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

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

October 28, 2010 Major News Stories

Cebu law students welcome blast suspect's surrender

by By Carine Asutilla, ABS-CBN Central Visayas
CEBU CITY, Philippines - Law students of University of San Jose-Recoletos (USJ-R) in Cebu expressed relief on Wednesday over news that Department of Justice (DOJ) finally has the suspect behind the September 26 Bar exam blast. 

Palace lauds Binay for turning in Bar exam blast suspect

by By RG Cruz, ABS-CBN News
MANILA, Philippines - Malacañan welcomed on Wednesday the intervention of Vice-President Jejomar Binay in the negotiated surrender of Bar exams blast suspect Anthony Leal Nepomuceno.

Binay, other fratmen: Bombing suspect is innocent

Standing by their bond as "brods," Vice President Jejomar Binay and other members of the Alpha Phi Omega fraternity expressed full support for a fellow member tagged as a suspect in the bar exams explosion last September, saying they believed his protestations of innocence.

Witnesses tag APO frat member for Bar exam blast

by By Jojo Malig,
MANILA, Philippines – Several witnesses have positively identified Anthony Leal Nepomuceno as the perpetrator behind the Bar exam blast, the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) said Wednesday.

Comelec releases honoraria for teachers

The Commission on Elections (Comelec) yesterday started paying the honoraria of teachers who served in the last Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan elections last Monday in the amount of P2,000 each.

Cebu Provincial Election Supervisor Lionel Marco Castillano earlier said the money intended for such purpose was already released from Manila even before the election day.

Castillano said they are releasing the money within the week as long as election officers are ready with their payroll.

Borbon Election Officer Alex Villacrucis has urged other towns to get the money at the Comelec office at the Capitol so it can be released immediately to teachers who served as board of election tellers (BET).

Villacrucis is one of those who first withdrew the money at the Comelec office yesterday and brought back the amount of P427,000 for the teachers.

"Lipay kaayo aning mga maestra kay magamit sa kalag-kalag," Villacrucis said. (Teachers will be happy with this because they will have something to use on All Souls' Day.)

Election officers have to bring only the payroll

. They will be given withdrawal slips and they will be the one to withdraw cash at Land Bank of the Philippines.

The Comelec wanted to release all money to teachers today as long as all election officers can claim and withdraw it.

Police find money, sample ballots

The police in Lapu-Lapu City yesterday found money stapled to a sample ballot bearing the name of a candidate in barangay Punta Engaño, two days after the shooting incident in sitio Lupa which killed the driver of Angel Rodriguez, a candidate who ran for barangay captain.

For Cebu City ABC President: Ralota, Guanzon get Tommy's nod

The hangover from Monday's barangay elections is still there and it is still months away from the elections of the Association of Barangay Councils (ABC), but this early two names have already been floated for the position of president, which also has an ex-officio seat in the Cebu City Council.

'Comelec men benefited from delayed poll deliveries'

MANILA, Philippines - A Commission on Elections official on Monday said a special fact-finding committee should investigate Comelec personnel who conducted deliveries of election materials to various municipalities during Monday's barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan polls, instead of relying on forwarders.

House to probe village, youth polls' delay

The House of Representatives will be holding its own inquiry into the delays in the delivery of election paraphernalia and other controversies that hounded the village and youth council elections even as the Commission on Elections (Comelec) formed a fact-finding body to look into these.

Comelec regrets delays in village, youth council polls

Amid problems that hounded the recent village and youth council elections, the Commission on Elections on Wednesday apologized to the public and admitted that they were not as prepared compared to the national elections last May.

Senator opposes abolition of SK

Senator Francis "Chiz" Escudero on Wednesday expressed his strong opposition to the proposed abolition of the Sangguniang Kabataang (SK) or youth councils in the country.

DILG chief Robredo wants SK retained, but with reforms

Interior and Local Government Secretary Jesse Robredo said Wednesday that he wants the Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) retained, but with major changes, especially in the age range of the members of the youth council.

Town councilor killed in Masbate

A town councilor who was part of a group transporting ballot boxes was gunned down Tuesday night by two unidentified men in Balud town, Masbate, a police official said Wednesday.

