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

Sunday, September 5, 2010

September 6, 2010 Major News Stories



D.E.N.G.U.E launched to fight dengue fever

The Department of Health is recommending six practices to help people deal with dengue fever in their homes and save their loved ones from the disease.

Health Secretary Enrique Ona is promoting the D.E.N.G.U.E strategy to decongest hospitals, which have thousands of dengue patients, whose conditions can be managed at home.

"Instead of confining patients in a hospital facility, parents and caregivers can practice the D.E.N.G.U.E. strategy," Health Secretary Enrique Ona said in a statement.

The six measures the DOH is encouraging patients, their parents and caretakers to adopt are the following:

* Daily monitoring of the patient's status;

* Encouraging intake of oral fluids like oresol (oral rehydration solution), water and juices;

* Noting any warning signs of dengue;

* Giving paracetamol to the patient, not aspirin as it induces bleeding;

* Using mosquito nets; and,

* Early consultation with doctors for any warning signs.

The health agency has formulated the new strategy to educate the public on home treatment for mild dengue cases, Ona said.

The upsurge in the number of dengue cases has left hospitals across the country struggling to accommodate patients seeking medical treatment despite limited beds.

The DOH has monitored 62,503 dengue cases from January to Aug. 21, mainly in Western Visayas, Calabarzon (Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal and Quezon), Central Mindanao and Eastern Visayas.

The virus, delivered by a bite from the Aedes aegypti mosquito, has so far claimed the lives of 465 Filipinos.

In just a span of a week—from Aug. 14 to Aug. 21—the health department has registered 7,844 dengue cases nationwide. But last week, the DOH assured the public that the government was still capable of managing the problem.

Health and local officials in Santiago City and Tuguegarao City in Isabela province have declared a dengue outbreak.

In Santiago City, health officials said dengue cases had risen to 83, twenty-seven of which were recorded in the last two weeks.

Dr. Romanchito Edgar Bayang, assistant city health officer, said a 15-year-old boy who died on Thursday was the first dengue fatality in Santiago City.

In Cagayan, the city council of Tuguegarao expressed alarm over the 323 dengue cases, including one fatality, reported in the city from January to Aug. 31.

The council planned to reactivate anti-dengue brigades in villages and to ask Mayor Delfin Ting to require all government workers to observe the "four-o'clock habit," an hour that would be devoted to cleaning potential breeding and nesting areas of dengue-carrying mosquitoes.

Health officials in Roxas City on Saturday reported that dengue cases in Capiz province were dropping. From 235 cases reported on Aug. 15-21, the number dropped to 178 on Aug. 22-28, said Yre Altavas, officer in charge of the Capiz epidemiological surveillance and response unit.

With the cleanliness drive and reward system for the cleanest villages, local government and health officials said they hoped that dengue cases would continue to drop in the coming weeks.

Capiz Gov. Victor Tanco has announced that assistance will be given to indigent patients.

The city government of Roxas led by Mayor Angle Alan Celino will give cash incentives to the cleanest villages that stay dengue-free for two months.

In Negros Oriental, August proved to be the most deadly month for dengue as the mosquito-borne killer claimed four lives in the province. But Negros Oriental is luckier than other dengue-stricken provinces in the Visayas as it has not breached the one-thousand mark. 

Pacholo Alcantara, surveillance officer of the provincial health team office of the Department of Health, said that as of Sept. 3, there have been 773 dengue cases recorded throughout the province. 

But Dr. Felix Sy, head of the Metropolitan Health Team covering the towns of San Jose, Sibulan, Bacong, Valencia, Dauin and the city of Dumaguete, said the total cases this year were less than last year's figure for the same period.

While the figures for Negros Oriental were in the triple digits, the neighboring province of Negros Occidental had four-digit figures, earning it the distinction of having the biggest number of dengue cases throughout the country. 

Negros Occidental recorded 4,087 cases from January to Aug. 21, or an increase of 416 percent over last year. It recorded 24 deaths.

