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

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

May 12, 2010 Major News Stories

Oil company cuts pump prices

AN OIL company has announced price cuts on gasoline and diesel effective today to reflect lower world prices.

Unioil Petroleum Philippines, Inc. said in a text message: "We would like to inform you that Unioil will have a price rollback on diesel products P0.25 per liter inclusive and all gasoline products P0.75 per liter VAT (value-added tax) inclusive effective 12:01 of May 12."

Unioil did not reduce its cooking gas price.

Other oil companies could not be reached for comment.

Unleaded fuel prices range at P43.70-P45.25 with the common rate at P45.25. Diesel products have a price range of P34.65-P37.95 with a common price of P35.50.

Prices of Dubai crude as of May 11 fell to $83 per barrel from $84 a month ago.

Unleaded gasoline is at $91 from $96 last month. Diesel fell by a dollar to $95 from $96 last month.

Energy Secretary Jose C. Ibazeta earlier told reporters that oil companies are not required to report price cuts to the Department of Energy.

"It is a courtesy that they report their price adjustments because under the Oil Deregulation Law there is no need to do so," said Mr. Ibazeta.

Comelec proclaims Bohol governor

TAGBILARAN CITY, Philippines – The Commission on Elections (Comelec) proclaimed Lakas Kampi-CMD bet Edgar Chatto as Bohol governor early Tuesday night.

Comelec suspends national canvassing

Suspendido pa rin ang national canvassing sa PICC hanggang Miyerkules ng umaga. Inaasahan namang mas mapapabilis na ang national canvassing, matapos iutos ng Comelec na payagan na ang mga canvassing board na ipadala ang mga canvassed result kahit hindi pa 100 porsyentong kumpleto ang resulta.

Comelec to wait for all results before proclaiming winners

Unlike in past elections when the canvassing was done manually, the winners in the senatorial and party-list races in this years automated polls will not be proclaimed unless all the results have been counted by the Commission on Elections (Comelec).

"Way back then, the practice was to proclaim winners even without complete election results if only to avoid protests. But here under the [automated] system, there can be no proclamation unless there is a hundred percent count," said Comelec chairman Jose Melo at a press briefing on Tuesday.

The Comelec is currently sitting as the National Board of Canvassers (NBOC) counting the votes in Mondays elections, the first nationwide automated polls in the country.

Melo issued the statement after the Comelec released partial official results of the elections early Tuesday. He noted, however, that they would no longer release any updates after their last report based on votes cast by 30,431,735 voters.

Delayed proclamation?

Melo admitted that the canvassing might delay the proclamation of election winners.

The NBOC will base its proclamation on the certificates of canvass (COC) that will be sent by the Provincial Board of Convassers (PBC). The PBC will in turn receive COCs from the city and municipal board of canvassers.

On the other hand, Congress, also sitting as the NBOC, will serve as the canvassing board for the position of president and vice president. They are set to convene on May 31.

As of 3 p.m. Tuesday, only four of the countrys 80 provinces were able to transmit their COCs to the Comelec.

The low turnout of COCs from PBOC all over the country prompted the NBOC to declare a recess on Tuesday and resume on Wednesday morning.

Likewise, only five citiesSan Juan, Valenzuela, Malabon, Makati and Paranaquein Metro Manila were able to transmit their COCs to Comelec for national canvassing.

"Proceedings might be delayed... but [we will continue] to update you with results as they come," said Melo.

Fast transmission

Melo, however, noted that the transmission of results from the precincts to all levels of canvassing have been generally fast. "The exercise [of voting] was faster than you can say Garci," he said.

The poll body chief was referring to the 2004 election controversy where an allegedly wiretapped conversation between President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and then Comelec Commissioner Virgilio Garcillano surfaced, revealing alleged plots to rig election results.

He said the Comelec is pleased that the election results have so far not been questioned by anybody. "[It shows] credibility on the part of the count. Credibility on the part of the system, credibility on the part of the Comelec," he said.

Commissioner Larrazabal said that the poll body has received almost 79 percent of the uncanvassed official results as of Tuesday morning.

Random Manual Audit

On the other hand, the Comelec has yet to release the results of the Random Manual Audit (RMA), which is supposed to be held in 1,145 precincts nationwide.

