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

Thursday, November 4, 2010

November 5, 2010 Major News Stories

DOLE: 500 employers pay below minimum

About 500 business establishments in the Metro Cebu have been found violating the minimum wage law.

The Department of Labor and Employment has already inspected 2,200 establishments in Cebu City and other areas within Metro Cebu. Out of those establishments inspected, about 500 of them are not paying their workers the P285 minimum wage per day.

DOLE-7 director Elias Cayanong said, violators have been ordered to comply with the minimum wage law. Cayanong warned that violators will be fined.

According to Cayanong, there were also some employers who were very quick to implement the new wage order. He admitted that there are several others who have just ignored the warning.

He explained that ignoring DOLE's order to comply with the minimum wage law would be disadvantageous for them because they are risking themselves to suffer double penalties.

"Pananglit nga imbis og makabayad ra unta sila og dos mil aw mahimo na hinoon nga kwatro mil," he said.

Labor inspectors have intensified their inspection to various establishments because they will no longer be allowed to inspect business firms starting December 1.

"Kun mag-inspection ta anang mga adlawa kadudahan ta nga nanaygon, nangayo og pinaskohan," Cayanong said.

He encouraged the workers to complain against their employers if they are receiving salaries below the minimum.

Some workers however opted not to complain for fear of losing their jobs, especially those who are working in various establishments along Colon Street.

Veco: Strike won't hurt our services

The management of Visayan Electric Company assured that service will continue as before and that their customers will not be affected by the "unfortunate and irresponsible statements and actions" of the ALU and 156 "misguided union team members who have chosen a path of utmost disregard for the public they were hired to serve".

Due to alleged Osmeña meddling: Opposition won't contest ABC post

The opposition in Cebu City is not interested in the presidency of the Association of Barangay Councils (ABC) because of the alleged meddling of a top local politician in their affairs.

42 roads on Rama's list for priority repairs

The Department of Engineering and Public Works has recommended at least 42 roads to be prioritized in the asphalting and retreading projects of Mayor Michael Rama.

Most of these roads are located in the north district as there were only 13 of them are found in the barangays in the south.

Cebu City engineer Kenneth Enriquez said the total length of these roads will reach 15.2 kilometers. He said the city would need 11,859 metric tons of asphalt that will also cost the city government over P99.9 million.

The amount will be taken from the 5th supplemental budget of the city. Among the barangays recommended to be on the priority list are Apas, Lahug, Bacayan, San Jose, Talamban, Capitol Site, Camputhaw, Kasambagan, Mabolo, Sambag II, Sta. Cruz, Zapatera, Tinago, Santo Niño, Ermita, Duljo-Fatima, Tisa, Quiot, Poblacion Pardo, Guadalupe, Inayawan and San Nicolas Proper.

Rama earlier instructed the DEPW to conduct an inventory of roads in the city to find out which of them really need immediate attention.

Emergency vehicles not above traffic rules

Mayor Michael Rama yesterday reminded all government vehicles including emergency unit vehicles and fire trucks to observe traffic regulations.

Purchase of helicopter for disaster response opposed

Former city councilor Gerardo Carillo, who is presently Mayor Michael Rama's consultant for disaster preparedness, is against the mayor's plan to buy a helicopter saying he believes that it is not a priority project to improve disaster response.

Cocaine courier charged in court

A mining executive was charged in court for drug pushing following his arrest Tuesday afternoon during a buy-bust operation wherein a kilo of cocaine was seized from his possession.

Russel Rosales, 38, resident of Lipata, Minglanilla, was indicted for violation of section 5 Article II of the Republic Act 9165 otherwise known as the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act.

Assistant Cebu City prosecutor Aida Sanchez found sufficient evidence during inquest investigation to elevate the case before the Regional Trial Court against Rosales. The prosecutor's office also did not recommend bail for his temporary liberty.

Lawyer Danilo Yap, counsel for Rosales, said his client decided not to sign a waiver of detention and instead opted to answer the case during the trial proper.

Rosales alias Rochelle was arrested at the parking lot of a hotel in Barangay Zapatera Tuesday afternoon after he sold cocaine brick to an undercover policeman.

Deputy regional director for operations Sr. Supt. Louie Oppus said that the members of the Anti-Illegal Drugs Special Operations Task Force from Central Visayas and Manila arranged the transaction with Rosales.

The transaction was originally set in Manila but Rosales was clever enough to move the meeting place thrice before finally agreeing to close the deal in Cebu. A "budol" money made of wad papers and P2,000 marked bills was used during transaction.

Rosales, after accepting the supposed payment, handed a cocaine brick to the undercover policeman. The rest of the operatives immediately rushed up and placed him under arrest.

The cocaine brick seized from Rosales was estimated P2 million to P3 million worth and believed to be part of the two tons of cocaine shipment thrown off from Hongkong-bound Chinese vessel and was washed towards the shores of Samar province in December.

Drug syndicate was believed to have panicked after learning that the United States Drug Enforcement Agency (USDEA) and US coastguard were monitoring them.

Rosales reportedly admitted to the police that he got the supply of cocaine from Ormoc City in Leyte.

Despite a considerable amount of cocaine already seized by authorities in the country, a police official said shabu remains the most abused illegal drugs. Sr. Supt. Melvin Ramon Buenafe said cocaine is famous or a drug of choice for the wealthy ones.

Police abandon Joavan chase

The police in Talisay City will no longer look for Joavan Fernandez after he had figured in a vehicular accident involving a police patrol car since the cases filed by the police are already due for preliminary investigation.

CITOM enforcer charged for "extortion"

A traffic enforcer was charged in court for direct bribery after the Office of the Ombudsman Visayas has found probable cause to indict him of the complaint for extortion filed by a taxi driver.

Graft investigator Pio Dargantes has elevated before the Regional Trial Court the direct bribery case against Christian Catoto. The anti-graft office found sufficient evidence to hold Catoto for trial for alleged extortion.

The case stemmed from a complaint filed by taxi driver Jessie Rica before the National Bureau of Investigation in August 2009. Rica sought assistance from the NBI after Catoto demanded P3,000 from him to redeem his driver's license.

