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

Thursday, June 24, 2010

June 25, 2010 Major News Stories



Mastermind, gunman nailhan


NAILHAN na sa kapulisan ang mastermind ug usa sa mga gunman sa sunodsunod nga pag-ambush sa managsuong negusyante sa Sugbo.

Matod sa kapulisan nga ang mastermind usa ka negusyante samtang ang gunman nalambigit sa pagpamatay ug pagpayuhot og drugas.

Ang negusyante nga gikan sa Mindanao maoy gikabangi ni Manuel Ting hinungdan nga maoy usa sa gitutukan karon nga anggulo sa kapulisan nga negusyo ang motibo sa pagpatay.

Matod sa tinubdan nga may kasusyo si Ting sa negosyo sa Mindanao, apan nagkabangi sila sa kwarta.

Gikasuko kini sa kasusyo.

Tungod ning mao nga impormasyon nakig-alayon karon sa ilang counterpart sa Mindanao ang Police Regional Office (PRO-7), aron masubay ang bag-ong anggulo.

Ang nibanhig kang Manuel Ting may posibilidad nga mao usab ang nibanhig sa iyang igsuon nga si Nicholas Ting sa Mandaue city, kinsa anaa pa karon sa tambalanan.

Dugang pa sa tinubdan nga nailhan ang triggerman ni Manuel kay dunay nakakita nga saksi nga nakaila kaniya kay iya kining nahimong silingan sa giabangan niining balay sa dakbayan sa Sugbo.

Ang gunman usa k ka gun-for-hire ug nalambigit usab sa drugas. Nagtago-tago na kini karon.

Ang Taskforce Ting nilusad na og hilom nga manhunt aron pagsikop sa gunman sa habagatan nga bahin sa lalawigan sa Sugbo, apan nakaikyas na kini.

Buot subayon sa kapolisan kon ngano nga nagkaila ang negusyante ug ang gunman.

Gibutyag usab sa tinubdan nga posibling giuna sa pagpusil si Nicolas kay mao kini ang giila sa magsuon nga mosukol, aron di makabawos sa mastermind.

Samtang giangkon ni Task Force Ting commander Sr. Supt. Ramon Melvin Buenafe nga duna na silay mga testigos nga gihuptan nga mosaksi batok sa gunman.

Ang mga saksi nakaila kaayo sa gunman nga ilang nakit-an atol gyud sa pag-ambush kang Manuel sa may F. Llamas st., Brgy. Tisa, siyudad sa Sugbo niadtong Martes.

Nailhan sa mga saksi ang gunman human ilang gipakita ang mga hulagway sa mga kriminal nga gun-for-hire.

Si Buenafe nagkanayon nga usa ka gun-for-hire ang killer ug nalambigit na kini niadto og mga patay ingon man extortion apan sa pagkakaron di pa nila ikabutyag ang ngalan niini.

Nagpadayon karong ang ilang paggukod sa gunman sanglit wa pa kini makagawas sa Sugbo.

Hinuon duna silay mga sakop nga naglihok sa mga silingang lugar.

Gipadayag niini nga ilang gipaningkamutan nga masulbad ang krimin sa labing madaling panahon ug mapasakaag kaso ang mga responsible kay maoy mando sa ilang labaw nga si Chief Supt. Lani-O Nerez..

Iya sang gikompirmar nga ang ni-ambush sa magsuong Ting usa ra.

Giklaro niya nga sa panahon nga ilang madakpan ang gunman ilang makompirmar ang kalambigitan sa negusyante.

Dunay tulo ka mga testigos karon ang ilang gihuptan ug ilang gipaningkamutan nga makakuha pag dugang testisgos samtang giawhag usab nila kadtong ubang mga tawo nga nakakita sa krimin nga motabang.

Ang Task Force Ting sumala pang Sr. Supt. Buenafe dunay igong ebedensya batok sa gunman nga maka-pinpoint nga maoy nipsil kang Ting human nakita ang larawan niini.

Ang uban pang mga angulo sa krimin wa pa nila gitangtang.

Mga Ting mihangyo sa publiko, media

PAMILYANG Ting nanawagan sa mga sakop sa media ug publiko sa paghunong na sa mga estorya nga ang ilang pamilya may kalabotan sa sunodsunod nga mga patay sa ilang tagsa-tagsa ka amahan.

Sa labing unang higayon, ang pamilyang Ting nipagawas og opisyal nga pamahayag nga nanghimakak sa report nga away sa ilang pamilya ang motibo sa pag-ambush sa managsuong Manuel ug Nicolas Ting.

Kagahapon sa hapon, sila si Nixon Dizon Ting ug Basil Ting, kinamaguwangang mga anak nila ni Nicolas Ting ug Manuel Ting nipagawas og joint statement.

Matod sa duha nga ang ilang pamilya nanawagan ug naghangyo sa publiko ug mga sakop sa media sa paghunong na sa tabi-tabi nga ang pagpangatake sa ilang amahan nag-ugat sa ilang away sa pamilya. "But what we can assure ourselves and to each other is that our conscience are clear,"sa ilang opisyal nga statement.

Sila nagkanayon nga bisan kon dayag na sa publiko ang ilang panag-away apan sila nagtuo nga imposebling mahimo ug buhaton kini sa ilang pamilya ang pagbinaslanay sa usag-usa.

Ilang gidugang nga way bisan unsang rason ug hinungdan nga mahimo kini sa ilang pamilya tungod kay ilang gipasalig sa usag-usa nga limpyo ang ilang konsensya.

Tings mull putting up reward

THE family of slain businessman Manuel Ting is considering putting up a cash reward for anyone who can help solve the crime.

In a press conference yesterday, Basil Ting, Manuel's eldest son, said the family will discuss the matter.

Two days after the killing of Manuel in Barangay Tisa, Cebu City, which also happened a day after his younger brother Nicolas was attacked in Barangay Cabancalan, Mandaue City, the families of Manuel and Nicolas went public to clear the air out about the attacks on the two.

The families called for a press conference yesterday afternoon at St. Peter Chapel attended by Basil and Nicolas's eldest son Nixon Dizon Ting and other members of the family, to put an end to the speculation that a family feud was behind the murder of Manuel.

