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

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

June 17, 2010 Major News Stories

Ambush kills 3 men in Lapu

LESS than an hour after walking out of a police detention cell, a man died in an ambush in Barangay Poblacion, Lapu-Lapu City last night.

Four men on two motorcycles fired at Sigfredo Abas, who died on the spot. Doctors pronounced his companion Diosdado Ardiente Sr. dead on arrival, while Rey Niño Donaire died around 11 p.m. in the hospital.

The ambush injured a fourth companion, Alejandro Lobordina, while Abas's driver, identified only as Rene, remained missing last night. Investigators did not know if he was injured or not.

Abas and Donaire were arrested last Tuesday afternoon in Sitio Tugas, Gun-ob for alleged possession of illegal drugs.

They each raised P200,000 for bail.

A police logbook showed the men were released at 8:05 last night and picked up by Rene, a radio DyAB report said.

In his haste to leave the detention cell, Abas left behind the release order issued Judge Victor Teves of the Lapu-Lapu City Regional Trial Court.

Minutes after they left in a light green Chery, four men on two motorcycles tailed them, and the passengers of both bikes fired as the car reached Mantawi St.

Homicide investigator SPO1 Frederick Eslit said the police found 20 shells fired from a .45 at the crime scene, near a row of convenience stores and repair shops.

Eslit said the ambush occurred around 8:30 p.m.

He said Abas's wife, Arnela, told the police her husband briefly dropped by their house, but left again for Lapu-Lapu City because he meant to light a candle at the parish named after the Virgin of the Rule.

The investigator told Sun.Star Cebu the area usually suffers from traffic, so it's probable the victims' car was moving slowly at the time the attackers struck.

Both motorcycle divers wore helmets, but their passengers, the gunmen, wore neither marks nor caps, Eslit said, quoting witnesses.

He said he could not recall similar incidents in the city, when newly-freed suspects were gunned down shortly after their release.

Ship bearing coal rams Cebu power plant wharf

CEBU CITY, PhilippinesA cargo vessel loaded with coal rammed the wharf of the Toledo Power Plant in Toledo City at 4 p.m. on Wednesday.

The MV Sycamore came from Semirara Island in Antique to deliver coal to the power plant, according to Commander Anelito Gabisan, chief of staff of the Coast Guard District in Central and Eastern Visayas.

Gabisan the ship was maneuvering to dock but instead rammed the pier, causing some damage to the wharf and itself. No one was reported injured in the incident.

Semirara Island, which is under the jurisdiction of the town of Caluya in Antique, is the biggest coal producer in the Philippines and supplies coal to the newly commissioned Toledo Power Plant.

The TPP is a 246-megawatt coal-fired power plant owned by a consortium led by the Aboitiz Power Corp. but it currently operates only the first 82-mw unit of the plant.

Checkpoint gibutang sa CPPO sa Transcentral

KAY di pa man ma-ban dayon ang mga bus sa pag-agi sa Transcentral Highway kon way balaod nga pandayon, ang Cebu Provincial Police Office (CPPO) nipahigayog checkpoint nga nagdili sa mga bus ug dagkong trak nga makaagi sa dapit.

Matod ni CPPO director Erson Digal nga ang checkpoint gihimo sa iyang mga sakop nga ubos sa Balamban Police Station sugod niadtong Lunes.

Kining gihimo karon sa kapulisan sa lalawigan gitinguha aron malikayan ang samang insidente niadtong Dominggo diin ang usa ka bus nga nagkarga sa mga Iranian national nahagbong sa Sitio Buli, Barangay Cansumoroy, Balamban.

Ang aksidente nikalas og 20 ka mga Iranian ug usa ka Sugboanong drayber nga si Jaime Batoon unya niangol og 23 ka mga laing pasahero nga Iranian.

Malaumon si Digal nga mosabot ra ang mga motorista ning ilang gihimo karon kay tinguha ra man nila ang "safety" sa ilang biyahe.

Moabot sa 32.5 kilometros kining Transcentral Highway busa minos ra ang biyahe niini kon mobiya ka sa habagatang kasadpang bahin sa lalawigan sa Sugbo.

Sa samang kalambuan, ang kapulisan niumol usab og task force nga mo-establisar sa posibling tulobagon sa tag-iya sa tourist bus nga maoy gisakyan sa mga Iranian nga natagak didto sa Transcentral Highway.

Si Digal namahayag nga ang pagkaumol sa task force resulta sa kamanduan ni Police Regional Office (PRO) 7 Lani-o Nerez niadtong Lunes.

Ang grupo nga wa hatagig pangalan ni Digal pangulohan ni Senior Insp. Ruben Cuizon sa Provincial Investigation and Detective Management Branch.

Nagpahigayon nag ocular inspection sa Balamban ang grupo ni Cuizon ug niadto sa CebuDoctors University Hospital aron mokuha sa mga ngalan ug pamahayag sa mga nangaangol nga mga biktima.

Nitataw si Digal nga ang pamahayag sa mga biktima gamiton alang sa pag-establisar sa basehanan sa pagpasakag kasong civil batok sa tag-iya sa JD Tours, nga maoy operator sa bus nga gisakyan sa mga Iranian.

From company of tragic bus: Other vehicles flunk LTO test

Most of the vehicles of JD Rent-a-Car failed the road worthiness test done at the Motor Vehicle Inspection Center of the Land Transportation Office (LTO) in Subangdaku, Mandaue City.

Teach sex education in English, says solon

MANILA, PhilippinesPutting a positive spin to the pilot testing of basic sex education in selected public schools, a lawmaker on Wednesday said the new program could be an effective way to enhance the students English skills.

But that could only be achieved if the controversial subject would be taught wholly in English, said Cebu Representative Eduardo Gullas.

This way, the DepEd (Department of Education) also get to use the new program to advance the English skills of our children at an early age, said Gullas, an educator and principal author of a bill seeking to reinforce the use of English in schools.

The DepEd will push through this school year with the pilot testing of sex education in 80 elementary schools and 79 high schools in the country amid staunch opposition from the Catholic Church.

Teachers have the option to teach it in English, Filipino or in the regional native language.

"Of course we would prefer that it be taught entirely in English, as a language is best learned and mastered through constant exposure and use in school and elsewhere," Gullas said.

Gullas's bill, the proposed Act Strengthening and Enhancing the Use of English as the Medium of Instruction, was passed by the House of Representatives on third and final reading in the 13th Congress, but the Senate failed to act on the measure.

Gullas said he would re-file the bill in the coming 15th Congress.

Under the measure, English, Filipino or the regional/native language may be used as the teaching language in all subjects from preschool to Grade 3. It also said that English should be the medium of instruction in all academic subjects from Grades 4 to 6, and in all levels of high school.

English and Filipino shall be taught as separate subjects in all levels of elementary and high school, and the current language policy prescribed by the Commission on Higher Education shall be maintained in college; and English shall be promoted as the language of interaction in schools.

A previous survey by the Social Weather Stations indicated that while most Filipinos are convinced that English mastery leads to greater employment opportunities, many still lack competency in the language.

DepEd: No pilot schools in Cebu for sex education

No public elementary and high schools in Cebu that will be piloted in the implementation of sex education.

Cops ask for time to teach students to avoid gangs

GIVE us an hour, and we'll teach you lessons that may save lives.
The police plan to make this request to the education department, saying they would like to talk to students about the dangers of illegal drugs and gangs.

Cebu Provincial Police Office (CPPO) Director Erson Digal said he directed all station commanders to work with schools in their jurisdictions about the program, which may also include road safety tips for students.

Both Digal and Cebu City Police Office Director Patrocinio Comendador Jr. said the opening of classes last Tuesday was peaceful and orderly.

In related developments:

l At least four elementary schools in Talisay City were found to have limited school grounds, which increases the risks for children in case of a fire or other calamities.

l The Department of Education (DepEd) 7 said it expects a 10 percent increase in pre-school enrollees in public schools this year.

Familiar problems like the lack of classrooms and teachers surfaced when the new school year opened last Tuesday.

To do their share and reach out to the children, the Cebu City police force launched an adopt-a-school program.

Comendador and other top officials of the CCPO led the distribution of school supplies and bags to selected schools in the city. Grade 1 pupils from the Regino Mercado Elementary School, Barangay Carreta Elementary School and a school in Barangay Camputhaw received the school supplies last Tuesday and yesterday.

In Cebu Province, Digal said, tanods and civilian auxiliary groups were sent to the schools to help the police secure the students.


But it's not just crime that threatens schools.

Talisay City Fire Marshal Felipe Canillas, who inspected public schools before classes opened, reported a lack of open spaces in the schools in Barangays Tabunok, Mohon, San Roque and Pooc.

Canillas said open spaces in schools are needed because these can serve as temporary evacuation areas in an earthquake or any other emergency.

The City Fire Department regularly conducts fire and earthquake drills in public schools in Talisay as part of their disaster-preparedness programs.

