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

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

March 24, 2010 Major News Stories

Cyclone may not bring enough rains to ease dry spell—PAGASA

The coming tropical cyclone might not bring enough rains to relieve the country from the effects of the drought and searing summer heat, the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) said Tuesday.

1st storm my enter Philippines Wednesday afternoon

MANILA, Philippines - Weather bureau PAGASA said a low pressure area expected to enter the Philippine area of responsibility by Wednesday afternoon has developed into a tropical depression.

3 quakes hit Luzon, Visayas

(UPDATE 3) Three earthquakes, two of them in the northern Luzon area, occurred in the country Tuesday, the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) said.

6 Filipino workers die at Sabah water treatment plant

KUALA LUMPUR – Six Filipino workers died at a water treatment plant in Malaysia's eastern state of Sabah after they inhaled poisonous gas while cleaning a tank, according to reports Tuesday.

The six, aged between 16 and 30, died in the accident late Sunday after two of the workers entered the tank to do cleaning work and failed to emerge an hour later.

State Fire and Rescue Department chief Khairuddin Drahman said the four other workers went down to search for the pair, and also fell unconscious, according to the New Straits Times newspaper.

Khairuddin said they were believed to have inhaled carbon monoxide fumes, emitted by the generator used in the cleaning work.

DOLE to push for companies to lead in HIV-AIDS testing

Boluntaryong HIV-AIDS testing ang isusulong ng Labor Department sa mga kumpanya para pigilan ang pagkalat ng sakit. Lumutang naman ang isang nursing graduate na nagpositibo sa HIV.

Accused in killing of The Freeman photographer freed

Nearly four years after the Regional Trial Court sentenced him to death for killing The Freeman photographer Alan Dizon, accused Edgar "Dodong" Belandres, 46, was set free after the appellate court acquitted him of charges.

Cop who allegedly meddled in molestation case relieved

The policewoman who allegedly tried to convince a house help from filing charges against those who allegedly molested her has been relieved from her post at the Danao Police Station.

Provincial Police Director Sr. Supt. Erson Digal said PO2 Vilma Degamo has been transferred to the Bogo Police Station pending the summary hearing for grave misconduct. Her transfer became effective last March 18.

An inquiry conducted by the Provincial Intelligence Division Management Branch revealed that Degamo tried to convince a 16-year-old house help not to file charges against the two Pakistanis and her employer who allegedly molested her in Carcar City.

Degamo denied influencing the girl, but admitted the lawyer of the two Pakistanis is her friend. She said she only went to Carcar to follow up on a case.

However, her superior at the Danao Police Station, Supt. Elmer Lim, said he was not aware of any follow-up investigation in Carcar. He said that in the PNP, the police station chief is the first to know of any action or movement within his jurisdiction.

Husband of town mayor tagged in murder case

THE father of a slain businesswoman has accused the husband of San Fernando Mayor Lakambini Reluya as the mastermind in the killing of his daughter last year.

Luis Jore, in his affidavit submitted to the Cebu City Prosecutor's Office dated March 8, alleged that Ricardo Reluya, Mayor Reluya's husband, "masterminded" the shooting to death of his daughter, Lalaine, last Feb. 17, 2009.

The killing was "motivated by jealousy and business interest," according to Jore's affidavit suing Ricardo for murder.

But the Reluyas dismissed the complaint as "politically-motivated."

Mayor Reluya told Sun.Star Cebu in a phone interview last night they were not aware of the complaint.

"We will answer (the charge) as soon as we receive a summon. I am sure it's politically motivated," the mayor said.

The mayor also questioned the timing of the filing of the complaint, which was lodged at the City Prosecutor's Office barely two months before the May elections.

Like his wife, Ricardo also said he has yet to receive a copy of the complaint. He said that they will answer it once they receive summons from the court, adding that he was not "really familiar" with the complainant.

Lalaine, 32, who owns Gorordo Convenience Store and Internet cafe on Gorordo Ave. in Barangay Camputhaw, Cebu City sustained multiple gunshot wounds, in the right side of her chest, armpit, face and arm.