Manuel, 72, died from more than 10 gunshot wounds in the head and body last Tuesday. Nicolas survived the attempt on his life.

In a joint statement read by lawyer Michael Yu, a common friend of the two families, the Tings said the feud between Nicolas and Manuel "is trivial to merit a violent end to it."

"We would like to appeal to the public and the media to stop the ongoing talks that the recent attacks on our fathers arose from their ongoing personal feud. Despite the known personal feud between our fathers, we believe it is impossible they will end up ganging on each other. No amount of justification or reasoning from our respective families, that our families are not involved in these attacks, can satisfy the curious or the suspecting minds, but what we can assure ourselves and each other is that our conscience is clear," the statement, which was signed by Basil and Nixon, read.

Basil and Nixon said their families are hurting from the attacks on their fathers "and the stories that we have been hearing from the public and the media are not helping our grieving families."

"Our families have decided to issue this joint statement to stop the unfounded and false stories that have been circulating that the personal feud between the two was behind the attacks," the statement added.

The families of Manuel and Nicolas also appealed to the police to speed up the investigation to put the perpetrators behind bars.

"We would also like to appeal to the witnesses or to those who may have information leading to the arrest of the perpetrators to inform our families or the police authorities so that it will aid in the expeditious resolution of these criminal acts against our fathers," the statement said.

The families assured the police of their "full cooperation" in the investigation, adding they have trust and confidence in the police to solve the attacks.

The families, in an interview with reporters, said they would like to avoid making speculations on the motive of the attacks.

Nixon said the families are just leaving it up to Task Force Ting, organized by the Police Regional Office 7, to establish the motive and arrest the culprits.

Nixon said his father has been declared out of danger, but has been advised to stay at the intensive care unit for at least five more days.

He said Nicolas has not yet been informed about the death of Manuel.

Gisupak nga Dumpit mopyansa

KUSGANONG gisupak sa prosekusyon nga makapiyansa ang kontrobersyal nga pulis nga si Adonis Dumpit nga nag-atubang sa kasong murder nunot sa kamatayon ni Ronron Go niadtong 2004.

Ang mga abogado nga anaa sa habig ni Go nisumiter sa ilang mosyon ngadto kang Regional Trial Court (RTC) Judge Ester Veloso nga nagsupak nga makapiyansa si Dumpit.

Kon tugtan sa korte ang pulis nga makapiyansa kasamtangan siyang makalingkawas sa prisohan samtang magpadayon ang paghusay sa iyang kaso sa korte.

Niini, gihatagag 10 ka adlaw ang duha ka mga habig aron mosumiter sila sa ilang komentaryo ning gisang-at nga mosyon nga nagsupak nga makapiyansa si Dumpit.

Gikatakda nga magpadayon ang husay ning kaso ni Dumpit unya sa HUnyo 28 diin ang iyaha nang kampo ang mopresentar sa ilang mga testigo.

Dihang nipresentar ang prosekusyon sa ilang mga testigo nalakip ang inahan ni Go nga si Janeth Badana sa ilang testigo.

Si Dumpit gipasanginlang nga maoy nipusil kang Go atubangan sa ilang balay didto sa Villagonzalo II, dakbayan sa Sugbo niadtong Disyembre 14, 2004.

Human malutsi og warrant of arrest, si Dumpit mipauli sa Mindanao hinungdan nga wa siya masikop. 

Thousands of government workers may lose jobs

by abs-cbnNEWS.com
MANILA, Philippnes - Thousands more are facing the prospect of joining the swelling ranks of the unemployed, as several government bureaus and agencies are planning to reorganize and streamline their operations.

COURAGE Philippines or the Confederation for Unity, Recognition and Advancement of Government Employees-Philippines, the umbrella organization of public sector unions in the country, is appealing to incoming President Benigno Aquino III, to reverse the previous government's policy of privatization.

COURAGE also called for Aquino to rescind Executive Order 366, signed in 2004 by President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo.

EO 366 called for the review of the operations and organizations of the executive branch, and provided options and incentives for government employees who may be affected by the rationalization of all functions and agencies of the government.

Among those that are affected by EO 366 are the Philippine Ports Authority, National Housing Authority, National Food Authority and the Philippines Postal Service.

At the National Power Corp., employees are bracing for the reorganization.

From 8,000 employees in 2001, the workforce was cut to 6,000 in 2003 and a further 3,200 this year.

In the planned Napocor reorganization,50% of the existing manpower will be terminated, with 90% of the company's power generation plants already privatized or sold to the private sector.

Jimmy Salman, North Luzon president of the Napocor Employees and Workers Union, said employees are  preparing for the eventuality, but are pressing for a bigger separation package to help them cope while they are unemployed. 

Comics on sex education not ours—DepEd

by abs-cbnNEWS.com
MANILA, Philippines--The Department of Education (DepEd) denied Thursday it had anything to do with the distribution of illustrated comics on sex education.

Govt asks court to junk suit vs DepEd on sex ed issue

Government lawyers on Thursday asked the Quezon City Regional Trial Court to junk the class suit filed against the Department of Education in connection with the planned teaching of sex education to elementary and secondary school students.

Use pork barrel for education, business leaders urge lawmakers

Senior Philippine business and education leaders have urged lawmakers in the 15th Congress to use their pork barrel funds to supplement the country"s meager education budget, saying most students are unfit for higher levels due to lack of support for schools.

Unpaid teachers who conducted national census seek dialogue with DepEd

(Updated 2:33 p.m.) After being chased by dogs and suspected of being burglars, teachers who conducted the Philippines" recently-conducted census have yet to receive their honoraria.

PAO lauds DoJ on fee exemptions

from mb.com.ph

The Public Attorney's Office (PAO) lauded on Thursday the Department of Justice (DoJ) for recognizing the law that exempts litigant-clients of the Public Attorney's Office (PAO) from paying docket and other fees.

"We appreciate that the PAO law or Republic Act No. 9406 has been recognized by the DoJ," said PAO chief Persida Rueda-Acosta.

Acting Justice Secretary Alberto O. Agra directed prosecutors all over the country to exempt litigant-clients of the Public Attorney's Office (PAO) from paying docket and other fees.