"There was no report yet from the field. In the [National Capital Region], we have not received complete reports yet . . . so far they are accurate but we cannot announce it yet because we are waiting for [its completion]," said Commissioner Lucenito Tagle during the same briefing.

The commissioner, however, did not specify the permissible margin of error between Precinct Count Optical Scan (PCOS)-generated results and the RMA.

"We will come to that later once we see the reports," he said.

PPCRV update for presidential, VP, senatorial posts

MANILA, PhilippinesPPCRV update (partial unofficial precincts count), 85.86 percent or 65,662 out of 76,475 precincts nationwide.

PRESIDENTS: (as of 6:25 p.m.)

Aquino, Benigno III 13,165,152
Estrada Ejercito Joseph 8,425,899
Villar, Manuel 4,739,226
Teodoro, Gilberto Jr. 3,509,401
Villanueva, Eduardo 985,798
Gordon, Richard 449,582
Acosta, Vetellano 156,797
Perlas, Jesus Nicanor 46,728
Madrigal, Jamby 40,268
De Los Reyes, John Carlos 38,194

VICE PRESIDENTS: (as of 3:57 p.m.)

Binay, Jejomar 12,921,315
Roxas, Manuel 12,072,145
Legarda, Loren 3,607,753
Fernando, Bayani 899,844
Manzano, Eduardo 673,210
Yasay, Perfecto 317,659
Sonza, Jose 55,161
Chipeco, Dominador 45,376


Revilla, Ramon Jr 17,022,974
Estrada, Jinggoy 16,684,657
Defensor Santiago, Miriam 15,231,194
Drilon, Franklin 13,936,251
Enrile, Juan Ponce 13,784,623
Cayetano, Pilar Juliana 12,047,103
Marcos, Ferdinand Jr. 11,625,406
Recto, Ralph 10,883,911
Sotto, Vicente III 10,453,634
Osmena, Sergio 10,200,132
Lapid, Manuel 9,606,857
Guingona, Teofisto III 9,052,230
Hontiveros-Baraquel, Ana Theresa 8,033,787
Biazon, Rozzano Rufino 7,593,983
De Venecia Jose III 7,345,855
Remulla, Gilbert 6,611,100
Lim, Danilo 6,453,729
Roco, Sonia 5,959,493
Querubin, Ariel 5,776,736
Pimentel, Gwendolyn 5,588,264

Aquino ahead of count in 12 regions; Estrada only in 4

MANILA, Philippines Senator Benigno Aquino III dominated the presidential race in 12 regions, according to a tally of 65,291 out of 76,475 precincts nationwide conducted by the Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting (PPCRV).

PPCRV lawyer Howard Calleja said the runner-up, former president Joseph Estrada, only led in Regions 2 (Cagayan Valley), 10 (Northern Mindanao), 11 (Davao Region) and 12 (SOCCSKSARGEN).

In the vice presidential race, Senator Manuel Mar Roxas II was only ahead in Regions 6 (Western Visayas), 7 (Central Visayas) and 13 (CARAGA Region) while the rest of the regions were dominated by Makati City Mayor Jejomar Binay.

PPCRV, the accredited citizens arm of the Commission on Elections, also revealed that the source of their tally were data transmitted by PCOS machines nationwide to their command center at the Pope Pius center in Manila. Out of the more than 76,000 precincts, here is the breakdown of data transmissions received by PPCRV (See Table).

Former President Joseph Estrada has yet to give up his fight for the presidency despite the wide lead between him and front runner Sen. Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino III.

Roxas still confident of winning VP race

For Sen. Manuel "Mar" Roxas II, the fight for the vice-presidency is not yet over despite the lead being enjoyed by Makati mayor Jejomar Binay.

Binay camp fears special operations in Visayas, Mindanao

The camp of vice presidential candidate and Makati Mayor Jejomar Binay has asked former Defense Secretary Avelino Cruz to shed light on reports of election-related "special operations" to be conducted by supporters of Sen. Manuel Roxas II in Mindanao.

Preparations to receive CoCs and ERs made


The Senate has thrown a heavy security net for the arrival and reception of certificates of canvass (CoCs) and Election Results (ERs) from all over the country for the purposes of the Senate and the House of Representatives, acting as the National Board of Canvassers (NBC), of canvassing the votes for President and Vice President of the Republic.