DENR tells Minglanilla folk: Avoid drinking, bathing in Guindarohan

THE Department of Environment and Natural Resources has raised its concern over the poor quality of water in Guindarohan River in Minglanilla town, southern Cebu.

Comelec sets up smaller polling precincts

by By Mayen Jaymalin

The Commission on Elections (Comelec) is setting up smaller polling precincts in the coming Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) elections to avoid long lines of voters.

Comelec spokesman James Jimenez said a small number of voters in each polling precinct is necessary since the coming elections will be manual.

"We will be clustering some polling precincts, but it will be smaller than the last polls. This time the maxium will be 400 voters," Jimenez disclosed.

Jimenez explained that clustering bigger number of voters in one precinct would be unreasonable because voters would need more time to cast their votes in a manual system.

Another gun ban starts on Sept. 25

THE Commission on Elections (Comelec) will impose restrictions on barangay officials and will again enforce a gun ban when the election period starts on Sept. 25 for the barangay and youth polls.

850,000 seniors won't get P500 pension

Naisama sa proposed budget para sa taong 2011 ang pondo para sa P500 buwanang suporta sa mahihirap na senior citizen. Ang problema limitado lamang ang pensyon kaya libu-libo ring matatanda ang hindi makikinabang dito.

5,012 take bar exams

Just a few weeks before the start of the bar examinations, on Sunday, Shirley Albo's 15-year-old son suddenly fell ill, forcing her to miss some of her review classes.

3 dead, 2 others hurt in road accidents

A three-year-old boy and a retired policeman who once served as chief of police in Pinamungajan town were killed after two motorcycles slammed into each other in Barangay Po-blacion, Pinamungajan, yesterday noon, while another man died while two others were seriously injured in two separate vehicular accidents in the towns of Catmon and Santander last Saturday.

93-1 beneficiaries in Camputhaw, Apas exempt from transfer tax

Mayor Michael Rama has approved resolutions from the City Council exempting urban poor families in Barangays Camputhaw and Apas from payment of transfer tax.

Wenceslao wants law creating body to enforce city ordinances revisited

To ensure that approved ordinances of the city are properly enforced by the right authority, Cebu City Councilor Noel Wenceslao wants to revisit the city ordinance that defines the functions and composition of the Cebu City Ordinance Enforcement Commission.

City Council pushes for new jeepney route

The Cebu City Council has requested the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) 7 to open a new route for public utility jeepneys to ply Sitios Plaza and Ma-hayahay in Barangay Apas to Asiatown IT Park in Barangay Lahug.

KBP opposes bill to ban live coverage of crises

THE Kapisanan ng mga Brodkaster ng Pilipinas (KBP) Cebu City Chapter yesterday approved a resolution opposing a bill that seeks to prohibit live media coverage of crisis situations.

Philippines needs more time for deadly bus hijack probe

The Philippines on Sunday said it needed more time to complete its official inquiry into a deadly hostage crisis that left eight Hong Kong tourists dead.

The investigation, which began last week, was to have been wrapped up Monday before a formal report is submitted to President Benigno Aquino and Hong Kong authorities.

But members of the investigating committee need additional days to question more witnesses as well as to re-enact the hostage drama that ended in a bungled police rescue, Justice Secretary Leila de Lima told AFP.

"We will be extending up to Wednesday, it is not possible to wrap up (the investigation) tomorrow," de Lima said.

De Lima said members of the inquiry board would on Tuesday inspect the park where the hostage taking played out live on televisions around the world on August 23.

A re-enactment of the day-long crisis was to be also carried out Wednesday at a police camp where the bullet-riddled bus is being kept, she said.

A sacked police inspector hijacked a tourist bus full of Hong Kong tourists two weeks ago, in a crazed bid to regain his old job.

The stand-off ended in a bloody mess, when unprepared police commandos launched a rescue attempt riddled with errors that left eight of the tourists dead.