In his three-page legal opinion, Agra directed all city and provincial prosecutors to abide by the provisions of Republic Act No. 9406, otherwise known as An Act Reorganizing and Strengthening the Public Attorney's Office (PAO).

Republic Act No 9406 exempts PAO-assisted litigants from payment of docket and other fees. Agra also affirmed the position of PAO chief Persida Rueda-Acosta that PAO-assisted litigants should no longer be assessed filing fees by the DoJ.

US envoy commends city for protecting environment

US Ambassador Harry K. Thomas Jr. was pleased with the Cebu City Government's programs on environmental protection, but was lukewarm on the request to put up a visa-issuing office in the city.

US ambassador urges more effort vs. human trafficking

US Ambassador Harry Thomas issued a challenge yesterday as Cebu has become a destination and transit point for people trafficked domestically as the international airport here is 'ground zero' for victims falling into the hands of traffickers abroad.

City to honor outstanding taxpayers tonight

Some 210 individuals and companies will be awarded tonight by the Cebu City government for being outstanding taxpayers for the year 2009.

FOR ONE YEAR: Police chiefs safe from new mayors

Newly installed town and city mayors may be itching to relieve their police chiefs for loyalty to the previous administration, but a National Police Commission (Napolcom) circular prohibits this, an official said yesterday.

No fireworks between Gwen and Tom in RDC

The Regional Development Council of Central Visayas held its last full council in the Province of Bohol yesterday.

No invitation for Cebu LP execs to oath-taking

Members of the Liberal Party in Cebu have not received any invitation to the oath-taking of their standard bearer, president-elect Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino III, despite the fact that leaders of its rival party, One Cebu, have been invited to the event.

Incoming Cabinet almost complete- Aquino

Pormal nang iaanunsyo sa Martes ni President-elect Noynoy Aquino ang mga pangalang napili niyang mapabilang sa kanyang Gabinete! At, pasok dito ang kanyang pangalawang pangulong si Jejomar Binay!

DAR, MMDA, 2 other posts offered to Binay

Vice President-elect Jejomar Binay Thursday he was offered four positions in the incoming Aquino government, but he turned them all down because he did not want to be a problem for President-elect Benigno Aquino III.

Binay told reporters at the Makati city hall that Aquino offered him key positions in the Department of Agrarian Reform, the Metro Manila Development Authority, Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council, and a commission that will be tasked with the prosecution of outgoing President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

I told him that Id prefer to be at the office of the vice president when he offered me the posts, Binay said, adding that he merely reiterated a request he sent in a letter to Aquino earlier this week asking not to be given any Cabinet function.

In the letter, Binay said that it appeared he would not be treated as a member of the team because he was affiliated with a different political party.

My presence would at best be seen as politically disruptive to the already existing relations among the members of your incoming official family and could only add to your difficulties that I believe are unnecessary especially during the crucial stages of your administration, he said in the two-page letter.

He also requested Aquino to keep his name off any list of nominees for his Cabinet, saying he did not want to be an additional burden to you.

It has become more and more apparent that my being appointed to any Cabinet post has become a politically contentious issue within your party and group of supporters, however, improper and petty that seems to many people, he added.

Asked how he would function since he has turned down all offers from the Aquino government, Binay replied that contrary to public perception, the vice presidency has roles which he should fulfill.

There are jobs that I have to do; there are functions I have to assume, you can be sure that I will do that, he said. Remember that, in a manner of speaking, I belong to the executive department. I am the No. 2 man in the executive department.

Binay went on to explain that he was tasked by the Constitution to conduct consultations with the people and bring their concerns to the attention of department involved. He said this was his first order of business.

But he quickly cautioned any misinterpretation about his role, which some quarters could construe as early campaigning. That should not be seen as like that, he said with a chuckle.

Aside from the consultation function, Binay mentioned two other roles of his officeadministrative and ceremonial.

Binay described his one-on-one meeting with Aquino as something close friends do.

We talked like good friends do, pare pare. Thats how close I am to President-elect Aquino, he said. We spent the first part of the meeting by ourselves, before former Labor Secretary Benny Laguesma joined us.

Asked whether his refusal to be appointed to the Cabinet was a permanent one, Binay replied it was hard to speculate.

Lets see.... The correct phrase is for now in the meantime, he said.

Earlier in the day he received Australian Ambassador Rod Smith, who informed him of his embassys programs on local governance and disaster response.

Noynoy still has three more Cabinet positions to fill

President-elect Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino III said on Thursday that he still has three more positions to fill in his Cabinet - including the top posts in the health and foreign affairs departments.
On Thursday, Aquino said he was supposed to meet with candidates for these positions, but had to cancel his appointments since he wasn't feeling well.

"We're supposed to meet them today, but I'm a bit under the weather today. We're looking at the last candidates. Hopefully by Monday, it will all be finished," he told reporters late Thursday.

One other position, which Aquino did not identify, remains vacant aside from the health and foreign affairs posts.

The complete roster of Cabinet officials will be announced by June 29, according to Aquino.

Likewise, the president-elect said that in case he is not able to fill in these Cabinet positions before that date, "caretakers" will be assigned to these posts.

Aquino is reportedly planning to retain current Foreign Affairs Secretary Alberto Romulo for another year, before assigning the position to his running mate Senator Manuel Roxas II once the year-long ban on appointing losing candidates in the election lapses.

Reportedly, Health Secretary Esperanza Cabral will also be retained, although Aquino is said to be also considering to reinstall former Health chief Jaime Galvez Tan to the position.

Aquino is scheduled to take his oath of office on June 30, when he will officially replace outgoing President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

Education execs welcome Luistro as next DepEd chief

Education officials welcomed the appointment of Bro. Armin Luistro as the new head of the department.

All set for Aquino, Binay inauguration

All is set for the inauguration of President-elect Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino III on June 30 with a hundred thousand of people expected to witness the event.

5,500 cops to be deployed on inauguration day

by abs-cbnNEWS.com
MANILA, Philippines - A total of 5,500 policemen will be deployed to all the venues of President-elect Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino III's inauguration on June 30.

