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

Sunday, October 31, 2010

November 1, 2010 Major News Stories

Rain expected on All Saints' Day - PAGASA

MANILA, Philippines – People going to cemeteries to visit the tombs of their loved ones on All Saints' Day should bring umbrellas, the weather bureau said Sunday. 

PNoy will not declare Nov 2 holiday on last minute

Making a case of daily-wage workers, President Benigno Aquino III put his foot down Sunday night and said he would not make a last-minute notice to make Nov. 2 a non-working holiday.

LTFRB warns public utility drivers not to go out of line

The Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board has warned public utility drivers not to go out of line unless they have been granted special permit to travel outside of their authorized route.

LTFRB-7 director Benjamin Go said those who will be plying out of line are not only risking themselves of being apprehended by agents of the Land Transportation Office but the lives of their passengers as well.

Go explained that in cases of accidents, the insurance company will not pay the victims if the vehicle is out of line.

He said that it is the policy of insurance companies that they only cover accidents within the authorized route of a public utility vehicle. Go also asked the riding-public not to patronize public utility vehicles that are traveling out of line. Another advice for the public is to avoid riding overloaded vehicles.

Meanwhile, LTO-7 assistant director Edgar Catarungan instructed his organic enforcers and the members of the LTO-deputized Task Force Alpha to intensify the campaign against abusive drivers.

Catarungan ordered the LTO agents to strictly enforce the campaign against overloading, operating outside the authorized travel routes, colorum operation, refusal to convey passengers and overcharging of fares.

Bus drivers usually don't overload at the terminal but do it along the highway where there are no more enforcers.

The drivers who will be apprehended operating out of line will be fined P250 for the first offense, P500 and P750 and suspension of their licenses for the second and third offenses, respectively.

The operators of the subject vehicles will be sanctioned also with a fine of P1,000, P1,500 and P2,500 for the first, second and third offenses, respectively.

For colorum operation, operators will be fined P6,000 plus P1,500.00 per day starting the day of apprehension until the case will be settled and suspension of registration.

Tanod shoots actor dead: Movie shoot turns into real shooting

It might have been a scene straight out of a movie. It was, but not to a barangay tanod, who thought it was for real.

A Cebuano actor, who was dressed as a gunman riding on a motorcycle, was shot dead by a tanod of barangay Parian, who acted too quickly upon seeing a man who was literally 'dressed to kill' the way the vigilantes of Cebu have been described by witnesses.

The victim was identified as Kirk Abella, 32 years old of barangay Punta Princesa, who was one of the actors in a movie that was being filmed late Saturday night.

Abella was playing the role of a killer and wore a bonnet to cover his face and was armed with a toy gun when he was shot by Edgar Cuizon, 51, of J.C. Zamora St., Parian.

Cuizon said that he did not know that a movie was being shot in the area when he spotted Abella and thought the man riding the motorcycle was about to kill someone for real.

The film being shot is entitled "Going Somewhere." It is a project of Alan Lyddiard Film based in London, United Kingdom.

Lyddiard himself picked Ibarra St. corner J.C. Zamora St. as a perfect place to shoot that scene of their movie, which was supposed to be about a drive-by shooting.

The shooting of the actor happened shortly after the director shouted "action."

The victim was hit on the back and was rushed to the Perpetual Succour Hospital, but was declared dead on arrival.

Cuizon used a homemade caliber .357 revolver. He surrendered the weapon along with five live ammunition to Sr. Insp. Pepito Polestratos, who led the PNP personnel deployed in the area for security and crowd control.

Contrary to his claim that he was unaware of the film shoot, Cuizon was reportedly informed about it along with the other tanods, said Chief Insp. Alexis Relado, chief of Parian Police Station.

Cuizon was reportedly at the residence of barangay captain-elect Boy Nuñez, when somebody reported to them that an armed person was spotted.

The tanod reportedly went to the Parian Police Station and was told that there was the shooting of a film.