Ronald Ariola, a Sangguniang Bayan (town council) member of Balud, accompanied by Army Corporal Sonny Mirabel, who was unarmed and in civilian clothes, were following a group of Board of Election Inspectors carrying ballot boxes from Barangay (village) Mapili when attacked by the two gunmen, said Chief Inspector Pelagio Samson, Bicol police spokesman.

Samson said the incident occurred at around 7 p.m. between Barangays Ilaya and Mapili.

Quoting the Balud police, Samson said the gunmen, who were clad in black jackets and armed with M16 rifles, approached Ariola and fired at him at close range.

The victim died on the spot from multiple gunshot wounds.

Mirabel, a friend of the victim, told the police he was unarmed and unable to retaliate.

Probers eyed politics, a land dispute, or personal grudge as probable causes for the killing.

Earlier, three people were killed and another was injured in another poll-related violent incident late Monday afternoon in Cawayan town in Masbate.

Police said two of those killed were brothers of the incumbent village chief. One of their assailants, a known supporter of the village's chief's rival in the election, died from hack wounds inflicted by a companion of the brothers.

Rotational brownouts again

The public will have to bear a one to two-hour rotational brownout again as the Visayan Electric Company (Veco) started implementing this yesterday.

The deficiency in the Cebu-Negros-Panay grid is expected to be experienced until October 31.

Three power plants and the 150-megawatt High Voltage

Direct Current (HVDC) are currently out of the grid. The HVDC is the power that links from Luzon to Visayas and was unavailable starting 4:00 a.m. yesterday. The situation would continue up to 5:00 p.m. of Oct. 31 for scheduled maintenance activities.

As of 4:29 p.m. to 5:11p.m. yesterday Veco implemented a brownout at the North Reclamation area in Mandaue City and in the Barangays of Pahina San Nicolas, Duljo Fatima, Mambaling, Poblacion Pardo & Quiot Pardo in Cebu City, due to a power shortage in the grid of 200 megawatts.

Jennifer de Jesus, NGCP head of Public Relations, Corporate Communications said the Palimpinon Geothermal Power Plant 1 and 3 in Leyte were having a shutdown as well as the Energy Development Corporation in Malitbog Unit 2.

NGCP, the operator of t he country's power transmission highway, in a report yesterday stated that for the Visayas power outlook, the capacity is 1,110 megawatts but during peak load, power demand reaches 1,304 megawatts.

There was a power generation deficiency of -154 megawatts (mw) in the morning, -187 mw in the afternoon and -194 in the evening.

Antonio Labios, Department of Energy 7 Director, said that Kepco is already synchronized with the grid and currently has a plant output ranging from 20 megawatts to 25 megawatts.

Singson Village: Landslide threat evacuates families

The area below the damaged riprap in Sitio Tipolo, Barangay Guadalupe, Cebu City will be declared under a state of calamity due to the 'imminent danger' it poses to the 20 families who have built their houses below.

Mending relationship with province among Rama's birthday wishes

As he turns 56 today, Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama wishes for reconciliations between the city government and the province as well as those political rivals in the just concluded barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan elections.

Ecleo's hospitalization stalls trial

The trial of the parricide case against cult leader Ruben Ecleo Jr. was rescheduled again due to his alleged confinement at a hospital in Manila.

Cebu's 2nd most wanted arrested in Davao

The second most wanted person in Cebu region was arrested by authorities in Davao City last Monday, police said Wednesday.

Dionision Panogalin, 44, wanted for rape and with a reward of P100,000 for his arrest, was nabbed at Barangay Tomas Monteverde Sr., Davao City, said Senior Superintendent Ramon Rafael, regional chief of the Criminal Investigation and Detection Unit of Cebu.

Panogalin, a tricycle driver, is facing four counts of rape and was arrested based on a warrant issued by Judge Mercedez Goze-Dadole of Regional Trial Court Branch 28 in Mandaue City.

Panogalin had eluded arrest for 12 years. He was being detained at the Davao City Police Office Detention Cell, before being turned over to the courts, police said.

Neri stands by P200M bribery rap vs. Abalos

Four years on, the mystery of the "200" still persists.

PNoy warns grafters: I'm single with lots of free time

by By Willard Cheng, ABS-CBN News
HANOI, Vietnam - President Benigno Aquino III on Wednesday issued a warning against people in government who are still trying to pull a fast one on the Aquino administration despite its crusade against graft and corruption.

