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

Monday, April 12, 2010

April 13, 2010 Major News Stories

Petron, Chevron hike oil prices by P1/L

Major oil players Petron Corp. and Chevron Phil. Inc. announced on Monday that they will increase oil prices by as much as P1 per liter early Tuesday morning.

In separate advisories, both oil firms said that they will increase the prices of diesel, kerosene, and premium gasoline by P1 per liter and regular gasoline by P0.50 per liter.

The price adjustments will take effect 6 a.m. Tuesday, both firms said.

On Gwen's plan to build international port in Balili Tomas says: "Stop assuming that we're stupid"

Cebu City Mayor Tomas Osmeña criticized the plan of Governor Gwendolyn Garcia to build a world class port facility at the controversial Balili property in barangay Tinaan, Naga City citing several reasons why the project is not feasible.

P1M for SRP launch

CEBU City officials changed their minds about getting private sponsors and said they will use City Hall funds for the May 8 launching of the South Road Properties (SRP).

Alvin challenges Tomas to punish OBO for lapses

FORMER Cebu City mayor Alvin Garcia yesterday challenged Mayor Tomas Osmeña to investigate his own people who may have committed lapses in the issuance of the building permit to CYC Construction.

Pelaez files plaint vs. use of "codigos"

Lapu-lapu City Liberal Party Mayoralty candidate Efrain Pelaez, Jr. and his group, the "Kalihukan sa Katawhan alang sa Kalambuan (KKK), formally registered a complaint in the Commission on Elections (Comelec)-Regional Office yesterday against the use of voting guide folders and are seeking a definitive ruling on what are acceptable "codigos" that the voters may bring along with them to the voting booth.

Greg asks Gwen: Account for Capitol's spending

VICE Gov. Gregorio Sanchez Jr. has challenged Gov. Gregorio Sanchez Jr. has challenged Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia to explain to the public how the Capitol spent P1.7 billion for projects that, he said, have not made much of an impact on the poor.

Sanchez said the Cebu Provincial Government had about P2.1 billion when he and Garcia ran for reelection in 2007. He claimed Capitol officials recently told him only P400 million is left.

Barangay captain arrested for unlicensed firearms

The barangay captain of Cabungahan, Naga City was arrested after a search of his residence dawn yesterday yielded unlicensed firearms.

The search against Federico Cabizares, 64, was conducted by virtue of a warrant issued by Regional Trial Court Judge Silvestre Maamo.

Senior Supt. Ramon Rafael, chief of the Regional Intelligence Division of the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group, said they applied for the warrant after several of Cabizares' neighbors complained that the barangay captain allegedly fires his guns indiscriminately.

Seized from Cabizares' house were a .45 pistol, a 12-gauge shotgun, a .22 caliber rifle, and several ammunitions.

Cabizares, for his part, said politics is most likely behind his arrest. He claimed that he inherited his guns from his parents and that he was able to avail of the government amnesty program last year. He, however, could not produce documents to prove the same.

AFP says preparing for orderly polls, not junta

Maging ang Sandatahang Lakas, naghahanda na rin sa magiging resulta ng halalan sa Mayo. Pero, nilinaw ng pamunuan ng AFP na hindi kasama rito ang pinangangambahang "military junta" sakaling magkaaberya ang halalan. Ang magiging papel daw ng militar, siguruhing magiging maayos ang halalan.

DND chief: Gov't ready for 30% automation failure

MANILA, Philippines - Defense Secretary Norberto Gonzales says the government is preparing for a failure of elections in as much as 30 percent of the country due to anticipated problems with automated poll machines. Meanwhile, the military again denied speculation, it is preparing for a takeover, in case the elections fail.

FVR blames Lakas-Kampi leadership for defections

Sinisi ni dating Pangulong Fidel V. Ramos ang liderato ng Lakas-Kampi CMD sa sunod-sunod na pagkalas ng ilang miyembro ng partido. Maging si Speaker Prospero Nograles, seryoso nang pinag-iisipan ang pag-alis sa partido ng administrasyon.

Lakas stalwart Nograles bolts party

MANILA, PhilippinesSpeaker Prospero Nograles has confirmed plans of bolting the administration Lakas-Kampi-Christian Muslim Democrats (CMD) coalition for a possible alliance with Senator Manuel Villar of the Nacionalista Party.

