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

Monday, January 11, 2010

January 12, 2010 Major News Stories


Flying V raises gas prices Tuesday

Flying V Philippines has raised prices of gasoline, kerosene and diesel by P1.20 a liter, effective 12:01 a.m. on Tuesday, to reflect the increase in the prices of petroleum products in the world market.

Flying V will hike its gasoline and diesel prices by P1.20 per liter starting midnight (12:01 a.m.) of Tuesday, while Total and Eastern Petroleum will follow suit with P1.00 per liter at 6:00 a.m.

In a separate announcement via text message, Sea Oil Philippines said the P1.00 per liter price adjustments for its gasoline, diesel, and kerosene products will take effect 6 a.m., Tuesday.

Court won't stop oil firms from raising prices

The Manila City Regional Trial Court on Monday denied the bid of the Social Justice Society (SJS) and transport group Pasang Masda to stop oil companies from doing another round of increase.

Oil prices back above $83

Oil prices were back above $83 in Asian trade Monday as a cold snap in the United States and northern Asia powered higher demand for heating fuel, analysts said.

Transport, militant groups stage protest vs RFID

MANILA, Philippines - Transport and militant groups on Monday again launched a protest against the Land Transportation Office's (LTO) move to install tracking devices in vehicles.

Transport groups to SC: Car ID system OK

Various transport associations asked the Supreme Court to dismiss the bid of party list groups seeking a stop of the implementation of the P2.45-billion Land Transportation Office's (LTO) radio frequency identification (RFID) system.

The intervenors include Federation of Jeepney Operators and Drivers Association of the Philippines (FEJODAP), Alliance of Transport Operators and Drivers Association of the Philippines (ALTODAP), Pasang Masda Nationwide Inc. (Pasang Masda) and Alliance of Concerned Transport Organizations (ACTO).

They refuted the claim of Bayan Muna, Gabriela, Anakpawis, and Pagkakaisa ng mga Samahan ng Tsuper at Operator Nationwide (PISTON) that implementation of RFID would not improve the services of transportation department and that there will be no compliance with the Clean Air Act.

Gov't action sought to stabilize rice prices

Farmers and civil society groups urged the National Food Authority (NFA) on Monday to intervene in the market to prevent any more increases in the prices of rice.

2010 rice imports sufficient: DA chief

by Reuters
MANILA, Philippines - Philippine Agriculture Secretary Arthur Yap said on Monday the government has purchased enough rice for 2010 from import tenders in November and December, suggesting the world's biggest rice buyer may be out of the market for now.

2 of 90 nursing examinees in HK pass board

Only two of 90 examinees of the nursing licensure examination held in Hong Kong on December 12 and 13 passed, the Board of Nursing of the Professional Regulation Commission said Monday.

4 SC justices warn vs upholding 16 cities ruling

Four Supreme Court justices warned of catastrophic effects not only in the judiciary but on businesses should the high court stand by its decision affirming the legality of the creation of 16 cities.   Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio and Associate Justices Conchita Carpio-Morales, Arturo Brion and Diosdado Peralta dissented on the Dec. 21, 2009 ruling declaring as constitutional the 16 cityhood laws that converted 16 towns into cities.

Lack of quorum foils vice governor's privilege speech

In defense of an institution!  This would have been the title of the privilege speech of Vice Governor Gregorio Sanchez, Jr. yesterday had the Cebu Provincial Board had a quorum to hold their regular session.

Sanchez had to adjourn the session, setting aside his preparation for his privilege speech, because of lack of quorum.

Only eight members of the board were present including Sanchez, short of the required number to constitute a quorum to be able to legally transact business.

The PB members present were Agnes Magpale, Jose Maria Gastardo, Wenceslao Gakit, Peter John Calderon, Wilfredo Caminero, Victor Maambong and Joven Mondigo Jr. were present.

Among the issues he would have discussed, aside from the alleged harassment that he and his officehad suffered, are the imposition of the P5 terminal fee at the South Bus Terminal, parking fee at the Capitol compound and giving of financial assistance to other provinces without prior authority from the board.