This came after Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile opened the receiving computer (consolidation and canvassing server) for transmission of CoCs last Monday night at the Batasang Pambansa complex in Quezon city .

It is the Congress that canvasses the votes cast for each candidate for president and vice president when both legislative houses resume their regular session on May 31 to act as the NBC but Enrile said he would talk with House Speaker Prospero Nograles on the possibility of both houses resuming their regular session before the May 31 schedule.

After opening the receiving computer at the Lower House, Enrile motored to the Senate building at 9 p.m. last Monday night and stayed at the Senate building until 3 a.m. with Senate Secretary Emma Lirio-Reyes to wait for the arrival of CoCs and ERs.

Both Senate officials are scheduled to wait for the arrival of the first CoCs and ERs of the May 10 national elections. These are expected to come from Singapore where overseas Filipinos voted at Philippine consulates.

Retired Air Force Brig. Gen. Jose Balajadia, Senate sergeant-at-arms, said his office had mapped out the necessary security measures to secure the ballot boxes containing the CoCs and ERs at the Senate grounds.

Comelec lauds Villar's 'act of statemanship'

MANILA, Philippines -- The commission on Elections (Comelec) lauded Nacionalista Party standard-bearer Sen. Manny Villar for his "act of statemanship" in conceding to LP presidential bet Sen. Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino III, the frontrunner in this year's presidential race.

The Comelec said it was a hard-fought race for Villar, having had to fend off many personal attacks and allegations.

"By rights Sen. Villar could have consistently stayed to see this contest to the bitter end, however, he chose not do that. Instead he chose to set aside his personal ambition to speed up the process of political reunification that this country needs after all that happened in this election," the Comelec said.

The poll body also expressed its gratitude for the vote of confidence in the automated election system that Villar expressed in the media statement he read this morning when he announced that he was conceding to rival Aquino.

4 presidential bets concede defeat

MANILA, Philippines(UPDATE 2) A day after the election, four presidential candidates conceded to Senator Benigno Noynoy Aquino III, currently the frontrunner in the political race that saw over 40 million Filipinos vote electronically for the first time for their leaders in the national and local levels.

Senators Manuel Villar and Richard Gordon, former defense secretary Gilbert Teodoro, and JC de los Reyesof Kapatiran Party issued separate statements giving notice that they were dropping out of the contest and expressed their support for Aquino who was expected to be proclaimed the next president.

Villar and Gordon said that the people have spoken and congratulated Aquino on his impending victory.

"Nagpasya na ang mga mamamayang Pilipino. Malinaw na sa kabila ng ating pagpupunyagi, hindi tayo nabiyayayaan ng tagumpay sa halalan noong Lunes [The Filipino people have decided. It is clear that despite our efforts, we were not blessed to win in Mondays elections]," Villar said, reading a prepared statement before members of the media in his headquarters at the Starmall in Mandaluyong early Tuesday.

"Humaharap ako sa inyo ngayon upang tanggapin ang pasyang ito, upang igalang ang boses ng sambayanang Pilipino [I face you now to accept this decision, to respect the voice of the Filipino people]," said Villar who, before the elections, was considered Aquinos closest rival for the highest post in the land.

"I fought a good fightI congratulate Senator Noynoy Aquino on his victory. The challenges he and our country face are enormous and we should all work together," Villar, who was clad in white polo barong, said.

Meanwhile, Gordon asked his volunteers to support the new government.

De los Reyes said that while he conceded to the electoral count, he would not give up the platform I was tasked to push, which is to finally enact the anti-dynasty law and abolish pork barrel.

He also expressed support for Aquino in efforts we have in common but did not say what these were.

As for Teodoro, he said he might seek another position if there would be a new system of government.

Villar will remain a senator as he has yet to finish his six-year term while Gordon will return to private life and continue his volunteer work with the Philippine National Red Cross.

Villar lamented that he was the subject of lies during the campaign.

He said he believed that he would be given the chance to clear his name before the public.

"Ako ay naniniwala na sa darating na mga araw ako ay mabibigyan ng pagkakataon na linisin ang aking pangalan upang maliwanagan ang ating mga kababayan. Yan ang mahalaga sa akin higit sa anupamang bagay [I believe that someday I will be given the chance to clear my name before our countrymen. That is most important to me now]," he said.