According to Rica, he was apprehended for several traffic violations along Magallanes and Plaridel Streets in Cebu City on August 7, 2009. During the incident an unidentified companion of Catoto told him to give money to avoid his license from being confiscated.

Rica said he offered P50 as settlement but Catoto did not accept the amount allegedly for being too small. Catoto confiscated his license but few days after he was told to produce P3,000 to redeem it.

Rica said he was only able to produce P2,500 which Catoto agreed to accept the amount. Unknown to Catoto, Rica already coordinated with the NBI that set up his entrapment.

Catoto was eventually arrested following a brief chase after he initially got away with the drag net.

Catoto denied extorting money from Rica but could not explain why he did not turnover the confiscated license to the Land Transportation Office and why there was no temporary operator's permit issued to the complainant.

Homicide raps vs. man, who shot toddler dead

A man is now facing a homicide case before the Regional Trial Court after he shot dead a two-year-old boy as the child slept.

Jerome Abad, 36, a neighbor of the victim in Sitio, Villagonzalo II, Barangay Tejero, Cebu City, allegedly shot the victim last April 25, 2010 around 3:20 a.m.

Prosecutor Rhodna Bacatan recommended P40,000 for Abad's temporary liberty.

Bacatan said that she found probable cause to elevate the case to the court. 

She added that she gave the accused time to submit his counter-affidavit to deny the accusations against him but the accused failed to submit any.

Vanessa Gonzaga, the mother of the victim, said in her affidavit that she was not home when the incident happened but she was in Bulacan where she worked as a helper.

She said that she was only informed by her brother Rodrigo Gonzaga that her son died due of a gunshot wound to the face.

Vanessa added that she went home on April 29, 2010 to her house in Villagonzalo II where she had left her son to the care of her mother Hermanita Rapaya.

She said she was told that before the incident the accused went to the house of her other brother Arnel, adjacent to the house of her mother where her son slept together with Rodrigo.

Vanessa said that the accused was quoted as saying "nganu giinitan man ko diha sa taga ubos dong" and then he pulled out a gun which went off.

The bullet pierced the wall of the house and hit the face of the victim.

PO3 Geoffrey Gutual, PO2 Leroy Baguio, PO2 Cristobal Geronimo and PO2 Lou Pagara responded to the shooting incident but were not able to apprehend the accused.

They recovered a .45 cal. slug at the crime scene.

On May 6, 2010 at about 5 p.m. Raquelo, another brother of Vanessa, called her and told her that the accused had pointed gun at him at the North Reclamation Area highway, in Sitio Mahayag, Barangay Subangdaku, Mandaue City.

Vanessa then called the Homicide Section of the Cebu City Police Office.

Vanessa said that the policemen proceeded to Sitio Mahayag but Raquelo told them that the accused went to Barangay Carreta, the police then went to Carreta but the suspect was no longer there as he went to Tejero.

It was there where they arrested him and found him carrying a gun after he was searched.

3 of 4 rape suspects surrender

Three of the four suspects who robbed and raped a 28-year-old realty consultant Monday surrendered yesterday to the Lapu-Lapu City Police Office.

LLCPO director Mariano Natuel Jr. yesterday said the case is already closed.

Jarden Rex Cañales alias "Onyok," 19, of Sangi New Road, Ronelo Abendan alias "Yeye," 18, of barangay Pusok, and Ryan Ramirez,19, a graduating high school student and resident of Seaweeds Gate surrendered at around 12:30 p.m.

All suspects are from Lapu-Lapu.

At the police station, the three suspects including Christopher Antig, who was arrested Tuesday, took turns in blaming each other.

Although they had different versions of the story, the four men admitted to robbing and raping the woman.

"Nagkasabot mi nga mo-surrender kay basin ipa shoot-to-kill mi," Abendan said.

Cañales alleged it was Antig who really had the guts to rape the woman. He said Antig owned the rusty .38 cal. revolver he used to threaten the woman.

Cañales said Antig really wanted to have sex with the woman because he could not have sex with his girlfriend since she was having her period.

Cañales admitted it was he who tore the woman's underwear.

Cañales said that after the incident, he and Ramirez hid in barangay Antipolo in Medellin town while Abella went to barangay Punta Engaño in Lapu-Lapu City.

The suspects are presently detained at the Lapu-Lapu City Police Office pending the filing of robbery with multiple rapes against them.

As court convicts woman 'trafficker': Group claims victory in fight vs trafficking

The International Justice Mission has claimed victory in its fight against trafficking of women and children in Metro Cebu areas after the Court convicted a woman for trafficking five women to Malaysia for sexual exploitation.

Lawyer Andrey Sawchenko, IJM Cebu field office director, in a press conference yesterday, said that its project dubbed, "Project Lantern" has provided a strong proof that a law enforcement-based strategy to reduce the prevalence of sex trafficking and commercial sexual exploitation of children in Metro Cebu areas can and does work.

On October 29, 2010, Regional Trial Court branch 10 Presiding Judge Soliver Peras convicted Sarah Jane Estrada for two cases of trafficking to suffer the penalty of life imprisonment and a fine of P5 million.

Sarah Jane Estrada and sister, Roselyn Estrada, were accused of conniving in recruiting three women on October 3, 2006 and another two women on October 18, 2010 to engage in prostitution and sexual exploitation.

Sarah Jane allegedly said that her sister, Roselyn, just arrived from Malaysia and looked for singers in a band group and offered each of the five women an average pay of P20,000 a week.

While in Malaysia, the women were reportedly engaged in prostitution and as guest relations officers and the accused acted as procurer for different customers for money, profit and other consideration.

Accused is further directed by the court to pay exemplary and moral damages to each of the five complainants in the amount of P500,000.

Roselyn, who is at large, was issued another warrant of arrest by the court for the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group 7 to arrest the accused at all cost.

Sawchenko said that two more IJM cases in Cebu were awaiting promulgation of judgment and several others are expected to be submitted for decision before the year ends.

As of the end of October 2010, IJM attorneys were assisting in 62 active prosecutions and anticipate having many more convictions in the next several years.

