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

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

August 19, 2010 Major News Stories

DOH closely watching dengue fatality rate

The Department of Health (DOH) is closely watching the dengue fatality rate to make sure that the number of deaths do not double in the coming months.

House reviews proposal to delay bgy, SK polls

by By RG Cruz, ABS-CBN News
MANILA, Philippines - Despite the risk of a presidential veto, the House of Representatives Committee on Suffrage and Electoral Reforms is now considering a proposal to postpone the barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) elections from October this year to next year.

Comelec hopes Congress will decide on SK, barangay polls in next 3 weeks

THE Commission on Elections (Comelec) is open to postponing the barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) elections next year, but hopes Congress will pass the legislation in three weeks.

Comelec sees barangay polls in 2011 'ideal'

While assuring it is ready for the barangay elections in October this year, the Commission on Elections (Comelec) on Wednesday said having it in 2011 instead would be "ideal."

DA lot controversy: City says province is mocking the court

The city government has accused Capitol of making a mockery of the Regional Trial Court owing to the latter's refusal to vacate the main administrative building of the Department of Agriculture, which stands on a property whose ownership is under dispute.

Mayor loot gets the ire of Governor: Gwen loses ally in Daanbantayan

Cebu Governor Gwendolyn Garcia and one of her staunchest supporters, Mayor Maria Luisa Loot of Daanbantayan had a falling apart.

This after Garcia scolded Loot for her town's failure to take part in last weekend's Pasigarbo sa Sugbo and then later asking for financial assistance from the governor for their town festival on August 30.

Garcia admitted that she scolded Loot, who went to her office last Monday.

Loot also admitted to being hurt by the words of the governor and vowed not to go to Capitol ever again. She also said that her sentiments are shared by other mayors.

The governor said that she was so mad with the mayor because even the smaller towns of Pilar and Tudela in the island of Camotes joined the event last weekend in Mandaue City despite having to cross the sea to get to the venue.

Garcia said that Daantayan has no reason not to join, most especially that it was last year's champion.

"Di man ko mamugos. I don't think I was the one who was disappointed. I was there and you could feel that they (the audience) were waiting sa mga bug-at nga festi-vals kay na-establish naman gud duna ni sila'y track record na and when you have attained that status you have the responsibility to maintain that."

She added, "the crowd was waiting kay ang iyang festival queen maoy midaug last year, duna ba'y gi-entra niya ron? Wala! So I told her I'm sorry, you ask now for money what will the others say, who tried their very best to participate in the Pasigarbo feel nga bale wala lang nako nga puwede ra diay nga kining uban magtinapulan unya gantihan pa nako kay nagtinapulan, so I refused and I refuse to attend the "Haladaya pesteval (festival)."

What seemed to have angered Garcia was that Loot still had the guts to seek financial support for the festival set during their town fiesta despite not cooperating with the grand event staged as part of the 441st founding anniversary of the province.

"Maayo kaha na? As if I owe her a lot," Garcia said.

The Governor said that the competition was not meant for the town officials but was for the youth and the children, who are much excited and happy to come to Cebu and are proud that they were able to perform.

"This is not a frivolous exercise, this is nurturing appreciation of our culture. But if she does not understand that that's okay, but ayaw lang ko pangayoi ug kwarta," the governor added.

The governor also pointed out that this is not the first time that Loot has committed a mistake against Capitol.

She said that one major blunder of Loot was when she called Provincial Board Member Agnes Magpale liar by denying a statement that she made.

Loot allegedly told Magpale that she was not keen on getting the milk from Capitol, which was used for a supplemental feeding program for children.

As a result, the milk sent to the northernmost town of the island became stale.

"Daghan-daghan ko ug ilista nga mga wa niya pamuhata unya karon mo-storya siya mopahilak-hilak. Karon di motubag ko, kabaga naman sad niya ug nawong wa na siya niapil sa atong Pasigarbo unya moari pa gyud dire nagdala pa dyud ug resolution kay mangayu ug kwarta," Garcia said.

More Than Pasigarbo

Loot said that she was not only berated by the governor for her town's failure to join the festival, but also for Garcia's loss in the municipality during the May 11 elec-tions.

The governor, according to Loot, blamed her why she lost in the town to Liberal Party candidate Hilario 'Jun-jun' Davide III.

Loot explained that the reason why they did not join last weekend's festival was the lack of funds.

