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

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

May 5, 2010 Major News Stories

Petron to raise fuel prices by P0.50 per liter

Petron Corp. will raise gasoline, diesel, and kerosene prices by P0.50 per liter effective 6 a.m. Wednesday to "reflect the movements in international oil prices," the firm said in an advisory Tuesday.

LPG retailers cut prices by 50c/kilo

Liquefied petroleum gas retailers cut prices of cooking gas by 50 centavos per kilogram effective Tuesday.

This means that the price of an 11-kg LPG cylinder, which is what is used by most households, is expected to drop by almost P6, according to LPG Marketers Association (LPGMA) president Arnel Ty.

In a phone interview, Ty said that member companies of the LPGMA are now selling their 11-kg LPG tanks at P569, down from the previous P575. LPGMA member companies, which supply LPG products to an estimated 30 percent of the Luzon market, carry brands such as Island Gas, Regasco Gas, Pinnacle Gas, Cat Gas, M-Gas, Omni Gas and Nation Gas.

Ty said the price rollback may be attributed to the appreciation of the peso versus the dollar, as per calculations made by LPG importer Liquigaz, which supplies cooking gas to the retailers.

The international contract price, Ty added, remained unchanged at $718 per metric ton this month, compared to the April average.

NBI waiting for court order on turnover of evidence on sinking


The National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) said Tuesday that it still waiting for the copy of the court order directing the bureau to turn over the pieces of evidence from the M/V Princess of the Stars (POTS) sinking.

NBI deputy director for technical services Reynaldo Esmeralda ordered an inventory of all records and evidence on the sinking in the bureau's custody, including findings on the bodies already identified and 38 bodies yet unidentified.

"We have to wait first for the copy of the court order issued by Cebu City regional trial court (RTC) Branch 10 and then we will study this before we take actions. We will see if we will comply or file a motion for reconsideration (MR) asking the court to reconsider its decision. It all depends," he said.

A Cebu court issued an order dated June 29, 2009, resolving Ex-Parte Motion for Exhumation and directing NBI to submit and transfer all records that have been entrusted to its custody, including findings on bodies victims already identified and the 38 still unidentified with 15 days of the receipt of the order.

Meanwhile, NBI expects to be tapped for help in anthropological examination and identification by the Public Attorney's Office (PAO) Forensic Laboratory where the bodies of victims will be turned over.

"We will see what kind of help they are going to request," said Esmeralda.

Candidate killed

A CANDIDATE for the Cebu City Council was gunned down in a crowded area in Barangay Lorega San Miguel at 2:40 p.m. yesterday, while shaking hands on his way to a campaign event.

Police investigators suspect an illegal drug deal that went sour provoked the attack, but the victim's family blamed politics.

Cresistomo "Tata Negro" Llaguno, 35, had been tagged by the police as a major player in the illegal drug trade. He was supposed to hold a press conference today on allegations linking him to narcotics, as well as attempts to portray Vice Mayor Michael Rama as his alleged protector.

Officials from the police and the Commission on Elections (Comelec) saw no basis, despite Llaguno's death, to recommend placing Cebu City in the Comelec's watch list for May 10.

Llaguno died at 5:30 p.m., said Chief Insp. Michael Anthony Bastes. Three hours earlier, he was heading for a "pulong-pulong" in Lorega and about to shake the suspected gunman's hand.

Police arrested a suspect, Jimmy Dialia of Siaton, Negros Oriental, yesterday afternoon.

Senior Supt. Patrocinio Comendador, Cebu City police chief, told reporters the police are not discounting the possibility that the killing was politically motivated.

For now, however, the strongest possible motive is the illegal drug trade, he said.

"There was reportedly some cash from a drug deal that was not remitted. But we are still verifying this information," Comendador said.

He said he sees no basis to recommend the inclusion of the city in the Comelec's watch list of "areas of concern."

Lawyer Edwin Cadungog, city election officer for the south district, said the suspicions of Llaguno's family will still have to be validated.

"Layo pa kaayo na. The police have to validate the allegation before it can recommend placing Cebu City in the watch list, and that still has to go to Comelec en banc for approval," he said.

That process cannot be completed before the May 10 elections.

Llaguno was heading for the barangay sports complex for a "pulong-pulong" when Dialia allegedly attacked.

Dialia was intercepted and arrested by a team of Special Weapons and Tactics policemen along the road in front of Zapatera Elementary School.

Pedro Maloloy-on, 21, who was about a meter away from where Llaguno stood, said the victim approached and extended his hand to Dialia.

Instead of shaking Llaguno's hand, the gunman allegedly shot the victim twice at close range. Llaguno slumped to the ground.