She was taken to the nearby Perpetual Succour Hospital after the shooting.

The police have filed murder and illegal possession of a firearm and ammunitions complaints against retired Philippine Army Sgt. Filomeno Amistad for the killing of the businesswoman.

A separate complaint for violating Republic Act 8294 was also filed against Amistad after an unlicensed 9mm pistol with seven bullets was seized from him upon his arrest near his house in Barangay Poblacion III, Carcar City recently.

In his affidavit, Jore said Lalaine was in the brokerage business for several years when she was introduced to Ricardo, who was then an examiner of the Bureau of Customs-Port of Cebu. The two then had an affair, he said.

Later, he said Ricardo put up an office for his brokerage business and used it to "manipulate the business/brokerage business" of Lalaine.

When his daughter was shot, Jore said his other daughter, Louella, called up Ricardo but he replied "Unsaon man na nako? Naa ko sa Dipolog (What can I do with that? I'm in Dipolog)."

Jore said it made them curious because Ricardo frequently asked questions about people visiting the wake of Lalaine. He claimed that Louella even received death threats from Ricardo.

Since September 2008, Jore said that Lalaine had wanted to end her relationship with Ricardo because she wanted to renew her life but the suspect reportedly refused to let go.

Jore said there were instances when Lalaine called up her sister to accompany her because she feared that Ricardo would harm her.

Jore said that Ricardo used to carry high-powered firearms when going in and out of their residence and had appeared to have wanted "to silence us."

After the death of Lalaine, Jore said Ricardo did not show any concern towards his slain daughter. "Without Ricardo (Reluya), my daughter would not have been killed as she had no other enemy except Reluya," said Jore.

Jore said that Amistad was actually a "protégé" of Ricardo. Two witnesses also executed separate affidavits corroborating the allegations of Jore.

Vice guv for total rejection

VICE Gov. Gregorio Sanchez Jr. will ask the Provincial Board (PB) to pass a resolution asking Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia to rescind the contract of the P98-million Balili land deal.

Capitol intensifies anti-rabies program

The Cebu provincial government is intensifying its campaign against rabies, which is killing a number of people in the province a year.

500 Cebu priests renew vows

MORE than 500 priests and religious renewed their priestly vows with Cebu Archbishop Ricardo Cardinal Vidal at the Cebu Metropolitan Cathedral yesterday morning.

Vidal, in his homily, urged his fellow priests to be faithful to their vows as though they are serving like Jesus Christ.

"(Jesus Christ's) service is not like a corporation's obsequious and profitable 'How we may serve you?' But rather it is a self-forgetfulness that shows true greatness in genuinely wanting to help others," said Vidal.

"In short, it is service in the manner of Jesus the suffering servant of Isaiah, who though alone, offered himself for all people. Though rich, he emptied himself to serve, not in his own way, but in the Father's and not to exalt himself, but to humble himself," Vidal said.

Vidal, in an interview with reporters yesterday, said one challenge that he and his fellow priests face is staying faithful to their priestly vows and service without thinking of one's self.

He said that as of now, although there is no shortage of priests in the parishes in the Archdiocese, they still welcome more candidates to the priesthood.

As of now, about 500 seminarians await ordination, Vidal said.

Despite the recent controversies affecting the priesthood, Vidal urged his fellow priests to remain strong and live together as a community.

Recently, the Catholic Church under Pope Benedict XVI was rocked by scandals when the church was blamed for 20 centuries of allegedly covering up child abuse cases against the Catholic clergy in Ireland.

Benedict, who had issued an apology to the Irish Catholic population for the scandal, was criticized for failing to reveal the Papacy's alleged cover-up on the abuse cases.

No election failure if voters cast their ballots, Comelec says

Everything will be alright as long as voters cast their ballots on May 10, the Commission on Elections said, in an attempt to allay poll failure fears.

