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

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

April 14, 2010 Major News Stories



Transport group eyes jeepney fare hike

MANILA, Philippines - Transport group Pasang Masda on Tuesday said it will pursue its motion to revert minimum jeepney fare back to P7.50.

Oil extends declines on demand concerns

SINGAPORE - Oil prices extended declines in Asian trade Tuesday as ongoing concerns over soft demand in the United States, the world's largest energy consumer, weighed on the market, analysts said.

OBO awaits builder's report

CYC Construction, the contractor of the Gaisano Capital building where a firewall collapsed last week, was given until this afternoon to explain in writing what caused the accident that killed five construction workers.

Office of the Building Office (OBO) head Josefa Ylanan sent the notice to CYC Construction after lunch yesterday, giving them 24 hours to give an explanation.

"By tomorrow (today), it will be one week since the incident happened and we still have not heard from their engineers on what happened and why the wall collapsed," she said.

Ylanan wants CYC Construction's structural engineers to give their own account of the incident and identify possible causes of the collapse for the sake of fairness.

"Let's listen to their version also, as our engineers conduct their own investigation... If there is no response after lunch tomorrow, then we will consider the permanent cancellation of its building permit," Ylanan said.

If the contractor's permit is canceled, it will not be able to resume construction of the two-story department store on F. Llamas St., Barangay Tisa.

At past midnight last Wednesday, five construction workers and six others were injured when the parapet of the Gaisano Capital building collapsed.

Yesterday, investigators from the Cebu City Police Office were sent to Carmen town to follow up on the families of five men who died and six who were injured.

CCPO Director Patrocinio Comendador said members of the Homicide Section were dispatched to coordinate with the local police in Carmen and approach the families of the victims.

He maintained that if the families will not cooperate with them, they will still push through with the filing of the case against CYC Construction, even without their statements.

Comendador said if they can't get the statements of the family members, they will proceed by getting the statements of those who were in the area when the wall collapsed, such as the first police officers to respond, barangay tanods and other witnesses in the area.

He said after they evaluate the evidence on hand, they will decide if it is enough to file a case for reckless imprudence resulting in multiple homicide and physical injuries.

Higher

He added they will also get an official statement from OBO, especially if they note some violations committed during the construction of the Gaisano Capital building.

Police gave time for the families to finish burial arrangements before asking them for their statements on the accident.

Killed on the spot were Deony N. Delan, 30; his brother Christian, 27; Teodulfo Detumal, 35, and Lyndon Melendrez, 18. All four were residents of Carmen town, Cebu.  

The mason Argie Ceniza, 27, of Dawis, Carmen, Cebu died while undergoing treatment at the Cebu City Medical Center.

Engr. Mario Rondez from OBO observed that the firewall of the building was at least two meters higher than what his office approved. This may have caused the collapse, he said.

OBO engineers are scheduled to inspect the construction site again this morning as part of their investigation on the structural design of the building.

City Attorney Joseph Bernaldez warned contractors operating in the city that they may face a case for violation of the National Building Code if they are found to have deviated from their building plans and designs approved by the OBO.

He would not comment on the CYC Construction project, since he has yet to receive the results of OBO's investigation which he will review to find out if the contractor has any criminal liability.

If there is any violation on the part of the contractors, they should be made to answer, the city attorney said.

"We can pursue a case, more so if there are deaths... Any deviation from the building plans is a violation of the Building Code. That can be a separate and distinct case, and the accident resulting in death can be another case. This is where criminal or simple negligence comes in, depending on the evidence we can gather," Bernaldez added.

MALL CONSTRUCTION TRAGEDY: CCPO bent on filing charges against CYC Construction

Personnel of the Cebu City Police Office will head to Carmen to get the affidavits of the families of the construction workers killed and injured in last week's tragedy in Barangay Tisa.

CCPO Director Senior Supt. Patrocinio Comendador said the victims' families were not able to appear before CCPO to issue their affidavits following the burial of their departed love ones on Monday.

Because of this, he directed personnel of the homicide section to get the affidavits of the family members for the possible filing of charges against CYC Construction.

The firm has employed the five construction workers who died when the firewall of the Gaisano Capital mall in Barangay Tisa collapsed a week ago. Six others were injured in the incident.

Comendador said the family might not pursue pressing charges against Charlie Yu Chiu, owner of the construction firm, but CCPO will still file the case because the incident was a public crime.

Comendador said they will evaluate the evidences they already have if they are not able to secure affidavits from the families within the week.

Chiu also failed to appear before CCPO yesterday despite invitation for him to shed light on the incident.

Comendador said the Office of the Building Official (OBO) has not yet to forward its findings.

Meanwhile, TUCP Partylist lamented incidents like that in Barangay Tisa could be prevented if only constructed sites are inspected properly and constructions comply with safety and health standards.

TUCP Rep. Raymond Democrito Mendoza questioned whether the construction site was ever inspected, considering that the workers thereat wore no hard hats and no other safety measures were reportedly in place when the accident happened.

"The Labor Standards Enforcement Framework (LSEF), through self-assessment (SA) or through proper inspections, could have exposed faulty health and safety practices," Mendoza said in a press statement to The Freeman.

He said CYC Construction should have conducted self-inspection with the participation of workers.

"Workers can identify hazards in their workplaces and they can suggest improvements to avoid or minimize such hazards. The DOLE should have the results of the self-inspection every year and during the first quarter of the year," he added.

The Freeman tried to contact DOLE regional director Elias Cayanong for comments, but he was not available yesterday.

Earlier reports quoted TUCP as saying it has recorded 41 deaths and six injuries in 20 workplace incidents from January to March 2010 nationwide. Eleven of those killed were involved in four construction accidents.

Mendoza emphasized that workers have largely contributed to the growth of the regional economy and therefore deserve to have a modest share of the fruits of economic development.