Hong Kong authorities have demanded a speedy and impartial investigation amid a public outcry and a chilling of ties between the neighbours.

The inquiry has so far uncovered embarrassing lapses from police and city officials who took part in the failed hostage negotiations.

On Saturday, Manila's deputy mayor Isko Moreno told the inquiry that officials involved in the crisis had left their posts when the gunman began shooting while the force's best-trained unit sat out the assault.

MPD-SWAT lacks training, equipment

Kakulangan sa gamit at training. Ito ang mga idinahilan ng mga miyembro ng MPD-SWAT kaya pumalpak ang pagresponde sa August 23 hostage-taking. Maging bulletproof vest nila, expired pa pala. 

Senators belittle Aquino apology over hostage incident

Senators on Sunday belittled the apology by Malacañang over the failed hostage rescue on Aug. 23, saying it merely improved the image of President Benigno Aquino III but weakened the presidency without addressing the more important issues surrounding the case.

Senator blames RP media for exposing government incompetence to world

Senator Joker Arroyo is blaming the broadcast media's blow-by-blow coverage of the August 23 hostage crisis for sullying the country's image abroad.

IIRC eyes review of protocols in hostage situations

by by Caroline J. Howard, ABS-CBN News Channel
MANILA, Philippines – The Incident Investigation and Review Committee (IIRC) said there is a need to review protocols in hostage crisis situations, especially in defining the roles of public officials.

Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Jesse Robredo, vice-chair of the fact-finding committee tasked to look into the hostage incident, said the group will shortly be evaluating existing protocols and make recommendations on how to improve the structure.

"It's important we examine protocols on how to manage these types of incidents, take a second look at instant responses at the local level. Supposedly we have the critical management committee working as a critical incident task group, (but) it seems the roles and understanding of the tasks are not clearly defined. If your look at the protocol it requires they stay until the crisis is over," Robredo said in a telephone interview with ANC's "Dateline Philippines Sunday."

Dionisio Santiago, chief of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA), agreed on the need to review existing protocols.

Santiago created the Light Reaction Company of the Light Reaction Battalion when he was Commanding General of the Special Operations Command, the Philippine Army's counter-terrorism unit.

"Pagka may crisis situation, 'di kami umaalis. Pagkain ang pumupunta sa amin," Santiago said, adding that it may have been possible an inaccurate assessment of the hostage situation, and the fact that a member of the police force was involved may have added to the complexity of the response and who should take command.

"Baka nagka-underestimation, kapwa pulis eh. Nakita ninyo nag-develop situation 'yong flexibility 'di nakapasok doon," he added.

Lapses in police operations

Marathon hearings on the August 23 Quirino Grandstand hostage crisis held on Friday and Saturday, uncovered lapses in police operations and a lack of understanding on the role of local officials tasked to oversee situations involving a breakdown of peace and order.

On Saturday, clarificatory hearings by the fact-finding committee showed that the policemen were left to resolve the hostage-taking incident.

In his testimony, Manila Vice-Mayor Isko Moreno said Mayor Alfredo Lim, the head of the local crisis management committee and the ground commander and former Manila Police District (MPD) director, Chief Superintendent Rodolfo Magtibay, left the scene and gone to a nearby restaurant before the situation got out of hand.

Moreno said that with foreigners taken as hostages, the incident should not have been treated as a local crisis, and necessitated officials from the national government.

The bungled rescue operations have been blamed for the death of 8 Hong Kong tourists during the incident.

On Saturday, members of the Philippine National Police (PNP)- Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) Team who handled the assault admitted they lacked the equipment and the training to deal with it.

Delineation of duties

"There was not a very clear delineation of who was in charge of what and where, and if there was some assumption it was handled by the critical incident management task force, but the group was saying it needed the call of the crisis management committee. The information should've been delegated - what was happening on the ground, what the capacities and whether these should be elevated to higher authorities. These could have been done if there was an assessment conducted by the committee," Robredo said.