Nograles said the party is being run without proper consultation among its members, including him, one of the vice-chairmen.

Nograles is running for mayor in Davao against Vice Mayor Sara Duterte, daughter of incumbent Mayor Rodrigo Duterte.

The administration party is out of control. It is in total disarray, contrary to what is being bandied about in the media, he said.

Hilong-hilo na kami sa nangyayari sa partido (Were so confused about whats happening in the party). Even as a senior officer of the party, I hardly know what's happening because they make decisions without the courtesy of even briefing us. Kahit man lang tawag sana para hindi naman kami nagugulat sa mga lalabas na balita kinabukasan (They dont even call us, so that we wont be surprised by the news that come out the following day). Now what's the use of being with the administration party? I don't even get any text saying hi or hello from our party standard bearer? Nograles added in a statement.

Nograles said he has yet to decide if he would join the camp of Villar, but said the NP standard-bearer is a "viable option" who could end the spate of killings in the province.

"We can run the campaign of the Team Nograles without any help from any party but I think that Manny Villar is a viable option because of his non-association with those
involved in human rights violations in Davao City, Nograles said.

I find comfort with the fact that under his administration, there is a good chance that all these genocide-like summary executions in Davao City will finally end. You cannot expect that from Nonoy because he is with Duterte, the main suspect of all these killings, Nograles added.

Nograles lamented that while he is top-ranking official of the party in Davao region, the party designated Madeline Bebot Marfori, the presidential assistant for special project as the Lakas-Kampi-CMD pointman in Davao City.

Marfori is a supporter of Duterte and his daughter Sara, Nograles claimed.

According to Nograles, the Dutertes and Marfori's cousin-in-law Simeon, who is head of the Davao City Chamber of Commerce and Industries, are supporting the candidacy of Liberal Party standard-bearer Senator Benigno Nonoy Aquino III.

Who are they trying to fool? It is an open secret in Davao City that the Marforis are for the Dutertes and for Noynoy and yet the party appoints a Marfori as their pointman? I can only sympathize with Gibo (Teodoro) because in the final analysis, he is counting on people with interests other than to make him win his fight, Nograles said.

In one instance, Nograles said that the group of Lakas-Kampi-CMD standard-bearer Gilbert Teodoro went to Davao without the courtesy of informing him about their presence and only decided to inform him when they needed people to mobilize for their activities.

Nograles said he was also not invited to the party's national executive meeting last week when it reorganized following Teodoro's resignation as chairman.

I'm a senior party member and they only want to use me for their convenience? I think that is foul. I have been a good soldier but I also deserve some respect, Nograles said.

Teodoro: Nograles not a loss, was never a firm supporter

As far as the Lakas-Kampi-CMD standard-bearer Gilbert Teodoro Jr. is concerned, House Speaker Prospero Nograles' departure from the ruling party is not a loss to his presidential bid.

Lakas hurt but won't collapse over Nograles' exit—Palace

President Macapagal Arroyo's political adviser Prospero Pichay conceded on Monday that the departure of Speaker Prospero Nograles from Lakas was a "big loss" but said this development would not result in the party falling apart.

Rep. Gonzales leaves Lakas to join LP

(UPDATE) Mandaluyong City Representative Neptali Gonzales II, a senior member of the Lakas-Kabalikat ng Malayang Pilipino-Christian Muslim Democrats, has left the administration party to join the Liberal Party of Senator Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino III.

NP ready to punish source of bogus psych report

Handang parusahan ng Nacionalista Party ang sinumang miyembro nila na nag-imbento ng paninira sa ibang kandidato kasunod ng pagkalat ng pekeng psychiatric record ni Liberal Party standard bearer Senador Benigno Aquino III --- na sinasabing galing sa NP. Samantala, kung noong Biyernes hinamon ng Nacionalista ang ABS-CBN na pangalanan ang NP source, kanina nagbigay na sila ng go-signal na tukuyin ang kanilang tauhan kahit pa sino ang tamaan.

Physical, Mental Fitness Test For Bets: Gwen supports Villar challenge

Cebu Governor Gwendolyn Garcia supports the call for candidates undergoing physical and psychological tests to determine if they are indeed capable of handling the position they are running for.