"The quality of life of workers must improve as the economy grows. That is the real meaning of equitable development", said Mendoza.

Fire breaks as generator of uptown bikini bar overheats


A BIKINI bar and restaurant in uptown Cebu City was damaged when fire struck its basement yesterday afternoon.

No one was hurt in the incident.

When the fire started at 3:15 p.m., passing pedestrians were surprised when employees of Silver Dollar Bar and Restaurant—mostly women serving as guest relations officers—rushed outside the establishment, wearing nothing but red bikinis and leather boots.

Flames and smoke could be seen on the second floor.

Five minutes later, fire-fighters arrived.

The incident on Osmeña Blvd. was placed at "second alarm," which means all fire trucks in Cebu City were called to respond.

Firefighters had the fire under control in 10 minutes.

Based on the initial investigation, Chief Fire Investigator Allan Arciaga told reporters yesterday there was a short circuit in the bar's generator, which was placed in the basement.

Arciaga said they are investigating whether a sudden change of power source caused the fire.

He said there had been a power outage in the area right before the fire, and the bar was using the generator.

Damage was estimated at P250,000.

American national Carl Feri, the bar's owner, told reporters he was glad the fire didn't get worse.

"If it had happened during the night, then it could have been worse," he said.

Feri, who has been running the bar for a year, said he was glad the fire department was able to respond immediately.

LTFRB -7 official admits issuing hearing notices for taxi franchises

Officials of the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board in Central Visayas yesterday admitted that they have received 185 applications for additional taxi units in Metro Cebu, but they have reportedly stopped processing the documents and have not approved any of the applications.

Sandiganbayan junks raps vs. Ouano

Former Mandaue City Mayor Thadeo Z. Ouano feels vindicated as the Second Division of Sandiganbayan reaffirmed the dismissal of his case on the controversial 2007 ASEAN Summit's decorative lampposts.

"I am vindicated. Wala gyud matulog ang Ginoo. Kining tanan pagbuot gyud ni sa Ginoo. Nalipay kaayo ko," the former mayor told The Freeman.

Ouano said that because of this case, he was demeaned and called many unpalatable words, but he remained optimistic that in the end the truth shall prevail.

"Mao na ni ron ang kamatuoran. The return of the Jedi," Ouano said signifying his return to politics after three years of absence.

He is running for the position of Provincial Board Member in the 6th District.

The Sandiganbayan Second Division in its resolution dated March 24 that was received by Ouano yesterday, denied the motion for reconsideration of the Special Prosecutor of the Ombudsman, who asked to reconsider an earlier decision in dismissing the case.  

The Sandiganbayan came out with an order last June of 2009 dismissing the case not just against Ouano, but all the other accused under criminal case number SB08CRM-0271.

  In that 2009 order, the dismissal of the case as to Ouano was with prejudice, which means the case could not be filed again.

  But the dismissal of the case as to the other accused was dismissed without prejudice, which means, they can still be charged in court.

  Other accused in this criminal case are former DPWH regional director Roberto Lala and DPWH officials Gloria Dindin, Marlina Alvizo, Pureza Fernandez, Augustino Hermoso, Luis Galang, Cresencio Bagolor, Buenaventura Pajo and Restituto Diano.

The Ombudsman special prosecutor, who felt aggrieved in the June 2009 order, immediately filed a motion for reconsideration questioning the decision.

  Ouano's lead counsel, Albert Dennis Añover said that the recent resolution of the Sandiganbayan proved once again that his client was not in any way involved in the controversial and alleged overpriced decorative lampposts.

In the same resolution, the justices of the said division composed of Edilberto Sandoval (acting presiding judge), and justices Teresita Diaz Baldos and Samuel Martires said that "a reading of the records of this case would present circumstances which would indicate that the manner in which the investigation was handled was hasty and injudicious." 

  The justices added that the difference of the two separate actions filed in their division as to the implication is that, Ouano's case is dismissed with prejudice while the case accused the other accused is dismissed without prejudice.

"It was admitted by the prosecution that this case has no sufficient evidence to fuel its fire as evidenced by their move to withdraw the information, purposely to better it, or to drop the charges against accused. There certainly is abuse," the resolution read.

The resolution further stated that for every right there is a corresponding obligation and they see no entitlement for it on the part of the prosecution, wherein in a myriad of cases there should always be no grave abuse of discretion in the exercise of power.

  To recall, the Ombudsman had ordered the preventive suspension of Ouano together with Lapu-Lapu City Mayor Arturo Radaza, nine DPWH officials and eight Mandaue City and Lapu-Lapu City engineers in April 2007 when the lampposts controversy broke out on allegations that the 2,300 lampposts were highly overpriced.

All the accused were indicted for their alleged participation in the preparation of the Program of Works and Estimates.

The POWE, according to the Ombudsman is the basis for the project to obtain funding source and whatever amount indicated in the POWE would be the life-blood for the project to proceed.

Set aside denial order


LABANGON Barangay Councilor Victor Buendia yesterday asked Judge Gabriel Ingles to "set aside" his order denying the application for a writ of preliminary injunction for the plebiscite creating Barangay Banawa-Englis.

Buendia, through his lawyer, Julius Ceasar Entise, submitted his motion for reconsideration to Ingles, presiding judge of the Regional Trial Court Branch 58.

He said it is not an issue whether or not Rosalina Village is part of Barangay Labangon or Guadalupe, but his political and economic rights in the plebiscite.

"The petitioner will be directly and grossly affected by the material change of his political rights should the new barangay be created," said Entise.

Last March 29, Ingles denied the application for a writ of preliminary injunction Buendia sought on the proposed plebiscite splitting Barangay Guadalupe into two barangays.