"Gi-warningan na 'na siya daan. Gipasabot siya sa desk officer nga naa'y nag-shooting diha. Basin ang imong pasabot nga armed person kanang ga-taping diha. Mga artista na sila. Gikuyogan pa siya ni Sr. Insp. Polestratos padung didto," the police station chief said.

Cuizon, however, denied being told about the film that was being shot.

He claimed to be sleeping below the barangay captain-elect's house when a man informed him about an armed person. He said he was resting to get ready to report to the barangay hall for his duty at 10 p.m.

He immediately went to the area. He said he did not bother to go first to the police station.

Upon arriving at the crime scene, he saw a man wearing a bonnet and was armed with a gun. He said that he shouted at the man to stop and identified himself as a tanod, but was ignored and the actors sped off as the director had shouted "action."

"Naguyod nuon ko sa ilang motor nya paghangad nako kay gation man ang iyang pusil sa akoa, mao tong mingpusil na lang ko," the suspect said while showing his wound on his right leg.

Asked why he has a firearm, the suspect said he only borrowed it, but he refused to identify the owner. Aside from the gun ban currently implemented, the law prohibits barangay tanods to bring firearms if they do not have the necessary permits and license.

"Alangan man og magdala ka og batuta nga armas man ang dala sa gi-report," said Cuizon, who has been a tanod for five years.

The suspect said he never knew that there was a movie being shot that time. He also allegedly did not see any policemen in the area when he arrived.

"Nagtuo jud ko na mamusil to siya. Nagtuo jud ko nga tinuod," he said while shaking his head.

But Relado said he dispatched at least six policemen in the area for the shooting of the movie.

"Iyaha sad nang alegasyon to defend himself. Denial man jud ang weakest form of evidence," Relado said.

Relado said Beverly Talledo, one of the producers, properly coordinated with them by sending him a letter asking for two policemen to secure the area while they were shooting the said scene.

"Duha ra gani ila gipangayo pero akong gi-unom kay busy street ra ba na dihang dapita nya considering na international film gud maong gitagaan g'yud nako og igong personnel with an official. Naa pa gani naka-park nga marked vehicle didto with the blinkers on," Relado said.

PO3 Geoffrey Gutual of the Homicide Section said charges of homicide and violation of the gun ban will be the possible charges that will be filed against the suspect.

Former Medellin barangay captain killed in shootout

A controversial former barangay captain of Medellin town was killed after he shot it out with policemen who came to arrest him in Sitio Dita, Barangay Pulangbato, Cebu City, yesterday morning.

Marianito "Manit" Yaun, 33, a barangay captain of Antipolo, Medellin, who was implicated several times for alleged illegal drug activities, died of a single gunshot wound to the abdomen after he was hit by one of his arresting officers.

Chief Insp. Romeo Santander, chief of the Regional Special Operations Group of the Police Regional Office-7, said he received a report that two armed men, one of whom was Yaun, were seen in Dita.

Santander called up the officials of the Provincial Intelligence Investigation Branch of the Cebu Provincial Police Office to check if they were furnished with a copy of the warrant of arrest against the former barangay chief.

The warrant of arrest was issued by Judge Antonio Marigomen of the Regional Trial Court Branch 61.

After this was confirmed, Santander's team immediately went to the area where Yaun was spotted.

Santander was with four personnel of the PIIB including its chief, Supt. Rodulfo Albotra, four personnel of the Homicide Section and four other personnel from the Talamban Police Station.

The operating units arrived at the area around 11 a.m. and spotted Yaun playing "hantak" with four or five other men.

They were about to approach Yaun when the latter saw them and ran off, the others playing hantak with him also scampered away.

The policemen chased Yaun who then pulled out a gun from his pants and shot at them but missed. The policemen continued to chase the suspect but the latter fired at them twice more, forcing them to shoot back.

Yaun was hit in the abdomen and was rushed by the police to the North General Hospital where he died a few hours later.