She said that the town would spend P1.2 million if it would join the festival, which they don't have as the funds of the municipality are only enough to cover the man-datory increase in salaries of its employees.

The mayor also said that Garcia's loss in their town was something beyond their control.

"Siguro napildi na siya sa among lungsod gumikan anang iyang pagkahingasaba. Hinaut karon nga sa iyang last term of office himoon unta niyang kabilin undangon na niya ang iyang pagka nagger ug pagkasadista, kay kaming mga mayor napul-an na sa iyang pagkahingasaba, nga mura mi ug slave niya nga unta elected officials man mi, dili mi niya mga saop ug dili siya maoy tag-iya sa Probinsya sa Sugbo," Loot said.

When asked if she will bolt the One Cebu Party of Garcia, Loot said that she is already an independent.

"Kahilas sab niya nga moingon nga baga ko ug nawong, wa na lang gyud niya huna-hunaa nga sa iyang unang termino lunod patay among pagtabang niya, hapit na man lang gani mi pamatya sa mga Martinez," Loot lamented.

To recall, the family of the mayor was one of the allies of Garcia, who faced Celestino Martinez, Jr., now Bogo City mayor, during the 2004 elections.

The Martinez family has the 4th District, where Daanbantayan belongs, as its stronghold.

Loot added that the Haladaya Festival will push through even without the financial aid from Capitol as they can still seek help from other politicians.

DILG Directive: Mike, Tom differ on name credits

Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama assured the immediate removal of the names or images of officials in government projects and vehicles as soon as he receives the formal directive from the Department of Interior and Local Government.

The mayor's position on the issue is heading towards a collision course with that of former mayor and now South District Rep. Tomas Osmeña who believes that this is not necessary.

Osmeña said removing the names or images of officials from the vehicles would entail unnecessary expenses for the government because it would mean repainting the vehicles.

No Joy in list of consultants

CEBU City Mayor Michael Rama will have at least 26 consultants under his office, but that list does not include his close friend and former city councilor Jocelyn "Joy" Pesquera.

Ombuds wants LTO-7 director to probe plaint against branch chief

The Visayas Ombudsman has requested Land Transportation Office Regional Director Raul Aguilos to investigate Lapu-Lapu City LTO branch head Aurea Angcay following allegations that her office has accepted vehicles for registration even without complete documents.

Lingam massage: Honorary Consul contradicts Bullecer's claim on Koreans

Honorary Consul General of the Republic of South Korea in Cebu lawyer Augusto Go yesterday contradicted the statement of pro-life advocate Rene Joseph Bullecer that Koreans visits massage and spas in the city to avail of lingam and yoni massage.

Marcos also wants Davide out of Truth Commission

MANILA, Philippines - The son of former President Ferdinand Marcos on Wednesday backed Sen. Jinggoy Estrada's call opposing the appointment of former Chief Justice Hilario Davide Jr. as head of the Truth Commission.

Marcos noted that Davide sided with former President Arroyo before and may not be impartial in deciding cases against her. "I think it would be better for the Truth Commission to be headed by somebody who does not have questions and doubts over his head," he said.

President Benigno Aquino III, meanwhile, reiterated that he will not replace Davide as head of the Truth Commission tasked to investigate various anomalies such as the "Hello, Garci" election scandal, the botched US$329-million NBN-ZTE telecommunications deal, and the P728-million fertilizer fund scam.

He told reporters that Davide is eminently qualified to head the commission. He said the former Chief Justice was a member of the 1986 Constitutional Commission and headed the Presidential Fact-Finding Commission that investigated the December 1989 coup attempt against his mother, then President Cory Aquino.

"Etong huling kampanya siya ay nagbitiw sa kanyang tungkulin sa UN para nga tumindig sa kanyang paniniwala. So palagay ko naman ho, marami-rami naman hong nagawa si Chief Justice Davide na nagsasabi ng kanyang kakayahan at maasahan natin sa kanya bilang pinuno nitong Truth Commission," Aquino said.

The President said he is still talking to four other potential members of the 5-man commission.

'Cabinet men who snub Senate hearings risk CA's wrath'

MANILA, Philippines - Cabinet secretaries who snub recent Senate hearings may have a hard time getting the nod of lawmakers for their appointments, Sen. Juan Miguel Zubiri warned Wednesday.

Escudero 'unhappy' over budget chief's absence in hearing

Senator Francis "Chiz" Escudero chided Budget Secretary Florencio "Butch" Abad for failing to show up at Tuesday's hearing in the Senate without due notice.

