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

Sunday, February 28, 2010

March 1, 2010 Major News Stories

RP east coastlines spared from tsunami disaster

There were no waves of gigantic proportions. Not even the meter-high ones that the weather bureau warned people about. The country's east coast was clear.

Naval, police forces patrolled beaches during tsunami alert

Thousands of security forces roamed the country's coastal villages facing the Pacific Ocean, on Sunday, to make sure residents stayed away from the shorelines as tsunami waves rolled through the vast seas following the fierce quake that rocked Chile on Saturday.

With tsunami threat over, Davao Oriental folk share snacks

Residents and officials in Davao Oriental heaved a sigh of relief following the lifting of tsunami alert in the province's coasts late Sunday afternoon.

DFA: Filipinos in Chile, Argentina safe after quake

MANILA, Philippines - Filipinos in Chile are safe after the South American country was hit by an 8.8-magnitude earthquake on Saturday, the Philippine Embassy in Chile reported Sunday.

Tsunami warning canceled for all countries – US govt

WASHINGTON – (UPDATE) The US government on Sunday canceled a tsunami warning for all Pacific nations that had been issued in the wake of a 8.8-magnitude earthquake in Chile.

Northern Japan port area flooded after tsunami

TOKYO – A tsunami flooded the port area of Japan's northern city of Nemuro on Hokkaido island on Sunday, television images showed a day after Chile's earthquake sent a wave barreling across the Pacific.

Priests in Cebu to pray for rain

Priests across the province will say the Oracio Imperata in their masses starting today to ask for rain with the advent of the El Niño, said Msgr. Esteban Binghay, Episcopal Vicar for Metro Cebu - South.

Energy chief asks Arroyo: Use emergency powers

A power crisis in Mindanao must be declared in Mindanao to allow the government to use "emergency powers" in addressing the worsening supply shortage in the island, Energy Secretary Angelo Reyes said.

Court asked to defer arraignment of Dumpit

The legal counsel of SPO1 Adonis Dumpit has filed a motion for reconsideration with motion to defer the arraignment of the case following the recent omnibus order of Regional Trial Court Branch 6 Judge Ester Veloso denying a motion that sought to downgrade the charges against the policeman from murder to homicide.

Smartmatic TIM delivers all 82,200 poll counting machines

Smartmatic-TIM has delivered all 82,200 counting machines to be used in the automated elections May 10, the Commission on Elections announced on Sunday.

Influential pastor's name listed twice in voter's list -PPCRV

Is Pastor Apollo Quiboloy, an influential religious leader courted by several presidential candidates, a "flying voter?"

Documents gathered by the Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting (PPCRV) shows that Quiboloy's name was among some 40, 000 voters entered as "double, multiple, or dead registrants" in the May 10 elections.

The count included questionable voters in Davao City and Davao del Sur alone, according to PPCRV lawyer Howard Calleja, who called on volunteers nationwide to examine the official "posted computerized voters' list" (PCVL) in their areas.

In Davao City, Calleja said his group had uncovered at least 940 "zombies" or deceased people still registered as active voters.

"This should serve as a wake-up call," he told the Philippine Daily Inquirer in an interview on Sunday. "Let us fix the voters' list because this is one way of cheating in this election."

Calleja is set to file on Monday morning a manifestation urging the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to clean up all PCVLs around the country with still two months before the local and national elections.

He will bring to the Comelec office copies of the 40,000 plus bogus entries which, he said, could still increase once the PPCRV volunteers in Davao completed their investigation.

On the Davao list, copies of which were shown to the Inquirer, two voters were registered as Apollo Carreon Quiboloy with the same birthday on April 25, 1950.

But one was a voter in Barangay Buhangin Poblacion in the second district, while the other supposedly resided in Barangay Tamayong in the third district.

"How could this happen?" Calleja asked. "That's what we call a double registrant."