Buendia, who is on his second term as barangay councilor of Labangon and a member of Rosalina Village Homeowners Association, stands to lose his residency and might even be disqualified as barangay councilor of Labangon if the village will become part of Barangay Banawa-Englis.

The petitioner said the inclusion of Rosalina Village as one of the puroks of Sitio Banawa "is indubitably a substantial alteration" of the boundary of Barangay Labangon.

Last March 10, the court issued 20-day Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) against the plebiscite, which was scheduled last March 13.

Entise said the court failed to give "ample reconsideration" to their argument that the issue relies solely on the issue whether or not Rosalina Village belongs Barangays Labangon or Guadalupe.

During the hearing, Entise said Buendia "sufficiently adduced" that he is a registered voter of Labangon.

Entise said Comelec Resolution 8774, which mandates that the plebiscite be held in Barangay Guadalupe, "created an unfair discrimination" of the residents in Rosalina Village and other residents of Barangay Labangon who are prohibited to participate in the plebiscite.

PCOS machines to arrive here next week

Some Precinct Count Optical Scan (PCOS) machines are expected to arrive in Region 7 next week, according to the new acting regional election director Dennis Ausan.

CPPO implements revamp to avoid bias

To avoid accusations of bias this election period, the Provincial Police Office has reshuffled some of its chiefs of police in the province.

Supt. Henry Binas, chief of the Talisay City Police, has been reassigned to Naga City while Naga City Police chief Supt. Anthony Bagarinao has been reassigned to Danao City.

Replacing Binas in Talisay is Supt. Elmer Lim of Danao City.

Insp. Anecito Gesalago, chief of the San Francisco police in Camotes has been transferred to Carcar City. He will be replaced by Sr. Insp. Alvin Balio, chief of police of Poro, also in Camotes. Insp. Ramon Gonzaga of the Carcar police is the new officer-in-charge of the Poro police station.

Aside from the police chiefs, about 40 policemen have also been transferred to other police stations in places where they do not have relatives running for public office in May.

Meanwhile, Insp. Sunday Roble of the Ronda police is the new chief of the Special Reaction Unit of PRO-7 while Insp. James Conaco is the new deputy chief of SRU.

CPPO Director Supt. Erson Digal said the "familiarity" between the politicians and the policemen in the place will be used as basis for allegations of bias, something that the police would want to prevent.

Before the turnover ceremony, Digas reminded his men to stay neutral and non-partisan.

Digal said he understands that his men would have to readjust in their new assignments, but he assured that their plans to maintain HOPE or Honest Orderly and Peaceful Elections would not be affected by the revamp. 

Mayors 'open to support Villar'


MAYORS are expected express their support for Sen. Manuel Villar next week, when the final presidential surveys before the May 10 elections will come out.

Dumanjug Mayor Cesar Baricuatro, president of the League of Municipalities of the Philippines Cebu, said mayors will be open to supporting Villar because there is no way Gilberto "Gibo" Teodoro Jr. will win the elections.

He did not reveal the names of those who will be defecting to Villar's camp, but said they are from One Cebu and Lakas-Kampi-CMD. (One Cebu has declared many times its support for Teodoro.)

However, Baricuatro said the "body language" of the mayors is looking good as far as Villar is concerned.

"I'm trying to convince the mayors. I cannot categorically mention the names yet, but maganda 'yong body language," Baricuatro told Sun.Star Cebu in a mobile phone
interview yesterday.

For the second district alone, there are 10 to 11 administration mayors who are expected to defect to the Villar camp. There are 15 towns in the district.

Baricuatro also expects about five defections in both the third and fourth districts, where there are seven and nine towns, respectively.

There will also be a good number of defections in the fifth district, where there are 11 towns.

The first district is controlled by Alayon, the local party of Rep. Eduardo Gullas, which has shown loyalty to the Nacionalista Party (NP), recently affirmed through a manifesto of support.

The fifth district also has its own party, Bakud, of the Durano clan. They have announced their support for Teodoro.

The second, third, fourth and sixth district mayors are dominantly with One Cebu.

According to reports, the defecting mayors are only joining the NP bandwagon because of monetary considerations.

Baricuatro denied that the mayors were promised money, but he did say that financial assistance is normal. So if the mayors choose to endorse Villar, they can expect financial assistance from the NP. The money will not be used to sway defections, he said.

"'Yan ang palakarang pamolitika, financial assistance is natural. But there are no promises yet," said Baricuatro, "The national candidate will have to help local candidates."

"Gibo (Teodoro) has no more chance," Baricuatro said, on what is motivating mayors to shift alliances.

Baricuatro lauds Gov. Gwen Garcia's "palabra de honor," in choosing to stick with Teodoro. He understands this word of honor because he too stuck with Villar from the start.

As for the One Cebu mayors, Baricuatro said "palabra de honor" ws only practical 10 to 20 years ago.

"We cannot just rely on the personality, we have to choose a candidate who will be good for the country," Baricuatro said of Villar.

When the final surveys are out next week and Teodoro continues to fare poorly, Baricuatro believes it will be the final straw for mayors to back a candidate with a good chance of winning.

Jonas sticks it out with Liberal Party

Mandaue City Mayor Jonas Cortes said yesterday that he will remain loyal to the Liberal Party, this despite talks that he is being courted by the administration camp and the lack of campaign funds coming from his party.

Noynoy: Funds for LP bets will be released next week

The Liberal Party candidates in Cebu can expect the funds promised to them next week.

This was the promise of LP standard bearer Senator Benigno 'Noynoy' Aquino III, who was in Cebu yesterday.

Aquino, however, came to the proclamation rally in Talisay City without vice presidential candidate Senator Manuel Roxas II.

Aquino explained that the reason why Roxas could not make it to Cebu yesterday was that he was in a meeting in Manila with other LP stalwarts finalizing the budget of the party for the polls.