1,579 pass physician board exam

A total of 1,597 out of 2,300 passed the Physician (complete and finals with prelims) Licensure Examination given by the Board of Medicine in August, the Professional Regulation Commission announced on Wednesday.

Top 10 physician board examinees

Following are the top 10 physician board examinees:

1. Chitra Deepak Punjabi, University of Santo Tomas--89.42%

2. Percy Guanzon Balderia, University of the Philippines-Manila--89.00%

3. Nikki Doreen So Angbue Te, University of Santo Tomas--88.33%

4. Gwenalyn Gail Capistrano Garcia, University of the East Ramon Magsaysay 
Memorial Medical Center--88.17%

5. James Philip Garces Esteban, University of the Philippines-Manila--87.92%

6. Michael Conrad Luz Tongol, University of Santo Tomas--87.83%

7. Paul Vincent Tio Co, Cebu Institute of Medicine--87.75%

8. Karen De Villa Hernandez, University of the Philippines-Manila--87.67%

9. Kristianne Emmanuelle Rayo Bagaoisan, University of Santo Tomas--87.50%

10. Rozelle Jade Ramirez Javier, University of Santo Tomas--87.42%

More cases vs cop in torture video

Sunud-sunod nang lumutang ang iba pang kaso ng umano'y pang-aabuso ng Police Inspector na sangkot ngayon sa torture scandal sa isang presinto sa Tondo, Maynila! Iyan ay matapos na ekslusibong ipalabas ng ABS-CBN News kahapon ang nakakapangilabot na video ng pagmamalupit ng nasabing pulis sa hinihinalang holdaper.lumalabas na patong-patong na pala ang kaso at reklamo laban sa naturang pulis, kaya lumalawak na ngayon ang imbestigasyon ng mga otoridad sa isyu ng police brutality.

'CHR, PNP can file raps vs cops in torture video'

MANILA, Philippines - The Philippine National Police (PNP) and the Commission of Human Rights (CHR) can file complaints against policemen allegedly involved in the torture of a robbery suspect caught on video and exclusively shown over ABS-CBN, a commissioner said.

Chiz: Everyone present during torture liable

by by Ryan Chua, ABS-CBN News
MANILA, Philippines - Authorities tasked to investigate the torture of a robbery suspect in Manila must act fast or else the Senate will step in and do its own probe.

Desaparecidos, police abuse top new CHR chief's agenda

MANILA, Philippines - The incoming chairwoman of the Commission on Human Rights on Wednesday said she will prioritize major human rights issues such as extrajudicial killings, involuntary disappearances and police brutality once she takes over the commission.

Lacson denies he tried to bribe Mancao

"I don't accept bribes, so why would I offer a bribe?" This was how Senator Panfilo "Ping" Lacson debunked insinuations he had allegedly tried to buy off his former aide, Cezar Mancao, who had implicated the senator in the killings of publicist Salvador "Bubby" Dacer and his driver, Emmanuel Corbito.

Aquino to Angue: Follow your commander-in-chief

Just follow the orders of the commander-in-chief. President Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino III had these words for Rear Admiral Feliciano Angue, who was relieved as commander of the Armed Forces National Capital Region Command (NCRCom) and transferred to a supposedly lower position.

AFP announces 4th wave of officers' reshuffle

The Armed Forces announced Wednesday the fourth batch of reassignments of senior military officers led by Rear Admiral Alexander Pama who has been replaced by controversial Rear Admiral Feliciano Angue as head of the Naval Forces Western Mindanao based in Zamboanga City.

Pama, a member of the Philippine Military Academy Class 1979, was named as the new Naval Inspector General.

President Benigno Aquino III approved the latest reshuffle based on the Board of Generals' recommendation submitted through Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin on July 26.

The reassigned officers are:

* Rear Admiral Ramon Espera Jr. as commander of the Naval Sea Systems Command;

* Brig. Gen. Romeo Fajardo as deputy commander of the AFP National Capital Region Command (NCRCom). He would be replaced by Col. Jonas Sumagaysay as commander of the 303rd Infantry Brigade of the Army's 3rd Infantry Division;

* Brig. Gen. Roger Diaz as assistant commandant and dean of academics of the AFP Command and General Staff College;

* Commodore Zyril Carlos as deputy commander of the Navy's Philippine Fleet and Capt. Isabelo Gador as commander of the Patrol Force of the Philippine Fleet;