Villar thanked his family, volunteers, supporters, and his party-mates for sticking it out with him in this election.

He said he would also remember the millions of Filipinos he met during the campaign trail, especially the poor.

"For the rest of my life, I will remain their champion. Bagamat ako ay hindi pinalad, ang aking pangarap na tapusin ang kahirapan ay hindi nagwawakas [Even though I wasnt fortunate, my dream to end poverty is not finished]," he said.

Tuesday's public appearance capped Villar's aspiration for the highest office of the land which some said began as early as 2007 when he was re-elected senator.

Teodoro may seek public office again in new system of gov't

MANILA, Philippines Administration standard-bearer Gilbert Teodoro conceded the presidential race to cousin and Liberal Party standard-bearer Benigno Aquino III.

In a press conference, he said he did not have political plans for 2012 or 2016.

He said he might seek another public office "if there is a new system of government."

Still expressing support for candidates under the Lakas-Kampi-Christian Muslim Democrats banner, he said the country needed constitutional reform.

Danny Lim first senatorial bet to concede

As partial official results of the May 10 elections began coming in, senatorial aspirant and former Army general Danilo Lim was the first to accept defeat in the senatorial race.

Lim, who ranks 17th according to GMA Network's partial and unofficial tally as of 9:31 a.m. on Tuesday, said he bows to the will of the people. Only the top 12 are entitled to Senate seats.

"While I am grateful to the generous ones who, in the face of all odds have opted to place their faith in my candidacy, I must respect the majority who have made other choices," he said in a statement issued Tuesday.

"It is with my deepest respect for the will of the people that I concede the contest for a seat in the Senate. My good wishes and highest expectations go to the winners of these elections," Lim continued.

However, he said his struggle for "genuine freedom and true reform" does not end with his senatorial bid. Lim also thanked those who supported him throughout his campaign.

Lim is facing rebellion charges in connection with the November 2007 standoff at the Manila Peninsula Hotel in Makati City and also faces charges of mutiny before a military court in connection with the February 2006 coup.

Lim sought a Senate seat under the banner of the Liberal Party and was also a guest candidate of the Pwersa ng Masang Pilipino. 

Querubin admits defeat, vows to support new admin

Senatorial aspirant Ariel Querubin, a former military official detained for participating in an attempt to overthrow the Arroyo administration, virtually admitted defeat on Tuesday and vowed to support the new government.

In a text message to reporters sent through his son Martin, Querubin congratulated Sen. Benigno Noynoy" Aquino III and Makati Jejomar Binay for what seems to be their impending victory in Mondays automated elections.

Colonel Querubin is ready to support President Aquino, Vice President Binay and their new administration in this fresh chapter of our life as a nation," the text message read.

As of Tuesday afternoon, both Aquino and Binay continued to lead over their respective rivals in both official and unofficial tallies.

Querubin, who ran under the Manny Villar-led Nacionalista Party, also congratulated the senatorial candidates who made it to the top 12. A partial and unofficial tally by GMANews.TV shows the detained former military officer at 19th place.

Villar, NPs standard-bearer, had already conceded to Aquino.

Querubin also thanked friends, supporters and the close to six million brave Filipinos who fought this fight with him."

It will forever be an inspiration to Colonel Querubin and his family. Wed also like to thank Senator Manuel Villar, the NP, and the media for a job well done," his message read.

Querubin, a decorated Marine officer, is facing mutiny charges in connection with a standoff at the Marine headquarters in Fort Bonifacio on February 26, 2006, two days after President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo declared Proclamation No. 1017 putting the country under a state of emergency.

Ocampo, Maza: We'll watch Aquino presidency closely

As they congratulated Senator Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino III for his clear victory" in the presidential race, militant senatorial candidates Satur Ocampo and Liza Maza on Tuesday said they would be watching how the incoming President will work to solve the country's most pressing woes.

Aquino, Roxas get highest votes in OAV in Vatican

VATICAN – Some 337 nuns and priests in Italy or 38% of the 884 registered absentee voters cast their votes at the Philippine embassy to the Holy See on the last day of the Overseas Absentee Voting (OAV) on Monday, May 10, 2010. 

Malacañang prepares for new president

Malacañang created a transition team Tuesday that would pave the way for the new president to take over the reigns of government after President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo ends her term on June 30.