500 soldiers to augment police force on Aquino inaugural

The Armed Forces of the Philippines is sending 500 soldiers to augment the police force tasked to ensure a "smooth and peaceful" conduct of the inauguration of President-elect Benigno Aquino III and Vice President-elect Jejomar Binay on Wednesday.

Quirino grandstand 'no-fly zone' during Aquino inaugural

As far as the security forces are concerned, everything is all set for President-elect Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino III's big day on June 30.

'Bayan Ko' has a long history

by abs-cbnNEWS.com
MANILA, Philippines - On the inauguration of President-elect Benigno Aquino III on June 30, the song "Bayan Ko" will be heard again. The song has been a staple in rallies and holds a special place in the hearts of the Aquinos and Filipinos throughout the generations.

Corona not likely to attend Aquino inauguration

MANILA, Philippines - Supreme Court Chief Justice Renato Corona is unlikely to attend the inauguration of president-elect Benigno Aquino III at the Quirino Grandstand on June 30.

Arroyo to take oath before Nachura

MANILA, PhilippinesOutgoing President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo will take her oath before Associate Justice Antonio Eduardo Nachura as new representative of Pampangas second district.

I am honored and privileged when she chose me to administer her oath, said Nachura, who took his oath of office as Associate Justice of the Supreme Court before Arroyo in February 2007.

Nachura was an Arroyo-appointee Solicitor-General before becoming a member of the high tribunal.

Arroyo will be sworn into office in her hometown Pampanga when her term as president ends on June 30.

Arroyo gets failing grade from CHR chief

Ilang araw bago magtapos ang termino ni Pangulong Gloria Arroyo, binigyan siya ng palpak na grado ni Human Rights chairperson Leila de Lima! Ayon kay de Lima, kinulang ng "political will" ang pangulo sa pagresolba ng mga kasong kinasasangkutan ng militar. Nakatakda ring magbitiw sa CHR si de Lima matapos niyang tanggapin na maging miyembro ng Gabinete ni President-elect Noynoy Aquino. Ayon kay de Lima, hintayin na lamang si President-elect Noynoy Aquino na mag-anunsyo kung anong posisyon sa Gabinete ang ibibigay sa kanya bilang respeto na rin sa bagong pangulo.

Militant groups to give GMA a 'festive' sendoff

MANILA, Philippines – Militant groups, led by Bayan, will be giving outgoing President Arroyo a "festive" sendoff as she steps down on the noon of June 30.

"With the end of her term comes the start of the process of making her and her officials accountable for their actions. We expect nothing less from the incoming administration," Bayan secretary general Renato Reyes Jr. said in a statement.

The groups will be trooping to Mendiola next week for protests to mark the end of the longest post-Marcos presidency.

The Mendiola protests will be the last under the Arroyo regime. A "festive" noise barrage is also set at Welcome Rotonda on the eve of Mrs. Arroyo's exit from the presidency.

Bayan said they are also preparing a giant clock to count down the hours left in the term of the outgoing president.

Street performances are also being readied, Reyes added. Young visual artists are preparing a "going-away present" for the president in the form of a giant mural that will be unveiled on Jan. 30 in Quezon City.

"Those groups who protested during the last nine years must continue the efforts to attain truth and justice," Reyes added.

The Arroyo administration has been accused of election fraud, massive corruption and human rights violations. Critics have also accused Mrs. Arroyo of trying to prolong her stay in power via Constitutional amendments.

Foreign trips cost P2.8 billion

... but Palace data also list benefitsPRESIDENT GLORIA Macapagal-Arroyo has spent a total of P2.8 billion for foreign trips with the bulk incurred last year, documents from the Office of the President showed.

Arroyo spent nearly P3-B for 107 foreign trips

President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo spent nearly P3 billion in her travels during her nine-year term, Malacañang said on Thursday.

LP starts search for House committee heads

MANILA, Philippines With the post of Speaker reportedly going to Quezon City Congressman-elect Feliciano Sonny Belmonte Jr., the Liberal Party (LP) has started identifying other lawmakers to head the major committees in the House of Representatives.

Belmonte, who transferred to the LP during the campaign period in May, is sure to bag the Speakership as more congressmen from other political parties continue their exodus to the LP.

But LP stalwarts will be prioritized for key committees over the new entrants, according to Quezon Representative Lorenzo Erin Taada.

Mandaluyong Representative Neptali Gonzales II is likely to be the next majority leader in the 15th Congress. As majority leader, Gonzales will head the rules committee, Taada said.

Asked why Gonzales is getting a juicy post when he just joined the LP during last month, Taada said Gonzales has held the post before and that he and Belmonte were together in the House when Belmonte first served as Speaker.

Taada, who is also the spokesman of the LP, will be one of the deputy speakers.

Cavite Representative Joseph Emilio Abaya, another LP veteran, is being considered to head the powerful appropriations committee, while Senator Rodolfo Biazon, who got elected in the lone congressional district of Muntinlupa City, will likely be the chairman of the national defense committee.

Reports also said that Batangas Representative Hermilando Mandanas is being eyed for the ways and means committee.

Taada reiterated that Belmonte, in consultation with President-elect Benigno Aquino III, would decide the chairmanship of other key committees such as the accounts, justice and good government.

He said other committees would also be allotted for congressmen from other parties and partylist representatives.

On Friday afternoon, up to 40 congressmen will take their oath as new members of LP. This will bring the LPs numbers to 85 in the lower chamber, Tanada said.

Poll spending cap outdated: Comelec spokesman

by By Ryan Chua, ABS-CBN News
MANILA, Philippines—The limit on campaign spending provided by law may no longer be reasonable today, making it easy for candidates to violate it, according to the Commission on Elections (Comelec) spokesman.

DOJ to cross-examine new Maguindanao massacre 'witness'

by abs-cbnNEWS.com
MANILA, Philippines - A senior prosecutor of the Department of Justice (DOJ) said Thursday that they will have to validate and cross-examine the testimonies of a supposed new witness, who is claiming he has inside information on the massacre of 57 people in Maguindanao province last year.

Massacre witness knew his days were numbered

MANILA, PhilippinesHe knew he was a dead man walking the moment he fled the hinterlands of Shariff Aguak in Maguindanao.