It's unclear if the Quiboloy referred to on the list is the same man who claims to be the "Appointed Son of God" heading the religious group called "Kingdom of Jesus Christ, The Name Above Every Name." The group reputedly has 6,000 members.

Leading presidential candidates are courting Quiboloy and have reportedly agreed to attend a debate to be hosted by the group on March 9 at his nine-hectare compound called "Prayer Mountain" in Davao City.

Calleja said the case of Quiboloy and of thousands of other names on the Davao list could have been the result of an error or it could mean that someone was "using" them for possible cheating.

"Double registration doesn't necessarily mean that it was their fault," he clarified. "I'm not saying that they did something wrong."

But many other cases were indicative of what Calleja called a "malicious" effort to manipulate the election results.

One woman was registered as Imelda Ape Ababa, born Oct. 14, 1966, and a resident of Barangay Marapangi in the third district. But another entry carried the same birthday and practically the same name—only that "Imelda" was listed as the last name.

Such was also the case of Margie Abellana Uyanguren who appeared on the same list as Margie Uyanguren Abellana. Both of them were born on June 1, 1978, and resided in Barangay Cabantian in the second district.

But one of them was registered voter in precinct 1837A while the other was in 1842A.

"This is funny. They just rambled the names," Calleja said.

Calleja said other entries contained subtle differences in information, but were detected by PPCRV volunteers anyway.

Two persons were registered as Oscar Castro Carsido. But one of them was born on June 1, 1950, and the other, the following year. One was a resident of the first district while the other lived in the second district.

"They just changed the birthday by one year, in some cases, by one month or by how many days. Obviously in cases like this, you'd think something's fishy," Calleja said.

The lawyer pointed out that the estimated 40,000 bogus entries on the Davao voters' list could "make or break a local election."

Assuming that such a number also existed in other provinces, he said the total could reach more than three million votes nationwide, which would be enough to manipulate the results of even the presidential race.

"We're letting all election officers nationwide know that they should not fool around because we're watching them," he said.

Philippines' Aquino may impose new taxes if elected

by By Rosemarie Francisco, Reuters
Noynoy rethinks position on taxes and Charter change in an interview with Reuters CEBU, Philippines - Philippine Senator Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino III, frontrunner in the presidential race, said he may consider raising taxes if elected if the budget gap was not cut quickly by moves to crack down on tax evasion.

Tycoon's daughter enters wild world of Philippine politics

by by Mynardo Macaraig, Agence France-Presse
MANILA, Philippines - A daughter of tycoon Lucio Tan says she is defying the wishes of her famous father by seeking to become the first family member to directly enter the Philippines' wild world of politics.

"My family does not understand why I am getting into politics. (My father) does not really want me to run. His advice to me was to stay in the private sector if I want to help," said Vivienne Tan, an entrepreneur and educator.

Despite this, the slim, smartly-dressed Tan is throwing herself completely into the role of candidate, mixing with the weathered, sun-tanned street vendors and bus drivers whose votes she is seeking.

Tan, 41, is running in the May national elections for a congressional seat in a grimy, blue-collar suburb of the Philippine capital, a long way from the skyscrapers of Manila's financial district in which her father rules.

Her opponent is incumbent congressman Vicente Crisologo, a scion of an established political family known to play rough in elections.

Bishops urge Comelec to probe Villar"s "vote-buying"

Two Catholic bishops urged the Commission on Elections (Comelec) on Sunday to investigate presidential aspirant Senator Manuel Villar Jr. for alleged vote-buying.

"Permit-to-campaign" leads to peaceful polls, CPP claims

The communist movement sees no wrong in implementing its "permit-to-campaign" policy in areas considered as bailiwicks of its armed wing, the New People"s Army (NPA).

Military on heightened alert against Abu Sayyaf

The military has been instructed to go on ``heightened alert'' in southwestern Mindanao, particularly in Sulu and Basilan, to prevent a repeat of Saturday's attack by Abu Sayyaf bandits on a community in Basilan that left 11 people dead.