Santander said they were prompted to shoot Yaun to prevent him from hurting any of the residents who were there that time.

A .45 cal. pistol was recovered from Yaun's possession.

Yaun was arrested last year for alleged possession of unlicensed firearms and is also suspected of being a distributor of illegal drugs in the fourth district of Cebu.

He was also allegedly arrested with his brother-in-law Eldie Briones for sniffing shabu inside a Ford Explorer.

Last October 24, someone tipped the Medellin Police Station that Yaun was involved in a shooting incident in Antipolo, Medellin, together with a certain Vicente Arriesgado Jr.

Police said around 2 p.m. Yaun and Arriesgado met at the house of a certain Jessie James Cabucos and after a heated argument Yaun suddenly shot Arriesgado in the thigh.

Arriesgado returned fire and shot up the motorcycle of Yaun.

Both suspects hurriedly fled after a team led by Insp. Bonifacio Arriesgado together with Army personnel arrived at the scene.

Later that afternoon Arriesgado was arrested inside the emergency room of the Daanbantayan District Hospital.

Murder charges eyed against farm caretakers

Two caretakers of a farm allegedly owned by a former mayor will possibly face double murder charges for reportedly killing two boys whom they mistook as thieves in Barangay Cubacub, Mandaue City.

SPO1 Jerwin Vejer of Mandaue's Investigation and Detective Management Bureau told The FREEMAN yesterday that they are thoroughly investigating the case and trying to determine if the farm owner will be included in charges that they will file.

There were reports that the two-hectare farm, which is being used to raise live-stock, is owned by a former mayor.

"Since minor ang gipatay, bugat gyud ang kaso thinking sa disposition sa mga bata nga wala'y capability nga makabawos, adding that Comelec gun ban pa karon," Vejer said.

Farm caretakers Lucas Taoy, 35, native of Barangay Lanitga, and Jason Laurente, 18 of Barangay Tacan, both of Carmen town, were arrested by elements of the Mandaue City Police Office on Saturday morning after being held responsible for the killing of Aljay Acuesta, 13, and Ellari Villarin, 14, both residents of Cubacub.

The kids, who were allegedly out to look for spiders, were shot by the suspects after allegedly mistaken for thieves who stole the GI sheet fences of the farm.

Police said they are also waiting for the farm owner to show up before their office to give his side on the incident.

According to Vejer, the victims could have died on Thursday afternoon which coincides with the witnesses' statement that they heard gunshots coming from the farm that same day.

The dead bodies were recovered almost midnight on Friday by the mother of Villarin, Emma Soco and Cubacub barangay councilman, Virgilio Gogo, near a barbed wire fence.

Villarin was found with three gunshot wounds to his abdomen while Acuesta died of two gunshot wounds to his chest.

Police recovered from the suspects .22 Beretta pistol with a loaded magazine, a Magnum revolver loaded with six bullets and a mobile phone own by Laurente which shows messages pointing to his involvement in the incident.

Vejer said the victims were both graduating students of Casili Elementary School and belonged to indigent families.

Under the City Social Welfare and Services Code, the city can provide at least P10,000 cash assistance to both victims but parents should go to the CSWS office first for necessary information on how to get the assistance.

Mandaue City information officer Roger Paller said it is up to the mayor if he would request to provide additional assistance for the family of the victims.

Plaza restoration team blames delay on long bidding process

The team in charge of restoring the Plaza Independencia is attributing the delay of the restoration to the lengthy bidding process, as the P16.9 million contract for the first phase of the project has not yet been awarded to contractor.

Teachers seek payment for poll duties

MANILA, Philippines – Almost a week has passed since the barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan elections but many teachers have not reportedly received payments for their poll duties.

No imminent terror threat to RP – Palace

Malacañang has indicated that the Philippines has nothing to fear following the new terror threat being faced by the United States, although intelligence agencies have been placed on alert.