Canillas recommended the construction of a high-rise building and the removal of structures occupying what should be kept as open spaces in school grounds.

City Administrator Richel Bacaltos said they discussed this matter in one recent meeting of the Local School Board (LSB).
"There's no other way but up, to save space," he said, agreeing with the suggestion to build high-rise schools.

As agreed upon with Talisay City Schools Division Superintendent Woodrow Denuyo, all school heads must submit to City Hall their long-term site development plans, Bacaltos said.

This will give City Hall an idea of how much to set aside from the special education fund, for the construction of new school buildings.

Despite familiar problems, the start of the school year also left some room for hope.

Levy Ruiz, 32, was excited when she sent her son James Michael, 5, to his second day of classes in the Zapatera Elementary School.

She said her son was thrilled at the prospect of finding new friends. Ruiz said she appreciates that she only spends a small amount to send James Michael to pre-school.

There is no tuition, and she spends about P1,800 for her son's books.

James Michael is one of the thousands of children who are expected to increase enrollment in public pre-schools by 10 percent this year, according to DepEd's forecast.

Dr. Recaredo Borgonia, DepEd 7 director, said that last year, 106,075 pre-school students enrolled in public schools.

Borgonia said he was surprised by the number of enrollees in public schools, considering that in Central Visayas, more than 459 pre-schools belong to the private sector, while only 242 pre-schools are government-run.

He said more children are entering pre-school as their parents are convinced of the need to start learning early.

This early in the school year, some divisions have yet to find out just how large their school populations will be for 2010-2011.

A partial enrollment report in Mandaue City stated as of yesterday there were 50,622 students enrolled in public elementary and high schools, lower than last school year's opening-day figure.

But the figure is still rising as late enrollees are accepted, said Dr. Gina Enriquez, supervisor for Filipino.

Enriquez said they encountered numerous problems in accommodating additional enrollees.

Some of them have no credentials, said Enriquez, while others have records that DepEd personnel have yet to retrieve.

4 ka mga tunghaan sa Talisay kuyaw

UPAT ka mga tulonghaan sa dakbayan sa Talisay ang peligro sa kabataan kon dunay mahitabo nga linog ug sunog.

Kini tungod kay nagsikitsikit na ang mga buildings nga gipangtukod.

Ang mga tulonghaan mao ang sa barangay Pooc, Mohon, San Roque ug Tabunok.

Mao kini ang gibutyag sa hepe sa kabumberohan sa dakbayan sa Talisay nga si City Fire Marshall Felipe Canillas human sila nihimo og pakisusi sa mga school building sa kabarangayan.

Matod ni Canillas nga wa moagi sa ilang buhatan ang pagpangtukod og mga school building hinungdan nga wa nila dayon kini madiskitai.

Ang mga school administrator sa maong mga tunghaan gitambagan lang ni Canillas nga pangitaan gyud og paagi nga dunay kaagian ang mga tinun-an panahon nga dunay mga katalagman nga mahitabo.

Tungod sa nagsikitsikit na nga mga school building, gamay na lang kaayo ang kaagian sa mga tinun-an.

Kon dunay mahitabo nga trahedya, nameligro ang kabataan nga di dayon makagawas tungod kay gagmay na man lang ang agianan.

Edipisyo sa tunghaan kahugnuon, pabiyaan

DUHA ka andanang edepisyo nga gilangkuban sa 12 ka mga classroom sa Mandaue City Central School gikahadlokan nga mahugno hinungdan nga girekomendar nang di ipagamit.

Laing duha ka andanang edepisyo nga gilangkuban usab sa siyam ka mga classroom kuyaw gihapon nga mahugno.

Hinungdan nga ang Mandaue City Engineering Department nirekomendar nang di na kini ipagamit ug biyaan na.

Apan bisan pa niini, padayong giklasehan ang ubos nga bahin tungod kay wa pa silay nakit-ang kabalhinan.

Niadtong Abril 29 ang Engineering Department pinangulohan ni Engr. Antonio Sanchez nipagawas og kamandoan sa pagbakante na sa maong building nga gilangkuban sa dose ka mga section sa grade-2.

Kini gumikan sa giingong kagubaon na ug nangadunot na ang mga dapat nga kahoy ug di na gayod mahimo pang magamit tungod sa kakuyaw nga mahugno.

Gihulagway ni Sanchez nga di na luwas ang building kon padayonng gamiton ug nabutang sa peligro ang kinabuhi sa mga magtutudlo ug mga tinun-an.

Si Mrs. Cecilia Entera Central District Supervisor, uban sa principal sa tunghaan nga si Ofelia Marfa, nipakita sa Sun.Star Superbalita sa gubaon na nilang building.

Apan bisan pa sa kamandoan sa engineering department, padayong giklasehan ang ubos nga bahin sa building.

Hinuon ilang gipasalig nga pangitaan ra nila kinig paagi taliwa nagkuwang nga classrooms.

Usa na niini ang double session kun laing klase sa buntag samtang lain na usab nga klase sa laing mga tinun-an sa hapon hangtod makakita silag kabalhinan.

Samtang kon kuyaw ang building sa grade-2 gihulagway sa mga magtutudlo nga mas kuyaw usab ang building mga giukopahan sa grade-3 nga gilangkoban sa siyam ka mga classroom tungod kay nabantayan nila ang pag-uyog niini.

Grabe usab ang pagkadunot na sa mga dapat nga kahoy nga wa na magtugkad sa yuta samtang ang mga haligi gipangaon na usab sa anay.

Si Entera niingon nga wa pa kini ma-inspection sa engineering department apan sa higayon nga masusi na kini magpaabot na lang sila sa rekomendasyon.

Apan kon irekomendar nga bakantihan lain na usab unya nga suliran ang ilang atubangon.

Hinuon si Benjamin Tiongson, administrative officer sa Mandaue City School Division, niingon nga si Mayor Jonas Cortes nahibawo na sa ilang suiran ug nisaad nga mogahin og pundo aron pagpatukod og mga tunghaan sa Mandaue City Central School.

Nasayran nga hangtod pa sa Hunyo 30 ang pagpanawat og mga tinun-an sa pampublikong tunghaan.

Capitol defends P32 million budget for school supplies

For Rep. Pablo John Garcia (Cebu, 3rd district), Vice Gov. Gregorio Sanchez Jr.'s complaint that the Province's P32 million budget for school bags and school supplies for public elementary and high school students was "too much" only proves that Sanchez is "out of touch with reality."

DILG: Hiring of PB personnel is duty of vice governor

The governor has nothing to do with the appointments of personnel under the Sangguniang Panlalawigan (SP) because it is the vice governor, being the presiding officer of the legislative body, is empowered to appoint their employees.

Today: Lapu-Lapu marks 49th charter day anniversary

It's a special non-working holiday in Lapu-Lapu City today as the city marks its 49th Charter Day anniversary.

MCWD targets 24/7 supply

METRO Cebu's main water supplier is targeting a 24/7 supply of water in its franchise area by the end of next year.

Ernie Delco, assistant general manager for operations of the Metro Cebu Water District (MCWD), said they will be implementing several projects and developing additional sources of water, such as dams and reservoirs, to meet the needs of its consumers 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Delco, who appeared before the Cebu City Council yesterday to discuss Cebu's water situation, also said MCWD is looking at implementing an in-house water source development.

This means that by the end of 2010, MCWD expects an additional water production of 9,260 cubic meters (cbm) per day and by next year, an additional of 5,160 cbm.

Also, Delco said MCWD plans to establish a bulk water supply project, which they expect to produce, by the end of the year, 5,550 cbm of water daily and by 2011, an additional 45,000 cbm of water.

MCWD, Delco added, will also develop surface water sources, which will include the proposed medium-height Kotkot Dam.

The dam, according to the agency's projections, will generate 50,000 cbm of water per day by the end of 2015.

Five years after the implementation and the operation of the Kotkot Dam, MCWD will be developing another dam in Lusaran.
The dam, Delco said, is expected to generate 55,000 cbm of water per day.

Also, Delco said MCWD is discussing the implementation of the projects they initiated several years ago, which were not realized.

He said the agency is yet to fully implement the Compostela water supply project, the Malubog Dam and the Carmen bulk supply project, which are seen to produce water 10,000 cbm, 50,000 cbm and 40,000 cbm of water per day, respectively.

Aside from its 24/7 water supply program for its customers, MCWD also plans to widen its coverage in Metro Cebu.

MCWD, he said, is addressing roughly 50 percent of Cebu's total water demand.

Delco, however, said by next year, the agency will meet 60 percent of the total water demand.

It projects to expand its coverage to 86 to 90 percent by 2025.

Meanwhile, Delco said MCWD is losing P39 million per month from illegal water connections, stealing and unauthorized extraction of water from fire hydrants.

With this, they are requesting the Cebu City Government to sign an agreement with MCWD to help regulate the extraction of water from hydrants to reduce the agency's losses.