Maloloy-on said Dialia walked a few steps, but when he saw that Llaguno was still moving, turned back and fired three more shots.

Dialia fled toward Sitio Gamol, where he boarded a Talamban-Colon jeepney.

A storeowner told reporters that at 2:30 p.m., Dialia bought a bottle of beer and P50 worth of cell phone load credits.

While drinking beer, Dialia talked to someone on the phone.

Moments later, the gunshots sent the crowd scampering in different directions.

Llaguno's supporters and those who arrived with him but entered the complex ahead ran out and rushed the victim to the hospital.

Residents pointed the Swat team to the direction where Dialia fled and boarded a jeepney that was heading downtown. One took note of the plate number.

P03 Arthur Sabang of the Swat team said they intercepted the jeepney and asked all those inside to step down. Dialia was the last man out.

Police confiscated from him an Armscor .45 pistol and two loaded magazines. Twelve bullets filled the two magazines.

Dialia was taken to the Investigation and Detective Management Branch, for a tactical interrogation.

Llaguno's nephew Junpakz Cinco, 23, claimed he saw Dialia visiting Llaguno's headquarters on B. Rodriguez St., Sitio Kawayan, Sambag 2 thrice last month.

In the first two visits, Llaguno was out campaigning.

Some time in the second week of April, Cinco said, Dialia went back to the headquarters and spoke with Llaguno. The gunman allegedly asked for help from Llaguno to
buy some medicines he listed on a scrap of paper.

It was the first shooting of a candidate in Cebu City in years, but the police saw no basis to place the city in Comelec's watch list.

"It is just coincidental that the victim is a candidate. But the fact remains that he was charged with illegal drugs…he had a shady personality," Comendador said.

Llaguno's older sister, Ma. Thalia Hellstern, 40, believes the attack was politically motivated.

"He had no enemy. Buotan kaayo ang akong igsuon. Kalaban sa politika gyud ang mihimo ini (He was a good man. Only a political opponent could have done this)," she said.

She said about four weeks ago, Llaguno received threatening text messages from an unknown sender.

Hellstern also denied allegations her brother was a drug pusher. He was in the computer business, she said.

Hellstern also said it is unfair for Llaguno's name and that of Vice Mayor Rama to be dragged into the illegal drug trade.

She said Llaguno and Rama are not friends.

Llaguno was supposed to hold a press conference today to answer allegations about his alleged role in the illegal drug trade and the attempts to link him and Rama.

Death helps Tomas, Mike deflect issues

WITHOUT accusing administration candidates of being behind the killing of Cresistomo "Tata Negro" Llaguno yesterday, former senator John Henry "Sonny" Osmeña said city officials will benefit the most from his death.

Tomas shows tests results: 'no tumor, cancer didn't spread'

TO prove that former senator John Henry "Sonny" Osmeña is lying, Cebu City Mayor Tomas Osmeña released copies of his medical check-up results from the M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Texas, dated September last year.

Capitol asks Comelec: probe 'illegal' signages

ONE Cebu wants the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to conduct a formal investigation on the several "election propaganda" at the South Road Properties (SRP).

Ombud tells NBI to submit papers

THE anti-graft office has ordered the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) to submit in three days all its documents pertaining to the Balili property investigation.

In a subpoena, Assistant Ombudsman Virginia Palanca-Santiago asked that the papers be turned over or for NBI 7 Director Medardo de Lemos Jr. to submit a written certification if he no longer has them.

"We submitted all the annexes to the Office of the Governor when we sent her our investigation report. I will inquire if we still have copies in our file," he said. The clerk assigned to the records was not present yesterday.

De Lemos chaired the committee Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia formed to investigate the controversy in August last year.

The controversy revolves around the Capitol's April 2008 purchase of a property from the Balili family in Tinaan, City of Naga for P97 million. The property turned out to be partly underwater.

Garcia approved the deal and signed the contract.

When criticisms were raised against the transaction last year, she apologized publicly and said she merely relied on the recommendations of people under her, including Provincial Board (PB) Member Juan Bolo who supposedly brokered the transaction.

Bolo denied the allegation

In her subpoena duces tecum, or command to produce documents, Santiago zeroed in on the affidavit the governor submitted to the de Lemos panel at the height of the investigation.

She also asked that the affidavit Bolo executed be turned over, as well as that of the Balili family's executor, Romeo Balili.


De Lemos did not comment on why the anti-graft office is securing the papers from a secondary source instead of sending Garcia a subpoena directly.