Hunt intensified for bandits who attacked Basilan village

by By Dyborrhae Jewel M. Reyes, ABS-CBN News Zamboanga
ZAMBOANGA CITY, Philippines - Authorities intensified on Sunday pursuit operations against armed bandits who attacked the village of Tubigan in Maluso town in Basilan province Saturday dawn.

Arroyo to honor PMA batch 2010 graduates Monday

President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo will honor this year's Philippine Military Academy Class 2010 as she leads their commencement exercises in Baguio City Monday.

Illegal gamble witness vs First Gentleman killed

(UPDATE 2) A witness who implicated the First Gentleman Jose Miguel Arroyo and several other government officials for allegedly receiving jueteng (an illegal numbers game) payola was killed in Paranaque city Sunday morning, police said.

Senior Superintendent Raul Petrasanta, Pasay police chief, identified the victim as Wilfredo "Boy" Mayor, 54, who died in treatment.

The victim and his two companions were on board a dark blue Volvo (license plate RRR-606) from a casino in Malate

The victim, his son-in-law and driver Alan Castro, and nephew Rommel Mayor came from a Casino in Malate when their blue Volvo (license plate RRR-606) when at least two suspects on board a motorcycle shot at them at about 4:30 am, Sunday, Petrasanta said.

Greg Reverente, a close family friend said the motorcycle-riding attackers, armed with an M16 assault rifle and a .45-caliber hand gun, approached the victims' car and peppered it with bullets that hit Mayor in various parts of the body.

Castro was also hit while Mayor's nephew Rommel, who was at the car's back seat, was unhurt.

Mayor and his companions were rushed to a hospital but he was declared dead on arrival while Castro was still in critical condition.

Attending doctors said Mayor sustained multiple gunshot wounds in the body and head.

The gunmen immediately fled after the attack.

Reverente said police were still determining the motive of the killing.

Mayor's two companions survived the attack and are being treated at a hospital for gunshot wounds.

Mayor linked the First Gentleman and other government officials in a Senate inquiry on jueteng in 2005.

Jueteng witness had a bad feeling days before slay -- Cam

Just days before he was gunned down, jueteng whistle-blower Wilfrido "Boy" Mayor had an ominous feeling that something was going to go wrong, according to his close friend Sandra Cam.

Filipino sailors' remittances up 12% to $366M

Filipino sailors aboard foreign ocean-going vessels wired home a total of $3.4 billion in 2009, up $366 million or 12.06 percent from $3.034 billion in 2008, the Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (TUCP) said in a news release over the weekend.

RP repatriates 39 workers from Dubai

Thirty-nine female overseas Filipino workers from Dubai, most of whom ran away from their employers, arrived in Manila on Saturday after being repatriated by the Philippine government.

Ask Thai govt. to stop migrant's crackdown

An alliance of Filipino migrant workers in the Middle East urged the government to formally ask the Thai government to stop the on-going crackdown of migrants in its territory.

Somali pirates free Greek-owned freighter, 18 Pinoy crew

by Agence France-Presse
BRUSSELS - Somali pirates released Sunday a Greek-owned freighter and its crew of 19, captured two months ago, after receiving a ransom payment, the EU's naval force announced.

DFA passport process to move to new building by March 8

Starting March 8, passport operations will be moved from the Department of Foreign Affairs offices to its new Office of Consular Affairs (OCA) building at the corner of Bradco and Macapagal Avenues in Aseana Business Park, the DFA said in a news release.

Militants win PAL union elections

Militants won a landslide victory in the elections for the Philippine Airlines (PAL) ground crew union on February 25, twelve years after the controversial moratorium in the collective bargaining agreement (CBA) of 1998, the PAL Employees Association (Palea) said in a news release over the weekend.

Govt seeks SC help in chief justice issue

The government has asked the Supreme Court to compel the Judicial and Bar Council to submit its shortlist of nominees for the chief justice position to President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

Pope appoints engineer as Malaybalay bishop

Pope Benedict XVI has appointed a chemical engineer as bishop of Malaybalay, Bukidnon province in Mindanao, the Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines said.

