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

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

June 10, 2010 Major News Stories

Power supplier expects cooler days to bring demand down by 30-40 megawatts

UP TO 72 megawatts (mw) in additional power supply from a power plant in Toledo City will be loaded to the Visayas grid this morning, reducing the power supply shortage in Cebu.

Power stakeholders in Cebu are optimistic about the power situation throughout the province, now that the rainy season has started and after plants that underwent preventive maintenance are back in operation.

Now that days are cooler, they expect the demand for power to go down by 30 to 40 mw.

"We're now in the rainy season, which is good for us because the difference in the demand between a really hot day and a rainy day is about 30 to 40 megawatts. At the same time, we have power coming into the grid, so we're looking at a good power situation," said Ed Satina of Global Business Power Corp., which operates the Toledo Power Co. and the Cebu Energy Development Corp. (CEDC).


Speaking before the Cebu City Council yesterday afternoon, representatives from the National Power Corp. (NPC), Department of Energy, power generators and distributors warned, though, the power crisis could worsen by 2013.

Not only will the demand increase by then, but some of the existing power plants will also have to "retire," said Roger Lim of
East Asia Utilities Corp., which supplies power to locators at the Mactan Economic Zone.

They said Cebu can be relieved of power shortage when more plants, other than the Korean Power Electric Corp.'s (Kepco) plant in the City of Naga, will operate.

Kepco will operate next year to provide 200 mw additional power capacity, and CEDC will operate its Units 2 and 3 later this year and next year, respectively.

Last night, Unit 1 of CEDC in Toledo City was connected and synchronized to the Cebu-Negros-Panay grid, and was expected to load up to 72 mw starting this morning.

Another 50 mw is expected to be added to the grid next week when the Cebu Thermal Power Plant 1 in Naga resumes operation following a preventive maintenance.

Visayan Electric Co. (Veco) corporate communications manager Ethel Natera said this will help a lot in addressing the power supply shortage, which was at 88 mw at 2 p.m. yesterday.

The power demand in the entire province, including Cebu City, is around 800 to 860 mw.

"As of this moment, we are not expecting any rotation brownout due to power shortage. But that may change, depending on tomorrow's total demand. Definitely, the additional supply from Unit 1 will be a very big help in coping with any shortage. It can serve as reserve power," Natera told reporters yesterday.

She said, though, it is still premature to say the power situation has stabilized.

City councilors invited power industry stakeholders yesterday to brief the council on the power shortage that hit Cebu City in the past weeks, and to discuss what measures have been taken to address the power crisis.

Special rate

Ricky Lacson, Veco's vice president for customer services and administration, said aside from the interruptible load program (ILP), a special pricing mechanism based on time of use allows companies to operate during off-peak hours instead of peak hours, as a way of reducing demand during the day.

Through the ILP, Veco has been able to reduce demand for power sourced from the Visayas grid by asking large power consumers to use their generator sets during peak hours.

"But we should not be complacent that such a situation will go on for a long time. We will still have very thin reserves until Kepco and CEDC operate next year and all the preventive maintenance of some plants are over. Until then, we urge everyone to practice energy conservation," Lacson told the council.

MANILA, Philippines - The LPG Marketers Association (LPGMA) announced on Wednesday it has cut the price of liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) or cooking gas by P0.50 per kilogram.

1,176 dengue cases in CV from January - May 2010

The number of dengue cases in Central Visayas this year has reached 1,176 as of May 22, health officials said yesterday.

Specialized training for bank security guards held

The Cebu Bankers Club (CBC) initiated a specialized training for security guards assigned at the banks and those who travel with armored vehicles.

Police may oppose Joavan's bail

POLICE are studying the possibility of filing a petition to revoke the bail of Talisay City Mayor Socrates Fernandez's son should the latter commit a similar offense in the future.

Acting Cebu Provincial Police Office (CPPO) Director Erson Digal said the police may also choose to have Joavan Fernandez placed under "destierro," a move that will prohibit the mayor's son from residing in Talisay for a specified length of time.

Digal, however, said all these plans will only be initiated if Joavan will get into trouble again.

He said Senior Insp. Ruben Cuizon of the Provincial Investigation and Detective Management Branch has been coordinating with the Regional Police Legal Division about the plan.

Digal said he also consulted his friends, who are lawyers, on the possibility of filing a petition for the revocation of Joavan's bail and putting him in destierro.

Now that Joavan has been released after posting bail for the cases of illegal possession of firearm, violation of the election gun ban and grave threats filed against him, Digal said it is not remote the mayor's son may be engaged in trouble again.


Meanwhile, the complaint of obstruction of justice against Mayor Fernandez is expected to be filed before the end of the week, said Cuizon.

Cuizon said a civilian witness is helping the police in building the case, particularly on the effort of the responding Talisay City police operatives in preserving the red Isuzu Bighorn (YEZ 460) boarded by Joavan when he allegedly pointed a gun at complainant Vincent Joe Castrodes over a traffic-related incident.

Cuizon said he has also drafted the affidavits of the responding police team, who will serve as witnesses in the complaint against the mayor.

The draft affidavits were submitted to the Legal Division at the Police Regional Office 7 for approval.