But procedure at the anti-graft office states that orders to submit counter-affidavits are issued only to respondents in an investigation during the formal phase of the probe.

The Balili investigation is still fact-finding in nature, despite the time that has lapsed since the controversy surfaced.

Assistant Ombudsman Santiago downplayed criticisms of the delay, saying they are being very thorough.

The result of their fact-finding investigation will be among the probes launched against Governor Garcia that the Cebuano public will not hear about, though.

Davides see victory; One Cebu warns vs. junking

AFTER seeing huge crowds in Liberal Party's (LP) rallies in the province, former chief justice Hilario Davide Jr. is confident that his son Hilario "Junjun" Davide III will win over Gov. Gwen Garcia.

Davide said the one million votes promised by Garcia to Lakas-Kampi-CMD standard-bearer Gilberto Teodoro Jr. has no basis because LP's Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino III will get a big chunk of Cebuano votes on May 10.

"I was with Kris Aquino in Madridejos and Bantayan towns, Bogo City, Danao City and Lapu-Lapu City and I could see the overwhelming support of the Cebuanos, as demonstrated not only through simple body language but also through their shouts while uttering the names of LP candidates," the former chief justice said in yesterday's 888 News Forum. deep from inside, there is a massive demonstration of support and love in order to attain a real change in the way we are running the government on the basis of the battle cry of Sen. Noynoy Aquino that if `walang corrupt, walang mahirap'," Davide said.

Junjun, in a separate press conference at City Sports Club yesterday, said the issue on how Garcia used provincial funds entrusted to her by the Cebuanos will determine the results of the election.

Davide's running mate, Vice Gov. Gregorio Sanchez Jr., who is at odds with the governor, labeled her as the "worst governor" he has worked with.

One Cebu Spokesperson Rory Jon Sepulveda said confidence "is a good feeling."


But it will be detrimental to anybody if "it's based on imagined and otherwise misrepresented fact."

"Dili na maayo but anybody is entitled to believe that he's doing well. We can't take that away from him. Para sa One Cebu, as I have said, bisan kapila pa na pakita ang double digits nga lead, we are running a campaign as if we are running against Superman and the Fantastic Four. We are making sure that our message would reach our
intended audience and we are making sure that we are doing this in a decent and a high-level manner," Sepulveda told reporters.

On the issue hurled by Sanchez against the governor, Sepulveda said they won't issue any statement about the vice governor.

He said Sanchez had been bad-mouthing the governor but, in reality, the vice governor is still campaigning for the "Gwen-Greg tandem."

"Even before May 10, mamata na kana si Junjun Davide nga ang paningkamot iyaha ra (Davide will soon realize that Sanchez is just working for his own victory),"

Sepulveda added.

Sun.Star tried to contact Sanchez for reaction but failed.

The elder Davide, however, reiterated his accusation yesterday that Garcia is using her influence and government resources in her campaign.

The former chief justice said dawn operations are being conducted to remove the campaign posters of his son and Sanchez from Sibonga town to Dalaguete and other areas in the province.

"The dirty tactics employed by my son's political opponents, such as vote-buying, pressure and terrorism, must be condemned. We can see the all-out support of the Cebuanos for my son," Davide said.

"I am happy about sustained progress of the campaign of my son. I am confident that my son will win as governor when the election comes on Monday," Davide added.

Comelec recalls 76,000 compact flash cards nationwide

MANILA, Philippines - The Commission on Elections on Tuesday said it is recalling an estimated 76,000 compact flash cards to be used in the May 10 elections after configuration errors in the flash cards caused precinct count optical scan (PCOS) machines to make tabulation errors during Monday's mock polls.

BEIs worried over polls as CF cards' errors become exposed

Inaantabayanan pa rin ng mga Board of Election Inspectors sa ilang polling center sa Maynila ang pagbawi sa mga compact flash cards na nakakabit sa mga PCOS machine. Umaga pa lang kasi ay inanunsyo na ang recall ng mahigit 70,000 compact flash cards. Nag-aalala naman ang maraming guro sa kahihinatnan ng halalan, matapos ang mga aberya sa testing sa mga makina kahapon.

Angie Reyes gets mad over new automation glitch

MANILA, Philippines - Former Energy Secretary Angelo Reyes on Tuesday made an unexpected visit to the Comelec office in Intramuros, Manila, asking for an explanation about the latest glitch of the Precinct Count Optical Scan voting machines.

Palace: No need to panic over automation glitches

by By RG Cruz, ABS-CBN News
MANILA, Philippines - Malacañan sought to assure the public that there is no reason to panic over latest developments on the preparations for Monday's first ever nationwide automated elections.