Mrs. Arroyo tasked Executive Secretary Leandro Mendoza to head the Presidential Transition Coordination Team.

"We must now turn our sights to preparing for a new president, a new Congress and a new set of local government officials," President Arroyo said in statement.

The transition teams job is to ensure a smooth transition of power to a new government. "I am putting our government at the disposal of the incoming leadership," she said in a speech during the 112th anniversary of the Philippine Navy.

The outgoing Mrs. Arroyo was first installed as president in 2001, after then President Joseph Estrada was ousted by a people power revolt in the middle of Senate impeachment on charges of corruption. She was Estradas vice president.

Mendoza and the team would work closely with representatives of the next president to ensure a peaceful, orderly and effective transition on June 30, said Mrs. Arroyo, whose presidency in the last nine years survived three congressional attempts to impeach her on charges of corruption.

She said Mendoza is preparing the first draft of the transition team, claiming the next administration will inherit a nation with a strong momentum on a number of fronts including 37 consecutive quarters of economic growth.

The military should give the incoming president the same support and cooperation they gave her, Mrs. Arroyo said in the statement. "We are committed to doing what is required during this transition to give the next team the support they need to keep our country moving forward," she said.

As of 4:07 p.m. Tuesday, the GMANews.TVs partial and unofficial count of votes in the countrys first automated elections showed Benigno Aquino III leading the presidential race with 13,036,271 votes, followed by his closest rival Estrada with 8,345,828 votes in a field of 10 candidates. The latest numbers from GMANews.TVs election count reflection 84.90 percent of election returns.

In the vice presidential race, Estradas running mate Jejomar Binay was leading with 12,802,259 votes, with Aquinos tandem Manuel Roxas II posting 11,949,985 votes in the same election count. There were eight vice presidential candidates in the May 10 polls.

As of posting time the presidential hopefuls who have conceded the race to Aquino were Manuel Villar Jr., Gilberto Teodoro Jr., Richard Gordon, and John Carlos delos Reyes. Radio dzBB also reported that Eduardo C. Villanueva already did the same.

In a separate press briefing Tuesday in Malacañang, Deputy Presidential Spokesperson Rogelio Peyuan demanded a public apology from candidates and political parties that accused the Arroyo administration of secretly hatching a no election scenario to perpetuate her presidency beyond June 30.

Noynoy vows to revive 'Hello, Garci' probe

TARLAC, Philippines - Benigno Aquino, the man set to become the next Philippine president, said Tuesday he planned to have the incumbent Gloria Arroyo investigated for alleged vote-rigging.

Aquino starts 'talent search' for Cabinet

Senator Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino III has begun his "talent search" for possible members of his Cabinet even before he could be proclaimed president.

Belmonte starts work for speakership bid in House

Quezon City congressman-elect and incumbent mayor Feliciano Belmonte Jr. said on Tuesday he has started the groundwork for his House speakership bid and has just been waiting for the go-signal of the Liberal Party.

Villar could retake Senate presidency

Tinanggap na ni Nacionalista presidential bet Manny Villar ang pagkatalo niya kay Sen. Noynoy Aquino sa halalan. Pero batay sa bilang ng mga nakaupong senador at posibleng mananalong senador ngayong halalan, may tsansang maging Senate President muli si Villar sa pagbubukas ng Kongreso.

'Pleased' Verzosa directs police force not to let guard down

MANILA, PhilippinesPleased with the security situation on election day, National Police Director General Jesus Verzosa on Tuesday directed his police commanders not to let their guard down as election results are still being canvassed at the town and provincial levels.

Verzosa said the 130,000-strong police force will remain in full alert status (the equivalent of the militarys red alert status) until the Commission on Elections concludes the canvassing of election results for the national and local positions.

The PNP chief also lauded policemen who were fielded to security assistance desks in more than 34,000 voting centers nationwide.

The peaceful conduct of the elections is a testament to our commitment in protecting our democracy, Verzosa told reporters in Camp Crame.

Verzosa also commended the Armed Forces and the Comelec for their cooperation in maintaining the Joint Security Assistance Centers which, he said, was very instrumental in containing election-related violence.

As of Monday night, the PNP said 11 persons were killed in 20 election-related attacks that occurred on the day Filipinos participated in the historic automated balloting.