Senior Supt. Augustus Marquez, chief of the Regional Intelligence Division of the Police Regional Office 7, also confirmed that there was really a change in the implementation of the anti-trafficking law when the IJM came into picture when they started operation in 2006.

Marquez said that there is already a public awareness that trafficking is now a serious offense and unlike before that they only charged the victims for vagrancy with penalty of P50.

He urged the media to further disseminate to the people that anti-trafficking law is now strictly enforced in Cebu. 

Regional State Prosecutor Fernando Gubalane also said that during the visit of Justice Secretary Leila de Lima in Cebu, she assured him of the full support of her office in the prosecution of anti-trafficking cases.

To pull the plug on robberies: Jonas to install cameras in city

In response to a series of robberies in Mandaue City, Mayor Jonas Cortes said yesterday cctv cameras will be installed in strategic points in the city.

Rama proposes P12 million for Sinulog 2011

Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama has included a P12-million allocation in the 2011 Annual Budget for the Sinulog Festival next year.

DILG celebrates local autonomy

The Department of the Interior and the Local Government (DILG) 7 is spearheading the celebration of the two decades of local autonomy in the Philippines through the program, "Biyaheng Pinoy: Tapat na Palakad, Bayang Maunlad". 

Navy to conduct "Exercise Pagsasama 2010"

The Naval Force Central (NAVFORCEN) will conduct "Exercise Pagsasama 2010" in Cebu, Iloilo, and the Visayan Sea tomorrow until Wednesday.

Bombing suspect nabbed in Manila—Defense chief

Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin announced here on Thursday that a bombing suspect had been arrested in Metro Manila, and stressed that the government was taking seriously all terror threats arising from the foiled attempts to bomb the United States.

Aquino says travel warnings vs PHL have no adequate basis

Claiming that the warnings have no adequate basis, President Benigno Simeon "Noynoy" Aquino III said the Philippine government will express its displeasure over the travel advisories issued by five foreign governments, including the United States.

PNP coordinates with 5 countries over travel advisories

The Philippine National Police has begun coordinating with foreign embassies of the five countries that issued travel advisories against the Philippines, even as it maintained that there were no specific threats of any terror attacks here.

Philippines calls for terror warnings to be downgraded

by Agence France-Presse
MANILA, Philippines - The Philippines on Thursday urged the United States and other allies to downgrade travel warnings about an imminent terrorist attack in Manila, saying it had not monitored any such threat.

Expert: RP should take travel warnings seriously

by By Ira Pedrasa,
MANILA, Philippines - Military authorities may not have monitored any security threats to the country, but travel warnings from different governments should "be taken seriously," an international terrorism expert said.

Terror experts believe threat real

Totoo ang banta ng terorismo sa bansa. Kinumpirma ng isang dating intelligence chief ng PNP ang umano'y planong terrorist attack dito sa Metro Manila ng pinagsamang grupo ng Abu Sayaf, MILF at Jemaah Islamiyah. Kinumpirma din ngayon ng isang anti-terror research group na 10 hinihinalang terorista ang namataang pumasok sa Pilipinas nitong mga nagdaang araw lamang.

Aquino confirms assassination plot against 2 ambassadors, security officials

President Aquino confirmed today an assassination attempt against two ambassadors and several Filipino security officials.

Mr. Aquino revealed this to reporters in an interview in Malacañang but he refused to elaborate further on the issue.

"There are assassination plots on several of our security officials and two ambassadors...the problem is I'm not sure if I can reveal all of these," he said.

Since the plots were directed towards certain individuals, Mr. Aquino said that the terrorist threats against the Philippines were "blown out of proportion primarily because it seems so official."

He said that the travel advisories issued by the United States, New Zealand, United Kingdom, Canada and Australia were just precautionary measures on the part of their embassies.

"We will express our displeasure that we believe that there is no adequate basis (for the travel advisories)," he said.

House, Senate want budget passed before year-end

MANILA, Philippines - Leaders of the two Houses of Congress on Thursday vowed to pass the proposed P1.645 trillion national budget for 2011 before year-end, which would ensure that the government will not operate on a reenacted budget next year.

'Zero budget' agencies to get realigned P6B

The House of Representatives has realigned some P5 to 6 billion of the proposed 2011 government budget to items that have been given either zero or measly appropriations, a congressman said.

The bulk of the realignment will go to the National Food Administration (NFA), which will get P2.5 billion from zero appropriation, to buy palay for the country's farmers, Cavite Representative Joseph Emilio Abaya, chairman of the appropriations committee, said at the Serye news forum in Quezon City.

The amount was sourced from the P15-billion budget of the public-private partnership (PPP), a flagship project of the Aquino administration aimed to attract investors in the country.

The P15-billion PPP budget will be divided among three departments that will get P5 billion each – Agriculture, Transportation and Communication, and Public Works and Highways. 
The printed form of the proposed P1.645-trillion budget will be ready by next week when sessions resume for approval on third reading, the Cavite lawmaker added.

Abaya said the other realigned amounts would be used to fund additional school buildings, maternal health facilities and immunization, agricultural inputs, infrastructure projects, and for the implementation of the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Law to ensure that 20 percent of the farm-to-market roads would be enjoyed by the agrarian reform beneficiaries.

He said that a portion of the DPWH budget, about P1.2 billion, was realigned to accommodate the request of lawmakers for more infrastructure projects for their respective districts.

Speaker Feliciano Belmonte announced that district lawmakers could have at least P50 million worth of infrastructure projects. This is on top of the P70 million each gets as Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF).

The requests for the infrastructure projects came after lawmakers discovered that the district of Pampanga Representative Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo in Pampanga would get P2.2 billion from the DPWH fund.

Abaya said that they also found out that five legislative districts would get zero budget for infrastructure projects, while P49 districts would each have P50-million worth of projects or less.

"Basically the realignments are made in order for those districts who have less than P50 million to catch up," he said.

He said the P2.2 billion for Pampanga's second district, which was obtained through loan agreement with Japan and Korea when Arroyo was still President, would be kept intact in the 2011 budget.

If there will be cuts on it, Abaya said he did not see a major slash.

About P1 to P1.2 billion will be made available for rural electrification, but Abaya said that it would not be reflected in the budget.