In an interview with a select group of reporters on March 9, Suwaib Upham disclosed that he feared for his life as he bared an alleged plot by Andal Ampatuan Jr. to silence him.

He said it was a matter of time before hired killers would get to him.

Barely three months after the interview, an assassins bullets felled the man who may have been a vital witness in prosecuting the powerful clan accused of orchestrating the countrys worst election-related murders.

Datu Unsay (Andal Jr.) will stop at nothing to kill those who knew about the massacre, including myself, Upham told reporters in a thick Maguindanao accent.

By Uphams own account, Andal Jr. talked to Kanor Ampatuan over the phone sometime in February. During the conversation, he said he heard Andal Jr. say he wanted him killed to prevent him from spilling the beans on the influential political clan about their role in the November 23 slaughter of 57 people in Maguindanao.

At that time, Andal Jr. was already locked up at the National Bureau of Investigation jail in Manila.

They were really powerful. He was able to talk with Datu Kanor regularly even if he was already inside the jail, Upham said.

He said he and a number of militiamen went with Kanor, then the vice mayor of Salibo town, to seek refuge in the mountains of Shariff Aguak after state forces launched a manhunt for them.

The interview, done inside a rented room of a hotel in Ortigas, Pasig City, was arranged by public interest lawyer Harry Roque and his colleagues who had been helping some of the massacre victims families.

At that time, Roque requested the media not to divulge Uphams real identity for security reasons.

Upham himself chose the name Jesse as alias for the one-hour interview.

A burly man in his late 20s, Upham wore a shawl to cover his face while answering questions from reporters as TV crews shot footage of the interview.

During the interview, columnist Ellen Tordesillas helped him translate some of his statements in a Visayan dialect as he could barely speak Filipino.

At times, he would remove the shawl as he sneered at how Andal Jr. wielded his power in the impoverished province of Maguindanao.

Journalists who heard him talk of Andal Jr.s notoriety were bowled over by his stories about the chainsaw murders and other horrid crimes purportedly perpetrated by the scion of the most powerful family in his province.

Once, he said, Andal Jr. gunned down a man after the hapless victim refused to share his wife with him.

His vivid narration of the supposed killings somehow confirmed the myths about how the clan maintained its fiefdom.

Nobody could go against their will in Maguindanao. They kill even their relatives who question their decisions, he said.

To prove his intimate dealings with the Ampatuans, Upham disclosed that Andal Jr. fondly called President Gloria MacapagalArroyo Nanay (Mother) whenever she visited the Ampatuan mansion in Shariff Aguak.

He said Andal Jr. would even kiss Arroyos hands to show his respect during her meetings with the Ampatuans.

Despite the threats to his life, Upham said he decided to surface to tell the truth.

I decided to come out because I want Datu Unsay (Andal Ampatuan Jr.) and Datu Kanor behind bars and to pay for the crimes they committed, he said.

I was bothered by my conscience. I pity the innocent people they killed, he added.

According to him, he was a member of a police auxiliary unit in Maguindanao assigned as special bodyguard of Kanor.

Kanor, Andal Jr.s cousin, was one of the primary suspects the Department of Justice charged in the massacre.

Although state prosecutors presented several witnesses, Upham was the first to admit direct participation in the carnage.

Describing himself as a neighborhood toughie, Upham said he started working as Kanors close-in security escort in 2008.

He said it was Andal who recruited him to work as police auxiliary agent and later assigned him to Kanor, receiving a monthly salary of P3,000 and a sack of rice.

In Maguindanao, the word of the Ampatuans was the law. No one went against what Datu Unsay wanted to happen because he would not hesitate to kill anyone who disobeyed his wishes, he said in a separate affidavit furnished the Inquirer.

He said Kanor and Andal were inseparable and were like brothers.

It is for (this) reason that I gained intimate knowledge of the workings of the Ampatuan clan, especially of Datu Unsay and Datu Kanor, he said.

Maguindanao massacre witness killed

COTABATO CITY, Philippines (UPDATE) A key witness in the trial of a powerful Muslim clan accused of orchestrating the worst political massacre in the Philippines has been shot dead, a police official has confirmed.

But Senior Superintendent Alex Lineses, Maguindanao police chief, said Thursday that they were still investigating the killing of Suwaib Upham in Parang town around 8 p.m. of June 14.

Upham claimed to have taken part in the November killings of 57 people in a crime allegedly planned by his former employers, the Ampatuan clan.

Lawyer Harry Roque disclosed to Agence France-Presse earlier in the day that Upham, whom the prosecutor described as our strongest witness, was killed and that his death could potentially weaken the case against the Ampatuans.

Sources, who refused to be named because they feared for their safety, said Upham has been moving from one place to another to avoid harm after agreeing to testify against the Ampatuan family.

His death was recorded in the towns police blotter as just another case of killing and there was no mention of his being a witness in the massacre case.

The gunman remained unidentified and the motive was still unclear. We are still determining the real motive of the attack, Lineses told reporters.

US-based Human Rights Watch also said the killing raised doubts about the government's resolve in seeing justice done in the case.

"Massacre witnesses are dying while the government sits on its hands," the group's Asia director Elaine Pearson said in a statement. "This sends the worst possible message to other witnesses thinking of coming forward."

Uphams death comes two months after an uncle of another witness was also shot and killed, in what authorities said was part of a plan to intimidate those speaking out against the Ampatuan clan.

The clan had ruled Maguindanao with brutal efficiency for a decade prior to the massacre. They also enjoyed political ties with outgoing President Gloria Macpagal-Arroyo, who used the family's huge private army as a force against separatist rebels.

Six clan members are among 196 people charged over the murders, allegedly carried out to prevent a member of a rival clan from running as governor of the province.

Rights group urges Aquino gov't to secure crime witnesses

The New York-based Human Rights Watch on Thursday urged the incoming administration of President-elect Benigno Aquino III to prioritize the protection of witnesses to crimes, following the death of a witness to the grisly Maguindanao massacre, to ensure justice for the victims of crimes.

Military readies team for Yusoph rescue

by abs-cbnNEWS.com
MANILA, Philippines - The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) has assembled a team that will be used in the search and rescue operations for the kidnapped son of Commission on Elections Commissioner Elias Yusoph.