Inquirer reports indicated that at least 18 people died during what the PNP and AFP described as the most peaceful elections in the country.

MILF, NPA blamed for election violence

The military in Maguindanao on Tuesday linked the Moro Islamic Liberation Front to at least one incident of mortar shelling there while balloting was being conducted on Monday.

Aguilar reelected in Las Piñas; Villar son bags Congress seat

MANILA, Philippines--Mayor Vergel Aguilar was reelected to another term as mayor of Las Pias City, while his running mate Luis Bustamante was also proclaimed winner.

The two were proclaimed by the city board of canvassers at 8 p.m. Tuesday.

Mark Villar, son of Senator Manuel Villar, was elected as representative of the city's lone congressional district, a post formerly held by his mother Cynthia.

Bayani Fernando loses in VP race...and in Marikina

MANILA, Philippines - After almost two decades, former Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) chair Bayani Fernando and wife Marides are about to lose their control over Marikina City.

Iligan mayor wins fresh mandate

from by By Trinidad Velasco, ABS-CBN Northern Mindanao
ILIGAN CITY - Mayor Lawrence Cruz won a fresh three-year term after defeating Attorney Franklin Quijano and Cerillo Badelles in the May 10, 2010 polls.

19 of 20 Lakas mayoral bets in Surigao take lead

SURIGAO CITY - Nineteen of 20 Surigao del Norte Lakas-KAMPI-Padajon Surigao mayoral candidates in twenty municipalities have beaten their Nacionalista Party-Abante Surigao rivals in the Commission on Elections final unofficial tally as of 8 p.m. May 11.

Surigao City Lakas Mayoralty bet Engr. Ernesto Matugas and his vice mayoral running mate incumbent City Councilor Danilo Menor were already officially proclaimed this evening, Surigao del Norte Comelec Provincial Officer Atty. Geraldine Samson said.

In the neck and neck gubernatorial race, former Department of Education regional director Sol Matugas of Caraga Region and Region 8 is now leading the Surigao del Norte Governor race by a margin of more than 1,000 votes against incumbent Governor Robert Ace Barbers as of 8 p.m. Tuesday evening.

Surigao del Norte Gubernatorial bet Sol Matugas got 101,922 votes while closest rival incumbent Governor Robert Ace Barbers of Nacionalista Party-Abante Surigao got 99,845, as of the latest tally of canvassing by the Provincial Board of Canvassers.

In the first congressional district of Surigao del Norte, incumbent Congressman Atty. Francisco Matugas of Lakas-KAMPI-Padajon Surigao got 34,164 votes while closest rival Constantino Navarro, III got 24,349 votes, in the latest tally of canvassing.

Towns under the first congressional district of Surigao del Norte are in Siargao Island, the countrys surfing capital.

In Surigao del Nortes second congressional district, incumbent Rep. Guillermo Romarate, Jr. of Lakas-KAMPI got 78,534 votes while incumbent Surigao City Mayor Alfonso Casurra got 77, 387 votes in the latest tally of the Provincial Board of Canvassers.

Lakas-KAMPI-Padajon Surigao Surigao del Norte mayoralty candidates who are all leading in the latest official count were Jaime Rusillon of General Luna, Alfredo Coro of Del Carmen town; re-electionist incumbent Dapa Mayor Peter Ruaya; Rosemarie Gokiangkee of Claver; re-electionist Alegria town Mayor Dominador Esma. Jr.; re-electionist Gigaquit Mayor Carlos Egay, Sr.; Re-electionist Mainit Mayor Ramon Mondano; re-electionist Malimono Mayor Teodoro F. Sinaca, Jr.; re-electionist Socorro town Mayor Elizabeth Gallanida; Felimon Napuli of Placer town.

Others Lakas-KAMPI Mayoralty bets in Surigao del Norte province were re-electionist Sison town Lexcester Petalvero; re-electionist Sta. Monica Mayor Rosalinda Penera; re-electionist San Isidro Mayor Lamberto Dominos; re-electionist San Francisco Mayor Simplicia Bacol; re-electionist Bacuag Mayor Sheila Cevedo; re-electionist Mayor Cesar Diaz and Desideria Amedo of San Benito, island town of Siargao.