Cuizon and Digal believe they have a strong case of obstruction of justice against Mayor Fer-nandez, after the latter took a small red bag from the Isuzu Bighorn, ignoring the police cordon near an auto repair shop in Talisay.

Digal said the policemen who secured the car prevented the mayor from taking the bag but the latter ignored them.


Digal said he was also baffled why Mayor Fernandez was very quick in taking the bag.

"Nagduda ta nganong ang bag ra'y gikuha? Unsa'y sud sa bag, mayor? (We are wondering why he took the bag. What's inside it?)" Digal asked.

Before 8 a.m. yesterday, Digal said Mayor Fernan-dez called up Talisay City Police Station Chief Elmer Lim to inform the police official about his plan to claim the seized car.

Digal, who happened to be at the police station, told Lim to turn down the mayor's request since only the court can order the release of the vehicle.

Digal said he instructed Lim not to decide on anything related to Joavan's case without seeking clearance from him.

Five-month gun ban nets 3,000 violators

VIOLATORS HAVE breached the 3,000 mark as the five-month total gun ban ended yesterday, with the Philippine National Police (PNP) initially citing the program's success in minimizing election-related violence.

Dunay mosaksi nga Soc `namugos' sa pagsulod

DUNAY saksi ang kapulisan sa lalawigan sa Sugbo nga gihuptan nga magmatuod nga namugos si Talisay City Mayor Socrates Fernandez sa pagsulod sa sakyanan sa iyang anak bisan kon gi-hold kini sa kapulisan.

Kini maoy gibutyag ni Sr. Insp. Rubin Cuizon, hepe sa Provincial Investigation and Detective Management Branch (PIDMB), human sa ilang gipahigayong ocular inspection sa lugar.

Matod ni Cuizon nga ang testigos didto nila nakuha sa shop diin gipa-repair ni Joavan ang sakyanan human sa giingong iyang pagtion kang Vincent Castrodes.

Sa pagkakaron, giandam na sa kapulisan ang ilang affidavit alang sa kasong obstruction of justice nga ipasaka batok kang Mayor Fernandez.

Apan ang mayor wa mahadlok ning plano sa kapulisan pagkiha batok kaniya.

Matod ni Fernandez nga duna siyay katungod sa pagsud sa sakyanan kay siya ang nanag-iya niini.

Sumala pa ni Cuizon nga duna silay igong ebedensya batok sa mayor apan di lang una nila ikatug-an ang ngalan niini.

Hinuon ang ilang testigos wala makakita sa gikuha nga bag sa mayor didto sulod sa sakyanan.

Sa sayo pa, nitumaw ang mga pagduda nga armas ang sud sa bag.

Apan sa pag-inspection na sa kapulisan sa sakyanan ni Joavan, ilang napalgan ang armas sa sud.

Busa nitumaw ang lainlain na sab nga mga hungihong kon unsa gyuy sud sa bag.

Nakatilaw ang kasaba ang kapulisan sa Talisay City sa Police Regional Office (PRO-7) tungod sa mao nga hitabo.

Samtang si Sr. Supt. Erson Digal, director sa kapulisan sa lalawigan sa Sugbu, daling nimando kagahpon sa buntag kang Supt. Elmer Lim, hepe sa Talisay Police Station, nga di magpadala sa bisan unsang hangyo sa mayor labot sa sakyanan.

Kini maoy kamanduan ni Digal human si Mayor Fernadez nihangyo kang Lim nga kuhaon ang iyang sakyanan nga Isuzu Bighorn YEZ-460.

Matod pa ni Digal nga di mamahimong i-release nila ang sakyanan hangtod way kamandoan gikan sa korte sanglit kabahin sa ilang mga ibedensya nga gipasaka batok kang Joavan ingon man sa kaso unya sa mayor.

Gihagit ni Digal ang mayor nga motug-an sa tinuod kon unsay sulod sa bag nga iyang gikuha sa sakyanan sanglit nagduda sila sa kapulisan nga duna gyoy illegal nga sulod niini.

Subay niini, gitinguha karon nila nga kon manion na usab pag-usab si Joavan human makapiyansa moduso silag petition ngadto sa korte nga ipa-revoke ang piyansa niini.

Naglaraw usab ang kapulisan nga mosang-at og petition sa korte aron hinginlan si Joavan diha sa dakbayan sa Talisay.

Sanchez eyes quick release of funds for road widening

Cebu Vice Governor Gregorio Sanchez, Jr. yesterday said he will help lobby with the administration of President-elect Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino III the immediate release of the P359 million to finance the road widening from Cansaga Bay Bridge in Consolacion town to Barangay Poblacion in Liloan town.

Pres. Arroyo in Cebu today to inaugurate tunnel project

PRESIDENT Gloria Arroyo will be in Cebu today to inaugurate the P1.625-billion tunnel section of the Cebu South Coastal Road Project (CSCRP) at the South Road Properties.

She will also inspect the P15-million two-story building at the Zapatera Elementary School.

The ongoing 16-classroom school building project is funded by Cebu City's Special Education Fund.