Estrada to Aquino: Address health questions

MANILA, Philippines -- Former President Joseph Estradas Pwersa ng Masang Pilipino (PMP) added its voice to the hubbub about the fake psychological report on Liberal Party presidential bet and Sen. Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino III, with party spokesperson Ralph Calinisan saying that Aquino owed it to voters to declare his real state of health.

He said the matter has been placed "out in the open and can be freely discussed.

Senate Minority Leader Aquilino Pimentel Jr. said the mental fitness of candidates for president and vice president "must not be withheld from the public because mental incapacity is a ground for removal from public office."

Its not right for any candidate to hide from the public any serious ailment that could affect the performance of his duties in case he gets elected, more so when we are talking about the presidency, Pimentel said in a press release issued by his office.

Aquino wants Villar to take lie-detector test, lifestyle check

Liberal Party (LP) bet Senator Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino III challenged Nacionalista Party (NP) bet Manuel "Manny" Villar to undergo a lie detector test and lifestyle check that were more relevant to the elections rather than a psychiatric test being espoused by him and his allies.

Comelec denies bias vs Liberal Party

The Commission on Elections (Comelec) on Monday said their decision to approve the Nacionalista Party-Nationalist People"s Coalition (NP-NPC) coalition was not made to put the Liberal Party (LP) at a disadvantage in its bid to become the dominant minority party in May.

Comelec backtracks, says no rebidding of ink deal

There will be no rebidding for the delivery and supply of indelible ink that will be used in the May 10 elections, the Commission on Elections (Comelec) clarified on Monday.

THEY WERE ASLEEP: Palcuto's lawyer denies accusations of mauling

The lawyer of the vice mayoralty candidate in Cebu City, whose alleged goons and son we reported to have mauled a partylist bet, denied the accusations hurled against his client.

Gordon to media: Where have all the debates gone?

"We should have more debates." Bagumbayan standard-bearer Sen. Richard Gordon said on Monday that with the campaign period entering the homestretch, media companies should be organizing more debates, particularly among presidential candidates.

Low voter turn-out in HK, Singapore


Voter turn-out for the second day of overseas absentee voting (OAV) in Hong Kong and Singapore was still low, said the Commission on Elections (Comelec).

Comelec Commissioner Rene Sarmiento said based on the information he got from Commissioner Armando Velasco, who heads the Comelec committee on overseas voting, only 2,500 voters were able to cast their vote yesterday in the said countries where the system of voting was automated.

Velasco, who is currently in Singapore, is the head of the Comelec's committee on OAV.

He said this number is still low considering that there are more than 95,000 registered voters in Hong Kong and some 31,000 plus voters in Singapore.

"But I think the number is still reasonable since they can still vote until May 10," said Sarmiento.

Another possible factor for the low turn-out, he said, is the last-minute attitude of Filipinos.

"That might also be a factor. But I think the number will pick up in the coming days," said Sarmiento.

Aside from the low turn-out, he said, several Precinct Count Optical Scan (PCOS) glitches were also reported in Hong Kong.

"The PCOS machine encountered a problem but it was immediately remedied because they used the spare unit," Sarmiento said.

On Saturday, the first day of the OAV for the May 10 polls, only a small percentage of the 589,830 registered Filipinos abroad came out and voted.

Specifically, the automated election system in Hong Kong and Singapore only came up with some 1,200 voters out of their estimated 120,000 registered voters.

Aside from the automated system being implemented in Singapore and Hong Kong, some 46 embassies and consulates-general are set to use the postal voting while another 45 foreign posts will utilize personal voting.

Voting period for OAV, where voters will select a president, a vice president, 12 senators, and a party-list organization, is set to run up to May 10.

Meanwhile, more than 4,000 overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) already cast their ballots for this year's OAV, with Filipinos in Hong Kong garnering the highest number of voters in the first day of the conduct of the month-long election catered for Filipino migrants and Filipino migrant workers.

According to the Department of Foreign Affairs-Overseas Absentee Voting Secretariat (DFA-OAVS), there are already some 4,141 Filipino overseas absentee voters who have cast their ballots after the first day of voting in the 93 Philippine Embassies and Consulates-General around the world.