Melo confident automated polls will succeed

Commission on Elections (Comelec) Chair Jose Melo on Tuesday dismissed as "pure fantasy" fears of a failure of the country's first nationwide automated elections.

SC to tackle appeals on chief justice issue April 6

The Supreme Court will tackle on April 6 the appeals filed against its controversial decision allowing President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo to appoint a new chief justice six weeks before she steps down from office, a court spokesman said Tuesday.

SC is no 'Arroyo Court': spokesman

MANILA, Philippines - A spokesman of the Supreme Court on Tuesday took exception to former Chief Justice Artemio Panganiban's opinion that the present high tribunal is increasingly being seen as subservient to President Arroyo.

PNP, AFP chiefs meet with Arroyo

MANILA, Philippines - Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Director General Jesus Verzosa and Armed Forces' chief Gen. Delfin Bangit met with President Arroyo in Malacañang, a source told ABS-CBN News on Tuesday.

PNP chief: 'Spare us from issues'

Philippine National Police (PNP) Director General Jesus Verzosa on Tuesday appealed to the public to stop creating "issues" concerning the relationship of the PNP and the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) with President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and added that they should simply be allowed to do their jobs.

PMA alumni urged to 'guard against attempts to disrupt' polls

The Philippine Military Academy Alumni Association has called on its 7,000 members to "guard against any attempts to disrupt" the upcoming elections on May 10.

Group of PMA grads support PNP's Vezosa

Sa gitna ng babala ni Sen. Benigno Aquino III tungkol sa 'People Power', mainit pa rin ang intriga sa militar. Hindi matapos-tapos ang isyu lalo't pinatawag sa Malacañang kanina ang dalawang pinuno ng AFP at PNP. Pero ang isang grupo ng mga graduate sa PMA, ibinigay ang suporta sa lider ng PNP.

Biazon: Bypassing of senior military officers fuels more rumors

The "mass bypass'' of two senior classes of the Philippine Military Academy in recent appointments to top military positions has added fuel to speculation about alleged sinister plots by the Palace to extend President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo's term beyond June 30, according to Senator Rodolfo Biazon.

51 govs vow to give Teodoro 'highest possible number of votes'

In what could turn the tide in favor of former defense secretary Gilbert Teodoro, 51 of the country's 82 governors have formed a multi-party alliance and pledged to deliver "the highest possible number of votes" for the administration candidate in the May elections.

Gibo, Edu beg off from tandem debate

MANILA, Philippines - This early, Lakas-Kampi-CMD standard-bearers Gilbert Teodoro and Edu Manzano are begging off from the first ever tandem debates among presidential and vice-presidential candidates aired live nationwide on Sunday.

Jamby accuses El Shaddai leader of corruption

MANILA, Philippines - Presidential candidate Maria Consuelo "Jamby" Madrigal on Tuesday accused El Shaddai leader Mike Velarde of colluding with Nacionalista Party standard-bearer Manuel Villar Jr. on the C5 road project controversy.

El Shaddai's Bro. Mike, son nominees of Buhay party-list

Bro. Mike Velarde, head of religious group El Shaddai, and his son, Rene, are among the nominees of Buhay, the party-list group that topped the party-list system during the 2007 polls.

Mikey seeks to be voice of security guards in Congress

MANILA, Philippines - It's official. Pampanga 2nd District Rep. Juan Miguel 'Mikey' Arroyo is a nominee of Galing Pinoy for the party-list race.

The certificate of nomination of Ang Galing Pinoy Party-list, which claims to represent the youth, listed Arroyo as their first nominee. 

All other nominees of the party-list also come from Pampanga, a known Arroyo bailiwick where President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo is also seeking a congressional seat.

After Arroyo, the document listed Dennis Pineda as its second nominee. 

Pineda is the son of former provincial board member Lilia Pineda, a known ally of the Arroyo administration who has a pending electoral protest against incumbent Pampanga Governor Ed Panlilio for the 2007 gubernatorial race.