In a brief talk with Sanchez, he told The Freeman that Garcia's burdening the poor commuters from the province by making them pay the P5 terminal fee is an example of her being a tyrant.

Aside from this, Sanchez also mentioned the Capitol's giving of P20 million in financial assistance to typhoon Ondoy victims despite the fact that only P10 million was authorized by the board.

He explained that when Garcia turned over the P20 million check to then Defense Secretary Gilberto Teodoro at the Capitol, she did not have the authority yet from the board.

It was only later in the afternoon that majority of the members of the board belatedly pass the resolution to cover the illegal act of the governor.

Lawyer hits Capitol for planning to fill lot

AN environmentalist lawyer yesterday criticized the Cebu Provincial Government for planning to fill up the wet areas of the Balili Beach Resort pending the resolution of issue of its ownership.

The comment of lawyer Gloria Estenzo Ramos of the Global Legal Action against Climate Change (Glacc) was made after Cebu Provincial Planning and Development Officer Adolfo Quiroga said that they will no longer use coal ash to cover the wet lands of the Balili Estate in the City of Naga.

Instead, Quiroga said Capitol is negotiating to acquire filling materials from the cemetery project of the City of Naga in the mountain barangay.

Ramos said there is an issue on ownership by the state, which Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia and the Provincial Board cannot disregard.

"Under the civil law, considering that DENR (Department of Environment and Natural Resources) is instituting reversion proceedings in the portions of the property affected, it is possible that Capitol can be construed as a builder in bad faith," Ramos said.


"If they insist on making improvements thereon, why can they wait for the ownership issue to be settled before spending more people's money unnecessarily? It's more prudent to wait, definitely," Ramos added.

Capitol spokesperson Rory Jon Sepulveda said that the reclamation project will still continue but they are not yet sure on the material to use.

The Province will not use the coal ash if an independent study will advise that it is not safe to use.

Sepulveda also said that lawyer Benjamin Cabrido does not have to criticize Cebu Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia's dance participation in the Sinulog.

His reaction was sought yesterday after the alleged statement of Cabrido that Garcia does not have to dance because the theme of this year's festival also includes the environment.


"If Cabrido wants to dance because apparently candidate man sad ni sila sa party-list, sayaw lang sad sila ug ilaha.

Adto siya, sayaw lang sad siya ug iyaha," Sepulveda in a news conference at the office of the governor yesterday.

The Fiesta Señor 2010 celebration will focus on environmental advocacy, with an "environmental mass," greening of the Basilica and the installation of solar panels among the planned activities.

Because of too many vested interests behind the issue on the environment, it can no longer be properly discussed, Sepulveda said.

City government expects to earn P1 million monthly from North Recla lots

The Cebu City government will be earning close to P1 million every month from the rentals of 33,737 square meters lot at the North Reclamation Area that will be leased by the Dakay Construction and Development Corporation.

Generator set installed for Lahug fire victims

Cebu City Hall's department of public services yesterday installed a generator set for those families whose houses in sitio San Jose, barangay Lahug were razed by a fire two months ago.

Machines 'will reject' ballots that are fake or tampered

FAKE ballots and those with tampered security features will be rejected by the Precinct Count Optical Scan (PCOS) machines and the votes cast will not be counted, officials said.

Polls may be held in October simultaneously with election of other barangay officials

IF RESIDENTS of Guadalupe, Cebu City agree to the splitting of their barangay, the local Commission on Elections (Comelec) will ask for the postponement of the election of the barangay officials.

Lawyer Edwin Cadu-ngog, south district elections officer, said they can still manage to hold a plebiscite, as prescribed by Republic Act (RA) 9905.

Berame family cries for justice

THE family of the slain political leader Allan Berame cried for justice, insisting that his being a "big leader" in Barangay Calawisan, Lapu-Lapu City could have prompted his murder, not love triangle.

Sinulog contingents urged to avoid stunts

The Sinulog Foundation Inc. reminded contingents not to engage in dangerous stunts during their performances to avoid unnecessary injuries to dancers.

Cebu City's float at parade to promote SRP, taunt Capitol

CEBU City's South Road Properties (SRP) and life-size images of its landmarks will be shown to the public when City Hall sends for the first time a float entry in the Sinulog grand parade this Sunday.