Senator eyes hold-departure order on Smartmatic execs

Senator Francis ``Chiz'' Escudero on Tuesday said he plans to ``strongly request'' the Commission on Elections and the Senate to issue a hold-departure order against Smartmatic officials to ensure they make good on their pledge to implement a nationwide automated elections on May 10.

Tomas says glitches mean 'it's not yet time'

CEBU City Mayor Tomas Osmeña is calling for the postponement of the elections after glitches were reported during the testing of the Precinct Count Optical Scan (PCOS) machines in Manila last Monday.

Arroyo election lawyer sees no other way but to postpone polls

(UPDATE 2) The election lawyer of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo said there's no other way to prevent a failure of elections but to postpone Monday's balloting.

Comelec has power to delay polls for 30 days ?lawyers

Postponement may happen in pockets of localities, not nationwide

MANILA, Philippines—Despite the concerns being raised by various camps over the technical glitches and delays in the preparation for the first nationwide automated elections, the Commission on Elections (Comelec) is not entertaining the idea of postponing the exercise—at least, not yet.

In the event that the poll body decides to delay the elections, however, election lawyers say it has the power to do so.

Independent presidential candidate Nicanor Perlas last month filed a petition with the Comelec, seeking to have the polls delayed. He said it's better to delay the elections than to see it fail.

It has not happened before, but the delay of the elections can be declared by the Comelec if the situation warrants it, according to election lawyers.

Lawyer Romulo Macalintal, who is adviser to President Arroyo on election matters, said it is within Comelec's power to postpone the polls "if the circumstances show there could be possible massive violence, chaos, and disorder" on election day.

While the Constitution fixes the elections on the second Monday of May, Macalintal said that Article 5 of the Omnibus Election Code vests upon the Comelec the power to delay the polls "in case of violence, terrorism, force majeure, and other analogous causes" that could put at risk the holding of clean and honest elections.

With reports showing the Precinct Count Optical Scan machines malfunctioning and failing to correctly read the ballots, Macalintal said the automated system "has lost its credibility and the people's confidence."

'Court unlikely to stop Comelec' Another election lawyer, George Garcia, pointed out that Section 5 of the Omnibus Election Code mandates the Comelec to set the elections within 30 days following its postponement.

He clarified, however, that what is contemplated in Section 5 might be territorial in nature. Arguably, it may not refer to a nationwide postponement of polls, but only in pockets of localities.

Both lawyers believe that the Comelec will be able to defend any postponement before the Supreme Court, noting that Article 9 (C) of the Constitution vests on the poll body wide latitude in addressing poll matters.

Section 2 (C) of Article 9 states that the Comelec shall "enforce and administer all laws and regulations relative to the conduct of an election, plebiscite, initiative, referendum and recall."

"The Comelec can delay the May 10 polls in extraordinary circumstances, where there could be possible massive failure, violence, or no elections at all," Garcia said. "I don't think the SC will reverse the Comelec if it so decides."

Partial automation possible Macalintal said if the postponement is questioned before the SC, "the issue might have become moot and academic since May 10 would have lapsed by that time the SC makes a decision."

He said that it would be prudent for the Comelec to resort to manual count as a back up plan if a glitch-free automation is not assured. "Anything less than 100% assurance that the automated polls will be orderly and peaceful is not an assurance. There is no statement from Comelec that this (glitches in the mock polls) will not happened again."

Comelec and the vote counting machines supplier, Smartmatic-Total Information Management, have decided to recall all 76,000 flash cards for reconfiguration after testing showed on Monday that the machines were misreading the ballots.

The Comelec has since stopped the testing of the machines.

Asked if postponement of elections is being mulled, Commissioner Rene Sarmiento indicated that the Comelec is not contemplating it yet.

He said the worst case is resort to partial automation. The Comelec has a backup plan of conducting the poll manually in 30% of the precincts.

IT experts to Comelec: Revert to manual elections

MANILA, PhiIippines - Information technology (IT) experts are urging the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to shelve the automated counting and revert to full manual counting in the May 10 elections.

Former Comelec IT director Ernie Del Rosario told ABS-CBN News it has come to a disaster situation, and the commission must make a drastic move now before it's too late.

"This is a disaster situation already. Panic na, but we cannot postpone the elections. Lalong magulo," Del Rosario said, adding that the remaining 5 days are not enough to arrest an imminent catastrophe.

Del Rosario also said manual counting is "the only way to save the nation and save the elections."

Had the PCOS machines been tested earlier, the programming error would not have happened, added del Rosario.

"Dapat tinest yan exhaustively sa warehouse pa noong kino-configure yan a long time ago. Dapat tinest individually bago bayaran," he said.