P39-million systems loss monthly: MCWD mulls installing metered hydrants

The Metropolitan Cebu Water District is planning to install meters in all water hydrants in the city to curb illegal withdrawal of water that is causing the utility firm about P39 million of systems loss every month.

Sidewalk hawanan sa vendors

INIHAP nalang ang adlaw sa mga badlungong sidewalk vendors sa siyudad sa Sugbo kay gibahad ni Mayor-elect Michael Rama nga limpyohan ang kadalanan gikan sa mga nagpasad nga street traders sa iyang paglingkod karong Hulyo 1.

Giangkon ni Maria Pino-Buanghog, presidente sa Cebu City United Vendors Association (CCUVA) nga nahadlok ug nabalaka siya sa maong bahad apan nipatigbabaw ang iyang pagsalig sa gisaad ni Rama ngadto kaniya dihang nagka-estorya sila usa ka semana human sa eleksyon.

Matod ni Buanghog nga ang giluwatang bahad ni Rama batok lang niadtong mga di disiplinadong street traders.

Si Rama sa iya unyang pag-asumir sa katungdanan nisaad nga istriktong ipatuman ang one-side vending sa mga sidewalk ug pagdili na sa mga karamota sa kadalanan kay kini maoy usa sa mga hinungdan sa paghuot sa trapiko.

Matod ni Buanghog nga iya nang gipasidan-an ang iyang mga sakop nga hugot gyud nga motuman sa mga palisiya ilabina na ang gidak-on sa ilang mga pwesto aron di maapil sa himuon unyang demolisyon.

Mahitungod niadtong dunay mga karamota, matod ni Buanghog, nga iya nang gipasidan-an ang uban nga mobalik nalang sa ilang mga puwesto sanglit ang uban kanila duna naman gyuy pwesto sa sidewalk ug naghimo lang gihapon og karamota aron madoble ang ilang kita.

Apan niadtong wa gyuy mga pwesto, matod ni Buanghog nga wan a gyud silay mahimo sanglit di man sad gyud tanang vendors ang mahimong ipa-occupy nalang sa tanang sidewalk kay duna may balaod ang siyudad.

"Mangandam nalang ta daan ug mag-iyahay nalang tag pasaylo ilabina niadtong mga undisciplined street traders kay ipatuman na gyud ang balaod. Nahadlok ug nakulbaan ko pero nagpatigbabaw ang akong pagsalig sa gisaad ni Mayor-elect Rama nga kadto rang mga badlungon ang limpyohan," nagkanayon si Buanghog.

Si Rama nipasabot nga di niya tumong nga kulban og kaldero ang mga vendors apan buot niyang ipatuman kon unsa ang angay aron usab di masakripisyo ang ubang katawhan ilabina na ang moagi sa mga sidewalk ug mapakgang ang paghuot sa dagan sa trapiko.

DILG might take away Soc's control of police

Aside from the Office of the Ombudsman-Visayas, the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG)-7 is also conducting an inquiry into the report that Talisay City Mayor Socrates Fernandez intervened in the police operations when his adopted son was arrested for grave threats three weeks ago.

PNP chief meets with Aquino

MANILA, PhilippinesPhilippine National Police Director General Jesus Verzosa said he met with President-elect Benigno Noynoy Aquino III over the weekend, two weeks ahead of his inauguration as the republics 15th head of state.

Interviewed by reporters, Verzosa refused to disclose details of his informal meeting with Aquino.

Yes, I have already spoken with the President-elect, Verzosa told reporters after presiding over an exit briefing for President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo in Camp Crame on Tuesday.

Verzosa said the meeting took place on Sunday in a private place but not on Times Street, referring to Aquinos residence in a middle-class community in Quezon City.

When asked what transpired during the meeting, he said with a smile: Nothing. We just met. Lets not talk about it. Basta nagkita kami (We just met).

It was an informal one because there were others (in the area), Verzosa added when pressed to describe his encounter with Aquino.

While he admitted meeting Aquino, Verzosa said they did not talk about the President-elects announced decision to let him stay on as PNP chief.

Verzosa said the PNP would give the next President a security briefing after his inauguration on June 30.

After spurning Armed Forces chief of staff General Delfin Bangit, Aquino publicly said he would likely keep Verzosa as head of the 135,000-strong police force.

People who are doing good should be rewarded, the incoming President said in an interview with the GMA 7 Network.

At the start of the campaign, Verzosa said he would not back moves to install Arroyo as a holdover President in case the May 10 elections failed.

Meanwhile, Verzosa called on all his unit commanders to pledge our professional loyalty and give our unwavering support to the incoming administration of Aquino.

Speaking before a command conference with regional police directors and heads of the PNP support units, Verzosa thanked his field commanders for safeguarding last months historic computerized elections.

He also ordered them to pursue criminal cases filed against those arrested for violating the gun ban.

After all, strict enforcement of the law must carry with it the certainty of punishment. Otherwise, the public will look at the entire election gun ban as a farce, he said in his speech.

With the elections over, Verzosa said PNP units must return to their regular anti-crime operations and review their disaster preparedness after attending to their election duties.

I urge everyone to unite and pursue our priority tasks with utmost dedication... and continue to strive to make the PNP shine under the new administration to which we shall pledge our professional loyalty and give our unwavering support, he said.

Noynoy, Obama could meet in October: DFA

MANILA, Philippines - President-elect Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino III and US President Barack Obama could meet as early as October this year at a US-Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) summit in Hanoi, Vietnam, a Department of Foreign Affairs official said Wednesday.

DFA lines up foreign trips for Aquino

MANILA, PhilippinesWhether he likes it or not, President-elect Benigno Aquino III has no choice but to be a globetrotter when he assumes the presidency.

This early, the Department of Foreign Affairs has prepared a list of countries that Aquino has to visit as part of his role as the leader of the nation.

For his debut in the international community, Foreign Undersecretary Erlinda Basilio suggested that Aquino attend the opening of the General Assembly of the United Nations in New York scheduled for the second Tuesday of September.

There are three other events that Aquino was urged to attendthe summit of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations in Hanoi and the Asia-Europe meeting in Brussels, both in October, and the Asia-Pacific Economic Conference in Japan in November.

Asked how important it was for Aquino to continue President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyos "economic diplomacy," Basilio replied: "Like President Arroyo, she is the No. 1 drumbeater of the Philippines. The business community sees this and that's why their interests to invest and have trade relations with us becomes stronger.

Basilio said attending these events would be a "good way'' for Aquino to introduce himself and "to put forward his views on many international issues discussed in these meetings.''

Businesses, relatives bankrolled Aquino campaign

MANILA, PhilippinesWealthy family members and businessmen, led by mogul Antonio Cojuangco, bankrolled the successful campaign of President-elect Benigno Aquino III, who spent over P400 million in his ascent to power, according to documents from the Commission on Elections.

Cash-rich family members also funded Senator Manuel Roxas, Aquino's defeated vice-presidential candidate, whose campaign cost about P300 million.

Both Aquino and Roxas come from well-connected political families, with former presidents, politicians and entrepreneurs in their family trees.

Aquino's statement of contributions received from February 28 to May 1, 2010 showed that the senator-turned-president received donations totaling P440 million. There were 96 donors to the Aquino cause.

Aquino did not spend all of his P440-million campaign kitty, however. His expense report to the Comelec said he used P403 million out of the total.

The report pointed out that all payments for his campaign expenditures came from the cash donations, none from his personal funds.

Antonio Cojuangco, who built his business empire on telecommunications and media, gave the largest contribution to the Aquino campaignP100 million in cash. Cojuangco is Aquino's uncle, and his donation comprised a fourth of the total contributions to the Aquino campaign.

Aquino's sisters, Ma. Elena Ballsy Cruz, Aurora Pinky Abellada, and Kris Aquino-Yap, gave a total of P23 million. Aquino-Yap, a popular television host, donated P15 million, Abellada P5 million, while Cruz gave P3 million.

Ex-government officials and businessmen also figured prominently in the Aquino campaign finances.

Former Environment Secretary Fulgencio Factoran, who served under Aquino's mother, the late President Corazon Aquino, contributed P20 million.

Former Trade Secretary Cesar Purisima, a member of the Hyatt 10 and one of Aquino's strongest backers, gave P10 million. Howard Dee, a former ambassador and father-in-law of Aquino's sister, Viel, gave P3 million.

Businessman Chiong Bu Hong have P20 million. Martin Ignacio Lorenzo, of the Pancake House food chain, sent P20 million.

The couple Elena and David Lim, of Solid Group Philippines, the company that manufactures mobile phones, gave a total of P20 million to the Aquino camp.

Unlike Aquino, defeated presidential candidate Sen. Manuel Villar of the Nacionalista Party said he received no external monetary help for his campaign.

Villar outspent Aquino.