* Brig. Gen. Carlix Donila as Air Force Inspector General;

* Brig. Gen. Gregorio Macapagal as deputy commander of the Air Force's 3rd Air Force Division and Brig. Gen. Lauro Dela Cruz Jr. as Chief of Air Staff;

* Col. Reynaldo Lipat Jr. as AFP Surgeon General;

* Col. Alexander Bote as Wing Commander of the Air Force's 250th Presidential Airlift Wing; Col. Fred Payawan as deputy commander of the Air Force's Air Education and Training Command and Col. Edgar Fallorina as chairman of the Philippine Air Force Bids and Awards Committee;

* Brig. Gen. Isidro Macaranas as Wing Commander of the Air Engineering Wing; Brig. Gen. Nestor Deona as deputy commander of the 2nd Air Division;

* Col. Wilfredo Ona as Wing Commander of the 410th Maintenance Wing; Col. Edwin Remotigue as Wing Commander of Air Defense Wing; and,

* Brig. Gen. Lorenzo Sumicad as Wing Commander of the 530th Air Base Wing and Col. Raul Dimatatac as Wing Commander of the 560th Air Base Wing.

Meanwhile, the newly installed officers inside the AFP General Headquarters were Brig. Gen. Remegio De Vera as commander of the General Headquarters and Headquarters Support Command; Capt. Migelfio Saquisame as Deputy AFP Inspector General; Col. Leopoldo Santos Jr. as commander of the AFP Communications, Electronics and Information Systems Service;

Col. Ramona Go as assistant deputy chief of staff for personnel (J1). Brig. Gen. Jose Vizcarra replaced her as AFP Adjutant General;

Brig. Gen. Raoul Reyes as chief of the Office for Strategic Studies; Col. Gamaliel Cruz as chairman of the Philippine Army Bids and Awards Committee;

Col. Ernesto Benitez as permanent member of the Department of National Defense Bids and Awards Committee with Capt. Antonio Mendoza and Col. Eldon Nemenzo as regular members of the General Headquarters' Bids and Awards Committee;

Capt. Elmer Carrillo as commander of the Naval Construction Brigade; Col. Nicanor Vivar as assistant superintendent of the Philippine Military Academy; and Col. Gregorio Catapang as commander of the 703rd Infantry Brigade of the 7thInfantry Division.

RP lacks arms in case of war in Spratlys

by By Jorge V. Cariño, ABS-CBN News
MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine military has admitted it has nothing in its arsenal that can be used in the event armed conflict breaks out among nations with conflicting claims over the Spratlys Group of Islands in the South China Sea.

Aquino eyes VFA discussion with Obama in September

President Aquino indicated on Wednesday that the Philippine government would pursue a review of the Visiting Forces Agreement with the US.

Aquino names new SSS, SRA heads

MANILA, Philippines -- President Benigno Aquino III on Wednesday announced two new appointments in his team.

Aquino named Emil de Quiros as president of the the private sector pension fund Social Security System, while Gina Bautista-Martin is the new administrator of the Sugar Regulatory Administration (SRA).

Aquino made the announcement in a press briefing in Malacanang.

De Quiros is a brother of Phillippine Daily Inquirer columnist Conrado de Quiros.

Aquino said his family's close ties with Conrado have nothing to do with the appointment of Emil.

Emil replaced former SSS President Romulo Neri.

Bautista-Martin, on the other hand, is a small sugar planter in Negros Occidental.

Malacañang to enforce cap on GOCC salaries

To end the controversial excessive paychecks of executives in government-owned and -controlled corporations, Malacañang said Wednesday it will issue a executive order capping salaries of those working in GOCCs.

Gutierrez impeachment hearing beings Sept 1

The committee of justice in the House of Representatives will begin hearing the impeachment complaints against Ombudsman Merceditas Gutierrez on September 1.

Aquino: No blanket order withholding gov't workers' pay on unsettled advances

President Aquino wants an investigation into each case of unliquidated cash advances in several departments as found out by the Ombudsman, but would not issue a general order withholding the salaries of workers who fail to liquidate their expenses.

DND: Some unliquidated cash advances were by 'missing' employees

Reacting to the Ombudsman's reminder about large amounts of unliquidated cash advances, an official of the Department of National Defense explained on Wednesday that some of the employees with such cash advances have long been missing and unaccounted for.