Palace happy with improved 'transparency, good government' ranking

The Philippines remains one of Transparency International's "highly corrupt" countries but the Aquino administration, elected on the promise of good governance, is unfazed and even welcomed the new rankings that showed the country's improvement in the area of good governance.

Ombudsman may get unfair treatment in impeach proceedings, SC told

Lawyers of Ombudsman Merceditas Gutierrez told the high court that she would not get fair treatment if the two impeachment proceedings would push through against her.

Drilon defends Aquino order cutting GOCC, GFI execs' bonuses

Senator Franklin Drilon on Wednesday defended President Benigno Aquino III's executive order (EO) suspending the bonuses and allowances of state firm executives, saying it was necessary to stop the "bleeding" of government coffers.

Palace won't extend non-CESOs' terms

by By RG Cruz, ABS-CBN News
MANILA, Philippines - Malacañang has decided  not to extend the effectivity of President Benigno Aquino's Memorandum Circular 2, which allows non-career service executive officers to stay in office till October 31 or till their replacements have been appointed.

Ex-Ateneo prof behind SC plagiarism scandal?

MANILA, Philippines - Independent media group Newsbreak identified the researcher behind the plagiarism issue that has plagued the Supreme Court.

In an online story, Newsbreak named Michelle Ann U. Juan, a former law professor at the Ateneo de Manila Law School, as the researcher who helped put together a Supreme Court decision on a case filed by Filipino comfort women.

The decision, which was penned by Associate Justice Mariano del Castillo, was found to have lifted several passages from the published works of legal experts abroad.

In a controversial decision of the Supreme Court en banc promulgated on October 12, the magistrates absolved Del Castillo. They said there was "no malicious intent" to pass off someone else's work as his own since the plagiarized materials in the decision were merely "accidentally deleted" by the ponencia's court researcher.

The decision did not name the researcher but, in an effort to establish the researcher's competence, provided several clues that led to Juan.

These include her law school (Ateneo, where she also taught law); academic honors (third in her class); her bar exam results (fourth placer); and her role in the school's law journal (editor-in-chief).

Except for Juan's masters degree and scholarship, all the other clues fit. Newsbreak's research showed that Juan studied International Law and Politics under a Hugo Grotius scholarship, not a degree in "International Law and Human Rights" under the "Global-Hauser program", as mentioned in the decision.

Newsbreak said Juan had worked at the Romulo Mabanta Buenaventura Sayoc & De Los Angeles law firm before joining Del Castillo when he was appointed to the Supreme Court. Del Castillo's wife, Cynthia, is a partner at the law firm.

The decision has caused an uproar among the legal and academic groups who are concerned of the wrong signal it could send to teachers and students. Newsbreak said this prompted some of its readers to share how they traced Juan.

Special forces to train CAFGUs

MANILA, Philippines – Army special forces will soon train members of the 50,000-strong Citizens' Armed Force Geographical Units (CAFGU) across the country.

Court defers Magdalo case promulgation

MAKATI CITY, Philippines – A Makati court granted on Wednesday a motion filed by detained Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV and 2 co-accused to defer its promulgation on the coup d'etat case against 19 former officers and 3 enlisted personnel involved in the 2003 Oakwood mutiny.

For P15,000, cop helps carry out massacre in Maguindanao

(UPDATE) A police officer on Wednesday testified in court that he was paid about $350 by a powerful Muslim clan scion to help carry out the country's worst political massacre.

Mangudadatu says Andal Jr faked illness

Maguindanao Gov. Esmael "Toto" Mangudadatu said he does not believe that Andal Ampatuan Jr., prime suspect in the Maguindanao massacre case, skipped Wednesday's hearing due to sickness.

SC: No more DNA analysis; Vizconde massacre ruling out soon

by By Ina Reformina, ABS-CBN News
MANILA, Philippines - The Supreme Court (SC) has set aside its earlier resolution granting the request of Hubert Webb, one of the principal accused in the killing of Estrellita, Carmela and Anna Marie Jennifer Vizconde, on June 30, 1991, for a deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) testing and analysis of the semen specimen taken from the cadaver of Carmela, who was raped prior to her murder. 