Malaybalay Bishop Jose Araneta-Cabantan has a degree in chemical engineering before he entered the seminary as a "late bloomer."

"I felt humbled by the appointment," he said. No date had been set for his installation, the CBCP said.

Cabantan will succeed Bishop Honesto Pacana, who resigned upon reaching the age of 75. Pacana is now 77 years old.

The CBCP said Cabantan was ordained in 1990 and is the priest of the Miraculous Medal Parish and Social Action Center Director of the Archdiocese of Cagayan de Oro.

He was born in Lagonglong town in Misamis Oriental in 1957.

One of his predecessors at his new post is Manila cardinal Gaudencio Rosales, who was bishop of Malaybalay from 1984 to 1992.

The Diocese of Malaybalay has 80 priests and 164 religious, and has a 1.4-million Catholic population.

The CBCP said Cabantan is a chemical engineer by profession before he entered the seminary in Cagayan de Oro City in 1983.

Cabantan took a "late vocation" after taking his Bachelor of Science in Chemical Engineering at the Cebu Institute of Technology and graduated in 1979.

Upon graduation he went home to teach Chemistry at the RVM-run St. John the Baptist High School.

After passing the board exams, he worked for Nonoc Mining in Surigao City.

Realizing his vocation for the priesthood, he entered the San Jose de Mindanao College Seminary in Cagayan de Oro City in 1983.

After finishing philosophy, he became part of the pioneer batch of seminarians at the St. John Vianney Major Seminary and was ordained in 1990.

Chile races to find survivors after monster quake

Chilean rescue teams raced Sunday to find survivors in mountains of rubble after one of the biggest earthquakes on record killed more than 300 people and left scores trapped in ruined buildings.

New 6.1 aftershock strikes Chile: US agency

WASHINGTON—(UPDATE) Powerful new aftershocks rattled Chile early Sunday in the wake of the massive 8.8-strong earthquake that killed more than 300 people, a US government agency reported.

Pope expects 'solidarity' after Chile quake

VATICAN CITY-- Pope Benedict XVI said Sunday he was praying for victims of Chile's quake and expected that support for them "would not fall short", particularly from church organizations.

Security tightened in Bangkok after bank blasts

by by Ambika Ahuja, Reuters
BANGKOK, Thailand - Thailand Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva on Sunday ordered security tightened in Bangkok after two hand grenades exploded outside branches of the country's biggest bank, causing light damage but no injuries.

Mayol retains WBC title despite knockout

MEXICO CITY – Rodel Mayol of the Philippines retained his WBC straw-weight world title in a controversial finish to his defense against Mexico's Omar Nino in Guadalajara late Saturday.

Vazquez spoils Sonsona"s title bid with KO win

Marvin Sonsona failed to crash into the roster of champions again after getting knocked out by Puerto Rican Wlifredo Vazquez, Jr. in their clash for the vacant WBO junior featherweight crown Saturday at the Coliseo Ruben Rodriguez in Bayamon, Puerto Rico.

Giants hacked out Alaska

Purefoods proved steadier in the stretch as the Giants hacked out a come-from-behind 79-78 victory over the Alaska Aces last night to gain a commanding 3-0 lead in their KFC PBA Philippine Cup best-of-seven championship series at the Araneta Coliseum.

Betting on poll results a crime, warns poll exec

It's okay to root for Noynoy, or Manny, or Erap or Gibo, but just don't bet on any one of them winning in the May 10 elections. It could land you in jail.

ABS-CBN a big winner at the Gandingan Awards

MANILA, Philippines – Giant network ABS-CBN was a big winner at the recently concluded "Gandingan 2010: The UPLB Isko't Iskas Broadcast Choice Awards" after bagging 16 of the 24 major prizes.