Aquino said that since the beginning, LP has informed the party members including their allies, regarding the poor funding situation of the party.

Garcia: Tomas just using seniors for his campaign

Former Cebu City mayor Alvin Garcia said Mayor Tomas Osmeña is only using the senior citizens to further his campaign.

Atan accuses Tomas of using CH employees in campaign

BUSINESSMAN Jonathan Guardo raised yesterday another possible court case against his rival Cebu City Mayor Tomas Osmeña, this time for allegedly using City Hall employees in the administration party's campaign.

Cuenco gets go signal to campaign

Bando Osmeña-Pundok Kauswagan candidate Ronald Cuenco can now go on with his campaign to run for a seat in the City Council without worries after the Commission on Election en Banc decided to reverse and set aside their first ruling on his disqualification.

Cops trace car used by accused in mauling

The police have already traced the owner of the car reportedly used by Supt. Ariel Palcuto who was accused of mauling a political bet for taking the campaign posters of his father, vice mayoralty bet retired Col. Rico Palcuto.

Senior Supt. Patrocinio Comendador, Director of Cebu City Police Office, revealed that the registered owner of the vehicle, with plate numbers KDR-220, is not directly linked to both Palcutos.

However, Comendador said that the younger Palcuto's name may not be linked directly on the vehicle's registered owner but this does not mean that he is not involved in the incident either.

Comendador said that after checking at the Land Transportation Office-7, it was found out that the owner of the black Honda CRV is registered in Region 10.

"It is another person, dili ang gipasanginlan (Palcuto). But this will not necessarily mean na wala na siya'y labot sa incident," Comendador told reporters yesterday.

The CCPO director declined to name the owner of the vehicle but he said the owner is a prominent personality in the said region and is also known in Cebu City.

Comendador said they may also trace the one who is currently using the vehicle.

"Basin nabaligya lang sa ilaha ang vehicle…Probably, it's the one being used. There was also positive identification, but we will investigate," he said.

Comendador said the CCPO will continue its own investigation while also coordinating with the Commission on Human Rights-7 where the complainant sought help to investigate mainly on the incident.

Renil Oliva, the regional chairman and fourth nominee of the Kabataan Partylist, alleged that he and his companion were mauled by a man he identified as Supt. Palcuto and the vice-mayoralty bet's men after they were accused of tearing his posters.

The incident happened past 11 p.m. last Saturday along Gov. Mariano Cuenco Ave., few meters away from where the Kabataan Partylist volunteers posted campaign posters for Senatorial candidates Lisa Maza and Satur Ocampo.

In yesterday' report, lawyer Pedro Leslie Salva, who represents Rico Palcuto and his son Ariel, denied the accusation against his client.

Salva said that the two were not even in the area where the alleged mauling took place and that he can attest to that as he was in the residence of the Palcutos at 10 p.m. last Saturday and left when both Palcutos were preparing to go to bed.

The lawyer said that he thinks the party-list group is only after attention from the media.

He added that they are also contemplating filing libel charges against the Kabataan Partylist members.

Strafing in Tabuelan linked to supporters' argument

A STRAFING incident in Tabuelan is seen as related to politics after supporters of mayoral candidate Raul Gerona and his challenger Rex Gerona, his brother, got into an argument.

Bidder fails test but still wins P75-M indelible ink contract

MANILA, Philippines - Texas Resources Corp. will be supplying indelible inks to the Commission on Elections (Comelec) despite reports its product failed initial tests and can easily be removed with a solvent.

According to the Comelec's web site, the Bids and Awards Committee has given a notice of award to Texas Resources for the supply of indelible links with at least 7% silver nitrate content.

The notice of award, issued on March 29, also states the stain should not be easily removable by solvents like ethyl alchohol, benzene, gasoline, soap, solvent, oxalic acid, 95% bleaching solvent, acetone, lacquer thinner, brake fluid, ascorbic acid, water, and kerosene.

A total of 720,000 bottles of indelible ink will be supplied for P105 each. The contract costs around P75 million, lower than the Comelec's P77 million budget for the indelible ink.

Earlier, Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting (PPCRV) coordinator Dr. Arwin Serrano said there should be a rebidding after Texas Resources' product failed a bidding test.

Serrano said a failure of bidding was declared after the ink was easily removed with the use of one of the solvents.

"Mas maganda talaga kung magkakaroon ng rebidding. Ang gusto ko nga ay certification from the DOST [Department of science and Technology] that the silver nitrate content is really in that particular level. Talaga bang 7% siya?" he told reporters last Friday.

The Comelec has said the ink passed a second test, but that it has yet to issue an award to any company.

Interviewed over the phone on Tuesday, Serrano said he was surprised to find out that a notice of award has been given.

Even Comelec spokesperson James Jimenez was shocked.

"I just found out that an award for the supply of indelible has been made a month ago. I am severely disappointed that this was not the information I had when I stated that no award had yet been made and that a rebidding was a possibility. I apologize for the miscommunication and for any inconvenience it may have caused. Rest assured that I will personally find out why this happened," Jimenez said in a text message to reporters.

Shake before use

Commissioner Nicodemo Ferrer also said he doesn't know an award has been given.

However, he said that the indelible ink is of good quality. Showing one of his fingers with traces of the stain, he said that during mock elections in the Senate on March 25, Texas Resources' ink was used.

"Bumoto ako noon, tapos nandito pa," he said, referring to the stain.

"Siguro hindi nila nakita ang instructions. Shake before gamitin," he added, shaking his body in front of reporters.

Meanwhile, a notice of award has also been issued to One Time Carbon (OTC) Paper Supply on March 18 for the supply of "fingerprint takers" or stamp pads for the elections.