Robredo noted the crisis management committee in certain localities had proven effective in the past, such as in handling the bombing at the Zamboanga City International Airport in early August.

"The Zamboanga crisis incident, I think it was a functional crisis management committee, Mayor Celso Lobregat took over the incident. He convened the crisis management committee."

Greater challenge for bigger urban areas

Robredo however, admitted that the challenge may be greater for urban areas like Manila.

"The crisis management committee is a part of the Peace and Order Council. It's a smaller group from the Peace and Order Council of the locality. In many parts of the country, they understand the rules very well, but bigger urban areas with police districts, I think there may be some difficulty."

Hearings extended

The IIRC expects to finish marathon hearings on Monday, but given the number of resource persons lined up and the issues involved, Robredo said, clarificatory hearings into the Manila hostage crisis may take a few more days.

He added that they also hope to complete investigations by mid-September and formulate recommendations within the next few months.

"I doubt we'll finish tomorrow, the hearings should stretch to no later than Thursday. We need to get done by September 15, that's for the fact-finding. Recommendation will last a month or two."

PNP chief's early retirement has nothing to do with hostage fiasco – Palace

The decision of Philippine National Police Director Gen. Jesus Versoza to seek early retirement had been settled with President Aquino long before the Aug. 23 hostage crisis at the Quirino Grandstand, a Palace official said on Sunday.

PNP chief accepts 'responsibility, accountability' for hostage fiasco

A week before his retirement, Philippine National Police Director-General Jesus Verzosa declared that he was taking "responsibility and accountability" for what the PNP did and failed to do in the bloody Aug. 23 Luneta hostage-taking that killed eight tourists from Hong Kong and the hostage-taker.

2 solons urge reorientation of LGU officials on crisis mngt

by abs-cbnNEWS.com
MANILA, Philippines - Two members of  the House of Representatives on Sunday called for a reorientation of local government unit (LGU) officials on their roles during crisis situations following the bloody outcome of the Rizal park hostage taking incident.

Robredo's probe body membership draws flak

Umani ng batikos si DILG Secretary Jesse Robredo sa ginawang paggisa sa sarili niyang opisyal sa imbestigasyon ng hostage-taking.Tila raw ginisa ni Robredo sa sariling mantika ang kanyang ahensya na siyang namamahala sa PNP.

Memo shows Robredo's control of PNP, fire bureau, jails

Documents have shown that Interior Secretary Jesse Robredo has asserted his authority over the police, the country's jails and fire bureaus, and could therefore not wash his hands off the botched police handling of the Aug. 23 hostage taking at the Quirino Grandstand.

Official denies extort try on hostage-taker

A government official on Sunday denied extorting P150,000 from Rolando Mendoza, the dismissed policeman who took a busload of foreign tourists hostage in Manila last August 23.
Deputy Ombudsman Emilio Gonzales III, however, confirmed that Mendoza, who was killed by policemen after negotiations failed, was accusing him of extortion when they talked over the phone during the hostage crisis. 

"Ang sinasabi niya sa akin, 'Nanghihingi ka sa akin ng P150,000?' Sabi ko sa kanya, 'Hindi totoo yan, hindi nga tayo magkakilala, hindi tayo nagkikita.' Sabi niya, 'Sini-setup niyo ako'," said Gonzales, the deputy Ombudsman for military and other law enforcement offices.

(He told me, 'You're asking for P150,000?' I told him 'That's not true. I don't even know you and I have never seen you.' Then he said, 'You are all setting me up.')

The information that Mendoza was accusing an Ombudsman official of extortion before he was killed was relayed on Saturday by Chief Inspector Romeo Salvador, one of the negotiators, to the government body formed to investigate the tragedy.

Gonzales is scheduled to appear before the panel — the Incident Investigation and Review Committee (IIRC) — on the third day of its investigation on Monday. 