This is Arroyo's sixth visit to Cebu in the last six months of her term and may be her last, after serving as president for the last nine years.

Rep. Nerissa Soon-Ruiz (Cebu, 6th district), Lapu-Lapu City Mayor Arturo Radaza, Presidential Assistant for the Visayas Felix Guanzon, Mactan-Cebu International Airport Authority General Manager Danilo Francia, police and military officials will compose the entourage that will welcome the president at the Mactan-Cebu International Airport (MCIA) at noon today.

She will proceed to the Malacañang sa Sugbo and spend some time there before proceeding to the tunnel, which is 98 percent complete, at past 1 p.m.

A crowd of about 200 is expected to attend the inauguration.

Cebu City Acting Mayor Michael Rama, Rep. Raul del Mar (Cebu City, north district) and Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) Undersecretary Rafael Yabut will welcome the president.

She will transfer to an open vehicle for the inaugural drive-through on the 610-meter, four-lane tunnel, which passes
underneath the Plaza Independencia and exits at the Sergio Osmeña Blvd., formerly McArthur Blvd.

Yabut will give a project briefing after Arroyo will unveil the obelisk for the structure, which is due for completion in August this year.

The subway tunnel will be opened immediately to the public, specifically to light vehicles, but for limited hours every day.

The schedule is from 6 a.m. to 9 a.m. and from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m., to allow for the cabling works and completion of the construction and installation of other portions of the project.

Cebu City Mayor Tomas Osmeña earlier requested DPWH for an immediate but limited opening of the subway tunnel to ease traffic at the National Highway near Barangay Mambaling, Cebu City where a flyover will be constructed.

The tunnel is one of the three segments of the CSCRP. It aims to provide "directed and uninterrupted access from the southern portion of Cebu Province to the central business district and the Cebu International Port Area in Cebu City and the MCIA in Lapu-Lapu City."

Sanchez blinks, to return vehicles

Vice Governor Gregorio Sanchez Jr. flipped from his earlier stand not to return the six vehicles assigned at his office which have been recalled by Governor Gwendolyn Garcia allegedly for inventory purposes.

One Cebu members to take oath en masse

The members of One Cebu Party who won in the last May 10 elections will take their oath en masse at the Cebu International Convention Center on June 30.

ACT demands release of poll honoraria

The Alliance of Concerned Teachers Partylist is demanding from the Commission on Elections the immediate release of the honoraria of teachers and other personnel of the Department of Education who served in the last May 10 elections.

Top bets declare millions in poll expenses

THE president-elect's allies in Cebu City and Province were the biggest spenders in this year's local election campaign.  

Gubernatorial candidate Hilario "Junjun" Davide III declared he spent P5,940,273. Of that, about P5.6 million were contributions and about P350,000 were personal funds.

Reelected Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia declared P3,736,140 as her election expenses. One Cebu, the party she leads, spent an additional P1,750,594.

With some P2.2 million in campaign expenses, Cebu City Mayor Tomas Osmeña was the biggest spender among 56 candidates in Cebu City who submitted their statement of election contributions and expenditures.

The reports were supposed to be due yesterday, but the Commission on Elections (Comelec) decided to postpone the deadline for the candidates' statement of contributions and expenses until June 24.

Comelec Commissioner Rene Sarmiento announced the 15-day extension, as requested by party-list group Akbayan.

Candidates who fail to submit the reports will be fined. First-time offenders will be fined P1,000 to P30,000, while second offenders will have to pay P2,000 to P60,000 and be permanently disqualified from holding public office.

Aside from the expenses, each candidate's contributions are also supposed to be listed in the report.

Osmeña's opponent in Cebu City's south district congressional race, businessman Jonathan Guardo, spent one-third of the amount he spent, or P750,000, for his campaign for the May 10 elections.

If their reports are accurate, none of the elected and defeated candidates in Cebu City spent more than what is allowed by election laws.

Legal matter

Vice mayor-elect Joy Augustus Young is the only one among all the elected city officials who failed to beat yesterday's deadline to submit the report.

"I forgot that the deadline is today, I thought tomorrow pa. Anyway, I'm sure makalingkod gihapon ko. I read the law and I
think I can hold office. I will just have to pay the administrative fine; no big deal," Young said last night.

He said he will submit his statement of expenses this morning, which indicates he spent some P700,000 for his campaign.

Comelec Resolution 8944 states "no person elected to any public office shall enter upon the duties of his office until he has filed the statement of contributions and expenditures herein required."

But lawyer Edwin Cadungog, election officer for the south district, believes those who submit their statements after yesterday's deadline may still assume office, provided they submit it before June 30.

"The resolution says they cannot assume office until they submit their report, which means they can hold office after submitting the document. Anyway, we will inform the Law Department about this and let them decide on the matter," he told reporters yesterday.

According to the resolution, each candidate belonging to a political party is allowed to spend P3 per voter, and an additional P5 is allowed for the party.

This means that in Cebu City's south district, candidates who belong to a political party can spend up to P2,231,136 while those in the north district can spend up to P1,898,720.


As of 5 p.m. yesterday, only 56 of the 95 candidates for mayor, vice mayor councilor and congressman submitted to the local poll office their election expenses report.