Armed groups continue to 'sprout' in poll hotspots, PNP chief says

With less than a month before the May 10 polls, private and partisan armed groups (PAGs) continue to proliferate in various areas including those considered as election hotspots, Philippine National Police chief Director General Jesus Verzosa on Monday said.

A number of PAGs continue to "sprout" despite the government's efforts to dismantle them, said Verzosa during the send off ceremony for President Arroyo who left for the United States.

It has been reducedby around 24, but we see some, nag i-sprout yung iba (PAGs have sprouted elsewhere)," he said.

"So, again there will be a continuing validation kung saan nagiging active or nagdadagdag ang members on the validation of our intelligence, doon natin tsina-channel ang ating resources," he added.

(There will be a continuing validation regarding where membership in partisan armed groups are rising.)

Verzosa identified the areas where the PAGs had been discovered as: Abra, Masbate, Surigao, Lanao and the provinces in the Autonomous Region for Muslim Mindanao (ARMM).

The government's effort to dismantle PAGs was intensified after the November 23 Maguindanao massacre, where armed groups allegedly linked to the Ampatuan family murdered 57 people, including 32 journalists and family members of their political opponent, the Mangudadatu clan.

Meanwhile, the PNP will set up assistance centers in various polling precincts that would entertain complaints and provide direction for voters for the May 10 polls.

Verzosa said the centers, which would be installed a week before the elections, would be created through concerted efforts of the police, local government units, and non-governmental organizations.

Regional joint security control centers, headed by regional poll directors, have been initially put up to help police determine the type of assistance they could provide the public.

Clashes, abductions as NPA rebels meddle in RP vote

The Philippine military on Monday accused communist rebels of killing three soldiers and abducting politicians as part of extortion efforts linked to national elections.

Mayor, son cleared on kidnapping of broadcast journalist

MANILA, Philippines -- The Taguig Regional Trial Court has acquitted former Indanan, Sulu Mayor Alvarez Isnaji and his son Haider over the kidnapping of television broadcaster Ces Drilon and her crew in June 2008, according to Drilons lawyer.

Vince Bayhon, counsel for Drilon, said the court ordered the Isnajis release from their detention, clearing them of kidnapping charges filed against them at the local court.

In acquitting the Isnajis, the court gave credence to the testimony of Octavio Dinampo, a professor in Mindanao State University, who was Drilons guide in going to the hinterlands to interview Abu Sayyaf leader Radulan Sahiron, according to Bayhon.

The courts decision was asking why would a victim testify in favor of the accused, Bayhon told the Philippine Daily Inquirer in an interview.

Sought for comment, lawyer Sheila San Diego, who represented the Isnajis, said Dinampo testified that the accused could not have hatched the plan because they initially refused to act as negotiators for the broadcaster.

Dinampo told the court that the Isnajis begged off to negotiate, not until Senator Loren Legarda asked the mayor to help in the release [of Drilon], San Diego told the Inquirer in a phone interview Monday night.

San Diego said the Isnajis have been released from their detention cells around 6 p.m.

Dinampo was allegedly abducted along with Drilon and her crew, cameramen Jimmy Encarnacion and Angelo Valderama.

The lawyer added the court saw that the proof presented by the prosecution was limited to circumstantial evidence and that their camp failed to prove that there was a conspiracy between Drilons abductors and the Isnajis.

The Isnajis acted as the mediators between negotiators and the kidnappers.

The victims were freed after a purported payment of ransom worth P20 million. The Isnajis allegedly took at least P3 million from the ransom.

An online newspaper based in Zamboanga reported on Monday that the Isnajis were released around 3 p.m.

Bayhon said his client Drilon had been informed of the courts decision and was not happy about it.

The lawyer said the camp intended to file a petition for certiorari before the Court of Appeals citing the judge committed grave abuse of discretion.

Drilon and her team were detained by gunmen believed to be members of the Abu Sayyaf. The broadcaster purportedly ignored warnings from the military and police in pursuing an interview with the bandits.

She was later freed eight days later.

Carpio backs out from nomination for chief justice

Supreme Court Associate Justice Antonio Carpio on Monday declined an invitation for an interview regarding his nomination for the chief justice position, saying he is not interested.