Webb wants Vizconde case dismissed over lost evidence

by By David Dizon,
MANILA, Philippines - Former Senator Freddie Webb is set to ask the Supreme Court (SC) to dismiss criminal charges against his son, Hubert Webb, after the state lost vital evidence which, he said, could prove his son's innocence in a 19-year-old rape-murder.

Filipina caught with 2.6 kg of heroin sentenced to death in Indonesia

A lower court in Indonesia sentenced to death a Filipina caught last April with 2.6 kilograms of heroin, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said in a news release.

The Filipina, whose name is being held for privacy reasons, was apprehended last April 25 at the Audisucipto International Airport in Yogyakarta by the Customs and Excise Authorities.

She was sentenced to death by Yogyakarta's lower court on October 11, despite the state prosecutor's petition for life imprisonment.

The DFA said the Philippine embassy in Jakarta has extended assistance to the Filipina through jail visitations, and is currently coordinating with her lawyer for the appeal.

The DFA-Office of the Undersecretary for Migrant Workers Affairs is also in touch with the Filipina's relatives in the Philippines.

At the same time, the DFA reiterated its warning against being victimized as drug mules.

DFA Undersecretary for Migrant Workers' Affairs Esteban Conejos Jr. warned of the stiff penalties imposed by other countries such as China on anyone caught carrying illegal drugs.

"We warn our countrymen from carrying drugs when travelling overseas and especially not to accept packages which they suspect contain drugs, and also to be wary of the modus operandi being used by drug-trafficking syndicates. If they are caught, they will face very dire circumstances," he said.

The DFA has requested the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) to continue its operations and redouble its efforts in light of the increasing involvement of Filipinas as drug mules.

Nurse in 'ventilator accident' a Pinay

MANILA, Philippines – The nurse who accidentally turned off her patient's ventilator in the United Kingdom is a Filipina.

The Philippine Embassy in London has confirmed that nurse Violetta Aylward is a Filipina.

According to Eduardo Malaya, spokesperson of the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), the incident involving Aylward happened in 2009.

BBC recently aired a CCTV video showing Aylward switching off tetraplegic Jamie Merrett's ventilator. As a result, the 37-year-old patient suffered brain damage.

The report stated that Merrett had requested for a video camera to be installed in his room to appease his worries about how he is being cared for by the nurses.

A road accident left Merrett paralyzed from the neck down. He has since been on life-support machine since 2002. BBC also reported that despite his condition, Merrett is able to use a wheelchair and operate a voice-activated computer.

However, after the accident with his ventilator, Merrett's sister Karren Reynolds told BBC that her brother's mind was reduced to that of a young child.

Malaya said that the UK Crown Prosecution Service found insufficient evidence to charge Aylward for grievous bodily harm.

Aylward is not facing any criminal charges but her license has been suspended by the UK Nursing and Midwifery Council.

The Pinay nurse has declined to speak to media on the matter.

The embassy in London expressed its readiness to extend assistance to Aylward, and is actively monitoring the developments on the case.

$1: P43.260

$1: P43.260

Euro 1: P59.8039

Typhoon Juan damage to agriculture sector now P10.6-B

MANILA, Philippines - The toll of Typhoon Juan on the country's farm sector has reached P10.59 billion, with the rice sector suffering the brunt of the storm, according to a report of the Department of Agriculture (DA).

Tetangco tells banks to address ATM, POS risks

As ATM and point-of-sales transactions total P11.3 billion in the first quarter and still counting, banks and financial institutions must address risks consumers face whenever they use their ATM and debit cards, BSP Gov. Amando Tetangco Jr. said Wednesday.

BSP Gov. Amando Tetangco Jr. stressed this point Wednesday, noting that ATM and POS transactions totaled P11.3 billion in the first quarter.

In a speech at the launching of BancNet, Expressnet, and Megalink POS network interconnection Wednesday, Tetangco said that banks and financial institutions must adopt controls, measures, and information campaigns to ensure that customers know how to use their ATM and debit cards in as safe and secure a manner as possible.

"It is prudent to remember that while technology presents us with many opportunities, we must also remain vigilant of its attendant challenges and risks," the central bank chief said.