The second biggest spender during the campaign in Cebu City is mayor-elect Michael Rama, who spent P1,390,225. Of the amount, P900,000 was contributed by his relatives and friends, he said, while P490,225 came from personal funds.

Next in the list is Rama's opponent in the mayoral race, Georgia Osmeña, who reported to the Comelec she spent P1,212,771. Of that, P712,771.96 came from her own funds, she said, while P500,000 were contributions.

Former mayor Alvin Garcia of the opposition Kugi Uswag Sugbo-Nacionalista Party (Kusug-NP) reported he spent P851,851. His running mate Rodolfo Cabrera spent P250,000.

Other elected officials from the Bando Osmena Pundok Kauswagan-Liberal Party (BOPK-LP) who submitted their election expenses report are north district congresswoman-elect Rachel del Mar (P543,121) and all 16 councilors—ranging from Edgardo Labella, who declared P66,070, to Margot Osmeña, who reported spending P748,606.

Based on his statement, Guardo received P300,000 from the NP and used P450,000 of his personal funds for his campaign.

Of the amount, P450,000 was spent for TV ads, P100,000 for posters and P200,000 for poll watchers.


Osmeña reported that P1.34 million in radio and TV ads were paid for by Norlito Dumantag. His sister Minnie Osmeña also contributed P400,000; his friend Eligio Pacaña, P200,000; and former city councilor Gabriel Leyson, P100,000.

His expenses included the salaries of his campaign staff and political rallies.

Feliciano Camomot, candidate for north district councilor, reported he did not spend anything during his campaign.

In Mandaue City, a candidate for mayor and two candidates for councilor, who all lost in the May 10 election, failed to file their reports as of 4:53 p.m. yesterday.

According to Comelec records, the three are mayoral candidate Eugenio Ruiz, council candidates Elmo Fegarido and Mark Gochoco.

All other candidates from Team Mandaue, who won majority of the seats in the council, and from Nagkahiusang Mandauhanon filed their reports. Of the latter party, Emmarie Ouano-Dizon and Editha Cabahug won as city councilors.

Former Mandaue City mayor Thadeo Ouano, who won his first term in the PB, declared P479,078 in campaign expenses. Of that, he said P252,522 were contributed funds.


Outgoing Daanbantayan Mayor Sun Shimura, who is also joining the PB, reported P842,000 in campaign expenses—with about P700,000 in contributions.

Outgoing Talisay City Councilor Sergio Restauro, who won a PB seat representing the first district, declared P305,750 in campaign expenses. He said P220,000 were contributions.

Reelected Talisay City Mayor Socrates Fernandez told the Comelec he spent P374,000, more than half of it from his supporters or contributors.

The mayor reported P124,000 as personal expenses.

Neophyte councilor-elect Eduardo "Digul" Gullas III reported the highest personal expenditure, at P290,000. His report showed this paid for travel, printing and distribution of campaign materials.

Digul, the 18-year-old grandson of Rep. Eduardo R. Gullas, is believed to be the youngest elected councilor in the country.

Politicians given until June 24 to submit report on campaign expenses

MANILA, PhilippinesThe Commission on Elections is set to extend by 15 days the deadline for the filing of statement of contributions and expenditures for the candidates and political parties who took part in the May 10 elections.

Commissioner Rene Sarmiento said the election body initially granted a petition by the party-list group, Akbayan Citizens Party, 15 days more to file their statement.

We have responded to it. We have granted it, Sarmiento told reporters, adding that the new deadline would be June 24.

The filing of the deadline was supposed to be on Wednesday, but several candidates and political parties sought the extension.

Sarmiento said the resolution was being prepared on Wednesday for the signature of all commissioners, but he quoted Chair Jose Melo saying that to be fair, the extension should also be granted to all parties and candidates that had not filed yet.

We expressed it to the chair and he said it should be across-the-board, meaning it applies to all candidates, Sarmiento said.

According to Comelec, the only candidates who have already filed their respective statements are President-elect Benigno Noynoy Aquino III and his losing rivals Gilbert Gibo Teodoro Jr., Senator Manuel Villar and Senator Jamby Madrigal.

Among the vice presidential candidates, those who have submitted are Perfecto Yasay Jr. and Sen. Loren Legarda. The senatorial candidates who submitted are Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile; senators Jinggoy Estrada, Miriam Defensor-Santiago, Lito Lapid and Ramon Bong Revilla Jr.; senators-elect Tito Sotto and Ralph Recto; Rey Langit and Raul Lambino.

A dozen party-list organizations have also complied.

Comelec Resolution No. 8944, issued on May 25, provides that the statement must indicate the amount of contribution, the date of its receipt, and the full name and address of the person who gave the contribution.

It should also state the amount spent in every expenditure, the date it was incurred, the full name and address of the person who paid for it, and the purpose of the expenditure. It should likewise indicate if the candidate has an unpaid obligation to any person.

Failure to file the statement will prevent a person from assuming office, if he is elected.

Non-compliance also constitutes an administrative offense that is punishable by a fine ranging from P1,000 to P30,000 at the discretion of the Comelec.