According to his statement, Villar spent P431.55 million. It landed him on third place in a nine-way presidential race.

Villar's expense report said all his expenditures were paid by candidate out of personal funds. There was no list of contributors.

Defeated vice-presidential candidate Roxas spent P279 million.

According to Comelec documents, Roxas obtained P246 million in contributions from various individuals, mainly from the extensive and influential Araneta-Roxas-Fores clans.

Roxas said he spent P33 million out of his own pocket.

There were 33 donors to the Roxas campaign. The largest were his mother, Judy, and uncle, Araneta Group chief Jorge Araneta. Each shelled out P50 million to help the senator. The Fores clan gave nearly P70 million.

Comelec spokesman James Jimenez said assertions made by some candidates in the May 10 elections who have filed their expense reports were unbelievable.

So far, the declarations of some candidates in their campaign expenditure filings were outright questionable or even ridiculous in some cases, Jimenez said in a recent media interview. He refused to name any of the candidates.

Some of them claim expenses that are far less than what you would expect considering what you saw, he said.

Jimenez admitted that the laws on campaign finances are weak and full of loopholes.

The law has been defanged. In previous elections, if you failed to submit an expenditure report, you could not assume office. But now, that provision is not in the law anymore, he said. In fact, if you don't submit an expenditure report, the worst that can happen is that you get slapped with a fine, and it's less than P100,000.

Although there are limits to how much a candidate should spend for the elections, there is no limit on how much a donor can give.

Because there is no law limiting contributions from donors and the accounting is limited to the campaign period, the official amount submitted would be less than the actual amount spent for promoting the politicians, Pera't Pulitika executive director Roberto Cadiz said in a recent interview.

Cadiz said candidates usually pool the donations under one name to protect some contributors who do not want to be known.

The Comelec said candidates must file a record of their expenses to the poll body not later than June 24. Candidates who fail to comply face administrative charges, the Comelec said.

Throngs expected at Aquino inauguration

Nag-inspeksyon na kanina sa Quirino Grandstand sa Maynila at Quezon City Memorial Circle ang komite na namamahala sa pagpaplano ng inagurasyon ni President-elect Noynoy Aquino sa a-trenta ng Hunyo. Ngayon pa lang, inaasahan ang buhos ng tao na gustong maging bahagi ng tinaguriang "Tagumpay ng Taong Bayan".

Noynoy, Arroyo teams meet for transition

Pormal nang itinalaga ang transition team ni President-elect Benigno Aquino III na pangungunahan ni Senador Mar Roxas! ito'y para sa maayos na pagsasalin ng gobyerno mula kay Pangulong Arroyo. Nagharap kanina sa isang private meeting ang transition teams at pangunahin sa kanilang agenda ang gagawing inagurasyon sa June 30 at paghahanda sa magiging bahay ng bagong pangulo. 

Short speech, simple rites on Aquino inauguration

MANILA, PhilippinesPresident-elect Benigno Noynoy Aquino III wants a simple inauguration and his speech will be short but encompassing.

It should be as simple as possible, said elected 15th president of the Philippines. We should not be flamboyant especially in terms of expenses.

As much as possible volunteerism brought us to this point, volunteerism will carry out that day also. As much as possible we dont dive into the coffers of the state, said Aquino, who ran on the platform of fighting graft and corruption.

Aquino said he was not privy to the details of the preparation as he was more concentrated on making a very good inaugural speech.

They were still drafting the speech but even this, he said, was subject to negotiations.

The target will be as short as possible and all encompassing, he said.

Even the delivery is subject to debate. Should it be very serious and solemn befitting the occasion, or should it be utilized as a means of communication to the people whereby you should not make it too heavy so people will be involved in the agenda? he said.

Aquino asks Carpio-Morales to administer oath

MANILA, PhilippinesPresident-elect Benigno Noynoy Aquino III has asked Associate Justice Conchita Carpio-Morales to administer his oath of office on June 30.

Aquino wrote Carpio-Morales on Wednesday inviting her to administer his oath, his spokesman, Edwin Lacierda said over the phone.

The reason cited was her position on the CJ (Chief Justice) decision allowing Mrs. (Gloria Macapagal) Arroyo to appoint the new CJ, Lacierda said.

Carpio-Morales was the lone dissenter on the high court ruling that paved the way to Arroyos appointment of Renato Corona as Chief Justice.

Lacierda said Carpio-Moraless position on the issue was consistent with Aquinos belief.

Aquino has been consistent with his statement that the new Chief Justice should be appointed by the next President.

But Arroyo proceeded with the appointment of Corona for the post, following the high tribunals decision.

Binay to take oath before Carpio-Morales too--lawyer

MANILA, Philippines – Vice-President elect Jejomar Binay also wants to take his oath before the same Supreme Court associate justice that President-elect Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino chose for himself.

Binay won't swear in Marcoses - spokesman

(Updated 8:11 p.m.) Although invited, Vice President-elect Jejomar Binay will not administer the oath-taking of members of the Marcos family who won in the recently concluded elections.

No preferential treatment for Hacienda Luisita farmers—SC

MANILA, Philippines Workers of Hacienda Luisita will not get any preferential treatment from the Supreme Court despite requests by several farmers groups seeking the resolution of their case, as well as others on land reform, a spokesman said.

It has yet to be included in the agenda. Well, eventually [it will be included] because that is still a pending case. Of course, it will not receive any special treatment. It will proceed like any other case proceeds, said lawyer Maidas Marquez.

The issue on the legality of the stock distribution option (SDO) under the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP) adopted by the Cojuangcos and some Hacienda Luisita farmers almost 20 years ago have been pending before the high court since 2006.

Prior to this, the SDO scheme was recalled by the Presidential Agrarian Reform Council and then Agrarian Reform Secretary Nasser Pangandaman in 2005 due to complaints by members of the Alyansa ng Manggagawang Bukid ng Hacienda Luisita (AMBALA) that it has become disadvantageous for the farmers.

In order to avoid the property from being placed under the land distribution scheme under CARP, the Hacienda Luisita Inc. (HLI) immediately filed a petition before the high tribunal in February 2006 seeking the nullification of the order recalling the SDO agreement between the hacienda owners and 5,498 farmers.

Under the CARP's compulsory land acquisition scheme, the government will pay the landowner the cost of the property that will be distributed to the farmers.

On the other hand, under the SDO scheme, the hacienda owners will distribute shares of stock to beneficiaries instead of subdividing the hacienda and distributing the land to small farmers.

Last week, farmer groups Unyon ng Mga Manggagawa sa Agrikultura (UMA) and from staunch allies Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP), and Katipunan ng Samahang Magbubukid sa Timog Katagalugan (Kasama-TK) wrote newly-appointed Chief Justice Renato Corona to give priority to the resolution of land reform cases such as Hacienda Luisita, Hacienda Yulo in Canlubang, Calamba City and Hacienda Looc in Nasugbu.

Peasant group sets protest on Aquino's first day in office

KIDAPAWAN CITY, PhilippinesIncoming President Benigno Aquino IIIs first day in office will be greeted by a nationwide protest against landlessness, an official of the Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) in Mindanao said Wednesday.

But Pedro Arnado, KMP Southern Mindanao chair, said the protest was not meant to disrupt Aquinos first day as President of the country.

The protest will not be going to disarray the historic installation of the 15th and first single President in the Philippine Republic, he said.

Arnado said the protest, which he promised would be peaceful, will not be held near Malacaang.

We are only going to stage peaceful rallies in areas where there are farmers struggling to own a piece of land, he said.

Arnado said the KMP wanted to catch Aquinos attention and remind him of the issue of landlessness, which continues to confront farmers.

He said that during the protest, the KMP will also urge Aquino to implement genuine land reform in his familys Hacienda Luisita.

This is our early wake up call to (Aquino) so he will not forget the demands and aspirations of the peasants that comprise 75 percent of the Philippine population, Arnado said.

He said that should Aquino fail to take concrete steps to address the issue of the landlessness, he would prove to be not different from his predecessor, Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

Our demand is still the implementation of genuine agrarian reform, instead of the fake CARP even if they say that it is extended and reformed, Arnado said.

Arnado said the KMP sought the passage of proposals similar to House Bill 3059 or the Genuine Agrarian Reform Bill, which was authored by the late Anakpawis party-list representative Crispin Beltran.

The proposal seeks the distribution of land for free, the provision of technical and financial assistance to peasants, which would break their dependence on loan sharks.

CNN interview: Aquino vows to defend rights "even of opponents"

President-elect Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino III vowed Thursday his administration"s brand of democracy will be one that defends even the rights of his enemies, and where prosecution of corrupt officials will be dictated by law and not by personal grudge.

Aquino taps Roxas for transition team

MANILA, Philippines Defeated vice-presidential bet Senator Manuel Mar Roxas II has been tapped by President-elect Benigno Noynoy Aquino III to be part of his transition team.