Ike Señeres, chairman of the Makati ICT Council, echoed the call of del Rosario.

Señeres, who once served as chairman of the Comelec modernization committee, challenged the commission to get out of its denial mode and move fast to prepare for manual counting.

"Parallel counting is not an option because automated counting is now corrupted. Comelec should now declare the primacy of manual count over automated count. This should be done ASAP [as soon as possible] to prevent chaos or rebellion," Señeres added.

Del Rosario and Señeres claimed they had predicted the failure of automation as early as last year when the Comelec decided to award the contract to an "unqualified" Smartmatic.

Del Rosario said he resigned as the chairman of the Technical Working Group (TWG) in August 2009 because he couldn't stomach the manner by which the commission was handling the automation project.

NP notes irregularities in poll machines

The camp of Senator Manny Villar on Tuesday trooped to the Commission on Elections to report the alleged irregularities in the testing of precinct count optical scan (PCOS)machines in some parts of the country.

Bro. Eddie Villanueva party on "red alert" vs cheating

Presidential candidate Bro. Eddie Villanueva on Tuesday said his party, Bangon Pilipinas, would be on "red alert posture" to keep the country"s first ever nationwide automated elections on May 10 free from irregularities.

Up to 30 LP watchers guarding one PCOS machine, says Roxas

The frontrunners of the Liberal Party are not taking any chances in the automated elections, preferring to have as many as 30 volunteers guarding each counting machine to be used in Monday's elections.

Roxas sees chaos if PCOS machines fail

MANILA, Philippines – Senator Manuel "Mar" Roxas II, the Liberal Party's vice presidential bet, warned on Tuesday that chaos may erupt if the Commission on Elections (Comelec) fails to solve the problems plaguing the Precinct Count Optical Scan (PCOS) machines that will be used in the country's first nationwide automated polls.

No cellphone signals at nearly 5,000 precincts

Nearly 5,000 polling centers with 10,000 vote-counting machines have no mobile phone network coverage and will have to resort to satellite connections to transmit their vote tallies to the canvassing centers, according to a document from the Commission on Elections.

According to the Precinct Count Optical Scan master list obtained by the Inquirer, 4,690 polling centers have no cellphone signals from the country's major providers, namely Globe, Smart, and Sun.

The rest of the precincts in the country either have signals from one or two functioning telecommunication networks, the list shows.

The affected polling centers have about 10,000 PCOS machines, accounting for 13percent of the 76,300 total voting machines.

Owing to the lack of cellphone signals in these localities, these precincts were allotted Broadband Global Area Network (BGAN) equipment to be able to transmit the results via satellite.

Around 5,600 Broadband Global Area Network (BGANs) gadgets and 680 Very Small Aperture Terminals (VSATs) have been distributed scattered to areas with unreliable cellphone signal.

Precincts with more than one voting machine would have to share the BGAN equipment.

The precincts with unreliable signals were a mixture of urban and rural areas, which make up most of the list.

There are precincts in areas in Cavite such as Imus, Bacoor, and Cavite City, that will use satellite transmission. Davao City, one of the major urban centers in Southern Philippines, also has to use BGAN transmission.

In Ladislaw Diwa Elementary School in Cavite City, the 22 PCOS machines will have to use 1 BGAN to transmit the results. A school in Davao City that has 24 PCOS machines will share 1 BGAN.

The province of Abra, one of the most dangerous during the election period, Maguindanao, Zamboanga del Sur, Zamboanga del Norte, Lanao del Sur, and Sulu have significant numbers of precincts with no reliable network signals, according to the document.

Smartmatic TIM Corp. spokesman Cesar Flores estimated that these areas account for about 10 percent of the 50.7 million voting population.

The Comelec has leased 82,200 PCOS machines from Smartmatic TIM for the country's first ever computerized balloting, which promises faster and more accurate results. Of that number, around 76,300 are deployed to clustered precincts, while the rest will be used as replacement machines.

The PCOS machines are capable of transmitting the results from the precinct to the canvassing center servers via GPRS, the connection used by mobile networks.

However, Smartmatic TIM's survey of the country's telecommunication capability showed that a third of the country has zero or weak mobile network signals, which compelled the company to use satellite transmission in these areas.

Bantay Eleksyon convenor Ramon Casiple urged election stakeholders to monitor these areas with transmission difficulties and security issues, saying poll fraud is likely to happen in these provinces.

"These are the places that we are monitoring," he said, adding fraud in these places "will have significant impact" on the outcome of the national races, especially the presidential contest.