Violation of the spending limit is also an election offense, which is punishable by disenfranchisement, disqualification from holding public office, and imprisonment from one to six years.

Aquino: no to new taxes

by Reuters
MANILA, Philippines - Benigno Aquino III, the Philippines' 15th  president, said on Wednesday he was against imposing new taxes as a solution to the government's ballooning budget deficit.

Aquino to prioritize swelling budget deficit

MANILA, Philippines - President Benigno Aquino III  said tackling the the country's swelling budget deficit and growing unemployment will be on top of  his administration's agenda, the newly-proclaimed president said at his first press conference on Wednesday.

Statements Aquino made during his 1st press con as President-elect

 MANILA, Philippines - Shortly after being proclaimed by Congress as the winning presidential candidate in the May 10 elections, President-elect Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino III held his first press conference at the Batasang Pambansa where he made the following statements:
Who will administer oath?
Tatapusin pa po ang arrangements. We're leaning toward QC Circle. Assoc Justice Carpio Morales.
Has he talked to Senator Manuel Roxas [his running mate]?
I understand that he is out of town....We were in communication not too long ago. We will set other meetings in the future, when he is ready to start talking about party matters.
On Vice-President-elect Jejomar Binay's statement that he wants to head the Department of Interior and Local Government
I have several candidates for that position. We will come to something mutually agreeable.
On his cabinet
We are still in the process of vetting. Im waiting .
On the budget deficit and who will be his Finance secretary
I still have to finalize the appointments.
On disgruntled military
Bangit will not be my chief of staff
First things he will do
Alamin ang estado ng bansa, ang deficit, mag-iimbentaryo ng minamana natin. May mga pangako tayo laban sa graft and corruption, hinahanda na ang kilusin laban dyan. Wrong identification of problem leads to wrong solution
Regarding the so-called 'midnight appointments'
My team is studying these appointments, conducting inventory
Is there a scheduled meeting with President Arroyo?
We are scheduling some time after these interviews
On being the first bachelor president, prospects of first wedding being held in Malacanang
Kakausapin ko si Madam Auring. Pipilitin nating masagot yan sa lalong madaling panahon
What will be his first official act
To convene the cabinet, give them marching orders, concentrate on knowing respective departments and state of the nation.
On the proposed Reproductive Health Bill
Responsible parenthood po ang tinutulak namin. Walang karapatan ang estado magdeklara kung ilan ang dapat maging anak.
Do you see a strong opposition?
At the end of the day, I am after the benefits of the majority of the people. It is a contest. It is a race. There will be some people who will not want us to succeed. 
On Senator Roxas as cabinet secretary
In principle, after 1 year ban. Malaking kawalan naman kung hindi ko i ta-tap ang kanyang galing, sipag, experience
On where he will reside while president
Definitely hindi sa Malacanang palace. Yung mga recommendations, I will review.
On the so-called 'Kamag-anak, Inc.' 
Bawal po ang nepotismo. It"s a non-issue
On how the poor can benefit from economic progress
TESDA, tama po ba....Ang TESDA baka idikit natin sa Dep Ed. Ang conditional cash transfers ipagpapatuloy po natin. Pinag aaralan na po ang PhilHealth na 100% ang coverage ng mga Pilipino from 38%.

Ramon Dizon will be new PSG chief - sources

by Ces Drilon, ABS-CBN News
MANILA, Philippines - Col. Ramon Mateo Dizon of the Philippine Military Academy's (PMA) Class of 1983 will serve as chief of the Presidential Security Group (PSG) beginning July 1, after the President-elect Benigno Aquino III takes his oath as president of the Philippines.

Obama congratulates Aquino, Binay

MANILA, Philippines - US President Barack Obama has officially congratulated president-elect Benigno Aquino III on Wednesday.

Noynoy's sisters vow to support him

MANILA, Philippines – The 4 sisters of president-elect Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino III may not hold any government position in his administration but they vowed to support him during his whole 6-year term.

Leftists vow to keep close tabs on incoming Aquino administration

A group of militant leftists have vowed to keep close tabs on the incoming administration of presidential front-runner Sen. Benigno Simeon "Noynoy" Aquino III.

The Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan), which has party-list representation at the House of Representatives, also urged the Filipino people to remain vigilant, the group said in a statement on its website.

"We call on the people to actively advance the struggle for meaningful reforms as a new government takes over. We call on the people to actively advance the fight for justice and change," it said in the same statement.

It also joined Filipinos in expressing hope that the new government will be a departure from the failed one of outgoing President and incoming Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

But it added Aquino and his vice president Jejomar Binay will now be faced with the many problems that the outgoing regime will leave behind.

These include corrupted institutions, human rights abuses, chronic unemployment, worsening poverty, landlessness, high taxes and a justice system that the people no longer trust.

The new administration can take many positive steps during its first 100 days in office, the group said.

"The arduous task of reversing and undoing the many failed policies of the Arroyo regime must begin as soon as possible. Many positive steps can be taken within the first 100 days of the next administration," it said.

Bayan said it hopes the next administration will adhere to its campaign promise of taking the daang matuwid (straight path)."