2 Sayyaf men killed as Marines overrun camp

Two members of the al-Qaeda-linked Abu Sayyaf group were killed while four soldiers were hurt in two firefights in Sulu last Tuesday, the Navy spokesperson said Thursday.

Satur questions Deles appointment as peace adviser

A former chairman of the National Democratic Front (NDF) negotiating panel on Thursday expressed misgivings on the reappointment of ex-peace process adviser Teresita "Ging" Deles to her previous post.

Dengue kills 29 in Eastern Visayas

by By Jenette Fariola-Ruedas, ABS-CBN Tacloban
TACLOBAN CITY, Philippines - A total of 29 people have died from dengue fever in Eastern Visayas, the regional health department said Thursday.

$1: P46.340

$1: P46.340

Euro 1: P55.8807

NEDA says agri is key to sustainable employment

by abs-cbnNEWS.com
MANILA, Philippines - The farm sector will play a key role in sustaining employment opportunities, but the realities of climate change require strategies to mitigate negative effects.

PDIC to file 5 more estafa cases vs Legacy execs

by abs-cbnNEWS.com
MANILA, Philippines - The Philippine Deposit Insurance Corp. (PDIC) plans to file 5 more cases of syndicated estafa against Legacy owner Celso delos Angeles Jr. and other officers of the Legacy Group for siphoning off clients' money.

End-March bank deposits up 9.5% at P4.6T, says PDIC

Despite a difficult financial landscape, Filipinos saved portions of their money, boosting bank deposits by 9.5 percent in the first quarter of the year, the Philippine Deposit Insurance Corp. said Thursday.

6.1-magnitutde quake strikes off Papua New Guinea coast

JAKARTA An earthquake with a magnitude of 6.1 struck off the coast of Papua New Guinea on Thursday, US seismologists said, but no tsunami warning was issued.

The quake struck 185 kilometers (115 miles) east-northeast of Kandrian on New Britain island at a depth of 67 kilometers at 5:32 GMT, the US Geological Survey said.

Officials in the Indonesian capital Jakarta, more than 5,000 kilometers to the west, said there were no reports of damage on Indonesian territory.

Emergency rule set to be lifted in much of Thailand – PM

BANGKOK – Thailand's premier said Thursday that emergency rule, imposed during mass opposition protests in the capital, was likely to be lifted in many provinces next month.

Gillard sworn in as Australia's first woman prime minister

CANBERRA (UPDATE) Julia Gillard was sworn in as Australia's first woman prime minister Thursday, hours after deposing ex-leader Kevin Rudd in a surprise party coup.

"I Julia Eileen Gillard do solemnly and sincerely affirm and declare that I will well and truly serve the Commonwealth of Australia, her land and her people in the office of prime minister," Gillard said during the ceremony.

Gillard was elected unopposed in a shock ballot which Rudd, struggling in the polls as elections loom, had called just hours earlier after powerful factions suddenly swung against him.

The flame-haired Gillard, 48, said she was "very honored" to become Australia's 27th prime minister tasked with averting defeat in national polls expected this year.

"I feel very honored," she told reporters. "I will be making a full statement very shortly."

A grim-faced Rudd strode through Parliament House without talking to journalists after a dizzying fall from power which stunned observers and the country's political establishment.

Rudd had enjoyed record support since taking power in 2007 and topped the polls until recent months, when support fell away over a series of policy problems, notably a controversial mining tax and the shelving of a flagship emissions trading scheme.

Gillard's ascension was cemented in a parliamentary party ballot which a defiant Rudd had announced late on Wednesday night.

"The new leader of the federal parliamentary Labor Party elected unopposed is Julia Gillard," a party spokesman said.

Party factions saw Rudd, reportedly unpopular with colleagues, as an election liability after a sharp drop in public support over the emissions scheme and the mining tax, which was strongly opposed by the powerful resources sector.

The steep and unexpected fall from grace left the government in danger of becoming the first since before World War II not to secure a second term. Elections are expected later this year.

The highly-rated Gillard had been playing down prospects of a leadership tilt for several weeks after a poll showed her breathing down Rudd's neck as preferred party leader.

"There's more chance of me becoming the full-forward for the Dogs [Western Bulldogs Australian Rules football team] than there is any chance of a change in the Labor Party," she said last month.

Last week, top officials moved to scotch rumors of a leadership challenge. In recent days, the opposition targeted Rudd with attack ads portraying him as a cartoon lemon.

Rudd now becomes the first Australian prime minister to be deposed in office in 19 years, when Labor's Paul Keating ousted Bob Hawke in 1991.

"Kevin Rudd has always been a very unpopular person in the parliament," former foreign minister Alexander Downer, who served Rudd's predecessor John Howard, told Fairfax radio.

"He was just not a person that people liked, because he was so self-centered and so self-interested."

Jaworski next sports chief?

by abs-cbnNEWS.com
MANILA, Philippines – Former Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) star Robert "Sonny" Jaworski is reportedly being eyed to replace Harry Angping as the next Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) chairman.

Queen makes first visit to Wimbledon in 33 years

WIMBLEDON, England - Queen Elizabeth II has made her first appearance at Wimbledon in 33 years.

Tennis: Murray entertains Queen, Isner wins record breaker

Andy Murray put on a show for Queen Elizabeth II as the British fourth seed crushed Jarkko Nieminen.

Tennis: Longest-ever match finishes after 11 hours 5 minutes

LONDON—(UPDATE) The longest tennis match in history finally finished on Thursday after an epic 11 hours and five minutes at Wimbledon, with John Isner beating Nicolas Mahut by an incredible 70-68 in the final set.

Mitch Kupchak says he would be 'very surprised' if Phil Jackson doesn't coach next season

from Lakers Blog by Mark Medina

We'll have more posts along with video throughout the day and night, but here are a few highlights from Lakers General Manager Mitch Kupchak regarding Phil Jackson's stance that he's leaning toward retirement.