OTC was embroiled in controversy after the Comelec canceled its deal with the company for ballot secrecy folders. The contract price was found to be "extravagant and beyond the ordinary needs of the Commission." (Read: Supplier for botched ballot secrecy folders files appeal)

Ferrer said he sees nothing wrong with awarding the stamp pad supply contract to OTC because it is not a blacklisted bidder.

'Undecideds' grow in number; mudslinging may deter voters

Dumadami ang bilang ng mga botante na "undecided" o hindi pa makapag-desisyon kung sino ang kanilang iboboto. Ito ang lumabas sa pinakabagong survey ng Pulse Asia. Posible raw nawawalan ng gana ang maraming botante dahil sa tumitinding siraan ng mga kandidato. Lumabas din sa survey na ang ABS-CBN ang pinaka-pinagkakatiwalaan sa pag-cover ng kampanya.

Gordon threatens to sue survey firms

MANILA, Philippines - Bagumbayan presidential candidate Richard Gordon on Tuesday threatened to sue survey groups, saying they did not ask his permission to include his name in pre-election surveys.

Kapatiran seeks free media exposure

BAGUIO CITY, PhilippinesAng Kapatiran Party (AKP) asked Tuesday the Supreme Court to compel the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to give the party free exposure in print and broadcast media as mandated in the elections laws.

In a 10-page petition, AKP wanted the high tribunal to compel the Comelec to implement Resolution 8758, which outlines the rules and regulations under the Fair Election Practices Act.

The party said that the Comelec is mandated by law to provide all candidates for national office with free print space and air time during the campaign period to give candidates equal opportunities under equal circumstances to make known their qualifications and stand on public issues and promote the holding of free, orderly, honest, peaceful and credible elections through fair election practices.

The AKP said the poll body unlawfully neglected the performance of its duty under the law when it did not implement its own Resolution 8758.

Thus, the Honorable Court should issue a writ of mandamus to compel respondent Comelec to comply with its legal mandate to implement Sections 16 and 17 of Comelec Resolution No. 8758, it said.

Olongapo city councilor and nephew of Senator Richard Gordon John Carlos JC delos Reyes is AKPs standard bearer with lawyer Dominador Jun Chipeco from Laguna as his running-mate. The party has seven senatorial candidates.

Nograles: Lakas faction may abandon Gibo

MANILA, Philippines--House Speaker Prospero Nograles warned on Tuesday that senior members of Lakas-Christian Muslim Democrats, the backbone of ruling party, may decide to abandon presidential candidate Gilberto "Gibo" Teodoro" Jr. if he doesn't "shape up" his campaign.

CBCP hits Villar's 'womanizer' endorsers

MANILA, Philippines – The Catholic Church on Tuesday criticized Sen. Manuel Villar Jr. of the Nacionalista Party (NP) for tapping celebrity endorsers who are reputed "womanizers."

Protests greet Arroyo in nuke summit in US

Nakiisa si Pangulong Arroyo sa kampanya ng Amerika laban sa pagbuo ng weapons of mass destruction ng mga terorista sa Nuclear Security Summit sa Amerika! Pero ang kanyang pagbisita, sinabayan ng protesta ng ilang grupo ng mga Pinoy!

Brod of Abu leader among 15 dead in Basilan bombings

ZAMBOANGA CITY, Philippines(UPDATE 4) Fifteen persons, including the brother of Abu Sayyaf leader Purudji Indama, were killed when Abu Sayyaf bandits, wearing police and military uniforms, set off bombs and clashed with police and Marine soldiers in Isabela City in Basilan province Tuesday.

Two civilians and a man wearing a police uniform, who later turned out to be Benzar Indama, were confirmed dead in the first blast that destroyed a Hyundai Starex van parked beside the Basilan National High School grandstand in Barangay (village) Eastside around 10:30 a.m.

Senior Supt. Antonio Mendoza, Basilan police chief, said Marine soldiers responded to the bomb attack but they were fired upon by armed men as they were approaching the grandstand.

Two of the Marines were initially wounded and later died, he said.

Mendoza said two more men wearing police uniforms were captured by Marine soldiers near the grandstand during the firefight.

Apparently these armed men in military and police uniforms were behind the bombing near the grandstand, Lt. Gen. Ben Dolorfino, Western Mindanao Command chief, said, adding that the suspects were Abu Sayyaf bandits.

Mendoza said that while government troops clashed with the gunmen, another explosion rocked the rear portion of the Santa Isabel Cathedral along J.S. Alano St. around 11 a.m.

Five persons were wounded in the second explosion, he said.

Basilan Bishop Martin Jumoad said small stores and shops including the LBC counter at the back of the cathedral were damaged.

I received reports from nuns and priests that four vehicles were also among those damaged in the explosion, he said.

Mendoza said a third bomb was later detonated by authorities when it was found that it could be remotely set off.

Jumoad said there were a total of five explosions that occurred in Isabela City Tuesday although Mendoza maintained there were only two, excluding the one deliberately detonated by authorities.

One at the Isabela Plaza, one near the house of Judge Leo Principe, one at the Basilan National High School, one at the cathedral and one near city hall, Jumoad said.

Dolorfino, as of press time, said three Marines had already been killed.

A policeman was also killed in the clashes while two civilians died in the crossfire.

Right now clashes are ongoing near the Tabiawan area, Dolorfino said, saying the attackers might proceed to Lamitan.

In March, an Abu Sayyaf landmine wounded three Filipino soldiers on Basilan.

Two roadside bombs killed a Filipino soldier and wounded 12 other people in near-simultaneous attacks also on Basilan island in February.

In September last year, an improvised explosive device blamed on the Abu Sayyaf killed a Filipino Marine and two US soldiers on a training mission on neighboring Jolo island.