Casiple noted that the Comelec list was conservative as it only accounted for areas with zero signals.

"It does not have those areas with unstable signals, those that are not yet fixed by the telcos," he said.

Casiple said he expects areas with transmission problems to exceed the number of those in the Comelec list.

Unofficial poll tally can be reported midnight of May 10, PPCRV says

The accredited citizen"s arm of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) on Tuesday said that it could start reporting its unofficial tally as early as 12 midnight on Election Day itself.

Explosion in Maguindanao town misses PCOS machines

MANILA, Philippines - An explosion reportedly occurred in the town of Paglat, Maguindanao province on Tuesday afternoon just as poll automation machines were being delivered to the municipal hall.

Court junks Gordon's plea vs pollsters

MANILA, Philippines - A local court on Tuesday junked a petition by Bagumbayan presidential candidate Richard Gordon for a temporary restraining order enjoining private pollsters Pulse Asia and Social Weather Stations from publishing results of pre-election surveys.

It's final: Comelec junks DQ case vs Erap

MANILA, Philippines - The Commission on Elections (Comelec) on Tuesday junked with finality a petition seeking to disqualify former President Joseph Estrada from the May 10 presidential election.

Aquino takes back Cabinet offer to Binay

Liberal Party standard-bearer Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino III has taken back his offer to vice presidential candidate Jejomar Binay to become part of his Cabinet should he get elected president.

PNP goes on nationwide full alert Wednesday

The Philippine National Police (PNP) will place its forces nationwide on full alert starting Wednesday in preparation for the upcoming May 10 elections.

Nun defies archbishop on People Power option

MANILA, Philippines - A nun on Tuesday said she disagreed with the position of Manila archbishop Gaudencio Cardinal Rosales not to back a People Power revolt in case of a massive failure of elections on May 10.

AFP chief meets bishops on elections

Armed Forces of the Philippines chief General Delfin Bangit met with the Catholic Bishop's Conference of the Philippines on Tuesday, according to a military spokesman.

Bangit: No need for people power

by By Maria Althea Teves,
Assures bishops that Armed Forces will be non-partisan in the elections MANILA, Philippines—Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) chief of staff Gen. Delfin Bangit on Tuesday told Catholic bishops that people taking to the streets will not be necessary, giving assurances that the conduct and results of May 10 polls will be "acceptable."

Too late to elect new Senate president, says Enrile

Those wanting to elect a new Senate president have until Friday to do so, but then such a move was "too late," said Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile on Tuesday.

Liquor banned on May 9 and 10

MANILA, Philippines – May 9 and 10 are not the best days to sit back and enjoy an alcoholic drink.

Former NPA, family killed in Surigao Sur ambush

MANILA, Philippines - Suspected members of the New People's Army on Monday ambushed and killed a former comrade, his wife and his daughter in Hinatuan, Surigao del Sur.

Police identified the victims as Persinifles Mayordo, 52, a rebel returnee who became a militiaman of the Army's 23rd Infantry Battalion, his wife Anita, 49; and, his daughter Gemma.

Initial reports said the victims were on a motorcycle when 7 gunmen, believed to be communist rebels, ambushed them at Sitio Bingcongan, Barangay Bigaan.

Mayordo's son, Reynante, was not hit in the initial volley. He escaped unharmed. A rescuer brought the wounded Gemma to the Bislig District Hospital, where she died while undergoing treatment.

Members of the Surigao del Sur Police Provincial Office are now conducting a joint investigation with the Army to identify the gunmen who killed Mayordomo and 2 members of his family.

JBC to submit list of chief justice nominees Wednesday

The Judicial and Bar Council (JBC) will submit the list of chief justice nominees on Wednesday.

Midnight promotion of Bangit questioned in SC

MANILA, Philippines - The Philippine Bar Association (PBA), led by former Ombudsman Simeon Marcelo, filed on Tuesday a petition before the Supreme Court questioning the "midnight promotion" of Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) chief General Delfin Bangit.

SC junks appeal of 'comfort women'

The Supreme Court has dismissed the petition filed by more than 70 Filipino "comfort women" asking the high court to compel the government to join in their cause.

$1: P44.640

$1: P44.640

Euro 1: P58.7341

Thai protesters cautious over Abhisit's election offer

by by Anusak Konglang, Agence France-Presse
BANGKOK, Thailand - Thailand's "Red Shirt" anti-government protest movement reacted cautiously Tuesday to the prime minister's proposal to hold elections in mid-November as a way out of a crippling political crisis.