Aside from Roxas, the other members of the team are incoming Executive Secretary Pacquito Ochoa, former Education Secretary Florencio Butch Abad, former Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima, and Abads daughter and Aquinos chief of staff, Julia Abad, said Aquino in his letter to Elena Bautista-Horn, outgoing presidential management staff chief.

Their responsibilities and functions include but are not limited to coordinating arrangement for the inaugural program, ensuring the smooth turn over of Cabinet portfolios, and assist in the accounting, receipt and disposition of relevant records, information, among others.

Aside from Ochoa, Abad and Purisima were also reportedly being considered for Aquinos Cabinet.

Aquino confirmed that he was considering a Cabinet portfolio for Abad but was mum on Purisima.

Roxas needs P35M for electoral protest, says poll lawyer

MANILA, PhilippinesDefeated vice presidential candidate Senator Manuel "Mar" Roxas II will need some P35 million when he files his election protest, lawyer Romulo Macalintal said during a forum Wednesday morning.

Macalintal, President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyos former election lawyer, said opening the ballotsfrom three regions pinpointed by the Roxas campalone will cost P30 million and does not include other expenses, such as retrieving the ballots.

He said Roxas would also need to rent the precinct count optical (PCOS) machines all over again to authenticate such ballots since the contract of Comelec with Smartmatic will expire on December.

Roxas last week said he could not turn his back on the millions who voted for him and has instructed his lawyers to gather evidence and prepare for a possible filing of an electoral protest after he lost the vice-presidential race to Makati Mayor Jejomar Binay.

Lakas remains in the thick of House speakership fight

MANILA, PhilippinesThe administration Lakas-Kampi-Christian Muslim Democrats will remain in the thick of fight for the House speakership, even as a number of its members and allies have begun their exodus to the Liberal Party (LP) of President-elect Benigno Aquino III, a stalwart of Lakas-Kampi-CMD said Wednesday.

Albay Representative Edcel Lagman, the candidate for speaker of Lakas-Kampi-CMD, said that his party would still be a formidable political bloc in the House of Representatives in the 15th Congress.

LKC (Lakas-Kampi-CMD) will be in the thick of the speakership contest in order to uphold the electoral mandate wherein more representatives were elected coming from LKC and to comply with the constitutional prescription on check and balance between the executive and the legislative, he said in a statement.

Lagman reminded that while the speakership is a numbers game, the surfeit or dearth of numbers always poses a problem.

Excess in numbers creates the problem of adequate accommodation, while lack of numbers results to depletion in ranks, he said.

Earlier, some LP congressmen said that the speakership was already in the bag for Representative-elect and Quezon City Mayor Feliciano Sonny Belmonte Jr. (4th district Quezon City).

Quezon province Representative Danilo Suarez, another Lakas-Kampi-CMD stalwart, acknowledged that the possibility of Lakas-Kampi-CMD becoming a minority in the chamber looms.

He said the possible alliance among the LP, Nacionalista Party, Nacionalist Peoples Coalition, some Lakas-Kampi members and partylist groups could give Belmonte a comfortable win in the speakership contest.

In a phone interview, Suarez said their chances of getting the speakership dimmed when President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, who has been elected congresswoman of Pampangas second congressional district, announced she was not interested in the House highest post.

Talagang nung hindi tumakbo si GMA (Arroyos initials), nawalan na ng pag-asa. Marami kasi ang nagsabi na susuporta sa kanya (We lost hopes in the contest for the speakership when Arroyo said she would not join the House race. Many congressmen have said they would support her), Suarez said.

Lagman said the exodus to the dominant political party is normal in the chamber.

The practice of partisans trooping to the Presidents political party is a tradition in the House of Representatives which is difficult to break, he said.

But added that, trumpeting that the speakership is in the bag demeans representatives because it is virtually saying that peers are bagged like merchandise.

Joining the bandwagon may be a more polite and politically appropriate incantation, he added.

Gordon won't retire, vows to support Noy

by By Karen Galarpe,
MANILA, Philippines - After losing in the presidential elections, Senator Richard "Dick" Gordon said he is not retiring from public life. He is still going to pursue "transformation" by serving through the Red Cross and supporting the incoming government of President-elect Benigno Aquino III.

Bangit tells troops: Rally behind Noynoy

MANILA, Philippines - Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Chief of Staff Gen. Delfin Bangit on Wednesday gave one last final order to soldiers in Mindanao: unite and support the new commander-in-chief and incoming military chief.

Noy on Genuino: Thanks for one less headache

MANILA, Philippines - President-elect Benigno Aquino III heaved a sigh of relief yesterday with the resignation of Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. (Pagcor) chairman Efraim Genuino.

"Thank you, at least it lessened my headaches," Aquino told reporters.

The incoming president had earlier expressed his intention to invalidate all or most of the midnight appointments made by President Arroyo.

However, Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago said that Aquino should study the issue of midnight appointments very carefully.

"They have to be careful with this principle that is now being bandied around that the power to hire includes the power to fire because there are many, many exceptions to that rule," Santiago said, adding that it was normal for an incoming administration to want to appoint its own people to positions in government, even if it would reach more than 4,000.

"They do not all quit on June 30. Under administrative law, they all stay in office at the risk of being sued for abandonment of public office until after their successors have been appointed and taken their oath.

So they'll just have to remain in office until their successors are appointed by President Aquino. He cannot possibly appoint 4,500 people before the deadline of June 30," Santiago said.

But she also stressed that an outgoing president should not be filling up positions anymore so as not to "tie the hands of his successor by filling up all the appointments on the eve of the start of the period of the ban."

"All of these will make a good test case on the principle of midnight appointments. In the first place, these people should never have pressured the President to give them those appointments because they're already questionable, and in the second place, even if they had been extended, spontaneously by the President, they should have had the good sense to turn it down and wait for the next president to appoint them if he is so inclined," Santiago said.

No pressure

Executive Secretary Leandro Mendoza confirmed the resignation but did not provide any reason for Genuino's decision, except that it was actually an early retirement.

"He filed his letter of retirement last June 1 and I have forwarded it to the President for her acceptance and approval," Mendoza said.

He said Genuino also expressed in his letter his gratitude to the President for her trust and confidence in him and a breakdown of his accomplishments as Pagcor head.

Malacañang had earlier defended the appointment of Genuino and four Pagcor board members, saying these happened on March 9, or the eve of the start of the constitutional ban on midnight appointments.

Mendoza said that several other resignations have been submitted to the President, mostly from ambassadors and officials of the executive branch.

Pagcor spokesman Edward King said there was no pressure on Genuino to resign amid warnings from the incoming Aquino government that his transactions in the agency during his nine-year term would be investigated.

"There was no pressure in his decision. He filed his retirement papers as early as May 28, shortly after the election," King said in a radio interview.

In his letter to President Arroyo, Genuino thanked the President "for her complete trust and confidence."

"I leave Pagcor with mixed emotions: sad, because I have learned to love Pagcor; and happy, because I have served a great leader, Your Excellency," he said.

King, however, said that Genuino is willing to help the next administration in whatever capacity is needed.

He also urged the next administration to continue the $15-billion Entertainment City project of Genuino, saying that this would create thousands of jobs for Filipinos.

"It is his hope that the new government would use this towards hastening the country's economic recovery and progress," King said. 


Genuino's resignation was lauded by Senate minority leader Aquilino Pimentel Jr. and Senate President Pro-Tempore Jinggoy Estrada, who were earlier critical of President Arroyo's midnight appointments.

"At the very least, he exhibits a sense of delicadeza, which is a disappearing virtue among public servants," Pimentel said.

Estrada said resigning is "the right thing to do" and hoped that "all the appointees of GMA will follow suit."

"There are many thick-faced appointees who want to cling to their posts," Estrada added in a text message.

Sen. Richard Gordon, one of Aquino's fiercest foes in the last presidential elections, turned into an unlikely ally and gave his full backing to Aquino's choice of new Cabinet secretaries.

Gordon, who had also previously served as Tourism Secretary, said Aquino would likely make the right and good decisions in choosing the next Cabinet members, particularly the new Tourism chief.

"I am leaving it to the incoming president. I am very sure he will make a good decision for our country and hopefully they would be able to fix the problem of our country," he said.

"We will not always be fighting. I am willing to give my help if they would need it," Gordon added.

Some tourism stakeholders earlier expressed their opposition to the possible appointment of music artist Jim Paredes as Tourism secretary.

Sources from the Aquino camp confirmed that Paredes is among those being considered for the Tourism portfolio, aside from Shangri-La Group chief executive officer Andy Bautista.

Gordon said he will not be making any recommendation for Tourism secretary, but he is ready to help if they would ask for it. 

Palace names new PIA chief

MANILA, Philippines - Concurrent NBN-4 general manager Jose "Joy" Isabelo is the new Philippine Information Agency Director General, according to Presidential Management Staff chief Elena Bautista-Horn.

