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

Thursday, February 4, 2010

February 5, 2010 Major News Stories



(UPDATE) Oil falls to near $76 amid sluggish US demand

Oil prices fell to near $76 a barrel Thursday in Asia amid investor concern that sluggish economic growth in developed countries will keep crude demand muted.


National Grid reports lull in attacks on power pylons

The National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP) is surprised -- and relieved -- to report a lull in the toppling of its tower pylons in the past eight weeks.

Drug price caps to save more kids with cancer - doctor

More children with cancer could be saved in the next two to three years if the government-mandated price ceiling on essential drugs including anti-cancer medicines, would hold, a medical specialist said on Thursday.

VAT exemption for senior citizens to have 'minimal' impact on gov't revenues

by abs-cbnNEWS.com
MANILA, Philippines - A bill exempting the country's estimated 4.6 million senior citizens from paying the 12% value-added tax (VAT) on goods and services would have minimal impact on government revenues, government officials said Thursday.

OFW group opposes compulsory Pag-IBIG membership

An alliance of overseas Filipino workers in the Middle East questioned the Philippine government's decision, on Thursday, to include all OFWs from mandatory coverage in the Home Development Mutual (Pag-IBIG) Fund.

Welfare funds intact, OWWA assures OFWs

The government has assured overseas Filipino workers (OFW) that their welfare funds are intact and will not be used to fund the campaign of administration candidates in the coming May elections.

LTO allows select vehicles to go without 2010 stickers

The Land Transportation Office will allow select unregistered vehicles to roam the streets freely for now following the agency's inability to issue 2010 stickers to newly registered cars and motorcycles.

Tom to raise funds for Dumpit

Cebu City Mayor Tomas R. Osmeña will organize a fund raising activity for his former police escort SPO1 Adonis Dumpit to assist the embattled policeman, who is facing a legal battle over the death of robbery suspect Ro-ron Go five years ago.

DURING CEBU CITY CHARTER DAY: Mar Roxas, CIPC head, Akrho among awardees

The Cebu City Government will celebrate its 73rd Charter Day on February 24 by giving recognition to people who made an important contribution for the city's progress, especially to its present booming business process outsourcing industry.


For lack of residency Ronald Cuenco is disqualified

The Commission on Elections has disqualified one of the candidates for councilor of the Bando Osmeña Pundok Kauswagan for being a permanent resident abroad and lacking of the residency requirement.

The Comelec second division yesterday granted the petition for disqualification filed by opposition candidate for councilor Rajeni Dy against Ronald Cuenco on the ground of false material representation in his Certificate of Candidacy.

The nine-page decision penned by Commissioner Nicodemo Ferrer however dismissed the same petition against Cebu City first lady Margot Osmeña, who is also running for the city council, for lack of merit.

"The petition to deny due course to and or cancel the Certificate of Candidacy of respondent Cuenco is hereby granted while that of respondent Osmeña is hereby dismissed," read the Comelec resolution.

The Comelec has ordered that the name of Cuenco be stricken off the list of official candidates for the position of Sangguniang Panlungsod member of Cebu City's South District.

Dy, a 30-year-old candidate for councilor under the Laban ng Demokratikong Pilipino, sought the disqualification of Cuenco and Osmeña on the ground that they are permanent residents of the United States of America being green card holders.

Dy accused them of false representation when they filed their COCs because they did not admit that they are permanent residents abroad. Cuenco and Osmeña claimed they have already denounced their residency abroad.

They have submitted copies of documents to prove that they have denounced their residency abroad. Cuenco said he denounced his American Citizenship on November 24, 2009 while Osmeña denounced hers on July 5, 2007.

However, the Comelec said Cuenco failed to prove that he has indeed abandoned his permanent residency abroad.

"He has nothing to show as proof except a photocopy of the alleged abandonment. Thus, we cannot just rely on this."

It added that even granting that Cuenco really abandoned his permanent resident status in the United States he still fell short of the one-year residency requirement under Section 39 of the LocalGovernment Code.

"He failed to satisfy the one year residency requirement," the Comelec ruled.

 On the other hand, the Comelec ruled that Osmeña has proven that she has waived her permanent resident status in the U.S. and that she has then resided in the Philippines for more than one year prior to the May 10 elections.

Although Osmeña also submitted photocopied documents, but the Comelec took it as authentic because she had been issued a Visitor Visa.

Cuenco's lawyer, Cebu City Councilor Eduardo Labella, said they will immediately file a motion for reconsideration within five days as soon as they receive a copy of the resolution.

Labella said he is confident that the Comelec will reconsider its decision, because they have documents to prove that Cuenco is a registered voter in Cebu City since December 2008.

According to Labella, they have certification from the Comelec to prove their claim.


30% of RP has no reliable cellphone signal—Comelec

About 30 percent of the country have poor or unstable cellphone connectivity and will use satellite transmission in the May 10 elections, officials of the Commission on Elections and Smartmatic-TIM Corp. said.

Jamming devices won't alter votes – Smartmatic exec

Jamming devices may delay transmission of election results, but could not alter the votes, a top official of the international firm Smartmatic said on Thursday.

NTC ban on jamming devices out soon

by abs-cbnNEWS.com
MANILA, Philippines - The National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) is set to release a new circular banning the importation, sale and use of electronic jamming devices amid fears these could disrupt the automated elections in May.

Comelec opens software source code for review

(UPDATE) Political parties, poll watchdogs, and interested groups can start reviewing the source code to be used in the May election starting Friday, February 5, the Commission on Elections (Comelec) said.