Surigao del Norte Atty. Geraldine Samson told GMANews.TV she is hoping all leading bets tomorrow will be proclaimed despite glitches of some PCOS machines and CF cards which caused the delay of canvassing.

MBC lauds Comelec for 'successful' elections

from by
MANILA, Philippines - The Makati Business Club (MBC) lauded the Commission on Elections (Comelec) for the conduct of "successful" and "credible" elections that many investors hoped for.

Govt releases P7.6B for employees' bonus, cash gifts

The government has released some P7.6 billion for the one-half of the year-end bonus and cash gifts of some of its one million employees.

OFW group urges Noynoy: Review labor export program

MANILA, Philippines – Filipino migrant workers hope that the new administration will review the government's labor export program and create more jobs at home.

US hails democratic milestone in RP polls

THE UNITED STATES yesterday hailed the overall conduct of the Philippines' first automated election and said it looked forward to working with the new leader of a key Asian ally.

British PM Brown resigns, Cameron set for office

LONDON—British Prime Minister Gordon Brown announced his resignation on Tuesday, paving the way for Conservative leader David Cameron to take power five days after deadlocked elections.

Pope sees sex scandal as greatest threat to church

LISBON, Portugal - The clerical abuse scandal represents the greatest threat to the Roman Catholic Church and the crisis was "born from sins within the church" not outside, Pope Benedict XVI said Tuesday on a trip to Portugal.

52 dead in Siberian coal mine blast, 38 missing

MEZHDURECHENSK, Russia Thirty-eight Siberian coal miners are buried so deep in Russia's largest underground coal mine that rescuers use up most of their oxygen tanks trying to reach them and can't spend much time searching for the missing men, the regional governor said Tuesday.

Prime Minister Vladimir Putin traveled to the Raspadskaya mine, about 3,000 kilometers (1,900 miles) east of Moscow, to observe rescue operations, and he raised a series of sharp questions about mine safety and whether the initial rescue work was conducted improperly.

The death toll from the two explosions that hit the mine in the Siberian region of Kemerovo rose to 52 and prospects of finding any survivors nearly three days after the blasts were dimming. Emergencies Ministry spokeswoman Veronika Smolskaya said rescuers searching the tunnels have not established contact with any of the missing.

Full ventilation has not been restored to the mine and rescuers are forced to work with oxygen masks.

Those missing are believed to be some 500 meters (1,600 feet) below the surface and about 1.5 kilometers (nearly a mile) from the nearest shaft, Kemerovo governor Aman Tuleyev said.

"By the time the rescuers get to the main collapse area, their oxygen is almost at it limits. Therefore, little time remains to clean up the collapse," he said, according to the ITAR-Tass news agency.

He said two ventilator shafts are ready to be put in operation, but that there are points where the coal is smoldering, raising the risk that pumping in additional air could set off a new blast.

Many of the dead were rescue workers who went into the shafts after the first blast late Saturday and were caught in the second explosion which was so powerful that it shattered the main shaft and a five-story building at the mine head.

Both the explosions are being blamed on methane, and Putin questioned why rescuers were sent into the mine without a preliminary assessment of the gas concentration, according to the RIA Novosti news agency.

The head of the mine rescue service, Alexander Sin, said rescuers are under orders to immediately render help, the agency reported.

Putin ordered officials to investigate "how production technology was observed, how control instruments operated, what measures the mine managers took to raise reliability, what was the state of individual means of protection and how rescue operations were organized," the ITAR-Tass news agency reported.

There was no information on what set off the blast. Mine explosions and other industrial accidents are common in Russia and other former Soviet republics, and are often blamed on inadequate implementation of safety precautions by companies or by workers themselves.

But Tuleyev was quoted by the business newspaper Vedomosti as saying the mine was one of the world's most technically advanced.

The deadliest explosion in Russia's coal mines in decades occurred in March 2007, when 110 miners were killed.

The Raspadskaya mine produces about 10 percent of Russia's coking coal, Vedomosti said, and a long interruption of production could affect Russia's steel industry. - AP

Pacquiao receives mother's blessing for 1 more fight

MANILA, Philippines - Boxing champion Manny Pacquiao has decided to delay his retirement from the sport after his mother gave him her blessing to do one more fight.

Pacquiao soon to be 1st RP boxer-congressman

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippines' boxing superstar Manny Pacquiao will soon have a 1 win, 1 loss record in his political fights.