It particularly cited the need for closure in many outstanding issues such as the 2004 election fraud, the ZTE-NBN deal and various cases of corruption.

Also, it cited the need to address human rights abuses committed by the outgoing regime and the rape of national sovereignty through unequal agreements like the Visiting Forces Agreement.

Bayan reiterated as well its call to Aquino to prosecute Mrs. Arroyo once her term ends.

"We look forward to June 30, the day Arroyo's presidential immunity expires," it added.

Gonzales, Gibo to form new opposition?

MANILA, Philippines - Are Defense Secretary Norberto Gonzales Jr. and former defense chief Gilbert "Gibo" Teodoro forming a new opposition group against President-elect Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino III?

Gonzales opened up the possibility on Wednesday during his speech at the retirement ceremony for Armed Forces vice-chief Lt. Gen. Rodrigo Maclang.

In his speech, Gonzales said although he was forced to stay neutral during the elections, he and his family were actually rooting for Teodoro, the ruling Lakas-Kabalikat ng Malayang Pilipino-Christian Muslim Democrats' bet.

"(I) am expressing something that I have kept secret during the entire election campaign," Gonzales said. "Gilbert, I want to express to you that by unanimous decision of all my children, we are, you are our president."

Gonzales, who earlier drew flak from the Philippine National Police hierarchy for claiming that some police officials were involved in a plan to rig the polls, claimed in his speech that Teodoro was the only candidate "who spoke of visions, policies and change."

The outgoing national security adviser also fired a warning shot at President-elect Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino III.

Gonzales said he will invite Teodoro and Maclang to join a new opposition movement to challenge the new administration.

"Baka naman magawa pa rin nating maglingkod sa taong bayan. Iimbitahin din siguro kita sumali sa akin saka si Gilbert, siguro tayo naman ang oposisyon sa darating na mga araw," he told Maclang.

Praising the troops

Teodoro, who attended the ceremonies for Maclang, was all smiles with the remarks of Gonzales. He is an adopted member of the Philippine Military Academy class of 1976 which include Maclang as a regular member.

Teodoro served as defense secretary for about two years before resigning late last year to pursue his ambition for the presidency. A pilot himself, Teodoro holds the rank of colonel in the Air Force's reserve corps.

Gonzales paid tribute to the officers and men of the Armed Forces, especially Maclang for heading the AFP's Task Force Honest, Orderly and Peaceful Elections, to protect the past elections. "I have to yet to hear a single complaint about the behavior and performance of our Armed Forces during the last elections," he said.

Gonzales said many politicians are talking about how expensive it is to run in an election without making an effort to raise the consciousness of the people in electing trustworthy leaders.

"Our political leaders are blaming our people on the kind of politics we have today. I  think they are wrong," he said.

"Part of political leadership is making sure that they exert all efforts to keep raising the quality in consciousness of our people in the realm of politics. If our countrymen have turned that way, that they are selling their votes, that is not the fault of our countrymen. That is the fault of our leaders."

Cops securing politicians during elections recalled

MANILA, PhilippinesThe Philippine National Police has reminded some 3,800 policemen who were deployed as security escorts to politicians and other individuals during the elections to report to their respective units by Thursday.

Chief Superintendent Leonardo Espina, PNP spokesman, said on Wednesday, the recall and accounting of police escorts would be held simultaneously in Camp Crame and all the regional police headquarters nationwide.

According to Espina, the authority of police personnel to provide security to private individuals ended Wednesday midnight at the same time the 150-day election period officially ended.

The Comelec (Commission on Elections) specifically defined their authority to act as police escorts only until June 9. After that, they will have no mandate to continue as security escorts, Espina told reporters at Camp Crame.

All police escorts will be recalled, including those who were deployed to winning candidates, he added.

The PNP spokesman said policemen who failed to show up during the accounting of security escorts would be marked AWOL (absent without leave) and might face administrative cases.

Chief Superintendent Lina Sarmiento, head of the PNPs Police Security and Protection Group (PSPG), said more than 1,200 PSPG personnel served as security escorts during the election period.

Of this number, Sarmiento said only two PSPG personnel were relieved from their duties for violating PNP guidelines on police escorts.

Espina said individuals who wished to maintain their PNP protective agents should apply with the PSPG and undergo the normal process of acquiring such privilege.

Primarily, they must be able to prove that their lives are under threat, he said.

With the close of the election period, the PNP will also lift the implementation of the countrywide gun ban, which had led to the arrest of over 3,000 violators, according to Espina.

However, we will continue conducting checkpoints and the intensified police operations against private armies and other form of criminalities, he said.

Ampatuan seeks junking of new Agra ruling

MANILA, Philippines - Detained former Maguindanao vice-governor Datu Akmad Ampatuan Sr. is asking the Court of Appeals  to nix a Department of Justice resolution ordering him and suspended Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) Gov. Zaldy Ampatuan to remain as co-accused in the murder case linked to the November 23 Maguindanao massacre.

$1: P46.585

$1: P46.585

Euro 1: P55.8305

Aquino may have to hike taxes at some point – MBC

Makati Business Club  executive director Alberto Lim says  President Benigno Aquino III may need to raise taxes if  he is to increase social spending and public investments.