Japan releases P21.4 billion ODA for Philippine roads

MANILA, Philippines - The government of Japan has approved a P21.4 billion loan for the improvement and maintenance of Philippine roads, Presidential Communications Development and Strategic Planning Office Secretary Ramon "Ricky" Carandang said.

Carandang said "it's a [Department of Public Works and Highways] project that Secretary [Rogelio] Singson has been working on and they approved the P21.4-billion worth of [official development assistance] for roads."

The loan was forged on the sidelines of the 17th Association of Southeast Nations Summit in Hanoi, Vietnam. The announcement came after the bilateral meeting between President Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino III and Japan Prime Minister Naoto Kan.

Carandang said Japan was "very supportive of our infrastructure projects."

Japan is also easing requirements for the country's nurses under the Japan-Philippines Economic Partnership Agreement (JPEPA).

The controversial deal, which was questioned before the Supreme Court for its constitutionality, seeks to promote investments and trade of goods and services between the 2 countries.

Carandang said both had agreed to "explore ways where we can help nurses improve their passing the national exams." 

"One thing they are considering is to teach our nurses (the) Japanese (language) even before they go to Japan so a lot of proposals are on the table but they want to make it easier for our nurses to have access to their labor force," he said.

Japan is not asking for anything in return, but the country is committing to support its bid in the United Nations Security Council as a non-permanent member for 2016 to 2017.

 "So we will vote for Japan. Our vote will go to Japan," Carandang said.

US-funded project sparks word war between Army, NPA

The US-funded Millennium Challenge Corporation's $214-million road project in Samar has sparked a word war between the military and the rebel group Eastern Visayas.

In separate e-mailed statements on Friday, spokespersons of both the Armed Forces of the Philippines in Region 8 and the National Democratic Front, the political arm of the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People's Army, issued scathing statements against each other over the relevance of the planned road repair project on Samar Island, where the insurgency has been going strong.

Lieutenant Colonel Noel Vestuir, spokesperson of the Army's 8th Infantry Division based in Catbalogan, Samar accused the rebel group of opposing the project to stall the development of Samar.

Fr. Santiago Salas, the spokesperson of the NDF-Eastern Visayas, maintained that the project had nothing to do with developing Samar Island but was being used as an "anti-insurgency scheme" with soldiers advancing their anti-rebel operations in the guise of securing the project.

The rebel-priest added that the road project was an indication of the continued intervention of the USgovernment in the internal affairs.

The project aims to improve the bad road condition of Samar Island, covering more than 200 kilometers of roads in both Eastarn Samar and Samar provinces. It is expected to start next year and will end in five years.

Vestuir said the rebel group feared the weakening, if not disbandment of the New People's Army operating on Samar island, with the paving of the road that would bring in economic activity.

"The 8th ID has been strongly supporting the initiative. It is the people that want their barangays to have roads, electrification, water systems, school facilities and health centers for their economic, health and educational benefits," Vestuir said in an emailed statement.

He said the government troops only served as a "security force" for the realization of these projects. "If the NDF-EV desires for a genuine development of the region, we are with them," Vestuir said.

But Salas said that the road project was "deceptive" as it had actually a "counter-insurgency initiative" by the national government with the assistance of the US government.

"We call on the people to press the demands for land reform and national industrialization against a grandiloquent but deceptive project. We call on the Church and the human rights group and peace activists to expose and oppose the counter-insurgency scheme behind the MMC project," Salas, in a separate emailed statement, said.

He added: "Without basic socio-economic reforms, the MCC project will be a mere publicity….to justify militarization in the name of securing this project."

Moro rebels see shorter period to complete final peace deal

ZAMBOANGA CITY -- Moro rebels said yesterday they are confident that the administration could strike a peace deal earlier than expected.

Marines deployed in Cotabato City to curb rise in kidnapping

KORONADAL CITY -- Marines have been deployed in Cotabato City upon request of the local business sector to deter the spate of kidnapping particularly among members of the Chinese-Filipino community.

