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

Monday, October 18, 2010

October 19, 2010 Major News Stories

Barangay officials force 350 families near coasts to relocate

Papalabas na ng Pilipinas ang bagyong "Juan" pero nasa loob pa rin ng Philippine Area of Responsibility. Una namang nasapul ng bagyo ang Isabela at Cagayan. Batay sa mga report ng ating news teams, hindi bababa sa 6 ang nasawi sa iba-ibang lugar sa Northern Luzon. Daan-daang pamilya naman ang inilikas mula sa mga kritikal na lugar.

Juan claims 1st death

(UPDATE 4) Despite President Benigno Aquino III's zero-casualty target, typhoon Juan (international code name: Megi) claimed its first victim on Monday with authorities reporting that a fisherman had drowned in the huge waves that the storm brought.

2 missing amid rains spawned by 'Juan'—Coast Guard

Rescue teams have been looking for two missing men believed to have drowned in Ilocos Sur and Cagayan amid the stormy weather brought by super typhoon Juan, the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) said on Monday.

'Juan' hammers transmission lines

MANILA, Philippines – Several provinces in northern Luzon are without electricity as power transmission facilities in the region took a beating from super typhoon 'Juan' (international name, Megi).

Typhoon Juan could damage up to 70% of paddy rice: NFA

by Reuters
MANILA, Philippines - Typhoon Juan (international codename: Megi) could damage 232,169 tonnes of unmilled rice crop in the northern Philippines in the govermment's worst-case scenario, with only 30% of it able to be harvested, the head of the state grains agency said.

NFA: Typhoon Juan to damage P1.53B worth of palay

Super typhoon Juan could damage some P1.53 billion worth of rice crop in Isabela, the country's second top rice-producing province, an official of the National Food Authority said Monday.

Gov't keeps close watch over prices of agricultural goods

MANILA, Philippines - Malacañand has ordered the trade department to keep a close watch over prices of agricultural goods identified as "vulnerable" to the onslaught of Typhoon Juan, following a report of the agriculture department that as much as 600,000 metric tons of palay were under threat by the typhoon.

Palace declares work holiday in north Luzon govt offices

Malacañang on Monday declared a work holiday for government offices in areas battered by typhoon Juan including the Cordillera Administrative Region and Regions I and II.

Aquino a no-show in disaster council meet

by By Willard Cheng, ABS-CBN News
MANILA, Philippines - President Benigno Aquino III skipped a meeting of the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) in Camp Aguinaldo Monday morning, opting instead to attend an anti-poverty meeting in Malacañang.

Pool calamity funds for disasters—DILG

The Department of Interior and Local Government wants to pool the calamity funds of both the national government and local government units across the country to be used in times of disasters.

RP to US: Please help with your Chinooks

MANILA, Philippines -  The Office of Civil Defense (OCD) has sought the assistance of the U.S. government regarding the use of 6 Chinook choppers of the U.S. Navy that are currently in the country.

PRC: 3,973 new certified public accountants

MANILA, Philippines - The Professional Regulation Commission (PRC) announced Monday that 3,973 out of 8,216 passed the Certified Public Accountant Licensure Examination given this October 2010.

Suspects in post-bar exams violence identified

Justice Secretary Leila de Lima said Monday authorities had identified the perpetrators in the September 26 post-bar examinations violence that injured over 40 people.

"The important thing is that we have already pinpointed them. That's all I can say. We cannot disclose further," De Lima said, adding that she already had the NBI's confidential report.

"Within the next few days, there will be a major breakthrough," De Lima said.

The NBI is the lead agency conducting the investigation. The Supreme Court also formed a committee headed by Associate Justice Martin Villarama Jr. to conduct a parallel probe of which the result will be submitted to Chief Justice Renato Corona.

De Lima said, the NBI findings have also been submitted to the high court committee.