I wish to reiterate that I am not interested to be nominated to the said position at this time," he said in a one-page letter to the Judicial and Bar Council (JBC), the eight-man body that screens nominees for vacant judicial posts.

The letter was addressed to lawyer Ma. Luisa Villarama, the JBC clerk of court and ex-officio secretary of the panel. The JBC has set Carpios interview on April 19.

Chief Justice Reynato Puno will retire on May 17.

Carpio has earlier signified his intention to be nominated for the chief justice post provided that the appointment would be made by the next president pursuant to Section 15, Article 7 of the Constitution.

This provision prohibits the incumbent president from making any midnight appointments" two months before the May 10, 2010 elections until the end of his or her term on June 30.

Applied this year, the appointment ban started last March 10, although the Supreme Court, in a controversial decision last month, has allowed President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo to pick Punos replacement.

Carpio was joined in this position by fellow nominee Associate Justice Conchita Carpio-Morales. Other candidates for the post were Associate Justices Renato Corona, Teresita Leonardo-De Castro, Arturo Brion and Sandiganbayan Presiding Justice Edilberto Sandoval.

The JBC has scheduled Brion, Carpio, Corona, and Carpio-Morales for interview on April 19, from 9 am to 5 pm. The next day, De Castro and Sandoval will be interviewed from 2 pm to 5 pm. 

E-passport processing time doubled

MANILA, PhilippinesThe processing time of electronic passports (e-passports) has been doubled due to a flood of applications, the Department of Foreign Affairs told

Assistant Secretary Renato Villapando, head of the DFAs Office of Consular Affairs, said regular processing has been extended from 12 to 20 days, express processing from six to 10 days.

The vacation months of March to May are the peak months for passport applications. And coupled with the desire of many Filipino to have e-passports, the DFA now receives some 4,000 applications for the travel document with an electronic chip.

Everyone is in a hurry to travel. Thats why we have remedial measures, like the issuance of the green (machine-readable) passports for those who are in a hurry, Villapando said.

Over the first two weeks of March when the e-passport went full blast, the DFA received at least 30,000 applications.

These are birth pains of a new system. Thats why we adjusted the release of the passports, Villapando said.

To cope with the backlog, he has ordered a 24-hour production of the e-passports in Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas.

Fee for regular processing of e-passport is P950, that for machine-readable passport is P500. An additional fee of P250 is charged for expedited processing.

ITR deadline on April 15

Taxpayers are again reminded of their duty to file their Income Tax Returns (ITR) as there will be no extension of the deadline which is on Thursday.

Peso rise to cause shutdowns, Cebu exporters warn

CEBU CITY -- Exporters here have warned of shutdowns unless the government acts to arrest the peso's appreciation.

$1: P44.740

$1: P44.740

Euro 1: P60.6092

Thai protesters parade coffins after clashes (AP)

BANGKOK – Red-shirted protesters paraded coffins through Thailand's capital Monday in a renewed attempt to pressure the government to step down after street fighting left 21 people dead, pushing this Southeast Asian nation closer to political anarchy.

Neither side appeared willing to end a political stalemate that exploded on Saturday when protesters and security forces clashed on the streets of Bangkok for several hours, resulting in the worst bloodshed seen in Thailand in almost two decades. Both sides claim to be fighting to preserve democracy.

"Red Shirts will never negotiate with murderers," protest leader Jatuporn Prompan announced from a makeshift stage. "Although the road is rough and full of obstacles, it's our duty to honor the dead by bringing democracy to this country."

The anti-government protesters are made up of mostly poor and rural supporters of former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, who have massed in the city dressed in red shirts over the past month. On the other side is the government of Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva, whom the red shirts see as a symbol of the ruling elite they say orchestrated the 2006 military coup that removed Thaksin from power amid corruption allegations.

The Thai stock market plunged 4 percent when it opened for business Monday amid fears of more unrest as tens of thousands of demonstrators came out in a massive motorcade.

Like a gigantic red snake, the line of pickup trucks, motorcycles and other vehicles wound its way through the main roads of Bangkok. They carried 11 coffins with bodies of those killed in Saturday's violence, said Weng Tojirakarn, a protest leader.