'Lost evidence not enough for Webb acquittal'

by By Caroline Howard, ABS-CBN News Channel
MANILA, Philippines - Lauro Vizconde's camp believes that the disappearance of what the defense calls potentially exculpatory evidence in the massacre case involving his family is not enough basis to acquit Hubert Webb, one of the principal suspects.

Dumlao may be brought back to witness stand in Dacer slay trial

Former Senior Superintendent Cezar Mancao II appears to be the "most guilty" of the murder of publicist Salvador "Buddy" Dacer and his driver, four of the accused have told a Manila court in opposing moves his discharge as state witness.

New appointments announced

MALACAÑANG ANNOUNCED yesterday a string of appointments in the agriculture, movie and television review and housing agencies.

President Benigno C. Aquino III has appointed Ribonette C. Rodriguez-Aguilar, a lawyer from the Office of the Solicitor General, as director in the legal service group of the Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council.

Teresita R. Daza was reappointed member of the Movie and Television Review and Classification Board, a post she has occupied for the last six years ago.

She is joined by management consultant Francia C. Conrado, who was also appointed board member.

At the Department of Agriculture, Eduardo M. Gonzales and Constancio C. Maghanoy, Jr. were designated acting assistant regional directors.

Appointed as acting regional directors at the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources were Drusila Esther E. Bayate, Andres M. Bojos, Juan D. Albaladejo, Nerio G. Casil, Dennis V. del Socorro, and Ahadulla S. Sajili Al-Haj.

Other appointments were: Josephine B. Regalado and Elizabeth R. Tortosa, Fiber Industry Development Authority acting deputy administrators; Felomino V. Mamuad, Philippine Carabao Center acting deputy executive director; Vicente D. Lasam, National Tobacco Administration acting deputy administrator; and Oscar G. Garin, Philippine Coconut Authority board member.

16 Filipinos among 24 seamen aboard hijacked tanker in Gulf of Aden

Sixteen Filipino seamen were among the 24 crew members of a Panama-flagged tanker hijacked by Somali pirates in the Gulf of Aden.

Bleak Xmas: DOLE allows layoff of 3,000 PAL workers

Labor Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz has allowed Philippine Airlines' planned mass layoff of some 3,000 employees when she affirmed the previous order denying the motion for reconsideration of the ground crew union at the national flag carrier. To be affected by the retrenchment are employees in PAL's inflight catering operations, airport services operations, and call center operations.

PALEA slams DOLE decision on layoff of 3,000 employees

MANILA, Philippines - The Philippine Airlines Employees' Association (PALEA) is ready to go to the Court of Appeals following Labor Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz's decision upholding the plan of the management of the flag carrier to layoff some 3,000 employees.

Pilot shortage grounds Airphil Express flights

MANILA, Philippines – Low-cost airline Airphil Express was forced to either cancel or delay several domestic flights over the weekend because of a shortage in pilots, company officials said. 

$1: 43.1820

$1: 43.1820

U.S. eyeing Saudi-born bombmaker in parcel bomb plot

by By Phil Stewart, Reuters
WASHINGTON, USA - A Saudi bombmaker believed to be working with al Qaeda's Yemen-based wing is a key suspect in the parcel bomb plot against the United States, a U.S. official said on Saturday.

Binding Asean-China code to prevent Spratlys conflict

To end political and security instability in the region, China and member-countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations have decided to espouse a more legally binding code of conduct to thwart military aggression in the South China Sea.

Vietnam, Russia sign deal on first nuclear plant

by Agence France-Presse
HANOI, Vietnam - Russia and Vietnam on Sunday signed a deal, worth an estimated US $5.6 billion, for the energy-hungry Southeast Asian country's first nuclear power plant. 

Myanmar candidates struggle to man polling booths

by Agence France-Presse
YANGON, Myanmar - Pro-democracy candidates in Myanmar's upcoming rare elections are struggling to find volunteers to man polling stations and ensure fairness on voting day, local media reported Sunday. 