Groups face-off on RH bill

 MANILA, Philippines - Pro-life and pro-choice advocates faced-off on the Reproductive Health (RH) Bill as the Senate Committee on Health and Demography held discussions on the controversial issue on Monday.

By 61 percent: Gwen cuts budget for Greg's office

Of the P3 billion proposed annual budget of the Province of Cebu for next year, Vice Governor Gregorio Sanchez, Jr. will only get P18 million.

For helping him out in his first 100 days: Rama to give P10, 000 bonus to CH employees

For allegedly making his first 100 days in office a success, Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama is planning to reward each city hall employees by granting them additional P10,000 bonus.

P5.4 million of P6 million intelligence-funds remain unused

Cebu City will have more or less P9 million in intelligence funds next year for the peace and order initiatives and confidential operations of the City Government in coordination with the police.

Anomalies drive Wagas to prevent poll winners from assuming - Quiño

Compostela Mayor-elect Joel Quiño believes that the alleged anomalies of the past administration may be the real reason why former mayor Ritchie Wagas tried so hard to prevent the new elected officials from assuming office.

In Lapu-Lapu City: LTO chief charged for gross dishonesty, falsification

Land Transportation Office (LTO) Lapu-Lapu City Chief Aurea Angcay is facing charges for falsification of official documents and gross dishonesty before the Ombudsman-Visayas.

Clamping ordinance: Traffic enforcers told not to spare government vehicles

The Cebu City Traffic Operations Management (CITOM) Board has ordered traffic enforcers not to spare government vehicles from clamping, especially if they are parked illegally and obstructing the flow of traffic.

PRO-7 honors cop, who shot it out with robbers

A medal of merit was awarded yesterday to Police Officer 3 Osorio Ramiso Jr. for his "single act of heroism" when he foiled a robbery of a lending firm in Barangay Sambag I a week ago by shooting it out with the fleeing robbers resulting to their eventual arrest.

Luigi to push for Consolacion cityhood, wants more districts

Sixth District Representative Luigi Quisumbing will be filing a bill that would make Consolacion into a city, but admitted that doing so involves a very long process starting with consultations and dialogues with stakeholders.

"Super bridge" will link Cebu, Bohol

Sixth district Rep. Luigi Quisumbing during a press conference yesterday said Bohol Rep. Erico Aumentado and Seventh District Rep. Arturo Radaza has asked him to co-author a bill requesting for a project study of a proposed super bridge that will link the two provinces.

Fate of ex-Pier 3 vendors hanging on a thread

The Cebu City Market Authority, Department of Public Works and Highways, and officials of Barangay Tinago are expected to discuss today the plight of vendors occupying Arellano Boulevard who will be affected by an impending road widening project.

Palace will not review truth body report

MALACAÑANG WILL not review recommendations of the Truth Commission contrary to the committee that probed the bus hostage incident two months ago, a Palace aide said yesterday.

"There's no such process," said Executive Secretary Paquito N. Ochoa, when asked if the Palace will review the recommendations of the commission similar to the case of the Incident Investigation and Review Committee on the Aug. 23 hostage crisis.

The report was reviewed by a legal team composed of Mr. Ochoa and chief presidential legal counsel Eduardo de Mesa.

The truth body tasked to look into unresolved graft cases in the previous administration has started its work despite a pending Supreme Court (SC) case questioning its constitutionality.

During a briefing last Friday, the commission said it will start investigating 23 cases of alleged anomalies.

In the recent SC oral arguments, justices noted that the commission's output may be ignored by the Ombudsman and Sandiganbayan as its findings are merely recommendatory.

The minority bloc in the House of Representatives has questioned the constitutionality of Executive Order 1, which created the commission. The case is up for resolution.

DOJ pursues GMA plunder probe

MANILA, Philippines - The preliminary investigation into the plunder complaint versus former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, Foreign Affairs Secretary Alberto Romulo, and former Finance Secretary Margarito Teves continued on Monday at the Department of Justice (DOJ).