"So far we haven't really identified [the source], the [Budget] secretary had said that funds would be made available, it may not be reflected and merely a declaration from the executive that it will be a continuing appropriation from 2010, but there's an assurance that the funds will be there," he said.

State Universities and Colleges (SUC) did not get additional budget amid appeals from several lawmakers for funds.

Instead, Abaya said that SUCs may tap the Higher Education Development Fund estimated from P500 to P700 million.

Enrile dares: Go ahead and sue over Senate allowances

by By Ryan Chua, ABS-CBN News
MANILA, Philippines - Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile on Thursday dared those questioning the allowances of Senate officials to charge him in court.

SC orders Palace to justify EO 7

MANILA, Philippines - The Supreme Court (SC) has asked Malacañang to give its side on a petition seeking to declare as unconstitutional Executive Order No. 7 suspending all allowances, bonuses and incentives of officials of government-owned and -controlled corporations (GOCCs), and government financial institutions (GFIs).

Robredo, Paje stay as acting secretaries

MANILA, Philippines – Jesse Robredo and Ramon Paje will remain as acting secretaries of the interior and environment departments, respectively, President Benigno Aquino III said Thursday. 

Enrile eyes nod for rebel soldiers' amnesty

MANILA, Philippines - Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile is hopeful that the Senate and the House of Representatives would be able to concur with President Benigno Aquino III's amnesty proclamation when session resumes next week. 

De Lima: Lacson spotted in Manila

MANILA, Philippines - Fugitive Senator Panfilo Lacson may be nearer than anyone thinks—he may just be in Metro Manila.

De Lima says not out to protect own brods, sorority

MANILA, Philippines - Justice Secretary Leila de Lima debunked accusations she was out to pinpoint Alpha Phi Omega (APO) to protect her sorority and its counterpart fraternity from the hunt for the perpetrator of the deadly Bar blast last September 26.

Ampatuans, others charged with graft, money laundering

Relatives of journalists killed during the Nov. 23, 2009 Maguindanao massacre filed on Thursday money laundering complaints against the powerful Ampatuan clan, and charges of graft and corruption against individuals led by former presidential adviser on Mindanao affairs Jesus Dureza.

Prosecutor handling Ampatuan case dies of heart attack

Senior State Prosecutor Leo Dacera, one of the government prosecutors handling the high-profile Maguindanao massacre case, died of a heart attack on Thursday morning.

Catholic group bats for RH law

by By Sheryll Mundo, ABS-CBN News
MANILA, Philippines - The Catholics for Reproductive Health is drumming up support among Catholics for the passage of the Reproductive Health bill.

Aquino off to Japan next week for APEC

MANILA, Philippines - Fresh from the successes of his first 2 foreign trips, President Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino III will attend his first Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) meeting in Yokohama, Japan from November 12 to 15.

PNoy to address 'social dimensions' of globalization at APEC meet

President Benigno Aquino III is expected to call on other countries to address the social dimensions of globalization when he attends the 18th Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Economic Leaders Meeting (AELM) in Yokohama, Japan next week, the Department of Foreign Affairs said.

PNoy not taking chances: Mislang won't join APEC trip

by By Lynda Jumilla, ABS-CBN News
MANILA, Philippines - Controversial presidential speechwriter and assistant secretary Mai Mislang will not be joining President Aquino's trip to Japan, although they did not say if it is an offshoot of her twitter blunder during the recent Vietnam-ASEAN trip of the president.

Enrile calls for closer relationship with China

The Philippine government should rethink its "overall foreign policy" and consider closer relationship with China, which is emerging as a "superpower," Senate President Juan Ponce-Enrile said Thursday.

Seafarers' quick reaction repels pirate attack

MANILA, Philippines – The actions taken by the crew of a German-owned cargo vessel that repelled a pirate attack in the Indian Ocean received praises from the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA).

"The adoption of best practices by the seafarers saved them from being held captive by the pirates, which shows how important it is that seafarers and vessel owners adopt these practices as safety measures against attacks," DFA Undersecretary for Migrant Workers Affairs Esteban Conejos said.
Conejos was referring to the MV Beluga Fortune, which was boarded by Somali pirates on October 24 while sailing in the Indian Ocean en route to Richards Bay, South Africa.

The vessel had on board 16 crew, 8 of them Filipinos.

In a press statement, the DFA said the crew immediately sent out a distress call and cut off the ship's fuel supply, shut down all power on the bridge and hid in a safe room before they could be overwhelmed by the pirates.

The crew hid below deck for two days.

The pirates were forced to abandon the vessel, unable to take the ship or hold the crew hostage. They, however, stole some of the crew's personal belongings.

A seafarer also called the local manning agency and reported what happened. This alerted American and British naval ships in the area, which later escorted the MV Beluga Fortune to safety as it proceeded towards Richards Bay.
The seafarers are safe and have expressed their intention to continue working on-board. They added that they will come home to the Philippines in time for the Christmas holidays.

DFA: 8 Pinoys aboard pirate-attacked ship due this Christmas

At least eight Filipinos serving aboard a German-owned cargo vessel that managed to repel a recent attack by Somali pirates will come home for Christmas, the Department of Foreign Affairs said Thursday.

Isabela floods, landslide kill 6

MANILA, Philippines – At least 6 people have died in flood-hit Isabela province, Governor Faustino Dy said Thursday.

Ex-PAGASA chief Prisco Nilo retires early

Dr. Prisco Nilo, former chief of the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical, and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) whom President Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino sacked, has quit government service.

House to probe PAL's outsourcing next week

MANILA, Philippines - The House of Representatives will scrutinize next week Philippine Airlines (PAL) plan to outsource its non-core units and retrench thousands of workers in a bid to cut costs.

Neri denies tax raps, cites late receipt of income

MANILA, Philippines - Former economic planning secretary and pension fund chief Romulo Neri visited the office of the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) on Thursday to explain the supposed discrepancies in his income.

Malacañang: Tax raps vs Neri not harassment

MANILA, Philippines - Malacañang has denied that the tax evasion case filed against former economic planning secretary and pension fund head Romulo Neri is a form of harassment.