Japan PM abandons plan to move US base off Okinawa

by Agence France-Presse
TOKYO, Japan (UPDATE) - Japan's Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama on Tuesday abandoned a plan to move an unpopular US airbase entirely off the southern island of Okinawa, backtracking on a key election pledge.

US says it has 5,113 nuclear warheads (AP)

WASHINGTON – The United States has 5,113 nuclear warheads in its stockpile and "several thousand" more retired warheads awaiting the junkpile, the Pentagon said Monday in an unprecedented accounting of a secretive arsenal born in the Cold War and now shrinking rapidly.

The Obama administration disclosed the size of its atomic stockpile going back to 1962 as part of a campaign to get other nuclear nations to be more forthcoming, and to improve its bargaining position against the prospect of a nuclear Iran.

Malaysia top court keeps Anwar sodomy trial alive

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia - Malaysia's highest court refused Tuesday to strike out a sodomy charge against Anwar Ibrahim, paving the way for the opposition leader's trial to resume next week.

Pacquiao focused on campaign, not Mayweather

MANILA, Philippines – Unbeaten American boxer Floyd Mayweather, Jr. is not in the mind of 7-division world champion Manny Pacquiao, even if the boxing world is clamoring for their fight.

Pacquiao could have dealt more damage on Mayweather

MANNY Pacquiao only saw a portion of the Floyd Mayweather Jr.-Sugar Shane Mosley welterweight bout Sunday, but already noticed a chink in the unbeaten showman"s armor.

Pacquiao: I would've finished off Floyd

MANILA, Philippines – If Manny Pacquiao were in Shane Mosley's shoes in the second round of the latter's fight with Floyd Mayweather last Sunday, the outcome would have been different, the Filipino ring icon said.

Speaking to veteran boxing scribe Michael Marley of, Pacquiao gave his thoughts on the Mayweather-Mosley fight, particularly in the second round where Mosley had the champion in trouble with two vicious right straights.

"I saw that (round two), I did," Pacquiao told Marley. "If I can hit Mayweather like that, I will finish him off."

Mayweather went wobbly from Mosley's blows that he had to hold on to avoid getting knocked down. But the undefeated boxer from Grand Rapids, Michigan survived the second-round scare to administer a masterful beating on Mosley, cruising to a unanimous decision victory.

For his part, Pacquiao, currently the WBO welterweight champion, added that Mosley should have pressed the action harder until he knocks out Mayweather for good.

"I would continue the attack in a way that Mosley did not. I will attack until Mayweather is gone," he said.

Asked about facing Pacquiao next, Mayweather reiterated his demand for an Olympic-style drug testing. Earlier negotiations for a Pacquiao-Mayweather megafight went down the drain when both camps failed to find common ground on the issue of drug testing.

"If you're clean, take the test. I'm willing to take the test. Manny Pacquiao, take the blood and urine test and we can make the fight happen for all the fans," Mayweather said in a post-fight interview.

Mayweather wanted random drug tests to be carried out until 14 days before the fight, but Pacquiao would only agree to do them 24 days prior to the bout.

This time, Pacquiao said he would only subject himself to random blood testing if the commission supervising the fight mandates him to.

"My message to Mayweather, to the world, is simple. I am not the lawmaker when it comes to the rules and regulations of any boxing commission. That is not my job or my duty. Neither is it Mayweather's unless he forms his own personal commission," Pacquiao said.

"I will comply fully with whatever drug test, blood or urine, rules are specified by the commission of the place where this fight is arranged," he added.

Pacquiao is currently in the thick of campaigning for a congressional seat in Sarangani province. Does he still crave for the Mayweather fight?

"Yes, I want Mayweather," Pacquiao, 31, said.

Pacquiao hangs on to P4P title after Floyd's win

MANILA, Philippines – Floyd Mayweather Jr.'s recent win over "Sugar" Shane Mosley has heated up the race for pound-for-pound ranking, with boxing observers still divided on who is the best boxer today regardless of weight class.

Williams" case similar to Japeth Aguilar issue

The Japeth Aguilar saga has been opened up once again. This developed following reports that Sta. Lucia Realty forward Kelly Williams is reportedly being offered to be traded to Talk N Text, which in return, will loan the former Philippine Basketball Association Most Valuable Player to the Smart-Gilas national developmental team.

Loaning of PBA player to Gilas needs Barrios" approval

Philippine Basketball Association commissioner Sonny Barrios has read reports regarding Sta. Lucia forward Kelly Williams being offered as part of a trade package to the Talk N Text Tropang Texters.