BIR likely missed May revenue target

by Reuters
MANILA, Philippines - The country's main tax agency likely fell short of its collection target in May by P2.5 billion to P3 billion ($54 million-$64 million) based on preliminary data, a senior government official said on Wednesday.

16 feared dead in Bangladesh ferry accident

DHAKA-- Up to 16 people, including 13 children, drowned when a packed river ferry capsized in northeastern Bangladesh, officials said Wednesday as rescuers searched for more bodies.

The accident happened on Tuesday morning in remote Sunamganj district, 140 kilometers (85 miles) north of the capital Dhaka, district administrator Kamrul Alam told AFP.

"The bodies of six schoolgirls, four small children and three women have been recovered so far," Alam said, adding that the ferry was overloaded.

"Three more schoolgirls are still missing, feared dead. Their relatives have gathered on the banks of the river," he said.

Between 60 and 70 passengers were on board the river ferry when it went sank, including about 40 children who were on their way to school.

North Korea warns UN not to debate ship sinking

by Agence France-Presse
SEOUL, South Korea - North Korea warned the UN Wednesday of "serious" consequences for peace if it debates an alleged torpedo attack on a South Korean warship without letting the North's investigators examine the evidence.

UN slaps fourth set of sanctions on Iran

UNITED NATIONS - The UN Security Council slapped a fourth set of punitive measures on Iran Wednesday hoping to persuade the Islamic republic to curb its suspect nuclear program by widening military and financial sanctions.

Cotto trainer pushes for Pacquiao rematch

MANILA, Philippines – Prized boxing trainer Emanuel Steward declared that he wants his ward, Miguel Cotto, to get another shot at "Fighter of the Decade" Manny Pacquiao.

Mistica rules Sacramento 9-Ball tilt

MANILA, Philippines -- Filipino cue master Ramon "Maestro Monching" Mistica grabbed his first major title this year by topping the 2010 Hardtimes Billiards 9-ball tournament held at the Hardtimes Billiards in Sacramento, California over the weekend.

Texters score 12th straight win

MANILA, Philippines -- Talk 'N Text encountered a stiff challenge from Alaska before holding on for a 76-75 escape to extend its winning run to 12 games Wednesday night in the KFC-Philippine Basketball Association Fiesta Cup at the Araneta Coliseum.

Lakers 91, Celtics 84: Lakers Take 2-1 Lead in Finals Over Celtics

from NYT > Pro Basketball by By JONATHAN ABRAMS

Every nerve seemed to twinge but Fisher's. He had just fouled Rajon Rondo, who was a blur racing down court, carrying Boston's hopes for a comeback in Game 3 of the N.B.A. finals. Instead of throwing his hands up in frustration, Fisher pounded them together and steadied the Lakers on their way to a 91-84 victory.

After the foul, Fisher scored his second basket of the game, then another on a drive and two more jumpers. In between, he offered emotional pep talks to his teammates.

Each basket nudged the Celtics further back. They twice closed to within a point, but never surpassed the Lakers. Fisher ensured the victory by scoring 11 of his 16 points in the fourth quarter, giving the Lakers with a 2-1 lead in the series.

Game 4 of the best-of-seven series will be played here Thursday. Paul Pierce pledged that the series would not return to Los Angeles, with Boston set to host three games in a row after winning Game 2. For the Celtics' sake, it better.

"To come through tonight again for this team, 14 years in, after so many great moments, it's always quite surreal," Fisher said. "It's quite humbling to experience it again and do it again. But it's like being a kid, man. You just never get tired of candy."

Fisher played like a 35-year-old child. His fingers are already decorated with four championship rings. He is now two wins shy of completing an entire hand of fine jewelry.

"2 more W's," the Lakers' locker-room dry-erase board read after the game.

The scene played out drastically different from the Lakers' previous finals games here. The Lakers were humiliated off the parquet in the Celtics' clinching 131-92 win in Game 6 of the 2008 finals.

"I think our thoughts are really just on how disappointed we are," Fisher said before catching himself. "Or were."

For Fisher, the playoffs — particularly the finals — is the time when his greatest moments perform on a loop. Each postseason, Fisher draws a younger, quicker more agile point guard. Each time, he is criticized as being over the hill. Each time, Fisher is the steady force and the Lakers' heartbeat.

"He won the game for them," Celtics Coach Doc Rivers said. "Derek Fisher was the difference in the game."

He was the difference-maker amid a number of clanks on both ends. After hitting a record eight 3-pointers in Game 2, Ray Allen had an improbably abysmal night, missing all 13 shots while Fisher hounded him. Allen nearly set another finals record — this time for the most shots taken in a finals without a make. Seattle's Dennis Johnson went 0 for 14 in Game 7 of the 1978 finals.

"I thought all of his shots looked flat tonight," Rivers said of Allen. "I don't know if he had any legs."

Pierce (5 of 12) was a nonfactor, again. He scored 15 points and received his fifth foul 40 seconds into the fourth quarter after making only 2 of 11 shots on Sunday. The struggles of Allen and Pierce negated the revival of a productive Kevin Garnett, who scored 25 points.