The case is connection with the non-payment of capital gains tax amounting to P72 million for the sale of the old Iloilo Airport to Megaworld Corporation at a price of P1.2 billion. The complainant is Danilo Lihaylihay.

Arroyo, who now represents the second district of Pampanga in Congress, was not required to attend as per the advise of DOJ panel head Senior State Prosecutor Peter Ong during the previous hearing last October 6.

Romulo was represented by his counsel.

Teves, who was supposed to appear before the panel, was a no-show.

Ong announced during the hearing that a messenger handed him a letter from Teves Monday morning, but he refused to accept it and instructed the messenger to return in the afternoon and present the letter in the 2:00 pm hearing.

The letter, however, was received by the other prosecutors. Its content was mainly asking for the dismissal of charges against Teves. 
The DOJ panel noted that the letter was not in the form of a counter-affidavit and as such, could not have any bearing on the proceedings.

Romulo's lawyer, meanwhile, asked that his client's name be withdrawn from the information sheet.

During the hearing, the panel sought clarification from Lihaylihay as to the nature of his complaint.

The panel brought to his attention a statement of Bureau of Internal Revenue Commissioner Kim Henares, which stated that the old Iloilo airport case is not even a tax case, especially that transactions like it are exempt from capital gains tax.

Lihaylihay insisted he had grounds to file the complaint.  He was given up to October 28 to submit his reply affidavit.

Defense cites why GMA musn't testify in Neri case

MANILA, Philippines - Lawyer Estelito Mendoza found loopholes in the prosecution's bid to have his client, former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, appear and testify in a graft case involving former Socio-Economic Planning Secretary Romulo Neri.

The former President is not a mere "ordinary witness," since she is also being investigated in other venues with regard to the controversial deal, Mendoza said.

"The prosecution does not belie this fact. There is no question that movant Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo is, for all intents and purposes, an 'accused' person, accused of illegal acts in connection with the NBN-ZTE deal. Her right to remain silent, in any venue, is absolute and this cannot be taken against her," he added.

He also debunked the prosecution's argument that Arroyo can't excuse herself from testifying since it is Neri who is the defendant in the case.

"Any person under investigation, custodial and otherwise" has the right to remain silent, he said.

Furthermore, Arroyo's right is anchored on the right to remain silent enshrined under Section 12, Article III of the Constitution. The prosecution has mistakenly argued against the "right to self-incrimination" under Section 17, Article III, he said.

"As long as the person under investigation is going to be questioned on matters that he or she is being investigated about, the right to remain silent is absolute, in any venue and on any instance," he said.

He also dismissed the statements from Acting Deputy Special Prosecutor John I.C. Turalba, who mentioned in open court that anything Arroyo will say while she is on the witness stand will not be used against her in other proceedings.

"(W)ith all due respect, the Honorable Prosecutor does not have the authority to grant the movant any immunity," Mendoza said.

Aquino stands by peace adviser amid quit calls

by By Willard Cheng, ABS-CBN News
MANILA, Philippines - President Benigno Aquino III is standing by Presidential Adviser for the Peace Process Teresita "Ging" Deles amid calls by minority lawmakers for her resignation.

2 cops killed in Masbate ambush

Two policemen died in an ambush staged by unidentified men Monday in a village in Pio V. Corpuz town in Masbate, a police official said.
Senior Supt. Thomas Semeniano, Masbate provincial police director, identified the fatalities as Police Officer 3 Nonilon Agbones and Senior PO1 Nilo Abejuela, both members of the Pio V. Corpuz Municipal Police Office.

Senate panel approves amnesty proclamation for soldiers

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A panel in the Senate has approved a resolution concurring with President Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino III's proclamation, granting amnesty to former and active soldiers that mounted failed uprisings against the Arroyo administration.

Nurse raped by lone perpetrator?