Bishops to government: Declare martial law in Basilan

MANILA, Philippines – Bishops have called anew for the government to declare martial law in Basilan province to address the terrorist acts committed by armed groups, including the Abu Sayyaf.

In an interview by Church-run Radio Veritas, Cotabato Bishop Jose Colin Bagaforo said all the churches in Mindanao are also one in condemning the latest bomb attack on the Sta. Isabel de Portugal Cathedral this morning in Isabela town in Basilan. 

"Matagal ng hinihingi ni Bishop (Martin) Jumoad sa militar, sa PNP maging sa Pangulong Arroyo na ideklara ang martial law sa Basilan. Dapat isaalang-alang ng pamahalaan na magkaroon ng peace of mindang mga taga-Basilan at sa buong rehiyon ng Mindanao. The government should understand the whole situation in Mindanao that lack peace and order," said Bagaforo, who also experienced the bombing in his own diocese in the past. 

For his part, Jumoad appealed for sobriety among the people of Isabela following the bombing incident. 

"I call the men and women in uniform, we need the assistance to neutralize the situation in the cathedral. The AFP and PNP should neutralize the rebels who have attacked the cathedral in Isabela City," the bishop said in a separate interview.

Abu Sayyaf an enduring threat in Philippines

MANILA, April 13, 2010 (AFP) - The Al Qaeda-linked Abu Sayyaf group remains capable of causing chaos in the southern Philippines despite the US military's involvement in a nearly decade-long campaign to extinguish it.

In the latest violence blamed on the small band of Islamic militants, at least 15 people were killed Tuesday in bombings and shootings on the remote southern island of Basilan.

Regional military chief Benjamin Dolorfino said the attacks came despite tight security on Basilan, a longtime Abu Sayyaf stronghold, in preparation for the national elections on May 10.

The Abu Sayyaf was founded in the 1990s with seed money from Osama bin Laden's Al Qaeda-network to fight for an independent Muslim state in the south of the mainly Catholic nation, Philippine military intelligence officials say.

The militants often resort to kidnappings, mainly targeting foreigners and Christians, to raise funds from ransoms.

Failure to pay ransoms often results in the beheading of the hostages.

The group is also capable of much bigger strikes, such as the bombing of a ferry in Manila Bay in 2004 that claimed more than 100 lives and was the nation's worst terrorist attack.

US Special Forces advisers arrived in the southern Philippines to train and equip the Filipino military to combat the Abu Sayyaf in 2001 as part of then US president George W. Bush's so-called "war on terror."

A few hundred US troops have been in the south constantly since then.

US intelligence and weaponry have helped Filipino soldiers capture or kill many of the Abu Sayyaf's main leader.

Most recently, the government scored three consecutive blows against the group in late February with the arrest of a senior bomb-maker, the killing of a top commander and the capture of a member buying the group's ammunition.

The military estimates the group now has less than 400 militants, down from a peak of about 1,200 in 2002.

But they are still capable of carrying out shocking attacks in and around the heavily forested islands of Basilan and Jolo, where they can count on the support of Muslim communities as well as other militant groups.

Elements of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, a Muslim rebel group that has been waging a separatist insurgency in the southern Mindanao region since the 1970s, are also known to mix with the Abu Sayyaf.

Another example of the Abu Sayyaf's enduring threat came in February when its gunmen raided a town on Basilan, killing 11 people.

Basilan bishop sad, angry over attack in Isabela

ZAMBOANGA CITY, Philippines - Basilan Bishop Martin Jumoad expressed sadness and anger after the Isabela Cathedral was also bombed Tuesday morning.

Isnaji returns to Sulu, seeks re-election

MANILA, Philippines - After staying in jail for the past 22 months, Indanan, Sulu Mayor Alvarez Isnaji returned home Tuesday to reclaim his post and jumpstart his campaign for re-election.

DFA repatriates 113 Pinoys from Jeddah, Qatar

The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) has facilitated the repatriation of 113 distressed Filipinos from Jeddah and Qatar.

Philippine Consul General in Jeddah Ezzedin Tago said 76 Filipinos housed at the Hajj Terminal were able to come home in four batches over the Holy Week.

"Thirty-six repatriates comprised the first batch, which arrived in Manila on March 31, while the second batch of nine arrived the next day. The third batch of 22 Filipinos arrived on April 2, and another nine arrived the next day," the DFA said in its website (www.dfa.gov.ph).

It said these repatriates were housed at the Hajj Terminal, a center run by the Consulate General and the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA).

The DFA said this is a part of an arrangement with the Saudi government to spare Filipinos from the heat and loitering under the Kandara Bridge.

The Kandara Distrcit overpass (often called a bridge) has become "an unofficial international transport terminal" and a "vice den" where illegal immigrants and overstayers congregate, according to a news report posted Tuesday on the Saudi Gazette.

Meanwhile, 37 distressed overseas Filipino workers arrived from Qatar on the morning of April 8.

They were welcomed and assisted at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport by DFA Office of the Undersecretary for Migrant Workers Affairs (DFA-OUMWA) Executive Director Enrico Fos, and a team from the DFA-OUMWA and the OWWA.

The repatriation was made possible through the efforts of the Philippine Embassy in Qatar, the OWWA and the Philippine Overseas Labor Office of the Embassy.

DFA-OUMWA is working closely with the Philippine Embassies and Consulates General to facilitate the repatriation of other distressed Filipinos overseas.

DOLE blasted for myopic solution on seafarers

MANILA, Philippines – A migrant Filipino workers group hit the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) for its short-sightedness and insensitivity in addressing the concerns of Filipino seafarers, including the high incidence of piracy.

Reacting to the recent launching of the search for outstanding Filipino seafarers by DOLE, Migrante said instead of awards, these workers need protection. 