Corteza eyes another US billiard title

MANILA, Philippines -- A dozen Filipino cue artists led by reigning national open champ Lee Vann "The Slayer" Corteza will see action in the 2010 Party Poker World Pool Masters and United States Open 10-Ball Championships in May in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Imelda Marcos wins big

Imelda Marcos, the widow of deposed dictator Ferdinand Marcos famous for her vast collection of shoes, won a seat in the House of Representatives Tuesday.

Imelda, Imee Marcos proclaimed in Ilocos

LAOAG CITY, Philippines - The Commission on Elections (Comelec) has proclaimed Imee Marcos, daughter of the late strongman Ferdinand Marcos, as the next governor of Ilocos Norte on Tuesday.

Singson reclaims Ilocos Sur capitol; other kin proclaimed

The comebacking Luis "Chavit" Singson was proclaimed winner in the gubernatorial race in Ilocos Sur on Tuesday afternoon.

Celebrity winners and losers in May 2010 polls

More than a hundred celebrities tried their luck in the recently concluded May 10 elections, but whose stars shone on the ballots?
Here are some of the celebrities who are leading their respective races in the counting of votes based on the unofficial tally of GMA Network, based on 85 per cent of election returns nationwide that have been transmitted to the Commission on Elections (Comelec).

Senators Ramon "Bong" Revilla Jr. and Jinggoy Estrada, and former senator Tito Sotto are almost sure of regaining their seats in the Senate. Their colleague Lito Lapid, however, is still hanging precariously to the 11th spot in the tally.

'Star for All Seasons' Vilma Santos is likewise set to be re-elected as governor of the province of Batangas, while Emilio Ejercito, more popularly known as George Estregan Jr., is likely to be elected as governor of Laguna province.

Also leading the race for Bulacan vice governor is Daniel Fernando, who was almost disqualified by the Comelec for using his screen name instead of his real name.

Almost certainly, Sarangani's lone district will have for its Congressional representative Pinoy boxing icon Manny Pacquiao. TV host Lucy Torres-Gomez, who replaced her husband Richard Gomez in his electoral bid, is also slated to be the next representative of Leyte's 4th district.

Bong Revilla's wife Lani Mercado-Revilla is ahead of her rivals in the Congressional race for Cavite's second district.

Actor Dan Fernandez's bid for re-election as Laguna's first district representative has also prospered, even as he was ousted by the House of Representatives Electoral Tribunal (HRET) due to residency issues. The Supreme Court later reversed the HRET decision.

Former child star Herbert Bautista has been proclaimed as Quezon City mayor, given his wide lead. Alfred Vargas, Roderick Paulate, and Precious Hipolito also garnered enough votes to win seats in the city council.

In Manila, Isko Moreno is assured of re-election as vice mayor, along with city councilors Lou Veloso and Robert Ortega.

Marjorie Barretto and Roselle Nava are likewise leading in the counting of votes for councilor in the cities of Caloocan and Parañaque, respectively.

In a GMA News Research report, 16 out of the 109 celebrities who ran in the May 10 elections were eyeing national positions.

Falling stars

The candidacy of so many showbiz stars have indeed dazzled the first ever automated polls, but for the more unfortunate celebrities, their future in politics seems bleak as seen in the initial results of the counting of votes.

A far second in the presidential race is long-time action star and former President Joseph Estrada, who is trailing front runner Sen. Noynoy Aquino.

In the vice presidential derby, popular television host Edu Manzano is currently in fourth place.

In Bohol, action star Cesar Montano is trailing two other candidates in the gubernatorial race while Rommel Padilla meanwhile is at second place in the vice gubernatorial race for Nueva Ecija.

Aiko Melendez failed to secure the vice mayoral position of Quezon City while in Parañaque, comedians Joey Marquez and Anjo Yllana are facing imminent defeat in the electoral races for mayor and vice mayor, respectively.

Tito Varela and Jestoni Alarcon are also unlikely to clinch Congressional posts for Caloocan City and for the second district of Rizal Province, respectively.

FACTBOX: Noynoy Aquino's policy plans

MANILA, Philippines - Senator Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino III is set for a strong victory in the Philippines' presidential election, and now faces the daunting task of reinvigorating the economy and tackling the country's parlous fiscal position.

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