The float will not cost the City Government much since it will be made of recycled materials, said SRP Management Office head Nagiel Bañacia.

Bañacia said they decided to set up a float as their way of thanking the Sto. Niño for the City's first sale of SRP lots last year, and for the full recovery of Mayor Tomas Osmeña from urinary bladder cancer.

It will feature the SRP welcome hill and a replica of the life-size Sto. Niño at Kawit Point, and says "SRP, owned by the people of Cebu City." The City's float will be the first to come out in the parade, and will tail the Cebu City guest contingent.

SRP-MO staffers and the Mayor's Management Team who will be on the float will be wearing their shirts that read "Suya Ra ang Probinsya."

Bañacia finalized the design of the float yesterday, which the mayor approved.

"This is the first time Cebu City will have a float to market the SRP and to show the constituents that it belongs to them.

But most important of all, it may sound corny but it is our way of thanking the Sto. Niño for the recovery of the mayor, and for all the blessings we got last year, including the sale of the lots," he said.

The City sold a 10.6-hectare property to Filinvest Land Inc. last February and entered into a joint venture agreement to develop another 40 hectares with the same developer.

The float, which cost the SRP-MO some P7,000 so far, will be set up on a trailer bed and will be hauled by a farm tractor.

It will constructed by a job order employee assigned at the SRP-MO.

No candidates' floats, banners in parade

NO political candidates' floats and banners will be allowed during the Sinulog grand parade, though minor items like fans and bottled waters with faces of politicians will be tolerated.

Gullas museum opens today

The Dodong R. Gullas Museum will be formally inaugurated today, January 12, with Governor Gwen Garcia and Congressman Nerissa Soon-Ruiz leading the ribbon-cutting ceremony.

Crowning of Ms. Cebu 2010

THE spotlight will be directed on one beautiful woman tonight as she will be crowned Miss Cebu 2010 at the Waterfront Cebu City Hotel and Casino.

To prevent power interruptions: Firecrackers, balloons, confetti discouraged near power lines

The Visayan Electric Company is urging the public to refrain from setting off firecrackers and releasing balloons and confetti near power lines during the Sinulog Grand Parade on January 17.

Death toll in Nazarene procession rises to 3

Another Black Nazarene devotee died on Sunday evening of injuries he sustained in a fall from the float of the centuries-old icon during Saturday's procession.

PNP recalls all 1,600 security escorts

(UPDATE) The Philippine National Police has recalled all its 1,600 police escorts assigned to over 700 VIPs, government officials, and other private individuals for accounting and redeployment for the upcoming elections in May.

54 arrested amid nationwide gun ban

Fifty-four people, including eight government security personnel, were arrested across the country in the continuing implementation of the total gun ban that began on Sunday, the Philippine National Police reported on Monday.

Nasa 54 na ang nahuhuli dahil sa paglabag sa gun ban mula nang ipatupad ito kahapon. Lima sa kanila, pulis at tatlo naman ang sundalo! 

Army captain nabbed at NAIA for gun ban violation

Policemen at the Nino Aquino International Airport Terminal 2 arrested Monday morning an Army officer for violating the gun ban imposed by the Commission on Elections.

Capt. Rene Dalit Gimena was to board an Iloilo-bound Philippine Airlines Flight PR-141 at around 8 a.m.

Confiscated from Gimena was a .45 cal. Colt pistol, one magazine loaded with seven rounds and a mission order issued by the 3rd Infantry Division of the Philippine Army based in Camp General Macario Peralta in Jamindan, Capiz, where the suspect is assigned.

Bishops skeptic over gun ban enforcement

by By Dennis Carcamo

Bishops have expressed skepticism over the gun ban imposed by the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to curb violence before and during the coming polls in May.

PNP: Reshuffle meant to keep cops away from politics

The Philippine National Police (PNP) on Monday defended the reshuffle of provincial and town police chiefs across the country, saying the revamp was part of its efforts to protect the PNP from "partisan politics."