The Kapamilya network clinched the 2 major awards, namely best TV station and most development oriented TV station.

Kim Atienza took home the Gandingan ng kabataan, Gandingan ng kalikasan, and Gandingan ng edukasyon awards. His show, "Matanglawin," was named best environment oriented program and best education program.

ABS-CBN's primetime newscast "TV Patrol World" grabbed the best news TV program award, while its anchor, Ted Failon, was named best news anchor.

Other awards won by the network were best morning show (Umagang Kay Ganda), best youth oriented program (Y Speak), best woman oriented program (Wonder Mom), Gandingan ng kababaihan (Karen Davila), best livelihood oriented program (Kabuhayang Swak na Swak), best AM station (dzmm), and best AM announcer (Failon).

Roxanne Guinoo expecting a child

MANILA, Philippines – Roxanne Guinoo and her 20-year-old Chinese-Filipino fiancé are expecting their first child.

Nora Aunor shows off new look of a superstar

Ipinasilip na ni superstar Nora Aunor sa kauna-unahang pagkakataon ang resulta ng kanyang pagpapa-retoke sa Tokyo, Japan! Matapos ang kanyang make-over, reding-ready na si Ate Guy sa inaabangan ng kanyang fans na showbiz comeback!

Chilean quake among top 10 strongest on record

The 8.8 magnitude earthquake that slammed central Chile on Saturday is among the top 10 strongest on record, according to data from the US Geological Survey, which monitors earthquakes around the world.

Eighteen of the top 20 most powerful earthquakes, including the strongest, struck in a zone of volcanic instability that encircles the Pacific Ocean known as the "Ring of Fire."

The "Ring" stretches along the western coast of the Americas through the island nations of the South Pacific and on through Southeast Asia.

Half of the top 20 strongest earthquakes struck the Pacific coast of the Americas, and six of those -- including four in Chile -- struck south America.

The most powerful earthquake ever, a magnitude 9.5 whopper, struck Chile on May 22, 1960 not far from the epicenter of Saturday's earthquake.

The 1960 quake, known as the Valdivia quake, killed 1,655 people, injured 3,000 and left two million homeless. It triggered a tsunami that killed 61 people in Hawaii, 138 in Japan and 32 in the Philippines.

The top 20 earthquakes, according to the USGS and not counting Saturday's are:

- May 22, 1960 - south-central Chile - magnitude 9.5

- March 28, 1964 - Prince William Sound, Alaska - magnitude 9.2

- December 26, 2004 - Sumatra-Andaman Islands - magnitude 9.1

- November 4, 1952 - Kamchatka peninsula, former Soviet Union - magnitude 9.0

- August 13, 1868 - Arica, Peru (now Chile) - magnitude 9.0

- January 26, 1700 - Cascadia Subduction Zone (north-western US coast/southern British Columbia, Canada) - magnitude 9.0

- January 31, 1906 - Off the Coast of Esmeraldas, Ecuador - magnitude 8.8

- February 4, 1965 - Rat Islands, Alaska - magnitude 8.7

- November 1, 1755 - Lisbon, Portugal - magnitude 8.7

- July 8, 1730 - Valparasio, Chile - magnitude 8.7

- March 28, 2005 - Northern Sumatra, Indonesia - magnitude 8.6

- March 9, 1957 - Andreanof Islands, Alaska - magnitude 8.6

- August 15, 1950 - Assam - Tibet - magnitude 8.6

- September 12, 2007 - Southern Sumatra, Indonesia - magnitude 8.5

- October 13, 1963 - Kuril Islands, former Soviet Union - magnitude 8.5

- February 1, 1938 - Banda Sea, Indonesia - magnitude 8.5

- February 3, 1923 - Kamchatka peninsula - magnitude 8.5

- November 11, 1922 - Chile-Argentina Border - magnitude 8.5

- June 15, 1896 - Sanriku, Japan - magnitude 8.5

- October 20, 1687 - Lima, Peru - magnitude 8.5

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