For its third nominee, it listed Bacolor Mayor Romeo "Buddy" Dungca, one of the 17 mayors who broke away from the Lapids who ruled Pampanga in the past and moved to the President's then Kabalikat ng Malayang Pilipino (Kampi) in 2006.

Meanwhile, the El Shaddai-backed Buhay Hayaan Yumabong (Buhay) Party-list listed its leader Velarde as its fifth nominee. 

It likewise nominated the charismatic leader's son Mariano Michael as its first representative. 

In 2007, Buhay gained the top spot in the part-list race after it received 1,169,165 or 7.4 percent of the total votes, giving them three seats in Congress. 

Velarde's son was also a nominee of the party-list back then.

Other party-list nominees seeking re-election are Buhay Party-list Rep. Irwin Tieng; Anakpawis Reps. Rafael Mariano and Joel Maglunsod; Gabriela Rep. Luzviminda Ilagan, ANAD Party-list Rep. Pastor Alcover, Jr; Citizens' Battle Against Corruption (CIBAC) Rep. Cinchona Cruz-Gonzales; Advocacy for Teacher Empowerment through Action, Cooperation and Harmony toawards Educational Reforms (A TEACHER) Rep. Mariano Piamonte; ALAGAD Reps. Rodante Marcoleta and Diogenes Osabel; Butil Farmers Party Reps. Leonila Chavez and Agapito Guanlao; Veteran's Freedom Party (VFP) Rep. Estrella Santos; Coalition of Associations of Senior Citizens Rep. Godofredo Arquiza.

Other prominent nominees include actor Juan Miguel "Onemig" Bondoc of the Bandila Party-list; broadcast journalist Angelo Palmones of Agham Party-list; former Ilocos Sur Congressman Salacnib Baterina of the Alliance of People's Organizations (APO); peasants leader Jaime Tadeo of Ang Partid Demokratiko Rural (Ang PDR); Pinagkaisang Samahan ng Tsuper at Operator Nationwide (Piston) secretary-general George San Mateo of Anakpawis; and Abono Party-list's Jacky Lomibao, wife of former national police chief Arturo Lomibao.

Earlier, Comelec Chairman Jose Melo admitted that the poll body is unable to thoroughly screen the nominees, only party-list groups. 

The poll body chief also said that unless the suspicion on a nominee is "very glaring," they cannot do anything about it on their own. 

However, Comelec Commissioner Gregorio Larrazabal clarified that if a person wishes to have a nominee disqualified, they can file a petition.

A total of 187 party-lists were accredited by the poll body to participate in the May automated polls. 

As mandated by the Party-List System Act or Republic Act 7941, the groups have 45 days before the elections (from January 19 to March 26) to submit a list of at least five nominees for party-list representatives to the Comelec Law Department.

Only a total of 45 party-list groups have so far filed their certificates of nominations with the Comelec. 

Included in these groups are:
  • APO
  • Ang PDR
  • VFP
  • AKSI
  • Pilipino Association for Country Urban for Youth Advancement and Welfare, Abante Ilonggo, Inc. 
  • Kabukluran ng mga Kababaihan sa Timog Katagaluhan, Inc. 
  • Butil Farmer's Party
  • Association of Philippine Electric Cooperatives (APEC)
  • Biyayang Bukid Inc.
  • Sulong! Barangay Movement 
  • Bago Party-list
  • Ang Agrikultura Natin Isulong (AANI)
  • Bandila Party-list
  • Agham Party-list
  • Alliance for Philippines Security Guards Coop (AFPSEGCO)
  • Anakpawis
  • Philippine Coconut Producers Federation, Inc. (COCOFED)
  • Gabriela
  • Coalition of Associations of Senior Citizens,
  • Abono Prarty-AKMA-PTM
  • Fil-Mus Party-list
  • 1 Ganap/Guardians 
  • Kalinga Advocacy for Social Empowerment and Nation-building Through Easing Poverty
  • Ang Mata's Alagaan Party-list
  • ANAD Party-list
  • Itinerant Vendors Alliance of the Philippines, Inc.
  • Alagaan Natin Ating Kalusugan (ANAKALUSUGAN)
  • Koalisyon ng Katutubong Samahan ng Pilipinas (KASAPI)
  • Katribu Indigenous People's Sectoral Party
  • Abante Tribung Makabansa (ATM)
  • Kabataan Party-list ABA Party-lsit
  • Alyansa ng Media at Showbiz (AMS)
  • Ang Galing Pinoy Party-list
  • Alliance of Mindanao Elders (AME).