Four soldiers and 17 civilians were killed, including a Thomson Reuters news agency cameraman, according to Reuters and the government's Erawan emergency center. The government was conducting autopsies on nine bodies Monday.

Both sides accuse each other of firing battlefield weapons during the confrontation.

"These are the heroes of democracy," a protest leader shouted Monday from a loudspeaker mounted atop a truck.

"We want to see shame on Abhisit's face. We want him to take responsibility for this slaughter of innocents," said a woman who identified herself only as Thip.

The procession started at Phan Fa Bridge, located in the historic section of Bangkok and one of the two bases of the protesters. It drove through the modern commercial heart of the city along Phetburi Road, Rama IV Road and past the vegetable and meat market of Klong Toey.

The disruptive protests began a month ago, taking the protesters' demands — for Abhisit to dissolveParliament and call new elections — to a new level.

Unconfirmed reports in local newspapers said political parties in the coalition government were pressuring Abhisit to compromise with the "Red Shirt" protesters by dissolving Parliament in the next six months instead of by year's end, as he had earlier proposed.

The protesters see the Oxford-educated Abhisit as a symbol of an elite impervious to the plight of Thailand's poor and claim he took office illegitimately in December 2008 after the military pressured Parliament to vote for him.

"The government should be more flexible in their attempt to resolve the situation. It's their duty to seek for solution that's possible and acceptable for both sides," said Nogsuan Sawasdee, a political scientist atBangkok's Chulalongkorn University.

He predicted more violence in the next two weeks since "the standpoint of both sides is clear — that negotiation and compromise will not happen."

Other observers saw political maneuvering rather than street fighting on the horizon.

"Abhisit standing down would be a plus. He is discredited now, so he must decide how he can do something that is seen as in the national interest. An election is urgent," said Kevin Hewison, who heads the Asian Studies Department at the University of North Carolina.

Some of the heaviest fighting occurred near the backpacker mecca of Khao San Road, where protesters came in throngs Sunday to pose for pictures on top of seized army vehicles. Others strolled around in confiscated army riot gear.

Apichart Sankary, an executive with the Federation of Thai Tourism Associations, said that if street protestscontinue the number of foreign visitors could drop to 14.5 million this year, against an earlier projection of 15.5 million.

The "Skytrain" commuter train service that was shut on Saturday reopened Monday.

Vatican to bishops: follow law, report sex abuse (AP)

VATICAN CITY – The Vatican responded Monday to allegations that it had concealed years of clerical sex abuse by making it clear for the first time that bishops and other high-ranking clerics should report such crimes to police if required by law.

Victims have charged that the Catholic Church created what amounted to a conspiracy to cover up abuse by keeping allegations that priests raped and molested children secret and not reporting them to civil authorities.

The Vatican has insisted that it has long been the Catholic Church's policy for bishops, like all Christians, to obey civil laws. In a new guide for lay readers posted on its Web site, the Vatican explicitly spells out such a policy.

"Civil law concerning reporting of crimes to the appropriate authorities should always be followed," the Vatican guidelines said.

That phrase was not included in a draft of the guidelines obtained Friday by The Associated Press. The rest of the guidelines follow previously known and public procedures for handling canonical investigations and trials of suspected abuse.

The Vatican offered no explanation for the addition.

Victims were not impressed.

"Let's keep this in perspective: it's one sentence and it's virtually nothing unless and until we see tangible signs that bishops are responding," said Joelle Casteix, western regional director for SNAP, the Survivors Network for Those Abused by Priests, the main victims' group in the U.S. "One sentence can't immediately reverse centuries of self-serving secrecy."

She said if the Vatican truly wanted to change course "it would be far more effective to fire or demote bishops who have clearly endangered kids and enabled abuse and hid crimes, than to add one sentence to a policy that is rarely followed with consistency."

None of the core public Vatican documents to be applied in cases of abuse direct bishops to report cases to police. Nor does canon law make such an explicit requirement.

Jeffrey Lena, the Vatican's U.S. lawyer, said a 1965 document from the Second Vatican CouncilGaudium et Spes, contained an implicit understanding of the need to follow civil laws that are just.

The vague citation, however, is not nearly as explicit as what is contained in the lay guide.

"It's beyond dispute that the canon law does not mandate non-reporting," Lena said. "These guidelines may help clarify that point for people who are less familiar with canon law."