Noynoy urged: Stop warlords, stop media killings

MANILA, Philippines - The National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP) on Wednesday said President-elect Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino III must put a stop to the government's policy of "nurturing warlords" if it wants to stop media killings in the country.

New judge takes over Dacer-Corbito murder trial

MANILA, PhilippinesDouble murder or two counts of murder, which is which?

This was the question posed by the new judge handling the Dacer-Corbito case, saying a procedural lapse in the information filed by government prosecutors raised the question of whether the allegation of conspiracy against the accused could be established.

At Wednesdays hearing of the case, Manila Regional Trial Court Branch 32 Judge Thelma Bunyi-Medina questioned government prosecutors about the two different offenses they filed against the accused: Senator Panfilo Lacson was charged with two counts of murder, while the rest of the accused face double murder charges.

We have to determine first if the information filed is correct, Medina said. The question here is if it would sustain the allegation of conspiracy because of a procedural lapse.

In an interview with reporters, Senior State Prosecutor Peter Ong admitted that the prosecutors who handled the case in 2001 erred in filing double murder charges against the accused.

Double or multiple murder is applicable when the victims were killed in a single act, like bomb explosion. But in this case, the victims were killed separately, so it should be two counts of murder, Ong explained.

I told the judge, I am bound to do what is right. She is concerned because conspiracy means an act of one is an act of all and if they are equally guilty, what will happen now with two different information. I leave it to the court to decide, he said.

Asked about the possibility that the case would be dismissed due to technicality, Ong answered: No, I do not agree. This is just a mere recital of facts. It may only affect the penalty imposed on the accused, assuming that they are guilty, but not on the merits of the case. I don't even think that the lapse would weaken the case.

An amendment to the indictment is not an option, according to Ong, as all the other accused, except for Lacson, may cry double jeopardy.

The hearing also dealt with Lacson's motion for a reinvestigation of the case filed against him.

Lacson, through his lawyer Alex Poblador, earlier filed a motion for reconsideration of the order finding probable cause.

In that motion we want the warrant for his arrest quashed and the case dismissed. But alternatively, if the court is not inclined to quash the warrant, we have the second motion, the motion for investigation to allow us to present additional evidencethose that we were not allowed to present before, Poblador told reporters.

These include the complete testimony of former Superintendent Glenn Dumlao where he admitted four things: That Senator Lacson has nothing to do with the case; that he (Dumlao) was pressured to testify against Lacson; that whatever (Superintendent Ceasar) Mancao knows was related to him by Dumlao; and it was (former) President (Joseph) Estrada who ordered (former Senior Superintendent) Michael Ray Aquino to conduct special operations," he added.

Asked where his client was, Poblador said he was not aware of Lacson's whereabouts, adding that they communicate only through one of the senator's sons.

Lacson went into hiding after a warrant was issued for his arrest in connection with the death of publicist Salvador Bubby Dacer and his driver Emmanuel Corbito in 2000.

Kidnapped Swiss-Filipino rescued

ZAMBOANGA CITY, Philippines (UPDATE 3) It was a lightning-fast operation.

This was how Charlie Rieth described the event that led to his freedom early Wednesday, more than two months after his abduction by suspected Abu Sayyaf bandits.

Rieth, a Swiss-Filipino, was found by his rescuers in a hut in the outlying village of Labuan after three men guarding him fled on seeing the arrival of a team of soldiers and police, according to Task Force Charlie commander Senior Superintendent Francisco Cristobal.

Cristobal said not a shot was fired as the three men guarding Rieth fled as the rescue party arrived at the scene around 3 a.m.

The 72-year-old scion of a landed family here was abducted on April 4. His kidnappers initially demanded P50 million in ransom but eventually lowered it to P20 million.

Authorities initially blamed Abu Sayyaf bandits for his disappearance and thought he had been taken to Basilan. But Cristobal said Rieth was never taken to Basilan.

He said the victim was first brought to Zamboanga del Norte. His captors eventually returned to Zamboanga City in a bid to mislead the authorities, he said.

Cristobal said Rieths freedom was the result of a joint military and police operation.

It was due to a very special intelligence operation, he said.

But Cristobal would not provide additional details about the rescue.

Rear Admiral Alexander Pama, commander of Naval Forces in Western Mindanao, also declined to provide details.

Both Cristobal and Pama maintained that no ransom was paid and that Rieth was rescued from his captors.

Even Rieth appeared to have lost track of what really took place Wednesday.

I cant really say things to you very much because it was a lightning-fast operation. It was dark, it was around 2:30 in the morning, he told reporters.

But the freed kidnap victim said he did not hear a single shot fired before government authorities took him into custody.

I was very much delighted when they told me that I was in secure hands, Rieth said.

He said he later met Mayor Celso Lobregat and Pama.

Appearing in a checkered polo shirt before reporters here several hours after he regained his freedom, Rieth was in a jovial mood despite the IV tube attached to his wrist.

Asked what he missed most while in captivity, Rieth said: I missed a good beer.

He promised to have some beer with reporters here as soon physicians declare him fit.

Rieth said he did not know why he was kidnapped.

He said even his captors appeared surprised upon seeing him on the day he was taken at gunpoint.

I really dont know why, and those people who have taken me, they were also surprised to see me. When I got there, they didnt know my name and from where I was, he said.

Rieth said he also did not know what group took him but identified one of the kidnappers as one Abu Jahid.

He said he just nicknamed the other gunmen according to how they behaved.

Like the guy I called Smoking Joe because he was a heavy smoker, the other guy I called Mighty because in the end, when I could not walk anymore, he was the one carrying me around, he said.

Rieth described his days in captivity as very difficult because they were highly mobile.

The terrain was very difficult to maneuver because it was mostly 80 degrees slope and you run very much fast out of breath, he said.

Rieth said the experience was very trying and hard.

Especially if you're life is in a sedentary state. You know I am a senior citizen and for somebody in that age group to go through the ordeal of camping out on different sites, walking, waiting for news from the outside world is very trying and hard and can be really a telling experience, he said.

Though ailing he suffers from diabetes Rieth said his desire to stay alive was his utmost motivation.

When I sat back, I could see the documentary of my life pass in front of my eyes, what you have done, what you should have not done, give you insights into life and makes you want to stay alive. It wants you to come out of this stronger and better so that whatever mistakes you have done in the past, you can make up for it now, Rieth said, trying to control his emotions.

Asked if he would remain in the city after his ordeal, he answered: I was born here and I am living here continuously for 50 years and this is one of the best places in the world.

Arroyo confers citation on DSWD

The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) was conferred with a Presidential Citation by outgoing President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo in recognition of the Department's significant contribution in alleviating poverty among Filipinos, particularly through the government programs Kapit-Bisig Laban sa Kahirapan and the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps). The Kapit-Bisig Laban sa Kahirapan-Comprehensive and Integrated Delivery of Social Services: Kapangyarihan at Kaunlaran sa Barangay (KALAHI-CIDSS: KKB) Project, the DSWD's core program in community empowerment, has been cited for its provision of "capacity-building, implementation support and community grants to 4,583 barangays in 200 of the poorest municipalities across the country" since 2001. The program was also cited "for improving the lives of Filipinos by empowering them to chart the directions of their local development." The community projects include basic social services, such as classrooms, day care centers, water systems and rural health centers; Basic Access Infrastructure, such as farm-to-market roads, path walks, hanging bridges, and spillways; and Common Service Facilities, such as rice and corn mills, solar driers, and rice threshers. Likewise, environmental protection projects include riprapping and slope protection, embankments, and line canals; as well as skills training and capability building in skills training centers. (Ellalyn B. De Vera)

$1: P46.150

$1: P46.150

Euro 1: P57.3028

OFW remittances hit $5.9 billion as of April

MONEY SENT HOME by Filipinos working abroad continued to grow in April, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) yesterday said.

Aquino's P37-M unspent funds went to taxes et al

MANILA, Philippines - The camp of President-elect Benigno Aquino III on Monday released an accounting for some P37 million in unspent campaign funds.

Trade dep't caps flour prices

ELEVEN MILLERS have been ordered to lower flour prices by the Trade department, effectively setting a price cap on the commodity as the government pursues profiteering charges against the firms concerned.

Implementing rules on senior citizen discount signed Friday

IMPLEMENTING RULES and regulations (IRR) of a law preserving the 20% discount of senior citizens on goods and services will be signed on Friday, a Finance official said yesterday.

Metro Manila minimum wage hike effective July 1

A P22 INCREASE in Metro Manila minimum wages will take effect on July 1 after the requisite order was published yesterday by the local wage board.

Pinay, hubby found dead in apparent murder-suicide in US

by By Yong Chavez, ABS-CBN North America News Bureau
ANAHEIM, California - Financial problems may have been the motive for the murder-suicide of an Anaheim couple.

Wealthy Kuwait hit by power crisis as mercury tops 50

KUWAIT CITY—Record temperatures above 50 degrees Celsius (122 Fahrenheit) in the desert state of Kuwait have placed it on the brink of a major power crisis and put the government under fire politically.