But contrary to Salvador's claim, Gonzales said Mendoza, a decorated officer before he was dismissed from police service over a robbery-extortion case, never mouthed expletives at him.

"Hindi naman siya nagmumura. Hindi ko alam kung saan nanggaling 'yun (He didn't curse me. I don't know where that news came from)," he said.

He said he and Mendoza only talked briefly, after which Mendoza asked to speak with Ombudsman Merceditas Gutierrez herself. 

He said Mendoza was asking him to dismiss his case now pending with the Ombudsman.

"Ang gusto niya, maglabas ako ng resolution sa motion niya on that date, granting the motion. When you say granting the motion, acquitted siya (What he wanted was for me to issue a resolution to grant his motion that day. In short he wanted to be acquitted)," said Gonzales. 

In the same interview, Gonzales said he is frustrated that he is being dragged into the controversy considering his years of service in the government. "Ang iniimbestigahan naman diyan, yung hindi pagkaka-rescue sa hostages (What is supposed to be investigated here is the failure to rescue the hostages)," he said. 

"Bakit naman napatuon sa akin? Ang feeling ko nga 'nun napasama pa ako, after doing my job (Why was the probe suddenly focused on me? I feel that I have compromised myself after doing my job)," he added.

He likewise admitted that his family has been negatively affected by the controversy. "My children, my family, they're shattered about this." 

Asked if he is willing to be investigated on the matter, Gonzales retorted, "Bakit naman ako iimbestigahan, wala naman akong kasalanan diyan (Why should I be investigated? I am innocent of the accusation?)"

Group leads HK 'healing day' over Manila hostage tragedy

The Hong Kong chapter of the International Social Service (ISS), an international charitable, non-governmental organization, will hold on Sunday a "Healing, Harmony & Hope Day" in memory of the eight Hong Kong tourists who died in a hostage-taking incident in Manila last August 23.

Member of breakaway communist group found dead in Iloilo

A suspected member of the breakaway communist group, the Revolutionary Proletarian Army-Alex Boncayao Brigade (RPA-ABB), was found shot dead in Janiuay town, Iloilo, 33 kilometers north of here on Saturday.
The remains of the victim, identified as John Arnaiz, 39, was recovered by members of the Janiuay police in a farm in Barangay Bungol, near the victim's residence.

26 cops deployed in Northern Samar for operations vs NPA

Twenty six policemen will be deployed in various parts of Northern Samar, including the capital town of Catarman, which lost eight of its policemen in an ambush staged by the members of the New People's Army in August.

3 suspected Abu Sayyaf men killed by cops in Sulu clash

(UPDATE 2) Police special forces commandos have killed alleged Abu Sayyaf group (ASG) leader Gafur Jumdail and two alleged ASG bandits in a clash midnight Saturday in Maimbung, Sulu, police said on Sunday.

Senator calls for new strategy in Ampatuan trial to prevent delays

With nearly 200 defendants and 300 witnesses listed by the Department of Justice in the multiple murder case against the Ampatuans, Sen. Joker Arroyo said it could take 200 years for justice to come to the victims of the Maguindanao massacre.

Aquino forms advisory panel on peace talks with MILF

President Aquino has formed an advisory body task to assist government negotiators who will face Moro rebels when talks resume later this month in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

Dureza says he will vacate MinDA post despite fixed 6-year term

Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA) chair Jesus Dureza has said he is relinquishing office to former South Cotabato Rep. Lualhati Antonino who has been chosen by President Aquino to replace him.

PCSO execs give up perks

They're not as well-paid as their counterparts in government-owned and controlled corporations, but top officials of the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office said on Sunday they were giving up some of their perks.

The PCSO board, headed by chair Margarita Juico and general manager Jose Fernandez Roxas II, said they have decided to scrap bonuses and allowances amounting to at least P130,000 a year.

"I've heard about the perks of the GOCCs. It appears that they're big time, while PCSO is small time," Juico said in jest last Friday in her office.