"The statement confirms what has been long known, that where the civil state creates an obligation to report, bishops like anyone else are required to examine the law and determine what they have to do to obey it," Lena told the AP.

In an agreement worked out with the Vatican, U.S. bishops made this reporting requirement their policy after the explosion of sex abuse cases in 2002.

The Rev. Davide Cito, a canon lawyer at Rome's Santa Croce University, called the publication of the policy in the lay guidelines "an important development."

"I'm very pleased," he said. "A Christian also has to follow civil laws. It's a Christian duty."

A Vatican spokesman, the Rev. Ciro Benedettini, said the reporting requirement had been the internal policy of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith since 2003. The Vatican in 2001 shifted its policy on dealing with abuse cases, ordering bishops around the world to refer all cases to the Congregation, which then decides how to proceed. Previously, diocese themselves dealt with most of the cases on their own.

Asked how bishops were supposed to know of this internal policy on reporting to police, Benedettini declined to comment.

Pope Benedict XVI had told Irish bishops last month that they should cooperate with civil authorities in investigating abuse. But the guidelines mark the first time that such procedures for the universal church, in which bishops are explicitly told they should follow civil reporting laws, have been laid out publicly.

Landslide derails train in northern Italy, 9 dead (AP)

ROME – A mass of mud and water slammed into a small commuter train traveling in the Italian Alps Monday, knocking the front car into a ditch and killing nine people aboard, officials said.

Bolzano province official, Francesca De Carlini, said the two-car train, filled with local commuters and students, was passing by at the exact moment that a large irrigation pipe on higher elevation burst.

"A mass of mud and water knocked down the first car into the ditch," she said. "All of the dead were in the first car, which was pulled down into the ditch," De Carlini said by telephone.

She discounted earlier media reports of the possibility of three missing, saying the death toll was definitive at nine and that all bodies had been identified. There were also 28 injured, including seven hospitalized in serious condition, De Carlini said.

A geologist was examining the terrain, near the border with Austria, but it was not clear why the pipe burst, she said. A magistrate has begun an investigation into the cause, but the rupture didn't appear to be due to cold weather.

De Carlini said the accident occurred shortly after 9 a.m. and that help arrived within a few minutes. Helicopters, ambulances and firefighters rushed to the scene to rescue survivors.

The train had been nearing its destination of Merano, about 300 kilometers (185 miles) north of Venice, after departing from the small town of Malles.

The train line runs between the Adige river and mountains.

Polish president's funeral Saturday—report

WARSAW—Polish President Lech Kaczynski will be laid to rest Saturday, a week after he died in an air crash in Russia along with his wife and dozens of top officials, a newspaper reported Monday.

N.B.A. Roundup: Bulls Roll Past Raptors to Eighth Place in East

from NYT > Pro Basketball by By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

"I just wanted to go out there and impose my will as much as I could, just be aggressive offensively and defensively," Noah said.

Chicago has won 8 of 12 since Noah's return from a foot injury. The Bulls were 0-10 without him.

The Bulls can clinch the eighth playoff spot in the East with a win and a Toronto loss, or by winning their two remaining games. Chicago hosts Boston on Tuesday.

"It's good that we have Boston coming up," Noah said. "That's an easy game to get up for. If we were playing in front of 2,000 in New Jersey, it's a different situation."

Hedo Turkoglu had a career-high 19 rebounds and 9 assists but shot 2 for 12 from the field and scored just 6 points for the Raptors, who have lost five in a row.

MAGIC 98, CAVALIERS 92 Mickael Pietrus scored all 12 of his points in the fourth quarter and Jameer Nelson hit a big 3-pointer in the closing minutes for visiting Orlando. But with LeBron James held out to rest andShaquille O'Neal sidelined with an injury, the game was little more than a glorified exhibition.

TRAIL BLAZERS 91, LAKERS 88 Martell Webster hit three free throws with 3.1 seconds left for visiting Portland. Kobe Bryant and Derek Fisher combined to miss three free throws in the final 6.9 seconds, and Pau Gasol missed a 3-pointer at the buzzer for Los Angeles, which has lost six of nine. The Blazers lost Brandon Roy, their leading scorer, at halftime because of a sore right knee.