'Life imprisonment awaits hackers who'll try to sabotage polls'

With the recent cyber attacks on government Web sites, the Commission on Elections (Comelec) on Monday warned that hackers who attempt to sabotage the 2010 automated elections would face life imprisonment.

Villar calls Aquino "liar"

Senator Manny Villar on Monday branded his rival, Senator Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino III, a liar for saying that he did not take the lead in questioning the scandals that haunted the present administration.

Probe Palace link to Ampatuan's arms cache, Roxas urges

Senator Manuel "Mar" Roxas II on Monday asked the Senate to look into Malacanang's alleged involvement in supplying the Ampatuan clan with high-powered firearms.

Group seeks live coverage of Ampatuan trial

The newly formed People's Task Force on Maguindanao will ask Quezon City Regional Trial Court Judge Jocelyn Solis Reyes to allow the live coverage of the Ampatuan murder trial inside Camp Crame "subject to safeguards and safety nets."

Alleged Ampatuan protégé resigns from Smartmatic

A supposed political operator with connections to the controversial Ampatuan clan in Maguindanao has resigned from his work for poll machine supplier Smartmatic-TIM, the consortium said Monday.

Smartmatic spokesperson Gene Gregorio said Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) regional coordinator Arnulfo "Popoy" Cuyugan resigned Sunday after Senate Minority Leader Aquilino Pimentel Jr. scored Cuyugan for reportedly being backed by the Ampatuans.

"Cuyugan resigned na to allay fears over the integrity of the (electoral) process in Maguindanao. He didn't want to jeopardize the project," Gregorio said.

Massacre issue takes toll on Arroyo govt's poll ratings

The way the government dealt with the November 23 massacre of more than 50 people in Maguindanao province has affected the satisfaction rating of the Arroyo administration, a latest survey showed.

State of emergency in Maguindanao to last until after May polls

The military has recommended that the state of emergency declared on Maguindanao province and two other key Mindanao areas be prolonged until after the May 2010 elections.

Arroyo to convene NSC for first time since 2005

For the first time since 2005, President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo will convene the National Security Council on Tuesday.

Estrada to return to Malacanang after nine years

Former President Joseph Estrada will set foot anew in Malacanang, nine years after he was thrown out of office by a people's uprising.

Dacers file complaint vs Estrada on double-murder case

MANILA, Philippines -  The Dacer siblings have filed a complaint against former President Joseph Estrada in connection with the Dacer-Corbito double murder case, a daughter of Salvador "Bubby" Dacer said Monday.

No JBC decision on Arroyo pick of new chief justice

The Judicial and Bar Council (JBC) on Monday failed to come up on Monday with a decision whether on President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo can still appoint a new Supreme Court Chief Justice during the last three months of her term.

Stay out of chief justice selection, Santiago tells Arroyo

President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo should leave it up to the Supreme Court to decide who would sit as acting Chief Justice when Reynato Puno retires on May 17 this year, Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago said.

Charge cops in death of 16 in Paranaque shootout—CHR

(UPDATE 2) The Commission on Human Rights (CHR) on Monday recommended the filing of administrative and criminal charges against nearly 20 policemen including three police generals, involved in the fatal shootout with robbers inside a Paranaque subdivision that killed 16 people more than a year ago.

PNP to consider CHR report in shootout probe

The recommendations of the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) to indict policemen involved in the bloody Parañaque shootout might be used in the ongoing probe of the Philippine National Police into the case, a police spokesperson said Monday.

DFA opens new passport building

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Instead of queuing through the basketball court, annex, and then the auditorium of the Department of Foreign Affairs, applicants for new passports and those renewing their old passports will soon be able to get their travel documents faster at a new consular P530-million building.

53 Filipinas on China death row over drugs

Of the 66 Filipinos facing the death penalty in China for illegally bringing in huge amounts of heroin and other narcotics into the communist country, 53 are Filipinas, learned Monday.

South Korea deports 57 Filipino entertainers

South Korea deported 57 Filipino entertainers over fake AIDS tests certificates required by both countries prior to deployment of migrant workers, the Department of Labor and Employment said Monday.