The sweepstakes office is in the red by a staggering P1 billion.

The PCSO perks include P40, 000 Christmas grocery bonus; P10, 000 clothing allowance; P5,000 cash gift; and P2,000 rice allowance, among others.

Earlier, it was revealed that the package of incentives enjoyed by officials of the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS) amounted to P242 million in 2009 alone.

The PCSO officials said they decided to scrap some of their allowances in keeping with President Aquino's call for austerity.

However, they decided to retain their transportation and cost of living allowances, and others they did not specify. It was not mentioned how much the remaining allowances amounted to.

As PCSO officials, Juico and Roxas receive a P40, 000 monthly basic pay.

The members of the board are Betty Nantes, Mabel Mamba, Ma. Aleta Tolentino and Francisco Joaquin III.

According to the board officials, their P130, 000 worth of allowances and bonuses are part of the collective negotiating agreement between the union and the officials, and hence, are also enjoyed by PCSO's 1,750 personnel around the country.

But only the board members decided to give them up.

"We're leaving the employees to enjoy them. These are incentives for productivity as well as a deterrent to graft," Roxas said by phone.

The PCSO is suppose to generate revenues for its own operations. Out of its sales, 55 percent is earmarked for the prize fund, 30 percent for a charity fund, and 15 percent for operating expenses.

From 2005 onwards, its total sales have been rising steadily, amounting to P26.7 billion in 2009, and P28.4 billion so far this year.

But due to overspending, the agency registered a P1 billion net loss, Juico admitted at last Thursday's hearing by the House committee on appropriations.

Following an uproar over the sizable pay and perks of GOCC executives, Mr. Aquino directed the Department of Budget and Management to craft anexecutive order putting a cap on these.

Then President Macapagal-Arroyo issued Memorandum Order No. 20 in June 2001 to control the compensation and benefits of GOCC executives and employees, but apparently it was not implemented. 

Malacañang said it also welcomed a Senate resolution calling for a stop to the payment of unusually huge salaries and bonuses to executives of government-owned and controlled corporations.


Ex-Namria chief facing raps for falsifying SAL

by abs-cbnNEWS.com
MANILA, Philippines - The anti-graft court Sandiganbayan has filed criminal charges against a former administrator of the National Mapping and Resource Information Authority (Namria) for understating the value of his personal assets from 2001 to 2002.
Sandiganbayan Assistant Special Prosecutor II Terence Fernando said Isidro Fajardo, former NAMRIA chief, was charged last week with falsifying public documents in his 2001 and 2002 statement of assets, liabilities (SAL) and net worth.

97 OFWs from Kuwait to arrive home Monday

Ninety-seven repatriated overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) from Kuwait will arrive in Manila on Monday morning, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said Sunday.

All 698 Pinoys in Saudi shelter repatriated - DOLE

All the close to 700 Filipino workers who were staying in a shelter in Saudi Arabia had been repatriated, according to the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE).

Only 10% of government workers needed to form unions - CSC

MANILA, Philippines - The Public Sector Labor-Management Council (PSLMC) has reduced the percentage of membership requirement for the registration of public sector unions.

Beginning September 1, an organizational unit would need only at least ten percent membership out of its total number of rank-and-file employees to be able to apply for registration.

The PSLMC, in a Resolution, reduced the number of initial members needed to form labor groups to encourage government workers to form unions.

The PSLMC was created by Executive Order No. 180 which provides the guidelines for the exercise of the right to organize among government employees. Its task is to implement and administer the provisions of said executive order.

The Civil Service Commission (CSC), as Secretariat to the Council, said that lowering the percentage of membership requirement aims to encourage government employees to self-organize.

Briton slain over Philippine Internet love triangle – police

MANILA – A British man who went to the Philippines to propose to a woman he met in an Internet chat room was stabbed to death by her jealous lover Sunday, police said.

John Lorne McDonald's would-be bride, Nanqueen Romero, 31, also sustained multiple wounds after being attacked by her Filipino lover, police said in a statement.