SUNS 116, ROCKETS 106 Amar'e Stoudemire had 35 points and 13 rebounds for host Phoenix. The Suns made four 3s in a row, two by Channing Frye and one apiece by Steve Nash and Jason Richardson, in a 14-0 run after Houston took a 102-100 lead with 3:23 left. The victory moved Phoenix into a tie with the Utah Jazzand the Denver Nuggets for the third playoff spot in the West, half a game behind the No. 2 Dallas Mavericks.

WARRIORS 120, THUNDER 117 Monta Ellis scored 27 points and Stephen Curry added 25 as host Golden State overcame a 20-point deficit. Kevin Durant had 40 points for Oklahoma City, which dropped into the eighth seed in the West with two games remaining.

HORNETS 114, T'WOLVES 86 Emeka Okafor scored 23 points for host New Orleans, which won for only the fifth time in 22 games. Minnesota has lost 21 of 22.

NUGGETS SIGN KARL'S SON The Denver Nuggets signed Coby Karl, the son of Nuggets Coach George Karl. The elder Karl, who has throat and neck cancer, has not been on the sideline since March 16. The younger Karl was playing for the Idaho Stampede of the D-League, averaging 19.3 points and 6 rebounds.

Willie blasts ABS-CBN News campaign coverage

from by
Did Kris call ABS-CBN news staff 'evil people'? MANILA, Philippines – "Wowowee" host Willie Revillame on Monday blasted ABS-CBN News for purportedly not reporting the complete story when covering the campaign sorties of Nacionalista Party (NP) standard bearer Sen. Manuel Villar Jr.

'PBB Teen Clash of 2010' underway

Salpukan ng Pinoy Big Brother teen housemates, umpisa na! Panalo naman sa ratings ang acting comeback ni Gretchen Barretto sa Maalaala Mo Kaya!

Don't give Venus false hopes, says group

NAGA CITYDethroned Bicol beauty queen Maria Venus Raj has found another ally.

A group said Monday that the Bb. Pilipinas Charities Inc. (BPCI) should not be giving false hope to Raj.

Bayan Muna said it was apprehensive over the decision of the BPCIs decision to reinstate Raj as Bb. Pilipinas-Universe if she could acquire a Philippine passport.

Raj was dethroned due to supposed inconsistencies contained in her birth records and her personal account of her birth.

It is good to hear that she is given the opportunity to correct the entries in her birth certificate. But the legal obstacles that the BPCI has been raising against Venus was merely transferred to the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) to decide, said lawyer Joven Laura, Bayan Muna party-list nominee, in a statement sent to the Inquirer.

Laura said the BPCI was simply passing the issue to the DFA without actually doing anything to remove the obstacles in order for Venus to regain her title.

If Venus applies for a Philippine passport, the DFA would definitely tackle the issue of Venus citizenship according to the entries found in her birth certificatethe same issue which the BPCI should have now resolved. Lets not give false hope to Venus, please, he said.

'Date Night' dines out atop the box office

Tina Fey comedy "Date Night" scraped past the Greek mythology blockbuster "Clash of the Titans" to lead the North American box office this weekend, early industry figures showed Sunday.

Comedian Palito, 76, dies

Veteran comedian Reynaldo Hipolito, well known for his unusually thin physique that earned for him the monicker Palito (or match stick), died on Monday at the Philippine General Hospital (PGH) due to complications from lung problems. He was 76.

Gwen, Glenn vow not to get married

Reelectionist Governor Gwendolyn Garcia and her runningmate, Glenn Anthony Soco publicly declared Sunday not to get married, at least not with each other.

Vatican makes peace with Beatles after 40 years

VATICAN CITY - The Vatican has finally made peace with the Beatles, saying their drug use, "dissolute" lives and even the claim that the band was bigger than Jesus are all in the past - while their music lives on.

Tuesday: heavy rain shower, Max Temp: 31°C (88°F), Min Temp: 27°C (81°F)

Max Temp: 31°C (88°F), Min Temp: 27°C (81°F), Wind Direction: E, Wind Speed: 13mph, Visibility: good, Pressure: 1011mb, Humidity: 68%, Sunrise: 05:34PHT, Sunset: 17:54PHT

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