"Instead of crafting doable programs for the protection of our Filipino seafarers' well-being and to advance their rights and welfare, here is the Labor department spending their time, efforts, and budget searching for outstanding Filipino seafarers," said John Leonard Monterona, Migrante International regional coordinator for the Middle East. 

With the high incidence of sea piracy victimizing a large number of Filipino seafarers, Monterona said the government must not stop thinking in crafting doable programs for the protections, security and welfare of Filipino seafarers and not just merely giving awards to a selected few. 

He branded the award as a "sham recognition of the contribution of our Filipino seafarers to the maritime industry." 

Monterona cited data gathered by a news wires service which showed that in 2009, there were 406 reported incidents of piracy, in which 153 vessels were boarded and 49 were hijacked. A total of 1,052 crew members were taken hostage. 

"The Arroyo government should stop fooling our Filipino seafarers by merely giving them awards; what our seafarers need, like land-based OFWs, is protection, welfare programs and affordable social services," Monterona said. 

$1: P44.675

$1: P44.675

Euro 1: P60.8009

DOF: BOC may see strong collections in Q2

The Finance Department believes that the Bureau of Customs (BOC) can post strong collections in the second quarter due to an expected increase in imports. Finance Undersecretary Gil Beltran says the BOC can even surpass its P68.9-billion collection target for the period. Customs, which accounts for a fifth of government revenues, already outperformed targets in the first 3 months of the year.

Obama to press nations to lock down nuclear arms

WASHINGTON D.C., United States - US President Barack Obama was Tuesday to urge world leaders to lock down nuclear material and arms to ensure extremists can never hold nations hostage with the threat of an atomic attack.

ASEAN chief warns Thailand crisis 'deteriorating'

JAKARTA, Indonesia - The political crisis in Thailand is deteriorating and shaking confidence in the region as a whole, the head of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), Surin Pitsuwan, said Tuesday.

Arum: Pacquiao to fight in September if he loses in poll

MANILA, Philippines – Manny Pacquiao will likely fight in September if he loses in the elections on May 10, according to Top Rank promoter Bob Arum.

2 silvers on Day 2 for CVRAA

TARLAC - Just like the short, torrential rain that quenched the dry lands of Tarlac, swimmer Loren Dale Echavez and jumper Ivan Castañeda were the only bright spots in an otherwise droughty performance.

CVRAA baseball humbles CAR, 6-0

THE CVRAA baseball elementary team is off to win this year's title after blanking the Caraga Autonomous Region (CAR) in the 53rd edition of the Palarong Pambansa at the Tarlac Recreational Park.

NCR, Bicol bets shine in Palaro

from mb.com.ph

TARLAC CITY — Bicol and the National Capital Region each won two gold medals at the resumption of the Palarong Pambansa Tuesday at the Tarlac Recreational Park.

Bicol struck through Mark Harry Diones in the secondary boys' triple jump and Marian de Dios in the secondary girls' long jump while NCR won the first two events in gymnastics.

Diones, 17, of Libmanan, Camarines Sur, set a new meet record in the event with 14.46 meters, topping the 14.21 meters recorded by Paulo Martinez of Southern Tagalog in 2002.

His effort was a big improvement from his personal best of 13.50 meters in taking the bronze medal last year in Tacloban.

Central Visayas' Ivan Castaneda, winner of the long jump, settled for the silver in 14.34 meters while Joenel Vargas of host Central Luzon got the bronze in 14.03 meters.

De Dios, on the other hand, had a leap of 5.17 meters, beating Calabarzon's Michel Palmares (5.16) and Western Visayas bet Felyn Deloso (5.10), who took the silver and bronze, respectively.

Ralph Efraim Gesulgon gave Western Visayas its first gold in javelin (secondary boys) in 52.48 meters. Rizal Kasim of ARMM got the silver in 51.22 meters and Werjhon Albarico took the bronze in 48.52 meters.

In the other completed event, Southern Tagalog's Mark Louie Ada bagged the gold in discus throw (elementary boys) in 26.39 meters. Ricson Baysa of Central Luzon settled for the silver in 26.27 and Jecson Palacay of Davao Region got the bronze in 26.05 meters.

Shut out in athletics for the second straight day, the Big City athletes dominated the start of gymnastics and defeated Cordillera Autonomous Region, 25-16, 25-5, in elementary boys' volleyball.

Arielle Nichole Orella, an 11-year-old daughter of a factory worker from Tondo, led a 1-2-3 NCR finish the individual all-around with 53.380 points.

Teammate Princess Flores settled for second in 45.809 and Jelligyn Gerandoy got the bronze in 45.473 points.

The Big City gymnasts also ruled the rhythmic event with 144.690 (10 points), beating Ilocos Region (99,264) and Region 12 (91,838).

A total of 42 gold medals (21 secondary and 21 elementary) are at stake in gymnastics.

Filipino pool masters forced to work as coaches abroad

MANILA, Philippines – Several billiard masters, including former world champion Ronato "The Volcano" Alcano, are leaving the Philippines in search for greener pastures abroad.

N.B.A. Roundup: Trail Blazers' Roy Needs Surgery on Knee

from NYT > Pro Basketball by By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
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Roy missed Monday night's game against Oklahoma City and will also sit out Wednesday's regular-season finale against Golden State. He will need surgery that will keep him out from four to six weeks. But Roy said he might try to play with the injury in the playoffs because doctors told him it could not worsen.

Roy is the Blazers' leading scorer at 21.8 points a game. He injured his knee on Sunday when the Blazers played at the Lakers.

Portland has clinched a spot in the playoffs, but its opponent in the first round has yet to be determined.