Cunanan denies tax evasion charges

MANILA, Philippines - Former pension fund chair Thelmo Cunanan denied the tax evasion raps filed against him by the tax bureau on Thursday.

Neri, Cunanan shouldn't have earned from SSS stocks—Drilon

MANILA, Philippines - The tax evasion raps filed by the tax bureau against former pension fund executives highlight the fiduciary responsibility public officials have when handling other people's money, Senator Frank Drilon said.

Ex-poll commish acquitted of graft in Photokina deal

MANILA, Philippines - The Sandiganbayan First Division on Thursday acquitted former Commission on Elections Commissioner Luzviminda Tancangco of graft charges in connection with the scrapped P6.6 billion poll registration automation contract awarded to Photokina Marketing Corporation 10 years ago.

Couple charged for beating 6-year-old daughter to death

The parents of a six-year-old girl who died after she was beaten were charged with parricide on Thursday, at the Bacolod City prosecutor's office.

Charged were Rachel Esguerra, 26, and Bernard Nolan, 27, of BS Aquino Drive, Bacolod City.

Police Officer 3 Lovella Cordova said the couple was arrested and detained on Wednesday following the death of their daughter due to severe beating.

Eli Cong, city medico legal officer, said an autopsy on the girl showed hematoma all over her body and a vein in the head that burst.

Police presented several pieces of evidence against the girl's parents, including a police report, the child's death certificate, the autopsy report and a report of the social worker who had talked with the parents.

The girl's death drew the attention of Bacolod Bishop Vicente Navarra who, in a pastoral letter on Sunday, condemned the child's death and called for justice.

Peso continues climb, closes at P42.53:$1

MANILA, Philippines - The peso continued its appreciation against the US dollar amid strong inflows of foreign capital.

$1: 42.530

$1: 42.530 (P42.59)

Euro 1: 60.2067

BIR October collection 'better' than goal

MANILA, Philippines - Collection by the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) in October was "better" than its target of P62.5 billion, its chief said Thursday.

Huge volcanic blast spurs more Indonesians to flee

Searing gas and molten lava poured from Indonesia's deadly volcano in an explosion three times as powerful as last week's devastating blast, chasing people from villages and emergency shelters along its slopes.

Thai flood death toll hits 122

BANGKOK—The death toll from Thailand's crippling floods has risen to over 120, officials said Thursday, after the weeks-long crisis spread south and affected tens of thousands more people, including tourists.

Pacquiao more concerned on giving a good fight

MANILA, Philippines – That Manny Pacquiao wants to win against Mexican Antonio Margarito is a given. But more than anything else, his main concern is giving fans a good fight.

Jinkee joins Manny in LA

MANILA, Philippines – Manny Pacquiao's wife, Jinkee, flew to Los Angeles (LA) to be with her husband as the pound-for-pound king winds up his final week of training at the Wild Card Gym.

PBA: Texters battle Llamados; Kings, Express clash

Is B-Meg Derby Ace an easy target for the fully-loaded Talk N Text Texters? Multi-titled coach Chot Reyes doesn't think so.

3rd Atlantic 1 2 1-2 0-1 1-1
1st Central 2 1 2-1 2-0 0-1
Season Series: tied 0-0
  • 11/4 - NYK @ CHI
  • 12/25 - CHI @ NYK
  • 4/12 - CHI @ NYK
NYK PPG Stoudemire 21.3 RPG Chandler 10.0 APG Felton 5.7 BPG Chandler 3.0
CHI PPG Rose 27.7 RPG Noah 15.3 APG Rose 8.7 BPG Noah 2.0
4th Northwest 2 2 2-2 1-1 1-1
1st Northwest 4 1 4-1 1-0 3-1
Season Series: tied 0-0
  • 11/4 - OKC @ POR
  • 11/12 - POR @ OKC
  • 3/27 - POR @ OKC
  • 4/1 - OKC @ PO

'Nikoy' upsets 'Bata,' enters SMB 9-Ball semis

MANILA, Philippines – Filipino billiards player Antonio "Nikoy" Lining upset living legend Efren "Bata" Reyes in the ongoing San Miguel Beer (SMB) Oktoberfest 9-Ball Open on Thursday to advance to the semifinal round.

ABS-CBN marks late chairman's b-day with special events

MANILA, Philippines - November 4, 2010 marks the 82nd birth anniversary of the late ABS-CBN chairman Eugenio Lopez Jr., the blessing and dedication of the ELJ Communications Center, the launch of the network's Christmas station ID and the announcement of winners in this year's Bayaning Pilipino awards.

ABS-CBN launches "Ngayong Pasko Magniningning ang Pilipino"

Mula sa matagumpay at award winning station ID na "Bro, Ikaw Ang Star ng Pasko" noong 2009, maririnig na simula ngayon ang ABS-CBN Christmas station ID na "Ngayong  Pasko,  Magniningning ang Pilipino."  Bida rito ang Pinoy parol na ating pangako para ng pagkakaisa, pagbabago at pag-asa para sa mga Pilipino.

Aquino praises Bayan Mo I-Patrol Mo

MANILA, Philippines - President Benigno Aquino III visited on Thursday ABS-CBN Corp., the country's largest media conglomerate, and commended the network for raising public awareness on national issues.

Starlet faces raps for car theft

(UPDATE) A starlet is facing multiple charges of car theft for her alleged personal ties with a big time car theft syndicate operating in Metro Manila and nearby regions.

Katrina Paula, Angeline Samonte in real life, is being hunted by authorities after she was identified as the common law wife of Raymond Dominguez, the alleged leader of the notorious Dominguez car theft group, said Chief Superintendent Leonardo Espina, chief of the Police Highway Patrol Group.

The pronouncement on Thursday came after authorities raided the condominium unit of Paula and Dominguez at Palo Verde Condominium, Barangay (village) Malamig in Mandaluyong City last November 2.

Acting on a search warrant issued by Judge Carlos Valenzuela of the regional trial court Branch 213 in Mandaluyong, police also recovered six stolen high-end vehicles, including a BMW, a Mazda 3, Mitsubishi Montero, and an Isuzu D-Max pick-up truck.
Police also recovered the stolen Hyundai Sta. Fe owned by former labor undersecretary Dionisio Dela Cerna.