DoLE cracks down on fake AIDS test certificates

Labor Secretary Marianito Roque on Monday said he has directed the crackdown of fake AIDS tests certificates that resulted in the deportation of 57 Filipino overseas performing artists (OPAs) from Seoul, South Korea as of December last year.

Protesting OFWs in Saudi ask RP to repatriate them

Protesting overseas Filipino workers (OFW) in Saudi Arabia who refuse to return to work due to alleged unfair labor practices by their company have called anew on the Philippine government to work for their repatriation.

Atlas completes first copper shipment for 2010

MANILA, Philippines - Publicly listed Atlas Consolidated Mining and Development Corp. announced on Monday that its subsidiary has just completed its first shipment of copper concentrates from its Toledo mine in Cebu City for the year 2010.

China becomes biggest exporter, edging out Germany

Already the biggest auto market and steel maker, China edged past Germany in 2009 to become the top exporter, yet another sign of its rapid rise and the spread of economic power from West to East.

JAL to cut 15,600 jobs under turnaround plan

Troubled Japan Airlines is expected to cut 15,600 jobs, or about 30 percent of its group workforce, in three years under a rehabilitation plan, a report said Monday.

NKorea calls for peace talks to end "Korean War"

SEOUL, South Korea - North Korea proposed peace talks to formally end the Korean War, saying Monday that improved ties with the United States and an end to sanctions are conditions for resuming international negotiations aimed at ridding it of nuclear weapons.

China hunts for 11 missing in boat collision

BEIJING—China has launched a major search operation for 11 people missing after two vessels collided off the country's southeastern coast, state-run Xinhua news agency said Monday.

Pope denounces failure to forge new climate treaty

VATICAN CITY - Pope Benedict XVI denounced the failure of world leaders to agree to a new climate change treaty in Copenhagen last month, saying Monday that world peace depends on safeguarding God's creation.

Roach eyes KO win vs. tough Clottey

DESPITE facing a foe who has never been knocked out in his 14-year-career, Freddie Roach is confident Manny Pacquiao will stop Joshua Clottey on March.

ABS-CBN's first TV series in 2010 premieres Jan. 11

MANILA, Philippines - "Tanging Yaman," ABS-CBN's first television series for 2010, is set to air on Monday, January 11.

MTRCB suspends 'Showtime'; ABS-CBN to appeal

Sa hindi inaasahang pangyayari, sinuspinde simula bukas ang talent search na Showtime dahil sa kontrobersyal na binitiwang mga salita ng isa sa naging hurado nitong si Rosanna Roces. Iaapela naman ng pamunuan ng ABS-CBN  ang desisyon ng MTRCB.

During a live show last January 7, judge Rosanna Roces made controversial statements against the show's teachers and co-judge Vice Ganda.

In the episode, Roces encouraged students who guested on the show to ask questions from their teachers. She went on to describe teachers as "repeaters."

"Huwag kayo makukuntento sa mga itinuturo ng libro at ng teacher. Kung magtatanong kayo, hindi masama iyon. Dahil ang mga teacher, they were just repeaters. Tinuturo lang nila kung ano ang itinuro sa kanila. Hindi na nila itinuturo kung ano ang gusto malaman ng mga bata," she said.

(If you ask questions, that's not bad. Because teachers, they were just repeaters. They just teach what was taught to them. They don't teach what the children want to know.)

Her co-judge on the show, Vice Ganda, later reminded the audience that there are many teachers who are good at their profession, and that people should not generalize when they criticize the failures of educators.

Osang removed but show still suspended

On January 8, the show then announced that Roces has been removed as a judge of the show, as part of the network's self-regulation.

Despite this, the MTRCB slapped Showtime with a 20-day preventive suspension.

The network will question the need for the preventive suspension of the show, after the removal of Roces as judge.

"A preventive suspension is issued to stop further violations, if there were any committed, or for the interest or welfare of the public. Thus, the network questions the need for said preventive suspension when Rosanna Roces has already been removed from the program," a statement released by the ABS-CBN Corporate Communications department said.

"Showtime is a highly entertaining show watched by many Filipinos. It helps promote and showcase the creativity and talent of kapamilyas nationwide, uplifts their spirit and provides opportunities to improve their lives," it added.