Hall of Fame: Sports greats honored on Wednesday

MANILA, Philippines - Nine athletes and the 1954 Philippine basketball team will be formally enshrined in the Philippine Sports Hall of Fame on Wednesday night in a historic ceremony with Chief Justice Reynato Puno as guest of honor at the Maynilad Hall of the Manila Hotel.

Late boxing greats Gabriel "Flash" Elorde, Francisco "Pancho Villa" Guilledo and Ceferino Garcia and Olympic heroes Jose "Cely" Villanueva and son, Anthony, and Teofilo Yldefonso, Simeon Toribio, Miguel White and Caloy Loyzaga and the national cagers who finished third in the World Championship in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil are the first group of athletes that will be inducted into the Hall of Fame.

"I hope they will be looked up to as models for our future heroes," said Philippine Sports Commission chair Harry Angping, vice-chair of the Hall of Fame Organizing Committee, during the PSA Forum yesterday.

"We are happy knowing that we are starting something good by honoring this distinguished batch of athletes."

Republic Act 8757 which was enacted in November 1999 calls for the establishment of the Philippine Sports Hall of Fame.

Except for Garcia, Angping said immediate family members of all the awardees and some members of the basketball team will be on hand to witness the enshrinement and receive the P100,000 incentive for each athlete from the PSC.

Each member of the 1954 basketball team will also be getting P50,000 as incentive, Angping said.

The awards show is sponsored by Smart-PLDT, Oishi Liwayway Marketing Corporation, Scratch-IT Pacific Online Corporation and the Filipino-Chinese Amateur Athletic Federation.

The Hall of Fame organizing committee is headed by Arturo Macapagal of the Philippine Olympians Association. Also part of the organizing committee is former Pangasinan Rep. Ranjit Shahani of the House Committee on sports, who was one of the original proponents of the bill creating the Hall of Fame, Tagaytay Mayor Abraham Tolentino of cycling, Red Dumuk and Philippine Sportswriters Association president Teddyvic Melendres.

Angping is hoping that the Hall of Fame program continues even after his term. The PSC chair is pushing that the Hall of Fame induction be held every two years.

"This will be a big injustice for our athletes if this doesn't push through," said Angping.

Angping is also planning to put up the Sports Hall of Fame Museum at the ground floor of the PSC Building inside the Rizal Memorial Sports Complex aside from strengthening its library resource.

"The PSC lacks records and we are hoping to address that," said Angping, adding that those who were nominated but did not fail to get the two thirds vote required for enshrinement may be nominated again in the next ceremony.

"We are opening this up to as many nominees as possible," Angping said. Adding glamour to the Filipiniana-themed affair hosted by sportscaster Quinito Henson are singer Pilita Corrales and RP poomsae team members Camille Alarilla, Rani Ann Ortega and Janice Lagman.

Bulls fire Del Negro as coach after 1st-round ouster

by Agence France-Presse
CHICAGO – Vinny Del Negro was fired as coach of the Chicago Bulls, the NBA club announcing the move six days after being eliminated from the opening round of the NBA playoffs by Cleveland.

Korina booed during Tears for Fears concert

MANILA, Philippines – Veteran broadcaster Korina Sanchez, wife of Liberal Party's vice presidential bet Sen. Manuel "Mar" Roxas II, was booed during Sunday's sold-out concert of '80s English pop rock duo "Tears for Fears" at the Araneta Coliseum, online reports said.

Roxas twits Escudero over Binay

Who needs the 'B' when you have the 'K'? Sen. Mar Roxas twitted a fellow senator's endorsement of Makati Mayor Jejomar Binay as the vice president of Liberal Party standard bearer Sen. Benigno Aquino III.

Estrada still unsure of getting support of Poe Jr's widow

The man trying to convince Filipino voters he deserves a second crack at the presidency appears to be having trouble getting the support of a woman very close to his heart.

Richard Gomez barred from running for office with finality

The Commission on Elections (Comelec) en banc has junked with finality the petition of actor-turned-politician Richard Gomez to let him run as a congressman in Ormoc, Leyte.

Chiu says she can't control 'overprotective' Kimerald fans

by by Bernie Franco,
MANILA, Philippines - While Kim Chiu is aware of the over-protectiveness of Kim Chiu-Gerald Anderson love team fans, the soap opera princess sadly admitted that there is no way to stop them from attacking what they see as threats to their tandem.

Wednesday: sunny, Max Temp: 33°C (91°F), Min Temp: 26°C (79°F)

Max Temp: 33°C (91°F), Min Temp: 26°C (79°F), Wind Direction: E, Wind Speed: 9mph, Visibility: good, Pressure: 1009mb, Humidity: 58%, Sunrise: 05:25PHT, Sunset: 17:56PHT

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