Party list reps accepted even though they're not from marginalized

The Commission on Elections (Comelec) has accepted party-list nominees even though they do not necessarily come from marginalized sectors they are supposed to represent. This was admitted by Comelec Commissioner Rene Sarmiento on Tuesday.

Bar exam results out Friday

(UPDATE) The results of the 2009 bar examination will be released on Friday, Supreme Court spokesman Jose Midas Marquez announced.

In a special en banc session of the high tribunal Friday morning, Associate Justice Eduardo Nachura, chairman of the 2009 Committee on Bar Examination, will present the exam results and the magistrates will determine the passing percentage.

A total of 5,903 law graduates from 109 schools nationwide took the bar exams held on September 6, 13, 20 and October 4 at the Dela Salle University in Taft Avenue, Manila, figures from the Office of the Bar Confidant showed.

Bar exams are traditionally held in four consecutive Sundays, but last year the high court rescheduled the last test to a later date due to the onslaught of Typhoon Ondoy.

Midas Marquez said results will be displayed on LCD screen set up at the Supreme Court front yard near its Padre Faura entrance. A complete list of bar passers can also be viewed on 

The 2009 bar exam marked the first time that not one but two were designated as examiners in each of the eight bar subjects. This made the examination to be divided into two parts.

In the high court's deliberation, the justices will also evaluate if this new test approach will be continued, Midas said.

"During the session, the justices will determine if we will continue with the two examiner per subject or revert to the old practice [of one examiner per subject]," Marquez said.

Based on the Rules of Court, a bar examinee "may be deemed to have passed his examination successfully if he has obtained a general average of 75 percent in all subjects without falling below 50 percent in any subject."

In determining the average, subjects in the examinations are given the following relative weights: Political and International Law, 15 percent; Labor and Social Legislation, 10 percent; Civil Law, 15 percent; Taxation, 10 percent; Mercantile Law, 15 percent; Criminal Law, 10 percent; Remedial Law, 20 percent; and Legal Ethics and Practical Exercises, 5 percent.

Bar results are closely linked with Philippine politics since the time of the first bar examinations in 1901 under American rule when 13 examinees took the test. 

Former president Manuel Roxas made history in 1913 when he got an average of 92 percent in the exams. A year later, he was outdone by Manuel Goyena, who scored 93 percent. 

In 1930, Tecla San Andres-Ziga who later became senator, was the first woman to top the bar, with a score of 89.4 percent, a feat which remained unrepeated until 1937 when Cecilia Munoz-Palma, who later became a high court magistrate, placed first scoring 92.6 percent. 

A year before that (1936), Diosdado Macapagal, who later on became President, topped the bar with a mark of 89.85 percent. 

In 1939, Ferdinand Marcos got the highest score of 92.35 percent. Marcos reviewed for the exams while facing indictments for the murder of his father's political enemy. He would later challenge the reelection bid of Macapagal on an anti-corruption platform. 

In 1944, former Senate president Jovito R. Salonga and former senator Jose W. Diokno both topped the bar with a score of 95.3 percent.

The all-time high grade however was obtained by former Supreme Court Associate Justice Florenz Regalado, who scored 96.7 percent in the 1954 bar exam.

Filipino grads from foreign schools can take bar exam

Filipino graduates from foreign law schools can now take the Philippine Bar examination, a resolution from the Supreme Court said Monday.