Below are a few snippets as well as audio of the complete interview

-- Kupchak's reaction to Jackson's possible retirement: "My understanding was he was contemplating continuing or contemplating retirement and he would do what he always does, take a couple weeks -- or in this case, a week, maybe, because the season went longer than it normally does -- and let us know his decision. I think he's still going to do that."

-- Kupchak said he would be "very surprised" if Jackson doesn't return: "I think as a coach, this is in your blood, this whole competitive player coaching kind of thing. I don't think money is a factor, although to some degree always a factor. But for a coach that has his success not only coaching and as a player, he's experienced the best of the best with his championships. It's really not something you'd like to see come to an end."

-- Kupchak said there's no timetable for when he needs to know Jackson's official decision.

-- When asked if there's anything the organization can do more to ensure that Jackson returns, Kupchak said, "Probably not. I think he has all the information he needs to make that decision." He downplayed recent reports that Jackson would have to take a pay cut, saying the Lakers would be able to find an agreement,

-- On how the team would be affected if Jackson left: "The players we have under contract right now, I don't think it makes a difference what offense they run. You don't know if you'd have the same level of success, but they're adaptable."

-- Kupchak said a coaching vacancy would affect "to some degree" how he addresses free agency but declined to get into specifics, including the team's reported interest in Raja Bell.

Sports: Other epic encounters

LONDON, United Kingdom - With America's John Isner finally defeating France's Nicolas Mahut at Wimbledon on Thursday in the longest-ever tennis match, here are some epic encounters from other sports:

AMERICAN FOOTBALL

The longest NFL game came in a Christmas Day 1971 play-off that saw Miami Dolphins beat Kansas City Chiefs after 82 minutes and 40 seconds.

The result came after the regulation 60 minutes, a first 15-minute overtime and more than half of another.

Garo Yepremian kicked a 37-yard field goal to give Miami a 27-24 triumph.

BASEBALL

The longest minor league game saw Pawtucket Red Sox beat Rochester Red Wings 3-2 in 1981.

The game began on April 18 but at 2-2 after 32 innings, play was suspended at 4:09am by order of International League president Harold Cooper.

Play resumed on June 23, when it took Pawtucket only 18 minutes to score a run and clinch the game.

The longest major league game was a 1-1 draw that went 26 innings between Brooklyn Dodgers and Boston Braves on May 1, 1920.

The longest by time lasted eight hours and six minutes. Chicago White Sox beat Milwaukee Brewers 7-6 over 25 innings on May 8, 1984.

BASKETBALL

The longest NBA game was in 1951 when Indianapolis Olympians beat Rochester Royals after six overtimes. That match came before the advent of a shot clock.

CHESS

The World Chess Championship 1984 was called off between defending champion Anatoly Karpov and challenger Gary Kasparov after five months and 48 games.

Karpov opened up a 4-0 lead before his younger opponent embarked on a strategy to drain the champion.

It was abandoned due to fears for the players' health, with Karpov leading five wins to three with 40 draws.

CRICKET

The longest cricket match took place between South Africa and England in Durban in 1939.

The action started on March 3 and went on until March 14, although there was no play on three of the days.

The game spanned 43 hours and 16 minutes of playing time, in which 1,981 runs were scored.

The match still ended in a draw as England had to catch a boat back home on March 15.

FOOTBALL

The longest FA Cup tie came in 1971, when Oxford City and Alvechurch played six matches. Alvechurch won the final game 1-0 to progress to the first round proper.

ICE HOCKEY

The longest National Hockey League play-off game in 1936 went into the sixth sudden death overtime period before Detroit Red Wings beat Montreal Maroons 1-0 after 116 minutes and 30 seconds of extra time, on top of the three regular 20-minute periods.

SNOOKER

The 1985 World Championship final between Dennis Taylor and Steve Davis remains the defining marathon match of the televised era.

Taylor came back from 8-0 down and 17-15 down before a 68-minute final frame that went right down to the last black, which Taylor potted at the fourth attempt.

The match lasted 14 hours and 50 minutes, finishing at 12:19am, with the climax still being watched in Britain by 18.5 million television viewers.

Rice or bamboo design for Aquino's inaugural barong

MANILA, Philippines - The gowns the Aquino sisters and the barong Tagalog of president-elect Benigno Aquino III are now being readied for the inauguration on June 30.

'Bagong Pilipinas' is Aquino inaugural song

MANILA, Philippines – Jed Madela is one of the 10 singers chosen to sing "Bagong Pilipinas" (New Philippines) on June 30 when President-elect Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino III is sworn in as the country's 15 president. 

James Yap visits brother-in-law Noynoy, gets advice

Basketball superstar James Yap got a sympathetic ear and some family advice from brother-in-law President-elect Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino III whom he visited in Quezon City Thursday.

Ai Ai delas Alas: No third party in latest Kris-James woes

by abs-cbnNEWS.com
MANILA, Philippines – There is no third party. Comedy Queen Ai Ai delas Alas made this pronouncement Wednesday when asked if there was a third party involved in the latest Kris Aquino and James Yap's marital issues.

Vice Gov. Sanchez declares P120.8-M net worth

CEBU Vice Gov. Gregorio Sanchez Jr. is still the richest provincial official, according to the latest statement of assets, liabilities and net worth (SALN) released by the Office of the Ombudsman-Visayas.

Sanchez declared a P120.8-million net worth as of Dec. 31, 2009, a substantial portion of which comes from his real properties and other personal properties, including a P50-million equity investment in affiliated companies, a bank deposit of P9.177 million and furniture and fixtures worth P2 million.

Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia, in her SALN, said her net worth is P100.8 million as of December last year. (or an increase of about P2.1 million compared to the P98.7 million net worth she declared in 2008)

The governor's 2009 net worth consists mostly of real estate and her investments with the GGC Group of Companies.

Sanchez's declared net worth increased by about P17.7 million since he posted P103.1 million as of December 2008.

Sanchez reported P92,038,109 worth of real property, including a house and lot in Maria Luisa Subdivision in Cebu City, which he acquired in 2004 for P39 million; about 32 parcels of land in various towns, including a 4,170-square-meter land in Barangay Tayud, Consolacion worth P12.510 million, and another 50-square-meter agricultural land in his hometown Tuburan worth P5.160 million.