The cast and staff of the show said they were not given any notice of the suspension.

ABS-CBN will file an appeal in court on Tuesday, while a hearing is scheduled on January 14 to let the show air their side of the story on the MTRCB decision.

Teachers commend MTRCB

Meanwhile, the Teachers' Dignity Coalition said that while they are "saddened" by the suspension of the top-rating show, they commend the swift action by the MTRCB on Roces's infraction.

"While we are saddened by the the suspension of ABS-CBN's top rating show, Showtime, and we sympathize with the production staff & hosts of said program, we commend MTRCB's swift action on derogatory & condemnable remarks made by Rosanna Roces to teachers in its segment aired last January 7," a statement from Benjo Basas, TDC chair, said.

"We urge TV personalities to be sensitive to the different sectors and to general public in their entrtainment. This is no different frm racist comments against Filipinos in shows & papers abroad," it said.

Meanwhile, a new show, entitled "Magpasikat," will temporarily replace Showtime in its noon timeslot starting Tuesday.

24M Chinese men face lonely future

More than 24 million Chinese men of marrying age could find themselves without spouses in 2020, state media reported Monday, citing sex-specific abortions as a major contributing factor.

214 Mexican inmates moved for Gibson film

XALAPA—Mexican officials have transferred 214 detainees from a prison in the eastern state of Veracruz to make way for a Mel Gibson film, despite the protests of relatives.

'Renewable marriage' proposed

MANILA, Philippines - Unsatisfied with your marriage? Then simply wait 10 years for your marriage to "expire."

Women's party-list group "Isa-Ako Babaeng Astig Aasenso" or 1-ABAA plans to propose in Congress a measure requiring couples to renew their marriage after 10 years, or else their marriage would be null and void.

1-ABAA president Margie Tajon said the measure would "save incompatible couples the trouble of going through a tedious and expensive annulment process."

She said it would also help cut down the number of annulment cases that have piled up in court.

1-ABAA is a women's group that claims to advocate women's economic empowerment.

The group, which applied for party-list accreditation this 2010 elections, aims to help women become entrepreneurs by giving them better employment, provide sources of livelihood, access to capital and other ways to make women financially independent.

Renewable marriage


There are instances under the law when a marriage license is not required, such as:

1. When the couple are at the point of death

2. If the couple have no means of transportation to appear before a civil registrar

3. If the couple have lived together for at least 5 years without legal hindrances to their marriage; and

4. If a Muslim or ethnic couple solemnizes their marriage in accordance with their customs.

Source: The Family Code of the Philippines

Tajon likened a marriage's lasting power to the shelf life of canned goods.

"If the canned food is expired, this one, if it is expired, you can renew it. [There is] no limit on renewal," she said.

"It will enhance the relationship of the couple. Initially, we talked about 5 years. But then, you know, if people know that there's going to be an expiry [date for marriage licenses], they will be more caring since this is a consent between 2 parties," Tajon said in an interview on Mornings @ ANC.

1-ABAA's measure only proposes to set an expiration date for a couple's marriage, and not their marriage license.

Under Article 20, Chapter I of the Family Code of the Philippines, a marriage license is valid for only 120 days (4 months) from the date of issue.

It will be deemed canceled "if the contracting parties have not made use of it" upon the date of expiry.

1-ABAA is reportedly confident that its proposed measure on giving marriages 10 years of validity will be passed in the next Congress.

Annulment made easy?

Under the proposal, Tajon said, a separated couple's children would remain legitimate and that properties would be divided in court.

There are existing provisions in the law that deal with children of separated parents. Tajon said they will not meddle with that aspect of the law.

The party-list group also added that their proposal does not seek to offend the Catholic Church, which emphasizes the sanctity of marriage and has been strongly opposed to divorce.

Divorce is not recognized under Philippine laws.

However, 1-ABAA's representative said their proposal highlights the need for "dynamism in our laws to adapt to the changing times and prevailing situations, without necessarily putting aside values and traditions."

Pablo Picasso  - "Computers are useless. They can only give you answers."

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