The rape of a 21-year-old volunteer nurse in Maguindanao may have been done by a lone perpetrator and not by several men, Justice Secretary Leila de Lima said Monday.

Nurse not gang-raped?

MANILA, Philippines – Only one DNA profile was found from samples taken from a volunteer nurse in Maguindanao who was raped, Justice Secretary Leila de Lima said Monday.

Six men cleared in nurse's rape mull raps vs cops

The six men arrested and later released in connection with the rape of a Maguindanao volunteer nurse are planning to file charges against South Upi policemen for illegal arrest, according to a government lawyer.

5 OFWs in Riyadh jailed for 'work stoppage'

Five overseas Filipino workers (OFW) who have filed complaints against their employer were briefly jailed in Riyadh on Saturday for alleged illegal work stoppage. Wally Villazor, Labor Attaché I of the Philippine Overseas Labor Office in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, said the five were released on Monday.

Somali pirates release carrier with 21 Pinoy crew

by Reuters
NAIROBI, Kenya - Somali pirates have released a Panama-flagged bulk ship along with its crew of 21 from Philippines which they seized in late April, the head of a regional maritime group said on Monday.

SC justice: Ruling on plagiarism case to set a bad precedent

The newest member of the Supreme Court has criticized her colleagues for exonerating Associate Justice Mariano del Castillo from allegations that he plagiarized portions of a ruling on World War II comfort women.
Supreme Court Associate Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno said the court will be remembered for saying Del Castillo did not commit plagiarism because there was "no malicious intent" to pass off someone else's works as his own. 

Sereno added that the ruling of the court's majority has caused "unimaginable problems" for the Philippine academe. She explained decisions on future cases of plagiarism committed by students will be based on the court's ruling that malicious intent must be present to constitute plagiarism. 

"Unless reconsidered, this Court would unfortunately be remembered as the Court that made 'malicious intent' an indispensable element of plagiarism and that made computer-keying errors an exculpatory fact in charges of plagiarism, without clarifying whether its ruling applies only to situations of judicial decision-making or to other written intellectual activity," said Sereno. 

"It will also weaken this Court's disciplinary authority ─ the essence of which proceeds from its moral authority ─ over the bench and bar. In a real sense, this Court has rendered tenuous its ability to positively educate and influence the future of intellectual and academic discourse," she added. 

Sereno is the youngest member of the high tribunal and is the first appointee of President Benigno Aquino III, who assumed office June 30 this year, to the high court. 

Majority's ruling

Ten of the Supreme Court's 15-member bench voted to clear Del Castillo

Those who voted to absolve Del Castillo were Chief Justice Renato Corona, Associate Justices Presbitero Velasco Jr., Eduardo Nachura, Teresita Leonardo-de Castro, Arturo Brion, Lucas Bersamin, Roberto Abad, Martin Villarama Jr., Jose Perez, and Jose Mendoza. 

Only Sereno and Associate Justice Conchita Carpio-Morales dissented, with the latter joining in the former's dissenting opinion. Associate Justices Antonio Carpio and Diosdado Peralta did not participate in the voting because they were on official leave. 

" It's not Microsoft Word's fault"

The sources from where Del Castillo allegedly borrowed without proper attribution were "A Fiduciary of Theory of Jus Cogens" by Evan Criddle and Evan Fox-Descent, "Breaking the Silence on Rape as an International Crime" by Mark Ellis, and "Enforcing Erga Omnes Obligations in International Law" by Christian Tams.

In the decision, the majority also said Del Castillo cannot be faulted because the attributions for the allegedly plagiarized material were merely "accidentally deleted" by the magistrate's court researcher.

The court also said it was not Del Castillo or his researcher's fault that Miscrosoft Word, the program used in writing the decision, cannot detect "copied" research material without the proper attributions. 

"Microsoft Word program does not have a function that raises an alarm when original materials are cut up or pruned. The portions that remain simply blend in with the rest of the manuscript, adjusting the footnote number and removing any clue that what should stick together had just been severed," the Supreme Court said. 