"Every game so far we've had had one of our top players in foul trouble," Rivers said. "Maybe I should start complaining about fouls. Maybe I can get a turnaround like tonight. That was amazing."

Rivers was referring to Lakers Coach Phil Jackson, who has a history of trying to work referees through the media. Rivers then followed with more comments that will likely catch the ear of league officials.

"He wasn't allowed to play," Rivers said of Pierce. He added, referring to the game officials Dan Crawford, Bill Kennedy and Bennett Salvatore. "They didn't allow him to play tonight."

Kobe Bryant scored a game-high 29 points, but did so with heavy lifting under just as many shots. He made only 1 of his 7 3-point attempts. It was a sore point for both teams, who shot a combined 6 for 31 from beyond the arc.

Bryant's 15-foot pull-up jumper with 1 minute 41 seconds left gave the Lakers an 84-80 lead.

It was Bryant's final field goal. "They weren't going to let me beat them down the stretch," he said.

After Allen's final miss — another open look from behind the 3-point line with 54.3 seconds left — Fisher secured the rebound and the victory with a 3-point play that sent three Celtics crashing into a crowd sitting under the basket.

"He saw a lane and went for it," Garnett said. "I wasn't sure if Rondo or someone was going to come, but I found myself isolated."

Fisher, arguably the slowest player on the court went into the teeth of what many consider the N.B.A.'s toughest defenses without blinking.

"He just had the principle of if no one steps, you keep going and he just kept making plays," Jackson said.

John Lloyd Cruz denies dating Ruffa Gutierrez anew

by by Reyma Buan-Deveza,
MANILA, Philippines - Hunk actor John Lloyd Cruz vehemently denied persistent rumors romantically linking him to actress-host Ruffa Gutierrez.

S.Korea seeks to cut work hours, encourage more babies

SEOUL-- Workaholic South Korea will encourage its labor force to work less overtime in order to create more jobs and boost productivity and the dwindling birth rate, a top labor policy group said Wednesday.

As of 2008 South Koreans worked 2,256 hours a year, the longest among members of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development where the average is 1,764 hours.

South Korea's government-backed Economic and Social Development Commission plans to cut average annual work hours to less than 1,900 by 2020, said spokesman Kim Yang-Soo.

The commission will map out policies and launch a publicity campaign aimed at encouraging employees to leave their workplace earlier while improving productivity, the spokesman said.

"Long work hours result in low productivity, undermine job creation and contribute to a low birth rate, thus acting like a stumbling block to the country's development," the commission said in a statement.

The commission said the current system under which management can "buy" unused holidays should be replaced by one under which workers must use holiday time.

The spokesman said the commission would encourage job sharing and flexible work hours to create more jobs and encourage family time.

"Female workers, for example, avoid getting married and having babies because of work burdens. Use of more part-timers to stand in for them would allow them more time for managing homes and caring for babies," the spokesman said.

South Korea's birth rate -- the average number of babies born during a woman's lifetime -- remained near the world's lowest at 1.19 in 2008 and there are fears the population will begin shrinking within a decade.

The commission will also try to change the wage system to factor in productivity to discourage longer hours, the spokesman added.

Lee Jeong-Ho, a policymaker at the militant Korean Confederation of Trade Unions, called on the government to come up with actions such as tax incentives for companies to encourage them to reduce work hours.

Lee said the basic wage of employees at large manufacturing companies accounts for only 38 percent of take-home pay, inducing them to work overtime.

Indonesian police probe celebrities over sex videos

JAKARTAThree Indonesian celebrities who allegedly appeared in sex videos posted on the Internet will be questioned for possible breaches of a new anti-pornography law, police said Wednesday.

Two explicit clips widely circulated online this week appear to show popular singer Nazril Ariel having sex with models and television presenters Luna Maya, his current girlfriend, and Cut Tari, his ex-girlfriend.

Chief police detective Ito Sumardi said the celebrities would be questioned about how the clips had appeared on the Internet.

"We will question them to find out about the clips and how the videos were circulated in public," Sumardi told reporters.

Maya is a goodwill ambassador for the United Nations World Food Programme and has appeared in advertisements with Ariel for a soap made by Anglo-Dutch food and cosmetics giant Unilever.

Tari meanwhile endorses Sharp air conditioners.

A spokesman for Unilever said the soap ads had been cancelled this week but denied the move was connected to the sex tapes.

Producing or distributing sexually explicit material carries a maximum penalty of 12 years' jail under the tough anti-pornography law passed in the mainly Muslim country in 2008.

Muslim lawmakers have said the videos underline the need for tighter controls of the Internet in the country of 240 million people.

"There should be a heavy punishment for this crime," Communication and Information Minister Tifatul Sembiring said on his Twitter micro-blog account.

A spokesman said Vice President Boediono was concerned about the effect the videos would have on young people.

"He is deeply concerned about the negative impact these porn videos could have on our children," Boediono's spokesman, Yopie Hidayat, told ElShinta radio.

The scandal has been among the top worldwide trending topics on Twitter under the "Peterporn" tag, a reference to Ariel's band, Peterpan. Several pages supporting Ariel have also appeared on social networking site Facebook.

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