The raid also led to the confiscation of several paraphernalia, including stolen license plates and car registration papers, two white face masks, several duck tapes and masking tapes, and hand gloves.

Also recovered was the plate number of the stolen vehicle of Malaya sports editor Jimmy Cantor.

Dominguez and Paula, however, were not at the condominium at the time of the raid.

"We are studying closely the case of Katrina Paula. Because given that these stolen vehicles are found in the parking lot of their condominium units, then she must know something," Espina told a news conference.

Aside from car theft, Dominguez is also facing charges for rape, attempted murder, and illegal possession of firearms. Espina said Dominguez has a P500,000 reward for his arrest.

Batangas first before movie projects - Vilma Santos

Inihayag ni Batangas Governor Vilma Santos-Recto na aasikasuhin muna niya ang mga proyekto sa kanyang lalawigan bago siya gumawa muli ng pelikula sa 2011.

Box office kings, queens clash in MMFF 2010

Box office king and queens magtatapatan sa mmff 2010

Box office kings and queens ang magso-showdown sa Metro Manila Film Fest ngayong Disyembre.

Hindi lang heavyweight ang casting ng walong napiling film fest entries, mabibigat din ang kanilang mga tema at istorya.

Nangunguna sina  Ai-Ai de las Alas at Eugene Domingo sa "Ang Tanging Ina Mo Rin, Huli na 'To", kung saan lola na si Ai-Ai.

Tampok din dito ang karamihan ng mga bituin sa unang movie installment ng matagumpay na "Tanging Ina" series.

Sa Tanay, Rizal, ipinagmalaki naman ni Bong Revilla ang dambuhalang set nila ni Vic Sotto para sa "Agimat ni Enteng".

Multi-milyon ang kolaborasyon ng dalawa para sa action fantasy comedy movie.  

Horror thriller naman ang handog ni Kris Aquino at Diether Ocampo sa inaabangang "Dalaw".

Maninindak din sina Andi Eigenmann, Shaina Magdayao gayundin sina Rayver cruz at Carla Abellana sa "Shake, Rattle and Roll 12", ang pinakamatagal na movie series sa film fest.

Ibang putahe ang hatid ni Jake Cuenca, ka-partner sina Marian Rivera, Pokwang at John Lapuz sa revival ng Maricel Soriano classic na "Super Inday at ang Magic Bibe."

Dalawa naman ang entries ni 'Comedy King' Dolphy - una,  ang "Rosario", na balik-tanaw ni Director Albert Martinez sa true story ng isang adultery case nu'ng 1920s, kung saan tampok sina Jennylyn Mercado at Sid Lucero.

Pangalawa, ang komeding "Father Jejemon" kasama si Maja Salvador.

Tiyak ding aabangan ng mga bata ang pulidong animation na "Metanoia RPG", na gumamit ng mga boses nina Aga Muhlach, Zaijan Jaranilla, Vhong Navarro  at iba pang bituin. Tungkol ito sa paghahanap ng isang bata ng mga bayani sa kanyang buhay. 

Ipapakita sa RPF ang kahusayan ng mga Pinoy sa latest 3D animation technology.

Sa tindi ng hirap at gastos sa produksyon at special effects, hangad ng lahat ng mga taga-pelikulang Pilipino ang tagumpay sa takilya ng walong filmfest entries. 

Terror report raw, unverified -- Noynoy in 1-on-1 with Ted

Ted Failon (TF): At ngayon ay kasama natin ang Pangulo para sumagot sa ilang mga importanteng katanungan. Ginoong Pangulo, thank you, sir.

Benigno S. Aquino III (BSA): Magandang gabi sa iyo, Ted. Alam mo naman, basta ikaw.

TF: Mayroon pong sinasabi ang 5 bansa na may seryosong banta sa seguridad ng Pilipinas kaya naglabas na sila ng travel advisory. Habang ito po ay... minamaliit ito ng AFP at PNP kahapon, ano po ba ang tunay na report na inyong natanggap tungkol sa mga bantang ito?

BSA: Mayroong isang bansa, huwag ko na muna hong papangalanan ngayon 'yung bansa, na nag-issue ng warning of a possible terrorist activity. Ipinasa niya sa mga kaalyado, 'yung kaalyado namang bansa ay nagkataong napaka-sensitive sa ganyan.

Nagkaroon na ho sila ng issue noong araw na kung saan parang sinisi sila ng kanilang mga kababayan na kulang ang pagwa-warning nila. So ngayon, siguro sa technical niyan eh unverified pa at raw report, kumikilos na sila kaagad. Ang problema natin dito, tayo ang nabiktima dahil kapag tinignan natin 'yung information na eventually ipinasa ay talagang...hindi maliwanag kung saan nagmula o anong base nito.

Pati 'yung plausibility, 'yung planong gagawin versus 'yung dating ginawa nitong mga grupong ito ay magkaibang-magkaiba. So para bang pati 'yung plausibility nung information ay kine-kuwestiyon. Pero kaagad, maaapektuhan na tayo sa ating turismo, maaapektuhan ang negosyo sa bansang ito. Parang premature naman yata ang ginawa nilang warning.

Pero sa kanilang pananaw, kailangan mag-exercise ng extreme preference for caution.

TF: Papaano niyo ho ba kinukumpirma, sir, ang ganitong mga balita sa part po naman ng gobyerno?

BSA: Siyempre may networking tayo with other intelligence agencies. Kaya mayroon tayong internal natin. Mino-monitor natin ngayon ang mga potential problems, mostly domestic. Sinabi na rin na puwedeng makatsamba 'yung walang koneksiyon sa domestic threat groups natin dito na makasulpot sa Pilipinas. Pero more than anything, meyroon silang minimum standards diyan, makikita mo 'yung nag-deliver ng impormasyon, credibility niya. Titignan mo 'yung impormasyon na ibinigay, mukha bang may sense, may katuturan ba o wala? So may mga analysts ang gobyerno na nagsusuri nito, tinitignan mayroon nga bang banta, gaano katindi 'yung banta at tuloy-tuloy po 'yung pagsusubaybay natin diyan, monthly mayroon po tayong report.