But the court's findings did not sit well with Sereno. 

In her dissenting opinion, Sereno said there is no software that will input the quotation marks at the beginning and end of passages lifted verbatim. "Neither is there a built-in software alarm that sounds every time attribution marks or citations are deleted," she said. 

Not hypocrites

Sereno likewise castigated her colleagues who said Del Castillo's critics were "hypocrites who believe that the courts should be as error-free as they themselves are." 

For her, it is not hypocrisy to point out plagiarism in promoting honesty, especially in the judiciary. 

"To conclude [it as hypocrisy] is to condemn wholesale all the academic thesis committees, student disciplinary tribunals and editorial boards who have made it their business to ensure that no plagiarism is tolerated in their institutions and industry," said Sereno. 

Sereno: Plagiarism was committed

The magistrate then cited Section 184 of the Intellectual Property Code of the Philippines, which provides that there is no infringement of copyright in the use of another's work "provided that the source and the name of the author, if appearing on the work, are mentioned." 

Sereno said Del Castillo committed plagiarism because of the outright fact that the borrowed material were not properly attributed to their sources. 

"Plagiarism thus does not consist solely of using the work of others in one's own work, but of the former in conjunction with the failure to attribute said work to its rightful owner and thereby, as in the case of written work, misrepresenting the work of another as one's own," she said. 

She also said any claim of a lack of malicious intent does not "change the characterization of the act as plagiarism. 

Sereno then urged Del Castillo to admit he committed plagiarism and to apologize to the foreign authors whose words he borrowed in his ruling. She also said the court should issue a corrected ruling on comfort women in the form of a "corrigendum."

$1: P43.235

$1: P43.235 (P43.17)

Euro 1: P60.3733

2 power transmission lines in Mindanao energized

The National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP) has energized two transmission lines in Mindanao to assure Mindanao residents of a more stable and reliable delivery of power between generators and users.

Jollibee acquires Mang Inasal for P3-B

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MANILA, Philippines – The country's biggest food retailer is acquiring majority control of a fast-growing barbeque fastfood chain in a continuing bid to beef up its business portfolio.

'Mang Inasal' CEO confirms P3B sale to Jollibee

Edgar Sia II, chairman and chief executive officer of the Mang Inasal popular food chain, has confirmed that he would be selling 70 percent of his nearly seven-year old company to Jollibee Food Corp. (JFC) for P3 billion.

Death toll from latest Vietnam floods 23: officials

by Agence France-Presse
HANOI, Vietnam - The death toll from the latest floods caused by heavy rains in central Vietnam rose to 23 on Monday, while more than 150,000 homes were under water, officials said.

Malaysian boat accident leaves 20 missing—report

KUALA LUMPUR—Some 20 people are feared dead after a ferry boat collided with a barge and sank in a Borneo river, the Star newspaper reported Monday, saying the body of a baby girl had already been recovered.

10 dead, 3 missing in heavy Haiti rains

PORT-AU-PRINCE—(UPDATE) Ten people were killed and three others were missing after heavy rains battered Haiti, which is still struggling to rebuild after a devastating January earthquake, officials told AFP Monday.

Benin floods kill 43—UN

COTONOU—Flooding in the West African nation of Benin has killed 43 people and left nearly 100,000 homeless, a UN official said Monday, citing numbers collected since the beginning of October.

NATO official: Bin Laden, deputy hiding in northwest Pakistan

by by Barbara Starr, CNN
KABUL, Afghanistan (CNN) -- Osama bin Laden and his deputy Ayman al-Zawahiri are believed to be hiding close to each other in houses in northwest Pakistan, but are not together, a senior NATO official said.

Distracted Pacquiao fails to impress Arum

Top Rank promoter Bob Arum was straight to the point, even if the object of his frustration is boxing champion Manny Pacquiao in Baguio City.