Jollibee eyes 3rd food chain in mainland China

MANILA, Philippines - Homegrown giant Jollibee Foods Corporation has acquired a majority stake in a noodle business in the southern province of China--its third in the mainland.

Aquino: RP ready to help Indonesia quake, tsunami victims

MANILA, Philippines - President Benigno Aquino III on Wednesday said the Philippines is "prepared to assist in any way we can" the victims of Tuesday's earthquake and tsunami in Indonesia.

No Pinoys hurt in Indonesian tsunami

The Philippine Embassy in Jakarta said that from the information they got as of Wednesday morning, no Filipinos were affected by the tsunami and a 7.7-magnitude earthquake which struck off the coast of Sumatra Tuesday.

Toll passes 270 in Indonesia tsunami disaster

PADANG - The toll from a tsunami which smashed into Indonesia rose sharply past 270 on Wednesday as rescuers reached the remote islands hit hardest by the disaster and found scenes of devastation.

Indonesia volcano death toll rises to 29—officials

The death toll from the eruption of Indonesia's Mount Merapi rose to 29 on Wednesday, including an elder known as the volcano's spiritual gatekeeper, officials said.

Pope calls for Indonesia aid, voices condolences

Pope Benedict XVI on Wednesday called on the international community to aid Benin and Indonesia and expressed his condolences for the victims of natural disasters in the two countries.

Philippines dubs Myanmar election a 'farce'

by By Ambika Ahuja, Reuters
HANOI - Myanmar's election is a democratic farce, the Philippines said in a document outlining President Benigno Aquino II's position at an Asian summit this week where differences over the military-ruled nation could bring discord.

Margarito victory would be bad for boxing: analysts

MANILA, Philippines – For several boxing analysts, Manny Pacquiao's November 13 fight against Antonio Margarito means so much more than just the Filipino fighter's attempt to win a record 8th world title.

Even US senator wants Pacquiao's endorsement

MANILA, Philippines — It's not only in the Philippine elections where politicians seek the endorsement of the country's boxing idol, 7-division world champion Manny Pacquiao.

Even a US senator is tapping Pacquiao to help boost his re-election to the US Senate, with the polls scheduled on November 2.

According to, Pacquiao will be among the "heavyweight" endorsers of Sen. Harry Reid of Nevada.

Reid has already received backing from US Sen. Al Franken, US Labor Secretary Hilda Solis and US First Lady Michelle Obama.

The US senator is reportedly banking on Pacquiao's celebrity status as seen in the Filipino boxer's sellout crowds whenever he fights in Las Vegas, Nevada.

The report said the boxing champion will join the senator at an early vote rally on Friday night (Saturday in Manila) at Orr Middle School in Las Vegas.

However, it is not clear if Pacquiao has confirmed his attendance at the rally. The pound-for-pound king is busy training for his upcoming fight against Antonio Margarito on November 13.

Pacquiao is a legislator himself, having been elected as the Philippines' lone representative of the province of Sarangani.

PBA: Texters outrun, outgun toothless Tigers

Make that a double whammy for Powerade. Still feeling staggered by the sound beating they received at the hands of the mighty San Miguel Beermen, the Tigers found themselves beaten black and blue anew, this time against the fully-loaded Talk N Text Tropang Texters.

Willie Revillame asks CA to junk ABS-CBN bid vs new show

Television host Willie Revillame on Wednesday asked the Court of Appeals to dismiss ABS-CBN's latest petition to stop the airing of his new show on rival network TV5.

Philippine Army launches Twitter account

After the DepEd and PAGASA, the Armed Forces of the Philippines is the latest government agency to develop its own social media presence.

Sam hopes to follow in Charice's footsteps

by By Reyma Buan-Deveza,
MANILA, Philippines - Actor-singer Sam Concepcion said he wants to follow in the footsteps of his former "Little Big Star" contender Charice.

No more issue with Pauline, says Cristine

MANILA, Philippines- Actress Cristine Reyes has asked the public to put the issue involving her and actress Pauline Luna's "previous" dispute to an end.

James Bond's Aston Martin car on sale

LONDON—James Bond's famous Aston Martin car was expected to raise over five million dollars when it goes on sale Wednesday, complete with gadgets including ejector seat, nail spreader and revolving number plates.

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