Pero katulad nga nung pagkarating natin ay tinanong ko nga 'mayroon bang differences, mayroon bang changes,' sinabi naman nila wala pa mula noong umalis ako. Hanggang kanina nag-meeting kami tungkol dito, again more ang focus ho natin doon sa domestic.

TF: Opo. Pero ito hong mga pangyayari 'no, sa Greece, at ito pong nasa bansang Amerika, ito ho sa palagay ninyo ay sapat na dahilan para mabahala po ang ating gobyerno?

BSA: Kung titignan po natin sa mga targetted so far, 'yung ebidensiya nagpo-point out sa ibang bansa kaysa sa atin eh. Dito ho kasi parang tina-target na personalities na inaabot sa akin sa report, mayroon hong mga Pilipino, may mga dayuhan. 'Yung mga dayuhan, hindi ho konektado sa global war on terror eh. So doon na naman base sa sinabi nilang bakit tatargetin itong mga 'to ng tinatawag na jihadis? Mukang wala ho yatang base iyon.

At 'yung sinasabi nga, 'yung individual ay mas sa local na threat group natin 'yung isang tao mismo 'yung tinatarget.

'Yung jihadis raw ho kailangan spectacular at maramihan. So para pati sa normal na operations nila, ibang-iba. 
Tignan po ninyo kanina 'yung fina-flash niyo, 'yung anthrax. 'Yung anthrax, "To whom it may concern." Bigla, nu'ng dito may specific na taong binabanggit, mayroon nga ho na tila walang kaugnayan sa global war on terror.

TF: Kanina po sa report ng ating kasamang si Henry Omaga-Diaz, ayon sa isang terror expert na si Rommel Banawil, may 10 na umanong teroristang namataan na nakapasok ng bansa. Itong mga reports na ito na hindi po galing sa gobyerno, mga sinasabing experts on terrorism vis-a-vis your own report, paano po ito, sir? Ano ho ang pagbabalanse po dito?

BSA: Hindi ko ho kilala 'yung taong nagbanggit niyan, hindi ko alam kung saan nagmula ang expertise niya kaya hindi naman po ako huhusga sa kakayahan niya. Pero ang gobyerno po, marami tayong mga intel services sa PNP, sa NBI, 'yung NICA, sa AFP marami po 'yung J2 at 'yung kanilang operating sa ISAFP may liaising pa tayo sa loob, napakaraming mga bansa at so far ang information nga ho natin ay walang nagbabago doon sa threat potential nito. 'Yung pinagmulan nitong advisory ay tila hindi masasabi nating kumpleto. Parang halos ang dating ho sa akin sa pagkapaliwanag nila ay nandoon pa tayo sa raw, unverified stage, bigla nang nagre-react ho lahat. 

At ulit, ang pinili po nila 'yung mga bansa na nag-issue na para obligado sila sa kanilang sistemang gobyerno at sa kanilang sa mga nangyari sa kanilang lumipas na the minute na may kapirasong threat kailangan todo-todo na ang warning. Kung may nangyari, masasabi na nag-warning kami. Kung wala naman nangyari, masasabi o ayan na-alert namin kayo.

TF: Sa gitna po ng lahat ng balitang ito, tuloy po itong pagsasabi ninyo na pagtitipon-tipon po ng tourism industry on November 15?

BSA: So far ho wala naman tayong dapat na makita para maghinto noon. 'Tsaka lalo na 'yung mga private-public partnerships' launch. November 18, kung hindi naman ako nagkakamali.

TF: So bagamat sabi ho ninyo na hindi ho ganu'n kaberipikado ang mga reports na ito, ano ho ang inyong mga mando ngayon sa mga government agencies na concerned sa ating siguridad?

BSA: Constantly update and monitor and re-evaluate if necessary. Tapos mayroon po akong nakita 'yung mga dini-display nila, ng mga kapulisan, naka-deploy kung saan-saan, pati na ho iyong sa domestic threat natin dito, nambubulabog na ho tayo, saka-sakali mang may nag-iisip na gagawin kung saan ay papahirapan natin nang papahirapan ng mga plano para lumaban.

TF: Samantala, Ginoong Pangulo, magbubukas na ulit ang sesyon ng Kongreso, isasalang niyo ho ba ang lahat ng miyembro ng Gabinete sa Commission on Appointments, o meron pa ho bang nasa acting capacity pa rin?

BSA: 'Yung tatlo ho yata na nailagay ko sa acting, 'yung isa ho sa tatlo pinalitan ko na po iyong kanyang appointment ng pagiging permanent na po. Ito po ay si Secretary Baldoz ng Labor at mga a month-and-a-half ago ko ho yata pinalitan or thereabouts.

'Yung dalawa ho, isa sa DENR, hindi pa. Sa DILG malapit na rin ho siguro, baka palitan ang kanyang appointment pero so far hindi pa ho tapos 'yung prosesong iyan.

TF: Sa DILG ika ninyo?

BSA: DILG, DENR at DOLE ang mga acting. Pero 'yung DOLE hindi na ho acting.

TF: So ito hong mga acting na ito, mga hanggang kailan ho kaya ito?

BSA: Sa DENR baka until next year. Mayroon ho talaga kaming advocate sa partido na talagang linya po 'yung ecology at iyon ho ay irere-evaluate natin. So far wala naman ho akong problema kay Secretary Paje pero iyon ho ay matagal na nating commitment rin na ito'y kailangan nating tukuyin ng pansin at mayroon nga ho kaming expert...

TF: Sa DILG po, sir?

BSA: Sa DILG po, sir, baka i-mando natin sa ibang ahensiya kung saka-sakali. Wala po akong planong maliwanag kung...Secretary Robredo, maganda ho ang ginagawa ngayon, pero mayroon ho tayong gustong i-fasttrack na mga programa tulad ho sa informal settlers na expertise po niya, so baka magtayo ho tayo ng panibagong grupo na talagang tutulong doon sa Presidential Commission on the Urban Poor, 'tsaka itong mga shelter agencies natin na may focus at mas realizable tulad noong... daang libo ang pinag-uusapan na nandoon sa danger, labasan po ng tubig... papuntang Manila Bay at sa Laguna de Bay pa pala.

