest on Aquino, which has been below other 2010 presidential candidates, spiked in August, peaked on September and continues to top other bets including Senators Richard "Dick" Gordon and Manny Villar, ex-president Joseph Estrada and former defense chief Gilbert Teodoro, according to Google search data.

The fastest rising politicians searched on Google between January to December include: Aquino III, Senators Panfilo Lacson, Francis Escudero, Mar Roxas and Manuel Villar, ex-NEDA chief Ralph Recto, Teodoro, Estrada, local TV host Willie Revillame and President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

Kho, whose so-called sex videos got leaked online, was dubbed the fastest-rising local "buzz maker". But the list of current events topics that had Filipinos searching for more information online showed the A (H1N1) flu pandemic (top spot), the typhoons that severely damaged the country and the reproductive health bill.

For this year, Baler is the fastest-rising local travel destination search term for Filipinos, the interest on which was spurred by a period film shown late last year starring Anne Curtis and Jericho Rosales.

Local band Sponge Cola's "Di Na Mababawi" is this year's anthem, leading the fastest-rising OPM songs category, along with late rapper Francis Magalona's "Kaleidoscope World" on the fourth spot.

Carla Abellana, who got her first big break by starring in the local remake of Mexican telenovela "Rosalinda," is the hottest searched local showbiz celebrity of 2009. The actress bested Bebe Gandanghari, Sandara Park, Coco Martin, Pacquiao's mom Aling Dionisia, Katrina Halili, Angel Locsin, Dennis Laurel and Katherine Luna.

Insights for Search analyzes a portion of global Google web searches to compute the number of searches have been done for terms, relative to the total number of searches done on Google over time.

Aside from Insights for Search, Google said it also used internal tools to filter out spam, irrelevant and repeated queries to build lists that best reflect "the spirit of the times" or the collective searching and browsing trend of Filipinos.

Trooper sought blood results after Tiger Woods' crash

WINDERMERE, Florida - A Florida trooper who suspected Tiger Woods was driving under the influence sought a subpoena for the golfer's blood results from the hospital he was taken to after crashing his car, but prosecutors rejected the petition for insufficient information, according to a police report released Monday.

Woods' mother-in-law rushed to hospital

WASHINGTON – Tiger Woods' mother-in-law is in a stable condition after being rushed to hospital in an ambulance overnight Tuesday in the latest twist in the scandal surrounding the embattled golf star.

Last decade warmest on record—weather chief

COPENHAGEN—(UPDATE) The first decade of the 21st century is set to be the warmest on record, the head of the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) said at UN climate talks Tuesday.

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

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