McDonald organized a party at Romero's home to ask for her hand in marriage, police said, but it was not clear if she had told him about her Filipino boyfriend, Anselmo Locastales, who turned up and attacked the couple.

Locastales is on the run, police said.

Some Boracay hotels, resorts offering up to 50% discounts

Budget-conscious tourists can avail of lower accommodation rates on Boracay Island as the country's resorts adjust to the backlash arising from the August 23 hostage-taking fiasco in Manila.

Group wants 2011 corn program budget doubled at P1.2 billion

To improve the post-harvest infrastructure for corn, an industry group wants government to double the 2011 budget of the Agriculture Corn Program to P1.2 billion.

Agriculture dep't investigates mining impact on Leyte farms

MACARTHUR, LEYTE -- The Department of Agriculture (DA) will investigate the impact of magnetite sand mining exploration on rice farms in Javier town in Leyte.

9 charged over Quedancor scam

The Office of the Ombudsman has charged nine individuals in connection with the unaccounted loans amounting to millions of pesos released by Quedan and Rural Credit Guarantee Corp. (Quedancor) for its swine program during the Arroyo administration.
Charged were Quedancor's operation officer Ray Joven, district accountant Analyn Hobayan, and Manila district supervisor Joel Sibal Gagelonia. 

Private individuals who were also charged were RDY Moneylink owner Reynaldo Yumol, and Moneylink officials Garry Constantino, Digna Diaz Yumol Calison, Arsenia Diaz Yumol, Numeriano Yumol, and Carlo Francisco.

Ombudsman's graft investigation and prosecution officer Randolph Nicolas said the nine facilitated the release of some P1 million of Quedancor funds to fictitious employees in a Las Piñas City school.

In a 12-page resolution, Nicolas said the Quedancor officials recommended the approval of loan applications of RDY Moneylink amounting to P1.239-million. He said the 28 checks that were drawn from Landbank of the Philippines' Taft Avenue Branch were supposed to go to 28 employees of Westfield Science Oriented School in BF Resort Village in Las Piñas City.

Quedancor, however, declared that it lost some P1.239 million representing the principal loan, including the total value of the 28 checks and financial charges, such as service fees worth P37,170, documentary stamps tax worth P6,195, insurance worth P11,894.40, and gross receipts tax worth P1,858. 

The National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) later found out that the 28 employees of Westfield and all documents for their loan applications were all fictitious.

The bureau also presented the sworn affidavit of Albert Abitria, president of Westfield Science Oriented School, denying that the 28 names who received the Quedancor checks of more than P1 million were their employees.

"He (Abitria) categorically confirmed that those 28 applicants are neither employees of Westfield nor their names appeared in the school payrolls from years 2005 to 2009 or Social Security System R-3 forms," Nicolas said.

"As such, base on the established facts, Quedancor was defrauded in the amount of P1,239,000 because the public and private respondents conspired with one another to produce and prepare all the spurious documents for the 28 fictitious loan applicants," he added. 

A P60,000 bail has been set for the temporary liberty of all the accused. 

Quedancor launched a swine program in 2003 to assist farmers venturing into hog-raising. Some P5 billion in funds went to the project, with P3 billion coming from the Land Bank of the Philippines and P2 billion from Equitable-PCI Bank, and government bonds issued as collateral.

But the Commission on Audit's (COA) 2005 Report found that the program had P755.62 million in outstanding loan balance and P663.77 million in receivables.

The COA findings also said the procurement of input supplies for Quedancor swine program amounting to P1.67 billion during the year was not in accordance with government procurement procedures, and the high cost of credit was not beneficial to farmer beneficiaries.

COA also said some borrowers denied borrowing from Quedancor, and that the team leader or input suppliers sought their signatures in exchange for amounts ranging from P200 to P300.