Comelec to turn over source code to Central Bank Friday

The master copy of the software that will be used in the May elections will officially be turned over to the Central Bank on Friday for safekeeping until after the polls have ended, the Commission on Elections (Comelec) said.

Automated polls could cost P3B more–Lozada

Whistle-blower Rodolfo "Jun" Lozada, an engineer and information technology expert, said Wednesday the automation of the May elections could cost the government an additional P3 billion to ensure 100 percent transmission of results.

Maguindanao poll dry-run postponed due to delay in delivery of PCOS

The scheduled dry-run in Maguindanao using the precinct count optical scanners (PCOS) was not held on Sunday because the machines were not available, a Commission on Elections official said Thursday.

PPCRV to concentrate on educating voters

With the automated voting system having practically eliminated vote-padding and -shaving ("dagdag bawas"), poll watchers will be focusing more on voter behavior rather than fraudsters in the May elections, according to the Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting (PPCRV).

Even without accreditation, Namfrel can still educate voters

The National Citizens' Movement for Free Elections (Namfrel) can still conduct voters' education even without accreditation as a poll watchdog, a Commission on Elections (Comelec) official said Thursday.

Pulse Asia: Surveys have minor impact on voters' choices

by abs-cbnNEWS.com
MANILA, Philippines - Pulse Asia on Thursday said surveys only have a minimal effect on voters' preference of electoral candidates.

Only two senators were censured, including Enrile

Only two senators were recorded to have been censured by the Philippine Senate in recent history. One of them is Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile, who presided over Wednesday"s session that planned to reprimand Senator Manuel Villar for amassing profits from a road project.

NBI eyes group behind alleged plot to free Ampatuan Jr.

The National Bureau of Investigation is looking into the possible involvement of one of three groups in the alleged plot to free Datu Unsay Mayor Andal Ampatuan Jr. from the agency's detention facility.

Lawyer asks court to suspend jail transfer of Ampatuan Sr.

A lawyer for Datu Andal Ampatuan Sr. has asked a Quezon City court to suspend his transfer to a detention facility in Metro Manila while the court has not yet ruled on his earlier appeal.

Dacer daughter hits Lacson for fleeing

A daughter of slain publicist Salvador "Bubby" Dacer on Thursday slammed Senator Panfilo Lacson for sneaking out of the country at the height of his indictment in her father's murder a decade ago.

NBI: Lacson not in Australia

by abs-cbnNEWS.com
MANILA, Philippines - The National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) on Thursday belied reports that Sen. Panfilo Lacson is in Australia.

Freedom of Information Act in House not dead—solons

The Freedom of Information Act is not yet dead, leaders at the House of Representatives said Thursday.

PNP dismayed by Senate's failure to pass gun control bill

The Philippine National Police has expressed dismay over the Senate's failure to pass an "urgent" bill for better firearms control, even lashing at lawmakers for "bickering" instead of tackling important measures.

Filipina domestic helper gets more than P500,000 in damages

A battered Filipino maid in the United Arab Emirates finally got some measure of justice after three long years when her Egyptian employer paid her some Dh45,000 (P565,639) in damages.

Repatriated Filipinos still hope to return to Haiti

Eight more Filipinos from Haiti who were repatriated by the Philippine government arrived early Thursday morning.

Haiti death toll tops 200,000 as aid anger mounts

by Agence France-Presse
PORT-AU-PRINCE – The death toll in the Haiti quake has topped 200,000, Prime Minister Jean-Max Bellerive said Wednesday as angry protests over the slow arrival of aid flared on the rubble-strewn streets.

Pacquiao will use strategy in Hoya fight to KO Clottey

by abs-cbnNEWS.com
MANILA, Philippines – In facing a guy like Joshua Clottey, 7-time world champ Manny Pacquiao would have to use the strategy he utilized in beating boxing great Oscarde la Hoya.

'Pacquiao to fight Mosley or Mayweather next'

by abs-cbnNEWS.com
MANILA, Philippines – Pound-for-pound king Manny Pacquiao will fight the winner of the May 1 bout between Americans Floyd Mayweather, Jr. and Shane Mosley, disclosed 4-time Trainer of the Year Freddie Roach.

Mayweather to fight Mosley on May 1

by Agence France-Presse
LAS VEGAS, Nevada – Floyd Mayweather will take on Shane Mosley in a marquee welterweight matchup on May 1, with both fighers agreeing to "Olympic-style" drug testing - an issue that scuppered Mayweather's fight with Manny Pacquiao.

Donaire says he'll make weight limit

by abs-cbnNEWS.com
MANILA, Philippines – Nonito "The Filipino Flash" Donaire said he is right on schedule as far as his weight is concerned for his title defense against Mexican Gerson Guerrero on February 13 (February 14 in Manila).

Jackson passes Riley as winningest Lakers coach

With his superstar hobbling and the Charlotte Bobcats refusing to go away, Phil Jackson never got terribly comfortable while becoming the winningest coach in Los Angeles Lakers history.


After 'May Bukas Pa', Santino to do movie with Piolo

by abs-cbnNEWS.com
MANILA, Philippines -- Child star Zaijan Jaranillo, known to millions of televiewers as the lovable "Santino", is set to do a movie with actor Piolo Pascual after the conclusion of "May Bukas Pa" on Friday.

Sharon-Gabby reunion movie in the offing?

by abs-cbnNEWS.com
MANILA, Philippines – Megastar Sharon Cuneta is all set to do a movie again with former husband Gabby Concepcion. During the induction of officers of the Entertainment Press Society (Enpress), Cuneta told reporters that she will accept if the offer is right.


Jonathan Swift  - "May you live every day of your life."

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