TF: Mayroon po kasing lumabas sa US International Risk Consultancy Company na Pacific Strategies and Assessment na posibleng sumunod daw kayo sa yapak ni Barack Obama sa pagbaba ng popularidad, ano ho ang inyong reaksyon dito?

BSA: Ang nabasa ko lang ho ay 'yung nasa diyaryo 'no, hindi ko ho nakita iyong report nila. Well, kung ikukumpara nila ako, thank you. Pero at the same time, what are the differences? In America, when we were there, with no offense meant, talagang masama ho naman ang ekonomiya kaya apektado 'yung global currency situation, 'yung financial conditions sa buong bansa.

Sa Pilipinas ho may stock market tayong dati 4,000 unreachable, nasa 4,400 na ho halos. Kanina, 6 points lang ho sa index yata ang kulang eh 4,400 na. 'Yung peso nag-a-appreciate at ang tine-trace ng mga analyst dito sa investors na pumapasok, 'yung remittances amongst other things.

'Yung investors ho noong galing kami ng America 2.4 billion ang ipinangako as an initial intervention. Ang pagkaintindi ko ho pagpunta sa Japan better ang mapapala natin. Ito ho nag-uumpisa nang madama. Next year ho mas madadama kapag nandoon na ho ang conditional cash transfer program nating mas malawak ang masasaklaw, lagpas ng doble ho.

Kung gumaganda ang ekonomiya natin, umaayos ang estado ng buhay ng tao natin, magagalit ho ba ang Pilipino? Palagay ko ho hindi. 'Yung sinasabi nila doon na baka matulad daw ho ako, 'kako kung maganda ho ang nangyayari, palagay ko naman dadami po ang tutulong sa atin para lalong mapabilis ang pagbabago.

TF: Ginoong Pangulo nabanggit niyo po ang exchange rates natin, gumaganda ho ang piso, pero hindi ho ba ngayon po ay umaaray naman ang mga OFWs at ang ating mga exporters so papaano po ang inyong pagbabalanse diyan?

BSA: Well pipilitin nating magawa ang magagawa natin diyan. 'Yung fundamental strategy diyan, may pumapasok na mga dolyar sa atin. 'Yung dolyar, kung magagamit natin, for instance, baka in effect 'yung capital goods na kakailanganin natin sa infrastructure program, ngayon 'yung panahon na puwede tayo mag-invest din ng mas mura kung tutuusin  kaysa noong mas mababa ang halaga ng piso.

So maibabalik pa rin ho ang relationship ng supply ng dollars at pesos.

TF: Tama ho ba ngayon sa palagay ninyo itong today po na close na 42.50?

BSA: Alam niyo buong mundo naman ho kasi ang problema eh. Tignan ho ninyo sa Thailand, kasama ko ho si Prime Minister Abhisit last week, sa kanya 29:1, nagumpisa yata bandang 38, medyo malaki-laki na ho ang problema noong sa kanila.

Sa atin naman hindi pa naman ho kasinglala pero conscious tayo sa epekto sa ating exporters kasama na rin ho iyong epekto sa pamilya ng mga nagre-remit nating OFW, pero hindi bale ho sana kung may problema tayo dito. Ang problema ho pandaigdigan eh. Mag-uumpisa ho sa America at hanggang hindi nila maiayos ang ekonomiya nila, dollar lahat naka-peg ang mga currencies eh talagang mayroon hong mga volatility ho iyan.

'Yung China rin ho napakalaki ng reserves. Medyo napapag-isip ka na rin, paano kaya kung biglang i-revalue nila ang currency nila? 'Yung kaya nating gawin, para sa atin ginagawa na po natin ngayon. Pero intindihin po natin, hindi problema ng Pilipinas lang ito, problema ng pandaigdig. At ano ba ang mai-influence natin sa buong daigdig minsanan.

TF: Well, Ginoong Pangulo, tayo po ay kinakapos ng oras din. Ang alam ko pong marami po kayong pupuntahan pang importanteng mga lakad, last two points po lamang. Malapit na po ang Pasko, sir, eksaktong 51 days to go. Ano ho ang aasahan ng government employees sa usapin po naman ng bonus? Ang atin bang cash position ng gobyerno ay malakas para ho sa bonus ng mga government employees?

BSA: Ire-review ho natin nang masinsinan iyan. Ayaw ko ho magbitaw ng salita na baka hindi maitupad. Pero kapag itong austerity measures natin, noong buwan ng Agosto nagkaroon na tayo ng surplus kaya lang may deficit pa ring pagkalaki-laki, so marami-rami na ho ang naitipid mula noong naiupo tayo dito. Baka pupuwede naman ngang ma-earmark iyon para sa maganda namang Kapaskuhan.

TF: 'Yung basic pong bonus nandoon po iyon?

BSA: Dapat ho nandiyan po iyon, mandated by law. Tignan ho natin kung paano nga ho for everybody else. Ako ang pinoproblema ko naman ang personal basis, 'yung babati ho sa akin sa tinitirahan ko 2,000 na kaagad eh.

TF: Well, Ginoong Pangulo, talaga pong malapit na ang Pasko, ang ating mga kababayan ay gustong malaman kung papaano ho ba ang magiging pasko ng Pangulong Noynoy Aquino? Ito ba ay magiging malamig na Pasko o mainit na Pasko?

BSA: Hindi ho natin alam kung magiging malamig o mainit pero sana may init ng pagmamahalan sa bawat isa ang mapapala natin. Sana matuloy ang alab ng paniniwala na talagang nagbabago na po tayo, lahat nakikidamay sa pagbabago.

Sana tuloy-tuloy nga ho na hindi tayo mahadlang sa mga ginagawa nating pagbabago ng ating mga sistema na kung saan ay nadadagdagan 'yung kakayahan ng gobyerno na tumupad sa pangangailangan ng mamamayan at lalong lalo na siguro mapabilis natin 'yung prosesong pagbabagong inaasam ng lahat.

TF: Nawa'y magkaroon po kayo, sir, ng mainit na pasko. Salamat po.

BSA: Sana po. Kasintulad sa iyo, Ted.

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