US Senate confirms Thomas as new envoy to RP

The United States Senate has confirmed the nomination of Harry K. Thomas, Jr. as US ambassador to the Philippines.

DoJ affirms dismissal of obstruction rap vs broadcaster

The Department of Justice (DoJ) has affirmed its decision dismissing the charge of obstruction of justice against broadcaster Ted Failon over the death of his wife, Trinidad "Trina" Etong last year.

Arroyo urged to act on Maguindanao shelling

Mayor Zacaria Sangki of Ampatuan, Maguindanao, has sought the help of President Macapagal-Arroyo in apprehending those behind the mortar shelling of his town on Sunday.

Four months on, still no justice for Maguindanao massacre victims

Sa ika-4 na buwan ng paggunita sa Maguindanao massacre, tuloy ang panawagan ng mga kaanak ng mga biktima na gumulong na ang hustisya. Halos lahat naman ng mga alkalde sa Maguindanao, buo pa rin ang suporta sa mga Ampatuan.

Obama signs historic health care reform into law

WASHINGTON—Making history with a stroke of his pen, US President Barack Obama Tuesday signed into law sweeping reforms that will for the first time ensure health care coverage for almost every American.

US missiles kill 3 in NW Pakistan

A suspected US missile struck a house in northwest Pakistan close to the Afghan border yesterday, killing three people, Pakistani intelligence officials said.

London 2012 Olympics pose greatest terror risk

An attack on London during the 2012 Olympic Games poses a major security threat to Britain, the government said Monday in its latest assessment of risks from terrorism.

Donaire-Darchinyan rematch set for August

MANILA, Philippines – It looks like Nonito "The Filipino Flash" Donaire Jr. will get his rematch with world super flyweight champ Vic Darchinyan as promoters have already penciled an August 7 fight date for the two boxers.

Fil-Am shoots for 3rd women's boxing title

MANILA, Philippines – World female boxing champion Ana "The Hurricane" Julaton will shoot for a boxing record as she faces Lisa Brown for a 3rd title in the super bantamweight division on Saturday in Ontario, Canada (Sunday in Manila).

Arboleda"s PBA return bid earns peers' support

Air21 playmaker Wynne Arboleda might soon get the chance to play again in the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) after all team captains have supported his bid of lifting the season-long ban slapped on him by the PBA board.

The Kalibo, Aklan-native Arboleda was slapped a season-long ban after attacking a paying fan, who verbally abused the burly Air21 playmaker.

Sarah Geronimo to do new TV series

MANILA, Philippines - Pop Star Princess Sarah Geronimo is set to do a new television series. "May plano na pong teleserye after po yata ng movie with Ms. Judy Ann Santos. Hopefully matuloy," Geronimo said.

Erich Gonzales' 'attitude problem' belied by co-star

by by Bernie Franco,
MANILA, Philippines - Enchong Dee has defended his "Tanging Yaman" co-star, Erich Gonzales, from accusation that the actress was supposedly becoming difficult to work with.

'Kembot Girls' in NP sorties irk Pia

MANILA, Philippines - Reelectionist Sen. Pia Cayetano on Tuesday said she is against the Nacionalista Party's use of the Wowowee's 'Kembot Girls' in their campaign sorties.

Liza Maza to 'Kembot Girls': Wear appropriate clothes

(Updated 7:33 PM) Nacionalista Party senatorial bet and Gabriela Rep. Liza Maza will meet with organizers and production staff and ask them to instruct "Kembot Girls" wear appropriate clothes during their political rallies.

Anne Curtis' boob slip photo goes viral

MANILA, Philippines - Actress Anne Curtis has snatched the limelight after her controversial photo showing her right breast exposed while dancing on Boracay Island went viral on social networks such as Facebook.

UN weather agency: 2009 was 5th warmest on record

GENEVA - The UN weather agency said last year was the fifth warmest on record. The World Meteorological Organization said analysis of the final two months of 2009 confirm a forecast made in December that ranked last year among the warmest since 1850.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

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