Sanchez also listed vehicles, including a Ferroza Daihatsu worth P200,000; Mitsubishi Pajero, P1.503 million; motorcycle, P90,000; yacht, P3 million; and a Chevloret Venture Wagon, P1.200 million.

Sanchez's liabilities reached P46.2 million, including income tax dues of P133,198.58; accounts payables, P11.012 million; long-term payables, P14.261 million; and advances from affiliated companies of P21.061 million.

Garcia declared P88,565,895 in real properties last year, which included a residential building in Ormoc City with a current fair market value of P78,523,095; a residential lot in Cebu City valued at P9,450,000; and a Mitsubishi Pajero worth P592,800.

The governor's personal and other properties reached a total of P61,254,282. These included cash on hand/bank accounts of P910,101; furniture/antiques, P5.4 million; and jewelry, P8,296,388.

Garcia also reported having acquired 50 percent of the total share assets of GGC Enterprise in 2003, totaling P12,804,021 and a 67-percent share in total assets of GGC Group in 1998 worth P33,843,772.

The governor's liabilities, which included loans and mortgages, reached P48.978 million in December 2009. These were bank loans worth P33,018,267; accounts payables, P8,438,877 and the rest were loans from the Government Service Insurance System (GSIS) and Pagibig.

Garcia has 16 relatives in government, including her father, Deputy House Speaker Pablo Garcia (Cebu, 2nd district), brother Pablo John Garcia (Cebu, 3rd), GSIS President and General Manager Winston Garcia and former Capitol security consultant Byron Garcia.

Gov. Garcia has an annual gross salary of P675,334.

Sanchez listed three relatives working in government service. They are his nephew Giovanni Sanchez and nieces Marinette Sanchez and Maricar Rosario.

The vice governor has an annual gross salary of P328,172.

Meanwhile, among the 11 Provincial Board Members whose SALNs were released by the Ombudsman, Agnes Magpale was the richest with a P53.660-million net worth as of December 2009.

PB Member Alfred Francis Ouano ranked second with P20.7 million and PB Member Juan Bolo is third with P8.4 million.

PB Member Wilfredo Caminero declared a net worth of P6.4 million, followed by Rosemarie Durano (P4.1 million), Jose Ma. Gastardo (P2.9 million), Julian Daan (P1.4 million), Ceasar Ian Zambo (P1.4 million), Victoria Corominas (P1.4 million) and Joven Mondigo (P171, 000).


Charice joins big int'l singers in Jackson tribute video

by abs-cbnNEWS.com
MANILA, Philippines - International singing sensation Charice was one of the 25 international music artists who appeared in Billboard.com's tribute video to the late King of Pop Michael Jackson.

ABS-CBN overtakes GMA in Mega Manila anew

by abs-cbnNEWS.com
MANILA, Philippines - ABS-CBN Corporation continued its winning streak after sustaining its lead in the national, Mega Manila, and Metro Manila television ratings for the first 2 weeks of this month.

Data from Kantar Media (formerly Taylor Nelson Sofres) showed that ABS-CBN garnered 44% audience share versus GMA 7's 30% from June 1 to 14.

Mega Manila was also going Kapamilya after ABS-CBN got 36% audience share, or 3 percentage points higher than GMA's 33%. Year-on-year, ABS-CBN's audience share in Mega Manila grew by 8 percentage points from 35.2% in June 2009, while GMA's audience share lost 7 percentage points from 40% percent in June 2009.

ABS-CBN also kept its stronghold in Metro Manila, with its lead widening to 38% versus GMA's 30%.

From June 1 to 14, figures from Kantar Media also showed that 14 of the top 20 programs nationwide were from the Kapamilya network.

"Agua Bendita," starring Andi Eigenmann, took the No. 1 spot with an average rating of 39.5%. Newly launched "Momay," starring child superstar Xyriel Manabat, also proved to be a strong contender, occupying the 9th spot with 25.7%.

"TV Patrol World" continued to be the No.1 news program, with an average rating of 33.2%, 10 percentage points higher than rival "24 Oras" (22.2%).

During Election Day, the whole nation tuned in to "TV Patrol World" for election-related news and information. It topped the national TV ratings survey on May 10 with 31.5%, trouncing its competition, "24 Oras."

The country's biggest talent-reality show, "Pilipinas Got Talent," has topped the weekend programming. Its June 6 finale at the Araneta Coliseum garnered 43.8% audience share, the second highest weekend rating recorded by Kantar Media after Pinoy Big Brother Double Up's Big Night (44.6%).

Other ABS-CBN programs in the overall weekday and weekend top 20 were "Kung Tayo'y Magkakalayo" (34.9%), "Maalaala Mo Kaya" (34.2%), "Rated K" (29.2%), "Agimat presents Elias Paniki" (27.5%), "Rubi" (27.2%), "Sharon" (23.7%), "Goin Bulilit" (23%), "Pinoy Big Brother Teen Clash 2010" (19.1%), "Pinoy Big Brother Teen Clash 2010" (18.5%), and "Kapamilya Sunday Blockbuster" (18.3%).

Aside from dominating the ratings game, ABS-CBN also bagged major recognitions at the recently held 2010 Rotary Club of Manila (RCM) Journalism Awards.

ANC won as TV News Station of the Year while DZMM took home the Radio Station of the Year trophy. Anchor Ricky Carandang was proclaimed Broadcast Journalist of the Year.

Karen Davila also received the distinct honors of being one of the Young Global Leaders for 2010 by the World Economic Forum, while senior reporter Nina Corpuz was awarded the Media For Labor Rights Prize, a journalistic prize given by United Nation's International Labour Organization (ILO).

Kantar Media/TNS is a leading market research group in the world with a proven track record in audience research measurement systems in 32 countries. It started releasing its national television audience measurement (NUTAM) data on February 2009 with panels, composed of 1,370 representative households, covering urban Philippines and reporting on 7 sectors namely NCR, Suburbs, North Luzon, Central Luzon, South Luzon, the Visayas and Mindanao.

ABS-CBN shifted to Kantar Media/TNS after filing a case against AGB Nielsen Media Research for failing to comply with its request to investigate alleged cheating and data tampering in TV ratings. The case is still pending in court.

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