RAPTORS 111, PISTONS 97 Andrea Bargnani had 33 points, Amir Johnson scored a career-high 26 and Toronto improved its playoff prospects by ending a five-game losing streak. The visiting Raptors moved a half-game behind the Bulls for the final postseason spot in the Eastern Conference. The Raptors, who close the season Wednesday at home against the Knicks, will earn a playoff berth if they end the season tied with Chicago, which finishes against Boston and at Charlotte.

SPURS 133, TIMBERWOLVES 111 Keith Bogans scored 17 points — he was one of eight Spurs in double figures — and host San Antonio stayed on track to avoid the eighth seed in the West and a first-round series against the Lakers. Oklahoma City and Portland are also jockeying to avoid the Lakers in one of the closest West playoff races in years. MAGIC 118, PACERS 98 Vince Carter scored 21 points to lead visiting Orlando to its fifth straight win. The Magic has the league's second-best record. It can earn home-court advantage in a potential N.B.A. finals matchup against any Western Conference team with a win on Wednesday against Philadelphia.

NUGGETS 121, GRIZZLIES 101 J. R. Smith scored 26 points, and host Denver posted its biggest offensive output in a month. The Nuggets can win their second straight Northwest Division title by beating Phoenix on Tuesday.

HEAT 107, 76ERS 105 Dwyane Wade scored 30 points and passed to Udonis Haslem for the go-ahead basket with 1.3 seconds left for visiting Miami.

HAWKS 104, BUCKS 96 Joe Johnson scored 31 points to lead Atlanta at Milwaukee in a matchup of potential first-round playoff opponents.

AROUND THE LEAGUE Kobe Bryant will not play in the Lakers' last two regular-season games to rest the broken bone in his index finger on his right shooting hand. ... Phoenix center Robin Lopez remains sidelined with a back injury, and the team said his chances of returning for the playoffs were diminishing. ... Sacramento exercised the option on the contract of Coach Paul Westphal for the 2011-12 season.

Presidential bets now available - in tissues!

Kung kanya-kanyang gimik ang mga kandidato sa kanilang kampanya, ang mga negosyante, sumabay din. Pati kahon ng tissue paper, nilagyan ng mukha ng presidential candidates!

Erap has 'wardrobe malfunction' in Leyte sortie

Kakaiba namang eksena ang nakita sa pangangampanya ni dating pangulong Joseph Estrada sa Leyte. Nabutas kasi ang kanyang pantalon sa kainitan ng kampanya. Pero imbes na madismaya, nagamit pa ni Erap ang insidente para aliwin ang kanyang mga tagasuporta.

Sarah Geronimo 'saddened' by Rachel Anne Go's move

Taas-noong nagmartsa si Erik Santos na graduate na ng kursong BS Psychology! Nalungkot naman si Sarah Geronimo sa paghihiwalay nila ng landas ng kaibigang singing champion na si Rachel Anne Go.

Lea Salonga willing to play 'cougar' for John Lloyd Cruz

Kinikilig na inamin ng broadway singer na si Lea Salonga: gusto niyang sunod na maka-love team si John Lloyd Cruz!  Ano naman kaya ang reaksyon ni John Lloyd?

Bea Alonzo, Lorna Tolentino to reunite in a film

MANILA, Philippines – After more than 5 years, young star Bea Alonzo and veteran actress Lorna Tolentino are set to be reunited on the big screen.

Ai-Ai delas Alas, Aga Muhlach to do rom-com TV series

MANILA, Philippines - ABS-CBN stars Aga Muhlach and Ai-Ai delas Alas shared their excitement for their upcoming television show.

Dolphy, Rivermaya honor funnyman Palito

Sa huling pagkakataon, nagpugay si comedy king Doplhy sa namayapang kaibigan at sidekick na si Palito. Iiwan din ni Palito ang kanyang huling music video kasama ang bandang Rivermaya.

Rainshowers in Metro won't last—Pagasa

MANILA, PhilippinesLike most good things in life, rain and cloudy skies in the middle of summer in Metro Manila will not last, according to the weather bureau.

Nathaniel Cruz, deputy administrator for operations of the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa), said Tuesday mornings brief rainshower and cloudiness will be short-lived.

We expect the cloudiness to persist until Wednesday. It provided a brief respite from the heat. But it wont last. After that, its back to the heat, Cruz said.

He explained that the clouds and brief rain were caused by the warm easterly winds that have been bringing rain to the Mindanao region.

These rains do not mean the effect the El Nio is gone or that the rainy season has set in, Cruz said.

He noted that rainshowers in Metro Manila are a rare occurrence considering [that] it is April.

Meanwhile, the maximum temperature of 39.7 degrees Celsius recorded on Monday in Tuguegarao, the hottest spot in the Philippines, was the highest this year anywhere in the country.

The human body with a fever of 40 degrees should be going into convulsions already, said Cruz.

He explained that Pagasa takes the ambient temperature, or under a shade.

If you take the temperature under direct sunlight, it is easily an additional one to three degrees of heat," he said.

Metro Manila will see maximum temperatures ranging from 34-35 degrees Celsius.

According to Pagasas weather forecast for the next three days, Mindanao, Southern Luzon and the eastern section of the Visayas can expect mostly cloudy skies with scattered rainshowers and thunderstorms.

The rest of the country, including Metro Manila, will have partly cloudy to at times cloudy skies with isolated rainshowers or thunderstorms.

Heat stroke kills several people in metro

MANILA, Philippines – Authorities have rescued several street people in Manila after several deaths blamed on the heat were reported among the homeless in Metro Manila.

St. Martin I (April 13, 2010)

When Martin I became pope in 649, Constantinople was the capital of the Byzantine empire and the patriarch of Constantinople was the most influential Church leader in the eastern Christian world. The struggles that existed within the Church at that time were magnified by the close cooperation of emperor and patriarch.

1 comment:

郭君 said...

成功是一把梯子,雙手插在口袋裡是爬不上去的。..................................................

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