Rescue workers reach Bangladesh landslide victims

COX'S BAZAAR—Bangladeshi rescue workers battled blocked roads and floods Wednesday to distribute emergency aid to remote communities hit by landslides that have killed 55 people.

More young people donating blood: WHO

MANILA, Philippines - Young people are more active in donating blood as more than one-third of blood donations worldwide come from people under the age of 25, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

RP's Mayol to settle score vs Mexican challenger

MANILA, Philippines – Reigning Filipino World Boxing Council (WBC) junior flyweight king Rodel "Kid Rapido" Mayol will get a chance to settle the score against former world champion Omar Niño Romero at the challenger's home turf in Mexico on Saturday (Sunday in Manila).

Coke thumps struggling SMB

MANILA, Philippines – Don't count Coca-Cola Tigers out yet for the automatic quarterfinal seat. The Tigers scored another huge win, this time against import-less San Miguel Beer, 89-86, for its 2nd straight victory at the KFC-PBA Fiesta Cup Wednesday night at the Araneta Coliseum.

Lakers' attitude and effort spurred 89-67 Game 6 victory over Boston Celtics

from Lakers Blog by Mark Medina


Hours leading into what could've become an elimination game, the Lakers visualized the outcome going in their favor. The team's morning shootaround included a meditation session, an approach Lakers Coach Phil Jackson typically holds to help calm his player's nerves, increase their spirituality and anticipate the challenges ahead.

The Lakers firmly believed they could win out heading into Game 6 of the NBA Finals against Boston because of their talent level, experience,home-court advantage and level-headed demeanor that's been constant through the wins and losses. So even if the team immediately kept that mindset following its Game 5 loss to Celtics, the meditation session at least ensured the Lakers' attitude stayed intact. Hours later, the Lakers' 89-67 Game 6 victory Tuesday over Boston ensured the series to last seven games, a length not even Jackson experienced during his storied Finals experience. Fortunately for the Lakers, they already saw it coming.

"You just visualize yourself winning the game and doing what you have to do," Lakers center Andrew Bynumsaid. "That'll pay off for us in the future because you've visually been there before. Once you're in it, you can see yourself playing well."

That included essentially all the areas the Lakers struggled mastering in their Game 5 loss. The Lakers' offense featured someone beyond Kobe Bryant, who scored a team-leading 26 points on nine of 19 shooting with 11 rebounds. It's a pale effort when you look at his 38-point effort in Game 5 and his 23-point explosion. But the offense sure looks better when it also features contributions from Pau Gasol (17 points and 13 rebounds),Ron Artest (15 points on six of 11 shooting) and a reserve unit that that outscored Boston's bench 25-13. Even if Bryant justifiably took over Game 5 while he had little support around him, a well-oiled offensive machine proves more effective.

The Lakers' improvements went beyond the offense. After allowing Boston to shoot 55% from the field in Game 5, the Lakers held the Celtics to 33.3% with all but Ray Allen (19 points on seven of 14 shooting) going below .500. After staying even on the glass, the Lakers dominated on the rebounding effort 52-39. After the Celtics beat them on loose balls and hustle plays, the Lakers essentially put a role reversal.

Not everything went according to plan. With just 1:42 into the third quarter, Jackson recalled Bynum motioned to him on the sideline, saying, "You've got to take me out. I can't run." Jackson later learned Bynum experienced more swelling in the back of his leg near the torn cartilage of his right knee. Bynum went to the locker room, did what he called "a couple activation things," and returned to the bench, though he wouldn't play the rest of the game.

"Precautionary measure," said Bynum, who finished with only two points on one of four shooting and four rebounds in 15 minutes and 53 seconds. "Save for Game 7. We're going to be ready for it."

But unlike previous games, the Lakers proved they could absorb Bynum's limitation, something they may afford in Game 7 considering Celtics center Kendrick Perkins will be reevaluated Wednesday after spraining his right knee and being helped off the court with 5:30 remaining in the first quarter.

"I'm sure it had a big effect in the ballgame," Jackson said. "But I think our energy was good enough that it was not a matter of who wasn't there. It was about what we were going to do. We were trying to determine our own fate tonight."

The reasons for the sudden shift in effort went without saying: the Lakers were on the verge of conceding a championship to Boston for the second time in three seasons, letting go of a second consecutive title and increasing the chances that the team's current makeup would no longer be fully intact for more title runs. But how the Lakers went about changing their execution required a mature approach in playing with more effort without leading to a tight performance.

"There's a danger, but we're used to being in must-win situations," Bryant said. "The way we look at it, it's just a game we've got to win. We've been in must-win situations before so we have to approach it in the same way."

Those experiences include when the Lakers entered Game 5 tied 2-2 with their first-round series with Oklahoma City and their West Finals matchup with Phoenix. Let's not forget Game 7 of the 2008 West Semifinals against Houston, which featured plenty of emotions and pendulum swings. But the Lakers' experience proved to be just one factor in maintaining their attitude.

Jackson saw the spirits remain high after the team realized its 16 offensive rebounds and Boston's 16 turnovers still kept them in Game 5 despite featuring a one-man offense and a non-existent defense.Odom credited the team's calm attitude immediately after the Game 5 loss in preventing a dire situation from becoming worse. Artest pointed to Bryant's high expectations and Derek Fisher's speeches all season in fueling the team's confidence level. worse. And Lakers forward Luke Walton noticed Bryant appearing relaxed and jovial, while Jackson provided little changes to the team's preparations beyond X's and O's.

"Going into game 6 or 7 and losing is a failure to us. There's nothing that needs to be said. You look around right now. theeres not many people celebrrating," said Walton, though he shared a laugh with reporters because the crowded locker room caused him to perspire through a new dress shirt. People are ready to get home, get some rest and get ready for Thursday."

The Lakers gave themselves a chance by holding very little back. 

Odom recorded his firs double digit in rebounds (10) along with eight points, despite playing with sinusitis. "Focus, will, just giving myself up," Odom said. Artest bounced back from miserable Game 5 by playing within the context of the offense and allowing successful early looks to increase his confidence. "If I can help my team with a good stop, box out or physical thats a huge part of the game." 

Jordan Farmar perfectly demonstrated the team's hustling attitude by successfully diving for a loose ball, despite wearing numerous floor burns. "I got a big blister on my hand," he said. "I got a few things, but that's how it's supposed to feel in an NBA Finals game. Game 6 and your backs are against the wall -- you're supposed to be hurting. Though Fisher picked up four early fouls, the Lakers' reserves in Sasha Vujacic (nine points) Farmar (four points) and Shannon Brown (four points) filling the void, with the latter showcasing two high-light reel dunks. "That's what it's going to take," Brown said. That's what we lacked in the games we lost." 

And Gasol quickly rebounded from his worst Finals performance with vintage play ranging from hooks, mid-range jumpers and efficiency in the triangle. "You've just got to make sure you bring the kind of intensity, activity that we brought tonight and then things will go your way for the most part."

Things certainly went the Lakers way in Game 6, an outcome the team had already visualized happening. And with Game 7 quickly approaching, the Lakers plan to maintain the same approach,

"You can understand the power of prayer and people coming together and willing themselves," Odom said. "It worked for us as a team and indivdually."

--Mark Medina

Lakers 89, Celtics 67: Lakers Stroll Past Celtics and Into Game 7

from NYT > Pro Basketball by By HOWARD BECK

Playing under the comfort of 15 banners, including the one they raised last fall, the Los Angeles Lakersregained their swagger and routed the Boston Celtics by 89-67, tying the N.B.A. finals at three games apiece.

The Celtics were denied the chance to claim the title. But someone will celebrate a championship here Thursday night. It will be the first Game 7 in the finals since 2005 — when the San Antonio Spurs beat theDetroit Pistons — and just the second in 16 years.

"It's really a high-tension situation," Lakers Coach Phil Jackson said.

In this series, between these age-old rivals, there could be no other way.

Bryant carried his team's spirit but this time did not have to carry the Lakers with his scoring. He paved the way with 26 points and 11 rebounds but got ample support from Gasol (17 points), Ron Artest (15 points), a lively bench and persistent team defense. The Celtics' point total tied for the second lowest in a finals game in the shot-clock era.

So the Lakers need one victory to win their first back-to-back titles since 2001-2. The Celtics need one victory to validate the title they won two years ago, which came at the Lakers' expense. The conclusion will be tense.

"It's definitely not just another game," said Gasol. "It's a crucial game, obviously, like it was tonight. Luckily, we play at home. And we want to carry everything that we did right tonight to it. And then I think we'll be in a very good place to win."

Gasol, whose toughness was again called into question during two losses in Boston, rebounded splendidly and was just shy of a triple-double, with 13 rebounds and 9 assists.