SC justices grill Luisita management on stock sharing option

SUPREME COURT (SC) justices yesterday zeroed in on the stock sharing scheme adopted by the family of President Benigno C. Aquino III in Hacienda Luisita, raising questions on the farm management's proper implementation of land reform.

Aquino vows to honor SC ruling on Hacienda Luisita

President Aquino on Wednesday said he would follow the Supreme Court's on the agrarian dispute in Hacienda Luisita, which his family controls.

Aquino open to Charter change in dealing with MILF

President Benigno Aquino III said on Wednesday the government would consider amending the Constitution to accommodate some of the demands of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front in the peace process.

PRC announces results of metallurgical engineering licensure exams

MANILA, Philippines - The Professional Regulation Commission (PRC) announced Tuesday that 27 out of 47 passed the Metallurgical Engineer Licensure Examination given by the Board of Metallurgical Engineering in Manila from August 14-16, 2010.

Malaysian caught with 14 kilos of shabu at NAIA

A Malaysian national was arrested Wednesday morning at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport after customs agents found in his baggage 14 kilos of methamphetamine hydrochloride or shabu worth P80 million.

$1: P45.100

$1: P45.100 (P45.17)

Euro 1: P58.2273

Purisima says gov't aims to rake billions from tax cheats

by Agence France-Presse
MANILA, Philippines - The government said on Wednesday it was hoping a name-and-shame crackdown on tax cheats would "scare" them into paying an extra $3.1 billion a year.

Cash-strapped gov't eyes investors to build airports

by Agence France-Presse
MANILA,  Philippines - The cash-strapped government  said on Wednesday it will call on the private sector to help build up to 6 airport terminals as it bids to boost the country's finances through increased tourism.

Aid begins to flow to flood-ravaged Pakistan

by by Emmanuel Duparcq, Agence France-Presse
ISLAMABAD, Pakistan - Foreign aid began flowing Wednesday to the 20 million victims of Pakistan's catastrophic floods, but many remained without food or shelter as Islamabad responded slowly to their needs.

17 children dead in India school collapse: official

by Agence France-Presse
DEHRADUN, India - At least 17 children were killed Wednesday when a school collapsed in the northern Indian state of Uttarakhand following a heavy monsoon downpour, a disaster official told AFP.

Don King plans 'mind boggling' Pacquiao-Mayweather bout

MANILA, Philippines – The much-requested fight between Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather, Jr. will have a tremendous impact on the world, legendary boxing promoter Don King predicted.

Victorious Nietes arrives in Manila

After his successful title defense in Mexico last weekend, Filipino boxing champ Donnie "Ahas" Nietes returned to the Philippines before dawn Wednesday.

Nietes takes 3-week break before training for December title defense

Donnie "Ahas" Nietes will only have at least three weeks of rest before resuming his training for a mandatory title defense in December in the Philippines against Pigymy Kokietgym of Thailand.

Aces dump Beermen, bag 13th PBA crown

Make that Lucky 13 for Alaska. The Aces bagged their 13th PBA title and matched the record of the legendary Crispa Redmanizers by beating the San Miguel Beermen, 102-88, in Game 6 of the PBA Fiesta Cup best-of-seven finals series at the Big Dome Wednesday night.

James Yap set to sign new 3-year deal with Llamados

James Yap, one of the few two-time Most Valuable Player awardees, is staying home -- with the Derby Ace Llamados -- at least for the next three years. The prized-cager is expected to sign up a new three-year deal with the Llamados once he returns from his U.S. vacation.

Charice enrolls in online college

by By Don Tagala, ABS-CBN North America News Bureau
NEW YORK – Filipino singing sensation Charice is back in school after enrolling in an online college in the US.

Mariel leaves 'Pilipinas Win na Win' for now

MANILA, Philippines - Controversial actress-host Mariel Rodriguez is taking an "indefinite leave" from ABS-CBN's new hit afternoon variety-game show "Pilipinas Win na Win (PWNW)."

Philippines still text messaging champ -US study

Information from various sources shows that the Philippines is still the text messaging capital of the world, according to technology and social media news blog

Citing collated data from Reuters, the New York Times,,, Pew Research,,, and Portio Research, the infographic showed that, in 2009, the average Filipino mobile subscriber sent an average of 600 text messages per month, or 43 percent more than their US counterparts.

Actor Michael Douglas cancels Hong Kong speech over cancer

HONG KONG — Actor Michael Douglas has cancelled plans to speak at an investor forum in Hong Kong next month, organisers said Wednesday, as the Hollywood star battles throat cancer.


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