Child abuse victims bring protest to Vatican

Clerical sex abuse victims from across the world on Sunday took their calls for justice from Pope Benedict XVI to the doors of the Vatican itself.

Death toll rises to 20 in India boat sinking, 60 feared dead

Indian navy vessels and fishermen searched on Sunday for scores of missing Muslim pilgrims after an overcrowded ferry capsized and sank, killing at least 20 people.

Palace officials not barred from using Facebook, Twitter

MANILA, Philippines - Palace officials are still free to use social networking sites despite the diplomatic gaffe recently committed by one of them during President Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino's state visit to Vietnam.

Shalani: PNoy will always have my support

by by Nikki delos Santos,
MANILA, Philippines- Valenzuela City councilor Shalani Soledad has reiterated her support for President Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino III despite their much talked about break-up.

Charice flies home after food poisoning incident

MANILA, Philippines- After being downed by bad food in Singapore, international singing sensation Charice flew back home Sunday to take a brief rest after the "David Foster & Friends" Asia tour concert.

Mahal's ex-bf is now 'Jimgirl'

MANILA,Philippines- After admitting that he is going through an identity crisis, singer Jimboy Salazar has finally come out of the closet.

Safety tips for people going to cemeteries

Bring food that will not spoil easily. Carry an umbrella not only for protection from the sun or a sudden downpour but also from the stray dogs that roam the cemetery.

These were among the tips given by the Department of Health (DOH) to the millions of Filipinos who would be trooping to cemeteries to mark All Saints' Day and All Souls' Day.

Dr. Eric Tayag, head of the DOH National Epidemiology Center, said people should avoid taking their babiesor children to the resting places of their loved ones as they would be vulnerable to diseases in hot and congested conditions.

"Bringing small children to memorial parks would also mean bringing in strollers, which could only add to the congestion in the cemetery," Tayag told reporters in a briefing on Friday.

He added that families should limit the duration of their visit to ease overcrowding, particularly in small cemeteries. "Please don't bring the whole kitchen with you as this would add to the congestion and slow down traffic flow inside the cemeteries," he said.

For elderly people with disabilities or a medical condition, Tayag offered this suggestion: Just light candles in churches instead of flocking to jam-packed cemeteries, which might worsen their condition.

But should they insist on going to cemeteries, they should at least have a companion to watch over them, he said.

Tayag warned the public against buying food from ambulant vendors as these may carry disease-causing organisms that could trigger diarrhea and food poisoning, among other illnesses.

Tayag said that if families wanted to eat in the cemetery, they should go for hot meals to minimize the risk of eating spoiled food. They must also bring their own drinking water, he added.

"It is also advisable to bring umbrellas [for protection from the sun and rain]. It is also a handy device to shoo away stray dogs in cemeteries," Tayag said.

The health official advised people against wearing slippers as rains could spawn floods or puddles which, according to Tayag, could contain the bacteria, which may cause leptospirosis, a life-threatening diseasecommonly transmitted in floodwaters tainted by the urine of infected animals like rats and dogs.

Leptospirosis is contracted by the entry of contaminated water through the mouth or cuts in the skin.

Tayag, meanwhile, announced that all state-run hospitals nationwide had been placed under "code white alert" starting on Monday until Wednesday in preparation for any medical emergencies.

Medical teams were also ready for dispatch, he added.

In a statement, Health Secretary Enrique Ona explained that a white alert signified the readiness of hospital manpower like general and orthopedic surgeons, anesthesiologists, internists, operating room nurses and ophthalmologists, among others, to respond to emergencies.

The Health Emergency Management Staff operations centers would also be on active surveillance on Monday and Tuesday to monitor any health or health-related emergencies nationwide, he added.

"The DOH is really hoping that the commemoration of All Saints and All Souls' Day will be peaceful, orderly and safe with the public following our tips and reminders," said Tayag.

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