Big explosion rocks central Baghdad – AFP

BAGHDAD – (UPDATE) A large explosion on Sunday rocked an Iraqi ministry of defense complex that three weeks ago was the site of a suicide bomb attack that killed dozens of would-be army recruits, AFP correspondents said.

Congo boat catches fire, capsizes; 200 feared dead

KINSHASA, Congo - As many as 200 people are feared dead after a heavily loaded boat caught fire and capsized in southern Congo, a survivor said Sunday.

Guatemala mudslides kill at least 28; 2 buses hit

GUATEMALA CITY - Torrential rains from a tropical depression caused mudslides that have killed at least 28 people in Guatemala - most of them in separate disasters along the same highway.

Cholera outbreak 'covered up' in China – report

BEIJING – Authorities in eastern China covered up an outbreak of cholera for 12 days out of fears that publicizing the often fatal disease would shock the local population, state press said Sunday.

Bangladesh on alert as anthrax spreads

DHAKA – Bangladesh has put livestock and health officials on high alert after an outbreak of anthrax spread to more districts, infecting 327 people since mid-August, officials said Sunday.

Vatican: stoning in Iran adultery case 'brutal'

VATICAN CITY - The Vatican on Sunday raised the possibility of using behind-the-scenes diplomacy to try to spare the life of an Iranian widow sentenced to be stoned for adultery.

Sports partylist, Pacquiao eye changes to incentives, PSC laws

The partylist Pwersa ng Bayaning Atleta (Forces of the Heroic Athlete) has vowed to, among other things, improve the incentives and benefits for the national athletes.

Mayweather's racial slurs help promote my fight—Pacquiao

by abs-cbnNEWS.com
MANILA, Philippines – Sarangani Province Rep. Manny Pacquiao may be annoyed with Floyd Mayweather, Jr.'s racial slurs against him, but the 7-division world champion saw something positive in the latest issue involving him and the undefeated American fighter.

Roach wants Baguio, no place else for Pacman

by by Abac Cordero, The Philippine Star
MANILA, Philippines - Freddie Roach likes Baguio as training ground for Manny Pacquiao. The reason is simple. There are just far fewer distractions up in the City of Pines.

Salvador notches 3rd norm, becomes RP's newest GM

by abs-cbnNEWS.com
MANILA, Philippines – Roland Salvador is the country's newest chess Grandmaster (GM). He formally earned the elusive GM title during the 11th edition of the International Chess Tournament Fermo-Porto San Giorgio held from August 21 to 29 in Italy.

GM Paragua scores 2 wins in US

by abs-cbnNEWS.com
MANILA, Philippines – After winning the 42nd Annual Atlantic Open Chess Championships, Filipino Grandmaster (GM) Mark Paragua continued his winning streak in the 10 Grand Prix Tonight last September 2 in New York.

Pinay wins HK songfest

by By Bum Tenorio Jr., The Philippine Star
MANILA, Philippines - Here's a piece of good news from Hong Kong: a 16-year-old Filipina bested over 2,400 singing contestants to win the grand prize in this year's "Star Factor," the Hong Kong equivalent of "American Idol."
Margaret Marie Necio Ortega, in an elimination that ran from May to July, won first place for the English section in the age category 15 to 21 in Star Factor.

James Yap returns to Manila after 2-week break

by abs-cbnNEWS.com
MANILA, Philippines – James Yap was mum on his plan of action regarding the nullification of marriage petition filed by Kris Aquino last month.

Kris Aquino: Junjun and I are not dating

by abs-cbnNEWS.com
MANILA, Philippines – Television host-actress Kris Aquino on Sunday rebutted speculations that she went out on a date with Makati City Mayor Jejomar Erwin "Junjun" Binay Jr. last week.

Kris denies keeping Baby James away from Yap

Hindi ko ipinagdadamot si Baby James! Ito ang pahayag ni Kris Aquino sa gitna ng usap-usapang ipinagdadamot niya ang anak sa ama nitong si James Yap.

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