Pinay teen is Sudoku Asia Pacific champ again

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MANILA, Philippines - A 16-year-old Filipino student won the top prize in this year's Brand's Asia Pacific Sudoku Challenge held in Singapore, making her a 2-time champion in the region.
Sarah Jane Cua, a soft-spoken fourth year student from Pangasinan Universal Institute in Dagupan City, wowed judges and spectators at Suntec City Mall as she finished the final Sudoku puzzle ahead of 50 professionals and students from Singapore, China, Thailand, Indonesia, India and Malaysia.

Lea Salonga is new UN envoy vs hunger

Tumaob ang bangka ng escort ng International Pinoy singer na si Arnel Pineda matapos nilang mag-medical mission sa Bulacan. Misyon naman ng isa pang World Class Pinoy na si Lea Salonga na sugpuin ang pagkagutom bilang United Nation Ambassador.

Charice gets two standing ovations in US

Nakipagsabayan ang Pinay YouTube sensation na si Charice sa ibang international artists kagaya nina Natalie Cole at Neyo sa "David Foster and Friends Concert" sa Las Vegas sa Amerika. Ayon sa composer na si David Foster, parang anak na ang turing nila ni Oprah Winfrey kay Charice.

Yeng, 6cyclemind vocalist sing 'Imortal' theme song

by by Marie Lozano, ABS-CBN News
MANILA, Philippines - Pinoy Dream Academy big winner Yeng Constantino and 6cyclemind frontman Ney Dimaculangan were chosen to sing the theme song of ABS-CBN hit television series "Imortal."

Judge stops Patrick dela Rosa's transfer to QC jail

by By Chiara Zambrano, ABS-CBN News
MANILA, Philippines - After much preparation, the scheduled transfer of actor-politician Patrick dela Rosa did not push through after Judge Evelyn Corpus Cabochan of Quezon City Regional Trial Court Branch 98 refused to sign his commitment order for transfer to the Quezon City Jail.

RP bet to Ms Int'l composes own song

MANILA, Philippines – Family and friends of 2010 Binibining Pilipinas-International Krista Kleiner on Sunday night threw a surprise party for the 21-year-old beauty, who is set to leave for China on October 20 for the Miss International competition.

15 LGUs receive 'good housekeeping' award

Fifteen local government units (LGUs) were awarded with the "good housekeeping seal" Monday for their exemplary performance in governance, including promoting transparency and accountability.

Interior and Local Government Secretary Jesse Robredo said the LGUs, which belongs to fourth to sixth class municipalities, will be awarded with P2 million each. They were picked based on their performance in governance, particularly in the areas of planning, fiscal management, transparency and accountability, and valuing performance monitoring.

LGUs qualified for the seal should also not have any "adverse" report from the Commission on Audit, which means they have complied with all the requirements of the commission, Robredo said.

LGUs who have been awarded with the seal of good housekeeping are qualified to avail of the Performance Challenge Fund (PCF), where they can acquire necessary funds for the development of their respective municipalities.

If awarded with the PCF, an LGU should use the money to implement its priority projects, which should be aligned with the national government's goal to achieve the Millennium Development Goals, Robredo said.

Robredo said the PCF is part of the agency's proposed P86.9 billion budget for 2011.

"By linking financial incentives to the LGUs own performance, the latter is motivated to perform better and deliver quality services to the people," he added.

The 15 LGU awardees are:

Anilao, Iloilo
Balete, Aklan
Balilihan, Bohol
Catigbian, Bohol
Clarin, Misamis Occidental
Damulog, Bukidnon
Datu Paglas, Maguindanao
Leon B. Postigo, Zamboanga del Norte
Mobo, Masbate
Naawan, Misamis Oriental
Pitogo, Quezon
San Agustin, Surigao del Sur
Santol, La Union
Sto. Domingo, Albay
Tampilisan, Zamboanga del Norte

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