Injuries marred the evening. The Celtics lost center Kendrick Perkins to a sprained right knee in the middle of the first quarter. The Lakers' center, Andrew Bynum, was forced out in the second half because of swelling in his injured right knee. Both players will be reevaluated Wednesday, but the Celtics seem highly pessimistic about Perkins.

"Doesn't look great," Coach Doc Rivers said. "But I don't know."

Either Glen Davis or Rasheed Wallace would replace Perkins for Game 7.

There was not much aesthetic value to Game 6, aside from a few showy dunks by the Lakers' Shannon Brown and Jordan Farmar. Neither team shot well, especially in the second half, and the game was never close after halftime.

Both Jackson and Rivers said the coast-to-coast travel after Sunday's Game 5 had sapped their teams.

"I thought it was ragged," Rivers said.

More so for the Celtics, who shot just 33.3 percent. Their 31-point first half was their worst of the finals, by far. Ray Allen came alive with 19 points, but the rest of Boston's stars went dim. Paul Pierce needed 14 shots to score 13 points, and he never got to the foul line. Kevin Garnett finished with 12 points and Rajon Rondo with 10.

The Celtics, who had been the aggressors in winning Games 4 and 5, shot just 10 free throws to the Lakers' 19. And their bench was woeful, scoring zero points in the first three quarters as the Lakers built a 25-point lead.

Most overwhelming and indicative was the rebounding advantage, 52-39 in the Lakers' favor. Rivers said the Lakers had played "harder, better," and also smarter, with good ball movement. Rivers chastised his team for failing to play a team game.

"We never gave ourselves an opportunity offensively, because we didn't trust tonight," he said. "Everybody was trying to make their own plays."

Boston also missed Perkins's production. His replacements —Wallace, Davis and Shelden Williams — combined for zero points.

The Lakers' determination beamed from Bryant's steely expression during pregame introductions. He did not smile, bounce or skip, or even look at his teammates as he slapped a row of hands. He projected intense focus or mild irritation, perhaps both, after losing two straight games in Boston, despite his own superhuman efforts.

Bryant was serenaded with "M.V.P." chants all night and left to a standing ovation with 3 minutes 21 seconds left. He is closing in on a fifth championship ring but showing little joy in the moment.

As fans and commentators began buzzing about a Game 7, Bryant practically sneered.

"It's a game we've got to win, simple as that," he said. "I'm not going crazy over it."

The Lakers were facing their first series deficit of 2010, and facing elimination for the first time in 13 months. Bryant seemed annoyed, after carrying a too-heavy load during defeats in Games 4 and 5. Jackson insisted that the offense needed to diversify.

Bryant still set the tone, scoring 11 of the Lakers' first 21 points. But this time, his teammates joined in — primarily Gasol and Artest — and the Lakers took a 10-point lead in the first quarter.

The Lakers' desperation burst to the surface. After 17 minutes, they had a 22-7 rebounding edge and a 17-point lead.

One play exemplified the night: Farmar, sprawled on the court, reaching a loose ball ahead of Rondo, then flipping it ahead to Bryant on the fast break. Bryant was fouled and made both free throws for a 36-23 lead.

Lamar Odom finished with 8 points and 10 rebounds off the bench. Sasha Vujacic hit momentum-turning 3-pointers. And Farmar, for a time, seemed to be everywhere. At one point, he raced down the court in transition and dunked on Garnett, making it 45-25, then turned and jawed in Garnett's direction.

The only thing left to do was unleash the purple and gold streamers, let Randy Newman croon "I love L.A." and start pondering the meanings of Game 7.

"I'm hoping both teams play great and the best team wins," Rivers said. "And I'm hoping that's us."

Post-victory pandemonium outside of Staples Center

from Lakers Blog by Laura Myers

What looked like half of the Los Angeles Police Department -- not to mention all of their horses -- was at Staples Center as crowds poured out following the Lakers' 89-67 Game 6 victory Tuesday.

That didn't stop the fans from celebrating.

Fans surrounded the Magic Johnson statue in front of Staples Center, climbing his outstretched arms and waving Laker flags – until the cops came to force them down.

"It's finally the performance we've been waiting for," David Shahnazarian of Rodondo Beach said as he launched into an excited recap of the game, highlighting the 25 points that came from the Lakers' bench. "It was a great team effort."

Of course, fans were also eager to make Game 7 predictions.

"Kobe's going to be sporting five rings," Yolanda Mendez of Palm Springs said, wiggling her fingers in the air.

But Celtics fans disagreed. Kate Ericson and her husband Justin (whom Kate describes as "very dedicated") were at all three games in Boston before flying to Los Angeles. They live in Melbourne, Australia, and their flight home is Thursday.

"I'm just hoping the Celtics win it by the third quarter, I've got a plane to catch," Kate said.

Carlos Torres, wearing yellow goggles and a purple and yellow wig, with a Johnson jersey to match, said he thinks Thursday's game will be close, as he'd expected Game 6 to be.

"I expect for Game 7 to be a really hard game," he said. "Boston isn't going to lay down another egg like it did tonight."

Traditions to be revived in Noynoy inauguration

MANILA, Philippines - Historian and columnist Manuel Quezon III spoke for the first time as inaugural spokesperson Tuesday night.

In an interview on ANC's "Strictly Politics," Quezon said an old tradition from pre-Martial Law days will be revived for the inauguration Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino III.

That is, the Senate President and the Speaker of the House of Representatives will start the ceremony by reading the actual formal proclamation as approved by Congress.

Quezon said what merely transpired last June 9 was simply approving the resolution proclaiming Noynoy Aquino and Jejomar Binay as the new president and vice president, respectively.

"It is only fitting because the whole thing with rituals is to make it clear to everyone from the highest to lowest, to say everything must come to an end, and on to a new beginning," Quezon said. "All rituals exist to show the continuity of the government, and at the same time, there are parts that are fixed."

These 'fixed' rituals Quezon referred to include having the president-elect fetch the incumbent from Malacañang Palace.

Quezon, who is also the host of ANC's "The Explainer," recognized the expectations surrounding the inauguration.

"My hunch is that people are more interested in the inaugural; it's an event, a combination of a wake and a birthday (party)," Quezon said. "They're also curious what the new government will do once in power. That's normal."

Aquino is set to hold his inauguration at the Quirino Grandstand on June 30.

Aquino mulls thee-day 'legitimate' break

MANILA, PhilippinesPresident-elect Benigno Noynoy Aquino III is planning another vacation before he assumes office on June 30.

But Aquino said he would first complete the formation of his Cabinet before taking a three-day legitimate break.

I also intend to take a legitimate break even for three days only to internalize everything, he told reporters Tuesday night.

Asked when he would start his vacation, Aquino said, I want to finish forming the Cabinet. I want to make sure we are on the right track deciding who to replace among appointees, who are the candidates for the appointees.

I understand the inventory is 4,500, he said, referring to the vacant positions in government that has to be filled up.

Aquino also took a weeklong hiatus before Congress formally proclaimed him as the 15th president of the country on June 9.

Miss Universe to Noynoy: 'I'm still waiting...wanna have coffee?'

MANILA, Philippines – Who wouldn't want to meet a Venezuelan Miss Universe?

Another Miss Universe may visit RP

After 2008 Miss Universe Dayana Mendoza, another Miss Universe may visit the country next year. Cesar Flores, Smartmatic Asia Pacific president said that they might invite reigning Miss Universe Stefania Fernandez, also of Venezuela, to visit the country next year. "That's one of the ideas. Let's see what happens. Although we are very happy with the role of Dayana," Flores said. Last Tuesday, Smartmatic presented to the media Mendoza as their Ambassador of Transparency. Flores said one of the reasons why they invited Dayana here in the country is to help them get the message across that the recently concluded May 10 polls was a success. "To get the message across that the election was a success and it's recognized by all the countries in the world. The buzz that this has created around the globe that the Philippines has the cleanest, fastest and less violent elections in their history...that's something that we need to tell people and people should be proud of," said Flores. "They can be proud of many things and one of them is automation. That's basically why she's here to say thank you and to help us with some donations that we are going to give later today together with our partner TIM (Total Information Management Corp.)," he added. During a visit at the Commission on Elections (Comelec) office in Intramuros, Manila, Dayana congratulated the poll body for the successful holding of the automated polls.

Palace defends FG Arroyo's new books

MANILA, Philippines - Two Malacañang officials said Wednesday they see nothing wrong with the launch of First Gentleman Jose Miguel Arroyo's new books, which seek to highlight the accomplishments of President Arroyo.

FG Arroyo: It's been the best 9 years

MANILA, Philippines- "It has been the best 9 years...I sleep well at night."

Freed Swiss says he missed his beer!

ZAMBOANGA CITY, Philippines - What would a kidnap victim likely miss most during his or her captivity? For 71-year-old Charlie Rieth, a Swiss national who was kept for 2 months and 12 days, it's nothing but, "A good beer!" 

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